9/1/2019   3:00pm


LAKELAND, FL (Sunday, September 1, 2019) – Dorian becomes the strongest hurricane in modern record and is currently delivering catastrophic conditions to the northwestern Bahama Islands. Polk and Highlands County are now under a Tropical Storm Watch.  At 2 p.m. the storm is located about 325 miles east of Winter Haven.  The storm has maximum sustained winds very close to 185 mph and is moving west or 270 degrees at 7 mph. A slower westward motion should continue for the next day or two, followed by a gradual turn toward the northwest.  On this track, the core of the hurricane will continue to pound Great Abaco and the move toward Grand Bahama Island this evening. The hurricane should move closer to the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday night. Dorian is an extremely dangerous Category 5 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are likely, and Dorian is expected to remain a catastrophic hurricane during the next few days. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).

The City of Lakeland will be closed Monday, September 2nd for Labor Day and will remain closed on Tuesday, September 3rd in preparation of the storm. All City of Lakeland personnel will report back to work on Wednesday, September 4th with regular business operations resuming.  The National Weather Service is forecasting Hurricane Dorian to shift east as it makes a turn north, taking most of Polk County out of the storm’s direct path.

City staff continues to monitor the track of Hurricane Dorian. All operations are prepared and ready to begin any restoration necessary following the storms passing the east coast of Florida. The County EOC continues to be minimally staffed until further notice. The City of Lakeland EOC has begun skeleton staffing. If the track worsens, the City EOC will become fully deployed based on tropical storm force winds impacting the area. The EOC is prepared to remain fully operational pending assessment of restoration needs throughout the City.

The Lakeland City Commission rescheduled the Commission meeting to 3 p.m. on Thursday, September 5th.  The Utility Committee meeting will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday and the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Hearing will take place at 6 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers.