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Floridians prepare for Dorian as the hurricane shifts north

Even as Hurricane Dorian’s track shifts north, Floridians hope for the best while preparing for the worst, reports NewsHour National Correspondent John Yang. He joins Hari Sreenivasan from Orlando to discuss how the state and its people are preparing for the hurricane.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    NewsHour Correspondent John Yang is in Orlando, Florida, and he joins us now for more on the preparations and the planning ahead of this slow moving storm. John, the graph of where this storm is going has shifted in the past couple of days. It's moved away from a direct hit to Florida. Has that changed how people are preparing?

  • John Yang:

    Well, I tell you, Hari, what you see behind me pretty much sums it up. Here on the eastern half of Florida, we're at the Good Samaritan Society Retirement Community of Kissimmee Village and they are moving, voluntarily moving their patients who are under skilled nursing care to a sister facility in Deland, Florida, that's on higher ground about 55 miles north of here.

    The evacuations that have been called for have been delayed because of the slow moving nature of this storm. They're now going into effect up and down the coastal areas of Florida, on the east coast of Florida for tomorrow morning. Even if this storm does not make a direct hit, does not make landfall on Florida, it still has the potential of doing a lot of damage. High winds, heavy rains and that dangerous storm surge.

    And the storm surge could be particularly bad this time of year because right now is the time of the highest tides of the year, something called king tides, because of the alignment of the sun, the earth and the moon giving a great extra gravitational tug on those tides.

    So people are poised here. They're watching the forecast, watching the track very carefully, hoping that it does move east off the coast but ready if it doesn't. If it makes a little tick to the west they're prepared.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Given that there has been more time than usual, how is the state using that time to try to prepare resources to make sure that people have whatever resources that they need and putting them into position?

  • John Yang:

    They've been talking a great deal about preparation. The governor here has been holding daily briefings practically, urging people to be ready, urging people to know and pay attention. If an evacuation is called for, urging them to get supplies.

    You know, this is one of the states where preparation is something they practice. Since 2000, eight major hurricanes have hit Florida, so there's probably no other state that's as well prepared and ready for something like this than Florida.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    These are Floridians, they are used to storms. Is the fact that these hurricanes are happening more frequently changing how they prepare for this and perceive this?

  • John Yang:

    I think that if anything it's making them more alert, more attuned, more ready. That they have gotten their emergency plans down. A lot of them have batteries, flashlights, water, canned food ready in bins and they just pulled them out for these things.

    I think that there is a great deal of anticipation that they know what the threat is, they know what the dangers are. And they're hoping that the track stays away. But they are prepared.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. John Yang for the NewsHour reporting from Florida tonight. Thanks so much.

  • John Yang:

    Thanks, Hari.

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