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BLOG > September 2019 > Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall in Carolinas Causing Flooding & Outages

Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall in Carolinas Causing Flooding & Outages

Hurricane Dorian was the first of the season to affect the United States. The storm devastated some of the islands of the Bahamas. Florida and the Carolinas braced for a major storm.

Dorian First Hurricane of the Season to Hit the United States

East Coast Power Outages
September is the beginning of the hurricane season. Dorian began as a tropical storm in the Atlantic, exhibiting qualities of a hurricane. As it approached the Bahamas, it increased to a hurricane-strength storm. It made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained wind speeds up to 185 mph. 

Not every island was hit. Grand Bahamas, Freeport, and Abaco were among the hardest hit. After the storm made landfall, it slowed to 1 mph of movement across the islands. The total duration of the storm was approximately 36 hours. Meteorologists compared this to being subjected to an EF4 tornado for more than two days.  

Officials in Florida were closely monitoring the storm and its progress. There are multiple software programs that generate a model for a storm's path and speed. No two models are exactly the same. The cone of uncertainty surrounds the models with an allowance for change. Some models had the hurricane hitting the tip of Florida and others showed it approaching the coast and turning to the east and not making landfall at all. Four to seven-foot storm surge with 3" to 5" inches of rain were predictions at this time. 

This intense hurricane was not following standards and Florida took precautions for a full Category 5 hurricane landfall. Some of the precautions were:
  • Evacuation orders were issued for coastal areas that were in flood range. After the storm path was established, mandatory evacuation orders were lifted.
  • Fairgrounds and thirteen schools were set up as emergency shelters in one county. Officials said these were to be thought of as lifeboats, not cruise ships. Evacuees were told to bring sleeping gear and necessities. Schools were shut-down while being used as shelters.
  • OCU is the power company. They brought in 17,000 workers to restore power as quickly as possible.
  • Seventy-two nursing homes and assisted living establishments evacuated patients. Hospitals along the coast were moving patients that required critical care. All hospitals and medical facilities were required to test generators and report they if were working correctly.


Dorian stair-stepped along the coast of Florida as a Category 2 hurricane, closer to making landfall as it passed South Carolina. It finally made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Approximately 400,000 were left without power when the storm struck. For complete storm coverage go to The Weather Channel. Above photo courtesy of the Weather Channel.

Surviving the Storm

Emergency Generators Used During Power Loss
The first step to surviving a major storm is to follow the evacuation orders. These orders are based on the storm's anticipated trajectory and are issued to protect life. Many who were interviewed said they were evacuating in Florida even though they had sheltered in place during the last hurricane. Once a hurricane is active in an area, first responders cannot perform rescues.

Utility Outages

Flooding and high wind speeds associated with severe storms and hurricanes serve as challenges well after the storm passes. After the floodwaters recede, many reservoirs are contaminated and boil water orders are issued by the water department. 

Power outages are a by-product. How long the power is out is solely based on how much damage the infrastructure sustained. Power crews do not work in winds that exceed 35 mph. They begin repairs in areas that supply the most critical needs first, such as hospitals. Next, are areas that supply power to the largest number of customers. Then remote and more damaged areas are repaired. Power companies supply outage estimates. These are estimates, and times can be longer or shorter. Generac power supplies an interactive map for the United States and Canada. For state by state information go to Generac.

Generator Safety

Emergency or backup generators are the choices for electrical supply when utility power fails. They supply power flawlessly. A few generator operating tips are listed below:
  1. Understand and follow all manufacturers operating instructions, cautions, and warnings.
  2. Never operate a generator designed for outdoor operation indoors. Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide (the odorless killer).
  3. Make sure outdoor generators are protected from the weather when running.
  4. Never fuel a generator that is running; always let cool down prior to fueling.
  5. Never connect or disconnect an electrical load from a generator when it is running.
When a storm approaches, our clients beginning reviewing their power requirements against installed generator capabilities. They often realize there is a need to upgrade emergency power. Go to Inventory for our in-stock generators. Pre-owned generators offer a cost-effective solution. 

Florida requires hospitals and medical care facilities to test generators in preparation for the hurricane. If a generator does not pass the required test, a building evacuation is ordered, and the generator must be repaired. Generator Source has over 35 years in the generator service field. We offer generator troubleshooting and repair, maintenance, and load testing services. Load testing helps ensure the generator will perform to capacity during a power failure. Contact Us for more information.


Diesel Blog Team | 9/1/2019 5:32:56 PM | 0 comments
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