“We didn’t dodge a bullet; we dodged a missile,” Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald said, as the greatly downgraded Hurricane Dorian moved northward and away.
Though the coastlines are still feeling the rough effects of the storm, including beach erosion, Dorian’s departure clears the way for a return to normalcy.
“County offices, with the exception of the library in Edgewater, will be back up and running tomorrow, Thursday,” County Chair Ed Kelley announced at a media briefing Sept. 4.
What had been a Category 5 hurricane bearing toward Florida lost much of its punch while punishing the Bahamas and became a Category 2 storm — still dangerous — and veered eastward into the open Atlantic rather than on a path to threaten other coastal states.
Hurricane Dorian disrupted business as usual, prompting the closing of businesses, government offices and schools, but the impact could have been much worse. What was visited on the Bahamas — complete devastation compounded with flooding — could have come here.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to our neighbors to the south in the Bahamas,” County Chair Kelley said.
Nor were the ill effects of Dorian on Volusia County to be compared with other hurricanes, such as Irma or the 2004 storms.
“There were not any widespread power outages,” Recktenwald said, noting approximately 1,800 households lost electrical service as a result of Dorian.
Many of those left in the dark, he added, were in the southeast Volusia area.
Now that Dorian makes its way into weather history books, leaders are looking to return to normalcy. However, as Dorian moves away, officials admitted they are waiting and watching a wave off the west coast of Africa that could become a tropical system to threaten the U.S. Eastern Seaboard or the Caribbean.
As for the supplies of water, food, batteries, medicines and sandbags people stockpiled in advance of Hurricane Dorian, Kelley cautioned, “Don’t throw them away.”
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season does not end until Nov. 30, and Kelley noted the most active times of the season will be in the next few days and weeks.