Here in South Florida, we dodged a bullet. Our neighbors in the Bahamas were not as lucky.
Leadership by Rep. Brian Mast and the Army Corps lowered lake levels before this year’s rainy season. As Hurricane Dorian crept closer, state and federal water managers expressed confidence in their ability to manage heavy rainfall expected on and around Lake Okeechobee. Pre-storm discharges were not called for, but they warned residents to be prepared for large releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers in the storm's wake.
As of now, those discharges remain at bay. A change in Dorian's track spared Florida from the rainfall that was projected to leave the lake hovering near 17 feet. As Dorian continues up the coast, taking aim at the Carolinas, the forecast is still calling for rain over the Kissimmee Watershed, but it looks better than it did a few days ago. For now, the locks leading to our estuaries remain closed and we're thankful for operational management that ensured that we didn't go into the storm with a lake already swollen to 15, 16, or 17 feet.
Your help is still needed.
Hurricane Dorian's stall over the Bahamas may have saved Florida's east coast but it brought unprecedented devastation to the island community in the Caribbean that so many of us love.
For every person sighing in relief at a near miss, there’s another who’s lost everything to Dorian. As the Bahamas begins the long process of recovery, thousands of people still need our help.
CharityWatch says sending money is always the most useful and efficient way to help. As the needs of those affected vary, monetary contributions allow emergency responders on the ground to buy specific supplies, while material donations often take up unnecessary space and time to process.
Emergency response experts also stress that well-intentioned volunteers without prior disaster relief experience can become more of a burden than an asset during relief efforts. To find out more about how you can help, here's a few verified charitable organizations that are working directly to rebuild the Bahamas in the wake of devastation.
The Bahamas Red Cross has 200 volunteers on the ground providing direct aid to affected areas.
- Global Giving has established the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund to provide emergency supplies and long-term assistance to help in rebuilding.
Operation 300 is a Treasure Coast-based non profit that has partnered with Amazon and Martin County officials to organize volunteers and a large-scale donation drop-off for the Bahamas post-Hurricane Dorian.
- Waterkeeper Alliance, a charity that works with local partners to preserve water ecosystems and fight for clean water, is taking donations on behalf of its affiliate in Grand Bahama, Save the Bays. Specify “Hurricane Dorian - Bahamas” on its donation site.
Your generosity could make all the difference.