ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a state of emergency for the city during a news conference Friday at the Emergency Operation Center.
City officials are getting ready to go into full activation mode and are taking all the necessary steps to prepare the city for Hurricane Dorian. The mayor said city inspectors are out making sure the cranes around constructions sites in downtown are set to free-swinging mode, which means basically letting them spin freely in the wind. The Florida Department of Transportation has already stopped construction operations on I-4 as well. City officials are urging everyone to take this storm seriously.
"It could be the most significant storm we've had in a couple of decades here in Orlando. If you haven't started preparing, you still have time but you better get started today. So it's important that we not be complacent about the storm," Dyer said. "Don't go out and sightsee during the course of the event. Once the event is over, don't feel compelled to drive around and survey everything. We'll do that for you, and then most importantly, listen to you guys."
The mayor added that as of right now, residential and commercial trash pick up is operating normally but residential trash pick will be suspended Monday.
The city anticipates many trees and power lines will be knocked down. The mayor urged residents to stay away from downed trees and power lines.
"As the weather conditions worsen, try to reduce the times when you will go out, especially the ones that want to see how everything is, if there are trees down, the damage — the sightseer's — please make sure you refrain from doing that," Orlando police Chief Orlando Rolon said. "If we experience any power outages, what we encourage everyone is to treat the intersection as a four-way stop sign."
Rolón said once sustained wind conditions reach 40 mph, officers and other personnel will need to seek shelter and will not be able to assist, but if needed for an emergency they will provide assistance.
The Orlando Utilities Commission already has additional crews from out of state coming to Orlando to assist with power outages, as well.