FLAGLER BEACH — Richard Konop and Debbie Reit were enjoying the sunrise in Flagler Beach on Tuesday morning, watching the waves roll in from an ocean roiled by Hurricane Dorian to the south.
“It’s one of those things that you don’t get too see very often,” said Konop, 65, of Ormond Beach.
“I just needed to escape all the news and the hurricane preparation,” said Debbie Reit, 58, of Palm Coast.
Flagler Beach Police Chief Matthew Doughney, though, said people should stay safe and get ready for the storm. The curious should stay away from the beach, Flagler Beach residents should evacuate before 7 p.m. and everyone should settle into their chosen shelters as Dorian passes by.
“We are trying to get as many people to get to higher ground to get west of (Interstate) 95 by 3 o’clock today and that’s the big goal," he said.
He said a curfew will be in place starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the county for Zones A, B and F, which includes all of Flagler Beach and parts of western Flagler County near Dead Lake.
The State Road 100 bridge to Flagler Beach will close if winds reach a sustained 45 mph. If winds reach 35 mph, notices will be sent on social media to alert people that the bridge will be closed so people are not stuck on the barrier island.
The Hammock Dunes bridge will also close.
Doughney said people should not return to Flagler Beach until officials determine it is safe and the curfew is lifted.
“We don’t want people to come back too early because most injuries or fatalities tend to occur after the storm by people returning too early,” he said.
Doughney added that the city will need visitors later — to help businesses recover from a lost Labor Day weekend.
“That’s when we really need you to come back to Flagler Beach, because if it’s going to be as bad as they are predicting, we lose sand and beach and dune our businesses are going to be severely affected," Doughney said.
If Dorian knocks out power, like previous hurricanes, there are plenty of electrical crews and tree crews nearby. Rows of white utility trucks were parked at the Flagler Executive Airport. Orange tree trucks were also there.
Trucks have been rolling into the Flagler Executive Airport since about 10 p.m. Saturday from all over the United States, said Roy Sieger, the airport director. Some have continued to the south while others have remained, he said.
“From that time we’ve probably had about 1,000 vehicles coming and going,” Sieger said.
The airport was full of trucks and the Publix at Town Center was full of shoppers about half an hour before it was to close at noon Tuesday.
James and Teresa Sorrentino were loading up groceries into their car but said they were already prepared for Dorian.
“We are just glad to get out of the house. We were going stir crazy,” James Sorrentino said.
“We’ve just been sitting and waiting for three days,” Teresa Sorrentino said.