Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Hurricane Dorian already extremely dangerous, could hit Florida as ‘absolute monster’ category 4
Hurricane Dorian continued to ramp up early Friday, reaching Category 2 strength on a path toward the Florida coast paved with more storm fuel — warm water, no land and very little in the atmosphere to weaken it. It’s a recipe for a dangerous major hurricane and the National Hurricane Center predicts the system could come in as a Category 4, bringing winds topping 130 miles per hour and damaging surge and coastal flooding to the Sunshine State sometime early Tuesday. More from the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald, and the Palm Beach Post.
Florida citrus crop value up as farmland shrinks
Florida citrus production and crop value is up from a year ago, when the industry was trying to recover after being hit hard by Hurricane Irma. But the industry continues to bleed acreage in the state, according to numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The federal agency’s commercial citrus inventory recorded 430,601 acres spread across 25 counties, 4 percent fewer acres than a year ago. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]
Florida's businesses taking Hurricane Dorian 'very seriously'
Florida residents and businesses alike are taking precautionary measures to protect themselves and their property from the coming storm, as the costs of repairing damages post-hurricane can be hard to surmount. Past hurricanes have cost the U.S. billions of dollars. The costliest storm was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, totaling the U.S. an estimated $161 billion. [Source: Yahoo Finance]
Florida businesses could get break on workers’ comp rates
The National Council on Compensation Insurance this week filed with the state Office of Insurance Regulation a proposal that would lead to an average 5.4 percent rate decrease for employers, effective Jan. 1. The recommended rate changes are based on claims-experience data as of the end of 2018. More than 90 percent of the data analyzed came from policies that took effect after a 2016 Florida Supreme Court decision that struck down strict caps on attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases, according to the organization known as NCCI, which makes annual rate filings on behalf of insurers. [Source: Florida Politics]
Puerto Ricans sought refuge in Florida, now face storm here
Hurricane Maria was a Category 4 storm by the time it hit Puerto Rico, leaving a death toll of around 3,000. Many Puerto Ricans who had been recovering from Hurricane Irma two weeks earlier, were left with a power grid that was essentially destroyed and a lack of tap water and cellphone service. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans moved to Florida after Hurricane Maria to escape the devastation of the Category 4 storm. Now, they’re facing a potentially destructive storm in the very place where they sought refuge. [Source: AP]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Daytona Beach hotels, businesses already feeling Hurricane Dorian impact
Daytona Beach vacationers are canceling their Labor Day holiday plans with the imminent threat of Hurricane Dorian. Bob Davis, CEO and president of the Lodging and Hospitality Association of Volusia County, said Labor Day weekend is typically a busy one that area hotels and businesses count on.
› Virginia Key sports park plan faces two-year time out
It will be at least another two years before Miami-Dade County turns the old landfill on Virginia Key over to the City of Miami, which has plans to develop the site into a sports park. The city owns most of the barrier island, which connects the mainland with Key Biscayne via the Rickenbacker Causeway. Responsibility for the landfill rests with the county.
› Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge draws huge crowds, 5-hour line
Disney World’s $1 billion attraction, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opened early Thursday to capacity crowds and lines as long as five hours, a much busier debut compared with the California version of the land that debuted in the spring. In Orlando, some Star Wars fans were on hand as early as 3:30 a.m. to be among the first to see Disney’s $1 billion investment.
› Business incubator comes to Zephyrhills
The city has been expanding of late, with new residential developments and chain restaurants popping up along main thoroughfares. And a new corridor recently opened with the extension of State Road 56 from Wesley Chapel to Zephyrhills. Now it’s time for small businesses to get a boost.
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