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‘Calm before the storm:’ Dorian will be 3rd hurricane for Milwaukee family now in Florida

Data pix.

VIERA, Fla. -- After reaching record-tying wind speeds upon landfall in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian was downgraded to a Category 4 storm, and remained stalled over the Bahamas on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2.  Its eyewall first hit Grand Bahama Island Sunday night, and 18 hours later, part of the eye still lingered there, meteorologists said. The hurricane center late Monday called the storm "stationary" after several hours of crawling at 1 mph. Usually, hurricanes that don't move eventually kill themselves because they churn up colder water from deep below the surface, and storms need warm water as fuel, but the Bahamas and the Gulf Stream are one of the few places where warm water runs so deep, stalling isn't as much of a death sentence there as elsewhere, but it will still weaken the storm a bit, which is good for Florida and the U.S. East Coast.

The longer Dorian stalls in the Bahamas, the more the low pressure system has a chance to erode the high pressure and pull the hurricane north and away from Florida, officials said.

Meanwhile, people in Florida and along the southeastern seacoast were preparing for the worst, including those with Wisconsin ties.

Hurricane Dorian

With Dorian forecast to steer clear of South Florida as of Monday, some travelers opted to go through with their plans.

Heather Zunker

"Up until (Sunday), we were unsure of what exactly we were going to do, but with the change of course, we decided to just go ahead, get down there, and see what happens," said Heather Zunker, headed to Orlando.

FOX6 News spoke with Kit Seidel at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport Monday. She lives near Jupiter, Florida.

"I have skylights on the roof of my house," said Seidel. "That's what I'm expecting to blow away."

Susan Vaccaro and her family moved from Milwaukee to Viera, Florida in 2006 -- trading winters for picturesque year-round weather -- save for hurricanes.

"For us, we are getting some outer bands of rain," said Vaccaro. "It will pour and then clear up, and as a matter of fact, it's getting windier and windier, but the sun is shining. You know, it's the calm before the storm."

Susan Vaccaro's home

Susan Vaccaro's home

Vaccaro said she and her family had an evacuation plan in place just in case.

Hurricane Dorian (Getty Images)

"This will be the third one," said Vaccaro. "It's the last one I want to do."

With no real damage Monday, Vaccaro said it was the stress of planning, preparing, and waiting to see what would happen that was getting to them.

"You can only do what you can do as far as prep, put on shutters, batten things down, bring in all the patio furniture, the pots, the hoses, anything that could be a projectile, you bring in, and then you hurry up and wait," said Vaccaro. "That's the hardest part."

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