Local lifeguards hear complaints about jellyfish, but no questions about the storm

The only expected impact to the Emerald Coast from powerful Hurricane Dorian is a big batch of dry air, according to Da’Vel Johnson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, the tropical cyclone made landfall on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas and was crawling westward at only 3 mph shortly before noon Sunday.

Dorian is expected to track westward across the northern Bahamas through Monday night then turn northward and move to just off the coast of North Carolina through Thursday night, according to the NWS.

In comparison, while a fairly large accumulation of tropical moisture over the Gulf might bring some rain on Labor Day, the Emerald Coast should have to deal with only a moisture-free north wind for the remainder of the week, Johnson said Sunday.

“Though there is a lot of rainfall around the storm itself, further out there is sinking air, which will dry us out starting Tuesday,” he said. “For the rest of the week, it will be quite dry because of the hurricane. There will no effects other than that.”

Late Sunday morning, state Sen. George Gainer, R-Panama City, tweeted out his thoughts on Dorian while also referring to last October’s Hurricane Michael.

“My heart and prayers are with the Bahamian people today,” Gainer wrote. “This is such a scary situation & I feel helpless. The people of the panhandle know all too well the horrific devastation they are experiencing and the long road to recovery they will embark on very soon. God be with them.”

At Wayside Park next to The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island on Sunday afternoon, Okaloosa County Beach Safety Lt. Jeffrey Duncan and lifeguard Rachel Jockisch said the biggest complaint they were hearing from local beachgoers was about the many jellyfish being spotted in the Gulf. They said no one was asking about Dorian.

A yellow flag representing moderate surf and/or currents and a purple flag warning of the presence of jellyfish flew atop a pole next to the lifeguard station while 1- to 2-foot waves rolled to shore.