As Hurricane Dorian churns through the Atlantic Ocean on an uncertain path, coastal residents fleeing the storm are showing up in some local hotels, and the Brookhaven-based consulate for the Bahamas is accepting donations in the wake of the devastation already wrought there.
Dorian struck the northern islands of the Bahamas on Sept. 1 as a monstrous Category 5 storm with sustained winds over 185 mph and widespread flooding. As of the afternoon of Sept. 3, the hurricane was slowly moving northward, and the National Hurricane Center predicted it will have at least some significant wind, rain and flooding effects through Friday on a huge stretch of the East Coast between Florida and North Carolina.
In a Facebook post, the Bahamas consulate said it is accepting “emergency relief supplies” at its office at 2970 Clairmont Road, Suite 290, in Brookhaven. Consulate officials could not immediately be reached for further comment. For more information about the consulate, see its website here.
Some local hotels say they are seeing varying numbers of emergency bookings from residents of other areas – especially Florida and coastal Georgia – who are fleeing the storm. The hotels also report a chaos in bookings as people make, cancel and re-make reservations as the forecast changes.
Reservations are up “dramatically” at the DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Perimeter Dunwoody in Perimeter Center, according to Derrick Stephens, the hotel’s assistant front office manager.
“We saw reservations coming in from Savannah and coastal North Carolina, and that has raised a red flag,” he said.
Andy Fleming, a guest services representative at the Residence Inn by Marriott Atlanta Buckhead on Piedmont Road, said there’s an “influx” of storm-fleeing guests, though he couldn’t specify the number. The storm has “increased the volatility of our reservations” as well due to those forecast-dependent changes.
The Residence Inn is waiving its pet fee for Dorian-fleeing guests, Fleming said. “Other than that, just making them feel welcome” is the goal, he said.
The Hampton Inn Atlanta-Buckhead on Piedmont Road has seen only a few guests so far, according to a representative, mainly from the areas of northern Florida and Savannah, Ga. The hotel is seeing the rapidly changing bookings and cancelations as well.
At the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel in Sandy Springs’ Concourse Center, there isn’t a bump in bookings, but the staff is ready.
Jeff Charleston, General Manager of The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel in Sandy Springs’ Concourse Center:
“There may be an extra reservation here or there, but nothing out of the ordinary,” said Jeff Charleston, the hotel’s general manager. “We are staffed in preparation for the increase, but nothing has been seen yet.”
For the latest forecast about Hurricane Dorian and its track, see the National Hurricane Center website here.
–John Ruch and Hannah Greco