2017 Florida hurricane season

Hurricane Irma hung over an annual gathering of state and industry officials discussing water policy.

Rows of brightly colored chairs are set up on the little patch of grass outside FANM, the Haitian Women of Miami, a non-profit group that helps low-income families.

People sit in the Miami heat--some with toddlers in their laps--waiting to fill out FEMA applications and see what other kinds of help they can get in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Nursing Homes Say Adding Generators 'Huge Challenge'

5 hours ago

Florida nursing-home officials made clear Friday they think it is unrealistic — if not impossible — to carry out a demand by Gov. Rick Scott that facilities quickly install generators that can power air-conditioning systems.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

One of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit Puerto Rico pummeled the island Wednesday, tearing off roofs and sending doors flying from hinges as officials warned Hurricane Maria would decimate the power company's crumbling infrastructure and force the government to rebuild dozens of communities.

Some good news and bad news signal Florida state government is slowly returning to normal in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Florida is still dusting itself off after the Hurricane Irma, but Governor Rick Scott is encouraging Floridians to stay prepared.

Irma Insurance Claims Already Near $2 Billion In Florida

Sep 20, 2017

With 335,000 insurance claims representing $1.9 billion in property losses, Hurricane Irma has already exceeded the claims and losses from the two hurricanes that pummeled Florida last year, the state Office of Insurance Regulation reported Monday.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Forecasters say potentially catastrophic Hurricane Maria is heading toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Tampa Bay Area Students Included In Free School Lunches After Irma

Sep 18, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved allowing free school lunches for all students in 48 counties that took the brunt of Hurricane Irma, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Monday.

Maria could be the second major hurricane in as many weeks to threaten the islands of the northeast Caribbean. A Hurricane Warning has been issued for Dominica, and Hurricane Watches are in effect for all of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Tropical Storm Maria is not as strong as Irma was, but still likely to be a powerful and destructive hurricane when it passes through the island chain on Tuesday.

The first 911 call from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills didn't sound ominous: A nursing home patient had an abnormal heartbeat.

Florida’s nursing home industry will hold a summit Friday in Tallahassee to discuss Gov. Rick Scott’s emergency rule requiring increased generator capacity to help nursing homes in a disaster, according to the Miami Herald.

Growing up in Miami, Luis Gazitúa lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1992 – one of the most destructive storms ever to hit South Florida. That’s why the Coconut Grove attorney recognized the awful danger of Hurricane Irma.

Irma was even bigger and stronger than Andrew. So when early forecast models this month showed it heading straight for Miami, Gazitúa and his family decided to evacuate South Florida.

“We had actually booked rooms in Orlando,” Gazitúa says at his law office in Coral Gables. “My father, my brother, our children and our wives and my mother.”

The nursing home where residents died following a hurricane-induced air conditioning outage was not on the priority list for power restoration, according to the facility's utility provider and Broward County officials.

Emergency responders confirmed eight deaths last Wednesday at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, three days after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility's air conditioning system.

As Hurricane Irma bore down on South Florida, Kevin Youngman and his family sought shelter at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston. There, he found himself in enemy territory.

“I think it’s weird for us because we all went to the rival middle school, Tequesta Trace,” said Youngman, 25, as he relaxed on an air mattress in the school gym.

When the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills submitted its 43-page emergency management plan to county administrators in July, it included details on how the home would maintain clean linen, distribute canned food and ensure residents had access to hand sanitizers.

It made no mention of how residents would be kept cool if the home’s power was lost.

That was a tragic oversight: On Wednesday, health regulators said, eight residents of the rehabilitation center succumbed to cardiac and respiratory failure after a portable air cooling system malfunctioned.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Hurricane Irma has passed, and some Floridians impacted by the storm have to rebuild – not only their homes, but their lives.

When a natural disaster as unpredictable as Irma hits, the main concern is getting people to a safe place and making sure they have enough resources to manage through the storm. However, once the immediate danger has passed, the next step is to recover and move forward.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long says the government response to Hurricane Irma has shifted from saving lives to one of beginning the long recovery process.

Long said at a briefing Friday that good progress is being made in getting people back into their homes or into temporary housing such as apartments or hotels. About 10,000 people in Florida remain in emergency shelters.

No, that Facebook post telling you to take a picture of your empty fridge and send it along a form is not correct. Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) denied that it will reimburse Florida residents for food spoiled as result of power outages caused by Hurricane Irma. 

The power outages that followed hurricanes Harvey and Irma are unfortunately a common reality with powerful storms, just as is the fact that the affected people need to eat.

Hurricane diets can consist of a lot of processed, prepackaged food, but with a bit of imagination or preparation, hot meals are possible.

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Tara Gatscher and her family returned to their house in Tampa Bay to find that while the house didn't have any terrible damage, they didn't have power.

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