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2017 Florida hurricane season

Legal Hotline For Hurricane Victims To Close

Jun 11, 2018

Floridians who were affected by Hurricane Irma and need legal advice have until the end of the week to call a free hotline.

As the state House plows through a long and potentially expensive menu of options to recover from Hurricane Irma and brace for Florida's next hurricane, Senate President Joe Negron is confident the storm that walloped the state in September won't blow a hole in the upcoming budget.

U.S. Congressmen From Florida To Visit Puerto Rico

Dec 26, 2017

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto are traveling to Puerto Rico Wednesday to get a firsthand look at on-going recovery from the Sept. 20 hit by deadly and powerful Hurricane Maria.

According to Nelson's office, the senator will return to Florida Wednesday night after meeting separately with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello and the media. Nelson is also slated to meet with members of the Puerto Rican community in the Osceola County Commission Chamber in Kissimmee on Thursday.

About a month before Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas with an amount of rain so immense forecasters said it could not happen more than once in a thousand years, a University of Miami scientist developing a new weather tool knew what might be in store for the Gulf coast.

“I can’t claim ‘problem solved’ or anything like that,” said Ben Kirtman, an atmospheric scientist at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. But his experimental model could “preemptively improve your chances of not having a catastrophe.”

Three Florida parks in the Keys opened to the public Friday for the first time since Hurricane Irma, as the state looks at overall storm damage to its parks topping $55 million.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, shutting down the island’s roads and power systems, leaving many isolated and in the dark. Now thousands are evacuating the U.S. territory for the mainland. Many may settle in Florida’s purple counties ahead of the 2018 elections.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Hurricane Nate brought flooding and power outages as it sloshed ashore outside Biloxi early Sunday, the first hurricane to make landfall in Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Gov. Rick Scott is urging residents in Florida's Panhandle to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Nate, which formed off the coast of Nicaragua and is expected to approach the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Tropical Depression Forms, Path Takes It Towards Florida

Oct 4, 2017
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

A new Tropical Depression has formed in the western Caribbean and is likely to strengthen while moving into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

A second industry group has filed a legal challenge against an effort by Gov. Rick Scott's administration to require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to quickly install generators that can power air-conditioning systems.

National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline

 

There is a sort of criminal cottage industry that crops up when disasters go down. 

And there are task forces are made up of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to fight illegal activity following Hurricane Irma.


Gas Prices Decreasing After Hurricanes Harvey And Irma

Sep 26, 2017

Gas prices are on a steady decline after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

Standing outside his church in Palmetto Bay on Sunday, Jesus Figueroa listened intently to information coming across his iPhone from Puerto Rico on Zello. The walkie-talkie app transmits messages on group channels when cell phone service is a challenge – and in Puerto Rico right now it’s an epic ordeal.

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'

Sep 25, 2017

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.

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