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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.

The High Holy Days are upon us, with Jews in Pensacola and around the world preparing their observances.

First up is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5778, which begins at sundown Wednesday and ends at nightfall on Friday.

“Rosh Hashanah is one of four biblical New Year’s, that’s a spiritual new year,” says Rabbi Joel Fleekop at Temple Beth-el in Pensacola – founded in 1876, it’s Florida’s oldest Jewish congregation.

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army continue their relief efforts more than one week after Hurricane Irma devastated South Florida. Tens of thousands of meals are being served and emergency shelters remain open. But full recovery is still to come: both agencies say they need more volunteers, and ongoing sewage and water quality concerns are fueling concerns of a potential health crisis.

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.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is appointing a select committee to study Hurricane Irma response and disaster preparedness. 

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.

This story first aired as part of the "After Hurricane Irma" special produced by Florida Public Radio at WLRN. 

Hurricane Irma destroyed farms and groves all around Hendry County. An agriculture expert says 78 percent of the adult population in Hendry works in the ag industry.  Irma damages will affect everyone from growers to grocery stores.

As Irma was coming toward the Keys, I actually managed to get a couple hours of sleep.

This was surprising since the wind was already rattling the air vents in the room where I was settled on an air mattress with my husband and our dog. But essential because I had not slept at all the night before. 

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

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

Irma’s Florida Death Toll at 34 — And Rising

Sep 19, 2017

Hurricane Irma has officially been tied to 34 deaths in Florida, but the number will rise.

The outlook is grim again for Florida’s budget drafters—and that’s before considering the cost of Hurricane Irma.  State forecasters are warning the coffers are nearly empty for the third year running.

“Job No. 1 for the FCC [Federal Communication Commission] is public safety,” were FCC Commissioner  Mignon Clyburn’s opening remarks from the podium at the Miami-Dade Emergency Management Center.

Commissioner Clyburn joined FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Monday for a meeting with South Florida public safety officials and broadcasters to discuss the importance of  first responders and the public during storms and other emergencies.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is offering assistance to communities affected by Hurricane Irma.


Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Monday that the path of Hurricane Irma "could not have been more lethal" to the state's farmers and that the scope of damage to the state's fruits and vegetables is unprecedented.

Putnam, along with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, flew over hundreds of miles of Florida farmland to view the damage. Rural communities and farmland were in the path of the devastating storm from south to north.

Irma Insurance Claims Already Near $2 Billion

Sep 19, 2017
Kev Cook / Flickr

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

Salvation Army

It’s been more than a week since Hurricane Irma.

Yet many smaller communities in Florida’s rural counties are still suffering and need basic resources, according to a disaster relief expert with the Salvation Army.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is putting blue plastic sheeting on homes damaged by Hurricane Irma.

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