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Government watchdog group Integrity Florida says the fox is guarding the henhouse when it comes to Florida’s utilities and their regulators.  The group wants to insulate the Public Service Commission from the political fray in the state Legislature.

When Hurricane Irma slammed into the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alvin Joseph was home in St. Thomas with his wife, his oldest granddaughter and four of his great-grandkids.

As the wind howled, Joseph and his wife went into the little boys’ bedroom to get a mattress and box spring for protection.

“The ceiling tiles had already disappeared out of the roof and we could see the sky,” says Joseph. “By the time we left out of the bedroom to go back in the living room—whoosh—roof was gone.”

We're starting something new on Florida Matters. Once a month we're going to gather together some experienced reporters from around the state for perspective on the important news happening in Florida.

This week we're talking about the consequences of Hurricane Irma, and lessons learned from the storm.

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A paraglider knocked out electricity in a Pinellas County neighborhood after crashing into power lines.

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After a massive restoration effort, most of Florida has power 10 days after Hurricane Irma knocked out electricity to nearly two-thirds of the state, mostly because of improvements made to the power grid since Hurricane Wilma 12 years ago.

Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala wants Florida’s utility companies to stop contributing to campaigns this election cycle and invest in improving equipment instead.

Mark Scheiner/WUSF

Hurricane Irma impacted the entire Tampa Bay area. WUSF has reporters spread out across the region. This county-by-county breakdown will be updated continuously as the storm passes.

We’d like to hear from you before, during and after the storm. If you’re in a safe place, here’s how you can reach us:

  • Reach us on Facebook or on twitter @wusf
  • Email: news@wusfnews.org with your name, location and your situation.
  • Leave us a voice mail on our Florida Matters phone line by calling: 813-396-WUSF.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Hurricane Irma's projected path is moving west and state leaders are urging Floridians to prepare for the worst.

Evacuation orders have been issued and shelters are open.  

Here's a list of shelters, evacuation zones and other need-to-know information as Hurricane Irma approaches: 

SHELTERS

Pinellas County

Florida health officials say after major storms and natural disasters, there’s an increase of carbon monoxide poisoning cases, and they're informing people why and how to prevent it aheadof Hurricane Irma.