LISTEN LIVE

Hurricane Irma

National Park Service

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc not only on people and buildings, but on nature. Birds were pushed by the winds from the Caribbean into Florida, and the Category 3 storm washed away beaches and bird habitat in the Everglades and Florida Keys. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida, about Irma's impact.

Here's some of the impacts outlined by Audubon Florida:

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm to hit Florida in 12 years, and it impacted nearly the entire state -- from wind damage and storm surge, to evacuations, gas shortages and of course the loss of power for millions.


USF St. Petersburg

Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska's split with the University of South Florida St. Petersburg came as a result from how she handled student evacuations in the run-up to Hurricane Irma - and where she said she was during the storm itself.

The worst flooding in 150 years has left many in Northeast Florida without homes, businesses and cars.

Hurricane Irma arrived in the Jacksonville area just as a nasty nor’easter was leaving, and the one-two punch sent lifelong residents fleeing from storm surge much higher than anything they’d ever imagined.

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. 

Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm to hit Florida in more than a decade.

Irma was an epic storm. It was stronger and bigger than almost all hurricanes on record and lasted longer than any storm on record. From the Lower Florida Keys to St.

Perfect Storm: Hurricane Irma Challenged Grocery Pipeline

Sep 19, 2017

Grocery stores up and down the state are still trying to restock shelves a full week after Hurricane Irma.

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.

Calling the Hurricane Irma-related deaths of eight people in South Florida a preventable tragedy, a Plantation Democrat wants to force nursing homes to have a five-day emergency power supply. 

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.

Arnetta Gordon is a Miami-Dade public school teacher.  After leaving Miami to escape Hurricane Irma with her husband and four children, she returned to her Liberty City home which like thousands of others had no electricity.  Gordon has a 9-month old infant who she breastfeeds.

She wrote WLRN about the challenges of breastfeeding with no power:

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


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.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Resiliency is defined as the ability to recover from difficulties.

And when it comes to a life-changing event like Hurricane Irma, there are two different kinds of resiliency: an individual’s ability to bounce back and “community resiliency.”

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.

With restoration continuing this week after Hurricane Irma, Florida Department of Health officials are warning residents about standing water left by the storm as a thriving environment for mosquitoes.

Containers like garden pots, birdbaths, tires and cans, when filled with standing water, can host mosquitoes laying up to 200 eggs.

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.

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.

Gov. Scott Signs Insurance Emergency Order After Irma

Sep 18, 2017

Florida homeowners have more time to update their insurance policies. Governor Rick Scott signed an emergency order to help homeowners in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The order provides home owner’s insurance policy holders an additional 90 days to supply required information to their insurance companies.

Florida’s Former Insurance Commissioner Lisa Miller said the order helps residents that may have been displaced from Hurricane Irma to update information and prevent policies from canceling.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Thousands of Florida residents are being urged to evacuate a week after Hurricane Irma's rains are overflowing the Withlacoochee River.

Associated Press

After a painful flight across several states to escape unpredictable Hurricane Irma, Suzanne Pallot says it's unlikely she would evacuate South Florida again — an attitude echoed by other evacuees that experts say could put them in danger when the next storm hits.

Katie and Joe / Flickr

Dozens of law enforcement officers attended the funeral of a deputy killed in a head-on collision on the way home from work as Hurricane Irma began.

Several former Florida athletes are using their platform to help Hurricane Irma victims.

Pages