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Hurricane Irma

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa Bay area residents witnessed an unusual sight ahead of Hurricane Irma’s arrival Sunday.

In a case of a kind of reverse storm surge, Hillsborough Bay at Bayshore Boulevard was one of many places in Florida that experienced temporary lowered water levels in the hours leading up to the hurricane.

Rain and power outages from Hurricane Irma led to sewage spills across Florida, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Rising River Could Close I-75 Near Gainesville

Sep 13, 2017
Florida Highway Patrol

Rising rivers could shut down part of Interstate 75 in north Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol says.

The Santa Fe River, which travels under the interstate, has risen more than 15 feet in the past two days due to Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Highway Patrol was forced to close U.S. 27 Wednesday evening due to the rising waters.

Other bridges that could be affected include U.S. 41, State Road 47 and U.S. 121, according to a release from FHP.

Both north and southbound lanes of the interstate at the Santa Fe River would be closed.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF Public Media

Hurricane Irma has left the state. Now, the cleanup begins. From downed tree limbs to damaged household items like appliances and furniture. Every city and county has its own guidelines for pick-up.

Debris collection, rescheduled trash pickup and guidelines on how to handle the debris are listed below. Be sure to check what your service provider or local government requires.

Wikimedia Commons

As monster Hurricane Irma buzz-sawed its way up Florida's Gulf Coast, it looked for several hours like the heavily populated Tampa Bay area could face catastrophic wind damage and flooding from the first major storm to roar ashore there in 96 years.

Scott Orders Freeze On Insurance Rate Hikes

Sep 13, 2017
MyFloridaHouse.gov

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday ordered the state's top insurance regulator to “freeze any and all efforts” to increase property-insurance rates as homeowners and businesses recover from Hurricane Irma.

Most Duke Customers To Have Power This Weekend

Sep 13, 2017

Duke Energy Florida expects to restore power to most of its coverage area by this weekend but did not project a date for electricity to come back on in Hardee and Highlands counties, which it described as “severely impacted” by Hurricane Irma.

Gov. Rick Scott visited the Florida Power & Light staging area at Southwest Florida International Airport on Tuesday. He also visited flooded areas of Southwest Florida.

Utility trucks, prepping to restore power to the region were lined up far into the horizon. Scott briefly spoke to reporters about the power situation in the area. 

"I've been to shelters. I know everyone wants their power back," said Scott. "It's the biggest thing we can do right now, but we gotta be safe about it." 

President Trump is expected to make a visit to Florida this week due to Irma. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders made that announcement Tuesday.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, many Floridians are turning to Waffle House, as one of the few places to get a cup of coffee or a cell phone charge. But as the state begins rebuilding, the restaurant is taking on an even greater significance.

Cathy Carter

Residents and visitors of Pinellas County's barrier islands were asked to evacuate early Friday morning ahead of hurricane Irma. Monday afternoon, they were allowed back to the beach. WUSF's Cathy Carter went to St. Pete Beach Tuesday to talk with people about their experience over the past several days. Here are some of their voices. 

Wikimedia Commons

River flooding is the latest consequence of Hurricane Irma blowing through Florida earlier this week.

The National Weather Service in Ruskin  said significant river flooding will continue over the next several days as rain from the storm drains into West Central Florida rivers.

WUSF Public Media

We’ve been asking you to share your experience with Hurricane Irma, and many Tampa Bay area residents answered our call.

This week on Florida Matters we hear from listeners who told us what it was like for them to make it through the storm, and how they’ve been holding up since Irma left the state.


Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Polk County took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, with the storm hitting Lakeland just after midnight Sunday night.

The winds caused widespread damage -- but no reported injuries -- throughout the county, toppling massive trees onto houses and power lines.

About 80 percent of Polk is without power, and towering piles of debris line the roads.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Port Tampa Bay reopened to vessel traffic Tuesday at 2 p.m. And 10 ships are scheduled to unload more than 10 million gallons of gasoline in the next 48 hours for the gas starved state.

Kev Cook / Flickr

Florida residents got a first look of the destruction Irma caused as it swept over the state, leaving virtually no area of the peninsula untouched. Some donned waders to slog through thigh-high water and stuffed bags with all of the belongings they could carry after being forced to leave apartment buildings and mobile homes. Many were shaken by a storm they said was more powerful than they had ever seen.

Their stories provide a glimpse into the extensive reach of Irma's wrath:

The Mental Health Impact Of Major Disasters Like Harvey And Irma

Sep 12, 2017

When major disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit, the first priority is to keep people safe. This process can involve dramatic evacuations, rescues and searches.

Kev Cook / Flickr

A grinding chorus of chain saws and generators kicked in quickly after Hurricane Irma's roar left Sweetwater, a small, mostly Spanish-speaking town west of Miami where streets were swamped, fences and trees fell, cars got stuck in floodwater and shed roofs bent like tin foil.

Florida’s largest private insurer is urging customers to file claims as quickly as possible in the wake of Hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Irma.

WLRN News and its partners have reporters on the ground throughout the islands. We will be posting their updates as they come in. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state — and particularly the Keys — faces “a long road” to recovery from Hurricane Irma.

Speaking to reporters at a Coast Guard air station after surveying damage from the air, Scott said damage to Southwest Florida was “not as bad as we thought the storm surge would do” but damage to the Keys was “devastating.”

In the Keys north of Key West, Scott said, “I don’t think I saw one trailer park that almost everything wasn’t overturned.”

He also said there is widespread loss of electricity, water and sewer service there.

Worried relatives, generous volunteers, frantic neighbors, even medical providers are turning to social media now that Hurricane Irma wiped out electricity and cell service to communities across Florida, cutting off most contact with remote islands in the Keys.

Hurricane Irma Could Cost 'Billions Upon Billions'

Sep 11, 2017

Local curfews were in place throughout the state, much of the Florida Keys remained closed and millions of people continued to lack electricity as cleanup work expected to reach into the billions of dollars began Monday in the wake of deadly Hurricane Irma.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

More than 1.4 million customers in the Tampa Bay area were still without power as of 3 p.m. Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

WUSF Public Media

WUSF and WSMR provided you with continuing coverage on Hurricane Irma. Now we want to invite you to join the conversation.

We're hosting a special live call-in program Tuesday September 12 at 9 AM on WUSF 89.7. 

Screenshot of MyPasco app.

Pasco County residents can now take photos of Hurricane Irma damage on their property and upload them to the free “MyPasco” app.

Those photos will be plotted on a map to help with damage assessment.

Hillsborough County Schools

Many schools in the Tampa Bay area are just like residences -- no power.  That means none of the schools will be open Tuesday. Some will be closed even longer.

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

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

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