2017 Hurricane Season

Citrus Aid Money Moves A Step Closer

Sep 17, 2018

As a new citrus growing season gets underway, federal assistance tied to the hurricane-ravaged 2017-2018 harvest is finally moving into the application phase.

Public schools across Florida opened their doors to residents last year during Hurricane Irma evacuations.

Pinellas County Schools were recently reimbursed more than $2.6 million by the federal governrment for the cost of food, fuel, staff, custodial supplies and floor coverings.

The White Sands Inn and Hawks Cay Resort are only four miles apart in the Middle Keys, but they represent two very different types of hotels along the island chain. They also represent two very different realities in the year since Hurricane Irma hit Monroe County.

Hawks Cay is one of the largest hotels in the Keys with 177 rooms and 250 rental villas, and it is one of the largest private employers in the Keys. During the business season, it employes 350 people. It's owned by a real estate investment group based in New York City.

Monroe County is waiting for $90 million of federal money promised to help rebuild and repair damage after Hurricane Irma and help better protect the Keys from future storms. 

St. Johns County and the City of Jacksonville Beach will be getting more money from the federal government to help with clean-up costs associated with Hurricane Irma last September.

It's been almost a year since Hurricane Irma impacted Central Florida in mid-September - but the damage it did is still being calculated.

Every few weeks, Fred and Melissa Bach host a neighborhood barbecue at their home in the Avenues, on Big Pine Key. Fred’s watching the grill, a barrel shaped rig with a smoker on the side. There are ribs, chicken, salmon — all sizzling and smelling good.

A neighborhood cookout on a Sunday afternoon is a normal thing in most places. But here, in this neighborhood full of mobile homes and ground level houses, these barbecues are a rare refuge of normalcy.

The Avenues took a direct blow from Hurricane Irma last September.

MilitaryMark2007 / Flickr

The federal government has approved Florida's request for $616 million that will be partially used to repair homes destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Irma last year.

A big discrepancy between Puerto Rico’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria and lives lost according to Harvard researchers has prompted U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and other Democrats to call for new standards in counting storm deaths.

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.

Governor's Press Office

Local officials across Florida shouldn’t rely on the federal government to be on the ground everywhere a day or days after the next natural disaster, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday during the annual Governor’s Conference on Hurricanes.

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Hurricane season starts in less than a month. Seminole County emergency manager Alan Harris reflects on the lessons learned from Irma, including the impact of flooding that lasted weeks after the storm passed. And he explains how the county is preparing for the 2018 storm season. 

The forecasters got Hurricane Irma mostly right. At least compared to the predictions of past storms. That’s one of the conclusions from a National Hurricane Center report on the big storm that hit Florida last September.

Straddled across Ausberto Maldonado's backyard in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, a suburb of San Juan, is a nagging reminder of Hurricane Maria's destructive power.

"See, that tree broke off that branch, which is as thick as a tree — and now it's in my yard," says Maldonado, a 65-year-old retiree.

Rats scurry from under the downed tree, preventing Maldonado from hanging his laundry. To get the tree removed, he must show up in person at a local government office. But the diabetic ulcers on his feet make it painful to walk.

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.”

Guillermo Porras couldn’t get in touch with his doctor for a week after Hurricane Irma.  His cell phone service was spotty after the storm and he was running low on his prescriptions.

“It’s been very difficult after the hurricane,” he said.

Even if he could get through, Porras would have found the South Miami Health Center that he visits was closed because of the extended power outage that affected much of South Florida.

A 7-year-old Polk County girl died Wednesday from carbon-monoxide poisoning at a home with a generator running inside after Hurricane Irma, authorities said.

The Florida Legislature is cancelling upcoming committee meetings ahead of Hurricane Irma. Lawmakers’ preparations for the 2018 session will have to wait.

Miami police intends to involuntarily commit homeless individuals starting Friday if they refuse to move off the streets. Volunteer outreach teams through the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust began placing individuals in shelters Tuesday morning and will continue those efforts through Thursday.