2018 hurricane season

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A hospital on Florida's Panhandle says it will lay off 800 employees — nearly half its staff — because it suffered such serious damage from Hurricane Michael.

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A large number of layoffs are in the works at a Florida Panhandle hospital that was badly damaged by Hurricane Michael.

Hurricane Season Ends As Panhandle Struggles With Michael's Aftermath

Dec 3, 2018

For the third consecutive year, after a decade reprieve, Florida in 2018 was tested by the force of a massive hurricane.

Hurricane Michael: Children Face Stress Of Upended Lives

Nov 26, 2018

When Tiffany Harris and her two children emerged from their hotel after Hurricane Michael roared past, her 3-year-old son pointed to a sea of fallen trees and shattered buildings.

"It's broken. It's broken, Mommy, fix it," she recalls her little boy Amari begging.

Hurricane Season Not Over Yet

Nov 12, 2018
Florida Storms

The Atlantic Hurricane Season may not be done just yet. A new tropical or subtropical storm is likely to form north of Puerto Rico this week. It could then approach the southeastern Bahamas in five to seven days.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Florida’s agriculture industry suffered nearly $1.49 billion in damages from Hurricane Michael, with timber growers the hardest hit, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Friday. 

Weeks after Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Panhandle, some displaced residents say FEMA has been slow to respond.

So, we asked former Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon to explain the process of local, state, and government response.

Koon was a Governor Rick Scott appointee who may be best known for the controversy surrounding the Scott administration’s unofficial edict banning the term “climate change” from official communications.

Hurricane Michael has damaged and destroyed thousands of homes and apartments in the panhandle and what’s left isn’t enough to meet the demand. Now FEMA is offering up its “FEMA Trailers” to help address the need.

FWC employees clearing debris after Hurricane Michael
Gov. Rick Scott Twitter

State regulators moved quickly Tuesday to approve the suspension of monthly electric bills for customers of two utilities in areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. 

Aftermath of hurricane Matthew
Gov. Rick Scott (Twitter)

Two U.S. senators and three congressmen are asking federal officials to bring recreational vehicles and mobile homes to the Florida Panhandle to help residents who lost their homes to Hurricane Michael.

Gov. Rick Scott (Twitter)

In Florida, schools have yet to reopen in an area heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael, and the biggest roadblocks have been securing housing and child care for teachers and staff. So the Bay District Schools are opening child-care sites as classes resume early next month.

How A 2-star Army General Took Charge Of A Broken City

Oct 29, 2018
Panama City Facebook

Mark McQueen's sand-colored combat boots have walked the ground during many disasters.

Afghanistan.

Iraq.

Florida's Panama City.

In storm-ravaged Panama City, a new crisis is emerging: Housing. Across the city, evictions are taking place as apartment complexes and rental units are condemned. Many of these are rent-controlled and income-based, and that’s leaving hundreds of people scrambling for places to go. For some, there’s nowhere to go.

Waugsberg / Wikimedia Commons

Hurricane Michael toppled beehives and stripped flowering plants across Florida's Panhandle, threatening tupelo honey production in a tiny community that is the primary source of the sweet delicacy.

After the devastation from Hurricane Michael, at least one community is moving forward with recovery. Wakulla County is taking steps to put the storm and its effects behind them.

iStock

Already sick with strep throat and asthma, Aleeah Racette got sicker when she cleaned out a soggy, moldy home after Hurricane Michael, so she sought help at the hospital where she began life. She was stunned by what she saw there.

Orange County Fire Rescue.

With houses flattened in Mexico Beach from the storm surge and 155 mph winds of Hurricane Michael, and cellphone towers, power lines and roads destroyed, recovery and rebuilding will be a long slow process.

Hurricane Michael Claims Have Already Topped $680 Million In Fla.

Oct 22, 2018

Within a week of Hurricane Michael barreling into Northwest Florida, nearly 70,000 insurance claims had been filed, with estimated insured losses of $680.7 million, according to data posted online by the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is calling out the Florida Legislature for passing a 2017 bill he says allows builders to strip international building standards from Florida codes.

iStock

Pointing to a need to stay focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the state Office of Insurance Regulation has canceled a public hearing slated for Wednesday on a proposed reduction in workers’ compensation insurance rates. 

Updated Tuesday at 10:27 a.m. ET

On Thursday, Amber Gee evacuated her Callaway, Fla., home a day after Hurricane Michael made landfall. Callaway is just east of Panama City on the Florida Panhandle — an area that has been devastated by the storm and an area where many of Gee's family members also live.

On Saturday, Gee was on Facebook where she found a link to a NOAA interactive aerial map that could give her an idea of the damage. Gee began to look at aerial images of the destruction, when she made a serendipitous discovery.

In Florida, A Slow Wait For News On Hurricane's Death Toll

Oct 16, 2018
FWC employees clearing debris after Hurricane Michael
Gov. Rick Scott Twitter

In Florida, a grim task is unwinding slowly: Finding out how many people were killed in Hurricane Michael.

Upon touring the damage in several towns along Florida's Panhandle, Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long called the destruction left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he's ever seen.

Around 65 patients with special needs displaced by Hurricane Michael are finding shelter at the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Pasco County.

Food Bank Preps For Hurricane Michael

Oct 11, 2018
WMFE

Hurricane Michael struck Florida’s panhandle with Category Four strength. The Second Harvest of Central Florida is prepping nearly 6,000 boxes to send in aid impacted areas.

At least 388,000 utility customers lost power as Hurricane Michael crashed ashore --- with potentially catastrophic winds of 155 mph --- between Panama City and St. Vincent Island, before speeding north into Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday.

Updated 5:30 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Michael has lost some power, but it remains a dangerous Category 3 storm as it approaches an area where Florida, Alabama and Georgia meet.

Utilities, State Prepare For Hurricane Strike

Oct 10, 2018
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Gov. Rick Scott and electric utilities say they are poised for a quick response to Hurricane Michael, which officials say could be the strongest storm to hit the Panhandle in decades, causing life-threatening storm surge and putting some areas in the dark for more than a week.

Wikimedia Commons / FEMA

A search and rescue team from Tennessee has been deployed to Florida ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Michael.

FPREN

With Hurricane Michael expected to blast Florida this week, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday expanded a state of emergency to include 35 counties and asked President Donald Trump for a declaration that would help provide federal assistance. 

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