Hurricane Michael

Governor Ron DeSantis says some additional relief is coming for communities hit by Hurricane Michael. After a meeting with President Donald Trump, DeSantis announced Thursday the Federal Emergency Management Agency will extend its period of reimbursement for debris cleanup costs.

Hurricane Debris Remains 'Huge, Huge Undertaking'

Jan 16, 2019
News Service Of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the state Division of Emergency Management to speed money to Panhandle communities that are being swamped financially by “massive” amounts of debris from Hurricane Michael.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting Wednesday with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long and local officials, DeSantis said that, in addition to upfronting disaster relief money to local governments, he will push the White House to increase federal reimbursements for debris cleanup.

Lawmakers Eye 'Long, Long Recovery' From Hurricane

Jan 7, 2019
Getty Images

Hurricane Michael, which pummeled 10 Panhandle counties and spurred evacuation orders for 375,000 Floridians in October, left nearly seven times the debris of Hurricane Irma, which barreled across 45 counties in 2017.

And in the three months since Michael came ashore at Mexico Beach, debris continues to be picked up, more than 102,000 people have registered for assistance and 16 counties have qualified for federal aid.

AP / Miami Herald

Heading into the third week of the partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump told reporters outside the White House that he can relate to the pain of federal workers who aren’t receiving paychecks.

“Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing,” he said.

Bryan Cereijo / Miami Herald

It’s officially winter in South Florida. Though it’s mostly still warm outside, we’re graced with the occasional cold front, which calls for some special seasonal traditions.

WLRN asked listeners to tell us how they mark the season.

Final Flight Into Hurricane Michael Captured Rare Data On How Storms Intensify

Nov 29, 2018
Master Sgt. Jessica Kendziorek / U.S. Air Force

Shortly before noon on October 10, Lt. Col. Sean Cross and Maj. Dave Gentile, pilots with the U.S. Air Force Reserve, turned the nose of their WC-130J “Hurricane Hunter” toward the core of Hurricane Michael as it bore down on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

About 150 Florida Hurricane Victims Voted By Email. That’s Not Allowed.

Nov 12, 2018
News Herald/AP via Miami Herald

After Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle in October, the top elections official in Bay County allowed about 150 displaced voters to cast ballots by email, even though there is no provision that allows for it in state law.

Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen defended that decision vigorously Monday, noting the mass devastation that rocked the coastal county one month ago.

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.

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.

As Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen walks around the second floor of his office in Panama City, Fla., he points up at a makeshift ceiling of tarp and plywood.

"From that wall right there, all the way over, all the wood there, that all just got put on," he says.

Andersen is the supervisor of elections for Bay County, Fla., the county most ravaged earlier this month by Hurricane Michael. Andersen was in the elections office two weeks ago, one floor below this spot, when 130-mile-an-hour winds ripped off the building's roof.

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.

More than a week after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle, cities and towns are facing the daunting task of trying to rebuild. The recovery is hampered by catastrophic damage not only to homes and businesses, but to vital infrastructure as well.

The small Gulf coast town of Port St. Joe, with a population of about 3,500 residents, is one of countless communities that was hit by the storm.

"Everywhere you turn and go you see some kind of destruction," says the town's mayor, Bo Patterson. "Whether it was wind damage, whether it was water, one of the two."

Getty images via Miami Herald

In the hyper data world of hurricane forecasting, where history is written in millibars and miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center’s 168-year record of Atlantic storms stands as an invaluable index to meteorologists, the insurance industry, government planning departments and, of course, weather geeks.

What’s less known: It gets tweaked a lot.

Hurricane Michael Insurance Claims Quickly Pile Up

Oct 19, 2018
Doug Engle / Associated Press

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.

Insurers reported 69,950 claims as of 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, almost exactly a week after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach with 155 mph maximum sustained winds.

The storm caused widespread damage in the Panhandle and the state’s Big Bend before continuing into Georgia.

Post-Michael Florida: Fear, Frustration And Life On The Edge For Survivors

Oct 19, 2018
Associated Press

Missing relatives and worries that looters are just outside the door. Dirty clothes. Hours-long lines for gasoline, insurance adjusters, food and water. No power, no air conditioning, no schools, no information and little real improvement in sight.

Daily life is a series of fears and frustrations, both large and small, for thousands of people living on the edge, more than a week after Hurricane Michael flattened thousands of square miles in the hurricane zone of the Florida Panhandle.

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