florida hurricanes

Long-Sought Disaster Aid Package Passes House

Jun 4, 2019

A federal disaster-relief package, long sought by Florida officials and Panhandle residents recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Michael, received approval Monday from the U.S. House after three earlier attempts were blocked. 

Anyone who was in Panama City, Fla., last year when Hurricane Michael hit has a story to tell. Christina Harding rode out the storm with her mother, daughter and two nephews. "It was crazy," she says. "We had to tie the door shut because Michael was trying to come into the house with us, which was not what we wanted. It was like bam, bam, bam, bam. Like somebody trying to get in, you know?"

MARK WILSON / GETTY IMAGES

The Atlantic Hurricane season starts June 1. That means people have likely begun begging you to get your hurricane emergency plan in order and not wait until the last minute to stock up on water, canned food and other supplies (including us).

But a lot of people in South Florida can’t afford to do that.

Matias J. Ocner Miami Herald

Hurricane forecasting has come a long way since Ken Graham worked the night shift on the Gulf Coast, when warnings about killer storms like Hurricane Andrew came only three days in advance.

Gerald Herbert Associated Press

Hurricane forecasters on Thursday called for a near normal Atlantic season this year following three brutal years that produced hurricanes Maria, Irma, Harvey, Florence and Michael.

Al Diaz/Miami Herald

As Michael churned toward the coast last October, forecasters feared the compact hurricane would blossom into a fierce storm far worse than their projections.

But what they weren't able to predict were Michael's three rapid explosions of power that ultimately made it the first Cat 5 hurricane to make landfall since 1992's lethal Hurricane Andrew and one of only four to ever hit the U.S. While track forecasts have vastly improved, predicting intensity remains a challenge.

Maria Lorenzino / Sun Sentinel

Florida Power & Light Co. customers won’t be getting a $772 million annual tax refund, a state regulatory commission decided Tuesday.

FPL will get to hold onto tax refund money that the utility says it applied toward storm recovery, and as a result didn’t seek a storm surcharge for 2017′s Hurricane Irma.

Many residents in the southeast U.S. and along the Gulf Coast are already thinking about the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1. Last year brought two of the most destructive storms to ever hit the U.S.: Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vowed Tyndall Air Force Base will be rebuilt after sustaining massive damage in Hurricane Michael, and he will approve the state’s request to boost federal funding for storm recovery in Northwest Florida.

Trump, during a campaign rally in Panama City Beach, said the federal reimbursement levels for hurricane recovery in the region will be boosted from 75 percent to 90 percent “in many circumstances.”

President Trump will hold his first 2020 Florida political rally since the 2018 elections on Wednesday, and he's doing it in the Panhandle, the heart of his base in the state.

But the region is facing setbacks because of a federal funding shortfall after Hurricane Michael last fall that threatens to dampen enthusiasm.

Madeline Fox / WLRN

For residents of one West Palm Beach neighborhood, some ground-shuddering repetitive banging is a small price to pay for power that stays on even during high winds.

The residents of Bradley Court are in the midst of a Florida Power and Light project to bring their power lines underground, where tree-toppling gusts have a slimmer chance of shutting off the lights.

Hurricane Michael has been upgraded to a Category Five storm and is one of the strongest to strike the United States. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Florida Keys could be facing a deadline that's unprecedented in South Florida. Four years from now, there might not be any more homes that can be built in the Keys.

The state has a rule that the island chain has to be able to get everyone out 24 hours before a hurricane hits. And there’s just one road out. So there’s a limit to how many people are allowed to live in the Keys.

That means people who live in the Keys — and especially the people who would like to build there in the future — are trying to figure out what to do.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is floating the possibility of using money from a settlement over the 2010 BP Oil Spill as leverage to help North Florida recover from one of the strongest Hurricanes in a generation. The discussion comes as the region  faces a recovery that could take a decade or more.

Cleanup and recovery from Hurricane Michael is slow, costly and ongoing. As donations to the area stall and media coverage fades, some residents of the Forgotten Coast fear the area is living up to its name.

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