florida hurricanes

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.

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.

Hurricane Irma at 8 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2017.
National Weather Service

Although the Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1st, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) use the months in between for critical research.

So what effect might a prolonged federal government shutdown have on hurricane forecasting and research?

DeSantis Taps Democrat As State's Next Disaster Manager

Dec 6, 2018
Steve Cannon / AP

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis has tapped state Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Broward County Democrat who serves as general counsel for a major disaster-recovery contractor in South Florida, to oversee the state's response to natural and man-made emergencies.

In a press release announcing the appointment Thursday, DeSantis, a Republican who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, noted that Moskowitz has been called a “high octane incumbent” and “an effective Democratic voice in the Republican-dominated Legislature.”

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