hurricane

Brock Long was frustrated. Yet again, the FEMA administrator said, people in the path of a powerful hurricane had ignored evacuation orders.

Hurricane Michael had leveled the small Florida city of Mexico Beach and destroyed large parts of nearby Panama City. The death count was rising as search and rescue workers pulled bodies from the rubble.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

It was a sunny South Florida morning but inside the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Miami-Dade County, in Doral, all everybody talked about was rain, devastating winds and storms.

A group of 40 sixth-graders from West Miami Middle School dashed between desks, coordinating emergency efforts during a simulation of what would happen during a category 4 hurricane.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

Florida residents still trying to piece together their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael are missing one much needed tool: reliable cellphone service.

Amid reports of ongoing and widespread outages, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, is calling for an investigation of the problem. He is also calling for wireless carriers to waive October bills of Florida customers in areas hit by the hurricane.

Associated Press

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

The storm that ravaged Florida's Panhandle left incredible destruction stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the state border, but getting a firm grasp on how many died is proving somewhat elusive.

The state has officially acknowledged just two deaths so far — and one death was in northeast Florida, far from the ground-zero fury of the Category 4 storm.

President Trump is visiting the Florida Panhandle on Monday to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Michael last week. The small town of Mexico Beach was among the hardest hit.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Charles Smith, owner of the Gulf View Motel in Mexico Beach, about the damage.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

People in the Florida Panhandle desperately need help — in the form of cash, food and cleaning supplies — after Hurricane Michael smashed ashore as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane.

Here's how you can help from South Florida, and avoid the scams that inevitably arise after natural disasters.


 

 

Points of Distribution

A Point of Distribution or POD is where the public goes to pick up emergency supplies following a disaster. The need for a POD is based on lack of infrastructure to support normal distribution of food, water, or other supplies. A map of PODs is available here.

Associated Press

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.

Michael Forces Hospital, Nursing Home Evacuations

Oct 15, 2018

More than 30 health-care facilities had to be evacuated as Hurricane Michael damaged buildings and knocked out electricity in the Panhandle, state emergency management officials said Friday.

State Freezes Insurance Rates After Hurricane Michael

Oct 14, 2018
Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday directed the state’s top insurance regulator to freeze any potential property-insurance rate increases for 90 days as homeowners and businesspeople grapple with massive damage from Hurricane Michael.

Scott also directed Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to require rescinding for 90 days all policy non-renewals or cancellations that had been issued in the days leading up to Michael to give policyholders more time to find coverage. In another move, insurance policyholders will be given an extra 90 days to provide required information to insurers.

Associated Press

Mary Frances Parrish is expecting to be without electricity for several weeks, or roughly the same time the terminally ill son she's caring for is expected to live.

Associated Press

It was once argued that the trees would help save Florida's Panhandle from the fury of a hurricane, as the acres of forests in the region would provide a natural barrier to savage winds that accompany the deadly storms.

It's part of the reason that tighter building codes — mandatory in places such as South Florida — were not put in place for most of this region until just 11 years ago.

And it may be a painful lesson for area residents now that Hurricane Michael has ravaged the region, leaving sustained damage from the coast inland all the way to the Georgia border.

Associated Press

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long is calling the damage left by Hurricane Michael some of the worst he's ever seen.

Long toured several towns in Florida's Panhandle on Sunday with Gov. Rick Scott. Long said afterward the storm damage will require officials to help meet housing needs of displaced residents for the next several months.

Long previously said that he has expected the death toll to rise due to the deadly storm. But both he and Scott sidestepped questions on whether they anticipate more deaths to be announced in the days ahead.

Analysts are estimating that Hurricane Michael has caused billions of dollars of damage and will create a substantial loss for insurers, but the industry is expected to cope — once again avoiding the kind of meltdown that Florida saw in the 1990s, after Hurricane Andrew.

Relief supplies and critical life-saving equipment and personnel are heading into areas of Florida's Panhandle ravaged by Hurricane Michael, but officials say the severity of the storm's devastation is limiting their ability to get into the most heavily damaged areas.

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