hurricane

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.

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.

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