Rowan Moore Gerety WLRN

This week on The Florida Roundup…

Hurricane Matthew is the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007. Fortunately, dire predictions for South Florida did not come to pass on Thursday as the storm stayed off shore. We check in with FPL and WLRN's correspondents out in the field to see what the aftermath looks like. 


Despite Governor Rick Scott telling Floridians to "evacuate, evacuate, evacuate" before Hurricane Matthew was expected to hit, not all who live in evacuation zones heeded his warnings

One such South Florida resident was Robert Matthew Van Winkle, also known as rapper Vanilla Ice. 

Ice, who's responsible for the 90's anthem "Ice, Ice, Baby" has had a rough week.

Tuesday evening he was booted off the television dancing competition Dancing With The Stars.

Peter Haden / WLRN

As Hurricane Matthew passed Palm Beach County early Friday, residents camped out in the fifteen area shelters started packing up to go home. Some had additional cargo to pick up: their pets. 

“I think it went amazing” said Elizabeth Harfmann of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, who oversaw the Palm Beach County pet-friendly shelter at West Boynton Recreation Center. “Everybody was so courteous and so helpful. The animals were all pretty calm for such a high stress environment.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

Friday morning, the coast was clear.

“We’re going home,” said Altagrace Bonhomme, of Delray Beach, to her two daughters, Wilnise, 8, and Rebecca, 4.

“Yay!” said Wilnise, in white sandals and leopard-print pajama pants, holding her dog Delilah in the crux of her left arm.

Staying at a Palm Beach County shelter wasn’t too bad for the family, nor for Delilah. But they were anxious to get home.

“I don’t know what do expect,” said Bonhomme.

The family hopped into their minivan and made the short trip to suburban Delray Beach.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Projections are still holding that Hurricane Matthew may circle back towards South Florida after a near miss this week.

And there’s some concern from officials that this first miss may have a lasting impact on future storm preparations, preparations, that have dotted South Beach with sand bands and odd pieces of plywood.

The entire front of Cheeseburger Baby on Washington Avenue in South Beach is covered in plywood. Beside a makeshift door also made of plywood, “Yo! We’re open” is written in pink spray paint.

Miami Herald

Research has shown again and again that economic issues have the power to define elections. So this week on Decision Florida  hosts Matthew Peddie from WMFE and Tom Hudson from WLRN drill down into the economic concerns of Floridians as they face the 2016 election and how the presidential candidates are planning to address them.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Strong winds and flying debris from Hurricane Matthew caused outages to over 600,000 Florida Power & Light customers. But the company says customers in Miami-Dade and Broward counties should have power by the end of the day Friday, and Palm Beach County customers who don’t get power back Friday will have it Saturday.


Ramon Espinosa / AP

Rain fell across much of Cuba Thursday as the arduous task of recovering from Hurricane Matthew's devastating march across the island's easternmost tip cranked up.

In Baracoa, where some homes were reduced to tinder and the power grid was severely damaged, work brigades, communications crews and linesmen began arriving from Las Tunas, Camagüey and Guantànamo soon after high winds subsided on Wednesday. 

Members of the Cuban military also were helping remove boulders and other debris that made some roads impassable.

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced each other again on Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis.

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Flooded construction sites were quiet and gas pumps were still wrapped in plastic throughout much of Broward County Friday morning. But many South Florida residents emerged from their cocoons and returned to work after Hurricane Matthew passed them by.


Hurricane Matthew was just offshore Florida's Space Coast Friday morning, downgraded to a Category 3 storm — still close and powerful enough to cause severe damage from wind and water to the Florida coast.

As of 11 a.m. of Friday, a hurricane warning remained in effect from Cocoa Beach to Surf City in North Carolina.  The area from Sebastian Inlet to Cocoa Beach has been downgraded to tropical storm warning. 

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

When a storm looks like it's going to hit the region you cover as a reporter, it's probably a good idea to be there.

Slight problem:  I was still in North Carolina the day Hurricane Matthew was set to pummel South Florida. So I enlisted a friend's help to get to South Florida in time to cover the storm.

Step one was getting a flight to Orlando. I got a couple of strange looks when I showed up at the airport willing to travel to an area under a hurricane warning. 

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Nearly 300 emergency management personnel reported for duty at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center Thursday—all expecting hot meals and working air conditioning along with high-speed internet and a clean place to use the bathroom.

There’s a whole team that contributes to that effort. The woman in charge is Adrienne Britto, who walks the floors with a green blouse and a keen eye for detail.

Miami Herald

The National Weather Service has downgraded Broward County from a hurricane warning to a tropical storm warning. However, officials say there is still the potential for tropical storm-force winds until at least midnight.

“Our residents need to realize that we’re not out of the woods just yet," said Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar.


Dieu Nalio Chery / AP via Miami Herald

The post-hurricane news out of Haiti took a more tragic turn Thursday – as the government announced a death toll far higher than expected. As communication is regained with Haiti’s southwest, the awful reality is more apparent.

After Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti’s rural southern peninsula on Tuesday, the country initially reported five fatalities. But that was largely because transportation to the hardest hit areas was cut off by a major bridge wash-out.