florida hurricanes

It's hot and dim inside this Comfort Inn just off the interstate in Fort Myers, Fla. The power has been off for two days, ever since the heart of Hurricane Irma passed right over the city.

But Dorothea Brown seems right at ease as she flips through a newspaper in the lobby.

In fact, she says the hotel is her "second home when we have to evacuate." Brown lives at a mobile home and RV park right along the Orange River, so evacuations are a part of life. She and her family and her neighbors have a routine.

"Every time there's a storm, we come here," she says.

Now that Hurricane Irma has left Florida, gasoline supplies are slowly coming back into the state. But thousands of gas stations remain closed anyway.

That's because with electricity out throughout the peninsula, even stations that have access to gas have no way to get it into people's vehicles.

"Power is the issue. Most of these gas stations don't have backup generation that can allow the pumps to work," says John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, an energy investment firm.

A grinding chorus of chain saws and generators kicked in quickly after Hurricane Irma's roar left Sweetwater, a small, mostly Spanish-speaking town west of Miami where streets were swamped, fences and trees fell, cars got stuck in floodwater and shed roofs bent like tin foil.

Some residents of Key Largo are being allowed back in Tuesday morning, but the Florida Keys are still largely without power, water, medical service and cell service. Most Keys residents are anxiously waiting to hear when they can return home, and others who stayed despite mandatory evacuations remain stranded there. More than 80 percent of customers in the Keys are currently are without power.

Florida Blue and Humana will donate $1 million each to relief and recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane Irma, the companies announced.

Recovery From Hurricane Irma Could Cost 'Billions Upon Billions'

Sep 12, 2017
Luis Hernandez / WLRN News

Local curfews were in place throughout the state, much of the Florida Keys remained closed and millions of people continued to lack electricity as cleanup work expected to reach into the billions of dollars began Monday in the wake of deadly Hurricane Irma.

While businesses slowly reopen, the state is dealing with widespread flooding, from storm surges of 4 to 8 feet along both coasts to flash flooding in Northeast Florida.

Miami Herald

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay has declared a curfew in the Florida Keys between dusk and dawn after devastating Hurricane Irma swept through the island chain.

A massive but weakened Hurricane Irma zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

Snacks? Check. Bottled water? Check. Orion capsule?

Check.

At the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., 120 people settled in to wait out Hurricane Irma and oversee some of the nation's premier space technology. That includes the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle capsule. The four-person spacecraft — now in development — is intended to carry astronauts to the moon and beyond.

Kate Stein / WLRN News

"Where are the cots? Where are the blankets? Where's the back-up?" These were some of the questions evacuees at the Miami Edison Senior High School shelter were asking after waiting more than 36 hours for the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Food was running out. One person attempted suicide. And quite a few people left before the storm was over.

Updated at 9:13 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2017 

Hurricane Irma is moving northward, and dangerous storm surges are expected along the west coast of Florida, according to an 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.  

Kate Stein / WLRN News

Some Palm Beach County residents who evacuated Hurricane Irma left everything behind, including pets. 

Palm Beach County’s animal control officers have been hustling to rescue abandoned animals.

Some of them were loose, some were in pens, some were tethered, according to Palm Beach County's Animal Care and  Control Director Dianne Sauve. She says officers rescued around 50 dogs and two cats over the past two days. 

Some animals were chained to trees and parked cars.

Officials say, with a potentially deadly hurricane on the way, it’s felony animal cruelty.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

The following is a collection of dispatches from WLRN reporters staying at shelters in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which by 6 p.m. on Saturday were hosting almost 45,000 people (15,000 in Broward and more than 29,000 in Miami-Dade), as well as about 1,000 pets. 

Walter Michot / Miami Herald

Downed power lines, standing water, damaged buildings--hurricanes continue to be dangerous well after the last rain band has moved on.    

Joe Raedle / Getty Images via the Miami Herald

The Miami-Dade County shelter for people with special medical needs is full; pre-registration was required and about 2200 people are already in place.

County officials say if people with medical conditions did not pre-register for the special shelter, but are able to get to another shelter that’s not full, they should not be turned away from other shelters and should come prepared with necessary medication and equipment.

Residents who have a complex medical condition and need medical supervision, should call 311 for guidance, according to County Officials.

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