florida hurricanes

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Growing up in Miami, Nanci Mitchell has been through a lot of hurricanes.

“I remember in high school, sitting on the back porch in the middle of one of the hurricanes, just screened in, and it was just neat watching the storm,” she said. “It was no big deal.”

But Hurricane Andrew was a different story.

In a conversation with her sister-in-law, who lived out of state, Mitchell, then 47, confessed that Andrew “was unlike any other.”

“There was nothing like this hurricane,” she said. 

Miami Herald

Bart Mackleen was in a state of disbelief when he heard about the devastation of southern Miami-Dade, called Dade County back then, after Hurricane Andrew. 

"This [the hurricane] took everything away," he said. "You couldn't recognize where you were." 

The 2017 hurricane season, already forecast to churn out more storms than usual, is likely to get even busier.

On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration increased its forecast, just as the season peak nears, calling for 14 to 19 names storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to five major hurricanes with winds topping 111 mph. That’s slightly above the 11 to 17 named storms and two to four major hurricanes predicted at the start of the season.

Rains Will Continue In South Florida As Tropical Depression Emily Moves Into The Atlantic

Jul 31, 2017
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Updated: 11 a.m. Tuesday  

Tropical Depression Emily is moving out over the Atlantic early Tuesday, a day after slogging across the Florida peninsula, where it brought drenching rain and power outages.

 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the depression's maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph. Forecasters say slight strengthening is possible during the day but the poorly-organized depression is expected to stop being a tropical system within a day or two.

The depression is centered about 50 miles north-northeast of Vero Beach, Florida, and is moving east-northeast near 12 mph.

Tropical Storm Emily weakened to a tropical depression Monday afternoon as it slogged eastward across the Florida peninsula, spreading drenching rains, causing power outages and leaving two fishermen to be rescued from Tampa Bay.

The National Hurricane Center said Emily made landfall late Monday on Florida's Gulf Coast south of Tampa Bay and then began moving east toward the Atlantic coast. Emily spent only a few hours as a tropical storm, losing strength as it marched inland across the central Florida peninsula toward the Atlantic coast.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at an afternoon news briefing in the state capital of Tallahassee that about 18,000 homes and businesses lost power, mostly in hard-hit Manatee County. Scott, who was on vacation in Maine and returned to the state when the advisory changed, said the storm was a reminder that severe weather can strike the state at any time.

State emergency management officials also said that the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, which was closed for a few hours because of high winds, had since reopened. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) as it crawled ashore but was down to top winds of 35 mph (55 kph) hours later.

Pabak Sarkar / flickr

Your phone, if you allow it to do so, can make many different types of noise. Some are light and non-invasive, but some are aimed at getting your attention.

A new Wireless Emergency Alert from the department of Homeland Security could buzz your phone this hurricane season. Hurricane Specialist Jamie Rhome says the new Storm Surge Warning will come from the National Hurricane Center.

“If you’re in this warning area it means you’ve got the potential for life threatening conditions that you need to take action and protect yourself.”

He calls it “beautifully simple”.

After more than two decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunter planes have a new home. Construction crews are scrambling to get it ready for this week's start of hurricane season.

Tim Chapman / Miami Herald

The Florida Keys are hardly the only place in the U.S. that's vulnerable to hurricanes. That's true along any coastline.

But the thing about the Keys is that, as an island chain, the whole county is a coastline. There is no inland.

"Much of the Florida Keys is only about 5 feet above sea level," said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe County's director of emergency management. The county makes the decisions about when to evacuate the island chain.

HistoryMiami

It's been almost 25 years since Hurricane Andrew roared through South Florida and we're collecting your stories and memories about the storm. 

The Category 5 hurricane flattened South Dade, with the worst of the damage stretching south of Kendall to Florida City. It destroyed more than 28,000 homes, left more than 180,000 people homeless and caused more than $25 billion in damage.

Tom Hudson

Driving around Molly Curry’s condominium complex in Ft. Lauderdale, it’s obvious she is proud of her neighborhood. She lives in the Bay Colony Club Condominiums, in a condo she owns since 2000, when she moved in with her two school-aged daughters. They are adults now and no longer live with Molly, but she’s stuck around and hopes to start a new career from her home.

 

Hurricane Awareness Tour Wraps up in Miami

May 14, 2017
Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Hundreds of kids got to explore inside Air Force and Coast Guard planes Friday at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. 

Major Devan Meister gave tours of the WC-130 J, which she says is the most powerful plane in the Air Force. The plane flies directly into a hurricane to collect data. 

Meister says educating kids is a great way to get the message of hurricane preparedness out to families as well. 

Officials say they are on schedule to open the new home base for the U.S. government's "hurricane hunter" aircraft before the Atlantic hurricane season begins.


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.

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. 

Monroe County Public Library

  Eighty years ago, hurricanes weren't given human names. So the storm that devastated the Upper Keys in 1935 is known simply by the day it swept across Islamorada: the Labor Day Hurricane.

Islamorada in 1935 was a small village of a few hundred people, scraping through the Depression growing Key limes and pineapples. The village was also the site of a camp for hundreds more: relief workers building a highway. Most of those workers were World War I veterans.

NOAA

People are looking a bit nervously at Invest 99L, the tropical disturbance heading up through the Bahamas.

Current projections have the storm making its way to South Florida by early next week, which, if you are a good citizen, should maybe strike a bell: Tuesday is election day.

So what happens to elections day if it also happens to be hurricane day?

Only the state has the authority to move or adjust voting times in light of things like weather or any other kind of interference.

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