Florida Keys

National Hurricane Center / NOAA

The forecasters got Hurricane Irma mostly right. At least compared to the predictions of past storms. That’s one of the conclusions from a National Hurricane Center report on the big storm that hit Florida last September.

Monroe County Fire-Rescue

A brushfire has burned about 100 acres and destroyed one home on Big Pine Key — an island that saw some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Irma.

Jack Fishman

Sofas, refrigerators, pipes and lobster traps all wound up littering the Keys reef and backcountry flats after Hurricane Irma blew through in September.

Now the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary wants to deploy volunteer divers to remove the debris.

Aide To Gov. Rick Scott Dies In Florida Keys Boat Crash

Apr 9, 2018
Miami Herald file

An aide to Gov. Rick Scott died Sunday night after the boat on which she was a passenger crashed into mangrove branches lining a narrow channel in Islamorada.

Zack Ransom / Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

Divers from a Key Largo environmental group and a Miami science museum removed an orangespine unicornfish from a reef off the Upper Keys this week.

The underwater rapid response team was put together to prevent another exotic species like lionfish from getting a finhold in South Florida waters. Unicornfish are popular in the saltwater aquarium trade, and are native to the tropical Pacific.

County officials in the Florida Keys are looking to get federal money to reimburse them for expenses related to Hurricane Irma. Monroe County officials traveled to Washington DC last week to meet with FEMA officials.

The county has submitted about $16 million in expenses for reimbursement.

So far, FEMA has approved about $3.9 million. Now the county is waiting for the state's Department of Emergency Management to sign off.

WLRN News

It’s been about six months since Hurricane Irma crashed across the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm.

WLRN News is documenting where we were — and how far we’ve come.

Here’s how you can be part of this project: Find a photo you took right after the storm, then take a photo of the same place now. The photos can be taken with your cell phone or a professional camera.

A U.S. Navy jet crashed on approach to the Naval Air Station Key West airfield at Boca Chica Key Wednesday afternoon, killing both aviators.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet was on final approach to the runway at the airfield. The crew, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, was in Key West on a training mission.

Rescue crews found the pilot and weapons system officer in the water about a mile east of the runway and took them to Lower Keys Medical Center. They were both declared dead, according to a statement from the Navy.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West voters Tuesday approved raising the height limit from 25 to 40 feet of habitable space on a 2.62-acre parcel of city-owned property.

The goal is to provide 104 units of affordable workforce housing.

The land is on Stock Island, the island just east of Key West, but is within the incorporated city limits. The land was formerly used by an Easter Seals therapy center and includes the Lower Keys offices of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is moving out.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

When legislative budget chiefs agreed during negotiations to spend $1.5 million on a study about extending a toll road north to Georgia, they started to lock into Florida’s new budget some of the 78 recommendations a House select committee created in the wake of last year’s deadly hurricane season.

Also crossing the finish line as the annual legislative session ended Sunday was storm-related money for farm repairs, nursing homes to buy generators, affordable housing in Monroe County and to help students displaced from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

When Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys six months ago, the Upper Keys village of Islamorada was 50 miles from the eye, which held the storm's strongest winds.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The Florida Keys have been in an affordable housing crisis for years. It’s a simple matter of limited supply and very high demand. Then, in September, Hurricane Irma destroyed or caused major damage to thousands of homes — more than 7 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed or suffered major damage.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

They’re everywhere. Pink plastic ornaments dotting lawns. On cocktail swizzlers and motel signs.

Real, live Flamingos occasionally show up in the Everglades. A couple years ago a big flock showed up in a Palm Beach County stormwater treatment area. But the official story is that these birds don't belong here. That Florida's flamingos were all hunted out of existence back in the 19th century.

Yesterday's Florida Keys / The Ketch & Yawl Press

When you’re talking about the protection of birds, in the U.S. and especially in South Florida, there’s one man who had an outsize impact — even if his name is barely remembered now.

That man is Robert Porter Allen.

Allen was the researcher from the National Audubon Society who established Audubon’s Tavernier Science Center in 1939. (It's now Audubon of Florida's Everglades Science Center.)

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