The death toll from Hurricane Irma's catastrophic rampage across the Caribbean and the southeastern U.S. has risen to 44 fatalities directly caused by its strong winds and heavy rains, plus 85 fatalities indirectly linked to the storm, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Look for the House Health & Human Services Committee to roll out a bill Thursday on hurricane-related health care and social service issues.

The Florida House is rolling out dozens of recommendations on the state’s hurricane response efforts. Equipping emergency shelters and preparing healthcare facilities top the list.

Uncertainty looms at the Florida Supreme Court as three judges near retirement at the same time Gov. Rick Scott leaves office in January 2019. Who will pick the three vacant spots on the court: Gov. Scott or his successor? The decision may change the balance between conservative and liberal members of the court.  

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

About a month before Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas with an amount of rain so immense forecasters said it could not happen more than once in a thousand years, a University of Miami scientist developing a new weather tool knew what might be in store for the Gulf coast.

“I can’t claim ‘problem solved’ or anything like that,” said Ben Kirtman, an atmospheric scientist at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. But his experimental model could “preemptively improve your chances of not having a catastrophe.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

The ability to communicate during emergencies, like Hurricane Irma , is critical. When phones and the internet go down, there’s something else South Florida emergency operations centers, or EOC’s, can turn to: amateur radio operators.

It’s sometimes referred to as "ham" radio, and the operators are sometimes called “hams.”

In Broward County, there are ham radio antennas mounted on all of the hurricane shelters and some of the hospitals, ready to be activated. There’s also a room full of ham radios at the Broward County EOC.

Tim Padgett / WLRN News

WLRN's Americas Editor Tim Padgett traveled to Puerto Rico one month after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a powerful category 4 storm, knocking down the electrical grid and destroying most of the infrastructure.


After more than a month of finger-pointing and name-calling over the length of power outages after Hurricane Irma, the Coral Gables commission says it will sue Florida Power & Light to force the utility to upgrade its infrastructure within the city. 

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Howard Webster’s third graders had “first-day jitters” on Sept. 18. But the first day of school had been nearly a month earlier.

Gateway Environmental K-8 Learning Center in Homestead was closed for seven school days because of Hurricane Irma, as were most other schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“With the kids being out so long, it's like starting school all over again,” Webster said during an after-school event shortly after the storm.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

Data confirms what many South Floridians might have guessed: the alarming impact of Hurricane Harvey in August likely motivated people to prepare early for Hurricane Irma last month. And that meant spending a lot of money. Think of it as plywood and Pop Tart spending.

The floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey had to go somewhere.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

The remnants of post-tropical cyclone Ophelia slammed parts of Ireland with wind gusts of more than 90 miles per hour, reportedly causing the deaths of at least three people and bringing strange red skies to the U.K.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

Hurricane season isn't through with us yet.

New research from the University of South Florida suggests evacuating nursing home patients before a storm increases the chance of both hospitalization and death.

Updated at 12:26 p.m. ET

Hurricane Nate is a hurricane no more.

It is now a tropical depression, dousing the Deep South, Tennessee Valley and central Appalachian Mountains with heavy rains, expected to continue through Monday.

Nate first struck near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the southeastern Louisiana coast as a Category 1 storm Saturday night and again near Biloxi, Miss., early Sunday morning.