Hurricane Irma

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

Before Sept. 10, the last Category 4 storm to cross the Florida Keys was Donna in 1960 — 57 years ago.

"A community loses its institutional knowledge over that time," said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe County director of emergency management. "And we start replacing it with knowledge of Category 1s and tropical storms and we start forgetting just how bad a storm can be."

Senterfitt, and everybody else in the Keys, now has direct experience of how a major hurricane can impact the low-lying island chain. Irma destroyed hundreds of homes and caused major damage to thousands more.

Florida lawmakers want to stop their colleagues from spending money meant for affordable housing on other projects. The move comes after Hurricane Irma battered and destroyed Floridians’ homes.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities must have a generator that can run the air conditioning starting Tuesday. If not, they risk a $1,000 dollar a day fine.

WLRN

There is assistance available to homeowners and business owners who are still recovering from Hurricane Irma damage. We spoke with John Mills of FEMA and Richard Daigle of the SBA on Sundial to answer listener questions about how to get that assistance.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

After Hurricane Irma, the federal government offered a food assistance program to Floridians who needed help because of the storm. The signup period for that program ended last week.

But there’s an ongoing lawsuit that might reopen registration for some people with disabilities because, the suit claims, the lines to sign up were prohibitively long.

The continuing blackouts in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria have overshadowed the devastation in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands, where nearly 73 percent of residents remain without power two months after the Category 5 storms made landfall.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Hurricane Irma was over and the Monday after the storm all Leola Maedell wanted to do was go home.

The elderly Little River resident had been at the red metal picnic table outside Miami Edison Senior High School for four hours, waiting on the buses that would take her from the shelter back to her neighborhood.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Keys already had an affordable housing problem, before Hurricane Irma. Then that storm destroyed thousands of homes and is already driving up rents. So some government agencies in the Keys are looking at going into the landlord business.

Wilson Sayre

The effort to put emergency money for food into the pockets and bank accounts of South Florida meant waiting in  lines and in court this week.

D-SNAP is the government program for disaster food assistance. The federal government program returned to the region for three days this week after overwhelming demand last month led to long lines and police shutting down some distribution sites over public safety concerns. 

JOE CAVARETTA / Sun Sentinel

Thousands of people converged on two of South Florida’s sports sites for the final day of sign-ups for Hurricane Irma food stamps.

Sign-ups for the Food for Florida program run through 7 p.m. at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens and the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

More than 38,000 families have registered at Hard Rock Stadium for the disaster food program since sign-ups started Tuesday, according to DCF.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Bruno Rebuffo heard the crane fall before he knew what it was.

“It sounded like an earthquake, honestly,” he said. “It was a big loud boom and you thought the roof is going to fall”

People waiting in line
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

On the first day of make-up registration for disaster food assistance, lines were long, while lawyers who were suing over how the program has been rolled out hashed things out in court.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Hotels and room-sharing services could become part of hurricane preparations in South Florida, say officials who are looking to encourage local evacuations for future storms.

"Really, within the state there's nowhere to evacuate that's safer than staying within Miami-Dade County because we can't necessarily predict where a hurricane's going to end up," said Jane Gilbert, chief resilience officer for the city of Miami. "People had a hard time getting out of the state."

Peter Frezza / Audubon Florida

As soon as they could after Hurricane Irma, researchers went out onto Florida Bay to see how the estuary fared after its close encounter with a Category 4 storm.

Mario Ariza for WLRN News

Hurricane Irma has left Hermés Castro feeling lucky. Before the storm, this stocky former butcher turned outsider artist had to scavenge far and wide for the shells, scraps of string and pieces of bark and branch he uses to build his multicolored, multifaceted boat sculptures. And now that the storm has come and gone and man-high piles of refuse litter Miami’s streets, Hermés is enjoying a bit of a bonanza.

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