Hurricane Irma

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Update 11/20 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Florida to conduct telephone interviews for individuals who pre-registered for DSNAP who also have a disability or who are over the age of 60. The lawsuit is continuing to push for registration possibilities for people who do not meet that criteria.

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.

Irma-Damaged Boats Pulled Out Of State Waters

Nov 2, 2017

Nearly 1,500 vessels impacted by Hurricane Irma have been removed from state waters over the past month and a half, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

South Florida lost a lot of trees during Hurricane Irma. While Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties avoided a direct hit, the storm managed to topple  palm and other canopy trees, littering the streets with tree trunks, branches and palm fronds.

One month later, the debris from the trees and shrubbery remains on the curb or street waiting to be picked up. 

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

After people looking for food assistance waited in lines up to eight hours long, the state has announced extra days for sign up for the Disaster Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or D-SNAP.

The state has processed about 937,000 D-SNAP applications so far. In addition to replacement assistance for people who already get food stamps, Florida has provided nearly $1.2 billion in food assistance.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

More than a million cubic yards of debris has been hauled out of the Florida Keys since Hurricane Irma — but there’s still enough wreckage along the sides of the roads to make trick-or-treating a scary prospect in some neighborhoods. And not in a good way.

So Monroe County came up with an alternative: Two debris-free trick-or-treat parties at county parks, one in Bay Point in the Lower Keys and one in Key Largo.

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