hurricane

Are You In An Evacuation Zone? Here Is How To Know

Sep 8, 2017

As the possibilities of hurricane Irma hitting South Florida increase, authorities are encouraging residents to prepare for a possible landfall. Part of the preparations includes knowing if you live in an evacuation zone and making plans in case you are asked to leave your home. Here is how to know, for all four south Florida counties: Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach.  

Get the latest information about Hurricane Irma at WLRN.org/weather

Nadege Green / WLRN

In Miami’s Overtown community, some families are receiving conflicting reports about the nearest shelter they could go to.

At the New Arena Court apartments tenants had hurricane-warning letters posted on their doors from the building’s management. For people who wanted to go to a shelter it directed them to Booker T. Washington High School, a “short walk from your building.”

Updated at 6 a.m. ET Saturday

Hurricane Irma is again a Category 4 storm as it slowly moves along the Cuban coast. The storm made landfall on the Camaguey archipelago of Cuba late Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. As of 5 a.m. Saturday, the hurricane's center was just off the northern coast near central Cuba. The report puts Irma's traveling speed at 12 mph, about 245 miles south-southeast of Miami.

About 5.6 million people in Florida have been ordered to evacuate; forecasters expect the hurricane to hit Florida early Sunday morning.

Traffic jams across the state trapped evacuees for hours Thursday, but Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) chief spokesman Captain Jeffrey Bassainthe says his agency has enough personnel to do the job.

“Well we have over 1,700 troopers staffed, so like I said, all personnel, office personnel, are out of the office, days off have been cancelled and we’re working 12-hour shifts," said Bassainthe. "We want to ensure that we have maximum staffing and that we’re out there to assist the public into helping them get there safely.”

Update: 9/10/17: Gulf, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla County Schools have announced extended closures. FAMU, FSU and TCC will remain closed through Friday.

Original Story: Public schools, colleges and universities will be closed starting Friday through Monday, says Gov. Rick Scott. A change in Hurricane Irma's forecasted path has prompted the closures which is in effect for schools across the state. Some colleges, universities and school districts have announced longer closures.

Most Florida Flood Zone Property Not Insured

Sep 8, 2017

As Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, an Associated Press analysis shows a steep drop in flood insurance across the state, including the areas most endangered by what could be a devastating storm surge.

In just five years, the state's total number of federal flood insurance policies has fallen by 15 percent, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency data.

Florida's property owners still buy far more federal flood insurance than any other state — 1.7 million policies, covering about $42 billion in assets — but most residents in hazard zones are badly exposed.

Hurricane Irma evacuations now involve more than South Florida residents taking to the roads.

The 6th Air Mobility Wing at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base is temporarily evacuating its KC-135 refueling planes to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The disaster relief bill given final approval by Congress on Friday can't come too soon for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Without a new injection of funds, officials said FEMA's cash box would be empty as early as this weekend, right around the time that Hurricane Irma is scheduled to slam into southern Florida, while southeast Texas and Louisiana are still drying out from Hurricane Harvey.

LA Johnson/NPR

As Hurricane Irma works its way to Florida's coast, feelings of stress and anxiety may also be brewing for those anticipating its effects.

A national hotline wants to help you.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline is available for immediate counseling to anyone affected by the impending hurricane and storms in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Despite Keys officials urging islanders to pack up and leave Thursday, many residents were still debating whether to stay or hit the Overseas Highway.  

Jim Heslin was putting shutters on a house at the top of Key West's Solares Hill, the highest point of the southernmost island.  

"We're not sure yet, so we have a back-up plan to get out on the 6 p.m. flight tonight," Heslin said.

He said he has been watching the advisories from the Hurricane Center.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

If evacuation orders for parts of downtown Miami aren’t enough of an incentive to leave, city officials are also telling people to leave downtown high-rises because of construction cranes.

Officials from the city of Miami say there are more than 20 cranes in downtown Miami right now. They're engineered to withstand winds of 145 miles per hour -- less than what Irma might bring if it hits as a category 4 or 5 storm.

The Weather Channel

Weather Channel meteorologist Bryan Norcross has a reputation as the reasoned voice that guided South Florida through the lowest moments of Hurricane Andrew.

And now, he’s trying to help South Florida prepare to survive Hurricane Irma.

Norcross spent an hour on WLRN’s Topical Currents Thursday giving solid advice and answering questions from listeners. You can hear the discussion below:

Some of the major takeaways:

Do you want to vigorously dab, protest, Goth dance, or shoot a Ki blast cannon (a Dragon Ball Z attack) at Hurricane Irma to shoo it away? How about spin your arms really fast or spin your fidget fingers to ward off the impending storm?

While Facebook cancellations for regularly scheduled events are streaming in, a new kind of event has been popping up: any and all kind of rituals to try and convince the weather gods and goddesses that Florida is not the place for Hurricane Irma.

Updated at 5:00 a.m. ET Friday

The National Hurricane Center says Irma is now a Category 4 storm. It has maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

Hurricane Irma continued its northwestward sweep Thursday evening, losing little steam as it skirted the Dominican Republic and Haiti and bearing the full force of its 165-mph winds down upon the southeastern Bahamas and away from the Turks and Caicos islands. Forecasters upgraded their alert for South Florida to a warning.

Residents across Florida have waited in lines for sandbags to fight the possibility of floods that Hurricane Irma may bring. Now, what to do with them?

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