hurricane

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?

Updated at 8 a.m. ET Friday

Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes ever recorded, and its wind speeds remain about 150 miles per hour, with stronger gusts. As this monster churns through the Caribbean and heads toward Florida, here is the lowdown.

How dangerous is it?

When you're building a zoo disaster plan, there's one thing to keep in mind: Murphy's law. Anything that could go wrong, will.

Just ask the flock of flamingos that weathered Hurricane Andrew in a public restroom at Zoo Miami in 1992.

Or, you could ask the zoo personnel across the coast who've been running emergency drills since the start of hurricane season.

National Hurricane Center

Updated at 8:15 p.m.

Hurricane Irma continues ripping a path through the Caribbean towards Florida as a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 mph, according to the 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Evacuation orders have been issued across South Florida: Monroe County is under complete evacuation orders; Miami-Dade County Zones A, B, C are under evacuation orders; Broward County east of U.S. 1 is under evacuation orders; Palm Beach County Zones A, B, C are also under evacuation orders.

Joey Flechas / Miami Herald

Eugene Johnson purchased two loaves of bread and batteries for his flashlight. Those are his supplies in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

“I’m on fixed income,” said Johnson. “This hit me out of the blue. I had to pay my rent, my electricity bill and stuff like that.”

In his kitchen cabinet he already had a few cans of tuna and he plans to boils some eggs.

Johnson, 65, lives in an affordable housing complex in Miami and, like many of his neighbors who are also on fixed or limited income, he doesn’t own a car.

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