2018 Hurricane Season

Tom Flanigan

Nearly 30 children in storm-devastated Northwest Florida will be sleeping a lot better than anytime since last year's Hurricane Michael. That's because of a bed-building effort in Tallahassee this weekend.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Hurricane Michael devastated Florida’s Panhandle in October as the most powerful storm ever to make landfall in the region. The storm has been reclassified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a category 5.

This antique store in Blountstown was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael. (October 2018)
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Hurricane Michael came ashore in early October as a historically powerful Category 4 hurricane, the likes of which Florida’s Panhandle had never seen. After it wreaked havoc in counties up to the Georgia border and beyond, WFSU reporter Ryan Dailey visited counties around the state’s Forgotten Coast to talk to those affected.


Two recent studies outlining the progression of climate change have some of Florida’s leaders on the subject calling for greater legislative action. Those studies are the United Nations’ Emissions Gap Report and the U.S. Government’s National Climate Assessment.

American Red Cross Facebook

The Capital Area Red Cross is shifting from what Director Sharon Tyler calls “response mode” to “recovery mode.” That means, in some cases, contacting those who didn’t reach out for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Panhandle schools hit hard by Hurricane Michael are re-opening, and many students are experiencing a “new normal” as they return. Some districts are having to get creative to get all students in the classroom.

Calhoun County Schools

Calhoun County Schools re-opened its schools today after Hurricane Michael brought some level of damage to all of its campuses. Ryan Dailey recently spoke with Superintendent Ralph Yoder about the district’s preparation for the first day back.

This antique store in Blountstown was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael. (October 2018)
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Hurricane Michael has damaged and destroyed thousands of homes and apartments in the panhandle and what’s left isn’t enough to meet the demand. Now FEMA is offering up its “FEMA Trailers” to help address the need.

The notice on the Panama City Housing Authority's website informs residents they will have to leave as many of the properties are in the process of being condemned.   (Oct. 23rd, 2018)
panamacityhousing.org / Panama City Housing Authority

In storm-ravaged Panama City, a new crisis is emerging: Housing. Across the city, evictions are taking place as apartment complexes and rental units are condemned. Many of these are rent-controlled and income-based, and that’s leaving hundreds of people scrambling for places to go. For some, there’s nowhere to go.

School bus with Jackson County Schools written on the side
Jackson County Schools Facebook

Jackson County Schools is set to re-open its schools Monday. Ryan Dailey recently spoke with Jackson Superintendent Larry Moore about power restoration at schools, bus transportation and how the district is easing the back-to-school transition for families still without power.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is reporting more than $1.2 billion dollars in insured losses after Hurricane Michael ravaged the Florida Panhandle. 

Volunteers distributing donations

After the devastation from Hurricane Michael, at least one community is moving forward with recovery. Wakulla County is taking steps to put the storm and its effects behind them.

More than a week after Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida panhandle, cities and towns are facing the daunting task of trying to rebuild. The recovery is hampered by catastrophic damage not only to homes and businesses, but to vital infrastructure as well.

The small Gulf coast town of Port St. Joe, with a population of about 3,500 residents, is one of countless communities that was hit by the storm.

"Everywhere you turn and go you see some kind of destruction," says the town's mayor, Bo Patterson. "Whether it was wind damage, whether it was water, one of the two."

This antique store in Blountstown was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael. (October 2018)
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Panhandle Counties ravaged by Hurricane Michael are trying to rebuild, with many still waiting for power. Liberty and Calhoun counties are neighboring areas both dealing with their own challenges.

Trees down at Crossroads Academy in Quincy, Florida
Jade Jacobs / WFSU

Florida’s Department of Agriculture says about $1.3 billion worth of timber has been damaged by Hurricane Michael. That loss is spread over three million acres of forest.

National guard membes smile near a canopy with ice. A University of Miami flag is hanging near them.
Regan McCarthy

Throughout the Panhandle members of the National Guard are hosting what are called “PODS” or points of distribution where those affected by Hurricane Michael can get food, water and ice. WFSU stopped by one location at the Possum Palace in Chipley, Florida.

A damaged building in downtown Marianna, Florida.
Regan McCarthy / WFSU

Now a week after Hurricane Michael made landfall, many communities in Florida’s panhandle are reeling from the damage. FEMA officials continue to conduct search and rescue missions throughout the Florida Panhandle. The storm’s one hundred and fifty mile per hour winds devastated parts of the Southeast. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is calling out the Florida Legislature for passing a 2017 bill he says allows builders to strip international building standards from Florida codes.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Leon County Schools is seeing an influx of students from counties affected by Hurricane Michael as their home districts are closed. The students are being welcomed with open arms, but their arrival presents challenges.

Leon is joining the list of counties where Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance is now available. The designation comes a week after Hurricane Michael struck the region.

A tree knocked down a powerline during the storm
Robbie Gaffney

More than 150,000 people are without power in the Florida panhandle after Hurricane Michael. Officials say recovery efforts are expected to extend well into November.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson says fears that Panama City’s Tyndall Air Force base might shut down are “unfounded” after Hurricane Michael brought destruction to its hangars.

A roadway is blocked by a large tree branch.
Erich Martin / WFSU News

Debris pick up following Hurricane Michael up is underway. Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad says the size limit for debris piles will be waived while clean-up efforts are ongoing.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Emergency officials continue to fight obstacles as they bring relief to hard-hit areas like Panama City and Mexico Beach. To the east, some towns on the fringe of the worst destruction are struggling after days without power.

Soldier next to vehicle.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU

Damage assessment workers are scouring Tallahassee neighborhoods for destruction. The amount of relief support Tallahassee will receive is based on these reports.