Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael tore apart Northwest Florida in October leaving more than 20 million cubic square yards of debris. Moves were made at both the state and federal levels to try and help recovery efforts.

The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expediting money for debris removal in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. DeSantis also wants the U.S. government to take on a bigger share of the recovery costs.

 Mark Ward surveys the destruction of his neighbor's mobile home in Bay County, Fla. Ward and his neighbors say that the rural parts of the county have seen little help since Hurricane Michael.
Tamara Lush / Associated Press

Florida’s unemployment is well below the national average, hovering around 3.3 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been in 12 years. But  that’s not the case in the state’s panhandle.

rescue drive street sign in front of hurricane debris
FWC Photo by Tim Donovan (Flickr) / Florida Fish and Wildlife

Hurricane Michael left more than 400,000 Floridians without power. The state-backed, Citizens Property insurance company sent more than 50 staff members into the hardest hit areas. Thursday officials with the company met by phone to review their post-hurricane efforts.

Blaise Gainey

With Thanksgiving in the past people are now focusing on Christmas season and what better way than to pick out your Christmas tree from one of more than 100 Christmas tree farms in Florida. Sticking with tradition this morning Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam presented a Christmas tree to the Governor and cabinet members.

WFSU.org

Federal Small Business Administration loans are still available to area victims of Hurricane Michael. But the time to apply for that help is running out.

A roofer working in Oklahoma.
FEMA photo library

The opportunity to sign up for federal aid from FEMA for Hurricane Michael damages will soon be over. The deadline to register for the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program is today.

IEM

Weeks after Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Panhandle, some displaced residents say FEMA has been slow to respond.

So, we asked former Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon to explain the process of local, state, and government response.

Koon was a Governor Rick Scott appointee who may be best known for the controversy surrounding the Scott administration’s unofficial edict banning the term “climate change” from official communications.

Joel Castro uses a chainsaw and special equipment to insert an artificial cavity into a pine tree at Apalachicola National Forest.
Eleanor Clark / WFSU-FM

People weren’t the only victims of Hurricane Michael. Endangered woodpeckers are in trouble following the storm and biologists are racing to keep the species alive.

bee on flower
Toshinhiro Gamo

Hurricane Michael left a devastated Panhandle to pick up the pieces. Industries like timber and agriculture are struggling to rebuild. And another community is asking for help: beekeepers.

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.

A gas pump.
Mike Mozart / Flickr

Average gas prices in Florida are decreasing and could continue to drop in next few weeks. 

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.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers currently open in North Florida.
FEMA

Disaster Recovery Centers in Gulf and Calhoun Counties are now open. That adds to the list of locations in North Florida where residents can get in-person help following Hurricane Michael. 

Trees knocked down during a storm.
Tom Flanigan

Wakulla County officials have approved a resolution that will allow for county pick up of Hurricane Michael debris from private roads, beginning as soon as possible. 

Volunteers distributing donations
UF IFAS / UF IFAS

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."

On top of red tide and blue green algae, Hurricane Michael is compounding to fears in Florida’s tourism industry.

The inside of the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office with a vote sign
Leon County Supervisor of Elections twitter

Early voting can start this coming Monday in eight Panhandle Counties hit by Hurricane Michael. Governor Rick Scott’s executive order provides a few extra days for voters to get to the polls.

A wastewater treatment facility in North Florida.
JOHN S. QUARTERMAN VIA FLICKR

Multiple wastewater spills have been confirmed in Northwest Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The latest one is in Gulf County where sewage spilled into the Apalachicola River.

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.

Poll workers in training at the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, 2016.
Tori Whitley / WFSU News

Election supervisors in the panhandle are scrambling to get back up and running ahead of election Day. In some places, that means having only a handful of so-called “super-voting” sites available. 

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. 

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.

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