Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (2023)


Orlando Sentinel

By Elana Simms

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Just keep going forward, keep helping," says Robert Barnes in Duck Key. Barnes has been helping clean up his neighborhood after Hurricane Irma tore through the Florida Keys.

South Florida's most influential people weigh in on current events. Read their thoughts on the biggest stories of the week and see what they think will make headlines next week.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (1)

Scott J. Israel, sheriff, Broward County

Last week: Broward County, I am so proud of you. Irma was strong, but we proved to be stronger. I was amazed by incredible acts of kindness and selflessness as we prepared for the hurricane and equally impressed by the many residents who followed the direction of public safety professionals to the best of their abilities, keeping their families safe during the worst of it. Property and possessions are replaceable, lives are not. Our recovery efforts are currently underway. Together, we weathered this powerful storm better than I thought possible and we will bring normalcy back to Broward quickly and safely.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz, member, U.S. House of Representatives

Last week: As Floridians, we know recovering from a storm of Hurricane Irma’s magnitude will not happen overnight. We should expect for our people to face hardship long after the TV cameras and newspaper headlines fade away, but I’m committed to using my vote, my voice, and my position on the Appropriations Committee to ensure our community gets the resources it needs. Still, if any good can come from a natural disaster such as this one, I’ve been amazed to see first-hand how neighbors and strangers come together in times of tragedy. Let’s commit to continue to be there for each other.

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Anthony Abbate, Florida Atlantic University, Associate Provost, Broward

Last week: Irma took a massive swipe at South Florida, wreaking havoc from Key West to Jacksonville. The storm was unprecedented, and so was the response from government agencies, private enterprise, and community-minded residents. The preparations were adequately timed and organized and the repairs and clean up, still underway, are well managed. With few exceptions, South Floridians have proven their resilience with high marks. It was surprising, however, to find land-lines down in areas. With cellular and power outages, the land-line is the only means of communication left.

Looking ahead: People should be talking about how valuable and essential the scientific research and services that serve to ensure and improve our safety and welfare, are to keeping our region and our nation strong. More importantly, we need to focus on the fact that Irma was unprecedented and so is the rapid rate of climate change. Yet we remain focused on the short term rather than long-term design of our infrastructure. The cost for this shortsightedness will likely continue to escalate until we come to terms with the true cost for transforming our cities to adapt to the changes ahead.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (4)

Jennifer O'Flannery Anderson, VP/community relations, Nova Southeastern

(Video) Does Airsoft Hurt? BB stuck under Eye? Novritsch SSP5 Edition!

Last week: Watching our state prepare for Hurricane Irma has been a humbling experience. The warnings and directions were clear, consistent and urgent. The storm ripped through our state, touching both coasts and those in between. I want to thank the first responders in hospitals, public safety, military, and government for leading such a unified preparation and response. It is clear that we have learned from previous experiences.

Looking ahead: My heart breaks when I see the images of Irma's wrath on our beloved Florida Keys. It is, by far, my favorite place to escape, relax and re-energize. I love every part of the Keys and have enjoyed dozens of once-in-a-lifetime experiences there. I know our state will rally to help rebuild this treasure and help the residents preserve through this trying time.

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J. David Armstrong Jr., president, Broward College

Last week:Hurricane Irma has affected millions in South Florida and the state. It will take our combined efforts to help those left most vulnerable by the effects of the storm. Research shows that social institutions like schools play an essential role in restoring normality to communities following natural disasters. Broward College and other educational institutions have established funds to provide direct assistance to affected students. I encourage those who can to contribute these efforts. The longer we take to address our students' needs, the greater the challenges to resuming classes and continuing the path of development for South Florida.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (6)

Claudette Bruck, Realtor; former commissioner, Coral Springs

Last week: As Irma turned away, the climate changed from dismay, disappointment and disrespect around the nation to prayer and helping thy neighbor; just as it should be. So many in need, and, now so many willing to help. Let’s keep that going. Federal money, through FEMA, is available and residents who suffered loss may apply for disaster relief on line at www.DisasterAssistace.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA. This dreadful disaster has brought out the best in most, proving that most people are good and decent and want to serve their fellow man. Imagine if we all helped a neighbor, close or far.

Looking ahead:Harvey and Irma will take center stage for a long time to come, as, relief comes in many different ways. This will continue to be an opportunity for each of us to find a way to assist.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (7)

Walter G. "Skip" Campbell Jr., mayor, Coral Springs; former member, Florida Senate

Last week: All of us are trying to clean up after Irma. Just this week we learn about the deaths in Hollywood. Our prayers go out to the families. Why then do I hear about the Equifax hack? I don't know but will check when our disaster is over. I guess we all should be careful about our bills after this tragedy. Thanks to all of our neighbors for being there.

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Kathleen Cannon, president, United Way of Broward County

Last week: As the dust has settled from Hurricane Irma, many people are left without power, without work and leaving them without an income to support their family. United Way of Broward County is collaborating with the Salvation Army to collect goods for those who have been impacted including: hygiene products, diapers, water, gift cards, new towels, new blankets, etc. Let’s come together as a community and help those who cannot help themselves after this devastation. If you would like to donate, please call Jenelle Aragon, United Way of Broward County, at 954-308-9262 or 786-514-1734.

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Paul Castronovo, host, Paul Castronovo Show

Last week:There was a moment this week, while unloading lawn furniture from my bedroom and moving it to the backyard where it belongs, that I nearly tripped over six cases of water, 40 cans of Dinty Moore Beef stew and some flashlights, that I said, “You know what? I need to donate this stuff to people in the Florida Keys”. Sounds like a plan, right? Until the National Hurricane Center reminded me that hurricane season goes through Nov 30. It ain’t over yet, baby. Don’t let your guard down and don’t give up your delicious cans of fruit in syrup or creamed corn.

Looking ahead:“Boy, did we dodge a bullet!” How many times did you hear that last week? The real question is, “Did we really?” Millions without power, the internet or cell phone service. And worse, The Florida Keys won’t be the same for years. We took a bullet from Irma and the recovery has just started. When Andrew came through, South Florida pulled up our boot straps, pitched in and rebuilt a big part of Miami-Dade County. The damage from Irma is much worse, and we are going to need a lot more help this time. Let’s hope it comes quick.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (10)

Mitch Ceasar, former chairman, Broward Democratic Party

Last week: We were lucky. Very lucky. We showed kindness to neighbors who barely received a wave hello in the past. Gas was tough, but slowly re-opened. I learned some hard lessons to pass along. I had the water, gas, non-perishable food and batteries for my radio and flashlights. What I did not have, and will be purchasing, are fans, TV, and lanterns that are all battery operated.This will pass the time quicker in a hot house. Natural disasters remind us petty politics is stupid and we really are a community. It's worth remembering in the good times.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (11)

Pastor D.H. Dawkins Sr., Praise Tabernacle International

Last week:So at least eight seniors are dead in a nursing home tragedy. I'm praying for the family and caretakers. However, considering that South Florida has a heavy population of seniors residing in such facilities, I would think that it would be mandatory for preparations such as generators or priority service for places like these.

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Michael De Lucca, president, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc.

Last week: After Hurricane Irma occurred, we received alarming news of the residents at the Hollywood Hills Nursing Home. A total of eight senior citizens died from heat exhaustion. This upsetting news received national attention and Hollywood police are being extremely responsive in this investigation after the facility lost power from the hurricane. Patients have been evacuated and relocated from the facility. In Florida, nursing homes are not required to have generators, however, they must have alternative forms of power. This would include battery-operating fans. These protocols need to be reviewed by the Florida legislator to ensure the correct actions were taken.

Looking ahead:The Florida Panthers and JetBlue Airways partnered up and provided FREE meals to those in the community who were still without power Wednesday and Thursday of last week. There were over twenty food trucks. Each person who attended the event, received one ticket which was good for one meal and a cold beverage. Approximately 50 employees from the Panthers and JetBlue volunteered during the event. Florida Power & Light Co. has done an incredible job on restoring power across the state of Florida quickly and efficiently. Sending over strong wishes that everyone will have power by the end of the weekend.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (13)

Michael Dennis, M.D., chairman, Florida Atlantic University Schmidt College of Medicine

Last week: The horrendous destruction in the wrathful pathways of Harvey and Irma, and Jose deciding where to go next, should be a lesson to everyone in the need for preparation and the value of compassion and generosity. Our crumbling infrastructure has been a topic of discussion for years, yet remains a frustrating political football among our elected officials with little advancement in structural repair and modernization. And the dire needs of those pummeled by the massive weather systems cry out for an organized method of relief. Governments are doing well but the actions of multitudes of individuals are truly heartwarming.

Looking ahead: Americans are understandably disturbed when they read that our health care system lags behind the quality of systems in other countries — particularly European and Asian — despite the fact that our costs greatly exceed the competition. But it is irrefutable that if one has a serious illness, the survival rates are much higher here at home. But we can do even better. We need better drug and material pricing and a truly transparent market with less government interference such as the FDA allowing the Epipen farce. Physicians need to be free to spend more time with patients and fewer hours doing paperwork.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (14)

Ted Deutch, member, U.S. House of Representatives

Last week: Hurricane Irma barreled through our state leaving flooded streets, widespread power outages, structural damage, and other devastation. But we persevered. Just as we fared the storm together, we will rebuild our communities together with support from local, state, and federal governments. South Florida Members of Congress convinced FEMA to extend Individual Assistance to residents of Palm Beach and Broward counties. In the weeks ahead, my office is available to connect you with resources to help the rebuilding process. In Washington, I’ll fight for the funding necessary to help the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Texas, and our fellow Floridians recover.

Looking ahead:It is fact that the Earth is round and revolves around the sun. It is also fact that climate change contributes to intensifying weather events like Hurricane Irma, and it’s time for more government leaders to participate in this important policy discussion. We need more research into climate change’s worsening effects, policies to curb our contribution, and resiliency plans for how our infrastructure will withstand the rising tides and inland flooding. Hurricanes are not preventable, but we must act now to stem our contribution to their intensification.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (15)

James Donnelly, chairman, Broward Workshop

Last week: Fort Lauderdale lost an icon this week. Terry Stiles literally and figuratively built Fort Lauderdale. He was a visionary. It is rare when one person has such a profound influence on one city/county. Terry was one of those people. When Terry decided to do something, it got done. His memory will live on in his family, his business, the community, and the skyline. To me, his memory will be an inspiration to do more for our community. He will be missed.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (16)

Andrew Duffell, president, Research Park at Florida Atlantic University

Last week: Hurricane Irma has reminded us that our entire economy is based on two things: electricity and fuel. First, we must find new, sustainable and efficient ways to power our homes, businesses and lives to balance out petroleum-based fuels. Second, Florida Power & Light Co. has done a good job in recent years to harden its grid, but more remains to be done. There will doubtless be many other ideas identified to improve upon, and we are lucky to have had this chance to see our weaknesses, rather than deal with a catastrophic major hurricane hit in our region.

Looking ahead:The interruption to our lives over the past ten days has cost human lives, property damage yet to be calculated, and countless billions in lost business opportunities. The impact of Hurricane Irma will be felt throughout the U.S. economy, possibly knocking off as much as 0.5 percent from total U.S. gross domestic product this year. We must, therefore, get back to business as quickly as possible, re-opening our businesses, schools and governments to show ourselves, the world, that we are open for business and stronger than before to make up for lost time.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (17)

Steven Geller, member, Broward County Commission

Last week:Natural disasters like our recent hurricane have a way of pulling the scab back on poverty and racism, exposing the way in which all communities fit in. Tragically, this was illustrated by the criminal negligence at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center where eight people died — just across the street from a hospital where they could have been saved. These natural disasters exacerbate both racial inequities and socioeconomic disparities for society's most vulnerable folks, poor, disenfranchised, LGBT persons, immigrants, and the formerly incarcerated. Our work on their issues has never been more important and we are doubling down.

Looking ahead:I’m afraid that insurance rates will soar because of Hurricane Irma. Insurance industry models didn’t account for the possibility of a storm that would buzz-saw up the East coast of Florida, from Miami to Jacksonville. That almost happened now. This will increase insurers’ view of potential damages, thus increasing insurance rates. Prior natural disaster plans have failed because they require possible federal subsidies, and natural disasters are seen as coastal issues. I have previously testified to Congress on this, and have spoken with people such as Senator Rubio, and Congresspeople Wasserman Schultz and Deutch about a workable National Disaster Solution.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (18)

Sheldon Harr, founding rabbi emeritus, Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El

Last week:Irma was plainly destructive. Nonetheless, out of those proverbial ashes (in our case, wind and rain) rose a good-hearted phoenix which will, in the long run, add strength to our communities. Simply stated, it was neighbor helping neighbor. Sharing expertise, labor, and moral support, assisting others and demonstrating concern for the stranger: these elements that might have been lacking through the years emerged in many cases as God-sends, ranging from providing comfort to literally saving lives. While we cannot diminish the force and furry of nature, we also should not diminish the decency, goodwill, and acts of kindness which have been demonstrated. Neighbors helping neighbors — and beyond.

Looking ahead: Now that the winds have diminished and the rain, always present in Florida, is nonetheless far from severe, life goes on. However, it goes on in a slightly different manner. For those who lost so very much and for those who were simply inconvenienced, we now have the opportunity to think about what is really important in our lives and how we might make adjustments, as minor as they may seem, regarding our priorities. For the Jewish community, these forth-coming High Holy Days, coinciding with Irma, gives us a structured and significant way to reposition our lives where need be, and give thanks for the opportunity to do so.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (19)

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Marlon A. Hill, partner, Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel

Last week: Nature waits for no one. Before we arrived, hurricanes have been rolling through our adopted neighborhoods for generations. We need to establish a more robust civic preparation and response plan, including the establishment of local and statewide community endowments to tend to the needs of marginalized, distressed and vulnerable citizens. For those who cannot evacuate or find power or ice post hurricanes, we must be able to immediately access resources beyond that from our state and federal governments. There will be another Andrew, Katrina and Irma. Count on it. Let's figure this out.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (20)

Marty Kiar, Broward County Property Appraiser

Last week:On behalf of the Broward County Property Appraiser family, our thoughts and well wishes are with everyone affected by Hurricane Irma. Our sincere appreciation to all the first responders and personnel who take time away from their loved ones during challenging times. Thank you to all the businesses that open up as soon as possible to provide supplies and services to our residents. Thank you to FPL and all the power company employees who work day and night to get all power restored. Neighbors helping each other and this sense of community is what makes Broward County so special.

Looking ahead: While many properties have experienced downed trees and power lines, it is important property owners notify our office if they have sustained catastrophic structural damage to their property. Property owners can easily report any major damage by completing the online Hurricane Irma Catastrophic Structural Damage Report Form available at: http://bcpa.net/DamageForm.asp A final reminder: The ABSOLUTE deadline to file for a 2017 tax-saving exemption or a value appeal with the Value Adjustment Board is Monday, Sept. 18. To be eligible for a 2017 exemption, you must have owned and made the property your permanent residence on Jan. 1, 2017.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (21)

Kathy Koch, president, Ambit Advertising and Public Relations

Last week:We all learned with sickening horror that eight seniors died because air-conditioning stopped operating effectively in a nursing home where they lived. Finger pointing began immediately, but the simple reality is that housing for Florida’s vulnerable populations including seniors needs adequate backup power. In June 2017, CMS tightened national requirements to nursing homes requiring them to provide alternate sources of energy to maintain temperatures to protect resident health and safety. It is time that Tallahassee also implements stricter requirements, and then compels residential facilities to pass frequent inspections to make sure they are in compliance.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (22)

Chip LaMarca, member, Broward County Commission

Last week: As Broward County recovers from the effects of Hurricane Irma, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared Broward County eligible for individual assistance. I am proud to have worked with Congressman Ted Deutch (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) to obtain these critical resources from President Trump for everyone in Broward County. This FEMA Disaster Assistance can help support your recovery from a major disaster. If you have damage or sustained impact that you believe will result in future damage you are encouraged to register now either online at disasterassistance.gov or you can call 1-800-621-3362 to register. Early registration is highly recommended.

Looking ahead:As your County Commissioner representing nearly 75 percent of Broward’s beaches, I look forward as Broward County hosts the Florida Shores & Beaches Preservation Association’s 60th anniversary conference. We recently witnessed the immense difference it makes to have healthy beaches and dune structures to protect our coastal properties and upland infrastructure from hurricanes by reducing damages and coastal flooding. While we are still recovering from the damages of Hurricane Irma, we can clearly see that the recent beach renourishment project was our first line of defense against even greater damages to our coastal communities.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (23)

Ghenete Wright Muir, attorney. Realtor. LGBTQ advocate

Last week: Hurricane hysteria! South Floridians became more panic-stricken than perhaps ever before as we braced for Hurricane Irma. The broadcast media kept ratings and blood pressures high as they urged Floridians to prepare for the worst. Harvey, coupled with the anniversary of Andrew, certainly assisted in the effort. As Irma's potential paths were announced, long lines formed for basic necessities. Mandatory evacuations had many others flee in fear. Many were fearless and were not surprised that while Irma devastated some — for most, her bark was worse than her bite. Those spared are relieved and grateful for Irma’s mercy.

Looking ahead: Irate Irma impacted all Floridians. We remain in recovery mode. People will be recuperating from the stress and exhaustion from the anticipation and preparation for what was to be the worst hurricane to hit Florida. People will be working toward regaining a sense of normalcy. Some suffered greatly and many experienced the inconveniences of losing electricity, internet and the like. Businesses will work to reopen. Evacuees are still struggling to return home. Fallen trees will need to be cleared, roofs repaired, etc. Parents will be happy to have their kids back in school. Lessons learned.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (24)

Frank Ortis, mayor, Pembroke Pines

Last week: Cities across our state are focused on continued Hurricane Irma recovery. Residents’ safety and best interests are top priorities. Unforeseen occurrences at the hands of Mother Nature tested us all as we worked around the clock to make repairs, clear streets and ensure residents’ needs were taken care of as soon as possible. I want to sincerely thank all those who tirelessly worked through and after this monster storm, and the many volunteers who gave of their time. I’m proud of our citizens, and how all of Florida joined together at a very trying time for our state.

Looking ahead:We may not always agree, however I was very impressed with our governor’s handling of Hurricane Irma throughout the state. I am pleased that he has ordered a three-month freeze on insurance rate increases for our homeowners struggling to recover from Irma, and a three-month grace period for policyholders who received non-renewal or cancellation notices just before the storm. This was the logical and humane thing to do. This is a time to protect our citizens, and support recovery efforts in every way possible.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (25)

Gary Resnick, mayor, Wilton Manors

Last week: We will continue to experience large storms with loss of lives and utilities and creating devastating economic loss. One of the things we need to explore as a region is burying utility lines and installing all new utility lines underground. With modern technology, we should not have to go through this time and time again.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (26)

Nan Rich, member, Broward County Commission

Last week: In a county with over 400,000 seniors and countless assisted living facilities and nursing homes, the safety and security of frail elderly must be paramount. Providing vulnerable seniors basic necessities like electricity and critical medical services during an emergency should be a top priority. Instead, some of our most vulnerable citizens were forgotten during Hurricane Irma, and an unspeakable tragedy ensued. After we recover from the storm, we must re-prioritize how power and other basic necessities are allocated in the wake of a natural disaster. Those who cannot help themselves can never again be left to fend for themselves.

(Video) Preparation For The Coming Storm (A Lesson from Hurricane Irma)

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (27)

Jonathan Schwartz, Associate Vice President, Operations Planning and Real Estate, Broward College

Last week: The recovery after a hurricane is difficult, but it also highlights the resiliency our of community and how helpful our neighbors are. Although South Florida was spared the brunt of the storm, many in our community were left in need of basic necessities including food and water, and transportation issues around fuel shortages and shortened public transit schedules. At Broward College, we’ve created an Emergency Relief Fund through the Broward College Foundation to assist our college community in being able to recover back to normal. Our college locations with power are being used for our students and staff to escape the heat of their homes and enjoy the a/c and connect to the internet. We have food and water deliveries to assist those who are impacted by boil water advisories. I’ve been blown away by the help offered by so many community organization and get chills when I see the national guard leading a motorcade of power utility trucks and fuel tankers. The road to recovery will not be easy for our State but I have full confidence in the people of Florida that we will quickly get the job done.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (28)

John "Jack" P. Seiler, mayor, Fort Lauderdale

Last week: As Fort Lauderdale works to get things back to normal, our thoughts and prayers remain with those tragically impacted by Hurricane Irma. Our city is grateful to have what matters most – families, friends, and each other. As Mayor, I am proud of our neighbors for being vigilant, resilient, and well-prepared, and even prouder of the many acts of kindness, compassion, service, and support performed throughout our community. The goodness of people often shines through in the most challenging times, and nowhere was this more evident than in our great City. Let's continue to work together, stay together, and recover together.

Looking ahead: As neighbors begin to restore their homes and properties, Fort Lauderdale reminds everyone to please use only licensed contractors for repairs, clean up, construction, and post-Irma related work. To assist in the recovery and expedite repair work, our City Commission has waived certain building permits and fees and streamlined the process for others. Please visit www.fortlauderdale.gov for specific details. In addition, our Police Department has established a Hurricane Irma Fraud Hotline at 954-828-5559 for neighbors and businesses to report any fraud related to the storm. Please remember to look out for your fellow neighbors so that no one gets taken advantage of during this time.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (29)

Barbara M. Sharief, mayor, Broward County

Last week:This has been a difficult week for all of Broward County due to Hurricane Irma. County staff has done a wonderful job assisting residents and businesses as we all recover from this landmark storm. It is important to remember that recovering from a storm requires a lot of coordination and planning. Within a short period of time we opened emergency shelters, evacuated thousands of residents and worked around the clock to ensure the safety of everyone in our county. In times like this, Broward County truly shines as we help each other through this difficult period. Broward beat Irma!

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (30)

Eleanor Sobel, former member, Florida Senate

Last week: Paradise was spared but not for 8 elderly in a Hollywood nursing home. No finger pointing because EVERYONE is to blame-the Feds, the State, local government, lousy reimbursements, poor oversight, communication breakdown, off-site facility ownerships, and to us who keep sweeping under the carpet the need for economic, political and social reform. Big Irma showered us with little mercy. Personal routines were disrupted. Yet we managed through the heat and humidity and with scarce resources to help each other-neighbor looking after neighbor before and after the hurricane. Who was looking after these vulnerable frail elderly before and after the storm?

Looking ahead:Hillary donned boxing gloves too late. In “What Happened” Clinton uppers cuts Bernie Sanders, James B. Comey, Joe Biden, Obama, the media, the Russians, and of course Donald Trump. Why did she write this book: cathartic for her; helps her income; her concern for democratic institutions; and preserves her role as a model for millions of young girls and women. She swings at racists who claimed she only supported minorities. As a former first lady of Arkansas and USA, senator from New York, secretary of state and first woman candidate from a major political party, she deserves our attention.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (31)

Robert Weinroth, council member, Boca Raton

Last week:There can be little debate on the event with the greatest impact on South Florida last week. Hurricane Irma will join Erika, Harvey, Igor, Ingrid, Irene, Joaquin, Matthew, Otto, Sandy and Tomas as names retired this decade due to the death and destruction left behind in their wake. Covering the entire Florida peninsula, Irma, created a unity of purpose as neighbors came together, preparing in the days before the storm’s arrival and responding with compassion to those hardest hit by the storm’s wrath. Neighbor helping neighbor, proving, once again, the virtues of our residents and ability to quickly bounce back.

Looking ahead: With Hurricane Irma history, it’s time for residents and municipalities to get back to work. Schools have re-opened as residents return to their daily routine. For our municipalities, counties and taxing districts, decisions must be made on their FY 2017-2018 budgets. Delayed public review and approval of budgets by elected representatives must be addressed in short order to allow the Florida Department of Revenue time for their review and certification of approved budgets. In the City of Boca Raton, the proposed $5.9 million increased cost of providing municipal services will be generated by increased property values not increased millage rate.

Florida bruised, but not broken after Hurricane Irma | South Florida 100 (32)

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Archdiocese of Miami

Last week: Twenty-five percent of housing in the Keys destroyed per reports. These destroyed dwellings mostly housed the Key’s work force – those people in service sector – from teachers and police officers to waitresses and bus boys that make up that guarantee the success and prosperity of the Keys as a tourist mecca. This sector was already hard pressed by lack of affordable housing. In aftermath of Irma, safe and affordable housing becomes an even more critical issue requiring a strategic and rapid response if Paradise is to keep its allure.

Looking ahead: There are now 2.6 million people addicted to drugs derived from the opium poppy. The CDC says there were 33,000 fatalities last year, helping turn drug overdoses into the leading cause of death among the under-50s. Much like HIV-AIDs was ignored or denied in the early 1980s, addiction to opiates is being both ignored and denied by most Americans. In some U.S. counties, the number of prescriptions for opiate drugs surpasses the number of residents. This is a serious health crisis and a criminal justice issue that will soon affect every American family.


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What impact did Hurricane Irma have on Florida? ›

Irma's 185-mph maximum winds continued for 37 hours — the longest any cyclone on record around the globe maintained that intensity. Sixty-five percent of the state was without power immediately after the storm — 6.5 million homes and businesses.

What part of Florida was hit the hardest? ›

Fort Myers Beach, a coastal city on a barrier island, was among the areas hardest hit, with storm surges nearly reaching the roofs of some houses.

How strong was Irma when it hit Florida? ›

Note Irma's location over southwest Florida on the afternoon of September 10 th. Image courtesy of UW CIMSS. The major hurricane made landfall near Marco Island in southwest Florida around 3 pm EDT on September 10 th, as a category-3 storm with 115 MPH. Naples, Florida reported a peak wind gust of 142 MPH.

What was the worst hurricane in Florida? ›

The strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on the state was the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, which crossed the Florida Keys with a pressure of 892 mbar (hPa; 26.35 inHg); it is also the strongest hurricane on record to strike the United States.

Was Hurricane Irma stronger than Katrina? ›

With sustained winds of 180mph, #Irma is now stronger than Katrina was at its peak. A monstrous, horrific storm. The media could not be played. Katrina, one of the five deadliest hurricanes in US history, started over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005.

What city in Florida doesn't get hurricanes? ›

Palatka. Palatka is the safest city in Florida from hurricanes. It is a small town just inland from St. Augustine and about 60 miles south of Jacksonville, located on the St.

Which coast of Florida is safer? ›

The safest place to live in Florida is Satellite Beach. You'll feel safe living in this quaint city on Florida's space coast, which is home to just over 11,000 people. In 2021, there were only six violent crimes in Satellite Beach, easily making it the safest place to live in Florida.

What city in Florida has the most hurricanes? ›

1. Southeast Florida (Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach) Southeast Florida is very susceptible to hurricanes, given its location at the tip of the state.

Is Irma the strongest hurricane in history so far? ›

It was also the third strongest Atlantic hurricane at landfall ever recorded, just behind the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and Dorian.

What kind of damage did Hurricane Irma do? ›

Irma maintained its peak strength as it made landfall over Barbuda, Sint Maarten, and Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands. Irma caused 52 direct and 82 indirect deaths, and US$77.16 billion in damages.

What hurricane caused the most damage in history? ›

For all United States hurricanes, Hurricane Katrina (2005, $190.0B*) is the costliest storm on record. Hurricane Harvey (2017, $151.3B*) ranks second, Hurricane Ian (2022, $112.9B*) ranks third, Hurricane Maria (2017, $108.9B*) ranks fourth, and Hurricane Sandy (2012, $83.9B*) ranks fifth.

Has a Category 5 hurricane ever hit Florida? ›

Updated September 28, 2022 at 3:37 PM ET

Those Category 5 storms, with maximum sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more as measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale, all hit the U.S. on the Gulf Coast — three in Florida and one in Mississippi.

What would happen if a Category 5 hurricane hit Florida? ›

The damage from Category 5 hurricane winds can be catastrophic, with homes and businesses destroyed, uprooted trees and railroad tracks, power outages that can last for months and a storm surge that crests over communities. The wind scale does not account for flooding, storm surge or tornadoes.

When was the worst Florida hurricane? ›

The 11 Worst Hurricanes in Florida's History
  • 1935 – The Labor Day Hurricane – Category 5.
  • 1948 – The October 1948 Hurricane – Category 3.
  • 1960 – Hurricane Donna – Category 4.
  • 1965 – Hurricane Betsy – Category 3.
  • 1992 – Hurricane Andrew – Category 5.
  • 2017 – Hurricane Irma – Category 4.

What is the safest place in Florida during a hurricane? ›

If you want to stay as safe as possible from hurricanes but still want to reap the benefits of being a Florida citizen, inland Florida near the northern border of Georgia is the best place to live. It is the least hurricane-prone area in Florida.

Which hurricane hits Florida hardest? ›

The “Labor Day” Hurricane of 1935 was responsible for 409 deaths. It was a Category 5 hurricane with max winds of 185 mph and remains to be the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in Florida. Since 1900, only four other storms are responsible for more deaths in Florida.

What part of Florida is least likely to be hit by a hurricane? ›

While the coasts of Florida are beautiful and great areas to live outside of hurricane season, the central and northeastern parts of Florida are generally safer from these storm events.

Which hurricane was worse soda or Katrina? ›

Hurricane Ian is now the deadliest hurricane in the continental United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

What was worse Katrina or Irma? ›

Katrina still ranks as both the deadliest and most expensive hurricane in modern U.S. history. Excluding Katrina, Hurricane Irma was the costliest in Florida history, with total U.S. damage from the storm estimated at $50 billion.

What hurricane was bigger than Katrina? ›

As the table below suggests, Ida, which hit New Orleans more directly than Katrina did in 2005 – and mustered greater and more concentrated destructive power – wreaked only a fraction of the loss of life and property damages. Why is this so significant?

What is the safest town in Florida? ›

The Villages has the lowest county violent crime and property crime rate in Florida. What is the safest area to live in Florida? According to our research, the three safest cities in Florida are The Villages, Palm Coast, and Riverview.

What is the safest area in Florida? ›

Safest Places to Live in Florida
  1. Naples. Naples is not only famous for its low crime rate, but also its fabulous schools and amenities. ...
  2. Weston. Weston Town Square. ...
  3. Satellite Beach. ...
  4. Palm Beach. ...
  5. Cape Coral. ...
  6. Parkland. ...
  7. Santa Rosa Beach, FL. ...
  8. Windermere.
Dec 27, 2022

What city has the most crime in Florida? ›

The most dangerous cities in Florida are Lake City, Riviera Beach and Cocoa. If you're moving to the sunshine state, you'll want to avoid these places and the other worst cities in Florida for violent crime.

Where is the cheapest place to live in Florida? ›

Cheapest Places to Live in Florida in 2022
  • Jacksonville.
  • Cape Coral.
  • Gainesville.
  • Dade City.
  • Dunedin.
  • Kissimmee.
  • Bartow.
  • Homosassa Springs.
Oct 13, 2022

Which side of Florida gets the most hurricanes? ›

Straight away it's evident Florida's Gulf Coast has been far more hurricane prone than Florida's east coast. Of the 131 hurricanes to make landfall in Florida over the past 171 years, 117 or 68% of them have made landfall along Florida's Gulf coast. That also includes 65% of major hurricanes to make landfall.

What states are worst for hurricanes? ›

As of August 2022, a total of 303 Atlantic tropical cyclones have produced hurricane-force winds in every state along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico (as well as Pennsylvania), with Florida having had more hurricanes affecting it than any other state.

Is living in Florida good? ›

Every day, the Sunshine State attracts hundreds of newcomers to its sandy shores – and it's not hard to see why. No state income tax, sunny weather, its diverse population, delectable food and exciting attractions make it a particularly interesting place to live.

What is the number 1 strongest hurricane? ›

With a wind speed of 185 mph at landfall, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 is the strongest hurricane ever to hit the United States. It was also the first recorded Category 5 storm in the country's history.

Was Ian worse than Irma? ›

While the two hurricanes shared some similarities, experts said storm surge, flooding and rainfall from Ian was more severe. And though Ian and Charley made landfall as Category 4 storms, hurricanes in recent years have become rainier and more intense because of climate change.

What hurricane hit Florida in 2022? ›

The 2022 season saw three hurricane landfalls along the coast of the U.S. mainland. Hurricane Ian made landfall first as a Category 4 storm in Cayo Costa, Florida, and again as a Category 1 in Georgetown, South Carolina.

Was Irma a Category 5 hurricane? ›

Irma was a long-lived Cape Verde hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands.

Why did Hurricane Irma cause so much damage? ›

Uniquely Destructive Characteristics

It easily beat out past hurricanes for length of Category 5 status before making landfall, maintaining winds of 185 mph or higher for 37 hours. It was estimated that 70,000 square miles of the U.S. was subjected to at least tropical storm force winds during Hurricane Irma.

What are the 3 worst hurricanes in US history? ›

What Was the Worst Hurricane in History?
  • #8: Hurricane Michael (2018) ...
  • #7: Hurricane Camille (1969) ...
  • #6: Hurricane Andrew (1992) ...
  • #5: The 1926 Hurricane. ...
  • #4: Hurricane Harvey (2017) ...
  • #3: 1900 Hurricane. ...
  • #2: Hurricane Katrina (2005) ...
  • #1: Hurricane Maria (2017)
Oct 3, 2022

What causes 90% of deaths in hurricanes? ›

Water is the No. 1 killer during a hurricane or tropical storm that strikes the U.S. – comprising nearly 90% of all tropical cyclone deaths – mostly by drowning in either storm surge, rainfall flooding or high surf, according to a 2014 study by Dr. Edward Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center.

Which hurricane caused the most deaths in the United States? ›

Great Galveston Hurricane

What is a Category 7 hurricane? ›

A Category 7 is a hypothetical rating beyond the maximum rating of Category 5. A storm of this magnitude would most likely have winds between 215 and 245 mph, with a minimum pressure between 820-845 millibars.

Was Katrina a cat 5? ›

After moving west across south Florida and into the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina intensified rapidly and attained Category 5 status (with peak sustained winds of 175mph) for a period of time as it moved northwest on August 28th.

Have we ever had a category 6 hurricane? ›

In the midst of an unusually ferocious string of hurricanes in 2017, there was some speculation about whether storms could hit a Category 6. There is officially no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane.

Can a house survive a Category 5 hurricane? ›

It's hard to believe that the same quaint, debonair homes are built to withstand Mother Nature's ultimate test — a Category 5 hurricane. It's something they've done before, and will inevitably do again.

What cat 5 hit Florida? ›

Labor Day Hurricane, 1935

The first recorded Category 5 hurricane hit the U.S. in 1935, before hurricanes started receiving human names. This storm, known as Labor Day Hurricane, strengthened as it made its way from the Bahamas to Florida, where it reached the middle of the Florida Keys on September 2 as a Category 5.

Can a hurricane be stronger than Cat 5? ›

The Saffir-Simpson Scale increases the storm rating every 15 mph, and Hurricane Dorian (2019) produced winds much more than 15 mph faster than Category Five captures. If the scale extended to a Category Six rating, Dorian would have qualified.

What are the 5 worst hurricanes to hit Florida? ›

Here are the worst hurricanes in Florida's history as the state recovers from Hurricane Ian
  • Worst hurricanes in FL history: Hurricane Andrew circa 1992 – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by: Joseph Sohm. ...
  • Hurricane Andrew, 1992. ...
  • Hurricane Charley, 2004. ...
  • Hurricane Wilma, 2005. ...
  • Hurricane Irma, 2017. ...
  • Hurricane Michael, 2018.
Oct 5, 2022

How many hurricanes have hit Florida in the last 100 years? ›

– Over the past 100 years, only 25 hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or above -- the threshold of a major hurricane -- have reached Florida.

Has a hurricane ever hit Florida twice? ›

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida (twice). The near-Category 5 hurricane landed around Cayo Costa State Park at just after 3 p.m. After passing over the barrier island, it made landfall again at Punta Gorda after pushing through Charlotte Harbor. The NHC reported storm surge as high as 18 feet in the area.

How did Florida recover from Hurricane Irma? ›

– Three years after Hurricane Irma made landfall, Florida communities are rebuilding with the support of $5.8 billion in federal grants, loans and flood insurance payments. “Our federal partners have been critical to Florida's recovery from hurricanes,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis.

What were the environmental impacts of Irma? ›

Wastewater systems overwhelmed by the storm resulted in sewage spills in some communities, and some waterways and beaches are closed; Polluted water entering Lake Okeechobee from the north and the south is quickly raising lake levels dangerously high.

What is the effect of hurricanes in Florida? ›

Thousands of animals are killed, waterways are damaged, trees are uprooted and the ground is eroded. As a natural part of Earth's climate, these disasters are events that have been altering the coasts for millions of years.

How long did it take to clean up after Hurricane Irma? ›

Initially, the county estimated it would take as long as three months to haul away the debris, but it finished in two months, he said. Puz said the county operated more collection sites than it did for previous storms, which expedited the efforts. “They were able to handle more loads per day,” he said.

How long did it take for Florida to recover from Irma? ›

One year after Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction through Florida the state received more than half a billion dollars to repair and rebuild homes for thousands of families. More than three years later fewer than half of the repair projects have been completed.

How did Hurricane Irma affect humans? ›

The devastation of Hurricane Irma lead a massive scale evacuation in affected areas, creating the largest evacuation in the United States and in the Bahamas in history. About 5.6 million people were ordered to evacuate by Sunday, prior to the landfall of the storm.

Where was most affected by Hurricane Irma? ›

Hurricane Irma

How much property damage did Hurricane Irma? ›

Wind is estimated to have caused $13.5 billion to $19 billion of the total damage to residential and commercial property, CoreLogic said. Of that, an estimated $11 billion to $15 billion represents residential loss. Private insurers usually cover such damage, the report said.

What is the safest place in Florida from hurricanes? ›

Palatka is the safest city in Florida from hurricanes. It is a small town just inland from St. Augustine and about 60 miles south of Jacksonville, located on the St. Johns River.

What parts of Florida get hit the hardest with hurricanes? ›

1. Southeast Florida (Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach) Southeast Florida is very susceptible to hurricanes, given its location at the tip of the state. Most large hurricanes affect Southeast Florida with storm surges and plentiful rain – and those that make direct landfall can cause severe damage.

Why is Florida in more danger from a hurricane than New York? ›

It probably comes as no surprise that Florida has been hit by more hurricanes than any other state since the inception of the Saffir/Simpson scale in 1851. Its location directly between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico makes it susceptible to hurricanes that come from either side.

What was the strongest hurricane ever? ›

With a wind speed of 185 mph at landfall, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 is the strongest hurricane ever to hit the United States. It was also the first recorded Category 5 storm in the country's history.


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