Hurricane Irma

By | October 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma Strikes Florida

On the morning of September, 10, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall at 9:10 a.m., at Cudjoe Key before continuing its assault up the spine of the Florida peninsula. 

Over six million Floridians evacuated — the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history. 

Forty-eight of Florida’s 67 counties were declared federal disaster areas. 

Irma was the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005.

It was the strongest storm on record over the Atlantic Ocean (there were stronger storms in the Caribbean and Gulf). 

WUFT covered the storm from before it made landfall through the recovery efforts. These are our stories. 

Gainesville Nonprofit Readying Diabetes Supplies For Irma Response

A Gainesville nonprofit is preparing to ship thousands of pounds of diabetes-management supplies to those in the path of Hurricane Irma — days after it also did so in response to Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas. Insulin for Life USA has already started to coordinate with partner organizations in South Florida and Puerto Rico to donate and ship the supplies, said Mark Atkinson, president of the organization and director of the University of Florida Diabetes Institute.
A Gainesville nonprofit is preparing to ship thousands of pounds of diabetes-management supplies to those in the path of Hurricane Irma — days after it also did so in response to Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas. Insulin for Life USA has already started to coordinate with partner organizations in South Florida and Puerto Rico to donate and ship the supplies, said Mark Atkinson, president of the organization and director of the University of Florida Diabetes Institute.

In Photos: Florida Preparing For Hurricane Irma

Residents purchase water at BJ Wholesale in preparation for Hurricane Irma Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Miami. Hurricane Irma grew into a dangerous Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday on a path that could eventually take it to the United States.   (Roberto Koltun/Miami Herald via AP)
Residents purchase water at BJ Wholesale in preparation for Hurricane Irma Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Miami. Hurricane Irma grew into a dangerous Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday on a path that could eventually take it to the United States. (Roberto Koltun/Miami Herald via AP)

Ahead Of Irma, Florida Farmers Seek Shelter For Cattle

In preparation for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall in Florida on Saturday, farmers and livestock owners across the state are searching for secure facilities for their animals.In preparation for Irma, livestock owners can drop off their animals at secure facilities up to hurricane standards, said Cindy Sanders, IFAS Alachua County Division director. But if they are unable to, they should let the animals roam in the pastures instead of leaving them inside barns or stalls.
In preparation for Hurricane Irma’s potential landfall in Florida on Saturday, farmers and livestock owners across the state are searching for secure facilities for their animals.In preparation for Irma, livestock owners can drop off their animals at secure facilities up to hurricane standards, said Cindy Sanders, IFAS Alachua County Division director. But if they are unable to, they should let the animals roam in the pastures instead of leaving them inside barns or stalls.

Commissioner To Welcome Homeless Guests During Hurricane Irma

Alachua County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson is planning on welcoming Mark Venzke and four of his friends into his home starting Friday to ride out Hurricane Irma. Homeless shelters around the region have been setting out their emergency plans in advance of Irma, including Gainesville’s GRACE Marketplace and Dignity Village, which neighbors GRACE and has about 200 residents.But the available space there and elsewhere might not be enough, so Hutchinson is encouraging others to also invite those in need into their homes.
Alachua County Commissioner Robert Hutchinson is planning on welcoming Mark Venzke and four of his friends into his home starting Friday to ride out Hurricane Irma. Homeless shelters around the region have been setting out their emergency plans in advance of Irma, including Gainesville’s GRACE Marketplace and Dignity Village, which neighbors GRACE and has about 200 residents.But the available space there and elsewhere might not be enough, so Hutchinson is encouraging others to also invite those in need into their homes.

Gainesville Companies Bracing For Debris Ahead Of Irma

Students and companies are both worried about debris in areas like Varsity House. The National Weather Service classifies any winds of 50-60 mph or above to be “damaging winds,”  so Hurricane Irma doesn’t need to be a Category 5 in Gainesville to pick up debris or damage buildings. And if it’s going to do any damage, it’s likely to be from wind rather than rain. “Everybody knows their role,” said Wayne Mattox, spokesman for Clay Electric. “This is not our first rodeo when it comes to dealing with a major storm.”
Students and companies are both worried about debris in areas like Varsity House. The National Weather Service classifies any winds of 50-60 mph or above to be “damaging winds,” so Hurricane Irma doesn’t need to be a Category 5 in Gainesville to pick up debris or damage buildings. And if it’s going to do any damage, it’s likely to be from wind rather than rain. “Everybody knows their role,” said Wayne Mattox, spokesman for Clay Electric. “This is not our first rodeo when it comes to dealing with a major storm.”

Hurricane Irma Recovery Updates For North Central Florida

A live blog put together before, during and after the storm to inform the residents of North Central Florida about updates on things like school closings, shops open and news from organizations all across the state. Also includes ways to help around the county, human services and transportation information.
A live blog put together before, during and after the storm to inform the residents of North Central Florida about updates on things like school closings, shops open and news from organizations all across the state. Also includes ways to help around the county, human services and transportation information.

Levy County Residents Under Mandatory Evacuations

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for all Levy County residents due to Hurricane Irma. Officials released a statement Saturday evening saying Cedar Key and Yankeetown could be inaccessible due to damages from the storm. With Hurricane Irma’s path shifting west, officials fear the county could see hurricane force winds for more than 24 hours.
A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for all Levy County residents due to Hurricane Irma. Officials released a statement Saturday evening saying Cedar Key and Yankeetown could be inaccessible due to damages from the storm. With Hurricane Irma’s path shifting west, officials fear the county could see hurricane force winds for more than 24 hours.

South Floridians Use Social Media To Share Storm

A gallery put together with the help of the Banjo app. This gallery includes images gathered from the social media accounts of people who were experiencing the storm in real time. From the moment Irma made landfall in Key West, until the end of the storm in North Central Florida, this gallery follows it all.
A gallery put together with the help of the Banjo app. This gallery includes images gathered from the social media accounts of people who were experiencing the storm in real time. From the moment Irma made landfall in Key West, until the end of the storm in North Central Florida, this gallery follows it all.

Photo Gallery: Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall in Florida

It took less than 24 hours after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida for the storm to cause mass destruction. This photo gallery contains pictures of Irma's damage from various parts in Florida: Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, Hillsborough County and Central Florida. The storm, which started in Key West at a category 4, was a category 2 by the time it hit Miami.
It took less than 24 hours after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida for the storm to cause mass destruction. This photo gallery contains pictures of Irma’s damage from various parts in Florida: Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, Hillsborough County and Central Florida. The storm, which started in Key West at a category 4, was a category 2 by the time it hit Miami.

Gainesvillians Document Irma’s Wrath On Social Media

This gallery was put together with the help of the Banjo app. Using social media posts, Gainesville residents shared with others the effects of the storm around the community. This image is the flood waters rushing through the Turkey Creek subdivision in Alachua following heavy rains from Hurricane Irma.
This gallery was put together with the help of the Banjo app. Using social media posts, Gainesville residents shared with others the effects of the storm around the community. This image is the flood waters rushing through the Turkey Creek subdivision in Alachua following heavy rains from Hurricane Irma.

Broken Traffic Lights Put Drivers And Walkers In Danger After Irma

Some major intersections in Gainesville still have no working stoplights, putting drivers and pedestrians in danger, after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. Repair crews are triaging broken stop lights to fix the busiest ones first. Gainesville Police Department tweeted about the problem. "Clearly this needs to be posted again. If the traffic light is out, treat as four-way stop. It's the law, and to do otherwise is dangerous."
Some major intersections in Gainesville still have no working stoplights, putting drivers and pedestrians in danger, after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. Repair crews are triaging broken stop lights to fix the busiest ones first. Gainesville Police Department tweeted about the problem. “Clearly this needs to be posted again. If the traffic light is out, treat as four-way stop. It’s the law, and to do otherwise is dangerous.”

Gas Shortages Continue In Alachua County After Irma

Those waiting in line are both evacuees traveling on major arteries to return to their houses and locals already in their homes but lacking in some components of everyday life — power for their cars but also, still in many places, power for their homes.  Meanwhile, officials are organizing relief and reassuring Floridians of it.  Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that fuel tankers were entering Port Tampa Bay. He said Florida Highway Patrol will escort the tanks directly to gas stations.
Those waiting in line are both evacuees traveling on major arteries to return to their houses and locals already in their homes but lacking in some components of everyday life — power for their cars but also, still in many places, power for their homes. Meanwhile, officials are organizing relief and reassuring Floridians of it. Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that fuel tankers were entering Port Tampa Bay. He said Florida Highway Patrol will escort the tanks directly to gas stations.

Officials No Longer Anticipate I-75 Shutdown After Irma

Originally, Florida transportation officials were preparing for the likely closure of Interstate 75 north of Gainesville as waters from the Santa Fe River were expected to continue to rise and make the road unsafe. The closure would have been for all I-75 lanes between Interstate 10 to the north and U.S. Route 441 to the south, and it would have surely caused further traffic nightmares for Hurricane Irma evacuees returning home on the already-clogged roads. Interstate 75 did not close but officials closed a bridge section of U.S. Route 41 north of downtown High Springs because of Santa Fe River flooding.
Originally, Florida transportation officials were preparing for the likely closure of Interstate 75 north of Gainesville as waters from the Santa Fe River were expected to continue to rise and make the road unsafe. The closure would have been for all I-75 lanes between Interstate 10 to the north and U.S. Route 441 to the south, and it would have surely caused further traffic nightmares for Hurricane Irma evacuees returning home on the already-clogged roads. Interstate 75 did not close but officials closed a bridge section of U.S. Route 41 north of downtown High Springs because of Santa Fe River flooding.

Power Still Out? Here’s Why

Over 3.5 million Florida utility customers are still without power as of Wednesday afternoon after the storm. Many North Central Floridians are losing patience and wanting to know how long before their electricity is restored. The four electricity updates provided in the article are SECO, Ocala Electric Utility, Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Duke Energy, Gainesville Regional Utilities and Clay Electric.
Over 3.5 million Florida utility customers are still without power as of Wednesday afternoon after the storm. Many North Central Floridians are losing patience and wanting to know how long before their electricity is restored. The four electricity updates provided in the article are SECO, Ocala Electric Utility, Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Duke Energy, Gainesville Regional Utilities and Clay Electric.

Police: Post-Irma Line Cutter At Ocala Gas Station Slams Employee

A 25-year-old man was arrested by Ocala police after they say he cut a car line waiting for gas and picked up and slammed a station employee.  Rashad V.  Johnson and driver Brittney Newton cut the waiting line at the Diamond Oil gas station in Ocala, the release said. An employee asked them to go to the end of the line or leave. Witnesses told police that Johnson lifted the employee between 6 inches and 1 foot off the ground, and they provided cell phone video of the incident to them.
A 25-year-old man was arrested by Ocala police after they say he cut a car line waiting for gas and picked up and slammed a station employee. Rashad V. Johnson and driver Brittney Newton cut the waiting line at the Diamond Oil gas station in Ocala, the release said. An employee asked them to go to the end of the line or leave. Witnesses told police that Johnson lifted the employee between 6 inches and 1 foot off the ground, and they provided cell phone video of the incident to them.

Greener Pastures In Sight For Alachua Horse Sanctuary After Irma

Irma has left a destructive trail of flooding, power outages and gas shortages across Florida. And while many people got in their cars just before it hit and fled north and west to safety, Paul Gregory stayed home to care for Mill Creek’s 140 horses — and Lady Guinevere the hound. The 400-acre sanctuary is home to retired military, police and circus horses as well as those that were neglected and abused and then rescued by other organizations. Some of them are blind, some are emaciated, and all are at least 20 years old. “All that matters is that they’re all safe," Gregory said.
Irma has left a destructive trail of flooding, power outages and gas shortages across Florida. And while many people got in their cars just before it hit and fled north and west to safety, Paul Gregory stayed home to care for Mill Creek’s 140 horses — and Lady Guinevere the hound. The 400-acre sanctuary is home to retired military, police and circus horses as well as those that were neglected and abused and then rescued by other organizations. Some of them are blind, some are emaciated, and all are at least 20 years old. “All that matters is that they’re all safe,” Gregory said.

Deputy Ride-Along Shows Alachua County Flooding, Alligators On Streets

Emergency responders, including deputies from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, are continuing their response to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  To see this firsthand, WUFT News rode along with Deputy Chris Sims on Tuesday, joining him on a search-and-rescue effort and an alligator encounter.
Emergency responders, including deputies from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, are continuing their response to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. To see this firsthand, WUFT News rode along with Deputy Chris Sims on Tuesday, joining him on a search-and-rescue effort and an alligator encounter.

Archer Elementary School Offers Free Meals To Students And Parents Affected By Hurricane Irma

The community of Archer is coming together to offer meals and donations to these families.  Archer Elementary School is offering free breakfast and lunch meals. Children 18 and under eat for free and adults can pay $1.25 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch.  Florida Senator Bill Nelson also passed by Archer to assist the Salvation Army in handing out meals to families that remain without power.
The community of Archer is coming together to offer meals and donations to these families. Archer Elementary School is offering free breakfast and lunch meals. Children 18 and under eat for free and adults can pay $1.25 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch. Florida Senator Bill Nelson also passed by Archer to assist the Salvation Army in handing out meals to families that remain without power.

The Hills Of Santa Fe Flooded After Irma

In the hills of Santa Fe, there are families whose houses along with a few neighbors are drowning in 6 feet of water as he county works to drain the flooded community. Hurricane Irma flooded the entrance to Mauricio Pena's neighborhood and the surrounding area as well. The damage is overwhelming.The family alone lost three cars, keepsakes, vinyl albums and an entire bedroom, but amid the tragedy the Penas are keeping their spirits high.
In the hills of Santa Fe, there are families whose houses along with a few neighbors are drowning in 6 feet of water as he county works to drain the flooded community. Hurricane Irma flooded the entrance to Mauricio Pena’s neighborhood and the surrounding area as well. The damage is overwhelming.The family alone lost three cars, keepsakes, vinyl albums and an entire bedroom, but amid the tragedy the Penas are keeping their spirits high.

After Irma, Debris Pick Up Begins Around North Central Florida

Parts of North Central Florida started the process of recovering from Hurricane Irma by picking up storm debris around several zones in the region.  Chip Skinner, Gainesville communications officer, said Gainesville is on the evaluation process. Gainesville residents will need to be patient because there will be expected delays in the pick-up process of yard waste. There are a few parameters that residents need to follow when throwing out their yard waste.
Parts of North Central Florida started the process of recovering from Hurricane Irma by picking up storm debris around several zones in the region. Chip Skinner, Gainesville communications officer, said Gainesville is on the evaluation process. Gainesville residents will need to be patient because there will be expected delays in the pick-up process of yard waste. There are a few parameters that residents need to follow when throwing out their yard waste.

Florida Wildlife Care Becomes Refuge For Injured Animals After Hurricane Irma

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma didn’t just leave fallen trees in the streets, people without power, or homes flooded; its destruction also left Florida’s wildlife in critical condition.  Florida Wildlife Care helps animals recover from the impending damage that Hurricane Irma had on the wildlife of Florida. The FWC began receiving animals affected by the storm as early as Sunday afternoon, according to Straub. On Monday FWC took in the highest number of animals than any other day, accounting for over 100 animals.
The aftermath of Hurricane Irma didn’t just leave fallen trees in the streets, people without power, or homes flooded; its destruction also left Florida’s wildlife in critical condition. Florida Wildlife Care helps animals recover from the impending damage that Hurricane Irma had on the wildlife of Florida. The FWC began receiving animals affected by the storm as early as Sunday afternoon, according to Straub. On Monday FWC took in the highest number of animals than any other day, accounting for over 100 animals.

Severe Flooding Caused By Irma Leaves Samson City Residents Without Power

The rain from Hurricane Irma caused Lake Samson to overflow and has lead to floods ranging from two to four feet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared Bradford County an area designated for individual assistance. The county had a difficult time trying to get residents to evacuate to shelters. Areas of plantations are up to six feet underwater. Bill Wilson, 52, said the flooding is the worst he has seen in the 20 years he’s lived in the area.
The rain from Hurricane Irma caused Lake Samson to overflow and has lead to floods ranging from two to four feet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared Bradford County an area designated for individual assistance. The county had a difficult time trying to get residents to evacuate to shelters. Areas of plantations are up to six feet underwater. Bill Wilson, 52, said the flooding is the worst he has seen in the 20 years he’s lived in the area.

Severe Flooding Caused By Irma Leaves Samson City Residents Without Power

The storm surge from a nearby retention pond brought several inches of water into the home of Wendy Sheehan. The water rose above the baseboards, ruining everything in its wake including the flooring, furniture and drywall. More than 24 hours after the storm, water still splashed as neighbors and family walked across the debris-soaked carpet. Many of the Robin Lane neighborhood residents are wondering why the Sheehan home flooded.
The storm surge from a nearby retention pond brought several inches of water into the home of Wendy Sheehan. The water rose above the baseboards, ruining everything in its wake including the flooring, furniture and drywall. More than 24 hours after the storm, water still splashed as neighbors and family walked across the debris-soaked carpet. Many of the Robin Lane neighborhood residents are wondering why the Sheehan home flooded.

In Photos: Bradford County Flooding

Bradford County had severe flooding after the storm. These are images gathered by Emma Green, which demonstrate how much of the area was flooding post-Irma. In the above picture, Justin Daugherty, right, offers his neighbor Bruce Hines, far left, a metal piece to attach to his truck after it got stuck in the flooded New River in Bradford County while he was trying to put his boat in the water on Sept. 13, 2017.
Bradford County had severe flooding after the storm. These are images gathered by Emma Green, which demonstrate how much of the area was flooding post-Irma. In the above picture, Justin Daugherty, right, offers his neighbor Bruce Hines, far left, a metal piece to attach to his truck after it got stuck in the flooded New River in Bradford County while he was trying to put his boat in the water on Sept. 13, 2017.

Alachua County Schools Reopen Post-Irma

Following over a week of closure, Alachua County Public Schools resumed Monday. Still, questions remain about if and when all the lost days will be made up.
Following over a week of closure, Alachua County Public Schools resumed Monday. Still, questions remain about if and when all the lost days will be made up.

Lamplighter Mobile Home Park Residents Turn To FEMA For Storm Repairs

Alachua County is now on the list for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) individual assistance. Residents of Lamplighter who sustained damage from Hurricane Irma can now apply for financial help to repair their homes. How to apply for FEMA assistance is discussed, as well as the documents that applicants need.
Alachua County is now on the list for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) individual assistance. Residents of Lamplighter who sustained damage from Hurricane Irma can now apply for financial help to repair their homes. How to apply for FEMA assistance is discussed, as well as the documents that applicants need.

UF Horse Training Unit Experiences Major Flooding After Irma

After Irma’s winds whipped through Alachua County, a blue sky is reflected in finally still waters Friday, but these waters are not usually here. A farm experienced major flooding, causing almost a foot of water to submerge a lake dock and spill into horse stalls nearby.  The pastures and barns of the UF Horse Training Unit on 1934 SW 63rd Ave. are partially under water after the storm, and now staff wait for the flooding to recede while they clean up debris around the farm and continue with daily routines of horse care.
After Irma’s winds whipped through Alachua County, a blue sky is reflected in finally still waters Friday, but these waters are not usually here. A farm experienced major flooding, causing almost a foot of water to submerge a lake dock and spill into horse stalls nearby. The pastures and barns of the UF Horse Training Unit on 1934 SW 63rd Ave. are partially under water after the storm, and now staff wait for the flooding to recede while they clean up debris around the farm and continue with daily routines of horse care.

GRU Gets Help To Restore Power From Neighboring States

Only 349 Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) customers remain without power.   Hospitals, law enforcement, fire stations, wastewater plants, lift stations and shelters are GRU’s first priority, said GRU spokeswoman Margaret Crawford. After that, the priority is to help as many people in as short amount of time as possible.  Dozens utility crews from around the country came to help GRU gets it’s customers back up after the storm.  “We were expecting a strong storm. We received a combination of wind gusts and rain that was impactful to our systems,” Crawford, said. “We are happy with our progress.”
Only 349 Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) customers remain without power. Hospitals, law enforcement, fire stations, wastewater plants, lift stations and shelters are GRU’s first priority, said GRU spokeswoman Margaret Crawford. After that, the priority is to help as many people in as short amount of time as possible. Dozens utility crews from around the country came to help GRU gets it’s customers back up after the storm. “We were expecting a strong storm. We received a combination of wind gusts and rain that was impactful to our systems,” Crawford, said. “We are happy with our progress.”

Bradford County Residents Near Lake Sampson Suffer Flooding And No Power

The incorporated town near Lake Sampson in Bradford County remains powerless with water levels reaching 2-4 feet. It may be a while before the area is drivable and some residents are still unable to occupy their homes. Clay Electric workers have stated that they will not leave the area until power is restored.
The incorporated town near Lake Sampson in Bradford County remains powerless with water levels reaching 2-4 feet. It may be a while before the area is drivable and some residents are still unable to occupy their homes. Clay Electric workers have stated that they will not leave the area until power is restored.

GRU Restores Remaining Power Outages From Hurricane Irma

Gainesville Regional Utilities was able to finally restore electricity to remaining power outages from Hurricane Irma. Gary Mckenzie, a safety and training coordinator for GRU, said this hurricane left the worst damage he has seen in his 37 years of working for GRU. Solon Bellot, another safety and training coordinator, said about 53,000 customers’ power outages have been restored. He, his crew and a crew from Indiana have been working to restore power since the winds died down Monday, Sept. 11.
Gainesville Regional Utilities was able to finally restore electricity to remaining power outages from Hurricane Irma. Gary Mckenzie, a safety and training coordinator for GRU, said this hurricane left the worst damage he has seen in his 37 years of working for GRU. Solon Bellot, another safety and training coordinator, said about 53,000 customers’ power outages have been restored. He, his crew and a crew from Indiana have been working to restore power since the winds died down Monday, Sept. 11.

UF Creates Relief Fund For Students, Staff Affected By Irma

The University of Florida administration created an emergency relief fund to aid students, staff and faculty following the tremendous impact of Hurricane Irma.  The Aid-a-Gator program was established to provide support to students who experienced a financial burden during or because of the storm. The student does not necessarily have to be at the Gainesville campus to receive aid, director of student financial affairs Rick Wilder said. Students can qualify for emergency grant money by submitting an application to the Office for Student Financial Affairs.
The University of Florida administration created an emergency relief fund to aid students, staff and faculty following the tremendous impact of Hurricane Irma. The Aid-a-Gator program was established to provide support to students who experienced a financial burden during or because of the storm. The student does not necessarily have to be at the Gainesville campus to receive aid, director of student financial affairs Rick Wilder said. Students can qualify for emergency grant money by submitting an application to the Office for Student Financial Affairs.

Gainesville Residents Still Recovering From Hurricane Irma

When Seth Locker and Mark Coleman woke up the morning of Sept. 11, there was over a foot of water in their rental home.  “I rolled out in my pajamas and just started getting up,” Coleman, a University of Florida student said. “I [saw] the water everywhere and I know I grabbed my guitar first.”  Locker and Coleman’s rental home, located along NW 34th St. in Gainesville, was completely flooded after Hurricane Irma swept through the North Central Florida area. They were forced to crawl out through a small window in the living room after the water level rose to nearly four feet inside their home.
When Seth Locker and Mark Coleman woke up the morning of Sept. 11, there was over a foot of water in their rental home. “I rolled out in my pajamas and just started getting up,” Coleman, a University of Florida student said. “I [saw] the water everywhere and I know I grabbed my guitar first.” Locker and Coleman’s rental home, located along NW 34th St. in Gainesville, was completely flooded after Hurricane Irma swept through the North Central Florida area. They were forced to crawl out through a small window in the living room after the water level rose to nearly four feet inside their home.

FEMA Workers Spreading Word About Assistance After Irma

With signs of Hurricane Irma still evident across the state, FEMA employees go door to door to help people get temporary financial aid.  They start in areas of greater damage and travel block to block, hitting hundreds of houses a day.  They caught up with Duval County homeowner Eula Fletcher Monday, who attempted to contact FEMA over the phone.  “They told me I had a hundred and ninety minutes to wait, so I just hung up,” Fletcher said. But a simple knock followed by a 15 minute conversation with a FEMA team allowed her to complete her application.
With signs of Hurricane Irma still evident across the state, FEMA employees go door to door to help people get temporary financial aid. They start in areas of greater damage and travel block to block, hitting hundreds of houses a day. They caught up with Duval County homeowner Eula Fletcher Monday, who attempted to contact FEMA over the phone. “They told me I had a hundred and ninety minutes to wait, so I just hung up,” Fletcher said. But a simple knock followed by a 15 minute conversation with a FEMA team allowed her to complete her application.

North Central Florida Farmers Recovering Amid Crop Loss From Irma

As Hurricane Irma swept across Florida last week, its floodwaters and winds dealt blows to the state’s farms, including Gainesville’s Family Garden, which lost an estimated 30 percent of its crops.  Most damages were caused by trees that had fallen onto crops or floodwaters that washed them out, said James Longanecker, a farm coordinator at Family Garden.
As Hurricane Irma swept across Florida last week, its floodwaters and winds dealt blows to the state’s farms, including Gainesville’s Family Garden, which lost an estimated 30 percent of its crops. Most damages were caused by trees that had fallen onto crops or floodwaters that washed them out, said James Longanecker, a farm coordinator at Family Garden.

Hurricane Irma Flooding Creates Haven For Mosquitoes

As a result of the standing water left behind by the hurricane, Alachua County residents can expect to see a dramatic increase in mosquitoes in the coming weeks, experts say.  “They’re going to start coming on pretty strong,” said Phillip Kaufman, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida.  The city is working on spraying efforts, but instead of waiting, Deona Snyder, a Gainesville resident, took matters into her own hands. She bought a $60 insect fogger and said it's doing more to curb the mosquito population than the city has.
As a result of the standing water left behind by the hurricane, Alachua County residents can expect to see a dramatic increase in mosquitoes in the coming weeks, experts say. “They’re going to start coming on pretty strong,” said Phillip Kaufman, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida. The city is working on spraying efforts, but instead of waiting, Deona Snyder, a Gainesville resident, took matters into her own hands. She bought a $60 insect fogger and said it’s doing more to curb the mosquito population than the city has.

North Central Florida Making Progress On Debris Clean-up

North Central Florida counties have submitted their plans for debris cleanup following Gov. Rick Scott’s Monday directive that they do so, and one, Columbia County, says it’s almost done.  In Alachua County, debris collection began last week, and the full process — which includes three collection trips through all neighborhoods and disposing of it — will take about three months, said Sally Palmi, Alachua County’s director of solid waste and resource recovery.
North Central Florida counties have submitted their plans for debris cleanup following Gov. Rick Scott’s Monday directive that they do so, and one, Columbia County, says it’s almost done. In Alachua County, debris collection began last week, and the full process — which includes three collection trips through all neighborhoods and disposing of it — will take about three months, said Sally Palmi, Alachua County’s director of solid waste and resource recovery.

Salvation Army Provides Northeast Floridians With Food And Support After Irma

Irma’s devastation extends beyond just the winds and rains of the hurricane. A loss of power often means an entire refridgerator of food can go to waste. Hurricane Irma left over 6 million Florida utility customers without power and many Floridians are looking for help to recover and replenish.  The Salvation Army has already served 10,000 meals in Northeast Florida since the storm scoured the peninsula.
Irma’s devastation extends beyond just the winds and rains of the hurricane. A loss of power often means an entire refridgerator of food can go to waste. Hurricane Irma left over 6 million Florida utility customers without power and many Floridians are looking for help to recover and replenish. The Salvation Army has already served 10,000 meals in Northeast Florida since the storm scoured the peninsula.

Flooding, More Flooding And Gators: Irma Brings Challenges To Marion County Farm

Tending to crops at Crones’ Cradle Conserve now requires a canoe.  Two feet of water leftover from Hurricane Irma covers much of the organic farm’s 736 acres in Marion County northeast of Citra. The flooding has forced the gardeners there to suit up in rubber waders and row out to water plants propped up on tables.  As they traverse, the gardeners are doing so carefully — and are even staying away from some areas — because of new guests on the farm.  “We have seen three gators in the gardens already,” Chief Gardener Lee Solomon said. “It’s too dangerous for staff to be in there right now with the water moccasins, as well.”
Tending to crops at Crones’ Cradle Conserve now requires a canoe. Two feet of water leftover from Hurricane Irma covers much of the organic farm’s 736 acres in Marion County northeast of Citra. The flooding has forced the gardeners there to suit up in rubber waders and row out to water plants propped up on tables. As they traverse, the gardeners are doing so carefully — and are even staying away from some areas — because of new guests on the farm. “We have seen three gators in the gardens already,” Chief Gardener Lee Solomon said. “It’s too dangerous for staff to be in there right now with the water moccasins, as well.”

Food Banks Accepting Perishable Items Gathered Before Irma

Local food banks and pantries are accepting all items, including perishable ones. Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, on Northwest 10th Avenue in Gainesville, has a 700-square-foot cooler in which it stores donated produce, frozen foods, eggs and milk. If the food ends up expiring, it’s given to local pig farmers to feed to their pigs. One of the ways Bread of the Mighty distributes its donations is through family food boxes, which feed a family of four for three days. The Salvation Army and St. Francis House are also accepting both perishable and non-perishable items for their food pantries.
Local food banks and pantries are accepting all items, including perishable ones. Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, on Northwest 10th Avenue in Gainesville, has a 700-square-foot cooler in which it stores donated produce, frozen foods, eggs and milk. If the food ends up expiring, it’s given to local pig farmers to feed to their pigs. One of the ways Bread of the Mighty distributes its donations is through family food boxes, which feed a family of four for three days. The Salvation Army and St. Francis House are also accepting both perishable and non-perishable items for their food pantries.

UF Sorority Houses Faced Varying Levels Of Damage From Irma

University of Florida Panhellenic Greek sorority houses are facing various levels of structural damage two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit Gainesville.  Off of West Panhellenic Drive on Sorority Row, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house experienced severe water damage. Women living in-house were forced to relocate until repairs were finished. The house, built in 1948, is home to 50 women.  Alpha Omicron Pi’s Property Manager Cassidy McKenna said that the issues began the night of Sept. 10 and into the morning of Sept. 11. Due to the heavy rain, she said the front porch collected enough water to seep into the foyer. It didn’t stop there.
University of Florida Panhellenic Greek sorority houses are facing various levels of structural damage two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit Gainesville. Off of West Panhellenic Drive on Sorority Row, Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house experienced severe water damage. Women living in-house were forced to relocate until repairs were finished. The house, built in 1948, is home to 50 women. Alpha Omicron Pi’s Property Manager Cassidy McKenna said that the issues began the night of Sept. 10 and into the morning of Sept. 11. Due to the heavy rain, she said the front porch collected enough water to seep into the foyer. It didn’t stop there.

Alachua County Makes The FEMA List For Individual Assistance Post-Hurricane Irma

North Central Florida is currently in recovery mode after Hurricane Irma, and FEMA has granted Alachua County individual assistance.  Alachua County Emergency Management organized the first FEMA session for residents in Gainesville, and more than 100 individuals signed up to speak to a FEMA representative in attempt to get assistance. FEMA representatives may be back in Gainesville later, perhaps in another part of town, but those plans are not certain yet. Recently, FEMA representatives helped local communities in Clay and Gilchrist counties.
North Central Florida is currently in recovery mode after Hurricane Irma, and FEMA has granted Alachua County individual assistance. Alachua County Emergency Management organized the first FEMA session for residents in Gainesville, and more than 100 individuals signed up to speak to a FEMA representative in attempt to get assistance. FEMA representatives may be back in Gainesville later, perhaps in another part of town, but those plans are not certain yet. Recently, FEMA representatives helped local communities in Clay and Gilchrist counties.

Ocala Residents Complaining About The Rise In Mosquito Population

After Hurricane Irma, there have been more mosquitoes in the Ocala area than usual. Some residents have put their neighborhood walks on hold due to the increased number of mosquitoes. Ocala Mosquito Control is actively working to reduce the problem, and Ocala has a contract for professional spraying. By the end of this week, officials expect to have the entire area treated. The Center for Disease Control warned a third of the nation to not get complacent about viruses spread by mosquitoes, such as Zika.
After Hurricane Irma, there have been more mosquitoes in the Ocala area than usual. Some residents have put their neighborhood walks on hold due to the increased number of mosquitoes. Ocala Mosquito Control is actively working to reduce the problem, and Ocala has a contract for professional spraying. By the end of this week, officials expect to have the entire area treated. The Center for Disease Control warned a third of the nation to not get complacent about viruses spread by mosquitoes, such as Zika.

The City Of Gainesville Prepares The Tree Canopy For Future Storms After Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma struck Gainesville leaving fallen trees on power lines, homes, and across streets. The City of Gainesville is learning from the damage and is making movements to prevent similar damage in future storms. After people complained and expressed concerns about fallen trees, the city of Gainesville is now in the second phase of reevaluating their tree canopy.
Hurricane Irma struck Gainesville leaving fallen trees on power lines, homes, and across streets. The City of Gainesville is learning from the damage and is making movements to prevent similar damage in future storms. After people complained and expressed concerns about fallen trees, the city of Gainesville is now in the second phase of reevaluating their tree canopy.

Alachua County Animal Services Takes In Animal Refugees From Irma

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Alachua County Animal Services has taken in 115 dogs and cats from Gainesville and surrounding areas.  The animal intake was exceptionally high because of animals surrendered in anticipation of the storm, said Ed Williams, animal services director at Alachua County Animal Services. Alachua County Animal Services accepted 115 animals during Hurricane Irma, bringing their total number of animals to 359, he added. Alachua County Animal Services partnered with Humane Society of the United States to redistribute animals to shelters in the North and Midwest.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Alachua County Animal Services has taken in 115 dogs and cats from Gainesville and surrounding areas. The animal intake was exceptionally high because of animals surrendered in anticipation of the storm, said Ed Williams, animal services director at Alachua County Animal Services. Alachua County Animal Services accepted 115 animals during Hurricane Irma, bringing their total number of animals to 359, he added. Alachua County Animal Services partnered with Humane Society of the United States to redistribute animals to shelters in the North and Midwest.

Ocala Nonprofit Sending Supplies For Harvey, Irma, Maria Responses

For the past several days, organizations have been tirelessly working to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  One of them, the nonprofit Crossroads Alliance & Ministries in Ocala, has more than $3 million worth of donated supplies and is sending them to the U.S. island as well as to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
For the past several days, organizations have been tirelessly working to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. One of them, the nonprofit Crossroads Alliance & Ministries in Ocala, has more than $3 million worth of donated supplies and is sending them to the U.S. island as well as to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Floridians With Epilepsy Getting Extra Aid After Hurricane Irma

Florida residents with epilepsy could receive a little more aid in the coming weeks if they were affected by Hurricane Irma.  The American Epilepsy Society announced Thursday its plans to give the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida $10,000 to help those with epilepsy recover. The foundation said it will use the money to provide food vouchers, clinic services and emergency medication.
Florida residents with epilepsy could receive a little more aid in the coming weeks if they were affected by Hurricane Irma. The American Epilepsy Society announced Thursday its plans to give the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida $10,000 to help those with epilepsy recover. The foundation said it will use the money to provide food vouchers, clinic services and emergency medication.

Florida Department Hiring 200 Temp Workers After Irma

The Florida Department of Children and Families is hiring up to 200 temporary workers to help with relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. The temporary workers will serve as data-entry clerks who process applications for the Food for Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program. Employment will last for the five-week duration of the relief project, with part-time and full-time positions available at $12 an hour. Candidates do not need a high school diploma or GED, but data-entry experience and a criminal background check are required, according to a news release.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is hiring up to 200 temporary workers to help with relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. The temporary workers will serve as data-entry clerks who process applications for the Food for Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program. Employment will last for the five-week duration of the relief project, with part-time and full-time positions available at $12 an hour. Candidates do not need a high school diploma or GED, but data-entry experience and a criminal background check are required, according to a news release.