Florida

When the worst of Irma's fury had passed, Gene McAvoy hit the road to inspect citrus groves and vegetable fields. McAvoy is a specialist on vegetable farming at the University of Florida's extension office in the town of LaBelle, in the middle of one of the country's biggest concentrations of vegetable and citrus farms.

It took a direct hit from the storm. "The eyewall came right over our main production area," McAvoy says.

Roughly half of Florida's homes and businesses remained without electricity on Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. A lot of the business recovery efforts there will depend on how quickly power can be restored.

On her way to work Tuesday morning, Carol McDaniel, vice president of human resources for the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, made her way through darkened neighborhoods.

After Irma, Florida's Evacuees Contemplate Return Trip

Sep 12, 2017
Bill Barrow / AP Photo

Thanks to reconnaissance by a neighbor who stayed behind, Pam Szymanksi knows Hurricane Irma blew out the living room window of her southwest Florida home, but she isn't sure when she'll get to see the damage for herself.

"All I know is we have to check out of here tomorrow, because they're booked," she said Monday, sitting in the lobby of a downtown Atlanta hotel where she arrived with her mother, two children and two dogs. A hotel reservation in Valdosta, Georgia, is next, Szymanksi said, but that's still 350 miles from their home in Fort Myers.

Wildfire On US Refuge Doubles In Size In Less Than A Week

Apr 27, 2017
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

A wildfire on public lands near the Georgia-Florida state line has blackened 115 square miles after doubling in size within a few days, officials said Wednesday.

Sustained winds up to 8 mph were expected to keep pushing flames Thursday into areas of swamp parched by drought inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, where a lightning strike sparked the blaze April 6.

Growing Wildfire In Okefenokee Refuge Exceeds 90 Sq. Miles

Apr 26, 2017
OKEFENOKEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Officials say a wildfire on public lands near the Georgia-Florida state line has burned more than 90 square miles (233 sq. kilometers) as winds spread the flames through dry areas of the Okefenokee Swamp.

A news release by the firefighting command team said the overall area of the blaze grew more than 22 percent between Monday and Tuesday. So far, nearly all of the burned acreage has been confined to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Georgia and the neighboring Osceola National Forest and John M. Bethea State Forest in Florida.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

An immense wildfire continues to burn across 19,000 acres on the Georgia-Florida state line. The West Mims Fire was ignited by a lightning strike on April 6, and firefighters from Georgia and Florida have been working to contain it since.

Big Hail, Heavy Rains Pelt Deep South As Storms Move In

Apr 5, 2017
Chris Carlson / AP Photo

Big hail and heavy rains pelted the Deep South early Wednesday, and schools and churches shut down as severe storms that forecasters said could spawn powerful tornadoes moved across the region.

Alabama's governor declared a state of emergency because of the threat, resulting in multiple school closings, and schools in South Carolina planned to dismiss classes early.

Wikimedia Commons

A decades-old battle over Georgia water will be sorted out in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide who has rights to supply and use water in a fight between Georgia and Florida. The decision will have a major effect on agriculture in those states. GPB's Sam Whitehead reports on a farmer in Southwest Georgia who has had to do some creative thinking about water conservation.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

As part of the project A Nation Engaged, NPR and member stations are going to political battlegrounds to ask people in key populations what they want from this presidential election.

With a population of more than 20 million, Florida is the country's largest swing state. And its population is changing — thanks to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico's stagnant economy has brought tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to Florida each year over the last decade. Large numbers have settled in the area near Orlando.

Lynn Hatter / WFSU

Florida students don’t have to take a foreign language to graduate from a public high school, but the state’s public university system does require at least two years of study in another language. Computer Coders have found a champion in Florida Senator Jeremy Ring. Ring, a former Yahoo! executive, believes coding and technology is an art, rather than a science. The Margate Democrat says why not broaden the language offerings? Instead of the usual suspects, like French or Spanish, and for those who are true romantics—Latin… why not something like Python? Or C++?