Hurricane Irma

Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

The effects of the first named storm of 2018 claimed lives before the official start of hurricane season, but leaders with Georgia Power, the National Weather Service and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency have been investing in technology, planning and preparing.

Despite advances in technology, the best resource for damage assessment after a storm is "boots on the ground," Georgia Power's David Maske said at a hurricane summit last week.


Mass shootings, volatile protests and major policy changes. Hurricane, after hurricane, after hurricane. And a solar eclipse that brought us together like never before in any living person’s lifetime. Yep, 2017 was a doozy. We take stock of the biggest news stories of the year, and the deeper conversations they sparked.

The U.S. economy shed 33,000 jobs in September, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while unemployment fell to 4.2 percent.

The September payrolls drop broke a nearly seven-year streak of continuous job gains, but economists caution that the drop is likely representing the short-term consequences of bad weather, not a long-term shift in the job market.

Before this report, the economy had added an average of about 175,000 jobs per month; the unemployment rate has been at 4.3 or 4.4 percent since April.

Barbuda was the first place Hurricane Irma made landfall as the Category 5 storm devastated a string of islands in the Caribbean earlier this month. As of noon ET on Friday — 24 days after the storm destroyed much of the island — Barbuda's evacuation order was officially lifted.

In the wake of back-to-back natural disasters, there’s doubt about the willingness and ability of insurance companies to handle a flood of claims for destroyed property. We sit down with an investigative reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Carrie Teegardin, to discuss her in-depth reporting, part of our occasional series, “AJC Investigates.”  We add two more tunes to our ever-growing Georgia Playlist. Evan Leima is the frontman and singer for Athens-based Dream Culture. They perform at Seeds of Sound Festival in Sparta this Saturday, Sept.

Last month, Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented flooding to the Houston area. More than two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma hit Florida as a remarkably massive and long-lasting storm.

Those storms have long since dissipated. Now much of the focus has shifted to Hurricane Maria, which remains an active storm — a storm that caused devastation in Puerto Rico, which is still reeling from the immediate impact.

Updated Oct. 24, 4:41 a.m. with additional events and donation campaigns.

It looks like a fairy tale palace.

With its pink stucco walls and massive coral stone terraces, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a beloved South Florida landmark that has drawn Miamians for 60 years. But since getting blasted by Hurricane Irma, the estate more resembles the part in the fairy tale after an evil spell is cast, and the forest overgrows the castle.

DonTaé Hodge

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Southeast. It was even more destructive on the Virgin Islands, where it hit as a Category 5 storm. Nearly every building was damaged, and many were completely destroyed. As Irma approached, DonTaé Hodge of Atlanta was anxiously following updates. Hodge grew up in the British Virgin Islands, and told us what it was like to be so far from home at a critical time.

Is Atlanta at risk of overcrowding? Last month, The Atlanta Regional Commission reported nearly 80,000 new people in the metro region since just last year -- the highest growth rate since the Great Recession. How this will affect more than your commute, like your rent, and your space to walk down the street, has yet to be seen. We talk with Mike Carnathan, a researcher with the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Chris Leinberger, a business professor at George Washington University.

Another hurricane, another health care horror story.

At least that's how it looked when eight patients died at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. The facility lost its air conditioning several days after Hurricane Irma struck.

That event conjured memories of the scores of elderly who died in Louisiana hospitals and nursing homes following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

For the past nine days, Nancy Schneider has circled the date on her calendar, pinned up on the wall in her kitchen. She's tracking how long she and her husband have been without power since Hurricane Irma hit Florida.

Last Monday, two-thirds of the state — more than 6.5 million customers — were without power. Crews have worked aggressively since then to restore as many homes and businesses as possible but, more than a week after the storm came ashore, around 400,000 people are still without power.

It's been one week since Hurricane Irma hit Southwestern Florida. Residents in Collier County, where the storm made landfall after the Florida keys, are in the early stages of the recovery process still cleaning up debris, wading through floodwaters, struggling to get gas, and trying to get by without electricity. It will take months to fully assess the damage, and the rebuilding process could take years. Yet already they are looking ahead to the next steps. They are figuring out how to continue with their lives amidst the devastation.

Immokalee, Fla.

GPB News

As the world comes to grips with the unprecedented damage of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, millions of Americans in the southeastern United States are working to rebuild their lives. Irma crossed into Georgia in the early morning hours of Monday, September 11, 2017. Over the next 24 hours, water inundated island and beach communities over 100 miles of coastline. Winds topping 69 miles per hour toppled trees and power lines. 1.1 million Georgians lost power and three lost their lives.

Russ Bynum / AP Photo

Today on “Political Rewind,” Governor Deal returns from a statewide inspection of damage from Hurricane Irma. He says the federal government has pledged support in the restoration effort. But how do requests for federal aid rub against conservative principles calling for a reduction in government spending? Our panel weighs in on the issue.

The B-52s made it big. And the iconic band from Athens takes the stage in their home state tonight, Sept. 15, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. We revisit an interview with founding member Kate Pierson.

Hurricane Irma put a lot of lives on hold. But for Jacob Gmitter of Lakeland, Florida, there was one thing that just couldn’t wait. GPB reporter Grant Blankenship brings us the story of a young saxophonist on the road.

Commentary: Climate Change Missing From Storm Coverage

Sep 15, 2017

The constant media coverage of Hurricane Irma kept people up to speed on the storm’s intensity and the damage it caused. But journalist Peter Dykstra of Environmental Health News says there was one thing most of the coverage was missing

Hurricane Irma arrived on the doorstep of the Virgin Islands just over a week ago. A Category 5 storm, historic in its terrible might, Irma shredded homes and hotels into the bare materials that made them, its winds scattering floorboards and roofs and light poles like so many matchsticks.

Walking through mobile homes ravaged by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Fla., President Trump praised first responders and residents for doing an "incredible" job on rescue and recovery. Earlier in his one-day visit to Florida, Trump also lauded state and federal officials for their preparation and response to the hurricane.

"We love the people of Florida and they went through something that, I guess, the likes of which we could really say nobody's ever seen before," Trump said in Naples.

Updated 8:45 p.m. ET

The shocking news that eight people who were residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Fla., died at the facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma has sparked many questions about how such a thing could happen. It has also led to nearly 150 patients being taken to local hospitals.

"The Hollywood Police Department has been granted a search warrant for this property," Raelin Storey, the city's public affairs director, said at a news conference outside the nursing home Thursday morning.

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