Hurricane Irma

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.

It's the toughest question a Floridian has when facing an approaching hurricane:

Do I stay or do I go? If I go, where do I go? When do I leave? And how do I get there?

I've lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., for 22 years and faced the possibility of at least six hurricanes making landfall in the state. Until Irma, I never seriously considered evacuating. But Irma's massive size and record wind speed, threatened to turn my home — just a block from a picturesque canal — into a wading pool.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

Power is slowly being restored in Macon following high winds from Hurricane Irma that knocked down trees and power poles. Many businesses opened up Wednesday for the first time.

Stephen B. Morton / AP Photo

Today on “Political Rewind,” we look at the damages that Irma wreaked on Georgia. Governor Nathan Deal joins us to discuss the areas of the state that are in the greatest need of help, where damage is greatest, and where the largest numbers of people have been displaced. What does the governor expect the federal government will do for the state? How quickly will recovery money flow from Washington to Georgia?

Grant Blankenship

When Hurricane Irma took out the power in Marshallville, Georgia, Monday, it took the water pump behind City Hall with it. 

Since then, the 1,500 or so residents of Marshallville have had no drinking water. Officials with Georgia's Environmental Protection Division said eight South Georgia water systems are under boil advisories with more to come soon. That's where Marshallville Chief of Police Ronald Jackson said the city finds itself now that the power is back on and the water is running.

Animal shelters in Georgia are at capacity. As millions fled the storms this week, many pet owners left their furry friends in shelters across the state. We talk about how shelters are accommodating the overcrowding with Tracey Belew, Shelter Manager for the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Department.

As Hurricane Irma hit Georgia, hundreds of evacuated horses, goats and cows sheltered at the Georgia National Fairgrounds south of Macon. GPB's Emily Cureton brings us an audio postcard.

J. Cindy Hill / GPB News

On Monday, September 11, Tybee Island experienced storm surge flooding from Hurricane Irma. This excess water along with an astronomical high tide flooded parts of the island. We spoke with Mayor Jason Buelterman just after the only bridge connecting Tybee to the mainland opened the following afternoon.

GPB: Describe what you’re seeing on the island.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

Animal shelters in Georgia are at capacity. As millions fled the storms this week, many pet owners left their furry friends in shelters across the state. We talk about how shelters are accommodating the overcrowding with Tracey Belew, Shelter Manager for the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare Department.

The cleanup after Hurricane Irma is a massive undertaking, after the destructive storm hit Florida and neighboring states over the weekend. In Miami, a nun chipped in to clear trees in her neighborhood — and no one, it seems, can resist a story about a chainsaw-wielding nun.

Sister Margaret Ann was spotted at work by an off-duty officer of the Miami-Dade Police Department, which posted video and images from the scene in the community of Kendall West Tuesday.

It's hot and dim inside this Comfort Inn just off the interstate in Fort Myers, Fla. The power has been off for two days, ever since the heart of Hurricane Irma passed right over the city.

But Dorothea Brown seems right at ease as she flips through a newspaper in the lobby.

In fact, she says the hotel is her "second home when we have to evacuate." Brown lives at a mobile home and RV park right along the Orange River, so evacuations are a part of life. She and her family and her neighbors have a routine.

"Every time there's a storm, we come here," she says.

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.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

Two of Macon's five Red Cross Shelters closed Tuesday. By the afternoon there were less than 400 people staying in them. Chelsea McKinley and her family have been in Macon nearly a week. She said their home in Homestead, Florida is in good shape but she's worried about people in the Keys where she grew up.

"I have a lot of friends in the Keys. I grew up there. My mom, she has an apartment there too. So, it's a lot of trees knocked down," she said. "There's actually a restaurant called Snappers and it's completely torn down from what I see on the news."

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.

Now that Hurricane Irma has left Florida, gasoline supplies are slowly coming back into the state. But thousands of gas stations remain closed anyway.

That's because with electricity out throughout the peninsula, even stations that have access to gas have no way to get it into people's vehicles.

"Power is the issue. Most of these gas stations don't have backup generation that can allow the pumps to work," says John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital, an energy investment firm.

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.

Irma Kills 3 In South Carolina And 2 In Georgia

Sep 12, 2017
Stephen B. Morton / AP Photo

The remnants of Hurricane Irma forced Atlanta's international airport - the world's busiest passenger airport - to cancel nearly 200 flights early Tuesday. The storm also claimed three lives in South Carolina and two in Georgia.

Some residents of Key Largo are being allowed back in Tuesday morning, but the Florida Keys are still largely without power, water, medical service and cell service. Most Keys residents are anxiously waiting to hear when they can return home, and others who stayed despite mandatory evacuations remain stranded there. More than 80 percent of customers in the Keys are currently are without power.

Hurricane Irma was the longest-lasting powerful hurricane or typhoon ever recorded, worldwide.

Irma sustained its 185-mph winds for 37 hours – "the longest any cyclone around the globe has maintained that intensity on record," according to Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University. The previous record was held by Typhoon Haiyan, also called Super Typhoon Yolanda, which hit the Philippines in 2013.

Hurricane Irma has made landfall, and is working its way up our state. The remnants of Irma were downgraded to a tropical storm, but that storm remains a major threat. We checked in with National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Nadler and GPB reporter Emily Jones.

Author Greg Iles has sold millions of books. He’s written 15 novels, 12 of which have been New York Times best sellers. His latest novel is “Mississippi Blood” -- the final installment of a trilogy that he began eight years ago. We revisited our conversation with Greg Iles from back in March.

GPB News/Grant Blankenship

Hundreds of thousands of Georgians are without power as rain and wind whips through the state, downing trees and damaging power lines. In Macon, many people are sheltering at facilities managed by the Red Cross and local churches. 

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