Hurricane Irma

NOAA

Governor Rick Scott’s being praised for his response to Hurricane Irma; but could that carry over to next year’s U.S. Senate race? 

Scott is gaining praise for his preparation and reaction to the storm, which has left millions of Floridians in the dark and dealing with floods. Hundreds of thousands of others took his advice and left for safer areas.

“This is a deadly storm,” Scott said as Irma battered her way through the Caribbean. “If you’ve been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now. Do not wait – evacuate.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, dozens of individuals have been lining up locally to become American Red Cross volunteers. For some, it’s a first time experience, while others are refreshing their training.

Still others are already in the trenches, and loving every minute of it.

Meet the Hinds.

“My name is Kaffey,” said Kaffey Hinds, introducing herself.  “It’s K-a-f-f-e-y. And, this is my husband Lee.”

Emerald Coast Utilities Authority

Water, water everywhere in south Florida, but not a lot of it to drink. The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is lending a hand, part of the assistance coming from the Florida Panhandle.

ECUA Executive Director Steve Sorrell says a mutual response team has been organized, acting on a request from the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) for lift station and maintenance crews to help with that city’s wastewater system.

In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the American Red Cross of Northwest Florida has ramped up their recruitment and training of volunteers.

“Thank you all for coming,” said volunteer Sheila Mitchell, as she welcomed a group of prospective volunteers to the latest training session at the Pensacola office. “This is great to have this much of a turnout.”

Mitchell says losing her house in Hurricane Ivan is what drove her to become a Red Cross volunteer, which she’s done for the past three years.

Gulf Power Company

As the remnants of Irma dissipate from Tennessee to the Carolinas, work is underway to restore power to 15 million people in parts of south Florida hit by the former Category-5 Hurricane. That includes help from the Panhandle.

More than 150 Gulf Power storm crew left Pensacola and Panama City early Tuesday morning for heavily damaged areas, after power was restored to 13,000 customers in Bay County that was knocked out by Tropical Storm Irma’s high winds.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Along with hosting concerts, home improvement shows, sports, and other events over its 32-year span, the Pensacola Bay Center is once again a shelter for those having fled Hurricane Irma in south Florida.

As of Monday morning, there were 286 people housed at the center’s shelter on the ground floor. Gloria Wiggins with the American Red Cross who is shelter manager, says that number is fluctuating.

“As people leave, they’re trying to go home,” said Wiggins. “Some of them are told to come back, because the weather is not safe for them to be traveling. So, we’re here.”

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

As Hurricane Irma, still a strong Category 4 storm as of Friday evening, continues to barrel toward South Florida, state and local officials have ramped up efforts to help those fleeing the devastating storm.

For the past week, Florida Governor Rick Scott has been traveling the state urging all residents to be prepared for Irma. On Friday, he conducted briefings in Tampa, Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach. At more nearly 400 miles across, Irma will impact almost every part of the state.