As monster Hurricane Irma buzz-sawed its way up Florida’s Gulf Coast, it looked for several hours like the heavily populated Tampa Bay area could face catastrophic wind damage and flooding from the first major storm to roar ashore there in 96 years.
As Irma marches up Florida’s Gulf Coast toward Tampa Bay, residents fear what the storm will do to an area that hasn’t taken a direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921. From punishing winds to catastrophic storm surge, the area is bracing for devastation. Vulnerable structures range from the towering Sunshine Skyway Bridge to toxic waste sites from the state’s phosphorous mining industry.
Announcing itself with roaring 130 mph winds, Hurricane Irma plowed into the mostly emptied-out Florida Keys early Sunday for the start of what could be a slow, ruinous march up the state’s west coast toward the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
As Hurricane Irma threatened to wallop the St. Petersburg area, several folks got out on the beach ahead of the storm. As they milled about Sunday morning, they looked at sailboats bobbing in the wind as the sun rose and took selfies and photos of the beach.
A federal judge in Florida ruled a trial couldn’t be postponed just because one of the key witnesses – a federal agent – had travel plans to see the solar eclipse. In a droll, three-page ruling issued Friday, Judge Steven Merryday denied the motion filed by an assistant U.S. attorney.
Marion Lambert is unapologetic about the abundance of Confederate flags that surround him. A faded pillow with the flag’s print sits on the porch chair of his quirky urban farm in South Tampa, an area known more for craft beers and gluten-free brunch. He’s got a sticker with the red-and-blue battle flag and the words “I ain’t coming down” affixed near the shopworn light switch in the building that holds his farm’s free-range eggs. And in his barn, there’s a…
When 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Florida in 2016, Gov. Rick Scott publicly offered his sympathy to the victims’ families and the LGBT community. “These are individuals. Let’s love every one of them,” he said then.