After spending much of the past month focused on Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott will shift Thursday to the one region of Florida that was largely unscathed from that mammoth storm: The Panhandle.
Tropical Depression 16 is expected to intensify into a tropical storm within 24 hours while traveling north into the Gulf of Mexico. A forecast cone from the National Hurricane Center projected the storm will make landfall as a hurricane this weekend somewhere between New Orleans and Tampa Bay, with the Florida Panhandle as the center point.
Hurricane Irma’s devastating storm surge came with weird twists that scientists attribute to the storm’s girth, path and some geographic quirks. A combination of storm surge, heavy rains and swollen rivers sent some of the worst flooding into Jacksonville, Florida, even though Irma roared into the opposite end of the state, had weakened to a tropical storm and its eye stayed at least 80 miles (130 kilometers) away.
Roads became clogged and fuel supplies strained as more than 1 million people were told to find shelter inland, upstate or in neighboring states in advance of massive Hurricane Irma, which will blanket most of Florida this weekend.
Hurricane Irma, with its record strong winds, is lashing the Caribbean but where will it go from there? Forecasters turn to computer simulations to try to predict a storm’s path and how strong it will be.
Florida volunteers have reached out to Texas in its time of need. The state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, including hundreds of volunteers from the Sunshine State, are continuing disaster response efforts in Texas, rescuing hundreds of people trapped by floodwater in the Houston area.
Maureen Miller was among the 2 million people ordered to evacuate coastal areas in the Southeast ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Her family and their dog spent two nights in a hotel and struggled through police roadblocks to return. When they finally got back, their Brunswick, Georgia-area home was unscathed. Now they wish they had never left. “I will never evacuate again,” Miller said. “If we stayed, we’d be fine. I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel the…