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Angry Rick Scott wants Barack Obama declare Florida disaster after Hermine

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No doubt there is bad blood between the Rick Scott and Barack Obama administrations. It could be a reason why the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has rejected Scott’s request for federal assistance for a multitude of bad weather events — as well as requests for federal funds for handling the Zika virus and the Pulse nightclub shooting — over the past year. But in a letter directed to the President on Tuesday, the governor lays out the case that it’s beyond…

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John Mica congressional hearing on Orlando’s lost federal anti-terrorism money aims some blame at Congress

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Whose fault was it that Orlando did not qualify for federal funding to shore up anti-terrorism efforts the past few years? U.S. Rep. John Mica called a congressional hearing Friday to see, and several officials concluded it is at least partly because of Congress. Mica was not entirely convinced and countered with several reasons why he is convinced the federal Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program under the Department of Homeland Security should have done more to provide funding to Orlando for…

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Winter is coming, and so is an El Niño pattern in FL

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Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and meteorologists say Floridians should brace themselves for a wet and wild winter, all because of El Nino. The weather pattern happens every few years when the Pacific Ocean warms up around the equator. This year’s is one of the strongest El Ninos on record. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told The Associated Press that the last time Florida saw such a strong El Nino, dozens people died from tornadoes. Fugate says Floridians should be prepared…

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Florida Office of Insurance Regulation says flood rates in Florida may be unfair

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The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has responded to state Sen. Jeff Brandes’ request to study the methods used to determine National Flood Insurance Program policy rates. The office agrees that with the limited information available to regulators, the rates may be “unfairly discriminatory.” According to a letter from OIR commissioner Kevin McCarty, his NFIP experience suggests the flood loss ratio from 1978 until 2012 was just 28.3 percent. “This is not an alarming loss ratio, and does not seem to…

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Jeff Brandes wants transparency in National Flood Insurance Program rates

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Florida state Sen. Jeff Brandes wants FEMA to release data from flood insurance policies under the National Flood Insurance Program to determine whether or not the premiums assessed for policies are excessive or arbitrarily assigned. In a letter to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty Wednesday, Brandes argued there were 100,000 fewer flood insurance policies in effect this June compared to last May. Homeowners face as much as 25 percent rate increases each year for non-primary residences and…

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Hurricane season advice: Consider creating an out-of-state emergency contact

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Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced its prediction for the 2015 hurricane season, which begins on Monday. The agency predicts the season will be “below normal.” “A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew — a Category 5 Major…

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