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Caylee Weintraub

Hurricane Maria devastates Dominica, sets sights on Puerto Rico

Overnight, Hurricane Maria thrashed the island nation of Dominica with Category 5 force winds up to 160 mph. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, wrote on Facebook “Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.” Maria initially weakened to a Category 4 after passing through Dominica, but according to the latest updates from the National Hurricane Center, Maria has...

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United States Air Force celebrates 70 year anniversary

The history of the Air Force begins in an Ohio valley, where the Wright Brothers sketched the plans for what would become the first air craft to make flight possible. Soon after, the Wright Brothers experienced historic success in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when they became the first people to fly and the fathers of aviation. Little did the Wright Brothers know that their invention would usher in a new phase of American travel and would become a cornerstone of the American military. President Truman officially established the Air Force as a separate military branch on Sept....

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FGCU will reopen its doors to students on Wednesday

After their meeting today with President Michael Martin, in conjunction with the Council of Deans, the Registrar, and Faculty Senate President, the Emergency Advisory Council has determined FGCU’s reopening date will be Wednesday, Sept. 20. “We continue to address and deal with a number of moving parts in a very fluid situation,” university spokeswoman Susan Evans said. The reopening date applies to both in-person and online classes, special events, and the Aquatic Center. “As a reminder, please do not cancel an FGCU class, event, or activity scheduled for Wednesday or beyond without advance approval from your unit’s respective vice...

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In the aftermath: FGCU recovers from Irma

It’s been five days since Hurricane Irma made landfall on South Florida’s West Coast, leaving millions without electricity and many more with the arduous task of clean up and restoration.  FGCU, along with all affected areas, is still trying to get back on its feet after being battered by Hurricane Irma’s 130 mph winds, and while the campus sustained no severe damage, there is still a long road to recovery ahead.  In an email sent to all students, faculty and staff, FGCU spokeswoman Susan Evans detailed the current state of the University and informed students of what they can expect as they prepare to return to campus.  FGCU is set to reopen on Monday, Sept. 18, but this may change after FGCU’s emergency team holds a meeting on Friday, Sept. 15, to determine if an additional delay may be necessary.  Evans wrote that students should expect to hear an announcement of the University’s decision this Friday at 1 p.m.  “One of the greatest challenges is that Hurricane Irma affected so many FGCU, students, faculty, and staff who reside throughout Southwest Florida,” Evans said. “Some evacuated to other states and parts of Florida before the storm arrived, and now are faced with limited gasoline and transportation options.   Others who did not evacuate and are able to remain living in their significantly or minimally damaged residences are doing so without electricity, cell service, water, or Internet access…While our campus did not sustain major damage to buildings and we do have electricity, the ability for students, faculty, and...

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FGCU cancels classes through Monday as SWFL deals with aftermath of Irma

FGCU will be closed until Monday, Sept. 18, as Southwest Florida takes its first steps in recovering from Hurricane Irma’s destruction.  The damage Irma caused was less than expected, but power outages, flooding, and uprooted trees are still waiting to greet Collier County and Lee County residents as they emerge from their shelters.  “On campus, there are many trees and limbs down, water in the lower levels of parking garages and lots, and destruction of banners, road signs, and awnings,” FGCU President Mike Martin wrote in an email to students. “Several roads remain impassable until the waters recede. The work of recovery and cleanup will begin immediately.”  FGCU students and residents who were sheltered in Eagle Hall are “safe and secure,” Martin wrote in his email.  “In the midst of this incredible natural disaster, I remain tremendously impressed with the Florida Gulf Coast community that has bonded together to get us through this,” Martin said. “We have a world-class team here at the University, and I am blessed to be a part of it.”  FGCU students will continue to be alerted via email about any further class...

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Irma drops to a Category 2 storm, Germain Arena roof leaks on thousands of occupants

The National Hurricane Center’s latest 8 p.m. update shows Hurricane Irma is now just a shadow of her former self.  Earlier this week, Irma almost became the most powerful hurricane ever in the Atlantic when her wind speed reached just over 185 mph. After her trek over the Florida peninsula, however, Irma has weakened to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.  Over the course of the evening, Irma has shifted east. She was once expected to pass straight through Lee County’s barrier island of Captiva, but updates now show her eye is currently battering the Fort Myers and Cape Coral area. The models show Irma traveling north, with her next expected landfall in Tampa sometime around midnight.  With Irma now predicted to deteriorate into a Category 1 storm as she leaves Florida, the catastrophic damage the hurricane was once expected to cause is significantly lessened. While earlier predictions had Irma passing through the coastal city of Savannah, Irma is now predicted to cut through Alabama and reach her final resting place in central Indiana as a tropical depression.  This doesn’t mean Florida’s West Coast will emerge from Irma without a few scars. Flooding, storm surge, and tornadoes are all waiting for Floridians when they emerge from their shelters.  Some Floridians are already beginning to deal with the aftermath of Irma. Heavy rains have caused roof leaks across the state, and one...

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All eyes on Naples as Irma passes through Collier County

At 2 p.m., the National Hurricane Center released reports showing Irma’s eyewall was just 35 miles south of Naples.  Naples and Marco Island are expected to weather Irma at her most powerful.   While Irma was initially expected to hit Collier county as a Category 4 with winds exceeding 130 mph, recent updates show Irma as a powerful Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph.  This weakening is good news for those who remain hunkered down in their Collier homes, but Floridians should remain on guard as Irma moves further into the Gulf of Mexico’s warm water, which might give Irma the extra push that would cause her to be recategorized at a higher level.  Irma has been a notoriously unpredictable hurricane, and even though it seems the eye contains safe conditions, that could change at any second, leaving those not under cover in a perilous position. The National Weather Service warned individuals that even though winds are calm in the eye, it’s still not safe to go outside. Irma’s effects are beginning to be felt beyond Naples.  As Irma’s outer bands reach the center of Florida, power outages, tornadoes, and strong winds are now ravaging the state. According to the Power Tracker Map — a graphic showing which counties in Florida have lost electricity — over the half the state is without power. Counties from St. Pete to Naples are...

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Irma bears down on southwest Florida

Hurricane Irma is battering the Florida Keys. According to 8 a.m. updates, Irma has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is moving north-northwest, hugging Florida’s West Coast. The first hurricane force winds have just been reported in Naples, while farther south the Florida Keys are bracing for Irma’s most powerful winds.  Irma initially weakened after passing over the mountainous regions of Cuba, shrinking from a Category 5 to a Category 3, but she has since strengthened into a colossal Category 4 storm.  Irma is moving at 8 mph, which is slower than originally anticipated. The combination of Irma’s high force winds and slow movement will only exaggerate her effects, drawing out her devastating rain and winds as she passes through the state.  Gov. Rick Scott reported that 76,000 south Floridian residents have already lost power, but this number will likely be dwarfed as thousands of others are affected by Irma’s trek up the Florida peninsula.  According to reports published by the National Hurricane Center at 2 p.m. yesterday, Irma had the possibility of moving so far into the Gulf that she would miss the Florida coast entirely.  However, the most recent models today show no such signs. While Irma continues to inch west, she has not moved far enough to spare Florida’s West Coast from the worst.   With Irma’s arrival finally here, the path she will take is at its most certain. As of...

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Hurricane Irma predicted to hit south Florida head on

After the latest predictions for Irma’s path were released last night at 11 p.m. and this morning at 8 a.m., most south Floridians are packing up their cars and joining thousands of others in a mass exodus out of the state. Irma is set to hit south Florida on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. as a major category 4 hurricane. The Florida Keys are expected to bear the brunt end of her forces, but south Florida too will experience Irma at her most powerful. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for almost all southeast coast cities, with Collier and Lee...

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Thousands flee from Irma’s path of destruction

As the forecast for Hurricane Irma becomes more ominous, thousands of Floridians are beginning to flee the state, all of them headed in one direction: north. Graphs published by the Florida Department of Transportation show record numbers of traffic on the roads right now. With Miami-Dade and Broward counties under mandatory evacuation, there are almost half a million people looking for refuge in other states. Westbound on US 41 in Collier County typically sees 50 cars per hour around 8 p.m., but is currently seeing just over 225 cars per hour. US 27 northbound in Palm Beach county is...

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