Florida | WOSU Radio

Florida

Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET

Hurricane Dorian strengthened into a catastrophic Category 5 storm on Sunday, reaching the Bahamas as "the strongest hurricane in modern records" to ever hit the archipelago, according to the National Hurricane Center, based on its sustained winds of 185 mph.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET

Hurricane Dorian, now a category 4 storm, was heading across the Atlantic toward the Bahamas and the Florida coast on Saturday — and the National Hurricane Center predicts tropical storm winds could reach the Bahamas as soon as Saturday night.

The NHC says "life-threatening storm surge and devastating hurricane-force winds" are possible in the northwestern Bahamas.

Updated at 11:20 p.m. ET

Hurricane Dorian is predicted to hit Florida and the northern Bahamas this weekend as an extremely dangerous, slow-moving Category 4 storm, bringing intense rains and sustained winds of 130 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.

With favorable conditions and very warm waters ahead, Dorian is expected to have a fearsome growth spurt. As the NHC says in its 11 p.m. ET update, "Hurricane Hunter aircraft find a strengthening Dorian."

The Trump administration is considering removing the Key deer, one of Florida's most iconic and beloved animals, from the endangered species list. Named for their habitat in the Florida Keys, they are tiny versions of white-tailed deer, typically at the shoulder just 2 or 3 feet tall. They're cute, popular with tourists and used to be found on more than a dozen Florida islands. Today, most of them live on a single island, Big Pine Key.

A group of voting rights advocates and felons has filed a lawsuit after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a law that could make it more difficult for felons to vote.

When Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle of Florida last October, Keith and Susan Koppelman were huddled in the bathroom of their small, two-bedroom rental trailer just north of Panama City.

"When the winds came we both started praying," says Keith, 49. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this is a big storm.' "

After four hours, they finally emerged to survey the damage. The storm's 160-mile-per-hour winds had torn off the porch and peeled away the trailer's tin siding.

Florida is suing pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS over their role in what the state calls "unconscionable efforts to increase the demand and supply of opioids into Florida."

State Attorney General Pam Bondi's office announced Friday that it had added the two companies to a lawsuit filed in May against opioid distributors and manufacturers — including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, Percocet-maker Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceutical, which is one of the world's largest generic-drug manufacturers.

In a key ballot initiative, Florida will restore voting rights to citizens convicted of certain felonies after they have served their sentences, including prison terms, parole and probationary periods, AP has projected.

Voting rights will not be restored to those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

After Hurricane Michael slammed through the Florida panhandle and into Georgia last week, President Trump has surveyed damage and met with officials about recovery efforts.

At a briefing alongside Florida Gov. Rick Scott at Eglin Air Force Base, Trump praised the work of emergency responders and law enforcement.

"The job they've done in Florida has been incredible," he said, and described Scott as a leader who "steps up in the biggest emergencies, the biggest problems, and he gets it done."

Most of the roads in Florida's Bay County are now impassable. There's no electricity, no working sewers, no gasoline, very little cell service, and a boil water advisory.

"This whole town's destroyed" after Hurricane Michael, says Ryan Smith, a mechanic in Lynn Haven, on the north side of Panama City, Fla.

He's standing outside a red brick apartment complex where most of the roofs are gone and giant pine trees have fallen through some of the buildings.

"This was our house," he says. "Now all our stuff's destroyed."

Updated at 4:55 a.m. ET

Tropical Storm Michael rampaged through South Carolina, North Carolina and finally southeastern Virginia on Thursday, before heading for the Atlantic Ocean.

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia.

On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Michael has grown into a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds reaching 130 mph, as it barrels toward northwestern Florida, making it a much stronger storm than Hurricane Florence was when it made landfall as a Category 1 storm drenching the Carolinas last month, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tri-State students braved frigid temperatures and a pop-up snow squall to walk out of class Wednesday as part of a national effort to protest gun violence and remember the 17 victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

At South High School in Columbus, Ohio, students stepped outside in frigid weather and said 17 names, releasing a balloon for each one.

In Orange County, Fla., 17 empty desks sat in the Wekiva High School courtyard. Students sang — "Heal the world, make it a better place."

Pages