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(91) stories found containing 'hurricane'


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  • Preparing for Hurricane Season Means Considering Water Utilities, Too

    Special to the News|Updated Apr 28, 2024

    Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best: "By failing to prepare, you're preparing to fail." As we approach the beginning of the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 - November 30), the Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA) urges all Floridian's to heed these words of wisdom. May 5 – 11 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, an opportunity to focus our collective efforts on the potentially lifesaving benefits of planning and preparation. The threat this year is g...

  • Climate Change Driving "Scary" Hurricane Season Predictions

    News Staff Report|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    If forecasters are correct, Floridians should expect and prepare for a very active and threatening hurricane season for 2024. Reports from private forecasters are already sounding alarms about the sharply-elevated water temperatures in the waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. That heat, released as steamy air, is condensed and cooled in the heart of hurricanes, falling as torrential rain and creating the lowered pressure that drives the intensity of the...

  • Crooked Lake Park's Sunshine Drive to be Closed for at Least Two Months

    News Staff REports|Updated Dec 1, 2023

    Construction of a new sewer main and lift station will require the closure of Sunshine Drive in the Crooked Lake Park neighborhood south of Lake Wales for two months starting Monday, December 4. Sunshine Drive will be closed to through traffic at the intersection with U.S. Highway 27. Sunshine Drive residents can access their homes via connecting crossroads from First Avenue North. Minor backups and delays at the First Avenue North and U.S. Highway 27 intersection are possible...

  • Hurricane Season Still Has Potential for Trouble From Caribbean

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Nov 15, 2023

    Even as the Lake Wales area enjoys pleasant and mild weather, it's important to keep a weather-eye out for late-developing tropical storms and hurricanes that could threaten to disrupt our idyllic autumn days. Now two long-range models are depicting just such a potential. Hurricane season runs through November 30, and there have been occasional storms that have developed even after that date. The unusually-warm water in the Atlantic basin, coupled with unseasonable warmth,...

  • Sharp Cool-down to Follow Significant Rain Event

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 11, 2023

    It's time to start digging out the jackets and sweaters. The long-awaited seasonal cooldown after the end of an exceptionally hot summer will arrive in earnest next week after the passage of a series of reinforcing cold fronts. Heavy rains are expected over Florida beginning Wednesday night, and rain will linger for several days before a series of fronts sweeps in a colder air mass that will leave morning lows in the 50's for the Lake Wales Ridge area. The potential for...

  • Soggy Weather May Usher in Caribbean Storm Season

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 27, 2023

    An early-autumn bout of very soggy weather has left the Lake Wales Ridge area with as much as nine inches of rain in some locations, raising lake levels and saturating marshes. Now long-range models are beginning to depict a weather pattern favorable to tropical storm development in the western Caribbean. The wet weather has generally been welcomed across central Florida after a drier-than-normal year, and the various models are in agreement that the pattern will remain in...

  • Rains, But No 'Canes in Weather Outlook

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 24, 2023

    After a two-day spell of autumn-like weather to mark the official start of the season this weekend, summer-like rains are expected to return to Florida, but the threat of a tropical storm or hurricane remains distant. Computer models are showing a benign pattern remaining over the central Atlantic basin, with protective upper-level winds deflecting storms northward and away from Florida. After the rapid pop-up of Tropical Storm Ophelia just off the east coast of Florida last...

  • Heavy Rains Possible in Coming Week, But Hurricane Threat Remains Low

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 15, 2023

    As the 2023 hurricane season peaks this week, storm threats to Florida appear to be at low ebb. Conditions in the tropical Atlantic basin are continuing to deflect storms northward. As once powerful Hurricane Lee makes landfall on the coasts of Maine and Nove Scotia, Floridians breathed a sigh of relief. At is peak the storm reached the much-feared Category Five intensity, but Florida received nothing more than dangerously high surf and beach erosion. This week the first of a...

  • "Doomsday Storm" Lee May Impact East Coast

    Robert Connors, anaging Editor|Updated Sep 13, 2023

    The strongest hurricane to form over the Atlantic basin in recent years may be in the offing as National Hurricane Center forecasters are predicting that now Tropical Storm Lee will strengthen into a fearsome Category Five hurricane by the weekend, menacing the east coast of the United States with winds of 150 mph or more after a period of "explosive" intensification. That rapid rise in power is largely due to heated oceanic temperatures, as much as three degrees above...

  • New Potential Tropical System Emerges in Distant Atlantic

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 6, 2023

    While multiple named storms have swirled harmlessly all week in the mid-Atlantic, a weak tropical wave that emerged off the coast of Africa several days ago is now the system to watch for Florida. The National Hurricane Center in Miami is now assigning the system a near-100 percent chance of development during the coming three days, during which time it is forecast to be approaching the area of the Virgin Islands. By that time it should be a powerful hurricane. Despite still...

  • Threat of Idalia Here Rapidly Dropping as Storm Continues Northward

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 5, 2023

    The chance of severe weather from Hurricane Idalia is dropping rapidly this evening as the storm continues on a steady northward track, now advancing at 16 mph. Precautions are still advised for possible gusty winds and heavy rains overnight but the storm center is expected to stay well away, moving nearest to Florida's Gulf Coast overnight but remaining some 200 miles west of the Pinellas County coast. The 5:00 pm update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami actually...

  • Idalia Leaves Heavy Rains, But No Wind Damage

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 30, 2023

    After causing a scare in the east Polk region by approaching Florida from the southwest, Hurricane Idalia behaved much as the computer models had predicted, staying well offshore of Florida's west coast before slamming into the Big Bend Area of the state as a Category Four hurricane. That course left the Lake Wales area and surrounding communities undamaged due to winds. Three times during the overnight hours tornado warnings caused alarms to sound on phones and tablets in...

  • 11:00 am UPDATE: Hurricane Idalia Still Moving Mostly North, Intensifying

    Robert Connors|Updated Aug 29, 2023

    Precautions are advised for strong winds and heavy rains due to the approach of Hurricane Idalia, still expected to move near Florida's Gulf Coast overnight on Wednesday. The 11:00 am, update from the National Hurricane Center in Miami indicates that the center of the storm is still on a generally northward track of five degrees, indicating a slight eastward movement. Any increased eastward adjustment in the course would raise the potential impacts of the storm in the east Pol...

  • UPDATE Tropical Storm Warning Issued for Polk as Hurricane Adalia Approaches

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 29, 2023

    The National Hurricane Center has issued Hurricane Warnings for much of the Florida west coast north of Longboat Key, and raised the former Tropical Storm Watch in Polk County to a Tropical Storm Warning. Residents of the Lake Wales area can expect gusty winds of up to about 60 mph overnight Tuesday evening, continuing for much of the day on Wednesday before gradually relaxing Wednesday night. Along with the winds, substantial rains can be anticipated, with up to four inches...

  • UPDATE: Tuesday Morning Hurricane Trends

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 29, 2023

    The threat of a direct strike from Hurricane Idalia on east Polk and the Lake Wales Ridge area continues to diminish this morning as the storm has continued on a northerly track with no sign of a dreaded turn to the east. That much-feared jog would bring the storm ashore on Florida's populous west coast rather than the sparsely-populated Big Bend area. Nevertheless, precautions continue in Polk County for anticipated tropical storm-force winds and the possibility for heavy...

  • 5:00 pm UPDATE: Hurricane Idalia Still a Threat, But Trends are Positive for Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 29, 2023

    The 5:00 pm update from the National Hurricane Center contains some positive news for the Lake Wales area as the most recent model runs for future movements of Tropical Storm Idalia trended very slightly to the west, which would keep the center of the storm away from the central Florida coastline, aiming it instead for the sparsely-populated Big Bend area of the Gulf Coast. On the cautionary side, however, is an increased expectation of rapid intensification, assuring that it...

  • Hurricane Idelia Expected to Have Some Impacts on Lake Wales Ridge Area

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 28, 2023

    The rapid intensification of Tropical Storm Idalia into a major hurricane just off the west coast of Florida has Lake Wales area residents on edge. Three times in the last 19 years similar forecast tracks led to storms that turned east ahead of forecast, causing direct strikes on the city. Now forecast to become a hurricane today (Monday) before entering the Gulf of Mexico, Idalia is expected to reach Major storm status with a high likelihood of rapid intensification due to...

  • Potential Tropical System Impact Becomes More Likely for Region

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 24, 2023

    The possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane impacting Florida and potentially threatening the Lake Wales area is increasing as models are indicating the potential development of a new system in the western Caribbean. If the system strengthens, it would likely move near the western tip of Cuba before entering the Gulf of Mexico and approaching the west coast of Florida. The waters of both the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are far warmer than historic records, potentially...

  • Potential Tropical Storm Threat Grows for Florida as Peak Season Approaches

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 18, 2023

    A significant shift in weather patterns in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean basins has increased chances of tropical storm development that could potentially threaten Florida and the Lake Wales Ridge area. The Atlantic hurricane season is heating up just as the historical peak weeks of the six-month period approach. Models are now showing an increased likelihood of storms that could affect Florida. Water temperatures in the Atlantic basin are at record levels, as is the tot...

  • Hurricane Season Remains Quiet Despite Predictions

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 10, 2023

    As the 19th anniversary of the devasting impact of Hurricane Charley approaches on August 13, many Ridge area residents turn a wary eye on the tropics. Despite "super-heated" waters in most of the Atlantic basin the 2023 hurricane season has, so far, remained a no-show. A global weather shift may be the cause. A phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO, features alternating waves of colder or warmer waters in the eastern Pacific. It has huge influence on...

  • Weather Pattern Finally Changes, Opens Door to Rains, Tropical Development

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Aug 5, 2023

    After a sputtering start to the expected summer rainy season, a wetter pattern may soon take hold over the Lake Wales Ridge area, but it could open the door for a busier Hurricane season as well. The deadly "heat dome" that has baked much of the nation and lingered for months was caused by a static pattern of mid-level winds that is finally breaking down. The unusual atmospheric traffic-jam in the west-to-east flow of weather has caused Florida to fall under a regime of strong...

  • Rains May Return This Week, But July Lull in Tropics Likely to Continue

    Robert Connors|Updated Aug 5, 2023

    A relatively dry "monsoon" season has left many long-time residents wondering where all the rain has gone, but also glad to see the lack of tropical storm development. Now at last it appears that there may be more normal summer rains on tap for the Ridge area, coming without the immediate threat of hurricanes. The forecasts for coming days cite unusually high levels of moisture in the air, with precipitable water readings of more than two inches, which can often lead to...

  • Soggy Week Ahead For Florida, But Hurricane Unlikely

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jun 23, 2023

    A week of wet weather is ahead for Florida as forecast models show a strong upper-level low persisting over the area all week. Waves of strong storms are expected to propagate from the Gulf of Mexico as southwest winds draw up deep tropical moisture. Forecast models are showing as much as five inches of rain over portions of the peninsula, but local totals can vary widely. The winds 15,000 to 20,000 above the surface feet will be circling in a strong counter-clockwise spin,...

  • Only One Public Shelter Will Serve Lake Wales & Frostproof Areas This Hurricane Season

    News Staff Reports|Updated May 28, 2023

    Polk County Emergency Management has release the "Polk County Public Shelters" maps for 2023, revealing that there remains only a single shelter to serve the nearly 100,000 residents of Southeast Polk County. Spook Hill Elementary, at 321 Dr. J. A. Wiltshire Ave East in Lake Wales, is the only shelter in a broad area that Includes Dundee, Frostproof, Babson Park, Nalcrest, and other area communities. The 2023 map includes 47 shelters, including three "Special Needs Shelters"...

  • Fire at Quails Bluff Leaves Families Homeless

    News Staff Reports|Updated May 22, 2023

    An early-morning fire that left Lake Wales firefighters battling the blaze until dawn left a gaping hole in a local apartment building, and in the lives of 23 residents of the building. At least eight units appear to have been heavily affected by flames, smoke, and water. The hours of flames burned away much of the roof of the building, leaving melted siding and charred timbers The American Red Cross is currently providing assistance to nine families, a spokesperson for the...

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