VIDEO: Weather reporters told to “stop acting like you’re hanging on for dear life”

Weather Channel reporter buffeted by winds as two people seemingly stride behind him unimpeded by Hurricane Florence’s winds.

Weather reporters covering Hurricane Florence no doubt dealt with hammering wind, driving rain, and charging storm surge.

But some people are criticizing what they feel are overly-dramatic reports from the storm.

In one clip, seasoned Weather Channel reporter Mike Seidel is bracing against Florence’s wind in Wilmington, N.C. when two people seemingly stride by behind him with little trouble in the gale.

The Weather Channel defended the experienced meteorologist.

“It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1 a.m. this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted,” it said in a statement.

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang called out Hurricane Florence reporters in general who it thought were “manufacturing” action, “leaning into 30 mph winds like they are battling a Category 5.”

Deputy Weather Editor Angela Fritz said the drama is “driving me up the wall.”

“Really? There is no need for this,” she wrote in a column. “The wind is not the story here, and everyone knows it because they watched Florence drop in strength before it made landfall.”

Plus, Fritz said, if you are going to lean into the winds of a raging storm (turn your sound down) “do it right.” 

In other social media posts, meteorologists were criticized for standing outside in the weather, while admonishing viewers not to do the same.

Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist at ABC News, responded saying she always puts safety first.

Florida Climatologist David Zierden also chimed in, asking if being outside during a storm is any less safe than a football game.

Hurricane Irma: 6.8 million evacuated, survey finds many won’t next time

Business owners in Palm Beach County had a message for Hurricane Irma. (Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post)

Nearly 25 percent of South Florida residents surveyed about hurricane preparations in the year after Irma said they would not evacuate if a Category 3 or 4 storm was headed their way even if it was forecast to hit within 10 miles of their home.

According to a survey released Monday – the year anniversary of Hurricane Irma’s Florida landfall – by the  FAIR Foundation, and Get Ready Florida! about 18 percent of Floridians statewide said they would not evacuate in the face of a Cat 3 or 4 storm.

South Florida includes Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

RELATED: Irma forced mass evacuations; officials urge staying home next time

The survey polled 1,000 Florida residents between Aug. 23 and Sept. 2 as part of the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.

“You’d think that after Irma caused so much damage and cost so many lives in Florida last year, more people would understand what’s at stake,” said former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, in a press release announcing the survey. “Floridians really have to take these risks seriously and be prepared for the worst because it can come at any time.”

Hurricane Irma radar image, courtesy Brian McNoldy

While no one argues people in zones ordered to evacuate by emergency managers should do so, there has been discussion in the year following Irma about whether too many people fled the storm that didn’t need to.

IRMA ANNIVERSARY: A year later, thread of Keys society unraveling 

It’s estimated as many as 3 million people who evacuated were not in evacuation zones.

And these so-called “shadow evacuees” may be encouraged to ride out the next storm at home in an effort to minimize traffic, extend gas supplies and increase available hotel rooms.

“I think it’s fair to suggest the people stay put if they can because they are taking gas and hotel rooms from people who are leaving to save their lives,” said Palm Beach County Emergency Manager Bill Johnson in an April Palm Beach Post story about over evacuations.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered in Palm Beach County for about 153,000 people. Another 138,000 people live in areas that were under voluntary evacuation. About 17,000 people stayed in Palm Beach County shelters.

Related: Official wind gauges went dark during Irma.

With the exception of mobile homes, evacuations in Florida are based on storm surge, not wind. That means people should evacuate tens of miles inland, not hundreds of miles north, Johnson said.

“We ask people to stay in the county,” Johnson said. “We need to break down the myths that you need to evacuate to Arkansas to be safe.”

Other findings of the survey included:

  • A majority of Floridians who evacuated during Hurricane Irma said the process cost them more than $300. Of these, 40% said the evacuation cost them $500 or more, while an additional 20% said the cost was between $300 and $500.
  • For the most part, Floridians are more prepared to meet the needs of their pets in a storm than they are the humans in their home.
  • The portion of Floridians who mistakenly believe it’s safe to run a generator somewhere in the home has increased over the past nine months.
  • More than one-third of Floridians who live less than 2 miles from the coast don’t have flood insurance.
  • More than half don’t know what their homeowners or renters insurance covers in a hurricane, with many incorrectly believing insurance covers things like replacing spoiled food, removing debris from the yard, and buying a generator.

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A year after Hurricane Irma, a thread of Keys’ society unraveling

Property for sale Big Pine Key, Florida, August, 29, 2018. Hurricane Irma destroyed many homes when it blasted the Florida Keys, September 10, 2017. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

A year after Hurricane Irma battered the Florida Keys, the iconic island chain is open for business, beckoning tourists in search of candy-coated sunsets, tropical solace — their lost shaker of salt.

The sandal factories, shell worlds, and key lime stands advertise their colorful kitsch along the Overseas Highway that carries pilgrims to the promised land of sweet libations and Hemingway lore.

But scratch the surface of that coconut-scented veneer and a different side  of Hurricane Irma recovery is revealed.

Artist William Sasser holds one of his painting outside a FEMA trailer he is staying in Big Pine Key, Florida, August 28, 2018. Hurricane Irma toppled a tree onto his trailer, September 10, 2017. Sasser was told in late August he wasn’t doing enough to “actively pursue” a permanent residence. He was given 15 days to move. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

A thread of Keys society — musicians, artists, old-school Conchs and workaday Joes — is unraveling.

People whose grip on Eden was tenuous before Irma blew their homes apart, are feeling it slip away entirely in the face of strict rebuilding codes that require raised structures fortified to withstand Mother Nature’s worst.

It’s a unique dilemma in an archipelago where there’s no easy commute to cheaper suburbs. In other parts of the state, a trailer home lost to Irma could be replaced with another trailer home, said Phillip Decker, regional team leader for the United Methodist Conference working on recovery efforts in Monroe County.

On Avenue G in Big Pine Key, fourth-generation Conch Mary Grimes ponders how she’ll replace her ruined 60s-era trailer with a stilt palace of concrete.

The 74-year-old has six months …. READ the full story and see more incredible Hurricane Irma photos on

Adventure Environmental crews clear debris from a canal in Marathon, Florida, August, 29, 2018. A federal grant provided $49.2 million – $45.9 million for marine cleanup and $3.3 million for monitoring after Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys, September 10, 2017. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

Top 15 Hurricane Irma moments

Hurricane Irma made seven landfalls, including four as a Cat 5.

A year ago Aug. 27, a tropical wave that would become Hurricane Irma left the west coast of Africa.

It was clear it meant business from the very beginning. Even as a wave, it was producing a widespread area of deep thunderstorms that quickly concentrated into a closed circulation.

By Aug. 30, the system was a tropical depression. Just 30 hours later, Irma was a hurricane.

BOOKMARK The Palm Beach Post’s storm tracking map here.

Category 5 Hurricane Irma begins to impact the northern Leeward Islands with 185 mph winds on Sept. 5, 2027

“Irma continued to strengthen, and it reached major hurricane status by Sept. 1, only two days after genesis,” National Hurricane Center meteorologists wrote in their postmortem of the monster cyclone. “This 70-knot increase in intensity over a 48-hour period is a remarkable rate that is only achieved by a small fraction of Atlantic tropical cyclones (about 1 in 30).”

Another notable storm stat – Irma maintained Category 5 strength for a stunning 60 consecutive hours.

RELATED: Think you survived a Cat 4 in Hurricane Irma? Not even close

On its 13-day journey, Irma made seven landfalls, four of which were at Cat 5 power. It hit Florida twice on Sept. 10, first at Cudjoe Key as a 134-mph Cat 4, before skipping up to Marco Island where it landed as a 115-mph Cat 3.

The following are some key dates and milestones for 2017’s Hurricane Irma:

  • Aug. 27: A tropical wave that would become Irma leaves the west coast of Africa.
  • Aug. 31: Hurricane Irma forms.
  • Sept. 1: Hurricane Irma reaches Category 3 strength with 115 mph winds.
  • Sept. 4: Hurricane Irma reaches Category 4 strength with 132 mph winds.
  • Sept. 5: Hurricane Irma reaches Category 5 strength with 178 mph winds.
  • Sept. 6: Landfall on Barbuda as Cat 5. (178 mph)
  • Sept. 6: Landfall on St. Martin as Cat 5. (178 mph)
  • Sept. 6: Landfall on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands as a Cat 5. (178 mph)
  • Sept. 8: Landfall on Little Inagua, Bahamas as Cat 4 (155 mph).
  • Sept. 9: Landfall near Cayo Romano, Cuba as a Cat 5 (167 mph).
  • Sept. 10: Landfall on Cudjoe Key, Fla., as Cat 4 (132 mph). It’s the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
  • Sept. 10: Landfall near Marco Island, Fla., as Cat 3 (115 mph).
  • Sept. 11: Irma passed between Tampa and Orlando as a Cat 1 storm with tropical-storm-force-winds that extended 360 nautical  miles from center.
  • Sept. 11: Irma weakens to a tropical storm 20 nautical miles west of Gainesville.
  • Sept. 11: Center of Irma moved over southern Georgia just west of Valdosta with 52 mph winds, and becomes a remnant low a day later.

Irma didn’t break records in terms of maximum strength, but it’s in second place for how long it sustained Category 5 strength,” said John Cangialosi, a hurricane specialist with the NHC in Miami who co-authored the Irma postmortem. “Most hurricanes will oscillate more, and while they can get to this intensity, they don’t hold it very long.”

The 1932 Cuba Hurricane, or Santa Cruz del Sur hurricanen holds the top spot for maintaining Cat 5 status at 72 consecutive hours.

Hurricane Irma was slowed down to a low-end Category 4 hurricane by its rub against Cuba before a Sept. 10 landfall in Florida.

The strongest wind speed recorded in the Florida Keys from Hurricane Irma was a 120-mph gust on Big Pine Key. A gust of 129 mph was recorded near Marco Island, while a gauge at the Naples Pier registered a 141-mph gust.

While many official National Weather Service gauges failed during the storm, Palm Beach International Airport’s remained operational, recording a 91-mph gust at about 7 p.m. Sept. 10.

The strongest sustained wind speed measured in Palm Beach County was 70-mph at a Weather Flow station in Jupiter. That’s 4 miles below a Cat 1.

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NHC watching what would become Hurricane Irma.

Who’s munching your snowbushes? Florida favorite under attack

Spanworms decimate a shrub in West Palm Beach. Courtesy Thomas R. Collins

An inchworm in a striking yellow and black jacket is devouring a favorite Florida shrub this summer, but horticulturists say it’s not the only insect making the most of the wet weather.

Prolific plant growth from record May rains and consistent showers means more tender new stalks for bugs to munch on, said Deborah Levulis, a University of Florida environmental horticulturist in Palm Beach County.

RELATED: Florida had wettest May on record, here’s by how much

Levulis said the variegated pink, white and green leaves of the snowbush are especially attractive to spanworms, and can be most noticeable because the shrubs are often used as a natural barrier for yards.

Variegated leaves of the snowbush. Wikipedia

“They are just one of these plants that make a striking statement in the landscape and if you are using it as a screen and it starts to get decimated by chewing insects, than you lose that look,” Levulis said. “We’ve had a lot of humidity and a lot of rain, so everything has put in an extra dose of growth and is extra lush.”

After a spanworm eats its fill, it buries itself in the ground and emerges in about seven days as the white-tipped black moth. The moths, which span a little more than an inch, have an orange thorax and white tips on their black wings.

White-tipped black moth, photo courtesy University of Florida

They are daytime moths.

“There are moth issues right now, there are butterfly issues and they are all just taking advantage of this excessive growth,” Levulis said. “It’s beautiful to see all the butterflies, but you don’t want to see all your plants decimated.”

Another critter, which isn’t eating plants but may be even more intrusive, is the yellow-banded millipede.

The millipede feeds on decomposing landscape debris, mulch and thatch, but can end up in homes where they typically dry up in the air conditioning.

More plant growth means more landscape debris, which means more millipedes.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

“We don’t recommend you vacuum them because the odor can get circulated and really stink,” said Bill Schall, a Palm Beach County extension agent with University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or IFAS, in a 2017 interview. “If you sweep them into a dust pan, or just pick them up, that is better.”

Yellow-banded millipede, courtesy Rebecca Vaughan

Levulis said the millipedes are beneficial because they break down debris to create topsoil.

“It’s all related to the weather and how much extra growth we’ve had,” Levulis said about a buggy invasion.

While snowbushes can usually withstand a single assault of inchworms, many attacks in a row may weaken the plant and it will “eventually bite the dust on you.”

To combat the moth, people can wipe the salmon pink eggs from leaves, prune branch tips with many caterpillars on them, and spray small caterpillars with an insecticidal soap.

“Most people can’t take a blemish on the fruit at Publix, so they definitely don’t want a leafless shrub in their yard,” Levulis said.

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As we enter peak hurricane season, it’s eerily quiet out there…

Harvey was a harmless tropical storm and Irma was still a breeze in Africa as peak hurricane season dawned a year ago in a pulsing Atlantic basin set to detonate.

Ten consecutive hurricanes, including six major storms, stained 2017 with devastating floods in Houston, evacuation horrors in Florida, and months of darkness in Puerto Rico.

It’s different this year.

Although statistics show near normal activity as the heady days of 2018’s peak season arrive — five named storms when the average is three, two hurricanes when one is typical — the creep of an El Niño and a balm of cool water may thwart an atmospheric escalation.

RELATED: Irma was an unstopabble ruin; two things foiled its worst intentions

The hurricane season, which began June 1, is not dead.

Hurricanes Katia, Irma and Jose all spun simultaneously in September 2017.

But experts have characterized it so far as “classic junk” and “season of slop.”

“We’ve had five storms and nobody would probably guess that because none of them have been very significant,” said Chris Davis, a senior scientist and associate director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “The development’s been pushed to the margins and hasn’t had time to organize into anything intense.”

Beryl and Chris, the season’s two hurricanes, were short lived and steered clear of land. While Chris reached Category 2 strength briefly, Beryl maxed out at 80 mph and was a hurricane for just longer than a day.

Alberto, Debby and Ernesto all remained tropical or subtropical storms. Subtropical cyclones are spread out, with their strongest winds further from the center and slapdash thunderstorms that don’t always form a continuous doughnut of clouds.

Still, experts said quiet seasons can take radical turns when September arrives.

And Klotzbach is concerned … Find out what the rest of hurricane season may have in store and what one leading forecast is worried most about in the full story on

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Hurricane Irma crossing the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017.

Toxins in algae at ‘dangerous’ levels, expert says

The decision Thursday to restart Lake Okeechobee releases after a temporary respite was expected, but it comes as toxicity levels in the algae are testing in amounts that one expert called “dangerous.”

An algae sample taken July 5 at the St. Lucie Lock near Phipps Park in Stuart was returned Tuesday with toxin levels of 154 micrograms per liter — 15 times higher than what the World Health Organization considers low risk. Earlier samples from the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County were even higher at 463 micrograms per liter and 308 micrograms per liter.

Anything over 20 micrograms per liter is considered a “high risk for acute health effects.”

“Yes, that is dangerous,” said Kathleen Rein, a professor in Florida International University’s Department of Chemistry. “People should definitely not be swimming in that. Stay away from it. Don’t let your pets drink the water.”

RELATED: White House approve massive reservoir to hold Lake O overflow

Rein said acute liver failure is a worst-case scenario from swimming in or drinking toxic algae-laced water. But rashes, respiratory problems and nausea also are linked to toxic algae.

This June 28 picture was posted on the Calusa Waterkeeper Facebook page with this caption: Just back from the Franklin Lock beach. Roped off and closed yesterday but apparently not today. Kids swimming in the bloom infested water. I guess the 8.5×11 inch notice didn’t get noticed. This is becoming a replay of the chaos with public notification that occurred during the 2016 bloom.

Most water samples testing positive for toxins higher than the 20 micrograms per liter are from the Caloosahatchee River where releases were only paused four days this week. The St. Lucie had a longer respite of 14 days.

High-risk toxin levels ranging from 25 to 62, in addition to the two triple digit-level test have come back on the Caloosahatchee side in Lee and Glades counties.

RELATED: Why drain Lake O? One tropical system could push it over the edge

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection conducts the testing, which can take 3 to 5 days.

“Residents are put at risk over the weekends while the Florida Department of Helath waits on results from FDEP,” said John Cassani, whose group Calusa Waterkeeper is a member of the national nonprofit Waterkeeper Alliance. “Seemingly no real strategy on (DEP’s) part.”

The Corps began releasing water from Lake Okeechobee on June 1 following Florida’s rainiest May on record. To protect Glades-area communities from flooding if the dike were to fail, the Corps likes to keep the lake level between 12.5 and 15.5 feet above sea level. During the rainy season — when one tropical system could raise the lake three feet in a month — the lower end of the scale is preferred.

A Great Blue Herion stands by blue-green algae on the shores of Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, July 10, 2018. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

Dee Ann Miller, a spokeswoman for DEP, said there is frequent discussion among groups dealing with the algae issue, and that DEP loads its information into the Department of Health’s Caspio database for its review.

“It is DOH that takes the lead in determining if a harmful algal bloom presents a risk to human health,” she said. “DOH issues health advisories as it determines to be appropriate when toxicity levels are higher and may also post warning signs when blooms affect public beaches or other areas where there is the risk of human exposure.”

On Thursday, Lake Okeechobee stood at 14.48 feet above sea level. That’s two feet higher than it was at this time in 2017, and the third highest level for the same time period in the past 11 years.

The highest the lake has been was …Read the full story on MYPALMBEACHPOST.COM and find out why a swollen Lake Okeechobee is a no-win situation for everyone involved, including the lake. 

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Hurricane Irma: Think you survived a Cat 4…not even close

Business owners in Palm Beach County had a message for Hurricane Irma. (Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post)

People bristle in disbelief, even anger, when hurricane center specialist John Cangialosi tells them the truth about Hurricane Irma’s wind speeds.

Many believe they survived much worse during the September tempest, and aren’t keen to hear otherwise.

But only those within about 15 miles of Irma’s fierce eye that made landfall near Cudjoe Key on Sept. 10, 2017 experienced the sting of a Cat 4 hurricane. As the wind field spread and slowed, people at either end of the island chain — Key Largo and Key West — likely felt no more than sustained Category 1 winds.

Hurricane Irma crossing the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017.

In Palm Beach County, where trees toppled and electricity faltered, no sustained hurricane-force winds were measured during Irma, although a 91-mph gust is on record at Palm Beach International Airport. Broward County had one sustained measurement of 76 in Hollywood, just over the Cat 1 threshold.

“Most people get really defensive when you tell them they saw a Cat 1 Irma, not a Cat 4,” said Cangialosi, who was lead author of the National Hurricane Center’s post-mortem on Irma. “I try to say that I know it was bad and I don’t dismiss what they experienced, but they see it as a put down. It’s a very common thing.”

BOOKMARK The Palm Beach Post’s storm tracking map here.

In summers past, when Florida basked in a more than decade-long hurricane drought, the worry at the start of storm season was that “hurricane amnesia” had settled over an unconcerned and ill-prepared Sunshine State.

It’s different this June 1.

Few have forgotten the September assault by Hurricane Irma — the first major hurricane of Cat 3 or higher to hit Florida since Wilma in 2005.

But are the recollections of Irma’s muscle accurate?

RELATED: What’s an invest and why do they keep saying tropical cyclone?

Instead of hurricane amnesia, some emergency managers fear people may be overestimating Irma’s wind speeds, attributing the destruction around them to a power greater than what was felt, and then using that as a base on how to react to future storms that will pack greater fury.

“There are a lot of people in the Keys who think they survived a Cat 4 with Irma, but what we know is that for where they were, it was a Cat 1,” said Monroe County Emergency Manager Martin Senterfitt during the Governor’s Hurricane Conference in May. “They will tell you it was bad, it was scary, it was horrible. Yes, and ….


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UPDATE: 70 percent chance of tropical development ahead of wet weekend

Update, 8 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center said the low pressure system making its way into the Gulf of Mexico now has a 70 percent chance to develop in the coming days.

Forecasters said even the system doesn’t become a storm, there will still be heavy rainfall across Florida and the Gulf this weekend.

Original Story: The National Hurricane Center has given an area of low pressure east of Belize a 60 percent chance of development over the next five days as it heads into the Gulf of Mexico.

That’s up from 40 percent Tuesday morning. Regardless of tropical formation, the system is expected to bring more rain to Florida during the weekend.

RELATED: What’s an invest and why do they keep saying tropical cyclone? 


No development is forecast for the system dubbed 90L during the next couple of days because of strong upper-level winds and the low’s nearness to to the Yucatan Peninsula.

But it may begin to better organize as it moves slowly into the central or eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The system would be named Alberto if it develops.

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Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Miami said spotty showers are expected to continue today throughout South Florida, but with more bouts of sunshine than in the past few days.

“Things begin to shift late in the week into this weekend when all eyes turn to the tropical disturbance over the western Caribbean,” meteorologists wrote in a morning forecast. “Model guidance continues to feature a variety of different solutions which creates much lower confidence with the actual classification of this disturbance moving forward.”

Rain totals through Monday morning could be as high as 7 inches in parts of South Florida.
West Palm Beach

The primary threats of the system are heavy rainfall and gusty winds. There is the possibility of a “tail of tropical moisture” to linger into early next week, creating more concerns for excessive rainfall.

“Obviously, there is great uncertainty with the forecast from late in the week onward,” forecasters said. “Interests in South Florida should monitor developments closely through the rest of this week and the Memorial Day holiday.”

Many areas in South Florida are forecast to see one of the wettest Mays on record, including West Palm Beach, which could see its 8th wettest May in records dating back 123 years.

Many sites in South Florida are on track to see one of their wettest Mays on record.

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Money for South Florida flood control shorted, report says

The budget for repairing South Florida’s aging flood control structures is short tens of millions of dollars each year, potentially putting homes at risk during extreme rainfall, according to an inspector general’s report.

A year-long review of the South Florida Water Management District’s operations and maintenance program found the annual allotment set aside for repairs to levees, canals and water control structures should be about $88.5 million, while the actual budget averages only $53 million.

STORMS: The Palm Beach Post’s hurricane page has everything you need to know about the upcoming season.

District officials agree the repair budget needs to be bolstered, but not by as much as what is indicated in the report, which they say is based on a facilities survey conducted three years ago that is outdated.

“That particular number of $88.5 million is based on old information,” said John Mitnik, chief engineer for the South Florida Water Management District. “I try and avoid giving a specific number because the idea is you need to continue to add funding to the program each year over the next several years.”

RELATED: Could Hurricane Harvey flooding happen in Palm Beach County?

A message left at the inspector general’s office was not returned Friday.

The report’s findings were to be presented Thursday during a meeting of the district’s influential Water Resources Analysis Coalition, or WRAC, at the request of the coalition’s chairman.

But in a surprise speech handwritten on a yellow legal pad, Jim Moran said his request was overruled and the item yanked from the public meeting. Moran, of Boynton Beach, then promptly resigned as chairman — a post he had held for four years.

South Florida Water Management District board member Jim Moran resigned as chairman of the Water Resources Analysis Coalition on Thursday after complaining an agenda item he had requested was removed from discussion. His speech and resignation announcement were hand written on legal pad paper. (Palm Beach Post)

The 56-page audit, which is a public record, was presented during an April meeting of the district’s Audit and Finance Committee, where officials were given a chance to respond to 13 recommendations in the report.

It will be reviewed by the full governing board at its Thursday meeting.

RELATED: This man knew rains could be deadly…and he was right.

While the district agreed with several of the recommendations…READ the full story at and find out more about the shakeup in leadership of one of the most powerful organizations in South Florida. 

Water flows over the spillway at the Saint Lucie Lock and Dam in Martin County on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. The Army Corps of Engineers structure was built for flood and flow control through the St. Lucie Canal and management of the water level in Lake Okeechobee. Water levels in Lake Okeechobee are at the highest levels in recent years. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

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