I did a lot of reporting and writing over the last two weeks - including 50 or so hours stuck in the AP's Miami bureau because of storm conditions and debris. Here's a lot of what made it onto the wires.
The first 911 call from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills did not sound ominous: A nursing home patient had an abnormal heartbeat. An hour later, came a second call: a patient had trouble breathing. Then came the third call. A patient had gone into cardiac arrest - and died. Over the next few hours of Wednesday morning, the dire situation at the Rehabilitation Center for fragile, elderly people would come into clearer view. Three days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, the center still did not have air conditioning, and it ultimately became the grimmest tragedy in a state already full of them.
Cuban-style espresso, or cafecito, is a staple of daily life in Miami. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate says how fast Cuban coffee stands reopen - and how many customers they draw - may indicate how badly the city is faring. Fugate told The Associated Press: Cuban coffee stands - if those are closed, it is bad.
The storm surge is called dangerous and life-threatening, but what exactly is it? It is not a wall of water or a tsunami. Simply put, hurricane winds push water toward shore. It can happen quickly and far from the center of a storm, inundating areas that do not typically flood. Storm surge does not just come from the ocean. It can come from sounds, bays and lakes, sometimes well inland.
Two cranes atop high-rise buildings under construction collapsed Sunday in downtown Miami amid strong winds from Hurricane Irma. The cranes were among two dozen such heavyweight hazards looming over the city skyline as the monster storm powered across the state.
Many people in the small, impoverished communities south of Lake Okeechobee said they would not evacuate Friday, saying they either had no transportation and nowhere to go, or they chose to accept whatever fate Hurricane Irma would inflict upon them. The 80-year-old dike around the lake is not in danger of a breach, but winds from Irma may drive lake-waters over a few of its weak points, aggravating flooding caused by rainfall or storm surge, Army Corps of Engineers officials said.
After a catastrophic Hurricane Andrew revealed how lax building codes had become in the most storm-prone state, Florida began requiring sturdier construction. Now, experts say a monstrously strong Hurricane Irma could become the most serious test of Florida storm-worthiness since the 1992 disaster.
As Hurricane Irma threatens to pound Miami with winds of mind-boggling power, a heavyweight hazard looms over the city skyline: two dozen enormous construction cranes. And because those cranes were not designed to withstand a storm like Irma, city officials are telling people who live in the shadows of the giant lifting devices to leave.