Hurricane Maria:

Islands brace for ‘most destructive” hurricane in Puerto Rico history

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
81°
Clear
H 86° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    81°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 86° L 72°
  • clear-night
    73°
    Morning
    Clear. H 86° L 72°
  • clear-day
    87°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 91° L 72°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

     A teenager is dead and police are searching for a suspect.   Sanford police say a 16 year old boy was fatally stabbed at Stonebrook Apartments in Sanford,  Tuesday afternoon. The victim was found in a car outside a building at the complex and police say he was not a resident of the apartment complex.  Police are searching for someone named Joshua, possibly driving a orange 2 door car in connection with the fatal stabbing. This is a developing story, no other information was avaialble.
  • Two employees of the transit system at Auburn University have been accused of raping an 18-year-old student on one of the buses Friday night.  Tony Martin Patillo, 51, of Columbus, Georgia, and James Don Johnson Jr., 32, of Auburn, are each charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, according to Lee County Jail records. Patillo is also charged with four counts of public lewdness.  The Opelika-Auburn News reported that the lewdness charges stem from an incident just before midnight on Friday in which witnesses spotted a man exposing himself while standing over a woman on the ground. Patillo was arrested when responding officers found him nearby. Detectives conducting additional investigation into the incident learned that Patillo had allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, who appeared to be incapacitated, while on the bus, the News reported. The woman, who was no longer present when Patillo was arrested, was identified and tracked down by police officers, whom she told about the alleged rape. According to investigators, Johnson drove the bus and “engaged in actions to perpetuate the crime while Patillo was in the rear of the bus, assaulting the victim,” the News reported.  Patillo exited the bus with the woman in the area where the passersby spotted him exposing himself a few minutes later, police officials said.  The Auburn Plainsman, the university’s student newspaper, reported that the alleged assault took place on a Tiger Ten bus that runs from the downtown area to multiple apartment complexes and student housing areas off-campus. The late-night buses are specifically designed to give students a safe ride home.  “Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act,” officials with Auburn’s Department of Campus Safety and Security said in a statement. “We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.” >> Read more trending news The Plainsman reported that the university operates campus security shuttles to take students to on-campus locations late at night. Tiger Transit and Tiger Ten buses are operated by outside contractor First Transit. First Transit is required in its contract with Auburn University to perform background checks on all of its drivers, the campus newspaper said. Company officials told the Plainsman it is performing its own internal investigation of the alleged assault.  “At First Transit, we are greatly troubled by the events of Friday night,” officials said in a statement. “The safe and reliable transportation of our passengers is our highest priority. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.” Both Patillo and Johnson were immediately removed from service and First Transit has begun termination proceedings, the statement read. Company officials said they are working with campus and city police in the investigation.  Auburn University is re-evaluating its contract with First Transit, the Plainsman reported.  Patillo was being held in the Lee County Jail in lieu of $127,000 bail, the News reported. Johnson was being held in lieu of $125,000 bail. 
  • Duke Energy and FPL will have two ways to pass on the storm recovery costs to its customers.   9 Investigates reporter Daralene Jones has been digging into this issue for two days and learned not only can the utility companies tack on a storm recovery surcharge, they can also sell bonds that the customers would be forced to pay for.   Read: Help after Hurricane Irma   The Florida Legislature approved the measure in 2005.   Duke has not issued bonds and has no current surcharges for storm costs. However, FPL customers are paying for bonds and a surcharge, which equals an extra $5 a month on a customer’s utility bill.   Duke and FPL customers will likely be paying another surcharge for Irma. Both will be allowed to petition the Public Service Commission for a surcharge to pay for the repairs following the hurricane.   >>> Read more Hurricane Irma stories <<<   That money would typically come from the utilities storm recovery fund, but records 9 Investigates obtained show Duke had only $60 million on hand before Irma.   FPL was in the red with $203 million because it wiped out $93 million after Hurricane Matthew, last year.   FPL filed a petition for a surcharge that shows costs related to Hurricane Matthew reached $318 million. The latest earnings reports show Duke Energy earned $686 million in the second quarter of this year while FPL earned $526 million. Both are increases of about 100 million from the same time last year.   >>> Download the free WFTV weather app <<<   Both utilities are in the early stages of hardening its systems against hurricanes, even though the Public Service Commission demanded changes in 2006.   Some state lawmakers said they’re committed to push harder through legislative action.   “Look at the past history of the rate cases that have been granted and what they've been doing with that money. Each storm recovery surcharge typically lasts about a year, but can be renewed,” said Rep. Jason Brodeur, (R) from Seminole County.   The bonds issued are long term. FP&L customers have been paying off the 2006 bond for 11 years and it will stay on the customer’s bill until 2019.   Public utilities like OUC and KUA are eligible to apply for storm recovery costs from FEMA.   A Duke Energy representative apologized Tuesday morning to the 37,000 customers who are still without power.   Duke had originally said it would have power restored Sunday at midnight.
  • Orange County is setting a timeline for debris clean-up from Hurricane Irma. According to county government spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet, Public Works set an “eight week timeline for substantial cleanup.” “We have met with our contractors and are working to meet this deadline,” Overstreet said.  “Citizens should move vegetative debris to the curb now.  Please do not block, gutters, inlets, fire hydrants and sidewalks.” Overstreet says the county estaimtes about 1.3 million cubic yards of debris still needs to be picked up. That’s comparable with the City of Miami, which estimated one million cubic yards still remains.  Miami-Dade County reportedly has triple that amount and set a clean-up deadline for four to six months.
  • Anyone in Central Florida who needs information on obtaining Hurricane Irma recovery assistance from FEMA is invited to a free workshop on Thursday. Orlando Democratic Congressman Darren Soto says it’s a “bi-partisan” workshop where FEMA representatives will go over benefits and help people with applications directly. “If you want to sit down with a FEMA representative and have them walk you through the application process, this would be a good opportunity for you,” Soto says. You can also apply for FEMA assistance at FEMA.gov.  All Central Florida counties were given the FEMA designation of individual assistance, so all constituents are eligible for potential FEMA relief. The workshop is at Polk State College’s Advanced Technology Center at 310 Technology Drive in Bartow, Florida from 3 to 5 p.m. (Tweet)
  • A magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused buildings to sway and break apart in Mexico City on the anniversary of the magnitude 8.0 quake that did major damage in 1985. >> PHOTOS: Major earthquake strikes Mexico City Pictures fell from walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over. Below are the latest images from social media of the damage: >> Read more trending news
  • Anger over the police shooting of a Pride Alliance leader at Georgia Tech turned violent Monday night, as protesters set a campus police car ablaze following a candlelight vigil. >> Read more trending news Two police officers received minor injuries, Tech spokesman Lance Wallace said. One was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, treated and released, he said. Three people were arrested and were identified by Tech authorities as Vincent Castillenti, Jacob Wilson and Cassandra Monden. It was not immediately clear if they were students at the university. Wilson was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, and three misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass. Monden — who was identified as Andrew Xavier Monden by the Fulton County Sheriff’s office — was charged with a felony count of interference with government property and inciting to rioting, which is a misdemeanor. Castillenti was charged with felonies including aggravated assault on an officer and willful obstruction of an officer by use of threats or violence. The three are expected in court for first appearance hearings Wednesday morning. The parents of Scout Schultz — who had appeared earlier in the day with their attorney to question the deadly shooting — released a statement Monday night calling for calm. “We ask that those who wish to protest Scout's death do so peacefully. Answering violence with violence is not the answer. Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students,” they said. “This is how we will truly honor Scout's life and legacy.” Students planned to set up tables across campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday for “campus members to write letters and on posters to show support for Scout's family and friends (as tonights vigil was interrupted) as well as GTPD,” according to a Facebook post. The evening began with a peaceful vigil to remember Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old engineering student from Lilburn. Schultz was gunned down by campus police late Saturday night. The GBI is investigating. But about 50 students left the vigil and began to march toward the Tech police headquarters at Hemphill Avenue and Ferst Drive. At 9:28 p.m., Georgia Tech tweeted that students should “shelter in place” due to “violent protests on campus.” Officers from the Atlanta Police and nearby Georgia State University were called in to to assist Georgia Tech police. Chad Miller, a Tech alumnus taking part in the march, said he thought tear gas had been deployed. Miller told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was right behind the police car when it erupted into flames. “All I heard was metal hitting metal,” Miller said. “I’m guessing it was fireworks, there were some pretty powerful ones.” “I was marching with them until they got in front of the police station and then all hell broke loose.” Miller said he saw one man who may have been a police officer throwing up and coughing. Schultz was shot and killed after a confrontation with Georgia Tech campus police late Saturday night. Police have said Schultz had a knife and refused commands to stop. But Chris Stewart, a lawyer for the family, said Schultz was carrying a small utility tool and the blade wasn’t out.  Schultz’s parents have questioned why police didn’t use non-lethal force. The GBI said Monday Schultz had left behind three suicide notes and called 911. “Why did you have to shoot?” Scout’s father, Bill Schultz, asked at a news conference Monday. “That’s the only question that matters right now.” Schultz was the head of the Georgia Pride Alliance, which had helped organize Monday night’s vigil. The group advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual individuals.
  • A Baton Rouge resident made a disturbing discovery Thursday afternoon -- a rivulet of blood leaking into the street behind a funeral home. WBRZ in Baton Rouge reported that photos taken behind Greenoaks Funeral Home showed blood leaking from a valve in the ground and flowing onto the street. In the approximately 20 minutes that the leak lasted, a large stretch of the roadway was coated. Click here to see a photo of the leak. Warning: The photo is graphic in nature and may not be suitable for everyone.  Adam Smith, an employee with the city’s Department of Environmental Services, confirmed that the fluid was blood mixed with formaldehyde. The mixture was leaking from a storage tank behind the funeral home. >> Read more trending news “We sent out both our sewer inspector and our environmental specialists to take a look,” Smith told the news station. “We determined that it wasn’t a sewer issue and that it was an issue on private property.” Smith said the funeral home is under new management and did not have a permit. The city was working to get the permit issue resolved. 
  • Emergency management officials have announced that Central Florida residents whose property suffered damage due to Hurricane Irma can now apply for disaster relief help through FEMA. “We’re here to help,” said Peter Sessum, Media Relations Specialist with FEMA. A total of 30 counties across the state are now eligible to apply for individual and household programs. Those counties include:  Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union and Volusia. (tweet) You can apply two ways: call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go to www.disasterassistance.gov and click on Disaster Resources.   After you file for assistance, FEMA has 10 days to respond and if you are approved, you should receive assistance within 2 to 3 days.  All applicants will need the following to apply for assistance:-Social Security number-Telephone number-Mailing address-Private insurance information-Bank account information for direct deposit-Paperwork related to damaged property (photos, receipts, etc.) Sessum says it’s important to have all forms filled out accurately in order to not slow down the process time.“We need all of that to be able to get you assistance as quickly as possible.” You must file a claim within 60 days, according to KHOU.  Damages in Florida after Hurricane Irma are estimated to top $100 billion.  (tweet)
  • Update 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19: American Airlines and United Airlines announced that they are capping some of their fares as Hurricane Maria churns over the Caribbean. >> Read more trending news American Airlines said it will cap until Sept. 24 one-way, nonstop fares from airports in Antigua, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos islands, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis. Fares for travel in the airline’s main cabin will be capped at $99, while premium cabin fares will be capped at $199. United Airlines officials said the company is adding additional seats for its flights leaving Puerto Rico. The airline capped its nonstop flights in economy class at $384. >> Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria: Live updates The announcements came in response to a letter sent to nearly a dozen airliners from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, requesting that the airlines cap fees for people fleeing from Maria. “Individuals and families should not be forced to delay or cancel their evacuation efforts because of confusion over the cost of airfare,” Nelson said. Original report: Delta Air Lines said it is capping main cabin one-way fares at $199 for flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic as Hurricane Maria approaches. Atlanta-based Delta is also adding two extra flights from San Juan to Atlanta for those who want to get out of the hurricane’s path. >> More hurricane coverage from WFTV, Action News Jax and the Palm Beach Post Delta is waiving change fees for travelers with flights booked to, from or through San Juan, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago from Sept. 19-26. Southwest Airlines is canceling its flights scheduled to and from San Juan for Tuesday after 6 p.m. and Wednesday, and to and from Punta Cana on Wednesday. The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  •  A teenager is dead and police are searching for a suspect.   Sanford police say a 16 year old boy was fatally stabbed at Stonebrook Apartments in Sanford,  Tuesday afternoon. The victim was found in a car outside a building at the complex and police say he was not a resident of the apartment complex.  Police are searching for someone named Joshua, possibly driving a orange 2 door car in connection with the fatal stabbing. This is a developing story, no other information was avaialble.
  • Two employees of the transit system at Auburn University have been accused of raping an 18-year-old student on one of the buses Friday night.  Tony Martin Patillo, 51, of Columbus, Georgia, and James Don Johnson Jr., 32, of Auburn, are each charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, according to Lee County Jail records. Patillo is also charged with four counts of public lewdness.  The Opelika-Auburn News reported that the lewdness charges stem from an incident just before midnight on Friday in which witnesses spotted a man exposing himself while standing over a woman on the ground. Patillo was arrested when responding officers found him nearby. Detectives conducting additional investigation into the incident learned that Patillo had allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, who appeared to be incapacitated, while on the bus, the News reported. The woman, who was no longer present when Patillo was arrested, was identified and tracked down by police officers, whom she told about the alleged rape. According to investigators, Johnson drove the bus and “engaged in actions to perpetuate the crime while Patillo was in the rear of the bus, assaulting the victim,” the News reported.  Patillo exited the bus with the woman in the area where the passersby spotted him exposing himself a few minutes later, police officials said.  The Auburn Plainsman, the university’s student newspaper, reported that the alleged assault took place on a Tiger Ten bus that runs from the downtown area to multiple apartment complexes and student housing areas off-campus. The late-night buses are specifically designed to give students a safe ride home.  “Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act,” officials with Auburn’s Department of Campus Safety and Security said in a statement. “We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.” >> Read more trending news The Plainsman reported that the university operates campus security shuttles to take students to on-campus locations late at night. Tiger Transit and Tiger Ten buses are operated by outside contractor First Transit. First Transit is required in its contract with Auburn University to perform background checks on all of its drivers, the campus newspaper said. Company officials told the Plainsman it is performing its own internal investigation of the alleged assault.  “At First Transit, we are greatly troubled by the events of Friday night,” officials said in a statement. “The safe and reliable transportation of our passengers is our highest priority. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.” Both Patillo and Johnson were immediately removed from service and First Transit has begun termination proceedings, the statement read. Company officials said they are working with campus and city police in the investigation.  Auburn University is re-evaluating its contract with First Transit, the Plainsman reported.  Patillo was being held in the Lee County Jail in lieu of $127,000 bail, the News reported. Johnson was being held in lieu of $125,000 bail. 
  • Duke Energy and FPL will have two ways to pass on the storm recovery costs to its customers.   9 Investigates reporter Daralene Jones has been digging into this issue for two days and learned not only can the utility companies tack on a storm recovery surcharge, they can also sell bonds that the customers would be forced to pay for.   Read: Help after Hurricane Irma   The Florida Legislature approved the measure in 2005.   Duke has not issued bonds and has no current surcharges for storm costs. However, FPL customers are paying for bonds and a surcharge, which equals an extra $5 a month on a customer’s utility bill.   Duke and FPL customers will likely be paying another surcharge for Irma. Both will be allowed to petition the Public Service Commission for a surcharge to pay for the repairs following the hurricane.   >>> Read more Hurricane Irma stories <<<   That money would typically come from the utilities storm recovery fund, but records 9 Investigates obtained show Duke had only $60 million on hand before Irma.   FPL was in the red with $203 million because it wiped out $93 million after Hurricane Matthew, last year.   FPL filed a petition for a surcharge that shows costs related to Hurricane Matthew reached $318 million. The latest earnings reports show Duke Energy earned $686 million in the second quarter of this year while FPL earned $526 million. Both are increases of about 100 million from the same time last year.   >>> Download the free WFTV weather app <<<   Both utilities are in the early stages of hardening its systems against hurricanes, even though the Public Service Commission demanded changes in 2006.   Some state lawmakers said they’re committed to push harder through legislative action.   “Look at the past history of the rate cases that have been granted and what they've been doing with that money. Each storm recovery surcharge typically lasts about a year, but can be renewed,” said Rep. Jason Brodeur, (R) from Seminole County.   The bonds issued are long term. FP&L customers have been paying off the 2006 bond for 11 years and it will stay on the customer’s bill until 2019.   Public utilities like OUC and KUA are eligible to apply for storm recovery costs from FEMA.   A Duke Energy representative apologized Tuesday morning to the 37,000 customers who are still without power.   Duke had originally said it would have power restored Sunday at midnight.
  • Orange County is setting a timeline for debris clean-up from Hurricane Irma. According to county government spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet, Public Works set an “eight week timeline for substantial cleanup.” “We have met with our contractors and are working to meet this deadline,” Overstreet said.  “Citizens should move vegetative debris to the curb now.  Please do not block, gutters, inlets, fire hydrants and sidewalks.” Overstreet says the county estaimtes about 1.3 million cubic yards of debris still needs to be picked up. That’s comparable with the City of Miami, which estimated one million cubic yards still remains.  Miami-Dade County reportedly has triple that amount and set a clean-up deadline for four to six months.
  • Anyone in Central Florida who needs information on obtaining Hurricane Irma recovery assistance from FEMA is invited to a free workshop on Thursday. Orlando Democratic Congressman Darren Soto says it’s a “bi-partisan” workshop where FEMA representatives will go over benefits and help people with applications directly. “If you want to sit down with a FEMA representative and have them walk you through the application process, this would be a good opportunity for you,” Soto says. You can also apply for FEMA assistance at FEMA.gov.  All Central Florida counties were given the FEMA designation of individual assistance, so all constituents are eligible for potential FEMA relief. The workshop is at Polk State College’s Advanced Technology Center at 310 Technology Drive in Bartow, Florida from 3 to 5 p.m. (Tweet)