Hurricane Sally is crawling toward the northern Gulf Coast at just two miles an hour, a pace that will allow the storm to gather huge amounts of water to dump on land eventually. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a state of emergency declaration for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties on Monday, in advance of Hurricane Sally.

“We don’t necessarily anticipate hurricane-force winds in those areas at this time; but we think it’s very likely there will be tropical storm-force winds,” said DeSantis. “We do though see a potential for the storm to really slow down and stall out.”

Sally is now a Category-2 hurricane and continuing to bear down on the northern Gulf Coast. Escambia and Santa Rosa counties were placed in the hurricane warning area on Monday.

“The city is continuing the monitor Sally and we’re in close contact with Escambia County Emergency management,” said Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, who declared a state of emergency just after his weekly virtual news conference on Monday. “We encourage our residents to monitor the storm as well.”

Okaloosa Democrats

After fixing and replacing damaged Biden/Harris campaign signs, Okaloosa Democrats have raised $3,740 in just a few days for billboard advertisements for the Democratic presidential ticket. 

“It’s been fantastic,” said Okaloosa County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Tracey Tapp. “We had 85 people — some of them have never donated before. Democrats are coming out of the woodwork to support Democrats.” 

In this Gulf Stories Moment our guest is April Mendez, a student majoring in earth and environmental studies at UWF. She is looking into whether or not a commercial grade drone that can cost thousands of dollars is really worth the extra money when collecting data for research. 

National Weather Service

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson used his weekly virtual news conference to remind everyone to be vigilant and continue to monitor the progress of Hurricane Sally.

Escambia County is under a tropical storm watch, and a state of emergency for the city of Pensacola was declared by the mayor shortly after his news conference.

“The city is continuing the monitor Sally and we’re in close contact with Escambia County Emergency management,” said Robinson. “We encourage our residents to monitor the storm as well.”

Creative Commons

President Trump’s announcement that he’s extending the moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico is leaving some ecstatic, and others scratching their heads.

The president spoke in Columbia, South Carolina, where Trump ally Lindsey Graham is facing a strong challenge for his Senate seat.

“In a few moments I will sign a presidential order extending the moratorium on offshore drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast; and expanding it to Florida’s Atlantic Coast as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina,” the president said.

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, Sept. 13

Florida: 32 straight days with fewer than 10 percent positive cases

Today, Florida had the 32nd straight day below 10 percent positivity of new cases. The state department of health said today, as reported at 10 a.m. Central, there are 2,423 new positive COVID-19 cases and 8 reported deaths -- 2 occurred Saturday. 

Test results for more than 62,300 individuals were reported to DOH as of midnight Saturday when 4.26 percent of new cases tested positive.

Adobe Stock

As Florida’s number of coronavirus cases started to rise this summer, local governments held marathon emergency meetings about mask mandates, taking hours of public comments and fielding passionate arguments on the issue. 

But only three cities in the local area made the decision to pass an ordinance. In the city limits of Pensacola, Gulf Breeze and Mary Esther, masks are required inside businesses. And businesses owners and city staff say there’s been little to no trouble. 

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida’s Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday to return about $2.4 million requested by the Florida Board of Governors, bringing closure to a disagreement between the two boards over fiscal management of the now defunct Complete Florida Plus online learning program. 

State education officials had voiced concerns in September of last year about UWF’s withdrawal of unclaimed administrative fees from previous years out of carry forward funds, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

While most of the community was still asleep today, students with Navarre High School NJROTC quietly set up for their annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony.

Guided by lights from smart phones, the cadets placed 2,977 American flags around the front of the school Friday morning — representing the number of people killed in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvaina, on Sept. 11, 2001. 

Gulf Power

Gulf Power Company is partnering with the City of Pensacola, on a solar power demonstration project using public property. And the project is drawing more than just casual attention.

The city has a number of solar projects on the drawing board, according to Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, to provide a showcase for such energy and how to use it.

In this Gulf Stories Moment, Dr. Jamin Wells, an assistant professor with the History Department at The University of West Florida, returns to tell us about the digitization of historical documents, and who can benefit from the process.

Quinn Evans/Sandra Averhart / Brentwood Elementary School/WUWF Public Media

After a late start due to the pandemic, all public school students in Northwest Florida are back in class, whether in-person or via Remote Learning. To find out what both approaches look like, from the student perspective, I’m checking back with two of my young relatives on their return to school in the Escambia County School District. One is reporting for face-to-face instruction and the other has opted to stay at home.

Choices, Anxiety and Preparation

Mayra Heitman/WUWF

Sunday, Sept. 6

3,656 New Cases 

Today, as reported at 11 a.m., there are 3,656 new positive COVID-19 cases and 61 reported deaths - five occurred yesterday, September 4.

As posted on the Agency for Health Care Administration’s hospitalization dashboard at 11:45 a.m., there are 3,235 current hospitalizations with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. Test results for more than 70,000 individuals were reported to DOH as of midnight, on Friday, September 4. On September 4, 5.99 percent of new cases tested positive.

Rebecca Riggs


A local art gallery is giving a UWF student some scholarship money, and a chance to make a little more. “It’s really a fantastic opportunity for our students and we couldn’t be more grateful to Blue Morning Gallery for doing this,” said Dr. David Earle, the interim chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of West Florida.