Hurricane Sally

Gulf Power Customers Could Face Sally Costs

Feb 23, 2021
Gulf Power

The Florida Public Service Commission next week could approve a proposal that would lead to Gulf Power Co. customers paying $206 million for costs related to Hurricane Sally.

Commission staff members have recommended that the regulatory panel approve adding the storm-restoration costs to Gulf customers’ bills starting in March. The commission will consider the issue March 2, along with a separate issue that would reduce costs for Gulf customers.

Florida House of Representatives

State lawmakers are preparing for the 2021 Florida legislative session. District 2 Representative Alex Andrade shared his thoughts on this year’s priorities and challenges.

“The elephant in the room obviously is the budget crunch we’ll be facing this year," he said. We’ll be looking at between a $2 and $4 billion loss to revenue that the Florida legislature is going to have to figure out how to balance." 

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Owing to the pandemic and after discussions with local partners and officials, organizers of Pensacon are pushing back the annual event to later this year, at least.

Originally set for Feb. 26-28, organizers are now searching for new dates.

“Obviously, the first concern is safety; we’ve seen a spike where we’re sitting at the worst we’ve been since this pandemic began in cases and deaths. We just don’t think it’s the right time. We want to make sure everybody’s safe, first and foremost,” said Pensacon founder and CEO Mike Ensley.

The city of Gulf Breeze is trying innovative ways to support their local businesses.

This holiday season, the city is encouraging people to support Gulf Breeze businesses by purchasing a #SaveTheBreeze gift card that works at any participating retailer or restaurant in the 32561 or 32563 ZIP codes.


FDOT Update: Pensacola Bay Bridge 

FEMA: Hurricane Sally Recovery Update
The deadline to register for FEMA disaster assistance is Dec. 1, 2020.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

More than a month after Hurricane Sally made landfall as a nearly Category 3 storm, the impacts are still evident on local beaches. 

While Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., it was the beaches to the east that took a bigger hit, said Frederique Beroset, biologist and founder of Dune Doctors

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Meda

Debris cleanup from Hurricane Sally is still underway as another storm is expected to roll in Friday night. 

In Santa Rosa and Escambia counties, piles of debris are lined up in front of neighborhoods and businesses. Local officials are urging citizens to be patient as crews work to remove debris or secure their debris to mitigate further damage. 

In Escambia County, residents can drop off debris at these locations:

Sandra Averhart/WUWF Public Media


Residents in five Northwest Florida counties coping with damage to their property by Hurricane Sally are getting help from the feds.

On Friday, FEMA approved Individual Assistance for five counties, including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay. That comes two weeks after the state’s requested for all programs under IA, and all categories of Public Assistance for 13 counties impacted by Sally.

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Meida

Update: 11 a.m. Oct. 2

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Individual Assistance for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties following the impact of Hurricane Sally.Estimates are in for both public and private property damaged by Hurricane Sally in Escambia County, with FEMA crews back in the area going through their paces.

Original story:

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue heard from farmers Monday afternoon in Jay following a tour of crop damage from Hurricane Sally in south Alabama and Florida. 

Following his visit to Alabama, Perdue, along with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, stopped at Jenkins Farm in Jay and took questions from more than dozen people in the farming industry about the state of crops in Florida. 

Will Kennedy/Courtesy Photo

Now that Hurricane Sally is history the restoration is underway in Northwest Florida and south Alabama. And so are the scam artists looking to make an illicit buck.

One of the emerging rip offs deals with Social Security, according to Tammy Ward at the Better Business Bureau in Pensacola.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

Perdido Key and Innerarity Point were among the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sally in southwest Escambia County. The storm made landfall at nearby Gulf Shores, leaving property ravaged by wind and water - due to storm surge and more than 20 inches of rainfall.

Driving through the area, it’s clear that a storm has been here. Vegetation on the barrier island has turned brown from the salt water that washed over, trees are down or leaning due to the sustained wind, and there are blue tarps scattered about.

President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster exists in Escambia County from Hurricane Sally. But the declaration does not mention assistance for individuals.

The declaration provides funding for public damage —roads, bridges, public facilities, and debris removal, among others. At last check Escambia has about $183 million in such damages. The sticking point is that it does not yet include provision for individual or household assistance.

With cleanup and restoration work ongoing in the wake of Hurricane Sally, one unanswered questions is when northwest Florida will get a federal disaster declaration?

“[There’s] a lot of communication from the state Department of Emergency Management and also from our FEMA partners,” said Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley. “They’re working to complete all of their assessment, and the valuations are still being calculated.”

Tuesday afternoon’s briefing at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center reflected the progress, in which the county is rebounding from Hurricane Sally.

They may not be the final figures, but County Administrator Janice Gilley had some numbers on cleanup as the infrastructure gets back on line.

“To date, our assessments have determined that there are $182.6 million worth of damage to the city [of Pensacola], the county, the [Escambia] schools and the ECUA facilities,” said Gilley.