Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Active Atlantic hurricane season expected once again
Another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season could be coming at us. AccuWeather forecasters on Wednesday predicted 16 to 20 named storms this year, with six to eight becoming hurricanes. Three to five of the hurricanes are projected to have winds exceeding 111 mph, and four to six are forecast to directly impact the U.S. The forecast also gave a “high chance” of a system forming before the June 1 start of the season. More from the News Service of Florida, UPI, and Florida Today.
Another Florida home insurer loses financial stability rating and will likely be dissolved
In yet another ominous sign for Florida’s failing property insurance market, Tampa-based Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp. lost its financial stability rating, which means it will likely be placed under state receivership and dissolved. On Wednesday, ratings firm Demotech announced the withdrawal, effective Tuesday, of Lighthouse’s former A rating. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida plans to stop feeding manatees lettuce on Friday
An unprecedented attempt to prevent manatees from starving by feeding them lettuce in the Indian River Lagoon is set to end Friday, a Florida wildlife official announced. Scientists say manatees are moving away from the area around the feeding site, where they find refuge each winter in warm discharges from a power plant. That trend should continue as air and water temperatures rise, said Ron Mezich, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staffer in charge of the feeding effort. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Judge hears passionate arguments from Surfside victims but OKs $83 million settlement
Victims of the Surfside condominium collapse made impassioned pleas about how money in a legal dispute should be divided, but at the end of a court hearing Wednesday the judge overseeing the case was not swayed and approved an $83 million settlement he had previously endorsed. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman listened to emotional arguments on both sides and ruled that an agreement reached in mediation would stand. More from the Miami Herald.
Sarasota cybersecurity startup receives $20 million in funding
Nucleus Security recently announced it had secured funding in the form of $20 million to help accelerate product development. The Sarasota-based cybersecurity company also plans to use the funding to scale its engineering and support services as well as expand its presence. The series B funding round was led by Lead Edge Capital, a growth equity fund. Arthur Ventures, a series A investor for the company, also participated in the round. More from the Business Observer.
With the beginning of Florida blueberry season comes new UF/IFAS variety
As April starts this week, we enter the Florida blueberry season and the sweet taste that comes with the fruit. You can pick them yourself or buy them from the store or market. Recently, the University of Florida developed and released another tasty blueberry variety. When Patricio Muñoz developed the newest UF/IFAS variety, he wanted to name the fruit in honor of Alto Straughn, a longtime, strong supporter of UF’s blueberry breeding program. Muñoz decided to call the new cultivar the ‘Sentinel.’
» More from Florida Trend.
Out of the Box
3D-printed beak saves rare bird from cancer
A cancer-stricken bird living at ZooTampa has a second lease on life thanks to her caregivers, specialists from the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital, surgeons from the University of Florida and 3D printing technology. The innovative surgery was the first of its kind on a hornbill in the U.S. and just the second attempt worldwide.
» Read more from the St. Pete Catalyst.
In case you missed it:
Florida health coverage rate is better but still lags most of the U.S.
Numerous Florida college rankings drop under new U.S. News methodology