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Knowing the Odds: Florida's history offers lessons about timing and intensity of storms

History offers lessons about when storms are most likely to hit different regions of Florida — and their intensity. The bottom line: While you should be prepared, you don’t always need to be afraid. Florida and its 1,350 miles of coastline stand like a set of 10 pins at the end of Hurricane Alley — a stretch of warm water from the coast of North Africa to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and Central America. That’s why, statewide, the annual odds that a hurricane will make landfall are 46% — and 21% that a major hurricane will occur. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida fires back in redistricting lawsuit

Attorneys for Secretary of State Laurel Lee fired back Monday at an attempt to block a new congressional redistricting plan, saying plaintiffs in a lawsuit want to “revert to some racially gerrymandered” map that would stretch a district across a swath of North Florida to elect a Democrat. Lee’s attorneys filed the arguments two days before Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith is scheduled to hold a hearing on a request for a temporary injunction to block the redistricting plan, which Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislature last month. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida gas prices at highest level in 5 weeks

Florida gas prices rebounded over the weekend, returning to the highest price in five weeks. Sunday’s state average was $4.20 per gallon, an increase of 2 cents from a week ago. A Covid-related silver lining: because China is again imposing big waves of lockdowns, oil demand in China–at nearly 13 million barrels per day, the world’s second oil guzzler after the United States, at 20 million barrels per day–is falling sharply, causing Saudi oil export prices to fall for the first time in four months. [Source: Flagler Live]

The IRS dropped its demand to upload selfies, so why is Florida still requiring them?

Taxpayers, lawmakers and digital privacy advocates rebelled earlier this year when the IRS announced plans to require taxpayers to upload selfies if they wanted online access to their tax records. Following an outcry from both sides of the political spectrum, the IRS responded by making the selfie uploads optional. Yet dozens of states, including Florida, that contracted with ID.me to conduct identify verification of applicants for unemployment benefits, have not followed the IRS’ lead and continue to require applicants to upload selfies that remain on ID.me’s servers for years unless users specifically ask for them to be deleted. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Property insurance companies continue to drop Florida customers

As Florida homeowners wait for a special session on property insurance reform to convene in May, more and more insurance companies are facing trouble and homeowner’s premiums are going up while policies are getting dropped by the thousands. As of May 1, seven property insurance companies in Florida are currently in liquidation due to financial losses. Several national companies have pulled out of the state, and for some still operating, their ratings are dropping. [Source: WFTS]


› Gulf Coast counties see surge of GDP growth, business formation
Four Gulf Coast counties are among the top 10 areas in Florida where gross domestic product is growing the fastest, according to a new study by SmartAsset. The list is topped by Miami-Dade County, where GDP growth topped $4.58 billion and business growth — a measure of how many new businesses have been formed in the past year — exceeded 3.5%.

› Miami startup Boxie helps restaurants manage deluge of online food orders
If you’ve ordered at a restaurant counter or arrived there for a pickup lately, you likely noticed the chaos going on just beyond: half-assembled orders spread out everywhere and seemingly no process to how they are readied for delivery. These days, restaurants from the neighborhood sandwich shop to your favorite special-occasion destination are delivering.

› Veho shipping company opening e-commerce last-mile delivery station in Jacksonville
San Francisco-based Veho, a shipping company that provides last-mile e-commerce deliveries to national retail customers, is building-out at Southbound Distribution Center at Powers Avenue east of St. Augustine Road. The city approved a permit May 6 for Jim Cooper Construction Co. Inc of Birmingham, Alabama, to build-out 59,500 square feet of space for Veho at 2700 Powers Ave. at a construction cost of almost $1.1 million.

› Wildfires that burned more than 26,000 acres in the Everglades have been contained
After wildfires burned more than 26,000 acres of land in the Everglades west of Sunrise and west of Boca Raton, the fires have been contained, a Florida Forest Service spokesman said. Three separate fires started from lightning strikes on Wednesday afternoon and spread within the Everglades in Broward and Palm Beach, creating billowing smoke in the western portions of the counties.

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› Popular Florida eatery Jay’s Sandbar Foodboat sinks on Mother’s Day
The owner of a Fort Lauderdale food boat is promising to rebuild after his vessel sank on Mother’s Day while workers were still on board. Fortunately, everyone got safely off Jay’s Sandbar Foodboat on Sunday afternoon, news outlets reported.

› Some South Florida hospitals came under cyberattacks. Here’s what you need to know
A group of hospitals in Miami-Dade and Broward, including North Shore Medical Center and Palmetto General Hospital, lost computer or phone service for an undisclosed period in April due to a cyberattack at one of the nation’s largest for-profit hospital companies, Tenet Healthcare Corporation.

› Sarasota cocktail maker Bushwacker Spirits takes the liquor market by a storm
Together, Michael Smith and Carter Echols, two childhood friends, founded Bushwacker Spirits, a new Sarasota-based spirit company that managed to recreate the taste of the Caribbean cocktail inside of a 750-milliliter bottle. Echols and Smith founded the company in 2020 in Sarasota, and just two years later, it's valued at $12 million.

› Coconut Grove’s scenic waterfront road, historic trail is a mess. Can $16M revamp fix it?
In Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest neighborhood, lies one of the city’s most picturesque and popular roadways — and one of its messiest and most stressed. South Bayshore Drive, for much of its two-mile length a narrow historic road, threads its way under a dense tree canopy past waterfront parks, Miami City Hall, marinas and sailing clubs, and mansions and estates, including the grandest of all, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.