Jack Prator - Climate/Beaches Reporter

Climate/Beaches Reporter

I cover climate as well as Tampa Bay’s beautiful beaches. A Floridian through and through, I’ve reported on a number of environmental issues our state has recently faced. I was on the ground in my hometown of Fort Myers during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ian. I’ve written at length about the impact of the Clean Water Act on Tampa Bay. And I covered the state’s response to manatee deaths hitting a record high. As an audio storyteller, I think people’s voices can be our most powerful tool. I graduated from the University of Florida in May 2023, where I studied journalism and sustainability. Go Gators! While I do have a professional obligation to the local beaches, you will probably still find me there on a day off.

  1. A drone photo shows southbound traffic backing up on Interstate 75 in Hillsborough County during the evening commute Wednesday. A portion of southbound I-75 in the Brandon area has closed following a crash involving six vehicles, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  2. A non-tropical area of low pressure is expected to form along Florida’s east coast late this week, according to forecasters. Chances are low that the front could develop into a sub-tropical system.
  3. A portion of Sunset Beach is seen before and after Hurricane Idalia.
  4. An aerial view of West Prospect Road near South Marti Street, looking west toward Sout MacDill Avenue, shows several large shade trees creating a canopy on July 6 in Tampa.
  5. A car crosses the new Fourth Street North bridge soon after the ramp onto northbound I-275 reopened Monday morning.
  6. Chandler Campbell, a mammal curator, holds a ball python, while Sonny Flynn, the owner and director of the Madeira Beach Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center, watches at a temporary shelter for the center on Wednesday in Madeira Beach.
  7. A drone photo of Florida's Horseshoe Beach in the Big Bend area after Hurricane Idalia. Water temperatures cooled in the Gulf of Mexico along Idalia's path in the days after landfall. Experts say this cooler water won't last long.
  8. Sand is seen in a shower area along Clearwater Beach Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. The Pinellas County Department of Health issued a no-swim advisory for Clearwater Beach, Mandalay Park and Sand Key due
to fecal pollution.
  9. Sara Eve Schaeffer, in her backyard in Shore Acres, surveys her rugs, which are waterlogged from flooding during Hurricane Idalia.
  10. Lily Gumos, 11, of St. Pete Beach, kayaks with her French bulldog along Blind Pass Road and 86th Avenue Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023 in St. Pete Beach. Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Ben region but effects were still being felt in the Tampa Bay region.
  11. Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend region of Florida as a "catastrophic" Category 3 storm just before 8 a.m. Wednesday.
  12. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shared this image of the Howard Frankland Bridge on Wednesday morning, asking motorists to stay off the roads. Authorities closed the bridge in both directions due to storm surge from Hurricane Idalia.
  13. The 2 a.m. Wednesday forecast from the National Hurricane Center for Idalia.
  14. The National Hurricane Center said its likely the Tampa Bay area could see a storm surge as high as 7 feet when Idalia makes landfall on Florida's west coast.
  15. The latest update on Tropical Storm Idalia at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 28, shows the storm set to go up through the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.
  16. Shiv Shukla feeds an eastern diamondback rattlesnake into a plastic tube at Sean Doody’s lab at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg on July 28. Shukla studies venomous snakes to learn more about an emerging fungal disease found in certain species of snakes.
  17. An aerial view on West Gray Street near North Archer Street looking west toward North Himes Avenue, where there are very few large shade trees on July 6 in Tampa. At right, Benjamin Brown heads back to his home after taking his recycling bin out to the curb.
  18. Aerial view of a wildfire in the Indian Lake Estate subdivision near Lake Wales in April 2017. Dozens of firefighters battled the 700+ acre wildfire saving dozens of homes with fire approaching within feet of the houses. Fire officials evacuated the hundreds of residents in the subdivision but lifted the evacuation order. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  19. An aerial drone view shows St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crews on the scene of a fire at the CubeSmart Self Storage building at 2501 22nd Ave N in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
  20. Thomas Allen Phanphilathip, left, and David Tyler Bartles were arrested in Ocala on Saturday in connection with the killing of Winton C. Cutchins on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, police said Tuesday. Both are being held in a Marion County jail awaiting extradition back to Hillsborough County.
  21. An aerial drone view of the Gulf of Mexico looking north on Treasure Island Beach on Tuesday in Pinellas County. Water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, including in the Tampa Bay area, are hotter than any time in recorded history.
  22. Doug Nelson, a self-proclaimed "solar nerd," poses for a portrait in front of solar panels that were installed at his residence in Valrico.
  23. Clearwater Fire & Rescue junior beach lifeguard campers head to Clearwater Beach Lifeguard Station No. 4 for a water rescue lesson earlier this summer.