Leaders discuss lessons learned from the storm

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A small group of Florida mayors met in St. Petersburg Tuesday to discuss how to prepare and respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters. 

Mayors from St. Pete, Sarasota, Naples, and St. Augustine met in an effort to learn from each other.

One of the main topics of discussion was the speed and intensity of Hurricane Michael. Some residents of coastal communities in Florida’s Panhandle didn't have enough time to evacuate their homes.

"Historically, we've had five days,” observed St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman.

The mayors agree: There needs to be larger, stronger, and more modern shelters in case there's a similar storm elsewhere.

Some change has already happened at the state level. Several residents died at a Broward County nursing home after they lost power during Hurricane Irma and had no air conditioning.

Governor Rick Scott required nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators to keep the air conditioners on, however, as of September, only 170 of almost 700 nursing homes fully complied.

People sitting in the audience brought up concerns over the power grid. All of the mayors say the grid needs to be stronger, and power companies need to communicate better in the days after the storm.

The panel of mayors was an event put together by a variety of groups working to better prepare the Bay Area for natural disasters.