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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:40 p


"Laura strengthens to hurricane as it barrels toward Gulf Coast, possible life-threatening storm surge - A life-threatening storm surge is forecast for a long stretch of the Texas and Louisiana coastlines, with a maximum of seven to 11 feet possible."

By Minyvonne Burke and Kathryn Prociv

Aug. 25, 2020, 8:55 AM EDT / Updated Aug. 25, 2020, 12:32 PM EDT

Laura strengthened to a hurricane Tuesday morning, reaching maximum sustained winds of 75 mph as it barreled toward the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana, bringing with it a threat of a life-threatening storm surge.

Laura is forecast to intensify and reach category 3 strength Wednesday, making landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday near the Texas-Louisiana border.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the two states have been ordered to evacuate.

A storm surge warning has been issued from the San Luis Pass strait in Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River while a hurricane warning is in effect from the strait to the unincorporated community of Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

Other areas, including Sargent, Texas, are under a tropical storm warning.

The storm, which dumped heavy rain on Cuba, may also threaten Florida, the National Hurricane Center Center said.

Rain showers could reach the coast of Texas and Louisiana by Wednesday afternoon with strong winds arriving later in the day.

The storm's impact is forecast to be felt far away.

A life-threatening storm surge is forecast for a long stretch of the Texas and Louisiana coastlines, with a maximum of seven to 11 feet possible.

Even Lake Pontchartrain, though forecast to be far away from the center of the storm, is forecast to experience two to four feet of storm surge.

The storm surge combined with high tide cycles and large destructive waves crashing on shore will lead to exceptionally dangerous conditions along the coast.

In addition, from Wednesday afternoon into Saturday, Laura is expected to produce rainfall of four to eight inches, locally up to 12 inches, across portions of the west-central U.S. Gulf Coast near the Texas and Louisiana border north into portions of the lower Mississippi Valley.

This will lead to widespread flash and urban flooding as well as minor to moderate river flooding.

Several counties and cities along the coast of Texas issued mandatory evacuations beginning Tuesday morning, including the city of Galveston, Orange County and Jefferson County, which has a population of more than 250,000.

Texas A&M University at Galveston said in a tweet Monday that it was ordering an evacuation.

"Today is the day."

"The weather is still nice here in Galveston."

"This is the day for everybody to get their belongs together and, for the safety of themselves and their family, to go ahead and evacuate today."

"Do not wait," Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown told The Weather Channel.

Seabrook Mayor Thom Kolupski issued a voluntary evacuation order for his Harris County city, but encouraged elderly residents and people with medical conditions to take precautions.

"This notice is very important to elderly residents and/or people with medical conditions."

"We encourage these residents to evacuate these portions of the city at your convenience, however, due to rain, storm surge and the probability of heavy traffic you are encouraged to do so sooner rather than later," he wrote in a Facebook post.

The mayor of Grand Isle, a small town in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, issued a mandatory evacuation order on Sunday.

Other parts of Jefferson Parish are under either voluntary and mandatory evacuation orders, The Weather Channel reported.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that residents should begin taking precautions, as Laura "is going to be a significant storm."

Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Kathryn Prociv is a meteorologist and producer for NBC News.

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:40 p


"'Life-threatening' Hurricane Laura to strengthen into category-four: NHC"

By Steve Goldstein

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 5:04 a.m. ET

Hurricane Laura is expected to strengthen into a category 4 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said.

It is forecast to produce a "life-threatening" storm surge, extreme winds and flash floods over Eastern Texas and Louisiana later on Wednesday.

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:40 p


"Hurricane Laura downgraded to tropical storm after making landfall: Live updates and path tracker"

Aug. 26, 2020

Updated Aug. 27, 2020, 2:03 PM EDT

Hurricane Laura was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday afternoon, after making landfall in Louisiana near the Texas border overnight as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.

That made Laura the most intense hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in 164 years, since what was called the Last Island Storm in 1856.

It is also tied for the strongest hurricane on record to ever hit the state.

The storm surge topped 10 feet in parts of western Louisiana, far less than the maximum prediction of 15-20 feet.

The highest water levels were seen to the right of the storm's center, over a wildlife refuge area, sparing the more densely populated areas in the region.

East Texas was able to avoid the worst of the hurricane, which is still moving north through Louisiana.

The storm now has winds around 70 mph and is forecast to reach Arkansas later in the day as it turns into a rainstorm.

A fatality has been reported two hours north of Lake Charles, where a teenager died after a tree fell on her home.

Hurricane Laura was downgraded again Thursday to a tropical storm, with wind speeds decreasing to 70 mph as it moved farther inland.

The storm, which made landfall early Thursday at maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, still has the potential for damaging winds as it moves over central and northern Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.

Flooding rainfall also remains a risk as the storm moves.

Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast overnight at a Category 4 but was downgraded earlier in the day to a Category 1, as it left the warm waters into the southern region.

The agency said Thursday afternoon that it would stop hourly updates as the storm's intensity swiftly dwindles.

Louisiana State Police have issued a shelter in place advisory after a chemical fire erupted at a manufacturing plant in Westlake.

The facility is near Lake Charles, where Hurricane Laura has caused significant damage.

The fire at BioLab was burning chlorine gas, producing thick clouds of smoke that filled the sky.

No injuries or deaths have been reported so far.

Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted that residents should shelter in place, lock their doors, close their windows and turn off their air conditioners until further notice.

The chemical fire comes after the Category 4 storm ripped through Southwest Louisiana with 150 mph winds.

Officials are still surveying the extent of the damage brought by the storm.

Hurricane Laura's death toll rose to three Thursday afternoon after officials reported two more people who were killed by fallen trees in Louisiana.

One man died in Acadia Parish and another in Jackson Parish after trees fell on their homes, according to the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness.

A teenage girl was previously reported to have died under similar circumstances in Vernon Parish.

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:40 p


'Hurricane Laura leaves at least six dead and a trail of destruction"

By Tim Stelloh

Aug. 27, 2020, 10:06 PM EDT / Updated Aug. 28, 2020, 7:38 AM EDT

The most intense hurricane to hit Louisiana in more than a century has left at least six people dead, hundreds of thousands of people without power and an untold number of homes and buildings in ruins.

Laura, which was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, was expected to weaken to a tropical depression overnight as it moves across Arkansas, the National Hurricane Center said.

“It is clear that we did not sustain and suffer the absolute, catastrophic damage that we thought was likely based on the forecast we had last night,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters Thursday.

“But we have sustained a tremendous amount of damage."

"We have thousands and thousands of our fellow citizens whose lives are upside down.”

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health said that three of the six deaths occurred in two coastal parishes — Acadia and Calcasieu.

Three other people died in the eastern and northern part of the state.

Officials attributed four of the deaths to falling trees.

A 24-year-old man also died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator, the department said.

Another person who was in a boat during the storm drowned.

The storm caused serious destruction.

On the Calcasieu River, the Lake Charles Isle of Capri Casino Barge broke free of its moorings and slammed into a bridge along Interstate 10, the highway that connects Houston and New Orleans.

A few miles away, a fire at a chemical manufacturing plant in the city of Westlake prompted a shelter-in-place advisory after a giant plume of smoke rose into the sky.

The fire at the BioLab plant, which makes household cleaners, was burning chlorine.

No injuries or deaths have been reported at the plant or casino.

In the city of Lake Charles, population roughly 78,000, images of a major financial building, the Capital One Tower, showed dozens of windows that had been blown out.

Meteorology student Levi Newell, 20, who documented the storm in the city overnight, told NBC News that he saw sections of drywall and roofs whipping through town.

“Lake Charles will look very different when the sun rises,” Newell tweeted.

“Absolute devastation.”

In the nearby community of Moss Bluff, Brett Geymann told the Associated Press that Laura sounded like a jet engine when it passed over his house at 2 a.m.

He compared the storm’s destruction to a thousand tornadoes.

“There are houses that are totally gone,” he said.

As of 7 p.m. C.T., nearly 540,000 customers were without electricity, according to PowerOutage.us, a site that tracks, records, and aggregates power outages across the U.S.

The Louisiana Department of Health estimated that another 220,000 people were without drinking water.

Still, the potentially catastrophic 15 to 20 foot storm surge that the National Hurricane Center had predicted appeared to remain several feet lower.

Forecasters attributed this in part to timing — Laura made landfall when the tide had begun to recede — and because the storm shifted east slightly, preventing a direct hit on Lake Charles.

In Texas, where nearly 300,000 customers were without power, according to PowerOutage.us, Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that the state “dodged a bullet.”

“When you consider the magnitude of the damage that could have occurred here, we dodged a bullet,” Abbott said.

“If we make it through a Category 4 hurricane that ripped through the coastline all the way up through the Texarkana area, and we have been able to have minimal or perhaps no loss of life — that’s a miracle.”

Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News based in California.

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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:40 p


"15 dead in Louisiana, Texas, after Hurricane Laura batters region"

By Dennis Romero

Aug. 28, 2020, 7:10 PM EDT / Updated Aug. 28, 2020, 11:15 PM EDT

The death toll attributed to former Hurricane Laura rose to 15 Friday as Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards asked the federal government for immediate financial assistance.

Of the deaths, 10 were in Louisiana and five in Texas.

Some of the deaths were thought to be from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, officials said.

Edwards formally asked President Donald Trump to declare a federal disaster for 23 parishes in the state, which would free up Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance.

President Donald Trump approved the request for a disaster declaration.

Trump plans to travel to Louisiana and Texas on Saturday, the White House said.

“Hurricane Laura is the fifth strongest storm to make landfall in the United States in recorded history and the first in memory to maintain major hurricane strength as it traveled through Louisiana, bringing catastrophic destruction to many parishes,” Edwards said in a statement.

He said at a news conference that Laura was "the strongest storm to ever hit Louisiana."

Edwards said five people in his state died from carbon monoxide poisoning from gas-powered emergency generators, four from trees falling on homes and one who drowned while using a boat.

In Texas, a Sabine County man was killed when a tree hit a mobile home, and three people died in Port Arthur, possibly from carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

Police in Beaumont, Texas, which is north of Port Arthur, said they were investigating the death of a 61-year-old man found Friday as a suspected generator-related death, and urged people to put generators in a safe location.

An autopsy has been scheduled.

Eighty-two water systems across Louisiana were incapacitated by the storm, Edwards said.

Laura struck the coast of Louisiana near the Texas border as a Category 4 hurricane early Thursday with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour.

An estimated 8,000 homes were possibly destroyed in the two states, and more than 14,000 people sought shelter from the Red Cross and other agencies, the Red Cross said.

Edwards said more than 3,000 people in Louisiana found shelter in hotels.

As of early Friday evening 485,192 utility customers were without power in Louisiana; in Texas that figure was 106,801.

Speaking on NBC's "TODAY," FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor called Laura a storm "unlike no other."

"What we see so far is wind driven damaged structures and buildings, lots of power down, lots of trees down," he said.

"So, this would be a process to open up access so we can get restoration crews back in on the streets."

Sheriff Tony Mancuso of the hard-hit Calcasieu Parish in Louisiana said at a news conference Friday damage to his community was "catastrophic."

"It's very dangerous out here," he said.

"We’re all hot and sweaty and don’t have services we would normally have."

"People need to be patient."

"Catastrophic damage because of the storm — dangerous road conditions that are not safe."

A storm surge as high as 20 feet that was forecast for coastal areas of Louisiana near the Texas border did not materialize.

The U.S. Coast Guard Friday afternoon closed its Hurricane Laura Area Command Information Center.

"I don’t know how by the grace of god the water didn’t reach the intensity it was supposed to because that would’ve been a lot more catastrophic," Mancuso said.

Laura, which has since weakened to a tropical depression, was about 110 miles east-northeast of Paducah, Kentucky, at 11 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.

Flash flood watches were in effect for parts of Tennessee, northeast Mississippi and northwestern Alabama Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.

The remnants of Laura were headed east at about 24 mph and were expected to bring heavy rain and gusty winds Friday night through Saturday to the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic, according to the weather service.

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

Maria Piñero, Anthony Cusumano and Emma Thorne contributed.

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:40 p

"Tornadoes strike in Stillwater, Schaghticoke"

Massarah Mikati, Staff writer, Albany, New York Times Union

Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 1:22 p.m.

STILLWATER — When Lisa Graziane’s phone lit up with a tornado warning Saturday evening, she was transported back 22 years, to 1998 — the last time a tornado tore through her hometown.

Panic struck.

Graziane, 49, had been sitting on her front porch, chatting and laughing, with her friend and youngest daughter.

They looked in front of their home situated on County Road 75.

The sky was blue and clear.

Then they looked behind the home.

The sky was gloomy, and the clouds were moving in a furious circling motion, heading straight toward them.

The National Weather Service confirmed Sunday afternoon that two separate tornadoes hit eastern Saratoga and western Rensselaer counties Saturday.

The storm that hit Stillwater was categorized as an EF 1, with winds moving as fast as 100 miles per hour.

The storm traveled a quarter of a mile and injured one person.

The tornado that hit Schaghticoke was given the same categorization, but traveled 1.25 miles.

Significant damage was done to a number of homes, according to the National Weather Service, and several trees were uprooted.

The roofs of the Hoosic Valley elementary and high schools were also damaged.

Graziane’s home was one of those impacted.

Her chimney and a part of her roof were torn off her home, her horse paddocks disappeared, a pole in her barn went missing, the arena behind her home has gaps in the wooden fencing.

When she and her family emerged from their basement after the storm passed through, they couldn’t get out of the home — the yard was covered with previously-100-foot trees.

“This was not as bad (as 1998), but still just very trying, it’s mentally draining,” Graziane said.

The suspected tornadoes struck near the site of the region's worst tornado strike in memory.

The May 31, 1998, tornado destroyed or damaged 228 homes, causing an estimated $50 million in damage throughout Mechanicville, Stillwater and Schaghticoke.

Only minor injuries were reported but it took a year to rebuild most of the homes.

On Sunday, Graziane was surrounded by support.

“But I have a wonderful group of friends, a great support system,” Graziane said.

“I mean before I knew it, my yard was full of people.”

Dan Glogowski was one of those people.

Graziane’s daughter called Glogowski, who lives five minutes up the road, in a panic after the storm hit.

He came immediately, and estimates that he was joined by around 50 people.

“Her daughter called me and you could tell something was wrong, because she’s normally pretty calm,” he said.

“She could barely put words together, but she just called everyone she knew and everyone showed up.”

Sunday morning, Graziane’s yard was still filled with friends and neighbors.

Some were raking her yard, others were chopping and stacking up the fallen trees, some were picking up debris and branches.

But it could have been worse, and that example was right behind Graziane’s property.

The tornado tore through a trailer home on McDermott Road, collapsing the green deck attached to its front, sinking the yellow home to the ground, stripping it of its roof and walls.

The interior back wall of the home was visible from the front yard, a line of decorative fish dangling and swaying in the wind it was suddenly exposed to.

Kara DiVeglia, who lives in Albany now, drove up as soon as she heard the storm hit her family’s plot of land.

Bought by her great-grandparents, there are now five homes built on the land by her family members.

DiVeglia’s cousin lived in the trailer home, but was luckily visiting family at the home next door with her children when the tornado struck.

“This is the first time that we’ve been personally affected by (a tornado),” DiVeglia said.

After the 1998 storm, everything was untouched.

Commotion ensued behind her as volunteers fed trees into a wood chipper, excavators moved across the land to scoop up parts of the home that had become strewn across the yard, and more volunteers cleaned up trash and debris.

Still, DiVeglia and her family are counting their blessings.

“We keep saying the materials can be replaced,” she said.

“We’re just lucky that most of us weren’t here.”

Written By Massarah Mikati

Massarah Mikati covers communities of color and breaking news for the Times Union. She was previously a state reporter for Johnson Newspaper Corp., covering the New York State Legislature for 10 counties in the Hudson Valley, Western New York and North Country. From 2017-2019, Massarah was a Hearst Fellow reporting on immigrants and refugees for the Times Union, then communities of color for the Houston Chronicle. Massarah graduated from The Ohio State University in 2017 with a B.A. in journalism, Middle East studies and Francophone studies. Follow her on Twitter and send tips to mmikati@timesunion.com.

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:40 p


"Tropical Storm Sally forecast to become hurricane as it targets New Orleans, gulf states"

By Kalhan Rosenblatt

Sept. 13, 2020, 11:26 AM EDT

Tropical Storm Sally was strengthening as it moved through the Gulf of Mexico, taking aim at southern Louisiana and Mississippi, and National Weather Service projections showed that the system could become a hurricane by Monday afternoon.

Hurricane watches and storm warnings were issued throughout the gulf, including parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, according to the Weather Channel.

The storm is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 storm early Tuesday in Louisiana, bringing 90 mph maximum sustained winds, a storm surge of as much as 11 feet and potentially historic rainfall to the Gulf Coast, according to NBC News meteorologist Bill Kairns.

Between 10 and 20 inches of rain are expected in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, he said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Saturday as the storm moved in.

"While we ultimately don't know where Sally will make landfall, much of Southeast Louisiana is in the storm's cone and the risk of tropical storm force or hurricane strength winds continues to increase."

"Please stay weather aware for the next several days and heed the directions of your local officials."

"This storm has the potential to be very serious," Edwards said in a statement.

After Hurricane Laura pummeled Louisiana about two weeks ago, Edwards urged residents to take the coming storm system seriously.

"Barely two weeks ago, Louisiana suffered a devastating blow when Hurricane Laura came ashore as the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana history, leaving a trail of destruction in its path," Edwards said.

"This, when combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, can make us all weary."

"I implore Louisianans to take their preparations seriously."

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for New Orleans residents outside of levee protection in Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine and Irish Bayou, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.

By Sunday night, the storm was 160 miles south of Panama City, Florida, and 195 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In an 8 p.m. update, the center said the storm was strengthening and slowing down.

The hurricane center said the storm was moving at about 9 mph with winds of 60 mph.

A storm surge warning was in effect from Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to the border of Mississippi and Alabama.

Storm surge is also expected at Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Lake Borgne.

A hurricane warning was in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, including Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans.

The storm's effects have already been felt in parts of South Florida.

The storm dropped nearly 10 inches of rain on Key West, causing flooding and closing streets.

Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter covering youth and internet culture for NBC News, based in New York.

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:40 p


"Sally strengthens into extremely dangerous Category 2 hurricane"

By Associated Press

Published: Sept. 14, 2020 at 5:23 p.m. ET

WAVELAND, Miss. — Hurricane Sally, one of a record-tying five storms churning simultaneously in the Atlantic, closed in on the Gulf Coast on Monday with rapidly strengthening winds of at least 100 mph and the potential for up to 2 feet of rain that could bring severe flooding.

The storm was on a track to brush by the southeastern tip of Louisiana and then blow ashore late Tuesday or early Wednesday near the Mississippi-Alabama state line for what could be a long, slow and ruinous drenching.

Storm-weary Gulf Coast residents rushed to buy bottled water and other supplies ahead of the hurricane, which powered up to a Category 2 in the afternoon, with further strengthening expected.

Jeremy Burke lifted things off the floor in case of flooding in his Bay Books bookstore in the Old Town neighborhood of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, a popular weekend getaway from New Orleans, about 60 miles to the west.

The streets outside were emptying fast.

“It’s turning into a ghost town,” he said.

“Everybody’s biggest fear is the storm surge, and the worst possible scenario being that it just stalls out."

"That would be a dicey situation for everybody.”

Sally has lots of company during what has become one of the busiest hurricane seasons in history — so busy that forecasters have almost run through the alphabet of names with 2 1/2 months still to go.

For only the second time on record, forecasters said, five tropical cyclones were swirling simultaneously in the Atlantic basin.

The last time that happened was in 1971.

In addition to Sally were Hurricane Paulette, which passed over a well-fortified Bermuda on Monday and was expected to peel harmlessly out into the North Atlantic, and Tropical Storms Rene, Teddy and Vicky, all of them out at sea and unlikely to threaten land this week, if at all.

As of late afternoon, Sally was about 145 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, moving at 6 mph.

Sally’s sluggish pace could give it more time to drench the Mississippi Delta with rain and push storm surge ashore.

People in New Orleans watched the storm’s track intently.

A more easterly course could bring torrential rain and damaging winds to Mississippi.

A more westerly track would pose another test for the low-lying city, where heavy rains have to be pumped out through a century-old drainage system.

Even with a push toward the east, New Orleans, which is on Lake Pontchartain, will be in the storm surge area, said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

He said New Orleans “should be very concerned in terms of track.”

The National Hurricane Center forecast storm surges of up to 11 feet, including 4 to 6 feet in Lake Pontchartrain and 6 feet in downtown Mobile, Alabama.

In eastern New Orleans, drainage canals were lowered in anticipation of torrential rains, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.

New Orleans police went on 12-hour shifts, and rescue boats, barricades, backup generators and other equipment were readied, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.

In coastal Mississippi, water spilled onto roads, lawns and docks well before the storm’s arrival.

Sally was expected to bring a surge of 10 feet or more.

The town of Kiln, Mississippi, where many homes sit high on stilts along the Jourdan River and its tributaries, was under a mandatory evacuation order, and it appeared most residents obeyed.

Many of them moved their cars and boats to higher ground before clearing out.

Michael “Mac” Mclaughlin, a 72-year-old retiree who moved to Kiln a year ago, hooked his boat up to his pickup truck to take to his son’s house in another part of Mississippi before heading to New Orleans to ride out Sally there with his girlfriend.

“It would be dumb to stay here,” Mclaughlin said.

He said his home was built in 2014 to withstand hurricanes, “but I just don’t want to be here when the water’s that deep and be stranded."

"That wouldn’t be smart.”

In the Venetian Isles section of eastern New Orleans, Willie Harris, a meter reader for the city, said he was on standby for clearing drains to prevent backups that could cause flooding.

He said he and his fiancee had plenty of food and water and would ride out the hurricane at home.

Some residents parked their cars on their lawns in a sure sign a storm was expected.

On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura blow ashore in southwestern Louisiana along the Texas line, well west of New Orleans, tearing off roofs and leaving large parts of the city of Lake Charles uninhabitable.

The storm was blamed for 32 deaths in the two states, the vast majority of them in Louisiana.

More than 2,000 evacuees from Hurricane Laura remain sheltered in Louisiana, most of them in New Orleans-area hotels, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

The extraordinarily busy hurricane season — like the catastrophic wildfire season on the West Coast — has focused attention on the role of climate change.

Scientists say global warming is making the strongest of hurricanes, those with wind speeds of 110 mph or more, even stronger.

Also, warmer air holds more moisture, making storms rainier, and rising seas from global warming make storm surges higher and more damaging.

In addition, scientists have been seeing tropical storms and hurricanes slow down once they hit the United States by about 17% since 1900, and that gives them the opportunity to unload more rain over one place, like 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves said Sally could dump up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain on the southern part of the state.

Shelters opened, but officials urged people who are evacuating to stay with friends or relatives or in hotels, if possible, because of the coronavirus.

People in shelters will be required to wear masks and other protective equipment, authorities said.

“Planning for a Cat 1 or Cat 2 hurricane is always complicated,” Reeves said.

“Planning for it during 2020 and the life of COVID makes it even more challenging.”

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey closed beaches and called for evacuations.

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:40 p


"Hurricane Sally slows off Gulf Coast, threatens historic flooding"

By Associated Press

Published: Sept. 15, 2020 at 5:25 p.m. ET

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Hurricane Sally drifted in a slow crawl Tuesday toward the northern Gulf Coast, threatening dangerous storm surge and relentless rainfall that forecasters warned could trigger historic flooding as the storm was expected to hover in the area long after coming ashore.

“It’s going to be a huge rainmaker,” said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist and meteorologist at Colorado State University.

“It’s not going to be pretty.”

The National Hurricane Center expects Sally to remain a Category 1 hurricane, with top sustained winds of 80 mph when it makes landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

The storm’s sluggish pace made it harder to predict exactly where its center will strike, though it was expected to reach land near the Mississippi-Alabama state line.

The hurricane’s slow movement not only delayed landfall, but also exacerbated the threat of heavy rain and storm surge.

Sally remained a dangerous storm Tuesday even after losing power, its fiercest winds having dropped considerably from a peak of 100 mph on Monday.

By late morning Tuesday, hurricane warnings stretched from east of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to Navarre, Florida.

Rainfall of up to 20 inches was forecast near the coast.

There was a chance the storm could also spawn tornadoes and dump isolated rain accumulations of 30 inches.

Two large casino boats broke loose Tuesday from a dock where they were undergoing construction work in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

M.J. Bosarge, who lives near the shipyard, said at least one of the riverboats had done considerable damage to the dock.

“You really want to get them secured because with wind and rain like this, the water is constantly rising,” Bosarge said.

“They could end up anywhere."

"There’s no telling where they could end up.”

In Orange Beach, Alabama, towering waves crashed onshore Tuesday as Crystal Smith and her young daughter, Taylor, watched.

They drove more than an hour through sheets of rain and whipping wind to take in the sight.

“It’s beautiful, I love it,” Crystal Smith said.

“But they are high."

"Hardly any of the beach isn’t covered.”

Capt. Michael Thomas, an Orange Beach fishing guide, was outside securing boats and making other last-minute preparations.

He estimated up to 5 inches of rain had fallen in as many hours.

“I’m as prepared as I can be,” Thomas said.

A couple miles away in Gulf Shores, Alabama, waves crashed over the end of the long fishing pier at Gulf State Park.

Some roads in the town already were covered with water.

Stacy Stewart, a senior specialist with the National Hurricane Center, said Tuesday that people should continue to take the storm seriously since “devastating” rainfall is expected in large areas.

People could drown in the flooding, he said.

“This is going to be historic flooding along with the historic rainfall,” Stewart said.

“If people live near rivers, small streams and creeks, they need to evacuate and go somewhere else.”

Donald Jones, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Louisiana, said Sally could unleash flooding similar to what Hurricane Harvey inflicted in 2017 when it swamped the Houston metropolitan area.

As rain grew heavier Tuesday, many businesses appeared to be closed at exits along the I-10 highway that runs parallel to the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, white plastic bags hung over some gas station pumps to signal they were out of fuel.

Along a bayou that extended inland from the Gulf, three shrimp boats were tied up as shrimpers and others tried to protect their boats from waves and storm surge.

Most boat slips at Gulfport’s marina were empty, and many businesses had metal storm shutters or plywood covering the windows.

David Espinosa walked the streets of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Tuesday afternoon, drenched by the rain.

He wasn’t worried much about Sally, having found his pickup truck in a tree after Hurricane Katrina wrecked much of Mississippi’s coast in 2005.

Espinosa had just moved back to the area a few days ago, after a long stint in Oklahoma City.

“We just didn’t know there would be another hurricane when we got back,” Espinosa said.

“Here we go again.”

In Alabama, officials closed the causeway to Dauphin Island and the commuter tunnel that runs beneath the Mobile River.

An online video from Dauphin Island showed a few cars and SUVs stuck in a beachfront area, their tires sunk deep into wet sand.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey urged residents near Mobile Bay and low-lying areas near rivers to evacuate if conditions still permitted a safe escape.

The National Hurricane Center predicted storm surge along Alabama’s coast, including Mobile Bay, could reach 7 feet (2.1 meters) above ground.

“This is not worth risking your life,” Ivey said during a news conference Tuesday.

The storm was moving at only 2 mph Tuesday afternoon, centered about 105 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, and 60 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Hurricane-force winds stretched 45 miles from its center.

Forecasters expected Sally to move slowly northward Tuesday, with the storm’s center bypassing the coast of southeastern Louisiana.

After making landfall, Sally was forecast to cause flash floods and minor to moderate river flooding across inland portions of Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia and the western Carolinas through the rest of the week.

President Donald Trump issued emergency declarations for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday, and tweeted that residents should listen to state and local leaders.

The threat to Louisiana was easing as officials in some areas reversed evacuation orders that had been issued for areas that had been feared to be a risk of flooding from Sally.

In New Orleans, government offices and public school operations were slated to reopen Wednesday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared an emergency in 13 counties as rain from Sally’s outer bands pummeled the Panhandle on Tuesday.

On the barrier island of Pensacola Beach, Florida, the Sandshaker Lounge was open Tuesday afternoon, filled with about 30 locals and tourists staying at nearby hotels.

“I think I’m the only business open,” said bartender Kyra Smith.

“It’s pretty windy, but nobody’s being knocked down."

"We want everybody to be safe.”

Smith was serving hot dogs and pizza and planned to close late Tuesday afternoon or when the bridge to the mainland closed, whichever comes first.

She said most locals have lived in the area for decades and have weathered many storms bigger than Sally.

“We’re just going to ride it out,” she said.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/hurri ... latestnews

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:40 p


"Hurricane Sally creeps toward coast, threatening 'a ridiculous amount of rain'"

By Elisha Fieldstadt and The Associated Press

Sept. 15, 2020, 9:27 AM EDT / Updated Sept. 16, 2020, 1:03 AM EDT

Slow-moving Hurricane Sally was dumping heavy rainfall over parts of the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, hours before the storm was expected to bring an even greater deluge when it makes landfall as a Category 2 hurricane or strong tropical storm near Mobile, Alabama.

The National Hurricane Center warned of "extreme life-threatening" and "historic" flash flooding along the northern Gulf Coast.

Sally was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane at midnight, and the center said it had sustained winds of 100 mph.

The storm Tuesday night was 65 miles south of Mobile, whipping up maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

Landfall was expected between Mobile and Gulf Shores, Alabama, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins.

The storm was only moving at 2 mph and wasn't expected to speed up much before making landfall with lingering rainfall that could last up to two days.

In an update Tuesday night, the center described the hurricane's progress as "creeping."

Some areas from the western Florida Panhandle to far southeastern Mississippi could see up to 30 inches, according to the NHC.

The center predicts water heights of 6 to 9 feet from Ocean Springs, Mississippi to Dauphin Island, Alabama, if peak surge coincides with high tide.

Rain fell sideways and rain began covering roads in Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.

A curfew was ordered in the coastal Alabama city of Gulf Shores.

President Donald Trump approved Florida's request for a federal disaster declaration, which will allow taxpayer assistance to go to victims in impacted counties.

Up to a foot of rain had fallen already on the coast by Tuesday night and Sally’s lumbering pace meant there would likely be extended deluges.

More than 60,000 homes and businesses also lost power in coastal Alabama and western Florida Panhandle as conditions deteriorated.

“A hurricane moving at 2 mph is stalled for all intents and purposes,” said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

“If they aren’t moving along and they just kind of sit there, you’re going to get a ridiculous amount of rain.”

“This is the real deal, and it deserves your attention,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves wrote on Twitter.

“Be smart."

"Prepare for worst."

"Pray for the best."

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday said New Orleans was no longer a direct target of Sally.

"Good news to report today as it relates to hurricane Sally, and that is that the track has continued to shift eastward," he said.

"That really has been the case, since Sunday morning when it looked like the Greater New Orleans metro area was in for a direct hit from Sally."

The city of New Orleans said in a statement, "Significant impacts from Hurricane Sally are no longer anticipated in the local area."

President Donald Trump tweeted late Monday that he was closely monitoring “extremely dangerous Hurricane Sally."

Trump urged residents to “be ready and listen to State and Local Leaders!”

Earlier Monday, the president issued an emergency declaration for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, an action that authorizes federal emergency officials to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide emergency assistance to the affected areas.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey thanked the president "for approving our request so quickly."

"We will continue closely monitoring the developments today, and I urge everyone in the coastal areas south of I-10 and in low-lying areas to take all precautions and heed advice from weather experts and local officials."

"Please stay vigilant, Alabama," Ivey said.

"I urge you in the strongest way possible to evacuate and seek shelter as this storm makes landfall tonight," she urged residents Tuesday.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson pointed out that the grounds were already saturated from weeks of rain, which would increase flooding.

He said damage from wind "is going to be unbelievable" since the languid storm would essentially be parked over areas.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the Panhandle's westernmost counties, Escambia and Santa Rosa, as the hurricane's outer bands began to lash the area.

Eric Gilmore, head of Escambia County's Division of Emergency Management, said evacuations in Pensacola Beach and other low lying areas were voluntary for now.

"Do what you need to do now to get out of harm’s way," he said at news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

"We’re expecting 3 to 5 feet of storm surge now."

Escambia was one of 13 counties newly covered by the governor's expanding emergency declaration.

The Florida Department of Transportation closed Pensacola Bay Bridge, which connects Gulf Breeze to Pensacola, after a barge struck the crossing, according to state and local officials.

State inspectors were expected to assess the damage when it's safe to do so.

Sally has lots of company during what has become one of the busiest hurricane seasons in history — so busy that forecasters have almost run through the alphabet of names with 2 1/2 months still to go.

For only the second time on record, forecasters said, five tropical cyclones swirled simultaneously in the Atlantic basin at one point on Monday.

The last time that happened was in 1971.

Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press

Bill Karins and Dennis Romero contributed.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/sl ... t-n1240117

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