Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Wake-Up Call: Hurricane Ian Forecast To Strike Florida as Category 4

Hurricane Ian bore down on southwest Florida Tuesday after pummeling Cuba, with a swath of the state’s Gulf Coast in harm’s way, including the vulnerable Tampa Bay area.

Orlando Sentinel 9/28/22
The Wall Street Journal reports the storm’s center is forecast to approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday afternoon and into Wednesday night, according to the National Hurricane Center. Rain from the storm began drenching parts of the state Tuesday. Hurricane conditions are expected along the state’s Gulf Coast by Wednesday morning.

Tracking Ian
The Tampa Bay metropolitan region of 3.2 million people—which includes St. Petersburg—hasn’t been tested by a direct hit from a powerful storm like Ian for more than a century. The hurricane center said Tuesday the latest forecasts have shifted the storm’s track south along the coast, but a hurricane warning still covered the Tampa Bay area while stretching south of Fort Myers to the Everglades.

“It is really imperative that people start taking this seriously and start heeding evacuation orders,” said Jamie Rhome, the hurricane center’s acting director.

More than 2.5 million people in Florida are under some kind of evacuation order, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday. Schools and colleges across the state canceled classes and closed campuses ahead of the storm. Orange-juice futures surged. Hotels secured properties and prepared to shelter employees and emergency workers.

“It is always a nervous feeling when you know a storm is coming,” Yolandra Gibbons, a St. Petersburg, Fla., resident, said as she waited in her car to pick up sandbags in the Tampa Bay-area city. She said she was hopeful the storm would take a turn.

IAN TO BE COSTLY:  Hurricane Ian, projected to be one of the costliest storms in US history, prompted mass evacuations, school shutdowns and thousands of flight cancellations across the third-largest state.  Local media broadcast video of interstate highways jammed with cars and trucks attempting to flee vulnerable cities and towns along Florida’s western coast. Damages and economic losses in the area could exceed $45 billion if the current forecast comes to pass, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research. That would rank Ian as the eighth-costliest US hurricane, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earlier estimates were higher when it appeared Ian was going to make a direct hit on Tampa.

National Media Zooms In: The national news media is getting into place as Ian inches closer to Florida's shores. Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday broadcast the "CBS Evening News" from Tampa, the only of the big three networks to be live on-scene. But the other networks are gearing up for coverage as well. NBC News and ABC News have both deployed sizable teams to the area. On cable, CNN will have John Berman on the ground to accompany network correspondents. MSNBC will be live at 10am with José Díaz-Balart anchoring on-scene and Ali Velshi contributing. And Fox News will draw on reporting from correspondents on the ground.

➤THE CONSUMER SLOWDOWN IS GETTING REAL: There’s been warnings from FedEx about the economy. Walmart and Macy’s are preparing for a weaker Christmas. But nothing drives home the fact that shoppers are tightening their belts more than signs Apple won’t sell as many units of its new iPhone as it thought. The fastest inflation in four decades and rapidly rising interest rates will destroy consumer confidence even if gasoline prices are coming down. Households simply can’t buy as much as they used to.

➤BILL PREVENTING ELECTION SUBVERSION MOVES FORWARD: A bipartisan bill to make it harder to subvert a U.S. presidential election is moving ahead in Congress. The bill clarifies the 1887 Electoral Count Act, making it clear that the vice president may only count the electoral votes, not reject them. It strengthens other provisions to prevent any attempt to delay or reject certification of the election for the rightful winner. Clearly designed to prevent a repeat of the attempts to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election, the bill has the endorsement of Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, making it likely to pass the Senate.

The House committee investigating the January 6th, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol has postponed a public hearing scheduled for tomorrow. The meeting will be rescheduled. It may be the committee’s last before it writes its final report and recommendations.

LITTLE BROTHERLY LOVE IN PHILLY: Since Memorial Day, shootings and assaults in the supposed City of Brotherly Love has been rife, with gun violence being particularly relentless. Shootings have occurred every day of the week and at any given hour of the day since May 31 - with nearly every corner of the city impacted. The crime wave, meanwhile, has spared no one - with one incident this past week seeing a Temple University grad murdered by a masked gunman while walking the street, and another claiming the life of a 14-year-old football player when he was heading home from a school scrimmage. Mass looting and other brazen assaults have also been commonplace, such as one over the weekend that saw more than 100 children as young as 10 storm and ransack a Wawa convenience store. 

Daily Mail 9/28/22

In another, filmed incident, a commuter was held at gunpoint by a masked marauder while waiting for the subway - further outraging fed-up Philadelphians. The steady stream of violent episodes spurred city officials - including progressive Mayor Jim Kenney - to stage a meeting last month behind closed doors to discuss ways to reduce the violence. However, despite this, gun violence has been on the rise, causing many to speak out against the city's soft-on-crime policies and politicians, calling for change in a city that has been touted as the birthplace of American democracy.

➤CHEROKEE NATION DEMANDS U.S. HONOR 1835 TREATY: The Cherokee Nation is renewing its demand that the U.S. honor an 1835 treaty granting them a representative in Congress. The Treaty of New Echota was signed between the U.S. government and a minority group of Cherokee leaders. The treaty gave them a Congressional representative and $5 million to give up their lands in the South and relocate to Oklahoma. Many refused to go, They were finally forced to walk to Oklahoma. Their journey is known to history as the Trail of Tears because a quarter of the Cherokee died of disease, starvation and exhaustion during the journey. They never got their Congressional representation.

 SALES OF NEW HOMES SURGES: Sales of new homes soared in August despite high prices and higher mortgage rates. According to a government report, sales of newly constructed homes rose 28.8 percent in August compared with July and were only 0.1% lower than a year before. The median price fell slightly to $436,800 from $439,400.

➤FACEBOOK THWARTS CHINESE ELECTION INTERFERENCE: Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has removed posts it identified as a Chinese campaign to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections, The New York Times reports. In some posts they posted as conservative Americans promoting gun rights and abortion opposition. In later posts they pretended to be liberals opposing guns and promoting abortion rights. Unluckily for them, the writer of the posts often mangled the English language. Russian propagandists are concentrating on European social media users for the moment. Facebook also uncovered 60 fake websites that mimicked legitimate media sites but promoted disinformation about the war in Ukraine. The sites were heavily promoted on social media.

⚾YANKEES TAKE AL EAST TITLE FOR THE 20TH TIME! The New York Yankees took their 20th American League East title last night with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Gleyber Torres had three hits and three RBIs. Aaron Judge walked four times and didn’t get that 61st home run. He’ll get another chance.

🏈BROWNS’ MYLES GARRETT INJURED IN CRASH: Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett suffered a number of injuries in a single-car crash on Monday, the team confirmed. Garrett sustained a shoulder sprain, a bicep strain and minor lacerations and bruises in the crash. It had not been determined when he can return to the game.

🏈GIANTS’ STERLING SHEPARD OUT FOR THE SEASON: New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out for the season with a torn knee ligament. He was carried off the field during Monday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Ironically, Shepard’s 2021 season ended the same way—with a torn Achilles tendon sustained in a game against the Cowboys.

🏀BULLS PREPARING FOR BALL’S CONTINUED ABSENCE: A second surgery this year on his left knee didn’t do the job for Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls. He told NBC Sports Chicago that he still can’t run or jump or even walk up a flight of stairs without pain. The team had hoped to have him back by early November but they’re now preparing for a longer absence.

🏃MARATHON RUNNER BREAKS WORLD RECORD IN BERLIN: Eliud Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon for a fourth time and broke his own world record doing it. Kipchoge was timed at 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds, breaking the record he set in Berlin four years ago. That’s the ninth straight marathon winner for the Olympic champion. Now 37, he plans to defend his Olympic title at the 2024 games in Paris. In the women’s race in Berlin, Ethiopian runner Tigist Assefa shattered the course record by almost three minutes, finishing in 2 hours 15 minutes and 38 seconds.

⛰AMERICAN SKI MOUNTAINEER MISSING IN NEPAL: Hilaree Nelson, a pioneering ski mountaineer, has gone missing during an expedition in Nepal. She was skiing and exploring below the summit of Mount Manaslu, the world’s eighth-highest mountain, when she apparently fell. A search and rescue effort is underway. Now 49, Nelson was the first woman to climb Mount Everest and the adjacent mountain, Lhotse, in 24 hours. She has made ski descents on more than 40 expeditions.

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