After a June lull in storms, be ready for hurricane season to heat up again
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — From the earliest outlooks of 2020, experts have warned of a busy hurricane season. But after starting with a bang, the Atlantic went quiet.Things are changing with the disappearance of a hurricane-suppressing layer of Saharan dust and hot, dry air that put parts of the tropics to sleep.This week saw three systems form that caught the attention of hurricane watchers.Tropical Storm Edouard, which became official Sunday before fizzling into a post-tropical cyclone on Monday. But before disappearing, it was already in the record books.“It’s active,” said Dennis Feltgen, sp...
Bermuda eyes new tropical depression, the fifth of hurricane season
ORLANDO, Fla. — Forecasters have their eye on a new tropical depression that formed near Bermuda on Saturday.Tropical Depression 5 was located 245 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, with forecasters saying it could pass over the island by Sunday morning.The system has been causing persistent showers and thunderstorms in the region. It poses no danger to Florida, as it is moving east-northeastward. As of Saturday morning, the depression’s speed was 17 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported, with sustained winds of 35 mph.Forecasters expect the system to accelerate Saturday night through Sund...
Pennsylvania's nightmare 2020 voting scenario — and how to prevent it
PHILADELPHIA — It’s Nov. 3, 2020. It’s been a long Election Day in Pennsylvania, with new voting machines causing confusion at some polling places, and the closure of others for public health reasons leading to long lines at locations still open. Meanwhile, a huge surge of mail ballots driven partly by coronavirus fears of voting in person means it’s going to take days to count them all and determine who won.But President Donald Trump is already declaring victory.Early, unofficial results make it look like he has won the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania in a landslide. But the elect...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Is your property a flood risk? New tool shows millions are, including entire Florida towns
A new app designed to rank the flood risk for every property in the U.S. has some distressing findings for Florida.The cities with the most properties at risk are all over the state — from Tampa, the city most at risk to storm surge, to Cape Coral, which Politico memorably dubbed “the boomtown that shouldn’t exist,” to sunny-day flooded Miami and Fort Lauderdale.But the data reveals rarely mentioned cities where virtually every home is at risk of flooding today. They include the 5,000 homes in Sarasota County’s Warm Mineral Springs, the 4,000 homes in the upscale Broward County boaters’ haven ...
Hurricane center watching 2 systems that may develop in Atlantic
ORLANDO, Fla. — Two systems with low odds of developing were brewing in different parts of the Atlantic on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.A tropical wave associated with increased thunderstorm and shower activity is over the central tropical Atlantic and has a 0% chance of developing over the next two to five days, said NHC forecaster Rachel Zelinsky. It was 10% earlier Monday.Although the NHC expects some development by Tuesday or Wednesday while the wave moves west at 20 mph, by midweek the wave should encounter strong upper-level winds that should deter further developme...
State, federal officials take different paths trying to stop utilities from causing wildfires
SAN DIEGO — Nearly two years after one of the deadliest corporate crimes in California history — a utility-sparked wildfire that killed scores of people and destroyed the city of Paradise in rural Butte County — state and federal officials have staked out differing positions on how to prevent history from repeating itself.Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Public Utilities Commission created a new division to monitor wildfire safety plans from California utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric, whose equipment and negligence ignited the Camp fire in November 2018.They restructured their oversight a...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Judge fines PG&E in Camp fire manslaughter case, laments utility 'cannot be sent to prison'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — PG&E Corp. received its criminal sentence Thursday for igniting the deadliest wildfire in California history: a $4 million fine that the judge and prosecutor acknowledged may have been too small for the crimes committed.Two days after the utility’s chief executive entered guilty pleas to 85 felony charges in connection with the 2018 Camp fire, a Butte County Superior Court judge levied the maximum penalty allowed by state law: $3.5 million in fines and penalties, plus $500,000 in additional fees to cover prosecutors’ investigative costs.Judge Michael Deems, speaking to a n...
The Sacramento Bee
Can PG&E keep California from burning again? 'Nervousness' as fire season arrives
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — PG&E Corp. is nearing the exit doors on its bankruptcy — and now faces the enormous task of delivering on its promise to prevent major wildfires in California.The battered utility, driven into bankruptcy after its power equipment was blamed for a string of deadly mega-fires, is expected to receive the blessing for its Chapter 11 reorganization plan this week from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali.The green light will arrive two weeks before a deadline imposed by the Legislature — and represents a landmark achievement for a company that just a few months ago was being th...
The Sacramento Bee
This disaster season, 'everything is complicated by COVID-19'
If a hurricane bears down on Florida this summer, residents likely won’t be told to evacuate to the safety of a high school gymnasium or large civic building. Instead, they may be asked to download an app that assigns them to an open hotel room — a shelter from both the storm and the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak.State officials have mapped out all of Florida’s 5,000 hotels, along with the wind rating of each facility and whether it has a generator on hand. So far, they’ve persuaded 200 hotels to sign up to serve as shelters; they’re aiming to reach 1,000.Meanwhile, the state plans to work wit...
Bahamas has no idea of Dorian death toll after names of the missing were removed from list
The Bahamas’ former health minister says the country so badly botched its record-keeping on Hurricane Dorian’s missing victims that today it cannot say with certainty how many people actually died in the horrific storm.Dr. Duane Sands, speaking in the country’s Parliament on Thursday, said the Bahamas should convene a coroner’s inquest to help bring closure to grieving families. Thousands of names of the missing after the hurricane disappeared off the missing-persons list, he said, without explanation.There should also be a public conversation about the mistake, he said, and a public apology b...