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Florida Gov. DeSantis says he is trying to prevent ‘real catastrophic flood situation’ at Tampa-area reservoir

Florida Gov. DeSantis says he is trying to prevent ‘real catastrophic flood situation’ at Tampa-area reservoir

(CNN)Response teams in Manatee County, Florida, are trying to prevent a “real catastrophic flood situation” in the Piney Point reservoir area, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday after taking an aerial tour of the area.

The governor assured the public that the water being discharged to nearby Port Manatee, on the Gulf Coast, is not radioactive.
The Manatee County Public Safety Department declared a state of emergency Saturday and ordered a complete evacuation of the Piney Point reservoir site, about 20 miles south of Tampa, and surrounding areas because of a leak that could cause a collapse of phosphogypsum stacks, radioactive waste that is created during fertilizer production and phosphate rock mining.
“What we’re looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation,” DeSantis said. “The goal is to ensure the integrity of the stack system as quickly as possible in order to minimize impacts to local residents and to prevent an uncontrolled discharge.”
Manatee County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh assured Manatee County utility customers “their drinking water is completely safe to drink.”
“The water distribution system is a closed system without any way for floodwater to enter,” Baugh said. “There is also no threat to our primary source of drinking water, Lake Manatee.”
The leak in the containment wall was discovered about a week ago, and residents in the area were evacuated Thursday as officials warned the reservoir could cause structural collapse at any time.
DeSantis said Manatee County public safety officials sent out evacuation notices to residents and businesses in the surrounding area and assisted with the evacuation of 316 homes that were in the evacuation zone near Piney Point.
Onsite engineers said a controlled release was necessary to prevent a “catastrophic failure,” according to the governor. Controlled discharges that began March 30 and continued Sunday are averaging about 35 million gallons per day, he added.
The Florida National Guard is dropping off additional pumps, which “will be fed into surrounding waterways” to help quickly decrease the water levels in the reservoir, DeSantis said.
Acting county administrator Scott Hopes cautioned residents, asking them to “listen” to emergency management.
“If we should have a full breach, within minutes, we’re down to about 340 million gallons that could reach in totality, in a period of minutes, and the models for less than an hour, are as high of a 20 foot wall of water,” Hope said. “So if you are in an evacuation area, and you have not heeded that, you need to think twice and follow the orders.”
Hopes also said while they are not out of the critical area yet, they believe they will be in “a much better position, and the risk level will have decreased significantly,” by Tuesday.
Vaccination for people over 40 starts in Florida

Vaccination for people over 40 starts in Florida

From this Monday, March 29, vaccination will be opened to those over 40, a week after the same was done with those over 50.

At Miami-Dade College North, starting this Monday they will increase the first doses of available vaccines to 1,200 per day. In recent days they had lowered the number of vaccines they administered for the first dose to 500.

This site works on a first-come, first-served basis with hours from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

While on April 5, anyone over the age of 18 can be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Florida, as Governor Ron DeSantis had advanced on Thursday.

Vaccination began in Florida in mid-December with the slogan “Older first”, because priority was given to the immunization of the elderly, as well as to health workers on the front line of the fight against coronavirus.

And this Sunday the sites managed with the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reached 100,000 vaccines administered. Satisfaction and appreciation showed Sydel Roundtree, a resident of Liberty City, upon receiving the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19; To her surprise, it was the 100,000th person to get vaccinated at Miami Dade College North.

Carmen Gloria Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for FEMA, assures that in “only three weeks and reaching 100,000 vaccines is a very significant achievement.”

Mike Jachles of the State Division of Emergency Management explains that “every day we continue to improve to do a better job in the future.”

The FEMA spokeswoman recommends that “people who are going to get the second vaccine come a little later, like 10:30 am to 11am, because the people who are going to get the first vaccine are arriving very early.”

On the other hand, this weekend some Opa-locka residents began to be immunized with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

For more information about vaccination in Miami-Dade you can go to miamidade.gov/vacuna and if you are a resident of Broward or Palm Beach you can go to https://myvaccine.fl.gov/ .

In South Florida, in addition, the pharmacy chains of CVS, Navarro, Publix, Walgreens, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie, are administering vaccines free of charge and by appointment through their portals.

 

Deadly tornadoes hit Alabama, leaving path of destruction

Deadly tornadoes hit Alabama, leaving path of destruction

More than 30 million Americans across the South faced the threat of severe weather after multiple deadly tornadoes hit the region Thursday. They sent sparks and debris flying across northeast Alabama.

A large tornado hit metropolitan Atlanta’s Coweta County around midnight Friday, prompting a tornado emergency for the city of Newnan and surrounding areas. No deaths were reported. 

At least five people were killed by storms Thursday in Calhoun County, Alabama, northeast of Birmingham. There were also reports of people trapped in flattened homes.

 

Much of Alabama was under a state of emergency as a large tornado left a trail of destruction in an area 50 miles long from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham earlier Thursday. Tornado and flash flood alerts have been posted across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. 

Powerful winds uprooted trees and sent them crashing onto rooftops. Some of the worst damage happened at the Eagle Point subdivision in Shelby County, Alabama. Torn-off roofs revealed the insides of bedrooms and drone footage showed homeowners sifting through debris. 

“It was scary,” said homeowner Carol Willis. “The noise was unbelievable.” 

Willis’s garage was damaged but her home was mostly spared. She described the frightening moments the tornado barreled through her community. 

“I was standing in this bedroom window, I looked out and it started getting dark. I said, well I better get out of this room. I had a metal garbage can. I said, well let me run to my utility room. I put the garbage can over my head, went in there, I stayed no more than two minutes. I came out and I saw all of this. I couldn’t believe it, it went so fast,” she said. 

The city of Pelham was also hit hard. Just 20 miles south of Birmingham, at least 14,000 people in the area are without power. 

Potential Severe Thunderstorm Outbreak Looms For South Thursday, Including Strong Tornadoes

Potential Severe Thunderstorm Outbreak Looms For South Thursday, Including Strong Tornadoes

At a Glance

  • An outbreak of severe thunderstorms will likely hit the South on Thursday.

  • Several tornadoes are possible in addition to damaging winds and large hail.

  • Flooding rainfall is also expected in parts of the region.

An outbreak of severe thunderstorms will likely hit the South on Thursday, including the possibility of long-track strong tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail and flash flooding. Some of the severe weather could extend as far north as the Ohio Valley.

The setup for this episode of severe weather is classic for early spring.

Namely, a low-pressure system is forecast to intensify as it quickly tracks from out of the South toward the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes Thursday into early Friday. This will help draw warm, humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the South, allowing the atmosphere to become unstable enough to support a widespread threat of severe storms.

Here’s a closer look at the forecast for what areas could be hit hardest.

Severe Weather, Flooding Forecast

Wednesday-Wednesday Night

Pockets of heavy rain will continue the possibility of flash flooding in southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi and coastal Alabama on Wednesday.

Current Radar, Watches and Warnings

(Watches and Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.)

Scattered severe storms could develop by evening and overnight from northern and central parts of Texas and southern Oklahoma into portions of Arkansas and northwest Louisiana.

Some parts of Texas could see two rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms, first in the evening, then in the pre-dawn hours early Thursday morning.

Large hail and damaging wind gusts are the primary threats from any storms that turn severe, though an isolated tornado or two cannot be ruled out.

Wednesday-Wednesday Night’s Severe Thunderstorm Forecast

(Shaded on the map above is the likelihood of severe thunderstorms, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Note that not all categories apply for the severe weather risk on a particular day.)

Thursday-Thursday Night

Thursday into Thursday night is when an outbreak of severe storms is likely to occur in the South, including some of the same areas ravaged by an outbreak of 49 tornadoes last week.

Supercell thunderstorms could pose a threat of long-track strong tornadoes as well as large hail and damaging winds, especially from northern and central Mississippi into central Alabama and a portion of western and middle Tennessee. That’s where NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center says there is a “moderate”, or a level 4 out of 5, risk of severe storms. Jackson and Tupelo, Mississippi, Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee, are some of the cities in this threat area.

At least some severe storms are also possible in a broader area shaded red in the map below from eastern Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana to possibly as far north and east as the Ohio Valley, eastern Tennessee and northwest Georgia. Damaging winds, hail and some tornadoes are possible threats.

Localized flash flooding could also be a concern in many of the same areas at risk for severe weather.

Thursday-Thursday Night’s Severe Thunderstorm Forecast

(Shaded on the map above is the likelihood of severe thunderstorms, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Note that not all categories apply for the severe weather risk on a particular day.)

The threat of severe weather will trend downward as this system moves eastward on Friday. However, a few strong to severe storms cannot be ruled out from southeast Virginia and the Carolinas to southern and central Georgia and southeast Alabama.

Rainfall Forecast

Some areas in the South could see 1 to 3 inches of rain through Thursday night, particularly from the central Gulf Coast into parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Localized flash flooding is possible from the central Gulf Coast to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys into Thursday night.

Heavy rain Wednesday triggered street flooding in New Orleans. Flooding was nearing homes Wednesday afternoon in Houma, Louisiana, about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans.

The National Weather Service has issued flash flood watches through Thursday for this area, including New Orleans, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama.

Multiple dead in shooting at Colorado supermarket

Multiple dead in shooting at Colorado supermarket

  • Ten people, including a Boulder police officer, were killed in a mass shooting at the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, police said.

  • Slain officer Eric Talley was first on the scene. His actions were “nothing short of heroic,” the Boulder police chief said.

  • The suspect was taken into custody and is being treated for injuries, officials said.

Colorado incident is seventh mass shooting in US in past 7 days

Monday’s mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, comes less than a week after eight people were killed in a series of attacks on spas in Atlanta.

The two incidents are likely to spur discussion about gun control legislation in the United States, where firearm deaths are tragically common. They are also among at least seven mass shootings in the past week across the US — including three incidents on Saturday alone.

  1. Atlanta, March 16: Eight people, including six Asian women, were killed when a White gunman stormed three spas, police said.
  2. Stockton, California, March 17: Five people who were preparing a vigil in Stockton, in California’s Central Valley, were shot in a drive-by shooting, the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Department said. None had life-threatening injuries.
  3. Gresham, Oregon, March 18: Four victims were taken to the hospital after a shooting in the city east of Portland, police said in an initial report on Twitter.
  4. Houston, March 20: Five people were shot after a disturbance inside a club, according to police. One was in critical condition after being shot in the neck, the rest were in stable condition, according to CNN affiliate KPRC.
  5. Dallas, March 20: Eight people were shot by an unknown assailant, one of whom died, according to police.
  6. Philadelphia, March 20: One person was killed and another five were injured during a shooting at an illegal party, CNN affiliate KYW reported. “There were at least 150 people in there that fled and believed they had to flee for their lives,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.
  7. Boulder, Colorado, March 22: Ten people, including a Boulder police officer, were killed in a shooting at the King Soopers supermarket, according to police.

It’s unclear how this number of mass shootings — in which at least four people were shot — compares to an average week in the US.

Though some official gun violence data is available, the US federal government does not have a centralized system or database to track firearm incidents and mass shootings nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks some gun violence data, nearly 40,000 people were killed in incidents involving firearms in 2019.

So far this year, there have been at least six mass shootings with four or more killed, including those in Atlanta and Boulder.

These are the other four:

  1. Jan. 9: Five killed in shooting spree in Evanston, Illinois, according to CNN affiliate WLS.
  2. Jan. 24: Five people shot dead in Indianapolis, Indiana, according to police.
  3. Feb. 2: Six people killed in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
  4. March 13: Four killed in dispute over stimulus check in Indianapolis.

Slain police officer Eric Talley was a father of 7 who “loved his family more than anything,” his dad says

The father of slain Boulder police officer Eric Talley said he was not surprised his son was the first officer to arrive on the scene of a mass shooting on Monday in Boulder, Colorado.

“Didn’t surprise me he was the first one there,” Homer Talley said in a phone interview with CNN affiliate KUSA.

Eric Talley, 51, was among 10 people killed when a gunman attacked the King Soopers grocery store. Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said his actions were “nothing short of heroic.” Herold said Talley had been an officer with the Boulder Police Department since 2010.

Homer Talley said his son was a father of seven children. The eldest is age 20.

“He loved his family more than anything,” his father said.  

Homer Talley described his son as a “prankster” who “had a great sense of humor.” He also said Eric Talley was working to become a drone operator because he thought it would be safer.

Devastating Flooding in Australia Forces 18,000 Families from Their Homes (PHOTOS)

Devastating Flooding in Australia Forces 18,000 Families from Their Homes (PHOTOS)

Flooding has forced at least 18,000 families to evacuate their homes in New South Wales, Australia, as heavy rains caused some of the worst flooding in the state in decades.

Photos show neighborhoods inundated with flooding to the height of street signs and locals rowing to safety as the water climbs.

The flooding has caused damage to homes and businesses and washed out bridges and roads. ABC News Australia reported that a couple’s rental home in Mondrook was washed away on their wedding day on Saturday. The couple was not home at the time, and are uninjured.

Emergency services received more than 8,000 calls for help since the flooding began. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Insurance Council of Australia declared an insurance catastrophe after more than 5,000 claims were lodged over the weekend due to the flooding.

(MORE: Evacuations Expand as Devastating Flooding Continues)

Dozens of communities have been officially deemed disaster areas. Click through the slideshow above to see photos of the devastation.

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