loader image
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.

 

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.

Covid-19 vaccines and counterfeit vaccine cards are for sale on the dark web

Covid-19 vaccines and counterfeit vaccine cards are for sale on the dark web

(CNN Business)Counterfeit vaccine cards and what are being billed as Covid-19 vaccines are now for sale on the dark web, according to a report released Tuesday.

Security researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point Software said they’ve discovered listings for Covid-19 vaccines from various brands, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, for up to $1,000 a dose, as well as at least 20 vaccine certificates for $200 each.
The dark web is a part of the internet not detected by search engines where cybercriminals often sell and buy illicit materials, from credit card numbers and drugs to cyberweapons and now, apparently, coronavirus-related products.
    A Check Point spokesperson told CNN Business it’s uncertain if the vaccines are real, but said “they appear to be legitimate” from pictures of packaging and medical certificates. Advertisements for vaccines on the dark web are up 300% in the past three months, according to the report.
    Meanwhile, vaccine certificates — or proof of vaccination cards — are created and printed to order; the buyer provides the name and dates they want on the certificate and the vendor replies with what Check Point said resembles an authentic card.
    The counterfeit products are being marketed to people who need to board planes, cross borders, start a new job or other activities that may require someone to give proof of vaccination.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) logo, including a picture of an eagle, is featured on the top right corner of the fake vaccine cards, just like on the real ones. The Check Point spokesperson said the company estimates “vendors are capable of pumping out fake vaccination cards by the thousands, if not tens of thousands, based on requests.”
    Also for sale: negative Covid-19 test results for $25 (or “buy 2, get the third for free”).
      Some experts say illegal markets around vaccine cards and digital passports are inevitable. “Not everyone has access to the vaccine; roll-outs are slow in many countries, and people are tired of lock-downs and curfews,” said Michela Menting, who covers cybersecurity for ABI Research. “If people can easily get hold of a fake passport to avoid restrictions, then they will, and an illicit market will spring up around it.”
      The news comes as government agencies warn people to stop posting pictures of their vaccine card on social media to avoid potential identity theft or be a target for phishing schemes.

      Flood risk is growing for US homeowners due to climate change. Current insurance rates greatly underestimate the threat, a new report finds

      Flood risk is growing for US homeowners due to climate change. Current insurance rates greatly underestimate the threat, a new report finds

      (CNN)Wildfires and hurricane-force winds produce stunning videos and headlines, but flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States.

      And almost no place in the country is immune as 98% of all counties in the US have experienced at least one flooding event. In the last decade alone, floods have caused more than $155 billion worth of damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
      Currently, there are nearly 4.3 million residential properties around the country with a substantial risk of financial loss due to flooding. The report defines “substantial risk” as carrying a 1% chance of flooding in any year.
      Some, but not all, of those homeowners have insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides more than 90% of the flood insurance policies in the US.
      But the report finds that those homes face losses each year which dwarf the costs of their NFIP premiums. The average NFIP premium cost today for those properties is around $981, but their expected annual loses are $4,694 per property.
      If all of those property owners were to purchase flood insurance to protect against potential damage, premiums would need to increase by 4.5 times to cover the risk.

      Flood insurance premiums underestimate homeowners’ financial risk

      The First Street Foundation’s analysis found that many residential properties with a 1-in-100 chance of flooding are at risk for damage costs exceeding their protection under the National Flood Insurance Program’s current pricing structure.

      Note: Alaska and Hawaii were not included in the analysis. Data are for residential properties with 1-4 units. Average expected annual loss is capped at $250,000 annually to match the NFIP coverage limit.

      Source: First Street Foundation

      Graphic: Renée Rigdon, CNN

      The analysis was conducted by the First Street Foundation, a non-profit research and technology group that aims to shed light on the growing risk of flooding around the country due to climate change.
      The study only considered residential properties with between one and four units, but the authors say the actual financial risk from flooding around the country is likely far greater than the report captures.
      “Our numbers are large … but it’s not encompassing all properties that are inside the Special Flood Hazard Area, or many other residential properties like condos, apartment buildings and other larger buildings,” said Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of the First Street Foundation. “So if you take that and you extrapolate, there are actually a lot more buildings that have financial risk as well.”
      A separate report from the foundation last year estimated that there are a total of 14.6 million properties around the country with substantial flood risk. The owners of around 5.9 million of those properties may be unaware of their flood risk because they are located outside of FEMA’s Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and therefore aren’t required to buy flood insurance even if they hold a government-backed mortgage loan, the report found.
      Today, the 4.3 million homes with a 1% chance of flooding carry an expected annual loss of $20.8 billion due to flood damage, the foundation’s analysis found.
      However, within the life of a 30-year mortgage signed today, those losses are projected to balloon by 61% to nearly $32.2 billion per year by 2050 due to the effects of climate change.
      As massive storms like Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Sandy have hammered some of the country’s biggest coastal cities, the NFIP’s bottom line has already taken a beating.

      Homeowners on the coasts are at greatest risk for flood losses

      Today in the United States, all properties with flood risk face an estimated $20 billion in damage due to flooding each year. The risk of losses are highest in coastal areas, but heavy rainfall also has the potential to trigger damaging floods in regions like Appalachia.

      Today, the program is saddled with more than $20.5 billion in debt, according to a recent Congressional Review Service Report. That’s after Congress canceled $16 billion of the NFIP’s debt in 2017 to allow the program to pay claims to victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
      “With climate change and more development and more properties at risk, it just keeps going further in the hole,” said Sandra Knight, a senior research engineer at the University of Maryland’s Center for Disaster Resilience and a former FEMA administrator. “That tells you you’re not collecting enough premiums, but the long-term game is to have zoning and building codes that minimize risk. You can’t just depend on insurance.”
      Experts and even FEMA officials have acknowledged for years that there are shortcomings with the NFIP as it is currently structured.
      Chief among those is the process of drawing FEMA’s flood maps, which provide the basis for setting insurance rates for many policies under the NFIP.
      FEMA still has not completed flood maps for huge swaths of the US, said Michael Grimm, the acting deputy associate administrator of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administratio, while testifying before a House committee in February 2020
      And though FEMA maps are required by Congress to be reassessed every five years, Grimm says it takes seven years on average to complete a new flood map, meaning that some maps may technically be out of date by the time they’re finished.
      Insurance rate setting under the NFIP has seen little change since the 1970s.
      The rates are set depending on which of three broad types of flood zones a property sits in: low to moderate risk, high risk or high risk coastal area. The type of property, the elevation of the building, the number of floors and whether it has a basement are also factored in.
      But experts say the use of these flood zones is an unsophisticated way to gauge risk that doesn’t take into account key considerations, like the topography of the land where a property sits. FEMA’s flood models only factor in the risk of storm surge and river flooding, not the threat posed by heavy rainfall.
      “It’s actually sort of a crude way to price flood risk because it doesn’t account for changing flood risk across a landscape,” said Carolyn Kousky, the executive director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the advisory board for the First Street Foundation.
      To address these problems, FEMA is expected to roll out a new system for setting flood insurance rates later this year called Risk Rating 2.0, which the agency says will utilize the latest technology to better capture the risk for each individual property.
      David Maurstad, the senior executive of the National Flood Insurance Program, said that the First Street Foundation’s findings should not be taken as a preview of the rate changes flood insurance policy holders can expect when Risk Rating 2.0 goes into effect.
      “Any attempt to compare an outside entity’s premium estimates or premium recommendations to the Risk Rating 2.0 initiative is premature,” Maurstad said in an emailed statement. “FEMA is constantly working to leverage new technologies and provide national-scale flood risk information more efficiently, accurately and consistently to the public.”
      Still, Kousky says that the new findings are an important indicator of just how much the cost of flood damage could grow around the country as the climate changes, which the cost of insurance in any single year does not capture.
      “It certainly has shown how much flood losses are going to start increasing as a result of climate change,” she said. “That should be a red flag for the NFIP and communities everywhere that the cost of this risk are going up. And that means to stay solvent, insurance costs have to go up as well.”

      Families Lost Everything in Deep South Tornado Outbreak

      Families Lost Everything in Deep South Tornado Outbreak

      At a Glance

      • There have been at least 20 reports of tornadoes.

      • Dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed.

      • At least two people were injured.

      Residents across the South are cleaning up amid harrowing stories of survival during a tornado outbreak that ripped homes apart, snapped trees in half and left debris strewn across miles.

      Jimmy Baker, 80, and his wife went to look out their front door after they got a cell phone alert that severe weather was approaching their area in Chilton County, Alabama.

      “We could tell it was getting closer so we ran and got a couple of pillows and jumped in the little broom closet,” Baker told weather.com in an interview Thursday.

      He wedged himself in on the floor of the tiny space. She sat in his lap.

      They covered themselves with pillows and prayed.

      The house came apart around them.

      Except for the closet.

      “It was the only thing left standing, actually,” Baker said, in the ruins of the home where the couple lived for 26 years, on property that had been owned by his grandparents.

      At least three homes were destroyed in Chilton County, which saw two possible tornadoes Wednesday – one of which was given an EF2 rating by the NWS after a preliminary damage survey south of Pools Crossroads.

      “You work 24 years and everything you have is gone in the blink of an eye,” Trent Cox, another resident who lost his home, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “We have stuff scattered half a mile. There’s people that picked up some of our pictures two miles away.”

      Cox sorted through the ruins of his property Thursday to try and salvage what he could. He, his wife, daughter and two grandchildren ran across the street to take shelter in his father’s basement minutes before their home was wiped away.

      “If we would have stayed, none of us would have made it,” Cox said. “No way. We’re thankful we all made it.”

      The National Weather Service office in central Alabama sent teams out Thursday to assess damage in at least 12 counties where tornadoes may have touched down, according to the Associated Press.

      More than 45,000 homes and businesses were without power across Lousiana, Alabama and Mississippi at the height of the storms on Wednesday. The majority of the outages were resolved by Thursday evening, according to poweroutage.us.

      The severe weather continued Thursday with possible tornado damage reported in North Carolina and flooding in South Carolina.

      Shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday, a multivehicle crash involving several semitractor trailers shut down all but one lane in each direction of Interstate 40 east of Knoxville, Tennessee, according to the state Transportation Department. Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions. Rain was falling at the time of the accident. WOKI reported all lanes were reopened about two hours later.

      Downed trees and power lines were reported in Houston County shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday CDT after radar confirmed a tornado near Dothan, Alabama. WTVY reported that a driver was trapped by fallen trees for a short time in the Highlands neighborhood south of U.S. 84.

      Brian Wilkerson, deputy director of emergency management for Clarke County, told weather.com in a phone call Wednesday evening that two people were hurt when a home was destroyed. Four other homes were damaged.

      A woman and her 3-year-old daughter were injured, WALA reported. Their condition was not serious, officials said.

      A home was damaged and trees were down across parts of Stone County in southern Missouri after a possible tornado struck shortly before midnight.

      Damage to Bobbi Harris’ property on Old Greensboro Road is seen, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Moundville, Alabama, after severe weather came through the area. No one was inside at the time.

      (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

      Roger Bean, who lives near Trent Cox, hunkered down in an underground storm shelter with relatives, including several children, as his Cox’s home was ripped apart.

      “It’s gut-wrenching,” Bean told weather.com in an interview. “Everything they had’s just destroyed.”

      Bean said it sounded like he had always imagined it would — as if a freight train was going by.

      “Luckily there’s no loss of life, the people are OK,” he said. “You know, all the other stuff can be replaced.”

      Near Moundville, Alabama, Jennifer Patterson realized she had locked her car keys in her mobile home as she prepared to flee to her son’s home during a tornado warning there Wednesday afternoon. Unable to leave, Patterson huddled in a ravine behind her home and clung to a small tree, she told WIAT. She stayed on the phone with her son as the storm raged around her.

      “He was hearing his mom scream. All I could do was say ‘Jesus watch over me, Jesus watch over me’, and then it kept going and going and finally I said ‘Jesus take it away,’ and it’s just like you could hear it easing up,” Patterson told the TV station. “Not knowing if I was ever going to see my family, at any moment, I just knew with the wind the way it was, and everything cracking around me, and I’m holding onto a little ol’ tree, and all I could think about at that time was this is it.”

      One of the four large trees in Patterson’s yard crashed through her home, falling onto the couch where she normally sits. During a preliminary damage survey, the NWS determined an EF1 tornado with wind speeds as high as 110 mph hit the area.

      Video from Moundville, which is south of Tuscaloosa, showed several homes with holes in their roofs and a tree blocking a road. Twenty to 30 homes in the area sustained mostly minor damage, according to a local media report.

      Tamara Croom, deputy director for emergency management in Tuscaloosa County, told weather.com Wednesday evening that some residents were displaced in the Moundville area. Most of the damage was to roofs, Croom said.

      In Jefferson County, about 30 homes sustained minor to moderate damage in the Gardendale and Mount Olive communities, the emergency management agency said.

      Photos posted to social media showed a home that appeared to have collapsed in Autauga County, Alabama, on the northwest side of Montgomery.

      Damage was reported in several other Alabama counties, including Choctaw, Cherokee and Dallas.

      A shelter in Tuscaloosa filled with people, according to WBRC-TV. Students also crowded into a shelter at the University of Alabama after being told to stay in a safe place until at least 4:15 p.m. CDT.

      A dispatcher in Wayne County, Mississippi, told weather.com Wednesday afternoon that several homes and chicken houses were damaged in the county, about 60 miles northeast of Hattiesburg and near the state line with Alabama.

      A tornado touched down in the county shortly after noon CDT.

      Video shot in Wayne County and shared on social media showed what appeared to be debris flying in the air.

      A huge tree crushed part of a house in North Jackson, Mississippi, WLBT reported.

      COVID-19 vaccination sites were also closed in several states.

      In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency for all of the state’s 67 counties.

      Dangerous severe weather is expected to continue through Thursday in the South with the potential for additional tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail, according to weather.com meteorologists.

      Anyone in the potential path of severe weather should monitor all forecasts, watches and warnings closely, be prepared to seek shelter immediately and have multiple ways to receive severe weather alerts.

      Debris litters weather-damaged properties at the intersection of County Road 24 and 37 in Clanton, Ala., the morning following a large outbreak of severe storms across the southeast, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

      ×