Hurricane Irma damage: What to do before, during and after a flood

Published: Monday, September 11, 2017 @ 1:17 PM

Irma Aftermath In Florida

Emergency management  officials are quick to remind those living in coastal areas that it’s the water that a hurricane brings that is the biggest threat to lives and property.

According to the National Hurricane Center, storm surge, or the wall or water a hurricane pushes on land as it moves onshore, has accounted for about half of the deaths in hurricanes since 1970.

The danger of storm surge is so great that in 2017, the NHC changed its warning system to include a separate warning for surge alone. 

While you can do very little once the surge is at hand, there are some things you can do to stay safe from the flood waters it brings.

From the Federal Emergency Management Agency, here are tips for keeping safe during and after a flood.

Before a flood 
• If a flood is likely in your area, listen to the radio or television for information.
• Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible. A warning means flooding is occurring or will occur soon.

When a flood is imminent
• Be prepared! Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don't forget to include needed medications.
• If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
• If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
• If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
• Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.

Larry Donnerstaf, center, is helped back to his home at Naples Estates trailer park in East Naples, Fla., on Sept. 11, 2017.

During a flood
• Do not walk through moving water. As little as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can make you fall.
• If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
• Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
• Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

After a flood
• Listen for news reports to learn whether the community's water supply is safe to drink.
• Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
• Avoid moving water.
• Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
• Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
• Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
• Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
• Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
• Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency

3 elephants forced onto Georgia interstate during tractor-trailer fire

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 5:02 PM



Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Three African elephants were forced onto the interstate near the Georgia-Tennessee border Monday morning after a tractor-trailer carrying the animals caught fire, the Chattanooga Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

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Firefighters responded to the fire on Interstate 24 East about 2 a.m., officials said.

“The owners got the elephants safely out of the trailer and gave them some hay to munch on while firefighters put the fire out,” the post read.

Elephants on I-24...Another Day in the Office So what is that peeking its large head over a guardrail on the interstate...

Posted by Chattanooga Fire Department on Monday, November 20, 2017

Officials have not said who owned the animals, which were headed to Sarasota, Florida.

The elephants are just the latest animals to find their way onto Georgia highways in the past few months.

Suzy, a 6-year-old Bengal tiger, was shot and killed after roaming a Henry County neighborhood and attacking a dog, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The tiger, who was owned by a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus presenter, escaped from a transport truck carrying 14 other big cats from Florida to Tennessee.

Federal authorities will investigate whether charges should be filed against circus parent company Feld Entertainment and its owner.

New York Times suspends reporter Glenn Thrush amid sexual misconduct claims

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 1:56 PM

Glenn Thrush, New York Times Reporter, Suspended Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims

The New York Times officials announced Monday that they were suspending reporter Glenn Thrush in the wake of allegations that the White House reporter made unwanted sexual advances toward multiple women.

>> Read more trending news

Thrush was accused of inappropriate behavior in a story published Monday by Vox. Thrush’s former colleague, Laura McGann, said he kissed her and put his hand on her thigh while they were at a bar one night after he told the third person in their group to leave them.

The incident allegedly took place five years ago, while Thrush was a reporter for Politico. He joined the New York Times in January to cover the Trump administration, according to the newspaper.

McGann, who was an editor at Politico when the alleged incident took place, said Thrush later told colleagues that their encounter went the other way and that he rejected advances from her. He reiterated his recollection to Vox, saying in a statement that “the encounter described was consensual, brief, and ended by me.”

Three other women recounted similar tales to Vox involving Thrush. They declined to be identified.

“I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately,” Thrush told Vox Sunday in an emailed statement. “Any behavior that makes a woman feel disrespected or uncomfortable is unacceptable.”

Officials with the Times said Monday that they were opening an investigation into the alleged incidents, one of which reportedly took place in June, after Thrush joined the newspaper.

“The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times,” the Times officials said in a statement. “We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended.”

Thrush said he was “deeply sorry” for an encounter that happened in June, in which a woman said Thrush began kissing her on the street after they had been in a bar. Thrush said he hasn’t had alcohol since the event, which he called “life changing.”

Another woman in the story talks about a consensual drunken encounter with Thrush five years ago that left her rattled, and a fourth woman who was surprised by an unexpected kiss.

Thrush worked as the chief political correspondent at Politico and as a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine before joining the Times staff. He previously worked at Newsday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Keeping the kids happy in the car on long road trip

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 4:31 PM

Thanksgiving - By the Numbers

With the holidays fast approaching, ‘tis the season to think about the upcoming family festivities -- and how you’re going to get there. AAA estimates that even more families will be piling in their cars and hitting the road this Thanksgiving. As families start to map out their holiday travel plans, whether traveling to Grandma’s house or a favorite vacation spot, FamilyFun magazine and AAA conducted a travel survey of 400 parents and kids with some surprising and humorous findings:

 Keeping kids entertained is as important as filling up the tank

· What do parents say they always do before heading out on a road trip? Naturally, filling up the car with gas tops the list (90 percent) but so does packing snacks for their kids (90 percent) and packing electronics to keep kids busy (76 percent). Clearly, keeping those back seat travelers happy is a priority for moms and dads — ranking higher than such options as cleaning the windshield, checking the tires and even getting a hotel reservation. 

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Kids envision the car of the future to include an Xbox, mini-fridges and trampolines

· Almost half (44 percent) of kids surveyed said sitting still in a car for long trips is the worst part of the trip. In order to liven up the back seat, kids were asked what they would include in the “car of the future,” and their responses pointed to entertainment and space needs. Kids would include flat-screen TVs, Xboxes, PS4s and mini-fridges filled with snacks in their self-designed car. “It would have a spot for a trampoline so I wouldn’t have to sit forever,” wrote one child. “A dance floor with microphone,” said another, as well as “lots of room, so my younger brother couldn’t reach me.”

Technology rules in the back seat, but it’s not what kids like best about road trips

· Over half (63 percent) of kids surveyed said they’d bring an e-device, such as a tablet, laptop or smartphone, to make sure a road trip is fun. But while tech may be a top boredom-buster, it’s ultimately not what makes a trip fun. Kids said the best part of a road trip is actually “spending time with their family” and “getting to see new places.”

Boys choose music while girls choose creativity

· Keeping kids entertained is a top concern for parents, but it’s important to know your audience and what will fend off the back seat blues. The survey revealed that boys are more likely to want to bring their iPod or music player on a road trip, while girls are more likely to want to bring a stuffed animal, a book and drawing or craft supplies. 

Here are some tips for spending lots of time in the car:

 Backseat Fun & Games:

· License Plate Lingo – See who can be the first player to make a sentence out of the letters on a license plate ahead of you. For example, if the plate is LH5-2VF, you might shout, “Let’s have vacation fun!” The weirder the sentence, the better.

· Geography Go-Round – Start with any place in the world -- Kansas, for example. The next person has to think of a place that begins with the last letter of “Kansas,” such as “South Africa.” Whoever goes next needs a place that starts with an “A”. You can use a place only once per game, and it has to be a real place.

(Getty file photo)(Tatyana Tomsickova Photography/Getty Images)

Kids Fun Travel Kit:

Easy Games – Bring along a three-ring binder filled with clear plastic sleeves containing blank sheets of paper and simple games such as hangman and tic-tac-toe. Use dry-erase markers; kids can doodle and play, then wipe the sleeves clean and play again.
Goody Bags – For longer drives, consider bringing surprise goody bags to hand out at noteworthy intervals like passing a state border. Label each bag with the name of the milestone and inside have a snack, coloring page or even a special privilege coupon (e.g. you can pick the music we listen to for the next 15 minutes).
For more tips and information:

FamilyFun and AAA have also developed a Holiday Road Trips booklet of 20 handy ideas, including everything from driving safety and pack-along essentials to games that will keep your crew entertained. To download the full FamilyFun & AAA Holiday Road Trips booklet, visit http://bit.ly/1ubBHKJ.

Russian mega-yacht owned by Putin friend docks in Port of Palm Beach

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

The Eclipse, a 533-foot private yacht owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, is pictured here at the Port of Palm Beach. 
Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post
The Eclipse, a 533-foot private yacht owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, is pictured here at the Port of Palm Beach. (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)

Days before President Donald Trump flies into town for Thanksgiving, one of the world’s most expensive yachts, owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, sailed into the Port of Palm Beach Friday afternoon.

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But Abramovich’s spokesman said the billionaire isn’t aboard — the ship’s just in town for scheduled maintenance.

The 533-foot Eclipse, valued at $400 million to $500 million, comes equipped with a pool, helipad, submarine and room for a crew of 92, according to marine websites. It made its way past the Bahamas and docked at 1:15 p.m, taking the slip normally reserved for the Grand Celebration, a cruise ship on hurricane-relief duty in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Originally booked to stay through Dec. 5, the Eclipse might have to leave Dec. 1, as it is being followed by the 644-foot World, billed as “the largest private residential ship on the planet,” which is scheduled to arrive that day.

>> Related: Port of Palm Beach helps fill demand of mega yachts

Where will the Eclipse go?

The MarineTraffic app had it headed south on the Intracoastal Waterway, toward downtown West Palm Beach. Or at least it did — that flight plan vanished from the app on Saturday. Maybe they found out, as we were told, a ship that big would run aground in the Waterway.

Note to Transportation Security Administration: In any event, that route would have put a Russian submarine within a mile or so of the winter White House.

Forbes lists Abramovich’s net worth at $9.5 billion, the world’s 139th-richest person, with major holdings in steel, nickel and oil companies, as well as Britain’s Chelsea soccer team.

>> Related: President Trump expected to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago

Bloomberg Politics has reported that presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has met Abramovich one-on-one and with their wives on a number of occasions.We’re told they haven’t been in touch since a charity dinner in 2014, though.