TV reception

Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 8:11 PM
Published: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 8:42 PM

Old storm TV sets now require converter box

Now that television is digital, TV sets that get only broadcast signals, using rabbit ears or roof antennas — including that emergency TV you bought — won’t work.

If you have cable or satellite, you’ll get digital programming — but those could both be out after a storm.

You can get a special converter box for regular or storm TVs for about $60. Your converter will need a battery backup as well.

Some battery-operated portable digital televisions are coming on the market, but not many, and they can cost more than $100.

Your other option: radio. Radio stations will be flood you with information and many have agreements with local television station to simulcast TV broadcasts.

You might want to consider an NOAA weather radio. Storms often spawn tornadoes, often far from the eye, and a weather radio will let you know. Radios run about $40.

Tune in before, during, after a storm

Before a storm, decide if you will take down any outside antennae or satellite dishes. Some firms suggest leaving the dish, as it should handle high winds. Consider advance arrangements with a professional or your satellite provider for removal and reinstallation, but they’ll be swamped.

If you try it yourself, unplug components connected to TV and avoid power lines. Mark alignment position of dish on mounting pole to help with realignment after storm.

After the storm, do not work with antennae or dishes until it’s safe. Don’t climb on a slick ladder or wet roof or one covered with debris. Downed power lines might be live.

Inside, plug receiver back in. Make sure surge protector is on and breaker wasn’t popped. Check to see if the receiver needs to be reset; if so, follow instructions. With some, press and hold the power button for a few seconds.

Outside, check satellite dish to see if it’s been damaged or knocked out of alignment. Use marks made earlier as a reference.

You might be able to do basic steps to get a signal until the satellite firm or a qualified technician can reposition the dish.

Make sure dish has unobstructed view of the south. If necessary, adjust in small movements and have someone inside check signal strength. Receiver settings must be correct before moving dish.

How will Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago withstand Hurricane Matthew’s winds?

Updated: Monday, October 17, 2016 @ 10:15 AM
Published: Thursday, October 06, 2016 @ 8:00 AM
By: Darrell Hofheinz - Palm Beach

            How will Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago withstand Hurricane Matthew’s winds?
The roof of the historic main residence at The Mar-a-Lago Club sustained damage during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Daily News File Photo (Jeffrey Langlois)

Political pundits for months have gaped this year at how Republican nominee Donald Trump has blown through the presidential cycle like a hurricane.

And the brash billionaire knows a thing or two about hurricanes, considering that for more than 30 years he has owned landmarked Mar-a-Lago on a 20-acre site that stretches between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach’s historic Estate Section.

The elaborate mansion-turned-private-club has weathered its share of hurricanes since it was completed in 1927. Its stucco-covered walls have remained standing after each hurricane, including the massive killer storm that wreaked havoc on South Florida’s east coast in 1928 and another that flooded the Estate Section and points south in 1947.

>>Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew

More recently, the building withstood the double whammy of back-to-back hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and, a year later, Hurricane Wilma, which surprised locals with its strength when it barreled in from the west.

And now another hurricane, named Matthew, is headed toward The Mar-a-Lago Club, expected to skirt the Atlantic coast late today as, perhaps, a brutal Category 4 storm.

“We lost a lot of the vegetation that gave Mar-a-Lago its character,” Trump told the Palm Beach Post following Hurricane Frances. “I wasn’t there for the storm, but I’ve been told by my people there that it re-landscaped the place. There was a little flooding in some of the basements, too.”

The landscape was replanted, and today, the grounds look as lush as ever.

>> Read more trending stories  

Solid foundation

Trump bought Mar-a-Lago, the mansion built by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, in 1985 at age 39 from her foundation for a price recorded at $5 million, reportedly paying several million more for the furnishings. A decade later, after pouring millions of dollars into its restoration, he opened The Mar-A-Lago Club, retaining residential quarters to use for himself and family members.

The real estate expert couldn’t have asked for a house better prepared to endure a hurricane. Mar-a-Lago is about a rock-solid as it gets, when it comes to being storm-ready.

Married to financier E.F. Hutton when she built it, Post understood the importance of making sure her house — the second she owned in Palm Beach — would have a solid foundation for its 128 rooms.

Concrete and steel anchors the structure to the coral reef below it. Many of the walls are 3-feet thick.

“This place will not move,” Trump’s former butler, Tony Senecal, told the Palm Beach Post in 2005. ‘That’s why, during a hurricane, you’ll always see me here. If it goes, I’ll go with it.”

The house’s architecture is an elaborate mix of Spanish, Moorish, Portuguese and Venetian influences, thanks to the work of architect Marion Sims Wyeth and Broadway set designer Joseph Urban. It is said to have taken 600 workers and artisans to complete the two-year project, which broke ground in 1925.

The paint had barely had time to dry when the 1928 hurricane arrived, making landfall in September near West Palm Beach. With winds estimated at 145 mph, the storm destroyed more than 1,700 homes and generated a storm surge that caused Lake Okeechobee to burst some 45 miles away, drowning as many as 2,500 people.

In Palm Beach, the storm washed out the coastal road that hugged the beachfront between Wells Road and the Palm Beach Country Club. Today’s North Ocean Boulevard was built a bit farther to the west in that area, creating beachfront estates that line the road. Farther south, the storm also swept away much of the beach, pushing the shoreline inland by more than 200 feet near Mar-a-Lago and in front of the then-new Bath & Tennis Club.

The hurricane’s damage to Post’s home mostly was confirmed to uprooted trees, although she reported damage to an expansive Roman-style window.

Some of her neighbors on the island weren’t so lucky. At La Querida on the North End, Philadelphia department store heir Rodman Wanamaker’s home, damage was so extensive that the house required renovation; it later was bought by Joseph P. Kennedy and, much later, became known worldwide as the Winter White House used by his son, President John F. Kennedy. Purchased last year by billionaire Jane Goldman, the house is being extensively renovated.

Preparing for a storm

Today, the staff at Mar-a-Lago prepares for hurricanes in much the same way that other Palm Beach property owners do, including removing or securing outdoor furnishings and other items — such as sculptures — that could become windborne missiles during a storm. Property owners also might lower the water levels in the swimming pool and place sandbags in front of outside doors, especially important in low-lying areas. Full-house generators were rarites in Palm before the sorms of 2004 and 2005 but are now commonplace; owners often give theirs a test-run in anticipation of electricity outages following a storm.

One critical item on the to-do list at Mar-a-Lago is installing hurricane shutters on windows and doors. That’s not the case with newer houses and commercial buildings — and many renovated older ones — where strict building codes have required the installation of impact-resistant glass in windows and doors. Those codes were substantially strengthened after Hurricane Andrew decimated entire neighborhoods when it tore through Miami-Dade County in 1992.

During Trump’s restoration project in the 1990s, Mar-a-Lago’s original windows were carefully preserved and restored, including a number of elaborately gilded ones in the main room, according to architect Tamara Peacock of The Tamara Peacock Co., based in Fort Lauderdale. With a specialty in historic preservation, Peacock oversaw the award-winning — and massive — project that turned the private home into a private club, while keeping its vintage charms intact.

“We reconditioned and kept the original windows,” Peacock said Wednesday in a phone interview from North Carolina, where her company has an office in Hendersonville. “The quality of the existing windows is part of the architectural heritage.”

In the decade after the club opened, Trump added other facilities — including a grand new ballroom and the Beach Club on Mar-a-Lago’s ocean parcel. Windows in those buildings meet the new codes for impact resistance.

Peacock, who was member No. 88 to join Trump’s club, said she still marvels at Mar-a-Lago’s original construction. “I’ve seen quite a number of historic houses during my career,” she said. “It’s the most well-built.”

Hurricane Matthew: Live updates as storm exits East Coast

Updated: Sunday, October 09, 2016 @ 12:31 PM
Published: Sunday, October 09, 2016 @ 12:00 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Hurricane Matthew: Live updates as storm exits East Coast
WATCH: Hurricane Matthew Slams Florida

Hurricane Matthew weakened late Saturday after pummeling North Carolina, leaving damage and flooded streets as it slowly moved out to sea as a post-tropical cyclone.

>> Related: Watch livestream video around the coast as Matthew approaches | PHOTOS

Matthew reached the coast as a Category 3 hurricane on Friday. The designation means winds were measured between 111 and 129 mph and the storm – although weakened from the Category 4 hurricane it was as it spun through the Caribbean – had the capacity to cause devastating damage.

In a release, the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center warned that homes and buildings in Central Florida "may be uninhabitable for weeks or months."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory have declared states of emergency. President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency in Georgia early Friday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, joining South Carolina and Florida.

Follow along with our live updates:

Fox News anchor tells viewers they are going to die from Hurricane Matthew

Updated: Friday, October 07, 2016 @ 4:36 PM
Published: Friday, October 07, 2016 @ 4:05 PM
By: Chelsea Todaro

            Fox News anchor tells viewers they are going to die from Hurricane Matthew
WATCH: Hurricane Matthew Arrives in Florida

A Fox News anchor started a social media frenzy after he told Floridians that they "are dead" when Hurricane Matthew hits.

>> Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew

"This moves 20 miles to the west, and you and everyone you know are dead. All of you. Because you can’t survive it. It’s not possible unless you’re very, very lucky. And your kids die, too," said Shepard Smith on Thursday. 

Smith made the remarks while he was pointing out a cone of uncertainty map of Hurricane Matthew hitting Florida's east coast as a Category 4 hurricane. A 20-second clip of the news anchor was posted to Twitter and had many people with mixed reactions.

Some Twitter users accused Smith of crossing the line, while others appreciated his brutal honesty. 

“Would you prefer that he sugarcoat a possibly fatal situation? They will die, and so will their kids. Evacuate,” one man wrote in response on Twitter.

Another user compared Smith's comments to the popular comedy "Mean Girls," posting, "This is the 'you will get chlamydia and die' of weatherman."

Gov. Rick Scott had a very similar message to Floridans on Thursday morning at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee stating that "this storm will kill you." 

Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc in Haiti killing around 840 people. Many homes were also destroyed in Cuba and the Bahamas after battling intense winds and flooding. 

Police: Suspect arrested breaking into Central Florida store as Matthew looms

Updated: Friday, October 07, 2016 @ 3:40 PM
Published: Friday, October 07, 2016 @ 1:51 AM

            Police: Suspect arrested breaking into Central Florida store as Matthew looms
Sanford Police Department/Twitter

Police in the Central Florida city of Sanford said a burglar was apprehended while trying to break into a Dollar General store Thursday as severe weather from Hurricane Matthew began to blow through.

>> Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew

The department tweeted that the burglar was arrested and posted a photo on Twitter of a front glass window smashed.