Weather Relief News Briefs


Staff Reports



PANERA BREAD CENTRAL OHIO CAFÉS ‘CHIP IN’ TO SUPPORT HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF FUND

A portion of all Chocolate Chipper cookie sales this September to benefit the Greater Houston Community Foundation in support of flood victims

Columbus, September 5, 2017 – Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread, announced a special impromptu month-long promotion Tuesday to support the relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Harvey’s recent devastation in the Houston, Texas area. The company, which operates more than 300 Panera Bread locations in seven US states, will host “Chip in for Houston,” in all of its bakery-cafés beginning September 5, donating 25 cents of the proceeds from every Chocolate Chipper cookie sold to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

The “Chip in for Houston” fundraiser will appear during the entire month of September in all Covelli-owned and operated Panera Bread bakery-cafés including the over 40 locations in Columbus and Central Ohio

“Our hearts are with the people in Houston right now,” said Sam Covelli, CEO of Covelli Enterprises. “It’s important to us to do something in our cafés to support the relief efforts going on down there, even though we have no locations in the area. We are all Texans right now, and we will do all we can to help in this time of need because it’s the right thing to do.”

Throughout the month of September, all Central Ohio Panera Bread bakery-cafés will also be collecting community cashbox donations at the registers to raise additional funds for the cause.

The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund was established through the Greater Houston Community Foundation by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner after receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help the flood relief efforts, according to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s website www.ghcf.org. This fund was sited in a New York Times article on August 28, 2017 as a reputable local organization providing aid for flood victims.

Panera Bread Chocolate Chipper cookies are sold warm and gooey fresh from the oven for $1.99 or can be added to any meal for 99 cents. A 25 cents of all Chocolate Chipper cookies sold at either price point during the “Chip in for Houston” fundraiser will benefit the relief fund.

About Covelli Enterprises

Covelli Enterprises is the largest franchisee of Panera Bread, LLC with more than 300 bakery-cafés in seven states. In 2016, the company donated more than $28 million to charity through unsold bread products for local hunger relief agencies and monetary donations to other non-profit organizations. www.covelli.com

AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey to be more costly than Katrina, Sandy combined

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – August 31, 2017 – AccuWeather predicts AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey, which has wreaked havoc in Texas, to be the most costly natural disaster in United States history.

Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, and sometimes called the “father of commercial meteorology” stated, “This is the costliest and worst natural disaster in American history. AccuWeather has raised its estimate of the impact to the nation’s gross national produce, or GDP, to $190 billion or a full one percent, which exceeds totals of economic impact of Katrina and Sandy combined. The GDP is $19 trillion currently. Business leaders and the Federal Reserve, major banks, insurance companies, etc. should begin to factor in the negative impact this catastrophe will have on business, corporate earnings and employment. The disaster is just beginning in certain areas. Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood.”

Due to the negative impact to the national economy, we believe the Federal Reserve will postpone the next increase in interest rates, Myers added.

Catastrophic flooding will continue in Houston, where the rain has ended, and in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana, even after the rain comes to an end.

“The meteorologist forecasting community as a whole did a very good job in warning people about this storm. Public officials were slow, in some cases, to react or to know what to do, which affected too many people and caused the loss of property and damage and destruction. This was unfortunate because when a natural disaster threatens, minutes and hours count and preparation and risk avoidance is imperative. While AccuWeather forecasts were a few hours ahead of the competition in alerting people and companies to the severity of the impacts that were coming. The entire meteorological community did a first rate job, and it’s frustrating that some entities were slow to take action. We are gratified that many people told us because of AccuWeather forecasts they did get to safety and out of harm’s way and many businesses we serve reported they took immediate action to minimize losses,” Myers said.

“AccuWeather cautions that the negative impact from the storms are far from over. There will be more flooding, damage, fatalities and injuries,” Myers said. “We urge all citizens near the path of Harvey to remain vigilant and be prepared to take immediate action if flood waters rise.”

AccuWeather increases its prediction for the cost of Harvey to $190 Billion, or a full 1% of GDP. This will impact every American and will counter GDP growth and likely force the Federal Reserve to postpone any interest rate changes for the remainder of the year.

The economic impact will be felt across the country and for the rest of the year as issues created by the storm will ripple across the country and impact everything from food and gas prices to shipping costs, jobs and more.

The disaster continues and the extent of human suffering will only increase as flood waters and lack of electricity and basic services puts Houston into third world-like conditions for days or weeks to come.

People need to understand how bad this really is so America can mobilize faster to truly make a difference and save the lives that are still greatly at risk and have plans in place for better response to storms in the future!

Talking cleanup now is irresponsible as many rivers have yet to crest and rain continues to fall – need to focus on damage control and relief efforts as more people will be put in danger. Government officials and leaders did not respond quickly and did not take Harvey’s predicted impacts seriously enough.

Flooding catastrophe from Harvey to persist in Texas, Louisiana as locally severe storms erupt

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – August 31, 2017 – AccuWeather reports while Harvey has made its final landfall in the United States and will ultimately diminish over land, impact from the storm will be ongoing as new incidents of flooding and severe weather occur.

Ongoing and new flooding to threaten southern US

“Very heavy rainfall will continue as Harvey’s intensity slowly diminishes,” according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.

The heaviest rain and greatest risk of flooding will extend into the lower Mississippi Valley into Thursday night. However, flooding will generally be limited to poor drainage and urban areas, as the major rivers in the region should be able to handle this much water with nothing more than minor problems.

Rainfall over part of the lower Mississippi Valley may reach 8 inches with locally 12 inches, and much of that may fall in 12 hours.

Catastrophic flooding will continue in Houston and in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana, despite the departure of the rain. A number of large oil refineries and chemical plants are located in Beaumont and Port Arthur area.

This area has received 1 to 4 feet of rain. Some gauges near the upper Texas coast suggest that Harvey was the single-greatest rainstorm in the history of the continental U.S. with rainfall up to 51.88 inches.

Based on current and anticipated conditions, AccuWeather is fearful the number of direct and indirect fatalities may go much higher in the coming days. It may take flood water many weeks to recede in some locations in Harvey’s wake. The cost of Harvey may top that of Katrina.

Isolated tornado risk to expand eastward

Farther east, rain and thunderstorms will organize into bands. In between the bands, the sun may appear for a time.

“The spiral bands from the diminishing storm will produce localized severe weather from parts of Louisiana and Mississippi to portions of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle into Thursday night,” Walker said.

“The greatest threats from these storms will be isolated tornadoes, waterspouts and brief heavy rainfall,” Walker said.

Enough rain can fall in the downpours to lead to urban and low-lying area flooding on a localized basis.

Much less intense rain will extend into the southern Appalachians into Thursday night.

As Harvey turns more to the east across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys on Friday then the mid-Atlantic states this weekend, the risk of locally heavy, gusty thunderstorms will focus over the Southeastern states.

While the threat of isolated tornadoes will be much lower on Friday and into this weekend, a couple of tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

More tropical systems bear watching into mid-September

There are two new tropical players of concern. One will be located over the western Gulf of Mexico and may bring coastal areas from Texas to the Florida Panhandle heavy rain for part of next week.

Another is more of a long-range concern. Irma, over the south-central Atlantic is destined to become a major hurricane, prior to approaching the northern Caribbean during the middle of next week. This system may approach North America prior to the middle of the month.

“The next several weeks is likely to be very busy in the Atlantic basin, not only due to the number of tropical systems likely to develop, but systems that may affect North America and the U.S.,” Pastelok said.

Irma may become Category 4 hurricane while tracking across Atlantic; Will it affect the US?

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – September 1, 2017 – AccuWeather reports while the Gulf Coast continues to deal with the devastating impacts of Harvey, emergency managers in the United States have another tropical threat to monitor by the name of Irma.

Far across the Atlantic, west of the Cabo Verde Islands, Irma strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane Thursday afternoon. Irma became a tropical storm at midday on Wednesday.

“There is the potential for Irma to ramp up to an even more powerful hurricane this weekend,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

“While fluctuation in strength is likely, we expect Irma to become a Category 4 well before it reaches waters near the Lesser Antilles,” Kottlowski said.

A Category 4 hurricane has sustained winds of 130-156 mph (209-251 km/h).

Subtle changes in water temperatures and atmospheric conditions, such as slightly drier air and a small patch of strong winds aloft, can cause significant fluctuations in strength in even the strongest of hurricanes.

As of Friday midday, Irma was located about 1,580 miles (2,540 km) east of the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (177 km/h).

Irma will take about a week to make its trek westward across the Atlantic Ocean. Meteorologists will likely be tracking this storm through the middle of September.

“All interests in the eastern Caribbean will need to monitor the progress of this evolving and dangerous hurricane,” Kottlowski said.

This animation shows Hurricane Irma spinning westward over the south-central Atlantic. The eye of the storm has been undergoing changes in recent hours and fluctuations in strength are likely this weekend. (NOAA/satellite)

“Surf will begin to build on the east-facing beaches in the Leeward and Windward islands late this weekend into early next week, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

How much seas, surf and winds increase during the first part of next week will depend on the exact track of Irma.

“Steering winds will guide Irma close to the Leeward Islands and then perhaps Puerto Rico and Hispaniola during the middle days of next week,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson.

“While the hurricane is strong, it is relatively small in size at this time,” Sosnowski said. “Should this small size continue, severe effects from the storm may be limited to a radius 50 miles (80 km) of the center, while the storm moves through the tropics.”

Locally heavy showers and gusty thunderstorms may extend beyond 100 miles (160 km) from the eye. Torrential rain and flooding will be a concern, if and where the eye wall approaches the islands.

Beyond early next week, there is a wide range as to where Irma may go and the storm may grow in size.

Plenty of atmospheric factors highlighted by non-tropical systems will come into play to determine its path. These non-tropical systems will be moving around.

“At this early stage, it is unclear whether a non-tropical storm will draw Irma toward the U.S., push it away or miss affecting it entirely prior to the middle of the month.,” Kottlowski said.

Possibilities range from a landfall from the northern Caribbean islands to Florida, the Carolinas or Bermuda. There is also a chance the system curves northward and avoids North America entirely or slides into the Gulf of Mexico.

“At some point next week, Irma will begin to take a more west-northwest path,” Kottlowski said. “Whether Irma then continues to curve northwestward and then northward or remains on a steady west-northwest path is uncertain.

More details on the path of Irma will follow in the coming days.

Residents who live along the East Coast or have interests in the Caribbean Sea should take time to review emergency procedures and make sure they are prepared for extreme tropical conditions.

Cruise and shipping interests may need to adjust their route as Irma approaches.

By Faith Eherts, Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey to be the most costly natural disaster in US history

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – August 30, 2017 – AccuWeather predicts Hurricane Harvey, which has wreaked havoc in Texas, to be the most costly natural disaster in United States history.

Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, and sometimes called the “father of commercial meteorology” stated, “This will be the worst natural disaster in American history. The economy’s impact, by the time its total destruction is completed, will approach $160 billion, which is similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. This represents a negative impact on the economy of 8/10 of one percent of the gross national product or GDP. The GDP is $19 trillion currently. Business leaders and the Federal Reserve, major banks, insurance companies, etc. should begin to factor in the negative impact this catastrophe will have on business, corporate earnings and employment. The disaster is just beginning in certain areas. Parts of Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city will be uninhabitable for weeks and possibly months due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood.” The worst flooding from Harvey is yet to come as rivers and bayous continue to rise in Texas with additional levees at risk for breaches and failures.

“The meteorologist forecasting community as a whole did a very good job in warning people about this storm. Public officials were slow, in some cases, to react or to know what to do, which affected too many people and caused the loss of property and damage and destruction. This was unfortunate because when a natural disaster threatens, minutes and hours count and preparation and risk avoidance is imperative. While AccuWeather forecasts were a few hours ahead of the competition in alerting people and companies to the severity of the impacts that were coming. The entire meteorological community did a first rate job, and it’s frustrating that some entities were slow to take action. We are gratified that many people told us because of AccuWeather forecasts they did get to safety and out of harm’s way and many businesses we serve reported they took immediate action to minimize losses,” Myers said.

“AccuWeather cautions that the negative impact from the storms are far from over. There will be more flooding, damage, fatalities and injuries,” Myers said. “We urge all citizens near the path of Hurricane Harvey to remain vigilant and be prepared to take immediate action if flood waters rise.”

By Chaffin Mitchelle, Staff Writer for AccuWeather.com

In the wake of Harvey, we will likely see gas prices rising to their highest levels in two years. The last time the National gas price average was $2.50 a gallon was Aug. 28, 2015. We are likely to reach that level in the coming days and weeks.

AAA sent out information on Harvey’s impact yesterday. You can find this and keep up with the latest gas price trends at http://GasPrices.AAA.com.

Please keep in mind this is an evolving situation. The extent to which gas prices will rise, and the length of time they will remain elevated, largely depends on how quickly the refineries in the Gulf Coast can get back up and running.

Communities In Schools Announces the All In For Texas Relief Fund to Support CIS Affiliates Serving 330,000 Students

$500,000 Donation Kicks off Fundraising Effort

Arlington, Va. – Aug. 29, 2017 – Communities In Schools, (CIS) has announced the creation of the All In For Texas Relief Fund to support CIS affiliates who have suffered losses as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The Relief Fund is being launched with an initial pledge of $500,000 by an anonymous donor in honor of the late Texas Governor Mark White and his widow, Linda Gale White, long-time supporters of CIS.

CIS, a national network of affiliates working inside district and charter schools to empower at-risk students to stay in school, has 10 affiliates along the Texas Gulf Coast that have been impacted by the storm including:

  • CIS of Houston
  • CIS of the Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi)
  • CIS of Galveston County
  • CIS of East Texas
  • CIS – Bay Area
  • CIS of the Golden Crescent
  • CIS of Baytown
  • CIS of Southeast Texas
  • CIS Joint Venture in Brazoria County and Southeast Harris County

An eleventh affiliate, CIS of Cameron County, was also impacted by the storm but has chosen not to participate in the fund at this time so that others have added resources.

Together, those CIS affiliates employ 335 caring professionals who work inside schools with a total enrollment in excess of 330,000 students each year. The Relief Fund will provide essential emergency services and long-term support for those affiliates, allowing them to resume work supporting students and their families. CIS employees impacted by the storm are also eligible for assistance.

“Our hearts go out to the students, families and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said CIS National President and CEO Dale Erquiaga. “Given the scale of this disaster, we know they will require considerable resources to recover and rebuild. We hope this fund and the initial generous donation will help us provide the essential support our kids will need to go back to school and begin building a brighter future for themselves and their communities. The CIS family is all in for Texas.”

To support the All In For Texas Relief Fund, visit www.communitiesinschools.org/harvey-relief-fund/

Hurricane Irma batters Florida with catastrophic storm surge, wind and rain

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – September 10, 2017 – AccuWeather reports after blasting the northern Caribbean, deadly Hurricane Irma is now moving into Florida spreading destructive winds, flooding rain and inundating seas.

“Unfortunately, there is no way the United States is going to avoid another catastrophic weather event,” Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather said.

“There will be massive damage in Florida. [It will be] the worst single hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992,” Myers said.

Preparations should already be completed across the Sunshine State.

Irma is currently bringing severe and life-threatening impacts to all of the Florida Keys and South Florida, and will spread those impacts farther north across the Florida Peninsula. Cities at risk include Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota and Miami.

“Irma remains a very powerful and destructive hurricane,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

After the center of Irma tracked along the northern coast of Cuba Saturday morning, Irma briefly became a Category 3 hurricane. Early Sunday morning, it again became a Category 4 storm.

Hurricane Irma officially made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane at Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys at 9:10 a.m. EDT Sunday.

As of 11: 30 a.m. EDT Sunday, the center of Hurricane Irma is about 70 miles south-southeast of Naples, Florida, 160 miles south-southeast of Sarasota, Florida, and 200 miles south-southeast of Tampa, Florida.

It may intensify further over very warm waters north of the lower Florida Keys before the eye brushes the Gulf Coast of Florida late Sunday. Another landfall is expected across southwestern Florida as a Category 4 hurricane.

Irma may return over water for a brief time afterwards and make another landfall as a Category 2 hurricane southeast of Tallahassee, Florida, Monday morning.

Wind gusts may exceed 160 mph from Fort Myers southward to Everglades National Park, and could lead to a swath of catastrophic damage, including roofs getting ripped off and severe structural damage.

“Impacts within the projected path of Irma include life-threatening wind, storm surge and flooding rainfall hazards,” Kottlowski said.

The outer rain bands of Irma moved onshore in southeastern Florida on Friday night into Saturday. Winds strengthened on Saturday evening with gusts to 75 mph over South Florida.

Conditions will continue to deteriorate across central and South Florida Sunday. Rain and hurricane-force winds will intensify quickly.

As Irma travels northward, torrential rainfall and high winds will increase from south to north across the peninsula into Monday.

The largest storm surge will occur near and directly to the east of where the center of Irma tracks, which puts the southwestern Florida coast at greatest risk of inundation.

However, coastal flooding will threaten both sides of the coast as a storm surge is expected to slam Tampa Bay, Miami and Melbourne. Some of the highest surge will affect Naples, Bonita Springs, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers.

“It’s a monster hurricane out there — it’s bringing along with it something to be feared,” Myers said, referring to the “extremely angry ocean” that Irma has been churning for so long.

Irma had sustained 185-mph winds for 37 hours, the longest any cyclone in the world has maintained such intensity. Super Typhoon Haiyan previously set the record in 2013 when it maintained winds at that level for 24 hours.

“Rainfall across the peninsula will average 10 to 15 inches with locally higher amounts, which can lead to significant flooding issues,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg said.

Poor drainage areas will be particularly susceptible to flooding from Irma’s torrential rainfall.

Much of southwestern Florida will be buffeted by wind gusts of 100 to 160 mph, which can easily knock down power lines and trees and cause significant to catastrophic damage to roofs and structures.

Power could be out for weeks in some communities.

Downtown Miami will be spared from the highest winds; however, occasional wind gusts between 80 and 100 mph could bring down trees and power lines and cause destruction to mobile homes.

Irma’s proximity to the warm Gulf of Mexico as it moves northward along the west coast of Florida may help it maintain hurricane intensity by the time it reaches northern Florida on Monday. Tallahassee and Jacksonville are likely to get battered by strong winds and flooding rainfall during this time.

“Irma could track far enough west of Florida that the center remains over the Gulf of Mexico and away from the coast,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said.

If Irma tracks farther west, then it will interact with warmer water for a longer period of time, which could lead to even further intensification. Strengthening could increase impacts along the western coast of Florida and the severity of impacts across the Florida Panhandle.

However, this scenario would also lead to less impacts along the eastern coast of Florida, from Jacksonville to Miami.

Isolated tornadoes will threaten areas on the northeast side of the storm, which will put much of Florida at risk for further damage should a tornado strike.

“Any land within 185 miles of the Irma’s center could see damage and any place within 50 to 60 miles of the center could experience catastrophic damage,” Kottlowski said.

The citrus crop could be seriously damaged by the storm due to the long-duration of intense winds.

Ripple-effect travel delays will be felt across the country, in not only domestic but also international travel, according to Myers.

Preparations for the storm should not end in Florida as the Southeast will be next in line to face Irma’s wrath.

By Renee Duff, Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather predicts economic cost of Harvey, Irma to be $290 billion

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – September 10, 2017 – AccuWeather reports it has been a destructive and costly hurricane season, following the historic impacts from Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma.

This is the first time in the history of record keeping that two Category 4 or higher hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, have struck the U.S. mainland in the same year.

“That is extraordinary by itself,” Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder, president and chairman, said.

“And also unprecedented is that this particular storm, Irma, has sustained intensity for the longest period of time of any hurricane or typhoon in any ocean of the world since the satellite era began,” Myers said.

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Irma has great staying power, and it is a unique storm. It has had a brush with several islands in the Caribbean and ran on land in Cuba. Now, it’s hugging the Florida coast as a major hurricane.

“The storm is not only intense, it is also very large. The area affected by the strong winds along the west coast near the center of the storm will barrel along and hug the coast closely heading due north, and will bring winds gusts of well over 100 mph and conceivably over 125 mph,” Myers said.

These types of storms cause extremely hazardous conditions, including flying objects, fallen trees, downed power lines, which carry the potential for electrocution, broken window glass on homes and cars and damage to roofs and other structures. Storm surge will be another major threat.

“The period of damaging winds will last longer than normal because of these reasons. The size of the storm combined with its slow movement means that hurricane-force wind gusts in some places will occur over a time period of 12 or more hours, so the damage will be compounded,” Myers said. “And also, along the west coast of Florida, you’ll have damage from the easterly winds in advance of the storm and westerly winds behind the storm due to the circulation around the eye.”

The westerly winds behind the storm will be particularly damaging on the west coast because they will bring in the sea from the Gulf and the high tides.

“So, while there will be damage on the west coast ahead of the storm from the wind and rain, once the storm passes there will be an onslaught of wind from the other direction and structures and trees that withstood the wind from one part of the storm may be weakened and susceptible to sustaining damage,” Myers said. “Winds off the Gulf of Mexico will cause additional damage by bringing in the water to coastal areas.”

Hurricane Irma will cause damage from all three factors – wind, flooding from heavy rain and damage from the sea in different places in Florida.

While one may not think about hurricane-force winds across the interior, there will be many places well removed from the coast in Florida 25-50 miles inland that will see wind gusts of over 100 mph.

The storm will weaken once it gets through the Florida Panhandle and Georgia, but the harmful, life-threatening effects of the storm could last into Wednesday or Thursday north of Florida.

The life-threatening impacts will include rain and flooding Tuesday through Wednesday, and possibly into Thursday, across Georgia, northeastern Alabama, the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, and perhaps as far north as Kentucky and the mountains of West Virginia.

“This is a story for many days to come, and Florida will be ravaged the most through Sunday night and maybe north Florida Monday morning,” Myers said.

“We believe the damage estimate from Irma to be about $100 billion, among the costliest hurricanes of all time. This amounts to 0.5 of a percentage point of the GDP of $19 trillion,” Myers said.

“We estimated that Hurricane Harvey is to be the costliest weather disaster in U.S. history at $190 billion or one full percentage point of the GDP. Together, AccuWeather predicts these two disasters amount to 1.5 of a percentage point of the GDP, which will about equal and therefore counter the natural growth of the economy for the period of mid-August through the end of the fourth quarter,” Myers added.

Economic costs are incurred by, but not limited to, the following:

  • Disruptions to businesses
  • Increased unemployment rates for weeks, and possibly months in some places
  • Damage to transportation, infrastructure
  • Crop loss, including cotton crop and 25 percent of orange crop, which will impact the cost of consumables for all Americans
  • Increased gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel prices impacting all Americans
  • Damage to homes, cars, furniture, antiques, jewelry and other valuables
  • Loss of valuable papers, cherished belongings such as photos

“Some of the losses will be covered by insurance, some will not, so the losses will be felt in a variety of ways by millions of people. Many millions of people have already been evacuated, so their lives have already been affected and they have incurred costs of one sort or another,” Myers said.

“AccuWeather takes our responsibility of providing the most accurate forecasts and warnings and the impact on people and business very seriously. This is a solemn responsibility that we have and our people are working extremely hard and with great intensity to make sure that all the people we reach can depend on our info for the utmost in reliability so they can make the right decisions during these stressful times. We also take great pride in the fact that we were the first to warn of the magnitude of both Harvey and Irma and have been out ahead of other sources on both so people know they can get the latest and best info from the AccuWeather app and our website. We thank those who put trust in AccuWeather forecasts and warnings and are gratified by the countless notes of thanks we are receiving from our customers and users in the affected areas,” Myers said.

Hurricane Irma to batter Florida with catastrophic storm surge, wind and rain

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – September 9, 2017 – AccuWeather reports a fter blasting the northern Caribbean, deadly Hurricane Irma will turn toward the United States, unleashing destructive winds, flooding rain and inundating seas across Florida through the weekend.

“Unfortunately, there is no way the United States is going to avoid another catastrophic weather event,” Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather said.

“There will be massive damage in Florida. [It will be] the worst single hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992,” Myers said.

Preparations should already be completed across the Sunshine State.

The current track of Irma will bring severe and life-threatening impacts to all of the Florida Keys and a large portion of the Florida Peninsula, including Key West, Key Largo, Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota and Miami.

“Irma remains a very powerful and destructive hurricane,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

After the center of Irma tracked along the northern coast of Cuba Saturday morning, Irma became a Category 3 hurricane.

AccuWeather meteorologists are still concerned that once Irma begins to turn north and head over the warm water of the Florida Straits, Irma will restrengthen. Regardless, Irma remains a powerful hurricane.

Irma is projected to be at Category 4 strength when it makes landfall initially across the Keys and then southwest Florida on Sunday morning. Wind gusts past 140 mph in these areas could lead to a swath of catastrophic damage.

“Impacts within the projected path of Irma include life-threatening wind, storm surge and flooding rainfall hazards,” Kottlowski said.

The outer rain bands of Irma moved onshore in southeast Florida on Friday night into Saturday morning, bringing wind gusts between 45 and 55 mph.

Conditions will continue to deteriorate rapidly across South Florida, including the Florida Keys, and will turn life-threatening into Sunday. Rain and hurricane-force winds will intensify quickly.

As Irma turns to the north, torrential rainfall and high winds will then increase from south to north across the Peninsula on Sunday into Monday.

The largest storm surge will occur near and directly to the east of where the center of Irma tracks, which puts the Florida Keys and southwest Florida coast at greatest risk of inundation.

However, coastal flooding will threaten both sides of the coast as a storm surge is expected to slam Tampa Bay, Miami and Melbourne. Some of the highest surge will affect Naples, Bonita Springs, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers.

“It’s a monster hurricane out there — it’s bringing along with it something to be feared,” Myers said, referring to the “extremely angry ocean” that Irma has been churning for so long.

Irma had sustained 185-mph winds for 37 hours, the longest any cyclone in the world has maintained such intensity. Super Typhoon Haiyan previously set the record in 2013 when it maintained winds at that level for 24 hours.

“Rainfall across the Peninsula will average 10 to 15 inches with locally higher amounts which can lead to significant flooding issues,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg said.

Poor drainage areas will be particularly susceptible to flooding from Irma’s torrential rainfall.

Much of southwestern Florida will be buffeted by wind gusts of 100 to 150 mph which can easily knock down power lines and trees and cause significant to catastrophic damage to roofs and structures.

Power could be out for weeks in some communities.

Downtown Miami will be spared from the highest winds; however, occasional wind gusts between 80 and 90 mph could bring down trees and power lines and cause destruction to mobile homes.

Irma’s proximity to the warm Gulf of Mexico as it moves northward along the west coast of Florida may help it maintain hurricane intensity by the time it reaches northern Florida on Monday. Tallahassee and Jacksonville are likely to get battered by damaging winds and flooding rainfall during this time.

“Irma could track far enough west of Florida that the center remains over the Gulf of Mexico and away from the coast,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said.

If Irma tracks farther west, then it will interact with warmer water for a longer period of time, which could lead to even further intensification. It also could increase impacts along the western coast of Florida and the severity of impacts across the Florida Panhandle.

However, this scenario would also lead to less impacts along the eastern coast of Florida, from Jacksonville to Miami.

Isolated tornadoes will threaten areas on the northeast side of the storm, which will put much of Florida at risk for even further damage should a tornado strike.

“Any land within 185 miles of the Irma’s center could see damage and any place within 50 to 60 miles of the center could experience catastrophic damage,” Kottlowski said.

The citrus crop could be seriously damaged by the storm due to the long-duration of intense winds.

Ripple-effect travel delays will be felt across the country, in not only domestic but also international travel, according to Myers.

Preparations for the storm should not end in Florida as the Southeast will be next in line to face Irma’s wrath.

By Renee Duff, Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

Dangerous Projectiles May be Hiding in Your Vehicle

Your Child’s Biggest Threat Comes from Inside the Car

COLUMBUS, Ohio (September 15, 2017) – Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for children, ages 1 to 13. While proper use of child safety seats reduces a child’s risk of death by up to 71 percent, a properly installed car seat is just half the battle. Unrestrained items, from sippy cups to cell phones, as well as unbuckled passengers, can turn deadly during a crash.

In conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week (September 17-23, 2017) AAA is advising parents to ensure their child’s car seat, belongings and other occupants are properly secured in the car.

Crash Forces:

Cell phones, sippy cups, toys, groceries and purses all seem harmless, but they can become dangerous projectiles in a crash. That’s because of simple physics: weight x speed = crash force.

For example, a five-pound purse in a car traveling at 35 mph would exert 175 pounds of force on a child or other occupant when involved in a crash.

“Projectiles in your vehicle can cause fatal injuries to ANY occupant in the vehicle, including a perfectly restrained child,” said Kellie O’Riordan, traffic safety program manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club and Certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor.

Unrestrained Passengers:

The most common and deadly projectile in vehicles are unrestrained passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a study that found that many view the need to buckle up in the back seat as optional, and four out of five adults don’t use a safety belt when making short trips or traveling by taxi or ride-hailing services.

An unbuckled adult inside a vehicle traveling 40 mph would hit the windshield, or another occupant with the same force as hitting the ground after a fall from a five-story building, according to Safe Kids Worldwide’s National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program.

“By deciding not to buckle up, occupants present great risk to themselves and all other occupants in the vehicle, including children.” said O’Riordan. “Each driver and passenger should speak up when they see this unsafe and illegal practice. Speaking up could save a life.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates seatbelts helped save 13,941 lives in 2015, and if everyone buckled up that number could increase by 2,800.

Checking for Safety:

In an effort to keep children, and all occupants safe while riding in the car, AAA Ohio Auto Club offers free seat checks, by appointment, for all parents and caregivers at its stores. For more information and to find a location, visit AAA.com/ChildSafety.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial-, and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be found online at AAA.com.

4 Days: How Much Time Boaters Have to Prepare for Irma

Essential info for boaters, clubs, marinas at BoatUS.com/hurricanes

ALEXANDRIA, Va., September 5, 2017 – According to the National Hurricane Center, Florida may have up to four days to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, a “potentially catastrophic Category 5” storm now approaching the Leeward Islands. While it’s difficult to determine landfall, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges boaters, marinas and boat clubs to use the valuable time to prepare, and offers free help online at BoatUS.com/hurricanes. The boating group says that it doesn’t take a direct hit to damage or sink recreational vessels, or cause havoc at boat storage facilities.

The storm-planning available from BoatUS help includes:

1. “BoatUS Tips for Protecting Boats in Hurricanes,” a basic two-page primer that contains advice on hurricane preparation for all recreational boaters.

2. “Boater’s Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes” has more details on how to protect your boat as well as marinas.

3. “What Works: A Guide to Preparing Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Boats for Hurricanes,” a helpful resource for marina and boat-club staff, community resiliency managers and local government organizations that focuses on protecting boating facilities.

When a storm approaches, BoatUS.com/hurricanes also has up-to-the-minute storm-tracking tools with live satellite images and checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes.

Much of the hurricane guide information comes from BoatUS and its Marine Insurance Catastrophe (CAT) Team, a recognized leader in hurricane preparedness with more than 30 years of post-storm boat salvage experience. Go to BoatUS.com/hurricanes for more.

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program gives boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.

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Staff Reports