Floods in Louisiana Wreck More than 40,000 Homes
Aug17

Floods in Louisiana Wreck More than 40,000 Homes

As the flood waters finally begin to subside in Louisiana, the extent of the damage done has become much more apparent. Governor John Bel Edwards announced at a news conference that more than 40,000 homes have been affected by record levels of rain hitting the region over the weekend. At least 30,000 people in the state had to be rescued from their homes, and more were forced out as a precautionary measure, including the Governor and his family. Currently, 10 people have been reported dead, though that number may yet rise. “I don’t know we have a good handle on the number of people who are missing,” said Edwards. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assist 20 parishes and 60,000 residents with food and shelter during the recovery period. Many returned after the rains to find their homes and possessions still underwater. “I’m not going to lie, I cried uncontrollably,” said Prairieville resident David Key, who used a boat to access his house. “But you have to push forward and make it through. Like everybody says, you still have your family.” The average cost to repair home water damage is $2,386, but the levels of flooding in the region were anything but. Some regions, such as Livingston Parish, witnessed as much as two feet of rainfall over a 48-hour period. Officials in Livingston estimate that as many as 75% of the homes there are now a total loss. Though waterways headed for the Gulf of Mexico are still at dangerously high levels, rescue workers say that the worst is likely over. Lori Steele, spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, said emergency crews are now able to safely deliver food and medicine to people in need. “We’re tired but today’s a good day,” Steele...

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Study Finds Most Teen Drivers are Using Mobile Apps Behind the Wheel
Aug05

Study Finds Most Teen Drivers are Using Mobile Apps Behind the Wheel

In a new survey of teen drivers, 95% agreed that using a phone while behind the wheel of a car is dangerous. However, about 70% of them admitted to doing it anyway. The new study, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), found that 27% of teens will text while driving and seven in 10 will use some kind of mobile application, whether for pictures, directions, music, or capturing Pokemon. “It’s very concerning because we know how risky it is for new drivers,” said Pam Fischer of the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition. “No other age group on the road has such a high crash risk. They’re more likely than any other group to crash, they’re inexperienced and their brains are wired differently than adults. They don’t see things as risky as someone that’s got more experience.” In 2014, 181 driver deaths were due to distracted driving, up from 93 the year before. Around 50% of cell phone owners say that their mobile device is also their primary Internet source, which makes it all the more tempting to check apps like Facebook or Twitter while on the road. “What’s happening is teens are really good at using social media very quickly and they may say, ‘Well it’s only taking me a matter of a second or two or three to do this,'” Fischer said. “But what they fail to recognize is that there are very bad things that can happen in that one, two, or three seconds when they’re behind the wheel. They’ve got to be focused on driving and processing what’s going on around them so they can react accordingly.” Mike DeMay, a driver’s education teacher in Rochester, NY, agrees. “They’ve done studies. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how athletic you are,” he said; “if you’re doing more than one thing at a time, you’re doing two things...

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Torrential Downpours Ease Heat Wave, Increase Risk of Flash Floods Across Northeast
Aug04

Torrential Downpours Ease Heat Wave, Increase Risk of Flash Floods Across Northeast

Approximately one-fourth of all rainfalls in the U.S. become groundwater, and the weather report is evidence that plenty of groundwater was available to go around this weekend. Several storm systems swinging up from the deep South brought near-torrential downpours to the Northeast region of the U.S. this weekend, finally breaking the back of a long heat wave. According to Accuweather, temperatures held to the 70s where the heaviest rainfall occurs. However, high humidity accompanied the rain and made for very muggy conditions. “During the summertime, it is difficult to pinpoint which communities will be hit the hardest by thunderstorms and downpours,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek reported. Unfortunately, Maryland has already seen some devastating results from the rain. Howard County officials said on Sunday that the body of a second person was found after flash flooding devastated low-lying Ellicott City, in Maryland. Maryland governor Larry Hogan was touring the damage and has since declared a state of emergency, which will allow greater coordination and assistance with aid. Videos posted on social media showed floodwaters rushing down the town’s Main Street, sweeping away cars and countless other items in its path. Some vehicles even came to rest on top of one another. Kittleman said the devastation was the worst he’d seen in 50 years, including Hurricane Agnes’s wake of destruction in 1972, which caused a massive flood. “It’s just a matter of the heavy rain being that long in duration. It just happened to set up over that area,” Jason Elliott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Virginia, said. Despite the devastation in Maryland, the rain provided a much needed break in the heat for other areas. Thanks to the rainfall, a moist ground prevented extremely high temperatures during the daytime. The air at night has remained muggy, but cool regardless. “Despite a little edge taken off the high temperatures by early next week, it will still feel steamy in much of the Northeast,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Paul Pastelok. Meteorologists also say that temperatures may continue to average slightly above normal in most places during the first week of August. “We expect another surge of heat in the Northeast during the middle of August,” Pastelok...

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