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Hurricane Dorian strengthens to category 4 as Florida braces for storm

Landfall anticipated early Tuesday on states east coast with maximum sustained winds of 140mph

Residents of Florida braced for what could be a historically damaging storm on Friday as Hurricane Dorian lingered in the western Atlantic, building strength in advance of its anticipated landfall early on Tuesday on the states east coast.

The storm strengthened into an extremely dangerous category 4hurricane on Friday evening, amid fears it could prove to be the most powerful hurricane to hit Floridas east coast in nearly 30 years. Forecasters warned that Dorian could wallop the state with extremely dangerous 140mph (225 kph) winds.

Brandon Wall (@Walldo)

NHC: Dorian is now a category 4 pic.twitter.com/gqZn7FDjC1

August 31, 2019

It could be an absolute monster, Donald Trump said in a video address, pledging federal support for local disaster relief efforts.

Floridas governor, Ron DeSantis, declared a state of emergency for every county in the state and warned of a potential multi-day event, but stopped short of declaring any emergency evacuations.

Emergency preparations were under way up and down the Atlantic coast, from Jacksonville in the north to Miami and the Florida Keys, as well as in Orlando and inland areas.

Ominously, on Friday morning the storm had developed a distinct eye and slowed its westward progress, meaning it could spend more time over land and do more damage.

Meteorologists said Dorian could make landfall in Florida on Tuesday as a category 4 hurricane.

If it makes landfall as a category 3 or 4 hurricane, thats a big deal, the University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told the Associated Press. A lot of people are going to be affected. A lot of insurance claims.

Hurricane
Hurricane Dorian gains strength as it tracks towards the Florida coast, on 30 August. Photograph: NOAA GOES-East/Handout/Getty Images

DeSantis acknowledged fuel shortages across the state as residents formed long lines at petrol stations, supermarkets and hardware stores. Officials advised residents to stockpile canned food, water and other supplies and to refill essential prescriptions.

Coastal residents were amassing sandbags against potential flooding and tacking plywood over windows and doors. Officials directed residents in the hurricanes path to check their preparedness plan against advice on the states storm emergency website and to be on guard against price gouging and fraud.

DeSantis announced that highway patrol cars would escort fuel trucks to expedite distribution.

Were doing all we can on the fuel, he said.

Earlier predictions of an arrival of the storm early on the Labor Day holiday, Monday, were revised in anticipation of an early Tuesday arrival. Storm surge could be made worse by extreme tides associated with the new moon, which fell on Friday.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the north-western Bahamas, with a risk of life-threatening storm surge and hurricane-force winds. Heavy rainfall and flash flooding were anticipated in all affected areas.

While it was unclear where on the Florida coastline Dorian would make landfall, Trump compared the storm to the 1992 Hurricane Andrew, which likewise tore into Florida along the Atlantic coast, killing 65 and tallying $27bn in damage.

It does seem almost certain that its hitting dead center, and thats not good, Trump said. Somebody said bigger, or at least as big as Andrew.

Trump is traveling to Camp David in Maryland, where he will monitor the storm after he canceled his planned trip to Poland this weekend.

Forecasters have put Trumps luxury resort of Mar-a-Lago in the crosshairs of the storm. Late Friday, the National Hurricane Centers projected track showed Dorian hitting near Fort Pierce, some 70 miles north of the so-called winter White House, then running along the coastline as it moved north. However forecasters cautioned that the storms track was still highly uncertain and even a small deviation could put Dorian offshore or well inland.

The major models of the storm showed it most likely deflecting up the Atlantic coast after making landfall but the risk remained, DeSantis said, that the storm could cross Florida and move into the Gulf of Mexico, to potentially grow in strength once again over relatively warm and shallow waters.

Obviously a storm that cuts across the state, crosses the Gulf and then slams the Panhandle is a bad, bad thing for us, DeSantis said.

Not every path of the storm has the same probability but youve got to be prepared for that. Its too soon to tell.

Dorians approach has played havoc with peoples Labor Day weekend plans. Major airlines began allowing travelers to change their reservations without a fee. The big cruise lines began rerouting their ships. Disney World and the other resorts in Orlando found themselves in the storms projected path.

Jessica Armesto and her one-year-old daughter, Mila, had planned to have breakfast with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy at Disney World. Instead, Armesto decided to take shelter at her mothers hurricane-resistant house in Miami with its kitchen full of nonperishable foods.

It felt like it was better to be safe than sorry, so we canceled our plans, she said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/30/hurricane-dorian-florida-latest-strength-path

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Ischia earthquake: cheers go up as rescuers free third trapped brother

Third of three brothers who were trapped in rubble of home freed by rescuers after magnitude 4.0 quake on island in Bay of Naples

Rescue teams working through the night and into Tuesday freed three brothers trapped in the rubble of a house on the Italian island of Ischia, after a magnitude 4.0 earthquake that killed two women and left 39 injured, at least one of them seriously.

The strength of Monday nights quake under the Bay of Naples was revised up to magnitude 4.0 by the INGV, Italys seismic observatory, after initially being reported at 3.6. More than 2,500 people were reported to be homeless or displaced and about 1,500 have fled the island.

TV cameras recorded cheers going up as the last brother, 11-year-old Ciro, was carried on a stretcher from the rubble of his home at 2.12pm local time, 16 hours after the quake struck. Firefighters announced the success with a tweet that said: Even Ciro is saved!

Rescuers had earlier pulled out seven-month-old Pasquale, then eight-year-old Mattias. The two elder boys hid under a bed after the first tremor on Monday night.

The boys father, whose hands were bandaged after he spent the night digging through the rubble alongside the firefighters, could be seen tearfully hugging relatives as his eldest son was saved.

It was a terrible night. I dont have words to explain it, the father told RAI state television while rescuers worked to free the older two boys. The entire second floor of the house collapsed and the firefighters pulled me out. They were great.

He said his wife was in the bathroom and managed to escape through the window, but the older boys were in the bedroom while the baby was in a playpen in the kitchen.

Luca Cari, the firefighter spokesman, described the work to free the boys as complicated. He said rescuers had maintained voice contact with the children throughout. There was silence for a while, they were tired. Then they began speaking again and we drew comfort from that, he said.

Hospital officials said all three were doing well, with the older two boys being treated for dehydration and the oldest for a fracture to his right foot. They were expected to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.

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Baby is pulled alive from rubble after Ischia earthquake video

One woman died after being buried under the rubble of her home in the town of Casamicciola while another was killed after being hit by debris falling from a church.

The earthquake came two days before the first anniversary of an earthquake in central Italy, in which almost 300 people died. Ischias deadliest quake occurred in 1883, killing 2,300.

The quake hit during the height of the tourist season, with the islands population of 64,000 ballooning by another 150,000 at the time the quake struck. Italian television showed many visitors taking refuge in parks and sleeping under blankets in the aftermath while authorities began organising ferries to bring tourists back to the mainland.

Television images showed about six buildings in the town as well as a church had collapsed in the quake, which struck just before 9pm as many people were having dinner.

Civil protection crews, already on the island in force to fight the forest fires that have been ravaging southern Italy, were checking the status of the buildings that were damaged, while more were arriving from the mainland.

Together with the nearby island of Capri, Ischia is a favourite island getaway for Europes rich and famous, known in particular for its thermal waters. It gained further fame after featuring in Elena Ferrantes Neapolitan novels.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/21/earthquake-strikes-italian-island-of-ischia-with-one-reported-dead

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