heat

Over 144 Million Americans Placed Under Excessive Heat Advisories This Week 

The US is currently experiencing higher-than-usual temperatures, leading to over 144 million Americans being placed under some level of heat advisory, according to heat.gov. Within the past decade, the summers have been getting consistently hotter fueled by climate change. For this summer, forecasters are predicting no real relief in sight anytime soon, according to USA Today

AccuWeather long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok recently spoke to USA Today about these above average temperatures and the future heat waves America will likely experience into the fall season.

“I don’t see any drastic change in the weather pattern at this point.”

The National Weather Service stated: “Near all-time high temperature record heat will continue over portions of the Southwest this week. This long-duration heat wave remains extremely dangerous and deadly if not taken seriously.”

Pastelok said a “large, dominant area of high pressure is responsible for the ongoing heat in the West, which will spread into the central U.S. by next week. Air sinks underneath high-pressure areas, preventing cooling clouds and rain from forming.”

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This means that a majority of the US will continue to experience high heat levels into next week. 

The federal Climate Prediction Center showed forecast maps that signified above-average temperatures in the coming weeks. 

According to the prediction center, the weather pattern for next week “favors above-normal temperatures for nearly the entire continental U.S. and Hawaii. The strongest chances for above-normal temperatures are in the Southeast and the northern Intermountain West.”

“June was the 13th straight month of record-warm temperatures for the planet,” according to data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. “That means every month for more than a year has been the warmest ever recorded. And 2023 was the hottest summer in 2,000 years,” a study found.

Unusually warm temperatures on both coasts are getting a boost from climate change, meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson said on the Yale Climate Connections blog.

“Extreme heat expected today across swaths of the West and the mid-Atlantic was made 400% more likely by climate change, according to an analysis by Climate Central, a nonprofit research group,” the meteorologists wrote.

hot

Heatwave Currently Impacting 65 Million Throughout US Midwest And North-East 

Around 65 million people are under heat alerts in the north-eastern and midwest states in the US this Friday. This early season heatwave is impacting US residents all throughout the nation, according to reports from The Guardian.

Record breaking temperatures were set in some areas along north-eastern and midwest states this Friday, with heat indexes that combine temperature and humidity hitting 100 and 110 degrees fahrenheit. Calendar-day highs were broken across Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, according to the Guardian. 

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The National Weather Service has put out a warning that people without reliable air conditioning will be the most impacted. 

“This rare and/or long-duration extreme heat with little to no overnight relief affects anyone without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration,” the agency said.

“It is likely to affect most health systems, heat-sensitive industries and infrastructure.”

The national forecaster advised people to “drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.”

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The intense heat is being attributed to the northern movement of a high-pressure heat dome that settled initially over Mexico and the US South-West back in March. The dome slowly traveled north and broke the temperature record as it moved. 

The climate group World Weather Attribution released a report on Thursday saying that “the southern heatwave in late May was 35 times more likely to have occurred because of climate change, and 2.5F hotter.”

A disaster declaration was made in 51 Texas counties from Governor Greg Abbott after Tropical Storm Alberto. New Mexico has requested federal assistance after wildfires forced a town to completely evacuate. 

Forecasters have luckily predicted that colder air carrying less humidity will move throughout the upper midwest and then the north-east this weekend. 

 

water

Atlanta Remaining Under State Of Emergency Amid Water Service Troubles

Atlanta, Georgia is currently under a state of emergency as it continues to combat major disruptions to its water services, according to reports. Residents are currently being advised to boil their water before using/consuming it. 

“To the people of Atlanta, I do want to apologize that this has frustrated you and frustrated me this weekend. This is not the way the city nor the visitors, residents intended to spend our weekend, having to boil water and deal with low pressure or water outages in certain areas,” Mayor Andre Dickens said on “CNN News Central” on Monday morning.

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Ever since Friday, the city has been impacted by water service issues. That day, the first two of a series of water main breaks occurred along two pipes. One was a 36-inch pipe and the other was a 48-inch pipe. Dickens stated that these were about a century old, and one of the failed pipes was installed in 1910, with the other being installed in 1930. 

One of the pipes was repaired on Saturday night, just hours before Dickens would declare an official state of emergency. Repairs for the other initial break are still not completed. Around 1 a.m. this Monday, workers turned off water for several blocks in the area of the breakage, which led to a geyser to erupt from the pipe’s break. 

The geyser eventually stopped flowing, and officials are currently “pleased with the direction that the repairs are going now,” said Al Wiggins Jr., the director of the city’s Department of Watershed Management. 

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“Right now, most Atlantans have water, it’s just we want to make sure that they boil it out of a precautionary measure,” Dickens told CNN.

“I’m very hopeful that in the next hour or so that we can lift (the advisory),” Dickens said.

“As of Monday morning, officials did not have a reason to believe the water main breaks were connected,” Wiggins said.

Fire and police officials stated that they were distributing water in the areas where water had been turned off, and they emphasized that first-responder services are still active and have not been impacted by the breaks. 

Parts of the city are currently without water and/or are under boil water advisories. Tourist attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola are currently shut down, and two big events, including two Meg Thee Stallion concerts, have been canceled. 

“I know it has been a tough and frustrating day for many of you. We all take this matter very seriously,” Dickens said.

red lobster

Red Lobster Files For Bankruptcy After Shutting Down Dozens Of Their Restaurants

Red Lobster has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just days after closing down dozens of their restaurants throughout the US. 

The US seafood restaurant chain has been financially struggling due to lease and labor costs, and a customer demand that the chain has not been able to afford to keep up with. This, reportedly, added to the millions of dollars they lost. 

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In a court filing, Red Lobster stated that it had over 100,000 creditors and estimated assets between $1 billion and $10 billion. The company’s predicted liabilities are also between $1 billion and $10 billion. 

The court document was signed by CEO Jonathan Tibus. Tibus is a corporate restructuring specialist who took the position at Red Lobster in March. 

TAGeX Brands, a restaurant liquidator, announced last week that it is gearing up to auction off the equipment from over 50 Red Lobster locations that were recently closed down as a result of the chain’s “footprint rationalization.”

The closed down locations span over 20 states, and have drastically changed the presence of Red Lobster in cities like Denver, San Antonio, Sacramento, and Indianapolis, according to the Guardian

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Red Lobster was founded in Orlando, Florida by Bill Darden. Darden’s initial vision for the restaurant was to bring affordable and accessible seafood restaurants to families across the nation. 

In 1970, Darden sold Red Lobster to General Mills. Later on, General Mills formed Darden Restaurants, which owns chains such as Olive Garden, and in 1995, they spun the company off.

Rising lease and labor costs are just one of the reasons Red Lobster had to file for bankruptcy. Increasing competition from other successful chain restaurants, such as Chipotle, has also contributed to the seafood restaurants losses. 

They’re famous meal deals, such as all-you-can-eat shrimp and lobster packages, became extremely expensive for Red Lobster to keep up with. 

More recently, last year’s Ultimate Endless Shrimp promotion, which offered al-you-can-eat shrimp for $20, caused the chain to lose millions of dollars, according to reports

“We knew the price was cheap, but the idea was to bring more traffic to the restaurants,” Ludovic Garnier, the chief financial officer of Thai Union Group, Red Lobster‘s former co-owner, said.

plane

Military Families In Hawaii Heading To Court Over 2021 Jet Fuel Leak That Tainted Water 

A massive environmental injury case will be going to trial in Hawaii this week. The case itself regards an incident that occurred in 2021, when a US military fuel tank facility, that was located underground, poisoned thousands of people after leaking jet fuel into Pearl Harbor’s drinking water supply. 

According to reports from NPR, a US District Court judge in Honolulu will hear the lawsuit from 17 “bellwether” plaintiffs, who are made up of relatives of military members that represent more than 7,500 others, including service members in three federal lawsuits.  

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According to the court documents, the US government admitted that the spill, which occurred at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on November 20th, 2021, was a nuisance for the plaintiffs, and the US “breached its duty of care,” causing compensable injuries within the plaintiffs. 

The US government, however, disputed the plaintiff’s claims that the residents were exposed to jet fuel at such a high level that they experienced their alleged health effects. The health effects cited range from vomiting to rashes, with some even alleging their pet dogs experienced vomiting and illness. 

The plaintiffs submitted declarations which described how they got sick after the water crisis, leaving them with ongoing health problems such as seizures, asthma, eczema, and vestibular dysfunction, according to NPR

One of the individuals impacted is Nastasia Freeman, the wife of a Navy lieutenant and mother of three. Freeman described how the family initially assumed they had food poisoning from Thanksgiving 

“I had developed a rash on my arms with sores and lesions on my scalp, feet, and hands accompanied by a headache. I had a very strange sensation that I had never had before — I felt like my blood was on fire,” she said

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Nine days after the jet fuel leak, Freeman was told by a nurse that they had received multiple calls relating to tap water. Lawyers for the plaintiffs are arguing that Navy officials knew that the water had been contaminated but didn’t tell the residents not to drink it.

Freeman’s declaration filed in the case said: “It felt like we were being gaslit. We knew the water wasn’t safe, but the Navy was telling us that it was. They said they didn’t know what was in the water and that they were ‘investigating.'”

According to an investigative report performed by the Navy in 2022, a series of mistakes starting in May 2021 is what led to the November leak. In May an operator error caused a pipe to rupture, and caused around 21,000 gallons of fuel to leak. Most of that fuel spilled into a fire suppression line where it remained for six months, and caused it to sag, so when a cart rammed into that suppression line in November, the 21,000 gallons of fuel was released. 

“A bellwether trial helps attorneys to understand the likely success or failure of the cases that are in the pipeline,” explained Loretta Sheehan, a Honolulu-based personal injury attorney not involved in the water litigation.

“The outcome can help determine future damages to be awarded or settlements,” she said.

student loans

President Biden To Forgive $7.4 Billion In Student Loan Debt For More Than 270,000 Borrowers

President Biden’s administration announced last week that it will be using existing student loan forgiveness programs to cancel more student loan debt. They’re planning on forgiving $7.2 billion for around 277,000 borrowers, according to reports.

The Department of Education has seemingly made it easier for groups like public sector workers to qualify for loan forgiveness. The administration also launched a repayment plan to make it easier for low-income borrowers to pay back their loans. 

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The Biden administration has authorized, in total, the $153 billion in student loan debt cancellation for around 4.3 million people; more than 9% of all outstanding federal student loan debt. 

The Biden administration has eagerly been showing how much student loan debt they’re canceling especially due to the election in November. Around $3.6 billion of student loan debt relief will be delivered to individuals enrolled in the SAVE plan. 

“Republicans in 18 states want to prevent their own constituents from benefiting from the SAVE plan. They want to end SAVE, make their constituents’ payments go up and keep them under mountains of loan debt with no end in sight,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The SAVE plan launched last year and around 8 million borrowers have enrolled with about 360,000 people getting their remaining debt canceled.

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Biden has previously attempted to implement a student loan forgiveness program in 2022, however, it was rejected by the Supreme Court before it could actually deliver any debt relief. 

Biden has, however, canceled more student loan debt than any other president, and he’s mainly been utilizing existing programs. The administration has used the existing programs but made it easier to access for more US citizens. 

“Since the fall, the Biden administration has been working on set of new proposals, based on a different legal authority, to deliver relief to certain groups of borrowers.
For example, those whose student loan balances are bigger than what they initially borrowed could see their accumulated interest wiped way,” wrote Katie Lobosco for CNN

“Those proposals have yet to be finalized, but some could go into effect as soon as this fall, according to administration officials.”

haiti

Dozens Of US Citizens Evacuate Haiti On State Department Charter Flight Amid Increase In Gang Violence 

Dozens of US citizens have been evacuated from Haiti on a State Department charter flight this past Sunday while others wait to be taken back to the states as well. The departures are a result of increasing gang violence and political instability which has left necessities like food and gas in short supply. 

The State Department said that the flight departed from Cap-Haitien and landed in Miami International Airport, but they warned Americans to only consider taking the flight if they could reach Cap-Haitien safely. Government officials are now “assisting with next steps,” after more than 30 Americans made it safely to Miami over the weekend, according to CNN

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A Florida-based nonprofit has also been working to rescue the more than 100 people that are asking for assistance in leaving Haiti. 

The problems in Haiti have increased greatly within the last month. Security sources have stated that rival gangs and coalitions have been “wreaking coordinated havoc,” according to CNN

More than 100 miles from Cap-Haitien, in Port-au-Prince gangs took the airport under siege, and they now control 80% of Port-au-Prince, according to estimates from the United Nations. Through this control, the gangs have “severely limited supplies of food, fuel, and water across the city.” 

Vedant Patel of the State Department said that they will continue to help US citizens truing to leave Haiti, calling it a “fluid and quickly evolving situation on the ground.” 

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“We’ll be in touch with them should additional measures materialize. [Haiti is now] one of the most dire humanitarian situations in the world.”

Project DYNAMO is a non-profit, veteran-led, donor-funded international search, rescue, and aid group based in Florida that has also been conducting evacuations, receiving more than 100 rescue requests from Americans currently in Haiti. 

“What we find is, every time we rescue one person, that actually turns into three or four or five. That’s usually how it works. It is very hard, [we’re] trying to focus on Americans who are in remote areas where no other rescue resources exist. We’ve been working day and night,” co-founder and CEO Bryan Stern told CNN Monday afternoon.

Stern also stated that the waiting list of Americans needing rescuing in Haiti is currently in triple digits, but Project DYNAMO is in need of more funding.

“We need people’s help, and we need it badly. Some of these people are in extremely dire circumstances, and we can do it. I just need help with resources,” he said. 

subway

New York Governor Sending National Guard Into Subways To Combat Crime 

New York governor Kathy Hochul has announced that she will be sending the national guard into New York City’s subway system in order to combat surges of crime. The move has been met with disagreement from some city residents and police reform activists. 

Hochul stated on Wednesday that 750 national guard patrolmen as well as 250 state police and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officers will also be deployed to patrol the stations, as well as conducting bag checks. 

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“These brazen heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated,” she stated according to the New York TImes. 

New York City residents and police reform activists have spoken out against the new measure from the NY Governor. 

The founder of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), Robert Gangi, spoke to the Guardian and stated that an increased police presence in the NYC subways would work to further criminalize Black and brown commuters. 

“This is overkill. This is a waste of resources,” he stated. 

The Guardian also reported some residents social media posts who were against Hochul’s motion for the national guard to be in the subways. 

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One user posted a photo of his commute and stated: “Seriously I take the subway every day with my kid and it’s fine and safe, Does this look like we need bag checkers or national guard?”

“Seems a bit insane to deploy the national guard to check folks’ bags on the subway. Just random bag checks for public transit customers minding their own business?” wrote another user on X.

The announcement was made citing high-profile crimes in recent weeks, such as a 64-year-old man being pushed onto the tracks at Penn Station, and an MTA employee being cut while working an early morning shift. 

The New York Times reported, however, that the data regarding whether or not subway crime is increasing is unclear. The same can be said when it comes to the data showing that an increased police presence in subway systems is actually needed. 

There’s already a record number of New York City Police officers patrolling the subway systems. 

According to reports from Gothamist, there are approximately 3,500 NYPD officers overseeing the subways, and New York City has spent a record-breaking $155 million in overtime pay for subway patrol officers in 2023.

at&t

Thousands of AT&T Customers Report Phone Service Outages Across America

On Thursday morning, a large portion of AT&T’s customer base in the US experienced a network outage, rendering them unable to use the internet or make and receive calls.

Among the more than 74,000 reported outages as of 9 am, the top cities experiencing problems were Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, according to the tracking site Downdetector.

While some Verizon and T-Mobile customers also experienced outages, the companies stated that those affected were likely attempting to reach AT&T users. As of 7 am, 3,000 Verizon outages and 1,100 T-Mobile outages were reported by customers. Verizon told CNN, “Verizon’s network is operating normally.”

“Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation.”

AT&T acknowledged the outages in a statement but did not specify why the system failed.

 “Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. We are working urgently to restore service to them. We encourage the use of Wi-Fi calling until service is restored.”

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The company did not provide a timeline for when the system would be completely restored, but it did say that portions of the network are starting to recover. AT&T has been directing people to contact customer service via direct message in their online responses to customer complaints.

According to CNN, an anonymous source in the industry said that the problem seems to be associated with the way cellular services hand off calls from one network to another, a process called peering. The source also stated there is currently no evidence to believe that a cyberattack caused the widespread outages.

A significant concern is that due to the outages, some individuals might be unable to reach emergency services by dialing 911.

On X, San Francisco’s Fire Department told users they were aware of the issue and the trouble it posed for people in crisis.

“We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customers from making and receiving any phone calls (including to 911). We are actively engaged and monitoring this. The San Francisco 911 center is still operational. If you are an AT&T customer and cannot get through to 911, then please try calling from a landline. If that is not an option, then please try to get ahold of a friend or family member who is a customer of a different carrier and ask them to call 911 on your behalf.”

Officials from emergency services nationwide, including Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and Georgia, have stated that the outage is affecting their operations. Many of the departments advised relying on Wi-Fi for calls.

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On Thursday morning, members of the New York Police Department informed CNN that their AT&T phones could not make or receive calls or emails unless they were connected to Wi-Fi.

Officials from emergency services, such as those from The Massachusetts State Police, also told residents not to test their service by placing 911 calls.

“Many 911 centers in the state are getting flooded w/ calls from people trying to see if 911 works from their cell phone. Please do not do this. If you can successfully place a non-emergency call to another number via your cell service, then your 911 service will also work.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens released a statement saying the city is gathering more information to address the outages adequately.

“Atlanta’s e-911 is able to receive inbound and make outbound calls. We have received calls from AT&T customers that their cellular phones are in SOS mode.”

The company’s FirstNet network is still up and running, according to an AT&T representative. As a more robust network than AT&T’s commercial network, FirstNet offers coverage for police, fire departments, and first responders during national disasters.

flood

Nearly Entire Population Of California Remains Under Flood Alerts 

Currently almost the entire population of California remains under flood alerts as the state has experienced major rain storms within the past few weeks with more on the horizon. Officials are urging people to try to stay off the roads in the early days of this week, according to reports

Southern California is still recovering from a large storm that had some areas see record-breaking rainfall and hundreds of dangerous mudslides. The storm’s forecasted for this week aren’t projected to be that severe, however, parts of California could see up to 5 inches of rain, and currently 37 million residents are under flood watches, according to CNN

The National Weather Service office in Los Angeles warned of flooding and a possibility of 2 to 5 inches of rain, with up to 10 inches expected in other areas such as Santa Lucias. The office posted online to “avoid flooded roadways and prepare your property for flooding.” 

The office also warned of mud or rock slides on canyon roads as well as an increased presence of debris in areas recently overwhelmed by wildfires. 

“Multiple rounds of moderate to heavy showers, and perhaps a couple of thunderstorms, are expected to affect the region from this evening through Wednesday morning.”

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Central California saw the first round of rain late Saturday afternoon with a second storm on Sunday moving more slowly. At one point this weekend, around 38 million people were under a flood watch. 

State Governor Gavin Newsom’s office announced on Sunday in a news release that they’ve activated the state’s operations center. 

“Our state is taking this next storm seriously, and we ask all Californians to take steps now to prepare.”

The Weather Prediction Center has issued excessive rain outlooks through Tuesday for many parts of both California and Nevada. Santa Barbara is currently at a Level 3 of 4 risk through the rest of the day, and Los Angeles is currently at a Level 2. 

For areas at higher elevations, the National Weather Service in Sacramento also warned of winter storms, effective through Wednesday morning. 

“Heaviest snowfall will be tonight into Monday morning. Sierra travel will be difficult with possible road closures, chain controls and reduced visibilities,” forecasters said on X.