The Washington Monument, one of the grand attractions in Washington, D.C., will be closed indefinitely, the National Park Service announced Monday.
In August, a 5.8-magnitude earthquake caused more damage to the monument than had previously been disclosed.
Video taken by a security camera during the earthquake showed the monument shaking violently and debris falling from the structure. The scene left visitors scared and running for cover, but there were no injuries caused by the incident. A copy of the video can be seen at http://www.nps.gov/wamo/washington-monument-earthquake-update.htm. more >>
Tropical Storm Maria has emerged from what once was Tropical Depression 14 after it reached storm strength in the eastern Atlantic on Wednesday.
Maria is the 13th named storm of the 2011 hurricane season.
“We’ve got the 13th named storm of the season and it’s in an environment that isn’t conducive to explosive strengthening,” said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, to Bloomberg. “In fact, we have it as a tropical storm through the end of the five-day forecast period.” more >>
High winds caused by Tropical Depression Lee have helped fuel the wildfires spreading through parts of East and Central Texas, and certain areas were under “red flag” warnings for critical fire conditions, according to the National Weather Service.
The fast-growing wildfire scorched about 300 houses near Austin, forcing people in hundreds of homes to evacuate.
Bastrop County, just east of Austin, Texas, lost 14,000 acres to the blaze, which has grown an estimated 16 miles long and threatens about 700 more houses, MSNBC reported. more >>
A tropical depression is moving ominously towards the U.S. Gulf coast on Friday, bringing with it torrential rains that threaten to dump 20 inches of rain on the region.
Forecasters predicted the storm would make landfall on Louisiana’s southern coast this weekend. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency Thursday warning of the possibility of “flash floods.”
“We know from experience that it’s best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said Jindal. more >>
Federal government spending for disaster aid has increased significantly over the past several decades. Much of this aid generally does not appear in congressional budgets, making it a “stealth entitlement,” according to George Zanjani, associate professor of Risk Management and Insurance at Georgia State University.
Zanjani sat down with The Christian Post for an in-depth discussion on insurance and federal disaster issues.
Zanjani has conducted research, along with his co-authors, J. David Cummins, professor emeritus of Insurance and Risk Management at the University of Pennsylvania and Michael Suher, graduate student at Brown University, on federal disaster aid between 1989 and 2006. more >>
The apparent success of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at combating the negative effects of Hurricane Irene proves that a large federal government can work, according to The Washington Post's Dana Milbank. The Heritage Foundation's Matt Mayer, however, views FEMA's response as another example of wasteful government spending.
“Don’t expect anybody to throw a tea party, but Big Government finally got one right,” Milbank writes.
Milbank cites the success of NOAA at tracking the path of the storm. He also noted that FEMA helped with “food, water, generators and tarps” along the storm's path. Also, in North Carolina, FEMA provided a power generator to local authorities, and in Vermont, provided a FEMA facility to the state emergency operations center after their own facility was without power. more >>