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 >>
Many communities along the East Coast were spared major damage from Hurricane Irene, but with millions still affected, pastors are stepping in to make sure the church doesn’t stay cooped up and instead makes an impact in the storm’s aftermath.
The impact that Irene had on churches this past weekend varies from one area to another. After the skies cleared and the seas began to calm along the shore, some pastors opened up to describe what Irene left behind and what they are doing to help.
The North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church always keeps a disaster response plan in place, allowing them to quickly organize and mobilize in case of an emergency. more >>
Irene has come and gone, but it will take days, weeks and even months for the Eastern seaboard to recover from the devastation the hurricane left in its wake.
That includes at least 45 deaths attributed to Irene across 13 states. And up to $6 billion in insured losses, according to catastrophe modeling company AIR Worldwide.
The 13 states that found themselves in Irene’s path struggle to return to normalcy. more >>