At least 26 million Americans at risk for next round of severe summer storms


(NEW YORK) — The latest round of severe summer storms brought at least 100 reports of severe weather in various parts of the U.S.

The two main clusters were in parts of the Northeast, where gusty winds, and heavy rain moved through parts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.

A separate cluster of severe storms in the Southeast brought gusty winds to Georgia and South Carolina and even a reported tornado in Alabama.

This morning another line of storms is moving through parts of the Heartland, from eastern Missouri into Southern Illinois and Indiana, and now into part of Kentucky.

Radar estimates of two to more than three inches of rain locally and, in some cases, overnight severe summer storms are expected to bring additional rainfall to areas that were hit with heavy rainfall already on Friday night and could produce some flash flooding.

Additionally, the line of storms moving through parts of Kentucky this morning will bring possible flash flooding to the state through much of the day today.

There are several risk areas in the U.S. today for severe storms including the northern high plains and parts of the upper Midwest.

Meanwhile, a line of severe storms will race Southeastward through Kentucky and Tennessee and then into Virginia and the Carolinas.

In the Northeast, some severe storms are likely to develop in parts of New England later this afternoon.

High resolution forecast models are showing widespread pop-up severe storms especially this afternoon in parts of New England and the Appalachians. Once again major cities will be at risk for storms including Boston, Hartford, and Charlotte.

Meanwhile out West, an ongoing pattern of change is bringing elevated and critical fire danger to a rather large part of the U.S.

Temperatures continue to cool down in most areas, but the cold front is kicking up winds and, along with low relative humidity, there is concern for fire growth and spread from California to Colorado once again today.

There has already been a new fire reported overnight south of Salt Lake City.

The Saharan dust also continues to impact air quality in parts of the U.S. with the latest round of air quality alerts now issued in parts of the Southeast including Atlanta, Charleston and Raleigh.

For most Americans, the only notable impact from the Saharan dust will be some scenic sunsets and sunrises as well has some haze.

For meteorologists, the most notable impact from the Saharan dust is the complete shutdown of the tropical season temporarily. For individuals that have sensitive respiratory concerns, the Saharan dust could also aggravate those existing health issues.

This initial round of Saharan dust is likely to continue to affect the upper levels of the atmosphere trough today and as the dust beings to work its way out of the region over the next few days, it appears another plume of Saharan dust will arrive later this weekend and possibly bring hazier skies to the southern U.S. at that time.

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Posted On 28 Jun 2020
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Cities push back against governors’ lax COVID-19 safeguards

iStock/courtneyk By: IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(DALLAS) — The recent jump in coronavirus cases in locations such as Texas and Florida has pitted state and local leaders against each other over safety measures.

Despite surging daily numbers of cases in those states, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, both Republicans, have long refused to mandate proven health actions such as face coverings and reduction of crowds. Their actions have prompted city leaders, such as the Democratic mayors of Austin and Tampa, Florida, to take matters into their own hands.

Abbott changed his stance Friday when he ordered the state’s bars to close and gave the OK to local leaders to limit crowds to 100 people as the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate (percentage of people testing positive) increased to 12.7% as of Saturday. DeSantis also ordered the state’s bars to close for in-person activity. Abbott’s office didn’t immediately respond for comment.

Kathy Cramer, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the lack of consistency from the elected officials will only make things worse.

“Now it’s become partisan football, it’s becoming confusing to people,” she told ABC News. “I think people are throwing up their hands and saying I don’t know what to do and I’m just doing what’s right for my family. That could mean taking this pandemic more seriously or being complete lax based on their preferences.”

Cramer also warned the pandemic’s trends are not validating the governors’ actions, and if they don’t get on board with what their local leaders are pleading, it could damage their political influence for years to come.

Since it reopened on May 1, Texas has seen 102,688 new coronavirus cases, which averages 1833.7 new cases a day, according to the Texas Health Department. During the last three weeks, the state has seen a record number of daily new cases.

In Florida, there have been 74,285 new cases since the state reopened on May 5, averaging 1,456 new cases a day, according to Florida’s Health Department. The state has recorded a record number of daily new cases over the last two weeks, such as the over 8,000 new cases on June 26.

The state’s health department data has come under scrutiny following allegations from a former employee who contends she was forced to under-report the numbers, a matter DeSantis dismissed as a “non-issue” in May.

Despite rising numbers, Abbott and DeSantis didn’t initially heed calls from health officials and city leaders to enforce safety measures.

Abbott told Texans on June 16 “there is no reason right now to be alarmed.” He also declined requests that day from a group of the state’s mayors to amend his executive order and give them the power to mandate face coverings.

Some of those mayors, however, pushed forward and urged their residents to wear face coverings. A county judge in San Antonio issued an order that mandated them but didn’t issue any fines.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler expressed frustration with governor’s policies during an interview with ABC News June 23.

“People in the community here are getting conflicting messages on that,” he told ABC News. “Here at the state, the governor continues to say it’s important, but for the longest time, we were unable to enforce it.”

DeSantis also said he was against a face-covering mandate for the state, contending that people would heed the health recommendations and do it on their own.

“We’ve advised that it’s something that could make an impact…(but) to put criminal penalties on that is something that would probably backfire.” he said in a news conference June 26, the day the state recorded 8,943 new cases.

Leaders of some Florida cities, however, disagreed and superseded DeSantis by issuing executive orders that mandated face coverings. Tampa mayor Jane Castor, who issued a mandate on June 22, said the data proved that few cases develop with more people wearing a face covering.

“Our community is looking for leadership which is why we are putting this mandatory mask ordinance in effect to protect our citizens. If we wait, more people will get sick and more lives will be lost,” she said in a statement.

Palm County, Florida’s health department also issued a mandatory face covering order last week.

Cody McCloud, spokesman for DeSantis’s office, told ABC News Friday that the governor hasn’t pre-empted any local governments from enacting their own COVID-19 health orders.

“Governor DeSantis is supportive of local leadership as they are uniquely poised to understand the needs of their communities,”

Cramer said divisions between local leaders and governors are nothing new, but the coronavirus has emboldened the municipalities to counter the top-down power structure.

“If these municipalities prove that they know better, it may mean a weakening of state power,” she said.

Randy Erben, an adjunct professor at the University Texas School of Law and former legislative director for Abbott, said the jump in cases is making local and state leaders find a common ground.

He noted that Abbott has changed his position on COVID-19 safeguards as the data has shown a jump in cases and has been pushing residents to wear masks and take other precautions, even if his office didn’t mandate it.

“I think people are smart,” Erben told ABC News. “They listen to their experts they listen to the pol experts and they’ll do what they have to do.”

Cramer said depending on how bad the pandemic gets in certain states, governors could face a reckoning, especially if local municipalities’ actions prove to save more lives than their executive orders

“I’m not exactly sure what it will do for policy but it will be a wakeup call for higher-level partisan leaders. They’ll have to say, ‘We need to be better listeners to our local leaders and residents,’” she said.

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2 teenage boys shot to death after asking man how tall he was while buying candy

iStock/MattGushBy: JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(CHICAGO) — Two teenage boys were shot to death after asking the suspect how tall he was when they were buying candy from a store.

The incident occurred at approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday June 20 after three teenage boys went to a store in South Chicago to buy some candy and ended up having a brief encounter with 19-year-old Laroy Battle inside the establishment.

“The victims were walking into the store, they saw Battle, he was standing in line while at the store and the victims commented that Battle, he was quite tall, and they asked him how tall he was and hoped to be that tall someday,” said Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan “Unfortunately, we will never even see the full growth of these poor children.”

The three teenage boys then left the store and proceeded to walk home together when police say that Battle approached them and began shooting.

Jasean Francis, 17, was shot in the back, chest and left hand. Charles Riley, 16, was shot in the back and left leg. The third teen, who was not identified, managed to escape the gunfire. Both of the boys who were shot were taken to University of Chicago Hospital and later died from the injuries they suffered during the shooting.

“The security cameras from the area were able to show the offender discarding a gun in the garbage can and then Battle was eventually found hiding out in a motel … He was arrested without incident.” Deenihan announced in the press conference.

Police also said that they recovered nine shell casings from the scene of the crime.

A prayer vigil to honor the two teenagers was held on Friday night near the scene of the shooting.

“He was a kid,” said Jasean Francis’ aunt Latonya Pettit, according to ABC News’ Chicago station WLS. “Liked video games, snacks. That was his thing. He would walk into this hospital gift shop daily and purchase snacks.”

“He was nice to seniors on the block,” said another of Francis’ aunts, Keena Hoyle. “The nurses looked forward to him coming over there daily. They brought over to the family roses. They watched him grow up as a child.”

Authorities are still trying to understand the motive behind the shootings.

“There was no altercation,” said Deenihan. “There was nothing that would have set off Battle to be angry at these kids. He is about 6’3”, 6’4”, and they literally just asked him how tall he was because he is extremely tall.”

Battle was denied bond and has been charged with two counts of first degree murder. Police said he had a previous conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, for which he received probation.

“Justice was very swift in this case because we got help from the community,” Deenihan declared during his public statement to the press. “The offender was identified quickly because the community called the detectives and they told them that was Battle in the video. That is how this case broke. The private security camera footage provided to CPD was incredibly valuable in this case. The fact that detectives can now retrieve this footage quickly and then request the help of the community to identify these [kinds of] offenders is invaluable.”

“This is just one example of how Chicago can help improve the public safety by working together to remove these very dangerous offenders from the streets,” said Deenihan.

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Coronavirus updates: Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 10 million

iStock/koto_fejaBy: JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 499,000 people worldwide.

Over 10 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 125,539 deaths.

– San Antonio issues ‘stay home’ alert as 795 COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, a daily high
– US coronavirus death toll surpasses 125,000 as cases top 2.5 million
– 4 states had record high case numbers on Saturday
– St. Patrick’s Cathedral to hold first public mass since March

Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

5:57 a.m.: Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpass 10 million

A new milestone was reached early Sunday morning, with more than 10 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, per John Hopkins University tally.

The current number according to Johns Hopkins University now stands at 10,001,527.

The United States has been the worst-affected country, with more than 2.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 125,539 deaths. The U.S. is followed by Brazil, Russia, India and the United Kingdom as the worst affected countries in the world.

2:56 a.m.: San Antonio issues ‘stay home’ alert as 795 COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, a daily high

San Antonio officials urged residents to stay home as the city recorded its highest number of cases in a single day.

An emergency alert was sent out just minutes after the city reported 795 new COVID-19 cases. That brings the city’s total number of cases to 9,652. Two new deaths were reported and the death toll is now at 107.

The Wireless Emergency Alert, similar to an Amber Alert, urges residents to stay home, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and avoid gathering with people outside of your household.

“This action is reserved only for emergencies, and we have clearly reached emergency status,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a press release. “We need every person in San Antonio and Bexar County to take this crisis seriously and behave accordingly to slow the exponential growth of the virus.”

In San Antonio, there are currently 984 available staffed beds and 449 ventilators, or 21% of beds and 66% of ventilators.

1:25 a.m.: 4 states had record high case numbers on Saturday

Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Nevada all hit record high numbers of cases on Saturday with Nevada more than doubling their highest daily total.

Nevada had never reported more than 500 cases in a day but, on Saturday, the state reported almost 1,100. The positive rate and hospitalizations in the state are rising, too.

Georgia also reported a record high in cases at almost 2,000. The 7-day average for cases has nearly tripled since late May. Hospitalizations have also gone right back up after falling from May into June.

Meanwhile, South Carolina blew past its original record mark for most COVID-19 cases in a single day with nearly 1,599 positive tests on Saturday. Previously, the high was 1,293. Also, there were 15 new confirmed deaths and 2 probable deaths listed in the stated related to COVID-19.

The Florida Department of Health reported a total of 132,545 cases of COVID-19 with 9,636 new positive cases on Saturday. The total of tests yesterday was 76,129 with a 12.7% positivity rate.

In total across the United States, around 43,000 new cases were reported on Saturday which comes close to the record. These numbers are a result of increased testing capturing the rapid spread of the virus across a large swath of the country.

States also reported 591,000 completed tests on Saturday. The U.S. never hit 500,000 tests in a day before June and has now surpassed that number in nine of the past 10 days.

12:29 a.m.: St. Patrick’s Cathedral to hold 1st public mass since March

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City will reopen for its first public mass since March on Sunday morning.

The cathedral said in a statement that they will begin to have a small number of masses throughout the week at 25% capacity.

Those entering the Cathedral must follow strict COVID-19 CDC guidelines including social distancing and wearing a face mask during the services.

ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway, Jason Volack, Josh Hoyos, Brian Hartman and Matt Foster contributed to this report.

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