disaster preparedness

Public housing residents near a 17-story hotel slated to be imploded Sunday in New Orleans are worried about dust blanketing their homes.

The Times-Picayune reports that the state decided not to move the 400 households in the Iberville housing complex before the hotel is imploded. Now, some residents are upset about not being told what precautions to take when the building is brought down.

Fifty-four-year-old Lanetter Dorsey said she was in poor health and doesn't feel comfortable staying inside her Iberville apartment during the implosion.

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

Russians are slowly beginning to recover from the devastating flooding that soaked the southwestern region of Krasnodar. The floods, which struck in the early morning hours on July 7, reportedly killed more than 150 people.

It wasn't long before outrage flowed. Masha Lipman, a researcher with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Moscow, says the government had advance notice of the disaster, but didn't pass along the message.

The National Weather Service has issued an alert for New Orleans East and upper St. Bernard Parish, due to a cluster of strong, slow-moving thunderstorms affecting the area.

The storms, located northeast of Chalmette, are moving to the northeast at approximately 5 mph, and packing frequent lightning and wind gusts up to 35 to 45 mph, according to the Weather Service.

From the State of the Re:Union series. Quaint storefronts along Main streets, covered bridges over clear streams, cows from dairy farms dotting green valleys: across the state, these are the iconic images of Vermont.

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser is upset that the parish wasn't notified before an apparent drill for pilots who spray oil spills dispersants. And he doesn't believe that the planes used in the drill were spraying only water, as he was told.

Parish official P.J. Hahn says fishermen called him June 13, saying low-flying planes sprayed something that turned to foam on the water and made their skin itch or burn.

Hahn says the Coast Guard told him it was a drill by the oil industry's Marine Spill Response Corp and that only water was being sprayed.

The National Weather Service has issued a weather alert this evening for parts of four parishes, in advance of a cluster of strong thunderstorms approaching the region.

The storms, which are moving north at about 5 mph, may produce one to two inches of rain in a short period of time, says the Weather Service. That much rain may result in the ponding of water around low-lying roadways.

The alert covers upper Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes, as well as New Orleans and New Orleans East.

BATON ROUGE — The board governing Louisiana's property insurer of last resort has agreed to drop rates by 10 percent across a dozen south Louisiana parishes, with the rate cut retroactive to June 7, when the reduction was signed into law.

The $16 million annual rate cut is for customers of the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Citizens customers won't likely see a change on their bills until November, after the process for changing rates is complete. They'll get rebates for any money they paid above what they should have.

The Army Corps of Engineers says it's scrapping plans to build a levee system to protect a large area of south Louisiana against hurricane flooding on the Barataria estuary southwest of New Orleans.  The corps says the project wasn't economically feasible.

National Hurricane Center

The National Weather Service has discontinued a tropical storm warning for Louisiana after forecast models indicated that the state is under less of a threat from Tropical Storm Debby than initially thought.

Parts of Alabama and Florida remain under a tropical storm warning, however. Storm paths are generally hard to predict days in advance, and forecasters say they've been comparing several models to compile the official forecast. As of late Sunday, though, they believe the storm was less likely to make a westward turn toward Louisiana.