Tag Archives: storm

Tropical Storm Elsa Hits New York City, Rail Services Affected

Fast-moving Tropical Storm Elsa hit the New York City region with heavy rain and high winds Friday, toppling trees and hindering some rail service as it churned its way toward New England.

Maximum sustained winds from the storm peaked near 50 mph (85 kph) as it moved past New York City and across the eastern tip of Long Island, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. update.

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There were some snags on commuter rail lines Friday, with slight delays on the Harlem Line north of the city and service suspended on the Long Island Rail Road’s Oyster Bay Branch because of fallen trees.

The storm struck a city already reeling from a deluge Thursday that flooded roads and at least one subway station.

Despite videos showing flooding in some stations in the New York City subway system, “we actually weathered the storm quite well,” interim New York City Transit president Sarah Feinberg said in an email. Feinberg said the subway flooding lasted only a few minutes and caused only minor disruptions.

Up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain was possible in some areas Friday, enough to cause flash flooding. The hurricane center said a tornado or two was possible through early afternoon Friday over parts of Long Island and southeastern New England.

The strongest winds were expected to stay off the coast of New England. But the storm was expected to bring heavy rain – up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) on the Maine coast – before blowing into the Bay of Fundy and Canada late Friday.

Heavy rain had ended in New York City by mid-morning.

The system was already blamed for one death in Florida on Wednesday. And Elsa also previously caused a damaging tornado in Georgia.

A tropical storm warning Friday morning stretched along with parts of the East Coast from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Forecasters said Elsa was moving northeast at 31 mph (50 kph).

Elsa is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone by Friday night.

On Wednesday, nine people were injured in coastal Camden County, Georgia, when a tornado struck a campground for active-duty service members and military retirees. Eight of those hurt had to be taken to hospitals, Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base spokesperson Chris Tucker said.

The EF-2 tornado flipped over multiple RVs, throwing one of the overturned vehicles about 200 feet (61 meters) into a lake, the National Weather Service said in a preliminary report early Thursday after its employees surveyed the damage.

Authorities in Jacksonville, Florida, said one person was killed Wednesday when a tree fell and struck two cars. A spokesperson for the Naval Air Force Atlantic Office said Thursday that a sailor assigned to Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron 16 in Jacksonville was killed.

In South Carolina, a Coast Guard Air Station Savannah crew rescued a family that became stranded Wednesday on Otter Island after their boat drifted off the beach. The group was flown to a hospital in good health, a Coast Guard news release said.

The National Weather Service in Morehead City, North Carolina, tweeted that a tornado was spotted near Fairfield on Thursday afternoon.

Scattered power outages were being reported along Elsa’s path Friday morning, with about 24,000 homes and businesses without electricity from Delaware to Massachusetts, according to the website poweroutages.us.

Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

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LIVE COVERAGE: Tropical Storm Elsa drops heavy rain on North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — Tropical Storm Elsa was about 25 miles southwest of Raleigh at 2 p.m.

According to the 2 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, the storm had gusts of about 60 miles per hour. It was moving northeast at 20 mph.

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Rain from Tropical Storm Elsa arrived Thursday morning as predicted by the ABC11 First Alert Weather Team.

Storms will continue until around 4 p.m.

WATCH LIVE: Radar shows current location of Elsa

Tornado Warnings were issued on and off in central North Carolina on Thursday.

A flash flood watch is in effect until 6 p.m. for the entire region.

Elsa is expected to dump between 1-3 inches of rain (with isolated areas getting as much as 6 inches of rainfall) in central North Carolina and bring wind gusts as strong as 50 miles per hour in spots.

The storm has also toppled trees and knocked out power in some places in North Carolina. Click here for local storm damage updates.

Elsa was expected to pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by Thursday night and move near or over the northeastern United States on Friday.

Some re-strengthening was possible Thursday night and Friday while the system moves close to the northeastern United States.

A tropical storm warning was in effect north of Great Egg Inlet, New Jersey to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and for the coast of Long Island from East Rockaway Inlet to the eastern tip along the south shore and from Port Jefferson Harbor eastward on the north shore. A warning was also in effect from New Haven, Connecticut to Merrimack River, Massachusetts including Cape Cod, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

There was a chance Long Island in New York would see sustained tropical storm-force winds late Thursday night and into Friday morning, the National Weather Service in New York warned.


Showers began around 5 a.m. in the Sandhills on Thursday. As the day progresses, the rain spreads north across the ABC11 viewing area with the entire region seeing rain and storms by the afternoon.
Elsa will move through North Carolina fairly quickly. Expect the heaviest rainfall until 4 p.m., with the entire storm moving out of the state by the evening.

Friday will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 90s. The weekend looks mostly sunny with that heat remaining in the lower 90s.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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Tracking Elsa: New Tropical Storm Warnings Issued For North Carolina, Mid-Atlantic States

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As Tropical Storm Elsa continues north, new tropical storm warnings issued for North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic states.

As of the 11 p.m. advisory, Elsa was about 80 miles northwest of Brunswick, Georgia with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and moving north-northeast at 16 mph.

READ MORE: Debate Starts Over What To Do With Property Where Champlain Towers South Once Stood

A turn toward northeast is expected overnight, followed by a faster northeastward motion by late Thursday.

Elsa 11 p.m. stats for Wednesday, July 7. (CBS4)

On the forecast track, Elsa will move over Georgia Wednesday night, over South Carolina early on Thursday, over North Carolina later on Thursday, pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states late Thursday and move near or over the northeastern United States on Friday.

Slow weakening is expected through Thursday as Elsa moves over land, and some re-strengthening is possible on Friday while the system moves close to the northeastern United States.

Elsa is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone late Friday.

READ MORE: Proceeds From Support Surfside 5K To Help Victims Of Tragedy

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles, mostly southeast of the center near the coast.


A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Little River Inlet, South Carolina to Great Egg Inlet, New Jersey.
  • Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds
  • Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach and the tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island
  • Delaware Bay south of Slaughter Beach

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

MORE NEWS: ‘I’ve Never Seen This’: Former Prime Minister Of Haiti Speaks Out After Assassination Of President Jovenel Moïse

  • North of Great Egg Inlet, New Jersey to Sandy Hook, New Jersey
  • Long Island from East Rockaway Inlet to the eastern tip along the south shore and from Port Jefferson Harbor eastward on the north shore
  • New Haven, Connecticut to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts including Cape Cod, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record.

Author: CBSMiami.com Team
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Millions of people face life-threatening storm surge and heavy winds and rains as Tropical Storm Elsa moves north off the coast toward Florida’s Big Bend area

Elsa is churning off the western coast of Florida with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph as it moves north on a collision course with the Big Bend region, where it is expected to make landfall late Wednesday morning or early in the afternoon.
A Tampa resident covers his windows with hurricane shutters in preparation for Hurricane Elsa Tuesday.
The storm was about 50 miles southwest of Cedar Key Wednesday morning.
Hurricane warnings were in place from the Chassahowitzka River, just to the south of Homosassa, Florida, to the Steinhatchee River.  The hurricane warnings south of the Chassahowitzka River to Egmont Key, Florida, have been replaced by tropical storm warnings.
Bands of heavy rain and strong winds continue to spread inland across southwest and west-central Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Florida until 8 a.m., according to a tweet from the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office.
While the system weakened to a tropical storm early Wednesday after becoming a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday, hurricane warnings remain in place for more than four million people in Florida. More than 12 million people are under a tropical storm warning across three states.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded his state of emergency declaration Tuesday to include a total of 33 counties as local, state and utility resources continue to prepare for the incoming storm.
The Florida National Guard has activated 60 guardsmen to serve at the State Emergency Operations Center and Logistics Readiness Center, according to a release from the Guard. It is prepared to activate additional personnel as needed.
“We are well-equipped with assets including high-wheeled vehicles, helicopters, boats and generators, and are preparing for possible missions to include humanitarian assistance, security operations, search and rescue, aviation, and more,” the guard said in the release.
In Tampa, officials urged residents to stay off the roads as the storm approaches.

Counties and utilities preparing ahead of storm

Both the mayor and emergency coordinator for the city of Tampa posted on social media Tuesday to encourage residents to stay home and be prepared.
“We are prepared here in the city of Tampa but we need you to do your part as well,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a video posted to Twitter. “Don’t go outside tonight. If you don’t have to, do not go outside. Stay in.”
“We want everybody to be safe in Tampa and we’ll be up all night monitoring the storm so you don’t have to,” she added.
Earlier, Tampa Emergency Coordinator John Antapasis said it was time for residents to get to safety ahead of the expected landfall.
“Now is the time to get back home, get off the streets and stay safe for the rest of tonight,” he said. “You should be making and finalizing your hurricane plans and ensuring that you’re in a safe location while … Elsa makes it’s way through out community.”
Antapasis advised that people who need to be on the road should check the city’s flood map.
Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes also warned people to get ready for the storm during a press conference Tuesday.
“Please finalize your plans and secure your homes and get ready to sort of bunker down and ride out this storm,” Hopes said.
Shelters were opened in at least five counties Tuesday and two counties issued voluntary evacuation orders.
Duke Energy, which serves 1.8 million customers in Florida, according to its website, is preparing for anticipated outages from the storm.
The utility said in a press release Tuesday that it has staged 3,000 utility “crew members, contractors, tree specialists and other personnel” from Pinellas County to north Florida.
Additional line workers and support personnel have also been brought in from the Carolinas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, according to the release.
The University of Florida in Gainesville has canceled classes for Wednesday in anticipation of the storm, the university said in a statement.

Tropical storm warnings and emergency declarations extended

Ahead of Elsa’s landfall in Florida, tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia.
The warnings extend along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the entire coast of North Carolina and up to Chincoteague, Virginia, and for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.
On Tuesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a State of Emergency in preparation for the impact of Elsa.
“This storm system has the potential to produce destructive impacts to citizens throughout the central, southern, and coastal regions of the State of Georgia and due to the possibility of downed trees, power lines, and debris, Georgia’s network of roads may be rendered impassable in the affected counties, isolating residences and persons from access to essential public services,” Kemp said.
A State of Emergency has been declared in 91 of Georgia’s 159 counties, according to Kemp’s order. The order will expire Wednesday at midnight unless the governor decides to renew it.

Author: Hollie Silverman, Michael Guy and Rebekah Riess, CNN
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The storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday over the northern Florida Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Elsa, which had been a tropical storm, is expected to move near or over parts of Florida’s western coast Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
“Elsa is forecast to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast by late Wednesday morning and then move across the southeastern United States through Thursday,” NHS said in its 8 p.m. news advisory.
Thirty-three counties are under a state of emergency, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference. The Florida National Guard also activated 60 guardsmen to serve at the state’s Emergency Operations Center and Logistics Readiness Center.
“We’re anticipating a landfall probably between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. tomorrow, somewhere again on the nature coast or Big Bend part of Florida,” DeSantis said. “There have not been any widespread evacuation orders.”
President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state ahead of the storm. The declaration, which began Sunday, authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in southern Florida.
Elsa’s center, with sustained winds of 75 mph, was over water about 100 miles south-southwest of Tampa as of 8 p.m. ET, the hurricane center said. John Antapasis, Tampa’s emergency coordinator, encouraged residents to stay indoors and avoid roadways Tuesday night.
A hurricane warning is in effect from Egmont Key near St. Petersburg in west-central Florida to the Steinhatchee River in northern Florida’s Big Bend region.
“The warm ocean waters give it that fuel for the engine to really fire back up again … (and) it could be near or at hurricane strength” when Elsa makes landfall, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.
A tropical storm warning — alerting people to expect tropical storm conditions including strong winds — is in effect for much of the rest of Florida’s west coast.
The Georgia coast from the mouth of St. Marys River to Altamaha Sound is also under a tropical storm warning, the advisory said. Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency Tuesday night that will expire on July 14.
Elsa’s outer bands also could drop rain on Florida’s eastern side, perhaps affecting areas such as the community of Surfside, where search and rescue teams still are working at the site of a deadly building collapse. Elsa’s approach prompted a controlled demolition Sunday of the remaining portion of the Champlain Towers South condo building.
As long as winds stay below 45 mph, search and rescue teams can continue looking for signs of life; if winds exceed 45 mph, teams are called off the rubble, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesperson Erika Benitez.
A tornado watch was in effect for more than 12 million people in southern Florida until 11 p.m. ET Tuesday. This includes Tampa, Fort Myers, Miami, Surfside, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
The major rain and storm surge threats are expected to be in western Florida.
About 3 to 8 inches of rain could fall from the Florida Keys to western parts of the Florida Peninsula through Wednesday — threatening flash flooding, the hurricane center said.
Storm surge warnings were in place for the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach through the northern portions of the Big Bend region, with the highest surge expected to be between 3 and 5 feet from Englewood to the outlet for the Aucilla River — including Tampa Bay.
People in southern and western Florida have been preparing by filling sand bags, opening shelters, closing businesses and schools, and activating local emergency operations centers.
Cuba was getting heavy rainfall Tuesday morning from Elsa. Rainfall of 5 to 15 inches is expected through Tuesday night, threatening significant flash flooding and mudslides.
Elsa whipped the Keys on Tuesday morning with rain and sustained winds of 30-40 mph.

Residents and businesses prepare

Elsa, which briefly was at hurricane strength Friday and early Saturday to become the first hurricane of the season, made landfall Monday in Cuba and tore through the Cayman Islands, saturating both areas with heavy rain and strong winds and causing landslides and flooding.
Authorities across Florida offered free sandbags to residents to help prevent flooding and are encouraging people to prepare by stocking up on supplies and heeding local warnings.
At least four counties in the Tampa area — Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando and Manatee — opened shelters for residents, while others have activated emergency operations centers to prepare for the storm.
Determined visitors head to Sloppy Joe's bar while crossing a flooded Duval Street in Key West.
“You want to be prepared for anything,” a Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center employee told CNN affiliate WFTS. “You really never know.”
“We’ve had other storms in the past that seemed like nothing but they end up with a lot of flood damage,” the emergency official warned.
Manatee County could “have almost borderline terms of a hurricane,” US Rep. Vern Buchanan said.
“Please finalize your plans and secure your homes and get ready to sort of bunker down and ride out this storm,” said Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor pleaded with city residents to stay home Tuesday evening.
“You don’t need to be out. Do not go out. We’re going to have a lot of rain, a lot of wind. Do not drive into water that you cannot see through, so that means don’t drive into water, period,” Castor said.
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay planned to close “to ensure the safety of our ambassadors, guests and animals,” according to the park’s website. At this time, the venue is expected to reopen at noon Wednesday.
Tampa International Airport said it would close to commercial flights at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, and to cargo flights at 10 p.m. It anticipated reopening Wednesday at 10 a.m.
In Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida International Airport said it would cancel flights Tuesday afternoon.
Sarasota Bradenton International Airport plans to close at 6:30 p.m. after the last commercial arrival scheduled for 5:30 pm, according to the airport’s website. The airport plans to resume normal operations Wednesday at 6 a.m.
Emma Barlow, 9, works with her mother Brandi Barlow to fill sandbags Tuesday in Middleburg.
People lined up Monday in Manatee and Hillsborough counties to fill free sandbags to help prevent flooding.
One new Florida resident told WFTS she’s never been in a tropical storm.
“This is our first experience. We got the notification that we could get sandbags, and we’re right on some water, so we just want to do everything that we can at this point,” the woman said.
Even some businesses are closing ahead of the storm.
Niall Bowen, owner of Old Town Bakery in Key West, will close his business Tuesday because the storm will impact his supply chain and deliveries, he told CNN affiliate WSVN.
“As far as the impact goes, I don’t think we’re going to have a major weather event,” Bowen said.

Into Georgia and the Carolinas later this week

The current forecast following landfall in western Florida has the storm moving to the northeast across the lowlands of Georgia, perhaps as a tropical storm, on Wednesday — and the Carolinas, perhaps as a tropical depression, on Thursday.
Tropical Storm Elsa battered parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Saturday with heavy rain and high winds.
It could exit into the Atlantic on Thursday or Friday.
Elsa could then be a rainmaker for the extreme Eastern Seaboard until it pushes into the north Atlantic.

Author: Jason Hanna, Hollie Silverman and Amir Vera, CNN
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With the threat of a storm, officials and rescuers were concerned about the safety of searching the rubble and the potential for the rest of building to collapse

The structure was demolished around 10:30 p.m. ET Sunday using a method Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called “energetic felling,” describing it as a process that “uses small, strategically placed explosives and relies on gravity to bring the building down in place.”
The demolition came after part of the building fell early in the morning on June 24, collapsing approximately 55 of the building’s 136 units. Crews immediately began digging through up to 16 feet of concrete and have confirmed at least 24 people were killed, including children. There are 121 people who remain unaccounted for.
With the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa looming, officials and rescue crews were increasingly concerned about the safety of those searching the rubble and the potential the rest of the structure would collapse.
“It appears as though the approaching storm may have been a blessing in disguise for us in that it initiated the demolition discussion,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Sunday night. “We want to make sure that we control which way the building falls and not a hurricane, so all of this together I think ended up being a good thing.”
Burkett said he hopes the demolition will eliminate a potentially dangerous threat to workers and possibly open an estimated third of the remaining pile to search and rescue teams.
Search efforts at the partially collapsed building were paused Saturday around 4 p.m. so engineers could secure the site and prepare for the demolition.
“As soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders back on the pile to immediately resume their work,” Levine Cava said Sunday night.
When the work does resume, it will be without five to seven members of the Israeli rescue team, Col. Elad Edri, Deputy Commander of the Israeli National Rescue Unit said, adding the decision was made based on what capabilities of the team will be needed after the demolition.

Residents ordered to evacuate multiple buildings

Since the collapse, multiple Miami-area buildings have been evacuated.
Ahead of the demolition at the South tower, the condominium board for Champlain Towers East suggested residents evacuate, according to a letter from the condo association’s board of directors obtained by CNN.
The letter encouraged residents to evacuate in advance as streets nearby would be congested due to the demolition. The board also asked residents to take their pets and valuables, including passports and important documents, with them.
“Our building foundation has been checked multiple times, but we make this suggestion in an abundance of caution,” the letter reads. “We do not expect any impact to us but you can’t be too careful under the circumstances.”
On Saturday, the city of Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of a residential building out of an abundance of caution after a city inspector looked at an empty unit and flagged a “flooring system failure in that unit and excessive deflection on an exterior wall,” according to city spokesperson Melissa Berthier.
The day before, North Miami Beach officials ordered the evacuation of the Crestview Towers, saying the building was delinquent with its 40-year recertification. Officials cited the late certification report to say the building was structurally and electrically unsafe.
Many residents of Champlain Towers South whose condos didn’t collapse had to evacuate without many of their belongings, leaving behind clothes, valuables and family photographs.
On Sunday, Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez III said homicide detectives had been “collecting items that are retrievable, and are logging them and documenting them.”
Any type of heirloom that was safe to retrieve is being documented to “be addressed at a later date with family members,” he said.

24th victim identified

David Epstein, 58, has been identified as the 24th victim confirmed to have died in the collapse. His body was recovered Friday, officials said.
The victims range in age from 4 to 92.
Those who died include 4- and 10-year-old sisters, an elderly couple and the daughter of a firefighter.
Nicole Mejias told CNN on Saturday that five of her family members were in the Champlain Towers South building when it collapsed, including 7-year-old Stella Cattarossi, the daughter of the Miami firefighter. Cattarossi’s body was found Thursday night.
“We just miss them so much already, we wish this tragedy didn’t happen, and will always remember them,” Mejias said.

Tropical Storm Elsa

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 15 counties Saturday — including Miami-Dade County — because of Tropical Storm Elsa.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Florida Keys and a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of southwest Florida as far north as Tampa Bay.
Surfside is no longer in Elsa’s forecast cone, but the area could still receive some rain from the storm.
The governor expressed his support for the demolition plan ahead of Elsa’s impact and said Saturday he believed it would be best for the building to be down before the storm arrives. “With these gusts potentially, it would create a really big hazard.”

Author: Madeline Holcombe, CNN
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Collapsed Florida building to be demolished as storm approaches

Two more bodies pulled from the rubble of 12-storey condo building near Miami, which partially collapsed last month.

The remains of a 12-storey building in south Florida that partially collapsed in the middle of the night last month will be demolished as early as Sunday, local officials said, as an incoming storm risks toppling the structure.

Two more bodies were pulled from the rubble of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, near Miami, on Saturday, bringing the official number of deaths to 24. Search and rescue operations have continued as 124 people are still unaccounted for after the tower fell.

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky told reporters the demolition of what was left standing of the towers had to take place as soon as possible because Tropical Storm Elsa is forecast to reach southern Florida as early as Monday.

“We’d have no control of where it lands,” he said.

Elsa was downgraded on Saturday from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 110kph (70 mph) as it brushed past the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The long-term forecast track showed it heading towards Florida as a tropical storm by Tuesday morning, though some models would carry it into the Gulf or up the Atlantic Coast. Weather officials warned that it could bring heavy rain and gusty winds to the Miami area.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the building in Surfside is “tottering” and “structurally unsound” and demolishing it is the prudent thing to do.

“If the building is taken down, this will protect our search and rescue teams, because we don’t know when it could fall over,” DeSantis said during a news conference. “And, of course, with these gusts, potentially that would create a really severe hazard.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava signed an order calling for the immediate demolition of the building and it could happen as soon as Sunday, officials said.

“It is our fervent desire to get this done before the storm,” Levine Cava said. “Yes, we are concerned that tropical-storm-force winds could affect the stability of the building.”

Fire officials said the building would be removed in a controlled manner using explosive charges, not a wrecking ball or other methods. Contractors were inspecting the site on Saturday to come up with a plan, officials said.

It remains unclear what caused the building to collapse last month, but investigators have found evidence of water damage and structural corrosion so severe the building’s ownership association had estimated it would cost $ 15m to repair.

The president of the Champlain Towers South condo association told residents in April their building desperately needed to fix structural problems, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

A 2018 report released after the building fell also showed that an engineer found evidence of major structural damage beneath the pool deck and “concrete deterioration” in the underground parking garage of the condominium.

The engineer, Frank Morabito, warned that the waterproofing installed below the pool deck had failed due to a major error in design.

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Officials say the demolition could happen as early as tomorrow ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa

That would bring the still-standing portions down safely before Elsa’s high winds — which could hit the area early next week — have a chance to topple them unsafely, officials said.
And it would allow search and rescue crews to continue work on the rubble of the already-collapsed portions without fear of the standing portions coming down on them, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said.
“I think as early as tomorrow (Sunday)” the standing portions could be demolished, Burkett said at a news conference Saturday morning.
Nearly 55 of the 136 units of the Champlain Towers South, in Surfside just north of Miami Beach, pancaked to the ground in the early hours of June 24. The death toll is 24 so far, and 124 people were unaccounted for of Saturday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
The demolition would aim to take the standing portions straight down with charges, Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said.
The demolition timeline has not been finalized, as engineers still were at the site doing due diligence, Levine Cava said.
But officials’ previous thinking about the timeline — that it couldn’t be done before Elsa arrived — changed after they spoke with a demolition expert who indicated it could be done sooner, Levine Cava said.
Levine Cava on Friday signed an order allowing crews to demolish the remaining structure — but at the time said it could be weeks before the demolition could happen.
Search and rescue operations continued Saturday morning at the site, where teams have been scouring concrete rubble up to 16 feet deep.
The search of the current rubble would stop during the demolition, but would resume soon afterward, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at Saturday morning’s news conference.
Late Friday, a county attorney said in a court filing that the remaining portion of the building is not structurally sound and is behaving in ways that indicate it may fall down, a county attorney said in a court filing late Friday.
Search and rescue crews were under “immediate threat” due to the building’s instability and Tropical Storm Elsa, which currently is in Caribbean, said David Murray, the attorney for Miami-Dade County.
Murray’s court filing said a collapse of the remaining structure would “cause the release of hazardous household materials, particulate matter, and will pose fire risk.”
“An uncontrolled collapse of the structure — which is surrounded by residential property, and which is currently being worked and secured by hundreds of fire rescue personnel, police officers, and other government employees — poses significant risk to human life and property,” Murray wrote in the filing.

Fire department confirm member’s child found in the rubble

One of the latest confirmed deaths was that of a 7-year-old girl, the daughter of a member of the Miami Department of Fire and Rescue, officials said Friday.
Members of the Urban Search and Rescue Team on Florida Task Force 2 recovered the girl’s body Thursday night, Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban said in a statement.
The girl’s father did not find her body, officials said, adding that other team members alerted him Thursday night. The girl’s name was not made public at the request of the family.
Officials Friday released the names of three people who died in the collapse. Bonnie Epstein, 56; Claudio Bonnefoy, 85 and Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69 were recovered over the past two days.

Criticism of the former Surfside building official

Aamid the increased scrutiny of the condo board and its response to a 2018 report citing “major structural damage,” the actions of the city are also getting fresh attention.
Surfside’s former building official, Rosendo “Ross” Prieto, assured residents of Champlain Towers South that their building was “in very good shape” in November 2018, despite having received a report warning of “major structural damage.”
He worked for the city of Miami Beach as a senior building inspector from about 2007 to 2013. In an April 2012 email, Prieto’s boss expressed frustration with Prieto’s attendance issues.
“[I] am having problems with him for coming late, not calling on time when sick, forgetting to punch in or out, not answering the phone, etc. I suggest to have a meeting with him to establish disciplinary actions,” the email stated, noting that Prieto missed inspections that day.
Prieto had emailed his boss earlier that afternoon saying he had “been fighting a sinus infection for almost a year” and “had a bad reaction to [his] medications.”
He was suspended weeks later for missing work twice within a 12-month period without his supervisor’s authorization on two occasions. A 2013 performance review stated that he was absent an excessive number of days and arrived late 22 times in a one-year period, according to documents, which were first reported by The New York Times.
A 2007 memo about Prieto’s initial hiring in Miami Beach stated that he brought “extensive industry experience and education” to the job. A spokesperson for the city told CNN he left the job in good standing.
Prieto has not responded to CNN’s multiple requests for comment.
Prieto led the building department in Surfside in 2018 when it became the target of mounting complaints by residents and contractors — so much so that the town manager at the time told CNN he placed the office under administrative review.
The city of Doral, Florida, said it began reviewing eight projects Prieto had worked on since arriving in the position in May “out of an abundance of caution.”
“The internal review of the work done by Mr. Prieto is an ongoing process by our licensed experts,” a spokesperson for Doral said Friday in a statement.

Condo association challenges

Max Friedman, a former member of the condo association, told CNN on Friday that board resignations — largely over how to find the $ 15 million that was needed to fix the building’s many structural issues — held up the much-needed repairs.
“I would never quit a board — I think that’s terrible,” said Friedman, who was a member from 2011 until 2016 and lives in Manhattan. When asked about the general sentiment among residents, he said, “there was confusion” and he personally felt the resignations of board members were “inappropriate.”
As the investigation continues into what led to the partial collapse, public scrutiny has turned to the condo board.
“We know that answers will take time as part of a comprehensive investigation and we will continue to work with city, state, local, and federal officials in their rescue efforts, and to understand the causes of this tragedy,” the board said Friday in a statement.
Still, Friedman was careful to note that he didn’t think the board could have possibly known that the building was in immediate danger.
“The township didn’t tell us,” said Friedman, referring to Prieto, who was Surfside’s building official at the time.
Friedman described Champlain Towers South as a tight-knit community of residents from all over the world. He said one of the residents he was close with is among the confirmed dead, and other friends are unaccounted for.
“Every civil engineer from here to the moon is now drawing conclusions,” Friedman said. “Eventually, it’ll be determined what caused this.”

Author: Jason Hanna, Aya Elamroussi and David Shortell, CNN
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Hurricane Elsa races toward Haiti, could hit Florida; storm threatens to unleash landslides

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Hurricane Elsa raced toward Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday, where it threatened to unleash flooding and landslides before taking aim at Cuba and Florida.

The Category 1 storm was located about 110 miles (175 kilometers) east-southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic and was moving west-northwest at 31 mph (50 kph). It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph), with the hurricane expected to become a tropical storm after hitting Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The long-term forecast track showed it heading toward Florida as a tropical storm by Tuesday morning, but some models would carry it into the Gulf or up the Atlantic Coast.

In Haiti, authorities used social media to alert people about the hurricane and urged them to evacuate if they lived near water or mountain flanks.

“The whole country is threatened by this hurricane,” the Civil Protection Agency said in a statement. “Make every effort to escape before it’s too late.”

WATCH: Big changes made to the hurricane season this year

Haiti is especially vulnerable to floods and landslides because of widespread erosion and deforestation.

People were still buying water and food as the storm approached, with many wary about its immediate and long-term impact in a country struggling with an increase in gang violence and deep political unrest.

“I’m protecting myself the best that I can. Civil protection is not going to do that for me,” said Darlene Jean-Pierre, 35, as she bought six jugs of water along with vegetables and fruit. “I have other worries about the street … I have to worry about gangs fighting. In addition to this, we have a hurricane. I don’t know what kind of catastrophe this is going to cause.”

A hurricane warning was issued for Jamaica and from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince to Punta Palenque in the Dominican Republic. A hurricane watch was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba. Some of those provinces have reported a high number of COVID-19 infections, raising concerns that the storm could force large groups of people to seek shelter together.

“Anticipating is the key word,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, adding that vaccination efforts would continue. “Let’s take care of lives and property.”

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, authorities opened more than 2,400 shelters as forecasters warned of heavy rains starting Saturday before dawn.

Elsa is forecast to brush past the southernmost point of Hispaniola by Saturday afternoon and then take aim at communities in southern Haiti.

The storm already had ripped off roofs, destroyed crops and downed trees and power lines in the eastern Caribbean on Friday, with damage reported in Barbados, St. Lucia and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which also suffered massive volcanic eruptions that began in April.

At least 43 homes and three police stations were damaged, said St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

“We expect that this number will increase as reports keep coming in,” he said. “We have some damage, but it could have been far worse.”

In St. Lucia, the wind damaged a secondary school, pummeling desks, overturning chairs and sending papers flying after blowing off the roof and siding.

Elsa is the first hurricane of the Atlantic season and the earliest fifth-named storm on record. It is forecast to drop 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain with maximum totals of 15 inches (38 centimeters) across portions of southern Hispaniola and Jamaica.


Sanon reported from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: AP
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Threats of another collapse, storm challenge Miami-area condo search and rescue

SURFSIDE, Florida — With days of tireless recovery efforts behind them, search and rescue teams face added challenges with a storm in the forecast and the rest of the Surfside, Florida, condo building threatening to collapse.

Rescue teams have been combing through up to 16 feet of concrete since part of the Champlain Towers South came crashing down early last Thursday. So far, 18 people have been confirmed dead and 145 people are still unaccounted for.

But concerns about the integrity of the parts of the building still standing could add another level of difficulty to the painstaking recovery efforts.

Work was halted for much of the day Thursday as engineers assessed the structure still standing.

WATCH: Tourist records water pouring from Florida condo, rubble moments before collapse

Access to the collapse zone was then restricted due to safety concerns, but engineers are conducting tests to expand the search into more areas as it becomes safe to do so, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Thursday evening.

“Our firefighters looked really, really excited to get back there,” she said, adding, “I am grateful to their hard work that got us back to work on the search and rescue.”

Officials estimated it could be weeks before the rest of the building was demolished.

However, State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said the demolition “might be sooner than we’re anticipating” because of the heavier equipment needed and potential complications to the weight that keeps the still-standing sections in place,

MORE:9/11 fire commissioner sees ‘less hope’ in finding condo collapse survivors

“The timing of it is still yet to be determined, but in order to complete what it takes, in order to finish the mission, the building will have to go,” he said. “It’s just too much of a risk.”

Another timing obstacle is that Tropical Storm Elsa has Surfside in its extended forecast cone. Division Director for Office of Emergency Management Charles Cirillo said the county faces the risk of heavy rainfall and strong winds from Elsa from Sunday night into Monday morning.

Other buildings to be evaluated

Teams going through the debris have still not yet found a single trigger for the collapse. And as investigators look into what caused the devastation, city officials are working to prevent damage elsewhere.
The town of Surfside has requested that all buildings over the age of 30 and more than three stories high begin to examine their structures before the 40-year building recertification program, a letter to property owners said Thursday.

Buildings will need to hire a registered structural engineer to perform an analysis of the building and are also requested to hire a registered geotechnical engineer “to perform an analysis of the foundation and subsurface soils.”

Repairs to the Champlain Towers South as part of the 40-year-recertification process had just begun when the collapse happened.

Some reports have surfaced of wear and damage to the building in the years leading up to the collapse, and some officials and residents have accused the building of not doing enough to prevent the incident.

SEE ALSO: What we know about those missing, dead in the Miami-area condo collapse

A lawsuit on behalf of a family suing the Champlain Towers South condo association alleges Morabito Consultants, which performed a structural analysis of the building in 2018, did not do enough to keep occupants safe by failing to examine the building’s sub-surface foundation.

The suit was filed by attorneys for the family of Harold Rosenberg, who remains unaccounted for, and further alleges that after the 2018 report was completed the condo association and Morabito Consultants should have submitted a written report to the town of Surfside certifying that the condo was structurally safe. “The Morabito report did not certify that the building ‘is structurally and electrically safe…for continued occupancy,'” the suit states.

“Instead, in an apparent attempt to wash away its failures in the wake of this tragedy, Defendant Morabito submitted this report… approximately 16 hours after the Champlain Towers South building collapsed,” the suit states, referring to a document filed with the town of Surfside on June 24.

WATCH: Little fingers, screams lead dog walker to find boy trapped in Florida condo collapse rubble

The report was conducted by engineer Frank Morabito for the building’s condo association as part of the Champlain Towers South’s 40-year recertification effort.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Morabito Consultants, said: “While we cannot comment on active or pending litigation, the firm’s 2018 report for the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association offered detailed findings and recommendations regarding extensive and necessary structural repairs for the condo building. We continue to work closely with the investigating authorities to understand why the structure failed and are praying for the families and loved ones of all who are have been impacted by this tragic event.”

President Biden’s emotional visit

On Thursday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with the search and rescue personnel, first responders and some the families of the 145 people still unaccounted for.

“Unfortunately, I’ve done a lot of these circumstances where I’ve met with families who’ve had great loss,” the President said after the three-hour meeting. “And what amazed me with this group of people was the resilience, the absolute commitment, their willingness to do whatever it took.”

He added: “I walked away impressed by their strength.”

But after the eighth day of searching, he also noted the devastating understanding in the families.

“The families here are very realistic — they know the longer it goes,” he said, his voice trailing.

He noted that local FEMA personnel and local first responders took all of the families of those unaccounted for to the site of the collapse to see it up close, describing painful details.

“They’re all realists. They all look and they see those floors — it’s literally feet — cement upon cement upon cement,” he said.

That didn’t suggest efforts should stop, he said.

Steve Rosenthal, whose condo was one unit away from where the building collapsed, said Biden’s visit to survivors and families of those missing was “very uplifting.”

He said, “There must’ve been 200 people in that room. And he walked around and talked to every single person. And as long as that person was talking to him, he listened. And I’m not embellishing this at all. If a person talked for six minutes, he sat there and listened for six minutes.”

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This post originally appeared on ABC13