Thousands of Florida residents evacuated homes Sunday as Subtropical Storm Alberto picked up strength as it headed north through the Gulf of Mexico, with forecasters saying it could bring life-threatening inundation to Southern coastal states.
The storm was about 105 miles south of Apalachicola, Fla., on the Gulf of Mexico coast as of 8 p.m. and was expected to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle on Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of 2018, which spun up days before the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season, was packing maximum sustained winds near 65 mph and was expected to drop as much as 12 inches of rain, slamming an area from Mississippi to western Georgia, the Miami-based hurricane center said.
After that, it will bring powerful winds and heavy rains as it moves into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, the hurricane center said. The storm comes during the Memorial Day weekend and was expected to scramble transportation Monday as many people return from holiday travel.
Franklin County, in the Florida Panhandle, issued a mandatory evacuation for its barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico affecting about 4,200 housing units, while Taylor County, to the east, has a voluntary evacuation order in place for its coastal areas.
Lava from the Kilauea volcano reached a geothermal power plant on the Big Island on Sunday, approaching wells that have been capped to protect against the release of toxic gas should they mix with lava.
The lava breached the property overnight and was within 200 yards of the nearest well, said David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mike Kaleikini, a plant spokesman, told the news agency Hawaii News Now that the lava was as close as 130 feet to the wells. He said there was no indication of the release of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide, the greatest fear should lava hit the wells.
“As long as conditions are safe, we will have personnel on site. Primary concern is sulfur dioxide from the eruption and lava coming on site. We monitor for hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide on a continuous basis,” Kaleikini said.
Steve Brantley of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the flow seemed to have halted Sunday morning after moving slowly into the proximity of the wells overnight.
Lava had previously crossed onto an older part of the property, officials said. But it is now on 40 acres of the plant that are operational.
— Associated Press
Spam recalled: The Agriculture Department is recalling more than 228,000 pounds of Spam and another product made by Minnesota-based Hormel after four consumers complained about metal objects in the food. The Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said the canned chicken and pork in question was produced in February at the company's plant in Fremont, Neb. The agency said "minor oral injuries" had been reported. The recall covers 12-ounce metal cans containing "SPAM Classic" with a "Best By" date of February 2021. The recall also includes 12-ounce metal cans of "Hormel Foods Black-Label Luncheon Loaf" with a "Best By" date of February 2021.
Defaced gravestones cleaned: A manager at a cemetery in Glen Carbon, Ill., where gravestones were spray-painted with swastikas said Sunday that most of the markers have been cleaned and will be in good condition as families visit on Memorial Day. Cleaners scrubbed the paint off most of the more than 150 markers since Saturday morning, when the vandalism was discovered, family services manager Jeanne Brunette said by phone from Sunset Hill Cemetery. The cemetery is nondenominational, and there did not appear to be a pattern to which gravestones were defaced, Brunette said. Police in nearby Edwardsville said on Facebook that a 34-year-old man was apprehended Saturday in connection with the vandalism.
Wounded teacher gets aid: An online fundraiser has surpassed its $55,000 goal for a suburban Indianapolis teacher who was shot while tackling an armed student. A local high school student started the GoFundMe campaign for science teacher Jason Seaman. Officials say the 29-year-old former college football player was shot three times Friday as he tackled the shooter Friday inside his classroom at Noblesville West Middle School. By Sunday afternoon, more than $55,000 had been raised. Donations ranged from $10 to more than $3,000. Seaman was released from an Indianapolis hospital Saturday. The only other person shot, student Ella Whistler, was in critical but stable condition. Authorities have not release the shooter's name.
— From news services