‘Texas can handle anything:’ Trump rallies hurricane victims as he surveys storm’s damage

President Trump mounted the front bumper of a fire truck in Corpus Christi, Texas on Tuesday, waving a Texas flag and telling the gathered crowd, "We love you. You are special. We are here to take care of you."Trump came to Texas to survey the damage from Hurricane Harvey and rally communities still trying to escape flood waters caused by more than three feet of rain on the Texas coast before weakening to a tropical storm on its way to Louisiana. Trump said he may return to Texas and Louisiana over the weekend.The storm has created the most severe natural disaster of Trump's presidency, with more than 1.7 million people under evacuation orders and search and rescue operations still underway in and around Houston."It's historic, its epic, but I will tell you it happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything," Trump told hundreds of cheering supporters outside a firehouse where he had just received a briefing from federal agencies responding to the disaster.On his way to meet with emergency officials, his motorcade passed trees, signs and fences knocked down by the hurricane's 130 m.p.h. winds. He then flew to Austin, where he toured the state's emergency operations center and described the storm as a "monster known as Harvey.""It sounds like such an innocent name," he said. "But it's not innocent."But as he toured the state aboard Air Force One, Trump consciously flew past Houston, much of which remains under water. Instead, he watched television coverage from Houston aboard the plane. There, a police officer drowned while trying to respond to the disaster, and a levee to the south breached — prompting emergency calls to evacuate. More: 'GET OUT NOW': Levee breached near Houston in Hurricane Harvey aftermath Forecast: Here's where Harvey is moving next. Harvey pounds Texas: What we know now Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump intentionally avoided the areas most Continue Reading

UBS: Hurricane Harvey to wreak havoc on blood supplies

SAN ANGELO — United Blood Services is asking Concho Valley residents to donate blood Saturday, Aug. 26 in anticipation of a donor deficit related to Hurricane Harvey.United Blood Services expects the storm will cause closures of mobile blood drives and donor centers, according to a news release. Further adding to a blood deficit, UBS expects the need for blood to rise because of accidents and injuries related to the storm.“Our hearts and prayers go out everyone in the storm’s path,” said Linda Grace, senior donor recruitment rep with UBS. “As a unified blood provider, we want to ensure that blood is available to our neighbors in this time of need. If you are able, please consider donating blood.”Donors who wish to participate can do so at 2020 W. Beauregard in San Angelo from noon-6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays. Those who wish to donate may call 877-827-4376.UBS will hold blood drives in the following surrounding communities as well: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in San Angelo, 7 W. Ave. N. 3:30-6:15 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rowena, 506 Edward St. 3-7 p.m. Monday at First Baptist Church in Robert Lee, 22 W. 11th St.Blood donors must be at least 16, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16-17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.For more information, visit bloodhero.com. ----- More Top Stories reads for you: • NWS: Nope, Harvey not coming this way • Hurricane Harvey strengthens to Category 2 storm as thousands flee the Texas Gulf coast • Grape Creek man has been fighting fires for free since 1982 • Harvey 2017 Live Coverage: CCISD announces Monday classes canceled Continue Reading

Hurricane Irene heading towards NYC: Duct tape, batteries, water running out, New Yorkers on edge

Batteries and flashlights were like gold Friday as nervous New Yorkers cleaned out hardware stores of storm staples while Hurricane Irene churned toward the city. "We sold out of over 400 flashlights in about four minutes," said Kendall Doyle, a worker at the Doody Home Center in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. "People are very concerned. They've been here non-stop." Sandbags, tarps, duct tape, masking tape - all these items have been flying off the shelves, and it's given the owners an unexpected windfall, he said. "The bosses are excited," Doyle said. "We hope that no one gets killed, but we appreciate the business." LIVE STORM-TRACKER: Catch the latest news on Hurricane Irene Raquel Berry, 29, and her mom, JoAnn Piazza, 59, both Sheepshead Bay high school teachers, picked up tarps for their already leaky ceiling, another filter for the pool, duct tape for the windows - and extra locks for the doors. "We're just staying home," Berry said. "We can't go anywhere. We can only pray that the tarp holds and it doesn't rain in our house." Linda Hanrahan, 52, stocked up on flashlights. "I'm scared, of course," said Hanrahan, who lives in low-lying Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, with her husband and their poodle. But she is not leaving until the cops tell her to go. "I'm going down with the ship," she said. "I want to stay in my house and watch over my possessions. I can't afford to leave."John Monti of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn stocks up on water. (John Roca/News) Over at Prince Lumber in the West Village, sandbags were all the rage. By noon, they had sold 1,500 of them - two-thirds of them to a Jane Street restaurant. "It's been 50/50 between contractors, and then building owners, restaurants and small businesses," said sales manager Mike Kurtz. "It hasn't been this crazy since 9/11 when the firefighters ran in and grabbed every mask and flashlight and duct tape they could find. We just gave it to them." Just then, a screaming match broke out between Continue Reading

Hurricane Fred grows to Category 3 in Atlantic, as Tropical Storm Linda moves further into Pacific

MIAMI — Hurricane Fred has gained strength to become the second major hurricane of the Atlantic season but remains far out at sea without threatening land.The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Fred gained strength Wednesday to a Category 3 storm. It's projected five-day path will keep it over the open ocean until it loses steam.Fred's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 mph. The storm is expected to weaken again Thursday.The storm is centered about 540 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and moving west-northwest near 13 mph.Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Linda is drifting slowly far out over the Pacific with maximum sustained winds near 65 mph. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Tropical Storm Fred strengthens over Atlantic, as Linda remains constant in the Pacific

Miami - Tropical Storm Fred is getting stronger a day after forming in the eastern Atlantic.Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Linda is moving slowly with no change in strength far out over the Pacific.Tropical Storm Fred's maximum sustained winds increased to near 50 mph (85 kph) early Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Fred is expected to strengthen and could become a hurricane in the next few days.Fred is centered about 285 miles (460 kilometers) southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and moving west near 15 mph (24 kph).In the Pacific, Linda's maximum sustained winds remain near 60 mph (95 kph). The storm is centered about 1,320 miles (2,125 kilometers) west-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Hurricane Rick weakens in Pacific, but is still dangerous

MEXICO CITY - Hurricane Rick weakened in the eastern North Pacific on Sunday but was still a dangerous storm that forecasters said could veer into resorts at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula by midweek. Rick's winds had decreased by Sunday night to 145 mph (230 kph), making it a Category 4 hurricane - down from its peak winds of 180 mph (285 kph) as a Category 5 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said. The storm is expected to weaken further over the next couple of days, but forecasters said a hurricane watch may be required for parts of southern Baja California on Monday. They said they expected Rick to make landfall by midweek as a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane, with winds ranging from 74 mph (120 kph) to 110 mph (177 kph). As of 11 p.m. EDT Sunday (0300 GMT Monday), the eye was centered about 410 miles (660 kilometers) south of the peninsula town of Cabo San Lucas. The storm was moving toward the northwest near 13 mph (20 kph). Rick threatened to disrupt a major sport-fishing tournament scheduled to start Wednesday in Los Cabos, where hundreds of fishermen - mainly Americans - were gathering. Los Cabos' civil defense director, Francisco Cota, said authorities were already weighing plans to open storm shelters and start police patrols urging residents of low-lying neighborhoods to evacuate. The first inhabited land in Rick's path is Socorro Island, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) southwest of Cabo San Lucas, where about 103 personnel from the Mexican Navy and other government agencies are based. The mainland base that commands the detachment said Navy personnel on the island reported some wind and rain and lowered communications antennas to prevent them from being blown away when the hurricane passes near the island Monday. Isla Socorro is a nature reserve that hosts the Navy detachment as well as scuba-diving expeditions. It's still far from clear where the storm will hit land, but the early forecast path Continue Reading

GOP convention turns to appeal for hurricane aid

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Republicans hurried to turn the opening day of their national convention into a fundraising drive for hurricane victims, with presidential candidate John McCain's wife and first lady Laura Bush appealing for Gulf Coast help. McCain visited a disaster relief center in Ohio. Party officials in St. Paul kept a watchful eye on still-dangerous Hurricane Gustav Monday to decide next steps for their shortened convention. They said they still expected McCain to address the convention at Thursday night's finale. Meanwhile, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, said in a statement that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter was five months pregnant. The campaign said the announcement was made to rebut Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter's. CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATIONMcCain's wife, Cindy, and Mrs. Bush were expected to address the abbreviated convention session on relief efforts. Mrs. Bush told Texas delegates she and Cindy McCain would talk about "what people around the country, as well as the people here — the delegates here — can do to help specific states." President Bush, whose administration was widely accused of a botched handling of the Katrina disaster three years ago, traveled to Texas rather than to St. Paul, where he had been scheduled to speak on the opening night of the Republican National Convention. Bush planned visits to Austin and San Antonio to visit staging grounds for hurricane response efforts. There was no word on whether he would address the convention at some point by satellite. Democrats also swung their attention to the hurricane. Presidential nominee Barack Obama altered his campaign schedule to return to his Chicago headquarters to monitor the storm's progress. His 16 campaign offices in North Carolina solicited nonperishable goods for Gustav's victims. Other state campaign organizations may do the same, Obama aides said. Obama Continue Reading

Hurricane Felix builds to Category 5

ORANJESTAD, Aruba — Hurricane Felix rapidly strengthened into a dangerous Category 5 storm Sunday and churned its way into the open waters of the Caribbean Sea after toppling trees and flooding some homes on a cluster of Dutch islands. Felix was packing winds of up to 165 mph as it headed west, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. It was projected to skirt Honduras' coastline on Tuesday before slamming into Belize on Wednesday. A hurricane watch was issued for parts of Honduras, where authorities were keeping a close eye on the storm but had not begun any evacuations. Along the northern coastline, tourists were still lounging by the pool and enjoying the sun, hoteliers said. In Belize, residents stocked up on water and food, and nailed boards over windows to protect against the hurricane's howling winds. Many who lived in low-lying areas were seeking higher ground. On Sunday, Felix lashed Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire with rains and winds, causing scattered power outages and forcing thousands of tourists to take refuge in hotels. But residents expressed relief it did far less damage than feared as the storm's outer bands grazed the tiny islands. "Thankfully we didn't get a very bad storm. My dog slept peacefully through the night," said Bonaire medical administrator Siomara Albertus, who waited out the storm in her home with her Labrador Retriever. The storm forced tens of thousands of tourists and residents on the three islands to remain in their homes and hotels, stocked with water, flashlights and emergency provisions. In Curacao, about a dozen homes in a low-lying area were flooded. In Aruba, there was little visible damage, although at least one catamaran snapped off its mooring and a house was damaged by a downed tree. A northern settlement had a temporary power outage. Many Bonaire residents had prepared for the worst, installing storm shutters and hauling their boats ashore, but the storm's winds left little damage. Felix Continue Reading

Trainer Linda Rice wins sixth race in as many tries at Saratoga

Check out our Toga Party blogSARATOGA SPRINGS - Linda Rice was in the winner's circle after the first race yesterday. She might just as well have declared it her official residence. Rice won for the sixth time in six starts, a streak that went largely unnoticed since it occurred over four days and did not include any high-profile stakes. Still, it's a remarkable accomplishment that puts the capper on one of her strongest Spa showings ever. "I've won four graded stakes in one meet, with Tenski, and City Zip won all the 2-year-old (colt) stakes in one year (2000), so I've had some very nice meets up here," said Rice, who is in a three-way tie for second in the standings with Gary Contessa and Todd Pletcher. "I've had horses that have run very well this meet and they're 'live.' Even horses running second and third, we've had a lot of near-misses. It's been a good season." The 43-year-old Rice, who got her trainer's license when she was 23, said a big reason for her success this summer could be credited to coming to the grounds as soon as training opened in May. "I moved my second division out of New Jersey here to Saratoga from Miami during the off-season," she said. "This is the first time I've stabled here six months of the year at Saratoga. I've had more horses ready to run for the meet, which creates more opportunities. I think that's made a big difference for me." Rice has long had a reputation for having a winning touch with 2-year-olds, and said her clients tend to be the kind of owners looking for a quick return on their investment. Some of her owners include the Karakorum Racing partnership and local car salesman William Fuccillo, who is kind of the "Crazy Eddie" of Albany-area late-night television commercials. "Usually I buy precocious horses, whether they be weanlings, yearlings, or 2-year-olds," she said. "I'm always looking for, as Wayne Lukas would say, speed, speed and more speed. I buy speed because I want to get them to the winner's circle Continue Reading


With her guest appearance on CW Network's horror-themed "Supernatural" tonight, Linda Blair expects the inevitable questions about her role in the classic film "The Exorcist." After all, the 47-year-old actress' entire career has been haunted by her turn as a possessed child who spews both vomit and profanity-laced blasphemy in the 1973 blockbuster. "I'm proud of it ... but it has nothing to do with what I am as an adult," said Blair. "I think I have been extremely polite about answering questions about 'The Exorcist' almost every single day of my life." Blair would rather discuss the character she plays in the "Supernatural" episode: Detective Diana Ballard is a streetwise cop investigating Sam and Dean Winchester when one of them is seemingly caught red-handed at a murder scene. As fans of the show know, the Winchester brothers are secretly on a cross-country mission to investigate paranormal phenomenon. So it isn't long before the skeptical homicide detective is drawn into a world beyond the usual chalk outlines. "I will tell you that [screenwriter] Cathryn Humphris wrote an amazing, dynamic role that any female in television would be glad to have under their belt," said Blair. But it's no coincidence the part of Ballard was written with her in mind. "Linda is scary-movie royalty, and so having her play a part in 'Supernatural' meant a lot to us," said Eric Kripke, the show's creator. Blair had turned down an offer to appear on "Supernatural" in its first season, opting to devote the majority of her time to her animal welfare charity, the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year, Blair traveled to Mississippi to rescue 51 abandoned dogs. Her "Born Innocent" campaign, to draw attention to child and animal abuse, is named after a controversial TV movie about sexual abuse in the home that she starred in as a teen. Yet Blair still manages to keep one foot in Hollywood. Tonight, the syndicated Continue Reading