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National parks could face flooding from sea level rise, storm surge

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By Brittany Martinez

NPS/Instagram(WASHINGTON) — The National Park Service has released its first-ever report on how the impact of sea level rise and flooding from storms could impact national parks around the country.

More than a quarter of the property managed by the park system is on a coast, according to the report, and many face increasing threats from rising sea levels connected to global warming and increased threats of flooding from storms in the coming decades.

The report had been edited to remove references to the human impact on climate change, causing Democrats to call for an investigation into whether the report was edited to remove references to the human impact on climate change, after a report from a nonprofit journalism organization reported that references to the human impact on climate change were removed from a draft of the report earlier this year.

The authors wrote that the National Park Service should be aware of the possible impacts of combined sea level rise and storm surge and that the report will help the National Park Service plan how to adapt.

“Sea level change and storm surge pose considerable risks to infrastructure, archaeological sites, lighthouses, forts, and other historic structures in coastal units of the national park system,” the authors explained.

National parks already face more than $11 billion in backlog for maintenance. Flooding or hurricanes can cause even more expensive damages. Repairs to national parks after Hurricane Sandy cost more than $370 million, according to the report.

The new report released Friday found that parks in Washington, D.C., face the highest sea level rise by 2100 but that the parks are not directly on a coast and that parks in the Capitol region are very close together so each park would be affected differently.

In the case of a category 2 hurricane, for example, the report found that as much as 3 meters of flooding could travel up the Potomac River, potentially causing flooding in almost every park in the Capitol area, including the museums and war memorials on the National Mall.

“Such a storm surge could be worse by the end of this century given projected sea level rise around the Capital region of up the 0.8 meters,” the report says.

National parks in the Southeast, especially the Everglades National Park, face threats from storm surge that are exacerbated by sea level rise, the report found. By the year 2100, the Wright Brothers National Memorial could be completely flooded if hit by a hurricane category 2 or higher, according to the report.

Research shows that global sea levels are changing because rising global temperatures from greenhouse gas emissions cause ice to melt, especially in places like Greenland and Antarctica. The report published by the National Park Service uses models from the United Nations’ climate change panel, National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration, and research from the University of Colorado Boulder to estimate how national parks could be affected by sea level rise if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels.

The lead author of the report, Maria Caffrey of the University of Colorado Boulder, wrote on her website that a draft was finished in February 2017. The draft had been delayed and officials from the National Park Service deleted references to humans’ role in climate change from draft versions of the report, according to nonprofit investigative news organization Reveal News’ April report.

Terms like “anthropogenic climate change” and “human activities” releasing carbon dioxide were crossed out of previous drafts of the report, according to Reveal News. The phrases were in the version made public on Friday.

A spokesman said in an email to ABC News that the Park Service was confident the report was accurate and the final language of the document was a result of authors resolving conflicting edits.

“During multiple rounds of review, recommendations and suggested edits that focused the report on issues specific to national park units were offered for consideration by the author team. As often occurs, the author team experienced disagreements regarding the relative merits of incorporating some of the recommendations received before the report was finalized,” the National Park Service spokesman said, adding, “The scientists preparing this report were doing just that when working drafts of the report were published in the news media before the authors had completed their deliberations.”

Democrats requested that the Interior Department’s internal watchdog look into whether the department was censoring scientists who worked on climate change, which would violate the agency’s scientific integrity policy. The Inspector General Office has started looking into questions posed by lawmakers, according to Nancy DiPaolo, the Interior Department Inspector General’s spokeswoman.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


New eruption from Kilauea in Hawaii

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By Brittany Martinez

Mario Tama/Getty Images(PUNA, Hawaii) — Kilauea, the volcano in Hawaii that began erupting almost three weeks ago, exploded again Monday evening, authorities said.

The latest eruption occurred around 5:51 p.m. local time, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, citing a report from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

“Eruptive lava activity at multiple fissures continues with one flow entering the ocean,” the agency said in a post on Facebook. “Fissure 22 continues to produce most of the lava feeding the flows.”

Lava from Fissure 22 has reached Puna Geothermal Venture property and “county, state, and federal partners have been collaborating closely to monitor the situation and work with PGV to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities,” the agency wrote in its post.

Residents nearby should be prepared to leave the area, as gas levels remain high.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Suspenseful bodycam video shows dramatic wildfire evacuations: Video

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By Brittany Martinez

ABCNews.com(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) — Suspenseful body-camera footage of last year’s deadly Santa Rosa wildfires shows officers racing to evacuate residents in the middle of the night as flames destroyed the surrounding neighborhood, according to The Santa Rosa Police department, which released snippets of footage on its YouTube page.

One video shows officers banging on a door and yelling for residents to exit a home as a wall of flames rages in the backyard.

Another video appears to show two officers carrying an elderly resident down the stairs, outside and into a squad car.

“There is a fire coming your way — you need to leave now,” another officer announced over a squad car loudspeaker.

In one rescue, a resident who appears to be disoriented, asks, “Is my home on fire?”

ABC News previously reported that more than 40 people died in the wildfires, which also destroyed thousands of homes, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Santa Rosa, a city of about 175,000 in Sonoma County, was among the hardest-hit areas, with at least 2,834 homes, businesses and other buildings destroyed. Critical infrastructure was also lost in the flames, including the city’s fire station, according to Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


New details reveal how police ended deadly firefight with Texas school shooter

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By Brittany Martinez

Galveston County Sheriff’s Office(SANTA FE, Texas) — “Heroes” inside Santa Fe High School last week cornered the mass shooter within four minutes, keeping him contained until additional officers arrived to evacuate teachers and students, the Galveston County Sheriff said.

“Four minutes is about the only timeline that we need to key in on,” Sheriff Henry Trochesset said Monday evening, offering new details on how police managed to stop the gunman in Friday’s deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

“The heroes from that [Independent School District] engaged this individual in approximately four minutes and stayed engaged with him, keeping him contained and engaged,” Trochesset said, “so the other heroes — that continued to arrive — could evacuate the teachers administrators in the students from this school.”

Speaking at a press conference, Trochesset revealed that his children and grandchildren are students at Santa Fe High School and his wife attended the school.

“My granddaughter was three doors down from where this occurred in that school,” Trochesset said. “Her best friend that spent the night at my house, swam in my pool, is dead.”

“This tragedy in this community touches home more than you’d imagine,” he added.

The sheriff said the deadly shooting ended with the suspect being trapped in a room, with police in a hallway. By the end, about 200 law enforcement officers descended on the scene to help school district officers apprehend the suspect, Trochesset said, adding that the entire ordeal lasted about 25 minutes.

Trochesset also said he doesn’t believe that any students were killed in law enforcement’s crossfire, but they would need to wait on autopsy reports to confirm.

“From what I’ve seen, I don’t believe any of the individuals that were killed were from the law enforcement,” he said.

Alleged gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, was arrested Friday morning after he opened fire on two art classrooms at the school, killing 10 and wounding 13 others. He’s currently being held at the Galveston County Jail where he’s under suicide watch, Trochesset said.

Pagourtzis, who’s been charged with capital murder, allegedly was armed with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver, both of which were legally owned by his father.

Pagourtzis’ attorney, Nick Poehl, told ABC News on Monday that other students told him that his client had been bullied by students and adults at Santa Fe High School.

“It’s something that we’re looking into,” Poehl said. “This weekend Santa Fe ISD released a statement saying they had investigated the claims of bullying and found them to be not true.”

“That was released less than 24 hours after the incident occurred,” Poehl added. “It’s not clear what the nature of that investigation was except that it is clear that they didn’t reach out to any of the kids that were on TV claiming that it occurred, so we have some questions about that investigation.”

The suspect’s father, Antonios Pagourtzis, referred to his son as a “good boy” who was “bullied at school” in an interview on Monday.

“He never got into a fight with anyone. I don’t know what happened,” the elder Pagourtzis told the Wall Street Journal in a phone interview on Monday. “I hope God helps me and my family understand. We are all devastated.”

“It would have been better,” he added, “if he shot me than all those kids.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


What is lava haze and why is it so dangerous?

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Mario Tama/Getty Images(HILO, Hawaii) — Lava from the Kilauea volcano is pouring into the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii’s Big Island, creating a new, dangerous hazard known as “laze.”

When the lava enters the ocean, it generates a laze plume — a dangerous mix of lava and haze that can cause eye, lung and skin irritation.

Laze plumes can travel with the wind and can change direction quickly, which has prompted authorities to urge the public to avoid the area completely. Authorities have warned that the most dangerous place to be exposed to “laze” is near the entry point of the lava into the sea. Even being downwind of the entry point is not advised because the wispy edges of the laze can cause skin and eye irritation and difficulty breathing.

The U.S. Coast Guard is also helping keep people away from the coast and only allowing permitted tour boats into the area.

According to the United States Geological Survey, “laze” is when molten lava flows into the ocean, reacting vigorously with seawater to create a different type of gas plume that results in hazy and noxious conditions downwind of an ocean entry. It forms through a series of chemical reactions as hot lava boils the colder seawater to dryness.

Charlie Mandeville of the Volcano Hazards Program at the USGS told ABC News “the trade winds in Hawaii are currently blowing the laze to the southwest direction, causing the southeast shore of Kilauea to be at highest risk of the plume.”

He said that the plume is an irritating mixture of hydrochloric acid gas, steam and tiny volcanic glass particles.

The ocean-entry plume can also cause acid rain that has a pH between 1.5 and 3.5, which has the corrosive properties of diluted battery acid.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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