Environment

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Sep 1, 2017

Harvey dominated the news this week. What’s estimated to be the costliest storm ever dropped trillions of gallons of water on Texas and Louisiana, leaving Houston and many other cities badly flooded.

It can be hard to grasp the full impact of what Harvey unleashed on the Gulf Coast of Texas. After all, the story has been told mostly at ground level: Texans wading across interstate highways, scores of people trapped in their homes, others piloting small boats to rescue them.

When a female honeybee hatches, her future holds one of two possible paths within the hive's caste system. She will become either a worker bee or a queen bee. And her fate is determined in part by the food she eats as a larva.

Louisiana's Hurricane Preparedness

Sep 1, 2017

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In northeast Houston, grocery stores are boarded up. Gas stations are closed. Streets are covered in a thin layer of dusty mud.

And, on block after block, homes are full of people; some returning after harrowing rescues and frustrating nights in shelters, others who never escaped their apartments as the water rose.

Earlier this week, as torrents of rain fell on Houston, Craig Boyan, CEO of the H-E-B supermarket chain, went on a video-taped tour of his company's emergency operations center in San Antonio, Texas. The company later made the video available online.

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Thursday marks the start of Eid al-Adha, the holiest Muslim day of the year. It celebrates the biblical story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice his son for God. The moment before the sacrifice, God intervened and sent a goat to take the boy's place.

Muslims around the world celebrate the holiday by sacrificing a goat, then eating it together with family and friends. But for many Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan, that tradition will be harder to follow this year.

Six days after Hurricane Harvey first crossed the Texas coast, Houston is still in rescue mode with people stranded in houses and apartments.

With the authorities overwhelmed by the scope of the flooding, private citizens have been rushing to Houston and towing their own boats to conduct rescues.

Rene Galvan has come to a makeshift boat launch on flooded Highway 90, looking for rescuers. In a soaked, blue hoodie, he sits anxiously in the bow of an aluminum boat, wondering how they're going to get to 14 members of his extended family who have been stranded by rising water.

A friend sent a photo to Jaime Botello's phone Wednesday that confirmed his fears: The house where his family has lived for 30 years is completely flooded.

"All the way to the top," he says.

And like most people in the Houston area, Botello, a welder who was at a shelter with his wife on Wednesday, doesn't have flood insurance. He says he can't afford it.

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Hurricane Harvey is a devastating reminder of how helpless we are when facing nature's human-dwarfing powers.

We dig holes and barricades, build dams and create ingenious systems of canals and levees. We try to pull the brakes on natural forces, or at least tame them. These measures protect us, and we surely would be worse off without them. We have come a long way since our cave dwellings.

On Sunday morning, as soon as she woke, Jessica Hulsey peeked outside her home in Houston's East End to see the impact of Hurricane Harvey. But it wasn't the rising water that surprised her.

"As soon as I opened the door, the smell hit my nose," she says.

At first she thought she may have left the gas can for her lawnmower out, because she says the smell was kind of like gasoline. But she hadn't. And, as it turns out, her neighbors say they smelled it, too.

"I was just asking myself, 'I wonder where this strong smell is coming from,'" she says.

Houston's Susceptibility To Flooding

Aug 30, 2017

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When Ecuadorean authorities boarded the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 earlier this month off the Galápagos Islands, they had little idea what awaited them.

President Trump pledged to rebuild Houston and Texas bigger and better than ever. However, earlier this month, he rescinded an Obama executive order that required flood-damaged property to be rebuilt higher and stronger. Trump also has proposed eliminating federal flood mapping and the federal government's top disaster agency.

Many parts of the United States face dual watery threats. First, giant storms like Harvey, which has dropped nine trillion gallons of water on Texas (enough to cover the lower 48 states with a puddle as deep as the height of three pennies).

Updated at 6:06 p.m. ET

President Trump visited Texas on Tuesday to show support for residents reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey and to assess the first stages of the federal recovery effort.

It was a lovely late summer afternoon at a beach in southern England. Sun, surf and not a cloud in the sky — until the strange "chemical haze" drifted in off the sea, that is. It was at that point the beachgoers found their eyes streaming tears and their throats growing sore, their gag reflex triggering as some began to vomit.

Then, the professionals in hazmat suits showed up.

More than a day later, authorities still aren't exactly sure what happened to people at Birling Gap beach on Sunday.

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Many people are wondering whether climate change has anything to do with Harvey's size and impact. NPR's science correspondent Christopher Joyce covers climate issues, and he is with us now. Hi, there.

CHRISTOPHER JOYCE, BYLINE: Hi, Kelly.

The rain just won't stop. More than two days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, the downgraded storm continues to dump water across the region.

So much rain has fallen in the Houston area that the National Weather Service has had to revamp its charts.

Climate researchers agree that climate change can be partially to blame for the devastation. Here's how it has (and hasn't) shaped the course of the storm.

No matter where you go in Kenya — from the vast expanses of the Great Rift Valley to the white-sand beaches off the Indian Ocean — one thing is a constant: plastic bags.

They hang off trees and collect along curbs. And in Kibera, a sprawling slum in Nairobi, there are so many of them that they form hills.

The catastrophic flooding in southeast Texas from now-Tropical Storm Harvey is grim, but amidst the disaster, there's also some good news.

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High Floods Trap Houston Residents In Home

Aug 27, 2017

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And we are continuing our special coverage of the storm in Houston by talking to the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner. He's with us on the line now. Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for speaking with us.

SYLVESTER TURNER: Thank you for having me.

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Houston Weather Forecast Update

Aug 27, 2017

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As we said earlier, Harvey has been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, but the rain is still falling and causing lots of problems, as we've been hearing. Joining us now is Eric Berger. He is a meteorologist of Space City Weather. Eric, thanks so much for joining us.

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