National News

Hurricane Ian live updates: Expected to be Category 3 by Monday night

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Ian, the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic season, is expected to rapidly intensify on Monday.

Ian is currently forecast to make landfall on the west coast of Florida or the Florida Panhandle by midday Thursday, though there is uncertainty about the hurricane's track and intensity.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a "state of emergency" for the entire state, with storm conditions "projected to constitute a major disaster."

The National Hurricane Center has advised residents of Cuba, the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula to have a hurricane plan in place and to closely follow forecast updates.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Sep 26, 11:36 AM EDT
Sarasota, Tampa-area schools close

Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa will be closed Monday through Thursday due to the storm. Instead, some schools will operate as storm shelters, the district said.

In Sarasota County, schools will be closed on Tuesday.

Sep 26, 11:34 AM EDT
First mandatory evacuation orders issued

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for coastal parts of Hillsborough County, Florida. Over 300,000 people are expected to evacuate, officials announced Monday, with emergency shelters opening at 2 p.m. Monday.

Hillsborough County could face up to 15 feet of storm surge and 30 straight hours of tropical storm force winds, Florida Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley said.

County Administrator Bonnie Wise added, “We did not make this decision easily, but the storm poses a serious threat, and we must do everything we can protect our residents.”

Sep 26, 10:43 AM EDT
NASA rolling Artemis rocket back off launch pad

NASA said it will roll the Artemis I rocket off the launch pad and back to the vehicle assembly building on Monday night due to the storm.

“Managers met Monday morning and made the decision based on the latest weather predictions associated with Hurricane Ian, after additional data gathered overnight did not show improving expected conditions for the Kennedy Space Center area,” NASA said in a statement. “The decision allows time for employees to address the needs of their families and protect the integrated rocket and spacecraft system.”

Sep 26, 10:08 AM EDT
Floodwater safety tips to remember

As Ian approaches, here are a few commonsense strategies to help avoid unnecessary risk from floodwaters:

--Before flooding, look up your neighborhood's flood zone and determine if your home or business is prone to flooding. Come up with an evacuation plan and make sure your car has a full tank of gas. Stock up on non-perishable foods.

--After flooding, ensure your drinking water is sanitized and wash your hands thoroughly after contact with floodwaters. Disinfect objects that have come into contact with floodwater before offering them to children or toddlers.

--Try to avoid exposure with floodwaters for long periods of time to prevent physical injury. Wear waterproof boots if you have them. Do not attempt to drive over flooded streets as it could damage the car and strand passengers.

Click here for more.

Sep 26, 10:01 AM EDT
White House closely monitoring Ian

The White House is “closely monitoring” the hurricane, a White House official told ABC News.

President Joe Biden approved Florida’s emergency assistance request this weekend “as soon as he received it,” the official said.

“He also directed his team to surge Federal assistance to the region well before landfall,” the official said. “FEMA has already deployed staff there and pre-positioned food, water, and generators.”

Biden was scheduled to travel to Florida on Monday but that trip has been postponed due to the storm.

-ABC News’ Karen Travers

Sep 26, 8:23 AM EDT
Hurricane watch issued for Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples

Ian is expected to become major Category 3 hurricane Monday night with winds of 115 mph.

As Ian passes Cuba, it’s expected to rapidly intensify, becoming a Category 4 hurricane as it moves through the Gulf. Hurricane warnings are in effect for Cuba and the Cayman Islands.

Models are split when it comes to Ian’s landfall in Florida; impacts could be as far north as Panama City and as far south as Fort Myers.

Some models forecast landfall by Wednesday afternoon between Tampa and Fort Myers, while other models predict landfall at the end of the week near Panama City or Apalachicola.

Hurricane watches have been issued in Tampa, Fort Myers and Naples.

-ABC News’ Max Golembo

Sep 26, 5:20 AM EDT
Storm becomes Hurricane Ian

The National Hurricane Center declared Ian a hurricane on Monday, as the storm gained strength on its way toward Florida.

"A Hurricane Watch has been issued along the west coast of Florida from north of Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay,” the center said on Monday.

- ABC News’ Max Golembo

Sep 25, 10:19 PM EDT
NASA to reconvene on whether to take Artemis rocket off launchpad

NASA hasn’t decided whether to leave its Artemis I rocket on the launchpad as it monitors Tropical Storm Ian's path toward Florida, the agency said Sunday.

The federal space agency’s mission managers will continue discussions on Monday about the next steps as its rocket was delayed again.

On Saturday, NASA scrapped its third planned launch attempt of Artemis I because of weather concerns. Artemis I was scheduled to launch on Sept. 27.

Engineers will decide if the rocket needs to roll back off the launch pad. If they do not roll it back, the next possible launch date is Sunday, Oct. 2.

Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to strengthen into a major hurricane as it nears Florida.

NASA had to scrub the first launch attempt on Aug. 29 because of a faulty temperature sensor and the second attempt on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

If the Oct. 2 launch doesn’t happen, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center until the team decides on the next date.

-ABC News' Gina Sunseri, Mary Kekatos and Nadine El-Bawab

Sep 25, 10:27 PM EDT
Ian strengthens once again, forecast to become hurricane on Monday

Tropical Storm Ian has strengthened with maximum sustained winds at 60 mph and is expected to get stronger throughout the night as atmospheric conditions become more favorable for the storm.

Ian is forecast to become a hurricane on Monday, becoming even more intense likely into Tuesday.

Ian is moving to the northwest to the Northwest at 12 mph, with the center located 160 miles away from Grand Cayman.

Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are expected to experience heavy rain, a heavy surge and possible flash flooding over the next 24 hours.

-ABC News' Dan Peck

Sep 25, 5:45 PM EDT
Ian weakens slightly but will regain strength overnight

Tropical Storm Ian has weakened slightly, but it is expected to not only strengthen but rapidly intensify overnight as it travels over warm waters in the Caribbean.

As of 5 p.m. ET, the storm system had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving west-northwest at 12 mph, with the center located about 220 miles away from Grand Cayman.

Dry air ahead of the storm has delayed the strengthening trend so far. But the rapid intensification is expected to occur Monday into Tuesday as the system continues across the northwestern Caribbean and closes in on western Cuba.

Over the next 24 hours, the outer bands will impact Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, bringing rounds of heavy rain, possible flash flooding and storm surge. Later Monday and into Monday night, Ian will be closing in on western Cuba and will likely bring significant wind and storm surge impacts to the region.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Grand Cayman and portions of western Cuba. A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of western Cuba, as well as the lower Florida Keys, including Key West.

As of 5 p.m., the forecast track was nudged slightly eastward. Overall, the forecast guidance variability and uncertainty will remain high, and the track for where the storm will be from the middle to the end of the week will continue to shift over the next 24 to 48 hours.

-ABC News' Dan Peck

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Video released of Los Angeles police officers fatally shooting man armed with airsoft rifle

Los Angeles Police Department

(LOS ANGELES) -- The Los Angeles Police Department released dramatic body-camera and surveillance footage over the weekend showing two officers responding to a domestic violence call this month and one of them fatally shooting a 19-year-old man who emerged from a home wielding what turned out to be an airsoft rifle, authorities said.

The incident occurred on Sept. 17 in the Vermont Vista neighborhood of southeast Los Angeles.

"We are still at the very early stages of this investigation, which can often take up to a year to complete," Capt. Kelly Muniz, a spokesperson for the LAPD, said in a video statement that accompanied the footage of the shooting.

The suspected gunman was identified as Luis Herrera, who had earlier called 911 twice requesting police be sent to his house and complaining that his father was allegedly drunk and beating his mother, police said.

"I tried to get involved and now he is attacking me," Herrera allegedly told the 911 dispatcher, according to a recording of the call also released by the LAPD.

Two officers arrived at the home at about 1:20 p.m., according to Muniz.

As one of the officers approached the front porch, Herrera allegedly emerged from the home wielding what appeared to be a black assault rifle, according to the body-camera video.

The officers immediately took cover at the side of the home, ordering the man to put down the weapon.

"However, he did not comply with officers commands and shouldered the rifle and pointed directly at the officers resulting in an officer-involved shooting," Muniz said in a narration of the body-camera video.

Police immediately called for backup as family members came out of the house and the officers ordered them to get back inside, according to the video.

"That's my son," a woman is heard screaming on the video as the mortally wounded Herrera laid on the ground outside his home, still clutching the rifle in his hands.

At one point, Herrera's father emerged from the home and told police the gun was an airsoft rifle that fires plastic projectiles, according to the video.

Following the shooting, the video showed police officers standing back from Herrera for several minutes, ordering him to let go of the gun as he appeared to continue moving, the video shows. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics eventually pronounced Herrera dead at the scene, authorities said.

The officer who fatally shot Herrera was identified as Luis Navarrete, who has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Once completed, the investigation is expected to be reviewed by Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, the city's Board of Police Commissioners and the Office of Inspector General to determine if Navarrete's use of deadly force complied with the LAPD's policies and procedures.

Muniz said investigators are collecting and analyzing additional evidence and added that an "understanding of the incident may change" depending on the review.

"We also do not draw any conclusions about whether the officers acted consistent with our policies and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete," Muniz said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Second student rower dies after apparent lightning strike on Florida lake

Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty Images

(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A student rower who was injured after an apparent lightning strike on a Florida lake last week has died, becoming the second fatality stemming from the weather-related incident.

"It is with broken hearts that we share the passing of a second rower involved in last Thursday's weather-related tragedy," North Orlando Rowing wrote on Facebook Saturday. "The NOR community is devastated and continues to focus on supporting our affected families and our entire NOR team during this difficult time. We continue to cooperate with local authorities and USRowing as they investigate the incident."

The group said it wouldn't provide further comment until the investigation is complete.

Members of the nonprofit rowing group were practicing at Lake Fairview in Orlando when the incident happened on Sept. 15, the Orlando Fire Department had told ABC News.

The next day, search teams from the Orlando Police Department, Orange County Fire and Rescue Department and Orlando's dive team discovered the body of another student who had gone missing after the apparent lightning strike.

"Preliminary reports indicate lightning struck the area," the fire department told ABC News in a statement earlier this month.

"We are incredibly saddened by this incident and appreciate the efforts of the multiple agencies who worked together over the past 24 hours to assist in the rescue," the fire department said at the time.

Five people were on board a vessel at the time, all believed to be students from various Central Florida schools, Orlando's fire department said.

Authorities and the United States Rowing Association are investigating the incident, according to North Orlando Rowing.

"We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and concern from around the world," North Orlando Rowing said Saturday. "Please continue to hold our families in your prayers."

ABC News' Melissa Gaffney, Meredith Deliso and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

9/11 Tunnel to Towers 5K race stirs memories each year for first responders

Courtesy Erica Johnston

(NEW YORK) -- Every year on the third Sunday of September, hundreds of runners gather in an IKEA parking lot in Brooklyn, New York right at the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Park tunnel, ready to run 3.2 miles into Manhattan for the Tunnel to Towers 5K -- commemorating 9/11.

The annual event honors fallen Brooklyn firefighter Stephen Siller who, while dressed in his full gear, ran through the Brooklyn Battery Park tunnel to Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001.

Siller, with Brooklyn Squad 1, learned the north tower of the World Trade Center complex had been hit by a plane just after he finished his shift. He turned around, grabbed his gear and drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

It was closed but Siller was determined, so he walked the rest of the way to the towers. He worked to save others in the aftermath of the attacks but died at the scene.

On Sunday, volunteer firefighter Erica Johnston was one of the runners in her own first-responder gear -- pants, jackets, suspenders and helmet -- in tribute to Siller and the other victims.

Johnston, from Long Island, ran the Tunnel to Towers 5K for the sixth year, she told ABC News. She said she felt the remnants of 9/11 as she finished the race.

"It's just in the air," Johnston said. "You are standing literally in the footprint of what happened that day and you're looking out … It just takes your breath away."

Johnston, who was in the sixth grade when the Twin Towers fell, said, "If you run this race and especially if you live in New York, you're from New York or the surrounding area, you've been affected by 9/11 in whatever way that is. It's just impossible not to feel that same sense of tremendous emotion."

When asked why he runs in his gear, Maine firefighter Jon Lee pointed to Siller's example: "He did it to save strangers' lives. He did that for others. He did that for us. And the least I can do to honor him is to run the same route in the same gear."

Westchester fireman Carlo Valente said, "It's a small sacrifice that we can do, the closest thing we can get to physically -- not mentally, not emotionally."

Valente's colleague Claude Sanz said he gives credit and honor to Siller, "who did this knowing that his friends and buddies were on the other side in hell." The race, to him, was a no-brainer: "we just do it."

Brooklyn Squad 1 lost 12 other firefighters that day, as well as Siller. They are honored with a statue outside of their former fire station.

The 5K supports the Tunnel to Towers foundation, founded after 9/11, which helps American first responders by providing mortgage-free homes to families with young children who have had relatives die in military service or as first responders.

The foundation builds homes for injured veterans and first responders while committing to end veteran homelessness and aiding victims of major U.S. disasters.

New York City firefighter Jon Stanton told ABC News that the fundraising race "means everything. It's about service, especially for us being firemen. This event represents everybody that has passed away over the 21 years."

The event also serves to remind new generations about 9/11 and the sacrifices that first responders and others made then -- and continue to make now -- to save lives

"So many people have forgotten what happened that day. It's just a page in a history book that they just glance over. I don't want to forget," Valente said.

He runs in honor of a firefighter who belonged to his squad who died on 9/11.

"I never met him … But I know that feeling that it gets forgotten. And it's not about us here now, but it's about them, their memories, what they've gone through and what they meant to their families and friends," Valente said.

As a young firefighter, Josh Coletta, from Ohio, said Sunday that he can feel the legacy of Sept. 11 in his own life.

"I wasn't alive at the time of 9/11 and still it impacts us all in different ways," he said.

Tunnel to Towers' foundation was created by Siller's older brother, Frank, in 2001. The first 5K was in 2002 and the race now happens annually on the last Sunday of September.

The group is supported by other races as well, like the Tower Climb, where participants climb up 104 flights of stairs in the Freedom Tower to the One World Observatory. Runners can also create teams for the New York City Marathon and Half Marathon to collect donations for the foundation.

The Tunnel to Towers foundation says it has raised more than $250 million to support veterans and first responders and provided more than 450 mortgage-free homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Congressman Lee Zeldin facilitated the foundation's donation of 10,000 KN95 face masks to be distributed to Suffolk County frontline workers.

The foundation also donated 140,000 face shields to New York City hospitals.

Running in 60 pounds of firefighter gear is a physical challenge. But Johnston, one the runners on Sunday, said she was reminded of "the gravity of the original situation -- where Steven Siller ran through the tunnel without even thinking about it in his gear with an air pack, all kinds of stuff, and he just did what needed to be done."

As a volunteer first responder since 2013, as both an EMT and a firefighter, Johnston said she has an acute sense of community.

That connection is one of the pillars of being a firefighter, members of various departments across the country agreed.

The Tunnel to Towers race "is part of a community tradition," Westchester firefighter Roberto Gordillo said Sunday.

"Our fire department had a lot of volunteers come and go, and it's something to continue to keep the fire department engaged with the traditions of the community, with what 9/11 means to a lot of people," he said.

Johnston's fellow firefighters connect her to the past and the present, she said.

"Being in the department that I'm in, many of the guys a couple years older than me, they were there that day [in 2001] or they know somebody who lost somebody," she added. "Especially for me, sharing their experiences of that day all this time later is just a way to remember and keep the memory alive."

Johnston felt this same sense of community from the crowds.

"There's a million American flags, there's FDNY firefighters, there's military personnel holding silk screens of the 343 firefighters and Port Authority police and NYPD officers who were killed in 9/11," she said.

Service members, police officers and firemen hold images of the fallen first responders as runners exit the tunnel each year. The memorial banners stretch across the final mile of the race.

"It's absolutely electric, all the encouragement and community, whether you're in your gear or not," Johnston said.

Sanz agreed: "To think of how this city came together to help each other ... What is heart-wrenching is to see people from other parts of the country come here to mourn with us, just to remember."

That resiliency matters, he said.

"9/11 brought us together like nothing I've ever seen. They broke us for a day," he said. "That was it."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Philadelphia police release surveillance video in fatal shooting of Temple University graduate

Philadelphia Police Department

(PHILADELPHIA) -- Police released surveillance video on Friday in the shooting death of a Temple University graduate in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Police Department identified the victim as 23-year-old Everett Beauregard, who was killed on the 400 block of North 35th Street around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Capt. Jason Smith said during a press conference.

Smith said that Beauregard had left a party with friends in South Philadelphia and had taken public transportation to a train stop near his home when he ran into the suspect.

"Tragically, Mr. Beauregard's life was cut short by this horrific act of violence and for no apparent reason whatsoever. This was not a robbery attempt as we initially believed," Smith said.

Police found Beauregard on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to his neck, authorities said. He was taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

During the press conference, police played surveillance footage recorded on the night of the shooting. The video shows the suspect walking down the 400 block of North 35th, passing Beauregard, turning around and shooting him as his back was turned.

"The offender was observed on video surveillance lingering around the area well before the incident at 11:21 p.m.," Smith said.

Authorities described the suspect as wearing black pants, a black-hooded sweatshirt and a face mask.

"This wasn't an argument between Mr. Beauregard and the offender. Not a word was spoken between the two prior to the offender turning and shooting Mr. Beauregard in his back," the police captain said.

Beauregard worked for Wells Fargo and was going to get his master's degree, according to police.

"Everett had just become Temple Made in June, which only further magnifies the tragic circumstances surrounding his death," Temple University said in a statement on Twitter. "He had a very bright future ahead of him, and it is beyond disheartening knowing we will no longer be able to watch him soar alongside his fellow Owls. Our thoughts are with Everett's family, friends and the entire Temple community during this tremendously difficult time."

Police considered the suspect armed and dangerous and have urged anyone with information to contact them.

The Philadelphia police department is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect, authorities said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kennywood shooting: 3 shot, including 2 teenagers, in front of ride at amusement park

Mike Valente/WTAE

(PITTSBURGH) -- A gunman was on the run Sunday after shooting three people, including two teenagers, and sparking panic at a crowded amusement park near Pittsburgh, police said.

Gunfire erupted around 10:46 p.m. Saturday at the Kennywood amusement park in the Pittsburgh suburb of West Mifflin, police said.

Witnesses said the shooting occurred in front of the park's popular Musik Express ride and sent park-goers diving for cover and running to the exits. Police said several people were injured when they were apparently trampled while attempting to get out of harm's way.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns said an altercation occurred and the alleged assailant pulled a handgun and started firing.

At the time of the shooting, West Mifflin and Allegheny County police officers were at the park and quickly responded along with park security to the gunfire, according to a statement released by park officials.

Kearns said officers found two people wounded at the scene. He said a 15-year-old boy and a 39-year-old man were both shot in the leg. The teenager was taken to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh in stable condition, while the adult victim was treated and released from Mercy Hospital, Kearns said.

A third victim, also a 15-year-old boy, left the park on his own but later showed up at a hospital to be treated for a graze wound to his leg, Kearns said.

Witnesses told investigators the suspected gunman appeared to be a teenager wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a COVID-style mask.

A handgun was recovered at the scene, according to police.

Police are investigating how the weapon got into the park. All Kennywood employees and guests must pass through metal detectors at the entrance gate and all backpacks and coolers are subject to inspection, according to the park's website.

The shooting occurred on the first day of the park's 20th annual Phantom Fall Fest, a family-friendly Halloween season event, according to the park's website.

The gunfire broke out about 14 minutes before the park was set to close for the night.

"Most everyone ran. There was, at one point, a hundred people just ran out of the park," a witness told ABC affiliate station WTAE in Pittsburgh.

Kennywood officials said the amusement park was immediately shut down after the shooting and all visitors were evacuated. The park plans to reopen on Sept. 30, according to the park's website.

"The safety of our guests and team members are our top priority," the park's statement reads.

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Massive mural of Harriet Tubman unveiled in chosen hometown of abolitionist

Courtesy of Arthur Hutchinson

(NEW YORK) -- The 'Harriet Tubman: Her Life in Freedom Mural' was unveiled in a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday in downtown Auburn, New York, the city where the abolitionist, activist, and freedom pioneer spent over 50 years of her life.

Measuring an impressive 26 by 61 feet, the mural, commissioned by a group called the Harriet Tubman Boosters, showcases Tubman's life as a self-emancipated woman.

Debra Rose Brillati, a member of the organization first formed in 1953 to keep Tubman's legacy alive, told ABC News that the piece has been an ongoing project since 2019. After years of fundraising efforts, the Harriet Tubman Boosters reached their $40,000 fundraising goal on August 19.

While the mural was an idea that had been discussed by the group previously, it was Michael Rosato's 'Harriet Tubman Mural' in Cambridge, Maryland, near Tubman's enslaved birthplace of Dorchester County that prompted the group to move forward.

"When we saw that we said, 'You know what, we need a mural in Auburn'," Brillati said. After a meeting with Rosato, the Harriet Tubman Boosters mural committee ultimately decided to find a local artist to take on the project.

"And so when we saw Arthur Hutchinson's work, we were like, boy, this, this fits the bill," Brillati added.

Arthur "The Artist" Hutchinson, the creative behind the mural, told ABC News that he wanted the piece to be a vibrant tapestry that makes an impact on all who see it.

"The tricky thing about this mural is it's not just a picture of her, it's really there to tell her story," Hutchinson, who grew up in Auburn, said. "I hope they react at first and just see this bright, beautiful picture and are attracted to it. And then once they start to actually look at it, I hope they're able to learn that Harriet Tubman did more than the Underground Railroad."

The design features scenes of Tubman at various stages of her life including her as a leader of the 1863 Combahee River Raid, a nurse during the Civil War, an active participant in the women's suffrage movement, and an older woman in the apple orchard she cultivated at her home.

Not far from the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, the mural is the Harriet Tubman Boosters' latest and largest project in furthering their mission of honoring Tubman's life, Brillati said.

"She worked her whole life. You know, she never gave up on her quest for freedom and justice and rights for people," she said. "And that's…a story that we have to tell here that I think is important for people to hear."

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Tropical Storm Ian forecast to impact Florida as major hurricane

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A storm that has the potential to make landfall in Florida next week as a Category 3 hurricane strengthened overnight into a tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Ian formed over the central Caribbean Sea late Friday, becoming the ninth tropical storm of the season.

The storm is expected to continue to strengthen over the weekend into a hurricane by Sunday night as it approaches the Cayman Islands. A tropical storm watch currently is in effect for Jamaica, and a hurricane watch is in effect for the Cayman Islands.

Ian is forecast to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane as it closely passes the Cayman Islands, then become a major Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday morning as it moves past Cuba. Very warm ocean waters and low wind shear are providing favorable conditions for rapid intensification of the storm.

The current forecast track shows landfall on the west coast of Florida by early Thursday, though the track and intensity of the storm can still change over the coming days.

"With majority of west coast in the cone, uncertainty of landfall remains high," the National Weather Service said.

The National Hurricane Center has advised residents of Cuba, the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula to have a hurricane plan in place and closely follow forecast updates.

In preparation for the storm, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday declaring a "state of emergency" for 24 Florida counties in the system's potential path. He expanded the order on Saturday to include the entire state of Florida, with conditions "projected to constitute a major disaster."

"This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations," DeSantis said in a statement. "We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”

The emergency order means members of the Florida National Guard will be activated and on standby.

White House officials confirmed late Friday that FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell had spoken to DeSantis about the pending storm.

ABC News' Riley Winch, Melissa Griffin and Dan Amarante contributed to this report.

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Artemis I launch attempt set for Tuesday, but possible hurricane could delay plans

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

(CAPE CANAVERAL, FL) -- NASA said Friday it is planning its third launch attempt of Artemis I on Sept. 27 after scrubbing the initial endeavor earlier this month.

During a press conference, officials said the launch window will open at 11:37 a.m. ET, but Tropical Depression Nine could delay plans.

Currently, there is only a 20% chance of favorable weather on Tuesday as Tropical Depression Nine heads towards Florida and may make landfall as a major hurricane next week.

However, Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, said the team is not assuming the launch will be canceled just yet.

"It's still a tropical depression number nine, it's not a named storm," Whitmeyer told reporters. "We really want to continue to try to get as much information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the hardware."

The team said it will continue to monitor the weather and will decide on Saturday whether to continue with the Tuesday launch.

NASA had to scrub the first launch attempt on Aug. 29 because of a faulty temperature sensor and the second attempt on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

Since then, engineers and mission managers have been running tests to make sure the rocket is ready during its next attempt.

In a press release, NASA said the Artemis team encountered a hydrogen leak during a test run on Wednesday, but the issue was addressed and resolved.

The process of tanking, which includes filling the rocket's core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, was also successful.

"We had a very successful tanking test all of the tanks," John Blevins, NASA's Space Launch System chief engineer, said during the press conference. "We were able to do some things that we won't have to do again, some things that we intended to do even on launch day that were left over from previous dress rehearsals. So, it was a very successful."

If the launch is scrubbed on Sept. 27, the next launch attempt will occur on Sunday, Oct. 2.

If that Oct. 2 is also a no-go, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center until the team decides on the next date.

Over the course of the Artemis missions, NASA plans to eventually send the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color to the moon.

The federal space agency also plans to establish a moon base as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars by 2024 or 2025.


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Artemis I launch attempt scrubbed due to possible hurricane

Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- NASA said Saturday that is is scrubbing its third planned launch attempt of Artemis I, that was scheduled for Sept. 27, due to weather concerns. The announcement comes after NASA delayed two previous attempts in recent weeks.

Engineers will wait until Sunday night to decide if the rocket needs to roll back off the launch pad. If they do not roll it back, the next possible launch date is Sunday, Oct. 2.

If they decide to roll it back, that would begin Monday morning.

During a press conference Friday, officials said the launch window would have opened at 11:37 a.m. ET, but Tropical Depression Nine could delay plans.

As of Friday, there is only a 20% chance of favorable weather on Tuesday as Tropical Depression Nine heads towards Florida and may make landfall as a major hurricane next week.

Currently, the National Hurricane Center Track suggests the storm could become a major hurricane next week. It is projected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday into early Thursday as a Category 3 Hurricane.

"It's still a tropical depression number nine, it's not a named storm," Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, told reporters Friday. "We really want to continue to try to get as much information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the hardware."

NASA had to scrub the first launch attempt on Aug. 29 because of a faulty temperature sensor and the second attempt on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

Since then, engineers and mission managers have been running tests to make sure the rocket is ready during its next attempt.

In a press release, NASA said the Artemis team encountered a hydrogen leak during a test run on Wednesday, but the issue was addressed and resolved.

The process of tanking, which includes filling the rocket's core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, was also successful.

"We had a very successful tanking test all of the tanks," John Blevins, NASA's Space Launch System chief engineer, said during the press conference. "We were able to do some things that we won't have to do again, some things that we intended to do even on launch day that were left over from previous dress rehearsals. So, it was a very successful."

If the Oct. 2 launch is also a no-go, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center until the team decides on the next date.

Over the course of the Artemis missions, NASA plans to eventually send the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color to the moon.

The federal space agency also plans to establish a moon base as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars by 2024 or 2025.

-ABC News' Daniel Amarante and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report

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Amended Elijah McClain autopsy report to be released

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(NEW YORK) -- The Adams County Coroner’s Office in Colorado is set to release Elijah McClain's amended autopsy report after several news organizations sued for its release on Friday.

The report was amended based on confidential grand jury information, according to the chief coroner for Adams County.

The release comes before the arraignment of five former Aurora police officers and paramedics in McClain's 2019 death.

McClain, a Black 23-year-old massage therapist, died following an encounter with police in August 2019 while he was walking home from a convenience store.

A passerby had called 911 to report McClain was acting "sketchy" since he was wearing a ski mask on a warm night. The lawyer for the McClain family attributed this to the fact that McClain was anemic, which made him feel cold more easily.

Aurora police officers responded to the scene and confronted McClain. An officer can be heard saying in body camera footage that they put him into a carotid chokehold, which restricts the carotid artery and cuts off blood to the brain, according to the Department of Justice. McClain can be heard saying, "I can't breathe," in police body camera footage.

Paramedics arrived, giving McClain an "excessive" dose of ketamine, according to McCain's lawyer, and McClain suffered from cardiac arrest shortly after in an ambulance, according to officials. McClain was pronounced dead three days later.

Former Aurora Police Officers Jason Rosenblatt, Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema as well as paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper were charged with 32 criminal counts, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault charges.

Their arraignment is set for November.

CPR News filed a lawsuit against the Adams County Coroner’s Office on Sept. 1, arguing for the autopsy report to be released. Several other local news organizations joined the effort after open records requests to obtain the report were denied.

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Category 2 hurricane may make landfall in Florida next week: Forecast

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(NEW YORK) -- After a slow start to hurricane season, a Category 2 hurricane may make landfall in Florida next week.

The storm, currently known as Tropical Depression 9, is set to move into the warm waters of the Western Caribbean this weekend and is expected to strengthen to a hurricane by Monday morning.

Models forecast it to hit Florida's west coast during the middle of next week. But details on strength, track and timing could still change.

This would become the fifth hurricane of the season and would be named either Hermine or Ian.

September is the peak month for hurricanes. The season lasts until Nov. 30.

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Families of mass shooting victims find solidarity at US Capitol rally

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(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors and surviving families from at least nine mass shootings in the United States gathered Thursday on Capitol Hill to advocate for a federal assault weapons ban.

Advocacy organization March Fourth held the "Pass the Ban" rally, bringing in survivors from the recent Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, going all the way back to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

After marches and rallies earlier this year in support of H.R. 1808, which proposes a civilian ban on assault weapons, the bill passed in the House in July and reached the Senate on Aug. 1.

With the Senate in recess for most of August, consideration for the bill has just begun, but it faces a tough road ahead: Senate Democrats would need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome the filibuster.

The bill would make it a federal crime to "knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD)."

Dion Green, who survived a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in 2019, but lost his father in the tragedy, spoke at the rally in support of the legislation.

"We have to continue to come together like this, continue to be the game changers to prevent these events from happening again," Green told ABC News. "Our pain is real, and we're not alone."

Others echoed Green, saying they find solace in the support they're able to give one another, as many families present are still working through their grief from losing loved ones.

Nubia Hogan lost her father, Eduardo Uvaldo, at the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Hogan said she and her sister, Tanya Castro, have chosen to be his voice and advocate for a ban on assault weapons since he cannot speak for himself.

The sisters told ABC News if it takes marching and talking to politicians to prevent another family from being affected by a mass shooting carried out by an assault weapon, that's what they will do.

"These type of things shouldn't be happening. It's just like every month you hear about something going on… you have to put a stop to it…there has to be a change, you know, because families shouldn't have to go through what we're going through," Hogan said.

When it gets tough, they're able to find comfort through fellow shooting victims' family members that advocate alongside them, they said.

"It feels like we're with people that know… that understand us…that really understand us, because they've been through it. They lost someone. There's a connection. It kind of feels like you get an extended family," Hogan said.

The sisters added that knowing other loved ones who have experienced guilt helps them heal and feel less alone.

Jazmin Cazares, sister to 10-year-old Uvalde shooting victim Jacklyn Cazares, said people don't seem to understand the guilt she feels "for even waking up in the morning, let alone having fun," but finds purpose in advocacy.

She told ABC News that families like her own now find themselves in "a club that no one wants to be a part of."

Her father, Javier Cazares, rallied alongside Jazmin, and reflected on the gathering of families.

"Now more than ever we have more families of different shootings. We're a coalition of people from Vegas to everywhere else," Javier Cazares told ABC News.

He added, "We're getting bigger and bigger unfortunately for the same reason—our kids lost. At first you hear us one by one, and now you hear all the voices coming together and it's very powerful."

Survivors from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut, who are now seniors in high school, came with the Junior Newtown Action Alliance and urged Senators to pass the assault weapons ban.

"Congress should've banned these weapons of war after Sandy Hook," Leah Crebbin, co-chair of the Junior Newton Action Alliance, said to the crowd. "The acts of terror and atrocities that have been committed will continue to occur if Senators stand by and do nothing."

Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., who authored H.R. 1808, told ABC News via email: "It is always so inspiring to see groups like the one who gathered on Capitol Hill today, though I wish they didn't need to be here. Families shouldn't be forced to demand that their representatives do their jobs and act to keep their communities safe."

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New Jersey first state to introduce climate change curriculum in schools

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(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey public school students will be the first in the country required to learn about climate change while in the classroom starting this school year.

"Climate change is becoming a real reality," New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, who spearheaded the initiative, told "ABC News Live" on Thursday.

The new standards were adopted by the state's board of education in 2020, but because of the pandemic, the roll out was halted, giving educators and districts more time to prepare the lesson plans for all students in grades K-12.

"The districts themselves are able to design whatever it is that the way they want to implement and interpret this new education standard," said Murphy.

Lessons will focus on how climate change has accelerated in recent decades and how it's impacted public health, human society, and contributed to natural disasters.

"You can look around the world, whether it's Pakistan that has a third of the country under water right now, or wildfires raging across the United States, and droughts in Asia," said Murphy. "Here in our own backyard in New Jersey, we have our own challenges. Whether it's sea level rise or microburst or algae blooms."

The program will also introduce students to careers in climate change, as federal and local officials work to combat natural disasters and create a greener economy by adding new jobs and increased funding.

"I want to make sure that the next generation of students and those who come after have the skill set necessary to be able to win and succeed at the incredible jobs that are going to be available as we all shift towards a greener economy," said Murphy.

Last month, President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act was passed, which aims to tackle climate change and analysts believe that it can create as many as 1.5 to 9 million new jobs in construction, manufacturing and service over the next 10 years.

In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, the president said we're "already living in a climate crisis."

"No one seems to doubt it after this past year," Biden said. "Choosing which child to feed and wondering whether they will survive. This is the human cost of climate change. And it is growing."

Over the past few years, many state and local officials have taken action to involve their communities in the fight against climate change. Gov. Phil Murphy allocated $5 million in the fiscal 2023 state budget for climate education in March.

"A top priority of my administration has been to reestablish New Jersey's role as a leader in the fight against climate change," the governor said in a statement.

To help educators adapt to this new curriculum, the state launched the New Jersey Climate Change Education Hub, which gives teachers access to lesson plans, educational videos, and professional development.

The first lady said that while creating this program, she traveled to at least 10-15 schools and found that climate change was already being taught to some degree in most classroom settings. She added that having it as a requirement is necessary to ensure all students have the same learning opportunities, as they do with other required subjects.

Murphy added that within just the first month of the school year, teachers have expressed their excitement towards the curriculum, and that the state "has gotten great initial feedback."

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After Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Ricans are frustrated with electric grid, infrastructure problems

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(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Fiona has pummeled Puerto Rico, an island whose infrastructure struggled to recover from the devastating Hurricane Maria that killed almost 3,000 people in 2017.

Fiona left many without electricity and water, including Pedro Julio Serrano, a resident and human rights activist.

"It's not a natural disaster. This is a political disaster," Julio Serrano told ABC News.

Some Puerto Ricans who spoke with ABC News are frustrated with the lack of progress in reconstructing the island so residents no longer have to worry about having running water, electricity, and safe roads, buildings and more.

After Maria, many elderly, sick, and disabled people died because they didn't have the electricity or access to the care and necessities they required, according to Puerto Rican officials. Following Fiona, hospitals and people in need of care have been left scrambling to find generators to support them, according to Puerto Rico's Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

"The vast majority of the people who died [from Maria] was because of incompetence and because people couldn't get their power back for months," Julio Serrano said. "What is happening is criminal."

Some residents said local and federal governments have had several years to fix things.

"We really shouldn't have to be resilient in the 21st century, when we're supposed to be a part of the richest nation in the world," Victor Amauri, referring to Puerto Rico's status as a U.S. territory, told ABC News. Amauri is a resident and spokesperson for Brigada Solidaria del Oeste, a local activist group.

Puerto Rico's electric system has long been unstable, even before Hurricane Maria devastated the island. As a result, blackouts have been a regular part of life for many residents for the last five years, according to island residents.

Those who spoke with ABC News say they blame LUMA, a private company that has operated and managed Puerto Rico's electric power transmission and distribution system since June 2021.

LUMA said it was currently working with customers to restore power and stabilize the grid.

"We will continue to work non-stop until every customer is restored and the entire grid is reenergized" LUMA Public Safety Manager, Abner Gómez, said in a statement. "While these efforts continue over the coming days, we strongly encourage customers to continue to exercise caution and stay away from any downed power lines."

Much of the federal money allocated to help fix the electric grid has not been spent due to disagreements between Puerto Rican officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on how to use it.

LUMA, as well as the Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi, did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Cynthia Burgos López, resident and executive director of La Maraña, a group dedicated to rebuilding Puerto Rico, told ABC News that residents hadn't seen the impact of federal dollars on the island.

"Being a colony from the States, we have a lot of money that's being sent all the time to Puerto Rico, but we have such a corrupt government, that nothing gets to the communities," she said.

Burgos López recalled the long, but recent history of government officials who have been embroiled in corruption scandals.

At least nine Puerto Rican mayors and several other government officials have been arrested on charges of bribery, extortion, and more in recent years.

Residents said they blame the long-standing corruption, under-resourcing and underfunding for why the island was not ready for Fiona, and why it will not be ready for the next storm.

"We know that without Fiona, we were not having light. So with Fiona, we were going to be monthslong without light," Burgos López told ABC News.

Some also told ABC News that barriers imposed by the United States -- such as the enforcement of the Jones Act, which mandates ships carrying goods between U.S. ports to be built in the United States -- have continued to place a financial strain on Puerto Rico and its residents due to increased prices of goods, though it's a furiously debated topic.

For now, residents are working together to ensure their fellow community members get what they need, and not waiting for outside help to touch down on the island. However, some residents and activists plan to protest, and demand action from officials in the wake of the storm's damage.

Amauri said there are long lines to get gasoline, people using generators to refrigerate their food, and residents are scrambling to find clean drinking water.

"People are suffering more each day," he said.

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