Kansas towns pick up after a twister hits

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Kansas towns pick up after a twister hits, and millions of people could see severe weather this afternoon

(CNN)Parts of Kansas and Pennsylvania are recovering from another terrifying evening of tornadoes — the 13th consecutive day that twisters have struck the US — and millions of people still are at risk of more severe weather on Wednesday.

A massive, rain-wrapped tornado ripped by Linwood, Kansas, outside Kansas City on Tuesday evening, and dozens of homes on Linwood’s outskirts are “all gone,” Mayor Brian Christenson told CNN.
At least one tornado and severe storms ravaged areas there and in nearby Douglas County, Kansas, destroying stretches of homes and businesses.
Thirteen people were treated for injuries at LMH Health hospital in Lawrence, 11 of whom have been released after treatment, the hospital said.
The tornado near Linwood leveled Brian Hahn’s homewhile he and his family were huddled in the basement under a mattress.
“I could hear it was over us and I saw my bedroom just leave,” he told CNN affiliate KMBC. “It was gone.”
“I feel lucky I’m alive.”
The tornado near Linwood wrecked homes and trees, and flipped this RV.

To the northeast, another tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service in Berks County, Pennsylvania, “based on video received showing a tornado on the ground.” It moved through the area Tuesday evening.
Morgantown was one of the hardest-hit areas in the county, but no one was injured there, Caernarvon Township Police Chief John Scalia told CNN affiliate KYW.
Houses near Morgantown suffered heavy damage Tuesday evening.

“When you drive around, see the destruction, you realize how lucky we are nobody was hurt,” Scalia said.
More than 37 million people are under an enhanced risk of severe weather Wednesday in two areas, according to the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center. One ranges from Texas into Illinois, and includes the cities of Dallas and St. Louis.
The other stretches from the eastern Ohio River Valley into Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic coast, and includes the cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

Arkansas braces for record river levels

Rains this week are exacerbating flooding that has troubled parts of the central US for weeks.
Tornadoes threaten the Plains for the 13th straight day

Tornadoes threaten the Plains for the 13th straight day 01:21
While flooding has occurred for days along the Arkansas River in Oklahoma, the river is now approaching record levels to the east, in Arkansas itself.
In western Arkansas near the communities of Van Buren and Fort Smith, the Arkansas River is expected to crest Wednesday afternoon at around 41 feet — roughly 3 feet above the record there.
“This is looking to be record-breaking all along the Arkansas River, and this is something we have never seen before,” Arkansas emergency management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said.
Levees along the river in Arkansas have worked so far — water has overtopped two of them, but they have not failed, Daniel said.
Daniel said more than a dozen Arkansas counties are expected to see historic flooding: Sebastian, Crawford, Logan, Johnson, Yell, Pope, Perry, Conway, Faulkner, Pulaski, Jefferson, Lincoln and Desha County.
Officials in the central Arkansas city of North Little Rock, across the river from the state capital, believe 50 homes could soon be impacted by flooding, the city said in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“Respect all barricades and road and trail closures,” the city posted. “They are there for your protection. Do not put our emergency responders in a position that would be dangerous to you and them.”
One person was killed in Arkansas Tuesday evening after drowning in flood waters, police told CNN.
The victim, a 64-year-old man, had been driving a small Suzuki SUV, Barling police officer James Breeden said.
Authorities said the vehicle appeared to have driven into a flooded roadway that had been barricaded. A deputy sheriff saw a body floating in the water and attempted a rescue, Breeden said. The man’s body was located near Fort Chafee.
Further north, officials are warning of fast rises on the lower Des Moines River in Iowa and on the Fox River in northeastern Missouri. Both are expected to reach major flood stage — which could lead to flooding — by Wednesday.

Intentional water release has been flooding homes outside Tulsa

In western Oklahoma, the swollen Arkansas River has posed a threat to Tulsa’s levees — so the Army Corps of Engineers has intentionally been releasing water from a dam to the west in hopes that the levees aren’t overwhelmed.
Although that spilled water won’t threaten Tulsa, it is contributing to the flooding of dozens of homes in a less populated area, just outside the city of Sand Springs.
This aerial image from Tuesday shows flooding near Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

Some homes had 2 to 6 feet of water in them, residents told a CNN crew there.
Rick Sawn’s Sand Springs-area home still was dry on Wednesday morning, but water has been creeping toward it.
“I think it’s a 500-year flood and so far our dam and levees are doing what they were designed to do,” Sawn, 68, said. “There is flooding and some loss of property, and long-term recovery head of us, but without the dam system, it would have been far, far worse.”
The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing about 275,000 cubic feet of water per second from the Keystone Dam, about 20 miles west of Tulsa — which is the equivalent of three Olympic-sized pools. Doing so will increase the strain on some of Tulsa’s levees, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said.
The Keystone reservoir has started dropping, and that could allow the Army Corps of Engineers to slow the rate of the water release by Friday, corps hydrologist David Williams said Wednesday.
Bynum has been asking Tulsa residents who live near the levees to relocate temporarily, just in case the levees don’t hold.
“There is absolutely no need to wait until the last minute when an evacuation might be necessary,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

More than 500 tornado reports in 30 days

So far this year, there have been at least 960 tornado reports, compared to the average year total of 750.
The National Weather Service has received more than 500 tornado reports across the country in the last 30 days — an unusually high amount.
There are only four other recorded instances when more than 500 US tornadoes were observed in a 30-day period: in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011, according to Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center.
Tuesday was the 13th straight day of tornadoes in the US, and the 12th consecutive day with at least eight or more tornado reports, CNN’s weather team said. The month of May has brought more than 460 reports of tornadoes in 22 states across the country, with Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas making up 50% of the reports.
The jet stream played a part in the activity of the last two weeks, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
“It is a stuck jet stream,” with areas of low pressure riding along it, Myers said.
The jet stream will finally shift by Thursday, and the risk for severe weather in the US will greatly diminish for at least the next week, Myers said.

Record-breaking May rains

Tuesday’s rain broke records in Kansas City, the National Weather Service said.
The city received 1.56 inches of rain, boosting the monthly total to 12.81 inches. The city’s previous record for May was set in 1995 at 12.75 inches.
“This also makes this May the 3rd wettest month for ANY month in (Kansas City’s) 131-year period of record,” the weather service tweeted.

Winter storm to strike Kansas early Sunday

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE EMPORIA KANSAS GAZETTE)

 

Winter storm to strike Kansas early Sunday

Cold

Thermometer showing winter cold

The weather has been mild for the past few days, but this weekend it stands a chance to take a turn for the wild and snowy.

Specifically, there may be a blizzard headed this way Sunday as a winter storm rolls over the state and rain turns to snow.

According to a situation report released by the office of Lyon County Emergency Management Director Jarrod Fell, a winter storm it set to move across the state Sunday bringing with it wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph along with the snow.

This blizzard will cause problems for people traveling even in areas where snow accumulation is minor, according to the report.

The storm will likely begin after midnight Sunday morning, the report said, and looks to be at its worst through the day Sunday. The storm should have moved on by Sunday evening, but while it’s here it could be accompanied by blowing and drifting snow, as well as blizzard-like conditions to north, north central, and eastern Kansas.

The wind chill could hit the single digits by Sunday night, the report read.

Meteorologist Matt Miller of KSNT said the biggest impact of the storm won’t be in Emporia, but on people traveling through the areas where the winter storm hits hardest.

“The biggest concern is gonna be when it comes through, we could get really low visibility because of the snow and wind combined together,” he said. “It’s not that we’re gonna get a lot of snow out of it.”

Most of the snow accumulation will likely be in far northern Kansas, according to Miller, near the Nebraska border.

“Emporia may not take the brunt of this particular storm,” Miller said.

However, that doesn’t mean locals shouldn’t be concerned.

“Because it’s on a big travel day and if it’s coming down heavily with 35-40 mile an hour winds, it doesn’t take much to create a white out,” Miller said.

He advises people to just rearrange the time they’re going to be on the road, if at all possible, so they’re not traveling at the height of the storm. The snow likely won’t be very deep, he said, and so if people just leave before the storm begins, they can avoid the problem. To do this, travelers would have to leave for their destination Saturday evening instead of Sunday.

The roads could also become icy with this impending winter storm, though Miller said he didn’t believe there would be an ice storm.

He doesn’t believe icy roads will be a big issue in Emporia.

“It might be a little bit more of a concern if people are headed north of I-70 where we get more of that freezing on the road,” Miller said.

People who do plan to be driving more than a few miles this weekend — or in cold weather in general — should have certain supplies with them, he said. Miller advised people to keep a small shovel with them.

“You can dig yourself out of a lot of bad situations with a little hand shovel,” he said.

This winter storm could indicate a snow-filled winter to come, if things continue as they have so far.

He said this will be the fourth snow this year for many parts of Kansas, which he called “a pretty impressive start” to winter.

“It’s been a while since we had a real snowy winter and if — and it’s a big if — this trend continues this is the kind of pattern we look for to give us snowy winters,” Miller said. “If the pattern doesn’t seriously change we’ll probably end up with a snowier winter than we’ve had in the last few years.”

Kansas: Christian Woman Ordered by Cops to Stop Praying in Her Home Loses in Court

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Christian Woman Ordered by Cops to Stop Praying in Her Home Loses in Court

Jun 23, 2017 | 7:31 AM

(Photo: First Liberty Institute)Mary Anne Sause

The United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a Kansas Catholic woman who claims that she was ordered by police to stop praying in her own home.

On Tuesday, the three-judge panel voted to uphold a judge’s dismissal of Mary Anne Sause’s lawsuit against two Louisburg officers, who she said demanded to be allowed into her home and wouldn’t tell her why they were there. She alleged that when she began praying, the officers, who were there because of a noise complaint, ordered her to stop.

An opinion written by Judge Nancy Moritz states that the court assumes that “the defendants violated Sause’s rights under the First Amendment” by repeatedly mocking her, ordering her to stop praying “so they could harass her,” insisting that she reveal scars from a double mastectomy and threatening her with arrest.

“But this assumption doesn’t entitle Sause to relief. Instead, Sause must demonstrate that any reasonable officer would have known this behavior violated the First Amendment,” the judge argued, citing the 2011 Supreme Court ruling in Ashcroft v. al–Kidd, which asserts that the former U.S. attorney general could not be personally sued for the jailing of a U.S. citizen after the events of September 11, 2001.

“But while the conduct alleged in this case may be obviously unprofessional, we can’t say that it’s ‘obviously unlawful,'” the judge added. “It certainly wouldn’t be obvious to a reasonable officer that, in the midst of a legitimate investigation, the First Amendment would prohibit him or her from ordering the subject of that investigation to stand up and direct his or her attention to the officer — even if the subject of the investigation is involved in religiously-motivated conduct at the time, and even if what the officers say or do immediately after issuing that command does nothing to further their investigation.”

First Liberty Institute Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys, who represents Sause, said in a statement that the court’s “harsh criticism of the officers’ conduct in this case supports our First Amendment claim.”

“No one should face the prospect of being arrested for praying in their own home,” Dys said.

The First Liberty Institute said in a press release that the government defended the police officers by arguing that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment only “protects an individual’s right to choose a religion.” Sause’s attorneys argued that the government’s argument misconstrues the fact that the First Amendment protects the right to exercise faith.

“While Ms. Sause’s appeal was ultimately unsuccessful, the court stated clearly that Sause’s First Amendment rights may have been violated, but the legal doctrine of qualified immunity shields the officers from any liability,” First Liberty Institute stated. “The concurring opinion condemned the police officers’ ‘extraordinary contempt of a law abiding citizen.'”

No indication was given if Sause will file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

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Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-woman-ordered-by-cops-to-stop-praying-in-her-home-loses-in-court-189121/#aiPk8TWMXIS5of2o.99

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-woman-ordered-by-cops-to-stop-praying-in-her-home-loses-in-court-189121/#P37YiDwpK47A3usb.99

Kansas Clerk Shot By Suspected Killer In Manhunt Recalls Ordeal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

Kansas Clerk Shot by Suspected Killer in Manhunt Recalls Ordeal

A 19-year-old store clerk in Kansas who was shot by a murder suspect on the run from authorities Wednesday said he’s lucky to be alive.

Alex Deaton, who police suspect in two murders and two other shootings, shot Riley Juel at point-blank range after taking his car keys hours before his alleged crime spree would come to an end.

“This can’t be real at all, and then, I mean it came back to me, this is real,” Juel told NBC affiliate KSNW in Wichita, a day after he was shot by suspect Alex Deaton in Pratt.

“I was just scared I was going to die,” Juel told the station.

Convenience store clerk Riley Juel recovers at the hospital in Wichita, Kansas, on March 2. Maria Loving / Christi Health via AP

Deaton, 28, fled in Juel’s Cadillac and was caught after a high-speed chase with the Kansas Highway Patrol that ended in a fiery crash, police said.

Deaton is suspected in the murder of his girlfriend, 30-year-old Heather Robinson, whose body was found at her Rankin County, Mississippi home on Friday. He is also suspected of being involved in the death of a woman found fatally shot at her Neshoba County church on Thursday.

Deaton had been chased by sheriff’s deputies earlier Wednesday morning, but the stolen car he was driving was disabled by stop sticks and he entered the Kwik Shop and demanded Juel’s keys, authorities said.

After Juel handed the keys over, he said Deaton shot him at point-blank range and fled. Juel called 911 and thanked the dispatcher and a police officer who arrived on the scene. “If it wasn’t for them, I probably would have been dead,” he told the station.

image: Alex Deaton
Alex Deaton, 28, is suspected of killing two people and shooting a store clerk in a three-state crime spree. MBI via WLBT

Juel is stable at a hospital. Jule’s sister, Brooke Juel, told the KSNW her brother’s call to police helped catch the suspect, and called him a hero.

Deaton also allegedly shot a jogger at random from his vehicle in Mississippi on Friday, and carjacked and briefly kidnapped a couple at a trailhead near Albuquerque on Tuesday.

During the carjacking and kidnapping, Deaton shot a man in the buttocks and a bullet grazed a woman as they escaped, the Rankin County, Mississippi, sheriff’s office said.

Also Friday, Deaton’s family said in a statement that they are “in a state of disbelief” and are fully cooperating with law enforcement.

“Our family is deeply shocked, saddened and horrified at all that has unfolded since last Wednesday,” Deaton’s family said in a statement to NBC affiliate WLBT in Jackson.

“We are devastated and completely heartbroken for all that has happened. Our family is in a state of disbelief. We don’t understand why or how this could ever happen and are just thankful it has now come to an end,” the statement said. The family expressed condolences to the victims and their families.

Rankin County, Mississippi, Sheriff Bryan Bailey says investigators hoped to talk to Deaton Thursday afternoon. Authorities are expected to seek extradition to Mississippi.

Image:
This handout photo shows an overturned vehicle following a police chase that ended in the capture of suspected killer Alex Deaton on March 1, 2017 near Wilson, Kansas. Kansas Highway Patrol via AP

Kansas Shooter’s Actions Cannot And Do Not Speak For How Vast Majority Of Americans Believe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

Kansas shooter’s actions cannot and do not speak for US

WORLD Updated: Feb 26, 2017 07:05 IST

Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington

Kansas

Srinivas Kuchibhotla (right) with his wife Sunayana Dumala in Iowa. Kuchibhotla was shot at a bar in Olathe, Kansas.(AP File)

Sri Srinivasan’s family moved to Kansas when he was only four. He grew up a basketball fanatic, going to the same high school as a future star of the sport. And eventually went on to become the first Indian-American judge of a court of appeals, roughly like India’s high court, and was a top contender for a vacancy that fell open on the US supreme court bench in 2016, which would have been historic in many ways — as the first Indian-American, the first Asian-American and the first Hindu American named justice to the highest court in the country.Judge Srinivasan, as he is called, grew up in Lawrence, a 30-minute drive from Olathe, where an apparently inebriated US navy veteran killed Srinivas Kuchibotla, an IT engineer from Hyderabad, past Wednesday mistaking him for a Middle-Easterner, and telling him to “get out of my country”. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact motives of the shooter, Adam Purinton, but he will not be the first American to feel that way about people from the Middle-East, specially after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

But does the shooting make the United States less of a destination for anyone with dreams of making it big as Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO from Hyderabad, Sunder Pichai, Google CEO from further south Chennai, or Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems from Delhi? Less safe? After all, how could a drink at a bar with a colleague after work end so badly?

Read more

Is President Donald Trump’s America any less safe? While condemning the killings, the White House has dismissed any links to the president’s rhetorics as has been suggested by some, but there are worries and concerns arising out of a surge in ethnic, religious and racial tensions in the aftermath of his election.

But Purinton cannot, and does not speak for Kansas or the United States. Judge Srinivasan has never complained about racial slights he or his family might have faced growing up in Kansas and local news publications had covered his elevation to the appeals court and his possible move to the Supreme Court with unrestrained pride.

Adam Purinton of Olathe, Kansas, who shot Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla. (REUTERS)

He was one of them, and they wanted to celebrate his achievements as they would of anyone else. He might have, as all immigrants, faced stereotyping — Indians are mocked, often by Indian comics — for nodding their head excessively as they listen; their accent, and they may have all faced one time or another intended or unintended slights.

Things can get worse, and have gotten worse for some. Balbir Singh Sandhu, an immigrant from Punjab, became the first victim of the backlash after the September 9, 2001, terrorist attack. He was shot dead at his gas station in Arizona by a man who mistook him for a Middle-Easterner. Six men and women were gunned down by a white supremacist an attack on a Wisconsin gurudwara in 2013. But Sandhu’s relatives chose to stay, and so have those of Wisconsin victims.

Read more

And it may not be pointed out to those feeling uncertain, don’t forget Ian Gillort, the Kansas man who was shot by Purinton trying to save Kuchibotla and his colleague Alok Madasani. “No, it’s not like that,” Grillot said in a vide about being hailed as a hero. “I was just doing what anyone should have done for another human being. It’s not about where he was from or his ethnicity. We’re all humans. I just felt I did what was naturally right to do.” His sister has said he wishes he could have done more.

It is reasonable to feel unsafe and insecure after every such incident, but, as a young immigrant from India, said Friday, “People back home must realize the US is no less safe today than it was yesterday or the day before, or tomorrow.”

Clare O'Dea

Author of The Naked Swiss

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