natural disasters

A year ago today, 19 tornadoes touched down in Ohio, destroying homes and businesses in rural and urban areas alike. The largest of those tornados passed through the City of Dayton and several neighboring communities. WYSO’s Jason Reynolds has been talking with people in some of the hardest-hit communities to see where they are today.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts 2020 will be an above-average hurricane season, with six to 10 hurricanes. NOAA expects three to six to be Category 3 or higher, with sustained wind speeds above 110 miles per hour.

President Trump touched down Friday in Tennessee, where residents are still sorting through wreckage and seeking to rebuild after a series of deadly tornadoes blew through the state earlier this week.

Early Tuesday morning, a tornado ripped through Nashville and greater middle Tennessee, causing extensive destruction to homes and businesses and claiming the lives of 24 people across four counties. While not the only neighborhood to sustain widespread damage, East Nashville was hit particularly hard, delivering a harsh blow to the city's vibrant music and arts communities.

Updated 9:20 p.m. ET

Tornadoes gashed through central Tennessee early Tuesday, with the worst damage concentrated in and around Nashville. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says at least 24 people were killed across four counties, and there are fears the death toll could climb as first responders continue to search for victims.

John High has diabetes, which led to his leg being amputated below the knee two years ago. He's been using a wheelchair since then, and hasn't gotten used to having to work out solutions to everyday problems — such as getting in and out of the shower in the small rental house he shares with his son in Norman, Okla. But when he hears a tornado siren blaring out its high-pitched warning he feels a spasm of fear and dread. In this situation, he's on his own.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is releasing its hold on billions of dollars of aid to Puerto Rico after a months-long delay. But it is still unclear exactly when those funds will reach the hurricane-ravaged island.

The tranche of money, more than $8 billion, is allocated through a Department of Housing and Urban Development disaster recovery fund. It was supposed to be released months ago to help the island rebuild in the wake of devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in Miami County Saturday night.

Forecasters say the first twister, rated an EF-Zero with winds up to 80 miles per hour, hit Troy just after 10 p.m., leaving damage concentrated mostly near Troy High School and downtown. 

National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Hogue says winter tornadoes are rare, but he says this weekend’s weather conditions were just right to produce the storm with damaging winds. 

A volcano south of the Philippine capital has sent a massive plume of ash and steam spewing miles into the sky and pushed red-hot lava out of its crater, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people and the closure of Manila's airport.

In a matter of hours on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level for Taal Volcano to Level 4 from Level 1 — with Level 5 being the highest. It warned that a larger "explosive eruption" could occur within hours or days.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Thousands of people in Puerto Rico still don't have permanent shelter three days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake walloped the Caribbean island, killing one man and injuring nine people. Millions still don't have electricity.

The quake has displaced an estimated 2,000 people, according to the humanitarian organization Direct Relief.

A pair of massive bushfires in southeastern Australia has merged into a "megafire" engulfing some 2,300 square miles — a single blaze more than three times as large as any known fire in California.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the city of Guayanilla and nearby areas in southern Puerto Rico on Monday morning, shoving brick houses off their foundations, knocking over walls and collapsing a local landmark: Punta Ventana, a natural rock archway that the ocean's waves had carved over centuries.

"Today our icon remains in the memory of all," Guayanilla press official Glidden López Torres said on Facebook.

Nearly six months after the Memorial Day tornadoes, hundreds of people who sought federal disaster assistance continue to wait for final word on their applications. 

According to the latest Federal Emergency Management Agency data, 336 people across the 11-county disaster zone who applied for assistance are still working their way through the appeals process.

FEMA has already paid out more than $4.6 million in Individual Assistance grants. 

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

California officials report progress in their battle against wildfires, even as new dangers arise from powerful winds.

"Over the past week, more than 300 blazes have broken out in California," member station KQED reported, "but so far, there have been no fatalities linked to the Northern California fires."

Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Firefighters knew their respite would not last in Northern California.

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