THURSDAY AUG 26
Hundreds of thousands of coastal residents of the US states of Louisiana and Texas have been urged to flee as a massive hurricane described as “unsurvivable” headed for land.
Hurricane Laura is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, prompting warnings of a storm surge of up to 6m.
Calling the hurricane “extremely dangerous”, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Laura was packing winds of 220km/h and was expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast overnight.
It said: “(The) unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.”
Storm surges could penetrate up to 48km/h inland along parts of the coasts, and peak surge coupled with high tide could see water as high as 6m above normal levels.
“The power of Hurricane Laura is unprecedented, and Texans must take action now to get out of harm’s way and protect themselves,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.
“The conditions of this storm are unsurvivable, and I urge southeast Texans to take advantage of these final few hours to evacuate.
“Your property can be replaced,” Mr Abbott said. “Your life cannot be replaced.”
US President Donald Trump told residents in the path of the storm to “listen to local officials”.
Victoria has recorded another huge spike in COVID-19 deaths, with 23 more fatalities recorded in the past 24 hours.
This makes it the state’s third deadliest day since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Health authorities also announced 113 new virus cases, which is a noticeable decrease on yesterday’s 149 infections.
It comes after the state recorded its second deadliest day of the pandemic, with 24 fatalities confirmed on Wednesday.
Premier Daniel Andrews has copped major criticism for his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, with the state’s top doctors likening it to witnessing a “slow car crash”
The latest cases come as the State Government inmdicated it was prepared to compromise on its extension of state of emergency laws.
Reason Party leader Fiona Patten told ABC News Breakfast she had been in touch with Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, who conceded a 12-month extension to the laws would never pass the Parliament and was asking crossbenchers to support a shorter extension instead.
Nine new cases were reported in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday.
Five of the new cases were linked to a cluster in the Sydney CBD, and the other four were close contacts of previously reported cases.
There have been two new cases of coronavirus in Queensland in the past 24 hours, one person who is in hotel quarantine and a man who is a trainer from Queensland’s corrective services.
Correctional facilities in the state went into lockdown after the trainer, from the Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) Academy at Wacol, returned a positive result yesterday afternoon.
The 60-year-old had trained 14 recruits and worked alongside 11 colleagues — all were tested and are now in quarantine.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said reports that he had been working in prisons was incorrect.
“As a precaution some of our corrective service facilities have gone into lockdown,” she said.
Prisons at Woodford, north to Maryborough and Capricornia are all part of the stage-four lockdown.
Queensland Corrective Services commissioner Peter Martin said about 7,000 of the state’s 9,000 prisoners were estimated to be affected, and are facing “extreme isolation”.
There is no set end date yet and the measures will only be lifted upon the advice of Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
Victoria’s controversial trade deal with Beijing may be scrapped by Australia’s Foreign Minister, using new powers being proposed by the Federal Government.
The Coalition is pushing to regulate all agreements that state and territory governments, local councils and public universities make with foreign nations.
A public register would soon be established where all existing arrangements would have to be disclosed, then reviewed by the Foreign Minister.
Under the Foreign Relations bill, the Foreign Minister could then terminate any existing agreements, such as Victoria’s Belt and Road deal, if they are considered adverse to Australia’s foreign relations or are inconsistent with foreign policy.
In 2019, the Victorian Government caught the Commonwealth by surprise when it signed up to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge was closed for about three hours this morning after a woman died and four people were injured in a “horrific” head-on car crash.
A helicopter ambulance landed on the bridge to help emergency services deal with the pile-up, which happened about 7.15am and sparked traffic chaos.
The delays are so extensive, crews from The Rocks Fire Station had to make their way to the crash on foot.
Authorities told people to work from home as queues of cars, trucks and busses fanned out for kilometres across the city.
A female motorist who had been waiting two hours to cross the bridge described the scene as “horrific”.
“It’s pretty bad, they’ve cut open cars, one car is pretty much flattened,” she said.
“They just got a person out as we were driving past. It’s pretty terrible.”
That person, a woman in her 40s, was trapped in her car for more than 30 minutes with severe injuries and rescue crews had to cut the roof off her BMW to free her.
The collision, which involved a Mitsubishi Mirage travelling north and a BMW travelling south, was so extensive rescue crews divided it into two separate operations because it spanned multiple lanes.
The female driver of the Mitsubishi died at the scene.
Her two passengers, both men believed to be in their 30s, were treated for head injuries and one is in a serious condition.
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