Officials have confirmed more deaths from Hurricane Michael, bringing the death toll to at least 33, as residents are returning to Mexico Beach, Fla., one of the areas that the storm affected most severely. Task forces in Florida said they have identified 4,240 single residences destroyed by Michael and 15,876 damaged by the storm.
The frequency of tornadoes is increasing in states along the Mississippi River and declining in the central and southern Great Plains, although Texas still leads the US in tornadic activity, says a study in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science. Researchers are unsure of the reason behind the eastward shift, which poses a threat to more populous areas with higher numbers of people living in mobile homes.
First-half net income for the US property/casualty insurance industry was $34 billion, more than double the level for the same period last year, while catastrophe-related losses declined to $14.6 billion from $18 billion, reported PCI and ISO. "The industry is in good health with a strong balance sheet to serve consumer needs and is enjoying record-high J.D. Power customer service ratings," PCI's Robert Gordon said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should develop standards for devices that police can use in roadside testing for drug impairment in drivers, the National Transportation Safety Board said. The NTSB made its recommendation after its investigation that found a pickup truck driver was under the influence of marijuana and anti-anxiety medication at the time of a head-on collision with a church bus that killed 13 people.
Searching continues in Florida for several hundreds of people reported to have lost contact with friends and family members after Hurricane Michael, according to volunteer organization CrowdSource Rescue, although state officials have provided no official total of missing people. The storm's death toll is at least 27 across four states, and medical examiners are deciding whether an additional four deaths were storm-related.
A proposed ordinance in San Diego would mandate that Segway tour companies carry commercial liability insurance of at least $2 million per case and $4 million annually, hold special permits, and adhere to new safety procedures. Segway incidents have led to litigation against the city, which has paid out $1.7 million in one case and is facing a wrongful-death lawsuit in another.
The catastrophic storms of this year and 2017 are likely to force officials to rethink building codes and development restrictions in light of climate change, according to experts. One concern is that people may forget lessons learned from recent hurricanes as time passes.
Use of detailed satellite imagery and radar by Lloyd's Market Association managing agents has risen 75% since last year's hurricane season as agents work to assess and pay claims more quickly. "The service is providing insurers with a real edge over global competitors, with many grasping the opportunity to use it to make swift decisions and payments," said Lee Elliston of Lloyd's Market Association.
The Llano River in central Texas approached a record level on Tuesday after two days of heavy rainfall. One person has been found dead in the flooding, which has prompted evacuations, affected homes and caused a bridge to collapse.
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