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Erika: What to do now if you live in the cone of uncertainty

Worried about whether Tropical Storm Erika will make landfall in Florida? Experts say  now is the time to prepare.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Refill special medications.
  • Get cash (ATMs may not work for days after).
  • Fill up with gas. Check battery, water, oil. Make sure you have a spare tire and aerosol kits that fix and inflate flats.
  • Check fire extinguishers. Prepare your boat. Prepare your pool. Don’t drain it.
  • Get shutters, storm panels or plywood in place on windows. If you haven’t installed sockets, attach with wood screws; they’re better than nails and do less damage. Don’t tape windows.
  • Move grills, patio furniture and potted plants inside.
  • If you do any last-minute pruning, take clippings inside.
  • Disconnect and remove satellite dish or antenna from your roof.
  • Check your mailbox. If it’s loose, secure or remove it.
  • Remove roof turbines and cap holes with screw-on caps.
  • Prepare patio screening. What’s recommended: Remove a 6-foot panel on each side to let wind pass through.

>>For complete storm coverage, click here.

Your hurricane kit

  • Flashlights, extra bulbs
  • Clock (wind-up or battery-operated)
  • Battery-operated radio
  • NOAA emergency weather radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Toilet paper
  • Matches (camping stores have waterproof matches)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Working fire extinguisher
  • Clean change of clothes, rain gear, sturdy swamp boots
  • Fully charged battery-operated lanterns. Don’t use candles and kerosene lanterns. They are fire hazards.
  • Map of the area
  • List of phone numbers
  • Copy of insurance policy

 

FOOD

Get enough nonperishable food to last two weeks.

  • Water: Enough for 2 gallons per person/per day, for one-week minimum. Two weeks is ideal.
  • Ice or dry ice
  • Shelf-stable milk and juice boxes
  • Canned and powdered milk
  • Beverages (powdered or canned, fruit juices, instant coffee, tea)
  • Raw vegetables that don’t need refrigeration (will last only a few days)
  • Canned vegetables and fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Prepared foods (canned soups, beef, spaghetti, tuna, chicken, ham, corned beef hash, packaged pudding)
  • Snacks (crackers, cookies, hard candy, unsalted nuts)
  • Snack spreads (nut butters, cheese spreads, jelly)
  • Cereals
  • Sugar, salt, pepper
  • Bread
  • Dry and canned pet food

 

HARDWARE

  • Hand tools: hammer, screwdrivers to use now, shovel and pickax for after the storm
  • Quarter-inch machine screw sockets and screws
  • Plastic sheeting to cover furniture
  • Rope
  • Sturdy working gloves
  • Duct tape to waterproof items; masking tape isn’t strong enough
  • Canvas tarps
  • Sturdy nails
  • Broom, mop, squeegee

 

FIRST-AID KIT

Two-week supply of prescription drugs. Your first-aid kit should include:

 

  • Insect repellent sprays
  • Citronella candles, insect bite lotion
  • Petroleum jelly, for itching
  • Ointments for burns, cuts
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra over-the-counter medicine (for colds, allergies, cough)
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen, antacid
  • Children’s medicines
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Feminine hygiene items
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Iodine, disinfectant
  • Wet wipes, moist towelettes
  • Medic Alert tags
  • Thermometer
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Sterile rolls
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Roller bandages
  • Tweezers, needles
  • Adhesive tape
  • Safety pins
  • Latex gloves

 

KITCHEN SUPPLIES

  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Manual can opener
  • Water purification tablets
  • Bottle opener
  • Matches in a plastic bag
  • Pocket knife
  • Camp stove or other cooking device and plenty of fuel.
  • Ice chests or coolers
  • Paper plates, napkins
  • Plastic cups, utensils
  • Plastic bags, jugs or containers for water and ice

 

BABY NEEDS

Disposable diapers, wipes, ointment, medicine

Storms hit just as missing Florida boys took off

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Shortly after Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen left the safety of Jupiter Inlet Friday afternoon, the skies darkened.

A line of strong thunderstorms was tracked by the National Weather Service, smacking Hobe Sound with wind gusts of up to 40 mph and opening the skies to torrential rains. By 2:30, the weather had reached Jupiter.

It’s the kind of storm South Florida summers are known for. They kick up quickly, turning friendly seas dangerous in mere minutes.

“Had they been out over the open water, they could have had some rapidly changing conditions,” said John Pendergrast, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, about the two 14-year-olds who have been missing since Friday. “It’s too hard to say whether weather directly could have caused whatever it is that happened to them, but there were some localized wind gusts and precipitation.”

Pendergrast said it’s not surprising at all that the boat was found more than 60 miles off Daytona Beach. The strong Gulf Stream current would carry the boat that far.

Officials are still searching for the boys, but the weather, again, may be a factor. While the morning will remain still, storms will boil up this afternoon.

“There’s not too much out there at the moment, but chances things will change increase in the afternoon,” Pendergrast said.

Must-see: Elsa from 'Frozen' arrested in South Carolina

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Tired of recent frigid temperatures, police in Hanahan, South Carolina, jokingly arrested Elsa from Disney's "Frozen" after she allegedly froze a fountain.

According to WCIV-TV in Charleston, event-planning company Glass Slipper Productions staged the arrest, which was captured on camera by Tammy Sakalas of Sakalas Photography. Actress Courtney Fazley played Elsa.

>> PHOTOS: Elsa from 'Frozen' arrested

Police said they let Elsa go after the ice in the fountain melted.

>> Read more trending stories

This isn't the first time the Snow Queen has been in hot water. Last week, police in Harlan, Kentucky, issued a warrant for her arrest, accusing her of bringing dangerous weather to the area.

WATCH: Georgia school makes music video to announce snow day cancellation

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A northeast Georgia school found a unique and catchy way to announce its school closing this week, Atlanta's WSB-TV reports.

Faculty and students of The Little School in Clarkesville got creative, making their own music video called “All About That Ice,” a parody on Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

“Because you know I’m all about that ice, 'bout that ice, no school,” starts the video that was sent out to parents and students Sunday night.

“Yeah the roads ain’t clear, so we can’t get to school. But we can sleep in, like we’re supposed to do. We got that snow, snow that all the kids chase. All the right ice in all the right places,” teacher Beth Loveland sings as teachers dance in their bathrobes.

>> Read more trending stories

Loveland said administrator Wendy Jackson approached her about making the video in November.

“She sent me an email and said, 'I’ve got this really sneaky idea,'” Loveland said. “The funny thing was I had never even heard the song before so when she introduced it to me I said, ‘What is this?’”

After a little research, Loveland found a karaoke version of the song and recorded the vocals. Another teacher, Robin Croninger, volunteered to shoot and edit the video.

Teachers and several of their kids, including Loveland’s 7-year-old and 10-year-old, spent several hours creating the video, and then waited months for the perfect opportunity to finally send it out.

“Yeah, my momma, she told me, 'Don’t worry 'bout your homework tonight.' She says kids like a nice little snow day every once in a while,” Loveland sings in the video.

Jackson got the idea after seeing another school in a different state do something similar, Loveland said.

“That’s really the glory of our school. The administrators are willing to do fun things all the time that keep the kids entertained,” Loveland said.

The Little School, which serves kids from pre-K through fifth grade, was closed Monday and will be closed again Tuesday.

Loveland says she’s most excited about returning to school Wednesday and seeing the kids’ reactions to their school closing video. Click here to watch.

Must-see: Snow fills abandoned Ohio mall in eerie photos

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Johnny Joo, a photographer who focuses on abandoned buildings and structures, recently captured snowy scenes inside the vacant Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio. The haunting series has gone viral.

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"It was a combination of a strange childhood joy of winter wonderland mixed with a wild feeling of peace, being that my surroundings were so calm and quiet," Joo told Cleveland's WKYC of photographing the mall, which opened in 1975 and closed in 2008. "At the same time, it was eerie seeing the destruction in such a strange light." Read the full story here.

Click here or scroll down to see the images.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/snow-takes-over-abandoned/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/snow-takes-over-abandoned.js?header=false&amp;border=false"></script>[View the story "Snow fills abandoned Ohio mall in eerie photos" on Storify]

Woman allegedly attacks neighbor with snow blower | Blizzard of 2015

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Police in Arlington, Massachusetts, arrested a woman Tuesday after she allegedly attacked and injured her neighbor with a handheld snow blower, Boston's WFXT reports.

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington police responded after receiving a report of an assault in progress. 

Police said a 60-year-old woman, whose identity is not being released, suffered lacerations to her foot after allegedly being assaulted by her neighbor, 61-year-old Barbara Davis. 

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According to police, the two neighbors had a "long-term and ongoing dispute," and the victim had previously taken out a protection order against Davis.

Davis was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, violation of a harassment protection order, and mayhem. 

She was ordered held on more than $35,000 cash bail and is awaiting arraignment in Cambridge District Court. 

The victim was treated for minor injuries.

Al Roker attempts 34-hour weather broadcast to break world record

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Weathercaster and TV personality Al Roker is going for a world record, and it will take him at least 34 hours to pull it off. 

"To make history, you've got to want it. To make history, you've got to ride the rainbow and feel the polar vortex." 

The "Today" show weatherman is attempting the longest uninterrupted weather broadcast in history — nicknamed the "Rokerthon."

Roker has made it known this stunt is aimed at raising money for the United Service Organizations, or USO, through crowdsourcing site CrowdRise

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But Roker's true inspiration for attempting what is undoubtedly a grueling feat is the person he's trying to beat — Norwegian meteorologist Eli Kari Gjengedal. (Video via TV2)

Gjengedal spent more than 33 hours on-air back in September, surpassing the previous record of 24 hours. Roker admitted to The Daily Beast his attempt started out as a joke after reporting on Gjengedal's broadcast. (Video via BBC)

"I kind of flippantly said, ‘I can do that. Sure, I’ll do that.’… And everybody said, ‘Wow. You’re gonna do that?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I guess so. Why not? It could be fun. It’s a challenge.’” 

Roker talked to Gjengedal during the "Today" show Wednesday about what inspired her to make the record-breaking attempt. 

ELI KARI GJENGEDAL VIA NBC: "One, I wanted to have focus on weather because it is so important. And the second thing was Norwegian people are so into weather, so I was thinking that we have to have that record." 

Of course, what's a Guinness World Record-attempt without a few rules? NBC reports Roker can take a five-minute break every 60 minutes, but he will have to talk about weather the entire time (outside of breaks), and two independent witnesses must be there at all times. 

Roker's broadcast, which began at 10 p.m. ET Wednesday, is streaming live online. For more information, visit Today.com/Rokerthon

This video includes images from Getty Images. 

Damage from storms: flooding, hail, lightning strike

Reports of damage from Wednesday's storms began to worsen in the evening amid reports of people trapped in vehicles because of high water, flooding of homes and roadways, trees downed and at least one report of a lighting strike.

In Tipp City, one child was rescued and fire crews were working to free a second person from a vehicle trapped in a vehicle because of high water at North Tippecanoe and Miles Road.

Clark County fire crews were responding to reports of people trapped in vehicles because of high water in the area of State Route 235 and Gerlaugh Road, stretching south to Coca-Cola Boulevard. In Bethel Twp., a man was rescued from the roof of his van, which was struck in high water in the area of Sheehan Avenue and Stratmore Street.

There were no reports of injuries stemming from a lightning strike on a house in the 4000 block of East Church Street in Urbana. Fire crews found no flames in their check of the residence.

The homeowner said he was in an upstairs bedroom when he heard a loud crash, then a bang. He checked the breaker box of his home. It was blown. He said he went outside and saw that a tree in the yard had been hit and the light in a light pole had been blown.

  • 7:00 p.m.: Clark County fire crews were responding to reports of people trapped in vehicles because of high water in the area of State Route 235 and Gerlaugh Road, stretching south to Coca-Cola Boulevard. In Bethel Twp., a man was rescued from the roof of his van, which was struck in high water in the area of Sheehan Avenue and Stratmore Road.
  • 6:56 p.m.: A resident who lives in the 300 block of Monroe-Concord Road, near Dogwood Drive in Miami County, said the road is flooded and people are continuing to try to drive through the water.
  • 6:30 p.m.: In Tipp City, Garber Drive resident Megan Magnussen said her house is flooded. A caller in the 200 block of Stratmore Road in New Carlisle said the street "is like a river."
  • 6:11 p.m.: In Tipp City, fire crews rescued one child and were working to free a second person from a vehicle trapped in high water at North Tippecanoe and Miles Road.
  • 5:53 p.m.: In Springfield, North Street at Water Street in the downtown is closed because of high water. Traffic is being diverted to Water Street.
  • 5:48 p.m.: A caller reports that Main Street in Troy is "completely flooded."
  • 5:43 p.m.: A Tipp City resident who lives on South Seventh Street said half of a tree in front of an elementary school is now gone. He said he he lives across the street from the school.

There also was a report of flooding at the Troy Country Club.

  • 5:35 p.m.: In Urbana, a vehicle reportedly is stuck in high water under a bridge on West Light Street at the railroad tracks. It wasn't immediately known whether anyone is in the vehicle.
  • 5:26 p.m.: In Clark County, a large tree was reported down on North Fountain Avenue, about four miles north-northwest of Springfield.
  • :47 p.m.: Urbana fire crews were dispatched to a single-vehicle crash in the 900 block of Norwood Avenue. According to Champaign County dispatchers, a truck hit a tree and ended up on top of a fire hydrant. We're told the truck is believed to have hydroplaned on the wet road.

We will continue to update this story as we get details of damage from the storms that hit the area on Wednesday afternoon.

7 rescued after twister hits houses, barn in Cedarville

Seven people had to be helped out of a house in Cedarville after a tornado destroyed it, a second house and several other buildings Wednesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service will be in Cedarville this morning to survey the storm damage to determine the category of the tornado.

Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman said fire and medic crews from Xenia were dispatched to reports of storm damage at Weimer and Barber roads. Skywarn weather spotters confirmed that a tornado touched down in that area at about 6:12 p.m.

According to Cedarville police, the seven were in the basement when the storm hit. All had to be extricated and all are OK, police said.

One of the houses destroyed belonged to Roger Dobbins, 71. The other was his daughter's. They all were trapped inside for nearly 30 minutes after the tornado. Dobbins said he was watching coverage of the storm on WHIO-TV Channel 7 until his satellite went out at his home in the 4200 block of Barber Road.

"I saw it coming directly toward us," he said. "I could hear a lot of racket. My ears popped."

Dobbins said he and six other people were in the basement: his wife, daughter, a friend of his daughter's, and her three children.

More than a dozen fire trucks and emergency vehicles were sent to the Dobbins farm.

Corey Atley, a resident who observed damage near his home outside Cedarville, said a nearby silo also was severely damaged and a hog barn was flattened. Atley estimated the tornado left a swath of debris four miles long, 200 to 300 yards wide.

Cedarville police Chief Chris Gillaugh said, "For me, actually seeing the thing was unbelievable. You watch it on television and you see them on television all the time. But to see it and actually know that it's destroying places and things, you have a whole other respect for it."

The storm also impacted communities all over the Miami Valley.

In Xenia, on North Stringtown Road in New Jasper Twp., the storm and possible straight line winds uprooted trees and ripped the roof off a barn. Dennis Mick, who experienced the 1974 Xenia tornado, said he took cover as soon as he heard the storm blowing in.

"I saw branches swirling through the air and we ran to the basement. There was a roaring sound," he said.

Pieces of his aluminum and timber barn were scattered hundreds of yards across his property and wooden beams were driven straight into the ground by the force of the winds. Some shingles were torn off his home, but Mick said for the most part the house is intact and he and his wife are safe.

Across the street, high winds rolled a trailer at least 50 feet, ripping off the back of the vehicle and scattering its contents across the front lawn.

In neighboring Clark County, Chief Chris Clark, Madison Twp. Fire and EMS, was thinking about the folks in Greene, even after he saw the twister touch down west of Selma at about 5:45 p.m. There were no reports of damage.

"We send prayers out to the families and the people who are affected by the storm in Cedarville and wish them the best. If there's anything we can do to lend assistance, we're ready to go," Clark said.

Wednesday night, New Jasper Twp. fire department crews were surveying damage to assist residents with filing insurance claims in the wake of the storm.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington said a risk of flash flooding remains in effect until 2 p.m. Thursday. NWS representatives are expected to survey the area Thursday and determine the strength of the tornado.

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