Published 8:26 PM EDT Sep 13, 2018
'This is a life-threatening situation'
The wind whipped. The ocean swelled. Rivers overwhelmed their banks. And rain slapped breathtaking barrier islands. Hurricane Florence is big, fat and very dangerous as it lumbers toward the Carolina coast. The first hurricane-force winds battered the coastal areas around Wilmington, North Carolina, late Thursday. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said: "Time is running out." As of 8 p.m. EDT, the storm was 85 miles from Wilmington with winds up to 100 mph. And while the storm has weakened, it is anything but weak. The worst of Florence's fury will come in the form of "life-threatening storm surge," "catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding," and "damaging hurricane-force winds," the National Hurricane Center predicted. More than 1 million people were evacuated from coastal areas, and 10 million live within areas of hurricane or tropical storm warnings and watches. Storm surges are forecast to be up to 13 feet and rainfall up to 40 inches, the hurricane center said. If you live in Florence's path, follow these tips to keep you and your property safe.
Trump still doesn't believe Hurricane Maria killed 3,000 people
With Florence just off the East Coast, President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he doesn't believe a recent finding that 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico in Hurricane Maria. "3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000..." In an interview with USA TODAY, Carlos Santos-Burgoa, who led the study Trump sees as a sham, stood by the findings. He said a team of researchers spent six months poring over death certificates, speaking to funeral home directors and interviewing doctors to arrive at the death toll of nearly 3,000. Trump also, without evidence, called the new estimate an effort by Democrats to discredit him. That naturally brought howls of outrage from Democrats, and Republicans weren't thrilled either. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz described the president's claim as "delusional" and "unhinged from any sense of reality."
Firing of '60 Minutes' producer rattles CBS News
CBS News journalists said Thursday that they were shocked by the firing of "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager over a harsh text he sent to an in-house reporter who was investigating sexual misconduct allegations against him. The network announced the firing Wednesday but said it was not connected to the allegations reported by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker. Jericka Duncan, who had asked Fager to comment on the allegations, revealed the contents of his text on "CBS Evening News": "There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me, and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up, that will become a serious problem." Duncan said Thursday on "CBS This Morning" that she felt threatened by the text. "This is someone who held an enormous amount of power here, who I respected, and I was shocked," she said. Fager's exit came just days after CBS CEO Leslie Moonves resigned following sexual assault and harassment accusations.
11th hour of Kavanaugh confirmation gets 'confidential'
Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, gave the FBI some "information" on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – we just don't know what it is or who it came from. At the 11th hour of Kavanaugh's confirmation proceeding, Feinstein dropped the news that she had received information from a source who "strongly requested confidentiality." And she isn't saying a word beyond that. The White House quickly responded, calling it a form of character assassination. Kavanaugh's confirmation process has been anything but unifying. The Senate office for Maine Republican Susan Collins, one of two potential swing votes, has reported receiving threatening letters and calls, including one threat to rape a young female staffer, and potential bribery attempts through the form of campaign contributions for future opponents if she were to vote for Kavanaugh.
Sweet! M&M's is going nuts with new flavors
The M&M candy brand next year will roll out three new offerings – English Toffee Peanut, Mexican Jalapeno Peanut and Thai Coconut Peanut, according to the food vlog SnackChatLive. The new packaging, which features those little M&M-shaped guys wearing special hats, invites fans to vote on which of the nutty new tastes they like best. This spring, M&M's also offered up three flavors for chocolate lovers to vote on – Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Raspberry and Crunchy Mint. The winner was Crunchy Mint, which was then sold for an extended limited run.
This compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY NETWORK was brought to you by John Riley and Ryan Miller.
Want the Short List delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up!