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Powerful Sally creeps toward Florida; choking air from wildfires relentless; Trump gets Mideast moment
alert special report AP

Powerful Sally creeps toward Florida; choking air from wildfires relentless; Trump gets Mideast moment

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Today is Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Let's get caught up.

These non-virus headlines are in the news this morning: Hurricane Sally is packing winds of 100 mph as it closes in on the Florida Panhandle this morning; relief from the smoky air caused by the West Coast wildfires won't come until later in the week; and President Trump will preside over historic Arab-Israel recognition deals today.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


Top stories

APTOPIX Tropical Weather

Nikita Pero of Gulfport, Miss., walks with her son Vinny Pero, 2, on the beach along the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi, Miss., Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast sometime through the night and morning. 

Plodding and powerful, Sally moves in on Gulf Coast

Hurricane Sally, a plodding but powerful storm with winds of 100 mph, crept toward the northern Gulf Coast early Tuesday, with forecasters warning of potentially deadly storm surges, flash floods spurred by up to 2 feet (.61 meters) of rain and the possibility of tornadoes.

Hurricane warnings stretched from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Navarre, Florida, but forecasters — while stressing “significant” uncertainty — kept nudging the predicted track to the east.

That eased fears in New Orleans, which once was in the storm's crosshairs. But it prompted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare an emergency in the Panhandle's westernmost counties, which were being pummeled by rain from Sally's outer bands early Tuesday. The threat of heavy rain and storm surge was exacerbated by the storm’s slow movement. Read the full story here:

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Pacific Northwest Wildfires

A U.S. flag flies near Smith Tower, center, and in front of the tower at Columbia Center in downtown Seattle as air thick with smoke from wildfires as seen over CenturyLink Field, right, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Seattle. 

Choking air from Western fires just won't ease up

Relief from putrid, dangerous air spewing from massive wildfires across the West won't come until later in the week or beyond, scientists and forecasters say, and the hazy and gunk-filled skies might stick around for even longer.

People in Oregon, Washington and parts of California were struggling under acrid yellowish-green smog — the worst, most unhealthy air on the planet according to some measurements. It seeped into homes and businesses, sneaked into cars through air conditioning vents and caused the closure of iconic locations such as Powell’s Books and the Oregon Zoo in Portland, the state's biggest city. Read the full story here:

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Trump

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Washington from a trip to Phoenix. 

Trump to preside over historic Arab-Israel recognition deals

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is set to preside over the signing of historic diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations that could herald a dramatic shift in Middle East power dynamics and give him a boost ahead of the November election.

In a White House ceremony aimed at showcasing presidential statesmanship, Trump will host more than 700 guests Tuesday on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trump and his allies hope the occasion will burnish Trump's credentials as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign. Read the full story here:

In other news today ...

  • North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham battled over the government's COVID-19 response and a future vaccine in a debate Monday, kicking up a notch a campaign that could determine the Senate's control.
  • Legal advocates are lining up on both sides of actor Bill Cosby’s appeal as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepares to review his 2018 sex assault conviction.
  • Hurricane Paulette knocked down trees and power lines across Bermuda on Monday as it made a rare landfall in the wealthy British territory and strengthened into a Category 2 storm while still over the island.
  • The U.S. on Tuesday issued a sweeping new advisory warning against travel to mainland China and Hong Kong, citing the risk of “arbitrary detention" and “arbitrary enforcement of local laws."
  • A House subcommittee is launching an investigation into whether political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with President Donald Trump’s public statements about the coronavirus pandemic, following a report that one such appointee claimed scientists were trying to undermine Trump.
  • After opening a free grocery store earlier this year, country music star Brad Paisley and his wife are expanding their efforts to fight hunger in America. Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have pledged to donate 1 million nutritional meals this month.
  • With their captain and two rookies scoring goals in another comeback, the Dallas Stars wrapped up the best-of-seven Western Conference Final in five games with a 3-2 overtime victory against the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights.

Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for trending stories, a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.

Today's national forecast

Relief in store for Pacific Northwest fires as the area may see some rainfall in the coming days. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the details. Watch here:

Trending today

Image of the day

APTOPIX Steelers Giants Football

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) leaps over Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton (28) during the second quarter of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. 

On this date

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve the Supreme Court nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor, and more events that happened…

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