Tropical storm warnings issued for gulf coast

Posted Sept. 01, 2011, at 9:09 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 02, 2011, at 11:36 a.m.

NEW ORLEANS — Areas along the gulf coast could get up to 20 inches of rain from a system that could blow into tropical storm strength, leading Louisiana’s governor to declare a state of emergency Thursday because of the threat of serious flash flooding.

Tropical storm warnings are out for the Gulf coast from Mississippi to Texas. The National Hurricane Center said the system that is now a depression in the Gulf of Mexico will dump 10 to 15 inches of rain over southern areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama through Sunday and as much as 20 inches in some spots.

In the Atlantic, Katia weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, though forecasters say it will again grow stronger. It was about 930 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving west near 18 mph with maximum sustained winds Thursday evening near 70 mph, a 5 mph decrease. It could become a major hurricane this weekend.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it’s too early to tell if Katia will hit the U.S. It is expected to pass north of the Caribbean.

Alaska woman punches bear in face to save dog

JUNEAU, Alaska — A Juneau, Alaska, woman says she knows it was stupid to punch a black bear in the snout to save her dog.

But Brooke Collins says the attack happened so fast that all she could think about is keeping her dachshund, Fudge, from being killed.

The 22-year-old says as soon as she let her dogs out Sunday, Fudge started barking and she saw the bear carrying him like a salmon.

Collins told the Juneau Empire she did the first thing she thought of — punched the bear in the face and scooped away her dog when it let go.

The startled bear took off through bushes to a mountain.

Fudge suffered some claw and bite marks, but they weren’t deep. Collins says he appeared to be more shocked than injured.

Marijuana lying on street snatched up by bystanders

SAN JOSE, Calif. — It was a pot head’s dream: free marijuana lying on the street for the taking, without a cop in sight.

San Jose police say a truck illegally carrying marijuana crashed and ended up on its side early Wednesday, sending large bags of pot throughout the intersection as the frightened driver ran away.

Several motorists and pedestrians who happened to be passing through the area ran out and grabbed most of the marijuana bags and took off before police arrived.

Officers eventually collected the remaining bags of weed left at the scene and also found a loaded handgun inside the white truck. They were still looking for the driver Thursday, as well as all the people who snatched up the loose bags of pot, but don’t have any suspect descriptions.

It’s unclear how the truck crashed.

UN official: East Africa famine getting worse

NAIROBI, Kenya — A top U.N. official says the famine in East Africa will worsen in coming months but he hopes aid agencies will be able to reach more starving families.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told reporters in the Kenyan capital Thursday that the crisis had not yet peaked. He says that rains will not come to the drought-stricken region until October. Even then it will take months before there is a harvest.

Guterres said he hopes humanitarian assistance will be able to reach more people.

Islamist rebels in southern Somalia have forbidden many aid agencies to work in areas under their control.

The U.N. says more than 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti need aid.

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