U.S. Geological Survey(HONOLULU) — The eight vents that have been spewing lava since Kilauea erupted three days ago were quiet on Saturday, but officials warned they are bracing for the possibility of eruptions continuing for several more weeks.The calm allowed some measure of positive news for the 1,800 residents who were evacuated from their homes in the Big Island’s Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods.In evacuated areas with relatively low sulfur dioxide levels, residents will be allowed to return home for a few hours to collect belongings, Hawaii’s Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said at a press conference Saturday evening. Officials said those residents — about half of the evacuees — could be allowed to briefly return as soon as Sunday.“We’ve gotta be careful because the [sulfur dioxide] levels are still pretty high,” Magno said. “We’re not going to let them stay.”The activity had heightened Saturday morning, with officials saying the lava from multiple vents had joined together in a concerning scenario. Five buildings have been destroyed in the Leilani Estates region, officials said.Magno told ABC News that the Civil Defense Agency was starting to prepare for the worst.“It ramps up our response more,” Magno told ABC News correspondent Marci Gonzalez, adding, “Even though you’re thinking about the worst-case scenario, it’s starting to come to fruition, so you go, ‘OK, we need to get ready for that worst-case scenario.”“The eight vents were pretty active, to the point where lava was spewing and the flow started spreading, so we got additional damage out there,” Magno said at the press conference, adding, “Fortunately, seismicity has kinda laid down and the vents have gone quiet now.”But officials cautioned that while the lava flow may be quiet for now, it won’t be for long.“More vents could open up. The existing ones could get active again, which probably will happen after seeing what happened this morning,” Magno said. “There’s a lot of lava or magma under the ground, so eventually it’s going to come up.”The island was also rocked by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on Friday, which caused landslides near the coast, but minimal structural damage.The concern continues to be the lava and gas emitted from vents.“This is lava that is definitely destroying people’s homes — we don’t have an exact count — but it is a devastating situation and it’s going to be everyday that it goes on,” Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe said. “Mother Nature — there’s no way we could’ve predicted this.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — Monsoon season begins Friday in the Southwest, which could see flash flooding.Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, which haven’t seen rain in more than three months, could see 1 to 2 inches of precipitation, courtesy of Hurricane Bud.Monsoon season runs from June to September. It is characterized by shifts in wind patterns in the Southwest. Instead of dry wind coming from the west, the wind comes from the south and even southeast, with the tropical Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico bringing moisture to produce thunderstorms and rain in the arid Southwest.Red flag warnings and wind advisories, in addition to flash flood watches, are converging on the Southwest.As of early Friday morning, 43 wildfires were burning in the United States, about half of them in the West and half in Alaska.Parts of southern Arizona and New Mexico may see more than 2 inches of rain.More than 120 damaging-storm reports were produced Thursday from the Dakotas to the Carolinas. North Dakota reported a tornado.Three people in Florida were injured by lightning as strong thunderstorms rolled through the state.Severe weather is expected Friday in the Upper Midwest, particularly near the Minnesota Twin Cities. Damaging winds and tornadoes remain the biggest threats.On Saturday, stormy weather will extend from South Dakota to Michigan, with the biggest threats being damaging wind, hail and potential tornadoes.Summer is coming. An excessive heat watch has been issued this weekend in Chicago as temperatures may climb to the mid-90s, with humidity making it feel like it is 100 to 105 degrees.A heat advisory also was issued in Kansas City; St. Louis; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Des Moines, Iowa, with the heat moving northeast on Sunday.Late Sunday and into Monday, temperatures are expected to be nearly 100 degrees in Washington and the mid-90s in New York. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — Two people were rushed to the hospital after they were injured by a flaming drink at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Las Vegas on Thursday.The accident occurred at Hell’s Kitchen, which is Ramsay’s restaurant located in Caesars Palace. The drink which caused the injuries is called the Rum Donkey, according to Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV.The two suffered burns from the incident, but it was unclear how seriously they were injured.“Unfortunately, two guests were injured at Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace last night. We stand ready to provide any assistance they may need to help them through this difficult time,” Caesars Entertainment said in a statement to ABC News. “The particular type of specialty drink served at Hell’s Kitchen is served at the finest restaurants worldwide without incident. But, out of an abundance of caution, Hell’s Kitchen has removed the drink item at issue from the menu.“All of us here at Caesars Palace and the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant Group are concerned for the injured guests, and are hopeful for their speedy recovery.”Clark County Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen confirmed to KTNV that two people were taken to the hospital due to the burns.The Rum Donkey is made with Cruzan Single Barrel Rum, falernum, brown sugar, ginger beer and torched passion fruit, according to the restaurant’s website. The passion fruit is literally lit on fire, as the name “torched” implies. It costs $14 a drink.The restaurant is named after Ramsay’s hit TV show and opened in January.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — An incendiary headline placed next to a picture of prominent Democrats in a magazine produced by the National Rifle Association is causing some backlash.A spread in the March issue of American Rifleman, which is available online, shows a picture of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Rep. Gabby Giffords next to the headline “Target Practice,” which has some questioning the editorial motives of the gun rights group.The photo selection is at the heart of the backlash, as the picture shows Giffords, who was shot in the head and survived an assassination attempt in 2011, alongside Pelosi when the pair were at a recent press conference about a proposed background check law.Underneath the large headline, there is a subhead that reads “Congressional Democrats target gun owners for persecution with extreme firearm transfer bans.”The ensuing article, written by Chris Cox, one of the gun group’s most prominent leaders and the executive director of the NRA’s Institute of Legislative Action, derided Democrats for pushing the background check bill during the government shutdown “rather than to ensure that the country has a functional government.”The article introduced Pelosi as “arch anti-gunner.” It also points out that the news conference was held on the anniversary of the “infamous and deplorable” 2011 shooting of Giffords, the article goes into the specifics of the shooter and how he passed a background check.The executive director of Giffords, the former congresswoman’s eponymous gun control activist group, released a statement slamming the spread.“Fueling anger and selling fear has been one of the NRA’s most consistent tactics, and this reprehensible headline is just the latest example of their leaders’ dangerous and irresponsible propaganda,” Peter Ambler said in his statement.“Evoking threats of violence should never be tolerated. Words matter. This headline should tell us all we need to know about how wildly out of touch the NRA is with its own members and how low they will stoop to advance their damaging agenda at the expense of our safety,” Ambler’s statement reads.The NRA did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment.Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who has been calling for more gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, had his own theory behind the decision to pair that photo with the headline.“Newsflash: they know what they’re doing here,” Murphy wrote in response to a tweet about the spread.Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., went further, calling for the NRA to “face legal consequences.”“This is a call for violence by the @NRA against @GabbyGiffords, who was nearly killed by gunfire and @SpeakerPelosi, the most powerful legislator in America. The NRA should face legal consequences. But let’s put them out of business with boycotts and ballot boxes. #EnoughIsEnough,” Swalwell wrote in the tweet.That sparked a response from Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, who called Swalwell’s comments an example of an attempt to promote “outrage culture.”Parkland activist David Hogg, who was at the background check news conference and stood behind Giffords at the event, tweeted about the NRA spread as well. He directed his tweet at Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asking the politician “why do you take money from an organization that calls for the assassination of politicians simply for their political beliefs.”Rubio did not appear to publicly respond to Hogg on Twitter, nor did his office immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.Hogg also retweeted former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., who tweeted that “The NRA has become an alt right organization promoting violence.”The magazine article is not the first time that the intentions of the NRA’s press efforts have been questioned. Last year, they prompted some ire after tweeting out a picture of an AR-15 as the national student walkout was unfolding as a part of the March for our Lives, which was held to call for action on gun control in the wake of the deadly Parkland shooting. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
KTRK-TV(PEARLAND, TX) — A junior high school administrator was placed on leave and could face disciplinary action for allegedly drawing on a student’s head with a permanent marker.Juelz Trice, a seventh-grader at Berry Miller Junior High in Pearland, Texas, got a new haircut last week featuring a carved design. When Trice went to school the next day, a staff member allegedly informed him that his new hairdo was against the dress code and said he would be punished unless he allowed the carved haircut to be filled in with a marker.Trice said that although the incident made him feel uncomfortable, he didn’t want to argue or resist at the time.“It was the talk of school that day and the day after,” Juelz told ABC Houston station KTRK in a recent interview.Juelz’s mother, Angela Washington, said she didn’t find out about the incident until after her son got home from school that day.“I was very upset,” Washington told KTRK. “He got off the bus and he got into the car and said, ‘Look what they did to my head.’”Pearland Independent School District said Trice’s haircut was in fact against the dress code, which states, “Hair must be neat, clean and well groomed. Extreme hair styles such as carvings, mohawks, spikes, etc. are not allowed.”Still, the school district said in a statement that the staff member “mishandled disciplinary action” by giving the student the option to have the shape of his hair carving colored in with a marker, which is “not condoned by the district and does not align with appropriate measures for dress code violations.”“Pearland ISD is extremely disappointed to learn of a situation that occurred at Berry Miller Junior High,” the school district said in the statement on Tuesday. “The campus administrator is currently on administrative leave. Further action is forthcoming.”Washington said the school has called to apologize and that the administrator shared his side of the story.“They were very apologetic, but it still happened,” Washington told KTRK. “Nobody should think that is the correct way to handle a situation.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
aluxum/iStock(NEW YORK) — A New Jersey man who threatened to shoot everyone at a pro-Israel rally and said he wanted to “bomb Trump Tower,” was arrested Wednesday on charges of trying to provide support to Hamas.Jonathan Xie, 20, of Basking Ridge, allegedly had social media accounts loaded with terror propaganda, according to the FBI. The agency said he had also declared support for Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein and North Korea.In April, Xie allegedly appeared in an Instagram Live video in which he said he was against Zionism and the neo-liberal establishment. In the same video he displayed a Hamas flag, retrieved a handgun and stated “I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody.”In another Instagram post quoted in court documents, Xie said, “I want to shoot the pro-Israel demonstrators…you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people…all you need is a gun or a vehicle to go on a rampage.”FBI surveillance observed Xie outside of the Trump Tower building in New York City around April 20 of this year. Shortly thereafter, Xie posted two photos to his Instagram account, according to Instagram records.One photo had the words “I want to bomb Trump Tower” imposed over the building image, and the other photo had the words “[S]hould I bomb Trump Tower,” a “Yes/No” poll, and an emoji of a bomb imposed over an image of the Trump Tower building.Xie subsequently posted on Instagram, “Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically…I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC…i want to bomb this place along with trump tower.”He was arrested without incident on Wednesday morning, and is due to make an initial appearance in federal court in Newark in the afternoon.This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Nastasic/iStock(LOS ANGELES) — Authorities in Southern California have conducted a massive drug bust that includes 14.9 tons of illegally-grown marijuana in one area. In addition to the drugs, investigators also found 37 guns, multiple dogs and a honey oil lab at the properties in the Perris area, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The dogs are now safe, authorities said.Authorities were serving 48 search warrants in the area and have made 27 arrests.Photos tweeted by the sheriff’s department show plants being pulled from the ground and being placed into vans for transport. Current preliminary stats: 32 search warrants served at illegal grows, 1 BHO lab, 21 guns, 5.9 tons #marijuana, 10 arrest. We have no additional releasable information at this time. #weedbegone #marijuana #420nomore #illegalgrows #sheriff #riversidecounty #riversidesheriff https://t.co/YolYIkH5uP pic.twitter.com/E2qZBx4kP7— Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept (@RSO) July 18, 2019Other photos show deputies comforting the dogs they found on the properties.So what did we find at these illegal marijuana grows? – Dogs and guns. The dogs are ok #RCDAS and the guns were taken as evidence. currents stats: 48 search warrants, 27 arrest, 37 guns, and 14.9 tons of illegal marijuana. #riversidecounty #sheriff #perrisarea #illegalgrows pic.twitter.com/XaHj3qryF7— Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept (@RSO) July 18, 2019Aerial footage taken by ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV shows workers as they confiscate massive amounts of cannabis plants from the property.Additional information was not released.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — There are more than 120 large wildfires burning in the Unites States Thursday morning, most of them in the West and Alaska.In the West alone, 48 large fires are burning with additional small brush fires popping up in hot spots. The Museum Fire, near Flagstaff, Arizona, is 1,887 acres and only 12% contained, but an evacuation order has been lifted due to the higher humidity, lower temperatures and monsoon rain.Hot weather, with locally gusty winds, sparked a few brush fires from the San Francisco Bay area down to Los Angeles on Wednesday.Several record highs were broken and tied in Southern California, including one in Long Beach, where the temperature reached a record-tying high of 99 degrees.Looking forward, monsoon storms are still forecast for Thursday in the Southwest and southern Rockies from California to Colorado, where flash flood watches have been issued.The heat will increase in the coming days, especially in California where numerous heat watches, warnings and advisories have been issued.Gusty winds up to 40 mph are expected in Montana, where red flag warnings have been posted.The heat is on this weekend from Sacramento to Las Vegas, and even into Phoenix, where some cities could see high temperatures a little over 110.Desert temperatures could even reach into the 120s in Southern California.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
(Elijah Blanchard) Aniah Blanchard is pictured with her father, Elijah Blanchard, in this undated photo.(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) — UFC President Dana White is upping the reward being offered for information regarding the disappearance of Aniah Haley Blanchard, the stepdaughter of mixed martial arts competitor Walt Harris.Blanchard, 19, has not been seen since the Alabama college student was caught on surveillance video visiting a convenience store last week. Police said they found evidence in her vehicle that indicates that she may have been the victim of foul play.Earlier Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a proclamation authorizing a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of a suspect in the case. White’s offering came in the form of a Twitter video released Wednesday evening.Blanchard’s vehicle was found abandoned near an apartment complex in Montgomery last Friday. The vehicle, a black 2017 Honda CRV, had damage to the front left tire area, which is believed to have occurred between the time she was last seen and when the vehicle was found, according to the Auburn Police Division.Blanchard, a student at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, was reported missing by her family on Oct. 24. Police said she last communicated with a friend on Oct. 23, just before midnight. The Lee County District Attorney’s Office said it is approaching the search for Blanchard as if foul play was involved.“This is a criminal investigation. Obviously, we’re approaching it as such. I think the only right way to do it is to approach it as if foul play is involved and as if there is someone or more than one person involved in this,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said Wednesday. “We do not believe Aniah would or did essentially go missing on her own volition.”“I encourage anyone with information about the whereabouts of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, who was last seen Oct. 23, to please call *HP or 9-1-1,” Ivey said in a tweet Wednesday. “We continue to pray for Aniah & her family as law enforcement officials work to bring her home.”Police released a surveillance video earlier this week, showing Blanchard making a purchase at a convenience store in downtown Auburn on Oct. 23.It also announced the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security were among several agencies investigating her disappearance.Blanchard’s father, Elijah Blanchard, said his daughter “would not leave” without telling anyone.“She always calls me at the end of the day to see how my day was,” Elijah Blanchard told ABC News in an exclusive interview Monday evening. “She would never not contact somebody and let them know what she’s doing.”He described his daughter as “very ambitious,” “very organized” and “fun to be around.”“If someone would see Aniah out, they would know something was wrong if she didn’t carry that beautiful smile that she always has,” he said.Harris, a UFC heavyweight fighter, shared images of his stepdaughter on his Instagram page last week, asking members of the public to come forward with information.“Please help find my baby Aniah Blanchard. She is missing [in] Auburn,” Harris, one of the top mixed martial arts contenders in the heavyweight division, told his nearly 30,000 followers. “Please help!!!! Any info message me on here or call the Auburn police … PLEASE SHARE THIS!!!!”Blanchard is described as a light-complexioned black female with brown eyes and brown hair who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and about 125 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black dress and tan duck boots with black stockings, according to police. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
iStock(LOUISVILLE TOWNSHIP, Minn.) — Firefighters in Minnesota rescued a pilot after the small plane he was flying became entangled in a high-voltage power line upside down.Emergency dispatchers received a 911 call reporting the single engine plane had crashed on 150th street in Louisville Township, just before 4 p.m. Saturday, according to a release by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.The pilot, 65-year-old Thomas Koskovich of Shakopee, Minnesota, was not injured in the crash, authorities said.He was rescued after the power was cut off to the lines, St. Paul ABC affiliate KSTP-TV reported.“This incident could have been much worse,” Sheriff Luke Hennen said in a statement. “We are grateful the pilot was able to walk away without any injuries.”Photos released by the sheriff’s office show the plane dangling from the power line as emergency crews work to get Koskovich out of the aircraft.It is unclear what caused the plane to crash. The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.