Monday Sunrise Briefing: Gulf Coast braces for twin storms

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, August 24, 2020, sunrise briefing. 

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been practicing archery, spelunking, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Workers board up shops in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in advance of Hurricane Marco, expected to make landfall on the Southern Louisiana coast as soon as Monday.

Residents from Alabama to Texas made emergency plans this weekend with a tropical storm and a hurricane - Marco and Laura - heading for the Gulf Coast. In New Orleans, the idea of two major storms within 48 hours has residents recalling Hurricane Katrina, which struck in 2005. With Marco on track to make landfall in Louisiana Monday evening, the biggest concern is too much water not wind. Forecasters expect 10 inches of rain and storm surges of 4 to 6 feet. As of Monday morning, Laura was still a tropical storm hammering Cuba, but was forecast to strengthen before reaching the U.S. on Wednesday.

2. Reinforcements for California. Fresh crews from western states, U.S. military aircraft, and National Guard troops poured into California on Sunday to join the fight against two dozen major wildfires. The second and third largest wildfires in recorded California history were burning in the San Francisco Bay Area, where more than 200,000 people have been told to evacuate.. The California fires, mostly ignited by lightning over the past week, have killed at least six people and destroyed more than 800 homes and other structures. All told more than one million acres have been blackened, according to Cal Fire. President Donald Trump on Saturday declared the fires a major disaster, freeing up federal funds to help residents and businesses in seven counties pay for temporary housing and repairs.

3. Courage on display. On the 15th day of the largest and most determined protests ever in independent Belarus, some 200,000 people rallied  Sunday against President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk, the capital. The size and duration of the protests are unprecedented for Belarus, a former Soviet republic, where Mr. Lukashenko has ruled for 26 years. But Belarus 2020 isn’t the Ukraine 2014 uprising, say analysts. So far, Belarus protests are more peaceful, mostly leaderless, and aren't seeking to join the E.U.. And unlike Ukraine, Belarus’ economy remains 80% state-run. But that makes it even more remarkable, say observers, that workers at state-run factories have joined the protests and strikes.“The structure of the economy allowed Ukrainians not to be afraid of the state, which in Belarus could throw any person out on the street with nothing at all,” analyst Alexander Klaskouski told the Associated Press.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports NPSTrans TopPic
A Brickyard Tradition: Japan's Takuma Sato kisses the bricks after winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sato won the race for the second time in four years.

Look Ahead

Monday, Aug. 24

Republicans convene. The Republican National Convention, part-digital, part in-person, begins. Events will be live streamed during the day, with key speakers on between 8:30pm E.T. and 11pm, Monday through Thursday.  Monday’s speakers: Donald Trump Jr. and his partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Rep.  Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) former ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). There are reports, too, that President Trump will appear each evening. 

Postal grilling, part II. Louis DeJoy, head of the US Postal Service ,is schedule to testify at a House hearing today. Expect him to be asked about cost-saving steps taken ahead of the November election. Mr. DeJoy testified this past Friday at a Senate hearing. On Saturday, the House passed a bill authorizing $25 billion in additional funding for the USPS. The Senate is unlikely to pass any similar legislation. The White House also said the president would veto it.

Cementing relations. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Israel, then heads for Sudan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to advance the normalization deal between Israel and the U.A.E

Thursday, Aug. 27 

Economic insights. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the keynote speech at the Fed’s annual gathering of central bankers, normally held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but being held virtually this year.

Spy in the sky. United Launch Alliance (a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing) is scheduled to launch a spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral, Florida. ULA and SpaceX were recently awarded federal contracts to build rockets for the new U.S. Space Force.

Friday, Aug. 28

Historic march revisited. On the anniversary of the famous 1963 March on Washington, civil rights activists and clergy lead a march in Washington, D.C. protesting police brutality today  

Generosity Watch

Courtesy Nelson family
Anne Nelson delivers Girl Scout cookies to the South Holland, Illinois Police Department on July 31, 2020.

Anne Nelson of Monee, Illinois, has discovered the joy of giving.

Last year, the fifth grader set a goal of selling 5,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to win a trip to Disney World. But the trip wasn’t for herself. It was for a boy with ongoing health issues who attends an elementary school where Anne’s mom, Michelle Nelson, teaches.

Anne (with a little help from her parents) met the goal and donated the Disney trip to the boy. 

Last month, when the local Girl Scouts needed someone to deliver 2,000 boxes of cookies from the Gift of Caring program, they called Anne.  The program sends cookie donations mostly to the military, but some are reserved for local groups. In this case, Anne and her mom delivered about half the cookies to first responders in various suburban Chicago communities. The other half went to veteran’s groups. 

South Holland’s deputy police Chief Chris Lareau told The Chicago Tribune that Anne’s July 31 delivery was a “special treat for our officers,” but the gesture means more than just the cookies.“It was encouraging to see a young child go out of her way to show appreciation for first responders,” he said.

Anne’s mom tells the Monitor,  “We are proud of Anne and her big heart. She hopes her story will encourage and inspire other kids to help other people in their communities.”

Hidden gem 

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

How South Sudan’s ‘king of music’ beats back despair

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about the California wildfires. We have a Q&A with three fire researchers who share how we got here and how we might change the pattern. 

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. Power pivot: What happens in states where wind dethrones King Coal?
  2. How do you ‘defund the police’ in Texas? Very carefully.
  3. Russia’s peasant history, once submerged, is brought back into the light
  4. Online chess is thriving, a calming constant in a chaotic year

You have unlimited access to all our pandemic coverage. If you value our hopeful, compassionate, and respectful approach, please consider subscribing.

This is a beta test - an experiment with an early Monday morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.