Strong winds have spread wildfires in Northern and Southern California, destroying homes and land, and forcing 185,000 people to evacuate.
There are blackouts in Northern California due to Pacific Gas & Electric Co shutting off power to two million people to avoid further fires being caused by fallen electric power lines.
Strong winds are expected to last until Wednesday, so it's important you listen to the advice of firefighters, and stay up to date with local news reports.
We suggest you check your government’s travel advisory for their latest advice on travel to the USA, and if you're planning on traveling there soon, contact your tour operator or provider for more information on any changes or updates to your travel plans.
Hurricane Dorian is currently a Category 2 storm heading towards the US mainland, where it is projected to move close to the coast of Florida tonight through Wednesday, and then along Georgia and the Carolinas. Life-threatening storm surge and flooding is possible, and mandatory evacuations have been ordered for dozens of coastal communities. Be sure to check the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, and keep an eye on local media for the latest updates.
If you're in an area where the storm is projected to hit, please check with authorities, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation.
The absolutely best way to survive a hurricane is to avoid one. Get away from it, but if you make the decision to leave, make that decision early. Do not leave it until the last minute because you may find yourself caught without proper shelter.
If you decide to stay and "ride it out" it is advisable to get to an authorized shelter. The locations of these will be broadcast, or locals will know where they are. If there is no shelter, prepare to "shelter in place" in an internal room without windows.
Once a "storm watch" has been issued, make sure you are prepared in the event that the watch becomes a "warning."
A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when wind speeds reach 74 mph or greater - Category 1.
A "watch" is issued when hurricane-force winds are possible in the named region (so maybe a hurricane is coming).
A "warning" is issued when hurricane-force winds are expected in the named region (so a hurricane is definitely coming).
Several wildfires are currently burning in Southeast Alaska and impacting popular tourist areas, including the Kenai Peninsula and Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley. At the time of writing, the McKinley Fire in the Mat-Su Valley was at 78% containment, and the Caribou Lake Fire near Homer was at 57% containment. The Swan Lake Fire on the Kenai Peninsula has been slowly increasing, but has remained at around 20% containment.
For the latest information, check with Alaska Wildland Fire Information.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service closed portions of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, including all lands in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, as well as parts of the Chugach National Forest.
Travelers should expect delays on the Sterling Highway between Sterling and the junction with the Seward Highway to continue through the weekend. Swan Lake Fire suppression activities and dense smoke have restricted travel on this route recently. Drivers should be sure to carry ample fuel as well as food and water. Do not stop along the highway within the fire area.
One of the biggest dangers from the fire is air quality. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory in effect through Friday afternoon for the Susitna Valley, Kenai Peninsula and Copper River Valley.
If you’re planning a trip to Alaska in upcoming weeks, be sure to check with your tour operator, airline, and hotel about potential changes or cancellations.
Tropical Storm Barry is moving across the Gulf of Mexico towards Louisiana and is expected to make landfall Friday or Saturday, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane. A state of emergency has been issued in Louisiana. Heavy rainfall and flooding is expected for much of eastern Louisiana, southern and central Mississipi, and southeast Arkansas.
Please check with authorities, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation.
The USGS (US Geological Survey) has reported a 6.4 magnitude earthquake near the high desert city of Ridgecrest, California. Nearby San Bernardino County was also affected, and the earthquake was felt in Las Vegas, Nevada. The earthquake was shallow in depth (5.4 mi, 8.7km) which amplifies its effect to cause damage to infrastructure and services.
At least 20 aftershocks have been felt since the initial earthquake.
Many damaged buildings and roads have been reported, along with fires and rock slides in affected areas. A four-inch crack has formed in major highway 178 in San Bernardino County.
Travelers are strongly advised to follow all directions by local authorities for their own safety.
The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency in New York City following reports of over 800 measles cases, mainly in Brooklyn and Queens. 21 of those cases have been admitted to hospital, with 5 in intensive care. The mayor has indicated that people must be vaccinated or risk being fined US$1000. The health department has opened clinics to offer measles vaccinations in order to stem the disease from spreading.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, runny nose, dry cough, fatigue, a red blotchy rash which starts on the face and spreads and conjunctivitis.
Travelers who are planning to visit New York City are strongly advised to make sure their routine vaccinations (including measles) are up to date before arriving.
Following the bomb cyclone which hit the United States in mid March, the Midwest states are experiencing significant flooding due to the winter snow thaw and impact from the cyclone. Roads and highways are jammed due to ice movement and many are also closed due to flooding. Governments in the states of Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa have declared a state of emergency and flood warnings have been issued due to the increase in water, levees breaking and river levels rising. Thousands of people have been evacuated.
US authorities have closed the major border control point of San Ysidro between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, United States, turning away all vehicles and pedestrians. Thousands of migrants and refugees have been making their way from Central America towards the US to seek asylum from poverty, political persecution and violence only to be met with tear gas launched by US authorities.
San Ysidro is one of the busiest border crossings with nearly 100,000 people and vehicles heading north each day from Mexico.
Further demonstrations are also planned for both sides of the border in days to come.
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Listen to Episode 10 of The World Nomads Podcast. We explore America's growing artisan scene, California's cowboys and advice for aspiring travel writers.
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