3. Power outages

Nearly 700,000 homes and businesses were without power early today across Michigan and Ohio following a forceful round of thunderstorms and a large tornado. The “extremely dangerous” tornado was confirmed near Williamston, Michigan, Thursday night around 9:30 p.m. local time, according to the National Weather Service. In addition to heavy rain of up to 8 inches in some areas, the storms brought powerful winds gusting up to 85 mph and hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter. Approximately 400,000 people were without power in southern Michigan and nearly 300,000 were in the dark in northern Ohio overnight, according to tracker PowerOutage.us. Crews are expected to survey the damage today as the storms track further south.

4. Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates soared to 7.23% this week — their highest level since 2001. For comparison, the 30-year fixed-rate a year ago was 5.55%. Mortgage rates have spiked during the Federal Reserve’s historic inflation-curbing campaign, sending home affordability to the worst levels since 1984. Buying a home is more expensive now than renting because of the added cost of financing a mortgage and rising home prices. Hopeful house hunters also face historically low inventory, increasing competition for properties. According to an analysis by Moody’s Investors Service, US homebuying costs will remain elevated at least through 2024.

5. Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first public comments Thursday on the plane crash believed to have killed Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, saying he was “talented” but made “serious mistakes in life.” The crash Wednesday took place northwest of Moscow and killed all on board, according to Russian officials. There is no concrete evidence that points to Kremlin involvement and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash. However, it is known that Prigozhin recently joined a growing list of high-profile Russians who have fallen from the good graces of Putin and died under mysterious circumstances. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv had nothing to do with the crash, adding “but I think everyone realizes who has.” President Joe Biden similarly suggested Putin may have been behind the incident.

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It’s not pumpkin you’re tasting in your pumpkin spice latte
Pumpkin spice blend is actually a simple combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Check out these fall-favorite dishes that call for real pumpkin.

Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande all released new music on the same day
It’s been a big week for pop music. You’ll probably hear these songs on summer playlists and the radio soon.

A ‘forgotten’ Winnie the Pooh sketch sat in a drawer for years. Now it could be worth thousands
An original drawing of the Disney character which languished for decades in a drawer could fetch nearly $40,000 at auction next month.

Comedian Kevin Hart ends up in wheelchair after racing his friend
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Dollar Tree may start locking up items
The discount store known for $1 price points is seeing a rise in theft issues. The company said it may take drastic measures to prevent robberies.


Which country successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon this week?
A. Italy
B. India
C. Russia
D. Canada
Take CNN’s weekly news quiz to see if you’re correct!


That’s how many astronauts are currently aboard the International Space Station. A SpaceX and NASA mission was set to send four additional astronauts to the orbiting lab today, but the launch was abruptly called off for “additional analysis.”


“We don’t believe it rises to the level of a recallable safety defect.”

— Ford, responding to complaints about an “ear piercing” noise from speakers in its F-150 trucks. The automaker said it has to come up with a software fix to address the annoying noise that sounds like static, or glass shattering, and which cannot be shut off. Around 100 drivers have submitted complaints, Ford said, but the company does not yet plan to issue a full recall.


Check your local forecast here>>>


Watch this video to see how homemade rockets are helping a Thai community uphold its traditions.

Source: cnn.com

Apache is functioning normally

Two weeks since the first report of a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, the scope of the tragedy is coming into focus.

Search teams looked through every single-story residence in the disaster area and found the remains of 115 people. The death toll is likely to grow as teams now look through multi-story residences and commercial properties.

As of Aug. 21, the fire, which began on Aug. 8, was considered 90% contained and has burned through more than 2,100 acres, according to Maui County.

More than 2,000 buildings in Lahaina were destroyed or damaged by the blaze, according to an artificial intelligence model compiled by Esri, a geographic information system software provider.

The AI model reviewed satellite photos of Lahaina before and after the fire and estimated on Aug. 11 that 2,088 structures – about 63% of all structures in the examined area – had been destroyed or damaged.

Most buildings were homes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated on Aug. 12 that the fire had destroyed 1,466 houses; 85% of all structures that were assessed were destroyed.

Based on Esri’s estimates of damaged structures and building types provided by USA Structures, nearly 1,800 residential structures were damaged in the fire. USA Structures is a dataset maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The financial toll of the damage is vast for a town of about 12,000 people. Rebuilding costs could total more than $450 million for residential structures alone, based on Esri’s damage assessment and Maui tax roll data.

That includes $242.1 million in total building value for owner-occupied homes, $136.1 million for non-owner occupied homes, $40.7 million for short-term rentals and $23.2 million for long-term rentals, based on the building values of parcels that overlap Esri’s assessed damaged buildings.

The median residence assessed damaged by the fire was a 62-year-old, three-bedroom, two-bath structure valued at $242,700, excluding land value.

The damage also complicates hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of mortgages. Lenders originated more than $670 million in mortgages for borrowers to purchase, improve or refinance single-family dwellings in the census tracts covering Lahaina in 2018-2022, the most recent Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data available.

Lenders originated more than 1,200 such loans over that period, led by Bank of Hawaii with 525, First Hawaiian Bank with 490 and HighTechLending Inc. with 470.

Many of the loans loans originated by these lenders were then purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has granted homeowners with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages or mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. HUD also announced a package of regulatory and administrative waivers for further assistance to those in the disaster area.

Homeowners may also borrow up to $500,000 to repair or replace their homes in a low-interest disaster loan from the Small Business Administration. Real estate professionals, too, have provided relief funds.

Officials’ primary efforts are still directed towards meeting the immediate needs of people in the disaster area; a full assessment of the damage and what rebuilding will cost will come later.

So far, FEMA has approved more than $5.6 million in assistance to nearly 2,000 households, including more than $2.3 million in initial rental assistance. Maui County officials estimate about 1,900 people are currently sheltered in hotels. The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers have started debris collection.

Beyond the need for rebuilding, the wildfire’s long-term impact on insurance and affordable housing remain to be seen.

Hawaii is one of several states recently affected by natural disasters, including wildfires.

Will Robinson is a data journalist at HW Media.

Source: housingwire.com

Apache is functioning normally

A wide array of U.S. federal agencies are descending on the Hawaiian island of Maui as relief begins pouring in following a devastating set of wildfires that completely destroyed the popular coastal town of Lahaina, displaced thousands of local residents and killed at least 111 people, according to the most recent information.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has instituted a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), as well as a pause on foreclosures of mortgages in the Indian Home Loan Guarantee program.

Borrowers at or over the age of 62 who are engaged in a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) have also been given a 90-day extension. All relief measures are effective as of the official disaster declaration issued by President Joe Biden on August 10.

HUD also detailed the availability of additional housing assistance for individuals upon request, including FHA insurance to disaster victims; HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program that allows the finance of a purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage; flexibility to Community Planning and Development grantees, Public Housing Agencies and Tribes; and the availability of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.

Hundreds of personnel from FEMA have been deployed to the disaster area, while the USDA is deploying food assistance programs for displaced residents. The State Department has also granted a fee waiver for people who lost their U.S. passport book or passport card as a result of the wildfires. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also been deployed to clear roads and bolster electric service, while the Environmental Protection Agency is on-site to assist with household hazardous waste removal that will be “essential to begin recovery work in the impacted areas.”

But there are other issues that could present problems for the area as rebuilding begins, particularly with regard to homeowners insurance, according to recent coverage by the New York Times.

The status quo of relatively low home insurance rates — solidified by a general lack of natural disasters striking the islands — could be upset by the fires, which may exacerbate other issues impacting Hawaiian housing such as gentrification.

When Hurricane Iniki devastated the island of Kauai in 1992, Hawaii’s state legislature established a fund to provide hurricane insurance for homeowners. That program was dissolved in 2002, however, since the private insurance market was built back to “full strength,” according to the Times. While wildfires have not been a major problem for Hawaii in the past, this latest disaster could signal to insurance carriers that they could become more of an issue in the future.

“I think insurers are going to start factoring in the increased frequency and severity of wildfires,” David Marlett, a professor of risk management at Appalachian State University told the New York Times. “You’ve already seen that in California.”

With the increasing prevalence of natural disasters across the U.S. and the world, insurance companies have reacted by pulling back coverage in habitually-impacted areas. Recent data from Redfin showed that housing markets with flood and wildfire risk are booming since that additional climate risk has translated into lower costs in certain areas.

But insurance carriers themselves are pulling back or leaving, notably in California and Florida, and they’re citing climate risk as a primary driver.

Source: housingwire.com