Stocking up. Residents and tourists are bracing for two storms barreling toward Hawaii, as forecasters predict flash floods, mudslides, and big wind gusts. Hurricane Iselle is expected to make landfall tomorrow or Friday, with Tropical Storm Julio following on Sunday. Airlines are waiving change fees for travelers delaying their flights to the islands or heading home to the mainland early. Those who are staying are stocking up on bottled water and provisions to get them through the weekend. The nasty weather is likely to interrupt Saturday’s primaries for races including House and Senate seats and the governorship. Hawaii has not been hit by a tropical storm or hurricane since 1992.
Ebola claims more victims. Nigerian officials announced today that a nurse who contracted Ebola after treating a Liberian-American man who later died of the disease has herself died. The nurse’s death follows that of the doctor who treated Patrick Sawyer, who fell ill after taking a flight from Liberia to Nigeria on route to Minnesota. Five other health workers who treated him have also been diagnosed with the disease. According to the World Health Organization, 45 people have died from the virus in that four days, bringing the total death toll from this outbreak to 932. In what could be the first fatality outside West Africa, a Saudi man being treated for Ebola has died in Jeddah after returning on Sunday from a trip to Sierra Leone. His diagnosis has not been confirmed. Spain is sending a special medical plane to Liberia to evacuate a 75-year-old missionary priest and two nuns who contracted the disease while working at St. Joseph’s Catholic hospital, which has since been closed. The facility’s director, Patrick Nshamdze, died last week. Three other hospital staff members have been diagnosed with the disease. The two American missionaries evacuated to Atlanta on Saturday and Tuesday reportedly are improving.
No smoking, please. The first surgeon general to be forced out of office has died. Dr. Jesse Steinfeld began encouraging people to give up smoking in the 1960s and became the nation’s health czar in 1969. He made enemies in the tobacco industry after he changed cigarette package labels to say, “The surgeon general has determined that smoking is hazardous to your health.”He campaigned for tighter restrictions on smoking in public, promoting bans in restaurants, theaters, planes, and other public places. Such bans didn’t become common for decades. President Richard Nixon asked Steinfeld to step down from his post in 1973, a request the doctor believed was tied directly to his anti-smoking stance. He died yesterday in California at age 87 after suffering a stroke about a month ago.
Stowaway. Officials at Mineta San Jose International Airport are scrambling to explain how a 62-year-old woman notorious for her attempts to sneak onto airplanes without a ticket managed to slip past security and board a Southwest Airlines flight to Los Angeles. Police arrested Marilyn Jean Hartman when the plane landed. In February, Hartman made three attempts to fly to Hawaii for free but was arrested each time before the plane took off. She told authorities she had nowhere else to go. While Hartman does not appear to pose a security threat, her ability to sneak past security and get onto a plane is embarrassing for airport officials, who in April were faced with explaining how a 15-year-old boy managed to climb into the wheel well of a plane bound for Hawaii. He miraculously survived the flight.