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Must-see photo shows man calmly mowing lawn as tornado looms

When a tornado touched down near Three Hills in Alberta, Canada, on Friday, one man wouldn’t let that keep him from his yard work.

Cecilia Wessels posted the photo, which is going viral on Facebook, of her husband, Theunis, as he brazenly mows the lawn with a tornado contorting the clouds behind him.

>> See the photo here

She told CBC News that she gave her husband a to-do list and went to take a nap. She woke up to her daughter telling her that her father refused to come inside even with a tornado on the horizon.

>> Watch: Massive tornado touches down in Calgary, drivers barely notice

Wessels said her whole neighborhood was outside taking photos and videos of the funnel, which caused some property damage but no injuries.

She didn’t expect the photo to get this big, she said, telling CBC: “Now everyone is like, ‘Why is your husband mowing the lawn?’”

>> Read more trending news

Theunis insisted that he was never in any danger. He told CBC: “It looks much closer if you look in the photo, but it was really far away. Well, not really far, far away, but it was far away from us. I was keeping an eye on it”

Tips for coping with the stress after a hurricane

How will you cope? Authorities and mental health professionals offer these tips.  

There is the rush to prepare, the nervous anticipation, the unsettling period during the storm, the loss of property, scavenging gas, or just living without power for a few days.

 

A hurricane experience can be incredibly stressful. In the weeks after Hurricane Wilma in 2005, nearly 1,000 people called a state mental-health hot line looking for help with problems such as depression and anxiety.

 BEFORE THE STORM  

Prepare early to avoid the stress of panic buying.

 

Storms are unpredictable, and their twists and turns can be maddening. Just prepare as if the storm will hit, and hope it doesn’t. Stay up on media reports and follow the instructions of local authorities so you’re not blindsided by developments.

 

Don’t go into denial. Don’t have a wild party. Storms are serious business.

 

If you live alone, plan to ride out the storm with friends or relatives, or consider volunteering at a shelter.

 

Try to exercise to burn off the nerves.

 

Now is the time to have a plan for how you will survive and recover after the storm so you aren’t overwhelmed by the task ahead.

 YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD  

Take the time now to get to know your neighbors. Share ideas about how you as a neighborhood will work together after the storm. Find out who has special physical or medical needs, who might need help preparing their house, and who might need assistance following the storm.

 

If you have a homeowners’ group, consider developing a plan or even holding neighborhood meetings in advance of the season. Consider following “Crimewatch” models.

 

Find out who might be out of town so you that can keep an eye on their place.

Metro Atlanta pollen count and allergy index

If you can’t see today’s pollen count on mobile, click here.

Information: Atlanta Allergy & Asthma’s Pollen Counting Station

Pollen is caused by trees, grass and weeds and can aggravate the symptoms of people with allergies. The Atlanta Allergy & Asthma pollen count measures how much pollen is in the air every day. The index ranges from a low of 0 to a high of 1500.

Photos: South Georgia wildfire rages in Okefenokee Swamp

The West Mims Fire in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has prompted evacuations in South Georgia. Officials say the wildfire was ignited by lightning in early April 2017. A state of emergency is in effect in Florida.

At least 4 dead, dozens injured as tornadoes hit eastern Texas

Tornadoes tracked across parts of Texas on Saturday, leaving behind a swath of damage, injuring dozens of people and killing at least four, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Preliminary reports to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth indicated that as many as three tornadoes raked over parts of Henderson, Van Zandt and Rains counties in eastern Texas. Crews will survey the damage Sunday to determine the strength of the twisters.

"We have a lot of injuries," a dispatcher with the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office told KXAS-TV. The dispatcher added that there was “a lot of damage.”

At least five people were killed in the storms, according to KTVT. None of the victims have been identified.

One person was found dead in a pasture in Canton, the Ben Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department told KTVT. The Canton Fire Department told KXAS-TV that another person was killed along Highway 64 when a tornado threw the person’s vehicle.

Nearly 50 people were taken to hospitals with a variety of injuries after the tornadoes struck, including one with critical injuries.

A dispatcher at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press that “officers were chasing numerous injury reports.”

Video from local television stations shows uprooted threes, damaged homes and overturned cars along roadways.

Dry conditions could mean more venomous snake sightings, experts say

The ongoing drought could bring danger slithering right into Floridians' yards.

The dry conditions mean the most venomous snakes in Central Florida are on the move.

>> Watch the news report here

Herpetologist Bob Cross said low water levels in many lakes and swamps means snake sightings are more likely to happen in neighborhoods.

“It’s very frightening to think that they’re that they’re that close to a house,” said Longwood resident Candy Bauer. "I don't feel the same about my backyard."

>> Snakes dumped in Walmart parking lot

She found a cottonmouth in her backyard this week and called Cross to relocate the animal.

“Usually when people saw that, it’s a harmless water snake," Cross said. "But in this case, the lady was right."

>> Read more trending news

He said the dry weather is forcing the cottonmouths and other snakes to seek water elsewhere.

"He’s going to be traveling like the gators,” Cross said.

>> 'Firefighters saved my life,' rattlesnake victim says

He said a bite from a cottonmouth would cause severe pain and swelling.

"We'd be calling 911 and a helicopter for you," Cross said.

The snake found in Bauer’s yard will be sent to a facility in DeLand which will use it to produce anti-venom.

Swarms of cicadas expected soon in Southeast

Southerners with a keen sense of sound and a watchful eye for insects are in for a surprise as swarms of cicadas and their overpowering hums make their way to the Southeast any day now.

These insects, also called “17-year locusts,” are notorious for disappearing for several years (in this case, 17) and reappearing “at force” in intervals, according to National Geographic

The 17-year brood, Brood VI, is estimated to hatch this month in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, according to the Gardener’s Network.

>> Read more trending news

This brood probably won’t be back until 2034, but Brood X is estimated to hatch in 2021 (though they may emerge as early as this year in some parts of the United States, according to USA Today).

University of Georgia entomologist Nancy C. Hinkle said people may first notice shed cicada skins on trees and poles, and later notice the red-eyed insects flying around trees and bushes.

According to Hinkle, the bugs aren’t particularly harmful to animals and plants but could occasionally pierce plant stems.

However, massive swarms of the insects crowded in a single area could potentially damage young trees.

The undigested remnants of the cicadas could also be harmful to dogs and are known to upset their stomachs, according to the New York Times.

In 2016, some areas saw densities of 1.5 million periodical cicadas per acre, the Washington Post reported.

“They’ll be out as one of the natural wonders of nature. Watch them, enjoy them and they’ll be gone in about a month,” John Cooley from the University of Connecticut ecology and evolutionary biology department said. 

After the periodical cicadas have tapered off, Cooley said, the summer cicadas will be on their way.

7 tips to keep your dog calm during a storm  

During times of rough weather, it can be difficult to keep four-legged friends calm and comforted amid the madness.

According to experts at WebMD, thunderstorm phobia in dogs is quite common and shouldn’t be ignored.

>> Read more trending news 

"Most of the time they don't grow out of it on their own, and many will get worse with time if nothing is done," veterinarian Matt Peuser said.

While there’s no easy fix, here are seven  tips to help relax your frightened fur ball during a storm:

Be prepared.

The best way to be prepared to make arrangements for your dog is to simply check the forecast. According to Pethealth.com, thunder usually occurs in the afternoons. 

You can also set up a pet disaster kit, the Palm Beach Post reported. Fill up a waterproof container with Fido’s medications and medical records, essentials such as a leash and collar, food, water and dishes for both. Other items to include: a manual can opener, grooming supplies, your pet’s blanket and favorite toy, cleanser and disinfectant to handle waste, newspapers or litter, paper towels and plastic bags. 

>>Related: What's the difference between a tornado watch and warning? 

Be home.

If you know your dog tends to be fearful of storms, try to stay home or arrange for someone to stick around.

Reward calm behavior all year.

According to veterinary behavior expert Barbara Sherman, owners often make the mistake of consoling a fearful dog, but this actually just encourages clingy, panicky behavior.

 >> Related: Why you shouldn’t calm your fearful dog 

That doesn’t mean owners should scold their dogs, but instead, train them to settle down on command so that when a storm comes, the dog knows what to do.

Offer distractions during a storm.

Sherman also recommends distractions for your pet during the storm such as offering treats or toys, playing fetch and cuddling.

>> Related: If your neighbor's tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

Create a sound-proof safe place.

Whether it’s a room in the basement, an open crate or even the bathroom, it’s wise to offer the dog its own soundproof safe place to come and go as it pleases.

You can figure out what the best place for your dog is by watching where it gravitates during a storm.

Try snug-fitting clothing.

Snug clothing such as the Thundershirt have been known to help dogs cope with anxiety by applying gentle, constant pressure to a dog’s torso, similar to swaddling an infant.

Consider medications.

If Fido is seriously affected, refer to your veterinarian or a veterinary behavior specialist for possible medication.

EF2 tornado destroys Missouri fire station, damages school

The National Weather Service said a tornado that left behind damage Tuesday night in Goodman, Missouri, had the strength of an EF2.

>> Read more trending news

The designation means wind gusts reached speeds as high as 135 mph.

Severe weather destroyed the Goodman fire department and left extensive damage at the local elementary school. At least one apartment complex was also damaged.

>> Photos: Damage from Goodman tornado

One person was taken to the hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.

School is canceled Thursday for the Neosho School District, including Goodman Elementary School.

The mayor of nearby Anderson is asking people to conserve water, because power is out to the water towers after the storm.

Goodman is a town of just over 1,200 people in southwest Missouri, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Category 5 Hurricane Matthew 'extraordinary,' new report says

The National Hurricane Center released its final analysis of monster storm Hurricane Matthew on Tuesday, marking it as “extraordinary” for its unexpected strength, and deadly for killing the most people since 2005’s Hurricane Stan.

>> Read more trending news

Matthew, which was a Category 5 storm with 166 mph winds at its peak, is directly responsible for the deaths of 585 people, including 34 in the U.S., according to the report.

Two Floridians died during Matthew. A Crescent City woman was killed when a tree fell on her camper, and a DeLand woman died when a tree fell on her while she was outside “feeding her animals,” the report said.

It reached hurricane strength at the lowest latitude in recorded history, and intensified by 86 mph in a 24-hour period.

“This intensity made Matthew the southernmost Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin, surpassing a record previously set by Hurricane Ivan in 2004,” the report notes.

Matthew rocked South Florida in October. It was the first major tropical cyclone residents had faced down since 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, and sent nearly 8,000 people to shelters.

But the region got lucky. Matthew turned north, sending no more than tropical storm-force gusts to Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach International Airport recorded a gust of 50 mph during the storm. Jupiter measured a gust of 66 mph.

Haiti suffered the most losses during Matthew with 546 deaths, 210,000 homes wrecked and an estimated $1.9 billion in total damage.

“During the aftermath, an outbreak of cholera developed due to the significant damage that Haiti’s life support infrastructure incurred, resulting in nearly 10,000 cases, according to the Pan American Health Organization,” the report says.

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