Hurricane Ian hits Florida
Recently, the fifth strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. hit the coast. The hurricane, named Hurricane Ian, made landfall three times, initially as a 125 mph Category 3 storm near Cuba on Sept. 27, then in the afternoon on Sept. 28 as a 150 mph Category 4 storm near Cayo Costa, Florida, according to the National Hurricane and Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Finally, on Sept. 30, the hurricane hit Georgetown, South Carolina, as a Category 1 with 85 mph winds.
The devastating effects of the hurricane are still being calculated. According to ABC News, the death toll is currently over 100, over 3.4 million citizens experienced power outages (with over 400,000 still without electricity as of Oct. 4) and the storm caused $60 billion in insured loss damage (the second-largest disaster loss event on record). Currently, Florida is working on building back, with Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing during a conference held on Oct. 3 the immediate start of reconstruction for a temporary bridge to Pine Island, according to AP News.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Freedom to Walk Act on Oct. 1. The act, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, will allow pedestrians to cross the street regardless of an intersection without being ticketed, according to the District 19 official website, a19.asmdc.org. The previous fine for jaywalking in California ran up to $198, and even more post court fees, according to Calmatters.org.
However, police can still stop pedestrians from crossing if there is an imminent risk of collision. The first laws related to jaywalking were enacted in 1930, with the first adjustments being made in 2018, when pedestrians became able to legally cross at a traffic light when the pedestrian countdown meter begins to flash, according to District 19 Phil Ting’s press release.
Gas prices increase again
Gas in the Los Angeles–Long Beach region increased 15.3 cents overnight on Sept. 29. It was the largest overnight increase in gas since July 2015, according to the Southern California Automobile Club (AAA). This date marked the 27th consecutive day gas prices have risen in Los Angeles County.
On Sept. 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom took to Twitter to call for a new tax on oil company profits, which would return the money to California taxpayers. Newsom noted that these taxes would “ensure these profits go directly back to help millions of Californians who are paying for this oil company extortion.”
Oil industry representatives said that state regulations have caused the high prices in California, according to the Associate Press. Data from GasBuddy shows that current gas prices in California are approximately 66% higher than the national average. Newsom, in a letter to Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board, called on the board to allow refineries to begin distributing winter-blend gasoline earlier than usual in hopes of bringing down costs,
State refiners are required to produce a summer-blend gasoline through October in most areas of California, and after Oct. 31, a winter-blend gasoline is allowed.