Florida braces for Idalia and Maui victims seek ex-consultant’s files on Hawaiian Electric: Morning Rundown

In today’s newsletter:  Idalia becomes a major Category 3 hurricane. Oklahoma democrats are calling for an investigation into State Superintendent Ryan Walters. And the former leader of the Proud Boys could face the longest prison sentence of any Jan. 6 defendant. 

Here’s what to know today. 

Idalia expected to slam into Florida as a dangerous Category 3 hurricane

Hurricane Idalia off the Gulf Coast of Florida on Aug. 29, 2023.  (NOAA)

Hurricane Idalia off the Gulf Coast of Florida on Aug. 29, 2023. (NOAA)

Hurricane Idalia, which has strengthened to an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm, is expected to make landfall with winds up to 130 mph before 9 a.m. ET today south of Perry, Florida.

Storm surge damage may stretch about 200 miles along Florida’s west coast, past the Tampa Bay area, and Florida’s Big Bend area could get 12 to 16 feet of storm surge, forecasters warned.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee said “locations may be uninhabitable for several weeks or months” because of wind damage. Storm surge could prevent access, too.

Follow NBC News’ liveblog for the latest on the storm. 

More on Hurricane Idalia:

  • More than 50,000 utility customers were without power in Florida as of 5 a.m. ET.

  • Fears over Florida immigration law surface as residents prepare for Hurricane Idalia.

  • Plus, track the storm’s path here.

Democrats push for investigation of Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s firebrand schools superintendent

Oklahoma Democrats are calling for an impeachment probe of Ryan Walters, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, citing recent issues, including bomb threats against a school district following one of Walters’ provocative social media posts. Walters, a Republican firebrand known for focusing on culture war issues, has ushered in the nation’s first religious charter school, and promised to “put God back in schools.”

Most recently, Union Public Schools, a district on the edge of Tulsa, said it received bomb threats on six consecutive school days. The threats began last week after Walters shared a viral video that drew attention to one of the district’s librarians on social media. The threats have been deemed not credible, according to the Tulsa Police Department.

In a statement Tuesday, state House Democrats said they’ve made a formal request to the GOP speaker to set up a bipartisan committee to investigate whether there’s sufficient evidence to impeach Walters.

Jacksonville gunman stayed in his room after dropping out of college, father says in 911 call audio

The Jacksonville shooter used to work at a dollar store and stopped in at one before a security guard’s presence apparently led him to instead target the Dollar General down the road, where he killed three people.

Records show the 21-year-old had encounters with police as a teenager, including one involving a suicide threat that led to an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. In audio released from a 911 call, the gunman’s father said his son had stopped taking psychiatric medication and stayed in his room after dropping out of college and losing his job.

Exclusive: Maui victims seek consultant’s files on what Hawaiian Electric knew about wildfire risks

Lawyers for victims suing Hawaiian Electric over this month’s deadly wildfire in Maui have subpoenaed a former consultant for the public utility, seeking his correspondence with top utility officials about their knowledge of wildfire risks and upgrades to its power grid, according to a recent court filing.

Mikal Watts, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the lawsuit, previously told NBC News that his legal team had planned to issue a subpoena duces tecum — a type of subpoena that primarily seeks the production of documents — to a man whom Watts described as “a whistleblower” cooperating in the case.

The subpoena seeks to depose Mark Thaller in Virginia on Sept. 25, and require him to turn over records of his exchanges with Hawaiian Electric officials, including documents related to wildfire mitigation plans.

Proud Boys could get record sentences this week in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy case

The former leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, could face the longest prison sentence of any Jan. 6 defendant when a federal judge hands down punishments for members convicted of seditious conspiracy charges related to the Capitol attack.

Sentencing is expected to move forward Wednesday after the judge oversaw a hearing that included the reading of victim impact statements. Prosecutors are seeking 33 years in federal prison for Tarrio, and all five defendants have been in jail awaiting their sentences.

Today’s Talker: A former reality TV contestant says he’s alive…

…after his own Instagram account announced his death. Josh Seiter, a former contestant on ABC’s reality dating show “The Bachelorette,” said reports of his death were due to a hacker taking over his Instagram account. Seiter is “alive and well” after he said he spent the past day trying to regain access to his account.

Politics In Brief

Trump investigations: A judge set bond for Harrison Floyd, the only defendant in the Georgia election interference case who was jailed since Thursday, after he surrendered to authorities last week.

Kabul airport attack: Gold Star families of the American service members killed in 2021 at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan denounced President Joe Biden and his administration over a lack of answers over the U.S. withdrawal and the overall exit from the country. 

ISIS terror: Federal officials confirmed to NBC News that the FBI is investigating asylum-seekers who entered the U.S., after help from a smuggler with ties to ISIS, according to officials who had seen the intelligence reports.

Staff Pick: America’s lesbian bar renaissance

Photo Illustration: Images from Nobody's Darling in Chicago (L) and grotto in Brooklyn, N.Y. (R) as well as archival images of women kissing other women (Justine Goode; NBC News / Getty / Akilah Townsend / Danielle Amy)

Photo Illustration: Images from Nobody’s Darling in Chicago (L) and grotto in Brooklyn, N.Y. (R) as well as archival images of women kissing other women (Justine Goode; NBC News / Getty / Akilah Townsend / Danielle Amy)

After peaking in the 1980s at around 200, NBC News reported the number of lesbian bars in the U.S. had dwindled to less than 20 in 2020, just as the pandemic was shuttering bars everywhere. But our team started to notice something interesting in the years that followed: New lesbian (and lesbian-ish) bars were popping up across the country. We put a team together to investigate what was behind this revitalization. Here’s what we found. — Brooke Sopelsa, NBC Out editorial director

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Sleep is essential for learning, mood regulation, and healing, according to the journal of Sleep Medicine: X. If you prefer bedding that feels fully customized to your sleep needs, a duvet cover is likely your best option. Here’s what to look for when it comes to materials and important features for a duvet cover.

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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