[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/weather/09/01/hurricane.jimena/art.jimena.satellite.jpg caption="A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Jimena off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, on Tuesday morning."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/weather/09/01/hurricane.jimena/art.jimena.earth.mover.jpg.jpg caption="Heavy equipment moves beach sand to form a barrier on Tuesday in Puerto San Carlos, Mexico, on the Baja Peninsula."]
A "dangerous" Hurricane Jimena bore down Tuesday on the Mexican peninsula of Baja California, with the resort town of Cabo San Lucas lying in its path. Meanwhile, a new tropical storm was forming in the Atlantic Ocean.
Jimena's maximum wind speed dropped from 145 mph to 135 mph, but it still remained a Category 4 storm, according to the U.S. National Weather Service's 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET) update.
"Some fluctuations in strength are likely today and gradual weakening is forecast on Wednesday," the weather service said. "However, Jimena is expected to remain a major hurricane until landfall."
Also on Tuesday, Tropical Storm Erika formed in the Atlantic, 390 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Center said.
Jimena's storm center is forecast to come ashore on Thursday morning, but the weather service warned that "because it will be moving parallel to the coastline, any slight change in direction could have a huge impact in the location and timing of landfall."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/06/13/digital.TV/art.analog.tv.gi.jpg caption="Without a converter box, satellite service or cable hook-up, analog TVs only deliver static now."]
For the Houston Chronicle
Without power for 12 days during Hurricane Ike, Houston secretary Donna Clanton relied on her battery-powered TV for news updates, road closings and notices of flooded intersections.
“Actually seeing what was happening made me feel more connected and a little less isolated,” Clanton said.
But portable sets, which played an instrumental role in connecting Houstonians to the outside world during Ike’s lengthy power outages, are now useless, thanks to the digital conversion.
Though Americans were given four extra months to prepare for the nationwide switch from analog to digital signals, the conversion date last week coincided with the advent of this year’s hurricane season, creating challenges for those like Clanton, who depend on battery-operated sets during emergencies
Because digital converter boxes are plugged into the wall, on-the-go analog TV sets won’t function during a blackout. The audio from analog TV broadcasts received on radios are now tuned out, as well.
In September, former Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin warned of a possible shortage of battery-operated digital TV equipment and called on groups such as the Consumer Electronic Association to encourage their availability.
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Stephen Flynn on AC360° at 10pm ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/28/infrastructure.report.card/art.traffic.gi.jpg caption="The civil engineers said the nation's D- roads cost motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs."]
National security expert
America’s infrastructure is in the political spotlight as an increasingly contentious piece of President Barack Obama’s $835 billion economic stimulus package. Republicans like Rep. Harold Roger, R-KY characterize the package as “a rampant spending spree.” The White House maintains that it is the jumpstart the nation’s moribund economy needs to move us out of a severe recession. Missing from this debate is any real acknowledgment that the critical foundations that underpin our modern society are literally crumbling around us, imperiling our safety and security, quality of life, and economic competitiveness.
How bad off is America’s inventory of infrastructure? On January 27, 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineersissued their quadrennial report card on 15 sectors. The grades are not the kind you would have wanted to bring home to your parents: four C’s and eleven D’s. Bottoming out the evaluation are drinking waters systems, levees, wasterwater systems, inland waterway locks, and roads which all were assigned a D- grade. Think about this: water is the basic element of life. To get it to most of our homes and offices whenever we turn on the faucet or flush the toilet requires a vast network of underground pipes that are in such bad repair, we are losing an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water each and every day.
St. Bernard Parish
The sign reads "times are hard in St. Bernard" and whatever spray paint poet wrote it has got it right.
Its not so much that Gustav brought hard times, the damage here from wind, water and a few levee issues has been relatively minor, but walking the neighborhood’s streets here makes it clear that three years after Katrina, the mess from that killer storm still remains.
Across the street from the sign sits a house with another kind of spray painted sign–the familiar cross with the number that search and rescue folks left behind.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.vert.shelter.jpg caption="The View from inside the Coliseum shelter in Alexandira, Louisiana." width=292 height=320]
Christine Romans | BIO
The people who endured long bus rides to shelters far from home to escape Gustav are ready to go home.
But now they have to wait, and the patience is wearing thin. So is the food and the plumbing.
In Alexandria, Louisiana, local Red Cross volunteer Herb Boykin left the Coliseum shelter last night only to be called back to calm the evacuees.
'We almost had a riot here last night.'