It’s Friday, July 2nd – and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Elsa gained strength with its latest advisory Friday, becoming a Category 1 hurricane as it moves closer to nations in the Caribbean and keeps South Florida in the cone of concern.
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center has winds at 75 miles per hour while sitting just 95 miles east of St. Vincent. The storm is moving to the west-northwest at 28 miles per hour. A hurricane warning has been issued for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A hurricane watch remains in effect for the southern portion of Haiti from Port Au Prince to the border with the Dominican Republic. South Florida remained in the cone of concern with Elsa forecast to move across the area as early as Monday evening. No watches or warnings have been issued for South Florida.
No. 2 - Rescue efforts at the site of a partially collapsed Surfside condominium building, halted after crews noticed widening cracks and up to a foot of movement in a large column, resumed Thursday evening, officials said.
At a news conference Thursday morning, officials said the work on the site halted shortly after 2 a.m. and threatened to keep search teams off the rubble pile for an unknown period. Work resumed nearly 15 hours later, at 4:45 p.m. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said the rescue work was halted after engineers discovered 6 to 12 inches of movement in a large column hanging from the structure that could fall and cause damage to the support columns in the sub-terrain garage area, as well as slight movement in concrete floor slabs on the south side of the structure near north and south corner of building that could cause additional failure of the building.
No. 3 - After rescue efforts resumed Thursday evening, officials said they had started planning for the likely demolition of the remaining structure even as searchers continue to comb the rubble pile beneath it.
Scott Nacheman, a FEMA structures specialist, said engineers are looking at different methods for the demolition and how to proceed “to make the site safe for ongoing rescue operations.” Nacheman said that if the building comes down, there initially will be a slowdown in the rescue operation. But he said the demolition of the structure would create a safer working environment that could allow more personnel on the site and accelerate the pace of the work. He said it would likely be weeks before officials schedule the demolition.
No. 4 - New videos from witnesses show water pouring into the garage of the Surfside condominium building moments before a section of it dropped to the ground, as well as the immediate aftermath of the collapse.
Tourists Roberto and Adriana Castillero of Tampa were staying at a hotel near the Champlain Towers South beachfront condo and said they were in the hotel's pool when they felt the ground shake. Adriana Castillero grabbed her cellphone and started to record what they saw at the building, which included crumbling concrete and gushing water. The video shows lights on inside some units of the still-standing tower. The couple said they stopped filming and saw people come out to their balconies. To see the video, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Cristian Benavides.
No. 5 - Incredible video shows what rescuers were up against while trying to pull a teenager out of the Champlain Towers South building collapse one week ago.
Shining their flashlights in the debris, they found 15-year-old Jonah Handler pinned down, unable to move. Rescuers eventually pulled Handler out safely. They found his mother, Stacie Fang, nearby. She passed away at the hospital. Now a week since the tragedy, the man who shot the video says it’s getting harder to process what happened because every day, he learns more about the lives lost. To hear his story, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Marissa Bagg.
No. 6 - As the situation in Surfside continues to unfold, some may be experiencing added stress.
Dr. Flavia van Riel, who is specialized in the treatment of PTSD, says the best way to help someone going through severe trauma is to be patient and understanding. She suggests offering support by sending a text or making a phone call and to not pressure the person into talking if they're not ready. She added that the uncertainty of the situation as the rescue efforts continue is also stressful. To hear more tips, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Claudia Docampo.