Florida braces for statewide devastation

Hurricane Ian is closing in on Florida. It's also delaying the next House Jan.6 committee hearing. And students in Virginia walk out over the reversal of transgender protections. 

πŸ‘‹ Hey! Laura Davis here. It's Tuesday. Let's get you caught up on the news.

But first, a woman and a raccoon walk into a bar... this isn't a joke. A North Dakota woman is now facing criminal charges.

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Hurricane Ian threatens widespread devastation

Hurricane Ian slammed into Cuba early Tuesday as a Category 3 monster that pounded the island with 125-mph winds. Now approaching Florida, Ian's shift eastward has put the city of Venice in crosshairs for landfall sometime Wednesday. But high winds and major storm surge are still expected farther north in the Tampa Bay region, officials said. Hundreds of thousands of Floridians faced mandatory evacuation orders as the hurricane warning expanded along more than 150 miles of the state's Gulf Coast. Power outages can be expected statewide, officials warned. Along with the winds, parts of Central Florida could see 12-16 inches of rain with 2 feet possible in some areas, the National Hurricane Center said. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said there was potential for "historic" storm surge and flooding. Hurricane Ian live updates.

Southwest Airline passengers check into a ticket counter near a sign that shows canceled flights at the Tampa International Airport Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. The airport is closing at 5 pm EST ahead of Hurricane Ian.
Southwest Airline passengers check into a ticket counter near a sign that shows canceled flights at the Tampa International Airport Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. The airport is closing at 5 pm EST ahead of Hurricane Ian.

"In some areas, there will be catastrophic flooding and life-threatening storm surge," Gov. DeSantis warned Tuesday. "Because of the size of the storm, it's kicking up a lot of surge. The Gulf is going to be very angry as this comes in."

Dominique Gagnier and his wife, Yvette, were prepping for Hurricane Ian in Holmes Beach, Fla. The couple was here when Hurricane Irma came through and started preparing a few days ago. Yvette said she's most worried about the storm surge. She added that once their home is boarded up, they'll help their neighbors.
Dominique Gagnier and his wife, Yvette, were prepping for Hurricane Ian in Holmes Beach, Fla. The couple was here when Hurricane Irma came through and started preparing a few days ago. Yvette said she's most worried about the storm surge. She added that once their home is boarded up, they'll help their neighbors.

🌀 What's the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.

Virginia reversed transgender protections. Students walked out.

After the state reversed transgender protections in schools, more than 1,000 students walked out of Virginia middle and high schools Tuesday, organizers said, leaving class in protest of the policy that puts decisions exclusively in the hands of parents.

  • What's in the policy: Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin's administration released guidelines requiring students to use restrooms, pronouns and names based on their official school records. It also limits sports teams to gender assigned at birth.

  • What students are saying: "Revoking (transgender protections) now would be like dialing back the clock. It'd be like telling students, 'we don't really care; you're not really who you believe yourself to be,'" said Andrea-Grace Mukuna, 16.

  • The bigger picture: Walkouts are part of a growing nationwide wave of youth pushback to an uptick in anti-LGBTQ policies in schools, including Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay Bill" and policies about transgender athletes.

πŸ“Έ Photos:  Students walk out of school to protest transgender policy.

What everyone's talking about

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Catch up before the next Jan. 6 hearing (whenever that is)

The House Jan. 6 committee hearings were supposed to resume Wednesday. But Hurricane Ian has postponed it. It has been months since the last hearing grabbed headlines in July, capping off a summer run of proceedings that revealed how far former President Donald Trump went to hold onto power. While a new date for the hearing has not yet been announced, here's a refresher on key points from earlier hearings.

For the first time in 50 years, administration takes on nutrition

It's an idea that started with delivering regular meals to people during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic – when young men were dying alone of malnutrition because of their disease. Now, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, scheduled for Wednesday, will recommend a pilot program to cover medically tailored meals as part of Medicare Advantage plans. The program could save lives by providing healthy meals to people who are elderly, coping with multiple illnesses, and unable to shop or cook on their own. Keep reading.

πŸ‘‰ Biden vows to save Social Security, Medicare, but gives few details: The medically tailored meals are one of a laundry list of new plans proposed Tuesday by the Biden administration to "end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases and disparities." Read more about Biden's plans here.

A typical Community Servings meal, labeled to show which diets it's appropriate for.
A typical Community Servings meal, labeled to show which diets it's appropriate for.

Real quick

πŸ“š Big news! Hey, all you readers, writers and lovers of books out there. Guess what? We're starting a book club. What's it called? Glad you asked. It's the USA TODAY Book Club. Super creative, we know. Join in and see what we're reading first.

πŸ₯Ί Long-lost brothers reunited after 77 years apart: Geoff was separated from his brothers in 1945 when their mother died from cancer in their native U.K. He was adopted and moved to Australia. After decades of trying, his siblings managed to track him down, and Geoff and his brother Ted were finally reunited in Sydney. They hadn't seen each for 77 years. See the sweet video here.

πŸ‡΅πŸ‡· Puerto Rico wins emotional championship: Hours after Hurricane Fiona made landfall, the Puerto Rican men's hockey team won its first championship. Players and staff knew they couldn't do much from Florida, but wanted to "represent Puerto Rico at the highest level" and offer a sense of hope. They did just that.

A break from the news

Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at laura@usatoday.com or follow along with her adventures – and misadventures – on Twitter.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricane Ian, Virginia student walkout, Jan. 6 hearing postponed, Puerto Rico ice hockey championship. Tuesday's news.