Nation briefly: Tropical storm watch for parts of Texas, Mexico

MIAMI – A tropical storm watch was issued late Tuesday night for parts of Texas and Mexico as a tropical depression formed in the central Gulf of Mexico.

Late Tuesday, the fifth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season was centered about 425 miles east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas, and about 425 miles east of La Pesca, Mexico.

The depression is moving toward the northwest at nearly 10 mph. It was expected to turn west-northwest by late today. Maximum sustained winds were near 30 mph. A tropical storm has winds of at least 39 mph.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Dean got a little stronger late Tuesday but still remained far from land, forecasters said. The storm was centered about 1,295 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had top sustained winds of 50 mph, up from 40 mph earlier in the day. Some strengthening was expected within the next day.

Hawaii: Quake precedes storm

Hours after getting jolted by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake, residents of Hawaii’s Big Island holed up for Hurricane Flossie, which brought pounding 25-foot waves and strong winds in a powerful but glancing blow. The slowing Category 2 storm began moving past the Big Island in the afternoon and was expected to pass within 85 miles late Tuesday with winds exceeding 40 mph and 10 inches of rain.

D.C.: Hastert won’t run again

Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who last year became the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House, will announce Friday that he will not seek re-election, Republican House aides said Tuesday. GOP aides say Hastert is likely to swerve the rest of his term, which ends next year, but has been considering resigning from the House this year.

Tennessee: Heat deaths rise

A heat wave of triple-digit temperatures continued to bake parts of the South on Tuesday, raising the number of heat-linked deaths in Tennessee to at least five and buckling roads in Mississippi. South Carolina, Missouri and Mississippi have each reported one heat-related death, and Illinois blamed three deaths on the heat since Thursday.

Texas: Taser may have hurt baby

A Woman’s Hospital of Texas security guard fired a stun gun to stop a defiant father from taking home his newborn, sending both man and child crashing to the floor. Now William Lewis says his baby girl suffers from head trauma because she was dropped. Lewis, 30, said the April 13 episode began after he and his wife felt mistreated by staff at the Houston hospital and they decided to leave. Hospital employees told him doctors would not allow it, but Lewis picked up the baby and attempted to leave. It was not clear whether the baby received any electrical jolt.

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