UPDATE: US House of Representatives passes partial Sandy relief bill
11:35 a.m. EST: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to provide $9.7 billion in funding for the National Flood Insurance Program for victims of Superstorm Sandy. The bill is the 1st part of a $60 billion package that the House will finish considering on Jan. 15, NBC News reports.
The bill now goes to the Senate, which plans to pass the bill by unanimous consent in an effort to send the bill to President Obama as quickly as possible.
10:27 a.m. EST: Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are considering a partial relief bill for victims of Superstorm Sandy. A vote is expected this morning. Watch the proceedings on BreakingNews.com.
Photo: Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., left, joined by other New York area-lawmakers, express their anger after learning the House Republican leadership decided to allow the previous term of Congress to end without holding a vote on aid for Superstorm Sandy’s victims in Washington on Jan. 2, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)
BREAKING: US economy adds 146,000 jobs in November
The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008. The government said Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.
Hiring remained steady during the storm and in the face of looming tax increases. But the government said employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September than initially estimated. And the unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent in October mostly because more people stopped looking for work and weren’t counted as unemployed.
Photo: A man walks past destroyed homes on the Rockaway Peninsula in the Queens borough of New York on Nov. 27, 2012. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)
Isaac’s storm surge overtops levee in Louisiana community
New Orleans’ levees and pumps are holding up to the rain and storm surge caused by Hurricane Isaac, but areas outside the defense network saw flooding, including an 18-mile stretch in Plaquemines Parish where up to 12 feet of water invaded streets and homes.
Tropical Storm Isaac getting better organized in Atlantic
Tropical Storm Isaac is currently centered about 210 miles east of Guadeloupe with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Isaac is expected to strengthen and could become a hurricane by Thursday.
Some computer models show Isaac striking Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, during next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, The Associated Press reports.
NOAA predicts ‘near-normal’ Atlantic hurricane season
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters say they expect this year’s June 1-Nov. 30 Atlantic hurricane season to will produce 9-15 named tropical storms. NOAA forecasters say 4-8 of these may grow into 74 mph or stronger hurricanes, and 1 to 3 may become major hurricanes with winds faster than 111 mph.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Bud is gaining strength in the Pacific Ocean. AP reports a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch is in effect for Mexico’s Pacific coast from Punto Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.
Photo: Hurricane Bud is seen in this image provided by NASA, taken at 2 a.m. EDT on May 24, 2012. (NASA via AP)