American Scene: Three states warily watching Debby’s path

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GULF COAST

NEW ORLEANS — Parts of three states were under a tropical storm warning Sunday as Debby churned off the Gulf Coast, leaving wary residents to closely watch a storm whose path has so far been difficult to forecast.

Low-lying coastal areas in Louisiana were under a tropical storm warning, and the governor declared a state of emergency to free up resources ahead of a possible landfall. Warnings also were issued for coastal Alabama and parts of Florida, including the Panhandle.

Debby already had dumped heavy rain on parts of Florida and spawned some isolated tornadoes, causing some damage to homes and knocking down power lines.

It was not completely clear when or where Debby would make landfall, though current models showed it reaching hurricane strength by the time it hit the Louisiana coastline.

NEW YORK

Fund manager agrees to pay Madoff clients $405 million

ALBANY — New York’s attorney general says he has secured a civil settlement in which hedge fund manager J. Ezra Merkin will reimburse clients with $405 million lost in Bernard Madoff’s historic investment scam.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Sunday that the clients will be paid over three years and New York state will get $5 million to cover the cost of the settlement.

MASSACHUSETTS

Banana truck crash, fire destroys historic tavern

SEEKONK | An out-of-control tractor-trailer carrying bananas crashed into a natural-gas main and ignited an explosion on Sunday morning, setting fire to an 18th-century building that housed a tavern and destroying it.

Fire officials in Seekonk, about 6 miles east of Providence, R.I., said the 18-wheeler fell on its side and slid into the Old Grist Mill Tavern, whose website says the building was constructed in 1745 for grinding grain raised by area farmers.

OKLAHOMA

3 crew members missing after trains collide Sunday

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