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It’s been a month and Puerto Rico still needs your help — where to donate your money, how to volunteer and more

Puerto Ricans are still in need of aid nearly one month after Hurricane Maria’s devastation.

» RELATED: What it’s like in Puerto Rico, a month after Hurricane Maria hit

The official death toll on the U.S. island territory has increased to 48, but more than 100 people are still missing, officials said.

According to CNN, as of Wednesday, about 1 million people are still without running water and 3 million people are without power.

Only 45 of 70 hospitals are currently operating with electricity, and according to FEMA officials, there is a severe food shortage.

President Donald Trump met local and federal officials in Puerto Rico on Oct. 3 and praised his administration’s response to the storm.

» RELATED: Twitter users, politicians blast Trump's comments, behavior in Puerto Rico as ‘inappropriate’

"I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack," Trump said. "But that's fine.”

His remarks came amid harsh criticism that the administration’s response to the disaster was slow or insufficient.

Trump is set to meet with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello Thursday to discuss rebuilding efforts, White House officials said.

» RELATED: Trying to reach your loved ones in Puerto Rico? Who to call, email

The once-Category 5 storm hit the U.S. Virgin Islands in mid-September and eventually downgraded to a Category 4, but not before it plowed through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, flooded the streets, collapsed homes and left the entire territory without power.

According to the New York Times, the 155-mph winds also left 80 percent of the United States commonwealth’s crop value completely destroyed.

» RELATED: Hurricane Maria: Live updates

Families desperately trying to connect with their loved ones have also had trouble reaching them, as few of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers were operational.

“What's out there is total devastation. Total annihilation. People literally gasping for air. I personally have taken people out and put them in ambulances because their generator has run out,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told ABC News.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the dangerous hurricane downgraded to a tropical storm and slowly moved away from the U.S. east coast after causing some storm surge flooding.

» RELATED: Trump promises visit, aid to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico

How you can help the victims of Hurricane Maria

Make monetary donations to charities or crowdfunding campaigns

According to the United States Agency for International Development, giving money to reputable relief agencies and nonprofits is the most effective way to help and to avoid using resources to transport or deliver donated goods.

Listed below are several charity organizations or crowdfunding campaigns to choose from. You can also use Charity Navigator to learn more about the organizations before donating.

Note that sending money via text message may seem convenient, but according to the Associated Press, that’s not the case. Charities often have to wait on phone companies to release the money.

Here are some organizations to consider giving money to:

United for Puerto Rico (direct aid and support for Puerto Rico spearheaded by the First Lady of Puerto Rico)

Hispanic Federation (text Unidos and an amount to 4-144 or visit the website)

Americares (emergency and medical supplies)

UNICEF (emergency relief and help for children affected)

Save the Children (emergency relief and help for children affected)

ConPRmetidos (Puerto Rico-based nonprofit to benefit “immediate needs of food, shelter, water” and more)

GlobalGiving Caribbean Hurricane Maria & Irma Relief Fund (from US-based nonprofit Global Giving)

SPCA International (help for animal rescue and care)

Habitat for Humanity (housing and shelter needs)

All Hands (specific for U.S. Virgin Islands)

Salvation Army (supplies and shelter needs)

» RELATED: How you can help Mexico and people affected by the Mexico earthquake

Other crowdfunding campaigns:

- GoFundMe’s Hurricane Maria relief homepage (a landing page with several crowdfunding efforts)

21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund (NBA star Tim Duncan hoping to raise $5 million for his home country)

Dominica Hurricane Maria Relief Fund (bringing relief to Dominica)

Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Hurricane Relief Fund (to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes)

» RELATED: Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades, official says

Make monetary donations via Google search

If you do a Google search for “Hurricane Maria,” you’ll be able to donate money directly in the search results. Scroll down to donate $5, $25 or $50 to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Check if your employer will match your donation

Doublethedonation.com has a nifty tool that lets you enter your company name to find out whether or not your employer offers a matching gift program for donations.

Donate blood

The American Red Cross urges generous volunteer blood donors to give blood year-round, not only at the time of disaster. Currently, a need for platelet and type O blood donations are especially needed, according to the organization website.

Visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to begin the donation process.

» RELATED: Disaster declared in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastates island

Donate useful goods

Monetary donations are preferred, but this nationwide Google spreadsheet also has donation drop-off locations for essential items.

» RELATED: Puerto Rico mayor Cruz begs for solar-powered supplies on CNN; slams acting Homeland Security head

According to the spreadsheet, there’s not a great need for clothing, and transporting water and food may waste resources.

Instead, think about long-term supplies someone may need without electricity or food, such as asthma pumps, bug repellent, eye drops water purification products.

Other high-ticket items include solar powered USB chargers, lanterns, radios, batteries, baby items and duct tape.

Some locations on the Google spreadsheet only collected items through the end of September, but others are collecting them on an ongoing basis. 

Please check the spreadsheet for updated times and locations and give the site manager a call before dropping off supplies.

Volunteer

The American Red Cross is looking is dispatching volunteers to aid areas affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

Local residents should use this form.

All non-local residents interested in volunteering should use this separate form.

More information about volunteer expectations and requirements at redcross.org.

You can also volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

» RELATED: Trump: “Big decisions” must be made about rebuilding Puerto Rico

The organization is assessing housing and shelter needs in impacted areas and is evaluating the support it receives from donors, volunteers and other partners before making any long-term decisions.

“We ask that your enthusiasm and interest stay long after the first few weeks as volunteers will be critically needed throughout the recovery and rebuilding phase, which may last months or even years,” the organization posted on its website.

Sign up for the Habitat for Humanity volunteer registry here.

The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) is allowing volunteers to register to help, but notes that Puerto Rico is asking for volunteers not to deploy to the communities affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Several VOAD volunteer opportunities from casework, cleanup and more are posted here.

Spread awareness on social media

Sometimes, word of mouth (or text) is all it takes. Take part in the relief campaign by retweeting news and alerts about shelters, donations and more from official accounts such as @PRFAA@FEMARegion2@ricardorossello@Univision PR@USNationalGuard and several news organizations.

Be sure to share your donation links, let people know how to donate and continue to spread awareness with hashtags (#PuertoRico, #MariaPR, #PrayForPuertoRico, #UnidosPorPR, #UnitedForPR are some examples).

Why is the sun red, the sky yellow in London? 

An eerie weather phenomenon across parts of the United Kingdom is turning the skies an anemic yellow color and making the sun appear blood red.

>> Read more trending news

The anomaly is not the beginning of the end of days or a sign of the apocalypse, scientists said. Instead, it’s directly related to Hurricane Ophelia, which is whipping through the region.

The storm’s tropical air dragged in dust from the Sahara Desert and air pollution from wildfires in Spain and Portugal as it moved north through the Atlantic, creating the strange spectacle, the BBC reported.

“The dust gets picked up into the air and goes high up into the atmosphere, and that dust has been dragged high up in the atmosphere above the UK,” BBC weatherman Simon King said, according to the Express.

The blood-red sun Monday morning across the region is a result of the same weather phenomenon creating the yellow skies, according to the U.K.’s  Meteorological Office or Met Office.

“The same southerly winds that have brought us the current warmth have also drawn dust from the Sahara to our latitudes and the dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset,” Met officials said on the agency’s website.

>> Related: Yellowstone supervolcano could erupt much sooner than predicted, study reveals

Social media users in London chronicled the spectacle on Twitter.

Hurricane Nate: Live updates 

Here are the latest updates as Tropical Storm Nate slams the Gulf Coast:

>> PHOTOS: Hurricane Nate lashes Gulf Coast before weakening to tropical storm

>> Read more trending news

Photos: Hurricane Nate to strike Gulf Coast

Hurricane Nate is moving swiftly toward the Gulf Coast after causing death, destruction in Central America. 

All living former U.S. presidents to attend hurricane relief concert

All five living former U.S. presidents will attend a newly announced hurricane relief concert at Texas A&M University on Oct. 21.

>> Read more trending news

“Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” will feature Alabama, the Gatlin Brothers, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Yolanda Adams and several other music acts, according to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation. Country music star Lee Greenwood will emcee the event.

>> Related: Former presidents join forces for hurricane relief

The former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — recently launched One America Appeal to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Read the full story on mystatesman.com

When this asteroid comes close to earth, NASA has plans straight out of the movies

An asteroid is set to brush past Earth in a few weeks, and NASA is preparing a cool defense test in response.

>> Read more trending news

According to Newsweek, TC4 will fly as close at 27,000 miles to the Earth, about one-eighth of the distance between the Earth and the moon, giving scientists the opportunity to test its planetary defense systems in the event an asteroid or other hazardous object makes its way toward Earth. The asteroid is expected to pass the Earth on Oct. 12.

>> On Rare.us: Here are the amazing records astronaut Peggy Whitson recently broke in space

“Scientists have always appreciated knowing when an asteroid will make a close approach to and safely pass the Earth because they can make preparations to collect data to characterize and learn as much as possible about it,” explained Dr. Michael Kelley, a scientist working on the TC4 observation campaign, according to the Daily Mail. “This time we are adding in another layer of effort, using this asteroid flyby to test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing our capability to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid threat.”

Scientists first began tracking TC4 in 2012.

White roads an option to lower temperatures 

In Los Angeles, California, the city is putting out $40,000 per mile to paint some roads white in an attempt to lower their temperature.

>> Read more trending news 

The grayish-white seal coat is applied by workers with a squeegee, and is dry a day later. It reflects solar rays instead of absorbing them, as black asphalt and concrete do, thus reducing the temperature of painted roads by as much as 30 degrees, according to Curbed Los Angeles.

Large cities like Los Angeles are subject to what’s known as the heat island effect, in which the temperature of a city is raised overall by all the heat absorbed by man-made roads and surfaces, rendering it hotter than surrounding rural areas by anywhere from 1.8-5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the EPA.

These white-painted roads, known as “cool pavements,” are one of five strategies outlined by the EPA to mitigate this effect. Others include planting more trees and green roofs. According to their report on cool pavements, EPA officials believe that covering 35 percent of streets with the reflective coating could reduce the overall temperature of a city by an average of one degree, which could translate to millions saved in energy costs.

RELATED: The best US cities to avoid effects of climate change, according to report

Large, bustling cities have plenty of concrete and asphalt surfaces that act as absorbers of heat. When the sun goes down, that heat can then leak out, causing the temperature to stay more elevated than it otherwise would.

Cool pavements could be a way to keep cities a little cooler in the baking heat of hot summers. And things don’t look to be cooling down any time soon. Many reports are contending the South will be hit hard with heat by climate change, becoming even hotter than it has been. According to the San Antonio Express News, San Antonio in particular is expected to see extra weeks of weather over 100 degrees.

With that kind of heat coming, it may be best to start preparing now.

RELATED: Farmers worldwide have a creative way of adapting to climate change

RELATED: American south to bear the worst of climate change, says new study

Deshaun Watson gives first NFL paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey

Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check Wednesday afternoon to three team employees who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey.

>> Watch the video here

The three employees Watson helped work in the team cafeteria at NRG Stadium. With a base salary of $465,000 in 2017, the former Clemson star and 2017 first-round pick is set to earn $29,062.50 per game. Because of Watson’s generosity, each of the women received close to $10,000.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

“For what y’all do for us every day, and never complain. I really appreciate y’all,” Watson told the employees, according to HoustonTexans.com. “I wanted to give my first game check to y’all to help y’all out in some type of way. Hopefully that helps you out and helps you get back on your feet. Anything else y’all need, I’m always here to help.”

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

For those who have followed Watson’s football career, this act of kindness should come as no surprise.

>> Read more trending news

Watson has settled in nicely as Houston’s starting quarterback. He had an impressive performance in his second career NFL start against the New England Patriots in Week 3, and his play will likely be the deciding factor in whether the Texans return to the postseason in 2017.

Royal Caribbean cancels cruise, uses ship for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

Cruise line Royal Caribbean has sent one of its ships to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

>> Jennifer Lopez donating $1M to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

According to CNN, the company canceled an upcoming Adventure of the Seas cruise so the ship, which holds 3,800 people, could pick up evacuees and bring supplies to Puerto Rico. The cruise ship also will travel to St. Croix and St. Thomas.

>> How to help Hurricane Maria victims: Where to donate, how to volunteer and more

Royal Caribbean tweeted about the ship's arrival in storm-ravaged San Juan on Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"Adventure of the Seas arrived in San Juan to drop off supplies and pick up evacuees. Next up: St. Thomas & St. Croix," read the tweet, which included photos.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here.

Grammy-nominated gospel group says bus driver disappeared with $10K deposit

A gospel group that got stuck in Atlanta after Hurricane Harvey hit now says their bus driver left them stranded.

>> Watch the news report here

WSB-TV's Rikki Klaus met gospel artists the Walls Group last month at a Hurricane Harvey relief concert in Alpharetta, Georgia.

They had just come from Charlotte, North Carolina, the first stop on their 19-city tour. 

>> Hurricane Harvey: Texas mom uses couponing skills for relief efforts

“Right after that, our bus driver abandoned us, and he left us here in Atlanta," Alicia Walls said.

Parents and managers Alicia and Roger Walls showed us a contract, which outlines the down payment for 28 days of sleeper bus services $10,000 dollars.

They say the driver was offended they did not want to take his advice, and quit.

The Walls say the driver kept the money. 

“You didn’t fulfill an obligation contractually. It’s just sad,” Alicia Walls said.

>> How dangerous is a hurricane? Understanding hurricane categories

The group canceled several tour stops and could not make it home to Houston, which was flooded.

“We couldn’t go back because of the hurricane,” Roger Walls explained.

They incurred costs for housing, travel and food for the team. 

“We spent $12,000 on 13-14 people to live during the time we couldn’t go back to Houston,” said Roger Walls.

Mr. And Mrs. Walls hired an attorney to sue and a private investigator to find the bus driver. They say he won’t communicate with them anymore, and they cannot find his address. 

>> Read more trending news

“Without his information, we can’t serve him. We sent him an email basically with all the receipts and the contracts and stuff basically, and we can’t find him,” Alicia Walls said.

Klaus reached out to the bus driver for comment but did not hear back.

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