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Morning Express with Robin Meade

A fast, personal, and smart blend of all the news you want in the morning. We call it "News in the Fast Lane." So buckle up.

Cyclist Phil Southerland says he's healthier now "because of diabetes"

When today's 'True Champion' Cyclist Phil Southerland was just a baby, doctors told his parents that he'd be dead by 25... and before that, he'd go blind as a result of his diabetes. Well, Phil is now 29, and he's eyesight is perfect.

Phil has written a book titled "Not Dead Yet" where he talks about diabetes being his gift, and how he's used exercise to help him focus and keep this disease in check. I spoke with Phil about the importance of educating kids about diabetes (video above).

Fallen Navy SEAL's dog may lead Iowa Hawkeyes onto the field

Here are a few Sports stories that will tug on your heart-strings on this Hump Day…

While family and friends mourn the death of Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, his dog remains beside the casket.

Katia strengthens along an uncertain path

I’m tracking Tropical Storm Katia again this morning, as she has gained some power. Max sustained winds are creeping toward hurricane strength (above 74 mph) at 65 mph, and that trend unfortunately will continue as it rolls over warmer water and light wind shear. The direction hasn’t changed yet, still moving at a quick 21 mph to the WNW. There will be no landfall for anybody (including the Leeward Islands) for at least the next five days. As Katia moves closer to North America, the steering will start to be influenced by whatever high pressure or trough is over the region next week. It’s still too early to tell exactly what the US weather will be in seven days, so the track can’t be nailed down beyond five days at this point.

There’s also an interesting cluster of storms over the Southern Gulf/Western Caribbean this morning that may affect the US weather this weekend. The NHC is giving it only a 10% chance of turning into a tropical depression, but a few computer models develop it into a big storm that could affect LA/TX. This could mean beneficial rain for the weekend, but could mean damaging winds as well. That’s all speculative anyway since the thing hasn’t even formed yet. I’ll tweet what happens with this thing.

Power of Words: Make the most of 'story time'

You may read with your child every day... but are you making the MOST out of that time together? Tiny changes in 'story time' could make a big difference in how your child does in school when it comes to reading.

Here are some tips that "Morning Express with Robin Meade" correspondent Ryan Smith picked up while reporting on cutting edge methods educators at the Atlanta Speech School are using to help kids overcome all kinds of reading disabilities. Each student at the school gets individual treatment to help him or her get over their individual literacy hurdle, but there are some general things every parent can do to improve a child's reading ability.

Tropical Storm Katia forms

Tropical storm Katia is our newest named storm in the Atlantic. Yesterday it was Tropical Depression 12. This storm is located in the Eastern Atlantic ocean, SW of the Cape Verde Islands and booking to the West near 17 mph. The track will lead Katia over warm ocean temperatures and light shear, so I expect to see this thing develop explosively. We may be looking at a Category 3 hurricane with winds over 110 mph by this weekend. So far the track looks a little north of Irene, possibly missing the Leeward Islands altogether to the North. We’ll have to wait and see where she ultimately winds up in about 7 days b/c that’s when the North American weather features begin to take over her steering. Keep updated on HLN or @BobVanDillen on twitter.

Back to the US: Dry high pressure has been in control ever since Irene has left the NE. It was pleasant yesterday with temps only topping out in the low-mid 70s from New England to NJ, but the temps will be about 5-10 degrees warmer today. That means all the people w/o power will be a little more uncomfortable today without the AC on I hate to say. The flood waters continue to ebb, but the damage has been done. The good news about air travel is that all major airports are back open, but Teterboro in NJ is still closed (that’s the one Capt. Sully was going to try to hit, but couldn’t make it so he landed in the Hudson).

Huntington Beach, CA kids win Little League World Series

Hope you had a great weekend! Here’s some Sports with Tiny Winners, Biggest Losers and athletes who are K-I-S-S-I-N-G

The kids from Huntington Beach, California are the Little League World Series Champions, and they grabbed the title in super-dramatic fashion. With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the final inning, the coaches son Nick Pratto drilled a bases-loaded single which sent Eric Anderson across home plate giving California the 2-1 victory over Japan. The start of the game was delayed more than three hours after the outer bands of Hurricane Irene brought more rain than expected to the Williamsport area. But the sun came out half way through the game, and it was quite fitting that the team from California celebrated in the sunshine.

As Irene dies, Tropical Depression 12 is born. Could this become Katia?

I’m hearing reports from my friends and family in the NE, and they aren’t good. It appears power for some in NJ/NY all the way to ME may not be restored for 3-10 days. Flooding will peak today for all the major rivers in the NE from the 5-10” of rain that fell in the short period of time it took Irene to blow through. Heck, eastern NC got more than 15” of rain. Irene made three landfalls over the weekend. Two as a hurricane. The first was over the Cape Lookout area of NC on Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane. The second was over Little Egg Inlet (south of LBI, NJ) as a Category 1 hurricane, and from there it blew over my home state and into NYC where it made the third landfall as a tropical storm near Coney Island. Currently the storm is post-tropical and moving out of Canada. You’ll notice the breeze is in ME this morning, but that’s it from Irene.

Tropical storm Jose is moving into the North Atlantic now, no worries from him but tropical depression 12 formed this morning near the Cape Verde Islands. This will most likely be the next named storm, Katia. We have plenty of time to chart this storm’s potential.

Sgt. Justin Smith seals reunion with an epic kiss

Sgt. Justin Smith seals reunion with an epic kiss

This is one you are going to want to click "Share/Recommend" on. Robin called this military reunion "breathtaking" and Carlos says, "THAT is how a man kisses a woman!" Army Sgt. Justin Smith just off the plane after several months in Afghanistan gets hugs from his daughters, and then seals this reunion by giving his wife Shirley a "Hollywood" style kiss... good stuff. Welcome home Justin.

Submit a salute of your own by visiting the special Morning Express with Robin Meade Salute To Troops assignment page at:!

Hurricane Irene storm surge could swamp "city that doesn't sleep"

Hurricane Irene’s impact is going to be huge. I’ve been following along with the National Hurricane Center the path and strength of the storm, and it looks inevitable that it will make at least one landfall on the US East coast. The timing goes like this: It will probably gain a little strength this afternoon south of NC. Tropical storm force winds will start to come into the state this afternoon. Hurricane force winds (over 74 mph) will build through the nighttime hours with the center of the storm reaching the shore by Saturday afternoon. It will chug across eastern NC for a few hours and emerge just off shore from VA, encountering the cooler Labrador Current. At this point the winds will be knocked down a bit, but since the storm itself is so large (tropical storm force winds extend nearly 300 miles from the center, with hurricane force winds extending 90 miles out) it really doesn’t matter much. There will be tons of power outages starting in NC Saturday, VA, DE, MD on Saturday night. The storm will roll past or over NJ on Sunday and into the NYC area Sunday afternoon, with numerous outages and flooding. From there Irene will rain through the Hudson Valley and into New England with 6-12” of rain and fast winds through Monday.

One of the biggest concerns is the storm surge for the NYC metro area. It’s likey that Irene will be a Category 2 storm once it reaches the area, and that means the storm surge will envelope and submerge the Brooklyn water front (including the Naval Yard). It will most likely put the FDR under water, flood portions of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, submerge Lower Manhattan (Battery Park, Wall Street), cover a good deal of Governor’s Island as well as Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The West Side of NYC will have flooding up the Hudson. Over on the Jersey side Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken up the base of the Palisades will have flooded roads. The Lincoln and Holland Tunnels will most likely see flooding too.

Hurricane Irene following in the path of Gloria

Hurricane Irene is a powerhouse of a storm this morning. It’s been plowing through the Bahamas Island chain since yesterday, and I’ve even seen an unofficial 100 mph wind gust in Nassau. The storm should continue to roll over warm sea surface temperatures which will allow for more strengthening this afternoon (the warmer the water, the more energy the storm can feed from. 80°F is the magic number for the storm to gain strength). The NHC ramps the hurricane up to a Category 4 storm by tonight (8/25) with winds around 135 mph but then buzzes the wind down a bit just before it closes in on the NC coast Saturday. As the storm emerges off the Mid Atlantic coast, it will be steered northward over the cooler Labrador Current waters that are off the VA/DE/MD/NJ coast. This should help to weaken the storm further before it reaches the NE coastline, but not by much since it’s so large that it will take time for it to wind down.

The big waves, rough water and outer most rain bands are in south FL this morning, and they should spread to the Jacksonville area by late today. Winds will probably top out near 40 mph for Miami today.