News Midday Update: Texas cleaning up after Dolly; Ford posts $8.7 billion loss in worst quarterly performance; body of fallen Georgia soldier returns home

Residents and recovery teams began fanning out across south Texas today and cars crept along roads with darkened stoplights as the region got its first look at the destruction left by Hurricane Dolly.

Traffic picked up on local roads littered with debris as people emerged for the first time in more than 24 hours after Dolly's soaking rains and punishing winds. After crashing ashore on South Padre Island, the storm ripped roofs from homes, flooded roads and downed power lines, but the Rio Grande levees officials had feared could breach held strong.

Hurricane Dolly slammed ashore as a Category 2 hurricane midday Wednesday and then loitered over deep south Texas as a tropical storm, dumping as much as a foot of rain in places and bringing 100 mph winds. Those winds had dropped by half Thursday morning, and forecasters said the tropical storm warning for the Texas coast would likely be canceled later in the morning. The storm was expected to break up by Friday.

By 11 a.m. EDT, the tropical storm was centered near Laredo with maximum sustained winds of around 45 mph.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared 14 south Texas counties disaster areas and sought federal disaster declarations, and was scheduled to fly over the region this afternoon.

– Associated Press

Ford posts $8.7 billion loss in worst quarterly performance

Ford Motor Co. posted the worst quarterly performance in its history today, losing $8.67 billion in the second quarter.

The company also said it will retool two more North American truck and sport utility vehicle plants to build small, fuel-efficient vehicles, and it announced plans to bring six new small vehicles to North America from Europe by the end of 2012.

The net loss includes $8.03 billion worth of write-offs because of a decline in value of North American assets and Ford Motor Credit Co.'s lease portfolio. Even excluding those items, Ford lost 62 cents per share, worse than Wall Street expected. Twelve analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on average, expected a 27 cent loss per share.

Including the write-downs, Ford lost $3.88 per share in the April-June quarter, compared with net profit of $750 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The second-quarter loss surpassed Ford's previous record quarterly loss, $6.7 billion in the first quarter of 1992.

Second-quarter revenue was $38.6 billion, down $5.6 billion from the year-ago period. Analysts expected $34.6 billion.

– Associated Press

Body of fallen Georgia soldier returns home

The body of a fallen Georgia soldier has come home.

Army Corporal Matthew Phillips was one of 9 soldiers who died in combat July 13 in southern Afghanistan. He was 27.

Phillip's remains arrived at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville on Wednesday.

Dozens of Cumming residents, some waving American flags, lined city streets to honor the soldier. The hearse was escorted by police and Patriot Guard Riders.

Phillip's funeral will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Coal Mountain Baptist Church in Cumming.

– Associated Press


– We'll give you a preview of Bragg Jam, the big music festival taking place this weekend in Macon, including an interactive map.

– Warner Robins Little Leaguers hit the field again this evening. Come back to our Web site tonight for coverage of the game.


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