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5 Things You Need to Know: Monday, August 16

Posted at 6:19 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 10:00:26-04

SOUTHERN COLORADO — Good Morning, Southern Colorado. Here are the 5 Things You Need to Know to start off your week on this Monday, Aug. 16.

United States Sends More Troops to Afghanistan
The United States Secretary of Defense is sending 1,000 more troops into Afghanistan. This brings the total of troops deployed following the Taliban takeover of Kabul to 6,000. Secretary Lloyd Austin's team is indicating the troops will be earmarked for security duty at the airport in Afghanistan.

Food Stamp Benefits Will Increase
The Department of Agriculture is expected to announce the largest single increase to food stamp assistance in the program's history today. The increase will benefit all 42 million people who receive snap benefits and is part of the Biden administration's effort to strengthen social programs.

Wildfire Smoke May Lead to Severe COVID Cases
A new study suggests smoke from wildfires may increase the risk of severe COVID-19. Harvard researchers looked at COVID cases in California, Washington, and Oregon. They noticed a spike in severe COVID-19 and deaths in many counties in the four weeks following a wildfire. Also, it should be noted that 2020 has been a record setting year for wildfires.

Southern Colorado Goes Back to School
It is the first day back to school for some of the largest districts in our area today. To say the past year and a half has been a challenge may be a bit of an understatement and questions remain over COVID protocol requirements. News5 has compiled links to all the school districts in Southeastern Colorado so you can easily find your school's plan. Also, always be extra cautious in those school zones.

Today's Forecast
Smoke and heat are the main focal points in the forecast today through the start of the week. There will still be storms out there, but most of the moisture over the next 5 days will be focused into the mountains around the continental divide. Wildfire smoke from the West will become thick again today, especially by the evening. Highs today will be in the 90s in the plains with sunny skies and fairly light winds. Overnight we'll be clear and calm with mild temperatures.