Up First briefing: Tropical Storm Hilary; Guatemala election; indoor air quality Hilary drenches Southern California, flooding roads and closing schools. An anti-corruption crusader wins the presidency in Guatemala. Plus, how to optimize your air quality at home.

Up First briefing: Tropical Storm Hilary; Guatemala election; indoor air quality tips

Up First briefing: Tropical Storm Hilary; Guatemala election; indoor air quality tips

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1194984861/1194985269" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Southern California is waking up this morning from the first tropical storm to hit the region in nine decades, which brought heavy rainfall but not the fatalities officials had feared. Hilary, now a post-tropical cyclone, left some roads underwater and forced Los Angeles public schools — the nation's second-largest district — to close on Monday.

Motorists leave their vehicle stuck on a flooded road in Palm Springs, Calif., during Tropical Storm Hilary on Sunday. David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images

Motorists leave their vehicle stuck on a flooded road in Palm Springs, Calif., during Tropical Storm Hilary on Sunday.

David Swanson/AFP via Getty Images
  • The storm broke daily rainfall records from downtown LA to Palm Springs, with mountain and desert communities seeing the most flash flooding
  • Erin Stone with LAist tells Up First that emergency responders evacuated dozens of people, including from a mobile home park in the Coachella Valley and a homeless encampment along the San Diego River. But people largely heeded warnings to stay home, and there were no widespread threats to life.
  • Sunday also saw a 5.1-magnitude earthquake about 80 miles northwest of LA, sparking panic about a #hurriquake. Stone says it wasn't related to the storm, "just a good old-fashioned coincidence."

Anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arévalo beat the odds to win Guatemala's presidential election, a victory many hope will stop the country's democratic backslide. Arévalo, a former academic, diplomat and the son of Guatemala's first democratically elected president, leads with more than 20 percentage votes.

  • NPR's Eyder Peralta says Arévalo was "the unlikeliest candidate to win," because he had no money — "he didn't even have billboards" — and he was "running an anti-corruption campaign in a country where the ruling class had launched a hunt for people fighting corruption." 
  • Thousands of Guatemalans celebrated in the streets on Sunday night, with one telling Peralta that "democracy has been defended."  
  • Arévalo's rival has vowed to challenge the results in court, and Guatemala's Justice Department has threatened to bring charges against him (which Peralta says are widely viewed as politically motivated). 

Tennessee lawmakers are holding a special session this week to talk about public safety, led in part by Rep. Justin Pearson — one of the three Democrats expelled (and reelected) earlier this year for leading a gun control protest on the House floor. Tennessee doesn't have penalties for unsafe gun storage or require permits to carry ages 18 and up.

  • The GOP-led state legislature is unlikely to pass any meaningful gun reforms, says Blaise Gainey of WPLN News in Nashville. It's expected to focus on topics like mental health, juvenile sentencing and background checks.

Picture show

Naomi and Zenoah in Grieta Court. 2019. Manenberg, South Africa. Sarah Stacke hide caption

toggle caption
Sarah Stacke

Naomi and Zenoah in Grieta Court. 2019. Manenberg, South Africa.

Sarah Stacke

Mainstream media representations of the Manenberg neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa tend to focus on the violence and bloodshed of its gang wars: Residents are three times as likely to be murdered than those anywhere else in the country. Photojournalist Sarah Stacke has spent over a decade visiting — and growing close — with families who live there. Her ongoing series "Love from Manenberg" documents the joys and challenges of their everyday lives, as well as what she calls the "texture, unity and comfort" of the place they call home.

Living better

Poor indoor air quality can contribute to health problems. skaman306/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
skaman306/Getty Images

Poor indoor air quality can contribute to health problems.

skaman306/Getty Images

Living Better is a special series about what it takes to stay healthy in America.

When outdoor air quality is bad, experts say to stay inside. But the air inside could also be full of harmful things like mold from high humidity, gasses from stoves or space heaters and vapors from cleaning supplies. Poor indoor air quality can lead to things like irritation of the eyes and throat, headaches, dizziness, asthma attacks and even other respiratory and cognitive risks. Here's how to improve it:

  • Open windows often to let fresh air in — but check the local air quality index first.
  • Remove the source. Leave your dry cleaning outside to air out solvent, pull out carpets that might contain mites and consider an alternative to cooking with gas.
  • Get an indoor air purifier. The CDC recommends one with a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter. 

3 things to know before you go

Red Netflix envelopes sit in a bin of mail at the U.S. Post Office sort center March 30, 2010 in San Francisco, California. The company is ending its DVD mailing service with a promotion. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Red Netflix envelopes sit in a bin of mail at the U.S. Post Office sort center March 30, 2010 in San Francisco, California. The company is ending its DVD mailing service with a promotion.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  1. Netflix is celebrating the upcoming end of its DVD delivery service by sending subscribers its extra discs. But there's a catch: It still wants them back
  2. Lolita, the oldest orca held in captivity, died on Friday — less than five months after the Miami Seaquarium announced plans to release her back into the ocean
  3. New Jersey was the first state to make climate change education mandatory in K-12 public schools. A year in, NPR spoke with students and teachers about how it's going. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.