MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 2:58 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2006
NEW YORK - Last weekend’s Northeast
snowstorm ranks as a Category 3, or major, storm, the National
Climatic Data Center said Tuesday in its first use of a new impact
The Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale ranked
the storm as having the 20th biggest impact out of 32 storms sampled
between 1956 and 2006.
The scale ranks the severity of an East
Coast snowstorm based on snowfall amount and the population of the
The five categories are: Notable,
Significant, Major, Crippling or Extreme.
But scientists acknowledged that the rough
conditions made measuring the snowfall difficult.
“Near-blizzard conditions prevailed in
the Northeast over the weekend, with winds gusting more than 50 mph
along the coastal areas,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration said in a statement. “The strong winds produced
snow drifts more than four feet high and made snow measurements
NOAA said the storm was not ranked higher
because the record snowfalls reported in some areas were not
regionwide. “Other snow storms of the recent past, such as the
1993 Storm of the Century (NESIS Category 5) and the January
Blizzard of 1996 covered areas throughout the eastern U.S.,” NOAA
Cleanup from the storm began in earnest Monday, with road crews
clearing highways and air travelers catching new flights.
Hundreds of schools canceled Monday classes
from West Virginia to Massachusetts. Utility crews worked to restore
power to thousands of homes and businesses blacked out when wind
gusting to 50 mph knocked down power lines.
“I never want to see snow again,” said
stalled traveler Laura Guerra, 27, of Miami, after spending the
night on a cot at LaGuardia Airport. She said she hadn’t seen snow
since she was 4, “But I got it out of my system.”
The weekend storm blanketed the Eastern
Seaboard and Appalachians from western North Carolina to Maine,
dropping 26.9 inches of snow in Central Park — the heaviest since
record-keeping was started in 1869, the National Weather Service
said. The old record was 26.4 inches in December 1947.
Children were thrilled to dig out their
sleds, little used until now in this unusually mild winter.
“We’re hoping for 365 days off from
school,” said 9-year-old Reagan Manz, playing in Central Park with
friends. “We could go sledding the whole time and not get
More than 30 inches in
Fairfield, Conn., got 30.2 inches of snow, and Rahway, N.J., had 27
inches, according to unofficial observations reported to the weather
service. Just west of Philadelphia, 21 inches of snow was recorded
in West Caln Township; the average snowfall for an entire winter in
Philadelphia is about 21 inches. Wilbraham, Mass., east of
Springfield, reported 22 inches, and some areas of the state had
In the mountains of western North Carolina,
Robbinsville got 20 inches of snow and drifts up to 6 feet high
closed the Cherohala Skyway, a scenic route through the area to the
Tennessee line. Unlike most of the Northeast, light snow continued
falling in the area Monday.
All three major New York-area airports —
Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark — had reopened with limited service
by Monday morning after hundreds of flights were called off Sunday.
A Turkish Airlines flight skidded off a runway at Kennedy when it
landed late Sunday, but none of the 198 passengers was injured, said
Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and
Airlines also canceled hundreds of flights
Sunday at major airports from Washington’s Reagan National to
Boston’s Logan International.
Travelers stranded across the
The Northeast airport closures and grounded planes stranded
travelers across the country. About 7,500 people were stuck at
Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport,
spokesman Steve Belleme said.
“Our car’s in Newark. We can’t even
get close to there,” said Maria Martinez, whose flight from Miami
International Airport was canceled. “We can’t even get to
Philadelphia or D.C.”
Some passengers also were stranded on the
Long Island Rail Road east of New York City, where trains got stuck
on snow-covered tracks, officials said. One train was marooned for
five hours. Limited service into Penn Station in Manhattan resumed
Monday morning but some branches on Long Island were still out of
“Usually the trains never stop. It’s
never been like this,” said Rebecca Karpus, who was waiting to
return home Monday morning on the LIRR after being marooned at Penn
Station since 6:30 p.m. Sunday. “It’s really paralyzed us.”
Amtrak said it still had numerous
storm-related schedule changes Monday morning.
Most highways were in good shape for the
Monday morning commute, but many city streets and sidewalks were
still packed with snow.
The storm also knocked out power across
parts of the Northeast, most severely in Maryland, where more than
150,000 customers were blacked out and utilities said more than
48,000 still had no power Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Mud wipes out Philippines village
An entire village has been buried by a major landslide in the
central Philippines following heavy rains.
It was reported people had returned to their homes as
Nineteen people are known to have died and 83 have been found
alive so far, but rescue officials said between 1,500 and 2,500
might be buried in the mud.
President Gloria Arroyo ordered the coast guard and navy to the
affected area, and a US vessel is on the way.
However rescuers, struggling waist-deep through thick mud, have
called off their search, fearing further slides.
A school and an estimated 500 houses in the village of
Guinsaugon, in the town of St Bernard on the southern part of
Leyte, were swamped by the flow of mud.
Survivor Dario Libatan said: "It sounded like the mountain
exploded, and the whole thing crumbled."
Another spoke of boulders bigger than a house sweeping into the
village amid the torrent of mud and earth.
Television images showed only coconut trees and a few tin roofs
emerging from the reddish soil.
"Everything was buried," survivor Eugene Pilo said.
"All the people are gone."
The mudslide happened after heavy rains dumped about 200cm of
rain on the area in the space of 10 days, Eva Tomol, a board
member for the Southern Leyte provincial government told the BBC
She denied that deforestation caused by illegal logging may
have contributed to the disaster.
The BBC's Sarah Toms in Manila says the area lies in the path
of several typhoons each year, and that coconut trees common
locally have shallow roots which leave it vulnerable to
Southern Leyte province Governor Rosette Lerias said many
residents had left last week, fearing landslides, but had begun to
return as rains eased in the past few days.
She said the school that was buried had about 250 pupils and
"We have been able to rescue only one child and one adult
from the school area," she said.
Army Captain Edmund Abella, leading a team of 30 army rescuers,
said his soldiers were sinking into the mud. "It's very
difficult, we're digging by hand, the place is so vast and the mud
is so thick," he said.
Dec 2004 About 1,800 people killed after a
series of storms in north-eastern Philippines
Dec 2003 Up to 200 people die in landslides in
Nov 1991 Typhoon Thelma strikes Leyte causing
floods that drown at least 5,000
President Arroyo urged her compatriots to "pray for those
who perished and were affected by this tragedy".
"I have ordered the Coast Guard and our entire naval force
in the Visayas [central Philippines] region to the area," she
said in a television address to the nation.
Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, speaking
in Geneva, said it would be some time before the final death toll
"This could rise to tragic proportions. We're still hoping
this is not the case... It's impossible to predict what nature
The landslide followed reports of a minor earthquake in the
area on Friday morning.
But David Applegate of the US Geological Survey told the BBC
News website that the magnitude 5.2 quake off Iwo Jima was
"very unlikely" to have been the cause.
Red Cross estimates 200 are dead, 1,500 missing in Philippine
Paul Alexander, Canadian Press
Published: Friday, February 17, 2006
MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The farming village is gone, swallowed
whole by a wall of mud and boulders that swept down with terrifying
speed Friday from a mountainside in the eastern Philippines. Officials
feared the death toll could climb past 1,500.
"There are no signs of life, no rooftops, no nothing,"
Southern Leyte province Gov. Rosette Lerias said. The village of
Guinsaugon, once a community of 2,500 people, now looks like a
40-hectare patch of newly plowed land.
Its 375 homes and elementary school were buried under mud up to 10
metres deep. Only a few small piles of debris hint at the devastation.
Only a few jumbles of corrugated steel sheeting indicate Guinsaugon
The official death toll stood at 23 after darkness forced
suspension of rescue efforts, hours after the morning landslide. But
the Philippine Red Cross estimated at least 200 dead and 1,500
missing. Significantly, only 53 survivors were plucked from the brown
morass on Leyte island, 675 kilometres southeast of Manila.
"Our village is gone, everything was buried in mud," said
survivor Eugene Pilo, who lost his family. "All the people are
"It sounded like the mountain exploded, and the whole thing
crumbled," added fellow survivor Dario Libatan, who lost his wife
and three children. "I could not see any house standing
Rescue workers were hampered by the thick, soft mud that remained
unstable, along with flash floods spawned by two weeks of downpours.
The heavy rains were blamed on the La Nina weather phenomenon, that
dumped 68.5 centimetres of rain on the area.
The governor asked for people to dig by hand, saying the mud was
too soft for heavy equipment.
"I have a glimmer of hope, based on the rule of thumb. Within
24 hours you can still find survivors," Lerias said. "After
that, you move on to the recovery phase, but right now it's still
A second, minor landslide added to volunteers' jitters, and a
helicopter pilot said the ground near the top of the mountain was
still moving in late afternoon.
"You could see a patch of green, then mud where it was,"
Leo Dimaala said, estimating that half the mountain had collapsed.
Education officials said 250 pupils and teachers were believed to
have been at the elementary school. Only one girl and a woman were
rescued alive nearby.
Two other villages also were affected, and about 3,000 evacuees
huddled at a municipal hall.
"We did not find injured people," said Ricky Estela, a
crewman on a helicopter that flew a politician to the scene.
"Most of them are dead and beneath the mud."
Aerial TV footage showed a wide swath of mud alongside stretches of
green rice paddies at the foothills of the scarred mountain.
Survivors and others blamed illegal logging for contributing to the
Pat Vendetti, a London-based campaigner with the Greenpeace
environmental action group, said illegal logging may prove to have
contributed to the mudslide.
"There were similar landslides at the end of 2004 and the end of
2003, both directly linked to illegal logging on land above villages,
and both in the Philippines," said Vendetti.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
blamed a combination of the weather and the type of trees prevalent in
"The remote coastal area of Southern Leyte . . . is
heavily forested with coconut trees," the Red Cross said from
Geneva. "They have shallow roots, which can be easily dislodged
after heavy rains, causing the land to become unstable.
Lerias said that even before the landslide, "trees were sliding
down upright with the mud."
A small earthquake also shook the area, but scientists said it took
place after the landslide and probably was unrelated.
Rescue workers dug with shovels for signs of survivors, and put a
child on a stretcher, with little more than the girl's eyes showing
through a covering of mud.
"Help is on the way," President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
said in televised remarks. "It will come from land, sea and
The Philippine Red Cross had 14 people on the ground dealing with
rescue efforts and the recovery of bodies. More staff and trained
volunteers were being sent to the region, along with dog rescue teams.
A relief plane was flying from Manila carrying 1,000 body bags,
emergency trauma kits to help 1,000 people, rubber boots, ropes,
clothing, flashlights and medicine.
The international Red Cross launched an emergency appeal for $1.5
million US for relief operations. The funds will be used for buying
temporary shelter materials and other emergency health and cooking
Lerias said many residents evacuated the area last week because of
the threat of landslides or flooding, but had started returning home
during increasingly sunny days, with the rains limited to evening
Last weekend, seven road construction workers died in a landslide
after falling into a 45-metre-deep ravine in the mountain town of Sogod
In 1991, about 6,000 people were killed on Leyte in floods and
landslides triggered by a tropical storm. Another 133 people died in
floods and mudslides there in 2003.
© The Canadian Press 2006
Rescuers pull bodies from Philippine school
Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:40 PM GMT
By Bobby Ranoco and Pedro Uchi
GUINSAUGON, Philippines (Reuters) -
Rescue workers pulled five bodies on Monday
from a Philippine school buried under a
mudslide, dashing reports of a miraculous
recovery of 50 people three days after their
village was obliterated.
"We have yet to find any
survivors," Captain Burrell Parmer, a
spokesman for U.S. Marines taking part in
the rescue operation, told the ABS-CBN
"Our troops have found dead
bodies," he said. "They dig with
their bare hands and place them in body
Parmer's sombre news contradicted an
earlier report from a Philippine government
official that U.S. forces had brought out
about 50 survivors from under metres of mud
in the school in Guinsaugon, a remote
farming community about 675 km (420 miles)
southeast of Manila.
Friday's devastating landslide, triggered
by two weeks of heavy rain, obliterated the
village of 1,800 people. So far, 84 bodies
have been recovered. Relatives have reported
1,371 people still missing.
But rescuers, including U.S. Marines
dispatched from annual Philippine military
exercises, focussed efforts on the
elementary school after unconfirmed reports
that some of the 253 people trapped inside
had sent desperate text messages on Friday.
Colonel Raul Farnacio, head of a
Philippine army rescue team, said U.S. and
Filipino military had halted operations for
the night because geologists had warned that
the ground around the school was unstable.
Rain was sheeting down.
Farnacio said he was still hopeful that
survivors could be pulled from the school,
saying that the likelihood that some of
those trapped could be alive had risen,
"from one percent to 50 percent".
Based on field reports, he said there was
"increasing positive sign of life"
because of the rhythmic sounds some of the
rescue teams were hearing close to the
Rescuers, including teams from Taiwan and
Malaysia, are battling deep, shifting mud
and have been told to tread softly for fear
of drowning in the soupy earth.
In hospital, survivors told of jumping
from roofs to escape the torrent of mud. One
six-year-old girl survived by clinging to a
Bloated and decomposing, 50 recovered
bodies were buried on Sunday in mass graves
sprinkled with holy water and lime powder --
a measure Health Secretary Francisco Duque
said was necessary to prevent disease from
spreading in the hot, fetid conditions.
Former first lady Imelda Marcos told the
anti-graft court on Monday she had cancelled
her plan to go to Hong Kong to seek
alternative medicine for her ailing knees
and would instead go to Guinsaugon on
"The Leyte people are a priority
over my health," the widow of former
dictator Ferdinand Marcos said, adding that
she intended to donate to the survivors the
630,000 pesos ($12,138) that she had
deposited with the court as travel bond.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo plans to visit the scene on Wednesday
International agencies have also sent
supplies, but many of the emergency goods
must be trucked to the area on bad roads and
around washed-out bridges.
On Monday, about 500 U.S. troops rushed
to Guinsaugon. Brigadier-General Mastin
Robeson said Washington planned to divert to
Leyte up to 3,000 of the 5,000 U.S, soldiers
and sailors taking part in annual war games
in the southern Philippines.
The Philippines is usually hit by about
20 typhoons each year, with residents and
environmental groups often blaming illegal
logging or mining for compounding the
But in a country where most of the 86
million people are Roman Catholic,
commentators, officials and even survivors
also said the landslide was God's will.
Leyte island itself is no stranger to
disaster. In 1991, more than 5,000 people
died in floods triggered by a typhoon.
(With reporting by Manny Mogato, Dolly
Aglay and Carmel Crimmins in Manila)
© Reuters 2006. All
People run away from huge waves crashing onto San Sebastian's
seafront February 17, 2006. A combination of several circumstances such
as the full moon season, a squall over the Cantabrian Sea and heavy wind
gusts reaching speeds of 110 km (68 miles) per hour contributed to
create sea tides to levels not seen in the area for the past 3 years,
with waves as high as 10 meters (33 feet).
IS AMERICA FACING ANOTHER DUST BOWL?
AccuWeather.com meteorologists are warning that oceanic conditions
similar to those that triggered the ruinous "Dust
Bowl" drought again appear to be in place. The exceptionally
warm Atlantic waters that played a major role in the record-breaking
2005 hurricane season, coupled with cooler-than-normal Pacific waters,
are weakening and changing the course of a low-level jet stream that
normally channels moisture into the Great Plains. Effects are starting
to be felt in "America's breadbasket," as the southern Great
Plains region is already suffering from higher temperatures and a
prolonged lack of precipitation.
Why could a new Dust Bowl drought
The low-level jet stream-a fast-moving current of winds close to the
Earth's surface-travels from east to west across the Atlantic, then
typically curves northward as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico, bringing
moisture to the Great Plains. Abnormal sea-surface temperatures have
caused this low-level jet stream to continue westward and to weaken,
which is preventing much-needed moisture from reaching the
agriculturally critical region. The shift in the jet stream is also
allowing a southerly flow from Mexico to bring much drier air
northward into the Plains.
Besides dramatically reducing precipitation for the region, the
changes brought about by the abnormal sea-surface temperatures will
also result in higher surface temperatures in the Plains. "When
surfaces are wet, energy from solar radiation both evaporates moisture
and heats the ground," said AccuWeather.com Chief Meteorologist
Elliot Abrams. "When no moisture is present, all that energy is
channeled toward heating the ground, and the warmer ground heats the
lower atmosphere. The combination of low moisture and higher
temperatures would be a crippling one-two punch for the Great Plains
should these conditions persist, much like what occurred during the
Dust Bowl drought."
The Dust Bowl drought
The Dust Bowl, which lasted from 1931-1939, was a severe drought that
struck a wide swath of the Great Plains. It was a catastrophic blow to
the U.S. economy, which was already staggering under the weight of the
Great Depression. The Dust Bowl was the worst drought in U.S. history,
eventually covering more than 75 percent of the country. Solar
radiation heating the parched and blighted land caused temperatures in
the region to rise to record-breaking levels.
"1936 was the hottest summer ever recorded across much of the
Midwest and East," said Abrams. "Many of the single-day and
monthly record-high temperatures across the eastern two-thirds of the
country are from that year."
The Dust Bowl was also noted for the huge dust storms that billowed
across the Great Plains and swallowed millions of acres of farmland at
a time. While a Dust Bowl-level drought could occur again, it is
highly unlikely that the nation will see a return of the dust storms.
"The dust storms fed off the over-plowed and over-grazed lands of
the Great Plains," said Dale Mohler, AccuWeather.com Expert
Senior Meteorologist and a forecaster for the agricultural industry.
"The agricultural practices at the time, combined with a long
period of drought, caused severe damage to farmland in the region.
Eventually the topsoil dried up to the point where it was swept away
as great clouds of choking dust that stretched for miles."
Continued Mohler, "Today's agricultural practices, such as crop
rotation and improved irrigation, as well as drought-resistant hybrid
crops, would likely prevent the landscape from being as ruined as it
was during the 1930s. For example, Illinois endured a terrible drought
in 2005, but the state's corn yield was close to normal. However, a
multiyear drought in the Great Plains would still be devastating for
The hurricane connection
"It is not a coincidence that the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s
were marked by years of tremendous hurricane activity," said
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi.
"For example, the record-shattering 2005 hurricane season was the
first to eclipse 1933 in number of tropical cyclones, and that may
only have been because we didn't have satellites in the 1930s to
identify the major storms that failed to reach the U.S. coast."
Hurricanes are fed by warm waters. This year's warm Atlantic
waters-which are now setting up a possible major drought in the
U.S.-played a major role in the 2005 season's numerous and powerful
storms. Conversely, because the Pacific has been relatively
cool-another prerequisite for the return of a Dust Bowl-like
drought-this year's Pacific hurricane season was tame from historical
Added Bastardi, "While we cannot yet tell how long this current
pattern will last, if you trust history, then the 2005 hurricane
season just may portend the return of a major drought to the Great
more about the 1930s Dust Bowl drought
America Facing Another Dust Bowl?"
Photos and information provided by AccuWeather.com, Missouri NRCS, and
|Violent storms kill two
in southern states
Saturday, 11 March, 2006, 09:23 AM Doha Time
ROCK, Arkansas: Storms packing heavy rain and high
wind have damaged homes and other buildings in several Southern
states and killed at least two people.
Power failures and wind damage were reported in Arkansas,
Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee on Thursday. Wind gusts of
up to 80mph were reported and a tornado was confirmed in eastern
Arkansas, the National Weather Service said.
“Some of the trees that made it through Katrina might not make
it through this,” said Ceroy Jefferson, assistant
superintendent for Mississippi’s Jefferson Davis County
Schools, one of many counties that dismissed students early.
Unusually severe straight-line winds did much of the damage, the
National Weather Service said.
A lightning-sparked house fire killed an 83-year-old man in
southwest Arkansas, and heavy rains caused a traffic crash that
killed a woman near Memphis, Tennessee, authorities said.
Residents were assessing damage yesterday in Tennessee.
A half-dozen people inside the Yorkville Cumberland Presbyterian
Church escaped without injury when the building was struck by
lighting and caught fire on Thursday afternoon, Fire Chief
Carmon Lannom said. The 19th-century, wood-frame church was
A tornado stayed on the ground for nearly 8 miles in eastern
Arkansas, the weather service said. The twister on Thursday
injured four people and damaged 18 homes, a church and other
There also were reports of a tornado touching down at an
elementary school in Indianola, Mississippi. Children huddled in
hallways as the storm passed through. – AP
Tornadoes rip across U.S. Midwest
Total of 9 killed
— Tornadoes swept through portions of the U.S. Midwest,
killing at least three people in Missouri, blowing roofs off
homes in Illinois and Arkansas, and damaging about 60 per cent
of the buildings on the University of Kansas campus. A fourth
storm death was reported in Indiana.
Violent storms continued early Monday in Springfield, Ill.,
where a tornado also struck Sunday night, taking the roof off
of a Wal-Mart. Mayor Tim Davlin said he expected “every
square inch of Springfield” will have suffered some effect
from the storms.
The storms forced the temporary closing of most major roads
into the city. One man was reported missing after his home was
destroyed; 19 others were treated at local hospitals for
tornado-related injuries, authorities said.
In Missouri, severe weather was blamed for three deaths,
including a woman who was killed Sunday as she tried to seek
refuge from a tornado in her mobile home south of Sedalia. Two
other people were missing Sunday night and six were injured,
Bobby Ritcheson, 23, said he watched as his neighbour was
“The trailer came down right on top of her,” said Mr.
Ritcheson, who talked to the Associated Press at a Sedalia
hospital where he had taken his pregnant wife out of concern
she might be going into labour.
Tornado sirens sounded at least three times in Sedalia on
Sunday as one storm after another rolled through the city.
The severe weather followed a powerful storm that ripped
through southern Missouri and southern Illinois late Saturday,
killing a couple whose car was blown off the road and
destroying homes along a path of more than 32 kilometres south
of St. Louis, officials said.
John Gagan, a meteorologist with the National Weather
Service in Springfield, Mo., said there would be no way of
knowing the scope of the damage until Monday morning.
“We do not know the extent of this, since it's ongoing
and fresh,” he said. “Reports are coming in as we speak,
but we won't know how bad it is until the light of day.”
In Kansas, Provost David Shulenberger said classes were
cancelled Monday at the University of Kansas because of safety
concerns about debris falling from rooftops. The Lawrence
campus was littered with trees, roof tiles and window glass.
Two trees fell through Rhonda Burns' trailer in the town
“If the wind had shifted that tree just a few inches, I
wouldn't be talking to you,” she said.
The storm was the first of several that passed through
eastern Kansas and across most of Missouri on Sunday. High
winds lifted a cargo container off the airfield at Kansas City
International Airport and blew it into several vehicles. Hail
-- some the size of baseballs -- was reported in several
northwest Missouri counties.
Tornadoes also touched down Sunday in Oklahoma and
Arkansas, while heavy rains and flooding swamped roads in
Indiana. One storm-related fatality was reported Sunday in
Indiana, where a man drowned after falling from a boat, state
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Andy Zirkle said.
In northeastern Oklahoma, a tornado destroyed 25 to 50
homes when it ripped through rural Delaware County near the
town of Oaks, said Mike Miller, spokesman for the Cherokee
At least 12 people were transported to a hospital, although
none appeared to suffer life-threatening injuries, Miller
Meanwhile a tornado that tore through northwestern Arkansas
late Sunday heavily damaged several dozen homes.
Greg Kospar, 41, of Bentonville, Ark., said he was awakened
by his wife shortly before the storm hit.
“It was over before you knew it,” Kospar said. “The
house is gone. It sucks, it sucks big time.”
Ten skiers killed
in California since late January
TAHOE CITY, Calif. Safety is top priority at Lake Tahoe-area ski
resorts after officials announced 10 skiers have been killed on the
slopes since late January.
Resort officials and investigators say they haven't seen numbers that
high in decades. But there seems to be no common thread among the
The national average of 39 deaths on the slopes has remained about
the same over the past 10 years. That's according to the National Ski
But there has been an increase in serious injuries at Sierra ski
resorts over the past year. Doctor Myron Gomez is the chief trauma
surgeon at the Washoe Medical Center in Reno. That hospital handles
all the major injuries from Sierra ski resorts.
In recent years, the hospital has seen an average of 250 ski and
snowboard trauma patients. That jumped to 309 patients during the
2004-05 ski season. Gomez says similar numbers are expected this
The recent deaths included a 16-year-old boy who fell into a creek,
a snowboarder who slid off a ledge into a creek, a snowboarder who
smashed into a tree and a skier who was buried in an avalanche.
The deaths happened at ski resorts and in the back country from
Lake Tahoe to Mount Shasta and from Donner Summit to Mammoth Mountain.
Those who died included experienced skiers, even an instructor.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Bay Area Snow Triggers Fatal 28-Car Pileup
Snow, Sleet, Hail Make Rare March Bay Area
POSTED: 5:27 pm PST March 12, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO -- Snow, sleet and hail made a
rare March appearance in the Bay Area this weekend, closing roads
and causing a 28-car pileup that killed two people.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service predicted the
unusually cold weather would continue through Sunday.
Icy road conditions were blamed for the chain-reaction accident
that took place about 2:30 a.m. Saturday on Highway 101 just north
of the Golden Gate Bridge, authorities said.
The crash scattered cars over a 350-foot stretch of highway and
left more than a dozen people with minor to moderate injuries,
California Highway Patrol Sgt. Wayne Ziese said.
"They started hitting snow and ice and went out of
control," Ziese said.
Girardo De La Torres, 28 of Petaluma, was arrested at the scene
on suspicion of driving under the influence, but he was later
released after a blood analysis concluded he was not drunk, Ziese
said. He was being treated for injuries at a Marin County hospital.
Consuelo Garcia, 30, and Adelle Guerrero, 26, who were riding in
the car with De La Torres, were killed when their Honda Civic
slammed into a Toyota sport utility vehicle, Ziese said. Both women
were married, and Garcia had two children, authorities said.
Northbound lanes were closed for about 11 hours, causing major
traffic delays Saturday, as officials investigated the crash and
cleared the area of debris.
A snow advisory for elevations above 1,000 feet remained in
effect through noon on Sunday.
A mass of cold, moist and unstable air from the Gulf of Alaska
was expected to bring showers and storms through Sunday afternoon,
said Duane Dykema, a NWS forecaster in Monterey.
"Because it is such a cold air mass, snow is falling at very
low elevations, much lower than you would normally expect,"
Dykema predicted the rain, hail and snow - highly unusual for the
Bay Area in March - would taper off by late Sunday, giving the
region a brief reprieve before another, warmer storm moves in Monday
Snow and hail fell in elevations as low as 500 feet in the Bay
Area on Friday night and Saturday morning, closing roads but causing
only minor accidents or injuries, authorities said.
A stretch of northbound Interstate 280 south of State Road 92 was
closed for about three hours Friday night, CHP Officer Scott
The weather came as an unexpected treat to some Bay Area
The Monterey Bay area was treated to a remarkably sparkling
morning with the rare sight of several inches of frozen hail on the
beaches melting in the sunshine.
As repair crews worked to fix downed power lines and cleared
roads, Steve and Christina Glynn, whose Aptos driveway and road were
completely obstructed by downed trees, took a morning walk.
"We headed through our snowy neighborhood wishing everyone a
Merry Christmas," said Steve Glynn.
Shifting Wind Worries Texas
Firefighters said they were making progress
Tuesday against a string of wildfires ravaging the dry Texas
grassland, but the good news was tempered by a threat of shifting
winds and the distress of evacuees returning to charred homes.
By BETSY BLANEY , 03.14.2006,
Wind-blown flames have raced across more than
1,000 square miles since Sunday, killed 11 people and forced about
1,900 others to evacuate.
On Tuesday, firefighters were bracing for the
possibility of a shift in wind direction and dropping humidity as they
worked to strengthen the perimeters around the blazes, said Jan
Fulkerson, a spokeswoman for the Texas Forest Service. The wind was
near 20 mph mid-morning and there was no rain in sight.
The Department of Public Safety late Monday
attributed four new deaths to the fires, bringing the death toll to
11. Nine firefighters have been injured.
"We share in the grief of those who have
lost family members and loved ones, and we offer our prayers,"
Gov. Rick Perry said. "Throughout this wildfire season,
communities in our state have shown strength and resolve that are
Eleven fires were burning across an estimated
nearly 700,000 acres Monday, up from 663,000 over the weekend. State
fire crews fought more than 160 blazes in one 24-hour period.
The size of the blackened area easily
eclipsed the 455,000 acres that burned in December and January, when
the governor declared a disaster.
Fire evacuee Jennifer Orand returned Monday
to find her mobile home in the Hutchinson County community of Texroy
burned to the ground.
"I just started crying," said Orand,
27, who lives with her husband, Shannon, about 40 miles northeast of
Amarillo. "You hear all the time that people think it will never
happen to you. I never thought I'd say that myself."
A series of rural fires stretching through
Collinsworth, Wheeler, Carson, Hutchinson, Donley and Gray counties,
charred some 652,000 acres by Monday night, and were still burning
early Tuesday, the Texas Forest Service reported.
Another wildfire in Childress and Cottle
counties reached 45,000 acres, the Texas Forest Service said.
In southeastern New Mexico, authorities
contained a 92,000-acre fire that had charred tinder-dry brush, burned
the McDonald post office and two homes, and forced about 200 people to
evacuate. It appeared to have been started by an emergency flare at a
natural gas plant, Lovington fire officials said.
Texas Department of Public Safety reported
seven firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the blazes in the
Panhandle. One was hospitalized in stable condition Monday night after
a wreck in his fire truck. A ranch hand assisting firefighters was
hospitalized with second-degree burns.
About 3.5 million acres - 2 percent of Texas
land mass - has burned since Dec. 26, said Rachael Novier, a
spokeswoman for Perry.
Associated Press writers Anabelle Garay and
Steve Quinn in Dallas, Angela K. Brown in Fort Worth and Liz Austin in
Austin contributed to this report.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All
Survivors Dig Out From Tornadoes' Devastation
Residents of the central Mississippi Valley sift debris for relics
of their lives after a series of weekend storms killed 10 people in
KNOB NOSTER, Mo. — Covered in grime, newlyweds Tina and Roger
Werneke began Monday to carefully collect the shards of their lives
and place them into garbage bags.
Picking through the mud where their mobile home once stood amid
rural rolling green hills in west-central Missouri, the Wernekes
found Tina's communion dress, its white lace still crisp and
pristine in a sealed bag. A set of stones the couple had
hand-painted with their names and placed in their garden remained
untouched, as were their high school rings, boxed with other
belongings for a scheduled move.
But a 30-year-old family collection of Raggedy Ann dolls was
mostly gone, and the family cats were missing.
"It's tough, but we're all safe," said Tina, 27, a
From Kansas to Missouri to Illinois, other victims of the weekend's
massive wave of tornadoes spent Monday salvaging what they could
from crushed stores and crumpled homes.
Winds cut about a 400-mile swath across the central Mississippi
Valley, and early reports from the national Storm Prediction Center
estimated that as many as 110 tornadoes touched down Sunday in the
Midwest, the most in a single day in March in 16 years. Ten people
in two states were killed.
Officials at the National Weather Service, however, said that it
could take weeks to confirm the actual number of tornadoes that hit
Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois over the weekend.
Some of the tornadoes were a half-mile wide in places, and devoured
up to 10-mile stretches of rural landscape, uprooting barns and
The victims included a 28-year-old man in Indiana, who emergency
personnel believe drowned after falling from a boat on Indian Creek
near Owensburg in Greene County, and a couple in Missouri who
inadvertently drove directly into the path of a tornado.
Four people were killed in and around Renick, Mo., including Billy
Briscoe, 60, and his wife Pennie, 57. Across the couple's
neighborhood, mobile homes were peeled apart like tin cans and tree
limbs clogged the streets, according to law enforcement officials.
As tornado sirens howled in the night, the couple ignored the pleas
of friends to leave their mobile home. When the storm hit, it
sounded like "a train running across the sky — it happened so
fast," Jim Doughtery, a neighbor of the Briscoes, told local TV
The couple's bodies were found in the crushed remains of their home,
said Moberly, Mo., Police Sgt. Kevin Palmatory.
"The community's in shock over the damage and the
fatalities," Palmatory said. "Tornadoes aren't a common
thing for us."
On Monday, heavy rains in Indiana left the rivers swollen and roads
swamped; drivers had to be rescued from stalled vehicles. University
of Kansas officials shut down the campus in Lawrence after the
storms damaged 60% of its buildings. Insurance adjusters fielded
calls from policyholders frantic to tally the damage to thousands of
homes, businesses and community assets.
After the storms cut through Illinois' state capital of Springfield,
the damage was so severe that public schools were closed and
nonessential state employees were told to stay home. About two dozen
people were injured in the storm.
"Around 3 a.m., we were all outside with chain saws, trying to
hack our way through the debris," said Harry Stirmell,
president of the village of Jerome, a suburb southwest of
Springfield where one of the tornadoes touched down. "We've
been working nonstop since, and trees and cars and garbage still
fill all our streets."
Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has declared seven Illinois counties as
state disaster areas, and noted in a statement, "We will commit
whatever state assistance is needed to help get their city up and
But Monday, it was clear that Missouri was among the hardest hit. At
least 90 of the 110 tornado reports came from Missouri, where the
state began observing Severe Weather Awareness Week on Monday.
Emergency management and National Weather Service officials were
planning to conduct a statewide tornado drill today.
Missouri averages 26 tornadoes a year, said Andy Foster, a
meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's National Weather Service office in Springfield, Mo.
In 2003, the state broke its annual record with a total of 84
The Wernekes consider themselves lucky: They had recently sold the
mobile home that was destroyed and had expected to move into a new
double-wide trailer Sunday. But the delivery company couldn't get to
their property over the weekend — it was too windy to transport
As the couple and their friends wandered from debris pile to debris
pile Monday afternoon just outside Knob Noster (population 2,700),
they shivered when a cold wind cut across their devastated home. Yet
the impromptu scavenger's hunt unearthed unexpected gems. A wedding
ring pillow. Some of the couple's photo albums.
"Hey, I found another pack of your cigarettes, Roger!" one
friend hollered, plucking the intact package from the rubble.
Tina's uncle John Allen commiserated with the couple. Allen, a
51-year-old school custodian, had fled his home after a newscast
warned of the path the storm was taking.
Desperate to find shelter, he tore out of his driveway, pulled into
a nearby grove of trees and hunkered down. Looking out the window,
he said, he could see chunks of metal flying overhead. "It only
just lasted a few seconds, but it scared me to death."
When he returned home, there was little left that was salvageable.
An overturned toilet. A dresser with yellow sheets. And enough food
to fill a cardboard box for a meal of canned mackerel and packaged
"This is the worst weather we've had in years," said Karen
Eagleson, director of the emergency management team for Johnson
County, Mo. The county, which encompasses Knob Noster, is located
about 90 minutes southeast of Kansas City, Mo.
Seven tornadoes struck the 830-square-mile area Sunday.
"I hope this isn't a precursor for what's to come,"
Eagleson said. "I hope we're done with it. But this is just the
beginning of our season."
Hillside resident lost in slide
Mill Valley rescue called off because of danger to workers.
By Herbert A. Sample -- Bee San Francisco Bureau
MILL VALLEY - Rains that for days have soaked Northern California
and kept emergency crews on edge took a lethal turn Wednesday with
the disappearance of a 74-year-old man as a hillside above his home
gave way and apparently buried him in as much as 14 feet of mud.
Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, April 13, 2006
Officials identified the victim as Walter Vaughan Guthrie, who
lived on Bolsa Avenue, in this wooded community north of San
Guthrie was trying to clear a debris-choked culvert behind his
home, authorities said. As of Wednesday night, workers had not found
"We're officially going into recovery mode," said Mill
Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Moore, as cascades of
storm runoff gushed around the side of Guthrie's two-story home and
through its rear garage wall. "We never give up hope, but we're
in a position where we can't keep people on an unstable slide trying
to recover a person who might not have survived."
About 80 firefighters from Marin County, Mill Valley and
neighboring agencies were involved in the rescue effort.
They were joined by three dozen state Corrections Department
prisoners using five-gallon buckets and shovels to remove some of
the mud that had slammed into the rear of Guthrie's home.
The Mill Valley mudslide was the worst of the consequences of
another day of rain - heavy at times - throughout Northern
California and the Central Valley.
The parade of storm clouds is expected to shift south today,
drenching the Central Coast, and then move toward Los Angeles and
possibly the San Joaquin Valley on Friday, forecasters said. That
could mean intervals of sunshine around Sacramento.
But Saturday, another band of wet weather could drench much of
the state, according to Kathy Hoxie of the National Weather Service.
Once that storm clears out, higher temperatures and clearer skies
could arrive next week.
On Wednesday rain filled coastal creeks, triggered Bay Area
mudslides, and continued to tumble into Central Valley rivers, where
workers were shoring up levees and patrolling for potential leaks.
In Sacramento County, although both the American and Sacramento
rivers were predicted to rise slightly through Saturday, water
levels were expected to remain well below their December peaks.
Placer County declared an emergency because of the rain and slide
damage to foothill roads since late March, estimating local
government costs at more than $1 million.
In the farming town of Firebaugh, west of Fresno, crews built
sandbag walls 2 to 2½ feet high at low spots along banks of the San
Joaquin River, and built dirt berms around a high school and a
sewage treatment plant.
Emergency officials are trying to protect the town of 9,000 from
surges that could come if intensifying storms or sudden snowmelt
force reservoirs to release more water into the Kings and San
"The risk is real," and could linger for several weeks,
said Tim Casagrande, who runs Fresno County's Office of Emergency
In San Joaquin County, round-the-clock levee patrols were
increased in case the river slips over the "danger stage"
of 29.5 feet at Vernalis, said Office of Emergency Services
spokesman Rex Osborn.
Late Wednesday, the Weather Service's River Forecast Center
predicted that today the San Joaquin River would peak just under
that, at 29.4 feet, before dropping a few inches over several days.
While levees are holding well for now, "the longer it stays
at this level, the less stable it is," Osborn said.
Crews replaced plastic sheeting that blew off levee slopes in
high winds, and investigated several reports of small boils,
eruptions of water that can be signs of levee erosion.
To the north, in Glenn County, water surging down western
foothills swamped creek banks, closed roads and crested near flood
stage on areas of the Sacramento River on Wednesday morning,
Highway 162 is closed to westbound traffic 2.5 miles east of
Willows. Highway 99, running parallel to Interstate 5, is closed
between County Roads 39 and 48. Most of that section of the historic
highway "is definitely deep in water," Glenn County
Sheriff's Lt. Phil Revolinsky said.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Ord Ferry
and Butte City on the Sacramento River, the officer said.
Along California's north coast, steady rains overwhelmed coastal
hillsides, causing slides and flooding that closed roads and schools
from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the coastal communities near Point
South of San Francisco, mudslides triggered evacuations of three
homes in Brisbane in San Mateo County and another three in Mill
Valley in Marin County.
In Mill Valley, rescuers searching for Guthrie were hampered
throughout the day by unrelenting rain and the unstable hillside.
Mill Valley Fire Department officials called off the search in
midafternoon out of caution for the rescue workers.
Crews had placed plastic sheeting on the hillside above and set
up a temporary dam to divert rainwater away from the house.
But the hillside would not cooperate. It moved slightly several
times throughout the day, causing observers to blow air horns,
signaling rescuers to evacuate the property below.
According to battalion chief Moore, Guthrie had ventured into his
backyard to check a culvert that runs into a pipe under his home.
His wife, Lisa, was in the home, perhaps trying to guide him with a
flashlight, Moore said.
"She knew he was there," Moore added. "She turned
away. When she looked back, the slide had come down the hill and hit
Lisa Guthrie escaped unharmed.
Moore could not estimate how much mud and debris had moved down
the hill, but he said the accumulation had reached the top of the
roofline at the rear of the house and entered the second-floor
A contractor who lives on a street above the Guthrie home said he
believes the house should not have been built - 30 or 40 years ago -
because it sits in a fold of the hillside, which acts as a natural
funnel for rainwater into the culvert.
"You never build a house on a 'swale,' " said Roger
Gordon, who is building a new house down Bolsa Avenue from Guthrie.
Emily Ferraro, who is putting the finishing touches on her
purchase of another home nearby, watched the rescuers with some
"I'm a little worried," she said, adding that she
nevertheless understood the dangers of living on slopes.
The Guthrie home was "red-tagged," or condemned, on
Wednesday. Three other neighboring homes were
"yellow-tagged," or closed to their occupants, as a safety
precaution, Moore said, adding that the structures were in no
About the writers:
- The Bee's Herbert A. Sample can be reached at (510) 382-1978
Bee staff writer Carrie Peyton-Dahlberg, Bee correspondent
Christine Vovakes and the Associated Press contributed to this
report. Sample reported from Mill Valley, Peyton-Dahlberg from
Sacramento and Vovakes from Red Bluff.
Storms, Floods, Mudslides Tie Up D.C. Area
By MARTY NILAND
The Associated Press
Monday, June 26, 2006; 1:09 PM
WASHINGTON -- Flooding from a weekend of heavy rain shut down
the Justice Department and other major federal buildings Monday,
and created a nightmare for commuters with washed-out roads, mud
blocking the Capital Beltway and delays on the area's rail
The Internal Revenue Service headquarters, the Commerce
Department and the National Archives also were closed Monday
morning because of flooding, and the National Gallery of Art was
closed because of weather-related problems with its steam
Cars are submerged in floodwaters in front of a
Wal-Mart store on Sunday, June 25, 2006 in Seaford,
Del., after heavy rainfall flooded much of the area.
(AP Photo/Matthew S. Gunby)
(Matthew S. Gunby - AP)
District of Columbia officials urged everyone to avoid the
"They need to give us time to make sure everything's
OK," said Michelle Pourciau, the acting director of the
D.C. Department of Transportation. "We know that more rain
is coming ... We're trying to prepare for the additional rain as
The storm dumped more than 7 inches of rain in 24 hours
Sunday and Monday at the National Arboretum, and a flash flood
watch was in effect for the region, with another 2 inches of
rain expected Monday. Rain is in the forecast every day this
week because of a stubborn low-pressure system off the coast,
the National Weather Service said.
In the Washington suburbs, emergency crews had to use boats
to rescue dozens of people trapped by flood water.
Firefighters in Chevy Chase, Md., rescued 30 people by boat
from a recreation center late Sunday, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a
spokesman for the Montgomery County fire and rescue service. In
Hyattsville, Md., crews took 69 people trapped in flooded homes
to safety, said Mark Brady, of Prince George's County fire and
The high water also shut down Amtrak and commuter rail lines
into the capital. Limited service had resumed between Washington
and Philadelphia Monday morning but trains were delayed. Even
Metro subway service in the city was disrupted until noon
because of high water on the electrified rails downtown, said
Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.
"Riders should bring an umbrella and a bucket full of
patience," Farbstein said.
Drivers weren't having much more luck.
Underpasses were flooded, and on the Capital Beltway, a mud
slide piled five feet of debris on the roadway near Alexandria,
Va., backing up traffic.
Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman David Buck
said falling trees and flooding were expected to be problems all
week."People need to build in a lot of extra time for the
next several days," he said. "It's going to be a
At the National Archives _ home to the Declaration of
Independence, Constitution and other historic documents _
researchers were told not to come in because the moat
surrounding the building on Pennsylvania Avenue had flooded,
spokesman Susan Cooper said. Outside the Archives, crews used
fire hoses to pump water from the lower level to the city
Cooper said a preliminary assessment indicated all records
held there were "safe and dry."
Even President Bush got an up-close look at the damage _ a
large elm tree fell on the White House's front lawn overnight,
blocking one of the roads.
On Maryland's Eastern Shore, 10 to 12 inches of rain fell
over the weekend in Federalsburg, washing out roads and flooding
church basements. Mayor Betty Ballas declared an emergency
Sunday for the town of 2,600 residents, 60 miles southeast of
Baltimore near the Delaware line. There were no reports of
deaths or serious injuries.
In northeastern Maryland near the Pennsylvania border,
Harford County officials Monday issued a mandatory evacuation of
cabins along the Broad Creek watershed as the creek began to
overflow its banks. Another slide dumped 6 feet of mud on U.S.
Route 29 in Silver Spring, Md., closing the six-lane highway for
at least a half mile.
Route 307 in Maryland was completely washed out in a large
section, down to the gravel, said Maryland State Police
spokesman Russell Newell. The road will have to be completely
rebuilt in order to be used again.
"It is quite a serious situation," Newell said.
"There's a lot of roads that have been disabled due to
heavy rains and flooding."
In Seaford, Del., cars were floating in a Wal-Mart parking
lot after heavy rain on Sunday. Amy Walls, a spokeswoman for the
city, said between 10 and 15 people were evacuated from homes in
an area known for flooding.
Thelma Gillespie said water was waist-high in the family room
of her split-level home and three of her vehicles were submerged
up to their roofs.
"It's just a mess. I don't know where to start,"
Gillespie said. "All my furniture down here was new last
year, and I don't have flood insurance. I don't know what we're
going to do."
Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt in Federalsburg, Md.,
and Brian Witte and Ben Nuckols in Baltimore contributed to this
Flooding Forces Evacuations
Jun 28, 7:01 PM (ET)
By MARK SCOLFORO
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Up to 200,000 people in the
Wilkes-Barre area were ordered to evacuate their homes Wednesday
because of rising water on the Susquehanna River, swelled by a
record-breaking deluge that has killed at least 12 people across
Thousands more were ordered to leave their homes in New
Jersey, New York and Maryland. Rescue helicopters plucked
residents from rooftops as rivers and streams surged over
their banks, washed out roads and bridges, and cut off
villages in some of the worst flooding in the region in
decades, with more rain in the forecast for the rest of the
Wilkes-Barre, a city of 43,000 in northeastern Pennsylvania
coal-mining country, was devastated by deadly flooding in
1972 from the remnants of Hurricane Agnes. It is protected
by levees, and officials said the Susquehanna was expected
to crest just a few feet from the tops of the 41-foot
But Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid said
officials were worried about the effects of water pressing
against the levees for 48 hours. The floodwalls were
completed just three years ago.
"It is honestly precautionary," Vonderheid
said. "We have great faith the levees are going to
An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people in the county
of about 351,000 were told to get out by nightfall.
The evacuation order applied to more than half the
residents of Wilkes-Barre, as well residents of
several outlying towns, all of them flooded by Agnes
more than three decades ago.
Laura Lockman, 42, of Wilkes-Barre packed a car and
planned to clear out along with her husband, three
kids and a puppy named Pebbles. They were not
ordered to evacuate their brick home, a half-mile
from the Susquehanna, but were going to nearby
Scranton anyway for the children's safety. Their
home was inundated in 1972, when water reached the
"I just want to get out of here. I just want
to be safe, that's all," she said.
A dozen helicopters from the Pennsylvania
National Guard, the state police and the Coast
Guard were sent on search-and-rescue missions,
plucking stranded residents from rooftops in
Bloomsburg, Sayre and New Milford. Hundreds of
National Guardsmen prepared to distribute ice,
water and meals ready to eat.
Flooding closed many roads in the Philadelphia
area, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
"We lost just about everything - the
cars, the clothes, even the baby's
crib," said James Adams, who evacuated
his family's home near Binghamton, N.Y.,
after watching their shed float away and
their cars get submerged. "I'm not sure
what we are going to do."
Elsewhere in the Binghamton area, an
entire house floated down the Susquehanna.
After touring the region by helicopter,
New York Gov. George Pataki estimated that
property damage in his state would total
at least $100 million.
The soaking weather was produced by a
low-pressure system that has been
stalled just offshore since the weekend
and pumped moist tropical air northward
along the East Coast. A record 4.05
inches of rain fell Tuesday at
Binghamton. During the weekend, the same
system drenched the Washington and
Baltimore region with more than a foot
Although the bulk of the rain moved
out of the area Wednesday, streams
were still rising from the runoff, and
forecasters said more showers and
occasional thunderstorms were possible
along the East Coast for the rest of
Earlier this week, floodwaters in
the nation's capital closed the
National Archives, the IRS, the
Justice Department and other major
government buildings, and toppled a
100-year-old elm tree on the White
House lawn. The National Archives,
several Smithsonian museums and some
government office buildings were
still closed Wednesday.
The National Archives moved in
giant dehumidifiers to preserve
its historic documents. "The
threat to the records is not
floodwater, but humidity from the
lack of air conditioning,"
spokeswoman Susan Cooper said
An estimated 2,200 people were
ordered to evacuate the area
around Lake Needwood at
Rockville, Md., which was
approaching 25 feet above
normal. Engineers reported
weakened spots on the lake's
A swollen creek carved a
25-foot-deep chasm through all
four lanes of Interstate 88,
about 35 miles northeast of
Binghamton, N.Y., and two
truckers were killed early
Wednesday when their rigs
plunged into the gaps,
Thousands of people were
evacuated from communities
across New York state, and
whole villages north of
Binghamton County were
isolated by high water.
Along the Delaware River,
more than 1,000 people
left low-lying areas of
Trenton, N.J., and state
employees in buildings
along the river left work
filtration system was
shut down because of
debris floating down the
Delaware, and Mayor Doug
Palmer called for
conservation, saying the
city had only about two
days of drinkable water.
The river was expected
to crest Friday at
nearly 8 feet over flood
fourth-highest level on
record for Trenton.
The weather was blamed
for four deaths each
in Maryland and
Pennsylvania, one in
Virginia and three in
New York, including
the two truckers.
The Agnes flood
caused 50 deaths and
more than $2 billion
in damage in
remains the worst
natural disaster in
state history. It
left 20,000 families
U.S. Army Corps of
undertook one of
the most ambitious
projects east of
River, raising the
existing levees by
3 to 5 feet. The
At least 9 killed in storm in SE U.S. state
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2006 (Xinhua) -- At least nine people were killed Thursday after a tornado ripped through a trailer park in a small town in the southeastern U.S. state of North Carolina, U.S. media reported.
Several mobile homes were demolished and others were torn off their foundations by the high winds in the town west of Wilmington, in the southeast of the state, CNN reported, quoting a local sheriff.
Several people were injured and crews were searching for people who had been reported missing, a spokeswoman for the Columbus County Emergency Services was quoted as saying.
As many as 200 emergency personnel were on the scene, and dogs were searching for people who still might be trapped in the rubble.
CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said it appeared the tornado touched down on the western side of Columbus County sometime after6 a.m. local time and "was on the ground for some time."
The same storm system tore through other Southern states on Wednesday, slightly injuring two children when the building housing a skating rink in Montgomery, Alabama, collapsed, the report said.
Thousands of homes and businesses were left without power in the storm, the Associate Press reported.
Photo: Dramatic: Thunder clouds and lightning over London last night
|Hail storm buries Mexican town just over the border
July 20, 2007 02:40 PM PST
These are pictures of a fierce hail storm that pounded the town of Cananea Sonoroa, Mexico, last night.
"I was talking with my mother this morning," writes international viewer Ing. Hctor Manuel Germn Gardner, "and she says that in her whole life she didn't remember something like yesterday ever happening in Cananea, and she's almost 80 years old!!!"
You can see, hail the size of golf balls and bigger fell upon the town, along wth flooding rain.
"There was a lot of damage caused by the hailstorm," writes Ing. Gardner. "It lasted more than one hour and it was really scary. Lots of cars got their windshields broken and many houses were flooded."
Ing. Gardner provided these pictures.
Aug 8, 2007 6:42 pm US/Eastern
NWS: F2 Tornado Confirmed In Brooklyn
Twister First Ever To Strike Borough In Recorded History
(CBS) NEW YORK What was thought to be a violently windy thunderstorm that plowed through Brooklyn Wednesday morning turned out to be a weather event of historical proportions.
The National Weather Service confirmed that the storm brought with it Brooklyn's first ever tornado since such weather events were recorded. Officials measured it to be an EF2 twister, characterized by winds of anywhere from 111 to 135 miles per hour.
Between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. a string of severe thunderstorms blew through the region, making for an incredible headache for morning commuters. Thousands of New Yorkers found themselves enduring hours of delays in the sweltering heat with subways shut down and vacant taxi cabs hard to come by.
A woman on Staten Island died in a car accident which officials say was a result of the horrible driving conditions. In Brooklyn, amazingly, only scattered minor injuries were reported.
Still, the tornado certainly rattled bones as well as bricks, especially in Bay Rid
"About 6:35 this morning it sounded like a freight rain coming down the driveway. The house was shaking and people were screaming," said Linda Mantia, who lives in the Bay Ridge section.
"I just wanted to lay down and die," Brooklyn resident May Johnson told CBS 2.
Eric Casanova couldn't believe what he saw out his window. "I looked out my window and the trees looked like dandelions. They were flowing all over the place," he said. "They say you get 15 minutes of fame, here in Bay Ridge it's 15 minutes of history."
Not only is the tornado the first ever in recorded history to touch down in Brooklyn, it's also the first to hit a New York City borough since 1995, when a twister struck Staten Island.
Outside of those two, there have been only two other tornadoes to strike New York City. The first touched down in Queens in 1985 and the second in Staten Island in 1990.
Record-keeping of tornadoes began nationwide in 1950.
Stay with CBS 2 and WCBSTV.com for the latest information.
MESSAGE ABOUT THE EARTHCHANGES 8
|We continue to work on the earthchanges
preparations. I'm sure you have noticed the increase in
earthquakes already. In southern California, Japan, ...