WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE

WINTER OF 2001-2002

TED DANSON'S AMERICAN OCEANS

by  Dee Finney

11:11:01 - VISION - I saw myself stepping into deep, clear water.

I saw myself walking in clear water about a foot deep.

I saw a white bowl with beautiful fruit painted on it.

11-13-01 - DREAM - I was outside at my farm. Ted Danson, the actor came to visit. We were outside and I was showing him our situation when the waters came in.

I showed him that we lived 1/2 way up the hill, that when the waters came, if necessary we could just climb the hill which was right in our back yard.

He looked at it and said, it would be okay if we were in a position to get up there.

It looked like an easy climb to me.

He repeated his warning to me again that when the waters came, I needed to e high enough so I didn't get caught in the flood.

Again, I showed him that we were right on the side of the hill and that it was an easy climb.

Then we walked around the side of the house and I showed him that the last flood came 1/2 way up our driveway. I showed him the valley below that had filled with water and it had been 400 feet deep.

He said, "I just want to make sure you are okay when the flood comes."

I thanked him for his concern and told him we would be okay. I was certain of that.

11-13-01 - DREAM - My father came to visit me in my office and gave me some gifts, one of which was a multicolored afghan which he put around my shoulders. This afghan was very much like the one I use for meditation because it has all the colors on it.

While he was in the office, I told him my entire Ted Danson dream.

11-13-01 - DREAM - My son Tom and all the other young people he was friends with, were dressed in green and black T shirts. They formed a ring around a huge rectangular table, raised their right arms and danced around the table in a circle. It as a ritual dance of some kind.

I and other older people were only able to watch the dance and did not participate, though we were dressed identical to the young people in green and black T shirts and had our right arms up like them.

When the dance was over, I went to my bedroom, and my son Tom and a couple of his male friends came in and sat on the edge of the bed, whereupon I told them my entire Ted Danson dream.

11-14-01 - DREAM - Joe and I were in a car riding east through the valley. I wanted to show Joe how high the hill was that I showed to Ted Danson in my dream yesterday. We drove east towards the reservoir and went past Joe's mother's house. (she is deceased) Her house was in a wooded area just before the reservoir. She wasn't home as we went by so we continued on up the road.

The reservoir was jut ahead and high ills were on both sides of the road covered with trees.

Alongside the reservoir was a trail that went on through the valley. This trail wasn't a real road. It dead-ended at the end of the canyon we were in. On top of the canyon walls, kids were riding motor bikes. Our car was more like a jeep at this point and I was showing Joe which way to go.

We reached the end of the canyon and I could hear some young girls up ahead up on the top of the hill beyond. There were breaks in the stone wall ahead where we could climb up through. I hoped I had the strength to get up there.

11-18-01 - VISION - I had a job, working to stop the rain. I pulled a little book off of a shelf. The book was red and yellow and on the front cover was a globe of the earth.

11-25-2001 - DREAM - I was writing about warning of floods so people could prepare for them. There was more coming.
 

NEWS

JANUARY - FEBRUARY  - MARCH

2002

WINTER 2001 BELOW

Buffalo Braces for More Snow
By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - More than 2 feet of snow buried parts of Buffalo and neighboring towns overnight, and the robust Lake Erie-fed bands of snow responsible were expected to churn for another full day.

When the snow is tallied Friday, some areas will have seen 4 feet since the storm first blew in Christmas Eve, National Weather Service meteorologists said.

The region's first significant snow of the season has come while schoolchildren are on a holiday break and many businesses are running at less than full capacity, meaning fewer vehicles on the roads.

``If there's any plus, that's it,'' said Streets Commissioner Paul Sullivan, who has been dispatching plow crews in 12-hour shifts around the clock.

Meteorologist Darin Figurskey said large masses of cold air are siphoning moisture from Lake Erie and dropping it as snow.

``These bands just keep going back and forth, back and forth,'' Figurskey said.

Up to an additional foot of snow was possible during the day Thursday in any area raked by the bands, and the same was possible overnight into Friday.

Hardest hit overnight into Thursday was southern Buffalo and neighboring West Seneca, where 18 inches of snow fell between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the weather service said. That piled on top of snow that fell earlier in the evening, leaving more than 2 feet accumulation in some places that already had received heavy snow earlier in the week.

The snow proved even too much for some private plows. One pickup with a plow couldn't make it down a residential street.

Mary McGuire, who was shoveling a path through waist-deep snow Thursday morning, opted to stay home from work. ``I sell cars, and nobody's buying a car today,'' she said. ``And if they want to, if they can dig it out, it's theirs.''

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport, which has been closed periodically since Monday, was open Thursday morning but few flights were departing or arriving, officials said.

Most of the city's major roads remained opened, including the New York State Thruway, which was reporting snowfall as far east as Batavia, some 35 miles to the east. A portion of Route 5, connecting Buffalo with some southern suburbs, was closed, and a driving ban was in effect in Lackawanna, just south of Buffalo.

It's been a drastic change for a community that enjoyed its first November on record without snow, and recorded only 11/2 inches before Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day, 25.2 inches had fallen in parts of the city, ranking No. 3 in the city's history for a 24-hour span.

Because of the lake-effect snowfalls, the average winter snowfall in Buffalo is 93.5 inches.

On the Net:

City government: http://www.ci.buffalo.ny.us

National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov


Wednesday December 26 3:40 PM ET
Heavy Floods in Morocco Kill 15

RABAT, Morocco (AP) - Heavy floods that swept through parts of central Morocco have killed 15 people and left hundreds of families homeless, officials and news reports said Wednesday.

Flooding continued in parts of the Settat and Essaouira regions Wednesday after heavy rains earlier in the week. LCI television showed partially submerged cars and buses battling their way through torrents of murky flood water.

Among those killed were six passengers traveling in a taxi swept off the road by the overflowing Boumoussa River in the Settat region, 90 miles south of Rabat, the Interior Ministry said.

An 11-year-old boy and two other people died in separate incidents in the same region, officials said.

Damage was estimated at $1.75 million, most of it in the industrial region of Settat.


Wednesday December 26 7:59 PM ET
Brazilian Rains Death Toll Rises

By DOUGLAS ENGLE, Associated Press Writer

PETROPOLIS, Brazil (AP) - Rescue workers dug through an ocean of mud Wednesday in search of victims of earthslides and flooding that killed at least 49 people across Rio de Janeiro state.

Hillsides gave way after two days of torrential Christmas rains, blanketing towns with sticky red mud and driving hundreds of people from their homes, authorities said.

Thirty-four people died in the city of Petropolis alone. Three bodies were pulled from the mud early Wednesday, state civil defense worker Sonia de Carvalho said. Some 1,500 residents were forced to flee their homes in the city, 40 miles north of Rio.

One woman said she was nearly buried by the mud but was pulled out by her niece.

``Without my niece, I surely would have died,'' Lenir Cabral said in a televised interview. ``I was buried up to my head.''

Mudslides forced police to close the main road from Rio to Petropolis, which declared a state of emergency.

Most of the victims were from poor neighborhoods perched precariously on hillsides in this mountain city, built in the 1800s as a summer resort for Brazil's former emperors.

The disaster was hardly unprecedented. In 1988, mudslides killed at least 167 people in Petropolis.

``People refuse to leave,'' Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Anthony Garotinho said in a radio interview as he flew over the city. ``Many of these houses fell in 1988, but people rebuilt them in the same place.''

Garotinho pledged $12 million to help rebuild Petropolis. The federal government also promised to help.

In Rio, a mudslide slashed through a shantytown on Rio's north side, killing five people. Ten others died in three surrounding districts.

In the low-lying plain known as Baixada Fluminense, rivers burst their banks, flooding streets and forcing residents to abandon their homes.

``People are on their roofs waiting to be evacuated by boat,'' said Ney Suassuna, Brazil's minister of economic development. He blamed the flooding on garbage dumped in streets and rivers, clogging storm drains and water run-off channels.

More rain was forecast for this week.

Floods and mudslides are common in Rio during the summertime in the Southern Hemisphere.

``The topography and the climate put the lives of thousands of people at risk,'' read an editorial in the Rio daily O Globo. ``That one day the deluge will come is as sure as saying the temperature will rise in summer.''



Sunday December 23 9:22 PM ET
Puerto Rico Floods Displace Dozens

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Flooding from Puerto Rico's heaviest December rainfall in four decades forced dozens of people to evacuate, officials said Sunday.

About 70 people in low-lying areas of San Juan were displaced by the flooding, said Yolanda Zayas, director of the Department of the Family.

In the some interior and western towns, 28,500 people were without drinking water because the rainfall muddied reservoirs, the State Agency for Emergency Management said.

In the interior eastern town of Naguabo, authorities searched for 19-year-old Oscar Diaz, who was swept away Friday while swimming in a swollen river, the State Agency for Emergency Management said. Searchers were hampered by the heavy rain.

Since Dec. 1, San Juan has had 11.37 inches of rain, breaking the record for the month set in 1962, the National Weather Service (news - web sites) said. The normal rainfall for the first three weeks of December is 3.7 inches.

The forecast called for up to 3 inches more rain before drier weather arrives by Tuesday.

Cold Weather kills in Poland and India, strands passengers in Greece
Date: 12/18/2001

3 stories on Cold Weather

Cold Weather Kills 129 in Poland
By Associated Press

December 16, 2001, 12:56 PM EST

WARSAW, Poland -- Harsh winter weather has killed 129 people across Poland, about one-quarter of them members of the country's burgeoning homeless population, police said Sunday. Many other victims froze to death on the way home after drinking.

Nighttime temperatures have dropped to as low as minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the country.

"Most victims are men about 40 years old, whose bodies were found between a place they drank alcohol and the place they live," said national police spokesman Marcin Szyndler.

Every day, Polish police pick up about 200 people lying drunk in the streets and at bus stops and detain them until they sober up.

Unemployment and homelessness have increased since the end of communism in 1989, and alcohol abuse is a long-standing problem in Poland.

Police reported 112 cold-related deaths during last year's relatively mild winter. Copyright 2001, The Associated Press

2) http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=913931622

Cold conditions hit normal life in Bihar

PRANAVA K CHAUDHARY

TIMES NEWS NETWORK ATNA: Life came to a grinding halt throughout the state following further dip in the mercury. The death toll of human lives has gone up to 26 due to severe chilly weather conditions in the state. Railway services and vehicular traffic were affected due to the cold condition. Most of the long-distance trains, including Dadar-Guwahati, Magadh-Vikramshila Express, Patna-Hatia and Tata-Danapur were running behind schedule. The administration has initiated all necessary arrangemnets to combat the severe cold condition to benefit people, including those from poorer quarters.

Due to dense foggy weather, not a single flight has been able to reach Patna since Sunday morning, an airport official said. A large number of passengers had traumatic experience due to abrupt cancellation of flights in Patna. For the last couple of days, the normal flight schedule at the Patna airport has been disrupted.

The local meteorological department predicted further dip in mercury in the next 24 hours. The weather would be cloudy and accompanied by foggy weather. Patna recorded a minimum temperature of 8.8 degrees Celsius, Ranchi 8 degrees Celsius and Bhagalpur 12 degrees Celsius during the day.

According to the met office, the cold wave, however, is yet to arrive in Bihar. The westerly wind accompanied by snowfall and rain in Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir has caused the cold weather conditon and is likely to prevail for another 24 hours.

A large number of residents preferred to remain indoors. Pavement dwellers have been forced to take shelters at the Patna junction roundabout, in the Maurya Lok Shopping complex and at the R-Block roundabout. The streets of Patna wore a deserted look on Sunday.

The district administration decided to arrange bonfires at various points in Patna from Sunday night. The DM control room explained that bonfires would be to benefit pavement dwellers, too.

A large number of anxious parents in Patna have demanded from the district administration to ask the management of private schools to suspend classes of the junior sections. "If this situation persists, I will not allow our small children to go to schools," said Tulika Singh of Patliputra Colony. "It is criminal to send my five-year-old daughter to school in the foggy weather," said working parents from the Boring Road locality.

With six more deaths reported from Vaishali district on Saturday, the death toll due to severe chilly weather has risen to 26 in the state, according to uncofirmed reports reaching here from various parts of the state. Of the six people, three people succumbed at Bhagwanpur block and one each at Patepur, Mahua and Hajipur. At least 20 people have died of severe cold in the district so far, sources said. Meanwhile, reports of four deaths due to the chilly weather have come from Nalanda and two from Saran districts in the last one week, sources said.

3) http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20011218_120.html

12/18/2001 5:08 am ET

Greek Rail Passengers Trapped by Snow

ATHENS (Reuters) - About 110 passengers, including children and elderly people, were still trapped on Tuesday after spending all night in a snowed-in train in northeast Greece in sub-zero temperatures, Greek authorities said on Tuesday.

Passengers, who huddled under blankets after the train's heating stopped working, told Greek radio they were fine but not sure they could stand another night in freezing temperatures.

"We are wearing everything we have," one told Athens Flash radio by mobile phone. "If they don't get us out soon, things will get pretty serious." Greek Railway (OSE) officials told Reuters repeated efforts to reach the train, stranded in eight feet of snow in the region of Didymoticho near the Turkish border, had failed.

OSE said they had asked nearby Bulgaria to help reach the passengers. The train ran into heavy snowfall shortly after leaving the northeast border town of Orestiada for Athens at 8:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. EST) on Monday.

"There are attempts both by the prefecture in coordination with the municipalities, the army, Bulgaria and OSE teams to reach the train," said OSE General Director Eleftherios Manolas said. "We hope to have a solution within a couple of hours."

"We're talking about 20 degrees celsius below zero (minus 4 Fahrenheit)," said Manolas.

Snow storms, gale-force winds and heavy rain swept across Greece on Monday, leaving two people missing and forcing authorities to shut down airports, close major highways and leave ships anchored in port.

With much of eastern Europe hit by bad weather, even Cyprus said it was expecting snow in addition to the torrential rain that has fallen in recent days.

By Tuesday, rainfall for December had totaled 202 millimeters, 191 percent of the average, as the region has been affected by storms spreading west from the Balkans.

Water is a precious commodity on the dry east Mediterranean island, which desalinates more than a fifth of its household needs from the sea.

"We are expecting a drop in temperature with rain and snow possibly on the low grounds in coming days," said Meteorological Service director Kyriakos Theofilou.

Cyprus suffers long periods of drought and has two water desalination units. Authorities last week said they had temporarily shelved plans to build a third because of the rainfall.

Copyright 2001 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved.















From: THE EMERGENCY EMAIL NETWORK [SMTP:bounced@emergencyemailnetwork.net]
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2001 9:11 PM
Subject: WEATHER ALERT CA - San Francisco County

..COASTAL FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE COASTAL AREAS OF SONOMA...MARIN...SAN FRANCISCO...SAN MATEO...SANTA CRUZ...AND MONTEREY COUNTIES FOR MONDAY...

..A HEAVY SURF ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH MON FROM POINT ARENA TO POINT PIEDRAS BLANCAS...

LARGE NWSWELLS HAVE BEEN GENERATED IN THE EASTERN PACIFIC DUE TO THE RECENT POWERFUL STORM SYSTEM. AT 8 PM...OFFSHORE BUOY 59 LOCATED 350 NM WEST OF POINT REYES HAD SEAS OF 24 FEET. COASTAL BUOYS FROM POINT ARENA TO MONTEREY BAY WERE BETWEEN 15 & 19 FEET...AND SHOULD RISE FURTHER TO BETWEEN 17 & 23 FEET BY EARLY MON AS HIGHER OFFSHORE SWELLS ARRIVE.

THE GREATEST DANGER WILL COINCIDE WITH THE HIGH TIDE BETWEEN 11 AND 1130 AM ON MONDAY...WHICH WILL REACH ABOUT 6.5 FEET. ALTHOUGH WEST TO NWFACING BEACHES WILL HAVE THE GREATEST THREAT...ANY PORTION OF THE COASTLINE COULD BE INUNDATED BETWEEN LATE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON MONDAY.

A COASTAL FLOOD WATCH MEANS COASTAL FLOODING IS POSSIBLE IF WEATHER & SEA CONDITIONS DEVELOP AS EXPECTED. PEOPLE IN THE WATCH AREA SHOULD BE ALERT & READY TO MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND IF FLOODING OCCURS OR WARNINGS ARE ISSUED. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR FAVORITE MEDIA SOURCE FOR FURTHER UPDATES.
Saturday December 01 09:15 PM EST
Dec. 1: Nasty Northwest
Tonight's Weather in the West: Northern California, Oregon and Washington get pounded with rain, snow and strong winds.
A couple of powerful Pacific storm systems ride along a powerful jet stream. One of them moved inland over the Northwest and Northern California on Saturday, causing flooding, power outages, lots of snow in the mountains and even a few thunderstorms. Saturday night doesn't see much calming but does see a little, as the parent low pressure system associated with the storm has moved inland over Vancouver Island, Canada, and is beginning to weaken. However, another storm is due to hit on Sunday.

It will remain cloudy with periods of rain and snow across the Northwest, much of the Great Basin, and down across Northern California through the night. Numerous advisories remain in effect, including those for high winds, winter weather and local flooding. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for the Cascades in Oregon, as well as for the Northern Coast Range and Sierras in California. Expect up to an additional foot of snow in the Sierras before dawn on Sunday. By the time the weekend is over, some of the Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts will have up to 4 feet of new snow.

This first system will begin to make its presence felt in the Northern and Western Rockies tonight, but the brunt of the storm will hit there later tomorrow and into Monday.
Meanwhile, it's a quiet night across Southern California and the Desert Southwest, where a flat ridge of high pressure resides.

Thursday November 29, 2001 8:36 PM ET
Torrential Rains Swamp South
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Torrential rain swamped parts of the South on Thursday, flooding roads and forcing hundreds of people out of their homes. One woman died when her car was swept into a drainage ditch.

Schools in Tennessee and Mississippi sent children home early as streams and rivers continued to rise. In some areas, heavy rain and damaging winds blew through areas still cleaning up after tornadoes earlier this week.

At one point, every county in Mississippi was under some sort of flood or tornado watch and forecasters warned that rivers will rise across the region through the weekend.

Sherrie Jones, 28, died after her car was swept into a drainage ditch near Horn Lake. Several mobile homes near Lena were destroyed or damaged by high wind, said Tommy Malone of the Leake County Emergency Management Agency.

Sunflower County sheriff's Deputy Robert Thompson said several roads were impassable near Parchman.

``It's pretty bad and it's still raining,'' Thompson said.

In Tennessee, eight to 14 inches of rain had fallen in some areas since Wednesday night.

``Every time we get our stuff in one room and we think it's safe, it starts leaking and we have to move it again,'' said Terri Peale, whose home near the community of Paris was damaged by a tornado three days ago.

In Shelby County, Tenn., about 50 homes were evacuated because of floodwaters. About 40 other people were evacuated across the region, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee approved disaster declarations for eight counties after as much of 9 inches of rain fell between Tuesday and Thursday. Residents were using sandbags and pumps to stave off floodwaters.

In the southeastern Arkansas town of Dumas, Mayor Clay Oldner estimated that 22 homes, eight businesses and a manufacturing plant were flooded. Schools were closed and streets were under as much as 2 feet of water.

``We can take 1, 2 or 3 inches of rain, we just cannot take 12 inches of continuous rain,'' Oldner said.

In West Memphis, Ark., firefighter Doug Baker said 25 to 30 homes and an apartment complex were flooded. He said more than 1,000 homes had limited access because they were surrounded by water.

``We are doing well, considering,'' he said. ``It could be much worse.''

Fearing high water, Ruth Idrogo turned off the natural gas in her rental house along the banks of the Little River in Christian County, Ky.

``Where are we going to go? We don't have anyplace else to go,'' she said.

Farther west, the southern Plains began to recover from the frozen rain and more than a foot of snow left behind by the same storm system.

The region's first snowstorm of the season was blamed for hundreds of traffic accidents and at least 18 deaths in Texas and Oklahoma. Icy bridges and overpasses, and the accidents, brought the morning commute to a halt around Dallas.

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport resumed normal operations about noon Thursday. Dozens of flights were canceled Wednesday and Thursday.

At least 9 inches of snow fell in Aspermont, Texas, about 100 miles northwest of Abilene, and Lubbock and Wichita Falls both reported several inches. Bridges were coated with ice across western Texas and some 4,000 people were without electricity after wind and ice downed power lines.
 
Thursday November 29 01:49 PM EST
Mudslides, Floods From Overnight Storm
By KPIX - Ann Notarangelo
The overnight storm triggered mudslides and minor floods in the Bay Area Thursday.

At one North Bay intersection, Third and Grand in San Rafael, a combination of blocked storm drains and a high tide had floodwaters as high as car bumpers.

"I pushed one car out of the intersection with my patrol car," said Charlie Metcalf, with the San Rafael Police Department. "I didn't think I was going to make it."

A tow truck driver said he had continuous calls early Thursday, from people getting stuck in mud.

"What's usually a nice firm driveway, one good onslaught of rain just turns it into a quagmire," Jeff Merrill of Redhill Towing said.

In Ross, a mudslide threatened a home and closed Baywood Avenue. No one was hurt, but it's not clear yet how much damage was done. Crews were on the scene Thursday to clean up the mess and assess the damage.
Thursday November 22 10:58 PM ET
28 Killed in Colombia Landslide

By JUAN PABLO TORO, Associated Press Writer

FILADELFIA, Colombia (AP) - The rain-softened walls of a condemned strip mine crashed down on scores of gold miners in western Colombia on Thursday. At least 28 people were killed and 40 were missing in the muddy collapse.

Rescuers shoveled furiously for hours in hopes of finding somebody alive, but by late Thursday they had uncovered only bodies. Authorities said they did not expect to find any more survivors.

The victims were said to be poor people who ignored government warnings that erosion had made the mine unsafe. It appeared both the illegal digging and recent heavy rains were to blame for the accident.

Survivors said two separate mudslides occurred at the site in Filadelfia, a small town 120 miles west of Bogota. The second avalanche buried miners who were trying to rescue friends who had been engulfed in the first.

As night fell Thursday, national disaster chief Eduardo Jose Gonzalez said the search would resume Friday but crews were not optimistic they would find survivors.

Gonzalez said 28 bodies had been recovered, and at least 40 people were missing. Thirty-two miners were reported injured and taken to hospitals.

Hundreds of people had gathered at the scene, many of them anguished and weeping relatives.

Emergency crews from the Red Cross and the civil defense forces were using heavy machinery to remove hundreds of tons of mud spread over the site. Complicating the recovery effort, huge pools of water had seeped into the site from a river running up to the hillside - used by the miners to rinse gold particles from dirt

Survivors said the earth crashed down without warning on a group of about 200 people trying to scrape gold from the well-worn hillside. The workers were toiling with shovels and picks inside a deep hole they had carved into the hill. The cavern had no structural supports.

Many workers managed to scramble out of the way or crawl from the mud. Others were not so lucky.

``We heard a very loud sound and the hill suddenly fell down upon us,'' said 20-year-old Manuel Loaiza. ``I was trapped up to my knees but some of the others dragged me out.''

Loaiza said he made less than $9 a day at the crude mine. His 39-year-old uncle is still missing under the mud.

According to Julian Arboleda, an aide to Caldas State governor Luis Alfonso Arias, officials ordered the mine closed several months ago. But residents thrown out of work by Colombia's economic downturn took the risk of working there anyway, Arboleda said.

Landslides triggered by rains are Colombia's most common natural disaster, killing dozens of people annually. Thursday's accident was the worst such tragedy in recent years.

According to the government's disaster relief agency, nearly 200 people died in a poor neighborhood in the city of Medellin when a 1987 landslide buried their houses. Landslides buried 150 dam workers in 1983 and a rescue team sent on their behalf.
Thursday November 22 12:34 PM ET
Landslide Kills 40 at Colombia Mine

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - A landslide swept over illegal gold miners digging into the side of a mountain in western Colombia on Thursday, killing at least 40 of them, civil defense officials said.

The landslide at an abandoned gold mining complex in Filadelfia, a town in western Caldas state 120 miles from Bogota, was apparently triggered by the illegal digging by 200 miners at the site, said William Baron, a top official in Colombia's national civil defense agency.

``We have pulled out more than 40 bodies and three injured people,'' Baron said.

Survivors said that as many as 20 more miners could be trapped. The rest escaped.

``Suddenly the hill came down upon us and we had no time to do anything,'' Jairo Bedoya, a miner who managed to escape unharmed, told local Caracol Radio.

``My feet were trapped between rocks, but I managed to free myself, however other friends remained buried,'' he added. ``There were a lot of people with me, more than 200, and I believe that at least 60 were trapped.''

Civil defense and Red Cross officials were on the scene trying to pull miners out of the earth. National police chief Gen. Luis Gilibert said he was mobilizing all available officers to help in the rescue operations.
Wednesday November 28 02:06 PM EST
Nov. 28: Killer Floods in Algeria
Algeria/Greece: It has been over two weeks since flooding has hit Algeria, with as many as 751 people reportedly perishing in the natural disaster and many left without food, drinking water and shelter.
Current weather projections have a cold front moving through the region. This front is expected to bring more rain, but the good news is that it will be rather light and sporadic.

The brunt of this new system will be felt across Greece, where moderate to heavy rainfall is in the forecast.

The Indian Ocean: Tropical Cyclone "Bessi" (05-S) is now about 405 miles west-northwest of Cocos Island, and heading toward the southwest at 11 mph.

"Bessi" is producing maximum wave heights up to 15 feet, and is expected to continue to strengthen through early Friday. Wind gusts could reach close to 100 mph by late Thursday night.

The storm is forecast to remain on its current track through the end of the week due to a building ridge of high pressure.

Iceland: Snow is on tap across the island through the end of the week, and it's due to the same conditions that have produced all the inclement weather across Europe during the past week.

The active pattern is due to the position of Jet Stream energy over the Northern Atlantic and much of Europe.

The storms are essentially arriving, one right after another, and will continue to do so for at least the next week ahead.

Accumulations will range from 1 inch near coastal sections, to as much as 6 inches over the interior areas of Western Iceland.

Afghanistan (news - web sites): A few post frontal showers will be show up today over the Northern fifth of the country today.

The cold front will continue to head east, away from Afghanistan, on its trek across Central and Southern China.

Although it is only a slight chance, some showers may reach as far south as Kabul on Thursday, though whatever does fall will be light. Meanwhile, the mountains will receive some light snow.
Thursday November 29 2:52 PM ET
Snowstorm Blamed for 14 Deaths
By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer

Storms that pounded the southern Plains with frozen rain and heavy snow began to taper off Thursday as Texas and Oklahoma tried to restore electricity and clear slick roads in the aftermath of the treacherous weather.

Harsh weather also disrupted parts of the Midwest and Washington state, and Tennessee struggled with heavy rain that led to flash flood warnings.

The southern Plains' first snowstorm of the season was blamed for hundreds of traffic accidents, including seven deaths in Texas and seven in Oklahoma.

The East Coast, meanwhile, has enjoyed one of the warmest Novembers in recent memory, with temperatures routinely exceeding their normal highs from Georgia to normally chilly New England.

Most of the winter precipitation in Texas wound down Thursday. The state transportation department had not reported closures on any major highways.

But it was a different story Wednesday. American Airlines canceled half its flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, its main hub.

Among the dead were a Dallas woman who was 81/2 months pregnant and was killed when her sport utility vehicle hit ice and smashed into a guardrail. Her fetus could not be saved. There were three other traffic fatalities in the Abilene area.

At least 9 inches of snow fell in Aspermont, Texas, about 100 miles northwest of Abilene, and Lubbock and Wichita Falls both reported several inches. Bridges were coated with ice in other cities in the Panhandle and western Texas.

About 4,000 TXU Electric and Gas customers remained without power early Thursday as gusty wind and ice downed power lines in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. About 100 employees and contractors were working to restore service, spokesman Ray Granado said.

``We don't anticipate any long-term problems. Mainly it's the high winds and the ice,'' he said.

In Oklahoma, as much as 8 inches of snow was reported in Chickasha and Shawnee. Freezing rain pelted southeastern Oklahoma.

The snow began tapering off in western and central Oklahoma Wednesday afternoon as the storm shifted to the eastern part of the state, where all seven deaths were reported.

Southern Oklahoma law enforcement officials responded to a slew of wrecks Wednesday, including two that closed the Red River bridge on I-35 for several hours.

``We've worked numerous accidents today related to the weather. I couldn't even begin to give you a number,'' said Chris Roan of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Elsewhere, rain continued to fall Thursday in west and middle Tennessee. The National Weather Service (news - web sites) said it had received reports of 6 to 10 inches of rain overnight in west Tennessee. The heavy rain led to flash flood warnings, school cancelations, evacuations and road closings.

The upper Midwest got a break from the heavy snow that plagued the region earlier in the week. Willmar, Minn., got more than 29 inches of snow Tuesday.

``I'm sick of shoveling,'' said 13-year-old Mitch Thorp, who headed to a store for a new shovel and boots after his town of Willmar received 30.4 inches of snow in two days.

Minnesota blamed three traffic deaths on slippery highways; a fourth person died of an apparent heart attack while shoveling snow. Wisconsin and Wyoming had one each.

Colorado recorded its first avalanche fatality of the season when a backcountry skier was found dead after he and a companion were swept away in an avalanche Wednesday.

To the west, meanwhile, snowfall surprised forecasters and disrupted much of the Puget Sound area with power outages, school closures and two fatal traffic accidents.

From the Kitsap Peninsula more than 300 miles east to Spokane, Wash., dozens of spinouts and collisions were reported.

``It's a winter wonderland,'' State Patrol Lt. Jim Keightley said facetiously as he drove along Interstate 82 near Yakima. Ten inches of snow fell there.
Wednesday November 28 9:47 AM ET
Storms Drench Hawaiian Islands
By JANIS MAGIN, Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU (AP) - More than nine inches of rain fell on parts of the island of Hawaii as strong storms soaked the state, snarling traffic, downing power lines and closing schools.

The National Weather Service (news - web sites) extended a flood watch into Wednesday for the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii, also known as the Big Island.

The Big Island was hardest hit, with 9.28 inches of rain falling at Kapapala Ranch over a 24-hour period, said Tim Craig, a forecaster with the Weather Service.

``It certainly is going to be greater when the totals come in'' after the rain ends, he said.

Wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph downed trees and knocked out power to thousands of homes on Oahu. More than 5 inches of rain fell on the island and on parts of Maui and Kauai.

Public schools on Molokai were closed because of the rain.

``We were getting reports that the buses were not able to roll because the roads were in bad condition,'' said Greg Knudsen, a spokesman for the state Department of Education (news - web sites).

On the Big Island, flooding on Monday closed the Hawaii Belt Road between Pahala and Naalehu, and some students were sent home early while school buses could still cross flood-prone areas.

The rain was the result of a Kona storm, which happens when a low pressure system forms west of the islands and brings up moisture from the tropics, Craig said.

``It was a good rain, actually for a lot of people,'' Craig said. ``A number of places were in need of a good soaking.''
 
 
Sunday November 25 1:14 AM ET

Winter Weather Hits California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A blast of winter weather chilled Californians on
Saturday, toppling trees and knocking out power to 500,000 customers.

``We've got a lot of tree limbs down and flooding. It's a mess out there,'' said Al
Franklin, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

Half a million Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (news - web sites) customers lost
power Saturday, mostly in the northern part of the state. By the evening, crews
had restored electricity but lights remained out at about 119,000 homes, said
company spokesman Jonathan Franks.

In the desert and mountains, flying dust and snow lowered visibility and made
driving dangerous. But weather officials said the worst is over.

Saturday's storm hurled 60 mph winds at San Francisco International Airport and
more than 1 inch of rain fell in parts of Northern California. Up to 2 1/2 inches of
rain fell in some parts of the Sierra Nevada.
Saturday November 24 12:25 PM ET

Severe Storms Kill 5 in Ark., Miss.

By TIMOTHY R. BROWN, Associated Press Writer

Severe storms that included at least one tornado killed five people in Arkansas and Mississippi, part of a system that stretched across the nation's midsection on Saturday.

The severe weather was part of a line of thunderstorms that spanned the Mississippi Valley from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico as a cold front swept through the region. The National Weather Service posted tornado warnings in Mississippi and western Kentucky and severe weather warnings were issued for western Tennessee. Storms earlier had passed through parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

One woman was killed in northwestern Mississippi at the town of Sledge, said Mayor Lorenzo Windless.

``It blew (her) house from where it was sitting clean across the road,'' the mayor said.

A twister in central Mississippi ripped homes from their foundations in the town of Madison, injuring 21 people, one critically.

``There were flashes of lightning, then the sound of explosions like a gunbattle,'' said Madison resident Winston Thompson, who said he and his mother awoke to the sound of the sirens.

``I walked outside and I could hear people call over and over for help,'' Thompson said.

Dozens of homes were flattened when the tornado struck at about 5:20 a.m. Saturday and a second round of severe weather hit some two hours later. Damage was also reported near Clinton and in the Bolton areas, about 20 miles southwest of Madison.

Utilities said about 22,000 customers were without power in central and eastern Mississippi.

Four people were killed in Arkansas, said Jennifer Gordon, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Department.

In northwestern Arkansas, one death was reported late Friday at Hunt, in Johnson County, which may have been struck by a tornado, said weather service meteorologist John Lewis. The Johnson County sheriff's office at Clarksville said homes and poultry farms were damaged.

In southeastern Arkansas, two fatalities and heavy damage were reported in Ashley County near Wilmot, the weather service reported.

The fourth weather-related death was a traffic fatality on a rain-slippery highway, the Arkansas State Police reported.

In east-central Arkansas, about 25 homes were damaged, seven were destroyed and three people injured in the area of Searcy, Lewis said.

Elsewhere, high wind destroyed a house in Mount Vernon, Mo., and three people suffered minor injuries when their vehicle overturned, authorities said. Wind and hail nearly an inch in diameter also damaged buildings elsewhere in Missouri.
Sunday November 25 12:29 AM ET

Mississippi Death Toll Rises in Wake of Tornadoes

JACKSON, Miss. (Reuters) - Five people died in Mississippi and three in Arkansas after tornadoes raked the states early Saturday, leaving more than 50 people injured and some 200 families homeless in Mississippi, authorities said.

In the Mississippi Delta southeast of Memphis, two people died in Quitman County, including a woman in Sledge, Mississippi, and a third was killed in adjoining Panola County at about 4 a.m., Mississippi Emergency Operations spokeswoman Amy Bissell said.

Two others were reported killed in Madison County, where 57 homes were destroyed.

Twenty-five people were injured in Bolivar County alone about 3:30 a.m., also in the northwest part of the state, she said. The roof was blown off the single-story county prison, but no inmates were injured.

``None of them escaped, either. They did a head count right away,'' Bissell said.

After tracking the storm spawned by a fast-moving weather system across the state, Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove declared a state of emergency in the eight counties where the greatest damage occurred: Bolivar, Madison, Washington, Tate, Desoto, Quitman,
Humphreys and Panola, she said.

Severe damage was reported to more than 230 homes and businesses in the state, the spokeswoman said.

In the northwestern corner of Arkansas, two people were killed in near Wilmot in Ashley County and one near Horseshoe Lake in Johnson County, about 2 a.m., said Jennifer Gordon, spokeswoman for the state office of emergency services.

``We don't have a lot of details yet, but at least five counties are reporting damage -- two in the northwest, one in north central Arkansas, and one in the extreme southeastern part of the state,'' she said.

``We won't know about all the injuries and damaged homes and businesses for several days,'' she added.

The storm system moved rapidly to the east-northeast Saturday, with tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service in a diagonal line across Alabama and into Tennessee.
Saturday November 24 11:21 PM ET

Snow, Rain Snarls California's Roads

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A blast of winter weather chilled Californians on Saturday, toppling trees, temporarily closing the Golden Gate Bridge and knocking out power to 500,000 customers.

``We've got a lot of tree limbs down and flooding. It's a mess out there,'' said Al Franklin, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

Half a million Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers lost power Saturday, mostly in the northern part of the state. By the evening, crews had restored electricity but lights remained out at about 119,000 homes, said company spokesman Jonathan Franks.

In the desert and mountains, flying dust and snow lowered visibility and made driving dangerous. But weather officials said the worst is over.

Saturday's storm hurled 60 mph winds at San Francisco International Airport and more than 1 inch of rain fell in parts of Northern California. Up to 2 1/2 inches of rain fell in some parts of the Sierra Nevada.

The Golden Gate bridge closed for several hours Saturday morning because of high winds but reopened by noon.

By Timothy R. Brown
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2001; 2:36 PM

Deadly thunderstorms swept across the lower Mississippi Valley, flattening homes and poultry farms and ripping down power lines. At least eight deaths were blamed on the storms and dozens were injured.

The scream of warning sirens woke Roosevelt Greenwood before dawn Saturday in Madison, Miss., and he crowded with his wife and four children into a tiny hall closet.

"As soon as I closed the door to the closet, the tornado hit. It took the roof off," said Greenwood, 33. "Where my 2-year-old son had been lying, the wall caved in on the crib."

No one in his family was hurt, but the tornado that ripped through the town killed one person and injured at least 21 people, including a pregnant woman who was hospitalized in critical condition.

The house next to the Greenwoods was blown away, leaving only a car where the garage had stood. "It's definitely by the grace of God that we're here," Greenwood said.

Three people were killed early Saturday in northwestern Mississippi's Delta region, including Hattie Robinson in the tiny town of Sledge.

"It blew (her) house from where it was sitting clean across the road," said Sledge Mayor Lorenzo Windless.

Four other deaths and additional injuries were reported late Friday in Arkansas.

The severe weather was part of a line of thunderstorms that spanned the Ohio and Mississippi valleys from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico as a cold front swept through the region. The National Weather Service posted tornado warnings Saturday in Mississippi, western Kentucky and Alabama, and severe storm warnings were issued for parts of those states and Tennessee.

Storms earlier had passed through parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove toured damaged areas of Madison, where dozens of homes were ripped from their foundations.

Resident Winston Thompson said sirens awoke him and his mother. He said eight or 10 homes on his street were blown away or extensively damaged.

"There were flashes of lightning, then the sound of explosions like a gunbattle," Thompson said. "I walked outside and I could hear people call over and over for help."

Utilities said about 22,000 customers were without power in central and eastern Mississippi.

The storms in the Delta also ripped the roof off the Bolivar County Correctional Facility. Authorities moved 207 inmates to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

"We had some injuries but none were of a serious nature at all," said Ken Jones, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

Downed trees and power lines were spread across much of Arkansas but authorities had not officially determined if the storms that struck late Friday included tornadoes. Homes and poultry houses were damaged or destroyed.

In southeast Arkansas, two deaths and heavy damage were reported in Wilmot, a town of about 1,500, and many people were without electricity, said Jennifer Gordon, spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Department.

In northwestern Arkansas, one death was reported late Friday at Hunt, in Johnson County, which may have been struck by a tornado, said weather service meteorologist John Lewis. Arkansas' fourth weather-related death was a traffic fatality on a rain-slippery highway, the State Police reported.

At least seven homes were destroyed in the Searcy area, in east-central Arkansas, 15 were damaged and three people were injured, authorities said. Power also was out in much of that area, Gordon said.

Elsewhere, high wind late Friday destroyed a house in Mount Vernon, Mo., and three people suffered minor injuries when their vehicle overturned, authorities said. Wind and hail nearly an inch in diameter also damaged buildings elsewhere in Missouri.

On the Net:

National Weather Service:http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov

Intellicast: http://www.intellicast.com

© 2001 The Associated Press

Saturday November 24 7:15 AM ET

Weather Around the U.S.A.

The Nation's Weather, By The Associated Press

A strong storm system was bringing rain to most of the Midwest and parts of the South early Saturday, while another system was pushing rain and high-elevation snow through the Pacific states.

The system in the Midwest was forecast to bring widespread showers and thunderstorms to an area stretching from the Gulf Coast to the northern Plains and Great Lakes. The strongest storms were expected to include large hail, isolated tornadoes and wind speeds exceeding 60 mph.

Some spots in the Upper Midwest were forecast to get up to 2 inches of rain, with localized flooding. The precipitation was expected to fall as snow in the northern Plains, with more than 4 inches of accumulations in some locations.

The front moving through the West was forecast to bring heavy wind and moderate to heavy rain to the Pacific Coast and Great Basin. Winds gusts of more than 50 mph were expected in some spots, and rain totals were likely to approach 3 inches.

Snow was forecast for the northern Rockies and the mountains of the Northwest, with up to a foot possible.

Partly to mostly cloudy skies, along with scattered showers and storms, were expected along the Eastern Seaboard.

Calm, dry conditions were forecast for most of the Southwest, the Gulf Coast and the central and southern Rockies.

Highs on Saturday were forecast in the 30s in the northern Plains and northern Rockies; 40s in the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, central and southern Rockies, central Plains and northern New England; 50s in the Upper Midwest and northern California; 60s in southern
California, much of the Southwest, the southern Plains, southern Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic; 70s in the Ohio Valley, Deep South, most of Texas and parts of the Desert Southwest; and 80s in Florida and throughout the Gulf Coast.

Temperatures in the Lower 48 states on Friday ranged from a high of 90 degrees in Cotulla, Texas, to a low of 12 in Leadville, Colo.
Friday November 23 6:00 PM ET

Deadly Rains, Flooding in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) - A week of torrential rains has killed 12 people and forced over 5,000 from their homes in a Brazilian state, civil defense officials said Friday.

Espirito Santo Gov. Jose Ignacio Ferreira has declared a state of emergency in 44 of the east-central state's 78 municipalities, and the army has been called in to build emergency bridges to areas cut off by the flooding.

Forecasts predicting more rain over the weekend have raised fears of further flooding and casualties, civil defense official Nilton Cardoso said by telephone from the state capital Vitoria, about 300 miles north of Rio de Janeiro.

Cardoso said the rains were the heaviest in decades, with more rain falling in two days than in the average month.
Wednesday November 21 12:58 PM ET

Three Dead, 142 Rescued in Spanish Flood

LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) - Three people died and up to 142
were rescued after a flash flood swept a national park in Spain's
Canary Islands, officials said on Wednesday.

A group of 30 German-speaking tourists were in a ravine in the Caldera de Taburiente national park on the island of La Palma on Tuesday when they were surprised by a sudden surge of water after heavy rains lashed the island.

Four helicopters and several rescue workers combed the island on Wednesday.

``Three bodies have been recovered and 142 people have been rescued. But we are not now aware of any missing,'' a rescue services spokeswoman told Reuters.

A government spokesman earlier said two people were missing and feared there might be another two people unaccounted for.

The island's administrative director told Spanish National Radio: ``We have located 142 people in the park, including a group of 19 Austrians, who are all safe.''

The German consul in Las Palmas, Franz Xaver Kramlinger, said the identities and nationalities of the victims had not been confirmed.

``I'm told they were part of a German-speaking group of walkers,'' he said.

There were warnings of further heavy rain in the islands on Wednesday. Storms and strong winds in the Straits of Gibraltar kept fishing boats in port and interrupted ferry services between southern Spain and North Africa.
Wednesday November 21 12:58 AM ET

Floods Force Filippinos to
Evacuate

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Rising flood waters forced 29,000 people from their homes, washed out several roads and damaged 66 houses after several days of heavy rains in the central Philippines, officials said Wednesday.

The civil defense office said 23 villages in Negros Occidental province were affected and more than 4,800 families were forced into 218 evacuation centers in the area 310 miles southeast of Manila. At least eight houses were destroyed there and 49 were damaged, authorities said.

Flood waters carrying debris from the Mount Mayon volcano, which last erupted in June, also washed away nine homes in the central province of Albay, and authorities warned residents of possible mudslides.

Earlier this month, tropical storm Lingling killed more than 184 people in the southern Philippines before gaining typhoon force and heading to central Vietnam, where it killed 20 people and injured 83 others.
Tuesday November 20 7:30 PM ET

Downpours, Mudslides Kill 9 in Brazil

SAO PAULO, Brazil, (AP) - Flooding and mudslides caused by five straight days of heavy rain killed at least nine people and forced thousands to leave their homes in southeastern Brazil, civil defense officials said on Tuesday.

The rains hit more than 20 cities and towns in the state of Espirito Santo. The civil defense department said 2,400 people were evacuated.

Other than one man who drowned, all other victims died when their homes were buried under tons of mud, the civil defense department said.
Tuesday November 20 11:09 PM EST

Disaster Declaration Sought For Austin Storm Damage

Mayor Gus Garcia has signed a local disaster declaration. Preliminary figures show that about 600 homes and businesses have been impacted and 200 families have been displaced. City engineers have been trying to determine the extent and cost of the damage from last week'severe storms and floods. In three days of assessments, teams have added up millions of dollars in damages. That includes everything from erosion problems to infrastructure damage.
Monday November 19 06:53 PM EST

Death Toll After Thursday's Floods Stands At Ten

Thursday's floods have claimed another life. A two-year-old girl, who was pulled from a flooded creek in Kingsland Thursday, died this weekend in a Temple hospital. Up to ten deaths have been linked to a week of flooding in Central and South Texas. In Central Texas rainfall records were broken on Thursday, with more than 8 inches of rain falling just on Friday. A lot of people have been affected by Thursday and Friday's storms. Some lost a few
personal items; some lost their entire homes. Now, non-profit organizations are stepping in to help out people in need. Elizabeth Carlton didn't know what to think when she found out the damage floodwaters did to her home. To make matters worse, the Carltons don't have flood insurance and rebuilding their home will be costly. But she got some help in the form of a warm meal. The Red Cross is helping feed thousands of flood victims all around Austin. On Sunday, they set out to help feed fifteen hundred people and the need seems to be growing. The Austin Area Urban League is also helping out by collecting clothes. So far they've had a big response from the community. Whether it's clothes or food, it's a big help for people like the Carlton's, who are still trying to make sense of it all.
Sunday November 18 8:27 PM ET

Devastation Follows Algerian Storms

By HASSANE MEFTAHI, Associated Press Writer

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Massive floods and mudslides that devastated northern Algeria and killed more than 700 people have caused nearly $300 million worth of damage, the interior minister said Sunday.

Heavy rains pounded the capital and nearby areas starting on Nov. 9, and the resulting mudslides knocked down buildings, overturned vehicles and filled roads with mounds of dirt and debris. The official death count on Sunday was at 729, with 170 people still missing. Hundreds were injured.

Interior Minister Nourredine Yazid Zerhouni said that an initial estimate put the damage at $293 million.

``Teams of specialized experts are still counting the material losses,'' the interior minister said after a meeting with the prime minister.

Specialists in disease control were working in the worst-hit areas to monitor drinking water and drainage canals. Mustapha Bouziane, a top health official in the capital, Algiers, said authorities had so far seen no signs that contagious diseases were spreading.

Bulldozers continued to chip away at mounds of hardened mud, debris and crushed vehicles that filled the streets of the devastated neighborhood of Bab el-Oued, where efforts focused on a market covered over by dirt. Security forces blocked traffic routes leading to the worst-hit neighborhoods.

Officials gave up hope of finding more survivors on Wednesday, and workers turned from rescue to cleanup and moved in with heavy-duty machinery.

Algerians have vehemently criticized the government's handling of the crisis, saying it was slow and inefficient. In some neighborhoods, spontaneous demonstrations have broken out whenever public officials appeared.

Many families were still homeless, though the interior minister said Sunday that the government would provide lodgings for 500 families in the capital whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. Distribution of aid has been chaotic, with some saying that donations were slow to reach victims.
Tuesday November 20 2:46 PM ET

Algeria Bus Station Blast Injures 30

By HASSANE MEFTAHI, Associated Press Writer

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - A bomb ripped through a bus station in the Algerian capital during morning rush hour on Tuesday, injuring 30 people, five of them seriously, the nation's official news agency said.

The device was stashed in a satchel left in the Tafourha bus station in central Algiers, police said. The blast went off at around 8 a.m., damaging the building and causing panic among passengers gathered during the height of morning traffic. The blast was heard in much of the city.

Amid traffic jams, police and rescuers had difficulty reaching the station, one of two in the Algerian capital. Interior Minister Nourredine Yazid Zerhouni arrived at the station about an hour after the blast.

Two people injured in the attack had to have their legs amputated, hospital officials said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but such violence is often attributed to the North African nation's Islamic militants, who have waged a nine-year campaign of violence to try to topple the military-backed government.

The explosion came on the fourth day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a period when Islamic militants in Algeria generally intensify their attacks. During Ramadan last year, nearly 300 people were killed.

More than 100,000 people have died in the insurgency that broke out in 1992, after the military canceled elections that a now-banned fundamentalist party was poised to win.

Much of the Algerian capital was still in a state of disarray following heavy flooding and mudslides that left more than 700 people dead.

Hundreds of people were injured and 170 were reported still missing on Monday.

Mudslides caused by pounding rains that started on Nov. 9 toppled buildings and filled roads with mounds of dirt and debris. Zerhouni said Sunday the floods had caused nearly $300 million in damage.
Saturday November 17 3:52 PM ET

Deadly Storms Batter Texas

By T.A. BADGER, Associated Press Writer

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The deadly storms that battered Texas caused widespread flooding and tornado damage, but the impact was not all negative. The region's stricken water supplies have been dramatically boosted.

``When we have rain like this, it's good news for us,'' said Margaret Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Edwards Aquifer Authority. ``It means the aquifer will go up and be healthy when we start the new year.''

San Antonio relies entirely on the Edwards Aquifer for its water. Last summer the aquifer had been drained nearly to the point of triggering water-use restrictions such as those imposed a year earlier amid a severe summer drought.

But on Thursday, more than 8 inches of rain fell on parts of the Edwards' drainage zone, a 4,400-square-mile area that includes all or parts of 13 counties.

Much of that water percolated into the aquifer through porous limestone, or flowed directly in via streams, cracks, sinkholes and caves.

By Friday, Garcia said, the aquifer was already about 12 feet higher than its historic average for November and more than 40 feet above its lowest point last year.

The intense storm also provided a good recharge for the Trinity Aquifer, the primary water source for much of the southern Hill Country, where the population is spurting, said Judy Gardner, spokeswoman for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.

``It's a stressed aquifer,'' she said. ``There's more growth over the Trinity than it can easily support, especially during dry periods.''

Midway between San Antonio and Austin, the town of Blanco recorded a one-day record of 13 inches of rain on Thursday, the weather service said.

On Saturday, the storm system dwindled and moved toward the north, carrying showers into Oklahoma. Rainfall had dissipated in central and southern Texas and the north and west had mostly scattered showers, the National Weather Service said.

Although it helped the aquifers, the two-day downpour created widespread havoc.

Rain and high wind toppled road signs, wrecked mobile homes and houses and buried cars in debris and mud.

And along with the nine people killed, some survivors spent hours clinging to trees above rushing floods.

``Several times, I thought I would I drown,'' Sharon Zambrzycki, 54, told the San Antonio Express-News of her experience along a creek north of Austin.

The body of a woman who had been at the same spot as Zambrzycki was pulled from the creek Friday.

For far South Texas, the downpour provided a quick but temporary respite.

The swollen Pecos and Devils rivers added enough water to the Lake Amistad and Falcon Lake reservoirs to irrigate farms in the Rio Grande Valley for half a month, said Rio Grande Water Master Carlos Rubinstein.

``It doesn't end the drought, but it's a good start,'' Rubinstein said.

It would take five or six weeks of five-inch storms in a region stretching from the Big Bend to Corpus Christi to fill the extremely low reservoirs, said weather service meteorologist Richard Hagan.

Still, it was a ``good rain,'' said David Peterson, vice president of Starr Produce in Rio Grande City.

Any rain is welcome to the area's farmers, many of whom are preparing for the melon season, he said. ``The ground's been cracking, it's really been looking brown. This rain will green things up.''
Friday November 16 07:39 PM EST

Tunnel Spares Downtown From High Water

Downtown San Antonio was spared serious flood damage Thursday because millions of gallons of stormwater were diverted underground through a multimillion-dollar flood control tunnel.

City crews moved tons of sticks and stones, dirt and debris from the downtown flood tunnel Friday after yesterday's storm dumped several inches of rain in the downtown area.

According to city of San Antonio Public Works Director Tom Wendorf, the San Antonio River flows underneath U.S. 281 and into the mouth of the tunnel just north of downtown.

KSAT 12 News reporter Marilyn Moritz went to the flood tunnel to find out how it works. A debris line showed the height of Thursday's storm, which would have been as high as Moritz's hips.

When the river begins to overflow, stormwater gushes through a giant tube buried deep underground at the tunnel located on West Josephine Street. The water is then pushed south of downtown.

Wendorf said there would be serious consequences without the $111 million flood tunnel.

"There would have been extensive street flooding downtown, sidewalks and maybe even in buildings," he said.

The tunnel got its first test in October 1998 when a 100-year flood hit the city. City workers discovered that the tunnel did its job, sparing the downtown area from deadly high waters.
Saturday November 17 1:20 PM ET

Heavy Rains in Texas Kill Nine

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rainfall eased in much of Texas on Saturday following a torrential storm that flooded homes, swept away cars and killed nine people. Some people told of spending hours clinging to trees and praying for rescue.

More than 8 inches of rain fell in central Texas on Friday. As much as 13 inches fell in some areas on Thursday, breaking daily records in Austin and San Antonio, the National Weather Service (news - web sites) said.

On Saturday, however, the storm system was moving north. Rainfall had dissipated in central and southern areas and scattered showers in the north and west were diminishing, said Larry Nierenberg, a forecaster with the weather service in Fort Worth.

Rescuers scouring the banks of a creek north of Austin on Friday found the body Chau Do, who was last heard from when he called his girlfriend by cell phone as he stood atop his car surrounded by raging water Thursday night. He was swept more than six miles downstream.

Sharon Zambrzycki, 54, who was in a car in front of Do, survived by clinging to one tree and then another with a rope from firefighters as a lifeline. A heavy log pushed her under at one point.

``Several times, I thought I would I drown,'' she told the San Antonio Express-News. ``There was no doubt in my mind I was going to make it. I'm an obnoxiously positive person.''

The body of a woman who had been at the same spot as Zambrzycki was pulled from the creek Friday.

Earl Hughes, 62, was rescued from a tree in the middle of the swollen Guadalupe River late Thursday after spending almost five hours there.

``He was cold and anxious to get out of the tree,'' Volunteer Fire Chief Danny Morales said. It took a rescue boat about 45 minutes to get to Hughes because of all the debris in the river.

On Friday, Hughes' wife, Carolyn, said her husband was in good spirits. ``He just had a five-and-a-half hour, hanging-in-the-tree experience,'' she said.

The rain and high wind toppled road signs, wrecked mobile homes and houses and buried cars in debris and mud.

At one badly damaged mobile home park, Carmen Acosta had tears in her eyes as she searched through what remained of the home she had lived in for only five months.

``There is so much water, I don't know what I'll do,'' she said.

In Gonzales, which three years ago suffered severe flood damage but no loss of life, officials kept watch on the rising Guadalupe River. It was expected to crest sometime Saturday at about 40 feet, 8 feet over flood stage but still almost 10 feet beneath its peak in October 1998.
Friday November 16 5:17 PM ET

Texas Storms Kill at Least 6

By NATALIE GOTT, Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rescue crews searched for a missing man Friday after storms dumped more than a foot of rain on central Texas, flooding neighborhoods in the capital and killing at least six people.

Residents of a badly damaged mobile home park in Austin dug through debris during a break in the weather Friday, gathering toys and baby clothes and placing them in white plastic bags.

Carmen Acosta had lived in her trailer only five months. With tears in her eyes, she searched through what remained of her home.

``There is so much water, I don't know what I'll do,'' she said.

Dive teams found the body of a woman Friday, the sixth confirmed death related to the storm. Five people drowned Thursday after their vehicles were washed away by floodwaters; another died in a weather-related crash.

Up to 13 inches of rain fell in parts of Texas on Thursday and early Friday, breaking daily records in Austin and San Antonio, the National Weather Service said.

``The creeks are continuing to rise and flooding continues to be very possible,'' said Patty Gonzales, an Austin city spokeswoman.

Firefighters plucked stranded motorists from cars bobbing on Austin streets. Businesses near the Capitol were drenched by a flow of muddy water that left about a 2-inch cover of thick mud across the road and parking lots.

The body of Bertha Vargas, a 32-year-old pregnant woman, was found Thursday, more than four hours after the car in which she was riding was swept off a state highway 90 miles northwest of San Antonio.

A man called for help after seeing Vargas and three others hanging on to tree limbs above the waters, said Becky Kott, an Edwards County EMS worker.

``When he went back to the scene, he saw the girl, (Vargas) and her father in another tree,'' Kott said. ``She was screaming for him to help and he couldn't do anything. The water was rising and she was swept away.''

Authorities on Friday recovered the body of Latoya Bibbs, 19, who was swept downstream from a low-water crossing. Firefighters had rescued two of her friends Thursday before the car was washed away.

Two other men, 64 and 30, died in separate incidents after attempt to drive across flooded roads, authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for Chau Do, 27, who called his girlfriend Thursday night as he stood atop his car in a creek northeast of Austin.

``I told him to swim away or to get to some higher place before it got even worse. He was scared,'' said the girlfriend, Van Pham.

About 37,000 homes were without electric power in Austin, and tenants in about 20 apartments had to be evacuated after wind tore off parts of the roof from a building.

Krista Pera came home from work to find water pouring through her kitchen. She stuffed as many of her belongings into her car as she could fit and headed for a friend's house.

``I don't have renter's insurance,'' Pera said. ``That's why I'm taking everything I can.''
Friday November 16 09:47 AM EST

Travis County Bridge Collapse

Rushing waters collapsed a bridge in Travis County. It happened along this two lane road at County Line Road and Highway 290. No one was hurt, but the bridge is completely washed away. Due to the flooding, parts of Southeast Travis County along Onion Creek and the Colorado River are being evacuated this morning

From; http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/13/science/earth/13FORE.html

November 13, 2001

Weather Forecasters Look Ahead, Far Ahead

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Competing for companies and consumers seeking reliable weather information, commercial forecasters are sharply expanding the boundaries of their predictions.

Not long ago, five, six or seven days was considered the practical limit for accurately forecasting temperature and precipitation in a particular place at a particular time.

But the Weather Channel, on its Weather.com Web site, and its archrival, AccuWeather.com, two of the largest commercial purveyors of weather information, have been leaping into the forecasting future.

Last fall, Weather.com pushed its ZIP-code-by-ZIP- code predictions out from 7 days to 10. The move closely followed a substantial expansion of the National Weather Service's medium-range forecasts to include average conditions 8 to 14 days in the future. These forecasts are the foundation on which the commercial products are built.

Last spring, Accuweather.com countered by offering detailed forecasts up to 15 days ahead.

Weather.com decided not to parry Accuweather's move. "If we felt really comfortable going there, we would've gone there," said Alex Kaminsky, vice president of marketing for Weather.com.

AccuWeather's decision raised the eyebrows of many seasoned meteorologists, who have long presumed that any detail in a forecast that far ahead owes more to imagination than science.

For someone planning a business trip, outdoor wedding or golf weekend two weeks in advance, do such efforts offer much of anything beyond a dice throw? AccuWeather adamantly says yes.

Dr. Joel N. Myers, the founder and president of the 39- year-old company, said it had dozens of meteorologists who constantly assessed the findings of the most advanced American, Canadian and European weather models. They add their own dose of local information about the effect of soil moisture, lakes, mountains and other influences around particular places, then produce detailed forecasts for tens of thousands of spots around the world.

He said they often compared their predictions with competing forecasts and "climatology," which is what history says is the most likely condition in some place on a certain date. "There is definitely value and skill in these forecasts," he said.

He said AccuWeather had not yet done detailed checks of the accuracy of its new 15-day forecasts.

There is also no independent organization that tracks the performance of commercial forecasts, so it is up to people using the services to judge how, say, today's two-week forecast for Cleveland matches up with what conditions actually occur there two weeks from now. Last March, noting the lengthening commercial forecasts, the American Meteorological Society the largest organization of American atmospheric scientists issued a statement essentially repudiating the idea that local weather could be accurately forecast two weeks ahead.

"There is no scientific basis for the deterministic prediction of day-to- day weather beyond a week or two," the statement read. "Claims of skillful predictions of day-to-day weather changes beyond this limit have no scientific basis and are either misinformed or calculated misrepresentations of true capabilities."

While there have been substantial advances in forecasting the general conditions one might expect 10 to 15 days from now, many meteorologists agree that there has been littleprogress in zeroing in on conditions that will prevail locally on a particular day.

"We don't think the skill is sufficient beyond Day 7 to put out what we call deterministic forecasts Day 8 and beyond," said Dr. James D. Laver, the acting director of the federal Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Md., which generates the government's forecasts. "In the private sector, everybody wants to stretch the envelope a little bit."

Although many meteorologists are criticizing AccuWeather's detailed day-by-day forecasts, they say there has in fact been substantial improvement in forecasts of the likely conditions over a range of days two weeks ahead.A rapid rise in computing power, improvements in equations used in computer models to simulate the physics of the atmosphere and more satellites and radar tracking conditions over the oceans and in other places lacking weather stations are fueling forecasting progress, experts say.

Computer power has allowed forecasters to sidestep one of the most significant roadblocks limiting the accuracy of predictions: the lack of a perfect snapshot of "initial conditions," the state of the atmosphere at the moment when the computer starts calculating how it will behave days from now.

Typically in a computer simulation, little errors in that starting snapshot can produce big inaccuracies as time flows and the atmosphere swirls. The result is a predicted future that strays far from reality.

But now climatologists using supercomputers can run their models over and over again, slightly tweaking the initial conditions each time. The computers generate maps showing the outlines of each run's predicted zones for certain temperatures, atmospheric pressures or precipitation. The resulting ensembles of possible outcomes, when averaged, point to the most probable future.

But they also show how time erodes accuracy. The maps displaying these data are called "spaghetti plots" because the lines representing each alternative weather situation for a week or two from the present wiggle across the screen like a tangle of pasta.

Although they provide little accuracy in predictions for a particular day or hour, such maps have helped federal climate prediction centers extend their forecasts of the most probable general conditions that can be expected up to two weeks ahead.

They provide a likelihood that it will rain in Boston a week from now, but no specific prediction for a particular day or hour.

Scientists probing the frontiers of climatology say their ability to make this kind of general long-range prediction should continue to improve.

Dr. Randall Dole, the director of the federal government's Climate Diagnostics Center in Boulder, Colo., which studies ways to improve forecasts, said evidence was accumulating that there are enduring patterns in the atmosphere and oceans that provide a hint of predictability.

In some cases, these patterns are the result of shifts in long-term rhythms in the atmosphere and oceans, like the alternating periods of warm El Niño and cool La Niña conditions in the Pacific.

November 13, 2001

VENTURA COUNTY

Alaskan Storm's Second Effort Packs a Punch

Rain: Part 2 of the weather system knocks out power and ties up traffic across the county.

By JENIFER RAGLAND, TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Pacific storm formed in the Gulf of Alaska dumped nearly an inch of rain in parts of Ventura County on Monday, causing traffic snarls and power outages from Ventura to Thousand Oaks.

The cold front was the second part of a weather system that came through Southern California over the weekend, National Weather Service officials said.

The first one "cleared the atmosphere out, so this one was much more intense," said Bill Hoffer, a meteorologist with the weather service in Oxnard. "It just had more energy when it came down from Alaska." The California Highway Patrol responded to at least 20 accidents on Ventura County's rain-slicked highways throughout the day.

As night fell, power outages in Ventura shut down several traffic lights, and malfunctioning railroad crossing arms on California 118 west of Moorpark backed up traffic for miles in both directions.

"We've been hopping," CHP Sgt. Randy Klucker said shortly before 6 p.m. "The roads have been difficult, and there's a fair amount of traffic because of the holiday weekend. People are trying to get home."

The Ventura County Sheriff's Department also responded to a handful of accidents in the east county, including two with minor injuries.

The storm, which was expected to bring showers through the night, should clear the area by this morning, Hoffer said.

Rain levels varied from a tenth of an inch in Simi Valley to 0.81 of an inch in Oxnard and half an inch in Ventura, according to the weather service. The snow level was estimated at 7,500 feet.

The storm whipped up winds in the afternoon that knocked out power all over Ventura County, said Rudy Gonzales, region manager for Southern California Edison. One area in Ventura near Ralston and Victoria streets was expected to be without power through the night. Crews were also attempting to restore power to 4,500 customers in Simi Valley, Gonzales said.

Times staff writer Margaret Talev contributed to this report.

Friday November 16 02:39 PM EST

Traffic Flows On Highway 101 After Landslide

The rain and wind took its toll Thursday on coastlines in Oregon and Washington.

A landslide between Cannon Beach, Ore., and Manzanita, Ore., closed Highway 101. One lane was open through the slide zone Friday morning.

Flooding was a concern along many coastal roadways and rivers, but much of the water receded overnight.

Subj: Re: Lots of water this winter

Date: 11/14/2001 3:32:08 PM Pacific Standard Time

From: surge@techline.com

Our creek has gone from absurdly low from this time of the year to suddenly full and the rain continues. Mudslides are already started in the Seattle area with rivers all heading for overfull. I just awoke from my afternoon nap and The northern Atlantic seaboard is going to get hit this winter with heavy northeasters causing widespread coastal erosion and damage. The west coast gets high wind and rains. Susan should be in AZ when this happens and there were three shifts in the visions and one of my angels, my spiritual advisors was revealed to me. Angelo Trevalas of Newport Hills, WA. Angelo was a very religious man; one of my best friends with a very deep bond in Christ between us and a member of the Greek Orthodox Church of Seattle WA... Again I woke with a song, and old one twisting through my head and Agelo's warning: "It is going to be all gone, Al... They built on the springs..." I think ultimately Newport Hill is going to suffer allot of damage because of the over building which also was mentioned. Angelo and I were looking down on the area.

Wind and storm
Gones the sun
From the stars,
My Dark has come.
You have gone from me,
Tragedy...
Like smoke from a fire of Love,
My dreams have all gone Above,
Borne by the Wind
Kissed by the Snow,
Til all that is left is the Dawn
You have gone from me
Tragedy...

Life as we have been living it in America is on the way out examining the song. I guess it is the end of the good weather and winter has set in from what I saw. I think the last time I heard that song / melody was ???? in the mid 1960s? How I could remember those lyrics is another oddity as it was played on the radio stations before I graduated from highschool in 1963 and I was into folk music and not rock or popular music. The mind is truely a work of Universal Genius.

Allen D. Furford

The Mobius Insight

----------

We just had a pineapple express hit here with heavy surf advisories in effect. It rained like a cow peeing on a flat rock. (NEVER stand close to a cow peeing on a flat rock... Never!)

Saturday November 17 1:20 PM ET

Heavy Rains in Texas Kill Nine

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Rainfall eased in much of Texas on Saturday following a torrential storm that flooded homes, swept away cars and killed nine people. Some people told of spending hours clinging to trees and praying for rescue.

More than 8 inches of rain fell in central Texas on Friday. As much as 13 inches fell in some areas on Thursday, breaking daily records in Austin and San Antonio, the National Weather Service (news - web sites) said.

On Saturday, however, the storm system was moving north. Rainfall had dissipated in central and southern areas and scattered showers in the north and west were diminishing, said Larry Nierenberg, a forecaster with the weather service in Fort Worth.

Rescuers scouring the banks of a creek north of Austin on Friday found the body Chau Do, who was last heard from when he called his girlfriend by cell phone as he stood atop his car surrounded by raging water Thursday night. He was swept more than six miles downstream.

Sharon Zambrzycki, 54, who was in a car in front of Do, survived by clinging to one tree and then another with a rope from firefighters as a lifeline. A heavy log pushed her under at one point.

``Several times, I thought I would I drown,'' she told the San Antonio Express-News. ``There was no doubt in my mind I was going to make it. I'm an obnoxiously positive person.''

The body of a woman who had been at the same spot as Zambrzycki was pulled from the creek Friday.

Earl Hughes, 62, was rescued from a tree in the middle of the swollen Guadalupe River late Thursday after spending almost five hours there.

``He was cold and anxious to get out of the tree,'' Volunteer Fire Chief Danny Morales said. It took a rescue boat about 45 minutes to get to Hughes because of all the debris in the river.

On Friday, Hughes' wife, Carolyn, said her husband was in good spirits. ``He just had a five-and-a-half hour, hanging-in-the-tree experience,'' she said.

The rain and high wind toppled road signs, wrecked mobile homes and houses and buried cars in debris and mud.

At one badly damaged mobile home park, Carmen Acosta had tears in her eyes as she searched through what remained of the home she had lived in for only five months.

``There is so much water, I don't know what I'll do,'' she said.

In Gonzales, which three years ago suffered severe flood damage but no loss of life, officials kept watch on the rising Guadalupe River. It was expected to crest sometime Saturday at about 40 feet, 8 feet over flood stage but still almost 10 feet beneath its peak in October 1998.

Sunday November 18 4:22 PM ET

Devastation Follows Algerian Storms

By HASSANE MEFTAHI, Associated Press Writer

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Massive floods and mudslides that devastated northern Algeria and killed more than 700 people have caused nearly $300 million worth of damage, the interior minister said Sunday.

Heavy rains pounded the capital and nearby areas starting on Nov. 9, and the resulting mudslides knocked down buildings, overturned vehicles and filled roads with mounds of dirt and debris. The official death count on Sunday was at 729, with 170 people still missing. Hundreds were injured.

Interior Minister Nourredine Yazid Zerhouni said that an initial estimate put the damage at $293 million.

``Teams of specialized experts are still counting the material losses,'' the interior minister said after a meeting with the prime minister.

Specialists in disease control were working in the worst-hit areas to monitor drinking water and drainage canals. Mustapha Bouziane, a top health official in the capital, Algiers, said authorities had so far seen no signs that contagious diseases were spreading.

Bulldozers continued to chip away at mounds of hardened mud, debris and crushed vehicles that filled the streets of the devastated neighborhood of Bab el-Oued, where efforts focused on a market covered over by dirt. Security forces blocked traffic routes leading to the worst-hit neighborhoods.

Officials gave up hope of finding more survivors on Wednesday, and workers turned from rescue to cleanup and moved in with heavy-duty machinery.

Algerians have vehemently criticized the government's handling of the crisis, saying it was slow and inefficient. In some neighborhoods, spontaneous demonstrations have broken out whenever public officials appeared.

Many families were still homeless, though the interior minister said Sunday that the government would provide lodgings for 500 families in the capital whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. Distribution of aid has been chaotic, with some saying that donations were slow to reach victims.

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TED DANSON

From: http://www.emagazine.com/january-february_1998/0198conversations.html

Volume IX, Number 1
January-February 1998

CONTACT

American Oceans Campaign
201 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, DC 20002
Tel. (202) 544-3526

CONVERSATIONS

Ted Danson
Acting for Oceans
Interviewed by Campbell Wood

Few celebrities who take up an environmental cause get beyond a superficial commitment. But as co-founder of the American Oceans Campaign (AOC), Ted Danson has steeped himself in the issues. While lobbying on Capitol Hill he has been known to chase senators into elevators. Like his fellow actor Woody Harrelson (Conversations, May/June 1997), Danson clearly separates his life as an entertainer from his life as an environmentalist. His oceans work has earned him credibility, respect, and a high profile in both environmental and political circles.

Ted Danson's ocean acivism began with a visit to a polluted beach. "It got me questioning a lot of things," he says.

Ted Danson the actor spent the early years of his career doing theater in New York City. In 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to teach and manage the Actor's Institute. Early film work for Danson included acclaimed roles in The Onion Field and Body Heat. In 1982, he first got behind the bar as Sam in the hugely popular television comedy, Cheers. By the time Cheers broadcast its final episode 12 years later, Danson had received two Golden Globe awards and two Emmys. His film credits now include Three Men and a Baby, Three Men and a Little Lady, Dad, and Made in America.

Bob Sulnick, executive director of AOC, remembers a certain evening about 11 years ago when he gave a public talk in Santa Monica to rally opposition to off-shore oil drilling. At the conclusion of his talk, a tall fellow walked up to him and handed him a check for an impressive sum of money and then quickly departed the room. People asked him if he knew who that was. "No," he replied. "Haven't you ever seen Cheers?" someone asked. Sulnick was stumped. "What's that?" he said. And so began what would become a deep and enduring friendship between Sulnick and Danson, which has been at the core of AOC since its founding in 1987.

During the last decade, AOC swiftly developed into a leader of ocean advocacy. Among many accomplishments, AOC played an essential role in the passage of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It was instrumental in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. AOC is also co-chair of the Clean Water Network, a group of 800 organizations across the country dedicated to the reauthorization and strengthening of the Clean Water Act. And AOC is working to restore California's Bolsa Chica Wetlands and publicize the importance of wetlands conservation.

Danson recently finished filming Saving Private Ryan, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. He will also appear in Saul Rubinek's film, Tom and Jerry. But for this interview, Danson the ocean activist comes to the fore.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

E Magazine: What led you to found the American Oceans Campaign?

Ted Danson: Let me ramble on this. I grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona. My father was an archeologist and an anthropologist. He was director of a museum and research center in northern Arizona. Peripherally, I must have absorbed the understanding that there is a lot that came before us and a lot that will come after us. It's not about you, it's about your stewardship when you're here.

We used to go visit our cousins in California and spend some time at the beach. And coming from Arizona, that was like a pilgrimage. I've always had this huge desire to be near the ocean. Flash forward. I'm doing Cheers and living in Santa Monica. I went to the beach, and one day saw a sign that said: "Water polluted, no swimming." Trying to explain that to my kid was hard. It got me questioning a lot of things. That was about 10 years ago.

About the same time, I met Bob Sulnick, who was an environmental lawyer and an ex-law professor. He was heading up something called No Oil, Inc., which was trying to stop Armand Hammer and Occidental Petroleum from digging about 60 wells on Will Rogers State Beach, right there in Santa Monica. I went to hear him talk and we became friends, so it was this local issue that we galvanized behind. When we won that battle, we were looking for some other way to play together.

Congresswoman Barbara Boxer, now a U.S. Senator, was talking to Bob about there being a real shortage of ocean advocacy. There was no group that did just that back then. And at the same time I was feeling a little guilty about how much money they were paying me to do Cheers. So we just got together as an experiment to see what we could accomplish if we put our time, energy and money into this one area. So it started with just a few of us working together. Now it's quite a respected ocean advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. and here in California.

One of the reasons that we picked oceans is that it's a great metaphor for everything that happens environmentally. Everything that we do on land ends up in the coastal waters, one way or the other. Global warming, the ozone layer-everything has an impact on the ocean. It's like a mirror, reflecting the health of the planet. It's exciting, though at times we may feel spread a bit thin as an organization.

Between 1988 and 1992 there were over 7,700 beach closures or advisories in the U.S. AOC has developed the first-ever beach closure protocol for Los Angeles County. What is the trend in beach closures, and how has that protocol served as a model for other communities?

Right now, in Sacramento, there are about 30 bills dealing with our beaches in California. So we're trying very hard to push those through. Beaches get closed for several reasons. One is that you have huge rains and everything on the streets gets washed down the gutters into the storm drains and flows straight into the ocean. Also you get sewage overflows because of the amount of water pouring down the storm drain. There is also industrial pollution, but most of the problem is due to storm drains.

Right now, there is no uniform set of scientific standards for beach closures. So we're pushing very strongly for that as part of the reauthorization of the Clean Water Act. With the new standards, there will be more beach closures, and that's the trend. Once you get enough people saying, "Hey, why are you closing my beaches?" and you have answers and solutions, then you might get the political will.

You mentioned the Clean Water Act. Why is that act so important to our oceans, and how is the fight going to retain it?

The Act is our premiere legislation in this country dealing with water. It covers all of the issues of water, excepting drinking water-that's under the Safe Drinking Water Act. In 1994 it banged into the "Contract with America" crowd, the anti-regulatory congressional group that wants to do away with any kind of federal regulation. They've been gutting the Clean Water Act over the last two or three years. It's antiquated to begin with, because it's 25 years old. The situation is worsening. So instead of trying to fight to hold the line on what we developed 25 years ago, we're back-pedaling like crazy, which is insane. We should be looking to the future, because population is growing, and more and more people are living within 50 miles of the ocean. It's a real uphill battle.

An estimated half billion gallons of motor oil finds its way into American waterways each year, ending up in the ocean. How is AOC addressing that problem?

I think it's something like 50 times the amount of the Exxon Valdez oil spill that gets dumped into the system by do-it-yourself oil-changers each year. AOC and oil companies like Unocal and Tosco BP are working together to recycle motor oil. We have banners, commercials and PSAs out on the street and on television in both Spanish and English, giving locations on where you can bring your used motor oil.

One of the things that excites me the most about AOC is that we have learned to reach out to the people that we do battle with. I think you can no longer take satisfaction in just throwing a brick. I think you really need to work with the private sector, because they are the ones that are usually at the center of the pollution. And Washington is so slow and so political. You get a new wave of Congressmen and you're set back 20 years. Yet the problems march ahead at a pace that has nothing to do with politics.

Would you talk about Earth Shell products?

Earth Shell is a brilliant company in Santa Barbara. Their product combines calcium carbonate, a small amount of recycled wood fibers and potato starch. These three compounds end up making a biodegradable replacement for styrofoam. You can put hot and cold things in its drink or food containers. McDonald's is actually trying it out in several locations right now. I think that part of our job is applauding the private sector when they do the right thing.

What are your views of the Playa Vista development in the Ballona Wetlands, which many groups are protesting? And how do you feel about the presence of the entertainment giant DreamWorks, which produced your sitcom, as an anchor in that development?

In California more than 90 percent of our wetlands are gone. In Santa Monica, I think we have one left. Wetlands are the natural areas that filter out the toxins and land before it reaches the ocean. They're also flood barriers, and nurseries for all of our fisheries, and habitat for a lot of our birds. They're gone, gone. You don't have any natural filter. Then you have concrete built right up to the edge of the ocean. So you don't have any way to filter toxins.

That said, no government or group of citizens will come in with the amount of money that it would take to rehabilitate Ballona and make it an active wetland again, a nursery for fish and birds. Right now it's a wasteland. So I do think this is one of those places where you can reach a compromise. As concerns DreamWorks, their place is already a building site. It already is a set of warehouses, an industrial park. But there are other stages involved in this development, some of which go too far. I think the developer is now willing to restore some of the wetland, which would be great. But they are also building. Some of the construction is planned too close to the wetland, so it would negate the benefit. There's a compromise in there some place, and the compromise is not to leave the land as it is. You make the deal in favor of the environment as best as you can.

Would you talk about the problems of deep sea drift nets and the effectiveness of the international ban on them?

Because of the trade agreements with Mexico, we're bumping into this problem about dolphin-safe tuna all over again. We've had dolphin-safe labels on our tuna fish cans for about four or five years. It just means that the dolphins are not snared in any kind of net or encircled or harassed. So now with our trade agreement, Mexico is claiming unfair trade practice. They're saying, "We're catching tuna fish the old-fashioned way and we can't compete in your market, so it's unfair trade practice." Washington wants very much for this trade agreement to work, so they're saying, "Okay, we'll revamp this whole labeling system." The environmental community is split on the issue. What we're asking for is a compromise, a three-year scientific study to see if their approach will work. They want to put an observer on every boat watching to see if they're killing dolphins.

Basically, I'm not sure how effective the ban on drift nets is. They're 30 miles long and kill indiscriminately. When they get lost or cut, they continue ensnaring and killing for the life of the net. It's an insane and wasteful way to harvest fish.

You've been involved in promoting Coastal Clean Up Day. How successful has that been and what effects do such clean-ups have on coastal marine life?

Without a doubt it does have an impact on sea life-it's not just cosmetic. It's a great way to get people involved with their beaches and to make a connection to the ocean environment. It saves seals and a lot of birds by not having those beer can rings floating out there. And it picks up styrofoam, which causes intestinal blockages in marine animals. Beach clean up and Dives for Trash are great ways to get people involved, but there are also the larger political issues that you need to weigh in on at the same time you're cleaning up your backyard. The problems are so huge that if they're not regulated from the top and on an international level, we'll be swamped.

Any remarks about the depletion of fish stocks in fisheries around the world?

In parts of the Northwest, there's no salmon fishing for the first time in history. To find out why, you have to start up in the mountains. You have to talk about logging. You have to talk about farming too close to water sources, where pesticides get in the water. You have to talk about populations and the need for electricity from dams. It's about how built up we are right around the mouths of the rivers and the pollution there. And you have to talk about the indiscriminate fishing practices and the lack of overall management between countries. So it's a huge system, and everybody has to be at the table to address the problems, or else it won't work.

CAMPBELL WOOD is a freelance writer in Lexington, KY.

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