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  • New Jersey gets nearly $1.5B for transit repairs

    Updated: Thu, Sep 18, 2014

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority are getting nearly $1.5 billion to make repairs from Superstorm Sandy and to shield themselves from future storms. Most of the federal transportation dollars, nearly $1.3 billion, will go to NJ Transit to fund such projects as a new electrical grid that can keep trains moving during major power outages. The Port Authority will receive funds to, among other things, construct a sea wall near the PATH maintenance facility in Harrison and to shield the rail complex at the Penn-Moynihan Station. The funding also includes nearly $85 million for mitigation work at the World Trade Center site.

  • Rain from tropical storm begins falling on Arizona

    Updated: Thu, Sep 18, 2014

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A weakened Pacific storm appears to have spared Tucson from its line of fire, but it is slamming much of southern Arizona. The National Weather Service says rainfall from remnants of Hurricane Odile has been hitting south and east of Tucson on Wednesday night. Meteorologists say a flash-flood warning is in effect for Nogales, where a wash flooded a major street with several inches of water. Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino, however, says the water has since receded and the city did not have to evacuate any residents. Meanwhile, a flash-flood watch for Tucson that was to expire Thursday has been canceled. Forecasters say there is a 40 percent chance of rain, but it won't be the heavy showers

  • Va. offering storm surge map for coastal areas

    Updated: Thu, Sep 18, 2014

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia emergency management officials have created a new tool to help coastal residents assess the risks of rising water in a storm surge. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management says the Geographic Information System map provides users with the maximum storm surge risk at their current location or elsewhere. Jeff Stern is the state coordinator of emergency management. He says the map presents a worst-case scenario of storm surge, but he stressed it's not a real-time tool. Storm surge is the abnormal and dangerous rise of water over and above the tide. It is pushed to shore by high winds, typically a hurricane or tropical storm. The localities shown on the map include Virginia's co

  • Putting a cap on water loss

    By Adam Wilmoth, Energy Editor | Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    Devon Energy pilot program covers water pits to reduce evaporation

  • Los Cabos in a mess 3 days after Odile's wrath

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico (AP) — Desperate locals and tourists were in survival mode in the resort area of Los Cabos on Wednesday, with electrical and water service still out three days after Hurricane Odile made landfall as a monster Category 3 storm. Looters stripped supermarkets of their food and other products, with some people fighting over goods. At least one supermarket decided to give away its merchandise. People pushed shopping carts full of goods. Mexico's government continued to fly stranded tourists out of the area as the remnants of Odile drenched the northern state of Sonora and then moved into Arizona overnight. The U.S.

  • Southern California's wild weather calms down

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California's ugly mix of heat and thunderstorms began to ease Wednesday and forecasters said cooler, calmer weather will prevail through the week. Triple-digit temperatures that baked much of the region since the beginning of the week fell as much as 10 degrees in many areas. Downtown Los Angeles, where Tuesday's high of 103 matched century-old records for the date, only reached the mid-90s. Palm Springs hit 111 on Monday but only 102 on Wednesday. A day earlier, moisture from the remnants of Mexico's Tropical Storm Odile created unsettled conditions that spawned lightning, minor flooding and gusty winds in the deserts and mountains.

  • NM governor declares emergency ahead of storms

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez declared a statewide emergency Wednesday as New Mexico braced for possible flooding and mudslides as remnants from Tropical Storm Odile moved into the state. The National Weather Service said severe weather could dump as much as 8 inches of rain in the southern part of the state before the storm system weakens Friday. Martinez, in her executive order, cited the hundreds of square miles of mountainsides burned by wildfires in recent years. She said heavy rainfall over these bare areas could result in serious damage. "We're taking proactive measures to be ready for this storm, including pre-positioning key National Guard personnel and equipment.

  • Disaster proclamation issued for 4 Iowa counties

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad on Wednesday issued a disaster emergency proclamation for four Iowa counties in response to recent severe weather. The proclamation covers Adair, Guthrie, Ringgold, and Warren counties following severe weather and heavy rains on Sept. 9. State resources can now be used to help affected communities in those counties. The proclamation also activates an individual assistance program that grants up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The money can be used for temporary housing, home and car repairs and other items.

  • Governor seeks federal aid in flooding recovery

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is seeking a help from Washington for residents and businesses affected by last month's severe flooding. A request for a major disaster declaration and federal aid was made Wednesday to President Barack Obama by Gov. Rick Snyder after a two-week damage assessment. Assistance can include grants for temporary home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. Snyder declared a state of disaster for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties after the Aug. 11 storms. Some areas received more than 6 inches of rain which flooded basements, streets and freeways. Damage and cleanup costs have been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Assessments were completed Sept.

  • Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — Fire-hardened Southern Californians know that when the Santa Ana winds blow, a wildfire probably isn't very far behind — the only questions are where it will erupt and how bad it will be. A new online mapping tool rolled out Wednesday by the U.S. Forest Service and San Diego Gas & Electric will help homeowners and emergency responders answer both those questions with a color-coded early warning system indicating which areas have the highest fire risk when the hot, dry wind blows. The Santa Ana Wildfire Threat Index includes a six-day outlook and uses 30 years of historical weather data and information about how parched local vegetation currently is to rank danger in four zones from Santa Barbara to S

  • Texas storms bring flooding, force road closures

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    HOUSTON (AP) — Rainstorms moving east across the state have brought heavy rainfall to parts of Central Texas, flash flood warnings to the Houston area and a lightning strike that ignited an oil tank fire. The remnants of Hurricane Odile brought up to 3 inches of rain to the Austin area along with isolated flooding. A flash flood warning was issued Wednesday for Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties, with the National Weather Service issuing a flood watch into Thursday. The Harris County Flood Control District says rainfall exceeded 1.5 inches in just 15 minutes. Police say flooding and weather-related accidents have closed some sections of highway in the Houston area. Emergency personnel in Baytown were working to c

  • Pheasant population up 30 percent in North Dakota

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A summer survey indicates the number of pheasants in North Dakota has risen 30 percent from last year, due to good spring weather. The roadside survey conducted in late July and August included 253 runs along 106 brood routes across North Dakota, the state Game and Fish Department said Wednesday. Pheasant brood observations were up 37 percent, while the average brood size was down only 4 percent. "With the good spring weather for most of the nesting and early brooding period, I suspected a better production year and it looks like it did occur," said Upland Game Management Supervisor Stan Kohn. Pheasant hunters are going to find more birds in most parts of the state, Kohn said.

  • Fed increases estimate for key rate at end of 2015

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve policymakers have slightly increased their estimate of what the Fed's benchmark interest rate should be at the end of 2015 compared with their estimate three months ago. The Fed has kept its benchmark rate at a record-low level near zero since 2008 to try to boost economic growth. Most economists expect the first rate increase to happen by the middle of next year. A Fed statement indicated little change in the timing of that first increase. The median short-term interest rate supported by Fed policymakers at the end of 2015 is now 1.38 percent, up from 1.13 percent at its June meeting. The Fed also forecasts only modest growth for the U.S. economy through 2017.

  • Hospitals struggled during Sandy, report says

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast nearly two years ago, hospitals found themselves dealing with surges in patients, lost power supplies and employees who couldn't get to work — problems that a new federal report finds they were not prepared to handle. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Inspector General Office released a study Wednesday on the emergency preparedness and response during the storm at 172 hospitals in the hardest-hit areas of New York, most of Connecticut and all of New Jersey.

  • Warm, humid day in central Oklahoma Wednesday

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    Temperatures will reach 88 degrees in central Oklahoma Wednesday. Skies will be mostly sunny.

  • NJ approves storm buyouts in East Brunswick

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey has purchased the first of seven flood-damaged homes in East Brunswick under a Superstorm Sandy program. The home on Squire Street was purchased for $193,073, based on pre-Sandy market values from an independent appraisal. Because the neighborhood is considered a historic district, photos will be taken and an oral history will be collected from residents. A contractor will be trained to identify cultural material that may be discovered during demolition. The $300 million program seeks to buy homes from willing sellers in areas that have been plagued by flooding and return the land to open spaces. So far, 317 homeowners in five towns have accepted buyout offers.

  • Arizona gets ready for second Pacific storm blast

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    PHOENIX (AP) — The remnants of Tropical Storm Odile barreled toward Arizona on Wednesday and threatened to swamp some areas with 5 inches of rain in the second blast of hurricane-related weather to hit the desert region in the last two weeks. The forecast called for Tucson to get slammed with up to 5 inches, while Phoenix was expected to get soaked but with lesser amounts. Residents around the state flocked to fire stations and other locations to get sandbags to place them around their homes as protection against floodwaters. Many experienced flooding last week after the remnants of Hurricane Norbert swamped parts of Phoenix and Tucson.

  • Landslides triggered by storm kill 7 in Vietnam

    Updated: Wed, Sep 17, 2014

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Landslides triggered by heavy rains from a tropical storm have killed at least seven people in northern Vietnam. The chief administrator of Lang Son province's Cao Loc district, Hua Anh Tuan, says six people were killed and five others were injured when a landslide buried the hut they were sleeping in early Wednesday. A 5-year-old girl was killed and her mother was injured when another landslide struck their house. Tropical Storm Kalmaegi was downgraded from a typhoon when it struck northern coastal Vietnam on Tuesday night. About 55,000 people in four northern coastal provinces were evacuated ahead of the storm. The typhoon slammed into the northern Philippines on Monday, unleashing flooding and

  • Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire

    Updated: Tue, Sep 16, 2014

    WEED, Calif. (AP) — They had prepared for wildfires and knew of the drought-parched forests, but the inferno that swirled through the California lumber town of Weed moved so quickly all people could do was flee. In just a few hours, wind-driven flames destroyed or damaged 150 structures, a saw mill and a church. At times, the fire moved so fast that residents had only a few minutes to get out of the way. On Tuesday, the "Weed Like To Welcome You" town sign still stood, but nothing else was normal as stunned residents assessed the damage, took stock of what they lost and gave thanks for what was saved. "At the peak, essentially the entire town was evacuated," state fire spokesman Robert Foxworthy said.

  • Southern California gets heat and storms

    Updated: Tue, Sep 16, 2014

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wild weather hit Southern California on Tuesday, baking many areas with triple-digit heat but pummeling others with winds, lightning, rain and hail. Moist, unstable air flowing up from the remnants of Hurricane Odile in Mexico's Baja California combined with a continuing heat wave to produce cells of fierce thunderstorms in San Diego County, and in mountains and deserts. Afternoon storms caused minor road flooding and ripped the roof off of a school building in Wildomar, east of Los Angeles, while lightning, heavy rain and hail struck the mountains. In San Diego County, dozens of trees were knocked down by wind gusts of up to 50 mph, U-T San Diego reported (