Top Stories

  • Better weather aiding Washington wildfire fight


    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Calmer winds and cooler temperatures helped firefighters go on the offensive Monday against a destructive wildfire that has charred hundreds of square miles in Washington state and is the largest in state history. The Carlton Complex of fires in north-central Washington had burned about 379 square miles, fire spokesman Andrew Sanbri said Monday. That would make it the largest wildfire in the state since record-keeping started. "There is optimism in the air, but we don't want to give the impression that all is good," Sanbri said. "Things are improving." The fire was just 2 percent contained Monday. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers was also encouraged.

  • Typhoon kills 11 in Vietnam; China deaths up to 33

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A typhoon that barreled into northern Vietnam killed at least 11 people and left several missing, state media said, while in China the death toll from the strongest storm to strike the country's south in four decades rose to 33. Typhoon Rammasun made landfall in Vietnam over the weekend, triggering heavy floods, destroying homes and crops, and blocking roads with landslides, said the Vietnam News, an English-language daily published by the official Vietnam News Agency. The paper's website carried photos that showed streets and local markets in the city of Lang Son and elsewhere submerged in water, with residents floating on rubber tires or rafts or huddling under makeshift tents.

  • Precautions urged for excessive heat, humidity

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Health officials are urging Minnesotans to take precautions in dealing with high temperatures and humidity. The National Weather Service says the humidity made temperatures feel like 100 to 108 degrees Monday across much of Minnesota. The weather service extended an excessive heat warning for Anoka, Washington, Dakota, Ramsey, Hennepin, Scott and Carver counties until 7 a.m. Tuesday. The heat index rose to 108 in Litchfield and 105 at Madison, in western Minnesota. Temperatures soared into the 90s, with St. Cloud hitting 94, Minneapolis and Redwood Falls 92 and International Falls — the nation's icebox — reporting 90. Health officials urge residents to check on neighbors who may be vulnerable to

  • Critics want more details on Sandy spending

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says newly released reports on the state's biggest Superstorm Sandy recovery projects are not detailed enough. Gov. Chris Christie's administration released its first integrity monitor reports last week, more than 16 months after Christie signed a law requiring them for contracts of $5 million or more. Sweeney says the 24-page reports, which were released last week include summaries of projects, do not give enough information. "We want details," Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford, said Monday during a news conference at the Statehouse. "We want to know what we did right and what we did wrong." Sweeney said the report cost $5 million.

  • Eddyville gets $1M federal grant for flood project

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    EDDYVILLE, Iowa (AP) — The city of Eddyville is getting more than $1 million to improve its stormwater handling system to protect the city from Des Moines River flooding. The funding, announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The project includes funding for the extension and rerouting of more than 4,000 feet of storm sewers, installation of larger inlets and manholes, and four high capacity pumps to move water over the city's levee. Loebsack says it's vital that the government makes investments to better prepare for severe weather and help ensure Iowa families and businesses are protected from flooding.

  • Natural gas falls to an 8-month low

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    Natural gas fell to its lowest level in eight months Monday following forecasts that nationwide summer temperatures are expected to be milder than normal. The price of natural gas fell 10 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $3.85 per 1,000 cubic feet. That's the lowest since mid-November. Weather analysts expect average temperatures across the U.S. to be lower than normal for the next two to three weeks, which is typically when U.S. temperatures are at their hottest. In the summer natural gas is used to generate electricity, particularly when demand is high and other sources are at full capacity. Other energy-related commodities moved higher Monday. Crude oil rose $1.46, or 1.5 percent, to $104.59 a barrel and wholesale gasoline

  • Rain floods Oahu homes, affects other islands

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    HAUULA, Hawaii (AP) — Remnants of a broken-up tropical storm brought rainy weather to Hawaii, flooding windward Oahu homes and affecting areas of the Big Island and Kauai. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday ( ) that water rose about 13 inches inside Holly Smith's Hauula home, causing about $100,000 in damages. Smith says the water bubbled up through termite holes, under the foundation and in the walls. Fire officials say they received 13 flood calls in 36 hours. Weather officials say windward Oahu got most of the rains left over from a dissipated storm, about one foot over a 24-hour period. Over the same period, parts of Maui and the Big Island got three inches.

  • Cooler weather helps contain Oregon wildfires

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Cooler temperatures have helped firefighters make progress against a dozen large fires burning across Oregon, but officials said Monday that more lightning with the potential to start other blazes was expected in north-central Oregon in the days ahead. Nearly 9,400 firefighting personnel were battling the fires that have burned 760 square miles in Oregon. A low-pressure area moving in from the coast was expected to pass over north-central Oregon on Tuesday, bringing significant lightning from Hermiston south through John Day and Prineville, coordination center spokeswoman Katie Santini said. "We had 108 new strikes Sunday in southeastern Oregon and are expecting to see more," she said from Por

  • Jersey shore carousel going up for auction

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — The 82-year-old carousel on the Seaside Heights boardwalk survived Superstorm Sandy and a devastating fire, but it may not survive changing economics. The company that owns the carousel, one of only about 150 left in the United States, is selling it to make room for new attractions. An auction is planned for fall, with the hope that a buyer will take the entire ride and prevent it from being broken up and sold off piecemeal. "We've had it for a long time, and it was very expensive to maintain and insure," said Maria Mastoris, a spokeswoman for the carousel's owners, the Storino family, which owns boardwalk attractions here and in Point Pleasant Beach.

  • World breaks monthly heat record 2 times in a row

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The globe is on a hot streak, setting a heat record in June. That's after the world broke a record in May. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month's average global temperature was 61.2 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. It beat 2010's old record by one-twentieth of a degree. While one-twentieth of a degree doesn't sound like much, in temperature records it's like winning a horse race by several lengths, said NOAA climate monitoring chief Derek Arndt. And that's only part of it. The world's oceans not only broke a monthly heat record at 62.7 degrees, but it was the hottest the oceans have been on record no matter what the mo

  • Bicycle riders to endure summer's hottest days

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The thousands of bicycle riders participating in this year's RAGBRAI ride are facing the hottest temperatures of the summer so far. High temperatures on Monday and Tuesday are expected to reach into the 90s. The combination of heat and humidity will drive the heat index — a measure of how hot the air feels — to above 100 degrees. The riders are traveling 41 miles from Okoboji to Emmetsburg Monday and 73 miles from Emmetsburg to Forest City on Tuesday. Public health officials advise caution from the first significant heat event of the season.

  • Hot weather blanketing much of the Dakotas

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The National Weather Service has posted heat advisories for central and eastern South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota. The forecast calls for high temperatures in the region Monday in the 90s and lower 100s. Humidity will make it feel even hotter. There also is a chance of thunderstorms in both states. Forecasters say some storms might be severe, with damaging winds.

  • Scorching heat in forecast for much of Oklahoma

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The National Weather Service says hot temperatures are headed back to Oklahoma this week. An excessive heat watch will go into effect for Tulsa County from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday night. Forecasters say a ridge of high pressure will expand over the region early this week, allowing temperatures to hit at or near 100 degrees. Forecasters say high humidity levels will make it feel even hotter, with heat index values reaching 105 degrees to 110 degrees throughout much of the state. The heat is expected to persist throughout the week, though isolated showers and thunderstorms will be possible Wednesday.

  • Wildfire smoke lowers E. Washington air quality

    Updated: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Drifting wildfire smoke has lowered air quality in much of Eastern Washington and parts of northern Idaho. The Washington Ecology Department and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality have issued an air quality alert. They say smoke particles could irritate eyes and noses and aggravate heart and lung disease. Vulnerable people are advised to remain indoors. Favorable weather with a chance of rain midweek should clear the air. The alert covers Adams, Asotin, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille (pahn-duh-RAY'), Spokane, Stevens and Whitman counties in Washington. And Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties in Idaho.

  • Stifling heat returns to Oklahoma Monday

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    Hot weather is returning this week in Oklahoma. The heat index will top 100 degrees Monday through Wednesday.

  • Oklahoma Watch: Oklahoma cities must navigate hazard mitigation plans before weather disasters

    BY CLIFTON ADCOCK, Oklahoma Watch | Published: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    Oklahoma Watch: The hazard-mitigation money provided by FEMA is calculated by taking 15 percent of the total amount spent on both individual and public assistance aid related to a disaster.

  • Oklahoma's persistent drought makes life difficult in western Panhandle

    By Silas Allen, Staff Writer | Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    While a storm front was dropping several inches of rain on the rest of Oklahoma last week, Bob Apple’s rain gauge had about half an inch of water in it. It wasn’t a drought-busting rain, he said, but it’s the most he’s seen in a while.

  • Official says Jamaica's drought is intensifying

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A severe drought is intensifying in Jamaica with water supply systems already well below normal, the Caribbean country's environment minister said Sunday night In a national address, Robert Pickersgill told Jamaicans the government is trucking water to hard-hit farming districts where parched conditions have withered crops. Many Jamaican small farms lack irrigation systems and depend entirely on rainwater. Rainfall has been scarce for months and inflows into reservoirs are significantly reduced. Some water supply systems have "dried up entirely," Pickersgill said. Reservoirs are dwindling so badly in areas serving the island's capital of Kingston that temporary shutoffs of the public water sup

  • Helpful weather coming to Washington wildfires

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) — Cooler temperatures and lighter winds are forecast to descend on wildfire-stricken Washington state, helping firefighters battle flames that have been growing unfettered for a week and have covered hundreds of square miles. While Sunday's weather has slight improvements on the hot temperatures and gusty winds that have fueled the wildfires, the forecast for Monday and Tuesday calls for lighter winds and temperatures, said Spokane-based National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Koch. "Overall, it looks like the weather scenario is improving," Koch said. Then on Wednesday a "vigorous" front is expected to cover Washington, bringing rain to much of the state. But it will also bring lighting, he a

  • Dangerous heat expected in Nebraska and Iowa

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Some of the most intense heat of the summer so far is expected in Nebraska and Iowa, so forecasters are urging people to take precautions. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories for the eastern half of Nebraska and for 74 of Iowa's 99 counties on Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s across the region and humidity will be high, so heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sunburn are possible. Leslie Schaffer with the Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross says it's important to take precautions in the heat, especially for the elderly and young children. Staying inside during the hottest part of the day can be a big help. People who must work outside shoul