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  • 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

  • Pilger holds summer festival month after tornado

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    PILGER, Neb. (AP) — The northeast Nebraska town hit hard by a tornado last month still enjoyed its annual summer celebration this weekend. Pilger residents say the festival provided a welcome break from clean-up and repairs they have been dealing with since the June 16 storms damaged or destroyed at least three-quarters of the town. Some of the events that were usually held downtown had to be moved to the northwest corner of Pilger, which was the only area that escaped significant damage. Pilger Fire Chief Kory Koehlmoos says he and other village officials initially weren't sure whether to go forward with Pilger Days. But he says most of the events were already planned and residents wanted to hold the festival.

  • Foley says Conn. responded to Malloy in tragedies

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Tom Foley, the endorsed Republican candidate for Connecticut governor, says residents have responded to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in times of tragedy such as the Newtown school shootings and the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy. In an interview on WVIT-TV on Sunday, Foley said people seemed to have responded to what Malloy did during the two events in 2012. He criticized the Democratic governor for trying to lure a large hedge fund with grants, tax credits and a loan to move from Westport to Stamford. Bridgewater Associated called off its plans last month to build a new headquarters in Stamford. Foley said Malloy's proposal would have resulted in no new job creation in Connecticut.

  • Strongest storm in decades in south China kills 18

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — The strongest typhoon to hit southern China in four decades has killed 18 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, the government and state media said Sunday, while in the Philippines the death toll from the storm's earlier destruction rose to 94. Typhoon Rammasun killed nine people and left five missing after hitting Hainan island on Friday off China's southern coast, the civil affairs ministry said in a statement. Nine others died later in the Guangxi region as the storm plowed into the mainland on its way north to Vietnam. The storm destroyed 37,000 homes and ravaged 468,500 hectares (1.2 million acres) of crops in Hainan and Guangdong provinces and Guangxi, causing $4.3 billion in damage, the offi

  • High winds push growing Washington wildfire

    Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) — Pushed by howling, erratic winds, a massive wildfire in north-central Washington was growing rapidly and burning in new directions Saturday. Road closures and evacuations were changing regularly, as hot weather and winds with gusts up to 30 mph were pushing the fire over ridge tops and toward a cluster of small towns northeast of Seattle. "This is a very active and fluid situation," fire spokesman Chuck Turey said. As of Saturday morning, the lightning-caused fire had scorched nearly 340 square miles in the scenic Methow Valley. The fire was measured at 260 square miles Friday. People living between Carlton and Pateros have been told to leave their homes. The fire has blackened hillsides,

  • Strongest storm in decades kills 16 in south China

    Updated: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — The strongest typhoon to hit southern China in four decades has killed 16 people after claiming at least 94 lives in the Philippines, officials said Saturday. Typhoon Rammasun was blamed for seven deaths and dozens of injuries after hitting Hainan island on Friday off China's southern coast, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Nine people died later in the Guangxi region as the storm plowed into the mainland on its way north to Vietnam. The typhoon is the strongest to hit southern China in 41 years, according to the China Meteorological Administration. Wind speeds reached 216 kilometers (130 miles) per hour, with the storm knocking down power lines and damaging buildings, Xinhua said.

  • Rory McIlroy builds 6-shot lead at British Open

    Updated: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Rory McIlroy looked as though he had just thrown a knockout punch at the British Open, and it was only Saturday. When he rolled in a 10-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a 4-under 68, he straightened his back, stared defiantly at thousands of fans crammed into the horseshoe arena around the 18th green at Royal Liverpool and lightly pumped his fist. He went from being tied for the lead to six shots ahead of Rickie Fowler in just over an hour. And suddenly, the biggest challenge facing the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland was reminding himself that he had one more round left. McIlroy can't afford to picture his name etched on the base of that silver claret jug.

  • Oklahoma dams to be rehabilitated under 2014 Farm Bill

    By Rick M. Green, Capitol Bureau | Updated: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    Oklahoma dams that protect people, property and crops to be rehabilitated under Farm Bill

  • R&A vindicated over 2-tee start at British Open

    Updated: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    HOYLAKE, England (AP) — If organizers of the British Open needed any vindication of their historic decision to use a two-tee start at Royal Liverpool on Saturday, it came from Rory McIlroy about 30 minutes after his round. Torrential rain was pounding the roof of the media tent as McIlroy was holding a news conference, discussing his third-round 68 that inched him closer to a first claret jug. Asked if The R&A made the correct decision to go off two tees and send the whole field out early, the tournament leader looked up and pointed to the skies. "It was a great decision," McIlroy said. "They got it right.

  • Monsoon rains close highway near Prescott

    Updated: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Forest officials have closed a portion of a northern Arizona highway severely damaged by recent monsoon rains. Prescott National Forest officials shut down part of Senator Highway on Friday, about 45 miles south of Prescott. Officials say portions of the road near the community of Crown King are impassable and unsafe to drive due to being washed out by rainfall. Conditions include rocks and trees blocking roadways, overflowed washes and saturated soil. The stretch of road designated off-limits to motorists starts at the junction of Senator Highway and Forest Trail 215 and goes south to Forest Road 362. Senator Highway runs south from Prescott through the community of Groom Creek to Crown K

  • Destructive Washington fire empties another town

    Updated: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    PATEROS, Wash. (AP) — A massive wildfire that has destroyed at least 100 homes has forced the residents of a second north-central Washington town to leave their homes, and prompted a partial evacuation of a third community, a sheriff said Friday night. "We basically evacuated the whole town" of Malott, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said. Those living in outlying areas of Brewster were also told to leave. Several hours later, Rogers said one home had burned in Malott but the fire threat in Brewster had eased. Malott is home to about 500 people, while the population of Brewster is about 2,400. No injuries have been reported, the sheriff said, adding he knew the damage toll has grown but he didn't have an up

  • 15 Oregon wildfires stretch state resources

    Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Fire crews from around the country were dispatched Friday to Oregon as state resources were stretched thin by 15 large fires that burned across more than 565 square miles of timber, rangeland and grass. Crews were available to attack new fires but no more firefighters were being assigned to bolster the 5,000 battling existing blazes, said Carol Connolly, spokeswoman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland. No serious injuries have been reported due to the blazes, but ranchers in eastern Oregon have been finding cattle killed by range fires.

  • Weather forces 2-tee start at British Open

    Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    HOYLAKE, England (AP) — The British Open will use a two-tee start for the first time in the tournament's 154-year history for Saturday's third round due to predicted heavy rain and thunderstorms. Tournament official David Rickman said Friday play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) Saturday off the first and 10th tees. That compressed schedule would allow for up to five hours of delays and enable the round to be completed. The British Open has always used a one-tee start, but Rickman says the decision to use a second for the 70-plus players in groups of three would allow the tournament to be "in a better place on Sunday." The forecast calls for deteriorating weather to begin overnight Friday, with an expected b

  • Open lives up to unpredictable weather reputation

    Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    HOYLAKE, England (AP) — The British Open once again lived up to its fickle, unpredictable weather reputation, and doesn't half the field at Royal Liverpool know it. Ideal weather greeted morning groups Thursday, but the wind picked up in the afternoon. On Friday, those same afternoon golfers got the worst of gusty morning conditions. By midday Friday, the wind died down, creating similar conditions for the same lucky golfers who benefited from good scoring opportunities Thursday morning. That left George Coetzee, who shot 69 Friday, as the only player among the leaders who drew the unlucky Thursday afternoon-Friday morning double.

  • Lightning hits San Antonio hotel, guests evacuated

    Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Heavy rain in parts of Texas has flooded roads, left campers stranded and forced evacuation of a hotel during a weather-related fire. San Antonio firefighters early Friday responded to a Holiday Inn where lightning blew a hole in the roof. The estimated 50 guests were safely evacuated and the fire extinguished. Austin-Travis County EMS reports 13 campers on an island in the Colorado River were evacuated Friday amid concerns their canoes and kayaks could not safely navigate the fast-moving water. A helicopter safely transported the men to land. Forecasters say the Austin and San Antonio areas recorded nearly 3 inches of rain since Thursday night, prompting street flooding. Storms earlier Thursd

  • Oklahoma wheat crop worst in nearly half century

    Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Drought conditions that continued through spring, followed by a late freeze in April and untimely rains in June have produced the poorest Oklahoma wheat crop in nearly a half century, Oklahoma agriculture officials said. The official forecast is for 51 million bushels of Oklahoma's top cash crop, the lowest amount since 43 million bushels were harvested in 1957, according to Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. The harvest, which began in early June, was officially considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be 97 percent complete as of Monday, Schulte said.

  • Cool weather hangs around Friday in Oklahoma, warmer weekend ahead

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    Weather will be cooler than normal Friday in Oklahoma. Temperatures will be warmer for the weekend.

  • Powerful typhoon hits southern Chinese island

    Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — A powerful typhoon killed one person and damaged several houses on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on Friday after claiming 54 lives in the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun made landfall on Hainan southwest of Hong Kong at about 3:30 p.m. (0730 GMT) with winds as strong as 216 kph (130 mph), the official Xinhua News Agency said. The agency said Rammasun was the most powerful storm in at least nine years and possibly since 1973. A man in the town of Wengtian on Hainan died after he was struck by debris after his house collapsed in the typhoon, Xinhua reported. More than 26,000 people on Hainan were evacuated and authorities required resorts and tour bus companies to suspend operations through Saturday