WNPR

Environment

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Wednesday:

The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in Northeast Caribbean islands. The eye passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m, according to the National Weather Service.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

"Hurricane Irma has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center says, citing the latest data from NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft.

For more than half a century, a massive, oil-fired plant has been churning out electricity from an island in the heart of Maine’s Casco Bay, where sailors use its towering smokestack for navigation.

The old generator is expensive to run and dirtier than new technologies, so these days it comes on only a few times a year. Nonetheless, since December, the wires on the island have been humming pretty much nonstop.

Updated at 11:20 p.m. ET

The governors of Florida and Puerto Rico have declared pre-emptive states of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 4 storm churning through the Caribbean on a westward track. The U.S. Virgin Islands also declared a state of emergency.

Forecasters say the dangerous storm also looks increasingly likely to hit the U.S. East Coast, either in South Florida or the Carolinas.

"We have established protocols for the safety of all," Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said, urging islanders to take precautions.

Men In Black / Creative Commons

I call this the golden time of year in the garden. Goldenrods and sunflowers are peaking. But the plant that really shines in late-summer is rudbeckia or black-eyed Susan. 

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

Fire broke out and containers of chemicals burst at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, early Thursday, confirming fears that highly flammable organic peroxides produced at the plant could pose a threat after Hurricane Harvey knocked out safety systems.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey is now a tropical depression. As of 8 p.m. ET, the storm was located southwest of Alexandria, La., with sustained winds of 35 mph.

As Tropical Storm Harvey, it had made landfall in Louisiana, at 4 a.m. Central time, just west of Cameron, according to the Center.

The confirmed death toll from Harvey is at least 25, across five Texas counties — although that figure is likely to rise and does not include people who are missing or believed dead.

Office of Governor Dannel Malloy / Creative Commons

The catastrophic flooding happening in Texas is highlighting the importance of coastal resiliency. Researchers at the University of Connecticut say a lot of climate science currently focuses on biology and ecology, overlooking something else very important: the humans who own the land.

Jon Olsen

Priya Natarajan has what some might call an affinity for the impalpable. Black holes. Galaxies. The intricacies of the universe.

This hour, the Yale-based astrophysicist talks about the experiences that triggered her curiosity and zeal for "exotica." It's the latest in WNPR's "Making Her Story" series, recorded live at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, Connecticut. 

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

In Houston, reservoirs swollen by rain from Hurricane Harvey were opened early Monday, a move that was expected to flood more homes — but one that the Army Corps of Engineers says is needed to limit the scope of the disaster that's threatening lives and property in Texas.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Crews backed by Stamford-based Americares are among those responding to the unfolding storm disaster in Texas. Americares has deployed a response team to support its network of health centers and clinics in Texas, which are providing medical supplies and clean water to those displaced by catastrophic flooding around Houston, and the disastrous landfall of Hurricane Harvey near Corpus Christi. 

Supporters of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument are going to have to wait to find out what’s in store for the project that encompasses nearly 88,000 acres.

Nine States Agree To Accelerate Emissions Reduction In Next Decade

Aug 24, 2017
Thomas Hopkins / Creative Commons

The nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative consortium has settled on a proposed update to the cap-and-trade program that would call for a 30 percent reduction in carbon pollution from the region's power plants by 2030.

Ryan Wightman / Creative Commons

This native wildflower is often overlooked as a garden plant. 

apasciuto / Creative Commons

Crashing waves, cawing gulls, the cutting scent of a falling tide -- there's nothing quite as invigorating as the experience of summer along the New England coastline.

For writer Jonathan White, however, it was not the East but the West Coast that fueled a lifelong passion for the water. 

In New England, 22 percent of the region's native plants are considered rare. Some of them are on the federal list of endangered species. Biologists worldwide and locally have been saving crop seeds, and seeds from other plants important to the ecosystem. 

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