natural disaster

Two years after Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast, hundreds of Staten Islanders are deciding whether to sell their shorefront homes to New York state, which wants to knock them down and let the empty land act as a buffer to the ocean.

Stephen Drimalas was one Staten Islander faced with this tough decision. He lived in a bungalow not far from the beach in the working-class neighborhood of Ocean Breeze. He barely escaped Sandy's floodwaters with his life.

Within hours of Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast two years ago, Americans opened their wallets to help — donating millions to the first charity that came to mind: the American Red Cross.

President Obama, like most elected officials and celebrities, vouched for the organization, encouraging people to give.

Wavian / Creative Commons

It’s been almost two years since Hurricane Sandy tore her way through the Northeast -- leaving behind a trail of destruction throughout much of our region. 

More than 3 years after a tornado tore through the East Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield, Massachusetts the city is removing damaged trees from private property.

Michelle David watched Tuesday morning as a crew hired by the city cut down the tall oak tree that teetered dangerously close to her house.

"It is a relief. It has been a long time. The street was a mess, but it looks beautiful now. We are grateful to the mayor and everyone in the city who helped get this done."

In August, monsoon rains brought flooding and landslides to Nepal on a massive scale.

Three days of constant rains inundated valleys and huge swaths of land came tumbling down mountainsides in the western part of the country.

U.S. Army

A 20-person crew of firefighters from Connecticut is heading to California to help fight wildfires in the northern part of the state.

The U.S. Bureau of Energy Management has awarded Rhode Island $200,000 to identify offshore sand and gravel resources for replenishing beaches. This is part of a federal effort to help coastal communities recover from Superstorm Sandy and prepare for future major storms.

Greg Thompson / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Nearly two years after Superstorm Sandy pounded the northeast, communities in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island are preparing to track down and remove debris from marshland. 

Jordanna Hertz

One year ago, 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling a wildfire. While Connecticut isn't known for its forest fires, it is known for a surprisingly elite group of firefighters: the Connecticut Wildfire Crew. 

Jessica Whittle / Creative Commons

One of the most basic functions of local government is to protect its citizens. We talk with a panel of local firefighters who do just that.

When a fire breaks out, many Connecticut towns have volunteer forces that go to the rescue. What draws firefighters to this profession that includes a lot more than just fighting fires? Some Connecticut firefighters are even taking it a step further, and are going out west to help fight forest fires.

A study published Monday suggests Americans are less afraid of hurricanes with female names.

This is a real study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — not The Onion.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State looked at deaths caused by hurricanes between 1950 — when storms were first named — and 2012.

State of Connecticut

Hurricane season has just begun, and insurers are gearing up to educate their customers on preparing for the storms ahead.

NASA

The National Climate Assessment released earlier this month paints a bleak picture of the effects of climate change on not only the world - but right here in the northeast. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says.

We’re teaming up with The Colin McEnroe Show for a big discussion on climate change and how we’re adapting to a changing world.

Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET.:

Authorities in San Diego County ordered additional evacuations Thursday afternoon as a wildfire began "making an extreme run," as one state fire captain said.

The Associated Press is reporting that a badly burned body found in a transient camp in Carlsbad is the first reported fatality from the wildfires. The city says it had no information about person who died.

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is soliciting bids from organizations to do workforce training in poor neighborhoods hit by the tornado three years ago.

Deadly tornadoes have wreaked havoc in the South, leveling homes and claiming at least 28 lives in the past three days. And meteorologists say the threat of more tornadoes won't ease up till Wednesday.

Getting to a safe place is the best thing that people can do to protect themselves and their families. That can mean a specially constructed concrete safe room, a basement, or just a ditch if you're caught outdoors.

This post was updated at 6:15 p.m. ET.

A second day of tornadoes has caused devastation in the South, killing more than a dozen people in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. Some 50 twisters were reported in the region in a 24-hour period from Monday into Tuesday, according to meteorologists.

This post was updated at 1:53 p.m. ET

Emergency officials were searching Monday for survivors after tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma overnight, killing at least 14 people and leveling entire neighborhoods.

"We don't have a count on injuries or missing. We're trying to get a handle on the missing part," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference Monday. "Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen."

The extent of the damage isn't yet clear and the six deaths reported so far may be followed by news of other fatalities.

But on the morning after a massive, 8.2 magnitude earthquake off the coast of northern Chile there are sighs of relief there and in neighboring Peru.

YouTube.com

An earthquake in Southern California Monday morning rattled the usual calm demeanor of the live, on-air anchors at KTLA-TV. Fortunately, it doesn't look as though there's been much damage, and the anchors knew what to do: get under the desk. 

Jan Ellen Spiegel

The state is seeking public comment on its latest plan for recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Connecticut is due for a second round of disaster funding from the federal government as it distributes aid to the communities worst affected.

Officials have scheduled an announcement Monday of a final settlement with FEMA for the tornado that devastated part of Springfield, Massachusetts two-and-a-half years ago

Springfield recently received final approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the claims filed from the June 1,2011 tornado.  Mayor Domenic Sarno had vowed to be aggressive in pursuing reimbursements for debris removal and other emergency expenses born by the city

The nation's capital is not exactly a beach town. But the cherry-tree-lined Tidal Basin, fed by the Potomac River, laps at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. And, especially since Superstorm Sandy, officials in Washington have a clear idea of what would happen in a worst-case storm scenario.

"The water would go across the World War II memorial, come up 17th Street," says Tony Vidal of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "And there are actually three spots where the water would come up where we don't have ... a closure structure right now."

Tom Turley / AmeriCares

Stamford-based AmeriCares said it has shipped over $3 million in medical aid to the Philippines, with more to come. 

Lots of people in and around Washington, Ill., are referring to the areas devastated by Sunday's tornado as looking like a war zone.

David Casler is among them.

"Right here, right now, if you look around this street, this is a war zone, only no one's shooting at us," he says.

Casler knows the difference. He served as a Marine in Iraq in 2004 and was subsequently hit by a roadside bomb while working there as a security contractor, suffering a brain injury.

Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant

Typhoon Haiyan reportedly killed more than 4,000 people and affected millions more when it struck the Philippines nearly two weeks ago. Among those touched by the storm were Jack and Fe Shanahan, a Connecticut couple with a home in one of the heavily affected towns.

Matthew McDermott / Americares

Nearly two weeks ago Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm on record, ravaged the Philippines. Survivors in the hardest-hit parts of that island nation are still in need of the most basic supplies, like food, water and shelter. On Wednesday, Philippine officials estimated the death toll from the storm at 4,000.

Stamford, Connecticut-based AmeriCares has been in the Philippines since the day after the typhoon, delivering medical supplies, and helping to rebuild hospitals.

Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

The state is opening two new disaster assistance centers on Wednesday to help residents who suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy. One is a mobile center, serving Middlesex County. The other will be located at the Groton senior center. 

Emergency aid workers are rushing this week to get food aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines — just the latest reminder of how vulnerable the food supply can be when disaster hits.

The physical damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless.

Soon, though, people will start to rebuild, as they have after similar natural disasters.

How they do it, and where, is increasingly important in places like the Philippines. The island nation lies in a sort of "typhoon alley," and with climate change and rising sea levels, there are more storms in store.

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