natural disaster

California
8:29 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Photos: Massive Fire Shuts Down Freeways In Los Angeles

An enormous fire engulfs an unfinished apartment complex early Monday in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Eric Politzer

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 9:59 am

A huge apartment complex under construction near Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles was in flames early Monday, closing two major highways that intersect nearby.

More than 250 firefighters are responding, fire department spokesman David Orti told the Los Angeles Times.

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Rhode Island
2:48 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Battle With The Sea: In Westerly, Beach Town Still Shoring Up For Future Storms

Tom Retano's three-bedroom house in Misquamicut is temporarily elevated off its original foundation, as work to permanently elevate the house 15 feet above sea level began this summer.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:37 pm

Within four years, the town of Westerly experienced four major storms: the Great Flood of 2010, Hurricane Irene in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and the February 2013 Nor’easter. Like many coastal cities and towns around the state, Westerly is also vulnerable to high tides that flood roads even without storms.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:07 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Would You Survive a Life-Threatening Disaster?

The Honduras Gulf from a 12-foot fishing boat.
Josh Glovo Creative Commons

John Aldridge, a 45-year old lobster fisherman from Long Island, flew off the back of his boat when a plastic handle supporting a box hook snapped with the power of his pull. He grabbed at the side of the boat, missing it by inches before landing in the water at 3:30 am, alone and stunned, as the boat sped away with his partner sleeping in his cabin. They were 40 miles off the coast of Montauk, Long Island. First, yelling, then panic, then silence before he allowed himself to think he was going to die. 

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Springfield
10:20 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Mayor Says Church Leader Broke Promise To Rebuild Tornado Damaged School

Cathedral High School, a fixture in Springfield's East Forest Park neighborhood for a half-century was destroyed in the June 2011 tornado.

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 4:25 pm

There is frustration and anger over a delay in rebuilding the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts that was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.

   Parents and alumnae of Cathedral High School said they were blindsided by Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s call for more study to help him make a decision on the school’s future.  Mayor Domenic Sarno said Rozanski had reneged on a pledge made by his now retired predecessor to rebuild the high school in the same neighborhood where it had stood since 1959

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Walking Into the Flames: Discussion With Connecticut Firefighters

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.

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Sandy Recovery
7:07 am
Thu October 30, 2014

After The Waves, Staten Island Homeowner Takes Sandy Buyout

Stephen Drimalas stands outside his former home in Staten Island's Ocean Breeze neighborhood. He rebuilt his home after Superstorm Sandy but recently decided to sell it to the state of New York.
Jennifer Hsu WNYC

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 8:59 am

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.

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Disaster Response
5:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Red Cross 'Diverted Assets' During Storms' Aftermath To Focus On Image

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a former Red Cross official says, as many as 40 percent of the organization's emergency vehicles were assigned for public relations purposes. This photo, which shows one of the trucks in Long Island, N.Y., in January 2013, is one example of the many publicity photos taken by the Red Cross.
Les Stone American Red Cross

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 10:05 am

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.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Two Years After Hurricane Sandy, What Have We Learned?

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
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. 

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Springfield
5:40 am
Wed October 8, 2014

City Removes Tornado Damaged Trees

A tree damaged during the June 2011 tornado is removed from the yard of a home in Springfield,MA. The city launched a "Right of Entry" program to remove trees from private property after FEMA rejected numerous appeals to pay for it.

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 3:56 pm

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."

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Asia
5:55 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nepal Struggles To Help Villages Washed Away In Floods

Families carry their belongings while moving to higher ground in the Bardia region of Nepal during the flooding on Aug. 15.
Bhabuk Yogi AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 8:26 am

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.

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Firefighting
10:28 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Connecticut Crews Head to California to Help Fight Wildfires

The U.S. Army battled a wildfire over Yosemite National Park last summer.
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.

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Beach Restoration
12:59 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Rhode Island To Identify Offshore Sand Sources For Beach Replenishment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trucked in 90,000 cubic yards of upland sand sources, a relative small amount compared to future needs, to restore the beach from Superstorm Sandy damages.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:26 am

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.

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Sandy Recovery
4:33 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Debris From Sandy Targeted in Northeast Marshes

An aerial view of Great Marsh at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge in the aftermath of storm Sandy, November 4, 2012.
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. 

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Wildfire
1:08 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

In Connecticut, a Crew to Respond to Wildfires Thousands of Miles Away

Chris Renshaw, above, with a drip torch. What he called "one of the most iconic tools in wildfire"
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. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Walking Into the Flames: Discussion With Connecticut Firefighters

After thousands of years, the best tool to fight fire is still water.
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.

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What's in a Name?
5:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Study: Americans Less Fearful Of Storms Named After Women

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed more than 25,000 homes in Florida. But its death toll was far less than "female" storms such as Audrey, Camille and Katrina.
Lynn Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:59 pm

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.

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Extreme Weather
9:17 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Insurers Warn Against Complacency In Hurricane Season

State of Connecticut

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

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Climate Change Is Here; How Do We Adapt?

International Space Station view of a winter storm forming in Australia.
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.

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California
2:14 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Wildfires In San Diego County Continue To Rage Out Of Control

Residents photograph the burning ruins of their home in Carlsbad, Calif., that was destroyed in the Poinsettia fire, one of nine wildfires that have erupted in San Diego County.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:26 pm

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.

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WAMC News
10:37 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Job Training Planned In Springfield Neighborhoods Hit By 2011 Tornado

The South End Community Center was destroyed by the tornado on June 1, 2011. People in the neighborhood will get job training funded by a federal disaster recovery grant

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:47 pm

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

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Severe Weather Survival
12:51 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

To Survive A Tornado, First Run To Shelter, Then Grab A Helmet

Tornadoes killed at least 17 people on Sunday and Monday. But some managed to stay safe in underground shelters like the one at right in Vilonia, Ark.
Karen E. Segrave AP

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 3:44 pm

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.

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Weather
7:26 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Twisters In 3 States Kill More Than A Dozen People

A motel and restaurant show significant damage from a tornado that ripped through Tupelo, Miss., on Monday.
Jim Lytle AP

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 6:32 pm

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.

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Severe Weather
6:35 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Killer Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma

Travel trailers and motor homes were piled on top of each other at Mayflower RV in Mayflower, Ark., on Sunday after tornadoes carved through the central and southern U.S.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 1:55 pm

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."

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Chile
7:02 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Tense Hours, Then Sighs Of Relief After Huge Quake Off Chile

Scared residents hug in the hallway of an apartment building Tuesday after Iquique, Chile, was rocked by a strong earthquake.
Cristian Viveros AP

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:32 pm

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.

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Tremors
3:07 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

It's Hard Being Live On Air During an Earthquake

KTLA anchors Megan Henderson and Chris Schauble react to an earthquake Monday morning while on air.
Credit 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. 

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Sandy Recovery
10:22 am
Tue February 18, 2014

State Seeks Input on Sandy Recovery Spending

Cosey Beach in East Haven during Sandy.
Credit 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.

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WAMC News
8:15 am
Mon January 13, 2014

FEMA Settlement To Be Announced

The June 1,2011 tornado tore the top floor off this apartment building in Springfield. The building was later torn down.

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 4:16 pm

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

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Washington, D.C.
4:33 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding

The U.S. Capitol dome provides a view down the National Mall, an area vulnerable to flooding.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:13 pm

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."

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Disaster Relief
11:58 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Many Still Struggling in the Philippines

Kate Dischino helps unload medical supplies for a hospital in Tacloban
Tom Turley AmeriCares

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

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Disaster Relief
8:41 am
Thu November 21, 2013

In Tornado-Ravaged Illinois 'War Zone,' Veterans Find A Mission

Washington, Ill., sits in ruins as the sun rises Monday, a day after a severe tornado tore through the community.
Zbigniew Bzdak MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:10 pm

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.

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