Archive | Nature & Ecosystems

East Coast States Calculate Tropical Storm Ida's Damage Toll

OCEAN CITY, N.J., Nov. 15 (UPI) — The U.S. Eastern Seaboard was assessing the damage from Hurricane Ida Sunday as the remnants of the storm cleared out of Maine, forecasters said.

Weather officials warned that while Ida’s soaking rains and winds had largely exited the Eastern United States, rough surf, waves and rip currents were still deemed a danger from North Carolina to southeastern New England, Accuweather.com reported.

Last week’s damage from Ida was wide-ranging, including washed away and eroded beaches, wind damage and large-scale power outages. The damage from Ida’s battering waves is expected to total hundreds of millions of dollars, affecting dunes and boardwalks along the mid-Atlantic coast and sending floodwaters into coastal towns from North Carolina to New Jersey, the Web site said.

Local officials reported that some low-lying roadways in Delaware were covered by water, while in Ocean City, N.J., the flooding from Ida was called the worst to hit that part of the state in a decade.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Nature & Ecosystems, Wind0 Comments

Worst Nor'Easter in More Than a Decade Batters Mid-Atlantic Coast

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 12 (UPI) — The worst nor’easter in more than a decade battered New Jersey and Delaware beaches Thursday and sent water pouring into the back bays.

Wind and rain was expected to continue overnight with more severe flooding expected at high tide Friday, the National Weather Service said. The remnants of former Hurricane Ida gave energy to a fall storm to create the most dangerous conditions since the Halloween Storm of 1994, officials on the southern New Jersey Shore told the Press of Atlantic City.

Officials in Sussex County, Del., urged anyone living in flood-prone areas to seek shelter with friends or relatives, the Sussex Countian reported. In New Jersey, residents living on the bay side of the barrier islands were urged to evacuate, the Press said.

The Coast Guard abandoned a search Thursday for three missing scallop fishermen from Cape May, N.J. Their boat sank Wednesday.

In the Atlantic City area, a bridge connecting Sea Isle City and Avalon was shut down after a repair barge broke loose from its moorings late Wednesday. The bridge was expected to remain closed at least until Saturday.

Some other bridges were closed temporarily because of flooding.

In North Carolina and Virginia, many residents were without electricity because of the storm, utility companies said.

Wind gusts of 70 mph were blamed for several downed trees that resulted in four major North Carolina thoroughfares becoming blocked.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Nature & Ecosystems, Other, Wind0 Comments

High Winds and Bad Weather Knock out Power in North Carolina and Virginia

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 12 (UPI) — Residents of parts of North Carolina and Virginia were without power Thursday as a fall storm hammered the East Coast with high winds, utility companies said.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer said thousands of Duke Energy costumers lost power Thursday morning as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida brought strong winds and rain to the Charlotte area.

Wind gusts of 70 mph were also blamed for several downed trees that resulted in four major North Carolina thoroughfares becoming blocked.

While Duke Energy said crews have restored power to most residents, other customers are still reporting power outages amid the stormy conditions.

The Newport News (Va.) Daily Press said 24,777 Dominion Virginia Power customers lost power Thursday morning due to wind-driven rains.

The utility company said 9,411 of the reported outages occurred in Southeastern Virginia, while more than 8,500 outages were reported in and around Richmond, Va.

The nor’easter hitting the Eastern United States combined with what was left of one-time Hurricane Ida, the ninth tropical storm and third hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Nature & Ecosystems, Other, Wind0 Comments

Heavy Rains Soak Mid-Atlantic States; Georgia Rivers Flood and Virginia Declares State of Emergency

ATLANTA, Nov. 11 (UPI) — Heavy rains that pushed Georgia creeks over their banks Wednesday prompted Virginia officials to declare a state of emergency.

Gov Timothy M. Kaine directed Virginia agencies to take necessary actions to protect the public from “the combined effects of the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida and a coastal nor’easter.”

“With the National Weather Service indicating that eastern Virginia could experience flooding and storm surge comparable to the effects of a Category 1 hurricane, it’s critical that Virginians make the necessary preparations,” Kaine said. “While we will continue to monitor conditions, the Commonwealth is preparing for a period of coastal flooding through at least Friday evening.”

State officials said there was a chance of flooding in other parts of the state as well.

Parts of Georgia got 4 to 6 inches of rain, with Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport reporting 4.56 inches early Wednesday, Columbus logging 5.6 inches and Pine Mountain reporting 6.25 inches, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

While flash flood warnings for north and central Georgia expired Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service kept northern Georgia under a wind advisory until Wednesday night. Forecasters predicted winds blowing 15-30 mph during the day with gusts to 40 mph.

The storm system was expected to affect the mid-Atlantic coast through Friday, churning rough surf along the North Carolina and Virginia coastlines, AccuWeather.com reported. Ida was predicted to strengthen into a potent nor’easter Wednesday, moving little through Thursday night and soaking the North Carolina-Virginia coast with windswept rain.

Forecasters said up to 6 inches of rain could fall between Wednesday and Friday in the area, which includes Raleigh, N.C., and Norfolk, Va.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Effects Of Air Pollution, Nature & Ecosystems, Other, Wind0 Comments

Life on Earth: Quicker Start Than Thought?

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Nov. 11 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve discovered Earth’s climate was much cooler than thought billions of years ago, which may mean life developed earlier than thought.

Researchers from Texas A&M, Yale and Stanford universities say their findings could change current ideas about the formation of the earliest life on the planet. The scientists say they’ve determined the Earth’s climate was perhaps more than 50 degrees cooler than thought billions of years ago. That means conditions for life were much easier, and that life existing at that time was not under as much stress as previously believed.

Texas A&M geobiologist Mike Tice said the team examined rocks from South Africa that are known to be about 3.4 billion years old — among the oldest ever discovered. They found features in the rocks consistent with formation at water temperatures significantly lower than previous studies suggested.

“Our research shows the water temperature 3.4 billion years ago was at most 105 degrees, and while that’s potentially very warm, it’s far below the temperatures of 155 degrees or more that previous research has implied,” Tice said. “It means more organisms may have been around that were not necessarily heat-loving ones.”

The study appears in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Nature & Ecosystems0 Comments

Mudslide Hits Town on Italian Island in Gulf of Naples

CASAMICCIOLA, Italy, Nov. 10 (UPI) — The mudslide that struck a volcanic island Tuesday in the Gulf of Naples, burying a town, was like “the end of the world,” an official said.

A 15-year-old girl was dead on the island of Ischia, and an 11-year-old girl was missing, the Italian news agency ANSA said. The 15-year-old was a passenger in a bus that was swept out to sea.

Casamicciola, a port on the north end of the island, was inundated with mud flowing from Mount Epomeo, the highest of Ischia’s peaks. Mayor Vincenzo D’Ambrosio, who said he had just walked his daughter to school when the slide began, described it as being like “the end of the world.”

“A river of dirt and rocks flooded the entire town,” he said.

At least 20 people were injured, most of them suffering from bruises and fractures. One child was described as being in serious condition.

Because the roads into town were blocked, Casamicciola had to be evacuated by boat.

In October, a mudslide in Messina on the island of Sicily killed 37 people and forced hundreds from their homes. Officials blamed the death toll on illegal construction and inadequate flood prevention.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Nature & Ecosystems, People0 Comments

Memorial Day Photo: A Park Service Employee Cleans the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington

A Park Service Employee Cleans the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington

A Park Service employee cleans the top of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in preparation for Veterans Day, in Washington on November 10, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Date Taken: November 10, 2009

Posted in Nature & Ecosystems0 Comments

Memorial Day Photos: Park Service Employee Cleans the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington

A Park Service Employee Cleans the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington

A Park Service employee cleans the top of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in preparation for Veterans Day, in Washington on November 10, 2009. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Date Taken: November 10, 2009

Posted in Nature & Ecosystems0 Comments

California's San Jacinto Fault Quake Odds Studied

MIAMI, Nov. 10 (UPI) — A study suggests California’s San Jacinto fault, with about four mini-earthquakes daily, is less likely to produce a major quake than the San Andreas fault.

“Those minor to moderate events along the San Jacinto fault relieve some of the stress built by the constantly moving tectonic plates,” said Professor Shimon Wdowinski at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

The 140-mile long San Jacinto fault runs between Palm Springs and Los Angeles and then south toward the Salton Sea east of San Diego.

The U.S. Geological Survey forecasts a 31 percent chance of a magnitude earthquake of 6.7 or higher on the Richter Scale along the San Jacinto fault during the next 30 years, Wdowinski said, noting only the San Andreas fault, with a 59 percent chance, is more likely to have a major event during the same period.

“Thirty-one percent is a high probability, when it comes to earthquake forecasting — the second highest in Southern California,” he said. “Our data show the next significant event for the San Jacinto fault would probably be between 6.0 and 6.7. It doesn’t sound like much, but in earthquake terms it is the difference between a major earthquake and a moderate event.”

Wdowinski presents his research in an article appearing in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Atmospheric Science, Earthquakes, Nature & Ecosystems0 Comments

Tropical Storm Ida Drenches Southeastern United States with Heavy Rains

MIAMI, Nov. 10 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Ida’s rainfall was soaking the U.S. Gulf coastal states early Tuesday as the system neared landfall near Mobile, Ala., forecasters said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 3 a.m. CST, Ida was about 60 miles south-southwest of Mobile, Ala., moving north at 9 mph. The former hurricane was packing winds of 50 mph with higher gusts that extended outward as far as 175 miles.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Grand Isle, La., eastward to the Aucilla River in Florida.

Forecasters warned as much as eight inches of rain was possible along the forecast path.

The center also warned coastal communities “a dangerous storm tide will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above ground level along the coast near and to the east of where the center makes landfall.”

Forecasters said the storm that developed off Nicaragua last Thursday would turn east after reaching land.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Nature & Ecosystems0 Comments

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