Archive for the ‘Hurricane Irene’ Category


By Bob Kovach, CNN
September 1, 2011 10:39 p.m. EDT
The iconic oak tree in Arlington National Cemetery was a casualty of Hurricane Irene on August 27.
The iconic oak tree in Arlington National Cemetery was a casualty of Hurricane Irene on August 27.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The “Arlington Oak” was estimated to be 220 years old
  • It shaded the area near the graves of Kennedy family members
  • John Kennedy is said to have visited the area in 1963 and was taken with the view
  • The Arlington Oak was part of that view

Washington (CNN) — For more than two centuries, it stood as a silent witness to history — the “Arlington Oak,” a tree that sprouted on land once owned by Robert E. Lee, and later consecrated as part of Arlington National Cemetery.

Last weekend, it fell — one more casualty of the winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Irene.
“It is truly unfortunate to see it’s now gone — that tree had a significant legacy here at Arlington,” said Steve Van Hoven, the cemetery’s urban forester.

The Arlington Oak, estimated to be 220 years old, stood by in stoic silence as a nation’s history spread out nearby, as the acres filled with the graves of veterans, dignitaries, presidents and the fallen from war after war.

For nearly half a century it shaded the area near the graves of members of the Kennedy family who were buried only yards below a slope that leads up to Lee’s Arlington House mansion overlooking the Potomac River.

According to Arlington National Cemetery, the oak was most known for the role it played in the selection of the grave site for President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy is said to have visited Arlington House — now a national memorial — in the spring of 1963 and said the view was so magnificent that he could stay there forever. The Arlington Oak was part of that view.

In addition to the Arlington Oak, five other large trees were lost to Irene, including a white oak estimated to be 240 years old, according to the cemetery. Crews have been working since the storm passed to clear debris left from broken branches and smaller trees that were uprooted.

It took several days to cut and clean up the trunk and branches of the majestic oak, according to the cemetery.
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US President Barack Obama has declared a “major disaster” in North Carolina and New York state, where swollen rivers have swamped communities in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

Mr Obama’s move allows the two states to tap extra funds for relief efforts.
Raging rivers along the eastern seaboard have given way to extensive flooding and prompted new rounds of evacuations in states like New Jersey.
The storm has been blamed for at least 45 deaths in 13 states.
Irene barrelled along the east coast over the weekend, delivering hurricane force winds in North Carolina and torrential rains in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont, which forced rivers to swell and prompted extensive flooding.
Nuclear reactors affected The storm drenched the east coast with up to 15in (38cm) of rain at the weekend, setting river level records in 10 states, the US Geological Survey said.

Post-Irene damage in Windham, NY (30 August 2011) New Jersey and upstate New York have been badly affected by floods

At least 1.7 million homes and businesses in the affected areas are still without power.
Two out of three nuclear reactors in a southern New Jersey county have moved to reduce power because debris from Hurricane Irene was blocking cooling-water intakes.
Mr Obama earlier signed an emergency declaration for Vermont following the storm, which caused damage estimated at more than $10bn (£6.5bn) and forced a shutdown of New York City.
About two million people on the US east coast are still without power after Irene wreaked havoc on both small towns and major cities, some far inland.
Rescue operations continued on Wednesday in the north-east, clearing roads and delivering supplies to stranded towns – where mud-coloured floodwaters had earlier washed homes and businesses away from their foundations.
President Obama will view the damage from Irene on Sunday in Paterson, the third-largest city in the state of New Jersey.
Emergency teams in Paterson have been rescuing residents after the Passaic river reached 13ft (4m) above its banks late on Tuesday – its highest level since 1903.
The Passaic was receding on Wednesday, said James Furtak, acting emergency management director of Bergen County.
In Connecticut, the National Weather Service has warned of moderate to major flooding on the Connecticut River, which peaked in the city of Middletown at 15.4ft on Wednesday morning.
Some areas are still at risk of flooding as a series of rivers are still expected to crest, the National Weather service says.
Help requested Irene swept up the heavily populated eastern seaboard after making landfall as a category one hurricane in North Carolina.

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Immediate federal assistance is needed now to give New Jersey’s residents a helping hand at an emotionally and financially devastating time”

Chris Christie Governor of New Jersey

By the time it reached New York, it had been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

Nonetheless, the New York subway system was closed for the first time in its history, while 370,000 people living in low-lying areas were ordered to leave their homes.
The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut requested disaster declarations on Tuesday.
In a letter to the president, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said that he had seen “hundreds of private homes destroyed or with major damage and an enormous amount of public infrastructure damage”.
These sentiments were echoed in a letter to the president by Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, whose state has not yet been designated a recipient of disaster funds.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visited that state on Wednesday to survey the damage.
In Vermont on Tuesday night, more than 200 roads were blocked or had been washed away, hampering rescue efforts to as many as 13 towns.
However, roads to all but one of the towns have now re-opened, although most are passable only by emergency vehicles.
National Guard troops have brought in food, water and other emergency supplies to cut-off areas in the rural, mountainous state.

Map of towns in Vermont cut of by tropical storm Irene The roads cutting off these Vermont towns are now passable by emergency vehicles
 

Post-Tropical Cyclone Irene has killed 40 people in the US, and authorities warn that flooding could continue for up to three days in northern US states.

More than five million people remain without power, while Vermont is reeling from its worst floods in many decades.
Insurance claims could top $7bn (£4.3bn), the Consumer Federation of America estimated.
Irene has passed into Canada, after causing havoc on the US east coast from North Carolina to Vermont.
Driving rains and flood tides damaged homes and cut power to more than three million people in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York alone.
Vermont governor lashes out Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit North Carolina and Virginia on Tuesday to survey the storm damage.

Scott Snyder from the American Red Cross: “Some rivers are still rising”

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate will head to Vermont.
In north-eastern Canada the first possible Irene-related fatality has been recorded.
A man was swept away in Yamaska, north-east of Montreal, as two cars plunged into a chasm created when a road was washed away, Quebec police said.
Nearly a quarter of a million people in Quebec, which saw winds as high as 62mph (100km/h), lost power on Sunday night.
An Associated Press news agency tally found 40 people had been killed in 11 US states, mostly because of falling trees, ocean waves, downed power lines and raging floods.
In the rural state of Vermont, the last to be hit before Irene reached Canada, the storm washed away bridges and swamped the town of Brattleboro.
Touring the town, Governor Peter Shumlin criticised media coverage for focusing on New York, saying: “We’re not Manhattan, but we have human lives here in Vermont, too.”
“It breaks your heart to see the extraordinary devastation that we’re seeing here in Vermont,” he said.
Hundreds stranded Three deaths in Vermont have been blamed on the storm.

Storm tragedies

  • Celena Sylvestri, 20, drowned when her car filled with water on a flooded New Jersey road. She had called her boyfriend and 911 for help.
  • A New York man was electrocuted when he tried to rescue a child on a street with downed power lines.
  • Two men in Florida drowned as they tried to swim or surf rough waves.
  • Seven people were crushed by falling trees in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In the town of Waterbury, Irene closed the Vermont Emergency Management headquarters and the Vermont State Hospital, where some 50 patients were moved to other facilities.

Authorities asked people to avoid travelling in the state, which received 11in (28cm) of rain, and warned of significant flooding, damaged roads and downed power lines.
The storm caused part of a ski lodge to collapse in the town of Killington, where as many as 300 guests and 100 staff were stranded on Monday due to flooded roads.
Meanwhile, nearly 100 people remained stranded in mountain towns in New York State due to washed out roads and bridges. The storm dumped 13in of rain on the state.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said dozens of bridges and roadways would need to be repaired and that some of the state’s rivers had yet to crest from flooding.
“You’re going see more damage before it starts to get better,” he told reporters.
In New York City, which escaped the worst of Irene’s fury, the subway network and three main airports all reopened on Monday.
More than 300,000 people evacuated from low-lying areas in New York City are now able to return home.
Refunds demanded Since Saturday, Irene has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and now a post-tropical cyclone.

A bridge in Northfield, Vermont, damaged during the storm Creeks and rivers overflowed their banks and destroyed bridges and roads in Vermont

Some Americans who bought candles, canned food and other emergency provisions in recent days have been demanding refunds, claiming Irene’s threat was exaggerated.
Claims for wind damage are expected to be one sixth of the total sum from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and claims for flood damage one tenth, the Consumer Federation of America estimated.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said on Monday that more homes were without power as a result of the storm in his state than at any other time in its modern history.
States south of New York, where Irene struck at hurricane strength on Saturday and Sunday, have begun cleaning up, assessing the damage and counting the dead.
North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue said some areas of her state were still unreachable. TV footage showed fallen trees and power lines.
Officials in Virginia have begun the clear-up, but say the damage was not as bad as feared.

Map, 29 August

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14711508


Rescue personnel bring stranded residents to shore in Montpelier, Vermont, August 28, 2011

Photo: AP
Rescue personnel bring stranded residents to shore in Montpelier, Vermont, August 28, 2011

U.S. authorities say massive flooding has affected parts of the country’s northeast, one day after a weakening Hurricane Irene swept through the region.

U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate said Monday that flooding has reached “record” levels in the states of Vermont and New York. Rivers and creeks in both states burst their banks, producing torrents of water that swept away trees, cars and parts of historic bridges. Hundreds of residents fled to shelters.

Irene first hit the United States on Friday, making landfall in the state of North Carolina, before moving along the mid-Atlantic coast on Saturday and weakening into a tropical storm over New England on Sunday.

Authorities reported 33 storm-related deaths in 10 eastern states, mostly from falling frees, road accidents and raging floodwaters. Experts say the damage is likely to total billions of dollars. Fugate said it is too early to give an official estimate because federal, state and local authorities still are assessing the destruction.

Fugate said about 5 million homes and businesses on the East Coast remained without power Monday, down from 6 million the day before. Utilities say it will take days to restore electricity to many of those customers.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday it will “take time to recover from a storm of this magnitude.” At a White House event, he said FEMA and other federal bodies will do “everything in their power” to help local and state authorities with recovery efforts.

Forecasters downgraded Irene to a post-tropical storm early Monday as it moved over eastern Canada. Authorities said strong winds and heavy rain from the storm knocked out power to about 250,000 homes and businesses in Quebec and Canada’s Atlantic provinces. One man was missing after floodwaters swept away a car northeast of Montreal.

Irene’s center passed over New York, but spared the city major damage. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the city’s airports have re-opened and a memorial to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks will open on schedule next month. But he also said about 1,000 people were in shelters and 38,000 people were without power.

City authorities ordered an unprecedented weather-related shutdown of New York’s subway system on Saturday ahead of Irene’s arrival, depriving millions of their main mode of transportation.

But local officials credited the closure with allowing them to re-open the subway system in time for Monday morning’s rush hour. The New York Stock Exchange began its trading week on time. But flooding forced the suspension of trains connecting New York to its northern suburbs and halted most rail services in New Jersey.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Millions-of-US-East-Coast-Residents-Face-Power-Outages-Floods-After-Irene-128589923.html


Residents on the east coast of the United States continue to deal with historic flooding and widespread power outages as a result of the deadly Hurricane Irene.

The storm, which made landfall in the southern state of North Carolina on Friday, has killed at least 40 people in the U.S. and Canada.

No power

Utility companies say more than a week could pass before electricity is restored for many of the 5 million homes and businesses still without power as a result of the storm.

Hurricane Irene caused havoc well after it passed into Canada late Sunday. In the landlocked northern U.S. state of Vermont, residents are dealing with the worst flooding in a century.

U.S. President Barack Obama has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies to do “everything in their power” to help those affected by the hurricane.

Official travel

Top administration officials will travel to the worst-hit states on Tuesday to survey the damage.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to North Carolina and Virginia. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, will visit Vermont.

As the storm headed north along the coast, it forced the evacuation of two and a half million people and damaged roads, bridges and buildings with high winds and heavy rains.

Several airports were closed with thousands of flights canceled. Ground transportation in several areas came to a halt.

In New York, the city’s subway system was shut down, an unprecedented weather-related event that left millions of residents without their main mode of transportation. But the city itself, America’s largest, was spared from any major damage.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Top-Obama-Officials-to-Survey-Hurricane-Irene-Damage-128662443.html


Tropical Storm Irene has killed 38 people in the US, and authorities warn that flooding could continue for up to three days in northern US states.

More than five million people remain without power, while Vermont is reeling from its worst floods in many decades.
Insurance claims could top $7bn (£4.3bn), the Consumer Federation of America estimated.
Irene has passed into Canada, after causing havoc on the US east coast from North Carolina to Vermont.
Driving rains and flood tides damaged homes and cut power to more than three million people in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York alone.
Vermont governor lashes out Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit North Carolina and Virginia on Tuesday to survey the storm damage.

Scott Snyder from the American Red Cross: “Some rivers are still rising”

Federal Emergency Management Agency head Craig Fugate will head to Vermont.
In north-eastern Canada the first possible fatality has been recorded.
A man was swept away in Yamaska, northeast of Montreal, when two cars plunged into a chasm created when a road was washed away, Quebec police said.
Nearly a quarter of a million people in Quebec, which saw winds as high as 62mph (100km/h), lost power on Sunday night.
An Associated Press news agency tally found 38 people had been killed in 11 US states, mostly because of falling trees, ocean waves, downed power lines and raging floods caused by the storm.
In the rural state of Vermont, the last hit before Irene reached Canada, the storm washed away bridges and swamped the town of Brattleboro.
Touring the town, Governor Peter Shumlin criticised media coverage for focusing on New York, saying: “We’re not Manhattan, but we have human lives here in Vermont, too.”
“It breaks your heart to see the extraordinary devastation that we’re seeing here in Vermont,” he added.
Hundreds stranded Three deaths in Vermont have been blamed on the storm.

Storm tragedies

  • Celena Sylvestri, 20, drowned when her car filled with water on a flooded New Jersey road. She had called her boyfriend and 911 for help.
  • A New York man was electrocuted when he tried to rescue a child on a street with downed power lines.
  • Two men in Florida drowned as they tried to swim or surf rough waves.
  • Seven people were crushed by falling trees in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In the town of Waterbury, Irene closed the Vermont Emergency Management headquarters and the Vermont State Hospital, where some 50 patients were moved to other facilities.

Authorities asked people to avoid travelling in the state, which received 11 inches (33cm) of rain, and warned of significant flooding, damaged roads and downed power lines.
The storm caused part of a ski lodge to collapse in the town of Killington, where as many as 300 guests and 100 staff were stranded on Monday due to flooded roads.
Meanwhile, nearly 100 people remained stranded in mountain towns in New York State due to washed out roads and bridges. The storm dumped 13in (30cm) of rain on the state.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said dozens of bridges and roadways would need to be repaired and that some of the state’s rivers had yet to crest from flooding.
“You’re going see more damage before it starts to get better,” he told reporters.
In New York City, which escaped the worst of Irene’s fury on Sunday, the subway network and three main airports all reopened on Monday.
More than 300,000 people evacuated from low-lying areas in New York City are now able to return home.
Counting the dead Some Americans who bought candles, canned food and other emergency provisions in recent days demanded refunds on Monday, claiming Irene’s threat had been exaggerated.

A bridge in Northfield, Vermont, damaged during the storm Creeks and rivers overflowed their banks and destroyed bridges and roads in Vermont

Others held post-hurricane parties to use up the extra supplies.
Claims for wind damage are expected to be one sixth of the total sum from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and claims for flood damage one tenth, the Consumer Federation of America estimated.
Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy said on Monday that more homes were without power as a result of the storm in his state than at any other time in its modern history.
States south of New York, where Irene struck at hurricane strength on Saturday and Sunday, have begun cleaning up, assessing the damage and counting the dead.
Irene was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm and then a post-tropical cyclone.
North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue said some areas of the state were still unreachable. TV footage showed fallen trees and power lines.
Officials in Virginia have begun the clear-up, but say the damage was not as bad as feared.

Map, 29 August

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14711508


Days after withstanding a rare earthquake, large swaths of the densely populated U.S. East Coast have weathered Irene, a once-powerful hurricane later downgraded to a tropical storm. Irene drenched New York Sunday after coming ashore over coastal areas farther south. At least 18 deaths are blamed on the storm, which prompted a massive mobilization of federal, state and local governments.

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For three days, Irene pummeled the U.S. East Coast with high winds and torrential rains. Although no communities were obliterated, destruction is widespread over thousands of square kilometers with flooding, downed trees, damaged homes, power outages and impassable roads.

One Washington D.C. resident, who identified himself as Leonard, survived a harrowing night with his family after a giant tree fell on his home.

“It seemed like a pretty tame storm, and then all of a sudden these big oak trees started falling down on houses,” he said. “[I was] very scared. I have two little kids, a two-and-a-half year-old and a one-year-old.”

Untold numbers of travelers were stranded amid thousands of canceled flights. Irene prompted New York City’s first-ever subway closure due to a natural event.

But stoic New Yorkers seemed to take the storm in stride, including grocery store owner Faris Algabbon.

“Everybody buys a lot of stuff – for nothing. Nothing happened,” he said. “We only closed for a couple hours. Now we are open, and now we are good to go.”

Unlike last week’s sudden earthquake, Irene’s arrival was anticipated days in advance. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a simple message for residents.

“Everyone should be prepared to go inside and stay inside,” he said.

In many areas, a prolonged period of clean-up and recovery awaits.

“We do not know how much damage has been done, how many trees are down on [train] tracks across New Jersey,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “Clearing trees from our roadways.”

From Washington, a promise of federal assistance, and a warning issued by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“We are not out of the woods [safe from potential harm] yet,” she said. “Irene remains a large and potentially dangerous storm. Hazards still persist in communities that have already seen the storm pass.”

Hurricane or no, some events would not be postponed, including one New York wedding. A beaming bride, Sammy Miller, spoke from the steps of her church. “It is too important of a day to miss,” she said.

And some babies could not wait to be born. In a Wilmington, North Carolina hospital, Kristen Elliot cradled her infant daughter. “I just kind of felt that she [the baby] was going to come right during the hurricane,” she said.

Irene’s remnants are expected to dissipate over Canada later Monday.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Massive-Tropical-Storm-Brings-Death-Flooding-to-US-East-Coast-128561323.html