Entries in Damage (10)


Seattle Fireworks Show Marred by Fire

John White Photos/Flickr/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- An annual fireworks show in Seattle was the ruined by a fire at a boat storage facility on Lake Union Thursday.

According to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, at least six boats were damaged in the fire. Witnesses said that the fire spread quickly.

"It started out as a small ember in a small boat," one witness told KOMO-TV, "and they didn't remove it quick enough and the whole thing caught fire."

Firefighters responded to the report at about 10 p.m. on Thursday and the flames were extinguished in under one hour.

According to the Seattle Fire Department, up to 14 boats may have suffered as much as $1.5 million in damage in the fire.

The fire was apparently caused by a stray firework. There were no reported injuries in the fire. The fireworks show went ahead as scheduled after the fire was extinguished.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Officials to Assess Damage After Tornadoes Hit Oklahoma Again

NOAA National Weather Service(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Oklahoma officials this morning will be surveying the damage left by several twisters and violent weather that swept through the area Friday night -- leaving at least nine people dead, flipping trucks on interstate highways during rush hour and miring cars in deep floods.

"We haven't had a chance yet for our team to take a look at the damage out there because the flood waters are still keeping us out of the area," Keli Cain, the public information officer for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management told ABC News.

The National Weather Service initially estimated that five tornadoes touched down in the Oklahoma City area Friday.

Friday's severe weather was blamed for at least nine deaths, including two children and seven adults, the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's office confirmed Saturday morning.

Among them were a mother and her baby possibly sucked out of their cars near Interstate 40, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph told ABC News.

"We know that the storm picked them up and swept them away," Randolph said. "When the troopers found them, they were both deceased.

"We know that a mother and a child were killed tonight on I-40 in Canadian County," Randolph said. "I cannot stress to you just how important it is that if people don't have to be out, that they stay inside and seek shelter. ... There's just no safe place to be except underground when a tornado is present."

The latest storms hit 11 days after a massive E-5 tornado jolted Moore, Okla., on May 20, killing 24 people, smashing hospitals and schools, and flattening neighborhoods.

Randolph said the area roads were extremely congested, particularly I-40 and I-35.

"Several spots are impassable whether it's high water or power lines that are down," she said. "We've had multiple crashes, some of which are probably going to be there for a while as we're unable to get wreckers to clear the roadway."

She added that troopers were being told to push vehicles off I-40 to clear the roadway.

Local hospitals reported receiving at least 89 patients, four critical, with three fatalities among them.

Integris Health Southwest, which has three hospitals in the area, reported most of the patients, including two dead -- the mother and baby from I-40. One of its hospitals also had a baby in critical condition.

Mercy Hospital in El Reno, Okla., reported receiving 13 patients, one dead on arrival and two in critical condition.

Oklahoma University Medical Center, the only level one trauma center in the state, reported two adult patients whose conditions were unclear. OU also runs The Children's Hospital, where there were six pediatric patients, two transferred from Integris.

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado emergency earlier for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including Moore, which is south of the Oklahoma City, amid the massive storm.

Gov. Mary Fallin told ABC News on Friday evening that there were power outages, flooding and flipped trucks on interstates amid apparent tornados.

"We're real concerned about the people that are on the highways," Fallin said, noting the worst of the storm hit during the evening rush hour.

"It hit during a time when people were getting off work," Fallin said. "They knew the storms where coming in, so people were going home."

"We're seeing, right now, a lot of flooding," Cain said Friday. "That is a big issue. We're seeing a lot of power issues. ... It's still difficult to assess what damage is out there. We may not have information about that until [Saturday]."

ABC News affiliate KOCO reported that an apparent tornado had touched down near El Reno, Okla., and moved east toward Oklahoma City.

"It's really bad and lightning and all the roads are flooded," said Addie Pendarvis, who works at a Sonic drive-in diner in El Reno. "It was hailing really bad earlier, too."

Moore City Manager Steve Eddy, drove around Moore after the latest storm, and told ABC News Friday evening that he saw minor flooding and power outages, but no immediate evidence of tornado activity.

There are about 125,000 power outages reported statewide with 95,618 in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area alone.

Oklahoma City Police Emergency Management said late Friday it was helping motorists stranded by widespread flooding.

Flash flooding remains the biggest weather threat Saturday as the National Weather Service issued flash flooding warnings for central and eastern Oklahoma.

Early morning flights at Will Rogers airport in Oklahoma City have delayed but officials expect to resume service later Saturday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Staten Island Residents Plead for Help Three Days After Sandy

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.

“We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!” Donna Solli told visiting officials. “You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!”

Staten Island was one of the hardest-hit communities in New York City. More than 80,000 residents are still without power. Many are homeless, and at least 19 people died on Staten Island because of the storm.

One of the devastated neighborhoods was overwhelmed by a violent surge of water. Residents described a super-sized wave as high as 20 feet, with water rushing into the streets like rapids.

Staten Island resident Mike Abuzzio’s home is completely gone, with only his floor boards remaining. He, his wife and their two young daughters have been staying with relatives.

“My youngest daughter yesterday said, ‘Daddy, I want to go,’” Abuzzio told ABC News. “I told her, ‘It’s going to be awhile, hon.’ She doesn’t understand. She’s 6.”

In the rubble that was once his home, Abuzzio found one clean, intact plate of Christmas china. He said that plate will be special at Christmastime and will be used specifically for his mother’s cookies.

For 48 hours after the storm, search teams were hunting for two Staten Island brothers, just 2- and 4-years-old. They were swept out of their mother’s arms when waves caused by storm surges crashed into the family’s SUV. Their small bodies were found Thursday at the end of a dead-end street. Their parents were at the scene where the bodies were discovered.

Staten Island officials sounded increasingly desperate Thursday, asking when supplies will arrive. They blasted the Red Cross for not being there when it counted.

“This is America, not a third world nation. We need food, we need clothing,” Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro said Thursday. “My advice to the people of Staten Island is: Don’t donate the American Red Cross. Put their money elsewhere.”

The Red Cross and the National Guard arrived in the area late Tuesday and are distributing food, water and gas – and city officials say things are much better.

Molinaro urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday to cancel Sunday’s New York City Marathon. The race’s staging area is on Staten Island and Molinaro said it would be “crazy, asinine,” to have the race after what has happened.

“My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster,” Molinaro said Wednesday. “If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade. Now is the time to put your shoulder to the wheel. If they want to prepare for something, let them prepare for the election, not a marathon.”

“Do you realize how many police officers you need for a marathon?” he asked. “There are people looting stores on Midland Avenue. There is looting taking place in the homes on the South Shore that were destroyed. That is where we need the police.”


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Climbers to Rappel Down Washington Monument to Survey Damage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Professional climbers will rappel down all four sides of the Washington Monument Tuesday to get a closer look at any exterior damage caused by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Washington, D.C., in late August.
The project is part of the National Park Service’s ongoing damage assessment. For a thorough survey, said Brandon Latham, a climbing ranger from Denali National Park, Alaska, ropes will be anchored from an access hatch near the top of the monument. Climbers will then crawl out windows at the observation deck, and head upwards to the access hatch to complete a top-to-bottom survey.
While the project sounds like something out of a spy movie, it’s not an uncommon move. The project team handling the survey has rappelled down a 220-foot obelisk in New Jersey, numerous state capitols, and buildings that are about the same height as the 555-foot Washington Monument.
The climbers will be looking for any cracks, as well as small rocks that may have come loose during the earthquake and are still hanging onto the monument’s stone slabs. Such rock fragments, called spalls, have already been removed from inside the Washington Monument, said Jennifer Talken-Spaulding of the National Park Service.
The agency says the monument’s elevator cables, damaged during the earthquake, will be replaced. The elevator was at level zero when the earthquake struck. Once the climbers and surveyors have pored over the exterior of the monument, the National Park Service said it will cover all open joints and cracks to prevent further weather damage. At the moment, said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall, a “substantial amount of water” is getting into the monument because of cracks and damaged joints missing mortar.
The park service did not give a date for when the monument will be open to visitors, adding that they will be in a better position in mid-October to estimate a re-opening date.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Best States for Avoiding Expensive Weather Disasters

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene is expected to reach $7.2 billion across eight states and Washington, D.C., with $1 billion estimates for New York State alone, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

If this grim news has left you wondering which states are least likely to have expensive weather-related disasters, recent data suggests your best chance of avoiding them requires leaving the mainland for either Alaska or Hawaii.

According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), between 1980 and 2010, Hawaii and Alaska had the fewest costly weather-related catastrophes.

The NCDC only tallied disasters producing damage estimates totaling more than $1 billion, including insured and uninsured losses.

Adam Smith, a physical scientist who played a key role in integrating the different data sets used in the NCDC report, put out a new map on the website Thursday afternoon, reflecting 2011 data.

“The new map that incorporates the 10 events from this year still shows the South and Southeast have the highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters,” Smith said.

He cautioned one ‘event’ can affect several different states, so a weather disaster tallied in one state might be the same as the weather disaster tallied in another state.

In Alaska, wildfires spurred by drought during 2006, 2007 and 2008 took their toll, and in Hawaii, during September 1992, a category 4 hurricane hit the Hawaiian island of Kauai resulting in seven deaths.

Of course, in both states you may still have to contend with earthquakes.  Alaska has had more earthquakes than any other state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and Hawaii ranks third.

On the continental United States, Michigan, Maine and Vermont have had the fewest expensive weather-related disasters.  But as Hurricane Irene demonstrated, recent severe flooding in Vermont suggests nothing can be taken for granted, especially as new, extreme weather patterns continue to develop.

Regardless, Smith said, the coasts -- particularly in the South -- will continue to experience some of the biggest weather-related losses.

The states with the most weather-related disasters topping more than $1 billion are Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, which each had at least 31 expensive events in the past 30 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


East Coast Quake Causes Some Damage in DC

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The largest East Coast quake in memory rattled nerves and buildings from Martha's Vineyard to North Carolina Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of Congressional buildings, slowing rail and air traffic, and forcing two nuclear reactors offline.

The earthquake, estimated to be a 5.8 magnitude, sent people pouring out of office buildings, hospitals, the Pentagon and the State Department when it struck at 1:51 p.m.  The pillars of the capitol in Washington, D.C., shook.  Alarms sounded in the FBI and Department of Justice buildings, and some flooding was reported on an upper floor of the Pentagon as a result of the quake.

Parks and sidewalks in Washington were packed with people who fled their buildings.  All of the monuments along the National Mall were closed as a result.  Police on horseback kept people a safe distance from the Washington Monument and the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

The National Parks Service found "some cracking in the stones at the top of the [Washington] Monument" after it completed a secondary inspection.  The monument will be closed on Wednesday while structural engineers evaluate the damage.

Other tourist attractions along the National Mall -- like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial,  and the World War II Memorial -- were not damaged and will remain open, according to the NPS.

The National Cathedral in Washington suffered damage to at least three of the cathedral's pinnacles, Dean of the Cathedral Samuel Lloyd said.  The cathedral has been cordoned off with yellow police tape as a precaution.

Officials inspected Congressional buildings before members of Congress and their staff were allowed to return to their offices.

The quake was felt as far north as New Hampshire and in Martha's Vineyard where President Obama and his family are vacationing.  It was felt as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Cleveland, Ohio.

Over the last 10 years, earthquakes have been felt in every state, said geophysicists with the U.S. Geological Survey at a press conference late Tuesday afternoon.  Tuesday's quake was felt in 25 states, an event the USGS' David Wald called "rather unique."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tornado Destruction: St. Louis Residents Clean Up After Storm

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- People in the St. Louis area are recovering in the wake of a monster tornado -- the worst in nearly a half century -- that damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and ripped through the major airport over the weekend.

New damage totals show some 2,700 buildings around St. Louis damaged, and 100 homes destroyed, including Marcy Baker's house.

She was spending Easter weekend in Dallas with her family when she got a call that her house had been hit. She drove home 12 hours to find her house destroyed.

"I have a 15-month-old, I'm pregnant. It's devastating," Baker said.

At a nearby Catholic church, the 40-foot steeple toppled during the tornado that struck in the middle of Good Friday services.

Power was knocked out to as many as 47,000 customers after the tornado. On Sunday, some 26,000 customers remained without power and officials said many could remain in the dark until Monday. No one was killed and a handful of injuries were reported.

At Lambert Airport, surveillance video captured the exact moment a 135-mile-an-hour tornado struck, ripping off the roof and sending metal flying. Officials are fixing hundreds of panes of broken glass. It could take months and millions of dollars to fully complete the clean up.

Flights were getting back to normal after the airport reopened Saturday. Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says the continuing repairs to the airport shouldn't impact travelers.

"The majority of the windows are boarded up, still doing just a little bit of work on that but the airport itself is structurally sound," she said.

Yet despite all this, victims are counting their blessings. There were no reported deaths as a result of the tornado.

"It's a miracle out of all the devastation. There were absolutely no fatalities, and very few injuries," said Terry Hayes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Apparent Tornado Rips Through St. Louis Airport

ABC News/File(ST. LOUIS) -- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport remained closed Saturday morning after an apparent tornado swept through parts of St. Louis and severely damaged the airport Friday.

Officials say a total of four people had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment to minor injuries after storms pummeled the airport and surrounding areas on Friday evening. While the injuries to individuals were said to be minor, the damage to the airport was major.

Airport officials say Terminal 1 and Concourse C suffered the majority of the damage, with 50 percent of the windows and parts of the roof being wrecked by the storm. Vehicles and other equipment at the airport were reportedly tossed around as the storm hit the area, leaving behind damaged roadways and considerable ruin to airport entrances. However, officials say it appears that planes were spared the wrath of the storms.

“We are working with all the airlines to assess damage, at this time we do not believe any aircraft was damaged,” Lambert- St. Louis Int’l Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said in a statement.

Officials say the airport remained closed indefinitely as crews worked to clean up the mess left by the severe weather conditions.

Thousands of residents in the surrounding areas and in other parts of Missouri were also left in the dark Friday, after storms knocked out power. Several homes and other structures sustained damage, while trees and power lines came tumbling down as a result of high winds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hawaii Assesses Major Damage from Tsunami

ABC News(HONOLULU) -- Hawaii got off relatively easy last Friday compared to what the tsunami did to Japan.

Still, the nation's 50th state sustained tens of millions of dollars in damage from giant waves, although the initial estimate was lowered once state and county officials took a tour of the affected areas.

Those hardest included Kealakekua on the Big Island, Maalaea Harbor, Kahului on Maui, and Kona, where many businesses were flooded.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who toured the damaged areas Tuesday, acknowledged that the economic impact from the tsunami will be "profound."

The state is also expected to take another economic hit, since the Japanese are its biggest tourism clients and it's expected visits will dwindle dramatically for the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tornado Death Toll Rises to Seven

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ST.  LOUIS) -- The death toll from the slew of tornadoes that swirled across southern states on Friday rose to seven on Saturday, with two additional casualties in Missouri.  Four are known dead in that state.  Three people died in Arkansas.

Authorities say two elderly women were found dead outside their trailer in Phelps County, southwest of St. Louis and two others were killed in Dent County, south of Phelps County.  In northwest Arkansas, three people died when a tornado obliterated a house in the tiny town of Cincinnati.

Tornadoes were reported in three other states, as well.  Oklahoma, Illinois and Mississippi were hit by the New Year's Eve twisters.  In the deadly Arkansas and Missouri twisters, winds roared up to 165 miles per hour.

The seven fatalities make this the second deadliest New Year's Eve tornado outbreak on record.  The worst was in 1947 when 20 people died.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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