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Entries in Evacuations (15)

Wednesday
Nov072012

Nor'easter Evacuations for Some New York, New Jersey Residents

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A week after superstorm Sandy caused massive damage and power outages, some New York and New Jersey residents have been evacuated ahead of a nor'easter that is expected to bring high winds and rain to the region.

Three nursing homes and one adult care facility in New York City's hard hit Rockaways section were evacuated on Tuesday, while in New Jersey, some coastline residents were asked to leave their homes.

Wednesday's nor'easter isn't expected to be as bad as Sandy, but with thousands still without power in New Jersey and New York City, officials are worried about residents hunkered down in damaged homes with no power.

Winds could gust up to at least 50 mph in New York and New Jersey Wednesday afternoon and into the evening.  
Storm surges could reach up to 3 feet on the coast lines.

And snow is expected to fall from northern Maryland to eastern Pennsylvania, with Washington, D.C., seeing 1 to 2 inches and Philadelphia around 3 inches.

"We live by the adage -- prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and that's exactly what we're doing," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.

Cuomo said the state is slowly taking steps toward recovery in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

"We have about 350,000 New Yorkers without power.  That's way down from what it was -- about 2.1 million, but it's still not okay," he said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said those that have finally regained power could lose it after the nor'easter.  He assured that the state is still taking strides toward recovery following Sandy.

"The fact that I have 2.1 million people with power back doesn't mean a damn to you if you don't have your power back.  You're happy for your neighbor, but you're not happy until your lights go on, until your heat goes on, and I recognize that," Christie said.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration put a number to the storm's homeless in New York and New Jersey, saying 95,000 people were eligible for emergency housing assistance.  In New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, more than 277,000 people have registered for general assistance, the agency said.

There have been no mandatory evacuations in low-lying areas in New York City, but with a storm surge expected from the nor'easter, many living near the water are worried.

"We're going to get a lot of wind and a lot of rain and that's what's scary," Maria Curatola, of Staten Island, told ABC News.  "I'm hoping it'll blow over.  I'm hoping it'll go the opposite way -- we've had enough."

With temperatures dropping into the mid 30s overnight, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged those without power and heat to head to shelters and warming centers.  The mayor has also closed parks, playgrounds and beaches.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov022012

At New York Aquarium, Staff Considers Evacuating Fish

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Inside the New York Aquarium, fish tanks and exhibits are now surrounded by floodwater and sand from Sandy’s surge.

The aquarium, located just off the famous boardwalk of Coney Island in Brooklyn, is home to sand tiger sharks, sea otters and a new baby walrus — and for days it was without power.

A dedicated staff now remains at the battered facility to monitor the tanks and provide food and water to the animals. The aquarium said it has generators that restored power to three-quarters of its exhibits by Friday evening.

“Our walruses, sea lions, seals, sea otters, sea turtles and sharks are all fine,” said Jim Breheny, executive vice president of New York’s Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the aquarium.  “We did have some losses in the fish collection, most of which were confined to one exhibit tank that we could not access immediately after the storm hit.  The rest of our exhibit and holding tanks and the fish that are housed there are all doing well.”

Still, Breheny said, the society would ask other aquariums in the area to remain on standby through the weekend in case animals have to be evacuated.

If they did, it could be a complicated effort.

John Hewitt, senior vice president of the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, told ABC News Friday that specialized cages would be needed and that a single shark required a 12,000-gallon fish tank.

He moved dozens of animals from New Orleans’ aquarium after Hurricane Katrina.

“You need veterinary expertise,” he said. “These animals are highly specialized. [It's] very demanding from an animal health standpoint.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct282012

Hurricane Sandy: 'Don't Be Stupid, Get Out And Go To Higher, Safer Ground,' Officials Said

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tens of thousands of people in coastal areas have been ordered to evacuate their homes before Hurricane Sandy pounds the eastern third of the United States with life-threatening storm surges, forceful winds and rainfall that could cripple transportation and leave millions without power.

"Don't be stupid. Get out and go to higher, safer ground," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said today. "Let's get to work on this. We know how to do this. We've been through this before."

States of emergency were declared from North Carolina to Connecticut. Coastal communities in Delaware were ordered to evacuate by 8 p.m. tonight.

The storm is expected to bring potentially life-threatening storm surges on the coast ranging from several feet to potentially as high as 11-feet in the Long Island Sound area of New York, said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.

"The size of the storm is going to carve a pretty large swath of bad weather," Knabb said. "This is not just a coastal event."

Sandy will meet up with a cold front coming from the northwest and a high pressure system from Greenland, fueling it with enough energy to make it more powerful than the "Perfect Storm," some meteorologists say.

The first rainfall from the megastorm is expected Sunday and forecasters warn it could bring inland flooding around Maryland and Pennsylvania and up to two feet of snow in West Virginia.

Sandy remained at a Category 1 strength today, with 75 mph winds being measured. The storm was moving northeast at 10 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

FEMA administrator Craig Fugate urged people in Sandy's path to take the storm seriously and to heed any evacuation orders.

"The time for preparing and talking is about over. People need to be acting now," Fugate said.

New York City transit officials are preparing for a shutdown of the subway system, the largest rapid transit system in the world, at 7 p.m. tonight. Sandy can potentially create a storm surge capable of overtopping the Manhattan flood walls, filling the subway tunnels with water.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of areas of lower Manhattan and the Rockaways.

"If you don't evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you," Bloomberg said at a news conference. "... This is a serious and dangerous storm."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul112012

Train Derailment in Ohio Sparks Explosion, Prompts Evacuations

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- A train in Columbus, Ohio, derailed early Wednesday morning, sparking an explosion and the evacuation of about 100 people near the fire, ABC News affiliate WSYX-TV reports.

At least two people have been injured.  Their conditions are not yet known.

The derailment happened at 2 a.m. on Fields Avenue.  Eleven cars in total derailed.  WSYX says some of the cars were carrying ethanol, a highly flammable substance.  As of a result, two went up in flames.

People within a one-mile radius of the blaze have been evacuated, according to WSYX.  A hazardous materials team has been called to the scene.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul022012

Many Colorado Wildfire Evacuees Allowed to Return Home

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Some 7,000 residents of the Colorado Springs area were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, but for many, they returned to a pile of rubble left behind by a wildfire that destroyed some 350 homes.  The blaze is now 45 percent contained.

Anne Marie Borrego of the American Red Cross says many evacuees of the Waldo Canyon wildfire had been under an evacuation order for days and had no idea what they would find when they returned home.  Many found they had lost everything.

Colorado officials say the number of evacuees from the wildfire now stands at 3,000, down from more than 30,000 at the peak of the fire.

Colorado Springs city official Steve Cox is warning residents that a burn ban is still in effect as the Fourth of July approaches.  Cox says the temptation to light fireworks may be great for some folks, but another wildfire would be the worst thing that could happen to the community.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun282012

Colorado Wildfire Sends Residents to Shelters

Chris Schneider/Getty Images(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Pumping thick, black, suffocating smoke into the sky, the wildfire in Colorado Springs, Colo., has left 32,000 people scurrying for shelter and officials struggling to assess the damage.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey said officials had no plans to release the number of homes destroyed, insisting that residents have a right to be told first, in private.

But the blazing inferno has kept officials at a distance. Conditions were unkind to firefighters on Wednesday as 65 mph winds refueled the fires in Waldo Canyon.  Recent aerial photos show entire neighborhoods wiped out.  
As of Thursday morning, residents don't know when they will be able to return home, or even if their home survived.

More than 1,000 firefighters are on the ground and many of the nation's fleet of C-130 planes are dumping retardant from the skies above.  Four of those C-130 planes dropped more than 60,000 gallons of retardant over Waldo Canyon Wednesday.

Satellite images from NASA show even those lucky to escape the flames might not escape the chocking plume of smoke over Colorado's second-largest city and beyond.

In Colorado Springs, doctors say the air quality right now is at least 10 times worse than it was before the fire.  Dr. Timothy Rummel says about 40 people have been to the emergency room because of smoke inhalation.

With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, authorities reminded residents to respect a ban on fireworks.  

President Obama will tour fire-stricken areas of Colorado on Friday and thank firefighters battling some of the worst fires to hit the American West in decades.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Massive Wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico Force Hundreds to Evacuate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(DENVER) -- Firefighters in New Mexico and Colorado are battling wildfires that have spread quickly in all directions, forcing hundreds to flee from their homes across both states.

In Colorado, at least 18 structures -- including homes -- have been destroyed, with one person missing and feared dead, according to authorities.  In just two days, flames have torched over 30 square miles.

"If you talk about worst-case scenario, this is our worst-case scenario," Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said.

Hundreds of residents have been evacuated ahead of the flames.  Authorities sent at least 2,575 evacuation notices, but it wasn't clear how many residents had to leave, according to ABC News affiliate KMGH in Denver.

Some residents claim they didn't receive any notice and their only warning was hearing the fire coming toward their doorsteps.

"It was terrible.  It sounded like a hurricane," said Sandra Mullen, according to KMGH.  "I think everything will be gone.  My husband is 78 and I'm 75, so when you're that old, it's too hard to start over."

"It looked like Armageddon," said resident Joanne Hertz.  "I have absolutely no clue if my house is still standing."

Resources are spread thin in Larimer County as other western states need tankers, helicopters and ground crews to battle their own wildfires, sheriff's spokesman Nick Christensen told KMGH.

In New Mexico, a destructive fire near Ruidoso tripled in size over the weekend and destroyed 40 buildings.  Crews were working to build a fire line around the blaze, which started Friday.

The exact number of evacuations is not known, but they were reported to be in the hundreds.

Winds and dry air continue to fuel the burning fires -- everything needed for a perfect firestorm.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Northeast Flooding: Five Dead as 100,000 Evacuate

Tetra Images/Thinkstock(WILKES-BARRE, Pa.) -- Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River has crested and over 100,000 residents have been evacuated as remnants of Tropical Storm Lee have created flood zones in the already water-logged region.

A persistent area of low pressure associated with Lee's remnants will remain over the area throughout the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.  It is expected that the area will see an additional four to seven inches of rainfall in the coming days.

Of the five deaths that have been attributed to the flooding, one was a child who was caught in a storm drain by the rushing waters.  The 8-year-old Pennsylvania boy was swept underwater into a storm drain that was approximately one foot in diameter, police said.

The city of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., issued a mandatory evacuation order for 8 p.m. Thursday which was moved to 4 p.m. as the Susquehanna River rapidly swelled.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton asked residents to "be vigilant" and warned they should prepare themselves for an extended evacuation of a minimum 72 hours.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that an emergency exists in Pennsylvania and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions.

About 1,200 National Guardsmen have been deployed across the state, according to the Philadelphia Enquirer, with approximately one-third headed for the Wilkes-Barre area -- which is cradled in the center of the Wyoming Valley region, with the Pocono Mountains to the east, the Endless Mountains to the west and the Lehigh Valley to the south.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep082011

Thousands Evacuated in Second Round of Flooding

Scott Olson/Getty Images(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) -- More than 100,000 residents living along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania are being forced to evacuate Thursday after officials said they expected even more rain to fall on the water-logged tristate area.

Residents of Wilkes-Barre and Kingston were ordered to leave by 4 p.m.

"I'm moving out of my first floor because if [the river] goes 38 feet, I'm going to have five feet on my first floor," Plainsville resident Beverly Sabol told ABC News affiliate WNEP-TV as her family emptied her house. "Thirty-eight projection? ... Where am I going to go?"

After the Northeast was inundated with rain as Hurricane Irene made its way northward a few weeks ago, Tropical Storm Lee dumped more heavy rain and caused floods Thursday.

Forty river gauges are in for major or record flooding, and historic flooding is expected in eight rivers throughout the region, including the Delaware and Passaic Rivers. Ten states are under flood watches, with warnings from Virginia to New Hampshire.

In Binghamton, N.Y., the Susquehanna broke a flood record and flowed over retaining walls. Emergency responders worked quickly to get residents who had not evacuated to leave their homes.

"We're still trying to get everybody out to a safe spot. Life is more important than people's properties as far as I'm concerned," firefighter Jason Delanoy said.

"It's a little scary but I do know that the emergency crews have been taking good care of everybody so far," resident Charlie Pritchett told ABC News affiliate WSYR-TV. "At least where we're at, they're ready to evacuate. They're ready to take care of everybody. Our parents live at the top of the hill so we're moving to the top of the hill with the kids and the dog."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Aug272011

Hurricane Irene: One Million People Vacate Jersey Shore in 24 Hours 

NASA/NOAA GOES(TRENTON, N.J.) -- More than one million people have left the New Jersey Shore in the last 24 hours to escape Hurricane Irene’s fury, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Saturday afternoon.

Traffic flowed smoothly with few residents refusing to evacuate. Atlantic County was 90 percent evacuated. Atlantic City remains the main concern as a high-rise building with nearly 600 residents—predominantly senior citizens—have refused to leave.

Ninety-five percent of Long Beach Island was vacated and 98 percent of Cape May County was vacated.

Storm tracking continues and 6 to 12 inches of rain are expected to pound the area Sunday along with high winds.

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