Entries in Storms (30)


Winter Weather Blasts the Nation

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Record-breaking winter weather Thursday struck millions of Americans across the nation's midsection. 

In Texas, a possible tornado damaged about 25 homes and left a 74-year-old woman dead after a tree fell onto a mobile home, according to Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox.

Highways were closed from Nebraska through Missouri and Kansas as the storm rolled through, bringing up to more than a foot of snow in some places. 

WATCH the ABC News report on World News with Diane Sawyer:


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Storms Slam Northern California

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The first of three powerful storms is hitting Northern California, where travelers are feeling the strongest impact.

The winds are causing flights to be delayed and canceled in San Francisco and Oakland. Heavy rain has been falling, making freeways crawl. And if that's not enough, there are big concerns about possible mudslides. A wildfire burned close to some homes, making the soil very unsteady.

The rain is expected to continue through Sunday. In total, up to 10 inches of rain could fall in some areas north of San Francisco.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Worries About More Storms Like Sandy

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the scene in Lower Manhattan and at the World Trade Center Memorial Monday night as “frightening,” but said Tuesday that things were looking much better and that the city would quickly come back from Hurricane Sandy.

“It was all dark because [Con Edison] had turned off the power. And the water. The Hudson River was just a few hundred yards to the right from us. It had come over the banks. … And was filling this site [at the World Trade Center Memorial] at such a rate and from every direction,” he said Tuesday. “You were just wondering when it was going to stop. …We could not have taken much more of the flow that we were getting last night.”

Cuomo said officials feared for the memorial, its underground museum and the city’s other underground infrastructure such as its subway tunnels. He said that at one point Monday night, they even wondered whether the rushing waters would collapse the entire World Trade Center site.

“The way New York was designed, we’re not in a part of the country that deals with floods or [is] designed to deal with floods,” he said. “We have a lot of infrastructure under the ground that gets filled up. The subway tunnels have all flooded. Some of the subway stations, the water is up to the ceiling.”

Cuomo said officials did not know when the power would be completely restored. He said the subway tunnels would have to be pumped first because much of Con Edison’s equipment was located there. He estimated that would take a couple of days.

The New York governor told ABC News that he agreed with former Vice President Al Gore, who theorized in a blog post earlier Tuesday that Hurricane Sandy was a symptom of a larger climate crisis.

“I believe he’s right,” Cuomo said. “I said kiddingly the other day, ‘We have a 100-year flood every two years now.’ These situations never happened or if they happened, they were never going to happen again. … I think at this point it’s undeniable that we have a higher frequency of these extreme weather situations, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Severe Weather Pounds Across the US; Thousands Without Power

Jason A. Camhi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands remain without power Friday morning after powerful thunderstorms thrashed through long stretches of the U.S.  Hail, heavy rain and winds up to 70 mph pounded cities from Dallas to Boston, claiming at least two lives and injuring four others.

Lots of wind damage has also been reported from the severe thunderstorms that raked the east coast Thursday night.  

Corey Meade at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center says there is more bad weather to come over Kentucky and West Virginia as well as portions of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

"There are still storms ongoing from central Kentucky, northeastward into West Virginia and there's another area of thunderstorms ongoing over portions Oklahoma and western Arkansas," he said, adding, "There might be isolated severe weather, gusty winds.  Otherwise, it looks like the primary hazard with the storms ongoing will just be pockets of heavy rainfall."

A tornado that reportedly touched down in Elmira, N.Y., Thursday afternoon took off roofs, downed trees and cut power lines.

"We have over 16,000 customers in the area that do not have power," Karen Miner, spokesperson for Chemung County, said earlier Thursday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Thursday for Chemung County to allow the state to help those communities that were hit hardest by the severe weather.

As of 8 p.m. EST, utility companies reported that more than 20,000 customers were without power in the surrounding Elmira area.  More than 90,000 customers in New York state, alone, were without power.

Tornado watches were issued Thursday evening in five states in the Northeast, including New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.  Flash flood warnings were also issued in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the weather service says.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nearly Two Million People Still Without Power After Storms

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly two million people are still without power in several Midwest and mid-Atlantic states that were pummeled by a series of violent thunderstorms last Friday night.

That number includes more than half a million homeowners in Washington, D.C., who have been told they may not get their power back until the end of the week.

D.C.’s power company, Pepco, says utility crews are working hard, removing hundreds of downed trees and re-stringing countless power lines.  Pepco spokesman Clay Anderson says utility crews from as far away as Canada have been called in to help restore power.

All told, about three million homes lost power, and 22 people lost their lives.  The governors of Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., all declared states of emergency.

Meteorologists say the lightning, fierce winds and pounding rain that pummeled the region was not your average series of thunderstorms, it was a “derecho.”

AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Edwards says a derecho forms when an atmospheric disturbance lifts warm air in regions experiencing intense heat, causing thunderstorms and hurricane-force winds to develop.  The region had experienced several days of 100-plus temperatures ahead of last Friday’s storms.

Friday's derecho took 12 hours to cover more than 700 miles before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

Edwards says derechos are more difficult to predict than other severe weather events because meteorologists are unable to identify exactly where the precise combination of factors needed to trigger a derecho will emerge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boy, 8, Sucked Down Drain Survives

ABC(PROCTOR, Minn.) -- An 8-year-old boy survived being swept into a Minnesota drain tunnel filled with rushing water and surfaced in a creek about a mile away. While he was under, it was his mother that was on his mind.

"Mom, I thought I lost you," Kenny Markiewicz told his mother, Amber Markiewicz, when they were reunited, she told ABC News. "I did what you told me to do. I plugged my nose, I took a breath and I prayed."

Less than an hour earlier, Markiewicz feared that she had lost her youngest child.

The family had traveled from their Louisiana home to Proctor, Minn., to visit relatives. Proctor is a small town about eight miles southwest of Duluth, a city that has suffered record rainfall this week resulting in its worst floods since the 1970s.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was not raining and the street where the family was staying was not flooded. Kenny and his cousin went outside, walked a few houses down and approached what looked like a regular puddle.

"I never ever let my child leave my sight. This was a split second," Markiewicz said. "He just was going across by the puddle and, apparently, there was a culvert or a pipe there and he fell in. We heard my niece scream that and we opened the door, ran down the hill and dialed 911."

Markiewicz said that she couldn't see a manhole so she went into the water.

"I'm feeling around and then I felt it," she said. "I could feel the rush of water."

What she felt was a culvert -- a pipe that allows water to flow underground. Because of the recent flooding, the drain was filled with surging water.

Ann Reyelts, a witness, told ABC News' St. Paul affiliate KSTP-TV that frantic bystanders were moving boulders and lifting manholes in hopes of finding Kenny underground.

"I just wanted to whip out my super powers and rip up the road," Reyelts said.

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Despite the efforts, 4-foot-3, 63-pound Kenny was nowhere to be seen and his mother was panicking. While some people have told her the ordeal lasted about 20 minutes, she said, "To me, it felt like an eternity."

Eventually, a policeman came and told her that a little boy named Kenny had been found and he said he wanted his mom.

About a mile away, Gordon Marshall had been at home when he heard a noise.

"I heard this shrieking screaming, [it] kind of shakes me up because I got 10 grandkids," Marshall told KSTP-TV. He went outside to check the creek behind his house and spotted a little boy "bleeding from the head down."

"He was lost, petrified, scared to death," Marshall said. "The first thing I think I said to him is, 'Are you alright? Do you know where you're at?' He didn't. He just screamed."

Marshall took the little boy into his house, called for help, bandaged his head and put a blanket around him until police came with his mother.

"I just got out of the car and I ran. I just saw my child and my hero," Markiewicz said. "[Kenny] was worried about me."

"He just goes, 'I knew I had to find you,'" Markiewicz said, crying.

She said the situation was an "unreal" miracle and she felt "overwhelmed, relieved, happy."

In addition to the cut on the back of his head, Kenny had some bruises and abrasions, but is going to be fine. His mother said that he remained a little shaken but joked that he's already getting tired of talking about the experience.

She said he understood what happened to some degree, but parts of the ordeal were a blur.

"It was a miracle," Markiewicz said. "All I know is I just wanted my baby."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wild Weather, Tornadoes Hit Mid-Atlantic States

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Rare Tornado warnings were up most of Friday in and around Washington, D.C., with heavy winds and rain pounding the mid-Atlantic states for most of the day.  

A possible tornado has touched down in Fallston, Md., a senior Maryland state official tells ABC News.  Except for reports that one building has collapsed, the official says damage from the tornado was not particularly devasting.

Harford County had seen the most significant weather, but a total of six Maryland counties reported possible tornadic activity.  There have also been reports of tornadoes in Raleigh Terrace, Va., at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, as well as storm damage in Merrimac Shores, Va.

The Harford County Fire EMS told ABC News affiliate WJLA that two dozen buildings, both residential and commercial, were severely damaged in Friday's wild storms. Tree tops were wiped out, and at least two people were injured when the roof of a car dealership collapsed. One of the injured was taken to the local hospital, the other was taken to a Baltimore shock trauma unit.

Tornado watches remain in effect through midnight ET from Pennsylvania through Maryland.  Damaging winds are likely from around Pittsburg to Washington, D.C. to Richmond, Va., and Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina. Saturday those areas can expect possible flash flooding after the rain subsides.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New National Weather Service Warnings Helped, Meteorologist Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- When it comes to escaping the path of a tornado, every second counts.

So when an unpredictable, massive storm system that produced over 75 reported twisters began brewing in the Plains states over the weekend, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center took the unusual step of issuing dire warnings in advance, using phrases like “life-threatening event” and “catastrophic.”

For the next few weeks, the NWS will be studying whether these series of warnings, using specific, powerful words, will make a difference in helping people survive these vicious storms.

Mike Hudson, a meteorologist for the NWS, said the test conducted over the weekend worked. "Early indication says that our warnings did help people make decisions in order to deal with the storm and it ultimately saved lives,” Hudson said.

Some NWS offices issued warnings that sounded almost Armageddon-like. On Saturday morning, the weather service in Wichita, Kan., warned that residents “could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter” and that “mass devastation is highly likely, making the area unrecognizable to survivors.”

“What we’re attempting to do with impact-based warning is to address risk,” Hudson said. “People make a decision based on experiences they’ve had in the past. By using words that describe what’s going to happen, people will make appropriate decisions and seek shelter.”

Typically, warnings are issued minutes prior to storms hitting a given area, and even people who live in towns with tornado sirens have been caught off-guard. Over the weekend, in Woodward, Okla., 20 tornado sirens failed to sound after the power had been knocked out. Six people were killed, including three children.

“The nighttime tornadoes are extremely dangerous…and the sirens are one part of the warning system puzzle,” Hudson said. “Ultimately the important thing is getting that information.”

Hudson said that that being underground is the safest place to be in a tornado. But for those who don’t have a basement, Hudson advises going to a room in the middle of the house or a storm shelter. Do not be outside or in a mobile home, he said.

“Best advice for people living in areas prone to tornadoes: Have multiple ways to get information about the threat,” he said. "Take action on it and make decisions that could save your life.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Second Outbreak of Storms Expected; Devastating Tornadoes Continue

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Powerful tornadoes that have raged across wide swaths of the United States continued Friday, leveling Alabama homes and causing damage to a prison roughly 10 miles outside of Huntsville, Ala.

A maximum-security prison that houses roughly 2,100 inmates, including more than 200 with HIV, was hit-hard by the storm, which blew down 1,000 feet of fence around the prison. The tornadoes also damaged roofs of two prison dormitories, according to Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Corbett.

There were conflicting reports regarding inmate injuries, but prison officials reported that the area was secure and no inmates escaped.

At least four people from the Huntsville area were taken to local hospitals, although the extent of their injuries was not immediately known. Emergency crews were continuing to survey the storm-damaged area.

Meanwhile, schools across the Midwest and South closed early in response to forecasts of further severe weather in the areas, many of which were still recovering from the tornadoes earlier this week that killed 13 people across seven states.

According to Russell Schneider, director of NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., “The risk to property and people is substantial on a widespread outbreak of this variety.”

Schneider told ABC News that the storm system will be moving quickly, “up to 50-60 miles an hour,” leading to rapid changes in severe weather conditions. Schneider advised people who might be in the storm’s path to “monitor the situation very carefully.”

“Now is the time to identify safe shelter, such as a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor in a sturdy building, for when threatening weather approaches and when a warning is issued,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.  “Also, be sure to have a NOAA weather radio along with fresh batteries to ensure immediate awareness of this serious weather situation.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Midwest, Kentucky Storms: McConnell Keeping ‘Close Eye’

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is continuing to monitor his home state and others that have been affected by the rash of storms and tornadoes in recent days.

“We’ll continue to keep a close eye on Kentucky and other states and the affected region and make sure people have everything they need to clean up, rebuild and reclaim their dignity from the wreckage of this tragedy,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday morning.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., an arm of the National Weather Service, said that at least 16 tornadoes were reported from Nebraska and Kansas through to southern Missouri, up to Illinois and over to Kentucky. More than 300 reports of severe weather in the last 36 hours included golf-ball-sized hail and damaging thunderstorm winds gusting over 80 mph.

No lives were reported lost as of Thursday afternoon in Kentucky, but there have been 12 people killed in other states due to the severe weather that raged throughout the region Wednesday.

“I join my colleagues from the affected states in keeping in my thoughts today all those affected by these storms, especially the families of those lost,” Minority Leader McConnell said. “I want to extend my gratitude to the first responders in Kentucky and across the entire Midwest who have risen to the occasion and provided the much-needed response and relief.”

The National Weather Service warned that the severe weather threat isn’t over. The Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys may see another round of severe weather Thursday, the NWS said, while other meteorologists predict another strong system could hit Friday in the Midwest and South.

Cities in the path of violent storms stretched from Branson, Mo., which was severely struck on Wednesday, to Memphis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Nashville, Jackson, Miss., Atlanta, Cincinnati and Raleigh. The highest threat for damaging tornadoes Thursday was from Birmingham, Ala., to Nashville and Louisville.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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