Blizzard Causes Severe Flooding, Evacuations and Fires in Cape Cod Coastal Town

Photo Courtesy- Getty Images(SCITUATE, Mass.) -- In the Cape Cod coastal town of Scituate, Mass., the East Coast blizzard has caused the ocean water level to rise, leading to severe flooding, evacuations, and fires.

Ocean water rushed in when a portion of the seawall collapsed on Scituate's Oceanside Drive. Flooding has reached about 100 yards of the town, and at some areas the water was eight feet deep.

Two homes on Seventh Avenue caught on fire and were destroyed. "We've had a couple of house fires we couldn't get to because the ocean has flooded in between the houses," said Department of Public Works Director Al Bangert. "Firemen went out with fire extinguishers in a rescue boat used more to rescue people in the water than fight fires. They couldn't stop the fires, but they rescued a man stranded in a nearby house."

Everyone inside the homes was safely evacuated. The National Guard is trying to rescue people from other houses that are under water. Lighthouse Point, which has about 80 houses on it, was evacuated.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter in Scituate High School where hundreds of evacuees from Lighthouse Point and Oceanside Drive are now staying.

Officials fear the flooding might cause the sewage system to back up.

"We have a sewer pump station that's not accessible to us right now, so were trying to get to that to see what's going on. It's a pretty substantial pumping system, and if it's not working, sewage backs up," Bangert told ABC News.

Scituate has suffered the worst from the storm among the coastal towns and faces the most danger from high flood waters, said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, according to the Boston Globe.

"Scituate seems to be in the bull's eye,'' said Judge.

"The snow has stopped but we're still looking at some coastal flooding impact from the high tide from about 3 to 5 tonight. The winds have shifted so we don't expect the coastal flooding to be as severe as this morning's high tide cycle, but there may still be some impact," Scott MacLeod, a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesperson, told ABC News.

"With any kind of coastal flooding there's potential for impact to public utility, like sewer water and infrastructure, but until the flood waters have a chance to recede it's premature to say what steps will need to be taken," said MacLeod.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Navy Officer Stranded for Hours By Blizzard in Car with Wife and Infant

Photo Courtesy - WABC- TV(NEW YORK) -- Navy Officer Andrew Lauda, on leave from patroling for pirates off the Somali coast, sent out an SOS Monday when he and his young family became trapped on a blizzard-bound New York highway for more than eight hours.

Lauda had been home from his deployment with the Navy in Africa for just four days when he got stuck with his wife Kristen and their three-month-old son on their way to grandma's house.

"We left our house in Norfolk, Va., at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. We got stuck on the Long Island Expressway at about 1 a.m.," said Lauda. "So that's about 18 hours." "We just got stuck in the snow, we couldn't move," said Lauda, 21.

The Navy officer, who first met his son when he returned home on Dec. 3, rationed the family's meager food until they were down to crackers. He then called ABC News' affiliate WABC to tell the station they were trapped and needed help.

WABC aired Lauda's interview and it was heard by Carlos Calderon in nearby Queens, N.Y.

"I was watching the news and heard [Lauda's] story about being stranded and I told my wife, 'You know what, I'm going to try to help them," said Calderon, a Manhattan building manager.

Calderon said it was Lauda's mention of his young son that really motivated him to go help.

"That baby, it got me," he said.

By the time Calderon reached Lauda and his family, they had sought shelter in a nearby bus that was also stuck and still had enough gas to run the heat.

Lauda said he used his Navy training to help his family make it through the experience, which he admitted was "tough," especially with an infant.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


911 Call in Mysterious Busch Home Death Released

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HUNTLEIGH, Mo.) -- The mystery of an aspiring model's death in the home of the former Anheuser-Busch CEO deepened when authorities released the 911 call that was reportedly made more than 40 minutes after Adrienne Martin was discovered unresponsive.

"This girl is just not waking up. We can't get her to...," a man tells emergency dispatchers. When asked if Martin, 27, is still breathing, he says, "We don't know."

Martin's death was reported to the police just after 1 p.m. on Dec. 19, according to the Frontenac Police Department. Her body was found in a $2 million mansion in Huntleigh, Mo., owned by August Busch IV, the former Anheuser-Busch CEO.

There is more than a 40-minute gap between the discovery of Martin's condition and the call to dispatchers, which authorities are investigating, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Officials at the Frontenac Police Department declined to speculate on what may have caused Martin's death. It could take as long as six weeks for the results of toxicology tests to determine whether she suffered an overdose, officials said.

It has been widely reported that Martin and Busch had been dating for nearly a year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Blizzard Creates Travel Nightmare Along East Coast

A bicycle is buried in snow early Monday morning in Manhattan's East Village. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Commuters and travelers are dealing with the aftermath of a massive snowstorm that slammed into the northeast region Sunday, causing a post-holiday travel nightmare as more than 1,500 flights were canceled and leaving others stranded in cars and on public transportation.

The winter blizzard dumped more than a foot of snow in New York City and New England, while nearly two dozen states east of the Mississippi are under severe weather warnings. It is the same storm that brought flooding and non-stop rainfall to Southern California last week.

The storm has been dropping record snow in places like Raleigh, N.C. -- 7.1 inches -- and Atlanta -- 1.2 inches -- according to data from the National Weather Service. Into the overnight hours, New York's Central Park received about 17 inches.

Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency. New Jersey's acting governor declared a state of emergency Sunday night as the state was expected to get a foot of snow by midday on Monday. Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, have also been issued a blizzard warning, with 15-20 inches of snow expected. Boston has declared a snow emergency, with another 8-12 inches of snow possible, in addition to the six-eight inches the city has already received. Elsewhere, Philadelphia is under a Code Blue Alert for severe weather.

While the snow slowly diminishes, some airports are expected to re-open later Monday. Since Sunday, airlines have grounded hundreds of flights traveling in and out of East Coast airports, including 1,400 cancellations at New York City-area airports.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Whistleblower Pilot Wants to 'Come Out of the Shadows'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- The airline pilot who spoke out anonymously after he was reprimanded by the TSA for posting videos showing security flaws at a major airport said Sunday he may reveal his identity this week.

The 50-year-old California man told ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento that he hopes he will be able to "safely come out of the shadows."

The pilot's attorney told KXTV that the man still feared retaliation from the Transportation Safety Administration, but he wanted to keep his job as a pilot.

In an interview with ABC's World News last week, the pilot, who asked that his name and the airline he works for not be made public, said it was the "fallacy of the system" that inspired him to post the videos on YouTube.

Late last month, he took a series of videos with his cell phone to show major flaws he says still exist in airport security systems. The videos show how easily ground crews at San Francisco International Airport were able to access secure areas. "As you can see, airport security is kind of a farce. It's only smoke and mirrors so you people believe there is actually something going on here," the pilot says on one video.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


'Old Man' Stops Grinch From Stealing Christmas

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TAYLOR, Mich.) -- Tom LaMay wasn't about to let the Grinch steal his Christmas. But that's what the 79-year-old Michigan man said he saw happening Christmas Eve when he and his wife Mary came home from shopping for bird seed.

LaMay told ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV in Detroit that when he pulled up to his house, there was a strange car in the driveway, with the trunk open and an old rag hanging over the license plate. He told his wife to call 911 while he investigated. As he walked up the driveway, he said, a man in his 20s confronted him and told him there was no one home.

"He reached for tire iron in the back of the car," LaMay said. "He said, 'I'm gonna hurt you, old man.'"

LaMay said he was able to wrestle the man to the ground, but as they struggled the suspected thief seemed to have the advantage, and even bit the 79-year-old's hand.

"He got the better of me, and I was on the bottom in this snow pile," he said. "And I kept grabbing his legs and tripping him, until eventually I got the supremacy, I was on top. And I kept hitting him, trying to keep him occupied, while my wife could successfully use the telephone and get this guy down."

Mary LaMay was able to call the police in time, and as the cops approached the house, the suspect jumped in his car and sped off. Police caught him, however, when he crashed a short distance away.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Stun Gun Controversy: Will Police Abuse New Tasers?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Police officers around the country are being armed with a new generation of remarkably powerful stun guns. The devices are revolutionizing the way police do their jobs. But they're also raising new questions about safety and the potential for abuse.

Tasers have become a tool for nearly every police department in the nation over the last ten years. They have been used more than one million times and police claim they keep officers from being injured and save the lives of suspects.

Now an advanced generation of Tasers has been introduced – guns with more firepower – meant to address one of the occasional hazards of the original models: suspects getting back up after being tased.

Like all Tasers, the new models deliver a 600 volt pulse. The charge causes the muscles to contract, temporarily paralyzing them. This new model – the X3 handgun-style Taser – has three cartridges. The company says it is capable of subduing three suspects at once – also, in theory, allowing an officer to deliver a triple hit to one suspect, making the debate over potential misuse even more urgent.

Amnesty International – a long-time critic of tasers – points to 400 deaths related to taser use. Many are linked to other contributing factors, such as age or preexisting illness.

Both the company and police say training is the key to avoiding abuse.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Winter Storm Foils Holiday Travel

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A nor’easter is projected to dump up to a foot and a half of snow on some areas of the east coast tonight and into Monday. Coming at the end of the holiday weekend, travelers in the northeast can expect conditions that will make getting home difficult, at the very least.

In Atlanta, Delta canceled hundreds of flights Saturday. Continental Airlines said in a statement that the airline has pre-canceled about 250 flights and is monitoring the storm’s potential impact on operations.

Driving conditions are not expected to be any better. Whiteout blizzard conditions are predicted up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

This is the same storm that slammed the west coast this past week with heavy rains that caused flooding and mudslides. It’s made its way across the U.S., and is now headed up the southeast along the coast, having picked up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


President Obama, First Lady Greet Troops on Christmas

Photo Courtesy - SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii) -- The Obamas spent part of their Christmas Day at their beachfront rental home in Kailua, Hawaii, enjoying “their traditional Christmas Day activities and taking in a little NBA basketball,” said Bill Burton, a deputy White House press secretary.

The president and first lady in the afternoon visited the Marine Corps Base in Hawaii to visit with troops, in what has turned into an annual tradition for the couple, this being their third visit on Christmas Day in as many years. A few hundred Marines and their families were having a traditional Christmas dinner in the hall, when the first couple walked in. Mr. and Mrs. Obama posed for group pictures and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

President Obama asked a young girl if she got everything she wanted for Christmas. The girl said that she did and showed the president a new bracelet on her wrist. The president then pointed to his wife’s wrist, indicating that she, too, had a new bracelet on.

The first couple then returned to their rental home where they enjoyed their own Christmas dinner – with steak, roasted potatoes, green beans, and pie on the menu.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Southwest Flight Makes Emergency Landing

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) – A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles had to make an emergency landing in Oakland Friday, believing that one of its engines was on fire, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The flight took off from San Francisco International Airport late Friday when a warning light came on indicating that the No. 2 engine had caught fire. None of the 113 people on board were reported injured, and were able to make a transfer to Los Angeles.

Officials have not yet explained the problem.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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