Wind, rain pound India as massive cyclone hitsBy SHONAL GANGULY 18 minutes agoView gallery BEHRAMPUR, India (AP) — A massive, powerful cyclone was hammering India’s eastern coastline with heavy rains and destructive winds Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of people living in the region moved inland and took shelter, hoping to ride out the dangerous storm.Roads were all but empty as high waves lashed the coastline of Orissa state, which will bear the brunt of Cyclone Phailin. By midafternoon, wind gusts were so strong that they could blow over grown men. Along the coast, seawater was pushing inland, swamping villages where many people survive as subsistence farmers in mud and thatch huts.As the cyclone swept across the Bay of Bengal toward the Indian coast, satellite images showed its spinning tails covering an area larger than France. Images appeared to show the storm making landfall early Saturday night.In Behrampur, a town about 10 kilometers (7 miles) inland from where the eye of the storm was expected to hit, the sky blackened quickly around the time of landfall, with heavy winds and rains pelting the empty streets.Estimates of the storm’s power had dropped slightly, with the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii showing maximum sustained winds of about 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour), with gusts up to 296 kph (184 mph).View gallery.”
A look at devastating cyclones from Bay of BengalBy The Associated Press 4 hours agoView galleryThis photo provided by the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center shows Cyclone Phailin taken at 7:30 p.m. EDT (11:30 p.m GMT) Friday Oct. 11, 2013. The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii forecast maximum sustained winds of 269 kilometers (167 miles) per hour with gusts up to 315 kilometers (196 miles) per hour. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center… Cyclone Phailin is expected to cause extensive damage in eastern India, with a storm surge that will flood low-lying areas and heavy rains and strong winds that will last for hours. Here are some details on other devastating cyclones that have formed in the Bay of Bengal:— May 2008: Cyclone Nargis hits Myanmar with a storm surge that washes up densely populated areas around the Irrawaddy River delta. Around 138,000 people died and tens of thousands of homes and other buildings were washed away. Damage to public and private assets was estimated at around US$ 10 billion.— October 1999: A super-cyclone sweeps through the state of Orissa in eastern India, killing at least 10,000 people and leaving an estimated 1.5 million homeless. Winds of over 250km/h (160mph) were recorded, and a devastating tidal surge drove across coastal plains.— April 1991: Nearly 139,000 people died from a cyclone that hit Bangladesh with mighty 225 kph winds and a storm surge between 6 meters and 7.6 meters.— November 1977: A devastating cyclone struck India’s southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. A total of 14,204 people were killed; however, some estimates place the loss of life at 50,000. Damage from the cyclone was placed at US$498.5 million.— November 1970: A cyclone hit East Pakistan, the area that is now independent Bangladesh. It had winds of 224 kph and a storm surge between 6 and 10 meters. More than 300,000 people died, according to the Bangladesh disaster management and relief website.
View galleryA general view of a building of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi …TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese authorities may have underestimated by 20 percent the radiation doses workers got in the initial phase of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, a Japanese newspaper reported on Saturday, citing a U.N. panel.A big earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 damaged the power station north of Tokyo, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co, causing three partial reactor meltdowns. The company has struggled to contain leaking radiation since then.The U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) raised doubts about the dose estimates of the government and Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, in a summary of a report on October 12, according to the Asahi Shimbun.The U.N. committee analyzed radiation doses in 25,000 people who worked at the plant on or before October 2012, using data provided by the government, Tepco and others, the newspaper said.It determined that the tests used on workers did not take into account some types of radiation.In particular, workers were tested for thyroid gland doses from radioactive iodine after a significant delay, through procedures that failed to account for iodine-132 and iodine-133, which have short half-lives of 2 hours and 20 hours, respectively.The Asahi Shimbun said if the U.N. panel’s assessment was accurate, more workers would be eligible for free health checks. It did not give any detail of the implications on the health of the workers.Increased radiation exposure has been linked to greater rates of cancer and thyroid disorders.A spokesman for Tepco was not immediately available for comment.(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Typhoon Nari pummels northern Philippines
Hundreds die in Pakistan quake Play video .Typhoon lashes southern China Play video .Typhoon Fitow blows through eastern China Play video .
Survivors of new migrant tragedy arrive in MaltaBy STEPHEN CALLEJA and COLLEEN BARRY 46 minutes agoView gallery VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — A Maltese ship brought 143 survivors, mostly Syrians, from a capsized smugglers’ boat to Malta on Saturday, as the second migrant tragedy in the Strait of Sicily in just over a week sharpened calls for humanitarian corridors to allow safe passage of refugees fleeing war and repression.At least 34 people drowned when the boat capsized Friday afternoon about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Lampedusa, in waters where Malta has search and rescue responsibilities. A joint Italian-Malta operation rescued nearly 200 people after the Italian Coast Guard received a distress call via satellite phone from the boat and a Maltese aircraft sighted the capsized boat with numerous people in the water.Other survivors, 56 in all, who were not in immediate need of medical attention were heading to Sicily onboard an Italian frigate, which Italian Naval spokesman Cmdr. Marco Maccaroni said also rescued some 180 people from other boats in the same area overnight — another indication of the relentless flows of migrants braving the Mediterranean.”The flows have never stopped, especially over the summer months,” Maccaroni said. „The two accidents in such a short period have raised the attention of the public, but the tensions have been going on all summer.”Some 30,100 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 15,000 in all of 2012, according to the U.N. refugee agency. Most are characterized as asylum seekers, fleeing civil war in Syria or repression and mandatory conscription in Eritrea, unlike the waves of economic migrants a decade ago.View gallery.”A body is being lowered down from a Maltese Navy ship at the Valletta harbor, Malta, Saturday, Oct. …Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the new waves of Syrians, on top of arrivals of Eritreans and Somalis that have been more prevalent recently, make it more urgent for Europe to agree on a coordinated policy to deal with asylum seekers.The latest shipwreck comes eight days after a trawler packed with 500 Eritreans capsized and sank within sight of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Just 155 people survived. Caskets carrying the bodies of the 339 Eritreans who died in the tragedy arrived Saturday on a ferry in Sicily, where they are to be buried.”Urgent measures must be adopted to open humanitarian corridors. There is no time to lose,” said Francesco Rocca, the president of the Italian Red Cross, emphasizing that people escaping war and repression must be given a safe route of escape. „In this way it would hit also the traffickers and we could stop this ceaseless massacre.”Italy’s integration minister, Cecile Kyenge, called for increased patrols to stop smugglers.”Behind these tragedies, as the dramatic instability of African countries increases, there are human traffickers who are enriching themselves on the backs of people who are fleeing war and hunger,” said the Congolese-borne Kyenge.View gallery.”A child is helped disembark from a Maltese Navy ship at the Valletta harbor, Malta, Saturday, Oct. 1 …Lampedusa is the destination of choice for smugglers who usually charge more than 1,000 euros ($1,355) a head and cram the migrants onto boats that often run into trouble and require rescue. Fortress Europe, an Italian observatory that tracks migrant deaths reported by the media, says about 6,450 people died in the Strait of Sicily between 1994 and 2012.____Barry reported from Milan.
Offshore 4.9 Quake Gives N. Calif. a Jolt EUREKA, Calif. October 12, 2013 (AP)
A moderate offshore earthquake gave a jolt to cities in far Northern California, but there are no reports of damages or injuries.The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-4.9 quake struck shortly after 4 p.m. about 33 miles northwest of the coastal city of Eureka at a depth of about 6 miles.No tsunami warning was issued.Eureka police Sgt. Rodrigo Sanchez says the quake gave the area a sharp jolt that felt like it lasted less than a second.Sanchez and Humboldt Bay Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Goodlive (GOOD’-lihv) say their departments have received no calls about damages or injuries.Eureka has a population of about 27,000 and neighboring Arcata has about 17,000 people.
India evacuates 500,000 as cyclone lashes east coast14 hours agoView gallery Bhubaneswar (India) (AFP) – India evacuated nearly half a million people as massive cyclone Phailin closed in on the impoverished east coast Saturday, with winds already uprooting trees and tearing into the flimsy homes.The storm packed gusts of up to 240 kilometres per hour (150 miles per hour) as it churned over the Bay of Bengal, making it potentially the most powerful cyclone to hit the area since 1999, when more than 8,000 died, the Indian weather office said.”The very severe cyclonic storm Phailin is moving menacingly towards the coast,” special relief commissioner for the state of Orissa, Pradipta Mohapatra told AFP, as it arrived within 150 kilometres (90 miles) of landfall.Authorities said they expected a three-metre (10-foot) storm surge when the eye of the cyclone strikes in the early evening (around 1230 GMT), with torrential rain also threatening floods in low-lying areas.”I’ve got faint memories of the 1999 super cyclone,” nervous 23-year-old student engineer Apurva Abhijeeta told AFP from the coastal town of Puri, 70 kilometres from state capital Bhubaneswar.View gallery.”This NASA Terra satellite image shows Cyclone Phailin churning over the Bay of Bengal, on October 11 …”I dread this Phailin. It’s as if the world is coming to an end.”Heavy waves pounded the coast as terrified locals made their way to solid buildings, cramming into packed rickshaws and buses as they travelled. Relief efforts were underway, with free food being served in shelters.Food stockpiling began earlier in the week as Phailin gathered strength dramatically in the Bay of Bengal, with many shops stripped bare before they closed on Saturday afternoon.In Visakhapatnam, further south on the coast of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state, fishermen frantically sought to secure their boats while others admired the rough surf.Large boats could be seen anchored out at sea, while the biggest port in the area, in Paradip, has shut down.View gallery.”Indian youths stand on the shore as high tidal waves hit the coastline in Visakhapatnam, on October …”This boat cost 400,000 rupees ($6,500). I don’t want to lose it,” 60-year-old fisherman Tonka Rao told AFP as he secured his wooden vessel.An AFP correspondent on the last flight to arrive in Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar before the airport was closed described how the plane aborted the first attempted landing in shearing winds and pounding rain.’On a war footing’At least 440,000 people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to the south, according to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).Vice-chairman Marri Shashidhar Reddy told a news conference it was one of the biggest evacuations in India’s history, and had been aided by improved early warning systems.View gallery.”An Indian woman carries her child as they leave their home at Donkuru village, in the Srikakulam dis …”We will be on a war footing,” he said in New Delhi.Authorities were still rushing to get people out of the storm’s path, even those who were reluctant to move.”We’ve been instructed by the government to use force in case people resist,” said Mohapatra, the Orissa special relief commissioner.In the seaside town of Gopalpur, which is expected to be one of the worst affected areas, women and children were the first to pack into shelters, schools and public buildings, where they lay on mats.The Indian Red Cross Society also had disaster response teams ready while the air force, fresh from helping evacuate thousands from floods in the Himalayas in June, flew in food and medical supplies to Bhubaneswar.View gallery.”Graphic showing the path of Cyclone Phailin as it churns its way towards India’s east coast (AFP Pho …While the storm is still technically one notch below the most powerful category of „super cyclone”, the India Meteorological Department sounded its highest „red alert” on Saturday morning.Some foreign forecasters believe Phailin, which means „Sapphire” in Thai, is more intense than Indian experts are predicting.The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said gusts could reach as high as 315 kilometres an hour, while London-based Tropical Storm Risk put Phailin in the „super cyclone” category.Memories of ’99–It is set to strike the same coastal area that was hit badly in 1999, a region mostly populated with fishermen and small-scale farmers who live in flimsy huts with thatched roofs or shanties.View gallery.”Indian villagers and cattle walk through the streets during a heavy cyclonic wind in Ganja, about 19 …Weather officials have warned of widespread crop damage in impoverished Orissa, which relies heavily on agriculture.It took years for crop yields to recover after soil was contaminated by saltwater during the 1999 cyclone, leaving the state dependent on aid.That storm had higher wind speeds and a larger storm surge — six metres — than being currently predicted by the Indian weather office.But „with the horrendous experience of 1999 still haunting them, no one wants to take anything for granted”, retired government officer Yudhistir Mohanty said.A government report on the 1999 disaster put the death toll at 8,243 and said 445,000 livestock perished.View gallery.”Indian policemen and volunteers clear branches after heavy wind damaged trees in the eastern village …Authorities have said they are better prepared this time around.The Orissa government said it was setting a „zero casualty target” in the state of close to 40 million people, and was seeking „100 percent” evacuation of people in the worst-affected areas.Some of the deadliest storms in history have formed in the Bay of Bengal, including one in 1970 that killed hundreds of thousands of people in modern-day Bangladesh.
West Virginia Train-Truck Collision: One Dead, 23 Injured John Raby Published: Oct 12, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT Associated Press 1 / 9Crews work at the site where a truck carrying logs down Cheat Mountain on U.S. Route 250 crashed into the side of a train taking passengers on a scenic tour Randolph County, W.Va., on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/The Pocahontas Times, Geoff Hamill) CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A log truck driver killed in a collision with a train carrying 63 sightseers and four crewmembers on a fall foliage trek amid West Virginia’s mountains apparently ran through crossing signals, authorities said.Twenty-three people were injured, six seriously, in the rail crossing accident with U.S. Route 250 atop Cheat Mountain, about 160 miles east of Charleston, officials said. The accident occurred during prime leaf-watching season in the heavily forested eastern part of the state.Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady said two of the train’s passenger cars flipped on their sides after impact at a rail crossing on a mountain highway, the log truck was a „total loss” and the truck driver who was alone in his vehicle was pronounced dead at the site.Play VideoStrong Cyclone Making Landfall Big, heavy logs lay piled about a scene where first responders aided shaken passengers to disembark from their scenic train ride.”The railroad crossing signals were flashing at the scene. As all emergency personnel arrived, we observed the signals flashing at the time,” Brady said in an audiotaped news conference held with hospital officials who emailed the audio recording to The Associated Press.”At this juncture of the investigation, it appears that the log truck had run through the crossing signals and struck the passenger cars of the train,” Brady added in the recorded statement provided to AP by Davis Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Tracy Fath.She confirmed the injury total after all passengers and crew were taken to that hospital in Elkins, several miles distant from the collision site.(MORE: Rocky Mountain National Park Reopens Brady didn’t return calls immediately to The Associated Press seeking comment Friday evening about the accident, which he said involved a train of The Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad.The Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad operates several trains in the area, including the Cheat Mountain Salamander that runs Tuesdays through Saturdays in October on a 6.5-hour trip. The railroad said there were three passenger cars Friday on the 88-mile roundtrip that left Elkins on a route taking passengers to elevations of more than 4,000 feet.The train travels about 25 mph alongside a boulder-strewn river, crossing a bridge barely wider than the train, rumbling through an 1,800-foot tunnel and then passing an abandoned rail bridge.
A railroad executive did not immediately return calls for comment.
„Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved and the emergency responders working the tragic accident in Randolph County this afternoon,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement.
Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said state Department of Environmental Protection crews were sent to the site to help clean up a large fuel spill. Goodwin said she didn’t know if the spill came from the truck or the train.Six of the injured were hospitalized in serious condition and two in stable condition, she said of the 23 people treated initially for injuries. She did not elaborate on their injuries but said four of those who had to be hospitalized were transferred to a Morgantown hospital while three remained in Davis Memorial Fath also said 42 others taken from the train by a school bus to the hospital were later found to be unharmed, despite early accounts by one official stating dozens of those were believed to have suffered lesser injuries.She said those who weren’t hurt received „comfort care” before leaving the hospital.Authorities said the accident site is a rail crossing on U.S. Route 250 at a bridge on Cheat Mountain. There, the overturned passenger cars lay beside the tracks, roped off with yellow crime scene tape as police, firefighters and others looked on hours afterward.The accident early Friday afternoon left the route indefinitely closed in the area as trafficked backed up nearby.Randolph County emergency services director Jim Wise, the first to confirm there was a fatality, said he knew of no previous accident at that crossing in recent memory. He said the accident came on an overcast but typical, crisp fall day on a mountain tract ablaze with fall color.”It was a pretty good impact,” Wise told AP. „The tracks actually go across U.S. 250 there, right on top of the mountain.”MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Fall Colors
Typhoon Nari Kills 13, Barrels Toward Vietnam Oliver Teves Published: Oct 12, 2013, 7:36 AM EDT Associated Press 8Strong Cyclone Making Landfall MANILA, Philippines — A typhoon that flooded villages and farms in the Philippines’ major rice-growing region Saturday has killed at least 13 people, officials said.Power outages affected Aurora province, where Typhoon Nari made landfall late Friday, and five nearby provinces due to downed pylons and emergency shutdowns that were intended to prevent accidents.Nari slammed into the coast with 150 kilometer (94 mile) per hour winds and gusts of up to 185 kph (116 mph). Weather forecaster Meno Mendoza said Nari weakened after hitting the mountains in Aurora then quickly blew across the rice-growing central plains of Luzon.(MORE: Cyclone Makes Landfall in India, Experts Fear Major Disaster)Play VideoStrong Cyclone Making Landfall More than 2,500 people were evacuated from coastal villages before the typhoon struck, said provincial disaster officer Amado Elson Egargue.Civil defense Maj. Rey Balido said the 12 fatalities in four provinces included a man who was electrocuted, a police officer who was buried in a landslide while waiting for deployment to a rescue mission in Pampanga province, four people who drowned in floodwaters and five who were hit by falling trees. The body of a fisherman was recovered, but three others remain missing, he said.Bulacan provincial Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said a 70-year-old man died of a heart attack when the roof of his house was blown away.(MORE: East Coast Inundated With Storms)Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali told DZMM radio that fallen trees and electric pylons blocked all the major roads in the province. He said the initial estimate was that 15,000 hectares (37,050 acres) of rice may have been damaged or destroyed.Sy-Alvarado said more than 20 villages remained flooded Saturday, with some areas under about 2 meters (6 feet) of water. He said about 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of rice and vegetable farms were damaged.A major highway in Bulacan was flooded and authorities allowed only trucks and other big vehicles to pass.The typhoon drenched Manila overnight but caused no widespread flooding in the sprawling capital of 12 million that floods often because of poor infrastructure and clogged drainage and water canals.Nari was the 19th storm to enter the country this year. About 20 to 22 tropical storms lash the Philippines yearly during the monsoon season from July to December.Nari had moved over the South China Sea around noon Saturday and moving west toward Vietnam.
Quake of 6.4 magnitude causes minor damage on Crete ATHENS (Reuters) – An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude off the coast of Crete caused minor damage on the Greek island on Saturday, but there were no reports of casualties or serious destruction, police and fire brigade said.The center of the quake, at 9.11 a.m. ET, was 22.5 miles below the seabed and 43 miles west of Chania on Crete, the U.S. Geological Survey said.Tremors were felt as far as the Greek capital Athens, some 180 miles away, and across southern Greece, including the Peloponnese peninsula and the Cyclades cluster of islands, the Athens Geological Institute said.It put the quake at a lower 6.2 magnitude but described it as „severe”.Greece is often rocked by earthquakes. Most cause no serious damage but a 5.9 magnitude quake in 1999 killed 143 people.Local media in Crete said the quake caused minor damage to shops and houses in Chania.”It was big. We were rattled a lot and the lights were swaying back and forth,” resident Katerina Zaharioudaki told Reuters by telephone from Crete’s capital Heraklion.”It was much stronger than the earthquakes we’re used to and it lasted several seconds,” she said.Efthimios Lekkas, a geology professor in Crete, told Greek TV that the characteristics of the quake, and the fact that it did not immediately appear to have caused serious damage, indicated that it was quite deep.(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Karolina Tagaris; editing by Andrew Roche)