Super Typhoon Soudelor Hits Saipan: A Look at the World’s Biggest Storm Aug 4, 2015, 5:24 PM ET By JON WILLIAMS and EMILY SHAPIROA Filipino holding a black umbrella walks along a narrow path leading to an eatery in suburban Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, to avoid floodwaters caused by sudden rainfall on August 3, 2015.LightRocket via Getty Images Super Typhoon Soudelor, the biggest storm of the year, is barreling through the Pacific Ocean.Here’s what you need to know:What makes this a record storm?Soudelor reached a record low pressure of 900 millibars, making it the strongest storm of the year, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency.The previous lowest pressure was March’s Super Typhoon Maysak, which was recorded at 910 millibars.NOAA PHOTO: A satellite image of Typhoon Soudelor on August 4, 2015.Typhoon Slams Into Saipan Causing Widespread Damage Inside Saipan’s Industry of ‘American-Born Chinese Babies’ Where did the storm hit?The typhoon first hit the U.S. island of Saipan, where a state of disaster and emergency has been declared.How fast was it going?When Soudelor struck Saipan, it sustained winds at about 100 mph, and gusts up to 120 mph, according to the Associated Press.Soudelor has since reached winds up to 180 mph, the AP said.Where’s the storm going next? Soudelor is heading west, toward Taipei. It may hit Japan‘s Ishigaki Island next, according to theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Latest: California wildfire 20 percent contained 2 hours ago Associated Press Videos Cooler Weather Helps Crews Battle Calif. WildfireNews Cooler Weather Helps Crews Battle Calif. Wildfire LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — The latest on wildfires burning in California (all times local): Related Stories
6:30 p.m.Fire crews have made some progress against a stubborn fire that has consumed more than 101 square miles.Cal Fire says that as of Tuesday afternoon the fire hasn’t spread and it is now 20 percent contained.Some 3,000 firefighters from near and far are working 24-hour shifts to fight the blaze.___CalFire firefighter Bo Santiago lights a backfire as the Rocky fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., on …2:35 p.m.A light rain began falling in the area in Northern California where a wildfire has been raging for almost a week but officials say the blaze is so massive the rain won’t help much.A firefighter watches a backfire as the Rocky Fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 3, …Cal Fire spokesman Jason Shanley says the rain will help a little but it’s not enough to quench the fire.Shanley says the fire „is just too big, too wild.”___1:25 p.m.People at the Moose Lodge, where evacuees came earlier Tuesday to get pillows, apples and piles of French toast, are being advised to evacuate as the fire moves closer.The lodge, just north of Clear Lake, was set up as a community assistance center for people and their pets. With 15 to 20 hour mph winds coming from the northwest, the lodge could be directly in the fire path later Tuesday.___12:05 p.m.Layna Rivas of Clear Lake said she woke up Tuesday and checked a map. She said it appears the fire went through her property Monday night. „I might be one of those people who’ve lost precious things,” she said.But she doesn’t know for sure.”Worst part is I can’t get in to see what’s been damaged or not. I’m praying the fires moved slowly and the clear-cutting I did before I left have kept some of my structures safe,” she said.Her place is called Ravens Haven, and she considers it a retreat for artists and musicians to escape into Mother Nature. „My heart is heavy at the thought of my once epic view of the valley that had an array of life and colors now grey and lifeless,” she said.___11:35 a.m.A plume of smoke rises above a hillside as the Rocky Fire burns near Clearlake, Calif., on Monday, A …Many people are aiding evacuees, handing out items such as pillows, apples and piles of French toast at a local Moose Lodge.Tabetha Atwood, owner of Our Happy Tails Etc., a dog bakery in Clear Lake, helped match wayward dogs with their owners Tuesday. She also had dog treats on hand for folks who came by with their pets.”These are our friends, our family and our neighbors,” she said.__10:45 a.m.President Barack Obama is asking his aides to stay in close touch with California’s governor and other local officials as firefighters tackle an unruly wildfire.White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama was briefed about the wildfire by his homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco. He says Obama is extending his gratitude to the men and women battling the fire and that the White House will be closely monitoring the situation.Firefighters post signs in the Spring Valley community near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., as the Rocky Fir …The White House says the National Preparedness Level was raised on Monday to Level 4, which occurs when three or more regions have incidents requiring additional resources. There are 27 large, uncontained and active fires, being battled by 14,000 federal and state personnel.___10:07 a.m.Authorities say the number of homes threatened by an unpredictable wildfire in Northern California has risen to 6,900.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is sending more resources Tuesday to stop the blaze from growing, though it expanded overnight to more than 101 square miles.More than 13,000 people have been required or urged to leave their homes. They have spent what may be just one of many nights in evacuation shelters, and many hotels are booking up.Firefighters from inside and outside the state are fighting the blaze, including a crew from the central California city of Modesto.Modesto Battalion Chief Hugo Patino says the fire is the „number one priority in the state” and getting the „lion’s share” of resources.Its cause is under investigation.___8:10 a.m.An unruly wildfire in drought-stricken Northern California has grown to more than 101 square miles despite thousands of weary firefighters working to stem its spread.They tried to stand their ground Tuesday against the blaze that jumped a highway that had served as a containment line and grew by several square miles despite cooler weather and higher humidity.No additional homes were consumed outside the two dozen already destroyed in the Lower Lake area, about 100 miles north of San Francisco. But more buildings such as barns, sheds and garages have burned.Authorities have required or urged 13,000 people to leave some 5,500 homes.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the flames are pushing north and chewing through parched brush that hasn’t burned in years.The fire is just 12 percent contained since starting Wednesday.
Wild horses to be removed from Tonto National Forest in Arizona Conservationists in Arizona are protesting U.S. Forest Service plans to remove a herd of wild horses from national forest land that they have roamed for decades.The herd of horses can often be found near the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest, about 75 miles northeast of Phoenix. Forest Service officials say the horses must be removed as a matter of public safety, according Carrie Templin, a spokeswoman for the Tonto National Forest, KPNX-TV reported.Up to 100 horses could eventually be removed from the forest, according to KPNX.The agency maintains that the horses were once domestic livestock and therefore do not merit the protections that designated wild horses receive.Owners of the horses can claim them through Friday by providing documentation. After that, officials plan to begin removing the herd from national land, according to a notice from the U.S. Forest Service.Over the next year, the horses will be impounded and ultimately sold at auction. According to the notice, „livestock not sold at public sale may be sold at private sale or condemned and destroyed, or otherwise disposed.”
Advocates of keeping the herd intact worry that unwanted horses could be killed,according to a statement from Salt River Wild Horse Management, a non-profit organization that monitors the herd. The group says the horses have lived in the area for hundreds of years, and were most likely brought to Arizona by a Spanish missionary, according to the statement.The group’s Change.org petition has nearly 29,000 signatures, and calls on the Forest Service to agree to the group’s humane management proposal.The wild horse advocacy group says it will purchase horses from auction and „will welcome the Salt River wild horses into their sanctuary in Prescott, Ariz., in order to prevent them from ending up in cruel situations.”The group plans to protest on Friday, according to KPHO-TV.
WATCH: 350-Million-Year-Old Salt Lakes and Fool-Uru: Australian Outback’s Other Wonders The Australian Outback is a lot like the American West — vast, beautiful, and lonely. Animals outnumber the people about 500 to one (depending on your source), and everywhere you look are canyons, deserts, and flat. Lots of flat … and a never-ending sky. But Australia’s outback is about 10 times larger than the American West — and millions of years older.Once, around 350 million years ago, much of the Australian Outback was covered by a huge inland sea. Today, nothing is left of that ocean except huge salt flats that dot the landscape around Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta, and Mount Conner — the three most recognizable features in the Outback.The wide-open landscape of the Australian Outback. (Photo: Paula Froelich)Unlike Uluru or Kata Tjuta, Mount Conner, while still considered sacred by the local Aboriginal people, lies in the middle of a million-acre cattle farm owned by the Severin family. (The land was privatized in 1938, and all Aboriginals were moved off. But because Mount Conner isn’t as sacred as the other sites in the area, no one has come to claim it, so the land remains in private hands.) Located off the Peterman highway, a one-lane dirt road, many people call it “Fool-uru” because of its similarities to Uluru and its history.“Back in the day, people would come from Alice Springs on the Peterman Highway — it was the only road out here from Alice Springs for years — and they would see Mount Conner and say, ‘Oh! Uluru!’, and turn around and go back home,” my friend and guide Stacy Beswisk laughed. “Many people never actually saw Uluru.”These days, only the Severin family members have access to the top of Mount Conner (the youngest son was married there several years ago) but, as with Uluru, the drive around it is spectacular.Related: G’Day Mate! How To Speak AustralianMummified bug in the salt lake. (Photo: Paula Froelich)Even more interesting is Lake Swanson, also on the ranch but about 10 miles away from Mount Conner.Surrounded by salt bush and a few desert oaks, which Beswisk estimates are around 450 years old, the huge salt lake is all that’s left of the inland ocean.“They used to mine salt here,” Beswisk said. “No more. … Now you can’t take it out of the country.”
Gray wolf possibly spotted in California, only second since 1924 By Dan Whitcomb6 hours ago Wochit Trail Camera Thought to Record 2nd Gray Wolf In CaliforniaWochit Trail Camera Thought to Record 2nd Gray Wolf In California By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California wildlife officials believe that a gray wolf has found its way across the border into the state from Oregon, becoming only the second gray wolf to have ventured into California since the 1920s.The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), in a document released late on Monday titled „Evidence of a Wolf in Siskiyou County,” said it began investigating after Californians reported seeing a wolf-like creature earlier this year.The department said it deployed a number of cameras along trails in remote areas of Siskiyou County, in northernmost California along the Oregon border, and captured images of the animal.Biologists also studied fresh tracks in the area and took DNA samples from scat, although the results of that testing were inconclusive due to the poor quality of the genetic material recovered.”Based on the photographic images and tracks, CDFW biologists believe that this lone animal is a gray wolf,” the department said. „The animal’s tracks are significantly larger than those of a coyote, and a comparison of the images with photos of an adult coyote captured at the same site indicate the animal is significantly larger than a coyote.”Prior to 2011 there had been no gray wolves in California since the last one was killed in 1924.But in December of that year a lone gray wolf, ultimately dubbed 0R7, was found in the state and was quickly celebrated by environmentalists who hoped that the species could re-establish a foothold in California.The Fish and Wildlife department said they had determined that the wolf spotted recently in Siskiyou County was not OR7, which has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of a pack in southern Oregon.”Biologists believe that if the animal photographed on the trail camera is a wolf, then like OR7 in 2011, it is probably an animal that has dispersed from a pack in Oregon,” the CDFW said. „Dispersing wolves generally attempt to join other packs, find a mate and carve out new territories within occupied habitat or form their own pack in unoccupied habitat.”Gray wolves, which were once hunted to the brink of extinction, are protected in California under the federal government’s Endangered Species Act.(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Australia says initial MH370 debris drift models gave wrong clues 4 hours agoDebris that has washed onto the Jamaique beach in Saint-Denis is seen on the shoreline of French Indian …SYDNEY (Reuters) – Initial models of where potential debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet might first wash up had incorrectly identified Indonesia as the most likely location, the Australian body leading the search said on Wednesday.Related Stories
Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board and search efforts have focused on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean off Western Australia.A piece of aircraft debris that washed up on the French island of Reunion last week roughly 3,700 km (2,300 miles) from the expected crash zone was consistent with where the plane went down, based on analysis of ocean currents, winds and waves, Australian officials and independent oceanographers said last week.But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is leading the search, said initial debris drift modeling undertaken in June 2014 had mistakenly indicated that the first possible landfall of debris would be on the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, in the first weeks of July 2014.Models run by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in November last year and updated last month found, however, that an Indonesia landfall was highly unlikely.The mistake did not affect the extensive international surface search for the missing plane off the west coast of Australia, ATSB said. That search was called off in April, more than a month after the plane went down.”While this error in that model had no impact on the way the surface search was conducted, it was important in order to understand over the course of time where debris might wash up and help verify or discount the various items found on beaches, particularly on the west coast of Australia,” the ATSB said in a statement on Wednesday.Australia has sent an expert to Toulouse, France, to examine the debris – a wing surface known as a flaperon – on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said in a statement.”Work is being undertaken by the Malaysian and French authorities to establish whether the flaperon originated from MH370,” Truss said.”Malaysian and French officials may be in a position to make a formal statement about the origin of the flaperon later this week.”(Reporting by Swati Pandey and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Edmund Klamann)