Storms kill 2, knock out power, downs trees on East Coast WILSON RING•
Severe Weather New Jersey
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Storms that began on Halloween killed at least two people, caused flooding, downed trees and power lines and damaged homes across the Northeast on Friday.
By Friday afternoon, the number of people without power in the Northeast was starting to creep down, but still more than 450,000 customers were without electricity. In some areas it could be days before all power is restored.
A man who was injured when a tree fell on his van later died, Tennessee officials said Friday. In New York, Thomas Connery, an 82-year-old Catholic priest from Glenville, died Thursday night after he got out of his car on a flooded road and was swept away, authorities said.
In a New York City suburb, a 9-year-old girl was injured on Halloween when she was hit by a falling tree while trick or treating. Another person was injured when a tornado touched down in Pennsylvania.
A tornado with winds of 111 to 135 miles per hour (180 to 220 kilometers per hour) tore through Glen Mills, a Delaware County suburb of Philadelphia, the National Weather Service confirmed. Local officials say that at least two dozen homes were damaged and one person was injured. Investigators are still evaluating whether tornadoes touched down elsewhere in the state.
By mid-afternoon Friday almost 75,000 homes and businesses were without electricity across Pennsylvania. In the western part of the state, storms caused flooding, mudslides and road closures. High winds Friday morning caused a car fire to spread to other vehicles in a hotel parking lot in Harmar Township, leaving six cars damaged, officials said.
WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh posted a video of a small school bus driving through floodwaters Thursday after a line of heavy rain came through a suburban neighborhood. The video showed water reaching above the headlights and near the hood of the bus, which the school district said was carrying students. The bus company told the station the driver was fired as a result. A message seeking comment was left with the bus company, ABC Transit.
Almost 147,000 customers were without power in New York state after a night of heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 70 mph (110 kph).
Finally, some good weather news for California.
The pattern responsible for the recent strong wind events in California is forecast to end soon, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Friday could be the last very windy day for a while in southern California: „Santa Ana winds will continue to diminish gradually on Friday, with wind gusts generally ranging between 25 and 35 mph across the mountains of Los Angeles,” the National Weather Service said Friday.
In general, these strong wind events are courtesy of large high-pressure areas that park themselves over the interior West. Warm, dry winds blow from the high-pressure areas down toward the Pacific Ocean.
Utilities have turned off power to minimize fires:It hasn’t worked. What will?
It is these high winds – along with the dry air, dry brush and urban sprawl – that contribute to California wildfires.
„While the dry pattern will continue during the first seven to 10 days of November, the storm track and subsequent track of high-pressure areas will shift farther inland,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson.
Little in the way of welcome rain will fall across California for at least the next week to 10 days. But beyond that, signs point to a wetter pattern setting in: The first soaking rainstorm could arrive in northern California between Nov. 10 and 12, AccuWeather said.
It will be a much longer wait in southern California, however.
„Southern California may have to wait for many weeks before rain arrives,” Anderson said. Significant rainfall may not fall there until late November or even December.
Is this the new normal?: With raging fires, high winds and blackouts, California is living a disaster movie
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California fires: Santa Ana winds, Diablo winds forecast to end soon
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Latest on the severe weather that hit the eastern United States (all times local):
A driver swept away by flood waters in New York was found dead, and more than 241,000 customers are still without power after a night of heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 70 mph (110 kph).
State officials say the driver was traveling through a flooded area in the Herkimer County town of Norway on Thursday night and was swept away after leaving his vehicle. His body was recovered Friday.
Police in the nearby village of Dolgeville deployed a boat in fast-running water to rescue six people from a home.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that several hundred people were evacuated around the state because of high waters.
The Journal News says a 9-year-old girl suffered fractures when a tree fell on her while she was trick-or-treating Thursday in New Rochelle.
The opening session of the luge national championships was canceled Friday because of heavy rain, high winds and power outages across large swaths of upstate New York.
USA Luge says Saturday’s races remain on schedule. Instead of crowning national champions through a four-heat, two-day event at Mount Van Hoevenberg, those titles will now be won at a two-heat, one-day competition.
Several inches (centimeters) of rain fell over parts of the Adirondacks between late Thursday and early Friday. Gusts exceeding 50 mph (80 kph) were reported in some areas, and many rivers were well above flood level.
A state of emergency was declared in Essex County, which includes the Mount Van Hoevenberg complex. Early voting for next week’s elections was called off Friday in some communities, small bridges were closed in several areas because of rising water, and many schools around the Adirondack region canceled classes for the day. At least one high school football playoff game was postponed.
USA Skeleton’s World Cup team trials continue as scheduled Saturday and Sunday at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Forecasters say conditions will improve for the weekend.
The National Weather Service is confirming that a tornado with winds of 111 to 135 mph tore through a suburb near Philadelphia.
Meteorologist Jason Franklin of the National Weather Service says an EF2 tornado moved through Glen Mills, Delaware County late Thursday.
Local officials say that at least two dozen homes were damaged and one person was injured.
Franklin says investigators are still evaluating whether tornadoes touched down elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
In western Pennsylvania, officials say high winds caused a car fire Friday morning to spread to other vehicles in a hotel parking lot in Harmar Township, leaving six cars damaged.
A series of storms that began on Halloween caused flooding, knocked over trees, and cut power to more than 500,000 customers from South Carolina to Maine and Ohio.
Tennessee officials say a man injured when a large tree fell on his vehicle has died.
The Knoxville Police Department tweeted on Friday that 79-year-old George Walker was pronounced dead late Thursday, hours after severe storms passed through the state downing trees and power lines and injuring at least four others.
News outlets report that Walker was driving when a tree fell in high winds, hit power lines and then his van.
The Tennessee death came after a series of storms that began on Halloween caused flooding, knocked over trees, and cut power to more than 500,000 customers from South Carolina to Maine and Ohio.
Homes have been destroyed in Pennsylvania and hundreds of thousands of utility customers were left without power after severe thunderstorms struck the Eastern Seaboard.
At least 420,000 customers from South Carolina up to Maine and in Ohio were without power just before midnight Thursday.
In Pennsylvania, Delaware County Emergency Management Director Tim Boyce told WPVI-TV on Friday that eight homes were destroyed and dozens were damaged.
More than 100,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in the Philadelphia suburbs early Friday. More outages occurred in western Pennsylvania, where storms caused flooding, mudslides and road closures.
Trees also toppled in New Jersey, which initially had more than 25,000 homes and businesses without power.
The weather also caused damage, outages and commuter delays across New York’s Long Island.
ICYMI: Unrelenting winds fan devastating California fires, Old Man Winter plays a trick on northern US and tropics activate around the world
Wildfires continue to cause problems for firefighters and fearful residents in the western United States, with multiple new blazes igniting this week. Meanwhile, bad weather spooked some communities out of their initial Halloween plans, icy cold gripped parts of the northern U.S. and Rebekah reminded us that hurricane season is not yet over. Here’s a look at the biggest weather news from the past week.
Over the past several weeks, eerie images of hellish-orange wildfires raging with silhouettes of firefighters working relentlessly in the foreground have permeated major news sites and social media almost as quickly as the fires themselves have spread. And what’s worse – new fires are igniting in California, despite the progress being made with battling the massive Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.
The Maria Fire that sparked Thursday night near Santa Paula in Ventura County burned about 4,000 acres in less than a day and was was 0% contained as of Friday morning. It forced around 7,500 people from their homes.
|A firefighter sprays water on a scorched home as the Hillside Fire burns in San Bernardino, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. Whipped by strong wind, the blaze destroyed multiple residences. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)|
The Easy Fire, which started up in Simi Valley about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles, gave at least 800 firefighters a hard time Wednesday with its rapid growth from 200 to 1,600 acres between morning and night. However, fire crews managed to contain a significant amount of the fire as of Friday morning, and all evacuations have been lifted.
The fire initially posed a threat to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; however, a library representative said the building was saved by a flock of goats. The library brings in about 300 goats to feast on flammable vegetation around the building annually.
Yet another wildfire – the Hillside Fire – ignited Thursday morning and swiftly spread; however, firefighters had contained 50% of it by midday. Earlier in the week on Oct. 28, residents outside of Los Angeles had to worry about the Getty Fire that ignited early that morning along the 405 Freeway. Investigators placed blame on a dried tree branch that hit a power line.
Five homes were damaged, with another 12 completely destroyed. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said, „[The Getty Fire] was, simply put, in plain parlance, an act of God.” Read more about the latest western wildfires here.
We’re in the final stretch of 2019 as we enter November, but it’s still not quite wintertime. That did not stop a wave of Arctic air from shattering record lows in the northern portion of the U.S. this week as bone-chilling cold gripped the northern Rockies and High Plains. In Salt Lake City around 3:37 a.m. Wednesday, a temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit set a new daily and monthly record.
Those living in remote northern Utah really had to bundle up early Wednesday, as lows reached minus 46 F in Peter Sinks. That extraordinarily low temperature made it the coldest location in the contiguous U.S. while setting a new record October low for Utah. Records were also smashed on Monday in Wyoming, where subzero temperatures were reported.
|Traffic struggles along the snow-packed southbound lanes of Interstate 25 near the Steele Street overpass as an autumn storm sweeps over the intermountain West Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Denver. Forecasters predict that this second storm in two days will bring up to a foot of snow in some places in the region as well as pack an intense cold that may drop temperatures to possibly record-setting lows. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)|
In addition to the crazy cold that invaded some spots, a snowstorm impacted locations from Idaho to Nebraska. At Denver International Airport, at least 12.2 inches of snow fell, which made it the snowiest October since a decade ago, when 17.2 inches fell. Hundreds of flights were canceled Tuesday, forcing hundreds of travelers to sleep at the airport. Denver’s high of 18 F Thursday tied for the coldest October high temperature on record.
In the Midwest, a winterlike storm dumped snow across the region, breaking a 96-year-old snowfall record in Chicago. This is from the same storm that impacted the Rockies earlier this week after it tracked across the central U.S. Areas like northeastern Kansas, eastern Iowa, Illinois and southern Wisconsin got battered with heavy snow, strong winds and an unrelenting cold.
Up to 6 to 9 inches of snow buried the Upper Midwest as the storm intensified on Halloween. Several cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, set new record daily snowfall amounts for the holiday, and October 2019 now ranks among the top five snowiest ever in several locations.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is coming to a close with just enough time left for Subtropical Storm Rebekah to form in the otherwise quiet Atlantic basin. Subtropical, according to AccuWeather meteorologists, means that Rebekah acquired both tropical and non-tropical features.
The storm developed Wednesday afternoon into the season’s 17th named storm before dissipating on Friday. Meteorologists say two other areas warrant a close eye for potential tropical development into the first full week of November.
As Kyarr continues weakening over the western Arabian Sea, Cyclonic Storm Maha has formed, making it the first time since 2015 and the second time in history that back-to-back named storms have existed in the Arabian Sea. The two storms back then were Megh and Chapala.
|Kyarr is seen in the Arabian Sea earlier this week. (Photo/NASA)|
Maha was classified as a depression on Wednesday, then it strengthened into the evening, becoming a severe cyclonic storm on Thursday. AccuWeather meteorologists expect further strengthening as the storm moves into warm water and an area with low wind shear, and it could possibly reach very severe cyclonic storm status in the coming days, with wind speeds of at least 74 mph.
Much to the dismay of several trick-or-treating communities from the mid-Atlantic to the Ohio Valley, wet weather threatened to drench their Halloween plans on Thursday. That’s why officials in some cities rescheduled Halloween festivities for the start of November.
Officials in Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia, moved festivities to the weekend, the Associated Press reported. Philadelphia-area communities moved up trick-or-treating activities to Wednesday night or planned to hold off until Friday evening. In Pittsburgh, trick-or-treaters had to wait until Friday or Saturday.
After soaking rain and severe storms swept across the eastern U.S. on Halloween, hundreds of thousands were left without power, a flash flood emergency was issued and an EF2 tornado was confirmed.
The Philippines were hit with two powerful earthquakes rated over 6.0 magnitude in a three-day period and three earthquakes within a month’s time. Both of the more recent quakes impacted the southern island of Mindanao.
|Eva’s Hotel stands damaged after a strong earthquake in Kidapawan, north Cotabato province, Philippines, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. The third strong earthquake this month jolted the southern Philippines on Thursday morning, further damaging structures already weakened by the earlier shaking. (AP Photos/Williamor Magbanua)|
On Oct. 31, a strong 6.5 earthquake struck just south of Kisante, Philippines. No tsunami threat was issued, but the earthquake was powerful enough to inflict major damage upon structures in locations like Davao City and Kidapawan City.
At least five people died Thursday, according to the AP, and at least eight people perished Tuesday during the 6.6 magnitude quake.
LOS ANGELES – The hurricane-force wind gusts that fanned at least 10 wildfires across the state were easing Thursday, providing a modest respite for firefighters and residents overwhelmed by evacuations, preemptive power outages and extreme fire warnings.
More than 106,000 people were without power Thursday evening because of an unrelenting series of planned outages aimed at limiting fire risk. Still, downed and sparking wires were suspected of igniting some of the blazes.
More than 17 million residents live in areas designated as critical or severe wildfire risk Thursday, the National Weather Service said. That number should fall precipitously in the next couple of days, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker said.
„The winds have already let up somewhat in Northern California,” Walker said. „They should diminish in Los Angeles by Friday.”
The end of the wind event should also bring more amenable temperatures for firefighters who have at times been battling blazes in intense heat. But the news isn’t all good.
„Any significant rain remains two or three weeks away,” Walker said. „We won’t see more humidity. And another wind event could be coming in the middle or late next week.”
Weather conditions continued to create problems Thursday night when a brush fire erupted on South Mountain, near Santa Paula and Somis in Ventura County. The Maria Fire consumed about 4,000 acres in just three hours and crews had no containment. Officials ordered 7,500 people to evacuate as the fire threatened 1,800 buildings.
The state forestry and fire protection agency Cal Fire said 10 fires had collectively consumed more than 144 square miles in recent days. At least 13,000 Californians were still under evacuation orders Thursday afternoon.
The number was down markedly from more than 200,000 last week, thanks to firefighting efforts that have allowed many residents to return home.
Southern California, however, remained cloaked in an unprecedented „extreme red flag warning” as winds fanned at least three major blazes. But as Santa Ana winds continue to threaten the southern part of the state, Southern California Edison warned that more than 223,000 customers could lose power in an effort to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.
More than 41,000 customers were without power Thursday, the company said. The utility acknowledged the Easy Fire, northwest of Los Angeles, broke out near its equipment, although the cause of the stubborn blaze remained under investigation.
Where will the West’s next deadly wildfire strike? The risks are everywhere
In Los Angeles, a $107 million Emergency Operations Center housed in a special building east of City Hall is the nerve center for the city’s wildfire monitoring and control system.
The EOC has been opened for a series of wind-driven brush blazes this month: The Saddle Ridge Fire burned 8,799 acres and destroyed 19 structures. The 40-acre Palisades Fire crept right up to homes. Then, most recently, came the Getty Fire, which destroyed several homes and burned near the Getty Center, a prominent art museum in the city.
The center is activated as soon as a major fire is threatening, and until it’s up and running, a lot of the action takes place on a special smartphone.
„You won’t believe what it’s like carrying this phone when the fire breaks out,” said Chris Ipsen, who helped put the center together. „Your heart is pumping like crazy.”
Here is a look at some of the major fires raging across the state.
Maria Fire: Fast-moving brush fire tests firefighters in Ventura County
Winds blowing 25 to 35 mph spread the blaze down both sides of South Mountain, toward Santa Paula as well as Somis. Firefighters were working to contain the Easy Fire about 15 miles away when the blaze ignited at 6:14 p.m. local time.
About 250 firefighters from the ground and air were battling the wind-driven brush fire on Thursday night, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Officials opened four evacuation centers, including three for animals.
Low humidity and offshore winds forecast for Friday could continue to drive the Maria Fire, officials said.
Hillside Fire: 5-mile radius hours after igniting in San Bernardino County
The fire broke out early Thursday in San Bernardino County and within hours grew to a 5-mile radius and had „entered neighborhoods,” the fire department said. It was 50% contained Thursday.
At least six homes burned, and officials lifted evacuation orders for about 1,300 people. More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze, including a water-dropping helicopter team. An evacuation center for those fleeing the fire, burning about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, was set up at Pacific High School.
Easy Fire: Goats help save Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
In Simi Valley, a Ventura County city of 125,000 just 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, the Easy Fire consumed about 2.8 square miles after igniting early Wednesday.
Crews reported 60% containment of the fire Thursday, and officials lifted all evacuation orders for 30,000 people. More than 7,000 homes were threatened.
The fire came dangerously close to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, spokeswoman Melissa Giller said, but it was saved by a shift in the winds – and the work of goats brought in every year to create a fire break by chewing through vegetation surrounding the complex.
Kincade Fire: Containment reaches 65% at Sonoma County blaze
In Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, subsiding winds aided firefighters battling the wine country blaze that sparked a week ago. Officials lifted evacuation orders, allowing all but about 6,000 people to return home. The 120-square-mile wildfire had forced 200,000 people to flee after „Diablo” winds conspired with dry conditions.
The Kincade Fire had destroyed more than 280 buildings, including a 150-year-old winery, and was 65% contained Thursday. Emergency officials warned about 60,000 people to be prepared to evacuate if conditions change, but Cal Fire Division Chief Jonathan Cox said crews are optimistic.
Getty Fire: ‘Errant’ tree branch is to blame for Los Angeles County blaze
In Los Angeles County, fire officials also lifted some evacuation orders for the Getty Fire, which had forced residents of more than 7,000 homes to flee earlier in the week. Containment was at 39% Thursday.
The 1.2-square-mile wildfire near the Getty Museum started accidentally, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart, when high winds blew a tree branch onto nearby power lines. „This errant tree branch caused the sparking and arcing of the power lines, igniting nearby brush,” Stewart said.
Riverside County fire at 300 acres
Mandatory evacuations were lifted for areas near a Riverside County fire that grew to 300 acres and was 50% contained Thursday, fire officials said. Riverside Police spokesman Ryan Railsback said two suspects driving a stolen car face arson charges after they drove into a field, igniting the blaze.
Why not just bury them? California power lines spark wildfires and prompt blackouts
Contributing: Joseph Jacquez, Ventura County Star; Chris Woodyard and Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California fires: What to know about Maria, Kincade, Easy fires