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A major security breach at Sydney Airport has caused long delays for about 2000 Qantas airlines passengers.
Two persons walked through an exit door at the Qantas-owned T3 domestic terminal on Sydney Airport, in Australia, this morning, bypassing security checks.
The incident forced the evacuation of the terminal and rescreening of about 2000 passengers who had already been checked in and, in some cases, boarded aircraft. This is the second major security breach at Sydney Airport in the last five months.
A major security breach at Sydney Airport has caused long delays for about 2000 Qantas airlines passengers
“It’s our terminal so we’re sticking our hands up on this one,” a Qantas airline spokesman told Fairfax Radio Network.
“It was obviously very frustrating for the passengers and we’re extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused.
“Our hands were tied once those two passengers got through.
“We had to get every single passenger out of that area and back through the gates.”
Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth said 12 flights were delayed and 2000 passenges affected by the security breach.
Olivia Wirth said they had notified the Australian Federal Police and a full investigation would be carried out.
The security breach caused delays of several hours for some flights leaving Sydney Airport and some minor delays for inbound aircraft.
According to Qantas airlines, by 3:00 pm (AEST) flight schedules were returning to normal.
Australian Federal Police officers carried out a sweep on post-security check areas of T3 domestic terminal using bomb and firearm detection dogs.
A similar incident happened at Sydney Airport T2 exactly five months ago, on April, when a power failure caused a security screening checkpoint to fail, leading to 16 passengers walking through without screening and Sydney Airport ordered the rescreening of the entire terminal.
Another similar security breach happened at Melbourne Airport on April 7.
Earlier in the day, paramedics from Sydney Airport were called to treat people on an incoming international flight who suffered burns when a hot drink was spilled. The accident happened when the plane dropped suddenly as it hit the turbulence, sending a coffee cart flying into the air.
According to ambulance spokeswoman, paramedics assessed five passengers and three crew on their arrival.
Three persons suffered minor burns but no one needed to be taken to hospital.
More than 4 million people across a large swath of Southern California and Mexico have been left without power on Thursday after an utility worker doing maintenance near Yuma, Arizona, triggered a massive blackout that jammed roads, closed schools and businesses, grounded planes.
After the utility worker triggers a chain reaction that reaches from Mexico to Orange County, many offices have closed and employees endured gridlock getting home because traffic lights were out.
According to authorities, it was noticed an increase in fender-benders in some areas as drivers tried to navigate the roads.
Many people were trapped in elevators and on rides at Sea World in San Diego and Legoland in Carlsbad.
San Diego major power outage, September 8
At hospitals, all emergency rooms have been switched to backup generators, while outgoing flights from San Diego have been canceled for several hours.
Customers jammed those stores that remained open, stocking up on ice and candles as utility company officials warned that power may not be restored until late Friday.
Authorities canceled classes for Friday at most colleges and schools in San Diego and surrounding communities.
Michael Niggli, president and COO of San Diego Gas & Electric said:
“Get ready to be in the dark. Get your emergency precautions ready.”
The blackout was triggered by a mishap on a high-voltage power line linking Arizona and San Diego, causing a cascading series of electrical grid failures stretching into Southern California.
APS, Arizona’s largest electric utility, said a worker was doing maintenance on lines at a nearby substation when the blackout occurred.
An APS spokesman said in a statement:
“The outage appears to be related to a procedure an APS employee was carrying out in the North Gila substation.
“Operating and protection protocols typically would have isolated the resulting outage to the Yuma area. The reason that did not occur in this case will be the focal point of the investigation into the event, which already is underway.”
“Despite temperatures that reached 100 F in San Diego and Imperial counties, excessive electricity demand didn’t appear to be a factor in the power loss,” said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the California Independent System Operator, the agency that oversees most of California’s electrical grid.
“It was not a case of a high-demand day,” McCorkle said.
“The operating reserves were fine.”
According to officials, utility crews were scrambling to restore some power by tapping into local energy sources at gas-fired plants in Escondido and Otay Mesa.
Power had been restored to some communities in Orange and Imperial counties by Thursday night, but power wouldn’t be fully restored until Friday, officials said.
Regions of Baja California as well as Arizona were also without power.
The power outage caused disarray across the region, interrupting Amtrak trains and trolley service in San Diego and causing gasoline station closures.
Several sewage pumps failed during the blackout, sending effluent into San Diego Bay.
Residents of a nursing home in Indio in Riverside County were evacuated when their facility lost power, and county officials opened a cooling center. At San Diego International Airport, dozens of travelers were left stranded when their flights were canceled.
In downtown San Diego’s usually bustling Gaslamp district, most businesses were closed. In Oceanside, people shopped in a dark 99-cent store, and some cashiers tallied bills by calculator.
San Diego County hospitals were operating on backup power, but conditions were challenging staff at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, which had 220 patients when the power went out.
“We are in full disaster mode,” said Gary Fybel, chief executive of the hospital.
“We completed all surgeries that were underway. We did not take on new surgeries, [and] delayed nonessential treatments.”
The hospital staff conducted its regular meetings by flashlight just outside the main entrance of the hospital. Many hospital rooms were illuminated with power produced by generators.
New audio recordings from 9/11 morning that never-before have been heard are shedding new light on the confusion and desperate quest by aviation and military workers for information as the tragic events unfolded.
The recordings were originally organized for 9/11 Commission investigators, but never released to the general public.
With the occasion of 10-year commemoration of the terror atrocity, the audio tapes provides jarring first-hand accounts of airport workers and the moment they phoned the military about scrambling fighter jets to find planes that were not responding and had disappeared from radars.
Newly released audio files detail aviation officials' desperate scramble for information on the morning of 9/11 as United Airlines Flight 175 headed toward the south tower of WTC. (AP photo)
Colonel Miles Kara, now retired from U.S. Army and former 9/11 Commission investigator, organized the audio files this year in the National Archives and transcribed them with help from law students and Rutgers Law School Dean John J. Farmer Jr., who served as top counsel to the commission.
The audio files were released by The New York Times this morning.
The recordings begin at 8:13a.m., the moment FAA air traffic controllers in Boston realized American Airlines Flight 11, the jet that crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, was not responding.
At 8:19, a cabin crew member on the doomed plane, Betty Ong, contacted the airline’s reservations agents in Cary, North Carolina.
“Um, the cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class, and we can’t breathe in business and um I think there is Mace that we can’t breathe. I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.”
Immediately after 9:00 a.m. and 16 minutes after Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center, an exchange was recorded between a radio caller and a New York air traffic control manager.
“Can you, can you see a guy at about 4,000 feet, about 5 east of the airport right now, looks like he’s-“
“Yeah, I see him,” the traffic control manager said.
“Do you see that guy, look, is he descending into the building also?” the caller asked.
The traffic control manager said:
“He’s descending really quick too, yeah. Forty-five hundred right now, he just dropped 800 feet in like, like one, one sweep.”
“What kind of airplane is that, can you guys tell?”
“I don’t know, I’ll read it out in a minute,” the manager said.
But it was too late, because that plane was United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the south tower at 9:03.
“The whole building just came apart,” the manager said.
The audio files also detail how some FAA officials were still in the dark, as aviation officials scrambled to get the U.S. military involved seconds before the south tower was hit.
“Why, what’s going on?” a man at the FAA headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, asked at 9:01 a.m.
The 9/11 Commission found out on those recordings that military officials were not kept informed of the events, with many not knowing about the last three hijacked flights until after they had crashed.
It was reported that military was not informed that officials had lost contact with American Airlines Flight 77 – which crashed into the Pentagon – until 30 minutes later.
About three minutes before Flight 77’s impact, an FAA official is heard saying:
”They said that it was east of York. And I don’t even know what state that is.”
At 10:32am, the shoot-down order was issued by Vice President Dick Cheney approximately a half hour after United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
However, two key recordings will remain unreleased.
One is the 30-minute audio clip of the cockpit from United Flight 93.
The other is a classified conference call between high-ranking White House officials like Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
The release of the audio files comes as Reuters reported the vast majority of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative records remain sealed at the National Archives in Washington, even though the commission had directed the archives to make most of the material public in 2009.
The National Archives’ failure to release the material presents a hurdle for historians and others seeking to plumb one of the most dramatic events in modern American history.
The 575 cubic feet of records were in large part the basis for the commission’s public report, issued July 22, 2004.
The 9/11 Commission, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established by Congress in late 2002 to investigate the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, the pre-attack effectiveness of intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the government’s emergency response.
Matt Fulgham, assistant director of the archives’ center for legislative affairs which has oversight of the commission documents, said during an interview this week that more than a third of the material has been reviewed for possible release.
However, many of those documents have been withheld or heavily redacted, and the released material includes documents that already were in the public domain, such as press articles.
9/11 Commission items which are still not public include a 30-page summary of an April 29, 2004 interview by all 10 commissioners with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, conducted in the White House’s Oval Office.
That moment was the only time the two were formally questioned about the events surrounding the attacks.
Several former 9/11 Commission staff members said that because there is no comprehensive effort to unseal the remaining material, portions of the records the commission had hoped would be available by now to scholars and the public instead will remain sealed indefinitely
Hurricane Irene, which became tropical storm travelled along 1,100 miles of US coastline leaving a trail of destruction as reaching far inland. Irene remnants began to dissipate over Canada while storm left behind at least 44 deaths, widespread flooding and millions of houses and buildings without power.
People started to get back to work as officials tried to clear the roads from fallen trees and train tracks and clear flooded tunnels. Airports have started to operate again but had to deal with around 9,000 flights cancelled as Irene struck.
Over 250 roads were closed in Vermont as the state experienced its worst floods for 75 years. Governor Peter Shumlin declared the state a federal disaster area as hundreds of people received evacuation orders.
“We prepared for the worst and we got the worst in central and southern Vermont,” Governor Shumlin said.
“We have extraordinary infrastructure damage.”
Hurricane Irene travelled along 1,100 miles of US coastline leaving a trail of destruction as reaching far inland
New York City escaped from the predicted flooding. Most of the New York subway lines were running by Monday morning.
The New York Stock Exchange opened as normal, though many employees faced problems getting into work.
But flooding was reported in all five boroughs, with the suburbs hardest hit and roads washed out in the Hudson River valley.
Flooding was expected in New Jersey along the Passaic and Ramapo rivers until Tuesday, according to authorities.
“The inland flooding … has been almost as much of a concern of mine as the coastal flooding,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Atlantic surge and rainfall has caused severe flooding in the state. Governor Christie said the damage could reach tens of billions of dollars.
More than 1 million power outages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as Irene swept through with hundreds of thousands still being without power on Monday.
The same situation was in Rhode Island, where 500,000 of residents, about half of state population, were without electricity on Sunday but most had it restored by Monday.
North Carolina was the most affected region, as it suffered the biggest blow, with at least 7 people killed in the state and 444,000 households left without power.
“Overall, the destruction is not as severe as I was worried it might be,” said North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue.
“But there’s still lots and lots of destruction, and people’s lives have been turned upside down.”
The family of Marian Graham, the mother of five murdered in Turkey, near Izmir, have spoken for the first time of their “absolute devastation”.
Marian Graham, 52, was found stabbed to death on August 18 alongside her best friend Cathy Dinsmore in a remote wooded area close to the city of Izmir, near Kusadasi in Turkey.
Marian Graham 15-year-old daughter Shannon, whose boyfriend, Recep Cetin, has been arrested for the brutal double murder, has revealed that the Turkish youth had NEVER asked her to marry him.
Shannon Graham revelation explodes claims that Cetin murdered the women after Marian refused to allow him to marry Shannon. In her eyewitness account of the events of the fateful night, Shannon details how Recep Cetin – known as Alex – cynically tried to cover his tracks with an extraordinary claim he had been kidnapped by the Turkish Mafia.
Marian Graham and her daughter Shannon.
With the approval of her elder siblings, Shannon explained in detail what happened on the day of the double murder.
Alex, who worked in a Kusadasi restaurant called Victoria, was sharing an apartment that Marian, Shannon and Cathy had been staying in since July 16.
On Thursday, August 18, Alex had organized for Shannon to go on a boat trip with a friend.
“The boat trip was for 9 o’clock,” said Shannon.
“But Alex and I woke at 7.30 because he had to be in work for 8 a.m. I went in to Mum to get her to tie my bikini. We left and I went down to Alex’s restaurant to wait for my friend. Alex was cleaning the restaurant and when 9 o’clock came, Alex and I started making our way over to the boat. That’s where I met my friend Sandy. Me, Sandy and Alex went up onto the top of the boat. He stayed with us for about 30 minutes and we took pictures and stuff like that. He told me to ring him during the day to let him know how I was getting on. There were no signs that day, nothing unusual. It was all normal.”
Later, while enjoying her boat trip, Shannon decided to call Alex.
“I first rang him at 12 o’clock but his phone was off,” she said.
“I thought his battery was dead. I rang him again at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. but it was still off. The trip finished at 4.30 and we went back to Alex’s restaurant, round the corner. I thought Alex would have finished his break by then. I asked his boss where he was and he said he wasn’t back from his break. So we waited.”
At 5 p.m., when Alex still failed to show up, Shannon left and went to another restaurant with her friend.
“Then Alex rang me,” Shannon said.
“He was panicking on the phone. He said, <<Come home now – there’s a problem>>.
“I said, <<What’s the matter?>> and he said, <<I’ll tell when you come home>>. Then he rang again and said, <<Where are you?>> and I said, <<I’m waiting for the bus. Why, what’s the problem?>>. He said, <<Me, mum and Cathy’s been kidnapped but I got away>>. Just as he said that, the bus came. When we got to our house, I saw Alex lying outside in the garden. His hand was all bloody. He was shaking. I asked him to explain.”
“He said, <<Me, mum and Cathy were walking to the supermarket and a big car, like a jeep, stopped and these three big Mafia men came out.>>
“I asked him what they looked like and he said they had long hair and moustaches. He said they first took Cathy and that Cathy was in the car pulling her hair and screaming but mum kept grabbing onto Alex so they wouldn’t take her. Alex kept grabbing onto mum and that’s when the kidnappers sliced his hand.”
Recep Cetin told Shannon he woke up in a “ditch” close to where it happened. He claimed he was making his way back to the house when a taxi driver saw him and took him home.
“All the neighbours were there at that stage,” said Shannon.
“I took Alex into the house because he wanted to change out of his clothes. He said he didn’t own them and I had never seen them before. He said the kidnappers changed him into them. We went up to the bedroom and I put his own clothes on him. Then I put the clothes the kidnappers put on him into a bag and I took them downstairs for the police.”
Both Shannon Graham and Recep Cetin (Alex) were taken to the hospital and later to the police station.
“That was the last time I saw him,” Shannon said. She still had no idea that her mother and friend were dead.
“The next day, Friday, me, Alex’s dad and the taxi driver got into a police car. We first went to the hospital but then we went to Izmir. A translator asked me what happened and I told him. After that, we went to the court house and a girl from the Irish embassy told me that mum and Cathy had been found in a forest. She told me that they had been killed. I was so shocked. I was crying. I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to ring my brothers and sisters because I didn’t think they knew.”
Shannon Graham and Recep Cetin who has been charged for Shannon's mother stabbing
Along with Shannon’s father, Raymond McGuinness, from whom Marian separated 10 years ago, her brother David flew to Kusadasi to bring his little sister home.
Shannon Graham and her mother had been going to Turkey for the past eight years, with Cathy Dinsmore joining them for the last three.
Every summer, Shannon, Marian and Cathy excitedly booked their flights for Turkey.
“We stayed there all summer,” said Shannon. “It was something I looked forward to. Cathy did too. When we first went, we stayed in a little apartment beside Ladies’ Beach, then sometimes we stayed in the town but this year, we just rented. We were all well known in Turkey. Mum knew everyone and everyone got on with her. We used to go on trips, go to the shops and off to the swimming pool. We made friends and it was like home from home. I had a second life out there.”
It was during one such holiday that Shannon Graham met Recep Cetin, who would later become her first real boyfriend. But contrary to press reports, she had not been sharing an apartment with him since she was 12.
“I started going out with him more than a year ago,” she said.
“But I first met him four years ago. Mummy knew him for the same length of time. I wanted to go out with him two years ago but Mummy wouldn’t let me because I was too young. She said okay last year so we started going out.”
According to Shannon and her sisters, Marian Graham “trusted” her daughter’s boyfriend.
‘”he was with him a lot of the time,” said Shannon.
“We always went into his family’s restaurant where he worked. Alex and my mummy got on great. He called her Mum. He used to kiss her on the cheek and say, “Goodnight, Mum.”
Shannon Graham insisted reports last week suggesting that Alex had been violent towards her were “totally untrue”. “We argued, like most couples but he never hit me,” she said.
“My mum wouldn’t have let me stay with him if he did. One day we were in the living room and Alex and I were upstairs. Mum thought I was crying but really I was laughing. She was downstairs with Sandy and Sandy said she never saw her jump off the sofa as quick because she thought something was wrong.”
More significantly, the Shannon Graham dismissed claims that Recep Cetin (Alex) had asked to marry her and that her mum had refused.
“That’s why I would just love to know why he did it,” said Shannon
“The marriage part isn’t true. The first thing I heard of that was in the papers. He didn’t ask me to marry him and to my knowledge he didn’t ask my mother either.
“I was wearing Mummy’s ring on my engagement finger when I came home but that has nothing to do with him. He didn’t ask me to marry him.”
On the day of the murders, Marian, Shannon and Cathy had planned to book their tickets home after Shannon returned from the boat trip. They were due to return to Newry this week.
“Mum was supposed to have dinner ready for me when I got back,” said Shannon.
“She wasn’t going anywhere that day. Alex must have planned the shopping trip when he left me. She was sick that morning – she had an upset stomach and would have said if she was going out. Alex just planned that at the last minute. He probably just said, <<Shannon’s away, we’ll do something instead of sitting around the house>>. The last thing she said when I was going out that morning was, <<Give me a kiss and take care>>. She was so affectionate. She loved you to cuddle her a lot.”
For Shannon Graham, who plans to return to school next week, the loss of her mother was difficult to articulate.
“I was always with my mum,” she said. “We went everywhere together. In Turkey, during the day we went to the beach or the pool and at night we went to restaurants – that was our wee routine. I was the baby so I was spoiled but Mummy was strict in some ways. I knew not to cross her but she would have done anything for me. She would have spent her last £20 on me.”
Shannon continued to tell the story:
“I wanted to speak to Alex but the police wouldn’t let me, she said.
“The only thing I wanted to know was why he did it, because I don’t know why he did what he did. When I heard what he did, I couldn’t believe it. He never asked me to marry him so why did he do it? What was going through his mind? Did he ever think twice about what he was actually doing? Did he ever think to stop? And why did he lie to my face about what happened?”
When asked if she ever go back to Turkey, Shannon Graham said:
“I have been going to Turkey for nine years and have good memories there with Mummy.”
“There was a place in town Mum loved. She would sit at the summer seat by the water for hours and hours… I would nag her and try and get her to leave. My memory of her sitting there is a happy one. That’s what I think of when I think of her… happy in Turkey.”
New York City authorities issued an unprecedented order on Friday for the evacuation of about 370,000 residents of low-lying areas at the city’s edges ahead of hurricane Irene.
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New York residents will be evacuated from the expensive apartments in Battery Park City to the roller coaster in Coney Island to the dilapidated boardwalk in the Rockaways, as evacuation order warnings that Hurricane Irene was such a threat that people living there simply had to get out.
New York officials also announced plans to shut down the city’s entire transit system Saturday — all 468 subway stations and 840 miles of tracks, and the rest of the nation’s largest mass transit network: thousands of buses in the city, as well as the buses and commuter trains that reach from Midtown Manhattan to the suburbs.
President Barak Obama approved a request from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York to declare a federal emergency in the state while the hurricane was still several hundred miles away.
“The hurricane, 290 miles of fury dancing angrily across the Atlantic Ocean toward the coast, was actually advancing more slowly than most late-summer storms,” the National Weather Service said.
New York City hurricane evacuation zones.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]Friday night Weather Service forecast said rain associated with the storm would begin in Manhattan after 11 a.m. Saturday with conditions worsening into Sunday.
“You only have to look at the weather maps to understand how big this storm is and how unique it is,” New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference on Friday at City Hall.
The increasingly ominous announcements from officials — and the wall-to-wall coverage — sent New Yorkers hurrying to buy staples like canned food and candles.
Shoppers in places found that the shelves had been cleaned out. In shore towns in New Jersey and on Long Island, touristss waited in lines at gas stations and watched as bulldozers built berms on low-lying beach roads.
The announcement about the transit shutdown and the evacuation of what the city called Zone A low-lying areas prompted a cascade of cancellations for Saturday and Sunday: Broadway shows, the Mets’ games against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field, the performances by the Dave Matthews Band on Governors Island and the outdoor showing of opera movies at Lincoln Center, among others. Even the New York Aquarium and the Bronx, Central Park and Prospect Park Zoos closed for the weekend.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]Starting at noon Saturday, all three major airports in the New York region will be closed to arriving flights.
They will remain open for departures, pending changes in the weather, but most of those scheduled departures have already been canceled, according to Steve Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman.
Authorities announced the subway shutdown was prompted mainly by wind estimates that suggested the hurricane could rock subway cars in places where they run above ground. The commuter rail lines that serve Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut will also be shut down, as will New Jersey Transit operations. New Jersey Transit will suspend train service at noon Saturday and will stop bus service six hours later.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that 91 evacuation centers and shelters opened on Friday for people who could not stay in their homes. The Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, said 20 shelters would be open by the time the storm hit.
Consolidated Edison warned that it would have to cut off power to some customers if underground pipes and cables became submerged in water. To be ready for repairs, Consolidated Edison said it was bringing in 800 additional workers from as far away as Texas.
Mayor Bloomberg said no one would be fined for violating the city’s evacuation orders. “Nobody’s going to go to jail,” he said, but he warned that the storm’s consequences could be fatal.
Tourists on 16-mile-long Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina have been evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irene.
Residents were asked to leave their homes Thursday morning as Hurricane Irene strengthened to a major Category 3 storm over the Bahamas with the East Coast in its sights. North Carolina Governor, Beverly Perdue said today at a news conference.
“It’s a standard precaution.”
“We want folks [in eastern North Carolina] to take this storm seriously and to get prepared.”
Perdue also urged coastal residents to be prepared and fill up their gas tanks, collect their prescription drugs and have cash in case the region is without power or other basics. Hurricane kits also should include water, canned food and other supplies.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”stanga”] However, Governor Perdue tried not to discourage tourists from visiting North Carolina’s coast, saying at this point the state’s southern beaches would avoid the brunt of the storm and predicted Irene would pass the state by Sunday morning – leaving intact the week leading up to the Labor Day holiday.
Governor defended comments she made Tuesday asking the media not to scare away tourists and urging tourists to keep visiting North Carolina.
“You will never endanger your tourists, but you also don’t want to overinflate the sense of urgency about the storm. And so let’s just hang on,” she said.
Tourists on 16 mile long Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina have been evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irene
The today’s Ocracoke Island evacuation served as a “test” to see whether people would leave when faced with the possibility of a hurricane, according to the Associated Press.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a tweet that ferries leaving the barrier island, part of the popular Outer Banks, are only half-full and traffic is moderate. They expect traffic to increase as the day goes on.
Hurricane Irene has passed through Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, and is headed for the East Coast, the Capital Weather Gang reports.
Hurricane current trajectory suggests that it will hit North Carolina directly, but nothing is certain. Should Irene stay on its current path, the National Hurricane Center’s forecast predicts that it will make landfall Saturday.
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In Ocracoke Island cars were lined up at gas pumps to fill tanks before leaving ahead of Irene, which had winds near 120 mph (193 kph) as of Wednesday afternoon.
Irene is expected to get stronger over warm ocean waters and could become a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 131 mph (211 km/h) by Thursday.
As Irene churned in the Caribbean, tourists scurried from hotels in the Bahamian capital of Nassau to catch flights off the island before the airport’s expected afternoon closure.
The first ferry to leave Ocracoke Island in North Carolina arrived just before 5:30 a.m. in nearby Hatteras with around a dozen cars on board.
The 16-mile-long barrier island is accessible only by boats that can carry no more than 50 cars at a time.
Ocracoke Island is home to about 800 year-round residents and a tourist population that swells into the thousands when vacationers rent rooms and cottages.
It wasn’t clear how many people on the first arriving ferry Wednesday morning were tourists, but the first two cars to drive off had New York and New Jersey plates.
State workers questioned people who tried taking the ferry to the island and turned a few cars around. In addition to the ferry line to Hatteras, there were two other ferry lines that went to and from the island.
Ocracoke is part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a roughly 200-mile stretch of fragile barrier islands off the state’s coast. Pristine beaches and wild mustangs attract thousands of tourists each year. Aside from Ocracoke, the other islands are accessible by bridges to the mainland and ferries. The limited access can make the evacuation particularly tense. Officials in counties covering the rest of the Outer Banks were to decide later Wednesday or Thursday whether to evacuate.
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”] All the barrier islands have the geographic weakness of jutting out into the Atlantic like the side-view mirror of a car, a location that’s frequently been in the path of destructive storms over the decades. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd made landfall as a Category 2 storm and caused a storm surge that wiped out scores of houses and other properties on the Outer Banks.
It’s been more than seven years since a major hurricane, considered a Category 3 with winds of at least 111 mph (179 km/h), hit the East Coast. Hurricane Jeanne came ashore on Florida’s east coast in 2004.
Wednesday, at 2 p.m. EDT, Irene was centered about 250 miles (402 km) southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and was moving northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h).
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake, which lasted 45 seconds, rocked the US East Coast Tuesday afternoon, hitting areas from North Carolina to as far north as Ottawa, Canada.
The earthquake, which hit at about 1:51 p.m. ET, measured a preliminary 5.9 and lasted up to 45 seconds, according to the US Geological Survey. It shook office buildings and homes and rattled residents.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) warned of aftershocks.
Earthquake epicenter was reported about 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia, near Richmond, Virginia, and about 80 miles south of Washington, D.C.
The earthquake in Virginia felt in Washington, New York City, North Carolina.
Witnesses reported a low rumble that grew to distinct and sustained shaking, rattling windows and fraying nerves.
Earthquake epicenter was reported about 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia, near Richmond and about 80 miles south of Washington D.C.
No people injured were reported after earthquake hit.
Federal officials say two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station in Louisa County, Virginia, were automatically taken offline by safety systems around the time of the earthquake.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint say their networks were congested as the quake sent people scrambling for the phones. Twitter lit up with personal earthquake reports up and down the East Coast.
The earthquake was one of the largest ever recorded in the Washington, D.C., area. [googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”]
The depth of the quake was only 0.6 miles which partly explains the widely felt shaking.
“On the East Coast you have this old, hard, cold crust that does a lovely job of transmitting the waves … the energy. … This large of an eathquake could definitely have been felt hundreds of miles away,” said Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the USGS.
“Central Virginia does get its share of minor earthquakes, but an earthquake of this size on the East Coast is certainly very unusual,” said seismologist Karen Fischer of Brown University.
“Virginia is not on an active earthquake fault and is roughly in the middle of the North American continental crustal plate. But it has residual fault scars left over from 200 million to 300 million years ago, when it was an earthquake zone, at the time when the Atlantic Ocean rifted apart from Europe. An earthquake that registered 3.9 hit in 2003 was followed by a 4.5 that same year,” she said.
“We are just seeing pressure build up and release on those scars. There is a lot of debate on exactly what is going on down there and exactly how quakes this big happen in this kind of crustal zone.”
“Because the crust under the East Coast is colder and firmer than the West Coast, shocks travel more efficiently through it, accounting for the widely felt shaking.”
[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”] Karen Fischer said the shallow depth of the Virginia quake is only a first estimate and will likely be revised.
“One lesson of this quake is that building codes will likely need to be revisited on the East Coast,” Fischer said.
“Because we are not as conscious of earthquakes here as the West Coast, we will have to see about structural damage to buildings, although I have not heard any damage reports so far.”
David Oppenheimer, a seismologist for the USGS at the Earthquake Science Center in Meno Park, California, said Tuesday’s temblor was not expected “in fact, we don’t even know about the faults in that part of the world.”
David Oppenheimer also said the earthquake is a big concern because the infrastructure in the region is not build to handle the shaking.
“This is the kind of thing that we worry about, infrequent large earthquakes in highly population areas with an old inventory of brick buildings, structures built before there were earthquake codes,” he said.
“You put this earthquake under a more urban area you would have had perhaps loss of life and more damage.”
Officials in the region scrambled to evacuate buildings.
The control towers at John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports were evacuated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a precaution, an FAA spokesman said. Flights out of both airports were canceled.
People from the State Department building in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington were evacuated too.
Severe storms hit Pittsburgh on Friday, cutting electricity to hospitals and universities and submerging vehicles on the main road, on Allegheny River’s valley and killing four people.
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The severe storm that hit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Friday cut electricity to hospitals and universities and submerged many vehicles in a flash flood that killed a woman and two children. Another person, a 70-year-old woman, was disappeared and found dead Saturday after a search by about 40 rescue workers.
According to officials, along Washington Boulevard, the main road that parallels the Allegheny River in the city’s Highland Park section, water rose up to 9 feet (about 2.7 meters) in some places, making the drivers unable to use their cars.
Severe storms hit Pittsburgh on Friday submerging cars and cutting electricity.
Inflatable boats were used by Pittsburgh’s rescue crews to reach and help drivers, though some swam to safety on their own. Rhodearland “Bob” Bailey of Penn Hills, who is about 80, was rescued from the roof of his car.
“I can swim a little bit and was looking at a tree branch,” Bailey told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“I heard one woman yelling for help, but the water was coming down so fast, I couldn’t see. … I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Lord have mercy.”
Rihaan Gangat, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service said the area received 2.1 inches of rain in an hour (about 53 liters/square meter). But an earlier storm that hit the region came with 3 (about 76 liters/square meter) to 4 (about 102 liters/square meter) inches of rain overall on Friday.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”stanga”] Michael Huss, Pittsburgh public safety director said at a news conference the victims, one woman and two children, identified by the medical examiner as 45-year-old Kimberly Griffith of Plum, 12-year-old Brenna Griffith and 8-year-old Mikaela Griffith , were unable to escape their car, which was completely submerged and pinned to a tree and the rescue crews floated over the car without knowing it was below.
“The bottom of the boat didn’t even scrape against the top of the car,” said Raymond DeMichiei, deputy director of the city Office of Emergency Management.
“A fourth person, a 70-year-old woman, disappeared and was found dead Saturday after a search by about 40 rescue workers” Police Chief Nate Harper said. He declined to identify her or give the circumstances of her death.
Nate Harper said the rescuers found 18 vehicles stranded in the high water and saved 11 people. One woman, who was rescued, required hospitalization.
Flood had receded by evening, but the road remained closed through Saturday, as emergency crews work to clear the mud and all the stranded cars.
Tara Howes, 34, from Gibsonia, told the Tribune-Review that “manhole covers started popping up and it looked like the road exploded and the waters came up really fast. I saw people swimming on the sides of the road. It was pretty scary.”
Pittsburgh flash floods hit a city area that experienced serious flooding last month. The main road, Washington Boulevard, is parallel to the river and situated in a valley. Rushing water from a July 18 storm stranded motorists and caused a section of the road to buckle.
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Claudia Gallagher, 55, from West Mifflin, was driving north on Washington Boulevard at the height of the rainfall Friday and tried to get off the road as the water rose.
“We tried to drive up onto the curb, but the water had other ideas,” she told the Post-Gazette.
The car began to float, and she opened the window and climbed onto the roof.
“Many other drivers nearby were sitting atop their cars, too,” she said.
Friday morning, another storm cut electricity to University of Pittsburgh, which interrupted activity for the day. Parts of Carlow and Carnegie Mellon Universities also encountered power outages.
“Flights at Pittsburgh International Airport were grounded because of lightning just after 3 p.m.,” spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said.
Two hospitals worked on emergency power after rains flooded a substation in the city’s Oakland neighborhood.
The Antarctic blast has moved north from South Island at the weekend and has turned New Zealand’s winter into one in more than half century occurrence.
Roads have been closed, flights have been cancelled, mail deliveries have been interrupted, power has been shut off. People have been advised to be prepared for being trapped indoors ( stock-up on emergency food and water).
A lots of state highways are impassable, including Arthurs Pass and Lewis Pass in the South Island Rimutaka Hill and Desert Road North Island. In the Wellington region, five main roads have been closed and 24 crashes were reported on Monday.[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Wellington Airport’s flights have been put on hold, over hundred passengers were stranded at Dunedin Airport, in Auckland flights to Queenstown have been cancelled.
In the South Island nine people required medical care, while in Auckland five people were taken to hospital, four after a tree crashed down on their house and an old man after he was blown by the wind.
Almost two thousand dairy farms dumped tons of milk, since the collection tankers were stranded because of the weather conditions.[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]
New Zealand’s winter has also brought joy to a lot of people, since they have not seen snow flakes in decades.
The inhabitants of Wellington and Auckland saw their first snow in more than 30 years. Climate scientist Georgina Griffiths of The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said Monday was the coldest day ever recorded in Auckland. Since 1939 the snow never has settled on the Auckland’s ground. The level of snow that fell in Wellington had not been seen since at least 1970s according to MetService.
Some people have lived their entire life in Auckland without seeing any snow. They were astonished, delighted, fascinated. They smiled, they shot pictures, or simply enjoyed the snow.
Stephen Fry commented on Twitter:
“NZ has, bless it, gone officially mad. First snow in Auckland since the 30s. Children running along with open mouths to taste the flakes :)”
Prime Minister John Key said it was the first time he could remember to see a snowfall in Auckland and advised New Zealanders “to be cautious and a little bit careful – make sure they keep an eye out for their family and friends, and if they are aware of their neighbours living alone, it might be a good idea just to check up on them and make sure everything is OK.”
“The conditions are cold enough to bring snow down to 300 metres, the height of the Sky Tower,” MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said on Monday.
This is one of the major snowfall seen in New Zealand’s winter and weather conditions seems to become more severes.
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