TIME animals

Texas Grandmother Reunited With Poodle Trapped at Home During Floods

Lena Givens was unable to get to her house where "Tinkerbell" was locked in a kennel

Lena Givens, 84, was at a Houston Rockets game Monday night when the skies opened, submerging multiple counties in record-breaking rains.

The resulting flood that has killed at least 18 in Texas and Oklahoma left the grandmother stranded and unable to get to her house where her poodle Tinkerbell was locked in a kennel.

Just before the end of game, a message flashed on the scoreboard warning fans to stay put due to severe weather outside, NBC News reports.

“I stayed in the lobby of the hotel for at least probably three or four hours,” she told Houston’s KRPC.

When she was able to call a car to get home, she found the road to her neighborhood was impassable. Givens worried about her beloved pet that had been trapped in her flooded house for over 12 hours.

Her grandson Brian Gardner was able to borrow a friend’s boat to reach Givens’s home and look for Tinkerbell.

After hours of worrying, Givens finally got the good news she was hoping for – her dog was safe.

“[Tinkerbell”] was floating on a chair in the living area. She got out of the kennel somehow and she was floating in a chair,” she told the news station.

Watch video of Givens and Tinkerbell reunion below.

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME natural disaster

Texas Woman Rescues 7 People from Flood

"Fear wasn't going to serve anyone in that moment"

Malaika Muhammad was home alone on Monday night when the flood that killed at least three people struck her neighborhood of South Houston, Texas.

“I was looking outside at the weather in astonishment,” she says, when she noticed a car stopped on the freeway exit ramp near her home.

“When I looked back again the car was flashing its lights and that’s when I realized there was somebody in it,” she tells PEOPLE. As Muhammad watched the water level around the car rise, she noticed someone in the car waving. Then, she says, “I could tell this is someone who really needs help.”

Read the rest at at People.com

TIME natural disaster

Witness the Aftermath of Severe Floods in Texas

Texas expanded its state of disaster declaration on Monday following unprecedented torrential rains over the weekend. On Tuesday, more than 30 million Americans were warned to brace for extreme weather, including flooding, hail and tornadoes

TIME natural disaster

7 States at Risk as Unprecedented Floods Hit Texas

More than 80,000 people were without power in Houston

Flash-flood watches and warnings were issued across seven states early Tuesday as an unprecedented downpour of torrential rain triggered “extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening” conditions in Houston.

More than 30 million Americans were told to brace for dangerous thunderstorms — including flooding, hail and possible tornadoes — as meteorologists warned the weather that has centered on Texas and Oklahoma since Saturday could expand to other areas.

In Houston, more than 80,000 people were without power and the flood waters closed roads including Interstate 10 and Interstate 45. Houston was among 24 counties where Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster on Monday…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME natural disaster

Homecoming Queen Dies in Texas Floods on Way Home From Prom

Alyssa Ramirez's parents went to search for her but to no avail

A homecoming queen on her way home from from her prom was killed by floodwaters in Devine, Texas, about 35 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Alyssa Ramirez, who was also a cheerleader who played tennis and volleyball, spent Saturday night at her prom and was driving home Sunday when floodwaters swept her car off the road, according to NBC affiliate WOAI and a funeral home.

There were no barricades on the road and Ramirez’s car stalled out in the high water a few miles from her home, Roberta Ramirez, Alyssa’s aunt, told the station…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME natural disaster

Mom, Kids Among 12 Missing in Texas and Oklahoma Flash Flood

The father was found 12 miles down the river

Three people were confirmed killed, two in Oklahoma and one in Texas, after severe flash flooding this weekend.

Another 12 are missing, including a mother and her two children.

Laura McComb, daughter Leighton, 4, and son Andrew, 6, haven’t been seen since Sunday, according to WHNT.

They were reportedly staying at a river house in the town of Wimberley, Texas, when a wall of water swept the home and family of four, including husband Jonathan, away.

After being found 12 miles down the river, Jonathan is in the hospital recovering from several broken bones and a collapsed lung.

According to Fox News, the waters rose so quickly in the town that 1,000 people were forced to evacuate and hundreds of homes were destroyed.

“We do have whole streets with maybe one or two houses left on them and the rest are just slabs,” Hays County emergency management coordinator Kharley Smith told CBS about the town of Wimberley.

In Oklahoma, Capt. Jason Farley drowned after being swept away during a water rescue, the Claremore Fire Department confirmed. He had been a 19-year veteran of the department.

The Blanco River crested above 40 feet, more than triple its flood stage of 13 feet, NPR reports. Rescuers used pontoon boats and a helicopter to pull people out.

This article originally appeared on People.

TIME Colombia

A Baby Survived the Colombia Landslide That Killed 12 Members of His Family

A soldier shovels mud from a house damaged by a mudslide in Salgar, in Colombia's northwestern state of Antioquia, May 19, 2015.
Luis Benavides—Associated Press A soldier shovels mud from a house damaged by a mudslide in Salgar, in Colombia's northwestern state of Antioquia, May 19, 2015.

He was found alive in the mud more than a mile from his home

An 11-month-old baby has survived a huge mudslide in Colombia that killed at least 78 people.

The child’s mother and at least 11 other relatives perished when a flash flood swept through the town of Salgar in northwest Antioquia province Monday, destroying dozens of homes, reports the Associated Press.

Rescuers found Jhosep Diaz lying facedown in the mud more than a mile from his home. Doctors say the infant was cold and hypothermic but believe he survived because he was sleeping in a padded crib when he was swept away.

“He was unconscious and didn’t open his little eyes but was breathing,” Dr. Jesus Antonio Guisao told AP on Wednesday.

The mudslide was the country’s worst natural disaster since the earthquake of 1999 that killed about 1,000 people.

According to the Red Cross, between 50 and 80 people are believed missing, but authorities say there is no chance of finding any more survivors.

The boy’s grandfather Alvaro Hernandez is expected to gain custody. “My grandson’s survival is a miracle,” he said.

[AP]

TIME Environment

California Governor Declares State of Emergency After Santa Barbara Oil Spill

As many as 105,000 gallons of crude might have spilled

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County on Wednesday as cleanup teams sought to limit the environmental impact from a ruptured underground pipeline that might have spilled as many as 105,000 gallons of crude oil.

More than 20,000 gallons are estimated to have spilled into the ocean, seeping through the ground into a culvert and flowing into the ocean near Refugio State Beach, the Los Angeles Times reports. Oil slicks across a combined nine miles have stretched along the coastline.

The owner of the pipeline that ruptured Tuesday afternoon is Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, which last saw results for an inspection in 2012. The line, which can pump as many as 6.3 million gallons a day, averages a flow rate of some 50,400 gallons per hour.

“We’re sorry this accident has happened and we’re sorry for the inconvenience to the community,” said Darren Palmer, district manager for Plains All American, told reporters.

There’s no estimate yet on the harm to local natural life, but officials estimate it will take at least three days—likely many more—to clean up the spill before the damage can be assessed.

TIME natural disaster

The ‘Middling’ Volcanic Eruption that Was America’s Worst

Volcanic eruption.
Universal History Archive / Getty Images In 1980, a major volcanic eruption occurs at Mount St Helens

May 18, 1980: Mount St. Helens erupts

Mount St. Helens might have been a “baby among volcanoes,” in geological terms, but its 1980 eruption was the deadliest, most destructive volcanic event in U.S. history.

When the 9,677-foot peak in the Washington Cascades blew its top on this day, May 18, 35 years ago, it killed 57 people and thousands of animals, leveling 200 sq. mi. of forest. Within seconds, its symmetrical cone became a crater 1,300 ft. lower, thanks to a sideways blast that triggered a 300 m.p.h. landslide. A plume of ash shot 16 mi. into the air, and then rained back down to earth as dust so thick and fine it blotted out the sun as far away as Montana.

TIME put the natural disaster in perspective, pointing out that geologists didn’t find Mount St. Helens a particularly impressive specimen. Two weeks after the eruption, the magazine noted:

Mount St. Helens is something of a baby among volcanoes. It was born a mere 37,000 years ago, which is scarcely more than an instant in geological time. The mountain last erupted in 1857, when the area was an uninhabited wilderness. Last week’s blowup ranked as middling, as volcanic eruptions go. But the people who stumbled off St. Helens’ slopes, or were plucked to safety by helicopters, told tales that rivaled wartime survivor stories.

Although the mountain had been letting off steam since March of that year, no one knew exactly when it would blow, or how bad it would be. Residents of the surrounding foothills and forests who were surprised by the timing included a logger who would have almost surely died if the mountain had erupted a day later, when he was scheduled to be among a crew of 200 felling trees in the blast zone. Instead, he fled his home after hearing the explosion on Sunday morning.

“I heard the goldangest noise, like someone upending a bunch of barrels down the road,” he told TIME. ‘There was a roar, like a jet plane approaching, and a lot of snapping and popping. Those were the trees. We got out fast.”

The 57 people who died included loggers and miners, journalists and geologists, along with families camping in areas they believed were safe. One was an 83-year-old innkeeper named Harry R. Truman, who became notorious in the weeks leading up to the blast for his colorful crustiness and his stubborn refusal to back down from the volcano’s threats. Despite daily earthquakes at the lodge he ran at the mountain’s base, he vowed to stay there with his 16 pet cats — and a cache of whisky, according to the New York Times.

“No damn way does that mountain have enough stuff to come my way,” he told a reporter for The Oregonian, a month before the mountain buried him and his cats in scalding ash.

But, clearly, an unimpressive volcano in geological terms can still be a staggeringly destructive force by human standards. The superheated gases that bubbled up inside Mount St. Helens ultimately exploded with 500 times the force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, per TIME. Spewing an estimated 1.5 cubic mi. of debris, the blast rivaled another volcanic event that made an indelible impression on humanity, if not geology: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., which destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Read more about the eruption from 1980, here in the TIME archives: God, I Want to Live!

TIME natural disaster

Arkansas Couple Dies Shielding Infant Daughter From Tornado

"I think they were together and trying to protect the child," a friend of the mother said

A couple living in Nashville, Arkansas, died after a tornado ripped though their home on Sunday night. However, neighbors who rushed help the husband and wife say they found them huddled around their 1-year-old daughter, who survived the incident unharmed.

The storm hit the mobile home where Melissa Mooneyhan, 29, and her husband Michael, 28, lived at about 11:20 p.m. on Sunday night. In an interview with KTHV News, Linda Purtell, a friend of Melissa Mooneyhan’s, said she felt the couple had died heroically.

“I think they were together and trying to protect the child,” Purtell said.

Howard County Coroner Howard Gray told KSLA News that the tornado flipped over the Mooneyhans’ trailer and “exploded” it.

“That poor little girl is never going to know them,” Gray said. “But she’s young enough that she’ll never remember what happened.”

This article originally appeared on People.

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