TIME weather

Hawaii Is Preparing for a Double Hurricane Hit

Tropical Weather
This image provided by NOAA taken Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, shows Hurricane Iselle, center, and Hurricane Julio, right. AP

Hurricanes Iselle and Julio will be the first to directly strike Hawaii since September 1992

Two hurricanes currently churning in the Pacific Ocean are projected to pass over Hawaii this weekend.

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation on Wednesday as hurricanes Iselle and Julio approached the island chain from the east.

The storms will be the first hurricanes to directly strike Hawaii since September 1992, when Hurricane Iniki battered several of the state’s major islands.

Forecasters expect Iselle to make landfall over the Big Island of Hawaii on Thursday afternoon local time, bringing with it maximum sustained winds of up to 70 m.p.h. and as much as a foot of rain. Julio will graze the island by Sunday morning, weakening as it passes.

“The Big Island will get the worst of it,” Eric Lau, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, told TIME. “People should expect potential power outages, downed trees and flying debris. It’s not a common occurrence here.”

Hawaii’s largest island is home to nearly 200,000 of the state’s 1.4 million people, while some 75% of the population lives on Oahu, to the west, where Honolulu and the outlying area are currently under a tropical-storm warning.

The local press have described the impending weekend as a meteorological “one-two punch” — two storms, relatively weak on their own, that together will bring potentially dangerous conditions for as long as five days. Abercrombie’s proclamation will last until Aug. 15, allowing the state to turn to a $2 million fund earmarked for emergencies.

Residents are meanwhile buckling down at home. The Hawaii State Department of Education closed all schools on the Big Island and neighboring Maui on Thursday and Friday, while voters hustled to cast early ballots in Saturday’s primary election for governor and congressional representatives.

“Water and Spam have been flying off the shelves,” Honolulu resident Kory Johnson joked. (The state reportedly eats 7 million cans of the precooked meat each year.) “A lot of businesses are closing down — including the medical clinic I’m working for — and there are massive lines at Costco. People are stocking up.”

Many tourists, however, are vying to steer clear of the storms before they hit. To assist travelers in altering their plans, Hawaiian Airlines has temporarily waived its reservation-change fee — typically $30 to $200, depending on the route — as have other carriers. At the Wailea Marriott Resort and Spa in Maui, staff members have posted hurricane information flyers for visitors to consult, but their audience is dwindling: a hotel clerk who identified herself only as Alicia told TIME that a number of tourists have canceled their reservations in anticipation of the hurricanes.

She stressed, though, that the hotel had safety measures in place should the weather turn severe.

“We have an evacuation route planned on the island,” she said. “The safety of our guests is our first priority.”

TIME weather

California Is the State of Emergencies

Mudslides, drought, fires and flooding have made the most populous state in the Union a difficult place to live this year

+ READ ARTICLE

Seven months ago, California’s historic drought prompted governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.

As the farmland-rich Central Valley remained parched, wildfires ravaged Northern and Southern California. Elsewhere in the state, mudslides washed away homes. Then there was a water main break that wasted up to 20 million gallons of water and flooded the UCLA campus.

There’s simply no way around it: California — the most populous state in the Union — is going through some tough times.

TIME weather

Double Trouble: Hawaii Braces for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio

NBCUniversal/The Weather Channel

Two hurricanes are now taking aim at Hawaii.

The first, Hurricane Iselle, packed 90 mph wind on Wednesday as it chugged west toward the islands, and forecasters said that while it was expected to weaken, it could still be hurricane strength at landfall on Thursday.

The trailing system, Hurricane Julio, was upgraded from a tropical storm. It had winds of 75 mph, just strong enough to make the cut. While it could jog to the north, the projected path still had the storm hitting Hawaii on Sunday night…

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

TIME weather

Double Trouble: Hawaii Braces for Hurricanes Iselle and Julio

Hawaii Hurricane Iselle Julio
NBC News

90 mph wind on Wednesday

Two hurricanes are now taking aim at Hawaii.

The first, Hurricane Iselle, packed 90 mph wind on Wednesday as it chugged west toward the islands, and forecasters said that while it was expected to weaken, it could still be hurricane strength at landfall on Thursday.

The trailing system, Hurricane Julio, was upgraded from a tropical storm. It had winds of 75 mph, just strong enough to make the cut. While it could jog to the north, the projected path still had the storm hitting Hawaii on Sunday night.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie encouraged islanders to make an emergency plan, and people stocked up on bottled water and other supplies.

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

TIME hawaii

Dramatic Boat Rescue in Hawaii Caught on GoPro

"It got scary rough real fast"

Four children and four adults were rescued by helicopter after their boat capsized in rough waters off the coast of Mokolai in Hawaii Sunday. And it was all captured on a GoPro camera attached to one of the child’s heads as he bobbed 12 miles off shore, waiting for help.

“It got scary rough real fast where waves were breaking over the bow and it happened really quick,” crew member Jeff Kozlovich told Hawaii News Now. “Before we knew it, too much water was in the boat and we really couldn’t steer well or maneuver.”

Luckily the group, which had set out from Oahu for an overnight trip, was each wearing life vests and had three kayaks on board. As water began to sink the 21-foot vessel, the group abandoned ship and used their cell phones to call 911, although the US Coast Guard told local news that an “EPIRB” tracking device alerted them to the situation.

 

 

TIME China

Death Toll in Southwest China Quake Rises to 589

China Earthquake
A woman stands next to an injured child near a damaged house following Sunday's earthquake in Longtoushan, Ludian County in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. Andy Wong—AP

More than 2,400 people are also injured

(LUDIAN, China) — The death toll in southern China’s earthquake rose to 589 on Wednesday as search and rescue teams pushed into isolated mountain communities to clear debris from collapsed homes.

The Yunnan provincial government said more than 2,400 people were injured in Sunday’s 6.1 magnitude quake in the mountainous Yunnan farming region of Ludian county — the country’s deadliest temblor in four years.

At a makeshift headquarters in the forecourt of a cracked middle school in the worst-hit town of Longtoushan, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army said there might still be hope to find survivors.

“There are a lot of people that we may never be able to dig out,” said senior Col. Feng, who declined to give his full name because he was not an officially designated spokesman. “But there is still hope.”

Wednesday’s big jump in the death toll — up from 410 on Tuesday — was due to rescuers arriving in places where they had previously been unable to contact anybody, in small farming villages built into the mountains above the main towns, said Feng, a military officer based in Sichuan province.

Thousands of troops and hundreds of volunteers have rushed to Ludian to dig out possible survivors from the debris, but landslides and bouts of heavy rains have complicated rescue efforts.

The quake struck an area of steep hills and narrow roads that are not well suited to all the traffic of the massive relief effort. Landslides have shorn shear rocky faces into the region’s valleys.

The weather was clear Wednesday and the roads into Longtoushan were clogged with rescue vehicles, ambulances and military jeeps along with residents and volunteers on foot.

The region is prone to earthquakes. In 1970, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake in Yunnan killed at least 15,000 people. In September 2012, a series of quakes killed 81 people.

In May 2008, a powerful quake in Sichuan province left nearly 90,000 people dead.

TIME weather

Hawaii Faces Pummeling By 2 Major Storms

Hurricane Iselle is shown far to the east of Hawaii followed by Tropical Storm Julio on Aug. 5, 2014 in this NOAA satellite image.
Hurricane Iselle is shown far to the east of Hawaii followed by Tropical Storm Julio on Aug. 5, 2014 in this NOAA satellite image. Weather Underground/AP

Hurricane Iselle and Tropical Storm Julio are both headed toward the Aloha State

Hurricane Iselle barreled towards Hawaii early Tuesday, with forecasters warning that the islands could face a one-two punch with Tropical Storm Julio trailing not far behind.

It is extremely rare to have such major storms in such quick succession, according to Weather Channel lead meteorologist Kevin Roth. He said the most recent example was in 1982 when two significantly weaker tropical storms and depressions hit ten days apart.

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME China

China Quake Death Toll Nears 400 With Rain Hampering Rescue Efforts

Villagers sit in front of their destroyed house following a massive earthquake in the town of Longtoushan in Ludian County in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Aug. 5, 2014.
Villagers sit in front of their destroyed house following a massive earthquake in the town of Longtoushan in Ludian County in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Aug. 5, 2014. Andy Wong—AP

Thunderstorms and huge downpours are forecast for the next three days, forcing rescuers to race against the clock

As rescuers continue to sift through the rubble left by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake that struck southwestern China’s Yunnan province on Saturday, heavy rain and landslides are slowing down rescue efforts and the delivery of desperately needed supplies to survivors — with worse weather to come.

Thunderstorms and torrential downpours are forecast over the next three days for Ludian County, one of the worst affected areas, forcing thousands of troops, police and other aid workers to race against time.

The death toll in what local officials say is the most destructive earthquake to strike the mountainous area in years is now 398, with 1,801 injured, China’s official news agency Xinhua reports. Over 411 aftershocks have also been recorded, some as high as 4.9 magnitude.

Around 80,000 homes have been destroyed, and 124,000 others seriously damaged, the Yunnan Civil Affairs Bureau said on its website. And though some 230,000 people have been evacuated, thousands more remain threatened by aftershocks, landslides and floods. A lake has formed near the Hongshiyan hydropower station and is rising at one meter per hour, engulfing homes, forcing further evacuations, and threatening several power stations downstream, the South China Morning Post reports.

Collapsed infrastructure means that many survivors have yet to be reached. “The blocked roads and the continuous downpours have made some disaster areas inaccessible for heavy relief vehicles,” Liu Jianhua, a local party official, told Xinhua.

A volunteer teacher in Longjiang Village, Huang Min, told the Post that the situation was desperate. “We’re in desperate need of food, water, tents and electricity,” Huang said.

Yunnan province is prone to earthquakes. A series of tremblors in 2012 killed 81 and injured over 800.

TIME

One Dead, Thousands Stranded in S. California Storm

APTOPIX Southern California Storms
An official of Forest Home Christian Conference Center in Forest Falls, Calif., inspects damage on the property following thunderstorms on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. David Bauman—AP Photo

Authorities say one person was found dead in a car that was swept into a creek and thousands of other residents in Southern California were stranded after thunderstorms and mudslides wreaked havoc in the area

(MOUNT BALDY, Calif.) — Thunderstorms that swept across Southern California on Sunday led to the death of one person and caused mountain mudslides that stranded more than 2,000 others, authorities said.

A body was found in a car that was swept into a rain-swollen creek in Mount Baldy and overturned, San Bernardino County Fire spokesman Chris Prater said.

Further east, flash floods brought thick debris flows that cut off access to two towns. About 1,500 residents of Oak Glen, and another 1,000 residents of Forest Falls in the San Bernardino Mountains were unable to get out because the roads were covered with mud, rock and debris, authorities said.

The stranded include 500 children and adults who had arrived at a Forest Falls campground Sunday morning.

“Our concern is that they’re isolated at that campground and no longer have access out of the mountain,” Kyle Hauducoeur, another county fire spokesman, said.

Authorities made reverse 911 calls to urge residents to stay put while crews clear the roads with bulldozers. The muck was so thick it submerged a van in Forest Falls, while on Mount Baldy water swept a hot tub into the road.

Flash floods led to the rescue of several people. Hauducoeur said a woman in Mt. Baldy was rescued from her house before it was buried in mud. Four additional homes in the Bear Creek area were damaged by the debris flow, he said.

In the Angeles National Forest, a group of 4 or 5 people and a dog were airlifted to safety.

A U.S. Forest Service spokesman told KNBC-TV some campers had seconds to evacuate before a torrent of water washed their tents and belongings.

“It sounded like a freight train coming through,” Robert Ethridge said.

Monsoonal moisture brought brief but fierce storms to mountain, desert and inland areas. In and around Palm Springs, knee-deep water flooded city streets and stranded vehicles. In the city of Redlands, the storm downed a tree and knocked out power to a few neighborhoods.

The downpour dumped as much as 3 ½ inches of rain on Forest Falls, and nearly 5 inches of rain on Mount Baldy, the National Weather Service said.

Authorities said crews were assessing the extent of damages caused by the storms.

TIME weather

This Is the Deadliest of the 4 Seasons

US-WEATHER-SNOWSTORM
A worker shovels snow from the walkways at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC March 17, 2014 the morning after yet another snow storm. Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images

Winter is actually deadlier than summer

Winter is a deadlier season than summer, according to a new report that shows twice as many people die of causes related to winter cold than of those related to summer heat.

Of the 2,000 U.S. residents who die each year from weather-related causes, about 63 percent died due to exposure to excessive natural cold and hypothermia, while about 31 percent died due to excessive heat, heat stroke, or sun stroke. The remaining 6 percent died of floods, storms or lightning, according to the survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Counties in the highest quartile of household income had the lowest rates of death due to weather-related causes, the report shows, and cold-related mortality increased in the West in less urban counties. Most heat-related deaths occurred in the South and West.

Moreover, the elderly are much more susceptible to weather-related death, with about 40 deaths per million due to cold among people 85 or older, compared with less than one death per million for children aged five to 14.

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