Investigators Examine DVR Content from Fatal Duck Boat Sinking
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have completed their initial review of the digital video recorder system recovered from the fatal duck boat sinking near Branson, Mo.The Ride The Ducks amphibious vehicle DUKW Stretch Boat 7 had 29 passengers and two crewmembers on board for a tour on July 19 when deteriorating weather conditions caused the vessel to sink in Table Rock Lake, killing 16 passengers and one crew member.Recording media including an…
Families of 'Duck Boat' Sinking Victims Sue Tour Operator
The families of four of the 17 people killed when a World War Two-style tourist "duck boat" sank on a Missouri lake during a storm this month have sued the tour operator, saying it recklessly allowed the vessel out in dangerous weather.On Sunday, relatives of Ervin Coleman, 76, and 2-year-old Maxwell Ly, his great-nephew, both of Indianapolis, sued tour operator Ripley Entertainment Inc, which operates under the name Ride the Ducks, and vessel manufacturer Amphibious Vehicle Manufacturing LLC…
Florence Compared to North Carolina's Worst Storm Ever
As Florence bears down on the North Carolina coastline, the Category 4 storm is being compared to the worst storm ever to hit the Tarheel State - Hurricane Hazel, occurring back in 1954.Hurricane Florence, packing winds of more than 130 mph. Hazel, in comparison, brought winds of 150 mph, causing 19 deaths and destroyed thousands of buildings as it bulled its way inland.As many as 1.5 million residents have been told to evacuate coastal and low lying areas in South Carolina and North Carolina.
Thirteen Dead as Missouri Storm Sinks 'Duck Boat'
At least 13 people including children drowned after a tourist "duck boat" sank during a storm on a lake in Missouri, and authorities were set to resume a search on Friday for other missing victims, Missouri Governor Michael Parson said.The sinking of vehicle, inspired by the amphibious landing craft used during D-Day in World War Two, marked one of the deadliest incidents at a U.S. tourist destination in recent history. Divers were still searching Table Rock Lake, a large reservoir outside the town of Branson, for missing passengers.Video of the incident showed the hull of the vessel submerging into choppy waters."Just a terrible, horrific tragic accident has occurred," Parson told CNN on Friday, noting that 13 people had been confirmed dead.
Storm Gordon Starts Kicking Up Waves on U.S. Gulf Coast
Waves began to batter parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday as the region felt the first hit of Tropical Storm Gordon, which is expected to become a hurricane before it comes ashore with high winds and heavy rain, forecasters said.The storm also caused a jump in global oil prices after the evacuation of two oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.Gordon was due to come ashore late on Tuesday near the border between Louisiana and Mississippi, and drop as much as 12 inches (30 cm) of rain in areas still recovering from last year's hurricanes…
In Florence’s Wake, Flooding Still a Big Concern in the Carolinas
Flooding is expected to worsen in the coming days as the Coast Guard continues its relief efforts.The emergency is by no means over in North Carolina. As flooding is expected worsen across the Carolinas later this week in the choppy wake of Hurricane Florence, Coast Guard units across North Carolina are continuing to assess damage, and respond over a wide geographic area. Florence, responsible for 36 deaths in three states, continues to impact the Carolinas. Major waterways across the tri-state area of North Carolina…
Torrential Rain, Howling Winds as Hurricane Lane Nears Hawaii
Hurricane Lane, a powerful Category 3 storm, spun slowly north out of the Pacific toward Hawaii on Friday, causing torrential downpours and catastrophic flooding on the Big Island.The greatest threat from wind and rain shifted to Maui overnight and then to Oahu, the U.S. state's most populous island, through Friday, the National Weather Service said. Hurricane conditions were possible over Kauai into Saturday, according to forecasts.More than 2 feet (60 cm) of rain had already fallen on a few areas on the windward side of the Big Island…
US Weather Forecaster says La Niña Conditions Have Faded
A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said La Niña has faded and neutral conditions are likely to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring, even as it forecast the chance of El Niño may appear in the coming months. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast said that neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue. However, the CPC noted some chance of the appearance of El Niño as early as March to May 2017. (Reporting by Chris Prentice)
Winter Weather Delays Grain Movement to US Ports
Severe winter weather has slowed rail deliveries of crops to shippers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, sending freight rates soaring and prompting Asian buyers to seek fill-in loads as they wait for the backlog at ports to clear. Blizzards, avalanches and heavy rain in recent weeks have hit transport of corn, soy and wheat to ports where they head for the lucrative Asian market, adding to the struggles that have plagued U.S. exporters since harvest. The setbacks come at a critical time for U.S. exporters, who are trying to move as much grain as possible before buyers turn their attention to South America when corn and soybean harvests in Argentina and Brazil accelerate in the coming weeks.
U.S. Forecaster Sees Chance of El Nino By Summer, Fall 2017
Neutral or El Nino conditions are nearly equally likely in the Northern Hemisphere this summer and fall, a U.S. government forecaster said on Thursday. The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said in its monthly outlook that the forecaster consensus reflected slightly lower chances of El Nino development than it did last month. The last El Nino, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years, went away in 2016 and was linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods. (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru)
US Forecaster Sees El Niño Unlikely through Fall 17
A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said there are no active El Niño or La Niña patterns and that neutral conditions are likely in the Northern Hemisphere during fall 2017. However, chances for El Niño remain elevated, between 35 and 50 percent, relative to the long-term average into the fall, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said in a monthly forecast. (Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru)
Cindy's Remnants Drench Gulf Coast, Wreaking Havok
The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy brought tornadoes and flooding to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday and its heavy rains will drench much of the eastern United States in coming days, forecasters said. Flooding and road closures stretched from east Texas into northwestern Florida after Cindy made landfall early on Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas border and weakened to a tropical depression, the National Weather Service said. Cindy is expected to dump 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) of rain as it heads north and east into the Ohio Valley and the Appalachian Mountains through Saturday, said Brian Hurley, a weather service meteorologist. Totals could reach 9 inches (22.5 cm) in some areas. "We're looking at quite a bit of rain. That's going to be the main threat," he said.
El Faro Investigators Call for Better Weather Forecasting
New recommendations coming out of the investigation into the 2015 sinking of U.S. cargo ship El Faro call for efforts to improve the weather information available to mariners. All 33 crew on board died when the 790-foot El Faro sank close to the eye of Hurricane Joaquin near the Bahamas on October 1, 2015, two days after leaving Jacksonville, Fla. en route to Puerto Rico. Now, as part of its ongoing investigation into the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)…
Tropical Storm Harvey heads for Texas, May Strengthen
The Texas Gulf Coast was getting ready for the tropical storm Harvey to make landfall by Friday, bringing with it strong winds, heavy flooding and torrential rains. Hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge watches were in effect for counties on the eastern coast of Texas as the storm moved across the Gulf of Mexico, where it may strengthen into a hurricane. Winds up to 75 mph (120 kmh) and 15 inches of rain (40 cm) were forecast, according to the National Weather Service. "Now is the time to check your emergency plan and take necessary actions to secure your home or business. Deliberate efforts should be under way to protect life and property," the weather service said in an statement early on Thursday.
Hurricane Harvey Strengthens, Threatens US
Hurricane Harvey intensified early on Friday into potentially the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade, as authorities warned locals to shelter from what could be life-threatening winds and floods. Harvey is set to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday on the central Texas coast where Corpus Christi and Houston are home to some of the biggest U.S. refineries. Oil and gas operations have already been disrupted and gasoline prices have spiked. "Now is the time to urgently hide from the wind.
Residents Flee South Texas Ahead of Harvey
Residents fleeing most powerful storm on U.S. mainland since 2005. Businesses closed and lines of cars streamed out of coastal Texas as officials called for residents to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Harvey, expected to arrive about midnight as the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade. The hurricane is forecast to slam first near Corpus Christi, Texas, drop flooding rains along the central Texas coast and potentially loop back over the Gulf of Mexico before hitting Houston, some models showed. "My urgent message to my fellow Texans is that if you live in a region where evacuation has been ordered, you need to heed that advice and get out of harm's way while you can," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a televised address.
Harvey Soaks Louisiana as Houston Struggles With Flooding
Tropical Storm Harvey bore down on Louisiana on Wednesday, pouring down more water after setting rainfall records in Texas that caused catastrophic flooding and paralyzed the U.S. energy hub of Houston. The storm that first came ashore on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least 17 people and forced tens of thousands to leave their deluged homes. Damage has been estimated at tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest U.S. natural disasters. There is some relief in sight for Houston, the fourth most populous U.S. city, with forecasters saying five days of torrential rain may come to an end as the storm picks up speed and leaves the Gulf of Mexico region later in the day.
Irma forces Bahamas Borco Terminal to Close
Buckeye Partners LP's Bahamas terminal, also known as Borco, has been closed for vessel traffic and will shut all operations by the end of the day due to Hurricane Irma, a source familiar with operations said on Thursday. That terminal, located in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, has more than 26 million barrels of storage capacity for crude, fuel oil, gasoline and other products. Hurricane Irma has already killed several people after hammering the Caribbean as a category 5 storm, with winds up to 180 mph (285 km/h). It was most recently located off the northern coast of Dominican Republic, about 760 miles (1220 km) southeast of Freeport, according to the National Weather Service. Reporting By Jessica Resnick Ault
US Forecaster Sees 55-65% Chance of La Niña
A U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday conditions were favoring La Niña weather pattern during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2017-18. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast said the chances of La Niña were seen at 55 percent to 65 percent. Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru
CPC: La Niña Chances at 65-75%
A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday said La Niña conditions are predicted to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2017-18. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an agency of the National Weather Service, in a monthly forecast pegged the chance of La Niña developing at about 65 percent to 75 percent. The agency in its October advisory had projected a 55 percent to 65 percent chance of the phenomenon developing during the Northern Hemisphere's fall and winter.
Update: Alaska, Canada Tsunami Alerts Lifted
Alaska and parts of western Canada braced for a possible tsunami on Tuesday after a magnitude-7.9 earthquake struck the Gulf of Alaska, sparking evacuations in coastal Alaska and a tsunami warning for California that was later lifted. In Alaska, people packed into high schools and other evacuation centers after the quake hit shortly after midnight local time (0900 GMT). Officials had warned residents as far south as San Francisco to be ready to evacuate coastal areas but by 5:15 a.m. PST (1315 GMT) the U.S.
Flooding Cripples Grain Barge Shipments in U.S. Midwest
Grain barge shipping came to a near standstill in parts of the U.S. Midwest on Thursday as recent heavy rain and melting snow swelled rivers, halted barge loading and sidelined the towboats that haul farm belt crops to Gulf Coast export terminals. The flooded waterways sent cash premiums for corn barges delivered to Gulf Coast terminals soaring. Rates hit peaks on Thursday that have not been seen in 18 months, as exporters scrambled to secure enough grain to top off vessels bound for overseas markets, traders said.
La Niña to Transition to Neutral Weather in April-May -U.S. Forecaster
The La Niña weather pattern is likely to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during the April-May period, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday. ENSO-neutral refers to those periods in which neither El Niño nor La Niña is present, according to CPC. There is a more than 50 percent chance of ENSO-neutral conditions prevailing through the northern hemisphere summer in 2018, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in its monthly forecast.