Astronaut Snaps Pic Of Super Typhoon
The Philippines just experienced the destroying power of super Typhoon Haiyan, and it will take some time to get a handle on the death toll—now at 100 and rising—and the damage. But something so awful on Earth was experienced a lot differently from space: US astronaut Karen L. Nyberg took a photo from the International Space Station that provides the best sense yet of Haiyan’s immense scale, which looks peaceful, beautiful and really scary at the same time.
On the ground, authorities say at least 100 are dead, with the city of Tacloban on Leyte Island appearing to take the biggest hit from the storm, reports AP. But Reuters says the toll is expected to “rise sharply” as communication is restored.
“The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami,” says a UN disaster official in Tacloban. “This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris.” Meanwhile, Haiyan is headed to Vietnam, where mass evacuations are underway. It weakened to a category 4 storm today with sustained winds of 101mph, but meteorologists say it could pick up speed as it travels over the South China Sea.
Tragedy In Arizona: 19 Firefighters Killed
Nineteen elite firefighters were killed after getting trapped by a fast-moving wildfire in the town of Yarnell. Eighteen of the men were part of the Granite Mountain Hotshots crew from Prescott
An additional crew member wasn’t with his team and survived; the deaths wiped out 20% of the town’s firefighting-force. “It’s a dark day,” Arizona State Forestry spokesman Mike Reichling told the Republic.
The firefighters had deployed their emergency fire shelters, tent-like structures that the Republic describes “as a last resort to withstand the fire as it blows over.” Officials say some of the dead were found in their shelters, while others were outside of them. The Prescott fire chief says of the shelters, “there’s usually only sometimes a 50% chance that they survive.”
The Yarnell Hill Fire, which began Friday afternoon about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix after a lightning strike and has now spread to 8,000 acres, is expected to destroy about half of the town’s 500 homes, authorities said. About 250 firefighters were trying to contain it as of last night, and that number should grow to 400 today.
Oklahoma Tornado: Woman Reunited With Dog During News Segment (video)
How about we start our Tuesday morning with a feel-good story.
CBS News was interviewing residents of Moore, Oklahoma, who survived yesterday’s horrific tornado.
Cue adorable old woman, Barbara Garcia, who describes how she lost her beloved dog during the tornado and wasn’t able to find him… that’s until they are reunited right there in the middle of the interview.
Break out the tissue box!
NY Subway System Could Take Days To Reopen
Were you expecting to use NY’s subway system anytime soon? Oh, you delusional fool: Officials don’t know when the subway could reopen after flooding “pretty much throughout the entire area” with lower Manhattan being the hardest-hit.
Pumping out the water could take between 14 hours and four days, officials say. And that’s just the beginning: Salt water damage could require teams to replace vast amounts of equipment. “We’ve got the materials and the wherewithal necessary to repair whatever damage there is as quickly as possible,” says the MTA chairman. But there’s simply no timetable as to when service will resume
Boston’s transit authority, meanwhile, expected subway service to come back online this morning.
Colorado Wildfire Claims First Victim
The Colorado wildfire has claimed its first victim: Human remains were found in one burned home, police announced last night, and a second person living in the home is missing, the Gazette reports. Ten people in all are still unaccounted for.
Nearly 350 homes have been destroyed so far in the wildfire, the most destructive in Colorado’s history.
There are tons of heartbreaking stories from evacuee, but ABC News has perhaps one of the saddest stories of all: Emily Franklin, 18 and a rookie firefighter battling her first fire this week, watched her own home burn in the Estes Park fire, another wildfire in the state. “I look through the trees and see fire going under our deck, and I was like, ‘I think that’s my house,’” she says. “It goes up, and I was like, ‘That’s my house!” Even so, she kept working.
President Obama, visiting Colorado today, issued a disaster declaration for the state so that federal funds can be made available.
Five People Dead After Tornado Hits Oklahoma
Five people died when a tornado struck in and around the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward early today, one of a series of tornadoes that erupted across the Midwest and Plains over the weekend, authorities said.
Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill said he didn’t hear sirens before the tornado hit. The National Weather Service said the tornado struck at 12:18am. “We had a little tornado earlier …. and they blew all the sirens. When this one came in, our sirens weren’t working. We didn’t have a very good storm alert,” he said.
An Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman said that state medical examiner’s office had confirmed five fatalities in the Woodward area, though she didn’t know the gender or age of the victims or details of their death. Woodward was among the many communities in the nation’s midsection under a “high-end, life-threatening event” that had been issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. The center specializes in tornado forecasting and emitted the extraordinary warning nearly two days before the bad weather hit.
Tsunami Alert Triggered After 8.6 Earthquake Hits Indonesia
A powerful 8.6-magnitude earthquake has triggered a tsunami warning for the entire Indian Ocean.
The earthquake hit some 269 miles from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, Indonesia reports AP. A 9.1-magnitude earthquake in 2004 triggered a massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,00 people, most of them in Aceh.
People on Twitter said tremors this time were felt in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and India. High-rise buildings on Malaysia’s west coast shook for at least a minute. The alert is in effect for several countries beyond Indonesia, including India, Australia, Burma, Thailand, Pakistan, Somalia, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.
Pat Robertson blames natural disasters on lack of praying (video)
You can blame your non-praying ass for all those recent Midwest tornadoes… at least according to Pat Robertson.
Asked by a 700 Club viewer yesterday why God sent the tornadoes, Robertson explained that “if enough people were praying He would’ve intervened, you could pray, Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms.” Of course, before he even got to that point, Robertson gave a brief explanation on weather patterns. (“God didn’t send tornadoes, God set up a world in which certain currents interfere and interact with other currents.”)
“God doesn’t send tornadoes to hurt people. We call them ‘acts of God,’ but they’re not,” he continued. “All I can say is, why do you build houses in a place where tornadoes are apt to happen?” He went on to slam people who build houses “on the edge of an ocean,” saying “it’s their fault, it’s not God’s,” when a hurricane comes. “It’s the same thing with if you want to build a house on the San Andreas fault, you know there’s going to be a fault, you know the earth is faulted, there are going to be earthquakes,” he concluded. “So don’t blame God for doing something foolish.”