The Takeaway

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on Rebuilding After Irene

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene has been called the worst natural disaster to ever hit Vermont. Twelve thousand people remain without power thereand over 250 roads were closed, with six state highway bridges completely destroyed. The federal government has pledged $5 million to Vermont for initial rebuilding. Relief efforts are underway, and progress is already being made for the many towns and highways irreparably damaged by the storm.


The Takeaway

After Irene, FEMA's Funding Dilemma

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene's rumble through the East Coast over the weekend is another natural disaster for FEMA deal with this year. At least 30 people have died, and that number may rise as flodding continues to cause problems in Vermont and upstate New York. Previously this year, the Mississippi River's had record-breaking floods and tornadoes ravaged through hundreds of miles of land, across numerous states. Already, FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund is running seriously low, with only $800 million to $1 billion left.

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CT Governor Malloy Tours Storm Damage

Monday, August 29, 2011


Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy took a helicopter ride across the state get a first hand, aerial view of the damage that Tropical Storm Irene caused over the weekend. The storm that barreled up the East Coast was blamed for two death in Connecticut, flooded roads, and knocked power out to more than 700,000 homes and businesses across the state.


The Takeaway

Hurricane Irene's Winners and Losers

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene pounded North Carolina early Saturday morning and continued north wrecking havoc all the way up to New England, where floods are reportedly occurring in Vermont. Tomorrow, as residents of cities along the eastern coast of the U.S. attempt clean up Irene's wreckage, the southern U.S. will be reminded of their own recent natural disasters: it's the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks to Katrina, and American outrage over certain politicians' reactions to the storm and its aftermath, the northeast's politicians learned to take every precaution necessary as they deal with Irene.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Catskills Floods

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lissa Harris, editor of, and Terry Doyle from WIOX community radio in Roxbury, NY update the situtation in some of the Catskills towns that experienced flooding from the tropical storm.

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The Takeaway

Irene Leaves Flooding in Vermont

Monday, August 29, 2011

Some parts of the country are recovering, other parts are still grappling with the consequences of Irene. And nowhere is the problem more acute than in Vermont, rivers are over-flowing some towns entirely covered by water. Governor Peter Shumlin says Vermont faces a full-blown flooding catastrophe. We get the latest from there from Mark Bosma, is spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management and Ross Sneyd, is News Editor for Vermont Public Radio.



Flash Flood Watch In Tri-State Area Follows Record Rainfall

Monday, August 15, 2011

A day after record-setting rainfall fell on New York City, a flash flood watch has been issued for the tri-state area until 9 p.m. Monday. Records were shattered by 5 p.m. Sunday, when 7.6 inches had fallen at JFK Airport — the most ever recorded there in a single day.

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Bronx Water Main Break Causes Major Flooding

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WITH PHOTOS & VIDEO: A water main break flooded five blocks in the Bronx with waist-deep water in some areas on Wednesday morning — causing transit  delays and flooding businesses as experts tried to figure out what caused the break.


The Takeaway

Historic Floods Ravage North Dakota

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Souris River, which loops from Saskatchewan, Canada to North Dakota, has risen to record high levels and is spilling into the North Dakota city of Minot, causing more than 11,000 residents from there to evacuate for the second time this month. The flooding is said to have been caused by a heavy spring snow melt and heavy rains. The last major flood in the area occurred in 1969, which prompted the construction of levees. But this flood is five feet taller than the 1969 flood, and the levees are unable to contain it. 

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Transportation Nation

Montana Flooding And Lawsuit Delays Megaload Transport

Thursday, June 16, 2011

(Billings, MT – YPR) – Flooding in central Montana is delaying the transport of refinery equipment bound for Billings while a lawsuit by a Missoula-based group is holding up another megaload bound for the oil tar sand fields in Alberta, Canada.

Megaloads are giant rigs hauling, in most cases, equipment for oil refineries.   They've been described as heavier than the Statue of Liberty, nearly as long as a football field, wider than the roads that they’re actually traveling on, and three stories high.

Montana Department of Transportation Director Jim Lynch updated legislators on the Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee on the progress of the litigation over the Imperial Oil-ExxonMobil Kearle Module Transport Plan through the state.

“The matter has been briefed fully by both sides,” he says. “Now we’re waiting for the court’s decision.”

Before Lynch spoke, Missoula-based All Against the Haul issued a press release saying the MDOT’s environmental analysis was inadequate. The group says its report  still doubt Montana’s roads and bridges can handle the size and weight of these loads.

Imperial seeks to bring over 200 loads at night over 300 miles of Montana road.

When questioned about the group’s report by Missoula legislators, Lynch says, “I don’t know.”

“I don’t know if I can answer that because I don’t know what report. I don’t know what engineer,” he says. “So I can’t say if I’ve seen it or not seen it. I’ve seen a lot of material that we received through the environmental process.”

Lynch told the interim legislative committee many of the questions lawmakers were asking about are in the current documents used to generate the permit to haul the megaloads through Montana.

All Against the Haul Campaign Coordinator Zack Porter says a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement should be conducted. He adds federal highway officials are now concerned about these loads and have contacted state officials.

“There was a memo just sent recently by Michael Onder, Team Leader of the Truck Size and Weight division of the federal Highway Administration in Washington, D-C,” he says. “The memo was sent to Director Lynch and MDOT regarding the concerns brought up by the representatives and senators here today who asked the questions just a moment ago.”

Porter says their study found shortcomings in MDOT’s ability to study the impact these loads will have on bridges.

Motor Carriers of Montana Executive Vice President Barry “Spook” Stang says the only community protesting these loads is Missoula. He says that’s unfortunate.

“These people (All Against the Haul) are here to obstruct it,” he says. “They’ve already held up this project a year and a half. By the end of this summer it will be two years. All they’re doing is adding cost to your fuel prices every time you buy fuel.”

But State Representative Sue Malek of Missoula wonders about the recent flooding from heavy rains that caused several rivers and streams to jump their banks. The damage washed out some roads and bridges and compromised some road beds.  Communities are bracing for additional flooding as record snowpack begins melting in the mountains.

Lynch says MDOT continues to monitor and analyze roads. Earlier in his presentation, Lynch told lawmakers to date Montana has spent about $2 million on repairs and is anticipating spending tens of millions of dollars just to fix state infrastructure damaged by flooding.

Lynch adds large loads are moving through Montana.

One that is delayed, however, is transport of the last set of Coker Drum equipment bound for the ConocoPhillips Refinery in Billings.

ConcoPhillips Spokesman Rich Johnson in Houston says the loads are parked near Townsend.

“Due to all the rain and flooding conditions that have happened in the region over the last several weeks the shipments have been parked in the area since the end of May,” he says. “We’re not able to resume travel until the road conditions improve.”

He says MDOT will notify the company when travel can resume. The state approved route is through areas where flooding has caused hills to slide, roads to buckle, and sinkholes.

Johnson says the company would like the equipment to arrive at its refinery, but that it won’t be installed until the next maintenance cycle scheduled next winter.


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Transportation Nation

Amtrak Service Restored On Two Western U.S. Routes

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

(Billings, MT – YPR) – Amtrak is restoring passenger rail service on two of three disrupted routes in the Western U.S. beginning June 15, 2011.

Flooding in North Dakota caused the temporary suspension of service on the Empire Builder Route between St. Paul, MN and Spokane, WA.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says Amtrak service for the complete route will resume now that Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company has restored the track between Devils Lake and Rugby, ND and between Sandpoint, ID and Libby, MT.

The Empire Builder line originates in Chicago and travels through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

Magliari says Amtrak’s California Zephyr will also resume June 15, 2011. But he says alternate transportation will be provided to serve Omaha, NE. Temporary levees were built over BNSF tracks to help protect the cities of Omaha and Bellevue, NE.

In the meantime other natural disasters are delaying other Amtrak routes.

Service is temporarily suspended between Newton, KS and Albuquerque, NM because of a wildfire burning near BNSF racks in New Mexico. Also on the Southwest Chief route, daily service between Chicago and Los Angeles is using a detour route through Texas and Oklahoma. Passengers on the route who are headed to destinations in western Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and northeastern New Mexico will be transported by motorcoach or local commuter trains, as available.

Passengers who are seeking train status updates can call 800-USA-RAIL or visit


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Transportation Nation

FEMA Officials Assessing Flood Damage To Montana Roads

Friday, June 03, 2011

(Roundup, MT-YPR) -- Federal emergency teams are in Montana assessing preliminary flood damage to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.

Normally such assessments are used to determine whether a state might qualify for a presidential disaster declaration.

Governor Brian Schweitzer determined the flooding  so far warranted seeking the declaration.

In his request Schweitzer said, “This incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments.”

The Democrat included 37 of Montana’s 56 counties and 5 of its American Indian Reservations in the request to President Barack Obama.

One of the counties in that request is Musselshell in central Montana.

County officials estimate nearly 30 roads and up to 7 bridges were damaged by last weeks flooding. This includes washed out roads, sink holes, and at least two bridges that were knocked off their footings.

There could be additional damage but high water is prevent officials from getting a first hand look.

If the state’s request for a presidential disaster declaration is granted federal money could become available for roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.

This flooding was due to heavy rain.

DES officials say the worst is yet to come with anticipated spring run-off of mountain snowpack bringing even more water to swollen rivers.


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Transportation Nation

Senator Max Baucus Asks for Federal Dollars for Montana's Flood-Damaged Roads & Bridges

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Montana flooding in Crow Agency south of Billings (photo by Donna Martinez/American Red Cross)

(Billings, Montana -- Yellowstone Public Radio) Senator Max Baucus is calling for a quick federal response after touring some of Montana’s flood-ravaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure this week.

During a conference call late last week with county and tribal officials, Baucus was told some county roads were “liquefied” by the flood waters. The officials added they don’t have the money for repairs. Afterwards, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure wrote a letter to US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to request federal funds to help pay for repairs.

“A lot of America is stressed by Mother Nature,” Baucus says. “So there may be an opportunity there in a disaster appropriations bill to include some special Montana needs. It might include some county roads and bridges.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are now in Montana assessing the damage from May’s flooding.

Officials are warning Montanans and those downstream that heavy mountain snowpack has just begun melting -- which will further strain swollen rivers, streams and saturated ground.

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The Takeaway

Severe Spring: 2011 Weather Raises More Global Warming Questions

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

From the tornadoes in Joplin, to a record drought in Texas and the floods in Mississippi, and giant earthquakes off the coast of Japan, why is the Spring of 2011 so terrifying and terrible? Is our environment really getting scarier, or is it just our short-term memory? Professor Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University and author of "A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions." She says our unpredictable spring is part of climate change and that Spring is coming earlier and earlier each year.

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The Takeaway

Spillway Opened, Small Town Residents Fear Flooding in La.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Morganza Spillway was all over the front pages this weekend. You probably saw a picture of it – the big wall of the levee with its gates open, spewing muddy Mississippi water at thousands of cubic feet per minute. The decision to open those floodgates has diverted the surge of the Mississippi, and probably saved Baton Rouge and New Orleans from flooding. But all that water has to go somewhere, and salvation downriver came at the expense of folks upriver. When the gates were opened, it set into motion a slow moving disaster; one that's arriving in the homes of the Cajun communities in the Atchafalaya Basin. 

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The Takeaway

Ghost of Katrina Haunts Mississippi Delta

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Mississippi flooding heading south into the Delta, the 200 mile stretch of land between Memphis, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Along the way, river residents are watching the waters and the levees carefully, scared that they won't hold. In Vicksburg, the flood is supposed to crest just under the historic record high — and the Army Corps of Engineers says it is monitoring the situation. But even further south, in New Orleans, it is not just the vision of the Mississippi — but the memory of Hurricane Katrina that haunts residents.


The Takeaway

Mississippi River Crests Near Record Levels

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Mississippi River reached near record levels on Monday when it crested at 48 feet around 7 p.m. Experts, who have been watching as heavy rains swell the waterway's thousands of tributaries and feeder streams, expect the level to remain high for at least the next 48 hours. Memphis residents began to evacuate their homes over the weekend, for fear that the flood waters could rise high enough to become a serious threat. This flooding might prove more devastating than the 1927 floods, which killed hundreds and flooded tens of thousands of farmland acreage.

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The Takeaway

Bracing for Flooding, Memphis' Hope Church Provides Shelter for Evacuees

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"We're just trying to take care of them and provide for them," says Scott Milholland, CEO of Hope Church about the evacuees that his church is sheltering in the wake of the major flooding. He says that they're working hard to keep spirits up for children and families that are waiting out the flooding.


The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: 85 People Killed Southern Storms, Morning Headlines

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A vicious series of tornadoes and storms cut across the south yesterday, killing 61 in Alabama alone. As a result of the storms, flood waters are breaching levees across the Midwest. 



New Jersey Begins to Assess Flood Damage

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Office of Emergency Management in New Jersey is beginning to coordinate a damage assessment following last weekend's floods.

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