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Storms

The Takeaway

Midwest Storms Leave Behind Path of Destruction

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A powerful storm system of tornadoes, heavy winds, and rain tore through 12 states across the Midwest on Sunday, leaving at least eight people dead. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared a state of disaster in several counties, and hundreds of thousands are still without power. Rescue workers are now assessing the full damage of the storm, which destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. Joining us from Peoria Public radio is Alex Rusciano. He gives us an update on the recovery efforts underway.

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Movies on the Radio

In Like a Lion: Music for Cinematic Storms

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Extreme weather has played a prominent role in movies from "The Wizard of Oz" to "Life of Pi." Roaring thunder and flashing lightning have accompanied many a film climax.

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Transportation Nation

The Official NY Area Transit Tracker

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hurricane Sandy wrought havoc on all area transportation, closing bridges, flooding tunnels and drowning the NYC subway system. We will stay on top of the damage and the schedules for resumption of service. Check back regularly. We'll also tweet any openings, so follow us on Twitter to know when we update the Tracker below.

MTA Metro-North Railroad employees using a crane to remove a boat that had washed up on the tracks at Ossining. (Photo courtesy of MTA)

WE WILL UPDATE THIS POST THROUGHOUT THE RECOVERY

Sign up for our daily email to get a digest of all our reporting on Hurricane Sandy transportation impacts and recovery.

 

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Transportation Nation

Here's the NY Gov. Order for Transit System Shutdown

Saturday, October 27, 2012

UPDATED: Sunday 12noon: Here's the latest release from the NY Governor's office about Hurricane Sandy transportation shutdowns and evacuation orders. Scroll down for previous statements.

 

 

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES MTA TO SUSPEND SERVICE IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE SANDY

Orderly Suspension of Subway, Bus and Commuter Railroad Service Begins at 7 p.m.

Transportation System Must Be Suspended to Protect Customers, Employees and Equipment

Monitor mta.info and Media Outlets and Call 511 for Latest Transportation Information

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will begin the orderly suspension of all subway, bus and commuter railroad service at 7 p.m. Sunday to protect customers, employees and equipment from the approach of Hurricane Sandy.

The New York City subway system will begin to curtail service after 7 p.m., and the New York City bus system within the following two hours. Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road will start their final trains by 7 p.m. Subway and railway stations will be closed after the last trains.

Customers who need to travel today should do so as soon as possible and not wait until the last train or bus is departing. Anyone who does not leave for their destination before 7 p.m. runs the risk of being stranded when service is suspended. New York City Transit, Metro-North and the LIRR will cross-honor each other’s passes today to speed the process of returning customers to their homes.

“The transportation system is the lifeblood of the New York City region, and suspending all service is not a step I take lightly,” Governor Cuomo said. “But keeping New Yorkers safe is the first priority, and the best way to do that is to make sure they are out of harm’s way before gale-force winds can start wreaking havoc on trains and buses.”

The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for suspending service hours before the approach of winds of 39 mph and higher. That gives MTA crews time to prepare rail cars, buses, tunnels, yards and buildings for the storm, then return to safety. Winds of 39 mph and higher are predicted to reach the metropolitan region during the predawn hours Monday.

“The MTA proved it can suspend service in an orderly manner when it did so last year for Tropical Storm Irene, and we have refined our Hurricane Plan since then to help us prepare for Hurricane Sandy,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “This storm will batter the MTA, but the precautions we take now will allow us to recover much more quickly.”

The MTA has for days prepared for the possibility that conditions would require a service suspension by readying recovery equipment, clearing drainage areas, moving vehicles from low-lying areas in bus and rail yards and sealing some tunnel access points.

The duration of the service suspension is unknown, and there is no timetable for restoration. Service will be restored only when it is safe to do so, after careful inspections of all equipment and tracks. Even with minimal damage this is expected to be a lengthy process.

Metro-North Railroad’s special “Train to the Game” for today’s Jets game in the Meadowlands has been cancelled. Customers who return promptly to Penn Station after the conclusion of the game will be accommodated on MTA services leaving by 7 p.m.

Outbound Access-A-Ride trips are being scheduled only until 12 p.m. today, and return trips will continue until 5 p.m. Any previously scheduled trips after that time, including subscription trips, are cancelled.

The Staten Island Railway will attempt to continue to operate until the Staten Island Ferry suspends service, in order not to strand any customers in the ferry terminal. However, the railway will not operate if conditions are deemed unsafe.

Customers and the media should monitor the mta.info website or call 511 for the most current service information.

 

POSTED: Saturday, 2:45 p.m. Just in from the New York Governor's office, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will begin taking the first steps of what could become a total subway and transit system shut down for the New York City area in response to Hurricane Sandy.

A decision will be made Sunday.

The MTA hurricane plan calls for shutting down any above ground subway service in high winds, or especially heavy rains. For a bit more on why a total subway system shutdown might be called for, see our article from yesterday, and our coverage from Tropical Storm Irene last year, the first  preemptive total system shutdown in the 108 year history of the NYC subway.

Full statement from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's office:

GOVERNOR CUOMO DIRECTS MTA TO BEGIN PLANNING FOR POSSIBLE ORDERLY SUSPENSION OF ALL MTA SERVICE IN ADVANCE OF HURRICANE SANDY
Final Decision Whether to Suspend Service Will Be Made by SundaySubways, Buses and Commuter Railroads Will Prepare to Suspend Service Sunday Evening to Protect Customers, Employees and EquipmentState Preparations Continue for Department of Health

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to begin planning for an orderly suspension of all subway, bus and commuter railroad service, if Hurricane Sandy continues to bear down on the New York City metropolitan area. In addition, the Governor continued oversight of state preparations for the storm, including actions taken by the State Department of Health (DOH). 

Department of State Operations Howard Glaser, DOH Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, and PANYNJ Executive Director Pat Foye gave an update on preparations at the Governor’s Office in New York City today. 

A final decision on whether to suspend service will be made by Sunday, but the MTA must begin preparing immediately for a possible suspension to protect its customers, its employees and its equipment.

If a decision to suspend service is made by Sunday, New York City subways and buses would begin an orderly suspension of service at 7 p.m. Sunday. Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road would suspend service at 7 p.m. Sunday. Some lines may be curtailed over a period of several hours before all service is suspended, but no one would be able to rely on any MTA service after 7 p.m. Sunday. 

All customers leaving the Sunday afternoon Jets game in New Jersey would be accommodated before service is suspended. However, the special through train from New Haven to the Meadowlands has been cancelled. 

“I have directed the MTA to put its Hurricane Plan into action to help New Yorkers prepare for the storm and protect the vital assets of the region’s transportation system,” Governor Cuomo said. “New Yorkers need to take action now to protect themselves, and as the transportation system prepares to possibly suspend service, no one should wait until the last minute to prepare.” 

The MTA Hurricane Plan is designed to secure equipment and protect employees before dangerous sustained winds of 39 mph or higher and storm surges of 4 to 8 feet reach the area. This process must begin hours in advance of the storm’s arrival, as thousands of rail cars, subway cars and buses must be pulled from service and stored safely.

“Suspending the largest transportation system in North America is a monumental effort, and it is imperative that we start the process before we make a final decision, and before the worst of Hurricane Sandy reaches us,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “That means all of our 8.5 million daily customers need to prepare for the storm and be ready to complete their travels by 7 p.m. Sunday.”

Before any final decision on suspending service, MTA crews will follow the Hurricane Plan by moving rail cars, locomotives, subway cars and buses from low-lying yards to higher ground; preparing recovery equipment and clearing drainage areas; and deploying sandbags and other protective materials at tunnel entrances, station entrances and other locations vulnerable to flooding. Taking these pre-emptive measures before the full brunt of the storm arrives will help in the MTA’s recovery efforts after the storm passes.

MTA subway and railroad stations are not designated shelters and would be closed in the event of a service suspension. Those in need of assistance would be directed to designated shelters nearby.

Service would be restored following the storm only when it is safe to do so, after careful inspections of all equipment and tracks. There is no timetable established for restoration. Customers and the media should monitor the mta.info website or call 511 for the most current service information.

Details of each agency’s suspension plans are provided below.

New York City Transit

If a decision is made to suspend service, all New York City subway and bus service would need to be suspended by early Monday morning to allow crews to secure stations, tracks and tunnels before the onset of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.

On the subway system, where the orderly suspension of service takes eight hours, service would begin to be curtailed after 7 p.m. Sunday. While some trains may continue to run for several additional hours, there would be no guarantee of any subway service after that time, so all customers who rely on the subway would have to plan to complete their travel by 7 p.m. Sunday.

The bus system requires six hours for the orderly suspension of service, so buses would be able to remain on their normal routes for as much as two hours after 7 p.m. Sunday. There would be no guarantee of any bus service after that time.

The MTA would run normal service until those times, with sufficient capacity to allow customers to leave vulnerable areas and reach safe destinations before service is suspended. Those who use the MTA to evacuate would be allowed to carry pets. Dogs must be leashed and, if possible, muzzled. Cats should be in carriers.

Subway stations in flood-prone locations such as lower Manhattan would be evacuated and secured. Critical track-level components would be removed from tunnels under rivers so they will not suffer the corrosive effects of salt water if they are flooded. Workers would secure all elevated stations to protect against damaging winds.

There would be no Access-A-Ride trips scheduled after 12 p.m. Sunday. Customers will be able to schedule trips until then. 

Metro-North Railroad

If a decision is made to suspend service, Metro-North Railroad would run its final trains at 7 p.m. Sunday to prepare for the arrival of high winds and heavy rain. Customers are urged not to wait for the last trains when making their travel plans.

Grand Central Terminal, including its shops and restaurants, and all outlying Metro-North station buildings would be closed for the duration of the service suspension. In preparation, train equipment is being moved out of low-lying locations known to be prone to flooding, such as the Highbridge and Mott Haven yards in the Bronx. 

As the storm approaches, Metro-North has secured its infrastructure by moving trucks and equipment such as backhoes, cranes and bulldozers, to higher ground. 

Parking lots that usually flood, such as the ones at White Plains and Beacon, would be barricaded. Connecting ferry service at Beacon and Ossining would be suspended. The Hudson RailLink that serves Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale would be suspended.

Metro-North has asked many employees to shelter during the storm at a Metro-North facility, so they will be immediately available to begin recovery efforts when the worst of the storm has passed.

Long Island Rail Road

If a decision is made to suspend service, Long Island Rail Road would run its final trains at 7 p.m. Sunday. Service would be suspended earlier on some outlying parts of the system because crews would be required to secure or remove 690 gates at 295 railroad crossings across Long Island to prevent them from being damaged by wind. Customers are urged not to wait for the last trains when making their travel plans.

This process takes approximately 12 hours and must be completed prior to forecasted sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. Crews would begin by removing gates east of Ronkonkoma on the Main Line to Greenport, where weekend service does not operate at this time of year. Additionally, crossing gates would start being removed on the Montauk Branch east of Speonk beginning Sunday morning, so train service would be replaced with buses from 9 a.m. Sunday until the full service suspension takes effect at 7 p.m. 

Long Island residents, pedestrians and drivers need to be aware that the third rail remains electrified even during a service suspension and equipment trains may be operating. Please act in a safe manner in and around tracks.

In order to restore service, train equipment and crews must be repositioned, all crossing gates re-installed and fully tested and power to the crossing gates restored. In addition, any debris, such as fallen trees, must be removed from tracks and the right of way inspected.

Preparations by State Department of Health 

Based upon the latest weather models, the greatest risk to the New York City metropolitan area and the entire state, due to rain and strong winds, will be prolonged power outages. These prolonged outages may last at least 48-72 hours beginning as early as Sunday evening. This could also lead to flooding, which is a chief concern.

Statewide, the Department of Health has released general guidance for all health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and adult care facilities, to be prepared for a prolonged power outage and to check generators, fuel levels, food and water levels, etc. Health care facilities should focus on planning for patients who are dependent upon electrical equipment such as ventilators, dialysis patients, oxygen concentrators, etc. Dialysis facilities statewide should consider staying open on Sunday and dialyzing as many patients due for dialysis Monday through Wednesday as possible. Facilities should report power outages to their local county/NYC Emergency Operations Center and to DOH. Facilities needing assistance due to prolonged power outages should make requests through their local EOC who will then request state assistance if needed.

In the New York City metropolitan area, with the MTA closure possibly planned for 7 PM Sunday, DOH has required all adult homes and nursing homes to bring staffing levels to 150% of standard shifts by 5 PM Sunday. Staff should be prepared to stay for 48-72 hours. The State Human Services Task Force is responding to a request for 700 volunteers for pre-landfall deployment and 2,500 for post-landfall deployment to staff shelters.

DOH has designated a “Slosh Zone” which includes Zone A, the Rockaways, northeast Queens and eastern shore of the Bronx. All nursing homes in these areas are required to move ventilator dependent patients to facilities outside of the Slosh Zone by 5 PM Sunday. Ambulances are currently at home stations awaiting directives to support the movement of vent patients. 

DOH is in regular contact with hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities in Slosh Zones, county health commissioners and local health directors statewide. DOH staff is also deployed in the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Healthcare Facility Evacuation Coordination Center (HEC). 

To get the latest updates on the storm, follow the Governor on Twitter and subscribe to our Storm Watch list. You can also visit www.governor.ny.gov or connect with the Governor on Facebook for more information.

Visit www.dhses.ny.gov/aware-prepare/ for safety tips from DHSES on how to be prepared.

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Transportation Nation

Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm) Could Shut Down NYC Subway

Friday, October 26, 2012


The NY MTA began placing service advisories in subway stations Friday.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m. ET Saturday: NY Gov Andrew Cuomo has ordered the NY MTA to begin the preparations needed for a total subway and transit system shutdown. Full details here.

ORIGINAL POST: (New York, NY -- WNYC) The New York City subway system will be running Saturday, but Sunday ... that's wait and see. As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the mid-Atlantic region charting an ominous course north, transit agencies in the New York area are getting ready for potentially crippling rains. Subways, buses, railroads, bridges, tunnels could all be affected.  (See below for full MTA press release)

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg said the NYC subway system -- which turns 108 years old on Saturday -- could be shut down if Sandy brings sustained winds of higher than 39 mph, according to a standing MTA hurricane action plan. As of Friday at 4 p.m., no decisions on shut downs had been made, though warnings, cautions and caveats were flowing from all levels of government.

“Our first priority is always safety, and the MTA is taking no chances with the safety of our customers, our employees and our equipment,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota in a statement.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency across the state. "With unpredictable weather conditions, we are taking the greatest precautions – especially after our experience from last year’s storms,” he said, referring to tropical storms Irene and Lee.

If Hurricane Sandy holds course toward New York City, it threatens to be especially dangerous because it would join with a second winter storm, creating what the National Weather Service called Frankenstorm.

Hurricane preparation for a large subway system is long and elaborate process that takes at least 8 hours once ordered.

Last year, the subway system shut down a day ahead of Tropical Storm Irene to allow MTA staff to flood proof tunnels and move trains and buses out of harms way. (See photos) A report following a 2007 storm, found that subway drainage systems are designed to handle no more than 1.75 inches of rain an hour.

This time, MTA workers began flood-prevention preparations Friday afternoon -- two days ahead of the storm's expected arrival -- by covering subway ventilation grates with plywood in low lying areas. After severe flooding crippled the subway in a 2007 storm the transit agency began the slow process of raising subway grates a few inches above street level, but many are still at street grade.

An MTA statement listed what else would need to happen this weekend:

"The Hurricane Plan also contains detailed protocols for New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, the Long Island Rail Road, Bridges and Tunnels and Capital Construction to prepare for the onset of a storm by moving equipment such as rail cars and buses from low-lying storage areas or vulnerable outdoor tracks; by staging recovery equipment such as generators and chainsaws near areas where they would be needed; by clearing catch basins and sewer lines; and by installing protective barriers to keep floodwaters out of buildings, tunnels and storage yards."

Most planned construction in the subway system is cancelled. The  NY Buildings Commissioner ordered a similar halt to all exterior work at construction sites in New York City starting Saturday at 5 p.m.

Amtrak said all trains are operating as usual as of Friday afternoon and had not made any plans to cancel service, though some equipment was being moved into place for emergency action if needed.

 

Here's the full MTA Hurricane Sandy Press Release:

 

MTA Prepares for Hurricane Sandy

 

Service Shutdowns Possible as Forecasts Develop; Subways, Buses, Railroads, Bridges and Tunnels Preparing for High Winds and Heavy Rain

 

Monitor mta.info, Media Outlets and Call 511 for Latest Transportation Information

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is monitoring the progress of Hurricane Sandy and taking necessary precautions to protect its transportation network. The storm is tracking toward New York and holds the potential for high winds and heavy rain that could make it unsafe to operate subway, bus and railroad lines, as well as to allow vehicles on the MTA’s seven bridges and two tunnels.

 

The MTA is working closely with the Governor’s office, the Mayor’s office and state and local Offices of Emergency Management to prepare for the storm and respond in a coordinated manner.

 

“Our first priority is always safety, and the MTA is taking no chances with the safety of our customers, our employees and our equipment,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Whatever happens, we’ll be ready.”

 

The MTA Hurricane Plan calls for an orderly shutdown of service before the arrival of sustained winds of 39 mph or higher. No decision has been made whether to suspend some or all service in advance of the storm, but ample notice will be provided of any suspension. Customers and the media should monitor the mta.info website, which is updated continuously with service information as it becomes available. Customers can also call 511 for service information.

 

The MTA last suspended service during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, when it successfully helped people get to safety before the storm, then shut down its transportation network in an orderly manner to protect employees and equipment.

 

The Hurricane Plan also contains detailed protocols for New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, the Long Island Rail Road, Bridges and Tunnels and Capital Construction to prepare for the onset of a storm by moving equipment such as rail cars and buses from low-lying storage areas or vulnerable outdoor tracks; by staging recovery equipment such as generators and chainsaws near areas where they would be needed; by clearing catch basins and sewer lines; and by installing protective barriers to keep floodwaters out of buildings, tunnels and storage yards.

 

Details of each agency’s storm planning are provided below.

 

New York City Transit

 

Most scheduled weekend subway service changes for construction projects have been cancelled, with the exception of changes planned for the 7 and J lines, which are now scheduled through Saturday only. Crews are inspecting and clearing main drains and pump rooms throughout the subway system. Personnel are checking and cleaning all known flood-prone locations and these areas will continue to be monitored.

 

Extra workers and managers are prepared to staff New York City Transit’s Incident Command Center, situation room, satellite desks, depot operations and facility operations as necessary. The Incident Command Center will be activated starting at 8 a.m. Sunday. Among those present in the ICC throughout the duration of the storm will be Customer Advocates, who will ensure that all decisions made during the event will reflect a focus on customers. They fill a position created after reviews of the agency’s performance during Tropical Storm Irene.

 

Trains will be removed from outdoor yards prone to flooding and moved to more secure locations. Subway ventilation grates vulnerable to flooding will be sandbagged and tarped over. Many station entrances and ventilation grates in low-lying areas have been successfully modified in recent years to raise them above street level, making it more difficult for floodwaters to enter the system.

 

All portable pumps and emergency response vehicles will be checked, fueled and made ready for service. Outside contractors have been asked to prepare their work sites for heavy weather.

 

Bus operators are ready to move buses that normally park in low-lying depots to areas of higher ground.

 

Metro-North Railroad

 

Metro-North personnel are stockpiling material in preparation for possible washouts or bank erosion, and are securing road crossing gates when necessary.

 

Much of Metro-North’s territory runs along rivers and the Long Island Sound With nearly 800 miles of tracks to take care of, Maintenance of Way workers have already begun preparing for Sandy at known trouble spots.

 

Culverts are being cleared of fallen limbs and other debris. Ditches and swales are being cleaned out. Pumps are being tuned up and put in place at known low spots such as New Haven Yard and Mott Haven Yard, while generators at all rail yards are being fueled and tested.

 

Cranes and excavators and back hoes are being positioned along the tracks, and a tree service contractor is on call to respond rapidly if needed.

 

Long Island Rail Road

 

Long Island Rail Road is preparing facilities and infrastructure by clearing drains, securing work sites against possible high winds, fueling equipment, stocking supplies and making plans to move equipment and supplies away from low-lying areas. Chain saws, generators and pumps are ready for use as well.

 

The LIRR’s scheduled track work this weekend for the replacement of concrete ties between Jamaica and Queens Village, and the resulting bus service for Queens Village and Hollis customers, is now scheduled to end at 11:59 PM Saturday evening.

 

Extra personnel will be assigned to report for duty before the storm is forecasted to make landfall on Long Island.

 

Crews will be prepared to remove crossing gates from LIRR crossings in advance of the storm if necessary, to protect them from high winds and assist in a quicker recovery. Service must be suspended if crossing gates are removed.

 

Bridges and Tunnels

 

All roadway and drainage systems at Bridges and Tunnels facilities are being checked and cleared of debris. Construction areas will be secured, backup generators are in place, and wrecker trucks and other response vehicles are readied to help motorists who may become stranded. In addition, staffing levels were checked and emergency personnel have been put on standby.

 

Motorists are advised to reduce speeds when winds are between 40 and 49 mph in dry conditions, and 30 to 49 mph in windy and wet conditions.

 

When the winds are 50 mph or more in dry or wet conditions, certain vehicles will be barred from using MTA crossings. These include motorcycles, tractor trailers, step vans, mini buses, trucks with open backs, cars pulling trailers, motor homes and vehicles carrying plate glass.

 

If there are sustained winds of 60 mph or above, the MTA may close one or more bridges to all traffic.

 

Capital Construction

 

All contractors at Capital Construction projects – East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 Line Extension and Fulton Center – will secure all materials and equipment, including cranes, to prepare for high winds and flooding.

 

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New Jersey News

Storm Data Shows Links to Global Warming: Report

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Two vicious thunderstorms that slammed New Jersey in the past month are part of a trend that the northeast is experiencing due to global warming, according to a new report released by Environment New Jersey.

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The Takeaway

Linemen Remain Hard at Work on the Fourth

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July 4th won't be about the barbecues for many electrical workers. They're battling the heat and the growing needs of the many neighborhoods still without power.

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The Takeaway

Thousands Still Without Power After Mid-Atlantic Storms

Monday, July 02, 2012

Tens of thousands of people in the Mid-Atlantic spent the weekend without power after an unexpected group of violent thunderstorms ripped across the region Friday night. 

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Transportation Nation

Severe Weather Events Continue to Cost US: Big $$ to Alabama, Vermont, NY, NJ

Monday, January 09, 2012

Upstate New York roads, as viewed by helicopter (photo by Karen DeWitt/NYS Public Radio/WXXI)

Severe weather events in 2011 -- the worst in history according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- continue to cost the U.S. big bucks.

Tranportation Nation has reported on the costs of climate change, now the U.S. DOT is announcing it's releasing some $1.6 billion  to 30 states.  Vermont, devastated by Hurricane Irene will get $125.6 million, North Dakota $89.1 million for severe flooding, and both New York and New Jersey are getting close to $90  million each.

Full release and list of grantees follow:

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Close to $1.6 Billion in Funding for Repairs to Damaged Roads and Bridges Supplemental Funding from Congress Makes Reimbursement Possible

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced nearly $1.6 billion to states and territories across the nation to help cover the costs of repairing roads and bridges damaged by a variety of natural disasters.

“Communities from coast to coast are still recovering from disasters that have affected the roads they use, their homes and businesses,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Obama Administration stands ready to provide emergency relief and reimburse these communities for the work that has been done to restore their critical transportation needs.”

Funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Emergency Relief Program was provided by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012.  FHWA will provide a total of $1.58 billion to 30 states, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and federal land management agencies to reimburse them for repairs to roads and bridges caused by storms, flooding, hurricanes and other natural and catastrophic disasters.

“States and communities can rely on the federal government during these critical times,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez.  “When disaster strikes, the Department will do all it can to provide help to the affected areas.”

Vermont, hard hit by Hurricane Irene, will receive $125.6 million; North Dakota will receive $89.1 million for the Devils Lake Basin for damage caused by Spring 2011 runoff; and Iowa will receive $37.5 million to repair damage caused by the May 2011 Missouri River flooding.  A complete list of states and funding amounts is listed below.

This money will reimburse states for fixing or replacing highways, bridges and other roadway structures. Costs associated with detours, debris removal and other immediate measures necessary to restore traffic flow in impacted areas are also eligible for reimbursement.

For a state-by-state breakdown click here (http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2012/fhwa0212.html).

 

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The Takeaway

Storms Ravage Southeastern US

Thursday, November 17, 2011

At least five people are dead and many are injured after storms hit the nation's southeast. South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi were all slammed by the severe weather and suspected tornadoes. Thousands remain without power. Derrick Becker, a public information officer for South Carolina Emergency Management, talks about what his organization is witnessing.

Comment

On The Media

Ready For The Next Big Internet Crisis

Friday, September 23, 2011

The motivations of hackers are often obscure. The motivations of the handlers at the Internet Storm Center—the people who stand ready to battle the latest internet malady—are a little easier to understand.  Bob spoke with Alan Paller, the Director of Research at Sans Institute, home to the Internet Storm Center.  Paller says they do it to feel like they're making a difference, for personal pride...and a for leather jacket.

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

NY Subway System Shuts Down Due to Hurricane Irene (UPDATED)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Floodwaters covered the subway train storage yard at Coney Island. (Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / David Knights.)

UPDATED 8:55 p.m. ET Sunday: The MTA says it will restore limited subway service at 6am on Monday morning. Buses are currently running in all five boroughs. No word yet on Metro North and Long Island Rail Road.

UPDATED 5:55 p.m. ET Sunday Buses are back in operation throughout the city.

UPDATED 1:40 p.m. ET Sunday There is still no prediction of when subway service will be restored in New York City. Public officials were unapologetic about the decision to preemptively shut down the nation's largest transit system. "The actions that we took yesterday were right," Jay Walder head of the MTA said at the Mayor's afternoon press conference. He said the first service to return will be buses, some of which will first be used to shuttle evacuees back home he said.

He did not say when subway service would return, calling it a "difficult process" that will "take some time." He said, "we have widespread impacts of the storm. We have flooding, we have downed trees, we have power outages."

The worst fears were not realized however: salt water flooding into the tunnels under the East River. "Metro North has sustained real damage," Walder said. That appears to be the worst affected of New York area transit properties.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision to evacuate coastal areas of the city. When asked what his message is to residents who will likely face a Monday morning commute without public transit, Mayor Bloomberg asked for patience, adding, "there are taxis, and some people can walk."

UPDATED 11:30 a.m. Saturday

All New York City transit remains shutdown 24 hours after the first ever total closure of the nation's largest subway and bus system due to a weather event.

Earlier this morning MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan told Transportation Nation, that there is "no estimate on restoration right now." He said they would soon release information on "the many tasks that must be done before service can resume."

It took approximately eight hours to shut the entire transit system down. LIRR and some Metro-North trains were stored on high ground away from low-lying yards. The MTA explained it takes two hours just to allow trains to complete their runs. Then they had to be positioned in safe locations. After that the crew members out safely need transportation out to safe locations.

Trains also were situated on express tracks some in locations distant from where trains end their runs. Stations were then secured, areas inspected and power shut down, according to the MTA.

There is widespread flooding on Metro North tracks including in two substations.

Sign inside the West 81st Street B/C station (photo by Kate Hinds)

UPDATED 6:43 p.m. ET Friday

The MTA is waiving subway and bus fares to facilitate evacuation from low-laying areas, according to Governor Cuomo.

Several city bridges are already free, and after 8 p.m. all buses city wide will be free as well.

The zoned taxi system will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday. Yellow taxis and all other for-hire vehicles will be permitted to accept group rides and street hails at a charge of $10 per person within each zone, and $5 for each additional zone. Manhattan is divided into two zones at 60th street. Each outer borough is a single zone.

UPDATED 6:02 p.m. ET

The national weather service has issued a hurricane warning, upgraded from a hurricane watch.

The NY MTA has suspended fares in flood zones to facilitate evacuations, according to the Governor's office. See which zone you are in here.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg says storm surges could flood subway tunnels, and called that possibility, "life threatening."

Taxis will be available after the subway shutdown on a special zoned system with flat rates per passenger and both livery and yellow cabs permitted to pickup multiple fares at once, a departure from the normal metered system. Details will be announced shortly on this development, the Taxi and Limousine Commission says.

It will take eight hours to shut down the New York subway system. That's why the last trains will roll at noon, Saturday.

UPDATED: 4:04 p.m. ET

Almost all public transportation in New York City will halt a day ahead of the expected arrival of Hurricane Irene.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that subways and buses in the nation's largest city would leave for their final runs before the storm around 12 noon Saturday.

The shutdown will include the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Access-A-Ride.

This would be the first ever weather related total shutdown of the New York City transit system, an MTA spokesman tells Transportation Nation. The system was shut down in 2005 during the transit worker's union strike and after 9/11.

The spokesman said, the transit agency is working closely with the governor and the mayor on shutdown decisions. The MTA says the subways could stay shuttered through Monday morning depending on damage to equipment and the amount of debris on the tracks.

On a typical Saturday, NYC subways move more than 4 million people.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already ordered evacuations for coastal areas of the city.  A hurricane watch is in effect for New York City and Long Island for Sunday. Storm conditions are expected as early as Saturday night.

Bridges and tunnels may also be shut down the governor said, pending wind conditions.

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The Takeaway

Storm Tracker: Live Updates on Hurricane Irene's Path and Evacuation

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Irene is currently headed towards the East Coast of the U.S., and may have a major impact on a large swath of the eastern seaboard and some 65 million residents from North Carolina to Maine. With that in mind, we're watching Irene's progress and updating this blog with the latest news and information we have.

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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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Top 5 @ 105

Top Five Works About Raging Thunderstorms

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

As New Yorkers slog through a week of gray skies and wet weather, we're saluting the top five depictions of storms in classical music -- from Beethoven to Strauss.

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The Takeaway

Aftermath: Southerners Take Stock After Storms

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hundreds of people have been confirmed dead after devastating storms ripped through the south on Wednesday. Thousands of residents are without power, while they continue to look for survivors and dig out from the wreckage. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said yesterday that the death toll, which had reached 15 in the state, is fluid and is likely to rise. To get more of the news happening in the areas affected, we speak with Kim Severson of The New York Times, who is in Georgia. 

 

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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. 

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The Takeaway

Violent Weather Rips Through the South

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

For the second straight night, severe storms ravaged the South, killing at least one person in Arkansas and damaging more than 100 homes in rural East Texas. Harold Brooks, research meteorologist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, talks to use about the storms.

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WNYC News

Snow Fatigue Sets in After City Endures Sixth Storm

Friday, January 21, 2011

The ritual is not new to Gary Dawoit. After each storm, he and two colleagues, armed with scrapers and shovels, have the unenviable task of clearing the snow from around three company cars.

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Transportation Nation

A Reminder: Don't Die In A Flash Flood

Friday, October 01, 2010

(Washington, DC -- David Schultz, WAMU) Hurricane season is well underway, and that means a mega-rain storm can strike the East Coast or the Gulf Coast at any time. Just this week, D.C. and New York City were hammered by Tropical Storm Nicole.

Driving in the midst of one of these storms can be perilous to say the least. Earlier this week, I covered the aftermath of a flash flood in Northeast D.C. Several cars had gotten stuck in quickly rising water under an overpass. One woman said the water rose so fast, she couldn't get out of her car. She said the water rose up to her neck before she was rescued.

So, a reminder: take caution when driving during a storm. Never try to drive through standing water. Instead, obey the new highway safety catchphrase: turn around, don't drown.

IMAGE by Flickr user ChefMattRock (not of Washington D.C)

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