Rare Tornadoes Tear Through Calif.; 1 Killed in Colorado, Wyoming Twisters

Friday, May 23, 2008
SOURCE: AP to Foxnews.com

It could be me but it seems like there have been more Tornadoes this year than in the past.  Between earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes they all have been more prevelent from year to year with this year beginning to seemingly set a record….flagranny2

SANTA ANA, Calif. —  A wild weather system lashed Southern California on Thursday with fierce thunderstorms that unleashed mudslides in wildfire-scarred canyons, spawned a tornado and dusted mountains and even low-lying communities with snow and hail.

The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for parts of Riverside County about 55 miles east of Los Angeles and area residents flooded TV stations with pictures and video of funnel clouds and at least one tornado on the ground.

Powerful wind or a funnel cloud toppled a tractor-trailer on a highway and freight cars on nearby railroad tracks, said Riverside County fire spokeswoman Jody Hageman. One person was rescued from the wrecked truck.

Click to view photos.

“It got real windy, the sky got real dark,” said James Smith, a manager at a fitness center at nearby March Air Reserve Base. He was not aware of any damage to the base.

Michael Ritter was scrambling to put away lawn furniture in his backyard in Riverside when he spotted a tornado and grabbed his camera.

“It looked like one of those dirt devils and then it got bigger. I’ve never seen anything remotely as big,” Ritter said. “We could hear the wind from a mile away and see the debris flying up. I thought, that’s the real thing.”

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6.0-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Nevada

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit northeast Nevada on Thursday, causing at least one building to crumble, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.The quake was reported about 6:16 a.m. local time near Elko, about 430 miles north of Las Vegas, according to wire reports. It was originally estimated at 6.3, but downsized later to 6.0.

“Definitely a lot of people felt this, and if they were sleeping, they were awoken,” said USGS geophysicist Carrieann Bedwell.

Elko County Undersheriff Rocky Gonzalez said there were reports of some damage to buildings. At least one building collapsed, he said, and a Flying J truck stop was evacuated because of a propane leak.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries, but a manager at a truck stop said the store was a wreck, with groceries and goods scattered. One woman was reportedly hurt when a cigarette rack fell on her.

“It was pretty bad,” said Jane Kelso, who answered the phone at a Motel 6 in Elko. “Everything in our whole building shook. “We have cracks in our walls.”

The earthquake had an epicenter of only 3.7 miles and struck in a sparsely populated area 11 miles southeast of Wells near the Nevada-Utah line.

It was felt across eastern Nevada, Utah and as far away as Southern California. There were reports of buildings swaying in downtown Salt Lake City, which is about 230 miles from Elko.

In Wendover, Utah, on the Nevada-Utah line, Tammy Wadsworth was ironing clothes when the quake hit.

“I kept thinking, ‘When is it going to quit?’ A couple pictures fell off the walls,” she said. “One of my grandkids ran outside. They didn’t know what else to do.

Threat of avalanche delays Mont. search

By MATT GOURAS, Associated Press Writer Tue Jan 15, 12:30 PM ET

Flathead County Sheriff, Mike Meehan, left, speaks with Patrol ...HELENA, Mont. – The threat of another avalanche delayed search-and-rescue efforts Tuesday at the site of a large snow slide that killed two backcountry skiers near the Whitefish Mountain Resort in northwestern Montana.

  (Picture 1 of 4 slide show)

Authorities still didn’t know if more skiers were caught in Sunday’s avalanche. Witnesses have said they saw two other people in the area of the slide, although authorities have not received any missing person reports.

A storm moved through the area early Tuesday, bringing high winds and heavy snow that could prompt another slide. Flathead County Sheriff Mike Meehan said the search will resume once authorities can determine the area is safe.

Rescuers have faced difficult terrain, including trees downed by tons of snow crashing down a mountain and miserable weather as they search. Some 100 rescuers on Monday used long poles to probe the snow every few inches to look for possible victims. Search dogs and a helicopter also assisted in the effort. [Full story]

Associated Press writers Len Iwanski and Katie Oyan in Helena contributed to this report.

California Wildfires – 3 Slide shows – most fires were a result of natural causes but sadly one was the result of arson

Thursday, October 25, 2oo7
Source nytimes.com 

They say pictures are worth a thousand words – here are 3 sets of slide shows that are awesome  from The New York Times web site.   No words are needed the pictures say it all.   The photographers did an incredible job on this assignment and deserve outstanding credit for their work.  It definitely was not an easy assignment to say the least.   Thanks to all who contributed and know that your work is greatly appreciated. 


A firefighter worked in Running Springs, Calif., on Tuesday as wildfires burned for a third day across Southern California.

Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press



One person was killed and four firefighters were seriously injured near San Diego, as wildfires feeding on the driest brush in years erupted across Southern California.

Photo: Reed Saxon/Associated Press



The Beaulieu family looks at a fire at the entrance of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images



Published: October 24, 2007

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 24 — Firefighters today began to assert control over wildfires that have burned through nearly 500,000 acres and displaced half a million residents over four days in Southern California.

While many fires continued to burn, especially east of San Diego, and officials warned that weather changes could reinvigorate waning flames, cooler temperatures and abating winds helped greatly reduce the threat.

Some fire officials were congratulating themselves on having avoided extensive loss of life, even setting dates for when the biggest fires might be brought under control.

But the second-guessing that comes with any natural disaster was already beginning. Questions were being raised about how the fire-fight has been coordinated, how resources have been deployed, and whether Southern California has gotten smarter after the 2003 fires that ripped the region and its psyche, or if it has just gotten lucky.

[San Diego County, the largest county in California without a fire department, relies on a hodgepodge of local departments that are almost all serving areas where populations are growing faster than their tax bases, and which are often low on funds among a constituency that is generally allergic to taxes.]

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More Rain Forecast for Texas, Oklahoma After Days of Flooding

Friday, June 29, 2007 

FORT WORTH, Texas —  Flood-weary residents of Texas and Oklahoma had no reprieve Friday as more rain fell in a region where two weeks of storms have swollen rivers and lakes beyond their limits. Thousands of people have been forced from their homes, though some residents were holding out, saying conditions are no worse than floods they’ve weathered before.A state of emergency was in place for all of Oklahoma on Friday, and flood watches and warnings were posted for river communities. A flood watch was in effect for 28 counties in Texas, where the storms have been blamed for at least 11 deaths.The chance of more rain Friday in the affected areas of Texas was more than 60 percent, said Jesse Moore, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth.“The storms are very efficient rain producers, and if you happen to be under one of them you can pick up 1 1/2 or 2 inches an hour,” Moore said. “Right now with the ground being saturated, it’s all run-off and that causes the flash flooding we’ve been seeing.

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