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Archive for August, 2011

Hurricane Irene leads to at least 26 deaths

Monday, August 29th, 2011

By The Associated Press

Hurricane Irene led to the deaths of at least 26 people in eight states:

CONNECTICUT:
– In Prospect, 89-year-old Charlotte Levine was killed early Sunday when a falling tree limb pulled power lines onto her house and started a fire.
– In Bristol, 46-year-old Shane Seaver died after he and another man went canoeing down a flooded street and the canoe capsized. Seaver’s body washed ashore late Sunday night in Plainville. The other man survived.

FLORIDA:
– In Volusia County, 55-year-old Frederick Fernandez died Saturday off New Smyrna Beach after he was tossed off his board by massive waves caused by Irene. The Orlando Sentinel reports the high school teacher had a large cut on his head, apparently from hitting the sea floor.
– In Flagler County, 55-year-old tourist James Palmer of New Jersey died Saturday in rough surf. Family members say they lost sight of him after he waded into the surf in North Florida. He was pulled to shore and his wife attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

MARYLAND:
– In Queen Anne’s County, Md., 85-year-old Anne Bell was killed when a tree knocked a chimney through the glass roof of the sunroom where she and her son were sitting. They’d gone out into the sunroom after the power went out in her Queenstown home. Bell was struck by debris, causing severe trauma.

NEW JERSEY
– Celena Sylvestri, 20, of Quinton, called her boyfriend and then 911 early Sunday seeking help getting out of her flooded car in Pilesgrove, police said. Her body was found eight hours later in the vehicle, which was about 150 feet off the road, police said.
– Ronald Dawkins, a 47-year-old postal worker, abandoned his vehicle when it became partly submerged in water early Sunday, Kearny police said. He then tried to wade through rising water, and witnesses said he stepped into a hidden drainage creek. His body was found about two hours later.

NEW YORK
– A man in his 50s was electrocuted in Spring Valley when he tried to help a child who had gone into a flooded street with downed wires. The child was in very serious condition at Westchester Medical Center’s burn unit, said a spokesman for the Rockland County Emergency Operations Center.
– State police said they recovered the body of a woman who apparently drowned after she fell into Onesquethaw Creek in New Scotland, near Albany.
– Police in Suffolk County say 68-year-old Joseph Rocco of East Islip drowned while windsurfing in Bellport Bay.
– Two men were swept down the Croton River on Sunday evening after their inflatable boat capsized, and one of them died after being pulled down river by heavy currents, Croton police said.

NORTH CAROLINA:
– In Nash County, a man was killed after a tree limb fell on him outside his home Saturday morning as outer bands from the storm brought near hurricane-force gusts inland.
– Goldsboro police say a 15-year-old girl died Saturday afternoon after the SUV carrying her and family members collided with another SUV at an intersection where Irene had knocked out power to traffic lights. She was one of four family members thrown from the vehicle; the family was returning to northern Virginia
from Myrtle Beach, SC.
– Authorities in Pitt County say a man was found dead in his home after Irene’s winds toppled a tree onto his house.
– Another man in Pitt County drove through standing water, went off a road and died after striking a tree on Saturday.
– A mother in Sampson County died Saturday morning when a tree fell on a car carrying her and two family members.
– New Hanover County deputies on Sunday afternoon recovered the body of Melton Robinson, Jr., who had been missing since falling or jumping into the Cape Fear River as storms from Irene reached North Carolina on Friday night.

PENNSYLVANIA
– Michael Scerarko, 44, was killed Sunday when a tree fell on him in his yard. Scerarko, of Stroudsburg, pushed his son out of the way, but could not get out of the way himself, police said.
– A 58-year-old Harrisburg man was killed Sunday morning when a tree toppled onto his tent, state police said. The man was one of about 20 people at a party on private property in East Hanover Township, Dauphin County, some of whom who decided to sleep outside.
– A man in a camper was crushed by a tree in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, state emergency management officials said. Police found his body shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday.
– A motorist was killed when he lost control of his car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Carbon County, skidded over an embankment and hit a tree. State officials attributed the accident to the storm.
– The body of 64-year-old Patricia O’Neill, of East Norriton, was discovered Sunday afternoon in the Wissahickon Creek, around a half mile from where her car was found in the flooded waterway. Whitemarsh Township police said her family reported her missing after she didn’t show up at work.

VIRGINIA:
– Newport News authorities report that 11-year-old Zahir Robinson was killed when a large tree crashed through his apartment shortly after noon.
– In Brunswick County, a tree fell across a car Saturday afternoon, killing 67-year-old James Blackwell of Brodnax. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
– Chesterfield County police say a man died at a Hopewell hospital Saturday after a tree fell on a house that he was in.
– A King William County man, 57-year-old William P. Washington, was killed when a tree fell on him as he was cutting another tree on Saturday night. Washington was trying to get home at the height of the storm when a fallen tree blocked his path on a road, about four miles from his home, and he and another motorist tried to
clear the way.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Chad Michael Murray comes home to ‘One Tree Hill’

Monday, August 29th, 2011

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As “One Tree Hill” approaches the end of its run, an original cast member prepares to return to the Wilmington-shot drama.

The CW announced Chad Michael Murray will make a guest appearance in his original role as Lucas Scott during the show’s final season, which will return mid-season. Murray’s character Lucas Scott was last seen driving off into the sunset with his wife Peyton (Hilarie Burton) and their new baby Sawyer. Lucas returns to Tree Hill after Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) reaches out to him for help.

Since then, the remaining cast has rarely referred to Lucas and Peyton, and what happened to them has never been made clear to viewers.

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Irene blows baby squirrels into the arms of seasoned caregivers

Monday, August 29th, 2011

On a porch off Carolina Beach Road, a pile of more than 30 baby squirrels snoozed or wriggled for space in a plastic box Monday morning, waiting for their turn to eat puppy formula from tiny syringes.Displaced by the winds of Hurricane Irene, the squirrels, some of them less than three or four weeks old, were brought to Mildred English over the weekend by people who found them knocked out of their nests throughout the area.

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Irene’s impact on waterways affects boaters, fisherman

Monday, August 29th, 2011

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Hurricane Irene’s had a big impact up the coast from here, but the Coast Guard says our area’s beaches were relatively unscathed.

“In terms of Brunswick County, New Hanover County and Pender County, I think fared pretty well,” Coast Guard Capt. Anthony Popiel said.

Popiel says Irene was kind to our area’s beaches, but still left a mark.

“We’ve noticed that there is a little rearrangement of the beach areas,” he said.

The Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers conducted surveys of area waterways, including the Cape Fear River and inlets.

“We’re still conducting assessments, but can bet some will be a little deeper and some will be a little shallower,” Popiel said.

Boaters and fishermen from Pleasure Island say the Carolina Beach Inlet has become even more of a problem after Irene.

“The inlet before the storm was in pretty bad shape. Now it’s a little bit worse than it was before the storm,” charter boat captain Robert Schoonmaker said. “We can still get in and out of it, but we have to work the tides, and it did fill in a little bit more.

Capt. Popiel says additional Coast Guard navigation boats from Florida and South Carolina will help with further assessments and get boat traffic moving again.

“We’ll start moving into some of the smaller inlets like Masonboro, Carolina Beach, New Topsail just to see what the (navigation) aides are like and water depths,” Popeil said.

The Coast Guard advises all boaters to watch out for debris that has washed into the ocean from the Intracoastal Waterway.

Popiel says the Coast Guard should know more about Irene’s affects to our area’s waterways in the next week. The Army Corp of Engineers says it will have survey results of beach erosion from Irene tomorrow.

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Progress Energy Monday evening Update

Monday, August 29th, 2011

FROM PROGRESS ENERGY: Major Progress Energy outages as of 4 p.m. Aug. 29

Total Progress Energy customers out in North Carolina – approximately 74,100

Peak customers out 280,000 – 2 p.m. Aug. 27

Counties with 4,000 or more customers out as of 4 p.m.

County / Customers

Wayne / 8,700

Craven / 13,800

Nash / 7,400

Onslow / 8,700

Lenoir / 8,300

Beaufort / 4,200

Pamlico / 4,200

Fewer than 4,000 outages in numerous other counties in coastal and eastern N.C.

Progress Energy expects to achieve 85% restoration today; 99% by Wednesday;

Crews using boats, tracked vehicles to access remote, flooded areas with damage

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2011 – 9 a.m.) – By midnight tonight, Progress Energy expects to complete restoration to 85 percent of the customers who were out of service at the peak of Hurricane Irene’s wind and rain Saturday afternoon. The company expects to have 96 percent of customers back in service by midnight Tuesday and 99 percent back in service by midnight Wednesday.

The company has restored service to more than 355,000 customers who lost power since Hurricane Irene began lashing the region with strong winds and torrential rains Friday afternoon. The highest number of outages at any one time was at 2 p.m. Saturday, with about 280,000 customers out as the storm churned on land.

By 9 a.m. today, about 94,900 customers remained without power, and an army of 1,200 line and tree workers and 1,000 support personnel – some from as far as Florida and Arkansas – is out in force, rebuilding power lines and other facilities.

Crews Sunday restored service to 17 high-voltage transmission lines, 28 electric substations and 18 points of delivery to wholesale customers, including municipally owned utilities and electric membership cooperatives in eastern North Carolina. Transmission crews expect to complete repairs to the backbone system today.

Damage assessment was impeded by Irene’s strong winds, which continued into Saturday night in coastal areas and the coastal plain. Restoration efforts have been hampered by severe flooding in many areas, and by the number of trees on power lines. In many remote and low-lying areas, crews have used helicopters, boats and tracked vehicles to assess and access damage.

The company’s estimate for complete restoration extends into Thursday for the areas with the most severe damage and flooding. Progress Energy focuses on getting the largest facilities back in service first. That allows for the largest number of customers to be returned to service the fastest.

In remote areas with extensive damage and flooding, crews often must spend several hours repairing many spans of line and poles to get one or two customers back in service.

Hurricane Irene made landfall Saturday morning near Morehead City as a strong category-1 storm. The storm pounded the area with strong winds and heavy rains for several hours before moving north. The storm also jogged to the west before its exit, bringing strong, sustained winds to the coastal plain, including the Goldsboro area, Nash County and the eastern Triangle. Due to the size and path of Hurricane Irene, Progress Energy crews were restoring service in parts of the Carolinas even as Irene was creating new damage.

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