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natural disaster

Metro-North

Erratic weather patterns, and an increasing number of extreme weather events, are worrying public transit agencies like Metro-North. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on what climate change could mean for commuters.

Metro-North’s tracks on the New Haven line are already some of the oldest in the region. They cost $90 million a year just to maintain. So when extreme weather events like the near-tornadoes two weeks ago happen, it’s hard to avoid serious delays.

The Flood That We Forget

Oct 11, 2012

Connecticut had been clobbered in August by two successive hurricanes, Connie and Diane, and was still reeling from their impact. Over 80 people had been killed in the resulting flooding that some still consider the greatest natural disaster in the state’s recorded history. People forget that only two months later, Connecticut was hit again. Parts of the state that were spared the worst of the devastating August flood found themselves underwater and other parts, like Hartford, were flooded for a second time on October 15 and 16, 1955.

Pridatko Oleksandr (Wikimedia Commons)

Tropical Storm Irene, record snowfalls in 2011, and a freak snowstorm last October: even in a part of the country that has unpredictable weather, Connecticut has had its share of extreme weather in the last few years.

U.S. Army photo bt Sgt. Jerry Saslav, Massachusetts National Gua

We come to rely on our communities being a certain way. A disaster can change all that.

It can take the form of a tornado. That’s what happened one year ago in Joplin Missouri - a city that was nearly wiped out - with 160 of its residents killed.

p.Gordon (Flickr Creative Commons)

The brush fire that burned more than 50 acres in East Haddam's Devil's Hopyard State Park has been contained.

burnanenergyjournal.com

It’s been a year since the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands and set off a new conversation about nuclear power.

In his new documentary series called “Burn: An Energy Journal” - public radio pioneer Alex Chadwick is back with a report examining the future of nuclear power after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.  It premeires this weekend on WNPR and we’ll get a preview.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's been 10 days since the unusual Autumn Nor'easter rocked Connecticut with heavy snow and massive power outages, and Connecticut is still feeling the effects. Joining us by phone to talk about the recovery efforts is 1st District Congressman John Larson.

Tucker Ives

CL&P said they’d have power back on by Sunday night - but none of us - including Governor Malloy - were surprised when that didn’t happen. Now, Malloy is one of many state officials launching an investigation into the power company’s response. He’s hired former FEMA director James Lee Witt to oversee the investigation, which is due December 1.

The Courant’s Chris Keating still doesnt have power in Simsbury and we want to hear from you. How’s it looking in your town? We’ll have an update with Keating on power outages, lawsuits, investigations.

Chion Wolf

The Christian Science Monitor has this tale of the tape:

"Power outages in Connecticut hit 831,000 customers. As of Wednesday morning, power had been restored to about 284,000 of those customers – one-third of the peak."

In Massachusetts, 450,000 customers – almost two-thirds of the peak – had their power back Wednesday.

New Hampshire had 72 percent of outages fixed Wednesday.

What does all this mean? For the second straight major storm, Connecticut is the worst performing Northeast state at restoring power.

Chion Wolf

In the audio embedded here, you'll hear Wednesday afternoon interviews with Gov. Danel P. Malloy, energy and environment commissioner Dan Esty, a vice-president for CL&P, an electrical workers' union official, a key state legislator and a consultant on how utilities can change their infrastructure to make it more storm-resistant.

Eastern Turkey is still reeling from last Sunday's 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the hundreds of aftershocks since then. For Turkish Americans living in Connecticut it's been a tense time. Joining us by phone is the president of the Turkish Cultural Center of Connecticut, Nebi Demirsoy.

Photo provided by the US Chemical Safety Board.

It's been nineteen months since the Kleen energy power plant explosion in Middletown killed six and injured nearly 50 workers. Now, the National Fire Protection Association has issued recommendations to avoid such a disaster at other natural gas plants. Joining us is the President of the National Fire Protection Association, James Shannon.

Nancy Eve Cohen

About three weeks after Irene hit people in some areas of Vermont have been living without phone service, impassable roads and a scarred landscape.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports some Vermont residents are worn out physically and emotionally.

The Rock River in South Newfane flows through the back yard of Maureen Albert-Piascik. She says when Irene hit the river started to crest and she evacuated.

"it just went up so fast. The river was just so high the next thing I knew my house was surrounded by water." 

Flickr Creative Commons, Rhys Asplundh

So. Bought your generator yet? During the long power outage, everybody, it seemed, became a preparedness expert, if not an out and out survivalist. But it's a mentality you might find hard to hold on to. You have to buy food you're NOT going to eat right away.

Mike Licht, Flickr Creative Commons

One pitfall a leader must avoid involves becoming a Charlie Brown or David Copperfield character. A person to whom things happen as opposed to a person who makes things befall others. 

KOMU News / Flickr Creative Commons

Post Tropical Storm Irene, there are many communities still without water and power, but they have somewhere to go to get necessary supplies: Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The stadium parking lot has been transformed into a distribution site for food and water run by the Connecticut National Guard.

Flickr Creative Commons, Bert Kaufmann

There are two Connecticuts right now. One has power and one doesn't. Actually, there might be even more Connecticuts than that, because within the group that has no power there are factions believing that other people are more likely to get their power back first because of socioeconomic status.

Vermont Town Devastated By Irene Is Moving Forward

Aug 31, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

In Wilmington Vermont the town is picking up after  the devastating floods of Tropical Storm Irene.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Just outside of the village center the remains of an antique shop sit on the side of the road. Only the roof is left.

"It came all the way from around that corner about a quarter of a mile."

Steve Amidon and his crew from  Furlon Construction are taking the building apart.

“Oh this one’s pretty heavy! Just cleaning up the mess! That’s all we’ve been doing since the water went down.”

Lucy Nalpathanchil

Many expected Tropical Storm Irene to heavily damage Connecticut's coast, but the central part of the state also saw damage after rivers and streams flooded there. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports from Bristol where some residents had to be evacuated from their homes.

The Forestville neighborhood saw extensive flooding, it sits right above the Pequabuck River on the east side of Bristol.

A Darkened Connecticut

Aug 29, 2011
Horia Varlan (Flickr)

A day after Tropical Storm Irene knocked out power to half of Connecticut's residents, 700-thousand remain in the dark. More than 800 crews are beginning to repair the damage throughout the state. Joining us by phone is Connecticut Light and Power's spokesman, Mitch Gross.

Flickr Creative Commons, NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Last night, I saw "Wicked" at the Bushnell and was reminded of all the little subversive political jabs in a musical that has otherwise succeeded in cornering the attention of 12 year old girls.

Photo by Expert Infantry Courtesy of Flickr CC

A group of computer students at Trinity College have created a smartphone app to improve disaster relief management.  As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the project aims to help Haitians recovering from the 2010 earthquake.

Trinity is part of a collaboration between Wesleyan University and Connecticut College to create free software that benefits the common good. It's funded by the National Science Foundation.

Flickr Creative Commons, Monica's Dad

The famine in the Horn of Africa is getting worse by the day.

Somalia is suffering deeply from the 3 year drought with more than 3.5 million Somalis facing starvation.

An estimated 600,000 of the starving are children.

Disaster relief organization, AmeriCares - based in  Stamford, CT - recently shipped emergency aid to Somalia. Inside the shipment are enough medical supplies to care for roughly 15,000 people.

Springfield In Shambles After Tornado

Jun 3, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Tornadoes in New England aren’t common, especially ones that leave behind a lot of damage. But yesterday a series of twisters ripped through western Massachusetts, killing three people. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen  reports

Just before four in the afternoon yesterday, forty four year old Marisol Mendez was standing on her porch in the south end of Springfield when she saw a huge black cloud clamp down from above. Her first reaction? Capture it on her cell phone camera. But then she dashed inside into a closet. Her hand clutching the door knob fighting the wind:

Clean Up Crews Get To Work In Springfield

Jun 3, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown say they’ll advocate for federal assistance, after three tornadoes ripped through the state. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports

Clean up crews have been at work, collecting debris cutting up trees and assessing damage. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick says the state is doing everything to get people back on their feet.

“As devastating and as disruptive this we will get through it. But folks should know they’re not alone.”

A series of tornadoes ripped through the Springfield, Massachusetts area yesterday afternoon, tearing off roots, uprooting trees, scattering debris and leaving at least four dead.  We talked to WNPR's Nancy Cohen who was live at the scene. 

15- year old Fuko Chiba was visiting her family in Japan in March when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the island. She’s a ninth grade boarding student at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut.  Here’s her “This I Believe” essay about what happened.

Japan, One Week Later

Mar 18, 2011
Fox News Insider, Creative Commons

After a full week of pictures and words and statistics, it’s still hard to get a grip on the scope of the tragedy.  Thousands killed, with many thousands more missing.  Hundreds of thousands without water or shelter.  And, the specter of a nuclear meltdown that has taken the world’s attention away from the devastation of the original event.

Today, a week after the earthquake – we’ll look at Japan.  How it’s coping, and how people in Connecticut are helping.

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