Weather woes keep thousands powerless in Ontario

TORONTO – More than 36,000 homes in Ontario remained without power Monday following a bout with snow and high winds over the weekend.

Hydro One crews, however, had restored service to about 120,000 residences since late Saturday night.

About 20,000 customers in Penetanguishene and Bracebridge remained without power on Monday morning, while some areas of Barrie, Orillia, Huntsville and Minden are also in the dark.

Poor weather in some areas continues to wreak havoc as repair crews try to restore the lines.

Crews are reporting numerous downed poles and trees that have fallen onto power lines.

Hydro One said in a news release that some of the more remote areas may be without power until later this week.

As much as 15 cm of snow to blanket Ottawa

Ontario’s first winter storm of the season is expected to slam into the nation’s capital Tuesday, blanketing Ottawa with about 15 centimetres of the white stuff, Environment Canada is warning.

Residents in western Quebec and eastern Ontario can expect to see heavy rain become thick white snow beginning Tuesday evening.

“Expect the change sometime around 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening,” said CTV Ottawa meteorologist J.J. Clarke.

By the time residents wake up on Wednesday, a blanket of snow will cover the ground in the regions between Ottawa, Renfrew and Algonquin.

Areas under a winter storm watch include: Prescott, Russell, Cornwall, Lancaster, Maxville, Alexandria, Plevna, Sharbot Lake, western Lanark County, Renfrew, Pembroke and Barry’s Bay.

The storm system, which is intensifying over the eastern U.S. seaboard, will bring with it northwesterly winds gusting up to 70 km/h, causing whiteout conditions and dangerously low visibility for drivers.

The fall storm will hit as many bright coloured leaves still hang on Ottawa trees. Large amounts of packed wet snow may bring down tree trees limbs and power lines, warned Environment Canada.

Last year, the first major snowfall hit the area on November 16. The winter of 2007-08 was one of snowiest in recent memory, with snowfall levels approaching the 1970-71 record of 441.1 centimetres.

Sidewalks and front porches should be all clear for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night as sunny sky and warm temperatures are forecast for the region on Thursday and Friday.

Ike death toll increases as two bodies found along shore

The death toll from Hurricane Ike reached to at least 31 over the weekend, with the discovery of two unidentified bodies that were found along the Galveston County shore.

“The more people that are out and about going places, the more likely they are to find folks,” said D.J. Florence, chief investigator at the Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Both remains are greatly decomposed, but authorities are hoping to find more clues to their identity during autopsies scheduled for today.

Since the storm, more than 530 people have been reported missing, with more than 400 of the cases still unresolved.

As for the latest bodies, the first, believed to be a Caucasian male, was discovered on the rocks Saturday at about 3:15 p.m. by a fisherman two miles west of an area known as Severs Cut.

Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens recovered the body.

The other, believed to be a Caucasian female, was spotted about three hours later in a debris pile by all-terrrain vehicle riders roaming among the flats on the northwest side of Pelican Island, about 300 yards from Pelican Cut.

The ATV riders called Galveston Police.

Hurricane Kyle races north toward Nova Scotia

EASTPORT, Maine – Heavy rain drenched Maine on Sunday as Hurricane Kyle plowed northward across the Atlantic, triggering the state’s first hurricane watch in 17 years.

Kyle could make landfall in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick sometime during the night or early Monday, according the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

A hurricane watch was posted along the coast of Maine from Stonington, at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, to Eastport on the Canadian border, and for southwestern Nova Scotia, the center said. Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Port Clyde, near Rockland, to the coasts of southern New Brunswick and southwest Nova Scotia.

“Since Saturday, it has picked up in intensity, but it has also stabilized,” said Joseph Hewitt, a Maine-based senior forecaster for the National Weather Service.

Canadians used to rough weather
There were no immediate plans for evacuations in Maine.

Near the Canadian border, residents along the rugged coast are accustomed to rough weather, but more often that comes in snowstorms rather than tropical systems, said Washington County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Hineman.

“Down East we get storms with 50 to 60 mph winds every winter. Those storms can become ferocious,” he said. Down East is the rugged, sparsely populated area from about Bar Harbor to the Canadian border.

Many lobstermen moved their boats to sheltered coves to ride out the storm, said Dwight Carver, a lobsterman on Beals Island. Some also moved lobster traps from shallow water, but most were caught off-guard by the storm’s short notice.

“I’m sure we’ll have a lot of snarls, a lot of mess, to take care of when it’s done,” Carver said. “It’ll take us a few days to straighten things out.”

Heavy rain lashed the state Sunday for a third straight day. As much as 5.5 inches had already fallen along coastal areas. Flood watches were in effect for the southern two-thirds of New Hampshire and southern Maine through Sunday evening.

Authorities expect wind gusts in Maine to reach up to 60 mph and waves up to 20 feet, said Robert McAleer, Maine Emergency Management Agency director. He said coastal and small stream flooding could be a problem.

Evacuations urged for ill, sick
Residents of coastal islands were advised to evacuate if they depend on electricity for medical reasons, because ferry service was expected to be shut down Sunday, McAleer said. Power failures also were likely over the north coastal region of the state, he said.

Maine hasn’t had a hurricane, or even a hurricane watch, since Bob was downgraded as it moved into the state in 1991. For the rest of New England, the last time a hurricane warning was posted was September 1996, for Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, the weather service said.

At 8 a.m. EDT Sunday, Kyle was centered about 165 miles south-southeast of Nantucket, or about 440 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the National Hurricane Center said.

It was moving toward the north-northeast at roughly 24 mph and expected to continue that track for the next day or so.

Kyle’s maximum sustained wind speed had strengthened to nearly 80 mph, with hurricane-force wind of at least 74 mph extending up to 200 miles out from the center.

However, it was expected to weaken during the day Sunday as it moved over colder water, the hurricane center said.

Hurricane Bob caused problems in southern New England but lost steam as it headed northward into Maine.

The deadliest storm to hit the region was in 1938 when a hurricane killed 700 people and destroyed 63,000 homes on New York’s Long Island and throughout New England. Other hurricanes that have hit Maine were Carol and Edna in 1954, Donna in 1960 and Gloria in 1985.

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions, with wind of at least 74 mph, are possible within 36 hours. A tropical storm warning means conditions for that type of storm, with wind of 39 to 73 mph, are expected within the next 24 hours.

Tropical Storm Kyle forms in Atlantic

MIAMI, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Kyle, the 11th of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed on Thursday from a weather system that pounded Puerto Rico and other northern Caribbean islands for days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Kyle finally gained tropical storm strength, with sustained winds 45 mph (72 kph), as it moved through the Atlantic Ocean east of the Bahamas, on a path that could take it to a landfall in Maine or Canada’s maritime provinces as a minimal Category 1 hurricane.

The storm was located about 645 miles (1,038 km) south-southwest of Bermuda and was moving to the north at about 8 mph (13 kph), the Miami-based hurricane center said.

The system drenched Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hispaniola for days before moving north into the Atlantic.

Authorities in Puerto Rico said at least four people were killed and scores of homes were flooded.

Forecasters warned people in Bermuda to closely monitor the progress of the storm. Computer models indicated it could reach hurricane strength within a couple of days.

It was the first tropical storm to form in the Atlantic-Caribbean region since Tropical Storm Josephine on Sept. 2, a lengthy lull in what has been a busy and destructive hurricane season so far.

As many as 700 people were killed in impoverished Haiti when four storms, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, hit the island of Hispaniola in a month.

Gustav and Ike forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and disrupted oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico before slamming ashore in Louisiana and Texas respectively.

Forecasters had predicted the six-month season, which runs through Nov. 30, could produce up to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes.

Long-range forecasts indicated that Kyle would likely move north through the Atlantic well to the west of Bermuda and approach the U.S. state of Maine and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step hurricane intensity scale, with winds around 75 mph (120 kph), by Sunday.

Forecasters were also watching a weather system near the North Carolina-South Carolina border that could develop into a cyclone. They said the storm was producing flooding, a heavy surf and strong rip current along parts of the U.S. east coast. (Reporting by Jim Loney, editing by Xavier Briand)

Martial law may be declared in Texas


Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough said today that the holdouts on Bolivar Peninsula will be required to leave in the next few days. Officials are prepared to impose martial law if needed to empty the barrier island scraped clean by Ike.

You CANNOT depend on the government to help you…

The major news outlets have NOT been reporting the catastrophe in Texas as much as they should be.

FEMA has, once again, failed.


Prepare for yourself and your family in the event of a disaster. Here is a good prep list for you to check out:

As long as it is election time, people won’t realize what is going on through conventional media.

300 National Guardsmen out of food and water in Houston

HOUSTON – Hundreds of first responders at two staging areas in Texas for Hurricane Ike have run out of food and water.

Congressman John Culberson said Sunday that 300 National Guardsmen, state troopers and other emergency workers are going hungry at a high-school football stadium — and at another staging area on Houston’s west side.

Culberson blamed FEMA for the gaffe and says he tried to contact Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who is touring flood-stricken areas of Texas.

Culberson says several buses full of gas are sitting idle at the stadium while crews await instructions. He called on area residents to take food and water to the crews at the stadium — despite official warnings for people to stay off Houston roads.

Galveston officials begin to restrict media access

GALVESTON — Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas on Monday ordered all city employees not to talk to news reporters. She did not say when that order would be lifted.

Thomas and City Manager Steve LeBlanc will be the only officials allowed to talk to reporters.

City spokeswoman Mary Jo Naschke vehemently denied the city was trying to clamp down on news coverage.

She said emergency personnel and city employees were too busy to talk to reporters. Naschke also said the city had been accommodating news reporters by allowing them access to the island when others weren’t allowed, giving them escorted rides to damaged areas and allowing them to move about outside during a curfew.

But at a noon press conference on Monday, Thomas and LeBlanc talked for less than 30 minutes and refused to answer any more than five questions. Thomas said she would try to hold another press conference Tuesday.

Daily News reporters who tried to speak to city employees at rescue sites were denied information and told no one was authorized to talk to them except for the mayor and city manager.

“It’s the worst thing the city could do. Those who will suffer most are evacuees,” Publisher Dolph Tillotson said in statement via text message from the island. “The media will have to turn to other sources that might be less reliable. I can’t imagine a dumber move under these extreme circumstances.”

Before the press conference started Monday, LeBlanc asked reporters whether he could go off the record. Some television crews agreed and turned their cameras off. LeBlanc then asked news crews to urge their bosses and managers to show more coverage of the island on television because evacuees didn’t care about what was happening in Houston.

All reporters who were staying at the city’s emergency operations center, stationed at the San Luis Hotel, were asked to leave Monday. San Luis hotel owner Tilman Fertitta was housing reporters at the nearby Hilton Hotel, which he also owns.

Reporters would be allowed on the island, but only if they had proper identification, Thomas said. She didn’t clarify what that meant.

Reporters were also forbidden from visiting areas on the far West End of FM 3005, Thomas said. She did not explain why.