SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) – A string of artificial islands off the coast of New Jersey and New York could blunt the impact of storm surges that proved so deadly during Superstorm Sandy, according to a proposal vying for attention and funding as the region continues its recovery.
It’s a big proposal that would cost $10 billion to $12 billion. But it’s also the kind of innovative idea that federal officials requested as they consider how best to protect the heavily populated region from future storms.
“We’ve discussed this with the governor’s office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and they all look at me like, ‘Whoa! This is a big deal!” said Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. “Yes, it is a big deal. It can save lives and protect property.”
The “Blue Dunes” proposal is part of Rebuild By Design, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to come up with novel ways to protect against the next big storm. It is one of 10 projects that will be evaluated and voted on next week, but there’s no guarantee any of them will receive funding. Other ideas include building sea walls around cities, re-establishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt wave action and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves.
A magnitude-5.1 earthquake shook buildings, ruptured gas lines and caused other minor damage and injuries in Southern California late Friday.
The quake, centered 2 miles east of La Habra, Calif, was reported at 9:09 p.m. according to the United States Geological Survey. The shaking originated about 5 miles underground. The 5.1-magnitude quake was followed two minutes later by another 3.4 quake, officials said.
Reports of natural gas leaks began flooding in once the shaking stopped, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Ed Pickett. Firefighter assessed the leaks as minor, Pickett said, but a broken water pipe did flood a CVS Pharmacy.
A rockslide in Brea, Calif. in Orange County caused a car to overturn, causing only minor injuries, officials said. Southern California Edison officials reported about 2,000 customers were without power late Friday because of the earthquake. The earthquake also sent rocks tumbling off the 10 Freeway, creating a traffic hazard, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
OLYPHANT, PA — Coal heated up the Lackawanna and Wyoming valleys’ job market decades ago, and today it’s still making the region hot as no fewer than eight underground mine fires are burning from Carbondale to Newport Township.
The issue has not been taken seriously enough by the state Department of Environmental Protection, according to Rep. Kevin Haggerty, D-Dunmore, and officials in Olyphant, where one of the fires has been burning for nearly a decade.
During a public meeting Haggerty organized in Olyphant on Thursday, he said he has written a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett urging him to declare Luzerne and Lackawanna counties “disaster areas” so federal and state funding could be freed up to help extinguish the fires.
Three of those fires, all in Luzerne County, are designated as serious by the state Department of Environmental Protection, meaning occupied structures are less than 1,000 feet away. The other five are classified as moderate, meaning occupied structures are at least 1,000 feet away.
Some neighborhoods are already precariously close to sea level, as evidenced by projects that have committed more than a billion dollars to replenish Jersey beaches and protect them over several decades. Even climate-change skeptics acknowledge that sea levels have been slowly rising.
“It’s rare that you’ll find someone to say that sea level isn’t rising,” said Jon Miller, a professor of coastal engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. “That’s hard to refute.”
Heavy rain closed roads, jammed storm drains and pushed the Lackawanna River above flood stage Friday morning to the highest level it has reached since recording began at Scranton’s Parker Street Bridge in 2009.
AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines said parts of Northeast Pennsylvania saw 2 inches of rain on average over a period of six to eight hours. Rainfall was heaviest between 7 and 11 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Kines said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Ted Champsey said water near the Parker Street Bridge crested at 9.46 feet at 5 a.m. Friday. By 4 p.m., the river had fallen to 5 feet – below the flood stage of 6 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Editor’s note: Let me guess….another rental property.
POTTSTOWN — Police had to use pepper spray to break up an altercation after an alleged domestic disturbance escalated on Friday afternoon.
Around 1 p.m., borough police responded to a call for a domestic dispute in the 500 block of Chestnut Street but when police arrived, the situation moved into the street.
Pottstown Police Chief Richard Drumheller said a man at the residence hit the windshield of a car multiple times, possibly with a baseball bat, and kicked in the front door of the three-story home. The residents locked themselves in the basement.
CHELYABINSK, Russia – A small army of workers set to work Saturday to replace the estimated 200,000 square meters (50 acres) of windows shattered by the shock wave from a meteor that exploded over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region.
The astonishing Friday morning event blew out windows in more than 4,000 buildings in the region, mostly in the capital city of the same name and injured some 1,200 people, largely with cuts from the flying glass.
Forty of the injured remained hospitalized on Saturday, two of them in serious condition, the state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing the regional health ministry.
Regional governor Mikhail Yurevich on Saturday said that damage from the high-altitude explosion, estimated to have been as powerful as 20 Hiroshima bombs — is estimated at 1 billion rubles ($33 million). He promised to have all the broken windows replaced within a week.
After almost a week of ominous forecasts, the weather system born of a giant hurricane, a winter storm and an arctic air mass is upon us. And it’s not going anywhere fast.
Across the Lehigh Valley, residents and government officials worked through the weekend to protect lives and property as Hurricane Sandy morphed into a gargantuan storm that will affect every part of the Northeast.
Although Sandy, which remained a Category 1 hurricane, was not expected to make landfall on the New Jersey coast until late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the storm’s effects have been felt since Sunday evening. Ahead of Sandy’s landfall, every school district in the Lehigh Valley canceled Monday’s classes. Some colleges closed through Tuesday.
The worst of the weather will persist throughout the day Monday, with sustained winds from 35 to 45 mph and gusts up to 55 mph. That will bring down tree limbs and small trees causing power outages and property damage.