The storm that whipped the Northeast over the weekend with six to 16 inches of snow has blown off to Canada, but more snow is on its way - maybe just enough to bring out some of that holiday spirit.
The flakes sweeping across the Midwest and Northeast on Monday and Tuesday aren't expected have the heft of the fast-moving storm that preceded them but are predicted to add a couple of inches to the wintry landscape.
A 2-year-old boy missing in Rhode Island has been found wandering the streets of Providence, according to Johnston Police Deputy Chief Daniel Parrillo.
Authorities had issued an Amber Alert for Isaih Perez on Sunday morning.
The toddler was taken to a hospital to be checked out, but he appeared to be in good health, Parrillo said.FULL STORY
They've been a couple for two years and are eager to raise two children together. But it wasn't until Thursday that Holli Bartelt and Amy Petrich were allowed to legally wed.
They wasted no time.
They made plans to tie the knot one minute after a law permitting gay marriage went into effect in their home state of Minnesota.
At 12 a.m. Thursday, Minnesota and Rhode Island officially became the latest among 13 states - and the District of Columbia - to allow same-sex marriage. Both states passed applicable laws in May.
The mammoth blizzard that buried the Northeast under feet of snow has drifted away, leaving millions on a path of hefty recovery.
At least nine deaths in three states and Canada are blamed on the snowstorm, which was spawned by two converging weather systems.
Residents from Pennsylvania to Maine are trying to dig out from as much as 3 feet of snowfall.
"There's just really no place to put the snow," Bostonian Allison Rice said, trying to shovel away what she could.FULL STORY
[Updated at 8:42 p.m. ET] Authorities are now saying at least nine people were killed in accidents related to the storm - five in Connecticut, according to the governor, two in Canada, one in New York and one in Massachusetts.
[Updated at 7:05 p.m. ET] The storm has apparently resulted in more deaths. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said in a news conference that "we believe there are now five fatalities" tied to the storm. At least six deaths had been reported earlier: two in Canada, two in Connecticut, one in Massachusetts, and one in New York. It isn't clear whether the two deaths reported earlier in Connecticut were among the five Malloy mentioned.
[Updated at 8:04 p.m. ET] Nearly 3,000 flights have now been canceled in anticipation of the inclement weather, most of which is expected late Friday into Saturday.
Amtrak also has canceled many trips in the Northeast corridor. The rail transit company said on its website that northbound service from New York's Penn Station would be suspended after 1 p.m Friday.
[Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET] Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy says utility companies there are bringing additional crews from out of state to deal with potential power outages. Metro-North rail lines could also be closed at any time should winds exceed 40 mph.FULL STORY
Flooding emerged as a major concern Sunday for states hit by Irene, which hit the East Coast as a hurricane and then a tropical storm over three days.
"Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in coming days as rivers swell past their banks," President Barack Obama said Sunday, adding: "The recovery effort will last for weeks or longer."
Officials said the storm had knocked out power to more than 4 million people and was responsible for at least 20 deaths.
[Update 11:11 p.m. Sunday] Emergency officials said at least 20 people across the United States have died as a result of Hurricane Irene .
[Update 11:09 p.m. Sunday] The body of woman who apparently drowned after either falling or being swept into a storm swollen creek was recovered Sunday near New Scotland, New York State Police said. The woman's body was pulled from Onesquethaw Creek about 4:30 p.m., police said. The identity of the woman was not immediately released, though police said that a New Scotland man reported his wife missing about noon. She was last seen near the creek.
[Update 11:08 p.m. Sunday] Irene ceased being a tropical storm late Sunday as it swirled near the U.S.-Canadian border, the National Hurricane Center reported. Despite losing its tropical characteristics, the storm continued to kick out sustained winds of 50 mph about 50 miles north of Berlin, New Hampshire.
[Update 8:41 p.m. Sunday] More details about flooding concerns in Vermont's capital, Montpelier: Jill Remick, from the state's emergency management division, said water in the area - where multiple rivers converge - could rise as high as 20 feet, above the 17.5 feet that led to substantial flooding in May in Montpelier.
See how other states are faring in this state-by-state list of Irene developments.
[Update 8:30 p.m. Sunday] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he erroneously reported that a firefighter died during an attempted water rescue in Princeton. He said he was provided erroneous information and apologized, saying the firefighter was in intensive care.
This lowers a count of U.S. deaths reported to be linked to Irene to at least 18 in seven states.
In the final week of August 1954, Hurricane Carol wheeled along the East Coast on a course closely matching the path projected for Hurricane Irene this weekend.
The storm touched the Outer Banks of North Carolina, then followed the contour of the coast, skipping across the eastern tip of Long Island and plowing into Connecticut.
Pushed by sustained winds of 80 to 100 mph and exacerbated by high tides, storm surges reached more than 14 feet in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to a National Weather Service archive.
The strongest wind ever recorded on Block Island, Rhode Island - 135 mph - occurred during that 1954 storm.
Entire communities were devastated in New London, Groton, and Mystic, Connecticut, as well as from Westerly to Narragansett, Rhode Island, according to HurricaneScience.org.
Yet the storm was compact in comparison to Irene. According to the historical reports, western areas in Connecticut and Massachusetts saw much lower winds and comparatively minor damage.
The hurricane lost strength as it streaked north through New Hampshire and into Canada.
Carol killed at least 65 people and destroyed nearly 4,000 homes, about 3,500 vehicles and more than 3,000 boats, according to the weather service.
Hurricanes Edna and Hazel also struck the East Coast, but Florida and the Gulf Coast were generally spared in that unusual year, according to HurricaneScience.org.
Hurricane Irene will parallel the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts Friday as it approaches a Saturday landfall in North Carolina.
Officials in counties and cities along much of the East Coast ordered evacuations.
Follow the latest developments here, or read the full CNN Wire story:
[Updated 11:00 p.m.] New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said cats and dogs would be welcome at the emergency shelters set up for people fleeing the storm.
“If you have your pet bring them with you. … No one should be staying in their homes in an endangered area because they feel like they can't bring their pets with them," Christie said.
Mark Lavorgna, a mayoral spokesman, confirmed that pets are allowed in the 91 emergency evacuation shelters set up in preparation for Hurricane Irene. But “we strongly, strongly argue against it,” he said. “We urge people to bring their pets to friends or familiy’s houses or shelters outside Zone A, but if people need to bring them they can,” said Lavorgna. “They should come leashed and muzzled.”
[Updated 10:36 p.m.] North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue told CNN's Anderson Cooper that the state was prepared but cautious. "We urge people to just be really aware. It doesn't sound like a huge storm right now - 50 mile-an-hour winds - but we think it's going to stay over our state 10 or 12 hours and that's where the problem becomes," she said.
Perdue then referenced reports of a bowl-shaped part of the low-lying coastline that is especially vulnerable to high waters.
"That bowl that you were talking about earlier full of water, it's going to dump somewhere, and when it dumps there's going to be a surge of water and who knows what'll happen," Perdue said.
[Updated 10:23 p.m.] The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will be closed Saturday through Monday because of Hurricane Irene, according to Jane Ahern, public affairs chief of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
All units of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Governor’s Island and all National Park sites in Manhattan will be closed to visitors Saturday and Sunday, with a chance of opening Monday depending on storm damage and a safety assessment.
“The safety of our visitors and employees is our top priority at this time,” said National Parks of New York Harbor Commissioner Maria Burkes. “Our park employees are currently working diligently to protect park resources per our Emergency Response Plans.”
[Updated 10:05 p.m.] Russell Honoré, the general famous for his management of the federal government's military response to Hurricane Katrina, told CNN's Piers Morgan Friday night that local authorities were right in calling for mass evacuations in low-lying areas along the Eastern Seaboard.
“I think we have had a cultural shift in government because, working with hurricanes for about the last 10 to 12 years while I was in uniform, local governments and governors were reluctant to make that decision to evacuate because of the impact [of what would happen] if they evacuated people and the storm didn’t come," he said. "But the options of not evacuating people, with the warnings that we have now and the accuracy of prediction, (it) needs to be done,” Honoré said.
[Updated 9:53 p.m.] Maryland's Martin O'Malley was one of several East Coast governors to declare a state of emergency in advance of the storm. Residents of low-lying areas in the state were told to evacuate ahead of what the governor called "a very dangerous and potentially deadly hurricane."
The governor said Friday that "anybody that thinks that this is a normal hurricane and that they can just stick it out is being both selfish, stupid and also diverting essential public safety assets away from the task at hand, which is safeguarding lives and getting people out of the way."
[Updated 9:40 p.m.] The Port Authority has announced the closing of five airports - JFK International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Teterboro and Stewart International - to all arriving passenger flights, international and domestic, starting at noon Saturday.
[Updated 9:15 p.m.] Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday night, stressing the strength and size of the storm heading toward the Northeast.
“For some folks this will be the most significant event perhaps in 20 years from a tropical system,” Rappaport said.
He said unlike typical storms that follow a similar trajectory and curve move toward the sea, Irene"s forecast track comes very close to the shore.
"That means all the weather that's usually, in this case, worst to the east will be much closer to the metropolitan areas this time around," Rappaport said, "and in fact will definitely hit the southern New England area and since there are strong winds, high surge right near the center of the storm, we'll see some of that along the East Coast as well."
[Updated 8:53 p.m.] “The core of the hurricane” was barreling toward the North Carolina coast Friday night, the National Weather Service said in a bulletin. “The hurricane is forecast to move near or over the Mid-Atlantic Coast Saturday night and move over southern New England on Sunday.”
The weather service said maximum sustained winds would remain near 100 mph - a category two hurricane - and wouldn’t weaken until some time Sunday.
“Interests in southeastern Canada should monitor the progress of Irene,” the weather service said.
[Updated 8:38 p.m.] The Giants-Jets game, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until Monday, the NFL said in a press release.
"Along with the NFL office and the Jets, we have closely monitored the hurricane and the forecast and its potential impact on our area for the past several days," said Giants President and CEO John Mara. "After conferring with (New Jersey) Governor (Chris) Christie, (Jets owner) Woody Johnson and (NFL) Commissioner (Roger) Goodell, we have determined the best course of action for the safety and well being of all is to move the game to Monday night."
[Updated 6:33 p.m.] With public transportation halted due to the incoming storm, all Broadway performances on Saturday and Sunday have been canceled, according to Paul Libin, chairman of the Broadway League.
“The safety and security of theatregoers and employees is everyone's primary concern,” Libin said. “As a result of the suspension of public transportation by government authorities in preparation of Hurricane Irene, all performances will be cancelled on Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th.”
CNN on the ground: 'Good Night, Irene' and 'Go Away, Irene'
[Updated 6:08 p.m.] The mayor of Annapolis, Maryland, declared an emergency and announced that more police officers will be on patrol in the city.
Police Chief Michael Pristoop warned residents to take police orders seriously. “Everyone needs to be prepared for the worst," he said. "I encourage everyone to evacuate the low-lying areas of Annapolis before Saturday afternoon. Make sure you secure your homes and belongings. Once we begin to feel the affects of the hurricane, everyone should stay off the streets as wires and trees may come down. Don't put yourself in harm's way and don't put our emergency personnel in a position that could have been avoided."
[Updated 5:47 p.m.] President Barack Obama has declared an emergency in New York as the state and surrounding region brace for Hurricane Irene’s impact.
Obama’s order mobilizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and means federal aid will be used to buoy state and local relief efforts in preparation for the storm.
[Updated at 5:00 p.m.] A hurricane warning has been issued from north of Sandy Hook to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts, including New York, Long Island, Long Island Sound, coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
[Updated at 4:34 p.m.] Greyhound said it has delayed or canceled several East Coast routes in preparation for the storm.
Some routes originating in New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina, have been either pushed back or canceled, the company said on its website.
[Updated at 4:15 p.m.] The Red Cross plans to open shelters and dispatch more than 200 mobile feeding vehicles to the East Coast to aid people in the storm's path, the organization said on its website.
"The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast," Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, said in a statement on the site. "We want everyone in the storm's path to get ready as well by getting a disaster kit, making a family emergency plan, and listening to local officials regarding evacuations."
[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said his city, which is under hurricane warning, will not order evacuations but urged residents, especially those in flood-prone areas, to use common sense and evacuate if necessary.
Significant localized flooding is expected, he said, as are power outages that could last for several hours or even days. He said the city will open three shelters Saturday evening with a maximum capacity to accommodate 6,000 people.
[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] The first family will accompany President Barack Obama when he departs Martha's Vineyard to return to Washington on Friday evening, a White House spokesman said.
[Updated at 2:21 p.m.] American Airlines has tentatively canceled all flights in the Washington area from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, said spokesman Ed Martelle. The airline has also canceled all flights at Raleigh-Durham International Airport scheduled for Saturday.
JetBlue has canceled almost 900 flights in the Northeast ahead of the storm. Most of those are Sunday and Monday flights out of the New York metro area and Boston, said spokesman Mateo Lleras.
[Updated at 2:10 p.m.] Hurricane Irene's winds have dropped to 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
As of 2 p.m., the service reported, the hurricane was about 300 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving north at 14 mph.
[Updated at 2:01 p.m.] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said low-lying sections of the city, mostly along the city's waterfront, are under mandatory evacuation orders. The mandatory evacuations, which affect all five boroughs, are the first in New York's history, he said.
[Updated at 1:50 p.m.] Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said 30 agencies are coordinating ahead of Hurricane Irene’s weekend arrival. The state is taking several precautions, he said, including drawing down state reservoirs to provide additional capacity in the event of torrential rains.
Residents should make certain they have supplies and enough food, water, batteries and necessary medications to last for a couple of days.
The worst of the storm is expected Saturday night into Sunday, Patrick said, and downed trees and power lines are expected. He urged residents to stay off the roads. If travel is a must, try to complete it Friday before the storm arrives, he said.
As for air travel, the governor said, as of now, Logan International Airport will remain open, but there will “undoubtedly” be service interruptions.
Patrick said he was aware that this is one of the last summer weekends and said boaters and swimmers should be cautious about riptides and strong currents.
In a move largely seen as a compromise over the rights that can be afforded to gay and lesbian couples, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Saturday signed into law a bill that legalizes civil unions, making his state the fifth in the nation to allow them.
The bill - which was signed just over a week after New York legalized same-sex marriage - will take effect later Saturday, according to the governor's spokesman Christian Vareika.
The law will provide same-sex couples with a host of new state tax breaks, health-care benefits and greater ease of inheritance.
Such unions are currently permitted in New Jersey and Illinois, and will be allowed in Delaware and Hawaii beginning January 1, 2012. California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada also allow for "comprehensive domestic partnerships," largely considered an equivalent to their civil union counterparts.FULL STORY
Less than a week after New York became the nation's sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, Rhode Island state lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that permits civil unions between gay and lesbian couples.
The measure, which passed the state Senate by a count of 21-16, is widely seen as a compromise intended to provide same-same couples with added rights and benefits, while also preventing an expanded legal definition of marriage.
The legislation, which passed overwhelmingly in the state's lower house on May 19, affords same-sex couples a host of new state tax breaks, health-care benefits and greater ease of inheritance.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, is expected to sign the bill into law, according to his spokesman, Michael Trainor. If signed, the law would take effect on July 1, making Rhode Island the fifth state in the country to allow civil unions between same-sex couples.FULL STORY
What do you do with one of the world's most endangered insects? Throw it in a hole with a dead animal, of course.
That's exactly what about 35 scientists, foresters and volunteers did this week with 150 pairs of American burying beetles in Ohio's Wayne National Forest, said Bob Merz, director of the Center for American Burying Beetle Conservation at the St. Louis Zoo.
A powerful storm Sunday and Monday dropped more than 2 feet of snow in parts of upstate New York and northern New England - and heavy rain and freezing rain in other parts of the U.S. Northeast - cutting power to thousands and challenging motorists.
Thirty inches of snow was recorded in Jericho, Vermont, and New York’s Saranac Lake received 29 inches, according to CNN affiliate WPTZ. The roughly 24 inches of snow that fell in South Burlington, Vermont, is the fifth-largest amount from one storm recorded there, according to WPTZ and CNN affiliate WCAX.
Nearly all flights to and from Burlington’s airport were grounded on Monday, more than 10,000 Vermont utility customers were without power and many roads across the state were impassable, WCAX reported.
Forecasts show a strong snowstorm may hit major metropolitan areas in the eastern United States on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, and snow and mixed precipitation also could complicate travel in parts of the South.
Winter storm watches are in effect for southern New England (including the Boston area), all of the New York city area, and the Philadelphia and Washington areas.
Winter storm watches for Wednesday/Thursday weather also were in effect for parts of western Virginia, eastern West Virginia and Kentucky. Further south, a winter storm watch was in effect for western North Carolina, and winter storm warnings have been issued for much of Tennessee and parts of northern Mississippi and northern Alabama.
In the New York City area, 4 to 8 inches of snow will be possible Wednesday night into Thursday morning, with isolated amounts of 10 inches or more in some locations, CNN Meteorologist Sean Morris said.
The company that owned a barge that spilled 98,000 gallons of oil into a Massachusetts waterway has agreed to a $6 million civil settlement with the government.
Bouchard Transportation Co. will pay the U.S. Justice Department, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for its role in the spill in April 2003, the Justice Department announced.
A barge carrying No. 6 fuel oil from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a power plant in Sandwich, Massachusetts, ran aground in Massachusetts' Buzzards Bay, rupturing the hull and spilling the oil, the Justice announcement said. FULL POST