Editor's Note: ¬†The danger cannot be overstated. Hurricane Sandy has already claimed at least 67 lives - including 51 in Haiti. In the United States, schools are closed, businesses shuttered and mass transit suspended. Residents are being told to hunker down - and wait¬†. ¬†Here is the full story.
Here are the latest developments:
[Update 4:49 a.m. ET]¬†Anna Kate Twitty, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, was just on CNN and said the organization has multiple shelters across seven states where evacuees can find "a safe place, a warm meal and emotional support." To find a shelter, go to redcross.org, call 1-800-Red-Cross or download the free Red Cross hurricane app for iphone and android users. FULL POST
Flooding in Cameroon's Far North Region has killed nearly 30 people and affected more than 26,000 others, officials said Monday.
More than 4,000 people in the Logone and Shari division were displaced, and more than 22,000 people in the region of Maga, Mayo-Danay division, also have been affected.
Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary described the flooding as "a calamity," and he called for urgent action to save lives, livestock and property. Dana FM, a local radio station, said the death toll will grow as bodies are collected and identified. For the past few weeks, there has been no sign of the flood easing.
The floodwaters have submerged areas like Benoue, Faro, Louti and Mayo. Homes, crops and barns have been destroyed and herds of livestock killed. Heavy rainfall that has lasted nearly a month has fractured the Lagdo Dam, causing the Benoe River to flood nearby villages.FULL STORY
[Updated 4:15 a.m. Friday] Isaac, now a tropical depression is working its way up the Mississippi River Valley, bringing heavy rain and the threat of flash floods to the area. A tornado watch remains in effect for much of Mississippi. Parts of Arkansas and Mississippi are under flash flood watches and warnings, according to the National Weather Service.
[Updated 10:35 p.m. ET] And finally ...
Art Faulkner (@artfAEMA) August 31, 2012
[Updated 10:21 p.m. ET] The folks who catch the shrimp we enjoy on our tables are a tough lot, a breed apart. Not a few of them rode out Isaac on their boats.
[Updated 10:09 p.m. ET] Electric utility Entergy says it will bring its Waterford 3 nuclear plant back online over the coming days. The plant, 25 miles from New Orleans, was shut down Tuesday as a precaution as Tropical Storm Isaac approached. About 41 percent of all homes in Entergy's Louisiana service area were without power as of late afternoon.
[Update 10:01 p.m. ET] Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport received its first post-Isaac incoming flight this evening, from Aspen, Colorado, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office says.
[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] The Salvation Army says it has provided more than 8,000 meals, 7,000 drinks, 6,000 snacks, and emotional and spiritual care to nearly 600 individuals along the Gulf Coast during the storm period.
[Updated 9:44 p.m. ET] New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted a message of support for the folks back home while the Saints prepared for a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville:
We are about to take the field in Tennessee, but our hearts are with New Orleans and its residents. May God watch over us all—
Drew Brees (@drewbrees) August 30, 2012
[Updated 8:39 p.m.] Storm surge and high winds pushed several pleasure boats out of Mississippi's Pass Christian Harbor, leaving vessels high and dry on streets and in parking lots, CNN affiliate WLOX reports.
"I'd say in one word, it's a mess," Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott told WLOX. "We had 215 boats in the harbor, and all but six or seven got out. As you can see, three are in the road, and that is a big problem."
Boat owners were under orders to remove their vessels from the harbor before the storm struck. McDermott wants to have a word with those who didn't.
"I'm personally taking it upon myself to talk with these boat owners," he said. "I'm personally doing it."
Refresh this page for the latest updates or read the full CNN story here.
[Updated 10:28 p.m. ET]
[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] Water that overtopped levees was trapped in Plaquemines Parish with nowhere to drain. Officials were considering intentionally breaching a levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
Parish President Billy Nungesser said parish officials will go out at low tide to check the back levee - a second line of defense - at the town of Braithwaite and determine where to punch holes in it. It will be Saturday, at the earliest, before crews can cut the levee open, letting water flow out into the marsh.
[Updated 10 p.m. ET]
[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET]¬† New Orleans officials said there had been 12 incidents of looting. Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn't specify how many people were involved.
[Updated 9:48 p.m. ET] Lake Pontchartrain's water levels are "beginning to stabilize," St. Tammany Parish officials said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Water had spilled out from the lake and flooded low-lying areas of the parish.
Rescues continue in areas around the vast Louisiana lake, including Lewisburg, Guste Island, Lacombe and Slidell, the newspaper's website reported.
[Updated 9:29 p.m. ET] Joey Amann gathered family and friends into his home in Hancock County, Mississippi, to ride out the storm, he told CNN affiliate WALA.
"You know, we just figured we'd be safer in numbers. Since our house is eight feet off the ground, we figured we'd be safer there but the water just kept coming," Amann said.
"It was scary. I mean, I've never seen the water raise this fast on this road and I've been here all my life. It just came out of nowhere."
The group ended up being rescued by emergency personnel in boats.
Amann told the station he lost his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"Thirty-six years I've lived here, and it's just devastating," he said. "Seven years ago, we were going through the same thing. No one thought it would be this bad, but it's worse than we anticipated."
Dozens of people have died in Pakistan and India's northern Rajasthan state amid flash floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains, officials said Thursday.
At least 21 deaths are confirmed in Pakistan, said Maj. Iftikhar Ahmed Taj of the National Disaster Management Authority.
Hundreds of homes have been damaged in the flooding, which has hit parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, he said.
Rescue workers are seeking to deal with a major landslide in the Kashmiri city of Muzaffarabad, according to the disaster agency.
Roads are blocked, some 390 houses have been damaged and an unknown number of people are dead and injured, the agency said. Some families trapped by the landslide have been given emergency food and water supplies.
Elsewhere in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, seven people were killed in Bagh by a flash flood and a landslide, while more than 100 houses were damaged in Koti, the disaster agency said.
More rainfall is on the way in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, some isolated places in northeast Balochistan, and the country's capital, Islamabad, according to the agency.
Clean-up also was under way Thursday in neighboring India, where heavy rain in Rajasthan left 20 dead, the Rajasthan state department told CNN. Ten died in the capital, Jaipur, it said.FULL STORY
Flash flooding in Duluth, Minnesota, has forced residents to evacuate, left homes underwater, destroyed roads and even led to the drownings of at least eight animals at a zoo.
Between 5 and 9 inches of rain fell between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, sending what looked like raging rivers through Duluth's streets, according to the National Weather Service. Another 2 or 3 inches of rain was still likely to fall.
Duluth residents, who are more used to having snow dumped on them rather than flash floods, said the damage was worse than anything they had ever seen.
"This flooding has been crazy. We have not experienced anything like this in our community," iReporter Kayla Keigley, who said she works as a health care preparedness coordinator, told CNN. "Roads are destroyed. Neighborhoods are underwater. I am in shock and I work in the field of preparedness - this is something I work to 'deal with' daily. Our community is in disbelief."
Workers at the Lake Superior Zoo were in disbelief, too, when they learned at least eight animals drowned there. The toll might still rise, because the workers hadn't yet been able to check all enclosures.
"Sadly the zoo experienced the loss of several animals, among them many of the barnyard residents,"¬†Susan Wolniakowski, the zoo's director of guest services, said in a news release. "Due to flooding, the zoo‚Äôs polar bear Berlin was able to exit her exhibit. She was darted by the zoo‚Äôs vet and is safe in quarantine. At no time did any dangerous animal leave the perimeter fence."
The zoo said the staff still was assessing the situation.
‚ÄúObviously, our entire staff is devastated,‚ÄĚ¬†¬†the zoo‚Äôs director of animal management, Peter Pruett, said.
Tombstone, Arizona (CNN) ‚Äď Under an unforgiving desert sun, about 60¬†determined souls gathered in a high school football field under the banner¬†of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade. They collected shovels and joined a pickup¬†truck caravan across the desert. Then they climbed two miles up a steep,¬†rocky canyon and began to move part of a mountain, one boulder at a time.
Thousands of miles away, in the nation‚Äôs capital, Tombstone‚Äôs congressman¬†and the city archivist tried to move a bureaucratic mountain, too, during¬†hearings before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Tombstone, as CNN has reported, is in the midst of a court battle¬†with the U.S. Forest Service. At issue is whether Tombstone can take heavy equipment into federally protected wilderness.
Tombstone is trying to repair a 26-mile pipeline that has brought mountain¬†spring water into the city since 1881. The pipeline was damaged during last¬†summer‚Äôs Monument Fire and floods that brought mud and boulders crashing¬†down the denuded mountainside.
The city sued the Forest Service in December, accusing the agency of dragging¬†its feet during a state of emergency. The courts have¬†turned down the city‚Äôs request for an emergency injunction, and so the¬†battle has entered a new phase in the court of public opinion.
Frustrated with the slow pace of the repairs, Tombstone‚Äôs supporters created¬†the nonprofit Tombstone Shovel Brigade a couple of months ago. They are¬†helped by the organizers of the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade, which used¬†volunteer muscle power to move a boulder and reopen a mountain road on¬†federal wilderness in 2000.
Tombstone has become the poster city for a sweeping resurgence of the¬†Sagebrush Rebellion in some Western states. This time, Utah state Rep. Ken¬†Ivory explained, the rebellion is not fueled by oilmen and cattle ranchers.
Instead, local governments are behind the movement to push back against what they say is the federal government‚Äôs treatment of them as ‚Äúsubmissive subdivisions.‚ÄĚ
U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake has introduced H.R. 5971, the Emergency Water Supply¬†Restoration Act, which proposes to set aside Forest Service restrictions¬†against the use of construction equipment during state-declared water¬†emergencies. Flake and Nancy Sosa, the city‚Äôs archivist, were among the¬†witnesses who testified Friday.
‚ÄúThe unforeseen consequences of federal laws and regulations threaten to do¬†something outlaws, economic busts, and the Arizona desert couldn‚Äôt: Kill the¬†town too tough to die,‚ÄĚ Flake said. Tombstone, population 1,400, is a¬†throwback to the Old West and is famous for the 30-second gunfight at the¬†O.K. Corral, which is re-enacted for tourists twice a day.
‚ÄúWithout water, the most precious commodity in the desert, Tombstone will¬†cease to exist,‚ÄĚ Sosa said. She told the committee that Tombstone burned to¬†the ground twice before the waterline was built.
CNN will have more on this developing story Saturday.
Rising sea levels combined with storm surges will put more than 5 million people on U.S. coastlines at risk of flooding during the next 30 years, according to new research.
The combination could raise sea levels during storms to 4 feet above the high-tide line, threatening property that contains 2.6 million homes on 3 million acres of land, according to the report released Wednesday by Climate Central, a nonprofit research and journalism organization based in New Jersey.
‚ÄúEscalating floods from sea level rise will affect millions of people, and threaten countless billions of dollars of damage to buildings and infrastructure,‚ÄĚ Climate Central's Ben Strauss, the lead author of the report, said in a statement.
The report, titled "Surging Seas," is based on two new peer-reviewed studies, both published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Climate Central calls it "the first major national analysis of sea level rise in 20 years."
Authorities were using military helicopters and a C-130 cargo plane Sunday to evacuate thousands of residents stranded by rising floodwaters in the eastern Australian state of Queensland, the government said.
Heavy rains in recent weeks have swollen rivers beyond their banks, threatening a number of communities in Queensland and New South Wales.
Authorities were using the plane and helicopters to evacuate patients from a hospital in particularly hard-hit Queensland town of St. George, where officials were warning about 4,000 residents to get out of the path of what officials say will be a record-breaking flood.
"This is a very serious situation and I urge people to cooperate," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told CNN affiliate Nine Network.FULL STORY
The Philippine government said Tuesday that fresh rain in Visayas and Mindanao could set off flash floods and landslides, bringing the potential for more misery in places already struggling to recover from a deadly tropical storm.
Eastern Luzon will experience cloudy skies with scattered rain, while the rest of the island will have mostly cloudy skies with light rain, the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) predicted.
On Tuesday, the national government offered a new death toll - 1,453 - then revised it again based on a count by Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. The lower count means the death toll from the storm that lashed the southern Philippines more than a week remained unchanged from Monday: 1,249.
The bodies of people swept out to sea by flash floods from the storm have washed up on nearby beaches and islands, Maj. Reynaldo Balido, the military assistant for operations at the Office of Civil Defense, said Monday.
The authorities have enlisted the help of local fishermen to help the continuing search and rescue efforts for the scores of people who remain missing, Balido said by telephone from the island of Mindanao, the scene of the worst devastation. He added that the fishermen volunteered, since many of them had lost friends and relatives in the disaster.FULL STORY
Devastation from a tropical storm that deluged the southern Philippines mounted on Sunday, with the death toll rising to 548, military officials said.
About 370 people are missing, the Philippine Red Cross said, after entire villages were swept away. The agency offered a different death toll than the military - 532 - but it was not clear why.
The stench of death permeated the air as aid workers scrambled to help survivors.
The vast majority of the dead were found in the port cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, according to military and disaster officials. Water-logged bodies from washed-away villages floated at the shoreline, on the northwestern coast of Mindanao island.
Five people were killed in a landslide, but virtually all others died in flash flooding after Tropical Storm Washi, which is called Sendong locally.
Survivors in the hardest-hit areas now contend with no electricity and a lack of clean drinking water. One woman in Cagayan de Oro collected murky brown floodwater in a bucket, just meters away from where a destroyed vehicle was submerged.
Flash flooding overnight Friday - following 10 hours of rain - fueled the devastation. As much as 20 centimeters (8 inches) of rain fell within 24 hours in some areas.FULL STORY
The United States had a record 12 weather and climate disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages in 2011, and that number could increase as other assessments wrap up, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.
The country‚Äôs old record for weather and climate disasters costing at least $1 billion was nine, set in 2008.
The year‚Äôs costliest disaster so far is the April 25-28 tornado outbreak that killed 321 people in central and Southern states, including Alabama, where the Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville areas were hard hit. Losses in that outbreak have totaled $10.2 billion, according to NOAA.
Also on the 2011 list is a multimonth drought and heatwave in the southern Plains and the Southwest, which so far has caused nearly $10 billion in direct losses to crops, livestock and timber, NOAA says. The cost will rise because the drought and the year aren‚Äôt finished.
Another disaster on the list is the May 22-27 Midwest/Southeast tornado outbreak, including a tornado that killed 158 people in Joplin, Missouri. That outbreak killed at least 177 people and caused damages of more than $9.1 billion, according to NOAA.
‚ÄúIn my weather career spanning four decades, I‚Äôve never seen a year like 2011,‚ÄĚ National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said in a video posted on NOAA‚Äôs website. ‚ÄúSure, we‚Äôve had years with extreme flooding, extreme hurricanes, extreme winter snowstorms and even extreme tornado outbreaks. But I can‚Äôt remember a year like this in which we experienced record-breaking extremes of nearly every conceivable type of weather.‚ÄĚ
Alaska is facing a life threatening winter storm with near hurricane force winds, more than a foot of snow and severe coastal flooding, the National Weather Service says.
"This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm which will be one of the worst on record over the Bering Sea and the west coast," NWS forecasters said in a bulletin Monday afternoon.
The storm was about 600 miles southwest of Shemya in the far western Aleutian Islands on Monday afternoon and was expected to move over the Bering Sea toward Alaska's west coast on Tuesday.
Winds near hurricane force of 74 mph were expected to generate seas as high as 25 feet in the northern Bering Sea, forecasters said. The winds were expected to raise sea levels as much as 9 feet in the Norton Sound. Those levels combined with the high waves were expected to cause significant coastal erosion and major flooding. The winds may also push sea ice on shore, adding to the dangers, NWS forecasters said.
Alaska's west coast could also see as much as 14 inches of snow in blizzard conditions, forecasters said. The storm was expected to last into Wednesday.
The death toll from Thailand's worst flooding in half a century reached 506 Sunday, as flood waters inched toward downtown Bangkok, the interior ministry said.
By Sunday, authorities ordered evacuations for residents in eight of Bangkok's 50 disctricts.
Across the country, the flooding - now in its third month - has affected 25 of Thailand's 64 provinces.
Bangkok's central business district is still dry but other parts of the bustling metropolis of 12 million people are inundated.
Floods are an annual occurrence in the country but it has been particularly acute this year.FULL STORY
Floodwaters in Bangkok have reached Don Muang Airport, one of the Thai capital's two main airports and home to the flood relief operation command, which may have to move to another location, according to the governor.
In addition to Don Muang, residents in five other areas should prepare for floods, move their belongings to upper floors and take shelter at evacuation centers, Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said in a news conference on Monday.
Thammasat University's gymnasium, which has been used as an evacuation center, is also flooded and without electricity and is itself being evacuated, the governor added.
As a remedy, about 4,000 people will be bused to Rajamangala Stadium in central Bangkok with the help of 300-400 volunteers, according to the governor.
In the east, the industrial estates of Lat Krabang and Bang Chan remained under threat, and volunteers were sought for help with sandbagging.
The governor urged the public not to panic and to follow his reports closely.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said authorities were trying to control the water levels by using all the dams and dikes to cope with an unusually heavy rainy season.
Protecting Bangkok was a priority because it comprises the economic heart of Thailand, she said. "But it doesn't mean we have no concern for the people who are suffering from the flooding," she added.
The decision to divert water through canals in Bangkok means parts of the city and its surrounding suburbs, such as Rangsit, are flooded.
Residents have resorted to moving out of flooded homes by boat or anything that could float - or wading through water with plastic bags of belongings balanced on their heads or pets tucked into clothes.FULL STORY
Thailand's prime minister asked all Bangkok residents to move their belongings to higher ground as government workers fought to contain flooding inching toward the capital city.
Government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng said the move is a precautionary measure.
"We think that a state of emergency is not necessary at this moment," she said.
To protect their cars, residents double parked along elevated highways, making it nearly impossible to navigate around a city where traffic is congested on a normal day.
As water from Thailand's worst flood in half a century bore down on the capital, officials changed course.
Until now, they had hoped that strengthening flood barriers and widening canals would keep populated areas safe.
But now the government is trying a different tack: opening floodgates to relieve pressure on dams and levees and send the water toward the sea.
The decision to divert water through canals in Bangkok means parts of the city will likely be flooded.
On Friday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said officials were considering which areas to let the water flow through to minimize impact on the populace.
They hope the water will not overflow the canals and spill into the streets, bringing the kind of misery to the capital city that its northern suburbs have seen.
As a precaution, the Thai Army was bringing in 100 boats to help those trapped in their houses.FULL STORY
The death toll from recent rain and flooding in Central America rose to at least 91 Wednesday as the deluge rivaled what the region witnessed during the deadly Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
The deadliness of the current disaster is much smaller than Mitch - which killed some 11,000 people - but the large amounts of rain are causing similar damage: washed out bridges, landslides, flooding and river overflows.
"We think of hurricanes as the thing that causes the most damage, but you can have rains that are just as damaging without the hurricane," Herman Rosa Chavez, El Salvador's minister of the environment and natural resources, told CNN.
Already, the rain in El Salvador has tripled the average rainfall for the month of October.
Gauges in the country were registering recent rainfall as high as 55 inches. In comparison, Hurricane Mitch dumped between 50 and 70 inches of rain in the Central American region.
"This phenomenon is of great magnitude," Rosa Chavez said.
A vital difference between the death toll now and in 1998 is that during Mitch, the rainfall came in a matter of a few days. This time, the precipitation has come over a period of more than a week.
At least 745 people have died in flooding in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines since July, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said.
Thailand has been hit the hardest, with 315 people killed in that time frame, officials said.
Monsoon rains across Thailand have affected millions of people in 61 of its provinces, the country's Flood Relief Operation Command reported.
Cambodia, meanwhile, reported 247 dead since July.
- CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.
Thai authorities on Monday moved to ease fears that the devastating floods that have engulfed much of the country will swamp the capital.
The country's Flood Relief Operation Command (FROC) reported that flood defense measures in low-lying Bangkok have held and that the bloated Chao Praya River has not risen any further.
There had been fears that further heavy rain over the weekend combined with the spring high tides would overwhelm parts of the city.
"The water situation in Bangkok city is no longer a worry and today is the end of the high tide period," FROC spokesperson Wim Rungwattanachinda told CNN.
However, Irrigation department director general Chalit Damrongsak warned the situation remained critical as water from low-lying areas north of Bangkok still needed to drain.
"It is not over," he said, in quotes carried by Agence France-Presse.
So far, 297 people have been killed during months of monsoon rains across Thailand, with more than 8.5 million in 61 provinces affected by the rising floodwater.FULL STORY
The death toll from the worst floods in half a century to hit Thailand continues to rise.
By early Sunday morning, the number stood at 297 from two months of lashing rain, with more than 8.5 million in 61 provinces affected by the rising waters, authorities said.
More rain was predicted for Sunday in some provinces and in the capital city, Bangkok.
In the ancient city of Ayutthara, one of the worst-hit regions, military trucks moved slowly down the main street, cutting through a constant river of water, passing out aid to those who can get close.
Anyone with a boat used it to transport aid or to help neighbors carry their possessions from flooded houses. Others used rubber tires of slabs of Styrofoam.
In Bangkok, crews worked feverishly, widening canals and strengthening flood barriers to protect the city.
"I have to say here that there is a lot of water coming to Bangkok but the situation not critical yet," said Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra.
The Bangkok suburb of Sam Kok is sandwiched between the overflowing Chao Phraya River and the 2.5-meter floodwalls that are so far successfully protecting the inner and commercial part of the capital. The water here has nowhere to go and levels are rising fast.
"In one or two days (flood waters) will pass through Bangkok, but the fact is that the impact of such flow would be less if the water was allowed to pass through, rather than concentrated in one area," the Flood Relief Operations Command said Sunday.
Floods are an annual occurrence in the country but it has been particularly acute this year.FULL STORY