Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pilot injured after a single-engine 1972 Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow plane went down shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday in Bayonn, New Jersey

Updated 1 hr 35 mins ago

Authorities say a small plane has crashed in a New Jersey neighborhood, injuring the pilot.

The single-engine 1972 Piper plane went down shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday in Bayonne.

City officials say the pilot was alert and talking after rescuers removed him from the wreckage. He was taken to a hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries.

The pilot was the only person aboard the plane. His name has not been released.

The plane mangled power lines in the area and damaged some parked vehicles. But no one on the ground was injured in the crash.



Type:Silhouette image of generic P28R model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow
Registration: N15745
C/n / msn: 28R-7335087
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Avenue E between 41st and 42nd Streets, Bayonne, New Jersey -   United States of America
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
The aircraft crashed in a neighborhood in Bayonne, New Jersey.
The only person on board was the pilot, who has been injured and extricated.
The aircraft's wheel compartment was split into two as the pieces lay within 30 feet of each other. A car parked near the accident had its hood partially mangled by the impact of the crash.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.


While California has been climbing out of its drought the drought on the Colorado may never truly end due to structural deficit

Wet winter has improved Colorado River basin's water forecast, but the drought endures

California is not the only place in the West confronting startling amounts of rain and snow.

Drought conditions have declined substantially across the region in recent weeks, with heavy storms replenishing reservoirs and piling fresh powder on ski resorts.

Yet there is one place where the precipitation has been particularly welcome and could be transformative: the Colorado River basin, which provides water to nearly 40 million people across seven states.

“We’re in a really good spot as far as snow accumulations,” said Malcolm Wilson, who leads the Bureau of Reclamation’s water resources group in the upper Colorado River basin.

In fact, if the Rocky Mountains continue to see substantial snowfall this winter, there is a chance that later this year, water managers for the Colorado could do something that seemed inconceivable just a few weeks ago: They could start giving water away.

Under federal guidelines that kick in when water flows reach certain volumes, the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the river basin’s largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, could release enough water from the former to raise the elevation of the latter by 20 feet or more — providing a remarkable shot in the arm for a lake that has been declining steadily during a devastating drought that started in 2000.

The process — lowering one reservoir to lift another — is called equalization, and a few weeks ago, it was not even viewed as a viable option. Now, Wilson said, “It’s in the realm of possibility.”

Even if that optimistic scenario does not play out — the region would need several more weeks of strong precipitation without a substantial warmup — there is still reason to savor a moment of relief on the Colorado.
“For the last four years, it was all about where can we get extra water. Now, all of a sudden in the last six weeks, it’s a completely different mindset. — Bill Hasencamp, manager of Colorado River resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

As of last month, the bureau was forecasting about a 50% chance that, for the first time, the river and its reservoirs would not be able to fulfill the water demands of states that rely on it, beginning in 2018.

But this week, the bureau quietly updated that forecast, saying the chance was only about 34%. By the end of this year, it expects Lake Mead to be at least 3 feet above the threshold at which an official “shortage” would be declared.

Not only that, the bureau said the likelihood of a shortage through 2021 is no greater than 33%. Just a few weeks ago, the chances of shortages in that time frame were about 60%.

Still, no one is declaring this the end of a drought that has fallowed farm fields, depleted groundwater and even inspired a dystopian novel, “The Water Knife,” from 2015, which imagines the Southwest descending into crime and chaos as people fight over the shrinking Colorado.

While California has been climbing out of its drought — albeit the hard way, with brutal storms, mudslides and a mass evacuation ordered earlier below the damaged Oroville Dam spillway — the drought on the Colorado may never truly end.

That is because no matter how deep the snowpack may get one year — some drainages are seeing close to 200% of normal this year — the river itself functions at what its managers call a “structural deficit.” The amount of water to which cities, tribes, farmers and others have legal rights is larger than the amount that, on average, flows into the system. In addition, climate change models for the future show declining snowpack and rising temperatures, potentially leading to more evaporation.

That all means that delicate negotiations that have been underway to get the seven states which use the water — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — to increase the amount of water they conserve are still crucial.

The effort, called the drought contingency plan, has been going on for several years, though negotiations intensified in 2016. The idea is to add a layer of voluntary conservation measures to prevent Lake Mead from falling below 1,075 feet, the level that triggers more painful, involuntary conservation measures.

In a major improvement, nearly half of California is no longer in a drought

Water managers had hoped to reach an agreement by the end of the Obama administration but ran into challenges resolving concerns among agricultural and other interests within individual states, particularly in Arizona and California.

Now, some water managers worry they may face a new challenge: that the wet winter may reduce the sense of urgency to complete the drought contingency plan.

“It potentially makes it harder, to tell you the truth,” said Tom Buschatzke, the head of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, who is trying to build support for the plan among the state’s competing interests, “because sometimes crisis mode drives outcomes.”

Buschatzke noted that 2011 was also a very wet year, with strong snowpack, but less than four years later, water managers were again preparing for the possibility of a shortage. The Colorado provides 41% of Arizona’s water.

“We need to make sure the wet winter doesn’t stop the momentum we’ve built,” he said. “Mother Nature does not bail us out.”

Both the drought and the recent deluges demonstrate how the region’s water issues are connected. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California relies on the Colorado for about 45% of its water on average, but during the drought, the Colorado has provided as much as 90% of the utility’s water.

The recent heavy rain in California has changed the balance again, allowing the utility to leave more water in Lake Mead, which helps the rest of the basin guard against a shortage.

“For the last four years, it was all about where can we get extra water,” said Bill Hasencamp, who manages Colorado River resources for the Metropolitan Water District. “Now, all of a sudden in the last six weeks, it’s a completely different mindset. We’re storing as much water as we can in Lake Mead, storing it in our desert groundwater account, storing it in every reservoir account we have.”

Hasencamp said the improvement in short-term forecasts for the Colorado could make it easier for California to approve the drought contingency plan, in part because the state’s water rights already make it least likely to suffer major cuts.

Besides, he noted, the plan is merely a temporary fix, one that may not have to be implemented if Lake Mead improves for a few years. The truly complex negotiations will begin in 2020 for what is supposed to be a long-term solution.

“Lake Mead is like going to Vegas,” Hasencamp said. “You might win a couple of times. You might even hit a jackpot. But in the end, the odds are stacked against you.”

Two vehicles fell into a 20-foot sinkhole in Studio City Friday night and firefighters had to rescue one woman

  Two cars rest at the bottom of a sinkhole that opened up on Woodbridge Street near Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News Two cars rest at the bottom of a sinkhole that opened up on Woodbridge Street near Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Studio City on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.‹›

STUDIO CITY >> Two vehicles fell into a 20-foot sinkhole in Studio City Friday night and firefighters had to rescue one woman who escaped her car but was found standing on her overturned vehicle.

Firefighters arrived shortly after 8:15 p.m. at 4245 N. Laurel Canyon Blvd., two blocks south of Moorpark Street, and find one car upside-down in a large dark sinkhole full of rushing water, said Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The single occupant was standing on the car, approximately 10 feet below street level, Scott said.

“Firefighters jumped into action and rapidly lowered a (20-foot) extension ladder down to the (48-year-old woman) allowing her to climb out, and transported her to a local hospital in fair condition,” Scott said.

While being transported, the woman told firefighters that while she was driving, she felt the car pitch to the left, then it tumbled into the sinkhole and the airbags deployed. Water started coming into the vehicle and she tried to raise the windows, which didn’t work, Scott said.

The woman said she was able to open the door and climb on top of the car and started screaming for help, according to Scott.

“She said she thought she was going to die,” Scott said. “Then she heard the firefighters yell back to her.”

The driver of the second vehicle that fell into the sinkhole was able to get out of the car unharmed, Scott said.

“The pavement continued to give way and the second vehicle fell in the sinkhole,” Scott said.

The vehicles were expected to be removed in the daylight of Saturday, according to Scott.

Alicia, who declined to give her last name, lives in the neighborhood. “I was on my way home from the store,” she said. ”I arrived just as the firemen removed the woman. It was very dramatic. It was pretty scary.”

Joseph Guidi, whose house is 30 feet from the hole, was understandably apprehensive. “I am concerned because this hole is getting bigger and bigger,” he said.

The sinkhole was caused by water running under the street, fire officials told reporters at the scene.

The operation was eventually handed over to city sanitation crews because it’s all subterranean.

A 55-year-old man was electrocuted after a tree branch fell, taking out power lines and landing on a vehicle in a Sherman Oaks neighborhood.

A 55-year-old man was electrocuted Friday after a tree branch fell, taking out power lines and landing on a vehicle in a Sherman Oaks neighborhood.

The man, whose name was not disclosed by 4:45 p.m. Friday, was apparently touched by the electrified line, or somehow had contact with the charged water, police said.

The incident, one of several in the San Fernando Valley, was reported at 12:43 p.m. Friday at 5300 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, LAPD Sgt. Jack Richter said.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said on Friday he did not know where the person was in relation to the power lines or vehicle.

“They were obviously near the downed power lines and possibly suffered an electrical shock,” Scott said.

Firefighters arrived and cut the lines, secured the area, assessed the man and rapidly transported him to the hospital, Scott said.

Minutes before the Sherman Oaks incident, a tree fell onto a home in Northridge causing non-serious injuries to another person.

The incident was reported at 12:40 p.m. Friday at the 8500 block of N. Bothwell Road, LAFD officials said.

LAFD Capt. Daniel Curry said an ambulance was requested for a non-serious injury sustained to the resident of the home.

“I don’t have the nature of the injury,” Curry said.

Additionally, it appeared power lines were also downed in the incident.

“We’re still on scene,” Curry said.

Curry had no further information.

About 20 minutes after the Sherman Oaks and Northridge incidents, the fire department reported a large tree down that took high voltage power lines with it as well as a nearby gas line possible affected by the tree.

The commotion was reported just after 1 p.m. in the 13700 block of Califa Street in Valley Glen. No injuries were reported, authorities said.

Friday has had a “tremendous” amount of wires being downed in the fire department’s jurisdiction, Curry added.

“The wind is definitely creating havoc more than the rain,” he said.

Crews from the Tranquillity Irrigation District and Fresno County are working around the clock to cap leaks on a levee that is in danger of breaking.


The weather on Saturday was the first day where crews have been able to make major repairs on the levee. (KFSN)

By Cory James
Saturday, February 18, 2017 06:25PM
FRESNO COUNTY (KFSN) -- Crews from the Tranquillity Irrigation District and Fresno County are working around the clock to cap leaks on a levee that is in danger of breaking.

The weather on Saturday was the first day where crews have been able to make major repairs on the levee. The general manager of the Tranquillity Water District, Danny Wade, says the next 48 hours for his crews are critical.

The past few days, in rainy and windy weather, they've been trying to cap a dozen leaks on a levee near the Fresno slough.

Now that the sun is out, there are signs of progress - like fresh heavy equipment tracks going down levee road.

"We finally got some dry weather," Wade said. "The problem is it was so wet and so slushy, but we're able now to get our heavy equipment out there to a field right next to where the problem is."

To stop water from leaking through, his team of nearly 10 crew members has been using loaders, excavators, and bulldozers.

"You see the dirt there, you see some water that's water coming out of the channel," Wade explained. "It's going into the small drain down below. If that was to continue to run then it would become a very large hole, then it would washout and that's how you can get floods."

In the meantime, roughly 80 homes in the areas of Manning Avenue, James Road, and Tuolumne Avenue remain under a flood advisory. Veronica Fisher found a notice on her front door, and she's preparing to evacuate if necessary.

"I have a suitcase packed, and my husband and I have already planned out," she said. "He is going to take two dogs in his car four cats in my car and we're going to high tail it out here"

But she is also keeping her fingers crossed that crews will be able to cap all of the leaks.

"This is our home and to leave here, what am I going to do while my house sits here by itself?" Fisher exclaimed.

But with the clock ticking until next storm rolls in, crews are running out of time.

With rain expected Sunday, the TID says its workers will try to do as much work as possible. But if it gets too wet to where they can't move their equipment, they will likely have to slow their efforts down.

A worker with the Willbros Group killed and another injured while repairing a downed power line in Tyler, Texas

(Photo: Goldman, David)

UPDATE: Power crew worker electrocuted identified
KYTX 5:46 PM. CST February 17, 2017

TYLER - UPDATE: Police have released the identity of the worker killed and the other person injured while repairing a downed power line early Friday.

Wesley Ray Cain, 34, of Whitehouse died at ETMC in Tyler, and Billy Titsworth, 42, of Wills Point is hospitalized in a Dallas hospital.

Both victims are employees of Willbros Group, the company contracted by Oncor to repair a downed power pole at the intersection of Loop 323 and New Copland Road.

Willbros is a global contractor specializing in energy infrastructure serving the oil, gas and power industries.


One Oncor contracted employee was killed and one was injured Friday morning while working to repair a downed power pole after a car accident.

An Oncor contractor company was called to repair a pole at the intersection of New Copland Road and East Southeast Loop 323 early Friday morning.

During repairs, two employees came in contact with a hot wire and were electrocuted. Both were taken to ETMC, and one has died from his/her injures. The other remains critically injured.

The accident happened at 1:30 a.m. when a car hit the telephone pole causing it to fall into the road. The suspect fled the scene and abandoned the car near T. K. Gorman.

Police are still searching for the suspect.

According to an Oncor spokesperson, 1,000 residents are still without power.

Crews are still working at the intersection and only one eastbound lane on the loop is open at this time. Please seek alternate routes if in the area.

A contract worker died in an elevator shaft at Tallahassee Memorial Health Care's Professional Office Building


Worker killed in elevator shaft

Worker killed in elevator shaft

By WCTV Eyewitness News; Lanetra Bennett |
  Fri 5:09 PM, Feb 17, 2017 |

  By: Lanetra Bennett
February 17, 2017

Photo: Charles Mobley

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A contract worker died in an elevator shaft Friday morning. It happened at Tallahassee Memorial Health Care's Professional Office Building. That's located at 1401 Centerville Road.

The Tallahassee Fired Department says the man was 60-year-old Robert Myers.

Several firetrucks, ambulances, and police officers lined the street and the parking lot outside.

Tallahassee Laura Carmichael said, "I think it's very sad. Here he was doing his job helping out other people, and some unforeseen accident just caused him to lose his life."

Firefighters say they were initially called to TMH because three people were trapped inside an elevator. They manually pried opened the elevator door, and the people walked out unharmed.

But that's when, they say, they realized the contract worker was missing.

It took specially trained firefighters with the Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team, heavy equipment, and several hours to get his body out of the shaft.

CAPT Mike Bellamy, the spokesperson for the Tallahassee Fire Department, said, "It did take us some time to gain access to that area because, number one, it's a confined space. It's a vertical space, so we had to use some ropes to lower our personnel down in there."

Hospital administrators say the contract worker was already there working on a prior employee request to fix the elevator.

TMH Vice President & C.F.O. Bill Giudice said, "We are heartbroken and saddened that there was a death involved with a maintenance worker. We at TMH extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of the victim, his friends, his co-workers."

Authorities have not released a specific cause of death. The investigation is still open at this time.

Update: 5:05 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Tallahassee Fire Department has identified the contractor found dead in an elevator shaft at Tallahassee Memorial on Friday as 60-year-old Robert Myers.

The cause of death remains under investigation.

Update: 11:30 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tallahassee Fire Department officials say a contractor has been found dead in an elevator shaft on the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital campus.

TFD responded to the call at the hospital's professional office building around 7:20 a.m. Friday. Cpt. Mike Bellamy says an elevator had been stuck between the ground and second floor. Three people were safely evacuated from the elevator and were uninjured but a contractor was believed to be in the elevator shaft.

Bellamy told WCTV that the contractor was found dead and his body has since been removed. Officials have not released his identity.

No further details are available at this time. WCTV will update this story as more information becomes available.

8:15 a.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- The Tallahassee Fire Department is working to find a contractor they believe is in an elevator shaft on the campus of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Cpt. Mike Bellamy of TFD says the rescue is at the hospital's professional office building at 1401 Centerville Road. Crews responded around 7:20 a.m. Friday.

Bellamy said that the elevator had become stuck between the ground and second floor while three people were inside. Those people were evacuated safely and didn't suffer any injuries, but a contractor working on the elevator was inside the shaft at the time and is still unaccounted for as of 10:20 a.m.

The building is currently closed and firefighters are still trying to access the area where they believe the contractor is located.

Caroline Ross with TMH public relations told WCTV that the hospital is currently working to manage and assess the situation.

WCTV is at the scene and will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

At least 4 people died after a powerful storm pummeled Southern California on Friday night, causing significant property damage, muslides, sinkholes

Saturday, February 18, 2017 01:59PM

At least 4 people died after a powerful storm pummeled Southern California on Friday night, flooding numerous roadways in Los Angeles and San Diego.

In the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, a falling tree brought down power lines and hit a car. A 55-year-old man was electrocuted and pronounced dead at a hospital, police and fire officials said.

Two others died in separate car accidents on Interstate 15 in San Diego amid heavy rain. And a motorist was found dead in a fully submerged vehicle in Victorville in San Bernardino County, officials said.

In the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles, two cars plunged into a massive sinkhole. At least one person was trapped when the first vehicle fell into the hole until rescue crews were able to pull the woman out of the car. She was transported to the hospital for injuries and her condition is unknown, according to ABC owned-and-operated television station KABC.

Minutes later, the sinkhole swallowed a second vehicle, which was unoccupied at the time, KABC reported.

The massive Pacific storm swept into Southern California on Friday morning, bringing torrential rain and gusting winds to the region while also spreading precipitation north into the San Joaquin Valley and up to San Francisco.

Flash flood watches were in effect for Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties from Friday morning through Saturday morning. Forecasters said the weather system could be the strongest to pelt the region in years, if not decades.

"The storm looks to be the strongest storm to hit southwest California this season," the National Weather Service office for the Los Angeles region wrote. "It is likely the strongest within the last six years and possibly even as far back as December 2004 or January 1995."

The storm was expected to generate a total of 3 to 6 inches of rain in Los Angeles County beaches and valleys and 5 to 10 inches of rain in south-facing foothills and coastal mountain slopes, according to the National Weather Service.

With soil already soaked from significant rainfall this winter, forecasters warned of the potential for flash floods and debris flows, especially near areas stripped bare by wildfires. Precautionary evacuations were requested in some neighborhoods.

As of 10 p.m. local time on Friday, more than 78,000 customers were affected by power outages in the Los Angeles area alone, where hundreds of trees and dozens of power lines had toppled, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Winds gusting to 70 mph or more lashed parts of the region, while heavy downpours turned creeks and rivers into brown torrents and loosened mud from hillsides left barren by recent wildfires. Several stretches of freeways and highways were shut down from floods.

Record-breaking rainfall was recorded across southwestern California on Friday. For instance, Santa Barbara Airport saw 4.16 inches of rain, beating the record of 2.08 inches set in 1980, according to the National Weather Service.

By Saturday morning, isolated locations had received up to 10 inches of rain. Parts of Ventura and San Bernardino counties had received over 8 inches of rain. The city of Los Angeles had received at least 2 inches of rain, according to ABC News meteorologists tracking the storm.

Heavy rain and high winds lingered over much of Southern California on Saturday morning. The rain is expected to move east as the day goes on, with the chance for scattered pockets of heavier showers in Los Angeles and San Diego. Drier weather is expected to move in Saturday afternoon and evening.

Meanwhile, a new Pacific storm will take aim at Central California's coastline on Sunday.

"The worst is over for Los Angeles this morning," said ABC News meteorologist Daniel Manzo. "Next storm is on the way late Sunday and will focus on Central and Northern California."

The new storm could dump an additional 3 to 4 inches on Northern California, according to Manzo.

"This is another dangerous situation developing due to swollen water ways and saturated ground," Manzo said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.