NAGS HEAD, N.C. >> Hurricane Irene began lashing the East Coast with rain Friday ahead of a weekend of violent weather that was almost certain to heap punishment on a vast stretch of shoreline from the Carolinas to Massachusetts.
For hundreds of miles, people in the storm’s path headed inland, made last-minute preparations and monitored the hurricane’s every subtle movement. Irene had the potential to cause billions of dollars in damage all along a densely populated arc that included Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and beyond. At least 65 million people could be affected.
President Obama said all indications point to the storm being a historic hurricane.
“I cannot stress this highly enough. If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now,” Obama said Friday from Martha’s Vineyard, where he was wrapping up a vacation.
The president was to return to the White House on Saturday, the same day the storm is expected to pass through the area around the nation’s capital.
As Irene trudged northwest from the Bahamas, rain from its outer bands began falling along the North and South Carolina coast. Swells and 6- to 9-foot waves were reported along the Outer Banks. Winds were expected to pick up later. Thousands had already lost power as the fringes of the storm began raking the shore.
Hurricane warnings remained in effect from North Carolina to New Jersey. Hurricane watches were in effect even farther north and included Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Mass.
Risks from Irene’s wrath were many: surging seas, drenching rains, flash floods and high winds. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had warned previously that this is one of the largest populations to be affected by one storm at one time.
On Friday morning, FEMA Director Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pleaded with people to heed warnings.
“Evacuation orders are key,” Fugate said. “People need to leave early, travel a safe distance and get somewhere safe. All the preparation and planning will be in vain if people don’t heed those evacuation orders.”
In addition to widespread wind and water damage, Irene could also push crude oil prices higher if it disrupts refineries in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, which produce nearly 8 percent of U.S. gasoline and diesel fuel.
By late Friday morning, Irene remained a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds near 105 mph (169 kph). Little change in strength was expected by the time Irene reaches the North Carolina coast on Saturday, but forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warned it would be a large and dangerous storm nonetheless.
In North Carolina, traffic was steady Friday as people fled the Outer Banks and beach towns. A day earlier, tourists were ordered to leave the barrier islands, and many residents also heeded authorities’ admonitions to get out.
At a gas station in Nags Head, Pete Reynolds wanted to make sure he had enough fuel for the long trip. The retired teacher spent part of Thursday getting his house ready for the hurricane. He and his wife then headed to New Jersey to stay with their son’s family.
“We felt like we would be OK, and we could ride out the storm,” Reynolds said. “But when they announced mandatory evacuations, I knew it was serious.”
Speaking Friday on CBS’ “The Early Show,” North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said state troopers, the Red Cross and the National Guard were in place to deal with the storm’s aftermath. But she warned coastal residents not to risk waiting out the storm and hoping for help after it passed.
“You can’t count on that. Folks need to decide that they need to get out now,” she said.
Later in the day, Perdue said some 3.5 million people in the state could be affected.
North Carolina was just first in line along the Eastern Seaboard — home to some of the nation’s priciest real estate.
Besides major cities, sprawling suburbs, ports, airports, highways, cropland and mile after mile of built-up beachfront neighborhoods are in harm’s way. In several spots along the coast, hospitals and nursing homes worked to move patients and residents to safety.
“One of my greatest nightmares was having a major hurricane go up the whole Northeast coast,” Max Mayfield, the National Hurricane Center’s retired director, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The hurricane could be the strongest to strike the East Coast in seven years, and people were already getting out of the way. Irene already had pummeled the Caribbean, causing floods and power outages.
The center of the storm was still about 330 miles (531 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving to the north at 14 mph (22 kph).
The latest forecasts showed Irene crashing into the North Carolina coastline Saturday, then churning up the Eastern Seaboard and drenching areas from Virginia to New York City before a weakened storm reaches New England.
In Washington, Irene dashed hopes of dedicating a 30-foot sculpture to Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday on the National Mall. While a direct strike on the nation’s capital appeared slim, organizers said the forecasts of wind and heavy rain made it too dangerous to summon a throng they expected to number up to 250,000.
Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were told Thursday to pack a bag and be prepared to move elsewhere. The nation’s biggest city has not seen a hurricane in decades, and a hurricane warning hasn’t been issued there since Hurricane Gloria hit in 1985 as a Category 2 storm, said Ashley Sears, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Even if the winds aren’t strong enough to damage buildings in a metropolis made largely of brick, concrete and steel, a lot of New York’s subways and other infrastructure are underground, making them subject to flooding.
New York’s two airports are close to the water and could be inundated, as could densely packed neighborhoods, if the storm pushes ocean water into the city’s waterways, officials said. In 2008, the city had a brush with Tropical Storm Hanna, which dumped 3 inches of rain on Manhattan.
In the last 200 years, New York has seen only a few significant hurricanes. In September 1821, a hurricane raised tides by 13 feet in an hour and flooded all of Manhattan south of Canal Street, the southernmost tip of the city. The area now includes Wall Street and the World Trade Center memorial.
An infamous 1938 storm dubbed the Long Island Express came ashore about 75 miles east of the city and then hit New England, killing 700 people and leaving 63,000 homeless.
New England is also unaccustomed to direct hits from hurricanes.
Maine lobsterman Greg Griffin, who fishes from Portland, still recalls the clobbering from Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and said Irene is not one to ignore.
“We have a young generation of lobstermen who’ve never experienced a full-blown hurricane,” Griffin warned.
The first U.S. injuries from Irene appeared to be in South Florida near West Palm Beach, where eight people were washed off a jetty Thursday by a large wave churned up by the storm.
Across the Northeast, Irene threatened to flood many miles of land that are already saturated from heavy rain.
Parts of Rhode Island are still recovering from devastating 2010 spring floods. And Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy warned there could be prolonged power outages if Irene dumps up to a foot of additional rain.
The urban population explosion in recent decades also worries New Jersey officials. Gov. Chris Christie encouraged anyone on that state’s heavily developed shoreline to prepare to leave. One of the popular casinos in Atlantic City had already closed Friday, and several others planned to shut down later in the day.
The beach community of Ocean City, Md., was taking no chances, ordering thousands of people to leave.
“This is not a time to get out the camera and sit on the beach and take pictures of the waves,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Super-typhoon Nanmadol strengthened overnight as it moves north of the Philippines, killing one, flooding several towns in the northern and central Philippines and forcing hundreds to evacuate.
The government raised its highest storm warning in the northern province of Cagayan as Typhoon Nanmadol, locally known as Mina, intensified.
Nandmadol was northeast of Aurora as of 4 p.m. Manila time, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration said on its website. It has maximum sustained winds of more than 100 mph, and gusts of up to 150 mph, the agency said.
Public storm warning signal 4 was hoisted in Cagayan, which could result in “severe losses” for rice and corn plantation, disrupt electricity and telecommunication services and “severely” damage residential buildings made of mixed construction materials, the weather bureau said.
TV footage showed farmers in northeastern provinces reinforcing dikes in rice paddies with sandbags while floodwaters swamped several towns.
The coast guard has grounded vessels and warned of waves about 5 meters high extending to Manila Bay.
An extended forecast track shows Nanmadol weakening slightly east of southern Taiwan by Monday morning.
Hawaiian Electric Co. was denied its request that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission reconsider a July ruling that requires the utility to rebid half of its $2.3 billion Big Wind project that would bring wind energy from Lanai and Molokai to Oahu.
Honolulu Civil Beat reports that the PUC said it was not convinced that HECO’s arguments demonstrated that its ruling was “unreasonable, unlawful or erroneous.”
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii –Maui Fair director Roy Silva today announced an exciting new ride wristband promotion for the Maui Fair. Compared to previous years in which wristbands were only valid between 10am and 4pm, wristbands will now feature 10 ride tabs that can be used (one tab per ride) anytime during fair hours on Saturday, October 1, 2011. You may also share wristband tabs between friends and family, and purchase more than one wristband per person. This was not allowed previously.
“We recognized that the time period where people could use the special wristbands was short, and often people would spend most of their time waiting in line and not really able to ride as many rides the wristband was worth. Now, parents can purchase one wristband for their smaller children who won’t ride as many rides to share, or use the tabs to accompany children who are too young to ride alone,” said Silva.
As in the past, wristbands will cost $25 and must be purchased by 2:30pm. No refunds will be issued for unused tabs, or due to weather or other issues.
The 89th Maui Fair will open with the traditional parade, which is also Maui’s largest, on Thursday, September 29th, and will continue with rides, food, first-rate entertainment and more through the evening of Sunday, October 2nd, 2011.
With its beginnings in 1916 the Maui Fair has become “A Timeless Tradition”. It attracts both locals and visitors alike to enjoy an alcohol-free, smoke-free and drug-free family-oriented educational event that features multi-cultural food, first-rate entertainment, E.K. Fernandez Fun Zone, plus horticulture, Bonsai, livestock, homemaking, photo and art exhibits and competitions. This year, the 4th Annual Robo Tech Maui Expo & Competition will again showcase the future of Robotics and student achievements in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math and will continue to draw the young and old as will the unique and innovative products in the Commercial Exhibitor and Hawaii Products & Services Tents. The Maui Fair is the primary source of funding for many of Maui’s nonprofit and community organizations. It relies entirely on corporate or local business sponsorships, local donations, and volunteers for support. It’s not too late to become a Corporate Sponsor. Check out the sponsorship opportunities on the Maui Fair Website – and support your Community!
KAHULUI, Maui, Hawai‘i (August 26, 2011) – The University of Hawai‘i will be presenting to the community in the coming weeks a proposed tuition schedule it is recommending to take effect in fall 2012 through the spring 2017. At a meeting of the Board of Regents today at UH Maui College, President M.R.C. Greenwood briefed members on the university’s ongoing fiscal challenges in light of state budget constraints, the plans for the new tuition schedule, and the university’s anticipated requests of the 2012 Hawaiʻi State Legislature.
“We have sustained over $86 million in cuts to our core operating budget over the last two years, and I am very proud of the way our faculty, staff and students have responded to the call to tighten our belts and watch every penny,” she told Regents. “But we must continue to meet our obligation of making an affordable, high-quality college degree within the reach of Hawai‘i’s people. The modest tuition increases we are proposing are prudent, within the reach of our students, and absolutely critical to our long-term survival. Our top priority with the increased revenue will be putting more money and resources into financial aid so that we can still accommodate those students who are willing to work and study hard for that increasingly important college degree.”
Greenwood and her administrative staff spent almost a year putting the proposed tuition schedule together, first briefing the Regents in November 2010 on the university’s future financial needs, and carefully considering what students and families could afford, what other universities were doing, and how the extra income would be deployed to further the university’s mission. Increases will include $132 per semester at UH Mānoa in the first year, $120 per semester at UH Hilo, and $60 per semester at the community colleges. UH West O‘ahu, which faces start-up costs that more established campuses do not, will consider a $228 per semester increase in the first year.
“These increases, we believe, are reasonable,” said Greenwood, “and they were kept as low as possible in light of how Hawai‘i families are struggling financially in these times. These increases will allow us to provide more financial aid, start addressing our long-delayed repair and maintenance backlog, upgrade our business systems to better manage enrollment and the need for classes, and expand the degree offerings in fields that we know will offer good-paying jobs of the future. It’s an investment we absolutely have to make in our only public institution of higher learning in Hawai‘i.”
The next step in this process will be to present the proposed tuition schedules to the community statewide. Meetings are already being scheduled on every campus to explain the rationale, what increases would be used for, and entertain feedback from the public. This process is expected to take several weeks and the final recommendation will be presented to the Board of Regents for action at a meeting in mid-fall.
A schedule of public meetings, PDF of the presentation to the Board of Regents and links to the current and proposed tuition schedule can be found at www.hawaii.edu/news/tuition.
August 25, 2011—MA‘ALAEA, MAUI, HI – Maui Ocean Center released five juvenile green sea turtles, honu, into the ocean the morning of Thursday, August 25 at 10:30am from the shores of Ka‘anapali Beach fronting Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel. Many of the Aquarium’s employees, who have spent two years feeding, cleaning and caring for the honu, were joined by staff of the Department of Land and Natural Resources-Division of Aquatic Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel to witness the turtles’ introduction into the open ocean.
“The turtles are healthy and ready to explore life in the open ocean” said John Gorman, Curator at Maui Ocean Center. “This is the first year we released from shore and it was exciting to have the community and visitors take part in this special event.” According to Gorman, the turtles weigh around 30 pounds each.
Festivities and educational opportunities for this event included presentations by prominent local marine biologists, researchers and community members, informational booths, a turtle encounter, and a blessing of the turtles. Presentations by Cheryl King of the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, Skippy Hau of the Department of Land and Natural Resources-Division of Aquatic Resources, researcher and author Peter Bennett, and George Balazs of the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center provided information on nesting programs, current research, and the Hawskbill Recovery Project. Several organizations were on hand to provide information and answer questions including the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Land and Natural Resources-Division of Aquatic Resources, UH-Maui College Marine Option Program, Ka‘anapali Makai Watch, Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, and Maui Ocean Center. A highlight of the morning was the chance to experience an up-close and personal encounter with the honu and Maui Ocean Center’s Curatorial staff. At 10:30am, the honu each received a blessing by Kahu Dane Maxwell, the grandson of Maui Ocean Center’s Hawaiian cultural advisor Charles “Uncle Charlie” Maxwell, Jr., prior to being released to the ocean.
“In Hawaiian culture, green sea turtles are considered na ‘aumakua, a family’s ancestral god or deity that takes the form of an animal,” says Kate Zolezzi, General Manager at Maui Ocean Center. “In respect for the island’s host culture and the marine animals displayed at the Aquarium, we are honored to have Uncle Charlie or Dane present for the introduction or release of animals at Maui Ocean Center.”
Sea Turtle Release… Page Including the turtles released during Holomua na Honu, a total of thirty-six turtles have been released by Maui Ocean Center through the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Educational Loan Program. Shortly after the turtles arrived at the Aquarium and their unique personalities began to shine through, a turtle naming contest was held. Each turtle was appropriately named; 1. Hau‘oli (happy), 2. Koa (brave), 3. Kahakai (seacoast), 4. Malie (calm), and 5. Lanakila (victorious). The turtles are marked in white with “MOC” and the numbers 1 through 5 on their shells. Maui residents and visitors are urged to keep an eye out for these turtles. If you encounter one, please note the day, time and location, and contact Maui Ocean Center at (808) 270-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to help with tracking the turtles.
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