Last week, weather officials warned cities and towns along the East Coast about the dangers associated with Hurricane Irene, which reached a Category 3 storm in open waters, but hit land as a Category 1. In addition to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where the storm made landfall, officials in major cities in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania declared a State of Emergency ahead of the storm as they anticipated millions of dollars in damage.
Luckily, the major cities avoided major damage beyond downed trees and power outages. Vermont, and parts of Upstate New York, though, weren’t so lucky. Rains from Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it crossed into Vermont, caused some of the worst flooding in a century. Irene dumped up to eight inches of rain on the landlocked state in a short amount of time, causing flood waters that closed an estimated 263 roads and forced people to leave their homes to stay in emergency shelters. Nearly 10,000 people in the state remain without power, but officials expect the rivers to crest Monday, meaning recovery efforts can get underway.
The Indiana State Fair has reopened today after a memorial service was held to honor the three people killed when the stage collapsed Saturday night during a storm. About two dozen people were injured when the outdoor rigging for the concert stage collapsed during a period of high winds, trapping those waiting to see country sensations Sugarland perform around 9 p.m. Saturday night. The fair remained closed Sunday as officials investigated the incident.
Reports from those present, including Sara Bareilles who opened for Sugarland, said that the weather at the fairgrounds changed dramatically over the course of just a few minutes. Concert officials were already working to evacuate the fairground grandstand as the weather continued to worsen when the collapse happened. Officials are now looking into whether or not fair officials had acted quickly enough to warn concert goers of the approaching storm.
As friends and strangers alike mourned the deaths of the three individuals killed, stories of heroics continue to emerge. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told the crowds gathered at Monday’s memorial service that there was “a hero every 10 feet on Saturday night.” As crowds ran to escape the collapsing stage, many ran into the path of danger to try to help those who were trapped.
Indiana, which is situated in the area known as tornado alley, is no stranger to sudden, devastating changes in weather. Tornado-force winds hit Indianapolis in 2006 as thousands exited a free outdoor concert by John Mellencamp and in 2004 a tornado delayed the start of the Indianapolis 500 by several hours after it touched down just south of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Since the temperatures are extreme this summer make sure you double check what is in your car before getting out. If the outdoors are 90 degrees Fahrenheit the car interior can quickly reach close to 140 degrees in only 90 minutes.
The Weather Channel polled their Facebook fans to find out what items had been destroyed in their cars. After receiving over 200 comments, they have narrowed it down into twelve categories:
Sunscreen and Medications
Electronics: MP3, iPods, GPS, cameras
Glasses: Sunglasses and reading glasses can warp the frames and lenses.
Miscellaneous Items: Flip flops
CDs and DVDs
Plastics: The chemicals that are in the plastic water bottles can leak toxins into your drink.
Chocolates, Gum and Candy
Source: The Weather Channel