A bomb cyclone slammed the Northeast this week, leaving thousands of people without power. Meanwhile, California investigators are still trying to pin down the cause of the destructive Saddle Ridge wildfire, and the death toll continued climbing after Typhoon Hagibis unleashed devastating impacts on Japan. And speaking of tropical storm threats, the Florida Gulf coast braced on Friday for a hit from a quick-moving system that could make landfall as a tropical storm. Here's a look back at the week in weather news.
People across the Northeast on Friday were still reeling after being pounded by powerful winds from a potent storm that whipped through the region on Wednesday and left more than half a million Americans without electricity on Thursday morning. As of Friday morning, that number had dropped to just over 200,000 across New England, according to PowerOutage.us.
The storm rapidly strengthened at a fast-enough pace to reach bomb-cyclone status into Thursday, slamming the region with rain, hurricane-force winds, coastal flooding and even high-elevation snow in some spots, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. Downed trees were left scattered across roadways in eastern Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island on Wednesday, and that night, a wind gust of 70 mph was reported in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Three people died and eight others were hurt in a possibly rain-related accident involving a multi-passenger van Wednesday night in Chester County, Pennsylvania, according to state police. Air travelers had to deal with interruptions on Thursday afternoon, with more than 1,700 flights delayed in major Northeast airports.
That same storm ruined gameday for fans and players of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros on Wednesday. Game 4 of the American League Championship Series was postponed, Major League Baseball (MLB) officials confirmed Wednesday morning. The Yankees and Astros are now scheduled to play the series' last four games over the span of four consecutive days, if there's a need to play Games 6 and 7.
Studies show that a wet baseball is harder to hit, AccuWeather Staff Writer Mark Puleo reported, which can lower home run totals and make for closer, lower-scoring games. Game 4 was rescheduled for Thursday, and Game 5 was moved to Friday in New York City. Gusty winds were present for Game 4, which the Astros won 8-3, and were expected to stick around for Game 5, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.
What caused the destructive Saddle Ridge Fire that left thousands of Southern Californians without power last week? Investigators and fire officials are saying that an ignition under an electrical tower might be partly to blame.
The tower in question, which reportedly belongs to Southern California Edison (SCE), was located in an area where electricity was not turned off, according to investigators. At last update, the blaze had burned more than 8,300 acres.
SCE spokesperson Sally Jeun told The Los Angeles Times that figuring out the exact cause of the fire will be a lengthy process. "A priority right now is ensuring the safety of our customers, employees and first responders," Jeun said, adding that SCE intends to cooperate fully with investigations. "We did not deenergize any power for the Saddle Ridge fire area." The fire has killed at least one person and injured three firefighters.
Tokyo heat prompts change for 2020 Olympic Games
Olympic officials in Japan are concerned about the impact of high temperatures in Tokyo on marathon athletes competing in the 2020 Olympic games, so they want to shift the location to a cooler spot.
An Olympic panel has been working with sports-governing bodies to assess heat and weather issues predicted for the upcoming Olympics, slated for July 24 through Aug. 9, 2020. The International Olympic Committee announced plans to move the marathons and race walking events to Sapporo, which is about 500 miles north of Tokyo and was where the 1972 Winter Olympic Games took place. This change is expected to "significantly lower temperatures for the athletes."
Mosquito-borne illness kills 1 in Indiana
A potentially deadly mosquito-borne illness -Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE -has claimed another life. The most recent victim was a resident of Elkhart County, Indiana, the first victim of 2019 in the state. In fact, EEE hasn't been seen in a human in Indiana for two decades, according to The Indianapolis Star. The rare but often fatal virus, more commonly seen in the eastern United States, is found in horses and mosquitoes but can also infect humans through mosquito bites.
This can lead to severe cases of encephalitis, which results in death one-third of the time. Usually in the U.S., there are between 5 and 10 reported EEE cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There have been at least 12 deaths reported this year. Experts are saying that despite lessened mosquito activity anticipated as fall progresses, there's still a risk of contracting EEE until the first hard freeze.
Deadly earthquake strikes Philippines
|Debris was left scattered on the floor of a damaged store a day after a strong quake struck in Digos, Davao del Sur province, southern Philippines Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo)|
The southern Philippines was rocked by a strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake that triggered several aftershocks on Wednesday night, local time. At least three people, including a girl hit by a collapsed wall, were reportedly killed in the damaging quake, which also injured more than 20 others.
Impacted residents lost power, and a fire broke out at a shopping center shortly after the quake struck. The shallow earthquake was centered about 5 miles from Columbio with a depth of just 9 miles, according to the Associated Press.
|Two vehicles are submerged in floodwaters Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Hoyasu, Japan. Rescue crews in Japan dug through mudslides and searched near swollen rivers Monday as they looked for those missing from a typhoon that left as many as 36 dead and caused serious damage in central and northern Japan. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)|
The death toll in Japan continued to rise this week, days after the devastating wrath of Typhoon Hagibis, which made landfall on Oct. 12 in central Honshu. Nearly 80 fatalities have been blamed on the powerful storm.
Hundreds were hurt and at least 14 people were missing, public broadcaster NHK reported, and widespread power outages lingered this week as rescue and cleanup efforts were underway. One of the biggest threats from Hagibis, as AccuWeather predicted, was flooding rainfall.
At least 50 rivers swelled from the impact of heavy downpours, causing several nearby towns and cities to be inundated, forcing people from their homes, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
A record of nearly 39 inches of rain fell over Hakone in the Kanagawa Prefecture in just 48 hours, NHK reported. The drenching rain led the Japan Meteorology Agency (JMA) to issue level 5 heavy rain emergencies - the highest level in the agency's warning system - across at least seven prefectures at the height of Hagibis.