Weather Updates: Latest on Storms, Floods and Wildfires - The New York Times

2022-11-11 20:47:44 By : Mr. Shaofeng Zhang

Tracking extreme weather in a time of growing threats.

A day after Hurricane Nicole slammed Florida with pounding rain and whipping winds, the storm, now a tropical depression, will merge with another weather system on Friday as it moves north, soaking parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States with several inches of rain, forecasters said. Disk Spring

Weather Updates: Latest on Storms, Floods and Wildfires - The New York Times

An excessive rain outlook for Friday by the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center showed a large section of the country from northern Georgia up to Maine under a marginal risk for flash flooding. A smaller area further inland, from southwestern North Carolina up through Ohio and western Pennsylvania and farther north into upstate New York, was under a slight risk for flash flooding.

Sources: The New York Times; rainfall forecast by NOAA as of 5:45 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 10. Estimates are for Nov. 9 through Nov. 14. Times are Eastern.

Meteorologists also warned that tornadoes were possible early Friday in the Carolinas and later in the day in Virginia as the storm inches north.

Nicole, which was packing winds of 35 miles per hour with higher gusts, will move across central and northern Georgia on Friday morning and through the western Carolinas later in the day, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia asked residents to remain alert ahead of the storm, but did not declare a state of emergency. The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency warned residents to take precautions in case of flooding. Similar warnings were issued in the Carolinas.

While Florida received the brunt of Nicole’s effects, areas farther north should prepare for heavy rain. Up to four inches were expected through Saturday for parts of the southeast and the Appalachians, as well as for portions of Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. Areas along the Blue Ridge could see up to eight inches.

The storm was expected to weaken to a post-tropical cyclone on Friday and then dissipate as it merges with another weather system moving in from the West.

Nicole made landfall on Thursday as a rare November hurricane, causing severe flooding and devastating coastal erosion on Florida’s east coast.

The storm swept across the state, causing at least four deaths and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

In Volusia County, at least two dozen hotels and condominiums were deemed unsafe, leading to the evacuation of about 500 residents.

Much of North Dakota was under a blizzard warning on Thursday, with stiff winds and up to 18 inches of snow expected in some areas. The State Capitol in Bismarck was closed because of the conditions.

“The proverbial squeeze play between large Canadian high pressure to the north and deepening Subtropical Storm Nicole will begin today,” the National Weather Service’s office in Charleston, S.C., wrote Tuesday morning. (Nicole has since become a full-fledged tropical storm.)

That “squeeze play” —  technically, a pressure gradient — is the driving force behind the winds that are increasing across the Southeast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The highs and lows on weather maps, marked with the familiar H’s and L’s, refer to air pressure. But it can be useful to imagine them as physical terrain — a high mountain and a low valley — and then think of starting a ball rolling from the top of the mountain.

The higher the mountain or the deeper the valley, the faster the ball would roll. And if you were to move the mountain peak closer to the valley, the steeper the slope would be — again, making the ball roll faster. That, in a simplified way, is what happens with the wind blowing from a high to a low.

The strong area of high pressure over Canada on Tuesday will push down into the Northeast over the next day, while the intensifying low pressure system — Nicole — will be moving westward toward Florida. That means that not only will there be a big difference in pressure between the two, but the distance between them will also be shrinking — thus the squeeze play.

“As a result, northeasterly winds are forecast to increase today,” the Weather Service office in Melbourne, Fla., said Tuesday morning.

Maps show the storm’s forecast track and rainfall as it crossed Florida and headed up the Appalachians.

Tropical storm-force wind gusts (39 miles an hour or more) will arrive as early as midnight for much of Florida’s east coast. The winds will continue to strengthen along the Atlantic Coast, from Florida to South Carolina, through late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, when the center of the storm is expected to make landfall.

With a strong pressure gradient and the long duration of the northeasterly winds, meteorologists at the National Weather Service are very concerned about a prolonged period of dangerous beach conditions.

“These winds, high seas, and surf will combine with high astronomical tides to bring the threat of significant beach erosion around the times of the next several high tide cycles,” the Melbourne office wrote Tuesday morning.

Storm surge could reach 3 to 5 feet along a large portion of the east coast of Florida, and may even reach 6 feet in spots, creating the risk for coastal flooding.

The latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center make it clear that this week a storm with hurricane-force winds could be menacing the east coast of Florida.

Just a reminder: It’s November.

And yes, the official Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30. But that doesn’t mean that Subtropical Storm Nicole, as the system was named on Monday, wouldn’t be a rare event if it strengthened to hurricane status over warm waters near the Bahamas and hit the United States — an outcome the forecast says is likely.

Here are some of the ways that a Hurricane Nicole would be unusual, according to Phil Klotzbach, a senior research scientist at Colorado State University who studies hurricanes and their history:

This year would tie the record set in 2001 for the most Atlantic hurricane formations in November, at three.

If it were to make landfall in Florida at hurricane strength, Nicole would be the second-latest hurricane ever to hit the continental United States, after only Hurricane Kate, which made landfall in 1985 along the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 hurricane.

It would be the latest recorded landfall ever for a hurricane on the east coast of Florida.

Even if the storm doesn’t make it to hurricane strength, Dr. Klotzbach said that if Nicole sticks to forecasts, it “would still be the strongest tropical storm to make landfall along the Florida east coast this late in the calendar year on record.”

Forecasters issued a hurricane watch on Monday for parts of the east coast of Florida. John Cangialosi, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said in an interview that forecasters expected a small core of hurricane-force winds to develop near the center of Nicole and an expansive tropical storm-force wind field to stretch along the Florida and Georgia coasts.

Powerful winds that swept through Michigan on Saturday left more than 100,000 electricity customers without power on Sunday.

Peak gusts ranged from 50 to 64 miles per hour on Saturday afternoon and evening, causing widespread damage to power lines across the lower part of the state, according to the National Weather Service. The high winds were caused by a strong low pressure system moving northeast through the middle of the country, causing extreme gales from Missouri to Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

It is fairly typical for that kind of weather system to occur once or twice in the fall, said Janis Laurens, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Those types of peak wind gusts in the 50 to 65 miles per hour range really aren’t unusual for a low pressure system that’s that strong.”

Terry DeDoes, a spokesman with Consumers Energy, one of Michigan’s two primary utility companies, said that it had crews working around the clock to restore service to the nearly 94,000 customers it serves who were without power.

“We’re anticipating by tonight to have about half of our customers that have been impacted restored,” Mr. DeDoes said on Sunday afternoon. The company estimates that some customers may not have power back until Wednesday, and with midterm elections taking place in the state on Tuesday, restoring service to polling locations has become a high priority.

The Midwest was not the only region that experienced heavy winds this weekend. Storms in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas led to tornadoes and flooding that left at least two dead and hundreds of homes and other buildings damaged or destroyed. And on Friday, storms in Snohomish County, Wash., caused power outages for nearly 200,000 residents.

Amanda Holpuch and Eliza Fawcett

At least one person was killed and at least 10 others were injured after tornadoes struck Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas on Friday night, officials said.

More than 150 homes and buildings were damaged in the storms, which tore through rural areas, hitting McCurtain County in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma especially hard.

“The office of the chief medical examiner has confirmed one fatality in or near Pickens in McCurtain County,” Keli Cain, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said in an email.

In McCurtain County, the storm leveled buildings, pulverized concrete and warped metal. Videos and photos posted online showed the storm snapping trees in half and downing power lines.

Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma wrote on Twitter that the state had sent search-and-rescue teams and generators to the county. He said storms had also hit Bryan, Choctaw and Le Flore Counties.

Carly Atchison, a spokeswoman for Mr. Stitt, said in an email that the governor was assessing the damage on Saturday in Idabel, the McCurtain County seat, which has a population of about 7,000 people.

“Over 100 homes and businesses have been damaged,” Ms. Atchison said. “The governor will issue an executive order today to declare a state of emergency in the affected counties to ensure those communities have the resources and support they need from the state.”

On Friday evening, Don Myer was at home, a few miles away from Trinity Baptist Church of Idabel, the congregation he has led for the past four years, when he began receiving calls from residents that the church had been hit. He drove there a little before 9 p.m., only to realize, he said, “Oh, that’s not hit; that’s demolished.”

The church’s roof and walls were largely gone, the structure reduced to rubble. Only its multipurpose gym building remained, Mr. Myer said. No one had been in the church when the tornado tore through town, though at least one family in the congregation lost its home, he said. The tornado “just ran a path all the way from the southwest part of town through the northeast where we’re at,” he said. “There’s been a lot of damage.”

The church, which celebrated its 51st anniversary last week, typically attracts about 125 to 150 parishioners for Sunday services, Mr. Myer said. Despite the destruction, he still plans to lead his congregation on Sunday morning.

“We’re going to gather there in the parking lot for a worship service,” he said, adding that he thought people needed to gather and “re-center” themselves in worship and prayer. “And from there, we’ll move on.”

At least 10 people were injured and some homes and buildings were destroyed in an East Texas county near the border of Oklahoma that is about 100 miles northeast from Dallas.

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday, one tornado struck Lamar County, Texas, and damaged or destroyed 50 homes, the county sheriff and emergency management office said in a statement on Friday night.

Ten people were injured in the county and treated at a hospital, including two people who were in critical condition, but were stable, officials said.

In Paris, the county seat of Lamar County with a population of about 24,000, Shane Whittiker, the pastor of Lamar Point Baptist Church, was helping organize relief efforts. His church was not in the tornado’s path, but he said some congregants who lived in the nearby Caviness area lost everything. Another congregant was thrown from her vehicle during the tornado and hospitalized with injuries, he said.

“In the Lamar Point area, we have at least two to three neighborhoods that are just nothing,” Mr. Whittiker added. “Whole houses gone, nothing but concrete left.”

As of about 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, more than 12,000 customers were without power in Texas, according to, which aggregates data from utilities across the country.

The National Weather Service office in Shreveport, La., issued its highest level warning for a tornado on Friday night.

This rare warning, a tornado emergency, is only sent when a tornado is confirmed and presents a severe threat with the possibility of catastrophic damage.

The tornado emergency was issued in cities in Oklahoma, including Idabel, Broken Bow and Eagletown; in Texas, including New Boston and Hooks; and in Arkansas, including Arden and Ashdown.

John Hart, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, said workers from at least four Weather Service offices had been dispatched to the remote, rural areas hit hardest by the storm to survey the damage and to determine how many tornadoes hit.

“There were numerous reports of significant damage across parts of East Texas, southeast Oklahoma and western Arkansas and quite a few of those may end up being tornadoes,” Mr. Hart said.

The peak tornado season, the time of year when tornadoes are most prevalent, normally runs from May into early June, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mr. Hart said strong tornadoes were not common in November, but they do occur occasionally. Last November, there were 25 preliminary tornado reports from the Storm Prediction Center.

In December 2021, at least 90 people died after tornadoes tore across Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. The National Weather Service reported that there were 61 tornadoes during that outbreak.

Scientists are not yet able to determine whether there is a link between climate change and the frequency or strength of tornadoes.

Tornadoes are relatively small, short-lived weather events, and because of that, there is limited historical data on their prevalence in the past; scientists need at least 40 years of weather data before they are able to draw a causal link.

Researchers say that in recent years tornadoes seemed to be occurring in greater “clusters,” and that the area of the country known as Tornado Alley, a region where most tornadoes occur, seemed to be shifting eastward.

The timing of tornado seasons is also becoming more unpredictable, researchers have found, with more early and late starts compared with decades ago. The reason for this is unclear.

Martin became a post-tropical cyclone as it moved over the central North Atlantic Thursday, a day after strengthening into a hurricane. Forecasters said that while it was causing strong winds and hazardous seas it posed no immediate threat to land.

Martin, the 13th named storm and seventh hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic season, was 940 miles west of the Azores on Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.

The storm was moving north-northeast at about 58 miles per hour and was predicted to turn north on Thursday night. Martin had maximum sustained winds of 80 m.p.h. but was expected to gradually lose strength over the next few days. The Hurricane Center did not plan on issuing any further advisories on this storm.

Source: Observed and forecast storm positions from NOAA

By The New York Times

Separately, Lisa weakened from a tropical storm to a depression after it made landfall in Belize as a hurricane on Wednesday. Lisa was working its way through southeastern Mexico on Thursday.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through the end of November, had a relatively quiet start, with only three named storms before Sept. 1 and none during August, the first time that has happened since 1997. Storm activity picked up in early September with Danielle and Earl, which formed within a day of each other. By the end of September, Hurricane Ian had slammed into the coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in the past decade.

In early August, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an updated forecast for the rest of the season, which still called for an above-normal level of activity. In it, they predicted that 14 to 20 named storms could form this season, with six to 10 turning into hurricanes that sustain winds of at least 74 m.p.h.

The National Weather Service in April shared the storm names for the Atlantic hurricane season, which started June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Here are the new hurricane names →

Atlantic hurricanes are named according to six rotating alphabetical lists maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

This year’s 21-name list is as follows: Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Ian, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Martin, Nicole, Owen, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tobias, Virginie and Walter.

Hurricane names are retired when a storm causes history-making destruction or death, and reusing the name would be insensitive to people who were affected by the storm.

This is the first time Martin and Owen have made the list, replacing Matthew and Otto, which were retired in 2016.

Separately, the W.M.O. said in April that it was retiring the name Ida. A deadly and destructive Category 4 hurricane by that name made landfall in Louisiana last year, and its remnants later caused catastrophic flooding in the Northeast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it was expecting 2022 to be an above-normal season in the Atlantic, despite a slow start, with 14 to 20 named storms.

Last year, there were 21 named storms, after a record-breaking 30 in 2020. For the past two years, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, an occurrence that has happened only one other time, in 2005.

The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; scientists have suggested storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without the human effects on climate. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surge — the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.

Víctor Manuel Ramos, April Rubin, Mike Ives and Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.

Lisa, a once powerful storm that is now a tropical depression, will continue to move away from the coast of Mexico on Friday and weaken into a remnant low by Sunday, forecasters said.

The storm made landfall as a hurricane in Belize on Wednesday afternoon, forcing many in the nation of about 400,000 people to take shelter from powerful winds and the threat of flooding.

On Thursday, Belize City struggled with the aftermath of the hurricane. Lampposts had fallen and some houses had lost their roofs. Entire structures had collapsed. Most homes and businesses were without power. Much of the city, Belize’s economic capital and largest city, was flooded by the heavy rains and sea surge, said Ronald Gordon, the country’s chief meteorologist.

The power company, Belize Electricity Limited, said on its Facebook page on Thursday night that power supply had been restored to some areas most affected by damages to the power system and that others would require extensive repairs.

Times are Mexico Central Time.

Source: Observed and forecast storm positions from NOAA

By The New York Times

Prime Minister Johnny Briceño said there was “great damage and loss of property,” adding that his administration would “identify where help is urgently needed.”

By Thursday morning, the storm had weakened significantly and was downgraded to a tropical storm. The governments of Belize and Mexico had discontinued their tropical storm warnings, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The only international airport in Belize, the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport northwest of Belize City, was cleared to reopen on Thursday morning.

However, forecasters warned early Friday, that parts of Mexico needed to monitor the storm, now a tropical depression, as it moved over the Bay of Campeche, with winds of 30 miles per hour. Forecasters said Lisa would become nearly stationary and meander on Saturday. It was then expected to further weaken into a remnant low by Sunday.

Lisa was about 145 miles west of Ciudad del Carmen as of early Friday. The rainfall threat linked to the depression was forecast to continue to diminish, with up to two additional inches of rain possible across a portion of southeastern Mexico on Friday.

On Wednesday, heavy rain and wind were visible in livestream footage of the coast of Honduras that was posted by Los del Puerto, a news site in Puerto Cortés, Honduras. In Guatemala, Conred, the national emergency management agency, said that 19 homes had been damaged by flooding late Wednesday morning in Melchor de Mencos, a municipality on the border with Belize.

#Petén Flood in the urban area of ​​Melchor de Mencos, Petén;According to the Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis -EDAN- there are 19 houses with

Twelve shelters in Belize City were housing 1,221 people as of noon local time on Wednesday. Most of the shelters were occupied and being serviced by public officers, Mayor Bernard Wagner of Belize City said.

Lisa formed on Monday, becoming the 12th named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. The season, which runs from June through November, had a relatively quiet start, with only three named storms before Sept. 1 and none during August, the first time that has happened since 1997. Storm activity picked up in early September with Danielle and Earl, which formed within a day of each other.

By the end of September, Hurricane Ian had slammed into the coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States in the past decade.

Last year, there were 21 named storms, after a record-breaking 30 in 2020. For the past two years, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, an occurrence that has happened only one other time, in 2005.

The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surge — the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.

Reporting was contributed by Christine Hauser, Mike Ives, McKenna Oxenden, April Rubin, Chris Stanford, Víctor Manuel Ramos and Derrick Bryson Taylor. Joan Suazo contributed reporting from Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Hipolito Novelo from Belize City, Belize; and Johnny Diaz from Miami.

SEATTLE — In a high-altitude landscape parched by drought, U.S. Forest Service crews took advantage of some stable weather in eastern Oregon this month and prepared to burn off some thick underbrush and shrubbery at the edge of the Blue Mountains, part of an expanding strategy to remove forest fuel that can turn fires into conflagrations.

The target was a 300-acre tract of woodlands in the Malheur National Forest, adjacent to a private cattle ranch. But the controlled fire that the crew set on the afternoon of Oct. 19 jumped a containment line and charred through a portion of the nearby ranch. Two sisters from the family-owned Windy Point Cattle Company made their way through the smoke-filled landscape for a furious confrontation with the Forest Service’s “burn boss,” Ricky Snodgrass, and then dialed 911.

What happened next, federal officials say, was highly unusual in the modern history of the Forest Service and its programs for managing federal lands across the country. The Grant County sheriff arrived on scene, placed Mr. Snodgrass in handcuffs and sent him to jail.

The Forest Service chief, Randy Moore, has protested the arrest, declaring in a message to employees that he will not “stand idly by without fully defending the burn boss and all employees carrying out their official duties as federal employees.”

For Tonna Holliday, one of the sisters, who lost about 20 acres of timber and grassland to the errant blaze, the crackdown was an appropriate response to a conflict between private landowners and federal land managers in eastern Oregon that had, in one measure or another, been simmering for years.

“It needed to happen,” she said. “Somebody needed to be accountable.”

The Forest Service ignites thousands of prescribed fires on more than a million acres each year, in an effort to make forests more resilient and limit the potency of wildland blazes.

With climate change driving an increase in the size, frequency and ferocity of wildfires, the Forest Service adopted a plan this year to step up those prescribed burns, and also more aggressively thin forest stands with strategic logging programs.

The need was apparent in places like eastern Oregon. A fire in 2015 that began in the Malheur National Forest swept out of control when the winds whipped up and destroyed 43 homes, along with barns, haystacks, rangeland and livestock.

But even before this month's confrontation in Oregon, the Forest Service’s burn effort had gotten off to a problematic start.

A prescribed burning operation in April accidentally spawned the largest wildfire in New Mexico’s recorded history, consuming hundreds of homes and hundreds of thousands of acres of land. The Forest Service ordered a three-month suspension on all prescribed fires; in a subsequent review, agency officials found a culture that pressured employees to reach acreage targets for prescribed burns, and local staff members who needed more help with risk analysis.

The review recommended changes, including a more thorough review of the complexity and conditions of any prescribed fires, but the Forest Service cleared the way for prescribed burns to proceed.

It was toward the tail end of Oregon’s fire season, in mid-October, when officials prepared the operation in Malheur National Forest. It was a small effort on the northern side of Bear Valley, a tiny portion of the many thousands of acres in the area that the agency has identified for possible prescribed burns.

The Forest Service’s operations in this part of Oregon have long been the subject of contention in Grant County, where the U.S. government manages some 60 percent of the land.

Locals have long stewed over federal land management policies, including logging restrictions that have contributed to declines in timber production and the shuttering of the region’s sawmills.

In the 1990s, the county approved a measure that tried, unsuccessfully, to prohibit the federal government from owning or managing land in the county. In the 2000s, voters approved a petition that asked Congress to surrender federal claims to land in the area.

The region’s most visible confrontation occurred one county over in 2016, with an armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a tense standoff led by extremists who opposed federal land management.

That turbulent history was very much in the background when the Forest Service prepared the small, initial burn in Bear Valley on Oct. 13 — six days before the burn that would lead to problems. The agency said it had carefully monitored conditions across the forest and determined that the temperature, humidity and moisture of the fuels were right to begin.

But Ms. Holliday said that this first burn brought early troubles, consuming some fences on federal land that the Hollidays were responsible for maintaining. She said the fire had shown signs of spotting, risking a jump over the highway.

“We had words with them that day,” Ms. Holliday said.

A spokesman for the Forest Service declined to discuss details but said that it was common for prescribed burns to impact fencing and that crews often returned to repair them.

Ms. Holliday said she and other family members, concerned about drought conditions, warm temperatures and unpredictable afternoon winds, were hoping the crews would not return, but the Forest Service announced the next week that it was going to burn more acreage, affirming that crews had reviewed the conditions and found them acceptable.

“Forest thinning and the safe and effective use of prescribed fire, often in conjunction, are essential tools for reducing wildfire risks and creating resilient, fire-adapted landscapes,” the agency wrote in announcing its planned burn.

Ms. Holliday said the operation on Oct. 19 began without issue. But in the afternoon, she said, the fire jumped a roadway and moved onto the family’s private land. There, it burned approximately 20 acres, according to the Grant County sheriff’s office, in an area where the forest starts fading into grasslands.

Sheriff Todd McKinley arrived on scene, questioned the family and asked Ms. Holliday’s brother whether he wanted to press charges, according to her account, which could not be confirmed with the authorities beyond their official statements confirming the arrest.

When her brother answered in the affirmative, Ms. Holliday said, the sheriff arrested Mr. Snodgrass and took him to jail on suspicion of reckless burning. He was later granted conditional release from custody, with the authorities saying that they would continue to investigate the case.

Mr. Snodgrass declined to comment, but he told The Blue Mountain Eagle that the arrest came as crews were still confronting the fire, and said that the sheriff put both the crews and land at risk by taking him away at that moment. The blaze was eventually quelled.

The sheriff declined an interview but acknowledged the tensions in the region that had resurfaced.

“To prevent a boil-over of emotion, or in the effort to limit that, I am refraining from making comments on the issue at this time,” the sheriff said.

The district attorney, Jim Carpenter, said in a statement that an investigation was ongoing and that it could take weeks or months to reach a decision about pursuing charges. He said he respected the sheriff’s discretion and decision to make an arrest.

“To be clear, the employer and/or position of Snodgrass will not protect him if it is determined that he acted recklessly,” Mr. Carpenter said. “That the U.S.F.S. was engaging in a prescribed burn may actually raise, rather than lower the standard to which Snodgrass will be held.”

The arrest has rattled federal workers who have long tried to navigate the frustrations of local communities while carrying out federal land management policy, often operating on a limited budget. In his letter to agency employees, Mr. Moore, the Forest Service chief, said that crews had been engaging in appropriate, coordinated and vital work.

“In my opinion, this arrest was highly inappropriate under these circumstances,” he said.

An agency spokesman said the burn had been done by the book and did not offer an explanation for how it had encroached on nearby land.

What happens next — and the issue of how to protect both forests and nearby residents from the undeniable threats posed by worsening wildfires — is now up for debate.

Ms. Holliday said people in Grant County were not necessarily opposed to prescribed burns, but needed to know that federal fire managers were able to keep them under control.

“They need to go back to the drawing table and talk about these prescribed burns,” she said.

Mark Webb, a former Grant County judge who leads a collaborative effort involving both the timber industry and conservationists to strengthen forests in the region, said the Malheur National Forest was so far behind on the amount of burning that needed to be done that people could not appreciate the scale. Those efforts, he said, will necessarily involve some risks to private lands.

Mr. Webb said he feared that the arrest could make collaboration during an important time even more challenging.

“The arrest may well be warranted, I don’t know,” he said. “But what happens from a public perspective is it dampens the willingness to take chances, to take risks, to try new things and to learn.”

You would be forgiven if your head was spinning at the headlines about climate change this week. Some reports say countries are falling far short of their promises, with serious consequences likely, but there also seemed to be some signs of optimism. Here’s a quick look.

Let’s start with the word “optimistic,” a word not often seen in an article about climate change. The Morning newsletter explored the meaning of optimism in the context of climate trends, and where in the world progress has been made.

It cited the work of the columnist David Wallace-Wells, who five years ago explored a worst-case scenario for climate change in which the planet warmed by as much as 5 degrees Celsius by 2100. That would be catastrophic, bringing extreme weather, environmental damage, economic collapse, famine and war, while hitting developing countries especially hard.

But Mr. Wallace-Wells now sees that level of doom as much less likely, suggesting that human beings have made progress on one of their most serious challenges ever faced. “I’ve grown more optimistic than I used to be,” Mr. Wallace-Wells said. “The endgame looks calmer and more stable than it did a few years ago.”

Mr. Wallace-Wells wrote an essay published online on Wednesday in The New York Times Magazine’s climate issue. His essay is a broad treatment of a new climate reality that is taking shape: one that falls somewhere short of outright doom.

He starts with the word “apocalyptic” to describe years-old projections for the future in which “business as usual” would bring four or even five degrees Celsius of warming and the food crises, heat stress, conflict and economic strife and more that it would entail. But he notes that scientists believe that warming this century will most likely fall between two or three degrees.

“Those numbers may sound abstract, but what they suggest is this: Thanks to astonishing declines in the price of renewables, a truly global political mobilization, a clearer picture of the energy future and serious policy focus from world leaders, we have cut expected warming almost in half in just five years,” Mr. Wallace-Wells wrote.

But he also warned about falling back on what he called the handy narratives of apocalypse and normality. You can explore his account of dozens of conversations with climate scientists, economists, policymakers, activists, and others, and the guideposts he uses to help map the landscape of climate possibilities.

The range of two to three degrees of warming was confirmed this week by the United Nations, in a report covered by The Times. Even though that scenario is an improvement over earlier projections, it still translates into severe disruption. With each fraction of a degree of warming, tens of millions more people worldwide would be exposed to life-threatening heat waves, food and water scarcity, and flooding.

The report said countries are failing to live up to commitments to fight climate change: only 26 of 193 countries that agreed last year to step up their actions have followed through. One problem appears to be unified action. On Monday, the European Union said it could only increase emissions reductions pledges when its members agreed on upcoming climate laws.

But an energy crisis, global inflation and political turmoil in countries like Britain and Brazil have distracted leaders and complicated cooperative efforts to tackle climate change. War in Europe has also been a factor.

Meanwhile, this week the International Energy Agency analyzed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on global warming and proposed a possible positive development: The energy crisis triggered by the war is likely to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner technologies.

That shift, however, is not happening fast enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, the agency said.

Some countries have been burning more fossil fuels, such as coal, in response to natural gas shortages caused by the war in Ukraine. Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels, and that means global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are expected to rise roughly 1 percent and approach record highs.

But the rising cost of fossil fuels propelled many countries to invest heavily in clean, renewable alternatives, the I.E.A. said.

The rise in emissions would have been three times as large had it not been for a rapid deployment of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles worldwide, the agency said in its World Energy Outlook, which forecasts global energy trends.

“It’s notable that many of these new clean energy targets aren’t being put in place solely for climate change reasons,” said Fatih Birol, the agency’s executive director, in an interview. “Increasingly, the big drivers are energy security as well as industrial policy — a lot of countries want to be at the leading edge of the energy industries of the future.”

Residents of a neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., were told to consider evacuating on Sunday as a wind-fueled mulch fire burned out of control. Smoke was visible on Interstate 470, and firefighters from multiple departments were working to put out the blaze.

Crews from @KCMOFireDept, Raytown Fire, & Lees Summit Fire are Putting out multiple fires along I-470 Hwy/Raytown Rd. Please be alert if you live nearby and avoid the area. @MoDOT_KC @kcpolice

A fire in central Missouri burned up to 4,000 acres on Saturday and brought firefighters from across the state to the small town of Wooldridge, where several buildings were damaged. The Cooper County Fire Protection District said around 20 structures burned and at least one person was injured. The fire, which was fueled by strong winds and low humidity, forced the closure of Interstate 70 for about two hours.

Hurricane Roslyn brought damaging winds and storm surge to west-central Mexico on Sunday and killed at least three people before being downgraded to a tropical storm and breaking up inland, officials said.

The storm dissipated Sunday night over east-central Mexico after bringing heavy rains and flash flooding, the National Hurricane Center said.

There were reports of damage in the state of Nayarit, where the storm made landfall early Sunday. Nearly 100,000 people had lost power across the country, and residents of some affected communities faced road blockages from fallen trees or mud, as the authorities worked to make necessary repairs and survey any further damages.

Jorge Benito Rodríguez Martínez, secretary of security in Nayarit, confirmed the death of a 39-year-old woman, Ana Pimentel Moreno, from the Rosamorada municipality. She was killed when her house collapsed.

He added that people trapped in homes had been rescued.

In the municipalities of San Blas and Santiago Ixcuintla, which faced some of the worst effects, some 90 percent of residents were displaced in shelters or staying with relatives in higher areas, he said.

The mayor of Santiago Ixcuintla, Eduardo Lugo, confirmed the death of another person, identified as Gilberto Hernández Rodríguez, a resident of the island of Mexcaltitán. He was 80 years old. A wall in his home had collapsed.

And in Bahía de Banderas, Mauro Adán Ochoa Manzo, a road police officer, died of cardiac arrest while carrying out cleaning tasks on a section of Highway 200, the state’s government said.

Local officials reported that in the town of Sayulita, in Bahía de Banderas, a bay on the coast of Nayarit, a 35-year-old woman and an 85-year-old woman with mobility problems were rescued and taken to a temporary shelter after the rising river had trapped them. In northern Nayarit, the mayor of Acaponeta, Manuel Salcedo Osuna, reported extensive damage to houses and utility poles and fallen trees and other debris. He pleaded with residents on his Facebook page to go to a shelter if their houses were unstable in any way.

Mexico’s federal electricity commission said that some 99,580 people were without electricity as of Sunday afternoon.

Roslyn dropped to a Category 3 hurricane, from a Category 4 before it made landfall, and it weakened into a tropical storm as it moved farther inland, according to the National Hurricane Center. As of 11 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, the remnants of the storm were about 50 miles west to northwest of the city of Monterrey, Mexico, moving northeast at a speed of about 22 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds dropped to 30 m.p.h., the agency said.

Tropical storm conditions were felt through parts of west-central Mexico throughout Sunday, but no coastal watches or warnings remained in effect by 11 p.m. An additional one to two inches of rain was expected along coastal, northeastern and west-central parts of Mexico.

Times are in Mexico Mountain Time.

Source: Observed and forecast storm positions from NOAA

By The New York Times

The governor of the state of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, said on Twitter on Sunday that schools would reopen and hold classes and activities on Monday. Puerto Vallarta’s airport resumed operations, he added, but beaches would remain closed.

In southern Durango, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Nayarit and Zacatecas, rainfall of one to three inches was expected, with a maximum rainfall total of 10 inches.

Landslides could be caused by the rain in areas with rugged terrain, forecasters warned. Water levels, which rose from the storm surge, were expected to subside Sunday afternoon, forecasters said. Swells generated by Roslyn were likely to affect southwestern Mexico, west-central Mexico and the southern part of the Baja California peninsula. Those swells were likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions.

The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide during the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms, though the overall number of storms could drop because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because of more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere. Scientists have suggested that storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without the human effects on climate. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surge, the most destructive element of tropical cyclones.

Karina Cancino contributed reporting from Tepic, Nayarit.Hector Castro contributed from Mazatlan.Melina Delkic, Vimal Patel, Víctor Manuel Ramos and April Rubin contributed reporting from New York.

Hurricane Roslyn, a Category 3 storm, is expected to make landfall on the coast of west-central Mexico on Sunday morning, and could bring significant coastal flooding. The National Hurricane Center is advising people in that area to rush their preparations because of potentially dangerous winds on Saturday afternoon.

Wildfires burning across the Pacific Northwest through a season of record-breaking heat and dry weather have spread a blanket of smoke across Seattle, Portland and other parts of the region, where residents are breathing some of the planet’s worst air this week.

Photographers looking to capture Seattle’s iconic skyline have found it shrouded in haze as the city carries the scent of a mass bonfire. While the warm temperatures seemed to offer an extended season of hiking and biking, the smoke kept many indoors.

The Seattle area recorded a high of 88 degrees over the weekend; the city has never recorded an 80-degree day so late into fall. But by this weekend, highs will drop into the 50s, bringing relief as a cool front spreads across the Pacific Northwest. Forecasters said that breezes could blow away the smoke, while rain douses lingering wildfires and the region gets its first true taste of fall.

“Good news: The rainy season is almost upon us,” declared the Washington State Department of Ecology.

See the latest wildfires as they burn near homes and landmarks in California, Oregon and other nearby states.

The region has endured a series of record-setting heat waves in recent years, some of which scientists have determined were made worse by climate change; more are expected as the world warms. Skies have been shrouded for much of September and October as easterly winds have blown smoke from wildfires lingering in the Cascades, bringing air quality to unhealthy levels. Some schools have canceled outdoor activities.

On Wednesday, weather stations throughout the Pacific Northwest were recording the worst air quality in the United States, while Portland and Seattle ranked among the worst big cities globally. Health officials urged people — especially pregnant mothers, children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions — to limit their exposure and encouraged them to use air-purifying fans, while officials near Portland banned wood-burning fires.

Christine Chung and Christine Hauser

An early season winter storm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that brought snow, powerful winds and high waves to the Great Lakes region was forecast to taper down overnight Tuesday, forecasters said.

The storm moved over northern Lake Huron on Monday. On Tuesday, warnings about frequent and strong wind gusts were in effect for Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, according to the National Weather Service in Marquette, Mich. Waves on Lake Superior, which reached about 15 feet on Tuesday afternoon, were expected to taper down in the evening, said Tara Dudzik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Marquette.

A cold front, meanwhile, was moving through the Midwest, where overnight freeze warnings were in effect in states including Missouri, Indiana and Kansas.

Record-breaking cold was forecast for early Wednesday morning across parts of the Mississippi Valley, central and southern Appalachians and the Southeast.

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were in effect through Tuesday evening for parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. Winds of up to 50 knots, or about 57 miles per hour, were possible along the Lake Superior shoreline in parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Tuesday and were expected to decrease overnight, Ms. Dudzik said.

More than 25,000 customers were without power late Tuesday afternoon in Michigan, according to, which tracks interruptions.

By Tuesday afternoon, more than 18 inches of snow had accumulated in Negaunee, Mich., and a reading in the Three Lakes region on the western side of the Upper Peninsula was at 14.4 inches, Ms. Dudzik said.

Waves of 13 to 15 feet were recorded along eastern Lake Superior, forecasters said.

Wind gusts of almost 60 m.p.h. were dashing the area around Grand Marais, Mich., on the southern shore of Lake Superior, and were expected to drop slow down into the 30s overnight, she said.

Unusually cold temperatures and heavy rain could set off flooding over parts of Maine through Tuesday night, the National Weather Service said.

Tim Duda, a meteorologist in Caribou, Me., said the region could expect 2 to 3 inches of rain, or up to 4 inches of rain in some eastern portions of Maine, with the heaviest rainfall on Tuesday evening. A flood watch was in effect for northern and eastern Maine.

“There is a lot of moisture funneling up from the south, coming in from the south and southwest,” he said.

Large swells on Lake Michigan were captured by a camera on a buoy run by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Purdue University and LimnoTech.

Dramamine warning. #LakeMichigan captured by the Michigan City Buoy (45170) on Oct 17, 2022. Find data:

While the early onset of snow was not rare for the Upper Midwest, the heaviness of the snowfall was “uncommon” and it was expected to continue into Tuesday for the north-central part of the state, said Greg Michels, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Marquette.

The winter storm will “start losing its influence here Tuesday evening” but will stretch into Wednesday, Mr. Michels said. While the storm will diminish, a lake effect — a rain or snow pattern created by the interaction between temperatures of a lake and air at a higher elevation — will persist as it moves on, he said.

“Right now it’s a combination of a storm and lake effect,” Mr. Michels said. “Lake Superior actually creates its own weather.”

Remy Tumin and April Rubin

Fire officials in Washington State are seeking information on people and a vehicle of interest as they investigate a wildfire that grew to 2,000 acres from 150 acres within hours on Sunday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

The authorities are trying to identify two men and two women who are believed to be connected with a white or light-colored Subaru seen on a ridge near the fire on Oct. 9, the Clark County fire marshal said in a statement on Monday afternoon. The statement included a video and photo and cited witness statements, but it did not elaborate on the connection.

The fire, called the Nakia Creek fire, is burning on extremely steep ground in the Yacolt Burn State Forest near Camas, Wash., about 20 miles northeast of Portland, Ore. Officials said it was spread over 1,565 acres as of Monday afternoon and was 5 percent contained.

Active 10 days Updated Wed. 3:38 AM PT

Track all the major fires here › By The New York Times Base map from Mapbox and OpenStreetMap

The fire, which began on Oct. 9, was about 20 percent contained earlier on Sunday but exploded in size, driven by a combination of strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity, officials said. Nearly 3,000 homes were placed under mandatory evacuation orders in Clark County. Another 33,780 were under a voluntary evacuation notice.

By Monday afternoon, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office had reopened some roads that had been closed. Some areas that had been declared evacuation zones were deemed safe Monday afternoon, the authorities said.

The wind, with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour, was so strong at times that air response crews had to be grounded for their safety, the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency said. There were also reports of other fires within Clark County and several in Skamania County, Clark County officials said. As of Monday, there were at least 51 notable fires burning across the Western United States, according to a New York Times database.

Clark County officials said Sunday night that firefighters were preparing direct control lines along the flanks of the fire and reported that the fire was “smoldering and creeping with some torching” along the rocky terrain. “The potential for fire growth remains and containment lines are being put in place,” the county said.

The National Weather Service said winds were easing across the South Washington Cascades on Sunday night with an increase in humidity from marine air, which “should help” contain the Nakia fire.

See the latest wildfires as they burn near homes and landmarks in California, Oregon and other nearby states.

Fire season in the region is typically over by October, Clark County said, but this season “has been a long one for fire crews.” Firefighters in Washington State are also tackling two other fires — the Loch Katrine fire, 13 miles northeast of North Bend, and the 8 Road fire, four miles north of Elbe.

“They have been putting in long days for several months now,” Clark County officials said.

Hilary Franz, the commissioner of public lands in Washington State, said on Twitter to expect increased smoke west of the Cascades on Monday. For those in smoky areas, she advised limiting the duration and intensity of outdoor activity, closing windows and doors in homes, and filtering indoor air through a filtration system.

The region has experienced unseasonably high temperatures in recent days. In Seattle, temperatures peaked at 88 degrees on Sunday, the second warmest day in October in almost 130 years of record, the Weather Service said. The conditions also made for a smoky baseball playoff game between the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros.

The strong winds had another neighboring effect over the weekend: Easterly winds blew ash off the peak of Mount St. Helens.

While there is little of interest on satellite over our area today, a feature just to our west happened to catch our eye! Strong east winds contributing to increased fire activity in western OR/WA is also blowing dust/ash off of St. Helens. @NWSPortland @USGSVolcanoes #wawx #orwx

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a county in Washington State. It is Skamania County, not Skamina.

Post-Tropical Cyclone Karl was expected to bring heavy rainfall to portions of southern Mexico on Saturday, a day after it weakened from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, forecasters said.

Parts of Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas were expected to receive two to five inches of rain, with up to eight inches possible in some areas, through Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center said. Life-threatening surf conditions were also likely along Mexico’s coastline through Saturday night, it said.

As of 5 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, the storm was about 80 miles west of Ciudad del Carmen, in Mexico’s southeastern state of Campeche, and about 95 miles east-northeast of Coatzacoalcos, a city of 310,000 residents in the southern state of Veracruz. It was moving southwest at 5 miles per hour and forecast to move inland later in the day.

All coastal watches and warnings had been discontinued on Friday.

Forecasters in Mexico have said that Karl could pass over the states of Veracruz or Tabasco on Saturday and that it would continue to weaken and would dissipate by early Sunday.

Despite the weakening, Karl could still generate significant rainfall in southern Veracruz on Saturday and into Sunday, Federico Acevedo Rosas, a meteorologist with the Civil Protection ministry of Veracruz state, said on Friday.

In Coatzacoalcos, shelters were open and residents were instructed to prepare emergency kits and to secure roofs, doors and windows, said David Esponda Cruz, the city’s director of civil protection.

The authorities were also monitoring rivers, including the Uxpanapa River, which was overflowing its banks, he said.

The authorities in Mexico warned of possible landslides and flooding in low-lying areas of southern Veracruz, and predicted heavy rainfall on the border between Veracruz and Oaxaca states from Friday to Sunday.

Source: Observed and forecast storm positions from NOAA

By The New York Times

For several days, the Civil Protection Ministry in Veracruz has been monitoring the flow of the Uxpanapa River, specifically in Las Choapas, a cattle-raising municipality of about 80,000 residents that borders the state of Tabasco.

The head of the Civil Protection Ministry, Guadalupe Osorno Maldonado, said this week that some communities there have been cut off from communication because of intense rains and flooding in October.

Although Karl is a low-risk system, its name may evoke bad memories: In 2010, a Category 3 hurricane also named Karl struck Veracruz, killing 12 people. It was one of the most destructive hurricanes in the state’s history.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, had a relatively quiet start, with only three named storms before Sept. 1 and none during August, the first time that has happened since 1997. Storm activity picked up in early September with Danielle and Earl, which formed within a day of each other.

Next came Fiona, which left much of Puerto Rico without electricity for more than a week, and then Gaston and Hermine. Ian struck southwestern Florida as a Category 4 storm in late September, killing more than 100 people and causing a staggering scale of destruction. Julia, which formed 10 days after Ian made landfall in Florida, hit Central America with heavy rain on Sunday.

Weather Updates: Latest on Storms, Floods and Wildfires - The New York Times

Ansi/Asme B18.21.3 Lock Washers In early August, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an updated forecast for the rest of the season, which still called for an above-normal level of activity. In it, they predicted that there could be 14 to 20 named storms during the season, which runs through Nov. 30, with six to 10 turning into hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 74 m.p.h. Three to five of those could strengthen into what NOAA calls major hurricanes — Category 3 or stronger — with winds of at least 111 m.p.h.