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Tropical Storm Jose continues to sit off the eastern seaboard. Sitting over cooler water, it will continue to slowly weaken over the next couple days, but is still bringing significant surf and beach erosion along parts of the coast, with even tropical storm force winds to the capes, coast, and islands off Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Catastrophic Hurricane Maria, currently a category 2, is now moving out over open water. The eye of the storm is expected to pass north of the Dominican Republic, but the storm may intensify over warm water this afternoon and tonight. The future path becomes more uncertain next week as Maria possibly interacts with the remnants of Jose. We will watch closely for potential US impacts.
Back home in WNY, our stretch of Summer-like weather continues for quite some time longer. High pressure will continue to keep our skies rather clear, with some areas of fog once again tonight, particularly in the river valleys, and near any ponds or lakes. Plentiful sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures will continue to rule the rest of the week, with high temperatures even nearing records at times. Expect clear calm nights with more patchy fog development especially in the river valleys. Even though temperatures will be almost hot this weekend, the humidity drops a bit, so it should be a bit more bearable. A break in this trend does not look likely until the middle of next week.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Mostly Clear, Patchy Fog late, Low: 54 valleys, 61 metro, Wind: ENE 3-6.
THURSDAY: Near Record Warmth, Somewhat Humid, Sunshine Sticks Around, High: 78-84, (record is 86º from 1934,) Wind: ENE 4-8, Low: 60.
FRIDAY: Unseasonably Warm, Sunny, Not quite as humid, High: 84, Low: 60.
SATURDAY: Near Record Warmth, Continued Sunshine, High: 84, Low: 62.
SUNDAY: Near Record Warmth, Sunny, High: 86, Low: 63.
MONDAY: Sunshine, High: 86, Low: 64.
TUESDAY: Mostly Sunshine, High: 84, Low: 63.
WEDNESDAY: Mostly Sunny, High: 82.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and triggered heavy flooding Wednesday in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis.
Leaving at least nine people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, Hurricane Maria blew ashore in the morning in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph (250 kph).
It was expected to punish the island of 3.4 million people with life-threatening winds for 12 to 24 hours.
“Once we’re able to go outside, we’re going to find our island destroyed,” said Abner Gomez, Puerto Rico’s emergency management director. “The information we have received is not encouraging. It’s a system that has destroyed everything in its path.”
It was the second time in two weeks that Puerto Rico felt the wrath of a hurricane.
There was no immediate word of any deaths or serious injuries.
As people waited it out in shelters or took cover inside stairwells, bathrooms and closets, Maria brought down cell towers and power lines, snapped trees, tore off roofs and unloaded at least 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain.
Widespread flooding was reported, with dozens of cars half-submerged in some neighborhoods and many streets turned into rivers. People calling local radio stations reported that doors were being torn off their hinges and a water tank flew away.
Felix Delgado, mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told The Associated Press that 80 percent of the 454 homes in a neighborhood known as Juana Matos were destroyed. The fishing community on San Juan Bay was hit with a storm surge of more than 4 feet, he said.
“Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this,” he said.
As of 5 p.m. EDT, Maria had weakened into a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph (175 kph). It was centered just off the northwestern corner of Puerto Rico, moving at 12 mph (19 kph).
It was expected to pass off the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic late Wednesday and Thursday.
Even before the storm, Puerto Rico’s electrical grid was crumbling and the island was in dire condition financially.
Puerto Rico is struggling to restructure a portion of its $73 billion debt, and the government has warned it is running out of money as it fights back against furloughs and other austerity measures imposed by a federal board overseeing the island’s finances.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged people to have faith: “We are stronger than any hurricane. Together, we will rebuild.”
He asked President Donald Trump to declare the island a disaster zone, a step that would open the way to federal aid.
Many people feared extended power outages would further sink businesses struggling amid a recession that has lasted more than a decade.
“This is going to be a disaster,” said Jean Robert Auguste, who owns two French restaurants and sought shelter at a San Juan hotel. “We haven’t made any money this month.”
More than 11,000 people — and more than 580 pets — were in shelters, authorities said.
Along the island’s northern coast, an emergency medical station in the town of Arecibo lost its roof, while communication was severed with several emergency management posts. A hospital and a police station reported broken windows, and a tree fell on an ambulance.
As the storm closed in on the Dominican Republic, about 4,000 tourists in the Bavara-Punta Cana area on the eastern tip of the island were moved to hotels in Santo Domingo, the capital.
Maria posed no immediate threat to the U.S. mainland. The long-range forecast showed the storm out in the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of miles off the Georgia-South Carolina coast by Monday morning.
Previously a Category 5 with 175 mph (281 kph) winds, Maria hit Puerto Rico as the third-strongest storm to make landfall in the U.S., based on its central pressure. It was even stronger than Hurricane Irma when Irma roared into the Florida Keys earlier this month.
Irma sideswiped Puerto Rico on Sept. 6, causing no deaths or widespread damage on the island but leaving more than 1 million people without electricity. More than 70,000 still had no power as Maria approached.
The last Category 4 hurricane to blow ashore in Puerto Rico was in 1932, and the strongest ever to hit the island was San Felipe in 1928 with winds of 160 mph (250 kph).
As Maria closed in, Trump offered his support via Twitter: “Puerto Rico being hit hard by new monster Hurricane. Be careful, our hearts are with you – will be there to help!”
The storm’s center passed near or over St. Croix overnight Tuesday, prompting U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp to warn people to sleep in their street clothes and shoes just in case. St. Croix was largely spared by Irma.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries on St. Croix, but it was still too dangerous Wednesday to venture out and conduct a thorough check, said Nykole Tyson, a spokeswoman at the U.S. Virgin Islands Emergency Operations Center.
On the island of Dominica, which got slammed late Monday, Hartley Henry, an adviser to the prime minister, reported at least seven deaths and a “tremendous loss of housing and public buildings.” He said the country was “in a daze,” with no electricity and little to no communications.
Dominica’s airport and seaports remained closed, and authorities used helicopters to carry emergency food, water and shelter materials to the island, said Ronald Jackson, head of the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Rescuers said Wednesday they have found a surviving child in the ruins of a school that collapsed in Mexico’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake, one of many efforts across the city to save people trapped in under schools, homes and businesses toppled by a quake that killed at least 225 people.
Helmeted workers worked at the debris, sometimes calling for silence, as they tried to reach the girl at the Enrique Rebsamen school in southern Mexico City.
Foro TV reported that rescuers spotted the child and shouted to her to move her hand if she could hear them, and she did. A search dog subsequently entered the wreckage and confirmed she was alive.
Tuesday’s magnitude-7.1 quake struck on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands. Just hours before it hit, people around Mexico had held earthquake drills to mark the date.
One of the most desperate rescue efforts was at the Rebsamen primary and secondary school, where a wing of the three-story building collapsed into a massive pancake of concrete slabs. Journalists saw rescuers pull at least two small bodies from the rubble, covered in sheets.
Volunteer rescue worker Dr. Pedro Serrano managed to crawl into the crevices of the tottering pile of rubble that had been Escuela Enrique Rebsamen. He made it into a classroom, but found all of its occupants dead.
“We saw some chairs and wooden tables. The next thing we saw was a leg, and then we started to move rubble and we found a girl and two adults — a woman and a man,” he said.
“We can hear small noises, but we don’t know if they’re coming from above or below, from the walls above (crumbling), or someone below calling for help.”
A mix of neighborhood volunteers, police and firefighters used trained dogs and their bare hands to search through the school’s ruins. The crowd of anxious parents outside the gates shared reports that two families had received WhatsApp messages from girls trapped inside, but that could not be confirmed.
Rescuers brought in wooden beams to shore up the fallen concrete slabs so they wouldn’t collapse further and crush whatever airspaces remained.
The federal Education Department reported late Tuesday that 25 bodies had been recovered from the school’s wreckage, all but four of them children. It was not clear whether those deaths were included in the overall death toll of 225 reported by the federal civil defense agency. Pena Nieto had earlier reported 22 bodies found and said 30 children and eight adults were reported missing.
In a video message released late Tuesday, Pena Nieto urged people to be calm and said authorities were moving to provide help as 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of nearby Morelos state were without power. But, he said, “the priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people.”
People across central Mexico already had rallied to help their neighbors as dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of broken concrete. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 sites in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed and twisted and hundreds of thousands of panicked people ran into the streets.
The huge volunteer effort included people from all walks of life in Mexico City, where social classes seldom mix. Doctors, dentists and lawyers lined up alongside with construction workers and street sweepers, handing buckets of debris or chunks of concrete hand-to-hand down the line.
Even Mexico City’s normally raucous motorcycle clubs swung into action, using motorcades to open lanes for emergency vehicles on avenues crammed with cars largely immobilized by street closures and malfunctioning stoplights.
Dust-covered and exhausted from digging, 30-year-old Carlos Mendoza said two people were pulled alive from the ruins of a collapsed apartment building in the Roma Sur neighborhood during a three-hour period.
“When we saw this, we came to help,” he said, gesturing at the destruction. “This is ugly, very ugly.”
Blocks away, Alma Gonzalez was in her fourth-floor apartment when the quake collapsed the ground floor of her building, leaving her no way out. She was terrified until her neighbors mounted a ladder on their roof and helped her slide out a side window.
The official Twitter feed of civil defense agency head Luis Felipe Puente said 94 dead had been counted in MexicoCity and 71 in Morelos state, which is just south of the capital. It said 43 were known dead in Puebla state, where the quake was centered. Twelve deaths were listed in the State of Mexico, which borders Mexico City on three sides, four in Guerrero state and one in Oaxaca.
At the site of a collapsed apartment building in Mexico City, rescuers worked atop a three-story pile of rubble, forming a human chain that passed pieces of rubble across four city blocks to a site where they were dumped.
Throughout the day, rescuers pulled dust-covered people, some barely conscious, some seriously injured, from about three dozen collapsed buildings. At one site, shopping carts commandeered from a nearby supermarket were used to carry water to the rescue site and take rubble away.
As night fell, huge flood lights lit up the recovery sites, but workers and volunteers begged for headlamps.
Where a six-story office building collapsed in Mexico City, sisters Cristina and Victoria Lopez Torres formed part of a human chain passing bottled water.
“I think it’s human nature that drives everyone to come and help others,” Cristina Lopez said.
“We are young. We didn’t live through’85. But we know that it’s important to come out into the streets to help,” said her sister Victoria.
Ricardo Ibarra, 48, did live through the 1985 quake and said there hadn’t been anything like it since.
Wearing a bright orange vest and carrying a backpack with a sleeping bag strapped to it, he said he and his friends just wanted to help.
“People are very sensitive because today was the 32nd anniversary of a tragedy,” he said.
Buildings also collapsed in Morelos state, including the town hall and local church in Jojutla near the quake’s epicenter. A dozen people died in Jojutla.
The town’s Instituto Morelos secondary school partly collapsed, but school director Adelina Anzures said the earthquake drill held in the morning came in handy.
“I told them that it was not a game, that we should be prepared,” Anzures said of the drill. When the quake came, she said, children and teachers rapidly filed out and nobody was hurt.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake hit at 1:14 p.m. (2:14 p.m. EDT) and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.
Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil can amplify the effects of earthquakes centered hundreds of miles away.
The quake appeared to be unrelated to the magnitude 8.1 temblor that hit Sept. 7 off Mexico’s southern coast and also was felt strongly in the capital.
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle noted the epicenters of the two quakes were 400 miles (650 kilometers) apart and said most aftershocks are within (60 miles) 100 kilometers.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Erie County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several reports of businesses receiving counterfeit U.S. currency.
The Sheriff’s Office is encouraging businesses to educate their employees on how to identify counterfeit bills.
The U.S. Treasury recommends the following tips:
If an employee or business owner believes they are receiving a counterfeit bill, the Sheriff’s Office advises them not to put themselves endanger, but recommends the following.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and left tackle Cordy Glenn both suffered ankle injuries in the Bills’ loss to Carolina.
Meeting with the media on Wednesday, Head coach Sean McDermott expressed concerned in Dareus’ availablility against the Broncos, who Buffalo plays on Sunday.
McDermott also told reporters Glenn, DE Shaq Lawson (nerve contusion) and DT Jerel Worthy (concussion) will not practice.
Worthy has been in the league’s concussion protocol since the preseason finale against the Lions.
If Glenn is unable to play on Sunday and with Seantrel Henderson still serving his five game suspension, rookie Dion Dawkins could be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the most potent pass rushers in the league, Von Miller.
LeSean McCoy and Lorenzo Alexander were also given rest days by the team.
BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Multiple people are in custody following a shooting near Evans Street and Watson Street Wednesday.
One male was reportedly shot in the hand and abdomen and taken to ECMC.
Multiple people were fighting before the shooting occurred.
We will have more information as it becomes available.