- - Sunday, April 8, 2012

CHARLESTON, N.Y. — Seven months after the deluge of Tropical Storm Irene, cleanups continue and worries remain in upstate New York and Vermont.

Farmers are still grappling with crop-smothering rocks, trees, gravel and sand left behind when the floodwaters receded. And they’re also concerned that the gray or even sandy white soil left behind by Irene will affect yields.

Some local governments worry about new floods as they continue to clear piles of trees, rocks and household debris from stream banks.

Rural, hilly areas in New York and Vermont were hit especially hard-hit by flooding when Irene soaked the East Coast last August.

In the Adirondacks, Essex County officials say there is still a “tremendous amount of debris” to remove along rivers and tributaries.


Largest city breaks seasonal snow record

ANCHORAGE — A spring snowfall has broken the nearly 60-year-old seasonal snow record of Alaska’s largest city.

Inundated with nearly double the snow they’re used to, Anchorage residents have been expecting to see this season’s snowfall surpass the record of 132.6 inches set in the winter of 1954-55.

The 3.4 inches that fell by Saturday afternoon brings the total to 133.6 inches. National Weather Service meteorologist Shaun Baines said forecasters don’t expect more than an inch of additional accumulation.

Before a dumping of wet snow Friday, none had fallen since mid-March, and the seasonal measure hovered at 129.4 inches, or nearly 11 feet. The halt gave residents a chance to clear their snow-laden roofs and city crews an opportunity to widen streets squeezed by mountains of snow.

Extreme weather has hit not only Alaska. It’s also struck the lower 48, where the first three months of 2012 has seen twice the normal number of tornadoes and one of the warmest winters on record.

Two different weather phenomena - La Nina and its northern cousin, the Arctic Oscillation - are mostly to blame, meteorologists say. Global warming could also be a factor, because it is supposed to increase weather extremes, according to climate scientists.


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