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The Oregon and Washington Cascades are getting their first significant snowfall of the season at mountain pass level Thursday. It's a possible harbinger of a cool and snowy winter.

Nearly 300 different species have crossed the Pacific Ocean on debris washed out to sea during the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan.

Most of tsunami debris, and the organisms that hitched a ride, have washed up in Oregon and Washington. 

A new analysis by scientists from Portland State University, Oregon State University, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston and other institutions shows even six years after the disaster, new species continue to be detected.  

Sure, it's been known to rain cats and dogs during some heavy thunderstorms. And if we're to believe The Weather Girls — and who wouldn't? — it was even raining men that one time in 1982.

But fish? That feels like a new one.

Steve Moddemeyer on Brooklyn Avenue in Seattle's U-District.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle doesn’t get hurricanes like the ones that recently dumped trillions of gallons of water on Texas and Florida. 

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET

People who live along the U.S. East Coast from North Carolina up to New England should monitor Hurricane Jose, forecasters say. The storm's winds won't get close to land until Sunday or Monday — but it was formally declared a hurricane again on Friday afternoon.

Updated at 2:23 a.m. ET on Sunday

After battering Cuba on Saturday morning, the eye of Hurricane Irma has its sights set on Florida as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center early Sunday. The NHC's latest forecast shows the storm's center shifting west from Miami, and even Tampa, to target St. Petersburg.

Florida braces for direct hit

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The disaster relief bill given final approval by Congress on Friday can't come too soon for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Without a new injection of funds, officials said FEMA's cash box would be empty as early as this weekend, right around the time that Hurricane Irma is scheduled to slam into southern Florida, while southeast Texas and Louisiana are still drying out from Hurricane Harvey.

Emergency aid to help victims of Hurricane Harvey now also includes additional money to fight wildfires in Oregon and other western states. 

The U.S. Senate on Thursday added provisions replenishing the U.S. Forest Service's budget for the rest of this fire season. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said it should amount to more than $100 million in additional aid. He said the money will ensure that the agency won't have to cannibalize programs aimed at making fires less likely to burn in the first place — something he said has frequently happened in the past.

Updated at 8 a.m. ET Friday

Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes ever recorded, and its wind speeds remain about 150 miles per hour, with stronger gusts. As this monster churns through the Caribbean and heads toward Florida, here is the lowdown.

How dangerous is it?

Smoke billows over the Jolly Mountain Fire near Roslyn, Washington, on Friday, Sept. 1, in this aerial image.
Great Basin Incident Management Team 4

Heavy smoke is blanketing several cities as multiple fires continue to burn in Washington state.

A statewide state of emergency is in place and air quality is being impacted from Seattle to Spokane.

A Portland woman says the young hikers suspected of starting a fire now consuming the Columbia River Gorge giggled as one threw a firecracker into Eagle Creek Canyon.

One suspect has been identified as a 15-year-old male from Vancouver, Washington. Oregon State Police spokesman Bill Fugate said if charged, the suspect could face the same state charges as an adult. Fugate said OSP will release the suspect's name if and when charges are filed. It is believed he and others may have been using fireworks which started the forest fire along the Eagle Creek Trail. 

Wildfires burning in the Western U.S. are threatening some of America's most treasured national parks – and in some areas, the damage has already been done.

Last week in Montana, a 20-square-mile blaze burned the historic Sperry Chalet, a hotel and dining room built in 1914 and only reachable by trail.

A smoky Seattle skyline is shown from N. Northlake Way on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

With smoke from wildfires filling Seattle’s skies, Dr. Jeff Duchin has some advice for people with respiratory conditions, pregnant women, diabetics, old people, infants and children: Don’t go out.

As Dr. Ruth Berggren digests the calamity affecting her new home state of Texas, she admits to some PTSD.

In 2005, she was an infectious-disease doctor at Charity Hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, and she became one of a small number of physicians left to care for 250 patients for six days, trapped by flooding and without running water or electricity.

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Wednesday:

The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in Northeast Caribbean islands. The eye passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m, according to the National Weather Service.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

"Hurricane Irma has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center says, citing the latest data from NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft.

Smoke billows over the Jolly Mountain Fire near Roslyn, Washington, on Friday, Sept. 1, in this aerial image.
Great Basin Incident Management Team 4

Updated 6:45 p.m., 9/4/2017: A wildfire burning east of Seattle is threatening two historic mining towns.

On Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency and authorized the use of National Guard troops to fight wildfires.

The August heat set records in Portland and Salem. It was especially brutal for people who work outside.

Oregon's workers compensation firm, SAIF, reports it received more than 30 heat-related claims in August this year.

"We see things like heat cramp, heat stress, and more seriously, heat exhaustion," said Ben McCormack, the senior safety management consultant at SAIF Corporation.

There isn't a city in the United States, and there are probably very few anywhere in the world, that could have handled Hurricane Harvey's 50 inches of rain without significant flooding.

But Harvey was Houston's third flood in three years to surpass the "100 year flood" mark. Urban planners and civil engineers say a combination of natural and man-made factors has created a chronic drainage problem that left the city especially vulnerable to Harvey's torrential rains.

Much of Beaumont, Texas, is an island, with major roads cut off by floodwaters.

John Livious is standing in front of a hotel, looking out as rescue trucks navigate the flooded road in. Conditions here are getting worse.

"Winds picking up. Rain getting heavier. Water rising. Very bad sight," he says. "Wouldn't wish this on anyone."

Livious came here to escape rising water in Houston early Sunday. Evacuating was an easy call, he says.

It's been a busy August for the Oregon National Guard.

More than 600 guard members have been called up to fight wildfires burning out of control in the state. They've dropped more than 750,000 gallons of water on the fires by helicopter.

Even as the firefighting continues, two small teams with the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron are being sent on a very different mission: assisting the relief effort in Texas.

The colors the National Weather Service uses to show rainfall on its weather map couldn't represent the deluge in southeastern Texas, so the NWS added two more purple shades to its map. The old scale topped out at more than 15 inches; the new limit tops 30 inches.

Updated at 2:44 a.m. ET Sunday

Tropical Storm Harvey remains a serious threat as it continues a slow march across Texas, killing at least two people, even as the National Hurricane Center downgraded it from a hurricane on Saturday.

While the wind was weakening, the rain proved to be relentless.

Updated at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday

More than 211,000 people were without power along the Gulf Coast of Texas early Saturday as Hurricane Harvey slowly made its way inland.

"Harvey is expected to slow down through the day and meander over southeastern Texas through the middle of next week," the National Hurricane Center reported at 4 a.m. Central time.

Through the smokey haze and in an air conditioned building, Chris Vance, Cathy Allen, Bill Radke and Erica Barnett.
KUOW Photo/ Kara McDermott

Are you hot? We're hot. It's hot. Not as hot as it could be because of the smoke from British Columbia's wildfires, but we're still in a heat wave with temperatures in the 90s. 

What Happens To Our Bodies When It's Hot Out?

Aug 3, 2017

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing a major heatwave. When it's this hot out, while hiking in the gorge or just to your car, your body will inevitably goes through a similar song and dance: some sweat, maybe some lethargy, perhaps a bit of dizziness.

The reason why this happens is pretty much thanks to our body's (for lack of a better metaphor) internal air-conditioning unit.

A summer filled with wildfires means air conditions in the Northwest are going from bad to worse. Fires from British Columbia and around Washington state have contributed to a smoky week.

Like a dreamy scene, the Yakima Valley is blanketed in thick haze. But the reality is not so serene. Coupled with high temperatures and humidity, the smog is taking its toll on local residents.

Sunset from Gas Works Park, Seattle, August 3, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

There are more than 20 wildfires burning in British Columbia right now, but that’s just one reason why the air in Seattle is junk right now.

Haze And Record Heat Smoke The Northwest

Aug 3, 2017

  Our staff checks in from around the Northwest with tales of hazy days and record-breaking heat.

British Columbia’s wildfire season has been deemed “unprecedented.” The province needs help from its neighbors to the south. But they may not be able to get it.




Normally by late June, wasps are a common nuisance at summer barbecues. But this year, entomologists have noticed a drop-off in Washington state and wasp populations are lower than usual.

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