FAST & FURIOUS; EXTREME WEATHER

CONTENT: TORNADO, WILDFIRE, HALL, WYDEN, TIDWELL, DAUGHTERY

GRAPHICS: FAST FURIOUS

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) Good evening. And we begin this Saturday night with dramatic rescue stories after a violent string of tornadoes tore a path through several states. From the Carolinas all the way up through Pennsylvania, 14 tornadoes in all, the largest outbreak in the region so far this year.

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) In Hampton, Virginia, there was this rare sight, a storm that went from a water spout to a tornado, and then back to a water spout again. The storms destroyed homes, uprooted trees and left thousands without power tonight. And in the Western part of this country this evening, the wildfires growing, severe drought and scorching heat fueling those massive fires.

GRAPHICS: EXTREME WEATHER TEAM

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) We have two reports from our extreme weather team, beginning with meteorologist Ginger Zee tonight.

GRAPHICS: TORNADO OUTBREAK

GINGER ZEE (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) A tornado on land and on water as a water spout. Look at that video. Lightning strikes. And when we slow it down, you can see the EF1 tornado with 98 mile-per-hour winds lurching into Hampton, Virginia. It flipped boats, plucked trees and tore the roofs from homes in that coastal community, just one of more than 14 reported and three confirmed twisters so far, all part of a string of violent storms yesterday that ripped across the Mid-Atlantic.

GRAPHICS: VIOLENT STORMS

GINGER ZEE (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) It wasn’t just tornadoes. More than four inches of rain fell quickly in spots causing dangerous flash flooding. In Washington, D.C., workers searched submerged cars. This roaring river in Maryland swept three teenagers from the river’s bank where they were playing. They clung to a bridge for almost an hour until firefighters rescued them. The storms knocked out power from South Carolina to Pennsylvania. And in Maryland, more than a million dollars in damage, roofs peeled away.

RESIDENT (FEMALE)

I looked at my dog, and I said, “I think we better head to the basement.” And the minute we got down to the bottom of the basement steps, we heard a huge thud.

GINGER ZEE (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) Roger Voight (PH) saw the whole thing from his hallway.

ROGER (RESIDENT)

All of a sudden, the trees just started flying around wildly in the backyard, and then this amazing, like, total whiteout.

GRAPHICS: SOUTHWEST HEAT

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) A frightening 24 hours for so many people. Ginger is with us on the desk here tonight. The other concern, the heat out West. You were telling me 111 degrees over the weekend in Phoenix and tomorrow not much relief.

GINGER ZEE (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) So many record highs, especially yesterday into today, and tomorrow, not getting rid of it. 102 tomorrow in Phoenix.

GRAPHICS: STORM THREAT

GINGER ZEE (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) Vegas will be 101, and that’s not the only thing that will help infuriate those fires. Look at this. The cold front approaches, strong winds Monday and Tuesday.

GINGER ZEE (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) That is only gonna kick off the fire danger even more.

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) And, Ginger, thank you. You speak of those wildfires, we’re gonna turn now to the West this evening.

GRAPHICS: BATTLING THE BLAZE

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) There are major fires in eight states tonight.

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) By far, the largest is in New Mexico, an inferno that has burned now 225,000 acres.

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) ABC’s Clayton Sandell tonight on that part of the story.

GRAPHICS: OUT OF CONTROL

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) It’s an out-of-control monster, New Mexico’s biggest fire ever, destroying a dozen homes, torching more than 350 square miles, an area bigger than Dallas, Texas, flames driven by hot, dry winds.

RESIDENT (FEMALE)

We’re struggling and we’re praying that everything turns out okay.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) It may be burning in an isolated area, but already this year, wildfires have blackened more than 700,000 acres.

GRAPHICS: TEN STATES FACE CHANGES

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) 10 states are facing above-normal chances for big summer fires.

STEVEN HALL (ROCKY MOUNTAIN AREA COORDINATION CENTER)

In the West, it’s not a question of if but when you’re gonna have a wildfire.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) With a potentially dangerous fire season on the way, there is renewed concern about a serious shortage of air tankers that are critical to fighting a blaze from above.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) Critics worry the nation’s tanker fleet is shrinking. In 2006, the US Forest Service had 44 large air tankers on call. Today, only 11, and they’re getting older. In 2002, the NTSB found stress cracks in the wings of this 1950s-era tanker that broke apart in California.

CAMERAMAN (MALE)

They just crashed.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) Three people on board were killed.

SENATOR RON WYDEN (DEM) (OREGON)

Some of these planes are getting to the point where they belong to museums rather than in, in the sky.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) The agency admits it doesn’t have enough tankers but insists it’s working to modernize the fleet.

TOM TIDWELL (CHIEF OF US FOREST SERVICE)

We are ready, and we are prepared to be able to deal with this coming fire season.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) New Mexico’s firefight could last for weeks.

CRAIG DAUGHTERY (INCIDENT COMMAND TEAM)

A lot of that’s gonna depend on the weather. You know, it could, it could stop tomorrow if there, if it starts to rain.

CLAYTON SANDELL (ABC NEWS)

(Voiceover) But there are no rain clouds forecast until the end of July. For now, only smoke and fire. Clayton Sandell, ABC News, Denver.

DAVID MUIR (ABC NEWS)

(Off-camera) The weather for tonight.

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