July 7, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: First hurricane of season likely today

The Spokesman-Review
 

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Bertha likely will become the Atlantic season’s first hurricane today.

At 11 p.m. EDT Sunday, Bertha was centered about 930 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.

Maximum sustained winds had increased to about 65 mph with some higher gusting.

The storm is moving toward the west-northwest at about 20 mph. It’s still too early to say if or where Bertha will hit land.

The first named storm this year, Arthur, formed in the Atlantic the day before the season officially started June 1 and soaked the Yucatan Peninsula.

NEW YORK

NBC plans to buy Weather Channel

NBC Universal and two partners said Sunday they have reached a deal to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications Inc., ending a drawn-out process that had attracted interest from several major media companies.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity said the purchase price was $3.5 billion in cash. NBC was joined in the deal by the private equity firms The Blackstone Group LP and Bain Capital LLC.

In addition to The Weather Channel, the deal also includes several related assets such as weather services for newspapers and radio stations and the widely used Web site Weather.com.

LOS ANGELES

Weather aids fight against wildfire

Cooler weather on Sunday gave a boost to crews battling the enormous wildfire that was threatening nearly 2,700 homes in Santa Barbara County.

The four-day-old fire in the Los Padres National Forest, which had blackened about 13 square miles, spread slightly during the night but firefighting crews were able to keep up with it, county spokeswoman Vickie Guthrie said.

Sunday morning, the fire in the area of the town of Goleta was 28 percent contained, she said.

And with lower wind and higher humidity forecast for Sunday, crews were optimistic they could get more acreage under control. Wildfires have charred more than 800 square miles of forest, brush and grass and have destroyed at least 69 homes throughout California, mainly in the northern part of the state, in the past two weeks.


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