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    Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
    Filipino rescue workers clear a street from debris caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Guiuan, Philippines, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, hit the country's eastern seaboard on Friday, destroying tens of thousands of buildings and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.  (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
    Filipino rescue workers clear a street from debris caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Guiuan, Philippines, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

    GUIUAN, Philippines (AP) - The knock of hammer on nail, the buzz of chain saws, the swish of brooms clearing up debris from wrecked homes and yards: The sound of people putting their lives back together rings out across this devastated town.

    A week after the typhoon struck the Philippines, there is immense need along this coast, much of it untouched by an aid effort that is struggling against clogged airports, blocked roads and a lack of manpower.

    But amid the desperation, a spirit of resilience was clearly evident Friday as the residents of Guiuan (GEE-one) and other battered towns started rebuilding their lives and those of their neighbors - with or without help from their government or a foreign aid groups.

    Photos: Typhoon Haiyan Slams Into Philippines

    At 6 a.m., Dionesio de la Cruz was hammering together a bed, using scavenged rusty nails. He has already built a temporary shelter out of the remains of his house.

    "We're on our own, so we have to do this on our own," the 40-year-old said, as his wife and mother slept on a nearby table. "We're not expecting anybody to come and help us."

    The death toll, meanwhile, was raised Friday by disaster authorities to 3,621, up from the previous figure of 2,360. Some officials have projected that the eventual toll will top 10,000, after the missing are declared dead and remote regions are reached.

    Authorities estimate some 600,000 people have been displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the islands of Samar and Leyte hardest. Most of those are likely to be homeless. Along with food, water and medicine, aid groups will prioritize the distribution of tools, nails and other equipment to allow people like de la Cruz to make better shelters while more permanent solutions are considered.

    In signs that relief efforts were picking up, U.S. Navy helicopters were flying sorties from the aircraft carrier USS George Washington off the coast, dropping water and food to isolated communities.

    The government - perhaps inevitably - has come under some criticism for its inability to get supplies out quicker.

    "In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough," Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said in the Leyte capital, Tacloban, most of which was destroyed by the storm. "The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can't reach everyone."

    Back in the town of Guiuan, some 155 kilometers (about 100 miles) east of Tacloban, there were other signs of life emerging from the debris. One man was selling skewers of meat, a couple of kiosks are open selling soda and soaps. Everywhere, freshly washed clothes lay in sun, drying.

    While many have left this and other affected towns, some are choosing to stay and help.

    Take Susan Tan, a shop owner. She was all set to fly elsewhere in the country after hungry townsfolk swarmed her business a few days after the storm struck, stripping the shelves of everything of value.

    But a friend persuaded her to stay, and she is now running a relief center from her shop, which has been in the family since the 1940s.

    "I can't just go to Cebu and sit in the mall while this place is in ruins," she said. "Although I've been looted and made bankrupt by this, I cannot refuse my friends and my town. We need to help each other."

    Tan managed to get her hands on a satellite phone from a friend who works for a local cell phone provider. Hundreds line up in the sun to use it to call relatives to let them know they are safe. One minute per caller is the house rule.

    On Thursday afternoon, she welcomed her first aid shipment. It's a fraction of what is needed, buts it's a start: 20 boxes containing dried noodles, canned goods, sardines, medicines, some bottle water.

    Guiuan was one of the first towns to be hit by the storm. It suffered massive damage, but casualty figures were lower than in Tacloban and some other towns because it was largely spared from storm surges.

    In Tacloban, there were also some signs a battered population was beginning to get back on its feet -even as trucks carrying corpses drove through its streets on the way to a mass grave.

    The ornate tiled floor of a still-standing church was covered in mud as sunlight poured in through holes in the wind-peeled ceilings. Inside, people prayed while others swept dirt from the pews.

    Residents hauled debris into piles in the streets and set them on fire. Others were at work making frames for temporary homes.

    In one neighborhood, dozens of people crowded around a mobile generator, where countless cords snaked across the dirt and into power strips. Residents plugged in mobile phones, tablets and flashlights, hoping for a precious gulp of electricity, even though cell coverage remained spotty.

    John Lajara was already thinking about replacing his old residence, which once had a pool table and a sea breeze. Now it's a trash heap.

    "We can't wait so I am building my house again," he said. "Back to zero."

    John Bumanig and his wife were cleaning out their second-hand clothes shop, which was swamped by storm surges. They were laying out ladies bras in the sun, though they weren't hopeful anyone would buy them. Most of the stock had to be thrown out.

    They were determined to stay in Tacloban, but faced an uncertain future.

    "We cannot do anything, but will find a way to overcome this," said his wife, Luisa, holding back tears. "We have to strive hard because we still have children to take care of."

    In Guiuan, a team of volunteers from elsewhere in the Philippines was clearing rubble from the road to the airport so that relief goods could get in quicker. Its leader, Peter Degrido, was trying to move an overturned passenger bus with a truck and steel cables.

    "It's devastating to see this. But people are slowly recovering," he said. "They've already moved most of the bodies."

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Typhoon Haiyan Slams Into Philippines

     

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    Superheated ash and gas flowing down the slopes of Indonesia's Sinabung volcano signals the intensity of eruptions may be increasing at the fiery mountain, according to local officials.

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    More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from towns and villages in North Sumatra's Karo Regency since Mount Sinabung awoke in October after a three-year dormancy. Karo is an agricultural region that supplies vegetables for surrounding islands. The evacuation and devastating ash fall have affected crop harvests, leading to higher prices on vegetables and chilies elsewhere in Indonesia, according to the Jakarta Post.

    The Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation warned people not to approach within 2 miles of Mount Sinabung.

    On Monday (Nov. 11), a pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving avalanche of ash, lava fragments and air, was seen racing down the peak. Since then, the volcano has blasted out one to two ash explosions every day. Lava has flowed more than 3,200 feet from the top of the volcano. [Watch Mount Sinabung erupt.]

    Indonesia lies in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area of crustal collision zones that is the cause of a great number of earthquakes and volcanoes. The island nation has more than 130 active volcanoes. The world's most deadly volcanic eruption in recent years was at its Mount Merapi in 2010, which killed more than 350 people.

    Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.

    Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Incredible Photos of Volcanic Eruptions
    Lightning, Volcano

     

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    Mars may be a desolate world today, but billion of years ago, the Red Planet was a warm, wet paradise of blue skies and lakes - a hospitable realm recreated in a stunning new video animation by NASA.

    The video of Mars as an ocean world, which NASA released Wednesday (Nov. 13), shows the Red Planet's evolution from a lush land with water oceans to the barren, rocky world is today.

    "The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period," officials with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., wrote in a video description. "The artist's concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different."

    The animation begins 4 billion years ago with a flyover of a Martian lake. Blue sky and clouds ripple overhead. As the movie progresses, the landscape gets drier and the clouds shrivel up, showing the passage of geologic time. The lakes disappear and the sky turns to the familiar dusty pink and tan.

    The video ends with NASA's new Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, called MAVEN for short, in orbit around modern Mars. The MAVEN mission is slated to launch Monday (Nov. 18) to investigate how the Red Planet lost its atmosphere.

    NASA's Conceptual Image Lab at Goddard Space Flight Center, produced the video, which is one of the team's most complex animations, agency officials said.

    The freezing temperatures and thin atmosphere of Mars make it impossible for liquid water to exist on the planet's surface today. But surface features and minerals suggest the red planet had a much denser atmosphere and surface liquid water in the past, NASA scientists have said.

    Rocky channels on Mars - like those on Earth - suggest erosion by flowing water, and impact craters show signs of erosion and sedimentary layering. Also, minerals have been found on the planet's surface that could only have formed in the presence of liquid water.

    To form these features, a layer as deep as 1,640 feet (0.5 kilometers) or more may have covered the planet, scientists estimate. If so, the planet's atmosphere would have been warmer and had a similar or greater pressure than that found on Earth's surface. Whether this balmy climate lasted long enough for life to emerge on Mars is not known, however.

    Visit SPACE.com for the latest news on NASA's MAVEN mission to Mars.

    Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

    Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Mind-Blowing New Photos from Space

     

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    Friday, Nov. 15, 2013

    Get ready for a stellar show. The much-anticipated Comet ISON is now visible to the naked eye, according to reports from many observers.

    Comet ISON - the potential "comet of the century" - has suddenly brightened in an outburst of activity with just two weeks to go before it literally grazes the surface of the sun.

    In recent months, Comet ISON has repeatedly befuddled forecasters trying to anticipate just how bright it will ultimately become. But earlier this week, the comet's brightening trend again seemed to sputtering and stalling, but more recent observations suggest a sudden and radical upsurge in brightness. [Photos of Comet ISON: A Potentially Great Comet]

    Comet ISON lightens up, literally

    Comet ISON is now in full outburst mode, becoming many times brighter over just the past few days. Astronomers measure the brightness of objects in the night sky as magnitude, in which the brighter an object is, the lower its magnitude number. The human eye can perceive objects as faint as magnitude +6.5.

    According to veteran comet observer, John Bortle, Comet ISON was shining only at magnitude +8.5 on Monday (Nov. 11) morning - more than six times too dim to be visible to the unaided eye. But by Wednesday morning, the comet's brightness had increased three-fold brightening to +7.3. [8 Essential Facts About Comet ISON]

    If that was a surprise, an even bigger one was waiting for Bortle on Thursday morning (Nov. 14).

    "Ready to go at 4:45 a.m. but I couldn't figure out what the funny-looking, blotted, star that came into view was," Bortle said. "[Was my] seeing that bad? But, no, the 'blotted star' was, in fact, at the comet's position! Getting to the point, the little but intensely condensed, globular cluster-looking comet was a whopping magnitude 5.4 - two full magnitudes brighter than just 24 hours ago! This makes for a three magnitude total rise since my observation on Monday."

    In just 72 hours, Comet ISON increased nearly 16 times in brightness.

    Carl Hergenrother, acting co-coordinator of the comet section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, has confirmed Bortle's observations.

    "ISON has dramatically brightened over the past few days," Hergenrother told SPACE.com via email. "The latest observations put the comet around magnitude 5.7 to 6.1 which is a 2+ magnitude increase from this weekend. My own observations from this morning in 10x50 and 30x125 binoculars show a nice 'lollipop' comet with a very condensed blue-green head and a long narrow tail. The tail was over 1 degree in length even in the 10x50s. The comet may continue to brighten as the outburst is still in its early stages."

    Unmistakable comet outburst

    Long Island amateur Dennis Wilde was also impressed by ISON's appearance in the predawn sky Thursday morning.

    "ISON, while not as large as the full moon, was an impressive sight in the eyepiece," Wilde said. "The coma was compact with a very bright apparent nucleus, very bright green in color. The tail was very thin and bright near the coma and widened slightly as it extended out to almost 3.5 degrees as seen in the 15". It wasn't huge or extraordinarily bright but it was a great view nonetheless. I viewed the coma at up to 490x and it was uniformly dense and bright. There was no indication of the start of any breakup. After finding it with the telescope it was quite easy to pick out the coma with the [binoculars]."

    This outburst is not completely unusual since ISON has demonstrated short "spurts" of brightening over the past few weeks, but they were quickly followed by abrupt slow-down in its brightening trend.

    So will the current outburst persist until the comet arrives at the sun on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28)?

    "Whether by chance we have caught the comet at the peak of the outburst is certainly debatable (to me rather improbable) and it may well still brighten further," Bortle said.

    "The comet may continue to brighten as the outburst is still in its early stages," Hergenrother said. "Whether this outburst will be a short-lived event or the beginning of a more active phase is still to be seen."

    This sudden upsurge in brightness is certainly very good for a comet that until now seemed to be running well behind in brightness predictions. It seems now that we can feel a little more optimistic about this enigmatic object putting on show for us later this month on into early December.

    Comet ISON was first discovered by Russian amateur astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok in September 2012. The comet is officially designated C/2012 S1 (ISON), with ISON standing for International Scientific Optical Network.

    The comet is rapidly approaching its Nov. 28 perihelion and as a result it is becoming more and more difficult to observe low near the east-southeast horizon in the dawn sky. Still, observers with access to a clear horizon may be able to follow ISON for about another week.

    Next Monday morning (Nov. 18), ISON will be passing close to the bright 1st magnitude star Spica in Virgo. Using the handle of the Big Dipper, sweep an arc to the brilliant orange star Arcturus. Then continue that arc on to Spica. Using binoculars, ISON should still be readily be visible as a fuzzy star with a short tail.

    Will it still be visible to the unaided eye? Check it out for yourself!

    You can follow the latest Comet ISON news, photos and video on SPACE.com.

    Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer's Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

    Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    SEE ON SKYE: 10 Breathtaking Photos of Comets
    10 Breathtaking Photos of Comets

     

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    NASA scientists have used satellite images to create detailed maps of the devastation in the Philippines from Super Typhoon Haiyan in order to help disaster relief efforts by recovery crews.

    Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the island nation on Nov. 8, was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. produced the damage maps in order to depict the hardest-hit regions of the country, NASA officials wrote in a news release.

    JPL's ARIA (Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis) team created the 24.9 by 31 mile map using data from the Italian Space Agency's COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation. The image shows the area near Tacloban City, where the storm made landfall. [Photo Gallery: Typhoon Haiyan Hits Philippines]

    NASA scientists created the damage map by using "a prototype algorithm to rapidly detect surface changes caused by natural or human-produced damage," space agency officials wrote in a release.

    "The assessment technique is most sensitive to destruction of the built environment," NASA officials wrote in a statement. "When the radar images areas with little to no destruction, its image pixels are transparent. Increased opacity of the radar image pixels reflects damage, with areas in red reflecting the heaviest damage to cities and towns in the storm's path."

    The scientists used data gathered from Aug. 19 to Nov. 11 to calculate the change.

    Haiyan's storm surge reached up to 20 feet in parts of the Philippines, and some estimates place the death toll at 2,000. Before it made landfall, the super typhoon had sustained winds of up to 190 mph. The typhoon's strength was equivalent to a strong Category 5 hurricane, tropical weather expert Brian McNoldy told LiveScience.

    This is not the first time NASA has released a map of a country post-natural disaster. In 2011, the space agency put out multiple images of Japan after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

    Italy's COSMO-SkyMed satellite also imaged the Myanmar cyclone and Chinese earthquake in 2008, aiding in the relief effort for those two countries.

    ARIA is currently a program in development. The system is designed to use images taken from space to quickly assess the impact of a disaster on a region, NASA officials said. The ARIA team plans to build "an automated system for providing rapid and reliable GPS and satellite data to support the local, national, and international hazard monitoring and response communities," NASA officials said.

    Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebookand Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

    Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan

     

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    Nov. 15, 2013

    Photographer Scott Tully captured this view of a Leonid meteor over rural Connecticut before sunrise on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower. (Scott Tully)

    When most people hear of an impending meteor shower, it might call to mind a sky filled with shooting stars pouring down through the sky like rain, but that is not in the cards for the Leonid meteor shower peaking this weekend.

    Such meteor storms have indeed occurred with the famous November Leonids. For instance, in 1833 and 1966 meteor rates of tens of thousands per hour were observed. In more recent years, most notably 1999, 2001 and 2002, lesser Leonid displays of up to a few thousand meteors per hour took place.

    Those turn-of-the-century Leonid showers‚ and their accompanying hype‚ are still remembered by many, but it is important to note that any suggestion of a spectacular Leonid display this year is, to put it mildly, overly optimistic. [Amazing Leonid Meteor Shower Photos by Stargazers]

    In fact, the 2013 Leonid meteor shower, scheduled to peak overnight Saturday night and early Sunday morning (Nov. 16 and 17), are likely to be a major disappointment, partly because of the expected lack of any significant activity, but mainly because of the moon which unfortunately will be full, flooding the sky with its bright light.

    Although the Leonids are one of the most famous of all the annual meteor displays they should not be considered a major shower this year, because they likely will be weak and badly affected by the intense moonlight.

    Comet crumbs

    The Leonids are named for the constellation Leo, the Lion‚ the point in the sky where many of the meteors seem to originate.

    The meteors are caused by the Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which sweeps through the inner solar system every 33.3 years. Each time the comet passes closest to the sun it leaves a "river of rubble" in its wake; a dense trail of dusty debris. A meteor storm becomes possible if the Earth were to score a direct hit on a fresh dust trail ejected by the comet over the past couple of centuries.

    The 2013 Leonids are expected to show only low activity this year with 10 to maybe 20 meteors per hour at best. The "traditional" peak for the Leonids is scheduled for the predawn hours of Nov. 17 and the full moon will be not too far away, shining within the constellation Taurus, making observations very difficult.

    How to observe and what to look for

    Watching a meteor shower consists of lying back, looking up at the sky and waiting. In addition to this year's handicap of a bright moon lighting up the sky, keep in mind that any local light pollution or obstructions like tall trees or buildings will further reduce your chances of making a meteor sighting.

    Leo does not come fully into view until the after midnight hours, so that would be the best time to concentrate on looking for Leonids.

    Because the Leonids are moving along in their orbit around the sun in a direction opposite to that of Earth, they slam into the atmosphere nearly head-on, resulting in the fastest meteor velocities possible: 45 miles per second (72 km/s). Such speeds tend to produce bright meteors, which leave long-lasting streaks or vapor trains in their wake.

    Still a mighty Leonid fireball can be quite spectacular and bright enough to attract attention even in the bright moonlight. But such outstandingly bright meteors are likely to be very few and very far between this year.

    Here's the bottom line: If you plan to brave the chill of a mid-November morning, a moonlit sky and the prospects of catching a glimpse of only a few Leonids, you should get an award for perseverance.

    Good luck!

    Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer's Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

    Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

     

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    Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

    A survivor of Typhoon Haiyan sits on a couch in the debris, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Tacloban. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) John Lajara peers under a slab of crumbled concrete, lifts a sodden white teddy bear then drops it back into the filth. He reaches again into the rubble and pulls out a boot, a treasured find in this typhoon-flattened village. But he's searching for something far more precious -- the body of his brother, Winston.

    For those still looking for loved ones missing since last week's storm, their already torn-apart lives are shot through with a difficult question: How do you move on when there is no body to bury?

    The search for the missing -- 1,179 by official count -- has become a hellish daily activity for some. In Lajara's seaside village, residents estimate that about 50 of the 400 people who lived there were killed. About half of the dead are still missing: mothers, fathers, children and friends.

    "Somehow, part of me is gone," Lajara said as another fruitless expedition in the rubble ended Saturday.

    Lajara has carried out the routine since both he and his brother were swept from their house by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8. And every day so far has ended with no answers on Winston's fate.

    According to the latest figures by the Philippines' main disaster agency, 3,633 people died and 12,487 were injured. Many of the bodies remain tangled in piles of debris, or are lining the road in body bags that seep fetid liquid. Some are believed to have been swept out to sea.

    After the initial days of chaos, when no aid reached the more than 600,000 people rendered homeless, an international aid effort was gathering steam.

    "We're starting to see the turning of the corner," said John Ging, a top U.N. humanitarian official in New York. He said 107,500 people have received food assistance so far and 11 foreign and 22 domestic medical teams are in operation.

    U.S. Navy helicopters flew sorties from the aircraft carrier USS George Washington off the coast, dropping water and food to isolated communities. The U.S. military said it will send about 1,000 more troops along with additional ships and aircraft to join the aid effort.

    So far, the U.S. military has moved 190 tons of supplies and flown nearly 200 sorties.

    The focus of the aid effort is on providing life-saving aid for those who survived, while the search for missing people is lower in the government's priorities.

    The head of the country's disaster management agency, Eduardo del Rosario, said the coast guard, the navy and civilian volunteers are searching the sea for the dead and the missing.

    Still, he said, the most urgent need is "ensuring that nobody starves and that food and water are delivered to them."

    Lajara's neighbor, Neil Engracial, cannot find his mother or nephew, but he has found many other bodies. He points at a bloated corpse lying face down in the muddy debris. "Dante Cababa -- he's my best friend," Engracial says. He points to another corpse rotting in the sun. "My cousin, Charana." She was a student, just 22.

    Lajara remembers the moment his brother vanished.

    They were standing alongside each other side by side with relatives and friends before the surge hit. They stared at the rising sea, then turned to survey the neighborhood behind them, trying to figure out where or if they could run. Then the wave rushed in.

    Lajara, Winston and the others dived into the water, and were swept away from each other. After Lajara's face hit the water, he never saw Winston again.

    Lajara has trudged through the corpse-strewn piles of rubble and mud, searching for two things: wood to rebuild his home, and Winston. So far he has found only wood.

    On Saturday, he set out again. The rat-a-tat-tat of a snare drum echoed across the landscape, as a young boy played the instrument from the roof of a gutted building. It was a grim accompaniment to what has become Lajara's daily march into the corpse-strewn wasteland that was his home, where the sickly sweet stench of death mixes with the salty sea air.

    Reminders of the people who once lived here are wedged everywhere among the warped piles of wood, glass and mud: a smiling, bowtie-clad stuffed bumblebee. A woman's white platform shoe. A wood-framed photograph of a young boy.

    Suddenly, a neighbor, Pokong Magdue, approached.

    "Have you seen Winston?"

    Magdue replies: "We saw him in the library."

    Lajara shakes his head. It can't be Winston. He's already searched the library.

    Sometimes people come to him and inform him that Winston's body has been found. Lajara must walk to the corpse, steel himself, and roll it over to examine the face.

    He then must deal with conflicting emotions: relief that the body is not his brother's. Hope that Winston might still be alive. And grief that he still has no body to bury. Because at least then, he says, he could stop searching.

    Winston was his only brother. He had a wife and two teenage children. He was a joker who made everyone laugh. He drove a van for a living and was generous to everyone. He was a loving father.

    "It's hard to lose somebody like him," Lajara says.

    Now, the only trace of his brother that remains is his driver's license: Winston Dave Argate, born Dec. 13, 1971. 177 centimeters tall, 56 kilograms. The upper left-hand corner of the license is gone, and the picture is faded. Lajara leaves it with a friend for safekeeping when he is out hunting for wood and Winston.

    He gazes at the card in his hand. "When I want to see him, I just stare at his picture."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan

     

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    Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

    Early next week will bring frigid air to the Midwest, East and South. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    A new sweep of cold air will race across the Midwest this weekend and will reach the East and South later on Monday.

    While the air coming in next week will not be as cold as last week, it will shave temperatures by 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit off weekend highs in the 60s and 70s in the Midwest and East.

    The colder air will follow a dose of rain and gusty, locally damaging winds across the Midwest this weekend and the Appalachians and East Coast Sunday night into Monday.

    Unlike the arrival of the cold air the last time, the rain will simply end in most areas without any snowflakes. The exception will be around the Upper Midwest, where a bit of snow is forecast Sunday night into early Monday.

    The core of the Arctic air will stay north over the Canada border over the Plains and generally north of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Valley farther east. However, it will get cold enough for a round of lake-effect snow.

    The combination of wind, chilly air and other factors will make for RealFeel(R) temperatures 10 to 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature from the Upper Midwest and Northeast, southward along the Atlantic coast to part of the Deep South.

    RELATED:
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    On Monday, RealFeel temperatures will dip to near freezing around Chicago and Detroit. The same is true for Pittsburgh on Tuesday. RealFeel temperatures will be in the 30s at times on Tuesday in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

    Nighttime low temperatures will stop short of freezing along the I-20 corridor in Texas and the South during the middle of next week. Temperatures are likely to dip to near freezing along the I-40 corridor from Tennessee to North Carolina Tuesday and Wednesday night.

    Farther north, nighttime temperatures may dip to freezing around Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Tuesday night and Wednesday night.

    The new blast of cold air may be more abbreviated than the last one and will generally only last a day or two in most areas, before temperatures rebound again.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 15 Photos of Monster Blizzards

     

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    Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

    NASA's Messenger spacecraft orbiting Mercury captured these photos of incoming Comet ISON and Comet Encke as they approach their closest points to the sun in November 2013.(NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/Southwest Research Institute)

    A NASA probe in orbit around Mercury has spotted two incoming comets as they approach the sun this month.

    The space agency's Messenger spacecraft snapped photos of Comet ISON, which scientists once billed as a potential "comet of the century," and another icy wanderer -- Comet Encke -- over the course of a few days this month. The Messenger team observed Comet Encke from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 and Comet ISON from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11.

    "We are thrilled to see that we've detected ISON," Ron Vervack, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, leader of the ISON observation campaign with Messenger, said in a statement. "The comet hasn't brightened as quickly as originally predicted, so we wondered how well we would do. Seeing it this early bodes well for our later observations." [Amazing Photos of the Potentially Great Comet ISON]

    Messenger mission scientists plan to continue observing Encke and ISON as they get closer to the sun and Mercury in late November.

    Comet Encke is due for its closest pass with the sun -- called perihelion -- on Nov. 21, while ISON is set for its grazing on Nov. 28. Before Encke's perihelion, however, the comet will come within 2.3 million miles of Mercury, possibly allowing Messenger scientists to get an even better look at the comet.

    "By next week, we expect Encke to brighten by approximately a factor of 200 as seen from Mercury, and ISON by a factor of 15 or more," Vervack said in a statement. "So we have high hopes for better images and data."

    Until now, ISON did not initially brighten the way many forecasters expected it to. However, the comet became a naked-eye object this week after a sudden outburst of activity, according to several observers.

    Comet ISON is also the subject of an ongoing observation campaign bringing together observations from NASA, the European Space Agency, amateur astronomers and other space agencies around the world.

    This isn't the first time ISON has been observed by spacecraft in orbit around another planet. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted Comet ISON from the Mars in late September, allowing scientists to measure ISON's brightness at the time. The Venus Express spacecraft is also expected to glimpse ISON this month or in December.

    Comet Encke was first discovered in 1786 and has the shortest orbital period of any known comet at 3.3 years. It is the source of the annual Taurid meteor shower. In late November, Comet Encke will reach perihelion -- the point where it is closest to the sun -- marking the comet's 62nd recorded perihelion, JHUAPL officials said.

    Amateur Russian astronomers using an International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) telescope spotted Comet ISON in 2012. Researchers think ISON is a "sungrazing" comet, on its trip toward the sun after being flung out from the Oort cloud -- a mass of icy orbiting bodies on the outskirts of the solar system.

    You can follow the latest Comet ISON news, photos and video on SPACE.com.

    Editor's note: If you snap an amazing picture of Comet ISON, Comet Encke or any other night sky view that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, send photos, comments and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

    Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
    o. Comet Quiz: Test Your Cosmic Knowledge
    o. How To See Comet ISON In November 2013 | Video
    o. Comet of the Century? Sun-Grazing Comet ISON Explained (Infographic)

    Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

    This artist's conception shows the NASA's MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars. The mission will launch in late 2013. (LASP)

    NASA is all set to launch its next mission to Mars on Monday (Nov. 18), provided the weather cooperates and no unexpected glitches pop up.

    The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN orbiter, or MAVEN for short, is slated to blast off atop an Atlas 5 rocket at 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT) Monday from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. You can watch MAVEN's launch on SPACE.com, courtesy of NASA TV.

    As its name suggests, MAVEN will make detailed measurements of the Red Planet's atmosphere from orbit, helping scientists understand why and how Mars' climate has changed so dramatically over the last few billion years. It will take about 10 months to reach Mars, and arrive at the Red Planet in September 2014. [NASA's MAVEN Mars Probe: 10 Surprising Facts]

    Here are some key facts to keep in mind about the MAVEN probe and its $671 million mission:

    MAVEN Is Big
    The solar-powered MAVEN spacecraft is pretty hefty. While the probe's body is a cube measuring 8 feet on each a side, MAVEN spans a total of 37.5 feet with its solar panels deployed, making the craft as long as a school bus. And MAVEN weighs 5,410 pounds -- as much as a fully loaded sport utility vehicle.

    Elliptical orbit
    When MAVEN gets to Mars, the probe will insert into an elliptical orbit around the planet that brings it as close as 93 miles (150 kilometers) and reaches as far away as 3,728 miles (6,000 km).

    In addition, MAVEN will make a handful of "deep dips" during the course of its mission, coming within 77 miles (124 km) of the Martian surface on five separate occasions. MAVEN will thus be able to sample the Red Planet's upper atmosphere directly and get a wider view of the entire planet from afar -- a powerful combination, NASA officials say.

    Solving a Martian Mystery
    Mars was a potentially habitable planet billions of years ago, with a thick atmosphere and large amounts of liquid water flowing across its surface. But then something happened, and the Red Planet transitioned to the cold and dry world we know today, with an atmosphere just 1 percent as dense as that of Earth. [NASA's MAVEN Mission to Mars (Photos)]

    Scientists hope MAVEN helps them get a better handle on this dramatic shift. The mission aims to determine how and why much of the Martian atmosphere was lost to space, and what role this loss played in Red Planet climate change over the last four billion years.

    MAVEN will use eight different science instruments to study Mars' upper atmosphere and the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing from the sun that is thought to have stripped away much of the water and other volatile compounds in the Red Planet's air.

    Not a Mars Life Hunt
    While MAVEN's observations should help researchers better understand Mars' past and present habitability, the mission will not actively search for signs of life.

    In fact, MAVEN is not equipped to sniff for methane, a gas that could be an indicator of extant life. (About 90 percent of Earth's methane is produced by living organisms.) MAVEN's budget could not support adding a methane-detection component, mission scientists have said.

    Communications Link
    While NASA is most excited about the data MAVEN will gather, the spacecraft will also serve the space agency in another way -- as a communications relay between rovers on Mars and their handlers on Earth.

    NASA currently has two rovers exploring the Red Planet's surface -- the car-size Curiosity, which touched own in August 2012, and its smaller cousin Opportunity, which landed in January 2004. MAVEN will augment data relay from the two robots, which is currently provided by two NASA orbiters -- Mars Odyssey, which launched in 2001, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which blasted off in 2005.

    This relay capability helped the MAVEN mission stay on track despite last month's government shutdown, which forced NASA to furlough 97 percent of its employees and cease most operations. While MAVEN launch preparations were halted at the beginning of the 17-day shutdown, the space agency granted the mission an emergency exception two days later, chiefly because of its importance as a communications link. (The agency has no relay orbiters on the books beyond MAVEN.)

    Find the latest MAVEN news, photos and videos on SPACE.com. You can also follow MAVEN coverage through the Mission Status Center at SPACE.com's partner, Spaceflight Now.

    Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on SPACE.com.

    Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

    Similar scenes may unfold across the Midwest and Northeast through Monday. (Photo by Photos.com)

    An outbreak of damaging winds threatens to sweep across the Midwest on Sunday with the danger reaching the Northeast Sunday night through Monday.

    The strength of the impending winds threaten to cause tree damage, power outages, flight delays and dangerous crosswinds for high-profile vehicles. Falling trees can lead to addition damage or bodily harm.

    Many gusts will range between 40 and 55 mph, but can be locally higher.

    A handful of thunderstorms with damaging winds will actually erupt Saturday afternoon across northern Missouri and eastern Iowa. Kansas City, Mo., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, lie within this zone.

    Saturday night, damaging winds will threaten Missouri, including St. Louis and Springfield, and the lower Ohio Valley.

    The danger will expand across more of the lower Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and western Tennessee Valley on Sunday, then the upper Great Lakes and Northeast Sunday night through Monday.

    RELATED:
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    Away from the western and upper Great Lakes where the wind threat will be more prolonged, this will be a brief damaging wind event that is produced by severe thunderstorms and gusty showers accompanying a cold front tracking toward the East Coast.

    Interesting to note that on Saturday, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center issued their farthest north November Day 2 (Sunday in this case) moderate risk zone for severe weather since 1998.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists have included Chicago, Indianapolis, Nashville, Cincinnati and Detroit in Sunday's damaging wind threat zone.

    The winds could create problems for kickers, quarterbacks and receivers as the Chicago Bears host the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon.

    Gusty winds will be blowing as the Steelers play the Detroit Lions in Pittsburgh and the Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns in Cincinnati, but the damaging wind threat will come after the game concludes.

    One or two of the severe thunderstorms producing Sunday's damaging winds will also spawn a tornado.

    "The low tornado threat will continue the trend of a historically low year for tornadoes across the United States," stated AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Andy Mussoline.

    Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Toronto will be subject to the winds Sunday evening, followed by Albany, Montreal and Philadelphia late Sunday night.

    The winds are set to whip New York City, Boston and Portland Monday morning, creating headaches for commuters.

    Colder air in the wake of the front will sweep away the mild air starting the weekend and ignite more snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes.

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    On Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released this breathtaking color-enhanced image of the Himalayan Mountains.

    The NOAA pointed out that this photo (taken by the Suomi NPP satellite) shows the striking climactic divide formed by the soaring mountain range. The Himalayas form a continental divide between Southern (warmer, green tones) and Central (snow-dotted) Asia.

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    Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

    Genia Mae Mustacisa pumps oxygen into the lungs of her three-day-old infant in front of the altar of a Catholic chapel inside the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban on Saturday Nov. 16, 2013. The chapel is now being used to care for infants after Typhoon Haiyan destroyed the original facility of the hospital. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - Althea Mustacisa was born three days ago in the aftermath of the killer typhoon that razed the eastern Philippines. And for every one of those three days, she has struggled to live.

    But she has clung to life because her parents have been pushing oxygen into her tiny body with a hand-held pump non-stop ever since she came into this world.

    And "if they stop, the baby will die," said Amie Sia, a nurse at a hospital in typhoon-wracked Tacloban city that is running without electricity and few staff or medical supplies.

    "She can't breathe without them. She can't breathe on her own," Sia said. "The only sign of life this little girl has left is a heartbeat."

    More than a week after ferocious Typhoon Haiyan annihilated a vast swath of the Philippines, killing more than 3,600 people, the storm's aftermath is still claiming victims - and doctors here fear Althea may be the next.

    When the fierce storm smashed into this tropical country on Nov. 8, it transformed Tacloban into an unrecognizable wasteland of rubble and death.

    The bottom floor of the two-story government-run Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center was flooded, and the intensive care unit for newborns was left a muddy ruin. Life-saving machinery, like the facility's only incubator, was soiled with water and mud.

    As the storm hit, doctors and staff took 20 babies who were already in the intensive care unit to a small chapel upstairs for their safety, placing them three or four in one plastic crib cart built for one newborn.

    With the chapel converted into an ad-hoc neonatal clinic, all the babies survived initially. But six died later, "because we lack vital medical equipment that was destroyed," said the attending physician, Dr. Leslie Rosario.

    Within days, however, 10 more babies born during or in the aftermath of the storm were taken in, including Althea. She was born in her family's typhoon-wrecked home on Nov. 13, weighing 5.84 pounds, suffering from an inability to breathe.

    When she was rushed to the hospital, doctors performed CPR on her and since then they have been giving her oxygen from the hand-held pump connected to a blue rubber bubble that fits into her tiny mouth and draws sustenance from a green tank through a transparent pipe.

    Doctors said the storm had not been a factor in the baby's problems, noting that insufficient prenatal care most likely complicated the pregnancy for the 18-year-old mother. The baby was not born premature.

    Still, there was a good chance of saving Althea had the hospital been equipped with electricity that would have run a ventilator, incubator and other life-saving equipment.

    Until Saturday, the makeshift ward in the chapel had no light except candles. On Saturday, one small fluorescent bulb attached to a diesel generator was hung in the middle of the room where a few packs of diapers sit on the altar below a picture of Jesus.

    On the floor are a few more boxes of the only medical supplies left -- water for IV fluids, syringes, a handful of antibiotics.

    The hospital also lacks manpower. In the neonatal clinic alone, only three out of 16 staff are still working, Rosario said. The rest never reported back after the storm. The Philippines Department of Health sent two nurses from Manila to help.

    The hospital chapel's windows are all shattered and missing. It is now filled with 24 babies -- five of them in critical condition, the rest with fevers or other ailments. Many were born premature.

    Their parents are there too, resting on 28 rows of wooden pews. Three mothers have IV drips in their arms.

    Nanette Salutan, 40, is one of them. She said her labor contraction began just as the winds from Haiyan began howling. The contractions continued after the storm eased, and she walked to the hospital with her husband. It was an eight-hour trek through corpse-filled rubble and waist-high water.

    "All I could think was, I wanted my baby to live," Salutan said.

    Her baby boy, Bernard, was born the same night -- at 2:13 a.m. He weighed just 5.73 pounds and measured 17.71 inches.

    But he did not cry, and they knew immediately something was wrong.

    The baby was not breathing.

    Doctors performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and put clear green tubes of oxygen in his nose. He is still so weak that he has to be fed by a syringe that is connected to a tube taped to his mouth.

    Rosario said Bernard had a decent chance of survival. But Althea's prognosis is not good.

    In a heart-stopping moment, her body turned blue as her breathing became more labored. Doctors rushed in and connected an IV needle into the remnant of her umbilical cord -- the one in her wrist had been there too long to be effective, they said. Slowly life flowed back into her tiny body.

    "If we had a ventilator, it's possible she could live," Sia said. "But right now she's very weak, and I don't think she's going to make it."

    "They've been traumatized by the typhoon, and now they're traumatized because they're trying to keep their baby alive," Rosario said of Althea's parents. "They're physically and emotionally exhausted."

    As she spoke, Althea's mother, Genia Mae Mustacisa, leaned over her baby girl, stroked her forehead and kissed it.

    The newborn lay on a wooden table, eyes closed, wrapped in a blue- and white-striped blanket. Her feet poked out, revealing a pair of mismatched socks -- one with pink and red hearts, one of the "Peanuts" comic character Snoopy sweeping with a broom.

    Methodically, her mother squeezed a green rubber bag attached to the tall tank of oxygen slowly over and over, every few seconds, just as her husband had done for half an hour before.

    "It's OK," she whispered, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I love you so much. No matter what happens, I love you so much."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan

     

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    Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

    This file photo shows a tornado's funnel cloud; the Midwest is in danger of just such a storm. (Mike Theiss/National Geographic/Getty Images)

    The stage is set for a tornado outbreak this Sunday with Chicago and Indianapolis in the danger zone.

    A front sweeping through the area will bring strong-to-severe thunderstorms throughout the day. These storms will be capable of producing torrential downpours, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes.

    The setup will be particularly high for the formation of tornadoes as a line of strong storms develops in the later part of Sunday morning.

    The front will continue moving westward early this week, bringing thunderstorms into the Northeast for Monday. Although the destructive winds will continue with the front, the threat for severe weather and tornadoes will end with the weekend.

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    Cold air will fill the Great Lakes and Northeast, dropping high temperatures as much as 20 degrees in two days.

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    Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

    This picture taken on November 16, 2013 shows a rescue team making its way on a boat to distribute food at a flood-hit area in the central province of Quang Ngai in Vietnam. (Vietnam News Agency/AFP/Getty Images)

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in central Vietnam have killed at least 24 people, left 10 missing and forced about 80,000 from their homes, disaster officials said Sunday.

    The National Flood and Storm Control Agency said in a statement that the loss of life happened in five central provinces, where the 10 others were also missing.

    It said the floods had inundated 98,000 houses in central Vietnam.

    But disaster officials said that the flood waters have started to recede in some areas, allowing residents to return and begin digging out their homes.

    The worst-hit province was Binh Dinh, where the floods killed 12 people, officials said.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Dramatic Flooding in Colorado
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    Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino (center, yellow shirt) visits the navy port where some relief supplies arrive by boat in Tacloban on November 17, 2013. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

    TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - President Benigno Aquino III said Sunday that he will stay in typhoon-battered Leyte province until he sees more progress in the aid effort following complaints from survivors that they have yet to receive proper help.

    Aquino is expected to set up camp in Tacloban, the capital of hardest-hit Leyte province, but it is not clear where he will find suitable accommodations amid the ruins. Virtually every building in the city was damaged or destroyed by the Nov. 8 Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 3,974 people, according to the latest official count released Sunday. The storm left about 1,200 people missing.

    Electricity is available only in small pockets through diesel generators. There is no running water, and people must manage with water supplied by tankers. Many don't even have that.

    Speaking to reporters during a visit to Tacloban, Aquino said that while there has been some progress in the aid effort, it is not enough. A massive effort by the international community, which has donated aid and cash worth more than $248 million, is beginning to show improvements on the ground.

    "We really want to ease the burden of everybody as soon as possible. As long as I don't see any more improvements, we'll stay here," Aquino said, referring to his official team.

    Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said Aquino wanted to ensure that the distribution of relief goods goes on smoothly and power is restored soon in this city of 220,000 people.

    This is not the first time Aquino has taken a hands-on approach to a crisis. When Muslim rebels occupied fishing villages outside Zamboanga in the south in September, he set up a camp in the regional military headquarters in the city to oversee the offensive against the insurgents. The move won him wide praise.

    Last month, the 53-year-old bachelor president slept overnight in an army tent to reassure jittery residents of a central town that was devastated by a magnitude-7.3 earthquake.

    Earlier in the day, thousands of Filipinos, many homeless and grieving, flocked to dozens of churches across the region for their first Sunday Mass since the typhoon. More than 80 percent of the 90 million people in the Philippines are Roman Catholic, a legacy of its history of Spanish colonial rule.

    Some came to give thanks for surviving. Others came to pray for the souls of the departed.

    "Coming to Mass gives people hope that things will eventually get better," said Marino Caintic.

    One such service was held by the Rev. Amadero Alvero at his half-destroyed Santo Nino church, a landmark of Tacloban.

    "Despite what happened, we still believe in God," he said. "The church may have been destroyed, but our faith is intact, as believers, as a people of God, our faith has not been destroyed."

    Sun shone for the first service, but by the second, rain was falling through a gaping hole crisscrossed by wooden beams in the roof of the downtown church and landmark. Its windows were blown out, and winds snapped at a silver cross on top of its steeple, which hangs upside down.

    "We are being tested by God, to see how strong our faith is, to see if our faith is true," he said. "He wants to know that we have faith in him in good times, as well as in bad."

    Santo Nino and other churches have also been helping care for those who survived.

    About 30 families are living in the church, and there are boxes of water and canned goods and food piled up on the promises. The seawater flooded much of the first floor of the compound.

    Filipinos elsewhere in Asia also remembered their homeland in their prayers Sunday.

    In Hong Kong, home to 133,000 Filipinos, volunteers outside one church were collecting food, medicine, blankets and clothing to send to the affected region. Most of Filipinos working in the city are low-paid domestic workers.

    "We can't really afford to give much money, but we can help them by praying," said Jovie Tamayo, 32, who is from central Iloilo province. The roof of her family's house was ripped off in the storm, but her family members were uninjured.

    Chelly Ogania said she had been unable to contact her mother and brothers on Samar Island, where the storm made landfall, though she had heard from friends that the village was safe.

    "We pray that they are really safe, we pray always," said the 35-year-old. "That's all the things I can do, just pray and trust the Lord, because I'm very far from them. No communications, just praying, praying."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan

     

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    Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 1:34 p.m. ET

    This shot of the aftermath of a tornado touch-down near Peoria, Illinois, was taken by Chris Khoury (@ChrisKhoury182) today, who wrote on Twitter: "After the tornado ."

    A particularly dangerous situation is unfolding across the Midwest where the stage is set for devastating tornadoes.

    Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes will continue to erupt, then spread eastward across the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley through Sunday afternoon.

    The setup will be particularly high for the formation of tornadoes across northern and eastern Illinois, far southeastern Wisconsin, Indiana and southwestern Michigan.

    Damaging winds will then spread across the Northeast Sunday night through Monday.

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    More information on this significant tornado threat can be found in this news story. Read below for the latest update on the unfolding severe weather.


    UPDATES: (All times are listed in CST)

    11:04 a.m. CST Sunday: "Confirmed damaging tornado in central Illinois," was reported on the National Weather Service's Office in central Illinois.

    11:03 a.m. CST Sunday: NWS spotter heard from an emergency manager of a brief tornado touchdown near the intersection of Routes 29 and 98, south of Peoria, Ill. The damage is being reported near Peoria.

    10:53 a.m. CST Sunday: Radar-indicated tornado passing just south of Peoria, Ill., and tracking toward East Peoria, Ill.

    10:42 a.m. CST Sunday: Thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is located near Ashland, Ill., and tracking toward Athens and Greenview, Ill. The thunderstorm is expected to cross I-55, north of Springfield.

    10:33 a.m. CST Sunday: "There are no plans to delay [the Bears-Ravens game]," stated the Chicago Bears on their official twitter page. Severe weather still expected to reach Chicago around the start of the game.

    10:30 a.m. CST Sunday: Thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is located near Wind Lake, Wis., and headed toward Milwaukee.

    10:22 a.m. CST Sunday: Thunderstorms with a history of producing hail are tracking toward areas just to the northwest of Peoria, Ill.

    10:20 a.m. CST Sunday: New tornado watch box has been issued for Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio. This watch box is in effect until 7 p.m. CST Sunday and includes Indianapolis and Detroit. Click here to view the latest watches and warnings that are in effect.

    10:16 a.m. CST Sunday: Another thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is tracking toward Hebron and Richmond, Ill.

    9:57 a.m. CST Sunday: Radar-indicated tornado is currently located near Pell Lake, Wis., and heading toward the Wisconsin communities of Bohners Lake and Union Grove.

    9:50 a.m. CST Sunday: NWS trained spotter reported a funnel cloud three miles west of Hebron, Ill.

    9:34 a.m. CST Sunday: Thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is tracking toward Harvard and Richmond, Ill., which are located to the northwest of Chicago.

    9:33 a.m. CST Sunday: Severe weather is beginning to erupt across the Midwest. One severe thunderstorm capable of producing damaging winds is headed toward Dubuque, Iowa.

    9:25 a.m. CST Sunday: Law enforcement report that winds gusted to roughly 60 mph and pea-sized hail fell when a thunderstorm crossed New Vienna, Iowa.

    9:21 a.m. CST Sunday: The official twitter page of the Chicago Bears states that crews are taking off the field at the Soldier Field in advance of the Bears-Ravens game, but severe weather is still on track to strike Chicago during kickoff or the first half of the game.

    8:50 a.m. CST Sunday: The danger level for tornadoes remains high in Chicago for early Sunday afternoon. The severe weather is expected to cross the city during kickoff or the first half of the NFL game between the city's Bears and the Baltimore Ravens.

    8:45 a.m. CST Sunday: AccuWeather.com meteorologists discussed the situation and feel that the greatest tornado threat is east of St. Louis. Damaging winds are the primary concern for the city.

    8:40 a.m. CST Sunday: A tornado watch has been issued and stretches from St. Louis, Mo., to Davenport, Iowa, to Chicago, Ill. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has declared this a particularly dangerous situation and AccuWeather.com meteorologists agree.


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    Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

    In this file photo, a tropical storm is captured -- via satellite -- spinning west from Africa, the same trajectory as this new system. (NOAA)

    The Atlantic Basin could have one more tropical system before the official end of the hurricane season on Nov. 30.

    A weak area of low pressure, located about halfway between Africa and the United States will slowly spin over the open waters of the Atlantic over the next several days.

    The low will spin over warm waters and in an area of reduced wind shear, favorable conditions for the development of tropical systems.

    Regardless of its development, the low will not pose any threat to land; spinning over the open waters of the Atlantic for several days before lifting into the North Atlantic early next week and possibly affecting parts of Europe.

    While it does not seem likely that the low will organize itself into a tropical storm, the low will still cause rough seas for any boats traveling across this area.

    If this low does muster up the strength to become a tropical storm, it would take the name of Melissa.

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    Late-season tropical systems are not uncommon in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin. The most recent tropical storm to develop in the basin during the month of November was Tropical Storm Sean in 2011.

    The year before that, the Atlantic had Hurricane Tomas, the most recent hurricane in the basin during the month of November.

    Tropical systems have been known to develop in the Atlantic as late as December, such as Hurricane Alice, which first became a tropical storm on Dec. 30, 1954.

    For the latest on the tropics, be sure to check out the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center


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    Mount Etna Volcano Erupts Sending Lava and Ash Into Sky


    On Nov. 17, 2013, the volcanic eruption of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy, was captured on video.

    Mount Etna is the most active volcano in Europe, and in this video you can hear it rumbling as its lava shoots towards the sky, lighting up the sky above the Italian island.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Incredible Photos of Volcanic Eruptions
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