Attn! Always use a VPN when RSSing!
Your IP adress is . Country:
Your ISP blocks content and issues fines based on your location. Hide your IP address with a VPN!
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

SKYE on AOL

older | 1 | .... | 137 | 138 | (Page 139) | 140 | 141 | .... | 204 | newer

    0 0

    Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013

    In this photo provided by Russian Emergency Situations Ministry shows the crash site of the Russian passenger airliner, Boeing 737, near Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan republic, about 450 miles east of Moscow, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Russian Emergency Situations Ministry)

    MOSCOW (AP) - A passenger airliner crashed and caught fire Sunday night while trying to land at the airport in the Russian city of Kazan, killing all 50 people aboard, officials said.

    The Boeing 737 belonging to Tatarstan Airlines was trying to make a second landing attempt when it touched the surface of the runway near the control tower, and was "destroyed and caught fire," said Sergei Izvolky, the spokesman for the Russian aviation agency.

    A spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry, Irina Rossius, said there were 44 passengers and six crew members aboard the flight from Moscow and all had been killed.

    The ministry released a list of the dead, which included Irek Minnikhanov, the son of Tatarstan's governor, and Alexander Antonov, who headed the Tatarstan branch of the Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB.

    Kazan, a city of about 1.1 million and the capital of the Tatarstan republic, is about 720 kilometers (450 miles) east of Moscow. The republic is one of the wealthier regions of Russia because of its large deposits of oil. It is also is a major manufacturing center, producing trucks, helicopters and planes. About half of the people who live in the republic are ethnic Tatars, most of whom are Muslims.

    The ministry released photographs from the nighttime crash scene showing parts of the aircraft and debris scattered across the ground.

    A journalist who said she had flown on the same aircraft from Kazan to Moscow's Domodedovo airport earlier in the day told Channel One state television that the landing in Moscow had been frightening because of a strong vibration during the final minutes of the flight.

    "When we were landing it was not clear whether there was a strong wind, although in Moscow the weather was fine, or some kind of technical trouble or problem with the flight," said Lenara Kashafutdinova. "We were blown in different directions, the plane was tossed around. The man sitting next to me was white as a sheet."

    Russia has seen a string of deadly crashes in recent years. Some have been blamed on the use of aging aircraft, but industry experts point to a number of other problems, including poor crew training, crumbling airports, lax government controls and widespread neglect of safety in the pursuit of profits.

    The last fatal airliner crash was in December, when a Russian-made Tupolev belonging to Red Wings airline careered off the runway at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, rolled across a snowy field and slammed into the slope of a nearby highway, breaking into pieces and catching fire. Investigators say equipment failure caused the crash, which killed five people.

    A 2011 crash in Yaroslavl that killed 44 people including a professional hockey team was blamed on pilot error. And Russian investigators found that the pilots in two crashes that killed 10 and 47 people in recent years were intoxicated.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Photos: 49 Killed in Deadly Laos Plane Crash

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Updated Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 8:24 p.m. ET

    A tornado left a path of devastation through the north end of Pekin, Il., Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Journal Star, Fred Zwicky)

    WASHINGTON, Illinois (AP) - Dozens of tornadoes and intense thunderstorms swept across the U.S. Midwest on Sunday, causing extensive damage in several central Illinois communities, killing at least five people and prompting officials at Chicago's Soldier Field to evacuate the stands and delay the Bears pro football game.

    Officials say they have confirmed that the death toll has climbed to five. Patti Thompson of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency says the latest two deaths occurred Sunday in Massac County in far southern Illinois.

    Officials confirmed earlier that one person died in the central Illinois community of Washington, where a tornado destroyed several blocks of houses.

    Also, the county coroner in Washington County in southern Illinois said that two people died in the town of New Minden, about 50 miles southeast of St. Louis. The victims were an elderly man and his sister who died when a tornado struck their farmhouse.

    By mid-afternoon, with communications difficult and many roads impassable, it remained unclear how many people were killed or hurt by the string of unusually strong late-season tornadoes. In a news release, the Illinois National Guard said it had dispatched 10 firefighters and three vehicles to Washington to assist with immediate search and recovery operations.

    "The whole neighborhood's gone. The wall of my fireplace is all that is left of my house," said Michael Perdun, speaking by cellphone from the hard-hit town of Washington, where he said his neighborhood was wiped out in a matter of seconds.

    "I stepped outside and I heard it coming. My daughter was already in the basement, so I ran downstairs and grabbed her, crouched in the laundry room and all of a sudden I could see daylight up the stairway and my house was gone."

    Washington Alderman Tyler Gee told WLS-TV that as he walked through neighborhoods immediately after the tornado struck, he "couldn't even tell what street I was on."

    "Just completely flattened -- some of the neighborhoods here in town, hundreds of homes."

    Among those who lost his home was Curt Zehr, who said he was amazed at the speed with which the tornado turned his farmhouse outside Washington into a mass of rubble scattered over hundreds of yards. His truck was sent flying and landed on a tree that had toppled over.

    Steve Brewer, chief operating officer at Methodist Medical Center of Illinois in Peoria, said 14 people had come to the hospital seeking treatment for minor injuries, while another Washington area hospital had received about 15 patients.

    He said doctors and other medical professionals were setting up a temporary emergency care center to treat the injured before transporting them to hospitals, while others were dispatched to search through the rubble for survivors.

    About 90 minutes after the tornado destroyed homes in Washington, the storm darkened downtown Chicago. As the rain and high winds slammed into the area, officials at Soldier Field evacuated the stands and ordered the Bears and Baltimore Ravens off the field. Fans were allowed to return to their seats shortly after 2 p.m., and the game resumed after about a two-hour delay.

    Just how many tornadoes hit was unclear Sunday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service's website, a total of 65 tornadoes had struck, the bulk of them in Illinois. But meteorologist Matt Friedlein said the total might fall because emergency workers, tornado spotters and others often report the same tornado.

    Earlier, the National Weather Service issued warnings about the rapidly moving storm system. Officials warned that people might not realize the potential severity because the storms were coming late in the season.

    "This is a very dangerous situation," said Russell Schneider, director of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center. "Approximately 53 million in 10 states are at significant risk for thunderstorms and tornadoes."

    At 11 a.m., weather service officials confirmed a tornado had touched down near the central Illinois community of East Peoria, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago. Within an hour, tornadoes were reported in Washington, Metamora, Morton and other central Illinois communities.

    According to weather service officials, parts of Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan and western Ohio were at the greatest risk of seeing tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds throughout the day Sunday, before the storm system pushed into the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states Sunday evening.

    Matt Friedlein, a weather service meteorologist, said that such strong storms are rare this late in the year because there usually isn't enough heat from the sun to sustain the thunderstorms. But he said temperatures Sunday were expected to reach into the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (from 16 to 26 degrees Celsius), which he said is warm enough to help produce severe weather when it is coupled with winds, which are typically stronger this time of year than in the summer.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0
    0 0

    Updated Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, 11:52 a.m. ET
    AP Photo/News-Gazette, Jessie Starkey
    A tornado moves northeast Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, two miles west of Flatville, Ill. (AP Photo/News-Gazette, Jessie Starkey)

    WASHINGTON, Illinois (AP) - Dozens of tornadoes swept across the U.S. Midwest in a rare November blast of warm-weather storms, leaving at least seven people dead and unleashing powerful winds that flattened entire neighborhoods, flipped over cars and uprooted trees.

    With communications difficult and many roads impassable, it remained unclear how many people were killed or hurt Sunday by the unusually strong late-season tornadoes.

    An elderly man and his sister were killed when a tornado hit their home in rural Illinois. Four other people were killed in the state, the hardest hit by the tornados, said Patti Thompson of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. She did not provide details.

    PHOTOS: Deadly Tornadoes, Storms Hit Midwest
    In Michigan, officials said a 21-year-old man died when his vehicle was crushed by a fallen tree and a 59-year-old man was found dead and entangled in high-voltage power wires.

    As the rain and high winds slammed into the Chicago area Sunday, officials c leared a football stadium and moved teams off the field for a couple of hours, in a highly unusual interruption of a National Football League game.

    Just how many tornadoes hit was unclear. According to the National Weather Service's website, a total of 65 tornadoes struck, most of them in Illinois. But meteorologist Matt Friedlein said the total might fall because emergency workers, tornado spotters and others often report the same tornado.

    Matt Friedlein, a weather service meteorologist, said that such strong storms are rare this late in the year because there usually isn't enough heat from the sun to sustain the thunderstorms. But he said temperatures Sunday were expected to reach into the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (from 16 to 26 degrees Celsius), which he said is warm enough to help produce severe weather when it is coupled with winds, which are typically stronger this time of year than in the summer.

    In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn declared seven counties disa ster areas.

    Between 250 and 500 homes were either damaged or destroyed in the town of Washington, Mayor Gary Manier said Monday. He said it wasn't clear when residents would be allowed to return.

    "Everybody's without power, but some people are without everything," Manier told reporters in the parking lot of a destroyed auto parts store and near a row of flattened homes.

    "How people survived is beyond me," he said.

    The tornado cut a path from one side of town of 16,000 people to the other, knocking down power lines uprooting trees and rupturing gas lines, State Trooper Dustin Pierce said.

    Local official Tyler Gee told WLS-TV that as he walked through neighborhoods immediately after the tornado struck, he "couldn't even tell what street I was on."

    "Just completely flattened - some of the neighborhoods here in town, hundreds of homes."

    At OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, spokeswoman Amy Paul said 37 patients had been treated, eight with injuries ranging from broken bones to head injuries that were serious enough to be admitted. Another hospital, Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, treated more than a dozen people, but officials there said none were seriously injured.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
    FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, Typhoon Haiyan survivors walk along a road in the destroyed port in the town of Guiuan, Philippines. Corruption is a concern after any major natural disaster, as millions of dollars in cash and goods rush in from around the world. But those worries are especially acute in the Philippines, where graft has been a part of life for decades. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
    In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, Typhoon Haiyan survivors walk along a road in the destroyed port in the town of Guiuan, Philippines. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - When a newspaper for Filipino workers in New Zealand told readers how to donate to the typhoon relief effort in their homeland, it mentioned agencies like the Red Cross but not a list of government bank accounts that the Philippine Embassy had sent over.

    "I'm not going to mince words," said Mel Fernandez, the editorial adviser for the Filipino Migrant News. "We would like every cent to reach those poor people there rather than getting waylaid."

    Corruption is a concern after any major natural disaster, as millions of dollars in cash and goods rush in from around the world. But those worries are especially acute in the Philippines, where graft has been a part of life for decades.

    Photos: Typhoon Haiyan Slams into Philippines

    The government of President Benigno Aquino III, who has made fighting corruption a priority, is promising full transparency in reconstruction spending in areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda. It announced Monday that it has established a website called the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub where funds given by foreign donors can be tracked.

    "There's an urgent call now for us to monitor the movement of foreign aid funds for Yolanda so they will go exactly where they're supposed to: to the survivors of the typhoon," Undersecretary of Budget and Management and Chief Information Officer Richard Moya said in a statement.

    More than $270 million in foreign aid has been donated to help the victims of the Nov. 8 typhoon, which killed at least 3,976 people and left nearly 1,600 missing, according to government figures updated Monday. More than 4 million people have been displaced and need food, shelter and water. The typhoon also wrecked livelihoods on a massive scale, destroying crops, livestock, coconut plantations and fishing boats.

    Several battered communities appeared to be shifting from survival mode to one of early recovery Monday. Markets were reopening, though with very limited wares. Some gasoline stations were pumping and residents were repairing damaged homes or making temporary shelters out of the remains of their old ones.

    "The darkest night is over but it's not yet 100 percent," regional military commander Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda said.

    On Sunday, Aquino toured the disaster area and promised to step up aid deliveries.

    Aquino said he was happy to see typhoon-battered areas slowly rising from the devastation. The aid effort remained daunting, he said, adding that the government is feeding about 1.4 million people a day.

    "One is tempted to despair," Aquino told reporters in Alangalang town in Leyte province, where he met with officials and survivors. "But the minute I despair, then everybody gets hampered in the efforts to get up."

    Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said Aquino would stay for a second night in Tacloban city and visit more typhoon-battered towns on Tuesday.

    In one sign of how much work is ahead, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla pledged to restore power in all typhoon-battered regions by Dec. 24, a job that will require erecting about 160 giant power transmission towers and thousands of electrical posts toppled by the typhoon. He said he will resign if he fails.

    "It's difficult to celebrate Christmas without light," Petilla said.

    The government wants to show that it will be more responsible than previous administrations were following other natural disasters, when that funds intended for reconstruction were allegedly siphoned off. Prosecutors are investigating allegations that $20.7 million in government funds for rebuilding towns devastated by a 2009 storm in northern Luzon island were stolen by local officials via bogus nongovernmental agencies.

    On Nov. 7, a day before Typhoon Haiyan hit, Filipinos were glued to their television screens, watching Senate testimony in which Janet Lim Napoles denied allegations that she masterminded a plot to plunder millions of dollars of government funds intended for projects to relieve poverty.

    It is far too soon to say how much aid intended for victims of last week's Typhoon Haiyan might end up in the wrong hands. Foreign donors demand strict anti-graft measures in projects they fund, but privately admit that "leakage" of funds is sometimes inevitable.

    Much of the assistance in the early phase of a disaster response is in the form of food, water and other supplies. Far richer opportunities for graft occur later when rebuilding occurs and contracts are up for grabs.

    But corruption probably has already made this typhoon worse. Money for roads was diverted, giving people less ability to evacuate. Hospitals didn't get the resources they should have. Some houses might not have been flattened if they had been built to code.

    "Petty corruption in urban areas means that building inspections don't happen and building codes are not enforced," said Steven Rood, the Manila-based representative of The Asia Foundation, a nonprofit development organization. "Even middle-class homes are not built to withstand a typhoon, much less poor homes."

    Filipinos working abroad and sending money home to their families are an important source of cash in the country under any circumstances, but Fernandez, the New Zealand editorial adviser, expects that they will be skeptical about giving money to the government. He said he thinks they will simply donate to nongovernmental agencies providing aid to typhoon victims, but Rood wasn't certain even of that.

    "There's a lot of cynicism, particularly in the expat community," Rood said. "People are put off. You see it in the social networks. People are saying there's no point - if they give money, it will just get stolen."

    The typhoon has come at a time when some feel the Philippines might finally be cracking down on corruption. In its latest global corruption report, Transparency International found the Philippines was just one of 11 countries in which people said they were noticing an improvement in corruption levels.

    Rood said he believes Philippine government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development are less corrupt than they once were and can be relied on to take the lead after disasters like the typhoon.

    Doracie Zoleta-Nantes, a Filipino and research fellow at the Australian National University, said the recent debate in the Philippines on corruption has been intense and people are demanding improvements. She said media scrutiny on places like Tacloban, a city devastated by the typhoon, will help ensure aid gets distributed.

    "But some victims will be marginalized because they are not aligned politically," she added.

    Tecson John Lim, the city administrator in Tacloban, said the city is recognized for its good governance and its accounts are transparent. He added that corruption concerns tend to center around people like cement suppliers, and "right now, you can't even buy anything."

    Valerie Amos, the U.N. humanitarian chief, said in Manila that the U.N. is not expecting to find widespread corruption as it responds to the disaster. "Everyone's concern is focused on getting the maximum aid to the people who need it," she said.

    Aid agencies are taking their own precautions to avoid corruption.

    Chris Clarke, the chief executive of World Vision New Zealand, has visited areas affected by the typhoon. He said World Vision has its own supply chains, collects donations directly, and even issues microchips to victims to record the amount of aid delivered to them.

    "It's always an issue we're asked about," he said. "Does the money get there, and does it get to the right people?"

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
    Paul Tubbs  of Washington, Ill., looks over the remains of his home on Devon Lane in Washington after a tornado tore through the north part of Washington on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Peoria Journal Star, Ron Johnson)
    Paul Tubbs of Washington, Ill., looks over the remains of his home on Devon Lane in Washington after a tornado tore through the north part of Washington on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Peoria Journal Star, Ron Johnson)

    An unusually large and strong late-season storm system ripped through several states across the Midwest on Sunday, spawning tornadoes and tearing through homes and overturning cars along its path. Here's a snapshot of what happened, state by state:

    ILLINOIS

    Intense thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped off roofs and sent trees toppling in several communities across the state. At least six people were killed, including, an elderly man and his sister who died when a tornado struck their farmhouse in rural New Minden in southern Illinois, officials said.

    One of the worst-hit areas was Washington, a town of 16,000 about 140 miles southwest of Chicago. Entire blocks were leveled as a tornado cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of town to the other.

    As high winds slammed into the Chicago area, officials at Soldier Field evacuated the stands and ordered the Bears and Ravens off the field. Fans were allowed back to their seats shortly after 2 p.m., and the game resumed after about a two-hour delay.

    INDIANA

    Severe thunderstorms packing tornadoes and heavy winds rolled across Indiana, injuring several people and causing widespread damage.

    Gov. Mike Pence said 12 counties reported either tornadoes or storm damage after the initial line of storms had traveled midway across Indiana.

    Kokomo police asked residents to stay home and off the streets after city officials declared a state of emergency in the wake of severe storms. The city police department posted photos on its Twitter account showing buildings with roofs torn off and a destroyed bank branch.

    OHIO

    Heavy winds from storms caused damage to buildings and left tens of thousands across Ohio without power.

    Wood County, in the northwestern part of the state, was among the hardest-hit areas. There were multiple reports of damage to the roofs of buildings and homes.

    The county's emergency management director, Brad Gilbert, said two people were taken to a hospital to be evaluated for minor injuries after their home sustained substantial damage in Jerry City, about 10 miles southeast of Bowling Green.

    Thousands of customers were without power across northwest Ohio due to the storm.

    WISCONSIN

    Strong winds knocked out power to thousands in the Milwaukee area, damaged buildings and downed trees in Dodge County, and sent churchgoers scrambling into church basements for safety.

    In the town of Hustisford, cattle sheds, garages and storage sheds were damaged, said Dodge County Emergency Management Director Joseph Meagher. No injuries were immediately reported, he said.

    MICHIGAN

    High winds and rain slammed into Michigan, causing tens of thousands of power outages. The storm hit from Lake Michigan communities in the west to counties hundreds of miles to the east. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but trees and power lines snapped from winds topping 60 mph.

    KENTUCKY

    A possible tornado touched down at a uranium enrichment plant in Paducah, Ky., as strong storms moved through the state. No deaths or injuries were reported, and plant officials said no hazardous materials were released from the plant.

    A total of eight Kentucky counties reported tornado sightings.

    At least two homes were destroyed - one in Henderson County and another in Butler County. More than 3,000 customers lost power.

    MISSOURI

    Severe storms slammed the eastern part of Missouri, leaving thousands without power mostly in the St. Louis area and destroying a mobile home in Scott County. No one was injured.

    The National Weather Service said the storm tore shingles off roofs and uprooted trees across parts of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
    Tornadoes Leave Nothing but Grief Across Midwest
    Dozens of tornadoes tore through the Midwest on Sunday, Nov. 17, killing 8 people. In this amateur video, a tornado sweeps across a field in Washington, Ill., engulfing everything in its path. Meanwhile, from indoors, a man recites the lord's prayer, hoping for survival.

    Share this on Facebook?

    The video was shot Sunday during one of the many tornadoes that ripped through Illinois and Indiana. In Washington, Ill., foundations where homes once stood now lay barren. Elsewhere, cars are overturned among scattered debris in flattened neighborhoods.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
    PEORIA, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 17:  A tree was pulled out of the ground by the roots, collapsing onto a house  after a tornado on November 17, 2013 in Peoria, Illinois. Powerful tornadoes have swept through the US Midwest, destroying buildings and killing three people in the states of Illinois. (Photo by Jack Lance/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
    A tree was pulled out of the ground by the roots, collapsing onto a house after a tornado on November 17, 2013 in Peoria, Illinois. (Photo by Jack Lance/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

    Following an outbreak of severe storms, including tornadoes and damaging winds, in the Midwest on Sunday, strong winds will shift into the Northeast and eastern Canada on Monday.

    The winds are set to whip New York City, Boston and Portland on Monday morning, creating headaches for commuters. Rain will likely add to the travel woes in Boston and Portland.

    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 additional damage or bodily harm.



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

    This will be a brief damaging wind event that is produced by gusty showers accompanying a cold front tracking toward the East Coast.

    RELATED:
    Low Number of Tornadoes in 2013
    AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center
    Interactive US Radar


    However, winds will be strong behind the front as well across southeastern Canada. Winds can gust over 40 mph in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

    Colder air in the wake of the front will sweep away the mild air and ignite more snow showers downwind of the Great Lakes. For the major I-95 cities from Boston to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., AccuWeather RealFeel(R) temperatures will be as much as 20 degrees lower on Tuesday compared to Monday. The chilly weather will stick around through midweek.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Nov. 18, 2013


    Parts of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia bore the brunt of unusually large hailstones following thunderstorms on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. Local reports indicate that orange-sized hail was spotted in several locations in the area. This video captures scenes of the hail pummeling the town of Maroochydore.

    Emergency responders in the Sunshine Coast region responded to hundreds of calls for help after residents experienced damage to homes, cars and buildings, according to local news. The ABC news affiliate also reports one man was taken to a hospital with serious head injuries after being struck by a giant hailstone.

    A number of residents snapped photos of the monster hail which they then posted on Twitter.


    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Incredible Photos of Forces of Nature
    Volcano Eruption

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Monday, Nov. 18, 2013

    This map shows how visible the launch will be on the East Coast. (Orbital Sciences)

    NASA and the U.S. military will launch a record payload of 29 satellites from a Virginia spaceport Tuesday night (Nov. 19) on a mission that could create a spectacular sight for skywatchers along the U.S. East Coast, weather permitting.

    The U.S. Air Force launch will send an Orbital Sciences Minotaur 1 rocket into orbit from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va., sometime during a two-hour launch window that opens Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. EST (0030 Nov. 20 GMT).

    The nighttime launch could light up the sky for millions of observers along a wide swath of the Eastern Seaboard, and could be visible from just northeastern Canada and Maine to Florida, and from as far inland as Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, depending on local weather conditions, according to NASA and Orbital Sciences visibility maps. [Can You See It? Visibility Maps for Nov. 19 Rocket Launch (Gallery)]

    The U.S. military's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office is sponsoring Tuesday's launch. You can watch the nighttime launch live online here, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT).

    One launch, many satellites

    Dubbed the ORS 3 mission, Tuesday's launch will test automated launch vehicle trajectory targeting and range safety systems. Specifically, the mission will be to launch STPSat 3, a host spacecraft for five experiments and sensors to measure the space environment. Employing such capabilities on future space missions could reduce costs and the time required to prepare rockets for launch.

    Another 28 CubeSats are housed inside "wafers" designed to deploy from the Minotaur upper stage once it reaches its 310-mile (500 kilometers) orbit. The satellites are enclosed inside the Minotaur's protective nose cone fairing, which is flying in the 61-inch diameter configuration for this launch.

    Located just south of Assateague Island, Va., NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island is home to a multi-user spaceport located on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Tuesday's planned evening launch would mark the second launch a Minotaur rocket from this coastal Virginia range in just the last three months.

    Over the years, similar rocket launches have routinely taken place from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. While many West Coast residents may be quite familiar with such launch sightings, they are somewhat unusual in the East (though they have become more common in recent years). Still, Tuesday evening's launch may end up surprising millions of people if it goes off as planned.

    Launch visibility details

    Visibility maps from Orbital Sciences shows the likely ranges of visibility for Tuesday night's launch, including details on how high in the sky it will appear and how many seconds will elapse before the rocket first becomes visible above the horizon.


    This image shows how observers in New York City at the "Top of the Rock" in Rockefeller Center can see the launch of ORS-3 planned for Nov. 19, 2013. (Orbital Sciences)

    The four-stage Minotaur 1 rocket will be launched on a southeast trajectory and should be visible, depending on cloud cover and one's viewing location, from northern Maine and southern Quebec province to coastal Georgia. It may also be seen as far west as eastern Kentucky. The Stage 3 cutoff will take place at a distance of approximately 300 miles (482 km) downrange from Wallops Island. That works out to a potential viewing radius of up to 1,000 miles (1,600 km). [See Dazzling Photos from a Minotaur 1 Rocket Launch]

    Those who witnessed the launch of Orbital Sciences' first Minotaur 5 rocket launch on Sept. 6 that propelled NASA's LADEE spacecraft toward the moon should see basically the same sight: A light in the sky similar to a very bright star shining with a yellow-white tinge. It may also seem that the rocket dips back to Earth as it moves farther away from the observer, just as a ship appears to sink as it moves out to sea, but actually the rocket is going higher, faster and farther from populated areas.

    A higher trajectory

    A bonus with the upcoming flight is that the rocket will appear to climb to a noticeably higher altitude in the sky compared to the LADEE mission.

    For example: From the New York City metropolitan area, September's LADEE launch only reached an altitude of about 10 degrees above the horizon (the equivalent of your clenched fist held at arm's length). In the case of Tuesday's launch, the Minotaur 1 is expected to climb to an altitude of 15 to 20 degrees.

    The key to making a sighting is to have a clear, unobstructed view of the horizon in the direction of Wallops Island. For example, a viewer in Raleigh, N.C., should look toward the northeast; in Providence, R.I., you should face southwest; in Pittsburgh, Pa., it'll be in the southeast.

    The first two stages of the Minotaur 1 are decommissioned Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles, while the two upper stages utilize Pegasus rocket motors, built for the U.S. Air Force by Orbital Sciences Corporation.

    Prior to the very first Minotaur launch from Wallops Island in December 2006, Jay Pittman, Chief of the Wallops Range and Management office noted: "This vehicle has spent most of its life in the nation's defense, and the level of confidence we have in this vehicle is quite high; It is something that has flown many, many times."

    Indeed, this attempt will be the 25th overall launch of the Minotaur family of rockets and the sixth Minotaur launch from the Wallops Flight Facility.

    For more details

    Android users have the option of downloading the new "What's Up at Wallops" app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing. The app is available for download at: http://go.nasa.gov/17veCYT. For Launch updates call: (757) 824-2050.

    SPACE.com partner Spaceflight Now is also providing blow-by-blow coverage of the ORS-3 mission via the Mission Status Center, which will also include a launch webcast feed.

    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.

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Monday, Nov. 18, 2013


    While spending five months onboard the International Space Station earlier this year, Chris Hadfield made countless YouTube videos about the more mundane aspects of life in space. Exhibit A: this classic about how astronauts brush their teeth in zero gravity.

    Now back on Earth, he's still at it. Only the videos don't quite have the same appeal.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Chris Hadfield's 30 Best Photos from Space

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
    Washington, Ill., sits in ruins the morning after a severe tornado tore through the community, Nov. 18, 2013. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
    Washington, Ill., sits in ruins the morning after a severe tornado tore through the community, Nov. 18, 2013. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

    In the wake of the deadly Midwest tornado outbreak on Sunday, many people are wondering how rare tornadoes are during November.

    The short answer is that tornadoes can occur in the Midwest during any month of the year. However, the number of tornadoes diminishes substantially during the cold-weather months.

    There is a secondary severe weather season that occurs during October and November, which favors the Deep South.

    While rare, tornadoes reaching as far north as the Midwest and mid-Atlantic are not unheard of during November.

    According to Harold Brooks, senior research scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., "The peak of the secondary season for the United States as a whole is rather diffuse, but is centered over the middle of November."

    The uptick in severe thunderstorms during October and November can be simply explained by the routine strengthening of storm systems during the autumn that are able to pull lingering warm and humid air northward from the Gulf of Mexico.

    Brooks stated that this particular event had very strong winds aloft, which not only greatly increased the forward speed of the severe weather, but also added fuel to the individual storms.

    According to Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center, "Winds aloft over the region strengthened rapidly from 70 mph to 140 mph on Sunday."

    A chain of events happened at just the right time over a concentrated area. Winds near the surface rapidly brought in moisture. During the midday Sunday, the sun came out and warmed the air near the ground as the strong winds aloft brought in dry, cooler air. The result was an extremely unstable atmosphere and a number of very strong tornadoes.

    Every decade as far back as the 1980s has brought multiple tornado outbreaks during November with a number of fatalities.

    "During November there is a tornado outbreak about once every seven to eight years," Carbin stated.

    "The most comparable event is probably Nov. 22, 1992, which had a large number of tornadoes in Indiana and Kentucky," Brooks said.

    According to the Indianapolis National Weather Service office, the 1992 outbreak produced the largest number of November tornadoes [15] on a single day in Indiana on record.

    RELATED:
    Low Number of Tornadoes in 2013
    Deadly Tornado Outbreak Sweeps Across Midwest
    Photos of the Midwest Tornado Outbreak

    Other significant November outbreaks have occurred during the last 12 years. The last decade brought eight tornado outbreaks. The most significant of these for the Midwest occurred in 2001 and 2002.

    During the Veterans Day Outbreak of Nov. 9 to 11, 2002, there were close to 80 tornadoes that took the lives of 36 people and injured more than 300 others.

    In 2001, spanning Nov. 23 to 24, there were approximately five dozen tornadoes that killed 13 people and injured more than 200 others.

    November tornadoes were very rare during the 1960s and 1970s.

    The preliminary count of tornadoes through Nov. 17, 2013 is 886, which is well below the most recent eight-year annual average of 1,424 through mid-November.

    As bad as the event was on Sunday, it could have been worse.

    "If the storm system would have tracked over the lower Mississippi Valley, closer to the source of warm and humid air, instead of the Great Lakes, we would have likely had an even greater number of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes," Carbin said.

    Moving forward through the end of the month, there will likely be a few more potent storm systems developing. However, the chance that all of the necessary ingredients will come together to produce a tornado outbreak for each and every system is quite low.

    For people in the Midwest, the secondary tornado season winding down through the latter half of November.

    Odds are against a similar setup as far north as the last over the Midwest. However, as climatology suggests, the chances are higher for severe thunderstorms over the South.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
    Across three states, the National Weather Service received more than 60 preliminary tornado reports and more than 400 wind damage reports on Sunday. (Photo/Steven Drews)

    "My hands were shaking; I knew that I had seen something historic here," Storm Chaser and Meteorologist Steven Drews said of the tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest Sunday.

    Drews set out from his home in the western suburbs of Chicago around 7 a.m. CST.

    "My first chase target I had decided was Peoria; Peoria was the place I thought that the ingredients were prime for the development of supercells," he said.

    He drove through Streator and Tonica, Ill., watching the sky and looking for rotation.

    A line of storms was developing and a small hook was present; rotation was brewing. Drews continued on east of the line to escape the heavy rain and hail.

    PHOTOS: Deadly Tornadoes, Storms Hit Midwest
    Radar then showed formation near Peoria. He headed toward Benson, where he though the storm would pass him to the southwest.

    "I'm filming this thing and I'm seeing it kind of moving on the horizon, then it kind of paused," he said.

    Drews estimates that he was buffeted by winds between 70 and 90 miles per hour as he filmed the event from a distance of one to two miles.

    Fearing that the "pause" was actually the storm turning toward him, Drews drove to the south and to the west and got onto the back side of the storm.

    "I was able to see it pulling away," he said.

    Because of the speed of the storms, which were moving between 60 and 80 mph, and the direction they were heading, Drews decided to abandon the chase and see if anyone was in need of help in the surrounding area.

    In total, the National Weather Service received more than 60 preliminary tornado reports and more than 400 wind damage reports across three states.

    While the survey teams are still investigating the classification of the tornadoes across the state, a New Minden, Ill., tornado was preliminarily declared an EF4 by the National Weather Service. Twisters with this classification are capable of gusts up to 200 mph and strong enough to level homes.

    "The other storms that I've chased they've been rope tornadoes, they've been equivalent F0 and F1," Drews said.


    The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has confirmed that six people were killed by the severe weather across the state. As many as 200 may be injured. (Photo/Steven Drews)

    When the situation calmed, Drews joined two locals and together they combed through a nearby house, looking for those trapped and in need of help.

    The severe weather had shattered the windows of the home, bent the door and toppled over a giant oak tree.

    Their search for residents came up empty.

    "About 15 minutes after I got there, that's about when the local EMS and law enforcement showed up and they did another combing of the grounds. They didn't find anyone either, thankfully," he said.

    "After that, I decided the officials have it under control. I don't want to become a casualty of the situation. I'm just going to leave the area."

    As Drews began his drive home, he encountered another round of severe weather in Benson.

    Blinding downpours, hail and powerful winds made driving dangerous. Temporarily, he hunkered down and waited out the storm.

    RELATED:
    Deadly Tornado Outbreak Sweeps Midwest
    PHOTOS: Tornadoes Erupt Across Midwest
    REPORTS: Tornadoes, Damaging Winds Pound Midwest, Great Lakes

    "I don't want to become another statistic. You kind of think about these things after the fact. I was a little too close for my own comfort."

    Twenty-four hours later, the storm footage is enough to send chills down Drews' spine and now makes up what he considers the "most intense 15 minutes" of his life.

    "Mainly because remembering how intense it was in that moment, barely being able to hold open my car door, for instance. Seeing the corn stalks flying by, and the stones hitting the bottom of my legs because [they were] being sucked into the circulation, it definitely sends a few chills."

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Updated Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 3:26 p.m. ET
    17 Dead After Cyclone Cleopatra Floods Sardinia, Italy


    ROME (AP) - The Mediterranean island of Sardinia, prized by the jet-set for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear seas, was a flood-ravaged mud bath Tuesday after a freak torrential rainstorm killed at least 16 people, downed bridges and swept away cars.

    Italian Premier Enrico Letta declared a state of emergency and set aside 20 million euros ($27 million) for emergency relief, saying the priority was reaching remote areas, saving the lives of those still unaccounted for and providing for those left homeless. Letta later traveled to the island, where he met with people hit by the floods.

    The island, which draws royals, entrepreneurs and ordinary tourists alike during the dry, peak summer months, received more than 44 centimeters (17.3 inches) of rain in 24 hours Monday - half the amount it normally receives in a year, officials said.

    Italy's civil protection chief, Franco Gabrielli, said the death toll may still rise as crews reach isolated areas in the countryside where some homes are submerged. The civil protection agency in Olbia said the official toll was 16 with one missing late Tuesday, correcting the death toll of 17 that was issued earlier by a regional official.

    Pope Francis said in a message posted on Twitter that he was "deeply moved by the appalling tragedy that hitSardinia." He asked followers to offer prayers to the victims, "especially for the children."

    Transport was hampered by rivers of cocoa-colored mud gushing over roads that forced the closure of several major thoroughfares, including a tunnel into the city of Olbia, according to the Anas company which runs Italy's roads and highways.

    Olbia Mayor Gianni Giovannelli said the city had been destroyed by the "apocalyptic" storm, with bridges felled and water levels reaching 3 meters (10 feet) in some places. He described the ferocity of the storm's rains as a "water bomb."

    Gabrielli defended the civil protection's alert system, which had signaled an "elevated" risk of the storm on much of Sardinia, the highest level of alert. He warned against day-after finger-pointing, saying evacuation orders had been issued and ignored and that no weather forecast could have predicted the "exceptional" degree of devastation.

    Olbia resident Marcello Piredda said he lost all the possessions in his flooded house.

    "I saw (the river) overflowing, as everybody else saw it. I saved a dog. I saved a person, " Piredda said as he cleaned debris that had collected outside his home.

    Sardinia's governor, UgoCappellacci, said the dead included a family of four, reportedly of Brazilian origin, in Arzachena.

    Local newspaper L'Unione Sarda said a policeman helping to escort an ambulance died when the car he was travelling in was submerged in the collapse of a bridge in Dorgali. In hard-hit Gallura, three people died after their car was swept away in the collapse of another bridge, the paper said.

    Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and is one of Italy's autonomous regions. While it's known to tourists for its pristine Costa Smeralda beaches, the island's interior is known for its sheep and pastoral life. Sardinians are famed for their exceptional longevity.

    Other parts of Italy were also hit by heavy rains Tuesday, including the capital, Rome, and Venice in the north, where residents and tourists donned rubber boots to slosh through a St. Marks' Square flooded from the "acqua alta" high tides that periodically submerge the lagoon city.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Incredible Photos of Forces of Nature
    Volcano Eruption

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2013
    This aerial view on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, shows the path of a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. It was one of the worst-hit areas after intense storms and tornadoes swept through Illinois. The National Weather Service says the tornado that hit Washington had a preliminary rating of EF-4, meaning wind speeds of 170 mph to 190 mph. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
    This aerial view on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, shows the path of a tornado that hit the western Illinois town of Washington on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    WASHINGTON, Ill. (AP) - Aaron Montgomery's house was not damaged by the tornado that roared through this central Illinois community. But when the twister knocked out power across town, he had to find a way to keep his 5-year-old daughter alive.

    The recipient of a heart transplant last year, Isabel Montgomery requires machinery to help her breathe and eat. So her father furiously made calls looking for help, finally getting through to a construction company that loaned two generators.

    "I baby-sat the generators with a gas can last night to make sure they were full and running," he said Monday.

    The cleanup from Sunday's outbreak of tornadoes had scarcely begun, but people in storm-ravaged towns like Washington, 140 miles southwest of Chicago, had to keep moving.

    The tornado cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of Washington to the other and damaged or destroyed as many as 500 homes.

    PHOTOS: Deadly Tornadoes, Storms Hit Midwest

    It could be days before power is restored in the town of 16,000, state officials said Monday, and debris was still scattered across the streets. But people forced out of their homes were allowed back in Monday to survey damage and see what they could save.

    In one neighborhood, homeowners and their friends and families worked quickly in a stiff, cold breeze. Some homes had been shattered into piles of brick, drywall and lumber. Others, like Jessica Bochart's house, still had sections standing.

    "All of this can be replaced," she said, gesturing at the collapsed remnants of her ceiling. But inside the home she shares with her husband, son and daughter, she was relieved to find some irreplaceable things intact - photos, family heirlooms and the Bochart's cat, Patches.

    "He was sitting under our dining table, looking like, 'What happened?'" Bochart said as she weighed the next set of decisions. Among them: Where will the family live for now? Offers from friends and family had poured in, and they were in a hotel for the moment, but she hesitated with the decision.

    "I don't know," she said after a long moment's thought.

    Though the powerful line of thunderstorms and tornadoes howled across 12 states Sunday, flattening neighborhoods in minutes, the death toll stood at just eight.

    Forecasters' uncannily accurate predictions, combined with television and radio warnings, text-message alerts and storm sirens, almost certainly saved lives.

    But in Washington, the hardest-hit town, many families, like the Bocharts, were also in church.

    "I don't think we had one church damaged," Mayor Gary Manier said.

    Daniel Bennett was officiating Sunday service before 600 to 700 people when he heard a warning. Then another. And another.

    "I'd say probably two dozen phones started going off in the service, and everybody started looking down," he said.

    What they saw was a text message that a twister was in the area.

    Bennett stopped the service and ushered everyone to a safe place until the threat passed.

    A day later, many in the community believed that the messages helped minimize the number of dead and injured.

    "That's got to be connected," Bennett said as he bicycled through a neighborhood looking for parishioners' homes. "The ability to get instant information."

    Another factor was forecasting, which has steadily improved with the arrival of faster, more powerful computers. Scientists are now better able to replicate atmospheric processes into mathematical equations.

    In the last decade alone, forecasters have doubled the number of days in advance thatweather experts can anticipate major storms, said Bill Bunting of the National WeatherService.

    But Bunting, forecast operations chief of the service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it was not until Saturday that the atmospheric instability that turns smaller storm systems into larger, more menacing ones came into focus.

    Information from weather stations, weather balloons, satellite imagery and radar told scientists that there was more than enough moisture - fuel for storms - making its way northeast from the Gulf of Mexico.

    Despite Sunday's destruction and at least eight deaths, 2013 has been a relatively mild year for twisters in the U.S., with the number of twisters running at or near record lows.

    So far this year, there have been 886 preliminary reports of tornadoes, compared with about 1,400 preliminary reports usually received by the weather service office by mid-November.

    Similar slow years were 1987 and 1989.

    An outbreak like the one that developed Sunday usually happens about once every seven to 10 years, according to tornado experts at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center and National Severe Storm Lab in Norman, Okla.

    There were similar November outbreaks in 1992 and 2002, with the 1992 one being even bigger than this year's, said top tornado researcher Harold Brooks at the storm lab.

    The outbreak occurred because of unusually warm moist air from Louisiana to Michigan that was then hit by an upper-level cold front. That crash of hot and cold, dry and wet, is what triggers tornadoes.

    Like most November storms, this one was high in wind shear and lower in moist energy. Wind shear is the difference between winds at high altitude and wind near the surface.

    Because it was high in wind shear, the storm system moved fast, like a speeding car, Brooks said. That meant the storm hit more places before it petered out, affecting more people, but it might have been slightly less damaging where it hit because it was moving so fast, he said.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Deadly Tornadoes and Storms Hit the Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
    People march in the rain in Tacloban, central Philippines during a procession to call for courage and resilience among the Typhoon Haiyan survivors Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
    People march in the rain in Tacloban, central Philippines during a procession to call for courage and resilience among the Typhoon Haiyan survivors Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

    TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - They found the hoop in the ruins of their obliterated neighborhood. They propped up the backboard with broken wood beams and rusty nails scavenged from vast mounds of storm-blasted homes.

    A crowd gathered around. And on one of the few stretches of road here that wasn't overflowing with debris, they played basketball.

    I didn't know what to think at first when I stumbled upon six teenagers shooting hoops over the weekend in a wrecked neighborhood of Tacloban, a city that Typhoon Haiyan reduced to rubble, bodies and uprooted trees when it slammed into the Philippines Nov. 8.

    As a foreign correspondent working in the middle of a horrendous disaster zone, I didn't expect to see people having a good time - or asking me to play ball. I was even more stunned when I learned that the basketball goal was one of the first things this neighborhood rebuilt.

    Photos: Typhoon Haiyan Slams into Philippines

    It took a moment for me to realize that it made all the sense in the world.

    The kids wanted to play so they can take their minds off what happened, said Elanie Saranillo, one of the spectators. "And we want to watch so we, too, can forget."

    Saranillo, 22, now lives in a church after her own home was leveled by the storm.

    Countless families lost loved ones to the typhoon, which killed more than 4,000 people. Hundreds of thousands of survivors have endured unimaginable suffering: hunger, thirst, makeshift shelter, little if any medical care, and a desperate, dayslong wait for aid to arrive. Tacloban was filled with hopeless, fear-filled faces. Even now, blackened bodies with peeling skin still lay by the roads, or are trapped under the rubble.

    But as the crisis eases and aid begins to flow, hope is flickering. People smile, if only briefly, and joke, if only in passing. They are snippets of life. They do not mean, by any stretch, that people are happy in the face of tragedy. But for some, there is a newfound enthusiasm for life that comes from having just escaped death.

    When a kid with mismatched shoes rolled the grimy, orange-and-yellow basketball my way, I was encouraged to attempt a slam dunk. I opted for free throws instead, and miraculously sank the first two, to immense cheers all around.

    My third shot hit the rim, circled twice and rolled the wrong way. The crowd roared a sympathetic, "Awwwwwwwwww." There were a lot of laughs.

    In Saranillo's neighborhood, I saw four giggling children jumping up and down on two soiled mattresses strung across a cobweb of smashed wooden beams that had once formed somebody's home. Two women stood on a hilltop high above, dancing.

    A few yards (meters) away, a 21-year-old named Mark Cuayzon strummed a guitar. He too, was smiling. And in this city virtually erased by nature, I had to ask why.

    "I'm sad about Tacloban," he said. "But I'm happy because I'm still alive. I survived. I lost my house, but I didn't lose my family."

    I covered the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and cannot recall a single laugh. Every nation is resilient in its own way, but there is something different in the Philippines that I have not yet put my finger on.

    While walking through Tacloban's ruins, I and my colleagues were almost always greeted by kind words. When I asked how people were doing, people who had lost everything said, "Good." Superficial words, of course, but combined with the smiles, and with hearing "Hey, Joe" again and again (an old World War II reference to G.I. Joe), they helped form a picture I have not encountered in other disaster zones.

    Perhaps it has something to do with an expression Filipinos have: "Bahala Na." It essentially means: Whatever happens, leave it to God.

    Elizabeth Protacio de Castro, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Philippines in Manila, said her nation has grown accustomed to catastrophe. Some 20 typhoons barrel across the nation every year. Add to that earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, armed insurgencies and political upheaval.

    "Dealing with disaster has become an art," de Castro said. But Typhoon Haiyan "was quite different. It was immense, and no amount of preparation could have prepared us to cope with it."

    And yet, they must cope.

    "So rather than screaming or staring at the wall in a psychiatric ward, you do everything you can. You do your best, then let it go," said de Castro, who helped provide psychological aid to victims of the 2004 Asia tsunami during a previous job with the U.N. Children's Fund.

    People playing music or sports in the rubble, de Castro said, "is a way of saying, 'Life goes on.' This is what they used to do every day, and they're going to keep doing it."

    "It's not that Filipinos are some happy-go-lucky people and don't care," she added. "It's a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. They're saying: 'I can deal with this. I'm at peace, and whatever happens tomorrow, happens.' ... They need help, of course, but they're also saying, they're going to get by on their own if they have to."

    De Castro has been counseling students in Manila who lost parents and siblings to the storm, and said some have displayed incredible determination. "They've lost their entire families, and they're telling me, 'I have to finish my studies because my parents paid my tuition through the end of the year.'"

    That sense of determination is literally written in the ruins of Tacloban.

    One handwritten message painted on a board outside a destroyed shop said the "eyes of the world" are on the city. It added, "Don't quit."

    Those who have gotten a chance to leave Tacloban have done so, of course, though many will no doubt return one day.

    On Monday, I rode on a U.S. Air Force C-17 out of Tacloban to Manila, along with about 500 people displaced by the typhoon. There were babies and pregnant women. Some had tears in their eyes. One man held a doll with stuffed animal-like angel wings. He stared at it intensely, kissing it over and over.

    As the plane neared Manila, an American crew member held her iPhone to her helmet's microphone, which was linked the aircraft's speaker system.

    She hit play, and Earth, Wind and Fire's 1978 hit "September" belted out. The sea of eyes squatting on the cargo plane immediately turned radiant.

    Men twirled their arms. Women swayed back and forth, and the words echoed through the plane's cargo hold:

    "Do you remember ...

    While chasing the clouds away,

    Our hearts were ringing,

    In the key that our souls were singing.

    As we danced in the night. Remember,

    How the stars stole the night away."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    A brilliant new image of Comet ISON was released by the European Southern Observatory this week, just days before the comet's much-anticipated swing around the sun on Nov. 28. The so-called "comet of the century," which was first spotted in September of 2012, has been expected to reach its closest approach to the sun at that time.

    Share this on Facebook?

    In fact, reports suggest that ISON is now visible to the naked eye, or at least to stargazers with a good pair of binoculars. Still, some astronomers worry that ISON's brightening could be an early sign that the comet will break apart before reaching its closest approach to the sun, according to NBC News.

    Outbursts have been shaking the comet since early November, increasing the amount of gas it's emitting and causing it to glow brighter. These outbursts were caused by the sun's intense heat reaching ice in the tiny nucleus of the comet. The heat causes the ice to change form and throw large amounts of dust and gas into space.

    As ISON moves closer to the sun's heat on Nov. 28, it could completely evaporate. However, if ISON does survive its passage near the Sun, it could become spectacularly bright in the morning sky.

    Though NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign warns that it's not yet possible to determine whether ISON will survive its journey, they do admonish skywatchers to "make the most of what has turned out to be a truly stunning comet!"

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 10 Breathtaking Photos of Comets

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    The horizon glows a haunting green, silhouetting trees on the Isle of Wight as the band of the Milky Way shines overhead in this spectacular photo recently sent in to SPACE.com by a veteran photographer.

    Share this on Facebook?

    Night sky photographer Chad Powell captured this beautiful image, which he aptly calls "Too Many Stars To Count," on Oct. 4 using a Canon 6D camera (25 seconds, f/2.8, 20mm, and ISO 4000).

    "The sky was so bright this particular evening from both the Milky Way and green airglow," Powell told SPACE.com in an email. "Due to this, a very strong silhouette lined the foreground and trees in the distance." [See more amazing Milky Way galaxy photos]

    Our host galaxy, the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy comprising roughly 400 billion stars. It spans between 100,000 to 120,000 light-years in diameter. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

    To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

    Follow SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+. Original story on SPACE.com.

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

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0
    0 0

    Dramatic Footage: Moment Typhoon Haiyan Washes Away House
    Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013

    Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013, bringing 170 mph winds, reducing cities to rubble and killing more than 4,000 people. An aid worker captured the moment Haiyan slammed into Samar island (hard-hit Tacloban is located on a neighboring island), filming as the storm surge washed away an entire house. This video is only now being widely circulated.

    Share this on Facebook?

    The aid worker and five others were on the top floor of a nearby boarding house when rushing water barreled through the area. While much of the building was flooded and destroyed, he survived the storm.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Photos from Typhoon Haiyan


     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


older | 1 | .... | 137 | 138 | (Page 139) | 140 | 141 | .... | 204 | newer