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SKYE on AOL

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    Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
    Beached Whales
    Dozens of pilot whales are shown stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) - When National Park Service volunteers Donna and John Buckley left a pod of 41 stranded whales Wednesday evening, their optimism was starting to wane.

    The couple - from Michigan but now living in an Everglades boathouse - had spent two days of trying to coax the animals into deeper waters. On Tuesday, they physically pulled several whales from the sand of the remote Highlands Beach. They spent Wednesday with other wildlife workers in boats, forming a semi-circle around the pod and banging their vessels with anchor chains in an attempt to move the animals further offshore.

    But the whales seemed fatigued and unmotivated. They moved just half a mile out to sea during the volunteers' rescue effort.

    "I thought a number of them might not make it," Donna Buckley, 72, said.

    On Thursday, Donna Buckley and her husband went back across the sage green waters to where they'd worked with the whales. This time, though, they were gone.

    Sometime overnight the whales had begun moving toward their natural, deep-water habitat, some 20 miles from where they were found, a possibility that had seemed highly unlikely just a day before, when officials warned that the animals faced a puzzle of sandbars and shallow waters to make it out to sea.

    A Coast Guard helicopter found two pods of whales early Thursday in a deeper area of water - about 12 feet. By late afternoon, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries official Blair Mase said three pods had been located nine miles north of their original location and were moving offshore.

    "That was a surprise," Donna Buckley, a former national canoe racing champion said. "Quite the surprise."

    Mase cautioned that the whales still face a number of challenges. While they were no longer drifting in a dangerously shallow area of 2 to 3 feet of water, the whales were still about nine miles from the deeper, cooler water to which they're accustomed. Pilot whale pods also are known to be so close-knit that if one animal falls ill or dies, the others are likely to stay within the vicinity or even beach themselves as well.

    "It's quite a distance to deeper water," Mase said.

    About 15 vessels carrying about 35 personnel were involved in the effort to track the whales.

    Wildlife workers had planned Thursday to try using noises such as banging on pipes and revving boat engines to herd the whales out to the open ocean. But that turned out to be unnecessary, and the workers simply used positioning of the boats to prevent any of the whales from turning away from the open sea, Mase said.

    Teams from NOAA, the National Park Service, the Coast Guard and state wildlife agencies were working to prevent any more whales from stranding. A Coast Guard cutter was to remain stationed with the whales overnight Thursday.

    At the end of efforts early Thursday evening, the number of deaths still stood at 11. Six were found dead Wednesday morning and four others were found in extremely poor condition and euthanized later that day. Another dead whale was confirmed Thursday, and five were unaccounted for.

    Donna and John Buckley were the first to respond after a fishing guide spotted the beached whales Tuesday afternoon. A call came across the parks radio, and the Buckleys were the closest volunteers to the remote western edge of the Everglades park where the whales were found.

    When they got to the beach, John Buckley waded through the shallow waters in a canoe while his wife stayed aboard the boat, counting the whales drifting before her. In their 28 years as volunteers in the Everglades, they had seen only one whale stranded before.

    John Buckley climbed ashore and ran to one of about nine whales stuck on the sand. He grabbed its tail and began to pull.

    "Once the whale could feel the water, it reacted," John Buckley, 72, said. "It wanted to help."

    The whale flapped at him, knocking him into the water. He got back up and continued pushing the whale until it was entirely back in the water. Three park rangers then arrived and started working with him to pull the other whales off the beach.

    A nearby calf and an adult whale were motionless.

    "There was no helping them," John Buckley said.

    But he and the rangers were able to help another calf and a whale that appeared to be its mother get back into the water.

    The whales they were able to help save seemed ill, Donna Buckley said.

    "They seemed very disoriented, confused," she said. "They didn't know which end was up."

    The next day seemed to only confirm their suspicions that the whales were sick. The couple said the animals drifted languidly in the water, as if, John Buckley imagined, paralyzed by grief. He recalled how the whales seemed to look at him, quietly acknowledging his presence.

    "They could have just rammed me and knocked me over, but they didn't do it," he said. "I could tell there was some thinking going on there. I just didn't understand."

     

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    Updated Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 6:07 p.m. ET
    Wyoming Weather
    A Wyoming Department of Transportation plow clears snow from the northbound lane of Highway 85 near Jay Em, Wyo., on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most resulting from treacherous driving conditions. More than a thousand flights have been canceled, football and basketball games postponed and holiday celebrations including town tree lightings and parades curtailed. Here is a state-by-state look at the wintry weather:

    ARIZONA

    A storm rolling in over the weekend will keep the northern part of the state in the grips of freezing temperatures, bringing more snow and making travel tricky.

    Phoenix residents could see a dusting of snow in the surrounding mountains. Several inches of snow could fall in higher terrain.

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    ARKANSAS

    Freezing rain, sleet and snow brought most of Arkansas to a near standstill Friday, and Gov. Mike Beebe declared a statewide emergency.

    As many as 44,000 homes and businesses were without power, and utilities warned customers that the outages could last for up to a week. Cancellations included the Arkansas State Capitol holiday lighting ceremony and a Jimmy Buffett concert in North Little Rock. Also, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky wasn't able to make a scheduled appearance in Hot Springs.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits Texas, Midwest
    Winter Ice StormCOLORADO
    Colorado residents braced for another round of snow this weekend as blistering cold temperatures continue across the state.

    The weather service issued a winter storm watch through Sunday for the Western Slope. Forecasters say up to a foot more of snow is expected in the mountains. Temperatures were as low as 26 degrees below zero in Walden.

    DAKOTAS

    The National Weather Service posted advisories for the two states saying wind chills could make the temperature feel as low as 40 degrees below zero into the weekend.

    ILLINOIS

    Forecasters say parts of southern Illinois could get as much as a foot and a half of snow by the time a wintry storm moves through the region. A quarte r inch of ice also is expected.

    Classes were canceled at dozens of schools, including the 18,000-student Carbondale campus of Southern Illinois University.

    Jackson County in southern Illinois declared a state of emergency and Illinois State Police have responded to dozens of vehicle accidents.

    RELATED ON SKYE: How to Survive a Winter Storm

    INDIANA

    Two people were killed on treacherous roads and schools and businesses were closed as a storm that dumped ice and as much as 10 inches of snow on much of Indiana stretched into its second day Friday.

    Schools and businesses were closed. The roads proved even too hazardous for a Department of Transportation plow truck that flipped onto its side on Indiana 45.

    KENTUCKY

    Kentucky residents said goodbye to temperatures in the 70s as sleet, snow and plummeting temperatures moved into the state Friday.

    The western and central parts of the state were under winter storm warnings, and a flood watch was in effect into Saturday morning.

    Multiple school districts canceled classes and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association rescheduled championship football games.

    MICHIGAN

    Cold temperatures and snow were expected in Michigan into next week. The lowest readings Friday morning were in the Upper Peninsula, including zero degrees in Ironwood.

    Forecasters said lake-effect snow was possible in the Upper Peninsula and parts of western Michigan. Snow and freezing rain could make travel difficult. Gale warnings were in effect Friday for Lake Superior, with waves expected to be 18 feet to as high as 27 feet.

    MINNESOTA

    Some cities in Minnesota canceled weekend parades because of the bitter cold.

    Highs Saturday were forecast to range from 5 to 10 below in northern Minnesota to around 5 above in the far southeast. St. Cloud's Winter Nights and Lights Parade and Santa Fun Run were canceled because of the dangerously cold temperatures in the forecast.

    MISSOURI

    The mayor of small-town Granby died in a wreck when his truck ran off an icy state highway and struck a tree in southwestern Missouri.

    Most of the southern part of the state was under winter weather warnings, with up to 8 inches of snow possible by Friday evening. The state also was seeing severe temperature fluctuations. St. Louis reached 69 degrees Wednesday; afternoon temperatures Thursday were 40 degrees colder.

    NEVADA

    In southern Nevada, the National Weather Service says tourists could see snow flurries amid rain showers Saturday on the Las Vegas Strip. But measurable snow isn't expected near casino marquees.

    Temperatures plunged to 19 degrees below zero in northeast Nevada early Friday in Ely near the Utah state line. Forecasters say up to 2 feet of snow is possible in the mountains.

    NEW JERSEY

    Forecasters warned that New Jersey drivers could face slippery conditions over the weekend as a wintry mix of snow and sleet moved into the state begin ning Friday night into Saturday.

    NEW MEXICO

    Crews in New Mexico worked to clear snowy, icy roads, while some schools and government agencies closed Friday, a day after a storm dumped 6 inches of snow.

    The storm also critically injured a sheriff's sergeant who was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic on Interstate 25 near the San Felipe Pueblo.

    OHIO

    Parts of southwest and central Ohio are seeing snow as more wintry weather hits areas that earlier got a mix of rain and sleet. Forecasters said central and southwest Ohio could get 5 to 9 inches of snow by midnight Friday.

    OKLAHOMA

    Officials said at least two deaths were caused by the storm that has made traveling dangerous due to a coating of snow and sleet. A 5-year-old boy from Fort Gibson was killed Thursday in a vehicle crash, and Oklahoma City police reported that an unidentified man was discovered dead under an overpass.

    In Stillwater, Oklahoma State officials say crew s are clearing snow and ice from inside Boone Pickens Stadium in preparation for the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma football game on Saturday.

    The storm dumped several inches of sleet, ice and snow on much of the state.

    PENNSYLVANIA

    Wintry forecasts prompted the postponement of high school football playoff games Friday in Pennsylvania. Snow, rain or a wintry mix are forecast for most of the state.

    OHIO

    More wintry weather hit parts of southwest and central Ohio on Friday as snow accumulated on roads left icy from an earlier mix of rain and sleet.

    Snow began falling in the afternoon in Cincinnati, which issued a Level 1 snow emergency indicating hazardous roads with blowing and drifting snow. The notice restricted street parking along designated snow emergency routes, and city crews began working on primary roads to prevent potential problems for evening commuters.

    OREGON

    Schools hunkered down, either closing or curtailing hours, as th e storm accompanied by plunging temperatures hit the state. Oregon State students got an early start on the weekend when the university shut down at noon.

    Forecasters expect up to 3 inches on the coast and up to 10 inches east of the Cascade Range. Wind chills were forecast as low as minus-25.

    TENNESSEE

    Forecasters issued winter storm warnings and watches and an ice storm warning for western Tennessee on Friday.

    Officials cautioned of hazardous road conditions and the possibility electricity could be lost. Schools closed, including universities.

    TEXAS

    This weekend's Dallas Marathon was canceled after an ice storm snarled travel in North Texas and left more than a quarter of a million homes and business without electricity. Schools canceled classes a day before, many businesses gave workers the day off, and frigid roads and sidewalks were mostly empty.

    Fort Worth-based American Airlines and American Eagle canceled nearly 1,000 flights Friday due to foul weather in Texas. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines canceled almost 90 flights.

    Temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing after the rain passes, meaning residents will have to contend with icy roads through the weekend.

    WASHINGTON

    The National Weather Service says the cold snap has brought the coldest temperatures in three years to western Washington.

    Organizers canceled Saturday's holiday parade in Walla Walla, saying they didn't want to expose the expected 5,000 spectators to temperatures forecast to be no warmer than 11 degrees.

    The temperature Thursday at Pullman's airport was a record-breaking minus-3.

    WYOMING

    Laramie postponed its Friday night downtown holiday parade and tree lighting because temperatures could drop as low as minus-15.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Photos of Monster Blizzards

     

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    Friday, Dec. 6, 2013

    Dozens of geese landed in a baseball field in Richmond, British Columbia, last week. A small crowd of people gathered to check out the resting birds, when suddenly the flock took flight, forming a tsunami-like wave. Unsuspecting onlooker Maikel Parets filmed the sight as he and those around him attempted to shield themselves from errant droppings.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The Weirdest Animal Hybrids You've Ever Seen

     

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    Friday, Dec. 6, 2013

    BASE jumper Thayer Healey is lucky to be alive after a parachute malfunction left him tumbling down the side of a cliff in Moab, Utah, on Nov. 24. Despite repeatedly smashing into the jagged sandstone cliff face aptly named "Wall Street," before crash-landing beside it, Healey escaped with relatively minor injuries.

    In the video's description, Healey wrote that he suffered a compression fracture of his T12 vertebra, five stitches to the eye, six stitches to the chin and a sprained back, wrist and hand. He was released from the hospital after about a day, and took to Facebook to assure friends and family he was alright. "I really lucked out on that one," he wrote.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Photos Showcase the Incredible Force of Nature
    Volcano Force of Nature

     

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    Look out below! A group of men were working to dislodge a row of huge icicles from a four-story building in Russia, when one of the chunks of ice hit an unexpected target. Instead of tumbling onto the empty sidewalk below, the ice completely destroyed a nearby streetlamp. Oops!

     

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    Updated Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 11:40 a.m. ET

    A frozen fountain at Chandler's Cove tells the tale of the temps on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, in Seattle. A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of frigid temmperatures, sleet, snow and ice. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Ken Lambert)

    MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) - Millions of people hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend from Texas to Ohio to Tennessee as the cold snap that covered much of the U.S. knocked out power and made roads treacherous Saturday.

    Face-stinging sleet, thick snow and blustery winds led to slick road conditions, school closures and event cancellations as the wintry blast dropped temperatures to freezing and below overnight Saturday.

    About 117,000 customers in the Dallas area were without power Saturday morning and more than 350 departing flights from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had been cancelled Saturday morning, the airport said. About 3,330 passengers had stayed overnight in the terminals.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits Texas, Midwest
    Winter Ice Storm In California, four people died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay Area while the region was gripped by freezing temperatures.

    Freezing rain and sleet are likely again Saturday night in Memphis, Nashville and other areas of Tennessee before the storm starts surging northeast. Virginia officials warned residents of a major ice storm likely to take shape Sunday, resulting in power outages and hazards on the roads.

    "I'm not afraid of the ice and snow, I'm afraid of the other drivers who don't know how to drive in it," said Memphis attorney Sam Chafetz, who was going home early to enjoy some bourbon-soaked sweet potatoes left over from the Thanksgiving holiday.

    The weather forced the cancellation of Sunday's Dallas Marathon, which was expected to draw 25,000 runners, some of whom had trained for months.

    Meanwhile, around 7 inches of snow fell in northeast Arkansas and the Missouri boot heel, according to the National Weather Service in Memphis. Ice accumulated on trees and power lines in Memphis and the rest of West Tennessee after layers of sleet fell throughout the region Friday. The weather service says 8 to 9 inches fell in parts of southern Indiana.

    The storm dumped a foot of snow and more in some areas of Illinois, with police scrambling to respond to dozens of accidents and forced scores of schools to remain closed.

    Western and central Kentucky were under winter storm warnings slated to last through early Saturday. With warmer temperatures expected in eastern Kentucky, forecasters issued a flood watch into Saturday morning.

    Shipping giant FedEx, which has its worldwide hub in Memphis, was monitoring the situation with its team of meteorologists, company spokesman Scott Fielder said. Delivery delays may occur in areas where the storm caused unsafe driving and flying conditions, he warned.

    Ice had built up on the windshields and roofs of parked cars throughout Memphis into Saturday. Law enforcement reported an increase in traffic crashes, and scattered power outages affected more than 3,000 people, emergency and utility officials said.

    Residents were told to prepare for a few days without power, prompting them to rush to stores to stock up on groceries, buy electricity generators and gas up their cars. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell reminded residents to check on family and friends who are elderly, disabled or live alone.

    In Nashville, organizers canceled the Christmas parade. The annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, was canceled as well.

    Police in Arlington, about 20 miles west of Dallas, reported one driver was killed when his car slammed into a truck. Authorities in Oklahoma reported two weather-related traffic deaths.


    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits Texas, Midwest

     

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    Updated Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 3:57 p.m. ET

    Sam Getz, dressed like Santa Claus, pulls his brother Jacob through the snow near St. Louis, Mo., on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Though schools were open in on Friday, Sam's mother Jennifer Getz allowed her boys to stay home. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)

    A large swath of the U.S. is experiencing frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most a result of treacherous driving conditions. More than a thousand flights have been canceled, numerous football and basketball games postponed and holiday celebrations -- including tree lightings and parades -- curtailed.

    ARKANSAS
    A day after freezing rain, sleet and snow brought most of Arkansas to a near standstill Friday, the sun began to help melt ice on major roadways on Saturday.
    Primary roads were usable if motorists could maintain a head of steam, but once they stopped, it was difficult to get going again, said Randy Ort, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation.
    Additional sleet or snow is expected Saturday night and Sunday.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits Texas, Midwest
    Winter Ice StormCOLORADO
    Xcel Energy crews are working in bitter cold temperatures to restore natural gas service to 7,200 customers in a part of Boulder County. A company spokesman says an equipment failure at a regulator station was repaired Friday afternoon, but crews must go door-to-door to restart customers' pilot lights.
    The outage came just as a winter blast brought snow and single-digit temperatures to much of Colorado.

    IOWA
    Temperatures ranged from the single digits to nearly 20 degrees in Iowa on Saturday, and snow was in the forecast.

    Western Iowa will see 4 to 5 inches of snow, while the rest of the state is likely to get 1 to 3 inches.
    The National Weather Service says lows will hover around zero at the beginning of the week and dip lower on Wednesday.

    MISSISSIPPI
    Parts of north Mississippi will come under a winter weather advisory Saturday night into Sunday as a second wave of freezing rain moves into the region.
    The National Weather Service said ice accumulations are not expected to exceed one-tenth of inch - enough for motorists to be cautious with overnight temperatures dropping in the upper 20s to near freezing.


    NEBRASKA
    Frigid temperatures are expected to hang around Nebraska through the weekend and into next week, while another storm system will bring anywhere from an inch to 4 inches of snow to central and eastern parts of the state.

    NEW MEXICO
    Freezing rain and slick patches made driving conditions dangerous Saturday on Interstate 40 in eastern New Mexico and Interstate 25 near Raton. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service says northern and southwestern New Mexico will see snow late Saturday into Sunday, with wind gusts up to 50 mph.


    Carlsbad has set up a temporary housing shelter for the homeless because of the freezing temperatures.

    NORTH DAKOTA
    The subzero temperatures aren't a problem for Fargo residents. But for those who have come to cheer on South Carolina-based Furman take on North Dakota State in a Football Championship Subdivision playoff game, it's nearly unbearable.

    One mother came from Nashville, Tenn., to watch her son play for Furman. She told WDAY-TV that the 20-below zero temperature took her breath away and it hurt to breathe.

    OKLAHOMA
    The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said many roads were still slick and hazardous on Saturday.


    Westbound lanes of Interstate 40 were shut down near the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line for nearly 2½ hours early Saturday after a tractor-trailer rig jackknifed. And ODOT warned of hazardous driving conditions on I-35 near the Oklahoma-Texas state line.

    SOUTH DAKOTA
    The bitter cold snap led to cancelled events and increased calls for furnace repairs.
    The temperatures won't, however, keep away the state's most unwelcome visitors. Forestry officials say the mountain pine beetles that have ravaged the Black Hills in recent years can withstand the arctic temperatures, which have approached 20 below zero in some areas.

    TEXAS
    North Texas authorities say treacherous sections of icy Interstate 35 north of Dallas have been closed for hours at a time intermittently over the last day as tractor-trailers have difficulty climbing hills, wrecks occur and vehicles stall.
    Jody Gonzalez, chief of Denton County Emergency Services, said Saturday about 200 people have been in shelters in the Sanger area -- about 50 miles north of Dallas -- after getting stuck.

    VIRGINIA
    Weather officials said an ice storm is imminent throughout much of Virginia early Sunday through Monday morning.

    The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for at least 28 counties in southwestern and central Virginia. Accumulations of up to an inch of snow and sleet are likely through Sunday afternoon, followed by up to a half inch of ice through Monday morning.

    WEST VIRGINIA
    Up to an inch and snow and sleet and a half-inch of ice is in the forecast for parts of West Virginia.
    The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for six southern and southeastern counties from early Sunday through Monday morning.

    WISCONSIN
    Wind chills are dipping well below zero from central to northeast Wisconsin, prompting the National Weather Service to issue wind chill advisories. Meteorologists say wind chills will be between minus-20 and minus 30 degrees on Saturday.

    Southwest and central Wisconsin could also see 4 to 5 inches of fluffy snow Sunday.



    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013

    This file photo shows snow dusting the mountains above the San Gabriel Valley, just north of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)


    Snow is forecast to fall in unusual spots this weekend that have not seen a measurable snowfall in over a decade.

    Additionally, cold air will settle in across the Golden State, challenging record lows for dozens of cities.

    A system swinging across California will continue to deliver snow across the Sierra Nevada through Saturday, which is common for this time of year.

    However, some of this snow will make its way down into the lower elevations of the San Joaquin Valley, a rare event for residents in cities such as Fresno.

    "Fresno could have their first snow since Dec. 15, 2008," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak said. "The last time they had 'measurable' snow was Dec. 20, 1998, when there was half an inch."

    Little to no accumulation is expected across the valley floor, but 1 to 3 inches may be seen in the lower foothills, with upwards of 6 inches above the 1,000-foot mark.

    Some higher elevations in Southern California, just outside of Los Angeles may have a few snowflakes as well on Saturday.

    Not only will this system bring the opportunity for an extremely rare snowfall to parts of California, but also the next shot of cold air that will last into early next week.

    This cold air will challenge record lows with temperatures at night dipping below freezing for many places inland from the coast.

    Below-normal temperatures are not unfamiliar to folks in California with many areas already averaging several degrees below normal through the first six days of December.

    RELATED:
    You've Never Seen a Snowflake in This Much Detail
    California Weather Center
    Safe Winter Driving and Car Prep

    According to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's office, there have been four confirmed deaths in Santa Clara County this week due to hypothermia induced by the cold weather.

    Santa Clara County is located just to the southeast of San Francisco.

    Those who plan on spending time in the outdoors during this cold wave are encouraged to wear multiple layers to stay warm as a prevention from getting hypothermia.

    A look at the weather forecast for the Southwest.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits Texas, Midwest

     

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    Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013

    Here, a close-up of a lemon shark. The female of the species has the rare homing to recall their birthplace, and return there to spawn. (Federico Cabello)

    Female lemon sharks in the Bahamas seem to "remember" the place where they were born and return to the spot after years of wandering to give birth to their own young, a new study found.

    This kind of homing behavior has been observed in other aquatic animals -- salmon famously swim upstream to get back to their own spawning grounds and sea turtles return to the nesting beaches where they were born. After years of speculation, the researchers say this is the first time it's been confirmed that shark moms-to-be also go back to their own nurseries.

    "We found that newborn sharks captured in the mid-1990s left the safety of the islands when they were between five and eight years old," biologist Kevin Feldheim, of The Field Museum in Chicago, explained in a statement. "Yet, despite leaving and visiting many other islands in their travels, these sharks 'remember' where they were born after a decade of roving, and are able to find the island again when they are pregnant and ready to give birth." [Quest for Survival: Incredible Animal Migrations]

    In 1995, the researchers captured, tagged and released more than 2,000 baby sharks in the lagoon in Bimini, a set of islands located 53 miles east of Miami. Samuel Gruber, president and director of the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation, who started the project, explained that lagoon is "almost like a lake."

    "I realized that we had a chance to capture nearly every shark born into the lagoon each year, and this gave us the unique opportunity to see if the females actually come back to give birth," Gruber said in a statement. "However it took us nearly two decades and countless hours in the field and laboratory, but we finally answered this long-standing question and many others with this paper."

    Sharks are slow to reach maturity, which can make it difficult to study their reproductive behaviors across generations. Their slow growth rate is one of the reasons why overfishing can seriously damage shark populations. The researchers say their work highlights the need to preserve shark nursery habitats and could help wildlife managers designate inshore marine reserves. What's more, evidence that sharks are tied to specific places gives hope that local conservation efforts -- such as the Bahamas' recent legislation to protect all sharks in its waters -- will be effective in curbing the shark fishing industry, the researchers say.

    The findings were detailed on Dec. 5, 2013, in the journal Molecular Ecology.

    Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

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

    RELATED ON SKYE: 15 Truly Bizarre Creatures of the Deep
    Mola Mola

     

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    Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013

    In this file photo, a woman crosses the street during a snow storm in Portland, Maine. The Northeast will be hit by snow and ice this weekend. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    A storm Sunday into Monday will hit areas of the coastal Northeast, largely missed by Friday's snow and ice. The storm threatens to bring travel delays throughout the region and power outages to thousands inland.

    On Sunday, slippery conditions from snow and ice are likely over much of Virginia to southern Pennsylvania.

    During Sunday night, travel delays from wintry precipitation are likely from western Virginia to northern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey to New York City and southern New England.

    On Monday, the wintry mess will focus over much of upstate New York and interior New England.



    A large amount of snow is not expected in the I-95 corridor with most places receiving a brief period of snow transitioning to rain.

    Only a coating to an inch or two of snow and a bit of sleet is likely along the I-95 corridor but it would be the first accumulating snow of the season so far from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Most of the snow accumulation will be on non-paved surfaces, but slippery roads are possible.



    RELATED
    Ice Storm Threatens Part of I-81 Corridor
    Winter Weather Center
    You've Never Seen a Snowflake in This Much Detail


    Of the I-95 cities, Washington, D.C. may have the longest duration where temperatures are near to below the freezing mark (32 degrees) and precipitation is falling.

    According to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno, "Around portions of Virginia and Maryland, where the precipitation comes right in Sunday morning and comes down hard, these areas will have the greatest chance of an extended period of slippery travel."



    Because Washington, D.C. is located farthest inland of the I-95 cities it may take the area longer to warm up during the storm in this situation.

    As the storm moves along Sunday through Monday many locations over the interior will also transition to plain rain. However, there will continue to be a few pockets where an extended period of ice occurs with treacherous driving conditions.

    One area of ice is likely to focus in the I-81 corridor from western Virginia to south central Pennsylvania.



    Another zone where some ice buildup is possible is over central New England and part of eastern upstate New York.

    According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, "Enough ice may accrue on trees and utility lines in both areas to block roads and cause power outages."

    Only if more sleet were to fall instead of freezing rain would there be less serious damage and disruption.

    People attempting to catch Sunday afternoon and evening flights in or out of the mid-Atlantic are likely to experience delays and could be faced with a few cancellations. These flight disruptions will expand into New England Monday.

    The storm will also put down snow and ice west of the Appalachians through much of the Midwest and rain in the South. A wintry mix will lead to slippery travel and potential flight delays from Detroit to Chicago, Minneapolis and Kansas City, Mo. Flight delays from rain and low ceilings are possible at Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

    Road conditions are likely to improve from Washington, D.C., to New York City by Monday morning as rain takes over, but travel may be slow, slushy and slippery around Boston in the early hours. Flight delays due to rain and low ceilings may linger through much of the day Monday in the I-95 Northeast.

    The northern and western suburbs of the I-95 cities will stay colder longer and are likely to have more snow, ice and travel woes when compared to the major cities closer to the coast.

    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013


    The above graphic, provided by the US Geological Survey, shows the intensity of the quake. (US Geological Survey)

    At 12:10 p.m. local time today, according to the site NewsOK.com, an earthquake hit Oklahoma.

    Centered on the town of Edmond (close to the state capital of Oklahoma City), the quake measured 4.5 on the Richter scale. It was potent enough to knock bottles off shelves in stores and was felt hundreds of miles away. So far, there are no reports of injury or extreme damage.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

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    Sunday, Dec. 7, 2013

    This file photo shot in a residential neighborhood of North Arlington,VA, shows just how icy and treacherous the the roads may get there. (Photo by Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)


    The worst of the ice headed to the eastern U.S. will focus on the I-81 corridor from Virginia to southern Pennsylvania.

    An icy mix threatens to cause slick travel and some power outages over a large part of the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and Northeast Sunday through Monday.

    However, it is the I-81 corridor from Roanoke, Va., to Hagerstown, Md., to Harrisburg, Pa., where the most significant icing--amounts approaching or topping a half of an inch--will unfold.

    Other cities in this zone include Blacksburg, Harrisonburg and Winchester, Va., and Martinsburg, W. Va.

    The danger also encompasses the neighboring mountain valleys of western Virginia and eastern West Virginia, including the communities of Hot Springs, Va., and Beckley, W. Va.

    Residents should prepare for widespread power outages and tree damage. Falling tree branches could cause additional damage and bodily harm depending on where they land.

    RELATED:
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    Travel will become extremely treacherous not just on I-81 but also I-64, I-68, I-70 and I-77.

    The worst icing will commence in Virginia's southernmost I-81 corridor Sunday morning, then will spread northward and reach Harrisburg, Pa., Sunday night.

    After lasting roughly 6 to 12 hours, the ice will end as some rain or drizzle in a similar south-to-north fashion Sunday night through Monday morning.

    Preceding the ice will be a period of snow and sleet, which will accumulate a general 1 to 3 inches and make roads and sidewalks slippery for those heading to church, shopping or other plans on Sunday.

    An expert analysis is given on the impending winter storm.

    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013
    AP Photo/The Jonesboro Sun, Rob Holt
    Ronnie Moody of Nabholz Construction Services plows ice from the parking lot of the St. Bernards Outpatient Dialysis Center on Washington Avenue in Downtown Jonesboro, Ark., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/The Jonesboro Sun, Rob Holt)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A powerful storm system that spread hazardous snow, sleet and freezing rain widely across the nation's midsection rumbled toward the densely populated Eastern seaboard on Sunday, promising more of the same.

    Forecasters said the potent system already blamed for numerous power outages and thousands of weekend flight cancellations elsewhere, has Virginia and other Mid-Atlantic states in its icy sights before the Northeast is up next.

    Icy conditions were expected to last through the rest of the weekend from Texas to Ohio to Tennessee. And officials warned a major ice storm was possible in Virginia's Appalachian region along the busy Interstate 81 corridor.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States
    Winter Ice Storm In Virginia, state Emergency Management spokeswoman Laura Southard said the storm had the potential to be a "historic ice event."

    "This forecast is very concerning to us," Southard said. "I've worked multiple disasters, but I've never worked an ice storm with a forecast like this. It's just really important for everybody to take extra precautions."

    Forecasters said the storm caused freezing rain and icy conditions in parts of Tennessee as it surged across that state late Saturday and early Sunday. It also has been blamed for plunging temperatures as a cold front sweeps down from the North on the jet stream.

    Bob Nations Jr., director of the emergency operations command center for the Memphis area, said early Sunday that ice coating roads, bridges and overpasses caused several multi-vehicle crashes. He issued a statement urging drivers to use extreme caution, particularly on bridges and overpasses.

    Police in Memphis, meanwhile, urged motorists to stay home altogether if they could avoid travel early Sunday.

    Ice had built up on the windshields and roofs of parked cars throughout Memphis during the day Saturday. Law enforcement reported an increase in traffic crashes, and scattered power outages affected more than 3,000 people, emergency and utility officials said.

    "It looks like we're going to be stuck with this for one, two, maybe three days," said Memphis attorney Sam Chafetz, who tried to get off the roads before the worst of the storm hit. "I'm not afraid of the ice and snow, I'm afraid of the other drivers who don't know how to drive in it."

    Forecasters said motorists traveling Interstate 81 between Roanoke, Va., and Hagerstown, Md., should be on the lookout Sunday for any deterioration in conditions like that in Texas when the storm crossed parts of that state Friday and Saturday.

    In Texas earlier, icy and treacherous sections of Interstate 35 north of Dallas were closed for hours at a time after tractor-trailers had trouble climbing hills, wrecks occurred and vehicles stalled, authorities said.

    Tina Pacheco, her husband and two friends were traveling through Texas on their way to Mexico when the ice-laden interstate became so treacherous that traffic came to a standstill. They were forced to spend Friday night in their pickup truck, which they kept running for heat.

    "We couldn't go anywhere," she said, adding, "It's a good thing we had gas."

    Ice up to 4 inches thick was reported on one interstate in Texas at the height of the storm there. And about 75,000 customers in the Dallas area went without power for a time Saturday, down from a peak of more than 270,000 earlier. Oklahoma utilities reported more than 7,500 power outages across the state and western Arkansas.

    The weather forced the cancellation of countless events, including Sunday's Dallas Marathon, which was expected to draw 25,000 runners, some of whom had trained for months, and the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, expected to include 20,000.

    Around 7 inches of snow fell in northeast Arkansas and the Missouri boot heel, according to the National Weather Service in Memphis, and 8 to 9 inches fell in parts of southern Indiana. The storm dumped a foot of snow and more in some areas of Illinois, with police scrambling to respond to dozens of accidents and forced scores of schools to remain closed.

    Residents were told to prepare for a few days without power, prompting them to rush to stores to stock up on groceries, buy electricity generators and gas up their cars. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell reminded residents to check on family and friends who are elderly, disabled or live alone.

    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Sunday, Dec. 7, 2013

    In this photo taken on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, workers build an evacuation center in Tacloban, central Philippines. One month since Typhoon Haiyan, signs of progress in this shattered Philippine city are mixed with reminders of the scale of the disaster and the challenges ahead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) - The government is back at work, and markets are laden with fruits, pork, fish and bread. Shredded trees are sprouting new leaves. Above all, the sounds of a city getting back on its feet fill the air: the roar of trucks hauling debris, the scrape of shovel along pavement, the ping of hammer on nails.

    One month since Typhoon Haiyan, signs of progress in this shattered Philippine city are mixed with reminders of the scale of the disaster and the challenges ahead: Bodies are still being uncovered from beneath the debris. Tens of thousands are living amid the ruins of their former lives, underneath shelters made from scavenged materials and handouts.

    City administrator Tecson Lim says a sense of "normalcy" has returned and has begun talking of a silver lining: "The opportunity to transform our city into a global city, a city that is climate change resilient and that can perhaps be a model."

    Rebuilding will take at least three years, and success will depend on good governance and access to funds. The Philippines is currently posting impressive economic growth, but corruption is endemic and the country remains desperately poor, with millions living in slums.

    National and regional authorities had ample warnings and time to prepare before the storm hit early on the morning of Nov. 8, but evacuation orders were either ignored or not enforced in a region regularly hit by powerful typhoons. Haiyan plowed through Tacloban and other coastal areas, leaving over 5,700 dead and more than 1,700 missing throughout the region. Some 4 million people were displaced.

    But one couple in the town had other things on their minds Saturday.

    Earvin Nierva and Rise El Mundo exchanged marriage vows at a church and then posed for photos in a hard-hit area of the city. "This gives hope to people that we can rise up," said El Mundo.

    Pumping his fist, her new husband said, "Rise Tacloban!"

    The storm, one of the strongest to hit land on record, triggered an international response, led by the United States and U.N. agencies.

    The Philippine government has joined them in paying for food-for-work and cash-for-work emergency employment for thousands who lost their livelihoods. The workers clean up the twisted houses, trees and others debris that still cover large parts of the city and receive about 500 pesos ($11.36) a day.

    Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop separately flew to Tacloban on Sunday to check on typhoon assistance provided by their governments. Onodera stooped and exchanged high-fives with children who lined up to greet him at a Tacloban school that was turned into a shelter for 365 displaced families.

    Bishop chatted with patients at a field hospital set up with Australian help outside Tacloban's ruined airport and pledged to increase her country's financial aid.

    On Friday, the World Bank approved $500 million in budget support that the Philippine government can use for short-term recovery and reconstruction. It is also providing technical assistance in designing housing, hospitals, schools and public facilities that can withstand super typhoons, strong earthquakes and severe floods.

    Lim, the administrator, said a development master plan soon to be completed calls for people living in areas prone to storm surges to be relocated farther inland. He said while some residents might resist moving from their former neighborhoods, many others now were receptive to relocation after surviving the typhoon.

    Rebuilding after the typhoon is a colossal work for an impoverished country that is still recovering from a recent earthquake that hit a nearby island and a Muslim rebel attack that razed houses in clashes in September in the south. Haiyan destroyed or damaged more than a million homes.

    The storm led to a breakdown in government services and there were scenes of chaos as hungry survivors broke into shops, homes and gasoline stations. Lim said 19 of the 26 government agencies in the city were now operating and about 15 percent of the city has electricity.

    "Psychologically, there is a sense of normalcy," he said.

    Thousands are already beginning to rebuild in areas that might well be designated not safe for human habitation.

    Priscila Villarmenta was cradling a granddaughter while male relatives were fixing metal sheets and plywood to her destroyed home, which was torn apart by one of four cargo ships that were swept into her neighborhood by a tsunami-like storm surge triggered by the storm.

    "We are again starting our livelihood and building our house," she said.

    In Palo town near Tacloban, dozens of names of villagers who perished were read in a memorial Sunday before Archbishop John Du celebrated Mass at a cathedral where the moon was visible through the steel rafters of the roof that was blown away by the typhoon.

    Held to remember the dead and provide healing and closure, the ceremony was attended by survivors who recounted their tragic ordeals, including a Roman Catholic priest, who lost his mother and presided over her funeral Mass.

    "We have lost so much of what we own," Du said in the homily. "But here, friends, we have never lost hope."

    As darkness fell, hundreds of villagers piled out of the cathedral with lit candles and walked in a procession to a mass grave of about 100 typhoon victims in the church compound that was fenced off by white ribbon and marked by flowers. Du blessed the dead then the grieving survivors began to walk away, leaving clusters of candles at the edge of the grave flickering in the wind.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Typhoon Haiyan Slams Into Philippines

     

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    Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013

    A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket carrying the classified NROL-39 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Dec. 5 at 11:14 p.m. PST. (United Launch Alliance)

    A classified U.S. spy payload rocketed into orbit from California on an Atlas 5 launcher Thursday (Dec. 5), joining the nation's eyes and ears in the sky to supply intelligence to the government's national security agencies.

    The satellite is owned by the National Reconnaissance Office, but government officials do not disclose the identities of the NRO's spacecraft, only saying the payload will serve national security purposes.

    But independent satellite-watchers believe the spacecraft will join the NRO's fleet of spacecraft with radars to penetrate cloaks of clouds and darkness and reveal what adversaries are doing regardless of weather or time of day.

    [See more launch photos for the dazzling NROL-39 blastoff]

    The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:14:30 p.m. PST Thursday (0714:30 GMT; 2:14:30 a.m. EST Friday), majestically rising into clear skies on a chilly night at the spaceport on California's rugged Central Coast.

    The launcher's RD-180 main engine guided the rocket through the speed of sound and into the stratosphere in just a few minutes before the Atlas 5 shed its nose cone once it flew beyond the dense lower layers of the atmosphere.

    At that moment, the progress of the launch was kept secret under the orders of the NRO.

    Officials declared the launch a success several hours later, giving the Atlas 5 rocket a flawless record for the year with eight missions for NASA, the Defense Department and the NRO.

    The Atlas 5 rocket flew in the "501" configuration with a five-meter payload fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a Centaur upper stage with a single RL10 engine. Its nose cone is the medium-length version of the Swiss-built payload fairing, giving the rocket a total height of 206 feet.

    The workhorse Atlas 5 launcher comes in different shapes and sizes, and ULA is able to adjust its capability based on the needs of each specific mission.

    The exact version flown Thursday night from California has only launched once before.

    In September 2010, a "501" variant of the Atlas 5 rocket with a medium-length fairing launched another classified satellite from Vandenberg for the NRO, which does not publicly release the orbits of its constellation of spacecraft.

    But hobbyists have honed their ability to track satellites in orbit, watching them go overhead based on known launch trajectories and previous experience. With several observations, the hobbyists can estimate a satellite's orbital altitude and inclination, or the angle of the craft's ground track with the equator. [Photos: Spotting Satellites & Spaceships from Earth]

    Thursday night's mission, officially dubbed NROL-39, launched on the same type of rocket and on a trajectory mirroring the September 2010 flight, which put its payload in an orbit nearly 700 miles up in a unique retrograde orbit traveling in the opposite direction of Earth's rotation.

    Analysts concluded the September 2010 launch put up the first spacecraft in a new-generation fleet of NRO radar imaging satellites. A Delta 4 rocket launched in April 2012 into a nearly identical orbit, adding a second satellite to the system.

    According to top secret budget documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by the Washington Post in August, the radar spy satellites are given the codename "Topaz" and replace a previous generation of radar-equipped "Onyx" spacecraft.

    The budget document indicated five Topaz satellites are planned before transitioning to a "Block 2" line with upgrades. If the interpretation is correct, two more Topaz satellites remain to be launched before the NRO moves to a follow-on system.

    Ted Molczan, an experienced amateur satellite watcher in Canada, believes Thursday's launch lofted the third radar satellite in the Topaz series.

    "Am I convinced? I would say I am 80 percent confident NROL-39 is Topaz," said Jonathan McDowell, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks global satellite and launch activity.

    It is "always possible there is a one-off vehicle in a somewhat similar orbit. Let's see the amateurs pick it up and get its orbit, then we'll make a final conclusion," McDowell said before Thursday's launch.

    The Topaz satellites are leftovers from the NRO's troubled Future Imagery Architecture program, which was scaled back after billions of dollars in cost overruns leading to the cancellation of advanced optical spy satellites.

    The radar component of FIA, now known as Topaz, remained in place with Boeing as prime contractor.

    After release of the Atlas 5's prime passenger, the Centaur upper stage deployed 12 CubeSat secondary payloads built by the military, NASA and university students.

    "We are pleased we could support the NRO, NASA, and all of the associated institutions by successfully delivering these important auxiliary payloads which will test and validate new technologies for debris mitigation, propulsion, space weather, communications, on-orbit data processing and the use of commercially available components," Sponnick said.

    Sponsored by the NRO and NASA, the CubeSats each weigh less than 10 pounds, and some are as small as a hand. They include:

    • AeroCube 5, a mission for the Aerospace Corp. to demonstrate new technologies for pointing and tracking between two CubeSats. AeroCube 5 will also record launch environment data such as pressure, temperature and vibration, as well as demonstrate a de-orbit device.

    • ALICE, developed by the Air Force Institute of Technology, will test the performance of an advanced carbon nanotube array, which has great potential for smaller, lighter, and more energy-efficient satellite propulsion.

    • Four satellites for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command ‚Äî SNaP, TacSat 6 and two SMDC-ONE ‚Äî will test advanced nanosatellite communications technologies.

    • CUNYSAT 1, developed by Medgar Evans College at the City University of New York, serves as an educational tool for students and will observe Earth's ionosphere.

    • IPEX, or the Intelligent Payload Experiment, was provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Cal Poly. Carrying several low-resolution cameras, IPEX will validate several technologies for future NASA Earth observation missions, including autonomous on-board data processing, direct downlink operations, and automated ground operations.

    • MCubed 2, developed by the University of Michigan, will demonstrate an advanced real-time high-data-rate instrument processing system for next-generation remote sensing missions. MCubed 2 is a reflight of a previous CubeSat which unintentionally became attached to another CubeSat, preventing it from transmitting data.

    • FIREBIRD 1A and 1B, built by Montana State University's Space Science and Engineering Laboratory, will study microbursts in the outer Van Allen radiation belt. The two CubeSats were funded by the National Science Foundation.

    The next flight for United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket is scheduled for Jan. 23 from Florida with NASA's next Tracking and Data Relay Satellite.

    Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1. Copyright 2013 SpaceflightNow.com, all rights reserved.

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

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Amazing Photos of the International Space Station
    International Space Station, Shuttle

     

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    Updated Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 8:43 p.m. ET

    Evansville IceMen office manager Jennifer Clary of Henderson, Ky., shovels snow outside of the hockey team's office in Evansville, Indiana, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/ The Courier & Press, Jason Clark)

    For days, temperatures have plunged across a large portion of the United States, accompanied by a storm system that's brought sleet, snow, ice or a combination of all three. The weather has been a factor in several deaths and has also caused treacherous travel conditions and numerous flight cancellations.

    ARKANSAS

    Power company officials said Sunday that better-than-forecast weather helped their workers keep electricity flowing to most customers after days of snow and freezing temperatures. Many school districts already have cancelled Monday classes because of treacherous driving conditions. The weather also is blamed for two deaths in the state - a traffic fatality and man crushed by limb falling through his camper.

    CALIFORNIA

    Citrus farmers in California's Central Valley dodged the brunt of the seemingly never-ending winter storm. They used wind machines this weekend to prevent crop freezes when temperatures dropped into the upper 20s.

    DELAWARE

    The state was getting blasted Sunday with a stronger-than-expected winter storm, with the National Weather Service reporting an unofficial total of 11 inches of snow falling in Newark. The Delaware Memorial Bridge reopened to traffic after being shut down earlier in the day because of a jack-knifed semi.

    IOWA

    The state's first widespread snow of the year caused a 20-car pileup on Interstate 80 in Des Moines, but no serious injuries were reported and the road was cleared by noon Sunday.

    Most of Iowa is expected to see 2 to 4 inches of snow.

    KANSAS

    A fresh round of freezing rain and snow moved through Kansas on Saturday night and into Sunday, dropping 6 inches in the north-central part of the state. Lesser accumulations were reported elsewhere.

    Police in Topeka said that because of the high volume of weather-related accidents, officers wouldn't be sent to the scene of most accidents.

    MARYLAND

    State officials have asked motorists to stay at home while bands of expectedly heavy snow move across the state. A state Highway Administration spokeswoman said snow was heavier than forecast and falling at a rate of an inch an hour in some parts of Maryland.

    Baltimore officials cancelled the mayor's annual Christmas parade Sunday because of snow and dangerous road conditions.

    MINNESOTA

    Temperatures stayed well below freezing throughout Minnesota on Sunday, and another 2 to 5 inches of snow is in the forecast.

    In northern Minnesota, the low was 35 below zero in Hibbing. Windy conditions could make it feel even colder in west-central and central Minnesota - with wind chills as low as 25 below to 30 below zero Sunday night into Monday morning.

    MISSISSIPPI

    Crews in northern Mississippi worked Sunday to restore power to thousands of customers affected by an ice storm. The National Weather Service said warmer weather in the central and south of the state aided recovery efforts.

    MISSOURI

    Only a light dusting of snow fell Sunday on top of southern Missouri's 6 to 12 inches of snow from earlier in the week, the National Weather Service said.

    Elsewhere, several injuries were reported due to vehicles sliding off slick roads, but there were no deaths.

    NEBRASKA

    Eastern Nebraska received several inches of snow Saturday into Sunday, creating slick driving conditions.

    Near northwest Lincoln, officials had to close a 3-mile section of Interstate 80 on Sunday morning because of multiple accidents. Nearly 6 inches of snow fell in the Lincoln area.

    NEW JERSEY

    Parts of New Jersey were under a winter storm warning late Sunday, and the National Weather Service revised snowfall predictions upward to between 5 and 12 inches in several counties. Meanwhile, delays of up to an hour were being reported at Newark Liberty International Airport.

    NORTH CAROLINA

    North Carolina faced a range of wintry weather Sunday. The north-central part of the state was under a winter storm warning through late Sunday afternoon and could see a mix of freezing rain and rain.

    Elsewhere, Winston-Salem and Greensboro were under an ice storm warning, with accumulations of up to a quarter of an inch. A freezing rain advisory was issued for the Triangle area as well as the mountains and foothills.

    OKLAHOMA

    The National Weather Services is warning some residents just digging out from storms that hit late last week that more is on its way. But unlike the widespread storm that hit Thursday and Friday, the next wave is expected to keep to the northeast part of the state, bringing another 1 to 2 inches of snow.

    PENNSYLVANIA

    Heavy snow fell Sunday on parts of Pennsylvania, wreaking havoc on the turnpike, contributing to at least one traffic death and covering fields of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles in white.

    Several crashes were reported along the turnpike, including a fatality when a man was struck and killed after exiting his vehicle following a minor crash.

    TEXAS

    North Texas may start to thaw out a little Sunday with some sunshine and temperatures that are slightly above freezing.

    However, more than 400 departing flights were cancelled Sunday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. And road graders were called in to break up the thick ice on Interstate 35 north of Dallas, which has had many long traffic delays since the storm began Thursday night.

    VIRGINIA

    Freezing rain and sleet coated tree limbs and power lines throughout most of Virginia on Sunday morning, with the worst concentrated from Richmond to southwestern and western parts of the state.

    Officials warned a major ice storm was possible in Virginia's Appalachian region along the busy Interstate 81 corridor.

    WASHINGTON, D.C.

    Scattered delays affected airports near the nation's capital, with runways needing treatment Sunday afternoon at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport had plow crews standing by.

    WISCONSIN

    Snowy conditions contributed to numerous multivehicle accidents in southeastern Wisconsin on Sunday, including at least two fatal accidents and other pileups that injured dozens.

    Up to 5 inches of snow is forecast to fall in southern and eastern Wisconsin by Monday.

    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Updated Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 7:59 p.m. ET

    Dedicated fans brave the elements to watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Detroit Lions on December 8, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    The NFL often promotes football as a bad weather sport. It got its share early Sunday in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh.

    You got to go out there and play no matter what kind of conditions outside - sleet, snow, you got to go," Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles said.

    Blowing snow made traction and visibility difficult for the Detroit Lions at Eagles, Minnesota Vikings at Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs at Redskins, and Miami Dolphins at Steelers. Detroit running back Reggie Bush injured himself on the slippery field at the Linc in warmups and did not play in the Lions' 34-20 loss.

    The snow so obscured the yard markers it was nearly impossible for fans to tell exactly where the ball was at all four stadiums. Televising networks superimposed the yard lines and numbers for viewers at home.

    Small tractors with plows, and workers with shovels tried to clear the snow during Baltimore's 29-26 victory, to no avail. Workers used handheld snow blowers in Philadelphia, with little effect.

    Conditions were at their worst in Philly, where predictions had been for a bit of snow later in the day, not a full-scale squall.

    Referee Ed Hochuli told the teams during the pregame coin toss he would improvise if the coin landed on an angle. There was no need for that.

    But there was need to bundle up. The Lions and Eagles huddled around portable sideline heaters. Even the cheerleaders wore winter vests.

    "It's not the same as a sunny day, that's for sure. But you've got to make adjustments," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said.

    The Lions fumbled four times, losing one, in the first quarter alone. But after scoring in the second period, they went for a 2-point conversion - and made it - because trying a placement kick was too treacherous.

    But Detroit called a timeout after going ahead 20-14 to have former Eagles kicker David Akers attempt an extra point. The Lions had been penalized 5 yards for a false start before trying a 2-point conversion, so they opted for the kick. It was blocked.

    The fans that stuck this one out appeared to be having fun - and no, they weren't throwing snowballs. But with temperatures in the 20s, there were some huge gaps in the second level and upper deck.

    In Baltimore, Vikings holder Jeff Locke wiped down the spot he planned to place the ball, clearing a path for kicker Blair Walsh on a field-goal try. The preparation paid off with a 39-yarder that got Minnesota within 7-3.

    Swirling snow turned the field into a veritable ice rink. The players had difficulty running, passing and catching the football. The first play from scrimmage was a dropped pass by Jacoby Jones.

    With fans covered with snow, the conditions seemed more appropriate for outdoors in Minnesota than Maryland. Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP, hurt his ankle on the slick turf in the second quarter.

    A short drive away in the Washington suburb of Landover, the Redskins had a snow game for the first time since FedEx Field opened in 1997.

    Players were slipping and sliding: Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers took a big-time slide trying to keep up when Pierre Garcon made a cut on a passing route. But Robert Griffin III missed making the throw.

    When Kansas City had the ball deep in Redskins territory, Andy Reid asked for a measurement even though the Chiefs were a full yard short of a first down. Reid couldn't judge the distance because the yard lines weren't visible.

    The Chiefs went for it anyway and converted on their way to a 45-10 win.

    "First time playing a game in the snow," said Kansas City's Dexter McCluster, who returned a punt 74 yards for a TD. " I love it now."

    Several Dolphins came out in shorts and T-shirts during individual warmups. but the team left the field early, with the Steelers staying on the field until the usual time to head back to the locker room.

    For the coin flip in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger was wearing gray sweatpants over his gold football pants.

    Snow intensified after the opening kickoff, and during a stoppage in play due to an injury, a small army of workers came on the field with snow blowers to clear the hashmarks, every 5-yard stripe as well as the yardage numbers. But some of them got covered quickly as the snow picked up during Miami's 34-28 victory.

    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Saturday, Dec. 8, 2013

    This file photo shows a plane being deiced; unfortunately for many travelers, the weather is too severe for commercial flights take off safely. (Associated Press)

    Cold weather has forced thousands of flights to be cancelled across the U.S., leaving many travelers frustrated for yet another day.

    The tracking website Flightaware.com estimates more than 2,000 flights were cancelled nationwide as of Sunday afternoon and more than 6,000 flights were delayed. That follows two days of similarly difficult travel conditions.

    Cold weather has affected much of the country, but hit Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport particularly hard. The airport said more than 400 departures were cancelled Sunday. It is also still trying to clear out thousands of travelers who have been sleeping at the terminals or in nearby hotels waiting for a flight out since Thursday night.

    To ease the pain, the airport has been giving away free coffee, sandwiches and other treats. It also has brought in entertainment to the terminals, including musicians, comedians and balloon artists.

    "We are trying to keep the mood light and do everything we can to make sure that our passengers have as good an experience as possible given the situation," airport spokesman David Magana said.

    Cold weather turned the region into an "ice rink" Thursday night, he said. That forced 3,000 people to stay the night Thursday, and the figure swelled to 4,000 Friday. As flights began to slowly resume, that figure dropped to 2,000 for Saturday night.

    Magana said Sunday is the first day that temperatures will rise above freezing for a few hours, giving staff there a chance to work on improving paved surfaces at the airport.

    American Airlines, which has its main hub in Dallas Fort Worth, said it had 1,100 cancellations across its system Sunday. It expects 550 cancellations for Monday, the bulk of which are at the Dallas Fort Worth airport.

    The airline has updated its travel policy due to the tough weather, allowing passengers who have trips planned through affected areas to change their flights at no charge to avoid some of the complications.

    The problems weren't contained to Texas though.

    Delta Air Lines reported delays stretching from the Tennessee Valley to the mid-Atlantic region. The airline estimated it cancelled 20 to 40 flights Sunday.

    Philadelphia International Airport spokeswoman Stacey Jackson said there was much more snow and ice than originally anticipated for its area. Initial forecasts of one-half to two inches (1.25 to 5 centimeters) of snow have been upped to four to six inches (10 to 15 centimeters). That led to a temporary ground stop on Sunday, which halted any runway activity until the afternoon.

    The airport is also expecting a number of passengers to stay there overnight as area hotels have been full for several days. Jackson said staff will hand out pillows and blankets to make them "feel at home even though they are not."

    Airlines and airports alike expect weather-related delays should persist through Monday at least, but may ease later in the week as conditions improve.

    MORE ON SKYE: Icy Storm Hits US, Affecting Many States

     

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    Monday, Dec. 9, 2013

    (Alexey Kljatov/AccuWeather)

    As the saying goes, no two snowflakes are exactly alike. Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov's collection of high-resolution magnified flakes makes this widely-held belief more convincing.

    The Moscow-based photographer captured dozens of structurally diverse snowflakes, showcasing the complexity of each one against a dull backdrop.


    (Alexey Kljatov/AccuWeather)


    (Alexey Kljatov/AccuWeather)

    "This year I planned to save current temperature and relative humidity, taken from weather sites with all shooting sessions, but previously I [didn't] do that."

    Shooting at a variety of different conditions is critical to Kljatov's work, as snowflakes form into different shapes depending on temperature and humidity at the time of their formation.

    "Snowflakes are merely ice crystals whose shape are determined by the organization the water molecules are in when they freeze," according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Erik Pindrock.


    (Alexey Kljatov/AccuWeather)


    (Alexey Kljatov/AccuWeather)

    "Temperature can greatly influence them," Pindrock said.

    According to Kenneth G. Libbrecht, professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, "snow crystals tend to form simpler shapes when the humidity (supersaturation) is low, while more complex shapes at higher humidities."

    Dendrites, the common six-armed shape, form at temperatures between 3 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Hollow columns form at 14 to 21 F and needles form at 21 to 25 F.


    (Alexey Kljatov/AccuWeather)

    "It is even possible for a single snowflakes to be a combination of shapes as it moves into different temperatures within a cloud," Pindrock said.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Snowflake Fan Gallery
    AccuWeather.com 2013-2013 Winter Forecast
    Current AccuWeather Snow Map

    "But with so many variables to influence a single snowflake's design and shape, it is highly unlikely that two large snowflakes would turn out exactly the same."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 30 Ice Sculptures That Will Take Your Breath Away

     

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