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    Monday, June 2, 2014
    Storm System From Southern States Bring Heavy Rains To New York City
    (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

    Thunderstorms shifting over the Northeast will take aim at the I-95 corridor on Tuesday, possibly impacting major cities during the evening commute.

    Showers and thunderstorms are forecast to expand across the region throughout the day on Tuesday with the heaviest storms developing during the afternoon.

    New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Montreal, Quebec, are just a few cities that could feel the impacts from these storms.

    Some of the stronger storms may also produce brief wind gusts up to 45 mph.

    Localized flash flooding will be the biggest concern as moisture originating from the Gulf of Mexico fuels downpours that can drop 1 to 2 inches of rain as the storms roll through.

    These heavy downpours may lead to travel delays along the I-95 corridor during the evening commute, especially those on the roadways.

    Slower traffic and reduced visibility should be expected for anyone driving through these downpours, as well as the risk for hydroplaning.

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    Delays at the airports are also possible due to the poor take-off conditions that thunderstorms produce.

    Know when the storms will hit by using AccuWeather.com MinuteCast[TM]. It has the minute-by-minute forecast for your exact location. Type your city name, select MinuteCast[TM], and input your street address. On mobile, you can also use your GPS location.

    Looking ahead to the middle of the week, the threat of soaking storms will decrease with only a few spotty showers and thunderstorms around on Wednesday.

    However, there is the potential for some heavy thunderstorms to return to the area on Thursday as thunderstorms move in from the Midwest.


    Related on SKYE: The World's Wettest Places
    Storm System From Southern States Bring Heavy Rains To New York City

     

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    Monday, June 2, 2014

    Grasshopper Swarm Shows On Weather Radar



    The bugnadoes may look menacing but aren't violent like tornadoes that may sweep across the United States or other parts of the world.

    A bugnado was spotted by a photographer in early March in Portugal. The Portugal bugnado was comprised of red locusts but other bugnadoes have been swarms of midges, important decomposers in aquatic environments, much like earthworms in your garden, executive director Joe Keiper of the Virginia Museum of Natural History said.


    Ana Filipa Scarpa captured this photo of a bugnado comprised of red locusts on March 9, 2014, near Leziria Grande at Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. (NASA/Ana Filipa Scarpa)

    Midges are also important fish, bird and amphibian food, Keiper said.

    "Insects, such as these 'midges,' swarm in their adult stages to find mates. Midges can be prolific and what we see in situations such as flooded farm fields that amazing numbers of larvae develop under the water," he said.

    "Large amounts of nutrients support the temporary aquatic ecosystem and eventually, under warm temperatures and other desirable circumstances, these huge, synchronized emergences of short-lived adults occur."

    Males and females seek each other out, he said.

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    "The 'tornado' appearance is likely due to a combination of wind and thermal uplift from the sun warming up the ground," AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Bob Smerbeck said.

    "I've been in a boat with fog on a lake at dawn when the sun comes out and starts to burn off the fog. The heating causes little vortexes all over the lake," Smerbeck said.

    In addition to bugnadoes, dust devils and leaf devils have also been created by these vortexes, he said.

    Proper conditions for a bugnado include an area to support gigantic populations such as a flooded farm field that has dead vegetation. The vegetation rots and generates nutrients for food sources that serve as food for the aquatic insect larvae, Keiper said.

    In July 2011, storm chaser and photographer Mike Hollingshead was near Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he spotted a bugnado after flooding on the Missouri River.

    Some insects are famous for huge swarms, Keiper said. The Great Lakes are known for midges and mayflies and the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge for mosquitoes.

    "These are just two specific examples where you have synchronized emergence of the adults and subsequent swarming for mate finding," Keiper said. "Other swarms, such as honey bees, occur for a different reason: to find a suitable nest site for the queen bee which has already been fertilized."

    Bugnadoes may be dangerous to motorcycle riders who forget to keep their mouths shut, Keiper said.

    "Seriously, clouds of insects like this can reduce visibility when they smash on a windshield, and have been reported that their dead carcasses can create slick conditions on roads. Slow down."

    Insects can also show up on radar, as the National Weather Service in Albuquerque discovered last week. Unusual readings were noted three days in a row on the office's dual polarization radar.

    Swarming grasshoppers were the culprit, the office determined.


    RELATED ON SKYE: World's Freakiest Bugs

     

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    Tuesday, June 3, 2014
    An incredible supercell thunderstorm and mammatus clouds roll over the great plains in mid summer creating 100 mph winds and tor
    Getty Images

    A major outbreak of severe weather will ignite across the central Plains Tuesday afternoon with a possible derecho evolving during the overnight hours.

    The potential exists for a far-reaching cluster of violent thunderstorms to track from Nebraska to Iowa and northern Illinois Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

    Such an intense cluster may officially be deemed a derecho.

    "The origin of this potential strong line of storms will be in western Nebraska where afternoon thunderstorms will congeal into an intense cluster overnight Tuesday and progress through Iowa and into northern Illinois through Wednesday morning," stated AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions meteorologist Brian Knopick.

    "The threats would be extremely heavy rain with flooding, large hail and wind gusts greater than 70 mph."

    Such winds could easily down trees, overturn high-profile vehicles, toss around and damage loose lawn furniture and cause some structural damage. Falling trees threaten to cause bodily harm and additional damage to homes and vehicles.

    The thunderstorm cluster has the potential to unleash 2 to 4 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts, along its path.

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    That amount of rain is very likely to trigger flash flooding, as well as cause problems for motorists by unleashing blinding downpours and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds.

    However, the rain has a silver lining as it will be beneficial in the long-run to the parts of the central Plains that are in the midst of a drought or have turned abnormally dry.

    Tornadoes are also a concern on Tuesday. Knopick states that is especially true across central Nebraska Tuesday afternoon and evening, before the violent thunderstorms cluster together.

    Grand Island and Valentine, Nebraska, are among the communities facing the severe weather danger, including tornadoes, Tuesday afternoon. The threat zone also extends to Rapid City, South Dakota.

    From late in the day Tuesday through early Wednesday morning, the cluster of violent thunderstorms is expected to track in a general west-to-east fashion across Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa; and Peoria and Springfield, Illinois.

    The northern extent of the thunderstorms will clip Chicagoland early Wednesday morning, bringing the threat for flooding and headaches for the morning commute.

    Heavy rain should also graze Detroit as Wednesday progresses and the severe weather shifts to the Ohio Valley states.

    Residents of Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis should prepare for powerful thunderstorms that will remain capable of producing damaging winds, flooding downpours, hail and a few tornadoes on Wednesday.

     

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    June 3, 2014

    Zoo New England CEO John Linehan said he notices that antelopes can become more excitable due to low pressure systems. (Photo/Thinkstock)

    Animals may possess an innate ability to react to weather quicker than humans, but don't count on their behaviors determining how much snow is expected for winter or how severe a hurricane season could become.

    That is because while there are indications that animals do have advanced capabilities to recognize changes in weather, how far in advance they can predict such changes is still to be determined.

    "I certainly think that [animals] have abilities to sense that," said John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England, which operates Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts. "I've certainly seen behavioral changes in the many years I've been observing animals, but how far in advance, I don't actually know."

    Linehan's experience working with animals covers more than 30 years and he has seen many peculiar occurrences in animal behavior as it relates to weather.

    Animals have more developed senses than humans, such as sense of smell and hearing, and that leads to their ability to detect impending weather changes sooner, Linehan said.

    "Certainly, many have a better sense of smell than we do; they can smell rain coming when it is miles away," he said.

    When areas of low pressure move in, Linehan said he notices that animals, particularly prey species such as wild sheep, antelopes and wild goats, tend to become more excitable as opposed to predator species such as lions and tigers.

    He said that animals have an ability to hear things before humans due to a broader sense of hearing in terms of frequency.

    "I think there are some things they can hear, whether it be thunder or other indicators that we don't even know about yet," Linehan said.

    Biophony, a relatively new study that examines collective sounds in a given habitat at a certain time, is another way of analyzing animal behaviors ahead of storms.

    Bernie Krause is the founder of Wild Sanctuary, an organization that records, researches and archives the sounds of the natural landscape.

    Krause cited anecdotal evidence of recording a biophany around the clock in a tropical or subtropical rainforest and how critter sounds can change as a storm approaches.

    "There will be a noticeable shift in the biophony, particularly that of birds, mammals, and some species of frogs, which will tend to become silent as a storm approaches, and to pick up again after it passes," Krause said.

    However, Krause cautioned that other factors could be at play, such as whether the storm occurs during the daytime or at night and the density and diversity of animal vocalizations in the habitat.

    While animals may have a sense for changing weather, sometimes their behavior doesn't show they understand the severity of a storm.

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    Linehan said he remembered on one occasion, during a hurricane, a herd of mountain sheep emerged from the indoor portion of their exhibit to eat leaves that had been falling. He was a part of a storm team that monitors animals during severe weather, and he said he had to throw rocks in the direction of the sheep to get the animals to return to their shelter just as large branches fell around them.

    "It seemed like an anti-survival instinct," Linehan said.

    Linehan said he hasn't seen any evidence that animals have long-term weather pattern detection abilities. Yet after years of working with animals, he said he has gained more respect for their insights and he feels like this is an area that's "ripe for a lot of exploration."

    "These animals have evolved over many eons to survive in their environment and we are only scratching the surface," he said. "If you really observe them closely over a long period, they see things we don't see, they sense things we don't sense."

     

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    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Pedestrians cross a street in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 2, 2014, while a flash dust storm hits the Iranian capital. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

    A powerful thunderstorm created a dust storm that has left at least four people dead.

    The storm struck between 5 and 6 p.m. local time, sending temperatures from 33 C (91 F) to 19 C (66 F) in just an hour.

    Along with the dramatic temperature drop, wind gusts reached nearly 70 mph during the storm as these powerful west winds blew thick dust through the city.

    The winds also knocked down numerous trees and power lines, leaving many without power and snarling traffic throughout the city, according to Channel NewsAsia.

    Reports also indicate that at least 27 other people were injured, mainly from falling trees and automobile accidents during the storm.

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    The Iranian Students New Agency reported that more than 50,000 homes were without power following the storm. Around 7,000 emergency workers were unitized to assist with recovery efforts.

    The threat for thunderstorms will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday before calmer weather returns later in the week.

    The above video discusses the weather across Asia.

     

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    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    NOAA

    MIAMI (AP) - A tropical depression is nearing southern Mexico's Pacific coast, where it's forecast to bring torrential rains.

    The depression's maximum sustained winds early Tuesday are near 35 mph (55 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the depression could become a tropical storm later in the day.

    A tropical storm warning is in effect in southern Mexico from Salina Cruz to Mexico's border with Guatemala.

    The depression is centered about 140 miles (220 kilometers) south-southeast of Salina Cruz and has become nearly stationary in the last few hours. But it's expected to resume a slow northward motion later in the day.

     

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    When summer strikes, high and sometimes uncomfortable temperatures come with it. Severe heat should be taken seriously and it's important to understand the dangers.

    "The body cools down primarily by the evaporation of sweat on the skin," Director of Integrative Pain Management at Mount Sinai Hospital Houman Danesh, MD, said. "When the air is dry, sweat evaporates and cools the skin. When the air is humid, sweat doesn't evaporate as well and the body is unable to cool down."

    The best way to stay safe is to stay hydrated and keep indoors during peak sun hours. However, even inside can get steamy. If you don't have an air-conditioner to rely on, or if that still isn't cutting it, here are five unconventional ways to stay cool this summer.


    A tourist stops to cool off in a misting fan while walking along The Strip, Friday, June 28, 2013, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

    1. Load Up on Spices

    While it may sound strange, eating spicy foods can actually cool your body down. The heat of your dish will make you sweat and, in turn, cool you off naturally. If that sounds too extreme, Registered Dietician and Professor at the University of Connecticut Nancy Rodriguez suggested using spicy ingredients in salsa, guacamole and other summer snacks.


    Adding spicy ingredients to fresh summer snacks can help keep you cool. (Photo/bhofack2)

    2. Use the Products You Already Have

    You can turn everyday products into a cooling sensations simply by storing them in the refrigerator. Sunscreen, lotions, toners, creams and even perfume can all be kept safely in the fridge to give you a refreshing lift upon application.

    Nicole Darmanin, spokesperson for skin care company Mario Badescu, said that products such as eye creams can be kept in the refrigerator and applied cool. "It is so refreshing, especially during the summer months. The application of the cool eye gel around the eyes is also great for calming tired, puffy morning eyes," she said.

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    3. Cool Your Pulse

    The National Sleep Foundation recommended placing a damp washcloth in the freezer to create an easy, cooling compress. Placing the frozen cloth on your wrists or any pulse points will bring an icy shock to your body. If you do not have an ice pack, leave your wrists under cold, running water for 30 seconds. This will cool the blood in your veins and provide some instant relief.


    For an instant chill, use cold packs or compresses on your pulse points. (Photo/praisaeng)

    4. Drink Up but Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol

    Especially after being outside in hot weather, it is important to hydrate and replenish your body. Registered Dietician and Professor of Nutrition at Baylor Suzy Weems suggested "cool, refreshing liquids" following time in the sun. She recommends water and juices.

    She cautioned against iced tea or anything with caffeine as some people can see increased perspiration. As refreshing as it may sound, beer, wine or hard liquor are all poor options, according to Weems. Alcohol is dehydrating and should be avoided during scorching heat.

    5. Create a Faux AC

    To simulate the feel of an air-conditioner, Medicine.net recommended placing a bowl of ice in front of a box fan and sitting directly in front of the flow or air.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
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    Tuesday, June 3, 2014
    Severe Weather
    A car with its windows smashed from hail hangs over a creek following a severe thunderstorm in Blair, Neb., Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Severe weather packing large hail and heavy rain rolled into Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday as potentially dangerous storms targeted a swath of the Midwest, including states where voters were casting ballots in primary elections.

    The National Weather Service said reports of hail damage and flooding have begun to trickle in as storms pushed into Nebraska and continued eastward.

    Officials said the highest risk for severe weather was centered in parts of eastern Nebraska, western and southern Iowa, and northeast Missouri. Officials said there was the potential for a weather event called a derecho, which is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.

    "This is one of these days we can't let our guard down," said Bill Bunting, forecast operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. "It's unfortunately panning out as we thought it would. This is shaping up as a very dangerous evenin g."

    The outbreak of severe thunderstorms has already affected parts of northern and eastern Nebraska, where residents in Norfolk and Blair reported homes and vehicles damaged by large hail. Terry Landsvork, an observation program leader for the National Weather Service in Valley, Nebraska, said the severe weather is forecast into the evening and early hours of Wednesday.

    Landsvork said on Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs in western Iowa, more than 25 vehicles had their windows shattered by hail.

    "They were driving along Interstate 29, had no place to go, and whether they were driving or pulled over, they just didn't escape the hail," he said.

    Winds of up to 85 mph were also reported in some parts of Iowa. Up to 4 inches of rain was expected.

    In Nebraska, weather officials said at least one severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was reported near the city of Fullerton. A similar thunderstorm was reported in the western Iowa commu nity of Elliot. Officials say they won't be able to confirm if there were any tornadoes for several hours.

    The storms also are expected to affect parts of Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota.

    Heavy rain in the Omaha area has caused police to assist drivers stranded in floodwaters. Officers are also patrolling roads to replace blown off manhole covers, and officials closed Eppley Airfield airport.

    "There was big ice on the ground. Nothing but ice," said Omaha resident Shuree Stephens. "It's hasn't been like this in a long time."

    The bad weather had an impact on the primary elections in Iowa, where some officials and voters were forced to seek shelter in Pottawattamie County around 5 p.m. County Auditor Mary Jo Drake said operations have been suspended in about 10 precincts out of 40. There were no reports of injuries. Montgomery County closed and evacuated polls around 6 p.m.

    "It's nasty here, you can't imagine," Drake said. "It's as black as the a ce of spades."

    Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz had encouraged residents to vote early due to the expected severe weather.

    In South Dakota, a thunderstorm forced Senate candidate Mike Rounds, who was flying to Rapid City, to land in Pierre. Secretary of State Jason Gant said he hopes the weather doesn't hurt voter turnout, but he wants people to be safe.

    Bunting said Iowa residents planning to vote Tuesday should be cautious about when they head out to the polls.

    "There may be in many areas time to go out and do things before the storms hit. I think the main thing is to listen to the forecast, get some sense of when storms are likely in your area and just make sure you're in a safe place before the storms hit," he said.

    The severe weather threat arrives amid an unusually quiet late spring, with far fewer documented tornados in May than in many recent years. Bunting said the current system could be most severe because of widespread straight-l ine winds.

    "As we like to say, it doesn't have to rotate to be dangerous," he said.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos
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  • 06/03/14--17:10: What Is a Derecho?

  • A tree sitting atop a vehicle offers free firewood in Falls Church, Va., Monday, July 2, 2012, as cleanup continued after a derecho pummeled the area. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat)

    Derechos are often referred to as inland hurricanes due to the hurricanelike conditions, in terms of ferocious wind and torrential rain, which are spawned by this weather phenomenon.

    This term refers to a dangerous type of thunderstorm complex that is at least 240 miles wide, according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). These violent severe thunderstorm clusters produce widespread and long-lived, straight-line wind damage.

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    Wind gusts of greater than 58 mph occur in derechos, but winds may exceed 100 mph, according to the SPC.

    Very large hail, widespread flooding and isolated tornadoes can also occur.

    "The danger with derechos is that they are not only fast-moving like some tornadoes, but they are widespread, unlike tornadoes," AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "They have the potential to do a great deal of damage over a broad area."

    Making them even more dangerous, derechos often last well through the night.

    "While meteorologists have tools to detect storms including tornadoes and derechos, 24 hours a day, people lose the ability to 'see' severe weather coming at night, other than flashes of lightning," Sosnowski said. "People may sleep through warnings or not hear the storm coming until the last minute."

    As derechos unfold, it is important to keep a weather radio nearby to keep aware of severe storm warnings. At night, keep the volume turned up, so you can hear these crucial severe weather warnings.

    On June 29, 2012, an infamous derecho slammed a 700-mile swath from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic. Washington, D.C., was among the cities hit hard by the derecho. Millions of people were without power for a week or more due to the widespread damaging wind gusts, which were higher than 80-90 mph in several communities.

    A couple of years prior to the 2012 derecho, another destructive event slammed the Midwest on June 18, 2010. The Chicago area was ransacked by the violent storms. There were 340 wind reports with widespread winds over 70 mph. A couple of tornadoes touched down, and hail up to the size of tennis balls fell from the strongest storms.

     

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    Wednesday, June 4, 2014
    Severe Weather
    Residents clean up and board up broken windows on a business in Blair, Neb., following a severe thunderstorm and large hail that traveled through on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    Severe thunderstorms, evolving from a derecho, will stretch from part of the Midwest to part of the mid-Atlantic spanning Wednesday and Wednesday night.

    On Wednesday, the threat of severe weather will reach from southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois to Kentucky, northern Tennessee, southern Indiana and southwestern Ohio.

    The storms will bring a threat of widespread damaging wind gusts, hail, flash flooding and frequent lightning, along with the chance of a few isolated tornadoes.

    Downed trees, power outages, blocked roads, property damage and hazards to individuals may affect communities from St. Louis to Indianapolis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Cincinnati.

    Part of the area can be hit with enough rain to cause flash, urban and small stream flooding.

    During Wednesday night, the potential for severe thunderstorms, including flash flooding, will reach into West Virginia and Virginia.

    According to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, severe storms forecast to cluster over central Plains Tuesday night may develop into a fast-moving zone of high winds and heavy rain, which will then continue to advance to the east-southeast on Wednesday.

    This phenomenon is known as a derecho and traditionally brings extensive damage and risk to lives over a broad area.

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    Since the derecho has not formed yet, the exact path and longevity of this cluster of severe thunderstorms are uncertain. However, there is a risk for damaging thunderstorms and travel disruptions even in the absence of the formation and persistence of a long-lived, single complex of severe thunderstorms.

    This is one of several times a year when people in the alert area should pay very close attention to the weather.


    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos
    Lightning Hits the Grand Canyon

     

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    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    (Photo/ Twitter User: David Ernesti - @Dernesti)

    A major outbreak of dangerous thunderstorms continues to slam areas from Nebraska to Illinois Wednesday morning with baseball-sized hail, flooding downpours, damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes.

    Throughout Tuesday evening, an intense cluster of thunderstorms pushed across Nebraska with wind gusts 80 to 100 mph in some areas and had enough force to overturn a semi-truck.

    Baseball-sized hail, high wind gusts and flooding downpours swept across Omaha, Nebraska, forcing the evacuation of several homes, according to Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. This occurrence of severe weather is known as a derecho. Due to ferocious wind and torrential rain, derechos can also be referred to as inland hurricanes.

    The northern extent of the thunderstorms will clip Chicago early Wednesday morning, bringing the threat for flooding as it continues into the Ohio Valley later in the day.

    (Photo/Twitter User: Brad Pearl)

    (Photo/LaJean Hipke)

    (Photo/@omahapolice)

    (Photo/@omahapolice)


    RELATED ON SKYE: 10 Craziest Things to Go Airborne in a Storm

     

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    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    (NOAA)

    MEXICO CITY (AP) - Tropical Storm Boris weakened back into a tropical depression, but continued to drench southern Mexico on Wednesday.

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was likely to leave rainfall totals as high as 20 inches (500 millimeters) during its passage across Oaxaca and Chiapas states. Almost 8.5 inches (213 millimeters) had already fallen on the coastal town of Tonala.

    The Hurricane Center in Miami said Boris was centered about 85 miles (140 kilometers) east of Salina Cruz early Wednesday, and it was moving north at about 5 mph (7 kph) with maximum sustained winds of about 35 mph (55 kph).

    The center predicted the storm would begin weakening once ashore and said it probably would largely dissipate Wednesday night after cutting across the narrow Tehuantepec isthmus toward the Gulf of Mexico.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Stunning Hurricane Photos from Space

     

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    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Car windows are blown out at a car dealership following a severe thunderstorm in Blair, Neb., Tuesday, June 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    Additional complexes of thunderstorms will affect portions of the Plains, Midwest and South this week and this weekend with areas of flooding rain and severe weather.

    Severe weather packing large hail and heavy rain rolled into Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday. The storms developed into a large complex Tuesday night over Iowa, Missouri and Illinois, known as a derecho.

    More than half the states in the nation can be affected by heavy and gusty thunderstorms to severe weather into the weekend. The storms threaten to bring problems ranging from travel delays and disruptions to outdoor activities to more serious consequences ranging from power outages, property damage and threats to lives.

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    During Thursday afternoon and night, a zone of thunderstorms will fire farther east from the Oklahoma Panhandle and eastern Colorado to southwestern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The threats will include wind gusts to 65 mph, large hail and flash flooding.

    Spotty strong, drenching thunderstorms will stretch from northern Nebraska to western Minnesota and the eastern part of North Dakota Thursday afternoon and night.

    Meanwhile, locally strong thunderstorms will also affect areas from the coastal Carolinas to northern Mississippi on Thursday.

    On Friday, area of showers and thunderstorms are forecast to reach more than 1,200 miles from the Carolinas to Colorado with pockets of severe thunderstorms capable of bringing damaging wind gusts and flash flooding.

    During the weekend, there is a chance that a large complex of thunderstorms will push eastward from the central Plains to across a portion of the Midwest, while additional storms continue to fire over the southern Plains and portions of the High Plains. The storms will unload drenching rain.

    The swath of heaviest rain is forecast to reach from northern Texas to central Kansas, eastward to the southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

    The cumulative amount of rain may top 6 inches in some locations spanning Thursday through the weekend.

    While the pattern will lead to flooding problems, it will also bring some relief for those suffering in long-term drought.

     

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    Thursday, June 5, 2014
    NV: Heat Wave Scorches Most of U.S.
    (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)​

    Scorching heat will continue to build across the Southwest into the weekend, challenging some records and putting people at risk for heat-related illnesses.

    A strengthening area of high pressure aloft will help heat the surface and push temperatures up through the California valleys and the deserts of the Southwest.

    The month of June has already featured sweltering heat and the mercury is only going to rise through the weekend.

    For many cities, the last time high temperatures failed to reach the normal was back in May. Las Vegas, Nevada, has had high temperatures above average since May 24.

    With scorching heat already in place and thermometers only going up, some records will challenged.

    Fresno, California, will have a chance to set a new high temperature record over the weekend.

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    Five Foods to Help Beat the Heat

    Temperatures Saturday will top out at 104 F, just three degrees shy of the record. Sunday will present the best chance with the thermometer expected to read 106 F. This will challenge the record of 107 F, set back in 1981.

    The expanding heat will increase the risk for heat-related illnesses. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is one of the most important steps in staying safe from the heat.

    Those who tend to spend much of their day outside will want to take the necessary steps to cope with the summerlike heat.

    Areas near the coast will feel an increase in temperature but it will be moderated by an ocean breeze. Los Angeles is expected to top out in mid-80s this weekend.

    The lasting heat is bad news for the ongoing severe drought across the region. Soils will continue to be parched and with the ridge of high pressure in place, storm systems that would provide much needed rainfall will continue to remain away.


    Severe drought conditions continue across much of the Southwest. Photo: US Drought Monitor

    Above-average temperatures are not expected to go away and will likely carry into next week.

    According to the AccuWeather.com Summer Forecast, above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall will be the main headline for the next few months across the Southwest.

     

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    Thursday, June 5, 2014
    Severe Weather
    Jackie Porter clears tree debris off of the sidewalk in Blair, Neb., Wednesday, June 4, 2014, following a severe storm that passed through the region the previous evening. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    Additional complexes of thunderstorms will affect portions of the Plains, Midwest and South this week and this weekend with areas of flooding rain and severe weather.

    Severe weather packing large hail and heavy rain rolled into Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday. The storms developed into a large complex Tuesday night over Iowa, Missouri and Illinois, known as a derecho.

    More than half the states in the nation can be affected by heavy, gusty thunderstorms to severe weather into the weekend. The storms threaten to bring problems ranging from travel delays and disruptions to outdoor activities to more serious consequences ranging from power outages, property damage and threats to lives.

    RELATED:
    AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center
    What is a Derecho?
    Severe Storms, Tornadoes: The Difference Between Watches and Warnings

    During Thursday and Friday, showers and thunderstorms will reach more than 1,200 miles from the Carolinas to Colorado with pockets of severe thunderstorms within this zone.

    During Thursday morning and into the afternoon, a complex of severe thunderstorms will track from Kansas to southwestern Missouri and northern Arkansas. The threats will include wind gusts to 65 mph, large hail and flash flooding.

    Additional strong to severe storms will erupt to the south and west of this complex during Thursday afternoon and evening over eastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma, the northern Texas Panhandle and northeastern New Mexico.

    Spotty strong, drenching thunderstorms will stretch from northern Nebraska to western Minnesota and the eastern part of North Dakota Thursday afternoon and night.

    Meanwhile, strong thunderstorms will also affect areas from the Carolinas to northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee as well on Thursday. Storms over the coastal Carolinas to part of eastern Georgia can be locally severe Thursday afternoon and evening.

    On Friday, the greatest threat of severe weather will extend from Denver and Amarillo, Texas, to Little Rock, Arkansas, and Jackson, Mississippi.

    During the weekend, thunderstorms will continue to fire in the same general zone from the Plains to the Southeastern states. However, there is a chance that a large complex of thunderstorms will push eastward from the central Plains to across part of the Midwest. The storms will unload drenching rain and can bring episodes of high winds.

    The swath of heaviest rain is forecast to reach from northern Texas to central Kansas, eastward to the southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

    The cumulative amount of rain may top 6 inches in some locations spanning Thursday through the weekend.

    While the pattern will lead to flooding problems, it will also bring some relief for those suffering in long-term drought.

     

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    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    This enhanced image was taken by the NOAA GOES-EAST weather satellite Wednesday morning, June 4, 2014.

    An area of disturbed weather over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is going nowhere fast this week but will bring unsettled conditions for days to the region.

    Clouds, showers and thunderstorms have replaced sunshine in the vicinity of the Yucatan Peninsula and much of southern Mexico this week versus last week.

    Moisture and a broad area of low pressure are forecast to continue to hover over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, known as the Bay of Campeche this week into next week.

    According to AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski, "We do not see any significant tropical system forming in the Bay of Campeche this week."

    The area of low pressure over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico has been competing with former tropical system Boris nearby on the Pacific side of Central America.

    Boris has since made landfall and weakened to no more than just a plume of disorganized rain and storms over Mexico. However, this moisture may help aid in future development in the Bay of Campeche.

    RELATED:
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    Four Innovative Ways Hurricane Forecasts Have Improved to Save Lives
    INFOGRAPHIC: Explore the Anatomy, Threats of a Hurricane

    The combination of the Gulf and Pacific features will bring an uptick in tropical downpours in part of southeastern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. While some rain is needed in the region, the potential for flash flooding would increase into the weekend as rainfall accumulations ramp up.

    "There is a small chance that the low pressure area over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico could become organized into a tropical system next week," Kottlowski said.

    "Until then, high-level disruptive winds will prevent rapid development of the system in the Gulf."

    Low-level steering winds are very light in the region and would tend to keep any low pressure area bottled up in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico through this week.

    Until then the area will be affected by clouds, sporadic heavy rainfall and isolated gusty thunderstorms but explosive tropical development on the Atlantic side is not likely.

     

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    Thursday, June 5, 2014
    Warmest Cities
    (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is warming fastest at two of its corners, in the Northeast and the Southwest, an analysis of federal temperature records shows.

    Northeastern states - led by Maine and Vermont - have gotten the hottest in the last 30 years in annual temperature, gaining 2.5 degrees on average. But Southwestern states have heated up the most in the hottest months: The average New Mexico summer is 3.4 degrees warmer now than in 1984; in Texas, the dog days are 2.8 degrees hotter.

    The contiguous United States' annual average temperature has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, with summers getting 1.6 degrees hotter. But that doesn't really tell you how hot it's gotten for most Americans. While man-made greenhouse gases warm the world as a whole, weather is supremely local. Some areas have gotten hotter than others because of atmospheric factors and randomness, climate scientists say.

    "In the United States, it isn't warming equally," said Kelly Redmond, climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada. "Be careful about extrapolating from your own backyard to the globe."

    For example, while people in the East and Midwest were complaining about a cold winter this year, Redmond's Nevada and neighboring California were having some of their warmest winter months ever.

    To determine what parts of the country have warmed the most, The Associated Press analyzed National Climatic Data Center temperature trends in the lower 48 states, 192 cities and 344 smaller regions within the states. Climate scientists suggested 1984 as a starting date because 30 years is a commonly used time period and 1984, which had an average temperature, is not a cherry-picked year to skew a trend either way. The trend was calculated by the NCDC using the least squares regression method, which is a standard statistical tool.

    All but one of the lower 48 states have warmed since 1984. North Dakota is the lone outlier, and cooled slightly. Ten states - Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Mexico, Connecticut and New York - have gotten at least 2 degrees warmer in the past 30 years.

    Since 1984, 92 percent of the more than 500 cities and smaller regions within states have warmed and nearly two-thirds of them have warmed by at least a degree. The regions that have warmed the most have been New York's St. Lawrence Valley, northeastern Vermont, northern Maine, the northeastern plains of New Mexico and western Vermont, all of which have warmed by more than 2.5 degrees.

    Cities, where data is a tad more suspect because they are based on a single weather station and readings can be affected by urban heating and development, see the greatest variation. Carson City, Nevada, and Boise, Idaho, are the cities that have seen the most warming - both year-round and in summer - since 1984. Both cities' average annual temperatures have jumped more than 4 degrees in just 30 years, while Dickinson, North Dakota, has dropped the most, a bit more than 2 degrees.

    The Southwest warming, especially in the summer, seems to be driven by dryness, because when there is little water the air and ground warm up faster, said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

    "Heat and drought are a vicious cycle that has been hitting the Southwest hard in recent years," Hayhoe said.

    And in the Northeast, the temperatures are pushed up by milder winters and warm water in the North Atlantic, said Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. And less snow on the ground over the winter often means warmer temperatures, said Alan Betts, a climate scientist at Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, Vermont.

    The Southeast and Northwest were among the places that warmed the least. In the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, industrial sulfur particle pollutants from coal burning may be reflecting sunlight, thus countering heating caused by coal's carbon dioxide emissions, said Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann.

     

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    BOSTON -- The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an amazing and colorful deep view of the universe, showing galaxies shining in ultraviolet light during their wild, star-forming "teenage" years.

    The new image, which was released on June 3, is the most comprehensive view of the evolving universe ever captured by the space telescope, Hubble representatives said. Hubble previously imaged the same patch of sky shown in the new image between 2004 and 2009 to create a super-detailed view known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

    The new Hubble telescope picture -- a composite of exposures taken from 2003 to 2012 -- is called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and contains about 10,000 galaxies, with the ultraviolet (UV) images rendered in blue. The image also extends very far back in time, capturing a snapshot of galaxies just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. [The Universe: Big Bang to Now in 10 Easy Steps]

    "The reason we want to do this is to study galaxies in what you might call their 'teenage years,' while they're still growing up," Harry Teplitz, the project's principal investigator and a researcher at the California Institute of Technology, told reporters here today at the 224th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

    "What we did that's new is that we took ultraviolet images, and the reason we want to study things in the ultraviolet is that it tells us about the youngest, most massive, hottest stars that are forming within galaxies," Teplitz added.

    The new ultraviolet images could also help fill in a gap in scientists' knowledge about galaxies. In the past, Hubble has imaged distant, primitive galaxies that came into existence not long after the Big Bang using near-infrared capabilities, and scientists have been able to study nearby galaxies that have already "grown up."

    But the period of galactic evolution between those two phases has remained mysterious. The new ultraviolet data could help clear up some of the mystery, Teplitz said.

    "In between 5 [billion] and 10 billion years ago, when UV light was emitted, we've not had the facility to explore that range in the ultraviolet -- so that's why we wanted to fill in the gap," he said. "To understand why that's important, it's sort of like having studied people or families by first studying infants, and then studying grown-ups after they've gone to college, but completely missing everything in between and not knowing about school."

    By adding ultraviolet observations to the original Hubble image, scientists can now see star formation in galaxies as they are growing during their most productive years. Therefore, astronomers can potentially learn more about how galaxies grow and turn into what is seen today.

    Once Hubble goes offline sometime within the next decade, astronomers will not have a way to obtain ultraviolet data that can be used to probe the universe in this way, Hubble representatives said.

    Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, will get great looks at the universe in infrared light; however, it will not be able to obtain the ultraviolet data that Hubble collects. Scientists are therefore using Hubble to get more ultraviolet data in preparation for its successor.

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

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Mind-Blowing New Photos from Space

     

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    Friday, June 6, 2014


    An area of disturbed weather over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is being monitored closely for tropical development over the next few days.

    According to AccuWeather meteorologist Rob Miller, "While conditions are somewhat favorable for development in the low levels of the atmosphere, conditions are hostile for development aloft."

    Miller is referring to disruptive winds at middle and upper levels of the atmosphere known as wind shear. These westerly winds often cause a developing or established tropical system to lean to the right and can cause dry air to invade the storm's circulation.

    "Because of the wind shear, we may see a low-level circulation move westward toward the coast of Mexico and the upper part of the system driven off to the east over time," Miller said.

    It is possible that some of that moisture in the form of drenching showers and thunderstorms could be steered over part of Florida and the Bahamas next week.

    RELATED:
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    "Should the system develop a low-level circulation we will be likely be only dealing with a minimal tropical system, such as tropical depression or tropical storm," Miller said.

    Even a very weak tropical system can bring torrential rainfall, gusty thunderstorms and rough seas with little notice. As a result, interests around the shoreline of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico should continue to monitor the situation.

    Regardless as to whether or not a system develops, unsettled conditions will continue over southern Mexico and part of Central America into next week.

    A plume of tropical moisture will continue to hover over southern Mexico and part of Central America for many days.

    Daily rainfall rates of 3 to 5 inches are likely in the area from southeastern Mexico to Guatemala and Belize through the weekend.

    The rainfall will act as a double-edged sword.

    "While the rain can lead to long-term and short-term drought relief, it can also lead to incidents of life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides in the region," Miller said.

    The area from the Pacific side of southern Mexico and Central America to the western Caribbean will be areas to watch this weekend and next week respectively as the broad area of disturbed weather and plume of tropical moisture continues to thrive in the region.

     

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