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SKYE on AOL

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    Friday, June 13, 2014
    A thunderstorm fires up near Pickstown, South Dakota, USA, June 3, 2010.
    (Alamy)

    Strong storms will target the northern Plains Friday, kicking off what could be a rather active next couple of days.

    An area of low pressure will emerge from the Rockies into the northern Plains, providing the energy for storms to erupt. Warm and moist air will be in place to provide an unstable atmosphere.

    Storms are expected to initiate across southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming early Friday evening and blast eastward through Friday night.

    Major cities that may be impacted by Friday's storms include Rapid City, South Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Gusty winds and large hail will be the biggest threats with these storms as they rumble through. However, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out in the early evening across southeastern Montana, eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota.

    Torrential downpours can also be expected with these storms. Motorists should anticipate travel delays on major highways, including I-90, I-94, and I-29.

    Those driving high-profile vehicles will want to use extra caution if caught in a gusty thunderstorm.

    RELATED:
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    Late-Week Storms to Drench Atlanta to DC, Philly, NYC and Boston
    Heat, Humidity to Fuel Disruptive Storms at 2014 US Open

    Elsewhere, strong storms are expected to ignite across eastern New Mexico and western Texas Friday evening. Gusty winds and large hail will likely be the biggest concerns across that area.

    The eastern United States will be under the threat for flash flooding Friday as drenching storms slowly move through the region.

    The Southeast will see its share of downpours from storms as well. These storms are not expected to turn severe though.

    The risk for severe weather is expected to increase Saturday with dangerous storms targeting Minnesota to western Texas as the area of low pressure from the Rockies strengthens.

    These storms will have the ability to produce powerful winds and damaging hail.

    Some folks with outdoor Father's Day plans on Sunday will have gorgeous weather for it, while others may have to dodge some storms.

    Thunderstorms will target the Upper Midwest to central Plains as another round of severe weather is possible.

     

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    Friday, June 13, 2014
    Weather Feature
    A group of people cross the street trying to shield themselves from the rain on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    Umbrellas and raincoats will be put to good use across the East Friday as showers and thunderstorms continue to plague the region.

    Outdoor events such as ball games and barbecues from Boston to Baltimore and southward to Atlanta may end up being rained out as rounds of showers and thunderstorms impact the region.

    The morning hours look to be the best opportunity to get outdoor work done before showers and thunderstorms become more numerous as the day progresses.

    Moisture getting drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico will help to fuel heavy downpours with afternoon thunderstorms which can result in localized flash flooding.

    Communities that have already been hit with drenching storms this week are at higher risk for flooding due to the ground already being saturated with water.

    This includes the Philadelphia area after a slow-moving thunderstorm unloaded 2.59 inches of rain on the city Tuesday afternoon.

    Thursday night's rain brought flooding issues to parts of Pennsylvania and New York. Several roads and houses in Warren County, Pennsylvania were flooded and occupants were forced to evacuate.

    Bennington, New York was hit hard with flooding as well. Several residents were evacuated from flooded homes by fire department personnel.

    RELATED:
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    Heat, Humidity to Fuel Disruptive Storms at 2014 US Open
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    A few stronger thunderstorms may also develop during the afternoon hours with wind gusts as strong as 45 mph possible.

    While these storms are not expected to become widespread, they may turn out to be strong enough to blow over lawn furniture and bring down tree limbs.

    Travel delays may mount as the soaking storms move over major travel hubs, such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

    If you plan on traveling around the I-95 corridor through Friday night, you may want to allow for some extra travel time to ensure that you reach your destination on time.

    Those in the Northeast looking to enjoy some time outdoors this weekend can expect much drier weather as a cold front swings through the region, sweeping away the showers and thunderstorms and lowering the humidity.

    The same cannot be said for the Southeast.

    A disturbance moving in from the Plains is expected to shift over the region, extending the trend of unsettled weather through the weekend.

    This will continue the daily rounds of showers and thunderstorms, mainly during the afternoon, across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

     

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    Friday, June 13, 2014
    anemometer
    (Shutterstock)

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Two outpost offices of the National Weather Service in Alaska are finally ending what has been a bygone practice for most of the nation for almost two decades - using real human voices in radio forecast broadcasts.

    The Nome and Kodiak offices are switching to computerized voices that nationally go by the names of Tom, Donna and, in some parts of the country, Spanish-speaking Javier. It's an idea first hatched in the mid-1990s as part of a move to modernize the weather service, an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Local weather forecasts are a big deal to many people in Alaska because, more than in some other parts of the United States, the forecasts can be a matter of life and death. The forecasts are broadcast on NOAA's weather radio network.

    In Nome and Kodiak, weather reports are crucial for many because of the severe weather that can affect fishing vessels in far-flung regions, including the Bering Sea (think of the violent storms on the cable television show "The Deadliest Catch") and the Gulf of Alaska.

    Knowing what the weather will do is also extremely important to pilots and passengers needing to get to larger cities. Kodiak is on an island, and Nome is on the western coast with no roads to link it to another major Alaska hub city.

    The weather forecasts are so important that they are also broadcast over radio stations in Nome, including KNOM, which first reported the changes.

    The Nome office briefly activated the technology this week through the Fairbanks office, one of three forecast offices in Alaska. Other smaller outpost offices scattered throughout the state have already gone the digital voice route.

    A technological kink, however, prompted the Nome office to go back to local weather service employees reading the forecasts until the problem is rectified in the near future, officials said.

    It's a job that meteorological technician Robert Murders dreaded when he first moved to Nome, an old gold rush town about 550 miles northwest of Anchorage. Then he got to enjoy reading the forecasts. He was watching the Discovery Channel reality show "Bering Sea Gold" last season when he heard one of his own broadcasts in the background.

    "That was kind of cool," Murders said.

    But he also recognizes the speed and efficiency of using the automated voices, which are updated immediately, even if no one is in the office.

    There is no target date for making the switch at the service office in Kodiak, located on the island of the same name. Angel Corona, with the weather service's data-acquisition branch in Anchorage, said work is underway to patch that office with the Anchorage forecast office for the broadcasts.

    The Nome and Kodiak offices are being brought into the digital-voice era as part of a national initiative involving improvements to the system, Corona said. Alaska is the only state that still has such smaller outposts, while similar offices were closed long ago in the lower 48.

    Other sites to be converted later to digital voices are in the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa and Northern Mariana islands, officials said.

    Wherever the digital voices are deployed, they can be customized to pronounce locations accurately.

    Tom, Donna and Javier are a huge improvement over the first voice introduced so long ago. There was some dissatisfaction with that voice, dubbed Paul, who sounded like a Scandinavian robot. The voices used today have been better received.

    "It sounds pretty good," Corona said. "It sounds like a computer, but you can understand it."

    That's all that matters to Lucas Stotts, the Nome harbormaster. That and getting weather updates as quickly and accurately as possible, he said.

    Besides, he said, some humans read those reports in monotone voices anyway.

     

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    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    (kyhuskers2/Flickr)

    Severe thunderstorms will ignite from western Texas to Minnesota and Wisconsin on Saturday with elevated violent storm risks centered on Nebraska and portions of Colorado, Iowa and Kansas.

    Cities at risk for dangerous weather conditions Saturday into Saturday night include Omaha, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Wichita, Kansas. Severe storms may reach part of the metro areas of Denver and Minneapolis as well.



    The threat of severe weather on Saturday is higher than what has occurred elsewhere across the nation this week.

    The storms could threaten Saturday afternoon and evening play at the 2014 College World Series in Omaha.

    As with any thunderstorm, lightning will pose the greatest danger to those outdoors.

    During this particular event, winds from the storms may not only bring risks to high profile vehicles but also may down trees and power lines. Hail may be large enough to break windows, destroy crops and damage roofs. Enough rain may fall to cause incidents of flash flooding.

    The first stages of severe thunderstorm development Saturday could also yield isolated tornadoes in parts of Nebraska, northeastern Colorado, southeastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota.



    According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Scott Breit, "We think separate severe thunderstorms on Saturday over Nebraska are likely to grow together quickly, form a large complex of storms and transform into a large hail and damaging wind event."

    Breit is concerned that some of the tornadoes may be concealed by heavy rain.

    This complex of storms will begin to bow eastward and southward Saturday night across Nebraska, Iowa, northern Kansas, southern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin.

    "There will also be isolated tornadoes developing farther south late Saturday afternoon and evening along a boundary of dry air and moist air extending into western and central Kansas," Breit said.



    Isolated strong to severe thunderstorms will extend into the Oklahoma Panhandle and western Texas.

    RELATED:
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    On Father's Day, the risk of severe weather will extend farther east. Thunderstorms on Sunday will extend from eastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Illinois, Missouri, southeastern Kansas and part of Oklahoma.

    Cities that could be impacted by the storms at some point on Sunday include Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Missouri.



    "The storms on Sunday will bring threats from large hail and damaging wind gusts," Breit said.

    People who plan on being outdoors either camping, fishing or at ballgames in areas threatened by storms are encouraged to keep an eye on the weather and be alert for rapidly changing conditions. Seek shelter as storms approach.

    On a positive note, the rainfall over the Plains will continue to chip away at long-term drought. Favorable weather this spring is assisting in the growth of the corn crop.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
    Lightning Hits the Grand Canyon

     

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    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Thunderstorms will re-fire over the Central states, the South and northern Rockies on Father's Day, while the Northeast and much of the Southwest bask in sunshine.

    For those enjoying Father's Day outdoors on Sunday, the weather trouble spots will be focused from Oklahoma to Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as from Florida to South Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana.



    Thunderstorms over the Central states have the potential to bring organized severe weather with threats of damaging winds, hail and heavy rain.

    Cities in the Central states that could be hit by stormy weather on Sunday include Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Storms in the South will be more localized but can bring incidents of torrential downpours and gusty winds. Prior to the arrival of spotty storms in the South, the air will be very warm and humid as it often is in mid-June.

    People in Atlanta, New Orleans and Orlando, Florida, will want to keep an eye on the sky for pop-up storms.

    RELATED:
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    AccuWeather Forecast Maps


    Thunderstorms that fire up over the northern Rockies should hold off until late in the day. Storms should stay away from the southern Rockies.

    In all cases where thunderstorms are in the forecast, be alert for rapidly changing weather conditions. Those out fishing, boating or golfing should pay close attention to the changeable weather, as lightning poses the single greatest threat when outdoors and can strike with little notice. If you hear thunder, then you are at risk for being struck.



    Clouds and spotty showers are in the offing for coastal Washington and Oregon, including Seattle.

    However, on a brighter note in the West, morning low clouds will yield to sunshine along the California coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. People from Denver to Salt Lake City and Boise, Idaho, can expect a sun-filled day with temperate conditions.

    Much of the interior Southwest will have no clouds of concern and temperatures will soar to seasonably hot levels in the 90s to near 100 F. Sunshine will blaze the pavement around Phoenix and Las Vegas. A stray storm could erupt near the Big Bend area of Texas.

    Perhaps the most comfortable conditions across the nation will be in the Northeast this weekend where sunshine, low humidity and not rain are in store.

    Bright sunshine is predicted for New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh.

    The spectacular weather in the Northeast this weekend will follow nearly a week's worth of clouds, showers and thunderstorms.

    Whether you will be active or inactive this Father's Day weekend, be safe.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
    Twin Waterspouts

     

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    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Four matches are set for Saturday during the third day of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    The matches in Fortaleza and Manaus are most likely to be impacted by the weather.

    Numerous showers are expected in Fortaleza with possible downpours during the match between Uruguay and Costa Rica.

    Any heavy downpour can quickly change field conditions, forcing teams to change their style of play. A warm and muggy air mass will also push the athletes to their limits during the match as the combination of warm air and high dewpoints will make it feel like temperatures are in the lower 90s F.

    A brief shower is possible during the night game between Japan and Ivory Coast in Recife; however, any impacts are expected to be minor.

    The heat will be a big issue for England and Italy as they face off in the Amazon city of Manaus.

    According to Accuweather.com Meteorologist Steve Travis, "While the weather in Manaus will be tolerable relative to normal temperatures in the Amazon, the combination of temperatures in the 80s and dew points near 70 degrees will feel quite oppressive for the teams of Italy and England, both of whom reside in more temperate climates."

    The fourth match, taking place in Belo Horizonte, will feature more comfortable temperatures and dry conditions.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Tips for Surviving a Heat Wave

     

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    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    The Zanda Basin in Tibet. (Xiaoming Wang)

    The fossilized jawbone and teeth of a 5-million-year-old fox have been unearthed in Tibet.

    The fox, Vulpes qiuzhudingi, is probably the ancestor of modern Arctic foxes. The discovery, along with several other fossils from cold-loving mammals, buttress the Out of Tibet hypothesis: That iconic ice-age mammals such as woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers and giant sloths first evolved for the cold weather in Tibet before fanning out over the steppes of Central Asia and into North America.

    Out of Tibet

    Several years ago, paleontologists excavating the Zanda Basin in Tibet unearthed a 3.7-million-year-old woolly rhino fossil that not only was older than all other fossils of the species, but also was found much farther south than those prior specimens. At that time, the Arctic was much warmer than it is today, whereas the snowy, high Tibetan plateau was just a touch warmer, said study co-author Zhijie Jack Tseng, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. [High & Dry: Images of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau]

    That led the researchers to propose that the frigid, high-altitude climate of Tibet was a staging ground where many of the shaggy-coated, cold-loving megafauna first adapted to the cold. When Earth's temperatures plunged at the onset of the last ice age about 2.6 million years ago, these cold-loving creatures emerged from the Tibetan plateau to colonize most of the Arctic and colder portions of North America.

    Living relative

    In 2006, the researchers also found a single tooth in the Zanda Basin, but couldn't match it to a specific animal species. Over the next several years, they went on to find two other fossils that revealed the lower jaw and some of the teeth from ancient predatory foxes, allowing them to identify the original tooth as well.


    The jaw and teeth of an ancestor to the Arctic Fox were found in Tibet. (Xiaoming Wang)

    The fox fossils ranged from 3.6 million to 5 million years old, and the teeth looked a lot like those of the modern Arctic fox, which now lives across the Arctic, from Scandinavia and Russia in the west all the way to Greenland and Iceland.

    "The arrangement of the cusps on the tooth are more or less in a straight line and pretty sharp," Tseng told Live Science. "That meant that the fox was using that tooth for cutting and shearing meat," just as the Arctic fox does today.

    The discovery marks the first time that an older predecessor to a modern Arctic creature has been found in Tibet, buttressing the Out of Tibet hypothesis, Tseng said.

    The team has also found other fossils from archaic, cold-adapted mammals throughout Tibet, such as ancient snow leopards, wolf-sized dogs and hyenas. And, just like modern Arctic species that must subsist mainly on meat during the long, frosty winter months when plant-based food is almost nonexistent, these ancient animals were more carnivorous than similar animals that live in more temperate climates, Tseng said.

    The findings were published Tuesday (June 10) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    Follow Tia Ghose on Twitterand Google+. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

    Copyright 2014 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, June 14, 2014

    Brendon Todd reacts to missing his birdie on the 18th hole Friday. After the close of Round 2, Brendon was in second place behind leader Martin Kaymer.

    While it remains hot and humid for Saturday and Sunday's rounds in Pinehurst, North Carolina, much of the wet weather should stay away from the course.

    There will be a mix of clouds and sunshine for the majority of the daytime, but late in the afternoon and for the evening, thunderstorms will be firing across the Southeast, while severe storms erupt in the Plains Saturday.

    As AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde stated earlier this week, "A thunderstorm could pop up nearby during the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, but they will likely stay south and east of Pinehurst."

    Both days, temperatures will be rising near 90 degrees for the afternoon.

    If showers and thunderstorms miss the course like they did during play of the first two rounds, players will be experiencing similar course conditions.

    RELATED:
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    A brief shower moved through Thursday evening but for the most part, greens were dry. As AccuWeather.com Staff Writer Kevin Byrne reported, the course drains very well, keeping the greens firm.

    Many dads will be tuning into coverage of the final round on Father's Day Sunday, but many others could be out and about, playing golf themselves. Check here for the national outdoor forecast this Father's Day.


    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos

     

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    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    The same storm system that brought severe thunderstorms to the central Plains on Saturday and Saturday night will move into the Midwest and southern Plains on Sunday.

    Thunderstorms will impact areas from Minnesota and Wisconsin to western Texas.

    Some storms will contain large hail, damaging winds and heavy rain that can lead to flash flooding. While the risk for tornadoes is low, these storms could spawn an isolated tornado.

    Chicago, St. Louis, Missouri, and Oklahoma City are some of the locations that could be impacted.

    There will likely be disruptions to outdoor activities on this Father's Day because of these storms and folks should be prepared to seek shelter if threatening weather approaches.

    Weather delays are possible during the baseball game between the Royals and White Sox, which will take place on the south side of Chicago on Sunday afternoon. The series finale between the Nationals and Cardinals in St. Louis on Sunday afternoon could be affected as well.

    RELATED:
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    Powerful winds from these intense storms can knock down trees and power lines causing power outages.

    Roads can become flooded due to heavy rainfall and cause travel delays.

    Thunderstorms will tend to weaken later on Sunday night as they move into Michigan, Indiana, southern Illinois and southern Missouri.

    Places like Detroit, Michigan, and Indianapolis, Indiana, can have a thunderstorm late on Sunday night, but are not expected to contain high winds by the time they reach those cities.

    Another round of severe thunderstorms will impact parts of the Plains and Midwest on Monday, including portions of South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. Omaha, Nebraska, could again experience damaging winds and large hail.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2013
    Lightning Hits the Grand Canyon

     

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    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    As in this file photo of a fire in California, the Sierra Nevada Shirley Fire flames are growing (David McNew/Getty Images)

    More than 500 homes were evacuated late Saturday as the result of the Shirley Fire in the Sierra Nevada in California, northeast of Bakersfield.

    The Kern County Sheriff's Office said a shelter for the affected residents from the Kern Valley area was opened in Lake Isabella.

    The wildfire has grown to 810 acres and is 5 percent contained, officials said. It is currently the most active in the Rattlesnake Creek area, about 1 mile southwest of Wofford Heights, California, according to the InciWeb website.

    Humidity is going to stay low in the area on Sunday, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Michael Doll said.

    "During the daytime, the relative humidity is generally going to be 10 to 20 percent," Doll said.

    It will be very warm across the area with highs in the upper 80s with a southwest wind between 7 and 14 mph, Doll said. It will drop into the low 80s on Monday, but a south-southwest wind will prevail between 8 to 16 mph.

    Through Wednesday, winds may gust up to 30 mph, complicating firefighting efforts, Doll said.

    Flames are visible from Wofford Heights and several calls have been received from concerned residents. Smoke will continue to be an issue in the area and residents who may suffer adverse health effects due to smoke were urged to check with their health care provider.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Dramatic Photos Reveal California's Epic Drought

     

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    Sunday, June 15, 1014

    The above image shows a satellite capture for Tropical Storm Hagibis in the South China Sea on Saturday morning, local time. Photo courtesy of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

    Tropical Depression 07W that has been churning in the northern parts of the South China Sea has developed into Tropical Storm Hagibis. Hagibis is located over 200 miles to the east-southeast of Hong Kong and will continue to move very slowly northward over the next day.

    Hagibis is expected to strengthen to a medium tropical storm with sustained winds reaching 55 mph with gusts over 60 mph early on Sunday afternoon, local time, as it continues to move north-northwestward over the warm waters of the northern South China Sea.

    But by early Sunday afternoon, Hagibis will be less than 100 miles from the coastline of the Guangdong province of China. Hagibis is expected to make landfall late on Sunday night or early on Monday morning local time, between Hong Kong and Quanzhou, China.

    As Hagibis makes landfall though, it will be in the process of weakening, nevertheless, it will bring damaging winds near its center, rough seas and light-to-moderate storm surge east of the track.

    Hagibis will also bring heavy rain to Hong Kong and the Guangdong and Fujian provinces where upwards of 3-6 inches of rain is likely with locally higher amounts above 6 inches. This will lead to flash flooding, especially in poor drainage and low lying areas.

    Hagibis will continue to weaken during the day on Monday as it begins to turn to the northeast across the Fujian province.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 10 U.S. Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels

     

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    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    paalia/Flickr

    Sweltering heat and humidity will advance into the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic this week, bringing the hottest weather of the year to date for some.

    In wake of a weekend that brought widespread low humidity and comfortable weather to the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic, heat and humidity will return in a big way.

    "The hottest weather of the year will spread from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic states Tuesday into Wednesday," Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

    Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia will be among a host of other cities that will hit 90 for the first time this year. New York City will make a run for 90, but may fall just shy.

    "The worst of the heat will be concentrated along the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia to the Carolinas," Anderson said.

    RELATED:
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    Thermometers will only show one side of the heat.

    High humidity will pair up with the heat to create dangerously hot conditions.

    "AccuWeather RealFeel(R) temperatures could approach 110 F in the corridor of worst heat on Wednesday," said Anderson.

    In this extreme heat, limit your outdoor activities and seek shade or air conditioning when possible. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

    Relief will also come from some cooling showers and thunderstorms which will be most prevalent during the afternoons and evenings this week.

    A strengthening high pressure system across the Southeast will be responsible for the hot weather. The high will send this heat, that is more typical across the south, into the northern regions.

    The worst of the heat will slowly begin to concentrate toward the Deep South later this week, from Louisiana to Georgia as the high weakens and settles farther south.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Tips for Surviving a Heat Wave

     

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    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    The twin Pléiades satellites of Airbus Defence and Space have captured images of the 12 soccer stadiums in cities across Brazil which will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament. (CNES 2014, Distribution Airbus DS/Spot Image)

    In the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, which kicked off Thursday (June 12), Brazil spent billions to build and spruce up soccer stadiums in 12 cities across the South American country.

    Over the past few years, European spacecraft snapped rare views of this mammoth (and controversial) construction process from space. The French Space Agency (CNES) released images of Brazil's World Cup stadiums from its two high-resolution Pliades satellites, which launched in 2011 and 2012 and are tasked with taking pictures of Earth.

    One image from April 2013 shows the flagship Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo -- where Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 on Thursday -- still in a skeletal state. The metallic beams of its roof are being assembled, the parking area is under construction, and the earth is being prepared for the lawn that would become the brand new arena's field.

    A year later, in April 2014, with the games just weeks away, the satellite images show that there were still construction cranes around the stadium as work on the roof continued. Media reports indicated that the arena wasn't completely ready as of just last week: Though the $450-million stadium was decked out with a massive LCD screen and other high-tech features, the roof wasn't complete and temporary seating areas were unfinished, NPR reported June 5 after a test match.

    Other images from the Pliades satellites show Brazil's vintage stadiums, including the 62,547-seat Mineiro Stadium in Belo Horizonte and the 43,50-seatArena Pantanal in Cuiab, both of which were built in 1965.

    NASA's Earth Observatory also released World Cup-related images in celebration of the month-long soccer tournament, with observations from the Suomi NPP satellite that show the host country lit up at night. And astronauts living on the International Space Station who plan on watching the games made a World Cup tribute video, kicking soccer balls in microgravity.

    Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published 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: 25 Awe-Inspiring Images from 2013
    Nick Wallenda Grand Canyon

     

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

    So far the World Cup has seen its fair share of water. Whether it falls from the sky during intense downpours or rolls off the skin in the often oppressive humidity, players are quickly becoming used to being soaked.

    As much as 3.11 inches (79 mm) of rain fell on Friday at the airport in Natal, Brazil, when Mexico opened against Cameroon. Another 2.95 inches (75 mm) on Saturday. There were even reports of flooding and evacuations before the rain came to a close Saturday night.

    The U.S. opening match in Natal Monday will feature partly cloudy skies, temperatures near 80 F (27 C) and only the slight chance for a shower as they battle Ghana at 6 p.m. More importantly, humidity will be quite high as the city of Natal sits just 6 degrees south of the Equator.

    Ghana definitely has the advantage when it come to this kind of weather, as the climate there is similar to that of Natal. Two other matches will also take place on Monday, along with similar weather.

    The first match will feature Germany at Portugal in Salvador at 12 p.m. The weather should be mostly cloudy and there will be a chance for showers, along with temperatures near 80 F (27 C).

    The second match will be held in Curitiba at 3 p.m., when Iran will face Nigeria. This match will be the hottest of the day as the temperature will be near 87 F (31 C). There will be plenty of bubbling clouds in the sky, and with them will come the risk for more local downpours.

    World weather is discussed in detail in the video above.

     

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    Monday, June 16, 2014
    SEVERE WEATHER
    (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    Two days after severe thunderstorms rocked the Plains and Midwest, another round of severe weather is expected to kick off what looks like a stormy week in the Heartland.

    Lower humidity allowed for comfortable temperatures on Sunday across the region, but moisture will return on Monday and provide fuel for intense thunderstorms from afternoon to nighttime.

    Some storms can contain damaging winds and large hail across the threat area. Isolated tornadoes can occur with the most intense thunderstorms.

    The ground is already saturated in some areas from recent heavy rainfall and additional downpours can cause more flooding.

    Several rivers are already above flood stage and are still rising as a result of 4 to 7 inches of rain that fell since late last week. Any additional rain will only exacerbate the problem.

    The Omaha, Nebraska, area has experienced several rounds of severe thunderstorms this month, most recently this past Saturday night with wind gusts over 50 mph from thunderstorms that rolled through.

    High winds from thunderstorms knocked down trees and caused power outages in the Minneapolis area this past Saturday.

    More damage to trees and power outages can occur as a result of these thunderstorms. Some roads may become impassable as a result of flooding, which will cause travel delays.

    RELATED:
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    REPORTS: Violent Storms Roll Through Nebraska, Kansas

    Des Moines, Iowa, could be impacted later in the day on Monday and thunderstorms could reach Madison, Wisconsin, on Monday night.

    Day three of the College World Series in Omaha will feature a game in the afternoon and evening. Thunderstorms could cause a delay in one or both contests.

    More rough weather is expected into the middle of this week.

    Waves of thunderstorms will traverse areas from the Plains to the Northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday along a frontal boundary.

    Thunderstorms, some strong to severe, are a threat both days. Flooding could become a concern if multiple thunderstorms with heavy rainfall track over the same area.

     

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    Monday, June 16, 2014
    Hot Weather
    (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Sweltering heat and humidity will advance into the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic this week, bringing the hottest weather of the year to date for some.

    In wake of a weekend that brought widespread low humidity and comfortable weather to the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic, heat and humidity will return in a big way.

    "The hottest weather of the year will spread from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic states Tuesday into Wednesday," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

    Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia will be among a host of other cities that will hit 90 for the first time this year. New York City will make a run for 90, but may fall just shy.

    "The worst of the heat will be concentrated along the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia to the Carolinas," Anderson said.

    RELATED:
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    Thermometers will only show one side of the heat.

    High humidity will pair up with the heat to create dangerously hot conditions.

    "AccuWeather RealFeel(R) temperatures could approach 110 F in the corridor of worst heat on Wednesday," said Anderson.

    In this extreme heat, limit your outdoor activities and seek shade or air conditioning when possible. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

    Relief will also come from some cooling showers and thunderstorms which will be most prevalent during the afternoons and evenings this week.

    A strengthening high pressure system across the Southeast will be responsible for the hot weather. The high will send this heat, that is more typical across the south, into the northern regions.

    The worst of the heat will slowly begin to concentrate toward the Deep South later this week, from Louisiana to Georgia as the high weakens and settles farther south.

     

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

    The twin Pléiades satellites of Airbus Defence and Space have captured images of the 12 soccer stadiums in cities across Brazil which will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament. (Credit: CNES 2014, Distribution Airbus DS/Spot Image)

    In the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, which kicked off Thursday (June 12), Brazil spent billions to build and spruce up soccer stadiums in 12 cities across the South American country.

    Over the past few years, European spacecraft snapped rare views of this mammoth (and controversial) construction process from space. The French Space Agency (CNES) released images of Brazil's World Cup stadiums from its two high-resolution Pléiades satellites, which launched in 2011 and 2012 and are tasked with taking pictures of Earth.

    One image from April 2013 shows the flagship Corinthians Arena in São Paulo - where Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 on Thursday - still in a skeletal state. The metallic beams of its roof are being assembled, the parking area is under construction, and the earth is being prepared for the lawn that would become the brand new arena's field.


    The Pléiades image acquired on April 25, 2013, show construction on the Corinthians Arena in São Paulo. (Credit: CNES, Distribution Airbus DS/Spot Image)

    A year later, in April 2014, with the games just weeks away, the satellite images show that there were still construction cranes around the stadium as work on the roof continued. Media reports indicated that the arena wasn't completely ready as of just last week: Though the $450-million stadium was decked out with a massive LCD screen and other high-tech features, the roof wasn't complete and temporary seating areas were unfinished, NPR reported June 5 after a test match.

    Other images from the Pléiades satellites show Brazil's vintage stadiums, including the 62,547-seat Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte and the 43,50-seat Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá, both of which were built in 1965.

    NASA's Earth Observatory also released World Cup-related images in celebration of the month-long soccer tournament, with observations from the Suomi NPP satellite that show the host country lit up at night. And astronauts living on the International Space Station who plan on watching the games made a World Cup tribute video, kicking soccer balls in microgravity.

    Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

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

     

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    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    In this Oct. 29, 2012, file photo, streets in the Brooklyn borough of New York are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge as a surge of seawater is pushed into New York City by Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

    An increased storm tide flowing high enough to exceed Manhattan's seawall defenses is 20 times greater today than it was 150 years ago, according to a new study published in a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

    The increased risk comes in large part to rising sea levels in New York Harbor, bringing with it the risk of extensive flooding on a more frequent basis, co-author Stefan Talke said.

    "The most surprising finding in our research was that we noticed this large increase in storm tides in New York Harbor-nearly 1 foot for the [once in] '10-year storm' over the past 150 years," Talke said.

    "This result was dependent on sea level rise. When local sea level rise is included, the 10-year storm tide has increased by more than 2.2 feet since the 1800s."

    This is a significant long-term shift in risk, he said.

    Storm tide is the combination of increased water levels built by a storm, or storm surge, and the astronomical tide.

    "Our paper shows that storm tide and storm surge risk in Manhattan has been increasing over time, for any given level of storm," Talke said. "Results suggest that storm tides and flooding similar to Hurricane Irene in 2011 have about a 10 percent chance of occurring in any given year, even with no further increase in sea-level."

    However, Talke said it is important not to confuse 'over-topping' a seawall with massive flooding of Manhattan.

    "The area flooded depends on many factors, including the length of time that a storm tide stays over a threshold and whether the land is rising behind the seawall or not," he said. "The seawall height itself is not consistent and varies from place to place."

    Talke said a nominal height of 1.75 meters (5.74 feet) was chosen for the study. The National Weather Service states that a threshold of 1.8 meters produces moderate flooding in New York.

    According to the study, the increased risk of water levels reaching this height and topping the lower seawall is likely to occur once every four to five years. In the 1800s, this risk was substantially lower, as water was only expected to exceed the lower seawall once every 100 to 400 years.

    "Another confusion concerns climate change - we cannot yet attribute our results to climate change," he said.

    Talke said the reason behind the one and a half foot increase in sea level could be due to a variety of factors.

    "The primary factor influencing increased water levels in New York Harbor is a nearly 1.5 foot increase in sea level, which in New York is both due to sinking of the land (subsidence) and global sea level rise. Over the last 150 years, those processes have had an equal effect."

    (Photo/Jesse Ferrell /The WeatherMatrix Blog)

    Talke said the reason for the overall increase in storm tides is being investigated further.

    "The cause of the increased storm tides needs to be found so that we can figure out whether they will increase in the future," Talke said. "We do know, based on the paper results, that storm tides are influenced by large-scale climate patterns in the North Atlantic, such as atmospheric pressure difference between the Azores Islands and Iceland."

    This is known as North Atlantic Oscillation, he said, adding that during decades when the atmospheric pressure difference is smaller than average, there is an observed greater probability of large-scale storm tide events and greater variability overall year to year.

    Above-normal averages are also dependent on onshore flow and the duration of the storm, which allows the storm surge to build, AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Dave Dombek said, adding that the phase of the moon will compound this for even greater water levels.

    "Astronomical high tides are higher than normal and if a particular storm arrives at the time of high tide there will certainly be a higher storm tide," AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

    "The actual track and intensity of a storm is critical. A strengthening storm tracking inland into the New Jersey shore [similar to Sandy] can direct the highest storm surge into New York City."

    Rising sea levels globally are a result of melting glacial ice, warming oceans and the loss of ice on the Greenland and Antarctic ice cap, Anderson said.

    "About half of the past century's rise in sea level is due to warming oceans (thermal expansion)," Anderson said, citing a University of Colorado Sea Level Research Group study, which indicates that global sea level is currently rising at a rate of 3.2 mm (0.13 inches) per year.

    "Not all locations in the world are rising, but when you look at the globe as a whole, there is no doubt that sea levels are rising," Anderson said.

    Talke said in theory, storm-tide averages over time should stay the same if there are no changes to the tides and the statistics of storm magnitudes or tracks.

    Increase in storm tides over time can also be independent of the North Atlantic Oscillation, according to Talke.

    "The reason for this is unknown, but we hypothesize that it is some combination of local changes to the harbor and climate-induced changes to storm tracks or storm magnitudes," he said. "Over the past century, harbors and estuaries the world over have been deepened and streamlined, and wetlands have been drained."

    This has decreased the frictional resistance to both tides and storm surge, he added.

    "Basically, more water can enter and exit a harbor," Talke said. "More subtle effects such as resonance can also change when the geometry of a harbor is altered."

    In New York Harbor, there have been small, but significant changes to the tides over time, indicating that the physics of the system have been changing in response to local processes, according to Talke.

    RELATED:
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    "An effect on storm tides and storm surge is therefore also plausible, but the exact mechanisms remain to be investigated," he said.

    According to the study, Sandy produced the largest storm tide on record since 1821.

    Talke became interested in historical storm tide four years ago during his participation in a project investigating the change in tides along the West Coast. During that time, he found evidence of earlier measurements through Google not recorded in the NOAA database.

    Talke noticed that documents from the 1800s were not always reflected in any modern documents.

    "Even people that I contacted at NOAA did not know anything about the data, and it was presumed lost," he said. "However, with persistence, I found someone at NOAA who knew of an old box in a storage room, and an archivist with the National Archives who knew of additional documents."

    Talke continued to dig for the lost information, which would eventually provide him with some of the data he was looking for.

    "Little by little, through a combination of luck and pluck, I was able to find more and more of the data, including eventually the 'mother lode'-a series of 26 boxes that included tabulations of all the major U.S. tide measurements in the nineteenth century, going back to the 1830s and 1840s," he said, adding he is still sorting through a large portion of the documents.

    His motivation in New York was primarily Hurricane Sandy's impact in October 2012. In 1893 and 1821 hurricanes also struck New York, but their storm tide heights were unknown.

    However, because of an experience he had months earlier, he knew that the 1893 hurricane did not produce the highest storm tide of the year. With his results, he knew data stretching as far back as 1835 was available in the archives.

    "The motivation for the study was to get a better idea of the return period for hurricane Sandy, using more data," he said. "What we found is that one really needs to include the 1821 event to get a decent return period; we currently have a manuscript in preparation on that issue."

    Talke, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Portland State University, said the 'jury is still out' on methods to mitigate and reduce storm tides in the future; however, it would likely be wise to include the possibility of increased storm tides and rising sea levels into regional planning.

    "If there are local causes to increased flooding, there could be local solutions," he said. "However, initial modeling efforts by my co-author, Philip Orton, suggest that restoring wetlands and reducing channel depths in Raritan Bay (a side embayment of New York Harbor) can significantly diminish the storm surge wave."

    Talke added that more work is needed to explore such "green" alternatives to traditional civil engineering structures.

     

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    Tuesday, June 17, 2014
    Severe Weather
    This framegrab taken from video provided by StormChasingVideo.com shows two tornados approaching Pilger, Neb., on Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo/StormChasingVideo.com)

    PILGER, Neb. (AP) - A storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through a tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska, killing a 5-year-old girl, leaving grain bins crumpled like discarded soda cans and flattening dozens of homes.

    All the residents of the town of Pilger - some 350 people - evacuated their homes, many leaving for shelters in nearby towns, after the powerful twisters slammed the area Monday afternoon. Nebraska State Patrol closed all roads into town.

    "More than half of the town is gone - absolutely gone," Stanton County Commissioner Jerry Weatherholt said. "The co-op is gone, the grain bins are gone and it looks like almost every house in town has some damage. It's a complete mess."

    Emergency crews and residents spent the evening sifting through demolished homes and businesses in the town about 80 miles northwest of Omaha.

    Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger estimated that 50 to 75 percent of Pilger was heavily damaged or destroyed in the storm. The local school is likely beyond repair, he said.

    "It's total devastation," Unger said.

    Severe Weather
    A woman walks down Black Hills Trail road in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)

    The storm was part of a larger system that started to track across the nation's midsection Monday afternoon. More stormy weather was forecast Tuesday in an area stretching from eastern Montana to New York. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said powerful winds, large hail and a few tornadoes are possible, particularly in Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

    The Stanton County Sheriff's Office said a 5-year-old child was killed but did not identify the child further or provide details of the circumstances of the death. Stanton County Sheriff's deputy Josh Bennett said the child killed was a girl.

    At least 19 people were taken to hospitals for treatment.

    The National Weather Service said the two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. Crews planned to examine the area Tuesday to determine the intensity of the unusual twin twisters, said Barbara Mayes, a meteorologist with the NationalWeather Service in Valley.

    "It's less common for two tornadoes to track together for so long, especially with that same intensity," she said. "By no means is it unprecedented. But we don't see it often."

    Authorities were expected to allow residents to return Tuesday morning to survey the damage and gather any immediate valuables. The Stanton County Sheriff's Office said law enforcement would escort residents back to their properties.

    Jodi Richey, a spokeswoman for Faith Regional Health Services in nearby Norfolk, said 16 people were treated at that facility. Some were in critical condition but others were released after treatment.

    Providence Medical Center in Wayne treated three tornado victims, including two who had lacerations, said hospital spokeswoman Sandy Bartling. Two were released Monday evening, and the third was in stable condition.

    Authorities said the first tornado touched down around 3:45 p.m. and downed several power lines before it leveled a farmhouse.

    Then a second tornado was spotted southwest of Pilger, according to the Stanton County Sheriff's Office. Shortly afterward, the town suffered a "direct hit" that leveled several buildings, including the Fire Department building.

    Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was preparing to assist local emergency responders and help with the cleanup. Heineman and officials with the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive Tuesday morning.

    A shelter was established at Wisner-Pilger Jr.-Sr. High School in nearby Wisner. About a dozen residents had arrived at the makeshift shelter by 9:30 p.m. and school officials expected more to come later, said Wisner-Pilger Schools Superintendent Chad Boyer.

    "I just have to use one word: devastation," Boyer said by phone from inside the school. "It's a tremendous loss all around the town."

    Tornadoes also caused damage in Cuming and Wayne counties, the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said in a news release. National Weather Service meteorologists also tracked a reported tornado near the town of Burwell, in central Nebraska. Mayes said the service had not received reports of damage.

     

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    June 17, 2014

    Italy's Mount Etna erupted on Sunday, June 15, 2014, in a fiery display. (Credit: Screengrab/AP video)

    Italy's Mount Etna erupted in a spectacular nighttime display Sunday (June 15), captured on video by avid volcano watchers.

    Lava fountained in the air and flowed down Etna's flanks from its New Southeast crater. The lava flowed and spread into the Valle del Bove. Ash from the eruption closed nearby Catania Airport in Sicily, but no injuries or other closures have been reported, according to the BBC.

    Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world's most frequently erupting volcanoes. The stunning eruptions at Etna often come to life in short, violent bursts called paroxysms. Mount's Etna's outbursts produce enough lava each year to fill Chicago's Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower), a 2012 study found.

    Etna's last major eruption was in 1992, but the volcano belches lava every year. Though the first historic Etna eruption dates back to 1500 B.C., the volcano is actually much older, with the first lava flows pouring out 500,000 years ago. Geologists can analyze elements in Etna's rocks to precisely date when they emerged from the volcano.

    Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook and Google+. Original article at Live Science's Our Amazing Planet.

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

     

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