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    Gusty winds and brutal cold will arrive just in time for the NFL AFC Ravens vs. Patriots Conference Championship game on Sunday.
    A cold front will move through Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday afternoon, giving way to strong winds and falling temperatures. The AccuWeather predicted temperature for game day is 35 degrees F, with sustained winds at kick off around 20 mph. According to Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel the AccuWeather RealFeel(R) temperatures for the 6:30 p.m., kick off will be in the mid-teens to lower 20s.

    The average high temperature in Boston during the middle of January is 35 degrees F, and a low of 22 degrees F. Baltimore's average mid-January high temperature is 41 degrees F, and 24 degrees F for the low.

    RELATED ON ACCUWEATHER: Snow, Ice Cause Dangerous Roads

    Although both teams are accustomed to playing in colder weather, Samuhel says, "The strong winds could play a role during the game."

    Members of grounds crew paint an NFL Championship logo on the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., Tuesday. The New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship NFL football game on Sunday. AP Photo

    For more weather news, visit AccuWeather.com.

    RELATED ON SKYE: How to Survive a Winter Storm


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    Breaking Weather: Arctic Chill Arrives

    It's about to get a lot colder. Arctic air is already moving through parts of the Northern Plains, bringing snow as well. Blustery winds of up to 35 mph are predicted in the Northeast.
    RELATED ON SKYE: The 10 Snowiest Places on Earth


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    Thousands Take Part in Snowman Building Competition

    Thousands braved frigid temperatures to take part in a snowman-building competition in Moscow that goes back generations.


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    Updated Monday, Jan. 21 at 8:22 a.m. ET

    The sun rises early in the morning before the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, for the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Scott Andrews, Pool)

    After an unusually mild Sunday with highs in the lower 60s, noticeably colder air will rush back into Washington, D.C., for Monday.

    Temperatures will be held to the middle 40s on Monday, which is fairly typical for this time of year. AccuWeather RealFeel(R) temperatures will be in the middle 30s during the Presidential Inauguration. There will be a slight breeze with gusts to between 8 and 10 mph.

    Arctic air moving in could produce a passing rain or light snow shower at some point during the afternoon.

    Inauguration stats from the National Weather Service Forecast Office for Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C.:

    The normal high temperature for the day is 43°F. The normal low temperature for the day is the upper 28°F. The normal weather for 12 p.m. EST on the Inauguration is a temperature of 37°F, with partly cloudy skies, 10 mph wind and a wind chill of 31°F.

    Climatologically speaking, there is about a 1 in 3 chance of measurable precipitation (i.e., at least 0.01 of an inch) on that day and a 1 in 6 chance of precipitation during the ceremony.

    There is only about a 1 in 10 chance of measurable snow (i.e., at least 0.1 of an inch) on that day and a 1 in 20 chance of snow during the ceremony. There is about a 1 in 6 chance that there will be at least 1 inch of snow already on the ground from a previous snowfall.

    INFOGRAPHIC: From Damp to Bitter: The Gamut of Inauguration Weather

    For more weather news, visit AccuWeather.com.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Breathtaking Images of Earth from Space


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    It is not just bitter cold headed to the Northeast's Interstate 95 corridor this week, but also accumulating and disruptive snowfall.

    Two snow events are in the works for the Northeast's heavily populated I-95 corridor this week with the first on tap for later Monday through Tuesday.

    A second and more potent snowstorm may follow for Thursday night and Friday.

    As heavy lake-effect snow persists downwind of the Great Lakes on Monday, a bit of snow will spread east to I-95 in the afternoon from Boston to New York City to Philadelphia.

    For Inauguration Day, a rain or snow shower will even reach Washington, D.C., Monday afternoon.

    As AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski first alluded to late last week, the snow will intensify across Long Island and southern New England and spread to the Maine coast Monday night.

    The brunt of the snowstorm will shift to Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, but more snow is expected to persist across eastern New England this day.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists are expecting a total of 3 to 6 inches of snow across far southeastern Massachusetts, leading to disruptions to travel and daily routines.

    Between 1 and 3 inches will whiten places from the Maine coast to Long Island, a corridor that is home to Portland, Boston, Providence and Hartford.

    The remainder of the I-95 corridor, from New York City down to Wilmington, Del., will see a coating to an inch of snow Monday afternoon and evening. While not enough to bring communities to a standstill, that amount of snow is still capable of causing slick spots on roadways and hazards for motorists.

    In the wake of this snow event, bitterly cold air will take hold of the entire Northeast for Tuesday and Wednesday. No community--even those down to northern Virginia and most of the Delmarva--will record a high above freezing either of these days.

    Highs in the single digits, on either side of zero, will be common throughout far northern New England.

    The brutal cold at midweek will set the stage for the workweek to end with a snowstorm, one that could bring substantial snow to a larger corridor of the Northeast than the late Monday-Tuesday event.

    More details on this second snowstorm will follow on AccuWeather.com in the upcoming days.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The 10 Snowiest Places on Earth


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    The initial Arctic blast has arrived, but the Great Lakes are looking at even colder lake-effect snow much of the week.

    Cold air moved in this weekend, with a few waves of precipitation across the Great Lakes and New England.

    But now, gusty westerly winds will be bringing the frigid air over the northern Plains across the Great Lakes, creating lake-effect snow that will be sticking around for a while.

    RELATED: Lake-Effect Snow Machine: Feet of Snow This Week

    As of late Sunday, snow has already started to accumulate with 2.5 inches in Erie, Pa., and as much as 7.5 inches in Deerfield, N.Y., due to lake-effect snow.

    Snow on Monday will set up downwind of the lakes, bringing as much as 6 more inches in the typical snowbelt areas.

    In combination with the anticipated winds, gusts over 30 mph have the potential to bring down visibilities with near white-out conditions in the snow bands.

    More snow will follow overnight and on Tuesday. By midweek, these areas could be buried in feet of new snow.

    WATCH: More Snow and Cold for Great Lakes

    In addition, even colder temperatures are on the way for the Great Lakes and Northeast.

    While the coldest temperatures are expected to remain in the northern Plains, areas in western Michigan and Indiana will be bitterly cold.

    Monday's highs are expected to be at least 10 degrees below normal.

    Daily highs will make it to double digits most days, but lows for the beginning of the week will drop below 10, and will approach the 0-degree mark.

    Highs in western New York and northern Pennsylvania are expected to drop into the teens by the middle of the week. Overnight lows again will be in the single digits.

    On Sunday, a cold front moved through the eastern Great Lakes and through the Northeast by day's end.

    Temperatures dropped off quickly on Sunday afternoon, allowing for 20-degree temperature changes in Boston, Philadelphia and Nashville in about seven hours.

    For more weather news, visit AccuWeather.com.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The 10 Snowiest Places on Earth


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    People walk along a snow covered embankment at Putney Bridge, in London, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

    LONDON (AP) - Hundreds of fights were canceled in Britain, France and Germany Monday as snow and ice blanketed Western Europe.

    London's Heathrow airport canceled about 130 flights, 10 percent of the daily total, compared to 20 percent on Sunday.

    Flights have been disrupted since Friday at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, which has seen long lines and stranded passengers camping out on its terminal floors.

    Heathrow says it has spent millions improving its winter resilience since the airport was virtually shut down by snow for several days in December 2010. But it says low visibility means it must leave bigger gaps between planes, triggering delays and cancelations.

    Forty percent of flights were canceled at Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris.

    Frankfurt airport, Germany's largest, told the dpa news agency Monday that 180 flights had been cancelled because of icy conditions caused by freezing rain overnight.

    In Munich, which saw more than 5 inches of snow overnight, another 200 flights were cancelled, and long delays were expected at both airports.

    In northern Germany, slick roads outside Berlin caused a stretch of a major highway to be closed down for the Monday morning commute, and the high-speed train that runs through Brussels from Paris to Germany was experiencing long delays.

    British domestic trains and Eurostar services from France and Belgium to London also were disrupted, and hundreds of schools across Britain were closed.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Photos: Paris and London in the Snow


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    Crowds arrive on the National Mall to witness US President Barack Obama taking the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremonial swearing-in January 21, 2013. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Asserting "America's possibilities are limitless," President Barack Obama declared on Monday that a decade of war is ending and the nation's economy is recovering as he launched into a second term before a flag-waving crowd of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall.

    "My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together," Obama said, moments after taking the oath of office on a crisp day in the nation's capital.

    The president didn't dwell on any first-term accomplishments but looked to hard work ahead in a country still grappling with a sluggish economy.

    "We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit," he said. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future."

    Hundreds of thousands of people fanned out across the Mall, and millions more watched on television, as Obama took the oath of office to begin his second term.

    Sandwiched between the bruising presidential campaign and looming fiscal fights, Monday's inaugural celebrations marked a brief respite from the partisan gridlock that has consumed the past two years.

    Standing in front of the flag-bedecked Capitol, he implored Washington to find common ground over his next four years. And seeking to build on the public support that catapulted him to the White House twice, the president said the public has "the obligation to shape the debates of our time."

    "Not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals," Obama said.

    Looking ahead to his second-term agenda, the president said the nation must "respond to the threat of climate change" and tackle the comprehensive immigration reform that has eluded Washington for years.

    "Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity," he said.

    Moments earlier, Obama placed his hand on two Bibles - one used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the other used by Abraham Lincoln - and recited the brief oath of office. Michelle Obama held the Bibles, one on top of the other, as daughters Malia and Sasha looked on.

    Vice President Joe Biden was also sworn in for his second term as the nation's second in command.

    Monday's oaths were purely ceremonial. The Constitution stipulates that presidents begin their new term at noon on Jan. 20, and in keeping with that requirement, Obama was sworn in Sunday in a small ceremony at the White House.


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    President Barack Obama delivers his Inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Environmental groups hailed President Barack Obama's warning about climate change, but said the president's words will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

    Obama pledged in his inaugural speech Monday to respond to what he called the threat of climate change, saying that "failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

    By singling out climate change, Obama indicated a willingness to take on an issue that he acknowledges was often overlooked during his first term. He also was setting up a likely confrontation with congressional Republicans who have opposed legislative efforts to curb global warming.

    Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called Obama's comments on climate change "exactly right."

    Andrew Hoffman, director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, said Obama's focus on climate showed political backbone.

    "He finally had the courage to acknowledge the words 'climate change,'" Hoffman said, adding that Obama and other administration officials have frequently used words such as green jobs or clean energy to describe energy policy, instead of the more politically charged term climate change.

    "So I find it very interesting that in this second term he's just coming right out and saying that climate change is exactly what we're dealing with," Hoffman said.

    Obama, in his address, said some people "may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science" that global warming exists and has human causes, "but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."

    The president has pledged to boost renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, along with more traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.

    "The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition. We must lead it," Obama said.

    He said developing new energy technologies will lead to jobs and new industries. "That is how we will preserve our planet," he said.

    Environmental groups said the president's first test on climate change could come early this year as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline that will carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.

    Obama blocked the pipeline last year, citing uncertainty over the project's route through environmentally sensitive land in Nebraska. The State Department has federal jurisdiction because the $7 billion pipeline begins in Canada.

    Republicans and many business groups say the project would help achieve energy independence for North America and create thousands of jobs.

    But environmental groups say the pipeline would transport "dirty oil" and produce heat-trapping gases that contribute to global warming. They also worry about a possible spill.

    "Starting with rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, the president must make fighting global warming a central priority," said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America.

    Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said Obama's "clarion call to action" on climate change "leaves no doubt this will be a priority in his second term."

    After Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events, there has been more political momentum than ever to address climate change, Meyer said.

    "With presidential leadership, that shift will continue and deepen over the next four years, and meaningful progress on climate change will become an important part of Barack Obama's legacy as president," he said.

    Alt and other environmental leaders said they are counting on Obama to set tough limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and to continue federal investments in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

    Obama tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress. Some Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists have pushed for a tax on carbon pollution, but White House officials say they have no plan to propose one.

    Scott Segal, an energy lobbyist who represents utilities and natural gas drillers, said Obama "missed the opportunity to remind listeners that climate change is an international phenomenon" that will require international solutions.

    By imposing "inflexible" national policies to curb climate change, Obama could restrain the U.S. economy without delivering promised solutions, Segal said.

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


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    Semi-trucks and other vehicles involved in a mulit-car crash are strewn across westbound Interstate 275 between Colerain Avenue and Hamilton Avenue on Monday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Cincinatti Enquirer, Cara Owsley)

    MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) - Blowing snow and slick roadways in various parts of the state on Monday set off multiple highway pileups, including one outside Cincinnati involving at least 86 vehicles that left a 12-year-old girl dead.

    The crash on Interstate 275 near the Cincinnati suburb of Colerain Township was one of at least four pileups that snared dozens of vehicles. Officers were called to the scene shortly after 11:30 a.m. and discovered multiple chain-reaction collisions.

    The 12-year-old girl had gotten out of a damaged vehicle and was standing in the median near a cable barrier, a type of fencing made of rope-like steel wire cables, the Hamilton County sheriff's office said. Another vehicle hit the barrier, snapping a cable, which then struck the girl and killed her, office spokesman Jim Knapp said.

    At least 20 people were taken to hospitals, though their injuries were not expected to be life-threatening, the office said.

    The interstate was shut down for hours with wreckage strewn across it, authorities said.

    "It was just chaos, absolute chaos," Hamilton County sheriff's office Lt. Tory Smith told The Cincinnati Enquirer.

    The sheriff's office said the crash remained under investigation, but it noted that inclement weather was a factor. Snow had been accumulating on the roadway, and there were reports of ice. Visibility was poor.

    Parts of the state saw scattered snow showers on Monday, with isolated pockets of heavier snowfall.

    As many as 50 vehicles were in a pileup on I-75, between Middletown and Monroe, in southwest Ohio. A dispatcher with the State Highway Patrol said minor injuries were reported in the accident, which occurred just before noon.

    State Highway Patrol Sgt. James Russell told The Middleton Journal that snow falling at the time of the pileup caused "white-out conditions" and possibly triggered the first drivers to lose control and start the crash.

    Witness Luke Stevens, of Van Wert, told the newspaper he was in a vehicle at the front of the pileup.

    "It was complete ice all over the highway," he said.

    Four semitrailers and about 20 cars were involved in an afternoon pileup on I-71 near Mansfield, the state patrol said. And lanes of I-270 were closed temporarily following a multi-vehicle crash near Columbus.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Epic Storm Photos from the Twittersphere


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    Work crews scoop sand from a beachfront swimming pool in Sea Bright, N.J., on Jan. 15, 2013, as the town's cleanup from Superstorm Sandy continued. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

    SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (AP) - Superstorm Sandy, one of the nation's costliest natural disasters, is giving new urgency to an age-old debate about whether areas repeatedly damaged by storms should be rebuilt, or whether it might be cheaper in the long run to buy out vulnerable properties and let nature reclaim them.

    The difficulty in getting aid for storm victims through Congress - most of a $60 billion package could get final approval next week - highlights the hard choices that may have to be made soon across the country, where the federal, state and local governments all say they don't have unlimited resources to keep writing checks when storms strike.

    But the idea of abandoning a place that has been home for years is unthinkable for many.

    "We're not retreating," said Dina Long, the mayor of Sea Bright, N.J., a chronically flooded spit of sand between the Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury River only slightly wider than the length of a football field in some spots. Three-quarters of its 1,400 residents are still homeless and the entire business district was wiped out; only four shops have managed to reopen.

    Despite a rock and concrete sea wall and pumping equipment in the center of town, Sea Bright floods repeatedly. It is the go-to spot for TV news trucks every time a storm roars up the coast. But as in many other storm-damaged communities, there is a fierce will to survive, to rebuild and to restore.

    "Nobody has come to us and said we shouldn't exist," she said. "It is antithetical to the Jersey mindset, and particularly to the Sea Bright mindset. We're known for being strong, for being resilient, for not backing down."

    The story is different in the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island, N.Y., where despite 20 years of flood protection measures, Sandy's 12- to 14-foot-storm surge inundated the community, forcing some residents to their attics or roofs to survive. Three people died.

    "Building again and again in this very sensitive flood plain will only achieve the same results - flooding, and possibly untimely death," homeowner Tina Downer told about 200 of her neighbors who gathered to discuss a potential buyout program last week. "It is not safe for anyone to live there."

    The problem has worsened in recent decades with an explosion of development near the nation's shorelines. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that in 2003, approximately 153 million people - 53 percent of the nation's population - lived in coastal counties, an increase of 33 million people since 1980. The agency forecasts 12 million more to join them by 2015.

    Scientists say that putting so many people in the most vulnerable areas is a recipe for disaster.

    Jon Miller, a professor of coastal engineering at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of technology, said retreating from the most vulnerable areas makes scientific sense. But he adds that the things that were built there - beach clubs, boardwalks and amusement piers - give communities their character, and fuel tourism and business.

    If buyouts did occur, he predicted they would happen in areas with lower property values because of the high cost of buying up prime coastal real estate. That could have the unintended consequence of placing the shore off-limits to all but the wealthy, he said.

    "I grew up in Rahway and I remember the controversy when several properties along the Rahway River were bought out due to repetitive flood losses," Miller said. "It was painful and caused dissension in the community."

    Residents feared not only being forced from their homes but also not getting enough money to purchase a suitable home in the same community, Miller said.

    A 1988 Duke University shore protection study cited a nor'easter that occurred in Sea Bright four years earlier, causing $82 million in damages - about equal to the value of all the town's buildings at the time.

    "Clearly the economics of this situation dictate that Sea Bright is not worthy of salvation, although politics and other considerations may decide otherwise," the study asserted. "The prudent management alternative in this community would be the gradual removal or relocation of the buildings."

    Talking about post-storm retreat is one thing; actually doing it has proven much harder.

    After Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans in 2005, there was talk of abandoning some of the most flood-prone areas. But a proposal from a storm panel excluded the hard-hit Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans East, a neighborhood long home to affluent and upper-middle-class black families, touching off an uproar that scuttled the plan.

    More than seven years later, much of New Orleans is thriving: unemployment is relatively low, the tourism industry is healthy, the city is preparing to host a Super Bowl, and no neighborhood has been abandoned.

    But not everyone has come back. As of July 2011, the Census Bureau estimated New Orleans' population at 360,740, less than three-quarters its population in 2000. In the Lower 9th Ward, vacant lots and abandoned homes dominate the landscape, and four out of five residents who lived there before the storm have left.

    The question of whether to rebuild or retreat touches many East Coast communities.

    Westerly, R.I. recently got $1.1 million in federal money to buy eight low-lying properties near the Pawcatuck River that are frequently flooded. In North Carolina, some have called for deserting Highway 12 - the only land link between Hatteras Island and the mainland - in favor of a ferry system after Hurricane Irene and Sandy caused $14 million in damages. A state panel in Delaware found few affordable options as it considered what to do about seven Delaware Bay communities threatened by storms and rising sea levels.

    Sea Bright is requiring homeowners to raise their rebuilt properties higher - as much as 17 feet above sea level in some cases - if they want to qualify for federal flood insurance.

    Frank and Dee Kurzawa, whose home near the river took on 4 feet of water, could have to spend $30,000 to raise it. Yet they're staying put, even if it's a little higher than before.

    "Even with the possibility of this happening again, we're coming back," Dee Kurzawa said. "We plan to pass this house on to our grandchildren."

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie considers strategic retreat from some storm-damaged areas on the table "in a broad way," but said he wants to leave the ultimate decisions to individual towns after giving them advice later this week on how to rebuild.

    Part of a neighbor's home broke loose and smashed through the wall of Karen Finkelstein's Sea Bright home. She's still "shell-shocked" in Sandy's aftermath, but can't see herself leaving.

    "I want to see us come back, but with precautions in place," she said. "You're taking a risk by choosing to live in this area. But when it's home to you, it's really hard to leave the familiar place where your roots are."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Indelible Images from Superstorm Sandy
    Superstorm Sandy


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    Jan. 22, 2013
    The combination of lingering arctic air and two merging storms has the potential to spread a swath of snow, wintry mix and slippery travel from the Midwest to the East Thursday into Friday.

    Essentially the area spanning I-70 to I-80 in the Midwest to the central Appalachians has the potential for a light to moderate snowfall and the associated travel delays.

    Cities that may be in the path of the snowfall include St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, Pittsburgh and Morgantown, W.Va.

    Along the I-64 corridor in the Midwest, a wintry mix could bring locally slippery conditions in Louisville, Ky., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Charleston, W.Va.

    Along the East Coast, the area from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and central New Jersey could be in for anything from a period of snow to a wintry mix Thursday night into Friday.

    The area from New York City to Boston has a chance at several hours of steady snow or just flurries. How much snow and wintry mix falls will depend on how quickly the storm strengthens upon nearing the coast.

    A storm system moving offshore will bring locally heavy snow to part of eastern New England Monday night into Tuesday.

    Colder air will have been around for a few days ahead of the late-week storm. As a result the snow and wintry mix has a greater potential to adhere to paved and concrete surfaces, raising the risk of slippery conditions and travel delays.

    The arctic air is already unleashing locally heavy lake-effect snow even in areas missed by the path of the general storms this week.

    Senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski has more on the snowy and colder week for much of the region.

    A weaker storm could bring snow showers, even a coating of snow from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

    AccuWeather.com will have further updates on the potential for snow with the Thursday/Friday storm as the week progresses.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos from 2012


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    Spectators cheer on Nathan Fletcher, left, and Rusty Long as they compete during a semifinal heat at the Mavericks Invitational big wave surf contest in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 20. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

    HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) - Mother Nature saved the best for last, with some of the largest swells of the day arriving during the final heat of Sunday's Mavericks Invitational big wave surfing contest as thousands of spectators invaded a quaint coastal town known more for its annual pumpkin festival than for surf.

    The waves weren't the largest ever seen at the famed Northern California Mavericks surf break a half-mile offshore of Half Moon Bay - the biggest faces reached 25 to 30 feet - but surfing fans still got their fill of steep drops, wipeouts and powerful, booming surf.

    In the end, Peter Mel of Santa Cruz took home the crown. He decided to split the $50,000 pot with his six competitors, a symbol of good faith that has become a Mavericks Invitational tradition.

    "We as a brotherhood decided to split the money," Mel said, saying the group agreed to the split upon paddling out for the last heat.

    "When you start a final like that, it takes the pressure off ... and that's when the waves started to come too," he said.

    Surfers are judged on a number of factors, but those who make the largest drop down the steepest wave usually end up on the winner's podium.

    Mel, 42, had a number of hair-raising drops and long rides. But it was a spectacular wipeout that was most memorable. On one giant wave, he stood up as the crest pitched over him, completely engulfing him in the "tube." He never made it out, getting slammed by a two- to three-story wall of whitewater.

    Sunday's contest was the first since 2010 at the bone-crushing break that has claimed the lives of two expert big wave surfers.

    Wave forecasters this week saw an excellent mixture of swell, wind, tide and sunny skies, though the waves Sunday morning were not quite as big as expected.

    Because there were long intervals between the swells, there were a lot of 20- to 30-minute lulls between waves.

    "But when the waves came they were pretty exciting," said Jeff Clark, who is credited with being the first to surf Mavericks and is a key part of the event's organization.

    Surfing the wave at Mavericks is a feat that takes athletic skill, experience and nerve.

    The swells travel through deep water for five days before hitting a small, finger-like section of shallow reef that juts out into the sea.

    When the swell meets the reef, the wave jumps upward and crashes back down with a fury, eventually washing through a section of craggy rocks.

    The takeoff is often so steep that the surfers' big-wave "gun" surfboards leave the wave face, forcing the surfers to land near the bottom and make a quick turn before being pummeled by the wave's lip.

    The spot - named after Clark's dog - has earned a nasty reputation. Mark Foo, a legendary big-wave surfer from Hawaii, died while surfing Mavericks in 1994. In 2011, another seasoned waterman, Sion Milosky, died there just weeks after another surfer nearly drowned.

    Eleven-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater was scheduled to surf Sunday but pulled out at the last minute after a reported conflict with another pro tour association. Shane Dorian, who is considered the world's best big wave surfer, pulled out at the last minute due to a shoulder injury.

    This year's contest was different than previous years: Spectators are forbidden access to the beach or bluffs. After a large set of waves crashed into the crowd in 2010, injuring dozens, local officials barred crowds from congregating there.

    Also, people congregating on the bluffs and along tide pools during previous contests caused environmental damage.

    A festival was set up in the parking lot of a hotel near the beach, where spectators could watch a live broadcast. If there was disappointment, there was no evidence of it in the large crowd that gathered to watch, oohing with each great ride.


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    Andes, Tropical Glaciers
    Moreno Glacier, Lake Argentino, Glacier National Park, Argentina (James P. Blair/National Geographic/Getty Images)

    The glaciers of the Andes Mountains have retreated at an unprecedented rate in the past three decades, with more ice lost than at any other time in the last 400 years.

    That's according to a new review of research that combines on-the-ground observations with aerial and satellite photos, historical records and dates from cores of ice extracted from the glaciers. The retreat is worse in the Andes than the average glacier loss around the world, the researchers report today (Jan. 22) in the journal "The Cryosphere."

    "Tropical Andes glaciers have lost on average between 30 to 50 percent (depending on the mountain ranges) of their surface since the late '70s," study researcher Antoine Rabatel, a scientist at the Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics in Grenoble, France, wrote in an email to LiveScience.

    Sensitive glaciers

    The Andes Mountains of South America are home to 99 percent of tropical glaciers ­- permanent rivers of ice at high enough elevations not to be affected by the types of balmy temperatures usually associated with the tropics. But these glaciers are particularly sensitive to climate change, because there is little seasonality in temperatures in the tropics, Rabatel said.

    "Glaciers of the tropical Andes react strongly and more rapidly than other glaciers on Earth to any changes in climate conditions," he said. [Ice World: Gallery of Awe-Inspiring Glaciers]

    To piece together the story of the glaciers over the past centuries, Rabatel and his colleagues drew on disparate strands of data. Historical records from early settlements reveal glacier boundaries, as does ice core data taken by drilling down into the annual layers of ice that make up glaciers. Even the lichens (symbiotic organsism made of fungus and an algae or bacteria) that survive on the rocky debris, or moraine, that forms around a glacier have a story to tell. Researchers can date these lichens to determine how long ago the rocks were exposed and free of ice.

    Aerial photographs dating back to the 1950s and satellite imagery from as far back as the 1970s also tracks the glaciers' movements. Finally, direct, ground-based observations have been in place at many glaciers since the 1990s.

    Retreat of the glaciers

    All together, the data tell a story of ice loss. The Andean glaciers reached their maximum extents in the Little Ice Age, a cool period that lasted from about the 16th to 19th centuries. In the outer tropics of Peru and Bolivia, the glaciers hit their maximums in the 1600s, the researchers found. The highest Andean glaciers maxed out in the 1730s or so, while lower-elevation glaciers reached their peaks around the 1830s.

    Since then, the glaciers have gradually withdrawn, with one period of accelerated melt in the late 1800s and a second, much larger, accelerated melt period in the past three decades. Since the 1970s, the glaciers have followed a pattern of periods of accelerated melt with two to three years in between of slower retreat and occasional advance (or growth). But while there have been scattered good years for the glaciers in which more new ice formed than was lost, the overall average has been permanently negative over the past 50 years, the researchers wrote.

    The average loss of 30 percent to 50 percent varies widely from glacier to glacier, Rabatel said. Some small glaciers have completely disappeared, such as the Chacaltaya glacier of Bolivia, which was once the world's highest ski resort, but which vanished in 2009.

    Lower-altitude glaciers below about 17,700 feet (5400 meters) above sea level are melting twice as fast as those at higher elevations. These low glaciers, which make up the majority of Andes glaciers, are expected to vanish within years or decades, Rabatel said.

    Precipitation in the region has not changed, the researchers found, but temperatures have risen nearly 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.1 degrees Celsius) per decade over the last 70 years. That means it's likely atmospheric heat rather than lack of snow is driving the glacier retreat.

    The looming loss of the glaciers is a major problem for the people living in arid regions west of the Andes, Rabatel said.

    "The supply of water from high-altitude glacierized mountain chains is important for agricultural and domestic consumption, as well as for hydropower," he wrote.

    Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas or LiveScience @livescience. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

    Photos of Melt: Glaciers Before and After
    Image Gallery: Journey Into the Tropical Andes
    8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World

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

    RELATED ON SKYE: Breathtaking Images of Earth from Space


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    Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

    Andrew Ashton is covered in ice following his outdoor run near Como Zoo, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores)

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Homeless people scrambled to find shelter, schools closed down and plumbers wrestled with frozen pipes Tuesday as the Upper Midwest endured a third straight day of bitter cold temperatures.

    Waves of frigid Arctic air began sweeping south from Canada on Saturday night, locking the Midwest in a deep freeze that has left a section of the country well-acquainted with winter's pains reeling. Authorities suspect exposure has played a role in at least four deaths so far.

    "I am wearing a Snuggie under a top and another jacket over that," said Faye Whitbeck, president of the chamber of commerce in International Falls, Minn., a town near the Canadian border where the temperature was minus 30 on Tuesday morning. The anticipated high was a balmy 8 below. "I pulled out a coat that went right to my ankles this morning and I wore two scarves."

    The coldest location in the lower 48 states Monday was Embarrass, Minn., at 36 below. On Sunday it was Babbitt, Minn., at 29 below, according to the National Weather Service. The bitter conditions were expected to persist into the weekend in the Midwest through the eastern half of the U.S., said Shawn DeVinny, a National Weather Service meteorologist in suburban Minneapolis.

    Ariana Laffey, a 30-year-old homeless woman, kept warm with a blanket, three pairs of pants and six shirts as she sat on a milk crate begging near Chicago's Willis Tower Tuesday morning. She said she and her husband spent the night under a bridge, bundled up under a half-dozen blankets.

    "We're just trying to make enough to get a warm room to sleep in tonight," Laffey said.

    But in Sioux Falls, S.D., where winter temperatures are normally well below freezing, some homeless shelters had open beds. Shelter managers suspect people who needed a place to stay were already using the services before the temperatures reached more extreme lows. The first cold snap of the season was in early December. Overnight temperatures dropped to 9 below with the wind chill. In Vermillion, S.D., a water pipe break forced the evacuation of a dormitory at the University of South Dakota, with nearly 500 students offered hotel rooms.

    In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, residents woke to a wind chill that made it feel like 35 below. The temperature in Madison, Wis., was a whopping 1 degree above just before midday Tuesday. For northern Illinois, it was the first time in almost two years that temperatures had dipped below zero.

    The temperature in Detroit was a toasty 7 degrees with a 10 below wind chill around midday. City officials said they planned to extend hours at its two warming centers. A warming center run by St. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church downtown that usually sees 50 to 60 people on a typical winter day had taken in about 90 people Tuesday morning.

    Police in Milwaukee, where the temperature was just 2 degrees at noon, checked under freeway overpasses to find the homeless and urge them to find a shelter. The United Way of Greater Milwaukee has donated $50,000 to two homeless shelters so they can open overflow centers.

    "We're incredibly relieved," said Donna Rongholt-Migan, executive director of the Cathedral Center, a Milwaukee shelter that received $25,000. "I was walking my dog last night and I couldn't feel my legs just after walking around the block."

    Schools across the region either started late or didn't open at all. Districts in Duluth, Minn., and Ashland, Bayfield, Hurley, Washburn and Superior in far northern Wisconsin closed amid warnings that the wicked wind chills could freeze exposed flesh within a minute.

    "It's brutal," Courtney Thrall, a 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student, said as she waited for her bus, her fur-trimmed parka hood pulled over her head.

    On Sunday, a 70-year-old man was found frozen in his unheated home in Des Plaines, Ill. And in Green Bay, Wis., a 38-year-old man was found dead outside his home Monday morning. Authorities in both cases said the victims died of hypothermia and cold exposure, with alcohol a possible contributing factor.

    A 77-year-old Illinois woman also was found dead near her car in southwestern Wisconsin on Saturday night, and a 61-year-old Minnesota man was pronounced dead at a hospital after he was found in a storage building Saturday morning.

    The plunging temperatures made life plenty miserable for plumbers.

    Workers in Madison had to repair at least four water main breaks since Sunday afternoon. Jim Gilchrist, a third-generation plumber in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, said he received about five or six calls Tuesday from people with frozen water pipes in their homes. Few pipes had actually burst - yet.

    "We'll probably get those calls later, as pipes begin thawing" and develop a split, Gilchrist said. "Today they just know they don't have water; tomorrow they will have water spraying."

    At least two fires in southern Wisconsin were blamed on property owners using heaters or other means to thaw frozen pipes. In one case, a dairy barn was destroyed, and in the other, a mobile home was lost. No one was hurt.


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    This time-lapse gets off to a bit of a slow start, but it really picks up steam at about 1:30, when glowing star trails streak across the sky. A crew from Sunchaser Pictures shot the images in December 2012, braving sub-freezing temperatures around Death Valley's Eureka Dunes. Music was by Moby.


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    Jan. 23, 2013

    A woman bundles against the cold as she walks through steam from the street in New York. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A teeth-chattering cold wave with subzero temperatures is expected to keep its icy grip on much of the eastern U.S. into the weekend before seasonable temperatures bring relief.

    A polar air mass blamed for multiple deaths in the Midwest moved into the Northeast on Wednesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue wind chill warnings across upstate New York and northern New England and creating problems for people still trying to rebound from Superstorm Sandy.

    In a storm-damaged neighborhood near the beach on New York City's Staten Island, people who haven't had heat in their homes since the late October storm took refuge in tents set up by aid workers. The tents were equipped with propane heaters, which were barely keeping up with the cold, and workers were providing sleeping bags and blankets for warmth.

    Eddie Saman is sleeping in one of the tents because the gaping hole in the roof of his home has rendered it uninhabitable. Heat has been restored to the house, but much of it escapes through the hole.

    "It's very cold," Saman said, "and mainly I sleep here next to the heater here."

    In northern New Hampshire, a man who crashed his snowmobile while going over a hill on Tuesday and spent a "bitterly cold night" injured and alone on a trail died on Wednesday, the state's Fish and Game Department said. Friends who went looking for John Arsenault, of Shelburne, when he didn't show up for work found him unconscious Wednesday morning, and he died later at a hospital, authorities said.

    The Canadian air mass that arrived in the Upper Midwest over the weekend forced schools to close, delayed commuter trains and subways and kept plumbers busy with frozen pipes. In Pennsylvania, officials at a park on Lake Erie warned visitors to stay off hollow "ice dunes" forming along the shore because of the danger of frigid water underneath. A ski resort in New Hampshire shut down Wednesday because of unsafe ski conditions: a predicted wind chill of 48 degrees below zero.

    The coldest temperatures were expected Wednesday and Thursday, after which conditions should slowly moderate before returning to normal, said John Koch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service regional headquarters in Bohemia, N.Y. For the most part, temperatures have been around 10 to 15 degrees below normal, with windy conditions making it feel colder, he said.

    In northern Maine, the temperature dipped to as low as 36 below zero Wednesday morning. The weather service was calling for wind chills as low as minus 45.

    Keith Pelletier, the owner of Dolly's Restaurant in Frenchville, said his customers were dressed in multiple layers of clothing and keeping their cars running in the parking lot while eating lunch. It was so cold that even the snowmobilers were staying home, he said.

    "You take the wind chill at 39 below and take a snowmobile going 50 mph, and you're about double that," he said. "That's pretty cold."

    For Anthony Cavallo, the cold was just another in a litany of big and small aggravations that began when Superstorm Sandy swept through his Union Beach, N.J., neighborhood and flooded his one-story house with 4 1/2 feet of water.

    Still waiting for the go-ahead to rebuild, Cavallo and his family have been living in a trailer they purchased once it became clear they couldn't afford to rent.

    Wednesday's frigid temperatures temporarily froze the trailer's pipes, which Cavallo's 14-year-old daughter discovered when she tried to take a shower at 4:30 a.m. Cavallo spent the morning thawing out the pipes and stuffing hay under the trailer to help insulate them.

    "Every day it's something, whether it's frozen pipes or getting jerked around for two months by insurance companies," the 48-year-old security system installer said. "I just kind of want to wake up one day and have no surprises."

    In New York City, food vendor Bashir Babury contended with bone-numbing cold when he set up his cart selling coffee, bagels and pastries at 3 a.m. Wednesday. On the coldest of days, he wears layers of clothing and cranks up a small propane heater inside his cart.

    "I put on two, three socks, I have good boots and two, three jackets," he said. "A hat, gloves, but when I'm working I can't wear gloves."

    A little cold air couldn't keep Jo Goodwin, of Bridgewater, N.H., off the slopes at Sugarloaf ski resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, where she was skiing Wednesday with her husband and her sister. The snow conditions were great, and there were no lift lines.

    To keep warm, she uses a toe warmer, a hand warmer, a face mask, extra underwear and an extra wool sweater. She was told the wind chill was minus 30 midway up the mountain and 50 below zero near the top.

    "Sometimes," she said, "it's better not to know."

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Temps Plunge as Arctic Blast Hits Eastern U.S.


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    Pages in the 2013 edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac in Boston.(AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

    LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - The Farmers' Almanac predicts it will no longer be printed in Lewiston, Maine.

    The family-owned Geiger Bros. publishing company says it plans to sell its manufacturing operations in the city.

    Geiger Bros. says it will keep producing annual editions of the nearly 200-year-old almanac, which contains long-term weather forecasts. But it says "someone else will do the manufacturing."

    Executive vice president Peter Geiger tells WMTW-TV his company has about 400 employees and the end of its printing and binding operations could cost 75 jobs. He says workers were notified Tuesday.

    Geiger's main business is promotional items such as those with logos on them. It has the manufacturing done elsewhere.

    It says by spring it also will stop printing calendars, pocket diaries and planners because demand has dropped as consumers have turned to computers and handheld devices.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Surprising Ways to Predict the Weather


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    The combination of lingering arctic air and two merging storms has the potential to spread a large swath of snow, wintry mix and slippery travel from the Midwest to the East at the end of the week.

    As with many winter storms, it's complicated.

    Essentially the area between I-64 to I-80 in the Midwest to the central Appalachians has the potential for a snowfall and the associated travel delays.

    The storm scenario is looking colder and slightly farther south than indications earlier this week. How much snow falls depends on how quickly two storms come together. One storm is coming from western Canada (an Alberta Clipper) and the other is a storm from the southern United States.


    A bit of snow and spotty flurries are likely in the swath from Chicago to Detroit or essentially near and north of I-80. A few places in this swath could get into a band of snow that brings a coating to an inch.

    Along the I-64 and I-70 corridors in the Midwest, the storm could bring a couple of inches of snow in Louisville and Lexington, Ky., Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, and Charleston and Morgantown, W.Va.

    A wintry mix is likely in southern Kentucky to the mountains of northeastern Tennessee. The wintry mix could dip as far south as Nashville in middle Tennessee.


    Farther east, the area from the northern Shenandoah Valley and Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlantic City, N.J., and Dover, Del., lie in a swath where a few inches of snow could fall. In other words, perhaps enough to shovel and plow.

    Colder air will have been around for a few days ahead of the late-week storm. As a result, the snow and wintry mix has a greater potential to adhere to paved and concrete surfaces, raising the risk of slippery conditions and travel delays.

    Once again, like that of the Midwest, near and north of I-80 in Pennsylvania to the southern tier of New York, odd favor spotty flurries to perhaps a couple of inches of dry, powdery snow.

    Farther south, a wedge of cold air could lead to a wintry mix into northwestern North Carolina to a large part of southeastern Virginia and the southern Delmarva Peninsula. This includes the cities of Beckley, W.Va., Charlotte, N.C., Roanoke and Richmond, Va., and Salisbury, Md.

    The arctic air has already unleashed locally heavy lake-effect snow even in areas missed by the path of the general storms this week.

    Just as the chance that the western Canada and southern U.S. storms may fail to merge, leaving spotty light snow from the Ohio Valley to the East, there is the potential the two late-week storms fully merge.

    While the first idea would bring another non-event to the major cities in the form of radar snow and little reaching the ground, the latter would produce a swath of 6- to 12-inch snow over part of the same area.

    However, unfortunately for heavy snow lovers in most areas, the complete merge is not likely until the storms are off the Atlantic Coast.

    New York City, New England

    Odds favor cold dry air winning out around New York City. It is possible that enough moisture from one or the other of the two storms produces a band of light snow in the area.

    Southeastern New England is a tough call at this point. This again depends on how quickly the two storms merge and whether or not cold air shoves the storm too far south. One scenario being radar snow and a spotty light accumulation. The other being an all-out blizzard.

    AccuWeather.com will have further updates on the potential for snow as the week progresses.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The 10 Snowiest Places on Earth


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