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    Cold weather will stick around through the weekend from the Upper Midwest to the mid-Atlantic and New England.

    The bitterly cold air will slosh out by the end of the week and will not dip into the Deep South.

    Moderate cold (lower-than-average temperatures) will remain in place into Sunday in most areas farther north.

    According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "The coldest air mass in North America was sitting just north of the Great Lakes over central and northern Ontario and western and central Quebec Tuesday morning."

    Temperatures reached the 40-below-zero mark in these areas and dipped below zero from northern New England to much of Michigan and areas near and north of Chicago.

    AccuWeather.com Staff Writer Grace Muller has some statistics on the cold.

    "The air just north of the Great Lakes is colder than that over the North Pole," Margusity said.

    The arctic outbreak is the end result of the stratospheric warming discussed a couple of weeks ago on AccuWeather.com. The cold pattern delivered by this stratospheric event generally lasts a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

    Temperatures have already or will approach levels not reached in the past two to four years in a number of locations by the middle of the week from the Upper Midwest into the Northeast. In some cases, these levels are represented by daytime highs, and in others they are represented by overnight lows.

    It's Not Storm-Free Cold

    The pattern is bringing snow to more places than just downwind of the Great Lakes.

    The southward plunge in steering-level winds high in the atmosphere, known as the jet stream, is guiding a series of storms from western Canada and across the northeastern third of the nation. These storms, known as Alberta Clippers, can bring anything from spotty flurries to a heavy snowfall.

    A weak Alberta Clipper may bring spotty flurries to perhaps a coating of snow across part of southern Ohio to northern Virginia, Maryland, part of the Delmarva Peninsula, southern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey late Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

    A stronger clipper that may merge with a more southern storm has the potential to bring a swath of moderate to heavy snow from portions of the Ohio Valley to part of the mid-Atlantic coast Friday and possibly part of New England Friday night into Saturday. This storm is trending colder and farther south with its all-snow area.

    Next Week and Beyond

    The cold is forecast to relax next week. However, the extent of this relaxation is questionable.
    The latest indications are that a storm riding the crest of the warmth during the middle of the week may track farther east, rather than north. If this happens, lingering cold air near the surface could set up a large zone of a wintry mix or ice in the Midwest and Northeast.

    Regardless of that major storm track next week, AccuWeather.com's Long Range Team of meteorologists expect arctic air to return in the wake of the storm during early February.

    According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "Additional waves of cold air are likely to yield below-average temperatures for the end result of February from the Upper Midwest to the Carolinas on north."

    Pastelok added that the temperature departures during the first part of February will outweigh moderating temperatures later during the same month.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos

     

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    Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

    By: Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer

    What would you do if an animal the size of a submarine wanted to give you the once-over?

    An inflatable boat full of tourists found out recently in Hawaii, when two humpback whales circled their boat for at least 10 minutes, according to a report by Hawaii News Now. The female humpback whale bumped up against the boat as if she were scratching her back, a crew member for the tour company, Captain Zodiac Rafting Expeditions, told the site.

    As the whales approached the boat, shouts of excitement ring out in a video posted online.

    Humpback whales seem the most curious of all the large whale species, said Jooke Robbins, a senior scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and director of the center's Humpback Whale Studies Program.

    "It's not just boat-related. A colleague of mine saw this curious approach at an iceberg," Robbins told OurAmazingPlanet.

    The way humpback whales approach boats, icebergs, clumps of seaweed or other large objects in the water is almost a stereotypical behavior, Robbins explained.

    "They will circle around it, sometimes they will go belly up underneath it, and they are very careful in the approach," she said. "Often, their eyes are closed while they are doing it."

    Sperm whale seeks robot

    Humpbacks are the not the only curious whales, though. Deep-diving sperm whales, notorious for nipping fish off longline fishing lines in Alaska, are also starting to pop up on YouTube videos. In the underwater video seen here, a massive sperm whale checks out a remotely operated robot.

    Because sperm whales aren't at the surface as much as humpback whales, scientists know less about their behavior, Robbins said. She added, "There is certainly a type of apparent curiosity, such as approaching boats and other things, that has been seen in different forms in many of the large whales." [Images: Sharks & Whales from Above]

    Scientists still don't understand what the inquisitive behavior represents to whales, Robbins said. For example, she is not convinced the humpback whale seen in the tourist video was scratching its back on the boat. "It takes them a while to go over and touch a novel thing," she said. "They are very, very careful about touching."

    Keep your distance

    Robbins did praise the tour company for their interaction with the whales. A "code of conduct" published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asks people to avoid approaching whales too closely. The guides let the whales come to them, which is permitted, and turned off their engines.

    "It's important to remember that something like this is a precious thing," Robbins said. "It's important to keep a respectful distance. Many of these species are still considered endangered, and where we like to look at them is in critical breeding habitat."

    Whale watching seasons started Aug. 30, 2012, in Hawaii, which may have been the earliest the mammals have ever been seen in the area, according to a statement from NOAA. About 10,000-12,000 humpback whales visit Hawaiian waters every year to mate, give birth and nurse their calves in the warm waters, where they are protected.

    Reach Becky Oskin at boskin@techmedianetwork.com. Follow her on Twitter @beckyoskin. Follow OurAmazingPlanet on Twitter @OAPlanet. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

    In Photos: Tracking Humpback Whales

    Marine Marvels: Spectacular Photos of Sea Creatures
    Video: Humpback Whales Sing Their Tunes

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

     

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    Jan. 23, 2013
    Beyonce, Inauguration, National Anthem
    Beyonce sings the National Anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington on Monday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    Beyonce Knowles has been under the spotlight after her lip-synced performance on Inauguration Day. But there's a reason she might have lip-synced the national anthem. Cold weather does affect a singer's voice.

    Chris Beatty, one of the founders of vocal.com, says that cold weather is a major issue for singers and musicians.

    "The main problem with colder weather for singers is dryness. Dryness in the vocal track is danger," he said.

    Related at AccuWeather: More Cold Air Coming

    If the vocal track is not well lubricated, your voice can crack. Some tips that Beatty gave for singers preparing to sing in colder weather are, "breathe in through your nose instead of your mouth in order to give your breath a chance to warm up to your body temperature. Singers should wear a scarf and hat and arrive early to acclimate to their current weather conditions."

    Dave Defilippis, senior videographer for AccuWeather, is also a musician. He says that cold weather and the dryness that comes with the cooler temperatures contribute to how he tunes his guitar.

    "Tuning is a huge problem as temperatures increase and decrease," he said.

    Beyonce Knowles performed around 12:30 p.m. The temperature at that time was a high of 40 degrees with a Real Feel of 35 degrees.

    Stats at AccuWeather: Arctic Air Slams US With Frigid Weather

    AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said the weather conditions for Inauguration Day on Monday had temperatures in the upper 30s into the mid-40s.

    Maria Antonieta, a singer of Yas Cortes Duo along with Oscar Yas, Argentina, said that it is not uncommon for singers to lip synch when they are performing only one song, so that the audience can hear the song as it is intended to be heard.

    Get more weather news at AccuWeather.com

    "The lip synch is actually done out of respect for the audience, so that everything can be perfect," she said.

    Hundreds of thousands of people watched the inaugural address live on Monday. The crowd really lucked out as Monday evening's temperature fell into the lower 20s with a Real Feel near zero degrees, according to Sosnowski.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Awe-Inspiring Photos from 2012
    endeavour, los angeles

     

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    MetLife Stadium, Super Bowl
    Rueben Randle of the New York Giants catches a touchdown pass during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 30, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK (AP) - Amy Freeze can talk football and forecasts.

    So with the Super Bowl coming to New York next year, and with local temperatures stuck in the teens, the WABC-TV meteorologist was all set to look ahead.

    "Football fans like a little winter weather," she offered on a windy Wednesday.

    OK, but exactly how wintry?

    Try this long-range reckoning for the matchup at MetLife Stadium, from the soon-to-be printed Farmers' Almanac: "An intense storm, heavy rain, snow and strong winds. This could seriously impact Super Bowl XLVIII."

    Predicts editor Pete Geiger: "This is going to be one for the ages."

    "Hey, it goes with the territory," he said by phone from Lewiston, Maine.

    Way too early to say for sure what awaits fans and players in the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site. It'll be held Feb. 2, 2014, at the building shared by the Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

    The record low for a Super Bowl kickoff is 39 degrees when Dallas beat Miami in January 1972 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. It will be a lot warmer back in the Big Easy when the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers tangle in less than two weeks. They'll be inside the Superdome.

    The NFL was aware next year's Super Bowl could be a super brrr.

    "Creating a plan for staging a Super Bowl in winter weather is not reinventing the wheel," NFL senior vice president for events Frank Supovitz said two years ago. "Super Bowls have often been played in cities that can experience winter storms, including Detroit, Minneapolis ..."

    "Coordinated snow and ice removal plans for travel routes, major event facilities, the stadium campus, and parking have always been part of our planning protocol," he said then.

    Remember, no city is immune to rugged weather. Even though Green Bay and Pittsburgh played inside Cowboys Stadium two years, snow and ice blanketed the lead-up events.

    Besides, a blizzard isn't likely. The National Weather Service said the average high in nearby Newark, N.J., on Feb. 2 is 39.8 degrees and the low is 24.2. The average precipitation on that date going back to 1931 is about one-eighth of an inch.

    The only significant precipitation during a Super Bowl came in February 2007 at Miami. Playing in a rainstorm, Indianapolis and Chicago committed four turnovers in the first quarter.

    Expect ticket sales to be brisk next year, StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said. Ticket prices are running about $3,100 for the Ravens-49ers game, and Lehrman predicted the 2014 Super Bowl would create the largest demand "we've ever had."

    "I think people want to be part of a first-time experience. Whatever it is," he said.

    Lehrman said because so many people live on the East Coast - within driving distance of the stadium, not needing pricey hotel rooms - cold weather wouldn't have a chilling effect.

    It certainly had an effect in New York on Wednesday. The radio hosts on WFAN began their noontime show talking about the weather; at De Witt Clinton Park in Manhattan, the artificial turf fields often occupied by pickup football games were empty.

    But for a chance to see a Super Bowl, fans might sit for a few hours in a raw setting.

    "You can see in Lambeau Field how they endure the cold there. They sell out there all the time, and in the Giants' and Jets' stadium they do the same," New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said before Wednesday night's NHL game at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins.

    "For an event like that I don't think the cold weather is going to deter anybody," said Callahan, a native of Rochester, N.Y.

    Peggy Beisel-McIlwaine agreed. Her grandfather was the Packers' first president and she recalled being in the stands for the famed Ice Bowl - the 1967 NFL championship between Green Bay and Dallas when the game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was minus-13 degrees.

    "I've got sitting in the cold weather down to a science," she said in an email. "Sitting at Lambeau in subzero weather is all about the clothes: Cashmere, fleece and down and, of course, Ugg boots."

    Come next year, Freeze ("that's my real name," she added) said the wintry conditions might be a factor. She's seen that up close - while working four years in Chicago, she was a team meteorologist for the Bears, consulting with coaches, special teams members and equipment personnel.

    "I'm always for the home-field advantage," she said. "I think the weather will play into it."

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

     

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    Bacteria living in storm clouds could seed the ice crystals that form rain, new research suggests (NCAR)

    The storm clouds in Earth's atmosphere are filled with microbial life, according to a new study.

    The research, published Wednesday in the journal PLoS One, revealed that hailstones drawn from storm clouds harbor several species of bacteria that tend to reside on plants, as well as thousands of organic compounds normally found in soil. Some of the bacterial species can seed the tiny ice crystals that lead to rain, suggesting they play a role in causing rain.

    "Those storm clouds are quite violent phenomena," said study co-author Tina Santl Temkiv, an environmental chemist at Aarhus University in Denmark. "They are sucking huge amounts of air from under the clouds, and that's how the bacteria probably got into the cloud."

    Living on a cloud

    In the past, researchers have found bacterial life in clouds that drift over mountaintops. Bacteria have been found as far up as 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) and may even survive as spores into space, Temkiv said. [Holey Clouds: Gallery of Formations Cut By Airplanes]

    Temkiv and her colleagues wanted to see if bacteria lived in the violent storm clouds that hover above the Earth's surface. To find out, they studied 42 hailstones that had formed in a thunderstorm over Ljubljana, Slovenia, in May 2009.

    After carefully removing the outer layer and sterilizing the hailstone, they analyzed its chemical composition.

    The team found thousands of organic, or carbon-containing, compounds - nearly as many as found in a typical river, Temkiv said. In addition, they found several species of bacteria that normally live on plants. Some of the bacteria make a pinkish pigment that allows them to withstand the punishing ultraviolet rays in the atmosphere.

    Some of bacteria found are ice-nucleators, meaning they can act as seeds for ice crystals to attach to in the clouds above Earth. When these same ice crystals get large enough, they fall as rain or snow, depending on the air temperature.

    The findings suggest that bacteria could influence weather patterns, possibly making rain, Temkiv said.

    "They may be growing in clouds, increasing in number and then modifying the chemistry in the cloud but also in the atmosphere indirectly," she told LiveScience.

    The researchers think the bacteria come from the air hovering just above Earth that gets swept into the storm clouds through updrafts. That would suggest the atmosphere is a thread that can connect distant ecosystems, and that certain bacteria may be better at colonizing faraway environments, Pierre Amato, a researcher at France's Blaise Pascal University who was not involved in the study, wrote in an email.

    "Clouds can be thought of as transient ecosystems selecting for certain [types of bacteria] that are better fitted than others, and that can thus quickly disperse over the globe," Amato said. "Understanding how microbes disperse is relevant, of course, for epidemiology, and also for microbial ecology."

    Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

    The World's Weirdest Weather
    Image Gallery: Curious Clouds
    10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species

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

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

     

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    Eddie Saman shows off his home which he has insulated with blankets donated by the Red Cross, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Staten Island, New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

    NEW YORK (AP) - Polar air settled in earnest over the Northeast after trekking through the Midwest, grinding trains to a halt, bursting pipes and bringing further misery to folks still trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

    In a damaged neighborhood near the beach on New York City's Staten Island, people who haven't had heat since the late October storm took refuge in tents set up by aid workers.

    Propane heaters barely kept up with the cold, and workers provided sleeping bags and blankets for warmth on Tuesday night and early Wednesday. The temperature was expected to dip to around 11 degrees before dawn Thursday.

    Eddie Saman slept in a tent because the gaping hole in the roof of his home has rendered it uninhabitable - and unheatable.

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

    For Anthony Cavallo, the cold was just another in a litany of aggravations that began when 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 bought once it became clear they couldn't afford to rent.

    Wednesday's frigid weather froze the pipes, something 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."

    The polar air mass trekked from the Midwest into the region on Wednesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue wind chill warnings across upstate New York and northern New England.

    The University of South Dakota in Vermillion offered a third consecutive night of free hotel rooms to 500 students who had to leave when a water pipe froze over an electrical room and damaged components. The cold also caused circuit problems on the Metro-North railroad serving areas north of New York City, creating rush-hour delays that were resolved by late Wednesday morning.

    Lows were expected in the double digits, but no higher than the mid-teens overnight in New Jersey and the New York City area. The system reserved the most frigid air and wind chills - a calculation of how cold the wind-whipped air feels to the skin - for New England.

    The coldest weather was 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.

    One ski resort in New Hampshire shut down on Wednesday because of unsafe ski conditions - a predicted wind chill of 48 degrees below zero.

    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 35 overnight into Thursday.

    Keith Pelletier, the owner of Dolly's Restaurant in Frenchville, Maine, 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."

    The cold air has been blamed for multiple deaths.

    In northern New Hampshire, a man died Wednesday after crashing his snowmobile while going over a hill on Tuesday and spending a "bitterly cold night" injured and alone on a trail, the state's Fish and Game Department said.

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

     

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    The Antarctic landscape is seen near the Troll Research Station, Antarctica. (AP Photo/Charles Hanley)

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Bad weather has forced rescuers to wait until Friday to try to reach a small plane believed to have crashed in an Antarctic mountain range while carrying three Canadians between scientific research stations on the continent.

    The plane was flying from a U.S. station near the South Pole to an Italian research base in Terra Nova Bay. Its emergency locator started transmitting about 10 p.m. Wednesday in the Queen Alexandra mountain range about 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of the pole, halfway to its intended destination. Authorities presume it crashed.

    The locator continued to transmit Thursday and rescue crews spent some five hours circling above the site in a DC3 plane. However, heavy cloud and hurricane-force winds prevented rescuers from seeing the plane or attempting a helicopter landing.

    The Calgary Sun newspaper identified the pilot as Bob Heath from the Northwest Territories, an experienced pilot in both the Antarctic and Arctic. The pilot's wife, Lucy Heath, told the newspaper that she'd been called by airline officials and told "Bob's plane was down, and they were trying to reach it." She said she was just waiting for more news: "I'm so worried."

    On the online networking site LinkedIn, Heath writes that he typically spends this time of year coaching and mentoring other pilots to upgrade their skills in polar regions.

    Authorities from New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and Italy will try again Friday to find the propeller-driven de Havilland Twin Otter plane. It was carrying survival equipment including tents and food, according to New Zealand Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator John Ashby.

    "Weather conditions are extremely challenging," Ashby said in a statement Thursday.

    He said winds had reached 90 knots (104 miles per hour) and heavy snow was predicted. Several planes and helicopters were standing by in Antarctica, waiting until conditions improved so they could travel to the site.

    Ashby said similarly bad weather is predicted through Friday morning but that rescue teams will be ready to leave at short notice if there is any break in the conditions. He said the DC3 has returned to base for the night.

    The missing plane is owned and operated by Kenn Borek Air Ltd., a Canadian firm based in Calgary that charters aircraft to the U.S. Antarctic program. In a release, the National Science Foundation said the plane was flying in support of the Italian Antarctic program.

    Antarctica has no permanent residents, but several thousand people live there in the Southern Hemisphere summer as a number of countries send scientists and other staff to research stations. The U.S. runs the largest program, with about 850 staff at its McMurdo Station and another 200 at its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where the Canadians' flight originated.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Breathtaking Photos of Antarctica

     

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    Jan. 24, 2013

    In this Jan. 9, 2013, photo, an inversion cloud covers downtown Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/The Deseret News, Ravell Cal)

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Michelle Francis keeps one eye on Utah's air quality index and the other on her 9-year-old daughter's chronic asthma these days. The air pollution is so awful in her Salt Lake City suburb that Francis keeps her daughter indoors on many days to prevent her cough from being aggravated.

    "When you add all the gunk in the air, it's too much," Francis said.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has singled out the greater Salt Lake region as having the nation's worst air for much of January, when an icy fog smothers mountain valleys for days or weeks at a time and traps lung-busting soot.

    The pollution has turned so bad that more than 100 Utah doctors called Wednesday on authorities to immediately lower highway speed limits, curb industrial activity and make mass transit free for the rest of winter. Doctors say the microscopic soot - a shower of combustion particles from tailpipe and other emissions - can tax the lungs of even healthy people.

    "We're in a public-health emergency for much of the winter," said Brian Moench, a 62-year-old anesthesiologist and president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, which delivered the petition demanding action at the Utah Capitol.

    The greater Salt Lake region had up to 130 micrograms of soot per cubic meter on Wednesday, or more than three times the federal clean-air limit, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    That's equivalent to a bad day in the Los Angeles area.

    For 2 million Utah residents, there is no escape except to the snow-capped mountains that gleam in the sunshine thousands of feet higher, or to resort towns like Park City, where the Sundance Film Festival is under way.

    "I wish there was something we could do about it," Francis, a school teacher 10 miles north of Salt Lake City, said.

    Authorities have prohibited wood burning and urged people to limit driving. Vehicle emissions account for more than half of the trapped pollutants.

    Utah regulators are working on a set of plans to limit everyday emissions, including a measure to ban the sale of aerosol deodorants and hair spray that contain hydrocarbon propellants. Those plans, however, will take years to show results.

    Doctors say people - especially pregnant women and children - should stay indoors, or at least avoid active outdoor exercise under the sickening yellowish haze. Elderly people with heart disease are most at risk, Moench said.

    "If you can see it, you don't want to breathe it. Think about what's going into your body," Salt Lake City pediatrician Ellie Brownstein said. "It's essentially like smoking. Instead of breathing clean air, you're breathing particles that make it harder for your lungs to function and get oxygen."

    Snow cover amplifies the phenomena called a temperature inversion - Salt Lake City was a foggy freezer box Wednesday at 18 degrees, while Park City basked in sunny 43-degree weather. The warmer air aloft acted like a lid on the frigid valley air, leaving it with no place to go.

    For weeks, industrialized cities in northern China have been dealing with bouts of sickening smog several times more toxic than Utah's. But by U.S. standards, Utah's pollution index is off the charts with readings routinely exceeding a scale that tops out at 70 micrograms a cubic meter. The EPA sets a standard for clean air at no more than 35 micrograms.

    "People think the health implications are limited to asthma - that's only a drop in the bucket," Moench said. "For every pregnant woman breathing this stuff, this is a threat to her fetus through chromosome damage. It sets people up for a lifelong propensity for all sorts of diseases."

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Mesmerizing Photos of Fog

     

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    Jan. 24, 2013


    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 part of the South and Atlantic Coast at the end of the week.

    As with many winter storms, it's complicated.

    The storm scenario continues to trend colder and farther south than indications to start 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.

    Midwest

    Part of the Upper Midwest will be solely under the influence of the Alberta Clipper.

    A broad area of snow and flurries will occur from around the Ohio River northward to the Great Lakes with coating to an inch of snow. Chicago, Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit fall within this area.

    Part of this area could find a way into a heavier band of snow that brings a few inches. This is a little more likely farther east in Ohio, West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania, while areas farther west are more likely to have issues with dry air limiting the precipitation. Little or no precipitation is likely around St. Louis, but even a light amount of sleet or freezing rain can cause slippery travel.

    A wintry mix and slippery conditions are likely from southwestern Kentucky to middle Tennessee including the Paducah, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., areas.

    Mid-Atlantic and the South

    Farther east, the area from the northern Shenandoah Valley to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Atlantic City, N.J., and Dover, Del., northward to upstate New York, lie in a swath where it is a snow or no situation like that of the Ohio Valley states.

    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.

    It appears that farther south, a wedge of cold air will lead to snow and a wintry mix into northern and western North Carolina to a large part of southeastern Virginia and the southern Delmarva Peninsula. This includes the cities of Beckley, W.Va., Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., Roanoke and Richmond, Va., and Salisbury, Md. Accumulations in this area would range from a slippery coating due to an icy mix to several inches of snow.

    New York City, New England

    Odds favor, cold dry air winning out around New York City and interior New England. 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 (Cape Cod) is likely to share the same fate as New York City, unless the storms get together quickly and turn northward at the last minute. The more likely scenario being radar snow and a spotty light accumulation. The other outlier being an all-out blizzard.

    Forecast Challenges

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

    The latter would produce a swath of heavy snow over part of the South and farther north over the mid-Atlantic and southern New England.

    Because of the extend of arctic air, it will not take a great deal of moisture to produce several inches of snow. In this case, a tenth of an inch of liquid (rain) could yield 3 inches of snow. A typical liquid to snow equivalent for storms in the East is 10 to 1, where a tenth of an inch of water would yield an inch of snow or an inch of water would yield 10 inches of snow.

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

    The dense arctic air is playing a major role in driving the storms farther south.

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

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

     

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    Breaking Weather: Shiver Me Timbers

    The frigid air that's brought a brutal chill to parts of the country will continue through the weekend from the Upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic and New England. By the end of the week the cold air is expected to move out, and temperatures will return to normal, or just below normal in most areas.

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

     

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    Zimbabwe, Worms, Eating Worms
    Amalinda Ndlovu shows her catch while harvesting mopane worms in Gwanda, Zimbabwe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    GWANDA, Zimbabwe (AP) - In Zimbabwe, as well as most parts of southern Africa, mopane worms are a staple part of the diet in rural areas and are considered a delicacy in the cities. They can be eaten dry, as crunchy as potato chips, or cooked and drenched in sauce. I decided to document the harvesting, preparation, sale and consumption of the worms, and found the preparation somewhat stomach-turning. But the worms can be mighty tasty and they're very nutritious. Here's everything you always wanted to know about mopane worms but were afraid to ask.

    THE MOPANE WORM

    The worm is the large caterpillar of the Gonimbrasia belina species, commonly called the emperor moth. It is known as a mopane worm because it is found chomping the leaves of mopane trees after it hatches in summer. It has also burrowed its way into literature, finding its way, for example, into the pages of Alexander McCall Smith's series about "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," set in neighboring Botswana. At least one of the characters munches on dried mopane worms.

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    THE HARVEST

    After six weeks of rain, the mopane worms can be seen clinging to, and feeding on, the leaves of the mopane trees in rural Gwanda, an arid cattle-ranching area in southern Zimbabwe. Amanda Ncube normally fetches firewood to sell and looks after the family cattle, but when it's worm-harvesting season she joins other women and a few men in collecting the worms, which are as long as the width of two hands and as thick as a cigar. She slowly plucks them from the lower branches before climbing partway up the tree to shake off the higher ones. The more stubborn ones that cling to the leaves and branches are pried loose with a long stick. The worms excrete a brown liquid once they make contact with a human hand, leaving the pickers' hands wet and slippery. As they harvest the worms, the women and men move from one tree to another until their buckets are full. A thick slimy green fluid comes out as Ncube carefully squeezes out the entrails from a mopane worm she has just plucked from a tree. While some worms are prepared on site, other harvesters wait until they are back home where they squeeze out the entrails of the worms before leaving them to dry for a few days in the hot African sun. During harvest season, the porches of mud-walled homes are covered with thousands of worms, laid out to dry.

    THE MARKET

    At the local market, mopane worms are quite popular with residents who buy a cup or two of them and eat them immediately. The market is abuzz with activity, with most stalls strategically displaying the delicacy so people cannot miss them. Vendors offer free samples. The mopane worms are graded according to size and the area where they were harvested. Picky buyers ask about their provenance before buying, favoring worms from one district over another because, to the connoisseurs, worms from one area taste different from those from another.

    HIGH PROTEIN

    The mopane worm is a healthful and cheap source of nutrition.

    A Zimbabwean nutritionist, Marlon Chidemo, says the worms are high in healthy nutrients and contain three times the amount of protein as beef. He says eating worms is less taxing on the environment than consuming beef because it takes far fewer leaves to produce worms than it does feed to produce the same amount of beef.

    WORMY BUSINESS

    Dried mopane worms have become a multimillion-dollar industry, even exported to countries like South Africa and Botswana. They can be found in African restaurants in Paris.

    PREPARATION

    Once they've been dried out, they can be eaten straight away. They can also be cooked in a spicy or peanut butter sauce and served with pap, a maize porridge.

    Having grown up eating the mopane worms, I have never had the opportunity to see how they harvest and prepare them until now. While the process is rather disgusting, the worm can be a pleasure to eat as a starter or a side dish. The taste is reminiscent of salty potato chips. Malawi's first President Hastings Kamuzu Banda preferred his just like that, simply dried and then eaten as a snack like chips. Banda was known for carrying around pocketsful of worms that he would also offer to children.

    A RECIPE

    Here is a Congolese recipe that AP's special Africa correspondent Michelle Faul describes as "one of the tastiest" for mopane worms.

    Mopani Worms for four people.

    Ingredients: 500 grams dried mopane worms; three tomatoes, diced or 1 can of tomatoes; two onions, diced; 1/2 teaspoon turmeric; three fresh green chilies, finely chopped; three cloves of garlic, finely chopped; tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely chopped. Soak dried worms in water for 3-4 hours to reconstitute. Fry onions in groundnut oil on medium heat until translucent. Add turmeric, chilies, garlic and ginger. Fry for about five minutes. Add tomatoes and cook on low for about 20 minutes until spices are well blended. Add drained worms and cook until they have softened a bit but still are a little crunchy. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pap, which is called "sadza" in Zimbabwe. Enjoy.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The Word's Freakiest Bugs
    Freaky Bugs

     

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    Dr. Anne Furey Schultz examines Alice Corcoran, who was experiencing flu-like symptoms, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on January 10, 2013 in Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK (AP) - A new strain of stomach bug sweeping the globe is taking over in the U.S., health officials say.

    Since September, more than 140 outbreaks in the U.S. have been caused by the new Sydney strain of norovirus. It may not be unusually dangerous; some scientists don't think it is. But it is different, and many people might not be able to fight off its gut-wrenching effects.

    Clearly, it's having an impact. The new strain is making people sick in Japan, Western Europe, and other parts of the world. It was first identified last year in Australia and called the Sydney strain.

    In the U.S., it is now accounting for about 60 percent of norovirus outbreaks, according to report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Norovirus - once known as Norwalk virus - is highly contagious and often spreads in places like schools, cruise ships and nursing homes, especially during the winter. Last month, 220 people on the Queen Mary II were stricken during a Caribbean cruise.

    Sometimes mistakenly called stomach flu, the virus causes bouts of vomiting and diarrhea for a few days.

    Every two or three years, a new strain evolves - the last was in 2009. The Sydney strain's appearance has coincided with a spike in influenza, perhaps contributing to the perception that this is a particularly bad flu season in the U.S.

    Ian Goodfellow, a prominent researcher at England's University of Cambridge, calls norovirus 'the Ferrari of viruses' for the speed at which it passes through a large group of people.

    "It can sweep through an environment very, very quickly. You can be feeling quite fine one minute and within several hours suffer continuous vomiting and diarrhea," he said.

    Health officials have grown better at detecting new strains and figuring out which one is the culprit. They now know that norovirus is also the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S.

    It's spread by infected food handlers who don't do a good job washing their hands after using the bathroom. But unlike salmonella and other foodborne illnesses, norovirus can also spread in the air, through droplets that fly when a sick person vomits.

    "It's a headache" to try to control, said Dr. John Crane, a University of Buffalo infectious disease specialist who had to deal with a norovirus outbreak in a hospital ward a couple of years ago.

    Each year, noroviruses cause an estimated 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths, the CDC says.

    For those infected, there's really no medicine. They just have to ride it out for the day or two of severe symptoms, and guard against dehydration, experts said.

    The illness even got the attention of comedian Stephen Colbert, who this week tweeted: "Remember, if you're in public and have the winter vomiting bug, be polite and vomit into your elbow."

     

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    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Andrew Vaughan)

    DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) - Hurricanes, floods, droughts and a newly climate-conscious Barack Obama are helping boost efforts around the world to fight climate change.

    Top political and financial leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos say recent natural disasters, along with Obama's inauguration announcement this week that he's making the battle against rising temperatures a pillar of his second term, could rev up the glacially slow climate pact negotiations and revive fundraising for global action to cool the planet.

    "Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled," International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told participants at Davos.

    The U.N.'s climate chief, Christiana Figueras, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that Obama's emphasis on climate "definitely is a political boost." She said Hurricane Sandy and drought in the Midwest last year helped push climate change back onto the U.S. political debate.

    "We also need to see clearly much more engagement from the United States, we need to a confirmation from the new leadership in China that they remain on course and are willing to engage further. From the Europeans, we need to see that they also remain on course," Figueras said. "And then all of the emerging economies, in addition to China, need to begin to explore the opportunities that they have."

    The U.N. climate talks, now two decades in the making, have so far failed to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists say are warming the Earth.

    Participants at the Davos forum - which identifies extreme weather as one of the top three risks to the global economy - called for global action.

    Until now, rich and poor countries have accused U.S. leaders of hampering the global fight against climate change, which scientists say is causing a rise in temperatures and sea levels, threatening island nations and other low-lying areas, and shifting weather patterns to produce more droughts, floods and devastating storms.

    Figueras, the daughter of a former Costa Rican president, and Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla both said their country could serve as an example.

    "Costa Rica is already producing 90 percent of the energy we are consuming from renewable sources," Chinchilla told AP. "We are encouraging the policies of many different companies - many are already adopting the right policies. For example, in the agricultural sector, we already have coffee which is certified carbon-neutral coffee."

    European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard called the battle against global warming the greatest economic challenge of this century.

    Several CEOs of major banks and businesses said there have been robust discussions at Davos on potential private financing for "green" technologies to produce cleaner sources of energy.

    So far, nations have ponied up about $30 billion toward the $100 billion a year goal by 2020 set at Copenhagen's U.N. climate talks in 2009.

    A U.N. climate conference in Doha, Qatar, agreed in December to extend the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that limits the greenhouse gas output of some rich countries, and agreed to adopt a new global climate pact by 2015. But hopes for stronger U.S. leadership in the ongoing U.N. climate talks were dimmed when legislation to cap emissions stalled in Congress.

    "We're coming out of two years of climate silence," said Fred Krupp, president of the U.S.-based Environmental Defense Fund. "The impacts of extreme weather are now affecting everybody in the wallet."

    Krupp said while no one is going to invest in unprofitable new technologies, a growing number of clean-energy investments are highly profitable.

    Nations also agreed at the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen to set a goal of limiting global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But because of inaction, Figueras said, the world is now on "somewhere between a 4 and 6 degree (Celsius) trajectory."

    "But the door is not closed," she quickly added. "We have the technology, we have the capital. We have the possibility."

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says one of his top hopes for 2013 is to reach a new agreement on climate change.

    "Slowly but steadily, we are coming to realize the risks of a carbon-based economy," he told the forum Thursday. "Those supposedly longer-term issues are actually silent crises with us today: the death of children from preventable diseases; the melting of the polar ice caps because of climate change. ... Let not our inaction today lead to harsh judgment tomorrow."

    Prince Albert II of Monaco, whose foundation focuses on climate change and other environmental issues, said Obama's inauguration speech gave a welcome lift toward collective action.

    "That can only be positive, because we need to have the U.S. on board," he told the AP.

    But Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said despite Obama's speech there would still be resistance.

    "While the president and his colleagues will pursue what we believe is an aggressive climate change policy, they're not going to get it through the Congress," Donahoe predicted. "It's going to be done on a regulatory basis ... and that's going to create a different approach to dealing with this very important but controversial subject."

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    A truck with a plow drives past planes docked at their gates at the Salt Lake City Airport Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A rare freezing rain caused major havoc in Salt Lake City Thursday, creating sheets of ice on roads, sidewalks and airport runways.

    The Salt Lake City International Airport was closed for about three hours, delaying hundreds of passengers. The closure came after a Frontier Airlines plane landing from Denver slid on a patch of ice while on the runway. Nobody was injured.

    Morning commutes were brought to a crawl by the icy conditions, which caused dozens of accidents that closed lanes. Utah Highway Patrol called in off-duty officers to deal with all the accidents.

    In downtown Salt Lake City and at the University of Utah, people walked gingerly to avoid falling on the ice. At the university library, frozen pipe burst led to a temporarily evacuation.

    Freezing rain is uncommon in Salt Lake City. Thursday marked just the 10th time there's been measurable frozen rain at the airport since 1940, said Monica Traphagan, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Salt Lake City.

    The amount of freezing rain at the airport is the most since Dec. 31, 1983, Traphagan said. The effect is caused by precipitation that begins as rain in the warmer upper atmosphere but freezes when it hits the valley floor that is below freezing, she said. The inversion effect - which causes the Salt Lake City metro area to have some of the country's unhealthiest air during the winter - keeps cold air trapped in the valley.

    The forecast doesn't call for any more problematic freezing rain in the coming days, Traphagan said - just regular rain and snow.

    At the Salt Lake City International Airport - a hub for Delta Air Lines - numerous flights were cancelled and many others delayed though exact figures were unavailable.

    The first of three runways was reopened at about 12:45 p.m. and the other two were opened in the mid-afternoon and early evening, airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann said. Delays were still expected through the night.

    The Frontier plane landed safely at about 9:30 a.m. and slid on a patch of ice while turning to the taxiway, Frontier Airlines spokeswoman Kate O'Malley said. None of the 139 passengers on the flight from Denver was injured and the airplane never left the pavement, she said.

    It's unknown how many airlines have been affected. Delta Air Lines and seven other airlines run flights there. The airport is located five miles northwest of downtown Salt Lake City. The airport has two terminals, five concourses and 83 gates.

    There were 188 crashes reported in the Salt Lake City metro area Thursday, said Cpt. Todd Johnson of the Utah Highway Patrol. Nine of those were slide-offs.

    "That's an enormous amount of crashes to be investigating," Johnson said.

    Twenty-seven people were hurt - including three highway troopers - but none suffered major injuries. The freezing rain conditions are very rare in northern Utah, Johnson said.

    "In my 22 years on the road, I can't remember anything like this," he said.

    At the University of Utah, a frozen pipe burst in the library forcing a 45-minute evacuation, university spokesman Keith Sterling said. The pipe burst in an employee staff area, causing carpet damage. No books were damaged, he said.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Icy Photos of the Deep Freeze

     

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    Breaking Weather: Fast Moving Snow Storm

    A rapidly moving Alberta Clipper will bring a broad area of slippery travel from the Midwest to the interior South and much of the mid-Atlantic Friday. The wintry weather will be more of a nuisance for those living across these regions.

    As the storm tracks from the Great Lakes toward the East Coast, it will leave a large swath of light snow accumulations from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic. The storm will also bring areas of sleet and freezing rain to part of the Ohio Valley, part of the Tennessee Valley, the central and southern Appalachians.

    RELATED ON ACCUWEATHER: Travel Delays Friday Due to Snow, Ice

    The wintry weather will make for a slippery and wet morning commute from Minneapolis to Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati and Cleveland in the Midwest.

    The storm system will bear down on the I-95 corridor by the late afternoon, just in time for the evening commute.

    A more detailed description of this quick-hitting storm can be found this news story written by Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski on Thursday. Read below for real-time updates on this storm system.


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    An ice storm will precede warmer weather after a week of bitter cold for the Midwest. The significant storm will hit the region Saturday and Sunday, with eastern Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and southern Michigan impacted. Cities affected include St. Louis, Chicago, Des Moines and Springfield, Ill.

    As the Arctic air begins to retreat north, warm air will forced north over the cold, forming rain. Since the air will still be cold at the surface, rain will freeze on the way down through the atmosphere. It could form sleet as well as rain, which will freeze on cold surfaces, forming a glaze.

    The storm will hit Missouri on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Illinois and Iowa will take a beating on Sunday through Sunday night.

    RELATED ON ACCUWEATHER: Southern Ice Storm Friday

    Ice accumulation from the storm could be from a quarter to half an inch. People can expect treacherous travel on roads, including I-70 and I-80, and airport runways coated in ice. The Chicago airports will have to clean up from the storm on Monday morning, which could cause flight delays.

    Eventually the warm air will get down to the surface. The temperatures will rise into the 40s by Monday afternoon, with the ice storm shifting to Pennsylvania and New York. The weather will be even warmer by Tuesday, with highs in the 60s.

    For more weather news, visit AccuWeather.com.

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    McMurdo Weather Station in Antarctica. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Hurricane-force winds and snow were preventing searchers Friday from reaching a plane believed to have crashed in an Antarctic mountain range while carrying three Canadians.

    Its emergency locator started transmitting late Wednesday about 420 miles north of the South Pole, but the weather has prevented search planes overhead from seeing the presumed crash site itself.

    Rescuers don't know if the men are alive. Their plane has survival gear including tents and food.

    The locator stopped transmitting Thursday night and crews have been unable to establish radio contact. Rescuers say a break in the weather is forecast Saturday.

    One man on the plane has been identified as Bob Heath from the Northwest Territories, an experienced pilot in both the Antarctic and Arctic. Rescuers say the other two men were also part of the flight crew and that no passengers were aboard.

    The propeller-driven de Havilland Twin Otter, was flying from a U.S. station near the pole to an Italian research base in Terra Nova Bay. Rescuers believe it crashed in the Queen Alexandra mountain range at an elevation of about 13,000 feet.

    Winds of up to 104 miles per hour have been blowing Thursday and Friday.

    Steve Rendle, a spokesman for New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre, said rescue planes circled the area on Thursday and Friday but have been unable to spot the downed plane due to poor visibility. He said the battery on the locator beacon may have run out but that rescuers have a good fix on its location.

    He said that when the weather clears, crews hope to establish a forward base at the Beardmore Glacier about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the assumed crash site. He said there's a rudimentary runway and a fuel depot at the glacier.

    For now, two helicopters and a small plane remain at McMurdo Station, the main U.S. base about four hours' flight away. He said the elevation provides extra challenges for helicopter crews.

    Heath's wife, Lucy Heath, told the Calgary Sun newspaper that airline officials had told her her husband's plane was down, and she said she was just waiting for more news: "I'm so worried."

    Bob Heath wrote on networking site LinkedIn that he typically spends this time of year coaching and mentoring other pilots in polar regions.

    The missing plane is owned and operated by Kenn Borek Air Ltd., a Calgary firm that charters aircraft to the U.S. Antarctic program. In a release, the National Science Foundation said the plane was flying in support of the Italian Antarctic program.

    Authorities from New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and Italy are working on the rescue operation.

    Antarctica has no permanent residents, but several thousand people live there in the Southern Hemisphere summer as a number of countries send scientists and other staff to research stations. The U.S. runs the largest program, with about 850 staff at its McMurdo Station and another 200 at its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where the Canadians' flight originated.

     

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