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SKYE on AOL

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    Feb. 11, 2013

    Early Monday morning sunlight shows the destruction Sunday's tornado caused in Hattiesburg, Miss., adjacent to the University of Southern Mississippi, including the severe damage to Westminster Presbyterian Church, on Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (AP) - Residents shaken by a tornado that mangled homes in Mississippi woke up Monday to a day of removing trees, patching roofs and giving thanks for their survival. More than 60 in the southern state were injured.

    Daylight also offered emergency management officials the chance to get a better handle on the damage that stretched across several counties. Gov. Phil Bryant planned to visit Hattiesburg, where a twister moved along one of the city's main streets and damaged buildings at the governor's alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi.

    More than 60 people were treated for injuries, and 200 homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed, Bryant said at a news conference Monday. However, no lives were lost and no one was unaccounted for. Bryant and other officials said that was in part because tornado sirens gave people as much as 30 minutes of warning that a tornado was approaching.

    VIDEO ON SKYE: Stormchaser Tracks Massive Mississippi Tornado

    Also, the University of Southern Mississippi was on Mardi Gras holiday, so there were fewer students on campus. Businesses were either closed or not very crowded because it was Sunday.

    It was raining Monday, and people began trying to salvage what they could in one damaged neighborhood. Some people walked around fallen trees, power lines, smashed cars and other debris to carry belongings away.

    The rain was supposed to continue through the day, and more severe weather was expected Tuesday. National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Bryant in Jackson, Mississippi, said tornadoes aren't expected, but heavy rain is likely to continue.

    Charlotte Walters, 61, and her daughter were moving buckets and bowls around inside their house trying to catch water pouring through holes in the roof. The women were at home when a relative called and said a tornado was headed their way.

    "It sounded like Katrina," said Walters, who lives in a neighborhood also hit by the 2005 hurricane that devastated the Gulf Coast.

    Besides holes in the roof of her one-story wood frame house, a falling tree had damaged the side and another one collapsed on her carport, denting and breaking windows in three cars there.

    "I'm blessed. At least I don't have one of those in my house," Charlotte said, pointing to a tree that had fallen onto a neighbor's house next door.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Tornado Rips Through Hattiesburg, Miss.

     

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    A Southwestern, Connecticut neighborhood is blanketed in snow, on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    BOSTON (AP) - Nearly 150,000 homes and businesses remain without electricity following the massive snowstorm that swept across the Northeast, with most outages in hard-hit Massachusetts.

    Utilities in Massachusetts are reporting more than 126,000 of their power customers still in the dark early Monday, down from more than 400,000.

    The storm started Friday night and dumped up to 3 feet of snow and knocked out power to more than 650,000 homes and businesses in eight states, from Maine to Pennsylvania.

    Nearly 21,000 customers in Rhode Island and 1,225 in Connecticut still were without power early Monday.

    Most power has been restored in New York, down from nearly 12,000 outages. On snow-blanketed Long Island, 193 customers are still in the dark.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 20 Epic Photos From the Big Blizzard

     

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    Stormchasers tore after a monster tornado that raced across Mississippi on Sunday night, destroying hundreds of homes and leaving at least 12 people injured. As the tornado ripped across counties, it left a path of destruction: debris, downed power lines and fallen trees.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Tornado Rips Through Hattiesburg, Miss.

     

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    A gradual shift in steering winds will translate toward big storms with more moisture in the coming weeks over the eastern half of the nation.

    The recent New England Blizzard of 2013 and a Plains blizzard may be just the start of a more stormy weather pattern.

    Storms tend to move along a river of air high in the atmosphere, known as the jet stream.
    According to Paul Pastelok, head of AccuWeather.com's long-range forecasting department, "A westward trend in the overall northward bulges and southward dips in the jet stream are likely to send storms into the eastern states through the end of February."

    Rather than most storms swinging northward off the East coast, some may track northward right along the coast or just inland of the coast.

    The pattern will promote a southwesterly flow aloft in the East. At first glance, this suggests a warm flow. However, such a flow will allow storms to grab more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

    "The atmosphere appears to be building a pipeline of storms with Gulf of Mexico moisture available," Pastelok said.

    A large southward dip in the jet stream will favor a large pool of cold air over the Southwest, Plains and Midwest.

    "At the same time, near the surface, cold high pressure areas can slip into the Northeast from north of the Great Lakes, beneath the flow aloft, setting the stage for more wintry precipitation when some of the storms are passing through," Pastelok added.

    The cold high pressure areas offer the necessary resistance to the warm air brought northward by the jet stream and the individual storms. Such a pattern can bring multiple big storms, with a sizable amount of freezing or frozen precipitation this time of the year.

    The pattern will not mean that every storm will bring snow, ice or a wintry mix to all areas, but it will open the door for more opportunities for heavy wintry precipitation farther south, including portions of the southern Plains, Midwest, mid-Atlantic and New England.

    Much of New England and Long Island were buried with a general one to three feet of snow from the recent blizzard. However, many areas in the coastal mid-Atlantic have received well less than half of their average snowfall for the season, while surpassing the half-way mark of the winter.

    "We are seeing a westward shift in a ridge of high pressure over Pacific Ocean, which translates to a trough over the central states and a southwesterly flow aloft in the East," Pastelok said, "We anticipated this would happen, just that is is occurring a few weeks later than we originally thought when making the seasonal winter forecast back in the fall of 2012."

    More information on each of these storms will be made available as soon as possible on AccuWeather.com.

    Early indications are one such wintry storm will track from the southern Plains Tuesday to the Ohio Valley Wednesday and part of the East on Wednesday night.

    A storm bringing blizzard conditions to part of the Plains this past weekend, turned eastward with an icy mix in some northern areas Monday.

    The pattern Pastelok suggested would begin to evolve after the Monday storm moves by.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be monitoring the developments of a potential major storm. There are some early indications that a storm loaded with moisture and great potential for heavy precipitation may track eastward from the southern Plains and the Ohio Valley early this weekend, then up the East Coast later in the weekend.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Photos: 20 Epic Photos From the Big Blizzard

     

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    This July 27, 1999, handout file photo provided by Carnival Cruise Lines shows the MS Carnival Triumph departing New York harbor on her inaugural voyage. (AP)

    HOUSTON (AP) - Passengers aboard a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico had limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee on Monday as they waited for two tugboats to arrive to tow them to Mexico, Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement.

    The Carnival Triumph has been floating aimlessly about 150 miles (240 kilometers) off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early Sunday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the statement said.

    The ship, which left Galveston, Texas, on Thursday and was scheduled to return there Monday, will instead be towed to Progreso, Mexico, and the 3,143 passengers on board will fly back to the United States. There are also 1,086 crew members aboard the ship. They are to arrive in Mexico on Wednesday.

    One of the tugboats arrived Monday afternoon, and the other is expected this evening, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said in an email. One is coming from Mobile, Alabana, and a second is from Mexico, he said. The Coast Guard has informed Mexican authorities of the situation in their waters, a spokesman said.

    When another Carnival cruise ship, the Legend, rendezvoused with the stranded vessel Monday, supplying Triumph passengers with food and supplies, Texas resident Brent Nutt was able to briefly chat with his wife, Bethany, who could draw a cellphone signal from the visiting cruise line.

    Without power, the ship's stabilizers are apparently not working, Nutt told The Associated Press, and the massive liner had been leaning to one side Sunday. By Monday afternoon, the ship seemed more upright, he said.

    "She sounded a whole lot better today than she did yesterday," Nutt said about two hours after chatting with his 32-year-old wife.

    Passengers were also given food, Nutt said, and some of the bathrooms are working. But the ship is dirty, Nutt said his wife told him.

    "There's water and feces all over the floor," Nutt relayed. "It's not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship."

    Passengers also are getting sick and throwing up, he said, adding that his wife told him: "The whole boat stinks extremely bad."

    Melinda Ramos, meanwhile, said her father was laughing when she briefly spoke to him on Sunday.

    "He might be completely joking, but he said they're sleeping in tents outside," the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Matt Ramos told The Houston Chronicle.

    A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.

    Carnival said in a statement that it had cancelled the Triumph's next two voyages scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund, the statement said.

     

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    (AFP/Twitter)

    They say timing is everything. On Feb. 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, making him the first pontiff in 600 years to do so. Hours after the shocking announcement, lighting struck St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

    Just a coincidence?

    Agence France-Presse tweeted this photo, writing, "#PHOTO: Lightning strikes St Peter's dome at #Vatican on day the #Pope announced resignation, by Filippo Monteforte pic.twitter.com/FehVjFYP"

    RELATED ON SKYE: 25 Electrifying Photos of Lightning Bolts

     

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    Source: CBC Music

    An astronaut and a rock singer recorded an original song together and released it Feb. 8 as the first duet of new music performed simultaneously in space and on the ground.

    A rocket launch and the beauty of planet Earth are the subjects of the song, performed in space by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, while accompanied by Canadian singer Ed Robertson of the band Barenaked Ladies, and others on Earth.

    The song, called "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing)," focuses on the experience of a person in space missing his loved ones on the Earth below:

    "If you could see our nation from the International Space Station, you'd know why I want to get back soon."

    Hadfield and Robertson began co-writing the song when Hadfield was still in training in Russia for his five-month mission on the International Space Station. Next month, Hadfield will be the first Canadian commander on the orbiting complex when the Expedition 35 mission begins. [Astronaut Rock: NASA's Final Space Shuttle Wake Songs]


    You can listen to Hadfield and Robertson's space song here:

    http://music.cbc.ca/#/blogs/2013/2/Space-jam-watch-the-premiere-of-ISS-Is-Somebody-Singing

    Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

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


     

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    Al Brewer uses a snow rake to clear snow off the roof of his home that dates back to 1840, as rain falls on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in Vernon, Conn. (AP Photo /Journal Inquirer, Jim Michaud)

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Some snow-weary Northeasterners were struggling through their morning commutes on slick, unplowed streets Tuesday, even though the weekend storm was long gone.

    Many local roads in Connecticut remained partially blocked by snow, especially in the cities. Snow piles have reduced driving lanes, made parking spaces scarce and decreased drivers' sight lines.

    But further south, things were looking brighter for commuters. In suburban New York City, Long Island Rail Road was back to a regular weekday schedule on all branches, and Metro-North Railroad was almost back to full service, expanding it to some snowy Connecticut communities.

    Schools in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury remained closed Tuesday, and about 49,000 homes and businesses were still waiting for the electricity to come back on after the epic storm swept through on Friday and Saturday with 1 to 3 feet of snow that entombed cars and sealed up driveways.

    The storm was blamed for at least 18 deaths in the U.S. and Canada.

    Many areas were also hit with potential danger coming from above - roofs collapsing from the weight of snow and ice along with recent rainfall.

    In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the number of reported roof collapses across the had grown to at least 16 by early evening on Monday, up from five in the morning. He warned places with flat roofs, like schools, to get them cleared.

    "Schools are important resources. Please get somebody up on the roof," Malloy said during an evening briefing in Hartford. "At the very least, make sure that the drains are clear and working. We don't want a tragedy to occur at one of our school buildings."

    Police on Long Island evacuated one of the area's biggest malls on Monday because of major roof leaks. The Smith Haven Mall in Suffolk County was cleared by 4 p.m. Monday after significant leaks were detected in more than two dozen stores. Police worried the roof could collapse.

    Smithtown Building Department Director John Bongino said that in one of the stores it looked "almost as if there was an open ceiling and it was raining."

    Most major highways were cleared by Monday, but the volume of snow was just too much to handle on many secondary roads. A mix of sleet and rain also created new headaches. A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 91 just north of Hartford to Massachusetts was closed briefly because of ice and accidents.

    In New York, where hundreds of cars became stuck on the Long Island Expressway on Friday night and early Saturday morning, some motorists vented their anger at Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not acting more quickly to shut down major roads, as other governors did, and for not plowing more aggressively.

    "There were cars scattered all over the place. They should have just told people in the morning, 'Don't bother going in because we're going to close the roads by 3 o'clock.' I think Boston and Connecticut had the right idea telling everybody to stay off the roads," said George Kiriakos, an investment consultant from Bohemia, N.Y.

    But roads weren't the only hazard. In Milford, Conn., two people were hospitalized in critical condition after a car struck four pedestrians walking on a street because sidewalks hadn't been cleared of snow.

    Cuomo has defended his handling of the crisis and said that more than one-third of all the state's snow-removal equipment had been sent to the area. He said he also wanted to allow people the chance to get home from work.

    "People need to act responsibly in these situations," the governor said.

    The number of homes and businesses without power was down from a peak at 650,000. More than 46,000 of those still waiting were in Massachusetts.

    About 50 residents of Scituate, Mass., remained at a shelter set up at Scituate High School Monday, as much of the town was still without power. That numbers is down from a peak of 150 on Saturday, said Jennifer Sullivan, the town's director of public health.

    Richard and Ann Brown, married 65 years, spent the last three nights sleeping on side-by-side cots at the shelter. By Monday afternoon, they were missing the comforts of home.

    "It's disrupting when you're older," said Ann Brown, 88. "You've got to be careful to keep your spirits up," she said.

    Richard Brown, 89, said they were grateful to be warm and to be given meals at the shelter. But Brown, who has lived in Scituate for 35 years, said he was hoping the electricity will be restored to their home by Tuesday.

    "We don't like this," he said. "I want to go home."

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 20 Epic Photos From the Big Blizzard

     

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    Revelers yell for beads and trinkets during the Krewe of Orpheus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Wet streets, puddles and soggy ground greeted revelers who braved rainy forecasts threatening to wash out Mardi Gras, New Orleans' biggest free show.

    Freddie Zeigler, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Slidell, La., said there's an 80 percent chance of rain Tuesday, with showers likely hitting in the pre-dawn hours along Louisiana's coast and moving into the metro area around sunrise.

    Still, lulls are predicted throughout the day.

    "It's going to be dicey though for parades, but it all depends on how fast that warm front moves to the north," Zeigler said.

    Before dawn, riders in the Zulu parade - the first of the day's float processions - boarded floats staged at the city's huge convention enter. They loaded aboard the trinkets, beads, doubloons and other throws that hundreds of thousands would be clamoring for in a matter of hours.

    Zulu was scheduled to parade at 8 a.m., followed by the parade of Rex, King of carnival, two hours later. Behind them would come hundreds of trucks decorated by families and social groups.

    Street marching groups would go ahead of Zulu and Rex, with clarinetist Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Marching Club leading the way shortly after dawn. Others with colorful names such as the Jefferson City Buzzards would follow, tossing beads to the crowds along stately St. Charles Avenue and winding their way into the city's business district.

    Fountain and his clubmates were clad in garish red suits and hats as they got ready to march in the Garden District.

    Fountain no longer walks the route, but rides a wheeled trolley. As he boarded under the early light peeking through overcast skies, parade-goers snapped photos with camera phones.

    Fountain wasn't worried about the rain forecast.

    "This is my life," he said, referring to his 63rd parade with the group. "We're going to make it before it rains."

    Bob Johnson sipped on a screwdriver as he prepared to march with Fountain. "This is a half-healthy drink," he joked.

    Johnson has done parades on floats and has been with Fountain's street marchers for six years. "It's a whole different perspective than riding a float. You can get right up to people," he said.

    In the French Quarter, where the revelry almost didn't stop overnight, crowds were expected to cruise down Bourbon Street, pleading for beads from revelers on balconies. Traditionally, the French Quarter is the scene of Mardi Gras' most ribald activities, while the streetcar line along St. Charles is given over to family groups who set for a day of barbecues and parade watching.

    Parading was planned across south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. In Louisiana's Cajun parishes, the tradition of the Courir du Mardi Gras was set to start after dawn, as groups of maskers on horseback would ride from community to community making merry.

    Rain or shine, many revelers planned to hit the streets early Tuesday morning. It was their last chance for the Carnival season, which ends with the stroke of midnight Tuesday night. After that, the solemn season of Lent replaces the revelry until Easter.

    "We're going to get here extremely early," said Carly Gerhard, who drove with a friend from Philadelphia to New Orleans over the weekend - through storms that spawned tornadoes along the way - for her first Mardi Gras experience.

    Gerhard said her most memorable experience so far has been the French Quarter.

    "My favorite part was getting to Bourbon Street and seeing all the different people," she said Monday. "The diversity is pretty cool. We're looking forward to the parades. We're looking forward to it all."

    Frank Warford, of Riverdale, Ga., was holding an umbrella Monday as he walked Bourbon Street. He said he was ready to party through the rain.

    "This is a party city. Everybody's partying and having fun, catching beads like crazy," said Warford, his neck draped in beads. "If it rains, put a hat on. It's as simple as that."

    Katiey Diamond, of Sayreville, N.J., said rain won't ruin her Mardi Gras.

    "I'll party if it's freaking thundering," she exclaimed. "We've got indoors. We're good."

    Scattered showers didn't keep revelers away Monday either as thousands flocked to the French Quarter and along the Mississippi River for Lundi Gras festivities.

    As local brass bands played on stages set up along the river, Jim and Sheron Rogers, of Bay St. Louis, Miss., beers in hand, said they hadn't missed a Mardi Gras since 1990, and that come rain or shine they were taking in this one.

    "We just love it," Sheron Rogers said. "The people, the music. It's just a beautiful, fun city."

    Many said they weren't going to let the rain or weekend shooting on Bourbon Street wreck the party.

    "You can't let the threat keep you from having a good time," Jim Rogers said.

    Deron Bridgewater, 23, of Marrero, La., faces four counts of attempted first-degree murder for the weekend's quadruple shooting during the final weekend of revelry that culminates with Mardi Gras.

    Bridgewater surrendered Monday after seeing his photograph on a television newscast Sunday night, New Orleans police spokesman Frank B. Robertson III said. Police have issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect in the shooting and authorities sought a third person who is believed to have critical information regarding the shooting, Robertson said.

     

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    Areas of Hattiesburg, Miss., are still without power on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, following Sunday's afternoon tornado. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Rain and thunderstorms were likely to complicate work Tuesday to clean up the debris strewn across southern Mississippi by a tornado, which left residents marveling that no one died despite the severity of the destruction.

    Roofs were torn from homes and massive trees were tossed across houses. In one part of Hattiesburg, the bricks that had once formed the wall of a church were thrown onto a pickup truck, leaving very little of the vehicle intact.

    On Monday, residents tried to cut trees and branches with chain saws and hang tarps across gaping holes where shingles were ripped from structures. But rain and flooding complicated that, and some simply carried armfuls of belongings, trying to find dry ground.

    Storm victims described close calls as the tornado roared across several counties. Officials said that while more than 60 people were hurt, no one died. They said the human toll could have been much worse, but the nature of the storm allowed forecasters to give people ample warning. Furthermore, the University of Southern Mississippi - which was directly in the tornado's path - was emptier than usual because of Mardi Gras. And most businesses were either closed or quieter than normal because it was a Sunday.

    Forecasters were able to closely track where the storm was headed and had confirmed reports from both people on the ground and from radar, said National Weather Service meteorologist Chad Entremont.

    Stewart Patton, 45, recalled a trampoline swirling in the Sunday twister as he and his 72-year-old mother tried to take cover. His ears popped as they got into a hallway, "and the roof went sky-high," Patton said. "When I felt the roof go, I thought the house was going to collapse."

    On Monday, he held the family's poodle as friends put tarps over the gaping holes in his roof.

    The sheer scope of the damage made it difficult to do a full assessment. Some 50 roads were closed at one point because of felled trees, downed power lines and debris. About 200 homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed, with another 100 apartments left uninhabitable, Gov. Phil Bryant said.

    Bryant said the twister carved a path of destruction roughly 75 miles long, though National Weather Service officials have not yet determined the tornado's exact path or how long it was on the ground. However, early indications show it was an EF3 tornado with wind speeds reaching 145 mph in parts of Hattiesburg, Entremont said.

    The twister was part of a storm cell moving faster than usual, meaning it was likely to cover more ground. Many tornadoes travel just a few miles, Entremont said.

    On the USM campus, trees were snapped in half around the heavily damaged Alumni House, where part of the roof was ripped away. Windows in a nearby building were blown out, and heavy equipment worked to clear streets nearby in a heavy rain after the worst of the weather had passed.

    The university was under a state of emergency as of Monday evening and told people to stay away from campus. Faculty and staff were to return to work Wednesday, and classes wouldn't resume until Thursday.

    Elsewhere, people told stories of close calls.

    Jeff Revette, a 43-year-old minister and National Guard soldier, was driving down U.S. 49 when he saw the tornado and several flashes as it exploded electrical transformers. He pulled down a side road as the twister closed in, jumped out and ran to the wall of a two-story, red-brick church. He lay face-down in the grass as another woman drove up in a white pickup truck, hopped out and took cover between two low cement walls.

    About 20 seconds later, the truck - only about 10 feet away - had been flattened by bricks, with the rear half of it completely destroyed. Revette, who returned from a deployment to Afghanistan about a year ago, heard the woman screaming and helped pull insulation and other debris off her. She was not seriously hurt.

    "It's just amazing," he said. "God is real. I am one blessed man."

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Tornado Rips Through Hattiesburg, Miss.


    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos

     

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    A small boat belonging to the Coast Guard patrols near the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard- Lt. Cmdr. Paul McConnell)

    HOUSTON (AP) - Passengers aboard a cruise vessel stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after a weekend engine fire have limited access to bathrooms, food and hot coffee, but also a new destination: Mobile, Ala.

    Carnival Cruise Lines President and CEO Gerry Cahill said in a statement Monday that the Carnival Triumph had drifted so far north of its original position that it will be towed to the southern U.S. port, instead of the original plan to take it to Progreso, Mexico.

    Cahill said strong Gulf currents caused the Triumph to drift about 90 miles north of its original position off the Yucatan Peninsula.

    Cahill's statement said the ship should arrive in Mobile on Thursday and that the change will allow for less complicated re-entry for passengers without passports.

    The Carnival Triumph had been floating aimlessly about 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula since a fire erupted in the aft engine room early Sunday, knocking out the ship's propulsion system. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished. The ship has been operating on backup generator power since the incident, the statement said.

    The ship, which left Galveston, Texas, on Thursday and was scheduled to return there Monday, will instead be towed to Mobile with its 3,143 passengers 1,086 crew members. They are due to arrive in Alabama on Thursday.

    One tugboat arrived Monday afternoon, and the other was expected later in the evening, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said in an email. The Coast Guard has informed Mexican authorities of the situation in their waters, a spokesman said.

    When another Carnival cruise ship, the Legend, rendezvoused with the stranded vessel Monday, supplying Triumph passengers with food and supplies, Texas resident Brent Nutt was able to briefly chat with his wife, Bethany, who could draw a cellphone signal from the visiting cruise line.

    Without power, the ship's stabilizers are apparently not working, Nutt told The Associated Press, and the massive liner had been leaning to one side Sunday. By Monday afternoon, the ship seemed more upright, he said.

    "She sounded a whole lot better today than she did yesterday," Nutt said about two hours after chatting with his 32-year-old wife.

    Passengers were also given food, Nutt said, and some of the bathrooms are working. But the ship is dirty, Nutt said his wife told him.

    "There's water and feces all over the floor," Nutt relayed. "It's not the best conditions. You would think Carnival would have something in place to get these people off the ship."

    Passengers also are getting sick and throwing up, he said, adding that his wife told him: "The whole boat stinks extremely bad."

    Melinda Ramos, meanwhile, said her father was laughing when she briefly spoke to him Sunday.

    "He might be completely joking, but he said they're sleeping in tents outside," the 19-year-old daughter of Mary and Matt Ramos told the Houston Chronicle.

    A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel was also stranded for three days with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.

    Carnival said in a statement that it had cancelled the Triumph's next two voyages scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund, the statement said.

     

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    The immediate aftermath of the rupturing of an ice bridge connected to Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier, causing an enormous splash in the lake below. (Credit: Christian Grosso)

    Amateur photographer Christian Grosso got a surprise recently when he visited a glacier in Argentina's Patagonia region: an enormous ice bridge connected to the glacier ruptured and fell, causing a huge wave in the lake below.

    Luckily, he had his camera to capture the event. And another visitor caught a video of the ice falling.

    The glacier, known as Perito Moreno, is one of the largest in Patagonia, a region at the southern tip of South America, according to the NASA Earth Observatory. Perito Moreno differs from other glaciers in that it periodically cuts off the major southern arm of Lake Argentino, known as Brazo Rico, by forming a natural dam and preventing water from transferring between the two bodies of water.

    "This glacier is somewhat unique in that its path takes it across an arm of a large lake," NASA scientist Jim Foster told OurAmazingPlanet. Foster also curates the Earth Science Picture of the Day, which featured Grosso's photo. "Most glaciers don't have such trajectories, so bridging and tunneling, at least at this scale, is rather rare."

    Grosso got to witness the rare event on Saturday, Jan. 19, at about 7:15 p.m. local time; there were only 20 to 30 visitors present at the time, he said. Luckily, Grosso was far enough away that the rush of water didn't affect him, he told OurAmazingPlanet.



    This was but a relatively minor rupture of the glacier, however. Every four to five years Brazo Rico's water levels swell as much as 98 feet higher than those in Lake Argentino. When the stress is too much, the glacier catastrophically ruptures, according to the Earth Observatory.

    That last happened in March 2012; this latest burst, witnessed by Grosso, resulted from the melting of the ice bridge that was left over from that 2012 collapse, which had hollowed out an enormous hole through the glacier.

    Reach Douglas Main at dmain@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @Douglas_Main. Follow OurAmazingPlanet on Twitter @OAPlanet. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

    Images of Melt: Earth's Vanishing Ice
    Ice World: Gallery of Awe-Inspiring Glaciers
    The Power of Ice: Glacier Erosion

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

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Breathtaking Images of Earth from Space

     

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    A storm gathering moisture over the Southwest Monday has the potential to put down a swath of snow during the middle of the week from part of the Ohio Valley to part of the mid-Atlantic.

    The storm is forecast to bring snow to portions of Oklahoma, northwestern Texas and southern Kansas Tuesday spreading to northern Arkansas and southern Missouri Tuesday evening according to meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

    The same storm will continue to move along an east to northeast path through the middle of the week.

    Part of Kentucky and northern Tennessee are likely to have a mixture of snow and rain for a few hours Tuesday night. Where the precipitation comes down hard and switches over to all snow, there can be a couple of inches of accumulation. Rather mild conditions are in store during the day Tuesday for this area, but it will trend cold enough at night to allow snow to at least mix in at some locations.

    Farther east, the storm system will push through part of the central Appalachians of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland on Wednesday. While wet snow is the favored form of precipitation in the mountains with up to a few inches possible, it could turn cold enough to allow a mix of snow and rain even in the valleys.

    Marginal temperatures will continue to be an issue with rain versus snow for this storm as it pushes toward the upper coast of the mid-Atlantic later Wednesday and Wednesday night. The track of the system will also be crucial as to how much moisture is thrown into the northern mid-Atlantic.

    The first part of the storm would be rain for areas from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and perhaps as far north as New York City, Long Island and southern New England. However, it is possible that just like over part of Kentucky earlier, that a change from rain to a period of wet snow takes place Wednesday night.

    At any rate, it does not appear that the storm will bring widespread heavy snow from Kentucky to the mid-Atlantic, but pockets of a few inches of snow are indeed possible, where the rain switches over to wet snow quickly.

    A storm tracking farther north in the East would mean a band of moderate to locally heavy snow would set up from the central Appalachians to southern New England, because such a storm would be somewhat stronger than a system passing by farther south.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists continue to monitor the potential for a larger storm during the weekend in much of the eastern half of the nation.

    The atmosphere appears to be building a pipeline of storms for the next few weeks.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 20 Epic Photos From the Big Blizzard

     

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    Courtesy of Mokko Studio

    You may have seen pictures of our planet from space, but never quite like this. A new NOVA show on PBS, "Earth from Space," features amazing images captured by satellites used to observe the planet, and these pictures have given scientists a better view and understanding of the Earth than ever before. The NOVA program features photos, videos, computer models and other data that the show's creators have combined to create a comprehensive image of Earth's interconnected ecosystems.

    OurAmazingPlanet caught up with NOVA senior executive producer Paula Apsell to hear more about the new program, which debuts Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. Central) on PBS (check local listings).

    OurAmazingPlanet: Tell us about the show.

    Paula Apsell: There are more than 120 satellites used to capture images of the Earth. I think most people know that satellite technology exists and that satellites have improved weather predictions ... But I don't think most people know how much satellite technology has helped us to understand our planet.

    Satellites don't just see how we see, with optical light, but can [also] see in infrared and microwave light. Because they see in so many waves in the electromagnetic spectrum, they can get more info about the earth than our eyes can give us.

    The question becomes, with all these satellites in space, what have we learned? The answer is fascinating and unpredictable. The big take-home lesson is that everything is interconnected - the air, the land, the water and light itself are all part of one big system that works together and [they all] feed into each other. It's really given us, and scientists, a whole new view of the planet. [Watch a Preview of the Documentary]

    OAP: How have satellites given scientists a new understanding of the Earth?

    PA: Well, for one, satellite imagery has shown us that studying any one thing in isolation isn't going to help you. You have to look at the planet as a system and see where these connections are.

    OAP: Do you have any examples from the show of these connections?

    PA: There are a bunch of examples of how different processes from different parts of the Earth are connected. We show how, for example, hurricanes that end up in Florida and the Gulf Coast often start near the Cape Verde islands off the coast of northwest Africa.

    We also show how a massive, underwater waterfall in the Antarctic affects ocean currents as far away as Peru, nourishing plankton and an enormous stock of fish there, which helps feed everybody on Earth.

    OAP: Are there any other ways that physical processes ultimately affect humans?

    PA: The sun gives us energy for life to be sustained, and for electricity. There's a satellite called the Solar Dynamics Observatory that can look at forces from the sun and help scientists understand them. It can also help predict solar storms, which can completely disrupt all of our electronics. It's a satellite that's directly helping us protect and preserve civilization.

    Other satellites have shown us how dust that blows off from deserts in Africa helps nourish plant life in the Amazon rainforest, which functions as the lungs of the Earth. It takes in carbon dioxide we breathe out and provides us with oxygen. Also, these plants provide us with many products like medicines.

    Would anybody suspect that dust particles from African deserts go all the way to South America, fertilizing the rain forest? Without satellite imagery, I think that would be completely counterintuitive. [Earth Pictures From Space: Landsat Satellite Legacy]

    OAP: Why have this show now?

    PA: A lot of these satellites have been there for a long time. Some have gone past the number of years they were supposed to last. I think understanding the importance of satellites is key to people, because satellites don't last forever, and you have to replenish them.

    We're at a point in time where, first of all, we're all profoundly affected by weather and climate change, and understanding scientific instruments that will let us know better what the future holds, that's important.

    In some ways, it's a timeless show, but on the other hand, it's only now that scientists have enough satellites up there and enough computer power to have payoff in understanding these systems. The study of this is really reaching a certain mature level where you can actually say things about [the Earth]. That's the point at which NOVA feels it can tell stories.

    OAP: What challenges did you face in making this program?

    PA: The challenge was visualizing it. Satellites record all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, only a small part of which is visible. I think the great achievement is how beautiful it is.

    Also constructing a narrative, that's always a challenge. Where do you start? We decided we'd start with hurricanes, because that's such an immediate threat. How do satellites visualize the formation of hurricanes? We show that in a lot of detail.

    OAP: What do you want people to take away from this program?

    PA: I hope people take away from it how important these satellites are and how important these instruments are that enable scientists to get a better idea of how the planet works. I hope it will help people understand the Earth's complexity and appreciate it more, see how fragile it is, and learn more about what we need to do to keep our planet healthy.

    Reach Douglas Main at dmain@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @Douglas_Main. Follow OurAmazingPlanet on Twitter @OAPlanet. We're also on Facebook and Google+.

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

     

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    As a monster snowstorm was dumping more than 3 feet of snow on some areas of Connecticut last weekend, Facebook user Mary Jo Morgenstern was capturing the accumulation on camera. The result: this mesmerizing 41-second time-lapse video, in which snowfall in Hartford rises around what looks to be a yardstick as the hours fly by.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Epic Photos from the Big Blizzard

     

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    A small boat belonging to the Coast Guard patrols near the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico, Feb. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard- Lt. Cmdr. Paul McConnell)

    HOUSTON (AP) - A cruise line says it is making the passengers stranded aboard a disabled ship in the Gulf of Mexico as comfortable as possible with running water and some working bathrooms, contradicting the accounts of some passengers who told relatives of filthy, hot conditions and limited access to food.

    The ship, the Carnival Triumph, is still at least a day from being guided to a port in Mobile, Ala.

    Carnival President Gerry Cahill said Tuesday the ship has running water and most of its 23 public restrooms and some of the guest cabin bathrooms were working. He downplayed the possibility of an outbreak of disease from unsanitary conditions, saying the ship had not seen an abnormal number of people reporting to the infirmary as being ill.

    "No one here from Carnival is happy about the conditions onboard the ship," Cahill said at a news conference in Miami. "We obviously are very, very sorry about what is taking place."

    Jimmy Mowlam, 63, whose 37-year-old son, Rob Mowlam, got married Saturday onboard the ship, said his son told him by phone Monday night that there is no running water and few working toilets. He said passengers were given plastic bags to "use for their business."

    Despite a forecast of brisker winds and slightly higher seas, the Coast Guard and Carnival said they did not expect conditions to deteriorate aboard the ship.

    A cold front was expected to cross the central Gulf where the vessel is under tow, bringing north and northwesterly winds of 15 to 25 mph and seas of 4 to 6 feet, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center.

    However, such conditions shouldn't affect conditions aboard ship, said Bill Segelken, spokesman for the Coast Guard Galveston command center.

    The ship was about 200 miles south of Mobile, Ala., as Tuesday faded into Wednesday, the Coast Guard said. Carnival says the ship is expected to arrive in Mobile on Thursday.

    The ship left Galveston, Texas, for a four-day cruise last Thursday with 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members. The ship was about 150 miles off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday when an engine room fire knocked out its primary power source, crippling its water and plumbing systems and leaving it adrift on only a backup power.

    No one was injured in the fire, but Carnival spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said Tuesday that a passenger with a pre-existing medical condition was taken off the ship as a precaution.

    Everyone else likely will have to remain onboard until the ship reaches Mobile, Ala., which is expected to happen Thursday, weather permitting.

    Besides two tugs, at least two other Carnival cruise ships have been diverted to the Triumph to leave supplies and a 210-foot Coast Guard cutter was at the scene, Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm said Tuesday.

    Mowlam said his son told him the lack of ventilation on the Triumph had made it too hot to sleep inside and that many passengers had set up camp on the ocean liner's decks and in its common areas. Mowlam said he wasn't sure where his son was sleeping.

    "He said up on deck it looks like a shanty town, with sheets, almost like tents, mattresses, anything else they can pull to sleep on," said Mowlam, of the southeast Texas town of Warren. His son is from nearby Nederland.

    Mowlam said his son indicated that passengers are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

    "So far people have been pretty much taking it in stride," Mowlam said his son told him.

    Rob Mowlam told his father the ship's crew had started giving free alcohol to passengers.

    "He was concerned about what that was going to lead to when people start drinking too much," Mowlam said.

    Other passengers have described more dire conditions, including overflowing toilets and limited access to food.

    Jay Herring, a former senior officer for Carnival Cruise Lines, said one of the biggest concerns crew members will have until the ship docks is the potential for disease outbreak, particularly norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.

    "Housekeeping, others are probably working double shifts to keep the mess clean and wipe down and sanitize all the common areas," said Herring, who worked for Carnival from 2002 to 2004 and spent four months on the Triumph.

    Carnival hasn't determined what caused the fire, said Oliva, the company spokeswoman.

    The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday it has opened an investigation into the cause of the fire. The NTSB said the Bahamas Maritime Agency will lead the investigation because the ship carries a Bahamian flag.

    The ship was originally going to be towed to a port in Progreso, Mexico, but after currents pushed it northward, the company decided to take it to Alabama, saying it would make it easier for passengers without passports to get home.

    Cahill said Carnival has reserved more than 1,500 hotel rooms in Mobile and New Orleans for Thursday. The company plans to return passengers back to Houston on Friday using charter flights.

    A similar situation occurred on a Carnival cruise ship in November 2010. That vessel, named Splendor, was stranded with 4,500 people aboard after a fire in the engine room. When the passengers disembarked in San Diego, they described a nightmarish three days in the Pacific with limited food, power and bathroom access.

    Cahill said the Spendor's fire was different because it involved a "catastrophic explosion" in a diesel generator, and the Triumph's fire had "some other cause." He could not say what the economic impact will be due to the fire aboard the Triumph. The impact from the Splendor was $40 million, he said.

    Carnival canceled the Triumph's next two voyages, scheduled to depart Monday and Saturday. Passengers aboard the stranded ship will also receive a full refund.

     

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