Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

SKYE on AOL

older | 1 | .... | 75 | 76 | (Page 77) | 78 | 79 | .... | 204 | newer

    0 0

    40ft Sinkhole Swallows Third Car in Chicago

    Severe storms brought flooding to Chicago and its surrounding neighborhoods Thursday. At one point, a massive 40-foot sinkhole opened and multiple cars fell into its crater. A local Chicago news crew was filming when the sinkhole swallowed one of the cars. The car was the third vehicle to fall victim to the hole. A man was in one of the cars when it fell and is in serious condition at a hospital.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0


    A police officer stands guard at South Station on April 19, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. South Station was shut down and heavily guarded with police in response to the early morning shootings in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts. (Getty)

    NEW YORK (AP) - Mass transportation to and from the Boston area was virtually shut down Friday as police conducted a massive manhunt for a suspect in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing. The exception was air travel, as planes took off and landed at Logan International Airport.

    Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit indefinitely, telling commuters via Twitter: "Go/stay home."

    As the manhunt stretched into the afternoon, Amtrak stopped all trains between New York and Boston. All major intercity bus lines suspended service to the area. Passengers were being allowed to get refunds or rebook for travel at a later date. And the airlines were allowing customers to change plans without paying a fee.

    Amtrak was stopping northbound service at New York City's Penn Station. Part of Amtrak's Downeaster service, which runs from Brunswick, Maine to Boston, was also stopped according to spokesman Cliff Cole.

    Authorities suspended service on commuter trains into Boston as well as the city's subway - called the T - and the city's buses. That includes the Silver and Blue lines between Logan and downtown.

    All major highways remained open, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The exception was in Watertown, Mass., the center of the manhunt.

    Megabus canceled at least 22 buses between Boston and New York, New Haven, Conn., Hartford, Conn., Burlington, Vt., and Philadelphia. More than 1,000 passengers were affected, according to spokesman Mike Alvich. They received emails offering a refund or the option to rebook for free.

    Bolt Bus, Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines also suspended service. Passengers booked on canceled Bolt trips received refunds to their credit cards, according to Timothy Stokes, spokesman for Greyhound and Bolt Bus.

    Across much of the Boston area, streets that would normally be bustling were quiet.

    In Somerville, a densely populated city of about 75,000, authorities requested that residents stay inside with doors locked and not go to work.

    People largely heeded officials' pleas, said Bob Trane, an elected alderman in Somerville, which abuts Cambridge, about 5 miles northeast of Watertown.

    "I'm just like everybody else in Greater Boston, just staying at home, glued to the television," Trane said. "There is nobody out in the streets, very few cars, very few people walking."

    Logan airport remained open, although getting there was a challenge for many passengers. On a typical day, the airport has about 1,000 flights. Fewer than 10 flights had been canceled by 10 a.m., mostly because of weather delays in New York, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

    The airport has been operating at a heightened level of security since Monday's attack, according to Matthew Brelis, director of media relations for MassPort, the public agency that runs Logan.

    The Massachusetts State Police set up a roadblock Friday morning and were searching some of the vehicles entering the airport.

    While no mass transit was reaching Logan, private cars, taxis and the Logan Express - a bus service to suburban park-and-ride facilities - were still able to enter the airport.

    The biggest hassle for travelers were taxi lines, which Brelis described as "exceedingly long" during the late morning. Officials were asking people to share cabs to nearby location. By noon the backlog had cleared.

    Friday's manhunt capped off a tiring and emotional week for Boston residents.

    "This thing just doesn't stop. It's been constant for the past week," said Ian Deason, director of Boston operations for JetBlue, the largest airline in the city with about 120 daily flights.

    He noted that pilots and flight attendants resting in a crew lounge prior to their flights were "glued to the TV" and the security presence at the airport was significant. But operations were normal for the airline, which allowed anybody scheduled to fly to or from Boston to change their ticket for free. Passengers could also opt to fly to Hartford, Providence or any of the New York area airports JetBlue serves.

    Delta Air Lines - which has about 70 daily Boston departures - also hadn't canceled any flights. Spokesman Morgan Durrant said the airline expected on-time departures and was considering extending a travel waiver issued earlier in the week.

    US Airways was running its 70 daily flights with minimal delays. The airline is letting passengers change tickets to any other flight through Monday.

    American Airlines hadn't canceled any of its 31 daily flights in Boston. The airline was allowing passengers scheduled to fly today to rebook onto flights Saturday or Sunday without penalty, according to spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.

    United Airlines has about 100 daily flights in Boston and allowed anybody flying Friday to rebook for anytime within a year of the day their ticket was purchased.

    Southwest Airlines allowed passengers flying Friday to change their tickets to flights within the next two weeks. It's AirTran subsidiary is allowing changes to flights through Monday.

    The Federal Aviation Administration imposed an air traffic restriction on the Boston area "to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities." It barred flights below 3,000 feet in a radius of 3.5 miles around the manhunt area. The restrictions had minimal impact on commercial flights in the area.

    James Kearney, an information technology consultant from East Amwell, N.J., was in town for business and managed to make it out on a United flight at 10 a.m. He said via email that the 15-mile trip from the Marriott in the western suburb of Newton to Logan on the Massachusetts Turnpike "was extremely quiet during rush hour."

    Once at the airport, he said, the situation was "pretty standard."

    "Even security was fast and uneventful," Kearney wrote.

    Colin Alsheimer, who was on a flight from Dallas to Boston Friday morning, said that the manhunt dominated conversations during boarding.

    "People were checking for news updates on their phones and talking with their seat neighbors," Alsheimer wrote in an email from the American Airlines flight.

    After landing at 12:15 p.m., Alsheimer said the airport was surprisingly normal.

    "People do seem focused on news broadcasts in terminal bars," he said. "Only saw an increased security presence on the road leading into Logan. Must be focusing more on departures."

    Kacey Brister, a senior at Louisiana State University, was supposed to have an interview for a public relations job in Boston at 3 p.m. Friday. She was flying on Southwest Airlines from New Orleans to Boston via St. Louis.

    Before boarding the last leg of her trip, Brister said that everyone was fairly calm at the gate.

    "The biggest concern for most people was how they were going to get from Logan to their hotel, home," she wrote in an email, adding that there was "a sense of camaraderie between passengers."

    Not everyone was so calm, however. "My mother has begged me" to turn around, she said.

    __

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Scores Dead in China Earthquake

    BEIJING (AP) - A powerful earthquake struck the steep hills of China's southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday, leaving at least 156 people dead and more than 5,500 injured, nearly five years after a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region.

    Saturday's quake, while not as destructive as the one in 2008, toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county. The village of Longmen was hit particularly hard, with authorities saying nearly all the buildings there had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake.

    "It was such a big quake that everyone was scared," said a woman who answered the phone at a kindergarten hours later and declined to give her name. "We all fled for our lives."

    Rescuers turned the square outside the Lushan County Hospital into a triage center, where medical personnel bandaged bleeding victims, according to footage on China Central Television. Rescuers dynamited boulders that had fallen across roads to reach Longmen and other damaged areas lying farther up the mountain valleys, state media reported.

    The China Earthquake Administration said at least 156 people had died, including 96 in Lushan. In the jurisdiction of Ya'an, which administers Lushan, 19 people were reported missing and more than 5,500 people were injured, the administration said.

    The quake - measured by the earthquake administration at magnitude-7.0 and by the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6 - struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly after 8 a.m., when many people were at home, sleeping or having breakfast. People in their underwear and wrapped in blankets ran into the streets of Ya'an and even the provincial capital of Chengdu, 70 miles east of Lushan, according to photos, video and accounts posted online.

    The quake's shallow depth, less than 8 miles, likely magnified the impact.

    Chengdu's airport shut down for about an hour before reopening, though many flights were canceled or delayed, and its railway station halted dozens of scheduled train rides Saturday, state media said.

    Lushan reported the most deaths, but there was concern that casualties in neighboring Baoxing county might have been under-reported because of inaccessibility after roads were blocked and power and phone services cut off.

    As the region went into the first night after the quake, rain started to fall, slowing rescue work. Forecasts called for more rain in the next several days, and the China Meteorological Administration warned of possible landslides and other geological disasters.

    Tens of thousands of people moved into tents or cars, unable to return home or too afraid to go back as aftershocks continued to jolt the region.

    Lushan, where the quake struck, lies where the fertile Sichuan plain meets foothills that eventually rise to the Tibetan plateau and sits atop the Longmenshan fault. It was along that fault line that a devastating magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12, 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead in one of the worst natural disasters to strike China in recent decades.

    "It was just like May 12," Liu Xi, a writer in Ya'an city, who was jolted awake by Saturday's quake, said via a private message on his account on Sina Corporation's Twitter-like Weibo service. "All the home decorations fell at once, and the old house cracked."

    The official Xinhua News Agency said the well-known Bifengxia panda preserve, which is near Lushan, was not affected by the quake. Dozens of pandas were moved to Bifengxia from another preserve, Wolong, after its habitat was wrecked by the 2008 quake.

    As in most natural disasters, the government mobilized thousands of soldiers and others - 7,000 people by Saturday afternoon - sending excavators and other heavy machinery as well as tents, blankets and other emergency supplies. Two soldiers died after the vehicle that they and more than a dozen others were in slipped off the road and rolled down a cliff, state media reported.

    Premier Li Keqiang flew to Ya'an to direct rescue efforts, and he and President Xi Jinping ordered officials and rescuers to make saving people the top priority, Xinhua said.

    The Chinese Red Cross said it had deployed relief teams with supplies of food, water, medicine and rescue equipment to the disaster areas.

    With roads blocked for several hours after the quake, the military surveyed the disaster area by air. Aerial photos released by the military and shown on state television showed individual houses in ruins in Lushan and outlying villages flattened into rubble. The roofs of some taller buildings appeared to have slipped off, exposing the floors beneath them.

    A person whose posts to the micro-blogging account "Qingyi Riverside" on Weibo carried a locator geotag for Lushan said many buildings collapsed and that people could spot helicopters hovering above.

    The earthquake administration said there had been at least 712 aftershocks, including two of magnitude-5.0 or higher.

    "It's too dangerous," said a person with the Weibo account Chengduxinglin and with a Lushan geotag. "Even the aftershocks are scary."

    While rescuers and state media rushed to the disaster scene, China's active social media users filled the information gap. They posted photos of people fleeing to streets for safety and of buildings flattened by the quake. They shared information on the availability of phone services, apparently through data services.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0


    Kathy Elrod sits on a cot at Memorial Gym with a blanket trying to warm up after being displaced from her Washington Street home by flooding Friday in Kokomo, Ind. (AP Photo/Kokomo Tribune, Tim Bath)

    ST. LOUIS (AP) - Communities along the Mississippi River and other rain-engorged waterways are waging feverish bids to hold back floodwaters that may soon approach record levels.

    After days of torrential rains, Midwesterners find themselves watching rivers and tributaries rise - a sharp contrast to the region's drought that months earlier had sucked the Mississippi so dry that barge traffic was threatened.

    Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin all had flooding, as dozens of Midwestern rivers were well over their banks after rains that began Wednesday dumped up to 6 inches of new water on already saturated soil.

    The trouble appeared to be especially pronounced in Quincy, Ill., where the Mississippi rose a "pretty amazing" nearly 10 feet in 36 hours, National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said. One of two bridges there was shut down Friday, and the sewage plant was threatened.

    "It's just been skyrocketing," Fuchs added of the Mississippi's swift rise. Downriver from Quincy, a bridge at Louisiana, Mo., was to close at noon Saturday.

    Smaller rivers in Illinois seemed to be causing the worst of the flooding. In suburban Chicago, which got up to 7 inches of rain in a 24-hour period ending Thursday, record levels of water were moving through the Des Plaines River past heavily populated western suburbs and into the Illinois River to the south.

    As many as 1,500 residents of the northern Illinois city of Marseilles were evacuated Thursday night when fears of a levee breach were heightened as seven barges broke free from a towing vessel and came to rest against a dam on the Illinois River. In the central Illinois town of London Mills, the Spoon River topped a levee and forced the evacuations of half of the 500 residents.

    In central Indiana, the National Weather Service said the Wabash River in Tippecanoe County could crest Saturday at 25.5 feet - its highest level in more than a half-century.

    Mississippi River flooding wasn't as pronounced. Its water level varies greatly but is typically highest in the spring, so minor flooding is not uncommon. "Flood stage" is a somewhat arbitrary term that the weather service defines as the point when "water surface level begins to create a hazard to lives, property or commerce."

    When river levels exceed flood stage by several feet, serious problems can occur. Forecasters now expect it to climb up to 12 feet above flood stage at some spots in Missouri and Illinois.

    After the devastating Mississippi River floods of 1993, the government bought out thousands of homes, tore them down and banned development there. New and larger levees have been built, and flood walls reinforced.

    Yet communities like Missouri's quaint Clarksville remain at the river's mercy. The community of 442 has no flood wall or levee - a barrier that was opted against because of the cost and the fact residents like the river view. In 2008, the town bought a flood-protection system that allows for a makeshift levee to be built, but the waters have risen too quickly to install it this time. Volunteers scrambled Friday to use gravel, plastic overlay and sandbags to protect the business district and are layering sandbags around threatened homes.

    Also unprotected is Grafton, Ill., a tourist town northeast of St. Louis that sits at the convergence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. The main thoroughfare leading into town - the Great River Road - was expected to be closed off by midday Saturday, and riverside merchants were clearing out merchandise. Among them was Laurie Wild, who with help of volunteers tried to save her artisan shop's wares.

    "It's a mess," said the 51-year-old St. Louis transplant. "We knew what we were getting into when we moved here. It's a beautiful town, and we'll be here after."

    The Army Corps of Engineers said Friday most of the locks and dams from the Quad Cities to near St. Louis were closed due to the flood, effectively halting barge and other traffic on that part of the Mississippi. Four Illinois River locks were also shut down.

    Also Friday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri National Guard to aid flood-fighting efforts.

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

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Updated 5:08 p.m. EDT, Sunday, April 21, 2013

    The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Tuesday on Wallops Island, Va. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

    ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) - A company contracted by NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station has successfully launched a rocket in a test of its ability to send a cargo ship aloft.

    The unmanned Antares rocket blasted off Sunday from Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore. About 10 minutes after the launch, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles declared the test a success after observing a practice payload reach orbit and safely separate from the rocket.

    The suburban Washington, D.C, company is aiming to launch a rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo ship aloft this summer to dock with the station. If successful, Orbital aims to make the first of eight contracted deliveries in the fall.

    NASA is using two companies to deliver space station supplies after ending its shuttle program in 2011. California-based SpaceX completed its third trip to the International Space Station last month.

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Colorado Avalanche Kills Five Snowboarders

    Updated 1:52 p.m. EDT Sunday, April 21, 2013

    GEORGETOWN, Colo. (AP) - Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon after apparently triggering a backcountry avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass, authorities said.

    Search and rescue crews recovered the bodies several hours after the slide, which was about 600 feet wide and eight feet deep, said Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger.

    A sixth snowboarder caught in the avalanche was able to dig himself out and call for help, Krueger said. That person's condition wasn't immediately known.

    The victims all had avalanche beacons, Krueger added.

    Searchers from Clear Creek County, Summit County, an alpine search and rescue team and the Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski resorts located the bodies, Krueger said.

    The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. 6, which crosses the Continental Divide near the scene of the avalanche, to facilitate the search. The pass is heavily traveled by skiers visiting nearby Arapahoe Basin ski resort.

    The bodies were taken to the Clear Creek coroner's office.
    Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger identified the victims Sunday as 32-year-old Christopher Peters, of Lakewood; 32-year-old Joseph Timlin, of Gypsum; 33-year-old Ryan Novack, of Boulder; 36-year-old Ian Lanphere, of Crested Butte; and 33-year-old Rick Gaukel, of Estes Park.

    Krueger said authorities were "pretty sure" the snowboarders triggered the avalanche, which he said traveled about 1,100 feet some 100 yards off U.S. 6.

    The avalanche occurred on a spring weekend when many skiers and snowboarders took advantage of late season snowfall in the Rocky Mountains. At least four Colorado ski resorts reopened for the weekend after a snowstorm earlier in the week, and four others were still open for the season.

    Loveland Pass, at an elevation of 11,990 feet, is popular among backcountry skiers and snowboarders, and on Saturday, Snowboard Magazine had promoted the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Gathering there for a day of gear demonstrations and shredding
    .

    Snow falls near the spot where five members of a backcountry snowboarder group were found dead after they were trapped by an avalanche on Loveland Pass, Colo., Saturday. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

    Treacherous winter weather is not unusual on the pass, which is about 60 miles west of Denver. Skiers and snowboarders in search of fresh snow often hitchhike from lower elevations to the rocky summit above tree line. The area also is popular among photographers and tourists seeking some of the most expansive views in Colorado.

    Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Spencer Logan said there have been weak layers in Colorado's snowpack since early January.

    "Our last series of storms made them more active again," he said. "Over the last week and a half, that area got over 18 inches of snow, so if you melted that that would be 2 inches of water, so that is a heavy load."

    Lisa Clarke Devore, who was headed back to Denver from the resort, told The Associated Press she saw a fire truck and ambulance on the pass, as well two search dogs headed into the area of the slide. She said she saw several ambulances, including one towing snowmobiles, driving toward the pass.

    On Thursday, a 38-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche south of Colorado's Vail Pass. Eagle County sheriff's officials said the man and another snowboarder likely triggered the slide after a friend on a snowmobile dropped them off at the top of Avalanche Bowl.

    U.S. avalanche deaths climbed steeply after 1990, averaging 24 a year, as new gear became available for backcountry travel. Until then, avalanches rarely claimed more than a handful of lives each season in records going back to 1950.

    RELATED ON SKYE: The 10 Snowiest Places on Earth

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Massive Flooding Overwhelms Illinois

    Updated 2:03 p.m. EDT, Sunday, April 21, 2013

    CLARKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Those fighting floods in several communities along the Mississippi River were mostly successful Sunday despite the onslaught of water, but an ominous forecast and the growing accumulation of snow in the upper Midwest tempered any feelings of victory.

    The surging Mississippi was at or near crest at several places from the Quad Cities south to near St. Louis - some reaching 10 feet above flood stage. Problems were plentiful: Hundreds of thousands of acres of swamped farmland as planting season approaches; three people died; roads and bridges closed, including sections of major highways like U.S. 61 in Iowa and Missouri and crossings at Quincy, Ill., and Louisiana, Mo.

    The U.S. Coast Guard said 114 barges broke loose near St. Louis on Saturday night, and four hit the Jefferson Barracks Bridge in St. Louis County. The bridge was closed about six hours for inspection but reopened around 8 a.m. Sunday. The runaway barges were corralled but authorities believe a few sank.

    Flooding has now been blamed in three deaths - two at the same spot in Indiana and one in Missouri. In all three cases, vehicles were swept off the road in flash floods. High water could be responsible for two more, both in Illinois, where a decomposed body was found Thursday in an Oak Brook creek and a body was found Saturday in the Mississippi River at Cora. Investigations continue.

    And the danger is far from over, as spots south of St. Louis aren't expected to crest until next week, and significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill.

    Adding to concern is a forecast that calls for heavy rain Monday night and Tuesday throughout much of the Midwest. National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Phillipson said an inch of rain is likely in many places, some places even more.

    "That's not what we want to see when we have this kind of flooding, that's for sure," Phillipson said.

    Meanwhile, the northern Midwest has received heavy snow this month, and concerns are turning to what happens when it melts and makes its way into tributaries of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Forecasters said up to 6 inches of new snow was possible in the Black Hills area of South Dakota through Monday morning.

    Hundreds of miles to the southeast, in La Grange, Mo., Lewis County emergency management director David Keith wasn't bothered by the soggy forecast. Sandbags were holding back the murky Mississippi from La Grange City Hall, a bank and a handful of threatened homes, and the water was receding.

    "What we're worried about now is all that snow melt in North and South Dakota and Minnesota," Keith said.

    A member of the Missouri National Guard stands on a sandbag levee and looks out over floodwater from the Mississippi River, Sunday in Clarksville, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    A handful of river towns are most affected by the high waters - places like Clarksville, Mo., and Grafton, Ill., that have chosen against flood walls or levees.

    By Sunday, sandbagging had all but stopped in Clarksville, evidence of the confidence that the makeshift sandbag levee hurriedly erected to protect downtown would hold. Volunteers, including nearly three dozen prison inmates, worked since Wednesday, using 6,000 tons of sand and gravel.

    The river was at 34.7 feet Sunday, nearly 10 feet above the 25-foot flood stage - a somewhat arbitrary term the NWS defines as the point when "water surface level begins to create a hazard to lives, property or commerce" - and expected to rise another foot before cresting Monday.

    "We believe we'll have a successful conclusion," said Jo Anne Smiley, longtime mayor of the 442-resident hamlet.

    Richard Cottrell, a 64-year-old antique shop owner, was hopeful, but nervous. After two days of endless sandbagging, Cottrell thought he could rest Saturday night, but the constant beeping of heavy equipment outside and flood worries kept him up.

    "I had a rough night last night. I had an anxiety attack," he admitted.

    Many towns on smaller rivers in other states were dealing with floodwaters, too.

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has declared four more counties disaster areas, bringing the statewide number of disaster declarations to 41. Several rivers were approaching record levels there, and thousands of people have been evacuated, especially in Peoria and other communities along the Illinois River.

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spent part of the weekend surveying flood damage. He said state officials have begun assessing the scope of the damage to determine if affected communities are eligible for disaster assistance. Hundreds of people have been evacuated, and the towns of Kokomo, Tipton and Elwood were especially affected.

    In Wisconsin, several rivers were starting to fall off, but are expected to rise again with rainfall next week. Everyone from high school volunteers in jail inmates have proactively filled thousands of sandbags in the Janesville area for residents who might need them in the coming days.

    The mayor of Grand Rapids, Mich., declared a state of emergency Saturday, and the Grand River is likely to surpass its high-water mark either Sunday or Monday.

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

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Woman and Baby Rescued from China Earthquake Rubble

    YA'AN, China (AP) - Rescuers and relief teams struggled to rush supplies into the rural hills of China's Sichuan province Sunday after an earthquake left at least 180 people dead and more than 11,000 injured and prompted frightened survivors to spend a night in cars, tents and makeshift shelters.

    The earthquake Saturday morning triggered landslides that cut off roads and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county, in Sichuan's Ya'an city area, which is further south on the same fault line where a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region five years ago.

    Hardest hit were villages further up the valleys, where farmers grow rice, vegetables and corn on terraced plots. Rescuers hiked into neighboring Baoxing county after its roads were cut off, reaching it overnight, state media reported. In Longmen village, authorities said nearly all the buildings had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake.

    In the fog-covered town of Shuangli, corn farmer Zheng Xianlan said Sunday that she had rushed from the fields back to her home when the quake struck, and cried when she saw that the roof collapsed. She then spent the night outdoors on a worn sofa using a plastic raincoat for cover.

    "We don't earn much money. We don't know what we will do now," said 58-year-old Zheng, her eyes welling with tears. "The government only brought one tent for the whole village so far, but that's not enough for us."

    Along the main roads, ambulances, fire engines and military trucks piled high with supplies waited in long lines, some turning back to try other routes when roads were impassable. Rescuers were forced to dynamite boulders that had fallen across roads, and rains Saturday night slowed rescue work, state media reported.

    At the farming village of Longquan, where all the houses were damaged and some destroyed in the community of about 300 people, rescuers had arrived to collect the bodies of three dead, but had not yet provided other services as of Sunday midday, villagers said. Yang Shanqing, 37, said his father, brother and nephew were killed when their house collapsed.

    "Now we don't have any drinking water or power," Longquan villager Yang Yiyun, 58, told The Associated Press. "All we can do is wait for the government to come and help us out."

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had arrived Saturday afternoon by helicopter in Ya'an to direct rescue efforts, the government's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

    "The current priority is to save lives," Li said, after visiting hospitals, tents and climbing on a pile of rubble to view the devastation, according to Xinhua.

    Xinhua, citing the Sichuan province emergency command center, said at least 180 people were killed and 11,227 injured.

    The quake - measured by China's earthquake administration at magnitude 7.0 and by the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6 - struck shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, when many people were at home, sleeping or having breakfast.

    Tens of thousands of people moved into tents or cars, unable to return home or too afraid to go back as aftershocks continued to jolt the region. In Ya'an, residents sat in groups outside convenience stores watching the news on television sets early Sunday.

    As in most natural disasters, the government mobilized thousands of soldiers and others, sending excavators and other heavy machinery as well as tents, blankets and other emergency supplies. Two soldiers died after their vehicle slide off a road and rolled down a cliff, state media reported.

    The Chinese Red Cross said it had deployed relief teams with supplies of food, water, medicine and rescue equipment to the disaster areas.

    Lushan, where the quake struck, lies where the fertile Sichuan plain meets foothills that eventually rise to the Tibetan plateau and sits atop the Longmenshan fault. It was along the same fault line that a devastating magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12, 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead in one of the worst natural disasters to strike China in recent decades.

    "It was just like May 12," Liu Xi, a writer in Ya'an city, said via a private message on his account on the Twitter-like Weibo service. "All the home decorations fell at once, and the old house cracked."

    The official Xinhua News Agency said the well-known Bifengxia panda preserve, which is near Lushan, was not affected by the quake. Dozens of pandas were moved to Bifengxia from another preserve, Wolong, after its habitat was wrecked by the 2008 quake.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

    Updated Monday, April 22, 2013, 6:34 p.m. ET
    Michigan Flooding
    Joe Biggerstaff wades away from his mother's Konkle Drive home on the Grand River north of downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., Sunday, April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/MLive.com, Chris Clark)

    CLARKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Those fighting floods in several communities along the Mississippi River were mostly successful Sunday despite the onslaught of water, but an ominous forecast and the growing accumulation of snow in the upper Midwest tempered any feelings of victory.

    The surging Mississippi was at or near crest at several places from the Quad Cities south to near St. Louis - some reaching 10-12 feet above flood stage. Problems were plentiful: Hundreds of thousands of acres of swamped farmland as planting season approaches; three people died; roads and bridges closed, including sections of major highways like U.S. 61 in Iowa and Missouri and crossings at Quincy, Ill., and Louisiana, Mo.

    The U.S. Coast Guard said 114 barges broke loose near St. Louis on Saturday night, and four hit the Jefferson Barracks Bridge in St. Louis County. The bridge was closed about six hours for inspection but reopened around 8 a.m. Sunday. Most of the runaway barges were corralled, but at least 10 sank and two others were unaccounted for, Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty said.

    Photos: Flooding Continues Across Midwest
    Midwest FloodingTwo of the confirmed flood-related deaths occurred near the same spot in Indiana; another was in Missouri. In all three cases, vehicles were swept off the road in flash floods. High water could be responsible for two more, both in Illinois, where a decomposed body was found Thursday in an Oak Brook creek and a body was found Saturday in the Mississippi River at Cora. Investigations continue.

    The danger is far from over, as spots south of St. Louis aren't expected to crest until late this week. Significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill.

    Adding to concern is a forecast that calls for heavy rain Monday night and Tuesday throughout much of the Midwest. National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Phillipson said an inch of rain is likely in many places, some places even more. Rain is projected from Wisconsin through Missouri.

    "That's not what we want to see when we have this kind of flooding, that's for sure," Phillipson said.

    Harley-Davidson riders and bicyclists zipped through Grafton, Ill., a tourist town 40 miles north of St. Louis, many pausing to snap pictures of the swollen river.

    Floodwaters were lapping against the side of Grafton's Artisan Village, a flea market-type business for artists. Owner Marty Harp, 53, sipped a Miller Lite as he cast a wary eye to the sky.

    "If we can hold off the crest and it doesn't rain for a couple of days, it'll be OK," Harp said.

    But anxiety looms regarding the heavy snow the northern Midwest has received this month and what happens when it melts and makes its way into tributaries of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Forecasters said up to 6 inches of new snow was possible in the Black Hills area of South Dakota through Monday morning.

    Hundreds of miles to the southeast, in La Grange, Mo., Lewis County emergency management director David Keith wasn't bothered by the soggy forecast. Sandbags were holding back the murky Mississippi from La Grange City Hall, a bank and a handful of threatened homes. The water was receding.

    "What we're worried about now is all that snow melt in North and South Dakota and Minnesota," Keith said.

    AccuWeather meteorologist Alan Reppert said it may stay cold long enough up north to make for a gradual melt, giving the rivers time to thin out. Of greater concern, he said, is the Red River in North Dakota, which could see significant flooding in the coming weeks.

    Along the Mississippi, a handful of river towns are most affected by the high waters - places like Clarksville, Mo., and Grafton that have chosen against flood walls or levees.

    By Sunday, sandbagging had all but stopped in Clarksville, evidence of the confidence that the makeshift levee hurriedly erected to protect downtown would hold.

    The river was at 34.7 feet Sunday, nearly 10 feet above the 25-foot flood stage - a somewhat arbitrary term the National Weather Service defines as the point when "water surface level begins to create a hazard to lives, property or commerce" - and expected to rise another foot before cresting Monday.

    "We believe we'll have a successful conclusion," said Jo Anne Smiley, longtime mayor of the 442-resident hamlet.

    Richard Cottrell, a 64-year-old antique shop owner, was hopeful, but nervous. After two days of sandbagging, Cottrell thought he could rest Saturday night, but the constant beeping of heavy equipment outside and flood worries kept him up.

    "I had a rough night last night. I had an anxiety attack," he admitted.

    Many towns on smaller rivers in other states were dealing with floodwaters, too.

    In Indiana, high water was topping levees in the Terre Haute area. Vigo County Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director J.D. Kesler said late Sunday afternoon the barriers haven't failed yet but that some evacuations will be necessary if levees fail in the western Indiana county.

    In Grand Rapids, Mich., Mayor George Heartwell declared a state of emergency as the flooding Grand River poured into the basements of several hotels and other downtown buildings.

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn declared at least 44 counties disaster areas from flooding. The Fox River in northern Illinois reached record levels, and several record crests were possible along the Illinois River.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: Flooding Continues Across Midwest

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0


    A woman walks past a truck distributing water near a wall that collapsed onto a vehicle after an earthquake struck China's Sichuan province, Monday, April 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    LUSHAN, China (AP) - The tent village that sprang up in two days to house quake survivors in mountain-flanked Lushan is no ordinary refugee camp. China's full range of disaster response is on display: trucks with x-ray equipment, phone-charging stations, bank tellers-on-wheels - even a tent for insurance claims.

    The efforts under way Monday in mountainous Sichuan province after a quake Saturday that killed at least 188 people showed that the government has continued to hone its disaster reaction - long considered a crucial leadership test in China - since a much more devastating earthquake in 2008, also in Sichuan, and another one in 2010 in the western region of Yushu.

    "Lushan was so heavily hit and my family's house toppled. It has been such a disaster for us," said Yue Hejun, 28, as he waited to recharge his family's three mobile phones at a charging stall, volunteered by a communications company and coordinated by the government in a new addition to the arsenal of services after natural disasters. "If we can charge our phones, we are at least able to keep in touch with our family members outside and that helps to set our minds at ease."

    At a mini-clinic with two green cots in the open air and a small tent for doctors to sleep, a doctor said the government has learned the importance of fast coordination since the Yushu quake, which killed more than 2,600 people. Much of the initial relief in that disaster came from Buddhist monks and other non-government volunteers, partly because of the remoteness of much of the affected areas.

    "After 24 hours or 48 hours in Yushu, things were not so orderly or settled in," said the doctor, who like many government officials would give only her surname, Luo. "The government's quick, organized response is very important. It's no use to blindly come here and try to save people."

    Helicopters have been an obvious presence in the latest rescue efforts, used to reach outlying communities, unlike in 2008 when bad weather hampered their use in the critical first 36 hours. This time, better use of helicopters for reconnaissance - with remote sensing technology - and for the distribution of aid has allowed help to get out more quickly to where it is needed, said Teng Wuxiao, director of the Institute of Urban Public Security at Fudan University in Shanghai.

    Still, complaints were common among the survivors of the latest quake, especially in the more hard-to-reach areas. While aid was being delivered, it was not getting out to all who need it. Yue said family members in his remote mountain village had received no help with shelter and were living under tarpaulins.

    Huang Mingxian, 47, who was camped out with seven family members in a government-issued blue tent in a small public square, said the government's efforts were appreciated but that supplies were not always distributed fairly.

    "This morning is the first time in three days that we have gotten instant noodles," Huang said, waving a pair of long chopsticks she was using to stir the noodles in a wok over a gas canister-powered mobile stove. "Other areas have electricity and water, what about us?"

    Earlier Monday, about two dozen residents briefly gathered on a street corner near a camp area, shouting that they had not been given food in two days. A half-hour later, a large truck rolled up and dozens of evacuees ran up to it, jostling as the supplies were being handed out.

    The death toll in Saturday's quake - measured at magnitude 7.0 by Chinese authorities and at magnitude 6.6 by monitors in the U.S. - may continue to tick upward, with about two dozen people still missing. More than 15,000 people have been sent to hospitals, with more than 300 of them seriously injured.

    Central authorities' ability to respond to natural disasters has been seen as tests of legitimacy for centuries. Chinese emperors put state resources into controlling floods, and earthquakes and other disasters were believed to be signs that a dynasty was losing the "mandate of heaven."

    The state-run tabloid Global Times boasted in an editorial of China's communal "disaster-relief" culture, and its "more mature" response to the latest quake, comparing it favorably to those overseas. "In its ability to mobilize people and in other indicators, China's disaster relief comes ahead of the United States, Japan and other developed countries," the newspaper said.

    The Foreign Ministry said that Beijing is turning away foreign offers of assistance, saying China is capable of handling it on its own.

    In Lushan county's town, where many of the buildings are unsafe for use, the grounds of schools, hospitals, a gymnasium and other government buildings have been converted into evacuee camps. Quake survivors formed long lines in front of trucks and stalls to receive instant noodles, bottled water and other supplies.

    Beyond the bare necessities, there are also stalls for survivors to make insurance claims, a large vehicle that converts into a bank and ATM-on-wheels, and tents sponsored by Chinese telecoms companies providing numerous electrical extension cords for residents to recharge their electrical gadgets.

    High school seniors in the disaster area will be moved this week to the provincial capital, Chengdu, along with 30 teachers so that they can continue classes and take the all-important university entrance exam, the state Xinhua News Agency reported.

    As typically happens after disasters, Chinese with cars were packing them with supplies and heading to the disaster area. Anticipating traffic congestion that could hamper emergency teams, the government issued a notice Monday asking volunteers, tourists and others not trained as rescuers to stay out of the disaster area.

    However, authorities were letting motorcyclists through.

    Peng Song, 28, an outdoor equipment retailer who biked to Lushan from the provincial capital of Chengdu, had his motorcycle packed with tents and bottled water and was riding with 14 other bikers-turned-volunteers out to remote communities.

    "Those in the disaster area need help. We just want to offer a hand to them, that's all," Peng said.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0



    As April comes to an end and the United States surges deeper and deeper into spring, average temperatures in even the coldest spots will rise above the freezing mark. However, yet another surge of cold air into early this week will make winter coats a necessity across the northern Rockies and Plains states.

    A strong dip in the jet stream will work in tandem with a cold front near the surface to send a pool of dry, arctic air across much of the western half of the country early in the week. The air mass, originating from the Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada, is arriving across Montana and North Dakota currently before pushing south into Colorado and Minnesota on Monday and as far south as northern Texas on Tuesday.

    Within the heart of the cold air, mean temperatures will reach values of 20 degrees or more below seasonal averages. To put that into perspective, many locations from Great Falls, Mont., to Dodge City, Kan., will experience temperatures much more common of late January or early February than the end of April.

    Precipitation will accompany the leading edge of the cold air, and several inches of snow are also likely to fall from Montana and Wyoming into tonight before expanding eastward into western portions of the Dakotas, Nebraska and northern Colorado on Monday and Tuesday.

    Fortunately, storm total snow accumulations with this cold front are not expected to be as high as those of the most recent storm system which was responsible for close to a foot of snow from Cheyenne and Casper, Wyo., to areas just west of Denver, Colo.

    The cold air will modify a bit on Wednesday and Thursday as the air mass expands south and east, but temperature departures greater than 10 degrees below normal will still be possible as far south as Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday and as far east as Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday as the cold front speeds towards the Great Lakes.

    Winds aloft in the atmosphere will shift from the northwest to the west as the week progresses, allowing temperatures to moderate back to near average late-April warmth by the weekend.

    For more weather news, visit AccuWeather.com.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 22 People More Sick of Winter Than You Are

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0


    (AP Photo)

    April means temperatures rise, rain replaces snow and all kinds of living creatures begin to emerge.

    17-Year Cicadas

    It is once again time for the 17-year cicadas to emerge from the ground. "The cicadas will emerge in the beginning of May where there is rich, moist soil," said Greg Hoover Senior Extension Associate Ornamental Entomologist at Pennsylvania State University.

    Once they emerge as nymphs, they will feed on phylum cells on the roots of trees until they develop into adults capable of mating, Hoover said.

    These are the offspring of cicadas that emerged in 1996. They will make their way up from deep below the ground when the soil temperature reaches about 64.5 degrees at least 8 inches down. "Thermal soil temperature is one of the things that trigger their emergence, along with a gentle to moderate rainfall," said Hoover.

    These cicadas are of the genus Magiciada. They are periodical cicadas from Brood II, according to cicada researcher Dan Mozgai. Mozgai runs the cicadiamania website.

    Mozgai first became interested in cicadas following the emergence of Brood II in 1996. He has been researching the 17- and 13-year cicadas ever since.

    They can be recognized by their red eyes, black bodies and orange wing veins. The cicadas will appear in the states of Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

    "Once the cicadas emerge, they only have a lifespan of two to three weeks," Mozgai said. Lives of cicadas can be shortened by the effects of wind and rain on their bodies. Those whose bodies are deformed by the weather won't live as long as the ones who develop normally, he said.

    Mature cicadas will mate and the female will make a slit in a tree branch and lay her eggs inside. This can be damaging to young trees. Homeowners can protect their small trees by placing garden netting over them. Foil wrapped around tree trunks can also keep the cicadas from climbing up the tree.

    "Larger trees may experience some dead branches due to the cicadas," Mozgai said. "But they are generally strong enough to survive with a few dead branches."

    After a few weeks filled with the sound of cicadas in all the trees, they will die and it will be 17 more years before brood II will be seen again.

    RELATED:
    Can Ants Predict When an Earthquake Will Strike?
    Why Do Earthworms Surface After Rain?
    Migrating Monarchs Face Hazardous Travel


    Earthworms

    After a hard rain, it is not uncommon to see earthworms in the streets and on the sidewalks. There are a few different theories as to why this occurs. The common thought was that worms escaped to the surface to avoid drowning in their water-filled holes following a heavy rain.

    Now, a few other ideas about their after-rain appearance have surfaced. Migration is a possibility. Dr. Chris Lowe, lecturer in waste and environmental management at University of Central Lancashire in Preston, United Kingdom, told AccuWeather staff writer Samantha-Rae Tuthill, "It gives them an opportunity to move greater distances across the soil surface than they could do through soil. They cannot do this when it is dry because of their moisture requirements."

    Professor Josef Gorres of the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science told Tuthill that it's possible they surface due to the vibration the rain makes as it hits the ground. The vibrations could be similar to vibrations made by moles. This could cause the worms to flee to the surface to avoid being eaten.

    Spring Peepers

    Another sure sign of spring is the sound of spring peepers chirping away in ponds, lakes and streams.

    These tiny frogs can make a lot of noise as the males call out in search of a mate. Then 800 to 1,000 eggs are laid singly or in small clusters on a stick or vegetation that is submerged in water. The eggs hatch in three to five days. They mature and the frogs go into a partly frozen hibernation until spring, according to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History website.

    Each spring, when the weather warms, the peepers call out and the mating begins again.

    RELATED ON SKYE: World's Freakiest Bugs

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0


    (Getty Images)

    It's a day to celebrate the most famous mother of all: Mother Earth. Monday, April 22, marks the 43rd Earth Day, with more than 1 billion people in 192 countries expected to participate in activities this year.

    Though Earth Day is mainstream now, its roots go back to the radical 1960s. So as people break ground for a tree planting or take a few hours to recycle their old laptops, LiveScience looks back at the role Earth Day played in environmental change. From its hippie roots to its global reach, here are five fun facts about Earth Day.

    1. Green roots

    Earth Day got its start in the wake of the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s. After visiting the site of an oil spill near Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969, Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democrat, envisioned a way to mobilize a grassroots movement to raise the profile of environmental issues, modeled after Vietnam War teach-ins. His idea spread and people held rallies in cities throughout the country on April 22, 1970. [SOS! The 10 Worst Oil Spills]

    2. Political impact

    Though Earth Day may now be synonymous with small-scale tree planting and volunteer cleanup projects, the first Earth Day actually had its sights set on bigger political projects. Earth Day demonstrations created public support for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, authorized by Congress in December 1970. Earth Day also contributed to the passage of the Clean Water, Clean Air and Endangered Species acts.

    3. Equinox day

    There are actually two Earth Days - the April 22 holiday and the one celebrated on March 20, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in southern latitudes. To this day, at the exact moment of the equinox, when the sun crosses the plane of the equator and day and night are equal length, the Japanese Peace Bell is rung at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, followed by two minutes of silent prayer or meditation. The Equinox was chosen as a symbol of harmony in nature and an appropriate time to dedicate efforts to peace and care of the Earth.

    4. Global Movement

    Earth Day may have been conceived in 1970, but it didn't truly go global until 1990. That year, more than 200 million people participated in environmental activities in more than 141 countries. This year, more than 1 billion people are expected to participate in 192 countries.

    5. Other holidays

    Nelson originally chose April 22 because it didn't seem to coincide with other big holidays in the United States. However, the date was once a big deal in the Communist Soviet Union: it was also the birthday of Vladimir Lenin.

    Follow Tia Ghose on Twitter @tiaghose. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

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

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: The Breathtaking Black Marble

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


    0 0

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


older | 1 | .... | 75 | 76 | (Page 77) | 78 | 79 | .... | 204 | newer