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    The continuation of rain and thunderstorms in the Southeast will result in areas of flooding heading into the weekend.

    The areas that will be at greatest risk of flooding will be northern Florida and southern Georgia.

    This flooding rain is due to an area of low pressure that will slowly make its way across south-central Florida over the next few days.

    The slow progression of this low pressure system will allow rain and thunderstorms to continue over the same area through Friday and into the weekend.

    According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jeff Rafach, "The greatest threat of flooding will be along the I-10 corridor east of Tallahassee. The heaviest rain will fall on Friday as a slow-moving band of rain pushes northward; however, wet and unsettled conditions will persist into Saturday."

    Storms, Flooding Along Gulf Coast This Week
    Renewed Flooding Potential Into the Weekend
    Downpours, Thunder Possible for the Kentucky Derby

    Low-lying areas and along creeks and streams will be most prone to flooding.

    Heavy downpours may lead to travel delays, slowing traffic due to slick roadways and reducing visibility.

    Rain and thunderstorms may also cause delays at this weekends NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Ala.

    Not only will this system bring flooding rains to the Southeast, but breezy conditions along the coast will result in a rough surf and rip currents. Rip currents and rough surfs will stretch from the southern beaches of South Carolina to just north of Miami.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos


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    (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)

    There is a risk of drenching downpours and a locally strong thunderstorm for the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2013.

    The race, called "the fastest two minutes," is one and one quarter mile long. Only 3-year-old thoroughbreds can compete in the race.

    Leading up to Saturday's race, the high temperature will be 82 degrees F on Friday.

    "A storm system will produce thundery rains over much of Illinois and Missouri Friday into Saturday," said AccuWeather expert senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "Drenching downpours will be drifting slowly eastward across Kentucky and Indiana during the day Saturday."

    Annually, 100,000 people or more attend the race at Churchill Downs. Spectators attending this year's race may want to bring umbrellas and waterproof shoes. Seek shelter in a secure building in the event of a thunderstorm. If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning.

    Storms, Flooding Along Gulf Coast This Week
    Renewed Flooding Potential Into the Weekend

    It will be cooler on Saturday with temperatures reaching 72 degrees F.

    "The weather will be unsettled with clouds and an increasing chance for shower and thunderstorm activity," said expert senior meteorologist Carl Erickson.

    For more weather news, visit AccuWeather.com.

    TAKE THE SKYE QUIZ: Can You Identify These 10 Cities?
    New Orleans from Space


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    The Solar Impulse plane is pictured here on a flight over San Francisco, Calif. (Credit: Solar Impulse)

    A solar-powered airplane is poised to depart on a historic coast-to-coast flight across the United States Friday (May 3), in a bold attempt to fly across the country without using a single drop of fuel.

    The Swiss-made plane, called Solar Impulse, will depart San Francisco, Calif., on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. EDT (6:00 a.m. PDT) for Phoenix, Ariz., on the first leg of its cross-country journey. The plane is expected to fly at a cruising altitude of 21,000 feet (6,400 meters), and will touch down at Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport on Saturday (May 4) at 4:00 a.m. EDT (1:00 a.m. PDT).

    While the details of Friday's flight have been planned, local weather conditions may postpone the take-off or alter the plane's route, company officials said.

    Solar Impulse founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will alternate piloting the single-seater plane over the five legs of the journey.

    In mid-May, the ultra-lightweight plane will begin the second leg of its trip, taking off in Phoenix and landing in Dallas, Texas. Toward the end of May, Solar Impulse will depart for St. Louis, Mo.; the fourth leg will take the plane from St. Louis to Washington, D.C.; and the fifth and last leg will end in New York City in late June or early July. [Images: Cross-Country Flight in a Solar-Powered Plane]

    Each leg of the expedition will be streamed live on Solar Impulse's website. The live feed will feature information on the airplane's position, altitude and speed, as well as camera views from inside the cockpit and Solar Impulse's mission control center.

    Solar Impulse, which receives power from solar panels and onboard batteries, is the first aircraft capable of flying day and night without using any fuel, according to company officials. The aircraft weighs about the same as a station wagon, and its solar panel-covered wings stretch about as long as a 747 jetliner. The solar-powered plane generates roughly the same amount of power as a small scooter, company officials have said.

    The unprecedented coast-to-coast flight is designed to demonstrate the potential for "clean technologies" as viable and efficient sources of renewable energy.

    While commercial flights aboard solar-powered airplanes may still be decades into the future, the Solar Impulse journey may one day serve as a model for sustainable air travel.

    The coast-to-coast expedition will also launch an initiative called "Clean Generation," which aims to promote the use of clean technologies around the globe. The program seeks to "encourage governments, businesses and decision-makers to push for the adoption of clean technologies and sustainable energy solutions," Solar Impulse officials said in a statement.

    Other supporters of the Clean Generation Initiative include Hollywood director James Cameron, former Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, environmentalist and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson.

    These and other supporters of the initiative will be able to add their names to a list that will be carried in the cockpit of the Solar Impulse plane, signifying them as virtual passengers on the journey. In the stopover cities throughout the trip, more names will be added, company officials said.

    In 2010, the Solar Impulse plane successfully completed a 26-hour overnight flight, followed by a flight from Switzerland to Morocco in 2012. Solar Impulse's founders eventually plan to circumnavigate the world in the solar-powered plane.

    Follow Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. 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.


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    (Source: www.bellinghamchristianschool.org)

    SEATTLE (AP) - In a sun-deprived part of Washington state, the promise of nice spring weather prompted a small private school to give students a day off to enjoy the sunshine.

    Friday was a "sun day" of sorts for the 205 students at Bellingham Christian School, a small, private, nondenominational Christian school in Bellingham, Wash., about 90 miles north of Seattle.

    "SCHOOL CANCELLED DUE TO GREAT WEATHER! WAHOOO!" the school's website announced Thursday night. "Yeah! It's a Sun Day today and everyone gets the day off from school."

    Principal Bob Sampson said he wanted to give students some time to re-energize and enjoy the weather, adding that he wanted to re-create the excitement snow days get among the kids. He began teasing the possibility of giving the day off earlier in the week.

    "In a world that's got a lot hard things going, it's fun to create a moment of joy," Sampson said.

    The forecast for Western Washington called for a weekend of sunshine, with highs hitting the low 80s in some parts of the region on Sunday.

    The sun day was also made possible because there weren't any days off because of snow this school year.

    "Kids just love the anticipation of sitting around see if school is canceled when it snows," he said. "You know, we haven't had any snow days, so I thought 'how fun would it be to create that anticipation for kids when it's nice out?'"


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    Hundreds Flee Raging California Fires
    Updated 6:16 p.m. EDT, Saturday, May 4, 2013
    CAMARILLO, California (AP) - A big cool-down in weather calmed a huge wildfire burning in Southern California coastal mountains Saturday, and firefighters worked to cut miles of containment lines while conditions were favorable.

    High winds and withering hot, dry air were replaced by the normal flow of damp air off the Pacific, significantly reducing fire activity.

    "The fire isn't really running and gunning," said Tom Kruschke, a Ventura County Fire Department spokesman.

    The 43-square-mile blaze at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains was 30 percent contained.

    Despite the favorable conditions, evacuation orders remained in place for residents in several areas.

    Nearly 1,900 firefighters using engines, bulldozers and aircraft worked to corral the blaze.

    Firefighting efforts were focused on the fire's east side, rugged canyons that are a mix of public and private lands, Kruschke said.

    The National Weather Service said an approaching low pressure system would bring a 20 percent chance of showers Sunday afternoon, with the likelihood increasing into the night and on Monday.

    "Anything we get is going to help us," Kruschke said.

    The change in the weather was also expected to bring gusty winds to some parts of Southern California, but well away from the fire area.

    Despite its size and speed of growth, the fire that broke out Thursday and quickly moved through neighborhoods of Camarillo Springs and Thousand Oaks has caused damage to just 15 homes, though it has threatened thousands.

    The fire also swept through Point Mugu State Park, a hiking and camping area that sprawls between those communities and the ocean. Park district Superintendent Craig Sap told the Ventura County Star that two old, unused ranch-style homes in the backcountry burned. Restrooms and campgrounds also were damaged.

    The only injuries as of Saturday were a civilian and a firefighter involved in a traffic accident away from the fire.

    On Friday, the wildfire reached the ocean, jumped the Pacific Coast Highway and burned a Navy base rifle range on the beach at Point Mugu. When winds reversed direction from offshore to onshore, the fire stormed back up canyons toward inland neighborhoods.

    The blaze is one of more than 680 wildfires in the state so far this year - about 200 more than average.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Images of the California Wildfire


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    Snow Forces Bride to Change Wedding Plans
    A Kansas City-area bride had planned to get married at a rose garden in a park this weekend - but a sudden onset of winter weather is forcing her to make other plans.


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    Soaking rain will continue its slow journey across the South through Monday, ruining outdoor plans and heightening concerns for flash flooding.

    The steadiest rain through tonight will remain centered on areas from Georgia to central Kentucky, neighboring Indiana and central Illinois.

    The rain will then slowly pivot to the northeast Sunday through Monday, spreading across the Carolinas and the eastern Tennessee Valley.

    Cities that are or will soon be in the path of this soaker include Augusta and Atlanta, Ga., Chattanooga, Tenn., Bowling Green, Ky., Greenville and Columbia, S.C., and Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.

    There is concern that the rain will pour down heavy enough to spark some incidents of flash flooding through Monday.

    That is especially true in low-lying and poor drainage areas, as well as along the eastern slopes of the southern Appalachians and from northern Georgia to central Kentucky where the rain will total 2 to 4 inches.

    Even where flooding does not result, residents and visitors can expect slow travel and spoiled outdoor plans--evident already when the rain band interfered with NASCAR festivities at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this weekend.

    South Regional Radar
    Rain at Talladega Impacts NASCAR
    Arkansas' First Ever Occurrence of Snow in May

    Disruptions from the weather could also continue after the steadier rain's passage with spottier showers and thunderstorms, not dry weather, following in its footsteps.

    It is not just umbrellas that those across the South will continue to pull out of the closet through Monday, but also jackets as the rain and accompanying clouds are holding temperatures significantly below typical early May highs.

    Highs will be held to the 60s--even the 50s in some areas--from the Carolinas to the lower Mississippi Valley on Sunday. Highs in the 70s and lower 80s are more common this time of year.

    It is not just flash flooding that AccuWeather.com meteorologists are concerned about across the South, but also river flooding across the lower and mid-Mississippi River basins.

    Temperatures will rebound some for Monday, but will still be held to the 60s in Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville and Montgomery.

    Further warming will occur on Tuesday when the storm delivering the rain begins to press across the Northeast, ending the current stretch of dry and sunny weather.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos


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    Tornado Tears Across Northern ItalyAmateur videographers captured dramatic footage of a tornado tearing through Italy's Emilia Romagna region on Friday, whipping debris into the air and damaging buildings. Twelve people were injured and numerous fields destroyed. The twister seemed to settle over the small village of Bentivoglio, where the mayor has compared the damage to an earthquake. With dozens of homes damaged, the governor of Emilia Romagna has asked the central government to declare a state of emergency.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 18 Incredible Photos of Tornadoes


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    Carlos Cervantes, 3, left, wears a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) at Children's Hospital Central California in Madera, Calif. This is the third visit for Carlos, who was diagnosed with Valley fever. (AP Photo/The Fresno Bee, Eric Paul Zamora)

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - California and federal public health officials say valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease infecting more and more people around the nation, has been on the rise as warming climates and drought have kicked up the dust that spreads it.

    The fever has hit California's agricultural heartland particularly hard in recent years, with incidence dramatically increasing in 2010 and 2011. The disease - which is prevalent in arid regions of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America - can be contracted by simply breathing in fungus-laced spores from dust disturbed by wind as well as human or animal activity.

    The fungus is sensitive to environmental changes, experts say, and a hotter, drier climate has increased dust carrying the spores.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 20 Surprising Ways to Survive a Heatwave

    Surprising Ways to Survive a Heatwave"Research has shown that when soil is dry and it is windy, more spores are likely to become airborne in endemic areas," said Dr. Gil Chavez, Deputy Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health.

    Longstanding concerns about valley fever were heightened last week when a federal health official ordered the transfer of more than 3,000 exceptionally vulnerable inmates from two San Joaquin Valley prisons where several dozen have died of the disease in recent years. A day later, state officials began investigating an outbreak in February that sickened 28 workers at two solar power plants under construction in San Luis Obispo County.

    Although millions of residents in Central California face the threat of valley fever, experts say people who work in dusty fields or construction sites are most at risk, as are certain ethnic groups and those with weak immune systems. Newcomers and visitors passing through the region may also be more susceptible.

    Nationwide, the number of valley fever cases rose by more than 850 percent from 1998 through 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, there were nearly 22,000 cases, with most cases reported in California and Arizona.

    In California, according to the CDC, valley fever cases rose from about 700 in 1998 to more than 5,500 cases reported in 2011. The disease has seen the sharpest rise in Kern County, followed by Kings and Fresno counties.

    Out of the 18,776 California cases between 2001 and 2008, 265 people died, according to the state health department.

    Arizona saw an even steeper rise: The number of reported cases there went from 1,400 in 1998 to 16,400 in 2011, with the highest rates of infection occurring in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties.

    Drought periods can have an especially potent impact on valley fever if they follow periods of rain, said Prof. John Galgiani, director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona. Rainfall leads to fungus bloom, but limits dust.

    "When it dries up, that's when the fungus goes into the air," Galgiani said. "So when there is rain a year or two earlier, that creates more cases if drought follows."

    Another reason for the increase in cases, Galgiani said, is new residents, who are more susceptible to the disease, relocating to areas with the spores.

    In addition, the CDC and the California Department of Public Health say improved reporting methods and better diagnosis also partially explain the increase in valley fever.

    Despite that, an estimated 150,000 valley fever infections go undiagnosed every year, the CDC says. That's because valley fever is difficult to detect and there's little awareness of the disease, experts say. The fever often causes mild to severe flu-like symptoms, and in about half the infections, the fungus - called Coccidioides - results in no symptoms.

    But in a small percent of cases, the infection can spread from the lungs to the brain, bones, skin, even eyes, leading to blindness, skin abscesses, lung failure, even death.

    "Valley fever is a very common problem here, and it devastates people's lives," said Dr. Royce Johnson, professor of medicine at UCLA and chief of infectious diseases at Kern Medical Center. "But many patients don't know about it, and some physicians are only vaguely aware of it because half of our physicians come from out of state."

    Dale Pulde, a motorcycle mechanic in Los Angeles County, said he contracted the disease three years ago after traveling to Bakersfield in Kern County and was coughing so hard he was blacking out; he spit blood and couldn't catch his breath. For two months, doctors tested him for everything from tuberculosis to cancer until blood tests confirmed he had the fever.

    After two lung operations, Pulde gave up his job and is on disability. He says he has to take anti-fungal medication that costs him more than $2,000 per month out of pocket. He had to sell his house in Sylmar, Calif., to raise money for his treatment.

    "When I found out that health officials knew about (this disease) and how common it is, I was beside myself," said Pulde, now 63. "Why don't they tell people?"

    California public health officials say they are working to educate and train the public and doctors to recognize the illness.

    The state has trained county health departments about the fungus, Chavez said. It has also included information on valley fever in a newsletter the California Medical Board sends to the state's licensed physicians. The CDPH website and social media feature information and data about the disease, including advice to limit outdoor activities on dry, windy days.

    As prison officials gear up to move inmates from the endemic areas, doctors and patients say more needs to be done, including funding research to work on a cure.

    "If the state is so concerned about prisoners, they should be worrying about all of us who live and work in the valley," said Kathy Uhley, a former realtor from Los Banos who contracted the fever last year.

    RELATED ON SKYE: 7 Surprising Health Effects of Drought


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    Updated Monday, May 6, 11:40 a.m. ET

    A firefighter from Stockton, Calif., gets into position to put out flames off of Hidden Valley Rd. while fighting a wildfire, Friday, May 3, 2013, in Hidden Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Mel Melcon)

    CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters building containment lines around a huge Southern California wildfire struggled in muddy and slippery conditions as rain moved in Monday.

    Ventura County Fire spokesman Tony McHale said the wet weather significantly reduced fire activity but also caused crews to work more slowly and methodically on steep rain-slicked hillsides. The blaze was 80 percent contained. Officials expect full containment late Tuesday.

    Investigators ruled out arson as the cause of the fire that charred 44 square miles at the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains. Instead, they believed it was started by a small, "undetermined roadside ignition of grass and debris" on the edge of U.S. 101 near Thousand Oaks, said Tom Piranio, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

    The area near an uphill incline is considered a collection point for fuel and ignition sources, and it's possible a piece of debris fell into the tinder-dry brush early Thursday and sparked the fire, Piranio said.

    "The topography plus the hot, windy weather created a perfect storm for the fire to spread fast," he said.

    At its peak, the fire threatened some 4,000 homes as it moved through neighborhoods of Camarillo Springs and Thousand Oaks. It damaged 15 homes.

    The blaze was one of more than 680 wildfires in the state so far this year - about 200 more than average.

    East of Los Angeles in Riverside County, a fire that burned 510 acres south of Banning was fully contained Sunday.

    In Northern California, a fire that has blackened 11 square miles of wilderness in Tehama County was a threat to a pair of commercial properties near the community of Butte Meadows, according to Cal Fire.

    Thunderstorms were expected to bring erratic winds but little rain to the area about 200 miles north of San Francisco.

    Nearly 1,300 firefighters were on the lines and the blaze, which started Wednesday, was 60 percent contained.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Images of the California Wildfire


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    In this April 30, 2013, photo, United States Geological Survey hydrologist Dan Thomas uses a laptop computer to compile results from a sonar device that measures stream flow speed and depth of the Red River in Fargo, N.D. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack)

    FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Perched in a boat drifting slowly along the Red River, Dan Thomas kept one eye on a laptop and the other on a $60,000 piece of floating hardware that beamed sound waves deep into the flooding river. As the signal bounced off water molecules and returned, the laptop sorted it into data on the river's depth and speed and transmitted it instantly to the National Weather Service.

    Once there, the work by the U.S. Geological Survey's water expert became part of the data stew the weather service relies upon to regularly update crest projections for rivers like the Red, which rose again this spring to briefly threaten Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn. And the complexity of the science was never more evident than this year, when an early forecast of 40 feet prompted costly sandbagging only to be repeatedly revised downward until the Red barely broke a harmless 33 feet.

    The apparent false alarm irritated some residents who questioned why the city spent $2 million preparing for the flood that wasn't. And that irritated Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, who has sparred with the weather service himself in the past.

    "They all become experts," Walaker said. "You can't believe how many times I get stopped throughout the day by people who tell me the water is not going to get to a certain level."

    Greg Gust, the weather service's warning coordination meteorologist in Grand Forks, acknowledged the agency had heard criticism of its projections for Fargo. He said it is constantly studying ways to improve its performance, but will always have limitations.

    "Many times the weather service is being asked to do the impossible," Gust said. "We're being asked to forecast an unknown situation out into the future. We don't have a perfect knowledge what's going on today in the system, and yet we're supposed to be able to forecast some unknown point in the future where clearly we have no knowledge.

    "That said, that's the task of a forecaster."

    Flood fights have become routine on the Red River at Fargo, but this one came nearly a month later than ever before due to winter conditions that refused to loosen their grip.

    "We don't have anything to go on when these things go on so late," Steve Buan, a weather service hydrologist who works on river forecasts in the region, lamented as the Red was rising.

    Flood forecasting in this part of the continent starts with models for determining how much snow is on the ground. Observers record every snowfall. But it's even more important to figure out how much water is in that snowpack, which requires melting samples. It can also be done by going airborne to measure the natural radiation coming from the soil - a factor affected by the water in the snowpack.

    Next up is more modeling on what will happen when the snow melts, which includes a dizzying number of variables. Is the ground frozen? How deep? How much moisture is in the soil?

    Months of drought worked in Fargo's favor this year. So did a freeze-thaw cycle that melted snow and warmed the soil during the day - giving runoff a place to go - and then slowed or stopped the melting overnight.

    Weather service hydrologists get data on snow depth, water content, frost depths and soil moisture levels from many different sources, including their network of observers. That network has been bolstered in the Red River Valley over the last couple years by several high schools and middle schools participating in the River Watch program of the Fargo-based International Water Institute.

    The students melt snow samples to see how much water is in their local snowpack, institute director Chuck Fritz said. They use frost tubes placed in the ground that contain chemicals that change color to show how deep the frost goes. And they use infiltration rings to measure how fast the ground can absorb water.

    Wayne Goeken, a monitoring and education specialist with the institute, explained how infiltration rings work. They drive a 10-inch ring of PVC pipe about 2 inches into the ground in the fall. Then when the ground starts to thaw in the spring, students pour 4 inches of water into the ring and use a ruler to measure at one minute, three minutes, five minutes and longer intervals whether and how fast the water soaks into the ground. Then the schools feed that data to the weather service.

    Forecasters run actual and predicted rainfall through their models, Buan said. They use more modeling tools for how the water will flow downstream. And they have to take into account potential changes in how much water is held back in reservoirs, such as Lake Traverse at the southern end of the Red River watershed.

    Once forecasters have an idea of how much water is coming, their models also tell them about the relationship between the projected stream flows and how high the river will be at any given flow rate, which ultimately helps them predict how high the river will rise.

    Most of those broad principles hold true for most river systems, Buan said. Perhaps the biggest difference between forecasting the Red and more southerly systems like the Mississippi's is the need to account for frost in the ground in northern states and how it affects runoff rates, he said. The different topography is also a factor. The Red River Valley has almost no slope; the Mississippi has considerably more.

    Predicting flooding on the East and West Coasts is a bit different from the nation's midsection, he said. The Mississippi River watershed drains most of the country between the Appalachians and the Rockies, so floods in it tend to last longer. Eastern watersheds tend to be smaller and steeper so the floods come up quickly and fall quickly. Western rivers are often heavily dammed.

    Thomas, the USGS hydrologist who was working on the Red earlier this week, said he finds the work fascinating.

    "To me, just to see how deep the river is and how fast it is flowing is interesting," Thomas said.

    And Goerken said he reminds students that what they're doing isn't just an academic exercise.

    "Maybe you can't be there laying sandbags in Fargo, but this is a valuable contribution to the flood fight, too, so people know what's coming their way," he said.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos


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    (AP Photo)

    The Northeast is being treated to a prolonged stretch of dry and sunny weather, but the sunglasses being used this past weekend will soon have to be traded in for umbrellas.

    The storm that brought historic snow to the the nation's midsection will finally reach the Northeast this week, once the high pressure responsible for the current dry spell breaks down.

    Once the door opens for the storm's arrival, residents do not have to worry about dusting off snow blowers and shovels. The air will be too warm for any snow to fall.

    Instead, umbrellas will have to be taken out of the closet with rain showers set to slowly spread northward.

    The showers are expected to reach Washington, D.C., Monday afternoon, Philadelphia, Pa., and Trenton, N.J., by Tuesday, Albany, N.Y., and Boston, Mass., on Wednesday and Burlington, Vt., and Bangor, Maine, on Thursday.

    While widespread downpours causing flash flooding are not anticipated, residents and visitors across the Northeast are more likely to face spoiled outdoor plans due to the showers.

    The showers should actually be viewed as beneficial with the percentage of places turning abnormally dry increasing, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

    That percentage in the corridor from West Virginia to Maine rose from nearly 19 percent on April 23 to 31 percent when the U.S. Drought Monitor released its most recent report on April 30.

    The good news is that this summer as a whole is not expected to yield below-normal rainfall across the Northeast, according to the AccuWeather.com Long Range Forecast Department.

    Forecast Temperature Maps
    Elliot Abrams: Northeast Weather Blog
    AccuWeather.com's 2013 Summer Forecast

    The opposite will actually take place from Philadelphia southward with above-normal rainfall in the forecast for June through August due to a higher frequency of showers and thunderstorms.

    "The warmest and driest part of the summer from upstate New York to interior New England is likely to be June into part of July," stated AccuWeather.com expert senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    The weather pattern across this region will begin to change during the second half of the summer, resulting in more showers and thunderstorms and causing the summer to end with near-normal rainfall totals.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos


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    A stubborn upper-level low pressure system will bring cooler, unsettled weather to California early this week while dotting the Great Basin with showers and thunderstorms through midweek.

    This low pressure center or pocket of cool air aloft, currently spinning just west of San Francisco, has already brought a bout cooler air into Southern California.

    That is more welcome news for firefighters who are currently in the process of containing the Springs fire.

    This system will slide onshore over central California on Monday, causing showers and thunderstorms to bubble up from the Central Valley through the Sierras and into the Great Basin.

    Afternoon thunderstorms can spoil outdoor activities across Reno, Salt Lake City, Boise and Eureka.

    Showers will fall as far south as Los Angeles and San Diego and there could also be a rumble or two of thunder in those areas thanks to all the cold air aloft.

    The shower and thunderstorm threat will be greatest during the afternoon and evening hours with some daytime heating helping to stir the atmosphere.

    Heading into Tuesday, drier air is expected to move across coastal California with the better chance for thunderstorms shifting into the Intermountain West.

    Denver, Colorado Springs and Cheyenne could get in on the thunderstorm activity by Tuesday afternoon.

    As this pocket of cold air slides eastward it will keep unsettled weather in place over the Intermountain West through Wednesday and Thursday. While it certainly won't rain all the time, residents and vacationers will want to keep an eye to the sky.

    Have a backup plan in case thunderstorms threaten and make sure there is a sheltered, indoor location nearby.

    While a lot of the Intermountain West is suffering from severe to extreme drought, the scattered rains will be welcome news. However, if the downpours are heavy enough, flash flooding could occur as the water will just run off of the very dry grounds.

    This system will eventually move out into the southern Plains late this week, with a new round of severe weather expected across parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

    AccuWeather.com will have more information on the late week severe weather over the next few days.

    Check out the AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center for the latest watches and warnings for your area.

    PHOTOS ON SKYE: 50 Must-See Weather Photos


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    This image provided by the Arts Council of New Orleans shows a design of a sculpture that will be placed at 17 key points around the city of New Orleans, marking evacuation points where people who need transportation out of town can gather when hurricanes threaten. (AP Photo/Arts Council of New Orleans)

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) - More than a dozen sculptures that will be used to call attention to evacuation points around New Orleans are arriving in the city.

    The statues are simple larger-than-life stick figures that appear as though they are poised to hail a bus. They're being unloaded Monday and will later be installed at 17 pickup points for New Orleans residents who need transportation out of town when a hurricane evacuation is ordered.

    They were designed by Boston artist Douglas Kornfeld who was selected for the work by the Arts Council of New Orleans. That group is working with Evacuteer.org, an organization that coordinates volunteers who help with the massive evacuation effort that accompanies a hurricane threat.


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    In this May 12, 1959, photo, Ernest Hemingway, left, speaks with actors Alec Guinness, center, and Noel Coward in Sloppy Joe's Bar during the making of Sir Carol Reed's film version of "Our Man in Havana," in Havana, Cuba. (AP file photo)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - A new partnership will allow U.S. scholars and the public to get a fuller view of the trove of books and records Ernest Hemingway left at his home in Cuba where he wrote some of his most famous works.

    Cuba and a private U.S. foundation are working together to preserve more of the novelist's papers and belongings that have been kept at his home near Havana since he died in 1961. On Monday at the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts and the Boston-based Finca Vigia Foundation are scheduled to announce the digitization of 2,000 Hemingway papers and materials. The digital copies will be transferred to Boston's John F. Kennedy Library.

    This is the first time anyone in the U.S. has been able to examine these items from the writer's Cuban estate, Finca Vigia. The records include passports showing Hemingway's travels and letters commenting on such works as his 1954 Nobel Prize-winning "The Old Man and the Sea."

    Jenny Phillips, the granddaughter of Hemingway's editor, Maxwell Perkins, founded the Finca Vigia Foundation in 2004 after a visit to Havana. She saw Hemingway's home falling into disrepair and became aware of the many records kept in a damp basement at the estate. She worked to get permission from the U.S. Treasury and State departments to send conservators and archivists to Cuba to help save the literary records.

    "This is the flotsam and jetsam of a writer's life - it's his life and his work," Phillips said. "All these bits and pieces get assembled in a big puzzle."

    The newly digitized files include letters from Hemingway to the actress Ingrid Bergman, letters to his wife Mary, passports documenting his travels and bar bills, grocery lists and notations of hurricane sightings. It does not include any manuscripts.

    An earlier digitization effort that opened 3,000 Hemingway files in 2008 uncovered fragments of manuscripts, including an alternate ending to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and corrected proofs of "The Old Man and the Sea."

    Restoration work continues at Hemingway's Finca Vigia estate in Cuba. A new building is being constructed with library-quality atmospheric controls to house the writer's books and original records.

    "Scholars have been trying for years to see what's there, and because of the political situation between the two countries, the Cubans held on very fast to what they had there," said Phillips, who spent time negotiating on both the Cuban and American sides to gain access to the Hemingway collection. "I think this is an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind collaboration between the two countries."

    McGovern, an advocate of normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba, has called the collaboration over Hemingway historic. In 2009, he said it was "a turning point toward a more rational, mature relationship."

    The Kennedy Library holds a large Hemingway collection of more than 100,000 pages of writings and 10,000 photographs because Jacqueline Kennedy helped arrange a place for the items. Hemingway's wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway, returned to Cuba in 1961, after the writer's death, hoping to retrieve his belongings. Because of Fidel Castro's rise to power, President John F. Kennedy helped arrange for her visit to take Hemingway's possessions back to the United States.

    Mary Hemingway took at boatload of materials back to the U.S., burned some records deemed sensitive and left thousands of other volumes and documents at the home near Havana.


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