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SKYE on AOL
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    Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    (Photo/Twitter User Jimmy Baker)

    A dangerous tornado situation unfolded near Indianapolis this afternoon after a destructive tornado touched down in the area.

    Parts of Indiana and Ohio should remain on alert for isolated tornadoes throughout the afternoon and evening hours.

    (Instagram Video/ Shane Stevenson)

    Around 2:30 p.m. EDT, reports came in of a large and extremely dangerous tornado southwest of the city. The Hendricks County Emergency Management Agency reported damage to three homes in a story reported by the Associated Press.

    The threat of isolated tornadoes will remain throughout the afternoon and evening for central and eastern Indiana and western and northern Ohio closer to the evening hours, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    As of 5:27 p.m. EDT Indianapolis Power & Light reported nearly 1,000 customers remained without power.


    (Instagram Photo/James Boyd)

    "The storm that caused the tornado was part of a disturbance tracking northeastward, which could produce a few additional tornadoes as it moves across eastern Indiana and northwestern Ohio Tuesday afternoon," Sosnowski said.

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    Inspecting beehives. (Steve Oehlenschlager/iStock/Thinkstock)

    As the calendar shifts to summer and the mercury begins to rise, not everyone has the luxury of working in an air-conditioned building.

    For those that make their living working outdoors, they have to put themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature, especially when it comes to hot weather.

    According to an article published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, outdoor workers are susceptible to two forms of heat stress. One form is internal metabolic body heat generated by exertion, while another is the environmental heat arising from working conditions.

    The organization also cites a 2011 U.S. Department of Labor report that indicates that two of every 1,000 workers are at risk for heat stress.

    Yet in spite of the heat dangers, some workers have no choice but to prepare each and every day to work long, tiring hours in the often extreme summer heat.

    Here are three professions that must find ways to beat the heat during the summer months.

    Beekeepers

    Charlie Vorisek, president of the Pennsylvania State Beekeeper Association, said when working out in the field wearing all of his protective clothing, it can be stifling at times.

    "Sometimes you start sweating just thinking about it," he said.

    Vorisek works with around 150 to 200 hives and puts the number of bees at around 5 million.

    While working with bees, a beekeeper's protective garb entails a white jacket, leather or plastic gloves, a veil that covers the face and long pants or full-size coveralls. Vorisek added that there are jackets being made which allow for better ventilation.

    Vorisek is self-employed and maintains his operation, Vorisek's Backyard Bee Farm, in Linesville, Pennsylvania, which is located in the northwestern portion of the state.

    Commercial beekeepers continuously monitor and manage each hive to maintain health and peak populations. Vorisek said hives can be set out for honey production or rented to fruit and vegetable growers pollination services.

    He added the honey can be sold for retail at various markets and festivals or sold wholesale to stores and honey packers.

    During July and August, normal highs are in the 80s with humidity making it feel even hotter.

    Vorisek said there's not much he can do to combat the heat, other than drink lots of water during the day because that's his primary precaution.

    "There's no avoiding getting hot and [sweating], so we've got to keep hydrated," he said.

    Vorisek said he can work outside from 8:30 a.m. until after 8 p.m. as long as the sun is shining. He said they don't really work in shifts, because it's dependent on how much good weather you have to work with.

    After more than 20 years working with bees, Vorisek said you just try to get used to the conditions. Those just breaking into the industry may not have to spend as much time outdoors as veterans, such as Vorisek, because they may not work with as many colonies.

    "It's just part of the job," he said.

    Boilermakers

    Boilermakers are craftsmen tasked with building and maintaining boilers and refineries that produce electricity for cities and communities around the country as part of the petrochemical and power industry.

    Sometimes they are called in to work at a boiler room when there is an emergency outage, which can happen for a variety of reasons. Typically, in the summer, there's a high demand for electricity and when the boilers are run so hard, the attached tubes can spring a leak, causing the boiler to lose pressure, so that's when the boilermakers are called in do the repair work.

    Jack Borzell, a business agent with Boilermakers Union Local 13, a Philadelphia construction local, worked in the field for 34 years.

    He said temperatures in the boiler rooms can reach anywhere from 115-135 F during the summer. The temperatures are so hot because the boilers haven't had a chance to cool down.

    "It's unbearable a lot of times, it's that hot," Borzell said.

    Borzell said emergency outages typically require 12-hour shifts, or at a minimum 10-hour shifts.

    (Photo/Boilermakers Local 13)

    For safety precautions, boilermakers wear long pants, long sleeves, leather gloves - one lightweight, one heavier glove for stick welding - as well as a welding mask. With so many sparks flying around, it's a necessity.

    When working in tight areas, sometimes they can wear a soft shield, which entails a welding mask with a strap that they can wear with a bandana, but often they have to wear a hard hat with the mask attached.

    Indoors, Borzell said one can get away with wearing short-sleeve shirts, but they must wear also a fire-retardant welding jacket made out of a lighter material.

    Not every situation is an emergency outage, however. Repair outages are previously scheduled shutdowns of the power plants for maintenance and the conditions are not nearly as hot.

    "It's just ambient temperature, like it is inside or outside," Borzell said. "Within a few degrees, It might be cooler in the boiler room because of all the steel tubing in there. If it was 80 outside, it might be 70 degrees inside, but then the protective equipment you wear makes up for that."

    While five-gallon buckets of water are readily available, Borzell said another way to manage the heat is putting cool packs inside their hard hats, which helps provide relief and keeps their head cool. Borzell said they are more practical when working outside but can be effective indoors as well.

    "You soak it in water and it activates and it keeps you cool, because you do sweat an awful lot," he said.

    Farriers


    Farrier shoeing horse in Oregon. (Tom Bratefield/Stockbyte/Thinkstock)

    Deep in the heart of Texas, Frank Schweighart spends his work days outdoors shoeing horses. Schweighart is a farrier, someone who specializes in equine hoof care by forming and placing shoes on their hooves.

    Schweighart, who has been shoeing horses for the past 40 years, including the last 17 in Texas, is the president of the Texas Professional Farriers Association.

    Located about an hour east of Dallas near the town Sulphur Springs, Schweighart travels to his customers. In some situations, he may be able to work inside a barn where fans are running, but often times, his clients don't have barns and he's out working in the sun, with only the shade of a nearby tree to keep him cool if there happens to be one nearby.

    "A lot of times you're just out there in the middle of that heat," he said.

    He said temperatures can routinely be above 100 F with high humidity.

    "It gets incredibly hot down here," he said. "You step out of the truck, you just start moving and you're instantly drenched in sweat."

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    On top of the weather heat, he works closely with a hot forge, which is used to heat and shape the metals for the horseshoes. Unlike boilermakers or beekeepers, he doesn't have to wear a lot of protective clothing. He keeps it simple with jeans, a short-sleeve shirt and boots.

    Like all other jobs in hot working conditions, staying hydrated is key. Schweighart said he prefers drinking Propel water because it provides more nutrients as opposed to regular water.

    The amount of time he spends outdoors is dependent on his workload. Some days he can work more than 12 hours, but other days he can be done much earlier.

    Schweighart previously worked in Wyoming, and while he said it would get hot, there would be cooler periods in the evenings and mornings, which are not as common in Texas.

    "It was a heck of a climactic change moving to Texas from up there," he said.

     

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    Limes lay sliced and ready for use in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. A lime shortage has prompted restaurants to offer customers drink deals if they bring limes to the restaurant staff. (Flickr/waywuwei)

    As we get deeper into summer, temperatures will rise and many will crave refreshing summer recipes.

    However, as ongoing droughts, temperature swings, plant-borne diseases and invasive insects continue to take a toll on several sought-after summer foods, including avocados, limes, honey, bananas, chocolate and coffee beans, we provide some alternatives to some classic summer recipes.

    1. Avocados

    Commonly used as a prime ingredient in guacamoles and salsas, the ongoing drought in the fruit's largest supplying state, California, has jeopardized the alligator pear's future.

    However, jalapeños and broccoli can provide viable substitutes for the fruit.


    Avocados hang from a tree in Berkeley, Calif., on Sept. 30, 2013. (Flickr Photo/Quinn Dombrowski)

    Combining hummus, crumbled cheese, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeños can give everyday chefs a healthy, layered hummus dip to serve with tortilla chips instead of salsa.

    As another option to replace guacamole, a new kind of dip called broccomole can swap out the traditional chip-dipping sauce. With broccoli as the main ingredient, this creamy, low-calorie dish is also easy to make.

    2. Limes

    Excess rain in Mexico, root rot and crop disease have all led to soaring prices and decreased supplies of limes this year. As restaurants try to battle the lime shortage, offering discounted drinks for those who donate the fruit, other concoctions can yield tasty alternatives to the customary margarita.

    With lemons as the main fruit ingredient, the Rick Bayless' Meyer lemon margarita is created using lemons, lemon juice, Meyer lemon tequila and simple syrup, as well as blue agave tequila to produce its rich, zesty flare.

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    For something with a less tart flavor, try Sauza Tequila's "Blooming Berry-rita," composed with blueberries, cranberry juice, raspberry schnapps and tequila.

    3. Honey

    As a typical ingredient in the Turkish dessert known as Baklava, maple syrup or agave nectar are possible alternatives to the honey element of the pastry.


    Freshly made baklava sits on a platter on June 27, 2011. (Flickr/Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin)

    The combination of maple syrup, sugar and corn syrup can give bakers another culinary option for the sweet nectar. However, sugar and agave nectar can also help dessert-makers avoid the increasing costs of honey.

    4. Bananas

    Widely used to make homemade banana bread, other fruits like blueberries can be substituted to make a breakfast special.


    Bananas hang from a tree in Madeira, Portugal, on June 13, 2008. (Flickr/Claus Rebler)

    Made with eggs, sugar, milk, flour, blueberries and walnuts if desired, blueberry bread is a comparable alternative for families looking to bake the classic banana bread.

    5. Chocolate

    Commonly bought during the summertime for the campfire favorite, S'mores, peanut butter and white chocolate are possible replacements for the chocolate put between graham crackers and marshmallows.


    A s'more made with chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows and graham crackers lays on a picnic table on Sept. 2, 2013. (Flickr/Andrew Butitta)

    In the absence of a bonfire, s'mores can be recreated in the kitchen as cake bars using boxed cake mix, graham crackers, white chocolate chips, marshmallows and condensed milk.

    6. Coffee

    Known for its mascarpone, coffee and ladyfingers composition, tiramisu may be pricey to make this season as coffee prices climb due to drought in Brazil and fungus infections in Central America.


    Tiramisu is elegantly plated at Tutto Pasta during restaurant week on July 31, 2011. (Flickr/Alexis Fam)

    While there may be no replacement for the Italian coffee-flavored dessert, an English Trifle may give those in the kitchen a different option. Using raspberry jam, fresh raspberries, heavy cream, sugar, sponge cake and almonds, in three hours this dessert can become a reality.

     

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014
    DENVER STORM
    (AP Photo/Kent Meireis)

    Rounds of severe weather are in store for the Plains through the rest of the week, impacting areas from Montana to Texas and eastward toward Iowa.

    Following a dry start to the day, severe thunderstorms will ignite over the High Plains Thursday afternoon, threatening the same area that was impacted by severe weather on Wednesday.

    Thunderstorms are forecast to initially fire east of I-25 and produce large hail and damaging winds as they track eastward across the Plains heading into Thursday night.

    The highest impacts from these storms will likely come as they develop during the late afternoon, affecting evening commutes and outdoor events.

    Storms of this nature can develop quickly and move in with little warning, catching people off guard.

    If you are in the Plains and plan on spending time outdoors Thursday afternoon, you should keep an eye to the sky and know where to seek shelter if one of these storms hits your area.

    Keep in mind that lightning can reach out and strike objects several miles away with objects in open fields being more vulnerable of being struck.

    Friday will feature another round of severe weather, this time focusing on the northern Plains and even portions of southern Manitoba.

    Severe storms that develop Friday afternoon are expected to become more violent than those on Thursday, bringing the additional risk of tornadoes.

    Moisture getting drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico will also help to fuel torrential downpours which can lead to localized flooding.

    "Some of the storms will bring downpours to areas that have received excessive rainfall earlier this month." said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    "It is in areas from northern Nebraska to Iowa, eastern South Dakota, Minnesota and western Wisconsin that are at an elevated risk of new flooding as a result. With the downpours forecast toward the end of the month, some locations may end up with over a foot of rain for June and this has the Mississippi River on the rise."

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    Looking ahead to the weekend, severe weather is expected to diminish across the Plains, but will not be absent.

    Some stronger thunderstorms are in the forecast around Minnesota both Saturday and Sunday, impacting cities such as Minneapolis; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Fargo, North Dakota.

    Downpours from these storms will only add to the monthly rainfall totals across this area, extending the flooding concerns in this area through the end of June.

     

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    The United States and Germany will face off in a pivotal World Cup Match in Recife early Thursday afternoon, but rain threatens to impact the results.

    Both teams are hoping to advance to the round of 16, and weather is expected to be a factor in the outcome of the game.

    A surge of tropical moisture has caused the weather to turn increasingly wet around Recife as spotty showers on Tuesday gave way to a steadier rain by Thursday morning.

    Occasional rain and drizzle will persist right through the match.

    "With all the rain that has fallen in the last day or two, field conditions will be muddy and wet for the match Thursday afternoon, which could slow down play," stated AccuWeather.com meteorologist Rob Miller.

    Miller estimates that Recife has received between 1 to 1.50 inches (25 to 40 mm) of rain since Tuesday.

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    Another potential impact will be the oppressive humidity which will take a toll on the athletes as they play through another 90 minutes in a tropical climate.

    While the United States and Germany match will have several weather factors, the other three matches on Thursday are expected to be played in dry and seasonable conditions.

     

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    Friday, June 27, 2014

    In this April 11, 2014, photo, John Moore, the mayor in Williams, Arizona, looks out onto a reservoir that the city relies on for water. (AP Photo)


    The extended California drought continues to worsen, with a third of the state now under exceptional drought conditions.

    About 25 percent of the state had been gripped by the highest level of drought for the last two months, but the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that the exceptional drought conditions expanded in coverage to 33 percent.

    Drought conditions also expanded in Arizona and Nevada, the Drought Monitor showed.

    Spotty afternoon thunderstorms will occur in California and Nevada from mid-July through mid-August as the monsoonal rains arrive in the Southwest, said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Jack Boston, a member of the Long-Range Forecast Team.

    "This is the kind of activity that doesn't help the drought," he said. "Even though it's so dry, they still could get flash flooding from one of these gully-washers, but it doesn't solve the drought."

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns of water woes in the Southwest as warming decreased spring snowpack and Colorado River flows, both important water sources.

    "Future warming is projected to produce more severe droughts in the region, with further reductions in water supplies," the EPA said on its Climate Change website. "Future water scarcity will be compounded by the region's rapid population growth, which is the highest in the nation."

    It continues to put stress on agriculture, recreation and water supplies in the Southwest.

    Severe water restrictions continue in Williams, Arizona, northwest of Flagstaff, where the city has faced a critically low reservoir level since February after an extremely dry winter.

    Williams has received only 2.39 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1.

    Additional Arizona cities may be forced to impose water restrictions if the drought continues. The New York Times reported on June 17 that Arizona could run out of water in six years.

    Pamela Pickard, president of the Central Arizona Project's board, wrote on June 19 in the water agency's blog that two scenarios exist if the Colorado River basin continues in drought for another 10 years.

    The scenarios are water conservation measures and reduced usage in the basin states or federal intervention with decades of lawsuits, Pickard said.

    Well-above-normal temperatures are fueling the drought's grip in California.

    At the end of May in California, the Sierra snowpack's water equivalent was almost zero, the state said. California residents have been asked to voluntarily cut back water usage by 20 percent.

    In Nevada's Las Vegas Valley Water District, Lake Mead is more than 3 trillion gallons below capacity, a situation that only after many years of above-average runoff will be corrected.

    Conservation measures by area residents have helped, the district said. Southern Nevada has reduced its daily demand from 314 gallons per person a day in 2002 to 222 gallons per person a day in 2011.

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    There is some hope to lessen the drought later this year as El Niño becomes a presence in the United States, Boston said.

    "Later in the fall and winter, they may get enough rain to make a huge difference," he said.

    While beneficial rains haven't fallen in most of the Southwest, some areas of the Plains have recovered because of recent rounds of rain and thunderstorms.

    Exceptional drought conditions improved in Oklahoma and Texas for mid-June.

    Only 6.5 percent of Texas was in the most serious drought, down from 25 percent at the end of May. Oklahoma fell from 34 percent from the week of May 20 to almost 15 percent for the week of June 17.

    The extreme drought in Kansas has also lessened.

    The percentage of the state in extreme drought - the second-highest level - had fallen from 47 percent from the week of June 3 to 21 percent by the week of June 17, the Drought Monitor reported.

     

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    Friday, June 27, 2014
    Storm Chasing in Western Texas
    (Getty Images)

    The first week of summer will end on a stormy note in the Plains with the threat for severe weather reaching all the way from Texas to southern Canada.

    As thunderstorms ramp up Friday afternoon, they will begin to produce damaging winds and large hail with the most vigorous storms spinning up tornadoes.

    The added threat of tornadoes will result in Friday's storms being more dangerous than those that developed over the region on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Due to the timing of these storms, anyone in the Plains during the evening should prepare for the storms and know where to seek shelter if one strikes.

    Storms can have major impacts on those traveling across the region not only during the afternoon and evening, but also into Friday night.

    This includes any evening commutes along I-94, I-90, I-29, I-80 and I-70.

    Wind gusts produced by these storms may be strong enough to topple over high profile vehicles, such as tractor trailers.

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    With severe weather in the forecast, it is important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

    If you are in an area that is under a tornado watch, that means that the conditions are conducive for tornado development but not actually occurring.

    A tornado warning, however, means that a tornado signature has been indicated on Doppler radar or has been spotted on the ground.

    If a tornado warning is in effect for your area, you should take cover until the warning has been lifted.

    Looking ahead to the weekend, another round of severe weather is in store for part of the Plains with storms focusing on Minnesota and Iowa.

    This same area could be hit with storms once again on Sunday. This includes the cities of Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Fargo, North Dakota.

     

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    Friday, June 27, 2014


    The Toklat River in the Denali National Park and Preserve has flooded due to heavy rains in that part of Alaska. (Photo/National Park Service/Daniel A. Leifheit)

    Heavy rains have forced evacuations at the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

    Guests and employees from the Denali Backcountry Lodge were evacuated from Kantishna, officials said on the park's Facebook site early Friday. Flood waters began to enter into buildings on the lodge property, forcing the evacuation of about 100 people, The Associated Press reported.

    Guests at other lodges did not have to evacuate on Thursday and will be able to leave on Friday as temporary repairs have been made to a road at the north end of Wonder Lake.

    Four mountaineers, who had climbed Mount McKinley, were airlifted from the south side of the McKinley River to the Eielson Visitor Center.

    They ran out of food as they tried for days to cross the river, the park said.

    Two-and-a-half inches of rain had fallen in 24 hours, ending at 11:50 p.m. local time, on the McKinley River, according to Mesonet.

    It will be another wet day on Friday in Denali, AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney said.

    "A storm system to the north of the park will enhance showers and thunderstorms in that area today; however, that storm system moves away tomorrow and it should be less active on Saturday and Sunday," LeSeney said.

    "By Monday, a storm in the Gulf of Alaska may push a surge of moisture northward into the Denali area and we could see an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity early next week."

    Flooding rains also damaged the park's road at Eureka and Friday creeks. The park said those repairs will be coordinated with the Alaska Department of Transportation.

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    Friday, June 27, 2014

    In 2013, the United States had a total of 47 shark attacks, according to the International Shark Attack File. (Flickr/Steve Garner)


    While millions flock to the world's beaches every year, an entirely separate world thrives beneath the big blue sea everyday. With more than 400 different species of sharks living in the world's oceans, there are approximately 70 to 100 shark attacks each year.

    Since the infamous shark attacks at the New Jersey shore that killed four people in July 1916 and inspired the Steven Spielberg film "Jaws," shark attacks have been on the rise.

    "Each decade shark attacks have increased," said Director of the Florida Museum of Natural History's International Shark Attack File George H. Burgess. "This decade will have more attacks than the last, simply because the human population has grown."

    A shark attack is classified as an interaction between humans and sharks that results in significant or life-threatening injuries and an occasional death.

    While the risk of a shark attack and subsequent death is statistically unlikely, some locations around the world have higher occurrences of shark attacks than others.

    The most likely place to confront sharks is on the east coast of the Sunshine State, south of Daytona Beach.

    "New Smyrna Beach is the most common place to encounter sharks not only in the United States but in the world," Burgess said.

    With nearly 300 total shark attacks from 2004 to 2013, Florida tops the charts for the place with the highest shark activity, according to data from the International Shark Attack File.

    On the other side of the U.S., the California coastline area known as the "red triangle," from San Francisco to the Farallon Islands and down to Monterey, is notorious for sharks.

    However, some of the most severe injuries have transpired in the Gulf of Mexico, despite the region's low shark attack totals.

    "Some of the more dangerous sharks and the more severe injuries have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, in large part because the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is a very good area to be a bull shark in," Burgess said. "A lot of the attacks in the Florida Panhandle westward to the mouth of the Mississippi are the result of bull shark bites and those have resulted in serious injuries and deaths."

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    Favoring brackish waters, bull sharks are known historically to thrive in the waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi Sound area. With their serrated, steak-knife sharp teeth, bulls sharks are noted for their aggressive feeding behaviors. A typical diet for these large fish include sting rays, sea turtles and other sharks.

    As humans fall into a similar size category as their typical prey, bull sharks are likely some of the most threatening sharks to people.

    "These are the most dangerous of all of the sharks in my opinion due to their persistency," Burgess said. "A bull shark is aggressive and once they start to attack they tend to repeatedly attack."

    While bull sharks may be the most menacing, another shark is probably responsible for the most human shark bites, according to Burgess.

    Primarily a fish and shrimp eater, the blacktip shark has been identified as the shark accountable for the majority of the southeastern U.S. states' shark bite incidents. Usually cases of mistaken identity, also known as "hit and run" attacks, sharks incorrectly perceive the movements of humans as motions of the their normal prey. Upon grabbing, these attackers immediately let go, realizing their error. Minor injuries usually occur from these types of attacks.

    Aside from bull and blacktip sharks, tiger sharks and white sharks are also prevalently known for attacking.

    Tiger sharks are coastal species, typically found in the East, while white sharks commonly inhabit waters on the West Coast.

    As larger sharks, the bull, white and tiger sharks are known for two other, serious kinds of attacks, the "bump and bite" and the "sneak attack." When a shark brushes or bumps their victim first, circles around then attacks, these are known as bump and bite attacks. A sneak attack, however, comes without warning. These attacks are the most violent and occur all of a sudden. Both these attacks often result in major injuries and the occasional death.

    Despite the nature of attacks, people are more likely to die from a slew of other reasons than from a shark attack, including lightning strikes, tornadoes and boating accidents, according to the International Shark Attack File.

    In 2013, worldwide there were only 72 total unprovoked attacks.

    "The reality is when you enter the sea, it is a wilderness experience and most people don't think of it that way," Burgess said. "We have to accept the risk when we go out and luckily, for us, it's not as dangerous as we seem to think."

     

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    Saturday, June 28, 2014

    An Indian woman wades through the floodwaters in Gauhati, India, Friday, June 27, 2014. Several people were killed due to electrocution and landslides triggered by incessant rains in India's northeastern state of Assam, according to local reports. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

    GAUHATI, India - Indian authorities rushed food and drinking water Saturday to thousands of people marooned by monsoon rains and mudslides that left at least 11 dead in the remote northeast.

    Residents waded through waist- and knee-deep water in several parts of the Assam state capital, Gauhati, which was hit by nearly 2.3 inches of pounding rain on Thursday night. The average four-month monsoon rainfall is 35 inches.

    "Inflatable boats and makeshift banana rafts have become a mode of transport in the heart of Gauhati. This is something I didn't imagine," said Rani Das, a researcher who could not reach her office on Saturday.

    Loose patches of earth rolled down the hills around Gauhati as light rain continued on Saturday. Authorities closed schools for the day in the city.

    India's Meteorological Department said the rains were caused by a strong monsoon, while other parts of the country were experiencing 30 to 40 percent deficiency in rainfall in June. India's monsoon season lasts from June to the end of September.

    All the 11 deaths in the past two days have been reported from Gauhati. Police said they included a family of three who were buried when a portion of a concrete house caved in on their tin-roofed home early Friday. Another person died in a mudslide and five others were electrocuted.

    Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam state's top elected official, waded through the deluge to reach some of the worst-hit areas, but was booed by residents angry over the lack of food and drinking water.

    Elsewhere in Assam state, monsoon rain fed the mighty Brahmaputra and other rivers, flooding at least six of the state's 27 districts, including vast swathes of crop area.

    RELATED ON SKYE: Incredible Natural-Disaster Photos from Space

     

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    Saturday, June 28, 2014

    (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

    A disturbance drifting into Atlantic waters off the Carolina coast this weekend has the potential to develop into a weak tropical system during the week of Independence Day.

    AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski stated in a recent interview that this would be an area to watch as June comes to a close and July begins.

    "If the center of low pressure spends enough time off the Atlantic coast and wind shear diminishes, it could evolve into an organized tropical system," Kottlowski said.

    Wind shear occurs when air in the tropics blows from the west at high speeds over the middle layers of the atmosphere. These winds can prevent tropical systems from forming, limit intensification, or lead their demise.

    Sea surface temperatures in this area generally range from 75 to 80 F and are warm enough to support a tropical system.

    This area of disturbed weather, tropical or not, is projected to meander over the East Coast waters of the Carolinas and Florida this weekend and into early next week due to light steering winds.

    The disturbance will contribute to locally drenching showers and thunderstorms over the Carolinas for a time as it wraps moisture around from the Atlantic.

    "The storms could impact travel and outdoor activities as they have the potential to bring blinding downpours, flash flooding and locally gusty winds," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

    There is a chance that the low pressure center drifts closer to the coast during the middle and latter part of next week.

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    "Because of the uncertain track and proximity to land, interests along the east coast of Florida, northward to the mid-Atlantic coast will need to be monitored, as this system evolves next week," Kottlowski said.

    Elsewhere in the Atlantic, conditions do not favor development.

    "Vast areas of strong wind shear, dry air and dust cover much of the southern North Atlantic and will inhibit development into next week," Kottlowski said.

    In the Eastern Pacific, development of a significant tropical system is likely later this weekend into next week.

    "The storms could impact travel and outdoor activities as they have the potential to bring blinding downpours, flash flooding and locally gusty winds," Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

    Steering winds in this area will either direct any system to the northwest or possibly on a more northerly track. The latter track would have more direct impact on the west coast of Mexico.

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    Saturday, June 28, 2014

    These observations, taken by NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO on Aug. 5, 2007, helped scientists define the outer limit of the sun's atmosphere. (NASA/STEREO)

    The sun's volatile atmosphere is even bigger than expected, a NASA spacecraft revealed through observations of gigantic waves.

    While the sun itself is 864,938 miles wide, NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, found that the solar atmosphere, known as the corona, stretches 5 million miles above the sun's surface.

    "We've tracked sound-like waves through the outer corona and used these to map the atmosphere," Craig DeForest of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement from NASA. "We can't hear the sounds directly through the vacuum of space, but with careful analysis we can see them rippling through the corona."

    These waves, called magnetosonic waves, are a cross between sound waves and magnetic waves called Alfven waves. They oscillate only about once every four hours and span 10 times the width of Earth, NASA officials said.

    When magnetosonic waves erupt from solar storms and other disturbances, they can ripple up to 5 million miles away from the sun's surface, DeForest and colleagues found. Beyond this boundary, solar material separates from the corona and flows out into space in a steady stream known as the solar wind.

    NASA officials say the findings will help researchers prepare for the space agency's Solar Probe Plus mission, scheduled to launch in 2018. That mission will send a spacecraft closer to the sun that any man-made object has ever ventured within 4 million miles of the sun's surface. Now, scientists know the probe will actually be traveling through the corona during its historic trip.

    "This research provides confidence that Solar Probe Plus, as designed, will be exploring the inner solar magnetic system," Marco Velli, a Solar Probe Plus scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "The mission will directly measure the density, velocity and magnetic field of the solar material there, allowing us to understand how motion and heat in the corona and solar wind are generated."

    The findings, which were published last month in The Astrophysical Journal, should also help astronomers define the inner boundary of the heliosphere, the giant bubble enveloping the solar system, created by the solar wind and solar magnetic field.

    Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @SPACEdotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Saturday, June 22, 2014

    As in this file photo, flooding may affect crops in Nebraska and other parts of the Midwest. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    Severe storms will continue to rattle portions of the Plains this weekend with the highest risk centering on Minnesota and Iowa.

    Howling winds and hard-hitting hail will take aim at Minneapolis; Des Moines, Iowa; and Omaha, Nebraska, both on Saturday and Sunday, impacting any outdoor events around the cities.

    Lives and property can be at risk as these storms slam the Plains and even a few areas of the Midwest.

    Travel delays should also be expected as these storms move through with slowed traffic on roadways and flight delays at the airports.

    Flash flooding will be another danger that these thunderstorms bring, especially due to the abnormally high rainfall amounts that have fallen over this area in June.

    Because of this, urban flooding can happen much quicker with the ground already saturated with water.

    "Low-lying areas not protected by levees, such as farmland, homes, businesses and some roadways, are being inundated as river levels surpass flood stage." said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    Several inches of rain are possible through Sunday across areas of the upper Mississippi River Valley, only extending the flooding into July.

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    Looking ahead to the start of the new week, the threat of severe weather is forecast to shift eastward across the Midwest and towards the mid-Atlantic.

    "The storms will sweep through and impact cities from Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis Monday and Monday night, then will move into Detroit, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh on Tuesday." said Sosnowski.

    Damaging wind gusts past 60 mph and hail as large as golf balls will still remain the primary threats with thunderstorms as they progressively make their way towards the Northeast.

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    Saturday, June 28, 2014

    In this Sunday, June 30, 2013 file photo made by firefighter Andrew Ashcraft, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots watch a growing wildfire that later swept over and killed the crew of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Ariz. Ashcraft texted the photo to his wife, Juliann, but died later that day battling the out-of-control blaze. One year after the 19 Arizona firefighters were killed in the worst loss of life among wildland firefighters in 80 years, few changes have been implemented among the state's fire crews. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Juliann Ashcraft, File)

    PHOENIX - It was the worst loss of life for U.S. wildland firefighters in eight decades, a tragedy that killed 19 members of a Hotshot crew during an out-of-control inferno in a brush-choked canyon.

    The fire prompted a strong sense of unity among everyone involved in the days after the blaze as dignitaries traveled to the site to remember the fallen and a promise to learn from the tragedy.

    But one year later, few changes have been implemented among the state's fire crews as a result of the deaths, despite an investigation that uncovered a series of communications breakdowns that doomed the 19 men and a second that blamed fire managers.

    Firefighters in other parts of the country have also been unable to incorporate specific changes prompted by the deadly incident into their training, largely because Arizona investigators have been unable to reach any consensus about fault in the deaths.

    The Arizona Forestry Division found that fire managers overseeing the Yarnell Hill Fire did not make major mistakes and that it isn't clear why the Granite Mountain Hotshots left a safe zone and walked into the canyon where they were killed.

    A competing report from the state's occupational safety agency, however, blamed managers for failing to see that the town of Yarnell was essentially doomed and said they should have pulled the crews back hours before the deaths. The agency fined the Forestry Division $559,000 for failing to pull the crew.

    The lack of clarity about mistakes - and what lessons might be learned - left firefighters with little to go on as they examined training and policies in the past year. The fact that all the firefighters with the crew died makes it impossible to understand their decision-making. One member of the crew was alone as a lookout, and survived, but was so far away he doesn't know why his fellow firefighters made the decision that led to their deaths.

    The state has made minor adjustments to its firefighting guidelines.

    The investigation by the state forester called for testing new devices that track crews using global positioning satellites and a communications protocol requiring firefighters to tell managers when weather conditions change. Forestry officials also distributed new instructions on how ground crews should coordinate with new, large flame retardant-dropping aircraft, such as the one that was circling but unused when the Granite Mountain Hotshots were trapped.

    Marshall Krotenberg, the safety agency's lead investigator, told the Industrial Commission of Arizona in December that there should have been officers to ensure firefighters' safety, including a planning section chief and a division supervisor. "There was no plan to move people out of the way," he said during a hearing.

    Dick Mangan, a retired U.S. Forest Service safety official who has investigated wildfire fatalities, cited the organizational mistakes as crucial errors and criticized the new communications guidelines as mere clarifications of standard practices. He also dismissed the use of GPS systems, saying the devices would be overlooked during fast moving fires such as Yarnell. "A GPS unit would have transmitted to who?" he asked.

    The Yarnell Hill Fire was triggered by a lightning strike on a brush-covered mountaintop on the afternoon of June 28, 2013. The next day, a handful of crews were sent to fight the fire, but it wasn't considered a major problem and some were released.

    But as night fell, the fire grew and officials decided to call in more resources - including the Granite Mountain Hotshots. They arrived early on June 30, and headed into the hills surrounding the small former mining town.

    At mid-afternoon, weather reports of a strong thunderstorm boosted fears that winds would shift and send the fire back toward Yarnell - and the 19 Hotshots deployed to the area. As the fire made its move, Granite Mountain superintendent Eric Marsh and crew Capt. Jesse Steed decided to head back to Yarnell. That's when the flames whipped into the canyon, trapping the crew. A 20th member of the Hotshots, acting as a lookout, made a dash to safety.

    Dugger Hughes, a battalion chief who oversees a Hotshot crew for the Northwest Fire district in southern Arizona, said not much can be learned from the fire because no one knows the thinking of Marsh and Steed.

    "The investigation, both of them, I've read them and re-read them numerous times. There were some decisions made, and I'm not sure anybody will ever know why," Hughes said. "A lot of fatality incidents there are some real vivid lessons-learned that come from them. This isn't one of them."

    Kris Bruington, superintendent of the Lone Peak Hotshots in Utah, says other than reinforcing the need to focus on time-tested basics of lookouts, communication, safety zones, escape routes and every crew member's right to speak up about safety concerns, there's little to learn.

    "With the Yarnell reports it's tough, there's nothing that they can say 'hey, this is what happened, and this is why it happened," Bruington said. "Because there's just nobody left to say, 'Well, this is what we were talking about 30 minutes before this happened.'"

    The state is appealing the more than $550,000 fine, and a hearing is scheduled for August. The state Forestry Division has declined to comment on the fire or the investigations.

    Even Gov. Jan Brewer tiptoes about the issue.

    "I don't want to weigh in on litigation issue, because it taints it and creates bigger issues for Arizona," Brewer said in an interview this month. "There were reports done by two or three different agencies, and they did a good job. It was an unfortunate, horrific tragedy that took place, emotions were wild. And I think that eventually it will come to the conclusion that certain, possibly different methods, techniques, call it what you wish, will be improved."

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    Saturday, June 28, 2014

    (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Severe weather will push eastward across the Midwest and into part of the Northeast next week.

    "We are fairly confident there will be a severe weather outbreak in the Midwest Monday into Tuesday," AccuWeather Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity said.

    "The combination of warmth, high humidity and a strong jet stream could create an elevated risk of storms with damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes."

    The storms will sweep through and impact cities from Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis Monday and Monday night then will move into Detroit, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

    Anyone traveling or staying home during the first part of the Independence Day week will need to keep an eye on the weather situation, as the storms could have damaging and life-threatening consequences.

    In addition to the risk of frequent lightning strikes, thunderstorms with the forecasted severe weather outbreak next week will be strong enough in some areas to down trees, cut power and cause property damage. Travel delays are likely on the roads and possibly at major airport hubs as the storms move through.

    "The severity of the storms by the time they reach the I-95 corridor at midweek is uncertain at this point," Margusity said.

    Warm and very humid conditions will build over the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes and Northeast during the first part of the week, ahead of much cooler air.

    While the heat will not set any records, the combination of warmth and high humidity will send AccuWeather RealFeel(R) temperatures well into the 90s. The conditions could pose issues for those with respiratory problems or in ill health.

    The steamy air will settle over the Midwest Monday into Tuesday and move into the Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday.

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    However, the changeable weather pattern will continue. Much cooler air will then push first across the Great Lakes at midweek and then into the Northeast toward the end of the week.

    "There may be two pushes of cool air that occur, and each could be preceded by a round of thunderstorms," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak said. "Enough energy could remain with the system to bring severe weather to the coastal Northeast."

    How cool it becomes will depend on the amount of sunshine.

    Some areas around the Great Lakes and northern Appalachians, that manage to hold onto clouds in the wake of the storms, could have highs in the 60s for a day or two.

    Looking ahead to Independence Day, the early indications are that the storms will have cleared the Northeast coast so that most areas from Chicago to Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston are free of rain for festivities, including fireworks.

    Meanwhile, people along the southern Atlantic coast will need to keep an eye on the nearby Atlantic for possible tropical development.

    Breaking weather events are discussed in this video.

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    Sunday, June 29, 2014


    (U.S. Geological Survey)

    A magnitude-5.2 earthquake occurred late Saturday night in the Southwest United States.

    The temblor's epicenter was reported in Arizona at 9:59 p.m. PDT Saturday, about 31 miles northwest of Lordsburg, New Mexico, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It had a depth of 3.1 miles.

    A 3.5-magnitude aftershock occurred nine minutes later, the USGS said.

    There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

    A University of Arizona seismograph records the magnitude-5.2 earthquake that struck Saturday night near the Arizona-New Mexico border. A magnitude-3.5 temblor also registered on the seismograph nine minutes later. (Photo/University of Arizona)

    The quake could be felt in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona and El Paso, Texas, the USGS reported on its website.


    The quake was felt moderately in the Silver City area of southwestern New Mexico, the National Weather Service at El Paso said. None of the reports indicated any damage. The USGS website also reported that it was felt in Las Cruces, Deming, Lordsburg, Truth or Consequences and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    The earthquake's epicenter was along the Arizona-New Mexico border about 31 miles northwest of Lordsburg, New Mexico.

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    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    This file photo shows an approaching twister in Nebraska. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)

    Severe storms will focus around the Midwest heading into the new week with thunderstorms eventually reaching the Northeast.

    Those looking to spend the second half of the weekend in the outdoors from Wisconsin through eastern Nebraska should prepare for the severe weather as thunderstorms ramp up during the afternoon and evening hours.

    "The impacts of the storms will be damaging winds, hail, heavy rain and tornadoes," said AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity.

    Southern Iowa and northern Missouri appear to be the areas at greatest risk of being slammed by these severe storms on Sunday afternoon and the areas most likely to have significant tornadoes.

    Sunday will be only the first of a multiple-day severe-weather outbreak over the Midwest.

    "The storms will sweep through and impact cities from Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis Monday and Monday night, then will move into Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh on Tuesday." said AccuWeahter.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    Similar to the storms on Sunday, damaging winds, hail, flooding downpours and even a few tornadoes should be expected on Monday and Tuesday with Monday being the more active of the two days.

    The timing of these storms can lead to high impacts around the major travel hubs in the Midwest on Monday and Tuesday.

    Evening commutes can turn treacherous as torrential downpours significantly reduce visibility for those driving on the roadways, as well as increase the risk of hydroplaning.

    Those headed to the airports should also prepare for delays not only because of the extreme weather, but also the higher volume of travelers for the Independence Day week.

    As storms roll through, temporary ground stops may be put in place at major airports such as O'Hare International in Chicago. This can backup flight departures through the rest of the day as airplanes become backed up on the tarmac.

    Wind gusts associated with the storms will also lead to power outages and property damage as they are expected to be strong enough to blow over trees and power poles.

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    Looking ahead to Wednesday, showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for much of the Northeast as the storm system continues to shift eastward.

    However, severe weather on Wednesday is not expected to be as widespread as Monday and Tuesday as the system responsible for the thunderstorms weakens.

    Soaking downpours will still be possible which can lead to urban flooding.

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    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    This file photo shows a similar flood in Memphis in 2011. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

    Torrential rainfall has prompted a Flash Flood Emergency for Memphis, Tennessee, and surrounding counties.

    Rain totals at the Memphis International Airport eclipsed 5 inches at 7 a.m. CDT on Sunday as the city has become the target of rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms since Saturday evening.

    Doppler radar estimates indicate that 4 to 6 inches has fallen throughout southern Shelby County, home to Memphis. The same can be said for nearby southwestern Fayette County.

    There are also estimates of 5 to 8 inches of rain near the borders of the eastern Arkansas counties of Woodruff, St. Francis and Monroe.

    This radar image of the Memphis area was taken shortly before 8 a.m. CDT Sunday.

    The torrential rain prompted the National Weather Service in Memphis to issue a Flash Flood Emergency for Shelby County, as well as Desoto and Tunica counties in northwestern Mississippi.

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    Additional heavy rain will push rain totals in Memphis to around 7 and 8 inches through Sunday morning with another drenching shower or thunderstorm to follow for the afternoon.

    Flooding in and around the city will worsen--further rising rivers and creeks, inundating more roads and putting more lives and property at risk.

    Remember to never cross a flooded road and do not let children and pets play near swollen waterways. Just 6 inches of fast-moving flood waters is needed to knock down an adult, while it only takes 2 feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles.

    At 7:24 a.m. CDT, rescue crews stated that multiple vehicles were submerged in water just east of the Memphis International Airport. People were reportedly trapped.

    The Nonconnah Creek at Farrisview Boulevard on the southeastern side of Memphis rapidly rose from around 12 feet at 3 a.m. CDT Sunday to 30.25 feet in less than four hours. Minor flood stage is 31.0 feet.

    Welcome dry weather will follow for Monday and Tuesday.

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    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Building heat and humidity will create a tropical steambath for the Ohio Valley and East as June transitions to July.

    The return of 90-degree heat is in the offing for many communities across the Ohio Valley, Carolinas and mid-Atlantic to start the week of Independence Day.

    Even parts of the Northeast will crack the 90-degree mark during the first couple days of July.

    All of the Northeast, however, will join the rest of the East and Ohio Valley in enduring oppressive humidity, which will add to the discomfort and danger of the soaring temperatures.

    The building heat and humidity will come after an area of high pressure keeps humidity levels comfortably low in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic this weekend with widespread highs in the 80s.

    The exception to the low humidity will be places toward the eastern Great Lakes with steamy air already present this weekend throughout the Ohio Valley and Midwest, helping to fuel daily thunderstorms.

    Highs in the 80s will also dominate the Ohio Valley this weekend.

    As the high shifts eastward, the door will open for warmer and more humid air to pour toward the East Coast. At the same time, tropical development will continue to be monitored off the coast of the Southeast.

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    Tropical is actually how some will describe the upcoming weather in the Ohio Valley and East.

    With high humidity already in place, 90-degree heat will become widespread throughout the Ohio Valley Monday and Tuesday.

    Humidity will steadily increase across the East from Monday through Wednesday. Highs in the 90s will build over the Carolinas on Monday, then the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Northeast Tuesday and Wednesday.

    New York City will come close to recording its first 90-degree day of the year Tuesday and Wednesday. The current record for the latest such occurrence is July 26, 1877.

    However, when the humidity is factored in, AccuWeather.com RealFeel(R) temperatures at midweek may be approaching 100 F in New York City.

    Dangerous triple-digit RealFeel temperatures are also in store for Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia; Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; and Nashville, Tennessee, for the first part of the new week.

    While actual temperatures will fail to do so in many Northeast communities, RealFeel temperatures will have no trouble cracking the 90-degree mark to start July.

    The heat and oppressive humidity will create dangerous conditions for those planning to engage in strenuous outdoor activities. Remember to drink plenty of water, wear light clothing and avoid such activities during the midday and afternoon hours (the hottest time of the day).

    When the blazing sun is shining, remember that vehicles can become death traps for children and pets.

    As is the case over the Ohio Valley this weekend, cooling thunderstorms will be around daily across most of the East and Ohio Valley to help ease the heat.

    However, the threat of severe weather will shift from the central Plains and western Great Lakes on Monday to the Ohio Valley on Tuesday as a cold front slices into the tropical steambath.

    AccuWeather.com meteorologists will be monitoring the potential for drenching and gusty thunderstorms to reach the East at midweek as the front pushes toward the coast.

    Latest indications point toward the front clearing the Northeast and mid-Atlantic coasts by Friday, giving way to a comfortable Independence Day for both these regions and the Ohio Valley.

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    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    (NOAA)

    While obstacles lie in its path, an area of low pressure off the Southeast coast will attempt to end the void of organized tropical systems in the Atlantic Basin this week.

    The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on an area of low pressure tracking south-southwestward toward the Florida Peninsula.

    The low is currently disorganized and fighting dry air from the north and wind shear, strong winds at high speeds over the middle layers of the atmosphere.

    "These winds can prevent tropical systems from forming, limit intensification or lead to their demise," stated AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

    The low is expected to reach or make its closest approach to the eastern coast of Florida later on Monday or Tuesday, leading to enhanced thunderstorm activity across the central and South Florida Peninsula these two days. The resultant locally flooding downpours could foil vacation plans in Orlando.

    The low being monitored for possible tropical development was captured in this satellite image midday Sunday EDT.

    At midweek, there are indications that the low will turn back to the north and spend the second half of the week tracking near or off the coast of the Carolinas.

    If the wind shear can diminish enough and the low stays far enough away from land, the window may open for the first tropical depression of the Atlantic to form.

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    The Atlantic waters offshore of the Southeast are sufficiently warm enough for tropical development.

    However, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Evan Duffey states that the prospect of development is not a guarantee.

    "I feel this system has a lot more going against it than it has going for it with dry air working in from the north and the wind shear never really relaxes as much as what I would like to see for development," Duffey said.

    Even if development takes place, Duffey feels that it will remain a rather small and compact system with at most moderate tropical storm strength.

    Residents and visitors headed to the beaches of the Carolinas later this week should monitor the low for potential development and impacts as the Independence Day holiday approaches.

    The low may stay well offshore but could still stir up dangerous surf along the Southeast coast if it develops and strengthens.

    Latest indications point toward the cold front set to sweep through the Northeast later this week directing the system away from the Northeast coast.

    "Across the remainder of the Atlantic, the train of tropical waves continues to be battered by choking dry air and Saharan dust from the north," Duffey added.

    This hurricane season marks the first time since 2004 that a tropical depression or storm has failed to develop before July. The long-term average for the Atlantic Basin's first named tropical storm is July 9.

    The first named tropical storm in the Atlantic this year would acquire the name "Arthur."

    The formation of Arthur will commence what AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski feels will evolve into a below-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    However, Kottlowski stresses that coastal residents should not let their guard down.

    "All we need is one hurricane," Kottlowski said. "Just because we are saying this is going to be an inactive season doesn't mean we couldn't have a couple of very intense hurricanes."

    "All it takes is one storm or hurricane to ruin your vacation or your property."

    Meanwhile, the eastern Pacific has come alive with the formation of Tropical Depression Four-E and the development of another tropical system possibly in the works.

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