Typhoon aid appeal response hailed
Press Association – 13 hours agoPrint
Press Association – Typhoon survivor John Sarenio revisits his home at Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines (AP)
Tech-savvy Britons have donated a record £6 million to Philippines typhoon victims via tablets and smartphones.The new method of donating has helped pushed the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) overall donation total to £65 million.The DEC said when its appeal was launched over two weeks ago, more than £750,000 was raised via text messages alone in the first hour. In comparison, roughly £100,000 was raised during the same period for the East Africa crisis.Further text donation surges followed, including during an England football fixture on November 15 and an appeal on X Factor.The charity said the push towards mobile donations represents an overall trend towards electronic donations.The DEC said £3.5 million donations have been through tablets, £1.3 million via texts and £5.7 million through PayPal, which included £1.75 from tablets and smart phones.”It is now even easier to make a donation to DEC appeals wherever and whenever you want,” DEC Head of Fundraising Adil Husseini said.”We have made sure there are a number of different ways to quickly and efficiently give money so that it can be raised as fast as possible and ensure that aid reaches people in desperate need right now.”We have seen that sending text donations is increasingly popular, and offering people the choice to give via PayPal accounts has also made the process of donating via mobiles, tablets and computers much faster and hassle free for many.”More than one million people have given money since the appeal began, and the public’s generous donations have helped enabled our member aid agencies to reach hundreds of thousands of people in the Philippines who have had their lives torn apart by this disaster.”The DEC said a £25 donation would buy water purification tablets for 10 families for a month, £50 would feed a family for two weeks, while £100 would buy emergency shelter and bedding for one family.
Indian cyclone weakens, authorities say no threat
Reuters/Reuters – A fisherman casts his net to catch fish in the waters of the Bay of Bengal in Visakhapatnam district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh November 28, 2013. REUTERS/R Narendra
By Jatindra DashBHUBANESWAR, India, Nov 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A severe cyclone weakened before it made landfall on India’s est coast on Thursday, and an official said it no longer posed a serious threat to thousands of people in low-lying areas.Forecasts that cyclone Lehar – the third powerful storm to hit Andhra Pradesh state in seven weeks – would bring gale-force winds, heavy rain and storm surges, prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of villagers, suspend fishing and put disaster response teams on standby.C. Parthasarathy, commissioner of the state disaster management department, said Lehar had weakened into a depression bringing moderate rain as it hit the city of Machilipatnam.”There have been no reports of any deaths or damages to property so far. The wind speed was only 50 kph (30 mph),” Parthasarathy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.More than 45,000 people moved to cyclone shelters would go home on Friday, he added.India’s cyclone season generally lasts from April to December with severe storms often causing dozens of deaths, mass evacuations and widespread crop and property damage.Officials were widely praised for a mass evacuation that saved thousands of lives last month when Cyclone Phailin struck, even though at least 60 people were killed and 12 million people lost their homes or livelihoods.(Writing by Nita Bhalla; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Sky News – 14 minutes agoPrintView PhotoComet Ison’s Survival In Balance As It Brushes SunStargazers are waiting anxiously to see if an icy comet survives a close encounter with the Sun and fulfils its billing of being „one of the brightest of the century”.Comet Ison is to pass the star at a distance of just 727,000 miles, where it will meet temperatures of around 2,700 degrees Celsius, leading to predictions it will break apart before it can be seen blazing in the night sky.It is expected to get closest to the Sun at 1837 GMT.Scientists will be watching to see if the comet , which left the outer edge of the solar system more than 5.5 million years ago, disintegrates under the intense heat and gravitational forces of the Sun.Comets are frozen balls of space dust left over from the formation of stars and planets billions of years ago.When one comes close to a hot star, like the Sun, the icy core can melt.”Many of us think it could break up into pieces, and some people think it won’t survive at all,” said comet expert Carey Lisse of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in the US.But he accepted others thought it could survive the Sun’s heat, although smaller in size.”I think it has a maybe 30% chance to make it,” Mr Lisse said.If Ison does survive, astronomers say it should be easily visible in the Northern Hemisphere early next month, just before sunrise and after sunset.Scientists say the comet comes from the very origin of the solar system, 4.5 billion years ago.Mr Lisse said: „Comet Ison is a relic. It’s a dinosaur bone of solar system formation.”If the comet has already broken up, it should disintegrate completely as it makes its slingshot around the Sun.However, this would provide an opportunity for scientists to see the insides of the comet, and better understand its composition, including clues about what material was present during the solar system’s formation.The comet was discovered last year by two amateur astronomers using Russia’s International Scientific Optical Network , or Ison.
Crane worker’s spectacular view of Shanghai from 630m-high tower
Crane worker Wei Gensheng has made the most of his head for heights – by claiming second place in a prestigious photo competition.The construction worker isn’t a professional photographer, but used his vantage point atop the unfinished Shanghai Tower to take spectacular pictures of China’s most populous city.With the skyscraper still under construction, his pictures have become more and more spectacular as the building continues to climb.The Shanghai Tower will be 632m (2,073ft) tall and feature 121 storeys when finished in 2014.
Irish fishing vessel detained off Cork coast
TheJournal.ie – Irish fishing vessel detained off Cork coast
The naval service has detained a Irish fishing boat off the coast of Cork on suspicion of breaching fishing regulations.The Naval Service Vessel L.É. AOIFE detained the fishing vessel approximately 40 nautical miles South East of Cork.CobhThe vessel is being escorted by the L.É. AOIFE to Cobh and it is expected to arrive alongside tonight, where it will be handed over to the gardaí.This brings to 931 total vessels boarded by the Naval Service in 2013 and this is the 15th vessel detained by the Naval Service so far this year.If you have something to say about hazardous waste in Ireland, speak nowNew rapid response prostate clinic launches in Cork
weather.com and Associated Press Published: Nov 27, 2013, 10:44 PM EST
The massive Winter Storm Boreas, blamed for at least 14 deaths in the Plains and West, is parked over the East Coast Wednesday, halting Thanksgiving traffic with snow, ice, heavy rains and even a tornado.”The timing of the storm couldn’t be worse,” said Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the National Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. „We are seeing numerous threats as the storm is beginning to develop and intensify.”Heavy rain and breezy conditions were to strike the East Coast from the Carolinas to the Northeast on Wednesday, with ice and snow a possibility in the Appalachians, western Pennsylvania and western New York.(MORE: Live Winter Weather Updates)Play VideoWatch Tornado Slam into School Boreas will bring snow and even ice in the Northeast, with the heaviest snow in the interior Northeast. In the mid-Atlantic and South, the storm will bring heavy rain and high winds.”The biggest impact have been on air travel. Road travel impacts aren’t that bad right now.,” said Tom Niziol, winter weather expert at The Weather Channel. “On the cold/snowy side, it’s underachieving, but on the rain side, that’s about what we expected.”
Delays of almost two hours were already being felt at Philadelphia Airports and LaGuardia Airport in New York. Other delays are expected at some of the country’s busiest airports.Most airlines are hoping the storms won’t be too severe, allowing them to continue operating a nearly full schedule with few cancellations, but likely a lot of delays, said Daniel Baker, CEO of FlightAware, a global flight tracking service.”Cancellations are used as a good, preventative measure to avoid cascading delays that can negatively impact travelers thousands of miles away,” Baker said.(MORE: Worst Weather Airports | Flight Tracker)”You’ll see 5-8 inches of snow in the Upper Adirodack but other places will get mainly 1-3 inches,” said Niziol. „The Appalachians could see 3-5 inches and the ski areas will be happy.”More than 43 million people are to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. The overwhelming majority – about 39 million people – will be on the roads. But more than 3 million people are expected to filter through airports.A pedestrian walks amidst the snow showers along Penn Ave on November 26, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)”The good news is Boreas is moving fast,” said meteorologist Stephanie Abrams. „By tonight, it will mostly be done.”Northeast Impacts: Snow and IceThe interior Northeast and areas on the Great Lakes will see the heaviest portion of snow.Power outages are being reported in western New York, due to the heavy, wet snow.”We have 3-5 inches of snowfall in Buffalo this morning,” said meteorologist Reynolds Wolf, reporting from Buffalo, N.Y. „Over by the Bills stadium they had 8-10 inches of snow but generally its 3-5. Cars are zipping along on the roads. We’ve not heard any reports of icing but be careful on the roads. Flights are moving well out of Buffalo.”Maryland State Police are declaring a snow emergency in far western Maryland due to deteriorating driving conditions, the Associated Press reports. As of 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, parking is prohibited on roads designated as snow emergency routes in Garrett County.Treacherous travel conditions are expected in the region. Forecasts call for high winds and snow accumulation of up to 6 inches by Thursday morning. (MORE: Drivers, Avoid These Cities)After Boreas moves out tonight, the region will face another round of snow. This time, in the form of a lake effect snow event, according to Niziol.
South Impacts: Rain and Severe WeatherA preliminary EF2 tornado touched down in Atlantic Beach, N.C. Tuesday evening according to the National Weather Service. The Emergency Services director reported roof damage to several structures including a hospital. Fifteen people were displaced, but there were no serious injuries.Officials in Ocracoke Island, N.C. reported a waterspout came ashore shortly after midnight and broke two electric poles on the north end of the island, knocking out power.MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Winter Storm Boreas
Washington Illinois Tornado Survivor Searches For Missing Cards
Jim Suhr, Associated Press Published: Nov 28, 2013, 9:20 AM EST Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — Annmarie Klein knows she’s blessed to have survived the tornado that leveled her family’s central Illinois home, and she understands most of the things they lost – the Jacuzzi, 60-inch TVs, diamond jewelry, the convertible and other vehicles – can be replaced.
That’s not true for a mint green box that contained three cards – to her, „the most important thing in my house.”
The cards swept away by the Nov. 17 twister that ripped through Washington, Ill., were personalized by Klein’s brother, Paul McLaughlin, with notes for each of his three children before his 2005 death from colon cancer at age 39.
Klein said her brother, a suburban Boston resident who fought cancer for six years, entrusted her to give the cards in sealed envelopes to his kids someday „so that when he was gone they could still remember their dad.”
Animals Not Spared by Typhoon Haiyan
„I feel like I let him down,” an anguished Klein said through tears this week. „I’d do anything to find those cards.”
The search has consumed her since the storm bowled into her Tazewell County town. The separation she’s experiencing doesn’t surprise Bill Benson, administrator of a Facebook group page set up to rejoin folks in the county with property that was whirled away.
„These storms typically have tops of thousands of feet, so theoretically things could be lofted up to that height and carried,” said Benson, a photojournalist from Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks area. „I’m sure as farmers go to work their fields next spring, things will continue to be recovered unless they’re buried beneath topsoil.”
Klein would rather not wait that long, already frayed by the ordeal that began the Sunday she saw the tornado zeroing in on her home and raced with her husband and children to a basement safe room.
„The kids were screaming. We were screaming,” she said. As the parents shielded the kids, „we just prayed as a family.”
Seconds later, there was silence and sunlight. The Kleins, some still in their pajamas, emerged through their walkout basement and found their home destroyed, the twister having hurled a pickup truck through the living room where the family had been just moments earlier.
„There was that feeling of emptiness, the kind that comes when the kids look at you with faces of complete fear,” said Klein, 41.
(WATCH: Tornado Slams into School)
A couple of days later, while holed up in her family’s hotel room, she suddenly remembered the cards her brother gave her. They had been individually wrapped in plastic and tucked inside the box.
The cards were sealed in neon pink and yellow envelopes. Each was designated for one of McLaughlin’s children – Brendan, Cameron and Erin, who are now ages 10 to 18.
„My brother told me, before dying, to give those cards to his kids when the time is right – their 18th birthday, 21st birthday, the day they got married,” Klein said. „I hadn’t really decided when the right time was.”
Even without the cards, it’s unlikely McLaughlin’s kids would ever forget their dad, a man who poured himself into raising funds for children’s charities, particularly those benefiting kids with cancer.
McLaughlin, who worked as a Fidelity Investments software analyst, was a skilled hockey player and mentored his children in sports. Not long before his death, McLaughlin got a surprise visit from NHL Hall of Famer and former Boston Bruins player Ray Bourque at the McLaughlin family’s Rockland, Mass., home.
Bourque played hockey in the street with McLaughlin’s kids as their dad, weakened by cancer, played goalie in a chair.
„I’m lucky,” Boston Herald columnist Mike Barnicle quoted McLaughlin as saying in chronicling the day. „I’ve had a wonderful life, a beautiful family, three great kids, my own home.”
It was a bright spot for the family’s life, and now Klein wants to find those cards to ensure that McLaughlin’s children have something more from their father to hold dear.
Strangers have joined her search.
„I felt so bad for this lady. She had such despair in her eyes, and she didn’t care about anything else,” Niepagen recently recalled. „I just gave her a hug, walked away and said, `Let’s see what we can do.'”
(WATCH: Holiday Cheer for Tornado Victims)
Niepagen turned to Facebook, posting on the Benson-run „Tazewell County Document & Photograph Recovery” group page an appeal for anyone „from Washington toChicago” to be on the lookout for the cards. More than 25,000 Facebook users, some as far away as North Carolina, had shared Niepagen’s posting on their pages as of Wednesday.
Klein said she just revealed to her brother’s widow this week that the cards are missing. She said her sister-in-law told her she understood and forgave her.
„I believe we’re going to find them,” said Klein, who’s Catholic and said she prays to Saint Anthony, the finder of lost things. „I have faith.”
MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Tornado Outbreak Levels Homes
Winter Storm Boreas: The Recap
By Jon Erdman Published: Nov 28, 2013, 8:35 AM EST weather.comHigh-resolution satellite loop of Winter Storm Boreas tracking across the South, spreading into the East from Nov. 23-26, 2013. (Credit: Robert Simmon/NASA Earth Observatory)
Winter Storm Boreas (the Greek god of the north wind), the second named storm of the 2013-2014 winter season, was responsible for a pre-Thanksgiving wintry potpourri of snow, ice and wind from California to Maine.
Tom Niziol, winter weather expert for the Weather Channel (Facebook | Twitter), says that roughly 58 million Americans were affected by either snow or ice from the Desert Southwest to northern New England, an area over 2.5 million square miles.
Let’s break down the weather statistics on a state-by-state basis from Boreas.
Slow-moving upper-level low pressure cut off from the jet stream inched slowly over the Desert Southwest from Nov. 21-24, wringing out some impressive snow totals, some of which are plotted on the map at left.
The estimated total in southeast Utah remains the highest snow total from Boreas. Moab, Utah, known as a destination for slick-rock biking and for its proximity to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, picked up almost an entire season’s worth of snow (6.9 inch average for season) in just one storm (6.5 inches).
At least 50 motorists were stranded on a snow-covered stretch of U.S. 93 in Lincoln County, Nevada.
It wasn’t just about the snow in the Southwest.
High winds in the Sierra and hills east of Oakland, Calif. downed trees and powerlines, some on homes, claiming three lives. Wind gusts exceeded 100 mph on and off for over 24 hours at Ward Mountain.
The rain also made some headlines in the Desert Southwest.
Much of the Phoenix valley picked up over 2 inches of rain, most of it falling on Nov. 22. Officially, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport chalked up its second wettest November day on Nov. 22, picking up 1.60 inches. Only a day 90 years ago exceeded this soaking day, in November records dating to 1895. It hadn’t rained measurably in Phoenix since Sept. 9.
Las Vegas also saw raindrops for the first time in over two months. Nov. 21 was its wettest November day since 1972 (0.90 inches). In total, McCarran Airport measured 1.37 inches from Nov. 21-23.
In a five-hour period on Nov. 21, Las Vegas metro police reported a total of 112 vehicle crashes in the wet conditions.
With a potent cold air mass plunging well into the Southern Plains, the stage was set for a wintry mess once the lumbering upper-level low and its attendant moisture arrived over the cold air.
As you can see, some areas picked up some impressive snow totals.
Vinson, Okla. (13 inches) was the Plains winner, while 10 inches piled up in both Hedley and near Wellington, Texas.
But arguably the bigger headache from Boreas was ice.
At least a light ice accumulation in trees was observed as far south as near Boerne, Texas, just northwest of San Antonio. Power outages from ice accumulation and winds plagued parts of West Texas, the Texas Panhandle, north Texas, Oklahoma, and eastern New Mexico.
Marathon, Texas reported one-half inch of ice on roads with power outages. Up to two inches of accumulated sleet and freezing rain turned Interstate 20 into an ice rink near Odessa, Texas, shutting down overpasses and stranding motorists for a period of time on Nov. 24.
Boreas prompted the National Weather Service office in Lubbock, Texas to issue its first ice storm warning since Jan. 28, 2010.
The wintry mess then spread into north Texas, parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and extreme northern Louisiana on the Monday of Thanksgiving week.
Generally speaking, most ice accumulations were on elevated surfaces, bridges and overpasses, including the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, as surface temperatures remained marginal for icing. However, just enough icing occurred to trigger at least 13,000 outages in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro.
Monday night into Tuesday morning (Nov. 25-26), just enough cold air remained trapped in a few areas to allow freezing rain to become a nuisance.
Ice amounts generally from one tenth to one-third of an inch were reported from northern New Jersey to western North Carolina. Trees were downed due to the weight of ice in Polk, Iredell and Henderson Counties, in western North Carolina.
An initial round of snow moved into West Virginia, western and central Pennsylvania and western and central New York on Tuesday. Snow totals through Tuesday afternoon were generally six inches or less in most areas, including State College, Pa. and Oil City, Pa., which received heavy lake-effect snow prior to Boreas.
Fortunately, warmer air worked in, changing precipitation to rain in many areas from northern New England to east of the Appalachians by Tuesday night into Wednesday.
Tuesday night into Wednesday, snow continued from the Appalachians to western New York, and rain changed to snow from west to east from the Piedmont of the southern Appalachians to central New York.
General 1-2 inch amounts piled up around Knoxville, Tenn., Bristol, Tenn. and Asheville, N.C. Measurable snow fell at Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C. Atlanta picked up 0.4 inches of snow Wednesday morning, only the third November day on record with measurable snowfall. Flurries were observed as far south as Troy, Ala. early Wednesday.
Up to 12 inches of total snow accumulation was measured in parts of western Pennsylvania, with 10-inch totals also observed in eastern Ohio. Due to the weight of this heavy, wet snow, one mobile home’s roof collapsed in Venango County, Pa.
Low clouds, strong winds accompanying steady rain lead to significant flight delays at the three major New York City airport hubs and at Philadelphia Int’l Airport.
Wind gusts up to 63 mph ahead of the cold front downed trees and powerlines in southeast New England, some on homes and cars. Trees were also downed in parts of western North Carolina Wednesday morning behind the cold front.
Heavy rain soaked parts of the Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday. The Hohokus and Rahway Rivers in northern New Jersey were sent over their banks. Street flooding was reported in parts of southern Connecticut and Long Island. One motorist required a rescue from floodwaters in Grove Beach, Conn.
Incidentally, precipitation from Boreas pushed Asheville, N.C. to a new yearly precipitation record, topping the previous record of 64.91 inches set in 1973. Heavy rain flooded roads near Ellijay, Ga. Tuesday afternoon.