Driver attempts to destroy giant snowman, not realizing it’s built on a large tree trunkHope Schreiber Writer•A driver found out the hard way exactly what made this Frosty so large. (Photo: Facebook)Do you want to build a snowman? Come on, let’s use this tree trunk. Neighbors will love it so, and a driver will never know, that it can destroy their truck!When a driver decided to destroy a giant snowman in Petersburg, Ky., on Monday, the culprit got a rude awakening. Instead of poor Frosty being murdered, the snowman got its revenge, since its base was a giant tree trunk in the yard of Cory Lutz.Lutz was hosting his fiancée, Lucy, and her sister, Laura, who were visiting from Mississippi this weekend when Lucy experienced the “biggest snowfall she’s ever seen.” Naturally, Lutz wanted to make it special for the visiting women.Lutz told FOX 8 that the three of them spent the weekend sledding, engaging in snowball fights and even canoeing. But no winter wonderland of a weekend would be complete without building a snowman.As three grown adults are wont to do, they set out to build a towering snowman. They used a large stump in Lutz’s front yard for the base of the 9-foot-tall Frosty.Lutz thought everyone in his neighborhood would love Frosty, and with its top hat and charming smile, how could you not? But apparently, there was at least one nefarious foe.Lutz came home on Monday to find a set of tire tracks in his yard leading directly to the snowman. The trunk was exposed, and in the snow was not a snow angel but the imprint of the culprit’s bumper.“Apparently, Frosty had been handing out life lessons to surprised 4×4 vandals. You reap what you sow! Still standing and still smiling — he certainly had the last laugh!” Lutz said.Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:Newscaster apologizes for using racial slur in Martin Luther King Jr.’s name on air;The best MLK Day weekend sales are already happening;Vogue apologizes for misidentifying activist Noor Tagouri as a Pakistani actressFollow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The storm that pummeled much of California for three days began moving east Thursday after causing at least six deaths, forcing wildfire victims threatened by floods to flee their homes and plunging nearly 300,000 utility customers into darkness.
The winter storm is forecast to unleash heavy rain, snow and wind in Colorado and „will be slamming the East Coast by Sunday,” National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said. „From Maine to Florida.”
Anderson said most of California should be dry and sunny by Friday.
The three-day drenching put a dent in California’s drought, dumping as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain in parts of Southern California, and between 3 and 6 inches (7.6 and 15 centimeters) in Los Angeles. Government and university researchers who maintain the U.S. Drought Monitor map now classify most of the state as abnormally dry or in moderate drought. Only about 6 percent is in severe or extreme drought, compared to nearly a quarter of the state last September.
Rain and snow fell from one end of the state to the other, canceling flights, uprooting trees, knocking down power lines and causing localized flooding.
In Malibu, a boulder hit a 57-year-old woman while she was hiking Thursday. She was in critical condition Thursday night.
In Riverside County, firefighters rescued 12 homeless people stranded on an island in the Santa Ana River bottom, while 25 other transients were evacuated from the river banks. Farther upstream in San Bernardino, firefighters rescued one person trapped on an island while a second was able to swim to shore.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department posted a dramatic video on Twitter showing the helicopter rescue of a person caught in the rising San Gabriel River.
Also in Los Angeles, about 20 residents were evacuated from their homes in the Hollywood Hills when mud slid from beneath a house. No one was hurt and the residents were allowed to return home several hours later.
In Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles, 4,500 gallons (17,000 liters) of sewage flowed into the Ventura River when an RV park became flooded. Health officials urged people in the area to avoid touching any storm runoff or ocean water for several days.
In San Francisco, fallen trees blocked the city’s iconic cable car tracks for hours Thursday and similarly delayed other commuter trains in region.
A 200-year-old oak tree towering 100 feet (30 meters) over James Holmes’ suburban San Francisco home toppled over in the wind Wednesday night.
„My family lived under it in our house for 70 years,” he said.
In the Marin County community of Mill Valley, just north of San Francisco, a man was killed when he jumped into the street to dodge a falling tree Wednesday night and was struck by a van, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Earlier Wednesday, a branch from a falling tree killed a 42-year-old homeless man in Oakland. The man may have been „just trying to stay dry” under the tree, CHP officer Herman Baza said.
CHP reported that four people were killed in separate Northern California crashes caused by rain-slickened roads this week, including a 1-year-old who was among three people in a vehicle who died Tuesday from a crash in the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Placerville.
Southern California authorities concerned with rising streams and excessive runoff ordered evacuations in parts of Malibu and other areas scarred by wildfires. Malibu schools canceled classes. Santa Anita racetrack canceled its slate of horse races Thursday.
In the Southern California hillside community of Oak Park, where residents used pumps and sandbags to hold off rushing storm water, longtime resident Diane Starzak said her neighborhood „kind of dodged the bullet” as the storms began to taper off.
„We actually had our suitcases in the car and were ready to leave,” said Starzak, who is volunteer coordinator for Oak Park’s community’s emergency response team.
Instead the family used pumps to divert water cascading down a hillside behind their home. „We are really, really happy, really excited,” she said.
Meanwhile, blizzard conditions blanketed the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada and the region’s ski resorts with as much as 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow just in time for the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
So much snow accumulated on the tail of an executive jet parked at the Tahoe Truckee Airport that it caused the plane’s nose to tilt skyward in a stationary wheelie.
Pacific Gas & Electric said 280,000 customers lost power at some point since Wednesday. PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado said 26,432 customers remained without power Thursday afternoon.
Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Janie Har in San Francisco and John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Airlines are waiving change fees as two more winter storms are set to move across the Midwest and Northeast.
American, Delta, Southwest, United, JetBlue, Alaska and Frontier airlines all rolled out waivers Thursday, with several carriers expanding the scope of the policies as forecasts solidified.
The waivers come as two different winter storms were forecast to affect airports across large parts of the Midwest and Northeast.
The first storm could bring light snow and wintry conditions from the Ohio Valley into the Mid-Atlantic, though the impact on travel was not expected to be severe.
The bigger threat loomed from the second storm – dubbed “Winter Storm Harper” by The Weather Channel – that was expected to bring heavy snow, rain and strong winds to the Midwest, Ohio Valley and Northeast from Friday into Sunday.
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That’s the storm that was at the center of most airline waivers.
United’s waiver covered about 60 airports across a huge swath that stretched from Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota in the west through Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and New England in the east. The rebooking policies included two of United’s busiest hubs – Newark Liberty and Chicago O’Hare – as well as a number of additional airports in eastern Canada.
As of Thursday morning, American’s storm policy included more than a dozen airports in Pennsylvania, New York, New England and Canada. By Thursday evening, it had expanded to include nearly twice as many airports in the Midwest.
At Frontier, 14 airports from Virginia through Maine were covered by the winter weather waivers. Like other carriers, Frontier’s expanded to cover a similar number of airports in the Midwest.
JetBlue customers were covered for Saturday and Sunday travel through 17 airports across New England, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. That included JetBlue’s two busiest bases at New York JFK and Boston. Another airport outside the Northeast — Chicago O’Hare — also was included in the carrier’s waiver policy.
Alaska become on of the last carriers to roll out a waiver, issuing one for Boston.
The details varied by carrier, but – with some fine print – they allowed eligible flyers to make one change to their itineraries without paying a recalculated fare or change fees that typically cost $200 and up. Southwest does not charge change fees, but its waivers allow one change at the previously booked fare.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: More snow! Airlines expand change fees as new storms approach
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on California storms (all times local):
Southern California’s Santa Anita Park canceled horse racing Thursday because of stormy weather.
Track Superintendent Andy LaRocco says Santa Anita has taken on 3.5 inches (89 millimeters) of rain since Monday.
The track in Arcadia has advised horsemen that it will try to bring back the eight races that were canceled in the near future.
Racing is expected to resume Friday.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows improved conditions in California after a series of storms.
The update released Thursday shows just over 92 percent of the state ranges from abnormally dry to some level of drought, mostly of moderate intensity.
Extreme drought is now limited to a small area just south of the Oregon border.
At the start of the year, that designation had applied to parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties west of Los Angeles. But those areas are now at lower drought levels.
The data is valid as of Tuesday, and the Drought Monitor says there may be additional improvement because of continuing heavy precipitation since then.
Authorities say a Northern California pedestrian who jumped into the street to dodge a falling tree was struck and killed by a van.
The California Highway Patrol says the accident occurred while the pedestrian and driver were looking at downed power lines and awaiting the arrival of fire crews at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Mill Valley about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
The CHP says the two men tried to flee to safety when they heard a tree overhead crack after it was hit with a strong gust of wind. The pedestrian jumped in front of the van as the motorist accelerated forward.
The CHP hasn’t released the names of either man. It’s at least the sixth death caused by storms this week.
California’s two largest utilities report that a combined 70,000 customers remain without power throughout the state.
Pacific Gas & Electric says about 68,000 of its Northern California customers remained in the dark Thursday after a total of 220,000 customers lost electricity since Wednesday.
The utility provides power to California customers north of Los Angles to the Oregon border.
Southern California Edison, which serves most of Southern California, reported about 2,000 customers without power after three days of heavy rains and winds pounded most of the state.
San Diego Gas & Electric reports no power outages.
An accumulation of heavy, wet snow caused a rear-engine jet parked at a Lake Tahoe-area airport to do a tail stand before mechanics returned it to its parked position.
Truckee Tahoe Airport official Marc Lamb took photos that were widely shared on social media sites. He tells The Associated Press that most of the 20 inches of dense snow that caused the Wednesday morning spectacle melted by Thursday.
No one was injured and the Cessna Citation X aircraft was not damaged by the heavy snow that locals dub „Sierra cement.”
Lamb says other aircraft were moved before the storm, but the Cessna parked outside for maintenance was too large for hangars at the airport northwest of Lake Tahoe about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of San Francisco.
The National Weather Service has posted another winter storm warning in the area until Friday afternoon.
Wide areas of California are on alert for treacherous conditions as the latest in series of Pacific storms dumps rain and snow.
Flash flood warnings are posted in many areas statewide Thursday morning and some neighborhoods near wildfire burn scars are under evacuation orders.
The Santa Barbara County community of Montecito that was devastated by a deadly debris flow a year ago has received 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain in 24 hours, but so far has avoided a repeat of the disaster.
In the Sierra Nevada foothills, a flash flood watch is in effect for the area burned by the wildfire that obliterated the town of Paradise in November. The higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada has seen blizzard conditions.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports three people, including a 1-year-old girl, were killed Tuesday when a car went out of control in heavy rain in El Dorado County and crashed into another car. Two other storm-related deaths were reported earlier in Northern California.
The last Pacific storm in a weeklong series is expected to douse an already-soaked California and forecasters say the state is still at risk for dangerous mudslides in burn areas and blizzards in the high Sierras.
Southern California hillsides scarred by last year’s massive wildfires have held up through days of rain but a final downpour is predicted Thursday.
Meanwhile, Northern California was hard-hit Wednesday. Authorities say a homeless man in Oakland died when a tree branch fell on him, possibly as he sought shelter from the rain.
Tens of thousands of Pacific Gas & Electric customers were left without power as the weather downed electrical lines.
Forecasters say the state should begin drying out Friday.
With winter storms wreaking havoc up and down the California coast and a major snowstorm about to blast the Northeast, could there be a more inopportune time for the longest government shutdown in American history? Reports from the Washington Post, CNN and others say the limitations on the National Weather Service (NWS) will make weather forecasts „worse” and that presents a „national security risk.”
Not when there are alternative weather forecasting sources.
„All the government models are still running and all of the critical data from the U.S. and around the world is still coming in to our global forecasting center,” said Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder and CEO. „AccuWeather has global models and data from arrangements with governments all over the world, as well as data from private sources. Many of these models from other countries also provide forecast guidance for the U.S.
„AccuWeather brings in more weather data and weather models into our facility than any other place on the planet,” Myers added. „So, our forecasting operations have not been impacted, there has been no degradation of the documented superior accuracy of our forecasts to save lives, protect property and help people and businesses make better decisions.”
A woman walks her dog through heavy snow. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Think of weather forecasting as an Olympic marathon with worldwide competitors pushing each other in a somewhat symbiotic way. If one runner slows and can’t keep up for a stretch, the other runners’ abilities aren’t diminished and they don’t stop — the race goes on.
„We feel badly for our weather colleagues in government who are not getting paid during the shutdown,” said Marshall Moss, AccuWeather vice president, Forecasting and Graphic Operations. „Like us, they’re doing critical life-saving work and issuing public warnings and we hope they are paid soon.
„Importantly, we receive the data we need, not just from the NWS but from partners all over the world,” Moss said. „We combine all of that data with artificial intelligence and the insights and perspectives of our more than 100 operational meteorologists to ensure that we are providing the best and most accurate forecasts to all locations at all times and that these forecasts are communicated in the most effective manner to help people make the decisions they need to make.”
For example, AccuWeather MinuteCast, available on our free app, continues to provide the most relevant location-specific precipitation forecast, including start and stop times, with data updated every minute.
As the Washington Post points out, the shutdown’s effects on the NWS „could stretch well beyond when the government reopens.” The NWS’ long-term planning, particularly around hurricane forecasting for next season, may be affected by the inability to critique the previous hurricane season predictions and to prepare completely for the upcoming season. However, AccuWeather’s planning for the next hurricane season continues unabated and has not been impacted.
CNN also confirmed that the NWS’ global forecast model upgrade set for February is likely to be delayed due to the shutdown. AccuWeather, though, relies on more than 160 other worldwide models as well, including the highly regarded European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
AccuWeather’s intent was not to imply that government weather data could not be trusted during the shutdown, but, rather, to point out that government data is continuing to flow through regular channels, and that our hardworking meteorological colleagues in government are working, as we are, to keep people safe and informed.