U.S. „Zombie” storm regains strength in bizarre 2020 season by CBSNews •Storms have popped up in this record-breaking hurricane season at such a breakneck pace that and were forced to move on the Greek alphabet. But one of the storms with a traditional name — Paulette — has come back to life more than a week after it hit Bermuda.Paulette, which made landfall on Sept. 14 in Bermuda as a hurricane, regenerated near the Azores Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said. Now a tropical storm, Paulette was expected to become a post-tropical remnant low in the next day or so.The National Weather Service said on Twitter: „Because 2020, we now have Zombie Tropical Storms. Welcome back to the land of the living, Tropical Storm Paulette.”As Paulette was weakening, Hurricane Teddy was moving toward Canada, with a predicted landfall in Nova Scotia early Wednesday before heading into Newfoundland on Wednesday night, forecasters said. The large and powerful storm was causing dangerous rip currents along the U.S. East Coast, the hurricane center said.Teddy was about 300 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. It was expected to weaken through Wednesday, but forecasters said it would likely be a strong, post-tropical cyclone when it moves in and over Nova Scotia.The most obvious contributing factor for such an active season is water temperatures being near historic levels in the Tropical Atlantic, which can act like high-octane fuel to power hurricanes.
Meanwhile, theleft large portions of Houston underwater. Cars and trucks stranded on roads-turned-rivers. What remains of Beta was hugging the coast late Tuesday and was expected to lash southeast Texas. Flood advisories are posted along a 500-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast from near Corpus Christi, Texas, all the way to New Orleans.
This storm is barely moving; it’s been raining non-stop since late Monday. And Houston — which floods even during a moderate rain — cannot absorb all this water.
More than 100 high-water rescues have taken place in Houston as the now-tropical depression barely budges.
„Let’s hope and pray that this system will start moving at a quicker pace to the east and will get out of here,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
After what has already been a hot and dry summer in much of the West, Mother Nature is set to turn up the thermostat again, despite the fact that the calendar says it is now fall. Residents will think it is the end of July and beginning of August and not the end of September and beginning of October.
„A prolonged wave of intense and, in some cases, record-challenging heat is on the way for the West as September comes to a close and October begins,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff.
Following welcome rain over the past few days in the Pacific Northwest, the upcoming patten will be quite a change. In coastal Washington and Oregon as well as the northern Rockies, precipitation could linger into Saturday before the spigot is turned off and the warmup begins.
„The warmup is likely to be most noticeable across the Pacific Northwest, where cloudy, rainy conditions have kept high temperatures near to slightly below average over the past few days, in the 60s and 70s,” Duff said.
Temperatures will gradually rise each day through the weekend, but it is next week when the extreme heat will become established.
While the magnitude of the heat will not rival what was endured earlier in the month, records could still be in jeopardy in some locations. However, expected highs are likely to be just short of establishing new records. That said, many cities will experience highs of 10-20 degrees above normal.
Even though there is only a small chance of daily records, other records could be set.
For example, Las Vegas notches its 96th day with a high temperature at or above 100 degrees on Thursday. This is the second most 100-degree days in a single year. The record is 100 days in 1947. The expected coming heat could make that record attainable.
Phoenix experienced its 127th day of 100-degree heat on Thursday, tying this year with 2001 for the fourth most 100-degree days in a single year. The all-time record is 143 days in 1989. However, second is 2003 with 129 such days, so this should at least be the second-most 100-degree days in a single year. This city has already had 53 days at or above 110 this year, smashing the previous record of 33 days in 2011. Temperatures are not forecast to reach 110 during this upcoming heat.
Farther north, the heat will not be as extreme, but it will be quite a change from the cool air and rain of the past few days.
In areas where rain has fallen this week, such as in part of the Northwest, the fire danger has been lowered.
„Since the Pacific Northwest is in the midst of getting a thorough soaking, the risk of new wildfires being sparked amid the warmth will be low,” Duff said.
Unfortunately, rain was still absent this week and has been for months in some locations. In those areas, the fire danger will continue to be extremely high.
„However, farther south where 90s and triple-digit heat will reign and no rain has fallen in months, the upcoming heat wave will only worsen the ongoing drought and wildfire situation,” Duff said.
The bottom line is that even though it has gone from summer to fall and the calendar is about the flip from September to October, summer heat is not yet over in the West.
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Leaf litter is a common sight in yards across the country this time of year. Instead of raking leaves into bags headed for the landfill, experts say fallen leaves can stay put, and with a little preparation, become a natural renewable resource that creates the perfect soil to grow new vegetation.
|(photo/patrickheagney/iStock/Getty Images Plus)|
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, yard wastes account for approximately 20 percent of all garbage generated in the United States each year.
The EPA’s most recent statistics indicate 34.5 million tons of yard trimmings were accounted for in 2014, but only about 31 percent (10.8 million tons) ended up in a landfill.
Most tree leaves, grass clippings, brush and other prunings end up recycled, composted or burned for energy. And experts, like horticulturist Robert „Skip” Richter with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, suggest taking advantage of the leafy freebies by keeping them in your own yard.
„You have all these free nutrients in an organic form that lay on the lawn and by bagging them up and using them for mulch or compost you can recycle them back into your landscape in a form that plants are designed to take: naturally decomposing organic matter,” Richter said.
Nutrients in leaves that fall from a tree during one season is equivalent to about three-fourths of all the nutrients that tree took up during the year, he added.
Reusing these wastes creates a product that can be used to help improve soils, grow the next generation of crops and improve water quality.
If you are going to hang onto your leaves this year, here are a few ways you can keep them on your property and out of landfills.
A light covering of leaves can be mowed with a mulching mower or cut up with a few passes of a lawn mower. The shredded leaves fall in between the blades of grass and down toward the soil.
Richter said this technique is most effective with southern turfgrasses because they have a course texture and the leaves can fall between the turf blades.
Use a mower with a bag as your leaf gathering device to shred and collect leaves. Then spread the chopped leaves as mulch in flower, vegetable and shrub beds and around trees.
Leaves will slowly decompose on the surface and release their nutrients over time, Richter told AccuWeather. They also form a cover that protects the soil against erosion and crusting from rainfall and irrigation.
Some jurisdictions operate programs in which residents can rake or blow leaves onto the street for pick up by special vacuum trucks on designated days. These are then sent to composting facilities, according to the EPA.
Another option is to compost them on-site. For people who have a compost bin, leaves and other yard wastes can be added to create an organic product that feed trees and plants.
You can simply collect leaves and rototill them directly into garden beds to improve aeration, drainage and water capacity. Most people don’t have gardens big enough for this technique, but Richter said it is an option.
Mix several inches of leaves into the soil as deep as you want to go and then allow them to decompose before spring planting.
Blanket over soil
|This file photo is an example of the blanket over soil technique. If leaves are so abundant that they would smother the lawn, go ahead and rake them, but not into piles for burning. Instead, rake them beneath your shrubs. A blanket of leaves there keeps the soil from washing away and exposing delicate feeder roots. That blanket of leaves also keeps the soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer. The result: your shrubs will grow and look better. (AP Photo/Lee Reich)|
If you are not growing anything in an area of your garden for the winter, you can create a blanket of leaves to prevent weeds from coming up and to protect soil.
Richter said you don’t necessarily have to prepare the leaves for this option, but it’s usually best to mow over them so smaller leaf pieces are less likely to blow around. For spring planting, remove the leaf blanket with a rake and then put it back around the plants as mulch.
„This is a day and time when people are conscious of…reducing, reusing and recycling, and this is a way of accomplishing that. It also makes horticultural sense,” Richter said. „It’s not like you are doing something to save the planet that is hurting your plants. You are doing the best thing for your plants and at the same time you are not filling up landfill space.”
California is bracing for another dangerously warm weekend, with dry winds, parched vegetation, and triple-digit temperatures threatening to ignite new fires and complicating containment efforts in an embattled state.
With only a few weeks’ reprieve after a record heatwave in early September, firefighters have made progress in containing the dozens of blazes tearing across the region. But fatigued crews – many of whom have spent weeks fighting on the frontline – are preparing for a potentially rough week ahead.
Red flag warnings have been issued across northern California from Saturday through Monday. “Even if you live on the coast or in the city, you’re going to feel the heat Monday,” Drew Tuma, a local ABC meteorologist, said. “I expect some places to hit 106F, 107F Monday – easily.”
In northern and central areas, the strongest winds were forecast to occur from Saturday night into Sunday morning, followed by another burst Sunday night into Monday. In southern California, meteorologists anticipate very hot and dry weather conditions with weak to locally moderate Santa Ana winds on Monday.
The Pacific Gas & Electric utility warned it may have to shut off power to areas where gusts of wind could damage its equipment or hurl debris into lines that could ignite flammable vegetation. The utility posted a power cut “watch alert” for Saturday evening through Monday morning for about 21,000 customers in portions of northern Butte, Plumas and Yuba counties.
The heat isn’t just weather – it’s part of a trend. Nasa researchers who document the rising temperatures report that the fires and the conditions that cause them are going to get worse.
In what has become a familiar story to Southern Californians, U.S. Forest Service officials are investigating an equipment issue experienced by power provider Southern California Edison as the possible ignition point of the Bobcat Fire. The blaze is the third-largest ever recorded in Los Angeles County.
While the the cause has not been determined, the incident in question happened around the time the fire broke out.
It’s not the first time the utility’s equipment has been suspected of causing a massive wildfire.
In the past four years two other fires, among the biggest ever recorded in Southern California, have been associated with SCE equipment failure. One was the deadly Thomas Fire in Ventura County that scorched 281,000 acres in 2017.
The other was the Woolsey Fire, of which the utility’s CEO Pedro Pizzaro said, “Absent additional evidence, SCE believes it is likely that its equipment was associated with the ignition of the Woolsey Fire.” The Woolsey Fire scorched 96,000 acres, claimed three lives and destroyed more than 1,000 structures as it swept from Chatsworth through Malibu.
The Bobcat Fire erupted on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and West Fork Day Use area northeast of Mount Wilson and within the Angeles National Forest.
SCE claimed in documents filed with the California Public Utilities Commission last week that “the Jarvis 12 kV circuit out of Dalton Substation experienced a relay operation at 12:16 p.m. on September 6,” but maintains that smoke had already been detected by a camera on Mount Wilson at 12:10 p.m. that day.
“While USFS has not alleged that SCE facilities were involved in the ignition of the Bobcat Fire, SCE submits this report in an abundance of caution given USFS’s interest in retaining SCE facilities in connection with its investigation,” the utility said.
The utility agreed to remove a specific section of SCE overhead conductor in the vicinity of Cogswell Dam, as requested.
The Bobcat Fire increased in size slightly overnight — from 113,733 acres to 113,986 acres — and the containment expanded from 39% to 50%, forest officials said on Thursday. Full containment is not expected until Oct. 30.
“Fire activity has moderated, and only 253 acres were added overnight,” Angeles National Forest officials said in a statement after daybreak Thursday.
Firefighters earlier this week successfully set backfires, including from the air, to destroy vegetation fueling the blaze and protect the Mount Wilson Observatory and several broadcast and telecommunications towers.
Firefighters planned to “continue to fortify the areas that were strategically burned to improve containment,” and some additional strategic burning may be necessary this morning where the fire is pushing north, east and west, the U.S. Forest Service reported.
Reduced winds, lower temperatures and higher humidity reduced fire activity Tuesday, but Wednesday brought warmer and drier conditions, which were expected to continue Thursday, with southwesterly and up-canyon winds, according to the National Weather Service.
The NWS forecast for Thursday night, however, included north-northeast winds — dry and warm, like Santa Anas — in L.A. mountain zones. They could reach 45 mph, which would be a problem for firefighters.
Next week could be worse.
From Thursday’s NWS report:
A broad ridge of high pressure will build across the area on Sunday and bring a warming trend. The warming trend will become more pronounced on Monday and Tuesday when the ridge center settles into the Great Basin…Hot temperatures will develop with many valley, foothill and desert locations soaring into the triple digits. Offshore flow [Santa Ana winds] looking more likely, but offshore gradients do not look overly strong at this time. Hot and dry conditions are likely for early next week with locally gusty offshore winds possible at times, especially during the nights and mornings through and below passes and canyons.
The fire is burning in the Angeles National Forest and threatening communities in the Antelope Valley and San Gabriel Valley foothills.
The Angeles National Forest will be closed through Oct. 1, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Flames have destroyed 52 structures and affected another 14, with three suffering minor damage and one suffering major damage, according to a damage assessment provided by Los Angeles County officials. That map, which is compiled from ongoing field damage inspection and subject to change, can be viewed here.
Of the 52 buildings destroyed, 27 were identified as residential, one as commercial and 24 as “other.”
The fire has burned more acres than the Woolsey Fire of 2018, which scorched 96,271 acres, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Tuesday. The Station Fire in 2009 burned 160,577 acres.
The fire came down from the Angeles National Forest into Cima Mesa, Juniper Hills, Pearblossom and Devil’s Punchbowl on Friday and damaged some structures, Vince Pena of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said Monday evening.
The Nature Center at the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area was burned by the fire, Los Angeles County parks officials said. The area is closed until further notice.
About 7 a.m. Thursday, evacuation warnings were changed to a “repopulation order” with “no restrictions” for the following areas:
-Clear Areas: north of East Avenue W-14, south of Pearblossom Highway, east of 155th Street East, west of 165th Street East
-Sand Areas: north of Big Pine Highway and Highway 2, south of 138th Street East, east of Largo Vista Road, west of 263rd Street. The southwestern region of the Sand Area may have power outages.
-Ward Areas: north of Fort Tejon Road, south of East Avenue V, east of 87th Street East, west of 121st Street East. Evacuation orders remained in place for residents:
-Along Angeles Crest Highway, between Angeles Forest Highway and Highway 39
-In the unincorporated areas and communities of Juniper Hills, Crystal Lake, East Fork of the San Gabriel River, Camp Williams, Valyermo and Llano (except for the Longview section, which is under an evacuation warning);
-South and west of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road, east of Angeles Forest Highway and north of Angeles Crest Highway
The following areas remained under evacuation warnings, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
-Pasadena and Altadena: north of Sierra Madre Boulevard, west of Michillinda Avenue, east of Washington Boulevard, north of New York Drive, as well as north of New York Drive and Woodbury Drive, east of Hahamongna Watershed Park
-Littlerock: south of Pearblossom Highway, north of Weber Ranch Road, east of Cheseboro Road, west of 87th Street East
-South of Highway 2, north of Blue Ridge Truck Trail, east of Highway 39, and west of the Los Angeles County border
-Longview: south of Avenue U-8, north of East Avenue W-14, east of 121st East, and west of 155th Street East
-South of Pearblossom Highway, south and east of Pearblossom Highway, north and west of Mt. Emma Road, north and east of Angeles Forest Highway, and west of Cheseboro Road
-South of Mount Emma Road, north of Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road, and west of Pacifico Mountain
The Wrightwood area in San Bernardino County was still under an evacuation warning. ANF warned in a statement Wednesday that the fire could reach Wrightwood soon.
A closure order has been issued for national forests in Southern California, including the Angeles National Forest.
A smoke advisory was extended through Thursday warning of unhealthy air due to the fire.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District said winds were predicted to move smoke from the Bobcat Fire to the northeast into the mountains of Los Angeles by Thursday afternoon, then out of the South Coast Air Basin.
A total of 1,613 personnel were assigned to the fire as of Wednesday night.
October’s crisp autumn nights will bring plenty for stargazers to see in the sky, ranging from a meteor shower to great views of the planets, but the top astronomy event of the month will come on the month’s final night.
No telescope is needed to see any of the three big events, but a sweatshirt and hat may be helpful as the nights gradually turn colder across the Northern Hemisphere.
In addition to the events, the night sky in general may start to look more clear than it has during the summer months. Part of this is due to the changing weather as colder, less humid conditions provide better viewing conditions than hazy, humid summer nights.
Here are the top three astronomical events to look for in October:
1. Mars Opposition
When: Oct. 13
The Red Planet will outshine all other planets in the sky throughout October, appearing brighter than it has at any point dating back to July 2018.
Mars will reach opposition, or the point in its orbit where it is opposite of the sun from the perspective of Earth, on Oct. 13. This is also around the time when it is closest to the Earth, causing it to appear brighter than at any other point of the year.
Onlookers will be able to spot the planet with ease as it will be glowing orange, standing out among a sea of white stars. It will first appear in the east around sunset before climbing high in the southern sky by midnight then gradually swinging into the western sky in the hours before sunrise.
|This animation, which is not to scale, shows how the Earth and Mars align during a Mars Opposition. (NASA)|
Mars will remain a prominent feature in the sky throughout the rest of autumn before it gradually begins to dim during the winter months.
Jupiter and Saturn, while not appearing as bright as Mars, will also be visible in the southern sky after sunset throughout October before setting in the west around midnight, local time.
2. Orionid Meteor Shower
When: Oct. 20-21
One of the best meteor showers of the season is set to peak on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 20, into the early hours of Wednesday, Oct. 21.
The Orionids will feature around 20 meteors per hour on peak night with the greatest number of meteors expected after midnight, local time. Although this may not sound like a dazzling onslaught of shooting stars, it will be the last meteor shower for fair weather skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere before colder wintry conditions arrive for upcoming meteor showers in November, December and January.
|A plane and a satellite pass by as a man stargazes at Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire, England, as the Orionid meteor shower reaches its peak. (Reuters/PA Images/Danny Lawson)|
This year is a particularly good year for the Orionids as the moon will be below the horizon nearly all night long, meaning that there will be little natural light pollution in the sky. However, light pollution from cities and highways could still wash out many of the dimmer meteors.
After the Orionids, the next moderate meteor shower on the calendar is the Leonids, which will peak on the night of Nov. 16 into Nov. 17 followed by the Geminids on Dec. 13 into Dec. 14.
3. Blue Moon on Halloween
When: Oct. 31
Halloween is shaping up to be different this year in more ways than one. For the first time since 2001, a full moon will fill the sky on Halloween night illuminating neighborhoods for trick-or-treaters.
This will be the second full moon of the month, giving it the title of a blue moon. The first full moon of the month falls on Oct. 1 and will be called the Harvest Moon, the nickname given to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.
|A plane ascends in front of a blue moon rising seen from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J., Friday, July 31, 2015. The blue moon happens when the moon rises in its full stage twice during the same month. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)|
The blue moon will not actually appear blue, but it may add an extra spook to the air for the superstitious.
Trick-or-treaters may have kids of their own the next time that a blue moon glows on Halloween night, which will take place in 2039.
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