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Fri, 06 Dec 2019
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6 of 75 Cities Get Top Disaster Rating

WASHINGTON -- On Sept. 11, 2001, New York fire battalion chief Dennis Devlin issued an urgent plea: His men were in "a state of confusion" and needed more working radios immediately. Yet, more than five years since Devlin and 342 other members of the city's fire department perished at the World Trade Center, the government says only six U.S. cities have fully answered the late fire chief's call by adopting advanced emergency communications systems.

New York is not one of the six, according to the scorecard by the Homeland Security Department that was to be released Wednesday.

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Hurricane center chief issues final warning: The "Big One" is Coming

MIAMI — Frustrated with people and politicians who refuse to listen or learn, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield ends his 34-year government career today in search of a new platform for getting out his unwelcome message: Hurricane Katrina was nothing compared with the big one yet to come.

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Cherry Blossoms Bloom In Brooklyn

NEW YORK Whether it's because of global warming, El Nino, or just a really long warm spell, weather in New York City this winter has been awfully strange. With temperatures continually hovering around the 50 degree mark and even occasionally nearing 60, perhaps the most bizarre weather-related incident happened in Brooklyn where cherry blossoms decided to make an early appearance.

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Sections of Colo. Remain Buried in Snow

DENVER -- Utility crews struggled to restore electrical service to tens of thousands of homes and businesses as grocery store shelves in southeastern Colorado went bare and hungry cattle grew isolated following a blizzard that dumped nearly 3 feet of snow and piled some of it in drifts 15 feet high.

Authorities were preparing Tuesday to bring in groceries in Humvees and drop hay bales from the air. Civil Air Patrol planes flew over the snow-covered plains Monday, some using infrared heat-sensing equipment to help crews spot animals in case they needed food.

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North Europe to welcome new year with ice-free Baltic Sea

TALLINN - Northern Europeans have been poised to celebrate the passage to the new year in a way that is out of the ordinary for them: with an ice-free Baltic Sea.

"It's quite unusual that we welcome the new year with no ice in the Baltic Sea," Tarmo Kouts, senior researcher at the Estonian Marine Institute, told AFP on Friday.

Temperatures in Estonian coastal waters are warmer by one degree Celsius (around three degrees Fahrenheit) than at the end of last year, Kouts said.

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Wild Bees Reject Genetically Engineered Crop

Major Impact on Pollination

Abstract. The ecological impacts of agriculture are of concern, especially with genetically modified and other intensive, modern cropping systems, yet little is known about effects on wild bee populations and subsequent implications for pollination. Pollination deficit (the difference between potential and actual pollination) and bee abundance were measured in organic, conventional, and herbicide-resistant, genetically modified (GM) canola fields (Brassica napus and B. rapa) in northern Alberta, Canada, in the summer of 2002.

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A Chronology of U.S. Billion Dollar Disasters

How good is your weather memory? In what year did the so-called "Storm of the Century" sweep the country and pound the entire Eastern Seaboard? How many tornadoes struck the Midwest in a record-setting one-week period of May, 2003? And do you remember the thousands of deaths caused by heat waves in 1980 and 1988?

Along with the deaths came significant financial costs.

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Billion Dollar Weather Disasters

One way to track climate trends is to look at disasters above a given threshold. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released last week its list of U.S. weather and climate disasters that have cost more than a billion dollars.

During the period between 1980 and 2004, there were 62 events in the U.S. that exceeded a billion dollars in costs and damages. These disasters include storms, droughts, forest fires and flooding. New to the list are the four hurricanes - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - that hit the country last summer.

Although there has been a rise in the number of these costly events in the last decade or so, some of the most damaging catastrophes occurred in the 1980s.

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Central U.S. Warned of Larger Earthquakes to Come

A moderate earthquake that rattled parts of Arkansas and Tennessee Thursday [Feb. 2005] should serve as a wake-up call to the central United States about the potential for much stronger events, experts said.

The temblor, preliminarily put at magnitude 4.1, shook eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee early in the morning. It was centered 47 miles north-northwest of Memphis.

There were no reports of significant damage.

"Although today's earthquake was what we characterize as 'light,' this area is capable of producing an earthquake that can result in significant loss of life and property damage," said Charles "Chip" Groat, director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Groat pointed out that the region was host to the strongest earthquake on record in the lower 48 United States.

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Super Volcano Will Challenge Civilization, Geologists Warn

The eruption of a super volcano "sooner or later" will chill the planet and threaten human civilization, British scientists warned Tuesday.

And now the bad news: There's not much anyone can do about it.

Several volcanoes around the world are capable of gigantic eruptions unlike anything witnessed in recorded history, based on geologic evidence of past events, the scientists said. Such eruptions would dwarf those of Mount St. Helens, Krakatoa, Pinatubo and anything else going back dozens of millennia.