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Thu, 26 Apr 2018
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Storm Xaver rocks northern Germany

Storm Xaver has barreled down on northern Germany with high winds and flooding as a result of raised sea levels. The storm had already battered northern Britain killing three people.


Xaver brought a fierce and stormy night to many parts of Germany. The North Sea continued to batter against dikes in the early hours of Friday, with storm winds snapping trees and damaging buildings in the country's north.

In the port city of Hamburg, the flood reached a level of 6.09 meters above sea level by 6:30 a.m., however, despite danger warnings being issued ahead of the surge, the water level has already begun to recede. The storm has caused only a few accidents involving injuries in Germany.

The German transport ministry said until Sunday people should limit travel by road and rail to journeys which are "absolutely necessary" as train services were also restricted.

Arrow Up

Japan: new volcanic island growing rapidly

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© Wired AP
According to Japan's Coast Guard, the island, close to the Ogasawara archipelago, emerged as a result of undersea volcanic eruptions far south of Tokyo on November 20th and has since grown 3.7 times. It is now 300 meters long and 260 meters wide, the RIA Novosti news agency reports.

According to expert estimates, the overall surface of the land mass makes up some 56,000 square meters. The island, originally a circle-turned an oval, now looks like a trapezoid, according to the NHK TV Channel. When the island emerged during volcanic eruptions of ash and magma from the Pacific Ocean bottom, it was 200 meters in diameter and 20 meters high. Just two days later, it was 400 meters in diameter and 30 meters high.

Eagle

Obama administration will let some wind companies kill or injure eagles

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© Gary Cameron/Reuters
A bald eagle returns to its nest after catching a fish
The Obama administration said on Friday it will allow some companies to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty, in an effort to spur development and investment in green energy while balancing its environmental consequences. The change, requested by the wind energy industry, will provide legal protection for the lifespan of wind farms and other projects for which companies obtain a permit and make efforts to avoid killing the birds.

An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration's reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. The White House has championed wind power, a pollution-free energy intended to ease global warming, as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's energy plan.

In other areas, such as the government's support for corn-based ethanol to reduce US dependence on gasoline, the White House has allowed the green industry to do not-so-green things. Another AP investigation recently showed that ethanol has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

Snowflake Cold

As ice storm pummels U.S., proposed storm-rating index may help people prepare

ice storm 2013
© Sam Craft
People work to clear a street of debris following an ice storm in Paris, Texas, on December 6.
Improved system may better predict power outages and ice accumulations.

As the ice storm that pummeled much of the United States on Thursday continues to lock the country in a deep freeze, some areas may be more ready than others to deal with the consequences.

That's because a new index is under development that can be used to categorize expected damage from ice storms, dangerous phenomena that occur when rain freezes on contact with the ground or other surfaces. (Read more about weather and natural disasters.)

Now being tested at 10 of the 122 National Weather Service (NWS) offices throughout the country, the Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation (SPIA) Index has potential to give utility companies and emergency-management teams - such as the Salvation Army and the Red Cross - more lead time to prepare for power outages and provide shelter to those in need.

Tulsa, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; and Paducah, Kentucky were among the first offices to begin testing the index, and those cities have seen real impacts on preparedness for ice events, such as enabling power companies to order the necessary lumber to replace power poles even before a storm hits. Seeing the SPIA Index's success, five more cities, including Nashville, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas, began to use the system this year.

Ice Cube

Winter storm Dion to bring more snow and ice to U.S. from west to the northeast

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© wunderground.com
Winter Storm Dion

Winter Storm Dion, the fourth named winter storm of the 2013-14 season, will result in more snow and ice for some of the same areas impacted by Winter Storm Cleon.

Dion initially will produce snow in the West through Saturday night.

From there, Dion will then spread snow and ice from the Midwest to the Mid-South, Ohio Valley, Middle Atlantic and Northeast Saturday night into Monday.

Here's a look at the forecast through the beginning of next week.

Through Saturday Night: West Snow, Ice Returns to South West Coast

Dion pushed into the West Coast Friday into early Saturday.

With an Arctic air mass in place, snow fell at very low elevations in Oregon and California. In fact, accumulating snow was reported all the way to sea level along the coast of Oregon in the town of Newport. Many cities along the I-5 corridor in western Oregon also saw accumulating snow, including Eugene (6"), Corvallis (9") and Medford (3.2"). Snow was also reported in Redding, Calif., Ukiah, Calif. and just northeast of Fresno, Calif.

Through early Sunday, Dion will produce snow across Nevada, Utah, southern Idaho, northern and central Arizona, northern New Mexico and Colorado. This will impact travel along the I-40 corridor, including the Flagstaff, Ariz. area where 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected.

Father north, Salt Lake City could potentially see 2 to 6 inches of snow.

Snowflake

Europe winter storm with hurricane-force winds claims nine lives, leaves thousands without power


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© AFP/ Bernd Wustneck
People stand on a dune while storm front Xaver hits the shore of Rostock-Warne-muende, northern Germany, December 6, 2013
Icy winter storms with hurricane-force winds Friday lashed northern Europe, where the death toll rose to nine while hundreds of thousands were left without power or stranded by transport chaos.


Emergency services across the region battled overnight to evacuate flooded harbour areas, sandbag sodden dykes and repair damage from toppled trees that crashed onto houses, roads, train tracks and power lines. Atlantic storm "Xaver", having barrelled across Britain where two people died Thursday, packed winds of up to 158 kilometres (98 miles) per hour as it hit Germany, also battering the Netherlands, Poland and southern Scandinavia.

Blackouts hit 400,000 homes in Poland and affected 50,000 people in Sweden, while thousands of air passengers were stranded as flights were cancelled at Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Gdansk and other airports. In Germany alone, more than 500 flights were scrapped, said an online travel portal, while dozens of trains were also cancelled.

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© AFP/Justin Tallis
A postman looks at a flooded street in Lowest-oft, eastern England on December 6, 2013
The highest ocean swells in decades - due to the combined effect of strong winds and a large tidal surge - smashed into dykes in northern Germany and the Netherlands, which however reported no major breaches. The total death toll rose further, with one man killed by a falling tree in southern Sweden, and three died in Poland. "A tree crashed down onto a car on a local road" near the northern Polish town of Lembork, said firefighter spokesman Bogdan Madej, quoted by television station Polsat News.

"Three people died on the spot, another was taken to hospital." The previous day in Britain, a lorry driver died when his vehicle toppled onto other cars in Scotland, while a man riding a mobility scooter was struck by a falling tree in Nottinghamshire, central England.

Arrow Down

Cause of big seabird die-off in Western Alaska pinpointed

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© USFWS
Crested auklet is one species of seabird that was necropsied at the U.S. Geological Service National Wildlife Center in Madison, Wis.
Hundreds of seabirds that washed up dead on a Bering Sea island perished from avian cholera, a highly contagious and fast-killing waterfowl infection that had never been detected in Alaska before, according to state wildlife officials.

Strains of the bacterial disease generally do not pose a health risk for people, said Kimberlee Beckmen, a veterinarian at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. But residents of St. Lawrence Island, where the birds were found last month, should take care not to eat sick animals. People also should not handle the birds if they have cuts on their hands.

"It is always advisable to cook meat thoroughly and never eat sick birds or animals that may have died from a disease," she said in a statement. "Anyone touching a sick animal should wear gloves and wash hands with soap and water after handling animals or butchering meat."

Lethal bacteria

Residents of St. Lawrence Island who collected the carcasses and sent them off for study late last month suspected that recent Bering Sea storms killed the birds. Others feared it was seaborne nuclear radiation from the Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

Snowflake Cold

U.S. freeze shows no sign of weekend melt after deadly storm

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© Reuters/Bob King/Duluth News Tribune
Gary Larson uses a chainsaw to delimb a large spruce tree that was toppled by strong winds during a snowstorm in Duluth, Minnesota 4 December 2013.
Freezing weather in the U.S. gripped parts of Texas and Arkansas on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of people coping in the cold without power after a winter storm made roads impassable and caused severe flight delays.

More than 3,300 travelers were forced to sleep on cots overnight at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where workers had managed to thaw only two of its seven runways by Saturday morning.

Airlines canceled more than 350 flights from DFW that were scheduled for Saturday, the airport said in a statement.

At the height of the storm, some 267,000 electricity outages were reported in Texas, according to utility provider Oncor, but that number was down to about 130,000 early on Saturday. Oncor said it hoped to get power restored to "nearly all of its customers by Sunday night.

Forecasters predicted sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions in the region for the rest of the weekend, with layers of ice and sleet up to 3 inches thick around Dallas. The city has already canceled a marathon planned for Sunday.

Cold weather was due to roll into the Northeast on Sunday through Monday. Accuweather predicted a "wintry mess" of ice, freezing rain and some of the first snow accumulations of the season from Virginia to New England, which may cause further travel delays.

Source: Reuters

Snowflake Cold

Global warming NOT! Cold-snap stories from frozen Vegas to the frigid Midwest

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Snow lined roads even in normally warm Henderson, Nevada

Yahoo News readers share their stories from the storm that's freezing the country


Heavy snow, freezing rain, slick roads and otherwise miserable winter conditions have stretched across a wide swath of the country, from normally toasty Las Vegas to the upper Midwest. On Thursday, the mercury in western Utah plummeted to more than 15 degrees below zero. In Austin, Texas, it was a chilly 34. Denver stalled at a frosty minus 10.

"This is unusual," says Andrea Kairis, a resident of Great Falls, Mont., where temperatures dipped to minus 13.

By Friday, the storm moved further east and blasted Texas, the Southern plains and the Tennessee Valley. The storm is expected to hit the Northeast this weekend.

Yahoo News is collecting anecdotes from residents in the storm's path. Below are lightly edited excerpts from stories they shared with us this week.

Friday

Hundreds of flights canceled at DFW

The first major storm of the season dumped at least three inches of sleet in parts of North Texas this morning, bringing with it cold temperatures that are expected to last through early next week.

Dallas resident Haley Henderson, a student at Dallas Baptist University, found the lack of preparedness for the storm by city authorities frustrating.

"I find our way of handling the weather to be inconvenient. It's unsafe that the entire city apparently ceases to exist under these conditions," she said.

All classes at DBU were canceled today, as well as night classes on Thursday. The campus will remain closed for the rest of the weekend, affecting various holiday activities such as the Fine Arts Christmas Festival.

American Airlines, American Eagle and Southwest Airlines have canceled nearly 1,000 flights to and from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field due to the storm. Captain John Carbonari, a pilot with American from Colleyville, has been unable to return to Texas due to the extreme weather.

"I was flying the East Coast the past four days and my last flight into DFW was cancelled," he said. "I wish I were there for the snow. My kids are out of school today horsing around in it."

- Stephen Boyd

Cloud Lightning

Seal pups washed away by England tidal surge

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John M Saxton took this photograph of the seals at Horsey shortly before the tidal surge struck
Conservation authorities say hundreds of seals may have fallen victim to this week's floods in eastern England, and are warning people not to try to help stranded pups.

The National Trust says gray seal pups have been washed from a beach at Horsey in the county of Norfolk.

Seals arrive on the beach each November to give birth, and the pups spend their first few weeks on the dunes.

The trust says the pups should be left alone so that their mothers can try to find them.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it has "serious concerns about seal colonies" along the coast.

Eastern England was swamped Thursday by the biggest tidal surge in 60 years, amid a powerful storm with hurricane-force gusts of wind.

Source: AP