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Sun, 23 Jan 2022
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Ice Cube

Worst ice in decades: Ships turn back after ice damage on Lake Superior

Morro Bay
© Unknown
The USCGC Morro Bay

Ice is still four, five, even eight feet (2.4 m) deep in places.


"This is delaying the start of the shipping season," says reader Greg. "The last shipping season came to an abrupt end and the local steel mill was forced to truck in raw materials instead of by the usual and much less expensive lake freighter method."

Duluth, Minnesota (28 Mar 14) - The start of the 2014 shipping season has ground to a near halt by some of the worst lake ice in recent history.

The Presque Isle freighter and the Morro Bay cutter have sustained damage from the powerful ice and are being forced to return to the Twin Ports for repairs.

Ice Cube

Harsh winter leads to starvation, death for waterfowl across Michigan

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© Cory Olsen | MLive.com
Dead waterfowl line the shore of Lake Macatawa near the Holland State Park Tuesday.
Harsh winter conditions have led to a large number of waterfowl deaths across the state, something Greenville resident Stephen Schnautz has seen first hand.

Schnautz, 33, a waterfowl hunting and ice fishing guide, said he's seen a variety of species that just couldn't make it through the winter.

"I've seen diving ducks, loons, swans, gulls, a little bit of everything," Schnautz said. "I've been down to the Kalamazoo River and seen dead birds on the river bank. They're everywhere."

The losses aren't just around West Michigan, Schnautz said.

"I guide on Saginaw Bay and I've seen them all the way down to Lake Erie," Schnautz said. "They're in Muskegon, Traverse City, up in Ludington, too. I've mostly seen canvass backs, redheads, long-tailed ducks and some types of mergansers.

Michigan DNR wildlife outreach technician Holly Vaughn said the die-off can be attributed to the amount of ice coverage on inland lakes as well as the Great Lakes.

"Most of the birds that are washing up are diving birds like canvass backs, redheads, long-tailed ducks and some types of mergansers," Vaughn said. "It's mostly because they weren't able to get to their main food source.

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Ice Cube

Montreal shipping company uses drones to navigate Arctic ice

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© Fox News
It turns out that all the Titanic needed was a drone.

A Montreal-based shipping company has become the first in the world to use drones to scout out ice hazards as its freighters navigate through the waters of the Arctic.

The company, Fednav, has found the drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are able to transmit crucial information back to the wheelhouse, allowing ship captains to thread their way through frozen waters and dodge icebergs, like the one that sank the iconic ship more than a century ago.

"The use of UAVs is proving to be extremely beneficial to identify many ice features that should be avoided ahead of the vessel, as well as identifying open water leads to improve voyage efficiency," Thomas Paterson, Fednav senior vice president said in a statement. "In addition, the deployment of drones fitted with top-quality cameras, gives the ice navigator another useful aid when making important decisions while transiting heavy ice regimes, and in turn, improved safe navigation."

Attention

U.S. farmers face planting issues as cold conditions and drought linger

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"Damp soil leftover from winter, melting snow and lagging temperatures mean a lot of places are going to have a slow planting period across the Midwest, northern Plains and the Great Lakes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler said.
AccuWeather Global Weather Center - AccuWeather.com reports despite the official start of spring, lingering effects of the winter season will cause planting delays this year.

While the South will be right on schedule weather-wise for prime planting with looming frost concerns, delays will become more and more likely with every mile heading north.


Frozen Ground, Soil to Create Delays

Coming off a frigid, snow-filled winter for areas from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley and Northeast, spring will shape up to be mostly cool and wet.

"Damp soil leftover from winter, melting snow and lagging temperatures mean a lot of places are going to have a slow planting period across the Midwest, northern Plains and the Great Lakes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler said.

Lemon

Lingering winter delays planting season by weeks in New Hampshire

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Farmers, gardeners say they're weeks behind

The calendar may tell farmers and gardeners to get out and start planting, but that's impossible right now.

The late-season cold and snow is wreaking havoc with New Hampshire's growing season.

If Abby Wiggin of Wake Robin Farm had her way, her plants would already be in the ground.

"Last year, we planted peas on March 21," she said. "It's April 2 now, and I can't get a tiller out in the field."

It's the same in fields across the state. Some farms are two to three weeks behind schedule. Home gardeners and the gardening retail business have been slow to start, too.

"As far as people coming in to shop, we're two weeks behind," said Beth Simpson of Rolling Green Nursery.

Snowflake Cold

April snowstorm in Minnesota could be record breaking

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© AP/Paul Sancya
Prince was wrong. It's not "Sometimes It Snows In April." It's "Always It Snows In April."

OK, it only seems that way after the brutal winter we had this year, and the extended winter we had last year. But many Minnesotans are understandably at the breaking point with the news that a spring snowstorm is expected to dump possibly more than a foot of snow in many parts of the state.

The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for most of the state, including the Twin Cities. The warning is in effect from Thursday afternoon until Friday night.

WCCO director of meteorology Mike Augustyniak says that the storm should begin with a wintry mix in the Twin Cities. Then it will eventually begin to turn over into heavy, wet snow late Thursday into Friday morning. The period of accumulating snow could last up to 12 hours, Augustyniak said.

Cloud Lightning

Giant hailstones batter Hong Kong as observatory warns of further heavy rain

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© SCMP Pictures
'freak' giant hailstones - which are becoming more common. A 'sign of the times'?
Amber Rainstorm warning raised as people warned 'be alert'

Hong Kong was today warned to brace for more bad weather after giant hailstones last night pounded parts of the city and the Black Rainstorm signal was issued for the second time since 2010.

At 8.40am this morning the Amber Rainstorm warning was issued, with more than 30 millimetres of rain falling in just an hour, disrupting rush hour and making journeys to work difficult. The signal was cancelled at 11.40am.

As of 11am, 200 flights had been delayed, 44 cancelled and one diverted, the Airport Authority said.

The Hospital Authority confirmed that there were seven people admitted to accident and emergency departments of public hospitals during the Black Rainstorm signal raised between 8.40pm and 10.30pm on Sunday night. Of the seven casualties, ranging in age from a one-year-old to a 64-year-old, six were in stable condition and one was in serious condition.

A spokesman could only confirm that the patient in serious condition was a 29-year-old male and was currently at Princess Margaret Hospital.


Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfall destroys up to 95% of apricot harvest and damages other fruit crops in Armenia

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ITAR-TASS/Alexander Kolbasov
Armenia's annual apricot harvest averages 50,000-55,000 tonnes

A recent cold spell and a heavy snowfall has killed about 90-95% of the apricot harvest in Armenia, causing a damage of $ 25-30 million, chairman of the Armenian Union of Agrarians and Peasants Grach Berberyan told journalists.

"The frost and snow killed forming blossoms," he said. "Damage was done to apricot, plum, peach, cherry trees and early-ripe species of grapes. The most affected areas are in the Ararat plain and in regions near Yerevan."

Armenia's annual apricot harvest averages 50,000-55,000 tonnes, of which 20,000-22,000 tonnes are exported and about 10,000 tonnes are further processed.

A heavy snowfall hit the republic over the past weekend. The snow blanket, according to meteorologists, reached 20 centimetres. Air temperatures dropped to three degrees below zero.

Fish

Harsh winter blamed for dead fish at lakes across Indiana

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© WANE Photo
Mud Lake in Chain O’ Lakes State Park

Some northern Indiana lakes are seeing large numbers of Harsh winter blamed that wildlife officials blame on this winter's severe cold.

Fisherman Robert Schultz tells WSBT-TV he found some banks of Pike Lake near Warsaw covered with hundreds of dead gizzard shad.

That's a species of fish that the Department of Natural Resources says is less tolerant of the freezing temperatures that hit the area over the last few months. The DNR has had reports of similar fish kills at other lakes, including Winona Lake on the other side of Warsaw.

While many of the dead shad have been eaten by birds or other fish, Schultz says he expects to see more.

Source: AP

Fish

Thousands of dead fish washing up on shores of Chicago area lakes

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By the thousands, fish are dying in the shallower man-made lakes of the Chicago area.

CBS 2's Mike Parker reports that the long, cold winter is to blame.

At sunset Tuesday night, two neighbors came to the edge of Lake Linden in Lindenhurst to get a first-hand look at the catfish, sunfish, pike and others that have washed up. The deaths are the result of the heavy ice cover that now persists into April.

"The sunlight's not able to penetrate through into the water and that reduces over time, the dissolved oxygen levels and that stresses the fish out and eventually if it gets low enough, the fish will die," said Mike Adam, senior biologist for the Lake County Health Department's lake management unit.