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Massachusetts, US: Tornadoes Kill 4, Damage Homes

Springfield sees worst of severe weather, nearby areas hit as well

Springfield - At least two tornadoes left at least four people dead, caused numerous injuries and damage Wednesday in this western Massachusetts city, scattering debris, toppling trees and frightening workers and residents before racing east.

Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and the National Guard called up about 1,000 troops, NBC News reported.

Scott MacLeod, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, confirmed the four deaths Wednesday night but said there were no details about the circumstances.

He said two people died in Westfield, one in West Springfield and one in the town of Brimfield.

The first tornado touched down at about 4:30 p.m. local time in Springfield, the third largest city in the state, Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, said.

"There was a tornado on the ground and reports of widespread damage in Hampden, Massachusetts, and also reports of damage in Springfield," Vaccaro said.

Much of the damage was in Springfield's South End neighborhood near Interstate 91 and the Connecticut River. Heavy winds could be seen churning the Connecticut River and hail, heavy rain and thunder hammered the area.

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US: Hawaii - Snow, rain and possible thunderstorms in forecast

© Unknown
Unstable air conditions are bringing snow to Big Island summits, rain to all Hawaiian islands and the possibility of thunderstorms. forecasters say.

The National Weather Service predicts wet and gusty weather as tradewinds blow rain over leeward areas from the windward side and afternoon heating creates the possibility of thunderstorms as cold, moist and unstable air moves over the state.

Forecasters say thunderstorms and lightning are possible, especially in the leeward areas of the Big Island.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea summits, where 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected.

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Best of the Web: Amazing waterspout 'tornadoes' caught on camera off Australia

Dramatic footage filmed from a helicopter by Australia's Channel 7 shows a series of powerful waterspouts near the coastal suburb of Terrigal, on Australia's New South Wales coast. Several powerful columns of swirling air could be seen blasting along the water's surface near the coastline. Channel 7 claimed the spouts reached heights of up to 600 metres (nearly two thousand feet), but dissipated as they neared land. The natural wonders came as strong winds and heavy rain also lashed other parts of the state, causing flash flooding and traffic chaos in Sydney.

Bizarro Earth

US: More rain, snow, National Guard troops for Montana

Missouri river
© Associated PressRising water from the Missouri river laps up against sandbags placed around a home in Fort Pierre, S.D., on Sunday.
The governor of flood-plagued Montana ordered more National Guard troops to join the anti-flood effort, while states downstream along the bloated Missouri River strengthened levees and laid sandbags ahead of the release of waters from dams and reservoirs.

More rain fell Sunday on soaked Montana communities after more than a week of floods in the region, with the National Weather Service predicting up to 3 inches before it tapers off Monday. Previous storms brought as much as 8 inches to some areas of the state.

For the second straight weekend, forecasters blanketed much of the central and eastern regions of Montana with flood warnings.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer Sunday sent 36 National Guard soldiers to Roundup, a town northwest of Billings in central Montana that remained inundated by several feet of water for a fourth day.


US: 2011 Now Deadliest Year for Tornadoes in Recorded History

Kevin Chew
© Joe Raedle / Getty ImagesKevin Chew prays by his father's casket Saturday in Seneca, Mo. Raymond Chew Sr., 66, died of injuries sustained in the tornado.
The death toll from the monster tornado last week in Missouri has risen to at least 139. Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr said Saturday during a news conference that the death toll rose to at least 142, but later revised that figure down without elaboration.

That makes this the deadliest year for tornadoes since 1953, based on an assessment of figures from the National Weather Service.

If the death toll does stand at 139, it would place this year's tornado death toll at 520. Until now, the highest recorded death toll in a single year was 519 in 1953.

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Flooding in Slovakia following heavy rains

Slovakia was suffering from widespread flooding Saturday after heavy rains across the country, reported officials.

Flooding was reported in the southern city of Hnusta and nearby village of Klenovec. The northern city of Spissky Stiavnik had seen its main square and several homes in the city centre flooded.

However, there were, as yet, no weather-related deaths or injuries reported.

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Are You Ready for More?

© Valentina Abinanti / PolarisJoplin, Missouri after the tornado that hit on May 22.
In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal. Why we're unprepared for the harrowing future.

Joplin, Mo., was prepared. The tornado warning system gave residents 24 minutes' notice that a twister was bearing down on them. Doctors and nurses at St. John's Regional Medical Center, who had practiced tornado drills for years, moved fast, getting patients away from windows, closing blinds, and activating emergency generators. And yet more than 130 people died in Joplin, including four people at St. John's, where the tornado sucked up the roof and left the building in ruins, like much of the shattered city.

Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year. In the U.S. alone, nearly 1,000 tornadoes have ripped across the heartland, killing more than 500 people and inflicting $9 billion in damage. The Midwest suffered the wettest April in 116 years, forcing the Mississippi to flood thousands of square miles, even as drought-plagued Texas suffered the driest month in a century. Worldwide, the litany of weather's extremes has reached biblical proportions. The 2010 heat wave in Russia killed an estimated 15,000 people. Floods in Australia and Pakistan killed 2,000 and left large swaths of each country under water. A months-long drought in China has devastated millions of acres of farmland. And the temperature keeps rising: 2010 was the hottest year on earth since weather records began.

Comment: It would appear that there is a pattern emerging. One that will not be turned around nor easily understood by our presenty accepted scientific minds.
Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!

Bizarro Earth

Typhoon Songda

© Earth Observatory, NASANASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data obtained from the Land Atmosphere Near real time Capability for EOS (LANCE) archive. Acquired May 27, 2011.
Super Typhoon Songda swirled off the coast of Luzon, at the northern end of the Philippine Islands, on the afternoon of May 27, 2011. Peak winds were around 240 kilometers (150 miles) per hour at 06:00 Universal Time (2 p.m. local time), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

This photo-like image shows Songda roughly an hour prior to the JTWC wind speed measurement. The data were collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite at 1:10 p.m. local time (5:10 UTC) on May 27. The distinct, but cloud-filled eye of the super typhoon was well offshore from the major islands of Luzon and Taiwan, though spiral arms of the storm extended for hundreds of kilometers from the center, bringing severe weather to both places.

The storm's track was predicted to keep it offshore from Taiwan, curving eastward as it travels north. While the storm is quite intense, the fact it has stayed far offshore has kept casualties and damage light. One death in the Philippines had been ascribed to the storm, according to the Philippines disaster council. There has been some crop damage, but since the storm buffeted the islands past the date of harvest, agricultural yields have not been affected.

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US: Severe Storms Wreak Havoc from Vermont to Georgia

US weather system
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Violent weather swept across the Eastern seaboard overnight, dropping heavy rains that flooded towns from New England to Georgia, knocking out power and killing at least three people in the Atlanta area.

Intense thunderstorms stalled over central Vermont, pushing rivers over their banks and ripping up streets. About 200 people were forced from their homes.

Churning brown water from the rising Winooski River and a tributary flooded into the streets of Vermont's capital city, Montpelier, sending business owners with inundated basements scurrying to move merchandise to higher ground.

"It looked like the river was right there on my porch," said Darlene Colby, 47, who was woken up by police around 1 a.m. She gathered a bag for belongings for herself and 25-year-old son and spent the rest of the night at a shelter.

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US: Second wind: Tornado near Cressona is 2nd in Schuylkill County in 3 days

Cressona, Pennsylvania - For the second time this week, a tornado touched down in Schuylkill County.
cressona tornado1
© Nick Meyer/Republican HeraldA tree lies across the front lawn of the property at 1035 Woodland Drive, North Manheim Township, on Friday after a tornado tore through the area Thursday night.
Just three days after the "Lewistown Valley Tornado," a 95-mph EF-1, zoomed through Walker Township on Monday, the "Schuylkill Haven Tornado," a 110-mph EF-1, uprooted trees, knocked down power lines and damaged more than 20 homes along an 18-mile strip from Cressona to West Penn Township, according to the National Weather Service.

"Damage was pretty extensive. Four of those homes had major damage. There were a dozen barns and outbuildings that were also damaged," Greg DeVoir, a meteorologist with the NWS, State College, said Friday evening.

The tornado touched down in North Manheim Township, a half-mile west of Cressona, at 8:15 p.m. Thursday. It bobbed up and touched down numerous times as it continued east, DeVoir said. The tornado was 200 yards wide at its greatest width and its path ended at Leibeyville in West Penn Township at 8:35 p.m.