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Archive for December 5th, 2013

“Apocalyptic” Smog Turns Skies Yellow in North, East China

Posted by feww on December 5, 2013

Choking smog engulfs much of east and north China, forcing school closures in at least two cities

Nanjing (population: 8.2 million), the capital of Jiangsu Province, issued a “red alert” after color of the sky turned mustard yellow. The PM10 pollution level was 467 (from a peak of 502) with PM2.5 at 433 (peak of 498), as of posting.

“The National Meteorological Center on Thursday renewed a yellow alert for fog and smog as dense air continued to choke eastern and northern provinces, including Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi. The yellow alert is the third highest in China’s four-level alert system,” said a report.

Social media users in China described the environment in deserted cities with the sky turning pale yellow as “apocalyptic,” reported Reuters.

Meantime, visibility reduced to less than 50 meters in many places, forcing highways to shut in east China’s Jiangxi Province on Thursday morning. Xinhua said its reporter had seen thousands of drivers stranded on the Changdong Highway in Nanchang (population: 5.3 million), the capital of Jiangxi Province.

In October, smog forced the shutdown of Harbin, one of northeastern China’s largest cities, as Visibility dropped to under 10 meters.

PM2.5 concentration of about 15 – 25 micrograms per cubic meter pose little or no risk, according to the World Health Organization.

airpollution levels

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Global Disasters/ Significant Events – December 5, 2013

Posted by feww on December 5, 2013

Ten beached whales die in Florida Everglades, dozens stranded

At least ten beached whales have died as rescuers tried to save dozens more that were stranded in shallow waters  in Florida’s Everglades National Park, said wildlife officials.

The whales, believed to be short-finned pilot whales, were first spotted on Tuesday pm near the Gulf of Mexico, according to the park officials.

Adult short-finned pilot whales weigh 1,000 to 3,000kg with females and males averaging 12 and 18 feet long receptively. They typically travel in pods of about 30 animals.

Wildlife officials said the rescue efforts to save the whales by pushing them into deeper waters would resume Thursday morning.

Video footage showed at least one carcass reduced to a bare skeleton and large chunks of flesh missing from others, possibly bitten by sharks.

NSA collects and anal-yzes 5 billion cellphone records each day

The US National Security Agency collects and analyzes about 5 billion cellphone records each day indicating location data around the world, according to a new report by Washington Post based on the records leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

FOUR Canadian soldiers commit suicide in one week

At least four Canadian soldiers have committed suicide in just one week, probably overcome by pangs of conscience.

At least three of the soldiers had “served” in Afghanistan, according to Canadian Defense officials.

In the latest incident, a married 46-year-old soldier apparently committed suicide on Monday. His body was found near his base in Quebec. Sylvain Lelievre had served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, according to reports.

Last week, the bodies of three other soldiers were discovered. They were Michael McNeil, William Elliott and Travis Halmrast. They were based in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta respectively.

30,000 Eritreans “abducted to Sinai desert for ransom”

Up to 30,000 Eritreans have been abducted since 2007 and taken to Egypt’s Sinai desert to suffer torture and ransom demands, according to a new research.

Victims are kidnapped in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan and taken to Sinai where they are held captive in the mostly lawless desert.

The abductors have extorted at least $600m  from families in ransom payments, says the study.

“The study, presented to the European parliament, says Eritrean and Sudanese security officers are colluding with the kidnap gangs,” according to a report.

Ferocious storm cuts power to 25,000 homes in Scotland, shuts rail network

>Winds of up to 116 mph  (187 km/h) battered parts of Scottish highlands cutting power to at least 25,000 customers and forcing the authorities to shut down the entire rail network due to debris on the tracks.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency has warned of flooding risks in coastal areas and Traffic Scotland advised drivers to avoid traveling in multiple areas due to “extremely dangerous” conditions, reports said.

Fast-food workers in 100 US cities will walk off the job

The strike is part of a nationwide movement, which began a year ago to increase federal minimum wage, unchanged since 2009, from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. The workers also want the right to unionize.

“We have people going to work every day and coming home to no utilities or having to make tough decisions on whether to eat or pay rent. But they go to work and work hard every day and they’re good at their jobs and these companies should take care of their employees and do better. We know that they have the profit,” said a worker.

“Dramatic increases in a starting wage such as those called for in these rallies will challenge that job growth history, increase prices for restaurant meals, especially in the value segments and lead to fewer jobs created,” said the National Restaurant Association.

This post will be updated throughout the day…

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Major Winter Storm Affecting Much of the U.S.

Posted by feww on December 5, 2013


POWERFUL WINTER STORM has engulfed much of the U.S. as a major icing event looms

Multiple warnings are in effect for extreme weather as a powerful storm system ploughs across the country dumping massive snow and plunging temperatures to dangerously low values.

Portions of Minnesota have already reported up to 2 feet of snow, more snow expected.The snowstorm has contributed to hundreds of traffic accidents around the state, including at least five fatal crashes between Monday and Wednesday.

The Warnings, Watches and Advisories include Ice Storm Warning, Winter Storm Warning, High Wind Warning, Avalanche Warning, Flood Warning, Gale Warning, Wind Chill Warning, Hard Freeze Warning, Freeze Warning, Hazardous Weather Outlook, Freezing Rain Advisory, Winter Storm Watch, Freeze Watch, Special Weather Statement, Air Quality Alert and many others.

Extreme Weather Highlights

  • Major icing event is forecast across the Arklatex and into southern Missouri and Illinois from noon Thursday.
  • Heavy snow and icing will continue to impact the Upper Midwest and Upper Great Lakes.
  • Arctic intrusion will plunge temperatures by as much as 35 degrees below normal to much of the western/central states.
  • Portions of Minnesota have already reported up to 2 feet of snow, more snow expected.
    • The snowstorm  has contributed to hundreds of traffic accidents around the state, including at least five fatal crashes between  Monday and Wednesday, AP reported.
  • Up to half inch of ice accumulations could hit a large region from northeastern Texas through the Ozarks and into southeastern Missouri.
  • Hard freeze warnings are in effect for much of the Central Valley in California, as well as southern Nevada and NW Arizona, and cities such as San Diego will experience near record low temperatures.

Minnesota Plagued by Unrelenting Snowstorm

An unrelenting storm that has spread about 2 feet of snow in northeastern Minnesota continued for a third day Wednesday. It has contributed to hundreds of traffic accidents around the state, including at least five fatal crashes since Monday. (AP- December 4, 2013

The Arctic Element

Cold air is plunging into the Western and Central U.S., and heavy snow continues across the Northern Plains and Great Lakes, as the system moves east and south. The Arctic intrusion has brought temperatures to dangerously low values, especially across the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains, with forecast highs in the negative single digits while lows plunge into the -20s Fahrenheit through Saturday. The freezing wind will lower the apparent/wind chill temperatures to the -30s over parts of Montana and North Dakota …. creating temperature contrast along the Arctic front with the northern tier plagued by the frigid readings, while the mercury moving from upper 70s to lower 80s along the Gulf Coast. —NWS Forecast [edited by FIRE-EARTH for brevity.]

us weather hazmap 5dec2013
U.S. Weather Hazards Map (Hazmap)  for Thursday, December 5, 2013. Source and Update: NWS/CRH. Map enhanced by FIRE-EARTH Blog.

Recent Extreme Weather Events

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