It might feel like spring for part of the United States. But the clash of warm fronts and cold fronts is creating bad weather for the Midwest and Southeast. A string of tornados went through Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Three people have died in Tuesday’s storms. The National Weather Service received more than 20 reports of tornadoes or possible twisters on Tuesday. Several million people are at risk go severe weather damage.
About 188,000 residents in and near Oroville, California were forced to evacuate after a hole in an emergency spillway in the Oroville Dam threatened to flood the area. Highways were clogged leading out of the area Sunday night through early Monday. By early Monday, the water level in the man-made Lake Oroville had dropped to a point where water was no longer overflowing. Water flows over the emergency spillway at 901 feet. The level reached its peak at 902 feet early Sunday morning and dropped Monday to 898 feet. Northern California received 228 percent more than its normal rainfall for this time of year. The area's average rainfall of 50 inches per year has been broken with 68 inches just in the first month and a half of 2017.
The Northeast is expecting around 12 inches of snowfall. Many parts of the Northeast experienced unusually warm weather Wednesday, but temperatures are expected to drop quickly by Thursday morning. A snowstorm is expected to hit areas from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C. Some cities are expected to receive as much as 2 inches of snow per hour throughout the day. The snow isn't expected to stick at first, but as more and more of it falls, commuters can expect to face the snowfall during their morning drive Thursday morning.
President Donald Trump is preparing to issue executive orders that would allow the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines to move forward. This would have an immediate impact in North Dakota, where the last section of the Dakota Access pipeline is set to be laid down. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other Native American groups has been protesting the pipeline, which they say would put their water supply in danger of contamination and disturb sacred burial and archaeological sites.
For the first time in 11 years, the Sacramento River floodgates were opened Monday. Officials released water from the Folsom Lake reservoir and several others to prevent flooding. An impending storm is expected to bring 7 feet of snow in higher elevations to the state. By the end of the week, the total for the year could already be up to 20 feet. “We haven’t seen an event of this magnitude in at least a decade,” state climatologist Mike Anderson said to the Los Angeles Times.
Everyone’s mad at 2016. And guess what? It’s sticking around for one extra second. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (say that five times fast) said 2016 needed a “leap second” at the end of December. The leap second will bring the world’s atomic clocks in sync with the Earth’s rotation. At least everyone will be in sync for 2017. That’s the way to wrap up 2016.
President Obama designates 2 national monuments
1. President Obama designated two new national monuments in southern Nevada and Utah. The Bears Ears National Monument will protect 1.35 million acres in Utah. The Gold Butte National Monument will protect 300,000 acres in Nevada. Both areas have substantial rock art, archaeological sites, and sacred Native American lands. There’s been an increase of vandalism, grave robbing, and looting in the parks. The President’s executive action is in line with the 1906 Antiquities Act, which grants the power to establish or expand national monuments.
2. Some in Nevada and Utah aren’t too happy about it. There has been years of back and forth between the federal government, states, and land-owners over how much federal government regulates land in the West. Bundy brothers staged their armed standoff in Nevada two years ago. The protection would limit mining, oil and gas production in the area. According to officials, federal-regulated lands have slowed economic growth in the area.
3. Is the Aniquities Act an old relic? Is enviromental and historic perservation just as important as ecnomic growth?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Pollution is bad but Princess Cruise Lines didn’t get the memo. The cruise line is pleading guilty to seven felony charges for "deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up,” according to the United States Department of Justice. A subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, Princess will pay a $40 million penalty. The charges included illegal dumping of oil-contaminated waste into the ocean. This is the largest criminal penalty involving cruise pollution. It also puts the largest cruise company in time out for five years. All Carnival cruise ships will be under a court-supervised Environmental Compliance Program, which includes external audits and a court-appointed monitor.
The North Pole is experiencing temperatures 36 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than normal. Scientists are saying this unusual warmth is due to record-low sea ice and moist air being pushed up from lower latitudes. This leads to warmer weather and erratic migration of warm air toward the North Pole. The warmer temperatures in the arctic will likely increase sea ice melting and cause some rise in ocean levels.
Samsung has permanently discontinued the Galaxy Note 7 and all customers must return their devices for a refund or an exchange. These phones will never be repaired, refurbished or resold again. Samsung is working to dispose of the phones safely. But recycling smartphones isn't a perfect system. Out of the 50 elements inside smartphones like the Galaxy Note 7, only about a dozen can be recovered through recycling. The rest are just lost. About 165 pounds of minerals are mined to make one device that weighs less than a pound.
It's hot—really hot on earth and according to a recent study, global temperatures are passing the point of no-return. For the first time in history, carbon dioxide values in the atmosphere have remained above 400 parts per million. Values of greenhouse gases increase in May and decrease as the earth absorbs the gas. September is usually the lowest month for atmospheric carbon dioxide but this mont's value stayed above 400 parts per million. Scientists predict that carbon dioxide values will not fall below the 400 parts per million mark for the foreseeable future. Carbon dioxide just hit its annual minimum at Mauna Loa Observatory and failed to dip below 400 ppm https://t.co/m0ZoyzgcEf — Climate Central (@ClimateCentral) September 28, 2016
Native American tribe and Oil company clash
1. The Dakota Access Pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota into Illinois, directly to refineries throughout the east. The 1,100-mile pipeline would be the first to tap into the Bakken shale, a oil formation very close to tribal land. The $3.8 million project was expected to be finished and operating by the end of the fourth quarter, however protests have lengthened the project timeline.
2. Standing Rock Sioux leaders and other tribes say they fear the pipeline will destroy sacred sites and contaminate drinking water. Protest have become violent after bulldozers allegedly went over sacred sites. Local news outlets and videos show at least 30 protestors were pepper sprayed and two security dogs, and four private security guards were injured. The tribes filed for a temporary restraining order against Dakota Access and Dakota Access filed its opposition to the tribes' request early on Tuesday. A federal judge is expected to decide to temporarily halt construction near ancient burial and prayer sites.
3. Business as usual or a rights issue?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Should Florida release GMO mosquitos to combat Zika?
1. Florida has 17 confirmed Zika cases — all within a square-mile area north of downtown Miami. The CDC has issued a travel warning for this specific area. The FDA has also approved the use of a genetically modified mosquito that would lower the aedes aegypti species population. Given the birth defects that can result from contracting Zika while pregnant, killing the species that carries the virus would be beneficial.
2. However, some are concerned about the overall environmental impact of releasing this modified mosquito. The FDA has stated that using the mosquito in a small area will not have a significant impact. But others argue there's really no way of knowing how much impact lowering the mosquito population will have. Regardless, county residents will vote on whether to proceed with field tests in November.
3. Should Floridians vote to release genetically modified mosquitos?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Almost all of West Virginia is under a State of Emergency after historic flooding swept through the state, killing at least 25 people and leaving thousands of others displaced. Climatologists say the recent flooding is the third-deadliest in West Virginia's history. Many of West Virginia's bridges and roads have been shut down or washed out. President Obama declared a state of disaster, which allows for federal relief efforts and funds to be released to West Virginia. As more rain is forecasted for the area, federal and state officials are prepping for continued flooding.
"Children who are comfortable in the world beyond the back yard are more likely to care about the plight of the environment, and more likely to want to do the work to preserve it."
—MEGHAN MCCARTHY MCPHAUL
The Liberty Project, Why we should teach kids to love and treasure the natural world