Heavy Snow Belts East Coast; Southeast Ice Storm Leaves 700,000 Without Power

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:01 PM GMT on February 13, 2014

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The memorable winter of 2014 continues over the Eastern U.S., where an intensifying Winter Storm Pax has dumped up to a foot and a half of snow. Snowfall rates of 3" per hour have been observed in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York this morning. A band of super-heavy snow set up over northern New Jersey, with some reports of 3 - 4" of snow falling in just 30 minutes. As of 9 am EST, over a foot of snow (12.3") was observed at the Baltimore Airport, 7" at New York City's Central Park, and 11" in Washington D.C. at American University. The 8.8" of snow so far today in Philadelphia makes the winter of 2013 - 2014 the 5th snowiest on record there, and the first time since record keeping began in 1884 that Philadelphia has had four separate six inch or greater snowstorms in a winter. From the 10 am EST Thursday NWS storm report, here are the top snowfall totals from Pax:

West Virginia, 19", Cherry Grove
Virginia: 18", Winchester
Maryland: 18", Frewerick, Damascus, Glyndon
North Carolina: 15", Saluda
Delaware: 13.4", Newark
New Jersey, 11.8", Pittsgrove Twp
Alabama: 10", Cullman, Hunstville
Georgia: 9.8", Summerville
New York, 9.8", Commack
South Carolina: 8", Heath Springs
Kentucky: 7", Harlan, Lunch
Tennessee: 6", Erwin


Figure 1. Satellite image of Winter Storm Pax at 9:45 am EST Thursday, February 13, 2014. Image credit: NASA GSFC.

Thirteen Deaths, 700,000 Without Power
At least thirteen deaths are being blamed on the storm, including car crashes on icy roads that killed seven people in Texas on Monday and Tuesday. As of 10 am EST on Thursday, approximately 700,000 customers were without power, with 470,000 of these in Georgia and South Carolina. Freezing rain amounts up to 1/2" were common there, and the ice storm was the worst to affect Georgia since 2000, when a January ice storm knocked out power to approximately 500,000 customers. However, only a few locations in the Southeast recorded 0.75 - 1.0" of ice, and the catastrophic ice storm that was feared did not materialize. The worst ice conditions from the storm generally rated a "3" on a scale of 1 to 5 of the Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index. The impacts expected from a level 3 ice storm: "Numerous utility interruptions with some damage to main feeder lines and equipment expected. Tree limb damage is excessive. Outages lasting 1 - 5 days."


Figure 2. The Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index. Image credit: Sidney K. Sperry, spia-index.com

Too Warm in Sochi
Thursday was another warm, sunny day in Sochi, Russia, home of this year's Winter Olympics. The temperature rose to 62°--an unseasonably warm day for February. The unusual warmth caused numerous problems for skiers and snowboarders, and we can expect continued issues with excessive warmth as high temperatures rise into the low 60s again on Friday and Saturday. Beginning on Sunday, temperatures will cool down to more seasonable levels, with highs in the low 50s. Temperatures in the mountains above Sochi are typically 10 - 20 degrees colder than what are observed in the city. The New York Times has an interesting editorial, The End of Snow?, describing how a warming climate will make it increasingly difficult to hold Winter Olympics games.


Video 1. I appeared on Democracy Now this morning to put this winter's extreme weather into context.


Figure 3. Screen shot of the new hazard reporting feature of the wunderground iPhone and Android app.

New Wunderground Hazard Reporting Feature launched today
Wunderground users, we have a request: if you spot hazardous weather or road conditions in your locale, share them with other members of the wunderground community, using the wunderground iPhone or Android app. Users will have the option to submit hazards that include: flooding, power outages, road debris and high surf, as well as, winter weather conditions such as slippery roads, white outs, and street plowing. In addition to submitting hazard reports within the app, users can also share current severe weather alerts or screenshots of selected hazards with friends and family via SMS text, email, Facebook or Twitter. Previously submitted sky and hazard reports can be easily accessed as a layer within the app’s interactive weather map, known as WunderMap®. As hazardous conditions can only be reported for one’s current location, app users can be sure they are viewing weather information within their immediate proximity. The new hazard-reporting feature comes in response to the success of our initial crowd-reporting feature launched in December of 2013, which allows users to verify observed sky conditions. Over one million sky conditions reports were submitted in two months.

Jeff Masters

Ice Storm in South Carolina (conwaybob)
Ice Storm in South Carolina
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Super Slick
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A weather trifecta:)
Snow, Ice Pellets & Wind
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South Carolina ice storm 2014
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South Carolina snow

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592. Dakster
11:13 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 588. Tropicsweatherpr:


To make a correction,the time change will be on March 9th.

Link


I wish we would do away with daylight savings time.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10097
591. georgevandenberghe
7:27 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 566. washingtonian115:
The first blizzard in 2010 left 30 inches in my yard. Perhaps a repeat of the March 6 fail storm this year along the east coast?.


I don't keep mental statistics but backlash snow in the DC area is usually overforecast and underdelivers.

Not so last night as "Round 2" brought us 2" of heavy wet snow in Riverdale over about a 2 hour period.

I do not remember a comparable event in recent decades but my memory is foggy on these.

One event that definitely trumps last nights is Feb 2, 1976. The impact was ALL backlash as a light cold rain Sunday night transitioned to heavy driving wet and then dry snow in the early AM accompanied by a temperature drop from mid 30s to upper teens. THe first wet slush froze hard and then snow accumulated on top and road conditions were very bad that Monday morning.

February 1976 verified as one of the warmest of record in the DC area and the last two weeks produced temperature departures comparable to March 2012 i.e. unbelievable and unreal!
Member Since: February 1, 2012 Posts: 17 Comments: 1721
590. SkulDouggery
4:42 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Once upon a time, based on the evidence, more than 97% of scientists concluded that the Earth was flat.

Right?

Why do you all get so upset if someone doubts or argues against man made GW?
Its a tropical weather blog, up for various discussions. No need to be offended by different opinions.
I'm all for making changes if it will help, however I see tax dollars wasted every second of every day by our federal government.
I do not wish to pay a carbon tax for unproven science. No one has made a thorough case that CO2 is causing the warming.



Member Since: January 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
589. Neapolitan
3:49 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 557. luvtogolf:
Has anyone checked out the North America record highs/lows for this year? Lows in a 3:1 margin.

But what about last year? More record lows than highs.

Hmmm. When the highs were outpacing the lows in North America they got posted on here just about everyday here.

Now crickets...
Record lows outnumbered record highs across the US last year by roughly 29,000 to 26,500. Over the previous two years--2011 and 2012--highs outnumbered lows by about 123,000 to 42,000. 2.92:1 is obviously a far bigger story than 1.09:1, which is why it may have been mentioned more.

Speaking of: did you know that there were more high temperature records last year than there were low temperature records in either 2011 or 2012?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13509
588. Tropicsweatherpr
3:48 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 553. Tazmanian:


That sould give us some mid two upper 70s. And low two mid 80 at times

And with day light saveing time coming up mar 2nd we will see longer day time heating


To make a correction,the time change will be on March 9th.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14224
587. PalmBeachWeather
3:47 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 583. ACSeattle:
For those of you who think that the cold and snow in the eastern U S. proves something, please check out Anthony Watts's sea ice page. You will note that arctic sea ice extent has been decreasing for several days and is more than two standard deviations below average and also below the 2012 extent for this date. You do trust Mr. Watts, don't you?
Anybody that can play the drums for the Rolling Stones for 50+ years I trust AC
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5844
586. wxmod
3:47 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
BeijingAir ‏@BeijingAir 25m

02-14-2014 23:00; PM2.5; 436.0; 457; Hazardous (at 24-hour exposure at this level)
Member Since: October 4, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1752
585. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:47 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
584. Patrap
3:46 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Well, for keeping it real, can you show us novices one Scientific Paper that's peer reviewed that shows the Globe cooling.

For clarification purposes?

As you always seem to pop up here to impart some perceived "doubt".

Phunny dat,eh?

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
583. ACSeattle
3:45 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
For those of you who think that the cold and snow in the eastern U S. proves something, please check out Anthony Watts's sea ice page. You will note that arctic sea ice extent has been decreasing for several days and is more than two standard deviations below average and also below the 2012 extent for this date. You do trust Mr. Watts, don't you?
Member Since: March 17, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 28
582. PalmBeachWeather
3:45 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 553. Tazmanian:


That sould give us some mid two upper 70s. And low two mid 80 at times

And with day light saveing time coming up mar 2nd we will see longer day time heating
Taz...No matter what time of day it is, it will be the same amount of daylight no matter what time "They" say it is.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5844
581. weathermanwannabe
3:41 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
579. Patrap
10:37 AM EST on February 14, 2014

Lol............Trying to remain a little neutral (for Blog purposes) and keeping it real (scientific proposition) by using the words "assuming".  As I get older, arguing with some folks is useless and not worth my time.......................... :)

Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9074
580. PalmBeachWeather
3:39 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
A little bit cool this morning in south Florida....45 here. Now at 10:39 it is absolutely beautiful...I can't think or imagine a more wonder weather day.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5844
579. Patrap
3:37 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Assuming ?


Well that's a relief.

28 straight years of Avg Global Warm Bias Temps kinda make the fact a er, "Sciencey thing".


Wunderground's Climate Change Position

Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. Climate change is already causing significant impacts to people and ecosystems, and these impacts will grow much more severe in the coming years. We can choose to take economically sensible steps to lessen the damage of climate change, and the cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of action.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
578. JNTenne
3:37 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
To all my East Coast friends..
Member Since: May 21, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 566
577. beell
3:36 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 528. GeorgiaStormz:
Spring is coming... first sign on models of real instability




ECMWF is even generating instability in the prior to the arrival of a real system..(and is also dangerous for parts of the mississippi, ohio, and tennesee valleys)


Outbreak as modeled in 7 days.
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 142 Comments: 16487
576. Naga5000
3:35 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 571. luvtogolf:


Who's starting trouble? I'm simply pointing out facts.


Happy V-day. :)
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3371
575. weathermanwannabe
3:35 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
The scientific "markers", based upon most of the science and papers out there over the past 15 years or so, for a climate change period have been predicting climate extremes on both sides of the coin (whether going into a cooling phase or a warming phase).  Assuming that the Earth may be headed into a warming phase, the records being broken on both sides (heat and cold)  in recent years in both hemispheres, and with varying degrees of impact across different geographic regions and continents, appears to be verifying. 

That's it for me today...............Off to get a nice Burger with the boys at work.

Everyone have a Great and Safe Weekend.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9074
574. Patrap
3:33 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
A Scientific Look at Climate Change
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
573. barbamz
3:33 PM GMT on February 14, 2014


Like a hurricane: Ulla raging in Santiago de Compostela, Northwestern Spain.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 5918
572. Patrap
3:32 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
571. luvtogolf
3:32 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 565. Naga5000:


Why do you like to start trouble? If you don't accept the science and think AGW is some global scientific conspiracy, keep it to yourself instead of instigating.


Who's starting trouble? I'm simply pointing out facts.
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 968
570. barbamz
3:29 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Very high winds up to 166kmh (103mph) were recorded in Northwestern Spain (Galicia) with dear "Ulla":

En Estaca de Bares se ha alcanzado el récord de hoy con 166 kilómetros por hora y en Burela 163, según los datos de MeteoGalicia. En Punta Candieira (Cedeira) se llegó a 157 kilómetros por hora y en Xesteira a 144. Otra cifra significativa son los 129 kilómetros por hora alcanzados en el puerto de A Coruña, en el centro de la ciudad herculina. En Malpica 110 km/hora, en Camariñas también 110 y en el campus de Vigo 111 km/hora. Source.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 5918
569. taco2me61
3:29 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 565. Naga5000:


Why do you like to start trouble. If you don't accept the science and think AGW is some global scientific conspiracy, keep it to yourself instead of instigating.


That is the very "Reason" why I'm not saying a word....

Happy Friday to you all and Happy Valentines to all the Great Ladies that sit and read this :o)


Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3253
568. Patrap
3:29 PM GMT on February 14, 2014




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
567. hurricanes2018
3:29 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 562. ncstorm:
I finally got power..

13,000 though still without power here in New Hanover County..at most times the county with the most power outages for Duke Energy..The NWS here didnt see any significant impacts for our county..New Hanover and Brunswick were the only NC southeast counties with no advisory, watch or warning until Tuesday when the 1st round actually hit..still don't fault them though as they stated it was a difficult forecast and they know a lot more than I ever will..

some of the out of state power companies arrived yesterday to assist in getting power back on..glad to see them around Wilmington assisting Duke Energy..

rain coming back..



that map is not update yet
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 22252
566. washingtonian115
3:28 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 544. GeorgiaStormz:


how much was 2010?
The first blizzard in 2010 left 30 inches in my yard.
Quoting 550. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I wouldn't count on it. Trough in the East, ridge in the West -- back to the old pattern.

Perhaps a repeat of the March 6 fail storm this year along the east coast?.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16889
565. Naga5000
3:26 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 557. luvtogolf:
Has anyone checked out the North America record highs/lows for this year? Lows in a 3:1 margin.

But what about last year? More record lows than highs.

Hmmm. When the highs were outpacing the lows in North America they got posted on here just about everyday here.

Now crickets...


Why do you like to start trouble? If you don't accept the science and think AGW is some global scientific conspiracy, keep it to yourself instead of instigating.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3371
564. JNTenne
3:25 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 561. luvtogolf:


My first comment is this year - starting in Jan.
My second comment is for last year. Jan-Dec.
Gotcha thanks for the clarification... GW is always a tougher sell in the winter!
Member Since: May 21, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 566
563. barbamz
3:25 PM GMT on February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's day everybody, and all the best to the British Isles and other coastal areas with powerful "Ulla" right over their heads!



Live-Text BBC
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 5918
562. ncstorm
3:24 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
I finally got power..

13,000 though still without power here in New Hanover County..at most times the county with the most power outages for Duke Energy..The NWS here didnt see any significant impacts for our county..New Hanover and Brunswick were the only NC southeast counties with no advisory, watch or warning until Tuesday when the 1st round actually hit..still don't fault them though as they stated it was a difficult forecast and they know a lot more than I ever will..

some of the out of state power companies arrived yesterday to assist in getting power back on..glad to see them around Wilmington assisting Duke Energy..

rain coming back..



Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15185
561. luvtogolf
3:19 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 560. JNTenne:
Do you mean over the last 12 months or since the start of 2014? This would skew the totals a bit..


My first comment is this year - starting in Jan.
My second comment is for last year. Jan-Dec.
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 968
560. JNTenne
3:17 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 557. luvtogolf:
Has anyone checked out the North America record highs/lows for this year? Lows in a 3:1 margin.

But what about last year? More record lows than highs.

Hmmm. When the highs were outpacing the lows in North America they got posted on here just about everyday here.

Now crickets...
Do you mean over the last 12 months or since the start of 2014? This would skew the totals a bit..
Member Since: May 21, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 566
559. Patrap
3:17 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
State blocks lawsuits against Duke energy

A-freaking-amazing, eh?

But, Federal authorities to investigate Duke Energy and state environmental department following coal ash spill

by Stephanie Lamm on February 13, 2014

On Feb. 13 the federal government launched a criminal investigation into the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) and Duke Energy after 82,000 tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River.

On Feb. 2, a pipe burst at a Duke Energy coal-fired plant in Eden, N.C. The spill, which is the 3rd largest in U.S. history, dumped enough toxic sludge to fill 73- Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office requested records from the DENR from 2010 up to the date of the spill. Documents requested include permits issued to Duke Energy’s Dan River plant, records of maintenance to the broken storm water pipe that released the coal ash and any correspondence shared between Duke Energy and the DENR.

In a statement, the DENR said it plans to give its full cooperation in the investigation. The department’s chief environmental lawyer will appear before a grand jury next month.

Duke Energy also received a subpoena and has said they will cooperate with the investigation.

The Division of Water Resources within DENR is responsible for permitting, regulating and inspecting all 14 coal-fired power plants in North Carolina in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards. Six months before the Dan River spill, the state government announced that Duke Energy was in violation of the Clean Water Act for dumping pollution into the Dan without a permit.

“The next step is working with other agencies and Duke Energy to coordinate a clean up plan for the Dan River,” Drew Elliot, DENR spokesman said. “We will be investigating what happened, why it happened and at that time we will explore any enforcement, penalties or other actions we might take against the utility.”

Environmentalist groups have criticized the state’s handling of the most recent coal ash spill, saying state officials are trying to downplay the severity of the spill and avoid holding Duke Energy accountable. Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked at Duke Energy for over 30 years, has come under fire for shielding the company from complying with federal regulations.

“Duke Energy and the state of North Carolina have known about contamination from aging and dangerous coal ash storage pits for years, yet have taken no action to clean up the waste pits and protect our waterways and our people,” the Sierra Club said in a press release. “The DENR only filed an enforcement action against Duke’s unlawful coal ash pits after conservation advocates like the Sierra Club forced their hand. Even then, the DENR’s customer-service approach would allow Duke Energy to continue business as usual.”

The department proposed a settlement with Duke Energy a week after the spill. The proposal held Duke accountable to $99,111 in pollution damages, but did not require the company to clean up the spill site.

On Feb. 10, the department told the judge to disregard their settlement after widespread criticism from environmentalist groups who believed the penalties were not stiff enough.

”DENR has been studying Duke Energy’s coal ash for years and has never taken action to enforce the law until conservation groups forced it to act,” Frank Holleman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center said. “Now, instead of taking action to clean up the coal ash pollution and protect the pubic, DENR is going back to the drawing board and proposing to delay action for who knows how long.”

Duke Energy and federal regulatory agencies have clashed in the past few years, with the state often siding with Duke Energy.

In the summer of 2013, the state blocked three federal lawsuits that would have held Duke Energy accountable for previous pollution under the Clean Water Act. The DENR filed lawsuits against Duke Energy for violating water quality standards. A settlement ultimately brought $99,000 in fines against the $50 million corporation and required increased monitoring of plant sites.

“The DENR has been carefully monitoring our response to the Dan River events, and they have issued litigation,” Lisa Hoffmann, spokesperson for Duke Energy said. “We have a regulator-regulated relationship with the department and the penalties imposed on Duke Energy for the Dan river spill are yet to be seen.”


State officials said Duke Energy’s Dan River facility was out of compliance with the Clean Water Act six months before the spill. Photo of previous Gaston, N.C. spill courtesy of MCT Campus.
Environmentalists and state regulatory agencies say Duke has been polluting waterways for years. However, the groups disagree over the best way to hold Duke accountable and prevent further environmental damage.

“All environmental groups that have asked to be involved in the suits against Duke Energy have been allowed to participate, so we do not oppose their intervention. They will have their say in the lawsuit,” Elliot said.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
558. JNTenne
3:16 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Noticed a significantly larger amount of southbound contrails coming out of Nashville this morning.. looks like they are repositioning airlines back into the Pax affected GA AL airports. Happy Friday!
Member Since: May 21, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 566
557. luvtogolf
3:14 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Has anyone checked out the North America record highs/lows for this year? Lows in a 3:1 margin.

But what about last year? More record lows than highs.

Hmmm. When the highs were outpacing the lows in North America they got posted on here just about everyday here.

Now crickets...
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 968
556. TropicalAnalystwx13
3:13 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 551. Doppler22:

Could that possibly bring some severe weather? All that cold air bumping up against all the warmer air? Maybe our first severe weather outbreak?? :p (I know that may be stretching it a little)

Any significant severe weather outbreak will come next week when warmer temperatures and return flow (southerly flow) are established across the southern Plains.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31913
555. sprague
3:07 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
I got to experience the Raleigh NC part of the storm on Wednesday. The WRAL team prediction was right on the mark: start snowing around noon and it will come down heavily almost immediately. I was bundled up mountain biking as it started at 12:10 and sure enough the snow came down quickly. I was amazed that when I got to my health club in downtown about 12:45 p.m. how casual folks were as they were continuing their workout. I quickly got in and out and by 1:15 the facility finally decided it might be a good idea to close at 2 p.m. By then the massive traffic jams had begun. Another credit to the local weather folks: they started talking about possibilities 6 days before the event and hyped it all the way through.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 28
554. Dakster
3:03 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
A might bit nippy this morning in South Florida. I wasn't expecting, nor was it forecasted, to be in the 40s. I love it...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10097
553. Tazmanian
2:59 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 550. TropicalAnalystwx13:

I wouldn't count on it. Trough in the East, ridge in the West -- back to the old pattern.



That sould give us some mid two upper 70s. And low two mid 80 at times

And with day light saveing time coming up mar 2nd we will see longer day time heating
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114960
552. Patrap
2:59 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Can I get the prayer for removing coal ash from the water?

TIA.


Federal grand jury to hear from state, Duke in coal ash spill

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:13 pm | Updated: 1:00 am, Fri Feb 14, 2014.
By Amanda Lehmert amanda.lehmert@news-record.com

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Duke Energy have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury about the Feb. 2 coal ash spill in the Dan River, according to company and state officials.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina has opened an official criminal investigation of a suspected felony in the matter, according to documents released by DENR.
Duke Energy estimates that 30,000 to 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled into the river after a stormwater pipe broke at its Dan River Steam Station in Eden. The company this week lowered its estimate from 82,000 tons.

DENR was asked to appear before a grand jury in March and produce a range of records and documents related to the steam station, which was shut down in 2012, and the broken storm water pipe.
DENR Communications Director Drew Elliot said the agency will cooperate with the U.S. attorney.

A Duke spokesman confirmed that the company also has been subpoenaed but declined to comment further.
The grand jury will meet March 18-20 in Raleigh, according to the subpoena.
This is very serious, said Frank Holleman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.The United States Department of Justice does not convene a criminal grand jury at the drop of the hat.
It's not clear what suspected felony the federal authorities may be investigating.
U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a written statement that his office will not confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation.
However, the Feb. 10 subpoena released by the state environmental agency shows his office is looking for a broad range of information about the spill and DENR's oversight.

DENR will have to turn over an extensive list of documents detailing the state's interactions with Duke and the Dan River Steam Station dating back to 2000, including:
The station's pollution discharge permits, which dictate what Duke may release into the Dan River.
All records relating to the broken stormwater pipe dating back to January 2010. The stormwater pipe runs under one of the station's coal ash storage basins.
Correspondences between state environmental officials and Duke Energy;
Any administrative penalties the company received.
All information related to inspections conducted at the steam station since 2000.
Information, including emails, photographs and videos, about any discharges or seepage's from any coal ash ponds on the site.
Groundwater monitoring at the site from 2011 to 2013 found the chemicals antimony, arsenic, boron and other contaminants at levels above the state's groundwater safety standards, according to a lawsuit the state filed against Duke last year.

Environmental activists welcomed the federal probe. They have criticized the state's response to the spill and Gov. Pat McCror's close ties to Duke. McCrory was a Duke employee for 28 years before becoming governor.

It's about time someone took a hard look at the disturbingly cozy relationship that Duke Energy has been buying from its regulators in North Carolina and elsewhere, Greenpeace Energy Campaign Director Gabriel Wisniewski said in a statement.The need for a federal investigation is sad, but not surprising.

Staff Writer Taft Wireback contributed to this report
Contact Amanda Lehmert at (336) 373-7075, and follow @alehmert on Twitter.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
551. Doppler22
2:59 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 546. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Polar vortex dips south again in the long range, sending the USA back to a cold and snowy patten to ring in March. Enjoy the warmth this week and early next week while it lasts.

Could that possibly bring some severe weather? All that cold air bumping up against all the warmer air? Maybe our first severe weather outbreak?? :p (I know that may be stretching it a little)
Member Since: February 13, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 3727
550. TropicalAnalystwx13
2:55 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 547. GeorgiaStormz:


ehhh, i think it stays in the ohio valley..

looking at the pattern

I wouldn't count on it. Trough in the East, ridge in the West -- back to the old pattern.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31913
549. SkulDouggery
2:53 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 536. islander101010:
people were really starting to believe this gw thing until this winter


Some people (maybe lots) were believing. Some us were not. The planet can take care of itself. Has done so many times before.
In the mid 70's we had this same set up, heavy snow and cold temps in the continental US, while Alaska had warm temps. Weather occurs in cycles.
I'll put my faith in higher power taking care of our planet.
Member Since: January 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
548. luvtogolf
2:52 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 543. islander101010:
everyone knew russias choice was a gamble when they gave them the games. its like having the olympics in new mexico great snow years there but there are others that your skiing on rocks


The average high in Sochi in February is 50.7 and the low is 36.5.

Lake Placid's average high in February is 32 with the low of 8. They have plenty of cold and snow right now.

How much money was given to the Olympic committees for this one? What a joke.
Member Since: June 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 968
547. GeorgiaStormz
2:50 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 546. TropicalAnalystwx13:
Polar vortex dips south again in the long range, sending the USA back to a cold and snowy patten to ring in March. Enjoy the warmth this week and early next week while it lasts.


ehhh, i think it stays in the ohio valley..

looking at the pattern
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
546. TropicalAnalystwx13
2:49 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Polar vortex dips south again in the long range, sending the USA back to a cold and snowy patten to ring in March. Enjoy the warmth this week and early next week while it lasts.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31913
545. Patrap
2:43 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
When was the last time Norway had Coastal Wildfires in Winter ?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127848
544. GeorgiaStormz
2:40 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
Quoting 539. washingtonian115:
I have measured 20 inches after this storm.Looks like the next one will be a walk in the park compared to yesterday.


how much was 2010?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
543. islander101010
2:33 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
everyone knew russias choice was a gamble when they gave them the games. its like having the olympics in new mexico great snow years there but there are others that your skiing on rocks
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4524
542. hurricanes2018
2:33 PM GMT on February 14, 2014
light snow at my house
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 22252

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.