Tag Archives: Weather

Freezing Temperatures in Edmonton May Lead to a Freezeway

Edmonton Freezeway

Rather than cursing the cold weather, the city of Edmonton is turning lemon into lemonade – or rather turning sub-zero temperatures into an 11-kilometre long “freezeway” which would allow residents to strap on a pair of skates and glide to work.

The Freezeway, which was proposed two years ago by UBC landscape architecture graduate Matt Gibbs, would be an 11-kilometre greenway with a “winter skating lane” that would allow Edmontonians and visitors to skate around the city. And in the summer (wait… does Edmonton have a summer?) the path could be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Gibbs took the idea from an offhand comment made by a city councillor back in the 90s.

“Why don’t we just crack the fire hydrants open, flood the streets and let people skate to work in the winter?” Former city councillor Tooker Gomberg said in the 1990s.

Maybe because the last thing people want to do on a Monday morning is skate in below-freezing temperature with a briefcase in their hand and then have to walk the rest of the way to work carrying their skates? Or maybe because investing the money is a working LRT system might be more useful than a seven-mile ice rink?

Nevertheless, Gibbs took the idea and built a design – winning him first place in the 2013 COLDSCAPES international design competition, which focuses on maximizing the potential of cold climate cities.

The idea garnered plenty of attention and Edmonton city organizers, eager to follow in the footsteps of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, are now planning a pilot project for as early as next winter.

Councillor Scott McKeen said the Freezeway would be a welcome addition.

“Edmonton has not exploited to any great extent one of its greatest natural resources – winter,” said Mr McKeen. “Like other North American cities in colder climates, we’ve tried to engineer our way out of it. … Even most of our hockey facilities are now indoors and heated.”

But not everyone agrees.

Councillor Mike Nickel called the Freezeway “the stupidest idea I’ve heard”.

Meh, worst case the Edmonton Oilers can use it to practice. Actually, better keep the Oilers off it – they might get in the way of people who can skate.

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So How Did North Carolina Weather the Storm?

North Carolina Winter Snowstorm

Last time we checked in (yesterday afternoon), North Carolina was gearing up for a huge blast of winter weather (by North Carolina standards).

Charlotte residents were warned they could see up to a foot of snow in addition to ice and powerful gusts of winds. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory cautioned his constituents to be prepared the storm:

‘‘Stay smart. Don’t put your stupid hat on at this point in time. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your neighbors,’’ the Gov. said.

The storm turned out to be a big one (again, by North Carolina standards). The brutal snowstorm left power lines snapped, reduced highways to gridlocked chaos, and rendered albinos virtually invisible.

Now let’s see how well North Carolina residents handled it: 

North Carolina

 Oh no…. They put their stupid hats on…

Did they learn nothing from Atlanta? The exact same thing happened two weeks ago! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m from the South.

Despite the advance warning, drivers in North Carolina clearly fell victim to the 2.5 inches of snow that ended up falling, which ended up causing a nightmare of a commute. Many drivers ended up abandoning their vehicles in the middle of the road and walking home, while one decided to (accidentally?) start a car fire to keep everyone warm.

“It’s really, really bad, and it got so bad so quickly that people just weren’t ready. Even though we were warned, it just happened more quickly than you would think possible.” said Christina Martinson, who was stuck in snowbound traffic with her husband and son for hours in Durham, North Carolina.

“We saw so many people … cars piled up and left on the side of the road, and wrecks.”

Meanwhile, Atlanta appears to have learned its lesson the second time around. After being nationally shamed for their snow induced pileups two weeks ago, few Atlanta drivers ventured out on Wednesday. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal applauded residents who kept the roads clear, calling it “a good starting point.”

The winter storm is currently pounding Washington DC and will likely leave 15 inches of snow in New York by the end of Thursday. Something tells me New York will be better prepared for this kind of weather. They couldn’t prepare for a hurricane, but snow – snow they know.

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God Save the Queen! Mass Floods Swamp England… And Other News

Floods swamp england

While North America is dealing with blizzards and ice storms, England is suffering from its own weather problems.

Heavy rainstorms and hurricane force winds have flooded parts of England and Wales, making living there even more dreary than usual. The Thames river has burst its bank, flooding 1,135 homes so far and leaving another 5.2 million homes at risk of flooding. Even Windsor Castle has been threated by the floods. But don’t worry, the Queen is safe; she lives in a castle – the rainwater just acts as an extra moat. But for the commoners of England, the clean-up costs could reach £1bn by the time the floods are finished. While Prime Minister David Cameron initially declared that money is “no object” when it comes to the aftermath of the flood, his Transport Secretary is a bit more frugal, saying there is no “blank cheque” for flooding relief. The Guardian

Gay MarriageKentucky is no longer backwards? Well, it’s still pretty backwards, but it’s slowly coming around. The socially conservative redneck hub is the latest state to reject a ban related to same-sex marriage. A federal judge in Kentucky ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban on recognizing gay marriages from other states violated the Constitution and treats “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.” The decision came about after four gay and lesbian couples brought forward lawsuits complaining the state didn’t recognize their out-of-state marriages. But before you go planning a Kentucky Fried Chicken themed gay wedding, note that the ruling only requires Kentucky to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states or countries – you still can’t get married IN Kentucky – that would be way too progressive. Washington Post

SinkholePossibly in retaliation for their more lenient stance on gay marriage, a hungry sinkhole in Kentucky has swallowed up at least eight cars belonging to the National Corvette Museum. Staff at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green were shocked when they walked into work on Wednesday and saw a 40-foot sinkhole and eight missing sports cars.  “I was stunned,” Butch Hume, president of Louisville’s Falls City Corvette Club, said. “That just doesn’t happen in Kentucky and what a terrible place for it to happen.” And what a terrible time too – the museum is going to have its 20th anniversary this year! Now if only a sinkhole would somehow form under Rand Paul’s Bowling Green, Kentucky estate… or at least the Creation MuseumIndy Star

Best Buds Hollande ObamaAmerica and France are friends again. Despite some stress over last minute seating chart arrangements, French President Francois Hollande’s solo visit to the States is going smoothly – as long as France promises to stay away from Iran. Before the state dinner to celebrate the arrival of the French President, Obama vowed to come down on companies that evade sanctions against Iran “like a ton of bricks” then gave Hollande a sharp warning glare. Obama’s ton of bricks comment was in regards to a delegation of French executives who went to Tehran last week hoping to score some business deals while the interim nuclear agreement with Iran in still in play. After the moment of tension passed, the two leaders devoted their time to discussing the ongoing crisis in Syria… which should take a while. New York Times

Death to America - IranApparently Obama has good reason to tell France to stay away from Iran – they want to kill us. Despite the budding friendship/phone contact between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, “Death to America!” was heard at rallied around Iran on Tuesday during the 35th anniversary celebration of the Islamic Revolution. Tens of thousands of protesters packed the streets outside the former US embassy in Tehran in what became one of the biggest anti-US rally in years. Turns out some Iranians are not too pleased with Rouhani’s outreach to Washington, and therefore America must die. And Israel too – just because. Al Jazeera

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Ice Storm

Current Event Cat - Ice Storm

America is getting iced – and not kind that ends with a Smirnoff Ice, but the kind that ends with a lot of motor vehicle accidents.

Turns out Punxsutawney Phil wasn’t kidding around – winter is far from over. A “catastrophic” ice storm currently wreaking havoc in the southern states is set to pay a visit to the north.

After icing parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the ice storm made its debut in Georgia on Wednesday morning. Atlanta, a city that was notoriously unprepared for the 2.5 inches of snow they experienced back in January, isn’t taking any chances this time. The metro area of Atlanta is preparing for its worst ice storm in 14 years. How? By instilling fear in its residents!

“This is one of Mother Nature’s worst kinds of storms that can be inflicted on the South,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “That is ice. It is our biggest enemy.”

Ice is Georgia’s biggest enemy? I thought it was Obamacare and rotten peaches…

The National Weather Service also warned Georgians of a potentially “catastrophic event” and to “be prepared to be without power in some locations for days and perhaps as long as a week.”

Catastrophic… crippling… paralyzing… choose your adjective,” an Atlanta area forecaster wrote in a Wednesday morning report for the National Weather Service. “This is a very, very big deal, especially from metro Atlanta east along the I-20 corridor.”

It seems the fear is working though. This time around residents appear to be taking the warnings seriously, with many seen emptying grocery store shelves, getting gas, and filling their trunks with salt.

Meanwhile, North Carolina and Virginia are bracing for up to 1ft (30cm) of snow in addition to heavy ice accumulation from freezing rain. On Thursday the deep freeze is expected to hit New York with 6 to 10 inches of snow, allowing newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio to redeem his “slow snow clearing” reputation.

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6 More Weeks of Winter! Damn That Stupid Groundhog… And Other News

Groundhog Phil 6 More Weeks of Winter

Punxsutawney Phil proclaims 6 more weeks of winter!

Pissed that he was overshadowed by the Super Bowl, everyone’s favourite furry groundhog came out of hiding in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Sunday to give us the bad news: you better bundle up because I just saw my shadow b*tches. Legend has it that if it’s cloudy when the Phil emerges, he will leave his burrow, signifying that warmer days are ahead. But if it’s sunny out, the groundhog will supposedly see his shadow, freak out, and retreat back into his burrow leaving the rest of us to deal with the snow for 6 more weeks. The rodent’s 2014 prediction seems pretty aligned with the current weather forecast and the whole “Polar Vortex” thing that has taken over eastern United States.  Given that the National Weather Service has issued storm warning for six states, including Texas, I’d say we’re looking at more than 6 more weeks of winter – maybe 6 months? Weather Channel

philip-seymour-hoffmanHollywood is mourning the sudden death of Philip Seymour Hoffman after the 46-year-old actor was found dead from an apparent drug overdose. Investigators found a syringe in his arm and almost 70 bags of heroin in his apartment along with more syringes, prescription drugs, and other drug paraphernalia. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was a drug overdose – or at least drug related. Investigators are still investigating whether Hoffman had injected part of the lethal batch of heroin that has been responsible for hundreds of death across the country. The NYPD has launched a citywide manhunt Monday for the drug dealer who supplied the actor. Hoffman leaves behind his three children, his longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell, and a lot of uncertainty regarding the Hunger Games franchise and Plutarch’s role in the final installment of the series. New York Times

Killer on the LooseKiller on the loose! Convicted killer Michael David Elliot pulled a Shawshank (minus the innocence and the crawling through a river of sh*t) and escaped from the Ionia Correctional Facility, where he is was serving a life sentence. The Michigan man, who was sentenced to life in prison for four 1993 slayings, is now at large after prison officials discovered he was missing on Sunday night.  “It appears that he created a hole at the bottom of the two perimeter fences of the correctional facility and then crawled through those holes,” a prison spokesperson said. Elliot was also dressed in a white civilian kitchen uniform, which might have helped him evade security and possibly blend in with the snow. Elliot then abducted a woman from Ionia using a knife or some kind of box cutter and drove off. The woman managed to escape when he stopped at a gas station – which means he’s looking for a new hostage. Watch out Michigan. Huffington Post

Putin SOchiEver wonder why the Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, Russia’s subtropical beach resort destination? Well Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed that he personally selected the site of the Sochi Olympic Games because he has a summer residence there and enjoys skiing nearby.  Putin personally spearheaded both the bid and organizing of the Winter Games. It takes a lot of hard work to find the one place in Russia that has no snow in February! The Sochi Olympics will begin on February 7 and all of Putin’s efforts will finally pay off (although they might not pay off the $51 billion bill). As for how Russia will fare in the games, Putin is not worried, saying that Russia as a country “has no competitors.” None? Putin then added: “Russia has just one competitor — herself.” Raw Story

Super Bowl TrutherThe truth is out there! 9/11 truther Matthew Mills of Brooklyn had seen one too many overly American Super Bowl commercials about Americans being American and loving America so he decided to give America a cold hard dose of reality/fantasy. After managing to get into the press section using an old credential badge from a festival, Mills disrupted a post-game press conference with Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith, and began shouting “Investigate 9/11! 9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government!” Apparently the Super Bowl’s security was easier to get through than the Bronco’s defense. After the incident, the 30-year-old Brooklyn native was charged with trespassing and then released back into the wild.

Los Angeles Times

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Deep South Unable To Function In Three Inches of Snow

Deep South

A winter storm has paralyzed the Deep South, leaving residents stranded and overturned cars in the ditches.

The winter weather has gotten so bad in the metro area of Atlanta that the National Guard has been called in to deal with the situation. Some residents remained trapped in their cars overnight and many children were stranded at schools across the city. Highways have turned into parking lots, as Atlanta residents ditch their cars and/or run their cars into ditches. Apparently when they were told to stay off the road, they took it literally…

Tuesday night rush-hour traffic combined with the winter snowstorm led to gridlock and wrecks throughout the interstates. As of Tuesday night, the Georgia State Patrol said it had investigated 940 crashes resulting in one death, 104 injuries, and one birth. Gridlock on the streets of Atlanta was so bad that a police officer had to deliver a baby on a snowy highway.

The rest of the Deep South (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina) were also affected by the monster snowstorm. Police reported that at least five people were killed and 23 people injured due to weather-related accidents in Alabama on Tuesday.

Yikes. There must have been a lot of snow! Nope, barely three inches of snow caused the chaos, sending Minnesotans and Canadians everywhere into uncontrollable laughter. But the typically warm-weather region, where many cities do not even have snow loughs, salt trucks, or experienced drivers with winter tires, is at a loss for what to do. Not driving into the ditch would be a good start… other than that, just make sure you CHECK THE WEATHER and prepare for it.

Via: CNN

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Heat Wave Threatens Australian Open (and more!)

Current Event Cat - Australian Open

It’s so hot in Australia right now that animals are falling from trees due to heat exhaustion, wildfires are popping up in Perth, and officials have suspended the Australian Open.

Melbourne, where the Australian Open tournament is held, is going through a heat wave with temperatures surpassing 45C. Australian Open organizers issued an extreme heat warning and suspended all matches scheduled to be played on outdoor courts.

Even tennis veteran Serena Williams could’t take the heat, saying it was “too hot to get into rallies”. Meanwhile two players and a ball-boy had to receive medical treatment after fainting from the heat.

But the Australian Open isn’t the only thing to be effected by Australia’s hottest year on record.  Extreme heat across the states of Victoria and South Australia are causing power blackouts as Australians crank up their A/C to extreme levels. Over 1000 people in the region of Victoria have been treated for heat stress so far and up to 500 flying foxes have died in the past two days. Awww. Oh wait, flying foxes are bats, not foxes. Ewww. There’s nothing worse than a sweaty bat falling out of the sky and hitting you in the face. Except maybe being burned in a wildfire…

While wildfires have always been a problem with Australia’s hot, dry climate, the extreme heat this season has left many residents on edge (and banned from starting any fires). On Sunday, wildfires on the eastern fringes of Perth in Western Australia burnt 52 homes to the ground.

And things aren’t going to get much better for Australia; the Climate Council said the number of heatwaves in Australia was “projected to increase significantly.”

“Both the duration and frequency of heatwaves” had increased between 1971 and 2008, the Climate Council report stated.

“As greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, more heat is trapped in the lower atmosphere,” the report added.

“This increases the likelihood that hot weather will occur and that heatwaves will become longer and more intense.”

Ok, I’ll stop complaining about the cold weather in North America now…

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Polar Vortex

Current Event Cat - Polar Vortex

A polar vortex has descended on the U.S and parts of Canada, forcing many to stay inside and drink hot chocolate.

After a winter storm blanketed areas of Canada and the northeastern U.S. with up to 2 feet of snow over the weekend, a polar vortex causing subzero temperatures slammed a good portion of the U.S. on Monday from the Midwest to the Plains. Frigid air swept through the Dakotas into Minnesota and Illinois, with temperatures dropping as -50 degrees (Celsius!) with the wind chill.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn advised people not to go outside unless absolutely necessary, while meteorologists warned that with the polar vortex, there is the threat of frostbite in “minutes or even seconds.”

Exposed flesh can freeze in as little as five minutes with wind chills colder than 50 below,” the National Weather Service said.

The artic blast has brought the coldest weather in decades for many states in the U.S. But the northern states aren’t the only ones who will have to deal with the record-breaking temperatures. Snow is expected to fall as far south as Tennessee and Alabama, and even Atlanta is expected to fall below freezing on Tuesday.

More than 3,000 flights were cancelled on Monday, on top of thousands grounded over the weekend. The winter storm and the polar vortex that followed have been linked with 16 deaths so far. So avoid the evil polar vortex by staying inside, drinking some tea, cuddling some cats, and cursing the Obamas for going on a 2-week vacation to Hawaii.

Via: CNN

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Blizzard Attempts to Upstage Ice Storm… And Other News

Blizzard

It’s no ice storm, but a blizzard is causing some winter woe in the Northeast.

The northeastern United States and Canada are bracing themselves for a blizzard, which is expected to unload as much as a foot of snow accompanied by some sub-zero wind chills. More than 900 flights for Thursday have already been canceled and meteorologists are warning that the weather “will lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely dangerous.” Aka do not travel. Heavy winter weather is also hitting the midwest, dropping a blanket of snow and cancelling flights at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Basically, winter is here, so deal with it. BBC News

Dubai FireworksProving that Dubai has too much time and money on its hands, the city used over 500,000 fireworks to ring in the New Year. The New Year’s Eve show lasted about six minutes and cost around $6 million – or $1 million per minute for those who are retarded at math. The $6 million show did win them the new Guinness world record for the world’s biggest pyrotechnics display. Alistair Richards, global president of Guinness World Records, said the magnitude of the New Year’s project was “truly impressive and will ensure all eyes are on Dubai.” The previous record was held by Kuwait, which had an hour-long show with a meager 77,282 fireworks. International Business Times

Barbara Tucker, a passenger aboard the trapped ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy looks at an Adelie penguin walking by on the ice off East AntarcticaThe 52 scientists and tourists aboard the MV Akademik Shokalski said goodbye to their little penguin friends after they were airlifted out of their ship by helicopter. The passengers were taken to an ice floe next to the Aurora Australis and then ferried on to the ice-breaker, which will bring them to Tasmania by mid-January.  The passengers had been trapped on the research ship for more than a week after it became struck in the Antarctic ice. Previous rescue attempts were thwarted by wind, fog, sea ice, horrific snowstorms, and possibly penguin attacks. BBC News

Bill de Blasio, Eric Schneiderman, Chiara de Blasio, Dante de Blasio, Chirlane McCrayNew year, new New York City Mayor. In front of his Brooklyn rowhouse, Bill de Blasio was officially sworn in as New York City’s 109th mayor just after midnight on New Year’s Eve. De Blasio is the first Democrat to occupy City Hall in nearly two decades and promises a much more liberal agenda. “We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to put an end to the city that we love,” de Blasio told the crowd on the steps of City Hall during his second swearing in on Wednesday. First on the agenda? Getting rid of Central Park’s horrible horse-drawn carriages! Calling the practice inhumane, Bill de Blasio has vowed to ban horse-drawn carriages this week, saying: “It’s over. We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City.” Independent 

Utah gayWhy can’t people just let Utah be gay? Last week a federal judge rejected Ohio’s voter approved ban on same-sex marriages, calling the law unconstitutional when it comes to death certificates. After that hundred of marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples hoping for their dream winter wedding / any kind of wedding they can get. But now Utah is taking its fight against gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the high court to suspend the same-sex unions that recently became legal. The heavily Mormon state wants the marriages to stop while it appeals a judge’s decision, calling each gay marriage “an affront not only to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels, but also to this court’s unique role as final arbiter.” LA Times

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