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A powerful storm lashing the West Coast has delayed hundreds of flights and left thousands of people without power in California and Nevada.

Up to 10 inches of rain is expected this weekend in parts of the drought-stricken region, but the rainfall won’t make a significant dent in California’s historic drought.

However, the storm is a welcome change after six dry weeks in the Bay Area. For the first time in recorded history, there was no measurable rainfall in downtown San Francisco in January, when winter rains usually come.

It would take 150 percent of the average rainfall for California to recover from the dry period, state water resource officials say.

However, snow is more important than rain because snowpack supplies about a third of the water needed by residents, agriculture and industry.

About 26 miles west of Seattle, an overflowing river inundated at least a half dozen homes on the Olympic Peninsula. Rescuers went door to door in Brinnon to check homes on a road partially blocked by a mudslide, Jefferson County Emergency Management spokeswoman Keppie Keplinger said.

The threat of landslides will persist into the weekend, and weather officials warn of flooding in several rivers in western Washington. Oregon also saw flooding on roadways.

Photo AP

Photo AP

In the Sierra Nevada spanning California and Nevada, strong winds blinded drivers, causing multiple car crashes. The wind snapped massive trees, closed ski resorts around Lake Tahoe and knocked out power to thousands. A 134 mph gust recorded early Friday near the Mount Rose Ski Resort southeast of Reno led the facility and two others to close.

At least a dozen people were hurt in multiple crashes on Nevada highways. No deaths were reported, but nine people were hospitalized in a crash on a stretch of US Highway 95A that involved at least eight vehicles. Three other people were hospitalized with minor injuries after five cars crashed on US 395 north of Reno near the California line.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, power lines were snapped by falling trees and the wind ripped through freeway and street signs. More than 60,000 people lost power. By Friday evening, 9,000 customers remained without power, Pacific Gas & Electric said.

San Francisco International Airport saw delays of up to 90 minutes and about 175 flights canceled Friday.

The storm is expected to drop rain through February 8, and the National Weather Service issued a heavy-rain, high wind-gust and flash-flood warning for the region through February 9.

The heaviest downpours are forecast in the North Bay, where up to 7 inches of rain is expected to overwhelm waterways and roadway-drainage systems, leading to flash flooding.

Rain has been nearly nonexistent across much of California and Nevada since December 20, halting hopes for the drought to improve. California’s second snow survey this winter found the Sierra Nevada snowpack is far below normal after a dry, unusually warm January. A greater snowpack translates to more water for California reservoirs to meet demand in summer and fall.

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Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter as 11,000 gathered at Gobbler’s Knob on Groundhog Day, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on February 2, 2015.Groundhog Day 2015 Punxsutawney Phil

Phil’s prognostication coincides with the calendar date of the first day of spring: March 20.

In 2014, Punxsutawney Phil also predicted there would be six more weeks of winter.

In 2013, Phil had forecasted an early spring, which led to one lawyer issuing an indictment for the marmot when cold weather lingered.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) has admitted its forecasts were wrong, after predicting a “potentially historic blizzard” would strike.

The storm piled deep snow on Connecticut and Massachusetts, but New York City was largely spared.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, defended claims he had overreacted to warnings, saying he had only acted on the information available.

Blizzard warnings remain along the coast from Long Island to Maine.

“Rapidly deepening winter storms are very challenging to predict,” the NWS wrote on its Facebook page.

“The storm has moved further east and will be departing faster than our forecasts of the past two days.

“The result is much less snow than previously predicted for the western half of our region,” it added.

On January 26 an emergency was declared in a swathe of north-eastern states, and meteorologists predicted up to 36in of snow. Officials later downgraded the numbers.Northeast snowstorm 2015

The New York City authorities imposed a driving ban – since lifted – and took the unprecedented step of shutting the subway.

On January 27, New Yorkers awoke to a blanket of snow less deep than feared, and since then city life has been getting back to normal.

“Would you rather be prepared or unprepared? Would you rather be safe or unsafe?” said Bill de Blasio, defending the moves.

“My job as the leader is to make decisions and I will always err on the side of safety and caution.”

Other areas of New York state saw much heavier snowfall, with a teenage boy killed in a sledging accident on Long lsland.

Worst affected elsewhere were Connecticut and Massachusetts, which saw 20.5in and 26.2in respectively, compared to the 5.5in seen in New York’s Central Park.

Thousands of people are without power, mostly in Massachusetts. The state’s only nuclear power station shut down after the blizzard interrupted its power flow.

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker said the snow had been “fluffier and lighter” than anticipated, meaning there were less power outages.

The NWS is still warning of potentially life-threatening conditions along the New England coast, as the storm heads north into Canada.

Meteorologists expect the snow and strong winds to continue throughout Tuesday, before weakening overnight.

Air travel remains disrupted, with more than 5,000 flights cancelled, according to flightaware.com.

Schools across the region are expected to remain closed until January 28, with public transport expected to be back to normal in New York by then too.

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Severe storms and tornadoes threaten lives and travelers on this Labor Day weekend in the North Central states.

Warmth and humidity will build across the East Coast as sunshine holds in the Southwest.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), approximately 35 million people will hit the roads and airports on the last unofficial weekend of summer. The number is the highest in six years for the holiday and may be associated with lower fuel prices and improving economic conditions.

The strongest thunderstorms in the North Central states will be capable of spawning tornadoes, especially from eastern Nebraska to western Iowa and Minnesota.

Prior to the outbreak, another zone of strong thunderstorms with hail and damaging winds will threaten western North Dakota Saturday afternoon and evening.

Severe storms and tornadoes threaten lives and travelers on this Labor Day weekend in the North Central states

Severe storms and tornadoes threaten lives and travelers on this Labor Day weekend in the North Central states (photo AccuWeather.com)

Otherwise over the weekend, showers and thunderstorms will stretch from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes on Saturday, August 30. The most numerous activity will center on the lower Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes, including Chicago, Indianapolis, Little Rock, Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tupelo, Mississippi, and Houston.

On August 31, the corridor of numerous thunderstorms will extend from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley to northern New England. A stray shower or thunderstorm will dot the I-95 corridor from Boston to New York City to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., mainly Sunday afternoon.

People traveling from the western Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and northern New England will want to make provisions for indoor activities for at least part of their weekend. Enough rain can fall and thunderstorms could be locally gusty in this zone, perhaps to the point to cause isolated flash flooding and sporadic power interruptions.

Travel delays would be a threat even if flash flooding does not unfold. Any downpours will reduce visibility for motorists and heighten the risk of vehicles hydroplaning at highway speeds. Airline passengers should prepare for possible flight delays from the downpours and lightning strikes.

On Labor Day, many communities along the East Coast will have to contend with a shower or thunderstorm threatening outdoor picnics, parades and other festivities. This includes in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida.

The sunniest locations on Labor Day weekend will be over the Southwest, along much of the West Coast states, part of the southern Plains and for a time along the middle part of the Atlantic Seaboard.

Source: AccuWeather.com

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Kim Jong-un has blasted North Korea’s weather service for “incorrect” forecasts in a rare public dressing down of a government body in the reclusive nation, which suffers regular natural disasters.

The North Korean criticised the science used in observations and called for the use of modern equipment in the unusual rebuke, which came during an inspection of the Hydro-meteorological Service, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Tuesday.

“There are many incorrect forecasts as the meteorological observation has not been put on a modern and scientific basis,” Kim Jong-un said, urging the agency to “fundamentally” improve its work and equipment.

Kim Jong-un has blasted North Korea's weather service for incorrect forecasts

Kim Jong-un has blasted North Korea’s weather service for incorrect forecasts

Accurate forecasts are needed to protect the “lives and properties” of people from disasters caused by “abnormal climatic phenomenon”, he said.

Calling the weather service “very important work directly affecting the overall economic affairs”, Kim Jong-un also underscored the need to “modernise meteorological observation equipment at a high level”, KCNA said.

It was not clear when Kim Jong-un visited the agency, but public criticism of government officials during field trips by North Korean leaders is extremely rare.

Undated pictures released by KCNA showed Kim Jong-un giving “field guidance” inside the weather service in the capital, some of his audience standing attentively with arms by the side.

North Korea has suffered regular chronic food shortages under the ruling Kim dynasty, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement.

In May, state media reported that North Korea was hit by its worst spring drought in more than three decades, threatening thousands of acres of staple crops.


Bad weather is expected to put a dampener on 4th of July celebrations in the south and mid-west with rain and threats of heavy flooding on Thursday.

The unsettled conditions could upset favorite holiday activities including firework displays, barbecues and days at the beach.

In the north-east, coastal areas will be mainly dry on Thursday following scattered showers and thunderstorms in West Virginia, upstate New York, northern Vermont and New Hampshire today.

Parties in the south may take a hit according to the Weather Channel. Rain and thunderstorms have been forecast from the eastern Gulf Coast to Tennessee, Kentucky and the southeast.

There is a danger of heavy flooding in northern Georgia, northern Alabama, eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, the far western Carolinas and the mountains over the next 48 hours.

It is also expected to be a washed-out Fourth for the Midwest from eastern Ohio to the Great Lakes.

Bad weather is expected to put a dampener on 4th of July celebrations in the south and mid-west with rain and threats of heavy flooding on Thursday

Bad weather is expected to put a dampener on 4th of July celebrations in the south and mid-west with rain and threats of heavy flooding on Thursday

However. there is better news for the Plains where Thursday will be dry with temperatures climbing to 90F.

There will be the odd thunderstorm on the Fourth from the Southwest to Northwest at higher altitudes.

Extreme heat and dry conditions are being forecast for Thursday in the southwest. Temperatures of 110F are expected from southern Nevada into the California and western Arizona deserts.

Although dry conditions are expected in the west, firework displays may be canceled because of droughts and fire bans.

However, most bans are only in place for private properties and towns will hold exhibitions.

It is expected to be the reverse on the east coast, where there will be scattered showers.

Meterologist Alex Sosnowski told Accuweather.com: “The pattern through Independence Day and the weekend beyond in some Eastern locations favors additional widely separated torrential downpours and conditions favoring fog in some locations.”

However he added: “A pocket of mostly rain-free weather will stretch from the coastal part of the Carolinas to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and perhaps Boston on Thursday evening.”

The Plains looks likely to be the best region for Fourth of July firework celebrations with low humidity and gentle breezes forecast.


The Glastonbury Festival rain made its traditional appearance this afternoon, with fans wearing wellies and ponchos when a shower hit the tent city.

However, a good forecast is expected for the rest of the hotly-anticipated weekend.

Meanwhile aerial photographs show the sprawling site of the world-famous music festival, where the rain has stayed away so far for the thousands of fans attending.

Sunshine even broke through the clouds over Worthy Farm in Somerset yesterday, as festival goers trudged miles with rucksacks, tents and sleeping bags to reach the campsites.

The site was due to open at 8 a.m. but flung open its doors an hour early to allow the streams of people in, at an estimated rate of 5,000 per hour. Some had even slept out in their cars overnight to be the first in line.

They carried their precious cargo of beer and cider in shopping trolleys, laundry baskets and wheelbarrows as they made their way across the 900-acre site to secure the best camping spots.

The main performances at the event, which had a fallow year in 2012 to coincide with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will not start until tomorrow – when Arctic Monkeys will top the bill, followed by The Rolling Stones on Saturday night and Mumford & Sons closing the festival on Sunday.

Celebrities including Kate Moss are set to be among the festival goers, with Mick Jagger even staying in Somerset to enjoy the weekend’s festivities. Hundreds of festival-goers proved they had the moves like Mick Jagger by taking part in a Jumping Jack Flashmob at Glastonbury.

The Jagger Off, arranged by two Rolling Stones fans to celebrate the band’s first appearance at the festival, saw crowds of people mimic Mick Jagger’s trademark dance moves.

It was held near the Pyramid Stage, where the band will perform their headline set on Saturday night, under the watchful eye of a giant metal phoenix that is perching on top of the structure this year.

A sound system played classic Rolling Stones songs including Brown Sugar and Start It Up to about 400 fans.

Organizer James Duke-Evans, 33, from south London, said: “It’s gone fantastically well.

“When it got dreamed up late at night we thought it would be funny if 100 people turned up, but 3,500 joined the Facebook group in the end.

“People like to get involved in something that’s not scripted and programmed. I’ve been told some people were looking forward to this more than the festival itself. And quite frankly – do you really want to live in a world where things like this don’t happen?”

Mick Jagger is expected to be on the festival site over the weekend, and is staying nearby with his family.

There is a chance he might even stumble upon the second “Jagger Off”, at the silent disco held in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“I would imagine it’s on Jagger’s radar. I don’t think he can avoid it,” said James Duke-Evans.

Glastonbury aerial photographs show the sprawling site of the world-famous music festival

Glastonbury aerial photographs show the sprawling site of the world-famous music festival

“It’s a tribute to him. We’ve watched him for years and I hope he’ll be able to watch us if he sees the footage from today.”

Many of those performing the moves, which including the “finger waggle” and “squeezing through a narrow doorway”, wore Mick Jagger masks as a tribute to their musical hero.

Some 135,000 ticket holders have been making their way on to the site at Worthy Farm, Somerset, since the festival flung open its doors yesterday morning. Campsites have been filling up quickly as music fans rushed to pitch their tents in the best spots.

They are set to be joined by celebrities, said to include Wayne and Colleen Rooney and Kate Moss, over the coming days. The main acts play from tomorrow, with other headline acts including The Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons.

Police are hailing a successful start to the event, with crimes down from the last Glastonbury Festival in 2011.

In the first day, 40 crimes were reported, 22 of which were thefts, mostly from tents, and police made a total of 24 arrests, many of them over drugs.

There have been 24 drug-related offences but some of those involved were dealt with by way of a caution instead of arrest, Inspector Shirley Eden said.
Their first arrest of the festival was a person who tried to smuggle drugs into the site in a packet of fruit pastilles.

A police officer’s suspicion was raised by the fact the sweets had been hidden in a sock.

“It looked like a bag of sweets but it turned out the sweets had been taken out and replaced with drugs,” said the officer.

There is a team of 600 police officers on site, working in three shifts, and plans for the policing operation have been under way since the end of the last festival.

Inspector Shirley Eden said: “For there to have been 40 crimes so far at a festival of this size is pretty good.

“I work in Bath in my day job and would say the populations are roughly equivalent. The number of crimes you would expect in Bath in a 24-hour period is on a par with what we’ve had here. Our message to people is to protect their property and put it in the free lock ups.

“We’ve had officers in plain clothes on site who’ve seen people sleeping, with their mobile phones clearly on display next to them.

“I know people want to relax and chill but they need to look after their stuff. The majority of people here are not criminals and are not looking to steal, but there’s always going to be some crime.”

There have also been arrests for drink driving and theft from a motor vehicle, police said.

Liam Gallagher, rumored to be playing a set with his band Beady Eye, could be seen arriving at Castle Cary – the nearest railway station – by train yesterday morning.

James Wilby, forecaster with Meteogroup, said: “You always expect there to be a deluge when it’s Glastonbury but luckily that doesn’t seem the case.

“There’s a fair bit of cloud around but it’s starting to brighten up, with temperatures up to 20C yesterday. It’s pretty pleasant and will stay dry.

“This morning will be dry and bright but there’s a chance of rain in the afternoon, with a damp end to the day. It will be more typical of the conditions you’d expect at a festival. It could potentially get a bit muddy, but there will only be a millimetre or two of rain.”

Friday will see spots of drizzle but conditions will improve during the day, with Saturday being dry and sunny. Sunday will be the best day of the festival with temperatures up to 22C (71.6F), James Wilby said.

Forecaster Tony Gray from the Met Office said: “On Friday there’s a chance of light rain first thing in the morning, but then it should be cloudy. Saturday you’ve got a chance of some sunny intervals after lunchtime and high temperatures reaching 19C.

“Sunday much the same – a bit overcast, but sunny intervals for the afternoon and evening, highest temperature 19C. Monday it’s basically overcast until 10am, followed by cloudy conditions.”

Glastonbury organizer Michael Eavis said he believes the weather, combined with the line-up, means this year’s festival will be “unusually good”.

“The whole thing is fantastic,” the 77-year-old farmer said.

“There are 1,000 acres of creativity on a massive scale and to a very, very high standard. You won’t see anything else like this in the whole world.”

There is even the promise of the best-ever Glastonbury toilets, with a new system that sees waste go straight into the ground, designed to beat the infamous smell.

Michael Eavis has even said that, 43 years since the first Glastonbury, they have finally found “the perfect loo”.

To mark the resurrection of the festival after a year off, a giant phoenix has been installed on top of the Pyramid stage, designed by Joe Rush, who was behind many of the mechanical vehicles and props used at the Paralympics closing ceremony.

Indeed one of them – a steamship on which singer Rihanna performed – can be found at the festival this year.

Other highlights fans can expect are appearances from Primal Scream, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Smashing Pumpkins, Elvis Costello, The xx, Public Enemy, Professor Green and Dizzee Rascal.

As ever, the Glastonbury Festival is also offering some more unusual acts alongside the chart toppers – with Bruce Forsyth playing on the Avalon Stage on Sunday, country star Kenny Rogers taking to the Pyramid Stage the same day, and the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan monks also making an appearance.

The unlikely combination of shorts and wellies was the order of the day as temperatures rose during the afternoon, with ice cream vans and bars alike enjoying a roaring trade.

Many chose to enjoy the sun while sitting at the stone circle, overlooking the whole site, while others were still pouring in through the entrances.

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Prince Charles presented the weather forecast during a tour of BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters.

Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited the broadcaster as a part of their annual Holyrood Week.

BBC newsreader Sally Magnusson handed over to Prince Charles, who read his version of Reporting Scotland’s lunchtime weather.

The prince, also known as the Duke of Rothesay, had earlier met students at the City of Glasgow College.

Against a backdrop of the BBC’s weather map, Prince Charles delivered a specially written script which included references to royal residences in Scotland.

Prince Charles presented the weather forecast during a tour of BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay headquarters

Prince Charles presented the weather forecast during a tour of BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay headquarters

Looking directly into the camera, he said: “The best of the bright and dry weather will of course be in the northern isles and the far north of the mainland. So, a little hazy sunshine for the Castle of Mey in Caithness.

“But a cold day everywhere with temperatures of just 8C and a brisk northerly wind. Thank God it isn’t a bank holiday.”

The duke and duchess spent more than an hour at BBC Scotland, which is celebrating 60 years of television broadcasting.

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42.5 million US people are expected to hit the road to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving – the highest number of holiday travellers since the start of the recession.

Thanksgiving travellers are at the mercy of the weather, because forecasters warned of rain and scattered thunderstorms in much of the north east, with a mixture of snow and freezing rain expected in upstate New York and northern New England. Mountainous areas could see 4 to 8 inches of snow.

Two forecasted storms are expected to make air travel rough across parts of the country, causing delays and cancellations at airports.

The first storm, which has already caused flash flooding across Arkansas, is forecast to move into the Southeast, bringing severe weather on Wednesday.

It will also bring rain showers and snow showers to the North east, with two inches of rain expected in Boston and New York and more than a foot of snow through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The worst of the severe weather was forecast to develop across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, even into North and South Carolinas.

Thanksgiving travellers are at the mercy of the weather, because forecasters warned of rain and scattered thunderstorms in much of the north east

Thanksgiving travellers are at the mercy of the weather, because forecasters warned of rain and scattered thunderstorms in much of the north east

The second storm moved into the North west Tuesday evening and continuing through Thanksgiving day, bringing with it up to five inches of rain and a foot of snow to higher elevations. Flooding and strong winds are expected to be a major concern.

According to travel tracker AAA, 4% more Americans than last year will journey at least 50 miles from home, with about 90% of them driving. Another 8% plan to fly, but AAA notes that higher airfares and less available seats have forced many would-be fliers to drive instead. The remaining travelers plan to take buses, trains or other forms of transport.

This is the third consecutive Thanksgiving that US people have taken to the road in higher numbers than in the past year, according to Associated Press.

The increase in holiday travel is welcome news for an industry that has been struggling to get Americans back on the road.

Memorial Day saw no increase in vacations and travel was down for both July 4th and Labor Day breaks.

AAA says that Americans are willing to spend now because they want to spend time with their family.

Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services, said in a statement:

“As consumers weigh the fear of economic uncertainty and the desire to create lasting family memories this holiday, more Americans are expected to choose family and friends over frugality.”

Those driving should expect to pay more at the pump. The average price of a gallon of gas so far this November is $3.42, up nearly 20% from last year’s $2.86, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That means for every 100 miles a family drives this holiday they should expect to spend about $2.50 more on gas.

Rates for mid-range hotels are expected to increase 6% from last year ago with travelers spending an average of $145 a night. Lower-priced motels are seeing a 7% increase to $103.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $37, an 11% drop from last year.

According to AAA, Thanksgiving airfares are 20% higher than last year with an average lowest round-trip rate of $212 for the top 40 U.S. air routes.

That estimate is much higher than a 4% increase predicted by both Orbitz and Priceline.

Those companies said the average airfare was closer to $400. Airlines report quarterly airfares but don’t break out prices for specific holidays.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,357 people in the U.S., 543 who said they plan to travel.

On this the fourth Thanksgiving since the economy sank, prices for everything from airline flights to groceries are going up, and some Americans are scaling back.

Yet in many households, the occasion is too important to skimp on. Said one mother: “I don’t have much to give, but I’ll be cooking, and the door will be open.”

Bill Sutherland, vice president of AAA Travel Services, said: “This is the first significant increase in any holiday travel this year.”

Families who had foregone travel over the last three years are likely to reverse their decisions this year, the group said, leading to the uptick in the forecast.

The forecast, based on a monthly survey of 50,000 homes, said some 3.4 million – up 1.8% year-on-year – would fly over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving travel took a big hit in 2008 following the financial crisis and the economic uncertainty it caused.