Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The first reaction of many readers when they see this picture is Photoshop! Surely this must be a fake. But no, many independent observers witnessed and phtotographed the apparition. It is real.

"What the FRAK is THAT?!" My second thought was, "Photoshop". But then I saw lots of pictures of this on a bunch of different Norwegian media, so I don’t think it’s a digital hoax. Then videos started surfacing, like this one, which clearly show the spiral spinning. It’s not just a static picture, whatever this thing was; it was really in the sky.

However, after a moment, I realized this must be a rocket, most likely spiraling out of control. I don’t understand all the details — I don’t have all the info yet — but a rocket fits what we’re seeing here. First, this was seen all over Norway, so it must have been at a high altitude to be so visible. Second, the blue spiral angling down to the right is clearly due to perspective. A rocket spiraling around, and coming up from the lower right, would appear to make tight spirals when it was far away and bigger ones as it got closer.

Third, you can actually see the bright white spiral spinning in the videos. That threw me for a second, to be honest, but after a moment I figured that it makes sense if the rocket is headed more or less straight toward the camera. Whatever it is being lit up (exhaust, or a leaking payload?) would appear to expand in a spiral like water from a spinning sprinklerhead. The spiral itself is not spinning any more than water from the sprinkler is; that’s an illusion of motion.


Fourth, after a few moments, a black disk appears to expand in the center of the white spiral, as seen in this picture (it’s a little fuzzy; you can see the person taking it must have used a long exposure because foreground lights are jittery, but you get the idea). That’s exactly what I would expect if whatever is being ejected by the rocket ran out; the arms of the spiral would expand away from the center, leaving black emptiness in the middle.

So that’s my hypothesis. A rocket got out of control, perhaps losing a stabilizer, and started to spiral. The two spirals, different in shape, size, and color, indicate something happened in the middle of all this (the rocket second stage fired while still spinning, or something else started leaking out), changing the rocket’s direction. Then, when the fuel or whatever ran out, the white spiral began to disappear from the inside out as the material expanded in space.

So who launched it? The Russians are a likely guess, but –shocker — they’re denying it. I’d love to know and find out what the details are, but whoever shot it up and whatever the purpose, I’m pretty sure what we’re seeing here is a rocket launch that didn’t go exactly according to plan.

Note: there are a lot of stories online about this with more very cool pictures: The Sun and The Daily Mail have it in English, while Norwegian media include VG Nett, Altaposten.no, NRK.no, Framtidinord.no, Nordlis.no, and amazing videos can be seen here and here.

UPDATE: From Doctor Atlantis I heard of this video which simulates particles being spewed out from a spinning rocket booster. Look familiar?

Banbury continues: "It consisted initially of a green beam of light similar in color to the aurora with a mysterious rotating spiral at one end. This spiral then got bigger and bigger until it turned into a huge halo in the sky with the green beam extending down to Earth. According to press reports, this could be seen all over northern Norway and must therefore have been very high up in the atmosphere to be seen hundreds of km apart."

UPDATE: Circumstantial evidence is mounting that the phenomenon was caused by a malfunctioning rocket, possibly an ICBM launched from a Russian submarine. A Navtex no-fly alert was issued for the White Sea on Dec. 9th, and photographers appear to have recorded the initial boost phase of a launch below the spiral (see inset). A rocket motor spinning out of control could indeed explain the spiral pattern, so this explanation seems plausible, although it has not yet been confirmed.

More reports and videos: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5.




This is really strange and cool. pics and vids below. There's some sort of blue light coming from the ground, linking to the spiral. This sighting lasted 2 minutes. __________________
Mystery as spiral blue light display hovers above Norway A mysterious light display appearing over Norway last night has left thousands of residents in the north of the country baffled. Witnesses from Trøndelag to Finnmark compared the amazing sight to anything from a Russian rocket to a meteor or a shock wave - although no one appears to have mentioned UFOs yet. The phenomenon began when what appeared to be a blue light seemed to soar up from behind a mountain. It stopped mid-air, then began to circulate.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/...l#ixzz0ZCfA1lPL

Vids: http://www.vgtv.no/?id=27558&category=1 http://www.vgtv.no/?id=27553&category=1

Another link: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/...-in-a-spin.html

Norwegian Swirl Anomaly 1
Norwegian Swirl Anomaly 2

NOTE: I received these video links from a reader this morning. This phenomena occurred over Norway pre-dawn today (December 9th) and was witnessed by thousands from what I can gather. I could not embed the video...only screen captures. I've seen similar anomalies in the past but not to this degree. News report below...Lon

thesun - A mysterious giant spiral of light that dominated the sky over Norway this morning has stunned experts — who believe the space spectacle is an entirely new astral phenomenon.

Thousands of awe-struck Norwegians bombarded the Meteorological Institute to ask what the incredible light — that could be seen in the pre-dawn sky for hundreds of miles — could possibly be.

The phenomenon has been dubbed 'Star-Gate' — as the world's top scientists and the military lined up to admit they were baffled.

Theories ranging from a misfired Russian missile, meteor fireball, never-before-seen type of northern light, 'black hole' and even alien activity were all proposed.

Witnesses across Norway, who first glimpsed the space show at 8.45am, all described seeing a spinning 'Catherine wheel-style' spiral of white light, centred around a bright moon-like star.

A blue "streaming tail" appeared to anchor the spiral to earth, before the light "exploded" into a rotating ring of white fire.

The spiral spectacle — which lasted for two minutes — was seen by vast swathes of the Scandinavian country's almost five million population, with sightings as far north as Finnmark to Trondelag in the south.

Totto Eriksen, from Tromso, in northern Norway, was one of the thousands who bombarded Norwegian newspapers with sightings — after nearly crashing his car on spotting the spiral overhead.

He said: "I was driving my daughter to school when this light spun and exploded in the sky.

"We saw it from the Inner Harbour in Tromso. It looked like a rocket that spun around and around - and then went diagonally across the heavens.

"It looked like the moon was coming over the mountain - but then turned into something totally different.

"People just stopped and stared on the pier - it was like something from a Hollywood movie."

Axel Berg, from Alta, also in the north of the country, added: "It was like a giant spiral - a shooting star that spun around and around.

"I initially thought it was a projector but then the 'tail light' left and the spiral remained spinning still."

Norway's most celebrated astronomer, Knut Jorgen Roed Odegaard, said he had never seen anything like the spiral before.

"This was seen over an exceptionally large area of the country - in all of north Norway and the Trondelag.

"My first thought was that it was a fireball meteor - but it lasted far too long.

"It may have been a missile from Russia - but I can't guarantee that is the answer.

"I rang the Air Traffic Control tower in Tromse. They said it was over in two minutes. To me, that is far too long for this to be an astronomical phenomenon.

"This spiral shape is unique. It is definitely not a variation of the aurora borealis - northern lights."

Chief Scientist Erik Tandberg, at the Norwegian Space Centre, said that he too was "totally amazed" by the spiral.

He agreed with many other experts that the spiral pattern could have been caused by a missile from Russia — something the Russian military have strongly denied.

Dr Tandberg said: "I agree with everyone in the science community that this light was the weirdest thing. I have never seen anything like this ever.

"It may have been anything from an exploding missile whose launch went wrong - to a comet or other celestial object that for some reason has been behaving strangely.

"If it was a missile - most likely from the launch base in Pletsevsk in Russia or one of the Russian submarines or even from the European Space Agency base in Kiruna - then we are talking about a rocket launch that has gone wrong.

"The spiral suggests the object came off course and balance and entered the spiral movement. Leaking rocket fuel could account for the blue light.

"But I know that the military have denied this explanation. So we could be looking at an entirely new natural phenomenon."
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Saturn's Hexagon Endures!

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This movie from Cassini, made possible only as Saturn's north pole emerged from winter darkness, shows new details of a jet stream that follows a hexagon-shaped path and has long puzzled scientists.

The Cassini spacecraft was able to take another look at one of Saturn's strangest features – a bizarre six-sided cloud structure circling the entire north pole. This structure was hinted at when the Voyager spacecraft first visited the planet nearly 30 years ago, and Cassini was able to take a brief look a few years ago with Cassini's infrared camera. But these latest images provide evidence the hexagon-shaped jet stream is still there, (the north pole has been shrouded in darkness but has now recently emerged into sunlight) and gives scientists the most detail yet to study the intriguing hexagon shape crowning the planet.
Click to continue…

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World-Record Energy Collisions Achieved at Large Hadron Collider

ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2009) — On Tuesday evening, December 8th, thousands of physicists around the world cheered as CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashed together subatomic particles at the highest energies ever reached by a human-made accelerator and the giant ATLAS detector observed the products of the record-breaking reactions whizzing through its sophisticated tracking devices.

Some of the loudest cheers were from Canadians who helped design, build, and commission LHC and ATLAS which are launching a new era of discovery about how the universe works.

"This is the breakthrough moment we have all been waiting for," said Rob McPherson, spokesperson and Principal Investigator for the 150 person Canadian team, professor at the University of Victoria, and Institute of Particle Physics Research Scientist. "The LHC was conceived of more than two decades ago, and today's success represents the start of a new era in our understanding of matter and the universe." The new world record is set by the collisions of more than 10 billion protons per bunch at a total energy of 2.36 trillion electron volts, or TeV, per collision.

The Large Hadron Collider accelerates two counter-rotating beams of protons to nearly the speed of light and then brings them into collision inside giant, cathedral-sized detectors that study the subatomic debris that comes flying outward. The Canadian team plays a leading role in the ATLAS detector, akin to a gigantic digital camera that examines the millions of collisions per second and identifies which ones should be stored and analyzed in more detail. The project goals are just as awe-inspiring: probe the structure of space to search for extra dimensions, identify and study why matter has mass in the universe, and even explore theories that connect subatomic particles to the cosmos through dark matter and dark energy.

"This is it," said Nigel S. Lockyer, director of TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics that led Canadian involvement in the project. "We are the edge of what we know and are boldly stepping forward: we are now doing physics that has never been done before! It's amazing...and I'm glad Canada has a piece of the action."

TRIUMF worked with universities and companies across Canada to contribute key elements of the Large Hadron Collider accelerator itself as well as the ATLAS detector. TRIUMF is also home to one of the ten supercomputer (so called Tier-1) data centres around the world that processes the enormous volumes of data from the ATLAS experiment and distributes it to the thousands of scientists involved. In fact, today's collisions "showed up" in the Canadian computer centre within hours, ready for Canadian scientists to start analyzing them.

These developments come just three weeks after the LHC restart, demonstrating the excellent performance of the machine. First low-energy beams were injected into the LHC on Friday 20 November. On Monday 23 November, two low-energy beams circulated together for the first time, and the four giant LHC detectors recorded their first collision data. Next steps are to increase the energy and number of collisions over the next months as physicists scour the data for signs of the Higgs Boson, supersymmetry, new dimensions in space, and whatever other secrets nature has in store.

Follow LHC progress on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cern. For photos, video, and latest information see http://press.web.cern.ch/press/lhc-first-physics/.

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Russian nuclear missile test fails, visible in Norway

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
Russia admitted on Thursday another failed test of its much-touted Bulava intercontinental missile, after unusual lights were spotted in Norway across the border from the launch site.


The submarine-based Bulava (Mace) missile has been billed as Russia's newest technological breakthrough to support its nuclear deterrent, but the repeated test failures are an embarrassment for the Kremlin.

The missile failed in its 13th test on Wednesday morning, Russia's leading economic dailies Vedomosti and Kommersant reported on Thursday, quoting sources in the military-industrial complex.

Hours later, the Defense Ministry admitted the failure, saying the launch had been made by the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear submarine from a submerged position in the White Sea.

"It has been established ... that the missile's first two stages worked as normal, but there was a technical malfunction at the next, third, stage of the trajectory," a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Norwegian experts reported sighting of phenomena in the atmosphere near the White Sea, where earlier Bulava rockets were fired, the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers reported.

Russia's REN-TV showed footage of a spiral of white light, which it said was taken on Wednesday in Norway. The footage also showed a bright white light with a long blue tail on the horizon.

MISTAKE OR CRIME?

Staking heavily on the Bulava, the Kremlin also has overseen a costly project aimed at building a new class of nuclear submarines to carry the missile -- the Borei (Arctic Wind).

The first submarine of the class -- Yuri Dolgoruky -- for months has been undergoing sea tests, while two others are being built. The laying of the keel for a submarine of the more advanced Borei-A class is reported to be set by year's end.

"This is a catastrophe ... Huge funds were siphoned off from Russia's moribund navy for the Bulava project. In fact, billions of dollars have been flushed down the drain," Alexander Khramchikhin, chief analyst at the Moscow-based Institute of Military and Political Analysis, said.

Of 11 previous reported tests, at least six have been unsuccessful, including one on July 15 when a Bulava self destructed after a malfunction during the first stage of its flight from the White Sea.

Later media reports said there also had been an attempt to launch the Bulava in October but it was put off at the last moment due to a technical glitch.

The 37-tonne, 12-meter (39-ft) intercontinental ballistic missile, known as the Bulava-30 inside the Russian military, is capable of carrying multiple warheads to the distances of up to 8,000 km (5,000 miles). Some sources say the Bulava can carry up to six warheads, others say 10.

The Kremlin has touted the missile as a unique weapon capable of breaching any air defense and a way to bolster the country's once mighty submarine fleet.

Analysts criticize Moscow's hurry to build the Bulava, as it already has a highly reliable Soviet-built Sineva submarine-based ballistic missile.

They also question awarding the Bulava contract to the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology which has never before built missiles for submarines.

(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries)

(Writing by Conor Humphries and Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Michael Roddy)



http://www.reuters. com/article/ idUSTRE5B92FI200 91210?feedType= RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburn er&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign= Feed%3A+reuters% 2FworldNews+ (News+%2F+ US+%2F+Internati onal)
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Failure of Russia's latest nuclear missile prompts UFO frenzy

Jenny Booth

A strange light phenomenon seen in the night sky above Skjervoy in northern Norway. The unexplained light may have been caused by the failure of a new Russian anti-submarine-based intercontinental missile which was being tested across the Norwegian-Russian border

(Anita Olsen/Scanpix Norway/AP)

An unexplained light in the sky over the city of Tromso which turned out to be yet another failed missile test launch by the Russians

Russia’s new nuclear-capable missile has suffered another failed test launch, producing a spectacular display of white light that excited UFO watchers in northern Norway.

The Bulava missile was test-fired from the Dmitry Donskoi, a submarine, in the White Sea before dawn yesterday but failed at the third stage, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

The launch coincided with the appearance of an extraordinary light over the city of Tromso in northern Norway that captivated observers and prompted explanations ranging from a meteor, northern lights or even a UFO.

The White Sea, where Russia usually conducts such missile tests, lies close to Norway’s Arctic region.

This was the twelfth test launch of the Bulava and the seventh time the firing has ended in failure, Interfax, the news agency, said.

The missile is central to Russia’s plan to revamp its ageing weapons arsenal. The defence ministry has ploughed much of its procurement budget into ensuring the missile becomes the key element of its rocket forces, only for it to be beset by development problems which have caused increasing embarrassment.

The previous failure, on July 16, forced the resignation of Yury Solomonov, the director of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology which is responsible for developing the missile.

“The first two stages of the rocket worked but in the final and third stage there was a technical failure,” the defence ministry admitted. In past launches it was the first stage that was faulty.

The Bulava, which can carry up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads and has a maximum range of 8,000 km (5,000 miles), is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia’s new surface-to-surface intercontinental missile. It is designed to be launched from the newest Borei class of submarines and if the new missile fails to work the vessels will be virtually useless, experts say.

Pavel Felgenhauer, a leading Russian defence analyst, described the latest failure of the Bulava as a major embarrassment for the military, dealing a serious blow to Russia’s bid to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.

“By the year 2030, Russia could lose its position as a global nuclear power if the problems are not solved. And it could be that these missiles will never fly properly.

“The Russian defence industry has disintegrated to such an extent that it simply cannot make such a complicated system work. Technology and expertise have been lost.”

Mr Felgenhauer added that the spectacular lights over northern Norway were typical of a missile failure.

“Such lights and clouds appear from time to time when a missile fails in the upper layers of the atmosphere and have been reported before,” he said.

“At least this failed test made some nice fireworks for the Norwegians.”

It was impossible to prevent news about failures of the Bulava leaking out, he said, due to hostility towards the missile programme within parts of the Russian defence establishment.

The problems come as Russia negotiates with the United States the parameters of a new arms reduction treaty to replace the START accord of 1991.

The treaty expired on December 5 and despite intense negotiations the two sides have yet to agree the text of a new deal.

http://www.timesonl ine.co.uk/ tol/news/ world/europe/ article6951635. ece#cid=OTC- RSS&attr=79709

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Russia's Bulava Rocket Scares Norway with Giant Shining Spiral

A strange light phenomenon could be observed in the sky above Norway on Wednesday morning. Some people thought that it was a UFO, but local media later said that it was the consequence of a Russian rocket launch. Indeed, Russia attempted to conduct another test of its new Bulava intercontinental missile. The 13th attempt ended with a failure again, the Vedomosti newspaper wrote with reference to a source at the Russian defense industry.

A malfunction occurred during the separation of the third stage. The launch can therefore be considered as successful, since it was the first stage that malfunctioned during the previous launches, the source said.

A source of the Kommersant newspaper confirmed the information. Russia released an official warning last week to inform other countries of the intention to conduct missile launches in the southern part of the White Sea during December 7-14. One of the indicated time intervals coincided with the appearance of the UFO in the sky above Norway on December 9.

In addition, it was said that Russia’s Dmitry Donskoy submarine, from which Bulava tests are conducted, went to sea for shooting practice.

Residents of the north of Norway witnessed an unusual phenomenon early in the morning on Wednesday, December 9: a huge shining spiral appeared in the sky above the town of Tromso. Local newspapers quickly wrote that the spiral was most likely caused with a failed launch of a Russian rocket, most likely a Bulava.

The shining spot appeared above a mountain. Eyewitnesses took pictures of the phenomenon. The spot, as they said, was larger than the Moon.

Preparations to the most recent launch began in the summer of 2009, after the unsuccessful result of the previous launch.

The Russian military developed Bulava to possess advanced defense capabilities making it nearly impervious to existing and future missile-defense systems. Among its claimed abilities are evasive maneuvering, mid-course countermeasures and decoys and a warhead fully shielded against both physical and Electromagnetic pulse damage. The Bulava is designed to be capable of surviving a nuclear blast at a minimum distance of 500 meters. Prime minister Putin has claimed that Bulava could penetrate any potential anti-missile defense system.

The Bulava is able to carry up to 6-10 MIRV warheads with a yield of 100-150 kT each. A full-capacity payload requires the forfeiture of all final stage countermeasures and of some shielding.

http://english.pravda.ru/img/idb/norway-1.jpg
http://english. pravda.ru/ russia/politics/ 10-12-2009/ 111033-bulava_ spiral-0
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Up To 17 Die As Snow Storm Sweeps US

video

9:26am UK, Thursday December 10, 2009

Jo Couzens, Sky News Online

http://news. sky.com/skynews/ Home/video/ Snow-Storms- Hit-America- Midwest/Video/ 200912215497202? lpos=video_ Article_Body_ Copy_Region_ 0&lid=VIDEO_ 15497202_ Snow_Storms_ Hit_America_ Midwest

Up to 17 people have died after a massive winter storm buried central parts of the United States under ice and snow.


Most of the deaths were from road accidents, according to reports.

Scores of motorists were left stranded as snow drifts as high as 15ft shut down major roads.

"This has been a really big season opening storm," National Weather Service spokesman Pat Slattery said.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled and schools closed after freezing rain that preceded the snow created hazardous conditions.

Blizzard warnings were issued across the Midwest, as the storm moved east across the country after pounding Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.

Snow in US Midwest

Snow storms hit US

It is expected to move across the Great Lakes into Canada, sparing much of the East Coast.

But flash flood warnings have been issued for the Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys and mid-Atlantic and south east states due to heavy rains from the southern part of the system.

Officials have told people to stay at home where possible or pack an emergency kit of blankets, food and water if they have to drive.

"It may be a while for somebody to find you, if you get hung up," Mr Slattery warned.

The National Guard was called in to help in Iowa, where stranded motorists waited for two hours to be rescued after the state was blanketed by up to 16 inches of snow.

"We are snowed in. It's not good," said Courtney Green, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

"It's bitterly, bitterly cold. It's just been gusting all day. When you have the volume of snow and the high winds, there are just huge drifts."

Snow plows were pulled off the roads for part of Wednesday because visibility was so poor and the conditions so extreme that they were failing to make a difference, Ms Green said.

Wisconsin declared a state of emergency, shut down government offices and also called in the National Guard after the storm dumped up to 17 inches of snow across the state.


http://news. sky.com/skynews/ Home/World- News/US-Snow- Storm-Sweeps- Across-US- Killing-Up- To-17-People/ Article/20091221 5497185?f= rss


RADAR RING FLASH IN WIS. TONITE
BLIZZARD WARNINGS ACROSS THE COUNTRY NOW BEING POSTED




Massive storm buries central US in snow



Wed Dec 9, 5:13 pm ET

CHICAGO (AFP) –

A massive storm buried much of the central United States in dangerous ice and snow Wednesday, stranding scores of motorists with massive drifts that shut down major roads and defeated plows.

Strong winds created drifts as high as 15 feet (4.6 meters) as the storm dropped as much as four feet of snow (1.2 meters) in some areas, said Pat Slattery, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.

"This has been a really big season opening storm," Slattery said.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools were closed and the freezing rain that preceded the snow in many places created hazardous road conditions.

Blizzard warnings were issued across the midwest as the storm moved eastward across the country after pounding Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.

The storm was expected to move across the Great Lakes into Canada, sparing much of the East Coast.

But flash flood warnings were issued for the Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys and midatlantic and southeast states due to heavy rains from the southern part of the system.

Officials told people to stay home if they can, pack an emergency kit of blankets, food and water if they have to drive somewhere, and to avoid rural side roads.

"It may be a while for somebody to find you if you get hung up," Slattery cautioned.

Stranded motorists were waiting a couple hours to be rescued in Iowa, where the National Guard was called in to help after the state was blanketed with nine to 16 inches (22 to 41 centimeters) of snow.

"We are snowed in. It's not good," said Courtney Green, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

"It's bitterly, bitterly cold. It's just been gusting all day. When you have the volume of snow and the high winds, there are just huge drifts."

Snow plows were pulled off the roads for part of Wednesday because visibility was so poor and the storm was so bad that they weren't making much of a difference, she said.

Even the military Humvees were having trouble, and large truck drivers were also getting stuck in the snow.

A man who was found behind the post office in Yale, Iowa died en route to hospital. He had been there for at least a couple hours, Green said.

Wisconsin declared a state of emergency, shut down government offices and also activated the National Guard after the storm dumped up to 17 inches of snow across the state.

With classes cancelled, meanwhile, students at the University of Madison planned to make the best of the deluge with a massive snowball fight, in their second attempt to beat the world record.

http://news. yahoo.com/ s/afp/20091209/ ts_alt_afp/ usweatherstorm_ 20091209221347
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State of Wisconsin shut down by Dec 09 blizzard, National Guard put on alert

December 9, 10:05 PM
Madison Political Buzz Examiner
Peggy Williams

Wisconsin’s Governor Jim Doyle declared a “State of Emergency,” put the National Guard on active duty alert, and ordered all state offices and all campuses of the University of Wisconsin (with the exception of UW-Milwaukee and UW Superior) closed because of the severity of the blizzard that wreaked havoc with highways and power lines today.

“Wisconsin’s emergency workers are working hard to keep people safe,” Governor Doyle said via a news release statement. “State offices are closed for business to ensure we are keeping people off the roads and allowing emergency response crews to do their jobs.”

Madison, the state’s capital city received 17.9 inches of snow on its west side. Schools and businesses throughout the state closed, including Madison's two largest malls and numerous health clinics (hospitals remained open). Madison’s bus system closed, and most flights in and out of the Dane County Airport were cancelled for most of the day. Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport saw dozens of flights cancelled as well, even though that city received mostly rain due to the warm temperatures.

Approximately 30,000 residents throughout Southeastern Wisconsin lost electrical power, due to fallen tree branches. With temperatures hovering around 30 degrees for most of the storm, the snow was wet and heavy.

University of Wisconsin-Madison took advantage of the unexpected “holiday” to create a 10 foot diameter snowball (see video below) and to hold what may be the world’s largest snowball fight.

The State of Emergency went into effect for all 72 counties in Wisconsin Thursday evening as the storm was just revving up. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) went into full gear, monitoring highways, coordinating with the State Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources (who sent wardens out to help patrol the highways), and disseminating public information. Heavy duty vehicles with chained were put on ready alert at ten National Guard facilities throughout the state. At least nine of those vehicles were deployed during the day.

By 8pm Wednesday evening (Dec.9) the blizzard that covered most of the upper Midwest had been downgraded to Wind Chill Advisories. The wind chill is expected to drop to -20 degrees overnight.

YouTube video of University of Wisconsin-Madison students' giant snowball:

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=h01SAPK1zpI


http://www.examiner .com/x-6489- Madison-Politica l-Buzz-Examiner~ y2009m12d9- State-of- Wisconsin- shut-down- by-Dec-09- blizzard- National- Guard-put- on-alert
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Massive storm buries central US in snow

December 10, 2009 - 10:34AM

AP

A massive storm buried much of the central United States in dangerous ice and snow on Wednesday, stranding scores of motorists with massive drifts that shut down major roads and defeated ploughs.

Strong winds created drifts as high as 15 feet (4.6 metres) as the storm dropped as much as four feet of snow (1.2 metres) in some areas, said Pat Slattery, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.

"This has been a really big season opening storm," Slattery said.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools were closed and the freezing rain that preceded the snow in many places created hazardous road conditions.

Blizzard warnings were issued across the midwest as the storm moved eastward across the country after pounding Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.

The storm was expected to move across the Great Lakes into Canada, sparing much of the East Coast.

But flash flood warnings were issued for the Mississippi and Tennessee River valleys and midatlantic and southeast states due to heavy rains from the southern part of the system.

Officials told people to stay home if they can, pack an emergency kit of blankets, food and water if they have to drive somewhere, and to avoid rural side roads.

"It may be a while for somebody to find you if you get hung up," Slattery cautioned.

Stranded motorists were waiting a couple hours to be rescued in Iowa, where the National Guard was called in to help after the state was blanketed with nine to 16 inches (22 to 41 centimetres) of snow.

"We are snowed in. It's not good," said Courtney Green, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

"It's bitterly, bitterly cold. It's just been gusting all day. When you have the volume of snow and the high winds, there are just huge drifts."

Snow ploughs were pulled off the roads for part of Wednesday because visibility was so poor and the storm was so bad that they weren't making much of a difference, she said.

Even the military Humvees were having trouble and large truck drivers were also getting stuck in the snow.

A man who was found behind the post office in Yale, Iowa died en route to hospital. He had been there for at least a couple hours, Green said.

Wisconsin declared a state of emergency, shut down government offices and also activated the National Guard after the storm dumped up to 17 inches of snow across the state.

With classes cancelled, meanwhile, students at the University of Madison planned to make the best of the deluge with a massive snowball fight, in their second attempt to beat the world record.




http://news. smh.com.au/ breaking- news-world/ massive-storm- buries-central- us-in-snow- 20091210- kkhd.html
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Tornado watch blankets South Carolina
The State
AP COLUMBIA, SC -- Much of South Carolina has been placed under a tornado watch as a line of intense storms and high winds quickly rolls across the state, ...
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Much of state under tornado watch
The State
A large part of central South Carolina is under severe thunderstorm warning and even a tornado watch as a strong cold front pushes across the state. .

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