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For those of you traveling today to see the fam for Thanksgiving (or getting away from them), you'll be fine weather-wise if you're heading West, but brace yourself if home is in the Midwest or on the East Coast. According to Weather.com, there will be showers in the Midwest from the Corn Belt to the Great Lakes region and in Upstate NY and Pennsylvania.
Minor flight delays are possible in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, D.C, New York City and Boston, AccuWeather.com predicts. And of course the weather just had to pick on some of the busiest airports today, whose delays could cause ripples throughout the system.
After a punishing weekend of pummeling rain, landslides, flooding, and collapsing houses, Taiwan and The Philippines are licking their wounds and counting the dead resulting from being hit by Typhoon Morakot.
The collapsed six-story Taiwan hotel in the picture above, whose 300 guests were all successfully evacuated, ended up collapsing into the floor waters, and it's no wonder with some southern cities getting dumped on by over 80 inches of rain. Before Morakotwhich means "Emerald" in Thai made landfall on Taiwan, it first killed 21 people in The Philippines. Among the dead were two Belgian tourists and a French tourist.
Travel Weather / Delta / Northwest / MSP / Flight Delays / Change Fees / → All Tags
Heading to the Twin Cities tonight? Don't forget your mukluks: Minneapolis-St. Paul is expecting six-plus inches of snow today, with the storm starting this morning. And freezing rain and sleet for the side dishes!
Delta in its capacity as new owner of Northwest's major business at MSP is waiving all change fees if you had planned to fly in today. We recommend not being re-routed through Chicago (dense fog advisory!) or the Dakotas (same storm), but anywhere else should be fine. And hey, Delta, way to be proactive.
Well that's unusual. The United Arab Emirates - a hot, wealthy area known for building elaborate indoor skiing complexes - recently experienced its first real snowfall in a generation. The northern emirate of Ras al Khaimah reported that a five kilometer area in its Jebel Jais mountain range was blanketed with ten centimeters of snow on Friday, a situation so rare that the local dialect doesn't even have a word for it.
UAE residents marveled at the news, which was splashed across the front page of local papers, and many hoped to experience the white stuff for themselves. Unfortunately for them, the mountainous area has no roads, with the only access by helicopter. (Still, don't more than a few Emiratis own helicopters?) Of course, a handful of influential locals got to toss a few snowballs before it melted. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi got a lift into the area to marvel at the snow, even bringing some back to share with his subjects. Nice guy, that Sheikh.
Visitors to the UAE shouldn't hold out any hope for further flurries, though. Temperatures are above freezing once again in the mountains, and so hot on the coast that they're building an air-conditioned beach.
Airport Hell / LGA / JFK / EWR / Airline Delays / Travel Weather / → All Tags
Snow, sleet, and rain in the Midwestern and northeastern United States grounded hundreds of flights this weekend, majorly screwing up travel plans for thousands of people and giving news outlets a timely opportunity to run their annual holiday travel chaos stories. Airports in Detroit, Chicago, and even Las Vegas had rampant delays and cancellations, while Milwaukee's General Mitchell airport shut down entirely to focus on snow removal. Things were pretty grim in the New York area as well, with more than 500 flights canceled at LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports. Since New York is such a major airline hub, its delays and cancellations caused ripples throughout the entire country, making more people than usual shake their fists in anger at the Big Apple.
We're actually kind of surprised so many flights were cut, because it didn't seem like we got that much snow. It came down pretty steadily yesterday, but ultimately left only a couple of inches on the ground and coat of ice on the plastic crocodile (pictured) that Louie, our landlord, keeps in the garden. Sub-freezing temperatures must have compounded the problems, because what's on the streets now isn't going to be melting on its own any time soon. If you're flying this weekend, Google your flight number to see if you'll be making it to Grandma's house before Monday, and pack a good book just in case.
[Photo: Victor Ozols]
· Storms Snarl Flight Schedules in Midwest, Northeast [USA Today]
· Retreat! Retreat! NYC Snowed In [Jaunted]
Scientists in France have come up with a possible way to make islands invisible to tsunamis. This sounds absolutely crazy, but bear with us!
In 2006 researchers got a real cloaking device to work that guided microwaves around a small, flat copper ring as if it wasn't there. Using similar principles, the French scientists have designed a whirlpool-like cloaking device that would channel the destructive waves of a tsunami away from islands, coastlines and oil rigs.
The image above is of a very small-scale version of the protective barrier that would act as the cloaking device. New Scientist has all the technical specs (that we just barely understand), which will hopefully be saving your vacation (and countless lives) in the future.
· Invisibility Cloaks Could Take Sting out of Tsunamis [New Scientist]
· Islands coverage [Jaunted]
Mexico wasn't the only place hit by severe summer weather this week. Two storm systems collided in the Midwest sending people all of the way from Colorado to Ohio ducking for cover: Twenty-five people were killed, millions of dollars in roadways were washed out and homes collapsed due to high winds and flooding. Better double check those driving and lodging plans if you're hoping to squeeze in a Matt Gross-style road trip this summer.
In Wisconsin heinous storms resulted in more than $30 million in weather-related damages. Lori Getter the state's Emergency Management spokeswoman told CNN.com:
Mother Nature has been really cruel to our state the last four or five days. For many of these people, they've lost everything.
More rainfall led to heavy flooding after high winds whipped through towns in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Gov. Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency:
It's really awe-inspiring to see how much damage has been done and what this water has done.
The severe weather also hit Oklahoma, parts of Texas, Nebraska and Iowa: proof yet again that some of the biggest storms aren't always tropical.
Since our update this morning, Hurricane Flossie has weakened on her way toward Hawaii's Big Island. But that doesn't mean she's messin' around: Meteorologists are still clocking her winds at 110 mph. And after an earthquake this morning, Hawaii's not exactly a tourist paradise right now.
Our man in Hawaii gives us an on scene report:
Downgrade to a Cat 2 storm so less chance of total havoc. Storm track has swung slightly south so a bit further away. 12 separate models showing storm tracking away from Hawaii after this initial brush.
No hotel evacuations. Not sure about flights in and out of Kona and Hilo but everywhere else flying OK. People feel like they have dodged a bullet, as its been (knock on wood) 15 years since Hawaii's last major hurricane, Iniki, which literally totaled the island of Kauai.
The latest from the web:
· Flossie Bearing Down on Hawaii [NPR]
· Flossie Forecast [NWS]
· Flossie Backs Off A Little [Hawaiirama]
· Big Island Wal-Marts Staying Open to Sell Supplies [HA]
· "This is Too Close For Comfort" [CNN]
As always, our tipline is open.
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck near Vanuatu in the South Pacific this afternoon shortly after 1 PM EDT according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was 1,240 miles northeast of Brisbane, which sounds like somewhere near where Oceanic flight 815 fictionally went down.
In any event, it is too early for damage or travel impact reports, however the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii or other islands.
Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands with intact tribal communities, resorts, beaches and volcanoes. It is also becoming a hot honeymoon travel spot, especially in the summer bargain season.
Where is Vanuatu on a map? We put it on the islands travel map for you.
·Vanuatu Resorts [HotelChatter]