Winter storm pummels eastern United States, grounds flights

admin   •   March 6, 2015   •   2518

A man shovels snow off of the sidewalk during a snow storm in New York March 3, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON

(Reuters) – A late winter storm pummeled the eastern United States on Thursday ahead of a cold front, canceling almost 5,000 flights as Kentucky dug out from up to 23 inches (58 cm) of snow that had stranded hundreds of drivers.

Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from the Middle Atlantic states into southern New England, as well as from the lower Mississippi Valley to the southern Appalachians, the National Weather Service said.

Up to 4 more inches (10 more cm) of snow are possible across the northern Middle Atlantic area late on Thursday before the storm tapers off, the weather service said.

A Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) plane arriving in heavy snow at New York’s LaGuardia Airport from Atlanta slid off the runway into a fence. No serious injuries were reported.

In Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency as traffic halted on interstate highways, leaving hundreds of motorists stranded overnight.

About 30 miles (37 km) of Interstate 65 near Elizabethtown had been shut down, but he told CNN that some traffic was beginning to move.

“It is moving again, thank goodness,” Beshear said.

Traffic on Interstate 24 near Paducah was also starting to move slowly, but as temperatures fell after nightfall icing was again a problem, transportation officials said.

Cancellations were announced for hundreds of school districts, government offices and legislatures in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee.

In Washington, federal offices and Congress shut down, and sledders ignored a police ban to stage a “sled-in” on Capitol Hill. “We’re out here sledding for America,” sledder Mai Fernandez told Reuters Television,

Slick travel conditions were reported throughout the Ohio River Valley and surrounding states, and one person was killed in a vehicle crash in Dickson County, Tennessee.

In Dallas, a man who was outdoors photographing the snowfall was shot to death, but there were no arrests and no known motive, police said.

A total of 4,858 U.S. flights were canceled, according to FlightAware.com. Airports in Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia and the New York metropolitan area were hardest hit.

Parts of Massachusetts got up to 12 inches (19 cm) of snow, but there was no official word on whether Boston had broken its annual snowfall record. Two inches (5 cm) would break the city’s record annual total of nearly 108 inches (274 cm) set in 1995-96.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner and Barbara Goldberg; Additional reporting by Tim Ryan and Ian Simpson in Washington, Tim; Steve Barnes in Little Rock, Arkansas; and Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Lisa Von Ahn and Ken Wills)

British TV presenter Flack died by hanging — inquest hears

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Caroline Flack

British television presenter Caroline Flack was found hanged in her London flat on Saturday (February 15) and paramedics were unable to revive her, an inquest into her death heard.

The suicide of the 40-year-old former presenter of the hugely popular “Love Island” dating show has reignited a debate in Britain about the conduct of the tabloid press and social media trolls.

Coroner’s Officer Sandra Polson told the court that police had been flagged down on the street by an unidentified person who had led them to a residential address. There, a woman was found lying on her back.

An ambulance arrived and paramedics attempted CPR but were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead at 1436 GMT on Saturday.

An autopsy determined that the cause of death was suspension by ligature. The coroner adjourned the rest of the inquest until Aug. 5. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

Global warming causing ‘irreversible’ mass melting in Antarctica says scientist

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Global warming was leading to an “irreversible” mass melting of the Antarctic ice and purging carbon from the atmosphere was the only solution to slow the process, an Australian climate scientist told Reuters on Wednesday (February 19).

Recent human activity has intensified global warming, which could result in a mass melting of Antarctica, said Zoe Thomas, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales who was part of an international team of scientists that recently published a paper on Antarctic ice melting.

The study showed the world could lose most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which rests on the seabed and is fringed by floating ice, in a warmer world.

“What we’re seeing with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is that this starting of the melt, once we reach a certain threshold, will continue despite our efforts to stop it,” she told Reuters.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica of 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.94 degrees Fahrenheit) was taken at a research base there on Feb. 6. If hotter temperatures were to sustain they could cause an extreme global sea level rise.

“This will gradually displace people as it goes,” Thomas said. “We know this is already happening in small island communities and this will just continue to happen gradually as more and more houses are being inundated at high tide, then at normal tide and then even at low tide.”

Thomas said that the only thing that would slow down the ice melting was if economies across the world began de-carbonising themselves.

Many advanced economies have pledged to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 though Australia is largely seen as dragging its feet on the issue despite recently suffering one of its worst bushfire seasons ever. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

Libya talks suspended after rebels attack Tripoli port

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.

Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.

The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.

The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.

In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)

(Production: Ahmed Elumami, Seham Eloraby and Fintan McDonnell).

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