Friday, January 31, 2014

ICE AGE NOW: Snow Forever - Winter Storm Maximus to Bring Snow, Ice To Over 30 American States Through Monday!

January 31, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Winter Storm Maximus, the 13th named storm of the winter season in the U.S., will lay down a wintry mess from coast to coast by the time it is finally over Monday morning. This storm will have multiple waves of snow, sleet and freezing rain sweeping west to east across the country. Let's break the details day by day.

Snow accumulates near Denver during Winter Storm Maximus on Jan. 30, 2014. (Courtesy of KUSA/

Friday - Saturday
Friday's snow will be spread among several regions.

First, snow will continue over parts of the northern and central Rockies, Wasatch, Great Basin, Sierra and Cascades.

Additional snowfall in excess of one foot is likely over the high country of Colorado through early Saturday. Otherwise, additional amounts of generally six inches or less are expected in the other aforementioned ranges, with locally higher amounts.

A second area of light to moderate snow will camp out in west-to-east fashion over the Plains Friday, then intensify Friday night into Saturday from the Missouri Valley to northern New England.

By Saturday morning, significant snow will be falling from Iowa and far northern Missouri into southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Lower Michigan, far northern Indiana and northern Ohio. Expect challenging travel Saturday morning in these areas, along with airport delays, cancelations.

Saturday's Forecast

48-Hour Snowfall Forecast

As Saturday progresses, the snow shield will pull quickly to the northeast. By Saturday night, the only lingering snow in the East should be over Upstate New York and far northern New England. Farther south along the trailing cold front, precipitation should fall as rain from western New York into the Ohio Valley and Mid-South.

Total snow accumulations east of the Rockies through late Saturday should be highest in a zone from southern Iowa and northern Missouri to northern Illinois, northwest Indiana and Lower Michigan, with over six inches likely. Some local accumulations of a foot cannot be ruled out.

A man crosses a street freshly covered in snow from the fringe of a major snowstorm in the nearby mountains,
at dawn in Boulder, Colo., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

There will also be areas of sleet and freezing rain from Kansas eastward into the Ohio Valley. While a few areas may pick up ice accumulations over one-quarter inch, leading to some sagging tree limbs and sporadic power outages, this does not appear to be a major ice storm capable of downing numerous trees and triggering massive power outages over a widespread area.

By midday Saturday, any freezing rain will have ended in these areas, or changed over to rain.

That's not all, folks. One final conclusion to Maximus will sweep through a different area starting Sunday.


With Super Bowl Sunday coming up, it's left many wondering: Will Winter Storm Maximus affect the big game?

At this point it looks like precipitation is unlikely in northern New Jersey around kickoff. That is welcome news to thousands of people that will be there for the game.

Otherwise, yet another wave of wintry precipitation kicks off early Sunday in the Southern Plains, spreading to the Ozarks Sunday afternoon, then sweeping quickly through the Appalachians and, potentially, at least part of the Northeast Sunday night and Monday.

Sunday's Forecast

Monday's Forecast

Snow accumulations Sunday look most likely in a stripe from northwest Texas into parts of Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, with several inches of accumulation possible. We'll hone in on those details as we get closer to the event.

We can't rule out patchy areas of sleet or freezing rain along the southern edge of this wintry stripe Sunday into early Monday from parts of north Texas into Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The forecast for the East Coast Monday, frankly, is highly uncertain, ranging from the following ends of the spectrum:
  • Option A: A minimal stripe of light snow, freezing rain or sleet mainly south of the Mason-Dixon line. 
  • Option B: Wintry mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain affecting a significant portion of the I-95 urban corridor from southern New England to the Mason-Dixon Line, and perhaps south of there.
To be clear, option B above would likely not be a major snowstorm with high winds and, say, 10-inch-plus snowfall totals over a widespread area. However, that would have the potential for several inches of snow, leading to significant travel headaches Monday by road and by air. - TWC.

MAJOR STORM ALERT: "APOCALYTIC Storm Brigid Rages Towards The United Kingdom, Bringing 150 MPH KILLER Winds, Rain And Snow; Days After Deluge Of "Double The Normal Rainfall" Leaves Britain In The Wettest January In 100 YEARS! [PHOTOS]

January 31, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - A VIOLENT and destructive storm is hurtling across the Atlantic and will smash into Britain TONIGHT. The entire country faces at least three days of torrential downpours, savage 150mph gales and weeks of relentless flood misery.

Storm Brigid is gathering pace in the Atlantic and heading for Britain [Eumetsat Meteosat]

Storm Brigid is expected to first hit UK shores later this afternoon before the full force of the onslaught rips into the country tomorrow.

Experts say it threatens to cause destruction on a par with the ferocious October St Jude’s Day Storm and subsequent Storm Emily which hit in December.

It came as figures show some areas of England have already had their wettest January since records began.

The Met Office said much of the south and Midlands already had twice the average rainfall for January by midnight on Tuesday - with three days still left in the month.

Several inches of rain are likely to fall in a matter of hours through the next few days, sealing the record for England’s wettest winter in history.

So far eight inches of rain have fallen since the beginning of December, with just eight more needed to beat the 1914/15 record of 16.

Officials have warned Britain will be crippled by frenzied winds capable of up ripping trees and tearing roof slates from buildings.

Rivers already close to overflowing are likely to burst their banks sparking a torrent of flood warnings and alerts across the nation.

Forecasters have warned a run of storms are lined up in the Atlantic threatening torrential rain and gales for at least a week.

Swathes of the country have been left under inches of water after heavy and relentless rain which has held out for weeks.

Government forecasters have issued a raft of severe weather warnings for rain today and tomorrow across the south with more than an inch expected.

There are also warnings for severe gale-force winds and potentially destructive waves along the west coast at the weekend.

A further Met Office warning has been issued for snow across Scotland tomorrow with brutal gales expected to trigger blizzards.

Storm Brigid will bring yet more chaos to coastal owns like Aberystwyth [EPA]

Chief forecaster Frank Saunders warned severe weather over the next few days is likely to lead to travel disruption and loss of power supplies.

He said: “Another very deep area of low pressure will spread heavy rain and strong to gale force winds eastwards across the UK before the associated frontal systemsclear the southeast of England during the early hours of Saturday.

“A band of heavy rain, reaching the west coast of Scotland, will spread eastwards across the rest of Scotland during the day, with the rain turning increasingly to snow as it moves eastwards.

“The snow and heavy rain will also be accompanied by gale force winds, which may lead to localised disruption due to coastal flooding.

“The public should be aware of the likelihood of a spell of disruptive wintry weather, with impacts to travel and perhaps also to power supplies.”

Storm Brigid will bring 'apocalyptic' conditions to the UK [SWNS]

One surf forecasting website described the approaching storm as "apocalyptic" and warned it would the most damaging and dangerous storm to hit the south west in years.

The Environment Agency also warned of the risk of coastal flooding over the next few days and issued 159 flood alerts and 29 more serious flood warnings.

A spokesman said: “A low pressure system combining with high tides could cause coastal flooding around England over the weekend.

“Strong winds and large waves will increase the risk of spray and wave over-topping in coastal areas during this period and some disruption from coastal flooding is possible.

Motorists have been warned to expect chaos this weekend [PA]

“The Environment Agency and Met Office are continuing to monitor the situation closely. Local authorities will respond to any reports of surface water flooding.”

To add to the misery, plunging temperatures in the north will bring bitter winter gales, blizzards and more than eight inches of snow.

Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel, said parts of the highlands of Scotland are even at risk of potentially catastrophic “avalanches”.

He warned Brigid could pack a punch on a par with December’s storm Emily which saw gusts of 142mph last parts of Scotland.

He said: “Blizzard conditions will develop over the Highlands with heavy rain sweeping across southern to eastern Britain in the afternoon and overnight.

“More than 20cm of snow is also likely over the southern Highlands and Grampians with significant drifting bringing an increasing risk of avalanches.

“The centre of Brigid will bring gales and squally showers to the rest of Britain on Saturday afternoon.

“More wet and windy weather is edging east on Monday, and we can expect more stormy spells of weather later next week, especially Thursday and Friday.”

Forecasters warned the entire country faces yet another day of heavy rain before the full force of the Atlantic storm hits on Saturday.

A deep low pressure system off the coast is timed to coincide with high tides sparking warnings of colossal coastal storm surges.

Anne Bourmer wades through flood water outside her home in Hooe, East Sussex [PA]

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said ferocious storms threaten to hold out until the end of next week.

He said a deep area of low pressure currently hurtling towards the UK will unleash 90mph gales and bring inches of rain in a mater of hours.

He said: “A very intense low pressure system is coming in from the Atlantic which is going to affect the whole of the country.

“The weekend and into Monday and Tuesday is looking very bad with another battering due at the end of next week.

“Fierce winds along the coast will whip up large waves capable of breaching defences, in colder parts of the north the rain will turn to snow.”

Netweather forecaster Jo Farrow said: “Friday night rush hour will be miserable with strong southerly winds and heavy rain and sleet. Conditions on the roads will be difficult.

“As that clears there could be some stormy weather for southern Britain on Saturday as another low pressure moves in, bringing westerly gales  through the Channel.” - Express.

The Wettest January In 100 YEARS As Britain Is Soaked By Double The Normal Rainfall.
Historic data: A large area from East Devon to Kent and inland across parts of the Midlands has
already seen twice the average rainfall for January.

Southern England has seen the wettest January since records began more than 100 years ago, official statistics show.

By Tuesday – with three days of the month still to go – an area from Hampshire to Kent surpassed the highest rainfall record since the Met Office first compiled records in 1910.

Most parts of the UK have seen far more than the average rainfall for the month, with many areas experiencing double.

Further downpours brought flooding to several areas yesterday, including Twickenham in West London. And another band of heavy rain will sweep across the country today, causing yet more flooding as it falls on already saturated ground.

This morning there were 43 flood warnings in place, up from 35 last night, and 162 less serious flood alerts.

In Wales, students in seafront halls of residence at Aberystwyth University are being evacuated today until 4pm on Monday as a precaution.

Flood barriers have been put up at Frankwell in Shrewsbury to protect against a rise in river levels on the Severn after heavy rain in Shropshire on Tuesday, and temporary defences are also set to be erected at Bewdley on the Severn.

Trouble ahead: A Nasa satellite image shows the huge storm over the Atlantic heading for the UK.

Walking on: People take cover under umbrellas from the snow falling on the streets of Birmingham city centre.

This month: South-east and central-southern England has received more than twice its average rainfall -
with 175.2mm (6.9in) between January 1 and 28.

Over the weekend, fierce winds, torrential rain and a tidal surge are set to bring more misery – including to areas such as the Somerset Levels already hit by weeks of severe flooding. Gales and huge waves could swamp coastal flood defences and sea walls, flood properties and cause travel chaos.

A storm will sweep in at 60mph from the Atlantic this morning and most parts of the UK will see heavy rain by lunchtime. More than an inch is expected to fall in a few hours, heralding at least six more days of unsettled weather.

Coastal and tidal areas of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol and south Gloucestershire are also at an increased risk of flooding, the Environment Agency said.

The rest of Gloucestershire, parts of the South East, the North West and Yorkshire and Hull coast will also be affected by the wind, rain and high tides in the next few days.

Flood barriers were erected in Shrewsbury last night to protect against a rise in the level of the Severn. The Environment Agency issued 35 flood warnings and 164 flood alerts. The Met Office issued an amber alert for the South West and yellow alerts stretching across the South Coast and into parts of the Midlands.

Experts say there is no sign of the unsettled weather dispersing for at least ten days, making it likely the country will have endured the wettest winter on record by the end of February.

Southern England saw nearly 7in (175.2mm) of rain between January 1 and 28. The previous record for the region, in January 1988, was 6.2in (158.2mm).

The rainfall across the South West and south Wales reached 8.76in (222.6mm), making January 2014 the fifth wettest on record and wettest since 1995.
Even in Suffolk, a dry area of the country, it has rained for 29 days this month, the highest since records began.

Today, as much as 1.6in (40mm) is expected to fall across the South West, west Wales and southern England.

High tides will leave coastal areas in the South West at risk of flooding, the EA said, and parts of South East England, the North West and Yorkshire and Hull coast will also be affected by the wind, rain and high tides in the next few days.

A Met Office spokesman said: ‘For the UK as a whole, 6.48in (164.6mm) of rain has fallen so far this month, 35 per cent above the long-term average.’

Dr Andrew Barrett, of the University of Reading, said: ‘There’s effectively a storm factory over the Atlantic, caused by cold polar air pressing up against warm, tropical air, causing weather systems to form.

Compared: The weather system has been dubbed 'Take Two Hercules' (right), following the Hercules
storm on January 6. Pictured is a chart of surf height in feet.

Not getting through: Another driver was rescued from near Ingatestone in Essex
where his van became stuck in 5ft of water.

Weather for ducks - and dogs: Even wellies did not provide enough protection from the elements for this dog walker.

Up they go: Homes along the river in Yalding, Kent, as the river levels rise around the village
and more heavy rain sweeps across the country.

Moved around: Saltmoor pumping station near Burrowbridge, Somerset, which has been
badly affected by flooding in recent weeks

‘These have then been steered across Britain by a strong jet stream. The next week to ten days shows no sign of a change... this will almost certainly be the wettest winter on record.’

Farmer and Glastonbury Festival host Michael Eavis blamed the flooding of the Somerset Levels on a decision to halt river dredging over a period of many years.

Mr Eavis, whose farm is on higher land and has not been affected by floods, said that the annual festival will be able to go ahead this year.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: 'Years ago, the Environment Agency took over from the regional drainage board and they decided that the riverbanks were all full of life and everything, and so they stopped the dredging. They sold all these marvellous machines that were made in Lincoln called draglines - fantastic machines, real British engineering - and they sold them off for scrap.

'There were about 50 machines and they were sold for nothing, which was a terrible, terrible decision. But it was an environmental decision in order to preserve the riverbank life - river oysters and little voles and things.'

Mr Eavis rejected the argument that the impact of this January’s heavy rain could not have been predicted.

'It floods every winter here now,' he said. 'It’s not a 100-year thing. It floods every single year and it never used to. For the sake of the meadows and the wild flowers and the fields and the farmers and the cows, this drainage has to be done. There’s no other way of doing it.

'The choice is to abandon the farmland and let it all flood and leave it all to wading birds. [Farming] is so fundamentally important and an essential part of the Somerset Levels and the alternative is a terrible, terrible prospect.

More rain on the way: Environment Agency staff carry sandbags to protect homes
next to the River Parrett in Burrowbridge.

Difficult time: General view of flooded land near Burrowbridge, Somerset. Heavy rain and high tides
are expected to cause further flooding this weekend.

Assistance: The woman was smiling as she was helped by other people as Yalding in Kent was hit by flooding.

Wet wet wet: Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset,
yesterday as flooding persists on the levels in the South West.

'We were trying to launch a drainage scheme last September and we were getting a little bit of permission to do something, but it was stopped. Now the

Prime Minister is behind it, we need to get the machines from somewhere and get the work done. It’s too late now and it’s too wet at the moment, but for next winter I’m sure it will be done during the summer time of 2014. Thank God, by the end of 2014 going into 2015 we will be OK again.'

Some 13 alerts were active inside the M25, with the most central one being for the River Thames from Putney Bridge to Teddington Weir in West London.

High tides of at least 40ft were expected this evening in Cardiff and Weston-Super-Mare on the west coast of England and Wales, and 31ft in Liverpool.

Surfing forecast website Magic Seaweed has dubbed the weather system ‘Take Two Hercules’, following the Hercules storm on January 6.

Its editor Ed Timberley told MailOnline today: ‘The tides are incredibly high. They are right at the maximum range.

‘The peak of the storm is hitting on Saturday in terms of the swell. You're looking at 30ft conditions near the shore, and 50ft-plus out to sea.

‘The tides are at their highest level on Saturday night. This is a storm right up there in the top 1 per cent in terms of swell size.

‘You’ve got a perfect scenario for storm surges in coastal towns, and a lot of these places are already suffering from the previous set of storms.’

Specialist vehicles were being brought in so troops can deliver food to stricken villagers, transport people and deliver sandbags.

The Ministry of Defence has deployed military planners to help Somerset County Council, with soldiers on the ground in the area from this morning.

Up to an inch of rain could fall across the Somerset Levels throughout tomorrow, with strong winds of up to 60mph forecast by MeteoGroup.

The Environment Agency had 166 flood alerts and 32 flood warnings in place this morning across England and Wales, with most in the South.

Some 13 alerts were active inside the M25, with the most central one being for the River Thames from Putney Bridge to Teddington Weir in West London.

High tides of at least 40ft were expected this evening in Cardiff and Weston-Super-Mare on the west coast of England and Wales, and 31ft in Liverpool.

Specialist vehicles were being brought in so troops can deliver food to stricken villagers, transport people and deliver sandbags.

The Ministry of Defence has deployed military planners to help Somerset County Council, with soldiers on the ground in the area from this morning.

The Army is currently on standby to help villages cut off by the floods, and military planners yesterday met with council officials and emergency services to discuss how to bring relief to stranded communities. Around 40 properties have been flooded, the EA said.

Speaking to the BBC after a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said last night: ‘The Ministry of Defence and the Department for Local Government are discussing how we could deploy specialist vehicles which could help some of those villages which have been cut off, to help people travel backwards and forwards, to get fuel and food in and out, and to help with transport from dry land.

‘And secondly, there will also be help with sandbags which could help prevent further flooding.’

Pat Flaherty, Somerset County Council deputy chief executive, said last night the Army had been providing much-welcomed advice and operational support, and had visited flood-stricken communities.

But the council decided that current needs are being met by the fire service and the British Red Cross, which together are supplying 10 additional pumps, hovercraft and a high-sided 4x4 Unimog vehicle to deliver aid, while the military will remain on standby if the situation worsens.

He said: 'The military have come in at short notice, worked with our teams to assess what’s needed and what’s required and the fire service has met that need through its national specialist vehicles and trained staff.

'With potential flooding coming up over the weekend and flooding ongoing for weeks ahead, we now have any military help and support very much on call.

'The military have been involved in this incident for a period of time through the co-ordination group that we have. They have been there, they have been advising and they have been observing.'

Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters, of Avon and Somerset Police, who is chairman of the strategic co-ordination group, said she was confident civil authorities could manage.

She said: 'What the military can bring is a very quick response with additional resources should we require them.

Orange and red: The Environment Agency had 166 flood alerts and 32 flood warnings
in place yesterday across England and Wales, up to 43 today.

 An amateur photographer captured this once-in-a-lifetime image of a lightning bolt striking over Tower Bridge
during a recent storm.  Daoud Fakhri happened to be testing out a new lens for his camera by taking pictures
in Central London when he caught the scene last Saturday.  The impressive shot - which has now been
distributed by the London News Pictures agency. 

Back in business: Skiers and snowboarders on the slopes at Lecht Ski Centre in the
Cairngorms yesterday after snow levels finally allowed them to open.

'At this stage though, we are very comfortable with the civil contingencies that we have in place and the resources we have, we can manage this.'

Mr Paterson was met with hostility when he visited Somerset on Monday, with farmers, politicians and church leaders demanding immediate action to alleviate what furious residents described as ‘Third World’ conditions.

He said yesterday the county council had only asked for assistance ‘for the first time today’.

But a council spokesman said the authority had been discussing with the military for weeks the possibility of bringing in manpower, sandbags and amphibious vehicles.

John Osman, Conservative leader of Somerset County Council, said military might would give beleaguered residents the chance to repair their battered properties, with the village of Muchelney cut off since the turn of the year because of flooded roads.

He said: ‘The council had actually planned to get some amphibious vehicles in, paid for by public money, because this situation really needed to be sorted out.

'People's homes and properties have been under flood water for weeks.

‘We were due to place an order imminently, but the Government saying the military will be involved has saved the public purse that money.’

Mr Paterson's announcement about Army intervention came after Prime Minister David Cameron pledged rapid action to deal with the crisis, promising that dredging of rivers would start as soon as the present waters could be reduced to a safe level.

Pressed by local MPs Jeremy Browne and David Heath at Commons questions, Mr Cameron said more pumps would be brought in to remove water as soon as there is capacity in rivers to support it.

And he promised that departments across Whitehall, including Transport, Communities and Local Government, and the Treasury, would work together to crack the problem.

Many parts of the Levels have been flooded since Christmas and there are fears it could be many months before the water is completely pumped away.

EA teams have been running dozens of pumps 24 hours a day to drain an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of water (equivalent to 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools) off the Levels.

In Muchelney, one of the villages cut off on the Somerset Levels, residents have been trying to carry on with their lives as normally as possible, despite being stranded since Christmas.

Local resident Nigel Smith has been making use of a taxi boat operated by the fire brigade, and said the level of response was now 'terrific'.

Drainage experts blame two decades of under-investment in flood defence work for turning the Levels into a ‘disaster area’ and said it was ‘very, very urgent’ that rivers are dredged to prevent more damage to homes, livelihoods and wildlife.

The EA has come under fire from MPs and local councils, but insists that increased dredging of the rivers would not have prevented the recent flooding and was ‘often not the best long-term or economic solution’.

Flooding experts have also warned that dredging would not have helped the situation.

Hannah Cloke, a flooding expert from the University of Reading, said: ‘The Prime Minister's assertion that dredging will provide a long-term solution to flooding is just not backed up by the evidence.

‘Dredging increases the carrying capacity of river channels, helping more water to flow downstream.

‘But carrying capacity of rivers is just one small part of an area's drainage pattern and its susceptibility to flooding. Land use, topography, underlying geology, and above all, rainfall levels are also relevant.

‘Given the amount of rain that has fallen, you could have doubled the carrying capacity of every drainage channel in Somerset, at huge cost, and large parts would still have flooded.’

Mr Heath, the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerset and Frome, welcomed the Army's assistance and the promise of dredging in the future.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It seems that we have a real sense of urgency now from the Government as to what we need in Somerset.’

Mr Heath said he had suggested at the weekend involving the military, adding: ‘We have the RNAS Yeovilton, the commando helicopter force, on our doorstep.

'We have got 40 Commando Royal Marines just up the road and we could certainly use, I think, Royal Engineer support as well.’

The Prime Minister's promise was welcomed by council bosses and campaign groups fighting to stop the flooding.

Mr Osman said: ‘We have lobbied hard to get national attention, we are in a major incident due to the extent and length of time that much of the county is flooded.

‘Now we have the PM behind us, people can start to believe that real action, dredging the rivers, sorting the drainage systems, protecting our communities will really happen. I am delighted to hear this.’

John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, also praised the move and called for any decisions to be made in partnership with local councils and agencies trying to find a long-term solution to the flooding problem.

Edwin White, chairman of the Royal Bath and West of England Society, called for water management of the Somerset Levels to be given back to local people from the EA.

He said: ‘The (EA) has failed miserably and I think the Government ought to welcome with open arms some self-help from within the community.’

Rev Jane Twitty said she and fellow Somerset residents had been using boats to get about during the flooding.

Heating fuel is running out for those who are not on mains gas and children are cold and wet when they get home, she added.

She told BBC Breakfast the community was ‘getting tired now’ and would welcome help from the military.

She said: ‘I am sure they will but there will be questions asked about why it took so long to help them.

‘I think they will be hoping they can be more flexible about times they will be coming in and out because the boat stops at 4pm.’

Mr Heath said it was ‘very welcome news that the military are going to lend a hand’.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘It is simply getting people in and out and goods.

'If they can give us a few extra pairs of hands to help the people who have been working so hard down on the Levels for the past few weeks.

‘We are expecting another high spring tide at the weekend along with a lot more rain.

‘Where there is specialist equipment I would certainly like to see the engineers see what they can do to improve access.’

Mr Paterson will chair another meeting of the Cobra committee this afternoon to discuss the flooding situation, Downing Street revealed.

Asked whether the Prime Minister felt that the Environment Agency's response to the floods had been inadequate, David Cameron's official spokesman told a Westminster media briefing: ‘A number of agencies, including the Environment Agency, have been working hard in response to the situation which communities are facing.

‘On dredging, as the Prime Minister said, that needs to be done as soon as it is safe to do so, and that will be done. And then I'm sure, as you would expect, once we have helped the communities through the immediate challenges that they face, we will across government, working with local authorities, look at what lessons can be learned.’

The spokesman denied that there was a dispute with the Environment Agency over the need for dredging once the floods abate.

‘The decision around dredging immediately, once the water levels make it safe to do so, is one that we think certainly is very important and it's one that the Environment Agency agree with.’

WATCH: No let up for flood-hit parts of Britain as more rain on the way.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had confidence in Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith, the spokesman said: ‘I think it is right that he continues to provide leadership to the Environment Agency.

‘The Environment Agency has a very important role alongside other agencies in responding to the desperate situation we see in Somerset, as well as the wider repairs and ongoing investment in other parts of the country that have suffered over the recent period.’

In Muchelney, which is one of the villages cut off on the Somerset Levels, residents have been trying to carry on with their lives as normally as possible, despite being cut off since Christmas.

Local resident Nigel Smith was making use of a taxi boat operated by the fire brigade.

‘We had the flooding, we knew what the situation would be and that was disconcerting and nobody came near us,’ Mr Smith said.

‘We've got the fire brigade here and we have got the communications backwards and forwards.

‘It's brilliant. The level of response now is terrific. The Devon and Somerset Fire Service have been marvellous.’

Mr Smith described the issue of dredging the Somerset Levels as ‘complicated’ but said if it reduced the water levels by only a couple of inches, it was worth it.

‘It's a complicated subject and I think a lot of it to do with the dredging and sending the Army in is largely a political statement to satisfy people's justifiable complaints,’ he said.

‘The dredging will help a little bit but that's all we need - a little bit. It does it every year but not normally to this extent.

‘We normally get one or two roads closed every year and occasionally every 10 years we get all four roads closed.

‘Dredging would lower the flooding by an inch or two and that's all we really need to save those people in the village that have flooded.’ - Daily Mail.

MOVIE SYMBOLISM & GLOBAL VOLCANISM: "Pompeii" - The Famous And Deadly Eruption Of Mount Vesuvius Captured In Hollywood New Movie; Ancient Retelling Or Premonition Of A Future Catastrophic Event?!

January 31, 2014 - HOLLYWOOD - The movie Pompeii is set in the days leading up to the famous eruption of Mt Vesuvius, which destroyed the ancient city of that name.

Pompeii movie poster

Kit Harington (TV's Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) stars as Milo, an enslaved gladiator, who must fight for his life in the arena every day. When Cassia (Emily Browning) enters his world and his heart, he must also fight his feelings for her - a noblewoman who can never be his. That is until all the world is changed by a storm of ash and lava that will seal the city like a tomb. Now they must all fight to survive.

WATCH:  Pompeii - Trailer.

Province of Naples, Italy
Mount Vesuvius (Italian: Monte Vesuvio, Latin: Mons Vesuvius) is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.

Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. That eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 20.5 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. An estimated 16,000 people died due to hydrothermal pyroclastic flows. The only surviving eyewitness account of the event consists of two letters by Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus.

Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive (Plinian) eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world.

Physical appearance
City of Naples with Mount Vesuvius at sunset

Vesuvius is a distinctive "humpbacked" mountain, consisting of a large cone (Gran Cono) partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure called Monte Somma. The Gran Cono was produced during the eruption of AD 79. For this reason, the volcano is also called Somma-Vesuvius or Somma-Vesuvio.

The caldera started forming during an eruption around 17,000 (or 18,300) years ago and was enlarged by later paroxysmal eruptions ending in the one of AD 79. This structure has given its name to the term "somma volcano", which describes any volcano with a summit caldera surrounding a newer cone.

The height of the main cone has been constantly changed by eruptions but is 1,281 m (4,203 ft) at present. Monte Somma is 1,149 m (3,770 ft) high, separated from the main cone by the valley of Atrio di Cavallo, which is some 5 km (3.1 mi) long. The slopes of the mountain are scarred by lava flows but are heavily vegetated, with scrub and forest at higher altitudes and vineyards lower down. Vesuvius is still regarded as an active volcano, although its current activity produces little more than steam from vents at the bottom of the crater. Vesuvius is a stratovolcano at the convergent boundary where the African Plate is being subducted beneath the Eurasian Plate. Layers of lava, scoria, volcanic ash, and pumice make up the mountain. Their mineralogy is variable, but generally silica-undersaturated and rich in potassium, with phonolite produced in the more explosive eruptions.

Vesuvius was formed as a result of the collision of two tectonic plates, the African and the Eurasian. The former was subducted beneath the latter, deeper into the earth. As the water-saturated sediments of the oceanic African plate were pushed to hotter depths in the earth, the water boiled off and caused the melting point of the upper mantle to drop enough to create partial melting of the rocks. Because magma is less dense than the solid rock around it, it was pushed upward. Finding a weak place at the Earth's surface it broke through, producing the volcano.

The volcano is one of several which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Others include Campi Flegrei, a large caldera a few kilometres to the north west, Mount Epomeo, 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the west on the island of Ischia, and several undersea volcanoes to the south. The arc forms the southern end of a larger chain of volcanoes produced by the subduction process described above, which extends northwest along the length of Italy as far as Monte Amiata in Southern Tuscany. Vesuvius is the only one to have erupted within recent history, although some of the others have erupted within the last few hundred years. Many are either extinct or have not erupted for tens of thousands of years.

Mount Vesuvius has erupted many times. The famous eruption in 79 AD was preceded by numerous others in prehistory, including at least three significantly larger ones, the best known being the Avellino eruption around 1800 BC which engulfed several Bronze Age settlements. Since 79 AD, the volcano has also erupted repeatedly, in 172, 203, 222, possibly 303, 379, 472, 512, 536, 685, 787, around 860, around 900, 968, 991, 999, 1006, 1037, 1049, around 1073, 1139, 1150, and there may have been eruptions in 1270, 1347, and 1500. The volcano erupted again in 1631, six times in the 18th century, eight times in the 19th century (notably in 1872), and in 1906, 1929, and 1944. There has been no eruption since 1944, and none of the post-79 eruptions were as large or destructive as the Pompeian one.

The eruptions vary greatly in severity but are characterized by explosive outbursts of the kind dubbed Plinian after Pliny the Younger, a Roman writer who published a detailed description of the 79 AD eruption, including his uncle's death. On occasion, eruptions from Vesuvius have been so large that the whole of southern Europe has been blanketed by ash; in 472 and 1631, Vesuvian ash fell on Constantinople (Istanbul), over 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) away. A few times since 1944, landslides in the crater have raised clouds of ash dust, raising false alarms of an eruption.

Eruption of AD 79
In the year of 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted in one of the most catastrophic and famous eruptions of all time. Historians have learned about the eruption from the eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet.

Mount Vesuvius spawned a deadly cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 20.5 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed by pyroclastic flows and the ruins buried under dozens of feet of tephra. An estimated 16,000 people died from the eruption.

Eruption of AD 79 - Precursors and foreshocks
Herculaneum and other cities affected by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The black cloud represents the general distribution of ash and cinder.
Modern coast lines are shown.
The 79 AD eruption was preceded by a powerful earthquake seventeen years beforehand on February 5, AD 62, which caused widespread destruction around the Bay of Naples, and particularly to Pompeii. Some of the damage had still not been repaired when the volcano erupted. The deaths of 600 sheep from "tainted air" in the vicinity of Pompeii indicates that the earthquake of 62 may have been related to new activity by Vesuvius.

The Romans grew accustomed to minor earth tremors in the region; the writer Pliny the Younger even wrote that they "were not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania". Small earthquakes started taking place on August 20, 79 becoming more frequent over the next four days, but the warnings were not recognised.

Scientific analysis of the eruption
Reconstructions of the eruption and its effects vary considerably in the details but have the same overall features. The eruption lasted two days. The morning of the first day was perceived as normal by the only eyewitness to leave a surviving document, Pliny the Younger. In the middle of the day an explosion threw up a high-altitude column from which ash began to fall, blanketing the area. Rescues and escapes occurred during this time. At some time in the night or early the next day pyroclastic flows in the close vicinity of the volcano began. Lights were seen on the mountain interpreted as fires. People as far away as Misenum fled for their lives. The flows were rapid-moving, dense and very hot, knocking down wholly or partly all structures in their path, incinerating or suffocating all population remaining there and altering the landscape, including the coastline. These were accompanied by additional light tremors and a mild tsunami in the Bay of Naples. By evening of the second day the eruption was over, leaving only haze in the atmosphere through which the sun shone weakly.

Later eruptions from the 3rd to the 19th century
An eruption of Vesuvius seen from Portici, by
Joseph Wright (ca. 1774-6)
Since the eruption of 79 AD, Vesuvius has erupted around three dozen times. It erupted again in 203, during the lifetime of the historian Cassius Dio. In 472, it ejected such a volume of ash that ashfalls were reported as far away as Constantinople. The eruptions of 512 were so severe that those inhabiting the slopes of Vesuvius were granted exemption from taxes by Theodoric the Great, the Gothic king of Italy. Further eruptions were recorded in 787, 968, 991, 999, 1007 and 1036 with the first recorded lava flows. The volcano became quiescent at the end of the 13th century and in the following years it again became covered with gardens and vineyards as of old. Even the inside of the crater was filled with shrubbery.

Vesuvius entered a new phase in December 1631, when a major eruption buried many villages under lava flows, killing around 3,000 people. Torrents of boiling water were also ejected, adding to the devastation. Activity thereafter became almost continuous, with relatively severe eruptions occurring in 1660, 1682, 1694, 1698, 1707, 1737, 1760, 1767, 1779, 1794, 1822, 1834, 1839, 1850, 1855, 1861, 1868, 1872, 1906, 1926, 1929, and 1944.

Eruptions in the 20th century
The March 1944 eruption of Vesuvius,
by Jack Reinhardt, B-24 tailgunner in the
The eruption of April 7, 1906 killed over 100 people and ejected the most lava ever recorded from a Vesuvian eruption. Italian authorities were preparing to hold the 1908 Summer Olympics when Mount Vesuvius erupted, devastating the city of Naples. Funds were diverted to the reconstruction of Naples, so a new location for the Olympics was required. London was selected for the first time to hold the Games which were held at White City alongside the Franco-British Exhibition, at the time the more noteworthy event. Berlin and Milan were other candidates.
Ash is swept off the wings of an American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber of the 340th Bombardment Group on March 23, 1944 after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The last major eruption was in March 1944. It destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano. From March 18 to 23, 1944, lava flows appeared within the rim. There were outflows. Small explosions then occurred until the major explosion took place on March 18, 1944.

At the time of the eruption, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) 340th Bombardment Group was based at Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, just a few kilometers from the eastern base of the mountain. The tephra and hot ash damaged the fabric control surfaces, the engines, the Plexiglas windshields and the gun turrets of the 340th's B-25 Mitchell medium bombers. Estimates ranged from 78 to 88 aircraft destroyed.

The eruption could be seen from Naples. Different perspectives and the damage caused to the local villages were recorded by USAAF photographers and other personnel based nearer to the volcano.

The future
Large plinian eruptions which emit lava in quantities of about 1 cubic kilometre (0.24 cu mi), the most recent of which overwhelmed Pompeii, have happened after periods of inactivity of a few thousand years. Subplinian eruptions producing about 0.1 cubic kilometres (0.024 cu mi), such as those of 472 and 1631, have been more frequent with a few hundred years between them. Following the 1631 eruption until 1944 every few years saw a comparatively small eruption which emitted 0.001-0.01 km³ of magma. It seems that for Vesuvius the amount of magma expelled in an eruption increases very roughly linearly with the interval since the previous one, and at a rate of around 0.001 cubic kilometres (0.00024 cu mi) for each year. This gives an extremely approximate figure of 0.06 cubic kilometres (0.014 cu mi) for an eruption after 60 years of inactivity.

Magma sitting in an underground chamber for many years will start to see higher melting point constituents such as olivine crystallising out. The effect is to increase the concentration of dissolved gases (mostly steam and carbon dioxide) in the remaining liquid magma, making the subsequent eruption more violent. As gas-rich magma approaches the surface during an eruption, the huge drop in pressure caused by the reduction in weight of the overlying rock (which drops to zero at the surface) causes the gases to come out of solution, the volume of gas increasing explosively from nothing to perhaps many times that of the accompanying magma. Additionally, the removal of the lower melting point material will raise the concentration of felsic components such as silicates potentially making the magma more viscous, adding to the explosive nature of the eruption.

The government emergency plan for an eruption therefore assumes that the worst case will be an eruption of similar size and type to the 1631 VEI 4 one. In this scenario the slopes of the mountain, extending out to about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the vent, may be exposed to pyroclastic flows sweeping down them, whilst much of the surrounding area could suffer from tephra falls. Because of prevailing winds, towns to the south and east of the volcano are most at risk from this, and it is assumed that tephra accumulation exceeding 100 kg/m² – at which point people are at risk from collapsing roofs – may extend out as far as Avellino to the east or Salerno to the south east. Towards Naples, to the north west, this tephra fall hazard is assumed to extend barely past the slopes of the volcano. The specific areas actually affected by the ash cloud will depend upon the particular circumstances surrounding the eruption.

The plan assumes between two weeks and 20 days' notice of an eruption and foresees the emergency evacuation of 600,000 people, almost entirely comprising all those living in the zona rossa ("red zone"), i.e. at greatest risk from pyroclastic flows. The evacuation, by trains, ferries, cars, and buses is planned to take about seven days, and the evacuees will mostly be sent to other parts of the country rather than to safe areas in the local Campania region, and may have to stay away for several months. However the dilemma that would face those implementing the plan is when to start this massive evacuation, since if it is left too late then thousands could be killed, while if it is started too early then the precursors of the eruption may turn out to have been a false alarm. In 1984, 40,000 people were evacuated from the Campi Flegrei area, another volcanic complex near Naples, but no eruption occurred.

Ongoing efforts are being made by the government at various levels (especially of Regione Campania) to reduce the population living in the red zone, by demolishing illegally constructed buildings, establishing a national park around the upper flanks of the volcano to prevent the erection of further buildings and by offering financial incentives to people for moving away. One of the underlying goals is to reduce the time needed to evacuate the area, over the next 20 or 30 years, to two or three days.

The volcano is closely monitored by the Osservatorio Vesuvio in Naples with extensive networks of seismic and gravimetric stations, a combination of a GPS-based geodetic array and satellite-based synthetic aperture radar to measure ground movement, and by local surveys and chemical analyses of gases emitted from fumaroles. All of this is intended to track magma rising underneath the volcano. Currently no magma has been detected within 10 km of the surface, and so the volcano is classified by the Observatory as at a Basic or Green Level. - Wikipedia.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Third Prominent Banker Found Dead In Just 6 Days - William Broeksmit, Deutsche Bank Banker Found Hanged In London; Russell Investments Chief Economist Dueker Found Dead; And Gabriel Magee, JP Morgan Employee Falls To His Death From High Rise In London!

January 31, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - Bloomberg is reporting this morning that former Federal Reserve economist Mike Dueker was found dead in an apparent suicide near Tacoma, Washington. Dueker, 50, a chief economist at Russell Investments, had been missing since Jan. 29 and was reportedly having troubles at work.

What’s strange is that Dueker is the third prominent banker found dead since Sunday. On Sunday, William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home, also an apparent suicide. On Tuesday, Gabriel Magee, 39, vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM) London headquarters, apparently jumped to his death from a building in the Canary Wharf area.

See more in the following stories:

Russell Investments Chief Economist Dueker Found Dead
Mike Dueker, chief economist at Russell Investments,
poses for an undated handout photograph released
by Russell Investments.
Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, was found dead at the side of a highway that leads to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. He was 50.

He may have jumped over a 4-foot (1.2-meter) fence before falling down a 40- to 50-foot embankment, Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer said yesterday. He said the death appeared to be a suicide.

Dueker was reported missing on Jan. 29, and a group of friends had been searching for him along with law enforcement. Troyer said the economist was having problems at work, without elaborating. Dueker was in good standing at Russell, said Jennifer Tice, a company spokeswoman. She declined to comment on Troyer’s statement about Dueker’s work issues.

“We were deeply saddened to learn today of the death,” Tice said in an e-mail yesterday. “He made valuable contributions that helped our clients and many of his fellow associates.”

Dueker worked at Seattle-based Russell for five years, and developed a business-cycle index that forecast economic performance. He was previously an assistant vice president and research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

He published dozens of research papers over the past two decades, many on monetary policy, according to the St. Louis Fed’s website, which ranks him among the top 5 percent of economists by number of works published. His most-cited work was a 1997 paper titled “Strengthening the case for the yield curve as a predictor of U.S. recessions,” published by the reserve bank while he was a researcher there.

Policy Meetings

Dueker worked at the reserve bank from 1991 to 2008, starting as an entry level research economist, then advancing to senior economist, research officer, and assistant vice president, according to Laura Girresch, a spokeswoman.

He helped the bank’s president prepare for Federal Open Market Committee policy meetings and wrote and edited for economic publications, she said. Dueker served as editor of the reserve bank’s research publication, Monetary Trends, and also was an associate editor of the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Girresch said.

“He was a valued colleague of mine during my entire tenure at the St. Louis Fed,” said William Poole, who was president of the reserve bank from 1998 to 2008. “Everyone respected his professional skills and good sense.”

Dueker earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington, a master’s in that field from Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in math from the University of Oregon.

Russell is owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. The company manages more than $246 billion and calculates benchmark indexes such as the Russell 3000. - Bloomberg.

Gabriel Magee, JP Morgan Employee Falls To His Death From High Rise In London
The body of JP Morgan employee Gabriel Magee, 39, could be seen by office
workers nearby. Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Barcroft Media
An employee of JP Morgan investment bank who fell to his death from the firm's European headquarters during rush hour in London has been named as 39-year-old Gabriel Magee.

Magee, a vice-president in IT at the bank, landed on the ninth floor of the 33-floor building in Bank Street, in the busy Canary Wharf financial district, at about 8am on Tuesday. Police said they are not treating his death as suspicious.

A JP Morgan spokeswoman said: "We are deeply saddened to have lost a member of the JP Morgan family at 25 Bank Street today. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family and his friends."

Magee had been with the firm since 2004 and was described by a source as "a respected employee, well thought of by managers". He worked in the firm's corporate and investment bank technology department, and had previously worked as an application developer for Intel.

Magee was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

People in offices nearby on Bank Street spoke of their shock. David Payne said he arrived at the law firm where he works at 8.10am. He said: "A couple of my colleagues made me aware of what happened. They were upset after seeing a body of a gentleman, who appeared to have fallen from the top of JP Morgan in Canary Wharf. I witnessed the gentleman lying on the ground from my view from my desk. I believe the gentleman was in a suit, but I cannot be too sure. There was a significant amount of blood as well as broken concrete from the impact around him."

Payne said it was about four-and-a-half hours before the body, which was covered only by a small plastic sheet, was moved. "My colleagues and I, as to be expected, were upset by the incident. Around 12.30pm the body was moved with a cover put over the blood and damaged concrete and this still remains. I am not too sure what took so long as the poor man just appeared to be left alone."

Hetal Patel, a research analyst for FTSE, said people looking were looking at the scene through the window of the Bank Street office where she works when she arrived at about 8.15am. She said: "I am quite young and have just joined the [financial] industry so for me it was quite shocking. For most people [in my office] it was quite shocking."

Patel said the body could be seen from the window of the office kitchen, prompting some of her colleagues to avoid entering the room as a result.

London Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 8.04am to Bank Street to reports of a person fallen from a height. We sent one ambulance crew, a duty officer, our hazardous area response team and London Air Ambulance to the scene. Sadly, a man in his 30s was pronounced dead at the scene."

The building has been the headquarters of JP Morgan's Europe, Middle East and Africa operation since July 2012. It was formerly home to another investment bank, Lehman Brothers, before it collapsed in 2008, triggering the global financial crisis. - Guardian.

William Broeksmit, Deutsche Bank Banker Found Hanged In London
Shock: The Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt
The body of a banker is believed to have been found hanging at a house in central London.

Deutsche bank announced the death of its former executive William Broeksmit in an email to staff yesterday.

Police today said they discovered the body of a man at a property in South Kensington on Sunday.

The bank told its employees that Broeksmit, 58, a former senior manager with close ties to co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain, had died at his home in London on Sunday.

The bank did not state the cause of death.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to South Kensington on Sunday shortly after midday after reports of a man found hanging at a house.

The 58-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"His death has been declared as non-suspicious," police said in the statement. - Mirror.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Stubborn High Pressure Ridge Leave California Unusually Parched In Drought - 17 California Communities Almost Out Of Water; Citizens In Danger Of A Severe Water Shortage Within 4 Months

January 31, 2014 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Seventeen rural communities in drought-stricken California are in danger of a severe water shortage within four months, according to a list compiled by state officials.

As Drought Persists, 17 California Communities Almost Out Of Water
A pipe emerges from dried and cracked earth that used to be the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir on
January 28, 2014 in San Jose, California. | Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Wells are running dry or reservoirs are nearly empty in some communities. Others have long-running problems that predate the drought.

The communities range from the area covered by the tiny Lompico County Water District in Santa Cruz County to the cities of Healdsburg and Cloverdale in Sonoma County, the San Jose Mercury News ( ) reported Tuesday.

Most of the districts, which serve from 39 to 11,000 residents, have too few customers to collect enough revenue to pay for backup water supplies or repair failing equipment, the newspaper reported.

A storm expected to drop light and moderate rains on Northern California on Wednesday and Thursday won't help much.

The list of vulnerable communities was compiled by the state health department based on a survey last week of the more than 3,000 water agencies in California.

"As the drought goes on, there will be more that probably show up on the list," said Dave Mazzera, acting drinking-water division chief for the state Department of Public Health.

State officials are discussing solutions such as trucking in water and providing funding to drill more wells or connect rural water systems to other water systems, Mazzera said.

Lompico County Water District, in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Felton, has just 500 customers and needs nearly $3 million in upgrades to its water system.

"We have been unable to take water out of the creek since August and well production is down, and we didn't have that much water to begin with," said Lois Henry, a Lompico water board member.

Henry said the district may soon have to truck in water.

In Cloverdale, where 9,000 get water from four wells, low flows in the Russian River have prompted the City Council to implement mandatory 25 percent rationing and ban lawn watering. The city raised water rates 50 percent to put in two new wells, which should be completed by July.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get through the summer and the development of this project will pay off." City Manager Paul Caylor said.

Residents of urban areas for the most part have not felt the effects of the drought so far.

Other areas on the state list include small water districts in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Kern, Amador, Mendocino, Nevada and Placer counties.

Stubborn High Pressure Ridge Leave California Unusually Parched In Drought
It’s been a nearly constant sight this winter for meteorologists at the National Weather Service forecast office in Sacramento.

A powerful ridge of high pressure parked over Northern California has been responsible for a record 52 days of no precipitation in Sacramento.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen the dangerously dry weather pattern. A similar one happened in the 1970s, causing one of the worst droughts on record for California. Sacramento saw its previous record of 44 days without measurable rain during what should be the wet season.

That streak was broken on Jan. 20 and continued until rain finally fell on Jan. 29.

National Weather Service hydrologist Cindy Matthews says it’s’ unlikely the state will recover from the dry start to this winter.

No one knows why the ridge refuses to budge, but so far it’s leaving Northern California parched during the December through March period that should be the wettest time of the year.

The ridge is sending Pacific storms up and over the state, and instead into the Northeastern United States.

It’s going to take a lot more than a few showers to help the situation.

“It would be nice to shift the ridge to the east and start getting multiple [storms] sliding across California,” one meteorologist said.

“Yeah, we need about 20 to 30,” another replied.

Matthews says it’s so dry right now that the first two or three rains will only saturate the ground. We would still need more after that to allow water to runoff into creeks, reservoirs and streams.

WATCH: Powerful ridge of high pressure parked over Northern California.

Once the normal wet weather season and spring are over, the melting Sierra snowpack is supposed to keep the water flowing into the summer. But that, too, is nonexistent this year.

“We don’t have any snow in the mountains to speak of, and that is what drives our water supply and recharges our reservoirs in the spring,” said Alan Haynes with the NWS river forecast center.

And because this is the region’s third dry year in a row, a so-called March Miracle filled with rainy days still won’t solve the problem. Research shows in the past it’s taken two to three months of rainfall to break a drought like this. That’s two to three times above normal.

“If we’re in a third-year drought, a Miracle March or Fabulous February are not going to save us,” Matthews said. “Those months alone aren’t enough.” - CBS.

DISASTER PRECURSORS: "We've Never Seen Anything Like This,... It's Pretty Crazy,..." - Mountains Of Tumbleweeds Invade New Mexico Town, Burying Houses And Leaving Residents Trapped Inside Homes! [VIDEO+PHOTOS]

January 31, 2014 - NEW MEXICO, UNITED STATES - A New Mexico town is covered in 8 to 9-foot piles of tumbleweed thanks to days of high desert winds blowing in the roaming bushes.

Trapped! Tumbleweeds began blowing into Clovis, New Mexico Sunday night and the onslaught went on for days

Otherworldly: The tumbleweeds became some thick that residents began calling it an invasion

Homeowners in Clovis say the tumbleweeds just started flowing in on Sunday like 'herds of cow' and have since buried homes and even trapped residents in their houses.

Even longtime Clovis residents say they've never seen anything like it.

"[We] couldn't get out of the garage,' Eddie Ward told KRQE. 'We've lived here 23 years and never seen this. So it's pretty crazy.

Ward and his mother were among the dumbfounded residents of Clovis who woke up Monday morning to the mountains of Salsola iberica, or Russian thistle.

WATCH: Tumbleweed invasion of Clovis.

The noxious invader that arrived from the Eurasion steppe in the 1800's is now common weed throughout the West.

Too common if you ask Lee Cassidy of Clovis.

'It looked like a herd of cows coming,' she said of the invasion. 'The tumbleweeds were just rolling in.'

Trapped: Some people became trapped inside their homes and had to call 911

The cleanup began shortly after the invasion but renewed desert winds kept sending more weeds flying into town

'We tried to get out of the house and front and back door was both covered with tumbleweeds and we couldn't get out,' Wilford Ransom said.

Unsure what to do, he called 911.

Tumbleweeds AKA Russian Thistle AKA Salsola iberica is native not to the barren American West, but to the frigid steppe of central Asia.

The tumbleweeds hitched a ride with settlers, likely landing somewhere in the Dakotas prior to the 1880s.

The tenacious plant, which saps water from already parched lands and has few if any uses, quickly became ubiquitous in the central western states.

The largest specimens can grow as large as a Volkswagen Beetle.

Each winter when the plants dry up and die, the break off their stems and roll away with the winds to spread their nefarious seeds, hundreds of thousands of them, for miles around.

'The lady asked what was the emergency and I told her we were covered with tumbleweeds,' he said.

Though it sounds funny, the tumbleweeds are no laughing matter.

City crews from Clovis quickly began the Herculean task of removing the thousands of tumbleweeds that just keep doing what they do best and rolling away.

Herculean: The city sent out men, trucks, and heavy machinery, but the task before them was daunting

Private problem: Crews did what they could to remove the weeds from public land, but there
was nothing they could do for homes inundated with the prickly plant

And with each recurring bout with high desert winds, Clovis was dealt another prickly, dead brown blow from their tumbling invaders.

The city of Clovis told KOB that workers would be around town with dump trucks and excavators through the end of the week trying to clean up the unprecedented mess.

But that's just on public property. The city can't go into years to help rid residents of tumbleweeds.

And that has many folks in Clovis fearing the nuisance nettles might be around for quite some time. - Daily Mail.