Tuesday, November 18, 2014

FIRE IN THE SKY: Chelyabinsk Meteor #2 - Extraordinarily Massive Flash Over Russia's Sverdlovsk In The Urals Stuns; Locals And Scientists Struggle To Explain The Unusual Event?! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Still from RT video

November 18, 2014 - URALS, RUSSIA - An extraordinary bright orange flash has lit up the sky in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in the Urals. While locals captured the massive ‘blast’ on numerous cameras, both scientists and emergency services still struggle to explain the unusual event.

Dark evening skies in the town of Rezh in Sverdlovsk region near Russia's Ekaterinburg turned bright orange for some ten seconds on November 14, with the event being caught on several cameras by the locals.

A driver filmed the massive flash with his dashcam, later posting the video on YouTube, with more people commenting they’ve seen it too. Teenagers in the town of Rezh also filmed the phenomenon with a mobile phone.

WATCH: Massive light flash over Russian Urals stuns locals, scientists.

Theories of what might have caused the “blast” appeared both on social and traditional media, with a new meteorite or military exercise in the region being among the top guesses. Regional emergency services said no accidents in connection with the event had been recorded. No sound of explosion has been reported either.

Still from RT video

Still from RT video

Still from RT video

According to E1.ru, the emergency officials suggested the military were behind the flash, as they might have had a scheduled explosive ordnance disposal procedure. The city administration has also said such ammunition disposal might have taken place, while the military themselves denied they were behind the mystery.

“No exercise and training were underway on that day, and no military units are based in the region, so we have nothing to do with it,”
a military press service told E1.ru.

WATCH: More images of the massive light flash.

A fireball caused by an asteroid’s collision with the Earth's atmosphere is among other presumed reasons for the burning sky.

“Looks like a falling bolide, which invaded us. Because of the low cloud cover it ceased to exist above the clouds and lit up the whole sky,”
a member of the meteorites committee of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Grokhovsky told 66.ru.

Another astronoma, Vadim Krushinsky, doubted his colleague's theory, saying the color of the flash does not support the asteroid speculation. The shade of light depends on the body’s temperature, and flashes caused by bolides are usually whiter, he explained to Ekburg.tv. The observatory engineer suggested his own theory, saying a space rocket launch might have been the cause.

Still from youtube video (Andrey Kazantsev)

A path of launches from the Plesetsk cosmodrome lies above the area, Krushinsky said. But, according to Russian Federal Space Agency's website, the latest launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome happened on October 29, with the next one planned for November 24.

People in the Urals witnessed a space ‘invasion’ event a year and a half ago, when the famous Chelyabinsk meteorite hit the region. A massive fireball explosion in February 2013 injured over a thousand people with shattered glass mostly, and damaged many residential and industrial buildings. - RT.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Ice Age Now - Deep Freeze Blankets The United States; 226 MILLION PEOPLE AFFECTED; Coldest November Morning Since 1976; 1,360 RECORDS SHATTERED IN JUST ONE WEEK!

November 18, 2014 - UNITED STATES
- Tuesday morning, America 'as a whole' awoke to the coldest it has been in November since 1976 -- 38 years ago. The Lower-48 or CONUS spatially average temperature plummeted overnight to only 19.4°F typical of mid-winter not November 18th!   Data

An astounding 226-million Americans will experience at or below freezing temperatures (32°F) on Tuesday as well -- if you venture outdoors.

More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower-48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning. All 50-states saw at or below freezing temperatures on Tuesday.

Record lows from Idaho to Nebraska and Iowa south to Texas and east through the Great Lakes, the eastern 2/3 of the US will shatter decades-long and in some cases, century-long records. Temperatures east of the Rockies will be 20-40°F below climate normals.

Compared to normal, temperatures over the past several days have dropped off a cliff -- to 10°C below climate normal -- more anomalous than even during the #polarvortex of early January. Anomaly Chart . November is shaping up to be a colder-than-normal month by a lot.

Brisk northwesterly winds in the Great Lakes will cause heavy lake effect snow which will be measured in feet from Michigan to New York state. Monday, almost half of the Lower-48 was blanketed in snow. Please visit Mashable and Washington Post Capital Weather Gang for daily updates.

Cold air pushes east thru Wednesday with a reinforcing shot of Arctic air with origin from the North Pole & Siberia to arrive on Thursday in the Great Lakes. Any relief is is 5-6 days away as Chicago, Minneapolis, and Detroit will struggle to rise above freezing until Saturday.

Let my Weather Maps tell the story:

- Weatherbell.

Dry & Cold Into The Weekend, But Is It Record Breaking?

Cold, bitter, frigid, arctic blast and of course polar vortex are words we are all hearing a lot of this week. You might be wondering, is this really THAT cold? The answer is maybe, but it depends where you are and how you look at the statistics.

First, the coverage of the cold air over so much of the country is notable. Often in November one section of the United States sees arctic air, but it’s unusual for two-thirds of the lower 48 to see this type of widespread outbreak of cold.

Over the past 7 days if we look at the entire country there have been a lot of cold records being set. The chart below shows for example, 1360 daily low maximum records. This means those places had cold high temperatures which were records. Simply put, those cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. These records are for a particular date, not all-time.

The record cold highs have far outpaced the record warmth this year, but the overnight record lows are about half of the overnight record warmth. Part of the warm nights is likely heat island affect as many of the places where records are kept stay warmer at night with all the buildings, sidewalks etc. The chart below shows how many all-time records have been broken this year. Notice there have been some all-time cold records broken this week.


Snow on the ground across the country pushed over 50% yesterday. This number is over double what we typically see this time of year and in comparison to the past decade it’s far above anything we’ve seen.

Last week parts of the Rocky Mountain States saw some record lows. You can see in the image below a few of those records. Some spots in Minnesota stayed under the freezing mark for longer than they had in decades this time of year.

This Week’s Cold

This current shot of cold air is coming farther east and impacting the east coast more than the previous outbreak. Locally temperatures will stay in the 30s 4 of the next 5 days. In terms of the past 20 years, this is cold.

The chart shows the number of days under 40 in Boston in November since 1994, the average is 2 and the maximum has been 6, that was last year. We could break that number in the next twelve days, but it would be tough. We will certainly be colder than the average.

Further, if you expand the period of record to include all the data the average jumps to 9 and the maximum goes up to 13! I can’t fit all those numbers since 1875 on one chart.

The cold does go into the Deep South as well. Florida has frost and freeze watches up for tonight and there are possible record cold temperatures being set in Alabama.

You can see some of the predicted cold readings and what the records are on the following graphic.

Here in New England I don’t expect many, if any, daily records to be set. In Boston the record low daily highs and the records lows are just way out of reach even in this particular pattern. This doesn’t mean you won’t be talking about the cold and saying things like “it’s too early for this” or “I’m not ready for this yet”.

We have short memories. Last year was also quite cold in November. The month averaged 2 degrees below normal. We had already had one day colder than anything we have seen this month so far. The data for November 2013 is below.

So what’s the bottom line on the cold? You decide, but dress warmly while you’re thinking about it. - Boston Globe.

Buffalo Area Reeling from Snowstorm

As predicted, the lee shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are being clobbered by lake effect snow right now.

Here’s a photo just posted to Facebook by someone stuck in traffic, obviously sitting under the main snow band coming off Lake Erie:

Cars stuck in a heavy snow squall on Tuesday morning, Nov. 18, 2014, presumably on the south side of Buffalo, NY (photo: Jeremiah William).

Already, 2 to 3 feet of snow are being reported, and the storm is expected to continue throughout the day. Local totals to 5 feet or more are possible…it all depends on how long the snow bands stay anchored over one spot.

Here’s the advice just posted by NWS Buffalo on their Facebook page:

“Travel within the lake effect band is IMPOSSIBLE, if you attempt to travel through the band you WILL GET STUCK. If you live in the south towns STAY PUT! If you live in the north towns DO NOT try traveling to the south towns.

I’m sure we will be hearing similar stories from the Watertown, NY area (to the lee of Lake Ontario) as the day progresses.

I will post a color image of the snow squalls from the MODIS satellite imager when it becomes available today…satellite overpasses are around 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. - Dr. Roy Spencer.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Global Economy Worst In Two Years On Sluggish Eurozone, Slowing China!

The global economic outlook is deteriorating on Europe’s deflationary stagnation and China’s high-risk cooling,
a possible solution to the situation being further international trade intensification.

November 18, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY
- The world economy is performing at its two-year worst due to Europe’s near-deflation and China’s economic turmoil, caused by the lack of money liquidity as the US Fed tightening is concentrating investment capital in North America.

The world economy is experiencing one of the worst imbalances between the money and good distribution. On the one hand, the recovery in the United States has shown signs of accelerating, which, along with the Fed monetary tightening and fiscal consolidation, has created an influx and the subsequent accumulation of investment capital. On the other, there are plentiful goods and services that developing markets have to offer either for sale and/or in exchange for the investment. However, the role of the United States as a locomotive for global economic growth has decreased considerably in recent years, and now America imports and exports less, while providing less liquidity to the world. This has led to a slump in commodity prices, decrease in manufacturing worldwide and currency crises in some of the developing nations.

One of the main issues of the global economy today is a near-deflation Japan-like faltering growth in the Eurozone. "The euro zone is the best part of 20 percent of the global economy," James Knightley of ING told Reuters. “The longer the stagnation goes on the more Japan-like it becomes.”

The European Central Bank (ECB), led by Mario Draghi, has recently expressed its intention to implement monetary easing measures, however, no hint at their practical implementation has yet been given so far. This, along with the smoldering Ukraine crisis, adds to the concerns of investors in Europe. Further sanctions on Russia, proposed during the G20 summit in Brisbane by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will have negative impact on some of the European industries if implemented. For the aforementioned reasons, the economic activity in the Eurozone remains cautiously slow.

The threat of deflation has loomed over Europe for the past two-three years and is provoking further income polarization, as the middle-income class, represented by small businesses like retail and restaurants, is eroding on weak consumer demand.

"There is a growing divergence between highly-skilled well-paid jobs and low-skilled low-paid jobs," Matthew Whittaker of the Resolution Foundation research institution said as quoted by Reuters. "The UK recovery has been marked by pay going down."

In mainland China, manufacturing production output in October fell to its second-lowest since 2009, at 7.7%, according to yesterday’s government figures. China’s industrial value has continued its fall at an accelerated pace in the recent quarters as evidenced by the Bloomberg data.

China’s skyrocket rise in manufacturing capacity in the 2000s made it the second driver for the global growth, behind the US. However, increasing salaries in the industrialized shoreside provinces, an inflating real estate bubble, along with huge provincial indebtedness and lack of investment capital are all reasons that industries and investment capital are now heading back either stateside or to places with cheaper labour and less environmental issues, like South East Asia.

China’s government is now on a track for a gradual liberalization of its economy; however, Beijing’s market-reassuring measures may come a little too late, like those of the ECB.

According to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors (), 64% are skeptical of a near improvement in Europe, while 65% were optimistic about the US. Economies of China and India have both been evaluated as in good shape by only 22% of investors. More than 50% of the polled global capitalists said economic conditions in Russia, India, Brazil and China are worsening.

While the US is decisively on their way to the economic near-self-sufficiency, the rest of world will have to get used to a lower quality of life in the medium-term. However, the bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) may be an option for the emerging markets to bolster growth. And there is a ‘Marshall’s plan’ of today – the US-proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP), which are aimed at providing the key US allies in Europe and Asia with sources of economic growth and development amid the looming global stagnation. - Sputnik News.

SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: FBI Raises Alert Over Ferguson Decision - Warns "Will Likely" Lead To Violence By Extremists Protesters!

A man watches as police walk through a cloud of smoke during a clash with protesters, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.

November 18, 2014 - ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
- As the nation waits to hear whether a Missouri police officer will face charges for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the FBI is warning law enforcement agencies across the country that the decision “will likely” lead some extremist protesters to threaten and even attack police officers or federal agents.

Peaceful protesters could be caught in the middle, and electrical facilities or water treatment plants could also become targets. In addition, so-called “hacktivists” like the group “Anonymous” could try to launch cyber-attacks against authorities.

“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI says in an intelligence bulletin issued in recent days. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities.”

The FBI bulletin expresses concern only over those who would exploit peaceful protests, not the masses of demonstrators who will want to legitimately, lawfully and collectively express their views on the grand jury’s decision.

WATCH: FBI Concerned Agitators May Take Over Ferguson Protests.

The bulletin “stresses the importance of remaining aware of the protections afforded to all U.S. persons exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.”

Within hours of the FBI issuing its bulletin, some police departments across the country issued their own internal memos urging officers to review procedures and protocols for responding to mass demonstrations.

Still, the bulletin’s conclusions were blunt: “The FBI assesses those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.”

In interviews with ABC News, police officials said their departments have identified a number of agitators who routinely appear at mass demonstrations.

“How many of those sympathizers are actually sympathizers?” Rick Hite, the chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan police department, wondered. Many of them see the protests as a way to “chime in with their own personal agenda,” he said.

In its new intelligence bulletin, obtained by ABC News, the FBI says “exploitation” of mass demonstrations “could occur both in the Ferguson area and nationwide.”

Overall, though, law enforcement officials contacted by ABC News – stretching from Los Angeles to the Atlanta area – remained confident that any protests in their cities would not be tainted by violence.

A protester kicks a smoke grenade that had been deployed by police back in the direction of police, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.

“We are not expecting any issues in our city,” said Billy Grogan, the chief of police in Dunwoody, Ga., outside Atlanta. “However, we are preparing just in case. I believe most departments are watching the situation closely and are prepared to respond if needed."

A law enforcement official in Pennsylvania agreed, saying that while authorities there are not enacting any significant new measures they are “monitoring” developments out of Ferguson.

In addition, police officials emphasized that efforts to address a big decision like the one pending in Ferguson actually begin well before that decision.

In Indianapolis, police have held two town-hall meetings in the past two months to discuss the Ferguson issue with concerned residents, and meetings like that help build a “bank of trust,” Hite said.

But it’s sometimes hard to build such trust between a community and the law enforcement officers working its streets.

With several recent cases involving allegations of excessive force by police officers, many in African-American communities can’t help but wonder why seemingly routine encounters escalate so dramatically.

Plywood covers the glass front of a strip mall along West Florissant Street on Nov. 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.

In a recent interview with ABC News, Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey said people in “communities of color” often “don’t view us as people who really have the right to enforce laws or tell them what to do,” and sometimes it’s because of “the way they’ve seen us conduct ourselves in the past.”

“Not all cops, but all it takes is one,” Ramsey said. “As human beings, we tend to remember the one bad incident, not the 10 good ones that we may have experienced.”

On the other side of the spectrum, there are some uncomfortable facts that may be influencing how some police respond to African-Americans they encounter on routine patrols.

In particular, African-Americans are disproportionally represented in crime. According to the FBI, 4,379 blacks were arrested for murder last year, while 3,799 whites were arrested for murder – even though census numbers show there are six times more whites than blacks in the United States.

But as Ramsey said, crime statistics are no excuse for police bias.

And now a grand jury in Ferguson and federal prosecutors are separately looking into whether that type of bias led to Brown’s death.

It’s unclear whether the facts of the case will lead to any prosecution. Indeed, it seems few pieces of evidence are without dispute.

People raise their hands in the middle of the street as police wearing riot gear move toward their position trying to get them to disperse, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.

The day after the encounter that resulted in Brown’s death, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters that Brown “physically assaulted” Wilson inside his police car and that “there was a struggle over the officer's weapon.” At least one shot was fired inside the car, but the fatal shot was fired when both Wilson and Brown were outside the car, according to Belmar. At least one witness said Brown was shot “with his arms up in the air,” while the police claim Wilson fired because Brown was advancing towards him.

Pressed in September to acknowledge that the Justice Department’s own civil rights investigation may not result in charges, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder would only say that “at the end of the day, it’s most important that we get it right.”

As for what’s ahead in Ferguson and communities across the country, Ramsey offered this piece of advice: “Protest. But protest peacefully. Have your voices be heard.” - ABC News.

PARADIGM SHIFT: The Rise Of The BRICS, Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And Collapse Of The U.S. Corporation – Russia's Biggest Bank Launches Financing In Chinese Yuan!

Reuters / Kacper Pempel

November 18, 2014 - RUSSIA
- Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, will be the first bank in the country to start issuing credit guarantees denominated in Chinese yuan. The new yuan-based letters of credit ensure payments between buyers and sellers, with the bank acting as a router.

This will make payments for import contracts settled in yuan more seamless, the bank said in a statement Tuesday.

“An important aspect of these transactions is that post-import financing was attracted in Chinese yuan, which is especially relevant given the existing market environment,”
the statement says. “Starting transitions in RMB will allow customers to not only meet current funding requirements and settlements, but also to continue active cooperation with Chinese suppliers.”

Letters of credit are considered secure and convenient in international trade, as they are designed to protect both buyers and suppliers, and offer a good alternative to advance payment. This can overall help expedite the entire payment and shipping processes.

“This is a complex transition in which the letters of credit in Chinese yuan (RMB) have been opened on behalf of one of our most major corporate clients,”
the statement said.

The decision is part of an overall surge in Chinese issuance of letters of credit since 2012, as Chinese investors themselves are partial to using letters of credit in transactions.

“We recognize the positive trend of strengthening partnerships with Chinese banks, especially after the signing of several agreements at the APEC summit, held this November in Beijing. At the moment we are seeing a growing interests in Russian companies in local currency settlements, in particular the Chinese yuan, and of course, rubles,”
Andrey Ivanov, director of trade finance and correspondence relations at Sberbank CIB, said, Vesti reported.

In October, Moscow’s and Beijing’s central banks signed a three-year ruble-yuan currency swap deal worth up to $25 billion, with the aim of boosting trade using national currencies and lessen dependence on the dollar and euro.

Russia turned to China, the world’s second largest economy – and largest by some economic indicators - after the US and EU imposed sanctions on Russia over the events in Ukraine earlier this year.

Overall trade between Russia and China increased by 3.4 percent in the first half of 2014, reaching $59.1 billion. The two neighbors expect annual trade to hit $200 billion by 2020. China is Russia’s second-biggest trading partner, after the EU.  - RT.

OMEN: Disaster Precursors - Lake Water Turns Blood Red In Indiana?!

November 18, 2014 - INDIANA, UNITED STATES
- Feast your eyes on this Water. It’s a tint that looks more like the blood that runs through your body.

And it might have your heart pumping, but Biologist Peter Coppinger says there is a science behind this crimson color.

It’s an algae that turns red, it’s called Haematococcus, if you translate that from Greek, it means blood sphere,” explained Peter Coppinger, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Rose-Hulman

However, Coppinger says this algae is actually not red, “ironically this is a green algae.”

Except they take a page out of human emotions, because when they get upset, then they change colors.

“When the cells become stressed out they form a cist, that forms little droplets of oil that form a red pigment,” shared Coppinger.

WATCH: What’s in the water that is making it blood red? 

But it’s not easy to get the algae to bring out their true color.

“There are a lot of different factors that all have to come into play; age, sunlight, temperature, nutrients, salinity and PH. If those all come together they can form that massive bloom of red algae,” said Coppinger

That red does more than change the color

“The alga produces red oil that acts like a sun screen,” explained Coppinger. - WTHITV.

SOLAR WEATHER ANOMALIES: No Sun In California - The World's Largest Solar Plant Not Producing Much Energy; The Sun Isn't Shining As Much As Expected?!

Reuters / Fabian Andres Cambero

- The largest solar power plant of its type in the world - once promoted as a turning point in green energy - isn't producing as much energy as planned.

One of the reasons is as basic as it gets: The sun isn't shining as much as expected.

Sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal desert near the California-Nevada border, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened in February, with operators saying it would produce enough electricity to power a city of 140,000 homes.

So far, however, the plant is producing about half of its expected annual output for 2014, according to calculations by the California Energy Commission.

It had been projected to produce its full capacity for 8 hours a day, on average.

"Factors such as clouds, jet contrails and weather have had a greater impact on the plant than the owners anticipated," the agency said in a statement.

It could take until 2018 for the plant backed by $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees to hit its annual peak target, said NRG Energy Inc., which operates the plant and co-owns it with Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy.

Image from nrg.com

"During startup we have experienced ... equipment challenges, typical with any new technology, combined with irregular weather patterns," NRG spokesman Jeff Holland said in a statement. "We are confident that Ivanpah's long-term generation projections will meet expectations."

The technology used at Ivanpah is different than the familiar photovoltaic panels commonly used for rooftop solar installations. The plant's solar-thermal system - sometimes called concentrated-solar thermal - relies on nearly 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors at the site, each the size of a garage door.

The mirrors reflect sunlight to boilers atop 459-foot towers - each taller than the Statue of Liberty. The resulting steam drives turbines to create electricity.

When the $2.2 billion complex opened, Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz called it a "symbol of the exciting progress" in renewable energy.

While the agency still says the project remains in good standing, Kaitlin Meese, an analyst at research firm Bentek Energy, said its early production figures "do not paint a strong picture for solar-thermal technology development."

The operation of such plants is highly dependent on weather conditions, and predicting when and how strongly the sun will shine is not a perfect science.

A little bit of inefficiency with mirrors can translate into a loss of power output ranging from small to significant, said Dr. Neil Fromer, executive director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at the California Institute of Technology.

Problems could include getting the thousands of mirrors pointed in precisely the right direction, especially in the cool early morning, or keeping them clean in the dusty Mojave Desert.

WATCH: Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility.

Operators initially expected to need steam from gas-powered boilers for an hour a day during startup. After operations began, they found they needed to keep boilers running more than four times longer - an average of 4 1/2 hours a day.

State energy regulators in August approved the plant's request to increase the natural gas it is allowed to burn by 60 percent.

Additional natural gas could also be needed to operate boilers when clouds thicken or to maintain output at the end of the day and extend the capability for power production, the company said.

"Because the plant requires sunlight to heat water and turn it to steam, anything that reduces the sunlight will affect steam conditions, which could damage equipment and potentially cause unsafe conditions," said the commission, which approved the request for increased gas use.

Fromer said it was surprising that so much additional gas is needed, adding that it "signals to me they have some very large problems that they are going to need to sort out."

Plants owners said they are learning on the fly to some extent.

"For some aspects of operation, the only way to fully understand how the systems work has been through the experience of operating," plant owners wrote in the request to increase gas use.

Holland said the company always expected a ramp-up period of four years to reach maximum output. That extended period was not publicly disclosed, however. Holland said it is outlined in confidential agreements with two California utilities buying the power, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Brightsource said on its website that the weather has generally been substantially worse than historical averages - in other words, cloudy - resulting in reduced output in certain months.

"We remain confident that over time the sun at Ivanpah will be more than sufficient for the plant to meet its expected performance targets," the statement said.  - 790 Talk Now.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Food Crisis - California's Drought Has Reached BIBLICAL-PLAGUE Proportions, It's Time For Drastic Measures!

In some regions, Californians use more than three times the amount of water per day that the average American does. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

- Last January, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency following projections of severe drought. State bureaucrats and local officials jumped into action and mandated any number of water conservation tactics. While some have been relatively successful, most will do nothing. In fact, it appears that despite the drought, water use may have actually increased in the past year.

So, exactly how much do Californians value their decreasing supply of drinkable water? According to the California Water Service Company, it is valued at less than a penny per gallon. If water were plentiful, an almost-zero price would not be a problem, but under the current situation it is truly a catastrophe. The average American uses 100 gallons per day, Californians average 124, and in some regions of California up to 379 gallons per person per day. That sounds a bit outrageous for a state experiencing a drought of Biblical-plague proportions, doesn't it?

The solution to rectifying California's abysmal water conservation record might be found in California's agricultural sector. In just the past year, prices for irrigation water have risen from ten to almost 40 times last year's price. Those who have the water to spare can make a sizable profit by selling it to those who need it. Thus, because the value of water has significantly increased, every gallon is a precious commodity that is not wasted.

Allowing price to ration water may be a bitter political pill to swallow, but it makes economic and environmental sense. There are examples of this economic solution working in the past. Cities like Santa Fe, Tucson, and Fort Worth allowed price signals to govern water use — the more a household used, the more expensive water was to purchase. Consumers responded by conserving water. These measures worked so well utilities were forced to stabilize the sharp drop in revenue by reconfiguring rates. That is not a bad thing — especially during a drought as austere as California's.

But won't raising prices only hurt the poor and have little effect on those who have the money to afford it anyways?

Charging more for water need not create undue hardship for poor or lower middle class families. Establish a minimal per capita water use level and then charge progressive water rates so that any extra water used is billed at a higher rate. This allows consumers to choose if they are willing to pay for an extra long shower, to water their lawn, or to wash their car.

(The Hamilton Project/The Conversation US)

This solution would not even require much change in the way water is already billed. Typically, water usage is billed at three tiers of usage. For example, in Bakersfield, the price of water is as follows: $1.66 per 100 cubic feet of water for the first 1,300 cubic feet used, $1.80 per 100 cubic feet of water for the next 2,100 cubic feet used, and $2.09 for every 100 cubic feet of water used after that (a cubic foot of water is roughly 7.48 gallons).

That's only a difference of 43 cents from the basic rate to the charge for unlimited use. Why not increase the price of the second and third tiers by a dollar — or two or three for that matter? Doing so would have little effect on a family that expends the effort to conserve.

(The Hamilton Project/The Conversation US)

Take an average family of four, each using 100 gallons of water per person per day. Over the course of a month this family would use about 1,600 cubic feet of water. The first tier could be raised to 1,600 cubic feet and the second and third tiers adjusted accordingly. A simple adjustment of the water bill would ensure that any family, regardless of economic status, would be able to afford a comfortable level of water while being charged for any water usage above and beyond that base amount. This approach is fair to those struggling financially, but it also puts pressure on everyone to conserve a scarce resource.

Raise the price of water. Signal to consumers that it is a valuable and precious resource. Let consumers make their own decisions on how they allocate their resources in using, or conserving, water. - The Week.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Cargo Plane Crashes Into Side Of Home In Chicago - Pilot Died In The Wreck!

A small cargo plane is seen crashed into the side of a home in Chicago, November 18, 2014.(Reuters / Andrew Nelles)

November 18, 2014 - CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
- A small cargo plane crashed into a home within a residential neighborhood near Midway Airport in Chicago early Tuesday. The pilot, the only person on board the plane, died in the wreck.

The Chicago Fire Department confirmed the pilot - unidentified at this time - died in the incident, and that the plane crashed into the roof - then into the living room and through the basement - of a home on S. Knox Avenue just before 3 a.m. CT, according to WGN.

Two elderly residents in the home were not injured. A neighbor helped them escape the house, according to reports. There was no fire or explosion following the crash.

"They were in a bedroom next to the living room and the living room is gone,"
Chicago Fire Chief Michael Fox said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Eight inches. They were very lucky."

Firefighters had to wait to enter the home given the building was unsafe, WGN reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Aero Commander 500 plane was scheduled to go to Chicago Executive Airport, 18 miles northwest of Chicago. Yet the pilot changed the destination to Ohio State University’s airport just before take-off.

After departure, the pilot reported engine problems and asked to return the plane to Midway. The crash occurred just about one-quarter mile from Midway’s Runway 31C, according to WGN. - RT.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Ice Age Now - Former NASA Consultant, Climatologist John L. Casey Declares That "A Radical Shift In Global Climate Is Underway, A 30-YEAR COLD SPELL Will Strike Earth;" As Harsh Cold Set Records Across North America Plunging All American States Below-Freezing Temperatures! [REPORTS + PHOTOS + MAPS]

November 18, 2014 - EARTH
- With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across the continental U.S. - along with last winter described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" - climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather pattern is here to stay for decades to come.

In fact, Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, is out with the provocative book Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell, which warns that a radical shift in global climate is underway, and that Al Gore and other environmentalists have it completely wrong. The earth, he says, is cooling, and cooling fast.

And unless the scientific community and political leaders act soon, cold, dark days are ahead. Casey says the evidence is clear that the earth is rapidly growing colder because of diminished solar activity. He says trends indicate we could be headed for colder temperatures similar to those seen in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the sun went into a "solar minimum" - a phenomenon with significantly reduced solar activity, including solar flares and sunspots.

If he's right, that would be very bad news. Dark Winter posits that a 30-year period of cold has already begun. Frigid temperatures and the food shortages that inevitably result could lead to riots and chaos.

Casey tells Newsmax, "All you have to do is trust natural cycles and follow the facts, and that leads you to the inevitable conclusion that the sun controls the climate, and that a new cold era has begun." Casey is president of the Space and Science Research Corp., an Orlando, Fla., climate research firm. His new book debunks global warming orthodoxy. For more than a decade, he reports, the planet's oceans have been cooling. And since 2007, the atmospheric temperature has been cooling as well.

"The data is pretty solid," Casey says. "If you look at the 100-year global temperature chart, you look at the steep drop-off we've had since 2007. It's the steepest drop in global temperatures in the last hundred years."

So how can the media and scientific elites make a case for global warming when it's actually cooling? Casey suggests climate-change theorists have simply wedded themselves to the wrong theory - namely, that global temperatures respond to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Any scientist suggesting otherwise is castigated as a heretic, though there are other prominent scientists who support Casey.

Noted Russian astrophysicist Habibullo I. Abdussamatov has argued that a new mini-ice age has begun, though Casey doesn't go that far. He does agree with Abdussamatov that the real driver of global climate is solar activity, namely sunspots. These correspond to shifts in global temperature with a greater than 90 percent accuracy, he says. The environmental left focuses instead on ever-rising greenhouse emissions, suggesting nature is just taking a bit of a breather before the upward march in temperatures ineluctably resumes.

"There are two fundamental flaws with that," Casey says. "No. 1, the greenhouse-gas theory, and the global climate models that they produced, never permitted a pause. As long as CO2 levels were going up, the only thing that could happen was global temperatures could go up. That has not happened.

"No. 2, there could absolutely be no cooling, much less a pause. And yet we've been cooling for 11 years now."

The recent polar vortex that sent temperatures across the Midwest plunging to sub-zero records is not an aberration, Casey says. If Dark Winter is right, that means the nation is busily preparing for the wrong calamity.

"We don't have 10 years," Casey warns. "We've squandered during President Obama's administration eight years ... and we didn't have eight years to squander."

The worst of the cooling cycle, Casey predicts, will hit in the late 2020s and the early 2030s. Food riots will break out, demand for heating oil will spike, and the failure of the corn crop will put the squeeze on ethanol. He even predicts the United States will ban agricultural exports to feed its own citizens.  - Newsmax.

Harsh Cold to Freeze Northeast, Set Records in South

The coldest air since last winter, now over the Plains and Midwest, will blast into the East during the first half of this week.

The core of the frigid air will focus over the northern Plains and the Great Lakes through at least Wednesday with overnight lows dipping down into the teens, single digits and even near zero F in the coldest spots.

Bone-chilling nights will be followed up by frosty cold days with highs struggling to reach the 20-degree mark over the regions on Tuesday. Some locations in the Central states are forecast to stay below 20 F until Wednesday afternoon, including Minneapolis.

Temperatures this low can make it dangerous for outdoors activities if you are not wearing the proper clothing.

While much of the Northeast escaped the cold on Monday, the arctic air will sweep through the region by Tuesday.

High temperatures from Washington, D.C., through New York City are forecast to stay near or below freezing on Tuesday, levels that would be considered below normal even during the heart of winter.

A biting wind from the northwest will make it feel even colder with AccuWeather.com RealFeel® staying in the teens throughout the day along the I-95 corridor.

A significant lake-effect snow event will set up downwind of the Great Lakes as the arctic air blows over the comparatively warm waters of the lakes.

The stage is set for feet of snow to pile up in some communities downwind of the Great Lakes. In some cases, the heaviest snow squalls in these areas can produce thunder and lightning.

Gusty winds will blow around the fresh snow, creating large drifts and near-blizzard conditions at times, making travel very difficult.

This arctic outbreak will not only be limited to the northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast but will reach into the Deep South.

Record lows will be challenged on multiple occasions through midweek from eastern Texas to the Carolinas with lows near freezing along much of the Gulf coast.

Parts of northern Florida may even have their first freeze of the season as lows dip down into the 20s in cities such as Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

According to Southern Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski, "A freeze will not reach into citrus-growing areas of South Florida, but there may be some issues for other fruits and some vegetables grown in northern and north-central counties of the state."

The intensity of the cold is expected to lessen as temperatures begin to moderate heading into the second part of the week.

However, highs from Atlanta, Georgia, to Albany, New York, and westward through Aberdeen, South Dakota, will remain below normal until at least the weekend. - AccuWeather.

50 percent of Lower 48 covered in snow, most this early in more than a decade

A bicycle messenger chains his bike to a snow-covered parking meter in downtown Cleveland Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

A strong cold front is pushing through the contiguous U.S. early this week, bringing a blast of snow for many, and an Arctic chill for most. Over 50 percent of the Lower 48 is covered in snow on Monday morning, the most this early in the year in at least a decade.

After a series of powerful early-November winter storms, snow extends as far south as West Texas on Monday morning, according to NOAA’s National Snow Analysis. The Texas Panhandle is covered by up to four inches of snow, and a trace to two inches coats areas further south, including Dallas and Ft. Worth, as well as Lubbock, Abilene, and Odessa.

The entire states of South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma were coated in snow as of Monday morning. Few areas of the central U.S. managed to escape the wintry onslaught, and the accumulation across the country has been widespread over the past week, from Oregon to Maine, and south into Texas.

This week’s snow extent is the most we’ve seen (by a long shot) in the first half of November since 2003, when the National Snow Analysis archive begins. Only 2012 comes as close to this year’s 50.4 percent coverage — on Nov. 12, 2012, 31.5 percent of the lower 48 was covered in snow.

Almost all of the 50.4 percent was accumulated in the past seven days. On Monday, Nov. 10, snow covered just 11 percent of the lower 48 states.

One Buffalo resident woke to 4 feet of snow piled up at their front door on Tuesday morning. (Photo/Instagram User cabinlife_ny)

Lake-effect snow buried parts of Buffalo over Monday night and into Tuesday morning. (Photo/Timothy Leary)

In Adlen, New York, a Buffalo suburb, up to 45 inches of snow was dumped over the area leaving residents to be creative with their shovels.
(Photo/Lynn Lorenc Ineson)

Courtesy of Reed Timmer. 40 plus inches Negaunee, MI.

Up to 20 inches of snow remains on the ground in the Upper Midwest, which was hammered by the first blast of the season early last week. Northern Wisconsin is the hardest hit so far, with some locations picking up as much as 50 inches of snow from Nov. 10 through Nov. 14.

The snow assisted in keeping morning lows cool on Monday. Lows were in the single digits from Montana south into Kansas. In the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo bottomed out at a measly 10 degrees, while Lubbock only reached 12. Sub-freezing lows extended as far south as Austin, Texas, on Monday morning.

These chilly lows are up to 35 degrees below normal for this time of year in the central U.S.

It might be time to think warm thoughts, though. One more push of cold air is expected later this week, which could send temperatures plummeting to 40 degrees below average across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast by the weekend. But after that, the temperature is expected to rebound into “normal” territory for this time of year, and even has the potential to be running far above average across the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard by early next week. - Washington Post.

Below freezing temperatures expected in all 50 states

If you're in the U.S. and feeling cold right now, you're not alone: At least one area in all 50 states Monday night into Tuesday will experience below-freezing temperatures.

All 50 US States will experience temperatures below freezing

Yes, there will be freezing temperatures everywhere, even in Hawaii — although Weather.com notes that those temps will be limited to the highest volcanoes and aren't due to arctic air mass, but rather elevation.

The Upper Midwest and Great Lakes could see one of the longest spells of sub-freezing temperatures for November this week, and those in the Northeast shouldn't expect to see the thermometer get too high above freezing Tuesday and Wednesday. - The Week.

3 feet of snow blankets Buffalo, NY area, forces the closure of a 105-mile stretch of the state Thruway

John Dowl waits for roadside assistance after going off the 219 in Springville, N.Y., on Nov. 17, 2014.  © Harry Scull Jr. , AP

Parts of New York are measuring the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, as nearly 3 feet blanketed the Buffalo area Tuesday, forcing the closure of a 105-mile stretch of the state Thruway.

The Thruway Authority says white-out conditions have closed Interstate 90 in both directions Tuesday morning from the Rochester area to Dunkirk, on Lake Erie, 35 southwest of Buffalo. The National Weather Service says a foot to almost 3 feet of snow has fallen on areas south and east of the city.

Other major highways in the area are closed, numerous schools have canceled classes and Buffalo officials have issued a driving ban for parts of the city. Before the storm hit Monday evening, the National Weather Service warned that snow off the Great Lakes could pile more than two feet high around Buffalo and across the Tug Hill region north of Syracuse through Wednesday afternoon. Winds gusting more than 30 mph were making travel impossible along the Thruway. Similar conditions were expected later Tuesday and into Wednesday along Interstate 81 between Syracuse and the Canadian border.

The highest snowfall total early Tuesday was just under 3 feet in Elma, just east of Buffalo, according to weather service meteorologist Tony Ansuini. The storm was dumping 3 to 4 inches of snow per hour, he said.

State troopers were using all-terrain vehicles to deliver blankets and other emergency supplies to motorists stranded on the Thruway overnight, said state police Capt. Ed Kennedy. It wasn't known yet how many people were stuck in their vehicles Tuesday, he said.

"Other than wishing they weren't stuck in traffic, they're warm and safe in their vehicles," he said.

Along the Lake Erie shore, city officials said Buffalo has prepared with eight new pieces in its 75-vehicle snow-fighting fleet, along with 4,000 tons of salt on hand and 7,000 tons in reserve.

"Our fleet is in good shape," Streets Commissioner Steven Stepniak told reporters Monday ahead of the snow. "It's in the best shape it's been."

City of Buffalo schools called off classes, as did most other school districts in the region.

The Tug Hill region on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, notorious for its yearly snow totals, was bracing for 2 to 3 feet of snow.

The National Weather Service said the Lake Michigan shoreline could get 6 to 16 inches of snow by Tuesday, while 4 to 18 inches was forecast along Lake Superior.

Parts of Indiana and Ohio also dealt Monday with wintry weather, including snow, power outages, school closings and delays. A chain reaction crash involving more than a dozen vehicles blocked an icy section of Interstate 74 near Indianapolis for a couple of hours.

Further south, temperatures plummeted across Alabama after storms left flooding and scattered damage across the state, and areas of New Mexico recorded record low temperatures. - AP.

Up to 4 ft. of Snow Expected in Upstate New York

UPDATE: 7:30 a.m. EST Nov. 18, 2014: Lancaster NY has already received 29 inches, another location southeast of Buffalo is reporting 32 inches on the ground. Thundersnow was reported at Buffalo last night, which is pretty rare for lake effect snow systems.

The severe cold just now entering the northeast U.S. is forecast to cause intense lake effect snow bands to form over Lake Erie and Lake Ontario late tonight through tomorrow night.

Areas impacted will be at the eastern ends of those lakes, mainly over upstate New York between Watertown and Oswego to the lee of Lake Ontario, and mainly south of Buffalo at the east end of Lake Erie.

The latest hi-res model forecast shows the areas of the heaviest snow accumulations, approaching 4 feet by Wednesday.

Total snow accumulations forecast by Wednesday evening, Nov. 19, 2014 (graphic courtesy of Weatherbell.com).

These forecast model calculations assume a 10:1 snow:water ratio, but lake effect snow is usually fluffier, leading to deeper snow. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see totals in excess of 4 feet by Wednesday.

Early winter lake effect snowstorms tend to be the heaviest, because the Great Lakes have not had time to cool off yet, and it is the relatively warmer water evaporating into the cold air that causes lake effect snow bands to form. - Dr. Roy Spencer.

Feet of Lake-Effect Snow to Bury Communities Around Great Lakes

The coldest air of the season so far will trigger bands of heavy snow downwind of the Great Lakes into the middle of the week and beyond.

The snow will be blinding in some areas, falling at the rate of 3-5 inches per hour, and can be accompanied by gusty winds, thunder and lightning.

Travel will be impossible for a time in the heaviest bands of snow.

The bands of snow will shift slowly southward Tuesday into early Wednesday, before dissipating. However, lake-effect snow will re-energize on Thursday after a weak storm system with general light snow swings through at midweek.

The intense bands of lake-effect snow and squalls have the potential to shut down travel not only in the Interstate-90 corridor in western New York state, but also along the same highway in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio, I-81 in northern upstate New York and the I-196 corridor in western lower Michigan.

Heavy snow had begun to cause road closures south of Buffalo, New York as early as Monday night, including portions of US 219 and NY 400. Plows were stuck in at least one community.

More than a foot of snow will fall in the shifting bands of intense lake effect. Where these bands persist, between 2 and 3 feet of snow can fall. A few locations may pick up as much as 4 feet.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "People traveling from Cleveland to Boston may want to take a more southern route such as I-80 to I-95, as it will better to have a longer trip rather than risk getting stranded by taking a more direct route along lakes Erie and Ontario."

Motorists should exercise caution when traveling over the high ground in western Pennsylvania. While the snow will be less intense in this area, there can be slippery travel and a sudden reduction in visibility.

The weather may dictate frequent shoveling and plowing operations to avoid travel difficulties later. Plunging temperatures, in some cases to the single digits and teens, will cause wet and slushy areas to freeze.

In addition to bringing record cold to the South, the air will become cold enough with gusty winds to raise the risk for frostbite and hypothermia for those not properly dressed in the Midwest and Northeast.

WATCH: Month Early Ice Accumulations Seen on Lakes Superior/Huron/Michigan.

If you must travel from the Upper Midwest to areas downwind of the lower Great Lakes, make sure you have warm blankets and clothing, drinking water and extra food in case you get stuck.
Commuters woke to cars buried in snow on Tuesday morning as piles of feet fell over the area.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis, "Although there is often some lake-effect snow in November, it is uncommon to get such a prolonged lake-effect event this early in the season."

It will not be until later this weekend, when the atmosphere will warm up enough to turn off the lake-effect snow machine. However, the warmup will be accompanied by a storm with rain. The combination of milder air, rain and melting snow could lead to flooding problems. - AccuWeather.

1909 Cold Records fall in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Alberta and Saskatchewan experienced record cold temperatures from Nov 14-15, 2014 breaking records from 1909, 1911, 1922, 1923, 9132. Snow and cold records in the USA’s Plain States broke cold records from 1882.

Temperatures literally dipped to a whole new low across the Prairies.

Since Tuesday, we've been seeing temperatures steadily drop across the Prairies and on Thursday, nearly 60 low temperature records were not only broken, but shattered.

The below seasonal temperatures are a result of an Arctic airmass hovering over the Prairies.

Here's a look at some impressive new records from Alberta and Saskatchewan (no records were broken in Manitoba).

Going forward, temperatures will slightly rebound over the weekend, while remaining below-seasonal across the Prairies.

WATCH: Cold Records fall in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

 - The Weather Network | Adapt 2030.