Thursday, October 31, 2013

US and International Weather Extremes for October 31,2013 from

Today's Contiguous U.S. Extremes
City Station ID Temp.
Alice, TX NONE 95 °F
McAllen, TX KMFE 93 °F
Edinburg, TX KEBG 92 °F
Corpus Christi, TX KCRP 92 °F
Alice, TX KALI 91 °F
Harlingen, TX KHRL 91 °F
Kingsville NAS, TX KNQI 91 °F
Falfurrias, TX KBKS 90 °F
Weslaco, TX KT65 90 °F
Port Isabel, TX KPIL 89 °F
City Station ID Heat Index
Brownsville, TX KBRO 111 °F
Kingsville NAS, TX KNQI 98 °F
Harlingen, TX KHRL 96 °F
Port Isabel, TX KPIL 96 °F
McAllen, TX KMFE 96 °F
Corpus Christi, TX KCRP 95 °F
Alice, TX KALI 94 °F
Kahului, HI PHOG 92 °F
Tampa Macdill AFB, FL KMCF 90 °F
Key West NAF, FL KNQX 90 °F
  • Verified at 09:15 pm ET on October 31, 2013.
  • These reports are observations, and are not record events.

Today's World Extremes
City Station ID Temp.
Santiago del Estero, Argentina SANE 106 °F
Santiago del Estero, Argentina SANE 106 °F
Mcarthur River, Australia 94239 106 °F
Ngabu, Malawi 67796 105 °F
Kanyemba, Zimbabwe 67767 105 °F
Mt Magnet, Australia 94429 105 °F
Croydon, Australia 94269 105 °F
Murchison, Australia 94422 105 °F
Oran, Argentina SASO 104 °F
Katherine, Australia YPTN 104 °F
  • Verified at 09:15 pm ET on October 31, 2013.
  • These reports are observations, and are not record events.

Today's Contiguous U.S. Extremes
City Station ID Temp.
Bellemont, AZ NONE 12 °F
Fort Rucker / Ozark, AL KHEY 1 °F
Wolf Creek Pass, CO KCPW 10 °F
Monarch Pass, CO KMYP 14 °F
Alamosa, CO KALS 15 °F
Grand Canyon, AZ KGCN 16 °F
Riverton, WY KRIW 17 °F
Alturas, CA KAAT 17 °F
Lakeview AWS, OR KLKV 17 °F
Wilkerson Pass, CO K4BM 17 °F
City Station ID Wind Chill
Fort Rucker / Ozark, AL KHEY -17 °F
Wainwright, AK PAWI -13 °F
Barrow, AK PABR -12 °F
Noatak, AK PAWN -7 °F
Mt. Washington, NH KMWN -3 °F
Kiana, AK PAIK -3 °F
Red Dog Mine, AK PADG -1 °F
Point Lay, AK PPIZ 1 °F
Barter Island, AK PABA 2 °F
Kuparuk, AK PAKU 3 °F
  • Verified at 09:15 pm ET on October 31, 2013.
  • These reports are observations, and are not record events.

Today's World Extremes
City Station ID Temp.
Amundsen-Scott, Antarctica NZSP -58 °F
Univ. Wi Id 8918, Antarctica 89744 -61 °F
Amundsen-Scott, Antarctica NZSP -58 °F
Eureka, Canada CWEU -38 °F
Verhojansk, Russia 24266 -30 °F
Kap Morris Jesup, Greenland 04301 -29 °F
Alert Airport, Canada CYLT -29 °F
Nord AWS, Greenland 04312 -28 °F
Tompo, Russia 24671 -24 °F
Markovo, Russia 25551 -24 °F
  • Verified at 09:15 pm ET on October 31, 2013.
  • These reports are observations, and are not record events.

Today's Contiguous U.S. Extremes
City Station ID Wind Gust
Mt. Washington, NH KMWN 76 mph
New Iberia, LA KARA 76 mph
Vicksburg, MS KTVR 61 mph
Guadalupe Pass, TX KGDP 58 mph
Dalhart, TX KDHT 56 mph
Kimball, NE KIBM 56 mph
West Memphis, AR KAWM 51 mph
Dodge City, KS KDDC 51 mph
Browning, MT K8S0 51 mph
Jonesboro, AR KJBR 50 mph

 oday's Contiguous U.S. Extremes
City Station ID Precip.
Fort Polk, LA KAQV 6.66 in
Houston Clover, TX KLVJ 4.73 in
Monroe, LA KMLU 4.41 in
Natchitoches, LA KIER 4.29 in
Jasper, TX KJAS 3.58 in
Austin, TX KATT 3.41 in
Beaumont, TX KBPT 3.30 in
Palestine, TX KPSN 3.10 in
Austin Bergstrom, TX KAUS 3.07 in
Galveston, TX KGLS 3.02 in

Record High and Low Temperatures for the period of October 29, 2013 to October 31, 2013 from

DateLocationVariableTypeRecordPrev Record

10-30-2013South Lincoln, VTLow Minimum TempDaily Record14 °F19 °F (10-30-1983)
10-30-2013Grand Portage Rng Stn, MNLow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F19 °F (10-30-1895)
10-30-2013Malone, NYLow Minimum TempDaily Record19 °F21 °F (10-30-2002)
10-30-2013Lakeport 2, NHLow Minimum TempDaily Record26 °F28 °F (10-30-2001)
10-30-2013Charlevoix, MILow Minimum TempDaily Record28 °F28 °F (10-30-1925)
10-30-2013Glennallen Kcam, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record45 °F45 °F (10-30-2007)
10-30-2013Alyeska, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record47 °F47 °F (10-30-1993)
10-30-2013Cartersville, GAHigh Maximum TempDaily Record86 °F84 °F (10-30-1950)
10-29-2013North Stratford, NHLow Minimum TempDaily Record17 °F20 °F (10-29-1974)
10-29-2013Rutland, VTLow Minimum TempDaily Record17 °F19 °F (10-29-1933)
10-29-2013Onaway 4n, MILow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F19 °F (10-29-2002)
10-29-2013Ontonagon 6 SE, MILow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F19 °F (10-29-1980)
10-29-2013Lebanon Municipal AP, NHLow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F19 °F (10-29-1969)
10-29-2013Grand Portage Rng Stn, MNLow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F19 °F (10-29-1895)
10-29-2013Rangeley, MELow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F18 °F (10-29-2005)
10-29-2013Lancaster, NHLow Minimum TempDaily Record18 °F18 °F (10-29-1969)
10-29-2013Malone, NYLow Minimum TempDaily Record19 °F23 °F (10-29-2002)
10-29-2013Bedford Hanscom Field, MALow Minimum TempDaily Record21 °F22 °F (10-29-2001)
10-29-2013Greenland, NHLow Minimum TempDaily Record22 °F23 °F (10-29-2001)
10-29-2013Geneva Rsch Farm, NYLow Minimum TempDaily Record24 °F25 °F (10-29-1985)
10-29-2013Emporia 1 WNW, VALow Minimum TempDaily Record30 °F30 °F (10-29-2001)
10-29-2013Calistoga, CALow Minimum TempDaily Record32 °F34 °F (10-29-2006)
10-29-2013Circle Hot Springs, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record42 °F38 °F (10-29-1946)
10-29-2013Eagle, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record45 °F45 °F (10-29-2002)
10-29-2013College Obsy, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record49 °F42 °F (10-29-1959)
10-29-2013Alyeska, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record51 °F50 °F (10-29-1970)
10-29-2013Port San Juan, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record53 °F49 °F (10-29-2002)
10-29-2013Tonsina, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record53 °F41 °F (10-29-2004)
10-29-2013Glennallen Kcam, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record55 °F45 °F (10-29-1973)
10-29-2013Gilmore Creek, AKHigh Maximum TempDaily Record56 °F42 °F (10-29-2002)
10-29-2013Cartersville, GAHigh Maximum TempDaily Record86 °F86 °F (10-29-1984)
10-29-2013Honolulu Observ 702.2, HIHigh Maximum TempDaily Record88 °F88 °F (10-29-1996)
Selected Variables: High Maximum Temp, Low Minimum Temp
Selected Types: All-Time Record, Daily Record

Nebula Creates Wicked Witch Head in the Sky

October 31,2013

Massive plumes of gas create a wicked witch profile in the sky in this image taken by the WISE infrared telescope.
Just in time for Halloween, astronomers have discovered a nebula that looks like the profile of a wicked witch.

The star cluster is a massive cloud of gas reflecting light from nearby stars. It's also a stellar nursery. The red dots on the witch's warty chin are stars being born.

The image was taken by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, a space-based telescope that surveyed the entire sky in 2010 and early 2011.

The Witch Head nebula is estimated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to be hundreds of light-years away in the Orion constellation, just off the famous hunter's knee.

WISE was recently "awakened" to hunt for asteroids in a program called NEOWISE.

Abandoned Island to be Transformed Into Amusement Park

By: Colleen Barry
Published: October 31,2013

A rendering of how San Biagio island in Venice will look like as a theme park. The $110 million project, planned by Alberto Zamperla of Zamperla, will transform this abandoned island that once housed an incinerator. (AP Photo/Zamperla Press Office, HO)

VENICE, Italy — An Italian company that built Coney Island's latest attractions and an amusement park in a never-activated nuclear plant in Germany on Wednesday unveiled plans to invest 80 million euros ($110 million) for a theme park in Venice.
Antonio Zamperla, whose company specializing in amusement park rides generates revenues of 60 million euros a year, envisions a 55-meter (yard)-tall Ferris wheel, a rollercoaster and other rides, alongside installations illustrating the Venetian lagoon's fragile ecology and the city's history.
"We are arriving on tip-toes, as if entering a crystal store so we don't cause any damage," Zamperla said.
The project, which is pending approvals, is planned for an uninhabited island that once housed an incinerator. Zamperla is promising to clean up a toxic site and create 500 jobs, but Venetians aren't so easily won over.
Just this summer, French designer Pierre Cardin, who was born nearby, canceled plans to build a 2.4 billion euro ($3 billion) luxury tower on a disused site facing Venice due to bureaucratic snags, after spending more than two years and unspecified millions of euros.
(MORE: Creepy, Abandoned Theme Parks)
Zamperla's park, dubbed L'isola San Biagio for now, could be open in two years "if things go smoothly, with no major opposition," he said.
Zamperla emphasized the project's focus on Venice's history. He is loath to call it an amusement park — an easy target for detractors who say the city already has been reduced to a sort of Venice-land, under the crush of tourists on the one hand and the exodus of Venetians to cheaper housing on the mainland on the other.
Lidia Fersuoch, president of the conservation group Italia Nostra's Venice chapter, said the project is flawed because it focuses only on tourism and doesn't propose ideas to attract residents and the kind of varied and vibrant economy that centuries ago made Venice a center of trade.
"We need the opposite of what they are doing, the possibility to make Venice a living city," she said. "We are always hostage to tourism."
Zamperla said his project will enrich tourists' experience and knowledge, but added that the amusement rides are necessary to pay for the cultural exhibits.
"In order to sustain the cultural investment, we need the attractions," he said. "Otherwise, it wouldn't pay for itself."
MORE: China's Olympic Stadium Transformed Into Water Park
One of the slides at the National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) in Beijing, China on August 8, 2010. The official 2008 Olympics swimming facility has been transformed into Happy Magic Water Park, an indoor water park with an underwater theme. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Alaska's Rat Island Rat Free After 230 Years of Infestation

October 31,2013

Wikimedia Commons

A general view of Rat Island, now known as Hawadax Island after thousands of invasive rats were eradicated from the island using poisonous bait pellets. (Wikimedia Commons)
JUNEAU, Alaska — Conservationists and federal wildlife officials are reporting success, five years after undertaking an effort to eradicate rats from a remote Alaska island.
Officials with Island Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that the island — once known as Rat Island because of its infestation of invasive Norway rats — is now teeming with birds, whose songs and noises have replaced the silence that had been reported there when the rats ran rampant.
They said for the first time, breeding tufted puffins have been documented on the island, which is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and near the far end of the Aleutian Island chain that stretches out into the Bering Sea. They also reported an increase in ground-nesting and shorebird numbers compared to prior surveys and documented song sparrows, which were not recorded during prior visits, said biologist Stacey Buckelew, who worked as a contractor for Island Conservation earlier this year when the latest survey was conducted.
The makeover of the island includes a name change: Rat Island officially became Hawadax Island, a nod to the original Aleut name, in 2012.Randy Hagenstein, Alaska state director for The Nature Conservancy, called the transformation "one of the successes for conserving island ecosystems around the world."
"We set the island back on its course to being a normal, productive and noisy island full of bird life," he said.
Buckelew said islands infested by rats are "void of wildlife, more or less," with the rats basically eating themselves out of house and home. What one finds instead are rat scat-covered rocks, remains of snails and other creatures, scavenged bird bones and "this eerie silence," said Buckelew, who had done prior work on islands in Mexico affected by rats and other invasive species.
The Aleutians are tree-free, she said, with the highest vegetation being coastal grass. Rats were able to get into burrows used by birds for nesting and eat eggs and chicks, she said.
The rats were eliminated through the use of poisonous bait pellets.
(VIDEO: Why Are Our Eagles Dying?)
Now that the rats are gone, "what's beginning to happen is, you're getting a recovery of this rich and vibrant community that you see on other islands in the Aleutians," she said, declaring the island "hardly recognizable."
"The features are the same, but you hear birds that weren't there before the eradication," she said.
Rats are believed to have gotten their start on the island in the 1780s with a shipwreck. Buckelew estimated there were 10,000 or more on the roughly 6,800-acre island when eradication efforts began in 2008. Their reproduction rate was prodigious with a female capable of producing a litter of up to 12 young every three to six weeks, she said. Had a single pregnant female been left behind, that would have been enough to repopulate the island again, she said.
While the island is uninhabited by humans and visited by few, part of the value it provides to people is the knowledge that there are places like this set aside for wildlife, refuge manager Steve Delehanty said. It also provides shelter for birds, some of which are migratory, he said.

MORE: Places Overrun By Animals

A wild horse on Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. (Flickr/bob.howe)

MORE: Places Overrun By Animals

A wild horse on Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. (Wikimedia/Notyourbroom)

MORE: Places Overrun By Animals

Wild horses on Assateague Island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. (Flickr/Ashley Harrigan)

MORE: Places Overrun By Animals

Wild ponies are herded into the Assateague Channel to for their annual swim to Chincoteague Island, on July 25, 2012, in Chincoteague, Va. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Dark Matter Experiment, After First Three-Month Run, Finds Nothing

By: By Laura Dattaro
Published: October 31,2013

Photomultiplier tubes capable of detecting as little as a single photon of light line the top and bottom of the LUX dark matter detector. They will record the position and intensity of collisions between dark matter particles and xenon nuclei. (Matt Kapust/Sanford Underground Research Facility)
After its first three-month run, the latest dark matter experiment has yet to see hints of the elusive substance.
The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is buried at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, almost 5,000 feet below ground in a former gold mine in South Dakota, to prevent false signals from cosmic rays from space. It’s a vat filled with almost a third of a ton of liquid xenon, designed to observe any potential interactions with dark matter particles.
No such interaction has ever been observed, despite decades of searching. Dark matter still exists in the realm of the theoretical — gravitational effects on large celestial objects like galaxies alert us to its presence. For example, galaxies have been seen spinning faster than the rate at which we expect them to spin given their mass. Like all other types of matter, dark matter should be made of particles; it’s the exact nature of the particles, however, that is still unknown.
The leading candidates are called WIMPs — weakly interacting massive particles. At LUX, physicists hope one of the particles will collide with a xenon atom, emitting signals they could use to learn about the particle.
Though LUX’s first run didn’t turn up anything, researchers say they are happy with the precision of the experiment, according to The New York Times. “Just because we don’t see anything in the first run doesn’t mean we won’t see anything in the second,” physicist Richard Gaitskell, a LUX spokesman, told The Times. “In 25 years of searching, this is the cleanest signal I’ve ever seen.”
The run may have also ruled out low-mass candidates found by another experiment, the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) in Minnesota, Ars Technica reports, which found hints of possible dark matter particles earlier this year. If dark matter existed in the low-mass form posited by the CDMS results, LUX should have found more than 1,600 collisions in its three-month run, according to a news release, instead of the big zero it actually did. (Juan Collar, a dark matter specialist at University of Chicago, told The Times that the LUX detector may not have been “adequately calibrated to detect” the low-mass particles, noting that the physicists at LUX had promised to perform the needed calibrations to “settle the issue.”)
“This is only the beginning for LUX,” physicist Dan McKinsey, co-spokesman for LUX, said in the release. “Now that we understand the instrument and its backgrounds, we will continue to take data, testing for more and more elusive candidates for dark matter.”
There’s always the chance that dark matter doesn’t interact with regular matter at all, but researchers are betting on the fact that it does, and building ever larger and more sensitive detectors. LUX will run until 2015; its successor, the LUX-ZEPLIN, or LZ, will be a thousand times more sensitive.

Strong Earthquake Hits Eastern Taiwan

October 31,2013

TAIPEI, Taiwan – A strong earthquake hit eastern Taiwan on Thursday, shaking buildings over a wide area including the capital. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 8:02 p.m. and measured magnitude 6.3. It was centered in a remote mountainous area 45 kilometers (28 miles) south-southwest of the coastal city of Hualian at a depth of just 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), it said.

In the capital, Taipei, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) from the epicenter, buildings swayed for more than 10 seconds and startled residents ducked for cover.

Taiwan's railway administration immediately suspended train service while it checked for any possible damage to tracks.
(VIDEO: How Earthquakes Happen)

Authorities reported scattered power outages in northern Taiwan. In at least two locations in the Taipei suburbs crews were working to extricate people trapped in stalled elevators.

Local TV channels reported that there appeared to be almost no damage in Hualian. However, it could take some time for the full impact of the quake to be evaluated because of the remoteness of the epicenter.

Newer buildings in Taiwan are built to withstand strong earthquakes, so damage in major cities tends to be limited. This is not the case for buildings constructed before the 1980s, when construction standards were less rigorous.

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage.

However, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.
MORE: Deadliest Earthquakes

Pakistan: Oct. 8, 2005

India: Sept. 29, 1993
This 7.6-magnitude quake killed more than 80,000 when buildings crumbled and trapped many victims inside. (FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

FAA to Allow Tablets, E-Readers Throughout Flights

By: By Stephanie Valera
Published: October 31,2013

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images
Airline passengers soon will be able to use devices such as tablets and e-readers throughout flights, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday.
The agency will be loosening guidelines on passenger electronic devices use during takeoff and landing, allowing the use of tablets, e-readers, DVD players and video game consoles during these critical phases of flight, according to NBC News. Connecting to the Internet remains prohibited when the plane is less than 10,000 feet in the air.
Voice calls also remain prohibited during the entire flight, under a Federal Communications Commission rule, according to USA Today.
(MORE: World's Scariest Airport Runways)
The timing of the changes will depend on individual airlines due to differences in equipment, but an FAA statement said it expects "many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year."
The FAA's revised guidelines are in line with the recommendations presented to it by a 28-member advisory committee, representing airlines, manufacturers, electronics makers, pilots and flight attendants, in September, CNBC reported. The agency has come under increasing pressure in recent years from those who have argued the devices pose little threat and that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals.
Before an airline switches to the relaxed guidelines, airlines will have to prove to the FAA that their aircraft can tolerate the interference. Airlines have, over the years, built newer planes with portable electronics in mind, hardening them against electromagnetic interference, according to CNN.
MORE:  The Golden Age of Travel
BOAC DC-7C airliner crew on Oct. 9, 1957. (Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

15 Animals, Plants in Hawaii Added to Endangered Species List

October 31,2013

The kookoolau was one of 15 plant and animal species in Hawaii added to the Endangered Species list this week. (David Eickhoff/Wikimedia)
HONOLULU — An eyeless shrimp and 14 other Hawaii creatures and plants have been added to the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.
The anchialine pool shrimp is among the most primitive shrimp species in the world, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The creatures are 2 inches long with 2-inch antennae.
They live in landlocked pools with subterranean connections to the sea, but these pools are threatened by pollution, development and other factors, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Ken Foote said. The nonprofit group Center for Biological Diversity maintains that only five members of the shrimp species have ever been seen.
The other newly listed creature is Drosophila digressa, commonly known as the picture-wing fly.
Among the 13 plants listed is kookoolau (pictured above), which was traditionally used to treat infections and other ailments, the Fish and Wildlife Service said. It was also used to purify the body, and herbal teas were made from its leaves to treat throat and stomach pains, according to the agency.
The listing gives species protections that are designed to keep them from extinction.
Hawaii has more endangered species than any other state, primarily because of its geographical isolation, Foote said.
With the additions made Tuesday, Hawaii has listings for 526 species, Foote said. California comes closest with about 315 listings, according to the service’s Environmental Conservation Online System. Most states have double-digit listings.
The additions stem from a 2011 agreement with conservation groups for the wildlife service to catch up on a backlog of candidates for the Endangered Species Act list, and to consider 757 total species for federal protections, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which is based in Arizona.
The 15 new species — all native to the Big Island — represent the fourth wave of endangered listings for Hawaii under the 2011 agreement, Foote said. Federal wildlife protection officials previously added 48 species on Kauai, 23 on Oahu, and 38 on Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe combined, he said. The agency likely will list more vulnerable Hawaiian species — mainly those that are found across multiple islands, he said.

From Flesh to Bone: The Role of Weather in Body Decomposition

By: By Michele Berger
Published: October 31,2013

Temperature plays a huge role in how quickly bodies decay. This donkey succumbed to a drought in Kenya. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
When we think Halloween, we think creepy — and decaying bodies certainly fall into the creepy category. decided to look at what effect weather has on the decomposition process. Be warned, this does cover how human remains fare, something facilities in several states study, but the main focus is on animals.
“Temperature is the number one thing that influences the rate of decomposition,” affecting the bacteria and insects that aid in the process, Edward Mondor, associate professor of insect ecology at Georgia Southern University, told
“Weather plays a huge role,” added Daniel J. Wescott, director of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University. If it’s too cold the insects won’t be active. If it’s too hot, it’ll kill off the insects.” Which insects specifically?
When an animal dies, blow flies are typically first to the scene, those metallic green, bug-eyed insects you likely see buzzing about on a warm, summer day. “The adults that are flying around, they are looking for the place to lay their eggs and that place is a dead body,” Mondor said. “That’s the only place their maggots can develop, in decomposing remains.” Sometimes flesh flies also arrive.
Beetles make their way to the carcass next, then scavengers like vultures and opossums.
All these creatures help whoever’s looking at the body to know how long it’s been there (just like you see on television shows like CSI and Bones). But there’s more to it. Whether it’s sunny, hot and humid, or shady, dry and cool matters. So does whether it’s cold and snowy.
Wescott does his work with human remains in central Texas, where temperatures can average in the 90s during the summer months. In the intense sun, the bodies “mummify pretty quickly, within about three months,” he said. “Then it takes a long time for them to decay past that. In shaded areas, after three to four months, they become a skeleton.” In general — though not always — he’s found that bodies decompose faster in hotter, more humid climes than in colder, drier spots.
This is true not only for human remains but animal remains as well, Wescott added.
Mondor’s work corroborates the theory. In Georgia, he studies what role shade has on an animal body’s decay. “It’s been said before we’re the Saudi Arabia of pine trees. We have more pine forests of any state in the United States,” he said. So he and colleagues opted to look at whether remains left in one of those forests changes faster than one left in the southern sun. So far they’ve found it to be true, guessing that the flies that assist with decomposition don’t like being scorched any more than we do.
Rain’s impact on decaying bodies is a little less straightforward than some other weather factors. Sometimes it washes the maggots away from the carcass, slowing the process. Sometimes it speeds it up, if the rain happens to liquefy the body. In the case of a human body that’s already been mummified, wet weather could potentially rehydrate the remains, speeding up what would’ve been an extremely slow decline, Wescott said.
Though we don’t know precisely how long it takes many specific animals to decay, we do have some numbers: A large whale could take up to 16 years to become skeletonized, according to a Nature paper about carrion. Small animals like a pig or a rat take a few days. Human remains, as Wescott mention above, take at least three months.
But again, it’s all about the weather, he added. “The regional weather makes a huge difference.”

Texas Black Rhino Hunt: Kill One to Save the Rest?

By: Michael Graczyk
Published: October 31,2013
HOUSTON -- Plans to auction a rare permit that will allow a hunter to take down an endangered black rhino are drawing criticism from some conservationists, but the organizer says the fundraiser could bring in more than $1 million that would go toward protecting the species.
John J. Jackson III belongs to the Dallas Safari Club, which earlier this month announced it would auction the permit - one of only five offered annually by Namibia in southwestern Africa. The permit is also the first to be made available for purchase outside of that country.
"This is advanced, state-of-the-art wildlife conservation and management techniques," Jackson, a Metairie, La.-based international wildlife attorney, said Wednesday. "It's not something the layman understands, but they should.
"This is the most sophisticated management strategy devised," he said. "The conservation hunt is a hero in the hunting community."
Some animal preservation groups are bashing the idea."More than ridiculous," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said Wednesday.
"At a time when the global community is rallying to protect the elephant and rhino from the onslaught of people with high-powered weapons, this action sends exactly the wrong signal. It's absurd. You're going to help an endangered animal by killing an endangered member of that population?"
An estimated 4,000 black rhinos remain in the wild, down from 70,000 in the 1960s. Nearly 1,800 are in Namibia, according to the safari club.
Poachers long have targeted all species of rhino, primarily for its horn, which is valuable on the international black market. Made of the protein keratin, the chief component in fingernails and hooves, the horn has been used in carvings and for medicinal purposes, mostly in Asia. The near extinction of the species also has been attributed to habitat loss.
(VIDEO: Poaching HELL)
The auction is scheduled for the Dallas Safari Club's annual convention in January.
According to Jackson, who said he's been working on the auction project with federal wildlife officials, the hunt will involve one of five black rhinos selected by a committee and approved by the Namibian government. The five are to be older males, incapable of reproducing and likely "troublemakers ... bad guys that are killing other rhinos," he said.
"You end up eliminating that rhino and you actually increase the reproduction of the population."
Jackson said 100 percent of the auction proceeds would go to a trust fund, be held there until the permit is approved and then forwarded to the government of Namibia for the limited purpose of rhino conservation.
"It's going to generate a sum of money large enough to be enormously meaningful in Namibia's fight to ensure the future of its black rhino populations," Ben Carter, the club's executive director, said in a statement.
Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director of the Massachusetts-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, disagreed, describing the club's argument as "perverse, to say the least."
"And drumming up a bidding frenzy to get to the opportunity to shoot one of the last of a species is just irresponsible," Flocken said. "This is just an attempt to manipulate a horrific situation where rhino poaching is out of control, and fuel excitement around being able to kill an animal whose future existence is already hanging in the balance."
(MORE: Japanese Hunting Pushes Dolphins to the Brink of Extinction)
Rick Barongi, director of the Houston Zoo and vice president of the International Rhino Foundation, said the hunt was not illegal but remained a complex idea that "sends a mixed message."
On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was providing "guidance" to the safari club on whether it would agree to a permit, required under federal law, to allow the winning bidder to bring the trophy rhino to the United States.
"An import permit will be issued if, and only if, we determine that the sport-hunted trophy is taken as part of a well-managed conservation program that enhances the long-term survival of the species," the agency said.
Earlier this year, the service granted such a permit for a sport-hunted black rhino taken in Namibia in 2009.
Pacelle said the Humane Society would work to oppose the permit.
An administrator at the Namibian Embassy in Washington referred questions about the hunt and auction to the government's tourism office in Windhoek, the nation's capital. There was no response Wednesday to an email from The Associated Press.
"The two hot issues here are the fact it's an endangered species, and the second thing is it's a trophy," Barongi, the zoo director, said. "It's one individual that can save hundreds of individuals, and if that's the case, and it's the best option you have ... then you go with your best option.
"Because the alternative is you can lose them all," he said.

MORE: Adorable Baby Animals

The San Diego Zoo's 14-week-old female giant panda cub is seen during her weekly veterinary exam, Nov. 30, 1999. (San Diego Zoo/Getty Images)

National Weather Summary for October 31,2013 from

Weather Underground midday recap for Thursday,October 31,2013.

An extensive cold frontal boundary stretched from the western Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes on Thursday, while a ridge of high pressure continued to build over the Southwest.

Strong thunderstorms moved across the western Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast on Thursday due to strong cold front. Flood warnings were issued in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, while tornado watches were issued throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. These intense thunderstorms brought very heavy rain to the region, and also created hazardous conditions along the Gulf Coast. Houston Clover, Texas, reported a midday total of 4.51 inches of rain, while Monroe, La., reported a midday total of 4.36 inches of rain. Strong winds also accompanied this cold front, as Dalhart, Texas, recorded wind speeds of 56 mph on Thursday.

Although the strongest thunderstorms were focused across the Gulf Coast states, moderate to heavy rain also affected a number of states to the northeast. Taylorville, Ill., reported a midday total of 2.28 inches of rain.

The Intermountain West experienced winter like conditions on Thursday as Winter Weather Advisories were issued in the central Rockies. Parts of the Pacific Northwest experienced light, spotty showers as a cold front approached the coast. The remainder of the West Coast avoided precipitation as high pressure dominated the region.

This Date in Weather History for October 31,2013 from

Weather History
For Thursday,October 31,2013
1846 - Eighty-seven pioneers were trapped by early snows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that piled five feet deep, with 30 to 40 foot drifts. Just 47 persons survived the "Donner Pass Tragedy". (The Weather Channel)
1950 - Unseasonably warm weather prevailed in the central U.S. for Halloween. The temperature soared to 83 degrees at Minneapolis MN, their warmest reading of record for so late in the season. (The Weather Channel)
1965 - Fort Lauderdale, FL, was deluged with 13.81 inches of rain, which brought their rainfall total for the month of October to an all-time record of 42.43 inches. (30th-31st) (David Ludlum) (The Weather Channel)
1987 - Halloween was a wet one in the southwestern U.S. Heavy rain in southern California resulted in numerous mudslides. Weather-related auto accidents resulted in three deaths and twenty-five injuries. Mount Wilson CA received 3.14 inches of rain in 24 hours. Yakima WA reported measurable rainfall for the first time since the 18th of July. The 103 day long dry spell was their longest of record. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1988 - Twenty-two cities in the northeastern U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date. The low of 19 degrees at Cleveland OH was a record for October, and morning lows of 21 degrees at Allentown PA and Bridgeport CT tied October records. Nine cities in the southwestern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, including Phoenix AZ with a reading of 96 degrees. Showers made Halloween a soggy one in the southeastern U.S. (The National Weather Summary)
1989 - Halloween night was a soggy one in New England. Showers in the northeastern U.S. produced more than an inch and a half of rain in six hours at some locations. An invasion of cold arctic air brought an abrupt end to a week of "Indian Summer" type weather in the Great Lakes Region, and brought snow and subzero wind chill readings to the Northern Plains. In Colorado, Alamosa was the cold spot in the nation with a record low of two degrees above zero, and a Halloween night storm brought 3 to 6 inches of snow to the Front Range, and 5 to 10 inches to the nearby foothills. Icy streets around Denver the next morning made for a rather spooky commute. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)

National Temperature and Rainfall Extremes for October 31,2013 from

As of 10PM,EDT

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High 93° McAllen, TX
Low Valentine, MT
Precip 6.56" Fort Polk, LA

World Weather Hot Spot for October 31-November 1,2013

Henderson,Texas,USA: Very heavy rain;received a whopping 6.25 inches of rain Wednesday,October 30,2013

After Krosa, Philippines Face More Tropical Troubles

By , Senior Meteorologist
October 31,2013; 9:32PM,EDT
The departure of Typhoon Krosa from Luzon Island will not mean the end of tropical troubles for the Philippines with two more tropical systems potentially in the works for next week.
After enduring damaging winds and flooding rain Thursday night, northern Luzon Island will see weather conditions gradually improve in a east-to-west fashion on Friday as Typhoon Krosa departs.
Krosa will then set its sights on central Vietnam for early next week.
While Krosa heads toward Vietnam, there are signs that another tropical system will be impacting the Philippines around Monday of next week.

That system could be followed by another later in the week.
While more precise details of each will become clearer in the upcoming days, current indications point toward these systems taking a track south of Krosa and impacting central parts of the Philippines.
The nation's capital of Manila escaped being significantly impacted from Krosa, but the city may fare worse next week.
The first system could have time to strengthen into a tropical storm before reaching the Philippines around Monday. Even if it fails to reach that status, it should still be accompanied by heavy rain and the threat of flooding.

A NOAA satellite image from Friday, local time, of the cluster of showers and thunderstorms that will threaten the Philippines around Monday
Philippines Weather Center Hurricane Center
Krosa Battering Luzon, Targets Vietnam Next

"The second of the two systems will likely be the stronger of the two and could potentially become a typhoon," stated Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak. That would mean not only a return of heavy rain to the Philippines, but also damaging winds.
"There is additional concern for flooding from the second system since it will happen in quick succession to the first. Not enough time will pass for flood waters from the first system to recede or the ground to dry out," continued Wanenchak.
Residents of the Philippines should continue to check back with for the latest updates on the nation's impending tropical troubles.

On Social Media
Ten Spider Weather
#typhoon #luzon #hainan #vietnam: Typhoon Krosa threatening northern Luzon in the Philippines.… #krosa #vinta #29w
Andrew Freedman
Typhoon #Krosa is hammering island of Luzon in Philippines right now. Satellite:…

Clear, Cooling Weekend for Dallas

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, Staff Writer
October 31,2013; 9:29PM,EDT
The limited cloud coverage in the area on Thursday will clear out entirely for a sunny Friday.

Sunshine will persist all weekend, though a few clouds may return at times on Sunday.
Highs Friday will near 80, but each day this weekend will see a gradual temperature drop, leading to highs staying in the upper 60s Sunday before some thunderstorm chances return to the area Monday. Overnight lows will vary between the lower 50s and lower 40s for the next few days.
Extended Dallas Forecast
Eastern Texas Interactive Radar
Severe Weather Center

Overnight hours will also feature clear skies, with the exception of some intermittent clouds Sunday night.

Today's Worst Weather for October 31,2013,from

Transylvania,Louisiana: Strong Thunderstorms

What Made the Halloween Nor'easter of '91 the 'Perfect Storm'?

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, Staff Writer
October 31,2013; 9:25PM,EDT
Satellite image of the Perfect Storm. See larger below.
This Halloween marks the 22nd anniversary of the "Perfect Storm," also known as the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991.
In 1997, a book based on the storm was written, which was then made in to an Oscar-nominated movie in 2000. They told the tale of the six Gloucester, Mass., fishermen who died at sea when the storm's massive waves, some of which reached 39 feet, capsized their boat. These pieces of pop culture have helped the notoriety of the storm, but what exactly was it that made the storm "perfect"?
According to AccuWeather Senior Expert Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski it was the combination of a tropical system, the remnants of Hurricane Grace, and a non-tropical system that created such a massive storm.
This video from NOAA shows the storm as it moves across the Atlantic.
The conditions had to come together just right to allow these systems to feed off of one another the way that they did. Grace had weakened enough so that it could be pulled in by the non-tropical system, but still contained enough deep moisture for it to feed into the cold. When tropical moisture is added to cold air in such a way it creates enormous amounts of energy, which leads to increased rain and wind.
Weekend Cold, Wet Snow in Northern New England
AccuWeather Severe Weather Center
US Winter Forecast: Snow to Bury Rockies; Slow Onset in East

While these conditions are rare, this was not a one-time occurrence. The storm's iconic name and its popularity in film and literature have greatly helped make this storm stand out the most, but according to Kottlowski, storms from such conditions have occurred since then.
Satellite image of the Perfect Storm. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
"It's rare for a tropical and a non-tropical system to join," he said. "But these conditions are favored this time of year. Late October to early November southern Atlantic waters are still warm enough for a tropical system, but cold air is already coming down from Canada. It's the right time for these systems to meet."
The Gale of 1878, for example, was created with similar conditions. In late October a tropical system moved out of the Keys northward along the East Coast, bringing 4.5 inches of rain to Cape Hatteras, N.C. By the time the storm reached Philadelphia, it met with a cold air system. The result was hurricane-force winds on Oct. 23 in the city and its surrounding areas, up to 72 mph. Estimates gauge that from 500-700 buildings were destroyed.
Superstorm Sandy was another similar storm, since it was part tropical and part nor'easter.
The technology for forecasting storms today is not that much different than it was in 1991. According to Kottlowski, the big difference now is what people know about utilizing the data that satellites bring in. While this same data was available in 1991, forecasters and researchers have made breakthroughs in their diagnostic formats so that storms can be detected and tracked better.

Atlanta Clears for Weekend

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, Staff Writer
October 31,2013; 7:50PM,EDT
A few stray showers will linger around the Atlanta area Friday morning after deluging the city for Halloween night, but conditions will continue to clear as the weekend progresses.

The high for Friday will stay in the lower 70s, but expect a ten-degree temperature drop for Saturday and Sunday. Overnight lows will be in the lower 50s to start the weekend, but will be in the low 40s by Sunday night.
Detailed Atlanta Forecast
Forecast Temperature Maps Winter Forecast

A few stray clouds will dot the sky Saturday afternoon, leaving Sunday as the clearest day of the weekend.
More clouds will also come through the area for Monday as temperatures stay in the low 60s.

On Social Media
Brett Anderson
Strongest winds (gusts over 80 km/h) for #Kingston, #Ontario area will be from the SW direction late Friday a.m. into the early afternoon. News
What Made the Halloween Nor'easter of '91 the 'Perfect Storm'?
This Halloween marks the 22nd anniversary of the "Perfect Storm," also known as the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991. In 1997, a book based on t...
Anthony Sagliani
Another massive storm impacting W Europe has roots stretching all the way to the Caribbean Sea.

Clouds, Cool Temperatures to Linger in Chicago

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
October 31,2013; 7:48PM,EDT
Despite a dreary end to the workweek and a cloudy start to the weekend, the sun will make a few appearances in Chicago over the next couple of days.
Friday will push to 54 degrees, but the sky will remain mostly cloudy through the afternoon. A breeze may make the afternoon feel cooler. Overnight, the low will drop to 43 degrees.
Times of clouds and sun will arrive on Saturday, though the temperature will not climb quite as high as the previous day. The mercury will rest at 50 degrees before dropping to a low of 37 degrees at night.
Chicago Weekend Forecast
Forecast Temperature Maps
Chicago Radar

Clouds will dissipate, and sunshine will finally arrive on Sunday. Although the high is forecast to push to 50 degrees, breezy conditions may make it feel cooler. The low will fall to 41 degrees overnight.
Sunday and Monday will provide the best chance for outdoor time, as cooler air and more rain arrive for the middle of next week.