Ice storm in U.S. on Dec. 12

Four northeastern states, notably New Hampshire, suffered an ice storm last Thursday. More than one million people are without electrical power.

ice-storm-us-dec2008-by-erik-moon

For more information:

  • See AccuWeather’s WeatherMatrix blog for a discussion of whether people weren’t givwn a strong enough warning. Most of the weather service map showed pink for Winter Storm Warning rather than purple for Ice Storm. And the Accuweather map echoed it, showing only a narrow band of freezing rain in the south. But look more closely:

NOAA issues a Winter Storm Warning “When a winter storm is producing or is forecast to produce heavy snow or significant ice accumulations. The criteria for this warning can vary from place to place.”

  • The CIMSS Satellite Blog discusses the weather technicalities. I found this because I was looking for a map that would show the affected area.

A major ice storm impacted much of the Northeast US on 11 December – 12 December 2008 — many locations across that region experienced several hours of freezing rain leading to widespread ice accumulations of 0.5 to 1.0 inch, which brought down tree limbs and power lines (causing power outages for estimated 1 million customers).

Book: “Best American Science Writing 2007”

This book was a most welcome freebie in the Science Blogging conference goody bag. It is not just interesting—every essay in it is an exciting and satisfying story about science.

U.S. elections: Franken gets a boost in Minnesota

The election race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken for a U.S. Senate seat is still in the recounts. The original count had Coleman winning by about 215 votes. That small margin triggered an automatic recount. Coleman asked Franken to waive the recount, as though he had called it. Basic recounts have been done, giving Coleman an even slimmer victory of 188 votes. But absentee ballots and missing votes are still up in the air. News Friday was that Franken gets a boost from a state board.

“ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democrat Al Franken won a pair of victories Friday before the state board overseeing the Senate recount, including a decision that as many as 1,500 incorrectly rejected absentee ballots should be included.”

The board’s decision on improperly rejected absentees doesn’t guarantee they will be opened and counted because it doesn’t have the power to order counties to do so.

The “state board” is the State Canvassing Board, which comprises

  • the Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie (chair)
  • two judges of the Minnesota Supreme Court
    • Eric J. Magnuson (chief justice)
    • G. Barry Anderson
  • two judges of the Minnesota 2nd judicial district court
    • Kathleen R. Gearin (chief judge)
    • Edward J. Cleary (assistant chief judge)

There are 10 judicial districts in Minnesota.

Recounts

  • A manual recount of one poll with 133 physical votes missing has an electronic record that shows the values of those votes. The poll voted mostly for Franken, so Franken wants the tape counted and Coleman wants the physical votes counted. The tape would give Franken a gain of about 45 votes. The board voted unanimously to rely on the electronic record.
  • The situation with absentee ballots involves more votes. There are about 1500 absentee ballots, and at least 638 have been rejected illegally. After receiving a legal opinion from the office of the Minnesota Attorney General, the board ruled that they should be counted. They are not known to favor one or the other candidate.
  • The largest group of dispute votes are votes that were challenged by one side or the other. On Tuesday, the board will start counting 3,450 challenged votes that haven’t been resolved.

Stay tuned for results.

Storm chasers

I stumbled upon this storm-chaser site of beautiful sky images and information by Ryan McInnis McGinnis: The Big Storm Picture. Give yourself a treat and go look.

bigstormpictuer-reduced-image

Scam letter 1

Barrister Egon John [egon99john@yahoo.com.hk]

Urgent Reply Needed

John Chambers Lagos/ Nigeria
Email: egon99john@yahoo.com.hk

ATTN:

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From: The Desk of
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