Tuesday, February 11, 2014

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - The Current Stock Market Tracks Eerily With The Stock Market In 1929 Before The Great Cash, Which Led To The Great Depression!

February 11, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY - There are eerie parallels between the stock market’s recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash.




That at least is the conclusion reached by a frightening chart that has been making the rounds on Wall Street. The chart superimposes the market’s recent performance on top of a plot of its gyrations in 1928 and 1929.
The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish significance of this chart.

I should know, because I quoted a number of this chart’s skeptics in a column I wrote in early December. Yet the market over the last two months has continued to more or less closely follow the 1928-29 pattern outlined in that two-months-ago chart. If this correlation continues, the market faces a particularly rough period later this month and in early March. (See chart, courtesy of Tom McClellan of the McClellan Market Report; he in turn gives credit to Tom DeMark, a noted technical analyst who is the founder and CEO of DeMark Analytics.)

One of the biggest objections I heard two months ago was that the chart is a shameless exercise in after-the-fact retrofitting of the recent data to some past price pattern. But that objection has lost much of its force. The chart was first publicized in late November of last year, and the correlation since then certainly appears to be just as close as it was before.

To be sure, as McClellan acknowledged: “Every pattern analog I have ever studied breaks correlation eventually, and often at the point when I am most counting on it to continue working. So there is no guarantee that the market has to continue following through with every step of the 1929 pattern. But between now and May 2014, there is plenty of reason for caution.”

Tom Demark added in interview that he first drew parallels with the 1928-1929 period well before last November. “Originally, I drew it for entertainment purposes only,” he said—but no longer: “Now it’s evolved into something more serious.”

Another objection I heard two months ago was that there are entirely different scales on the left and right axes of the chart. The scale on the right, corresponding to the Dow’s movement in 1928 and 1929, extends from below 200 to more than 400—an increase of more than 100%. The left axis, in contrast, represents a percentage increase of less than 50%.


Omen: The 2013 stock market’s bull run appears to be following the almost identical trajectory of the
stock market in 1929 before the great crash, which led to the Great Depression.

But there’s less to this objection than you might think. You can still have a high correlation coefficient between two data series even when their gyrations are of different magnitudes.

However, what is important, McClellan said, is that the time scales of the two data series need to be the same. And, he stresses, there has been no stretching of the time dimension to make them fit.

One of the market gurus responsible for widely publicizing this chart is hedge-fund manager Doug Kass, of Seabreeze Partners and CNBC fame. In an email earlier this week, Kass wrote of the parallels with 1928-29: “While investment history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, it does rhyme.” And, based on a number of indicators rather than just this chart drawing the 1928-29 parallel, he believes that “the correction might have just started.”

DeMark is even more outspokenly bearish. If the S&P 500 decisively breaks the 1762 level, he told me, then a major bear market will have only just begun.

You may still be inclined to dismiss this. But there were many more were laughing last November when this scary chart began circulating. Not as many are laughing now. - Market Watch.



WAR DRUMS: Tracking The Military Buildup Towards World War III - First U.S. Missile Shield Destroyer Arrives In Europe; Iranian Warships Heading To U.S. To Show Reach; And U.S. Military Developing New Unmanned Space Plane!

February 11, 2014 - WAR - The first of four US Navy destroyers, the USS Donald Cook, set to be a cornerstone of NATO’s European missile defense shield has arrived at the Spanish naval port of Rota, its new home. Russia says the system is a direct threat to its security.

First U.S. Missile Shield Destroyer Arrives In Europe.
The USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) (AFP Photo / Getty Images / Allison Joyce)

The USS Donald Cook will be joined by three more Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, which all are fitted with the Aegis weapon system. Over the next two years the USS Ross, USS Porter and USS Carney will all be based at Rota in southern Spain.“For the first time, a ship of the United States Navy equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile-defense system is permanently based in Europe,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General. “The arrival of the USS Donald Cook marks a step forward for NATO, for European security, and for transatlantic cooperation.”The deployment of the four destroyers, known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach, is a centerpiece of the European missile defense shield, which will also include interceptor batteries in Poland and Romania, radar in Turkey and a command center at Ramstein in Germany, a US Air Force base.US military interest in the Mediterranean has increased in recent years because of conflict and instability across the Middle East and North Africa.“Permanently forward deploying four ships in Rota will enable us to be in the right place, not just at the right time, but all the time,” US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a Defense Department statement when USS Cook left its home port in the US in January.The four destroyers will also take part in other maritime security operations, NATO deployments and training exercises, the Defense Department said.According to a NATO statement, the system is designed to “protect all NATO European populations and territory.” Its advocates say it is necessary to protect Europe from the threat of Iranian missiles, as well as other so-called rogue states, such as North Korea.Russia says the system is major threat to its own security and has threatened to beef up its own nuclear arsenal in response.


Visitors walk past an SS-18 SATAN intercontinental ballistic missile at the Strategic Missile Forces museum near Pervomaysk, some 300 km (186 miles) south of Kiev (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

The issue has become a major sticking point in relations between the two countries. Washington insists that Russia’s fears are groundless.When news first broke of the USS Cook’s deployment to Spain, Russia reacted by saying that it may be forced to quit the START nuclear treaty.The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, was signed by the US and Russia in April 2010 and is planned to last until at least 2021. The treaty is designed to limit and gradually reduce the nuclear arsenals of both countries.“We are concerned that the US is continuing to build up missile defense capability without considering the interests and concerns of Russia. Such a policy can undermine strategic stability and lead to a situation where Russia will be forced to exercise [its] right of withdrawal from the [START] treaty,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s top disarmament official.Ulyanov added that the legal basis for Moscow to withdraw from START is legislated for within the text of the agreement. The treaty explicitly describes the buildup of missile defense systems as “exceptional circumstances” that threaten “the potential of the Russian Federation’s strategic nuclear forces.”Aleksey Pushkov, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has said that Russia’s stance on the missile defense shield will only change if it is accepted into the program as an equal partner.Russia is demanding legally binding obligations that the missile defense will not target its forces and therefore result in a shift in the strategic balance of forces. In response, Russian authorities have already ordered the deployment of short-range missiles to the country’s western Kaliningrad enclave, which is situated between Poland and Lithuania, both NATO members.


December 12, 2013. President Vladimir Putin reads his annual address to the Federal Assembly in
the St. George's Hall of the Kremlin. (RIA Novosti / Mihail Metzel)


Russia will not allow any nation to dominate it in military terms, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said in a December speech to the country’s Federal Assembly. “We realize clearly that the AMD system is only called defensive, while in fact it is a significant part of the strategic offensive potential,” he said. Putin also announced that Russia is pouring resources into new strategic missiles as well as their launch systems, including new nuclear-powered submarines and strategic bombers as well as a space-based system for reconnaissance and targeting. - RT.


Iranian Warships Heading To U.S. To Show Reach
An Iranian military helicopter flies over Revolutionary Guards' fast boats during naval exercises in
the Gulf on April 22, 2010.(Photo: Mehdi Marizad, AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian warships headed to the U.S. coast pose little danger to the United States but could be a dry run for the future, according to former U.S. military and security officials.  The mission shows the danger Iran would pose if it possessed nuclear weapons, says John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush and an arms negotiator during the Cold War.  "It shows they could put a weapon on a boat or freighter, and if (Iran) has ballistic missiles it could put it anywhere on the U.S. coast," Bolton said. "Down the road it could be a threat."  Chris Harmer, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and a former military planner for the U.S. Navy in Persian Gulf, said one of the two ships is a military cargo ship that has visited China in the past and is suspected of delivering Iranian arms shipments to Sudan on multiple visits to that country in the past few years.

While it poses no tactical threat to the United States, Iran will likely use it to advance its relationship with its ally Venezuela, a U.S. adversary in the Caribbean.  "It shows the Iranians have worldwide ambitions and capabilities," Harmer said.  The commander of Iran's Northern Navy Fleet, Adm. Afshin Rezayee Haddad, said Iran sent "a fleet" to the Atlantic Ocean, to approach U.S. maritime borders for the first time, according to the Associated Press, which cited Iran's official IRNA news agency Saturday. The U.S. maritime border is about 14 miles from land.  The news comes as the United States and other world powers prepare to meet Feb. 18 with Iranian diplomats in Vienna to seek a comprehensive agreement about Iran's disputed nuclear program. Iran seeks an agreement that would eliminate economic sanctions over its nuclear program that have crippled its economy. The United States seeks to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  Iran says its nuclear program has peaceful aims, though the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency says Iran has yet to explain evidence that it designed nuclear warheads and tested nuclear detonators. Iran has among the world's largest supplies of oil and gas for energy.

On Monday, the vessels had begun sailing to the Atlantic Ocean by waters near South Africa, Iran's Fars News Agency reported. Iranian officials last month said the fleet would embark on a three-month mission and consist of a destroyer and a ship that can carry helicopters.  The voyage is part of Iran's response to Washington's beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf, according to Fars. The U.S. Navy's 5th fleet is based in Bahrain — across the Persian Gulf from Iran — and the U.S. has conducted two major naval war games in the last two years.  Gary Samore, a former adviser to President Obama on arms control, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, said Iran has consistently objected to the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf.  "Their position is there should be no military bases or forces in the Gulf controlled by countries (that are) not Gulf countries," Samore said. "They say this because if there were no outside powers, Iran would be the strongest power in the region. So it's in their interest to demand there be no external force in the Gulf."  Iran's military doctrine is based on asymmetric warfare, relying on a multilayered strategy the employs many kinds of low-tech weapons and a willingness to accept casualties, says Michael Connell, director of Iranian Studies at the Center for Naval Analyses, which conducts research and analysis for the U.S. government.

In the Persian Gulf, Iran hopes to employ dozens of midget submarines, land-based missile launchers and speedboats, in a strategy meant to confuse and overwhelm an adversary with superior technology and firepower, Connell wrote in an assessment of Iran's naval doctrine.  The ships crossing the Atlantic are an Iranian destroyer, which is the size of a small American frigate and equipped with anti-ship cruise missiles, and a logistics ship, Connell said.  "If they make it to the North Atlantic, and that's a big if — they've never been that far — the threat they pose is minimal," Connell said. "They are not really equipped to threaten land-based targets."  And the vessels would be highly vulnerable, especially to U.S. naval aircraft, he said. "Essentially, they would be at the bottom of the ocean in fairly short order if they assumed a threatening posture."  Bolton said Iran's ships may not pose much of a threat now but their mission shows the Islamic Republic is building up its capabilities for the future. Iranian oil is mostly shipped by foreign tankers.  Iran rarely has sent its own ships outside the Persian Gulf, but is now training ship captains on sailing the Suez canal and the North Atlantic to show their potential reach is far from Iran, Bolton said.  "They are showing they can sail from Iran across the Atlantic Ocean and travel right up to our coast," Bolton said. "They're building up capabilities. That's what training missions do." - USA Today.



New U.S. Military Space Plane Aims For 2017 Liftoff
Artist's concept of DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1), a proposed unmanned, hypersonic vehicle
that the agency hopes will lower satellite launch costs substantially. Officials are targeting
Mach 10 for the suborbital vehicle. Credit: DARPA

The United States military is making progress toward developing a new unmanned space plane, which it aims to begin flight-testing in 2017. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to award the first design contracts for the vehicle project — known as Experimental Spaceplane, or XS-1— in May or thereabouts, officials said. Current schedules call for the vessel to get off the ground for the first time in late 2017 and make an orbital test flight the following year.  DARPA has high expectations for the XS-1 program, which it hopes can eventually launch 3,000- to 5,000-lb (1,361 to 2,268 kilograms) payloads to orbit for less than $5 million per flight — and to do it at least 10 times per year.

 "The vision here is to break the cycle of escalating space system costs, enable routine space access and hypersonic vehicles," XS-1 program manager Jess Sponable said Feb. 5 during a presentation with NASA's Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group. (Hypersonic flight is generally defined as anything greater than five times the speed of sound.)  "We're interested not just in launch, but also in seeing if we can find a way to enable more affordable, more routine, simpler hypersonic vessels," he added.

Changing the cost equation

DARPA first announced the ambitious XS-1 program last September. It's viewed as complementary to another agency effort known as ALASA (Airborne Launch Assist Space Access), which seeks to launch 100-lb (45 kg) satellites to orbit for less than $1 million apiece using traditional airplanes outfitted with expendable upper stages.  DARPA officials laid out their broad vision of the robotic XS-1 vehicle in a press release issued in September:  "XS-1 envisions that a reusable first stage would fly to hypersonic speeds at a suborbital altitude," they wrote. "At that point, one or more expendable upper stages would separate and deploy a satellite into low-Earth orbit. The reusable hypersonic aircraft would then return to earth, land and be prepared for the next flight."  But DARPA is leaving the specifics of the XS-1 system — which aims to provide routine, aircraft-like access to space — up its potential builders, Sponable said.

 "We don't care if it's vertical take-off, horizontal land, vertical-vertical, which brings in a lot of the entrepreneurs," he said in the FISO presentation. "We don't care if they air-launch it, air-tow it, whatever. So we've left all those wide open."  The XS-1 program has enough money for one design contractor, which it plans to choose in 2015 after assessing the work done by the first-round awardees. However, Sponable holds out some hope that more than one vehicle could make it to the flight-test stage.  "I would love for somebody from NASA or the Air Force out there to step forward and say, 'Hey, there's obviously more than one of these things that we want to go flight-test; let's fly more than one," he said.

Other applications

The vehicle developed in the XS-1 program could eventually transition to the commercial market, greatly reducing launch costs for many customers around the world, Sponable said. And the space plane could have many other applications as well.  For example, the XS-1 could serve as a reconnaissance satellite or a hypersonic-vehicle testbed, he said. The space plane could also help advance research into superfast point-to-point transportation around the world.  The XS-1 program represents a return to the bold aerospace projects of decades past, when engineers from various government agencies came together to push the spaceflight envelope, Sponable said.  "We stopped when we flew the X-15 back in the '60s; we didn’t do anything else," he said. "Well, that was a mistake — we should have continued pushing the technology, because we would not be in the dire situation with respect to space access that we're in today had we done so." - SPACE.



 

CYBER WARS: The New Cold War - Massive DDos Attack Hits European Union And The United States; "The Biggest Ever"!

February 11, 2014 - INTERNET - A massive DDoS attack hit EU- and US-based servers, with security companies reporting it to be even more powerful than last year’s Spamhaus attacks. While the method of the attack was not new, CloudFlare warned there are “ugly things to come.”


AFP Photo / Jose Jordan

Only scant details about the attack were released by US-based web performance and security firm CloudFlare, which fought back against the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack early Tuesday.

According to CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince, the attack reached 400 gigabits per second in power – some 100Gbps higher than the notorious Spamhaus cyber-assault of March 2013 that at the time was branded the largest-ever attack in the history of the internet.

“[It was] very big. Larger than the Spamhaus attack from last year… Hitting our network globally but no big customer impact outside of Europe,” Prince was quoted as saying by TechWeekEurope blog.

Prince said one customer was initially targeted by the attack, but added that he would not disclose the customer’s identity.




The company spent several hours mitigating the attack, but said that the European network was largely unaffected. When helping to deal with the massive cyberwar on Spamhaus last year, CloudFlare claimed it slowed down the entire World Wide Web, which prompted critics to dub the company’s part a “PR stunt effort.”

CloudFlare had some spooky statement to offer its customers this time as well. According to Prince, the latest attack has shown someone has got “a big, new cannon,” and it could be a “start of ugly things to come.”

French hosting firm OVH also reported being hit by an attack of more than 350Gbps in strength, but it was not clear whether it was the same attack CloudFlare experienced.





The technique used by Monday’s attackers was not exactly new, as they exploited the Network Time Protocol (NTP) used to synchronize clocks on computer systems. A weakness in the protocol allows querying an NTP server about connected clients and their traffic counts. If made en masse, such requests can generate an overwhelmingly large traffic, bringing down the target just like a typical DDoS attack would do.

What makes the recent attacks worse is the so-called “spoofing” of IP addresses of attackers, making it look as if the victim is actually generating those spam requests. The number of trash requests also skyrockets by “large” replies thrown back at the target from a number of servers “compromised” in the attack. For this reason, such tactics are often referred to as an “reflection and amplification” attack.





Back in January, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a warning about such NTP amplification attacks after a number of prominent gaming services were brought down by them in December, including Steam, League of Legends and Battle.net.

While CloudFlare in its warning urged server administrators to patch and upgrade their NTP servers to solve the issue, it appears that few have since bothered to carry out these security measures. - RT.



SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "The Best I've Ever Seen" - "Magical" Ice Halos Seen Over Calgary, Canada!

February 11, 2014 - SPACE - On Sunday, sky watchers around Calgary, Canada, witnessed a magnificent display of ice halos around the sun. "It was magical--the best I've ever seen," reports photographer Dee Cresswell, who needed four exposures to capture all of the glowing arcs:




"The temperature was around -22 C, with a windchill in the mid minus thirties," she continues. "You could actually see the ice crystals shimmering in the air. There was a 22° halo, a 46° halo, infralateral arcs, tangent arcs, circumzenithal arc, a parhelic circle and more."

Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley created a diagram labeling the halos: click here. He says they were created by a special kind of ice crystal called "diamond dust."

"Diamond dust--that is, low level ice crystals shaped as hexagonal plates and columns--make the very best halos because the crystals are large and of good optical quality," explains Cowley. "Plates made the bright sundogs and the circumzenithal arc while column crystals generated the upper tangent arc and the rarer supralateral and infralateral arcs. More peculiarly oriented columns gave the not often seen Parry arc. A few randomly tilted crystals produced the faint 22-degree halo and only a hint of the 46-degree circle. Supralateral arcs and the rarer 46° halo can be hard to tell apart."

"Even though wintry diamond dust is the king of halos,ordinary ice crystals in high clouds can give fine displays all year long," he says. "No matter where you live, or what time of year, keep an eye out for halos." - Space Weather.



ICE AGE NOW: "The Day After Tomorrow" - Signs Of Cooling Are Evident On A Global Scale!

February 11, 2014 - EARTH - Since the late 1990s, we've seen a rather remarkable absence of warming in the Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic to depths of 2,000 meters, some 6,800 feet. Only the South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans have continued to show some slow warming to those depths.


Poster for the 2004 movie "The Day After Tomorrow"


If history repeats itself, and there is no reason to believe that it will not, it is my opinion that even the South Atlantic and the Indian oceans will soon begin to cool, perhaps for the next several decades or more.

The summer sea icepacks are increasing in size in both the Arctic regions and many areas surrounding the Antarctic continent. Ships have frequently been trapped by extremely thick ice exceeding 10 to 12 feet in places in both polar regions. Ironically, this included a ship filled with global warming scientists and friends earlier in the Antarctic summer.

Land masses tend to experience changes in temperature on a global scale much quicker than the vast oceans that cover two-thirds of the planet. We've seen such a dramatic cooling in the past six to eight months in both South America and North America. The winter of 2013 in parts of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and southeastern Brazil was the coldest in more than a century with 'rare' snowfalls in many areas that hadn't seen such events in modern times.

The current winter of 2013-14 across the Northern Hemisphere has been the harshest in living memory in many areas east of the Mississippi River deep into the heart of Dixie. Just this past week, parts of Arkansas and Tennessee had record snows and morning lows in the single digits. Jonesboro, Ark., has never seen such a harsh winter season. It's been "more like a normal winter in Chicago," according to clients in this part of the Razorback state.

Winter wheat and other crops have suffered "significant damage from winterkill in areas without protective snowcover."

Not only have crops east of the Rockies been killed by an extended period of record low temperatures this bitter winter of 2013-14, but in the drought-parched Far West in California, a full week of sub-freezing temperatures in early December cost the Golden State's citrus industry at least $441 million in damage.

Citrus Mutual reported in early February that frigid readings as low as 18 degrees produced hard freezes that resulted in more than $260 million in damages to navel oranges alone. Mandarin oranges and grapefruit had losses of $157 million and lemons suffered approximately $24 million in damages.

There were likewise losses in winter grains, citrus and vegetable crops this winter in parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico. The Florida citrus crops and vegetables have thus far been spared any major cold weather damage, but the harsh season isn't over yet.

The record early February coldwave across the U.S. deepened this past week. This resulted in critical shortages of propane, which is the main source of heat for nearly 6 million households in the country.

For many people on fixed incomes, the sky-high utility bills this harshest winter in decades has led to a rather desperate situation of choosing between 'heating' and 'eating.' After deducting higher medicare and other insurance costs in 2014, most retirees have seen their net incomes lowered by at least 5 percent. No wonder the stock market plummeted this past week. There's less money for non-essentials. If this is 'global warming,' I'd hate to see 'global cooling!' - CDA Press.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "The Worst Devastation In Living Memory" - Slovenia Is Paralyzed By Thick Snow And Ice; Over 250,000 Affected; A Large-Scale Natural Disaster; MILLIONS Of Euros Worth Of Damage! [PHOTOS]

February 11, 2014 - SLOVENIA - Snow and ice have inflicted  "the worst devastation in living memory" in Slovenia, bringing down trees, freezing electricity lines and causing millions of euros worth of damage.


Frozen solid: A car lies encased in a thick layer of ice as temperatures plunge in parts of Slovenia

South-western areas of the country have been hit hardest in what some are describing as a large-scale natural disaster.

Some 250,000 people are thought to have been affected by the fluctuating temperatures which have caused snow to half melt then freeze again, leaving parked cars entombed in a thick shell of ice.

The Slovenia government has said that more than 40 per cent of the country's Alpine Forests, 1.2 million acres, have been damaged.

In and around the the city of Postojna, in the west, people used axes to try to free their cars from ice 15 cm (6 inches) thick.


Blackout: Towns and villages across Slovenia suffered power cuts as the electric
grid began to collapse in the face of the historic blizzard
Deep freeze: Trees are snapped like matchsticks under the weight of ice which have covered much of Slovenia
Entombed: An impenetrable layer of ice has enveloped vegetation after a record-breaking blizzard
swept across Slovenia and parts of Europe
Subzero: Freak weather conditions meant rain turned almost instantly to ice as soon as it landed - encasing swathes of the Slovenian landscape in frost
Cold snap: The freezing weather brought transport links to a halt as ice made travelling treacherous
Clashing weather: A combination of a warm wet front meeting an unusually cold climate caused
the rare ice storm to cover the landscape in stunning icicles
Treacherous: This steep descent, is made almost impassible by the ice storm
Treacherous: Ice storm which caused pylons to buckle in the freak subzero temperatures
Brittle: The record-breaking blizzard covered hundreds of miles of road in a thick coating of ice
Isolated: Government agencies have not yet been able to assess the true scale of the damage caused
by the blizzard because swathes of the countryside are still cut off
Frozen: A traffic island and road signs are buried beneath four inches of ice
after an historic blizzard hit eastern Europe

ATM machines have frozen, railways are at a standstill and Slovenia's busiest port, Koper, has ground to a halt.

Slovenia has suffered the worst weather in the region, which also hit neighbouring Croatia. The environment agency warned that more snow was on its way.

"After a brief 24-hour respite, a new period of bad weather is coming," the agency's Brane Gregorcic told a news conference. "It may not be heavy, but it will be an additional burden and create new troubles."

Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said: "We will do everything we can to stabilise the situation as soon as possible, but it will take a while." - Independent.



MONUMENTAL DELUGE: "Exceptional" Winter Storms Hits The United Kingdom - River Thames Bursts Banks As Prime Minister Cameron Calls Floods "BIBLICAL;" 14 Severe Alerts / Warnings Issued; Over 2,500 Homes At Risk; Parts Of The Southwest Underwater Since January; The Biggest Atlantic Storm Due Friday; Devastation To Extend Into February! [STUNNING VIDEO]

February 11, 2014 - BRITAIN - The UK Environment Agency on Monday issued 14 severe - meaning lives (and more than 2,500 homes) are at risk - flood warnings for the Thames in the affluent counties of Surrey and Berkshire to the west of London. Many people in Somerset, one of the hardest-hit counties in the southwest, blame the devastating floods on the failure of the Environment Agency to dredge local rivers.




On Sunday, Communities Minister Eric Pickles joined the attack, suggesting that the government had "perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency's advice" on flood prevention. Pickles, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party, told BBC TV that "we thought we were dealing with experts."

On Monday, Chris Smith, the head of the Environment Agency, hit back and accused ministers of having held back vital funds. Smith, a former member of parliament for the Labour Party, said the Treasury had limited the amount the agency could spend on flood management in Somerset.

"When I hear someone criticizing the expertise and professionalism of my staff in the Environment Agency who know more about flood risk management - 100 times more about flood risk management - than any politician ever does, I am not going to sit idly by," Smith said.

'Exceptional'


Parts of the southwest have been underwater since the beginning of the year. London has the Thames Barrier to protect it. However, Croydon, a suburb to the south of the capital, has announced plans to divert rising floodwaters caused by heavy rain away from homes and businesses by pumping them into a pedestrian underpass.





Forecasters at the Met Office said the run of winter storms, which have brought heavy rain and strong winds and seen high waves batter the coastline, has proved "exceptional in its duration."

They also said that Monday would likely be the driest day of the week, although river levels were set to continue rising in places as previous rainfall flowed downstream. Britain endured the wettest January since 1766 this year; some parts of the country have been flooded for more than a month.

Travel woes


On Monday, rail connections to Cornwall still faced severe disruptions, after a 24-hour period when no services were running at all. The low-cost domestic airline Flybe has pledged to double its weekday flights from Newquay in Cornwall to London in a bid to alleviate problems.

Network Rail representatives said the river's levels were putting other key commuter routes at risk. Military personnel from the army and navy were deployed in strategic areas along the Thames overnight, erecting makeshift flood defenses.


 WATCH:  Thames floods and crisis deepens as severe weather batters Britain and Europe's Atlantic coast.




Cameron has described the scene in the Somerset Levels, an artificially drained wetlands area prone to flooding, as "biblical."

Last week, the prime minister announced 130 million pounds (155 million euros, $215 million) in extra funding for emergency repairs and maintenance. On Monday, Cameron visited the southwest for the second time in four days to survey the damage and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg toured badly flooded Somerset. - DW.



HIGH STRANGENESS: Apocalyptic Black Snow Falls On Siberian City - Raising Health Concerns Among Residents; Officials Say Likely Caused By Local Thermal Power Station?!

February 11, 2014 - SIBERIA - Black snow covered the ground in a city in Siberia Sunday, raising concerns among local residents, Russia's environmental watchdog said.


Soot-coloured snowfall covers the ground in Siberia's second largest city.

This is not the first time that oddly-colored snow has fallen in the West Siberian city of Omsk.

Black snow appeared in the region last winter twice in December and was likely caused by a local thermal power station, TPP-5, that was working at overload capacity, Rosprirodnadzor said.

“Work is underway. According to preliminary reports, this is again TPP-5 that has dumped ash. By Monday, the samples will be examined,” a spokesman for the watchdog said.


Urgent checks are underway to analyse the cause of the black snow flakes with suspicions
that the cause is a local thermal power station, TPP-5

'We are receiving calls about this strange snow,' said a spokesman. 'From our fifth floor window, the snow looks
like it is covered in dark and dirty soot. It's not what you expect in Siberia,' said one resident

The plant earlier said it would replace a filter for one of its tubes at an estimated cost of 150 million rubles ($4.3 million).

Omsk was covered in a white powder in August 2012 that turned out to be aluminosilicate dust from a Gazpromneft oil refinery. Experts said that it presented no threat to the population.

In 2007, Omsk residents were left wondering about yellow snow, which got its color reportedly because of dust storms in Asia. - RIA Novosti.



WAR DRUMS: Tracking The Military Buildup Towards World War III - Iran Successfully Test-Fires Long-Range Missile, Claims New Generation Of 15-Times-Faster Centrifuges And China Unveils New Mobile ICBM!

February 11, 2014 - WAR - Iran's military has successfully test-fired two new domestically made missiles, the defense minister said on Monday according to state television, ahead of talks with world powers to try to reach an agreement on curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran Successfully Test-Fires Long-Range Missile



Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said one of them was a long-range ballistic missile with radar-evading capabilities.

"The new generation of long-range ground-to-ground ballistic missile with a fragmentation warhead and the laser-guided air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missile dubbed Bina (Insightful) have been successfully test-fired," state television quoted him as saying.

"The Bina missile is capable of striking important targets such as bridges, tanks and enemy command centers with great precision."

Iran already has long-range surface-to-surface Shahab missiles with a range of about 2,000 km (1,250 miles) that are capable of reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the Middle East. However, analysts have challenged some of Iran's military assertions, saying it often exaggerates its capabilities.

President Hassan Rouhani issued a congratulatory message saying: "Iran's children successfully test-fired a new generation of missiles," the television reported.

The decision to carry out the test may be a sign of Iran's political infighting. Rouhani was criticized by a group of hardline lawmakers on Sunday for blocking a planned missile exercise. However, it was not immediately clear whether the test on Monday was the same one.

NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS

Iran and six world powers struck an interim deal in November under which Tehran agreed to limit parts of its nuclear work in return for the easing of some international sanctions.

Hardliners, irked by the foreign policy shift since Rouhani was elected in June, have repeatedly criticized the deal. Iran's most powerful authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has so far backed the deal.

Iran and the six powers will start negotiating a full agreement in Vienna on February 18. Easing of sanctions, imposed on Iran over its nuclear activities, began in late January.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and the lead U.S. negotiator with Iran, Wendy Sherman told a Senate hearing last week that Iran's ballistic missile program would be addressed as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal.

Iran's deputy foreign minister and top nuclear negotiator said Tehran had no intention of discussing its ballistic missile program with major powers.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's defensive issues are neither negotiable nor subject to compromise. They are definitely among our red lines in any talks," Abbas Araqchi told state TV on Sunday.

"We will not discuss any issue other than the nuclear dossier in the negotiations."

Iran rejects Western fears that its nuclear work has military intentions and says it needs nuclear power for electricity generation and medical research.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on Monday signaled its determination to get to the bottom of suspicions that Iran may have worked on designing an atomic bomb. - Yahoo.


Iran Claims New Generation Of 15-Times-Faster Centrifuges
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors (2nd and 3rd left) and Iranian technicians at Natanz nuclear
power plant south of Tehran on January, 20, 2014 (Photo credit: Kazem Ghane/IRNA/AFP)

Iran’s nuclear chief declared that his country has developed a new generation of centrifuges 15 times more powerful than those currently being used to enrich uranium, and said it might resume enrichment to 60% if necessary. “We unveiled a new generation of centrifuges that surprised the Westerners,” said Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday. “This new machine is 15 times more powerful than the previous generation,” he claimed, according to Iran’s state broadcaster IRIB.
Salehi added that the development did not violate the November 24 Geneva interim agreement between Iran and six world powers that has imposed curbs on Tehran’s nuclear drive. “We successfully argued that this was allowed within the research and development article in the agreement,” Salehi said.

Talks between Iran and the six powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — on a long-term, “comprehensive” accord are due to start in Vienna on February 18. Ahead of them, Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs is to lead a delegation for talks with the chief US negotiator with Iran, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.

Sherman last week told a Senate hearing that Iran’s ballistic missile program would be addressed in the comprehensive deal.

But on Monday Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi, who is also a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator, said “the defense-related issues are a red line for Iran.”

“We will not allow such issues to be discussed in future talks,” he said.

Sherman also argued that Iran does not require an unfinished heavy water reactor in Arak – which could one day produce plutonium as a by-product – nor the underground Fordo uranium enrichment site for its civilian nuclear program.

But another Iranian nuclear negotiator, Majid Takhte Ravanchi, on Monday reiterated that Iran would not accept the closure of “any of its nuclear sites.”

Last week, Salehi said Iran could make changes to Arak’s design to produce less plutonium and “allay the worries.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the US and the international community for the Geneva deal, which he called a “historic mistake,” and he is demanding that Iran’s entire “military nuclear” capability be dismantled under a permanent accord. US President Barack Obama, by contrast, has said he could envisage Iran being left with a heavily supervised enrichment capability under a permanent deal.

Iran currently has nearly 19,000 centrifuges, including 10,000 of the so-called first generation being used to enrich uranium. Some 1,000 second generation machines, three to five times more powerful, have been installed but are not in service. Under the November deal, Iran cannot increase the number of its centrifuges.

Salehi did not say when the new centrifuges would become operational, but said a first machine was to be delivered to a medical centre in Karaj, west of Tehran, “within two or three months.”

In a recent interview with The Times of Israel, former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren warned that Iran was continuing to develop its centrifuges, and that more sophisticated models would enable it to speed more quickly to nuclear weapons if it chose to try to break out to the bomb. “If the talks break down,” he warned, “and you [the Iranians] quickly install your additional 9,000 centrifuges, among them the IR2s, which really give you [the equivalent of] about 24,000 centrifuges. And you have a stockpile [of enriched uranium]. And maybe you’ve done some research and development, that actually gives you some [centrifuges] closer to an IR3, which has an even higher rate of accumulation than the IR2s, how long is it going to take you [to break out]?”

In his remarks Monday, Salehi also said that despite the current halt in Iran’s uranium enrichment above the 5% grade, as agreed in the Geneva interim deal which took effect in late January, Iran has not and will not give up its right to enrich uranium to the 20% grade and may even resume enrichment to 60% if needed.

“We have met our needs to the 20-percent-enriched fuel (for the Tehran research reactor and medical purposes) and we have enough fuel, but we have not lost our right to produce 20 percent fuel,” he said, according to the Fars news agency.

He claimed Iran was entitled to enrich uranium to any level it wanted, and said, “We have the ability to enrich uranium at 60 percent grade if one day we need it for peaceful works.” - Times of Israel.




China Unveils New Mobile ICBM
China's DF-41 missile.

China’s military recently disclosed a new photo of its longest-range mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a key element of Beijing’s large-scale strategic nuclear buildup.

The photograph of the missile reportedly leaving a manufacturing plant in China was posted online Jan. 31 in what a military enthusiast website stated was the transfer of the missile from a factory to a military unit.

The photograph shows the mobile missile covered in blue tarp and escorted by security police from the factory.

The Chinese military frequently discloses such images online as part of efforts to highlight its nuclear forces, among the most secret elements of Beijing’s military forces.

According to the online posting by a user identified only as “witten,” the missile was described as the Second Artillery Corps’ Dong Feng-41 (DF-41) ICBM.

The bulletin board stated that the missile is considered China’s SS-27 ICBM, a reference to Russia’s road-mobile Topol-M missile.

The user stated that the 16-wheeled transporter erector launcher and missile was concealed by the tarp in order to conceal its “infrared defense capabilities.”

The online report also said the DF-41 is “lower to the ground and shorter” than the SS-27 and was adapted to transit on Chinese “mountain terrain, rail and road tunnels.”

According to the post, the lower ground profile allows the missile to “to move from tunnel to tunnel during the gap when satellites are out of range”—a reference to China’s 3,000 miles of underground nuclear tunnels and production facilities for nuclear forces.

The underground nuclear network was disclosed two years ago as part of a Georgetown University arms control project that labeled the system “the Great Underground Wall” of China’s nuclear facilities.

Disclosure of the missile photo came two weeks after the Washington Free Beacon was the first to report on Dec. 17 that China had conducted a second flight of the DF-41.

The new missile is considered a major step forward in China’s strategic nuclear arsenal. The missile is difficult to track because of its mobility. It also is assessed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be outfitted with up to 10 multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles capable of reaching the United States.

The flight test was monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies from a launch at the Wuzhai missile launch center in Shanxi province, according to U.S. officials.

An earlier flight test took place July 24, 2012.

The new mobile missile is estimated to have a range of between 6,835 and 7,456 miles.

The Pentagon has yet to list the DF-41 as part of the Chinese strategic arsenal, currently made up of a number of older silo-based missiles and newer DF-31 and DF-31A mobile missiles.

The Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center in a report made public in May did not name the DF-41 but referred to the development of a new long-range ICBM with multiple warheads.

“China may also be developing a new road-mobile ICBM capable of carrying a MIRV payload, and the number of warheads on Chinese ICBMs capable of threatening the United States is expected to grow to well over 100 in the next 15 years,” the report stated.

Officials said the reference to the new ICBM was meant for the DF-41, whose existence remains secret within the U.S. government.

A Chinese language banner on the road where the photo is taken has been censored, suggesting the banner may be related to the missile factory or the military unit receiving the missile.

The censorship also indicates that the photo is likely an official leak.

China analysts say the People’s Liberation Army frequently discloses new or developmental weapons systems, including stealth jets and unmanned aerial vehicles, as part of preparation for a later formal unveiling of the weapons systems.

Former military intelligence official Larry Wortzel told a congressional hearing recently that the DF-41 is an element of China’s strategic nuclear buildup.

“China is enhancing its nuclear deterrent capability by modernizing its nuclear force,” Wortzel said Nov. 20. “It is taking measures such as developing a new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-41. This missile could be equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), allowing it to carry as many as 10 nuclear warheads.”

Wortzel also said it likely China could outfit the DF-41 with penetration aids—decoys and other simulated warheads designed to fool U.S. missile defense sensors. - Free Beacon.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Military Plane Crashes In Algeria - At Least 103 Feared Dead!

February 11, 2014 - ALGERIA - At least 103 people are feared killed after a military cargo plane went down in north-eastern Algeria, reports the country's Annahar TV channel.


File Photo: An Hercules C-130 ( Reuters / Yves Herman)

An officer in Algeria’s intelligence service, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that 103 people died onboard the plane, AP reported.

According to the channel, the plane crashed in a mountainous area in the Oum El Bouaghi province. Shortly before that, communication with the jet was cut off, military sources told the channel.

The cause of the crash could have been bad weather conditions, according to preliminary information, local daily newspaper Elkhabar reported. Witnesses in the area said it clipped a mountain and then crashed, AP reported.

The exact number of victims is not yet clear, sources in the Algerian army say. The military reportedly do not rule out that there might have been survivors in the crash. According to Elkhabar, 123 people were killed in the crash.

The plane was heading to the city of Constantine located in the northwest of the country, according to military sources, RIA Novosti reports.

Families of military staff were travelling on the plane, Al-Arabiya reported. The C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed with 99 passengers and four crew members onboard.


Image: Google.

Ambulances have been sent to the scene of the crash. The authorities have not yet released a statement on the crash, and no official death toll was immediately available.

The C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop aircraft, originally designed for troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport.

The last major plane crash in Algeria occurred on March 6, 2003, when a plane heading from Tamanrasset in the south of the country crashed with 103 people on board. Only one person survived on that occasion. - RT.



MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: More Snow Targets The Battered U.S. East Coast - The Major Winter Storm ‘Could Be Biggest Of The Season;’ Hundreds Of Flights Canceled At Southern Airports; States Of Emergency In Alabama And Georgia; After Run On Groceries, Georgians Wait For The Storm That Could Knock Out Power Grid!

February 11, 2014 - UNITED STATES - A major winter storm is expected to barrel up the East Coast mid-week, bringing a potentially significant snowfall to the already winter weary Washington region.  The powerful Nor’easter is forecast to blow into the mid-Atlantic region sometime after dark Wednesday should dump at least 4 to 6 inches of snow on the area before blowing north by Thursday afternoon.

Major Winter Storm ‘Could Be Biggest Of The Season’
The D.C. area was hit with snowfall on Jan. 21. (Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

WUSA 9 meteorologist Howard Bernstein cautions the storm could be much larger.  “If this storm maxes out we could see double that in some spots,” said Bernstein.  His colleague Topper Shutt agrees.  “This could be the biggest storm of the season,” said Shutt. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the entire D.C. and Baltimore metro areas from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Thursday. A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant snow accumulations that may impact travel, according to the National Weather Service.  The storm is expected to move in from the south Wednesday evening. The heaviest snow should fall between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 3 p.m. Thursday, so the Thursday morning commute could be messy.  The NWS warns that roads may become snow covered and slippery, and travel may be dangerous Wednesday night and Thursday. Snow likely will be wet and heavy, and wind gusts up to 30 mph could lead to power outages.


Image: AccuWeather


Snowfall totals will depend on the storm’s path, and NWS Meteorologist Amy Bettwy says it’s still too early to pinpoint its track.  “There are some differences in this storm system between the weather models. Some of them are showing more rain mixing in and some of them are showing even heavier snow,” Bettwy says. “So there are some uncertainties still, but the potential for a high-impact storm looks likely.”


Probability of more than 8 inches of snow by 8 p.m. Thursday, according to National Weather Service

If the storm shifts east, the heaviest snow could fall along the I-95 corridor. If the storm stays along the coastline, a surge of warmer air from the ocean would turn precipitation into a wintry mix or rain.  “Mainly along the I-95 corridor and east, there is larger potential for sleet and possibly rain to mix in, especially on Thursday,” Bettwy added. “Farther west of that area looks like it could be mostly snow for this storm.” - CBS.




Hundreds Of Flights Canceled At Southern Airports.
Image: AccuWeather


As a winter storm with potential to coat the South with ice and snow moves in, nearly 900 flights have been canceled at three of the region's major airports.  Tracking service FlightAware shows that before dawn Tuesday, 894 flights for the day had been canceled into and out of the main airports in Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, N.C.  Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the main hub for Delta Air Lines, led the nation in Tuesday flight cancellations with 368.  Delta is allowing customers expecting to travel through several Southeastern cities from Tuesday to Thursday to make free one-time changes to their itineraries. The waiver applies to travelers passing through Atlanta; the Carolinas; Huntsville, Ala.; and Norfolk, Va. - AP.



After Run On Groceries, Georgians Wait For Storm That Could Knock Out Power Grid.
Georgia governor declares state of emergency as shoppers make purchases of groceries.

If you're an Atlantan making a last-minute grocery run, here's hoping you love corn and asparagus. Because that's all that may be left on most shelves as residents stock up and hunker down for what forecasters say will be a massive ice storm.  Gone are the loaves of bread. The gallons of milk. The cans of beans and beer.  Two weeks after a few inches of snow paralyzed Atlanta and embarrassed the state, both residents and government officials say they aren't taking any chances.  "I think we're certainly ahead of the game this time and that's important," Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters Monday. "We're trying to be ready and prepared and react as quickly as possible."

Deal declared a weather-related state of emergency for 45 counties well before snow, sleet and rain were expected to hit.  The Atlanta Public Schools and a host of other systems across North Georgia announced they would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  Even before the first raindrops fell, Jagannathan Santhanam had decided to throw in the towel.  "I will work from home and keep my kids home, too," said the software developer. "It was not fun, especially with family members stranded for more than 24 hours in different places during the last storm." Charles Davidson also opted for a similar strategy.  "My wife and I decided a few days ago that we were going to get groceries early in the day, and we're going to stay in," he said. "We're going to stick around for the next two or three days."  It took Davidson more than seven hours to get from Georgia Tech near downtown Atlanta to his home in Marietta, a northwest suburb.

Concern about ice's impact on power

Because this is an ice storm, officials are especially concerned.  The storm in late January dumped 2.6 inches on metro Atlanta and shut down the area.  This storm has the potential of knocking out the power grid.  "When you're talking about the amount of ice we're looking at, it's catastrophic," said Aaron Strickland, Georgia Power Co.'s storm center manager. "What will happen is that the ice will build up on trees, trees will come down and take down the power lines. ... So it is an event that we are extremely fearful of, but we're preparing (by) bringing in outside help at this time."  Snow, sleet and rain are in the forecast through Wednesday morning with temperatures in the 30s. By Wednesday, ice on the roads could make driving "hazardous or impossible," forecasters from the National Weather Service warned.

The city's northern suburbs could get 1 to 2 inches of snow, with up to 8 inches blanketing the northeast Georgia mountains.  Because of last month's debacle in handing the winter weather, much of the focus has been on Georgia, but ice and snow will threaten large chunks of the Deep South, from Texas to the Carolinas.  On Monday night, sleet fell in Texas, and as many as 3 inches fell in Arkansas. By Tuesday morning, snow was falling in northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia and northwest South Carolina.  Heavier precipitation is expected Tuesday night and Wednesday.  The storm also could bring snow as far north as Pennsylvania and New Jersey -- areas more accustomed to the wintry mix.  The system was taking its toll on air travel across the region.  Airlines announced about 900 flight cancellations Tuesday ahead of the storms. The greatest concentrations, according to Flight Aware.com, are in airports in Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Governor advises 'extreme caution'

Still for Georgia, this storm is the first test for a 32-member severe weather task force created after the January 28 storm. The group is taking a more proactive approach.  Deal told reporters Monday the state was doing everything it could.  "We are making every effort to be prepared for these events, and I would simply say that we should all individually use extreme caution," he said.  When the storm struck two weeks ago, traffic gridlock occurred almost instantaneously as commuters fled Atlanta en masse. Thousands of children across northern Georgia spent the night in schools, and countless motorists endured 20-plus hour commutes, if they were lucky enough to get home at all.  At Monday's press conference, the governor urged the driving public to be careful. He spoke at a state Department of Transportation facility gearing up for inclement weather.

Stocking up

Snowed Out Atlanta, the Facebook group where Georgia residents asked for and offered help during the last storm, was ramping back up Monday.  The forum posted alerts about school closings and the possibility of power outages and tips about how to prepare for the storm.  And there were also -- shall we say -- more practical tips.  One featured a drift packed with a wide variety of brews.  Says the caption: "The best part about snow is that it keeps my beer extra cold."  There's nothing like a silver lining. - CNN.



Ice Storm Unfolds, Forces States Of Emergency In Alabama And Georgia.


With a major winter storm unfolding over the South, snow and ice will severely impact travelers and residents from Texas to the Carolinas through midweek.  Snow, sleet, rain and freezing rain began across the region on Monday night and is forecast to continue through much of Tuesday. During this day, the wintry precipitation will focus on an area stretching from southern North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, across northern Alabama, central Mississippi and into central Texas.  Road conditions are expected to deteriorate throughout Tuesday as flight delays and cancellations mount, but the worst of the storm looks to hold off until Wednesday and will focus from the southern Appalachians to just inland of the Atlantic coast in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Nearly 600 flights have been cancelled at Atlanta International Airport alone as of Tuesday midday.  Just a few of the many cities that will feel the impacts of this storm on Tuesday include Dallas, Shreveport, La.; Tupelo, Miss.; Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala.; Atlanta; Columbia, S.C.; and Fayetteville, N.C.  In many cases, roads may be too dangerous for travel. There is the potential to become stranded. If you drive, there is the risk of not only putting yourself at risk but also your would-be rescuers.  For folks that absolutely must travel, allow extra time in anticipation for delays as the snow and ice can rapidly accumulate on roadways, especially on bridges and overpasses.  While sleet is hazardous and difficult to remove, freezing rain brings the greatest risk for power outages and travel. This storm will bring both to many communities. However, the communities that receive between 0.50 and 1.00 inch of freezing rain could face severe problems.  On Monday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced a State of Emergency for 45 counties in the state ahead of the winter storm. Also on Monday, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued a state of emergency for the entire state.


Image: AccuWeather

The worst of the storm appears as though it will hold off until Wednesday when the potential for a heavy ice buildup is most likely along the I-85 corridor.  According to Senior Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, "There is the potential for a historic ice storm from northern Georgia to central and upstate South Carolina to central North Carolina Tuesday night and Wednesday."  The area from Atlanta to Columbia, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C., may be ground zero for the ice storm. Some communities may experience great devastation from freezing rain.  A heavy buildup of freezing rain on trees and power lines can lead to scores of fallen trees, widespread power outages and bring travel to a halt.

"A number of communities over the interior South may have more significant, much longer-lasting sleet, freezing rain and snow when compared to the storm from late January," AccuWeather.com Southern Weather Expert Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.  It may take many days for power to be completely restored across this area due to heavy icing over such a large area.  Heavy snow will fall on the northern Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia mountains with some locations forecast to receive a foot of snow or more. A half a foot to a foot of snow may fall Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C., and Roanoke, Va.  Although locations along the I-10 corridor will escape the danger the ice brings, heavy rain associated with the storm can lead to localized flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.  Parts of central Florida may even have a few strong to severe thunderstorms.  This storm will continue to track up the East coast heading into Thursday, delivering over a foot of snow to portions of the Northeast. - AccuWeather.



THE GREAT DELUGE: "First Time In HISTORY That We Have Seen Damage On This Scale,... No Space For Bodies,..." - At Least 60 Dead In Burundi Flood And Landslide Disaster; 81 Wounded; 400 Houses Destroyed; Hundreds Of Homes Swept Away; Many Roads Cut Off; Power Outages Nationwide! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

February 11, 2014 - BURUNDI - At least 60 people perished in flooding and landslides in a night of torrential rain in the Burundi capital that swept away hundreds of homes and cut off roads and power, officials said Monday.


People look at destruction caused by heavy landslides on February 10, 2014 in Bujumbura
(AFP Photo/Esdras Ndikumana)

Police in Bujumbura said the toll was the highest in living memory from a disaster caused by freak weather, with scores of people injured.

"The rain that fell in torrents overnight on the capital caused a disaster," Security Minister Gabriel Nizigama told reporters.

"So far we have registered 60 people killed, 81 wounded and more than 400 houses destroyed," said Alexis Manirakiza, a spokesman for the Burundi Red Cross, adding that most of the victims were children.

He said three other provinces close to the capital -- Cibitoke, Bubanza and Bujumbura Rural -- had also been affected by torrential rain and said the nationwide toll could yet rise further.

Torrential rains began battering the city late Sunday and houses in the poorer parts of town are often built from mud bricks, which offer no resistance to torrents of water and mud.


The bodies of people who perished in flooding and landslides in Bujumbura are laid on the ground before
being transported to morgues (AFP Photo/Esdras Ndikumana)


"It's the first time in the history of Bujumbura that we have seen damage on this scale," Bujumbura mayor Saidi Juma said, calling for "solidarity on a national and international scale" to help the city cope.

In the district of Kinama in the hardest hit north of the city, a stream broke its banks, with waters rising to shoulder level in some places.

By midday the flooding had subsided, leaving scenes of devastation.

Zawadi, a mother-of-five, stood in the ruins of her Kinama home, feeding her five-month-old baby surrounded by jerry cans and muddy clothing.

"I heard the children shouting during the night," she said, recounting how she had gone into their room to find them standing up on their bed, which was already under water.


People stand next to a road after a heavy landslide that destroyed houses on February 10, 2014 in
Bujumbura (AFP Photo/Esdras Ndikumana)

The whole family was able to run outside before the walls caved in, but one neighbouring family was less fortunate, with the parents and their three children crushed to death.

On the western outskirts of Bujumbura, residents told similar stories.

"Around midnight we heard something cracking and we all ran outside for fear the house would fall on us," said Gaudence Nyandwi, whose father Venant was being transferred from an improvised stretcher to a car, his face contorted in pain.

'No space for bodies'

"My father went back inside to see if he could save anything and the house fell on him. We think he might have a broken leg," Nyandwi told AFP.

Burials of the victims began Monday.


WATCH: Floods and landslides hit the Burundi capital, Bujumbura.




Nizigama said this was because there was not enough space for their bodies in the capital's mortuaries.

He was speaking at a police station in the worst affected northern part of Bujumbura, where an AFP journalist saw 27 bodies covered in white sheeting.

Nizigama, touring the disaster zone with other ministers, promised food aid to those who lost their homes and said the government would bear the cost of burying relatives and would provide new housing.

Torrential rain fell solidly for 10 hours overnight, causing power cuts in whole areas of the city which lies on the northeastern shore of Lake Tanganyika.

The road leading out of the capital to neighbouring Rwanda was blocked because of a landslide while a bridge was washed away on the road to the Democratic Republic of Congo. - Yahoo.