Fatal chemical accidents expose weak federal laws


 
Jan. 29, 2014   
 

 
Ray Gonzalez holds his granddaughter Elizabeth Rodriguez in May 2004, six months before he died at age 54 from massive burns he incurred during a chemical explosion at the former BP refinery in Texas City, Texas.  /  Katherine Rodriguez

USA Today

by Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
USA Today

by Wendy Koch, USA TODAY

 

Tammy Miser and Katherine Rodriguez share a heartbreaking bond. They’ve each lost a loved one — a brother, a father — to chemical accidents a decade ago that burned at least 80% of the men’s bodies.

The U.S. government, after investigating the tragedies in Indiana and Texas, recommended changes in federal rules so more such industrial explosions wouldn’t happen.

But more have happened, and the two women are still waiting for Washington to deliver.

“I’m extremely frustrated. Almost all the families (of victims) are,” says Miser, whose brother Shawn Boone was killed at age 33 in an aluminum dust explosion at the former Hayes Lemmerz factory in Huntington, Ind., in October 2003.

Their stories reveal glaring gaps in the nation’s web of laws that govern the use of hazardous chemicals — a cautionary tale as West Virginia tries to clean up a massive chemical spill begun earlier this month.

Federal officials know little about the health risks of the two potentially toxic chemicals that Freedom Industries’ storage tank leaked into the Elk River near Charleston, W.V., contaminating the local water supply of 300,000 residents.

That’s not unusual. The primary U.S. law on chemical use, the 38-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act, doesn’t require manufacturers to test for toxicity. It barely covers most chemicals on the market, because their use preceded the law and is largely exempt. The legislation can’t be fixed without action by Congress.

At the same time, the independent federal agency that’s investigating the West Virginia spill — along with the explosions that killed Boone and Rodriguez’s father, Ray Gonzalez — has no enforcement power. So the Chemical Safety Board’s probes, which sometimes take years, lead to recommendations that too often are ignored.

The CSB has more than 160 pending recommendations, including some a decade old and 12 from three prior accidents in West Virginia since 2007. It says companies and government officials have given “unacceptable” responses to 31, and it’s closed the book on 18 of them.

“At some point, you have to deal with reality,” says the CSB’s managing director, Daniel Horowitz,adding his tiny staff tracks 700 recommendations and needs to weed out those least likely to be carried out.  It has stopped pushing, for example, for Indiana to train fire inspectors about aluminum dust explosion hazards — which killed Boone — or for Houston to adopt new safety rules for storage containers holding pressurized gases after a tank exploded at a Marcus Oil facility in the city in 2004.

“There’s a lot that’s not covered,” Horowitz says of the “patchwork” of U.S. laws on chemical use. He says Congress had “big intentions” when it created his agency and passed environmental laws including the Clear Air Act and the Clean Water Act in the  early 1990s. But major gaps remain. Many worker-safety rules date from the 1960s.

“It’s just a mess. … The whole process has been a total failure, and we’re facing the consequences now,” says Noah Sachs, director of the University of Richmond School of Law’s Center for Environmental Studies. He published a report this month that finds Virginia has more than 65 companies storing more than a million pounds of chemicals — many near rivers. He says it faces many of the same risks as its neighbor to the west.

No one knows how often chemical accidents occur, because there’s no reliable and robust database. The National Response Center, a hotline run by the Coast Guard, takes reports of such accidents but doesn’t verify the details. So its data is wrong 90% of the time, according to an analysis of 750,000 federal records last year by the Dallas Morning News.

Horowitz says chemical accidents are “certainly not showing a downward trend,” based on his agency’s limited count — 334 “high-consequence” incidents causing death, injuries or $500,000-plus in property damage in 2012, up from 282 in 2011. For one investigation, it looked at 167 accidents involving uncontrolled chemical reactions that caused 108 deaths and hundreds of millions in property damages over a 22-year period. It’s studied multiple fatal explosions caused by combustible dust.

“My father had burns to 80% of his body and endured multiple skin graft surgeries and painful daily cleaning of his skin,” Rodriguez told the CSB in July, saying he suffered in the hospital more than two months before dying at age 54 in Nov. 2004. Six months later at the same BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, another blast killed 15 other workers and injured 180.

Miser’s brother lost his eyesight from the Indiana blast, and doctors said the third- and fourth-degree burns that covered at least 90% of his body destroyed his internal organs. The hospital’s pastor told Miser he hadn’t seen anything that bad since wartime. She says her brother’s last words haunt her: “I’m in a world of hurt.”

      Multiple weak spots   

“The West Virginia spill shows our policies have failed,” says Andy Igrejas, national campaign director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition advocating for tougher rules.

The coal-cleaning chemical that was spilled  — 4-methyl-cyclohexane-methanol (MCHM) — has a material safety data sheet that lists “no data available” on carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity and more than 100 other items. The manufacturer, Eastman Chemical Company, says it’s “harmful if swallowed.” Federal officials largely based their decision on its likely safe level in drinking water on a single, non-peer-reviewed study on rats.

Several federal laws address the use of chemicals, including separate ones for pesticides and cosmetics. Together, though, they cover only a small share of the total.

The main law, TSCA, grandfathered in about 62,000 of the 80,000-plus chemicals now in use — including MCHM — when it was passed in 1976. Unlike the European Union’s approach, it doesn’t require companies to prove their chemicals are safe, instead putting the onus on government to prove they’re not. In essence, Igrejas says, chemicals are “innocent until proven guilty.”

The law allows the Environmental Protection Agency to require safety data or testing of newer chemicals only if it can justify the requirement.  Problem is: EPA is rarely given the data to make its case.

“It’s a circular problem. … It puts EPA in a tight spot,” says Jennifer Sass, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “The entire system is rigged to favor the chemical companies and the users of these chemicals,”  she says, adding many spills and explosions are really not “accidents” but preventable “incidents.”

The chemical industry says TSCA has provided protections but needs to be updated. “The regulatory laws do need to be enhanced,” says Anne Kolton, spokeswoman of the American Chemistry Council, saying scientists have learned a lot since 1976 about how chemicals can affect human health.

Her group welcomes a bipartisan update proposed in May by Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and the late Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. She says it would allow EPA to identify priority chemicals for additional safety information. She says not all chemicals need to tested, because many have similar properties and the EPA has “sophisticated tools” to assess those with potential hazards.

But David Rosenberg, a chemical safety expert at the NRDC, says the  measure isn’t strong enough: “It’s a deeply flawed bill and should not move forward without extensive revisions,” he says.

“I understand what they’re saying, but you have to start somewhere,” says Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. He says Lautenberg, who passed away in early June after spending years trying to update TSCA, asked him to help craft a b-partisan bill.

Manchin, a governor for six years before arriving in Congress in 2010, says some people accuse the industry of writing the bill and others accuse the environmentalists of doing so. “They’re all good people,” he says,  “but I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”

“We continue to work toward finding consensus,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said in a statement. She said the proposed update needs to be “stronger than current law” so “negotiations are continuing.”

Manchin and Boxer teamed up on a new spill-prevention bill, introduced on Monday, to strengthen the Safe Water Drinking Act. The legislation wouldn’t update TSCA but would require emergency response plans and regular state inspections of above-ground chemical storage facilities. Manchin says he expects GOP support.

Not everyone agrees Congress needs to act. “I am entirely confident that there are ample regulations already on the books to protect the health and safety of the American people,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a press conference after the West Virginia spill. He added: “Someone needs to be held accountable here.”

The EPA is partly to blame, according to several reports by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The GAO says the EPA has been too slow in updating or completing safety reviews of chemicals in its limited database — the Integrated Risk Information System. Sass and other environmentalists say the EPA lacks sufficient resources.

The Chemical Safety Board, hailed by victims’ families for its thorough investigations, has also received criticism. Its number of accident reports, case studies and safety bulletins have dropped considerably since 2006, according to an analysis last year by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan research group. Of its 13 ongoing investigations, three are of accidents that happened in 2009.

“The CSB is drastically overburdened,” Horowitz says, noting it has a $10 million annual budget and only 20 investigators He says it had a 22-case backlog when Congress asked it to investigate the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which is not yet complete. “We don’t have the manpower to finish everything as quickly as we’d like.”

      Changes sought   

For nearly a decade, the CSB has repeatedly recommended that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue new rules to prevent explosions from metal and other types of dust, which can combust when they are left on surfaces and exposed to other chemicals.

OSHA has yet to do so. The House passed a bill in 2008 that would have required the agency to issue a final standard within 18 months, but the legislation died in the Senate. In a 2012 report, the GAO said it takes an average of nearly 8 years for OSHA to finalize safety standards.

“Writing a combustible dust standard continues to be a priority,” Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of Labor for OSHA, said in a statement. “The realities of the regulatory process don’t allow that to happen overnight, but we continue to work toward that end.”

The United States is “further behind much of the world, and not just the developed world” in tackling chemical safety, says Richard Denison, senior scientist at the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund. In recent years, he says China has adopted rules that are stricter than U.S. ones, the European Union consolidated about 40 laws into one and Canada finished a systematic review of 20,000-plus chemicals in use.

President Obama is pushing for progress. He issued an executive order in August that  tasks federal agencies with improving the security and safety of facilities that make, store or use chemicals. A “working group” has held “listening sessions” across the country to solicit ideas for modernizing rules, developing best practices and bolstering coordination with state and local officials.

“The federal government is examining the need to improve safety,” says Mathy Stanislaus, who heads EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. By the end of May, he says officials will submit a plan to fill the gaps in U.S. laws that deal with preventing and responding to chemical incidents.

Families of workers killed by them say progress isn’t coming fast enough.

“There’s so much more that can be done,” says Rodriguez, a Houston-area certified public accountant who has become an advocate for chemical safety. She says OSHA’s $102,500 fine on BP for the explosion that killed her father is “not a very persuasive motivator” for large corporations.

“He was a great dad. He always made sure his family was taken care of,” she says, noting he quit his job as a butcher when she was a toddler so he could earn more money as a BP worker and better support his wife and four daughters. She says her three young children will never know him — the man who never failed to ask how she was doing. “I just miss sitting and talking to him and hearing him say, ‘I’m proud of you.’ “

Copyright 2014  USATODAY.com

Polar Vortex


2014 North American cold wave

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

It has been suggested that 2013 North American cold wave be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2014.

2014 North American cold wave

GOES-13 2 Jan 2014 1745z satellite.png

A GOES 13 satellite image of the severe winter weather on January 2

Formed
January 2, 2014

Lowest pressure
939 hPa (27.7 inHg)[1]

Damage
$5 billion (United States)[2]

Fatalities
21[3][4]

Areas affected
Canada
United States
Mexico

The 2014 North American cold wave was an extreme weather event affecting parts of Canada and the United States east of the Rocky Mountains,[5] extending as far south as Central Florida,[6] and Northeastern Mexico. An Arctic cold front, initially associated with a nor’easter on January 2, tracked across Canada and the United States, resulting in heavy snowfall. Temperatures fell to unprecedented levels due to the front, and consequently low temperature records were broken across the U.S., leading to business, school, and road closures, as well as mass flight cancellations.[7][8][9][10] Records of meteorological data have been kept by the United States Weather Bureau since it was established in 1870. Altogether more than 200 million people were affected, in an area ranging from Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean and extending south to include roughly 187 million Americans in the Continental United States.[11]

Contents [hide]
1 Meteorology 1.1 Sudden stratospheric warming
1.2 Jet stream

2 Record cold temperatures 2.1 United States
2.2 Canada

3 Related extreme weather 3.1 United States
3.2 Canada
3.3 Mexico
3.4 Europe

4 Impact 4.1 United States
4.2 Canada
4.3 Ecological

5 Government response 5.1 United States
5.2 Canada

6 Possible role of anthropogenic climate change
7 See also
8 References

Meteorology[edit]

The polar vortex

Map of a compact blob over the Arctic

The typical polar vortex configuration in November, 2013…

Map of a blobs spreading from the Arcitc

…A wavy polar vortex on January 5, 2014.

Sudden stratospheric warming[edit]

The breakdown of the polar vortex and subsequent southward movement of tropospheric Arctic air was caused by sudden stratospheric warming (SSW),[12] a phenomenon discovered in 1952. NASA states, “A major midwinter SSW event occurs when polar stratospheric temperatures increase by at least 25 in one week, and the zonal-mean zonal wind at or near 10 (at about 30 km altitude) reverses direction and becomes easterly north of 60° N.”[13]

Jet stream[edit]

An initial contrast formed between cold air in Canada and mild winter temperatures in the United States.[7] The Met Office said the pressure difference caused significant winds where the air masses met, strengthening the jet stream, which went off-course and brought the cold air south. Winds led to bitter wind chills, worsening the impact of the record cold temperatures.[7] New Scientist magazine reported the weak jet stream as being the cause rather than a polar vortex, as there is an altitude difference.[14]

Record cold temperatures[edit]

Locations throughout the U.S. and Canada experienced record cold temperatures (since 1870, when data began to be collected by the U.S. Weather Bureau).[15] Both the Midwestern United States and most of Canada had temperatures colder than the North Pole, which had a low of −20 °F (−29 °C), and the South Pole, which had a morning low of −6 °F (−21 °C).[16] On January 7, much of the eastern Canadian prairies and Ontario experienced day-long temperatures colder than the concurrent equatorial summer temperatures on Mars,[17] on which the rover “Curiosity” measured a high of −29 °C (−20 °F).[18] However, in most of Canada, those temperatures did not set records.

United States[edit]

Chicago on January 7, 2014, with vapor rising off Lake Michigan

Vapor rising from the Chicago River on January 7, 2014

Ice formations on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia
The area of very cold air covered over most of the Midwestern and eastern U.S., and extended as far south as Tampa, Florida and Houston, Texas. Dozens of cold-weather records were broken, with the most southerly areas setting the most records.

On January 5, 2014, Green Bay, Wisconsin was −18 °F (−28 °C). The previous record low for this day was set in 1979.[19]

On January 6, 2014, Babbitt, Minnesota was the coldest place in the country at −37 °F (−38 °C). The cold air reached as far as Dallas, which experienced a low temperature of 16 °F (−9 °C).

The low temperature at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago was −16 °F (−27 °C) on January 6. The previous record low for this day was −14 °F (−26 °C), set in 1884 and tied in 1988.[9][20] The National Weather Service adopted the Twitter hashtag #Chiberia (a portmanteau of Chicago and Siberia) for the cold wave coverage in Chicago[21] and local media adopted the term as well.[22][23] In spite of cold temperatures and stiff winds which exceeded the 23 mph wind and -23 air temperature when Chicago set its all-time wind chill record of −82 °F (−63 °C) in 1983, Chicago did not break the record because the NWS had adopted a new wind chill formula in 2001.[24]

The average daily temperature for the United States on January 6 was calculated to be 17.9 °F (−7.8 °C). The last time the average for the country was below 18 was January 13, 1997; the 17-year gap was the longest on record.[25]

On January 7, at least 49 record lows for the day were set across the country.[26] On the night of January 6–7, Detroit hit a low temperature of −14 °F (−26 °C) breaking the records for both dates. The high temperature of −1 °F (−18 °C) on January 7 was only the sixth day in 140 years of records to have a subzero high.[27] On January 7, 2014, the temperature in Central Park in New York City was 4 °F (−16 °C). The previous record low for the day was set in 1896, twenty-five years after records began to be collected by the government.[28] Pittsburgh bottomed out at −9 °F (−23 °C), setting a new record low on January 6–7. Cleveland also set a record low on those dates at −11 °F (−24 °C). Temperatures in Atlanta fell to 6 °F (−14 °C), breaking the old record for January 7 of 10 °F (−12 °C) which was set in 1970. Temperatures fell to −6 °F (−21 °C) at Brasstown Bald, Georgia.[29] The cold air reached as far as Tampa, which experienced temperatures as low as 24 °F (−4 °C).

Canada[edit]

The coldest parts of Canada were the eastern prairie provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the Northwest Territories. However, only Southern Ontario set temperature records.

During most of the cold wave, Winnipeg was the coldest major city in Canada. On January 6, it reached a low of −37 °C (−35 °F), while on January 7, the low was −36 °C (−33 °F). On both days, the temperature did not go above −25 °C (−13 °F). Other parts of southern Manitoba recorded lows of below −40 °C (−40 °F).[30] On January 5, the daily high in Saskatoon was −28.4 °C (−19.1 °F) with a wind chill of −46 °C (−51 °F).[31]

On January 7, 2014, a cold temperature record was set in Hamilton, Ontario: −24 °C (−11 °F);[32] London, Ontario was −25 °C (−13 °F).

Related extreme weather[edit]

Snow cover on January 6, 2014

Snow cover on January 7, 2014
Heavy snowfall or rainfall occurred on the leading edge of the weather pattern, which travelled all the way from the American Plains and Canadian prairie provinces to the East Coast. Strong winds prevailed throughout the freeze, making the temperature feel at least ten degrees colder than it actually was. In addition to rainfall, snowfall, ice, and blizzard warnings, some places along the Great Lakes were also under wind warnings.[33]

United States[edit]

In the U.S., The Weather Channel unofficially dubbed the first snow event “Hercules”.[34] On January 3, Boston had a temperature of 2 °F (−17 °C) with a −20 °F (−29 °C) wind chill, and over 7 inches (180 mm) of snow. Boxford, Massachusetts recorded 23.8 inches (600 mm). Fort Wayne, Indiana had a record low of −10 °F (−23 °C). In Michigan, over 11 inches (280 mm) of snow fell outside Detroit and temperatures around the state were near or below 0 °F (−18 °C). New Jersey had over 10 inches (250 mm) of snow, and schools and government offices closed.[35]

On January 5, a storm system crossed the Great Lakes region. In Chicago, where 5 inches (13 cm) to 7 inches (180 mm) of snow had fallen, O’Hare and Midway Airports cancelled 1200 flights.[36] Freezing rain caused a Delta Air Lines flight to skid off a taxiway and into a snowbank at John F. Kennedy International Airport, with no injuries.[37] The storms associated with the Arctic front caused numerous road closures and flight delays and cancellations.

Snowfall was lighter farther south, with between 0.5 and 2 inches (1.3 and 5.1 cm) of snow falling in Tennessee.[38]

The severe Arctic air outbreak sent temperatures in New York City plummeting to a record low of 4 °F (−16 °C) on January 7, which broke a 116-year record. The cold came after days of unseasonably warm temperatures, with daytime highs dropping as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit overnight.[39] Also on January 7, the day after a record-setting −16 °F (−27 °C), Chicago recorded −10 °F (−23 °C). Tom Kines of AccuWeather said that at the same time as Chicago was reaching its low temperature, the South Pole had a temperature of −6 °F (−21 °C). Embarrass, Minnesota had the coldest temperature in the lower 48 states with −35 °F (−37 °C), and in the Eastern United States, only south Florida was above freezing.[40] Due in part to the southern extent of the cold wave, on January 7, locations in all 50 states recorded a temperature below freezing.[41]

In the U.S., The Weather Channel unofficially dubbed the Atlanta, Georgia snow event of January 29, 2014 “Leon”.[42]

Canada[edit]

In Canada, the front brought rain and snow events to most of Canada on January 5 and 6, which became the second nor’easter in less than a week in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.[43] This weather event ended when the front pushed through, bringing the bitterly cold temperatures with it. Southwestern Ontario experienced a second round of heavy snow in the wake of the front throughout January 6 and 7 and part of January 8 due to lake-effect snow.[44] The Northwest Territories and Nunavut did not experience record-breaking cold, but had a record-breaking blizzard on January 8, when the freeze further south was coming to an end.

Much of Ontario and Quebec were under blizzard warnings.[45] Many highways in Southwestern Ontario were closed by heavy lake-effect snowfall. Local temperature in Montreal has only reached -24 °C with windchill factor overnight from January 6 to 7, however the same locations in Quebec have experienced up to -34.5 °C on the night of January 2 to 3 and up to -41 °C on the night of December 25 to 26, which were also nearing records, yet seemingly unrelated to the cold wave.

Nearly all parts of Canada under the deep freeze experienced steady winds around 30 to 40 kilometres per hour (19 to 25 mph). In some areas along the north shore of Lake Erie, those winds reached 70 km/h (43 mph), with gusts as high as 100 km/h (62 mph).[33] This brought local wind chill levels as low as −48 °C (−54 °F)[46]

Several Ontario locations along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley experienced cryoseisms or frost quakes.[47]

Mexico[edit]

Cold air rushing into the Gulf of Mexico behind the front created a Tehuano wind event, with northerly winds from the Bay of Campeche to the Gulf of Tehuantepec in Mexico reaching 41 kn (76 km/h; 47 mph).[48] Saltillo, in the North-East of the country, registered freezing drizzle and a minimum of −6 °C (21 °F).[49]

Europe[edit]

Main article: Cyclone Anne (2014)#Christina

The first winter storm associated with the cold wave crossed the Atlantic and emerged as a European windstorm, impacting the British Isles. The storm was named “Christina” by the Free University Berlin.[50]

Impact[edit]

The extreme cold weather grounded thousands of flights and seriously affected other forms of transport. Many power companies in the affected areas asked their customers to conserve electricity.

United States[edit]

Evan Gold of weather intelligence firm Planalytics called the storm and cold the worst weather event for the economy since Superstorm Sandy just over a year earlier.[51] 200 million people were affected, and Gold calculated the impact at $5 billion.[51] $50 to $100 million was lost by airlines which cancelled a total of 20,000 flights after the storm began on January 2.[51] JetBlue took a major hit because 80 percent of its flights go through New York City or Boston.[51] Tony Madden of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said with so many schools closed, parents had to stay home from work or work from home. Even the ones who could work from home, Madden said, might not have done as much.[51] Not included in the total were the insurance industry and government costs for salting roads, overtime and repairs.[citation needed]

Gold said some industries benefitted from the storm and cold, including video on demand, restaurants which offered delivery services and convenience stores.[51] People also used gift cards to buy online.[51] Hopper Research of Boston observed that searches for flights to Cancun, Mexico increased by about half in northern cities.[52]

Over a dozen deaths were attributed to the cold wave, with dangerous roadway conditions and extreme cold cited as causes.[19][53][54]

At least 3,600 flights were cancelled on January 6, and several thousand were cancelled over the preceding weekend.[7] Further delays were caused by the weather at airports that did not possess de-icing equipment.[55] At O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, the jet fuel and deicing fluids froze,[11] according to American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller[56]

Amtrak cancelled scheduled passenger rail service having connections through Chicago, due to heavy snows or extreme cold.[57] Three Amtrak trains were stranded overnight on January 6, approximately 80 miles (130 km) west of Chicago, near Mendota, Illinois, due to ice and snowdrifts on the tracks. The 500 passengers were loaded onto buses the next morning for the rest of the trip to Chicago.[58][59] Another Amtrak train was stuck near Kalamazoo, Michigan for 8 hours, while en route from Detroit to Chicago.[58] Chicago Metra commuter trains reported numerous accidents.[11] Detroit shut down its People Mover due to the low temperatures on January 7.[60]

Light snow in Tennessee
Between January 5 and 6, temperatures fell 50 °F (28 °C) in Middle Tennessee, dropping to a high of 9 °F (−13 °C) on Monday, January 6 in Nashville. During the cold wave, the strain on the power supply left 1,200 customers in Nashville without power, along with around 7,500 customers in Blount County.[38][61] The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a state of emergency.[38]

24,000 residents lost power in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.[62]

Canada[edit]

A power failure in Newfoundland, late on January 5, left 190,000 customers without electricity. Most of the outages were restored by the following day.[63]

Air transportation was delayed out of airports in Montreal and Ottawa, as well as completely cancelled at Toronto Pearson International Airport, due to concerns about de-icing.[64][65] ExpressJet, a partner of United Airlines, cancelled its flights into and out of Winnipeg, stating that the combination of extreme low temperatures and ice crystals exceeded safe operating guidelines for their airplanes. However, other airlines continued flights into and out of Winnipeg, using the same kind of equipment.[66]

Ecological[edit]

The severe cold causes high mortality among the emerald ash borer. The progressive loss of ash trees in North America due to this insect has probably been delayed by this deep freeze.[67]

Government response[edit]

The weather affected schools, roads, and public offices.[15]

United States[edit]

File:The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes.webm

‘The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes’, Video produced by The White House.[68]
In Minnesota, all public schools statewide were closed on January 6 by order of Governor Mark Dayton.[69] This had not been done in 17 years.[70]

In Indiana, more than fifty of the state’s ninety-two counties, including virtually everywhere north of Indianapolis, closed all roads to all traffic except emergency vehicles.[71]

In Michigan, the mayor of Lansing, Virg Bernero, issued a snow emergency prohibiting all non-essential travel as well as closing down non-essential government offices.[72]

In Wisconsin, schools in most (if not all) of the state were closed on January 6 as well as on January 7.[73] When the second cold wave emerged, schools were also closed on January 27 and 28.[74]

In Ohio, schools across the entire state were closed on January 6 and 7, including the state’s largest two school districts, Columbus City Schools and Cleveland Metropolitan School District.[75] The Ohio State University completely shut down on January 6 and 7, delaying the start of the spring semester by two days for the first closure on two consecutive days in 36 years.[76]

Canada[edit]

Schools in much of Southern Ontario and rural Manitoba were closed on both January 6 and 7 because of the combined threat of extreme cold, strong winds, and heavy snowfall. Outside the areas of heavy snowfall, schools remained open both days.[77]

Hamilton and Toronto issued Extreme Cold Weather Alerts and Ottawa issued a Frostbite Alert, which both open up additional shelter spaces for the homeless.[78][79]

In Quebec, all public services remained open, with the exception of tutoring and any other services requiring exterior relocation.[citation needed]

Possible role of anthropogenic climate change[edit]

Research on a possible connection between individual extreme weather events and long-term anthropogenic climate change is new and the topic of scientific debate.[80] Prior to the events of January 2014, several studies on the connection between extreme weather and the polar vortex were published suggesting a link between climate change and increasingly extreme temperatures experienced by mid-latitudes (e.g., central North America).[81] This phenomenon can be understood to result from the rapid melting of polar sea ice, which replaces white, reflective ice with dark, absorbent open water (i.e., the albedo of this region has decreased). As a result, the region has heated up faster than other parts of the globe. With the lack of a sufficient temperature difference between Arctic and southern regions to drive jet stream winds, the jet stream may have become weaker and more variable in its course, allowing cold air usually confined to the poles to reach further into the mid latitudes.[82][83][84][85]

This jet stream instability brings warm air north as well as cold air south. The patch of unusual cold over the eastern United States was matched by anomalies of mild winter temperatures across Greenland and much of the Arctic north of Canada,[86] and unusually warm conditions in Alaska.[87] A stationary high pressure ridge over the North Pacific Ocean kept California unusually warm and dry for the time of year, worsening ongoing drought conditions there.[88]

Research has led to a good documentation of the frequency and seasonality of sudden warmings: just over half of the winters since 1960 have experienced a major warming event in January or February”.[89] According to Charlton and Polvani[90] SSW in the Arctic has occurred during 60% of the winters since 1948 and 48% of these SSW events have led to the splitting of the polar vortex, leading to the same type of Arctic cold front that happened in January 2014.

A 2001 study found that “there is no apparent trend toward fewer extreme cold events on either continent over the 1948–99 period, although a long station history suggests that such events may have been more frequent in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s.”[90] A 2009 MIT study found that such events are increasing and may be caused by the rapid loss of the Arctic ice pack.[91]

SSW events of similar magnitude occurred in 1985 in North America, and in 2009 and 2010 in Europe.

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2014 North American polar vortex.
2013 North American cold wave

References[edit]

1.Jump up ^ “North America Zoom-in Surface Weather Map”. National Weather Service. 8 January 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
2.Jump up ^ “Cost of the cold: ‘polar vortex’ spell cost US economy $5bn”. The Guardian. Associated Press. January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
3.Jump up ^ “U.S. polar vortex sets record low temps, kills 21”. CBC News. January 8, 2014.
4.Jump up ^ “Polar Air Blamed For 21 Deaths Nationwide”. Chicago Defender. January 8, 2014.
5.Jump up ^ Gutro, Rob. “Polar Vortex Enters Northern U.S.”. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
6.Jump up ^ Matt Smith; Josh Levs (January 7, 2014). “‘It’s too darn cold’: Historic freeze brings rare danger warning”. CNN. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
7.^ Jump up to: a b c d “N America weather: Polar vortex brings record temperatures”. BBC News – US & Canada. BBC News Online. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
8.Jump up ^ Calamur, Krishnadev (January 5, 2014). “‘Polar Vortex’ Brings Bitter Cold, Heavy Snow To U.S.”. The Two Way. National Public Radio. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
9.^ Jump up to: a b Preston, Jennifer (January 6, 2014). “‘Polar Vortex’ Brings Coldest Temperatures in Decades”. The Lede. The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
10.Jump up ^ “Arctic Monday for 140 million as ‘POLAR VORTEX’ barrels across the US: 4,400 flights canceled, schools closed as far south as ATLANTA and the coldest temperatures recorded in 20 years”. Daily Mail. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
11.^ Jump up to: a b c Associated, The. “5 Things To Know About The Record-Breaking Freeze”. NPR. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
12.Jump up ^ Spotts, Pete (January 6, 2014). “How frigid ‘polar vortex’ could be result of global warming (+video)”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
13.Jump up ^ Coy, Lawrence; Pawson, Steven. “GEOS-5 Analyses and Forecasts of the Major Stratospheric Sudden Warming of January 2013”. NASA. Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
14.Jump up ^ Catherine Brahic; Aviva Hope Rutkin (7 January 2014). “Blame slow jet stream for US deep freeze”. New Scientist. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
15.^ Jump up to: a b Livingston, Ian (January 7, 2014). “Polar vortex delivering D.C.’s coldest day in decades, and we’re not alone”. Washington Post. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
16.Jump up ^ Sullivan, Brian K.; Malik, Naureen S. (January 7, 2014). “Chicago Colder Than South Pole as Frigid Air Clamps Down on U.S.”. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
17.Jump up ^ Kives, Bartley (January 7, 2014). “Cold inaccuracies get silly with chilly”. Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
18.Jump up ^ “‘Winnipeg deep freeze as cold as uninhabited planet'”. http://www.cbc.ca (Canadian Broadcasting Company). December 31, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
19.^ Jump up to: a b DeMarche, Edmund (January 4, 2014). “‘Polar vortex’ set to bring dangerous, record-breaking cold to much of US”. FoxNews.com. Fox News. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
20.Jump up ^ “Chicago Gripped By Record Cold; Schools Closed, Public Transit Delayed”. WBBM-TV. January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
21.Jump up ^ “‘It’s too darn cold’: Historic freeze brings rare danger warning”. CNN. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
22.Jump up ^ “Metra plans on normal schedule for evening rush; CPS classes to resume Wednesday”. Chicago Sun-Times. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
23.Jump up ^ “‘ChiBeria,’ Chicago’s biggest chill in nearly 20 years, headed our way”. WLS (AM). January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
24.Jump up ^ January 18, 2011 (2011-01-18). “Ask Tom why: What was the lowest wind chill ever recorded in Chicago?”. Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
25.Jump up ^ Borenstein, Seth (January 10, 2014). “Weather wimps?”. Salisbury Post. Associated Press. p. 1A.
26.Jump up ^ Doyle Rice (7 January 2014), List of record low temperatures set Tuesday USA Today
27.Jump up ^ Coldest Arctic Outbreak in Midwest, South Since the 1990s Wrapping Up, weather.com, Jon Erdman and Nick Wiltgen, January 8, 2014
28.Jump up ^ “Extreme Cold Wave Invades Eastern Half of U.S.”. Weather Underground. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
29.Jump up ^ Record-setting cold turns deadly Macon Telegraph 7 January 2014
30.Jump up ^ Daily Data Report for January 2014 Canada government site
31.Jump up ^ “Daily Data”. Climate.weather.gc.ca. November 12, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
32.Jump up ^ “At -24 C, Hamilton sets cold temperature record – Latest Hamilton news – CBC Hamilton”. Cbc.ca. January 19, 1994. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
33.^ Jump up to: a b “Alerts for: Simcoe – Delhi – Norfolk – Environment Canada”. Weather.gc.ca. April 16, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
34.Jump up ^ “Winter Storm Hercules: At Least 16 Deaths Blamed on Extreme Winter Weather in Northeast, Midwest”. The Weather Channel. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
35.Jump up ^ “Snow, cold disrupt large swath of US; more to come”. Boston Globe. Associated Press. 3 January 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
36.Jump up ^ “Winter storm 2014 strikes Midwest, Northeast; Snow storm ‘Hercules’ followed by ‘polar vortex'”. WLS-TV. 5 January 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
37.Jump up ^ Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (January 5, 2014). “Jet Skids Into Snowbank at J.F.K. Airport”. New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
38.^ Jump up to: a b c “Dangerously Cold Temperatures Settle Into Mid-State”. WTVF NewsChannel 5. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
39.Jump up ^ Associated Press, The (January 7, 2013). “Record low temperatures in New York City”. Fox News. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
40.Jump up ^ Sullivan, Brian K.; Malik, Naureen S. (7 January 2014). “Chicago Colder Than South Pole as Frigid Air Clamps Down on U.S.”. San Francisco Chronicle (Bloomberg News). Retrieved January 8, 2014.
41.Jump up ^ Millward, David; Peter Foster (January 7, 2014). “US weather: all 50 states fall below freezing”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
42.Jump up ^ “Atlanta Remains at a Standstill in Wake of Winter Storm Leon. Drivers Begin to Retrieve Abandoned Cars”. Weather Channel. January 30, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-30.
43.Jump up ^ “Deep freeze extends from Winnipeg east to Newfoundland”. Cbc.ca. 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
44.Jump up ^ nurun.com (2014-01-07). “Schools closed, blizzard warning continued”. Lfpress.com. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
45.Jump up ^ “Weather Alerts – Environment Canada”. Weather.gc.ca. December 5, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
46.Jump up ^ North America’s big freeze seen from space BBC News, January 9, 2014
47.Jump up ^ “‘Frost quakes’ wake Toronto residents on cold night – Toronto – CBC News”. Cbc.ca. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
48.Jump up ^ Satellite Blog, CIMSS (January 3, 2014). “Tehuano wind event in the wake of a strong eastern US winter storm”. Space Science and Engineering Center. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
49.Jump up ^ “Synop report summary”. Saltillo: Ogimet. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
50.Jump up ^ Burrows, Ben (January 7, 2014). “Pictured: 20 spectacular photos of Winter Storm Hercules battering UK coastline”. Mirror. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
51.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g “Deep freeze may have cost economy about $5 billion, analysis shows”. Durangoherald.com. 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
52.Jump up ^ Karnowski, Stevework (9 January 2014). “Deep freeze may have cost economy about $5 billion”. News & Observer. Associated Press. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
53.Jump up ^ Castellano, Anthony (January 3, 2013). “At Least 13 Died in Winter Storm That Dumped More Than 2 Feet of Snow Over Northeast”. ABC News.
54.Jump up ^ “North America arctic blast creeps east”. BBC News. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
55.Jump up ^ “OIA Can’t Deice Frozen Jets”. AviationPros.com. January 7, 2010. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
56.Jump up ^ KYLE ARNOLD (January 6, 2014). “Sky Writer: Frozen aircraft fuel stalling nationwide air travel”. Tulsa World. Retrieved January 13, 2014. “American Airlines said Monday that it’s so cold in Chicago that airline fuel is freezing and they can’t refuel planes. “Fuel and glycol supplies are frozen – at ORD (Chicago’s O’Hare) and other airports in the Midwest and Northeast,” said American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller.”
57.Jump up ^ “Service Alert”. Amtrak. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
58.^ Jump up to: a b “Passengers stuck on Amtrak train 8 hours; Amtrak cancels some Chicago train service”. WLS-TV. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
59.Jump up ^ “500 passengers spend night on stranded Amtrak trains”. Chicago Tribune. WGN-TV. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
60.Jump up ^ Bone-Chilling Temps Shut Down Detroit People Mover, CBS News, January 7, 2014
61.Jump up ^ Hayley Harmon (January 4, 2014). “Cold weather knocks out power for 7500 Blount County residents”. WATE News. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
62.Jump up ^ ‘Historic and life-threatening’ freeze brings rare danger warning, CNN, January 6, 2014
63.Jump up ^ CTVNews.ca Staff (January 6, 2014). “Power restored to majority of customers in Newfoundland”. CTV News. Bell Media. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
64.Jump up ^ “Pearson airport delays: What you need to know”. CBC News. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
65.Jump up ^ “Extreme cold causes more delays, cancellations at Pearson”. CP24. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
66.Jump up ^ “Winnipeg deep freeze as cold as uninhabited planet – Manitoba – CBC News”. Cbc.ca. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
67.Jump up ^ Ziezulewicz, Geoff (January 6, 2014). “Cold weather could limit ash borer threat”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
68.Jump up ^ “The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes”. YouTube. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
69.Jump up ^ “Gov. Orders Schools Closed Monday Over Dangerous Cold”. CBS. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
70.Jump up ^ “‘Polar vortex’ set to bring dangerous, record-breaking cold to much of US”. Fox News. January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
71.Jump up ^ “County Travel Status for 01/06/2014 00:20:11 EDT”. Indiana Department of Homeland Security. January 6, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-01-06. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
72.Jump up ^ “Mayor Declares Snow Emergency” (Press release). Office of Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing, MI. January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
73.Jump up ^ Richards, Erin (January 7, 2014). “2nd day of school closings cuts into planned snow days”. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
74.Jump up ^ Vielmetti, Bruce. “Dangerous blast of cold leads to more school closings”. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
75.Jump up ^ “Temperatures continue to drop; districts cancel school”. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
76.Jump up ^ “Frosty weather keeps Ohio State closed for a 2nd straight day”. The Lantern. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
77.Jump up ^ “Hamilton board defends decision to keep schools open – Latest Hamilton news – CBC Hamilton”. Cbc.ca. 2014-01-07. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
78.Jump up ^ “Extreme cold weather alert for Toronto | CTV Toronto News”. Toronto.ctvnews.ca. 2013-12-16. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
79.Jump up ^ Cold weather Resource Kit City of Ottawa official site
80.Jump up ^ Sobel, Adam (January 7, 2014). “Record cold doesn’t disprove global warming”. CNN. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
81.Jump up ^ Baldwin, M. P.; Dunkerton, TJ (2001). “Stratospheric Harbingers of Anomalous Weather Regimes”. Science 294 (5542): 581–4. doi:10.1126/science.1063315. PMID 11641495.
Song, Yucheng; Robinson, Walter A. (2004). “Dynamical Mechanisms for Stratospheric Influences on the Troposphere”. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 61 (14): 1711–25. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(2004)0612.0.CO;2.
Overland, James E. (2013). “Atmospheric science: Long-range linkage”. Nature Climate Change 4: 11–2. doi:10.1038/nclimate2079.
Tang, Qiuhong; Zhang, Xuejun; Francis, Jennifer A. (2013). “Extreme summer weather in northern mid-latitudes linked to a vanishing cryosphere”. Nature Climate Change 4: 45–50. doi:10.1038/nclimate2065.
Screen, J A (2013). “Influence of Arctic sea ice on European summer precipitation”. Environmental Research Letters 8 (4): 044015. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044015.
Francis, Jennifer A.; Vavrus, Stephen J. (2012). “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes”. Geophysical Research Letters 39 (6): n/a. Bibcode:2012GeoRL..39.6801F. doi:10.1029/2012GL051000.
Petoukhov, Vladimir; Semenov, Vladimir A. (2010). “A link between reduced Barents-Kara sea ice and cold winter extremes over northern continents”. Journal of Geophysical Research 115. Bibcode:2010JGRD..11521111P. doi:10.1029/2009JD013568.
Masato, Giacomo; Hoskins, Brian J.; Woollings, Tim (2013). “Winter and Summer Northern Hemisphere Blocking in CMIP5 Models”. Journal of Climate 26 (18): 7044–59. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00466.1.
Wang, L.; Chen, W. (2010). “Downward Arctic Oscillation signal associated with moderate weak stratospheric polar vortex and the cold December 2009”. Journal of Geophysical Research 37 (9): 581–4. doi:10.1029/2010GL042659.

82.Jump up ^ Walsh, Bryan (January 6, 2014). “Polar Vortex: Climate Change Might Just Be Driving the Historic Cold Snap”. TIME. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
83.Jump up ^ Friedlander, Blaine (March 4, 2013). “Arctic ice loss amplified Superstorm Sandy violence”. Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
84.Jump up ^ Spotts, Pete (January 6, 2014). “How frigid ‘polar vortex’ could be result of global warming (+video)”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
85.Jump up ^ Wetzel, G; Oelhaf, H.; Kirner, O.; Friedl-Vallon, F.; Ruhnke, R.; Ebersoldt, A.; Kleinert, A.; Maucher, G.; Nordmeyer, H.; Orphal, J. (2012). “Diurnal variations of reactive chlorine and nitrogen oxides observed by MIPAS-B inside the January 2010 Arctic vortex”. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 12 (14): 6581–6592. Bibcode:2012ACP….12.6581W. doi:10.5194/acp-12-6581-2012. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
Weng, H. (2012). “Impacts of multi-scale solar activity on climate. Part I: Atmospheric circulation patterns and climate extremes”. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 29 (4): 867–886. doi:10.1007/s00376-012-1238-1.
Lue, J.-M.; Kim, S.-J.; Abe-Ouchi, A.; Yu, Y.; Ohgaito, R. (2010). “Arctic Oscillation during the Mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum from PMIP2 Coupled Model Simulations”. Journal of Climate 23 (14): 3792–3813. doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3331.1.
Zielinski, G.; Mershon, G. (1997). “Paleoenvironmental implications of the insoluble microparticle record in the GISP2 (Greenland) ice core during the rapidly changing climate of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition”. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 109 (5): 547–559. doi:10.1130/0016-7606.

86.Jump up ^ Andrew Freedman (January 2, 2014). “Arctic Outbreak: When the North Pole Came to Ohio”.
87.Jump up ^ Barron-Lopez, Laura (January 6, 2014). “Is global warming behind polar vortex?”. The Hill. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
88.Jump up ^ More on the Drought; The Numbers Are Frightening AccuWeather, January 6, 2014
89.Jump up ^ GEOS-5 Analyses and Forecasts of the Major Stratospheric Sudden Warming of January 2013 NASA
90.^ Jump up to: a b Extreme Cold Outbreaks in the United States and Europe, 1948–99 American Meteorological Society June 2001
91.Jump up ^ Walsh, Bryan (January 6, 2014). “Climate Change Might Just Be Driving the Historic Cold Snap”. Time. Retrieved January 9, 2014.

[hide]
v ·
t ·
e

Major snow events in the United States

Pre–1950

1888 (Jan 12–13, Mar 11–14) ·
1899 (Feb 11–14) ·
1913 (Nov 6–11) ·
1920 (Mar 15–18) ·
1922 (Jan 27–28) ·
1940 (Nov 10–12) ·
1947 (Dec 25–26)

1950s

1950 (Nov 24–30)

1960s

1966 (Jan 27–31) ·
1967 (Jan 26–27) ·
1969 (Feb 8–10)

1970s

1975 (Jan 9–12) ·
1977 (Jan 28–Feb 1) ·
1978 (Jan 25–27, Feb 6–7) ·
1979 (Jan 13–14)

1990s

1991 (Oct 31–Nov 3) ·
1992 (Dec 10–12) ·
1993 (Mar 12–15) ·
1996 (Jan 6–10) ·
1997 (Mar 31–Apr 1, Oct 24–26) ·
1999 (Jan 2–4)

2000s

2000 (Jan 18–30) ·
2003 (Feb 14–19, Dec 6–7) ·
2005 (Jan 20–23) ·
2006 (Feb 11–13, Nov 28–Dec 1, Dec 20–29) ·
2007 (Feb 12–20) ·
2008 (Mar 6–10) ·
2009 (Dec 16–20, 22–28)

2010s

2010 (Feb 5–6, 9–10, 25–27, Oct 23–28, Dec 26–29) ·
2011 (Jan 31–Feb 2, Oct 28–Nov 1) ·
2012 (Oct 29–31, Dec 17–22, Dec 25–28) ·
2013 (Feb 7–20, Feb 19–Mar 6, Mar 1–18, Oct 3–5) ·
2014 (Jan 2–)

 

Anyone have a cure for cabin fever? This is now day 5 of widespread road closures. The food is holding out OK. Thanks to a rotary cuff problem in my left arm and I have been gnawing that arm off.;-)


Road Closures

Road Closures for January 31, 2014

Last updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 4:43 AM
(click the refresh/reload button in your browser to get updated information)

Here is our road report — brought to you by Peninsula Ford Lincoln in Port Elgin, Meaford and Owen Sound — whatever it takes, wherever you are, we’ll make it happen

Highway 21 is closed from Springmount to Southampton and from Port Elgin to Amberley

Highway 9 is closed from Kincardine to Walkerton

Highway 6 is closed from Wiarton to Tobermory.

Highway 10 remains closed from Dundalk to Shelburne

The Bruce County Highways Department reports.

Bruce Road 15 is closed from Bruce Road 3 to Highway 21

Burce Road 3 is closed between Mildmay and Highway9

Bruce Road 40 is closed from Bruce Road 3 to the Grey Bruce Line

Bruce Road 9 is closed from Highway 6 in Ferndale to Lions Head

Bruce Road 11 is closed from Paisley to Bruce Road 10

Bruce Road 86 is closed from Highway 21 to Lucknow

In Saugeen Shores — sections of the Bruce Saugeen Townline and concession 2 are closed.

In Owen Sound — 8th Street East is closed from 9th Avenue to 28th Avenue East

The Grey County Highways Department Reports.

Grey Road 1 from Dawson Road to Big Bay is closed.

Grey Road 18 from Rockford to Grey Road 5 is closed

Grey Road 5 from Grey Road 18 to the Grey Bruce Line is closed.

Grey Road 40 from Highway 10 to the Blue Mountains-Euphrasia Townline is closed.

Grey Road 2 from the Osprey-Blue Mountain Townline to Grey Road 4 is closed.

Grey Road 124 from Singhampton south is closed.

Grey Road 12 from Temple Hill to Meaford is closed

Grey Road 7 from Kimberley to Meaford is closed

Grey Road 119 from Swiss Meadows to Grey Road 2 is closed.

Grey Road 17 from Highway 6 to 17A is closed.

BRUCE COUNTY CONDITIONS

Roads in the Walkerton, Mildmay area — are snow covered and slippery with heavily drifted sections and a gusty south west wind there is a light snowfall at present and visibility is good to poor.

Roads in the Kincardine, Lucknow, Teeswater area — are snow covered and heavliy drifted with a strong south west wind and a light snowfall visibility is fair to poor.

Roads in the Paisley, Port Elgin, Chesley, Tara & surrounding areas — are snow covered and heavliy drifted with a strong south west wind and a light snowfall visibility is fair to poor.

Roads in the Wiarton, Southampton, Sauble Beach, Lion’s Head & surrounding areas — are snow covered and heavliy drifted with a strong south west wind and a light snowfall visibility is fair to poor.

GREY COUNTY CONDITIONS

Owen Sound, Chatsworth & surrounding areas — Snow covered, snow packed, icy and slippery with moderate to heavy ground drifting and heavy winds. Visibility is poor to nil in drifted areas.

Meaford, Thornbury & surrounding areas — Centre bare, track bare and snow packed with icy sections, moderate to heavy drifted sections, moderate to heavy winds and light snowfall. Visibility good to fair to poor to nil in drifted areas.

Durham, Hanover & surrounding areas — Snow packed, centre bare, track bare, bare and dry, slippery and icy sections with moderate to heavy drifting, and moderate to heavy winds. Visibility is good to fair to poor in drifted areas.

Dundalk, Flesherton & surrounding areas — track bare and snow packed with icy sections, moderate to heavy drifted sections, moderate to heavy winds and light snowfall. Visibility good to fair to poor to nil in drifted areas.

THE MTO CONDITIONS

10 Chatsworth to Dundalk snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
10 Dundalk to Shelburne snow packed with bare & dry sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
10 Shelburne to Orangeville snow packed with bare & dry sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

21 Highway 402 to Zurich – Hensall Road partly snow covered with bare & wet sections.
21 Zurich – Hensall Road to Goderich snow packed with partly snow packed, snow covered, partly snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
21 Goderich to Underwood snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
21 Underwood to Springmount partly snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

23 Elginfield to Harriston snow packed with snow covered, partly snow covered, bare & wet sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

26 Collingwood to Owen Sound snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

6 Highway 401 to Highway 7 – Woodlawn Road snow covered with partly snow covered, bare & wet sections. Fair visibility.
6 Guelph to Fergus snow covered with partly snow covered, bare & wet sections. Fair visibility.
6 Fergus to Mount Forest snow packed with bare & dry sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
6 Mount Forest to Owen Sound snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
6 Owen Sound to Tobermory partly snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

7 Elginfield to Stratford snow packed with snow covered, partly snow covered, bare & wet sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
7 Stratford to Kitchener partly snow covered with bare & wet sections.

8 Goderich to Mitchell snow packed with partly snow packed, snow covered, partly snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
8 Mitchell to Stratford snow packed with snow covered, partly snow covered, bare & wet sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

89 Rosemont to Harriston snow packed with bare & dry sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

9 Kincardine to Harriston snow packed with snow covered sections. Poor, Fair visibility.

The road closure saga continues – God Bless the Bruce Penninsula


Road Closures

Road Closures for January 30, 2014

Last updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 8:47 PM
(click the refresh/reload button in your browser to get updated information)

Here is our road report — brought to you by Peninsula Ford Lincoln in Port Elgin, Meaford and Owen Sound — whatever it takes, wherever you are, we’ll make it happen

Highway 21 is now closed from Springmount to Kincardine due to collisions and blowing snow.

Highway 26 is also closed from Owen Sound to Meaford

Highway 6 is closed from Wiarton to Tobermory.

Highway 10 remains closed from Dundalk to Shelburne — and we have reports of a propane truck crash on Highway 10 north of Dundalk

The Bruce County Highways Department Reports.

Bruce Road 11 is closed from Paisley to Bruce Road 10 in Chesley

Bruce Road 40 is closed from Bruce Road 3 to the Grey Bruce Line

Bruce Road 15 is closed from Highway 21 to Bruce Road 3

Bruce Road 3 is closed from Mildmay to Highway 9

Bruce Road 9 is closed from Ferndale to Lion’s Head.

Bruce County Road 86 is now closed between Highway 21 and Lucknow

Bruce County Roads Department has pulled their plows for the night. Visibility throughout the County is poor.

In the town of Saugeen Shores — the Bruce Saugeen Townline from Highway 21 to SideRoad 33/34 is closed.

And concession 2 from sideroad 18/19 to sideroad 28/29 is closed.

Also in Owen Sound — 8th Street East is closed from 9th Avenue to 28th Avenue East

The Grey County Highways Department Reports.

Grey Road 1 from Dawson Road to Big Bay is closed

Grey Road 18 is closed from Highway 6 and 10 in Rockford to the Grey Bruce Line

Grey Road 5 is closed from Grey Road 18 west to Grey Bruce Line

Grey Road 40 is closed from Highway 10 to the Blue Mountains-Euphrasia Townline

Grey Road 2 is closed from the Osprey-Blue Mountain Townline south to Grey Road 4

Grey Road 124 is closed from Singhampton south

Grey Road 12 is closed from Temple Hill to Meaford

Grey Road 7 is closed from Kimberley to Meaford

In Dufferin County

Dufferin County Roads 124, 12, 19, 16 are all closed.

The second line southwest in Melancthon from Highway 89 to Dundalk is now closed.

Dufferin County Road 23 (B Line) is closed between Montgomery Boulevard and County Road 3.

Dufferin County Road 18 (Airport Road) is closed north of Highway 89 to County Road 17

Dufferin County Road 2 in Melancthon is closed between CR #9 and Townline

BRUCE COUNTY ROAD CONDITIONS

Roads in the Walkerton, Mildmay area — Are bare and dry to track bare with some snow packed, and heavy drifted sections. Strong southwest wind, no precipitation, visibility is good to poor

Roads in the Kincardine, Lucknow, Teeswater area — Are bare to snow covered with some heavy drifted and slippery sections. Strong southwest wind, good to poor visibility

Roads in the Paisley, Port Elgin, Chesley, Tara & surrounding areas — are snow packed, slippery and drifting. Winds are from the south to southwest. Visibility is good to fair to poor.

Roads in the Wiarton, Southampton, Sauble Beach, Lion’s Head & surrounding areas — are snow covered and heavily drifted. Winds are from the southwest and there is no precipitation. Visibility is fair to poor

GREY COUNTY ROAD CONDITIONS

Owen Sound, Chatsworth & surrounding areas — Snow covered, snow packed, icy and slippery with moderate to heavy ground drifting and heavy winds. Visibility is poor to nil in drifted areas.

Meaford, Thornbury & surrounding areas — Centre bare, track bare and snow packed with icy sections, moderate to heavy drifted sections, moderate to heavy winds and light snowfall. Visibility good to fair to poor to nil in drifted areas.

Durham, Hanover & surrounding areas — Snow packed, centre bare, track bare, bare and dry, slippery and icy sections with moderate to heavy drifting, and moderate to heavy winds. Visibility is good to fair to poor in drifted areas.

Dundalk, Flesherton & surrounding areas — track bare and snow packed with icy sections, moderate to heavy drifted sections, moderate to heavy winds and light snowfall. Visibility good to fair to poor to nil in drifted areas.

THE MTO REPORTS…

10 Chatsworth to Dundalk snow covered with snow packed sections. Poor visibility.
10 Dundalk to Shelburne bare & dry with bare & wet, snow packed sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
10 Shelburne to Orangeville bare & dry with bare & wet, snow packed sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
21 Goderich to Underwood partly snow covered with snow covered, snow packed, bare & dry sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
21 Underwood to Springmount bare & wet with snow covered, snow packed sections. Poor visibility.
23 Elginfield to Harriston bare & dry with bare & wet, snow covered, snow packed sections.
26 Collingwood to Owen Sound snow covered with snow packed sections. Poor visibility.
6 Guelph to Fergus bare & dry with bare & wet, partly snow covered sections.
6 Fergus to Mount Forest bare & dry with bare & wet, snow packed sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
6 Mount Forest to Owen Sound snow covered with snow packed sections. Poor visibility.
6 Owen Sound to Tobermory bare & wet with snow covered, snow packed sections. Poor visibility.
8 Goderich to Mitchell bare & dry with bare & wet, snow covered sections. Fair visibility.
8 Mitchell to Stratford bare & dry with bare & wet, snow covered, snow packed sections.
89 Rosemont to Harriston bare & dry with bare & wet, snow packed sections. Poor, Fair visibility.
9 Kincardine to Harriston partly snow covered with snow covered, snow packed, bare & dry sections. Poor, Fair visibility

Interesting project but difficult to nail down the real cost of environmental impact globally but this is a start.


JAN 29
2014

Research project measures global environmental liabilities

by Roger Well

ENFOS, Inc. was originally created with one goal: to address the problem of global environmental liability one entity at a time. Financial transparency to some degree exists in North America and Europe through reporting and disclosure requirements placed on publicly traded companies and governmental agencies. However, in most of the world this is not the case, even though industrialized and militarized countries around the globe surely have significant environmental impacts.

That’s why we have created The Global Environmental Liability Research Project. We believe that companies and governmental entities should be rewarded for transparently reporting their environmental liabilities and using exceptional management and sound science to remediate and mitigate risk. However, we also believe that it is difficult—if not impossible—for organizations to manage a problem that they are unable to measure.

Some of the project’s findings are featured on a map that is available on our website. It is our attempt to estimate each country’s total environmental liabilities and compares that amount to the nation’s gross domestic product. In the United States, for example, total environmental liabilities amount to $635 billion, or 4.04 percent of the country’s $15.7 trillion GDP.

For this project, we defined total environmental liability into two categories. The first is environmental remediation liability (environmental obligations), which includes the future cost of cleaning up real property. The second is asset retirement obligations, which include the cost to retire long-term assets. As an example, the reclamation of oil and gas wells is included in this category.

In order to gather this information, it is crucial to use a good estimation methodology to determine the liability for entities that have chosen not to disclose this information themselves. This is especially true for corporations outside of the U.S. and Europe. Though it is impossible to estimate the total value of environmental liability with high levels of certainty, the goal of this project is to kick start the conversation about the estimated $6.5 trillion global environmental liability and the distribution by country. Tell us what you think about this project and the estimate as a whole or by country.

For more information about this mission, read The Global Environmental Liability Research Project Open Letter.

By Roger Well

Day 4 and how long does it take for Cabin Fever to set in. What are the symptoms of cabin fever cause I think I have them all.


Road Closures

Road Closures for January 30, 2014

Last updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 8:04 AM
(click the refresh/reload button in your browser to get updated information)

Roads are in much better shape this morning, with a long list of roads re-opening overnight.

Here is our road report — brought to you by Peninsula Ford Lincoln in Port Elgin, Meaford and Owen Sound — whatever it takes, wherever you are, we’ll make it happen

ON THE MAIN HIGHWAYS, THE MTO TELLS US THE FOLLOWING ROADS ARE CLOSED.

Highway 21 closed Port Elgin to Kincardine.
Highway 6 remains closed Ferndale to Wiarton.
Highway 10 remains closed Shelburne to Dundalk.

>

IN BRUCE COUNTY: 6:30AM

Bruce road 15 is CLOSED from Glammis to Highway 21
Bruce road 6 is CLOSED from Bruce road 1 to Highway 21

>

IN GREY COUNTY THE FOLLOWING ROADS ARE CLOSED: 5AM
( Grey county Highways is waiting for clearance to Open these roads. Possibly shortly after 6am)
Grey Road 1 from the City of Owen Sound limits to Wiarton,
Grey Road 15 from the City of Owen Sound limits to Highway 26,
Grey Road 5 from the City of Owen Sound limits to the Grey/Bruce Line,
Grey Road 18 from Grey Road 29 to Highway 21,
Grey Rd 40 from Hwy 10 to the Euphrasia Holland Townline,
Grey Road 40 from the Grey/Bruce Line to Highway 6,
Grey Road 2 from the Osprey-Blue Mountain Townline south to the Melancthon-Osprey Townline,
Grey Road 9 from Highway 6 east to Grey Road 2,
Grey Road 8 from Grey Road 9 south to Hwy 89,
Grey Road 112 from Hwy 26 north to Sideroad 22,
Grey Road 124 from Singhampton south,
Grey Road 16 from the Grey/Bruce Line to Highway 6&10,
Grey Road 3 from Grey Highway 21 to the Bentinck-Sullivan Townline,
Grey Road 17, Grey Road 17A, Grey Road 17B, Grey Road 170,
Grey Road 11 from Highway 26 to Grey Road 18,
Grey Road 12 from Markdale to Meaford,
Grey Road 7 from Kimberley to Meaford

IN DUFFERIN COUNTY 5AM

Dufferin County Roads 124, 11,12, 19, 16 are all closed

Sounds like it might be a cool run but not for me.


Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® – Skyrunner® World Series
by talkultra

Vertical Kilometer, Transvulcania La Palma, ≠©iancorless.com

From sea to sky, 1,000 metres high, the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series kicks off with a cracking new race on the magical island of La Palma, Spain. Transvulcania, renowned for the Ultramarathon, launches the Transvulcania Vertical Kilometer® on May 8. Starting at sea level, it ascends the steepest, most technical section of the Ultra and offers incredible views of the Atlantic coast – for those with the courage to look down.Vertical Kilometer, Transvulcania La Palma ©iancorless.com

The course was designed to complement the SWS Transvulcania Ultramarathon (May 10) and the half and marathon distances. From the black Tazacorte beach, the 6.6 km single track course ascends the imposing cliff face with a 40% incline before settling into a “flatter” final section to finish at 1,160m altitude. The overall incline averages 30%.

The upper section of the course follows an ancient goat-herders’ path and finishes at the El Time antenna, (the last aid station of the Ultra), rewarding runners with incomparable views of the Aridane Valley and the ocean in the distance.

With the world’s top vertical specialists leading the way, entries open on Saturday, February 1st, limited to 200 places. Not for the faint-hearted, as the race slogan says, “Get ready to meet your fate”!

See here for entry and race information.

2014 Skyrunner® World Series