WBEZ | weather http://www.wbez.org/tags/weather Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en That Time Chicago Sent a Trainload of Snow to Florida http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/time-chicago-sent-trainload-snow-florida-114494 <p><p>Chicago loves winter. Talking about it at least. Inevitably, you&rsquo;ll lament the most recent snowfall with your neighbor. Inevitably, a Facebook friend will post a screenshot of Chicago&rsquo;s zero-degree forecast. &nbsp;And, inevitably, a media outlet like us will bring up the Chicago Blizzard of 1967 &mdash; if only to remind everyone that today&rsquo;s bad weather could always get worse.</p><p>But this isn&rsquo;t a story just about that blizzard; it&rsquo;s also about how the media talks about its aftermath. It&rsquo;s been nearly 50 years since the largest single snowfall in Chicago history, and not only are <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/chi-chicagodays-1967blizzard-story-story.html" target="_blank">local news outlets still publishing retrospectives</a>, they&rsquo;re also still hung up on a single, microcosmic detail &mdash; <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150109/downtown/history-of-winter-chicago-it-could-be-worse-definitely-was" target="_blank">written in a sentence or two</a> or in a quote like this one, usually below the fold:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Some of the snow from 1967, there was so much of it, they didn&#39;t know what to do with it,&quot; said Peter Alter, resident historian at the Chicago History Museum. &quot;They put it on train cars, and they shipped it to Florida for kids who had never seen snow.&quot; -<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150109/downtown/history-of-winter-chicago-it-could-be-worse-definitely-was" target="_blank">DNAinfo, January 9, 2015</a></p></blockquote><p>It was a tidbit like this that inspired a question that came all the way from a classroom of fourth and fifth graders in High Point, North Carolina. They had learned about the &lsquo;67 blizzard and, being school kids themselves, they were particularly enamored with the Chicago-to-Florida snow train delivery. So, they asked us for help filling in the blanks:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Was there really a trainful of snow surplus shipped from Chicago to Florida school kids? How did that even happen?!</em></p><p>I&rsquo;ll tell you right now: It happened, all right, and the story&rsquo;s details are worth revisiting. Because when you retrace the making of this Chicago mini-legend, you can see click-bait journalism being written across the front pages of mainstream newspapers &mdash; 40 years before its time.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not all snow trains lead to Florida</span></p><p>The story of the Chicago Blizzard of 1967 starts on January 26, when it snowed for 29 hours straight. Having been 65 degrees just two days before, the storm took many people off guard. More than two feet of snow covered the region, with reports of drifts up to 10 feet high. Cars were discarded like cigarette butts over expressways. There was no public transportation, no access to grocery stores, no way to get to work. Twenty-three people died in the Chicago area, mostly from heart attacks while shoveling snow.</p><p>It took three weeks for the Department of Streets and Sanitation to plow the city streets. Desperate for places to put the stuff, they dumped it in any vacant lot they could find: Park District land, neighborhood lots, <a href="http://www.trbimg.com/img-563cc845/turbine/chi-110131-snowstorm-1967-pictures-010/1300/1300x731" target="_blank">even the Chicago River</a>.</p><p>Some Chicago rail yards came up with their own solution for snow that built up in their depots. It&rsquo;s kind of bizarre in its simplicity: Shove it on freight trains already heading south. The warmer weather would do the job, melting the stuff in transit.</p><p>&ldquo;They sent it because they wanted to get rid of it,&rdquo; A.W. Pirtle, supervisor of the Illinois Central Railroad&rsquo;s Memphis depot <a href="https://www.newspapers.com/clip/3848614/mt_vernon_registernews/" target="_blank">told the Associated Press</a> (probably rolling his eyes). And in Chicago, the ordeal made front-page news:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/02/11/page/37/article/hundreds-of-freight-cars-used" width="600"></iframe></p><p>Dozens of train lines followed suit, and this solution &mdash; extolled in headlines such as this &mdash; grew into a national story. It was picked up by the Associated Press, and photographs of trains carrying heaps of sooty, Chicago snow from the blizzard appeared in papers around the country as the rail cars made their way to Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">A 1,300-mile regift, remembered</span></p><p>The story was even picked up by national television, and eventually reached the ears and eyes of a 13-year-old girl in the town of Fort Myers Beach, Florida.</p><p>We found that girl through the White Pages. Her name is Terri Bell (last name Hodson at the time), and, at age 61, she still lives in Fort Myers Beach.</p><p>She says after hearing the broadcast about trainloads of Chicago snow heading south, she wrote a letter to William Quinn, the president of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, asking him to send her some snow because, as a Floridian, she had never seen any.</p><p>And he did.</p><p>It&rsquo;s just that 13-year-old Terri Hodson hadn&rsquo;t realized that all of the other southbound snow was shipped in uninsulated cars &mdash; the whole point being to <em>melt</em>. But Quinn, possibly sensing a brilliant PR stunt but possibly out of the goodness of his heart, had the snow shipped to Florida in refrigerator cars.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://soundcloud.com/curiouscity/that-time-chicago-sent-a-trainload-of-snow-to-florida" target="_blank"><strong>Hear Terri tell her own story of getting Chicago shipped 1,300 miles to Florida</strong></a></p><p>And if the media went bananas over Chicago railroads sending snow south in uninsulated cars, they went banana sundaes when they heard about the special, frozen shipment to school kids in Florida.</p><p>Headlines from Pennsylvania to California read:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://img0.newspapers.com/img/img?id=51235319&amp;width=557&amp;height=1226&amp;crop=3338_6901_824_1847&amp;rotation=0&amp;brightness=0&amp;contrast=0&amp;invert=0&amp;ts=1452895228&amp;h=8ae3bfd79913bdd017c5e1edbec509e4" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/youthsnowanswered.png" title="" /></a></div><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>The Mercury</em>, Pottstown, Pennsylvania</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/floridagirltoget.png" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><em>Lincoln Journal Star</em>, Lincoln, Nebraska</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://img0.newspapers.com/img/img?id=17862377&amp;width=557&amp;height=1263&amp;crop=46_2385_468_1081&amp;rotation=0&amp;brightness=0&amp;contrast=0&amp;invert=0&amp;ts=1452894834&amp;h=d11eda3334b31dd27ff4730e3090f6a9" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/floridasnowrequest%20california.PNG" style="height: 201px; width: 400px;" title="" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Independent</em>, Long Beach, California</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>And in Chicago, yet another front page story:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1967/02/21/page/1/article/train-heads-south-with-snow-for-girl" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Terri became a local hero and a national celebrity. She appeared on talk shows and was quoted in papers across the country. The town of Fort Myers Beach even held a special ceremony for the occasion, in which a local hardware store gave her a sled that was shipped to them by mistake. (She still has that sled, by the way.)</p><p>On February 27, 1967 &mdash; after almost a week in transit &mdash; the snow came rolling into the Fort Myers train depot, where thousands neighbors, parents, and kids were waiting. Some were skeptical, but a good number of the kids looked forward to playing in the white, fluffy, powdery stuff they&rsquo;d never seen before.</p><p>Except, Terri got something else entirely, after she&rsquo;d cut the ribbon to the train cars and a couple guys used a front-end loader to shovel the snow into the parking lot:</p><blockquote><p>I had expected it to be soft and powdery. You know, like, dripping snowflakes and it would just come pouring out of the car. Unfortunately after a week&rsquo;s ride in a refrigerator car it was no longer soft powdery snow. It was quite icy.</p><p>You could still kind of form it a little bit and do something with it and people were trying to build snowmen and snowballs and make snow angels and do the best they could with it. But, it was still snow and I could say I saw snow.</p></blockquote><p>Nearly 50 years after the event, Terri remembers playing in the snow was not that much fun.</p><p>&quot;It was the fact that I really got it, and all the cool things that happened to me around that,&quot; she says. &quot;Everybody says you&rsquo;ll have a claim to fame once in your life. That was the most exciting thing that happened in my life.&quot;</p><p>And though the snow melted almost immediately in the 80-degree Florida heat that February day in 1967, the short buzz of fame Terri felt has stuck with her ever since.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://img0.newspapers.com/img/img?id=36758128&amp;width=557&amp;height=694&amp;crop=1720_873_1676_2128&amp;rotation=0&amp;brightness=0&amp;contrast=0&amp;invert=0&amp;ts=1452895281&amp;h=1e086e25e489fdf1b852dc52b699bf6b" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chi%20snow%20shipped%20to%20fla.png" style="height: 635px; width: 620px;" title="A photo of Terri on the front page of the Charleston Daily Mail the day after the snow's arrival. " /></a></div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Vintage virality</span></p><p>The story about the Florida snow train had a lot of heart, but why was it enough to make the era&rsquo;s national media go berzerk?</p><p>Bruce Evensen, director of Depaul University&rsquo;s journalism school, says part of the explanation is that there were few media outlets at the time. Evensen, who&rsquo;s now 64 and was 16 during the blizzard, reminds us 1967 wasn&rsquo;t the age of social media. Cable television was still relatively new, and NPR hadn&rsquo;t even been founded.</p><p>He says the issue wasn&rsquo;t just that there was less &ldquo;news&rdquo;; hardly any of it was &ldquo;second day&rdquo; or feature stories. Basically, in 1967, &ldquo;news&rdquo; was hard news, and the Chicago-Florida snow train story was not only an exception, but an exceptionally popular one. Why?</p><p>&ldquo;A story of what to do with the snow when a city reaches the point where it can&rsquo;t handle snow is an interesting thing,&rdquo; Evensen says. And what made that irony particularly resonate, Evensen says, was Chicago&rsquo;s nickname as the &ldquo;Phoenix City,&rdquo; coined by Chicago Tribune managing editor and later city mayor Joseph Medill after the Great Fire of 1871.</p><p>&ldquo;So the joke &mdash; the parlour game &mdash; was that Chicago was not going to be stopped by the fire. Chicago was not going to be stopped by this paralyzing storm, even though it<em> was</em> stopped for 24, 36, 48 hours,&rdquo; Evensen says. &ldquo;[It] just was another suggestion of the city&rsquo;s sort of ironic muscularity: &lsquo;You want some snow? You can have it!&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The story&rsquo;s news hook was its irony factor &mdash; a gesture of Midwestern politeness and can-do spirit, a simultaneous high-five and slap in the face while the city dug itself out of a frozen hell. And, considering the story&rsquo;s national virality as a slice-of-life spinoff outside the breaking news world, it&rsquo;s fair to call it a harbinger of a media landscape to come. It was a hashtag before its time.</p><p>Evensen suspects that, &ldquo;properly handled and exploited,&rdquo; the Chicago-Florida snow train story would get even more press if it happened today rather than in 1967. One reason: There are more news outlets and more competition for stories between them. Another reason: The media offers more social and cultural context to news stories than ever before, and coverage continues as long as there&rsquo;s proof of listener interest, Evensen says.</p><p>&ldquo;Even the mainstream media now is much more attentive than ever before to how the story is <em>going</em>,&rdquo; Bevensen says. &ldquo;What kind of visibility is it getting? You can measure this. So I think if they found that that kind of curious, funny story was getting attention initially, it might be boosted even higher.&rdquo;</p><p>So, to the Floridians out there looking for their claim to fame: consider the next northern blizzard your big break.</p><p>And pro tip to Chicago journalists and bloggers: Fact-check the legends. Some are still in the White Pages.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Logan Jaffe is Curious City&#39;s multimedia producer. <a href="http://twitter.com/loganjaffe" target="_blank">Follow her on Twitter</a> for more of these kinds of shenanigans.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 15:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/time-chicago-sent-trainload-snow-florida-114494 Flooding Puts Levees at Risk in Missouri, IL http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-31/flooding-puts-levees-risk-missouri-il-114327 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1230_missouri-flooding-e1451497180554-624x409.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_98910"><img alt="A holiday wreath hangs from a light post surrounded by floodwater from the Bourbeuse River, Tuesday, Dec. 29 in Union, Mo. Flooding across Missouri has forced the closure of hundreds of roads and threatened homes. (Jeff Roberson/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/12/1230_missouri-flooding-e1451497180554-624x409.jpg" style="height: 406px; width: 620px;" title="A holiday wreath hangs from a light post surrounded by floodwater from the Bourbeuse River, Tuesday, Dec. 29 in Union, Mo. Flooding across Missouri has forced the closure of hundreds of roads and threatened homes. (Jeff Roberson/AP)" /><p>At least 18&nbsp;people have died in the flooding in central Missouri and Illinois.</p></div><p>Officials are ordering mandatory evacuations for thousands of residents as the Mississippi and Meramec Rivers surge; in some places to almost 50 feet, breaking records and threatening several levees across the region.</p><p>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s Peter O&rsquo;Dowd spoke to&nbsp;Mike Colombo&nbsp;of local CBS station KMOV, who said residents of Valley Park, Missouri had an &ldquo;air of cautious optimism&rdquo; as they evacuated today.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the people that I spoke with were a bit tongue-in-cheek when referring to the levees,&rdquo; Colombo added, &ldquo;saying, &lsquo;We know a lot of money was spent, a lot of time was put in to make sure they are the real deal.&nbsp;I guess we&rsquo;re gonna find out here in the next day or so.&#39;&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 31 Dec 2015 10:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-31/flooding-puts-levees-risk-missouri-il-114327 'Dangerous' Missouri Flooding Expected to Worsen http://www.wbez.org/news/dangerous-missouri-flooding-expected-worsen-114328 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mo flood.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res461505578" previewtitle="Submerged roads and houses are seen after several days of heavy rain led to flooding, in an aerial view over Union, Mo., on Tuesday."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Submerged roads and houses are seen after several days of heavy rain led to flooding, in an aerial view over Union, Mo., on Tuesday." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/30/missouri-flood-landov_custom-31c6b5e7450fe7c35820818557d682313f6693a8-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 620px;" title="Submerged roads and houses are seen after several days of heavy rain led to flooding, in an aerial view over Union, Mo., on Tuesday. (Kate Munsch/Reuters/Landov)" /></div><div><div><p>The flooding in the Mississippi River Valley that has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/29/461412273/towns-along-the-mississippi-river-evacuate-as-flood-waters-swell">already killed at least 18 people</a>&nbsp;in Missouri and Illinois could get worse before it gets better.</p></div></div></div><p>Willis Arnold of St. Louis Public Radio reports from Arnold, Mo., (about 25 miles south of St. Louis) that &quot;the water level is expected to increase a little bit&quot; and that residents feel like the flooding is going to get worse before it gets better. Arnold spoke with an aid worker who said he had been assisting with flood-fighting efforts for three days and expects to continue for two more days at least.</p><div id="res461505732" previewtitle="(At left) Volunteers use shovels atop a pile of sand as they help fill sandbags on Tuesday in St. Louis. (At right) Shovels lean against a sandbag wall on Monday in Kimmswick, Mo."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(At left) Volunteers use shovels atop a pile of sand as they help fill sandbags on Tuesday in St. Louis. (At right) Shovels lean against a sandbag wall on Monday in Kimmswick, Mo." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/30/missouri-flood-ap_custom-063bc6f6dfff12b4e54d4406f905c501fd715e48-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 205px; width: 620px;" title="At left, volunteers use shovels atop a pile of sand as they help fill sandbags on Tuesday in St. Louis. And at right, shovels lean against a sandbag wall on Monday in Kimmswick, Mo. (Jeff Roberson/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>The Associated Press reports that the Mississippi River &quot;is expected to reach nearly 13 feet above flood stage on Thursday at St. Louis, which would be the second-worst flood on record, behind only the devastating 1993 flood.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/videos/weather/2015/12/30/missouri-flooding-jay-nixon-weather-newday.cnn">told CNN Wednesday he was &quot;very concerned&quot;</a>&nbsp;about the flooding over the next day and night. Not only are the floodwaters expected to reach an all-time high, he said, but low temperatures increase safety concerns.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s cold out there,&quot; Nixon said. &quot;This is not a summer flood. This is dangerous.&quot;</p><p>Arnold also says that a number of people told him they haven&#39;t slept in over 36 hours because &quot;they&#39;ve been out sandbagging and trying to protect their homes and possessions.&quot;</p><p>Reuters notes that &quot;past historic floods on the Mississippi in 1993, 1995 and 2011 all occurred during warm weather, after snow melts up north.&quot;</p><p>The news service adds:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said it is highly unusual to have this kind of flooding in winter and more trouble could come in the spring.</em></p><p><em>&quot; &#39;The gun may be loaded again for another major flooding event,&#39; said Sosnowski, who cited the El Nino weather pattern as the source of recent heavy rains. &#39;You&#39;re not supposed to get this kind of heavy rainfall during the wintertime.&#39; &quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash;<em> via NPR</em></p></p> Wed, 30 Dec 2015 10:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/dangerous-missouri-flooding-expected-worsen-114328 New Conservation Effort Aims to Protect Papa's Papers http://www.wbez.org/news/new-conservation-effort-aims-protect-papas-papers-114329 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-72766039_wide-4abb2b2410d206426dd304cff3f0f301ad5e7661-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res460841124" previewtitle="Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea here at the Finca Vigia, his home outside Havana."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea here at the Finca Vigia, his home outside Havana." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/23/gettyimages-72766039_wide-4abb2b2410d206426dd304cff3f0f301ad5e7661-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea here at the Finca Vigia, his home outside Havana. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>It&#39;s been a year since the U.S. and Cuba began normalizing relations. Tourism, business and cultural exchanges are booming. And there is another curious benefactor of those warmer ties &mdash; Ernest Hemingway, or at least, his legacy. The writer lived just outside of Havana for 20 years, and that house, called the Finca Vigia, has long been a national museum.</p></div></div></div><p>But years of hot, humid Caribbean weather has taken a toll on the author&#39;s thousands of papers and books. A Boston-based foundation is helping restore those weathered treasures, and who better to lead that effort than the original dean of home repairs: Bob Vila, of public television&#39;s&nbsp;This Old House. He tells NPR&#39;s Carrie Kahn that he has a personal connection to Cuba. &quot;I&#39;m American-born Cuban,&quot; he says. &quot;My Havana-born parents emigrated during the latter part of World War II, and I was born in Miami, raised there and partially in Havana up until the revolution in 1959.&quot;</p><div><hr /></div><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>On the condition of the house</strong></p><p>It&#39;s restored &mdash; I mean, the restoration, the new roof, the new windows, all of the basics of the house were, the restoration was completed five or six years ago, it&#39;s now into its first major maintenance phase. The work that continues is really about the conservation of the papers, the books. Hemingway&#39;s private library of over 9,000 books were all left there. The changes that President Obama has brought forth have allowed us to actually begin fundraising so that we can help with the work of creating a paper conservation laboratory as well as an archival storage facility where many of these literary treasures will find a safe home.</p><p><strong>On the treasures in the house</strong></p><div id="res460841229" previewtitle="Hemingway left his books, papers and typewriter (seen here in 1964) in Cuba when he returned to America."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Hemingway left his books, papers and typewriter (seen here in 1964) in Cuba when he returned to America." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/23/gettyimages-141550987_sq-4d05629687bdcd88a9ad99a90ba4473ae829a705-s300-c85.jpg" style="height: 310px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Hemingway left his books, papers and typewriter, seen here in 1964, in Cuba when he returned to America. (Mondadori Portfolio /Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>The very first time I went to the Finca, I came as an expert on termite damage. And what happened was that the accessory building that Hemingway put up back in the &#39;50s, which was a wooden building, was essentially a guesthouse/garage. And this is where the Cubans had been storing a great many items, and I needed to get in to see what the structure looked like, and to just poke around at it to see how bad the damage was.</p><p>But they were very very jealous about it; they didn&#39;t want me to go in there. But I finally convinced them, and we opened these doors and turned on a spare light bulb that&#39;s in there. And I&#39;ve always compared it to what it must have been like to find Tutankhamen&#39;s tomb. Because in the dim light, I just saw a row of all his African hunting trophies, boxes upon boxes of books, and I look to the left, and there&#39;s his typewriter.</p></div></div></div><p><strong>On the house after the revolution</strong></p><p>He left the home to the Cuban people, not to the revolution, and he wanted it to become a museum. His widow eventually went and removed personal belongings, you know, her grandmother&#39;s tea set kind of things, and papers ... but generally speaking, everything that you see there, he meant to leave there, so that it could become a center for learning, a center for understanding more about his literature, and part of a cultural bridge between our United States culture and the Cuban culture.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/12/27/460822063/new-conservation-effort-aims-to-protect-papas-papers?ft=nprml&amp;f=460822063" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Sun, 27 Dec 2015 10:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-conservation-effort-aims-protect-papas-papers-114329 Powerful quake hits Northern Afghanistan, shaking the region http://www.wbez.org/news/powerful-quake-hits-northern-afghanistan-shaking-region-113492 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Pakistani federal employees gather outside their offices after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Islamabad on Monday.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res451886598" previewtitle="Pakistani federal employees gather outside their offices after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Islamabad on Monday."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Pakistani federal employees gather outside their offices after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Islamabad on Monday." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/26/gettyimages-494300430_custom-af14038c339250216a75cb1bcf2b80983b72b0a4-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 259px; width: 500px;" title="Pakistani federal employees gather outside their offices after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Islamabad on Monday. (Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 hit northeast Afghanistan on Monday, the&nbsp;<a href="http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us10003re5#general_summary">U.S. Geological Survey reports</a>. Dozens of people are said to have been killed.</p></div></div><p>The Associated Press reports:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Abdul Latif Khan, a senior official at the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, says Monday&#39;s earthquake killed 46 people in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Another official, Mussarrat Khan, says 16 people died in tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan. Officials say more than 400 people were wounded.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Another Pakistani died when a roof collapsed in an eastern city. Thirteen people died in Afghanistan and three people died in the disputed Kashmir region claimed by India and Pakistan.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>Reports of tremors have come in from neighboring Pakistan, Tajikistan and India, geophysicist Amy Vaughan of USGS tells NPR&#39;s Newscast desk.</p><p>People were evacuated from buildings in the capitals of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34636269">the BBC says</a>, with &quot;communications disrupted in many areas.&quot;</p><p>Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/658582987722719232">tweeted</a>&nbsp;that he had called for an assessment.</p><div id="res451886354">Farooq Naeem/AFP/Getty Images</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">I have asked for an urgent assessment and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan &amp; Pakistan.</p>&mdash; Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) <a href="https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/658582987722719232">October 26, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>Vaughan says the region is &quot;very seismically active,&quot; noting that this is where the Eurasian and Indian plates converge. Landslides are also a threat.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Philip Reeves reports that Monday&#39;s quake hit nearly a decade after a temblor that killed tens of thousands of people in the region:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;South Asians haven&#39;t forgotten the earthquake 10 years ago in the Himalayan Mountains in which more than 70,000 people &mdash; many of them Pakistanis &mdash; were killed, and many more were made homeless. That quake had a magnitude of 7.6.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/26/451885968/powerful-quake-hits-northern-afghanistan-shaking-the-region?ft=nprml&amp;f=451885968" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 26 Oct 2015 09:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/powerful-quake-hits-northern-afghanistan-shaking-region-113492 The Carolinas' 'thousand-year' flood follows a rainfall trend across the US http://www.wbez.org/news/carolinas-thousand-year-flood-follows-rainfall-trend-across-us-113237 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rainmap.png" style="height: 344px; width: 610px;" title="A US National Weather Service map shows precipitation levels across the southeastern US on October 4, 2015. White splotches in South Carolina indicate areas with more than 10 inches of rain. (National Weather Service/Advanced Hydrologic Predictive Service)" /></div><p><a href="http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3142" target="_blank">Twenty-seven inches of rain over five days. More than 15 inches in just 10 hours.</a></p><p>Those are just a couple of the unfathomable amounts of rain that fell in parts of South and North Carolina last weekend in the storm that killed at least 17 people and caused in the neighborhood of&nbsp;<a href="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_EAST_COAST_RAINSTORM?SITE=AP" target="_blank">$1 billion in damage</a>.</p><p>Meteorologists called it a &ldquo;thousand-year event&rdquo; &mdash; meaning a deluge that&rsquo;s likely to happen only once in 1,000&nbsp;years, but they may have to change their odds as the planet warms up. Already this year there have been two such supposedly rare rain events, and many other rainfall records set, in the US.</p><p>&ldquo;Oklahoma and Texas had incomprehensible&nbsp; amounts of&nbsp; rain in May,&rdquo; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wunderground.com/about/bhenson.asp" target="_blank">Bob Henson</a>, a blogger for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wunderground.com/?MR=1" target="_blank">Weather Underground</a>&nbsp;who worked &nbsp;more than 20 years at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder Colorado. &ldquo;The amount of rain in Texas was what you would expect maybe once every two or 3000 years.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3047" target="_blank">June was the second wettest month on record in Illinois and neighboring Indiana and Ohio set rainfall records that same month.</a></p><p>And don&rsquo;t forget&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-02-11/big-snow-warming-world-whats">the record amounts of snow that fell on New England last winter</a>.</p><p>And what&rsquo;s going on isn&rsquo;t just the usual clustering you often find among random events.</p><p>When it rains these days, Henson says, it often rains harder.</p><p>&ldquo;That&#39;s been shown through a great amount of research over the last 20 years&hellip; It&#39;s not happening in every single location, but it&#39;s happening in enough places that you could legitimately call it a global trend. The US is in line with that trend,&nbsp; most parts of the US are seeing this happen.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>And Henson says there&rsquo;s a simple connection to climate change. The earth&rsquo;s atmosphere is warming up, and when it gets warmer, he says, the oceans evaporate more moisture into the air. &ldquo;So there&#39;s literally more fuel available to make it rain harder when you have a set up that&rsquo;s creating rain in the first place.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, warmer temperatures may not be causing such storms, but they are helping feed more water into storm systems.</p><p>The particulars of the storm that battered North and South Carolina were a classic example of random weather events combined with the effects of the upward temperature trend.</p><p>&ldquo;We had a upper-level low-pressure center (that) sat over the southeast for several days,&rdquo; Henson says.&nbsp; &ldquo;That brought in a lot of forcing to pull the air upward and make it rain.&rdquo; And the rainfall was in turn fed by an unusually moist atmosphere in the region.</p><p>&ldquo;You had a ton of moisture available along the East Coast and moisture being funneled in from hurricane Joaquin into the Carolinas.&rdquo;</p><p>The growing number of deluges bring lots of problems with them, but Henson, who wrote his master&rsquo;s thesis on flash flood warnings, says one of the biggest may just be getting people to take the threat seriously.</p><p>He says the heavy rains in the Carolinas were pretty well forecast, and local officials were fairly well prepared, but regular folks still ventured out into the storms when they&rsquo;d been warned not to.</p><p>&ldquo;People simply don&#39;t take moving water seriously a lot of the time,&rdquo; Henson says.&rdquo; How many cases do you see of people driving into floodwaters and then once there, of course the vehicle gets carried off? So it&#39;s a perpetual challenge to make people realize that water in motion can be just as dangerous as, say, high winds.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-07/carolinas-thousand-year-flood-follows-big-rainfall-trend-across-us" target="_blank"><em> via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></p> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/carolinas-thousand-year-flood-follows-rainfall-trend-across-us-113237 How El Niño could affect Chicago’s winter http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/how-el-ni%C3%B1o-could-affect-chicago%E2%80%99s-winter-113138 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chicago winter Flickr edward stojakovic snow.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Now that it&rsquo;s October, we&rsquo;ll probably start noticing more advertisements geared toward winter: coats, snow blowers, shovels. But this winter might not be so bad &mdash; and we can thank El Niño for that.</p><p>El Niño is the periodic warming of water in the Pacific Ocean, but it impacts weather patterns around the world, including here in Chicago.</p><p><a href="http://www.niu.edu/geog/directory/dave_changnon_research.shtml">David Changnon</a>, meteorologist and professor in the department of <a href="http://www.niu.edu/geog/index.shtml">geography at Northern Illinois University</a>, explains El Niño and what we and the rest of the country can expect.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-10-01/how-el-ni%C3%B1o-could-affect-chicago%E2%80%99s-winter-113138 Morning Shift: August 14, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-14/morning-shift-august-14-2015-112658 <p><p>The noise from O&rsquo;Hare&rsquo;s new traffic patterns is loud, but so are the voices of opposition to closing what&rsquo;s known as the diagonal runways. We talk about jet noise and the future of O&rsquo;Hare expansion with the commissioner of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Aviation. Some warm weather is about to hit the area...we get a short and long-term forecast. Plus high temps mean more folks will head toward the water, and we figured it never hurts to get a refresher on water safety. Later on we check in with the organizer of a back-to-school parade that&rsquo;s in it&rsquo;s fifty-third year on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side And we dive into an exhibition at the DuSable museum on the 50th anniversary of the AACM-the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Also, French supersonic jets take over the Air and Water Show.</p></p> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 12:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-14/morning-shift-august-14-2015-112658 Staying safe in this weekend's heat http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-14/staying-safe-weekends-heat-112655 <p><p>It looks like it&rsquo;s going to be a hot weekend &mdash; sunday is expected to be the hottest day of the summer so far, with a predicted high of about 93 degrees. For more on this, we check in with Weather Underground meteorologist Steve Gregory.</p></p> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 12:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-14/staying-safe-weekends-heat-112655 Morning Shift: August 3, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-03/morning-shift-august-3-2015-112546 <p><p>We are nearing the end of the dog days of summer; kids will be heading back to school soon, the number of us on vacations will dwindle and the outdoor music festivals will be fewer. In the meantime, camp goes on...and it&rsquo;s not just for kids anymore. We talk to a counselor at a summer camp for adults. It&rsquo;s part of a larger trend of creating the kind of fun for adults that we used to have as kids. We also take a look at Chicago&rsquo;s booming hotel business and how long it will continue. Did Lollapalooza this weekend bring trigger an uptake in bookings? Plus, chances are your doctor is NOT an African American male. According to a report released Monday, the number of black men entering the medical profession is now lower than it was in 1978, which was a high point. We talk about why that is and what needs to be done to bring up that number.</p></p> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-03/morning-shift-august-3-2015-112546