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May 8, 2014

eBay removes Canadian town\’s listing of sperm whale carcass

eBay removes Canadian town’s listing of sperm whale carcass

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Citing violations of its policy regarding “Marine mammal items”, eBay terminated an online listing on Monday by the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, for a 40 ft (12 m) sperm whale carcass reportedly beached upon its shores about a week prior.

With an initial asking price of 99 cents, bidding for the carcass reportedly rose to C$238.03 within 15 bids. Reports variously state the final price of the whale, prior to the removal of the listing from the auction site on Monday at about 2:30pm, was C$2,025 or C$2,075. Listed in eBay’s “really weird” category, the carcass was considered by eBay to be an example of “items made from marine mammals regardless of when the product was made”, which are prohibited as per site rules.

Following a council meeting on Sunday in the town of 950 residents, Cape St. George’s mayor, Peter Fenwick, put the whale up on the auction site in a bid to have it removed from the town’s premises, citing a lack of cooperation from provincial and federal government officials on the matter. “It’s your problem, you solve it”, Fenwick recounted to The Globe and Mail (TGaM) as the response he received from them. Apart from eBay, Kijiji was also suggested as another avenue by which to sell the carcass.

Fenwick told CTV News, several years prior another sperm whale measuring 15 ft was beached in the area, but disappeared without incident, an act Fenwick attributed to be the work of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This time”, he remarked, “the authorities have told us that it’s our whale, it’s our responsibility to get rid of it.”

On putting the carcass for sale, Fenwick remarked, “We knew we had to do something with it and this seemed to be the least expensive way of disposing of it.” In a news release, Fenwick highlighted a possible use for the carcass, particularly its bones. “The 40 foot sperm whale will make a spectacular exhibit once the fat and muscle is removed, and the town is asking museums and other organizations that could use a whale skeleton to contact the town for further details.”

On retaining the whale himself, Fenwick stated, “As a town we would dearly love to keep the whale and put it on exhibit in the town but the cost of such a venture would be hard to justify.” Fenwick told TGaM the whale was “in half decent shape”. “This one looks like it died very recently and hasn’t decomposed much”, which Fenwick suggested elsewhere was due to the whale’s present location, partially submerged in near-freezing water. However, Fenwick noted its close proximity to a residential area, saying homeowners who lived there were “very interested in seeing the whale gone.”

eBay was not the only organization who barred the sale from taking place. “We also got threatened by the federal department of the environment, and told to pull the ad off or they would prosecute us”, said Fenwick on the opposition he said he received from Environment Canada, which viewed the sale as contravening a federal act designed to protect endangered species. “I received a call from the federal department of the environment saying that you’re not allowed to sell any parts of sperm whales, even if they’re dead.” he added. “So I said, ‘Oh that’s very good, I’m glad to hear that, now can you send somebody over here to get rid of it for us?'” Fenwick’s request was met with a negative response from Environment Canada.

“They’ve got to sort it out somehow. The uncertainty means it just sort of sits there and rots.” Once decomposition sets in, Fenwick remarked the carcass would become a “real nuisance”. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a whale that’s been rotting on the beach for a couple of months — actually sometimes you can’t see it for the clouds of flies around it — but you can smell it for about a mile”, he added.

On finding alternate means to dispose of the carcass, Wayne Ledwell, a member of Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings, suggested the whale be towed out to a remote area. “They need to do that right away, when they come in and they’re fresh,” said Ledwell. “No one wants to go touch them … everything becomes gooey and slippery and you can’t stand up on the whale and it gets on your boots and you can’t get the smell off and then you go home and the dog rolls in it and you get it in your kitchen and you curse the whales, and you curse the government and … it becomes a mess.” Fenwick said they’d considered the idea, enlisting a local fisherman who, however, judged his engine too small for the job.

Previously, blue whale carcasses washed ashore in the towns of Trout River and Rocky Harbour, located about 150 km further north, and were taken by Royal Ontario Museum for preservation of the skeletons. Fenwick suggested the sperm whale carcass in his town might also meet a similar fate, as the sperm whale’s status as the largest toothed whale might prove to be a drawing attraction for such a facility.

Regarding what he plans to do next with the carcass, Fenwick said “If we’re not allowed to sell it, we’re willing to drop our 99 cent price down to a zero.” He said he hoped some eBay bidder stays interested in the whale. “We’ll be glad to talk to them about giving them the whale. We’re hoping that’s not illegal.” He also said he hoped the publicity from the town’s predicament, which garnered national attention, and its unusual means of finding a solution, would draw in someone interested in taking the whale off his hands at their own expense.

Should the whale fall under new ownership, Fenwick advised it be moved away from the town to a beach devoid of people, and the blubber left as food for seagulls, insects, and other predators. He estimated “It’ll probably take a year or so to get down to the skeleton.” As monetary gain was reportedly not what the town cared about, Fenwick was willing to offer the carcass for free, though one report noted money raised from the listing could have gone towards the building of a skate park.

The listing on eBay, as put up by Fenwick, read:

Cquote1.svg This 40 foot sperm whale rolled up on the beach last week. The actual seller is the town of Cape St. George which is responsible for disposing of it before it starts to decay. Once the fat and flesh is removed you have a spectacular 40 foot skeleton of the largest toothed whale in the world, great for museums and other attractions. To prevent it rotting in the town it can be towed to isolated beaches on the Port au Port Peninsula to allow the seagulls and other birds to remove the flesh. Call 709-644-2290 or 709-649-7070 for more details.

Please note the successful bidder will have to remove the whale within 30 days

Cquote2.svg



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December 6, 2009

First snowfall of the season impacts the Northeast US

First snowfall of the season impacts the Northeast US

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

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A thunderstorm in Italy

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A snowstorm, in many areas the first of the season, has impacted much of the Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada today and is expected to continue until early on Sunday morning. Cities closer to the coast first received rain this morning and early afternoon, but precipitation has changed over to snow as the low pressure system moves northeastward and gains strength.

Forecasters say the storm is related to the same system that brought record-breaking snowfall to the Houston, Texas region a few days ago.

Most locations will pick up a few inches of snow when all is said and done, enough to cause widespread travel delays and traffic accidents throughout the area. Accordingly, the National Weather Service has issued several winter weather warnings stretching from the South through Maine. Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Atlantic Canada and is expecting 15 to 30 centimeters of snow.

By midday Sunday, the storm will have pulled out of the region, leaving behind clearing skies.

Meanwhile, a winter storm hit southern Alberta, Canada on Friday causing blizzard like conditions and dumping over 20 centimeters of snow.

Picture gallery

The first snow of the season in southern New York State.
Image: User:Juliancolton.

The first snow of the season in southern New York State.
Image: User:Juliancolton.

The first snow of the season in southern New York State.
Image: User:Juliancolton.

The first snow of the season in southern New York State.
Image: User:Juliancolton.

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April 10, 2009

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launches VORTEX2 to study tornadoes

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launches VORTEX2 to study tornadoes

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Friday, April 10, 2009

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Approximately 100 scientists and students will take part in the Verification of Rotation in Tornadoes Expermiment VORTEX2 project in May to study tornadoes in the central United States along Tornado Alley.

Project Vortex. The Dimmitt Tornado.

One of the unique features of VORTEX2 is that it is mobile, with no fixed base. The large armada will operate from the Dakotas down to Texas, operating in a different area every day as the weather dictates. The project will run between May 10 to June 13, repeating again in 2010 from 1 May until 15 June. 40 research vehicles will use mobile radar, deployable arrays of instruments called Sticknets and Podnets to measure around and inside tornadoes, ten instrumented vehicles, 4 balloon launching vehicles, unmanned aircraft, and other instruments to surround tornadoes and the supercell thunderstorms that form them.

“We have a strong focus on trying to figure out why storms tornado when they do. VORTEX1 made a significant difference. But now we have a lot more technology to make real-time predictions, which can increase warning times.” Louis Wicker, National Severe Storms Laboratory research meteorologist said, “Data collected from V2 will help researchers understand how tornadoes form and how the large-scale environment of thunderstorms is related to tornado formation.”

The US$11.9 million project, will help to determine why and how tornadoes initially form and how tornadoes are related to supercell thunderstorms.

Stephan Nelson, National Science Foundation (NSF) program director for physical and dynamic meteorology, whose program is providing the bulk of funding for VORTEX2, said “An important finding from the original VORTEX experiment was that tornadoes happen on smaller time and space scales than scientists had thought. New advances from Vortex2 will allow for a more detailed sampling of a storm’s wind, temperature and moisture environment, and lead to a better understanding of why tornadoes form – and how they can be more accurately predicted,”

Storm chasing NSSL vehicles on Project VORTEX1 equipped with surface measurement equipment.

Researchers from Finland, Bureau of Meteorology in Australia, Environment Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS), ten universities across the US, and the NOAA Storm Prediction Center will take part in the project.

Already in 2009, there have been nine fatalities caused from tornadoes in the US alone.

The VORTEX1 project took place between 1994 and 1995, and was the largest tornado study to date, collecting valuable data that enhanced scientific understanding of tornadoes and tornadogenesis.



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October 13, 2008

Canadian scientists protest Harper\’s attacks on science

Canadian scientists protest Harper’s attacks on science

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Monday, October 13, 2008

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Day
Day 34 of the 2008 Canadian elections
Stories from the 2008 Canadian Federal Elections
National Parties

Bloc Québécois
Conservative Party of Canda
Green Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
New Democratic Party

Le chef du Bloc québécois, Gilles Duceppe. Credit: Claude Boucher
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper. Credit: The Conservative Party of Canada
Promotional photo of Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. Credit: Grant Neufeld
Stephane Dion at a Liberal leadership convention rally for his supporters. Credit: ycanada_news
Jack Layton at Quebec party conference in 2006. Credit: Atrian

Citing actions taken by the Conservative government since winning a minority government in 2006, 85 scientists across Canada have signed an open letter to all national party leaders calling on them to state how they will ‘improve Canada’s track record’ regarding the objectivity of science. This is the second such initiative within the week, the letter on 7 October being signed by 120 scientists.

The scientists signing the latest letter represent hundreds of researchers such as Deans, Department Heads, Research Chairs, and research team leaders. They come from academic fields of Anthropology, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Biology, Community Health and Epidemiology, Criminology, Earth & Ocean Sciences, Educational Psychology, Environmental & Engineering Sciences, Land Resource Science, Medicine, Nursing, Philosophy, Physics, Psychiatry, Social Work, and Sociology.

Queen’s University climate researcher John Smol lamented the need for scientists to protest in a public forum. “I think scientists tend to be conservative when it comes to voicing their opinions. But as far as the environment is concerned, the problem is so bad and the consequences are so terrible if we do not act,” he told CBC News.

The Harper government was cited for actions across the academic spectrum, from nuclear safety to human health to climate science. A repeated charge is misreprestation and/or suppression of scientific finds, as well as acting to prevent the dissemination of research, to silence scientists.

Cquote1.svg While science is not the only factor to be considered in political decision-making, ignoring and subverting science and scientific processes is unacceptable. Cquote2.svg

—Canadian Scientists Against the Politicization of Science

Within the government’s own Environment Canada the Conservatives have been accused of muzzling the department, even interfering with the release of one researcher’s science fiction novel. The novel, entitled “Hotter than Hell“, deals with a not-too-distant future strongly affected by global warming. Then-Environmental Minister Rona Ambrose ordered the scientist not to attend talks to promote his novel where his job title was given.

“It’s absolutely Orwellian what’s going on here in science in Canada,” said environmental scientist Andrew Weaver in an interview with The Georgia Straight. Weaver, lead author on three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and the recently published “Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World“, was not surprised when references to the UN’s IPCC reports were removed from Canadian government websites. He wrote in his book about new rules the Harper government put in place, requiring journalist questions for Environment Canada scientists be submitted in writing, and responses must first be presented to media-relations staff for editing and approval.

Vancouver’s Safe Injections Site project, Insite, a program designed to provide intravenous drug users with a medically-supervised location, is an internationally recognized model of successful harm-reduction public health policy, supported by both provincial and municipal governments. The national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, engaged in a campaign to undermine the project according to documents discovered in a Freedom of Information Act query, including financing politically-motivated research.

The conservative government has been antagonistic to the program since coming to power, and though losing its case at every level of courts has appealed the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruling which struck down portions of Canada’s drug laws as unconstitutional. The judge gave the government one year to pass replacement legislation which addresses the Charter Right of addicts to health care which may save their life.

Conservative Health Minister Tony Clement has questioned the ethics of physicians who support the harm-reduction model of Insite. “Is it ethical for health-care professionals to support the administration of drugs that are of unknown substance, or purity or potency — drugs that cannot otherwise be legally prescribed?” he said at the Canadian Medical Association’s annual meeting.

“The minister was off base in calling into question the ethics of physicians involved in harm reduction,” CMA president Brian Day responded. “It’s clear that this was being used as a political issue.” More than 80% of physicians support the harm-reduction model, he said.

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Aren’t the Conservatives in the right to press their ideologies, since that’s what the voting public elected them to do?
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August 15, 2008

Sensitive Canadian document found on rainy streets

Sensitive Canadian document found on rainy streets

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Friday, August 15, 2008

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A sensitive Environment Canada document was found wet on an Ottawa street by someone who gave it to the CBC today.

The 131-page document was found on Castlefrank Road in Kanata, Ontario in a rain-stained, tire-marked brown envelope by a passerby.

The document which had the stamp Protected B on every page detailed various security vulnerabilities of the NEMISIS database which is used by officers to track and prosecute environmental law-breakers. If someone were able to shut the system down, or hack inside and delete or corrupt the information, it could affect the prosecution of the lawbreakers.

The database was unveiled in 1999 as the National Enforcement Management Information System and Intelligence System. However, on the document, it referred to the database as National Enforcement and Emergency Management Information System and Intelligence System, adding the words “and Emergency” to the name.

Protection B documents are the second lowest grade of classified government documents. Environment Canada spokesperson Julie Hahn said they apply to letters of complaint, criticism or injury, research or scientific notes and findings that don`t have any conclusion, and Treasury Board letters, agendas and minutes that don`t deal with subjects of national interest.

Environment Minister John Baird has asked government officials how such documents that are supposed to be stored in “approved security cabinets” wound up on the street.

“I’m told two things: that it’s neither classified nor secret and that it’s stuff that could be available under access to information,” Baird said.

Environment Canada spokeswoman Sujata Raisinghani told CBC News the department will look into the incident.

“We take document security seriously,” she said, but refused to give any more details about how the papers came to be on a road.

Paul Dewar, an Ottawa New Democrat MP, said the combined security lapses raise serious questions about the government’s ability to secure sensitive documents.

Dewar says that bureaucrats of the Conservative government have complained to him about document security to the point that they can`t share the information with their own colleagues. However, when a government document has been found on the streets, the government then says it wasn’t particularly sensitive.

“This government is so consumed with control of information and secrecy yet they don’t seem to be able to get the fundamentals right,” Dewar said.

The incident is a reminiscent of two other incidents.

In March, a bundle of blueprints for a new headquarters for the military’s counterterrorism unit were found stuffed in the trash on a downtown street.

In May, Maxime Bernier was forced to resign as Foreign Affairs minister after it became known that he left sensitive documents at the apartment of his then-girlfriend Julie Couillard who had ties to the Hells Angels biker gang.



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May 10, 2007

Canadian government employee faces criminal charges in leak of environment plan

Canadian government employee faces criminal charges in leak of environment plan

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Canada
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RCMP police car in Ottawa, Canada.
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A Canadian government employee of Environment Canada was arrested Wednesday for criminal breach of trust with respect to a leak of the Conservative government’s green plan days before it was due to be made public.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested the unidentified male employee following a complaint from Environment Canada’s security department. The department alleges that a secret draft copy of the government’s regulatory framework, Climate Change Section of the Eco-Action Plan, had been leaked to the media prior to being released officially to the public.

“An employee who violates the terms of their workplace security clearance, including the release of secret documents, may be subjected to legal consequences, including criminal charges,” said Superintendent Stan Burke, officer in charge of the RCMP’s financial integrity division. There was also concern that if the details were leaked, securities laws could be compromised if stock trades were made based on privileged information.

Environment Minister John Baird was forced to reveal details of the government’s climate change plan on April 24, in an opinion piece published in the media. The move came after a copy of a speech describing the plan was faxed by mistake, a day earlier, to an opposition Liberal party member and environment critic, David McGuinty. It is not clear whether the police action Wednesday was related to that incident.

The RCMP stated that the matter remains under investigation and, as such, no further details would be released at this time.

Related news

  • “Wikinews Shorts: April 25, 2007” — Wikinews, April 25, 2007

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January 11, 2007

Large blizzard sweeps through British Columbia, Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan

Large blizzard sweeps through British Columbia, Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan –

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Travel shut down

Alberta closed many schools and highways as the eye of the storm traversed this western province. Travelling from British Columbia,[1] into northern Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta region, through Saskatchewan and to Manitoba, a severe blizzard started the night of Tuesday January 9, 2007. By Wednesday January 10, 2007, the storm tracked from Alberta and hit Saskatchewan. According to weather announcements on the Weather Network [2] the blizzard is expected to abate in Saskatchewan by 9:00 pm Central Standard Time. At the height of the storm, gusting winds approached upwards of 80 miles per hour. The temperature began in the morning around -10 Celsius, dropping to -21 Celsius by the evening.

Blowing snow conditions reduced visabliity to less than a car length at times. Some drivers who dared venture out on the highway told of needing to leave their car to kick away snow on the ground in order to determine if they were still driving on pavement. Heroic citizens donned ski pants and parkas, and thus bundled against the elements, assisted drivers who were unable to navigate the black ice covered by the fresh snow at the top of the 25th Street Bridge. In this way their efforts relieved an already bad condition of the piled up congestion on this bridge. Early in the afternoon, the new Circle Drive bridge was closed, and traffic was ill advised to use Circle Drive, which was battered by drifting snow drifts and gusting winds coming in from the open countryside. Around noon, it was said that taxi companies ceased to operate. A typical 15 minute venture driving across the City of Saskatoon mounted into line ups of 1 to two hours as traffic slowed to a snail’s pace, due to stuck vehicles, accidents, tow trucks, emergency vehicles, and vehicles unable to navigate steep hills and the underlying black ice from previous winter conditions. [3] Highways, public schools and school bus routes were among the first to be closed. Shopping malls, universities, colleges and high schools soon followed. Any children who arrived at school in early morning were kept at the school until parents could pick them up. Pedestrians were virtually impossible for vehicular traffic to see, and drifting snow made sidewalks hard to navigate. According to media sources, some children may be stranded overnight at schools in cases where roads are totally impassable due to white out conditions. By 6:00 pm City transit buses were not running, Saskatchewan transit buses would not take on highway travel and the airport closed down. Any travellers were strongly urged to book into hotel rooms by 3:00 pm as many hotels were near capacity by mid afternoon. Attempts to use cell phones were often greeted with a busy signal, as the network was loaded with calls during the emergency period. At 3:00 pm any calls for ambulances were encouraged to be of necessity only, and even then a 20 minute wait for the arrival of an ambulance was foreseeable according to radio announcements. As of 7:00 pm, police were only responding to crimes in progress and emergency situations. Tow trucks and RCMP were having a difficult time responding to situations. [4] Residents were strongly urged to stay at home.

SGEU Snowplow operators strike overview

To make matters more complicated highway workers supported the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union, (SGEU) which had been on strike since December 20, 2006. Correctional workers, and environmental employees who were on strike were joined by snowplow operators and supervisors Sunday, January 7, 2007. [5] By the end of Sunday approximately 1,200 highway workers were on a rotating strike, and had walked off the job. On Tuesday, January 9, 2007, in the face of weather predictions, SGEU advised highway workers to return to work. [6] By Wednesday, January 10, 2007, the brunt of the storm was faced by a full contingent of snowplow workers.

Environment Canada Blizzard Warning

A Blizzard warning from environment Canada [7] reported zero to almost zero visibility in Saskatchewan. The area around North Battleford announced closures first. Many highways closed between north western Lloydminster centrally located Saskatoon, and as far south and east as Yorkton, and everywhere in between. Highways out of the cities were barricaded. Police and media were advising any and all travel be delayed till the white out conditions abate. Snow is drifting and the strong winds have made total snowfall hard to calculate.

Weather shuts down Saskatchewan

At 7:30 p.m. CST Martensville – Warman – Rosthern – Delisle – Wakaw- City of Saskatoon. Blizzard warning in effect. Wind northeast 60 km/h gusting to 80 diminishing to 40 gusting to 60 then becoming north 20 near midnight. Low minus 27. Wind chill minus 38. Winter storm warning in effect for Southern Saskatchewan.[8]

Photographs of the Storm

Pictures of the January 10 Saskatchewan storm are online which were taken by CP Press photographer Geoff Howe. Sun Young walking to work, College Drive pedestrian, and three young samaritans who helped vehicles navigate the weather. [9]

Aftermath

The full effects of the blizzard have yet to be witnessed in news reports of Thursday January 11, 2007. Wednesday’s announcements of leaving the home only if absolutely necessary, and blizzard warnings to eliminate highway travel hopefully have averted many disasters. As of Friday, January 12, three people in Saskatchewan had succumbed to the storm.

In Saskatchewan it has been reported on January 11, 2007 that three persons have lost their lives due to the blizzard. All had left their vehicles and fell short by meters of shelter from the elements.[10]

Due to traffic snarls and tie ups emergency rescue personnel used snowmobiles to search out stranded vehicles and investigate for persons within.[11] Several weary travellers were indeed found in this way. Due to drastic cold weather, vehicles failing to start, and homes being snowed in, school was cancelled the day following the blizzard, as wind chill dropped to -47 Celsius. Tow trucks were busy all day Thursday, and a special phone number was available for city residents who had abandoned their vehicles in the storm. To clear the streets, tow trucks would take vehicles to empty parking lots till claimed.

In Saskatchewan to attain “blizzard” status, a storm must last at least 4 hours. [12] Wednesday’s storm delivered approximately 7 hours of zero visibility. [13] This storm severe as it was pales in comparison to the February 1947 blizzard which raged for 10 days burying trains, and the 4 day long blizzard of February 1978 which deposited snow up to the eavestrough of homes.[14] The storm has been dubbed an Alberta Clipper storm as it had its origins in the Rocky Mountains in western Canada racing south and westerly across Alberta and the prairies towards the Appalachains and north eastern USA as well as Eastern Canada. Frigidly cold weather follows the low pressure front of the Alberta Clipper storm.[15] [16]

Footnotes

  1. Winter storm batters West, Prairies CBC.ca Site accessed January 10, 2007
  2. Weather NetworkTelevesion viewed 5:00 pm, web site accessed January 10, 2007
  3. Whiteout conditions, blowing snow in large parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan Site accessed January 10, 2007
  4. Weather Network Television newscast at 7:00 pm
  5. Highway workers walk out Global TVSite accessed January 10, 2007
  6. Workers are Back!Site accessed January 10, 2007
  7. Environment Canada Site accessed January 10, 2007
  8. Weather Environment Canada’s Official Text Forecasts Reproduction available for personal and public non-commercial use * Users exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced; * Environment Canada be identified as the source department; and, * The reproduction is not represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with or with the endorsement of Environment Canada.
  9. Netscape Weather PHOTOGRAPHS of storm Photograph Search terms – weather and Saskatoon and Geoff Howe URL accessed January 11, 2007
  10. Third Saskatchewan person dies in blizzard CBC.ca URL accessed January 11, 2007]
  11. Snowmobiles used for rescues in Saskatoon’s ‘worst storm’URL accessed January 11, 2007
  12. Canadian Communities AtlasURL accessed January 11, 2007
  13. AccuWeather.com – Weather Blogs – Weather News Two Storms then Cold! Clipper StormURL accessed January 11, 2007
  14. Canadian Communities AtlasURL accessed January 11, 2007
  15. Define Alberta clipperURL accessed January 11, 2007
  16. ;http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/storm/neaster.htm For Strong Winds: Nor’easters and Alberta Clippers]URL accessed January 11, 2007


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January 8, 2007

North American roads suffer from dramatic thaws and freezes

North American roads suffer from dramatic thaws and freezes

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Monday, January 8, 2007

A pothole in Montréal, Canada last year.

Major city roads across North America are suffering from an early surge in potholes due to the dramatic freezes and thaws this month, some several feet across and inches deep. The potholes are caused by water seeping into cracks during warm weather, and pushing concrete apart when it freezes. Traffic erodes chunks of concrete from the cracks to form holes that continuously grow larger.

While car repair shops are experiencing a boom in business, city budgets are being hit with the costs of patching potholes. Thierry Larivée, an infrastructure spokesman in Montréal, Canada, says about 20 pothole patrols are working throughout the city. They are expected to continue work until at least Friday.

Craig Bryson, spokesman for the Road Commission for Oakland County in Michigan, United States, reports problems on unpaved roads as well. “The warmer weather is also playing havoc with gravel roads; the top layer of dirt thaws, but remains frozen about 10 inches below the surface. Surface water has no place to go. This creates a rutted, soupy road, especially in low-lying areas.”

Environment Canada meteorologist René Héroux attributes the unseasonable thaw to warm winds from the southwest. Environment Canada predicts a new cold front on Thursday.



Sources

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November 15, 2006

Tsunami wave alert for British Columbia dropped

Tsunami wave alert for British Columbia dropped

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A tsunami wave alert for the outer coast of British Columbia has been dropped. It was lifted about three hours after the alert was issued.

The alert was issued at 4:10 a.m. PST for B.C. north and central coasts to the northern tip of Vancouver Island and also the west coast of Vancouver Island south to Sombrio Point. It was expected to hit at 9:00 a.m. PST, 12:00 p.m. ET.

“That’s our latest information – that if a wave was generated it would be hardly noticeable,” said Cam Filmer, executive director of Provincial Emergency Planning office.

No impacts are expected from any tsunami wave that might reach B.C.’s outer coast, Emergency officials in British Columbia say.

Recent reports from Japan and Alaska indicate that any wave that might reach coastal B.C. will be very small.

Currently, there are blackouts, heavy rain and high winds throughout the area. 8,000 customers in Sechelt, Whistler, Bowen Island and Quadra Island, B.C. have no power. Winds are up to 100 kilometres an hour in some areas and rainfall amounts of 50 to 110 millimetres, Environment Canada reports.

Float plane services are cancelled between Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.

Ferries are also cancelled on routes linking the mainland to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

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August 29, 2006

Water level of Great Lakes is falling

Water level of Great Lakes is falling – Wikinews, the free news source

Water level of Great Lakes is falling

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Environment Canada is reporting that the water levels of Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan have dropped and that Lake Erie could lose two feet or 15% or more of its water level by the year 2050.

“We should pay attention to what they’re telling us. That’s not to say they’re perfect, and there’s always room for uncertainty, but . . . it’s the best information we have at this point,” said director of the Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State College, Joe Atkinson.

Reports also state that if any of the lakes lose a few feet of water the event could be an “economic disaster.”

“That would just be an economic disaster. Water levels are what make or break this industry,” said spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association, Glen Nekvasil. He also added that if a drop in water levels of a few feet in any of the great lakes, could render the shipping “inviable.”

Researchers at Buffalo State College are not convinced that a major problem is looming.

“It’s really just too early to make a decision,” he said. “Water levels have fluctuated a lot in the last [few] hundreds of years, so it’s hard to put that to global warming,” said researcher with the Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State College, John J. Freidhoff.

Some officials admit that the loss of water levels in the lakes are not in the “top ten” problems that the Great Lakes face.

“The water being lost through climate change is not in our top 10. We have other fish to fry, so to speak,” said Lake Erie specialist at the Envirnmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes National Program Office located in Chicago, Illinois, Dan O’Riordan.

Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are at least 45 cm. below their yearly average and Lake Superior is only 20 cm below its average, but Lake Erie and Lake Ontario have made a recovery from their averages.

Residents in Michigan are complaining about foul smells, dead fish, muck and garbage that litter the shorelines of Lake St. Clair which is also 7 inches below its level this year when measured in mid-summer.

“It’s not just down a little — it’s down a lot,” said Macomb County resident, Jim Doran who resides in the township of Harrison.

“It’s not a pretty sight, and it smells,” added Doran.

Shipping companies are reporting that at least 200-500 tons of cargo will not be able to be shipped in the lakes if the levels continue to drop. Freighters will lose the ability to ship at least 270 tons of cargo for every one inch of water that is lost.

“We’re down 200 to 500 tons per trip, compared to last year,” said Nekvasil.

Sources

  • Manny Paiva. “Low water levels” — Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre, August 28, 2006
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