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Archive for May, 2012

Area weather radar getting an upgrade

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Starting Tuesday, the weather service’s radar will undergo a week-long upgrade

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$100 high school yearbook tainted with ‘porn’ photo, parents say

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

LAKE NORMAN, NC — While many students graduating high school and moving on to the world beyond want to leave a lasting impression on their alma maters, most don’t attempt a legacy by exposing their private parts during graduation.

However, a student at Lake Norman High School’s 2011 graduation ceremony did just that, and the incident went largely unnoticed until the school issued yearbooks this year.

That’s when students and parents — who paid $100 for the book — noticed the girl on page 14 lifting her gown and exposing herself.

Click here to check out the rest of the story at WSOCTV.com

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UNC trustees hear about academic fraud case

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) — Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill want to know how courses with little or no supervision from professors could have continued for years before building into a case of academic fraud.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the trustees were briefed Thursday on the fraud uncovered in the school’s African and Afro-American Studies program. The program was at the center of an investigation involving Tar Heel football players.

The State Bureau of Investigation is probing the situation to determine whether any criminal violations occurred.

A report this month revealed 54 classes within the department had little or no indication of teaching. The review also found at least 10 cases of unauthorized grade changes involving students who did not complete their work.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Forecasters applying lessons learned from Irene

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

MIAMI (AP) – The director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami says forecasters are trying to apply lessons from Hurricane Irene’s destruction to their storm preparedness message this year.

Flooding from Irene was the most destructive event to hit Vermont in almost a century, killing six people, leaving hundreds homeless and damaging or destroying hundreds of miles of roads.

Hurricane center director Bill Read said Thursday that forecasters believe they accurately conveyed the potential inland impacts of the storm. He says the forecasts for Irene were among the best he’s seen on rainfall from a hurricane making landfall.

Many in New England contend that Irene’s flooding caught them by surprise. Read says overcoming that communications gap is a challenge for forecasters.

The six-month hurricane season begins June 1.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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STORMTRACK 3: NOAA Predicts near-normal Hurricane Season

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

MIAMI, FL (NOAA) — Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this season, NOAA announced today from Miami at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and home to the Hurricane Research Division.

For the entire six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

“NOAA’s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “But regardless of the outlook, it’s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.” Andrew, the Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992, was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.

Favoring storm development in 2012: the continuation of the overall conditions associated with the Atlantic high-activity era that began in 1995, in addition to near-average sea surface temperatures across much of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, known as the Main Development Region. Two factors now in place that can limit storm development, if they persist, are: strong wind shear, which is hostile to hurricane formation in the Main Development Region, and cooler sea surface temperatures in the far eastern Atlantic.

Hurricane Andrew

August 24, 2012 will be the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew’s devastating landfall in South Florida.

“Another potentially competing climate factor would be El Niño if it develops by late summer to early fall. In that case, conditions could be less conducive for hurricane formation and intensification during the peak months (August-October) of the season, possibly shifting the activity toward the lower end of the predicted range,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

"NOAA’s improvement in monitoring and predicting hurricanes has been remarkable over the decades since Andrew, in large part because of our sustained commitment to research and better technology. But more work remains to unlock the secrets of hurricanes, especially in the area of rapid intensification and weakening of storms,” said Lubchenco. “We’re stepping up to meet this challenge through our Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, which has already demonstrated exciting early progress toward improving storm intensity forecasts."

Lubchenco added that more accurate forecasts about a storm’s intensity at landfall and extending the forecast period beyond five days will help America become a more Weather-Ready Nation.

In a more immediate example of research supporting hurricane forecasting, NOAA this season is introducing enhancements to two of the computer models available to hurricane forecasters – the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) models. The HWRF model has been upgraded with a higher resolution and improved atmospheric physics. This latest version has demonstrated a 20 to 25 percent improvement in track forecasts and a 15 percent improvement in intensity forecasts relative to the previous version while also showing improvement in the representation of storm structure and size. Improvements to the GFDL model for 2012 include physics upgrades that are expected to reduce or eliminate a high bias in the model’s intensity forecasts.

The seasonal outlook does not predict how many storms will hit land. Forecasts for individual storms and their impacts are provided by NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, which continuously monitors the tropics for storm development and tracking throughout the season using an array of tools including satellites, advance computer modeling, hurricane hunter aircraft, and land- and ocean-based observations sources such as radars and buoys.

Next week, May 27- June 2, is national Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help prepare residents of hurricane-prone areas, video and audio public service announcements featuring NOAA hurricane experts and the FEMA administrator are available in both English and Spanish.

“Every hurricane season we ask families, communities, and businesses to ensure they are prepared and visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes,” said Tim Manning, FEMA deputy administrator for protection and national preparedness. “Being prepared includes developing a family emergency plan, putting an emergency kit together or updating your existing kit, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved to ensure your community is ready.”

NOAA’s outlook for the Eastern Pacific basin is for a near-normal hurricane season and the Central Pacific basin is expected to have a below-normal season. NOAA will issue an updated seasonal outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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