Clem’s Chronicles: Winter Woes/Haiti Missionaries/Iran protests coming

By Clem Lane

Feb 10, 2010 9:53pm

No snow day for this place today (or any other day)…lots of WX news and a couple of things looming for tomorrow…..

WINTER WALLOP ARRIVES-Storm number two finally reached the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states and Mother Nature did not disappoint. Some totals set daily records while others helped break total seasonal records. Marisa Bramwell compiled a few of those after chatting with the National Weather Service:
Atlantic City:  5.9 inches for this storm so far, setting a new record of 48.7 for this season (old record was 46.9 inches in Winter 1966-67)
Baltimore: Preliminary numbers for this storm is 19.5 inches, setting a new record of 79.9 inches (old record was 62.5 in 1995-96)
Philadelphia: 14 inches total for this storm, seasonal total of 70.3 inches (old record was 65.5, set in Winter 1995-16)
Washington, DC:  Preliminary numbers for this storm is 10.5 inches, setting new record of 55.6 inches (old record was 54.4 set in 1898-99)
Wilmington, DE: 12.8 inches this storm, seasonal total is now 66.7 inches (old record was 55.9 set in 1995-96)
—further north some other snowfall numbers-
New York City: 9 inches and counting in Central Park
Boston: 3 inches and counting at Logan Airport
Note: those daily totals are certain to change as the night/overnight progresses. The National Weather Service tells us they will not have new figures until 1am ET.

Sam Champion gave us an idea of where we are with the storm and what to expect during his two-way with Diane Sawyer on WORLD NEWS earlier this evening.
Champion tells us the storm “has been behaving as forecasted. It starts to end from the southwest to the northeast” which means snows are ending in Washington D.C., Maryland and into Pennsylvania from now over the next couple of hours.  This evening the snow starts to slow down…in New York City, (then) after midnight, the snow really slows down quite a bit.  Tomorrow morning, Boston's drive time, certainly less snow and starting to end by that time. But behind this storm, there is a very strong, ferocious wind that will continue for awhile during the day on Thursday. This is 40 to 50-mile-an-hour winds easily along the coastline. One or two places will get 50 to 60-mile-an-hour winds. Winds will be the big story tomorrow.”

Winds were certainly an issue today as well. David Muir, filing for WORLD NEWS noted that was particularly true in Pennsylvania and Maryland “where governors have urged drivers to stay off the road. One official in Maryland saying, if you do drive, you're taking your life into your own hands and you are risking others lives, too.” Those warnings in Maryland weren’t just for civilians-Muir tells us that in Montgomery County, Maryland “the winds made the storm so dangerous even the plows were ordered off the road.” In central Pennsylvania, about 25 vehicles were involved in two separate pileups on snowy Interstate 80. One man was killed and 18 people injured.

Ron Claiborne reported tonight from Philadelphia…”a city under siege”. Claiborne expounds: “Philadelphia has gotten more snow, imagine this, in the last five days than it normally gets in two entire winters. and it is still coming down.” Not good news for the city’s hospitals-Claiborne tells us that faced “with skeletal staffs, (hospitals) cancelled thousands of outpatients’ appointments”. At least 60 thousand customers are without power in Pennsylvania, a situation facing tens of thousands of additional residents further south in Maryland and Washington, D.C. David Kerley reported for WORLD NEWS on some of these shut-ins (and shut-outs). Kerley introduced us to Kipp Karanbuhl, “without power in his Washington, D.C. home since Friday. He’s worried about his abandoned house, checking the house and the power company every day. He has no idea when he’ll live here again.” In a follow-up to something Kerley reported on last night for WORLD NEWS, there are reports of various roof collapses- heavy snow collapsed part of the roof and a wall at a Smithsonian Institution storage building in Suitland, Md. A spokeswoman says it doesn't appear that there's any damage to artifacts from the National Air and Space Museum, but that officials haven't yet been able to go inside because the building is unstable. And for those keeping score, the Federal Government will be shuttered for a fourth straight day tomorrow for non-essential personnel.

Travel up and down the so-called I-95 corridor was Spartan-Muir tells us “nearly 6 thousand flights were cancelled”. What’s that mean in human terms? Muir: “More than 400 thousand passengers now waiting to get on another flight…enough to fill the stadium that housed the Super Bowl 5 times…and then some.” And for those seeking alternative transit, cancellations or worse. Muir notes for one group of “commuters in DC who opted for the bus, (they) ended up pushing it.”

And what about the million plus kids given a “snow day”.For some, cabin fever comes easily as Martha Raddatz relayed tonight on WORLD NEWS: “People always talk about being trapped with little kids during a storm in the house. Try being trapped with two 18-year-old football players. ‘You really going to play basketball?’  Yep. My son Jake had his friend Shawn over. They had to get outside. They were like two trapped golden retrievers needing a run.”
For other families, there is joy in life’s (normally) simple things-here’s Jon Karl and his kid posse braving the elements:  “Our mission right now is actually to try to get the mail, and it’s going to be harder than you think. Come on. Snowball fight to our rear. Best things about snow drifts? Good place to throw snowballs from. Just got hit with a snowball…all right. And here we have the first glimpse of our mailbox. I can't believe it. Come here! There's no mail! I thought these guys delivered through anything.  Well, no mail, the newspaper was actually delivered. That is impressive. Somebody's working today.”

HAITI MISSIONARIES:  ABC NEWS has learned that the American missionaries detained in Haiti could be released as early as Thursday.  Brian Hartman reports the missionaries’ Haitian defense lawyer said “the judge accepted the defense argument that the American missionaries acted in good faith after 10 parents testified that they voluntarily gave up their children. Today, the judge was to hear a ‘confrontation’ between the parents and the missionaries. But since they both have the same story – the judge, according to the defense lawyer, deemed that unnecessary.”  The prosecution is required by Haitian law to present its case before a judge for a final ruling.  Hartman reports “The defense attorney believes strongly that the prosecution does not want to fight this case. He believes this all will be resolved tomorrow. No word from the judge.” (thanks to Marisa Bramwell for this entry)

IRAN ANNIVERSARY DEMOS: Anti-government protests are planned for Thursday to mark the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.  In Tehran, Iranian security forces conducted sweeps and arrested suspected opposition activists today in preparation for tomorrow.  Official events marking the anniversary are planned across the country, and President Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address his supporters at Tehran's Azadi square.  As with past protests, there are reports the government plans to impair electronic communications to prevent organization, including the Google application Gmail.  (thanks to Marisa Bramwell for this entry)

AMERICAN AIRLINES FINDS ANOTHER REVENUE STREAM (UGH!)-American Airlines, the nation's second-largest airline, said today that starting with tickets bought on Feb. 22, only elite frequent fliers, travelers in first or business class, military personnel and people who bought pricey coach tickets will be allowed to fly standby for free. Everyone else switching flights on their day of travel will have to pay $50 to get a confirmed seat. Oh and don’t forget that extra $8 you’ll need for a pillow and blanket if you make it onto that plane.

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