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Record cold in Texas, Oklahoma causes power outages, dangerous conditions

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The extreme cold has despatched vitality demand skyrocketing. In Texas, 2.7 million prospects have been with out electrical energy as of 11 a.m. Eastern amid the punishing cold, based on poweroutage.us.

The mercury plummeted in the Lonestar State Sunday evening whereas it was blitzed by snow and ice, inflicting almost not possible driving conditions and a whole bunch of auto accidents. Officials have urged residents to not journey, as social media movies proliferated of automobiles and vans sliding down roads uncontrolled.

Houston’s Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports were closed, whereas all flights out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were also canceled Monday morning.

For the primary time, the complete state of Texas was positioned below a winter storm warning Sunday. These warnings for hazardous quantities of ice and snow expanded Monday to cover all of Arkansas and most of Louisiana, Mississippi, and western and northern Alabama, whereas extending northeast via a lot of the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, and inside Northeast.

In Texas, officers have warned that individuals might die of hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of mills. The financial toll on agriculture might be staggering, with meteorologists in the insurance industry anticipating this occasion, which ought to undergo the top of the week, to be finish with a billion-dollar value.

Houston’s Intercontinental Airport dipped to 17 levels early Monday, the coldest studying noticed there since Dec. 23, 1989. Tuesday’s morning low might be much more frigid — simply 11 levels forecast by the National Weather Service. The wind chill on Tuesday morning is anticipated to be simply 1 diploma.

“Dangerous, life and property threatening bitterly cold air will continue even as the precipitation ends,” the Weather Service in Houston wrote early Monday.

Farther north, wind chills early Monday plunged as little as minus-40 and minus-50 in components of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.

Widespread power outages
In Texas, the thousands and thousands of power outages have been tied to record-high demand, an electrical energy grid that’s impartial from surrounding states, low pure fuel provides together with sky-high costs and decreased output from the state’s quite a few wind generators,

Oncor, Texas’ largest electrical energy utility, which serves 10 million prospects, mentioned Monday morning that electrical energy provide shortfalls are forcing for much longer power outages than initially deliberate. “Outages due to this electric emergency could last for hours & we ask you to be prepared,” it wrote.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) warns it should proceed to implement primarily short-term, rolling blackouts throughout the state as vitality demand exceeds provide.

There have only been three instances of rotating outages throughout an Energy Emergency Alert because of climate occasions in Texas, with the primary occurring in 1989, based on ERCOT.

Energy demand in the Lonestar State is anticipated to hit an all-time excessive throughout this occasion.

“About 10,500 megawatts of customer load was shed at the highest point,” ERCOT acknowledged in a information launch, describing the step of slicing power to cut back demand on the grid. “This is enough power to serve approximately two million homes.”

“Extreme weather conditions caused many generating units — across fuel types — to trip offline and become unavailable.” About 30,000 megawatts of electrical energy era has been lost because of the cold and snowy conditions, ERCOT acknowledged. “Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” mentioned ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.

Cold is unusually widespread
Punishing cold, ice and snow can also be hitting Louisiana, together with among the identical areas devastated by hurricanes simply months in the past. The distinctive cold is affecting about 30 states, with temperatures as much as 50 levels under regular.

Some counties alongside the speedy Texas shoreline close to Houston had by no means been below a winter storm warning till this week. As a primary wave of snow and ice pulls away Monday, report cold was being bolstered by northerly winds bringing dangerous wind chills.

After beginning the day at minus-5 levels, Oklahoma City was solely forecast to peak round 4 levels for a day excessive. That’s under town’s earlier report low temperature for the date. It’s additionally simply 2 levels away from Oklahoma City’s all-time coldest excessive.

Kansas City reported a wind chill of minus-32 levels, probably the most frigid measured there since 1989.

Dallas hit 5 levels on Monday morning, its coldest studying since 1989. Likewise, Oklahoma City may drop to minus-7 Tuesday morning, additionally its coldest since 1989.

The dynamic system was so excessive that it was the primary time some meteorologists had predicted ocean-effect snow over bays of the Gulf of Mexico. “Of course, I don’t have experience forecasting such things,” wrote one Weather Service meteorologist in an internet forecast dialogue. “Some thundersleet/[snow] mixed in for fun — even at the beaches.”

Thundersleet and thundersnow have been noticed all through Houston and Galveston even alongside the seashores, with one Twitter person writing that they had “seen more lightning in the last hour than [during] most of summer.”

In Houston, emergency officers issued a wireless emergency alert, warning that “life-threatening road conditions will spread through Harris County” whereas Art Acevedo, the chief of police, reported greater than 100 accidents Sunday night, together with a ten automobile pileup.

The Weather Service in Houston, who initially warned of “extreme” impacts from this technique, wrote Monday morning that “*** ROADS ARE DANGEROUS — STAY WHERE YOU ARE***.”

Hundreds of strikes have been noticed. Significant thundersnow with cloud to floor lightning was additionally noticed in Lake Charles, Lou., the identical group ravaged by again to again hurricanes Laura and Delta lower than six months in the past.

The cold climate is coming immediately from the North Pole, by way of Siberia, following a disruption in the circulation of the polar vortex that occurred in January. It’s serving to to spark two main storm programs, the primary of which dumped snow and ice on Sunday evening and Monday morning, with the second on the best way for Wednesday.

Oklahoma City measured about 5 to eight inches of snow throughout the metro space, a bit greater than what had fallen to the west in Amarillo, Tex.

Abilene, Tex. reported a normal 8 to 11 inches, with drifts to 18 inches tall. Even San Angelo had ten inches. Preliminary studies additionally counsel 4 to six inches fell in Dallas-Fort Worth. Worth. If the official whole on the airport comes in over 5 inches, will probably be town’s third-greatest snowstorm on report relationship again to 1974.

Webcam pictures revealed snow overlaying the seashores in Galveston. “We did get someone on the beach making a snow angel,” mentioned Kent Prochazka, lead meteorologist on the Houston Weather Service office. He mentioned the impacts of a cold snap like this one, together with the specter of burst pipes in many houses and companies, “Are so rare here that there’s a lot of preparation that needs to go on.”

Donald Jones, a meteorologist on the Weather Service in Lake Charles, La., mentioned that space is particularly susceptible to excessive cold because of the twin hurricanes final year. “A lot of residents are living in trailers or temporary housing,” he mentioned in an interview. “There were a lot of questions leading up to this event about pipes freezing because a lot of people now have these exposed pipes. There’s a larger homeless population than there was before the storms.”

Climate change connections
As the local weather has warmed because of human actions, cold snaps have grow to be more and more uncommon and fewer extreme, whereas warmth waves have grow to be much more widespread and intense.

In the U.S., winter is the fastest-warming season. In Dallas, the bottom temperature reached every year has elevated by 7.9 levels since 1970, based on the analysis and communications group Climate Central.

There can also be some proof displaying that fast local weather change in the Arctic, which is melting sea ice, helps to disrupt larger-scale climate patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, which can make incursions of polar air extra seemingly and result in excessive warmth waves throughout the summer season. This continues to be an space of lively scientific analysis, nevertheless.

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Covid-19 ‘shakes’ Brazil; Most children and young people die

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Brazil has been one of the worst-hit nations by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic but the unusual high deaths among babies have caused immense concerns. Despite overwhelming evidence based on data that Covid-19 rarely turns fatal for children, around 1,300 babies have died from coronavirus.

BBC did a feature on a Brazilian woman’s one-year-old son who died two months after he first displayed symptoms of Covid-19 in May last year. Jessika Ricarte took her son, Lucas, to a hospital after he developed a fever, then fatigue and slightly laboured breathing. The oxygen level was at a low 86 per cent but the doctor assured Jessika that Covid-19 was rare in children and sent her home with some antibiotics, reported BBC.

Jessika, a resident of Tamboril in Ceará, northeast Brazil, said that although some of the symptoms disappeared at the end of his 10-day antibiotics course, the tiredness remained, as per the report. On June 3, Lucas vomited repeatedly after having lunch, prompting Jessika to take him to a local hospital. He tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to a paediatric intensive care unit in Sobral, a municipality that was over two hours away.

Lucas was diagnosed there with a condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS). A recent study, published in The Lancet, suggests that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a newly identified and serious health condition associated with Covid-19. It is a rare but severe hyperinflammatory condition in children and adolescents that typically occurs 2–6 weeks after they are infected with the coronavirus.

MIS-C is an extreme immune response to the virus and can affect multiple organ systems, including cardiac, gastrointestinal, haematological, dermatological, neurological, respiratory, and renal systems. For the study, the researchers analysed 1,080 patients who met the MIS-C case definition and had sufficient clinical data for analysis of pre-existing factors.

Out of 1,080 patients, 431 were admitted to ICU on the same day as hospitalisation and 217 were admitted to ICU at least after a day of hospitalisation. The clinical signs and symptoms of MIS-C include cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, and abdominal pain, among others. Around 28 per cent of patients had decreased cardiac function, 36 per cent suffered shock, and around 2 per cent cases resulted in deaths.

Lucas was intubated after being diagnosed with MIS-C and suffered cardiac arrest while he was in the ICU, reported BBC. The doctor who was treating the kid said she was surprised at the seriousness of his condition since he did not have any risk factors in terms of comorbidities or overweight. A CT scan discovered that Lucas had had a stroke and later died after a sudden drop in heart rate and oxygen level, as per the report.

According to experts quoted by BBC, Brazil’s sheer number of Covid-19 cases have led to an increase in infection among babies and young children. While Brazil’s official data suggest that Covid-19 killed at least 852 children up to the age of nine, Dr Fatima Marinho, a leading epidemiologist from the University of São Paolo, did research that estimated the virus killed 2,060 children under nine years old, including 1,302 babies. Marinho told BBC that she is seeing more cases of MIS-C than ever before, highlighting that there is a misconception that children are at a zero risk for Covid-19.

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Russia prepares for devastating war; 30,000 more troops cross border; Ukraine shocked

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Thirty thousands of Russian troops massing near the Ukrainian border, convoys of tanks, and a deadly escalation in the grinding trench war in eastern Ukraine.

These storm clouds on Europe’s eastern flank are causing grave alarm in Washington and across the continent.

“We’re now seeing the largest concentration of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders since 2014,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday after flying to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. “That is a deep concern not only to Ukraine, but to the United States.”

In a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the day, President Joe Biden declared Washington’s “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “called on Russia to de-escalate tensions,” a White House readout said.

Western officials and experts are now trying to decipher what Moscow might be planning: Is Putin testing Biden’s mettle — or is he actually trying to spark a fresh military conflict on the fringes of Europe?

“The optimistic assessment is that this is meant to intimidate Ukraine,” said Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at CNA, a research group based in Virginia. “The pessimistic assessment, which I think is a lower probability but nonetheless very worth considering, is that Russia is actually spoiling for a fight and that they’re looking to bait Ukraine into a miscalculation.”

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in conflict since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and began supporting separatists in the country’s east. That war has rumbled on ever since, costing some 14,000 lives despite a series of shaky ceasefires.

But since March experts say they are witnessing something new.

Russia has started sending thousands of troops, tanks, artillery and other units to Crimea and regions along its 1,200-mile land border with Ukraine, according to Western governments and independent experts who monitor these maneuvers.

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The Russian troops number 40,000 in Crimea and another 40,000 in other regions along the border, Iuliia Mendel, spokeswoman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Monday.

Given that the Russian military has an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 troops, “that would be approximately 10 percent of the Russian military’s total manpower,” according to Rob Lee, a former U.S. Marine who now tracks military deployments at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

Russia says these movements are “training missions,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday. But experts say they don’t fit the usual pattern for these wargames. Russian military officials haven’t provided the usual level of detail or forewarning.

“They are deliberately leaving their intentions ambiguous here,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, the fragile ceasefire that’s kept the Donbas conflict at a simmer has deteriorated, with more than 30 Ukrainian soldiers killed already this year, compared with 49 in 2020, Ukraine says.

In response, U.S. European Command has raised its threat level to the highest available, the New York Times reported. And it is planning to send two warships to the Black Sea, according to Turkey, which controls passage into it. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to comment on both of these actions at recent briefings.

“If Russia acts recklessly,” Blinken told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, “there will be consequences.”

After meeting Blinken on Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the “Russian buildup is taking place, not only along the border of Ukraine, but along the border of democratic world.”

The problem for these allies is that it is still unclear what Russia is trying to do — much less how the West might be able to respond.

“The force assembled is large and heavy and could go deep and do some ugly stuff to Ukraine,” said Vladimir Frolov, a former Russian diplomat. Is that what Russia intends to do? “I think an honest answer to your question would be: ‘I have no idea,'” he said.

Russia says it’s free to move troops internally however it likes.

“Russia has never been a threat to anyone and does not pose a threat,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Monday.

The Kremlin has tried to turn the narrative on its head, accusing the U.S. and NATO of being the ones responsible for raising the temperature.

“There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news wires. “We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good.”

Ryabkov referred to the U.S. as an “adversary” — a word the U.S. uses to describe Russia, but a clear shift from Russia’s preferred term “partner” when referring to the U.S.

Many experts believe a Russian military offensive is not impossible but unlikely; it would be costly for Putin and it’s unclear what he would gain. The buildup has been slow and ostentatious, whereas a genuine invasion would be rapid and more covert.

More likely, according to these observers, is that Russia is attempting to intimidate Ukraine, perhaps to gain leverage in the stalled peace talks over the Donbas conflict.

Putin is also sending a message to Biden and Ukraine’s European allies, according to Fabrice Pothier, a consulting senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London think tank.

Biden has deployed harsher rhetoric toward Putin compared with President Donald Trump, and last month the U.S. announced $125 million in military aid to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine is renewing calls to join NATO, something the alliance promised in 2008 but is vehemently opposed by Russia.

“Putin is testing what President Biden’s Russia-Ukraine policy is really made of,” said Pothier, NATO’s former head of policy planning. “Is the U.S. willing to go as far as providing either indirect or direct military support to Ukraine forces? Basically, is the U.S. willing to go into some kind of escalation with Russia?”

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