Friday, December 21, 2012
BLIZZARD HITTING THE MIDWEST EXPECTED TO WEAKEN SOME
A blizzard that has hammered the Midwest is expected to weaken today (Friday).
But the road closures, school cancellations, power outages and travel delays spawned by the storm continue to cause widespread havoc and inconvenience.
Many people planning Christmas trips have been stuck at Chicago's two airports -- O'Hare and Midway -- because of flight cancellations.
Blinding snow is blamed for a 30-car pileup on Interstate 35 near Fort Dodge, Iowa. Two people died.
The storm -- the first blizzard of the season -- made travel treacherous throughout the region. Nebraska authorities temporarily closed much of snow-packed Interstate 80 Thursday as blowing snow dangerously reduced visibility. The interstate was reopened later, but motorists were advised to be cautious.
Things were not much better in Iowa, Bright said.
"When the winds start to blow, you can see about 5 feet in front of your vehicle" he said. "We've had major issues all over the place. We got around 10 to 12 inches throughout the state, and it's a wet snow. We have around an inch of ice on our roadways." Close to 100 accidents had been reported in Iowa by late Thursday morning, Bright said.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency, put the National Guard and state patrol on standby and closed state offices to the public in 20 counties most likely to be affected by the storm. Employees were still expected to report for work.
As much as 7 inches was already on the ground Thursday in parts of southern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Patrol and National Weather Service urged people to avoid traveling.
WINDS CAUSE PROBLEMS HERE
Here in Middle Tennessee, that wind from the cold front is blowing down trees and power lines. People in several areas of town have had power outages, and the high winds may make it harder to stay in your lane when you drive, so be aware of that and please be careful. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for Middle Tennessee through 4 p.m.
Otherwise, conditions should be sunny, with a high temperature near 42 degrees.
Temperatures should dip to 24 tonight as winter officially settles in.
Today is the winter solstice, the day when the sun is at its lowest altitude above the horizon at noon. Today is called "the shortest day of the year" because it has the fewest minutes of sunlight. It's also the official start of winter.
Daylight in the mid-latitudes lasts for around nine hours close to the winter solstice, compared with about 15 hours around the summer solstice (when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun).
FUNERAL SERVICES TODAY FOR SANDY HOOK KILLINGS
More funeral services will be held today for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Yesterday, mourners turned out for funerals of two teachers and three students. Teacher Victoria Soto, who used her body to shield her students from the bullets, was one of the teachers laid to rest. Paul Simon sang "The Sounds of Silence" at her funeral.
BELMONT TO HONOR CONNECTICUT SHOOTING VICTIMS
There was a local commemoration at Belmont University. They asked churches, temples, mosques and other buildings throughout the state to join them in ringing 26 bells this morning to remember the victims.
MURFREESBORO TEEN ARRESTED FOR BIZARRE THREAT AT SCHOOL
Rutherford County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a 14-year-old Blackman Middle School student for making a threat by spelling out in toilet paper on the school bathroom floor, that he wanted to bring a gun and shoot his homeroom class. When he was questioned, the teen said he's posessed by a demon. Right now, especially, with the Connecticut shootings in mind every threat is being taken extremely seriously. The teen is being sent for a psychological evaluation and counseling. It's not clear if he'll be allowed to come back to school after the holiday break.
IS TODAY DOOMSDAY?
Today is the day that the rumor is about: the day some people interpreted the Mayan calendar as predicting would be the end of the world. Mayan scholars say the so-called Long Count Calender does complete a major cycle today, but it doesn't mean the world will end. On Facebook, there've been posts asking, "If the Mayans really could predict the end of the world, why didn't they predict their demise?"
ARMY SURPLUS SELLING OUT OF SURVIVAL GEAR
Before you laugh about it, there are a lot of people who believe it. At Friedman's Army Navy Surplus store on 21st Avenue South in Nashville, survival gear is selling like there's no tomorrow. Store workers say they're sold out of gas masks and emergency rations and are running low on first aid kits.
MAN CAUGHT STEALING PACKAGES OFF PORCHES IN HERMITAGE
If you have holiday deliveries coming, get a neighbor to look after them for you if you can. Thieves are going around this time of year, stealing deliveries. Kory Harding was caught driving around Hermitage, taking packages off porches. He had a bunch of them with him. Police will get those packages back to the post office, Fedex or UPS, so they can redeliver. He's a repeat offender. His rap sheet includes felony cocaine posession, unlawful firearm posession, atrtempted robbery, and now, felony theft and driving on a suspended license.
8 YEAR-OLD CAUGHT STEALING PACKAGES FROM PORCHES IN FLORIDA
An 8-year-old girl in Florida was filmed by her neighbors stealing packages from their doorsteps. Local news stations blurred her face because she is a minor and has not been charged with a crime, but the video is clear as day: the kid sneaking up to the porch and carrying off packages. No word yet whether her parents will be held responsible for their 8 year old being out, running around and stealing things, or whether they are the ones who told her to do it.
BUSINESS PUTS BATTERIES BEHIND THE COUNTER TO FIGHT METH
Some Middle Tennessee businesses are putting lithium batteries behind the counter to make it a little harder for drug addicts and drug dealers to get their hands on it to make Meth. Lithium strips, found in common household batteries, are a key component to making meth.