Biochemists have created the first 3-D, atomic-scale map of key proteins in the killer coronavirus, opening up new possibilities for developing treatments and a vaccine. Researchers at the University of Washington and its Institute for Protein Design are among the sleuths who'll be taking advantage of the new clues. The map shows the 3-D arrangement of proteins in the molecular "spike" that the virus known as COVID-19 uses to force its way into the cells that it infects. Once the virus gains entry, it delivers genetic code that takes control of the cells to spread the infection. Finding ways toâ€¦ Read More
Emissions from fossil fuel production of the potent greenhouse gas methane is 25 to 40 percent higher than previously understood, researchers reported on Wednesday, shining a harsh spotlight on the global gas industry. "Scientists have been vastly underestimating the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere via fossil fuels," scientists from the University of Rochester in New York, who led the study, said in a statement. While more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, methane persists for only a tenth as long in the atmosphere, roughly a decade rather than a century.
A pileup involving roughly 200 vehicles killed two people and injured nearly 70 on Autoroute 15 in La Prairie, QuÃ©bec, Canada on Wednesday.Sudden whiteout conditions with blowing snow severely limited visibility in the area likely caused the major chain reaction, Quebec's Transport Minister FranÃ§ois Bonnardel said at a news conference."The pileup was likely the result of a snow squall that moved through between 7 and 9 am this morning. Similar to a squall line in the summertime, winds can pick up quite dramatically and snow can fall heavily in a short period of time," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said. According to Rossio, this can lead to white-out conditions that can bring severely reduced visibility, in some cases to a quarter of a mile or less."Vehicles that entered the squall likely slowed down and drivers outside the squall potentially did not see the quickly slowing traffic, which likely led to the pileup. It was also occurring during rush hour, which may have also had an influence." Rossio said.Images and videos of the crash shared on social media show a school minibus, a tanker truck with a flammable materials sign as well as other mangled cars involved in the deadly crash.> Emergency responders are working to get people out of their cars after a multi-vehicle pileup in La Prairie, Que. Provincial police say as many as 60 people have been injured. > > More: https://t.co/o0JfnfbAKi pic.twitter.com/x065boXuU8> > -- CBC Montreal (@CBCMontreal) February 19, 2020CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPEmergency personnel worked to get people out of their cars as two people were trapped and died as a result.No students were involved in the accident, officials reported.Multiple vehicles looked as if they were only tangled metal, while roughly 75 were able to get towed and about 50 lightly damaged vehicles were able to drive away from the scene, said Sgt Marie-Michelle Moore with the province's police force and highway patrol authority, citing The Guardian.The highway is likely to remain closed until Thursday, according to The Guardian.Keep checking back onÂ AccuWeather.comÂ and stay tuned to theÂ AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
An experienced hurricane hunting crew chasing a winter storm came across a far different discovery this past weekend. In what is know as St. Elmo's fire, footage of the forking electric discharge was captured on Saturday by pilots as the spectacle flashed throughout the cockpit.The video, captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), was taken as pilots flew across the Atlantic Ocean amid thunderstorms. NOAA deployed the hunters to support a project analyzing ocean surface winds in winter storms over the North Atlantic.The flight took place as Storm Dennis chugged along in the North Atlantic approaching Ireland and the United Kingdom.While frightening and shocking on camera, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said the actual charge from the weather phenomenon is harmless, especially for those surrounded by the metal shell of the aircraft."St. Elmo's fire is a phenomena that has occurred throughout human history. Before it was reported on planes, it happened on ships in the open ocean," Samuhel said. "It happens when the charge of an object is much different than the charge of the air. Unlike lightning when huge bolts of electricity jump across a large distance from one charge to another, St. Elmo's fire happens on a very small scale." Sprawling displays of St. Elmo's fire illuminated the cockpit of a crew flying across the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA Corps) Named after St. Erasmus of Formia, the patron saint of sailors, reports of St. Elmo's fire trace back thousands of years to ancient Greece and tales of the marvel were consistently shared by ship fleets.St. Elmo's fire differs from lightning in that it is simply a glow of electrons in the air, whereas lightning is the movement of electricity from a charged cloud to the ground. In a thunderstorm, where the surrounding environment is electrically charged, the phenomenon is sparked when a charged object, such as a ship mast or airplane nose, causes a dramatic difference in charge, emitting a visual discharge. It can most simply be compared to a continuous spark."The point of the nose of an aircraft gives electricity an easy path to flow, as does the mast of the ship," Samuhel said. "These locations are where St. Elmo's fire is most common."CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPIn historical recounts of St. Elmo's fire, writers such as Julius Caesar and Charles Darwin depict the instances as a steady glow."Everything is in flames: the sky with lightning, the water with luminous particles and even the very masts are pointed with a blue flame," Darwin wrote while aboard the Beagle as he traveled across the Atlantic.For experienced pilots like the Hurricane Hunters, the light show in front of them likely wouldn't have induced any fear or panic, although the event could be a sign of stormy weather ahead."It lasted about three minutes," explained Maria Ines Rubio, a flight attendant who witnessed the phenomenon in 2017, to The Washington Post. "I wasn't nervous, because it a rather normal occurrence when you get into a strong enough storm."The phenomenon, also known as a corona discharge, is "commonly observed on the periphery of propellers and along the wing tips, windshield, and nose of aircraft flying in dry snow, in ice crystals, or near thunderstorms,"Â according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.Keep checking back onÂ AccuWeather.comÂ and stay tuned to theÂ AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
The pattern that has been unleashing excessive rainfall and reoccurring flooding is predicted to continue across the flood-weary southern United States through the spring -- and following a soaker during the middle of this week, another rainstorm is expected to roll into the region early next week.The storm this week will trigger rain across much of the Interstate 10 and 20 corridors into Thursday, and enough cold air will be in place farther north for winter to pay a visit with snow predicted in North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and southern Virginia. In the wake of the storm with its rain and snow, a brief break in the wet weather is in store for much of the South from Friday into Sunday. However, the dry break, like the one from late last week to last weekend, won't be a trend-setter. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPA new outbreak of rain will sweep through the region from Sunday to Monday, just as the ground begins to dry out. The waterlogged South just can't seem to catch a break, and many areas from northern Louisiana to central North Carolina have received more than double their average rainfall for the first 50 days or so of 2020.In some locations, such as in Jackson, Mississippi, nearly 20 inches of rain has fallen since the start of the year. Rainfall in the city alone translates to 543,080 gallons-per-acre and trillions of gallons of water on the Pearl River basin which sprawls over 8,000 square miles. No wonder the river systems in the region can't handle the runoff. Multiple rivers, such as the Pearl, Tennessee, Tombigbee and Big Black to name a few, have recently reached major flood stage.Some rivers were receding as of midweek, and others downstream are not expected to crest until this weekend or next week.After cresting at the third highest level in history, the Pearl River is slowly receding out of Jackson, Mississippi."When I came through hereÂ Sunday morning,Â my heart just dropped because the water was here when we were standing here the day before, and then we couldn't even get back here," Dion Thompson, resident of Jackson, Mississippi, told AccuWeather's Jonathan Petramala.Even the mighty Mississippi River at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is forecast by National Weather Service hydrologists to crest at major flood stage in early March from the rain that has already fallen. This is a tough feat given that, in general, the flatter the terrain and the larger the river, the longer it takes for floodwaters to cycle through. In 2019, the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge was at or above flood stage for 211 straight days. Last year's flooding along the Mississippi River was largely triggered by excess snowmelt and rainfall over the northern Plains with the Missouri River being the major contributor.Through this spring and perhaps the first part of the summer, rainfall over the Tennessee Basin, which drains into the Ohio River, is likely to be the primary cause of high water along the lower portion of the Mississippi River. Trina Blackmon, a 28-year resident of northeast Jackson, Miss., wants answers as to why the flooding issues in her neighborhood had not been dealt with, and why she cannot get the city to provide a high water vehicle to take her and others to their homes to so they can inspect the water damage, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Officials have limited entry to the flooded neighborhoods, warning residents about the current flow and the contamination of the receding waters. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) The weather pattern is not likely to relinquish its stormy nature anytime soon in the South, and forecasters warn that it is likely to be a long spring in terms of flooding episodes and may have many residents worrying for weeks and months. Some communities may have to do flood cleanup and assessment on more than one occasion during the season.AccuWeather's long-range meteorologist team is anticipating that rainfall will continue to be above average from the central Gulf coast to parts of the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians during the period from March to May.This includes the areas of the Tennessee Valley, Pearl River Basin and the southern Appalachians and Piedmont hit hard by rain and flooding."We are projecting rainfall to be 125% to nearly 150% of average for the three-month period in a dozen states stretching from the Gulf coast to the Ohio Valley," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said. "More flooding problems are inevitable for the already hard-hit swath of the South," he said. "It is possible there will be pockets where rainfall is again in the 200% of average level, like that which has occurred so far this year."The mechanism for the rounds of heavy rainfall will change hands as the season flips to spring and the jet stream pattern shifts."During this winter, we had a great deal of Gulf of Mexico and tropical moisture from the Pacific feeding into the storms," Pastelok said."Even though we will lose the Pacific plume of moisture, the Gulf of Mexico will continue to provide some fuel for the rainfall, but during the spring, the convective (heavy thunderstorm) component becomes more of a player," he said.Flooding problems in the long term will range from urban and small streams to secondary and major rivers.The rainfall, soggy ground and flooded farmland alone can take a toll on agriculture and infrastructure in the region.Hilly areas will be prone to mudslides, secondary roads may be closed for extended periods of time and some communities may need to boil water for safe consumption for weeks.Additional reporting by AccuWeather's Jonathan Petramala.Keep checking back onÂ AccuWeather.comÂ and stay tuned to theÂ AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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