Now in liveblog mode over on Daily Kos, folks in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas are being warned of the potential for a major tornado outbreak:
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare high risk area across Oklahoma and Kansas for a major tornado outbreak this afternoon. The outbreak is expected to be centered across Oklahoma, extreme northern Texas, and southern Kansas, with a lower (but still elevated) risk of a major tornado outbreak across northwestern Arkansas, northern Texas (including Dallas/Ft. Worth), most of the rest of Kansas, and western Missouri this afternoon.
A PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) tornado watch has been issued for parts of Texas and Oklahoma for the threat of very large, long track, destructive tornadoes, hail larger than baseballs, and destructive wind gusts over 70 MPH.
For liveblog updates, keep checking back over on the Daily Kos diary by weatherdude, here.
If you're located in the affected area, please be safe.
On Saturday, 14 May 2011, the US Army Corps of Engineers opened the first bay of the Morganza spillway as part of an ongoing effort to alleviate the swollen Mississippi river and avoid uncontrolled flooding further downriver. Via CNN:
Roy Dakka, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Geoinformatics at Louisiana State University, predicted it will take weeks to months for the farmland to dry.
"Any existing crops are going to be toast," he said, citing the fields of corn, sugar cane and soybeans that will be covered with sediment. "Plus, God knows what's in the water and what gets deposited."
On the somewhat brighter side, officials are pretty sure that there won't be any failure in the untested system of levees, which could lead to unmitigated disaster.
That's not much comfort to the people impacted by the waters released into the spillway and redirected toward their homes and property, but it is - unfortunately - the best chance that experts have to reduce and mitigate the potential for a far more catastrophic flood in larger population areas.
It's for situations and events like this that our national infrastructure needs to be shorn up, bolstered instead of cannibalized as some sort of political bargaining chip.
An EF-4 tornado ripped through the suburbs of St. Louis late Friday evening, as part of a line of storms stretching across the midwest that dropped massive hail, caused damaging straight-line winds, spawned several tornadoes, and exacerbated flooding across the Ohio River.
Update:The meteorological service has said there is no second tsunami.
Another tsunami spotted off the coast of Fukushima - the site where the distressed nuclear plants are located. And an explosion occurred at Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant unit 3 ("The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says a hydrogen explosion occurred Monday morning at the No.3 reactor at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture." via news banner atop NHK World news page). Meanwhile, rescue temas from 9 countries arrive in Japan to assist in relief operations.
What a bloody mess.
For those who may want to help, Shelterbox is on the ground in Japan. Donations to them are one of many possible ways to try to help.
Above the fold: Information and links regarding emergency communication and people finder services. Please DO NOT use these pages or access the links unless you are actually looking for someone, particularly if you are not located in or around the affected areas.
Please provide any corrections to translated text in comments
Google Activates Person Finder page
Google activates Person Finder for Japan quake, tsunami
Google Inc. has just activated a Person Finder page to help people concerned about loved ones in the area affected by Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The Person Finder page can be found at http://japan.person-finder.appspot.com/ and it is available both in English and Japanese. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/techchron/detail?entry_id=84797#ixzz1GI7GlnlV
The bizarre scene played out live on television and prompted fears that the mushroom-shaped balloon would crash. The balloon rotated slowly in the wind, tipping precariously at times.
The boy's family had been building an experimental aircraft that had a large helium balloon attached to it at their home, KUSA-TV reported. The aircraft, which resembled a flying saucer, was approximately 20 feet by 5 feet and had a foil top.
The balloon is down now and they are saying there was no kid in in it when it landed.
Remind never to build a big balloon like that in my backyard. I hope the kid never actually got on the balloon.
Slow news day in some areas -- and in others, simply stunning weather.
In and around the Boston area, it's in the 80s today; 90s expected tomorrow. First time this year for either. There are signs of people getting up and about, moving 'round outside, prepping their yards and in general enjoying the warmth of the sun as it beats mercilessly down upon their formerly frozen, now soggy, patches of planet Earth.