Forecasters are warning about some of the coldest conditions in a generation as a brutal winter blast continues to wreak havoc across the central and northern United States, claiming lives and leaving chaos in its wake.
In Minneapolis, Accuweather reports that temperatures are plunging down to record lows unseen since the 1800s, while a bone-chilling Chicago is set to shatter all-time historic lows of negative 27 degrees last seen in 1985. The strain on local power grids led to widespread outages as of Wednesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warned Wednesday of “life-threatening wind chills” produced by the arctic front, adding that eastern states will be faced by an “extremely bitter airmass” sweeping across the region.
The NWS added that across the affected area, the sub-zero and single-digit temperatures “are creating life threatening conditions, as frostbite can occur quickly and even hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken.”
This means that 85 percent of the U.S. landmass, or 230 million U.S. residents, have been plunged into temperatures of 32 degrees or below, while a quarter of the U.S., or 75 million residents, are facing temperatures as low as 0 degrees.
— Chris Reymann (@reymannchristop) January 30, 2019
“You’re talking about frostbite and hypothermia issues very quickly, like in a matter of minutes, maybe seconds,” meteorologist Brian Hurley from the Weather Prediction Center, told the Associated Press.
A number of weather-related deaths have already occurred due to the deadly polar vortex, with three deaths in Iowa related to the storm, two dying in a car crash in Indiana, one man found dead in Detroit, one man struck by a snow plow in Illinois, and a 55-year-old man collapsing and dying after attempting to shovel snow at his home in Milwaukee. On Tuesday, an 82-year-old man in Illinois was found dead outside of his home after falling and being exposed to the cold.
— NWS Des Moines (@NWSDesMoines) January 29, 2019
Various other deaths and injuries stemming from the vortex, including highly dangerous road conditions, are being reported by the press.
From Milwaukee to Chicago, charity groups are working on overdrive and increasing outreaching in hopes of securing warmth and shelter for local homeless populations, with city agencies in Chicago even offering warm buses to those normally living on the streets.
Also in the Windy City, subzero temperatures are leading to the dystopian image of empty, ice-covered streets and railroad tracks set on fire. Maintenance crews manning local railways hope to keep the rails in decent shape by burning kerosene-soaked rope next to the rails, allowing the trains to continue functioning.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 30, 2019
Kathryn Prociv, a meteorologist for NBC News, said that “historic cold, unprecedented cold, these are all adjectives you could use to describe this,” adding:
“These are some of the coldest temperatures an entire generation has ever felt, talking about the millennials … A lot of these temperatures will be the coldest since about 1994, when a lot of them were just being born.”
The extreme frigidity has been blamed on sudden warming above the North Pole. Last month, blasts of hot air from Morocco made their way to the North Pole, splitting the polar vortex into pieces and sending the pieces down toward the Midwestern United States, said to Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research.
“Where the polar vortex goes, so goes the cold air,” Cohen told AP.
The Associated Press report added:
“When warm air invades the polar region, it can split the vortex or displace it, usually toward Siberia, Cohen said. Recently, there have been more splits, which increase the odds of other places getting ultra-cold, he said. Pieces of the polar vortex have chilled Europe, Siberia and North America this time. (It’s not right to call the frigid center of cold air the polar vortex because it is just a piece or a lobe, not the entire vortex, said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado.)
When the forces penning the polar vortex in the Arctic are weak, it wanders, more often to Siberia than Michigan. And it’s happening more frequently in the last couple decades, Furtado said. A study a year ago in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society looked at decades of the Arctic system and found the polar vortex has shifted ‘toward more frequent weak states.’”
And while some forecasters are saying that the worst-affected regions could see some improvement by the weekend, Cohen estimates that the polar frigidity could last another eight weeks or so, noting:
“The impacts from this split, we have a ways to go. It’s not the end of the movie yet … I think at a minimum, we’re looking at mid-February, possibly through mid-March.”
WATCH: Video Shows Bullets Fly as Armored Car Crew Narrowly Escapes Brutal Heist
Dramatic dash cam footage from Pretoria, South Africa, shows the moment that the crew of an armored car narrowly escaped an attempt by armed robes to stage a heist.
The shocking video shows a pair of private security officers transporting cash in a bulletproof Toyota truck on April 22 before they suddenly come under attack by armed assailants.
For the first minute of the roughly three-minute-long video, the security guards can be seen routinely driving down a highway.
The vehicle then comes under fire as bullets can be heard slamming into the driver side of the car, with the window by the driver’s side shattering.
The driver, who maintains his calm and composure during the attack, manages to escape amid the traffic. He also seems to slam into one of the two vehicles belonging to the attackers.
“They’re going to shoot. They’re going to f**king shoot,” the driver then says, urging his colleague to pull out the rifle and prepare to defend their lives.
As gunshots continue to ring out, the two drive silently as the tension builds. The driver then shouts to his colleague: “Phone Robbie, phone Josh! Ask them where they are.”
As the video ends, the driver can be seen stopping the vehicle and grabbing his colleague’s rifle. At that point, it becomes clear that the assailants have realized that their attack was futile they had already fled the scene.
“The suspects fired several shots at the [Cash-In-Transit] vehicle in an attempt to stop it during a high-speed chase,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo , reports News24.
“The driver of the CIT vehicle managed to evade the robbers for a while but later stopped in wait for the robbers,” Naidoo added. “The robbers fled without taking any money. No arrests have yet been made.”
Online users have praised the steel nerves of the armored car’s crew in navigating what could have been a deadly attack.
After Strong Backlash, NYPD Kicks Robotic Dog “Spot” to the Curb
The New York City Police Department decided this week to stop leasing a robotic dog from Boston Dynamics following a sustained outcry from residents and lawmakers, who denounced the use of the high-tech, four-legged device in low-income neighborhoods as a misallocation of public resources and violation of civil liberties.
When the NYPD acquired the K-9 machine last August, officials portrayed “Digidog”—the department’s name for the camera-equipped, 70-pound robot—as “a futuristic tool that could go places that were too dangerous to send officers,” the New York Times reported earlier this week.
Inspector Frank Digiacomo of the department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit said in a television interview in December: “This dog is going to save lives. It’s going to protect people. It’s going to protect officers.”
Instead—thanks to strong backlash from critics, including people who live in the Bronx apartment complex and the Manhattan public housing building where the robotic dog was deployed in recent weeks—the department is returning “Spot,” as Boston Dynamics calls the device, months earlier than expected.
According to the Times:
In response to a subpoena from City Councilman Ben Kallos and Council Speaker Corey Johnson requesting records related to the device, police officials said that a contract worth roughly $94,000 to lease the robotic dog from its maker, Boston Dynamics, had been terminated on April 22.
John Miller, the police department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, confirmed on Wednesday that the contract had been canceled and that the dog had been returned to Boston Dynamics or would be soon.
Miller told the Times that the police had initially planned to continue testing the K-9 machine’s capabilities until August, when the lease had been scheduled to end.
“Robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response. “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?”
And earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, footage of the robotic dog walking through a Manhattan public housing building went viral, sparking additional outrage and prompting a city council investigation.
“Why the hell do we need robot police dogs?” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) asked at the time.
While there are “people living in poverty, struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, take care of their kids, afford child care—all this going on, and now we got damn robot police dogs walking down the street,” Bowman lamented.
Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who urged the police department to reconsider its use of the robot following objections from residents and lawmakers, said he was “glad the Digidog was put down.”
“It’s creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers,” Neidhardt said.
Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons
Senate Intelligence Leaders Say Mystery “Sonic Weapon” Attacks on U.S. Officials Increasing
After it was revealed Thursday that US intelligence is investigating at least two potential “directed energy” sonic attacks on White House personnel – one of which is alleged to have happened just off White House grounds – the US Senate Intelligence Committee weighed in on Friday, saying such mysterious incidents appear to be happening with greater frequency worldwide.
Senators Mark Warner (D) and Marco Rubio (R) agreed that such microwave energy attacks have gone on for “nearly five years” and have targeted “US government personnel in Havana, Cuba and elsewhere around the world.” In a joint statement the two ranking members said, “This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this,” according to Reuters.
As with the late 2016 into 2017 ‘Havana Syndrome’ attacks in which some 50 diplomatic personnel reported experiencing strange symptoms from vomiting to concussions to extreme nausea to chronic headaches, which was believed the result of some kind of undetected ‘directed energy’ weapon, the most recent incidents saw media reports speculate that Russia or China might be behind them.
It was starting last week that the mysterious incidents returned to national media spotlight after defense officials said they believe Russia is likely behind microwave energy weapon attacks on US troops in northeast Syria. Apparently some US troops occupying the country began reporting”flu-like symptoms” which caused the DoD to investigate possible linkage to microwave or directed energy weapons on the battlefield of Syria. Politico reported that “officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”
Despite instances of strange symptoms and even head injuries experienced by diplomatic personnel or troops abroad, no “energy weapon” has ever been found or uncovered that’s believed to have caused any of these alleged attacks. Most often US personnel report the symptoms enough time after the alleged attack took place for the “plot” and culprit to remain undetected. Naturally this has resulted in immense skepticism and pushback.
One deeply critical response to all the reporting late this week quipped: “Another day, another mostly anonymously sourced story about unidentified assailants supposedly assaulting U.S. government employees around the globe. This time, according to CNN, federal agencies are looking into something closer to home: symptoms suffered by a White House employee in Virginia and National Security Council staffer near the south lawn of the White House.”
“Although a government report later concluded the most likely cause was instead some sort of ‘directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy’ (i.e. a microwave weapon), that conclusion was primarily based on a lack of evidence for other causes and received strong pushback from many others in the scientific community.”
The commentary in Gizmodo pointed out further that “No hard evidence of any kind for the technology has ever been publicly presented by the US government. Reports citing government officials who suspect Russian intelligence to be involved have largely been anonymous and buoyed primarily by rumors the Russian government may have resumed Soviet-era research into experimental weapons.”
Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission
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