Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Residents across the Midwest and Plains states surveyed damaged homes for salvageable items Sunday, after more than 100 tornadoes were reported in the region earlier, killing at least 6 in Oklahoma -- including three children.
Emergency crews, meanwhile, were trying to repair downed power lines.
A tornado hit just after midnight Sunday in Woodward, Okla., about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. City Manager Alan Riffel says 89 homes and 13 businesses were destroyed.
State medical examiner spokeswoman Amy Elliot says a man named Frank Hobie and his two daughters, ages 5 and 7, died after the tornado hit their mobile home park.
She says the other victims were Darren Juul and a 10-year-old girl who died when the home they were in a few miles away was hit.
The men's ages and the children's names haven't been released.
Elliot says a critically injured child was air lifted to a Texas hospital.
Retired firefighter Marty Logan said he spotted the tornado when it knocked down power lines, causing flashes of light, and saw a radio tower's blinking lights go black shortly after midnight. He later saw a man emerge from a twisted, wrecked sport utility vehicle that had been tossed along the side of the road.
"The guy had blood coming down his face," Logan said, adding that he saw people walking down the street covered in blood when he went to a hard-hit neighborhood. "It was scary, because I knew it was after midnight and a lot of people were in bed."
Search teams were scouring rubble for trapped and injured as the sun came up.
"They're still going door to door and in some cases, there are piles of rubble and they are having to sift through the rubble," said Michelann Ooten, an Oklahoma emergency management official.
The National Weather Service said the storm systems were weakening and that additional tornadoes were unlikely. But forecasters warned that strong thunderstorms were expected as far east as Michigan.
In the tiny western Iowa town of Thurman, piles of toppled trees lined the streets in front of homes where missing walls and roofs exposed soaked living rooms. Longtime resident Ted Stafford recalled feeling his home shake, then hearing three windows shatter as the storm hit. He said he was amazed that no one in town was seriously injured.
"We're all OK, fortunately. Nobody's hurt. We can fuel this recovery with beans and coffee," the 54-year-old said while standing on the broken concrete of what had been his home's new basement foundation. "I've seen storms in Thurman. I've lived here my whole life. And this is by far the worst I've ever seen."
The storms were part of an exceptionally strong system that the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, which specializes in tornado forecasting, had warned about for days.
The center took the unusual step of warning people more than 24 hours in advance of a possible "high-end, life-threatening event." Forecasters had worried the storms would hit overnight, when people are less likely to hear warning sirens and pay attention to weather reports.
At the storm's height, tornadoes popped up faster than they could be tallied. The center's spokesman, Chris Vaccaro, said the weather service had received at least 120 reports of tornadoes by dawn Sunday.
He warned the threat wasn't over for those across several states in the nation's interior. Forecasters predicted the possibility for storms Sunday in a swath that stretched from southern Texas to northern Michigan.
The American Red Cross summoned volunteers to drive relief trucks from Oklahoma City to aid the rescue crews in and around Woodward he said were pressed to the limit by the immediate disaster response.
"They're in chaos mode," said Rusty Surette, a regional communications director for the American Red Cross in Oklahoma City, speaking of authorities in Woodward.
Numerous tornadoes were reported in Kansas, though mostly in rural parts of the western and central sections of the state.
A reported tornado in Wichita that struck late Saturday night caused damage at McConnell Air Force Base and the Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing plants. A mobile home park was heavily damaged in the city, although no injuries or deaths were reported.
The county where Wichita is located was declared a state of disaster and said preliminary estimates suggest damages could be as high as $283 million.
A hospital in Creston, about 75 miles southwest of Des Moines, suffered roof damage and had some of its windows blown out by the storm, but patients and staff were not hurt. Medical center officials were calling other area hospitals to determine how many beds they had available in case they needed to move patients.
In Nebraska, large hail shattered windows and tore siding from houses in and around Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha. In southeast Nebraska, an apparent tornado took down barns, large trees and some small rural structures.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/15/severe-weather-expected-to-continue-into-sunday-after-day-twisters-storms-in/#ixzz1sJUIySzR
During an overflight on 13 April, an explosion from Sangay volcano was observed at 08:25 local time. It generated an ash and steam column of 2 km above the summit crater.
A new vent was detected, both on visible and thermal images, located next to the active dome on the SE flank (Ñuñurqu). The activity in this area has intensified since October, when the last aerial survey had taken place.
Extensive lava flows are descending on the SE flank of the dome and reaching the base of the cone.
Strong fumarolic activity was seen on the SE flank of the dome and on the S flank of the central crater.
Joseph Herrin (04-06-2012)
West Liberty, KY Main Street Before Tornado
West Liberty, KY Main Street After Tornado
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
I would now recount a recent story that was in the news. I was made aware of it this morning when a sister in Christ sent me a link to a blog she had written about a recent ministry trip to help the people of West Liberty, Kentucky. On March 2nd a tornado passed right through the center of the town of some 3,500 people. It has been categorized as either an EF3 or EF4 tornado with winds between 150 and 165 miles per hour. The damage it inflicted was catastrophic. Homes and businesses were damaged, or in many cases totally destroyed. This sister wrote the following:
Unless you have personally visited a site that has been affected by a tornado as large as the one that struck West Liberty, you cannot be prepared for the devastation that meets your eyes. Places where homes once stood now bear only the foundations that bore them. The buildings that are standing have no windows, roofs are torn off, parts of the building are gone and are marked for demolition and/or for repair. Trees are knocked over like bowling pins in an alley. Trees that are standing have been visibly changed with splinters sticking out where leaves and branches used to be. The most notable thing, though, is the people and the haunted look in their eyes; at least the ones who have lost everything.
According to Wikipedia, the National Weather Service determined that the tornado was on the ground for 86 miles and left a swath of damage over a mile wide. Six people were killed by this tornado and at least 75 injured. West Liberty is the county seat for Morgan county. Significantly, both the old courthouse that had been built in 1907, and a new courthouse that was 60% complete, were determined to be a total loss. This detail speaks of Yahweh holding court and judging His people.
1 Peter 4:17-19
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
West Liberty United Methodist Church Before Tornado
West Liberty UMC After Tornado
This expression, “those who suffer according to the will of God” does not speak only of those who encounter persecution due to obedience in following Christ. It is also a reference to those who are chastened by God that they might learn to walk in holiness. In either case, we are exhorted to trust God to do what is best and needful toward us, for He is a faithful Creator.
I believe this tornado is a further sign of that judgment coming quickly to the Western world. The Western nations have long been regarded as offering the most freedoms and liberty to their citizens. The Liberty in these Western nations will be abruptly brought to an end, even as the town of West Liberty was suddenly, and calamitously, reduced to ruin.
The Father has been speaking of the misuse of liberty for many years. The World Trade Towers that were destroyed on September 11th, 2001 were located at the corner of Church Street and Liberty Street in Manhattan.
The church has misused her liberty and has pursued trade with the world. Yahweh must therefore judge His people. He will remove their liberty that they might learn to walk in righteousness. If they will not voluntarily abstain from a pursuit of the world and the things in it, He will induce them to do so.
I John 2:15-17
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
Those things coming to the nations will be devastating in a natural sense. What could be worse than a loss of liberty? To have one’s freedom taken away is tragic. Yet, when that freedom has been used to pursue a course of sensuality, living to please the flesh, it is well and good that it be removed. Even then, it will be a remnant that turns to righteousness, holiness, and truth. For the sake of the remnant, Yahweh will do these things.
For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
One interesting note that has come out of the tornado aftermath was recorded on a site I visited. The following was stated:
A temporary Courthouse is open for business. The Morgan County office of the Circuit Court Clerk is open for business and providing full services out of a temporary location at 155 University Drive in West Liberty. One of the most popular services provided so far has been replacing lost driver's licenses.
A loss of mobility is observed in these words. Many drivers lost their licenses in the storm. Yahweh will bring such circumstances to the world in coming days that His people will not run to and fro as they once did. They will not casually, with little consideration, run after those things that were so easily pursued in days of prosperity, ease and freedom. Yahweh will cause His sons and daughters to give heed to their ways, and to walk circumspectly in the midst of a wicked generation.
The liberty God’s people once possessed, and employed in a manner displeasing to Yahweh, will come to a sudden end. God’s people will no longer be able to run freely after the things of the world, or to pursue with ease the satisfying of the passions and desires of the soul. Yahweh will afflict them. That which He afflicts them with will slow them down and cause them to consider carefully their way. I will close this post with the same words that were used to open it.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
India plans this week to test-fire for the first time the longest-range missile in its arsenal, a weapon that would enable the South Asian nation’s military to target parts of northern China and eastern Europe.
The Agni V, with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles) and the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead, may be launched from the eastern India state of Odisha as early as tomorrow, according to a government official. He declined to be identified because he is not authorized to publicly discuss the timing of the event.
Agni IV missile is on display during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India. The state-owned Defence Research & Development Organisation said that a test-firing for the first time of the Agni V was likely in April. Photographer: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images
“This missile is about neutralizing the threat coming from China,” said Uday Bhaskar, a former commodore in the Indian navy and now an analyst at the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation, a research group. “The tests are about trying to create equality with China rather than trying to outdo it.”
A successful test of the rocket would take India a step closer to becoming the sixth country known to deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles, those that can travel more than 5,500 kilometers. The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the U.S., China, Russia, the U.K. and France -- are the only other countries with that capability, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies based in London.
Sitanshu Kar, a defense ministry spokesman, declined to comment on the date of this week’s test. V.K. Saraswat, head of the state-owned Defence Research & Development Organisation, which makes the missile series, said March 19 that a test-firing of the Agni V was likely in April.
The rocket weighs about 50 tons and is almost 20 meters high, according to Ravi Kumar Gupta, a DRDO spokesman. The timing of the test depends on factors including weather conditions, he said.
Economic growth that has averaged 8.5 percent over the last decade is enabling India to increase spending on military and space programs as it bids to keep pace with its northern neighbor, China.
India, the world’s second most populous country after China, is in the final stages of negotiating the purchase of 126 Rafale fighter jets from Paris-based Dassault Aviation SA (AM) in what will be the world’s biggest military contract for warplanes in 15 years. This month, it inducted a Russian-made nuclear- powered submarine into its navy.
India will increase total defense spending by 13 percent this financial year as it seeks to modernize its armed forces to counter China’s military buildup and threats from traditional rivals such as Pakistan. Total spending will rise to $38 billion, more than four times government spending on health, according to figures in the federal budget, released March 16.
China is set to raise military spending by 11 percent this year as rising economic interests, territorial disputes and expanding global commitments drive demand for warships, missiles and fighter jets. Its defense outlays of more than $100 billion per year are second only to the U.S., which along with Europe has maintained an arms embargo against the leadership in Beijing since a 1989 crackdown against protesters.
The development of the Agni V is significant because it means India will be capable of reaching distant yet strategically important targets in parts of northern China for the first time, according to Bhaskar. The missile will have to be successfully tested four to five times before it can become operational, perhaps around 2014, he said.
Agni, named for the Hindi-language word for fire, is a series of missiles that India has tested since 2002. The smallest has a range of 700 kilometers aimed at fortifying the country’s borders.
China and India share a disputed 3,550-kilometer Himalayan border, with each country claiming territory the other has ruled since a 1962 war. India has also fought three wars with Pakistan since the two countries gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
India accuses China of occupying 38,000 square kilometers (14,670 square miles) of territory in Jammu and Kashmir, while the government in Beijing lays claim to 90,000 square kilometers of land in Arunachal Pradesh, a state in India’s east. The two sides have been unable to resolve their disputes after more than a dozen rounds of discussions since 2005.
The test-firing of India’s missile comes at a time of rising international tension over North Korea’s recent failed test of a long-range rocket.
While North Korea said the launch was intended to put a satellite into orbit, the U.S. said it violated United Nations sanctions 1718 and 1874, which ban any usage of ballistic missile and nuclear technologies by the impoverished state.
The U.S. scrapped a February plan to provide 240,000 tons of food aid after the rocket was fired. It disintegrated within minutes of liftoff on April 13 and disintegrated into 20 pieces, according to South Korean officials who monitored the launch.
The sun erupted in an amazing solar flare today (April 16), unleashing an intense eruption of super-heated plasma that arced high above the star's surface before blasting out into space.
The powerful solar flare occurred at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) and registered as a moderate M1.7-class on the scale of sun storms, placing it firmly in the middle of the scale used by scientists to measure flare strength. The storm is not the strongest this year from the sun, but photos and video of the solar flare captured by NASA spacecraft revealed it to be an eye-popping display of magnetic plasma.
The middle class in America is being systematically wiped out, and most people don't even realize what is happening. Every single year, millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and become dependent on the government. The United States once had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class is rapidly shrinking and government dependence is at an all-time high. So why is this happening? Well, America is becoming a poorer nation at the same time that wealth is becoming extremely concentrated at the very top. At this point, our economic system is designed to funnel as much money and power to the federal government and to the big corporations as possible. Individuals and small businesses have a really hard time thriving in this environment. To most big corporations these days, workers are viewed as financial liabilities. Most corporations want to reduce their payrolls as much as possible. You see, the truth is that most corporations want to be just like Apple. If you can believe it, Apple makes $400,000 in profit per employee. Big corporations don't care that you need to pay the mortgage and provide for your family. Their goal is to make as much money as possible. And most of the control freaks that run our bloated federal government don't care much about middle class families either. To many politicians and federal bureaucrats, middle class families are "useless eaters" that are constantly damaging the environment with their "excessive" lifestyles. In this day and age, neither the federal government nor the big corporations really have much use for middle class Americans, and that is really, really bad news for the the future of the middle class family in America.
There are three key factors that are constantly chipping away at the middle class....
Labor has become a global commodity, and American workers are often 10 to 20 times as expensive as workers on the other side of the world are. Middle class jobs (such as manufacturing, etc.) have been leaving this country at an astounding pace. Competition for the jobs that remain has become extremely fierce, and this has driven wages down. The following is from a recent article in the New York Times....
But in the last two decades, something more fundamental has changed, economists say. Midwage jobs started disappearing. Particularly among Americans without college degrees, today’s new jobs are disproportionately in service occupations — at restaurants or call centers, or as hospital attendants or temporary workers — that offer fewer opportunities for reaching the middle class.
As paychecks have stagnated, the cost of living has continued to escalate. Middle class families are finding that their paychecks simply do not go nearly as far as they did before. This is creating a tremendous amount of financial stress in households all over America.
Meanwhile, our politicians are taxing the middle class like crazy. Most people only focus on federal and state income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story. As I detailed the other day, our politicians are taxing us in literally dozens of different ways and it is almost always the middle class that ends up getting hit the hardest.
If America wants to be great again, it is going to need a thriving middle class. But right now the federal government and the big corporations are gobbling up all of the power and all of the money and the middle class is shrinking rapidly.
If current trends continue, eventually there will not be much of a middle class left.
The following are 25 signs that middle class families have been targeted for extinction....
#1 Over the past several decades, millions upon millions of middle class Americans have been systematically turned into government dependents. Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages. In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages. Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.
#2 Unemployment is at epidemic levels and the vast majority of the new jobs that have been "created" in recent years have been low paying jobs. Of those Americans that do have a job at this point, one out of every four works a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
#3 The "working poor" is a group that is rapidly growing in this country. If you can believe it, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
#4 Over the past several decades, the percentage of low income jobs has steadily increased. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#5 The way that our economic system is structured today, almost all of the economic rewards go to the very top of the food chain. The following is how income gains in the United States were distributed during 2010....
-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners
-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent
-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent
#6 Several decades ago, there was a much more even distribution of income in this country. Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners brought in about 8 percent of all income. Today, they bring in about 21 percent of all income.
#7 As the middle class shrinks, the number of "low income" and "poor" Americans is rapidly rising. Today, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.
#8 Manufacturing jobs once enabled huge numbers of Americans to enjoy a middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, those jobs are leaving this country at a breathtaking pace. Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs. Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs.
#9 In the old days, any man that was willing to work hard and wanted a job could get one. Today, there are millions of American men sitting on their couches at home wondering why nobody will hire them. Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percentof all men in the United States have jobs.
#10 The middle class is shrinking at the same time that America is getting poorer as a nation. In the middle of the last century, the United States was #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.
#11 Every year now, we see millions of Americans fall out of the middle class. In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty. That was thelargest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.
#12 The shrinking middle class is having a disproportionate impact on children. At this point, approximately 22 percent of all American children are living in poverty.
#13 In the old days, most Americans grew up in middle class neighborhoods. Sadly, this is no longer true. In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods". By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods".
#14 The concentration of wealth at the very top of the food chain is astounding. Right now, over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percentof the U.S. population.
#15 When you concentrate too much power in the hands of the federal government and the big corporations, it is inevitable that massive amounts of wealth will become concentrated in just a few hands. In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
#16 There is nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong with a game where individuals and small businesses cannot compete fairly. According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.
#17 When the number of poor people rapidly expands in a society, that is a recipe for social unrest. At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#18 The hidden tax of inflation is absolutely devastating middle class families all over America. Since 1970, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 83 percent of its value. Any dollars that middle class families try to save are constantly losing a little bit more value every single day.
#19 American workers that try to play by the rules find that they are constantly fighting a losing battle. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 droppedby 27 percent after you account for inflation.
#20 In recent years, many middle class families have seen their paychecks get smaller. Median household income in the United States has fallen 7.8 percentsince December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.
#21 In recent years, many middle class families have seen many of their basic expenses absolutely soar. For example, health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#22 Just turning on the lights and heating their homes has become a major burden for many middle class families. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#23 Just putting gas in the car has become a major financial ordeal for millions of hard working Americans. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than 100 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#24 Sadly, government dependence is now at an all-time high, and that is the way that many among the elite like it. When Barack Obama took office, there were 32 million Americans on food stamps. Now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps. In particular, an astounding number of children are on food stamps right now. At this point, approximately one-fourthof all American children are enrolled in the food stamp program.
#25 Many middle class families will not be in the middle class for too much longer. According to a shocking new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, 200,000 U.S. households will use the money from their tax refunds this year "to pay for bankruptcy filing and legal fees".
Unless major changes are made on a national level, the middle class is going to continue to disappear.
If you are playing the game the way that the system tells you to play it and you expect to live a middle class lifestyle for many years to come there is a good chance that you will be deeply disappointed at some point.
Millions upon millions of Americans have done everything that the system told them to do and the system has still failed them. They got good grades all the way through school, they went to college, they worked really hard, they stayed out of trouble and they gave everything they could to their employers. In spite of all that, millions of hard working families have still lost their jobs and their homes in recent years.
Do not trust that the system will take care of you, and you should not trust that the government will take care of you either.
We don't need the federal government to hand out more money to everyone. Government handouts are already at record levels and the government is not even coming close to paying for all of this reckless spending.
More government spending is not going to solve any of our problems.
Instead, what we need is an environment where the size and power of the federal government is limited and the size and the power of the big corporations is limited. We need an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive and compete fairly.
Unfortunately, neither major political party is going to move us in that direction, so there is not much hope for solutions on the national level any time soon.
On an individual level, we can all learn how to prepare for the very difficult years that are coming. It is imperative that we all work to become more independent of the system, because the system could fail at any time.
If you have blind faith that your job will always be there and that the federal government will rescue you if the economy crashes then you are likely to be bitterly disappointed at some point.
The truth is that our economy is slowly dying and the great American middle class is being systematically wiped out.
Many of the things that worked in the past are not going to work any longer.
You can choose to adapt or you can suffer the consequences.
Our world is rapidly changing, and we all need to prepare for what is coming.