Archive for February, 2011

Volcanic Lightning near Mount Shinmoe

Shinmoedake, a volcano in southern Japan, erupted for the ninth time in a week. The 4,660-foot volcano spewed a cloud of smoke and ash as high as 4,920 feet on Wednesday.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a level 3 alert, which indicates an eruption may seriously affect places near residential areas. Evacuations are carried out when the alert reaches a level 5.

The volcano, one of 20 inside the Mount Kirishima volcano group, woke from its dormant state on Jan. 26. The JMA says the lava dome in the crater has grown from 10 meters to about 600 meters. On Friday, Jan. 28, volcanic lightning lit up the smoke-filled sky above the volcano.

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Blizzard in Chicago

A major snowstorm that slammed the Midwest has now moved to the Northeast region of the US. The storm hit Boston hard with rain and ice, forcing Logan airport to close.

Although the brunt of the storm has moved, Chicago O’Hare airport remains closed after the Windy City got socked with 19.5 inches of snow. The National Weather Service said winds of 20 to 30 mph will continue through most of the day.

In case you’re wondering, the recent snowstorm rivals the Christmas blizzard of December 2010. According to Huffington Post, 6,500 flights were cancelled Tuesday, and 4,600 were cancelled Wednesday, setting a new record in the airline industry.

If you can’t get enough snow, check out our slideshow of the Worst US Blizzards in history. Leave a comment, and tell us how you’re handling the recent wave of winter weather.

Kids Sail Free in Alaska

Disney Cruise Line announced today that all kids under 17 years of age cruise for free when traveling with 2 full-fare guests. Travel on an Alaskan Disney Cruise Line must depart between May 3 and June 7, 2011. This offer won’t last long, so if you have Alaska on the brain, act now! More details on how to book at disneycruise.com.

See our photo picks for Super Cruise Ships and our Cruising: Before You Go tips in our Cruises section.

Will Groundhog Day Be Canceled?

Will Punxsutawney Phil get his chance to see his shadow tomorrow for the annual Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA?

Tomorrow’s Groundhog Day celebrations all over the Northeast and Midwest are being canceled due to winter storms.  The Groundhog Club of the Milwaukee Area has canceled the area’s 103rd Annual Groundhog Day Celebration.

Woodstock Willie might be taking a snow day tomorrow, too, since Chicago is the getting the brunt of the bad Midwest snowstorm (Woodstock, Il was actually the location for most of the film Groundhog Day.)

Will Punxsutawney Phil get his chance though?  In some years, Punxsy, as the town is commonly referred to, has drawn crowds over 40,000 on Groundhog Day (the town’s population is 6,700). Punxsy has been the epicenter of Groundhog Day celebrations since 1887, so hopefully not even a bad winter storm will stop the “The Seer of Seers, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, the King of the Groundhogs — Punxsutawney Phil,” from popping out tomorrow.

Check out what Tim Chapin, the editor of The Punxsutawney Spirit, believes is the appeal of Groundhog Day.  And to see what the annual celebration is like in Punxsy, check out our slideshow.

Cruise Lines Avoid Unrest in Egypt

As the protests in Egypt continue, travelers in the Northern African region are packing up and heading out. Flights are being rescheduled and cruisers are drifting along the Nile River, wondering where their next port of call will be. According to CruiseCritic.com several cruise lines are adjusting their schedules and canceling future trips to Egypt, until the unrest has settled. Norwegian Cruise Line’s the Norwegian Jade, will adjust its itinerary in order to avoid a stop in Alexandria and will replace the missed port with 2 nights in Istanbul. Many other cruise lines are making similar changes to accommodate their passengers.

For a complete list of lines and their current schedule changes, visit CruiseCritic.com.

Snowstorm Cripples the Midwest

A major storm of ice, snow and freezing rain has forced airlines to cancel more than 4,500 flights. The 2,100-mile stretch of wintery weather – from Texas to Maine – has halted airport traffic and closed airports, including Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport.

Airports in Newark, NJ, and Chicago are the hardest hit with more than 600 flight cancellations each, according to Flightware.com. Chicago is expected to get 2 feet of snow, breaking its snowfall record set in 1967. The Windy City is a hub for several major airlines, including United and American.

Windy weather with zero visibility had sparked Delta Airlines to cancel 625 flights today. JetBlue is canceling flights in and out of New York’s JFK airport for the rest of today with some flights expected to resume Wednesday afternoon. The airline plans to shut down its flights servicing Boston starting tonight. Officials at JetBlue say service may not may not be up and running until Thursday morning.

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