ALL POSTS IN [Weather]

Yesterday was the summer solstice, and now that the days are longer and the heat is rising, it’s time to fill those lazy days!

Not sure where to go? Check out our 2012 Summer Hotspots.

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Communities are cleaning up today, after a string of tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and South on Wednesday. The stormy weather claimed 13 lives, and more twisters may be on the way.

Tornado Damage in Harrisburg, Illinois

According to the Washington Post, meteorologists warned that another line of storms set to strike the same path and potentially grow stronger than Wednesday’s system.  Authorities at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK, said that about 10 percent of tornadoes strike between midnight and 6 a.m., a time when storms are harder to spot, and it’s harder to get the word out.

In case you didn’t know, more than 1,000 tornadoes, many of them with little or no advance warning, touch down in the United States every year. So we have few travel tips to help you stay safe when twisters strike while you’re traveling. Take a look at our travel safety tips for how you can recognize the danger signs of a tornado; how and where to take shelter; and the importance of owning an emergency weather radio.

More Weather-Related Content:

Flash Flood Safety:  5 Must-Ask Questions
Tips for Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness
Weather and Flight Apps
Prepare for Flight Problems

Iceland Volcano Disrupts Air Travel...Again
Photo: Reuters

Update: European air traffic controllers said airspace will return to normal on Thursday, after the Grimsvotn volcano eruption in Iceland last weekend. More than a 1,000 flights were canceled due to the plume of ash and soot.

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Iceland’s main airport remains closed and roads covered in gray soot, after the Grimsvotn volcano erupted on Sunday, May 22, 2011.  It was the volcano’s largest eruption in 100 years. The volcano has already forced the Keflavik airport to close and forced the cancellation of 40 international flights.

More airport closures and flight cancellations are possible as the plums of ash continue to move toward the UK. Officials at the National Air Traffic Service Ltd. say air services from 12 Scottish airports, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen may be interrupted.  U.S. President Barak Obama had to curtail his trip to Ireland due to the moving ash cloud.

Scientists don’t believe this volcano’s ash will wreak more havoc on Europe’s airports than last year’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption — that incident stranded 10 million people and was several billions of dollars in losses.

Not all volcanoes are travel obstacles. In fact some travelers flock to them. Find out how you can explore Hawaiian volcanoes. Check out our hot lava flow slideshow.

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A tornado with winds whipping at 190-198 mph touched down in Joplin, MO, on Sunday, killing 117 people. Thunderstorms and rainy weather today continued to keep residents on edge.

Rescue crews have pulled 7 people from the rumble, but the search continues to find more survivors in piles of splintered houses and crushed cars.

According to NBC News, this was the single deadliest tornado since 1947. With a base of 3/4 mile across, the tornado destroyed everything in its path, creating a debris cloud of almost 18,000 feet in the air.

Take a look at this horrifying video from izelsg, a YouTube user, who experienced the severe weather first-hand. It was a very unsettling video to watch and or listen to as people in the store took cover in a walk-in storage fridge. Thankfully, everyone was OK.

Check out our travel safety tips for how you can stay safe when a twister strikes, and we recommend a few travel apps to help guide you when making your travel plans. It’s information every traveler can use.

Japan was rocked by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake today, near the same location of the 9.0-magnitude temblor on March 11. Japan Meteorological Agency has issued a tsunami warning for places on the coast. Miyagi is the primary area that will be affected.

NPR’s Greg Dixon reports that Japan’s NHK is urging anyone along the coast in the region near the epicenter to head for higher ground. Lesser tsunami advisories cover Aomori, Iwate, Fukushima and Ibaraki.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says workers have evacuated the Fikushima Daiichi nuclear plant despite no signs of new problems after the strong aftershock. Officials say the quake hit 25 miles underwater off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. Buildings as far as Tokyo shook for a minute, according to Associated Press.

Japan’s last quake, in March, set off a tsunami that struck the country’s North Central coast, leaving 1000s dead or missing.

Ski resorts, located along the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, are attracting more skiers and snowboarders after record snowfalls. The Sierra typically gets snowfall in April, but this season the area has seen more than 61 feet of snow — just a few feet shy of the 65-feet record set from 1950 to 1951.

Ski patrol guides had to create tunnels to reach their warming huts, and avalanches broke out windows at two life stations at Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics. According to Associated Press, almost 59 feet of snow has fallen there, breaking the old record of 29 inches.

The unexpected snowfall has sparked Squaw Valley to extend its season through Memorial Day, and Heavenly Mountain Resort, on Mammoth Mountain, may remain open through the 4th of July.

Despite the booming business at ski resorts, the snow is causing problems, including roof damage for some homeowners and businesses. The good news is that the snow has increased California’s water supply, which may spark Gov. Jerry Brown to declare the end to state’s lingering drought.

Kilauea Volcano Increase Tourism

The eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano has sparked an increase in the number of tourists who want to check out the spectacular lava show. According to the National Park Service, there has been an increase in visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since last Saturday when the volcano started spewing lava up to 65 feet in the air.

The Park recommends the patio of the Jaggar Museum inside the national park and the Kalapana View Site, outside the park, to view the fiery lava flows. Air-tour companies have added some flights to accommodate demand even though a 1,500-foot temporary flight restriction has been imposed around the volcano.

Visitors can call the lava hotline at (808) 961-8093. Are you interested in checking out the lava show in person? Take a look at Travel Channel’s list of Hawaiian lava-flow tours and other volcano-related activities. Check out our Hawaii lava flow photos, too.

Earthquake in New Zealand

At least 75 people are dead after a 6.3-magnitude quake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city, on Tuesday. Prime Minister John Key said the world may be witnessing “New Zealand’s darkest day.”

The city’s airport was shut down and the hospital evacuated. Rescue crews are searching for hundreds of people who remain trapped in toppled buildings or scattered debris. The US Geological Survey said the quake was centered 3 miles from the city.

According to Huffington Post, this is the second major quake to hit Christchurch in 5 months. The 7.1-magnitude quake on September 4, 2010, shook the city, but there was no loss of life.

Super Bowl weather

Football fans whose flights had been canceled scrambled Saturday to get to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV, while those already in town were dealing with frigid temperatures and over 5 inches of snow — twice Dallas’ annual average.

A fresh blast of snow and ice canceled hundreds of flights Friday, snarled highways and caused dangerous sheets of ice to cascade from the domed roof of Cowboys Stadium. The falling ice injured 6 workers hired by the NFL to prepare the stadium, though none of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

The problems in the Dallas-Forth Worth area capped off one of the worst weeks of winter weather in US history. To see how this week’s storm compared to some of the nastiest ever recorded, check out our Worst US Blizzards photo slideshow. And if you’d like to reminisce about a time when NFL championships were actually played outside in the “frozen tundra,” don’t miss our Life of Lombardi feature.

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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