Wednesday, May 10

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Travel weather

Weather slowdowns likely: Frequent occurrences of showers and heavier thunderstorms this week will very likely slow things down at a number of major airport locations nationwide. Flights in and out of Chicago need to dodge rain during the early and middle parts of the week. In Denver, thunderstorms will likely brew up each afternoon and evening through Friday. In the Northeast, flights into the three New York City airports will run into potential problems starting on Tuesday. In Boston, rain is likely during the middle part of the week. Much-needed rain will come down in parts of the Southeast this week, but it will slow things down in Atlanta and Charlotte. Thunderstorms are likely on two occasions this week in Dallas and Fort Worth. On the West Coast, late night and morning fog will delay flights in and out of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

No boost from La Nina this year: According to researchers at NASA, the Pacific Ocean phenomenon known as La Nina will not play a factor in the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season. This comes as great news after the costliest and most destructive season on record, in 2005. La Nina refers to a pattern of unusually cold water temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific. This occurrence contributes to droughts in the western part of the country and spurs hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean. This happens when high-altitude jet stream winds are pushed farther to the north and away from hurricane-forming areas. These jet stream winds can tear the tops off of developing hurricanes, thus reducing their intensity. An absence of the La Nina effect means those jet stream winds will have an easier time migrating over hurricane-prone areas. La Nina differs from El Nino, which acts to pull the jet stream into areas of hurricane and tropical storm formation.

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Man-made rain washes Beijing: In the wake of choking dust storms that blanketed the city and surrounding areas with yellow grit, Chinese officials reported that artificial rainmaking has produced enhanced, heavy rainfall that has helped to clean up the city of Beijing. Seven rockets were launched, each containing dozens of silver iodide sticks, which officials say caused the heaviest rains of the spring season. The science of cloud seeding is controversial, and many doubt its effectiveness. However, China uses the technique on a routine basis and often seeds clouds in an effort to end droughts in the arid northern part of the country. The dust storm last month dropped 300,000 tons of dust and sand on the Chinese capital city and was the most severe storm in more than five years. It was the 10th such storm to hit Beijing since February.


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