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Weather Maps Look Like Early-Spring. Lots of Drips Ahead

Hockey Day In Minnesota - Saturday, January 21st

One of my favorite days of the year is coming up this weekend! Weather conditions for Hockey Day in Minnesota over the years have ranged from brutally cold with frigid wind chills to picture perfect with light snow. This year's event will be held in Stillwater, located along the beautiful St. Criox River and while the setting couldn't be any more beautiful... unfortunately, the weather this Saturday looks a little ugly. High temperatures are expected to be in the low/mid 40s with a chance of a little light rain. 

(Image below courtesy Twitter: @HockeyDayMN)

Saturday Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook from Friday night to PM Saturday, which shows scattered light rain showers rotating through the region. The storm system responsible for this somewhat soggy weather will also be responsible for temperatures in the low/mid 40s, which will be nearly 20F above average for mid/late January.

Precipitation Potential

Here's the precipitation potential through AM Sunday, which shows up to 0.4" liquid possible across parts of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Note that temperatures will be warm enough for mostly rain. Although rainfall tallies don't appear to be too terribly heavy, warm temperatures and rain will make any outdoor winter activities unfavorable. In the case for Saturday's Hockey Day in Minnesota, ice conditions will likely be warm, soft, slow and possibly even wet.

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Early Spring-like Weather Maps. Lots of Drips

Have you heard that temperatures may hit 40 degrees or warmer over the next few days? No kidding!

To outsiders, Minnesotan's look like a crazy bunch. Those who live here are well aware of how to deal with the cold, but bring on a 40 degree day in the middle of winter and yes, we probably are a little nuts. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few brave souls ditch the coat or even break out the flip flops as we enter a string of well above average temperatures. The increase in the temp department will come by way of several slaps of Pacific moisture along the West Coast.

Portland, OR wakes up to nearly 1/2 inch of crippling ice this morning while the extended forecast calls for widespread 6 to 12 inches of rain or more along the entire coast through next week. Some forecasts call for nearly 5 inches of drought denting rains in Los Angeles over the next 7 to 10 days!

Pieces of those western storms begin meandering into our neck of the woods later this week with light rain possible this weekend.

Enjoy the sun today! Where's the SPF?___________________________________________________________________________

Extended Forecast:

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and mild. Lots of drips. Winds: SSW 5. High: 40

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clouds thicken. Becoming mostly cloudy. Winds: SSW 5. Low: 29.

THURSDAY: Feels like March. Few afternoon sprinkles? Winds: SSE 4-8. High: 44

FRIDAY: Daytime showers. Light mix overnight. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 33. High: 42

SATURDAY: Mild with scattered light rain showers. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 33. High: 44.

SUNDAY: Light rain mixes with a few wet flakes Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 34. High: 41.

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy. Still warm for January. Winds: NW 5. Wake-up: 33. High: 40.

TUESDAY: Cooler. Light snow late. Winds: WSW 5. Wake-up: 28. High: 34.
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This Day in Weather History
January 18th

1996: A blizzard begins across the upper midwest. The Twin Cities Airport was spared the heavy snow, but received nearly one inch of rain. Heavy ice coating in the northwest metro area caused thousands of power outages. Wind chills were as low as -88 (on the old windchill scale) at Crookston. Snow totals were 18 inches at Ely and 12 inches at St. Cloud. Mail delivery was stopped for the day in Duluth and I-94 was closed all day from Rothsay and Moorhead. Flooding problems were caused in the Twin Cities due to backed up water.

1994: Governor Arne Carlson orders all Minnesota public schools closed due to the extreme cold and severe winter weather. Morning readings were in the 30-below-zero range. The biggest problem was from high winds that came with the cold.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 18th

Average High: 23F (Record: 48F set in 1891)
Average: Low: 7F (Record: -36F6set in 1887)

*Record Snowfall: 4.5" set in 2014
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Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
January 18th

Sunrise: 7:45am
Sunset: 5:02pm

*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~1 minute 58 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~31 minutes

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Moon Phase for January 18th at Midnight
0.6 Days Before Last Quarter


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Weather Outlook For Wednesday

High temperatures on Wednesday will be VERY mild across the region with highs approaching 40F in the Twin Cities. Note that this will be nearly 20F above average for the middle part of January. Interestingly, this is, on average, the coldest part of the year and it is going to feel more like March.

Weather Outlook For Wednesday

Winds will pick up out of the south on Wednesday, which will help to keep mild temperatures streaming into the Upper Midwest through the rest of the week. In fact, winds won't change much this week and temperatures will remain very mild through the weekend.

 
 Weather Outlook For Tuesday

Mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies on Wednesday will make it feel like a spring day across the region. Enjoy it because clouds will be on the increase later this week with light chances into the weekend.

 

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis

Here's the temperature outlook through January 27th, which shows a VERY mild trend heading into the week ahead with highs in the 30s and even 40s this weekend! With several days above freezing, our snow pack will likely take a big hit... we may also have a fog concerns with melting snow and added moisture in the lower levels of the atmosphere.


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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures continuing across much of the Upper Midwest from January 27th to January 31st. With that said, extended models are suggesting temperatures returning to near normal levels by the end of the month. Looking ahead, there doesn't appear to be any major cold snaps brewing over the next couple of weeks.


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Highs From Average Thursday
 
Take a look at how much warmer than average much of the nation will be on Thursday. Just about everyone from the Front Range of the Rockies to the Eastern Seaboard will be at least 10F to near 20F above average!
 

National Temp Outlook

Take a look at the temperature anomaly through Wednesday, January 25th. Note that the Eastern half of the country looks to stay warmer than average through the entire time period. Late January appears to host colder than average weather across the western half of the country.  

 
 Temperature Outlook

Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us into the end of January. Note that warmer than average temperatures continue across the Eastern U.S., while cold than average temperatures will move into the Western U.S.

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Tornado Near Houston, TX on Monday
 
Strong to severe storms, including tornadoes developed across parts of Texas on Sunday and Monday. One of those tornadoes was captured on video near Houston on Monday. Take a look at the tweet and video below. Note how close the person got to it before nearly running into it! YIKES!
 
 
Thundery Outlook In the Southeast Through The Weekend

Heres' the simulated radar from Thursday to Sunday night, which shows ongoing showers and storms across parts of the Gulf Coast States. Note that an even more impressive storm develops over the weekend with more showers and storm across the Gulf Coast. This may be responsible for isolated severe storms and locally heavy rainfall.

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National Weather Outlook

Here's the national weather outlook through the end of the week, which shows lingering showers and storms and locally heavy rainfall continuing and redeveloping across the Gulf Coast States. Some of the storms late week and into the weekend could be severe. Also note the next Pacific storm moving into the Western U.S. with widespread wintry weather and heavy rain along the coast.

 
 Major Northwest Ice and Western Snowfall
Winter weather headlines have been posted across parts of the Western U.S. in advance of another surge of Pacific moisture that will impact the region through midweek. This will create major issues with ice amounts possibly topping 0.5" to near 1" in some locations near the Columbia River Gorge. High elevations will see quite a bit of snow and lower elevations will see heavy rainfall potential.
 

 
5 Day Precipitation Forecast

According to NOAA's PC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 2" to 4"+ rainfall amounts across the Southern and Eastern U.S.. Also note the heavy moisture moving back into the West U.S., especially along the West Coast. Some 6" to 12"+ liquid tallies can't be ruled out from northern California to western Oregon and western Washington. There may even be some 3" to 6"+ tallies across parts of southern California through early next week.

Snowfall Potential

The extended forecast calls for additional heavy moisture in the Western U.S. with heavy snow in the high elevations. Note that widespread heavy snow looks to fall from the Cascades to the Sierra Nevada Range to parts of the Rockies. The additional heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada Range is wonderful news for the upcoming water supply during the summer months for parts of California.

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"Humans have destroyed 7% of Earth’s pristine forest landscapes just since 2000"

"Using satellite data, the researchers investigated changes to the world’s intact forest landscapes between 2000 and 2013. In 2000, they found that intact forest landscapes covered a total global area of 12.8 million square kilometers, or nearly 5 million square miles. But in the years since, human activities have altered and fragmented many of these areas. In total, truly intact forest landscapes declined by 7.2 percent. More than half these losses occurred in three countries alone: Russia, Brazil and Canada. In general, though, tropical parts of the world tended to suffer the greatest declines." 

{A tract of Amazon rain forest, which has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture, is seen near Santarem, Brazil, in April 2013. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)}

See more from Washington Post HERE:


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"China, Europe drive shift to electric cars as U.S. lags"

"Electric cars will pick up critical momentum in 2017, many in the auto industry believe - just not in North America. Tighter emissions rules in China and Europe leave global carmakers and some consumers with little choice but to embrace plug-in vehicles, fuelling an investment surge, said industry executives gathered in Detroit this past week for the city's annual auto show."

{A 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV is displayed during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 9, 2017. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo)}

See more from Reuters HERE:

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"Japan’s Biggest Coral Reef Devastated by Bleaching"

Almost three-quarters of Japan’s biggest coral reef has died, according to a report that blames its demise on rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The Japanese environment ministry said that 70 percent of the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa had been killed by a phenomenon known as bleaching. Bleaching occurs when unusually warm water causes coral to expel the algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white. Unless water temperatures quickly return to normal, the coral eventually dies from lack of nutrition. The plight of the reef, located in Japan’s southernmost reaches, has become “extremely serious” in recent years, according to the ministry, whose survey of 35 locations in the lagoon last November and December found that 70.1% percent of the coral had died.

See more from Climate Central HERE:

(The white tips on this coral are a reflection of "bleaching" and declining coral health.
Credit: Oregon State University/flickr)

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"Man Captures Northern Lights At 35,000 Feet After Finding Himself Sitting Alone On Flight"

With more and more of us flying on budget airlines, the idea of having space to spread out seems a little alien. Even extending your legs below the knee can prove troublesome. But now one man has shown the full potential of having a little more room to breathe, as he used an empty flight to set up his tripod and camera in the window seat and capture the Northern Lights.

See more from Huffington Post HERE:


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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

Paul Douglas: Gradual improvement Tuesday; March-like temps ahead

Visible Satellite Loop Monday

The same storm system that brought a crippling ice event over the Central U.S. over the weekend and early week time frame also brought clouds and areas of freezing rain across far southern MN and Wisconsin. Note that much of northern Minnesota stayed sunny as the storm just clipped our area. 

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Great Lakes Ships Arrive For Winter Layup

Thanks to the @NWSDuluth for capturing this image from the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center webcam, which shows the Roger Blough arriving early Monday morning as one of the last few ships to arrive in the Duluth port this season. The Paul R. Tregurtha arrives Monday after and is the last ship of the season to pass under the Aerial Lift Bridge this season as the Soo Locks  in Sault Ste. Marie Mich., close on Friday and won't reopen until March 25th.

Visible Satellite Sunday, January 15th

Sunday was an incredibly nice day across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region with mild temperatures and plenty of sun. Clear skies allowed for a fairly decent view of of the Great Lakes. Note the lack of ice cover across the Great Lakes and also note the snow cover on the ground across the region.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes ice coverage as of January 15th, 2017 was nearly 10%. Interestingly, at this time in 2015, nearly 34% 

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Let the Melt Begin. Mid-Winter Rain This Weekend

Not sure about you, but I actually like Winter. I am not a big fan of the face-numbing cold, but I like the snow! Give me a bunch of snow (minus the rotten commutes) and I would be a happy camper.

With that said, I feel a bit cheated. We've had a few bouts of snow and cold weather, but we've also had these weird warm spells. This has led to more wintry wintry mixed precipitation and rain events rather than just good old fashioned snow! What gives? If you thought thunderstorms and 1 inch rainfall tallies on Christmas Day was weird, well, the weirdness continues.

Weather maps look more March- like heading into the second half of January as the mercury tops 40 degrees later this week. Stillwater is host to Hockey Day in Minnesota this Saturday. The current forecast calls for a high temperature in the low/mid 40s with light rain. Come on man! Mother Nature should know better not to mess with Minnesota's outdoor hockey plans.

In meantime, enjoy the fact that we have feeling back in our extremities. We'll see what Feb. cooks up.
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Extended Forecast:

TUESDAY: Patchy freezing drizzle ealry, then partly sunny and mild. Winds: WSW 5. High: 32

TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Winds: SSW 5. Low: 19.

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and mild. Lots of drips. Winds: SW 5. High: 39

THURSDAY: Clouds thicken. Afternoon sprinkles. Winds: S 5. Wake-up: 27. High: 43

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy. Spotty light rain. Winds: ESE 5. Wake-up: 33. High: 42

SATURDAY: Scattered light rain showers. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 33. High: 39.

SUNDAY: Cloudy, more light rain. Mix late? Winds: NNE 5-15. Wake-up: 34. High: 39.

MONDAY: Light wintry mix possible. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 28. High: 34.
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This Day in Weather History
January 17th

1996: A severe ice storm hits the western and northern Twin Cities with accumulations between a half an inch and an inch. A foot of snow fell over central Minnesota.

1982: The citizens of Tower wake up to a frigid low of -52 degrees F.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 17th

Average High: 23F (Record: 44F set in 1894)
Average: Low: 7F (Record: -29F6set in 1967)

*Record Snowfall: 5.1" set in 1932
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Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
January 17th

Sunrise: 7:46am
Sunset: 5:01pm

*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~1 minute 55 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~29 minutes

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Moon Phase for January 16th at Midnight
1.6 Days Before Last Quarter

 

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Weather Outlook For Tuesday

High temperatures on Tuesday will once again be warmer than average, but we really start to settle into our warm spell starting Tuesday. Note that much of the region, including the Twin Cities will likely warm into the low to mid 30s. This will begin the several day melting process. 

Weather Outlook For Tuesday

Winds will be very light on Tuesday and will also start turning more westerly/southwesterly late in the day. Later in the week, they will become more southerly, which will help to move temperatures up into the 40s!

Weather Outlook For Tuesday

After a cloudier day across southern MN on Monday, clouds will linger across southeastern MN through the day. Much of the rest of the state will break out into sunshine, which will continue to build into the region through Wednesday. 

Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis

Here's the temperature outlook through January 26th, which shows a VERY mild trend heading into the week ahead with highs in the 30s and even 40s by next weekend! With several days above freezing, our snow pack will likely take a big hit... we may also have a fog concerns with melting snow and added moisture in the lower levels of the atmosphere.


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6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures continuing across much of the Upper Midwest from January 26th to January 30th. With that said, extended models are suggesting temperatures returning to near normal levels by the end of the month. Looking ahead, there doesn't appear to be any major cold snaps brewing over the next couple of weeks.


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Iowa Plow Cams

Did you know that IowaDOT equips their plow trucks with webcams? A network a frequently updating plowcams is a wonderful resource to see what conditions are like across the state. This was the view from near Waukon, IA from early Monday morning where travel was not advised, where freezing rain left area roadways covered in ice.

Track a plow from IowaDOT HERE:

Major Ice Event Central US Wraps Up

Thanks to the National Weather Service out of Dodge City and Wichita, KS  for the pictures below, which shows the icing that took place there through the weekend. This was a crippling event for some folks in the Central Plains with widespread power outages and even some fatalities. Note that just 1/4" of ice can add 500 lbs. of weight to a span of power lines... this additional weight is what causes trees and power lines to come down. Many locations will be cleaning up and fixing power issues over the next several days if not weeks.


Ice Accumulations
 
Here's a look at the ice accumulations across the region from Saturday into Sunday. Note that there were two reports of 1" ice accumulations; one in Oklahoma and one in Nebraska!
 

Icing Potential Continues

The same storm system that caused all the issues in the Central U.S. this weekend will continue to create icing issues across parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast through midweek. Some spots across the Northern New England States will actually see a changover to snow, where up to 6" of snow maybe possible through Wednesday.

Icing Potential

Here's the icing potential  through midweek, which suggests light ice accumulations across parts of the Northeast. Although there won't be as much ice as what the Central U.S. saw this weekend, there will still be enough icing to create issues on area roads.

National Snow Coverage

According to NOAA's NOHRSC, the national snow coverage was nearly 50% as of Monday, January 16th. The images below compare the national snow cover from January 16th 2017 vs 2016. At this time last year, 43% of the nation was covered in snow. With temperatures expected to be as warm as they will be over the next several days, I expect a major snow melt across the eastern half of the nation over the next couple of weeks.


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Highs From Average Thursday
 
Take a look at how much warmer than average much of the nation will be on Thursday. Just about everyone from the Front Range of the Rockies to the Eastern Seaboard will be at least 10F to near 20F above average!
 

National Temp Outlook

Take a look at the temperature anomaly through Tuesday, January 24th. Note that the Eastern half of the country looks to stay warmer than average through the entire time period. Late January appears to host colder than average weather across the western half of the country.  

Temperature Outlook

Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us into the end of January. Note that warmer than average temperatures continue across the Eastern U.S., while cold than average temperatures will move into the Western U.S.

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Southern Severe Storms
 
Strong to severe storms were reported across parts of Texas on Sunday and Monday, including a few tornadoes. The red dots near Dallas, Waco and Houston were confirmed tornado reports that caused some damage.
 

Simulate Radar

Heres' the simulated radar from Tuesday to AM Wednesday, which shows ongoing showers and storms across parts of the Southern U.S.. There may even be a few isolated strong to severe storms near the Coastal Bend of Texas on Tuesday afternoon with gusty winds and an isolated, brief tornado being the main threat

 
 Severe Storm Threats

As the storm system slowly moves northeast through the Central U.S., strong to severe storms will also develop on the southern flank of this storm system. Below is the severe storm outlook for Tuesday. Note that there is a MARGINAL Risk of severe weather across the Coastal Bend of Texas, where gusty winds and an isolated tornado is possible.


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Big Alaska Storm

Thanks to @NWSJuneau for sharing this satellite loop of the strong storm system impacting parts of southeast Alaska with strong winds, heavy rain and high elevation snowfall.

National Weather Outlook

Here's the national weather outlook through the middle part of the week, which shows the large storm system responsible for major icing the Central U.S. over the weekend finally moving out of the country by Wednesday. The trailing cold front will turn stationary across the Southern U.S. with lingering showers and storms and locally heavy rainfall. The next Pacific storm will move into the Western U.S. with widespread wintry weather and heavy rain along the coast. 

 

Major Ice Event in the Northwest

Winter weather headlines have been posted across parts of the Western U.S. in advance of another surge of Pacific moisture that will impact the region through midweek. This will create major issues with ice amounts possibly topping 0.5" to near 1" in some locations near the Columbia River Gorge. High elevations will see quite a bit of snow and lower elevations will see heavy rainfall potential.
 
 
Ice Potential
 
Take a look at the icing potential from the state of Washington to near Portand, OR. Note that some locations sould see up to 0.5" to near 1" or more, which would create major issues in these areas. Significant travel issues and power outages will occur as this system gets underway later Tuesday through Wednesday. 
 

7 Day Precipitation Forecast

According to NOAA's PC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 2" to 4"+ rainfall amounts across the Southern and Eastern U.S.. Also note the heavy moisture moving back into the West U.S., especially along the West Coast. Some 6" to 12"+ liquid tallies can't be ruled out from northern California to western Oregon and western Washington. There may even be some 3" to 6"+ tallies across parts of southern California through early next week.

Snowfall Potential

The extended forecast calls for additional heavy moisture in the Western U.S. with heavy snow in the high elevations. Note that widespread heavy snow looks to fall from the Cascades to the Sierra Nevada Range to parts of the Rockies. The additional heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada Range is wonderful news for the upcoming water supply during the summer months for parts of California.

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"Japan’s Biggest Coral Reef Devastated by Bleaching"

Almost three-quarters of Japan’s biggest coral reef has died, according to a report that blames its demise on rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The Japanese environment ministry said that 70 percent of the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa had been killed by a phenomenon known as bleaching. Bleaching occurs when unusually warm water causes coral to expel the algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white. Unless water temperatures quickly return to normal, the coral eventually dies from lack of nutrition. The plight of the reef, located in Japan’s southernmost reaches, has become “extremely serious” in recent years, according to the ministry, whose survey of 35 locations in the lagoon last November and December found that 70.1% percent of the coral had died.

See more from Climate Central HERE:

(The white tips on this coral are a reflection of "bleaching" and declining coral health.
Credit: Oregon State University/flickr)

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"Man Captures Northern Lights At 35,000 Feet After Finding Himself Sitting Alone On Flight"

With more and more of us flying on budget airlines, the idea of having space to spread out seems a little alien. Even extending your legs below the knee can prove troublesome. But now one man has shown the full potential of having a little more room to breathe, as he used an empty flight to set up his tripod and camera in the window seat and capture the Northern Lights.

See more from Huffington Post HERE:


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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX