April 9, 2012

Chugach Range, above Anchorage     Photo: Wonderlane/Flickr

Anchorage Sees Snowfall Record

Storm puts city above 11 feet for year

A storm dropped four inches of snow on Anchorage, Alaska over the weekend, breaking the city's snowfall record and pushing the winter total above 11 feet for only the second time ever. Anchorage has now received 134.2 inches of snow, nearly double the historical average and two inches more than the previous record, which was set in the winter of 1954-1955. City officials have spent $11.9 million on plowing, $3.8 more than last year. Some snow piles are expected to survive through the summer.

Read more at Reuters

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Tom Boonen en route to victory at the 2012 Paris-Roubaix     Photo: Roxanne King/Flickr

Boonen Steals Huge Win at Paris-Roubaix

Belgian takes 4th title after early surge

On Sunday in France, Belgian cyclist Tom Boonen scored his fourth-career Paris-Roubaix victory and equaled Roger de Vlaeminck's all-time win record from the 1970s. Boonen, 31, broke away with 35 miles to go and bested runner-up Sebastien Turgot by 1:39. Last week, Boonen won the single-day Tour de Flanders for the third time. "When I was alone in front, I just went for it. It was my greatest [Paris-Roubaix] win," he said. Paris-Roubaix, referred to as "The Hell of the North," is among the most grueling single-day cycling races in the world.

Read more at Cyclingnews.com

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Somali pirates, 2008     Photo: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons

Navy to Use Robocopters to Catch Pirates

Drones to be equipped with laser sensors

The U.S. Navy plans to begin using robotic helicopters to catch pirates in congested coastal waters, the Office of Naval Research announced last week. In a press release on April 5, the ONR said it plans to equip unmanned Fire Scout helicopters with software that will recognize potential pirate boats. The helicopters will use laser-radar imaging and cameras to flag threatening boats for a follow-up review by helicopter operators. Initial testing of the technology is scheduled to take place off the California coast this summer.

Read more at LiveScience

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Aerial view of Gyari base on April 8th after the avalanche hit the Pakistan military camp     Photo: ISPR Pakistan Ministry Defense

Snow Hampers Siachen Avalanche Rescue

135 still missing in Kashmir

On Monday, inclement weather hampered efforts to rescue 135 Pakistani soldiers and civilians caught in a massive avalanche that buried a military complex on the Siachen Glacier in norther Kashmir. The remote mountain base, located at an altitude of 15,000 feet, was buried under at least 80 feet of snow. The United States has dispatched a team of avalanche experts to assist in the rescue, but heavy, unrelenting snowfall has prevented the team from reaching the site. India has also offered assistance. Kevin Fedarko wrote about the "world's highest battleground" in the February 2003 issue of Outside.

Read more at United Press International

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Polar bear     Photo: longhorndave/Flickr

Polar Bears Sickened by Mystery Disease

Symptoms also seen in seals, walruses

Polar bears in Alaska are exhibiting symptoms of a mystery disease that has already killed seals and walruses in the area. Scientists noted the symptoms, including hair loss and oozing sores, in 12 different bears along the Beaufort Sea coastline, including nine near Barrow and three near Kaktovik. At least 60 seals and several walruses have died, although scientists are not aware of any bear deaths. The seals and walruses showed signs of labored breathing and lethargy, though the bears appear to be otherwise healthy.

Read more at Reuters

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