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Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, predicts 6 more weeks of winter

Punxsutawney Phil, the chubby rodent meteorologist from Gobbler’s Knob, saw his shadow Thursday morning and predicted six more weeks of winter. 

In lore that dates back 130 years, if Phil emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of cold weather, while no shadow means an early spring.

>> Watch the video here

But Phil has some competition. Georgia's Gen. Beauregard Lee, New York's Staten Island Chuck and Tennessee's Chattanooga Chuck all predicted an early spring Thursday.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a warmer than normal February for most of the U.S. That warmth will continue for much of the South through New England into April.

So how accurate is Phil? Several computer whizzes have done the calculations.

>> Read more trending news

According to a 2015 Washington Post analysis of 30 years of forecasts in more than 200 cities, Phil was “technically right more times than not in some cities.”

“Even though Phil’s predictions proved correct for some areas of the country, the difference in average temperatures between years he predicted an early spring and years he did not varied by no more than a few degrees,” The Post found.

The National Centers for Environmental Information also released a report this week that looked at February and March temperatures compared to Phil’s past forecasts.

The number crunching found “no predictive skill for the groundhog during the most recent years of this analysis.”

75-year-old woman, son survive flying through tornado in bathtub, report says

As deadly storms slammed Southern states on Saturday, a twister reportedly tore into a home, tossing a 75-year-old woman and her son into the air as they huddled in a bathtub.

Miraculously, the pair survived.

>> Severe weather kills 19 in Georgia and Mississippi; death toll could rise

According to KSLA, Rickey Williams and his mother, Charlesletta, of Smithland, Texas, said their perilous ride began that evening after they watched a weather report about a possible tornado in the area.

"I don't know what it was is, but it started, 'Woo woo, woo,'" Charlesletta told KSLA.

>> Watch the interview with KSLA here

Williams said he and his mother hurried to the bathroom, where they took refuge in the tub just before the tornado struck their home. 

"The whole house started shaking," Williams told KSLA. "I heard, like, a 'poof,' and I knew the roof came off."

Then they were lifted into the air, spinning, Williams said.

>> Read more trending stories

Moments later, when they came down, it "felt like someone placed us on the ground," Williams told KSLA.

Mary Taylor, Charlesletta's daughter, believes a higher power was at work.

"God was watching over her," Taylor said.

Read more here.

ON KSLA NEWS 12 AT 6: A 75-year-old's bathtub ride to survival during ETX tornado https://t.co/3BbYDwI3nG pic.twitter.com/mbXlCaFAZJ— KSLA News 12 (@KSLA) January 24, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Photo appears to show Michigan man walking on water, literally

A photo of a Michigan man looks startlingly surreal, as if he’s walking on water, but in reality he’s standing on an ice-covered lake near Boyne City in the northern part of the state.

>> Read more trending stories  

It wasn’t a hoax, as some have suggested, according to Andre Poineau, who said he ventured out onto Lake Charlevoix in mid-January when the ice was more than 2 inches thick and so clear, you could see the sandy ripples on the lake bottom.  

No, this is not a Photoshop manipulation. And it's not Biblical water-walking skills. It's a photograph of Andre...Posted by Detroit Free Press on Monday, January 23, 2017

Such extremely clear ice occurs under certain conditions.

“I’ve seen it several times before. The water in Lake Charlevoix is incredibly clear to begin with, partly because of zebra mussels,” Poineau told MLive.com.

“When it freezes without agitation, there are hardly any oxygen bubbles in the ice. “

“It happens on rare occasions,” he added.

Poineau, 63, says he was a little apprehensive about stepping out on the ice that day and had a shovel with him to test its strength. It passed the test.

Photographer Martha Sulfridge took the stunning shot on Jan. 15 and the rest, as they say, is history. The picture has gone viral and has been shared on Facebook more than 60,000 times.  

 

 

At least 15 dead in severe storms across Georgia

At least 15 people died in Georgia as two rounds of severe weather swept through over the weekend.

North Georgia avoided the deadly storms and tornadoes that hit South Georgia on Sunday afternoon, but did have a few severe storms move through.

>> Read more trending stories

In Gordon County, strong winds knocked down trees and power lines, closing several roads. There was also widespread flooding in the county. Gordon County Schools decided to close on Monday because of the damage and closed roads.

Albany's fire chief confirmed a tornado touched down around 3 p.m. Sunday. The same tornado also hit East Albany, leaving significant damage.

At least four people died in the area, bringing the overall toll to at least 19 people killed over the weekend by a severe weather system sweeping the Southeast.

>> Related: Severe weather kills 19 in Georgia and Mississippi; death toll could rise

Local officials say search and rescue operations are underway after a reported tornado caused widespread destruction in the county Sunday evening.

Before the three latest deaths were confirmed, Georgia officials had reported 12 deaths statewide.

Four died Saturday in Mississippi.

During a news conference Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump promised federal help for Georgia communities hit by the storms.

11 killed in first round of severe storms

Eleven people were killed and 23 injured after strong storms moved through Georgia Saturday night into Sunday morning. 

Following the storm, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for seven south-central Georgia counties: Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Lowndes and Thomas. 

Seven of the 11 people who died in the tornadoes were killed at a mobile home park in Cook County, Coroner Tim Purvis said. 

"All you hear is people screaming, 'Help me, help me,'" said AJ Miley, who lives in the Sunshine Mobile Home Park.

Devocheo Williams said he walked out of his mangled trailer to see his neighborhood and neighbors being tossed through the air.

"All I saw was a little girl flown up and thrown in a ditch. Three seconds later, the trailer got picked up off the ground and landed on top of the mother and son," Williams said. 

The trailer park is located on Callie Harris Road, south of Adel. Most of the 40 homes in the park were either damaged or wiped out altogether.

"It's heartbreaking," said Edward Allen, who spent the day looking for survivors and clearing debris. "It's really affected our community."

Authorities told Thomas that about two dozen people were hurt in the county, some very seriously. They said the number of deaths could rise.

Two people died in Brooks County, Sheriff Mike Dewey said. Both were in the same home in Barney that was displaced into Highway 122. 

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office also confirmed that at least two people died during the storm.

Berrien County Coroner Robert S. Lovein Jr. said the damage is extensive and "terrible."

At least three more injuries were confirmed in Thomas County.

The Sheriff's Office said a mobile home at Airline and Centennial roads was destroyed while a man was still inside.

This is believed to be the deadliest storm since the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak in Ringgold and Cedartown that killed 15 people. It is also the second major storm to rip through South Georgia this month.

Other killer storms in recent years:

  • March 27, 1994: 18 were killed on Palm Sunday in the Floyd County area.
  • March 20, 1998: 14 were killed in Hall and White counties.
  • April 8, 1998: Seven were killed in and around Dunwoody city in DeKalb, and in Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
  • Feb. 14, 2000: 19 were killed in Southwest Georgia/Mitchell County,Grady County, Colquitt County.
  • March 20, 2003: Six were killed in southwestern Georgia.
  • March 1, 2007: Six were killed in Newton.
  • March 14, 2008: One was killed in Atlanta.
  • April 27, 2011: Ringgold and Cedartown reported 15 deaths.
  • January 2013: One was killed in Adairsville.

Trump calls Georgia Gov. after deadly storms

President Donald Trump on Sunday called Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to offer condolences about the deadly storms that have swept through the state. 

Trump described the tornadoes as vicious and powerful during remarks in the East Room of the White House during his second full day in office, according tot he Associated Press. 

>> Read more trending stories  

CNN reported that Trump said “we’ll be helping out the state of Georgia.”

President Trump: "We'll be helping out the state of Georgia" https://t.co/6OZtrfIwim https://t.co/FpwnJZlGEs— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 22, 2017

Deal chief of staff Chris Riley confirmed the call and said Trump called Deal.

Trump said he was planning to speak with Gov. Rick Scott of Florida later Sunday afternoon. 

Deal on Sunday declared a state of emergency for seven South Georgia counties after this weekend’s deadly storms.

At least 12 people died and 23 were hurt Saturday with more dangerous weather approaching. 

Tornado watch affects millions in Georgia

A tornado watch was issued for the metro Atlanta area to the south until 8 p.m. Sunday, according to The National Weather Service. This means that 10.7 million people are now under a tornado watch.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a high-risk severe weather outlook continuing today for South Georgia, as well as parts of Alabama and Florida. The Center also said supercell thunderstorms could spawn tornadoes.

>> Read more trending stories 

Twelve people died after violent storms moved through Georgia Saturday night. 

Eight people were killed at a mobile home park in Cook County, Coroner Tim Purvis said. 

We have seven confirmed fatalities, and we’re currently conducting search and rescue right now,” Purvis said at about 10 a.m.

Homes at the Sunshine Acres Mobile Home Park on Callie Harris Road were destroyed, and there is extensive damage, Purvis said. The trailer park is located on Callie Harris Road, south of Adel.

Families seeking information about missing individuals are urged to contact the Adel First Assembly of God located at 1601 Massee Post Road at (229) 896-3935 or (229) 561-2875. First Baptist Church of Adel, located at 200 East 5th Street, can be contacted at (229) 561-1201.

Both churches have been designated as shelters.

Two people died in Brooks County, Sheriff Mike Dewey said.

Both were in the same home in Barney that was displaced into Highway 122. Dewey said the storm was still active about 10:30 a.m.

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office also confirmed that at least two people died during the storm.

Berrien County Coroner Robert S. Lovein Jr. said the damage is extensive and “terrible.”

At least three more injuries were confirmed in Thomas County.

The sheriff's office said a mobile home at Airline and Centennial roads was destroyed while a man was still inside.

This is believed to be the deadliest storm since the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak in Ringgold and Cedartown that killed 15 people. It is also the second major storm to rip through South Georgia this month.

 Other killer storms in recent years:

  • March 27, 1994: 18 were killed on Palm Sunday in the Floyd County area.
  • March 20, 1998: 14 were killed in Hall and White counties.
  • April 8, 1998: Seven were killed in and around Dunwoody city in DeKalb, and in Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
  • Feb. 14, 2000: 19 were killed in Southwest Georgia/Mitchell County,Grady County, Colquitt County.
  • March 20, 2003: Six were killed in southwestern Georgia.
  • March 1, 2007: Six were killed in Newton.
  • March 14, 2008: One was killed in Atlanta.
  • April 27, 2011: Ringgold and Cedartown reported 15 deaths.
  • Jan 2013: One was killed in Adairsvile.

A tornado watch is in effect until 8 PM from metro Atlanta to the south. pic.twitter.com/1KBfAwiaDk— Brad Nitz (@BradNitzWSB) January 22, 2017

Georgia Storms kill 14, injure at least 23 as threat continues

Fourteen people are dead and at least 23 injured after strong storms moved through Georgia Saturday night, into Sunday morning. 

State emergency management officials confirm eight of the deaths are in Cook County.

>> Read more trending stories  

Officials with the Brooks County Sheriff's Office confirmed two deaths to Channel 2 Action News.

Both people were in the same home in Barney that was displaced into Highway 122.

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office also confirmed at least two people died during the storm. Information is limited at this time. 

At least three more injuries were confirmed in Thomas County.

The Sheriff's Office said a mobile home at Airline and Centennial roads was destroyed with a man inside.

Heavy rain began to fall in the southern counties around midnight and continued overnight in metro Atlanta.

Instability is increasing right now across the state as a powerful 3rd and final wave approaches... PLEASE be weather aware today @wsbtv— Brian Monahan, WSB (@BMonahanWSB) January 22, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said it's quiet now across north Georgia, but Round 3 of heavy rain and potentially strong, severe storms is just hours away.

"Expect a line, cluster of storms to be moving into our western counties by early this afternoon, focusing on mid to late afternoon, for the greatest impact most areas," Monahan said.

Heavy rain and winds of 40-60 mph are possible, along with large hail and isolated tornadoes.

A flash flood watch has been issued for all of north Georgia through Sunday night.

Snow on ground in 49 states, even Hawaii

With the severe winter weather that moved through a large part of the United States over the weekend, 49 of 50 states had snow on the ground, according to maps by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.  

Only Florida remained snow-free, NOAA said. Even the volcanic peaks in Hawaii sported a sprinkling of snow.

>> Read more trending stories 

The weekend storms hit a region ranging from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic and into the deep South.

Almost 60 percent of the United States is covered in snow, NOAA said.

But it won’t last long. Warmer weather is moving into the South and Mid-Atlantic regions by mid-week and is expected to melt off any remaining snow and ice.

WATCH: Georgia Tech swim team does laps in snow after meet canceled

Swimmers from Georgia Tech wouldn’t let a little snow stop them from doing what they do best.

The swim team’s meet Saturday at Virginia Tech was canceled due to snow, so the swimmers were stuck at their hotel.

>> Read more trending stories

Members of a relay team decided to go through with their event – but in the snow.  

The video was shared on the Georgia Tech Facebook page. 

>> Check it out here

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><br /><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><br /><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><br /><span>  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;</span><br /><span>  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";</span><br /><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><br /><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> Georgia Tech Men's Snow 4X50 RelayWhat happened when the Georgia Tech swim team got snowed in to their hotel and their meet at Virginia Tech was cancelled.Posted by Georgia Tech on Saturday, January 7, 2017

5 soup recipes to keep you warm during winter weather

Ready to hunker down this winter and eat some soup? These five recipes should get you through even the roughest of storms. Cantaberry’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Jessica Bruner of Cantaberry’s restaurant in Ellijay, Georgia, supplied this recipe, which required a little tweaking to go from restaurant version to home cook-friendly. Read more here. 4 cups hot water 1 (5-ounce) package Uncle Ben’s Country Inn Chicken and Wild Rice, with seasoning packet 1 3/4 cups heavy cream 6 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder 1 cup shredded cooked chicken In a large saucepan, combine hot water and wild rice mix and its seasoning packet. Add heavy cream and bouillon powder. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Stir in chicken and serve hot.

Makes: 7 cups per 1/2-cup serving: 156 calories (percent of calories from fat, 66), 5 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 12 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 49 milligrams cholesterol, 290 milligrams sodium.

>>Read more winter weather stories Petite Auberge’s Lentil Soup Anthony Gropp, head chef and co-owner of Petite Auberge in Atlanta, shared this recipe, which has been used since the restaurant opened.   Gropp says it’s fine to use bacon ends and pieces, available at some butchers, in place of more expensive whole bacon strips. 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4pound applewood-smoked bacon 1/2cup chopped celery 1/2cup chopped onion 1/2cup chopped carrot 1 small clove garlic, minced 1 pound dried lentils 8 cups chicken stock 1 tablespoon vinegar, more if desired Salt and pepper 1 cup heavy cream Watercress and sour cream, for garnish In a large saucepan, heat olive oil about 2 minutes on high heat. Add bacon and cook until partially done, about 2 minutes. Add celery, onion, carrot and garlic and lower heat. Cook just until vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently so they do not burn. Add the lentils and stir until all the lentils are coated. Add chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat so soup simmers vigorously and cook until lentils are tender, from 30 to 45 minutes depending on your lentils. Be sure to stir the soup regularly. When lentils are tender, remove soup from heat and cool for several minutes. In the jar of a blender, puree the soup in batches. Or use an immersion blender. Puree to the texture you like. At the restaurant, they prefer a chunky consistency for its rustic appeal. Return the soup to the saucepan and put it over low heat. Add vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add cream and stir soup again. Garnish with a drizzle of sour cream and a sprig of watercress, if desired.

Makes: 9 cups. Per 1-cup serving: 382 calories (percent of calories from fat, 42), 29 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fiber, 20 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 47 milligrams cholesterol, 260 milligrams sodium.

>>Bread and milk: Why do we panic-buy before storm?

>>Study: Cold weather helps you lose weight

Chicken Tortilla Soup This recipe from now-shuttered Atlanta restaurant Nava uses toasted spices and guajillo pepper paste to bring out the flavor of the toasted corn tortillas. Hands on: 1 hour, 30 minutes Total time: 2 hours Serves: 10 At Nava, each portion of soup is served with garnishes of fried tortilla strips, pulled chicken pieces, chopped cilantro, chopped onions, chopped poblano peppers and a mixture of Chihuahua, Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheeses. 3 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas 2 ounces dried guajillo chiles 1 tablespoon ground coriander 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin 11/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano 1/4 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon 5 roma tomatoes 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 medium onion, diced 1 large carrot, diced 1 celery rib, diced 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 tablespoon salt 16 cups (128 ounces) chicken stock, divided 1/4 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped Salt and pepper, to taste Zest of 1 lime Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place corn tortillas on cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes, turning once, until dry and crisp. Cool; crush into bite-size pieces and set aside. Save cookie sheet for roasting peppers. Remove stems and seeds from peppers, then rinse. On cookie sheet, toast guajillo peppers for 4 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from oven, place in small bowl, and cover with hot water. When softened, about 15 minutes, remove chiles and puree in blender, adding just enough soaking liquid to make a paste the consistency of ketchup. Strain and discard solids; set paste aside. In a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast coriander, cumin, oregano and cinnamon, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until spices are fragrant. Put spices in a small bowl and set aside. Prepare tomatoes by roasting on grill or gas flame until all sides are slightly blackened, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. When cool, remove stem end. Set aside. In large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until carrot is done, about 15 minutes. Add roasted tomatoes, corn tortilla pieces and 4 cups chicken stock. Use an immersion blender or transfer to blender to puree. Return to pot and stir in 1/2 cup guajillo paste, salt and toasted spices. When mixture is smooth, add remaining chicken stock and cilantro, and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning and strain before serving. Sprinkle lime zest over each bowl. Per serving (without garnishes): 110 calories (percent of calories from fat, 34), 17 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 7 grams fat (trace saturated), no cholesterol, 722 milligrams sodium.

Whole Foods Market Clam Chowder

“There’s food that makes for a healthy body, and food that makes for a healthy soul. Between the cream, bacon and butter, this recipe decidedly falls into the latter category, ” said Michael Mormino, regional development chef for Whole Foods Market. It was relatively easy for Mormino to provide a recipe for home use because the store kitchens use the same ingredients they sell in the market, such as unbleached and unbromated flour and naturally cured bacon. The clam chowder is available in pints and quarts in Whole Foods’ refrigerated soups section. When the weather turns cold, it’s often served on the hot soup bar. If you’d like a stronger clam flavor, double the amount of clams. Hands on: 30 minutes Total time: 1 hour Serves: 6 (makes about 2 quarts) 1/2 pound peeled potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 medium to large potato) 1 tablespoon salt 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 to 4 strips raw, naturally cured bacon, chopped finely 1 small or medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 2 cups clam juice 1 (6.5-ounce) can chopped clams, drained (reserve liquid) 2 cups milk 11/4 cups heavy cream 1 bay leaf Tabasco, to taste Worcestershire sauce, to taste Lemon juice, to taste Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper, to taste In a small saucepan, place potatoes and salt and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fully cooked but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside. While potatoes are cooking, heat oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Add bacon and saute until crisp. Remove bacon pieces, drain and set aside. Add onions and cook over low heat until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add butter, allow to melt, and then add flour. Stir constantly for 2 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in clam juice, reserved clam liquid, milk, cream, cooked bacon and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. Add clams and potatoes and simmer 5 minutes to heat everything through. Season to taste with Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice starting with about 1/2 teaspoon of each. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving. French Onion Soup 6 servings Hands on: 45 minutes Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes This classic soup is easier to make than you think and perfect for a winter’s day lunch. 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 6 onions, sliced thin 3 shallots, minced 8 cups beef or vegetable broth 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced 1/2 cup sherry Salt and pepper to taste One baquette, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat the butter. Add the onions and shallots and cook gently, sweating them uncovered over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to high and brown the onions, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Add the broth, thyme and sherry and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Toast the bread slices in the oven until slightly brown, but not too hard. Set aside. Heat the oven for broiling. Place the onion mixture into a terrine or oven-proof soup dish (or individual crocks). Float the toasted bread slices over the soup and cover with the grated cheese. Place in the oven and broil until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve immediately. Per serving: 512 calories (percent of calories from fat, 52), 29 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 28 grams fat (17 grams saturated), 83 milligrams cholesterol, 1,992 milligrams sodium.

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