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AbledAlert Post headline banner shows huge waves splashing against the coast of Wales. The text reads: Emergency: Jonas Survival Guides | Hits UK with Rain/Floods.
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Photo shows 3 maps of the UK under the headings Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and details where rain will fall based on illustrated weather icons.

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY PM: Cleanup Continues in US; Jonas Hits UK


  • Jonas crosses Atlantic and brings heavy rains and flooding to Northwest England, Wales and western Scotland


  • Many UK regions recovering from December flooding hit again


  • House of Representatives closed for a week as DC digs out


Watch the first 13 hours of superstorm Jonas in 60 seconds below:

Photo of Winter Storm Jonas at night from the International Space Station by Scott Kelly.
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Graphics map of UK Flood Warnings. Click to get detailed information from the Metro weather office.

What To Do If There Are Flood Warnings For Your Area

Listen to the radio or television for information.

+ Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

+ Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.

+If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

+ Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.

Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

+ If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

+ Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.

+ Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.

+ Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.

For more coverage of the UK Flood situation, click here to go the to the MetOffice website for the latest weather alerts in the UK.

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From the USDA and FSIS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issues food safety recommendations for the areas affected by severe winter weather moving across the country.

When weather forecasts predict power outages that could compromise the safety of stored food, FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during severe weather events.

The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage.

FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses from its Twitter feed @USDAFoodSafety. To get tweets about weather-related food safety issues affecting just your state, follow @GA_FSISAlert@NC_FSISAlert and @SC_FSISAlert.


Steps to follow if the power goes out:


Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.

+ Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit in around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes so don’t overfill the containers.

+ Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

+ Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.

+ Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.

+ Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.

+ Avoid putting food outside in ice or snow, unless it’s in a closed cooler, because it attracts wild animals or could thaw when the sun comes out.

+ Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.

+ Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).

+ Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.

+ Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.


Steps to follow after a weather emergency:


+ Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

+ Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.

+ Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.

+ Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.

+ When in doubt, throw it out.


Videos detailing food safety information are available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language on FSIS’ YouTube channel,

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at  or on a smartphone.

Mobile Ask Karen can also be downloaded from the Apple and Android app stores. Consumers can e-mail, chat with a live representative or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline directly from the app.

To use these features from Mobile Ask Karen, simply choose “Contact Us” from the menu.

The live chat option and the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), are available in English and Spanish on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.

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Tips For Rx And Personal Health Safety


Make someone aware if you have a health or special needs condition if you are evacuated or if you go to a shelter or community center.

+ Insulin for diabetics and some other liquid medications require cooling. Check the safe temperature range on the packing and keep it in a closed refrigerator.

+ If the power goes out, monitor the temperature in the fridge with a thermometer and place medications requiring cooling next to ice packs or cold water in plastic zip bags. Lunch bags with a cool pack can also be used.

+ Check regularly to make sure the medication doesn’t freeze.

+ Diabetics should keep a supply of snacks on-hand.

+ Keep a one month supply of prescription medications on-hand during storm seasons.

Photo of a man using a snowblower in Times Square in New York City.
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Further rain, heavy at time, is expected across Northern Ireland during Thursday and Friday.

The heaviest rain is expected during Thursday afternoon and also Friday morning, with the largest rainfall totals likely over west and southwest facing hills.

The rain will be accompanied by southwesterly gales which could become severe in exposed areas. There will however be some drier spells during the warning period.

Please be aware of the risk of localised flooding and potential impacts on travel.

This is an update to split the previously issued UK warning into more detailed areas and times, with the impacts across Northern Ireland currently expected to be low.

Photo shows a car underwater to its headlights in floodwaters flowing through North Wildwood, New Jersey.


Next Winter Storm Developing: Groundhog Winter Storm Targets Rockies, Plains, Upper Midwest

Five years after the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 hammered much of the Plains and Midwest, another winter storm may target the central United States to start February 2016.

This time around, the areas with the greatest potential for seeing snow will likely be north and west of the heaviest axis of snow in the 2011 snowstorm.

A southward plunge in the jet stream this weekend is expected to trigger the development of low pressure east of the Rockies by early next week. With the low-pressure system forecast to rapidly intensify, wrapping moisture into cold air to its north, a swath of heavy snow and strong winds is forecast to develop north and northwest of the track of the surface low.

AbledALERT-Expected Snowfall banner

New York: 18 – 24 inches

Philadelphia: 12 – 18 inches

Baltimore: 18 – 24 inches

Washington, DC: 18 – 30 inches

Raleigh: 1 – 4 inches

(Source: National Weather Service

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Affected airports: New York’s JFK and LaGuardia; Newark in New Jersey; Washington Reagan National in D.C.; and Richmond in Virginia.

American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest Airlines and United have all issued waivers for travel through the weekend, assuring ticket-holders that they will have the option to reschedule or refund flights that are cancelled or significantly delayed.

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Image of man walking down snow covered street in the Georgetown area of Washington DC.

During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold


Stay indoors during the storm.

+ Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.

+ Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.

+ Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

+ Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

+ Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.

+ Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.

+ Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.


If The Power Goes Out


+ Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).

+ If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).

+ Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.

+ Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

+ If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.


If Stranded In A Vehicle


+ Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.

+ Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too far to walk to in deep snow.

+ Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

+ Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.

+ Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.

+ Eat regularly and drink ample fluids to avoid dehydration, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

+ Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs – the use of lights, heat, and radio – with supply.

+ Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.

+ If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.

+ Leave the car and proceed on foot – if necessary – once the blizzard passes.

Photo shows man trying to clear heavy snow from buried vehicle.
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