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Active Storm Parade to Continue Into March With Heavy Snow
An active storm pattern may stay put in the U.S. for at least a few more weeks. Graphic courtesy Accweather.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 26, 2013 - AccuWeather.com reports recent blockbuster snowstorms in the U.S. have many people asking when winter will loosen its grip, and the answer is not likely any time soon.
An active storm pattern may stay put in the U.S. for at least a few more weeks.
Meteorologists are referring to the recent snowstorms as "over-achievers."
The second biggest snowstorm on record in Wichita, Kan., occurred on Feb. 20-21, 2013, with a total of 14.2 inches of snow. Yet another storm unleashed around 5.0 inches of snow on Feb. 25-26, 2013. The February snow total in Wichita so far is more than six times the normal monthly snow of 3.2 inches.
Kansas City International Airport was entirely shut down during the blizzard on Feb. 21, 2013. The total of 11.0 inches of snow from that storm contributed to the February total of 16.3 inches. That is more than five times the city's normal monthly snow. According to the Winter Storm Warning, there is potential for 6-12 inches of snow accumulation with locally even higher amounts possible with the extreme winter weather that is moving through the metro Kansas City area.
A major contributing factor to the major winter storms in the U.S. is blocking in the atmosphere.
Blocking occurs when warm air masses associated with large areas of high pressure become anchored across Greenland or eastern Canada. Cold arctic air is forced southward into the U.S. in this pattern. Storms across the U.S. can also be blocked from moving along quickly, causing them to slow and have more impact.
AccuWeather Chief Forecaster Elliot Abrams explained how blocking is like an accident on a busy highway.
"You're on a highway, and there is crash up ahead. Traffic is blocked from moving ahead until the crash is cleared up," Abrams said. Atmospheric blocking acts in the same way to slow down storms in the U.S. or even to cause them to stall completely. A blocking pattern can allow storms to drop very heavy snow amounts in the winter.
"Blocking will stick around through March, and the stormy pattern will last through as least the first two weeks of March," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.
This means that more storms will have the potential to slow down and produce heavy snow.
The Ohio and Tennessee valleys to the East will lie in the active storm path, receiving rounds of snow and rain through the first half of March.
AT&T Invested Nearly $2.15 Billion In Missouri in 2012
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 24, 2013 - AT&T invested nearly $2.15 billion in its Missouri wireless and wireline networks from 2009 through 2012.
According to information released by the company, AT&T has made nearly 1,000 wireless network upgrades in six key categories in Missouri during 2012, including activating new cell sites, adding capacity, upgrading cell sites to provide fast 4G LTE mobile Internet speeds, deploying high-capacity Ethernet connections to cell sites, and adding or upgrading Distributed Antenna Systems, which boost wireless coverage and capacity in buildings and at major venues like convention halls or sports arenas. AT&T launched 4G LTE in the St. Louis area in April 2012.
"Across Missouri, this robust investment in the AT&T wireless and wireline networks is important to spurring the economy and creating jobs. In our wireless world, mobile and broadband networks help create economic opportunities for health care, manufacturing, education, transportation and public safety and virtually every other economic sector," said John Sondag, President of AT&T Missouri.
AT&T recently launched Project Velocity IP (VIP), a three-year investment initiative to expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks. As part of Project VIP, AT&T plans to increase the density of its wireless network by deploying more than 10,000 macro sites, more than 1,000 distributed antenna systems, and more than 40,000 small cells.
Gas Prices Surge Hits Consumers Earlier and Faster
Graphic of gas prices across the nation, courtesy AAA/FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 22, 2013 - The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.75 on February 19, which is the highest on record for this calendar day. This price is 15 cents more expensive than one week ago, 44 cents more than one month ago and 19 cents more than the average price one year ago. The 44-cent month-over-month increase is the most dramatic since June 2009. The largest increase on record was August 5-September 4, 2005 when prices jumped 75 cents largely because of Hurricane Katrina.
Consumers are feeling the pain at the pump and asking why? The national average has increased for 33 consecutive days, rising 46 cents or nearly 14 percent during this stretch. This is the longest streak since the price increased 44 cents over 44 days March 22-May 5, 2011. This year's run-up is not only larger and faster than recent years but is beginning earlier. The national average in 2011 increased by just seven cents during the same 33 day period and in 2012 it increased by 18 cents.
According to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report, one reason for the earlier price increase is the trend of U.S. refineries performing seasonal maintenance and making the switch-over to summer blend gasoline production earlier in the year. This earlier schedule is the choice of refiners and has not come in response to any change to the deadline to complete the transition to summer-blend fuels, which are required in many parts of the country and more expensive to produce. Regional supplies can decrease when refineries go offline and subsequently markets are more sensitive during the changeover period to refinery disruptions that would further squeeze supply, as we have seen this year.
In recent years, the price run-up in 2011 began in mid-February, when the national average increased for 27 consecutive days, starting an 86-cent surge to the peak of $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the surge began at the end of January and increased 66 of 71 days to a peak of $3.94 on April 5 and 6. This year's run-up began on January 17.
While the peak price this spring may approach the 2011 and 2012 highs, AAA continues to expect the high to be lower than both years. The primary driver of currently rising retail prices has been the aforementioned refinery concerns, however higher crude oil prices have also contributed to a more expensive price at the pump. Unlike recent years, when the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has approached $110 per barrel, the current early-year increase has been driven by positive economic news rather than geopolitical unrest overseas.
Metro Expands New Farebox Test to Include High Volume Routes
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), February 22, 2013 - Beginning on Monday, February 25, 2013, Metro Transit will expand its test of new fareboxes to some of the busiest routes on the MetroBus system.
As part of building a better transit experience for customers, Metro installed new fareboxes on 40 buses and began testing them last October. Some initial routes remain in the pilot. They are the #18 Taylor, #42 Sarah and #36X Bissell Hills. The routes being added are the #70 Grand, #90 Hampton, and #95 Kingshighway. Depending on operational needs, the buses with the new fareboxes may occasionally be used on other routes.
Metro Ambassadors will assist customers during peak times on Monday, February 25 on the street level of Grand Boulevard, on DeBaliviere Avenue near the Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station and at the Central West End Transit Center.
The new fareboxes will replace old fare equipment that is becoming expensive and difficult to repair. In addition, Metro will be better able to plan bus routes because the new fareboxes will provide more detailed passenger count information. The new fareboxes will help reduce fare evasion and assure collection of proper fares. It has advanced software that better identifies counterfeit bills and foreign coins. The new system also will allow Metro to add smart card payment technology in the future.
The new fareboxes will still require exact change from the customer, and $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills and pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar coins are accepted. Other features are new.
The pilot program allows Metro to make any needed adjustments to the fareboxes and provides customers and bus operators an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new fareboxes before they are installed on the entire fleet of approximately 400 MetroBus vehicles later this year.
- One person will be able to pay for everyone in their group without paying for each person individually.
- Only one bill or coin can be inserted at a time, so for faster boarding, customers are advised to use newer, dry bills and minimize the use of coins to pay their fare.
- Passes can be swiped, in either direction, through the slot at the top of the fare box.
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