May 15, 2018

Derecho likely to disrupt voting in Pennsylvania today

Severe thunderstorms hit the Capitol on May 14, 2018. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A day after a damaging weather event roared through Washington, a set of severe storms is hitting states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, with expectations of derecho-like weather of wind damage, isolated tornadoes and large hail up to the size of a baseball.

Why it matters: The storms are likely to disrupt primary voting in central and eastern Pennsylvania, where every congressional district is holding a primary on Tuesday due to redistricting. They could also damage property and threaten lives from Washington to Boston, with New York City and Philadelphia at greatest risk.

What's happening now: All of the ingredients for an outbreak of severe thunderstorms are coming together on Tuesday, from the direction and speed of winds in the atmosphere to the presence of what's known as an "elevated mixed layer" at about 18,000 feet.

  • Such a phenomena can keep a lid on the atmosphere as heat and humidity build up during the day, triggering thunderstorms at the time when there is the most potential energy to tap into.
  • Already there are reports of power outages and severe weather warnings, with wind gust of 112 mph recorded in State College, Pa., earlier today.

Is this climate change? Some studies show that as the climate warms, days with an extremely unstable air mass will become more frequent, potentially leading to more events like this. But this is still an active area of research.

Go deeper: Stay on top of local watches and warnings from the National Weather Service and watch the latest satellite loop of the storms.

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Cruise ship evacuations: More Americans test positive for coronavirus

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Another 14 passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus during their evacuation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship before being flown in a "specialist containment" area of the plane to the United States, per a Trump administration statement early Monday.

Details: Over 40 Americans who had been on the ship had previously been confirmed as infected and will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Face the Nation" Sunday. The rest were evacuated, and these latest cases were among them. All evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival later Monday.

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand and winding down operations in the two countries and Thailand by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The Holden brand has been in Australia and New Zealand for 160 years, per a GM statement issued in Australia. It is beloved by many motor racing fans down under. Holden produced Australia's first wholly locally made car in 1948.

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In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

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