Bee decline threatens US crop production

Seed Daily – February 22, 2017

The first-ever study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they are disappearing in the country’s most important farmlands – from California’s Central Valley to the Midwest’s corn belt and the Mississippi River valley.

If wild bee declines continue, it could hurt U.S. crop production and farmers’ costs, said Taylor Ricketts, a conservation ecologist at the University of Vermont, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting panel, Plan Bee: Pollinators, Food Production and U.S. Policy on Feb. 19.

“This study provides the first national picture of wild bees and their impacts on pollination,” said Ricketts, Director of UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, noting that each year $3 billion of the U.S. economy depends on pollination from native pollinators like wild bees.

At AAAS, Ricketts briefed scholars, policy makers, and journalists on how the national bee map, first published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late 2015, can help to protect wild bees and pinpoint habitat restoration efforts.

Deadliest US tornado outbreak since 1969 exceeds entire 2016 death toll in two days

Strange Sounds – January 26, 2017

Following last weekend’s severe weather outbreak, January 2017 is already the deadliest for tornadoes in any January since 1969.

The number of tornado-related deaths in those two days also exceeds what was seen in all of 2016.

A preliminary 19 people were killed by tornadoes Saturday and Sunday – 15 in south Georgia and four in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

No other January has had more tornado deaths since 1969, when 32 were killed. More recently, 18 fatalities were caused by tornadoes in January 1999, which 2017 now exceeded.

There was an additional storm death near Lake City, Florida, on Sunday, which is currently not blamed on a tornado, but rather strong thunderstorm winds downing a tree on a house.

In just two days this month, the death toll from tornadoes in 2017 topped what was seen all of last year.

Man Drowns in Louisiana Flooding; Evacuations and Rescues Ongoing as Rivers Rise Toward Record Crests


School Bus caught in flood

Eric Chaney and Sean Breslin – August, 12 2016

Torrential rains have hit both Louisiana and southern Mississippi, flooding homes, forcing evacuations and water rescues, and sending area rivers rising quickly toward historic crests.

More than 17 inches of rain have fallen in Livingston, Louisiana, according to observations relayed to the National Weather Service, and Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the entire state. Edwards is heading back to Louisiana, cutting short a trip to Colorado for a meeting of the Democratic Governors Association, according to the Associated Press.

The heavy rain will continue over Louisiana and Mississippi through at least Saturday morning, said meteorologist Tom Moore.