January 03, 2020
Commuters braves the wind and snow in frigid weather, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) Last January the polar vortex was about to plunge into the United States, unleashing an unforgiving and deadly outbreak of Arctic air across much of the nation -- which is why forecasters are keeping a close eye on what it may do as 2020 begins.During the January 2019 polar vortex invasion, officials warned residents of nearly instantaneous frostbite danger as AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures plunged as low as minus 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the Upper Midwest. The punishing cold froze the Great Lakes, creating slushy waves as eerie sea fog blanketed parts of the region. The extreme weather forced the cancellation of thousands of flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and school closures across portions of the Midwest and Northeast.This year, the polar vortex, which is a large pool of frigid air - typically the coldest in the Northern Hemisphere - that often sits over the polar region during the winter, is forecast to remain strong and hover near the Arctic Circle in the coming weeks.AccuWeather meteorologists expect blasts of Arctic air to be brief and generally contained to the northern tier states for much of January."When you have a strong polar vortex, it tends to keep frigid air pent up so that it is difficult for long-lasting outbreaks of frigid conditions to reach the middle latitudes, including portions of the Midwest and Northeast," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.
Whats happening with the polar vortex this year?
"We generally expect the polar vortex to remain strong through at least the middle of the month and possibly longer," Pastelok added. "Even if the polar vortex was to weaken, it could still take another week or two for widespread colder air to move southward toward the contiguous states."Instead, through at least Jan. 20 and perhaps into the last week of January 2020, the average flow of air across the U.S. is likely to be from the Pacific Ocean. A pattern with a west-to-east flow such as this is likely to create near- to slightly below-average temperatures over the Rockies and mild weather to areas east of the Rockies.Periodic northward bulges in the jet stream over the eastern half of the nation are likely to bring rounds of well-above-average temperatures to much of the Central and Eastern states."We still expect some brief bouts of cold air to knock down temperatures for a couple of days at a time over the northern Plains and Upper Midwest," Pastelok said."There will also be some general resistance to warm weather from upstate New York to New England," AccuWeather Senior Long-Range Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said.Most storms will struggle to tap enough cold air to produce widespread heavy snow due to a fast flow of air from the Pacific across the lower 48 states.
This image shows the approximate coverage and depth of snow over the Lower 48 United States as of Jan. 3, 2019.
Wintry precipitation won't bypass the entire eastern portion of the country as cold air will occasionally infiltrate the upper Great Lakes and central and northern parts of New England -- and forecasters say that some signs point toward a pattern change that may allow for frigid air to grip a larger zone of the U.S. during the latter part of the month."There are some signs that the polar vortex may weaken and become somewhat elongated, which may allow Arctic air to move southward late in the month, but we are a little suspicious about that potential this far out," Pastelok said.However, additional signals may support the pattern flip, according to experts."There are also some other signs of potential change late in the month, such as a weakening of the area of high pressure off the Atlantic coast," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.The clockwise circulation around this large high pressure system has been helping to pump warmth over the southern and eastern parts of the nation in recent weeks."If this system weakens, it would allow colder air to more easily settle across the Central and Northeastern states," Nicholls stated.Given the expanse and frequency of warm air through the first three weeks of the month, January 2020 is likely to finish much above average in temperatures over the eastern half to two-thirds of the nation, with the exception of the northern tier, where temperatures may be closer to, but still above, average.The upcoming pattern may pose some challenges for businesses like ski resorts. However, a number of nights in the weather pattern may still be cold enough for ski resorts to make snow in New England, the central Appalachians and the Upper Midwest. And, since most ski slopes are located on the shady side of the mountains and the sun angle is low in January, the snow that is on the trails may be slow to melt during the day.The mild conditions may also be a problem for ice fishing interests. The lack of sustained cold may prevent ice from forming on some lakes and ice that does form may be too thin to support the weight of people. Experts say skating and fishing interests should use extreme caution under such conditions.Prolonged mild weather during this time of year can threaten fruit trees and grape vines where the buds tend to soften. The softening buds can be more prone damage due to harsh cold weather that may follow.On a positive note, the mild weather will allow tens of millions of home and property owners to save on heating costs during a month that typically brings some of the coldest weather of the entire winter season.The milder weather pattern will also generally promote ideal traveling conditions across the region. But, brief episodes of cold air can be enough to trigger blinding snow squalls in parts of the Midwest and Northeast, and mild weather and the right ingredients in the winter can cause issues besides snowfall, including fog problems, dangerous black ice and localized flooding.Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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