|Umbrella weather on the Easter egg|
If El Niño Comes This Year, It Could Be a Monster (Wired link) - Attention, weather superfans: El Niño might be coming back. And this time, we could be in for a big one.
Official NOAA Climate Prediction Center estimates peg the odds of El Niño’s return at 50 percent, but many climate scientists think that is a lowball estimate. And there are several indications that if it materializes, this year’s El Niño could be massive, a lot like the 1997-98 event that was the strongest on record.
“I think there’s no doubt that there’s an El Niño underway,” said climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “The question is whether it’ll be a small or big one.”
On top of some late-’90s nostalgia, a strong El Niño would bring pronounced changes to weather patterns around the globe, and possibly relief from some of the less-pleasant weather trends that have dominated headlines this year. After a Polar Vortex-fueled, unbearably cold winter in the U.S. Midwest and East Coast, a strong El Niño could bring warmer, drier weather in late 2014. And to parched California and its prolonged drought, El Niño might provide drenching rainstorms to fill up reservoirs.
(Mod: I am all for this. I have been getting really bored with the drought, and I've come to believe that a return to mudslides and floods would be preferable. Besides, it's better than earthquakes, right?)
The Fault That Could Eat LA (The Los Angeles Times link) - The Puente Hills thrust fault, which appeared to be responsible for Tuesday's predawn magnitude 4.4 earthquake that shook much of the Los Angeles area, is capable of generating earthquakes up to magnitude 7.5 -- massive shakers larger than any in the modern history of the Los Angeles Basin.
A Times article from 2003 said that the Puente Hills system could touch off a 7.5 temblor directly underneath downtown Los Angeles.
Sue Hough, a seismologist in the Pasadena office of the U.S. Geological Survey, added: "This is the fault that could eat L.A."
(Mod: Here is a question the Los Angeles Times was incapable of asking. What exactly would L.A. taste like? True journalism is dead here.)
74-year-old Pasadena man dies at hospital two weeks after alleged attack by 25-year-old wife (Pasadena Star News link) - A 25-year-old Pasadena woman arrested earlier this month on suspicion of domestic violence against her 74-year-old husband may face additional charges after the man died at a hospital Friday, officials said.
Gina Marie Sas, 25, was arrested the afternoon of April 1 after allegedly striking her elderly husband in the head with an object at their home in the 200 block of South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said. His name was not released Friday pending notification of family members, Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said.
Police declined to say what the object was, citing the active investigation. The man suffered a cut to his head, but was walking and talking when he met with police on the day of the alleged attack, Gourdikian said.
But the man’s condition quickly deteriorated once hospitalized, the lieutenant said. “Once he got to the hospital, his condition became critical,” he said. “He’s been on life-support since the first of April.”
Police were notified Friday morning by officials at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena that the man had died.
(Mod: Sometimes love is not enough. And even then it can be a headache.)
Why Portland Reservoir Was Flushed After Teen Peed in It (Yahoo News link) - Officials in Portland, Ore., are flushing 38 million gallons of public drinking water after a 19-year-old was caught on camera urinating into an open reservoir on Wednesday (April 16).
The water, which had already been treated, was tested for contamination after the incident. As expected, the sample came back clean, Jaymee Cuti, a spokeswoman for the Portland Water Bureau, told Live Science.
Officials acknowledged there was little public health risk from a small amount of urine in an open reservoir that is presumably exposed to the droppings of wild animals all the time. So why dump the whole supply? Bureau officials say they won't stand for serving their customers "purposely tainted drinking water."
"Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated," David Shaff, the bureau administrator, said in a statement. "We have the ability to meet that expectation while minimizing public health concerns. We will continue to provide our customers with safe, clean and cold Bull Run water."
(Mod: Would City Hall flush out our settling ponds should a similar unfortunate incident ever happen here? And would we have the water to do it? That would be a good question for Bruce Inman on Tuesday.)
LA County unveils $26-billion budget, plans hiring spree (Los Angeles Daily News link) - Los Angeles County’s budget officials on Monday unveiled a proposed $26.1 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2013-2014 that calls for hiring about 1,300 new employees — mostly nurses and social workers — as well as funding for reforms in the troubled jail and child welfare systems.
Supervisors Gloria Molina and Michael Antonovich, however, believe more money should have been set aside for patrolling unincorporated communities and repairing aging infrastructure. And Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky wants to know whether the county’s hospitals, clinics and health centers can absorb hundreds of new staffers before approving any hiring.
Meanwhile, a steward in the county’s largest employee union complained the proposed staffing increases are not enough to reduce social workers’ caseloads to a manageable level. Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 721 went on strike last year to complain that social workers handle as many as 30 or more cases at a time.
(Mod: It's really OK. The LA County people are planning on putting that Measure R sales tax extension back on the ballot later this fall, and it will take care of everything. Or at least until next time.)
Peoria Mayor Sends Police to Track Down Twitter Parodist (Reason.com link) - Politicians can be a thin-skinned bunch. You'd think they'd let insults roll off their backs given how much power they have over the lives and livelihoods of others. But if you have all that power, why bother letting insults roll of your back when you can use that power to disproportionately punish people?
Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, ordered police to track down whoever was responsible for a parody Twitter account mocking him.
As a result, police raided a West Bluff home, seized property, and detained three people for questioning. The Twitter account, @PeoriaMayor, has been suspended. According to the Journal Star, the account had all of 50 posts and an equal number of followers. The Twitter profile apparently did not initially indicate that it was a parody account, but added that label in early March.
The label was hardly necessary, though, to prevent reader confusion. The Journal Star explains that "police were informed of the account by Ardis on March 12. The tweets implied 'Mayor Ardis utilizes illegal drugs, associates with prostitutes and utilized offensive inappropriate language,' according to an affidavit filed for the warrant." Who would actually believe such tweets were coming from the mayor? Well, maybe residents of Toronto.
Nevertheless, police raided this home and intend to charge whoever was responsible for the account for false impersonation of a public official. The police chief also doesn't think it was obvious the account was a parody and thinks the impersonator "went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor."
(Mod: I think Sierra Madre needs a Mayor with similar resolve to deal with the blog problem we have here in town. It really has gotten out of hand.)
Don't eat too many peeps today. I'm not sure those things are good for you. Especially in large quantities.