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US Weather Mayhem: Storms, Fires Kill 17

Ten people were killed as tornadoes swarmed across themidwest, while wildfires racing across the Texas panhandlekilled seven. The same weather system that drove the winds that spread the fires in Texas generated the tornados farther north. Springfield, Illinois was especially hard hit, withstraight-line winds gusting in excess of a hundred miles anhour. Virtually every building in the city suffered somesort of damage. Mayor Tim Davlin described the destructionas "unreal." These storms, like Katrina, are consistent withglobal warming models, which predict unusual weatherviolence.

The tornado that struck Springfield remained on the groundfor two hours in central Illinois, which made the stormhighly unusual. Normally, tornadoes are short-livedphenomena, lasting well under an hour.

Chicago was hit by wind gusts reaching 70 miles an hour,with heavy rains. Tornadoes struck communities from Oklahomathrough Illinois, and the 10 known deaths are spread over awide area.

Meanwhile, in drought-stricken Texas the same storm systemgenerated dry winds which caused what a spokesman for theTexas Forest Service described as one of the biggest firedays in the history of the state. In a single day, the firesburned an area nearly the size of Rhode Island. The firesforced the evacuation of eight towns.

In general, the dead were killed when the fast moving firesovertook homes they were trying to defend from the blaze.Cattle and horses burned after stopping due to exhaustion.They were then overtaken by the fires.

It isn't clear what started the fires, but lightning is apossibility. The region is suffering from 'extreme' droughtand winds reached up to 55 mph yesterday as the storm systempassed through.

Farther south in Texas, drought conditions are described as'extraordinary,' and fire danger across the state is very high.The area at greatest risk for a catastrophic fire is theTexas Hill Country north of San Antonio, which hasexperienced a building boom and is now as dry as it has beenin living memory.

Later this week, the Hill Country is expected to experiencethunderstorms. Unless they are drenching, lightning fromthese storms could cause fires.

The storm system that crossed the midwest was generatinghigh wind advisories as far east as New York State on Mondaymorning, and it remains possible that the system will becomeviolent again.

Obviously, the increasingly violent weather being sufferedworldwide is in line with Whitley Strieber's predictions inhis books Nature's End and The Coming Global Superstorm. Whitley and Art were the only ones to have the courage to tell it like it is, and they did it FIRST. Do your part to make our unique voice heard,subscribe today.

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