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“Why does rain not always bring lightning and thunder?”

Ainsley, St. Mary’s School

The answer to this question lies in the height of the clouds that produce the rain.  When showers move through, they fall from shorter, more shallow clouds.  That means the separation of charges that causes lightning in the first place is not large.  More simply, there is not a large distance between the pool of negative charges normally found at the base of the cloud from the positive charges that are located in the top of the cloud.

When we see tall, towering cumulus, or cumulonimbus clouds, there is a great distance separating the positive charges in the clouds tops from the negative charged pooled at the base of the cloud.  When this happens, there is more of a need for the atmosphere to “discharge” that built up energy – in the form of lightning.  So, when clouds are shorter, we usually see just rain without the lightning and thunder.

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

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Rain has been falling along the coast throughout the day, but showers arrived later Wednesday evening for Jackson and Josephine Counties.  As we go through the overnight hours, this band of rainfall associated with a cold front will gradually shift eastward into the Klamath Basin.  Behind the cold front Thursday, we will be seeing mainly scattered showers instead of the steady rainfall from Wednesday night.

After the passage of the cold front, temperatures will be slightly below average, but that will change by Friday.  Another storm system comes sweeping through, first bringing a warm front and rain showers early Friday morning.  This will bring temperatures back closer to average Friday afternoon.  By Saturday morning, yet another cold front will pass, dropping highs again just in time for the weekend.  This means a drop in snow levels for the Cascades and more showers for both Saturday and Sunday across the area.

The active pattern persists through next week.  A cold front will move through the region sometime Tuesday, bringing more rain as it does so.  For right now, it looks like we will see a dry day Monday with mostly cloudy skies, but then the rain and overcast skies are back with Tuesday’s cold front.

For more information, or to send me your weather pictures, head over to Facebook or Twitter.

Chief Meteorologist Kate McKenna

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is working with a wide variety of agencies from all over, trying to make traffic stops safer for police in a three day workshop in Southern Oregon.

When police pull someone over, that person may be cooperative, in a medical crisis, or confrontational. This training is for law enforcement officers who will be going back to train the staff at their own agencies.

The workshop kicked off  on Tuesday at Hillcrest Fire Station in Grants Pass.

In addition to getting the most up to date information for training in different scenarios, participants are also being trained in the best ways to train others.Tuesday was mostly classroom work, Wednesday and Thursday are practical and scenario training. Workshop officials say traffic stops are some of the most common, and statistically dangerous situations for law enforcement.

In the practical session Tuesday officers dealt with unknown and high risk situations of traffic stops, with special scenarios including police canine units. Administrators for agencies that are attending say these training sessions are vital for the safety of officers and the public.

“You never know what you’re walking up to on a car so this type of training has to be ongoing and it had to be updated because things change all the time,” said Deputy Chief Jim Hamilton with Grants Pass Public Safety.

This was the second training session of the year, and the Department of Public Safety Coordinator said he hopes have more of the workshops set up soon.

141022_abc_network_canada_16x9_992(CNN)[Breaking news update, posted at 8:15 p.m. ET]

“This week’s events are a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said late Wednesday. “Let there be no misunderstanding: We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”

The passport of suspected Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was confiscated by Canadian authorities when they learned he planned to go fight overseas, a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN’s Susan Candiotti. The official said it was not clear when that happened.

[Previous story, published at 7:43 p.m. ET]

(CNN) — A soldier gunned down while guarding a hallowed war memorial and a shootout in the halls of Parliament left parts of Canada’s capital on lockdown for hours Wednesday.

Parliament member Kyle Seeback called it a “horrific day.”

And it may not be over yet.

Authorities haven’t ruled out the possibility that an additional shooter could be on the loose. And Ottawa Police Constable Chuck Benoit told CNN that there was more than one person involved in the shootings.

“We have to apprehend and arrest the people that are involved in this morning’s incident,” he said, “and at this time we don’t have these people.”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has been identified by Canadian officials to their American counterparts as the suspected gunman, multiple U.S. officials told CNN.

The gunman was killed after two shooting incidents — one at the Canada War Memorial, and another just minutes later nearby inside Parliament.

Bibeau, who was born in 1982, was a convert to Islam and had a history of drug use before he converted, two sources said.

Canadian broadcaster CBC reported that Bibeau had a record of drug arrests going back 10 years.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was the soldier killed after a shooter opened fire at the memorial, a family source told CNN’s Paula Newton.

Investigators haven’t provided any possible motives for the shooting.

The soldier appeared to have been shot in the back, said Peter Henderson, a journalist who was at the memorial at the time of the shooting. Other soldiers who were nearby doing drills at the time ran to help, he said.

“This is a dynamic and unfolding situation. I understand that people have many questions and we are committed to providing some answers as soon as we are able,” Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Division, told reporters Wednesday.

Three people brought to The Ottawa Hospital after the shootings have been released, hospital spokeswoman Hazel Harding told CNN. Earlier, they were described as being in stable condition.

Hours after gunshots thundered through the halls of Parliament, forcing people to barricade themselves in offices, police were still scouring the area and a lockdown remained in effect.

“If they thought that they had the situation under control, we would have been let out a long time ago. We haven’t been. There’s still no word on whether we will be,” said Josh Wingrove, a reporter for the Globe and Mail newspaper who witnessed the shooting and remained at Parliament Wednesday evening. “This is by no means a situation that is considered over.”

‘I heard rapid fire’

Shortly after the shooting at the memorial, a gunman entered the nearby building on Parliament Hill, officials said.

“I heard rapid fire — gunshots going very loud — and I figure maybe 20-plus shots within 10 seconds,” Canadian Deputy House Leader Kevin Lamoureux told CNN. He was one level below the gunshots.

Gunfire first erupted in the building’s foyer. Then a second round of shooting happened about a minute later in a hallway or near the entrance to the Parliament’s library, Wingrove told CNN.

Several officers had weapons drawn, he said, and most of the dozens of shots that he heard appeared to have been fired by officers at the gunman.

When the shooting ended, a person was lying motionless on the ground near the library entrance, Wingrove said.

Parliament member James Lunney tweeted: #HOC in Lockdown, lone gunman shot security guard, shot his way down Hall of Honor….we are all safe. Gunman dead! Thnk God & our scrty!”

In Twitter posts, several Canadian lawmakers hailed a top security official as a hero, crediting him with shooting the gunman inside Parliament.

“MPs and Hill staff owe their safety, even lives, to Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers who shot attacker just outside the MPs’ caucus rooms,” Craig Scott, a member of Parliament, wrote.

Another soldier killed Monday

Canadian authorities have given the name of a suspect to U.S. law enforcement and have asked for FBI assistance in tracing the person’s activities, a senior U.S. law enforcement official told CNN. Only one name has been provided, and it is not clear whether the name is genuine or an alias, the official said. The official declined to provide more details, including the suspect’s nationality, ethnicity and age.

A U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that a connection to terrorism hasn’t been ruled out.

On Monday, a man who Canadian authorities said was “radicalized” killed a Canadian soldier with his car. The man was then shot and killed.

Police: Man who ran down and killed soldier was ‘radicalized’

There was no immediate indication that the Monday and Wednesday incidents were related.

In response to the shootings, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, has increased its alert posture, CNN has learned. That means that it has increased the number of planes on a higher alert status ready to respond if needed. NORAD and Canadian authorities are in contact, an official told CNN.

Prime Minister secure

MP Tony Clement tweeted that he heard “at least 30 shots” and apparently was able to take cover with colleagues. He also tweeted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was secure.

Harper was evacuated from the building and is safe, tweeted his press secretary, Carl Vallee.

Hours after the Parliament attack, Harper spoke by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Obviously, we’re all shaken by it,” Obama later told reporters, “but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we’re standing side by side with Canada during this difficult time.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said that Wednesday was “a sad and tragic day for our city and our country.”

“There’s no pain greater than losing a loved one — to have it happen in such circumstances as this morning is beyond expression, and underlined by a sad anger within my heart,” he said.

Canada raised its terror threat level

The violence at Parliament comes just days after Canada raised its terror alert Friday.

The suspect in Monday’s vehicle attack, Martin Rouleau Couture, reportedly converted to Islam about a year ago. Police arrested him last July and confiscated his passport, but lacked enough evidence to keep him in custody, said Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“When he was arrested, he was about to go to Turkey,” Fontaine said. “We stopped him as he was about to leave Canada for terrorist actions. He was questioned when he was arrested. We have not been able to determine any real threat at this time.”

sealionsCORVALLIS, Ore. — A new study out of Oregon State University suggests sharks could be to blame for a declining sea lion population.

Scientists say it’s possible the Pacific sleeper shark are preying on the endangered Steller sea lions in Alaska.

OSU researchers say sleeper sharks are a huge by-catch in Alaskan fisheries. But because the sea lions are endangered, fisheries are also implementing other management strategies to save the animals.

“If the management actions now result in closing fisheries for the sake of protecting sea lions, that may actually backfire. Although this is somewhat hypothetical, it may backfire, because it might actually remove a population control of a predator of the sea lion,” said OSU Associate Professor Markus Horning.

Researchers say Alaskan fishery decisions impact the economy closer to home because much of Alaskan fish is processed in Oregon.

coastNEWPORT, Ore. — Wind gusts as fast as 52 miles-an-hour blew through stormy Newport Wednesday morning, clearing the beaches and filling the bay with returning boats.

Boats are tied up along the docks throughout coastal cities, while fishermen wait for the storm to pass before they can go back out to sea.

“Today’s a day where you try to stay out of the rain,” said fisherman Michael Retherford. “But it’s not so much the rain that has the impact – it’s the wind and the waves.”

Retherford, who is fishing for pink shrimp, says waves were reaching 18-feet early on Wednesday, which is too risky for him to go out on the water.

“It depends on the boat, but this weather just limits what you can do,” he said. “And what you can handle to fish in. It starts getting hard on your gear, on the boat, and it puts the crew in danger.”

When the waves start getting rough, Retherford says crews at sea will go inside the boat to wait out the storm.

“It affects the fishing operations the most,” he said. “But today it’s rough. You don’t want to be out there. That’s why
we’re tied up right now.”

Despite a day lost reeling in revenue, fishermen say they are used to always working around Mother Nature in the Pacific Northwest.

“This really isn’t that bad right now,” Retherford said. “During the winter time – December and maybe even next month – we could see some pretty big blows coming through.”

Other coastal residents are also trying to stay dry. Cathy Fitzhugh, who lives in Tidewater, commutes to Newport for work.

“When you cross the bridge, you can feel the wind,” she said. “I’ve got a small car and you can feel the wind hitting it. It can be scary, but you just hang on. Hang on and drive.”

Beaches along the Oregon Coast are empty, as is the water.

“We were thinking about surfing,” said Costa Gavaris, who drove down from British Columbia. “But I don’t
think that’s going to happen.”

Gavaris and Jody Wright were able to surf in Newport the last few days, but say they likely needed to take a day off on Wednesday.

“There are not that many waves that you can actually surf today because the surf is so big,” Wright said. “So that’s why we came down to check out this smaller break on the inside of the jetty – but it still looks pretty nasty down there.”

Despite the quiet beaches, many local residents say they are used to the rain and have missed the typical Oregon winter weather.

“This being the first storm of the season – it’s kind of fun,” Fitzhugh said.

Retherford says conditions are looking better Wednesday evening, when he plans to head back out to sea for a few days before the next storm rolls in.

WILLIAMSASHLAND, Ore. – A man is now facing charges for a home invasion and robbery in 2012.

According to investigators, Ryan Williams and two other suspects were arrested in April of 2012 for invading and robbing a single family home on the 100 block of Alnut Street. .

Williams was released on bail at the time, but failed to show up for his scheduled court appearance.

This week, he was located in Los Angeles and arrested.

Williams is facing charges for failure to appear, robbery, kidnapping and theft, as well as drug related charges from another case.


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MEDFORD, Ore. — The Southern Oregon Spartans Hockey team delivered hundreds of coats to NewsWatch 12 Wednesday for the Coats For Kids campaign. 18 players boarded the Spartans team bus Tuesday morning and traveled to Southern Oregon Linen Service in White City to pick up and transport coats to the news station.

New Head Coach David Cole said this is a way for his players to get out in the community when they aren’t practicing, traveling or playing games on the ice.

The Spartans Hockey Team usually uses the bus to travel to other states to play in games and tournaments, but today the bus was filled with coats donated for children in the Rogue Valley.

10170890_247457895456145_2992294449428889024_nMEDFORD, Ore. – Fire crews responded to a fire alarm this morning at Airport Chevrolet on Biddle Road.

While in route, the response was upgraded to a structure fire response, prompting two additional fire engines from Medford and one additional fire engine from Fire District #3 to be sent to the scene.

According to Officials, a single fire sprinkler head activated effectively controlling the fire and preventing it from

spreading throughout the building until firefighters arrived.

The fire caused an estimated $2,000 in property and content losses. Potential losses were valued in the millions.

Fire Investigators determined the fire was accidental caused by welding operations.


10-2 jbo wintersJACKSON COUNTY, Ore – The Oregon Secretary of State’s Office is investigating the re-election of Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters, after receiving an allegation of false information in the November Election Voter Pamphlet.

According to officials, this type of investigation may lead to criminal charges. NewsWatch 12 has reached out to Sheriff Winter’s for his reaction, but so far he has not responded to those requests.

For the latest, tune in tonight to NewsWatch 12 at 6.

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