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A Morphing Storm: As Sandy Moves Inland, Snow And Winds Follow

Even though Sandy has switched from hurricane to post-tropical cyclone, it's still a formidable storm. The latest forecast predicts strong winds and coastal storm surges up to four feet in some places. Areas from the eastern Great Lakes region to the mid-Atlantic and up to southern New England can also expect an additional inch of rain.

And NPR's Dan Charles reports from Beckley, W. Va., that there's at least a foot of snow on the ground there, and more on the way.

The mid-Atlantic region is no stranger to hurricanes, but as Sandy made its way north and onto land, it became far more wintery.

Hurricanes draw their power and energy from the heat of ocean water, releasing it high in the atmosphere. It's this transport of heat that keeps the system spinning in the characteristic counter-clockwise direction.

As Sandy moved north and turned westward toward land, it collided with cold air making its way south from Canada. The huge, rotating storm began drawing this cold air into its cyclonic path, driving it farther south. That's why we're now seeing snow in places like Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

The National Weather Service points out that winter storms can spin around like a hurricane does, but there's a key difference between a wintertime cyclone and a hurricane (one type of tropical cyclone). Winter cyclones draw their energy from differences in temperature and pressure in the atmosphere, not from ocean heat.

What continues to make Sandy so powerful is its broad diameter — more than 1,000 miles — and its union with the winter storm descending from Canada.

Blizzard warnings remain in effect in the higher elevations of the central Appalachians. Charles reports the heavy, wet snow is breaking tree branches and downing power lines as wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour continue to lash the region.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Restricted To 20-Day U.K. Visa

Ai says he was denied a six-month visa because U.K. officials said he didn't list a criminal conviction in his application. Ai was imprisoned in China, but he notes he was never charged with a crime.
NPR

Humans Aren't The Only Ones To Go Ape Over Diets: Chimps Detox, Too

A group of Ugandan chimps has found a great way to boost their mineral intake and neutralize bitter compounds in their diet: by eating clay.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - July 31, 2015

Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

NPR

Debris Found In The Indian Ocean May Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Investigators believe a piece of debris found on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean could be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

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