Saturday, May 21, 2011
MEDINA, Minn., May 21 (UPI) -- A tornado touched down in Medina, Minn., Saturday evening as severe storms sprung up across the region, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service issued a string of tornado warnings for the areas just west and north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
No injuries or serious damage were reported as a result of the 6:30 p.m. twister, the newspaper said.
Medina police Sgt. Jason Nelson said he saw a funnel cloud but didn't see it touch the ground.
"There were rotational winds," Nelson said. "You could see debris blowing and leaves. It looked bad."
Heavy rain and large hail were reported in Corcoran, Maple Grove, Osseo, Dayton, Rogers, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Anoka, East Bethel and Andover.
Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/05/21/Tornado-reported-in-suburban-Minneapolis/UPI-22651306026951/#ixzz1N2cqxOxj
MADRID | Sat May 21, 2011 8:37pm EDT
(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people filled Madrid's Puerta del Sol on Saturday evening to protest high unemployment and austerity measures, defying a ban on demonstrations on the eve of local elections.
Protesters of all ages including families with small children and pensioners joined hundreds of young Spaniards, who have been camping out in Madrid for a week, in peaceful protest against the government's handling of the economic crisis.
The number of demonstrators, dubbed "los indignados" (the indignant), swelled to around 30,000 people on Saturday night, cramming into Madrid's main square and surrounding streets.
"I'm protesting because I've got no job future in Spain even though I've finished my degree in tourism," said 25-year-old Inma Moreno in Madrid. "This should make the political classes aware that something is not right."
Protesters also gathered in Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Bilbao and other cities urging people not to vote for either of Spain's two main parties, the ruling Socialists or the center-right opposition Popular Party.
The Socialists are expected to suffer major losses in the elections for 8,116 city councils and 13 of 17 regional governments.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has failed to contain the highest unemployment in the European Union at 21.3 percent, has said he understands the protesters.
Until now, Spaniards have been patient with austerity measures and a youth unemployment rate of 45 percent, but the protests show the frustration over the prolonged economic malaise.
"I'm happy that they're finally protesting. It was about time," said Maria, an elderly woman with a cane, sitting next to a sleeping, dreadlocked young man on a sofa that had been moved into the Puerta del Sol plaza.
The woman, who declined to give her family name, said she was at the protest on Saturday to visit her grandson.
"We knew something like this would eventually happen. Spain's politics has not been very convincing and with all the effects of the crisis. Something had to happen," said sociologist Fermin Bouza of the Complutense University.
Fearing violent clashes, the government has not yet sent in police to enforce the ban, which went into effect at midnight and prohibits political events on the eve of the election.
The final wave of holdouts has mostly packed up and left this Louisiana town as water from the swollen Atchafalaya River has inched toward their homes, with their frustration and hope painted on signs posted outside.
"Nothing left worth stealing," read one. "Stay strong. Believe," urged another. "Our hearts are broken, but our spirits are not. We will come HOME," are the words Kip and Gwen Bacquet spray-painted on the plastic liner that covers the entire first floor of their house.
Most had left Butte LaRose days earlier amid high tension as the water continued creeping toward the area, about 45 miles west of Baton Rouge.
The Army Corps of Engineers partially opened the Mississippi River's Morganza floodway May 14 to spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans from catastrophic flooding, but the water it was diverting from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya Basin still hadn't reached the town nearly a week later.
While Mississippi communities that line their namesake river were waiting for floodwaters to recede Saturday, Louisiana residents in the path of diverted waters were enduring an agonizing wait.
In St. Martin's Parish, La., a mandatory evacuation was ordered to take effect Saturday, only to be pushed back at least two days after officials said the river would crest May 27 at a lower level than previously thought. Meanwhile, communities along the Mississippi River in Mississippi wait for floodwaters to recede.
The delayed evacuation in St. Martin's Parish, La. is likely to be a source of both optimism and further frustration for residents who have heard the same grim forecast for days on end. Once the water comes, residents may not be able to return for weeks. They'll have to wait until Monday for officials to decide whether to reinstate the evacuation order.
"It's probably a blessing for some because maybe some people who didn't have time to do additional sandbagging will now have more time," said Maj. Ginny Higgins, a spokeswoman for the St. Martin's Parish sheriff's office.
Kip and Gwen Bacquet moved their furniture and other belongings to the second floor of their home, 9 feet off the ground. They are bracing for up to 5 feet of water to inundate their neighborhood. Gwen Bacquet, 54, said the canal in their backyard has been rising about 4 inches per day. Their pier already was underwater.
The couple moved here last summer for a change of pace from their native Lafayette, a city of about 120,000 some 60 miles west of Baton Rouge. The Bacquets savored their final hours before evacuating by lounging on the deck overlooking the canal in their backyard, sharing a few bittersweet laughs with two friends who came to help.