TIME weather

The Midwest Mayfly Invasion in 6 Photos (and a Gif)

A "massive emergence" of flying bugs


At about 8:45 p.m. Sunday the National Weather Service picked up this rather beautiful radar event, in which what registers as “light-moderate rain” seems to emanate from the Mississippi River between Wisconsin and Iowa and into Minnesota. But rain it was not. It was a swarm of mayflies. Gobs of mayflies. Piles and piles of mayflies.

July202014
National Weather Service/NOAA

The swarm lasted for a few hours and by the time it was over many a windshield and wall was caked in slimy bug carcasses. The swarm was blamed for a three-car pileup in Wisconsin that left one person hospitalized.

Scientists weren’t taken off guard by the event—it happens from time to time (a very similar “massive emergence” happened in June 2012) and is actually a sign of the health of the Mississippi. Mayflies gestate under water but once they mutate into winged creatures and rise from the depths they have one job and one job only—to make babies. The swarm seen in the radar above seems to move north because, like a weather system, it is carried that way in the wind.

The event, and others like it, amount to a feast for animals that feed on the mayfly orgy, making it a good time of year to be a bird or a fish—or the owner of a carwash, for that matter.

TIME Food & Drink

Kraft Recalls Velveeta Cheese Because It Doesn’t Have Enough Preservatives

Kraft Foods Warns Of Possible Velveeta Shortage
Scott Olson—Getty Images

In several Walmart stores around the country

If you were planning on doing your Velveeta shopping today, just a friendly heads up: Kraft Foods has recalled a batch that was shipped to Walmart stores around the Midwest, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The company said this particular batch of the pseudo cheese didn’t contain enough of the preservative known as sorbic acid, meaning it can spoil prematurely and possibly lead to food borne illness. The product was shipped to three Walmart distribution centers and could have been shipped to as many as 12 states: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The code on the package should read 021000611614, Kraft told the Associated Press. The containers will have a “Best Used By” date of Dec. 17, 2014.

Who knew sorbic acid was so crucial?

 

MONEY Autos

WATCH: Hail Yes! Car Dealers Slash Prices on Storm-Damaged Vehicles

Severe hailstorms in the West and Midwest have one benefit for bargain-hunters: Discounts on damaged cars.

TIME weather

Baseball-Size Hail Rains Down on Nebraska as Thunderstorms Inundate Midwest

Severe Weather
A car with its windows damaged by hail hangs over a creek following a severe thunderstorm in Blair, Neb., Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Nati Harnik—AP

Wild weather sweeps across the Midwest

Hard rain and hailstones inundated large swaths of the Great Plains on Tuesday as officials issued tornado watches in Nebraska that will continue late into the evening in the Cornhusker State.

“Storms may contain very heavy rain, large hail and a few tornadoes,” warned the National Weather Service in a bulletin posted on its website on Tuesday.

Baseball-size hail reportedly fell across northeast Nebraska on Tuesday, causing extensive damage.

The hail knocked out car windshields in affected areas, while the roof of at least one hotel in Missouri Valley, Iowa, was ripped off by high winds, according to CNN.

The National Weather Service predicted that another string of heavy thunderstorms is likely to move across the heartland from the Texas panhandle to western South Dakota on Wednesday.

TIME The Brief

Johnny Humble: Manziel Falls in Draft

Welcome to #theBrief, the four stories to know about right now--from the editors of TIME.

+ READ ARTICLE

Here are the stories TIME is watching this Thursday, May 8:

  • Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel waited until the 22nd pick to hear the Cleveland Browns call his name at the 2014 NFL draft.
  • Fierce storms battered the Midwest with heavy winds, rain and hail as tornadoes touched down in Colorado and Minnesota.
  • Apple is reportedly close to a $3.2 billion acquisition deal with Beats Electronics, maker of famous Beats By Dre headphones.
  • Hello my baby, hello my honey. Scientists find 14 species of dancing frogs in India.

The Brief is published daily.

TIME Parenting

Stay-at-Home Moms: Not Who You Think They Are

Carey Kirkella; Getty Images

Forget the mommy wars, the real battle; for many stay at homes is just getting by.

The phrase Stay At Home Mother generally conjures up two images: the nice Midwestern mom with a car pool and a husband with a nine-to-five, or the highly educated former career woman now channeling all her hard-won achievement and scholarship into finding the exact right kind of juice box and organic cheese stick. But the data keeps suggesting that both these images are off the mark. Increasingly, the stay at home mother is beginning to look like a woman who doesn’t have too many other choices.

This is not to say that most stay at home moms are only staying home because they’re no good at anything else. Rather, it’s that an increasing proportion of the women looking after their kids full time are having a tough time of it. They can’t find well-paid work and they can’t find childcare that would make less than well-paid work worthwhile. Average weekly child care expenses rose more than 70% from 1985 to 2011, according to the Census Bureau. Wages, especially for women with only a high school education, did not rise at nearly that rate.

Of course there are some übermoms–women willingly reining in their considerable earning potential to look after their offspring. Who are they? Opt-out mothers, by Pew’s definition, have a postgraduate degree, an annual family income of more than $75,000, a working husband, and they say they are out of the workforce in order to care for their family. And despite all the media attention on these women, there aren’t very many of them. According to an analysis from Pew Research, a very, very small percentage of home-based mothers are highly educated and affluent. “Just 1% of the nation’s 35 million mothers ages 18 to 69 who are living with their children younger than 18,” are the so-called opt-out moms, notes Pew in analysis released on May 8.

In fact, only 4% of all stay-at-home moms are in this highly educated category. According to Pew, only about 10% of women with such qualifications decide to stay home. And almost 90% of those say they intend to return to work and historically 70% of them do, after about an average of two and a half years.

So let’s take stock: A tiny percentage of moms are extremely highly educated and affluent and have chosen to raise children full-time. Most of them are only stepping out of the workforce fleetingly. This is what all the cover stories and books have been about?

The other end of the stereotype—the midwestern mom with her traditional values—is also misleading. Guess which state has the lowest proportion of stay-at-home mothers? If you picked South Dakota, come to the front of the room and collect your prize. I know I didn’t. But according to an interesting study on the history of the working mother by Ancestry.com using Census data, 80% of mothers in the Mount Rushmore state work outside the home, the highest in the nation. Conversely, California has one of the lowest rates of working mothers: 62%.

Check where your state falls here:

So what are most stay-at-home mothers like? The Pew Report released a few weeks back paints a darker picture. A third of them were not born in the U.S. Half of them are not white. Almost half of them have a high school diploma or less, 20% are single mothers and 7% have husbands who were unemployed in the 12 months prior to 2012. More than a third of them live in poverty. Stay-at-home mothers’ education levels have risen across the board in the last 40 years, but the share of them living in poverty has more than doubled.

Most Americans still think that having a mother at home full-time and a father at work is the most optimal arrangement for raising a family. But increasingly, that arrangement is also becoming untenable or unrealistic. So next time you see a headline saying More Women Are Staying Home To Raise Kids,” you might want to brace yourself for what that story is really going to say.

 

 

 

TIME weather

Severe Weather Unleashes Tornadoes and Hail Across the Midwest

Early-morning storms roll through St. Louis
Jason Reidl, left, and Chris Thomas with Laclede Gas, look at a fallen tree that ruptured a gas main on Thursday April 3, 2014 in University City, Mo. Christian Gooden—St. Louis Post-Dispatch/AP

Springtime sees the seasonal return of severe weather to the Midwest, with tornadoes, heavy rain and baseball-size hailstones hitting the heartland as other parts of the country prepare to warm up after months of snow

Updated 12:49 a.m. E.T. on April 4, 2014

Spring is here, and towns across Tornado Alley experienced their first taste of severe seasonal weather Thursday as tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms hit large swaths of the southern Plains and the Midwest.

As of Thursday night, myriad tornado warnings issued by the National Weather Service remained in effect in counties across North Texas, up through central Missouri and into western Kentucky. But the tornadoes were relatively small, and there were no deaths reported as of late Thursday night.

“That’s where we think (potential of) tornadoes — some potentially strong — will be the greatest,” Bill Bunting, forecast operations chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., told the Associated Press.

“This will continue to evolve with time.”

Earlier on Thursday morning, a small EF1 tornado briefly touched down in St. Louis, damaging approximately 100 homes. Severe-weather bands plagued also the Dallas–Forth Worth area, with reports of power outages and baseball-size hail wreaking havoc on automobiles and homes in north-central Texas.

TIME weather

Yet Another Storm Hits Winter-Weary East

Winter Weather Kansas
A city plow removes snow from an intersection along 6th Street in Lawrence, Kan., March 2, 2014. Orlin Wagner—AP

A late winter storm is expected to dump up to six inches of snow and sleet on the east coast from Washington, D.C. to New York City and beyond, canceling thousands of flights and causing havoc for hapless drivers

The winter is set to advance into March with a significant snow and ice system due to hit the Midwest and East Coast Sunday overnight into Monday.

Major airports across the region will likely be hit with a slew of cancellations and delays Monday, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic region and parts of the Midwest, reports the Weather Channel. Drivers can expect treacherous conditions on highways and roads on the Eastern seaboard.

Snow, sleet and freezing ice will advance east on Sunday, accumulating across parts of Texas, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia and snow will make its way into the mid-Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley. By Sunday afternoon, the snow will reach the Northeast corridor and continue for much of Monday.

The Midwest from Kansas to Ohio will see up to 6 inches of snow from Sunday into early Monday, while parts of the Mid-Atlantic from the Philadelphia metro area to northern Virginia will see more than 6 inches of snow. Commuting conditions into and out of New York City, Washington D.C. and Boston on Monday morning are expected to be perilous.

[Weather Channel]

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