Tropics: Taiwan braces for severe storm; Hawaii may be spared

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Over in the western Pacific basin, Typhoon Morakot is forecast to continue to strengthen, possibly to category 2 or low-end category 3 status, while moving west. It should move across northern Taiwan this morning and impact coastal China by tonight or tomorrow.

Morakot is a large typhoon in size - it is wider than the length of New Zealand - and its impacts will likely be felt throughout the region.

Up to 117 people may be missing in ferry disaster

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Up to 117 people are now believed to have been on board the Princess Ashika when it sunk late on Wednesday night.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand mission coordinator John Dixon said there are still 62 people unaccounted for and two confirmed dead.

"There is still a significant amount of debris in the water, and we will be targeting those areas.

Severe storms: Hurricane Felicia & Typhoon Morakot

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In the eastern Pacific basin, Hurricane Felicia strengthened to a category 4 last night with maximum winds near the center still at 225km/h.  Felicia is located well east of Hilo, Hawaii while continuing to move northwest.

VIDEO: Passenger interviews + Photos of damage from turbulence damaged flight

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TV News footage from America's CBS on this morning's (NZT) Continental Airlines emergency landing in Miami following severe turbulence that injured 26 passengers...

Turbulence injures 26, flight diverted

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A Continental Airlines jet carrying 179 people from Brazil to Texas hit severe turbulence over the Atlantic early Monday, injuring at least 26 - including four seriously - and forcing an emergency landing in Miami, officials said.

One passenger said he felt Continental Flight 128 drop without warning while flight attendants were in the aisles, throwing some of them against the roof.

Real hurricane season about to start

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It's just about time - Americans are right on the doorstep of REAL hurricane season.  Normally, the greatest number of storms occur during August, September and early October, and anything that might happen before or after that is just an extra.

Of course there was the 2005 season when 7 storms had been named already and two, Dennis and Emily, had become major hurricanes. As a matter of fact, Emily was the earliest observed category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin. But 2005 was a stellar hurricane season which set records left and right. It included the likes of Katrina, Rita and Wilma all of which reached category 5 intensity.

El Nino - more proof of its onset

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Today, issued new evidence (below graphic) of the recently announced onset of El Nino.

For New Zealand this could mean more westerlies and drier weather on the way later in the year.  The thought of El Nino will be worrying for farmers in the east of the country who have battled a number of droughts over the past few years.

Jim Salinger: Arnie's right on global warming

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In 2005, Governor of California Arnie Schwarzenegger announced a reduction target of Greenhouse Gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2010. And a reduction of the gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and a reduction to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

We think we have it tough...

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Although much of the country has experienced a lot of cold in recent weeks, spare a thought from those suffering extreme heat further afield.

Phoenix, Arizona is renowned for its year round sunshine and hot summer temperatures.
This weekend the mercury should peak at 46 degrees with overnight lows remaining in the 30s.

Weather hoaxes

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We've all had them - those emails that contain "amazing" photos of tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning and hurricanes.