Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


Computers, Pinch Of Art Aid Hurricane Forecasters

Oct 26, 2012
Originally published on November 12, 2013 7:07 pm

If you've ever found yourself anxiously wondering where a hurricane might make landfall, then you're probably familiar with "spaghetti charts" — the intertwined web of possible storm tracks put out by many forecasters.

Those lines represent hundreds of millions of observations from satellites, aircraft, balloons and buoys, all crunched from complex forecasting equations on some of the world's most powerful computers.

Brian McNoldy, a senior research assistant at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, says that if you're trying to untangle the spaghetti charts, it's important to understand that not all models are created equal.

Some of them, in fact, are routinely ignored by meteorologists.

McNoldy says simple statistical models developed as far back as the 1980s, such as the Beta and Advection Model, are of little value as anything more than a benchmark to compare against newer, more sophisticated models. The same thing goes for the CLP5, sometimes known as the "Clipper" model

"I personally don't weight them at all. If I were to make a map, I wouldn't include them," he says.

Instead, McNoldy and other forecasters focus on dynamic models, the ones produced from lots of observational data, equations and massive supercomputers that make trillions of floating point operations per second.

For the past few years, the top of the heap for reliability in forecasting storm tracks — what is called "skill" in meteorological parlance — has been the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting Model.

A close second is the Global Forecast System model run by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. NCEP also runs the Hurricane Weather and Research Forecast, which is among the highest skill models.

"Sometimes there's what we call the 'Model of the Year,' " says Christopher Velden, a senior researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center.

"Some years, one model does better. It could be just luck, it could be that it handles one type of storm better or it could be that upgrades and advances to the model that year led to some improvements," he says.

While ECMWF and GFS have been close contenders for model of the year recently, the U.S. Navy's Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System may have to settle for a consolation prize. NOGAPS has "historically not shown a lot of skill with tracks. It is often ignored. Obviously, that's not good for them," says McNoldy.

Tweaking The Data

The latest trends in hurricane forecasting involve the use of "ensembles." Meteorologists tweak the data they input for the initial conditions to see how much that will change the track forecast. If changing those inputs creates little change in the track for any given storm system, it bolsters forecasters' confidence in that model's reliability. If the ensemble tracks diverge widely, their confidence goes down.

"At the end of the day, the forecaster may have five or six of these models and he's tasked with weighting them into what he thinks is the most likely model handling the situation best," says Velden.

Some of the models are run every six hours and others are run every 12 hours. That puts a huge demand on computing power. In fact, NCEP is in the process of swapping its two supercomputers for new ones that are nearly three times as fast.

Smaller-scale dynamic models appear to be better at forecasting intensity, something larger-scale models — which are good at predicting tracks — haven't been as skilled at doing, says McNoldy.

These regional models, which may focus on an area as small as an individual squall line, are increasingly being nested within the global models to improve their accuracy, something Velden describes as sort of a picture within a picture.

Steve Bennett is the chief science and products officer for EarthRisk, which is aiming to decrease the uncertainty in future hurricane track forecasts. EarthRisk is starting with a meta-analysis of forecast errors and hopes that by looking at where storms originated, how strong they were and their direction of travel, forecasters might understand what led to errors.

"Instead of treating all of those forecasts the same, putting them in a bucket, we're saying, 'Let's take an apples-to-apples approach,' " he says.

"If we have a Category 5 hurricane, let's look at the error around Category 5 hurricanes through history. Let's treat them the same," Bennett says. "If we have a storm that's moving north through the Gulf of Mexico, let's see if we can create an error band around all storms that have been moving north in the Gulf of Mexico."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit