A large swath of the North Central United States is at risk of moderate to major flooding this spring. This area extends from northeastern Montana through western Wisconsin and along the Mississippi River south to St. Louis. For the third consecutive year, forecasters predictmajor flooding along the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
Make a plan – Your family may not be together when a flood hits, so it’s important to know how you will contact one another, how you will meet up in a safe place and what you will do in case of an emergency. Not sure where to start? Ready.gov has a great checklist for making your family emergency plan.
Get a kit – An emergency kit can be your life line after an emergency. It should sustain yourself and your family for up to three days. For flood prone areas, keeping your important documents in a sealed, airtight container will keep them safe from water damage. See other tips on getting your emergency kit in tip-top shape.
Protect your property – A final step to make sure you’re prepared for flooding is to purchase flood insurance. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and consider flood insurance coverage.
Flood policies typically take 30 days to become effective, so make sure to purchase flood insurance as a way to prepare before potential flooding.
After coming to life in December 2010—following more than 80 years of silence—Kizimen Volcano in Russia showed no signs of slowing down in February 2011.
This false-color satellite image shows a vigorous volcanic plume streaming northeast from the summit. The white portion of the plume is likely rich with steam, while the tan plume is primarily ash. To the northwest, forests that have not yet been coated with ash are red. The ground east of Kizimen is coated in newly-fallen ash that has not yet covered by snow. Several dark streaks lie to the south of the summit—probably traces of pyroclastic flows.
Knowing there is significant search and rescue capacity in the region that is best placed to assist in Christchurch, I went to work Tuesday morning thinking it would be another busy day in the office. It is a good thing I am always packed and ready to deploy because I and five of my OFDA colleagues were headed to Christchurch just after noon.
We are meeting up with the Los Angeles County Urban Search and Rescue team and then heading directly into Christchurch. Once on the ground, we will immediately go into rescue mode. Our Urban Search and Rescue team will join forces with the Urban Search and Rescue personnel from New Zealand and other international teams they train with all year to assure that every place a survivor might be found is thoroughly searched.
You can follow Rebecca’s work on Twitter at @DARTgirl.
If you need—or can provide—information about the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in Christchurch. Please email the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like its more familiar counterpart (the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights), the Aurora Australis is caused by the solar wind passing through the upper atmosphere. But the Aurora Australis is much less frequently observed because so few people are in Antarctica during the austral winter.
The United States maintains three research stations in Antarctica. The National Science Foundation’s U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) operates them all.
Almost every day, you’re involved in some type of financial transaction requiring an educated decision. Click the link above for advice from the Federal Trade Commission on shopping for a mortgage or auto loan, checking the accuracy of your credit report, dealing with debt collectors, or looking for ways to protect your personal financial information.
The local paper is a good way to find jobs close to home, and these days many jobs are posted online. Don’t forget that there are lots of government jobs out there too.
If you’re looking for a job or an internship with the federal government, you’ll find all federal job openings announced to the public at USAJOBS. Check out your state job bank for even more job opportunities in your area. If you need a job-seeking advice, look up your local Department of Labor office and see what services they offer to job seekers in your area.
And if the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be aware of job scams.
How often do you receive offers in the mail for a credit card or insurance that you’ve been pre-approved for?
If you just end up throwing the envelopes into the trash unopened, you might be interested in learning you can opt out of receiving mail like this.
You have two opt-out options: A five-year opt-out period or permanent opt-out.
If you aren’t currently in the market for a new credit card or insurance policy, but know you might be in the future, the five-year opt-out period would probably work for you. If you don’t want to see offers like this in your mailbox at all, you could consider the permanent option.
To opt out you can call 1-888-5-OPTOUT or visit optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major credit reporting companies and will stop all pre-approval solicitations based on lists organizations receive from the credit reporting companies. Opting out will not prevent you from receiving solicitations from local merchants, membership organizations and and other groups that don’t get their mailing lists from the major credit reporting companies.
Have you ever opted out of pre-approval offers or do you like getting the offers in the mail so you can learn about what options you have?
A U.S. military medical officer performs a check up on an Iraqi woman.
The U.S. Government Printing Office runs an excellent blog called Government Book Talk in which they highlight remarkable government publications. Today’s blog post highlights Surging South of Baghdad: The 3rd Infantry Division and Task Force Marne in Iraq, 2007-2008, a book describing “the experience of one unit participating in its third deployment to Iraq.”
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is designed to help low-income households, particularly those that use a large portion of their income to pay their energy bills. This is especially important during winter months when paying a heating bill can become a matter of life and death.
If you, or someone you know, might benefit from LIHEAP, please call 1.866.NRG.NEAR (1.866.674.6327). You can also access state-specific LIHEAP information on our page about LIHEAP.
This woodcut by Margaret Burroughs is called The Faces of My People. It’s part of The Kinsey Collection which is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture through May 1, 2011.
From the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s website:
Margaret Burroughs has been a force in the Chicago art community for decades. She also has devoted herself to African American history and culture by co-founding the city’s Du Sable Museum. Burroughs sees her art as a catalyst for bringing people together. This tableau of diverse individuals illustrates her commitment to mutual respect and understanding. She has expressed the desire that her “art speak not only for my people — but for all humanity,” explaining that her “subject matter … seeks to improve the condition of life for all people.”
U.S. citizens in Egypt who require assistance, or those who are concerned that their U.S. citizen loved one in Egypt may require assistance, should contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo at:
Free File – You can go to IRS.gov and use the Free File program if your income was $58,000 or less. If you’re the type of person that prefers to fill in the forms yourself, you can do that online too with the Free File Fillable Forms program. With fillable forms, you choose the forms you need, fill them in, sign electronically and e-file your return.
e-file – You can do it yourself and buy tax preparation software, prepare your own return, and press “send to e-file.”
E-filing can even help you avoid the processing delay caused by the tax legislation enacted late last year. If you’re somebody who claims itemized deductions on Schedule A, the higher education tuition and fees deduction on Form 8917, or the educator expenses deduction, you can e-file and get a head start because many major software providers have announced they will accept these impacted returns immediately. The software providers will hold onto the returns and then electronically submit them after the IRS systems open on Feb. 14.
This year you can even track your refund with your smartphone! The free IRS2Go app is available in the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace.