Thanks to quick thinking, a father and son in Apison, Tennessee, survived a tornado that slammed the small town during the violent storms that ravaged the Southeast on Wednesday.
As the violent storm system barreled toward Brian Poe and other residents in a span of mobile homes, just after 8 o'clock, there was precious little time to act, he told CNN's Susan Candiotti.
“I was laying on the couch watching TV, about to sleep and my neighbor called me and told me: ‘It’s coming. Get out of the trailer. It’s coming.”
Poe said he stepped outside his mobile home, summoning his son, 15-year-old Tanner, just as the storm was bearing down on them.
The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-4 tornado with winds of 174 mph tore through Catoosa County in northwestern Georgia and into southeastern Tennessee. The same tornado that hit Apison had also struck Ringgold, Georgia, about 15 miles to the south, leaving seven dead.
“I kind of walked out and I heard it coming,” Poe said. With raging winds around them, Brian and Tanner Poe darted to a roadside ditch.
“The only thing I could think of was my son … I had to save him,” Poe said.
The only thing the two could do was hold on for dear life, Tanner said.
“Me and Dad were hugging each other laying face down,” Tanner said. “[The storm] was lifting us off the ground." A tree fell on the pair, injuring Brian Poe's back "and the wind pulled it off of us,” Tanner said.
Wednesday was the deadliest day for tornadoes since a 1925 tornado outbreak that killed more than 700 people in seven states, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Saturday on its website.
Poe said he lost several family members in the storm, which has left thousands of people homeless and killed more than 300 people.
Yelena Shmulenson works two jobs in Manhattan, and is sleep-deprived.
She says her workload is nonstop and she can go a week working as an administrative assistant at a boutique law firm without getting up for lunch.
At night, she pursues an acting career, often getting home late. What suffers is her sleep. So for the past two years, she pays to go to what she calls her "oasis" in the city, a spa which offers nap rooms for clients. For $17, she can take a 20-minute power nap that keeps her going for the rest of the day. Shmulenson says, "It really does the trick."
Her company, like a majority nationwide, frowns upon employees dozing off at work. In fact, in many cases napping on the job is a fireable offense. But new research from the Society of Human Resource Management shows this year more employers are slowly building nap rooms for workers to get some shut-eye during the day.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday urged NATO to negotiate an end to airstrikes, accusing the international coalition of killing civilians and destroying the nation's infrastructure in a bid to take over its oil production.
"Come and negotiate with us. You are the ones attacking us. You are the ones terrifying our kids and destroying our infrastructure. You American, French and British come and negotiate with us," Gadhafi said during a rambling 45-minute address on Libyan state TV.
It was a rare appearance for the leader, who has not been seen in public since international forces began bombing regime targets last month. The airstrikes started after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution authorizing any means necessary to protect civilians demanding the ouster of the ruler, who has been in power for nearly 42 years.
At times, Gadhafi's address appeared to be a tirade against NATO and the United Nations.
"What are you trying to do? Trying to take the oil?" he said. "The Libyan people will not allow you ... The oil is under control of the Libyan government and for the people."
He called on the United Nations to review the NATO attacks, saying his country agreed to a cease-fire.
"We are the first ones who wanted and agreed on a cease-fire. But the NATO crusader airstrike did not cease," he said. "It cannot be a cease-fire from one side."
A NATO spokeswoman called for actions, not words shortly after Gadhafi's address.
"The regime has announced ceasefires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians," NATO deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero said in a statement.
"Just hours before colonel Qhadafi spoke of a truce, his forces indiscriminately shelled Misrata, killing many people, including children. His forces tried to mine the port to block the access of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered civilians of Misrata. All this has to stop, and it has to stop now."FULL STORY
Frog lovers in 19 countries gathered Friday to “ribbet” in honor of “Save The Frogs” day, known as the largest day of worldwide amphibian conservation action and education.
Scientists, educators and policymakers took part in more than 100 international events with one leaping mission in mind: to raise awareness of the amphibians’ rapid rate of decline.
Habitat destruction, infectious diseases, pollution and pesticides, climate change and over-harvesting for pet and food trades are the some of the major contributing factors to the amphibian’s decline worldwide, said Kerry Kriger, founder and executive director of “Save The Frogs.”
“Frogs are the flag-ship species of all amphibians,” said Dr. Malcolm McCallum, managing editor of Herpetological Conservation and Biology. “There’s a whole array of environmental issues that go hand-in-hand and they all collectively interact and contribute to this unprecedented decline we are seeing in the last 50 to 100 years.”
[Updated at 9:19 a.m.]A few dozen tanks fired shells and a curfew was imposed Saturday in the restive Syrian city of Daraa, the site of ongoing clashes between security forces and protesters, eyewitnesses told CNN.
The assault took place in the eastern part of the embattled city, where helicopters were flying overhead and soldiers were stationed on rooftops, the witnesses said.
Gunfire could be heard in the background as one of the eyewitnesses spoke to CNN over the telephone.
One eyewitness said that men venturing outside were being shot and women and children who left their homes were being escorted back. Another witness said anyone on the street was being shot.
Bloated bodies remained uncollected in the streets, their relatives afraid to retrieve them, witnesses said, and they complained about a lack of water, power, electricity and food.
CNN has not been granted access into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts.
But CNN has spoken with witnesses, some of whom have also reported what they see via social networking sites and posted homemade videos. Reports also have been compiled by human rights organizations.FULL STORY
[Updated at 6:27 a.m.] Vanessa del Leon, who works at a hotel in David, said she felt the quake, whose epicenter was 110 miles south of the city.
"Everyone started screaming. We heard a lot of things breaking and computer keyboards smashing on the floor," she said. "This hotel has eight floors and it swayed like a palm tree."
The USGS had said the quake was a magnitude 6.1, but later revised it to 6.0. It hit at 3:19 a.m. local time, according to the USGS.
[Posted at 5:43 a.m.] A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck southern Panama on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The quake hit 384 kilometers (238 miles) southwest of the capital, Panama City.
There were no immediate reports of damage.
As a photographer capturing disaster scenes, CNN's Aaron Brodie says he looks for evidence of what used to exist among the devastated landscape. He struggled to find those details as he toured the mangled ruins of Alberta, Alabama, with CNN's Wayne Drash after a tornado tore through the Tuscaloosa neighborhood Wednesday. Here's his description of the scene:
We showed up in town at a CVS drugstore in Tuscaloosa as workers were putting boards up on the windows. It was pretty banged up: Windows were blown out, cosmetics and drugs were on the floor. Four college students came up, put bottled water into shopping carts and said they were going to a neighborhood called Alberta. It seems really bad over there. Nobody’s paying attention, they said. People are just walking around in a daze with their belongings in a bag.
They drove us through these back roads to get to Alberta. When we got there the road was blocked off and the neighborhood officially evacuated because of natural gas leaks. We sneaked in on a back road and found there were still some people there. We wandered street by street looking for what we had been told was a newly constructed elementary school that had been destroyed.
The houses were small, old, wood-framed. The residents are on the lower economic rung and many are elderly. It seems to be the kind of neighborhood people call home their entire lives.
As we went down each street, the devastation got worse and worse and worse. We'd look down one street and see numerous trees lying across the road, cars in trees, houses moved off foundations. We'd look down another street and see no trees or homes at all, just endless piles of debris.
Everywhere you go there's destruction. Just when you think, OK, I'm not going to see something worse, you see something worse.
National Football League players have again been locked out of training facilities, because of an appeals court ruling. Meanwhile, negotiations continue over a new collective bargaining agreement between league owners and the NFL Player's Association.
A temporary stay has been granted of a lower court order that had ruled NFL owners could not lock out the players, said Michael Gans, the clerk with the 8th Circuit appeals court.
"We are back to a lockout," Gans said.
The temporary ruling allows the NFL to again suspend football operations as they seek to revise the current system.
A lockout was imposed after talks between the players and owners broke down last month and the players disbanded their union. In response, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and seven others filed a lawsuit on behalf of other current and eligible NFL players against the league to halt the lockout, which could affect the start of the 2011-12 season scheduled for September 8.
U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled in favor of the players on Monday, issuing an injunction that ordered the league's owners to lift their lockout. The NFL appealed the ruling on the grounds that federal law prohibits injunctions in labor disputes.FULL STORY
Exchange of the Day:
"The only normal looking person in this whole drama is the bride; the rest of them look like Martians or characters from a science fiction movie."–poulose
"You have to think of it like 'Star Wars' without the light sabers."–politauk
Two events shared center stage today: Prince William and Catherine’s wedding in London and the aftermath of a string of tornadoes that killed nearly 300 across the American Southeast. Some CNN.com readers argued over whether the coverage was balanced or appropriate, while others shared their feelings and experiences about the separate events.
alexjones999 said, “How wonderful. All of the problems in the world but the world is focused on this trivial nonsense.” bilbo0s said, “300 fellow Americans dead in Alabama. Countless lives of fellow Americans blown away in Alabama. What makes the front page? Will and Kate are getting married!!! That explains a lot about America.”
LaserMan72 said, “Which should have more priority? Over 300 people died in Storm (In USA) or Royal Wedding (Not even in USA). Give me a break.”
But mr60233 argued that “this is an international event. Look at a map. Do you see those other pieces of land? They are called countries, and believe it or not, people that are not American live in them. I am sorry 300 people died. However, tornadoes happen all the time in the USA, and people die every day. This kind of event (the wedding) happens once every 30 years or so.”
barbie1311 said, "There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few moments out of one's life to get lost in a fairy tale. It does not take away anything from the tragedies of the world. It's all about balance."
chitown27 said, "I'm in London right now, went to Westminster this morning and it was unbelievable. Most Americans have no sense of history whatsoever, which is why the trolls keep complaining on here. It was awesome watching the procession, the history and the pomp."
Savannah416 said, "With roots in India, I am the last one to argue against comments against British colonization; however, given the state of the world today, I'm also able to set aside negative thoughts for a morning and relish the beauty of a wedding of two people who have been in love for quite awhile."
GuestColin said, “What a bunch of cranky people the lot of you are! I've bought a ring, planned it out and will be getting engaged this summer after a 3-year courtship. Best to Wills and Kate. The rest of you need to go take a nap!”
TreeTop said, “Beautiful dress. Happy couple. Awesome news!” Mjollnir said, “This seems as good a reason as any to have some gourmet food and a toast tonight. We need more reasons to celebrate. There are still good things in this world.” Ealdwulf said, “They do certainly seem to be in love.”
The United Nations World Food Program and UNICEF announced Friday plans to launch emergency operations in North Korea to feed an estimated 3.5 million people in desperate need after crop losses and a harsh winter.
Women and children will be the focus of the one-year WFP operation, which is expected to cost just over $200 million, the WFP said.
A wave of storms swept through the South this week, laden with tornadoes that killed at least 300 people and left a multistate trail of destruction.
As authorities continue to assess the damage, recover bodies and restore power to thousands of homes and businesses in the storm zone, weather experts have many questions about the confluence of factors that formed such a violent weather system.
Did a perfect storm of sociological, meteorological and geographical events combine to create the second-deadliest tornado outbreak in the nation's history since 1950? The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's Bob Henson, who recently wrote about the recipe for the storms, said it seems that way, but perfection is relative.
"You never know what’s perfect, because there may be another storm that’s even more perfect. Many say the 1974 super outbreak was the ultimate event," he said.
In 1974, a super outbreak of tornadoes churned through 13 states, killing hundreds of people.
One thing is certain: Way before Wednesday's storms came, forecasters saw the ingredients for trouble in the skies.
Weather forecasters had "very, very strong signals actually about five days out indicating a significant weather outbreak," Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, told CNN on Friday.
But "saying a significant weather outbreak is coming is quite different from saying a massive tornado will move through Tuscaloosa at 5 p.m.," Carbin said. "So knowing the big picture is pretty good, but you don’t know the specifics; you only know really after the thunderstorm begins to form."
Around midday Wednesday in Mississippi, funnel cloud reports began.
“Tornadoes typically form from what are called super-celled storms,” Greg McFarquhar, a professor in the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of Illinois, told CNN on Friday. “You need a number of different ingredients. One is warm, humid air toward the surface. You need some sort of trigger that will start that air rising, that is associated with a cold front, and then a third ingredient is instability in the atmosphere,” he said.
“When a parcel of air starts to rise, if it’s warmer than the surrounding air, it’s going to be less dense than the surrounding air, and it will continue to rise,” McFarquhar said.
Throughout the day Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued tornado watches - a "particularly dangerous situation" - for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia.
Other agencies were issuing advisories as well. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, issued its highest threat warning - “high risk” - for parts of the South. Shortly after, the prediction center issued red-colored headlines on its advisories, noting the likelihood of “destructive tornadoes … large hail up to 4 inches in diameter … and dangerous lightning.”
Another crucial ingredient was wind shear: volatility in wind speed and direction.
"Storms happen all the time," Carbin said, "but for those storms to last, you need wind shear. If not, it will actually self-destruct. Wind shear will allow the storm to form a very efficient chimney, so to speak," he said.
On top of it all was a fast-moving storm system that raked parts of six states.
"It first showed up in Mississippi," Carbin said, "and at the same time, it wasn’t just one storm, it was five, 10, 15 erupting one after another in a 30-minute span. We know that. What we don't know is how to provide a specific pinpoint forecast of a violent tornado. That's still out of reach."
Armed with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, meteorologists in the affected regions went live with coverage of the storms’ path. But there was a major problem in getting the word out.
High winds associated with the storm had already caused power outages in several areas of the tornado zone as tree limbs snapped and power lines fell. Henson said he heard anecdotally that some NOAA weather radio transmitters were down as well, adding to the confusion.
Among the series of storms was at least one, in Smithville, Mississippi, that was an EF5. The National Weather Service in Memphis, Tennessee, said Friday the twister was Mississippi's first EF5 in more than 40 years.
An EF twister generates winds of more than 200 mph, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Soon afterward, witnesses reported tornado touchdowns in parts of Alabama.
But how could so many people perish in an event that was forecast?
"Sometimes, we assume that getting the warnings issued is the only task that needs to be done, " Henson said. "But we're seeing that even when the warnings are out, we can still have many people killed."
He said the death toll may speak more to how people live today. "You can have perfect warnings, but if people don’t act on them … and when you have an event this big, you’re going to have some casualties. The open question is: Did there have to be 300?”
"I am concerned that there are a lot of places where safe shelter is just not a priority," Henson said.
Carbin said storms need to be studied more, particularly when many factors are involved.
"Once a storm becomes part of an environment, does it enhance wind conditions or deteriorate them?" he said. "We still don’t understand all of those interactions yet."
Months of planning, media hype and plenty of speculation about the dress are over. Prince William and Catherine Middleton tied the knot at a beautiful ceremony in Westminster Abbey. If you didn't get a chance to watch the wedding, here's your front row seat to some of our favorite moments.
William's first glimpse of Kate - It's arguably the most exciting part of the wedding, where the groom sees his bride for the first time on their big day. Just take a look at Prince William's face when Catherine approaches. He looks so in love.
A federal court has given the Obama administration the go-ahead to continue embryonic stem cell research.
The controversial 2-1 decision Friday is a victory for supporters of federally funded testing for a range of diseases and illnesses.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia lifted an injunction imposed last year by a federal judge, who said all embryonic stem cell research at the National Institutes of Health amounted to destruction of embryos, in violation of congressional spending laws.
The case is Sherley v. Sebelius (10-5287).See CNN's full coverage of the court's stem cell research decision
Activists from South Korea on Friday launched balloons carrying leaflets, radios, DVDs and a thousand U.S. dollar bills into North Korea.
About 50 activists, mostly defectors from the North, launched 10 of the balloons from Imjingak, north of Seoul, the South's Yonhap news agency reported.
It was the first launch of the propaganda balloons since the North last week threatened to respond with artillery fire against the launch location, according to the Yonhap report.
The group last sent balloons over North Korea on April 15, the birthday of the North's late leader, Kim Il-sung, Yonhap reported. Those leaflets highlighted democracy movements in the Middle East and North Africa, a message designed to inspire a similar movement in North Korea
Friday's propaganda launch comes a day after President Carter returned from a visit to North Korea with word that its leader, Kim Jong Il, would hold a summit with his South Korean counterpart at any time.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is declining any official contact with the North until Pyonyang accepts responsibility for the sinking of the warship Cheonan in March 2010, which left 46 sailors dead, and the November shelling of a South Korean island in which two troops and two civilians died.
The CBS reporter spoke to The New York Times about her assault during protests in Cairo, Egypt. Logan told the paper she was in Tahrir Square on February 11, working on a story for “60 Minutes,” when she was snatched from her producer and bodyguard by a group of men. “For an extended period time, they raped me with their hands,” she said. She estimates the attack involved 200 to 300 men. Logan, who returned to work this week, will speak about her experience on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
Termites are responsible for a train crash in Taiwan that killed five Chinese tourists and injured more than 100 others, government officials said in a report on the state-run Taiwan Today website.
The accident happened Wednesday, when a 40-foot-long (12.5 meter) branch weighing one ton fell from a 90-foot-tall Mori oak tree less than 10 yards from the track of the narrow-gauge Alishan Forest Railway, striking a train and derailing four cars, according to the report.
Investigators dispatched by the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture determined that termites had eaten away the interior of the large branch, and with further stress on the tree from recent dry weather, it broke and fell on the train, the report said.
"The heavy branch fell because it was decayed inside," said one of the investigators, Wang Ya-nan, a professor at National Taiwan University, according to a report on the Focus Taiwan website.
“This natural phenomenon could not have been predicted or prevented,” the investigators said, according to Taiwan Today.
Service on the popular scenic mountain railway has been suspended for a week, Focus Taiwan said.
[Updated at 3:16 a.m. ET] More than 300 people have been killed by the wave of violent weather that has swept across the South the past two days.
Survivors told of entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble and the terror of tornadoes ripping through their homes and businesses.
Here are the voices of some survivors:
Employees huddled in a windowless break room at a CVS drug store in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as a tornado approached and a deafening roar filled the air, store manager Michael Zutell said.
A mother cradling an infant sprinted inside just before the twister hit.
"Glass is breaking. The woman with the baby is screaming. Part of the drop ceiling fell and boxes fly in," he said.
No one inside the store was injured, Zutell said. "It's mind-boggling to think you walked away."
Shortly before a massive tornado tore through her Tuscaloosa neighborhood on Wednesday, Lucy Arnold Sykes decided the weather was ominous enough to shelter her 3-year-old and 6-year-old children in a bathtub.
"I ran in with the kids and kind of joked (to my husband), 'Don't make fun of me for putting the kids in the bathtub, but I think this is serious,' " she told CNN's "The Situation Room" on Thursday. "He went out for one last look, and … he came back in with kind of a strange look on his face, and he said, 'It's right outside the door.' "
The edge of the tornado passed across the street, but the wind tore apart a corner of the house, sent a tree crashing onto the roof, broke nearly all the windows and flipped her vehicle from the curb onto her front lawn.
The family is OK and stayed with friends on Wednesday night.
"(The kids) want to know when they’re going to go back home. I don't think that will be anytime soon. We're going to be looking for a new house," she said.
Some highlights from the day's business news:
Stocks hit fresh highs as dollar weakens
U.S. stocks rose to multi-year highs on Thursday, as investors dismissed a series of mixed earnings reports as well as disappointing economic news.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72 points, or 0.6%; to close at 12,763.
Boeing led the Dow higher, with its shares rising more than 3% a day after the company reported its quarterly results. Exxon Mobil was among the biggest drag on the blue-chip index, after it reported sales that fell short of forecasts. Exxon Mobil's stock slid less than 1%.
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan broke her silence in an interview published in The New York Times Thursday about being sexually assaulted in Egypt's Tahrir Square while covering the country's political uprising.
Logan said she thought she was going to die after a group of men ripped her away from her producer and bodyguard on February 11 as she was preparing a story for "60 Minutes." They tore at her clothes and groped her body for about 40 minutes, she told the newspaper.
"For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” Logan said, estimating the attack involved 200 to 300 men. "What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence."
Logan is expected to describe the attack in greater detail on "60 Minutes" Sunday night.
The assault occurred while she and a camera crew traversed Tahrir Square to capture the celebrations after President Hosni Mubarak's announcement that he would resign.
Egyptian colleagues accompanying the camera crew heard men nearby talking about taking off Logan’s pants, the newspaper reported.
"Our local people with us said, 'We've gotta get out of here.' That was literally the moment the mob set on me."
She was separated from her producer and two locally hired drivers, Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” told the Times. Her bodyguard was only able to hold onto her for a brief period.
A group of women and about 20 Egyptian soldiers intervened to rescue the correspondent, the network said. She was flown back to the United States.
The interview marks the first time she has commented publicly about the assault, which the network reported four days after it occurred. There were no reports of arrests made in the incident.
Earlier during the Cairo protests, Logan and her crew were detained overnight and interrogated.
Logan told the Times she decided almost immediately to not keep silent about the attack and chose to speak about sexual violence on behalf of "millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse."
A tornado tore apart Reba Self's home in a matter of seconds. But, for a while, she thought she had lost much more than just a place to live.
It's an experience Self will never forget, and one that previously only existed in her nightmares.
"My dad kind of had me terrified of storms when I was a little girl, and I would get kind of nervous. But, I just thought go to the lower part of the house, it'll pass. I'm lucky to be here and so is my mom. I don't know how we lived through it, but we did."
She eventually found her mother, but her home in Ringgold, Georgia, was one of many in this small community on the Tennessee border ravaged by severe storms and tornadoes that barreled through the South this week.
Self's home was knocked off its foundation and a tree fell through the roof.
The storm seemed to pick and choose its victims. Some neighbors' homes were virtually unscathed. However, others have vanished into a pile of rubble, a mailbox the only other indication that just hours before, a house had stood there.
"You're either kin to somebody, or somebody knows you. It's a close-knit place," resident Jeff Conaway says.
Listen to the full story here: