• Sebastien may become 1st 'S' hurricane in Atlantic since Sandy

    While the clock is ticking on Tropical Storm Sebastien before wind shear takes its toll, the storm has the potential to become the seventh hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season. This image, taken on Thursday morning, Nov. 21, 2019, shows Tropical Storm Sebastien well northeast of Puerto Rico and north-northeast of the Leeward Islands over the central Atlantic. (NOAA/GOES-East) Thus far, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season has produced 20 tropical depressions, 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes as of Nov. 21. Already, this season is the most active in terms of named storms since 2012.As of early Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Sebastien had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph with higher gusts and was moving on a north to northeast trajectory at 8 mph.Sebastien, which is located about 360 miles to the north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, does not pose a threat to land. However, it won't be the storm's impacts that will be notable."The storm has the potential to become the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season just before merging with an approaching cold front late Thursday into Friday," Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather's top hurricane expert, said.If it manages to strengthen, then Sebastien will become the first "S" hurricane since Sandy in 2012.After peaking in strength before the end of the week, what is left of Sebastien will approach the Azores Saturday night and Sunday."By the time Sebastien reaches the Azores later this weekend, winds may be barely tropical storm or gale force," Kottlowski said.While there were a couple of other weak disturbances over the tropical Atlantic, tropical development is not anticipated through the end of November.Hurricane season officially ends on Nov. 30 for the Atlantic Ocean. By then, strong wind shear usually dominates the prime development areas of the basin, effectively ending the threat for tropical systems to brew.Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

  • An Alarming Discovery in an Astronaut’s Bloodstream

    Astronauts are more than cosmic travelers. In orbit around the Earth, the astronauts do the work themselves. “We were not expecting this,” says Karina Marshall-Goebel, a senior scientist at NASA and the author of the study, published earlier this month.

  • Killer of Helen McCourt to be released despite refusing to reveal location of her body

    Murderer Ian Simms can be released from jail despite his refusal to reveal the whereabouts of his victim Helen McCourt, the parole board has decided. The board accepted that the 63-year-old’s denial and refusal to reveal the location of Helen’s body not only demonstrated a lack of empathy but also continued to cause “distress and misery” to her family. However, it decided the “considerable change” in his behaviour and the fact that he had not been involved in any violence or drug misuse for many years meant he “met the test for release.” He will be released subject to a series of conditions, including to reside at a designated address, to be "of good behaviour" and to report for supervision appointments. The Parole Board said it "carefully considered" Simms' failure to disclose the location of Helen McCourt's body and concluded there is "no prospect of Simms ever disclosing the whereabouts of his victim even if he were kept in prison until he died." The decision means Simms will be released before a proposed new law, named after Helen and cracking down on killers who fail to reveal the whereabouts of bodies, can be enacted. Simms was given a life sentence in 1989, with a recommendation that he should serve at least 16 years, making him eligible for release in 2004. This was his seventh attempt to secure parole. He was convicted by a jury on overwhelming DNA evidence of the 22-year-old's abduction and murder. Helen McCourt's mother, Marie Speaking at the family home in Billinge, Merseyside, Helen's mother, Marie, shaking with anger, said she received a call this morning from her victim liaison officer at Merseyside Probation Service, and was still trying to process the news. She said: "I'm just in a state of shock to be honest. I got a call this morning and was told he was being released. I've just had some forms come through, I think that's on what grounds the Parole Board has granted him release on licence, but I don't know all the conditions. "I don't' know some people are telling me little bits and this is the wrong way to do it. I was just in shock. Well I'm still trying to deal with it. I'm horrified by it, I'm horrified by it. This man is a danger, you know." Mrs McCourt, who has campaigned relentlessly to keep Simms behind bars until he helps lead police to her daughter's body, added: "I've been fighting for this all these years and the last four years it's been going through, Helen's Law. "If Helen's Law had been on the statute books right now those judges would have to really make sure in their decision to release him that he would be safe. They would have to go into that, they would have to obey that law and it hasn't happened." She added she did not know when or where Simms would be released and had "very little to go on". The parole board disclosed it had received submissions from the Secretary of State. Earlier this month, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, had pledged to fast Helen’s law if the Conservatives won the election. The board said Simms was “so heavily invested in presenting himself” as innocent that he would avoid any behaviour “inconsistent with this presentation of himself.” Psychological assessments to guide their decision had taken account of this, said the board. This had meant that Simmons had not actually completed any accredited offending behaviour programmes because of the denial,” it added. “However, as set out by previous case law, the parole board must consider this amongst the other relevant risk factors when making its decisions and not view denial as a necessarily determining factor.”  "Taking into account the denial, the refusal to reveal where the victim's body is, all the risk factors, the progress that Mr Simms has made, the considerable change in his behaviour, the fact that he has not been involved in any violence or substance misuse for many years, his protective  factors, the recommendations from all the professionals and all the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Simms met the test for release."