Ice Friday. As snow and freezing rain blanket normally sun-swept North Texas, residents accustomed to warmer temperatures are staying off nearly impassable roadways and out of the skin-stinging cold. Earlier this week, many in Texas were basking in spring-like temperatures hitting the 80s. But by Thursday, Texas was facing the same wintry blast that’s hitting much of the United States, bringing frigid temperatures, ice, and snow. The National Weather Service issued winter storm and ice warnings through much of Friday for parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. Some parts of the Midwest expected several inches of snow. The storm stretched from South Texas, where anxious residents bagged outdoor plants to protect them from the cold, up into northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes.
On second thought. The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama briefly lived with an uncle whom his spokespeople previously claimed the president never met. The uncle, a 69-year-old Kenyan-born man known as Omar Obama, was granted permission this week to stay in the United States after ignoring a deportation order two decades ago. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that when the case first arose, officials looked for records of a meeting, but never directly asked the president. The uncle recently made statements saying his nephew stayed with him briefly during law school, which the president confirmed to Carney. After that, uncle and nephew saw each other once every few months. After the president finished law school, they fell out of touch. “The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years and has not spoken with him in roughly 10 years,” Carney said.
Back in the NYPD saddle. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has chosen veteran police commissioner William Bratton to lead the New York Police Department once again. Bratton was police commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani from 1994 to 1996. He served as head of the Los Angeles Police Department from 2002 to 2009 and has led the Boston Police Department and the New York City Transit Police. He has been working at private security firms since 2009. Bratton inherits a department under intense scrutiny for its use of “stop and frisk,” a policing tactic he has utilized in every stop in his decorated career. It allows police to stop anyone acting suspicious. Supporters of the tactic, like outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and outgoing Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, believe it has driven down crime, while its critics believe it unfairly targets minorities and has splintered relations between police and minority communities.
Swim away. Dozens of stranded whales in Florida’s Everglades National Park have started swimming back to safety. On Wednesday, National Park Service workers and volunteers succeeded only in getting the whales to swim a half a mile from where they were found in shallow waters Tuesday. The workers have physically pulled several whales from the sands of the remote Highlands Beach. They also formed a semi-circle around the pod with boats and banged their vessels with anchor chains in attempt to herd the animals farther offshore. Overnight Wednesday, the whales moved to deeper water, and by late Thursday they were nine miles out from the shore. Workers have positioned boats to prevent the whales from backtracking, and a Coast Guard cutter is following the group.