Earth Changes

Cloud Grey

U.S. study finds tornadoes coming in 'swarms' rather than isolated occurrences

© Reuters/Gene Blevins
A severe thunderstorm wall cloud is seen over the area of Canton, Mississippi in this April 29, 2014 file photo.
Tornadoes in the United States are increasingly coming in swarms rather than as isolated twisters, according to a study by U.S. government meteorologists published on Thursday that illustrates another trend toward extreme weather emerging in recent years.

Looking at tornado activity over the past six decades, the study in the journal Science found the total number of tornadoes annually remaining rather steady, averaging 495. Since the 1970s, there have been fewer days with tornadoes but plenty more days with many of them, sometimes dozens or more.

On the list of the 10 single days with the most tornadoes since 1954, eight have occurred since 1999, including five since 2011. That year alone had days with 115, 73, 53 and 52 twisters.

The meteorologist who led the study, Harold Brooks of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, said emergency management agencies and insurers should be prepared to deal more often with days with lots of tornado damage.
Black Cat 2

Bobcat attacks and kills family dog in Ahwatukee, Arizona

Spotting a bobcat in the desert or the mountains is cool but not in your own neighborhood.

In one Ahwatukee neighborhood, this is too close for comfort.

A bobcat was sighted near homes and may be responsible for attacking and killing a beloved pet.

Neighbors got a picture of a bobcat up in a tree in an Ahwatukee Foothills Neighborhood.

It may be the bobcat that attacked Marie Parsey's little Pomeranian Griffey.

Last week her husband let Griffey out in the back yard, when he didn't come back after five minutes her husband John went outside, and he was attacked by something large.

Bear mauls Armenian man

A bear attacked a resident of the Armenian city of Noyemberyan when the man was searching for lost calves.

Samvel Mamyan was hospitalized with wounds on his body, head, legs and hands, a representative of Noyemberyan medical center told Armenian

"He received outpatient treatment and was vaccinated against rabies. Samvel was discharged from hospital and will continue to be treated at home," said Daniel Amirakyan, the head of the surgery department.

The incident took place in a pasture located away from the city Noyemberyan on Tuesday morning. Samvel Mamyan came across a bear while searching for lost calves. Samvel's dog attacked the bear, and he escaped.

"Thanks to his dog, Samvel was not wounded severely," Amirakyan added.

Beached pygmy whale on Indian Shores beach euthanized, Florida

Wildlife officials had to euthanized an ill whale that was beached Tuesday morning on Indian Shores beach.
Wildlife officials had to euthanized an ill whale that was beached Tuesday morning on Indian Shores beach.

The 6½-foot-long Kogia pygmy sperm whale had several small shark bites, but the reason for its condition was unknown, said Kelly Richmond, a spokeswoman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Richmond said the female whale was lethargic and thin for its size.

A necropsy was planned.

The FWC received a call about the whale at 7:51 a.m. and biologists were dispatched by 8:30 a.m. to assess the animal's condition, Richmond said.

Onlookers on the beach gathered to observe as marine experts from the commission and Clearwater Marine Aquarium tended to the whale for about two hours.

It was later determined the animal could not be saved.

Early winter falls on Oslo, Norway

© Via Twitter@TrekEarth
Snow in Oslo, Norway, on Oct. 16, 2014.
Oslo, Norway, had an early taste of winter on Thursday as snow returned.

Snow began mixing with rain early Thursday morning in Oslo and continued to do so through early Friday morning.

With temperatures at or slightly above freezing, it was a wet snow that fell.

Views and News from Norway reported that snow covered the ground in the hills around Oslo Thursday morning, while the four-lane E6 highway between Oslo and Moss turned white.

Thursday marked Oslo's first occurrence of snow since early May and the city's coldest day since early April. Temperatures were held to only 2.3 C (36 F).

"The combination of a slow-moving storm system and cold air pulled in on the backside of another storm that brought snow to Moscow on Thursday led to the snow in Oslo," stated Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

Children and residents should not get ready to spend the weekend making snowmen or shoveling driveways.

The Netherlands: 'Historically hot' weekend

Saturday and Sunday will be warm with temperatures in the south east of the country reaching 23 to 24 degrees, according to RTL Nieuws.

Saturday may see the highest temperatures for October 18 since measuring began in 1901, RTL writes. In 1921 De Bilt registered 22.9 degrees and 19.7 in 1997.
Arrow Down

Surrounding volcanoes pose threat to Sendai nuclear plant, yet Japan plans to restart the reactor

Mt Ontake
© Reuters/Kyodo
Volcanic smoke rise from Mt. Ontake, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures, central Japan, September 30, 2014.
A Japanese volcanologist has refuted early claims that two nuclear reactors stationed near a hotbed of volcanic activity were safe, stating that it is impossible to predict an eruption accurately outside the time span of a few days.

The Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan could quite easily be the source of a national disaster should a cauldron eruption take place at one of the surrounding volcanoes posing an immediate threat to the site, Toshitsugu Fujii, head of a government-commissioned panel on volcanic eruption prediction told a press briefing on Friday.

"It is simply impossible to predict an eruption over the next 30 to 40 years," Fujii said. "The level of predictability is extremely limited." He added that prediction can happen only in the space of hours or days.

His statements contradict those of nuclear regulators who last month said that the two Sendai nuclear reactors were functioning within the nuclear safety regulations laid out in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Bear sightings set record pace across Japan, raising danger of encounters

© Kamaishi city
An Asiatic black bear seen near a human settlement in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, in June
A spike in bear sightings across Japan including western Tokyo has some experts raising the alarm, following a recent attack on elderly field workers in Iwate Prefecture.

The increase has been particularly high in the mountainous Tohoku region and in some parts of western Tokyo.

On Sept. 12, three men and women in their 60s and 70s who were working in fields near their homes in Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, were assaulted by an Asiatic black bear.

The encounter left them with injuries including scratches on their faces and backs.

Prior to the incident, the prefectural government issued bear warnings for the first time in eight years. According to the prefecture's nature preservation division, bears were spotted in 12 cases as of Sept. 19 this fiscal year, which ends in March 2015.
Arrow Down

Huge sinkhole opened up in Asheville, North Carolina

© Katie Bailey
A large sinkhole opened up Wednesday in the parking lot at the Buncombe County Planning and Development building on S. Charlotte Street.
A sinkhole the size of a pickup truck opened up overnight Wednesday on a county-owned parking lot behind the former TK Tripps restaurant at College and South Charlotte streets.

Heavy rains Tuesday apparently opened up the crater, according to local developer Rusty Pulliam, who with a partner is building a retail/office complex on the site.

Workers about two months ago discovered a drainage pipe installed in 1922 on their property and the county lot, and they are working with the city to relocate it so it will drain to South Charlotte Street, Pulliam said.

"Some sections of it are 40 feet deep, and some of it had collapsed," he said.

The city had agreed to pay for half the cost of relocating the pipe, which appears to carry a stream, but the county has not taken any action, Pulliam said.

Early October snowfall on the Big Island of Hawaii

Here is something you don't see every day, a satellite image showing a sizable amount of snow cover on the big island of Hawaii. While snowfall on the big island is nothing new, commonly seen on the mountains on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, (top and bottom arrows respectively in the photo) seeing snow this early in the season on the mounatins is somewhat rare.
McIDAS images of GOES-15 (GOES-West) 6.5 µm water vapor channel data showed an upper-level low that moved from east to west over the Hawaiian Islands during the 13 October - 14 October 2014 period. This low forced the development of widespread showers and thunderstorms, especially over the Big Island of Hawai'i - and even produced some snowfall in the highest elevations around the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.