Earth Changes


Sinkhole plagues motorists in museum district of Richmond, Virginia

Here is a heads up for bikers and drivers traveling along North Belmont Avenue in the city. There are bright orange cones and barrels are surrounding a sinkhole.

Neighbor Judy Dart did not realize how bad it was until Sunday when she spotted a biker stopped in the area.

She went over because she thought he had been hurt.

"He said he was putting a cone there because there was a big hole, so I went over to see" Dart explained.

That's why she contacted the city.

Dart says like that biker, her husband also placed cones around the sinkhole to alert others.

"My concern is traffic coming down the street and someone hitting it and that could possibly hurt somebody" Dart said.

Treyvon Miller works at a nearby restaurant and tells us he has heard customers talking about the sinkhole.

"I don't really drive but I have noticed it. It's bad. I think they need to fix something like that immediately" Miller said.

CBS 6 contacted Richmond's Department of Public utilities to find out when the work will be done. No one responded to our calls.


First day of Spring brings blanket of snow to Northern Virginia, Massachusetts

© Accuweather/junebug
A storm spreading rain across the South this week will take a northward jog and spread snow to part of the Interstate-95 and I-81 corridors of the Northeast on Friday.

Spring officially arrives on Friday, March 20, at 6:45 p.m. EDT, but Old Man Winter may have the last laugh.

Colder air will invade the Northeast during the middle days of the week, and the atmosphere is likely to remain just cold enough for some wet snow before the week draws to a close.
Despite the colder air, temperatures will be marginal for the storm with a close call between rain and snow along the I-95 corridor in the mid-Atlantic, Long Island and along the southern coast of New England. Much of the snow that falls in this area may melt on roads. However, there will be some exceptions.

A wintry mix of rain and snow is most likely in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware, and Trenton, New Jersey. The storm is likely to impact travel in this area, including the potential for flight delays due to poor visibility and deicing operations. Motorists and pedestrians should be prepared for delays on Friday.

Areas farther north such as Harrisburg, Allentown and Scranton, Pennsylvania; New York City and White Plains, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Boston are likely to be cold enough for all or mostly snow. Airline delays due to deicing and poor visibility are likely in the New York City area and perhaps as far north as Boston. Most areas within this swath will receive 1-3 inches of snow with the greatest amount on non-paved surfaces.

Comment: See the latest SOTT video summary on the extreme weather we are having on the planet.

Ice Cube

As snowfall records are set, ferry becomes stuck in sea ice off Nova Scotia

© Twitter/@MAFerries
The MV Highlanders pictured from a Canadian Coast Guard vessel in Cabot Strait on March 17, 2015.
While the all-time snowfall record in Boston may have received most of the media attention in the U.S., Canada has had its fair share of unusually severe winter weather this season as well.

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland have been slammed by back-to-back-to-back-to-back (you get the point) severe winter storms, producing a broad area of sea ice cover and mountainous snowbanks along the streets of cities such as Charlottetown and Saint John.

A Marine Atlantic passenger ferry with 190 people aboard was stuck in pack ice off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday, with Canadian Coast Guard ships trying to free the vessel. According to the Canadian Press, the MV Highlanders ran into heavy ice on Monday night, after leaving North Sydney, Nova Scotia, for Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.
#CCG Louis S St-Laurent assisting MV Highlanders and Blue Puttees in Cabot Strait. Slow progress in very thick #ice.

— DFO_NL (@DFO_NL) March 17, 2015

In a statement to passengers, Marine Atlantic warned of travel delays.

Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.2 - 82km NNW of Talcahuano, Chile

Event Time
  1. 2015-03-18 18:27:28 (UTC)
  2. Times in other timezones
Nearby Cities
  1. 82km (51mi) NNW of Talcahuano, Chile
  2. 83km (52mi) NW of Tome, Chile
  3. 91km (57mi) NW of Penco, Chile
  4. 96km (60mi) NNW of Concepcion, Chile
  5. 400km (249mi) SW of Santiago, Chile
Scientific Data


Large fish kill and dolphin stranding reported on Outer Banks beaches, North Carolina

© Corolla Beach Music
Dead dolphin.
A large number of dead fish and a dead dolphin have washed up on the beaches of the Outer Banks over the past few days.

Locals have reported that the stretch of dead fish runs for approximately three miles in the Corolla area.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources manages fish kill activity in the state.

Environmental Senior Specialist Jill Paxson with the Division of Water Resources says she hasn't seen the fish kill nor gotten reports of it, but says they are typically caused by one of two factors.


Spectacular lost hummingbird rediscovered after 69 years in Colombia

© Carlos Julio Rojas (ProAves)
Blue-bearded Helmetcrest was recently split from the other forms of helmetcrest, becoming a seriously endangered full species.
Conservationists Carlos Julio Rojas and Cristian Vásquez were trekking through the high altitude wetlands of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta when they were stopped in their tracks by a rare and beautiful find.

Given their location in the coastal range home to the "Lost City" (and many yet to be discovered archeological sites), these biologists working at the Reserva Natural de Aves 'El Dorado,' a scientific research station of the ProAves Foundation, managed to capture with a camera the Colibrí Barbudito Azul, or Blue-bearded Helmetcrest.

For bird lovers around the world, the spotting of a Blue-bearded Helmetcrest is important news, as the last time this hummingbird was seen by humans, was back in 1946.

"I saw the flash of a bird screeching past me and it perched on a bush nearby. I managed to take a quick photo of it before it flew off. I then reviewed the photo in the camera and immediately recognized the strikingly-patterned hummingbird as the long-lost Blue-bearded Helmetcrest," explains Cristian.

Cloud Lightning

Car explodes after freak lightning strike ignites nearby gas mains in Canberra, Australia

© Sarah Groube
The car was hit by lightning above a gas rupture on Dryandra Street, O'Connor.
A man has escaped serious injury after his car burst into flames following a freak lightning strike near a gas main in Canberra's north.

The fire began after lightning struck on Dryandra Street in Canberra's north during a short thunderstorm over the ACT about 8:00am.

Shortly after the lightning strike a car on the street burst into flames.

Firefighter Danny Brighenti said crews at the scene were initially puzzled by the blaze, which kept reigniting.

"They believed there was a ruptured fuel tank which was causing the car to reignite," he said.

He said on closer inspection, once the fire died down, it was revealed a gas main had ruptured near the car.

Nearby resident Sarah Groubes: "As we turned around the corner onto Dryandra Street we just saw this fireball on the side of the road."

Commander Brighenti said the cause of the gas leak was unclear.

He said scenarios in which cars were struck by lightning were rare, and it was possible a tree nearby was actually struck.

He said it was also unclear whether the car that caught fire was parked or moving along the road at the time of the lightning strike.

"On arrival the person had got out of the vehicle, but the car was heavily involved in fire with the surrounding trees and bushes," Commander Brighenti said.

"They're not injured ... but the car is totally destroyed."

A mountain bike and an iPhone inside the car were also destroyed.

Comment: Elsewhere today, six teenagers were tragically killed in India by lightning after "great bolts of lightning cut through the sky", and
six construction workers were killed after being struck by lightning in South Africa.

See also: SOTT Exclusive: Solar System grounding:Transformer explosions and electrical anomalies


Northern Lights head south: Geomagnetic storm reveals aurora borealis in Central Russia

© RIA Novosti/Igor Podgornyi
Aurora in Mikhailovsky District of the Ryazan Region.
An abnormal atmospheric phenomenon was visible throughout the relevantly low latitude of central Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg on Tuesday. A powerful geomagnetic storm promises to continue for a second day, also including an aurora.

Witnesses and amateur astronomers have been busily posting photos and videos of this atmospheric event - so rarely seen in Central Russia - on blogs and social media.

As a rule, the aurora borealis is visible in regions close or above the Polar Circle, for example in Russia's Arctic city of Murmansk.
But sometimes extremely powerful solar flares cause this atmospheric phenomenon to be visible in much lower altitudes, as is the case now.

Arrow Down

One mile of road closed due to large sinkhole in Oakfield Township, Michigan

A section of a road west of Greenville will remain closed until mid-summer after a pipe collapsed and caused a large sinkhole.

Podunk Avenue was shut down between 13 Mile Road and 14 Mile Road over Wabasis Creek in Oakfield Township Friday after this sinkhole appeared, according to Jerry Byrne, who is the Kent County Road Commission's deputy managing director of operations.

Byrne told 24 Hour News 8 a large, corrugated metal pipe rusted through and collapsed. It will be replaced by a concrete culvert, which should last longer than the metal pipe.

The section of Podunk Avenue will remain closed until mid-summer because the Kent County Road Commission needs permits from the Department of Environmental Quality. They also have to wait for water levels on Wabasis Creek to recede, Byrne said.

The collapsed culvert was inspected with in the last few years, Byrne said, however - while some issues were noted - inspectors did not expect it to collapse.


California in severe drought - State approves sweeping water restrictions

California officials approved a package of far-reaching water restrictions Tuesday, limiting homes and businesses in much of the Bay Area and elsewhere to just two days of outdoor watering per week while cracking down on the way restaurants and hotels use water.

The rules mark unprecedented territory for the state, which has historically let local water agencies, with their unique supplies and demands, manage how customers use water. But with California poised for a fourth year of drought and conservation lagging, officials opted for statewide action.

The regulations, carrying fines up to $500, add to restrictions put in place last year that rein in outdoor water use — for example, barring people from hosing down driveways. The new terms tread deeper into homes, businesses and the lives of most Californians, and are indicative of the state's worsening water woes.

"We are not seeing the stepping up and the ringing of alarm bells that the situation warrants," said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, which voted unanimously for Tuesday's conservation mandates.

The regulations require local water agencies that don't already limit outdoor watering to certain days of the week to adopt a two-day-a-week policy. Among the Bay Area agencies that would have to impose the two-day limit are the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, serving the city's more than 800,000 residents, as well as the Marin Municipal Water District and Contra Costa Water District. Agencies outside San Francisco that buy water from the SFPUC — including on the Peninsula and in parts of the East Bay — are affected only if they do not already impose watering limits.