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Umbrella

Soudelor, strongest typhoon of the year, spins towards China, Taiwan, Japan; winds up to 220 mph

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  • Super Typhoon Soudelor underwent rapid intensification Monday and has become the strongest tropical cyclone on Earth so far in 2015.
  • Soudelor is expected to continue to track to the west-northwest the next several days over open waters of the western Pacific Ocean.
  • This track may bring it near Japan's far southwest Ryukyu Islands, including Ishigakijima and Miyakojima, as well as Taiwan and eastern China late this week.
  • Soudelor is expected to weaken as it approaches these areas, but it may still be a strong, formidable typhoon.
Soudelor is intensifying rapidly over the western Pacific Ocean after raking through Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth in the northern Mariana Islands, Sunday night and early Monday.

Super Typhoon Soudelor became the fifth super typhoon of this year Monday after undergoing a replacement of its eyewall, a process which occurs in all intense tropical cyclones. A super typhoon is defined by sustained wind speeds of at least 150 mph.


According to Monday's 5 p.m. EDT bulletin from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Soudelor had strengthened into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (one-minute average) with gusts to 220 mph.

Soudelor has maintained its strength and as of 11 p.m. EDT Monday, Soudelor continues to have maximum sustained winds of 180 mph and some additional strengthening is possible.

Low wind shear and very warm sea surface temperatures have allowed Soudelor to ramp up quickly; the cyclone was just a minimal typhoon 36 hours earlier.

Fire

Wildfires continue to destroy California - 60,000 acres burn, more than 13,000 evacuated

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© AP/Jeff Chiu
Thousands of people were ordered out of their homes Monday after wind-whipped wildfires burned dozens of buildings across northern California.

Described as "unprecedented" by authorities, the largest blaze — which is known as the Rocky Fire — had torn across Lake County, north of San Francisco, growing to almost 60,000 acres, or 93 square miles, by Monday afternoon, CalFire spokesman Officer Daniel Berlant said.

Describing the fire as "erratic" and "destructive," Berlant said that "it is burning in whatever direction it wants to."


At one point on Monday afternoon, the fire even jumped the highway along its northern border.

Even so, the nearly 3,000 firefighters who are battling the blaze have made some progress, Berlant added, increasing the fire containment area from five percent o to 12.

Comment: Rapidly growing wildfire burns unchecked in Northern California


Cloud Lightning

Giant crater left behind after lightning strikes underground fuel tank

FAIRFIELD, Ohio —A giant crater was left behind after a lightning strike Monday evening caused an explosion of an underground fuel storage tank near Dixie Highway.

Police said told WLWT that lightning struck and ignited a 10,000 gallon underground fuel storage tank at the Gas Depot at 4871 Dixie Highway.

The blast left behind a crater 40 feet in diameter by 8 feet deep. Firefighters said there were two customers at the station when the bolt hit, but luckily no one was pumping gas at the time.

"Very loud! Like I said, the concussion when I was sitting there, it threw me back and I looked up and saw as soon as it came up there was an instant puff of black smoke that came up and I knew it was close," said Roger Tucker, who watched from his porch about a half a mile away.

Even seasoned firefighters were wowed after they say lightning hit the fill dome of a 10,000 gallon underground diesel fuel tank at Fairfield's Gas Depot.

"I can tell you in my 45 year career, I have never seen anything like this. Underground storage tanks are put there to reduce the potential for fire," said Fairfield Fire Chief Donald Bennett.

Comment: There seems to be an increase in underground explosions and wildfires recently. As well as apartment building, wood flour mill, industrial plant, transformer, boat, car explosions and the unexplained explosion on a Rhode Island beach.

Could some of these have been 'sparked' by the increase in atmospheric electric discharge events - which in this case manifested as a lightning strike?

Could some of these other incidents be related to increased 'outgassing' as Earth 'opens up' from a build up of methane and other gases from deep below the planet's surface?

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


Binoculars

Lost Tropical Kingbird turns up far north of normal range, near Savage, Minnesota

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© Ron Taube
Tropical kingbird photographed in Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Savage. Likely the first seen in Minnesota.
Recently on the Minnesota Ornithological Union's rare bird alert a tropical kingbird was reported. To my knowledge, this was the first reporting of this bird in Minnesota's history.

It was spotted by a keen observer down in the Murphy-Hanrehan Park, part of the Three Rivers Park district in Savage, Minnesota. The tropical kingbird is most often seen in Texas, Arizona and in Central and South America. No one really knows what it is doing so far out of its area, but nevertheless, it is here.

After going down to Murphy-Hanrehan once and failing to find the bird my wife, Carolyn, and I went down again a few days later to try again. I read several reports of its sightings, and it seemed that you had your best chance early in the morning or from 6 p.m. on, so we timed our visit to arrive in the evening.

The tropical kingbird is between 8 1/2 and 9 inches long. It has a pale gray head with a darkened mask-like area around its eyes and a gray bill. The back is gray-green and it has a forked tail. The throat is grayish and then beneath that is an olive yellow that turns into yellow on the belly and on down.

Wolf

Dog attacks on the rise in New Zealand

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© AFP
The Association of Plastic surgeons looked at ACC claims from 2004 to 2014 and said the number of attacks increased each year.

The study found almost 6000 of those bitten by dogs were admitted to hospital - a rate of almost two a day. More than a third of them are children, with mostly facial injuries.

Plastic surgeon Dr Zachary Moaveni said about 70 percent of attacks occured on private properties.

He said children under 10, Maori and Pacific Islanders and people who lived in low socio-economic areas were more likely to be attacked.

Attention

Man attacked by bear at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

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A man was attacked by a bear at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, suffering minor injuries.

KOMO-TV reports the attack happened around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday on the base near Tacoma, Washington. Officials said the man, a civilian, was attacked while walking in a restricted area. He sustained only some scratches.

Officials are now looking into why the man was there. They're also looking for the animal that attacked him.

Bears are common in the area. In April, Washington state wildlife agents shot and killed a black bear at the base, a week after a bear attacked a civilian base employee. That employee, who was attacked while he was running with his dog on the base, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Source: The Associated Press

Comment: It seems that the local bears just don't take kindly to humans in the vicinity of this military installation, see also: Man survives second bear attack in 4 years at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington: 'I just had this deja vu'


Attention

Dead whale found on beach in Pacifica, California: 3rd since mid-April

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© KGO-TV
A whale washed up on Esplanade Beach in Pacifica, Calif. on Sunday, August 2, 2015.
Another dead whale has washed up on a beach in Pacifica. Biologists have not yet identified what species of whale it is.

Biologist says dead whale that washed ashore has shark bites, but likely not the cause of death. #Pacifica #mapit pic.twitter.com/s55Lxiww5I
— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) August 3, 2015

A dog walker discovered the large marine mammal on the beach along Esplanade Avenue around 6 a.m. Sunday.

Comment: See also: Dead sperm whale found on beach in Pacifica, California

Second dead whale found at Pacifica, California within 3 weeks


Cloud Precipitation

Monsoonal rains leaves thousands stranded and 27 dead in Myanmar flooding: toll expected to rise

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An aerial view of Kalay, Sagaing Region in Upper Myanmar. Western Rakhine and Chin states are among the four worst affected areas by the monsoon
Monsoonal rains have caused severe flooding across Myanmar, killing at least 27 people.

The death toll of 27 has not been updated since Thursday due to disrupted communications, and this figure is expected to increase.

Rescue efforts are underway, but Myanmar authorities and aid groups are 'struggling to access flood-hit areas' a director at the social welfare ministry said, the ABC reported.

Over 156,000 people have been affected by the floods, strong winds and resulting landslides.

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Residents paddle through floodwater in Kalay, carrying necessities


Arrow Down

Road collapse into river filmed in China following thunderstorms, gales and hailstorm

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China's meteorological authority issued a blue alert for 24 hours
Video from China's Shanxi Province shows the moment a road collapsed and plunged into a river, sending several parked cars into the muddy water below following torrential downpours in the region.

The video emerged after China's meteorological authority issued a blue alert for 24 hours, warning of possible thunderstorms, gales and hailstorms in northern and some southern regions of the country.

Heavy rain swept parts of Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning and Yunnan provinces.

No one was injured following the collapse of the road in Shanxi, which shows cars hanging perilously on the side of the river bank following the collapse of the road.


Snowflake Cold

Melbourne in Australia experiences coldest July in 20 years

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© Russell Phillips
It was so cold in Croydon, in Melbourne's east, that even birdbaths were freezing over.
A continuous series of cold fronts and brisk north-westerly winds have contributed to the coldest July in Melbourne in two decades, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

The average top temperature was 13.3 degrees Celsius in July, the lowest mark since 1995, when it was 12.9C.

Temperatures were consistently 1C below the normal average maximum temperature across the state.


The mercury dropped as low as minus 6C in Bendigo.

Melbourne had its coldest morning in 18 years on July 19, when the mercury dropped to just 0.6C in the city.