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Cloud Lightning

Tornado kills 3 in Virginia campground

Virginia tornado
© Jay Diem/Eastern Shore News/AP
A tractor trailer truck lies on its side in the median of US Route 13 in Cheriton, Va. while a fire engine responds to a nearby campground after a severe storm passed through the area, Thursday.
Three people died after a tornado touched down Thursday in an Eastern Shore campground, Virginia emergency officials said.

More than two dozen people were injured and were transported to area hospitals, said emergency officials responding to Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort.

More than 1,300 vacationers were at the campground when the storm hit. The tow of Cape Charles, just south of the campground, has about the same number of year-round residents.

The area around the campground where the twister touched down was under a tornado warning at the time, according to the National Weather Service. Weather service radar had shown a waterspout over Chesapeake Bay a little before 9 a.m. ET that prompted the alert.
Bizarro Earth

Swimmers banned on Lake Michigan as cold front could bring 15 foot waves

waves lake michigan

Waves Prompt Warning For Lakefront Visitors, Beach Closures. July 23, 2013 6:55 AM. Waves pound the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago.
Visitors to Chicago's lakefront on Tuesday will need to be careful, the National Weather Service is warning.

According to the NWS, swimmers should stay away from the city's beaches and runners and bicyclists using the lakefront path should be extra cautious.

A cold front and strong winds moving over the warm waters of Lake Michigan will bring "rogue" waves that could be as high as 15 feet, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The waves are dangerous in that they could sweep even experienced swimmers out into the water.

The Chicago Park District already issued swim bans at seven of the city's beaches -- all on the Far North Side -- as of Monday afternoon: Fargo, Howard, Jarvis, Juneway, Leone, Loyola and Rogers, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

The front is also bringing cooler temperatures into the city on the heels of the first heat wave of the year. The Chicago Weather Center reports Tuesday's high will only hit the upper 70s and Wednesday will be slightly cooler than that.
Alarm Clock

Fracking fears after highest number of earthquakes in a decade hits the UK

Earthquake in Kent
© Getty Images
File image from Kent earthquake in 2007
An increasing number of earthquakes have been recorded in the UK, official figures show.

The highest level of detections in the last decade is set to be registered for 2014, with 100 earthquakes already recorded in the first three months of the year and 149 in total up until July.

This compares to 154 throughout 2013, 64 in 2006 and 111 reported in 2005, 2007 and 2011.

One small tremor, which centred on Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands earlier this month.

The quake had a magnitude measuring 4.2, making it the largest in the region for almost 90 years and the tremors were felt all along the south coast of England.

The tremor was reported to have registered on British Geological Survey monitoring station equipment in Exeter, Devon.

Environmental activists fear the Government's desire to exploit shale gas reserves in rocks beneath the UK will cause small earthquakes.

But ministers believe the technique used to tap into the potential supplies - known as fracking - will bring down energy bills and create thousands of jobs.
Alarm Clock

Earthquakes are rising in Oklahoma - 2300 since January!

Oklahoma earthquake map
© USGS
Earthquakes used to be rare in Oklahoma, a handful per year or so. Not anymore. So far this year, the state has experienced some 2,300 earthquakes, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, an average of more than 11 per day.

Accordingly, the number of Oklahomans with earthquake insurance has jumped a startling 500 percent in less than three years, reports the Oklahoma Department of Insurance. While the cause of increased tremors in the Plains States remains under contention, residents, at the least, are preparing for the worst.

The state agency doesn't typically track the data and insurance companies don't report it, but "we were getting calls from around the country," says communications director Kerry Collins. So Collins called the state's top five homeowners insurance companies - accounting for more than 70 percent of the market - and estimated an average: In 2011, only 3 percent of the state's homeowners had an earthquake rider on their homeowners insurance policies; this year, 15 percent did.
Airplane

Old Mig fighters washed down the river after flood in Russian city

A powerful cyclone in Russia's Far East has caused a river in the city of Magadan to break its banks and wash away a display of old Soviet fighter jets. Some people have taken to jet skiing along the streets to get around.

Three months worth of rain fell overnight on Tuesday and turned the normally shallow Magadanka River into a torrent taking everything in its wake, from small buildings to the skeleton fighter jets, down towards the Sea of Okhotsk.

The two fighter jets were part of public display of military hardware, parked next to apartment blocks and used as a playground for local children.
Bizarro Earth

NBC News declares 'billions could starve' as America's water aquifers run dry

drought
© Unknown
In America, a crisis is unfolding right under the public's feet. Water scarcity is beginning to creep into the Texas panhandle and the breadbasket region of the United States. A valuable aquifer that once provided water security is drying up beneath farmers' feet as drought-like conditions linger.

"This country became what it became largely because we had water security," says Venki Uddameri, Ph.D., director of the Water Resources Center at Texas Tech. "That's being threatened to a large degree now."

The vital Ogallala Aquifer is drying up, putting billions of people at risk

The Ogallala Aquifer, sprawled out beneath eight states in the heart of the US, is being depleted with mathematical certainty. Spanning 111.8 million acres and 175,000 square miles, this vital aquifer feeds the sophisticated agricultural region from South Dakota through Nebraska and Kansas to the Texas panhandle.

As NBC News recently declared, "If the American Breadbasket cannot help supply ever-growing food demands, billions could starve."

"The depletion of the Ogallala is an internationally important crisis," said Burke Griggs, Ph.D., consulting professor at Stanford University, stating how populations around the world rely on the agricultural production of the breadbasket region of the US. "How individual states manage the depletion of that aquifer will obviously have international consequences."

Parts of the aquifer have already dried up and receded. A farmer in the Texas panhandle named Lucas Spinhirne attests to this. Just a decade ago, water flowed boundlessly under his farmland. By 2011, that water had all been pumped out, leaving Spinhirne only one source of water for his wheat and sorghum crops -- the rainwater from the sky.

"We try to catch anything that falls," Spinhirne said.

The Ogallala aquifer has been used up at an unsustainable pace since the early 1980s when big agriculture began using automated center pivot irrigation devices. Once farmers started putting these devices into widespread use, the Ogallala became a center for abuse, precipitously drained year after year. The Ogallala is unique; it cannot be replenished by surface water or precipitation. When it's used up, there's no more water to go around.
Bizarro Earth

Why is Wal-Mart preparing for a major earthquake on The New Madrid Fault?

Madrid Fault Line_1
© End of American Dream
Buried in a Wall Street Journal article from about a week ago was a startling piece of information. According to a Wal-Mart executive, Wal-Mart "participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line" earlier this summer.

And officials at the U.S. Geological Survey have just released a report which indicates that they believe that the New Madrid fault zone has the "potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought".

So should we be concerned? Do they know something that we don't? The USGS also says that the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern portions of the United States has quintupled over the past 30 years, and that significant earthquakes have started popping up in areas of the country that were once extremely quiet.

Along with the new report, the USGS released the following map...
Phoenix

State of emergency in Siberia's largest permafrost region because of wildfires

© Dozhd TV
States of emergency were introduced in areas of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Republic of Buryatia, and three districts of Trans-Baikal region, plus one of the Tyva Republic.
People evacuated after thunderstorms with no rain ignite foliage and forests.

More than one thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the Sakha Republic - also known as Yakutia - which is the largest region of the Russian Federation, while states of emergency are also in effect in other major regions such as Kransnoyarsk and Irkutsk.

Famed for its cold and permafrost, Sakha is now under siege from wildfires.

Vyacheslav Popov, head of the republic's Forestry Department, said: 'The area of wildfires doubled. There are 37 active wildfires in the republic right now covering the territory of 76,000 hectares. There is a threat to eight settlements in five areas of Yakutia''

Comment: See the report below for a possible explanation of what may have ignited these fires -

Colorado firefighters hampered by winds, heat -- and meteors

Binoculars

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare arctic bird spotted in Florida

© Mark Hedden
Swedish biologist Viktor Nilsson-Ortman came to Florida to collect damselfly eggs for his post doctorate research and left last week with a discovery that turned the birding world all aflutter.

On the shoreline he spotted a red-necked stint, the first time this species has been seen and documented in the Sunshine State.

"What a great find Viktor!" was the salute on limeybirder.wordpress.com.

The red-necked stint is a tiny shorebird in the sandpiper family that breeds in Siberian Asia and parts of western Alaska. It migrates thousands of miles to winter in east India and Taiwan south through Australia and New Zealand. In the continental Untied States, the species has been spotted along the Pacific coast and in New England and New Jersey. And in July 2012, a red-necked stint caused a big stir when one was discovered by a national wildlife refuge biologist in Kansas.

© Wikimedia Commons
The Distribution of the Red-necked Stint
Red Broken Lines = Estimated Range
Green = Breeding Range
Blue = Wintering Range
But never before had one been seen and documented anywhere near Florida. This bird in the Keys may have remained anonymous - perhaps to be seen only by beachgoers who had no idea what type of bird it was or the magnitude of its existence here - if not for the eagle eyes and knowledge of Ortman.
Fish

Cold-water fish of northern latitudes turns up in Irish waters

© Joe O’Shaughnessy
Fishmonger Stefan Griesbach with the Golden Red Fish in Galway. It was served to visitors to the Galway arts festival.
Golden Redfish commonly found off Iceland, Greenland and Norway

A long-living fish which prefers the chillier waters of northern latitudes has been caught by an Irish fishing vessel on the Porcupine Bank.

The golden redfish, or sebastes norvegicus, is prevalent in Iceland, and can be found along the North American coast, south of Greenland and along the Norwegian coast.

The 5.9kg specimen was caught by Aran islander Tomás Conneely of the Ocean Harvester II, a Rossaveal, Co Galway, vessel which fishes for prawns on the Porcupine.
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