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Fri, 05 Feb 2016
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Sinkhole swallows man in Lititz, Pennsylvania

A 19-year-old Lititz man was taking out the trash when he suddenly found himself below the ground.

The unidentified man did not sustain any injuries after falling onto the sinkhole Tuesday morning on the 500 block of West Second Ave in Lititz, according to borough police. The road will be closed while public works staff fixes the issue, police said.

LancasterOnline.com reported that the man fell straight down into the sinkhole, which was about 15 feet deep. The man yelled for his mother, who was inside of the house and helped pull him out of the hole, police said.

The sinkhole was likely caused by a water main break, police said. Water flow has been shut off to the area while the sinkhole and main are repaired, according to the report.

Police said there are no concerns for the stability of nearby structures, according to the report.

Snowflake Cold

Cold weather and heavy snowfall continues in Turkey; 2,500 roads closed, over 2 meter snowdrifts and minus 27 degrees Celsius recorded

Uludağ, Bursa, Turkey
Turkey grappled on Tuesday with cold weather and heavy snowfall that led to the cancellation of flights and ferries in İstanbul and that covered many provinces in the rest of the country, Cihan news agency reported on Tuesday.

The inclement weather caused a number of car accidents, and some schools were forced to close. Authorities warned drivers to take extra care due to the poor weather conditions.

Flights and ferries canceled in İstanbul

Snowfall hit İstanbul's higher elevations early on Tuesday and spread to the rest of the city by the afternoon. Teams from the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and district municipalities salted the roads as a precaution against ice. Many İstanbul residents and visitors enjoyed the snowfall in historic areas such as Sultanahmet and popular tourism spots like Taksim Square.

Turkish Airlines (THY) and the İstanbul Ferry Lines (İDO) announced on Tuesday that certain flights and ferries were canceled due to the harsh weather conditions.

İDO canceled all its intra-city ferry services in İstanbul due to sea conditions. Some of the inter-city ferries, including the Kadıköy-Yenikapı-Bursa ferry and the Yalova / Kartal ferries, were also cancelled.

THY cancelled 143 flights to and from İstanbul and warned of further disruption in the coming days, as the city braces itself for heavy snow on Wednesday.

Pegasus Airlines, Atlasglobal and Onur Air also cancelled 22, 10 and six flights, respectively, due to the snow.


Stunning sun halo appears in sky over Buddhist Temple in Wuhan, China

Residents of a regional Chinese town were left amazed by a huge, bright solar halo which seemed to crown a Buddhist temple monument.

The naturally-occurring marvel appeared above the Guiyuan Buddhist Temple in Wuhan, central China, on January 26 and lit up the sky with its colours, according to a report from People's Daily Online.

The rare 'Buddha's halo', which appears like a circular rainbow, rendered local people awe-struck and gazing up into the atmosphere.
Chinese social media lit up when a similar phenomenon appeared above Beijing in September 2015, with many not understanding it.
Solar halos, also known as 'sundogs' or 'mock suns', are caused by bright sunlight refracting through thin Cirrostratus clouds in the sky.

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SUV gets stuck in sinkhole, Pennsauken, New Jersey

An SUV got stuck in a Pennsauken sinkhole.
An SUV got stuck in a sinkhole in Pennsauken, Camden County.

The gaping hole opened around 9 p.m. Wednesday along Golf View Drive.

A water line was fractured and an SUV became submerged in the sinkhole.

The roadway was cordoned off.

Crews were able to remove the vehicle just before 10 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

Snowflake Cold

8,900 farm animals killed by cold weather in Vietnam

A buffalo is found dead due to the chill in Lao Cai Province
The number of farm animals killed in the record-low cold snap since last week rocketed to more than 8,900 - 11 times the figure released two days earlier, agriculture officials said on Wednesday.

Mountainous Son La Province replaced Quang Ninh Province in the previous report to become the hardest-hit locality with 2,756 animals frozen to death. This accounted for 38 per cent of the total.

Dead cattle, goat, horses and pigs were found across seven communes in Son La, one of which was Van Ho Commune, where snow fell for the first time in decades.

The northwestern province of Dien Bien was the second hardest-hit, with 641 out of 7,134 farm animals killed.


Second worst January for US avalanche deaths in 20 years

© Chris Leigh
An area near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where snowboarder Jed Wesley Foster, triggered an avalanche on 19 January 2015.

11 have died this month, in Washington, Colorado, Wyoming and elsewhere, due to 'poor snow structure' and increased interest in backcountry skiing

This year has been a deadly one for avalanches. Ten people have died in the past 10 days, and a total of 14 have died this snow season in the US, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. With 11 deaths this month, it's the highest death rate for January since 2008 and the second worst January in 20 years.

There were four deaths just last weekend alone, with one person killed in Washington state, two skiers killed in Wyoming and one snowmobiler killed in the Whitefish Mountains.

But the spike in fatalities has not occurred because of an increased number of avalanches, according to avalanche forecaster Spencer Logan of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The center's data shows that the number of avalanches recorded this season "are not out of the ordinary". Rather, Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center believes the high death rate is due to a "perfect storm" of conditions.

Comment: In recent weeks a giant avalanche almost buried an Alpine resort in northwest Italy, while another avalanche buried about 10 houses in Norway.


People report hearing big boom sound in South Carolina

People are calling in to our sister station's newsroom reporting vibrations from Charleston, Berkeley and Williamsburg Counties in South Carolina. In Mount Pleasant, people reported hearing a big booming sound.

In Mount Pleasant, people reported hearing a big booming sound.

Some on Daniel Island, James Island and Goose Creek said their homes shook.

This happened around 12:26 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

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Climate fraudsters exposed by new monsoon study

© Wikimedia Commons
Advancing monsoon clouds and showers in Aralvaimozhy, near Nagercoil, India.
India's monsoon is in no danger of catastrophic collapse in response to global warming and air pollution, two atmospheric scientists said today, refuting earlier predictions that the monsoon could shut down within 100 years.

The scientists at Yale University in the US who used computers to model the Earth's atmosphere, land and oceans have found that the expected changes in the monsoon will not abruptly alter their strength or their water volume.

Their results contradict earlier forecasts by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany portending frequent and severe failures and even a breakdown of the monsoon, which is critical to India's food, water resources and economy.

"Our models show that monsoon rainfall will change smoothly in response to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, air pollution, and changes in land use," William Boos, an associate professor at Yale University told The Telegraph.

"We should expect changes in the monsoon rainfall in response to changes in the global mean temperature in the coming decades, but there is no reason to expect those changes to be abrupt," Boos said.

The earlier modelling exercises had predicted that the monsoon, under the influence of global warming and air pollution, would experience a "tipping point" that would lead to a sharp drop in rainfall over India.

Boos and his colleague Trude Storelvmo have now shown that the theory and models that were used to predict such "tipping points" had omitted a key term in climate behaviour, ignoring the fact that air cools as it rises in the atmosphere.

The scientists described their results this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a US research journal.

Bizarro Earth

More mystery booms reported over New Jersey

Sonic booms were reported over southern New Jersey and along the East Coast to Long Island, New York, on Jan. 28, 2016.
At least 10 sonic booms have been reported this afternoon (Jan. 28) from southern New Jersey along the East Coast to Long Island, New York, say scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The first sonic boom was recorded at 1:24 p.m. EST (18:24:05 UTC), about 2 miles (3 kilometers) north-northeast of Hammonton, New Jersey, and 37 miles (60 km) south of Trenton, New Jersey. In the following hour and a half, seismometers picked up at least nine other sonic booms along the Eastern Seaboard all the way to Long Island, according to the USGS.

A spokesperson for the USGS said agency scientists there have no other information except that these were sonic booms and not earthquakes that were detected today.

A sonic boom occurs when an object (or an explosion) travels faster than the speed of sound (761.2 mph, or 1,225 km/h, at sea-level), sending out a shockwave that also travels faster than sound, according to John Bellini, a geophysicist with the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

The cause of today's sonic booms remains mysterious. Bellini noted, however, that if an explosion had caused these booms, someone likely would have seen it.

Cloud Precipitation

2 months' worth of rain in an hour results in flash floods, Geelong, Australia

Flash floods in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, January 2016.
A storm in Geelong, Victoria, Australia on 27 January 2016 dumped more than double the January monthly average rain on parts of the city in just 1 hour.

Avalon, a suburb of the city, recorded 72 mm of rain between 16:00 to 17:00 local time on 27 January. Geelong Racecourse recorded over 40 mm of rain between 15:00 and 17:00.

The rain caused severe flash flooding throughout the city and suburbs. Emergency services responded to over 500 requests and had to carry out 15 flood rescues.

The City of Greater Geelong said that "Yesterday's storm was considered a 1 in 100 year event with double the January monthly average rain falling in just 1 hour".

Stefan Delatovic, Manager of Emergency Management Communications for Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) said:
"This dramatic storm has been characterised as a "once in a century event", but it's important to say that this is a measure of magnitude, as in 'a storm this severe has a one-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year'. It doesn't mean another storm like this isn't expected for another 50 years. More rain is forecast for today, another storm like this could pop up anywhere in Victoria with little warning".