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Windsock

Cyclone Marcia bears down on Australia


This infrared imagery from NASA shows the severity of tropical Cyclone Marcia as it tears towards the Queensland coast on Friday
Parts of homes on an island off the coast of central Queensland have started breaking off into the ocean and another 10,000 across the state are without power as the full force of Cyclone Marcia sets in.

Dramatic pictures show the ground eroding away on Great Keppel Island, just east of Queensland's coast, causing three entire homes to collapse as the barricades holding up the structures are swept away.

Winds of up to 200km per hour tore roofs and doors off buildings in the coastal town of Yeppoon as the storm continues to tear down the coast.

At least 10,000 homes in Yeppoon have lost power, and while the Bureau of Meteorology downgraded the cyclone's category, they warned of 'very destructive winds still expected near the centre'.

But as of 5pm on Friday, the weather bureau downgraded Cyclone Marcia to a category 2 system and expected to turn to the south-southeast. It will weaken below cyclone strength on Saturday morning.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned the damage could be extremely destructive as she said residents would experience a very 'harrowing and terrifying' couple of hours.

Arrow Down

The mysterious widening sinkhole of General Santos City in the Philippines

© Ronald Velasquez
The quay faces threat of disappearance if the underwater hole continues to eat into the shores
If the hole keeps growing bigger, it could affect more than 1,000 families living in the area

Residents here who have resisted relocation for more than 30 years now are left with no other choice but to leave the shores where many of them practically lived all their lives.

43-year-old Reynante Desidorio said he was born in Purok Tinago, a community of informal settlers in Barangay South Dadiangas, and has not known any other work but to supervise the loading and unloading of copra and other agricultural products from Balut Island in a makeshift wooden jetty near his house.

But even that quay will soon disappear if the underwater hole continues to eat into the shores and gobble their homes.
Arrow Down

Eleven killed and 30 injured when North Korean sinkhole collapses

© AFP
Farmers in a field on North Korea's west coast, April 8, 2012
Eleven people—most of them women—were killed and around 30 injured in North Korea when earth they were plowing collapsed beneath them, according to a source inside the country.

The workers had been mobilized to plow at the October 18 Jonghap Farm in Yanggang province, along the border with China, on Feb. 3 as part of an annual bid by the Kim Jong Un regime to improve acidic soil for farming, an area resident told RFA's Korean Service on condition of anonymity.

Due to low temperatures during the winter, much of the earth had been turned to ice, and the workers—from the Baek-du Youth Team, and the Baek-am Tile Works and Rural Construction Unit—had been ordered to dig until they found unfrozen soil, the source said.

However, a sinkhole had developed beneath the ice and when the workers pierced through the frozen layer of soil, the ground collapsed, burying them alive, according to the source.
Binoculars

Snowy Owl seen in Hungary for the first time since 1891

© Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society/József Mészáros and Dénes Laczik
Snowy owl
A snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) has been photographed in Hungary's southern Baranya county for the second time since records began, the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society has said. The only previous occasion the cold-loving animal has been spotted in Hungary was in 1891.

The owl was photographed at the settlement of Bóly in Baranya county, after which bird-watchers from the ornithological society travelled to the scene to verify the sighting. Subsequently, several observers arrived to the area and a large number of good-quality photographs were taken.
Question

Mystery surrounds the death of 20 mute swans in Chester-le-Street, UK

© PA
Mystery: At least 20 swans have been found dead
At least 20 swans have died mysteriously of illness or poison on the river Wear in Chester-le-Street, Co Durham, in the last month.

The RSPCA has asked the public to be vigilant after swans died on a stretch of river in the past few weeks.

It is unclear whether the birds that live on the River Wear in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, have been being deliberately or accidentally poisoned, or if they have succumbed to natural illness.

There are about 100 swans on that section of the Wear which passes through Riverside Park, and it is popular for children to feed the inquisitive swans.
Info

Lead shot legacy: Estimated 50 trumpeter swans poisoned in Carnation, Washington

© King
Trumpeter swan
What started as a few reports of dead trumpeter swans in the Snoqualmie Valley has turned into much more. Dozens of birds are dead and many more are terminally ill in an area near Carnation along the Snoqualmie River.

Experts believe it to be a massive case of lead poisoning.

A lone trumpeter swan appears perfectly fine as it floats in a Snoqualmie River side channel, but it's in serious trouble.

"The only good news is, it's not raining," said Martha Jordan, coordinator with Washington Swan Stewards.

Jordan is going after that swan like she has dozens more just like it since a lead poisoning die off began late last month.

Attention

800 dead Olive Ridley turtles found on Odisha coast, India


Dead Oliver Ridley turtles
The Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha's Kendrapara district, considered to be the largest rookery of the endangered Oliver Ridley turtles, has turned into a mass graveyard of these endangered species as hundreds of carcasses were spotted ashore.

Around 800 Olive Ridley turtles were found dead along Barunei, Pentha, Satabhaya, Gahirmatha, Babubali river mouth and other places during the ongoing mass nesting season by February 15, a forest department official said.

However, unofficial estimates put the toll over 5000, raising concern among environmentalists.
Snowflake Cold

America struck by 'Siberian Express' high-pressure system

© Kiichiro Sato/AP

Ice and snow lead to record freeze in the USA
Temperatures plummet up to 40 degrees below their normal February levels across much of eastern America

A bitterly cold chill known as the "Siberian Express" has enveloped much of eastern America, sending temperatures plummeting up to 40 degrees below their normal February levels to record lows in at least 100 places.

Southern states such as Tennessee and Kentucky suffered some of the most extreme drops on the thermometer as bone-chilling air from Siberia settled on the region after snowstorms passed through.

The relentless cold has blanketed the country's north-east for weeks, alternating heavy snowfall with spells of clear but gnawingly chilly skies.

In New York's Central Park, temperatures were expected to fall to -17C, but that was before a windchill factor with gusts that made it feel another 10 degrees colder. The city is on course for its coldest February in history.
Snowflake

Record snowfall traps İstanbul with more flights and ferries cancelled


Turkish Airlines cancelled all domestic flights in and out of Istanbul Atatürk International Airport on Thursday morning, due to heavy snowfall.
The heavy snowfall began on Tuesday, continued into Wednesday and caught over 14 million Istanbulites off guard.

Turkey's largest city İstanbul was hit by a storm that has dumped up enormous amounts of snow in some areas, wreaking havoc on roads. The depth of the snow reached its deepest on İstanbul's European side neighborhood of Çatalca at 70 centimeters.

Turkey's national carrier, the Turkish Airlines (THY), canceled its some flights on Thursday, both domestic and international, due to the two-day snowstorm. A list of canceled flights is available on the THY website. İstanbul authorities also closed some ferry lines on Thursday.
Snowflake

Monster snowfall completely buries cars and streets on Prince Edward Island, Canada

© Kathryn Reed-Garrett
Summerside PEI
OMGosh!!!! - this is Summerside PEI this morning!! photo from CBC New Brunswick pic.twitter.com/MwpUuy2h57
Snow always makes driving more difficult, but in Prince Edward Island, so much of it has fallen many people can't even find their cars.

A winter storm has dropped almost a metre of snow in the past few days, and it's often hard to see where the road ends and the ditch begins. On some rural roads, snowbanks are piled three times higher than the people standing next to them.

The Journal Pioneer reported that some residents dug an eight-metre-long tunnel to try to find their car under white stuff piled two storeys high. The island itself is nearly invisible when viewed from space, as satellite images show.
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