Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Massachusetts man shocked he survived lightning strike

© CBS News
Bruno DiFilippo
A Plymouth man is shocked that he survived a lightning strike Wednesday. "I just saw a big flash," Bruno DiFilippo told WBZ-TV a day later. "I look down and I saw these blue sparks come out of my ankles and it went about five, ten feet."

The lightning bolt went in his shoulder and out his ankles as he was holding a hose outside his home. His girlfriend witnessed the terrifying scene. "All of a sudden I see him kind of jolt, his eyes turn bright red, he lit up like a Christmas tree," Lisa Rengucci said. "He shook just a tad, and he's talking the whole time, and he says, 'I think I was just zapped!'"

EMTs took Bruno to the hospital after the lightning strike. Even though the electricity shot out of his ankles, it left a mark only for a short time.

The diagnosis? "I am a really lucky man," he said. Asked what kind of vitamins he takes, he told WBZ: "Espresso."
Snowflake Cold

New Yorkers experience coldest summer in a decade

© NYpost/Anthony J. Causi
The Coney Island boardwalk.
The summer of 2014 has been one of the mildest on the books - and could be the first summer in a decade without a heatwave.

"It wasn't clear if it was going to be a hot or a cool summer," said National Weather Service meteorologist David Stark. "We started out the year very cool and it seems like we just continued that. It doesn't look like we have any heat waves in the near future."

Instead of searching for the skimpiest outfits to battle the sizzling sun, New Yorkers are reaching for their sweatshirts.

"It's been so much colder this summer," said Susan Vartholomatos, 51, who broke out her bikini for a beach day Friday afternoon. "In the morning, when I go out to my terrace, I need a sweatshirt."

Vartholomatos said she wishes it was hotter, adding "I'd take heat and humidity over snow any day."

Only four days have hit 90 degrees this summer, three in July and one in August, with the hottest temperature on the books clocking in at 91.

Biggest and brightest supermoon of the year this weekend

© CBSMiami/Dave Game
South Florida is in for a celestial treat this weekend when the second of three supermoons this summer will be visible.

The full moon on August 10th isn't like any other full moon we've seen this year. This is a "Supermoon," the closest and largest full moon in 2014.

When the moon is full as it makes its closest pass to Earth, it becomes a "Supermoon," and will be up to 31,000 miles closer to Earth than other full moons this year.

According to NASA, this full moon will be 14-percent closer and 30-percent brighter than other full moons of the year.

The scientific term for the phenomenon is "perigee moon" or the point when the Moon is closest to the Earth in its monthly orbit.

The moon will appear much larger than normal, especially on the horizon.
Cloud Lightning

Powerful 'dark lightning' flash unleashed from Pacific storm Julio

© (Photo Credit: Image : NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team)
On Aug. 6 at 22:30 UTC (6:30 p.m. EDT) NASA's Aqua satellite passed over Hurricanes Iselle (right) and Julio (left) approaching Hawaii. This image was created using three satellite passes.
Before the Hawaii-bound storm Julio strengthened into a hurricane, a NASA satellite spotted a high-energy flash of "dark lightning" coming from the swirling clouds.

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is designed to detect the brightest explosions in the universe - gamma-rays emitted from sources like supermassive black holes or stars that go supernova. But gamma-rays, which are invisible to the naked eye and last only a few thousandths of a second, can also come from sources on Earth.

On Monday (Aug. 4) at 4:19 a.m. EDT (0819 GMT), when Julio was still a fledgling tropical storm hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico, Fermi witnessed what's known as a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) above the clouds, according to NASA. [Elves, Sprites & Blue Jets: Photos of Earth's Weirdest Lightning]

Comment: Read Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's new book, which offers plenty of explanations from the winning Electric Universe model; demystifying increasingly common phenomena such as lightning, earthquakes, volcanic activity, sinkholes and other earth changes!


Two new species of venomous jellyfish found off Australia coast

Two new species of extremely poisonous jellyfish have been found off the coast of northwest Australia. Irukandji jellyfish are normally the size of a fingernail, but one of the specimens is the length of an arm.

The smaller of the two is the Malo bella, which was found near Exmouth. The larger one, the Keesingia gigas, was caught in a fishing net off Shark Bay further to the south.

The discovery - which was made by Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a CSIRO scientist and director of Marine Stinger Advisory Services - brings the number of Irukandji species found globally to 16, nine of which are in Australian waters. Until now, there were only two species of jellyfish found off Western Australia.

The Keesingia gigas is the length of an arm and can cause the potentially fatal Irunkandji syndrome - resulting in pain, vomiting, nausea, and in extreme cases stroke and heart failure.

Gershwin said the existence of the larger Keesingia gigas was previously known, but until now it had never been officially classified.

"It is absolutely humungous - the body is about 30 to 50 centimeters tall and that's not including the tentacles. It's an absolute whopper of a jellyfish," she told ABC Australia.
Bizarro Earth

Millions of jellyfish-like creatures invading west coast beaches from Oregon to California

© Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images
Millions of jellyfish-like sea creatures are invading west coast beaches stretching from Oregon to California.

LiveScience reports these "by-the-wind-sailors" typically live in the open ocean but when warm water and storms draw them near the shore, the wind blows them onto beaches where they die in stinking piles.

The scientific name for these creatures is Velella velella, and they are not jellyfish; they are free-floating hydrozoans. They do not sting humans but experts say you should not touch your face or eyes after handling them.

Researchers say that each apparent individual Velella velella is in fact a hydroid colony, and most are less than about 7 centimeters long.

"They sit at the surface of the ocean and have little sails and their movement depends on which way the wind is blowing," Richard Brodeur, a fishery biologist at NOAA Fisheries' Newport, Oregon, research station told LiveScience.

Comment: Mysterious jellyfish-like creature washing up on California coast


Hawaii, which hasn't been directly hit by a hurricane in 22 years, braces for double whammy of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio to make landfall

© Reuters / NASA
Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio (R) are pictured en route to Hawaii in this August 5, 2014 NASA handout satellite image. Hurricane Iselle is expected to make landfall on Hawaii August 7, 2014.
The Big Island of Hawai'i is bracing for a double whammy of hurricanes to make landfall between Thursday and Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The last time the archipelago took a direct hit from a hurricane was 1992.

Iselle, a Category 1 storm, is forecast to arrive on Hawai'i Thursday night local time, then weaken and continue on to the rest of the islands by Friday, according to The storm defied expectations that it would weaken to a tropical storm over the course of the day Wednesday. Iselle is roughly 300 miles east-southeast of Hilo, on the island's eastern corner. It is moving quickly, at 15-20 mph.

"The real effects will probably be felt on the Big Island starting around noon" (6 p.m. ET) on Thursday, Norman Hui, a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist in Honolulu, told USA TODAY. "The worst of it will be tonight. This storm is holding together pretty well."

The storm is currently weakening, and forecasters are unsure whether it will make landfall as a hurricane or a tropical storm, reported. At 7 a.m. Hawaiian time (5 p.m. GMT), Iselle had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, placing it in the middle of the Cat-1 range (74-95 mph) on the Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC).
Arrow Down

Multiple avalanches hit North Norway

© Dag Tore Larsen / NTB scanpix
People trapped after avalanches occurred across Lyngen in Troms.
Around 10 avalanches struck Lyngen in Troms on Thursday, hitting roads and neighbourhoods.

The avalanches went off at around 10pm on Thursday night in Kjosen in the Lyngen municipality of North Norway. Four of the avalanches reached all the way down to where people were living and the roads.

Between five and seven houses were trapped after the three first avalanches, and most of the people were rescued by boat. Noone were injured or missing.

A rescue helicopter trying to rescue trapped people had to turn around because of lightning and thunder. At the same time, great parts of the Lyngen municipality lost power.

The situation is now under control after 22 people were trapped inside their home and cars. Police are evaluating whether the people, who had to be evacuated, can return home.

Paddling family of three attacked by a beaver in Austria

© Cheryl Reynolds/Worth a Dam
Maybe not as cute as he looks?
A swimming trip in Schwechat, Lower Austria took a nasty turn for a family when they were attacked by a vicious beaver.

Presumably because it was defending its territory or its young, the beaver attacked a woman and her two daughters, along with their pet dog, whilst they were paddling in the Schwechat river.

Even when they ran out of the river and onto dry land it pursued them and bit their dog, taking a chunk of fur.

The family were enjoying the cool water when they saw what they assumed was a small tree trunk floating past. But as their dog sniffed it, it turned out to be an angry beaver, who immediately went into attack mode.

The mother took her children out of the water - but the beaver followed them onto dry land and thumped its tail on the ground in a threatening manner.

Stromboli volcano erupts, Italy

© Jonas Wiesand
Tourist trips to Stromboli have been cancelled this week as a volcanic eruption overwhelms the island, a tour agency for the Aeolian islands told The Local.

Stromboli, an island volcano north of Sicily, starting erupting on Wednesday afternoon, the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said.

Tourist trips have been cancelled as the volcano remains "too active", a spokesperson for the Eolnet agency for the Aeolian Islands told The Local. Excursions may resume on Monday, depending on how the eruption plays out over the weekend.
Stromboli erupting, awestruck doesn't quite do it justice. So close I could feel the heat.
- Jonas Wiesand (@jonaswiesand) August 8, 2014