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Snowflake Cold

Ice Age Cometh: Record mid-April hard freeze kill Great Plains wheat

Last Tuesday, April 15, was the coldest "Tax Day" nationwide on record. Hard freezes extended as far south as northern Texas. Mid-April snows were seen throughout the Corn Belt states. Columbus, Ohio had nearly four inches of the white stuff on Tuesday, its heaviest snowfall ever for so late in the spring season. Traces of snow were reported in the Texas Panhandle, Arkansas and Tennessee. Even northern Louisiana had a few flakes. Detroit, Michigan set a seasonal snowfall record on Tuesday.

A hard freeze in the southern Great Plains on Tuesday produced temperatures between 21 and 24 degrees at Amarillo, Dalhart, Perry and Lubbock, Texas. Near Gage, Oklahoma, one rancher reported 18 degrees. Ponca City, Oklahoma dipped to a record low of 21 degrees for April 15.

In Kansas, the nation's leading wheat producing state, already plagued by winterkill this harsh winter of 2013-14 that refuses to end and parching drought, there were reports of morning lows near 15 degrees both Monday and Tuesday. It was a frigid 13 degrees at Valentine, Nebraska.

Jointing wheat was damaged by the record cold early this past week in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, especially in those areas where the mercury plunged into the teens and lower 20s for several hours. Any wheat heading out can be at risk even at readings near 30 degrees. Fortunately, there was very little wheat heading out despite recent 90 degree temperatures in the southern Great Plains.
Dominoes

Hundreds of earthquakes strike central Idaho, including strongest in 10 years

© Idaho226.rssing.com
Hundreds of low-level and medium-sized earthquakes have struck central Idaho since last month, puzzling geologists who wonder whether the ruptures portend a much larger temblor to come or are merely the rumblings of a seismic fault previously thought to be dormant.

The recent earthquake swarm, beginning on March 24 and climaxed by a 4.9 magnitude tremor on Saturday, has produced no reports of injuries or severe damage but has rattled nerves in a region where Idaho's most powerful known quake, measured at 6.9, killed two children in 1983.

Saturday's earthquake was the strongest recorded in the state since 2005 and was followed on Monday by a magnitude 4.4 event that struck 10 miles north of the small ranching community of Challis, Idaho, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Attention

3.2 magnitude earthquake hits Rutland, England

© Chris Jobs/Alamy
Oakham, Rutland. Tremors were felt at Stamford and the Deepings in Lincolnshire.
Residents report houses shaking during earthquake that was felt up to 28 miles away

A 3.2 magnitude earthquake near Oakham, Rutland, which was felt up to 28 miles away, is being investigated by seismologists.

The quake, triggered at a depth of 2.5 miles at 7.07am on Thursday, was recorded by the British Geological Survey (BGS), which said that its seismologists were analysing the data.

Former English rugby union player Austin Healey tweeted: "We've just had an earthquake in Oakham. The house was shaking for about 10 secs."

John Park wrote: "What the hell was that. Whole house shook about 7.07am! It was either an explosion or earthquake in Rutland. Anyone else feel it?"
Bizarro Earth

USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.2 - Balleny Islands region

Balleny Islands Quake_170414
© USGS
Event Time
2014-04-17 15:06:51 UTC
2014-04-18 01:06:51 UTC+10:00 at epicenter
Location
62.857°S 155.626°E depth=17.5km (10.9mi)

Nearby Cities
511km (318mi) NW of Young Island,
1999km (1242mi) SSW of Invercargill, New Zealand
2045km (1271mi) SSW of Gore, New Zealand
2111km (1312mi) SSW of Dunedin, New Zealand
2287km (1421mi) S of Hobart, Australia

Technical Details
Cloud Grey

Flooding in northern New York closes some roads and bridges

New York flood
© Chad Tebeau
Campsites in St. Regis Falls, NY after the dam gives out.

A state of emergency has been declared in a northern New York county after rising floodwaters caused by melting snow and rain closed several roads and bridges.

Officials in St. Lawrence County tell local media that flooding is reported in several communities along the St. Regis River, while other local waterways were being monitored for possible flooding. No evacuation plans have been issued for any towns.
Cloud Lightning

Ita remnants cause flooding, cuts power in New Zealand

Flooding New Zeland Ita
© RNZ / Lisa Thompson
Tamaki Drive in Auckland was closed because of flooding.
Thousands of people were without power throughout New Zealand's Northland and Auckland regions as a band of wild wet weather moves down the country on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Fire Service has been inundated with calls, starting in Northland earlier on Thursday morning then moving to Auckland's North Shore and West Auckland as well as the central city.

It said high winds are causing the most damage, with many reports of trees down across roads and power lines.
Cow

Beef, pork and shrimp prices soar to record highs

We previously noted that both beef and pork (courtesy of the affectionately named Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus) prices have been reaching new all time highs on an almost daily basis. It is time to update the chart. Below we show what a world in which the Fed is constantly lamenting the lack of inflation looks like for beef prices...

Bizarro Earth

Spring flooding leads to landslides in Quebec, Tim Hortons closure in New Brunswick

Sherbrooke Flooding
© QMI Agency
Sherbrooke Flooding
The spring thaw and steady rain triggered floods that inundated Quebec towns, washing away homes, forcing evacuations and causing a landslide.

In Sherbrooke, Que., in the Eastern Townships, the Saint-Francois river reached a record 25 feet Wednesday and floodwaters cut the city in two.

Firefighters rang doorbells just after midnight on Wednesday and asked 480 people to leave their homes, bringing the total number of displaced people to 632.

Downtown streets flooded and quickly froze in Sherbrooke as morning temperatures neared -10 C.

The situation was also precarious in Saint-Raymond, Que., east of Quebec City. Torrential rains caused the Saint-Anne River to rise at breakneck speed on Tuesday evening, flooding the downtown core. Mayor Daniel Dion told QMI Agency that 300 people were told to leave their homes.
Rainbow

Halo observed around the sun in Central Florida

sun halo Florida
© Matthew Salvati
A halo around the sun appeared in Central Florida.
Dozens of WESH 2 viewers sent pictures of a mysterious ring or "rainbow" around the sun Wednesday afternoon.

So what was it?

A sun halo is caused by a refraction of sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds within the Earth's atmosphere. It forms what looks like a circular rainbow around the sun.
Cloud Grey

Five volcanoes erupting at once on the Kamchatka Peninsula

© ISS Crew Earth Observations/Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center
Remote. Cold. Rugged. Those three adjectives capture the essence of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. Another word - perhaps more applicable than anywhere else on Earth - is "fiery."

Of the roughly 1,550 volcanoes that have erupted in the recent geologic past, 113 are found on Kamchatka. Forty Kamchatkan volcanoes are "active," either erupting now or capable of erupting on short notice. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured activity at five of them during a single satellite pass on April 14, 2014.

Imagery follows.
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