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Mon, 08 Feb 2016
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Earth Changes

Snowflake Cold

Mexico hit by polar air mass: State of emergency declared in 446 municipalities

Galeana, Nuevo León, where roofs have been collapsing under the snow.
Residents in many parts of Mexico might decide to remain in their homes for this long weekend as heavy rains, strong winds, some snow and cold temperatures are forecast for many regions.

In fact, the national Civil Protection office has declared an "extraordinary emergency" in 446 municipalities in 23 states, brought on by cold front No. 34 and the eighth winter storm of the season.

The declaration will make resources available for the emergency supply of food and blankets to an estimated half a million people from Chihuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south.

The cold front´s mass of polar air is covering much of the country, guaranteeing cold to very cold weather for the weekend. Sleet or wet snow are forecast for areas 3,500 meters above sea level in the State of México, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Hidalgo and Veracruz and winds gusting to 70 km/h in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.


Spectacular drone footage shows two 'monster' sinkholes in Harbor, Oregon

© kyle0440 / YouTube
The initial sinkhole opened up in December 2015 and measured 30 foot wide and 25 foot deep
A massive sinkhole and a nearby landslide swallowed up part of the road in Harbor, southwest Oregon, shutting down Highway 101 there. The ominous-looking scene was captured in an aerial video.

The initial sinkhole developed in mid-December after a culvert under the road failed and following a series of storms and heavy downpours of rain, the hole continued to widen, resulting in the road's closure on Thursday evening, The Curry Coastal Pilot reported.

"It's a monster," Jared Castle, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation told NBC News.

A smaller sinkhole also opened up four lanes across from the larger hole while a landslide located a mere 50 feet from the sinkhole collapsed two lanes of the parallel road, sinking into the ravine beside it.

Spectacular drone footage from YouTube user Kyle Rice shows the sheer size of the hole and landslide, dwarfing the workers standing nearby.

Comment: For related articles, see:


Glowing 'mother of pearl' clouds color Scotland's skies

These glowing polar stratospheric clouds were spotted floating over the UK on January 29, 2016.

That's the second sighting in two days after those spotted over Murmansk on Wednesday morning.
© Martin via Meteo Europe
These nacreous clouds were captured from Aberdeen to Stoneheaven, Scotland, UK by lucky stargazers.

The mother-of-pearl clouds appeared in the sky before sunrise and were highly glowing and reflective.
© Paul via Meteo Europe
Polar stratospheric clouds form in the winter polar stratosphere between altitudes of 15000-25000 meters.

Comment: Nacreous clouds have tiny ice crystals in that light up with iridescent color with they are hit with light from the rising or setting sun. Absolutely beautiful!

Cloud Lightning

Sydney, Australia lashed by 'very dangerous' storm cell

© Bureau of Meteorology
A BoM image showing storm cells over parts of Australia on 29 January
Thousands of Sydneysiders are without power after a fierce thunderstorm lashed the city, complete with torrential downpours and dangerous wind gusts of more than 100km/h.

It's the second day of wild weather for Sydney, with a dangerous storm cell battering much of NSW this afternoon. Sydney's west copped it first, complete with damaging winds, heavy rain and even hail.

The Bureau of Meteorology, which labelled the storm cell "very dangerous" said Toongabbie recorded 30mm of rain in just 10 minutes about 4.50pm. Strathfield was also drenched, with about 36mm of rain in 15 minutes, as wild winds battered the west.

Wind gusts of up to 98km/h were recorded at Badgerys Creek, before the wild weather shifted toward the inner city.

Sydney Airport recorded winds of up to 107km/h this evening as winds and rain lashed the CBD, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Airport Sydney Olympic Park and Ryde.

The eastern suburbs and inner west were also lashed by the heavy rains, with the BoM warning of possible flash flooding.

Ice Cube

3 inch spiky hailstones fall in Tehama County, California

© Jeff Boyce/NWS Sacramento
3 inch hailstones
The three-inch wonders fell Saturday during a severe thunderstorm north of San Francisco.

Most serious hailstones threaten to crack your skull like jumbo-sized jawbreakers shot out of a howitzer.

The ones that fell Saturday during a severe thunderstorm in Tehama County, California, about 150 miles north of San Francisco, are a bit different. With their intimidating armor of spikes, they look like they'd stick right into your head like lawn darts, and then release fountains of blood when you pulled them out.

That wasn't the only remarkable thing about this hail, though. The starfish-stones, which almost seem composed of grafted icicles, tied the record for largest hail in California set in 1960 in San Diego County. Their diameter was a whopping three inches from spike tip to spike tip, as shown in a photo by Jeff Boyce recently shared by the National Weather Service.


Heavy snowfall for Saudi Arabia (VIDEOS)

© Twitter
Snow in Saudi Arabia
Low temperatures and strong snow storms are expected in Tabuk region and other parts of the country.

According to the Met department, heavy snowfall has been reported in mountainous regions of Tabuk.

Meteorologists also forecast low temperatures, plunging below zero in Tarif and Qurayat (-3°c ), Tabuk (-2°c), Ara'ar, Skaka and Tabarjal (-1°c).

This video published by Arabic daily Sabq shows snowfall in mountainous areas of Farwa and Ras Tanir in the Governorate of Haql.

Video published on Arabic daily Sabq shows snowflakes falling in mountainous areas of Farwa and Ras Tanir in the Governorate of Haql.


'Fire rainbow' appears in Auckland, New Zealand's skies

© Rachel Purcell
The phenomenon is also known as a circumhorizontal arc or "ice halo".
If you looked to the sky on Friday, you might have glimpsed a "fire rainbow". Rachel Purcell sent this picture to the Herald after being lucky enough to see it while in the Viaduct on Auckland's waterfront. "I was so pleased my camera captured the moment," she said.

MetService meteorologist Ciaran Doolin said the phenomenon was known as a circumhorizontal arc, or "ice halo". He could not say how statistically frequent they were, but said the weather service occasionally got calls from the public about them.

Website IFL Science says the arc occurs when the sun has risen higher than 58 degrees in the sky, which is most common over summer. "Aside from the position of the sun, the other ingredient to forming circumhorizontal arcs is cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are the thin, wispy clouds that occur at higher altitudes. Because the temperature is so low where these clouds exist, they are made of ice crystals." The plate-like crystals then act like prisms and refract light to create the rainbow and so are sometimes called "fire rainbows".


Winter storm leaves thousands without power in eastern Canada

© Andrew Mitton
Wet, heavy snow cut power to many parts of Nova Scotia Friday night and crews are still trying to restore electricity in about two dozen communities.
Heavy snowfall has left thousands of people without electricity and Nova Scotia power estimates it could take until midnight before crews are able to restore electricity to many homes in the northern part of the province, many of which have been in the dark since Friday evening.

About 51,800 customers were without power at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The outages affect about two dozen communities and range from Yarmouth to Dartmouth, Tatamagouche to Sydney.

While some areas such as Bridgewater are expected to see power back on around noon Saturday, service to parts of Guysborough isn't expected to return until 5:45 a.m. on Sunday.

The Department of Transportation says crews are working to clear and salt roads, some of which received as much as 30 centimetres of snow.

It is advising that the main roads in Cape Breton are still covered in snow and visibility is poor.

Friday night Nova Scotia Power said the nor'easter's impact was interfering with crews' ability to repair power lines as the heavy snow pushed trees onto them.

Cloud Grey

'Hand of God': Huge lenticular 'fireball' cloud appears over Madeira, Portugal

A cloud that took the form of a 'hand of God' holding a fireball dominated the skyline above the north coast the Portuguese island of Madeira.

And weather blogger Rogerio Pacheco, 32, could not believe his luck when he looked up at the clouds while commuters made their way to work in the morning rush hour.

The awe-inspiring snaps have since been shared online after Rogerio opted to post them on his blog.

Amazed onlookers have compared the bright orange cloud to everything from a flaming fist of fury to the iconic comet featured in the classic video game Final Fantasy VII.

Rogerio said: "As soon as I saw the sky, I was immediately intrigued and I just had to grab my camera to take photo.

"For me, the cloud looks like an outstretched hand with a fireball.

"I was not the only one who seemed to notice it and I could see other people also looking up at the sky.

"A lot of people seemed pleasantly surprised when they looked up at the sky and saw the cloud."

Comment: Increasingly unstable weather patterns may be assisting the formation of bizarre cloud patterns observed around the world recently. Factors which may contribute to these 'strange skies' are possible comet dust loading and changes in the layers of the atmosphere.

Cloud Precipitation

Icy swamps replace knee-deep snow in Moscow after what meteorologists say is "abnormal" warming

© Vladimir Pesnya / Sputnik
Muscovites have been taken aback as knee-deep snow has been replaced virtually overnight with torrents of dirty water and icy swamps. Add in some biting winds, and the Russian capital has turned into one massive skating rink.

A heavy rainfall hit Moscow overnight, coinciding with a sudden warming and temperatures rising to plus two degrees Celsius - normally it would be around 10 below zero. Meteorologists say the "abnormal" warming combined with rain will persist.

Meanwhile, the rain washed away the piles of white snow from Moscow streets, replacing it with slush and mud. A lot of people found it quite difficult to get to work Friday morning, as the streets were blocked with "rivers," with dozens of complaints streaming in to the city authorities.

Muscovites took to social media to show images of cars trapped in water in the middle of the street, and people hanging on to fences in an attempt not to fall into the deep puddles. Some of them blamed the disastrous situation on the roads on the poor work of public utility services.

Comment: Moscow has already received twice the average amount of snow for January