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Mon, 08 Feb 2016
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Earth Changes


Wrong time, wrong place: Second Bullock's Oriole found wintering in Canada when they should be in Mexico

© Sue King-Gosse
Bird enthusiasts from across Nova Scotia have come to the Gosse's backyard to catch a glimpse of the visitor.
An avid birder in Cape Breton is playing host to an unusual visitor this winter. It hails from a much warmer climate — but shows no signs of wanting to leave its new home.

The Bullock's oriole arrived in Sue King-Gosse's backyard in Whitney Pier in mid-December, following a winter storm with strong westerly winds.

At first, King-Gosse thought it was a Baltimore oriole, a bird rare enough in Cape Breton.

But after she posted some photographs on social media, several fellow birders weighed in with their opinion that it is a Bullock's oriole.

The bird's normal habitat is in the western United States, and it usually winters even farther south, in Mexico and Central America.

Arrow Down

Sinkhole swallows truck in China

An overloaded truck on a road in China's Fujian Province caused the road underneath it to give way into a sinkhole that swallowed the back half of the vehicle.

Video of the scene in Zhangzhou Jan. 12 shows the truck move a short distance on the road before the street beneath its rear-end collapses.

The truck is partially swallowed into the newly-created sinkhole, which was blamed on the vehicle carrying too much weight for the street to handle.

Officials suggested muddy conditions under the road may have also contributed to the 13-foot-deep hole forming under the truck.

Snowflake Cold

As blizzard rages on, Washington D.C. braces for 12-36 inches of snow

The Blizzard of 2016 will continue to evolve and shut down travel into Saturday from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and New York City, with some areas of the mid-Atlantic bracing for 1-3 feet of snow and strong winds.

According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "This will be a rare event for the region as there are not many storms that bring a foot or more of snow over such a large area and last more than 24 hours."

Be prepared for lengthy power outages, immobilization

Winds and the rate of snowfall will increase as the storm strengthens. Massive drifts will develop, where sleet and rain do not mix in. Gusts along the mid-Atlantic coast will frequent 40-50 mph.

An all-out blizzard will unfold from northern Virginia to southwestern Connecticut. Periodic whiteout conditions will occur farther west from south-central Pennsylvania to part of western North Carolina.
Snowfall rates from New Jersey to Virginia and West Virginia will be 1-3 inches per hour at times and the storm can last for more than 24 hours. Thunder and lightning could accompany the heavy snow in some locations. In some communities, roads could be blocked and the power could be out for days.

Multiple state officials have declared a state of emergency and are urging people to stay off the roads or risk being stranded during the storm.

Comment: 'Historic' blizzard expected to hit US east coast on Friday


'Fire rainbow' photographed over Lecce, Italy

'Fire rainbow' caught on camera
A multicolor light phenomenon known as a "fire rainbow," or circumhorizontal arc, was caught on camera in the sky over southern Italy.

The video was filmed Jan. 9 over the city of Lecce.

The phenomenon is caused by light from the sun or moon refracting off plate-shaped ice crystals suspended among the clouds in the atmosphere.

It is nicknamed a "fire rainbow" despite being neither a rainbow nor fire-related because the halo sometimes manifests in a way that resembles flames.


Strange sounds in the sky baffle residents of São Tomé das Letras, Brazil

© YouTube/TVS Saotomedasletras
They were recorded on January 18, 2016 in the city of São Tomé das Letras, Minas Gerais and are kind of terrifying. The mysterious sky sounds filled up the sky of mystic São Tomé das Letras, Brazil.

As you may know, São Thomé das Letras is believed to be one of the seven energy points of the Earth and is thus an attraction for mystics, spiritualists, and alternative societies.

Although this new sound attracted considerable attention, its source remains a mystery. Some residents and officails believe it was the sound of jet turbine hovering the city. But the problem with this 'aircraft' hypothesis is that the noise was constantly heard more than five minutes without any interruption.

Moreover, no planes or helicopters were spotted in the sky. So what might have caused the weird noise heard in São Tomé das Letras, Brazil?

Comment: SOTT Exclusive: Strange sounds are back: 'Sky trumpets' heard in the Netherlands, the UK and Morocco

Snowflake Cold

Cold snap in North Korea worse than usual; minus 16 degrees Celsius recorded

© Associated Press Television News
An aerial view of the frozen Taedong River in Pyongyang on Wednesday
The date known on traditional calendars as the day of the "Big Cold" lived up to its reputation Wednesday in North Korea.

The country has been hit by a severe cold wave sending temperatures plummeting to minus 16 degrees Celsius (3 Fahrenheit) — or about minus 24 (minus 11 F) when the wind chill is calculated.

Wednesday was the coldest day of the year so far, though forecasters said the worst may be yet to come.

Some pedestrians in the capital Pyongyang walked backward to avoid facing into the biting wind, but the cold did not stop intrepid fishermen from squatting on the frozen Taedong River in the center of the city in the hope of catching a local delicacy — a fish called sokari in Korean, golden Mandarin fish in English.

They hack holes through 40 centimeters (16 inches) of ice to send thin lines into the water below.

Pyongyang's indoor ice skating rink has also been teeming with skaters, despite the freezing temperatures inside as well as out.

Snowflake Cold

About 80 settlements in south Ukraine remain without power following heavy snowfall

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Seventy-two settlements in the Kherson Region, five in the Mykolaiv Region and one settlement in the Odessa Region currently remain without electricity

A total of 78 settlements in three regions in Ukraine's south remain without electricity, the press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said on Thursday.

"On Wednesday specialists from utility companies completed works on restoring electricity to settlements that were left without power as a result of complicated weather conditions - gusts of wind, snowfall and icing," the press service said.

Seventy-two settlements in the Kherson Region, five in the Mykolaiv Region and one settlement in the Odessa Region currently remain without electricity. Repair works are underway.


Loud booms on the increase across the US - Latest in Fayette County, Pennsylvania

Connellsville, Fayette County
It's a mystery not only in this area, but in communities across the country.

They sound like loud explosions, except there's never any damage. So, what is really going on?

Imagine you're sitting on your front porch when out of nowhere a cataclysmic explosion goes off. You see a bright light, you feel the force, and then, it goes away. Then, when emergency responders go to investigate, they can't find a thing.

Well, it happened in Fayette County recently and it's happening around the United States.

Snowflake Cold

Extreme 'cold wave' weather chills 90 percent of China, as temperatures drop to -30C

© Rex
Fishing boats frozen by sea ice at the sea area in Qinhuangdao, a port city in north China's Hebei Province

An extreme 'cold wave' has hit most of north and east China, with low temperatures and frost expected to last for around a week

These amazing pictures show the astonishing effects of an extreme 'cold wave' that has hit 90 percent of China.

Parts of China suffered a bitterly cold chill this week as temperatures dropped to the lowest they've been in 30 years.

These pictures show residents in Harbin, the northernmost provincial capital in China, as they battled the elements in -30C.

One image shows a huge clump of ice frozen in mid air above a man's head as he threw water over himself.

Another man's eyebrows collected freezing icicles on them which had twisted into clumps 'growing' from his brow.

And a woman smiled through the cold as ice collected on her wooly hat and the ends of her hair while she wore a face mask in the bitter chill.

© Rex
A man throws hot water into the air at Songhuajiang river in Harbin

Comment: See also: Very low temperatures and heavy snowfall in Mongolia; mass death of livestock


Brown bears ditch hibernation due to unusually mild winter in Pyrenees mountains

Brown bears normally kick off their hibernation at the end of November and only emerge at the start of April
Several brown bears in the Pyrenees mountains that separate Spain from France have ditched their usual hibernation for food as winter temperatures remain unusually clement, environment and animal experts said Thursday.

Earlier in January, workers at the Alto Pirineo Natural Park on the Spanish side of the mountain range watched open-mouthed as footage from cameras placed in a rocky area showed a bear and her three cubs rummaging for food when they should have been snug in their cave.

"It's not normal to find a sow with three cubs not hibernating in winter," Santiago Palazon, head of the biodiversity and animal protection division of Catalonia's regional government, told AFP.

"They had been outside of their cave for at least one week."