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Vacant house collapses into sinkhole in Martins Ferry, Ohio

The city of Martins Ferry is working to repair another sinkhole after a house collapsed into one last weekend.
The city of Martins Ferry is working to repair another sinkhole after a house collapsed into one last weekend.

Earlier, a sinkhole emerged on 8th Street, and while the city has been busy working on acquiring funding to fix that hole, an empty house collapsed on another lot just before Christmas.

Harry Miller lives next to the house that sunk in during the weekend. During the past 6 years, he's watched the ground below it slowly fall away.

"Oh it's been unreal," he said. "You never know when your house is going to fall in. I don't know what ours is doing "

The house is vacant after the city acquired it in a settlement nearly 2 years ago. Repairs were initially attempted when the problem first started, but nothing seemed to work. Now the city must fill the gaps.

"Under emergency situation, we have to tear that house down," Martins Ferry Mayor Robert Krajnyak said. "After the house is gone, repairs will be made to the culvert that's there."

"They have to fix it someway, otherwise it's going to keep washing out," Miller said.

Krajnyak says despite neighbor's concerns, he doesn't' think the hole poses a risk to surrounding homes.

They're in the process of securing funding to fix it. However, there won't be any buildings on the lot in the foreseeable future. He says the lot will be sold as a side lot.

They're moving along quickly in the grant process, and Krajnyak says he's feeling pretty positive about it.

Comment: Massive 35-yard long sinkhole opens in Martins Ferry, Ohio


Powerful winds blow waterfall upward on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

An amazing video has emerged of a waterfall being blown backward by strong winds last weekend.
A visitor to a popular tourist spot on a Scottish island captured footage of powerful winds causing a waterfall to flow in reverse.

The video, recorded Saturday, shows the water flowing upward at the waterfall in Loch Pooltiel, on the Isle of Skye.

The winds were caused by the powerful storm that swept over Britain during the weekend.


Forest fires break out in eastern Switzerland (in the dead of winter!)

© Graubünden police
The Swiss army has been drafted in to help battle a huge forest fire in Graubünden amid reports of a separate fire in the eastern canton.

Cantonal police said on Thursday that several army firefighting helicopters had been in use since Wednesday morning to tackle the flames covering a wooded area between the villages of Mesocco and Soazza.

The army is being supported by civilian firms.

The blaze was reported shortly before 6pm on Tuesday evening.

"Owing to the strong winds the fire has spread from an area 200 metres by 600 metres to an area 600 metres by 1,200 metres," the police statement said.

Comment: Campfires or not, forest fires during a European continental winter are not exactly normal. Outgassing may be a factor here.

Video, courtesy of the Abrupt Earth Changes blog:


Winter storm to bury New England in up to 2 feet of snow, blizzard conditions possible

© Kristopher Raddler/AP
Philip Fitzwater, a city carrier assistant for the United States Postal Service, in Brattleboro, Vt., removes the snow off his vehicle before heading out on his route Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. More snow is forecast for New England this week.
A powerful winter storm will unleash heavy, wet snow and howling winds across portions of New England from late Thursday through midday Friday, with blizzard conditions possible in some areas.

Much of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine should see a foot of snow, with nearly two feet expected in some spots, the National Weather Service said. "This looks to be a high-impact storm with power outages and significant drifting issues likely," the weather service warned.

The storm will cause "extensive travel disruptions" Thursday and Friday, AccuWeather said.

A snowstorm is classified as a blizzard when it contains 35-mph winds and blowing or drifting snow that reduces visibility to a quarter-mile or less, with both conditions persisting for at least three hours.

Lighter amounts of snow are forecast for western and central portions of Massachusetts and Connecticut.


Arizona's White Mountain residents report loud boom, house shaking

© US Forest Service
Mount Baldy, the highest peak in Arizona's White Mountains.
What was that noise? That is the question people started asking from Snowflake to Show Low.

Though people now are saying they heard the same loud boom sound on Monday, Dec. 26, they did not really start talking about it or asking real questions until it happened again the next day.

Facebook users started chiming in with their two cents about hearing the sound in Taylor, but when people from Linden, White Mountain Lake and Show Low said they heard it or felt it too, the speculation and desire to find out its origin was exacerbated.

Comments such as persons saying they thought a family member slammed the door, or thought their propane tank exploded were common. One person said they saw smoke coming from the wind turbines. Many even said their houses shook like Show Low resident Charles Tupper.

Tupper wrote on Facebook, "Shook my house halfway back to Show Low. No idea what it was."

Black Cat

Mountain lion attacks 2 dogs, kills 1 near Ketchum, Idaho

© National Park Service
A mountain lion.
Two dogs were apparently attacked by a mountain lion Thursday in Gimlet subdivision, south of Ketchum.

One of the dogs, a female Australian shepherd, died from its wounds. The other, a male yellow Labrador retriever, was treated at the Sun Valley Animal Center and is recuperating. The lion was trapped and released in a remote spot.

The Lab's owners, Wall Street residents Jan and Ed Cummins, said the 9-year-old, 80-pound dog, whose name is Barkley, went outside as usual after breakfast about 9 a.m. They said that when Barkley hadn't returned after about 20 minutes, Ed Cummins blew a high-pitched whistle and he came running, but didn't stop as usual, instead bolting straight into the house. They said Barkley was bleeding profusely from puncture wounds on his face and neck, and he immediately ran upstairs and hid.

The couple said Barkley's wounds had to be drained and partly stitched, and he spent one night at the Sun Valley Animal Center, but came home Friday. They said Barkley was returned to the vet Saturday to have an IV removed, and was put on a regimen of antibiotics and pain pills. Barkley also lost four teeth in the encounter.

Snowflake Cold

Record cold, 48 states going below freezing in the first week of 2017

It is increasingly looking like the first full week of 2017 will be greeted with a cold air outbreak over the Lower 48 states that will be widespread and persistent.

Early next week the cold air will enter the U.S. through Montana and the Dakotas, where temperatures will likely plunge into the minus 30 deg F (or colder) range.

By the end of the week, single digits could extend into the southeast U.S., and a hard freeze could push into central Florida (graphic courtesy of Weatherbell.com):
GFS model forecast surface temperatures for Friday morning, Jan. 6, 2017.

As can be seen, substantial portions of all 48 states might well be below 32 deg. F.

At the longer range, there appears to be a reinforcing plunge of even more frigid air heading south out of northwest Canada in the second week of January.


Teenage surfer bitten by shark off Avalon State Park, Florida

A surfing teenager bitten on his right forearm by a shark Tuesday was released from a hospital Wednesday.

"He came into the house with blood spilling out of his arm and told me, 'Don't freak out, Mom'," Sherry Davis said about learning her son, Zack Davis, 16, had suffered the bite. "It was more shock than anything else."

Paramedics responded and took the teen, who attends Vero Beach High School, to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce. Sherry Davis said doctors stitched up the wound Tuesday and released him Wednesday. It took 42 stitches to seal it up.

The shark bite happened about 5 p.m. Tuesday at Avalon State Park beach, not far from the Davis home in the 100 block of Ocean Estate Drive.

Zack Davis describes his shark bite ordeal that occurred at about 5 p.m. Tuesday while at Avalon State Park beach


Shark bites woman snorkelling off the coast at Ningaloo, Western Australia

A woman has been bitten on the bottom by a shark while snorkeling off the Western Australian coast on Christmas Eve.

The woman did not see the predator which took a bite of her as she glided through the water but did feel it nudge her in the shallow waters.

The shark attack occurred a kilometre from the coast in the famous Ningaloo marine park which is known for its shark dives.

The woman was swimming in five-metre deep water in the Bundegi Sanctuary Zone when she was bitten but didn't report it immediately.

The woman took herself to Exmouth Hospital where she was treated.

The Department of Fisheries are aware of the attack.


The United States' 10 most extreme weather events of 2016

In 2016, of all the weather events to affect the nation, four stood out: a hurricane, a flood, a drought and a blizzard. These four were historic and extreme, setting numerous records and affecting large areas. Unfortunately, they caused a great deal of suffering and economic losses.

Six other storm events, which were more localized, round out the top 10.

Tornadoes were not among this year's most significant weather events. This year was, generally, a quiet year both in terms of the overall number of tornadoes and tornado fatalities.

Much more than wind, in 2016, water (or, in one case, lack of water) caused the lion's share of weather-related deaths and damages.

As seven of the top 10 weather events involved extreme rainfall, and several 1-in-1,000 year events, perhaps you could call it the year of the flood.

Without further ado, here is our rundown of the most significant and extreme weather events of 2016 in the Lower 48:

1. Hurricane Matthew (September-October)

© Chris Keane/Reuters
Fuel tanks are seen after floodwaters rose because of Hurricane Matthew in Lumberton, N.C.

Comment: For more coverage on the extreme weather affecting the entire planet, check out our monthly SOTT Earth Changes Summaries. Last month:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - November 2016: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs