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Mon, 30 Nov 2020
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'We will never forget this year': Hurricane Iota roars through Caribbean coast just devastated by Eta

The category five storm crossed over Nicaragua's eastern coast on Monday evening
© Reuters
The category five storm crossed over Nicaragua's eastern coast on Monday evening
In a one-two punch, Hurricane Iota roared ashore as a dangerous Category 4 storm along almost exactly the same stretch of Nicaragua's Caribbean coast that was devastated by an equally powerful Hurricane Eta 13 days earlier.

Iota had intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm during the day Monday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it weakened slightly as it neared the coast late Monday and made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. It hit the coast about 30 miles south of the Nicaraguan city of Puerto Cabezas, also known as Bilwi.

People hunkered down in Bilwi even before the hurricane arrived, already battered by screeching winds and torrential rains.

Comment: A video report on the situation in Colombia from Al Jazeera:
Hurricane Iota is gaining strength as it heads towards Central America.

It is causing severe flooding in Colombia, where at least three people have died and hundreds forced to leave their homes, just a week after Hurricane Eta devastated the region.

Al Jazeera's Raheela Mahomed has more.

Video of a gigantic wave crashing onto the shore of San Andrés island:


Tornado warnings issued for NYC as severe thunderstorms batter US Northeast

tornado nyc storm
Tornado warnings were issued for parts of New York and its surrounding areas on Sunday night as severe thunderstorms left more than 100,000 people without power.

Around two million New Yorkers faced tornado warnings last night while 13 million people in New York and New Jersey faced severe thunderstorm warnings.

In Connecticut, hurricane-strength winds of up to 75 miles per hour were reported, while winds of around 65 miles per hour were reported in New Jersey.

Areas in New York, including The Bronx, Yonkers, and New Rochelle, were under Tornado Warnings until 9 p.m. ET on Sunday night, with around two million people affected by the warning.

Parts of Connecticut also faced Tornado Warnings, including Danbury and Bethel, until 9.15 p.m., while areas of Long Island were under a Tornado Warning until 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, parts of New York, including New York City, and parts of New Jersey faced a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, with more than 13 million people affected. Connecticut and Long Island residents also faced a Severe Thunderstorm Warning until 10.30 p.m.

Arrow Down

Heavy rains trigger deadly landslide in Antioquia, Colombia - 4 killed, 7 missing

Landslide in Dabeiba, Antioquia, Colombia, November 2020

Landslide in Dabeiba, Antioquia, Colombia, November 2020
Heavy rain in Antioquia Department of Colombia has triggered a massive landslide and caused rivers to overflow.

A landslide occurred in Dabeiba Municipality on 13 November, destroying buildings and roads in the area.

According to the department's disaster agency Dapard, as of 16 November, at least 4 people were dead and 7 were still missing. Eight survivors have been found.

There is currently a wide scale search and rescue operation involving a team of over 350 people from the country's National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD). UNGRD said 187 people who were in high-risk areas have been evacuated by air to the safe shelters set up by the municipal administration.


'Abnormal' spike in fin whales washed up on French shores - 6 in as many weeks

The carcass of a fin whale
© Stephane Mahe/Reuters
The carcass of a fin whale which was found stranded on a beach last Saturday in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, France, November 16, 2020
Experts are investigating the cetaceans' cause of death after no apparent sign of having been hit by a ship or caught in a trawler's net.

An abnormal number of fin whales has been found washed up on France's western shores with no apparent sign of external collision, raising concerns among experts of a potential viral pathogen.

Marine biologists on Monday used a mechanical digger and long knives to dissect one of the cetaceans taking samples to find evidence of the cause of the deaths.

Just in the past month and a half, at least six fin whales - the second largest species of whale after the blue ones - were found dead. All have been malnourished and shown evidence of haemorrhaging in the cardiac and respiratory systems.

The latest was discovered on Friday near Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez. It measured nearly 16 metres (52 feet) and weighed an estimated 10 tonnes.

Bizarro Earth

Huge landslide at peat bog in Donegal, Ireland

Peat slippage in Donegal, Ireland.

Thousands of tonnes of bog land were swept away in Donegal, Ireland
THE Ulster Angling Federation (UAF) has called for the development of a Co Donegal windfarm be suspended pending an investigation into a huge landslide close to the facility.

Dramatic footage of trees, peat and other bog material being swept away near Meenbog Windfarm close to Ballybofey in Donegal and east Tyrone appeared on social media over the weekend.

Nearby Corgary Road was closed on the Donegal side of the border last night at the Meenablagh Road junction over "concerns about a potential landslide", with motorists asked to seek an alternative route.

Thousands of tonnes of material was swept away on Friday close to the windfarm which is owned by Invis Energy.

The landslide has had a major impact on rivers on both sides of the border. UAF chairman, Gary Houston said large amounts of peat, Sitka Spruce and other material had been swept into the Mourne Beg River which is a tributary of the River Derg and part of the Foyle system.


Magnitude 6.3 earthquake jolts Indonesia

earthquake reading
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake rattled Indonesia's West Sumatra province Tuesday, according to the country's Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG).

The agency said the earthquake's epicenter was 109 kilometers (67 miles) southwest of the town of Tuapejat in the Mentawai Islands off the province's coast.

The natural disaster occurred 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) below the surface.

Although no initial deaths were reported, a tsunami alert was issued.

*Writing by Ali Murat


Hurricane Iota strengthens into first Category 5 of 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Iota
© The Weather Channel
Hurricane Iota has rapidly intensified into a rare Category 5, the first of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, as it heads for landfall in Central America, where it will bring potentially catastrophic rainfall flooding, mudslides, storm surge and damaging winds for the second time in two weeks.

Late Monday morning, Iota became only the second Category 5 hurricane on record in November and the record latest-in-season hurricane ever to reach that intensity in the Atlantic Basin. The 1932 Cuba hurricane reached Category 5 intensity from November 5-8.

The upgrade to Category 5 intensity was based on both satellite intensity estimates and a Hurricane Hunter mission, which measured flight level and surface winds sufficiently strong enough.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of Nicaragua and Honduras, where hurricane conditions are expected by later Monday. Tropical storm warnings extend to the west and south of the hurricane warnings in both of those countries.

A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch are also in effect for Columbia's San Andrés Island.

Comment: See also:


Sun halo, tangental arcs spotted in the skies of central Alabama

Sun halo Alabama
© Michelle Miklik
Sun dog with upper and lower tangental arcs above and below the sun.
Michelle Miklik spotted this in the sky over Weaver, Alabama Wednesday afternoon. Did you see something similar?

Sun dog with upper and lower tangental arcs above and below the sun. Photo: Michelle Miklik

If you did, you spotted an atmospheric optical phenomenon known as a 22-degree halo.

What are sun halos?

Earthsky.org explains it very simply: "Halos are a sign of high thin cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet or more above our heads."


Spectacular stronger-than-usual explosion at Stromboli volcano, Italy

Eruption of Stromboli volcano
© Nora Cincotta
Eruption of Stromboli volcano this morning
Another stronger-than-usual explosion occurred at the volcano minutes ago at 10:17 local time our correspondents on the island informed us.
From the village, a spectacular ash plume rising several 100 m above the summit could be seen. Soon after the eruption, moderately strong ash rain of small lapilli set in, covering all surfaces.

The color of most particles, up to a few mm in size, was mostly brown to reddish brown, described as "earthy". This could mean that most of the ejected material might be from older lava rocks in the summit craters or inside the vent, from collapsed parts of the craters or conduits. However, a small amount of lighter pumice was also present in the ash, probably representing a batch of fresh magma that had driven the explosion.

Last Tuesday (10 Nov), Stromboli also produced a significant above-average eruption. Such events are nothing unusual on the volcano and occur from time to time, but rarely more frequently than every few months or so. Whether this recent increase is a coincidence or hinting at a more pronounced change in activity level or type is currently unknown.

Comment: Strong explosions at Stromboli volcano, Italy


Let it snow! Hawaii summits get an early dusting

A webcam at the summit of Mauna Loa shows a dusting of snow at at Mokuʻāweoweo caldera.
© USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
A webcam at the summit of Mauna Loa shows a dusting of snow at at Mokuʻāweoweo caldera.
The summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa got a light snowcap Sunday morning.

Cold temperatures aloft combined with some moisture to give the state's two tallest mountains a dusting of snow overnight.

Web cams near the summits of both mountains on the Big Island showed a thin coat of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service said temperatures were cold enough Sunday morning to support more snow showers, but no significant accumulations were expected.

Comment: It's only October, but the snow is already falling atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii