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Thu, 20 Feb 2020
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Snowflake

Winter of 2019-20 is 4th in a row with above average snowfall in Wisconsin

Eau Claire
Believe it or not, but we're right about where we were last year to date in terms of winter snowfall. Both are not only above average, but above the average we see in an entire winter.

This winter now marks the 4th in a row snowier than average (we surpassed the annual 47" average on February 9). The last time that happened was a streak beginning with the winter of 1995-96 and ending 21 years ago with the winter of 1998-99.

The last time we had 5 consecutive winters with above average snowfall ended 34 years ago in the winter of 1985-86.

Cassiopaea

Rare blue auroras captured over Norway, 'strangest in years'

auroras
© Taken by Matthew Steinberg on February 18, 2020 @ Reine, Lofoten Islands Norway
After snow, sleet, and heavy wind all day, the clouds parted for a 2 hour display of spectacular pale green, blue, and purple auroras over the mountains of Reine.
Yes, there really are cracks in Earth's magnetic field. One of them opened on Feb. 18th, sparking some of the strangest auroras in years. First, the night sky turned blue over the Lofoten Islands of Norway:

"After snow, sleet, and heavy wind all day, the clouds parted for a 2 hour display of spectacular pale green, blue, and purple auroras over the mountains of Reine," says photographer Matthew Steinberg.

Blue auroras are rare. Auroras are usually green, and sometimes red. Those are the colors produced by oxygen when it is excited by electrons raining down from space. Blue is a sign of nitrogen. Energetic particles striking ionized molecular nitrogen (N2+) at very high altitudes (> 400 km) produces a cold azure glow of the type captured in Steinberg's photo. Usually the blue is faint, but on Feb. 18th it was strangely intense.

Comment: Just a day before this Space Weather reported that, although there were no sunspots, no solar flares and no gusts of solar wind, there was the surprising appearance of an aurora display which was also attributed to this 'crack' in Earth's magnetic field:

aurora
© Taken by Alexander Kuznetsov on February 17, 2020 @ Kilpisjärvi, Lapland Finland
Rare and unusual sights in our skies are fast becoming the norm: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Binoculars

Sub-Antarctic-dwelling king penguin spotted unusually far north at Port Davey, Tasmania - 2nd in 2 months

The king penguin spotted at Port Davey
© Roaring 40s Kayaking
The king penguin spotted at Port Davey stocked up on fish before moulting.
A second king penguin has been spotted on mainland Tasmania, with one wildlife officer calling the sighting especially rare "unless you're on a tourist ship going to Antarctica".

The penguin was spotted by kayakers at Port Davey in Tasmania's far south-west.

Wildlife officer Julie McInnes said it was a different penguin to the bird spotted at Seven Mile Beach near Hobart last month.


Dr McInnes said it was unusual to have two king penguins sighted in one year.

"This is a really rare thing for people to see, unless you're on a tourist ship going to Antarctica," Dr McInnes told ABC Radio Hobart.

Attention

150 cetaceans and 269 sea turtles washed up last year in Taiwan

A Cuvier's beaked whale found on a beach in Hualien, eastern Taiwan
© Ocean Conversation Administration
A Cuvier's beaked whale found on a beach in Hualien, eastern Taiwan in March, 2019.
Last year, 150 cetaceans and 269 sea turtles washed up on the nation's shores, the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) said yesterday, blaming improper fishing activities for many of the injuries.

Most of the animals were dead when they washed up, the agency said.

Of the beached whales and dolphins, the bodies of 77 were severely rotted, making it difficult to determine why they became stranded, while 33 were bycatch, it said.

Of the beached cetaceans whose species were identified, 43 were finless porpoises, followed by 30 bottlenose dolphins, 13 pygmy killer whales, 10 Fraser's dolphins, six pygmy sperm whales, six dwarf sperm whales and six Taiwanese humpback dolphins, it added.

Of the beached turtles, 240 were green sea turtles, 13 were hawksbill sea turtles, eight were loggerhead sea turtles and eight were olive ridley sea turtles, the agency said.

Cloud Precipitation

Deadly floods and landslides in 2 departments of Peru

Aftermath of the mudslide and floods in Vilcanchos district, Ayacucho Region.
© Policía Nacional del Perú
Aftermath of the mudslide and floods in Vilcanchos district, Ayacucho Region.
Landslides and flooding in the department of Puno in southern Peru have damaged homes leaving dozens of families displaced and at least 2 people dead.

Meanwhile at least 1 person is missing and over 200 families have been displaced after heavy rain triggered a landslide in Ayacucho Region in south-central Peru.

Puno Department

According to Peru's emergency agency, Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia Nacional (COEN), rivers broke their banks in Azangaro Province on 09 February, 2020, damaging at least 150 homes in Asillo District. Three bridges and areas of agricultural land were also damaged.


Boat

Mississippi declares Flood Emergency - February rainfall already over 400% more than normal

Hundreds in Mississippi evacuated amid flooding as governor declares state of emergency

Hundreds in Mississippi evacuated amid flooding as governor declares state of emergency
Days of heavy rain caused rivers and dams in Mississippi and Tennessee to rise, prompting evacuations and some flood rescues.

Among the worst hit areas is Jackson, Mississippi, where the Pearl River exceeded Major Flood stage and reached 36.67 feet on 17 February, 2020, it's third highest level on record.

The state government of Mississippi moved quickly in anticipation of the flooding and declared a state of emergency on 15 February. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said:

"This is a historic, unprecedented flood. With projections showing the potential of this being the 3rd worst flood in our state's history, I've declared a state of emergency to deploy the necessary resources to take care of all Mississippians impacted...Protect yourself and your family — have a plan in place and evacuate if and when you are asked."


Snowflake

Record breaking snow hits Seoul and parts of South Korea

South Korea snow
© Korea Times
Many parts of South Korea see snowfall during the months of December, January and February. However, this season, snow remained almost absent and very heavy snow was not seen.

However, this Monday was a different one as snowfall pounded many parts of South Korea including the national capital Seoul. This was the heaviest snowfall of this winter season which caused flight cancellations as well as traffic disruptions.

Heavy snow warning was issued for parts of Jeju Island, Gyeonggi Province, Jeolla, Chungcheong. This winter did not see much snow, however record snowfall yesterday was seen in parts including Ulleungdo and Dokdo where snowfall was recorded at 34.8 cm.

Meanwhile, Jeolla provinces and Gangwon Province saw 20 cm of snow with Seoul witnessing 4.1 cm which was a record.

If past statistics are to be seen between December and February 10, only 1.1 cm of snow was seen in Seoul which happened to be the lowest on record. Temperature in Seoul dropped down to -6 degrees Celsius after the snow.

Question

Mystery in Spain's Catalonia as hundreds of dead birds appear on highway

dead birds
Mystery has shrouded Spain's Catalonia as hundreds of dead birds have been found on a highway.

A local resident recorded footage whilst driving down the C-31b highway which connects Tarragona to Salou, sharing the video on social media to alert the police and environmental groups of their strange discovery.

This caught the attention of the Grup d'Estudi i Protecció dels Ecosistemes Catalans-Ecologistes de Catalunya (GEPEC) who believe that the deaths of the starlings may have been caused by a chemical leak in the atmosphere or mass poisoning. They also detail that from speaking to residents in the area that they reported "strong chemical smells in the air."


Tornado2

Waterspout filmed swirling on the edge of Welsh coastline during Storm Dennis

waterspout
This is the dramatic moment a "tornado" was captured swirling on the edge of a Welsh coastline during Storm Dennis.

The footage shows the moment a rare phenomenon formed over the Menai Strait between Anglesey and Gwynedd in north Wales on Sunday as stormy weather brought strong winds.

The waterspout - the name given to tornadoes when they form over water - was formed at around 12pm on Sunday, reports NorthWalesLive.


Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 5 family members in Zimbabwe

lightning
Five family members were struck to death by lightning in the Muzvezve area of Sanyati district.

Tragedy struck when the family, which was tending their maize field, sought refuge under a tree when it started raining yesterday afternoon in Village 6, Muzvezve 1. A lightning bolt hit the tree. The five who died went under one tree while three other family members who survived went under another nearby tree.

Sanyati district civil protection unit Mr Amigo Mhlanga confirmed the development saying the unit has since been activated to offer assistance.

"Five members of the same family have died after being struck by lightning while being sheltered under a tree. The district CPU has been activated and we are going to the area to assess the situation while also looking at how the family can be assisted because of the magnitude of the tragedy," said Mr Mhlanga.