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Wed, 31 Aug 2016
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Bizarro Earth

Typhoon Lionrock hits Northern Japan

© Associated Press
Floodwaters on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido washed away a building. Japanese media reported that hundreds of residents in Hokkaido and Iwate were stranded.
Tokyo—At least 11 people were found dead in northern Japan on Wednesday after Typhoon Lionrock battered the region with torrential rain, triggering widespread flooding.

National broadcaster NHK said police found the bodies of nine people at a home for the elderly that suffered flooding. The home is in the northern prefecture of Iwate, which took a direct hit from Lionrock. Separately, the bodies of an elderly man and an elderly woman were also discovered in Iwate, NHK said.

Rivers in parts of Iwate and the northern island of Hokkaido flooded, inundating residential areas and blocking roads. Television footage showed cars and homes submerged in muddy waters.

Japanese media reported that hundreds of residents in Iwate and Hokkaido were stranded, while several bridges were destroyed or swept away by floods.

Lionrock crossed northern Japan during Tuesday night, becoming the fourth typhoon this season to make landfall in Japan and the first to hit the northeast from the Pacific Ocean since records began in 1951, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Unusual weather patterns led Lionrock to take a slow and wandering path through the Pacific. It started off Japan's eastern coast and initially headed south before making a U-turn to the north and then veering northwest and making landfall.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake magnitude 6.7 strikes off Papua New Guinea

Sydney - A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 struck off the town of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicentre of the quake was located 89 km (55 miles) northeast of Rabaul on New Britain island and at a depth of 499 kms (310 miles).


Lightning strike kills 19 cows taking shelter under tree

© Victor Benson
Some East Texans say a storm Sunday night killed nineteen cows. Witnesses say lightning hit a tree just north of Hallsville during the storm, killing the cows that were standing underneath it for shelter.

It was a tragic ending for the cows trying to get relief from a storm. Victor Benson saw it happen.

"All of a sudden, a lightning bolt came down and the cows just fell," he explained.

"In the blink of an eye a lightning bolt, and there was lightning everywhere, but just one (bolt) and it was over," he added.
© Ashley Anderson
Nineteen cows were killed as a result of that strike, about a third of the herd in the pasture where they were. A mark is still visible on the tree where the lightning hit.

"We kept thinking 'oh they'll get up.' Some of them were getting up and stumbling away, and I called the owner and he goes 'No that's not normal,'" Benson explained.

They were owned by the Andersons who have hundreds of cows in the area.

"It's not something you see every day. Just kind of surreal to see it," Ashley Anderson said.

Her husband has been working with cows his entire life. She said he has never had anything like this happen.

"Not any of his (cows). And especially not to this magnitude," she explained.

The Andersons say while this is a significant loss, they don't plan to do anything differently with their cows.

"It's just a freak thing; I mean they were just staying out of the rain. There's really, to my knowledge, nothing you can do to prevent this," Anderson said.


Spectacular drone footage captures early Northern Lights over Iceland

It's the Northern Lights as you've never seen them before: Filmed from a drone traveling across Iceland's stark scenery and clear night skies, Aurora Borealis has the perfect environment in which to shine.

It seems that the Northern Lights season - which typically runs from September to mid-April - has reached Iceland a little early this year, treating islanders to a spectacular celestial display.

One minute and 46 seconds of pure serenity, the drone captures every magnificent streak of color as the phenomenon stretches across the night sky.


Family dogs kill woman and injure her son in Conifer, Colorado

A woman was killed Monday night in a dog attack in Conifer and her son suffered injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

The incident happened at about 7 p.m. when the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about the attack, said Dionne Waugh, a sheriff's office spokeswoman.

Deputies responded to the 31000 block of Black Widow Drive. A woman died at the scene and her son, who is in his late teens or early 20s, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Waugh said.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 4 fisherman in Assam, India

The lightning struck a group of fishermen killing four of them on the spot
At least four people were killed and three critically injured after a lightning struck Assam's Morigaon district on Tuesday.

The lightning struck a group of fishermen killing four of them on the spot.

The injured were immediately taken to Morigaon civil hospital.
4 killed & 3 injured after being hit by a lightning bolt in Morigaon district of Assam.

— ANI (@ANI_news) August 30, 2016

Bizarro Earth

Over half of groundwater in Indus and Ganges river basins too contaminated with arsenic to drink or use for irrigation

© Kamal Kishore / Reuters
Sixty percent of groundwater in the Indus and Ganges river basin is too contaminated to drink or use for irrigation
Sixty percent of groundwater in the Indus and Ganges river basin - essential for the lives of over 750 million people in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh - is too contaminated to drink or use for irrigation, a new study says.

The groundwater of the vast Indo-Gangetic basin, named after the Indus and Ganges rivers, is contaminated and inappropriate for use, a team of scientists wrote in Nature Geoscience.

"Within 60 percent of the aquifer [permeable rock which can contain or transmit groundwater], access to potable groundwater is restricted by excessive salinity or arsenic," says the study, which is entitled 'Groundwater quality and depletion in the Indo-Gangetic Basin mapped from in situ observations'.

Some 23 percent of the groundwater stored in the basin contains too much salt at a depth of up to 200 meters (650ft), while about 37 percent of it "is affected by arsenic at toxic concentrations," the scientists explained.

Comment: Top 10 ways to destroy all the water on earth


Hawaii bracing for back-to-back hurricanes: Meteorologists predict impacts worse than Tropical Storm Iselle

© Infrared Satellite Image: Lester and Madeline
The National Weather Service says Hurricane Madeline could come dangerously close to the Big Island by Wednesday and may have impacts worse than Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014.

"This looks like potentially the strongest tropical cyclone, which includes hurricanes and tropical storms, to approach very close to the coast in the past several years," said meteorologist Chris Brenchley with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Iselle toppled hundreds of Albizia trees on the Big Island and caused an estimated $79 million in damage.

"The time is now to prepare," said Brenchley.


Thousands of dead fish found in Portland Harbor, Maine

Dead fish
Thousands of dead fish could be seen in Portland Harbor Saturday.

Acting Portland harbor master Kevin Battle calls it a "fish kill". He says it appears bigger fish like stripers chased smaller fish into the harbor, eating them. When that happens, Battle says the fish use up lots of oxygen and more fish die in the process.

Battle says as many as 10,000 fish were floating in the harbor. He says this is the first time he's seen this in Portland in eight or nine years.


High water temperatures may have caused the die-off of hundreds of thousands of mussels in Jamesport, New York

Dead mussels
What caused thousands of blue mussels to appear along the shoreline in the Jamesport area this week hasn't officially been determined. However, a local biologist believes the culprit may be rising water temperatures in the Long Island Sound.

"They've been hit with these consecutive heat waves that are just too hot for them," said Christopher Gobler, the associate dean and researcher with the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook.

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials concurred.

"It is likely that high water temperatures due to the prolonged hot temperatures we have experienced this summer is the cause," DEC spokesperson Aphrodite Montalvo said.