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Wed, 02 Dec 2020
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Black Cat

50 people killed by animals so far in 2020 across Uttarakhand, India - 24 by leopards

Stock image of leopard
© Getty
The pandemic and the consequent lockdown seem to have had little impact on Uttarakhand's rampant human-wildlife conflict (HWC) menace. Till October 30 this year, 50 people have already been killed (nearly half of them by leopards) and 214 injured in attacks by wild animals in the state. The figures are close to those of 2019, when 58 people lost their lives to such attacks and 181 were injured.

According to data exclusively accessed by TOI from the Uttarakhand forest department, in the first 10 months of the year - from January to October - 24 people have been killed in leopard attacks and 13 by snakebites.

Eight people have died due to attacks by elephants, two each by bear and wild pig attacks and one after being attacked by a crocodile.


Northwestern US snowpack now 200 - 400% above normal - Mt Baker, Washington gets nearly 8 feet of snow in 8 days

Mt. Baker ski resort
Mt. Baker ski resort
With the mountain snow season in the Cascades off to a robust start and with La Nina giving consistent signs it could become a strong event this winter, it might be a good time to revisit Mt. Baker's world-record seasonal snowfall, writes meteorologist Scott Sistek.

Washington State's Mt Baker area recorded an amazing 1,140 inches of snow some 22 years ago during the epic winter season of 1998-99.

When that world-snowfall record was set we were going into a la Nina like we are now, says Sistek, with NW snow pack now 200 - 400% above normal, 31″ forecast there, next 10 days.


Man killed in shark attack off Western Australia - 8th such fatality for the country in 2020

Great white shark
A man has been killed in a shark attack on the north-west coast of Western Australia.

The incident happened at Cable Beach in the Kimberley region's popular tourism destination of Broome about 8.45am local time (12.45am GMT).

It is understood that the 55-year-old man had been bodyboarding when he was bitten.

WA Police said the man was recovered from the water and treated by local police officers before St John Ambulance arrived.

"Tragically the man has died as a result of his injuries," a WA Police spokesperson said.

Comment: Great white shark death toll in Australia at highest level in 86 years after dad killed


6.2 magnitude earthquake hits off Chile coast - USGS

chile quake map
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the Chilean coast, the US Geological Survey has reported. It struck at a depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles).

The jolt occurred late Saturday 157.4 km (97.8 miles) to the southeast of Talca, a city of around 200,000 people south of the capital, Santiago.

There has been no tsunami alert issued as a result of the quake.

Around 10 million people might have felt the quake, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

However, it is not expected to cause casualties or major material damage.


Wellington set for cloudiest November ever, Seoul breaks rainfall record - 'Cosmic ray flux' explained

cosmic rays

Cloud cover is increasing across the planet as the Sun's magnetic field continues to weaken, decreasing the outward pressure of the solar wind and allowing more cosmic rays to penetrate Earth's atmosphere.

This year's record start to the Northern Hemisphere snow season is due to two factors: 1) falling temperatures across the mid-latitudes, and 2) an increase in cloud cover.

Both of these factors are linked to low solar activity, and while each impacts the other, factor 1 is mainly due to a weakening of the jet stream, with factor 2 predominantly the result of an influx of cloud nucleating cosmic rays.

Very briefly, Galactic Cosmic Rays are a mixture of high-energy photons and sub-atomic particles accelerated toward Earth by supernova explosions and other violent events in the cosmos. Solar Cosmic Rays are the same, though their source is the sun. Both Galactic and Solar Cosmic rays hitting Earth's atmosphere create aerosols which in turn seed clouds (Svensmark et al) — making them an key component in our weather and climate. Recent balloon flights by spaceweather.com and Earth to Sky Calculus reveal that cosmic rays are intensifying:

Comment: See also:


Hyenas drag man from bed and maul him to death in Zimbabwe

An elderly man has been killed by a pack of hyenas in Zimbabwe, after they pulled him from his bed while he was sleeping.

The man, who has been identified by the authorities as 87-year-old Tendai Maseka, was dragged about 1,000 feet from his mud and wood hut.

The incident occurred on Monday night in the rural region of Chirumanzu. in central Zimbabwe.

By the time Maseka's body was discovered by villagers, its lower half was missing.

Park rangers are currently hunting for the animals in a bid to "eliminate" them, according to Tinashe Farawo, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority.

Snowflake Cold

Winter is coming: The top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire looked like a frozen wasteland

© Patrick Hummel
Holy cow! It's a bit cold on top of Mount Washington State Park.

Check out these pictures below of sheer frozenness. It looks like everything has been dusted in powdered sugar but if only it were that sweet.

Temperatures at the summit on Wednesday, according to the New Hampshire State Parks Facebook page, were at 2 degrees but with the windchill, it was really like -30 degrees.

According to the New Hampshire State Parks, this winter wonderland was 3 inches of snowfall and wind gusts of 50-70 miles an hour.

Park Manager Patrick Hummel braved these incredible conditions to bring us these photos.


Flights grounded, highways closed as snowstorms hit northeast China

A man rides an electric vehicle in snow on Zhongshan Road in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Nov. 19, 2020.

A man rides an electric vehicle in snow on Zhongshan Road in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Nov. 19, 2020.
Snowstorms in China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang have grounded more than 100 flights and forced expressways and schools to be closed, local authorities said Thursday.

The province's meteorological center has issued a red alert for heavy snow, the highest in China's weather warning system, and upgraded the emergency response to the second-highest level.

Snowfall of up to 25.8 mm was recorded in cities including Harbin and Mudanjiang, bringing a blanket of snow 17 cm deep in some places, according to the center.

Educational authorities in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, said primary and middle schools and kindergartens in the city would be closed on Thursday due to heavy snowfall.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods in Tabasco, Mexico affect 50% of the state's banana plantations

green nanas
The serious floods in Tabasco have caused important losses to the agricultural sector, mainly impacting banana production.

"Producers estimate that 50% of their plantations were affected, so we are developing a plan to establish measures to strengthen the banana strains once the flood subsides," stated Victor Villalobos, the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader).

Villalobos also stressed that it will be necessary to grant credits to producers in the region and provide technical assistance to avoid pests and diseases derived from floods.


Storm Iota death toll rises to 40 in Central America as Honduran leader pleads for help

Vehicles are submerged at a plot flooded by the
© Jorge Cabrera
Vehicles are submerged at a plot flooded by the Chamelecon River due to heavy rain caused by Storm Iota, in La Lima, Honduras November 19, 2020.
Authorities in Central America recovered more bodies on Thursday from landslides triggered by hurricane Iota, which battered the impoverished region this week, the second deadly storm to roar through this month.

The number of reported deaths rose to more than 40 across Central America and Colombia, and the toll is expected to rise as rescue workers reach isolated communities. Most of the deaths occurred in Nicaragua and Honduras.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez issued an urgent plea for international help.

"We are in a situation of great calamity and we need the world to help us rebuild our country," he told a news conference.

The strongest storm on record to hit Nicaragua, Iota struck the coast late on Monday as a Category 4 hurricane. It inundated low-lying areas still reeling from the impact two weeks ago of Eta, another major hurricane that killed dozens of people in the region.