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Thu, 20 Jan 2022
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Diver killed in crocodile attack at beach in Colombo, Sri Lanka

A 57-year-old man, who was diving in Dehiwala beach, had been snatched away by a crocodile yesterday morning, Police said.

He was diving into the sea to catch ornamental fish when a group of fishermen spotted him being grabbed by a 14-foot-long crocodile.

The fishermen tried to rescue him, but the man died after sustaining severe damage to his chest.

They said the body has been placed at the Colombo-South Teaching Hospital.

The victim had been identified as a resident of Ratmalana.


Tens of thousands of dead starfish wash up on coast in Pembrokeshire, Wales - 'I have never seen something like this before'

Tens of thousands' of starfish wash up on Pembrokeshire coastline

Tens of thousands' of starfish wash up on Pembrokeshire coastline.
Tens of thousands of starfish have been discovered washed up along the Pembrokeshire coastline in a huge mass stranding.

The creatures were spotted along the beach from Coppet Hall in Saundersfoot all the way up to Tenby and there are reported to be tens of thousands of them.

Giles Davies, an amateur nature photographer, shared a snapshot of the starfish along the shore.

He said: "I have never seen something like this before. It's really sad to just see that in nature, because you're looking at deaths in the thousands of one species.

"That would kind of make sense because Tenby is the first place where the tide turns in Wales, so when you get strandings they come to shore generally in that area. But it's the sheer volume, you're always going to get winter tides where stuff will come ashore."


Humpback whale washes ashore along Tajiguas Beach, California

Rare Sight Could Help Researchers Studying Cetacean Mammals in Santa Barbara Channel
© Kevin Loughran
Rare sight could help researchers studying cetacean mammals in Santa Barbara Channel
Locals taking an early-morning oceanside walk at Tajiguas Beach last week were in for a huge surprise when they found a 44-foot-long humpback whale washed up onto the sand.

Kevin Loughran, a resident who has lived in the area for nearly 30 years, takes a walk along the beach every day; shortly after sunrise, he received a call from a friend who had seen the whale. "I went down to see what was going on, and there she was," he said.

Loughran said this was the first time he had seen a whale washed up in the area, though it was more common to see smaller animals like seals and pelicans or, even more commonly, abandoned panga boats.

The whale — a young female humpback —had washed up during the morning high tide on New Year's Eve, and Loughran said he wanted to make sure the proper authorities knew about it. He contacted the Channel Islands Cetacean Research Unit, which studies abandoned or stranded whales, dolphins, and porpoises in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Arrow Up

3 Beaked whales wash ashore in Port Macquarie, Australia

Beaked whales wash ashore in Port Macquarie,

Beaked whales wash ashore in Port Macquarie
Three beaked whales have washed up on a Port Macquarie beach in northern New South Wales.

The whales were spotted during the afternoon in shallow water off a rugged, rocky beach and died on the beach a short time later.

National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager Shane Robinson said it was a species rarely seen.

"Generally speaking we don't commonly see beaked whales so they are a rarity, especially on this stretch of the coast," he said.

Mr Robinson said it was unclear why they had come so close to shore.


Strong mag. 6.0 earthquake - Banda Sea, Indonesia

Strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake at 556 km depth

Date & time: Jan 4, 2022 20:55:47 UTC - 15 hours ago
Local time at epicenter: Wednesday, Jan 5, 2022 5:55 am (GMT +9)
Magnitude: 6
Depth: 556.2 km
Epicenter latitude / longitude: 4.7993°S / 125.0518°E (Banda Sea, Indonesia)


Indonesia - Floods affect over 67,000 in Sumatra, 1 dead in Aceh

Floods in East Aceh, Indonesia, January 2021
© BPBD East Aceh Regency
Floods in East Aceh, Indonesia, January 2021
At least one person has died and thousands have evacuated their homes after floods and landslides on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Severe flooding has also affected wide areas of Malaysia on the other side of the Malacca Strait.


Disaster management authorities reported severe flooding and landslides in the province of Aceh in the north of Sumatra Island after heavy rain from 30 December and the overflow of Krueng Peutoe, Krueng Keureuto, Sepanjang, and Langsa Rivers. The city of Lhokseumawe recorded 149 mm of rain in 24 hours to 30 December 2021.

The regencies of East Aceh, North Aceh and Aceh Tamiang were all affected, along with areas in Langsa City. As of 03 January 2022, a total of 67,871 people were affected, 19,947 displaced and 17,646 homes damaged. One fatality was reported in East Aceh Regency.

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SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2021 - Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Another record-breaking cold December with a historic -61°C in Siberia, and unusual heavy snowfalls that trapped people inside their houses in NY, and some others in an Ikea store in Aalborg, Denmark.

Northern parts of California were hit by a record-breaking amount of snow, following a year of heat and drought that triggered water shortages and wildfires. Lake Tahoe saw 212 inches (5 meters) of snow, and the Sierra Nevada registered 202 inches of snow (5.2 meters) this month, making it the snowiest December ever since the tracking started (1970).

Extreme blizzards and record snow were also reported in northern parts of Spain and France. Arette La Pierre Saint-Martin registered 1.6 m (5 feet) of snow, a record for the month since records started in 1971, and 8 feet (2,445 m) at lac d'Ardiden, the highest since the records started in 1995.

In Asia, a powerful storm dumped 28 inches (70 cm) of snow in western Japan, disrupting travel and leaving hundreds without power. Obama city in Fukui, Japan's coastal region, received record snowfall for this time of the year.

Heavy snowfall also wreaked havoc in the eastern and western provinces of Turkey, blocking roads and disrupting travel, while in Istanbul, a monster windstorm blew away at least 33 roofs, knocked down traffic signs, uprooted 192 trees, and damaged 12 cars. At least 6 people died and 38 others were injured.

And talking about monster storms, "the most severe weather event in the history of British Columbia" continued, triggering widespread flooding in British Columbia this month, leaving a total of $450 million in damages.

Malaysia's worst floods in years, triggered by days of heavy rain, displaced an estimated 70,000 people in the southern and eastern parts of the country. A total of 210 areas in six states have been affected by the floods.

Weeks of intermittent heavy rain, and the collapse of two dams, triggered deadly floods in northeastern Brazil. At least 20 people died and more than 16,000 were left homeless in 11 separate municipalities.

Northern Spain was also hit by record flooding following heavy rain and snowfall. The Ebro River's water level swelled up to 27 feet (8.5 meters) in some areas, breaking a 6-year record. The regions of Navarra and Aragon were the most affected.

A deadly late-season tornado outbreak, the deadliest on record in December, produced catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across portions of the Southern United States and Ohio Valley. Over 3 dozen tornadoes, including a massive one that tracked through 4 states, were reported. Less than a week later, a rare wind storm brought 'Dust Bowl' conditions and gusts of more than 100 mph (160 kph) to parts of the Great Plains and upper midwest. The powerful storm system triggered power outages in four US states, including in more than 100,000 homes and businesses in Colorado.

All this and more in our SOTT Earth Changes Summary for December 2021:

Snowflake Cold

Tahoe sets new December snowfall record with nearly 18 feet of powder - the most in 142 years

Deep snow from recent storms have partially buried the Donner Lake West End neighborhood just west of Truckee, as seen on Dec. 30, 2021.

Deep snow from recent storms have partially buried the Donner Lake West End neighborhood just west of Truckee, as seen on Dec. 30, 2021.
This story has been updated to correct the snow lab's elevation.

Almost 18 feet of snow fell in North Tahoe during December, more than any other December in the past 142 years.

Located at Donner Pass, U.C. Berkeley's Central Sierra Snow Lab reported a whopping 214 inches of snow through the month.

On Dec. 27, the lab recorded 193.7 inches of snow, breaking the previous record of 179 inches set in 1970. An additional 20-plus inches fell between Dec. 27 and 31, cementing 2021 in the history books for the snowiest December on record.


Snow falls in Florida — yes, Florida — in rare cold snap

Snow falls in Florida following first winter storm of 2022

Snow falls in Florida following first winter storm of 2022
Snow in the Sunshine State?!

Some parts of the Florida Panhandle saw snow flurries as temperatures plunged below freezing.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office shared a Facebook video of snowflakes falling overnight.

"Well how's this for a temperature change?" the sheriff's office wrote in the caption. "From 75 degrees at 3 in the afternoon to snow at 3 am captured during patrol in the Lowe's parking lot on Beal by B-Shift Central! Bundle up out there!"

The snow didn't stick and didn't cause any issues, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office told The Associated Press.


Leaving on a jet plane? U.S. air travel nightmare continues - 5,000 flights canceled

Flight cancellations impact Charleston International Airport as winter weather hits

Flight cancellations impact Charleston International Airport as winter weather hits.
The new year brought the same problems for many air travelers in the United States. Canceled or delayed flights are causing a travel mess for passengers across the country. Many spent their new year in an airport.

Airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights over the weekend. And more than 2,600 U.S. flights and more than 4,100 worldwide were grounded as of midday Monday, according to tracking service FlightAware. Another 8,500 flights were delayed, including 3,100 in the U.S. More than 12,000 U.S. flights have been canceled since Christmas Eve. This is creating a huge backlog of passengers.

Airlines are reporting they simply have too many people to move and not enough planes. Airlines are also citing COVID-related staffing shortages for these delays and ongoing winter weather. A major snowstorm hit the Pacific Northwest last week. And now a massive system is moving across the East Coast.