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Wed, 18 Oct 2017
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Earth Changes


Multiple explosions at Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano raises concern

© Oswaldo Cantero / Reuters / Reuters
Smoke rises from the Popocatepetl as it spews incandescent volcanic material on the outskirts of Puebla, Mexico September 27, 2017.
Mexico City is still recovering from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that killed over 200 people and devastated the capital, but many fear the increase in seismic activity may trigger the nearby volcano Popocatépetl.

A series of explosions and minor eruptions took place this week, putting citizens of the neighboring city of Puebla on alert as ash rained down over the city, with the seismic activity causing river waters to rise for a period.

CENAPRED, the official disaster monitoring agency in Mexico, reports that between October 5 and 6, a total of four major explosions were registered at the volcano.

The agency also recorded a minor earthquake of 3.0 magnitude on October 5.


Category 1 Hurricane Nate reaches Louisiana and makes landfall with winds of 85mph

© AP
This enhanced infrared satellite image made available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Nate approaching the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017
The Category 1 Hurricane Nate has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River in the US state of Louisiana, registering winds of 90mph and causing flooding.

The storm made landfall on the southeastern Louisiana coast at 8pm Saturday with wind speeds reaching 85mph (137kph). Authorities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, parts of which are expected to be affected by the storm, have issued evacuation orders and declared states of emergency.

Although the storm was forecast to lose its strength and be downgraded to a tropical depression by Monday morning, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards urged residents to stay vigilant as the state prepares to face torrential rains and howling winds.

"We do want people to be very, very cautious and to not take this storm for granted," he said at a press conference on Friday.

Meteorologists expect the storm to make a second landfall on the Mississippi Coast on Saturday night after it passes over the uninhabited Chandeleur Islands, the easternmost point of Louisiana.

Comment: Nate is the ninth hurricane to form in the Atlantic this season, which is the highest total since the infamous 2012 season featuring Hurricane Sandy. When Nate struck Central America on Thursday and Friday, at least 31 people were killed and others were still missing.

The United States is recovering from two major hurricanes: Harvey, which tore through Texas and then Louisiana in August, and Irma, which slammed Florida in September. Another powerful storm, Hurricane Maria, ripped through the Caribbean in late September, devastating several islands, including Dominica and Puerto Rico, a US territory.


Signs and Portents: Snake born with two heads in Doncaster, UK

The snake has two brains and one body, but the two heads fight one another for food and can lead to death
Pet owner Martin Hunter got the fright of his life after his baby corn snake was born - with two heads.

Stunned Martin, 48, returned home from work last week to find the rare reptile slithering around its incubator.

The dad-of-four, of Doncaster, South Yorks., said: "I took one look at it and thought 'what the f***. I thought I was seeing things.

"At first I thought it was twins, but then I realised there were two heads but only one body."

Martin, who breeds snakes to sell to pet shops and has several different species, says the snake was one of 17 eggs laid by a female corn snake.

It hatched from its egg in his living room after 56 days in an incubator and appears to be healthy and fully functioning.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 2 people, injures 11 in Aceh, Indonesia

Two people were killed and as many as 11 were injured when a lightning struck a school in Asean residential area in Dewantara Subdistrict of Aceh District, Sumatras Aceh Province, on Saturday.

Spokesperson of Lhokseumawe Aceh Province, Commissioner Ahzan, stated here on Saturday that most of the victims were students of Al Alaq Dewantara Junior High School.

The lightning struck a tree near the schools canteen, where the students were taking a break while it was raining outside.

The canteen owner and several students were shocked and fainted after the lightning struck.


2 pit bull terriers bite 4 people in Tampa, Florida

A Tampa police officer fatally shot a dog, and the county took another into custody after the loose animals went on a biting spree Tuesday, officials said. Four people were bitten. One refused medical treatment and the others were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, police said.

The dogs' owner has been notified, said Todd Pratt, spokesperson for Hillsborough County.

The dogs were running loose just after 9 a.m. near the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Tampa Bay Boulevard, said Stephen Hegarty, police spokesman. Officials described them as large pit bulls or pit bull mixes.

The dogs had already bitten three people when police arrived. A woman driving a van on Dale Mabry Highway stopped and tried to grab the dogs. The officer yelled for her to get back inside her vehicle, but they bit her before she could.


Dead fish, marine animals wash up along the west coast of India

© Hindustan Times
Stingrays washed up at Alibaug beach
Fish and other marine life have been washing up on the country's west coast for the past three days, leaving marine biologists baffled.

ReefWatch Marine Conservation, a nature conservancy group, said they have reports of fish, crabs and shrimp getting stranded on the coast near Alibaug in Maharashtra, Karwar in Karnataka and Varkala in Kerala between Saturday and Tuesday. The group said it received images and videos from volunteers that indicate the cause of the marine deaths could be similar. "There are two possible reasons we are looking at — low oxygen zones at sea pushing these organisms close to the shore or severe toxicity in the water. However, only a detailed study can reveal the exact cause," said Nayantara Jain, executive director, ReefWatch Marine Conservation.

The Maharashtra Maritime Board said the deaths were a matter of concern. "We have never seen lakhs of fish species washing ashore at different beaches along the entire west coast," said Atul Patne, chief executive officer, MMB

Arrow Down

25-foot sinkhole open up in Bengaluru, India

When residents of a private society in Bengaluru's Koramangala area stepped out for their morning walks today, they were greeted by a giant sinkhole.

Curious (and concerned) residents gathered around as they took photos of the sinkhole inside the society. Some did so from their balconies.

At least 25-foot-long and 10-foot-wide, the sinkhole appeared on a driveway used by residents and it was big enough to swallow a nearly 8-foot-high boundary wall and a transformer.

Images of a collapsed wall showed excavation work at an adjacent construction site of a private company, which many residents claimed could be the reason.


Shinmoedake volcano eruption warning at Level 2 as tremors increase in Japan

© Kyodo
Shinmoedake peak in the Kirishima mountain range on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures is seen in a 2012 file photo.
The Meteorological Agency has raised the warning level by one notch against a volcanic eruption for Shinmoedake peak, located in the Kirishima mountain range bordering between Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures.

The agency took the step late Thursday night, saying it issued a Level 2 warning for Shinmoedake in light of a recent series of small volcanic tremors observed in the area.

A Level 2 warning restricts entry to areas near the mouth of the volcano, while a Level 1 warning only tells the public of its existence. Level 5, the highest alert, urges people to evacuate.

According to the agency, 12 tremors were observed on Shinmoedake on Sept. 23, and 39 on Oct. 4. The number continues to rise.


Storm 'Xavier' kills 9 and shuts down transportation across northern Europe

© Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
Cars damaged by uprooted trees and fallen branches in Kreuzberg district following a storm front on Oct. 6, 2017, in Berlin, Germany.
According to the Associated Press, high winds from the storm dubbed Xavier killed seven people Thursday in Germany and two in Poland on Friday.

Officials say the storm knocked out power to tens of thousands of households in Poland after falling trees brought down power lines.

In Poland, the storm was responsible for the death of a 67-year-old man trying to secure the roof to his house and a 58-year-old woman, who was killed by a falling tree.

On Thursday, the storm was responsible for the death of 54-year-old Sylke Tempel, a prominent journalist and political expert, the Berliner Zeitung reported.

A truck driver was also among the victims when a tree fell on his vehicle near Rostock. Four others were killed in Brandenburg, and a woman was killed in Berlin from a falling tree.

Comment: Less than a month ago Storm Sebastian killed three people across Germany with hurricane-force winds. In August five people died after a violent bow echo storm system hit Poland.

Cloud Precipitation

Florida, Texas and Louisiana brace for ANOTHER hurricane: Tropical Storm Nate to strengthen as it strikes the Gulf Coast on Sunday after lashing Central America killing 22

Devastation: A man walks by a fallen tree after the passing of Storm Nate on the road to Masaya, Nicaragua
Florida, Texas, and Louisiana are bracing for another devastating hurricane as Tropical Storm Nate batters Central America.

At least 22 have died in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras as torrential rains uproot trees, knock out bridges and turn roads into rivers.

The storm is heading for the US Gulf Coast where it is expected to strike as a Category 1 hurricane on Sunday.

Storm or hurricane watches have been issued from Louisiana east through Mississippi and Alabama, with a state of emergency declared in 29 Florida counties, the US National Hurricane Center said.

A spokesman added: 'The threat of the impact is increasing, so folks along the northern Gulf Coast should be paying attention to this thing.'

Comment: Nate updates below:

Florida is under a state of emergency as Nate approaches. Governor Scott issued the order to ensure local governments have enough time to prepare, just in case. (Current predictions put the storm on a course west of Florida.)