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Thu, 09 Apr 2020
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SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2020: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

As the coronavirus "pandemic" gets all the attention, nature invites us to take note of some serious extreme weather in March.

A mix of heavy rain, floods, and landslides, and out-of-season cold and snowfall, have caused widespread devastation around the world.

Spring? What spring? Unseasonable snowfalls covered parts of Europe, including Italy and Sweden (an inconvenient event for our dear Greta and her handlers). The US had its share of cold temperatures and snow in the West and Midwest, and even Hawaiian summits got blanketed in white.

Parts of the Middle East and South Asia were also hit by freezing temperatures. Lahaul, India was hit by 30 inches of new snow!

At least 17 reported tornadoes hit Central US during severe weather outbreak, leaving a trail of destruction. Tennessee was heavily affected this month as a huge tornado cut a path through state, killing 25,destroying buildings, toppling electrical lines, and littering streets with debris.

An earthquake rocked Croatia's capital Zagreb, damaging buildings and leaving cars crushed by falling chunks of masonry. And two earthquakes with magnitude of 5.8 and 4.9 jolted the western part of Indonesia province earlier in the month, leaving scores of people wounded and several houses destroyed. While A 7.2-magnitude quake struck Russia's Far East region, striking off the Kuril Islands and prompting a tsunami warning for the sparsely populated region.

Amongst the current virus hysteria and worldwide lockdowns, a meteor impact carved a massive 68 feet crater in Akure, Nigeria. Perhaps the powers-that-be don't want people paying attention to the skies as we may in for a repeat this kind of phenomena in the near future.

All this and more in this month's SOTT Earth Changes Summary:


Fresh spring snowfall in Himachal Pradesh, India


Intense cold wave conditions continued in Himachal Pradesh on April 08. Koksar area received fresh snowfall in the higher reaches.


3 record snowfalls in 6 days for Thompson, Manitoba, Canada

All city snow-clearing equipment,
© Ian Graham
All city snow-clearing equipment, including two plow trucks last used to clear snow after the March
All city snow-clearing equipment, including two plow trucks last used to clear snow after the March 2017 blizzard, has been pressed into action since April 3, the second day of a six-day span that saw 65.6 centimetres of snow fall, with three of those days setting daily snowfall records.
An unprecedented six-day stretch of early April snowfall in Thompson has led to the biggest snow-clearing effort since the blizzard of March 2017 and, with everyone's nerves already frayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, harsh words from the city's mayor for citizens "whining" about the state of city roads.

Snow fell in Thompson four of the six days from April 2 to April 7, setting records on three of them. The 15.6 centimetres that fell last Thursday was the most since 6.8 cm of snow in 1995, while the 34.4 cm that fell on Friday beat the previous record of 6.4 cm from 1967 by 28 cm. Only 2.8 cm fell April 4, well below the 1973 record of 8.4 cm, while the 12.8 cm of snow on April 7 was close to double the previous record of 6.5 cm in 1981.


Snow falls in Dushanbe,Tajikistan in April - first time in 26 years

The snow has fallen in Dushanbe in April for the first time during the past 26 years, Asia-Plus reported.

The snow is 18-20 cm thick in different parts of the capital city.

Snow is rare for Tajikistan in mid-spring. The country almost did not have snow during the past winter.

Cloud Precipitation

Extreme rainfall days in metropolitan Sao Paulo have risen four-fold in seven decades

Cemaden operators in the situation room
© Cemaden
Cemaden operators in the situation room.
Extreme rainfall has become increasingly common in metropolitan São Paulo, Brazil. The capital of the state of São Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere. The metropolitan area suffered from flooding due to heavy rain in February. Early in the month, no less than 114 millimeters (mm) fell in a single 24-hour period. This was the second highest 24-hour amount for the month since 1943, according to Brazil's National Meteorological Institute (INMET).

According to a study by researchers at the Natural Disaster Surveillance and Early Warning Center (CEMADEN), an agency of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), both the total rainfall and the frequency of extreme rainfall events in metropolitan São Paulo have increased significantly in the last seven decades.

While there were practically no days with heavy rain (more than 50 mm) in the 1950s, such days have occurred between twice and five times per year in the last ten years in metropolitan São Paulo, according to the authors.

The study was supported by São Paulo Research Foundation — FAPESP under the aegis of its Research Program on Global Climate Change (RPGCC). The findings are reported in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Researchers affiliated with INMET, the National Space Research Institute (INPE) and the University of São Paulo's Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG-USP) also took part in the study.

"Intense rainstorms lasting a few hours with huge amounts of water, as much as 80 mm or 100 mm, are no longer sporadic events. They're happening more and more frequently," José Antonio Marengo, a senior researcher at CEMADEN and principal investigator for the study, told.

Comment: At least 18 people killed by floods and landslides after 11 inches of rain in 12 hours in São Paulo state, Brazil

Arrow Up

Shiveluch volcano in Russia's Far East spews 10km-high plume of ash

Shiveluch volcano ash plume
© TASS/Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Shiveluch volcano in Russia's Kamchatka in the Far East has spewed ash as high as 10 km above sea level on Wednesday, the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) said.

"The column of ash rose 9.5-10 km above sea level. According to KVERT's satellite data, the ash cloud spread nearly 45 km to the south and south-east from the volcano toward the Kamchatka Bay," KVERT said.

Volcanologists say that Shiveluch's explosive-extrusive eruption continues. The volcano may spew ash again as high as 10-15 km above sea level at any moment.

The Shiveluch is the northernmost active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It is located in 50 km from the Klyuchi settlement with around 5,000 residents. The Shiveluch is 3,283 meters high and around 60,000-70,000 years old. The volcano has been erupting since spring 2009.


State of Emergency in Thessaly, Greece after severe weather - 7 inches of rain in 24 hours

Floods affected Skiathos, South Pelion and Skopleos, Greece, April 2020.
© Civil Protection Greece
Floods affected Skiathos, South Pelion and Skopleos, Greece, April 2020.
Civil Protection in Greece has declared a state of emergency in 3 municipalities of Thessaly Region after severe weather from 04 to 06 April, 2020.

Strong winds disrupted sea transport and downed trees. Winds of 100 km/h were reported in parts of Central Greece Region. Heavy rain triggered flooding in Thessaly and Thessaloniki Regions, among others.

Cloud Lightning

Cyclone Harold batters Fiji, flattening homes and flooding towns

The National Disaster Management Office said residents along much of the south coast, home to many of the country's major tourist resorts, should evacuate
The National Disaster Management Office said residents along much of the south coast, home to many of the country's major tourist resorts, should evacuate
A deadly Pacific storm slammed Fiji on Wednesday, tearing off roofs and flooding towns in the capital Suva days after the category-five cyclone hit the island of Vanuatu.

Cyclone Harold passed over Fiji's south at about midday, levelling homes and snapping communications links in the archipelago, which has adopted curbs on the movement of people to rein in the coronavirus.

"We've seen reports of injuries," Vasiti Soko, the director of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), said by telephone.

"As to the number, as well as the intensity, of the injuries, that's yet to be ascertained."

Snowflake Cold

100% fruit losses in many parts of central Europe and the Balkans

Poland frosts
One of the coldest April mornings in decades.

2 Apr 2020 - With temperatures dropping below -5 °C (even to -8 °C in some valleys) during the time of blossoming trees, the damage is almost complete - 100% in many vineyards and fruit plantations.

There are numerous reports of destructive frost to the fruit trees (cherry, peach and almond orchard) and some other crops across Slovenia, northeast Italy, Croatia, Serbia and Hungary.

Snowflake Cold

Frosts will not stop in Italy - 100% damage to some fruit crops

The wave of night frosts that are affecting much of Italy goes on. In the north, the situation has reached an unprecedented level, with 8 hours below zero on the night of April 2 and minimum peaks of -6 °C. Even the anti-frost systems are struggling, because protecting an orchard with 5 °C below zero is not easy.

After three sleepless nights operating the anti-frost system, Davide Vernocchi, president of Apo Conerpo, is dispirited: "With these temperatures, this defense system is in crisis. We are talking about 5, 6 degrees below zero in some areas of the province of Ravenna. Apricots, peaches, plums, kiwis: in some cases, the damage is of 100%. There will be less work for everyone. Nature has cruelly solved one of our great concerns: the lack of manpower. Paradoxically, several farmers in the next few months will have to go looking for work somewhere else".

Comment: Severe Spring frosts destroy crops across Europe