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Wed, 26 Jul 2017
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Earth Changes


New Zealand hit by huge swells and constant snow after three days of storms

Raging seas hit the seawall at Wellington's Lyall Bay, as the southerly storm batters the capital.

Swell lines charging across the open sea have left passengers crossing New Zealand's Cook Strait grasping for something steady to keep them upright.

Video of the treacherous crossing shows the ferry Interislander crashing through walls of water whipped up by three days of storms.

Passenger Nathan Pilcher told stuff.co.uk it was like a 90-minute rollercoaster.

"Everyone was sitting on the floor, holding on, sitting down with vomit bags and people were lying down in the toilets," he said.

Pilcher said the lengthy journey was made even worse by the nagging "smell of vomit".

On Wednesday, the Kaliarahi ferry was close to running out of vomit bags when the vessel battled seven-metre-high swells.

The high seas were caused by winds as strong as 167kph.


'Mountain of God' volcano preparing to erupt in Tanzania

© Carsten Peter, National Geographic Creative
An aerial view shows erosion on Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania.
The East African peak looms over a modern city as well as three major sites featuring signs of early humans.

An active volcano in northeastern Tanzania known to the Maasai as the "Mountain of God" has been quietly rumbling—and it is showing signs that an eruption is imminent.

Known as Ol Doinyo Lengai, the 7,650-foot-tall peak is the only known active volcano that belches out lava rich with a type of rock called carbonatite. This thin, silvery lava can flow faster than a person can run. (Read more about the volcano from our January 2003 issue.)

The volcano is some 70 miles from the city of Arusha and is known for its proximity to some of the world's most important paleoanthropological sites. Ol Doinyo Lengai is less than 70 miles from the famed Olduvai Gorge, a collection of 3.6-million-year-old hominin footprints at a site called Laetoli, and a "dance hall" of ancient Homo sapiens footprints at a site called Engare Sero.

Typically, the volcano's activity is confined to its summit. But occasionally, the Mountain of God can roar to life in more dramatic fashion: On September 4, 2007, the volcano belched out a plume of ash that extended at least 11 miles downwind. Lava running down the north and west flanks ignited burn scars that were visible from space.


Dead humpback whale washes up on beach in Coonarr, Australia

When Matt Stoker and his camping friends were driving down the beach at Coonarr on Monday, what they thought were logs in the distance turned out to be something much bigger.

The friends had come across a giant whale carcass washed up at the Theodolite Creek end of the beach.

"It definitely wasn't there when we arrived but the next day, as we were driving back down the beach, we saw what looked like logs in the distance," he said.

"As we got closer we realised what it was.

"None of us have ever seen anything like it - it was massive."

Cloud Precipitation

Northern suburbs of Chicago hit hard by heavy rains, flooding

Round Lake Beach, IL
Heavy storms that rolled through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning left behind significant flooding in some northern suburbs, leaving many basements inundated with water, and some roads closed to traffic.

According to the National Weather Service, some suburbs got 4 to 7 inches of rain from the storms before dawn - Round Lake Park got 7.13 inches, Mundelein got 6.75 inches, Lake Bluff got 5.38 inches, Lake Villa got 5.31 inches, and Fox Lake got 4.46 inches. Even more rain was falling throughout Wednesday morning, with some areas getting another 1 to 2 inches.
Heavy rainfall from overnight causing dangerous travel this morning. Please use caution today! #ilwx pic.twitter.com/J0hfuza3iB

— NWS Chicago (@NWSChicago) July 12, 2017
In Mundelein, it seemed at times like piling on; everything from rain, high winds, thunder and lightning, and hail.

Mundelein Fire Chief Bill Lark said crews evacuated about 20 people from a senior living apartment complex at Route 45 and Division, due to flooding at the one-story building.


Tourists evacuated from Sicily as hundreds of wildfires rage across Italy

© Italian Firefighters Vigili del Fuoco via AP
Woodland fires burn near a tourist resort where, according to firefighter reports, some several hundred tourists have been evacuated by land and sea, in the Sicilian town of San Vito lo Capo, southern Italy, on 12 July 2017.
At least 700 tourists in Sicily were the latest to be displaced by the hundreds of wildfires raging across Italy.

A threatening wildfire forced many of the tourists to flee the seaside resort of Calampiso, located on the northwestern tip of Sicily, by boat on Wednesday.

BBC News reports that around 700 tourists were evacuated, while The Local claims the figure is closer to 1,000.

Approximately 10 people sought medical care at the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Two people have been killed as a result of the fires, The Local reported. One man died while trying to extinguish a fire near his property in the Cosenza province. Another man was found dead in the Vibo Valentia province.


Waterspout captured on Lake Simcoe, Ontario

© YouTube-The Weather Network (screen capture)
A family on Lake Simcoe captured a local waterspout spinning during widespread storms on July 12th across Ontario.

Pumpkin 2

Ghoulish face appears in the smoke rising at Mount Vesuvius

© Albarosa Scotto de Minico
A photo of smoke billowing from Mount Vesuvius shows what appears to be a ghoulish face looming above southern Italy's famous volcano. The disturbing image was taken as wildfires force evacuations from surrounding areas.

"After millennia the monster of Vesuvius came out," Rosario Scotto Di Minico posted on Facebook along with the image, which shows a menacing face emerging from the pattern of smoke.

Speaking to RT.com he said the nightmarish image was captured on camera phone by Albarosa Scotto di Minico.

Comment: See also: Mount Vesuvius volcano engulfed in smoke as wildfires rage along its slopes in southern Italy


Hiker survives vicious bison attack at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

© Mark Mesenko
Charging Bison
An Alaska man is recovering after being attacked by a bison while hiking in western North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Park official Eileen Andes said the 65-year-old hiker encountered the large animal on a trail after taking photos of a sunset. He tried to walk around the bison but didn't provide a wide enough berth, the Minot Daily News reported.

The bison apparently threw the man into a bush, knocking him unconscious, Andes said. When the man regained consciousness, he was bleeding from a leg laceration but made his way to the trailhead. When he saw more bison, he climbed several feet up a butte.

"The guy kept yelling, 'help, help, and help,'" said Christopher Velazquez, one of three airmen from Minor Airforce Base who were camping nearby and heard the man's faint calls.


Two shepherds mauled by bear in Romania; 7th attack for the country this year

Two shepherds were seriously injured in a bear attack Saturday in Romania's remote Carpathian mountains, reigniting debate over a government decision to suspend an annual culling programme.

The men, whose injures are not thought to be life-threatening, were tending their sheep when they were attacked in the central Harghita region, according to a local official quoted by the Agerpress news agency.

One of the men was bitten on his head, hip and genitals, the official said.

Romania is home to around 60% of Europe's brown bears - some 6,000, a quarter of which roam the mountains around Harghita.

There have been seven bear attacks there in 2017 alone, prompting anger among locals.

Cloud Precipitation

Severe hail storm strikes Watertown, South Dakota

A strong storm system that moved through the Watertown area Tuesday night dropped a record amount of precipitation and some eye-popping hailstones.

The hail - some stones the size of baseballs - also left many parts of town covered with tree debris and many cars covered with dents. Social media sites were rife with photos and videos from the storm and its aftermath.

There were no reports of major damage as of early this morning. The hail did force the cancellation of softball action at the Koch Complex and the second game of the Post 17 American Legion baseball team's doubleheader with Sioux Falls East at the Watertown Stadium.

"Watertown had been in a slight risk of severe weather last evening," said Ryan Vipond, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen. "The severe risk was supposed to be farther to the east, so it looks like it developed a little to the south and west of where the main stuff was supposed to be."