Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Strange Winter-Tornadoes Tear Through Midwest, Kill One

©Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Lightning flashes through the sky as neighbors look through the wreckage of a home destroyed by a tornado near Niangua, Missouri, on Monday, January 7, 2008.

A freak cluster of tornadoes raked across an unseasonably warm U.S. Midwest, demolishing houses, knocking railroad cars off their tracks, and even temporarily halting justice in one courthouse.

Record temperatures were reported across much of the country Monday, and storms continued to pummel the nation's midsection as darkness fell. More warmth and storms were in store for Tuesday.

Bizarro Earth

Mystery of the monster hailstones

Shortly after 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning in January 2007, Raymond Rodriguez was in his driveway, changing a tyre on his car. Parked close by in the quiet cul-de-sac in Tampa, Florida, was a cherry red Ford Mustang. It belonged to Andre Javage, who had come to visit the night before. Out of nowhere, Rodriguez heard a high-pitched whistling. Then a 13-kilogram chunk of ice landed smack on the roof of Javage's Ford. The windshield blew out and the car bounced, Rodriguez said, a metre into the air. The roof was squashed flat.


Elephants outsmarting humans on Indonesia's Sumatra: report

A herd of wild elephants on Indonesia's Sumatra has repeatedly outsmarted efforts to stop them stealing crops, wising up to attempts to chase them off with burning torches, a report said Monday.

The head of Way Kambas natural reserve in Lampung province, Hudiono, told the state-run Antara news agency that a herd of 25 to 30 elephants had been nightly roaming out of the reserve to raid crops since Thursday.

Evil Rays

Papua New Guinea hit by two quakes

Two earthquakes struck eastern Papua New Guinea on Wednesday but there was no fear of a tsunami or reports of damage, seismologists said.

The first quake, which reached 6.2 on the Richter scale, struck at 4:55 am (0025 IST) 90 kilometers of the largest city Lae at a depth of 47 kilometers.


6 missing snowmobilers alive

CONEJOS, Colo. - Six snowmobilers missing for three days in the snowy Colorado mountains called for help Monday and reported they were hungry but alive, authorities said.

Crews were on their way to meet the six, who are all from New Mexico, said Barbara Smith, a spokeswoman for the Conejos County Sheriff's Department.

The snowmobilers called 911 from an isolated and snowbound train station and said they were cold but otherwise all right, Smith said. They had been missing since Friday amid heavy snow in the area.

Bizarro Earth

Bulgarian cold snap's toll climbs to nine

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures that hit Bulgaria this week claimed a ninth victim Sunday, Info radio reported as the country struggled to get back to normal.

A severely frostbitten man found near the northeastern town of Kavarna died in hospital, the station reported.

The body of another victim of the cold, a 64-year-old gardener, was found Saturday in the southern region of Pazardzhik, Trud daily newspaper reported.

Bizarro Earth

World to cool slightly in 2008: British experts

World temperatures will cool slightly in 2008, but it will remain among the top 10 hottest years on record, British weather experts predicted Thursday.

The impact of a strong La Nina climate pattern over the Pacific will help keep temperatures down, according to the annual forecast by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia.

Overall the global temperature is expected to be 0.37 degree Celsius above the long-term average of 14.0 degree, making it the coolest year since 2000 when the value was 0.24 degree C above the average.

Cloud Lightning

Two dead as western US lashed by snow, rain

Heavy snow and rain pounded the western United States for a third day Sunday as state officials confirmed two fatalities from the storms that have pummeled the region.

California was drenched with up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rainfall in some regions as mountain communities in the east of state and neighboring Nevada were blanketed by nearly six feet (two meters) of snow in places, National Weather Service figures showed.

Around 110,000 homes and businesses remained affected by power outages across California, down from more than 800,000 on Friday when the worst of a series of storms slammed into San Francisco and its surrounding areas.


It's raining iguanas after Florida cold snap

An unexpected cold snap this week sent thermometers plummeting in Florida and heat-hungry iguanas dropping from tree branches like autumn leaves, scientists and witnesses said.

Passersby in Bill Baggs and Crandon parks in Key Biscayne, south of Miami, were seen picking up the seemingly lifeless lizards from the ground beneath trees and setting them in the sun, where after a brief warm-up, most revived and scampered off into the bushes.

The cold-blooded lizard-with-a-mohawk's comfort level begins at 23 degrees Celsius (73 Fahrenheit) and it positively thrives at 35 C (95 F). But on Wednesday and Thursday, the mercury in south Florida dropped to 4-5 C (39-41 F).

Bizarro Earth

Australian climate changing, experts say

Australia experienced one of its hottest years on record in 2007, and climate experts have warned that the higher temperatures are likely a taste of things to come as weather patterns change.

The country has already kicked off 2008 with a spate of extreme weather -- several cities, including Perth and Melbourne, have suffered summer heatwaves, while bushfires have raged on the east and west coasts.

Meanwhile, heavy rain has caused flooding along the east coast, huge waves have forced the closure of Sydney beaches and Cyclone Helen has brought winds of up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) an hour to the northern city of Darwin.