Earth ChangesS


Spectacular southern lights seen across Australia after 'extreme' solar storm

Sean O'Riordan just managed to capture this stunning display at Eaglehawk Neck in south-east Tasmania
© Seán O RiordanSean O'Riordan just managed to capture this stunning display at Eaglehawk Neck in south-east Tasmania.
Aurora australis has lit up skies across southern Australia after an "extreme" geomagnetic solar storm.

Social media users in posted pictures of brightly coloured skies in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and across the Tasman in New Zealand.

However, much of New South Wales missed out on the spectacle due to heavy cloud and rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the storm that creates the beautiful auroras could also threaten infrastructure and essential services, including power supply.

Comment: Related: "Severe Geomagnetic Storm" hits Earth, NOAA warning in effect all weekend


Best of the Web: "Severe Geomagnetic Storm" hits Earth, NOAA warning in effect all weekend

Update — May 10, 2024 at 7:31 PM EDT

NOAA Warning: Seven Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are racing towards Earth

NOAA scientists have witnessed severe (G4) geomagnetic storm conditions today. Several additional Earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are in transit to Earth's outer atmosphere, making it highly likely that geomagnetic storming will persist through the weekend.

A large, complex sunspot cluster (NOAA Region 3664), which has now grown to 17 times the diameter of Earth, has been the primary source of this activity. Experts still expect additional activity from this Region.

Since the current solar cycle began in December 2019, observers have only witnessed three Severe geomagnetic storms.

Comment: Related: Northern lights captured in timelapse footage across Europe and US


Northern lights captured in timelapse footage across Europe and US

The lights shone all over the UK on Friday night, seen here in Loose, Kent
The lights shone all over the UK on Friday night, seen here in Loose, Kent
Videos filmed across the northern hemisphere show skies illuminated by the aurora borealis.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US said the 'very rare event' was caused by a large sunspot cluster that has produced several moderate to strong solar flares since Wednesday morning. That meant the lights could be seen further south than usual.

Comment: Related: "Severe Geomagnetic Storm" hits Earth, NOAA warning in effect all weekend

Cloud Precipitation

Rains, floods claim 315 lives in Afghanistan, cause widespread destruction (UPDATED)

The heavy downpour, followed by floods in Afghanistan, has claimed the lives of at least 14 people, and has also resulted in widespread destruction across the nation, TOLOnews reported, citing the Taliban-led State Ministry for Disaster Management Affairs.

According to Janan Saiq, the ministry's spokesperson, 140 residential dwellings have been destroyed by floods and rainfall in 14 provinces, and over 2,000 livestock have died.

"In the last three days, due to the rain, approximately 14 of our fellow citizens have died, and one person is missing. 140 homes have been either completely or partially demolished," TOLOnews quoted Saiq as saying.

Comment: Update May 11 reports:
The death toll from devastating flash floods in northern Afghanistan has risen to 153 people across three provinces, the Taliban's interior ministry said on Saturday.

At least 138 people have also been injured in the flooding across northern Baghlan, Takhar and Badakhshan, caused by heavy rains on Friday, ministry spokesman Abdul Mateen Qaniee told Reuters.

Taliban authorities sent helicopters to try to assist civilians overnight after receiving reports that over 100 people were stranded.

Many people had been left homeless and transportation, water and waste systems were "severely disrupted", according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"The impact has been profound, leading to loss of life and injuries, with many individuals still unaccounted for," the WHO's Afghanistan office said in a statement late on Friday.

It added that four health centres had been damaged and one destroyed by the floods and said the agency was sending health teams to provide treatment in the inundated areas.

Update May 12

Reuters reports:
Flash floods caused by heavy rains have devastated villages in northern Afghanistan, killing 315 people and injuring more than 1,600, authorities said on Sunday, as villagers buried their dead and aid agencies warned of widening havoc.

Thousands of homes were damaged and livestock wiped out, the Taliban-run refugee ministry said, while aid groups warned of damage to health care facilities and vital infrastructure, such as water supply, with streets left coated in mud.

In the Nahrin district of Baghlan province, people carried their shrouded dead to a gravesite.

"We have no food, no drinking water, no shelter, no blankets, nothing at all, floods have destroyed everything," said Muhammad Yahqoob, who has lost 13 members of his family, children among them.

The survivors were struggling to cope, he added.

"Out of 42 houses, only two or three remain, it has destroyed the entire valley."

Just last month: At least 66 killed in Afghanistan as heavy rains set off flash floods


Puerto Rico declares state of emergency after heavy flooding, landslides

Puerto Rico's governor has declared a state of emergency following heavy rains, widespread flooding and landslides in the U.S. territory. One person has been reported missing.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi also activated the National Guard on Wednesday to help 22 of the island's 78 municipalities that were hardest hit by incessant rains.

More than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain were reported over two days in Puerto Rico's interior, with some streets turning into flowing rivers.

Police issued a statement Thursday noting that numerous rivers have broken their banks and that several roads are impassable. They said an unidentified man was swept away by a river in the northwest town of San Sebastián, where several people also were trapped by rising waters, waiting on a roof before they were rescued.

Flooding has also decimated crops across the island.

The Associated Press

Arrow Down

10 killed in another landslide triggered by heavy rainfall in Kasese, Uganda

About 10 people in Kasese District have died after their homes were swept by landslides.

The landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall that has been pounding the area for several days.

Kasese Deputy Resident District Commissioner in-Charge of Bukonzo County East, Lt. Maate Magwara, says the situation in the district is dire.

People who live in landslide-prone areas have been advised to relocate to safer areas.

Arrow Down

Two skiers, 23 and 32, killed in Utah avalanche, third survives after digging out of snow

2 skiers dead in Utah avalanche, another rescued, police say
2 skiers dead in Utah avalanche, another rescued, police say
Two skiers were killed in an avalanche in Utah on Thursday morning, local authorities said.

Rescue crews responded to Lone Peak Canyon after a report that three skiers were "caught, carried, and buried in an avalanche" around 10:30 a.m., the Unified Police Department of Salt Lake said in a statement.

Several other agencies were contacted to assist due to the remote location and rough terrain.

About two hours later, one skier was located and airlifted to an area hospital. He had been able to dig himself out of the snow and was found in fair condition, officials told KUTV.

The two other skiers, both males ages 23 and 32, were later located by rescue teams.

Neither survived the avalanche, officials said. Their names have not been released.


Russia: May snow blankets several Moscow districts

Russia held its customary military parade on Thursday to honor the Soviet Union's 1945 victory over Hitler's Germany. This was the third such march since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. On a cold morning with light snowfall, Russian President Vladimir Putin was present at Red Square in Moscow.

Cloud Lightning

74 killed by lightning across Bangladesh in 38 days

At least 74 people, including 35 farmers, were killed by lightning strikes in the past 38 days across the country, according to a report by a voluntary organisation.

The research cell of the Save the Society and Thunderstorm Awareness Forum published the report on Thursday, according to a press release.

The report said that at least 31 people were killed by lightning strikes in April, of whom 20 were male and 11 were female.

It also said that at least 43 people were killed by lightning from May 1 to May 8. Of them, 34 were male and nine were female.


Tornadoes, severe storms leave 3 dead in Tennessee, North Carolina as damage trail stretches 900 miles

The nation's deadly severe weather outbreak continued Wednesday with severe storms from the Carolinas to the Midwest, with fatalities in two states.

Severe storms caused over 900 miles of damage from Kansas to eastern North Carolina, resulting in 13 reports of tornadoes. The storms appeared to impact the country in clusters, with Tennessee, southern Illinois and northern Alabama being the hardest hit by tornadoes. There were also hundreds of hail and damaging wind reports in other nearby states.

Two Tornado Emergencies - the most dire warnings from the National Weather Service - were issued in Maury, Marshall, Rutherford and Williamson counties in Tennessee and Dekalb County in Alabama. This came after two other Tornado Emergencies were issued earlier this week in Oklahoma and Michigan, marking the most Tornado Emergencies in a three-day period since March 31, 2023.

Additionally, 136 Tornado Warnings and 563 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued on Wednesday.