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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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Earth Changes


Typhoon Mindulle hits Tokyo, bringing risk of floods and landslides

© Japan Meterological Agency
Typhoon Mindulle
Typhoon Mindulle unleashed heavy rains on Tokyo, bringing the risk of floods and landslides as the tropical storm made landfall near the Japanese capital shortly after noon Monday.

The typhoon's center was about 74 kilometers (46 miles) south of Tokyo as of 1 p.m. local time and heading north, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. With maximum sustained winds of 126 kilometers per hour (78 mph) and a maximum wind gust speed of 180 kilometers per hour, Mindulle is the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane, the weakest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

The weather agency issued heavy rain and flood warnings for all 23 wards of central Tokyo, while the Prime Minister's Office warned of possible landslides and damage from strong waves. A total of 250 millimeters of rain was predicted in the Tokyo region for the 24 hours to noon, the agency said, and it issued tornado warnings for Tokyo and surrounding areas. Nine rivers were at a dangerous risk of flooding, according to national broadcaster NHK.

Japan Airlines Co. canceled 148 domestic flights, affecting about 28,000 passengers, while ANA Holdings Inc. scrubbed 112 flights, affecting about 26,500 passengers, according to statements from the airlines. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said about 66,000 homes were without power as of 2:25 p.m., mostly in Chiba prefecture where the typhoon made landfall.

Alarm Clock

Another magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes off northern Japan; third strong quake in region in consecutive days

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan for a third consecutive day early Sunday, but there were no reports of tsunami, injuries or damage.

The shallow magnitude-6.0 quake hit at 12:58 a.m. 170 km east-northeast of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by a magnitude-5.3 aftershock.

The Meteorological Agency, which logged the quake's magnitude at 5.9, said there was no threat of tsunami.

The temblor struck seven hours after another magnitude-6.0 quake struck the same area on Saturday, and followed a 5.3-magnitude jolt due east of Miyako on Friday.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year. Rigid building codes and strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.

In April, two strong quakes hit Kumamoto Prefecture, followed by more than 1,700 aftershocks, leaving 49 dead and causing widespread damage.

A massive undersea quake in March 2011 sent tsunami barreling into the coast of the Tohoku region, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and tipping three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Comment: Seismic activity seems to be increasing worldwide recently. Also within the past week 6.4 and 7.3 magnitude quakes have struck near South Georgia island; while Queensland experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake - the 'biggest in 20 years'.

Bizarro Earth

Severe drought impacts New England states: Bears are bolder, mosquitoes are multiplying and fish are stressed

Beyond hurting crops and helping the tourism industry, New England's hot, dry summer also is affecting the region's wildlife. Bears are getting bolder, mosquitoes are multiplying and stream-dwelling fish are stressed.
Bears are bolder, mosquitoes are multiplying and stream-dwelling fish are stressed. Beyond hurting crops and helping the tourism industry, New England's hot, dry summer also is affecting the region's wildlife.

All six New England states are experiencing at least moderate drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center, with severe patches in all but Vermont and pockets of extreme drought in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Low rainfall also means low stream flow levels across the region. The U.S. Geological Survey says all six states have areas exhibiting moderate hydrologic drought, with severe spots in Massachusetts and one extreme area in Maine.

Low and warm water stresses fish, such as trout and salmon, forcing them to seek out deeper pools or spring holes. On Friday, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection closed portions of the West Branch Farmington River and the Farmington River to fishing through Sept. 15 after several fish kills.

Ice Cube

Golf ball sized hail hits Great Falls, Montana

© Jeff Fenner Sr
People in and around Great Falls were awakened by the sound of huge hailstones coming down overnight.

Hail up to the size of golf balls was reported throughout Great Falls, causing damage to trees, vehicles, and property.

Among the damage - the Great Falls Police Department, who said: "Most of our fleet was damaged by last night's storm. We have dings and cracked windshields galore."

STORMTracker meteorologist Mike Rawlins says the storms virtually came out of nowhere.

"One minute we were fine and the next, the radar lit up with storms," said Rawlins.

The STORMTracker Weather Team was expecting showers and thunderstorms, but severe weather wasn't a big concern.

Rawlins noted, "I expected some small hail, but nothing like what we got in Great Falls."

The National Weather Service did issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the city of Great Falls at 12:33 a.m. Thursday, but the storm was already dropping large hail on the city by the time it was disseminated.

Much cooler, wetter weather is expected on Thursday, however severe thunderstorms are unlikely.

Comment: Meanwhile in France, a brutal hailstorm destroyed half the grape crop in Languedoc. See also:Atmospheric changes: Strange cloud anomalies, rare ball lighting and more hail damaged aircraft


6.4 magnitude earthquake near South Georgia island

© Dimas Ardian, Getty Images
6.4 magnitude earthquake 325 km from Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

2016-08-21 03:45:23 UTC

UTC time: Sunday, August 21, 2016 03:45 AM

Your time: 2016-08-21T03:45:23Z

Magnitude Type: mwp

USGS page: M 6.4 - South Georgia Island region

USGS status: Reviewed by a seismologist

Reports from the public: 0 people

Comment: This latest event comes just 2 days after another major quake in the region: Massive 7.3 magnitude earthquake near South Georgia island


Rare force of nature: What is a firenado?

© Getty Images
Amidst the devastation of a huge wildfire in the US state of California, photos have emerged of a rare force of nature.

Firenadoes, torrents of wind and flame that burn at extreme temperatures, have been spotted in the hills near San Bernardino, 60 miles (96km) east of Los Angeles.

The whirlwinds form when a fire heats air above it and pulls in cool air at its base, creating a self-sustaining vortex. When large enough, these swirling columns are capable of ripping trees from the ground and pulling roofs off houses.

California's inferno currently spans 58 sq mi (150 sq km) in a dry, drought-ridden region of hills. More than 82,000 people have evacuated their homes. Only 22% of the fire has been contained.

Firefighters tend to avoid firenadoes due to their extreme heat and volatility. They instead focus on tackling more stable areas, where the movement of a fire can be safely predicted.

Comment: Some other rare firenadoes observed over the last couple of months include:

Cloud Precipitation

Hail wipes out vineyards in Languedoc, France; half of crop destroyed

© Jérôme Despey
Hail hits vines near the Pic-St-Loup
France's weird weather causes more chaos - just as the grapes are due to be harvested.

Growers in Languedoc are in shock after a brutal hailstorm wiped out half the grape crop just days away from the start of harvest.

The sudden storm arrived in the Hérault department on Wednesday afternoon and pelted the vineyards - especially in the area around Pic Saint-Loup - with hailstones the size of golfballs, according to French media reports.

In the village of Lauret, where the storm was at its fiercest, some vineyards were wiped out, according to Mas de l'Oncle winemaker Fabrice Bonmarchand.

Bonmarchand, who has been in the region for five years, said he had never seen a storm like it. "I don't have much experience of this kind of disaster, but I was speaking to the former winemaker, who is 92, and he told me this morning that he can't remember as violent an incident of hail either."


Waterspout caught on camera over the Tennessee River near Decatur, Alabama

Several WHNT News 19 viewers sent in pictures of a waterspout near Decatur on the Tennessee River Friday evening.

The picture above was submitted through our Live Alert 19 app by user "baker630456."

Waterspouts can sometimes cause damage if they move onshore, but the National Weather Service in Huntsville said it had not heard of any damage reports from this storm system.

Waterspouts fall into two categories: fair weather waterspouts and tornadic waterspouts.

Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water, or move from land to water. They have the same characteristics as a land tornado. They are associated with severe thunderstorms, and are often accompanied by high winds and seas, large hail, and frequent dangerous lightning.


Man killed by dogs in Jacksonville, Florida

Owner releases photo of all 4 dogs seized after deadly attack
Four dogs were removed from a Florida home Friday night after police said a man died as the result of an animal attack.

Investigators said the dogs may have left their yard and dragged the victim back in but the dogs' owner is defending his pets.

"My dogs ain't no vicious dogs," Lephus Felton said, adding that he believes his dogs were provoked. "They're vicious to protect this yard. ... My dog is trained to protect this yard I have signs, beware of dog signs, all over."
Owner releases photo of all 4 dogs seized after deadly attack. pic.twitter.com/KBE6HqZUVh — Cole Heath (@ColeANjax) August 19, 2016
The deadly attack took place Friday afternoon in Felton's backyard on the 1100 block of Jessie Street. Felton found the killed man, who has not been publicly identified except to say he was in his 60s, along his home's back fence.


Woman killed by pack of stray dogs in Kerala, India

In a shocking case, a 65-year-old woman was killed by a pack of stray dogs at Pulluvila beach on Friday night. According to police, Siluvamma, wife of Chinnappan, was attacked by around 15 dogs. She died on way to hospital.

Due to lack of toilet in home, Siluvamma went to the beach side for urination at around 8 pm when the incident happened. Hearing her cries, Siluvamma's son Selvaraj came and tried to rescue her. However, he too was attacked by the stray dogs. Selvaraj escaped unhurt by jumping into the sea. Hearing the cries of Selvaraj, neighbors came and rescued Silvamma. However, she sustained serious injuries by then.

People in the locality said that stray dog attacks are common, but a gruesome incident like this happened for the first time.

Silvuamma's body is kept at Govt Taluk Hospital, Neyyatinkara.