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Sun, 24 Jul 2016
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Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 3 women and injures 2 others in Bihar, India

At least three persons were killed today in rain-related incidents in Bihar as the flood situation remained critical in Assam while heavy rainfall in Karauli district of Rajasthan has led to a deluge-like condition there.

The national capital also received heavy rains, leading to water-logging in several areas and heavy traffic jams on many busy intersections.

The observatories at Safdarjung, Lodhi Road, Palam, Ridge and Ayanagar recorded 12 mm, 12.5 mm, 4 mm, 7.4 mm and 9.1 mm rainfall respectively between 8.30 AM and 5.30 PM, said a Met department official.

Three women were killed while two others sustained burn injuries when lightning struck them in Bihar's Jamui district. The incident occurred when the victims were transplanting paddy saplings.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills man at Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina

Scott Pasour
A Dallas man who led other motorcyclists to Christ through Bible studies at his auto repair business died Saturday from a lightning strike that occurred on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the entrance of Mount Mitchell State Park.

Scott Pasour, a lay minister at Venture Church and owner of Pasour Auto Repair, was riding down from the peak of Mount Mitchell with two other motorcyclists when they stopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the entrance of the park to put on rain gear, according to friends and park officials. The other men reported that they did not see any lightning or hear any thunder in the area until witnessing a bolt come down and strike the helmet Pasour was wearing.

A medical professional on the scene worked to revive Pasour for about 45 minutes and he was flown by helicopter to Mission Hospital in Asheville, where he was pronounced dead, according to friends. The incident occurred around 1 p.m., according to park officials.


July snow for 5 European countries; strawberry and tomato crops lost

© Mottolino Fun Mountain/Livigno/Instagram
Summer Interrupted in Italy, Switzerland as Snow Whitens the Alps
Snow continues to fall across Europe in July 2016.

A total of 10 days of snow in this extremely rare round of bizarre snowy weather during the European summer.

Strawberry crops lost in Switzerland due to cold and rain.

India suffers extreme drought effecting tomato crops country wide along with the dairy industry.


After 36,000 years, an ancient volcano near Rome is rumbling to life

The country of Italy, home to one of the most famous volcanic disasters in history, is showing signs that another massive eruption is brewing, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Almost 2,000 years after the burial of Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., an ancient volcano near Rome is rumbling to life, say scientists. About 19 miles away from the heart of Rome, an ancient volcanic district called the Colli Albani is stirring. The Colli Albani, a 9-mile-long semicircle of hills on the outskirts of Rome, last erupted 36,000 years ago, so geologists had classified it as extinct - until about 20 years ago.

Comment: See also: Calm before the storm: Restless volcanoes undergo periods of seismic quiet immediately before eruptions

Cloud Precipitation

Huge hailstorms damage thousands of houses in Brazil; 20 inches of ice on the streets

50 cm (20 inches) of ice accumulated on the streets

A strong hailstorm hit parts of Rio Grande do Sul on Wednesday night, damaging 2,563 buildings.

Some 50 cm (20 inches) of ice accumulated on the streets in northern parts of the city of Não-Me-Toque (lit. Don't-Touch-Me). The ice also felled trees on the ERS-142 between Carazinho and the city.

The mayors of Vale do Sinos, São Leopoldo and Novo Hamburgo declared an emergency.

The storm, which hit municipalities in the North, Northeast and Metropolitan and the Valleys of Taquari, Rio Pardo and Paranhana, was the second hail storm in the state in the week - Northern cities had already been punished by hail on Sunday night.


Six years after BP Gulf of Mexico spill, remaining oil more toxic than ever to fish

Three month old mahi mahi
Six years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled nearly three million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have found that ultraviolet light is transforming the remaining oil into a more toxic substance that hinders the development of heart, eye, and brain function in fish. The research, led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside and the University of Miami, exposed embryos and larvae of mahi-mahi from the Gulf of Mexico to what they called weathered (exposed to years of sunlight) and un-weathered oil (taken from the drilling site) from the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Compared to fish exposed to un-weathered oil, the fish exposed to the weathered oil experienced impaired eye and neurological function, reduced heart rates, and a buildup of excess fluid in the heart.

"To this day, we remain uncertain of the magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill effects, particularly in sensitive life stages of fish," said Daniel Schlenk, a professor of aquatic ecotoxicology, who led the study, published in Environmental Science and Technology. "We are also uncertain of whether biota exposed to the oil can recover, or have recovered, from this event. And we are still uncertain about how compounds present in oil or any other combustion byproduct or fossil fuel cause toxicity."


July snowfall hits the Alps in Austria, Italy and Switzerland

© ischgl.com
Lots of fresh snow in Ischgl's upper bowls - 14 July 2016
Fresh snow in the Alps!

Following a very warm start to July, temperatures have plummeted this week with fresh snow as low as 1600m in parts of the Alps this morning!

The heaviest snow has been in Austria (benefiting summer ski areas such as Hintertux and Mölltal), eastern Switzerland and parts of the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Passo Stelvio), where as much as 30cm has fallen at high altitude with more forecast today.

© passostelvio.com
Fresh snow at Passo Stelvio, one of a handful of ski areas open in the Alps in July - 14 July 2016
Western glaciers (e.g. Tignes) have also had at least a dusting, but the cold weather won't last long, with temperatures expected to return to normal by the weekend.

© valtline.it
Fresh snow to 1800m in Livigno this morning - 14 July 2016


Black bear attacks hiker in British Columbia; 'I couldn't believe this was happening to me'

© Wikimedia Commons
A black bear chasing a dog attacked a hiker in Okanagan, British Columbia.
Rachel Lautard was hiking on a trail in Okanagan, British Columbia, when she heard loud footsteps behind her. Quickly turning around, she saw a dog run past followed by a charging black bear.

The Greenwood, B.C., woman had picked up the pace and became separated on the trail from family and a friend. They were camping near Conkle Lake Provincial Park southeast of Kelowna.

Lautard told CBC News (warning of graphic photos in link) she believed the black bear was chasing the dog and attacked her instead.

"The next thing I know I was on my back with this bear on top of me," Lautard told CBC News. "I was wearing steel-toed work boots at the time and I was kicking and basically bicycling and screaming for help.

"He bit into my leg and he was holding on, but I was kicking as hard as I could...

"I couldn't believe this was happening to me."

Cloud Lightning

Man killed by lightning in Huntsville, Alabama

A Redstone employee is dead after being struck by lightning.

The Arsenal confirmed the employee was transported to the University of Alabama-Birmingham hospital on Thursday night. The victim was pronounced dead at 11:30p.m.

The employee worked for Eskola Roofing. The victim's identity is being withheld until all family is notified.

"We are very saddened at the loss of our Teammate," said Col. Tom Holliday, Garrison Commander, Redstone Arsenal. "We should all remember the family and friends during this time and rally around them."

Better Earth

Massive Florida algae bloom can be seen from space

© NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A toxic algal bloom that is covering a good chunk of Lake Okeechobee in Florida can be viewed from space.
A huge bloom of toxic algae that took over Florida's largest freshwater lake has been captured in stunning images taken from space.

The NASA images show an expanse of blue-green algae that covered Lake Okeechobee in Florida this summer. The toxic bloom appeared in May and expanded to 33 square miles (85 square kilometers) in area, covering a good chunk of the 730-square-mile (1,913 square km) body of water — the second-largest lake entirely within the contiguous United States (second only to Lake Michigan).

The invasion by the single-celled organisms, also called cyanobacteria, was still present on July 2, 2016, when the images were captured by NASA's Operational Land Imager, aboard the Landsat 8 satellite.

Algal blooms occur for a variety of reasons. Pollution, nitrogen-fertilizer-laden runoff from farms and even warm lake water can fuel the growth of these single-celled creatures. The cyanobacteria — often blue-green algae or other phytoplankton — use sunlight to make food and thrive when concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous rise.

Comment: Further reading: