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Fri, 21 Jul 2017
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Bug

U.S. West is battling crop-killing insect swarms


FILE - In this June 10, 2003, file photo, Jeff Knight, an entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, holds a female Mormon cricket north of Reno, Nev.
Farmers in the U.S. West face a creepy scourge every eight years or so: Swarms of ravenous insects that can decimate crops and cause slippery, bug-slick car crashes as they march across highways and roads.

Experts say this year could be a banner one for Mormon crickets — 3-inch-long bugs named after the Mormon pioneers who moved West and learned firsthand the insect's devastating effect on forage and grain fields.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service reports "significantly higher Mormon cricket populations" on federal land in southwestern Idaho, agency spokeswoman Abbey Powell wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

"There isn't a clear explanation why populations are so much higher this year," Powell wrote. "We know that populations are cyclical. ... In Idaho, in a few locations, we have seen populations as high as 70 per square yard."

The bugs can start to be detrimental to rangeland and crops when they number about 8 per square yard, state officials said.

Cloud Lightning

Rancher loses 10 head of cattle to lightning bolt in Jewett, Texas

It was a hot Wednesday evening at Bar M Ranch in Jewett, but the heat didn't stop Brett Mitchell from tending to and feeding his prized cattle, or at least the ones he has left.

"A storm came through here early July 4th morning," Mitchell said. "It struck our tree and it had 8 cattle laying around it."

In all Mitchell, who lives in Katy, lost ten cattle: four cows with one calf each; a steer and a heifer during the lightning strike.

He estimates the loss is around $20,000.

"Everything in a 20-foot radius around that tree was dead," Michell said. "They were killed instantly. It's one thing to deal with maybe one cow, but to be overwhelmed with so many it was pretty hard."


Bizarro Earth

Freak floods turn Siberian runway into a lake forcing closure of airport for four days


A muddy take off... Bodaibo airport pictured several years ago

Vacations ruined by spectacular flood at Bodaibo as the airport is closed for four days, 11 flights grounded.

The freak floods in Irkutsk region have left hundreds of passengers stranded, many of them seeking to escape for beach holidays.

The runway, prone to turning into a mud bath, is now like a lake after the incessant downpours.

Evgeny Yumashev, mayor of Bodaibo, a gold-mining outpost with a 13.104 population, explained: 'The abnormal rains began here, starting from Sunday.

'Looking back, we did not have such weather in a long time.'

Cloud Lightning

Mysterious red flashes during thunderstorm spark UFO landing fears in Hungary

© YouTube/BSP News
Mysterious red flashes spotted streaking across the sky during thunderstorm prompt fears of alien spaceship invasion

Flashing red-lights spotted in the sky sparked fears of a landing by UFOs and invasion by extraterrestrials. Several residents in Budapest, Hungary, described a "UFO landing" - following a late-night thunderstorm in the country.

Martin Szoter captured mystery red lights in the sky from near where he lives in Budapest's 21st district, Csepel. Martin believed it to be a crash landing - and that there may have even been more than one extraterrestrial visitor.

UFOs landed in Budapest XXI. District, in the thunderstorm," he wrote.

But Martin was far from the only person to witness the mysterious light source.

Online user 'HU MFM' noted that they saw this strange phenomenon "five times", calling it a "red 'something'" appearing before every lightning strike.

There has been no official explanation from local officials or meteorological experts.


Attention

Rare whale washes ashore near Mumbai, India

© HT photo
Rajodi fishermen trying to push the whale back into the sea.
In a rare incident along the state's coastline, a seven-and-a-half-foot-long sperm whale washed ashore at Rajodi beach, Virar, around 3pm on Thursday.

Though the state mangrove cell confirmed that it was a sperm whale, the officials are unclear whether it was a juvenile whale or a pygmy or a dwarf (subspecies). The whale weighed 60 kg.

Fishermen from Rajodi said they spotted the whale close to the shoreline towards the south side of the beach and it looked injured.

"The mammal most likely hit a large rock close to the shoreline and got injured. We tried pulling it out, but it died as soon as it came close to the beach. We informed the forest department but nobody showed up at the spot," said James Rodrigues, a fisherman and Rajodi beach resident. "Along with seven others, we buried the animal near the spot where it had washed ashore. We have not seen a mammal like this at this beach before."

Comment: See also: 36 whales wash up on west coast of India in 2 years


Attention

Dead humpback whale washed ashore at Sandon Beach, Australia


Humpback whale
A dead humpback whale was discovered washed up on Sandon Beach yesterday.

National Parks and Wildlife Service's Lawrence Orel said the 2.5m humpback whale calf was found around 3km north of the campground at Sandon, and there was no obvious sign of death.

"It's possible that it's just natural attrition, and that's not unexpected given there's around 30,000 humpback whales passing north along the coast on their annual migration at the moment," Mr Orel said.

"Natural attrition is one of the ways the population can maintain their overall genetic health where the weaker or diseased just don't survive, which is just a natural process."

Mr Orel said the scratches and wounds on the calf were most likely from other animals such as sharks

Arrow Down

200-foot sinkhole swallows two homes in Land O' Lakes, Florida

© Scripps Media
A 200-foot sinkhole that swallowed two homes and emptied a Pasco County neighborhood this morning is still growing, officials warned, and may reach all the way to a nearby lake.

The home at 21835 Ocean Pines Drive in Land O' Lakes fell into the watery hole this morning and the muddy pit has now claimed much of a neighboring home. Firefighters said they got a 911 call just after 7 a.m. and the hole grew within minutes after that.

The view from SkyFOX showed a mess of mud and debris. A Pasco County Emergency Management spokesman estimated it was 50 feet deep, 220 feet wide, and expected to continue to grow.


Attention

Minke whale found dead off Scotland's west coast

The female minke's body washed up in a remote part of the Ardnamurchan peninsula last week.

Her tail is believed to have become tangled in a creel rope off the Isle of Mull.

The minke, who was healthy at the time of her death, was one of a number of whales seen around the island in recent weeks.

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust science officer Dr Lauren Hartny-Mills said: "In this case the timely reporting of the dead whale, even at sea, enabled us to track its movements, access it when it stranded and determine the cause of death.

Cloud Precipitation

Monster storm batters the city of Chengdu, China


A huge explosion occurred in the city centre at around 6pm after power cables caught fire
A heavy rainstorm yesterday ravaged the Chinese city of Chengdu during evening rush hours, causing traffic chaos.

Terrifying video clips circulating on social media show high wind gusts pushing cars on the road like toys and smashing down the glass doors of an office building.

The extreme weather also caused a huge explosion in the city centre after power cables caught fire, according to local reports.


The storm is said to be the most severe one that has struck Chengdu this year, reported Sichuan News.

It began at around 5pm local time yesterday and lasted for about three hours.

Traffic came to a grinding halt as the high winds and heavy rain battered the provincial capital city of 16 million residents.


Attention

Stunning amount of dead animal and fish species recorded in the first 12 days of July


Massive die off of fish in a nature reserve in southern Gambia, see below
The Big Wobble's weekly look back at mass animal die off's in diverse places around the world.

10th July 2017 - rpp noticias reports 40+ dead Sea Lions and 2 dead Whales found along the coast of Lambayeque, Peru.

According to reports, the stranding of marine species occurred as a result of the high tide that has been occurring for several days along the coast, which is why the Maritime Captaincy ordered the closure of the docks and coves of the Lambayeque region, for prevention.