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Wed, 27 May 2020
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Earth Changes


India's worst locust attack in 27 years, and worse is yet to come

Swarm of locusts in Jaipur
Swarms of the desert locust, which invaded India via Pakistan in April, have made their way to at least five states, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Desert locust move in large groups, called swarms, and can eat crops up to their own weight every day. When millions of locusts descend on a crop, they destroy everything.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts. As per eyewitnesses, the swarm which entered India from Pakistan was about two to three kilometres long.

In December 2019, when the parts of Gujarat were invaded by locust, they had destroyed crops spread over 25,000 hectares of land. This time, the attack is more widespread.

Comment: Biblical-style events appear to be a pretty common occurrence in our days.

Cloud Precipitation

U.S. hailstone and hailstorm records

Hail can accumulate to remarkable depths when a storm becomes stationary over one place for a period of time.
© Michael Mee, FEMA
Hail can accumulate to remarkable depths when a storm becomes stationary over one place for a period of time. The hail in this photograph, however, drifted this deep after floodwaters washed it into these giant heaps in a low-lying area.
Recently, an investigation into a hailstorm that took place in Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba Province, Argentina on February 8, 2018, reported that a hailstone some 9.3 inches in diameter may have fallen during a storm there. The Weather Channel's Chris Dolce has a summary of the event, which has been documented in a February paper for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society entitled "Gargantuan Hail in Argentina." The authors propose that hailstones larger than 6" in diameter be classified as "gargantuan".

If verified, the Argentine hailstone would surpass the U.S. record holder, an 8-inch-diameter stone collected near Vivian, South Dakota on July 23, 2010. (That hailstone was said to have actually been 11" in diameter before a portion of it melted prior to being officially measured.) However, the Argentine hailstone will likely never become an official record, since its size was estimated only from video evidence and not from any first-hand measurements.

On Friday night, May 22, 2020, a hailstone of 5.33" diameter was reported in Burkburnett, Texas (the same hailstone shown in this Facebook post). With peak U.S. hail season at hand, here is a recap (portions of which appeared in a blog entry I posted in April 2018) of the costliest and deadliest hailstorms in U.S. history, along with a summary of the largest hailstones yet observed in the United States.

Comment: Related and pertinent: Cosmic rays increases hail size and duration - Lightning inception by large ice particles, GSM much?


Heavy rain triggers floods in Assam, landslides in Sikkim, India

Heavy rain has caused flooding and landslides in north-eastern India, leaving at least 1 person dead in Sikkim state and affecting around 10,000 people in Assam state.


In Assam, the Puthimari and Jia Bharali rivers were swollen after heavy rain brought by the remnants of Cyclone Amphan. As of 24 May, the Jia Bharali in Sonitpur, was 77.55 metres, above the danger mark of 77 metres.

According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), as of 24 May flooding had affected 10,081 people in 46 villages in the districts of Lakhimpur, Sontipur, Darrang and Goalpara. Earlier flooding had also affected Barpeta district. Roads and bridges have been damaged in Lakhimpur, Sontipur and Goalpara.


Tornado in San Carlos, Tamaulipas, Mexico - 2nd in less than a month


Tornado is recorded in San Carlos, Tamaulipas on May 24th. It is the second in less than 1 month in the same municipality.


Indian and Bangladesh mango fields devastated by cyclone Amphan

An aerial view of cyclone Amphan affected areas in West Bengal, Friday, May 22, 2020.
An aerial view of cyclone Amphan affected areas in West Bengal, Friday, May 22, 2020.
Cyclone Amphan has dealt a crushing blow to Bangladesh's mango growers, as they are confronted with huge losses from the widespread damage it caused to orchards and fruits ripe for its seasonal harvest.

The cyclone barrelled into the country's southern coasts from the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday and carved a trail of destruction as it moved inland at night generating strong winds and heavy rainfall.

At least 22 deaths have been reported from eight coastal districts in Bangladesh until Thursday noon as the storm tore down homes and foliage while ravaging the power supply. Initial government estimates put the figure of damage incurred by housing, infrastructure, fisheries and livestock, water resources and agriculture in Bangladesh at Tk 11 billion (€121 mln).

Bdnews24.com reported that in several districts in the west and south-west of the country, thousands of hectares of lands are used for the cultivation of mangoes. Primary data indicates the cyclone laid waste to 176,000 hectares of crop yields across the country, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said an online media briefing. The government estimates that the storm damaged 10 percent of the 7,384 hectares used to cultivate mangoes.


Snow walls of up to 16 feet high along road in East Iceland - snowfall considerably more than was once typical

The snow tunnel into Mjóafjörður is five meters high.
© Vegagerðin
The snow tunnel into Mjóafjörður is five meters high.
Summer may have officially started in Iceland on April 23, but you definitely couldn't tell from the weather in Mjóifjörður, East Iceland, where authorities just spent four days digging a traversable roadway through snow walls of up to five meters [16 ft] in height. RÚV reports that the road into the village there has been more or less closed since October.

Fourteen people live in Brekkuþorp in Mjóifjörður year-round (up to 40 during the summer), and the village has its own church, school, tourist office, post service, and coffeehouse. Fishing and aquaculture are also local industries. There is only one road into the fjord, however, and given the immense amount of snowfall that it regularly receives, it is only possible to reach the village by sea during the winter.


Pikes Peak covered in snow as Memorial Day weekend storm hits Colorado

Denver Snow Takes Some By Surprise In Colorado's Foothills & High Country

Snow Takes Some by surprise in Colorado's foothills & high country
A cold and soggy Memorial Day Weekend storm produced snow in Colorado's high country on Sunday with the snow level as low as 8,000 feet in some spots. The flakes started just after sunrise in areas around Steamboat Springs.

The snow caused some traffic issues along Highway 285 between Denver and Fairplay early Sunday afternoon. Higher up on Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet it was cold enough for the snow to accumulate with a temperature of 23°F at 3:30 pm.


Carcasses of 2 whale species washed ashore on coast in 24 hours at Dahanu, India

The carcasses of a Baleen whale and a Pygmy sperm whale washed ashore different coasts of Dahanu between Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, the highly decomposed carcass of a Baleen whale, around 45 feet and 8 feet width, washed ashore Parnaka in Dahanu.

The carcass that left a stinking smell in the surrounding attracted the attention of locals who informed the forest department.

Comment: Another dead whale washed ashore on the 24th of May in Kendrapara, Odisha.

Off North America a humpback was found dead near Moriches Inlet, New York on May 22, a deceased gray whale was found at Seaview, Washington on the 20th while the same species also turned up dead off Santa Cruz, California on the same day.

Over the same week at Hines Bay in Australia a rare (for the region) Sei or fin whale was discovered dead on the 18th.

Cloud Lightning

Skies over Beijing, China plunge into darkness following huge thunderstorm, as CCP gathered for delayed "Two Sessions"

Dark skies over Beijing, China as CCP gather
© YouTube/Infotainment (screen capture)
On May 21st at 3:45 pm local time, the skies over China's capital Beijing suddenly plunged into darkness as a huge thunderstorm rolled in. After delays due to the coronavirus it coincided with the Chinese Communist Party's biggest political gathering of the year, "Two Sessions", taking place.


Magnitude 5.8 earthquake strikes New Zealand near Wellington

Map of the seismic activity near Wellington, New Zealand, on May 24
Map of the seismic activity near Wellington, New Zealand, on May 24.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was rattled live on television during a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Wellington.

The strong Monday morning earthquake was centred 30km north west of Levin, a town around an hour's drive north of the New Zealand capital.

It was felt most sharply around the South Taranaki Bight, and the closest major town, Wellington, some 100 kilometres south.

Tens of thousands of Kiwis reported feeling weak rattling as far north as Auckland and as far south as Dunedin.

In the capital, it brought sustained shaking for around 15 seconds as Kiwis prepared for their day at 7.53am NZST (5.53am AEST).

The earthquake was 37km deep according to seismic monitoring agency GScience.