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Wed, 27 Jul 2016
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Earth Changes

Cloud Grey

Photos capture largest polar stratospheric clouds seen in Antarctic this year

© Marcelo
Polar Stratospheric Cloud photographed on July 25, 2016 at San Martín Base in Antarctica.
This was the biggest stratospheric clouds so far this year. A colorful spectacle to begin the day.

© Marcelo

Cloud Lightning

Man dies following lightning strike in Bedford County, Virginia; 14th death within 6 weeks in U.S. due to lightning

Robert Miller
A man hit by lightning along a Bedford County road earlier this month has died.

Robert Miller died Friday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina.

He was taken to the hospital's burn unit after a state trooper found him lying along Route 122 near Bedford July 14.

Doctors determined he had burns consistent with a lightning strike.

A family member said Miller was taken off of life support late last week. He was 23.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt obliterates telephone pole in Chicago (VIDEO)

Telephone pole lightning strike
This is quite possibly the scariest thing about thunderstorms. They don't have to spawn tornadoes, drop softball-size hail or even be particularly strong to be deadly serious.

Case in point, this video.

Anja Englert was driving down Irving Park Road in Chicago on Sunday evening during a torrential downpour. A line of thunderstorms was rolling across northern Illinois. Seemingly out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning comes crashing from the sky and shatters a wooden telephone pole in an explosion of flames and splinters right in front of the camera.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect at the time, but the truth is if you're outside during any thunderstorm, you won't get a warning before lightning strikes.

Nineteen people have died from lightning so far this year, and every one of them was preventable. We don't tell people to take shelter in a storm just because of tornadoes or strong winds; you risk being struck by lightning whenever you hear thunder.


World's largest flower that survives for just 48 hours blooms in India

Amorphophallus titanum or the corpse flower
The world's largest and short lived flower which has life span of only 48 hours has bloomed in the south Indian state of Kerala after nine years.

The southern coastal state of Kerala is the centre of attraction due to a rare flower which has bloomed after nine long years.

People are flocking at the Gurukula Botanical Sancturay at Alattil, near Periya in the north Wayanad in Kerala to get a glimpse of the Amorphophallus titanum or the corpse flower.

Amorphophallus titanum is native to Indonesia's Sumatra region. The flower smells like rotten flesh and survives only for 48 hours.

Cloud Lightning

Zap: Dramatic moment Empire State Building struck by lightning bolt captured on camera

© Henrik Moltke / YouTube
New York's iconic Empire State Building was struck by a lightning bolt during an epic electric storm Monday - and cameras caught it all.

Much of the east coast was rocked by thunderstorms bringing all four seasons to the Big Apple in one July afternoon.

On average the Empire State Building takes a lightning hit about 23 times a year. Its part-metal exterior helps to conduct electricity.

Alarm Clock

Explosion levels Nebraska house, damages adjacent homes; 'it shook the entire neighborhood'

A woman was killed Monday afternoon when an explosion leveled a north-central Omaha home and damaged several others near 65th and Sprague streets, a release from the Omaha Fire Department said.

She has been identified as Clara Bender, 30. Two others were injured. Investigators are referring to the area as a crime scene, but haven't explained why. The initial call for help came shortly after noon. "It was just like, boom," Dave Minor, who lives in the area, said. "It just rattled everything."
Fire Battalion Chief Tim McCaw says paramedics took two women who were in the house to an Omaha hospital. One was in critical condition, and the other was in serious condition. A 14-year-old boy was seriously hurt and taken to the hospital privately. A neighbor who was in a house next to the home that exploded suffered a concussion, cuts and bruises.

Comment: There seems to be an increase in reports of home and buildings exploding. From this year alone: See also: SOTT Exclusive: More mysterious high-rise building explosions - is there a 'cosmic' source of ignition?


Extreme weather in South Africa: Snow, flooding and tornadoes cause havoc

© TrafficSA via Twitter
Amamzimtoti, south of Durban was flooded after torrential rains.
From snow to flooding and tornadoes, extreme weather conditions have been playing havoc across the country this week.

KwaZulu-Natal emergency services on Tuesday reported no fatalities following the widespread flooding throughout the province.

Several rescues were performed when cars were washed away due to the flood waters and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was called to assist police and emergency medical services.

The SA Weather Service has warned of an "extreme, late winter weather system" characterised by snow, bitter cold and strong winds. These conditions are likely to be fatal to people and animals without "adequate shelter".


Rescued humpback whale later found dead off Mar del Tuyú, Argentina

A humpback whale appeared to wave to its rescuers after being helped back to the sea off the coast of Mar del Tuyú, Argentina last week after becoming trapped in the shallow waters.

The whale fought the tides for over 24 hours, and dozens of rescue workers helped get it back to deeper waters, even employing a hose to help drag it further out to sea, according to reports in the Argentine media (via Reuters).

Weighing in at around 10 tons and measuring 50 feet long, the humpback whale was successfully returned to sea despite a tide that didn't get as high as rescuers hoped.

The animals are rarely spotted off the coast of Buenos Aires province and are usually are seen much further south, off the Valdes Peninsula, and between the months of September and March.

Unfortunately the story doesn't have a happy ending -- just days after its rescue, the Argentine Naval Prefecture reported that the whale was found dead, and experts believe it was sick to begin with.


Humpback whale found dead at Pescadero Beach, California

Remove one whale from the list of total number of humpback whales around the world as a young member of the family has been found beached near Pescadero, California.

Humpback whale species is an endangered species whose one whale washed ashore at Pescadero's Bean Hollow State Beach. It was a 32-foot juvenile female humpback whose carcass was found on Monday at the beach.

Seagulls were also seen on Monday flying over the dead whale. Officials came to know about the beached animal when some Austrian tourists noticed something unusual on the beach. According to the tourists, they were en route to Monterey when they stopped to check what was wrong there. No one in the group was sure what it was. At first, they thought it could be a huge tent or something similar to it, said Verena Ebner, a witness.

While providing details on the whale carcass, Lisa Schiller, who saw the whale closely, said it was shredded completely, and it was very sad to see that. Another witness, Lesya Castillo, said, "Picnickers also stopped, but the stench quickly drove them away. The smell is incredible. We're going to go a little bit farther".

Cloud Precipitation

China floods update: Death toll from torrential rains hits 164 as fourth official suspended over flood response

© Xinhua/Wang Xiao
A vehicle destroyed in floods is seen in Daxian Village of Xingtai City, north China's Hebei Province, July 24, 2016.
The death toll from torrential rain that has battered 10 provinces and 62 cities stood at 164 on Monday, with another 125 people missing, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

One more official was also suspended for alleged poor flood control measures in Hebei, where the disaster killed at least 130 ­people.

The latest official to be disciplined over alleged mismanagement of flood control and disaster relief was Guo Tongheng, deputy Communist Party secretary of Xingtai's Wangkuai township, Xingtai authorities said.

The announcement came after four officials from Xingtai, Shijiazhuang and Jingxing in Hebei province were suspended over mismanaging the flood response, pending the outcome of further investigation.

Comment: Aside from the humanitarian and environmental toll, and growing public outrage over the official handling of this latest flooding in China, provincial authorities stated recently that direct economic losses amounted to 16.3 billion yuan (2.5 billion U.S. dollars).