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Tue, 21 Jan 2020
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Roads closed and power cut as Storm Gloria hits southern France

storm gloria
Roads are closed, public transport disrupted, and power supplies cut in southern France after Storm Gloria, the most intense winter "Mediterranean weather episode" since 1982, hit France last night.

Heavy rain of up to 200mm, 1.5 metres of snow and ice, and strong winds of up to 110kph, hit last night in the Pyrénées-Orientales (Occitanie) area (Monday January 20).

Roads including the A9 motorway are closed today (Tuesday January 21), including between France and Spain from Perpignan-Nord. The RD914 between Cerbère and Banyuls is also shut, as is the RN 116.


Shallow 6.4 earthquake kills one, injures others in China's Xinjiang region

Rescuers check for safety hazards in Jiashi County in Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on Monday.

Rescuers check for safety hazards in Jiashi County in Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, on Monday.
A 6.4-magnitude earthquake has killed one person and slightly injured two others in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, authorities said on Monday.

Authorities have recorded 10 aftershocks above the magnitude of 3, with the highest at 5.2, according to the regional publicity department.

The quake jolted Jiashi County in Kashgar Prefecture in the province's southwest at 9:27pm on Sunday, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The epicenter was monitored at 39.83 degrees north latitude and 77.21 degrees east longitude. The quake struck at a depth of 16 kilometers, the center said in a statement.

The tremor toppled four private stores and 1,084 meters of walls, and caused cracks in more than 1,000 houses and 5,574 meters of walls.

Cloud Precipitation

Countless cars and windows damaged as hailstorm tears through Canberra, Australia

storm damage
The storm damaged countless windscreens across Canberra.
Hail as big as golf balls and ferocious winds of up to 117 kilometres per hour have torn through Canberra in a storm that had residents running for cover.

The storm, which swept across the ACT and New South Wales — including the firegrounds — smashed windows, dented cars and tore branches off trees, causing localised flooding.

More than 1,000 homes lost power, with outages reported in Florey, Griffith, Deakin and Kambah, and dozens more suburbs across the territory.

Since midday, the ESA had received a record number of requests for assistance, more than 1,900, with ACT Ambulance Service attending to two people for minor injuries sustained during the storm.

That was more than double what the service had received in the preceding two years.

ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said they had withdrawn personnel from the firegrounds just over the ACT border where bushfires have threatened the territory in recent weeks.

Comment: Giant hail, 'apocalyptic' dust storms batter bushfire-weary Australia


At least 20 dead birds show up in Matlacha Isles, Florida

dead birds
Neighbors said dead birds have been showing all over Matlacha Isles for the last few days. Beatrice Storino counted up to 20 grackle birds since Friday.

"I hope it's not a flu or something that's going around that can contaminate the other birds or the fish," she said. "Just like to know what the heck's going on."

Frances Martorella has a few ideas of what might have caused all these bird death.

"I thought maybe somebody's poisoning them. Or they've got a disease or something that's killing them," she said.


Snow blankets Spain's east coast, waves smash stores along Costa Blanca as storm shuts Alicante airport

At least a foot of snow covers a driveway, gate and trees in Biar, Alicante. It is several kilometres inland from the coast

At least a foot of snow covers a driveway, gate and trees in Biar, Alicante. It is several kilometres inland from the coast
Spain's Costa Blanca and Valencian coastline have been pummelled by a vicious storm this morning, shutting Alicante airport, flooding homes and blanketing areas with at least a foot of snow.

Flights to London, Newcastle, Bristol, Edinburgh and other major cities were cancelled as the airport shut for the day, forcing holidaymakers to either travel to a different airport or sit tight until the dangerous weather moved on.

Towering waves have been pictured slamming into the coastline while, in Denia, seawater was filmed gushing through the streets of the city.

Snow drifts have also built up inland as a seven-hour shower in Villena, Valencia, left the city's 35,000 inhabitants cut off after up to three inch piles of the white stuff blocked roads.

A red alert was issued for Storm Gloria yesterday, before it smashed into the region, warning it would bring heavy rain, snow, up to 75mph winds and waves that could reach eight feet in height.

It is expected to move towards the north-west of Spain tomorrow, with the bad weather unlikely to subside before Wednesday, the Spanish State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) said.

A 54-year-old Romanian woman died from hypothermia in Gandia, Valencia, following the vicious weather, local media reports. A 44-year-old man also died yesterday when he was run over by a van that lost control in snow-covered Santander, Asturias.

Snowflake Cold

January is in full swing in the eastern half of the United States, new storm set to slam West Coast

Winter storm
January is in full swing in the eastern half of the United States where temperatures and wind chills are below zero in the Northern Plains and New England.

The arctic air spills all the way into the Mid-South where the wind chill is in the teens in Atlanta and Memphis this morning.

By tonight into Tuesday morning, the coldest air moves into central Florida where wind chill alerts have been issued and there are wind chills in the 30's in Orlando.

After this cold blast in the East our attention turns to a new cross-country storm to move from West to East this week with snow, ice and rain.


Newfoundland 24-hr time lapse video of blizzard

Only 30 seconds long, but what a story it tells.

Time lapse, 24 hrs, Snow. Blizzard St. John's, Nest Camera, Newfoundland. January 18, 2020

Thanks to Don Wikening for this video.

Comment: Another impressive time lapse film of the event:

Ice Cube

Giant hail, 'apocalyptic' dust storms batter bushfire-weary Australia

Child running towards a dust storm in Mullengudgery in New South Wales.
© Marcia Macmillan / AFP handout
This handout photo taken on January 17, 2020 and received on January 20 courtesy of Marcia Macmillan shows a child running towards a dust storm in Mullengudgery in New South Wales.
"Apocalyptic" dust storms swept across drought-stricken areas of Australia over the weekend, with thunder and giant hail battering the east coast, as extreme weather patterns collided in the bushfire-fatigued country.

The southern city of Melbourne was lashed by huge hailstones late Sunday and fire-ravaged parts of Victoria state overnight received heavy rainfall, prompting new extreme weather alerts.

Australia has since October been overwhelmed by an unprecedented bushfire season made worse by climate change.

Swathes of the country have burned, hundreds of millions of animals have died, more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed and at least 29 lives have been lost.

Dramatic images captured over the weekend from western New South Wales show a massive wall of dust rolling through outback towns. Locals reported being cast into darkness in the middle of the day.

Comment: Struth: Flash flooding hits Gold Coast, Brisbane as storms sweep Queensland, Australia

Arrow Down

Seven hikers missing in avalanche after heavy snowfall in Nepal

Nepal rescuers call off search for trekkers

Nepal rescuers call off search for trekkers
Special Nepalese army and government rescue personnel are searching for four South Korean trekkers and their three Nepali guides missing since since an avalanche swept across popular mountain trekking route .

The avalanche hit part of the Mount Annapurna trekking route on Friday after heavy snowfall earlier in the week. All other trekkers who were in the area have been safely rescued and flown to safer areas, Department of Tourism official Mira Acharya said.

South Korea's foreign ministry said the missing trekkers are two women in their 30s and 50s and two men in their 50s and are teachers who were staying in Nepal for volunteer work.

Arrow Down

Avalanche at Lake Tahoe ski resort kills one

At least one skier is dead and another is injured

At least one skier is dead and another injured
An avalanche in Northern California killed one skier and seriously injured another Friday, following heavy snow fall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, authorities said.

The disaster unfolded at 10:16 a.m. at the Alpine Meadows Ski Resort's Subway ski run near Lake Tahoe, officials said.

"We have one confirmed fatality, and we have another victim with serious injuries," Placer County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Powers said.

Following an hours-long search by deputies, skiers with the Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue and dogs specially trained for avalanche searches, first responders ended their operation about 1 p.m.

"After a thorough search, SAR volunteers and avalanche dogs confirmed no further victims," the sheriff's department said.