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Sat, 20 Apr 2019
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Earth Changes


From Anchorage to Fairbanks, April snow is causing havoc on roads in Alaska

Snow on April 19, 2019
Snow on April 19, 2019
Though the warm March and sustained sunshine tricked some into thinking winter was over for good, Alaska pulled its favorite prank of bringing another dump of snow in mid-April.

The snow is causing road conditions to be similar to those of January and December, when just one week ago the roads, and the lawns, were bone dry.


Snow falls in Western Australia's Stirling Ranges in April for the first time in 49 years

A white Easter? Dozens are hiking up to Bluff Knoll this long weekend to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare April snowfall.

snowfall on Bluff Knoll
© David Graham
Snowfall on Bluff Knoll
Locals couldn't have anticipated this: Snowboarding in Western Australia in April?

The state's southwest had more than a Good Friday, with residents waking up to record snowfall. As predicted in news.com.au's weekend weather forecast, the Stirling Ranges have seen snow just in time for Easter — and for the first time in 49 years.


Tornado warning issued as more deadly storms sweep southern US

US storms
© Tropical Tidbits
A map of the US on April 18, 2019, showing "brightness temperature" — a measure of atmospheric intensity.

Three dead after new wave of cyclones hit Mississippi and Alabama and egg-sized hail falls in Texas

At least three people have died after a second wave of powerful tornadoes and thunderstorms battered the US south and Midwest.

One person was killed after a tree fell on his vehicle in Neshoba County, Mississippi, Thursday afternoon, local paper the Neshoba Democrat, reported.

A second death in the state was reported in St Clair County, where a tree fell on a home later that evening.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said a third person had also died after a tree fell on a house in Wattsville, Alabama.

The deaths come days after at least five people, including three children, were killed last weekend when a storm system that drove more than 35 tornadoes across southern states.

Communities in central Texas and western Louisiana, already hit by flash floods and cyclones, were hit once more by high winds, tornadoes, egg-sized hail and intense rain Thursday and Friday.


Scientists upgrade last year's Hurricane Michael to rare Category 5 storm

Hurricane Michael is seen over the Florida Panhandle
Hurricane Michael is seen over the Florida Panhandle in mid-October 2018.
Hurricane Michael, which devastated a swath of the Florida Panhandle last fall, was actually stronger than initially measured, prompting forecasters to upgrade it from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5 storm, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday. Michael was the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. as a Category 5 since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and only the fourth on record.

"My thought is simply that most of us thought we were dealing with a (Category) 5 anyway," said Al Cathey, mayor of Mexico Beach, which bore the brunt of the storm when it hit.

National Hurricane Center scientists conducted a detailed post-storm analysis for Hurricane Michael, which made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, and Tyndall Air Force Base on October 10, 2018. They've determined that its estimated intensity at landfall was 160 mph, a 5 mph increase over the operational estimate used last fall, NOAA said in a news release. That puts Michael just barely over the 157 mph threshold for a category 5 hurricane.

"Michael is also the strongest hurricane landfall on record in the Florida Panhandle and only the second known Category 5 landfall on the northern Gulf coast," the hurricane center said in a statement.

Just 36 hours before hitting Florida's coast, Michael was making its way through the Gulf of Mexico as a 90 mph Category 1 storm. But the reclassification doesn't come with the much-needed state and federal funding Cathey said is necessary to rebuild. "Whether it was a 5 or a 4, it really isn't relative to anything for most of us who are here. It's just another number," Cathey said Friday.


Sleeping toddler dragged from camper van by dingo on Fraser Island, Australia - third attack on a child this year

A dingo on the beach a Fraser Island.
© Lachie Millard
A dingo on the beach a Fraser Island.
A Brisbane father has saved his son from a dingo attack in Queensland after the animal dragged the sleeping child from a campervan.

The 14-month-old was asleep with his parents on a remote part of Fraser Island when the dog entered the vehicle and bit the toddler's neck on Thursday night.

The toddler began crying when the dingo dragged him away, alerting his parents.

The child's father fought off the dog, snatching him from its jaws before chasing off several other dingoes.


Shallow 6.5 magnitude earthquake hits Western Indian Antarctic Ridge

Magnitude Type: mww

USGS page: M 6.5 - Western Indian-Antarctic Ridge

USGS status: Reviewed by a seismologist

Reports from the public: 0 people

6.5 magnitude, 10 km depth
Western Indian Antarctic Ridge


Unusually high level of landslides worldwide - Over 1000 fatalities so far this year

Himalayas landslide
© اقای mr 100 rupee
More than 1 000 people have been killed across the world so far this year as a result of an unusually high number of landslides, according to landslides expert Dr. Dave Petley, Vice-President (Research and Innovation) at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Even though the first 3 months of the year are usually the least active period, 2019 has already seen an unusual level of landsliding worldwide, with fatalities totaling over 1 000 to date, Petley said April 18.

"Significant losses have occurred in rainfall-induced events in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia and in East Asia, as well as in mining and construction induced landslides."

In his latest post, showcasing a dramatic debris video, Petley said parts of the Himalayas are suffering from unusual levels of pre-monsoon rainfall, with substantial losses from landslides and floods.

The Jammu-Srinagar highway, for example, has been blocked repeatedly over the last few weeks, and there have been several fatal landslides in Pakistan this year already.


Sun halo seen over Norfolk, England

Sun halo over Norfolk, England
© Angela Cole
Yesterday's brilliant sunshine brought a fascinating phenomenon to Norfolk skies.

Angela Cole, of Cromer, saw a strange circle around the sun around 12.15pm on Tuesday, April 16 when she was visiting her mum in Beeston Regis. Her husband, who was in nearby Sheringham, also snapped a photo of the heavenly halo.

After a spot of online research they believe they identified the outlandish aura: a -22 degree halo.

Mrs Cole said: "Anyone who looked up at the sky would have seen it. Rainbows come and go, but this was there for quite a while. It must have been there for half-an-hour. I've never seen anything like it before."


Record-breaking snow season breaks Sierra Nevada drought

Tons of snow the past several months have catapulted parts of the Sierra Nevada Range into the record books, busting a year-long drought at the same time. Now that we're halfway through April, we're over the hump as far as the meat of the snow season. But many peaks got a dusting the past couple days (April 15 and 16, 2019) - a dusting, that is, compared to storm totals from earlier this year.

Adding It Up

Many ski resort owners in the region reported record February snowfall. In late March, Mammoth Mountain and Squaw Valley each had more than 50 feet of snow on the ground. The latest round of snow this week only dumped up to six inches in many spots, but as more snow melts throughout the spring, the liquid equivalent will be recorded as part of the total precipitation statistics.

Arrow Down

Search for more dead in Papua New Guinea's highlands landslide continues after 8 killed

© RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins
Search and rescue efforts in Papua New Guinea's Highlands are continuing after at least eight people died in a landslide.

The devastating slip burst through at least two remote villages in Enga province on Monday, destroying homes and crops.

Mackenzie Smith reports.