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US - Montana - Hail, heavy rain move through Billings area

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© Bob Zellar/Gazette Staff
Fans huddle under an umbrella during the rain at the Scarlets-Royals game at Dehler Park on Friday. A brief thunderstorm moved through the city Friday evening.
Heavy rain and thunder cleared the way for a short burst of hail in parts of south-central Montana on Friday night, although no significant damage was reported.

The National Weather Service's Billings office issued an advisory for Stillwater and Yellowstone counties before 9 p.m. warning of strong rains, hail, lightning, thunder and wind gusts of up to 50 mph.

A short, heavy downpour started in Billings just after 9 p.m., although little hail was reported east of the West End, said Vickie Stephenson, an NWS hydrometeorologic technician.

It dropped a 0.26 inches of rain on Billings in less than an hour before moving out of the area before 10 p.m., according to the weather service.

Trained weather spotters reported hail 0.88 and 0.75 inches in diameter about four miles northwest of Laurel and three miles southwest of Billings, respectively.

Bell

US - Tornado victim's dental braces blown 100 miles away (and they are found by a man who lost his home in an earthquake)

A man walking on the beach on an island off Massachusetts made a remarkable discovery - a zip-style plastic bag containing clear plastic dental aligners from 100 miles away.

Rick Maurice was taking a first-day-of-summer stroll on Tuckernuck Island off Nantucket when he came across the bag.

When he picked it up he noticed the plastic dental devices inside and the dentist's name printed on the bag.

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© Unknown
'Raw power of nature': Springfield orthodontist Dr Scott Smith who gave the dental aligners to the patient.

Alarm Clock

Experts say an earthquake surely will devastate the Northwest

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© Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian
A Japanese flag flies above wreckage in front of the city hospital in Onagawa, a community devastated by the March 11 tsunami and 9-magnitude earthquake. Experts estimate that at least 5,000 Oregonians will die in a similar quake and tsunami here. The only question, they say, is when.
Experts armed with seabed core samples and findings from Japan are ready to place odds on the likelihood of a giant earthquake rocking the Northwest.

Within the next 50 years, they say, Washington and northern Oregon face a 10 to 15 percent probability of an offshore quake powerful enough to kill thousands and launch a tsunami that would level coastal cities. Off southern Oregon, the probability of an 8-or-higher magnitude earthquake is greater -- 37 percent, according to Oregon State University's Chris Goldfinger, one of the world's top experts on subduction-zone quakes.

Goldfinger and other authorities who spoke at a Portland conference this week say the Northwest is dangerously unprepared for a massive quake they consider inevitable at some point. At least 300,000 Oregon children attend school in buildings vulnerable to collapse when the Big One comes.

"I think every parent should know this," said Kit Miyamoto, an earthquake engineer from Japan whose company is helping repair quake-damaged structures in Haiti. "Those schools should be banned."

Earthquake experts are speaking with new urgency after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 24,000 March 11, shattering long-held assumptions on safety and survival. A much smaller New Zealand quake in February showed what can happen in a city similar to Portland, killing 181 and destroying thousands of houses in Christchurch.

Cloud Lightning

Storm warning announced in Crimea

Rain with hail, accompanied by strong gusts of wind have caused damage to many regions of Ukraine.

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© Unknown

Evil Rays

Could a 9.0 Earthquake Happen In the United States?

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© USGS
Alaska Earthquake March 27, 1964. The Four Seasons Apartments in Anchorage was a six-story lift-slab reinforced concrete building which cracked to the ground during the quake.
A massive earthquake on par with the recent catastrophic seismic event in Japan could happen in two places in the United States, scientists say.

Geophysicists estimate that the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an intersection of tectonic plates just off the northwestern coast that stretches from the northern tip of California up to Canada, is capable of generating an earthquake with a magnitude as high as a 9.0.

The last time the area shook that hard was 300 years ago. "There were hardly any people living on the Pacific Northwest Coast in 1700," said Heidi Houston, a seismologist at the University of Washington's Department of Earth & Space Sciences. "But it generated a huge tsunami that traveled to Japan and destroyed coastal villages there. The Japanese records show that the causative earthquake could only be our Cascadia Subduction Zone and it had to have been a magnitude-9.0."

Phoenix

Etna, fear-mongering in Chile and New Zealand, Philippine volcanoes and a new crater lake at Grimsvötn

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© Eruptions reader Kirby
A webcam capture of activity at Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle seen on June 22, 2011.
This week ended up being a little busier than I expected - I had to make that quick transition from wedding/honeymoon to beginning to prepare for my field/labwork coming up in July. These things, sadly, don't turn on a dime anymore. So, I've glossed over a pile of interesting volcanically-related events this week in favor of longer posts, so today I will try to make up for it a bit.

Italy: Now, sometimes I worry that Boris thinks I don't take Etna seriously enough. It has had a number of explosions and ash emissions over the past few weeks (see below) that didn't get nary a mention in a post, and for that, I am sorry. If you have missed it, Etna might not be in full eruption but is still putting on a show as this image posted by Dr. Behncke proves. Much like Kilauea, Etna is just such a constant performer that it almost becomes underappreciated (well, by me).

Cloud Lightning

Heavy Rains Continue to Flood Midwestern USA


Thousands of residents in North Dakota are forced to leave their homes after the Souris River bursts its banks and levees are breached.

Heavy rains and melting snow have raised water levels in Canadian reservoirs in the Souris River basin over the past few weeks, which has caused unprecedented water releases further south in North Dakota.

More than 12,000 residents have been ordered out of flood-threatened areas after levee defenses failed.

The Souris River is expected to hit nearly 1,563 ft above sea level by the weekend, beating the previous flood record set in 1881.

With forecasters predicting more rain, record flooding is expected to continue throughout August, affecting Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

Cloud Lightning

Tropical storm in Philippines kills 11, forces 40,000 out of homes

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Children pedal their bicycle down a flooded street after heavy rains in Valenzuela City, north of Manila on June 23, 2011.
Heavy rains and high winds from Tropical Storm Meari lashed the Philippines Friday, killing at least 11 people and displacing 40,000 people, an emergency management agency said.

The storm has been menacing the Philippines since Tuesday, when 11 fishermen went missing along the coast of Luzon, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The storm was forecasted to move Saturday toward Basco, Batanes, the smallest of the Philippine provinces, the council said. By Sunday, the storm was expected to be 370 kilometers (229.9 miles) west northwest of Okinawa, Japan, the agency said.

Flash floods were reported in a number of Philippine communities, including Ligao City where one woman was reportedly washed away by floodwaters, the council said in a statement posted on its website.

Bizarro Earth

7 killed, 3 missing as bad weather hits Vietnam

Officials and state media say flash floods and whirlwinds have killed seven people, left three others missing and injured 60 in northern Vietnam.

Disaster official Tran Van Nham of Yen Bai province said Friday that authorities have recovered the body of a 20-year-old man and are searching for three people who were swept away by flash flooding while walking across a stream Thursday.

In the northern port city of Hai Phong, a woman was killed Thursday by a falling tree, another person died when a house collapsed and four others were killed when they were struck by lightning, according to a statement from the Hai Phong Department for Flood and Storm Control.

It said the whirlwinds injured 60 people, and high winds destroyed or damaged more than 900 homes.

Cloud Lightning

Connecticut, US: Heavy Rains Cause West Haven Flooding Issues

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Afternoon thundershowers caused heavy rain, resulting in several streets, backyards, and businesses to have flooding problems.
Heavy rain on Thursday afternoon caused flash flooding in many spots around Connecticut.

Several streets in the City of West Haven were washed out and some homes and businesses suffered minor flooding.

Richard Booth's backyard was under several feet of water.

"This is twice this year so far," Booth said. "It drowned out the garden and took over the whole backyard."

Thursday was not the first time his yard has flooded. A berm the city installed several years ago causes the water to collect there, he said.

West Spring Street was one of the hardest hit streets. There was at least a foot and half of water in the road as cars and buses tried to drive through and neighbors tried to clear out storm drains as the rain continued to fall.