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Sun, 22 Oct 2017
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Earth Changes


3 squirrels test positive for plague; hikers warned near Palomar Mountain, California

The squirrels were found in campgrounds near Palomar Mountain


Western Gray Squirrel
Editor's Note: County officials issued a correction to their news release on Thursday. The squirrels were found at Cedar Grove Campground and Doane Valley Campground.

Three squirrels with plague have been discovered at two campgrounds near Palomar Mountain.

San Diego County Department of Environmental Health officials urged hikers and campers to take simple precautions Wednesday to make sure they don't come into contact with squirrels or their fleas, which can spread plague, a disease caused by bacteria that can make people very sick and even kill them without quick treatment.

"It's not unusual for us to find plague in our area and there really are simple things people can do to protect themselves," said environmental health director Jack Miller. "The big thing is to avoid contact with squirrels and the fleas they carry. If you're camping, set your tents up away from squirrel burrows. If you're hiking, don't feed squirrels and don't let your kids play with them."

Cloud Precipitation

Torrential rains kill 73 in northern India, strands 73,000

Rains on Tuesday claimed 11 more lives in North India, taking the toll to 73, even as 71,440 pilgrims bound for the Himalayan shrines remained stranded in monsoon-ravaged Uttarakhand, apart from 1,700 people stuck in Himachal Pradesh. Though rescue efforts picked up in flash flood and landslide-hit areas of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with a let-up in the rains and decrease in water level in the Ganga and its tributaries, the whole of Uttarakhand still wore a marooned and devastated look. Hundreds of homes and roads were washed away.
Flash floods, cloudbursts and subsequent landslips in Uttarakhand have claimed 44 lives, left as many injured and destroyed 175 houses. Rudraprayag was the worst hit where 20 people perished and 73 buildings, including 40 hotels along the banks of the River Alaknanda, were swept away by the swirling waters. Pilgrims bound for Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, are stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts with the 'Char Dham' yatra still suspended due to massive damage to the road network.


Mystery substance prompts closure of Indiana beach

  • Swimmers have been ordered out of Lake Michigan at Porter Beach because of a substance in the water. WBBM's Nancy Harty has more.

    It was originally thought to be an oil slick that prompted the closure of Porter Beach and the Indiana Dunes State Park Beach right next door, but park ranger Bruce Rowe says samples taken of the quarter-mile long slick show it is not.

    "The initial results, very initial, are that it is not oil based, but that we don't have the specific results as to what it is," Rowe says.

    Cloud Lightning

    Insane timelapse of a rotating supercell looks like an alien spaceship

    © Mike Olbinski/Olbinski Photography
    An impressive, gorgeous, powerful supercell northwest of Booker, Texas from June 3rd, 2013.
    Photographer and storm chaser Mike Olbinski has captured some incredible storm footage over the years (such as this apocalyptic haboob in Arizona in 2011.) But his latest timelapse was something he's been chasing down for over four years: a rotating supercell. Mike lives in Arizona, where that type of storm doesn't happen. But he regularly visits the US Central Plains and said on his website that he's been hoping to capture footage of "clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth."

    To quote Mike again, "Boy, did we find it."

    On June 3, 2013 he and his team were following storms near Booker, Texas. "We chased this storm from the wrong side (north) and it took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side. And when we did...this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters."

    Cloud Precipitation

    Floods kill 23 in Northern India after 36 hours of rain; dozens missing

    Torrential rain and floods washed away buildings and roads, killing at least 23 people in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, officials said Monday.

    More than a dozen people died in the state's Rudraprayag district alone, while another 50 people were missing, said Amit Negi, an official in Uttarakhand.

    A landslide triggered by the monsoon rains buried a bus, killing three people in Almora district.

    Bizarro Earth

    6.7-magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia's Java

    An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale has struck off Indonesia's most densely-populated island of Java, but there have been no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

    According to the US Geological Survey, the quake took place at 11:47 pm (1647 GMT) on Thursday and was centered some 170 kilometers (106 miles) east of Flying Fish Cove, on Australia's Christmas Island.

    The US Geological Survey also said that the quake was 11 kilometers (7 miles) deep.

    The tremor has reportedly forced panicked residents and hotel guests to flee into the streets in Kawalu, West Java province.

    Following the tremor, the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency issued a statement saying that "There are no immediate reports of damage or casualties, but we know the quake was felt in several parts of Java...There is no potential for a tsunami."

    On April 20, a 6.4 -magnitude earthquake jolted Indonesia's Maluku, but caused no casualties or material damage.

    On April 6, an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale struck eastern Indonesia's mountainous West Papua province.

    Indonesia is vulnerable to earthquakes since it is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region known for its seismic and volcanic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.

    Last year, a 6.4-magnitude quake rocked the west coast of Sumatra Island, killing at least one person. An 8.7-magnitude earthquake also hit off the city of Banda Aceh in Sumatra Island in May 2012, triggering regional tsunami alerts.

    A strong quake off the shores of Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 13 countries around the Indian Ocean in 2004. Most of the deaths were in the northern Indonesian province of Aceh.


    Biologists investigate thousands of dead fish at Cave Run Lake, Kentucky

    © KDFWR Artist Rick Hill
    White Bass
    Thousands of fish have died in the past week at Cave Run Lake.

    Biologists are still searching for the cause, which affected white bass, said Dave Baker, a spokesman with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

    The "fish kill" was similar to one in the early 2000s.

    Bob Durborow, aquaculture extension specialist at Kentucky State University, said the white bass he examined had bacterial infections, which contributed to their condition, but was likely not the primary cause of the fish kill.

    "It may have been some kind of virus," Baker added, saying biologist won't know until test results come back.

    "It seems to have run its course," Baker said, adding that state officials are not seeing any new fish dying. But last weekend and earlier this week, there were many dead fish scattered around the surface of the lake.

    Baker said anglers this weekend should not eat any fish that "don't look right." He said look for sores or other blemishes. To which I added, avoid eating fish that don't smell right, either! Baker reminded people not to eat dead or dying fish.

    Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said anglers first observed thousands of dead and struggling white bass in Cave Run Lake the weekend of June 8. No other species were affected.

    The 8,270-acre lake is near Morehead.

    To help maintain the fishery, biologists stocked 64,000 fingerling-sized white bass in Cave Run Lake on June 13.


    Millions of moths mass on Madrid

    Millions of moths have engulfed Madrid in a population explosion blamed on spring rains, a sudden blast of summer heat and winds that have wafted them in as unwelcome guests to the Spanish capital.

    Across the city, people are swapping tales of night-time battles to swat moths lured by the light into their bedrooms, a whole new genre of jokes has been born and the phenomenon has become a trending Twitter topic.

    No-one is sure of precisely where they came from.

    Roger Vila, researcher at the butterfly diversity and evolution laboratory in the northeastern city of Barcelona identified three types of moth from photographic evidence: the gamma, noctua and catocala.


    Silver Y (Autographa gamma)
    Many of them flew to the capital from southern Spain but others may have migrated from northern Africa on a long journey across the Gibraltar Strait to destinations across Europe, he told AFP on Thursday.

    Bizarro Earth

    Canadian sinkhole forces highway closure

    A huge sinkhole has closed both lanes of Highway 2 north of Prince Albert.Officials say a washout from heavy rains caused the road collapse.

    The sinkhole is located about 52 kilometres north of the Waskesiu turnoff.Repairs are underway, but it wasn't known when the highway would reopen.

    Bizarro Earth

    Sinkhole swallows front end of semi in Mission, Kansas

    An apparent sinkhole swallowed up the front end of a semi tractor-trailer in Mission, Kan. Saturday afternoon.The pictures below were sent to FOX 4 by Jamie McCray. Others also watched as authorities tried to retrieve the truck from the lot. FOX 4 is working to gather more information on this developing story after the heavy rains.

    © Kyle Rowlands
    © Jamie McBray