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Mon, 17 May 2021
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Earth Changes

Snowflake Cold

Temps plummet below zero, early snow falls in South Island, New Zealand

Mt Roy looking over Lake Wanaka on Tuesday morning.

Mt Roy looking over Lake Wanaka on Tuesday morning.
Winter has arrived slightly early in the South Island, with freezing temperatures and dustings of snow in many places this morning.

A midnight storm dumped about a centimetre of snow onto the Porters Alpine Resort near Castle Hill near Arthur's Pass early this morning.

And parts of inland Canterbury and Otago woke to below-zero temperatures, down to -3.2 deg C.

Porters operations manager Blair James hoped the cold snap was an early indicator of good snowfall this season.

He said the dump marked two weeks in a row of snowfall and cold temperatures - weather which makes him hopeful for a good season to come.

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At least 15 dead in glacier avalanche in Uttarakhand, India (UPDATE)

According to reports, 384 persons have been rescued so far.

According to reports, 384 persons have been rescued so far.
At least eight people died and 384 were rescued after a glacier broke triggering an avalanche close to the Indo-China border in the Indian state of Uttarakhand on Friday, a government official said.

"Eight bodies have been recovered. Rescue operations are in progress," a defence ministry official told reporters on Saturday, adding that six of those rescued were in critical condition.

The road access was cut off at 4-5 locations due to multiple landslides, after an avalanche struck in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Friday evening, the official said.

A state official also confirmed that at least 8 persons had died and more than 300 were rescued by the army personnel.

Comment: Update: The Time of India reports on April 27:
Sumna avalanche: 3 more bodies recovered, toll now 15 in Dehradun

Search and rescue teams on Monday have found three more bodies from the debris of an avalanche in Sumna region along the India-China border in Chamoli district.

Earlier, on Sunday, two bodies had been recovered by rescue personnel. With this, the toll of the disaster has shot up to 15, according to the District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC). Three persons are still missing as per Army sources.

"One body was recovered from the debris on Monday morning while the other two were found from the avalanche sites in the later part of the day," said Nand Kishore Joshi, district disaster management officer.

An army helicopter brought the four bodies--including the one recovered on Sunday evening--to Joshimath from Sumna where the avalanche had hit on Friday evening.

As reported by TOI earlier, the Army has pressed into service an avalanche rescue sniffer dog to help the rescue personnel in the search operation.

Around 430 labourers were present in the two camps when the avalanche hit the two Border Roads Organisation (BRO) labour camps. According to Army officials, 384 labourers have been rescued, whereas six are critical and currently in hospital.

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Two Punjab soldiers die in avalanche at Siachen Glacier, India

Representative Image.

Representative Image.
Two soldiers died in an avalanche at Siachen Glacier Sunday while four others were injured. Both the deceased soldiers belong to Punjab.

Sepoy Prabhjit Singh and Sepoy Amardeep Singh of 21 Punjab were caught in the avalanche in Sub Sector Hanif in Southern Glacier area. Other soldiers, trapped in the avalanche, were later rescued and are said to be recovering.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50 lakh, along with a government job each to the family of Sepoy Prabhjit Singh and Sepoy Amardeep Singh.


Massive sinkholes open across Turkish farmland

Turkey sinkhole
© YouTube/VOA News (screen capture)
Massive sinkholes opened across the breadbasket of the Turkish plains, worrying farmers as the sinkholes creep closer to residential homes. The holes open when underground caverns created by drought can no longer contain the weight of the soil above. About 600 sinkholes have been counted along the Konya plain, nearly double the 350 counted last year. (AFP)


Rare V-shaped sun halo captured over Florida

Sunvex Parry arc taken on April 23, 2021 @ Viera, Florida, USA
© Dan Gore
Sunvex Parry arc taken on April 23, 2021 @ Viera, Florida, USA
You don't see this every day, especially not in Florida. On April 23rd, a pair of glowing V's appeared above the setting sun, both caused by ice crystals in the air. Dan Gore photographed them from Viera, FL.

"They lingered for about 5 minutes, then they were gone," says Gore. "It was a beautiful sight."

These are sun halos, one rare and one common. The lower 'V' is a common upper tangent arc created by sunlight shining through pencil-shaped ice crystals. The upper 'V' is a rare Parry arc created by similar kinds of ice crystals, but... To make the Parry arc, the crystals had to be horizontal, not rotate, and have two faces horizontal, too. It sounds improbable, and it is. That's why the Parry arc is so rare.

What's all this ice doing in Florida air? The crystals were located in cirrus clouds 5 to 10 km above the ground where the air is always freezing--even in Florida. Parry arcs prefer cold climates, but they can appear in the Sunshine State, too.

Comment: It is likely that atmospheric dust loading from increased comet and volcanic activity is contributing to the 'strange skies' we are witnessing, the cooling effect of which causes ice crystals to form. See also:

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rains kill 3 in Hai,Tanzania - over 4,000 displaced

Three people are presumed dead, and nearly 4,000 have been displaced due to flooding after heavy rains pounded Weru-Weru and Masama wards in Hai District in the past few days.

The three people were in a family vehicle that was washed away by floods following a heavy rainfall, which hit the district on April 21 and swept away the Namwi river banks.

District officials say efforts to recover their bodies were still ongoing.

Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Anna Mnghwira said yesterday that the floods have destroyed nearly 700 homes, leaving over 4,000 people homeless.


Indonesia's Mount Sinabung erupts, spewing ash up to 1,000 meters

The Sinabung volcano in Indonesia's North Sumatra erupted with a thick column of ash 1,000 meters above its peak to the east, the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center said on Monday.

The eruption occurred at 1:55 a.m. local time for 175 seconds.

At 1:44 a.m. local time on the same day, the mountain with third-level status also erupted with an ash column up to 500 meters high for 167 seconds.


Fifth whale washes up dead in San Francisco Bay in less than a month

A dead whale was discovered on a beach near Fort Funston on Friday, the fifth deceased whale to be found around San Francisco Bay in less than a month.

April is the start of gray whales' northern migration, so finding dead whales on the shores of the bay is not unusual, but after four were found in the span of nine days just a few weeks ago, experts began to worry.

"It's concerning," Giancarlo Rulli of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito had said. "The fact that we've responded to four dead gray whales ... is concerning."

A video of the fifth dead whale was post to Twitter:


Spring snow hits the Sierra

A springtime snow hit the Sierra on Sunday. After a dry winter with little rain or snow, some were happy to see the winter weather return.


Wild elephant attacks claim 3 lives in Sri Lanka

Two lives were lost in the village of Ulhitiya within 24 hours as a result of wild elephant attacks, highlighting the need to solve the growing conflict.

D.M. Hemalatha, 54, the second casualty in the wild elephant attack, had been living in a neighbour's residence after her house was destroyed by wild elephants last year.

The incident had taken place within a kilometre from the residence of Heen Manika, another resident who was killed by a wild elephant, less than 24 hours earlier.

Meanwhile, an elephant attack was reported from the Kurulubadda area in Polonnaruwa as well.