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Cloud Lightning

Hurricane-force winds hit Scotland as UK storms cause chaos

- 'Weather bomb' leads to unprecedented Met Office red warning
- Roads, trains, ferries and airports affected across Britain
- Schools and public buildings closed down in parts of Scotland and thousands left without power

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A wind turbine catches fire in hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland, during severe weather.
Hurricane-force winds have battered parts of the UK with millions of people in central Scotland warned to stay at home and avoid travelling after 165mph gusts left thousands of homes without power, closing bridges, rail lines and roads.

One of the most powerful storms to hit inland areas led to the closure of thousands of schools across western, central and southern Scotland, and the shutdown of almost all public buildings, including sports centres, concert halls and libraries, in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

At one stage, more than 60 train passengers were stranded on the West Highland line after it was closed down near Crianlarich, north of Loch Lomond. A rescue train was sent from Glasgow to take them off the train. The gales appeared to cause a fire in one wind turbine in Ardrossan, Ayrshire, as its blades were ripped off by the gusts.

The Met Office issued a red warning for central Scotland after air pressure across the Atlantic plunged late on Wednesday; it is thought to be the first time the Met Office has issued such a warning to "take action" for high winds rather than flooding or snow.

The phenomenon is known to meteorologists as a "weather bomb" but a Met Office spokesman said it was officially described as an "explosive deepening", which is caused when atmospheric pressure drops by 24 millibars or more in 24 hours. In Thursday's storm, air pressure fell by 44mb.

Comment: Weather bombs, especially in the form of hurricane force winds, have been dropping all over the planet this past week. Most recently in Canada. Mother nature is not happy!


Cloud Lightning

Canada: 'Weather Bomb' Hits East Coast


Pounding rain, high winds and the threat of heavy snow are causing power outages and school and ferry closures in parts of the East Coast as a so-called "weather bomb" rolls in.

Power outages are reported across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick due to high winds and heavy rains.

Environment Canada is forecasting gusts of 100 kilometres per hour or more in almost every county of Nova Scotia, P.E.I., northern New Brunswick and the west and north coasts of Newfoundland.

As well as the high westerly winds, northern New Brunswick is expected to see an estimated 20 centimetres of snow.

Coastal regions in eastern New Brunswick are also being warned of winds that could reach 100 km/h.

Bizarro Earth

Hawaii's Volcano Kilaueu erupting

Check out this amazing video from Hawaii's Big Island. You're looking at red hot lava spewing out of the Kilauea Volcano. You can see it's sparking small fires and consuming trees as it moves down this incline.


Cloud Lightning

'Red alert': Police warn against all travel across central belt of Scotland

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© Kenny McCubbin
Storm force winds expected.
Police are warning that people should avoid all travel in the central belt in an unprecedented move as 100mph winds batter Scotland.

They said the people could be putting themselves in "considerable danger by travelling".

Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland (Acpos) told STV News that travel should be avoided in the between noon and 7pm in the west and 2pm and 9pm and the Central and Lothian and Borders area.

The Met Office warned of severe weather and gale-force winds on Thursday with councils deciding to close hundreds of schools. Gusts reached 130mph over Aonach Mor, near Ben Nevis, and 102mph over Glen Ogle in the Trossachs.

Red warnings - the higest level of Met Office alerts - were issued for wind in the Strathclyde, central belt, Tayside, Lothians and Borders areas.

Cow Skull

North Mexico wilts under worst drought on record

© Alberto Puente|AP
A cow tries to eat from a dried out cactus on a field near the city of Torreon, Mexico, Thursday Dec. 1, 2011. Mexico is seeing the worst drought since 1941, when the country began recording rainfall. Drought will continue to plague northern Mexico during the winter months, and the situation will likely worsen, authorities said.

Durango - The sun-baked northern states of Mexico are suffering under the worst drought since the government began recording rainfall 70 years ago. Crops of corn, beans and oats are withering in the fields. About 1.7 million cattle have died of starvation and thirst.

Hardest hit are five states in Mexico's north, a region that is being parched by the same drought that has dried out the southwest United States. The government is trucking water to 1,500 villages scattered across the nation's northern expanse, and sending food to poor farmers who have lost all their crops.

Life isn't likely to get better soon. The next rainy season isn't due until June, and there's no guarantee normal rains will come then.

Most years, Guillermo Marin harvests 10 tons of corn and beans from his fields in this harsh corner of Mexico. This year, he got just a single ton of beans. And most of the 82-year-old farmer's fellow growers in this part of Durango state weren't able to harvest anything at all.

Bizarro Earth

Atacama, Chile - Earthquake Magnitude 6.1

© USGS
Earthquake Location
Date-Time
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 at 22:23:09 UTC

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 at 07:23:09 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location
27.884°S, 70.932°W

Depth
15.6 km (9.7 miles)

Region
ATACAMA, CHILE

Distances
79 km (49 miles) NNW of Vallenar, Atacama, Chile

80 km (49 miles) SW of Copiapo, Atacama, Chile

234 km (145 miles) N of Coquimbo, Coquimbo, Chile

619 km (384 miles) N of SANTIAGO, Region Metropolitana, Chile

Wolf

Teacher Candice Berner mauled to death by wolves in Alaska

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Teacher Candice Berner was mauled to death by a pack of wolves while she was out jogging, it has been confirmed.

The 32-year-old's body was discovered by members of the public, severely mauled and in a pool of blood. Multiple tracks were in the snow, leading locals to suspect the teacher had been attacked by wild animals.

A report released to by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirmed Berner was killed by wolves a mile outside small fishing village Chignik Bay, on the Alaska Peninsula. A medical examiner cited cause of death as "multiple injuries due to animal mauling", the Sun reported.

DNA from two wolves which were shot in the area shortly after the attack was a match with DNA found on Candice's clothing. But experts said it was impossible to determine if the wolves attacked to defend their territory or the animals had hunted her.

Dollar

Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters Smash US Record

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© The Associated Press/Kiichiro Sato
In this Feb. 2, 2011 file photo, hundreds of cars are seen stranded on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago after a winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago. America's wild weather year has hit yet another new high: a devastating dozen billion-dollar catastrophes.
America's wild weather year has set another record: a dozen billion-dollar catastrophes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that it has recalculated the number of weather disasters passing the billion-dollar mark, with two new ones, pushing 2011's total to 12. The two costly additions are the Texas, New Mexico and Arizona wildfires and the mid-June tornadoes and severe weather.

NOAA uses $1 billion as a benchmark for the worst weather disasters. This year's total of a dozen billion-dollar calamities matches the number for all of the 1980s, even when the older figures are adjusted for inflation.

Extreme weather in America this year has killed more than 1,000 people, according to National Weather Service Director Jack Hayes. The dozen billion-dollar disasters alone add up to $52 billion in damage. Hayes, a meteorologist since 1970, said he has never seen a year for extreme weather like this, calling it "the deadly, destructive and relentless 2011."

And this year's total may not stop at 12. Officials are still adding up the damage from the Tropical Storm Lee and the pre-Halloween Northeast snowstorm, and so far they are both at the $750 million mark. And there's still nearly a month left in the year.

Bizarro Earth

Huge Japan Quake Cracked Open Seafloor

© Norio Miyamoto, JAMSTEC
This 8-inch-wide (20 cm) crevasse stretches for at least tens of meters in a north-south direction; its depth is unknown. The crack, at a depth beneath the water's surface of 10, 558 feet (3,218 m) was imaged on Aug. 10, 2011.
The March 2011 megaquake off the coast of Japan opened up fissures as wide as 6 feet (3 meters) in the seafloor, a new study finds.

The fissures now scar the seafloor where peaceful clam beds once lay, according to Takeshi Tsuji, a researcher at Kyoto University in Japan. Along with seismic studies, the fissures, revealed by manned submersible vehicles that investigated the seafloor after the quake, show how the crust around the quake's epicenter expanded and cracked.

Tsuji and his colleagues had a unique opportunity to see how the seafloor changed after the magnitude-9.0 quake struck on March 11. Before the quake, the researchers had taken video and photographs of the seafloor on the continental side of the Japan Trench, near where the crust would later rupture, generating an enormous tsunami that killed about 20,000 people.

Those videos showed a quiet seafloor broken only by occasional clam beds, Tsuji reported here today (Dec. 6) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). After the quake, however, the seabed shows evidence of the massive forces released there.

Bulb

Canada: Emergencies Declared in Two Northern Quebec Communities

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© unknown
People gather in Chisasibi, Que., on Tuesday. The power has been out in most of Chisasibi and Wemindji in freezing temperatures since Monday morning.
Things are looking a bit brighter for the northern Quebec Cree communities of Wemindji and Chisasibi, which have been without power for more than 30 hours, as Hydro Quebec has come up with plans to restore power.

Power has now been restored to about a third of residents in Chisasibi as of about 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Hydro Quebec is slowly bringing the power back so as not to blow the line.

If that plan works, it will do the same for Wemindji in the morning. If the system crashes, the company will start the backup generators it sent to the communities.

Hydro Québec estimates the power could be restored within 24 hours.

About 5,200 people have been without power for a day and a half.