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Fri, 24 Feb 2017
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Earth Changes


Two killer whale carcasses found off Ningbo, China; orcas very rare in Chinese waters

Killer whale
The two killer whale carcasses found recently in the East China Sea near Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province have been sent to a university scientific institute where they will be studied.

The killer whales, both over four meters long, were caught by a fisherman in Fenghua district, Ningbo, surnamed Lin, on February 16, and were sent to the scientific research team of Nanjing Normal University in neighboring Jiangsu Province on Saturday, the Zhejiang-based Hangzhou Daily reported on Wednesday.

According to Lin, the killer whales were already dead when he caught them in the East China Sea, 40 hours by ship from Fenghua.

Even though Lin did not recognize what kind of "fish" he had caught, he realized they might be a protected species and soon reported his find to local fishery department, who then contacted Nanjing Normal University.

Snowflake Cold

Snow and freezing fog cover Taiwan; Winter typhoon off Kamchatka, Russia and Tottori, Japan buried again by record snow

© Central News Agency
'Freezing fog' at Hehuanshan, Taiwan
Taiwan received a fog freeze event which is different that snow, but after the bizarre fog freeze snow covered the peaks with 3 inches of snow. Japan smothered in 2nd record snowfall in Tottori, and an extra tropical typhoon off Kamchatka Russia.


Thousands evacuated as San Jose, California hit by worst floods in a century

© Noah Berger / AFP/Getty Images
Floodwater surrounds homes in San Jose on Wednesday. Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes as neighborhoods were inundated.
Over the last two weeks, heavy rains pushed water levels at Santa Clara County's largest reservoir into the danger zone, with officials warning it could overflow.

That happened over the weekend, sending massive amounts of water into the Coyote Creek, which runs through the heart of San Jose.

By Tuesday, the creek was overflowing at numerous locations, inundating neighborhoods, flooding hundreds of homes and forcing the frantic evacuations of more than 14,000 residents, who remained out of their homes Wednesday.

The worst flooding to hit Silicon Valley in a century left San Jose reeling and residents angry about why they were not given more warning that a disaster was imminent. Even city officials on Wednesday conceded they were caught off guard by the severity of the flooding and vowed a full investigation into what went wrong.

"If the first time a resident is aware that they need to get out of a home is when they see a firefighter in a boat, then clearly there has been a failure," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "There is no question that we'll need to do things differently next time."

Comment: Record rainfall is straining California's whole flood control network. Yesterday the gates at Shasta Dam were opened for the first time in 19 years to ensure they worked properly. The event has happened only twice in 34 years - in 1998 and 1983. Don Bader, area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the dam said, "If this next series of storms comes through, then we very may well need to use them."


Shallow magnitude 4.2 earthquake strikes near Belfair, Washington


The Mason County Sheriff's Office and the USGS reported a magnitude 4.2 earthquake about 14 miles northwest of Belfair near the Hood Canal

The Mason County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 4.2 earthquake about 14 miles northwest of Belfair near the Hood Canal Wednesday night.

"We felt that one!" the sheriff's office tweeted just after the 9 p.m. temblor.

"We had some alarm systems go off, but no reports of slide or other damage as of now," the sheriff's office reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the epicenter of the quake was about 14 miles west of Belfair on the southern end of the Kitsap Peninsula.

The quake was felt in part of Olympia and Shelton, the USGS said.

Comment: According to the USGS the earthquake depth was 16.6 km. A 4.8M quake has also been reported today 166km SW of Port Hardy, Canada at a depth of 10 km.


The poorest region in Brazil suffers worst drought in a century

© AFP/Evaristo SA
Remains of donkeys and cows during the region's worst drought in a century.
A cow's skull lies baking in the sun and nearby another dead cow rots, symbols of the desolation gripping northeastern Brazil during its worst drought in a century.

Farmer Kerginaldo Pereira, 30, walks through the dust and cactuses in dismay. There are in all about 30 skeletons of cattle, donkeys and other farm animals in a sort of open-air cemetery set aside in his settlement of Nova Canaa, in Ceara state, to avoid spread of disease. "Most are animals that died of thirst or hunger. Sadly, that's the reality. So many animals have died in these five years of drought," Pereira told AFP.

The semiarid northeast of Brazil, known as the Sertao, is use to rain shortages but no one can remember a drought like this. There has been almost no rain since 2012 and the leafless, desiccated landscape has the appearance of having been in a vast fire. Rivers and reservoirs that used to serve rural populations are not coping. The authorities estimate that reserves are at six percent capacity, with some completely emptied.

Experts say that a cocktail of factors has produced the disaster: a strong El Nino in the Pacific, heating of the north Atlantic and climate change that has seen temperatures in Ceara rise by 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in 50 years.


Radioactive wild boars found in Czech forests, 31 years after Chernobyl disaster

© Baz Ratner / Reuters
Radioactive wild boars have been detected in Czech forests, some 31 years after the Chernobyl disaster, a veterinary administration official said, adding that they are eating mushrooms that can absorb high levels of radioactive isotopes.

The animals became radioactive due to false truffles, the underground mushrooms they feed on, Jiri Drapal at the Czech State Veterinary Administration told Reuters. The mushroom is found in the Sumava mountain region in the Czech Republic, which borders Austria and Germany.

It can absorb high levels of radioactive isotopes, including Caesium 137, which was released in great quantities after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Comment: Japan has also been overwhelmed by radioactive wild boars since the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Radiation levels at the reactor are now at the highest levels since the March 2011 earthquake, presaging a disaster of unimaginable consequences that is being consistently ignored by the mainstream media.

Cloud Precipitation

'Atmospheric river' over N. California threatens levees, Bay Area reservoir spills

© Len Ramirez / KPIX 5
The lower spillway waterfall at Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.
An "atmospheric river" continued to batter parts of Northern California on Tuesday, causing widespread flooding.

The heavy rains prompted the National Weather Service to warn of a dam failure outside Carson City, Nev., saying that it was "not a drill" and that residents should "move to higher ground now."

But less than 90 minutes after issuing the alert, the agency changed its report to say the retention basin in Dayton, Nev., had not failed. Instead, it was full and overflowing into drainage areas, the weather service said.

Comment: Part of Highway 50 in Sierra has closed due to a collapse in the road near Bridal Veil Falls in El Dorado County:

The Anderson Dam in Santa Clara county is spilling over for the first time in 11 years.
The man-made lake reached full capacity and began cascading over the spillway and into Coyote Creek on Saturday, the latest dramatic event to unfold amid a relentless rainy season.

Flooding along Coyote Creek is expected on Tuesday as the reservoir continues to spill over.

"The update for today is that we are seeing quite a large flow of water from the current storms," said Marty Grimes, a spokesperson for Santa Clara County Water District. "It hasn't peaked yet. It will certainly spill all day today and could continue all week, depending on how much rain comes from the next storm. We expect flooding on Coyote Creek later today in a few low spots."


Temps across US soar in near-warmest February in 3 decades

Temperature difference from normal forecast on Wednesday from NAM model.
The weather this February keeps getting weirder. At a time when Arctic blasts usually sweep across the nation and Northern states are covered in snow and ice, historically warm air has flooded the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

All-time February record high temperatures are falling and the air feels more like early May.

Wednesday's average high temperature over the Lower 48 was forecast to soar to a balmy 59 degrees - "the near warmest February day during the last three decades", said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for WeatherBell Analytics.

A stunning 2,805 record high temperatures have occurred across the nation this month compared with just 27 record lows.

Comment: The warm temperatures are likely contributing to early blooms by many plants, but a quick reversal to cold temperatures will not be good for those same plants that thought spring was here.


2016 U.S. dog bite fatality statistics and trends for the last 12 years

DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, releases 2016 U.S. dog bite fatality statistics. Last year, dogs inflicted 31 deadly attacks. Pit bulls accounted for 71% (22) of these deaths, just over 7 times more than the next closest dog breed. The combination of pit bulls, American bulldogs and rottweilers contributed to 84% (26) of all deaths. 10 different dog breeds participated in lethal attacks in 2016.

2016 highlights - dog bite fatality statistics

In 2016, 42% of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred — the highest percentage on record in the nonprofit's 12-year data set. Pit bulls accounted for 77% of these deaths. In 2016, 32% of all fatalities involved a dog or person new to the home (0-2 months). Of this subset, 70% were inflicted by pit bulls and children 9-years and younger accounted for 80% of these dog mauling deaths.

Bizarro Earth

Purple rain: Thunderstorms turn Houston sky to vivid shades pink and purple

© Bruna Pantarotto Souza
Bruna Pantarotto Souza shares a view of a cloudy purple sky in Spring, Texas.

Houston-area residents woke up to a colorful view as severe thunderstorms began to roll in Monday morning, and this time, it wasn't a rainbow.

The sky lit up with vivid shades of pink and purple as the sun rose — and social media users couldn't help but connect the stunning sky's magenta hue with Prince's famous "Purple Rain" song.

It was unlike anything residents had seen before.

"It was raining pretty bad and I just woke up to see what was going on and saw this amazing sky," Bruna Pantarotto Souza from Spring, Texas, told CBS News. "I've never seen this before."