Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

US: Heavy rains have California farmers more concerned

© Maggie Creamer/News-SentinelTom Gotelli, plant manager with O-G Packing, holds cherry blossoms in an orchard Friday, March 25, 2011. With the rain and wind during the past weeks, Gotelli is worried bees will not pollinate some of the blossoms and other plants could suffer from blossom rot.
In the past week, Lodi has received three times more rain than normal, causing everyone to pull out their rain coats and farmers to worry about how some of their crops are faring.

From March 18 through 4 p.m. Friday, the Stockton area received 1.8 inches of rain, said John Feerick, a senior meteorologist at, a private forecasting service. The average precipitation for that week is usually 0.55 inches.

According to News-Sentinel records, Lodi received even more rain - 3.30 inches during that time period.

Below is a summary of how this is affecting the Lodi area.


US: Huntsville area due day-long rain and possible severe weather

Alabama - It's a good day to clean the closets, watch basketball or shop for a new raincoat, because the wet stuff will fall all day.

It'll fall tonight, too, if that affects your plans.

Having a radio, TV or smart phone nearby is also a good idea, because the National Weather Service says high winds, hail and even tornadoes are possible this afternoon.

The dangerous weather isn't a sure thing, meteorologist Dan Dixon said Friday, but prolonged rain is certain. Look for 1 to 2 inches in most areas and more in some places before the rain ends overnight or early Sunday morning.

"We're not looking for widespread flooding," Dixon said, "but could see some nuisance flooding." Translation: If the road near your house floods when it pours, it may flood today. Be prepared.

Bizarro Earth

Tsunami of Sand Tortures Kuwait

© Yasser Iqbal AhmedA wall of dust seen rising in the distance before it hit Mangaf coastal area Friday evening.
Kuwait City: A menacing black dust storm hit the country at a speed of over 50 kms per hour Friday evening, plunging the country into complete darkness before sunset. The storm reduced visibility to almost zero in some areas of the country and disrupted mobile phone services for almost 30 minutes as panicked citizens and residents tried to call to check the safety of their loved ones.

The Operations Room of the Interior Ministry received more than 200 calls for assistance; the most urgent among them was from a boat stranded in mid-sea. Nearly 100 female students were onboard and were on their way to Failaka Island when the storm came threatening. Security forces and Coast Guard members sprung into action and managed to bring the boat safely to shore.

To add to all the panic, rumors about an enormous fire near the beach spread like wild fire and subsided only when it became evident that the black cloud was a dust blanket and not smoke from a fire.

The dust storm first entered Jahra and moved towards the Capital area and then to the rest of the areas. Meteorologist at the Weather Forecast Department of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Issa Ramadan said northwesterly winds blowing at a speed of more than 50 kms per hour caused the dust storm. He and astronomer Saleh Al-Ojairi confirmed that there was almost zero visibility in some areas of the country.


Australia: Man injured as beetles swarm Gold Coast

© seablue5
Thousands of beetles invading the Gold Coast have claimed their first victim.

Ken Tomkins, 61, was hospitalized after skidding his bicycle into a mound of dead bugs and shattering his hip, collarbone and ribs, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.

Tomkins said he noticed the slick as he rode along The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise, but initially thought it was water or leaves.

He will be bedridden for six weeks after hitting the bugs, which were piled to the edge of the road by a council street sweeper, at about 25kph.

The water beetle invasion is a never-before-seen phenomenon that has stumped local scientists.


US: Colorado wildfire forces evacuation of 9,500 homes

A wind-whipped wildfire forced the evacuation of 9,500 homes southeast of Denver on Thursday just as firefighters were gaining the upper hand on a separate blaze that has burned stubbornly for five days west of the city.

Deputy Michelle Rademacher of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the latest fire has scorched about 1,600 acres in the wooded bluffs near Franktown, Colorado.

"We're not aware of any structures lost, but the high winds are pushing it close to heavily populated neighborhoods, so we called for mandatory evacuations," she said.

The fire grew quickly as sustained winds of 40 miles per hour fanned the flames through dry brush, grasses and trees.

Eye 1

US: Emergency plans in Louisville, Colorado in event of disaster raise eyebrows

Council members express concern over sanctity of private property rights

Language in Louisville's proposed emergency response plan, which would give the city the power to "commandeer private property" and "seize" buildings in a crisis, has given several of the city's elected leaders pause.

The emergency ordinance, which was supposed to have gotten an up or down vote earlier this month, was instead tabled until April so that the council can figure out how it wants to deal with what one member called the measure's "stark" language.

"I think any time you talk about government seizing private property -- that's not something I'm comfortable with," Councilman Bob Muckle said Tuesday.

Muckle said he understood that in extraordinary circumstances, extraordinary measures must be taken, but he said he wants to hear from the police chief and other city staff on exactly how they envision implementing Louisville's emergency measures.

The subject of municipal crisis management has taken on a special urgency in the wake of Japan's earthquake and tsunami and the resulting nuclear and humanitarian crises.

Cloud Lightning

US: Flooding Damages N. Calif. Businesses and Homes

© KGO-TV San FranciscoThe Bay Area is beginning to clean up from Thursday's storm as residents brace for more problems.
Crews on California's Central Coast were working Friday to reopen a highway through the Big Sur area and repair damage from a flood that forced the evacuation of a mobile home park, as the region got a respite from a powerful storm that brought heavy wind and rain.

Residents in the 45-unit Pacific Cove Mobile Home Park in Santa Cruz County were ordered to evacuate on Thursday when a failed drainage pipe tore a roughly 15-by-100 foot hole in the ground near homes and sent a 3-foot surge of water into Capitola Village, authorities said.

"The water was moving really rapidly and carrying debris, garbage cans, kids' toys, chairs," Pamela Bone, 52, a resident of the mobile home park said. "My neighbor and I were looking across from each other at the river running between us."

Bone said the area around her home was left caked in mud but the home itself had remained dry.

"I think we're the lucky ones," she said.

Four of the homes have been red-tagged, said Derek Johnson, a city spokesman, and crews were trying to restore electricity and other utilities to the area. The gas was not expected to be back on for at least another week.

Capitola is just south of Santa Cruz, where this month's tsunami caused millions of dollars of damage to the harbor.

Bizarro Earth

Atlantic oil spill threatens endangered penguins

© OceanDoctor,org
London - Thousands of endangered penguins have been coated with oil after a cargo ship ran aground and broke up on a remote British South Atlantic territory, officials and conservationists said Tuesday.

The shipwreck also threatens the lobster fishery that provides a livelihood to one of the world's most isolated communities.

The Malta-registered MS Olivia was grounded on Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha chain last week. The ship had been traveling from Brazil to Singapore and contained 1,500 metric tons (1,650 tons) of crude oil and a cargo of 60,000 metric tons (66,000 tons) of soya beans.

The ship's 22 crew members were rescued before it broke in two.

Tristan da Cunha's conservation officer, Trevor Glass, said oil was encircling Nightingale Island and called the situation "a disaster."

The territory's British administrator, Sean Burns, said more than half of about 500 birds gathered by rescue workers had been coated in oil. An environmentalist at the scene estimated that 20,000 penguins might be affected.

Bizarro Earth

Dramatic video shows tsunami survivor's rescue

Almost a week after Japan was struck by twin disasters, images continue to appear showing the scale of the tsunami. ITN's Louisa James describes the rescue of one woman, plucked to safety as the water surged through Sendai.


Wind and waves growing across globe

© Todd Binger
Oceanic wind speeds and wave heights have increased significantly over the last quarter of a century according to a major new study undertaken by ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young.

Published in Science, the study is the most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken.

Other authors include Swinburne University oceanographers Professor Alex Babanin and Dr Stefan Zieger.

"Careful analysis of satellite data shows that extreme oceanic wind speeds and ocean wave heights have increased dramatically over the last 23 years," Professor Young said.

"Off the southern coast of Australia, the highest one per cent of waves have increased in height from approximately five metres to almost six metres over the last 20 years"

"Extreme conditions are where we are seeing the largest increases, but mean conditions are also going up.

"Extreme wind speeds have increased over most of the globe by approximately 10 per cent over the last 20 years, or 0.5 per cent every year.

"Extreme wave heights have increased by an average of seven per cent over the last 20 years, or 0.25 per cent a year in equatorial regions and 0.5 per cent a year in higher latitudes.