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Fri, 18 Jun 2021
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Cloud Lightning

Storms swirl in Atlantic, Hanna over Bahamas

Miami - A new tropical depression formed on Tuesday near the Cape Verde Islands off Africa while storm Hanna drenched the Bahamas and Ike sped westward as Atlantic storm activity reached a frenetic pace.

Hurricane Hanna
©REUTERS/NOAA/Handout
Hurricane Hanna is seen southwest of Nassau in a satellite image taken September 2, 2008.

These followed on the heels of Hurricane Gustav, which began to dissipate on Tuesday after slamming ashore on the U.S. Gulf Coast near New Orleans the day before. The new tropical cyclones threatened vast areas, from South Carolina in the United States to the Caribbean islands.

The flurry of storms was the latest evidence that predictions for a busier than normal season were on the mark, and was worrisome news for U.S. oil and natural gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico, millions living in the Caribbean and on U.S. coasts, and farmers fearing flooded fields.

Fish

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary In Fair Condition, Facing Emerging Threats

A new NOAA report on the health of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary indicates that the overall condition of the sanctuary's marine life and habitats is fair. The report also identifies several emerging threats to sanctuary resources, including non-indigenous marine species, overfishing, waterborne chemicals from human coastal activities, and increased recreational use of the site.

Grays Reef
©NOAA
Soft corals, sponges, and fishes that are typical inhabitants of Gray's Reef.

The first-of-its-kind report about the sanctuary finds that its water quality is relatively good, although researchers have detected low levels of human-produced pollutants in the sanctuary's sediments and water-filtering organisms.

The report cites illegal anchoring, recreational fishing and spearfishing as additional human pressures on the living marine resources of Gray's Reef, and states that snapper and grouper are being overfished both within the sanctuary and throughout the region.

The report also notes that the red lionfish, a voracious and venomous predator native to Pacific waters, has been seen in the sanctuary and may pose a danger to local fish populations and recreational divers.

Info

Endangered Black-footed Ferrets Sired By Males That Died 8 Years Ago

Two black-footed ferrets at the Smithsonian's National Zoo have each given birth to a kit that was sired by males who died in 1999 and 2000. These endangered ferrets - part of a multi-institutional breeding and reintroduction program - were artificially inseminated in May with frozen semen from the two deceased males, each giving birth to a kit on June 20 and 21 respectively.

black-footed ferret
©Jessie Cohen, Smithsonian's National Zoo
A two-month-old black-footed ferret (right) is pictured with its mother at the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal. Va. on Aug. 18, 2008. The mother gave birth to the kit on June 21 after National Zoo reproductive scientists inseminated her with previously frozen semen from a male that died in 1998. Successful inseminations with frozen semen are extremely rare -- until now only three black-footed ferret kits have been born from this method.

The sperm samples were collected and frozen in 1997 and 1998. Successful inseminations with frozen semen are extremely rare - until now only three black-footed ferret kits have been born from this method.

The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered animals in the world. Once inhabiting the grasslands of the western Great Plains, the black-footed ferret population declined with the loss of the North American prairie ecosystem. Prairie dogs are the ferret's primary prey, and only 2 percent of the original prairie dog habitat remains today. A recent outbreak of sylvatic plague (also known as bubonic plague) in a prairie dog population in South Dakota also threatens to decimate ferret populations there.

Cloud Lightning

Greece: Storms cause heavy flooding

Storms and heavy rainfall hit much of the country over the weekend, causing serious flooding in places.

The eastern port of Volos was one of the worst hit areas, with rainwater turning streets into virtual torrents and damaging ground-floor homes and stores. The fire service received hundreds of telephone calls to pump out water from flooded basements.

Umbrella

Indian military struggling to end flood chaos

Troops and aid workers are scrambling to reach hundreds of thousands of stranded people across flood-devastated northern India in one of the country's largest-ever relief efforts, as hungry villagers began to riot, desperate families swam for their lives and widespread chaos ruled.

Nearly half of the 1.2 million people left homeless when the Kosi River burst its banks in Nepal two weeks ago, spilling over north India's vast plains, had been rescued said Prataya Amrit, a top disaster management official in Bihar state. Despite disjointed efforts, officials hoped to reach the rest in the next two days.

The massive relief effort was the first to deploy all three branches of India's military - the army, the navy, and the air force, Amrit said.

Cloud Lightning

Hanna becomes hurricane off Bahamas

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Hanna on Monday developed into a full-fledged hurricane east of the Bahamas in the Atlantic ocean, US officials reported, as deadly Hurricane Gustav pounded the Gulf Coast near New Orleans.

Cloud Lightning

Storm may follow Gustav evacuees, dump heavy rain

DALLAS, Texas - For some of the 2 million people seeking safety from Hurricane Gustav, they could run but they couldn't hide.

Snowman

Sun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.

sunspot1
©Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
The record-setting surface of the sun. A full month has gone by without a single spot.

Cloud Lightning

New Zealand: Magnitude 5.8 quake causes no damage

A moderate magnitude 5.8 earthquake rattled New Zealand's central North Island on Monday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

Cloud Lightning

US: Gustav slams Louisiana coastline west of New Orleans

New Orleans - A weakened Hurricane Gustav slammed into the heart of Louisiana's fishing and oil industry Monday, avoiding a direct hit on flood-prone New Orleans and boosting hope that the city would avoid catastrophic flooding.

Image
©AP Photo/Bill Haber
Water is pushed over the flood wall into the upper 9th Ward from the effect of Hurricane Gustav, in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 1, 2008.

Wind-driven water was sloshing over the top of the Industrial Canal's floodwall, but city officials and the Army Corps of Engineers said they expected the levees, still only partially rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, would hold. The canal broke during hurricanes Betsy and Katrina, flooding St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward.

"We are seeing some overtopping waves," said Col. Jeff Bedey, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers' hurricane protection office. "We are cautiously optimistic and confident that we won't see catastrophic wall failure."

Of more immediate concern to authorities was a barge that broke loose from its moorings and crashed into two anchors scrapped ships. The was no damage to the canal.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav hit around 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday near the Cocodrie, a low-lying community in Louisiana's Cajun country about 72 miles southwest of New Orleans. Forecasters once feared a storm that chased nearly 2 million from the coast would arrive as a devastating Category 4 with much more powerful winds.

While New Orleans avoided a direct hit, the storm could be devastating where it did strike. For most of the past half century, the bayou communities that thrived in the Barataria basin have watched their land literally disappear. A combination of factors - oil drilling, hurricanes, river levees, damming of rivers - have destroyed marshes and swamps that once flourished in this river delta.