Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Johannesburg, South Africa Gets 4 Inches of Snow, First Since 1981

Johannesburg recorded its first confirmed snowfall for almost 26 years overnight as temperatures dropped below freezing in South Africa's largest city, grounding flights at its main airport.

The heaviest falls were over the southern suburb of The Hill, where four inches of snow fell, said Venetia Magane, a forecaster at the South African Weather Service in Pretoria. Temperatures in the city fell to minus 1 degree Celsius (30.2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night, she added.


Crustaceans eating away island off Hiroshima

An island off the coast of Higashihiroshima is crumbling away due to countless crustaceans that have made holes in its rocks and caused its highest peak to completely disappear.

The rocky Hoboro Island has become a breeding ground for huge numbers of creatures known in Japanese as nanatsuba-kotsubumushi, a type of isopod. The surging number of insects has caught the attention of local researchers.

"It's rare, even on a global scale, to hear of biological erosion that has proceeded on such a large scale and at such a rapid pace as to alter the landscape of an island," said Yuji Okimura, an emeritus professor at Hiroshima University.

Red Flag

Strong earthquake, 6.0 hits E. Indonesia

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked East Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia late on Monday, and no warning of tsunami was issued, Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

The quake struck at 20:33 Jakarta time (1333 GMT) with epicenter at 45 kilometers northwest Labuhanbajo of East Nusa Tenggara province and 181 kilometers under sea bed, said the agency.

Cloud Lightning

Rainstorms, lightning kill 48 in south, central China

Heavy rainstorms along with lightning and hail since last week have hit many parts of China, killing nearly 50 people, destroying farmland and sweeping away houses.

On Monday afternoon, lightning killed five people building a tomb in Zhejiang. Altogether 48 people have died and 12 are missing after a week of heavy rains and thunderstorms that swept up the Yangtze River valley and across southern China.


Moderate earthquake shakes N. California coast

A moderate earthquake shook the Northern California coast up to the Oregon border Sunday night, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck along the Pacific Ocean floor at 7:32 p.m. about 41 miles northwest of Eureka, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Cloud Lightning

Update: 9 more Georgia Counties in "Extreme Drought"

The state climatologist says Georgia is in for some scorching days in July and August unless the state gets some rainfall.

Climatologist David Stooksbury said yesterday that 9 more counties are in "extreme drought;" upping the total to 104 counties.

There's little hope that the drought will be snapped without tropical storms in July and August.

Red Flag

Severe drought heightening fire danger across US West

With parts of California emerging from one of the driest winters in more than a century, the fire devouring Lake Tahoe's south shore might be a harbinger of what's in store for the western United States during the long, hot summer ahead, experts warned Tuesday.

Rainfall in Southern California has dwindled to near record lows this year, while the little moisture Northern California received already is giving way to dry forests and brittle, golden grasses.

Red Flag

Wildfire Jumps Fireline in Lake Tahoe

©AP Photo/Ben Margot
Firefighters on Highway 89 discuss how best to deal with the Angora fire after it jumped firelines

MEYERS, Calif. - Firefighters trying to tame a raging wildfire that has destroyed some 200 homes near Lake Tahoe Tuesday suffered a setback when the blaze jumped a fireline, forcing a new round of evacuations, authorities said.

Cloud Lightning

Flash Flood Stalls Motorists, Soaks Chicago

The commute home was a nightmare on Tuesday, as a heavy downpour left flash flooding in its way, closing viaducts, expressway off-ramps and leaving some streets under water.

©Amaris Granado

Showers and thunderstorms developed along a cold front and as it reached 90-degree temperatures in the city, and the storms spurred a flash flood throughout some parts of the Chicago area.


Shark Bite Leads to Reproduction Mystery

Veterinarian Bob George sliced open the dead shark and saw the outline of a fish. No surprise there, since sharks digest their food slowly.

Then George realized he wasn't looking at the stomach of the blacktip reef shark, but at her uterus. In it was a perfectly formed, 10-inch-long shark pup that was almost ready to be born.

George was dumbfounded.

He had been examining the shark, Tidbit, to figure out why she reacted badly to routine sedatives during a physical and died, hours after biting an aquarium curator on the shin. Now there was a bigger mystery: How did Tidbit get pregnant?

"We must have had hanky panky" in the shark tank, he thought.