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Tue, 28 Feb 2017
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Earth Changes

Cloud Precipitation

California storms see return of unusual lake phenomenon - bizarre overflow system back in use

© jamiller25 / Instagram
Lake Berryessa reservoir
Extremely heavy storms in California have raised a Napa County reservoir to its highest level in more than a decade, with huge rainfall forming an unusual overspill phenomenon that hasn't been witnessed in years.

Part of Napa County's Monticello Dam, , provides drinking water to the California cities of Vacaville, Vallejo and Fairfield.

Given its 1.6 million acre ft water capacity, the reservoir has been parched in recent times due to California's lengthy drought.

Bizarro Earth

Thick cloud of Saharan dust moving over SE Europe

Saharan dust over Europe on February 22, 2017.
A large amount of Saharan dust was swept up into a low pressure system over north Africa on February 21, 2017. Thick dust cloud has already reached Spain and Portugal and is now moving east, toward Italy, Malta and the Balkans. The event is expected to last into early next week.

Areas particularly affected will be the Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Islands, southern France, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, Malta, southwestern Balkans, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Some dust may be deposited from the air without rainfall, but a significantly larger amount will be deposited with rainfall over the central Mediterranean and the Balkans on Friday and Saturday, February 23 and 24.

Comment: Is there something much bigger happening on our planet?


Large sinkhole opens in Oahu, Hawaii neighborhood

© Hawaii News Now
A large sinkhole split open Saturday night in a Kaneohe neighborhood, injuring one woman.

Sean Ishol said he and his wife were leaving their home around 6 p.m., when the grass alongside their driveway caved in. "My wife went to go get in her side of the car and she fell through," said Ishol.

Ishol canceled plans and took her straight to the hospital. Doctors recommended she will probably need to go see an orthopedic specialist to get an MRI done and make sure there's no torn ligaments," he said.

Fortunately no bones were broken, but extra medical expenses are an added worry for the couple who is in the process of moving to the mainland. Doctors also told his wife she will need to wear a leg brace.


Photos show the huge amounts of snow piled up around Tahoe, Nevada

© Dan Collins
Top of Mt. Rose Highway on Feb. 19, 2017
The snow keeps piling up in the Sierra Nevada.

In the first three weeks of January alone, the Lake Tahoe area received nearly a full winter's worth of snow, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Houses were buried, cars blanketed and driveways covered.

And then came February, and the Sierra Nevada was slammed yet again with moisture-packed storms fueled by atmospheric rivers. "We usually see three or four atmospheric rivers in a season," said Scott McGuire, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Reno. "We've already had 10. We've had so much snow to the point where it's getting hard to measure."


Dolphin 'massacre' claim as 100 wash up over 8 weeks in Cornwall, UK

Campaigner Lindy Hingley with a dead dolphin
A marine wildlife expert from Brixham has described the killing of dolphins in South West waters as a 'massacre' - with over 100 found dead in just eight weeks.

A total of 106 dolphins and porpoises have washed up on Cornwall's beaches and in the nets of fishing boats in just eight weeks, according to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The toll for the whole of last year was 205 while in the two previous years the numbers had been under 100.

Large trawlers are being blamed for the alarming increase - with French boats said to be the worst offenders as they work in pairs.

It is understood they are competing with dolphins for fish such as mackerel, herring, bass and sprats and experts say they are wiping out entire family groups.


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.