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Sat, 25 Mar 2017
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Death toll in Peru climbs to 67 from El Nino rains, floods

© AP/Martin Mejia
Rescue workers pull a man to safety in Lima, Peru, Friday, March 17
The number of people killed in Peru following intense rains and mudslides wreaking havoc around the Andean nation climbed to 67 Friday, with thousands more displaced from destroyed homes and others waiting on rooftops for rescue. Across the country overflowing rivers caused by El Nino rains damaged 115,000 homes, collapsed 117 bridges and paralyzed countless roadways.

"We are confronting a serious climatic problem," President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said in a statement broadcast live Friday afternoon. "There hasn't been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998."

The highly unusual rains follow a series of storms that have struck especially hard along Peru's northern coast, with voracious waters inundating hospitals and cemeteries, and leaving some small villages entirely isolated. On Thursday, the National Police rescued eight people who had been trapped for three days in Cachipampa and removed the body of an 88-year-old man killed in the floods. In the highlands along the department of La Libertad, dramatic video showed crashing water inundating several buses and trucks, killing at least five people. Rescuers were searching Friday for survivors.


Additional images

Comment: Thousands affected by floods and landslides across Peru


Wolf

Man killed by a pack of 4 dogs in South Africa

Jacob Boy Cele (66) died after he was attacked by a pack of dogs in Bhobhoyi in the Nyenyezi area recently.

Police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid, said Mr Cele was bitten all over his body and later died in hospital.

An inquest docket was opened and the Lower South Coast SPCA was called by the police to collect four of the dogs for euthanisation.

However, Lt-Col Wiid said one dog was very aggressive and officials could not approach and catch it. "The assistance of the police was called and the dog was euthanised after consultion with the owner."

Seismograph

Shallow 5.4 earthquake shakes Bali, Indonesia

© BMKG
A map showing the epicenter of a 5.4 earthquake recorded off the south coast of Bali on March 17, 2017.
An earthquake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale reportedly shook South Bali on Friday morning, around 1:39 am.

Bali's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) recorded the quake's epicenter as 334 kilometers southwest of Denpasar, at a depth of 10 kilometers. Most people likely slept through the small shakes, but the quake was reportedly felt in the Denpasar area.

The earthquake was not flagged for tsunami potential and there have been no reports so far of major damage or victims following the earthquake.

Comment: Other shallow earthquakes (10 kilometre depth) recently reported were a 4.8-magnitude quake in western Sudan and a 4.2 near the island of Rhodes in Greece


Cloud Precipitation

Thousands affected by floods and landslides across Peru

© INDECI
After the floods in Ambar district, Lima Region.
Yet another period of heavy rain has caused major flooding and landslides in several areas of Peru over the last few days.

Floods and mudslides have affected parts of Lima Region, including the capital, where several rivers have overflowed.

Other parts of the country have also been affected, including the regions of Piura, La Libertad, Lambayeque and Callao.


Sadly the recent flooding is nothing new for many communities. The country has been experiencing periods of heavy rainfall since December 2016 and over 60 people have died as a result of flooding and landslides since then.

Local observers are calling the unusual climatic conditions "El Niño Costero" and are blaming the heavy rainfall on higher temperatures of the eastern Pacific Ocean waters. Further rainfall is forecast and authorities are bracing themselves for two more weeks of heavy rain, potential flooding and landslides.

Arrow Down

Russian sinkhole swallows man waiting at trolleybus stop (VIDEO)

© Yarnet Ltd / YouTube
A man in the Russian city of Yaroslavl sank into a huge hole in the road, while he was standing at the public transport stop.

Thursday morning did not start well for the 51-year-old man in Yaroslavl, 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow. The unsuspecting commuter had just come to the trolleybus stop, when the asphalt caved in right under his feet.

The accident was caught on CCTV cameras around 7:00am local time.

Comment: For more on the mysterious sinkhole, check out: Sinkholes: The groundbreaking truth


Question

Mysterious humpback whale swarms perplex scientists

© JEAN TRESFON
A "super-group" of humpback whales observed from an aircraft off the coast of Cape Peninsula, South Africa.
"Super-groups" of up to 200 humpback whales—a normally solitary species—are gathering off South Africa.

Why are all of these humpback whales all suddenly hanging out? No one really knows.

In a new study, scientists report spotting as many as 200 humpbacks at a time gathering off South Africa. That's bizarre for a species previously believed to be loners.

It's "unlike anything I have seen in working with humpback whales across the Southern Hemisphere," says study leader Ken Findlay, a marine biologist at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa.

Attention

Mass shellfish die-off at Waihi Beach, New Zealand

© George Novak
Thousands of dead shellfish washed ashore at Waihi Beach have shocked local residents, including Jeannette McCallum.
Most of the dead shellfish that washed ashore at Waihi Beach this week have now been removed.

Local residents were shocked when they encountered "millions" of dead shellfish washed ashore on the northern end of Waihi Beach on Tuesday.

Jeanette McCallum believed they were pipi and posted a video of the finding online, sparking thousands of views and hundreds of comments.

She said today that most of the shellfish had already been washed away now but they had begun to smell "horrible" while they were there.

"It's amazing how the ocean manages to clean itself," she said.


Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills one, injures two in Nepal

A young boy was killed and two girls seriously injured after they were struck by a lightning in Rugin-4 of Bajura district.

It has been learnt the lightning struck the house of Chandramal Karki killing his fifteen-year-old son Sher Karki, and injuring Chupkala, 18, and Junu. The girls have sustained burn injures in their bodies and have been taken to Kolti-based primary health post for treatment.

Deceased Sher Karki was a student at local Shaileshwori Secondary School.

Likewise, the two bullocks and a goat were killed and the house has been damaged.

Tornado2

Tornado forms at Brisbane Airport, Australia

© Matt Houston (via Facebook)
A tornado has reportedly touched down near Brisbane Airport in Queensland, Australia on March 17, 2017, during a severe weather outbreak. Although BOM said evidence suggests the twister was a landspout, Higgins Storm Chasing group claims the phenomenon was actually a tornado. Debris was observed, but there were no reports of injuries.

A small thunderstorm developed West of Algester, SSW of Brisbane City around 13:00 local time on Friday afternoon, Higgins Storm Chasing group wrote in their post. The cell developed and intensified quickly as it interacted with very warm temperatures (up to 36 °C / 96.8 °F) and high humidity (dew points between 17 and 22 °C / 62.6 and 71.6 °F).

"But it wasn't until the cell entered North-Eastern Brisbane and neared the Airport that it developed into a Supercell with a rotating updraft and base feature," they said. "The Supercell then attempted to spawn a funnel cloud near Brisbane City which lead to several people in the area videoing the phenomenon trying to unfold. As it neared Brisbane Airport, it interacted with a sea breeze front perfectly that for rotation to become tight enough that a tornado was able to develop."


Fire

Wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas burn nearly 1 million acres, killing 7 people

© REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Rancher Nancy Schwerzenbach walks with dogs through pasture burned by wildfires near Lipscomb, Texas, U.S., March 12, 2017.
Wildfires across the country had consumed more than 1 million acres by Tuesday night, taking at least 7 lives.

The Oklahoma Forestry Service told CNN the fires burned 400,000 acres, and prompted Gov. Mary Fallin to declare a state of emergency for 22 counties.

Officials in four other states said that 400,000 acres were destroyed in Kansas, 325,000 in the Texas Panhandle and 30,000 in Colorado — not to mention the 6,000 acres burning in the Florida swamps near Naples that resulted in mandatory evacuations.

Three ranchers trying to save their cattle died in a wildfire in Gray County, Texas, according to Sandi Martin, coordinator with Gray County Emergency Management.

The three were among five people killed by wildfires in the Texas Panhandle as fires continue to scorch swaths of the Southwest and Great Plains. The Gray County blaze scorched 100,000 acres, but has since been contained, Martin said. State fire marshals are working to determine the cause.