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Sun, 25 Feb 2018
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Cloud Lightning

Massive explosion caused by lightning strike shakes Sunshine Coast, Australia

LIGHTNING
A massive explosion caused by lightning hitting powerlines on the Sunshine Coast has been caught on dashcam.

Higgins Storm Chasing shared the video overnight.

"Watch this absolutely CRAZY explosion from a lightning strike hitting power lines during the height of our storm chase!" the post reads.

"It was so blinding it took us a while to work out what had actually happened.

Cloud Lightning

West coast of South Island, New Zealand hit by 9000 lightning strikes

The West Coast has been hit by around 9,00o lightning strikes
© MetService
The West Coast has been hit by around 9,000 lightning strikes
The West Coast had around 9000 lightning strikes as a thunderstorm and heavy rain worked its way up the South Island.

Rain earlier in the day caused a number of slips on State Highway 6, including between Whataroa and Haast, Westport and Greymouth, and at Barrytown, but the road is now open.

MetService forecaster Cameron Coutts said most of the lightning strikes were out to sea.

He said the the heavy rain warning for Buller was lifted at 5pm, but the West Coast was in for more heavy rain on Sunday, particularly around Fiordland.

The downpours came ahead of warnings of gales and heavy rain from Cyclone Gita, expected to make its way to New Zealand early next week.

Wolf

'Angry' otters attempted to drown dog in Victoria, British Columbia

Three otters tried to drown this golden retriever cross.

Three otters tried to drown this golden retriever cross.
A Victoria veterinarian issued a warning to dog owners after her golden retriever was said to have been pulled under water and bitten by otters.

In a Facebook post, Claudia Campbell described how an apparently playful aquatic encounter between "Goldie" and a trio of otters took an unexpected turn.

"Goldie spotted an otter swimming not too far away. Like any dog, Goldie decided to swim towards to the otter to investigate," she wrote on Wednesday. "The three otters proceeded to grab Goldie, and pull her under the water."

Campbell said the attack occurred while the 27 kilogram dog was in the care of a dog walker at a local beach. She said the dog walker ran into the ocean to wrestle Goldie away from the otters.

"The otters had Goldie almost fully submerged with only her nose showing above water. If the dog walker had not been able to intervene, this may have had an awful ending," Campbell wrote. "They had a solid hold on her."


Snowflake Cold

Scientists claim bitter cold in Southeast US part of mysterious 'hole' in global warming

ice covered car ice age
Frigid iguanas in Florida. Snowball fights on North Carolina's beaches. Recent winters have delivered a bitter chill to the Southeast, reinforcing attitudes among some that global warming is a fraud.

But according to a scientific study published this month, the Southeast's colder winter weather is part of an isolated trend, linked to a more wavy pattern in the jet stream that crosses North America. That dipping jet stream allows artic air to plunge into the Southeast. Scientists call this colder weather a "hole" in overall global warming, or a "warming hole."

"What we are looking at is an anomaly," said Jonathan M. Winter, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and the principle investigator in the study. "The Southeast is the exception to the rule."

Comment: Breitbart reports an alternative view to this 'hole in global warming' theory:
The evidence suggests that winters across large parts of the U.S. have been getting colder. In other words, the recent, sometimes record-breakingly cold weather many Americans have been experiencing over winter is not anomalous but part of a cooling trend.

Clearly these facts don't fit well with the "global warming" narrative. So - as we reported earlier this year here - the alarmists and their amen corner in the liberal media have gone into full denial mode, either by claiming that extreme cold weather is simply another sign of global warming or that it's anomalous and therefore not characteristic of climate trends. Or even, in the case of NOAA, actually fiddling with the raw temperature data and adjusting the charts so as to hide the cooling altogether.



Seismograph

Earthquake swarm hits Canary Islands' La Palma

The Canary Islands' La Palma earthquake swarn
© IGN
The Canary Islands' La Palma has been hit by a flurry of earthquakes
THE Canary Island of La Palma has been hit by another flurry of earthquakes once again prompting fears the deadly Cumbre Vieja could erupt - just four months after scientists recorded a swarm of more than 200 tremors.

The Spanish archipelago was struck by up to 70 small quakes, recorded between Monday and Wednesday, reaching between magnitude 1.5 and 2.6 on the Richter scale.

Andgovernment officials announced more quakes were felt between 3am and 6.30am this morning at magnitudes of between 2.1 and 1.5.

Most of them were located in the area of Los Canarios, in Fuencaliente, and in El Pueblo, Villa de Mazo, although they have also been registered in El Paso and Tazacorte.

The Canary Government has now stepped in and called for an urgent meeting to take place on Friday to discuss why the quakes are happening again and what might happen in the future.

The seismic activity is the latest to hit the Spanish islands, popular with British holidaymakers, after it was struck by a flurry of earthquakes in October last year.

Comment: Quakes shake Pacific plate as Ring of Fire activity returns


Question

What knocked over 100 giant trees in Washington's Olympic National Park?

Downed trees in Olympic National Park
© Bill Bacchus, Olympic National Park
Splintered old growth trees block the July Creek Trail along Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park after being toppled by a mysterious windstorm in the early hours of Jan. 27, 2018.
It came in the night, snapping trees like chopsticks.

During the early hours of Jan. 27 more than 100 gigantic old growth trees fell on the north shore of Lake Quinault.

The resulting thud at about 1:30 a.m. was strong enough to register as a small earthquake, according to a seismic monitor at Quinault.

Fallen trees, their splintered trunks left pointing in the air, blocked North Shore Road and damaged utility lines along a 1,000-foot stretch. The sides of the blowdown area were about one half-mile long.

Officials from Olympic National Park knew some sort of wind event was the culprit but nearby weather stations reported only light breezes that night. Radar didn't show any storms.

University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass investigated the mystery like, in his words, Sherlock Holmes.

The fallen trees in the affected area near July Creek were all facing south. The wind had to come from the north.

"The strong winds could not have been the result of microburst associated with a thunderstorm or strong convection," Mass wrote on his weather blog. "Weather radar showed no such feature and the lightning detection network had no strikes in the region."

Theories abounded on the park's Facebook page: Experimental military equipment, tornado, Sasquatch.

Comment: Olympic National Park's unsolved mystery: What caused over 100 trees to fall down in the middle of the night?


Seismograph

7.2 magnitude quake strikes Mexico near Pacific coast

mexico earthquake February 2018
© USGS
A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has rocked southern and central Mexico. The tremors reportedly shook buildings across the country's capital.

The quake hit the southwestern Mexican state of Oaxaca, United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports. Situated closest to the epicenter is the municipality of Pinotepa de Don Luis, with a population of some 6,700. Tremors were felt as far as Mexico city, with locals posting videos of shaking trees and buildings to social media. Alarms went off across the capital and thousands of people flooded into the streets.

Comment: Quakes shake Pacific plate as Ring of Fire activity returns



UPDATE: Feb 17th - additional reporting:
Magnitude-7.2 earthquake slams south, central Mexico

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook south and central Mexico Friday, causing people to flee swaying buildings and office towers in the country's capital, where residents were still jittery after a deadly quake five months ago.

Crowds gathered on Mexico City's central Reforma Avenue as well as on streets in Oaxaca state's capital, nearer the quake's epicenter, which was in a rural area close to Mexico's Pacific coast and the border with Guerrero state. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

"It was awful," said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City's trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside. "It started to shake; the cars were going here and there. What do I do?"

She said she was still scared thinking of the Sept. 19 earthquake that caused 228 deaths in the capital and 141 more in nearby states. Many buildings in Mexico City are still damaged from that quake.


Mexican Civil Protection chief Luis Felipe Puente tweeted that there were no immediate reports of damages from the quake. The Oaxaca state government said via Twitter that only material damages were reported near Pinotepa and Santiago Jamiltepec, but that shelters were opened for those fleeing damaged homes.

The Mexico City Red Cross said via Twitter that the facade of a building collapsed in Mexico City's Condesa neighborhood, which was hit hard on Sept. 19. A video showed people walking through a dust cloud. But reporters at the scene later found no evidence of a collapse at the location given.

About an hour after the quake, a magnitude 5.8 aftershock also centered in Oaxaca caused tall buildings in Mexico City to briefly sway again.

USGS seismologist Paul Earle said Friday's earthquake appeared to be a separate temblor, rather than an aftershock of a Sept. 7 earthquake also centered in Oaxaca, which registered a magnitude of 8.2. The Sept. 19 earthquake struck closer to Mexico City.


The Sept. 7 quake killed nearly 100 people in Oaxaca and neighboring Chiapas, but was centered about 273 miles (440 kilometers) southwest of Friday's earthquake, Earle said.

In Mexico's capital, frightened residents flooded into the streets in Condesa, including one unidentified woman wrapped in just a towel, but there were no immediate signs of damage.

"I'm scared," said Rojas Huerta, recalling five months ago when buildings fell as she ran barefoot into the street. "The house is old."
Also See: Earthquake swarm hits Canary Islands' La Palma


Wolf

Border collies run like the wind to restore new life to Chilean forest

Border collies
© Francisca Torres
Border collies Olivia, Summer and Das in the woods on a non-working day.
The worst wildfire season in Chile's history ravaged more than 1.4 million acres early in 2017, destroying nearly 1,500 homes and killing at least 11 people. More than a dozen countries sent fire-fighting specialists to help battle the dozens of destructive blazes. When the fires were finally extinguished, the landscape was a charred wasteland.

A few months later, a unique team was brought in to help restore the damaged ecosystem. They have four legs and a penchant for careening at high speeds through the forest.

Border collies Das, Summer and Olivia were outfitted with special backpacks brimming with seeds. Then they were sent on a mission, let loose to race through the ruined forests. As they bounded and darted, their packs streamed a trickle of seeds. The hope is that these seeds will take root and sprout, bringing the forest slowly back to life one tree at a time.

The job is a serious one, but for the dogs, it's an excuse to have fun, says their owner, Francisca Torres.

Comment: "Border collies are supersmart!" This is a great example of a very smart dog owner giving her working dogs an important task in helping to restore the damaged ecosystem.


Wolf

Multiple cities in southern Ontario, Canada are being invaded by wild coyotes

Coyotes
© @Josefpittner | Dreamstime.com
Coyotes
Coyotes are commonly found in parks and ravines throughout the Greater Toronto Area, but recently have recently been invading urban areas in southern Ontario with greater frequency.

Several isolated incidents with coyotes have been reported in the following cities, all within the first two months of 2018:

Collingwood

A Collingwood family reported wild attack on their dog by what they believe was a pack of coyotes. The incident occurred right in their backyard on Jan. 23.

"She got out and I ran to grab her and call her back in and she had headed to the backyard and that's when I heard these noises," Kristina, the mother, said. "I took her into the vet and they saw fang marks. She had to have surgery, there is a drainage tube sticking out."

Apparently, this wasn't the first coyote sighting in the area — according to a community-formed Facebook group, a pack of three tried to attack another neighbourhood dog on Jan. 15 and 20.

Arrow Down

Six sinkholes open in The Villages, Florida

Sinkholes in The Villages, FL
© Austin L. Miller/Star-Banner
Two homes affected by the sinkholes have been evacuated. Two other homes have been evacuated as a safety precaution.

A south Marion County woman was surprised early Thursday morning by sinkholes opening up near her home.

The house is at 17092 SE 79th McLawren Terrace in The Villages, Emergency Management Director Preston Bowlin said.

That home and a neighboring one affected by the sinkholes were condemned, he said. Two other homes have been evacuated as a safety precaution. Seven people have been displaced.

Bowlin said there were six sinkholes.