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Fri, 21 Oct 2016
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Earth Changes


Powerful storms set to batter northwestern US

© AccuWeather
At least three potent storms will blast the northwestern United States from the latter part of this week to the early part of next week.

The storms could be an early sign of a La Niña-like pattern for the winter ahead. La Niña is a pattern noted by a zone of cooler-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Depending on the strength and extent of this cool puddle, weather patterns across much of the globe can be affected.

"The series of storms will bring heavy rain, high country snow and high winds to portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, northern California and western Montana, as well as neighboring British Columbia into next week," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

The storms will bring winds strong enough to down trees, trigger power outages and perhaps cause minor property damage.

The first storm on Thursday into Friday will bring gusts between 40 and 80 mph on the coasts from northernmost California to Oregon and Washington on Thursday.

Stronger storms with the potential for more powerful winds will follow into next week.

From Saturday to Sunday, the second storm may contain moisture and some of the remnant circulation from Typhoon Songda, currently in the western Pacific.

While the system this weekend may be non-tropical in nature by the time it reaches the Northwest, it could hit with the force and some impact of a hurricane. Gusts in some coastal areas of Oregon and Washington could range between 75 and 100 mph.


'Extremely dangerous' Category 4 Hurricane Nicole to pummel Bermuda

© NOAA/Handout via REUTERS
Hurricane Nicole is seen in the Atlantic Ocean in an image from NOAA's GOES-East satellite taken at 1:15pm ET (17:45 GMT) October 11, 2016.
The British territory of Bermuda hunkered down overnight as Hurricane Nicole rapidly strengthened into a major Category 4 storm and took aim at the tiny island in the northern Atlantic Ocean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami called Nicole an "extremely dangerous" storm and urged islanders to rush preparations for its powerful rain and winds. It said Nicole should pass near or over Bermuda on Thursday. The storm was located about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda late Wednesday night. It had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph) and was moving north-northeast at 102 mph (19 kph).

Rains were already hitting Bermuda and authorities on Wednesday ordered schools and government offices closed, and asked people to remain indoors.

"I believe we are generally ready for it," Premier Michael Dunkley said. "Now we just have to hope and pray for the best."

Hundreds of people had rushed to shops and gas stations for last-minute preparations as rain and wind began to batter Bermuda, which has sturdy infrastructure and is accustomed to storms.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning has killed 100 in Cambodia in 2016 so far; nearly 100 cattle deaths in addition

One hundred people were killed and 101 were injured by lightning from January through the first week in October, according to a report by the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM).

The report said lightning killed 100 people, including 20 women, and injured 101 during the more than nine-month period.

It added that most lightning cases happened in Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap and Kratie provinces. In addition to the human casualties, lighting killed nearly 100 head of cattle.

NCDM spokesman Keo Vy told Khmer Times late last month that lighting cases had increased over the same period last year when more than 60 were killed and 58 were injured.


Kilauea Volcano's lava lake rises 54 feet to near crater rim in Hawaii

© USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
An image from the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater on Tuesday.
Kilauea Volcano's summit lava lake rose to within 54 feet of the crater rim Tuesday under the watchful eyes of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The lake level is reminiscent of spring 2015, when the lake eventually overflowed onto the floor of Halema'uma'u Crater, covering 28 acres in fresh lava.

"We haven't had an overflow since then," said HVO Scientist in Charge Tina Neal.

If there's a big rockfall from the side of the crater into the lake, and if winds happen to be coming from the south at that time, some ash could fall on visitors. But that shouldn't be terribly troubling, except to those with significant pre-existing respiratory problems, Neal said.

Why is this happening?

It's unclear why the lake is rising so much, Neal said.

"Over the long-term history of the lake, it's unusual — the only other time it got this high, it overflowed," she said.

What will happen at Pu'u 'O'o?

"If the lake is high, typically we've seen a variety of behaviors down at Pu'u 'O'o," Neal said.

© USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
This photo captured from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the end of April 2015 shows the lava lake in the completely filled Overlook crater atop Kilauea Volcano. The lava lake is rising again.


Bear attacks hunter near Ronan, Montana

A pheasant hunter in the Ninepipe Reservoir area south of Ronan was injured after encountering a bear with two cubs Tuesday afternoon.

According to Germaine White, Information and Education Specialist with Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the bear made contact with the hunter but the extent of the hunter's injuries are unknown at this time.

"It was a surprise encounter at close range, under dense cover," White told the Inter Lake.

The hunter was with two other people at the time of the incident, White said. The species of bear is unknown.

Tribal Wildlife Bear Biologists, Tribal Conservation Officers and a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks conservation officer responded to the scene at approximately 2:15 p.m. The attack reportedly happened off Olsen Road south of Ninepipe Reservoir on the west side of Highway 93.

Stacy Courville, Tribal Bear Biologist, says the encounter is under investigation. Courville reminds hunters that the entire Mission Valley is bear habitat, home to both black and grizzly bears.


Shark attack on surfer off Ballina, Australia; 6th attack for the area in 21 months

All beaches in Ballina on the New South Wales north coast are closed after a man was bitten by a shark while surfing, the sixth attack in 21 months in the area.

The attack has caused a backdown from the premier, Mike Baird, who has resisted the idea of shark nets on north coast beaches has now announced he will lobby for them to be installed.

The 25-year-old man was bitten at Sharpes beach at Ballina on Wednesday morning while surfing with two mates, after he felt a bump on his board and fell into the water.

He suffered a small wound to his lower right leg and went to Ballina hospital, police said.


Earthquake of magnitude 5.8 strikes off Papua New Guinea

© Reuters
An earthquake of magnitude 5.8 struck 182 km (113 miles) southeast of Rabaul in the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea, on Wednesday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

It was initially reported as magnitude of 5.9.

There was no immediate tsunami warning, or reports of damage or casualties from the quake, which struck at a depth of 57 km (35 miles).

Source: Reuters


Biologists monitoring mass fish kill in Pointe aux Chenes, Louisiana; second recent incident for the area

© Aaron LaRose
Aaron LaRose found a whole lot of dead fish while trying his luck on Poine aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area this weekend.
Aaron LaRose had his fishing trip ruined Sunday when he ran across a considerable fish kill in the coastal marshes of Terrebonne Parish. The kill, which was on Pointe aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area, included baitfish, rough fish and some game fish, LaRose said.

"I was amazed and saddened how many flounder were dead," he said.

The kill was centered north of Island Road within the boundary of the WMA, LaRose said.

Jason Adriance, a fisheries biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the agency became aware of the kill this weekend, and has been monitoring it.

Comment: Over the same weekend and a few miles to the south-west of the above location a similar event occurred: Thousands of dead fish found in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana


Thousands of dead fish found in Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana

© Chris Heller
What looks like a sandy beach is actually thousands of dead fish that collected Tuesday along the shore near Island Road in Isle de Jean Charles.
Thousands of dead fish have accumulated in the water alongside Island Road in Isle de Jean Charles, and officials suspect low dissolved oxygen levels are the cause.

Bourg resident Rita Chaisson said she noticed the fish Saturday afternoon when she and her family went to go fishing and crabbing.

"You couldn't even count them," she said. "They were about five feet wide from the bank. Redfish, flounder, speckled trout, catfish, some perch, drum, all kinds of fish."

Jason Adriance, finfish program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the fish kill was reported to the department and officials are monitoring the situation.

He believes an algal bloom, or a rapid increase or accumulation in the algae population, caused a drop in the water's oxygen level.


8 dolphins dead after stranding on shore in Boyd's Cove, Newfoundland

© Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Seven dolphins, including this one, died onshore in Boyd's Cove after possibly becoming disoriented by storm conditions during Hurricane Matthew.
Several dolphins are dead after being stranded on the shore in Boyd's Cove near Lewisporte.

A spokesperson from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said the white-sided dolphins may have been feeding on mackerel in the area and became disoriented by storm conditions.

Eight washed ashore. Local residents pushed some of the dolphins back into the water, but the mammals became stranded once again. By the time DFO arrived, seven were dead and one had survived. That surviving dolphin later died as well.
Our scientist Dr. Jack Lawson says the dolphins do not appear sick. They likely beached after becoming disoriented in storm conditions.

Wayne Ledwell of animal rescue group Whale Release and Strandings said it's difficult to know what caused the dolphins to strand.