Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

California has driest 'rainy season' on record

Los Angeles suffered through the driest rainy season on record in 2007, marking the least amount of precipitation here in the 130 years rainfall has been measured, weather officials said Sunday.

There were just 8.15 centimeters (3.2 inches) of rain in Los Angeles between January 1 and June 30 -- barely a fifth of the annual average rainfall of 38.3 centimeters (15 inches). "This was the driest rain season ever in downtown Los Angeles and at many other locations in southwestern California," the National Weather Service said in a statement. Most California rains fall in the first half of the year, particularly between January and March. The National Weather Service began compiling precipitation statistics in 1877. Los Angeles residents saw very heavy rains from late 2005 into early 2006, but officials warned that water rationing is possible by next winter if drought conditions persist.


UK: Tornado hits Flintshire, 'once in 80 year event'

Flintshire is experiencing the kind of freak weather seen only once in a lifetime, including a spectacular tornado.

©Rick Matthews
A tornado over the Mostyn/Ffynnongroyw area at noon on July 8.

This photograph - taken by Leader photographer Rick Matthews from Hilbre Island - shows the tornado over the Mostyn/Ffynnongroyw area at noon yesterday (July 8).


2 billion Chinese mice overrun lake area

People living in communities surrounding a large shallow lake have been overrun by field mice after floodwaters drove the rodents out of islands on the lake, state media reported Monday.

Arrow Down

Australia: Climate change reduces Queensland's bat numbers

A central eastern Queensland mine has turned up bat fossils which show climate change has had a negative impact on the state's bat population.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) PhD student Sandrine Martinez is currently sifting through what is the largest and best record of the state's southern most bat population from the late Pleistocene Epoch (beginning two million years ago and ending approximately 10,000 years ago).

The fossil deposits were uncovered by mining operations at Mt Etna, near Rockhampton.

They contain a succession of bat remains ranging from the late Pleistocene Epoch to the present and span the transition from full tropical rainforest habitats to the more arid environment that currently characterises the Mt Etna region.

Ms Martinez will compare information obtained from fossil data to the bat communities that still occur in the Mt Etna caves.

"What I've found so far is an overall decrease in species richness - today the Mt Etna caves are inhabited by five species of bat (excluding fruit bats) while in the late Pleistocene there were at least eight," Ms Martinez said.

Light Sabers

Some 100 dead as floods hit China

At least 94 people have died and 25 have been reported missing as the result of flooding in seven Chinese provinces, the Xinhua news agency said Monday.

More than 16 million people live in the affected areas, and authorities have evacuated more than 500,000. The western provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan, Chongqing and Shaanxi were hit hardest.

Life Preserver

Tidal Waves Pound India's Kanyakumari Coastline

Violent tidal waves have been battering the coastlines of Kanyakumari district lately, killing four people and destroying more than 50 fishing boats, menacing coastal communities in the southern tip of India.

Cloud Lightning

Ice, floods, tornadoes: What's next for Kansas?

Every once in a while, Sharon Watson scans the Kansas skies, waiting for swarms of locusts or other biblical plagues.

Who could blame her?

"At this point, most of us here are expecting just about anything," said Watson, director of public affairs for Kansas Emergency Management. "We're all kind of wondering, 'What's next?' "


"Rock snot" algae found in Connecticut River, a cause for concern

WATERBURY, Vt. -- A species of invasive algae with an unusual nickname has been found in the northern stretches of the Connecticut River, the first time it's ever been spotted in the Northeast. Didymosphenia geminata, sometimes referred to as "rock snot," has been seen growing on rocks near Bloomfield, which concerns state biologists.

The algae can smother aquatic plants and destroy fish habitats.

Cloud Lightning

Flooding In South Japan Causes Mass Evacuations

Heavy rain continued to take its toll on southern Japan on Saturday, with a man drowning in a flooded rice paddy, and four others injured in flood-related accidents. Thousands had to evacuate their homes.

©AP Graphics Bank
People wade through flooded street, Misato, Japan.

By midday Saturday, a powerful weather front had dumped over 20 inches of rain on southern Japan since Wednesday, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Red Flag

South Dakota Fire Kills 1, Burns Homes

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. - One of dozens of fires across the West raced out of a canyon in South Dakota's Black Hills "with a vengeance" on Sunday, killing a homeowner and destroying 27 homes, authorities said.