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Tue, 18 Feb 2020
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Oil Plus Floods Turn Kansas Town Slimy

The flood engulfing homes to the rooftops carried an extra curse Tuesday as a slick of 42,000 gallons of thick crude oil floated downstream with the mud and debris, coating everything it touched with a slimy, smelly layer of goo.

"My question is how are they going to get all that oil out of the environment," said Mary Burge, a heart surgery patient who had to breathe from a portable oxygen tank because the petroleum odor Monday was so strong it could be detected by the crews of helicopters passing overhead.

A malfunction allowed the oil to spill from the Coffeyville Resources refinery on Sunday, while the plant was shutting down in advance of the flood heading toward it on the Verdigris River.

Cleanup of the toxic sludge will complicate long-term flood recovery efforts for Coffeyville.

Attention

US wildfire 'could burn all summer'

A wildfire in the US which has killed three people and charred more than 62 square miles could burn all summer even as hundreds of firefighters continue to fight it.

More than 700 firefighters have joined the battle with more expected to arrive to help protect homes and control the blaze.

The fire was 20 per cent contained, and people evacuated in a string of small communities in Utah were told they could return, a spokeswoman for the firefighters said.

Since Friday, when three people were killed, the fire has burned nearly 40,000 acres - about one-third in the Ashley National Forest and the rest on private and public land and the Uintah and Ouray Indian reservations.

Bulb

Calif. power grid avoids disruption, problems linger

California's electric grid operator expected to have sufficient electricity on Tuesday afternoon as increasing generation and conservation efforts averted the potential for a blackout, the agency said.

A number of generators were able to restart power plants that shut unexpectedly Tuesday morning while power consumption in the state fell below earlier forecasts even as 100-degree-plus temperatures boosted the need for air conditioning across the state and the entire western U.S.

NRG Energy Inc. was working to restart several units at its Encina power station that tripped about 5:30 a.m., said spokesman David Knox. "We expect to have all but one of the units that tripped off online later today and the last unit online by Thursday," Knox said. The Encina unit can produce 965 megawatts of power. In California, one megawatt can supply about 700 homes.

Bulb

Drought Alert! Communities nix fireworks on 4th

A laser light show will replace traditional July Fourth fireworks in Burbank, Calif. Woodstock, Ga., canceled its fireworks and plans to shoot them off on Halloween.

Dozens of communities in drought-stricken areas are scrapping public fireworks displays and cracking down on backyard pyrotechnics to reduce the risk of fires.

"From a fire standpoint and a safety standpoint, it was an easy call," Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini says. He recommended calling off fireworks at the Starlight Bowl because they're launched from a mountainside covered with vegetation that's "all dead."

It's the only time Burbank's fireworks have been canceled since they were first held at the amphitheater in 1994. "Ticket sales are pretty slow" for the night's events, says city recreation supervisor Cathryn Villalobos. "People are saying, 'If you're not having fireworks, we're not coming.' " Elsewhere:

Cloud Lightning

Wild South Australia weather: storm damage, flood warnings

Severe weather is leaving a trail of damage across South Australia.

The weather bureau has been forecasting destructive gusts up to 120 kph, as a low pressure system moves east.

Among the areas badly-affected is Coulta, north-west of Port Lincoln on southern Eyre Peninsula.

Residents say a 'mini tornado' appears to have struck.

Marc Kilmartin says he has never seen weather like it, not even when he lived in north Queensland and a cyclone was near.

Bizarro Earth

Tornado kills 14, injures 146 in eastern China

BEIJING - A tornado swept across eastern China, killing 14 people and injuring 146, state media reported on Wednesday, the latest casualties from bad weather that has devastated parts of the country this summer.

©Reuters

Bizarro Earth

Update: Global Warming Blamed for Vanishing Lake in Chile



©AP Photo/HO/Chile Navy
This picture taken from a Chilean navy shows large pieces of ice and some areas with water at the bottom of a lake in southern Chile that was discovered dried up late may.

SANTIAGO, Chile - Scientists on Tuesday blamed global warming for the disappearance of a glacial lake in remote southern Chile that faded away in just two months, leaving just a crater behind.

Cloud Lightning

Here comes summer: Freak hailstorm in South London

For a brief period this afternoon, parts of South London were deluged by a freak hailstorm. Readers have been sending in pictures.

©Anthony Beck, Fulham.

USA

Two earthquakes shake Monterey Bay area, California

Two earthquakes shook an area just west of the Monterey Bay early this morning, according to initial reports from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Both earthquakes had epicenters 5 miles southeast of Aromas, around 12 miles west of Hollister, according to the USGS.

The first quake was felt at 1:30 a.m. and measured at a magnitude of 2.2, while the second quake occurred at 4:12 a.m. and had a magnitude of 2.1.

Two other earthquakes occurred in the area Monday afternoon and measured at magnitudes of 3.0 and 4.3.

Better Earth

Global Warming Drying Up Ancient Arctic Ponds

Arctic ponds that have hosted diverse ecosystems for thousands of years are now disappearing because of global warming, according to a new study.

These ponds, which lie atop bedrock, freeze solid in the winter and then melt for a few months each summer, becoming hot spots of activity in the forbidding Arctic terrain.