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Fri, 07 Oct 2022
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Earth Changes

Snowflake Cold

Higher reaches of Uttarakhand, India receive heavy snowfall

Darma Valley
Darma Valley
Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand) : The last outpost near the China border in the Darma Valley of Uttarakhand received the third snowfall of this season. As there has been more than one foot of snow here, the cold has increased in 14 villages of Darma valley and seven villages of Vyas valley in the high Himalayan region.


Hurricane Orlene strikes Mexico's Pacific coast with 80mph winds

Hurricane Orlene has made landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast near the tourist town of Mazatlán, with winds of more than 80mph (130km/h).

Electrical cables swayed and sent off showers of sparks in the town of El Rosario, about 40 miles (65km) south of Mazatlán, close to where the hurricane hit.

Orlene lost some strength after roaring over the Islas Marías, a former prison colony being developed as a tourist draw. The main island is sparsely populated, mainly by government employees, and most buildings there are made of brick or concrete.

The hurricane's winds slipped back to 85mph as it hit land about 45 miles (75km) south-east of Mazatlán on Monday morning, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain swells rivers, worsening floods in much of Thailand

Flooding submerges central Chiang Mai

Flooding submerges central Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Heavy rain in northern, northeastern and central Thailand worsened severe flooding in many parts of the country on Monday, as authorities ordered the release of water into already overflowing rivers from dams that were filled to capacity.

Many areas were already flooded from seasonal monsoon rains when the remnants of Tropical Storm Noru, which earlier tore through the Philippines and Vietnam, swept through parts of the country last week.

Among the areas hit by flooding were Chiang Mai, a large city and tourist center in the north, and Sukhothai, an ancient capital and archaeological site that draws many visitors.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported that floods had impacted at least 45,000 households in 35 provinces.


Signs and Portents: Rare two-headed turtle hatches in Odisha, India

A rare two-headed turtle has hatched at the reptile park of Nandankanan Zoological Park, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, reports said on Tuesday.

"One of the two hatchlings born to a turtle, belonging to the rare red-eared slider species, on Monday turned out to be two-headed," said zoo deputy director Sanjeet Kumar.

He further said it could be a case of genetic disorder and needs to be studied by experts.

This is perhaps the first instance of a turtle with two heads being born in Nandankanan. Curators and veterinarians of the zoo are consulting the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and other experts. It has been kept in a container at the reptile park and zoo officials are trying to provide a suitable environment for the young one, sources said.

The red-eared slider turtle is an attractive animal because of its tiny size and appealing colour.

Eye 2

Signs and Portents: Two-headed snake found in Denmark

What did Hercules do again?
© Jonas Søe/Naturcenter Amager Facebook page
What did Hercules do again?
A visitor to Kalvebod Fælled in Amager was surprised the other day to come across a snake crossing the road in front of him. And even more shocking, the snake had two heads!

This is the second time in Danish history that a two-headed snake has been documented in the wild.

The first sighting was in Odsherred, which is also in Zealand.

A rare phenomenon

Naturstyrelsen guide Jes Aagaard confessed to TV2 that the only thing he can say with certainty is how big the snake it. He could not confirm how it feeds, how it hunts or which head is dominant.

He believes the extra head formed from a group of cells that were somehow misdirected.

"I can't say what the frequency is, but it's definitely rare. I would call it a small sensation," added Aagaard.

Eye 2

Signs and Portents: Nebraskan man finds rare two-headed snake

The unusual reptile (pictured) was found by
The unusual reptile (pictured) was found by Nebraska resident Joshua Marshall, 45.
A Nebraskan resident was startled to find a bizarre creature while clearing logs in a fire pit outside of his girlfriend's home.

The unusual reptile was found in the city of Clay Center by Joshua Marshall, 45, who said: "I was clearing brush in a fire pit area. I went to move a log and it was underneath. My first reaction was that I thought it was two snakes. Then, when it couldn't decide which way to go, I realised it was one snake with two heads. The snake looked perfectly normal beyond the two heads. I have no idea how the mutation occurred."

Mr Marshall collected the serpent — which was a species of garter snake, native to the area — and placed it in a jar in order to show it to an expert.

Ice Cube

Climate bombshell: Greenland ice sheet recovers as scientists say earlier loss was due to natural warming not CO2 emissions

greenland ice sheet
A popular scare story running in the media is that the Greenland ice sheet is about to slip its moorings under ferocious and unprecedented Arctic heat and arrive in the reader's front room any day now (I exaggerate, but not much). Meanwhile back in the scientific world, scientists are scrambling to understand what natural causes lie behind the sudden slow-down in Greenland's summer warming and ice loss dating back to 2010. The recovery of Arctic summer sea ice has been spectacular of late, with the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center reporting that this year's September minimum was 1.28 million square kilometres higher than the 2012 low point of 3.39 million square kilometres.

Three Japanese climatologists have recently published a paper noting that "frequent occurrence of central Pacific El Niño events has played a key role in the [abrupt] slow-down of Greenland warming and possibly Arctic sea ice loss". Of course such findings play havoc with the simplistic 'settled' science notion that carbon dioxide produced by humans burning fossil fuel is the main, if not only, driver of global temperature warming or cooling - a notion that leads many green activists to claim that the climate will stop changing if society signs on to a 'Net Zero' CO2 emissions agenda.

Comment: See also:


Signs and Portents: Rare, two-headed turtle found alive in Thailand

Rarer than a four-leaf clover, a turtle watch volunteer in Thailand found a two-headed hatchling. Even more unusual, they were still alive.

"We encounter this very rarely. This is my first time encountering a two-headed turtle that is still alive," said a member of Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, according to Pen News (who posted video, below). Since 2016, the group has come across only a few double-headed hatchlings out of 88,719 eggs.

Each head reacts independently to outside stimuli, and so far, the right head is the more dominant sibling. The volunteers sent the turtles to a nearby Turtle Conservation group.


Woman in 60s attacked and killed by dogs in Liverpool, UK

dog attack
A woman in her 60s has died after being attacked by dogs at a property in central Liverpool.

Merseyside police said North West ambulance service paramedics reported the attack at St Brigids Crescent in Kirkdale at about 4.25pm on Monday. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and her relatives have been told.

Police have launched an investigation and a cordon is in place at the scene. Det Insp Gavin Mulcahy appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

He said: "We understand the shock this incident will cause in the local community and beyond.

"Our officers are at the scene carrying out further inquiries, so if you have any information please let us know."


Hurricane Ian knocks out power to 2 million on destructive path across Florida - at least 101 dead (UPDATED)

A flooded street in Fort Myers, Florida
A flooded street in Fort Myers, Florida
Ian was expected to dump 12 to 18 inches of rain on much of central and northeast Florida, with some locations being hit with as much as 2 feet of rain.

Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday, lashing the region with torrential rain and winds of 150 mph and knocking out power to more than 2 million homes and businesses.

The "catastrophic" system, one of the most powerful hurricanes to strike the U.S. in decades, came ashore near Cayo Costa, just west of Fort Myers, around 3 p.m. after strengthening to a powerful Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.

Hours after landfall, top sustained winds had dropped to 105 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane. Still, storm surges as high as 6 feet were expected on the opposite side of the state, in northeast Florida.

"Our streets are pretty much underwater," said Mike McNees, the city manager on Marco Island. "The streets, at this point, are indistinguishable from the canals."

Comment: Update September 30

CNN reports:
Hurricane Ian starts lashing South Carolina after leaving at least 21 reported dead and millions without power across Florida

Damaged homes and debris are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, FL.
© Wilfredo Lee/AP
Damaged homes and debris are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, FL.
As much of Florida takes stock Friday of apocalyptic damage - with searchers still checking for people in need and millions without power - deadly Hurricane Ian has begun lashing South Carolina, where an expected afternoon landfall threatens more lethal flooding and enough force to alter the coastal landscape.

With at least 21 deaths reported in Florida, Ian restrengthened to a Category 1 storm in the Atlantic and was barreling toward South Carolina with sustained core winds of 85 mph as of 8 a.m. ET Friday. Its center was due to move onto land between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, forecasters said, with winds up to 73 mph already hitting much of the Carolinas' coast and life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions expected within hours.

"This is a dangerous storm that will bring high winds and a lot of water," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted. "Be smart, make good decisions, check on your loved ones, and stay safe."

Meanwhile, Florida confronts the dizzying destruction Ian wrought through much of the peninsula Wednesday and Thursday after it smashed into the southwest coast as a Category 4 storm and plowed through central and northeastern areas. Homes on the coast were washed out to sea, buildings were smashed throughout the state, and floodwater ruined homes and businesses and trapped residents, even inland in places like the Orlando area.

Hundreds of rescues have taken place by land, air and sea, with residents stuck in homes or stranded on rooftops, and searchers have made many wellness checks, especially in the Fort Myers and Naples areas, where feet of storm surge inundated streets and homes.

And now, the storm's aftermath poses new, deadly dangers of its own. Some standing water is electrified, officials warned, while maneuvering through debris-strewn buildings and streets - many without working traffic signals - risks injury. Lack of air conditioning can lead to heat illness, and improper generator use can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

In North Port between Fort Myers and Sarasota, Rosanna Walker stood Thursday in the flood-damaged home where she rode out the storm. Part of her drywall ceiling was hanging down.

"And all of a sudden, the water was coming in through the doors - the top, the bottom, the windows over here," she told CNN's John Berman. "It's all in my closets; I've got to empty out my closets."

"Everything got ruined."
Update October 1

MSNBC reports:
At least 77 killed by Hurricane Ian

Authorities say the death toll from Hurricane Ian has risen to 77 people and that number is expected to grow as rescue crews make their way through the damage. NBC News' Liz McLaughlin has the latest on the recovery effort from Florida.

Update October 3

CNN reports:
Death toll from Hurricane Ian surpasses 100 as the search for survivors continues in Florida

The number of people killed in Florida by Hurricane Ian rose to at least 101 on Monday, days after the storm made landfall at Category 4 strength, decimating coastal towns and leaving rescue crews searching for survivors while communities face the daunting task of rebuilding.

At least 54 people died in Lee County alone, Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Monday - up from the county's previously announced death toll of 42 - and officials there are facing questions about whether evacuation orders should have been issued earlier. Twenty-four deaths were recorded in Charlotte County - up from 12.

Hurricane Ian also contributed to the deaths of eight people in Collier County, five in Volusia County, three in Sarasota County, two in Manatee County and one each in Lake, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Polk counties, officials said. Four other people died in storm-related incidents as Ian churned into North Carolina.

More than 1,600 people have been rescued from Hurricane Ian's path in parts of southwest and central Florida since last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis' office said Sunday.

Now, as blue skies return, Floridians who took shelter while the hurricane raged have emerged - many of them still without power or clean drinking water - to find their communities unrecognizable.

More than 491,000 homes, businesses and other customers in Florida still did not have power as of Monday night, according to PowerOutage.us. In Fort Myers Beach, where search crews are going through the rubble one house at a time, power may not be restored for 30 days due its electrical infrastructure being destroyed, Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais said.

The National Guard will be flying power crews to Sanibel and Pine islands to assess the damage and start working on restoring power, DeSantis said.

Many residents are without clean tap water, with well over 100 boil-water advisories in places around the state, according to Florida Health Department data.