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Tue, 19 Jan 2021
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Earth Changes


6.2-magnitude earthquake hits Kermadec Islands region

earthquake graph
© Phil McCarten / Reuters
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 jolted Kermadec Islands region at 06:20:32 GMT on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 26.12 km, was initially determined to be at 29.0707 degrees south latitude and 176.8993 degrees west longitude.


Heavy snowfall traps people in Asturias, Spain

A man tries to enter his vehicle, covered in snow in Pajares town in Asturias, northern Spain various parts of Spain were hit by heavy snowfall over the weekend.

A man tries to enter his vehicle, covered in snow in Pajares town in Asturias, northern Spain various parts of Spain were hit by heavy snowfall over the weekend.
Spanish civil guard and emergency services worked throughout the weekend to locate and rescue several people trapped after severe snowfall left people stranded in Leon, in the Spanish region of Asturias.

According to local media, an initial snowfall affected a road and a snow removal machine was called to the scene with a team of two workers, but then the two men themselves were caught in a second snowfall.

According to authorities one of the workers was retrieved dead, the other one is still missing.

Comment: With more heavy snowfall forecast for other parts of Spain very soon:
Spain set for big freeze: sub-zero temperatures and 'heaviest snowfall in years'

Much of Spain will experience sub-zero temperatures this week and some of the "heaviest snowfall in recent years", with even Madrid and Barcelona expected to be turned into winter wonderlands.

This year's Three Kings' Day celebrations will be truly out of the ordinary. Firstly, due to the fact that many of the usual Reyes celebrations have been cancelled as part of Covid-19 restrictions, and secondly because much of the country is set to experience some unusually cold weather even for this time of year.

Temperatures already starting dropping across the mainland on Tuesday but it's on Wednesday January 6 when the cold snap truly starts.

Spain's national weather agency AEMET have dubbed it 'Storm Filomena', a weeklong weather phenomenon which will see temperatures drop to -10 C in northern and central Spain and heavy snow fall at abnormally low altitudes of as little as 200 metres.

From Wednesday, maximum temperatures in much of Spain's interior won't go above 5C.

Even Spain's two biggest cities Madrid and Barcelona, which are not famed for getting much snow, are expected to be turned white on Tuesday night and Thursday respectively.

The Spanish capital could get 10 to 15 cm of snow, something which hasn't been seen since January 2009.

Other regions that are expected to get snow include Castilla y León, Cantabria, La Rioja, Navarra, Aragón, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Asturias, Galicia and some parts of eastern Andalusia. Some of these have already been turned into winter wonderlands, but by Thursday areas at lower altitudes will also be snow-capped.

"We're facing one of the longest and biggest snowfalls in Spain in recent years," AEMET spokesperson Rubén de Campo said about the weeklong polar snap.

Weather website El Tiempo has also referred to the snowfall that will cover much of Spain as "historic", adding that the majority of the country will be under snow by Thursday, up to 20cm in large parts of the country's interior.


Two very rare tornadoes hit Northern California

Two tornadoes touch down in Tehama County
© Chronicle
Two tornadoes touch down in Tehama County on Monday afternoon.
Two tornadoes touched down in Tehama County on Monday afternoon, causing tree and power line damage but no fatalities, according to the National Weather Service.

The first tornado hit the western edge of Corning at 1:34 p.m., said Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. The centrifugal force knocked down a large oak tree, took down power lines and damaged a barn.

Another tornado touched down less than 10 miles away in the town of Vina at around 2:40 p.m., meteorologists said. It touched down in an open field and no damages were reported.

Northern California had 39 tornadoes in the past decade, averaging between three and four twisters per year, according to National Weather Service records.


Heavy snowfall in Austria around 100 cm (40 inches) of snow in 24 hours

People clear the roof of a petrol station from snow, in Lienz, Austria, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
© AP/Matthias Schrader
People clear the roof of a petrol station from snow, in Lienz, Austria, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
Heavy snowfall in Austria. Around 100 cm of snow was recorded in the last 24 hours.


Heavy snow buries parts of Northern Italy - 6 FEET fell early Monday - blocking roads, burying cars and houses

General view after heavy snowfall in Sappada, Italy, Jan. 3, 2021
© Twitter/Aametsoc
General view after heavy snowfall in Sappada, Italy, Jan. 3, 2021, in this still image obtained from a social media video.
European weather forecasters say about 2 meters (over 6 feet) of snow fell early Monday in parts of northern Italy's alpine region, blocking roads and burying cars and houses in some areas.

From its Twitter account, the Alpine-Adriatic Meteorological Society posted video from Italy's northeastern area of Comelico, near the border with Austria. Snow blocked the entrances to homes and buildings, with more snow falling in the small village of Sappada, in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Italian firefighters said they carried out more than 100 operations to clear roads of snow.


18 inches of snow in the desert? Texas park warned visitors to stay away after deluge of snow

Big Bend National Park received 12 to 18 inches of snow on New Year's Eve.
© Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park received 12 to 18 inches of snow on New Year's Eve. The park shared this photo of a snow man and the blanket of snow it experienced.
A foot and a half of snow in Texas?

On New Year's Day, Big Bend National Park — usually concerned with heat stroke or bears — warned visitors help would not be forthcoming if they got stuck in the snow that had blanketed the park the night before.

"Roads in Big Bend National Park are currently impassable," officials wrote on Facebook. "We received between 12-18 inches of snow last night and it's still snowing. Please do not attempt to enter the park."

Snowfall total maps released by the National Weather Service confirm 12 to 18 inches of snow were dumped on the West Texas park. The holiday storm stranded drivers on interstates, including one Trump bus tour destined for the Alamo in San Antonio.


Two pitbulls maul four-year-old boy to death in Cape Town, South Africa

The family of four-year-old Milani Keke, who was mauled to death by two pitbulls in Gugulethu at the weekend, said they were struggling to come to terms with their loss.

Milani was attacked by the dogs when he tried to retrieve a ball while playing rugby with friends at home on Sunday.

The animals are currently in the care of the SPCA as investigations continue.

Speaking to the Cape Times on Monday, his traumatised mother, Nothemba Keke, said she was inside her home when the incident happened.

Cloud Precipitation

Hail and flash floods in Sucre, Bolivia leave 4 dead, 6 missing

Clean up operations after hail and flash flooding
© Municipo de Sucre
Clean up operations after hail and flash flooding 04 January 2021 in Sucre, Bolivia.
A short period of torrential rain and hail during the afternoon of 04 January 2021 caused flash flooding in parts of the city of Sucre in Chuquisaca Department, Bolivia.

Authorities report that at least 4 people died, 6 are missing and 7 were injured as a result of the severe weather. The intense rain and hail also caused considerable material damage to vehicles and buildings. Several stalls of traders from the Mercado Campesino were swept away.

Police in Chuquisaca reported that 14 people were rescued with symptoms of hypothermia and were taken to different medical centres. Seven were later discharged and the rest remain under hospital care

In a statement, President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, expressed his condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

Snowflake Cold

Global temp plunges 0.26C in a month: "The next ice age has just started"

Ice age starts

Temperatures on planet Earth have plummeted in line with the great conjunction, the ongoing magnetic reversal/excursion, and the ever-intensifying Grand Solar Minimumthe time to prepare is now: grow your own.

Since its February 2020 high of 0.76C, the UAH Satellite-Based Temperature of the Global Lower Atmosphere has plunged by almost half a degree Celsius to just 0.27C above baseline in December 2020 (the latest data-point).

Looking at the Sun, the cycles, the past, and the graphs, it is reasonable to assume that there is only one way from here, and that's down.

Sunspots (a good barometer for solar activity) were missing through most of 2020, and despite a violent uptick around the beginning of the third quarter, the magnetic signature of this cycle always appeared weak. And indeed, this uptick has proved brief as today, Jan 4, 2021, the Earth-facing solar disc is once again blank, there are zero sunspots:

Comment: See also:

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SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2020: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

2020 ended with some amazing Earth Changes events, including a huge bolide that detonated above western China in late December. The largest meteor fireball event of the year, there hasn't been as spectacular an atmospheric event (caught on camera anyway) since the Chelyabinsk meteor of 2013. Additionally, there were many other meteor fireball sightings globally last month, including two seen from the US state of Idaho.

Deluges across Southeast Asia last month included nonstop downpours in Vietnam that resulted in severe flooding and killed some 280 people, with dozens more reported missing. Central Philipines is another area that has been hit by nonstop rain, and since October. Meanwhile, floodwaters in western Indonesia reached as high as 5 meters, causing widespread damage. Heavy rains and extreme flooding also hit Brazil for the second month in a row. Authorities there confirmed that at least 700 died just in Rio de Janeiro - and within one week.

Elsewhere a mammoth 700 meter-wide "quick clay slide" in Ask, Norway destroyed 30 houses, injured at least 10 people, and left 21 missing. At least 1,000 residents were evacuated from the area. This was the second such event reported this year in Norway and the largest in the area so far. The first one took place in June and ran more than 600 meters along the shore and 150 meters inland.

All this and more in our SOTT Earth Changes Summary for December 2020: