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Nearly 120 stranded whales rescued in Sri Lanka - 3 found dead

Sri Lankans attempting to push a beached whale back to deep waters in the Indian Ocean in Panadura, on outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka on November 3.
© AP
Sri Lankans attempting to push a beached whale back to deep waters in the Indian Ocean in Panadura, on outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka on November 3.
It was as if the whales were "stuck in a treadmill", says marine biologist.

Pooling their manpower and expertise in a joint overnight operation, Sri Lanka's navy, coast guard, local volunteers and conservation experts have rescued nearly 120 stranded whales back into the deep sea.

On Monday afternoon, residents of Panadura — some 25 km south of Colombo on the island's west coast — reported sighting a school of whales by the shore. Within hours the Sri Lankan navy and Coast guard deployed nearly 70 personnel to the spot. "With conservation experts guiding us and many local volunteers helping, the team was able to pull back the whales into the deep waters, using jet skis," Navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva told The Hindu.


Fire

Australia's wildfires created a 'record-breaking' smoke plume in the upper atmosphere

Ukraine wildfires
Australia's bushfires set a record for the largest smoke cloud generated by a wildfire, a new paper reports. The plume was at least three times larger than any previously recorded one.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan's (USask) Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies say that last winter's Australian wildfires created a smoke cloud that pushed all the way to the stratosphere, some 35 kilometers above the surface, and reached incredible sizes. At its largest, it measured 1,000 kilometers across. The cloud remained intact for three months and traveled over 66,000 kilometers.

King smoke
"When I saw the satellite measurement of the smoke plume at 35 kilometres, it was jaw dropping. I never would have expected that," said Adam Bourassa, professor of physics and engineering physics, who led the USask group which played a key role in analyzing NASA satellite data.

Comment: The smoke these wildfires produce, together with particulates from meteor 'smoke' and volcanic eruptions, all jointly contribute to the increased dust-load in the atmosphere. This changes its electric charge rebalancing mechanisms, producing more intense storms and precipitation in the form of record rainfall, hail, lightning strikes, atmospheric 'anomalies' etc.

See also:


Seismograph

Greece-Turkey earthquake: Huge 7.0-magnitude tremor felt across both countries - at least 92 killed (UPDATES)

The quake shook Izmir, on Turkey's Aegean Sea
© Mehmet Emin Menguarslan / Anadolu Agency
The quake shook Izmir, on Turkey's Aegean Sea coast.
A major 7.0-magnitude earthquake has rattled Greece's Dodecanese Islands, the US Geological Survey (USGC) has said, with the tremor felt miles away in the capital of Athens.

Initial estimates by the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) put the magnitude of the earthquake, which struck north of the eastern island of Samos at around 11:50 GMT, at 6.7.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on Friday but video footage on social media showed buildings in the Turkish city of İzmir had been seriously damaged.


Comment: Update: An AFP report carried by Channels Television on October 31 states:
Search and rescue teams search the rumble of a collapsed building for survivors on October 31, 2020, in Izmir, after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey’s western coast and parts of Greece.
© AFP
Search and rescue teams search the rumble of a collapsed building for survivors on October 31, 2020, in Izmir, after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey’s western coast and parts of Greece.
26 Dead, Buildings Collapse As Major Earthquake Hits Turkey, Greece

Rescuers dug through heavy blocks of concrete with their bare hands Saturday in a desperate search for survivors from a powerful earthquake that leveled buildings across Greece and Turkey, killing at least 26 people.

The quake struck late Friday afternoon, causing a mini-tsunami on the Aegean island of Samos and a sea surge that turned streets into rushing rivers in a town on Turkey's west coast.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.0 magnitude tremor hit 14 kilometres (nine miles) off the Greek town of Karlovasi on Samos.

Felt in both Istanbul and Athens, it also created a diplomatic opening for the two historic rivals, with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis placing a rare call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer his condolences and support.

Hospital patients on the street

Much of the damage occurred in and around Turkey's Aegean resort city of Izmir, which has three million residents and is filled with high-rise apartment blocks.

Parts of entire apartments, including toys, pillows and shattered appliances, spilt out on the streets, where survivors huddled in tears, many too shocked to speak.

Aerial footage showed entire city blocks turned to rubble.



"I thought: Is it going to end? It felt like 10 minutes like it was never going to end," said Gokhan Kan, a 32-year-old courier.

"I was terrified not for myself in that moment but for my family, my wife and four-year-old son."

Izmir's mayor Tunc Soyer told CNN Turk that 20 buildings had collapsed, with officials focusing their rescue efforts on 17 of them.

Turkey's disaster relief agency reported 24 deaths and 800 injuries, while in Greece two teenagers died on their way home from school on Samos when a wall collapsed.

The scenes of devastation suggested the toll could rise.

One Izmir hospital rolled some of its patients — still strapped into their beds and hooked up to drips — out on the street as a precaution.

Turkey's religious affairs directorate opened its mosques to help shelter some of those left homeless by the disaster.

'Remain calm'

Images on social media showed water rushing through the streets of one of the towns near Izmir from an apparent sea surge.

Thick white plumes of smoke towered over various parts of the city where big buildings had collapsed.

Rescuers, helped by residents and sniffer dogs, used chainsaws to try to force their way through the rubble of one destroyed seven-floor building.

At another site, Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli managed to establish mobile phone contact with a girl buried under the debris.

"We ask you to remain calm," he told her in televised footage. "We will try to lift the concrete block and reach you."

NTV television said up to six people were trapped at the site, including the girl's cousin.

The region's governor said 70 people had been pulled out alive by Friday evening, although how many more were missing remained unknown by sunset.

Rescuers set up tents in a small park away from the cracked and damaged buildings for families to spend the night in safety and relative warmth.

"Because we live in Izmir, we have pretty warm weather, we can make it through today, we can make it through tomorrow," said Cemalettin Enginyurt, a retired soldier. "But we can't think of anything on the long term, we are helpless."

- 'Earthquake Diplomacy' -

On the Greek island of Samos, near the quake's epicentre, people rushed out into the streets in panic.

"It was chaos," said deputy mayor Giorgos Dionysiou. "We have never experienced anything like this."

The Greek civil protection agency told Samos residents in a text message to "stay out in the open and away from buildings".

Greece and Turkey are situated in one of the world's most active earthquake zones.

The two neighbours also suffer from historically poor relations despite both being members of the NATO military alliance.

But the quake saw a spurt of what pundits immediately termed "earthquake diplomacy", with calls exchanged by their foreign ministers and then, hours later, the Greek prime minister and Erdogan.

"Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together," Mitsotakis said on Twitter.

"Thank you, Mr Prime Minister," Erdogan tweeted in reply. "That two neighbours show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life."

The US State Department said Washington was "heartened" by the newfound cooperation.

France, whose President Emmanuel Macron has sparred repeatedly with Erdogan in the past year, said it stood in "full solidarity" with the two countries.

In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey's northwest, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul.

In Greece, the last deadly quake killed two people on the island of Kos, near Samos, in July 2017.
Update 2: AP reports on November 1:
70-year-old pulled out alive in Turkey as quake toll hits 60

Rescue workers extricated a 70-year-old man from a collapsed building in western Turkey on Sunday, some 34 hours after a strong earthquake in the Aegean Sea struck Turkey and Greece, killing at least 60 people and injuring more than 900.

Members of rescue services search in the debris of a collapsed building for survivors in Izmir, Turkey, early Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
© Darko Bandic
Members of rescue services search in the debris of a collapsed building for survivors in Izmir, Turkey, early Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
It was the latest series of remarkable rescues after the Friday afternoon earthquake, which was centered in the Aegean northeast of the Greek island of Samos. Search-and-rescue teams were working in nine toppled or damaged buildings in Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, but appeared to be finding more bodies Sunday than survivors.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the death toll Sunday in Izmir to 58. Two teenagers were killed Friday on Samos and at least 19 others were injured.

There was some debate over the magnitude of the earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey rated it 7.0, while the Istanbul's Kandilli Institute put it at 6.9 and Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said it measured 6.6.

Ahmet Citim, 70, was pulled out of the rubble in the middle of the night and was hospitalized. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that Citim said: "I never lost hope." The minister visited the survivor and said he was doing well.

The quake triggered a small tsunami that hit Samos and the Seferihisar district of Izmir, drowning one elderly woman. The tremors were felt across western Turkey, including in Istanbul, as well as in the Greek capital of Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks followed. Turkey's disaster agency said 920 people were injured in Turkey alone.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said 26 badly damaged buildings would be demolished.

"It's not the earthquake that kills but buildings," he added, repeating a common slogan.

Turkey has a mix of older buildings and cheap or illegal construction, which can lead to serious damage and deaths when earthquakes hit. Regulations have been tightened in light of earthquakes to strengthen or demolish buildings and urban renewal is underway in Turkish cities but it is not happening fast enough.

Two destroyed apartment buildings in Izmir where much of the rescues are taking place had received reports of "decay" in 2012 and 2018, according to the municipal agency in charge of such certificates. Turkish media including the Hurriyet newspaper said one of the buildings, which was built in 1993, was at risk of earthquake damage because of its low quality concrete and the lack of reinforcements. However, the building continued to be occupied.

Turkey's justice minister said prosecutors had begun investigating several collapsed buildings and promised legal repercussions if experts identified neglect.

AFAD said nearly 6,400 personnel had been activated for rescue work and hundreds of others for food distribution, emergency help and building damage control.

Turkey is criss-crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. In 1999, two powerful quakes killed some 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece as well.

In a rare show of unity amid months of tense relations over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean, Greek and Turkish government officials have issued mutual messages of solidarity over the quake toll.

The quake occurred as Turkey was already struggling with an economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic. So far, Turkey has more than 10,000 confirmed virus deaths but some experts have accused the government of concealing the true impact of the virus with the way it counts infections.
Update3: Anadolu Agency reports on November 2:
Turkey: Death toll from earthquake rises to 92

In Aegean city of Izmir, 994 people injured in magnitude 6.6 quake, says country's disaster management authority

rescue
The death toll in Turkey from a powerful earthquake in the Aegean region has risen to 92, the country's disaster agency said Monday.

Some 1,323 aftershocks have hit the area since the Friday quake, with 43 of them above magnitude 4.0, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said.

It added that 994 people were injured, with 847 of them discharged from hospitals and 147 still being treated.

Speaking at a news conference Monday in the Aegean Izmir province, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum updated the number of heavily damaged and destroyed buildings to 58.

With quake victims facing cold weather, Kurum called on them to seek shelter at local guesthouses.

"We began the process for setting up a container city. We will establish a container city with a capacity to host 1,000 people on an area of 46,300 square meters [498,000 square feet] in the Bayrakli district," he added.

On Friday, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, with a population of some 4.37 million.

More aid coming

Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk also urged quake victims to take shelter at public guesthouses, which she said have a capacity of 7,000, which can be increased if needed.

She added that 5 million Turkish liras (some $595,000) in additional aid is being added to 5 million Turkish liras sent to the region on Friday by her ministry.

So far, 1,864 tents have been installed, with 2,038 currently being set up.

Temporary accommodations have been established to meet the urgent need for shelter in the city, with over 3,500 tents, some 24,400 blankets, 13,300 beds, 5,500 sleeping sets, 2,600 kitchen sets, and four showers and toilet containers shipped to the area, the disaster agency said.

So far, over 105 people have been pulled from the debris as search and rescue efforts continue.

Elif Perincek, a three-year-old girl, was pulled from debris in Bayrakli on Monday nearly 65 hours after the quake.

Idil Sirin, a 14-year-old girl, was also recovered from the rubble 58 hours after the tremor and taken to a local hospital.

Turkey, situated on several active fault lines, is among the world's most seismically active zones. It has suffered devastating earthquakes in previous years, including the 1999 Marmara quake.



Snowflake Cold

Snow blankets China's coldest town - heaviest in 10 years for the season at over 8 inches deep

More than 20 centimeters of snow accumulated from Saturday morning to Sunday evening in Huzhong district of the Daxinganling region of Heilongjiang province.
© Feng Hongwei
More than 20 centimeters of snow accumulated from Saturday morning to Sunday evening in Huzhong district of the Daxinganling region of Heilongjiang province.
Huzhong district in the Daxinganling region of Heilongjiang province, widely known as China's coldest town, received its heaviest snow of autumn so far over the weekend. The local meteorological bureau issued an orange alert on Sunday night.

It was the heaviest snow for the period over the past 10 years, the bureau said.

Accumulated snowfall had reached more than 20 centimeters
from Saturday morning to Sunday evening, when it stopped snowing.


Comment: Related: 80% of Russia is buried in snow


Boat

Two missing in flash flooding triggered by hours of heavy rain in Thailand

A tunnel linking the Khao Yai and Thap Lan national parks on Highway 304 between Kabin Buri district in Prachin Buri and Pak Thong Chai district in Nakhon Ratchasima was 1.8 metres under flood water yesterday morning.
© Prasit Tangprasert
A tunnel linking the Khao Yai and Thap Lan national parks on Highway 304 between Kabin Buri district in Prachin Buri and Pak Thong Chai district in Nakhon Ratchasima was 1.8 metres under flood water yesterday morning.
Forest runoff caused by heavy rain in mountainous areas wreaked havoc on vast parts of Prachin Buri province, inundating the Khao Yai-Thap Lan tunnel and submerging dozens of vehicles at a well-known hotel and tourist attraction there.

Two people were reported missing when the runoff from Thap Lan National Park triggered by hours of heavy rain sent a large amount of water streaming into several villages in Prachin Buri. In Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Khieo district, a teenager died after being swept away by flash flood.

The sight of the flood-hit tunnel spoke volumes about the flash flood sweeping across the area. The tunnel through a mountain linking the Khao Yai and Thap Lan national parks on Highway 304 between Kabin Buri district in Prachin Buri and Pak Thong Chai district in Nakhon Ratchasima was about 1.80 metres under water on Sunday morning.


Black Cat

Tiger kills fisherman in the Sundarbans, India - 19th such death in the area this year

Tiger kills fisherman in Bengal's Sundarbans [Representative image

Tiger kills fisherman in Bengal's Sundarbans (Representative image)
A 45-year-old fisherman was killed by a tiger in Sundarban National Park in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district on Friday, a forest officer said.

The incident took place when Shashanka Mondal and two other fishermen from village went to catch crabs in a canal near Sajnekhali range office, he said.

As soon as Mondal got down the boat, a tiger attacked him, killing him on the spot, the officer said.

The fishermen did not possess valid documents required for catching crabs or fish in the protected area, he said.

A total of 19 fishermen have been killed in tiger attacks in Sundarbans since the COVID-19 outbreak, the officer added.

Source: PTI

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain leads to flash floods around Singapore

Two people approach a stranded driver
© CHONG JUN LIANG
Two people approach a stranded driver from a house at Gambir Walk with water scoops, during heavy rain on Nov 2, 2020.
Heavy rain led to flash floods lasting for about half an hour at three locations in Singapore on Monday afternoon (Nov 2).

National water agency PUB said in a Facebook post that there were flash floods around 3pm in Upper Paya Lebar Road, Lorong Gambir and Mount Vernon Road.

It had advised people to avoid these and eight other locations, including MacPherson Road, Balestier Road and Sims Drive, as water levels and canals rose to 90 per cent due to the rain.


Ice Cube

Arctic sea-ice extent now greater than at nearly any time in the last 10,000 years according to 3 new studies

Study location

Study location
Also, today's sea surface temperatures are at least 4°C colder than they were just a few thousand years ago, when the Arctic was sea-ice free for all but a couple of months a year.

Three new studies expose the lie that today's temperatures are the warmest on record.

For years scientists have been using biomarker evidence to reconstruct Arctic sea ice history. According to three new studies, modern (20th-21st century) Arctic sea ice is now at its greatest extent since the Holocene began.

Snowflake Cold

Hello winter my cold friend

snowy road
© unknown
The unsustainable, corrupt, and brittle man-made global warming story is unraveling. Climate maniacs predicted a snowless world years ago. However, we have reports this week that the Northern Hemisphere snow mass is already 300 gigatons above the 1982-2012 average.

This week hundreds of all-time cold records fell across North America. No heat, only frigid, deepening, and dangerous cold. The United States (Lower-48) just set its coldest temperature ever recorded this early in the season. Denver obliterated its all-time low-temperature record in weather books dating back 148 years. It is snowing in Hawaii! Winter is coming in hard and strong, with the cold reaching all the way to Mexico. For the city of Chihuahua the thermometer dropped to -1C.

"The ongoing cold is off the charts, with an air mass more typical of December or January than late October," The Washington Post admits. Arctic blast brings minus -29 degree (-33.9) cold to Montana as snow and ice plastered the central U.S., toppling records far and wide. Readings plummeted to some 40 degrees F below average for this time of year.

Comment: See also:


Umbrella

At least 7 dead as Typhoon Goni batters Philippines

A man looks at his flooded house in Albay province after Typhoon Goni hit the Philippines.
© Reuters
A man looks at his flooded house in Albay province after Typhoon Goni hit the Philippines.
The strongest typhoon of the year also triggered deadly landslides that buried a number of houses in the southern part of the most populous island of Luzon, officials said.

At least seven people were killed as Typhoon Goni pounded the Philippines Sunday, ripping off roofs, toppling power lines and causing flooding in the hardest-hit areas where hundreds of thousands have fled their homes.

The strongest typhoon of the year also triggered deadly landslides that buried a number of houses in the southern part of the most populous island of Luzon, officials said.

Goni was a "super typhoon" when it made landfall on Catanduanes Island before dawn, packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 225 kilometres (140 miles) per hour.