Earth ChangesS


Best of the Web: 20 tornadoes kill at least 19 people across 4 states in America

Scenes from a Shell gas station and travel stop on I-35 at the Lone Oak exit near Valley View, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024.
Scenes from a Shell gas station and travel stop on I-35 at the Lone Oak exit near Valley View, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024.
At least 19 people were killed during a severe weather outbreak over Memorial Day weekend that brought tornadoes and tennis-ball-sized hail and knocked out power to thousands across the southern Plains overnight on Saturday.

The worst of the storm hit in the overnight hours when at least 20 tornadoes were seen by radar or in person across the region, according to the FOX Forecast Center. Storm damage was reported in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The National Weather Service reported that a long-track, supercell thunderstorm spawned multiple tornadoes.

Some of the most devastating damage in Texas happened outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where Cooke County Sheriff Ray Sappington said in a news conference that seven people were killed and more than 100 were injured. The sheriff said that two children were among the dead.

This is the deadliest tornado in Texas state history since 2015. The NWS gave it a preliminary rating of EF-2 with 135 mph winds. Another tornado that devastated Montague County was also rated a preliminary EF-2.


Six-year-old girl mauled to death by stray dogs in Uttar Pradesh, India

dog attack
In a heart-wrenching incident reported from Uttar Pradesh, stray dogs mauled a six-year-old girl to death while her toddler brother was injured in Kanpur district of the state on Sunday night, an official said.

The incident took place late on Sunday night where the stray dogs attacked the siblings in CTI Basti of Govind Nagar police station area.

An official said that the siblings 6-year-old Khushi and 2-year-old son Bhola were playing outside their house on Sunday night when a pack of stray dogs attacked them causing grievous injuries to both of them. The children's parents Chhotu, who works as a waiter at weddings and Pooja, who works as a manual scavenger were away for work when the attack took place. Locals, who heard the screams of the children rushed to the spot and chased away the dogs. But by then the girl had succumbed while her brother has been admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle

A lightning strike killed a rancher and more than 30 cows and calves Saturday in Jackson County.
© Shannon LukensA lightning strike killed a rancher and more than 30 cows and calves Saturday in Jackson County.
A lightning strike killed a Colorado rancher and 34 head of cattle over the weekend, officials said Sunday.

Mike Morgan, 51, was feeding his cattle from a trailer when he was struck and died on the scene despite life-saving efforts, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said.

The lightning bolt struck on wide open pasture outside the town of Rand, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northwest of Denver, said George Crocket, the county coroner.

The strike also bowled over around 100 head of cattle that had bunched around the trailer loaded with hay, said Crocket. "All but the 34 got up," he said.

Morgan's father-in-law and wife were nearby but survived the blast, said Crocket.

The incident stunned the small, tightknit community where most everybody knows everybody, Crockett said.



6.6 magnitude earthquake hits the Tonga archipelago

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit the Tonga archipelago in the South Pacific this morning, the US Geological Survey (USGS) announced.

The earthquake was at a depth of about 112 kilometers, less than 200 kilometers north of Nuku'alofa, the capital of the Tonga archipelago.

So far, there are no reports of material damage.

The Pacific Tsunami Monitoring Center has not issued a warning.

Arrow Down

Best of the Web: More than 670 people killed by massive landslide in Papua New Guinea (UPDATE)

Locals were trying to sift through the rubble with what equipment was still to hand on Friday
© Ninga Role/AAP/IMAGOLocals were trying to sift through the rubble with what equipment was still to hand on Friday
More than 100 people are believed to have been killed Friday in a landslide that buried a village in a remote, mountainous part of Papua New Guinea, and an emergency response is underway, the South Pacific island nation's leader and news media said.

The landslide reportedly hit Kaokalam village in Enga province, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, at roughly 3 a.m., Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Residents said estimates of the death toll were above 100, although authorities have not confirmed that figure. Villagers said the number of people killed could be much higher.

Prime Minister James Marape said authorities were responding and he would release information about the destruction and loss of life when it was available.

Comment: Update May 26

Al Jazeera reports:
The International Organization for Migration has increased its estimate of the death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to more than 670.

Serhan Aktoprak, the chief of the United Nations agency's mission in the South Pacific island nation, said on Sunday the revised death toll was based on calculations by Yambali village and Enga provincial officials that more than 150 homes had been buried by Friday's landslide.

The previous estimate had been 60 homes.

"They are estimating that more than 670 people [are] under the soil at the moment," Aktoprak said.

"The situation is terrible with the land still sliding. The water is running and this is creating a massive risk for eveyrone involved," added Aktoprak, who is based in capital, Port Moresby.

Local officials had initially put the death toll on Friday at 100 or more. Only five bodies and a leg of a sixth victim had been recovered by Sunday, while seven people, including a child, had received medical treatment.

Authorities are trying to establish evacuation centres on safer ground on either side of the massive swath of debris.

Meanwhile, emergency responders were moving survivors of the massive landslide to safer ground as tonnes of unstable earth and tribal warfare, which is rife in the country's highlands, threatened the rescue effort.

Damage to infrastructure also made it more difficult for rescue and relief efforts to reach the area, according to Justine McMahon, a CARE Australia humanitarian group representative in PNG.

"The ground is quite unstable, making it difficult for rescuers to get in. The main road has also been cut off by about 200 metres [656 feet], hampering relief," she told Al Jazeera.

Car-sized boulders

Heavy earth-moving equipment are yet to arrive at the mountainous location 600km (370 miles) northwest of Port Moresby.

At some points, the landslide - a mix of car-sized boulders, uprooted trees and churned-up earth - was thought to be 8 metres (26 feet) deep.

Aid agencies said the catastrophe had effectively wiped out the village's livestock, food gardens and sources of clean water.


Hundreds of brown pelicans are starving to death in California - despite plenty to eat

Hundreds of starving birds are showing up on California beaches
Hundreds of starving birds are showing up on California beaches
For the second time in two years, large numbers of brown pelicans are showing up sick and injured along California's coastline, and scientists are racing to find out why.

As of this week, hundreds of these birds have died. Current evidence points to starvation as the cause, despite there being plenty of food (typically surface dwelling fish like herring or anchovies) for them to eat. Though the species are also found on the east coast of the U.S., the Atlantic birds aren't suffering a similar trend.

"We don't know why, but [the west coast pelicans] are not finding the food that they need," says Jeni Smith, the zoological curator of animal rescue programs at SeaWorld San Diego. "And if that's the case, then they are looking for it elsewhere, and that might explain why they are inland or in unusual locations."

Cloud Precipitation

Floods in Armenia's north kill 2

The mayor of Alaverdi town has confirmed that one person has been killed in their community by the May 26 floods in Armenia's northern regions that brings the number of casualties to two as search and rescue efforts continue.

Davit Ghumashyan told that the casualty, who is a resident of Deghdsavan village, can be seen in the car that is the water.

"He is in the car at the moment, it appears that we have one casualty. He is a man. He is a resident of Deghdsavan," he said.

He mentioned that the evacuation works are almost finished in Alaverdi. "There are a few people left who have not been evacuated yet, but there is no problem, we will evacuate them too," he added.

Blue Planet

Alaska's pristine waterways are mysteriously turning orange, coincides with increased snowfall

Kutuk River
© Ken Hill/National Park ServiceKutuk River, Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska.
Some of Alaska's clear, icy blue waterways are turning a startling rust orange - so intense it's visible from Earth's orbit.

"The stained rivers are so big we can see them from space," says University of California (UC) Davis environmental toxicologist Brett Poulin. "These have to be stained a lot to pick them up from space."

After first noticing the problem in 2018 from river banks and fly-overs, National Park Service ecologist Jon O'Donnell, Poulin and their colleagues used satellite imagery and public reports to identify over 75 remote streams recently tainted this unusual orange color, across almost 1,000 kilometers (1,610 miles) of Alaska's Brooks Range.

Comment: Volcanic activity in and around Alaska may be increasing, and, in turn, it's possible that so is geothermal activity - as also seems to be the case elsewhere on the planet:

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills 2 women in Lagos, Nigeria

Two women were tragically killed after being struck by lightning in a sorrowful incident during Friday's rainfall in FESTAC, Lagos State.

Naija News reports that the state police spokesperson, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the deaths, noting that the lightning strike was instantaneous and fatal, also sparking a fire.

The victims, who were residing in a makeshift shelter constructed under high-voltage power lines, were identified only as residents of the area.

"Lightning struck, electrocuting them instantly and causing a fire outbreak," Hundeyin explained.

The police have reiterated warnings against the dangers of living or seeking shelter under high-tension cables, especially during adverse weather conditions.


6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes Vanuatu

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Vanuatu on Saturday (May 25), according to the United States Geological Survey.

The natural disaster was centered in Port-Vila at a depth of 32.1 kilometers (about 52 miles). The USGS said there were 11 reports of residents having felt the earthquake at the time of publication on Saturday.

The Vanuatu earthquake was reported hours after a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Friday (May 24), according to the United States Geological Survey. The natural disaster was centered at a depth of 32.1 kilometers (about 20 miles).

The Papua New Guinea earthquake was reported hours after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Southwest Indian Ridge on Thursday (May 23), according to the United States Geological Survey. The natural disaster was centered at a depth of 10 kilometers (about 6.21 miles).