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Sat, 19 Jun 2021
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Earth Changes

Cloud Precipitation

Floods, mudslides leave at least 14 dead in Sri Lanka - 245,000 affected (UPDATE)

A raft floats along a flooded street in Malwana, Sri Lanka on Saturday.
© Eranga Jayawardena/The Associated Press
A raft floats along a flooded street in Malwana, Sri Lanka on Saturday.
At least six people have died and five others are missing after flash floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rains in Sri Lanka.

More than 5,000 other people have been displaced by the conditions, officials said.

Rains have been pounding six districts of the Indian Ocean island nation since Thursday night, and many houses, paddy fields and roads have been inundated, blocking traffic.

Four people died in floods while another two lost their lives in mudslides, according to the government's Disaster Management Centre.

Another five people are missing in floods and mudslides.

Comment: Update: AAP reports on June 6:
Sri Lanka flood death toll rises to 14

Houses, paddy fields and roads have been inundated in parts of Sri Lanka after days of heavy rain.
Houses, paddy fields and roads have been inundated in parts of Sri Lanka after days of heavy rain.
The death toll from floods and mudslides following heavy rains in Sri Lanka has risen to 14 with another two reported missing.

Ten districts on the island have been under heavy rainfall since last Thursday, including the capital Colombo and suburbs where many houses, paddy fields and roads have been inundated.

Ten people have died in floods while another four lost their lives in mudslides, according to the government's Disaster Management Centre.

Among them was a family of four who died when a mound of earth crashed onto their house in Kegalle district, about 85km east of Colombo.

Two others remain missing.

Sri Lanka's navy said it had deployed 33 teams to flooded areas, which so far have rescued 66 people stranded by the floodwaters.

The centre said the extreme weather has affected some 245,000 people, and more than 4300 remain displaced in emergency shelters. More than 800 houses have been damaged.


Unexplained blindness and death of birds in Washington DC puzzles experts

bird washington DC blind
© Blue Ridge Wildlife Center
Experts are perplexed by an illness afflicting local birds where their eyes crust over and cause other neurological symptoms
An unusual number of birds are suddenly going blind and dying in the area around Washington DC, puzzling wildlife experts.

DC resident Alexandra Dimsdale found a young grackle stumbling around outside her home on Saturday.

After taking it to City Wildlife, a rehabilitation centre in the northwest part of the capital, she told The Washington Post that a member of staff said there was nothing they could do. She learned that the bird probably had some kind of neurological illness, causing it to go blind.

Comment: It remains to be seen what is afflicting the young birds but that it seems to be confined within a particular locality and to certain species and age is notable. In recent years there have been numerous reports of birds suffering due to starvation, illness, as well as mysteriously dying en masse:

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills 4 in West Bengal, India

Four persons were killed and one was injured by a lightning strike in Jamalpur block, East Burdwan, during a thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon, reports Mohammad Asif.

The deceased have been identified as Shambhu Charan Das (56) of Jyotsriram village, Arup Bag (41) of Kansra village and Adhir Malik (43) of Mohindar village. All three were in a paddy field. Ranjit Goyel of Gunreghar village was inside a hut and escaped with injuries. The bodies were sent to Burdwan Medical College & Hospital for post-mortem.

Cloud Precipitation

Threat of flooding in coastal Louisiana and Texas after waterlogged spring

The Weather Service's forecast for heavy rainfall
© WeatherBell
The Weather Service's forecast for heavy rainfall.
If you live along the western Gulf of Mexico coast, odds are that this spring had you ready to build an ark. Some parts of Texas and Louisiana have seen more than 2½ feet of rainfall since the start of April, and more is on the way.

Another three to six inches of rain, and maybe more in spots, is set to target already waterlogged areas through early next week. Flash flood watches are in effect for much of the Louisiana coastline.

In Texas, numerous rivers and streams have overtopped their banks due to recent rains, prompting flood warnings for waterways in the zone from around Victoria to Beaumont.

Signs also point to a continued wet and rainy pattern over the upcoming week and a half, with continued bouts of rainfall set to renew flood concerns.


Significant earthquake swarm impacting southern California

A swarm of earthquakes is currently impacting southern California
A swarm of earthquakes is currently impacting southern California
A significant earthquake swarm is unfolding in southern California, impacting the area around the Salton Sea east of San Diego, south of Palm Springs, and southeast of Los Angeles. 47 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or greater have struck the area, with the strongest being a 5.3 which struck at 10:55am local time today.

The strong 5.3 earthquake struck about 6 and a half miles west of Calipatria at a depth of 3.6 miles. More than 700 residents from Los Angeles to San Diego to El Centro reported experiencing the quake to the USGS, including many that reported "strong shaking."

Today's significant earthquake swarm is occurring near the Salton Sea, a shallow landlocked lake with a high salt concentration in Riverside and Imperial counties of California. The Salton Sea sits on the San Andreas Fault at the southern end of the state of California. In this region, the Earth's crust is being stretched. Today's earthquakes are tied to submerged faults near the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. Called the Brawley seismic zone, this extensional region connects the San Andreas with the Imperial Fault in southern California.

Today's swarm comes on the heels of another earthquake swarm that impacted the Disney Land area last weekend north of today's swarm.

Cloud Precipitation

Storms and floods strike across western Germany

A fireman crosses a flooded street in Bottrop,
© dpa/Feuerwehr Bottrop
A fireman crosses a flooded street in Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday, June 3rd.
Firefighters and police were called out numerous times on Thursday evening as thunderstorms brought traffic to a standstill, overturned trees and flooded cellars.

Extreme weather struck the western and central German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hessen on Thursday evening, with thunder, torrential downpour and hailstones wreaking havoc in the region.

The German Weather Service (DWD) urged residents of those areas to stay "vigilant" as they warned of oncoming thunderstorms, hail and downpour on Twitter on Thursday.

As thunderstorms picked up throughout the evening, firefighters were called out to deal with numerous incidents of falling trees, flooded streets and waterlogged cellars. In the town of Bottrop, North Rhine-Westphalia, a fir tree was struck by lightening and burst into flames - but the fire was quickly extinguished by the heavy rains, local residents and firefighters.

Cloud Precipitation

Film of flooded street in Reims, France

An amateur video shows a flooded street in Reims after heavy storms. Vehicles are blocked as a torrent pours down the Avenue Jean Jaurès.


Wild elephant herd in China making a mysterious, cross-country march

Not all who wander are lost, J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote. A herd of wild Asian elephants in China might agree with that sentiment. The 15 elephants have been slowly making their way across China for over a year, delighting social media, eating and trampling crops, and causing more than a million dollars worth of damage.

It's not unusual for elephants to ramble outside their habitats, but this wandering herd stands out. Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, a principal investigator at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, who specializes in elephants, told The New York Times he has "no idea" why these elephants won't settle in one spot.

The elephants started off last March, leaving a nature reserve in Xishuangbanna, and have traveled more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) so far. There were 16 in the group then, but some have turned around, and others have given birth, making the group now down to 15, the Times reports.

Arrow Down

Large sinkhole reported on west side of Nuevo Laredo (Mexico)

If you have any plans of driving in Nuevo Laredo, there's a huge sinkhole on the city's west side.

As of now, its about 33 feet wide and almost 10 feet deep.

You can see a business still standing but so close to the sinkhole.

Several different city and county entities have come together to access the damage and put together a plan to repair it.

No word yet on what caused the sinkhole or how much it'll cost to fix it.

Officials say it could take up 45 days to fix once they get started.


No tsunami warnings after two 5.9 magnitude earthquakes hit off Oregon coast

A cluster of earthquakes were reported in the same area at the end of April.

A cluster of earthquakes were reported in the same area at the end of April.
Two 5.9 magnitude earthquakes struck the Pacific Ocean off Oregon's coast early Friday morning, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

The tremors occurred about 89 miles and 98 miles west of the coastal town of Gold Beach, Oregon, after 1 a.m. (PT) Friday morning, according to USGS.

A few people reported light shaking on the coast, the USGS report showed.

At least five earthquakes ranging in magnitudes from 3.2 to 5.9 have occurred in the area in the last few hours, according to USGS.