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Fri, 17 Jan 2020
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Earth Changes


Chile: 200 homes destroyed as wildfires tear through Valparaiso on Christmas Eve

Comment: Again!? Valparaiso has been hit by major wildfires for the fourth time in just 5 years...

Chile fires

Houses burn during a forest fire at the Rocuant hill in Valparaiso, Chile, on December 24, 2019.
At least 200 homes have been destroyed after forest fires swept through a residential area in the Chilean port city of Valparaiso on Christmas Eve.

Hundreds of firefighters struggled to control the fast-moving blaze, which continued into Christmas Day and was made worse by dry weather and strong winds. Military units and helicopters were deployed to help battle the flames and residents were evacuated to shelters. The government regional leader of Valparaiso Jorge Martinez Duran said in a news conference on Wednesday that it is believed the fires were started intentionally.

Chilean Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel said in a post on Twitter that authorities were working to investigate and "there will be no impunity" for those found responsible. Images show dozens of houses completely destroyed by the flames and residents tried to salvage any belongings.

Comment: Jan 2017: Huge wildfire burns 100 homes in Valparaiso, Chile

Mar 2015: Thousands evacuated due to raging forest fire near Valparaiso, Chile

Apr 2014: Update: Final toll from devastating Valparaiso fire in Chile: 12 dead - 3,000 homes razed - 8,000 people homeless

Cloud Lightning

Loud bang, flash of light shocks Merseyside, England - UPDATE: Thunder and lightning caught on camera... in DECEMBER?!

Mystery boom (stock)
© KY3
Dozens of people are reporting a loud bang and flash that appeared to set off car alarms in the early hours of this morning.

Concern has been raised on social media, with questions being asked about the incident which seems to have been experienced by people right across Merseyside.

Debate is raging over whether the incident was weather-related - there was heavy rain and hail in parts of the region last night - but many are convinced it was not thunder and lightning.

In several areas it was reported that car alarms appeared to be set off in the immediate aftermath.

The bang and flash was heard and seen in Speke , Dovecot, Everton, St Helens and Runcorn - and even as far away as Wigan.

Comment: A video from a taxi driver's dash-cam captured the cause: a huge 'thunderbolt':

That is NOT normal for December in the UK!


'Never seen that before': Birds falling 'dead' from trees during extreme heatwave in Australia

One of the dead cockatoos after apparently falling from a tree in extreme heat.

One of the dead cockatoos after apparently falling from a tree in extreme heat.
The extreme heat currently sweeping the nation has apparently begun killing native wildlife as temperatures continue to reach dangerous highs across the country.

A farmer shared grim photos to Twitter of what he says shows dead cockatoos that appeared to have fallen from a tree on a day that saw the thermometer on his back verandah rocket to 48.9C.

"Not an official reading obviously, but it was enough to kill these sulphur-crested cockatoos," he wrote.


World's tallest geyser breaks eruption record, stunning Yellowstone visitors, scientists

Steamboat Geyser

Steamboat Geyser
Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park blew past its yearly eruption record in 2019.

The world's tallest active geyser erupted 47 times, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, indicating the erratic geyser has entered an unusually active period.

Over the years, Steamboat has gone decades without erupting, including a quiet period between 1911 and 1961. USGS scientists say the recent eruptions mimic activity spikes in the 1980s, and do not signal future volcanic activity at Yellowstone.

Steamboat, which can send water up to 300 feet in the air, set its previous record just last year with 32 eruptions observed in 2018, according to the National Park Service. The geyser also broke its record for the shortest time between eruptions in June, the Billings Gazette reported, with just three days between blasts.

Arrow Down

Sinkhole swallows 4 people in Nanning, China

Shocking moment four pedestrians are swallowed by a sinkhole

Shocking moment four pedestrians are swallowed by a sinkhole
In an unexpected turn of events, a sinkhole in China swallowed at least four people and a motorbike after the road underneath them vanished suddenly.

It happened in Nanning, the provincial capital of the China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and the footage showed that initially a man walking casually on a road between the two building swallowed him.

He was later seen coming out of it and analyzing the situation, when three others gathered around him to inquire his condition.

However, as soon as the four were standing, the road underneath them once again disappeared, swallowing all of them and a motorbike standing at the corner of the road.

Cloud Grey

Twin monster cyclones rolling across the North Atlantic on Christmas day

Twin monster cyclones
With an active pattern over the North Atlantic lately, there are now two very large surface cyclones underway. The twins are trapped between two ridges on its east and west side, slowly drifting north. Satellite imagery is revealing some very nice structure of the systems. The eastern cyclone of the twins is the cyclone we have discussed last night - it will deliver severe winds threat towards Ireland tonight.

The current pattern across our side of the Northern Hemisphere is resulting in blocking high across eastern Canada and west-southwest Europe, while the deep trough is trapped in between - over the North Atlantic. With a persistent advection of cold air mass from the Arctic region, the results are frontal systems and cyclones. Today's, Dec 25th, 12 UTC analysis by OPC NOAA indicated both deep cyclones have around 970-980 mbar, the western one being the strongest. Both are developing gale force winds on their south and storm-force winds on their immediate west side. There, the strongest pressure gradient is present.

Comment: Storms battering Europe have been fairly relentless and brutal over the past few months - and it seems there's no sign of them abating:


Over a metre of snow dumped on Okanagan highways in British Columbia

The Coquihalla and Allison Summit were hit the hardest

The winter storm that blew through the Okanagan and the B.C. interior last week dumped more than a metre of snow on the Connector, the Coquihalla, Highway 1 and other mountain passes, according to Environment Canada.

At the height of the storm, the weather agency recorded between five and 10 centimetres of snow accumulating an hour, something that is very rare according to Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon.

"I wouldn't say that that was very normal," said Sekhon. "Keeping that rate up for a 12-hour stretch was quite exceptional."


Several resorts in the Alps post 1 metre plus weekend snowfall totals

Tignes, Les Arcs and Orelle (Behind Val Thorens in the 3 Valleys) are amongst resorts to report more than a metre (40 inches) of snowfall between Friday and Monday after another snowy weekend in the Alps.

Up at Arc 2000 the metre of snowfall, more than half of which arrived in the past 24 hours, was car burying stuff...

car buried by snow
Resorts across the Alps as well as in the Dolomites and Pyrenees, have been publishing big snowfall totals, with many posting 40-60cm accumulations. Although lower valleys (down to about 1000 metres) have still got above freezing temperatures the snow has also been accumulating down to resort level at traditional village resorts, as well as at the purpose-built altitude, although conditions are still best high up.

Cloud Precipitation

At least 14 killed by flash floods in Burundi

Floods damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in Bujumbura, Burundi, 21 to 22 December 2019.
© Government of Burundi
Floods damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in Bujumbura, Burundi, 21 to 22 December 2019.
At least 14 people have died and 33 injured after torrential rain caused flash flooding in the city of Bujumbura, Burundi.

According to Burundi Red Cross, torrential rains and strong winds caused human and material damage in Bujumbura and surrounding areas on the night of 21 December, 2019.

As of 22 December the provisional damage assessment was 14 fatalities and 33 injured. Around 50 houses were completely destroyed and 40 others severely damaged. Over 130 other homes were flooded and in total around 1,200 people (219 households) were affected.


Shallow 6.3 magnitude earthquake in British Columbia, Canada - now 6 quakes in the region since Monday

Another earthquake off Vancouver Island has struck with a magnitude of 6.2 Tuesday night.

The quake follows a series of at least six earthquakes Monday, but this is the most significant shock since.

Tuesday night's quake was located 188 kilometers off Port Hardy, at the tip of Vancouver Island around 7:30 p.m.

Comment: Five earthquakes, including two 6.0-magnitude quakes, strike off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada