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New drought declarations across 8 regions in Queensland, Australia as the state's crisis deepens

Queensland drought
© ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols
Organic avocado grower John Tidy relies on the depleted Amamoor Creek for irrigation.
The Queensland Government has today declared the majority of the state's south-east is in drought.

Eight shires and councils including the Fraser Coast, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gympie, Redlands, Gold Coast and Logan have joined 37 other drought-declared local government areas.

More than two-thirds of Queensland is now officially in drought, with only northern parts of the state and Brisbane drought-free.

The declaration came ahead of a meeting of state and territory agriculture ministers today in regional New South Wales.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain causes floods, paralyzes Lebanon's capital Beirut

Heavy rain causes floods, paralyzes Lebanon's capital

Heavy rain causes floods, paralyzes Lebanon's capital
Heavy rain triggered flooding that paralyzed Lebanon's capital Beirut on Monday, stranding drivers and damaging some homes.

The storms, which began Sunday morning, impacted the entire country but hit Beirut and its suburbs the hardest.

Motorists were stranded in the southern suburb of Ouzai after vehicles became submerged in the floodwaters. When pumps used to clear water from a tunnel under Rafik Hariri International Airport stopped working, authorities closed the tunnel for hours.

A man was seen using a surfboard to pass through the tunnel, while in other parts of the city some residents used small boats to get around.


Attention

Massive fish and bird die-offs: Gulf of Alaska fishery to close for the first time ever

shearwaters birds

Millions of small sea birds died since 2015 November 2019, thousands of short-tailed shearwaters birds migrating from Alaska were washing up dead on Sydney's iconic beaches
Extremely low cod numbers have lead feds to close the Gulf of Alaska fishery for the first time ever. In an unprecedented response to historically low numbers of Pacific cod, the federal cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska is closing for the 2020 season. It's a decision that came as little surprise, but it's the first time the fishery was closed due to concerns of low stock. "We're on the knife's edge of this over-fished status," North Pacific Fisheries Management Council member Nicole Kimball said during talks in Anchorage Friday afternoon. It's not over-fishing to blame for the die-off, but rather, climate change. Warming ocean temperatures linked to climate change are wreaking havoc on a number of Alaska's fisheries, worrying biologists, locals and fishermen with low returns that jeopardize fishing livelihoods. A stock assessment this fall put Gulf cod populations at a historic low, with "next to no" new eggs, according to NOAA research biologist Steve Barbeaux, who authored the report.

Up until the emergence of a marine heatwave known as "the blob" in 2014, Gulf cod was doing well. But the heatwave caused ocean temperatures to rise 4-5 degrees. Young cod started dying off, scientists said. "A lot of the impact on the population was due to that first heatwave that we haven't recovered from," Barbeaux said during an interview last month. Following the first heatwave, cod numbers crashed by more than half, from 113,830 metric tons in 2014 to 46,080 (a loss of almost 68,000) metric tons in 2017. The decline was steady from there. AK

Last month The Big Wobble reported more misery for Alaskan pink salmon fisheries. Prince William Sound Science Center field season was marked by a low flow and high pre-spawn mortality. This year, virtually no rain led to extremely low flows and field crews observed unprecedented pre-spawning die-offs and unusually late migration into the streams. According to the Prince William Sound Science Center, the fish finally started, what was for many, an ill-fated journey into the streams after some rain in early September. The rain stopped and the rivers dried up again. Soon thousands of fish were restricted to tide pools without enough water to return to the bays. They all suffocated. "During the first 10 days of September, our dead fish count in one of our streams rose from virtually none to nearly 30,000 dead pink salmon, all dying prior to spawning". "Our field crews estimated 10,000 died over a single night. We have never documented anything like that in the past."

Read the rest here

Comment: The climate is changing all right, but it has nothing to do with the global warming scam:


Map

White Island Volcano erupts in New Zealand: Five people killed with eight missing presumed dead; 27 of the 31 survivors suffer horrific burns - UPDATES

White Island volcano, New Zealand

White Island volcano, New Zealand
A volcano erupted in New Zealand on Monday leaving at least one dead and seven tourists critically injured. Police said there could be more fatalities. 23 people have been transported to shore and over 27 remain on the island.

"We are working to confirm the numbers involved. At this stage, it is too dangerous for police and rescue services to go to the island. However, we continue to assess the conditions which would allow us to go onto the island", Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said.

CEO of the New Zealand Cruise Association Kevin O'Sullivan confirmed that 30 to 38 of the victims are passengers of the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas.

The eruption began about 2:11 p.m. local time (0111 GMT) on White Island, about 50 kilometres from the east coast of North Island, authorities said, sending up smoke visible from the mainland.

Police is working with National Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the search and rescue operation.

Comment: Just a day earlier, New Zealand experienced a record in lighting strikes:
In the 24 hours leading up to 7am this morning, 109,000 lightning strikes were recorded over New Zealand and our surrounding waters, with 18,000 over the land.

Previously our records had only seen 44,000 strikes over both land and sea.
Update: New Zealand Herald reports:
At least five people are dead after Whakaari/White Island erupted today, and "a number" of people are still unaccounted for.

National Operation Commander Deputy Commissioner John Tims told a press conference at 9.10pm that New Zealanders and tourists are involved.

A number of the tourists are from the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship, but police cannot confirm nationalities.

Police do not know if there are people on the island alive tonight. The five people dead are people who were taken off the island today. The other 18 rescued all have injuries to some degree.

Update: On 10th Dec. RT reports:
Burn centers across New Zealand are full to capacity as more than two dozen victims are being treated for horrific wounds suffered in a volcanic eruption on White Island, leaving many with burns on over 70 percent of their bodies.

At least 27 of the 31 people injured in the volcanic blast that rocked the island on Monday suffered severe burns covering over two-thirds of their skin, the government said in a statement, noting the possibility that some of the injured will not survive.

"All our burns units are full to capacity. Our plastic surgeons, hospital, anesthetists are doing their best to treat the many who have sustained injuries," said acting Ministry of Health adviser Dr Pete Watson. "Twenty-seven of the 31 have suffered greater than 71 percent body surface burns."

With five already confirmed killed, police said eight people are still missing and likely did not make it, leaving only those who were able to flee immediately among the survivors.

"I would strongly suggest that there is no one that has survived on the island," New Zealand Deputy Commissioner John Tims told reporters, adding: "We are doing everything we can to get back to that island."


Tims also noted that a criminal probe had been opened into the disaster, focused on the "circumstances of death and injuries on White Island," which he said would be carried out alongside a separate investigation by regulatory agency WorkSafe.

Meanwhile less than a day after the volcanic eruption a strong 5.3-magnitude earthquake shook New Zealand's North Island.


Seismograph

5.3-magnitude earthquake hits New Zealand day after fatal volcano eruption

New Zealand quake
© GeoNet
The earthquake struck 25 kilometres south of Gisborne, but was felt across the island just one day after a deadly volcano eruption on White Island
A strong 5.3-magnitude quake shook New Zealand's North Island, just hours after a lethal volcanic eruption killed five and left eight others missing. No damage or casualties have been reported following the latest tremor.

The quake struck at a shallow depth of some 25km (15 miles) around Gisborne on Tuesday, about 150km (93 miles) south of the recently erupted submarine volcano on White Island.

While local news reports said the seism could be felt in neighboring towns - including Cambridge, Hunterville, Dannevirke and Wellington - there are currently no reports of damage or injuries, nor any danger of a tsunami, according to Gisborne Civil Defense Manager Wiremu Tamati.

Comment: White Island Volcano erupts in New Zealand: At least five people dead & cruise ship tourists missing - UPDATE


Attention

Eruption warning for Russian city as volcano Avachinsky sitting on the Pacific ring of fire wakes up

Avachinsky
© Artyom Vinogradov
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city of 180,000 is just 26 km from 'waking' Avachinsky on Pacific's ring of fire.
Avachinsky - also known as Avacha - and its big sister volcano Koryaksky tower over the Kamchatka capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, giving it one of the most spectacular city views anywhere in the world.

Recent days have seen signs of activity on stratovolcano Avachinsky - 2,741 metres (8,993 ft) - prompting warnings to locals and tourists to stay away.

Vulcanarium website warned: 'Today, December 9, early in the morning, the first outbreaks were recorded in the crater of the volcano.

'Avacha has high gas contamination, you cannot get to the top.'

Comment: Another volcano on the ring of fire erupted just today: White Island Volcano erupts in New Zealand: At least five people dead & cruise ship tourists missing - UPDATE


Arrow Down

Backcountry skier killed in northern Colorado avalanche - record or near-record snowfall since September

avalanche
A 29-year-old woman has died in an avalanche while skiing in northern Colorado, where communities along the Rocky Mountains have seen record or near-record snowfall since September.

The unidentified woman from Fort Collins was buried in the powerful slide Sunday, authorities said. Other members of her ski party her dug her from the snow, but found that she wasn't breathing, according to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.


The woman, whose name was not immediately released, was declared dead at the scene.

The avalanche happened at Diamond Peak just north of Rocky Mountain National Park. A 2- to 3-foot (.6- to 9.-meter) sheet of snow, ice and rock plummeted 500 vertical feet (152 meters) over a wide area, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rainfall, floods wreak havoc in Pretoria, South Africa

flood
Heavy rains are a cause for concern as low lying bridges and other areas are flooded and traffic has ground to a halt on various roads in the City of Tshwane.

Tshwane motorists, in particular those driving in the flood prone suburb of Centurion, have been moving at tortoise pace as the rain renders numerous rads unsafe to drive on.

Pedestrians also had their fair share of challenges as many could be seen trying to jump over flooded areas.

Traffic congestion was caused by accidents that occurred on busy roads like the N1 highway through Centurion.


Cloud Precipitation

Severe storm hits Northern California, causing flooding and rock slides

Flooding at 15th Avenue and Wawona Street in San Francisco.
© TWITTER / AGUSTININSF
Flooding at 15th Avenue and Wawona Street in San Francisco.
A severe storm flooded parts of Northern California, including San Francisco, and led to rock slides near Big Sur this weekend. In San Francisco's West Portal neighborhood, torrential rains overwhelmed intersections and waist-deep floodwaters poured into homes, CBS San Francisco reported.

The storm system will track from the Rockies to the Great Lakes through Monday, the National Weather Service said. The storm is expected to bring heavy snow, gusty winds and hazardous travel conditions.

Storm total snowfall of 4 to 8 inches is expected by Monday evening from North Dakota into north-central Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, the National Weather Service said. Some of the snow will be heavy at times, with accumulations approaching 1 foot over northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.


Cloud Precipitation

Delays in citrus and leaf vegetable deliveries due to storms in southern Spain

floods
Heavy and persistent rains and storms, accompanied by hail in some cases, have hit the southern half of Spain's Mediterranean regions: Almeria, Murcia, Alicante, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Between Wednesday and Thursday, the storms have moved towards Castellón and Catalonia.

The worst damages have again been recorded in the Region of Murcia and Alicante, where roads have been cut to traffic and classes have been suspended. The most affected Murcian municipalities have been San Javier and Los Alcázares, where there have been significant floods.

Campo de Cartagena is the area where agriculture has been most affected, even though the rain actually seems to have been beneficial for some producers. Hail has fallen in San Javier, where more than 120 liters per square meter have been recorded.