Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Thai flash floods kill 27 holidaymakers

Flash floods killed at least 27 people and injured more than 20 at three waterfalls in the southern Thai province of Trang on Saturday as they celebrated the Thai New Year, disaster officials said.


US: The weird weather is causing problems for Michigan fruit crops

It is everywhere you look around West Michigan. The snow is an inconvenience, it is a mess. But it is also a threat to the farmers who put fruits and vegetables on your family's table. Growers say there is definitely going to be some damage to the fruit crops, but they don't know how much. The good news is that it won't be as bad as some other states. Down south, some of the fruit crops like peaches and apples are wiped out.

In Kent City, Nels Nyblad grows apples, peaches, plums, apricots and cherries. As far as the weather goes, he says, "I've never seen anything like it." Nyblad is trying to stay positive, but admits that the weird weather is a concern. He's been pulling branches from his trees every day to see if they've been damaged. Some of them are already budding. "They thought it was spring and it turned winter on us again", says Nyblad.

It's that warm spell a few weeks ago and the recent freeze that caused the problems. When the trees got buds and opened up, they were exposed to the cold. Nyblad says "The earliest flowering fruits have been damaged-apricots, plums." Nyblad also expects a smaller crop of peaches. "We may not be able to send semi loads full of them. Suppliers may be limited, but they should be good."


Giant Mice Devouring Island Seabird Chicks, Threatening Extinction

Hordes of giant mice are devouring endangered seabird chicks on a remote South Atlantic island and may be pushing some of the birds to extinction, scientists report.

The carnage has harmed the breeding success of endangered Tristan albatrosses and threatened Atlantic petrels on Gough Island, a British territory a thousand miles (1,600 kilometers) off the coast of South Africa.

The birds' sole breeding ground is home to 22 bird species - 10 million birds in total - and is considered the world's most important seabird colony.

Common house mice were introduced to the island more than a century ago. Now three times larger than normal mice, the invasive rodents likely number more than a million.


Spring Snowstorm Blankets Upper Midwest

More snow fell on parts of the Midwest Thursday, a day after a deadly storm grounded hundreds of flights, postponed a baseball game, iced up roadways and disappointed those longing for the warmth of spring.

A jet trying to land in heavy snow skidded 50 feet off a runway in Traverse City, Mich., early Thursday. The plane remained upright, and the 46 passengers and three crew members were unhurt, Pinnacle Airlines spokesman Phil Reed said.

Six deaths elsewhere were also blamed on the slick conditions.

Magic Wand

Giant Crystal Cave Comes to Light

It's "the Sistine Chapel of crystals," says Juan Manuel García- Ruiz.

The geologist announced this week that he and a team of researchers have unlocked the mystery of just how the minerals in Mexico's Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) achieved their monumental forms.

Buried a thousand feet (300 meters) below Naica mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert, the cave was discovered by two miners excavating a new tunnel for the Industrias Peñoles company in 2000.

The cave contains some of the largest natural crystals ever found: translucent gypsum beams measuring up to 36 feet (11 meters) long and weighing up to 55 tons.


Earthquake Causes Coral Reefs to Die

BANGKOK, Thailand - A 2005 earthquake off the coast of Indonesia raised an island nearly four feet out of the water, causing one of the biggest coral die-offs recorded, scientists said Friday.


Bismarck sees record snowfall

A slow-moving, low-pressure system dumped a record amount of snow on Bismarck and even more on Mandan on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service's Len Peterson reported that total snowfall amounts in the area ranged from 2.8 inches in Linton to 7 inches in Mandan. Snow began accumulating Monday evening, running through Tuesday and into Wednesday, as the system moved southeast into Minnesota and Iowa.

Bismarck received a total of 6.2 inches, 5.5 of those coming Tuesday and eclipsing the single-day snowfall amount of 4.2 inches set in 1945. Halliday, which reported an 8-inch snowfall last week, received another 6.5 inches the past two days. Flasher and New Salem reported 5.8 inches, Hazelton 4.8, Trotters 5.2, Grassy Butte 5.1, Underwood 4.6, Dunn Center 4.5, Wilton and Watford City 4, and Fort Yates 3.

Arrow Down

Heavy crop losses reported in Southeast

Heavy crop losses have been reported throughout the Southeast after last weekend's frigid temperatures, and farmers are bracing for another expected cold snap next week.

In South Carolina, at least 90 percent of the peach crop was destroyed and officials said Wednesday they would seek federal aid.

"This is comparable to a hurricane," Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said of the damage to the state's $40 million-a-year industry. "Growers say we'll be fortunate to get 10 percent of a crop."

In Georgia, farmers and agriculture officials were still assessing the damage, but the weekend freeze may have wiped out more than half the state's peach crop.


Brush Fire Burns Multimillion-Dollar Home In Franklin Canyon

Wind-whipped flames destroyed a multimillion-dollar home and damaged at least two other structures as fire consumed about 15 acres of brush in Franklin Canyon, along Beverly Drive, off Coldwater Canyon.

The fire started at about 1 p.m. in the 1600 block of North Beverly Drive. Fire officials initially reported about 50 acres burned but revised the estimate to 15 acres after surveying the burn area by air.

The blaze broke out after powerful winds toppled power lines, igniting brush behind a residence, Ron Myers of the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Myers said strong winds spread embers onto dry vegetation. Formal evacuations were not ordered.

"I've never seen winds like this," a resident told NBC4. "It's unbelievable. The roads are covered with palm leaves and pine cones. It's a mess."

One massive home appeared to be completely destroyed.

Homeowners in the area scrambled to escape as fire crews rushed in to attack the flames. Other residents tried desperately to get into the area to check on their homes but were stopped by police and fire crews, who had blocked off streets.

Evil Rays

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico, knocks out electricity in Mexico City

A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.0 shook Mexico early on Friday, sending thousands of tourists in Acapulco fleeing into the streets in panic and knocking out electricity as far away as the capital.