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Tue, 03 Oct 2023
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Earth Changes

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills trio in Odisha, India

In a tragic incident, three persons, including two minor boys, were killed on Sunday afternoon after a lightning struck them when they were watching a football match in an open area in Birual village under Brahmani Tarang police limits here.

The deceased were Bisal Bilung (16), a native of Kerlakhaman, Sunit Oram (17) from Nalaghati village, and Santi Prakash Lakra (30) from Gopadih Kendutola.


6.3-magnitude quake hits 180 km N of Hirara, Japan - USGS

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 jolted 180 km N of Hirara, Japan at 13:21 GMT on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 183.5 km, was initially determined to be at 26.43 degrees north latitude and 125.30 degrees east longitude.

Snowflake Cold

Factors combine to indicate a powerful Arctic outbreak (polar vortex) could strike this winter

typical polar vortex
© Electroverse
Polar Vortex at around 30 km (18.5 miles) during Winter. Temperatures drop quickly as you approach its cold inner core.
Winter 2023-24 is approaching, and a new Polar Vortex is strengthening in the Stratosphere over the North Pole.

In recent years, the phrase 'Polar Vortex' has been adopted by the climate cabal to mean descending Arctic air masses. In this article it will reflect the strength of the stratospheric polar circulation which, whether it be weak or strong, plays a crucial part in our Winter weather.

As we head into autumn, the Sun gets lower and the polar regions begin to cool as there is less energy to fuel them.

However, as polar temperatures drop, the atmosphere further south remains relatively warm. This causes a strong temperature difference between the polar and sub-tropical regions, and a large low-pressure (cyclonic) circulation starts to develop across the Northern Hemisphere, extending from the surface layers to high up into the atmosphere — the 'Polar Vortex'.


Cars washed away, power out in several areas as heavy rains and winds batter Cape Town, South Africa

Nature bared its fangs in Cape-Town and parts of the Eastern Cape on Saturday as heavy rains caused wide-spread destruction and left several areas without electricity. In Gordon's Bay, a high tide swept away cars as panicked residents could do nothing but watch.

Torrential rains have left a trail of destruction in some parts in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape after rivers were left overflowing.

In Cape Town, a number of cars were carried by freak waves in Bikini Beach, Gordon's Bay after a high tide breached the road and caused damage to vehicles and other infrastructure.

Cloud Precipitation

Street furniture washed away as floods hit Spain's northeast

Torrents of flood water rush down a street in L'Ametlla de Mar near the city of Tarragona. Video credit: Arnau Calvet Roura.


Atlantic storm Lee brings fierce winds, surf to Canada and New England - 1 man killed in Maine

Post-tropical storm Lee causes sea foam at Nova Scotia's Lawrencetown Beach Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.

Post-tropical storm Lee causes sea foam at Nova Scotia's Lawrencetown Beach Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.

Atlantic storm Lee pummeled a large swath of New England and Maritime Canada with destructive winds, rough surf and torrential rains that toppled trees, flooded roadways and cut power to tens of thousands on Saturday. One person was killed in Maine when a tree limb fell on his vehicle.


Nearly 3,000 dead after powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Morocco - UPDATES

A damaged vehicle is pictured in the historic city of Marrakech
A damaged vehicle is pictured in the historic city of Marrakech
At least 632 people were killed in Morocco after a powerful earthquake struck late Friday night near Marrakech, according to state-run television.

The death toll has surged from the earlier 296 dead and 153 injured figures that were given by the country's interior ministry. Most deaths were reported from Morocco's hard-to-reach mountainous areas, according to Reuters.

The epicentre of the quake was reported to be at the High Atlas mountains in the Ighil area, about 70km south of Marrakech.

It was said to be about 18km below the Earth's surface by the US Geological Survey (USGS), while Morocco's own National Seismic Monitoring and Alert Network, estimated it to be 11km below. Shallow quakes such as this are said to be more dangerous.

The tremors, measured at a 7.2 magnitude by Morocco's own seismic agency, toppled several buildings across cities and sent people running from their homes late at night.

Comment: Update

The BBC reports:
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.8 has struck central Morocco, killing at least 1,000 people and causing severe damage in several areas.

Residents rushed into the streets when the quake struck at 23:11 local time on Friday.

"Violent" tremors were felt in several areas of the country from Casablanca to Marrakesh, where many buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged.

Many of the victims are believed to be in hard-to-reach mountain areas.

The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, 71km (44 miles) south-west of Marrakesh.

Many people are still believed to be under the rubble and rescue efforts are under way. Several bodies have already been recovered.

Hospitals in Marrakesh have seen an influx of injured people, and the authorities have called on residents to donate blood.

Morocco's interior ministry said the earthquake killed people in the provinces and municipalities of al-Haouz, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, adding that more than 1,200 had been injured.

In Marrakesh some buildings have collapsed and the damage is particularly severe in parts of the Medina, a Unesco World Heritage site.

Dust could be seen surrounding the minaret of the historic Kutubiyya mosque, a major tourist attraction near the old city's main square, while the historic Jemaa el Fnaa mosque partly collapsed.

The Jemaa el Fnaa mosque in Marrakesh suffered damages, especially to its tower
The Jemaa el Fnaa mosque in Marrakesh suffered damages, especially to its tower
Resident Rashid Ben Arabi rushed to his car in Marrakesh minutes after the earthquake struck the city last night.

He quickly headed with his wife and one-year-old daughter to the town of Amizmiz - about 56km (35 miles) from Marrakesh - to make sure his father and mother were still alive.

He said the roads were full as everyone fled the city amid complete darkness and a power outage.

"As soon as I entered my town, I saw people in a hysterical state, crying and screaming, and everyone was looking for their families," he said.

"I saw a man lying on the ground by the rubble of his house; he could hear the screams of his two children trapped under the destroyed building, but he couldn't do anything to help them; rescue teams hadn't yet arrived at the scene."

Rashid eventually found his parents who were safe and sound but wrapped in blankets and sleeping in the street.

They were among the many people who spent the night out in the open as the Moroccan government had warned everyone not to go back into their homes in case of severe aftershocks.

A 4.9 aftershock was recorder 19 minutes after the earthquake.

The extent of the damage in mountain villages is instead unknown, but it is believed to be widespread.
Update September 10

The Sunday World reports:
Over 2,000 people have been confirmed dead in an earthquake in Morocco and the toll is expected to rise as rescuers struggled Saturday to reach hard-hit remote areas.

A rare, powerful quake struck Morocco, sending people racing from their beds into the streets and toppling buildings in mountainous villages and ancient cities not built to withstand such force.

The magnitude 6.8 quake, the biggest to hit the North African country in 120 years, sent people fleeing their homes in terror and disbelief late Friday. One man said dishes and wall hangings began raining down, and people were knocked off their feet. The quake brought down walls made from stone and masonry, covering whole communities with rubble.
Update September 14

AP reports:
The building where Naima Ait Brahim Ouali lived in a third-story apartment with her five children was one of many that were destroyed by the earthquake that killed nearly 3,000 people in Morocco last week.

A house cleaner, she and her daughter fell down the stairs as the quake tore off the building's top floor and laid waste to much of the rest of their neighborhood in the town of Amizmiz, near the epicenter.

Like children in many parts of the world, Ait Brahim Quali's youngest had just started their school year. Now, relocated with the rest of the Sourejdid neighborhood to a tent city in the town center, fear sets in at around 11 p.m. each night — the time the earthquake happened last Friday.

"They saw death," she said of her children, who range in age from 10 to 25. One of her daughters now has nightmares.

The displaced family is one of many in Morocco wondering what their future holds, particularly as autumn approaches and the nights get colder. Though many villagers are being provided with food and water, officials said it could take five or six years to rebuild Atlas Mountain communities like Amizmiz, which is more than an hour's drive from the closest big city, Marrakech.

The death toll from the 6.8 magnitude quake stood at 2,946 on Wednesday, with several thousand injuries. The government doesn't release the number of deaths by community, but in Amizmiz, everyone seems to know at least someone who was killed.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes kill 7 in Yemen

Lightning strikes have killed seven people in Yemen's northwestern province of Hodeidah in the past 24 hours, local health authorities said on Saturday.

The victims are six women and a man in the Al-Luhayyah and Az-Zuhrah districts in the northern part of the province.

This is the latest in a series of similar reported accidents across the country during this rainy season.

Yemen's National Center of Meteorology issued a warning to citizens in several provinces, including Hodeidah, about thunderstorms, heavy rains, and floods.

Cloud Precipitation

Storm Daniel hit Libya with torrential rain - 11,300 dead after 2 dams breached, further 10,100 missing -16 inches of rain in 24 hours (UPDATES)

The Daniel cyclonic system made landfall in Libya during the night with sub-tropical characteristics, and near Benghazi. Daniel is part of the depression structure which in recent days has caused historic rainfall in Greece, with accumulations exceeding 800mm, but also involving Turkey and Bulgaria.

There is a weather alert in Libya for the passage of Daniel where the government has ordered the suspension of work activities until Monday. Tripoli was also indirectly involved on Saturday and was flooded by strong storms, up to 48mm in Misurata.

Comment: Update September 11

Gulf News reports:
2,000 feared dead in Libya floods caused by Mediterranean storm Daniel, PM says

A man being swept away by flood waters and submerged cars in Al Bayda.

A man being swept away by flood waters and submerged cars in Al Bayda.
The head of one of Libya's rival governments said on Monday that 2,000 people are feared dead in flooding that swept through the eastern parts of the north African nation.

In a phone interview with Al Masar television station Monday, Prime Minister Ossama Hamad said that 2,000 were feared dead in the eastern city of Derna, and thousands of others are reported missing.

He said the floods have swept away entire neighbourhoods in Derna, which has been declared a disaster zone, after the country was hit by Mediterranean storm Daniel.

"This is besides the massive material damage that struck public and private properties," a source told AFP.

The confirmed death toll from the weekend flooding stood at 38, according to health authorities. But the tally did not include Derna, the worst hit city, which had become inaccessible.

Video by Derna residents posted online showed major devastation. Entire residential blocks areas were erased along Wadi Derna, a river that runs down from the mountains through the city centre. Multi-story apartment buildings once well back from the river were partially collapsed into the mud.

Hundreds of residents were still believed to be trapped in difficult-to-reach areas as rescuers, backed by the army, were trying to come to their aid.

East Libyan authorities had "lost contact with nine soldiers during rescue operations", Mohamed Massoud, a spokesman for the Benghazi-based administration in Libya said.

Footage on social media showed people stranded on the roofs of their vehicles while trying get help in heavy floods as Storm Daniel hit the cities of Benghazi, Sousse, Al Bayda, Al Marj and Derna.

"We were asleep, and when we woke up, we found water besieging the house. We are inside and trying to get out," Derna resident Ahmad Mohammad told Reuters by phone on Monday.

Search and rescue operations were ongoing, witnesses said.

Essam Abu Zeriba, the interior minister of the east Libya government, said more than 5,000 people were expected to be missing in Derna. He said many of the victims were swept away towards the Mediterranean.

In a telephone interview on the Saudi-owned satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, he urged local and international agencies to rush to help the city.

State of emergency

Authorities declared a state of extreme emergency, closing schools and stores and imposing a curfew.

Four major oil ports in Libya, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Es Sidra, were closed from Saturday evening for three days, two oil engineers told Reuters.

The prime minister of the interim government in Tripoli, Abdul Hamid Dbeiba, said on Sunday he had directed all state agencies to immediately deal with the damage and floods in eastern cities.

The United Nations in Libya said it was following the storm closely and would "provide urgent relief assistance in support of response efforts at local and national levels".

The Libyan Red Crescent said it lost contact with one of its workers as he attempted to help a stuck family in Bayda.

Dozens of others were reported missing, and authorities fear they could have died in the floods that destroyed homes and other properties in several towns in eastern Libya, according to local media.

Update September 13

The Financial Times reports:
More than 5,000 bodies recovered in Libya flood disaster

Death toll expected to rise after Storm Daniel devastates eastern city

More than 5,300 bodies have been recovered from the eastern Libyan city devastated by floods that swept away buildings, roads and bridges, according to a Libyan official.

Hichem Abu Chkiouat, civil aviation minister in the administration that runs eastern Libya, told Reuters the death toll was expected to rise as the "sea is constantly dumping dozens of bodies" in Derna, on Libya's Mediterranean coast.

The city of 100,000 people was the worst hit after Storm Daniel struck the north African country at the weekend. The floods in Derna had been exacerbated by the collapse of two dams, officials said, with torrents of water flowing through the city and destroying entire districts.

Officials in Libya, a dysfunctional state with rival governments in the east and west, have given varying numbers for the death toll as they seek to recover bodies hidden beneath rubble and mud. But thousands of people are believed to have perished. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Tuesday that 10,000 people were thought to be missing.

Officials have said rescue workers have struggled to reach parts of Derna because main roads had been washed away and turned into rivers. Electricity and communications within the city were also cut.

Videos and images posted on social media showed huge destruction, with buildings reduced to rubble and vehicles overturned. Corpses in plastic body bags were lined up on the ground.

The International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday that more than 30,000 people had been displaced by the flooding.

Update September 15

Al Jazeera reports:
Flooding death toll soars to 11,300 in Libya's coastal city of Derna

A further 10,100 people are reported missing in Libya's Mediterranean city after a storm caused devastating flooding.

The death toll in Libya's coastal city of Derna has soared to 11,300 as search efforts continue following a massive flood fed by the breaching of two dams in heavy rains, the Libyan Red Crescent said.

Marie el-Drese, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Libya secretary-general, told The Associated Press news agency another 10,100 people are reported missing in the Mediterranean city. Health authorities previously put the death toll in Derna at 5,500. The storm also killed about 170 people elsewhere in the country.

The mayor of Derna, Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi, said the tally could climb to 20,000 given the number of neighbourhoods that were washed out.

The flooding swept away entire families in Derna on Sunday night and exposed vulnerabilities in the oil-rich country that has been mired in conflict since a 2011 uprising that toppled long-ruling dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"Within seconds the water level suddenly rose," recounted one injured survivor who said he was swept away with his mother in the late-night ordeal before they both managed to scramble into an empty building downstream.

"The water was rising with us until we got to the fourth floor," the unidentified man said from his hospital bed, in testimony published by the Benghazi Medical Center.

"We could hear screams. From the window, I saw cars and bodies being carried away by the water. It lasted an hour or an hour and a half - but for us, it felt like a year."

Tariq al-Kharaz, an interior ministry spokesman, put the number of deaths in Derna far lower at more than 3,000.

"The catastrophe is massive and as a result access to many areas is not possible. Many areas suffered total damage. Many dead bodies are still under the debris, others washed away into the sea," al-Kharaz told Al Jazeera.

The storm also killed about 170 people in other parts of eastern Libya, including the towns of Bayda, Susa, Um Razaz and Marj, Health Minister Othman Abduljalil said.

Emergency workers sifting through the mud and rubble are still hopeful of finding survivors, IFRC said on Friday.

"The hope is there, is always there, to find people alive," said Tamer Ramadan, head of the group's rescue effort in the North African country.

Bodies buried as search mission continues

Derna has begun burying its dead, mostly in mass graves, said Abduljalil.

More than 3,000 bodies were buried by Thursday morning while another 2,000 were still being processed. Most of the dead were buried in mass graves outside Derna, while others were transferred to nearby towns and cities.

Abduljalil said rescue teams are still searching wrecked buildings in the city centre, and divers are combing the sea off Derna.

Untold numbers could be buried under drifts of mud and debris, including overturned cars and chunks of concrete that rise up to 4 metres (13 feet) high. Rescuers have struggled to bring in heavy equipment as the floods washed out or blocked roads leading to the area.

"This disaster was violent and brutal," said Yann Fridez, head of the Libya delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which had a team in Derna when the floodwaters hit.

"A wave 7 metres [23 feet] high wiped out buildings and washed infrastructure into the sea. Now family members are missing, dead bodies are washing back up on shore, and homes are destroyed."

ICRC is distributing 6,000 body bags to help authorities and the Libyan Red Crescent Society "ensure dignified treatment of the dead".

The World Health Organization and other aid groups on Friday called on authorities in Libya to stop burying flood victims in mass graves.

"We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations," said Dr Kazunobu Kojima, medical officer for biosafety and biosecurity.


Woman, 83, dies after apparent bear attack in Iwate Prefecture, Japan

An 83-year-old woman died after apparently being attacked by a bear on Aug. 9.

A local mushroom hunter found the bleeding woman around 4:50 p.m., lying by a dirt road near a forest.

The woman had suffered head injuries but was still conscious enough to say the word "bear," police said.

The mushroom hunter contacted the woman's son, who called an ambulance. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she was confirmed dead.

Comment: Bear attacks in Japan hit record high