Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Thousands Shiver As Storm Toll Hits 51

BUFFALO, Mo. - Shoppers were reduced to picking up supplies by flashlight Tuesday in the few places open in this town of 2,800, as the death toll from a winter storm grew to 51 in nine states.

Three shelters in Buffalo - about 35 miles north of Springfield in hard-hit Missouri - housed nearly a tenth of its population Monday night, and officials said power might not be restored until next week.

The town lost all its power by Saturday. Water towers ran dry Sunday, and water service was restored only late Monday, after the National Guard hooked a generator up to a pumping station.

"There are no services," Buffalo Mayor Jerry Hardesty said. "I've talked to residents who have lived here 50 years, and nobody can remember it ever being this bad."

Cloud Lightning

Big freeze hits $1bn crop

Three nights of freezing temperatures have destroyed up to three-quarters of California's $1bn citrus crop, as a storm continued to batter the US, bringing down power lines, making roads treacherous and leaving 41 dead.

"This is one of those freezes that, unfortunately, we'll all remember," said AG Kawamura, the California state food and agriculture secretary, adding that damage had been spread across the state in places usually immune to freezes.

The latest freeze is likely to surpass the damage done by a three-day cold snap in December 1998 that destroyed 85% of California's citrus crop, a loss valued then at $700m (£360m), he said.

Cloud Lightning

Ice plays havoc with U.S. power grid

SAN FRANCISCO - Emergency crews scrambled Tuesday to restore electricity to about 80,000 customers nationwide that are still in the dark following a series of ice storms that snapped trees and power lines from the Southwest Plains to New England.

The onslaught of freezing rain left little doubt that it is January, putting to rest any notion that the balmy weather in late December could last long.

Cloud Lightning

Schwarzenegger Seeks Disaster Aid For Freeze Ruined Crops

FRESNO, Calif. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the federal government Tuesday for disaster aid because of an ongoing cold snap that has destroyed nearly $1 billion worth of California citrus, and industry officials said shoppers will feel the sting through higher prices for oranges, lemons and other produce.

Bizarro Earth

5.4 Earthquake strikes off Taiwan coast

TAIPEI, Taiwan - An earthquake struck off of Taiwan's east coast Tuesday, the Central Weather Bureau said. No damage or injuries were reported, and no tsunami warning was issued.

The 5.4-magnitude quake was centered about 100 miles southeast of the capital of Taipei, the weather bureau said.

Bizarro Earth

5.7 Earthquake strikes central Japan, causes no casualties, damage

TOKYO, January - An earthquake measuring 5.7 points on the open-ended Richter scale was registered in the central part of the Japanese main island of Honshu, the Japanese meteorological agency said.

Bizarro Earth

Microbe experiment suggests we could all be Martians

Life on Earth may have announced its arrival billions of years ago with a whistle and a thump, according to planetary scientists.
Experiments by an international team of researchers back a controversial theory that life flourished on Earth after primitive organisms arrived aboard a meteorite, itself gouged from Mars by a giant impact.

The theory supposes that life was able to gain a tentative foothold on the red planet as it cooled down and became more hospitable several billion years ago. At the time, the planet's surface was regularly bombarded with rocky detritus from the asteroid belt, knocking clumps of rock and the microbes living on them into space, where the gravity of the sun brought them hurtling towards Earth.

Cloud Lightning

Ice Storm lashes much of U.S. - 20 dead

Waves of freezing rain, sleet and snow since Friday have caused at least 11 deaths in Oklahoma, six in Missouri, two in Texas and one in New York.

Better Earth

Seeking Approval, Bush set for climate change U-turn

George Bush is preparing to make a historic shift in his position on global warming when he makes his State of the Union speech later this month, say senior Downing Street officials.

Tony Blair hopes that the new stance by the United States will lead to a breakthrough in international talks on climate change and that the outlines of a successor treaty to the Kyoto agreement, the deal to curb emissions of greenhouse gases which expires in 2012, could now be thrashed out at the G8 summit in June.

Better Earth

U.S., Canada Weigh Great Lakes Cleanup

When Canada and the United States approved the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972, the running joke in Cleveland was that anyone unlucky enough to fall into the Cuyahoga River would decay rather than drown.

The Cuyahoga, which meanders through the city before reaching Lake Erie, helped inspire the cleanup initiative by literally catching fire three years earlier. The lower end of the 112-mile-long waterway was a foul brew of oil, sludge, sewage and chemicals. It made embarrassing headlines when its surface flamed for about 30 minutes.

© unknown
Cuyahoga in Flames