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Sat, 15 May 2021
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Earth Changes

Snowflake Cold

French winemakers count cost of 'worst frost in decades'

Burgundy vines have been set alight to fight against frost
© Etienne Ramousse/Zeppelin/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock
Burgundy vines have been set alight to fight against frost.
Winemakers across France are counting the cost of several nights of frost this week that threaten to decimate grape harvests in some of the country's best-known and prestigious wine-producing regions.

The government is readying an emergency rescue package after rare freezing temperatures that could cause some of the worst damage in decades to crops and vines.

From Bordeaux to Burgundy and the Rhône Valley to Champagne, winemakers were out in their fields on Friday inspecting the destruction.

"It breaks like glass because there's no water inside," said Dominique Guignard, a winemaker in the Graves area near Bordeaux, as he rubbed the first shoots on his vines.

"It's completely dried out, there's no life inside," said Guignard, who heads a group of producers in Graves, which is known for its robust red wine.

Many industry experts say the damage from temperatures of up to -6C may be the worst in decades, partly because the frost followed unseasonably warm weather last week.

Comment: French winemakers light up fields to save the 2021 harvest from early season frosts


Massive power outages strike St Vincent as officials record more volcanic activity

St Vincent volcano eruption
© YouTube/The Telegraph (screen capture)
Massive power outages struck the Caribbean island of St Vincent before dawn on Sunday, as officials recorded more explosive activity at a long-dormant volcano that launched into a series of eruptions.

After remaining quiet for nearly 42 years, La Soufriere rumbled back into life Friday, blanketing the island in ash and permeating the air with the stench of sulphur. The eruptions prompted thousands to flee for safety, with around 16,000 people living in areas under evacuation orders.

Read more on this story: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021...


Covid madness: Can't board rescue vessels until vaccinated

St Vincent Volcano Eruption
© DW
The volcano on the Caribbean Island of St Vincent has erupted. Cruise liners and Ferries are rushing to the scene to evacuate people caught by the eruption - but people are not allowed to board the cruise liners until they receive a Covid vaccination.
Caribbean's St Vincent island volcano erupts after 16,000 people evacuated

Posted Yesterday at 1:37am, updated Yesterday at 2:03am

An explosive eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in the Caribbean has rocked the island of St Vincent following mandatory evacuation orders from the local government.

More than 16,000 residents had been evacuated as volcanic activity increased ahead of the eruption, which took place on Friday morning local time.

Evacuees have been given temporary homes on cruise ships and in safer parts of the island.


Evacuees told to get vaccinated

The new eruption followed mandatory evacuation orders issued on Thursday for people who lived near the volcano.

The pandemic could hamper evacuation efforts.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a press conference that people had to be vaccinated if they went aboard a cruise ship or were granted temporary refuge on another island.

He said two Royal Caribbean cruise ships were expected to arrive by Friday and a third one in the coming days, as well as two Carnival cruise ships by Friday.

Source: - Caribbean's St Vincent island volcano erupts after 16,000 people evacuated
I don't blame the rescuers - they are doing the right thing, putting their very expensive ships in danger to rescue people. Volcanic ash could easily cause millions of dollars worth of damage just by landing on the ships, or by getting sucked into the engine air intakes. So they deserve recognition for their courage and compassion.

What I blame is the world's obsession with Covid.

Snowflake Cold

Frozen Alaska sees cold records plummet as Arctic grip aims for Northwest

Low temperature records fell throughout parts of Alaska this past week, and the same intense cold has began to infiltrate the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The historic cold blast settling into Alaska at the end of the week sent temperatures plummeting far below zero, so cold, in fact, as to topple several long-standing records.

Fairbanks dropped to a staggering 27 degrees below zero on Friday, smashing the century-old record of 16 below zero from 1911.

Cities like McGrath and King Salmon also dropped below zero, and set new records.

Even in cities like Anchorage, where the temperature didn't drop below zero, the mercury in thermometers did fall just enough to still break the daily record from 1986.


'Antarctic blast' brings early heavy snow to parts of Australia

An image posted to social media on Sunday from Cradle Mountain, Tasmania with the caption 'We woke to the most beautiful winter wonderland this morning'

An image posted to social media on Sunday from Cradle Mountain, Tasmania with the caption 'We woke to the most beautiful winter wonderland this morning'
Millions of Australians are shivering through the coldest day of the year as an icy front bringing an 'Antarctic blast' sweeps across the country's southeast.

The cold front moved in over Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia on Saturday, bringing freezing conditions, low-level snow, heavy swells and the first frost of the year.

Melbourne on Sunday woke to its coldest morning since October 20 last year according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with the mercury dipping to 8.3C.

Arrow Down

Giant landslide in Peru destroys national road

Giant landslide in Peru destroys national road on April 7, 2021.


Dead whale shark washed ashore in New South Wales, Australia

The carcass of a whale shark found washed up on Terrace Beach by regular holiday visitors.

The carcass of a whale shark found washed up on Terrace Beach by regular holiday visitors.
The remains of what appears to be a juvenile whale shark have washed up on Terrace Beach near Eden on Tuesday April 6.

Whale sharks are the largest fish species in the world and can grow to 10-15 metres, but Matt Azzopardi and his family who reported it to Fisheries and National Parks measured it to around four metres.

"It was an incredible experience - we thought it was still alive coz it was rolling in the surf," Matt said.

"It was quite surreal to see it, I paced it out myself to a conservative three and a half metres to over four metres."

Fisheries have since measured it to almost exactly five metres.

Matt made the find with his partner Allison Falzon and their two sons Mason and Jakim, sharing video to their Facebook page Shotgun Odyssey - Travel Oz.


Significant 6.0 earthquake hits off East Java, Indonesia - 8 dead, dozens hurt (UPDATE)

Pieces of roof tiles and other debris litter the ground at a school following an earthquake in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, April 10, 2021.
© AP
Pieces of roof tiles and other debris litter the ground at a school following an earthquake in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, April 10, 2021.
An intermediate magnitude 6.0 earthquake was reported early afternoon near Blitar, East Java, Indonesia.

According to the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the quake hit on Saturday 10 April 2021 at 2:00 pm local time at an intermediate depth of 87 km.

The exact magnitude, epicenter, and depth of the quake might be revised within the next few hours or minutes as seismologists review data and refine their calculations, or as other agencies issue their report.

Our monitoring service identified a second report from the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) which listed the quake at magnitude 5.9.

Comment: Update: April 11, report by AP:
8 Dead, Dozens Hurt as Indonesia Quake Shakes East Java

A strong earthquake on Indonesia's main island of Java killed eight people, including a woman whose motorcycle was hit by falling rocks, and damaged more than 1,300 buildings, officials said Sunday. It did not trigger a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.0 quake struck off the island's southern coast at 2 p.m. Saturday. It was centered 45 kilometers south of Sumberpucung town of Malang District in East Java province, at a depth of 82 kilometers.

Rahmat Triyono, the head of Indonesia's earthquake and tsunami center, said the undersea tremblor did not have the potential to cause a tsunami. Still, he urged people to stay away from slopes of soil or rocks that have the potential for landslides.

This was the second deadly disaster to hit Indonesia this week, after Tropical Cyclone Seroja caused a severe downpour Sunday that killed at least 174 people and left 48 still missing in East Nusa Tenggara province. Some victims were buried in either mudslides or solidified lava from a volcanic eruption in November, while others were swept away by flash floods. Thousands of homes with damaged.

Saturday's quake caused falling rocks to kill a woman on a motorcycle and badly injured her husband in East Java's Lumajang district, said Raditya Jati, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

He said about 1,189 homes and 150 public facilities, including schools, hospitals and government offices, were damaged. Rescuers retrieved four bodies from the rubble in Lumajang's Kali Uling village. Three people were also confirmed killed by the quake in Malang district.

Television reports showed people running in panic from malls and buildings in several cities in East Java province.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 270 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In January, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake killed at least 105 people and injured nearly 6,500, while more than 92,000 were displaced, after striking Mamuju and Majene districts in West Sulawesi province.

Ice Cube

Severe storms drop baseball-size hail across Brazos Valley, Texas

Large hail in Texas
© YouTube/CBSDFW (screen capture)
Severe thunderstorms dropped large hail stones the size of baseballs Thursday night across the Brazos Valley, damaging cars and homes.

Images and videos from the region showed the hail as it pelted vehicles and left dents in their wake.

Police cars on the scene of an earlier mass shooting were among the damaged cars, according to KBTX-TV.

The flagship campus of Texas A&M University in College Station was covered in ping pong-size hail after the storms passed.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued for the region as the system moved eastward.


Shallow 6.0-magnitude earthquake strikes off Papua New Guinea - 3rd major quake within 5 hours

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 jolted 195 km N of Madang, Papua New Guinea, at 1138 GMT on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 3.4527 degrees south latitude and 145.7212 degrees east longitude.

Comment: Details of the other two: 6.1-magnitude earthquake hits off Sarangani, Philippines

Significant 6.0 earthquake hits off East Java, Indonesia