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Wed, 20 Nov 2019
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Two men boiled alive as sinkhole swallows their car in Penza, Russia

The two men in the Lada are believed to have been killed almost immediately.
© Getty
The two men in the Lada are believed to have been killed almost immediately.
Two men have died after the car they were driving filled up with scorching hot water after a sinkhole swallowed them in Russia.

The pair were trapped in the vehicle in Penza and died "almost immediately" when 75C water sprayed the car.

A burst hot water pipe under a car park was seen as the cause of the horror.

Distressing images show the car being pulled out of the sinkhole as hot steam from the opening can be seen rising.

Microscope 2

A mysterious disease is striking American beech trees

Some researchers believe a nematode native to Asia is causing a deadly disease in American beech trees.
A mysterious disease is starting to kill American beeches, one of eastern North America's most important trees, and has spread rapidly from the Great Lakes to New England. But scientists disagree about what is causing the ailment, dubbed beech leaf disease. Some have recently blamed a tiny leaf-eating worm introduced from Asia, but others are skeptical that's the whole story.

Regardless of their views, researchers say the outbreak deserves attention. "We're dealing with something really unusual," says Lynn Carta, a plant disease specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Beltsville, Maryland.

American beech (Fagus grandifolia), whose smooth gray trunks can resemble giant elephant legs, can grow to almost 40 meters tall. It is the fifth most common tree species in southern New England and in New York state — and the single most common tree in Washington, D.C. Its annual nut crop provides food for birds, squirrels, and deer.

Comment: It's notable that the wild Beech trees were already suffering from a fungus. What is even more concerning is that cases where pathogens are affecting life on our planet appear to be on the rise, and that includes everything from trees to frogs to deer to humans. One wonders whether these unusual diseases and epidemics are related to the extremes in weather; solar minimum; the influx of cosmic rays; a decrease in immunity; mutation and adaptation; foreign viruses, and so on:


Huge waterspout filmed near Dubrovnik, Croatia

The weather forecast for Dubrovnik for the next two days looks less than promising to say the least. Gale force southerly winds, torrential rain and overcast skies will make sure that locals and tourists will have an umbrella within sight at all times.

Just last week an amazing storm hit the whole Dubrovnik region and one of the extreme weather phenomena was a huge waterspout that appeared between Dubrovnik and Zupa over the Adriatic Sea.

This video of last week's waterspout was sent to us by a reader and shows the sheer height and power of nature. Could we see similar sights over the next two days? The weather conditions would suggest maybe.

Comment: Also pertinent: Record-setting wave recorded in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia


Shallow earthquake of magnitude 6.3 strikes off Mexico's Chiapas

An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck off Mexico's southern state of Chiapas on Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in the earthquake, which the agency said hit at a depth of 26 km (16 miles), and a distance of about 120 km (75 miles) west of the state's Suchiate region.

Earlier, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre monitoring agency had put the quake magnitude at 6.2.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 3 school children in Zimbabwe

Lightning claims over 100 lives every year in Zimbabwe, which holds record for most deaths from single bolt of lightning

Lightning claims over 100 lives every year in Zimbabwe, which holds record for most deaths from single bolt of lightning
Three children were killed by lightning in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East, as heavy rains pounded Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

A herdboy was swept away by a flooded river in Filabusi, and heavy winds blew away roofing sheets at several homes and schools in Matabeleland South.

The three Early Childhood Development (ECD) pupils from Rusike Primary School were heading home when they were struck by lightning, officials said.


Sparks fly as heavy snowfall downs power lines near Italian ski resort

Heavy snowfall saw power lines downed in Bruneck, a town in the Italian province of South Tyrol, on November 17. Two meters of snow caused thousands of outages in the region, and made travel almost impossible.

Bruneck native Andreas Auer captured footage showing downed lines sparking into frightening life having fallen onto trees in the area, which is located at the foot of Kronplatz mountain, a skiing hotspot.

Sharing Auer's footage on Facebook, Martin Ausserdorfe, the mayor of nearby market town Sankt Lorenzen, warned that the situation was "dangerous" for locals.

An avalanche caused large snowdrifts and debris to partially engulf the South Tyrol town of Martell on November 17.

Credit: Andreas Auer via Storyful


Early snow threatens corn, soybean harvest in Ottawa district

Sylvain Quenneville farms in Casselman, Ont.,
© Denis Babin/Radio-Canada
Sylvain Quenneville farms in Casselman, Ont.,
Farmers facing formidable challenge with snow blanketing Ottawa-area fields

During a typical autumn, Sylvain Quenneville would be wrapping up his corn harvest at his farm in Casselman, Ont., east of Ottawa, by now.

But this hasn't been a typical autumn.

The area got about 12 centimetres of snow last week, and Quenneville's equipment isn't built to handle it.

"The thresher can't beat snow," he said in French on Sunday. "We have to wait for the snow to melt ... [or it] will just go through the thresher."

Comment: Related: 'Harvest from hell': 2.7 million acres of canola left buried under snow in the Canadian prairies


Heavy snow in Alps causes avalanches and travel disruptions

Schools and roads were closed on Monday in parts of Austria as heavy snow and rain cause disruption across the Alpine region. Two women were rescued by firefighters after their houses were destroyed in a mudslide.

Schools and roads were closed on Monday in parts of Austria as heavy snow and rain cause disruption.

Two women had to be rescued by firefighters after their houses were destroyed in a mudslide in a town near Salzburg, Austrian news agency APA reported.

One of them was rescued almost immediately, another only after several hours. Both were hospitalized.

Over thirty people were evacuated from their homes in the region of Styria amid concerns over landslides, while the residents of 15 buildings in Carinthia were evacuated as the nearby Gurk river threatened to burst its banks.


Cooling atmosphere: Moon halo captured over Austin, Texas

Moon halo over Austin, TX
© Nick Rober
On Saturday evening, KXAN viewer Nick Rober captured this image. If you look closely, there is a very faint ring around the moon.

What is it?

The ring is referred to as a '22-degree halo' and appears as a light circle around the sun or moon. Why the name? The circle has a radius of ~22°.

What causes it?

Thin, high clouds called 'cirrus clouds' are made up of millions of tiny ice crystals thousands of feet in the atmosphere. Light reflecting off the moon or shining from the sun is refracted, which then creates a visible ring surrounding the sun/moon.

In-Depth: Refraction of light is defined as the bending or splitting of light through a medium. In this case, the light is being bent by the ice crystals in the air that make up the cloud.


Dozens of villages remain cutoff by several feet of snow in Kashmir

Dozens of far-flung and remote villages near the Line of Control (LoC), including border towns of Keran and Karnah, remained cut off from the rest of Kashmir valley for the third successive day on Sunday due to slippery road conditions and accumulation of snow.

Meanwhile, the Kupwara-Machil and Gurez-Bandipora roads in north Kashmir remained closed since November 6 owing to the same reason.

"The Kupwara-Keran and Kupwara-Karnah roads remained closed for the third day on Sunday due to accumulation of about one foot snow," an official of Police Control Room (PCR), Kupwara, said over the phone.

He said the upper reaches in the district received fresh snowfall while rain lashed plains, including Kupwara town during the past 24 hours. "Traffic will resume only after improvement in the weather and clearance of snow on these roads," he said, adding that the snow clearance operation will take a couple of days.