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Sat, 25 Mar 2023
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Earth Changes


Unchartered territory: Icy-cold waterspout forms over Vermont lake in dead of winter - Media names it 'steam devil'

A steam devil was seen churning over Lake Champlain from Burlington, Vermont, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.

A steam devil was seen churning over Lake Champlain from Burlington, Vermont, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.
Record-low temperatures chilled New England on Friday, leading to a cold-weather phenomenon that's rarely seen in the United States.

Comment: Er, how about never-before-seen?! At least, not in the modern era...

A handful of folks in Burlington, Vermont, caught sight of a funnel over Lake Champlain Friday afternoon, but this was no waterspout. The funnel instead drew in steam fog, also referred to as sea fog, creating what is referred to as a "steam devil."

Comment: Oh 'tis referred to as that, eh? Or did y'all just make that up on the spot?!

Comment: Right!...

Clearly, they don't know what they're talking about.

More likely, this is yet another manifestation of differing electric potential between surface and atmospheric layers of the planet.

Cloud Precipitation

Chile - Floods in north as wildfires blaze in southern regions

Flooded roads in Calama, Chile, February 2023
© Government of Calama
Flooded roads in Calama, Chile, February 2023
Dozens of families were left isolated after flash floods cut roads in El Loa Province in the region of Antofagasta, northern Chile, on 04 February 2023.

The local government reported heavy rain and flooding in several parts of the province. Around 50 families were left isolated in the town of Lasana after damaging floods washed away parts of the road network. Areas of the city of Calama were also affected and the important road connecting Calama to San Pedro de Atacama was blocked.

Videos shared on Social Media showed homes and streets inundated and water cascading down mountainsides.

Bizarro Earth

Buffalo, New York, area is hit with the strongest earthquake in 40 years

Buffalo NY earthquake
A magnitude-3.8 earthquake was felt in Buffalo, N.Y., on Feb. 6, 2023.
A 3.8-magnitude earthquake struck Monday morning near Buffalo, New York, the strongest recorded in the area in 40 years.

The quake hit 1.24 miles east-northeast of West Seneca, New York, with a depth of 1.86 miles around 6:15 a.m., according to the United States Geological Survey.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said no damage reports have been received so far in West Seneca, a suburb of Buffalo that sits near the U.S.-Canada border.

He added he spoke with the Erie County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services' Deputy Commissioner Gregory J. Butcher, who said a "confirmed quake was felt as far north as Niagara Falls and south to Orchard Park."

"It felt like a car hit my house in Buffalo. I jumped out of bed," Poloncarz said.

Yaareb Altaweel, a seismologist at the National Earthquake Information Center, said Northeast earthquakes "happen all the time" and quakes can strike anywhere at any time.


Turkey hit by second major earthquake, magnitude 7.5 - UPDATE: Turkey/Syria rocked by third quake, magnitude 6.0

Turkey has been hit by a second huge earthquake

The Turkish city of Hatay is seen after Monday morning's quake, February 6, 2023, levelled buildings across the region
Thousands are feared dead after Turkey was hit by a second massive earthquake, just hours after an earlier catastrophic quake killed more than 1,900 people and plunged the region into an unfolding humanitarian crisis.

The initial 7.8-magnitude night-time tremor, followed hours later by a slightly smaller one, wiped out entire sections of major Turkish cities in a region filled with millions of people who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.

The later 7.5 magnitude quake struck at 1.24pm (1024 GMT) two-and-a-half miles southeast of the town of Ekinozu and around 60 miles north of the first quake that has wrought devastation across Turkey and Syria.

Comment: About 9 hours earlier: Devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hits Turkey, numerous aftershocks including a 6.7 - at least 2,300 killed

Aftershocks continue to cause damage:

UPDATE 23/02/06: The Republican World.com reports:
A powerful earthquake of 6.0 magnitude hit Turkey at 12:02 UTC, marking the third major jolt in 24 hours, according to the US Geological Survey. The latest quake hit Turkey's central region just when the middle eastern nation was only beginning to pick up the pieces of the long trail of destruction left behind by a 7.8 earthquake that hit earlier in the day and claimed the lives of over 1,500 people.

The earthquake, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the "biggest disaster since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake", was quickly followed by major aftershocks of 7.7 magnitude and 6.0, the latest.

At least 1,014 people have died and 7,003 people were injured following the earthquake in Turkey, as per Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD).

Earthquake knocks out power and internet connectivity

Following the series of calamities striking Turkey, the country has been pushed into widespread power and internet outages, thus affecting crucial communications.

"A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has knocked out power and internet connectivity in parts of southern #Turkey; the impact to communications may affect the public's ability to seek assistance, with hundreds of casualties reported," tweeted NetBlocks, a cybersecurity watchdog.

Addressing a press conference shortly after the first earthquake hit, Erdogan urged the people of Turkey to unite to overcome the calamity that has reduced the southeastern regions to rubble.

"Everyone is putting their heart and soul into efforts, although the winter season, cold weather and the earthquake happening during the night make things more difficult," he said.

"We do not know how high the casualty numbers will go as efforts to lift the debris continue in several buildings in the earthquake zone. Today is a day for 85 million to be together as one heart," he added.

Snowflake Cold

The New Pause lengthens again: 101 months and counting ...

warming pause
As the third successive year of la Niña settles into its stride, the New Pause has lengthened by another month (and very nearly by two months). There has been no trend in the UAH global mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies since September 2014: 8 years 5 months and counting.

As always, the New Pause is not a prediction: it is a measurement. It represents the farthest back one can go using the world's most reliable global mean temperature dataset without finding a warming trend.

The sheer frequency and length of these Pauses provide a graphic demonstration, readily understandable to all, that It's Not Worse Than We Thought - that global warming is slow, small, harmless and, on the evidence to date at any rate, strongly net-beneficial.

Comment: See also:

Arrow Down

Two killed, one missing after avalanche in Himachal Pradesh, India

Representative Image
Representative image
Two labourers were killed and another is feared trapped under the snow after an avalanche hit the Shinkula-Darcha road in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, officials said on Monday.

The avalanche hit Chika village on Sunday evening, they said.

Three labourers were buried under the snow along with snow cutters in the avalanche, the officials said.

A team comprising police personnel, health officials and district disaster management authority members rushed to the spot and started the rescue operation, they said.

The bodies of Ram Budha from Nepal and Rakesh from Chamba have been recovered. The third labourer, Passang Chhering Lama (27), a resident of Nepal, is missing, according to the state emergency operation centre.

The rescue operation was stopped at night as the temperature and visibility dropped. It will resume on Monday morning, the officials said.

Snowflake Cold

Snow and winter storms cut power, disrupt traffic across the Balkans

Gale-force winds and snowstorms closed roads and left more than 25,000 households in Serbia without power on Sunday, while fallen trees disrupted traffic in neighboring Croatia and Montenegro.

In Croatia, a red alert was issued for the regions along the Adriatic coast due to north winds estimated to reach 130 kilometers per hour.

Authorities in Montenegro's coastal town of Budva warned citizens to stay indoors after strong winds on Saturday destroyed a school roof, brought down trees and lamp posts, sank a tourist boat and disrupted traffic along the coast.

Cloud Precipitation

Fiji - Evacuations after floods in Northern Division

Floods in Seaqaqa, Fiji, February 2023.
© Fiji Roads Authority
Floods in Seaqaqa, Fiji, February 2023.
The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in Fiji reported flooding in areas of the country's Northern Division after heavy rain from 03 February 2023.

Roads were swamped and streets and buildings were inundated in Savusavu and Labasa on 03 February 2023. Evacuation centres were opened and as of 04 February, were accommodating 350 people from 116 households, according to NDMO. Fiji Roads Authority said several roads were flooded and impassable.

Fijian Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) reported one person died after trying to cross a flooded river at the Nayalayala settlement in Taveuni.

Other areas of the country have also seen heavy rainfall in recent days. According to figures from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 24 hours to 03 February, 74 mm of rain fell on the island of Rotuma and 76 mm fell on Lakeba Island. The village of Yasawa-i-Rara recorded 81 mm of rain during the same period. Nausori recorded 69 mm of rain in 24 hours to 05 February.

Bizarro Earth

Devastating 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southern Turkey - Numerous Aftershocks, Including a 6.7M - Thousands Killed in Turkey and Syria

Comment: Around 6,000 buildings - many of them residential - have collapsed, burying tens or even hundreds of thousands of people under the rubble. The combined death toll for Turkey and Syria - as of 21:30 CET on 6 Feb 2023 - is 2,700...

Update 7 February 2023

As of Tuesday evening local time, the govts of Türkiye and Syria have updated the number of casualties to a combined 6,246 dead and 33,226 injured - of which 812 fatalities and 1,449 injuries occurred in northern Syria.

Update 8 February 2023

As of Wednesday morning, media reports suggest that the combined death toll is poised to surpass 10,000...

earthquake turkey
© Rami Al Sayed/Agence France-Presse/Getty
A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Türkiye early Monday morning, followed by several powerful aftershocks that were felt all across the region. The jolts caused widespread destruction, knocking down multiple residential buildings, according to disturbing footage captured by survivors.

The most powerful jolt, measured at 7.8 by USGS and 7.4 by Turkish disaster management agency, happened around 4:17 am local time, and was centered some 33 kilometers northeast from Gaziantep, a major provincial capital with a population of over 2 million people.

There was no immediate estimate of total casualties, but according to Turkish media reports dozens are feared killed, as multiple buildings were damaged or completely destroyed in the province of Gaziantep and across the neighboring Diyarbakir, Osmaniye and Malatya, with their residents trapped under the rubble.

Comment: In addition, about 9 hours later: Turkey hit by second major earthquake of magnitude 7.5

From Earthquake Track:

5.6 magnitude, 17 km depth
Musabeyli, Kilis, Turkey

6.7 magnitude, 14 km depth
Kahramanmaraş, Kahramanmaraş, Turkey

5.6 magnitude, 10 km depth
Nurdağı, Gaziantep, Turkey

5.1 magnitude, 10 km depth
Hasanbeyli, Osmaniye, Turkey

4.8 magnitude, 10 km depth
Pazarcık, Kahramanmaraş, Turkey

4.8 magnitude, 10 km depth
Nurdağı, Gaziantep, Turkey

5.2 magnitude, 11 km depth
Nurdağı, Gaziantep, Turkey

4.6 magnitude, 10 km depth
Denizciler, Hatay, Turkey

4.5 magnitude, 12 km depth
Pazarcık, Kahramanmaraş, Turkey
This is looking like it'll be Turkey's worst earthquake since 1939, when around 35,000 people were killed.

With an estimated 3,500 buildings destroyed in cities across southern Turkey and northern Syria today - many of which were residential buildings in which people were sleeping - the death toll will probably go much higher.

While Turkey was arguably due another 'big one', what's odd about today's quakes is that they occurred on a much less active fault-line (the East Anatolian Fault, in the country's south). Turkey's 'big ones' usually occur in the northern, western and eastern sectors of the country.

turkey earthquakes map
© Wikipedia: 'List of earthquakes in Turkey'
Map of earthquakes in Turkey 1900–2020
Maybe something, maybe nothing... RT reports that when Putin called Erdogan earlier today to offer condolences and Russian S&R assistance, the two agreed to speak again later in the day. Given the geopolitical sensitivity of the very region that was struck today, further talks are no doubt needed.

Some of the footage from the region is jaw-dropping. Our thoughts and prayers go to the millions of people affected.


Authorities on alert as heavy snowfall continues in Greece

The cold weather front 'Barbara' hit Greece with snowfall that started late on Saturday continued on Sunday as far south as Central Evia, cancellations of boat schedules, and snow chains on tires required in Attica and sections of the Peloponnese.

Meanwhile, the Civil Protection, Fire Brigade, police, regional, and city authorities are meeting again since 11:00 on Sunday morning.

In Attica, traffic police has said drivers moving in the entire road network of the Attica prefecture must carry snow chains or other non-slip equipment. It also banned heavy trucks of over 3.5 tons from several highways. Authorities have also banned such trucks from sections of the Athens-Thessaloniki national road as well.