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Fri, 21 Feb 2020
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Earth Changes


6.0 magnitude earthquake hits Solomon Islands

Soloman Islands earthquake
© Google, TW/SAM

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 jolted 70 km west of Kirakira, Solomon Islands, at 13:49:50 GMT on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 86.63 km, was initially determined to be at 10.3749 degrees south latitude and 161.2802 degrees east longitude.

Comment: This is the second M6+ earthquake to hit the region since a M6.3 struck on January 27. The recent uptick in seismic activity continues!

Cloud Precipitation

6 dead, 3 missing after floods in North Sumatra, Indonesia following a foot of rainfall in 24 hours

Flood damage in Central Tapanuli Regency Indonesia, January 2020.
Flood damage in Central Tapanuli Regency Indonesia, January 2020.
More flooding has affected western Indonesia, this time in North Sumatra province.

Indonesia's disaster agency BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana) reports that 6 people have lost their lives and 3 are still missing after floods in the Barus district of Central Tapanuli Regency.

Heavy rain caused the Aek Sirahar river to overflow on 29 January 2020, flooding several villages in Barus district. Around 700 families have been affected and 22 people injured. Some of the families have been evacuated to safer areas.

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfall closes 300 roads in Himachal Pradesh, India

Shimla town after fresh snowfall on Wednesday
Shimla town after fresh snowfall on Wednesday.
Snow hampered traffic with 300 roads, including three national highways, closed after snowfall across the state

A fresh spell of snow in Himachal Pradesh threw life out of gear on Wednesday with 300 roads, including three national highways, closed for traffic due to slippery roads.

Shimla got 10.2cm of snowfall and recorded a low of minus 1 degree Celsius, while the nearby tourist town of Kufri got 45cm of snowfall and shivered at minus 4.4 degrees. The snow hampered traffic on the main Circular Road in Shimla, delaying the supply of daily essentials. The stretch connecting Victory Tunnel to Sanjauli was closed after snowfall overnight.

The strategic Hindustan-Tibet road that connects the forward areas along the China border in Kinnaur district and the apple belt of Shimla district also remained closed for the second day due to heavy snowfall at Kufri and Narkanda. "No vehicle is being allowed beyond Dhalli. Machines are working to clear the stretch of snow," said Shimla superintendent of police Omapati Jamwal.


Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico stages dramatic nighttime show

One of Mexico's most active volcanoes erupted in a dramatic nighttime show.

The mountain is officially called Popocatepetl, but commonly referred to as "El Popo."

On Monday night it shot huge clouds of smoke and ash into the sky. Witnesses say the columns rose some 2,000 feet above the crater.

Snowflake Cold

Bitterly cold wave sweeps over Saudi Arabia's north

saudi snow
Saudi Arabia is experiencing bitterly cold wave, accompanied by active and sometimes strong winds, mainly in the northern regions. Renowned weather expert Muad Al-Ahmadi called the cold spell as "Muqarqaa Al-Baiban."

Speaking to Al Arabiya.net, he said that the cold wave that started a few days ago will continue for about two weeks more. He urged people to take utmost vigil, precaution and safety measures during this period.

"The first wave started last Tuesday, and its climax was on Wednesday and Thursday, and that ended on Friday, while the second wave, which is the strongest and hardest, began Saturday, and would continue till midweek," he said adding that this will be the strongest ever cold snap than the past waves.

Cloud Precipitation

Torrential rain breaks records in Australia's North Queensland as 529mm of rain falls in 24 hours

Flooding from the air around Jarvisfield, Burdekin on January 28, 2020
© Naomi Jones
Flooding from the air around Jarvisfield, Burdekin on January 28, 2020.
North Queensland communities are bracing for more torrential rain, while the state's southwest is baking in another summer heatwave.

Water inundated backyards and lapped at doorsteps in Ayr, just south of Townsville, after an extraordinary deluge dumped 458mm of rain in just 24 hours on Monday.

Further rain in the region on Tuesday quickly caused floodwaters to cut the Bruce Highway between Ayr and Home Hill, on the southern side of the Burdekin River.

Roads in Ayr itself are also closed with only emergency vehicles allowed through.

Rita Island, just south of Ayr, had even more rain, with more than 615mm falling since Monday morning, and 529mm in 24 hours to 9am Monday.

The deluge broke records in the Burdekin, with the previous highest totals being 395mm in Home Hill back in March 1988, 254mm in Ayr DPI station also recorded in March 1988 and 478mm in February 1947 at Burdekin Shire Council weather station.


Shallow magnitude 6.1 aftershock hits near Cayman Islands - USGS

M6.1 earthquake hits off the Cayman islands on January 28 2020
M6.1 earthquake hits off the Cayman islands on January 28 2020.
A shallow 6.1-magnitude quake struck some 53 km off the coast of the Cayman islands at the depth of just 10 km. It came shortly after a powerful 7.7- quake off Jamaica triggered a tsunami warning across the Caribbean.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) said that it's unlikely the aftershock, which was reported at 21:55 GMT on Tuesday, would trigger any tsunami waves, but did not rule out the possibility outright in its initial statement.

"Based on all available data...there is no significant tsunami threat from this earthquake. However... there is very a small possibility of tsunami waves along coasts located near the epicenter," the PTWC said.

The initial magnitude of 6.5 reported by The US Geological Survey (USGS) was later downgraded to 6.1. The aftershock hit west of the first, 7.7-strong quake, that sent ripples across the region, prompting a tsunami alert for Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and several other countries. That tsunami warning was eventually lifted.

Comment: Jamaica earthquake: Huge shallow 7.7-magnitude tremor hits off island's coast - tsunami warning issued


Storm dumps heavy snow along highways in Alaska - 18 inches within 24 hours

A car went off the road near Mile 78 of the Seward Highway south of the Portage turnoff on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.
© Vicky Ho/ADN
A car went off the road near Mile 78 of the Seward Highway south of the Portage turnoff on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020.
Strong winds and a double-digit dumping of snow made for precarious driving conditions along Turnagain Arm on Monday morning and through the early afternoon.

The storm subsided, but another is expected to hit mid-week.

Snow started falling late Sunday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Kutz. About 15 inches of snow accumulated near Portage by Monday afternoon, he said.

Alaska Department of Transportation spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy said 18 inches of new snow was recorded in Girdwood on Monday.

Accumulation along Turnagain Pass was recorded at 10 inches or more by Monday afternoon.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash flood kills at least 3 in Tanzania

At least 3 people have died and around 300 left homeless after flooding in Iringa Region, central Tanzania on 27 January.

Flooding has affected parts of Iringa, Pawaga and Idodi in Iringa region. According to local media, floods have damaged around 60 houses, displacing around 300 people. Wide areas of rice crops have also been damaged.


Jamaica earthquake: Huge shallow 7.7-magnitude tremor hits off island's coast - tsunami warning issued

mao quake
A tsunami warning has been issued for parts of the Caribbean after a huge earthquake struck.

Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman islands were all said to be at risk.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.7-magnitude quake hit off the northwest coast of Jamaica, prompting the US Tsunami Warning Center to issue an alert.

It was so big that schools in Jamaica and buildings in Miami - 580 miles away - were evacuated.