Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 20 Mar 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


Three killed, 17 injured by freak wave at South African beach

Three swimmers died and 17 others were seriously injured on Saturday when a freak wave struck a popular beach in South Africa's southeastern city of Durban, the emergency services said.

"There was a freak wave that washed some people to sea, three have drowned and 17 people have been taken to hospital," Robert Mckenzie, spokesman of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial first responders services told AFP.

He said one of the dead was a child aged around seven or eight years old, while those injured are "in serious or critical condition".


Chile heat wave exacerbates forest fires, causes public health risk

A heat wave that has hit Chile this week with record temperatures in some areas and a lack of rainfall has intensified forest fires that have already burned more than 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres)in the South American nation.

Dozens of people have had to evacuate their homes because of the fires and the capital Santiago is under a public health alert due to a cloud of smoke, officials said on Friday.

The state-owned National Forestry Corporation (Conaf) said firefighters were currently tackling 18 fires concentrated in the country's central regions, as well as a smaller number in the south.


5.4 magnitude earthquake shakes West Texas

5.4 earthquake midland texas december 2022

The earthquake was recorded about 5:35 p.m., December 16, 2022 with an origin about 12 miles east of Midland and about 3 miles below ground, according to the USGS.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 5.4 earthquake early Friday evening in the Permian Basin between Midland and Big Spring, with residents reporting feeling it as far away as Lubbock, Abilene San Angelo and beyond.

The earthquake was recorded about 5:35 p.m., with an origin about 12 miles east of Midland and about 3 miles below ground, according to the USGS.

There were no immediate reports of damage, but Lubbock residents have reported feeling the earthquake, including A-J reporter Mateo Rosiles. There were also reports of the earthquake being felt by residents in Abilene and San Angelo, according to residents who reached out to the Avalanche-Journal.

Comment: The Associated Press adds:
Geophysicist Jana Pursley at the USGS's National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado said that according to early reports received by the agency, the quake was felt by more than 1,500 people over a large distance from Amarillo and Abilene in Texas to as far west as Carlsbad, New Mexico.

"It's a sizable earthquake for that region," Pursley said, adding, "In that region such an event will be felt for a couple of hundred miles."

The quake was followed shortly after by a less-intense aftershock, and Pursley said there could be more going forward with declining magnitude.

"I haven't received any information about damages but it can crack stucco or driveways close to epicenter," she added.

A quake of similar magnitude struck West Texas last month. That Nov. 16 temblor was measured at 5.3 and had an epicenter about 95 miles (153 kilometers) west of Midland.
Locals tweet:

Cloud Precipitation

Multiple stations in Madrid are forced to close due to flash flooding as Storm Efraín batters Spain

Madrid residents have filmed hundreds of

Madrid residents have filmed hundreds of videos showing how heavy rain has flooded numerous metro stations across the city.
Several metro stations in Madrid were forced to close yesterday after being flooded with waist-high water as Storm Efrain brought a sixth day of torrential rains.

Shocking video footage circulating on social media showed a pair of stations inundated by floodwater which gushed down the stairs and collected in the main concourse.

The Spanish State Meteorological agency AEMET reported on Monday that there could be up to 80 litres of rain in just 12 hours in some areas and more than 100 litres in 48 hours, after heavy rain had already battered the parts of the country on Saturday and Sunday.

Spain has seen some of its heaviest rainfall ever this year.


Holy plow! Nearly 30 inches of snow in Finland, Minnesota and 27 in western Duluth after 3-day storm

A Proctor resident uses a snowblower
© Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
A Proctor resident uses a snowblower to clear snow in front of his garage on First Avenue on Thursday morning.
An epic, three-day winter storm was winding down Thursday afternoon after leaving more than 2 feet of snow along the North Shore's highest hills, from western Duluth to Silver Bay and Finland.

The National Weather Service in Duluth allowed the blizzard warning for the North Shore to expire but is continuing a winter weather advisory for all of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin until 6 p.m.

Only light accumulations are expected in most areas, but snow may linger into Saturday as the massive storm system continues to move slowly up north and east out of the region.

So far it's the eighth largest 48-hour snowstorm on record in Duluth and 14th largest total snowstorm.

After the snow ends, a blast of cold is expected going into the week before Christmas.


Storm produced nearly 6 feet of snow in Alta, Utah - dangerous avalanche conditions exist

The Utah Avalanche Center issued a special
© Utah Avalanche Center
The Utah Avalanche Center issued a special avalanche bulletin for dangerous conditions Friday.
Utah's most recent storm officially brought as much as 71 inches, or just shy of 6 feet, of snow by the Alta lifts between Sunday and Friday mornings, according to updated information from the National Weather Service.

Snowbird Resort added 56 inches, or more than 4½ feet of snow, as well. Many mountains received multiple feet of new snow.

And while multiple days of heavy snow this week may be good for Utah's snowpack, it's creating dangerous conditions for avalanches, even at lower elevations near parking lots and trailheads.

That's according to the Utah Avalanche Center, which issued a special avalanche bulletin for "unusually dangerous avalanche conditions" on Friday. The bulletin applies to slopes facing northwest through east at all elevations, "where triggering avalanches is likely." The advisory remains in place through the weekend.


6 feet of snow hits pocket of Colorado, 12-foot-tall drifts reported elsewhere after 2-day blizzard

Snow drifts near the Interstate 76 Iliff exit on December 16, 2022
© Dakota McGee
Snow drifts near the Interstate 76 Iliff exit on December 16, 2022
Mapping from the National Weather Service shows big totals across the state following a blizzard that hit Colorado this week, between December 12 and 14.

While totals in the range of six to 12 inches were reported in the northeast, wind gusts created massive snow drifts and made travel very difficult. In some cases, drifts up to 12 feet deep were reported.

Meanwhile, the northern and southwest mountains got the deepest snow totals. In a very small pocket of the San Juans, near Silverton, more than 72 inches of snow was reported to have fallen between December 12 at 5 PM and December 14 at 5 PM. Around that tiny pocket, totals of 48 inches or more were reported. Elsewhere, some parts of the northern mountains got more than two feet during the same period.

Ice Cube

Rarely seen 'ice pancakes' form on rivers in Scotland and England

Unusual discs of frozen slush, known as
© Callum Sinclair
Unusual discs of frozen slush, known as "ice pancakes," were recently spotted on the River Bladnoch in Scotland. The rare structures were created by unusually cold temperatures in the U.K.
Dozens of eerily perfect circles of slushy ice, known as "ice pancakes," have been floating on the surface of a Scottish river after temperatures in the U.K. unexpectedly plummeted.

Callum Sinclair, project manager for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI), spotted the stunning circular sheets of ice Dec. 9 on the River Bladnoch in Wigtownshire, Scotland. Pictures of the peculiar pancakes taken by Sinclair were shared on the SISI Twitter page on Dec. 13, along with a short video of the icy discs bumping into one another and being washed downstream by fast-moving currents.

"I've seen ice pancakes occasionally before," Sinclair told Live Science in an email. "But these were particularly interesting" because of their perfect shape, he added.

Comment: Another video record :
Pancake ice on the River Exe, Tiverton!

16 December 2022, Tiverton, Devon, UK

Pancake ice is a form of sea ice that consists of round pieces of ice with diameters ranging from 30 centimetres (12 in) to 3 metres (9.8 ft) and thicknesses up to 10 centimetres (3.9 inches), depending on the local conditions. It forms as a result of wave action on slush or ice rind.

Cloud Precipitation

Up to 169 dead, roads submerged as floods hit capital Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UPDATES)

A road that was destroyed by heavy floods in Matadi Kibala,
© Patrick Ilunga
A road that was destroyed by heavy floods in Matadi Kibala, west of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo on December 13, 2022. At least nine people were reported dead as a result of the floods.
Floods caused by heavy rains swept parts of DR Congo's capital Kinshasa on Tuesday, in one case killing nine people when their home collapsed, an AFP reporter saw. The AFP reporter saw the bodies of nine members of a family who had died after the collapse of their home in the Binza Delvaux district.

While the official death toll from the floods is yet to be declared, in some areas, chiefs said they had recorded 15 deaths, while in others, mayors said they had already recorded 40 deaths. The most affected neighbourhoods are Mont-Ngafula and Bandalungwa, Kintambo and Ngaliema.

The compilation of different testimonies from the mayors of the 24 zones of Kinshasa indicates that the number of deaths could reach 100.

Comment: Update December 14

Floodlist reports:
At least 120 people have lost their lives after torrential rain caused widespread damages, landslides and flooding in the city of Kinshasa, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Floods, landslides and sinkholes following heavy rain caused severe damages in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 13 December 2022.
© Government of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Floods, landslides and sinkholes following heavy rain caused severe damages in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 13 December 2022.
Heavy rain fell overnight, from 12 to 13 December 2022, causing floods, landslides and sinkholes. Several municipalities in the city were affected. Dozens of houses and buildings collapsed and vehicles were left stranded. Wide stretches of road were completely destroyed, including in Mitendi, a commune to the southwest of the city, where a sinkhole wiped out the busy N1 highway which connects Kinshasa to Matadi. The road is likely to be closed for 4 to 5 days, the Prime Minister said in a statement.

Local media said never has the rain been so deadly and devastating in the city and reported damage and fatalities in several communes (municipalities) in particular Ngaliema and Mont-Ngafula. The Ministry of Health officials reported a total of more than 140 fatalities, while the Prime Minister in a statement said at least 120 people had died. Search and rescue operations are ongoing and are likely to find more victims.

Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde visited some of the affected areas on 13 December. On the instructions of the President of the Republic, the Government decreed a 3-day period of national mourning.

In a statement of 13 December, the Governor of Kinshasa, Ngobila Mbaka, offered his condolences to the families of the victims and expressed sympathy with the people who have suffered. He also stressed the need to respect planning rules banning illegal construction in drainage areas and river beds and emphasised the need to keep rivers and drainage channels free of trash and debris.
  • Around 20 people died in floods in the city in late November 2015
  • At least 37 people died after floods in Kinshasa in January 2018
  • Flooding struck in the city in October 2019 where 6 people died, and again in November 2019, when around 41 people died.
  • Update December 17

    Al Jazeera reports:
    The death toll in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to rise following heavy rain and extreme flooding that have ravaged the country in recent days.

    At least 169 people have died as a result of destructive rains in the capital Kinshasa, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and officials said on Friday.

    The flooding left another 30 people injured and pulverised an estimated 280 homes across the capital of some 15 million people, in which approximately 38,000 residents have been affected.

    The city's Mont-Ngafula and Ngaliema districts were the hardest hit by the downpours, officials said.

    A joint team from OCHA and the government's social affairs ministry visited affected areas on Thursday to inspect the damage.

    "Today marks the end of three day of national mourning in memory of those deceased," OCHA said in a statement.

    "The Government has confirmed that it will organize a dignified and secure burial of those who have lost their lives."

    An estimated 8.2 million people in at least 20 different nations in west and central Africa have been affected by heavy rains in recent weeks. On Friday, the UN estimated that 2.9 million people had been displaced and more than half a million homes destroyed.

    Cloud Lightning

    Moment lightning strikes near nursing home as storms hit Louisiana

    The lighting struck just outside a nursing home amid severe weather.
    © St. John the Baptist Sheriff's Office
    The lighting struck just outside a nursing home amid severe weather.
    A dramatic lightning strike that hit close to a nursing home and a church was captured from the CCTV camera of a communications tower.

    The video - filmed on December 15 - shows numerous strikes hitting the area in slow-motion in Louisiana, USA.

    The area has been victim to a wave of bad weather recently with warnings of a tornadic thunderstorm.