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Mon, 25 May 2020
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Georgia Feeling Effects of Drought

Neighbors are turning in neighbors for violating water restrictions, farmers are jittery about crops and churchgoers are praying for rain as Georgia suffers through one of its worst droughts in decades.

Sweltering conditions are expected to intensify. State climatologist David Stooksbury this week classified 74 of the state's 159 counties as being in "extreme" drought - more than double the assessment he delivered just a few weeks ago.

And he said he's doubtful conditions will improve any time soon, with little rain in the forecast.

The drought has forced state officials to restrict when residents can water their lawns - limiting it to early mornings on alternating days. Some cities, including Atlanta, have gone a step further, ordering residents to water lawns, wash cars and restrict other outdoor use to one day a week.

In the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, police are giving residents the option to call 24 hours a day to report water-use violations.

Bulb

Earlier Cicada Invasion Spurred by Warmer Spring

After 17 years underground, billions of cicadas are about to descend upon the U.S. Midwest, crowding the trees and filling the air with their distinctive mating call.

But the usually punctual Brood XIII bugs are emerging about a week ahead of schedule - which has some scientists pondering how a changing climate might alter the cicadas' little-understood life cycle.

"The fact that our Aprils are warmer than they have been in the past is apparently encouraging the cicadas to emerge a week or so earlier than they have in the past," said Gene Kritsky, a biologist and cicada expert at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Padlock

Alligator Captured Near Los Angeles Lake

For months, the city's most famous reptile eluded paparazzi and faithful fans who gathered at the edge of a park lake to catch a glimpse of the celebrity alligator.

But when "Reggie" decided to come out, the gator did it in true Hollywood style: Swarmed by fans and photographers as it sunned by the water, the reptile was whisked away with a police escort as TV helicopters gave chase and broadcast live footage of the cagey critter's freeway journey to the zoo.

"We were petting him, talking to him," said City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose district includes the park. "I feel like I know him because I've invested a lot of time and energy in him."

Cloud Lightning

Storms, Flooding Kill 5 in Central Texas

Two days of heavy storms and flooding had killed five people in central Texas by Friday, and bad weather was expected to continue pounding the Plains over the holiday weekend.

A man remained missing in Texas after his sport utility vehicle was swept away in a swollen creek, officials said. Several other people were rescued, and Gov. Rick Perry activated search and rescue teams.

Question

Swarm of bees forces passenger plane to land



©Reuters

A passenger plane was forced to land after flying into a swarm of British bees Thursday.

The Palmair Boeing 737, with 90 passengers on board, had to return to Bournemouth Airport in southern England shortly after take-off following an engine surge.

Comment: There have been an unusually high number of bee-related stories appearing in the media over the past few months. Here's an SOTT Focus piece which focuses on this bizarre topic:

To Bee or not to Bee


Red Flag

4.7-magnitude earthquake shakes Big Island

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.7 struck beneath the Kilauea volcano's east rift zone Thursday and was followed by several smaller aftershocks on the Big Island of Hawaii.

USA

Minor earthquake shakes Midlands - South Carolina

A minor earthquake shook parts of Richland County on Thursday, emergency management officials said.

Earthquake sensors in South Carolina pegged the quake at a magnitude 2.4, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Question

Professor Helps Develop Techniques To Reduce Threat Against Honeybees

Although scientists around the country are investigating several possible causes, including pesticides, viruses, genetically modified crops and even cell phones, Amrine said he is certain that at least 70 percent of the CCD is caused by tiny mites, roughly the size of a sesame seed, and the pathogens they carry.

Amrine, an entomologist in WVU's Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, and one of the nation's foremost acarologists (mite specialist), bases that estimate on the research he has been doing on the bees since 1996.

Snowman

At Least 13 Dead In South African Cold Snap

At least 13 people have died from the effect of freezing weather in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, the police disaster management coordinator for the district told AFP on Wednesday. "I can confirm that 13 people died in Eastern Cape region from the effect of snow and chilly weather," Captain John Folbein said in a telephone interview. The heaviest snowfalls in 20 years blocked major highways in South Africa on Tuesday, as a severe cold snap tightened its grip on the country.

©AFP
The Tiffindell resort in the Eastern Cape after a heavy snowfall. The heaviest snowfalls for 20 years have blocked major highways as a severe cold snap tightens its grip on South Africa.

Cloud Lightning

21 Dead in China Flooding

BEIJING - Heavy rainstorms in southwest China triggered flash floods and mudslides that killed 21 people and left 11 missing, state media said Friday.