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Fri, 24 Feb 2017
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Earth Changes


Update: Another 240 whales strand at Farewell Spit, New Zealand; over 460 in 2 days

Dead whales new zealand
Just days after 416 pilot whales stranded themselves off New Zealand's South Island, a second pod of 240 has swum aground at the same spot.

In total, more than 650 of the animals have stranded themselves along a three-mile stretch of coastline at Farewell Spit in the past two days.

About 335 of the whales are dead, 220 remain stranded and 100 are back at sea.

Andrew Lamason, Department of Conservation Golden Bay operations manager, said he was sure the latest strandings were a new pod because all of the refloated whales from the previous group had been tagged.

Cloud Precipitation

Broken dam in northeast Nevada floods houses, farms and railroads

Breached 21 Mile Dam
A broken dam in Elko County, Nevada, flooded farmland and homes in the community of Montello, stopped Union Pacific trains nearby and prompted a warning to people in extreme northwest Utah to avoid the rural highway into the Silver State.

And while Utah has recently experienced a quick warmup after heavy snows, state water officials think a similar breach is unlikely in the Beehive State.

The National Weather Service reported Wednesday the failure of the 21 Mile Dam was sending water spilling out in a "dangerous and life-threatening situation."

"Water in the reservoir continues to rapidly empty and is heading downstream. Ongoing flash flooding will continue and could potentially get worse," the National Weather Service advised. A flash flood warning for Elko County has been issued through midnight Thursday.

As the water flows into the Dake Reservoir, there is a risk the dam there could overflow leading to more flooding, according to the warning.

Cloud Precipitation

History says California could be overdue for biblical, catastrophic flooding

Sacramento underwater due to floods in an 1862 rendering that ran in local papers.
Californians are always talking about the coming Big One, but what if the big one is a flood, not an earthquake?

With this recent cavalcade of rainstorms, there's been renewed interest in a 2011 USGS study on the so-called "ARkStorm." In it, the USGS lays out a case for a hypothetical "megastorm," one that could cause up to $725 billion in damage and impact a quarter of California's homes.

The ARkStorm would bring with it catastrophic rains, hurricane-force winds and hundreds of landslides. Central Valley flooding alone is projected to span 300 miles.

If that sounds far-fetched, there's historic precedent: Geological evidence indicates that California endures massive flooding caused by atmospheric rivers every 100-200 years. And settlers who moved to California after the Gold Rush soon found what the native population had known for centuries: Northern California is prime flooding territory.

The most prominent example is the Great Flood of 1862, a natural disaster that still ranks as the largest flood in the history of the American West. Between Dec. 1861 and Jan. 1862, the West Coast received a near-constant deluge of rain. Sacramento received a stunning 23 inches in that period, turning the city into a watery ghost town.


Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rainfall, snowmelt cause severe flooding in northern Utah

© fox13now.com
Earthen dam fails near Montello as floodwaters hit near Utah-Nevada border
Garden City emergency crews worked to to manage massive amount of water Friday, in what's being called the worst flooding here in decades.

Across northern Utah city sewer systems are hitting capacity, and what we seem to be hearing for everyone is they never expected this type of flooding so early in the year.

"I thought 2011 was bad but this is going to make 2011 look like a dry year," said Bryce Nielsen, Rich County Emergency Manager.

Rich County Emergency Manager Bryce Nielsen says crews are scrambling to divert water away form homes. For some it's too late.


Threats loom as California water levels rise, damage spillway at tallest US dam

© Max Whittaker / Reuters
65,000 cfs of water flow through a damaged spillway on the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, U.S., February 10, 2017.
A damaged spillway that diverts overflow from a major California reservoir has authorities preparing to use a forested emergency spill route if Lake Oroville continues to rise. A salmon hatchery below the dam is currently at risk, officials say.

Rising levels of Northern California's Lake Oroville, a reservoir contained by the Oroville Dam, the largest dam in the US, led to severe erosion of a paved spillway that helps divert overflow water into the Feather River behind the dam.

On Tuesday, a chunk of the spillway collapsed, sending mud and debris into the river, as officials with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) temporarily ceased the overflow route to inspect the problem. Yet flows had to continue as the reservoir continued to rise. The section of collapsed spillway has grown to more than 200 feet wide and 30 feet deep, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If the reservoir continues to balloon, authorities say they will have to use an emergency spillway, which is essentially a nearby wooded hillside.

Cloud Precipitation

13 killed by landslides, 40,000 caught in flooding in central Indonesia

Landslide in Bali
Up to 40,000 people were caught in severe flooding following days of torrential rain in central Indonesia, where the death toll from landslides on Bali resort island rose to 13, officials said Saturday.

Indonesia's Disaster Mitigation Agency said that incessant rains in the past five days caused rivers on Sumbawa Island to break their banks and inundate seven sub-districts in West Nusa Tenggara province.

The agency's spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said a total of 40,291 villagers were affected by the floods with rainfall ranging from 30 to 70 centimeters (12 to 28 inches).

Most of the victims were temporary sheltering at mosques and government offices while more than 8,000 others are still isolated and staying at their stilt houses in two sub-districts that are accessible by rubber boats.

Cloud Lightning

People experience rare thunder snow across New England

© Timothy A. Clary
A commuter walks through the snow at the Metro North Greenwich train station in Connecticut.
The nor'easter battering New England Thursday has wrought a rare phenomenon: thunder snow.

As the storm swept across the region, people posted videos that captured the rumbling snowfall — and sometimes their startled reactions — online.

"It shouldn't surprise you if you hear thunder and see some lightning during the storm," Boston.com meteorologist Dave Epstein said of Thursday's storm. "If this is the case, you are experiencing thunder snow — and some of the most intense snowfall rates we'll see."

According to Epstein, the heaviest snow Thursday will occur from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with some areas seeing a foot or more of accumulation.

While none of these reactions can top The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore's thunder snow excitement in 2015, it's still getting a lot of love from New Englanders.
We just had Thunder Snow here at the NWS Office in Taunton.

— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) February 9, 2017
#Thundersnow in Northern RI @JimCantore @PinpointWXTeam @NWSBoston 10:15am pic.twitter.com/9hcfO803FX

— John Piascik (@Woods826) February 9, 2017

Bizarro Earth

Huge earth crack several hundred miles long opens up in Pakistan

© YouTube/City51 TV (screen capture)
A gigantic earth fissure opened up in Qila Abdullah following the recent downpours in Balochistan, Pakistan. The unprecedented crack spans several hundred miles sparking panic among the local residents.

After huge fissures were recently discovered in Arizona, Antarctica and South Africa, another large earth crack has formed after recent heavy rain in Pakistan's Balochistan Province.

This is the longest known crack in and around Quila Abdullah, spanning several hundred miles and sparking panic among local residents.

Comment: Some other signs of earth 'opening up' in recent times include:


Very shallow 5.6 magnitude earthquake hits southern Taiwan

The earthquake, which struck at 1:12 a.m. local time on Saturday, was centered about 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of Tainan, or 23 kilometers (14 miles) northwest of Kaohsiung. It struck at a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles), making it a very shallow earthquake.

Both the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude of Saturday's earthquake at 5.6. The Central Weather Bureau said shaking was felt across southern and central parts of the island, with the strongest shaking in Tainan City and Kaohsiung City.

While it was not immediately known whether the earthquake had caused damage or casualties, several residents described their experiences. It was a "very sudden large jolt," one resident near the epicenter told the seismological agency EMSC, while a second resident called it "pretty scary."

Located along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Taiwan is at times rattled by moderate to strong earthquakes. A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Taiwan in September 1999, killing at least 2,297 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others.

More recently, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southwest Taiwan on February 6, killing 117 people and injuring more than 500 others.

Cloud Lightning

Unusual thunder and lightning in the snow ignite power lines in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Video footage shows the tree bursting into flames
East Bridgewater Police closed down a portion of Central Street Thursday when the thundersnow and lightningsnow sent onto a power line and ignited.

Video footage shows the tree bursting into flames and tumbling to the ground, where it continued to burn.

As the "thundersnow" storm continued to pick up steam Thursday afternoon, East Bridgewater police and fire departments responded to calls at about 12:30 p.m. reporting the power line fire at 1709 Central St. in Bridgewater.

Witnesses speculated that the fire was caused by lightning from the unusual thunder snow storm.

According to Fire Chief Timothy Harhen, this didn't appear to be the case.

Source: The Enterprise