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Mon, 19 Feb 2018
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Earth Changes


Pygmy whale dies after beaching at Delray Beach, Florida

File image of a pygmy sperm whale which beached itself on Hutchinson Island in 2016.
© Inwater Research Group
File image of a pygmy sperm whale which beached itself on Hutchinson Island in 2016.
A pygmy sperm whale beached itself twice Saturday afternoon in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The whale died after the second beaching.

It came ashore on the north end of Delray Beach, just south of George Bush Boulevard, initially around 1 p.m., FWC spokeswoman Carol Lyn Parrish said.

At that point, bystanders attempted to push the whale back into the water, which is when FWC officials first responded. The whale beached itself a second time around 2 p.m., Parrish said.

Pygmy sperm whales can range from 10 to 11 feet in length and more than 700 pounds, according to NOAA Fisheries.


Beaked whale dies following stranding in Motueka, New Zealand

A Cuvier's beaked whale that stranded on Jackett Island has died.
© Bec's Greaney
A Cuvier's beaked whale that stranded on Jackett Island has died.
A stranded whale that was refloated by members of the public last week was later found dead on a Motueka beach.

​On Friday, Project Jonah and the Department of Conservation were notified of a 4-5 metre long stranded whale on Jackett Island.

Project Jonah volunteer manager Louisa Hawkes said one of its trained medics noticed a discussion about the whale stranding on the Motueka Buy and Sell Facebook page.

"It was a fantastic community effort with a sad outcome, but they should be proud of how they pulled together."

Hawkes said the whale was thought to be a Cuvier's beaked whale, which typically lived in deeper waters. Despite being the third most frequently stranded species in New Zealand, not much was known about the whale.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes kill 4, injure many - hailstorms damage crops in Madhya Pradesh, India

Four persons died and half-a-dozen were injured when lightning struck them in the state on Sunday. Hailstorms accompanied by rainfall lashed many parts of the state damaging rabi crops, including wheat, mustard and masoor.

Caught unawares as the local office of Indian meteorological department had not issued any warning of inclement weather, Baniya Kushwah ,Chiddi Kushwah, both from Morena, Inder Singh Jatav (Bhind) and Moti Kushwah from Dabra in Gwalior died after the lightning struck them in the morning.

Talking to TOI, family of Chiddi said, "He was irrigating the farm when suddenly the weather turned bad. A thunderstorm was followed by lightning, hailstorm and rainfall." Atleast half-a-dozen people sustained injuries in Tikamgarh, Damoh and Dewas districts. All the injured have been admitted to hospital.


Shallow 6.0 magnitude earthquake strikes off Northern Mariana Islands

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck 10 km deep off the Northern Mariana Islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, less than a week after an earthquake jolted Taiwan and killed 17 people.

The tremor occurred at 9:14 a.m. local time Monday (2314 GMT, Sunday). The U.S. Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, which consist of 15 islands, have a population of about 55,023.

There are no tsunami warnings or alerts at this time. The U.S. Tsunami Warning System said: "Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat to Guam, Rota, Tinian or Saipan from this earthquake ... Some areas may have experienced shaking."

There were no reports made to Guam E911 for damages or injuries from the earthquake, local media reported.


Chicago ties record with 9 consecutive days of measurable snowfall

Chicago snow record tied
© The Weather Network
Millions of people awoke Sunday to yet another round of snow in Chicago and consequently, another round of shoveling. After Sunday's snowfall, the longest consecutive streak of measurable snow on record in the Windy City has been tied.

Since February 3rd, measurable snowfall (at least 0.1 inches or greater) has occurred in Chicago, making this an impressive nine-day consecutive streak. According to the National Weather Service, nine consecutive days of snowfall have only happened twice in the history of the Windy City since the agency began keeping records dating back to 1885.

The two other time periods when a nine-day streak of measurable snowfall occurred in Chicago was in 2009 (January 6-14) and in 1902 (January 29-February 6).

Now that the city has tied the longest consecutive streak of snowfall for the third time, forecasters have been monitoring weather data to determine if weather conditions will be favorable for an all-time record ten days in a row. However, the persistent and snowy weather pattern is expected to ease as a high pressure system builds into the region from the upper Midwest. Thus, the all-time record of ten consecutive days is not going to be broken - but a cold start to the week is expected in the Chicago area as sunshine returns Monday with temperatures climbing to the low and mid 20s in the afternoon.

While we won't break the record for the most consecutive days of snow ever recorded, motorists will be pleased to start the work week without facing wintry driving conditions with snow-covered roads and reduced visibilities.

Below are some of the best shots of Chicago's snowy streak.


Tonga declares state of emergency as Cyclone Gita threatens to become Category 5 superstorm

projected path of Cyclone Gita
A map showing the projected path of Cyclone Gita
The category four storm has already caused widespread damage in neighbouring Samoa and American Samoa and is due to hit Tonga at night

The island nation of Tonga has declared a state of emergency as it braces for the wrath of Tropical Cyclone Gita, which is bearing down on the island nation after causing widespread damage in neighbouring Samoa and American Samoa.

The Tongan government declared a state of emergency on Monday morning to allow its 100,000 inhabitants to prepare for the category four storm. Gita is expected to intensify into a category five storm in the coming hours, and is heading for Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia later in the week.

The cyclone was expected to hit Tonga at around 8pm local time. Evacuation centres had instructed people to be inside by 6pm.

Polikalepo Kefu, Tonga's Red Cross communications manager, said the majority of Tongans were "very fearful".

"We have not had a category five cyclone strike the main island before and everyone is wondering how strong is will be," he said.

"Tourists have mostly evacuated or they are staying in their hotels and being looked after by their heads of mission."

The Tongan National Emergency Management Committee said that at its peak Gita was expected to pack winds of up to 200kph, and people living in flood-prone or low-lying areas should evacuate.

Comment: Roads turned into rivers, mass blackouts and hundreds of islanders are evacuated as Cyclone Gita slams Samoa (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)


Olympic National Park's unsolved mystery: What caused over 100 trees to fall down in the middle of the night?

fallen trees
© Olympic National Park
Photos from the Olympic National Park's Bill Baccus show parts of the 100-plus trees downed Jan. 27 near Lake Quinault in the strange weather event.
What in the world could possibly blow down more than 100 trees in the middle of a national park when no other major weather event was recorded in the area?

That's a good question, and one that could be explained either simply - it was a downdraft wind - or through a Sherlock Holmes-style breakdown of events, courtesy local weather guru Cliff Mass.

To wit: In the wee morning hours of Jan. 27, 2018, some kind of significant wind event managed to blow down 110 trees across a large swath of forest on the north shore of Lake Quinault, on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

Such wind was not recorded at nearby weather stations, nor did radar records from the time show anything more than some high and low pressure systems meeting, according to Mass.

The explanation espoused by The Daily World was that the wind came from a "microburst," a rare wind event that creates a downward wind in a localized area.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 17 goats at farm in Namibia

Rain is always welcome in the hot and dry Karas region, but this natural phenomenon sometimes brings with it troubles and loss to farmers and residents alike.

A strong bout of the late rains of the current season caused one such farmer, Abraham Thomas, to lose a sizeable amount of his livestock at farm Regina, situated four kilometres outside Helmeringhausen in the Bethanie district.

Lightning killed 17 of Thomas' goats at around 17h00 on Thursday.

Seventeen goats were killed on Thursday by lightning on farm Regina near Helmeringhausen in the Karas region.

Seventeen goats were killed on Thursday by lightning on farm Regina near Helmeringhausen in the Karas region.


Dead minke whale washes ashore in Nova Scotia, Canada

Jess Tudor measures the minke whale near Tiverton on Long Island, N.S. Its length suggests it was likely an adult.
© Amy Tudor
Jess Tudor measures the minke whale near Tiverton on Long Island, N.S. Its length suggests it was likely an adult.
Eight months ago, Amy Tudor was guiding a whale-watching tour off Brier Island, N.S., when an unusually playful minke approached the boat.

On Friday, she found herself looking at the remains of an adult minke whale on the shore of nearby Tiverton, Long Island, N.S.

"As I was there looking at this whale, that's all I could play in my head: was this the whale that swam around the boat? Was it the one that spy-hopped around us? It was a very mixed emotion," Tudor told CBC News.

"I love these creatures. I talk to them when I'm on the boat. I feel a connection. It was so hard to see something that I love so much deceased, but at the same time it was such a rare opportunity to be hands-on with a creature like that and to help in the overall preservation and research of the species."


The beaches of Barcelona snow-covered and a temperature of -21°C recorded in Spain

Snow in Paris but also on the beaches of Barcelona. The snow fell on much of the Spanish territory. Thirteen regions were on alert yesterday. Barcelona activated its emergency plan but on the beach, it was a party.

A temperature of -21 degrees Celsius (-5,8 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded in the city of Girona between Barcelona and the French border.