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Tue, 22 May 2018
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Earth Changes


Heavy May snowfall hits south Massif Central, France

Snow unexpectedly fell in the four departments, with the forecaster admitting it was

Snow unexpectedly fell in the four departments, with the forecaster admitting it was "late" in the season
Snow has fallen in the Ardèche, Cantal, Haute-Loire and Lozère, with Météo France calling it "heavy and settled, notable and late" in the season.

Since yesterday, the four departments have been on "orange alert" - the second-most severe level - for snow and ice, with the forecaster predicting that the conditions could make driving dangerous and difficult.

The late appearance of the snow - which Météo France called "heavy and settled" - is expected to have a significant impact on spring plants and vegetation, as well as road conditions, and any "fragile buildings".

Arrow Down

Large sinkhole swallows 3 cars in Athens, Greece

A sinkhole "swallowed" parked cars in a parking lot in Kallithea.

According to kallitheaonline.gr, at least three cars fell inside the sinkhole, leaving their owners wondering if and how they will be compensated by their insurance companies.

Nobody has been injured. The authorities are investigating the causes of the phenomenon.

Cloud Precipitation

At least 15 killed, 22 injured after heavy rainfall, windstorm strikes Pakistan

At least 15 people were killed and 22 others injured in heavy downpour and windstorm that lashed different parts of Pakistan, according to local media reports.

Heavy rains and storm hit different parts of Punjab province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Nine people were killed and 13 others suffered injuries in incidents of wall and roof collapse after a windstorm hit the area in the evening, Dawn News reported.

According to officials, most of the dead and wounded belonged to Mamond and Khar tehsil.


Sandstorm engulfs southern Iraq turning day into night

A powerful sandstorm engulfed southern Iraq

A powerful sandstorm engulfed southern Iraq on May 11, 2018 turning day into night.
A severe sandstorm struck al-Muthanna province in southern Iraq on Friday, engulfing the landscape in a red dust.

Ahmad Qasem, a resident of the town of Samawah took footage of the red glow.

The video shows the impact of the red sand, darkening the skies at around midday.

Parts of Iraq often suffer from dust storms, especially in the past decade, as strong winds sweep up Iraq's vast deserts, blowing sand and dust into urban areas throughout the country.

Researchers say climate changes within the region have added to the problem with a decrease the annual rainfall and environmental changes, such as drying of the marshes, land degradation, and desertification.

Comment: Sand/dust storms have also hit other countries in the Middle East this month such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai and UAE.

In north India recently powerful 'freak' dust storms killed over 125 people, the highest death toll in decades.

Cloud Precipitation

Severe thunderstorms with large amounts of hail and heavy rain hits Germany

Hamburg floods
One of the houses near Hamburg that had to be evacuated with a car sunken into the ground beside it.
After heavy storms hit regions of the country on Thursday, the fire services responded to some 2,000 emergencies, ranging from streets filled with water to flooded basements.

Just as German meteorologists predicted, heavy rain, wind and hail hit much of the country on the public holiday. Though no injuries were reported due to the weather, northern Germany was particularly hard hit by the storms.

Fire brigades in the north of the country had their work cut out, responding to close to 2,000 calls mainly in Schleswig-Holstein and in the Hamburg area.

On Friday morning in Oststeinbek, a municipality east of Hamburg, cellars full of water were still being pumped. Oststeinbek's historic water mill was also washed out. A few houses had to be evacuated in the vicinity and some of the house's walls had even collapsed. In neighbouring Havighorst, an underground car park was flooded in up to three metres of water.

Comment: Severe storms affected other parts of Europe this week also:


Trump declares a major disaster in Hawaii as Kilauea activity continues

hawaii lava fissure
President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii after days of volcanic activity that sent molten lava and toxic fumes spewing into residential neighborhoods.

The declaration allows federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquake.

Federal funding is available to state, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis, the White House said.

The Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3, leaving the future of hundreds of people in Hawaii's Big Island uncertain.

The threat of violent explosions prompted authorities to close the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Friday until further notice.

Comment: For video's of the activity at Kilauea, see: Lava fountains, tremors, fissures, toxic fumes: Hawaii braces itself as Kilauea boils over in unusual outburst

See also:

Bizarro Earth

78-foot wave is the largest ever recorded in Southern Hemisphere

large wave
© andrej67/iStock
An eight-story monster wave that crashed down in the Southern Ocean off the coast of New Zealand has set a record. It's the largest known wave to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere, according to New Zealand scientists.

Nobody actually saw the 78-foot-tall (23.8 meters) wave crash down, but a buoy moored by New Zealand's Campbell Island managed to log the amazing wonder on May 8, according to MetOcean Solutions, a subsidiary of the Meteorological Service of New Zealand.

The colossal wave eclipsed its record-breaking predecessor by nearly 6 feet (1.77 m). That wave - a 72.2-foot (22.03 m) swell recorded by an Australian buoy, reared up just south of Tasmania in 2012, MetOcean Solutions said.

"This [new wave] is a very exciting event and to our knowledge it is [the] largest wave ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere," Tom Durrant, a senior oceanographer with MetOcean Solutions, said in a statement. "This is a very important storm to capture, and it will add greatly to our understanding of the wave physics under extreme conditions in the Southern Ocean."

In this case, a deep, low-pressure system and high winds exceeding 74 mph (65 knots or 120 km/h) helped to create the perfect conditions for the enormous wave. "What is interesting about [Tuesday's] event is the storm speed appears to match the wave speed, allowing wave heights to grow dramatically as the system tracks eastward," Durrant said.

Comment: Meanwhile average winter wave heights along the Atlantic coast of Western Europe have been rising for almost seven decades, according to new research.


Striking sun halo seen over eastern Florida

Sun halo over FL
© Miguel Angel
Many people took notice of a large, dramatic ring around the sun Thursday afternoon and asked us, "What is it?"

This "ring" is called a sun halo, and it's an atmospheric phenomenon not seen in Florida that often.

The sun halo was caused by clouds that were increasing very high up in the atmosphere. These clouds, called cirrus clouds, contain ice instead of water.

Ice crystals reflect light better than water droplets -- think of a prism in the sky. The ice crystals reflected the light from the sun in a full circle down to the surface, creating the sun halo.


Sick brown pelicans mysteriously turning up in Southern California

Devin Hanson, a rehabilitation technician with International Bird Rescue, examines a young, hungry and anemic brown pelican at a wildlife rehabilitation center in San Pedro.
© Angie Trumbo / AP
Devin Hanson, a rehabilitation technician with International Bird Rescue, examines a young, hungry and anemic brown pelican at a wildlife rehabilitation center in San Pedro.
The number of sick and dying brown pelicans along the Southern California coast has mysteriously surged in the last week, a wildlife organization said Thursday.

More than 25 pelicans have been brought to a wildlife rehabilitation center in the San Pedro, International Bird Rescue said.

The big birds are showing signs of emaciation, hypothermia and anemia, the organization said.

It's normal to receive recently fledged baby pelicans this time of year, but the current wave includes many second-year birds, said Kylie Clatterbuck, the center's manager.

Comment: Pelican attack sparks graduation ceremony chaos


Raging bear attacks 4 villagers in Chhattisgarh, India

The bear closes in on the villager in the town near Bhanwaradadar in Gomarda area Raigad District in Chattisgarh

The bear closes in on the villager in the town near Bhanwaradadar in Gomarda area Raigad District in Chattisgarh
Shocking footage shows a bear which had just attacked four villagers knocking over a man as it runs to hide up a tree.

The bear wandered out of a forest and reached a village near Bhanwaradadar in Gomarda area Raigad District in Chattisgarh, in India.

At about 5am the bear attacked an elderly man - who managed to escape by jumping into water next to a dam.