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Sat, 29 Apr 2017
The World for People who Think



Russia declares state of emergency, as wildfires hit village in Siberia, burning to ground

© Ruptly
Rescuers have managed to save all the residents of a Russian village before the settlement located on an island in Irkutsk Region burned to the ground. The spread of wildfires across Siberia has prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Hundreds of people were trapped in the village of Bubnovka surrounded by water as a massive fire was ripping through their homes. Luckily for some 435 residents, local Emergencies Ministry staff were conducting anti-flood drills in the area and rapidly reacted to the incident.

Responding the distress call, they rushed to the scene to evacuate the villagers. Using an air cushion rescue boat, the responders brought people to safety. No one was harmed.

Despite efforts by the local team of firefighters, the entire village of 86 houses burned down in the suspected wildfire, the governor's press service told RIA Novosti.

"It was impossible to bring additional [firefighting] forces because of the fact that Bubnovka is located on the island. Gusty winds contributed to the spread of fire," the governor's office said.

The Investigative Committee, however, has opened a criminal case to see if any negligence was involved.

Arrow Down

The 'March to Silence' - Shots fired at building housing leading climate skeptic scientists

© Image via Google Maps Street View
National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building.
A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy's office is (my office is in another part of the building).

Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way. It doesn't matter that we don't "deny global warming"; the fact we disagree with its seriousness and the level of human involvement in warming is enough to send some radicals into a tizzy.

Our street is fairly quiet, so I doubt the shots were fired during Saturday's march here. It was probably late night Saturday or Sunday for the shooter to have a chance of being unnoticed.

Maybe the "March For Science" should have been called the "March To Silence".

Campus and city police say they believe the shots were fired from a passing car, based upon the angle of entry into one of the offices. Shell casings were recovered outside. The closest distance a passing car would have been is 70 yards away.

This is a developing story. I have no other details.


7 notable weather events observed across United States this April

This photo composite shows the snow water equivalent-- water content of snow -- in the Tuolumne River Basin in 2015 and 2017. White and the lighter blue indicates less snow, while deeper blue represents more snow. NASA reports: "The 2017 snow water equivalent was 21 times greater than 2015, which was the lowest snowpack on record."
Spring can bring interesting weather conditions to the U.S. and this year is no exception, with several impressive records having already been set so far this April.

While not setting records, a few other unusual and notable weather occurrences have caught our eye this month.

1) California's Northern Sierra Nevada Set Record For All-Time Wettest 'Water Year'

On April 13, California's northern Sierra Nevada set a new record for its all-time wettest water year with an accumulated average of 89.7 inches of water. The previous record of 88.5 inches was set during the 1982-83 water year. To put it in perspective, the average water year sees 50 inches of precipitation.

The water year runs from October through September, but most precipitation falls from November through March. By April, the storm track typically shifts reducing the chance for additional precipitation. This year, however, has been different with rain and mountain snow continuing to fall this month, allowing records to topple.

Comment: According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) there have been 5,372 preliminary reports of severe weather across the United States in 2017 (up to April 8), which is more than double the average.

For more coverage on the extreme weather affecting the entire planet, check out our monthly SOTT Earth Changes Summaries. Last month:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


91 wildfires burn in Florida; thousands evacuated

Aerial view of brush fire in Polk County, Florida on April 21, 2017.
Thousands of homes have been evacuated as firefighters continue to battle 91 wildfires across Florida, the state's forest service said.

Since Thursday, more than 25,000 acres have burned in the state, Florida Forest Service spokesman Joe Zwierzchowski told CNN on Friday.

"The state is really dry. Thank God we have the firefighters we have all around the state," Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters.

Out of the 91 wildfires, two fires caused the evacuation of thousands of homes in central and southwest Florida.


Over 100 wildfires scorch Florida

More than 100 active wildfires are burning across the state right now, according to the Florida Forest Service. Twenty-seven of them are scorching more than 100 acres each.

"We're usually not this active this early in the season," the service's assistant fire chief, Ralph Crawford, said Monday.

So it has gone in Tampa Bay, where firefighters spent Monday battling brush fires that flared up in Hernando and Pasco counties. A fast-moving grass fire Friday in St. Petersburg shut down the Interstate 275 interchange at Gandy Boulevard just as rush hour started, tying up traffic for hours.

Since February, wildfires have swept across 68,000 acres of the state, already more than the average acreage burned over the past five years, Crawford said.

"And we're just barely into April," he added.
"Usually May is our busiest month."


Update: On April 11, 2017, Governor Scott called a state of emergency due to the fires:

Arrow Up

Severe weather reports in U.S. tally 5,000+ so far this year; more than double the average

© YouTube/the Weather Channel (screen capture)
Weather Disasters Costing U.S. Billions. The first three months of 2017 have proven to be very costly, after a series of weather disasters ranging from tornadoes to floods to crop-killing freezes.
The U.S. has endured a destructive start to 2017 from the multiple severe weather outbreaks since January.

There have been 5,372 preliminary reports of severe weather across the United States in 2017 through April 8, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC). That figure includes reports of tornadoes, large hail and wind damage.

This is more than than double the average of 2,274 for the same period of time during the past 10 years (2007-2016). In that decade, only 2008 had about the same number of severe weather reports by this point in the year with 5,242.

The animation below shows how the occurrences of wind damage, large hail and tornadoes have piled up month-by-month this year. Portions of the South have been hit the hardest, but the Midwest has also seen a high concentration of severe weather reports.

Comment: For more coverage on the extreme weather affecting the entire planet, check out our monthly SOTT Earth Changes Summaries. Last month:

SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Planetary environmental chaos continued unabated this month. Several spectacular fireballs were seen from one end of the world to the other. Wildfires ravaged several mid-West states while unusually strong winds hit Illinois and New York. Madagascar got slammed by a ferocious storm as did Brazil, New Zealand and France.

Severe flooding hit several parts of the globe, but the worst affected was Peru where dozens of people died and hundreds of thousands have been left with no homes. With freak tidal waves from Iran to South Africa, strange 'gas' explosions in the UK and methane gas leaks in Russia, not to mention snow off the coast of Africa and lightning scoring direct strikes on cars, March was a pretty intense month for the planet and its inhabitants.


Dramatic videos show wildfires blazing across the west of Ireland

© Enda Cunningham/Twitter
The fire rips through the rural Gaeltacht areas of Galway last weekend.
Dramatic videos have captured the scenes as wild fire ripped through gorse in rural West of Ireland areas over the weekend.

Fire and Rescue teams in Co. Galway were called to two areas of the Gaelteacht, Toureen yesterday and Baile na hAbhainn on Saturday, March 25 as they were engulfed by wildfire.

Although the Toureen and Baile na hAbhainn fires were captured on video, fire services also attended blazes in Loughrea, Clifton, Costello Connemara, Tuam, and Gort.
Thank you to Galway Fire and Rescue for their difficult work last night in tackling the gorse fires and preventing spread to homes. pic.twitter.com/H3jJIMRTNm
— Enda Cunningham (@endacunningham) March 26, 2017


U.S. witnesses furious start to the wildfire season; 10 times the average

Wildfires have charred a whopping 2 million acres across the U.S. so far this year, an area larger than the state of Delaware.

It's a gigantic number for so early in the season, roughly 10 times the average and also the most acres burned as of mid-March since 2006, according to spokeswoman Jessica Gardetto of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Many of the blazes have been massive grass fires in Oklahoma and Kansas, which have both set records for number of acres burned in March, Gardetto said.

An Oklahoma truck driver died two weeks ago in Clark County, Kan., due to smoke inhalation from a fire, the Kansas state fire marshal's office reported. There have also been at least seven fire-related injuries, two of whom were first responders.


Mass evacuations as wildfire threatens Boulder, Colorado

© louisville_colorado_love / Instagram
Firefighters are battling to contain a raging wildfire just outside Boulder, Colorado which has already forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes.

The fire broke out overnight and quickly expanded to cover 62 acres, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM). The blaze lies just west of the city of Boulder.

Authorities are struggling to contain the fire and the Denver Post reports that the flames is moving in a southerly direction towards downtown Boulder.