Cloud Lightning

US: Tropical Storm Don Moving Across the Gulf of Mexico Toward Southeastern Texas

Miami - Tropical Storm Don is over the central Gulf of Mexico but the system is not expected to become a hurricane as it moves toward southeastern Texas.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Don's maximum sustained winds Thursday were 45 mph (75 kph) with gradual strengthening forecast in the next 36 hours.

The storm is expected to make landfall on the Texas coast late Friday or Saturday.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast from Port Mansfield to San Luis Pass.

The storm is centered about 425 miles (684 kilometers) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and is moving northwest at 16 mph (26 kph).

Cloud Lightning

Philippines: Tropical storm 'Juaning' triggers floods, landslides, accidents

© Manny MarceloA passenger bus lies on the service road after it crashed and fell from the Skyway in Sucat, Parañaque yesterday. The driver and two passengers were killed.
At least 10 people died and four others were reported missing as tropical storm "Juaning" (international codename Nock-Ten) intensified further and moved closer to the country yesterday, officials said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said storm warning signal no. 2 was hoisted over

Camarines provinces; Albay; Catanduanes; Pangasinan; Nueva Ecija; Zambales; Pampanga; Tarlac; Bulacan; Bataan; Rizal; Cavite; Laguna; Batangas; Quezon; Polillo Island and Metro Manila as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

Signal no. 1, meanwhile, was up in Ilocos Norte; Ilocos Sur; Apayao; Cagayan; Abra; Kalinga; Isabela; Mountain Province; Ifugao; La Union; Benguet; Nueva Vizcaya; Quirino; Aurora; Mindoro provinces; Lubang Island; Marinduque; Romblon; Burias Island; Masbate; Ticao Island and Sorsogon.

Citing field reports, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos said all the fatalities were residents of the Bicol region.

Raffy Alejandro, civil defense director for Bicol, said seven of the fatalities were from Albay province. He said two persons were reported killed in Catanduanes while one died in Camarines Sur.


Record snowfalls in New Zealand

© Simon BakerSnow covers the earthquake damaged DTZ House in central Christchurch.
The big clean up is well underway across the country following yesterday's record snowfalls in what may well end up being the coldest day of 2011.

Most state highways have now reopened and city councils in Dunedin and Christchurch have set about clearing most of the local roads of snow and ice.

Snowfalls made way to harsh frosts this morning, particularly in the South Island, although some snow is expected on Arthurs Pass, Milford Rd and the Desert Road later today.

Westerlies are forecast to strengthen over the South Island today, with heavy rain forecast of the west of the country, however temperatures are forecast to pick up following a frigid past few days.

WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan said yesterday may well have been the coldest day of the year.

The national high was just 12 degrees recorded in Northland yesterday.

Bizarro Earth

South Korea Landslides Leave 32 Dead, 10 Missing

© AP Photo/Lee Sang-hakSouth Korean rescue workers carry a survivor who was rescued from a collapsed house as a midnight landslide caused by torrential rains swept away several houses in Chuncheon, South Korea.
A blast of heavy rain sent landslides barreling through South Korea's capital and a northern town Wednesday, killing at least 32 people, including 10 college students doing volunteer work.

The students died as mud and debris engulfed them as they slept in a resort cabin in Chuncheon, about 68 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of the capital Seoul, said Byun In-soo of the town's fire station. A married couple and a convenience store owner also died.

About 500 officials and residents worked to rescue people trapped in the mud and wreckage. Twenty-four people were injured and several buildings destroyed, officials said. Witnesses interviewed on television likened the sound of the landslide to a massive explosion or a screaming freight train and described the screaming they heard as buildings were carried away by rivers of mud.

In southern Seoul, 16 people died when mud crashed through residences at the foot of a mountain, emergency official Kim Jong-seon said. Three others also died after a stream just south of Seoul flooded, Kim said, and 10 people were reported missing throughout the country.

Bizarro Earth

Earth's Tallest Lightning Seen in Unprecedented Detail

© Steven CummerTrees form a horizon from which a gigantic jet emerges; the thunderstorm is 200 miles away.
Mysterious and gigantic jets of lightning that shoot up to near the edge of space have now been observed in unprecedented detail, revealing just how much charge they pack and how they form.

More than 50 miles (80 kilometers) above Earth's surface, extreme ultraviolet radiation from the sun reacts with air molecules to produce highly charged particles, generating an energetic region known as the ionosphere.

In 2001, scientists discovered gigantic jets of lightning arcing up from clouds in the lowest portion of the atmosphere, the troposphere, to the ionosphere. These rarities apparently are caused by the profound difference in electric charge between the ionosphere and the rest of the atmosphere, but much else about them remained unclear.

"People wonder if these gigantic jets might threaten spacecraft, aircraft and passengers," said researcher Gaopeng Lu at Duke University. "This actually makes the study of gigantic jets and other lightning-related phenomena above active thunderstorms meaningful and of practical concern."


Rare heavy snow snarls South African transport

Johannesburg - An unusually heavy snowfall that blanketed large parts of South Africa snarled transport on Tuesday, halting trains and leaving thousands of motorists stranded after highways closed.

The winter storm also brought high winds that played havoc with shipping and delayed air transport. The military dispatched a helicopter to pluck crew members from a cargo ship that ran aground off the east coast.

Parts of South Africa usually receive a dusting about once or twice a year but the storm that hit large parts of the eastern half of the country on Monday and Tuesday dumped up to 60 cms (2 feet) in some areas.

"Snow is not unheard of but it is usually not this extreme," said national weather service forecaster Karl Loots.

Transport authorities shut sections of major highways, including a heavily traveled route between Johannesburg and the main east coast city of Durban.

Bizarro Earth

Heavy Snow in Central Chile

Heavy Snow in Chile_1
© Earth Observatory, NASAAcquired 22nd July
Heavy Snow in Chile_2
© Earth Observatory, NASAAcquired 8th July
In what the interior minister described as a "white earthquake," heavy snow blanketed parts of Chile in July 2011. Snow was 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) deep in the city of Lonquimay, CNN reported. Santiago Times reported that some areas received four months' worth of snowfall in just four days.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured these images of the region around Lonquimay on July 22, 2011 (top), and July 8, 2011 (bottom).

Using visible and infrared light, these images better distinguish between snow and clouds than a natural-color image would. Snow and ice are bright red or red-orange. Clouds range in color from off-white to peach. Vegetation is green.

Both images show winter conditions but, compared to the image from July 8, the scene from July 22 shows snow blanketing a significantly larger area around Lonquimay. On July 22, fog fills multiple valleys in between the snow-capped peaks.

Bizarro Earth

New Zealand: Wintry Blast Brings Worst Snow in Decade

© Oliver StedingDovedale, looking towards Mt Arthur
The worst snow in at least 16 years brought parts of the country to a standstill today.

Heavy snow, sleet and high winds made conditions treacherous throughout the country and motorists were urged to avoid all but urgent travel.

The South Island was hardest hit with many roads closed, flights cancelled and people told to stay home.

A number of state highways around the country were closed, however many are now re-opening and will be reassessed in the morning.

For the full list of closures visit NZTA .

Wellington also recorded its lowest temperature ever and the polar storm is taking another swipe at the North Island tonight.

Arrow Up

Australia: Freak weather forces waterfall to flow UPWARDS in extreme 75mph winds

Extreme weather has been battering Australia this week.

Winds have become so strong that waterfalls have been blown upwards.

The strong winds, which are seriously affecting the waterways of southern Australia, have gone up to 75mph.

© BBCExtreme: Winds in southern Australia are so strong that even waterfalls have been affected
Earlier this week, Sydney saw a month's worth of rain falling in just one day, according to the BBC.

Although the ferries which hundreds of commuters rely on have kept running, they have provided rocky rides for those brave enough to keep travelling on them.


NASA catches 3 tropical cyclones at 1 time

Nasa captures 3 cyclones
© NASA/NOAAIn this infrared image from the GOES-13 satellite on July 22 at 0845 UTC (4:45 a.m. EDT) Bret and Cindy are in the Atlantic, Low#1 (from a tropical wave) is in the Caribbean and Hurricane Dora is in the eastern Pacific, off the coast of Mexico.
It's not often that a satellite can capture an image of more than one tropical cyclone, but the GOES-13 satellite managed to get 3 tropical cyclones in two ocean basins in one image today. Bret and his "sister" Cindy are racing through the North Atlantic, while another area tries to develop far to their south. "Cousin" Dora is still a hurricane in the eastern Pacific.

An infrared image taken on July 22 at 0845 UTC (4:45 a.m. EDT), GOES-13 captured Tropical Depression Bret, Tropical Storm Cindy in the north Atlantic and low pressure area associated with a tropical wave in the Caribbean and Hurricane Dora is in the eastern Pacific, off the coast of Mexico. Cindy is 910 miles west-northwest of the Azores and Bret 295 miles northwest of Bermuda.

NASA's GOES Project issued an infrared image of both Bret and Cindy today from the GOES-13 satellite, which is operated by NOAA. The NASA GOES Project is housed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and uses GOES-13 data from NOAA to create images and animations.

Bret Being Battered

During the morning of July 22 Bret has sped up on his track through the north Atlantic and weakened. Bret is being battered by winds and cooler waters.

Bret was a tropical depression at 8 a.m. EDT on July 22, with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kmh). He was speeding to the northeast near 21 mph (33 kmh). By noon (EDT) Bret had degenerated into a low pressure area. His center was near 37.7N and 64.2 W, about 375 miles north of Bermuda.