Bizarro Earth

NASA satellite captures huge Alaska winter dust storm

Glacial dust travels far and wide. This satellite image from NASA shows one result of the glacial forces at work in Alaska, a dust storm blowing out into the Gulf of Alaska Wednesday from the Malaspina Glacier. The satellite, which has equipment that "sees" every point on the world every one-to-two days, is about 438 miles above the Earth. The receiving station for images from the MODIS equipment is on the roof of the International Arctic Research Center at UAF.

The satellite data continues to collect and has been archived since 2002 for the Terra satellite and since 2003 for a similar satellite, known as Aqua. The Fairbanks station picks up information from the these satellites about 15 times a day. The machines circle the earth from pole to pole every 108 minutes.

Here is what NASA says about the image:
Dust storms generally call to mind places like the Sahara Desert or the Arabian Peninsula, but dust storms occur at high latitudes as well. One such storm left streamers of dust over the Gulf of Alaska in mid-November 2010. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on November 17, 2010. Thin plumes of beige dust blow off the Alaskan coast toward the south-southwest. Roughly mimicking the shape and direction of the dust plumes, parallel lines of clouds occur farther south over the ocean.


Bad weather strands thousands near Everest

© Narendra Shrestha / EPA file The autumn season, from September to November, is popular among Western trekkers in Nepal. Thousands of climbers visit the Solukhumbu region, home to Mount Everest, above, every year.
Helicopter rides back from Mount Everest after a week on the slopes of the world's tallest mountain might sound like a trekker's delight, but for the tourists trapped in the remote region of Nepal, the extended stay was not on the itinerary.

Around 2,000 foreign tourists and their porters have spent the past five days stuck in a tiny village 9,186 feet up the slopes of a hill near Everest due to bad weather, with Nepali army helicopters set to begin flying the stranded sightseers to safety on Friday.

They have been trapped in Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest in east Nepal, after thick cloud and blustering winds forced airlines to cancel their flights to and from the remote region, officials said on Friday.

Tens of thousands of trekkers and climbers visit the Solukhumbu region in east Nepal, home to Mount Everest, every year.

Many start their trek from windswept Lukla village where a small airstrip is carved into the rugged mountainside.

Cloud Lightning

Landslide Cuts Off Cornwall as Storms Hit Southwest

© Suzanne Chapman/ApexFlooding on Station Road in St Blazey, Cornwall
The main train line into Cornwall has been blocked by a landslide, cutting off the county from the rest of Britain, as storms bring flooding and disruption to large parts of the south west.

Drivers were washed into Portloe harbour near Truro while still in their cars and three feet of standing water trapped hundreds of people in their homes in many places.

Traffic on the main routes through mid-Cornwall backed up for several miles, causing long delays to commuters.

The landslip took place at around 6.30am at Lostwithiel and there are currently no trains in or out of the county.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported this morning despite the severity of the weather.

Gales have contributed to the problems as trees have been brought down and blocked roads including the A390 at Gunnislake.

Many schools have been closed.

Lostwithiel, Bodmin, St Austell, Par, Luxulyan and St Blazey have been flooded.

Cloud Lightning

Thai Flood Death Toll Climbs to 227

© PressTVA flooded house affected in the recent Thai floods
Thailand's flood death toll has risen to 227 with the government helping flood victims obtain compensation in the affected provinces.

Wiboon Sanguanpong, the director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, confirmed on Tuesday that 227 people were killed in the recent flooding, reported China's Xinhua news agency. Heavy floods, caused by a combination of heavy rainfall and water released from overloaded reservoirs, have hit Thailand since October 10, especially in the country's northeast and the south.

The families of the flood victims will receive additional financial aid under state regulations, a government official said.

Overall, 51 provinces have been impacted by the flooding, affecting more than 8.6 million people. The floods in 35 provinces have eased and restoration work has begun, while floodwaters remain in 16 provinces with 1.4 million people being affected.

Cloud Lightning

Trees Crash Down, Cut Power In Windstorm

© KiroTV.comShipping containers at the Port of Tacoma
Power crews worked to restore service after 150,000 customers were without power after a windstorm hit Western Washington hard.

Puget Sound Energy started out with about 90,000 outages across all of the counties it services for except Kittitas County. Olympia was hit especially hard. By noon, 76,000 were still without power. The utility said some in Thurston County may not have service restored until Thursday.

Chris Gleason with Tacoma Power said they started out with 54,000 outages but are down to 6,000 customers without power as crews work to restore service.

Jonathan White said 5,600 customers of Peninsula Light Company in Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula were in darkness, but by noon they were down to 3,700. White said trees were the main culprit for the outages.

Bizarro Earth

Widespread flooding hits much of rural Italy

Heavy rains are continuing to fall across Italy causing some of the worst flooding in decades.

Hardest hit yesterday was the southern province of Salerno where hundreds had to be evacuated from their homes after several rivers burst their banks.

Half a million people are reported to be without drinking water.

Since Monday numerous regions have been struggling to cope as businesses suffer, transport links are disrupted and schools are closed.

Much of the country's farms are suffering, with crops and livestock lost.

Bizarro Earth

Belgium Floods Kill 2

© Yves Logghe/Associated PressA man cycles through a flooded street in Geraardsbergen, Belgium, on Sunday.
Belgian authorities called in the army Sunday to assist with emergency evacuations after severe flooding killed two people in the southwestern region of Beaumont, near the French border.

A 72-year-old woman drowned overnight after her husband lost control of their vehicle, Lt. Fabrice Pierart of the local firefighters told Belgian broadcaster RTL. A second victim, who was on his way home, was found just metres away, Pierart said.

"This is a catastrophe for our region," the mayor of Beaumont, Charles Dupuis, told RTL.

Officials described the flooding as the worst in 50 years. The national weather service said that in two days Belgium absorbed as much rainfall as it normally gets in a month.

Rivers and creeks overflowed in the western and central parts of the country, causing basements and streets to flood in scores of towns and cities. Rail traffic was seriously interrupted on Sunday morning, but returned slowly to normal in the afternoon.

Local authorities called in the army and civil protection units to reinforce firefighters who had been working overnight. The situation appeared particularly serious in the Brabant region, just outside Brussels.


US: Upper Midwest digs out after heavy snow

© Kyndell Harkness/Associated PressA pedestrian makes her way over piles of snow Saturday near the IDS Center in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis -- Parts of the Upper Midwest dug out from a heavy snowfall Saturday that caused more than 400 traffic accidents in Minnesota, and wintry conditions also were being blamed for a collision in northern Wisconsin that killed two people.

Nearly a foot of snow had fallen in parts of the Twin Cities area by Saturday evening, downing trees and causing sporadic power outages.

The storm that began late Friday night was blamed for a collision Saturday morning that killed both drivers and left a passenger hospitalized. The sheriff's department in Wisconsin's Bayfield County said the storm produced "rapidly deteriorating road conditions" that likely contributed to the crash.

Kevin Kraujalis of the National Weather Service's Duluth office estimated that Bayfield County had a couple of inches of snow on the ground when the collision occurred. The meteorologist said the county had about 5 inches as of 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Minnesota State Patrol responded to 401 crashes as of 4 p.m, with 45 of them involving minor injuries, Patrol Capt. Matt Langer said. There were no other immediate reports of fatalities or major injuries.

Life Preserver

Ireland Battered by New Storms

© Irish IndependentA fallen tree comes down next to a school just before closing time in Claregalway, Co Galway
Heavy rain and winds of 140kmh cause havoc nationwide

Stormy conditions rolled right across the country again yesterday afternoon and last night, as strong winds and heavy rain spread in from the Atlantic.

With a severe weather alert issued well in advance by Met Eireann, most areas had done as much as they could in preparation, but winds of 120kmh and heavy rain uprooted trees and caused localised flooding in a number of locations.

The west of the country got the worst of the storm, as the Atlantic coast from Kerry to Donegal was battered by huge swells and gusts of up to 140kmh yesterday afternoon. The coastguard said a record swell of 11.5 metres was recorded in the sea off Valentia.

On dryer land, uprooted trees and fallen telephone lines proved to be a significant concern for motorists, with gardai and the emergency services called out to various locations to deal with traffic disruptions in Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Limerick, Westmeath, Louth and Dublin.

Cloud Lightning

Woman Passenger Killed After Being Impaled by Branch as 100mph Winds Sweep Britain

© Yorkshire News/Media ServicesWinds of up to 100mph struck the country leading to the woman's death in Wakefield, West Yorkshire
A woman has been killed after being impaled by a branch when a tree crashed into a car as high winds battered Britain, police said today.

The woman was a passenger in a Vauxhall Zafira travelling through Wakefield last night when the tree smashed into the road, causing the freak accident.

She was taken to Pinderfield's Hospital a short distance away but died soon afterwards. The male driver of the vehicle was also hurt but his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

West Yorkshire police said a number of homes in the area were evacuated overnight and part of the road - the A642 - is likely to remain closed until this afternoon.

Three fire crews were called to the scene last night to free the casualties. A fire service spokesman described the woman as having been 'impaled'.

Neighbour Christine Wright said: 'It is a freak accident. I heard a loud thud about nine-ish, but there was so much noise with the wind I didn't think much of it, initially.

'Something made me look out of my window and I saw two police officers in yellow jackets. I then heard the ambulance sirens. It's so worrying, there are lots of tall, old trees around here. Someone needs to look at them.'

The incident happened as high winds and heavy rain battered many parts of the UK.