Thursday, March 8, 2012

BIZARRE FLU SEASON: Extreme and Severe Weather Causes Widespread Flu Outbreaks From U.S. Coast to Coast!

As if record warm temperatures and an extraordinary lack of snow isn't enough to make this winter seem strange, throw a bizarre flu season into the mix! A few weeks ago we told you we were experiencing the slowest start to flu season in three decades, according to government officials. Now, as spring allergy and severe weather season begin, we're seeing widespread flu outbreaks from coast to coast!

Knox County, Missouri had to cancel classes on Monday, March 5 in an effort to stave off a stomach flu outbreak in the district. Knox County Schools Superintendent Andy Turgeon said norovirus, or the common stomach flu, spread like wildfire through the district Friday, leading the Knox County Health Department to recommend that district schools take a three-day weekend to get the virus out of its system. "I don't know. It hit fast and hit hard," Turgeon told the Quincy Herald-Whig.


Dr. Cliff Bassett, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, says the stomach flu has been surprisingly active this year. "I've seen a variety of different types including norovirus and viral infections in enclosed areas (like offices and schools)," says Dr. Bassett. Dr. Bassett says washing your hands and staying home when you're sick will help stop the spread of flu. "Don't bring it to the office, don't do us any favors," says Dr. Bassett. "This is all about common sense and applying the right principles to keep people healthy this year." The challenge now is that this late flu season is intersecting directly with allergy season. - The Weather Channel.


SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: NASA's HiRISE Captures 800 Metres High Tornado On Planet Mars!

NASA's HiRISE captured a twisting column of dust more than half a mile (800 meters) high and about 30 meters in diameter on Feb. 16, 2012, while the orbiter passed over the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars.

The paths of previous whirlwinds, or dust devils, are visible as streaks on the dusty surface taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been examining Mars with six science instruments since 2006. Now in an extended mission, the orbiter continues to provide insights into the planet’s ancient environments and how processes such as wind, meteorite impacts and seasonal frosts continue to affect the Martian surface today.

This mission has returned more data about Mars than all other orbital and surface missions combined.More than 21,700 images taken by HiRISE are available for viewing on the instrument team’s website: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu .  Each observation by this telescopic camera covers several square miles, or square kilometers, and can reveal features as small as a desk.
- Daily Galaxy.


DEADLY STORM: Tropical Cyclone Irina Kills 73 and Leaves 21,000 Homeless in Madagascar!

At least 73 people are dead and more than 21,000 people homeless after Tropical Storm Irina struck Madagascar, an official with the nation's disaster bureau said Wednesday.

One person has been injured, and two more are missing, according to Setra Rakotomandrindra of the National Bureau of Natural Catastrophes. About 21,235 people are homeless, he said, and a total of 67,911 people have been affected, mostly in the southeastern part of the island nation. The government was using tents to house those who need shelter, he said. Irina was Madagascar's second violent storm in two weeks, according to the IRIN news agency, a service of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Cyclone Giovanna wreaked havoc on Madagascar last month, IRIN said.

But "while most people had been warned of Giovanna's destructive potential, Irina took the Indian Ocean island largely by surprise, destroying roads and houses already weakened by the first cyclone." More than 100 people have died during the nation's current cyclone season, which usually runs from January to March, IRIN said. Most of the casualties were in the southeastern town of Ifanadiana, where a mudslide swallowed homes and caused a traffic accident involving a minibus, according to IRIN. Main roads in Madagascar have been reopened as of Wednesday, Rakotomandrindra said.
  - CNN.


EXTREME WEATHER: Warmest Spring in Years to Fuel Active Severe Weather - Most Widespread Warmth Since 2004; Above-Normal Tornadoes!

An active severe weather season is anticipated in the U.S. during spring of 2012 with the most widespread warmth since 2004.

"As far as the forecast for the spring of 2012, we do feel like it's going to be a mild spring for most of the nation from the eastern Rockies into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes area," Paul Pastelok, expert long-range meteorologist and leader of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team, said. "At least two-thirds of the nation could wind up with above-normal temperatures." The Northeast will be mild to start, while the central Plains and western Texas will be a particularly warm zone this spring. An exception to the mild weather will be the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures will be below normal.

Active Severe Weather Season Forecast

An above-normal number of tornadoes is forecast for this season with water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico running above normal for this time of year. The active severe weather season follows a deadly year with a near-record number of tornadoes in 2011. Typically, 1,300 tornadoes strike the U.S. a year. There were nearly 1,700 tornadoes in 2011, falling short of the record 1,817 tornadoes set in 2004. Rounds of wet weather with an active start to the severe weather season are in store for the Deep South, including eastern Texas and the Gulf states, during March. The rain early in the season will be beneficial for drought-stricken areas, including southern portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, southern Alabama, southwestern Georgia and the western Florida Panhandle. Near-normal precipitation is expected in this zone for the entire spring. "Areas that seemed to miss out on frequent severe weather last year may see an uptick this year," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.  More frequent bouts of rain and severe weather will migrate northward to the mid-Mississippi and Ohio valleys, which were not hit as hard as the Deep South in 2011, mainly during April and May.

Above-normal rainfall is in store for the Tennessee and Ohio valleys as cooler, unsettled weather settles in the region during May. "The Tennessee Valley wild card will be whether cut-off lows bring below-normal temperatures and unsettled weather to the region during May," according to Pastelok. While portions of the South will have welcome rain and above-normal rainfall this spring, drought conditions may worsen in central and southern portions of Florida. Dry conditions are expected for central and southern Florida for most of the season. The increasing dry conditions may also lead to a high fire danger throughout this spring season. "By the summer, the pattern in Florida may flip around with more episodes of wet weather," Pastelok added. - AccuWeather.
WATCH:  AccuWeather's 2012 Spring Forecast.


   

See forecast for different regions in America HERE.

WEATHER FORECAST: La Nina Phenomenon Gone by End of April - Dry Spell May Plague US South; Texas Still Reeling From 2011 Drought, Worst in a Century!

The La Nina weather pattern blamed for a devastating drought in Texas should be gone by the end of April but its impact will persist in large swathes of the southern United States, which may complicate conditions for farmers planting their spring crops.

In this Jan. 19 photo, the banks of Tiki Island in the middle of Medina Lake, Texas, are exposed
due to receding water levels caused by drought.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center said in a monthly update released on Thursday that La Nina is rapidly weakening and is expected "to transition to ... neutral conditions by the end of April 2012. La Nina-like impacts are expected to persist into the upcoming season," the CPC, an office under the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, explained. The report fine-tuned the time frame when La Nina would dissipate. La Nina is an abnormal cooling of waters in the equatorial Pacific which can last for years and wreaks havoc over weather conditions in Asia and the Americas. Its more infamous counterpart, El Nino, leads to a heating of those waters while sparking drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America. CPC said drier-than-average conditions are seen across Florida, the Gulf Coast and the southwestern United States.
Above-average rain is forecast for the Ohio valley and the lower Great Lakes region of the U.S. La Nina's sting could cause problems just when vital crops like corn, soybeans and cotton are sown in the U.S. Midwest and the south. The worst drought in a century hit in 2011 in Texas, the biggest cotton growing state in the country. La Nina has been keenly felt in Latin America, where estimates for the 2011/12 corn crop from Argentina, the world's No. 2 supplier, have been cut. Brazil's soy crop has also been hit. Estimates of both crops were cut by the U.S. Agriculture Department in its monthly supply/demand report for February. The next USDA estimate is due on Friday. La Nina's gradual dissolution would come just before the start of the annual Atlantic hurricane season on June 1. The U.S. crude oil industry is particularly worried about storms in the Gulf of Mexico threatening to topple platforms and rigs in the area. In the last two years when La Nina was present, more storms formed in the Atlantic Ocean, but most of them veered away from the U.S. mainland. An exception was Hurricane Irene which caused severe damage in states from New Jersey to Vermont. - MSNBC.

DELUGE: Midnight Flooding in Gorontalo, Indonesia - 270 Houses Submerged!

Flood midnight, Tuesday-Wednesday morning (6 March 2012 dan7) in Gorontalo, resulting in 270 houses submerged.

Public Relations National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in Jakarta, describes, the flooding Temelito District of North Gorontalo district as residents slept.

"In addition to 270 houses, floods submerge the traditional market, the village office and a boarding school. Flooding also resulted in a destroyed bridge," said Sutopo.

Villages are submerged Bubode Village, the Village and Village Milango Leao. The number of victims in each village is Village Bubode 92 KK, KK 62 Leao Village, 116 Village Milango KK.

Currently, more Sutopo, BPBD have done Coordination with Social Affairs, Health Office and related agencies and emergency handling. Advanced condition according to Sutopo, the victims were still in their homes. The urgent need is clean water, health care, clothing, food, and blankets. - Kompas [Translated].

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report - New Activities and Unrest From February 29th to March 6th, 2012!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, a cooperative project between the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program.

In Kamchatka, Russian far east, the Bezymianny Volcano has been assigned the highest aviation danger
code of “red.”  The ash and gases that are being spewed from the crater can seriously damage aircraft
systems. The volcano is also showing high seismic activity and signs that it may possibly erupt.
Bezzymianny is part of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic group.

BEZYMIANNY Central Kamchatka (Russia) 55.978°N, 160.587°E; summit elev. 2882 m
KVERT reported that during 24 February-2 March seismic activity at Bezymianny remained elevated, with about 7-19 weak events registered daily. A thermal anomaly was detected in satellite images. Gas-and-steam activity was observed on 26 February; clouds obscured the volcano on the other days. One short volcanic tremor episode was detected on 29 February. About 40 seismic events were detected on 1 March and, according to satellite data analysis, the size and brightness of a thermal anomaly abruptly increased on 2 March. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red. During 2-5 March there were 25-40 weak seismic events detected; cloud cover prevented observations of the volcano. Map

CLEVELAND Chuginadak Island 52.825°N, 169.944°W; summit elev. 1730 m
AVO reported that during 24 February-2 March satellite images of Cleveland revealed no unusual activity and no significant changes in the size of the lava dome. A weak thermal anomaly was detected in satellite imagery on 3 March. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch and the Aviation Color Code remained at Orange. No current seismic information was available because Cleveland does not have a real-time seismic network. Map

ETNA Sicily (Italy) 37.734°N, 15.004°E; summit elev. 3330 m
Sezione di Catania - Osservatorio Etneo reported that the third episode of lava fountaining from Etna's New Southeast Crater (New SEC) occurred on the morning of 4 March and was more explosive than the preceding episode. The beginning of the eruption was characterized by a rapid increase in volcanic tremor amplitude coincident with Strombolian explosions that increased in intensity and frequency. Just after 0800 lava overflowed the deep breach in the SE rim of the crater and reached the SE base of the cone within 15 minutes, then advanced towards the W rim of the Valle del Bove. Explosive activity changed to continuous lava fountaining and an eruption plume developed at about 0830. Large pyroclasts fell on the steep flanks of the cone, causing avalanches.

At about 0850 small pyroclastic flows generated by the partial collapse of the eruption column mainly descended the NE flank, and somewhat down the S flank. A lava flow was emitted from a new eruptive vent on the upper SW flank of the New SEC cone and descended into the saddle between the old and new SEC cones. The lava interacted with snow, causing powerful explosions and small pyroclastic flows. These phreatic explosions generated jets of vapor and launched rock fragments to distances of several tens of meters. A lahar developed which traveled toward the "Belvedere" monitoring station, on the W rim of the Valle del Bove, and passed a few tens of meters to the N of the monitoring instruments. A lava flow also issued from an eruptive fissure on the upper N flank of the cone and descended a few hundred meters to the NE, surrounding the N base of the cone. After descending the steep W slope of the Valle del Bove, the flow split into several branches on the more gently sloping terrain. These branches exceeded in length those of 9 February, reaching a total distance of about 3.5 km from the crater. Shortly after 1000, the activity started to diminish; lava fountaining ceased at 1032, two hours after the onset of the paroxysmal phase. The lava flow emitted from the fissure on the SW flank of the cone continued advancing for a few hours after the cessation of the activity. The eruption column rose several kilometers above the summit of Etna. Ash and lapilli were carried NE by the wind, affecting the areas around Piedimonte, Etneo, and Taormina. Fine ash fell as far as the Messina area and southern Calabria. Again, the pyroclastic cone of the New SEC had grown in height, mainly on its N rim. Map

KANAGA Andreanof Islands 51.923°N, 177.168°W; summit elev. 1307 m
AVO reported that the level of unrest at Kanaga declined to background levels. On 2 March the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Normal and the Aviation Color Code was lowered to Green. Map

TUNGURAHUA Ecuador 1.467°S, 78.442°W; summit elev. 5023 m
IG reported that during 29 February-2 March cloud cover prevented views of Tungurahua. On 3 March seismicity increased. Clouds mostly prevented observations; during breaks in the cloud cover ash plumes were observed rising 3 km above the crater and drifting S and SW. Explosions ejected blocks that rolled down the flanks. Two of the explosions generated sounds resembling cannon shots, and vibrated windows. Ashfall was reported in Choglontus (13 km WSW), Manzano (8 km SW), Cahuají (8 km SW), and Motilones (W). On 4 March ashfall was reported in Yuibug and observers noted hot deposits from a small pyroclastic flow that occurred high in the Achupashal drainage (NW). Ash plumes observed during breaks in the cloud cover on 5 March rose 1 km and drifted W. Ash again fell in Choglontus. Clouds prevented observations on 6 March. Map

For ongoing volcanic activity and additional geological summary, click HERE.


GREAT DELUGE: The Australian Weather Anomalies - Heaviest Rainfall in 5 Years in Sydney; Mass Evacuations; Levee Breaks in Victoria's Nathalia!

Residents in parts of Sydney and the NSW south coast have been evacuated amid localised flooding, while levees in Nathalia, Victoria, have been breached. All residents are now being evacuated from the northern Victorian town of Nathalia, with floodwaters breaching both its main levees. About 700 homes are now under threat, as a breach in the town's northern levee follows the seeping of water under the southern barrier this morning, State Emergency Service incident controller Lee Gleeson said.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard boards a helicopter to fly over flooded regions.
Sydney suffered its heaviest rainfall in five years, bringing the city's transport system to a halt and causing hundreds of rescues and evacuations. About 119mm of rain fell on parts of the CBD today, with the Bureau of Meteorology's Observatory Hill weather station recording its highest daily rainfall total since 2007. In the city's west, 146mm fell on Merrylands. "There has been very, very heavy rain and some very strong winds," a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said. It sparked widespread flash flooding, forced the closure of railway lines and dozens of roads, and led to power being cut to at least 300 properties. More than 20 people were evacuated from the Scalabrini Retirement Village in Austral, southwest Sydney, after the Bonds Creek flooded. "The creek broke its banks there, so it was a pre-emptive flood rescue," a State Emergency Service (SES) spokesman said. Residents of 20 homes in three streets at Marrickville were evacuated at 10am (AEDT) because of severe flash flooding. Motorists were rescued from cars caught in flooding at Rossmore, Austral and Campbelltown. Flights from Sydney Airport were delayed or cancelled and a Qantas plane bound for Sydney was forced to divert to Newcastle. Trains on the Airport and East Hills and Olympic Park railway lines were suspended about 9.30am (AEDT) because of water on the tracks.

Commuters suffered major delays on seven of Sydney's 16 main railway lines, including the Eastern Suburbs, Bankstown, Inner West, Airport, South, North Shore, Western, Olympic Park and Northern lines. Banksia station was shut while dozens of others suffered flooding, particularly in subway and underpass areas. Ausgrid said power was cut to about 300 homes in 50 locations in Sydney. "The majority of jobs involve individual properties where tree branches may have come into contact with the service wire that connects customers with the electricity network," the company said in a statement. Fire and Rescue NSW said 250 firefighters from more than 50 fire stations responded to dozens of incidents across the city. Emergency services were watching the Georges River, with flooding expected at Liverpool and Milperra. The river was expected to peak at 2.3m about 11am in Liverpool and 2m at noon at Milperra. Meanwhile, a policeman was lucky to avoid serious injury when he fell down a mountain in NSW's Southern Highlands. The 40-year-old male sergeant was sent to Moss Vale Rd on Cambewarra Mountain, in Nowra, about 12.30am to help the State Emergency Service (SES) deal with a fallen tree. The officer was standing by the side of the road when the surface gave way, sending him plummeting down the side of the 650m mountain. His fall was halted by vines about 30m down and he was taken to Shoalhaven Hospital in a stable condition. Elsewhere, residents in southwest and central west NSW continue to suffer from major flooding. The area around Griffith, in the state's southern Riverina region, and Forbes in the central west will be the main focus for emergency services on Thursday, with substantial flooding continuing in both. An SES spokesman said 120 properties were flooded in Beelbangera, just outside Griffith, overnight into today. The Lachlan River system, around Forbes, is expected to peak at about 10.65m tonight, potentially causing more flooding. Flooding has eased slightly in Wagga Wagga. - The Australian.
WATCH: Rains and floods cause chaos in Sydney.


MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Dolphins Are Dying in Record Numbers in the Atlantic Ocean!

Dolphins have been found either dead or dying in record-breaking numbers in the Atlantic Ocean, off the United States.


So far 179 dolphins have died on Cape Cod in Massachusetts in a little over a month. Scientists fear it could be due to a change in sea temperature -- as the region experiences its mildest winter in a hundred years. At the same time, a rare and endangered whale species has also changed its behaviour patterns. Morland Sanders from Channel 4 News has more. - World News Australia.
Three dolphins stranded themselves Tuesday on the beaches of Cape Cod, an animal welfare group said today. The group was able to rescue and release two of the marine mammals, but they had to euthanize the third. Six dolphins also came ashore in Eastham last week. Two of the six died, but the International Fund for Animal Welfare was able to treat and release the remaining four, spokesman Michael Booth said. The latest strandings come after a monthlong mass stranding event, from Jan. 12 to Feb. 14, that saw at least 179 dolphins beach themselves on the roughly 25-mile stretch of coast between Dennis and Wellfleet. Of the dolphins that stranded, 71 were alive when they were found. The group was able to successfully release 53 of those dolphins back into deeper waters. The group marshaled an army of volunteers to respond to what was termed the largest single-species stranding event ever reported in the Northeast. - Boston.

WATCH: Dolphins dying in record numbers.





MYSTERY: Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - The Latest UFO Sightings And Aerial Anomalies Around the World?!

Here are several of the latest unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen recently across the globe.


Compilation of the most groundbreaking UFOs during the month of  February, 2012.


Indiana, America - 3rd of March, 2012.


Kosovo - 3rd of March, 2012.


O'Fallon, Illinois - 1st of March, 2012.


São Paulo, Brazil - 27th of February, 2012.


Sweden - 24th of January, 2012.


Mexico City, Mexico - 12th of February, 2012.


Dallas, Texas - 4th of March, 2012.


Rome, Italy - 3rd March, 2012


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Sakurajima Continues Its Record-Breaking Activity - Produces Explosive Plumes up to Altitudes of 10,000 Feet!

According to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report from the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program,  Mount Sakurajima's explosive release of gas, ash or rock continues unabated.

Zoom-in image of the latest eruption from Mount Sakurajima.
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 29 February-7 March explosions from Sakura-jima often produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.2-3 km (4,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW, E, and SE. A pilot observed an ash plume on 5 March. Another pilot report on 6 March noted a plume drifting SE at an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l.

Geologic Summary:
Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow was associated with the formation of the 17 x 23-km-wide Aira caldera about 22,000 years ago. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kita-dake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minami-dake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76. -
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report.
WATCH: Live Sakurajima camera.



DELUGE: Floods Destroy Homes and Displace Hundreds in Southern Peru!

Heavy rain sends Peruvian river over its banks destroying homes and farmlands displacing hundreds of families. Heavy rain sent Peru's Coata River over its banks Tuesday (March 6) flooding nearby communities and destroying homes leaving hundreds of families displaced.

The swollen river, which feeds into the famed Lake Titicaca straddling the Peruvian -- Bolivian border, poured into area croplands and grazing pastures forcing local herders to lead their flocks to higher ground as the flood water continued to rise. At some points the water level was so high, bridges were in danger of being swept away with the rushing water underneath them. The provincial mayor of Puno, Luis Butron, said the damage has gone beyond Coata and is affecting many of Puno's communities. "We are seeing that this is a major emergency. Not only here in the Coata district due to the flooding of the river, but also in the Tiquillaca, Manaso, Tuncoya, Acora, Pichacani and other districts," Butron said.

Many homes in the area are adobe, or constructed by dried mud bricks that do not withstand the wet weather making them prone to collapse. Facing the daunting flood waters, hundreds of families were forced to gathered what they could carry and set out away from the torrent. "All over, not just one spot is being invaded by water, but everywhere. The river is about as full as it can get and is about to break its banks," said Coata Mayor Arnaldo Velarde. Local reports say as many as 50 homes have already been lost with dozens more in danger of being completely destroyed. Local authorities say more than 450 families have been affected in the area. "We are taking my things somewhere else. [JOURNALIST ASKING: Is everything wet?] Yes, everything is wet. [JOURNALIST ASKING: Is your house in danger of collapsing?] It could collapse because the water has soaked everything," said flood victim, Maria Sulca. Peru's national weather service says heavy rain with isolated thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected to continue through Saturday (March 10). The weather alert includes most of the country north of Lima and southern portions including Puno, Arequipa and Madre de Dios. - The Weather Network.
WATCH: Floods in the south of Peru destroy homes.


RATTLE & HUM: "Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Loud Sounds Rattles Central Alabama; FAA Finds no Evidence of Sonic Boom?!

A review of air traffic records by the Federal Aviation Administration today found no records of any flights Tuesday afternoon that could have caused a sonic boom in central Alabama.

Some have speculated that a sonic boom could have been the cause of the loud sound that rattled walls across Chilton County and in parts of Bibb County Tuesday afternoon. More than 100 calls about the incident were received by Chilton County 911 about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said if there was a sonic boom, it would have had to have been caused by a military aircraft because no civilian plane flies fast enough to cause one.
A spokesman for Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery said none of the aircraft that fly out of there travel fast enough to cause a sonic boom. A spokesman for the Alabama Air National Guard said today he would look into the report, but no information had been provided as of this afternoon. It wouldn't be the first time a sonic boom has rattled walls and windows in Alabama.
Residents in Choctaw, Washington and Clarke counties reported a loud sonic boom in Feb. 2010 as three jets from the Pensacola Naval Air Station flew through the area. In 2009, aircraft from a base in Tennessee broke the sound barrier and caused loud booms heard by many Madison County residents. In 1995, police dispatchers in Pelham sent officers out looking for the source of the noise after getting calls from concerned residents. That noise was later determined to have been caused by a landing of Discovery space shuttle. - AL.

DELUGE: Fatal Floods in Ecuador - 20 People Have Been Killed, 65 Injured, 166 Homes Destroyed and Over 2,800 Evacuated!

Heavy flooding in Ecuador causes the deaths of at least 20 people and forces the evacuation of over 2,800 people from the coastal areas.

Heavy flooding continued in Ecuador on Tuesday (March 06) with severe flooding throughout several coastal communities. The Ecuadorian government has announced that at least 20 people have died and 65 were injured due to the flooding in Ecuador’s coastal provinces.

“It’s been frightening. Yesterday at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the water was practically at waist level.
Luckily, it happened during day time so that I could remove a few thing,” Jocay resident Rolando Cuenca said before being asked if he was able to save some of his belongings. “Sure, we were able to save some things, but some were lost to the water,” he added. At least 166 homes have been destroyed and so far 2, 823 people have been evacuated to shelters and nearby communities.

In February, rains in the Chone area of Ecuador forced hundreds to abandon their homes and caused severe damage to local crops. According to the Ecuador’s National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, the country can expect heavy rains to continue throughout March and April.
- NTN24.
WATCH: Fatal floods in Ecuador.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Land Subsidence Continues Unabated in China - Sinking Land Causes Panic in Hefei!

Several weeks ago, I told you of the formation of 550 pits in various sizes, found over the past three years in China's Hunan Province.
The last three years in Hunan Province, China in an area of ​​central pits of various sizes arise as more than 550, the area of ​​agriculture and housing is affecting retirement. Pits have dotted Yuejiaqiao Twon in Yiyang City of Hunan, with big ones having a diameter of seven to eight meters and small ones two to three meters. Pit the northern city of Hunan Yiyang are scattered around the wejachaoh area. 7 ~ 8m diameter of a large pit, and the diameter of the smaller ones are 2 ~ 3m. - Reuters [Translated].
Several days later, more evidence surfaced in Yiyang City.
Since January 1, 2012, karst cave-ins have occurred in many places of Yuejiaqiao Town, Yiyang City of central China's Hunan Province. Yiyang city has seen 693 karst cave-ins, including 537 in farmland and 150 in rivers. The geological disaster has damaged 167 houses and affected more than 1,200 local people. - SINA.
Today, more cases of the monumental land subsidence occurring there. Have a look at the following images from Hefei, the capital city of Anhui province:



See more images HERE.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Viral Disease Kills 150 Birds at Jallo Park, Pakistan!

Punjab Wildlife Department Director General Syed Iftikhar Husain Shah told Dawn on Tuesday that some 150 birds had died so far at Jallo Wildlife Park due to a viral disease called newcastle.

Shah said the disease had no treatment, however, he had appointed three vets at Jallo Wildlife Park. A vet was already working at Jallo and two were transferred from Lahore Zoo and Lahore Zoo Safari. “We are trying our best to fight the disease,” Shah said. The official said healthy birds had been separated from the affected ones and the Lahore region office director had been transferred to Jallo Wildlife Park.

On the other hand, an official at Jallo Wildlife Park said about 190 birds had been killed by the disease. The official said about 20 birds died on Tuesday alone. This disease hit the park around Feb 22, but it became severe from Feb 29, the official said. Affected birds were being given supportive medicines, he added. It may be mentioned that the Jallo Wildlife Park has a rich collection of birds, pheasants and peacocks and it supplies these species to other zoos and parks of Punjab under an exchange programme. According to wildlife experts, sending and receiving of birds under the exchange programme must be watched to stop the contagious disease from spreading to other parks and zoos. In January last the disease killed about 40 birds at the Lahore Zoo Safari Park. - DAWN.