Monday, January 7, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Supervolcano Inflation - Major Increase In Uplift And Magma Ascent At Italy's Campi Flegrei, Large Eruption Could Wipe Out All Life In Europe!

January 07, 2013 - ITALY - According to a recent report by INGV Naples, the ground deformation of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields) near Naples has increased considerably lately. During the last 12 months, the ground in some places near the town of Pozzuoli was uplifted by about 8 cm.

Increase of the temperature at a fumarole in the Solfatara.
The largest uplift, recorded by GPS devices, occurred during the months of July-August 2012 and since December. The trend appears to be continuing at the moment. Such (sometimes dramatic, totaling up to several meters in a few years) ground uplift and subsidence have been known in the Phlegraean Fields since antiquity and are not a new phenomenon. They can usually be explained by normal pressure, temperature and density variations of the giant hydrothermal system of the Campi Flegrei caldera and may not necessarily indicate an imminent eruption. However, in addition to the detected ground deformation, scientists also measured increased numbers of micro earthquakes, a rise in temperature and in particular, an increase in the proportion of the gases of magmatic origin at fumaroles in the Solfatara crater.

Measurements of a GPS station in Pozzuoli - during 2012, about 8 cm uplift was measured.
Increase in the proportion of magmatic gases at a fumarole of the Solfatara.
As the hydrothermal system is closely connected with the underlying complex magma chamber of the Phlegrean Fields, new magma movements could in fact be the culprit for the observed changes. Whether these, and if so when, will lead to a new volcanic eruption is currently uncertain. A much larger increase of such observed changes should probably be expected if in fact should new volcanic activity was to announce itself. The last volcanic eruption occurred after a rest period of about 3000 years in the year 1538 AD and built a new cinder cone, the Monte Nuovo ("New Mountain") near Pozzuoli. Strong ground uplift, earthquakes and changes in springs and fumaroles preceded the eruption according to historical sources. Even though it was - geologically speaking - a rather small eruption, the effects of a similar event today would be devastating for the very densely populated area. It should be hoped that the residents and all involved are spared such a scenario, at least for the near future.  – Volcano Discovery.

WATCH: Educational video with pictures and facts on the volcano Campi Flegrei.

EXTREME WEATHER: Australia Faces "Catastrophic" Days As Wildfires Rage In All Of Its 7 States - Fiercest Heatwave In Over 80 Years!

January 07, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Australia was bracing on Monday for days of "catastrophic" fire and heat-wave conditions, with fires already burning in five states. Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured fire-ravaged Tasmanian townships and promised emergency aid for survivors, who told of a "fireball" that engulfed communities across the thinly populated state on Friday and Saturday. "The trees just exploded," local man Ashley Zanol told Australian radio, recounting a wall of flames that surrounded his truck as he carted water to assist fire crews in the hard-hit township of Murdunna, which was largely leveled by the inferno.

FireWatch by Landgate is a national bushfire monitoring system that provides timely information about hotspots to emergency service managers across Australia. The mapping system allows users to identify fire locations with a potential risk to communities and property.  [For more maps go to the Landgate site or Geoscience Australia Sentinel Hotspots]
Tasmanian police said around 100 people feared missing in bushfires had been accounted for and there had so far been no deaths as authorities combed through still-smouldering ruins of homes and vehicles, while evacuating local people and tourists. Bushfires were ablaze in all of of Australia's seven states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra. Severe fire conditions were forecast for Tuesday, replicating those of 2009, when "Black Saturday" wildfires in Victoria state killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage. A record heat wave, which began in Western Australia on Dec. 27 and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state. It has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heat wave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Homes damaged by fire are seen from a helicopter between Dunalley and Boomer Bay, Tasmania, Australia, on Jan. 5. Hundreds of local residents and tourists took to the sea in boats to escape forest fires that burned to the waterline in Australia's island state of Tasmania. Chris Kidd / Pool via EPA.
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell said record-low rains have produced large fuel loads that increase the risk of fire, combined with record temperatures and high winds, Australia's 7 News reported. "Tomorrow [Tuesday] is not going to be just another ordinary day," he said. "Tomorrow will be perhaps the worst fire danger day this state has ever faced." Tuesday would bring the highest "catastrophic" bushfire temperature conditions, fire officials said, warning that many blazes would likely be too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish. "Any fire that burns under the predicted conditions -- 40-degree (Celsius) temperatures (104 degrees F), below 10 percent humidity, winds gusting over 70 kilometers an hour (43 mph) -- those conditions are by any measure horrendous," New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said. In the Australian capital, Canberra, hit by a firestorm in 2003 that destroyed hundreds of homes, authorities said they were expecting the worst conditions in the decade since, with a fifth day of searing temperatures and strong winds. "With those winds it boosts up the fire danger significantly," the city's deputy fire chief Michael Joyce told local reporters. Blazes sparked by weekend lightning storms were already burning in forests surrounding the sprawling lake-and-bushland city, as they did 10 years earlier. - NBC News.

WATCH: Ferocious wildfires have forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in Australia's island state of Tasmania. Channel 4's Krishnan Guru-Murthy reports.

HIGH STRANGENESS: Weird Happenings In Argentina - Cattle Mutilations and Loud Fireball Explosion In Santiago del Estero, And Strange Lights Over Carlos Paz?!

January 07, 2013 - ARGENTINA - Strange deaths were a reason for surprise and uncertainty for a family of small livestock producers in Estancia El Retiro, located some 14 kilometers to the northeast of Frías.

Cattle Mutilations Return to Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
The bones were found last Saturday by Raul Alberto Aguilera, one of the members of the family, at a small dry dam that is completely enclosed. EL LIBERAL visited the site yesterday afternoon, acting as the only news outlet in charge of documenting this strange event.  "On Thursday of last week, we left the animals in the dam because it still had a little water in it. When we went back on Saturday, we found their carcasses spread all over the place," said Raul. "What was strange was the absence of decomposing bodies, and all of their soft parts had been eating. No tracks of pumas or other predators who could've attacked the sheep were found in the area."  Only one animal is missing: a lamb. Locals say this is the first time such a thing has taken place in the area. For the moment, beyond the strangeness of the event, the event is not being ascribed to any particular real or mythical animal. Rather, they prefer to be cautious, endeavoring to determine the reasons behind what took place.

Yesterday morning, EL LIBERAL contacted Dr. Benancio Bonett, an experienced veterinarian residing in Frías for many years, offered his view from the scientific perspective. "First and foremost, a necropsy should have been performed the moment the animals were found. Secondly, if the only existing injury in in the throat, generally all predators chose that spot and particularly on lambs, because they are very helpless animals," he explained, adding: "When a perforation appears on the animals, vultures or crows devour their entrails and do it through that spot, getting inside and dragging off the soft parts, and leaving the skeleton with nothing but hide." He event went as far to suggest the possibility that these attacks were produced by dogs, since one of their traits is biting the throat. - Inexplicata.


Fireball And Explosion In The Skies Over Santiago del Estero.
The quiet of the morning was broken yesterday by a loud noise and explosion that was heard over a wide area of ​​the Alberdi department.

Some witnesses said that, previously, a fireball had streaked across the sky in a west to east direction. It is believed that it could have been a meteorite falling. - El Liberal [Translated].

Strange Light Over Carlos Paz.
Carlos Paz Vivo! (website) gained access to two videos taken onn 7 December 2012 from a residence in Barrio Becú. See images HERE. After 8:00 p.m. on that day, a woman and some children in a house of that neighborhood of western Carlos Paz saw a strange light in the sky at dusk.  They turned on their little camera and recorded two videos, one separated from the other by a few seconds difference. The first was recorded at 20:10:22 hours and the other at 20:11:32  A total of 82 seconds were recorded, showing the strange object that moves, appears and vanishes suddenly in the sky over the town of Carlos Paz. During the recording, one can hear the childrens' vocies, inquiring about the nature of the object they can see in the sky. - Inexplicata.

SHADOW WARS: War Inevitable Between China & Japan - Four Chinese Ships Enter Disputed Island Area!

January 07, 2013 - EAST CHINA SEA - Four Chinese ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea Monday, the Japanese Coast Guard said.

A Japan Coast Guard vessel, background, maneuvers abreast of a Chinese patrol ship in a contiguous zone
outside Japan's territorial waters 27 kilometers southwest of Uotsurishima, the largest of the Senkaku
Islands, on Oct. 24, 2012. (Shingo Kuzutani). Inset Map: The Disputed Land Area.
The ships were observed sailing around the island chain for the first time since a similar incident Dec. 31, Japan's Kyodo News reported.

The Chinese State Oceanic Administration said the vessels are marine surveillance ships meant to patrol the waters around the islands, which the Chinese call Diaoyu, Xinhua reported.

Officials at the Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa, said the Japanese Coast Guard asked the four ships to leave the area.

Tensions between Japan and China over competing claims to the islands have worsened since September when the Japanese government announced the nationalization of the islands. - UPI.

WATCH: China & Japan - War Inevitable?

HIGH STRANGENESS: The "Los Roques Curse" - Are The Los Roques Islands The New Bermuda Triangle?!

January 07, 2013 - VENEZUELA- The archipelago off the coast of Venezuela, where fashion designer Vittorio Missoni's plane disappeared mid-air, has a growing reputation for mysterious vanishings. The as-yet-unexplained disappearance last Friday of the plane carrying six passengers and crew, including Italian fashion mogul Vittorio Missoni, has prompted some to blame the "Los Roques curse".

The Los Roques archipelago: there have been at least 15 unexplained 'disappearances'.  © Photograph: Hemis/Alamy.
The label has been attached to a series of mysterious plane crashes and "vanishings" over the past decade or so between the Caribbean archipelago of Los Roques and the Venezuelan capital Caracas, 140km to the south. Inevitably, comparisons have been made with the infamous Bermuda Triangle, the area between Miami, Bermuda and Puerto Rico that has long had a reputation for unexplained disappearances of ships and planes. To date, no wreckage of Missoni's plane has been located since it took off from Los Roques for Caracas. A hotel owner on the islands said he last saw the plane - a twin-engine BN-2 Islander built in 1968 - entering a bank of clouds. Meanwhile, the Missoni family said it was not ruling out the possibility that the plane had been hijacked by local drug smugglers. Venezuela's civil aviation authority said the aircraft's last recorded position was 18km south of the Los Roques.

Since the mid-90s, there have been at least 15 reported incidents in which small aircraft have either crashed, disappeared or declared emergencies while travelling through the area. In 2008, 14 people were killed when a plane making the same journey as Missoni's crashed into the sea. No wreckage was ever found and only one body was recovered. Speculation about possible explanations for the "curse" has ranged from basic pilot error through to the release of methane hydrates from the sea floor. The lack of evidence only fuels speculation. Such mysteries are, of course, fodder to those with a conspiratorial mind. Other areas that have become renowned for unexplained disappearances include the Formosa Triangle, the Michigan Triangle, the Sargasso Sea, and the Devil's Sea off Japan. But Nick Wall, editor of Pilot, says pilots are a pragmatic, rational lot who don't get distracted by talk of triangles and curses: "There's always some explanation for these things - even if it takes many years to uncover the answer. Pilots prefer to concentrate on the things that genuinely will help them live longer such as fuel gauges, weather reports and engine inspections. They are increasingly aware of previously unknown meteorological phenomena such as coastal wind shearing and mountain waves, which can cause sudden turbulence. But it is too early to know for sure what caused this latest incident." - Guardian.

EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: Frantic Fight To Save Frogs From Killer Fungus - Hundreds Of Species Facing Extinction Unless Scientists' Amphibian Arks Can Save Them!

January 07, 2013 - PANAMA - In moist, mossy rooms, rows of glass aquariums bathed in an eerie light shelter the last of the last of the frogs. It is a secure facility, for here reside the sole survivors of their species, rescued from the wild before a modern plague swept through their home forests and streams in a ferocious doomsday event that threatens these amphibians with extinction. Time is running out. In what may be the greatest disease-driven loss of biodiversity in recorded history, hundreds of frog species around the world are facing extinction. Far from being obscure, many of those threatened are Class A amphibians – the kind of jewel-coloured frogs that adorn postage stamps and star in David Attenborough documentaries. Frogs in the western United States are threatened, and Australia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean have been especially hard hit. Central American countries such as Panama are suffering a catastrophic decline.

The Panamanian golden frog, not seen in the wild since 2008.
The villain of the piece is a virulent fungus, an amphibian athlete's foot from hell, with an impossible name, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which scientists call "Bd" for short. The organism clogs the frogs' pores, triggering a lethal heart attack. In Panama, scientists are returning to sites where, just a few years ago, they observed frogs in abundance. Cori Richards-Zawacki, a professor from Tulane University, New Orleans, slogged a few hundred metres down a narrow gorge of the Rio Farallon, peering at the banks covered in moss and fern where water drips from springs and waterfalls. The last time she was here, in 2004, she remembers counting 15 golden frogs in two hours. A few times a year one could see them congregate by the hundreds at the water's edge to copulate. Today? "Nada. Zero. None," she said. Scientists calculate that more than a third, and as much as two-thirds, of all frog species in Latin America are at risk. In Panama, the country's mascot, the golden frog, has not been seen in the wild since 2008. Scientists began to document a worldwide decline of amphibians in the 1980s. Many were the victims of habitat change, introduced predators, pollution, pesticides or over-harvesting by collectors. Yet frogs also vanished from pristine habitats such as those in Panama. One thing is certain: the Bd fungus is wiping out frogs. In a pretty resort town nestled at the bottom of a volcanic caldera is El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, known as EVACC, the original Amphibian Ark, supported by Houston Zoo. In 2006 and 2007, Edgardo Griffith, a founder of the centre, and his team, rushed to collect hundreds of frogs, representing a dozen species. In the beginning, they rented two rooms at the Hotel Campestre, where, day after day, they would rinse the frogs in an antifungal bath. They kept the survivors in the quarantine room before moving them to the clean room.

"It was a nightmare," Griffith said. "I saw frogs dying as we were collecting them. They would die in your hand." Scientists aren't sure how long some frog species live, either in the wild or captivity, so they are not sure how much time they have. Before they can reintroduce frogs to their home streams, they want to have at least 400 or 500 healthy individuals. For some species, they have only a couple of males and females left. Frogs are sensitive creatures. They drink and respire through their skin. They need just the right amount of ultraviolet light. If they don't get enough vitamin B, they fail to thrive. If they don't get enough calcium, their legs break. Some frogs prefer fast-moving water, others slow. So staff members turn cloud machines on and off, as well as humidifiers, and shower heads that mimic rainfall. Three people are on duty 24/7. Certain frogs fight in their tanks. They punch each other. High levels of stress hormones are found in their faeces – and, yes, someone is checking. Encouraging them to breed in small, glass fish tanks, made homey with a moist paper towel and a rock or two, is harder than one might think. Frogs may require the right phase of the moon, or certain bugs, rainfall, songs, or other mysterious clues before they mate. After they reproduce, the hard work continues. Tadpoles are hatching with strange deformities. Perhaps nature will take its course and some frog species will make it out in the wild, while others will be lost for ever. "The quiet is incredible," said Jamie Voyles, a scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, who was the first to understand the precise mechanism of Bd death. She is standing in a silent stream in Panama. "I used to collect here, take samples, and it would be, please, not another frog! Now I'm begging them. Come back." - The Independent.

THE WAR ON EARTH: Tehran Air Pollution Leaves 4,460 Dead - Constant Woe On 8 Million Citizens, Heart Problems Increased By 30 Percent!

January 07, 2013 - IRAN - Air pollution in Tehran has left 4,460 people dead in a year, an Iranian health official said in reports Sunday, with another sounding the alarm over high dose of carcinogens in domestically-made petrol.

A view of the Milad telecommunication tower and buildings engulfed by smog in the northwestern district of Tehran on December 5, 2012. Air pollution in Tehran has left 4,460 people dead in a year, an Iranian health official said in reports Sunday, with another sounding the alarm over high dose of carcinogens in domestically-made petrol.
Hassan Aqajani, an adviser to the health minister, made the announcement on state television, and said the Tehran residents died in a year-long period since March 2011. High air pollution is a constant woe for the eight million residents in Tehran. It forced the city's closure on Saturday, the second time in a month. "In recent days, the number of patients who have visited Tehran hospitals with heart problems has increased by 30 percent," Aqajani said. Tehran's pollution is mainly blamed on bumper-to-bumper traffic in a city wedged between two mountains which trap fumes. But major Iranian cities also struggle with pollution on a seasonal basis.

Pollution is also exacerbated by increasing reliance on domestic production of petrol of a lower grade, and therefore more polluting, a byproduct of Western sanctions on Iran's fuel imports. Youssef Rashidi, director of Tehran's air quality monitoring services, on Sunday warned carcinogens in Iranian-made petrol is higher than international standards. "Based on Euro 4 standard the amount of carcinogens in petrol should be less than one percent but the level of our domestically-produced petrol is between two and three percent," Rashidi said in remarks reported by Bahar daily. The level of sulfur in the petrol is three times higher than the standard, he said. Iran produces around 60 million litres of petrol on a daily basis, corresponding roughly to its national consumption, according to figures from the oil ministry. Officials have promised to increase the production of higher grade petrol with Euro 4 and 5 standards, used in European countries, from nine million litres per day to around 25 million by March 2013. - PHYSORG.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - Brutal Cold Waves Could Be Heading For The United States!

January 07, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Beginning near or just past the middle of the month, signs are pointing toward waves of frigid air moving southward across North America from the North Pole. Much of the nation has been experiencing higher-than-average temperatures and lower heating bills so far during the cold weather season, with the exception of some bouts the past couple of weeks.  However, there are signs of a potential change on the way beginning during the second half of January. 


A phenomenon known as sudden stratospheric warming has occurred in the arctic region during the past few days. The stratosphere is located between 6 miles and 30 miles above the ground.  Often when this occurs, it forces cold air to build in the lowest layer of the atmosphere then to drive southward. The problem is the exact timing and location of the emergence of this cold air is uncertain. Typically, the movement of cold air begins 10 to 14 days later. During the next week or so, a flow of milder Pacific air will invade much of the nation. Because of the time of year, some locations (the northern part of the Great Basin and northern New England) may hold on to the cold they have now due to long nights, light winds and weak sunshine. However, most locations will experience an upswing in temperature for at least a several-day period.


According to AccuWeather.com's Long Range Team, including Mark Paquette, "Overlaying this with other tools, we expect to see cold air spreading out from central Canada later next week into week three of January."  It is possible the cold push will arrive in one big blast. However, it is more likely the cold will advance along in waves of progressively colder air with each wave driving farther south and east.  According to Long Range Weather Expert Paul Pastelok, "The early indications are that the initial thrust of the brutal cold will be directed over the Northwest, northern Rockies or northern Plains first, with subsequent waves reaching farther east."  Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson stated, "Initially, the cold may seem to be run-of-the-mill or even delayed, but once the cold air engine starts, it may run for quite a while with progressively colder and colder waves of air."  According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston, "As the waves of cold air spread to the south and east, some energy may be released in the form of a series of storms riding the cold air." 


The storms may initially track from the Southwest to the Upper Midwest, then the western Gulf to the Great Lakes, the eastern Gulf to the Appalachians and perhaps finally northward along the Atlantic Seaboard.  Expert Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg added, "While a zone of high pressure off the southern Atlantic coast will offer some resistance to the cold initially in the East, most of the time in situations like this, cold air finishes the job and reaches the Atlantic Seaboard."  AccuWeather.com was expecting a stormy pattern to set up beginning the second half of January in the Eastern states and much lower temperatures this winter, when compared to last winter from the Mississippi Valley to the East in its Winter 2012-13 Forecast.  So while the atmosphere may seem to be settling into a pattern like last winter for some people, meteorologists at AccuWeather.com will be watching the evolution of the winter beginning in mid-January with great interest. Folks may want to check their supply of fuel for the second half of the winter sooner rather than later, in the event the waves of arctic air develop to their full potential. Folks in the Appalachians and parts of the East may not want to sell their snow blower and ditch their snow shovels just yet. - AccuWeather.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - Fleet Of Russian Warships Reportedly En Route To Syria To Head Off A Western Attack!

January 07, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - A flotilla of five Russian warships laden with hundreds of troops, which is headed toward Syria, is a show of force meant to deter Western armies from intervening in the war-torn nation, the London-based Sunday Times reported.  Previous reports cited Russian diplomats to the effect that the vessels were being put in place in order to evacuate thousands of Russians who still remain in Syria if the situation in the country called for it. 

The Russian warship Varyag (Photo credit: CC BY randychiu, Flickr).
However, a Russian intelligence source was quoted on Sunday as saying that the presence of over 300 marines on the ships was meant as a deterrent to keep countries hostile to the Bashar Assad regime — a key ally of the Kremlin — from landing special forces in the country.  “Russia should be prepared for any developments, as it believes the situation in Syria might reach its peak before Easter,” a Russian diplomatic source was quoted as saying.  The ships are headed to the port of Tartus, where Russia has been operating a naval facility since signing an agreement with Bashar Assad’s father, Hafez, in 1971.  In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said the ships were preparing for a large naval maneuver whose aim was to “improve the management, maintenance and testing of the interaction of naval forces.”  The British newspaper on Sunday quoted an Israeli source who said that it was conceivable that a Russian ground force would step in “to defend the Alawite corridor stretched between the Lebanese border in the south and the Turkish border in the north.” 

NATO’s recent deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries in Turkey has raised concerns in Moscow about its ability to maintain a strategic foothold in the country, the report said, .  There has also been increasing indication that Israel and the US are mulling a military move in Syria to secure the country’s sizable stockpile of chemical weapons, which decision-makers fear could be turned against Israel, as well as on Syrian rebels, should Assad come to the conclusion that his days are numbered.  In late December it was revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had held clandestine talks in Jordan regarding possible methods for destroying the weapons, including airstrikes or a ground assault, but that Amman was reluctant to put its weight behind such action.  According to Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Israel had twice requested “permission” from Jordan to bomb Syria, but was denied the go-ahead. Mossad officials who traveled to Jordan to discuss the matter were reportedly told that Amman felt “the time was not right.”  The Times reported that the US, along with several key allies, was prepared to launch a military intervention in Syria should the Assad government turn its chemical weapons against the rebels.  A military source told the Times that US forces could be ready “rapidly, within days,” and implied that the necessary forces were already in the region.  “The Russians will not tolerate Western ground intervention and stay idle,” an Israeli defense source was quoted as saying. “Syria is too important for Russia.” - Times Of Israel.

ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Across The World - Travel Disrupted In China Amid Unusually Cold Weather!

January 07, 2013 - CHINA - China is experiencing unusually cold weather this winter, with the national average temperature hitting the lowest point in 28 years, and snow and ice leading to closed highways, canceled flights, stranded tourists and power failures in several provinces.

Investigators inspected a port where ships are stuck in ice in Jinzhou, Liaoning Province,
on Saturday. China Daily/Reuters.
The China Meteorological Administration on Friday said the national average temperature had been 25 degrees Fahrenheit since late November, the coldest in nearly three decades. The average temperature in northeast China dipped to 4.5 degrees, the coldest in 43 years, and dropped to a 42-year low of 18.7 degrees in northern China. In some areas — northeastern China, eastern Inner Mongolia and the north part of the Xinjiang region in the far west — the low has hit minus 40 degrees, the meteorological agency said. The state-run English-language newspaper China Daily reported Friday that about a thousand ships were stuck in ice in Laizhou Bay in the eastern Bohai Sea.

The agency said Saturday that ice was covering 10,500 square miles of the sea’s surface. In Sichuan Province in southwest China, more than a thousand tourists were stranded Wednesday in a scenic mountainous area because of icy roads, the state-run Beijing News reported. In southern China, snowstorms from Thursday night have disrupted air and road traffic. The meteorological agency said the dropping temperatures were partly because of southward-moving polar cold fronts, caused by melting polar ice from global warming. It said the air was moist and was expected to lead to heavy snow in China, Europe and North America. On Saturday, the forecast by the National Meteorological Center said that southern China would have more snow and rain in the coming days and that some regions could get icy rain. - NY Times.

EXTREME WEATHER: Monumental Earth Changes - New South Wales Facing Its Worst Fire Danger Day In History, As A Massive Bushfire Spreads Across Southwest Victoria!

January 07, 2013 - AUSTRALIA - Every national park in NSW is to be closed as the state faces its worst fire danger day in history with severe, extreme and catastrophic conditions. A total fire ban will be in place across NSW on Tuesday with temperatures in the state's far west predicted to hit 45C, while the mercury is forecast to climb to 43C in Sydney - the third highest on record. "Having had record rain ... we are about to have record dangers," Premier Barry O'Farrell told reporters in Sydney on Monday.


"Tomorrow will be perhaps the worst fire danger day the state has ever faced." He urged those living in Shoalhaven, the Illawarra and the southern ranges to be prepared, with a catastrophic fire danger warning in place. All state forests and national parks in NSW will be closed on Tuesday due to fire risk and everyone in the parks has been told to leave as soon as possible, while residents of high risk areas have been urged to evacuate. "We are expecting horrendous conditions tomorrow and in the interests of public safety as well as the safety of fire fighting personnel we want the parks empty of people until the danger of bush fires has passed," National Parks and Wildlife Service Director of Conservation Operations Bob Conroy said. Where appropriate, nursing homes and child care centres will be evacuated in fire risk zones.

NSW Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons also said it was "not recommended" that people living in catastrophic fire danger zones remain behind to protect their properties. "We are talking about fire danger right off the conventional chart," he said. "Some fires will start and spread so quickly that there will be little or no time to issue a warning." An abundance of fuel and strong north-westerly winds of between 60km/h to 80km/h have heightened fire dangers in NSW, Mr Fitzsimmons said, with about 90 fires burning across the state on Monday. Thousands of firefighters and up to 70 aircraft are on standby around the state. Acting Deputy Police Commissioner and State Emergency Operation Controller Mick Fuller said police would be targeting suspected or known arsonists on Tuesday and he asked people to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour. A firefighter injured while battling a blaze near Gunning north of Canberra on Monday was taken to hospital, the RFS said. Meanwhile, an emergency warning was issued to residents of Oura near Wagga Wagga in southern NSW as firefighters battled a nearby fast-moving grassfire but that was downgraded to a watch and act about 4pm (AEDT). The fire danger accompanies heatwave conditions in many parts of NSW, with authorities urging people to take care to avoid heat-induced illnesses, to be careful in the water and to watch out for the elderly. - Herald Sun.

Victoria Bushfire Spreads To Farming Community.
A massive bushfire could potentially double in size and hit small farming communities in Victoria's southwest, as the north of the state faces severe conditions. There is a threat to lives and property with the southwest Victorian settlement of Drik Drik under direct attack from fire and embers, authorities said on Monday night. An afternoon wind change swung the 4000-hectare Kentbruck fire on a path to Drik Drik, an agricultural farming area of about 30 houses. Authorities warned the out-of-control bushfire had the potential to double in size to 8000 hectares in an afternoon with westerly to south-westerly winds of up to 40km/h on Tuesday capable of pushing the fire a significant distance. Fire services commissioner Craig Lapsley said the immediate concern on Monday night was the Drik Drik area but the key issue would be on Tuesday. "It will be a fire that will be pushed with winds and we believe that it's got the potential to move significant distance tomorrow, potentially block the Princes Highway and have further impacts on the rural community around Drik Drik and Dartmoor," Mr Lapsley told ABC TV. Nearly 500 firefighters and a dozen aircraft are battling the blaze, which started on Friday and has mainly burnt through pine plantation. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) said there had been no reports of property damage or loss of life by early Monday night, dismissing earlier rumours that at least one home had been impacted by the fire. A spokeswoman said there was still a risk to lives and property. A number of roads have been closed and most of the 250 residents of nearby Dartmoor have already left the town. Mr Lapsley warned the next 24 hours would be critical. - Herald Sun.

ICE AGE NOW: Mercury Falls To Yet Another Season Low In Kathmandu, Nepal - Fallen Below Zero, First Time In Five Years!

January 07, 2013 - NEPAL - Mercury has fallen below zero in capital Kathmandu of Nepal for first time in five years. Following Nepal Meteorological officials, the minimum temperature today morning was recorded -0.2 degree Celsius in Kathmandu.


The minimum temperature on Monday morning dipped to -0.2 degree Celsius, the lowest recorded for the season in Kathmandu since one and half decade, meteorological officials said.

A day earlier, the Valley’s minimum temperature had reached just 0.2 degree Celsius.

Kathmandu, which on an average receives 14 mm of rainfall during December-January, has not received any rainfall during the period this year. Officials said that the temperature is likely to continue to fall until there is rain. - NMN.

DELUGE: Floods Kill At Least Five People Killed In South Sulawesi, Indonesia - Thousands Of Homes Submerged Across The Archipelago!

January 07, 2013 - INDONESIA - Flooding in a number of regions across the country has intensified as heavy downpours continue to exacerbate the problem.  In South Sulawesi, floods are reported to have claimed at least five lives, three in Gowa regency and one each in Pangkajene Islands regency and Jeneponto regency according to the local chapter of the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).  As of Sunday, floods in the province were reported to have inundated nine regencies and municipalities in the province, submerging tens of thousands of houses and public facilities in waters up to two meters deep. As floodwaters rose, they also washed away fish farmers’ stocks.  “We are still evaluating the exact number of affected houses and damaged properties,” South Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Mappagio said on Sunday. 


The nine affected regions are Barru, Gowa, Jeneponto, Makassar, Maros, Pangkep, Pare-pare, Soppeng and Takalar.  BPBD, with the support of other institutions including the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and a joint Search and Rescue (SAR) team, has evacuated affected people, erected temporary shelters and healthcare posts and distributed relief supplies.  South Sulawesi Deputy Governor Agus Arifin Nu’mang said that if heavy rains continued, the provincial administration planned to coordinate with the Navy to evacuate affected people in remote areas that were beyond the reach of the SAR team.  Indonesian Red Cross (PMI)chairman Jusuf Kalla, who was forced to inspect the affected region from a helicopter as landslides and flooding blocked road access, said that the PMI would continue to provide aid to affected people but would not do so with cash.  During the visit, Kalla handed over four rubber craft to help evacuate affected people and instructed the local PMI chapter to utilize all the equipment and logistics stored in its warehouse to help the affected people.  Heavy rains have pounded South Sulawesi since Jan. 1. The local office of the Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) noted that the rainfall level in the region was still over 100 millimeters per second.  The heavy downpours have caused a number of rivers in the region to overflow. As of Sunday, heavy rains still battered Makassar and the surrounding area. 

In Surakarta, Central Java, some 700 families along the banks of the Bengawan Solo River were forced to flee their homes early on Sunday morning. Floodwaters up to a meter high had inundated their houses as the river overflowed its banks due to continuous heavy rain over the region.  Affected areas included Sangkrah and Semanggi in Pasar Kliwon district and Kampung Sewu and Pucang Sawit in Jebres district.  The Bengawan Solo River’s water level as of Sunday morning was recorded at 9.7 meters and was categorized as being on red-alert status, having risen 3.2 meters above its normal level. It decreased to 9.04 meters later in the day but the alert status was maintained.  Floods also hit the Ngringo subdistrict of Central Java’s Karanganyar regency around midnight on Saturday, submerging dozens of houses and displacing over 200 people. Local BPBD chairman Aji Pratama Heru Kristanto said no fatalities were reported.  Surakarta’s neighboring regency of Sukoharjo was also hit by floods in which some 500 houses were submerged, displacing over 2,000 people.  On Friday, flooding also hit Medan Maimun district in Medan, North Sumatra, and submerged hundreds of houses in the region as the Deli River spilled its banks.  The head of the data and information division at the BMKG’s Medan office, Hendra Suwarta, said the Deli River overflowed because of rainwater from the mountainous areas in Deli Serdang and Karo regencies.  “Medan has to be cautious because the levels of rainfall over these mountainous regions are very high,” he said.  The same warning was also addressed to areas along the province’s western coast, including Central Tapanuli, Humbang Hasundutan, Mandailing Natal, Nias, Sibolga and South Tapanuli. - The Jakarta Post.

STORM ALERT: Tropical Storm Sonamu Near Malaysia / LPA In The Philippines - Floods Hit 7 Villages In South Cotabato, Philippines, 526 Households Affected!

January 07, 2013 - WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN - Tropical Storm Sonamu continues to weaken as it pushes south towards Malaysia today, with that said though the storm is expected to become a tropical depression before it pushes on shore in the Malaysian Peninsula due to a combination of high vertical wind shear and an abundant of dry air influence.


We also look at the areas east of the Philippines today where the same weather pattern that has been in place for a month now and has spawned three named systems (Wukong, Bopha, Sonamu) continues to brew and looks like it may want to toss another system out by the end of the week. Elsewhere today though think are quite and very winter like in the westerlies. - WestPacWx.

WATCH: Tropical Storm Sonamu near Malaysia / LPA in the Philippines.


Floods Hit 7 Villages In South Cotabato, Philippines - 526 Households Affected.
At least 526 households in seven villages in South Cotabato province were affected due to flooding caused by the overflowing of rivers in the area over the weekend. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Monday said the flooding occurred Sunday in Norala town in South Cotabato. It said the flooding affected the villages of Esperanza, Poblacion, Lapuz, Liberty, San Jose, Simsiman and Matapol. 

"There has been a report regarding the overflowing of rivers, which affected seven barangays of the municipality or 526 households," it said. However, it said there was no evacuation, and the floodwaters subsided quickly. Still, it said there were reports of damage to agriculture and to a bridge and other properties. State weather forecasters warned of possible flash floods and landslides in parts of Mindanao due to rain from a low-pressure area. On Monday, PAGASA forecaster Connie Dadivas said the LPA may make landfall over Mindanao and intensify into a cyclone. If the LPA becomes a cyclone, it will be locally codenamed Bising. - GMA News.

DELUGE: "Violent Waves" - Ongoing Floods Displaced 500 People In Rukungiri, Uganda!

January 07, 2013 - UGANDA - At least 500 residents in Rwenshama Fishing Village in Bwambara Sub-county, Rukungiri District have been displaced by floods from Lake Edward. More than 200 families have been displaced since December and water movement triggered by violent waves on the lake were still forcing more to relocate by last week, according to local authorities.


The residents said stormy winds push the water into their residences, leaving houses, roads and plantations flooded. Fishing, the major economic activity at the landing site, has since been stopped. “We do not know how long this will last. More people are being displaced. They have nothing to eat and nowhere to live. All this area is susceptible to flooding because it is flat,” the area parish chairperson, Mr John Karabarema, said recently.

The water has flooded a stretch of more than two kilometres from the lake, including Rwenshama Trading Centre. Most of the affected families are living at Rwenshama Primary School and Rwenshama Health Centre. No supplies Mr Kabarema said food and other items that the Office of the Prime Minister had earlier donated to the victims had been used up. The Rujumbura MP, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, who visited the area during the festive season, promised to solicit aid for the displaced families. The Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Ms Harriet Nakamya, said the government would provide three acres of land for the erection of temporary structures to the affected families. - Daily Monitor.