Thursday, June 19, 2014

DISASTER PRECURSORS: The Latest Incidents Of Strange Animal Behavior And Warnings From Mother Nature - Thousands Of Dead Fish Found On Ninety Mile Beach, Victoria, Australia; Over 65,000 Birds And Mammals Killed By Hailstorms In India; Unexplainable Seabird Deaths Puzzle Scientists In Iceland; Thousands Of Dead Fish Is A "Mystery" In A Lake In Abbotsford, Canada; Massive Die-Off Of Wildlife "Suddenly" Around A Lake In Tennessee, United States; Hundreds Of Poultry Killed Due To Avian Flu In South Korea; "Worst" Fish Kill In 30 Years At The Milliken Lake In Illinois, United States; Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found In A Canal In Staffordshire, England! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 19, 2014 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Thousands Of Dead Fish Found On Ninety Mile Beach, Victoria, Australia
Dead fish washed up onshore at Seaspray in Gippsland


Thousands of dead fish washed up on Victoria's Ninety Mile Beach were probably killed by cold Antarctic water, according to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Many beachgoers had reported the dead fish between Seaspray and Marlo in Gippsland, identifying mainly the leather jacket species and also trevally.


Beachgoers reported the dead fish found along Ninety Mile Beach.

The EPA said it was investigating but test results did not indicate water pollution was the cause.

It said the fish were most likely killed by cold Antarctic waters moving up the east coast.

The fish prefer warmer waters.

Large numbers of dead fish have also washed up on Tasmania's east coast.

- ABC Australia.


65,000 Birds And Mammals Killed By Hailstorms In India
Carcasses of rosy starling in Baramati, Pune district, and an Indian peafowl at Umarga, Osmanabad district.

The hailstorm that hit Maharashtra earlier this year killed more than 65,000 birds and mammals in various parts of the state, according to a special report prepared by the Bombay Natural History Society.

A total 26 species of birds and nine species of mammals were killed in Marathwada and Vidarbha during the period from March 1 to 10 and on May 1 and 2, BNHS stated in the report that was released on Tuesday.

Mass mortality was reported in 27 areas with high mortality in 14 areas, each covering about 25 sq km.

"A high number of deaths were reported for birds that prefer residing near human habitation. Some of these are mynas, owls, parakeets and kites," the report states.

The highest rate of mass mortality was observed at the roosting sites of birds such as rosy starling, the house sparrow and rose-ringed parakeet. Birds such as coucal, bulbul, drongo, quail, lark, egret and bee-eaters were found dead across the study area.

"We observed carcasses of more than 1,500 rose-ringed parakeets at Mandava village in Risod tehsil of Washim district. These parakeets were roosting on a series of teak trees near a farmland. After the hailstorm their carcasses were lying over an area spread over one hectare," the report states.

Among the other species seriously affected were egrets, cormorants, storks, ibises, doves, quails, grey herons and the barn owl.

More than 3,000 unidentified bird species were also observed at various locations in Osmanabad tehsil, Loha in Nanded district, Jafarabad in Jalna, Jamner in Jalgaon district.

The painted stork and black-headed ibis that are among species under threat listed by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, suffered severely.

Among the mammals affected were the Indian blackbuck, nilgai, jungle cat, chinkara, langur, black-naped hare, five-striped squirrel, flying fox bat and short-nosed fruit bat. - DNA India



Unexplainable Seabird Deaths Puzzle Scientists In Iceland
Eider. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of seabirds have been found dead in a region of Snæfellsnes, and the cause eludes the experts.

Vísir reports that since last month, over 50 common eiders have been found dead near a nesting area in Fróðárrif, located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in west Iceland. However, no apparent cause of death could be found. This prompted the West-Iceland Centre of Natural History (NSV) to conduct further investigations.

Menja von Schmalensee told attendees at an NSV meeting last Wednesday that, in the course of these investigations, an additional 70 dead birds were found in the area. These birds included kittiwakes, cormorants and more eiders. Even more inexplicably, many dead flounders were also found near the area, having washed up on the shores nearby.
Jón Einar Jónsson, the director of the Institute of Research Centres at the University of Iceland, visited the area with NSV employees. Although scavenging creatures had picked apart many of the dead birds, a few specimens were still intact, and newly dead. Some of these specimens have been sent to the US, to be examined by experts in bird diseases there.

Jón points out that the eider and the kittiwake have little in common with each other, apart from the fact that they both drink fresh water around this time of year. This could point to ponds in the area as being a possible source of the deadly culprit. - Grapevine.



Thousands Of Dead Fish Is A "Mystery" In A Lake In Abbotsford, Canada


Thousands of small fish in a large detention pond in Willband Creek Park in Abbotsford have been found dead, for the second consecutive year, and the cause is proving to be a mystery for fisheries officials. The three-spined stickleback – about the size of a sardine – washed up along the  shoreline of the pond in the park located at Highway 11 and Bateman Road.

The deaths occurred at the same time – mid-May to early June – that they did in 2013. Following last year’s reports of the dead fish, ministry of environment officials ruled out obvious possibilities such as contamination.




Further testing of the water temperature, pH levels, conductivity and dissolved oxygen determined that none of those issues was connected to the deaths. The incident was declared a mystery and chalked up to a one-time incident. But this year’s reoccurrence has re-ignited the mystery. Doug Gosling, a member of the Stoney Creek Salmon Stalkers who was involved in pushing for answers in last year’s incident, was initially concerned that a contaminant was responsible for the deaths.

But an advisor with Fisheries and Oceans Canada tested the fish and the water and ruled out any toxic sources, saying the only species dying in the pond are the stickleback, while other fish and wildlife are unaffected.


 Geese at Willband Creek Park walk by a number of dead three-spined stickleback pooled on the shoreline
to their right and left. - Image credit: Vikki Hopes

As in 2013, further testing did not reveal any other sources for the large kill. However, officials might be getting closer to an answer. Similar stickleback deaths occurred in Washington State in June 2013, when the fish were washing up on Mercer Island beaches.

Fisheries experts there believed the deaths were part of a natural cycle in which the sticklebacks spawn annually and then die off, leaving a mass of dead fish that wash up on the shore. But fisheries officials doing research on this year’s stickleback deaths in Abbotsford have not been able to find any information that a mass natural die-off is part of their cycle. They are continuing to look into the issue. - BC Local News.


Mass Die-Off Of Wildlife "Suddenly" Around A Lake In Tennessee, United States


The homeowner who found around two dozen animals dead on her property near Old Hickory Lake said more animals have died.  NewsChannel 5 first reported about the animals deaths Monday. Property owner Michelle Desirey said the day before her husband had seen ducks suddenly fly into the rocks and die.  "He saw two wild ducks fly in that never got in the water. They landed on the rocks and immediately had something like a seizure, and then just died right there,” she said. "In five minutes they were all dead. It was heartbreaking.” 

Over the next 24 hours they found more than 20 dead ducks. Monday, they even found a dead raccoon and woodpecker in the same area.  Desirey said three more ducks died Tuesday. The family raises domestic ducks and has worried that whatever is killing the wild ones could kill theirs, as well.  Officers from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have been investigating.  Desirey said they were staying away from the lake until they knew more about what was killing the wildlife. 

"We're not going to fish or eat any fish out of the lake. We're probably not going to swim in the lake,” she said.  TWRA officials were working to determine if it was something the water, or on someone’s property. While they wait, Desirey said they won't even be launching their boat until they get an idea of what could be killing so much of what makes living on Old Hickory so special. 


WATCH: More Animals found dead near Old Hickory Lake.




"It's not the same lake that it has been for the last forty years,” she said.  TWRA officials told NewsChannel 5 they were sending the dead ducks to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia in Athens for testing.  Lab results may not be available until next month. - News Channel 5.


Hundreds Of Poultry Killed Due To Avian Flu In South Korea
An additional outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed, the government said Saturday, dashing hopes that the avian influenza (AI) in the country is under control.

The new case of highly pathogenic AI was reported at a duck farm in Hoengseong, about 90 kilometers east of Seoul, earlier this week, and hundreds of ducks and chickens have already been slaughtered in order to prevent a spread of the animal disease into nearby regions, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The confirmed bird flu case, the latest in 20 days, came as the government was set to announce later this month that the animal disease is completely under control.

South Korea suffered an AI breakout in February, possibly caused by migratory birds from China. Over 13.8 million birds here have been slaughtered since the outbreak was first reported at a duck farm on Feb. 16.

Health officials here have said the bird flu poses no immediate threats to humans, with no human infection of the strain reported so far. - Korea Times.


"Worst" Fish Kill In 30 Years At The Milliken Lake In Illinois, United States

A lake southwest of Chicago has been closed to the public after officials discovered that virtually all of the fish in it did not survive the long, brutal winter.

Site superintendent of Milliken Lake at the Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area near Wilmington spoke to The Daily Journal in Kankakee (http://bit.ly/1joPUzK ).

He says officials found a nearly "total kill" that was worse than he'd seen since he arrived nearly 30 years ago.

Site Superintendent Jeff Wepprecht says that the public won't be allowed into the popular fishing area until the 20-acre lake is restocked.

A recording at the agency's office says there will be no fishing or picnicking allowed for the rest of the 2014 season. - 14 News.


Hundreds Of Dead Fish Found In A Canal In Staffordshire, England
More than 700 fish have been found dead in a Staffordshire canal near to a former power station,
sparking an investigation by environment chiefs.

The fish were found in a 1,000ft stretch of the Trent and Mersey canal in Stone.  The Environment Agency is now looking into whether pollution is the cause.  The canal is near the former coal-fired Meaford Power Station where a £300 million power station is planned.


Developers acquired the site in 2004 but it has stood largely empty since then. An investigation has been launched by the Environment Agency to find out what has killed the fish, including pike, bream and carp. The agency and Canal River Trust spent hours yesterday (Thur) pumping oxygen into the water in a bid to save the remaining fish.

Environment Agency spokesman Hannah Brookes said:“We are currently dealing with a fish kill incident on the Trent and Mersey Canal near the former Meaford Power Station in Stone, Staffordshire. "Our investigation into the cause of this incident is ongoing. We are also assessing the environmental impacts – our current estimates indicate that over 700 fish have died and approximately 300 metres of the canal has been affected."  - Express and Star



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Report For June 19, 2014 - Major Updates On Popocatépetl, Etna, Zhupanovsky, Nishino-shima, Ubinas, Sakurajima, Suwanose-jima, Santiaguito, Shishaldin, Semisopochnoi, Fuego, Pavlof, Reventador, Bezymianny, Sangeang Api And Sabancaya! [PHOTOS+GRAPHS+VIDEO]

June 19, 2014 - GLOBAL VOLCANISM - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): A moderate explosion occurred yesterday morning at 11:10 local time and generated a 2.5 km high ash column drifting NW. Overall, the activity at the volcano has been low during the past weeks. The alert status remains at Yellow Phase 2 (CENAPRED).


Explosion from Popocatépetl yesterday.


Etna (Sicily, Italy): The latest eruptive episode at the New SE crater, which again grew a few meters during this time, is now over. The lava flow is no longer active and there are no (or only very weak and sporadic) explosions at the crater itself. Tremor has descended back to low levels.


Thermal image of the New SE crater (INGV webcam)

The lava flows from Etna's New SE crater this morning (Photo: Marco Fulle)

Current tremor amplitude (ESLN station, INGV Catania)

On June 8, weak strombolian activity and lava effusion were still going on. Marco Fulle who is still on location took this picture of the scene complete with a rare steam ring.

Activity and tremor have further decreased - it seems that the latest eruptive (explosive-effusive) phase at the New SE crater is coming to an end.

A series of photos taken during 15-16 June has been posted here.


Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): VAAC Tokyo reports continuous ash emissions to approx 3 km altitude.


Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands): Eruptions continue to add land to the remote island volcano. Recent pictures by the Japanese Coast guard on 11 and 13 June show steaming along the shoreline, indicating active lava flow fronts, possibly tube-fed since no surface incandescence was visible.


3 vents at Nishinoshima volcano (June 13)

A large steam plume mixed with bluish gas and light brown ash was rising from at least 3 vents, two of which belong to the large central cinder cone, while the other smaller vent to the east of the base of the cone emitted most of the bluish gas (SO2) and seems to host a small lava lake feeding an active flow.

Pulsating strombolian eruptions ejecting tephra and brown ash plumes were seen from the central cinder cone.


Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Activity at the volcano continues to be elevated. However, the rhythm of Sakurajima's typical vulcanian-type explosions (all from the Showa crater) has been very irregular recently and averages about 1-2 per day.


Eruption at Sakurajima this morning

Some of the recent explosions have been relatively large, such as one this morning (13,000 ft ash plume) or one on 6 June when an ash plume rose to 18,000 ft (5.4 km) altitude.


Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): A new explosion occurred at the volcano minutes ago. An ash plume rising several 100 meters from the active crater can be seen on webcam images.


Eruption at Suwanosejima volcano this morning.


Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): According to AVO, seismic activity suggests that weak eruptive activity (minor lava effusion?) continues at the volcano.


Current seismic activity (PVV station, AVO)


Shishaldin (United States, Aleutian Islands): Low-level eruptive activity continues at the volcano according to AVO: "No activity was observed in mostly cloudy satellite images over the last 24 hours. Web camera views of the volcano are currently obscured by weather, however, views from late yesterday afternoon show a low-level plume from the summit."


Semisopochnoi (United States, Aleutian Islands): The earthquake swarm continues. No eruptive activity has been detected.


Current seismic activity (CEAP station / AVO)


Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Strong degassing from the Caliente lava dome, occasional small explosions (one was reported this morning with a gray ash plume 600 m tall), and a slowly advancing viscous lava flow in the 6 May collapse scar characterize the volcano's activity.


Fuego (Guatemala): Strombolian activity remains at moderate unchanged levels. Ash plumes rose to 600 m above the crater and shock waves from stronger explosions rattle roofs and windows in houses of nearby villages.


Reventador (Ecuador): Effusive-explosive activity continues at the volcano. Small ash eruptions occurred today and weak lava effusion on the upper flanks of the cone can be seen on thermal webcam imagery.


Small ash puff from Reventador today


Ubinas (Peru): Mild to moderate explosive activity continues with little changes.


WATCH: A number of smaller explosions and phase of continuous ash emissions occurred today at the volcano:

 

Bezymianny (Central Kamchatka Depression): KVERT raised the alert level of the volcano to orange because increased seismic activity has been detected recently. The last major eruption of the volcano was an explosion on September 1, 2012.

According to the Russian volcanologists, this seismicity could suggest that fresh magma started to rise within the volcano and/or a new phase of lava extrusion has already started at the summit. This process which is often accompanied by explosive activity (when gasses inside the fresh very viscous magma are trapped and accumulate to build up pressure).

In addition, the fact that the volcano has been more or less quiet for almost two years could suggest the presence of a solid plug currently clogging the conduit, in which case a larger explosion that clears it is a realistic scenario.


Sangeang Api (Indonesia): A new lava dome and a lava flow traveling down to the southeastern flank have started to grow during the past week, probably since 7 June.

VSI (who lowered the alert status back to 2 out of 4, WASPADA) reported in a bulletin that red glow is visible at the volcano's top known as Doro Api. Satellite imagery show a hot spot and steaming from the dome and the new lava flow, which had a length of approx. 2 km on 11 June.


Sabancaya (Peru): According to local news, steaming at the volcano has been observed since yesterday morning and it is believed that the volcano could erupt in a near to medium term future: few weeks to months.

Luis Macedo from Peru's Geophysical Institute in Arequipe (IGP) was quoted that seismic unrest, which had begun with a strong earthquake on 22 Feb 2013, continued at the volcano with averages of 30-120 quakes per day.

He also said that these tremors have been showing a trend of becoming closer to the crater and that explosions could occur within few weeks or months if this activity continues.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for June 19, 2014.


- Volcano Discovery



HUMAN DEVOLUTION: Infrastructure & Societal Collapse - The Cost Of Global Violence And Conflict Reaches $1,350 PER PERSON!

June 19, 2014 - SOCIETAL COLLAPSE - The last seven years have seen a rapid deterioration in world peace and the cost of global violence was put at $1,350 per person, according to an index measuring world peace as several countries slid down the index into civil war and violence.


Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), gather with their weapons during a parade in the streets in Al-Fdhiliya district, eastern
Baghdad June 15, 2014. (Reuters / Thaier Al-Sudani)

The economic cost of dealing with world violence stood at $9.8 trillion, or 11.3 percent of total global economic output – as much as the economies of Britain, France, Germany and Italy combined, according to new research by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

The pattern reversed the 60-year trend in more peace after the end of World War II.

The index was measured gauging conflict, unrest, safety and security as well as militarization and defense spending.

“Given the deteriorating global situation we cannot be complacent about the institutional bedrocks for peace,” said Steve Killelea, the IEP’s executive chairman, Reuters reported.

“This is a wakeup call to governments, development agencies, investors and the wider international community that building peace is the prerequisite for economic development,” he added.

The decline in world peace is not being felt round the world evenly. While 51 countries had improved levels of peace since 2008, 111 had deteriorated.

Syria has pushed Afghanistan out of the No. 1 spot for the world’s least peaceful nation, as the bloody civil war continues there for a third year.


Rubble covers the street following an alleged airstrike by a Syrian army helicopter in the northern city of Aleppo,
on June 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Zein al-Rifai)

Iraq was ranked 159 out of 162 countries before the latest bloodshed unleashed by the ISIS Sunni militants.

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, came 160 as it slides towards a full-blown tribal civil war just three years after its birth, which was itself a result of a lengthy conflict with northern neighbor Sudan.

Elsewhere in Africa, the Central African Republic saw a marked deterioration in peace, although Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been locked in violent internal conflict for a number of years, so their low peace rankings were not a surprise.

Perhaps a surprising country that has slid down the index is Russia, as the domestic political situation and relations with neighboring Ukraine begin to take their toll. Ukraine itself also became less peaceful.

Other countries that have seen a marked deterioration in peace were Libya and Egypt. In China, increased military spending saw it drop to 108th position.

The IEP predicts that things could get worse, with 500 million people living in countries at risk of becoming less peaceful.

Despite the crisis in Ukraine, Europe was still the most peaceful area of the world, with 14 of the 20 most peaceful countries.

The UK saw an improvement in peace levels over the past decade and saw the largest drop in total crime of all European countries. Although London has become safer, certain areas such as Hackney, Lewisham and Lambeth remain the most dangerous areas of the country.

Violent crime and homicide was about 10 times higher in the US than the UK, although overall the US has become more peaceful in the last 20 years.

Peace levels in the US varied markedly by state, with Louisiana the least peaceful state for the 20th year running and the South having the highest rates of homicide, incarceration and violent crime.

In contrast the most peaceful states such as Maine and Vermont had better economic opportunities and higher levels of educational attainment.

Iceland is still the most peaceful country on earth. - RT.



ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Summer - Snow In June Raises Eyebrows In Estonia?!

June 19, 2014 - ESTONIA - Living with sub-zero temperatures for several months a year, Estonians are no strangers to a little snow, AFP reported.


AFP

But residents of the Baltic nation were baffled on Tuesday when flurries of the white stuff fell in June for the first time in more than three decades.

"We last recorded snow in June 32 years ago and it was on exactly the same date: June 17, 1982," Estonian meteorologist Helve Meitern told AFP.

"Tonight, we could see temperatures fall below zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit)," she added.

The wintry weather follows a heatwave over the last month that saw temperatures spike to a toasty 30 degrees Celsius across this EU state of three million, where average June daytime temperatures range from 18-20 degrees Celsius.

The mercury soared to a searing 35.6 Celsius in August 1992, the hottest day ever recorded in Estonia.

Source: AFP

- Focus Fen.



EXPOSED: The New World Order's Trade In Service Agreement (TISA) - Secret Trade Agreement Covering 68 Percent Of The World Services Published By Wikileaks!

June 19, 2014 - NEW WORLD ORDER - The text of a 19-page, international trade agreement being drafted in secret was published by WikiLeaks on Thursday as the transparency group’s editor commemorated his two-year anniversary confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.


Reuters / Toru Hanai

Fifty countries around the globe have already signed on to the Trade in Service Agreement, or TISA, including the United States, Australia and the European Union. Despite vast international ties, however, details about the deal have been negotiated behind closed-doors and largely ignored by the press.

In a statement published by the group alongside the leaked draft this week, WikiLeaks said “proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets,” and have participated in “a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre” by working secretly on a deal that covers more than 68 percent of world trade in services, according to the Swiss National Center for Competence in Research.

Touting the deal earlier this year, the United States Chamber of Commerce said a successful TISA agreement would benefit America’s services industry and its 96 million, or 84 percent, of the nation’s private sector workers. “As its chief goals, the TISA should expand access to foreign markets for US service industries and ensure they receive national and most-favored nation treatment,” the chamber said of the deal in February. “It should also lift foreign governments’ sectoral limits on investment in services," “eliminate regulatory inconsistencies that at times loom as trade barriers” and “prohibit restrictions on legitimate cross‐border information flows and bar local infrastructure mandates relating to data storage.”

WikiLeaks warns that this largely important trade deal has been hardly discussed in public, however, notwithstanding evidence showing that the policy makers involved want to establish rules that would pertain to services used by billions worldwide.

“The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers,” WikiLeaks said in a statement. “The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.”

Additionally, the current draft also includes language inferring that, upon the finishing of negotiations, the document will be kept classified for five full years.

In Australia, journalists at The Age reported that experts say the proposed changes included within the WikiLeaks document “could undermine Australia's capacity to independently respond to and weather any future global financial crisis.”

Dr. Patricia Ranald, a research associate at the University of Sydney and convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, told the paper that the documents suggest the US wants to “tie the hands” of other governments, including allied ones, by way of sheer deregulation.

“Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as 'monopolies' and to limit public regulation of all financial services,” she said. ''They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.''

Earlier this week, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the TISA deal was already well on its way to being put together.

"The basic framework of the agreement is in place, initial market access offers have been exchanged, and sector-specific work in areas like telecommunications andfinancialservices is in full swing,” Froman said, according to Reuters.

The document published this week by WikiLeaks is dated April 14 — two months before Froman last weighed in on the progress of the negotiations and six months after his office hailed previous re-write to the proposal. Along with representatives from Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey and dozens others, American policy makers will met in Geneva, Switzerland later this month starting June 23 to begin the next round of negotiations.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, meanwhile, remains confined to Ecuador’s embassy in London where two years ago this Thursday he arrived seeking asylum. Assange, 42, is wanted for questioning in Sweden but fears his arrival there would prompt a swift extradition to the US due to his role in exposing American state secrets. - RT.




ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Summer - Surprise Late-Season Snow Storm Clobbers The U.S. Rockies, With The Summer Solstice Just Right Around The Corner?! [STUNNING PHOTOS]

June 19, 2014 - ROCKIES, UNITED STATES - The summer solstice is right around the corner, but winter isn't going down without a fight this year: A bizarre June snowstorm hit Glacier National Park in Montana and parts of Utah and Idaho this week, leaving many residents and visitors in the northern Rockies wondering what season it is.


Sperry Chalet in the northern part of the park was blanketed with over a foot (0.3 meters) of snow.


Glacier National Park saw almost 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain and more than a foot (0.3 meters) of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

"Weather in northwest Montana and weather in Glacier [National Park] can be so variable, but it's always somewhat exciting, somewhat "wow," somewhat challenging to get this kind of weather this time of year," Denise Germann, a spokeswoman for Glacier National Park, told ABC Montana.

Now, as the snow melts and rivers spill over their banks, the area is at risk for flooding.

Yesterday (June 18), the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the northern Rocky Mountains and a winter storm warning for elevations above 6,500 feet (1,980 m). Park officials were on high alert and were prepared to issue an evacuation. Flooding in some areas has already forced the park to close campgrounds and paths.


A surprise late-season snow storm pummeled Montana's Glacier National Park and parts of Utah and
Idaho on June 17. Glacier National Park is notorious for its unpredictable weather.
Credit: Glacier National Park

Here the snow is just beginning to fall. The snow storm delayed the opening of the popular
Going-to-the-Sun Road in the park. Credit: Glacier National Park

Snow plows were called in to clear out some of the snow pack. Visitors to the park were forced to hole
up in lodges and cabins until they could be dug out. Credit: Glacier National Park

Snow was not the only danger. Rain at lower elevations caused Divide Creek in Glacier National Park
to swell and spill over its banks. Credit: Glacier National Park

St. Mary Campground flooded and park officials were forced to close the area. Credit: Glacier National Park

The weather is expected to clear up in a few days, but flood watches are still in effect and the
snow plows still have work to do. Credit: Glacier National Park

Like the icebergs still lingering in Lake Superior, the unexpected snowstorm is a reminder of the year's harsh winter. The park is a popular summer destination for tourists, and those visiting the park were forced to seek shelter in lodges while snow plows swept the area and began clearing the snowpack.

The surprise storm has slowed down the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile (80 kilometers) drive that takes visitors through the park and around the area's mountainsides. The attraction is one of the park's biggest tourist draws, but the trail is currently closed, with no estimation of when the upper sections will be cleared of snow, park officials said.

Forecasters predict around 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) of additional rain and 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of additional snow in the mountains. The weather is expected to clear up over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. - Live Science.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 6.4 Magnitude Pacific Earthquake Strikes Off Vanuatu - No Destructive Tsunami! [MAPS+TECTONIC SUMMARY]

June 19, 2014 - VANUATU - A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck off the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, but no tsunami warning was issued. Seismologists say the quake had a relatively shallow depth of 60 kilometres.


USGS earthquake location map.


The quake was centred 85 kilometres northwest of Sola, Vanuatu, the United States Geological Survey said.

There have been no immediate reports of damage or injury.

Vanuatu lies on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a zone of frequent seismic activity caused by friction between shifting tectonic plates.


USGS earthquake shakemap seismicity map.

It has been rocked by several large quakes in recent years, averaging about three magnitude 7.0 or above incidents every year without any major damage.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Eastern Margin of the Australia Plate.
The eastern margin of the Australia plate is one of the most sesimically active areas of the world due to high rates of convergence between the Australia and Pacific plates. In the region of New Zealand, the 3000 km long Australia-Pacific plate boundary extends from south of Macquarie Island to the southern Kermadec Island chain. It includes an oceanic transform (the Macquarie Ridge), two oppositely verging subduction zones (Puysegur and Hikurangi), and a transpressive continental transform, the Alpine Fault through South Island, New Zealand.

Since 1900 there have been 15 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded near New Zealand. Nine of these, and the four largest, occurred along or near the Macquarie Ridge, including the 1989 M8.2 event on the ridge itself, and the 2004 M8.1 event 200 km to the west of the plate boundary, reflecting intraplate deformation. The largest recorded earthquake in New Zealand itself was the 1931 M7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people. The last M7.5+ earthquake along the Alpine Fault was 170 years ago; studies of the faults' strain accumulation suggest that similar events are likely to occur again.

USGS tectonic plates boundary.


North of New Zealand, the Australia-Pacific boundary stretches east of Tonga and Fiji to 250 km south of Samoa. For 2,200 km the trench is approximately linear, and includes two segments where old (greater than 120 Myr) Pacific oceanic lithosphere rapidly subducts westward (Kermadec and Tonga). At the northern end of the Tonga trench, the boundary curves sharply westward and changes along a 700 km-long segment from trench-normal subduction, to oblique subduction, to a left lateral transform-like structure.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 60 mm/yr at the southern Kermadec trench to 90 mm/yr at the northern Tonga trench; however, significant back arc extension (or equivalently, slab rollback) causes the consumption rate of subducting Pacific lithosphere to be much faster. The spreading rate in the Havre trough, west of the Kermadec trench, increases northward from 8 to 20 mm/yr. The southern tip of this spreading center is propagating into the North Island of New Zealand, rifting it apart. In the southern Lau Basin, west of the Tonga trench, the spreading rate increases northward from 60 to 90 mm/yr, and in the northern Lau Basin, multiple spreading centers result in an extension rate as high as 160 mm/yr. The overall subduction velocity of the Pacific plate is the vector sum of Australia-Pacific velocity and back arc spreading velocity: thus it increases northward along the Kermadec trench from 70 to 100 mm/yr, and along the Tonga trench from 150 to 240 mm/yr.

The Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone generates many large earthquakes on the interface between the descending Pacific and overriding Australia plates, within the two plates themselves and, less frequently, near the outer rise of the Pacific plate east of the trench. Since 1900, 40 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded, mostly north of 30°S. However, it is unclear whether any of the few historic M8+ events that have occurred close to the plate boundary were underthrusting events on the plate interface, or were intraplate earthquakes. On September 29, 2009, one of the largest normal fault (outer rise) earthquakes ever recorded (M8.1) occurred south of Samoa, 40 km east of the Tonga trench, generating a tsunami that killed at least 180 people.

Across the North Fiji Basin and to the west of the Vanuatu Islands, the Australia plate again subducts eastwards beneath the Pacific, at the North New Hebrides trench. At the southern end of this trench, east of the Loyalty Islands, the plate boundary curves east into an oceanic transform-like structure analogous to the one north of Tonga.

Australia-Pacific convergence rates increase northward from 80 to 90 mm/yr along the North New Hebrides trench, but the Australia plate consumption rate is increased by extension in the back arc and in the North Fiji Basin. Back arc spreading occurs at a rate of 50 mm/yr along most of the subduction zone, except near ~15°S, where the D'Entrecasteaux ridge intersects the trench and causes localized compression of 50 mm/yr in the back arc. Therefore, the Australia plate subduction velocity ranges from 120 mm/yr at the southern end of the North New Hebrides trench, to 40 mm/yr at the D'Entrecasteaux ridge-trench intersection, to 170 mm/yr at the northern end of the trench.

Large earthquakes are common along the North New Hebrides trench and have mechanisms associated with subduction tectonics, though occasional strike slip earthquakes occur near the subduction of the D'Entrecasteaux ridge. Within the subduction zone 34 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900. On October 7, 2009, a large interplate thrust fault earthquake (M7.6) in the northern North New Hebrides subduction zone was followed 15 minutes later by an even larger interplate event (M7.8) 60 km to the north. It is likely that the first event triggered the second of the so-called earthquake "doublet". - USGS.




GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: "The Government Has Failed" - Poverty Doubles In The United Kingdom Over The Last 30 Years!

June 19, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - The number of Britons living in poverty has more than doubled over the past 30 years, a report has revealed. About one in three UK families now live below the breadline, despite the British economy doubling in size over the same period.


Reuters / Toby Melville

The UK’s largest ever study into poverty in the country has urged the government to take measures to tackle growing levels of poverty. The Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom (PSE) project, led by the University of Bristol, has revealed the wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots in the UK is widening still further.

Almost 18 million people are unable to afford adequate housing, while one in three do not have the money to heat their homes in winter.

“The Coalition government aimed to eradicate poverty by tackling the causes of poverty,”said Professor David Gordon, from the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol. “Their strategy has clearly failed. The available high quality scientific evidence shows that poverty and deprivation have increased since 2010, the poor are suffering from deeper poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.”




Perhaps the most interesting revelation unearthed by the report is the fact that most of the people living in poverty are employed, dispelling the myth propagated by ministers that poverty is a consequence of lack of work, the PSE report says.

It found that the majority of children living below the breadline live in small families with at least one employed parent.

In households that suffer from food deprivation, the study found that parents often sacrifice their own wellbeing for that of their children. In 93 percent of cases at least one parent skimped on meals “often” to make sure others had enough to eat.

According to the study, women were more likely to make sacrifices, cutting back on clothes and social visits.

“The research has shown that in many households’ parents sacrifice their own welfare – going without adequate food, clothing or a social life – in order to try to protect their children from poverty and deprivation,” Professor Jonathan Bradshaw, of the University of York, said in the PSE’s statement.

The report calls on the government to address the growing number of poor in the UK.

"The UK government continues to ignore the working poor; they do not have adequate policies to address this growing problem," said Nick Bailey, a researcher from the University of Glasgow.

The UK government, however, has criticized the new study, branding the numbers as misleading. A Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson told the Huffington Post that the Coalition government has done a lot to protect the poor.

"As part of our long-term economic plan, the government is committed to tackling the root causes of child poverty," the spokesperson said. - RT.



EXTREME WEATHER: Wildfire Sparks Evacuations On Navajo Nation On The Colorado Plateau - 11,000 Acres Burned!

June 19, 2014 - COLORADO PLATEAU, UNITED STATES - Two communities have been evacuated on the Navajo Nation as firefighters struggle to get a blaze under control, hampered by "high winds and extreme fire behavior," according to KOB News out of New Mexico.


The Assayii Lake Fire had consumed 11,000 acres on the Navajo Nation and caused the evacuation of two communities.

The Assayii Lake Fire had burned 11,000 acres in the Chuska Mountains as of Monday June 16, and by nightfall the Sheep Springs and Naschitti communities were being evacuated. About 50 residences were threatened, four structures destroyed, and damage was still being assessed on Monday night into Tuesday morning, according to a press release from Southwest Incident Management Team 3.

"For safety reasons, the general public is encouraged not to travel on access roads leading to the Bowl Canyon Recreation Area," the news release said. "Road closures in the area are Rt. 134 at Sheep Springs to Crystal Boarding School and Rt. 30 at Mexican Springs."

The human-caused fire was sparked on June 13, 10 miles northeast of Navajo, New Mexico, the Incident Management Team said. The fire was being fought by 23 crews, 15 engines, six helicopters, two bulldozers and 593 personnel. About 700 firefighters were due to arrive on Monday evening, reported NBC affiliate KOB News out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wind conditions were expected to continue through Tuesday.

Fire management officials have set up a Facebook page to disseminate information about the conflagration, and people are instructed to visit Assayii Lake Fire. Information is also available at Inciweb. - ICTMN.



ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Summer - Winter Snow Storm In Montana, Utah And Wyoming?!

June 19, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Winter just won't quit, even as summer is right around the corner. Cool, huh?




Snow is falling over the higher elevations, as an upper-level low swirls over the Northern Rockies. Alta, Utah reported nine inches of snow on Tuesday, which makes it their third highest one-day snowfall total in June.

Glacier National Park reports about one foot of snow fell on Wednesday at Sperry Chalet (approximately 6,590 feet in altitude). Lake-effect rain and snow has also developed off the Great Salt Lake, with snow above 7,000 feet.

Mountain snow will continue through Thursday morning in parts of the Northern Rockies. Winds will gust up to 30 mph and visibility may be less than half a mile at times.

Closer to pass level, look for a mix of rain and snow, with no accumulation expected. But if you have an early summer vacation planned for Glacier National Park, remember to bring your snow gear as more than a foot of snow is not out of the question.

Plow crews began the process of digging out Logan Pass in Montana last week, and they hope to have the Sun Road open to Logan Pass sometime after June 20. Conditions across the region will improve this weekend. Temperatures will climb into the 70s with mostly sunny skies. - The Weather Channel.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: The Reign Of Terror In Afghanistan Continues - Taliban Attack Leaves 37 Burned-Out NATO Fuel Trucks In The Torkham, Nangarhar Province! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 19, 2014 - AFGHANISTAN - Afghan Taliban fighters attacked a convoy of fuel trucks at the Pakistan border, triggering a firefight between police guards and Islamist insurgents. A suicide bomber explosion and a gunfight resulted in 37 fuel trucks being burned.


A US soldier walks past burning trucks at the scene of a suicide attack at the Afghan-Pakistan border crossing
in Torkham, Nangarhar province on June 19, 2014. (Reuters / Noorullah Shirzada)


Afghan officials claim that up to four suicide bombers participated in the attack on NATO outpost in eastern Nangarhar province, near the Torkham border crossing with Pakistan. The main target of the assault was a convoy of fuel trucks parked there.

According to border police spokesman Idris Momand, the attack began early Thursday morning.

All but one of the suicide bombers were shot dead while trying to reach the parking lot with trucks, but the last one managed to get there and blew himself up, the provincial governor’s spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, said. As a result of the explosion and intense shooting that accompanied the assault dozens of NATO trucks loaded with fuel and supplies were destroyed.

Abdulzai confirmed that 37 fuel trucks had been destroyed. One Afghan driver was reportedly wounded in the attack, Reuters report.

The convoy was reportedly making its way to Afghanistan from the Pakistani port of Karachi, the key supply route for ISAF forces in Afghanistan.


NATO troops walk near burning NATO supply trucks after, what police officials say, was an attack by militants in the
Torkham area near the Pakistani-Afghan in Nangarhar Province June 19, 2014. (Reuters / Parwiz Parwiz)

Afghan firefighters extinguish burning NATO military vehicles at the scene of a suicide attack at the Afghan-Pakistan
border crossing in Torkham, Nangarhar province on June 19, 2014. (Reuters / Noorullah Shirzada)

Afghan security forces walk near burning NATO supply trucks after, what police officials say, was an attack by militants
in the Torkham area near the Pakistani-Afghan in Nangarhar Province June 19, 2014. (Reuters / Parwiz Parwiz)

NATO troops walk near burning NATO supply trucks after, what police officials say, was an attack by militants in the
Torkham area near the Pakistani-Afghan in Nangarhar Province June 19, 2014. (Reuters / Parwiz Parwiz)

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming his group was behind the assault.

Taliban fighters have been attacking convoys bringing supplies for NATO-led forces in landlocked Afghanistan for years now.

Though the majority of foreign troops are set to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, there is no end in sight to the violence in the country.


WATCH: Triple Taliban suicide attack aftermath - 37 NATO fuel trucks burn.




Just last Saturday, Taliban militants killed score of voters during the second round, run-off presidential election in Afghanistan.

The Taliban believes that the presidential elections in Afghanistan are a US ploy and the two candidates, both of whom support signing a new security pact with the US, could be cheating, which could eventually lead to deadlock in the second round of the election. - RT.


EXTREME WEATHER: Multiple Tornadoes And Severe Flooding Leaves Path Of Destruction Through South Dakota - State Of Emergency Declared! [PHOTOS+VIDEO]

June 19, 2014 - SOUTH DAKOTA -  A tornado tore through a small town in southeastern South Dakota on Wednesday night, destroying businesses and homes and injuring at least one person.


Tornado Leaves Path Of Destruction Through Southeast South Dakota
A tornado passes near Woonsocket, S.D., Wednesday evening.

The twister hit Wessington Springs just before 8 p.m., the National Weather Service said. Lindsey Meyers, director of communications for Avera Health, said one person was brought to the town’s hospital in good condition. She said her company’s hospital and nursing home in Wessington Springs suffered only minor damage, including some broken windows.

Images from the scene showed a large metal-sided building flattened near the Amkota Farm & Home Center, with debris strewn along the street. Other photos showed debris from houses scattered through neighborhoods.


A tornado and surrounding damage in Wessington Springs, S.D. on June 18.

 @TWCBreaking

@TWCBreaking

@TWCBreaking

NBC station KDLT of Mitchell, S.D., reported that local officials said all residents had been accounted for.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard activated 100 soldiers from the South Dakota National Guard to assist in the response.
Wessington Springs was hit June 23, 2003, by a tornado that caused significant damage. The town is about 50 miles by road northwest of Mitchell.


WATCH: Rare multiple tornadoes hit South Dakota.



Another tornado was spotted near Woonsocket, about 15 miles east of Wessington Springs.

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms remained possible overnight, mainly across parts of southeastern South Dakota into southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, the National Weather Service reported. - NBC.


South Dakota Declares State Of Emergency As A Result Of Severe Flooding
A tractor trailer and two smaller trucks work their way through standing water on a closed portion of U.S. Highway 18
at the South Dakota-Iowa border, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, east of Canton, S.D. Severe storms moved across parts
of eastern South Dakota Monday closing roads, flooding streets, highways and fields
and increasing flows in the Big Sioux River. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers)

The severe flooding affecting southeast South Dakota led Gov. Dennis Daugaard to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday and open an operations center to coordinate the state's response to the areas affected by the aftermath of the torrential rains.

Severe storms moved across parts of eastern South Dakota Monday closing roads, flooding streets, highways and fields, and increasing flows in the Big Sioux River.

Daugaard on Tuesday met with emergency management officials in Elk Point and later toured flood-affected areas in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties.

The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls said rainfall amounts Monday afternoon and overnight were greater than 2.5 inches in most areas, with some reaching more than 4 inches.

U.S. Highway 18 at the South Dakota-Iowa border east of Canton remained closed Tuesday, but larger trucks and SUVs were moving through the water despite the signs warning against it.

A tractor trailer and two smaller trucks work their way through standing water on a closed portion of U.S. Highway 18 at the South Dakota-Iowa border, Tuesday, June 17, 2014, east of Canton, S.D. Severe storms moved across parts of eastern South Dakota Monday closing roads, flooding streets, highways and fields and increasing flows in the Big Sioux River. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers)

Flood waters washed out some railroad track just east of the Eastern Farmers Cooperative in Canton. The weather service said 8.4 inches came down in the area during the storm.

In Sioux Falls, officials said the water treatment plant handled more than 57 million gallons on Monday when an average day involves no more than 16 million gallons. Officials reported street flooding, downed trees and power outages following the storm.

Golf enthusiasts in nearby Brandon will have to wait a few days before they can tee off at the Brandon Golf Course. Managers said 90 percent of the course is underwater.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division on Tuesday announced it is reducing releases from Gavins Point Dam in Yankton in an effort to reduce the flood risk downstream.

"Gavins Point Dam releases will be reduced from 30,000 cubic feet per second to 12,000 (cubic feet per second) in response to increased tributary flows," Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Water Management Division, said in a statement.

Farhat said releases were reduced by 4,000 cubic feet per second Sunday and by 10,000 cubic feet per second Tuesday. An additional 4,000 cubic feet per second reduction is scheduled for Wednesday. - The Republic.