Saturday, November 22, 2014

PLANETARY TREMORS: China Earthquakes Network Centre Records Strong 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake In Kangding - USGS Registers It As A 5.9; One Person Killed; Tremor Shook Buildings "VIOLENTLY" And Toppled Household Items; Sending Panicked Residents Scurrying For Cover; No Major Damage!

USGS earthquake location map.

November 22, 2014 - CHINA
- An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 hit a remote part of China’s southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday, with one death reported so far, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The quake struck more than 40 kilometres from Kangding town at 4.55pm, at a depth of about 18 kilometres, according to information from the China Earthquakes Network Centre.

USGS shakemap intensity.

The quake caused buildings to shake violently and an elderly woman was killed after being hit by broken glass.

Residents of Chengdu, the provincial capital, also felt the quake strongly.

Earthquakes frequently strike in China’s southwest. A quake in Sichuan province in 2008 killed almost 70,000 people. - SCMP.

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck China's southwestern province of Sichuan on Saturday, the US Geological Survey said, with Chinese state media reporting one killed and 60 injured.

The tremor shook buildings, toppling household items off shelves and sending panicked residents scurrying for cover, but no major damage was immediately reported.

The quake struck 39 kilometres (24 miles) northwest of Kangding in the mountainous west of the province at 4:55pm local time (0855 GMT) at a depth of 14 kilometres, the USGS said.

The quake was initially reported at 5.8 magnitude at a depth of nine kilometres.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that a woman in her 70s died after being hit in the head by a glass window that fell during the tremor. It added that 60 others were injured and taken to the Ganzi People's Hospital, where three were said to be in a critical condition.

China's national CCTV television showed footage taken from a mobile phone of panicked residents running in the streets in what appeared to be a commercial area.

Kangding county, with a population of about 100,000 people, is located in an area of Sichuan traditionally populated by ethnic Tibetans.

An elderly man walks by damaged homes in Yongping township in Pu'er city, southwestern China's Yunnan province on early October 8, 2014,
after a shallow 6.0 magnitude hit the region close to China's border with Myammar and Laos

- 55,000 people affected -

About 55,000 people have been affected by the quake, Xinhua reported, citing the provincial civil affairs department.

A woman reached by phone in the area told CCTV that buildings around her withstood the shaking. Xinhua reported minor cracks in some airport buildings, adding that flights had been unaffected.

But the quake was sent household items falling onto the floor, Xinhua quoted a resident of Kangding as saying. He added, however, that he did not see any houses collapse.

"The house window was shaking fiercely," said a woman in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, located around 300 kilometres from the epicentre.

"Some people rushed out of the building," she told Xinhua.

China Earthquake Networks Center measured the quake at 6.3, according to Xinhua. China uses a different magnitude scale to the US.

China's southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan are acutely vulnerable to earthquakes.

The region sees frequent seismic activity from the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which form the vast Himalayan mountain range.

In May 2008, a 7.9 magnitude quake rocked Sichuan, killing more than 80,000 people and flattening swathes of the province. It was the worst quake disaster to hit China in more than three decades.

Last month, hundreds of people were injured and more than 100,000 displaced after a shallow 6.0 magnitude tremor hit Yunnan province, close to China's borders with Myanmar and Laos.

And in August, a 6.1-magnitude quake struck Yunnan killing more than 600 people.

More than 3,000 people were injured, while more than 80,000 homes were completely or partially destroyed.

In 1976, the industrial city of Tangshan, 200 kilometres east of Beijing, was levelled by an earthquake measuring 7.5 according to the US Geological Survey.

Beijing puts the official death toll at 242,000, with 164,000 seriously injured, although Western sources say the number of victims could be much higher. - Daily Mail.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Himalaya and Vicinity

Seismicity in the Himalaya dominantly results from the continental collision of the India and Eurasia plates, which are converging at a relative rate of 40-50 mm/yr. Northward underthrusting of India beneath Eurasia generates numerous earthquakes and consequently makes this area one of the most seismically hazardous regions on Earth. The surface expression of the plate boundary is marked by the foothills of the north-south trending Sulaiman Range in the west, the Indo-Burmese Arc in the east and the east-west trending Himalaya Front in the north of India.

The India-Eurasia plate boundary is a diffuse boundary, which in the region near the north of India, lies within the limits of the Indus-Tsangpo (also called the Yarlung-Zangbo) Suture to the north and the Main Frontal Thrust to the south. The Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is located roughly 200 km north of the Himalaya Front and is defined by an exposed ophiolite chain along its southern margin. The narrow (less than 200km) Himalaya Front includes numerous east-west trending, parallel structures. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region, caused mainly by movement on thrust faults. Examples of significant earthquakes, in this densely populated region, caused by reverse slip movement include the 1934 M8.1 Bihar, the 1905 M7.5 Kangra and the 2005 M7.6 Kashmir earthquakes. The latter two resulted in the highest death tolls for Himalaya earthquakes seen to date, together killing over 100,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The largest instrumentally recorded Himalaya earthquake occurred on 15th August 1950 in Assam, eastern India. This M8.6 right-lateral, strike-slip, earthquake was widely felt over a broad area of central Asia, causing extensive damage to villages in the epicentral region.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

The Tibetan Plateau is situated north of the Himalaya, stretching approximately 1000km north-south and 2500km east-west, and is geologically and tectonically complex with several sutures which are hundreds of kilometer-long and generally trend east-west. The Tibetan Plateau is cut by a number of large (greater than 1000km) east-west trending, left-lateral, strike-slip faults, including the long Kunlun, Haiyuan, and the Altyn Tagh. Right-lateral, strike-slip faults (comparable in size to the left-lateral faults), in this region include the Karakorum, Red River, and Sagaing. Secondary north-south trending normal faults also cut the Tibetan Plateau. Thrust faults are found towards the north and south of the Tibetan Plateau. Collectively, these faults accommodate crustal shortening associated with the ongoing collision of the India and Eurasia plates, with thrust faults accommodating north south compression, and normal and strike-slip accommodating east-west extension.

Along the western margin of the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of south-eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the India plate translates obliquely relative to the Eurasia plate, resulting in a complex fold-and-thrust belt known as the Sulaiman Range. Faulting in this region includes strike-slip, reverse-slip and oblique-slip motion and often results in shallow, destructive earthquakes. The active, left-lateral, strike-slip Chaman fault is the fastest moving fault in the region. In 1505, a segment of the Chaman fault near Kabul, Afghanistan, ruptured causing widespread destruction. In the same region the more recent 30 May 1935, M7.6 Quetta earthquake, which occurred in the Sulaiman Range in Pakistan, killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

On the north-western side of the Tibetan Plateau, beneath the Pamir-Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Afghanistan, earthquakes occur at depths as great as 200 km as a result of remnant lithospheric subduction. The curved arc of deep earthquakes found in the Hindu Kush Pamir region indicates the presence of a lithospheric body at depth, thought to be remnants of a subducting slab. Cross-sections through the Hindu Kush region suggest a near vertical northerly-dipping subducting slab, whereas cross-sections through the nearby Pamir region to the east indicate a much shallower dipping, southerly subducting slab. Some models suggest the presence of two subduction zones; with the Indian plate being subducted beneath the Hindu Kush region and the Eurasian plate being subducted beneath the Pamir region. However, other models suggest that just one of the two plates is being subducted and that the slab has become contorted and overturned in places.

Shallow crustal earthquakes also occur in this region near the Main Pamir Thrust and other active Quaternary faults. The Main Pamir Thrust, north of the Pamir Mountains, is an active shortening structure. The northern portion of the Main Pamir Thrust produces many shallow earthquakes, whereas its western and eastern borders display a combination of thrust and strike-slip mechanisms. On the 18 February 1911, the M7.4 Sarez earthquake ruptured in the Central Pamir Mountains, killing numerous people and triggering a landside, which blocked the Murghab River.

Further north, the Tian Shan is a seismically active intra-continental mountain belt, which extends 2500 km in an ENE-WNW orientation north of the Tarim Basin. This belt is defined by numerous east-west trending thrust faults, creating a compressional basin and range landscape. It is generally thought that regional stresses associated with the collision of the India and Eurasia plates are responsible for faulting in the region. The region has had three major earthquakes (>M7.6) at the start of the 20th Century, including the 1902 Atushi earthquake, which killed an estimated 5,000 people. The range is cut through in the west by the 700-km-long, northwest-southeast striking, Talas-Ferghana active right-lateral, strike-slip fault system. Though the system has produced no major earthquakes in the last 250 years, paleo-seismic studies indicate that it has the potential to produce M7.0+ earthquakes and it is thought to represent a significant hazard.
The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan. The Altyn Tagh fault is the longest of these strike slip faults and it is thought to accommodate a significant portion of plate convergence. However, this system has not experienced significant historical earthquakes, though paleoseismic studies show evidence of prehistoric M7.0-8.0 events. Thrust faults link with the Altyn Tagh at its eastern and western termini. The Kunlun Fault, south of the Altyn Tagh, is seismically active, producing large earthquakes such as the 8th November 1997, M7.6 Manyi earthquake and the 14th November 2001, M7.8 Kokoxili earthquake. The Haiyuan Fault, in the far north-east, generated the 16 December 1920, M7.8 earthquake that killed approximately 200,000 people and the 22 May 1927 M7.6 earthquake that killed 40,912.

The Longmen Shan thrust belt, along the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, is an important structural feature and forms a transitional zone between the complexly deformed Songpan-Garze Fold Belt and the relatively undeformed Sichuan Basin. On 12 May 2008, the thrust belt produced the reverse slip, M7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, killing over 87,000 people and causing billions of US dollars in damages and landslides which dammed several rivers and lakes.

Southeast of the Tibetan Plateau are the right-lateral, strike-slip Red River and the left-lateral, strike-slip Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang fault systems. The Red River Fault experienced large scale, left-lateral ductile shear during the Tertiary period before changing to its present day right-lateral slip rate of approximately 5 mm/yr. This fault has produced several earthquakes >M6.0 including the 4 January 1970, M7.5 earthquake in Tonghai which killed over 10,000 people. Since the start of the 20th century, the Xiangshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault system has generated several M7.0+ earthquakes including the M7.5 Luhuo earthquake which ruptured on the 22 April 1973. Some studies suggest that due to the high slip rate on this fault, future large earthquakes are highly possible along the 65km stretch between Daofu and Qianning and the 135km stretch that runs through Kangding.

Shallow earthquakes within the Indo-Burmese Arc, predominantly occur on a combination of strike-slip and reverse faults, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and Dauki faults. Between 1930 and 1956, six M7.0+ earthquakes occurred near the right-lateral Sagaing Fault, resulting in severe damage in Myanmar including the generation of landslides, liquefaction and the loss of 610 lives. Deep earthquakes (200km) have also been known to occur in this region, these are thought to be due to the subduction of the eastwards dipping, India plate, though whether subduction is currently active is debated. Within the pre-instrumental period, the large Shillong earthquake occurred on the 12 June 1897, causing widespread destruction. - USGS.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Outbreak Of BUBONIC PLAGUE In Madagascar - Kills 40 Out Of 120 Cases, Amid Fears Disease Will Spread Through The Capital; Infectious Disease Can Kill Within 24 HOURS!

November 22, 2014 - MADAGASCAR
- An outbreak of bubonic plague has killed 40 people in less than three months, the World Health Organisation said.

There have been 119 confirmed cases of the disease reported in Madagascar since late August and experts fear there is a risk of it spreading 'rapidly.'

Two per cent of the cases recorded on the Indian Ocean island have been pneumonic plague, 'one of the most deadly infectious diseases,' that can kill within 24 hours.

Health experts now fear the greatest risk could be in the capital, Antananarivo, where high population density and a weaknesses in the health care system could see it quickly spread.

Health experts fear that the bubonic plague could spread quickly in the capital city of Antananarivo (pictured)

To date only two cases of plague and one death have been recorded there.

Plague is a bacterial disease that is mainly spread from one rodent to another by fleas.

WATCH: Bubonic plague in Madagascar kills 40.

Humans bitten by an infected flea usually develop a bubonic form of plague, which swells the lymph node and can be treated with antibiotics.

If the bacteria reaches the lungs the patient develops pneumonic plague, which is passed from person-to-person through coughing.

An outbreak of bubonic plague has killed 40 people in less than three months in  Madagascar, the World Health Organisation have said

The first known case of the plague in Madagascar was identified in a man from Soamahatamana on August 31.He died on September 3.

The authorities in Madagascar alerted the World Health Organisation at the beginning of November.

A bubonic plague smear that shows the presence of yersinia pestis (file picture)

The organisation said it had not recommend any trade or travel restrictions due to the outbreak.

They said the last previously known outbreak of the plague was in Peru in August 2010.


Bubonic plague killed around 100 million people during the 14th century and was known as the 'Black Death.' 

Drawings and paintings from the outbreak, which wiped out about a third of the European population, depict town criers saying 'bring out your dead' while dragging trailers piled with infected corpses.

It is caused by a bacterium known as Yersinia pestis, which uses the flea as a host and is usually transmitted to humans via rats.

The disease causes grotesque symptoms such as gangrene and the appearance of large swellings on the groin, armpits or neck, known as 'buboes'.

A town crier is seen calling for the dead to be bought out in this drawing of London from 1665

It kills up to two thirds of sufferers within just four days if it is not treated, although if antibiotics are administered within 24 hours of infection patients are highly likely to survive.

After the Black Death arrived in 1347 plague became a common phenomenon in Europe, with outbreaks recurring regularly until the 18th century.

Bubonic plague has almost completely vanished from the developed world, with 90 per cent of all cases now found in Africa.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Japan’s Meteorological Agency Records Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Earthquake In Central Japan - USGS Registers It As A 6.2; No Tsunami Warning; One Death, Over A Dozen Wounded And Others Missing; Houses Collapse, Landslides And Power Outages Also Reported! [PHOTOS]

USGS earthquake location map.

November 22, 2014 - JAPAN
- A 6.8-magnitude earthquake has hit central Japan at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres, Japan’s Meteorological Agency reports. No tsunami warning has been issued.

The quake struck at 22:08 local time (13:08 GMT) and was centered in the Nagano Prefecture on the main island of Honshu, about 16 kilometers northeast of the city of Omachi.

Several people have reported injuries to Nagano fire department, Japan’s Kyodo news agency stated. One woman has been reported killed and 15 have been wounded. Some of the injured are under a collapsed building. Three homes have collapsed and four people are still unaccounted for, according to the agency.

USGS shakemap intensity.

An official from the village of Ogawa, near the epicenter of the quake, told Japan’s NHK broadcaster that the residents felt a long shake and saw documents falling off the shelves.
Twenty-one residents, including toddlers, have been rescued from debris in a village in Hakuba Prefecture, where several buildings were destroyed, NHK reported.

The tremor was felt as far away as the capital, Tokyo, which is about 170 kilometers northwest of the epicenter.

The JMA said there was no direct threat of a tsunami after the quake.

The cities of Hotaka and Suzaka, also in Nagano Prefecture, are also in proximity of the tremors – 33 and 36 kilometers away, respectively.

A house in Hakbua, Nagano Prefecture, collapsed after a strong earthquake hit central Japan on Saturday.

 A road buckled after a strong earthquake hit central Japan.

A landslide that blocked the roads was reported near a ski resort in the affected area, NHK said, adding that about 200 homes were without power.

Kyodo news agency said that several people reported injuries and that a firefighter saw a collapsed building in the village of Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture.

NHK also reported that several people might have been buried under collapsed buildings in Nagano Prefecture.

- RT.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of Japan and Vicinity

Japan and the surrounding islands straddle four major tectonic plates: Pacific plate; North America plate; Eurasia plate; and Philippine Sea plate. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, beneath Hokkaido and northern Honshu, along the eastern margin of the Okhotsk microplate, a proposed subdivision of the North America plate.

Farther south, the Pacific plate is subducted beneath volcanic islands along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate. This 2,200 km-long zone of subduction of the Pacific plate is responsible for the creation of the deep offshore Ogasawara and Japan trenches as well as parallel chains of islands and volcanoes, typical of Circumpacific island arcs.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Similarly, the Philippine Sea plate is itself subducting under the Eurasia plate along a zone, extending from Taiwan to southern Honshu that comprises the Ryukyu Islands and the Nansei-Shoto trench.

Subduction zones at the Japanese island arcs are geologically complex and produce numerous earthquakes from multiple sources. Deformation of the overriding plates generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the interface of the plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km.

At greater depths, Japanese arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific and Philippine Sea plates and can reach depths of nearly 700 km. Since 1900, three great earthquakes occurred off Japan and three north of Hokkaido. They are the M8.4 1933 Sanriku-oki earthquake, the M8.3 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, the M9.0 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the M8.4 1958 Etorofu earthquake, the M8.5 1963 Kuril earthquake, and the M8.3 1994 Shikotan earthquake. - USGS.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Disturbing Data Reveals That The Gulf Stream Is Now Stalling In Two Broken Areas, Plunging The Planet Into "The Day After Tomorrow" Scenario Of A New Ice Age - Evident In The Snowiest November On Record; Michigan Breaks Century-Old Record For Snowfall; Shipping Season Ends On Upper Mississippi Due To Earliest Ice On Record; And State Of Emergency Ongoing In Western New York Over Unprecedented Snowfall!

November 22, 2014 - ATLANTIC OCEAN
-  Are we witnessing the Gulf Stream closing down? Is the cold November in the US just a precursor of what is to come?

A massive snowstorm has wreaked havoc in the north-eastern US and left seven people dead in upstate New York. After sweeping across the Great Lakes, the storm dumped 5ft (1.5m) of snow in the Buffalo area, with more forecast. The storm caused seven deaths there - one in a car crash, one trapped in a car and five from heart attacks.

Freezing temperatures were recorded across all 50 US states, including Florida and Hawaii, and there were more deaths elsewhere in the country.

Disturbing! The Gulf Stream now stalling in two broken areas

New data from The Earth Wind Map and The NOAA Data Satellite both agree and are now showing the Gulf Stream is colder than average in not one area but two!

The huge section in the North Atlantic is still showing colder than average on both website's (see links above) but more alarming they are also both showing the Gulf itself is now colder than average and this was not the case last month.

Here are the same pictures as above but taken in October, a month ago, we can clearly see the huge colder than normal area in the North Atlantic however the Gulf itself is shown as slightly warmer than average, a trend for most of the Northern Hemisphere.

First the NOAA satellite image taken on the 27th of October.

And finally here is an old screen grab from the Earth Wind Map from last month, clearly seen is a warmer than average Gulf area!

A second push of bitterly cold air has blasted its way south and east, bringing extremely cold temperatures for millions of Americans who have already endured nearly a week of January-like chill. There have been more than 350 record lows and record cool highs set, covering 42 states, since Sunday.

On Wednesday morning record lows were broken or tied from New York to New Orleans and more record lows and record cool high temperatures are possible. With a record cold start to October and November in the US and flooding and storms in Europe we can only imagine what December and January could bring! Yesterday, coincidentally this post by L A Marzulli dropped into my mail box, it would seem this story is taking on steam!

Is the Gulf Stream Broken?

- The Big Wobble Almanac.

WATCH: The Gulf Stream and the next Ice Age.

Snowiest November: Grand Rapids, Michigan breaks century-old record for snowfall

This week's stretch of seemingly never-ending snowfall earned Grand Rapids residents some bragging rights.

Snowfall totals for Grand Rapids so far this month have made for the snowiest November on record, with 28.4 inches that accumulated as of 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record of 28.2 inches was set in 1895.

The city has been hit with 23.5 inches of lake-effect snow since Monday, and this week's winter storm currently ranks fifth among the top-10 all-time snowfall totals in a four-day span. A stretch at the end of December in 2001 holds the top spot with 32.4 inches.

A Pure Michigan sign near the exit Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, November 20, 2014.
(Joel Bissell | Joel Bissell

Laura Orean of Grand Rapids removes snow with her roof shovel at her home on Fuller Ave., Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, November 20, 2014.
(Joel Bissell | Joel Bissell |

Planes sit on the tarmac at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, November 20, 2014.
(Joel Bissell | Bissell |

The winter storm began Monday with 6 inches of snow in Grand Rapids, followed by about 10 inches Tuesday, 2.9 inches on Wednesday and 5 inches as of Thursday evening.

A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 7 a.m. for the greater Grand Rapids region and Lakeshore counties. Another 2-4 inches is expected by morning, with the most accumulation near I-96. Snow showers later this evening will shift to mainly near and west of U.S. 131, the National Weather Service said. - MLIVE.

Shipping season ends on upper Mississippi as earliest ice on record surrounds locks and dams

The shipping season on the upper Mississippi River will end on Thursday as ice surrounding locks and dams near Minnesota's Twin Cities
forced the earliest winter closure on records that date back to 1969

The shipping season on the upper Mississippi River will end on Thursday as ice surrounding locks and dams near Minnesota's Twin Cities forced the earliest winter closure on records that date back to 1969, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

"There's so much ice through the whole system," said Bryan Peterson, navigation manager for the Army Corps' St. Paul district. "They're getting the barges they can out and not risking getting stuck there all winter."

There were two tow boats waiting to pass lock and dam No. 2 near Hastings, Minnesota. Once they moved down river, no more vessels were expected, Peterson said.

The shipping season typically ends around the beginning of December on upper portions of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. In 1989, no more vessels reached the Twin Cities after Nov. 24, Peterson said.

The closure came as a blast of arctic air brought early snow and freezing temperatures across the United States.

The Mississippi River connects farms in the Midwest to the Gulf Coast, where about 60 percent of U.S. corn, soybean and wheat exports exit the country. The closure will also halt upriver shipments of fertilizer, salt and other goods to the most northern reaches of the country's busiest waterway. - Reuters.

State of Emergency Ongoing in Western New York - Stories from the Storm on Day 4

A brave soul went to great heights to clear snow from a roof at Rahn Jewelers on Main Street in the Village of East Aurora on Friday.
More than 30 roofs in the region have collapsed under the weight of the snow. Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

If this week’s snowstorm has done anything, it’s shined a light on how people address dire circumstances. Some fare better than others. Here are more stories from the storm.

A real trooper

Melissa Start just wants to get home. She lives in West Seneca but is currently sacked out with friends in Elma after being stranded on Route 400 for 17 hours Tuesday. She hasn’t seen her apartment or her belongings since early Monday evening.

But she had an angel of mercy who went above the call of duty to help her keep her sanity when she was sure she’d be buried alive.

Start got stranded on the 400 after leaving her bartending shift in downtown Buffalo at 2:45 a.m. With no Thruway signs warning her to keep off, she said, she kept on driving until getting stuck on Route 400 around 3:15 a.m.

After repeatedly calling West Seneca police, who told her to “sit tight,” she called friends who advised her to keep her tailpipe clear and window cracked to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Those same friends gave her the number for the State Police.

That put Start in touch with State Trooper Shawn Taa, who was working out of the Elma barracks. It wasn’t long before Start was calling him every five minutes in the midst of a panic attack.

“He was phenomenal,” she said. “He literally saved my life. He was offering me hope, and telling me Border Patrol was on its way.”

Taa made sure state trooper dispatchers immediately forwarded Start’s calls to him whenever she rang. And if Start went an hour without speaking to him, Taa gave her a ring to check on her welfare.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, rescue vehicles finally retrieved Start and a man from Ontario, who joined Start in her car after his car ran low on gas.

Two of Start’s friends from Elma who own snowmobiles finally retrieved her from a local fire station where about 20 other stranded motorists were offered water and doughnuts.

She remains in Elma while her rescuing snowmobilers, Dan Gilbert and Dan Kimpton, head out early each morning after four or five hours of sleep to help other storm victims in need.

“I’ve had amazing people help me,” she said.

– Sandra Tan

Happy pic goes viral

While Trish Ambrose was outside with her neighbors clearing driveways and cutting paths to doorways, her Twitter photo of the shared effort was going around the world.

“We just saw it was posted in Germany and Finland,” Ambrose said Friday afternoon when she came inside to warm up with some soup. “It’s been fun figuring out all the different languages.”

The picture also was retweeted by local news stations, national organizations and even Ellen DeGeneres, who also has gone on Twitter saying “Sending love to Buffalo, New York in the wake of the terrible snowstorm, and a big thank you to all of the incredible rescue workers.”

The photo shows about 10 adults with shovels and snowblowers, along with a bunch of kids playing on the snow piles, working in a well-cleared area of Meadow Run Drive in the Village of Hamburg. Ambrose thinks it has become popular because it shows “more than your normal piles of snow. It’s neighbors working together.”

With so much to do, the members of the group developed a system, she said, caravaning from one driveway to the next and working like snowplows, offset side by side, to clear the driveways.

And they are still at it.

“That picture is nothing compared with what we have now. We’ve gotten another 3 feet since I took that Wednesday,” Ambrose said.

– Melinda Miller

Marilla on the map

As tourist destinations go, the picturesque town of Marilla doesn’t show up on many top 10 lists. But as a wanna-see-snow destination, it was perfect.

For about 80 travelers from as far away as Malaysia, Poland and Australia, it became an unplanned pit stop on Tuesday and Wednesday when a pair of Megabus coaches en route from New York City to Toronto hit a wall of snow just outside of town.

For two women from Australia and one student from Malaysia, it was the first time they had ever seen snow. They were awed.

After the passengers sat on the two idling buses for several hours on Tuesday, workers transferred them on ATVs and in ambulances to the town’s community center, conveniently located across from the Marilla Country Store.

Store owner Sandy Gingerich opened up the shop for the passengers and served up a dinner of ham, turkey and salami sandwiches along with plenty of snacks. The next morning, the nearby Kwik Fill gas station provided breakfast pizzas to the group, many of whom finally made it to an East Aurora hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

“They were really incredulous over the snow,” Gingerich said of the Australian passengers. “They were being very patient and grateful but just could not get over the fact that this much snow could possibly fall at one time.”

Marilla Supervisor Earl Gingerich said passengers had fun exploring their snowy surroundings, snapping pictures of the huge drifts on either side of the single lane that had been carved out on Bullis Road. He recalled talking with one traveler, a young medical student from Malaysia, who was overwhelmed by the experience.

“He said he wanted to see snow,” Gingerich said. “But just not this much.”

– Colin Dabkowski

Hello again

“Last night we were down to popcorn and chicken noodle soup from a can,” said Davin Whitehead of Orchard Park.

With 4 to 5 feet of snow in his 300-foot long driveway on Bussendorfer Road, he dug his way out of the house to Armor-Duells Road on Friday morning, in search of food. He got lucky on his way to Tops on South Park Avenue in Hamburg when he was picked up by Buffalo News photographer Mark Mulville.
Whitehead was going to pick up as much food from Tops as he could carry, then walk the 3-mile trek back home to his wife and daughter.

But on his way back, as he was pulling a newly purchased sled with supplies and a shovel, Whitehead again ran into Mulville, who was headed back toward Orchard Park. This time Mulville snapped some photos of Whitehead before giving him another lift home.

– Barbara O’Brien

We miss them already

Remember the international tourists who had to camp out at a Red Cross shelter set up in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church?

The bus, with 56 visitors from China, Australia, Brazil and India, was on its way back to Toronto and couldn’t get any farther during the storm. The tourists ended up at the church, and one of them was a cook who took over the kitchen, serving up delicious food for a couple days. It almost made the volunteers sorry to see them head off to Toronto on Thursday.

“Today’s meals weren’t nearly as good,” one volunteer said.

But the visitors left behind a large thank you, posted to the wall in the hallway of the church. Each of the tourists signed the sheet with a black marker to commemorate their time in Orchard Park.

– Barbara O’Brien

- Buffalo News.

2015-2035 Mini Ice Age - Mediterranean Hurricane and Chinese Agriculture in Africa

A Medicane, designated as Qendresa I by the University of Berlin, formed in the Mediterranean Sea on November 7. With its origins partially from a significant nor'easter that affected the East Coast of the United States a week earlier, the cyclone moved across the island of Malta, producing sustained winds of 69 mph (110 km/h), gusts up to 96 mph (154 km/h), and a minimum barometric pressure of 979 mb (hPa; 28.91 inHg). Farther west, the island of Lampedusa was reported as devastated, with dozens of ships capsized.

WATCH: 2015-2035 Mini Ice Age - Mediterranean Hurricane and Chinese Agriculture in Africa.

- Adapt 2030.