Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: THE GREAT DELUGE - Thailand Calls 5-Day Holiday to Allow for Escape From Unprecedented Flooding?!

Prime Minister: "After assessing the situation, we expect floodwater to remain in Bangkok for around two weeks to one month before going into the sea."

Thailand announced a five-day holiday on Tuesday to give people the chance to escape floods closing in on Bangkok as authorities ordered the evacuation of a housing estate on the outskirts of the city after a protective wall gave way.

The cabinet declared October 27-31 a holiday in Bangkok and 20 provinces affected by the country's worst flooding in 50 years as weekend high tides in the Gulf of Thailand could complicate efforts to divert water away from the low-lying capital. The floods have forced the closure of seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces bordering Bangkok, causing billions of dollars of damage, disrupting supply chains for industry and putting about 650,000 people temporarily out of work. The cabinet announced a 325 billion baht budget on Tuesday to help rebuild the country, mostly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), small vendors and individuals. "If they get back to normal quickly, it will help push the economy forward," Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala said of the businesses.

The floods have killed at least 366 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million, with more than 113,000 living in temporary shelters and 720,000 seeking medical attention. Although authorities are scrambling to pump out water from the Bangkok region, record-high water levels in the Chao Phraya river that winds through the city raise the risk of floods in central Bangkok, especially if heavy rain returns when the tide is high. Don Muang Airport, Bangkok's second biggest, said it would temporarily close at 5 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Tuesday as passengers and staff might have problems reaching the terminal because of the flooding. It expected to reopen on November 1. Airports of Thailand AOT.BK said the main Suvarnabhumi Airport was not affected because it was on higher ground. However, Thai Airways International Pcl THAI.BK, which operates out of Suvarnabhumi, said it may reduce flights because of staffing concerns. Parts of Don Muang, Lak Si and Sai Mai districts in northern Bangkok have been under water since Saturday and the flood crisis centre in Don Muang may have to relocate. The centre instructed residents of the Muang Ake housing estate in northern Bangkok to evacuate on Tuesday after a flood protection wall in nearby Pathum Thani province was breached, adding to tension in the capital, where residents have fortified their homes and hoarded food and water. - Reuters.
Floodwater swamped a new area of Thailand's capital on Wednesday as some shops started rationing food and the prime minister warned that parts of Bangkok could be flooded for up to a month. Residents of Bang Phlad, a riverside district some way from Bangkok's three swamped northern districts, were told to urgently evacuate as floods hit the capital on a second front, deepening anxiety in the city of at least 12 million people, many of whom were expected to flee ahead of a special five-day holiday. "After assessing the situation, we expect floodwater to remain in Bangkok for around two weeks to one month before going into the sea," Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters. "However ... we shouldn't face water as high as two or three metres staying for two or three months as we've seen in other provinces."... Bangkok residents scrambled to stock up on food, but bottled water was nowhere to be seen and some shops restricted customers to small quantities of food to prevent hoarding. With high tide approaching in the Gulf of Thailand, Seri Supharatid, director of Rangsit University's Centre on Climate Change and Disaster, said the city's fate rested with river dykes holding. "In the worst-case scenario, if all the dykes break, all parts of Bangkok would be more or less flooded," Seri said. - Reuters.

WATCH: Bangkok floods force evacuees to move again.

WATCH: Bangkok could be flooded "for weeks" if dykes go.

THE DELUGE: Flash Floods Wreck Havoc in Northern Italy!

"We have lost electricty, gas, telephone lines and we have people missing. Everything is flooded. We need help quickly. It is just a sea of mud everywhere."

At least nine people have been killed and five others are missing after flash floods hit the Italian Riviera turning roads into rivers and washing cars out to sea.

The initial death toll was raised as the body of a missing rescue worker was recovered from Monterosso. Officials said Sandro Usai, 40, had drowned after being engulfed by flood waters as he tried to unblock drains in the town. The huge downpour had triggered off landslides along some of Italy's most picturesque coastline, including the Cinque Terre which is a popular destination for British holidaymakers. Fire crews and civil protection teams worked their way through the flood ravaged towns of Vernazza and Monterosso where cars were washed into the sea and roads turned into rivers. Distraught mayor Angelo Betta said: ''Monterosso does not exist any more. "We have lost electricty, gas, telephone lines and we have people missing. Everything is flooded. We need help quickly. It is just a sea of mud everywhere.''

Elsewhere dramatic TV footage from along the coast showed traditional wooden boats reduced to matchsticks as they were thrown by the force of the waves onto the rugged rocks along the shore. Officials said that within a 24-hour period, 500mm of rain had fallen and this had led to houses collapsing and roads and train lines subsiding. The main railway line linking Rome with the north of Italy was blocked by a landslide north of La Spezia which meant all trains to Genoa were terminating there and there was further chaos for passengers as roads were blocked. Only fire engines and emergency vehicles were being allowed through into the minor roads in the mountains that link the worst hit villages for fear of further lethal landslides. Officials said that helicopters were being brought in to help with the rescue effort and an air bridge would be set up to send in supplies with the army put on standby. Those missing were in collapsed buildings or had been in cars that were washed out to see and there were fears that the death toll would grow further as the storm headed south towards Rome.

The Italian capital was hit by a similar severe thunderstorm last week which had left one dead. This time round, three members of the same family were killed in the hamlet of Borghetto Vara near La Spezia when the house they were in collapsed. However in a tale of amazing survival one woman was rescued after holding onto a basketball hoop for two hours. The woman, who has not been named, was in her bar at Borghetto when it was engulfed by mud and water and she was swept into the main road for more than a kilometre before she managed to reach out for the hoop and hold on for her life. She was eventually rescued by civil protection officials by boat, who said that she was suffering from the effects of shock and exhaustion but otherwise uninjured. Transport links were also badly hit as roads and train lines were flooded or littered with mud and other debris and teams of workmen spent hours clearing the area so emergency supplies could be brought in as well as lifting gear. Weather officials said the whole of northern Italy was at risk from the heavy rainstorms and flooding was also reported in Venice with the front expected to move south over the next few hours and hit Rome. They added that a state of emergency would be declared in the regions of Liguria and Tuscany where the storms had hit with central government providing funds for the clear up. Meanwhile police also revealed that five looters had been arrested in the village of Aulla as they picked through the wreckage of shops that had been hit by the floodwaters. - Sky News.
WATCH: Flash floods hit northern Italy.

WATCH: Resident flee Italy floods.

EXTREME WEATHER: Freak Storm Pummels Portugal Airport!

A freak storm caused damage and delayed flights on Monday at Faro airport, the main transport hub in the Algare tourist hub of southern Portugal.

Authorities say an overnight storm tore part of the roof off Faro airport in Portugal’s southern Algarve region, injuring five people and disrupting flights. Roof panels over the departure terminal’s check-in area peeled off when the storm hit at around 5 a.m. Monday. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport as authorities canceled or delayed departures and diverted incoming planes. Local media said the damage to the airport meant cafes and restaurants did not open, leaving waiting passengers without food or drink. The Algarve is Portugal’s main vacation destination and one of Europe’s most popular. Faro airport handles more than 4 million passengers a year. - Washington Post.
A tourist suffered a fractured skull when the roof was blown off an airport used by tens of thousands of British holidaymakers. The Brazilian man — whose injuries also included broken bones — was taken to hospital after a ceiling collapsed in the check-in area at Faro Airport, Portugal. Four Irish holidaymakers were cut and bruised while around 50 others ran for cover when high winds tore roof panels off the departures terminal. Brit passenger John Dikken said: "It looked like a plane flying very low. I was so scared — and then glad to be alive." Flights were cancelled after the control tower's windows were blown out. - The Sun.

DELUGE: Hurricane Rina - Thousands Affected By Flooding In Mexico!

Authorities are evacuating fishing communities on Mexico's resort-studded Caribbean coast and some tourists have begun to leave as Hurricane Rina takes aim at Cancun and the island of Cozumel

Several rivers in southeastern Mexico spilled over their banks in recent days. The Usumacinta River alone damaged homes and croplands in multiple cities, and isolated rural areas by washing out roads. The governor of the state of Tabasco estimated that regional floods had affected 90,000 residents. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these images on October 23, 2011 (top), and October 30, 2009 (bottom). Both images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is dark blue, vegetation is bright green, and clouds are pale blue-green. The Usumacinta River, visible as a thin river in 2009, flows past multiple lakes and ponds en route to the sea. In 2011, many of the water bodies have merged, and water sits on floodplains throughout the region. (This area also experienced severe flooding in 2010.)

The flooding in southeastern Mexico was part of a larger weather phenomenon in the region. On October 19, 2011, the United Nations News Centre reported that heavy rains had caused serious flooding in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, as well as Mexico. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that floods had affected an estimated 154,000 residents of Guatemala, 38,000 residents of Honduras, and 134,000 residents of Nicaragua. The floods had already claimed dozens of lives, OCHA said. Persistent clouds prevented MODIS from obtaining clear views of some of these areas. As of October 24, 2011, Tropical Storm Rina had formed off Central America. Projected to strengthen into a hurricane on October 25, the storm held the potential to bring more rain to the region. - Irish Weather Online.
Residents and worried travelers in Cancun stocked up on supplies Tuesday as forecasters warned that Hurricane Rina could hit the popular Mexican resort city. carla Bautista bought bread, water and canned tuna. "It's my first hurricane. This is new. ... I'm a little afraid, because I don't know what to expect," said Bautista, 28, who moved to Cancun two months ago from Mexico City.

Mexican officials issued a hurricane warning for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from north of Punta Gruesa to Cancun as the Category 2 storm strengthened. Similarly, U.S. officials issued a travel alert, advising U.S. citizens in the area to prepare themselves for the possibility of a hurricane. Rina was packing 110 mph winds Tuesday night and moving at 3 mph, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. Forecasters said it could become a Category 3 hurricane later Tuesday or Wednesday. Some tourists decided not to take any chances. - CNN.
WATCH: Evacuations on Mexico's Caribbean Coast.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Lokon Volcano Erupts In Indonesia!

Mount Lokon volcano in central Indonesia has erupted, spewing hot smoke and ash thousands of feet into the air. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Mount Lokon, located on northern Sulawesi island, had been dormant for years before rumbling back to life several months ago. Surono, a government volcanologist who uses only one name, says it unleashed two strong eruptions at 5:19 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. They were preceded by several smaller blasts hours earlier. Mount Lokon is one of about 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 240 million people. Its last major eruption in 1991 killed a Swiss hiker and forced thousands of people to flee their homes. - AP.
WATCH: Indonesians live off volcano's remnants.

EARTH CHANGES: Coming U.S. Winter May Be Coldest in Decade!

The coming United States winter may be the coldest in more than 10 years, Commodity Weather Group LLC said in its seasonal forecast.

Temperatures will range from 1 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 to 1.7 Celsius) below normal across much of the U.S., according to the forecast. The period from November to March is expected to be 2.4 percent colder than last year, said Bethesda, Maryland-based CWG. “This would be the coldest winter since 2000-01,” the company said. Traders use long-range temperature predictions to gauge energy use and market fluctuations. Hot or cold weather can increase demand for heating and cooling, and power plants use about 30 percent of the nation’s gas supplies, according to Energy Department data. CWG President Matt Rogers predicts the gas-weighted heating degree days value for the U.S. will reach 4,024 this year, compared with 3,928.2 last year and the 10-year average of 3724.4. The winter of 2000-2001 had a value of 4,167.7, according to CWG.

Heating degree days, calculated by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees, are designed to show energy demand. Higher values mean cooler weather and more energy being used to heat homes and business. Gas-weighted degree days give more value to areas where there are higher populations using natural gas to stay warm. New York, Washington and Philadelphia will probably be 1 degree cooler on average, while New England and the West Coast will be more seasonal, CWG said. November is expected to be 9.3 percent colder than last year, with December forecast to be 0.6 percent cooler, according to the forecast. CWG laid out four possible alternatives in case its exact forecast is wrong. The most likely is that the eastern two- thirds of the U.S. will become much colder than normal. The other three scenarios are for milder winters. CWG also predicts much of Europe will be colder than normal, with the lowest temperatures most likely in France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and central Russia. Most of China will have lower-than-normal temperatures, the forecaster said. - Business Week.

THE DELUGE: Five Killed in Widespread Flooding in Accra, Ghana!

Five people have been confirmed dead after torrential rain yet again exposed the poor drainage system in Ghana's capital, Accra.

One was said to have been electrocuted whilst attempting to rescue his fridge from the flood waters, NADMO boss Kofi Portuphy said. Four others have also been confirmed dead. President John Mills Wednesday morning began a tour of the capital to see at first hand the devastating effects the Tuesday night floods left in its choked drains. His first port of call was the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where floods have taken over the roads making them unmotorable. The president said government is concerned about the plight of the affected residents, Joy News Presidential Correspondent Seth Kwame Boateng reported.

President Mills appealed to victims of the floods to remain calm as efforts are made to rescue and offer them assistance. “You have seen all of us here because of the concern that we have for this rather disturbing situation. First of all, I’d like to convey our sympathies to those families who have lost individuals and I would want to repeat the appeal by the Minister of Interior, stay where you are so that you can derive the maximum benefit from the rescue efforts which are being made,” he said. The president commended NADMO, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Fire Service, Engineers Regiment for their efforts at helping the flood victims. He assured that “the government will do everything in its power to bring this situation under control.” Severe floods following massive rains that poured down on the southern part of the country this morning has virtually brought Accra to a standstill.

Reports and distress calls from several suburbs of the capital indicate loss of lives and destruction to property, with many marooned on rooftops. Some roads have been cut off forcing commuters making their way to the city center to find alternate routes. Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuije asked residents of the capital to avoid travelling to the city unless it was very necessary. Education Minister, Betty Mould-Iddrisu earlier this morning announced on Joy FM the closure of schools in the capital. She said the ministry was concerned about the safety pupils and teachers alike. Deputy Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor also announced a suspension of rail services. A number of organizations in the capital have also had their premises flooded. The management of Ghana Post says the main Post Office in Accra will remain closed following flooding there. The Vodafone office near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle is also inundated. - Ghanaweb.

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

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

A fast object was seen in the sky during the National Football League's (NFL) Sunday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans on the 23rd of October 2011.

WATCH: UFO filmed during NFL game in New Orleans.

This cigar-shaped object was filmed over Laredo, Texas on Friday, the 21st of October 2011.

WATCH: UFO over Laredo, Texas.

This triangular-shaped craft (or maybe three unknown objects or orbs in triangle formation) was recorded over Bangkok in Thailand on Tuesday, the 18th of October 2011 around 10 pm. It was filmed with a Yukon night vision camera.

WATCH: Triangle UFO over Bangkok, Thailand.

Footage of an unknown bright object, hovering in the night sky was recorded in Belgorod, in Russia. The film was captured on Saturday, the 22nd of October 2011.
WATCH: Unknown UFO formation over Belgorod, Russia.

This daytime morphing object was recorded in the skies above Fresno in California on Saturday, the 22nd October of 2011 around 5:50 pm.

WATCH: UFO over Fresno, California.

This footage of unknown lights or orbs in triangle formation was recorded in the night skies above the Adams Morgan, neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C.. It was recorded on Saturday, the 22nd of October 2011.

WATCH: Triangle UFO formation over Adams Morgan, Washington DC.