Monday, January 23, 2012

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Hits South of the Fiji Islands - Pacific "Ring on Fire"!

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake has struck south of the Fiji islands on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 00:52:06 UTC. The quake was located at 24.959°S, 178.611°E, with a depth of 582.8 km (362.2 miles).

The epicentre was located at 543 km (337 miles) southeast of Ceva-i-Ra, Fiji; 551 km (342 miles) southwest of Ndoi Island, Fiji; 756 km (469 miles) south of Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji; and 1370 km (851 miles) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand.  

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) estimates the likelihood for need of international humanitarian intervention to be low (Green Alert). This earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact since the affected region is unpopulated and has high resilience for natural disasters. The nearest populated places are [None]. It is a flat region with a maximum altitude of -1489 m.

RATTLE & HUM: "Sounds Of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Humming Noise Phenomena Continues; Video Overload From All Across Planet Earth!

People have been filming "strange sounds" all over the world, but what are they? Suggestions include HAARP, aliens, UFOs, skyquakes,  and thunder... Or are they a hoax?

WATCH: Mark Morris of ITN takes a look.

Here are some of the latest sounds:

Santo Andre, Brazil.




Lviv, Ukraine.



United Kingdom.

London, England.

Nottingham, England.

The Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic.

Budapest, Hungary.

Los Angeles, California, United States.

East Coast, United States.

Michigan, United States.

Pennsylvania, United States.

Tennessee, United States.

Boca Raton, Florida, United States.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Here are some of the sounds that was heard in 2011:

Rumble in the sky over Samarahan.

Unexplained chilling sounds, which filled the air of Samarahan in the wee hours of Jan 11 and 12, have residents there puzzled and perturbed until today. One of the theories being thrown into the pan is that it could be a by-product of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP) undertaken by the United States, while others believed it were from processing machines hard at work at an oil palm factory owned by Felcra in Kampung Endap. But the fact remains that until today the mysterious sounds, which some say resembled loud snoring sounds, remain veiled. Teacher Mohd Ferdauz Jemain, who lives at Kampung Meranek, was one of those who heard the unexplained phenomenon on Jan 11. “It was around 2 am when I was awoken by a strange sound. It was a loud hushing sound, and quite similar to someone snoring.

“I immediately got out of bed and went outside of my house to see what was happening. The feeling was a chilling one. I could not establish where the sound was coming from … it was as if something coming from the sky. “Frightened, I quickly dashed inside, but stayed awake till daylight as I would not sleep any longer. If I am not mistaken, the sound persisted until about 5am.” To prove that he was not spinning a tale, Ferdauz said he had recorded the phenomenon on his mobile phone, and he played it for thesundaypost reporter yesterday. He added that the matter became a hot topic of discussion in Samarahan that day, and some of the residents even documented their experience on Facebook. “Villagers in Meranek, Pinang, Sindang, Tambirat and even those living at Desa Ilmu housing estate have also heard those eerie sounds.” Several residents suggested that it could have come from the oil palm factory in Kampung Endap, but resident Harith Amin, who had worked at that factory previously, brushed it off as nonsense.

“The factory has been there for the last eight years, and I am sure it was not sounds produced by the machines there. In addition to that, no oil palm processing machines could produce sounds which could be heard 8km away,” said Harith, who also made a recording of what he had witnessed. To verify Harith’s theory, Ferdauz decided that should the phenomenon occur again the next day, he would make a dash for the factory. Ferdauz: “I worked at a school in Sebuyau, so I wake up very early to go to school. True enough, the strange sounds happened the next day, and I quickly made a stop in front of the factory. No sounds came out from there (factory).”

Ferdauz claimed that he also saw strange pattern in the skies in the early morning of Jan 12. “The clouds appeared to be in straight lines, and well formed. I have never seen anything like it, but whatever it is, I am sure there must be a scientific explanation for it. “But later that day, an earthquake hit Sumatera in neighbouring Indonesia with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale. I am not sure whether both incidents are related in some ways.” The incidents only occurred for two nights – Jan 11 and 12. Meanwhile, Kampung Meranek’s JKKK chairperson Mahmud Pawi, who claimed that he also heard the sounds together with his family, said hoped that the authorities concerned could shed light on the matter. “When I woke up that morning (Jan 11), I had goose bumps just listening to the sounds. I quickly woke up my entire family and we sat at the veranda trying to figure out what it was and where it was coming from. “We hope that someone can step forward and enlighten us with an explanation.” - Borneo Post.
Kota Samarahan, Malaysia.

Strange sounds now being heard in New York City.

The strange sounds phenomenon is spreading all over the world and now the first videos of the phenomenon being heard in New York City are hitting the web. Most of these incidents have been heard and recorded in remote areas of the world and even those posted from the US have been in rural regions. So far, the video of strange sounds attached below seems to be the first from a US metropolitan region, this time having been recorded on a quiet winter day in Queens, New York. In this video, the scene is filmed outside a backyard window during the day with a cloudless sky. Very few of these strange sounds videos have tried to intimate that these sounds are coming from a UFO, but the witnesses always seem to be certain that the weird noises are coming from the sky. It's obvious from this video that there is nothing visible which would explain why these booming noises are coming from the surrounding sky, such as a loudspeaker, or any aircraft. In this particular clip, the strange sounds are fairly far off, but still loud enough to be picked up by the camera's microphone. Now that this phenomenon has been recorded in NYC, perhaps it will be taken a bit more seriously and will be investigated. - Gather.

For a map of the strange sounds around the world, click HERE.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CONTAGION: The Euro Zone Crisis - Deloitte Access Economics' Business Outlook Warns of "Eurogeddon" in 2012 With Deep Recession and Widespread Bank Failures!

The latest quarterly Business Outlook by Deloitte Access Economics forecasts that Europe will be the key to growth globally and locally this year.

The report, titled "Eurogeddon", warns that 2012 could easily bring a deep recession and widespread bank failures in Europe. Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson says there is a 50-50 chance that Europe will muddle through the crisis. "If it doesn't then yes, Australia has something like a rerun of the global financial crisis - unemployment up, profits down, Government budget hit for six," Mr Richardson said. "Probably not a recession; a technical recession, thanks to magnificent momentum in mining, but a tough time nonetheless." Mr Richardson says the European Central Bank is containing the situation by pumping money to the banks in the form of discount loans. "The money that Europe's central bank is pumping out is working very effectively as sticky tape," Mr Richardson said. "It is going to the banks, but the banks in turn are passing indirectly some of it back to governments and that combination is holding Europe together." But even if the sticky tape does hold, Deloitte still expects Europe's problems to weigh on parts of the Australian economy. More finance jobs are likely to go, the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 5.5 per cent, and Mr Richardson, who describes Europe as a "seething cauldron of risk", says the effects already are being seen in workplaces around Australia. "You're getting employers who are giving employees overtime rather than taking on new people," he said.
WATCH: Economists predict 50-50 chance of EU meltdown.

For the Australian economy, China is key. Mr Richardson says it would react quickly to any implosion in Europe, but its coffers are not as full as they were during the global financial crisis. "Europe is a bigger customer for China than the United States is, and there are risks about that," he said. "At some stage China will have an ugly year and when they do it will be pretty bad news for Australia." Westpac chief economist Bill Evans is more confident that China can withstand Europe's problems. "China's very much a domestically driven economy," Mr Evans said. "Whilst we're expecting that the growth in China in the first half of the year - mainly because of these domestic tightening policies - to be around about a 6.5 per cent momentum, I think by the second half of the year, it will be more like eight." While Australian Government debt is relatively low, Mr Richardson is concerned that household debt as a proportion of GDP remains amongst the highest in the world. "It is not something that I see as an immediate problem but yes, it remains an area of vulnerability for Australia if bank failures in Europe start to happen and credit tightens up once more," he said. The Federal Government is still committed to achieving a surplus next year, but warns it will be tough. Mr Richardson believes the Government must be prepared to ditch that ambition given the severity of Europe's debt woes. "If Europe blows then the surplus is a goner, and so it should be," Mr Richardson said. "Basically you should use the budget to help defend against the downturn, but even if Europe doesn't blow, it is getting hard to get the surplus." All thoughts for Treasurer Wayne Swan to consider as he returns to work and begins putting together the budget. - ABC Australia.
WATCH: Warnings of 'Eurogeddon'.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - US General Dempsey Told That "Israel Would Give Obama ONLY 12 Hours Notice on Attacking Iran"; Meanwhile Russia Warns That Iran Strike Could Trigger An Apocalyptic "Chain Reaction" Affecting the Entire World?! UPDATE: Israel Gov't Hints at Unilateral Strike on Iran's Nuclear Sites as Britain Joins American and French Flotilla Warships Near the Strait of Hormuz?! UPDATE: Iran "Definitely" Closing Strait of Hormuz Over EU Oil Embargo!

Israeli officials told visiting USS Chief Joint of Staffs Martin Dempsey that it would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice if and when it attacks Iran, The London Times reported Sunday.

The Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to the report, the latest in a number of suposed scenarios concerning cooperation or lack of it between Jerusalem and Washington. It is left to speculation whether the rumors are based on facts or are leaked by officials to mask the possibility of secret military coordination. The London Times said its sources explained that that Israel fears that President Obama would try to torpedo an Israel attack if more notice were given because he is concerned that Iran will respond by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, sparking a rise in the price of oil that could cripple Western economies. If the attack were to occur in the next 10 months, it would put President Obama in a tight spot on the eve of his bid for re-election.

President Shimon Peres told Dempsey, "I am sure that in this fight [against Iran] we will emerge victorious. It is a fight that does not belong exclusively to the United States or Israel, but a global struggle to create a safe world for all peoples.” Dempsey, on his first official visit to Israel, was wined and dined by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gants, who went so far as to arrange an IDF orchestra rendition of song made famous by Frank Sinatra, one of Dempsey’s favorite singers. Dempsey tried to play down the postponement of what was billed as the largest-ever joint military drill between the Israeli and American armies, involving thousands of U.S. Army soldiers. Published reasons for the delay have ranged from budgetary constraints, logistical problems to a signal from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he distrusts President Obama’s commitment to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Dempsey maintained that the delay, which was announced by Israel, will give both countries more time to prepare and “achieve a better outcome.” The top American general left Israel on Friday, before the Sabbath began. - Israel National News.

Meanwhile, Russia strongly criticised Western belligerence towards Syria and Iran yesterday, saying that a military assault on the Iranian regime could cause a "chain reaction" that would destabilise the entire world.
The country's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also said during his annual televised press conference that Russia would use its veto at the UN Security Council to block any resolution calling for military force to be used against Syria. Mr Lavrov said that Russia is "seriously worried" that military action against Iran may be under consideration, and vowed that Moscow would do all it could to prevent it. "The consequences will be extremely grave," he said. "It's not going to be an easy walk. It will trigger a chain reaction and I don't know where it will stop." Last week, a Russian newspaper revealed that the annual training exercises undertaken in southern Russia by the country's army will focus this year on scenarios related to the regional fallout of a possible military conflict in Iran.

Russia has supported some sanctions against Iran, but has rejected any talk of new sanctions. The US has already applied new economic sanctions and the EU is considering whether to follow suit as concerns mount over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but Mr Lavrov said that such moves were disingenuous and had "nothing to do with a desire to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation". Instead, Mr Lavrov added, the new sanctions were aimed at "stifling the Iranian economy and the population in an apparent hope to provoke discontent". On Syria, where the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime is in its 10th month, the Russian Foreign Minister was equally forthright, ruling out any support from Moscow at the UN for military intervention. Russia abstained from a Security Council vote on military intervention in Libya and was subsequently furious at what it felt was a bombing campaign that went far beyond the remit to "protect civilians" authorised by the UN.

Moscow has since made it clear on several occasions that it will not tolerate a repeat in Syria, a message that Mr Lavrov reiterated yesterday. "If some intend to use force at all cost we can hardly prevent that from happening," he said. "But let them do it at their own initiative, on their own conscience; they won't get any authorisation from the UN Security Council." He was also unapologetic over claims that Russia has been delivering arms to the Syrian regime despite an EU arms embargo on the country. A ship believed to be carrying weapons from Russia was briefly detained in Cyprus earlier this month, before continuing to its final destination in Syria. Russia has not confirmed that it has been delivering arms to the country, but Mr Lavrov effectively told the West to mind its own business yesterday. "We haven't violated any international agreements or the UN Security Council resolutions," he said. He also accused Western countries of supplying munitions to the Syrian opposition, which he labelled as "unacceptable and absolutely counterproductive". - Independent.

UPDATE: Israel Hints at Unilateral Strike on Iran's Nuclear Sites as Britain Joins American and French Flotilla Warships Near the Strait of Hormuz!
Israel could launch a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear facilities without much prior notice to its closest ally for over 60 year, US, according to information reaching here from Tel Aviv. While the Israeli leadership has signaled support for US president Barack Obama in his re-election bid by urging Jewish voters in America to vote for him, Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak is said to have told general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, that Israel will give the US no more than 12 hours notice before it ventures to demolish Iran's nuclear installations.

Barak's message to Dempsey followed what Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu had told Obama: that an early warning of Israel's intentions would not be available to the US. The Israeli army's elite 35th Paratroopers Brigade is training for a longrange operation for some time, so as to be prepared for military action against Iran's nuclear plants. Expressing its displeasure at the non-cooperation , US has cancelled a joint antimissile exercise with Israel, which had been planned for April. On Monday, foreign ministers of the EU are expected to ban Iranian oil imports as part of efforts to tighten sanctions on Tehran. - Times of India.
Britain has joined the United States and France in sending a flotilla of warships through the sensitive Strait of Hormuz in a pointed message to the Iranian regime. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll, was part of the US-led carrier group to pass through the waterway, as tensions continued to escalate over Tehran's nuclear programme. European Union foreign ministers are expected to announce an embargo on Iranian oil exports, ratcheting up the pressure on the regime to abandon work which the West believes is aimed at building a nuclear bomb. The Iranians have threatened to close the strait - through which 35% of the world's tanker-borne oil exports pass - in retaliation.

An MoD spokesman said: "HMS Argyll and a French vessel joined a US carrier group transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, to underline the unwavering international commitment to maintaining rights of passage under international law." The six-strong flotilla was led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with up to 90 warplanes on board. It reportedly passed through the Strait of Hormuz without incident. The Abraham Lincoln is the first American carrier to enter the Gulf since the end of last year. It replaced another carrier, the USS John C Stennis, in a routine ship rotation. The departure of the USS John C Stennis had prompted the head of the Iranian armed forces, General Ataollah Salehi, to warn the Americans not to send any more carriers to the region. "We don't have any intention of repeating our warning and we warn only once," he said. The MoD spokesman said that Britain maintained "a constant presence in the region as part of our enduring contribution to Gulf security". Royal Navy warships have been patrolling there continuously since the 1980s. - Evening Standard.
UPDATE: Iran "Definitely" Closing Strait of Hormuz Over EU Oil Embargo!

Tensions in the Gulf could reach a breaking point as a senior Iranian official said Iran would “definitely” close the Strait of Hormuz if an EU oil embargo disrupted the export of crude oil. Mohammad Kossari, deputy head of parliament's foreign affairs and national security committee, issued the warning in respone to a decision by the European Union on Monday  to impose an oil embargo on Iran over the country’s alleged nuclear weapons program. “The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said. However, with Washington’s decision to deploy a second carrier strike group in the Gulf, the EU’s attempt to pressure Iran economically could greatly increase the likelihood of all-out war in the region. The Strait of Hormuz is the vital link between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It is also one of the most strategic chokepoints in the world when it comes to oil transit.

With world oil output estimated at some 88 million barrels per day in 2011, the US Energy Information Administration estimated that some 17 million of those barrels passed through the Strait. If economic sanctions sufficiently pressure Iran to retaliate by closing down the Strait, nearly 20 per cent of worldwide oil trade would be impacted, resulting in a massive spike in global energy costs. With over half a million regular forces and an additional 120,000 personnel in the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard,  analysts believe the consequences of a US-led war against Iran would dwarf recent Western-backed military incursions the Middle East. Thus far, the US decision to maintain two carrier strike groups in the region has been described as “a routine activity” by Iran. But the vast US military buildup in the region, which was bolstered when the Pentagon dispatched an additional 15,000 troops to the neighboring nation of Kuwait, was only the latest step in an obvious attempt by Washington to strengthen its military capabilities in the region.

However since 1988, when the United States managed to destroy some 25 per cent of Iran’s larger naval capability during Operation Praying Mantis, Iran has spent the last two decades preparing its Revolutionary Guard naval forces to exploit the vulnerabilities of the United States’ larger conventional forces. According to Revolutionary Guard commander Brigadier General Jafaari, "The enemy is far more advanced technologically than we are, we have been using what is called asymmetric warfare methods… our forces are now well prepared for it," he said, as cited by Global Bearings. Ultimately,  the latest round of brinkmanship between Iran and the West may force Iran to the negotiating table over its uranium enrichment program. However, the EU strategy of averting "chaos in the Middle East" by tightening the economic noose around Iran could spark the very conflagration it was ostensibly trying to avert. - RT.
WATCH: Iran slams European Union oil embargo.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Offshore, Bio-Bio, Chile!

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck offshore Bio-Bio, Chile at a depth of 19.6 km (12.2 miles). The quake hit at 16:04:53 UTC Monday 23rd January 2012 and was located at 36.415°S, 73.015°W.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) registers the epicentre at 50 km (31 miles) north of Concepcion, Bio-Bio, Chile; 80 km (49 miles) southwest of Cauquenes, Maule, Chile; 90 km (55 miles) northwest of Chillan, Bio-Bio, Chile; and 393 km (244 miles) southwest of Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile.

According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS), this earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact since the affected region is very highly populated and has high resilience for natural disasters. The population of the Bio-Bio Province is 1,789,433. It is a hilly region with a maximum altitude of 872m. GDACS estimates the likelihood for need of international humanitarian intervention to be low (Green Alert). No tsunami warning has been issued and there are currently no reports of any damage or injuries.

A magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck Monday just off the shore of south-central Chile, the same area devastated by a massive temblor two years ago. But there were no immediate reports of damage and authorities said it would not cause a tsunami. Monday's quake was centered 31 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of Concepcion, and relatively shallow at 12 miles (20 kilometers) deep. But Chile's navy announced that it wasn't the kind of quake to generate a deadly tsunami of the kind that ravaged nearby coastal cities when an magnitude-8.8 quake devastated Chile in 2010. The U.S. Geological Service said this quake struck at 1:04 p.m. local time (1604 GMT) with a magnitude of 6.2. Chilean seismologists measured it as a less-powerful 5.8.

Chile's national emergency office said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Cellphone service was briefly interrupted as people tried to reach loved ones, and radio stations and social networks lit up with comments, including many who said the shaking made them panic. Light fixtures swayed in many homes, but the power remained on. The much-stronger quake that struck on Feb. 27, 2010, killed 524 and caused 31 disappearances, wrecking 220,000 homes and leaving $30 billion in damage. The disaster agency and the navy shared the blame for a botched tsunami warning then that gave some coastal dwellers a false sense of security. - ABC News.

EXTREME WEATHER: The Season of the Winds - Storm and Cyclone-Strength "Destructive Winds" Lashes Queensland, Australia!

Parts of western and northern Queensland have been under attack from massive thunderstorms which have punched out winds well in excess of 100km/h, strong enough to tear off roofs.

Cyclone-strength wind gusts have battered a remote north Queensland township, damaging several homes. A Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) spokesman says gusts of 170km/h and 70mm of rain lashed Hughenden, about 400 kilometres west of Townsville, yesterday. "We had a few wind gusts, but that was easily the strongest of all of them," the BOM spokesman told AAP. "Hughenden rocked everyone else. You can compare them to cyclones, but cyclones last for a sustained period of time and these winds lasted about an hour or so. "We classify them as a destructive wind." The Department of Community Safety (DCS) said one woman had to be taken to hospital, there were half a dozen calls for help and about three homes were damaged. The BOM said more storms in the area were possible, but it was unlikely they would again generate such strong winds. "It's quite rare," the BOM spokesman said. "Usually the range it reaches is 90 to 100km per hour. Getting up to 170 is at the high end of the scale." - Herald Sun.

The rural township of Hughenden in Queensland's north west is cleaning up this morning after a violent storm lashed the region. Emergency workers say 10 houses were severely damaged. Wind gusts of up to 170 kilometres an hour ripped the roofs of six homes. A 77-year-old woman suffered a hip injury during the storm and was treated at the Hughenden hospital. Tony Dennis from the State Emergency Service (SES) says the storm was vicious and hit with little warning. "We've lost probably 10 houses with severe damage - six of them have lost their roofs completely," he said. "The guys worked throughout the night and into the early hours of this morning to make safe what we could." Mr Dennis says the winds were worse than when Cyclone Yasi passed through a year ago. "When we got Yasi here the maximum I think we got was 110 kilometres an hour so it was a lot more severe than that," he said.

"There are plenty of trees down and that sort of damage, and there are plenty of signs down and that sort of thing." Flinders Shire Deputy Mayor Greg Jones says while the storm only lasted for about 20 minutes it was fierce. "[We had] lots of rain in a big hurry and lots of wind to go with it," he said. "It's been that hot for that many weeks here, it's been building up and normally the first one she comes in fairly wild and does a bit of damage." Council workers will spend the day clearing trees and debris from around the town. Ergon Energy says it is still trying to restore power to a number of rural properties. Police are urging motorists travelling around the region to be on the lookout for fallen trees and debris on the roads. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the state's west at 6.20am (AEST) today. Forecasters are warning of damaging winds, very heavy rainfall and flash flooding over several hours. Towns which may be affected include Charleville, Mitchell, Augathella, Georgetown and Normanton. - ABC Australia.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Severe and Unusual Climatic Patterns in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka - Warm Days and Freezing Nights Play Havoc With the Lives of Girls, Boys, Fruits, Flowers and Veggies?!

The unusual drop in temperature in Nuwara Eliya has had widespread repercussions, with people finding it difficult to cope with the extreme weather, damage to crops and drop in water levels. Last Monday (16), the temperature in Nuwara Eliya dropped to 2.7 Celsius accompanied by ground frost. In 2009, the temperature dropped to 2.6 Celsius. Similar temperatures were experienced in 1929 and 1953.

However, the lowest recorded temperature was on June 30, 1914, when it went down to -3.7 Celsius. Meteorology Department Deputy Director M.D. Dayananda told the Sunday Times that such low temperatures were due to the usual passage of wind through the North-East border during the North-East monsoon, which deviated to a more northerly route, passing over the Himalayas, across the Indian Ocean. This would result in cold weather in the morning and night.

He said that such cold weather would also prevail because there is no cloud formation over the country, which results in radiation cooling, fog formation and, in the extreme, frost formation. “This weather in Nuwara Eliya is expected to continue for the next three to four days. It is not an unusual experience during December and January,” he said.

Mr. Dayananda said that it would be difficult to predict what the weather would be like in April, but said that, since it is the inter-monsoonal period, evening thunder showers and a warm climate could be expected. Nuwara Eliya District Secretary D.P.G Kumarasiri told the Sunday Times that, though the city seems picturesque, the climatic patterns have severely disrupted the lives of the people in Nuwara-Eliya due to the cold weather.

“Due to such extreme weather, crops such as beetroot, potatoes and lettuce were damaged. During the day, the sunlight is very bright and strong, and the streams have dried up,” Mr. Kumarasiri said. He also said that many foreigners and local tourists are visiting the city to witness the scene. The Wildlife Department staff at Horton Plains said that they were finding it very difficult to carry out their duties in such extreme weather, with last Monday the temperature dropping to 1.5 Celsius at Horton Plains.

Central Province Agriculture Dept Deputy Director Kusum Seneviratne told the Sunday Times, that extreme weather changes in the district had damaged crops in certain areas in the Ragala-Nuwara Eliya area. “Within four days – January 16 to 19, 50 acres of leeks, beetroot, carrot, potatoes and lettuce cultivation were affected in Kandapola, Galpalama and Aluthpara due to the cold and warm weather fluctuation,” she said.

She said that crops covered with frost get burnt when exposed to strong sunlight. To avoid such situations, cultivators should water the crops early morning, so that, when they are exposed to sunlight, the crops would not get burnt.

A survey was carried out by the Agriculture Dept to collect information on the damaged crops.Nuwara Eliya General Hospital Deputy Director Dr. Raveendra Pathiratne told the Sunday Times that though there was no immediate increase in weather related illnesses, it would take some time for the outcome to manifest itself.“In a short period, the difference in the cases would not be obvious. At least a week’s time is needed to study the consequences. As of now, we don’t see an increase in asthmatic or heart disease cases due to the cold weather,” he added.

Dr. Pathiratne explained that most people in these cold climes have adapted to this type of weather fluctuations. The people already take precautionary measures to prevent becoming seriously affected. Commenting on the hot water facility within the hospitals, Dr. Pathiratne claimed that most of the wards are provided with hot water geysers, but potable hot water facilities are less, as there are no hot water dispensers.

“We foresaw the need for potable hot water for patients in December and January, and last week we ordered some hot water dispensers,” he said. Principals of schools in the area claimed that, despite the difficulties, there was no drastic drop in attendance of students.

Surviving extreme elements

Dr. Raveendra Pathiratne said that, usually, low temperatures, affect asthmatic and elderly heart patients. If the temperature drops below freezing, blood related diseases, headaches and muscle cramps will also occur.

“In such a situation, the elderly should stay indoors very early, before sunset. They should have a wood-fire burning to maintain a warm environment. They should wear warm clothes, gloves and socks. It is advisable to take warm drinks. Pregnant females and infants should extra care to keep warm,” he said. - Sunday Times.

EXTREME WEATHER: The Indian Winter Chill - Cold Remains Unabated in Northern India as Snow Clogs the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway; Kashmir and Leh Registers a Record-Breaking Low Temperature of Minus 22.2 Degrees!

The cold wave sweeping north India showed no signs of relenting as temperatures settled below normal levels at most places on Monday with Leh town in Jammu and Kashmir registering a record low of minus 22 degrees.

Men sit next to a dog around a fire to warm themselves on a cold winter morning in the
old quarters of Delhi. Temperature in New Delhi dipped to 7 degrees Celsius.
There was no let off in the cold wave in Kashmir with Leh town in Ladakh region experiencing its coldest night of the season as the mercury plunged to 22.2 degrees below the freezing point. The minimum temperature in Leh town settled at minus 22.2 degrees Celsius, which is the lowest of this winter so far, a MeT official said. Nearby Kargil district town also an extreme low of minus 20 degrees Celsius last night, he said. There was some respite in the freezing conditions in Gulmarg skiing resort as the minimum temperature rose by four degrees to settle at minus 10 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam resort in south Kashmir recorded minus 7 degrees Celsius, an increase of more than three degrees, the official said. In Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir, the mercury slipped by more than one degree anbd settled at minus 8.6 degrees Celsius followed by Kokernag resort at minus 8.5 degrees Celsius. North Kashmir's frontier town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Srinagar city, the summer capital of the state, remained unchanged at minus 4.2 degrees Celsius. Although MeT department had forecast snowfall yesterday and today, Kashmir witnessed bright sunshine for both the days. - Indian Express.

Men warm themselves by a fire at a railway yard on a cold winter morning in Chandigarh.
Srinagar: Leh in Jammu and Kashmir Monday recorded the lowest temperature of the season at minus 22.2 degrees Celsius as intense cold wave conditions continued across the Kashmir Valley and the Ladakh region. "At minus 22.2 degrees Celsius, Leh in Ladakh witnessed the lowest this season Monday. Kargil, also in Ladakh recorded minus 20.0 degrees while the minimum was minus 4.2 in Srinagar, minus 10.0 in Gulmarg and minus 7.0 at Pahalgam," Sonam Lotus, director of the meteorological office said. The intense cold wave conditions continued unabated in the valley. Water taps froze in the morning and highly slippery road conditions forced most locals to remain indoors. In its revised weather forecast, the met office said the western disturbance (WD) active over the valley had somewhat weakened and now only light snowfall would occur at isolated places during the next 24 hours. "The WD presently active here has somewhat weakened. We are now expecting light snowfall at isolated places in the valley in the coming 24 hours. However, moderate snowfall would occur across the valley around Jan 26 and 27," Lotus said. - Zee News.
 WATCH: Cold wave intensify in India.

THE QUICKENING: Extreme & Violent Weather Systems Pound American South and Midwest - Storms Leave Three Dead in Alabama; Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Hit by Tornadoes; Twisters and 3-Inch Hail in Arkansas; Thousands Without Power! UPDATE: ABC NEWS - 200 Storm Reports and 21 Tornadoes From Arkansas to Alabama!

"You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people, that this is The Hour." - The Elders, Oraibi. Arizona, Hopi Nation.

Powerful thunderstorms tore through Alabama early Monday, killing at least three people and producing heavy damage just hours after tornadoes struck portions of Arkansas, downing trees and powerlines and leaving thousands without electricity there.

The predawn storms struck the Birmingham area, with the towns of Center Point and Trussville just to the northeast of the city being particularly hard hit, emergency management officials said. Two people were killed in Center Point and one in Oak Grove, which lies to the southeast of Birmingham, Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency spokesman Mark Kelly said. "Center Point was hit pretty badly," Kelly said. "We have major, major damage," said another Jefferson County EMA official, Bob Ammons, in reference to Center Point, Trussville and some unincorporated areas of the county.

In Mississippi, the National Weather Service was tracking a thunderstorm to the southwest of Hattiesburg that was producing wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour. These were the latest in a series of powerful January storms to have torn through the Southeast. On Sunday, twisters downed trees and powerlines in Arkansas leaving thousands without power. A tornado tore into an area outside of Fordyce, some 70 miles south of state capital Little Rock, damaging houses and felling trees and power lines as it moved, according to Accuweather carried reports of five other twisters touching the ground in Arkansas, which was pelted by soft-ball sized hailstones and buffeted by winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour. As of late Sunday, roughly 13,400 homes were without power across Arkansas as the storms intensified, according to utility provider Entergy Arkansas, Inc. - Reuters.

Rain-wrapped tornadoes struck at least six spots in Arkansas and severe weather rocked parts of the South and Midwest from Mississippi to Indiana and Ohio. The storms were part of a weather front that brought freezing rain and fog to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states early Monday. A tornado moving northeast at 55 mph touched down and damaged at least two houses, ripping down trees and power lines near Fordyce, Ark., 70 miles south of state capital Little Rock, police said. At least five other tornados touched down in the state, AccuWeather said. No injuries were reported. Tornado watches were in effect for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee early Monday. Entergy Arkansas Inc. of Little Rock reported nearly 13,000 customers without power early Monday. Nashville Electric Service reported power outages for about 300 customers in the Nashville area. Nearly 3-inch hail was reported in Griffith Spring, Ark., 40 miles northeast of Fordyce, police said. Amateur radio operators cited by AccuWeather reported softball-size hail near England, Ark., 30 miles southeast of Little Rock. Large hail was also reported in Newport and Brinkley, Ark.

The severe weather also brought heavy downpours with flooding, damaging winds and frequent lightning along a weather front separating warm air from cold, the Weather Channel reported. The same weather front brought freezing rain and fog to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast early Monday, creating a treacherous glaze of ice and low visibility from Washington and Baltimore through Allentown, Pa., with freezing rain and drizzle stretching through New York's Hudson Valley and parts of Connecticut north to Albany, N.Y., Worcester, Mass., and Boston's suburbs, AccuWeather said. Rain was to forecast to continue along the East Coast Monday as temperatures rose into the 50s from Washington to Philadelphia and into the 40s farther north. - UPI.
WATCH: Tornado Warnings Across the South.

PLANETARY TREMOR: Terror as Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake Rocks Hawaii's Big Island - Seismic Swarm Developing?!

A magnitude-5.0 earthquake and several small aftershocks shook Hawaii on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.

The quake struck near Kaena Point in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island at 4.36pm at a depth of five miles, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was about 25 miles south of Hilo and 220 miles southeast of Honolulu, the Associated Press reports.

There is no tsunami threat, the National Weather Service said. The largest of the aftershocks, a magnitude-3.0, came about 10 minutes after the original quake. Joe Lopez, 70, said he felt a 'pretty good jolt' at his home in Hilo. Lopez told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the quake sent books and other items tumbling to the floor. There have been no reports of injury or damage, said Michael Yoshimura of Hawaii State Civil Defense. Yoshimura said the agency opened its Hilo Emergency Operating Center immediately after the quake, but closed it down when no calls came in after 45 minutes. - Daily Mail.

A series of earthquakes shook an area of southeast Hawaii island Sunday afternoon, one of them a 5.0 magnitude quake. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, all of the quakes were centered in an area about eleven miles southeast of the town of Volcano on the Big Island. The first quake occurred at 4:35 p.m. with a magnitude of 4.1. That quake was followed a minute later by one with a 5.0 magnitude. Five more smaller quakes followed at 4:43, 4:44, 4:45, 4:51 and 4:52 p.m., with preliminary magnitudes of 2.5, 2.3, 3.0, 1.8 and 2.0 The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no tsunami was generated by the quakes. - Hawaii News Now.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Mass Stranding - More Whale Stranding at Farewell Spit in New Zealand, Third Time in Two Months in the South Island! UPDATE: Stingray Bites Boy at Theme Park in Australia!

A group of whales has been stranded around Farewell Spit, near the top of the South Island, for the third time in two months.

Pilot whales are stranded in the South Island for the third time in two months.
About 90 pilot whales were seen milling close to the shore around noon on Monday and have since grounded on a receding tide, Project Jonah chief executive Kimberly Muncaster says. Ms Muncaster says volunteers will care for the whales until nightfall, when the fast incoming tide will be a danger to the people. "There's a small chance the whales may refloat on tonight's high tide at 11pm, but we will be back at first light to assess the situation and assist DOC (the Department of Conservation) in their rescue response," she said on Monday.

"Hopefully we'll be able to keep as many whales as possible alive until nightfall." Project Jonah marine mammal medics have also been called to give the whales first aid. Volunteers with wetsuits are wanted, as are those who can work at the beach. They're asked to check out Project Jonah's website for a list of items they will need, which includes food, water, sunscreen and appropriate clothing. The spot where the whales were stranded is close to Farewell Spit, where 25 were stranded early in January. Seven of those whales died, while 65 whales died after becoming stranded in the same area in November. Farewell Spit is known as a whale stranding hotspot. - MSN New Zealand.

UPDATE: Stingray Bites Boy at Theme Park in Australia!
A six-year-old boy has been bitten on the finger by a stingray at a theme park on Queensland's Gold Coast. It happened at a Sea World exhibit yesterday morning. The boy's wound was treated by a nurse at the theme park and he was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Sea World says it is the first time such an injury has occurred since the Ray Reef attraction opened in 2009. The theme park says the exhibit will remain open. - ABC Australia.