Saturday, January 28, 2012

EXTREME WEATHER: Cyclone and Bushfires Threaten Western Australia - Weather Chaos Batters Queensland!

A tropical cyclone and major bushfires are posing a twin threat to travellers in Western Australia's central west.

Authorities are concerned holidaymakers from Perth and elsewhere may find themselves stranded. The Fire and Emergency Services Authority had urged tourists to leave the Gascoyne region because flooding, linked to the approaching Cyclone Iggy, could cut off the highway to Perth.

But now bushfires have forced the closure of the highway, south of Carnarvon. Department of Environment and Conservation spokesman Anthony Desmond says there was a window of opportunity earlier yesterday when families, returning to Perth for the new school year, could have made it through. "Either way there were two issues people needed to deal with, a cyclone and now a fire, so I don't think there was anything wrong with making that call for people," he said. "But we'll be talking to the Department for Child Protection about accommodating people in Carnarvon if they need accommodation."

Frank Gagliadi is the manager of Potshots Hotel in Exmouth and says people are deciding whether to stay put, or head back to Perth. "To be honest there were a couple of people who had no idea that a cyclone is coming, so they are that far removed from any news, so we're telling them," he said. "And they they are going and doing their own little bit of research and then deciding whether to leave or not." The Bureau of Meteorology was expected to upgrade Cyclone Iggy to a category three system overnight. - ABC Australia.

As Brisbane steamed in the wake of this week's torrential downpours, with more rain due soon, victims of last year's flood disaster teetered between logic and emotion.

Logic (and weather reports) tell them that despite flooding around the fringes of the metropolitan area earlier in the week, conditions are quite different from those that conspired to sink their sprawling sub-tropical city last January. Emotion tells them the whole muddy nightmare might be about to happen again. ''It depends on the person,'' says Monique Broadbent, the state co-ordinator of Lifeline's Flood Inquiry Support Service. ''A lot of people are watching all the weather reports and keeping a very close eye on things, particularly in low lying areas. ''But on a logical level they can see it's different from last time. Others, especially those badly affected last year, are very uneasy … for them, it's ripping the scab right off.''

Still others are taking strength from having got through the ordeals of last year, and telling themselves that, ''no matter how bad this one gets'', they can cope. Between Monday and Thursday a monsoonal trough dumped 400 millimetres of rain across south-east Queensland. Houses were inundated and people evacuated to the south and north of the city, hundreds of roads were flooded, and 38 schools and childcare centres had to close. More than 1000 people called the SES for help. On Wednesday, the floodgates of the now much-scrutinised Wivenhoe Dam were opened to reduce water levels to 75 per cent of capacity before more heavy rain due next week. The deadline for a report from the commission of inquiry into the 2011 floods, and the dam's role in the disaster, has been extended to take in new evidence and allow for public consideration of inquiry findings before the state election on March 24.

Echoes of last wet season's disasters were heard everywhere this week, especially on Wednesday, when the Premier, Anna Bligh, only hours after announcing the election date, switched to a series of deft live-to-air interviews about the latest weather threat. As she showed last year, when her dire political stocks were briefly revived by such appearances, emergencies seem to bring out the best in her. Her would-be replacement, Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman, was quick to remind Queenslanders that as lord mayor, he had predicted last year's Brisbane floods several months in advance. At soggy Kippa-Ring, in the city's burgeoning north-east, a long-time resident, Allan Kirby, said whoever ended up in power should do something about the area's notoriously clogged creeks. ''On Wednesday there was more water on the ground than I've ever seen before, even more than we had in 2011. I went and got some sandbags for my house but the moment I put them down the rain stopped.'' But not for long. By yesterday it was back, with forecasts predicting showers until Friday then more heavy rain. ''Which is all a bit of a pain in the arse,'' Mr Kirby said. ''But what can you do?'' - SMH.
WATCH: Weather Chaos.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Weird Winter in Yosemite, the Driest in 30 Years - Without Snow, Hotels Offer Rock Climbing and Archery to Frustrated Skiers!

"You start wondering: OK, so is it never going to snow or are we going to get hit and hit hard?" she said on a mid-January day. "The whole year has been strange. No bears in the spring, and this place is usually crawling with bears.… Everything was turned upside down."

Winter in the high country is usually a season of icy quiet. Birds leave, bears hibernate, and only a few hardy people on skis or snowshoes pass through en route to snow-covered granite domes.

But Christmas and New Year's Day came and went, then Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and still only auburn pine needles covered the ground. Chattering squirrels, normally tucked away in their winter nests, perched on top of "Snow Play Area" signs, with no snow in sight. Until a series of late January storms dropped more than 2 feet of snow — still far below the norm — many wondered if it was going to be the year the snows never came. In this spine-country of grandeur and extremes, where people often mark time by natural events such as "the year of the big flood," this is the year of the weird winter.

At Crane Flat Gas Station and Market, a final stopping point to the Yosemite-area back country, cashier Candy Moody watched customers come in wearing baseball caps instead of ski hats. "You start wondering: OK, so is it never going to snow or are we going to get hit and hit hard?" she said on a mid-January day. "The whole year has been strange. No bears in the spring, and this place is usually crawling with bears.… Everything was turned upside down." Even for a La Niña year, this is an exceptionally dry season — the driest California has seen in more than 30 years. But while climate models predict that the Sierra snowpack will shrink in coming decades, those familiar with California's weather history caution that in the short term, anomaly is the norm here.

"California is pretty much the most volatile place in the contiguous United States," said Dan Cayan, a research meteorologist who heads the California Climate Change Center. "We've always seen huge variations in weather from year to year and decade to decade," he said. California 120 at Tioga Pass, about 10,000 feet high , offered rare unobstructed winter passage to the top of California until Jan. 17, the latest recorded date it's been open since record keeping began in 1933. People flocked to ice skate on Tenaya Lake, which usually would be buried beneath snow. The lake gave off deep, booming sounds as the ice expanded in the sun. "One family had a five-on-five hockey game on the ice. A bride walked out on the lake — a beautiful wedding dress on the frozen ice in the sun — everyone was rushing to take advantage of these probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunities," said John DeGrazio, owner of Yexplore, a guide service. "I climbed Half Dome twice, ice-skated in short-sleeves. I was on top of Mt. Whitney on New Year's Day."

But by January, "fun, fun, fun" had turned to uneasiness, DeGrazio said. "People would start out talking about the next adventure, but it would turn into 'When is the snow coming? What if the snow doesn't come?' " In the famed Yosemite Valley below, the only destination for the vast majority of tourists, the snow-less season created unusual sights well into January. All the roads were open. The only area closed was Badger Pass Ski Area. Staff at the hotels scrambled to set up rock climbing walls and archery practice to entertain would-be skiers. The bicycle rental stand was doing business. There were even mule rides. Locals taking advantage of the mild weather and open roads helped make up for others postponing their trips — but ski tourism is a much bigger business than fair-weather tourism. Jordan Creamer, a bartender and waiter at Tenaya Lodge, saw 200 guests cancel their reservations in one day.

On the other hand, because business at the lodge was slow, Creamer, 27, had Christmas off for the first time in his adult life, so his family, including his brother, Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly, came to his house for the holiday. At the park's south entrance, rangers Donna Dozier and Corey Kniss grew weary, week after week, of the question "Where's the snow?" Dozier bought a can of artificial snow and sprayed the windows of their stand so they could point to something white. In the window, in the fake dusting, she wrote, "Let It Snow." When the storms did come, lasting Thursday to Monday, they dropped mostly rain at the lower elevations.

It took a heavy toll. Because there had been no previous rain, dry ground was swept away. Gusting winds wreaked havoc. On Saturday, a branch fell from a huge tree, killing a 27-year-old ranger who was asleep in his tent cabin. The next day, a rock slide took out a section of a main highway into the park. California 120, the route that most Bay Area residents use to get to Yosemite, is closed indefinitely. There is snow. Badger Pass Ski Area, which does not make its own snow, was expected to open Thursday. But even though Yosemite is known to have big March snowstorms (last year, on March 20, the last day of winter, a storm dumped three feet of snow, closing all highway entrances and prompting an evacuation) total snowfall is likely to be far less normal. This week at the south entrance, there was rain, sun and brief periods of big, feathery snowflakes, leaving only a light dusting of white on the landscape. Dozier added one more word to her "Let It Snow" message: "more." - LA Times.

EXTREME WEATHER: Portugal on the Verge of Severe Drought - “Everything Depends on February"!

It has to be a very rainy February to reverse the situation. If the weather is the same in February as it has been in January then we will have an extreme drought,” he said. Manuel Costa Alves believes that it is extremely important that the next few months bring rain, but he explained that “once winter rainfall is lost, the rainfall from spring is never enough to reverse the situation.” Highlighting the fact that October was extremely warm, the meteorologist said that December “normally contributes with a large amount of precipitation across the country,” but this year it has been virtually zero. “Data for the end of December showed 83 percent of the territory suffering weak drought, six percent with moderate drought, eight percent as normal and three percent as humid,” he said.

According to Mr. Alves, at the end of January “a significant part of the territory will be suffering with moderate drought,” with “a significant percentage also suffering severe drought, before the extreme, which is the final stage, with a part also suffering weak drought.” The meteorologist says that the drought situation is an “inherent risk” of mainland Portugal’s climate, adding that the last major drought was in 2004/2005. “The 2004/2005 drought was the most intense since 1941. It must be brought to attention because it was very intense and caused damages and loss to many activities,” he said. - The Portugal News.

EXTREME WEATHER: Record Drought Dramatically Affects Livestock in America - Cattle Herd in the U.S. at the Lowest Levels Since 1958!

The cattle herd in the U.S. may be the smallest since 1958, when McDonald’s Corp. had just 79 hamburger restaurants, signaling tighter beef supplies and higher costs for companies including Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN). Ranchers held 91.24 million head of cattle as of Jan. 1, down 1.5 percent from a year earlier, according to the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. That would be the smallest since Dwight Eisenhower was president. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to release its herd report at 3 p.m. in Washington.

A record drought in Texas last year and rising feed costs prompted ranchers to cull herds, even as beef exports surged from the U.S., the world’s largest producer. Cattle futures are up 15 percent since the end of June, reaching a record seven times this month, and the Livestock Marketing Information Center says retail-beef prices that reached an all-time high on an annual basis in 2011 will keep rising through next year. “The drought certainly was the game changer of 2011,” Jim Robb, the director of the Livestock Marketing Information Center, a Denver-based researcher, said in a telephone interview. “Feedstuffs were record-high costs. The herd on a national basis declined.” Cattle futures rallied to $1.29675 a pound on Jan. 25 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity began trading on the CME in 1964. Prices may reach $1.399, said David Kruse, the president CommStock Investments Inc., a commodity broker in Royal, Iowa.

Beef Rally

Wholesale beef rose 6.4 percent in the past year and reached $1.9707 a pound on Nov. 23, the highest since at least 2004, according to the USDA. Ground beef averaged $2.921 last month, the highest since at least 1984, and boneless round steak jumped to $4.723 in December, the highest since at least 1980, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. McDonald’s (MCD), the world’s biggest restaurant chain by revenue with more than 33,000 outlets worldwide, is forecasting higher beef costs. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company is the largest user of beef among U.S. restaurants, according to CattleFax, an industry researcher in Centennial, Colorado. McDonald’s will see “another midteens increase” in beef costs this year, Chief Financial Officer Peter J. Bensen said on an earnings conference call with analysts on Jan. 24. Texas, the biggest cattle-producing state, had its driest year on record in 2011, according to the National Weather Service. The drought destroyed pastures, forcing ranchers to unload animals rather than incur costs for grain such as corn, which reached an all-time high price last year.

Fewer Cattle

The herd of beef cows held for breeding probably shrank to 30.05 million head as of Jan. 1, the lowest since 1962, according to the average of 10 estimates in the Bloomberg survey. The calf crop should be smaller than last year, marking the 17th consecutive year of declines, said Ron Plain, a livestock economist at the University of Missouri at Columbia. “Fewer calves being born means ultimately fewer cattle will be slaughtered,” Plain, who has studied the industry for three decades, said in a telephone interview. “That means the tight beef supply is going to get tighter as we go through 2012 and 2013 and 2014.” Once the herd starts to expand, it will take more than two years before beef supplies increase, Plain said. Calves have nine-month gestation periods and take about 20 months to reach slaughter weight, he said.

Prefer to Sell

Some herds grew in states unaffected by drought and in areas where there was less pressure to switch to growing crops, Robb of the Livestock Marketing Information Center said. Ranchers would prefer to sell heifers for slaughter at current high prices than hold them for breeding, said Lane Broadbent, a KIS Futures Inc. vice president in Oklahoma City. Ranchers earned an estimated $93.50 per cow last year, compared with $46.50 in 2010, Robb said. Even as rising profit provided an incentive to expand, that was overwhelmed by the impact of the drought, high grain prices and the potential for better profits in crop production, he said. Tyson Foods, the biggest U.S. meat processor, projects a “gradual reduction” of 1 percent to 2 percent in supplies of cattle available for slaughter during the fiscal year that began Oct. 2, according to a Nov. 21 statement. Supplies will be “adequate” in regions where the Springdale, Arkansas-based company operates beef plants, it said. Most of those are in the Midwest, according to Gary Mickelson, a company spokesman. Tyson Foods forecast profitability in its beef unit in the first fiscal quarter, though at a “lower level” than in the preceding quarter, James Lochner, the chief operating officer, said on a conference call with analysts on Nov. 21.

‘In the Red’

“Cattle costs continue to go up, but so do beef prices,” said Akshay Jagdale, a New York-based analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets who has a “buy” rating on Tyson. Profit margins for meatpackers now “are actually in the red, but we expect that to improve as the year goes along,” he said. “For the full year, we expect them to still be profitable.” Beef processors may have to adjust plant capacity as cattle supplies shrink, Jagdale said in a telephone interview. Higher beef prices will boost revenue enough to make up for the rise in costs from shrinking supplies, he said. The USDA forecast total beef output at 25.075 billion pounds (11.4 million metric tons) this year, down 4.6 percent from an estimated 26.297 billion in 2011.

Export Surge

As supply tightens, exports are surging. The U.S. may ship a record 974,000 metric tons (2.15 billion pounds) of beef, excluding variety meats, in 2012 valued at $5.13 billion, the U.S. Meat Export Federation said. That’s up 6.5 percent from an estimated 914,500 tons in 2011, the group said. Consumers may pay as much as 5 percent more for beef this year, the biggest increase among all the food groups except for seafood, the USDA said in a Jan. 25 report. That follows an estimated 10.2 percent rise in the cost of the meat last year, and is projected to be higher than the 3.5 percent jump in overall food costs in 2012, the government said. Cattle futures for April delivery closed yesterday at $1.2805 a pound on the CME, up 5.4 percent this month, heading for the biggest January gain since 2002. “Inventory reports are kind of like the state of the union for the cattle,” said Broadbent, who has been a commodity broker for more than two decades. “Our cow-herd numbers and our cattle numbers are going to stay tight for the next year and half or two years.” - Bloomberg.

SOLAR WATCH: The Sun Comes Alive in 2012 - Sun Unleashes An X2 Class Solar and Coronal Mass Ejection; Energetic Protons Surrounding Planet Earth; Intensifying Radiation Storm in Progress! UPDATE: The Major Solar Flare is the 7th Strongest of Solar Cycle 24 - NOAA Issues Warning!

According to NASA, a major solar flare was released today by the Sun.

X-FLARE: Departing sunspot 1402 unleashed an X2-class solar flare today, January 27th, at 18:37 UT. Sunspot 1402 is rotating onto the far side of the sun, so the blast site was not facing Earth. Nevertheless, energetic protons accelerated by the blast are now surrounding our planet, and an intensifying S1-class radiation storm is in progress.

The explosion also produced a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME): SOHO movie. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the cloud raced away from the sun at 2500 km/s or 5.6 million mph. The CME is not heading toward Earth, although it is too soon to rule out some kind of glancing blow on January 28-29. - Space Weather.
Additionally, Sunspot 1408 is directly facing Earth, but it has a simple magnetic field that does not pose a threat for strong flares.

MAJOR SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot 1402 located on the northwest limb, just produced a major X1.7 Solar Flare at 18:37 UTC. An R3 Level Radio Blackout resulted ,which led to the fading of HF signals on the sunlit side of Earth. Signals have since recovered. Because of the sunspots location, any CME produced will most likely be directed mostly away from Earth. The proton levels appear to be on the rise again and the minor S1 threshold has been reached. 

This event generated Type II and Type IV sweep frequency events. A 10cm Radio Burst (TenFlare) lasting 37 minutes was observed and measured 810 pfu.

SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2012 Jan 27 1809 UTC
Maximum Time: 2012 Jan 27 1824 UTC
End Time: 2012 Jan 27 1846 UTC
Duration: 37 minutes
Peak Flux: 810 sfu

ALERT: Proton Event 10MeV Integral Flux exceeded 10pfu
Begin Time: 2012 Jan 27 1905 UTC
NOAA Scale: S1 - Minor

UPDATE: A Full Halo coronal mass ejection (CME) is seen in the latest Lasco and STREO Ahead COR2 images. Due to the spots location, initial indications appear that it is directed to the west. More data will be needed to determine if a glancing blow will be possible.

Top 10 Flares of Cycle 24.
So where does the latest solar event rank in the top 10 list of Solar Flares during Solar Cycle 24?. The X1.7 on Friday ranks #7. Below is the updated Top 10 list of solar flares during Cycle 24 and is organized by Size, Date, Year and Sunspot number.

X6.9 - August 9 2011 (1263)
X2.2 - February 15 2011 (1158)
X2.1 - September 6 2011 (1283)
X1.9 - November 3 2011 (1339)
X1.9 - September 24 2011 (1302)
X1.8 - September 7 2011 (1283)
X1.7 - January 27 2012 (1402)
X1.5 - March 9 2011 (1166)
X1.4 - September 22 2011 (1302)
M9.3 - August 4 2011 (1261) 

- Solar Ham.
WATCH: X1.7 Solar Flare - Sunspot 1402.

UPDATE: Sun Unleashes Strongest Flare Yet of 2012 - NOAA Issues Warning!
A massive solar flare — the strongest one so far this year — erupted today (Jan. 27) from the same active region of the sun that triggered a raging solar tempest earlier this week. The solar flare was rated an X1.7-class eruption, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). X-class flares are the most powerful type of solar storm, with M-class storms falling within the mid-range, and C-class flares being the weakest. Several spacecraft, including NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the Solar Heliospheric Observatory, observed the solar eruption, which occurred at 1:37 p.m. EST (1837 GMT). The flare unleashed a wave of charged particles, called a coronal mass ejection, but space weather experts said it was not aimed at Earth. The flare exploded from sunspot 1402, a region on the sun that has been particularly active lately. Earlier this week, a separate blast from the same region sent a cloud of charged particles toward Earth and sparked the strongest radiation storm since 2003.

"It's a great week for Space Weather!" wrote Dean Pesnell, SDO Project Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in a blog update. This time, however, the flare was not fired off while the sunspot region was facing Earth, according to Still, an ensuing radiation storm is possible and will continue to be monitored. "Region 1402 is Alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" explained officials from NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center on Facebook. "Another huge X-ray event is in progress."
When a powerful X-class flare is aimed directly at Earth it can sometimes cause disruptions to satellites in space and power grids and communications infrastructure on the ground. Strong flares and coronal mass ejections can also pose potential hazards to astronauts on the International Space Station. In response, NOAA has issued radio blackouts and a radiation storm warning while the sun storm is in progress.

"This warning is in effect for the next 24 hours," agency officials said in a statement. Presently, the radiation levels appear to be climbing, but the effects of this solar storm are not expected to be worse than earlier this week, said Doug Biesecker, a physicist at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.  "The radiation storm will almost certainly be weaker," Biesecker told "The coronal mass ejection seems to be headed well away from Earth, which is good because this one seems like a bigger beast than the last one, but that's still preliminary." Solar storms can also amp up auroras (also known as the northern and southern lights), which can create stunning light shows for skywatchers at high latitudes. The sun's activity ebbs and flows in an 11-year cycle. Currently, the sun is in the midst of Solar Cycle 24, and activity is expected to ramp up toward the solar maximum in 2013. - Yahoo.
WATCH: X1.7 Solar Flare - SDO.

RADIATION STORM: Accelerated by yesterday's X-flare, energetic protons from the sun are swarming around Earth on January 28th and 29th. The radiation storm ranks S2 on NOAA scales, which means this is not a severe storm. Nevertheless, it can still affect spacecraft and satellites at the nuisance level. - Space Weather.

MAJOR SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot 1402 located on the northwest limb, produced a major X1.7 Solar Flare at 18:37 UTC Friday afternoon. An R3 Level Radio Blackout resulted ,which led to the fading of HF signals on the sunlit side of Earth. The proton levels soon increased and the Moderate S2 level Radiation Storm threshold was exceeded.

Solar activity was high with the X-Class solar flare around Sunspot 1402 on Friday afternoon. Solar activity is now expected to be very low as 1402 rotated onto the western limb and is now out of direct Earth view. All remaining current visible regions are magnetically simple and remain stable. The S2 Level Radiation Storm generated by yesterdays solar flare continues on Saturday, but is expected to slowly decrease during the day today. - Solar Ham.

WATCH: Major X 1.7 Solar Flare / S2 Radiation Storm.

Keep up-to-date on the latest information at the following links:
















HIGH STRANGENESS: Extraterrestrial & UFO Memes - Aliens Are Being Blamed For the "Superhuman Size Lumps of Ice" Found in the Ural River in Russia?!

Several days ago, I highlighted the unsolved and bizarre case of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, where nine young students disappear from a skiing holiday in Russia's Ural Mountains. When their bodies were discovered – five of them had been frozen to death near their tent, four more bearing mysterious injuries – a smashed head, a missing tongue – buried in the snow some distance away.

Today, another fringe case of high strangeness - it turns out that residents near the Ural River are blaming extraterrestrial for what they describe as the highly unusual "superhuman size lumps of ice" dropped  in the river.

Here are the translated report and video:

Unbelievable but true - superhuman size lumps found in the Ural River by local residents. Eyewitnesses say that this is nothing more than tricks of the aliens. How else to explain that the huge blocks of ice, as children's toys are scattered within a radius of 20 meters.

Paul Singilevtsev, huntsman Rubezhinskogo Forestry: "I walked away from there, I saw, I thought there trees, poles lie far away it seems logs. And when he came - the ice. This I have not seen in my life for 50 years for the first time."

Hunter, not a little frightened, immediately called emergency services on site. The only thing that could tell experts: the chemical composition of the river old and radiation, either. According to one version, so the ice could raskurochit poachers. But, according to foresters, fish, this place does not. Meanwhile, in the Uralsk today persistently rumored that in the vicinity of the river fell a svyatyaschiysya object. It is true that the witnesses of this event, however, as aliens, to find it was not possible.

Nikolai Sitnikov, Mayor Rubezhinskogo rural district: "No sound or anything of the incident, nor the explosion of the residents have not heard anyone, not specific to say. The place is pretty dull." - KTK.
WATCH: Huge ice blocks found in the Ural River residents.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Japanese Geological Conundrum - Active 200-km Fault Found off Honshu's Kii Peninsula; Researchers Believe That it Could Trigger Mega-Quake!

An active fault around 200 km long that is believed to have been a source of huge quakes in the past has been found off Honshu's Kii Peninsula, according to researchers at the University of Tokyo.

If the fault on the Nankai Trough moves, it could trigger a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, the researchers said, adding they have found a seabed cliff several hundred meters high that was created by the fault's past movements. "There is a high probability that fault shifts have caused great tsunami," said Park Jin Oh, associate professor of marine geology. "We need to reformulate disaster countermeasures by taking into account an active fault on the seabed 200 km or longer." Park analyzed sonar data on the seabed collected by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and found a fault branching off from a boundary between two tectonic plates in an area west of the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture.

The fault was found to be connected to a similar fault to the east of the peninsula and to extend at least 200 km, the researchers said. While it remains unclear exactly when or how many times the fault has moved, the eastern and western parts are believed to have shifted often and at the same time, judging from the geographical characteristics of the area. Such movements may have caused the 8.6-magnitude Hoei earthquake in 1707, Park said. The eastern part of the fault is meanwhile believed to have caused a magnitude 7.9 quake and tsunami that struck in 1944.

In addition, an extended area of the newly discovered western part overlaps the area where a magnitude 8.0 quake struck in 1946. It is therefore possible that the western part moved two years after the eastern part did, Park said. Japan Times.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Remote Pacific Area - Seismic Swarm Developing Along the Kermadec Islands, New Zealand!

A strong 6.2-magnitdue earthquake struck beneath the Pacific off New Zealand's Kermadec Islands on Sunday, US geologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued.

The remote offshore quake hit at 01:42 am (1742 GMT) at a depth of 28 kilometres (17 miles), 44 kilometres east southeast of Raoul Island and 937 kilometres south southwest of Tonga, the United States Geographical Survey said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami alert for the area, part of the Pacific's "Ring of Fire", a highly active tectonic zone that frequently experiences earthquakes.

The initial quake was followed five minutes later by a 5.2-magnitude aftershock in a similar area.

The remote Kermadec Islands are New Zealand's northern most islands, 1,100 kilometres north of Auckland. - Yahoo Australia.

The earthquake was later downgraded by the USGS to a 5.8 magnitude. There appears to be a seismic swarm developing in the area, as the first tremor was later followed by 5 other earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or above.

FRINGE: High Strangeness - Mysterious Crack Forms on Water's Surface Near Hong Kong!

According to the description for the following video, allegedly, a fisherman near Hong Kong saw something mysterious in water. A whirlpool suddenly formed and then a hole suddenly ripped open the surface of the ocean.

WATCH: Strange waters near Hong Kong.

Did this really occur or was this computer-generated imagery (CGI)?

Last year, a 10-metre tsunami was triggered, following the historic 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11th. Immediately afterwards, a giant whirlpool was seen near Qarai City in the Ibaraki Prefecture in northeastern Japan. A swirling vortex, that lasted for hours, sucking up everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings. According to seismologists, the tremor and the resulting effects was bigger than any known historic earthquake and came as a shocking surprise.

Giant whirlpool in Japan.
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake is among the top 10 ever recorded and occurred on an irregular fault line where a smaller temblor would be expected... "is going to be among the top 10 earthquakes recorded since we have had seismographs," said seismologist Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena. "It's bigger than any known historic earthquake in Japan, and bigger than expectations for that area." Geologists had expected the portion of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" that produced this quake to yield a temblor on the order of magnitude 8 or perhaps 8.5, she said. "Something as big as an 8.9 is a bit of a surprise," she said. A quake that big usually requires a long, relatively straight fault line that can rupture, such as those found in Peru and along the eastern coast of South America. Friday's quake occurred in the Japan Trench, where the Pacific tectonic plate slides under the Japan plate. Scientists did not expect such a big quake in the area because the plate boundary is not straight, but is fairly irregular. According to Lucile Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey, a quake of that size would require rupturing a zone at least 300 miles long. - LA Times.  
According to Michio Kaku, the American theoretical physicist, the whirlpool was caused by the sudden uplift of the Earth's crust, a rupture ranging for hundreds of miles that created colliding waves. In an interview with ABC News, he also declared that the crack in the Earth's crust, also caused the water to swirl into a vortex, descending and funneling like a drain.

WATCH: Whirlpool.

There is no doubt that based on evidential data, this is probably due to the shape that is created at the bottom of the sea, causing waves to end up as a whirlpool. A large-scale eddy, quite similar to what is seen on a river, where the rupture, swirling current and sloshing waves creates the spiraling vortex. But, what is quite strange, is that this phenomenon was not seen in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, where an undersea megathrust earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia with a magnitude of 9.1 and depth of 30 kilometres, causing a series of devastating tsunami waves of up to 30 meters or 100 feet high, along the coasts of 14 countries of the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people. The event was officially and scientifically regarded as one of the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history.

A close examination of the numbers, reveals that that the magnitude, size and repercussions of the Indian Ocean earthquake far exceeded the one that was caused in Japan. So, why is it that a whirlpool was never detected then? The Indonesian quake had a magnitude that ranged between 9.1 and 9.3. It was the third largest earthquake ever measured and recorded on a seismograph. It had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, of up to 10 minutes, vibrating the entire planet as much as 1 centimetres or 0.4 inches and also triggered earthquakes as far away as Alaska.

Is it possible that something is converging on our world? Over the last several months, we have been seeing stories about the possibility that Earth will soon have two suns in our skies with the coming explosion of the star Betelgeuse and the hypothesized gas giant planet Tyche in the Solar System's Oort cloud, the appearance of Comet Elenin, suggestions about the pseudoscientific planetary object Nibiru or Planet X, and sightings of what appears to be two suns in the skies around the world. Hints of a long cycle binary system with Sol, our Sun.

Now, in episode 8, entitled Entrada, of season three of the Fox television series Fringe, we see the combination of both of these theories of a man-made event and a convergence with a parallel world, being played out in the mythological archetypes narrative of the series.

Giant vortex seen in Fringe. 
In Fringe, an FBI team investigates mysteries associated with the unexplained and shocking occurrences associated with a breach of a parallel universe. An incursion that was created by one member of that team, Walter Bishop, the unorthodox archetypal mad scientist, who steals another boy from the alternate world to replace his dead son. A move that resulted in a chain reaction, causing various weather anomalies in the other world. In the episode, there is a scene in a busy Manhattan bar, where a television clip shows a giant vortex appearing in the middle of the East River. A vortex that created so much cataclysm chaos and havoc, that the authorities in this parallel world had to quarantine half of the city into a confined and secluded amber-like zone, where people are trapped inside. In addition to people, the incursion by Bishop also led to the deaths of animals and plant life.

I ask the following question: if we are to see the occult presentations and the subtextual narrative from Hollywood as part of a predictive programming or foreshadowing, is it right to infer that the vortex is an indication of this convergence between both worlds? Is it safe to assume that we are also witnessing one here on Earth, given the recent mass animal die-off across the planet and the whirlpool that was seen following the earthquake in Japan.

It should be noted that the word "entrada" is Spanish, and translates into English as any of the following words: entry, entrance, input, access, gateway, and portal. Is it possible that in addition to the man-made weather manipulation, some form of planetary object or dwarf star co-orbiting in a perpetual binary entanglement with our Sun, is having this cataclysmic effect on our planet as it makes it's entrance or entrada through the diffuse edges of the Oort clouds and into our Solar System, altering the Earth's gravity plane, magnetic field and eventually plunging us towards a geological pole shift and a possible mass extinction?

NOTE: Excerpts from this post was taken from a previous article: MYSTERY: Japan Quake - Giant Whirlpool Forms in the Pacific Ocean? FRINGE: Symbolism of the Coming Convergence with Another World?!

PLANETARY TREMORS: Massive Earthquake Coming to Jamaica - on the Same Scale as the One That Sank a Section of Port Royal More Than 300 Years Ago!

Jamaica is due to experience an earthquake on the same scale as one that sank a section of Port Royal more than 300 years ago, according to the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies.

Students at Pratville Primary and Infant School in Manchester take cover 
during a recent earthquake presentation and drill at the school.
"The past is a key to the future, so what has happened before will happen again," Dr Lyndon Brown, research fellow and head of the Earthquake Unit, told The Gleaner yesterday. Brown said that although he was certain the island would be hit by another major earthquake, he could not give an accurate time frame for his prediction. "There have been some calculations about 144 years after the 1904, some about 84 (years), but it's really not accurate," he told The Gleaner. "We believe these are cycles but we don't know the recurrent intervals. Some calculations have been done based on the history of earthquakes, we don't know what has happened before, we have not done enough research to understand the history of earthquakes prior to this. So any calculations that have been done or any recurrent interval that is calculated is just based on a short history, so it's really not accurate."

Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Superintendent in charge of operations of the Kingston and St Andrew Fire Department, Maxwell Hinds, says his division is not prepared to manage anything of the magnitude that hit the island in 1692, claiming the lives of more than 3,000 people. "The Kingston and St Andrew division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade is, I would say, equipped to respond to fires and some search and rescues, but in a major disaster, we would have problems," Hinds said.

Speaking with The Gleaner at the National Simulation and Training Exercise Programme (NSTEP), Hinds said: "If it becomes a mass situation, we might have to seek multi-agency assistance but if it's just confined to a section, we might be able to manage and we would get resources from neighbouring parishes, so it all depends on the extent of the situation." NSTEP was established by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and yesterday held its National Simulation Exercise, on the challenges that would affect the education sector in the aftermath of a major earthquake, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. - Jamaica Gleaner.
Now, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Jamaica is located in a seismically active region. The island is associated with the Gonave micro-plate, which is demarcated by the Oriente Fracture Zone (OFZ) to the north, the Walton (WFZ) and Enriquillo Fault Zones (EFZ) to the south and the Cayman Spreading Centre (CSC) to the west. The OFZ, spanning a distance of over 1000 kilometres, from south of Grand Cayman to the north coast of Haiti, is known to be a left-lateral strike-slip fault which means there is a relative westerly drift of Cuba (on the North American Plate) with respect to Jamaica. According to seismological reports on Jamaica, The Walton and Enrriquillo Faults are also left-lateral strike-slip features that separate the Gonave sliver from the Caribbean Plate to the south. Measurements made using Global Positioning System (GPS) indicate 18 mm/year of lateral strain and 3mm/yr of convergence on the OFZ near south-eastern Cuba, and 8-11 mm/yr on Jamaica.

Large earthquakes are comparatively rare through usually of relatively high intensity. The majority of earthquakes are minor ones of low intensity. The island experiences much less seismic activity than the Eastern Caribbean or Central American region. Jamaica's reputation for earthquakes rests on two major disasters, those of 1692 and 1907. On June 7 1692, within the space of less than 30 seconds, a massive earthquake devastated the infamous town of Port Royal in Jamaica, killing thousands. The strong tremors, soil liquefaction and a tsunami brought on by the earthquake combined to destroy the town, putting half of Port Royal under 40 feet of water. On 14 January 1907, the capital, Kingston, was severely damaged by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake and following fires that burnt 56 acres of the city. The earthquake destroyed a large part of Kingston. Within twenty minutes fire blazed through the streets of Kingston - and lasted for up to four days - in many cases finishing off what the earthquake had started. It was also not long before rampant looting broke out and armed guards had to be posted throughout the city. Days later Kingston resembled a ghost town - empty, silent, dark and broken. £2,000,000 of damage was assessed and over 800 people lost their lives. Only a few received proper burial. Some were buried in large trenches in the May Pen Cemetery and some were burnt without ceremony.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Rare Fireball Meteor Caught on Camera - Meteor Vaporized in the Atmosphere Over Providence, Rhode Island!

Last week, scientists at Brown University's Ladd Observatory noticed something very unusual showing up on their overnight sky camera.

The skies in Providence were clear on January 19 when a fireball meteor appeared around 3 a.m. The camera, mounted on the roof of Observatory rolls overnight automatically and often records expected meteor showers. But this one was a pleasant surprise. The cameras captured the meteor as it vaporized into the atmosphere. The video shows a flash from the meteor, then there's the trail of smoke in the air which lingers for about 10 minutes after the meteor breaks up.

Fireball meteors are very bright. Less common than their dimmer cousins, there are thousands of these bright fireball meteors every day, we just don't see them. Brown Physics Professor, Savvas Koushiappas, says, "given that half of the world is under daylight, and the fact that most of the earth is made up of ocean, it's a rare event to have somebody look at something like this." - WPRI.
WATCH: Rare Fireball Meteor caught on Camera.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: January Seeing Above-Average Tornado Action in the United States - 70 Tornado Reports Filed; Third-Busiest January Since 1950 as Meteorologists Monitors Unusual Warm Air Mass From the South!

If the numbers hold up, this month could be the third-busiest January since tornado record-keeping began in 1950.

The severe weather of January 22-23, 2012.
So far this month, weather watchers have filed 70 tornado reports to the nation's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. When it comes to counting tornadoes, there are a number of caveats, but should the number of confirmed tornadoes approach the number of tornado reports, this month will trail only 2008 (with 88 tornadoes) and 1999 (with 218), as the most tornado-filled Januarys. January tornadoes are not as common as spring tornadoes, but severe weather can strike any time of year. This year's unusually warm winter has helped fuel January's severe weather in Dixie Alley, said one meteorologist. Tornadoes can form when warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with cool, dry Arctic air over the region.

"Right now, an unusually warm air mass has allowed us to have enough moisture far enough south," said meteorologist Aaron Gleason of the National Weather Service in Birmingham. The return of La Niña, a naturally occurring climate phenomenon featuring cooler-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures that influences global weather patterns,has kept the south warm. The North Atlantic Oscillation - fluctuations in atmospheric pressure at sea level over the North Atlantic Ocean - has also fueled the fires because it is in a positive phase this year. During a positive phase, the South tends to be warmer, Gleason said.

"Those two interactions have been keeping us warmer than average," Gleason told OurAmazingPlanet. "That's been causing all the severe weather that, unfortunately, our state is all too familiar with." Central Alabama, where tornadoes took a deadly toll in 2011, is braving the twisters again in 2012. Alabama had 10 tornadoes on Jan. 23 and another one yesterday (Jan. 26). At least two people have died so far this year, both during the big tornado outbreak in Alabama on Jan. 22 and 23. During that outbreak, an EF-2 and an EF-3 tornado caused significant damage and nearly 100 injuries in Jefferson County, near Birmingham. "We tried to let people know that something was going to be happening and it was going to be happening overnight," Gleason said. "Even with the notice, tornadoes at night are not a good thing." - Our Amazing Planet.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking Developments at the Canary Islands - El Hierro Underwater Volcano Rises Closer to the Surface!

An underwater volcano which has been bubbling away off the coast of El Hierro since the summer is rising closer and closer to the surface, according to geologists.

Experts have been keeping a close eye on seismic movements in and around La Restinga, the nearest coastal town to the crater, following literally thousands of minor earthquakes and sub-aquatic eruptions were recorded almost daily in the past few months.

They have now revealed that the mouth of the volcano is just 130 metres from the surface of the water, and that the lava belching out of it and causing steaming pillars coming up off the sea originates from around 2,000 metres further down.

An estimated 145 million cubic metres of lava has been emitted since the volcano started to erupt, and at 17.00hrs on Friday evening a huge explosion of boiling lava rose to the surface of the sea.

The water temperature in the area affected by the volcano was found to be an average of three degrees higher than the parts of the sea out of its sphere of influence - a figure of 22.6ºC above and around the crater and 19.4ºC elsewhere in the ocean.  - Think Spain.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Liquefaction Continues in New Zealand - Woman Nearly Drowns in Earthquake Sinkhole!

A Christchurch woman who nearly drowned in a liquefaction sinkhole during the December 23 quake is fighting to walk again after suffering horrific injuries to her leg. Natalie, 47, who did not want her last name used, was talking with her neighbours in a North New Brighton street when the 6.0 magnitude quake struck at 3.18pm and within seconds she found herself being sucked into a sinkhole and up to her mouth in liquefaction.

Neighbour's frantically dug trenches in the sinkhole to try to save her from drowning.
"I managed to grab the fence with one hand. I don't know what happened after that. When I looked down my leg was rotated the other way round and the bone was sticking out. The guy's house I was at, he actually heard my bones snap. I'm not sure because I was out to it a lot. I remember people yelling out 'help'.'' Natalie said she was overwhelmed by shock and could not remember the pain. Her neighbours standing nearby frantically starting digging the raising liquefaction which was flowing into her mouth. She said her neighbours dug "trenches around me'' to stop the liquefaction going into her mouth, as they didn't want to move her in fear of aggravating her injuries.

"My neighbour said I was quite calm through the whole thing. He said I was quite brave about it. I didn't curse or anything, I was trying to hold in my tears. But in the ambulance I thought I was going to die,'' she said. She arrived in hospital, where she has been bedridden for over a month, covered head to toe in liquefaction. "When I got there they said have you been at the beach? It was all over me.'' Natalie said "a gritty feeling'' from the liquefaction remained in her mouth for about four days. "It was horrible,'' she said.
At one stage the prognosis on her leg was not good, as her foot turned a "dark blue''.

"They [the doctors] thought I might lose my leg but now they're confident they will be able to save it. It's doing really well, the colour is looking good now. The doctors and nurses have been great. They're happy with the way the leg is progressing.'' But it is still unclear if Natalie will ever walk again, as she still has no feeling in her foot. "I'm still going to be in here for some time. I can't move my leg. I'm going back in for my fifth surgery tomorrow. They say I'll never be able to drive again. I have no feeling in my foot whatsoever. They can't say if the feeling will return.'' But Natalie said she felt lucky to be alive and credits her neighbours for saving her. Among those to come to her aid was her flatmate Ronald Wallace, 55, who saw the shocking accident unfold before his eyes. Mr Wallace, who is to undergo a hip replacement, helped dig a trench to stop the liquefaction drowning Natalie.

"Neighbours tried to tell me not to but me being the person I am I couldn't just stand back.'' He said he was unaware of the severity of the injury to Natalie's leg until she was free from the liquefaction. "It [her leg] was covered by the liquefaction, you couldn't see the damage until afterwards. It looked bad. It looked bad even before I could see it clearly.'' Natalie's father, Murray, said: "I'm just thankful the neighbours were able to dig her out by hand and by shovel. If it hadn't of been for the neighbours she wouldn't be here, there's no doubt about that.'' Natalie's injuries come as a surprise following reports that people suffered only "minor injuries'' in the series of quakes that day. A Canterbury District Health Board spokeswoman said was not aware of anyone brought into the hospital with earthquake-related injuries. Natalie said she was likely to remain in hospital for at least another month, if not more, before being transferred to Ashburton Hospital for rehabilitation. - NZ Herald.