Sunday, March 4, 2012

GREAT DELUGE: The Australian Weather Anomalies Continue - Severe Weather Warning Issued For SE Queensland; Wettest Summer in Decades in Sydney; Heaviest Rain in Victoria Since 1893!

Parts of New South Wales and Victoria are still under grips of a major flood crisis with a clearing situation gradually coming mid week. Overnight, some regions have received really significant rainfall totals including Thredbo Top Station which picked up around 160mm, its heaviest March rain in over 55 years while Hunters Hill in Victoria received 105.2mm, possibly its heaviest rain since December 1893. Meanwhile, south-east Queensland is expected to receive very heavy rainfall totals over coming days. 

A car crosses a flooded causeway outside the town of Tumut, Australia.
Authorities are preparing for big downpours in south-east Queensland overnight and into Monday morning. A low pressure system has moved over the coast near Fraser Island and is dumping heavy rainfall between Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast region. Senior Forecaster Gavin Holcombe says as the morning progresses the activity will extend inland to the Great Dividing Range and there is likely to be major flooding in the Sunshine Coast region. "We will see some good falls but over a 24-hour period," he said. "The weather last time was associated with a storm development which occurred over a very short period of time. "We will see falls of in excess of a 150 millimetres on the Sunshine Coast associated with the low pressure system and that rain will continue into tomorrow before starting to contract northwards as the low moves northwards." Other regions which may be affected include Hervey Bay, Gympie, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Ipswich. - Yahoo.

Sydney has experienced one of its wettest summers in decades and the rain has continued to fall at the start of autumn, leaving the city's biggest dam Warragamba set to overflow and vast areas of the state drenched. Among the worst affected areas is the town of Goulburn, close to the national capital Canberra, which despite being at risk of having no drinking water just six years ago, is now experiencing flooding. Rains eased overnight but a severe weather warning remains in place for much of the state and the Bureau of Meteorology said heavy rain and isolated thunderstorms could produce more flooding in the next 24 hours. "We have actually been a little bit fortunate overnight in that rain did ease slightly; it's been a welcome relief," State Emergency Service (SES) spokesman Andrew Richards said. "Having said that, we are still on the alert that more rain will fall over the weekend." - Telegraph.
WATCH: Deluge in Australia.

WATCH: Australian Weather Update.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Extreme Weather - Storms Demolish Small Towns in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama; Death Toll Rises to 38!

Across the South and Midwest, survivors emerged Saturday to find blue skies and splinters where homes once stood, cars flung into buildings and communications crippled after dozens of tornadoes chain-sawed through a region of millions, leveling small towns along the way. At least 38 people were killed in five states. A 2-year-old girl was somehow found alive and alone in a field near her Indiana home. Her family did not survive. A couple that fled their home for the safety of a restaurant basement made it, even after the storms threw a school bus into their makeshift shelter.

Saturday was a day filled with such stories, told as emergency officials trudged with search dogs past knocked-down cellphone towers and ruined homes, looking for survivors in rural Kentucky and Indiana, marking searched roads and homes with orange paint. President Barack Obama offered federal assistance, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared an emergency. The worst damage appeared centered in the small towns of southern Indiana and eastern Kentucky's Appalachian foothills. No building was untouched and few were recognizable in West Liberty, Ky., about 90 miles from Lexington, where two white police cruisers were picked up and tossed into City Hall.  In East Bernstadt, two hours to the southwest, Carol Rhodes clutched four VHS tapes she had found in the debris of her former home as she sobbed under a bright sun Saturday. "It was like, 'Whoo,' that was it," said Rhodes, 63, who took refuge with four family members in a basement bedroom that she had just refinished for a grandchild. "Honey, I felt the wind and I said, 'Oh my God,' and then it (the house) was gone. I looked up and I could see the sky." The spate of storms was the second in little more than 48 hours, after an earlier round killed 13 people in the Midwest and South, and the latest in a string of severe-weather episodes that have ravaged the American heartland in the past year. The storms Friday touched down in at least a dozen states from Georgia to Illinois, killing 19 people in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio, and one each in Alabama and Georgia. They scarred the landscape over hundreds of miles, leaving behind a trail of shredded sheet metal, insulation, gutted churches and crunched-up cars. The trailer that was once the home of Viva Johnson's mother was sitting in a graveyard Saturday, covering the dead alongside downed trees and other debris. "You can't even tell where the headstones are," said Johnson, who lives in Pulaski County, Ky.

The National Weather Service said two twisters hit Henryville, Ind. The first was a massive EF4-rated tornado that was 150 yards wide and packed 175 mph winds. That twister, which was on the ground for 52 miles, was followed by a second, smaller tornado. The second story of Henryville's elementary school was torn off, one of three schools the city lost to weather. A school secretary said a bus left the city's high school Friday afternoon with 11 students, but the driver turned back after realizing they were driving straight into the storm. The children hid under tables and desks at the school nurse's station when the tornado hit. No one was hurt, but the building is a total loss. The school bus was tossed several hundred feet into the side of a nearby restaurant. Todd and Julie Money were hiding there, having fled their Scottsburg home because it has no basement. "Unreal. The pressure on your body, your ears pop, trees snap," Todd Money said. "When that bus hit the building, we thought it exploded." The storms hit as far east as Ohio, where the Ohio River town of Moscow was decimated, and rugs hung from the trees. "This half is gone, and that half is damaged," said village native Steve Newberry, who was permitted into town Saturday to pick up medical supplies for his mother. In Kentucky, the Rev. Kenneth Jett of the West Liberty United Methodist Church recalled huddling with four others in a cubby hole in the basement as the church collapsed in the storm. The pastor and his wife had just returned to the parsonage when he turned on the TV and saw that the storm was coming. Jett yelled to his wife to take shelter in the basement of the church next door, where they were joined by two congregants and a neighbor. The last one down was Jett's wife, Jeanene. "I just heard this terrific noise," she said. "The windows were blowing out as I came down the stairs." The building collapsed, but they were able to get out through a basement door. They escaped with only bumps and bruises. Janet Elliott was on her bed in Chattanooga, Tenn., when a severe weather warning scrolled across the bottom of the screen. Fierce winds were blowing, and her cats seemed clingy. Her dogs had gotten low to the floor. She ran to the basement and tried to pull the door shut, but she couldn't. She heard a ripping sound as the ceiling peeled off and wind wrenched the doorknob from her hand. "I looked up and I could see the sky," she said. "I realized if I had stayed on the bed two seconds longer, I would have been sucked out or crushed."

In Washington County, Ind., residents saw a massive tornado come over a hill and plow through a grove of trees. When the winds had passed, it looked as if a line of bulldozers had rolled through. Gene Lewellyn, his son and his son's 7-year-old daughter saw the tornado come over the hill. They rushed to the basement of his one-story brick home and covered themselves with a carpet. "It just shook once, and it (the house) was gone," said Lewellyn, 62, a retired press operator. The tornado outbreak had been forecast for days. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center had said the day would be one of a handful this year that warranted its highest risk level. The weather service issued 297 tornado warnings and 388 severe thunderstorm warnings from Friday through early Saturday. Last April, when tornadoes killed more than 240 people in Alabama, it issued 688 tornado warnings and 757 severe thunderstorm warnings from Texas to New York, said Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the storm prediction center. It was a distinction without a difference for Lewellyn, who spent Saturday picking through the debris in 38-degree cold. His family was safe, but their home was reduced to a pile of bricks and sheet metal wrapped around splintered trees. Pieces of insulation coated the ground, and across the street a large trailer picked up by the storm had landed on top of a boat. "Right now, we are not sure what we are going to do," he said. "We all get out what we can get out." - Denver Post.
WATCH: Clean-up begins in tornado-hit US towns.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Amazing and Stunning Large Meteor Seen Over the United Kingdom - "One of the Best Ever Seen"!

Reports of a "bright light" and an "orange glow" were received by police across Scotland and the north of England around 9.40pm.

The Met Office tweeted: "Hi All, for anyone seeing something in the night sky, we believe it was a meteorite." A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said the force had been "inundated" with calls about a bright object in the sky across the west of Scotland. A Durham Police spokeswoman said a number of calls came in around 9.45pm from concerned members of public who had seen a "bright light or a fire in the sky" and believed it may have been incidents involving an aircraft. "It has been confirmed with air traffic control that there are no incidents of aircraft in difficult and nothing registered on radar," she said. "The sightings are believed to be either an asteroid burning out or similar which has been restricted to the upper atmosphere only."

Grampian Police said reports of people seeing a "flare or a bright object with a tail" were received from across the region. And Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said numerous calls were made about a "large ball of fire in the sky" across Annandale and Eskdale. One user wrote on the force's Facebook page: "It was awesome to see! Really big and bright!" Hundreds of people took to Twitter to report similar sightings across Scotland and the north of England. People described seeing a bright fireball moving across the sky with a large tail. The Kielder Observatory also reported the sighting of a "huge fireball" travelling from north to south over Northumberland at 9.41pm. The Observatory posted on Twitter: "Of 30 years observing the sky #fireball best thing I have ever seen period." - Telegraph.
WATCH: Meteor over the UK.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Hum Turns Irish Town Into a "Living Hell" of "Chaos Every Day"!

Despairing residents in a remote Kerry parish have told how their lives have been made a living hell by a mystery humming noise that is disrupting their sleep and causing chaos every day.

They are pleading with the Government to investigate the source of the constant, pulsating, low-frequency noise that cannot be traced despite repeated efforts. Frustrated locals in a rural part of Beaufort, 15km from Killarney, have been hearing the bizarre noise since early last year but cannot find what is causing it. Resident Barry Lynch said: "The first time we heard it was in Apr 2011 and it has been there 24/7 since then. We are nearly gone out of our minds because we can’t get a decent night of sleep and it’s there all day, every day. "There are no mobile phone masts, windmills or generators in the area and the ESB has assured us that the problem is not due to any high-tension wires in the area. "We thought the noise might be coming from water pumps installed in the area by Kerry County Council but an engineer switched the pumps off for a trial period and the noise was still there." He said that neighbours over a 7km radius have also complained about the sound.

"One neighbour went to the doctor because he thought he was having a problem with his hearing. It is placing a huge strain on my own partner who can’t sleep at night, even when she wears earplugs." Mr Lynch said the noise was even more noticeable inside his home and despite extensive insulation, the whole building appears to vibrate, particularly in the stillness of night. "The whole thing is very unpleasant and it is really bothering us. We don’t know what we can do. We are pleading with the Department of the Environment or some other organisation to help us before we are driven out of our homes," said Mr Lynch. "Not everybody in the parish has heard the noise but just because they can’t hear it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Our neighbours and ourselves can hear it the minute we step out of our cars and it’s there all the time until we drive off again." He said he had found out a similar mystery noise had been reported in many parts of the world. It has become known as "The Hum" and is described in some reports as a worldwide phenomenon involving a mysterious, persistent and invasive low-frequency humming noise. Complaints have been received from residents in several locations around the globe, including England, New Mexico, and New Zealand. "It’s absolutely wearing us down and we are crying out for a good night’s sleep before our health starts to give," said Mr Lynch. - Irish Examiner.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Sakurajima Continues Its Record-Breaking Activity - Produces Explosive Plumes up to Altitudes of 6,000 Feet!

According to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report from the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program,  Mount Sakurajima's explosive release of gas, ash or rock continues unabated.

Zoom-in image of the latest eruption from Mount Sakurajima.
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 22 and 24 February explosions from Sakura-jima produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1.5-1.8 km (5,000-6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE.

Geologic Summary:
Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow was associated with the formation of the 17 x 23-km-wide Aira caldera about 22,000 years ago. The construction of Sakurajima began about 13,000 years ago and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kita-dake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minami-dake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76. -
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report.
WATCH: Live Sakurajima camera.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Japan's Nuclear Dead Zone Spreading Far And Wide - All of Western US and Most of East Coast, Midwest, and Canada Covered With Airborne Particles at Various Altitudes!

The following study appeared recently in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. A previous report 'New Study: Aerosolized plutonium from Fukushima detected in Europe — Spent fuel indicated' was based on the abstract available online at that time.

Particles spacing on 20 March, 2011 at 12:00 UTC (top) and on 27 March, 2011 at 18:00 UTC (bottom); shades
of red indicate particles in the bottom layer, up to 3 km; black to dark blue indicate the middle layer, up to 6 km
height; and light blue indicates the upper layer; the trajectories were simulated using the Lagrangian dispersion
model (time of the particles release was on 12 March 2011). (For interpretation of the references to colour in this
figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
Lujanien_ e, G., et al., Radionuclides from the Fukushima accident in the air over Lithuania: measurement and modelling approaches, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity (2012), doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2011.12.004:
In addition to 131I and 137Cs, traces of other radionuclides were detected in the aerosol filters as well.
Their concentrations in the most active sample collected on 3-4 April 2011 14:00e06:50 UTC were:
  • 132I e 0.12 +/- 0.01 mBq/m3
  • 132Te e 0.13 +/- 0.01 mBq/m3
  • 129Te e 0.40 +/- 0.04 mBq/m3
  • 129mTe e0.75 +/- 0.25 mBq/m3
  • 136Cs e 0.080 +/- 0.0080mBq/m3
Large collected air volumes allowed us to determine for the first time in Europe the activity ratio and concentration of Fukushima derived 238Pu and 239,240Pu isotopes. Approximately twice higher Pu activity concentration as expected, and 238Pu/239,240Pu ratio not typical either for global fallout or the Chernobyl accident was found in the integrated aerosol sample.
Here's a map published with the European-focused study:
Modelling of the Fukushima plume
For the assessment of contamination after the accident and prediction of radioactive particle transport the Lagrangian modelling was applied. In order to describe the atmospheric processes realistically, the vertical velocity, particle dissipation and turbulence during the particle trajectory were considered. A single release of 1015 Bq of 137Cs, which occurred on March 12, 2011 from damaged Fukushima NPPwas analyzed. The initial plume height, as a result of initial vertical velocity and buoyancy, was kept to be at 2000e3000 m. The meteorological data and simulated trajectories revealed that the arrival times of particles released on 11 March, 2011 and 12 March, 2011 were different, and the particles were transported at different altitudes. It was also obvious that the jet stream affected the transport of emitted particles at upper atmospheric levels. Examples of the trajectories simulated using the Lagrangian dispersion model show (Fig. 1) that the first signs of Fukushima released radionuclides could be detected in the European countries (e.g. Island) on 20 March, 2011.
- ENE.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Heavy Snow Fall in Jerusalem For the First Time in Four Years!

3 centimeters of snow fell, with snowfall reported in Ramot, Givat Ze'ev and Har Gilo; Egged bus company halts all lines to the capital. Israel- Heavy snow fell in the Jerusalem area on Friday, and for the first time in four years, parts of Jerusalem were white with snow.

Snow fell in Ramot, Givat Ze'ev and Har Gilo, and three centimeters of snow fall were reported. The Jerusalem municipality, which had prepared for the weather conditions in recent days, was due to clear snow from the streets of Jerusalem on Friday. Snow also fell in the Golan Heights in the early hours of Friday morning, and classes were canceled in the Golan and in the area around Safad because of the weather. Safad area residents were also asked not to drive by the municipality, and there was no public transport in the area. Cold and stormy weather swept through Israel since Tuesday, and Friday was expected to be the coldest day of the year. On Friday, a seven-year-old girl was seriously injured after being swept away by a stream that flooded in Modi'in Ilit, and a 96-year old woman from Sderot died as the ambulance that was taking her to hospital in Ashkelon slipped on an icy road.

Snow fell on Mount Hermon and at high elevations in the Golan Heights and the Galilee on Wednesday, as well as in the central mountains. In some locations, the winds exceeded 100 kilometers per hour. A 70-year-old man in Netanya was lightly injured on Wednesday when he was struck in the head by a glass door that was blown off its hinges. Elsewhere in the city, on Yehuda Halevi Street, a tree fell on a car, but no injuries were caused. On Tel Aviv's King George Street, traffic was disrupted when a large tree was uprooted by strong winds, tearing down power lines, ripping a bench out of the ground and blocking the street. Traffic lights and signs were blown down around the city. In south Tel Aviv's Levinsky Park, the city erected a new tent to provide shelter for the homeless.

Aviation traffic was also disrupted yesterday. A Dutch KLM jet scheduled to land at Ben-Gurion International Airport was forced to land in Cyprus instead. The Israel Airports Authority went on a state of alert for other possible disruptions in airplane traffic. Both Safed and Jerusalem received some 40 millimeters of rain, according to the Meteo-Tech meteorology firm, while Netanya had 30 millimeters of rain. The Mediterranean was particularly rough, with waves reaching up to nine meters. The level of Lake Kinneret rose three centimeters over the past two days. Air pollution levels in the south were higher than average. - Haaretz.