Sunday, March 11, 2012

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Unexplained Explosions Heard in Croy Canyon; The Mountain Home Airforce Base Has Denied Any Responsibility?!

Blaine County sheriff's deputies responded to reports of loud booming noises in western Hailey last week, but could not find the source of the sounds.

Speculations about the source of the sounds, which were heard across the city and to the west, range from supersonic aircraft to explosive targets. Sheriff's Lt. Jay Davis said that following reports of the sounds, deputies drove on Friday, March 2, into Croy Canyon and heard them also, but could not find their source. "We have some suspicions," Davis said, including explosive targets, but he said the investigation is ongoing. Tannerite is the trademark name for an ammonium nitrate/aluminum powder-based binary explosive used in target practice. A gunshop owner in the Wood River Valley who asked to remain anonymous said that Tannarite, if used in sufficient quantities, could produce loud enough explosions to be heard far away. He said a high-caliber rifle had to be shot into the material to detonate it.

Dan Freeman, who farmed in Croy Canyon a few years ago, said he heard "ground-shaking" explosions from far to the west-southwest many times. He said his wife heard the explosions Friday from their home on Buttercup Road west of Hailey. "In Croy Canyon, we sometimes would hear five to 10 explosions in a day, some bigger and some smaller," Freeman said. "I think we were hearing explosions from the bombing range east of Mountain Home Air Force Base." Air Force Base Master Sgt. Andrew Leonard said he reviewed flight logs for supersonic aircraft at Mountain Home for last Friday and determined that multiple F-15E jets had flown in "military trains" about 50 miles west of Hailey at the time of the reports. However, Leonard said the jets are not allowed to fly fast enough in that area to break the sound barrier, which sets off sonic booms that can be heard many miles away. Leonard said a bombing range west of Mountain Home could not be the source of loud noises more than 50 miles away in Hailey. "We can barely hear them from here," he said. - MT Express.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Fireball Spotted Over Northern Georgia!

Scientists at the Tellus Science Museum said they observed a fireball in the sky over north Georgia Wednesday evening.

The NASA Meteoroid Environment Office confirmed that a bright fireball streaked across the skies over parts of Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia at 10:19 p.m. Wednesday. The fireball was captured by cameras at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, as well as by cameras in Tullahoma, Tenn., and at the Tellus Science Museum.

NASA says the meteor was first recorded at an altitude of 51.5 miles, just southeast of Tunnel Hill, Ga., moving to the west-southwest at about 33,500 mph. The fireball was last spotted near Rock Spring, Ga., along Ga. Highway 95. - 11Live.
WATCH: Fireball spotted over North Georgia.

SOLAR WATCH: "Turbulent, Roaring Sounds and Shock Waves" From the Sun - Radio Bursts at 21 and 28 MHz; Recorded by Astronomer Thomas Ashcraft!

As sunspot 1429 continues to launch coronal mass ejections towards our planet, an astronomer recorded amazing sounds coming from the stellar object.

Dynamic spectrum courtesy Wes Greenman, Alachua County, Florida.
INCOMING CME: A CME launched from the sun on March 9th is nearing Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will arrive on March 11th at 0649 UT (+/- 7 hr). This is not a particularly potent CME. Nevertheless, high-latitude geomagnetic storms are possible when it arrives. WEEKEND SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot AR1429 is still erupting this weekend. On Saturday, March 10th, it produced a powerful M8-class flare that almost crossed the threshold into X-territory. During the flare, New Mexico amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded a series of radio bursts at 21 and 28 MHz.
The roaring sounds heard are caused by shock waves plowing through the sun's atmosphere in the aftermath of the explosion. "There is incredible complexity in the waveforms," notes Ashcraft. "This is a recording of one of the most turbulent events in all of Nature!" In addition, the explosion propelled yet another CME toward Earth. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will hit our planet's magnetosphere on March 12th at 1803 UT (+/- 7 hr), possibly sparking a new round of geomagnetic storms. After passing Earth, the CME will also hit the Mars Science Lab (MSL) spacecraft on March 13th followed by Mars itself on March 14th. Mars rover Curiosity onboard MSL might get some interesting readings as the cloud passes by. - Space Weather.
LISTEN: Roaring sounds from the Sun.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive Landslide at Waioeka Gorge in New Zealand - Roads Could be Closed For Six Weeks!

Last week, a landslide occurred on the main road out of Gisborne in the North Island of New Zealand, which blocked the Waioeka Gorge.  Remarkably, the landslide was captured with a high quality video. The slip dropped without much warning. According to officials, the gorge, which is used to link Gisborne and the Bay of Plenty, could be closed for up to six weeks after the landslide.

WATCH: Stabilized version of the landslide.

EXTREME WEATHER: The Hawaii Weather Anomalies Continue - Hawaii Pummeled By ‘Severe Weather’ As La Nina Turns To El Nino?!

Meteorologists are taking note of the extreme weather conditions that continue to cloud Hawaii’s normally sunny climatic disposition.

The weather service has a good explainer on why our weather has gotten so ugly. Here’s a piece from columnist Meghan Evans who notes that “feet of rain” has fallen in some areas.
Also of note in her piece: 

• Multiple landslides have blocked highways throughout the state.

• Violent thunderstorms produced hail with diameters up to 2 inches in Kailua and Kaneohe.

•  Hanalei, Hawaii, received 35.97 inches of rain in just over two days.

“What is going on in Hawaii is a symptom of the change from La Niña to El Niño coming on,” according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity.
And this just in from the City and County of Honolulu, residents living in Otake Camp in Waialua were evacuated and taken to an emergency shelter when water levels rose in Kaukonahua stream. Kamehameha Highway was closed at Waikane Bridge due to flooding. The highway was also closed at Punaluu. - Honolulu Civil Beat.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Alert Level Raised for Iliamna Volcano - Earthquake Rate Increasing Beyond Normal Levels!

An alert level for the possible eruption of the Iliamna volcano, southwest of Anchorage was raised by volcanologists Friday afternoon.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory raised the alert level for Iliamna Volcano, seen here in a file photo, to
advisory and its aviation color code to yellow Friday afternoon. Scientists say the volcano has
exhibited increasing levels of seismic activity.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory raised Iliamna Volcano’s alert level to advisory and its aviation color code to yellow, from normal and green respectively. “Over the past three months the earthquake rate at Iliamna Volcano has steadily increased and now exceeds normal background levels,” scientists at the observatory wrote in a statement. “Although it is not certain that this sustained increase in earthquake activity represents the movement of magma at depth, it is a significant change and AVO has increased the Alert Level to Advisory and the Aviation Color Code to Yellow.”

While the observatory will continue to monitor the volcano, it notes that the seismic activity does not necessarily mean an eruption is imminent, noting that an elevated period of seismic unrest at the volcano from September 1996 to February 1997 also didn’t produce an eruption. Iliamna Volcano is located on the west side of lower Cook Inlet in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, about 130 miles southwest of Anchorage and 60 miles northwest of Homer. - KTUU.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare and "Unprecedented" Tornado Touches Down on Oahu, Hawaii!

A rare tornado blew roofs off homes and left other damage in its path through the Hawaiian communities of Lanikai and Enchanted Lake on Oahu, weather officials confirmed Friday.

A National Weather Service team surveying damage and talking to witnesses determined a waterspout came ashore and was reclassified as a tornado in Lanikai about 7:30 a.m. The 20-yard-wide tornado traveled about 1.5 miles in 15 minutes to Enchanted Lake with wind speeds reaching 60 to 70 mph before dissipating, officials said. Hawaii, known for its famous sunshine, has been hit with unusually harsh weather for about a week. A 30-minute hail storm on Friday in Oahu was "unprecedented ," Tom Birchard, senior meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Honolulu, told the Associated Press. Some of the hail stones have been unusually large for the islands -- the size of marbles and discs more than a half inch long, reported.

The islands also saw heavy rains and thunderstorms that closed schools, flooded homes and led to sewage spills. Landslides, power outages and roads blocks by trees, boulders and mud were reported. Some vacationers in the tropical paradise had their vacations dampened.  When heavy rains canceled flights out of Kauai after midnight on Tuesday, about 20 passengers were stuck at the airport. The heavy rains were expected to subside by Saturday. There were no reports of deaths or injuries due to the storm. - MSNBC.

WATCH: Loop Road flooding.

WATCH: Waterspout / Tornado aftermath in Lanikai.

EXTREME WEATHER: UN Says 145 "Presumed Dead" in Afghan Avalanche!

At least 145 people are missing and "presumed dead" after an avalanche hit a remote village in Afghanistan's northeastern Badakhshan province last week, the United Nations said Saturday.

Afghan officials had earlier in the day put the death toll from a series of avalanches in the province's Shekay district at 56.  The UN said an avalanche in the area on March 4 claimed 50 lives and warned of severe flooding over coming weeks due to melting snow. Afghanistan's harshest winter in 15 years has claimed scores of lives, with the avalanches taking the toll to more than 90 in the mountainous province of Badakhshan alone, according to officials.   Rescue teams have so far been unable to reach the disaster-hit areas. "Access to Dispay village is possible only by road from neighbouring Tajikistan but it has been severely hampered by snow-blocked roads," the UN's Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan said in a statement.

"Helicopter access is not possible as there is a high risk of triggering further avalanches."  Zabiullah Atiq, who heads the Badakhshan provincial council, told AFP that policemen and people from neighbouring villages were trying to dig out possible survivors. The Geneva-based Agha Khan Foundation, the UN Food Programme and the US embassy have donated food and medicines to the affected families. The relief agency IOM said it was dispatching "120 winter kits containing warm clothes, blankets, winter boots... to aid the survivors", while a local partner was providing tents, plastic sheeting, shovels and pickaxes.  Dispay, a village of around 200 people, was buried after days of heavy snowfall were followed by a rise in temperature, officials said.

"Rising temperatures this week and snow predicted for next week in Badakhshan puts the region at high risk of further avalanches", said Marco Boasso, IOM's Chief of mission and special envoy to Afghanistan. "When the snow begins to melt, there will be floods. We are on stand by to respond to any further incidents," he added. The UN warned the tragedy in Dispay is "likely to be one of many in the near future".  According to IMMAP, a data-analysis and mapping company, 15 percent of Afghanistan?s population is at high risk of being affected by flooding this spring. Despite the billions of dollars in aid from the international community after the collapse of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains among the poorest nations in the world, weakened by decades of conflict.  - Yahoo.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Mystery Sickness Killing Alaskan Seals and Walrus Appears to be Spreading?!

A mysterious sickness that has killed Alaskan seals and walrus appears to be spreading, according to The Associated Press.

First spotted last year on Alaska’s northern coast, the illness was reported last week at the top of the Alaska panhandle where a dying seal was captured by fishermen, the news agency. The seal, spotted at Yakutat, was bald and lethargic and suffered conditions similar to those found in 60 dead seals and 75 diseased ones, most of them ring seals, that were discovered in July last year on the north coast, the news agency reported. "The seal, determined to be a yearling, exhibited almost total hair loss and nodular, ulcerated scabbed skin sores," Kathy Burek-Huntington, a veterinary pathologist part of an international group of experts working on the disease, was quoted as saying.

"These sores are consistent with the disease process we have been seeing in the ice seals in the North Slope and Bering Strait areas." According to Reuters, scientists last month ruled out that the illness could have been caused by radiation from the nuclear disaster last year at Japan’s Daiichi Fukushima power plant. According to the AP, the dead seals discovered last year showed lesions on hind flippers and in their mouths. Some suffered from hair loss and irritated skin around the nose and eyes. Post-mortem examinations found fluid in lungs, white spots on livers and abnormal growth in brains.
- Global Post.

DEADLY STORMS: Tropical Cyclones Kill 111 and Leaves 332,204 Homeless in Madagascar!

The two latest tropical disturbances which hit Madagascar last week killed at least 111 people and left 332,204 people homeless, the national office of risks and disasters management (BNGRC) said in its release on Friday.

The BNGRC said in its preliminary assessment that the moderate tropical storm Irina, which swept through the northeast of Madagascar on Feb. 26 and docked the southwest coast of the island country until March 2, killed 76 people, injured 15, wiped out three and left homeless 85,335 others. The highest number of deaths recorded after the passage of Irina was in Ifanadiana district in the southeast of the island country with 48 death tolls, while Vangaindrano and Farafangana districts, also in the southeast, recorded the most homeless with respectively 3,909 and 25,086.
Nearly 7,056 housing spaces were flooded, 147 were damaged and 1,372 were completely destroyed by Irina, while 3,713 hectares of rice fields and 12,600 crop fields were affected. These data were collected from 103 of the 829 municipalities in the trajectory of Irina. Regarding the tropical Cyclone Giovanna, which came by the east coast of Madagascar on Feb. 13 and left the country on Feb. 14 by the southwest coast, the BNGRC reported 35 death tolls, 284 injured and 246,869 homeless. Madagascar is an island located in the southern hemisphere and in the cyclonic basin of the Indian Ocean, where a dozen tropical disturbances form every year from Nov. 15 to April 30. - CRI.