Wednesday, March 21, 2012

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Sound And Rumble In Montello, 80 Miles South Of Clintonville!

Tonight, police in Montello are investigating reports of booming sounds similar to what's been reported in Clintonville this week.

Many of the people making the reports say they hadn't even heard about what was going on in Clintonville until they began researching their own problem. Patti Lekas said, "No one had an explanation." In Montello, it's the talk of the town. Lekas said, "There was a loud boom and all the windows shook. The whole house shook." A loud rumble around 5-thirty last night immediately triggered calls to the police department. Montello Police Chief Richard Olson said, "We have a lot of good, reliable sources that reported this pretty much community wide." Jean Dawidziak's son heard the boom. She says, "He was out at the farm and said mom there was this big thing, the whole house shook." Pretty much everyone we talked to in Montello says they either heard and felt this rumble themselves or they know someone who did. One person even described it like a really bad train wreck, all the cars slamming into each other at once, right where you're standing. Olson says, "They reported it almost as if it was under ground or ground level." The police chief is still trying to make sense of it.
Olson says, "We are currently investigating it. We don't have an answer at this point. We've obviously checked with our typical sources such as utility companies and anybody maybe drilling or doing construction in the area and at this point in time we don't' know what it is." Lekas says, "It would be like in the old days when you had a sonic boom and your windows rattled, but I mean it shook the entire house." For the last three days the Clintonville community has reported similar booms. Now 80 miles away in Montello they're worried they might have the same problem. Lekas says, "It's not just my imagination or a couple crazy people in town. I mean, I was thinking it was an explosion but we had no flames anywhere." But If it's anything like Clintonville it may be awhile until these people get any answers. With a chuckle, Dawidziak said, "I would like to know what it is so it's not something underground that's going to blow up and this whole city is going to be gone or something. I would like to know. " Today University of Wisconsin-Madison seismologist Harold Tobin said at this point he is not aware of any seismic readings or reports of the boom near Montello. - NBC15.

WATCH: Mysterious rumbles in Montello.

TERMINATOR NOW: Rise of the Machines - DARPA Wants to Implant Tiny 'Doctors' in Soldiers' Bodies?!

Disease has stalked battlefields since the dawn of war and continues to plague even the ranks of the modern U.S. military. That's why the Pengaton's scientists want to implant tiny particles inside the bodies of soldiers that could diagnose or even treat illness from within.

The military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its vision for implantable "nanosensors" on March 15. Such tiny sensors would be based on nanoparticles thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair — a watchful swarm of molecules inside soldiers' bodies that could monitor their health around the clock and keep them healthy on the most remote battlefields. Solving the problem of sickness could have a huge impact on the number of soldiers ready to fight, because far more have historically died due to illness rather than combat. Even in modern times, battle injuries have accounted for only 20 percent of medical evacuations from Iraq — the U.S. military had to evacuate four times as many troops because of disease and nonbattle injuries. The futuristic idea might prove especially helpful for U.S. Special Forces who must operate far from any immediate medical help. Nanosensors could alert Special Forces operators if they become exposed to an infectious disease or simply push their bodies beyond their physical limits.

"For military Special Forces the practical realization of implantable nanosensors capable of monitoring multiple indicators of physiological state could be a truly disruptive innovation," according to DARPA's announcement. This first announcement focuses on creating nanoparticles capable of diagnosing diseases, but DARPA expects to launch a second effort focused on treatment in late 2012. Once it gathers proposals from private companies and academic researchers, it can begin moving forward with animal trials that might eventually lead to human clinical trials. DARPA's announcement also emphasizes that any tiny sensors based on nanoparticles must avoid harming their hosts because of any unknown material or particle effects on the human body. That issue of nanoparticle safety and the perils of small stuff are still being studied by researchers. - Live Science.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Disturbance Escalates - Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake Jolts New Guinea, Papua New Guinea!

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake has struck New Guinea, Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 22:15:05 UTC.

The quake was located at 6.244°S, 145.959°E with a depth of 105.9 km (65.8 miles).

The epicentre was at a distance of 63 km (39 miles) southeast (107°) from Goroka, New Guinea, PNG; 111 km (69 miles) south (173°) from Madang, New Guinea, PNG; 128 km (80 miles) northwest (296°) from Lae, New Guinea, PNG; and  384 km (238 miles) northwest (339°) from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

According to NOAA's National Weather Service, no tsunami watch, warning or advisory is currently in effect.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Mysterious Rumblings in Sooke; Brings Down a Barn in Vancouver Island, Canada?!

In January people reported feeling serious vibrations from Sooke to Victoria, some worried it was an earthquake.

That thought crossed Sharon Hanslip’s mind as well when she felt three blasts yesterday morning. The last one so severe it brought a barn on her property crashing to the ground.

Seismologists say it wasn’t an earthquake and Sooke’s mayor, Wendal Milne said he doubts it can be attributed to the company responsible for January’s blasting as it didn’t feel the same…

There is construction nearby at a new business park with heavy equipment and trucks on site. Milne says builders aren’t required to report to the municipality when and if they need to blast so he can’t say what it may have been. A Sooke mystery, he says. - CTV News.
WATCH:: Mysterious rumblings in Sooke brings down a barn.

DELUGE: Life-Threatening Flooding Louisiana to Missouri - High Alert For Damaging Southern Storms and Tornado Threat!

Over a half a foot of rain has already fallen in parts of Louisiana and more torrential downpours will lead to a dangerous situation in the Bayou State and others in the Lower Mississippi Valley today.The powerful storm that brought severe weather to the Plains earlier in the week has pushed into the Mississippi Valley. Heavy rain has been falling in parts of Louisiana and Arkansas since late on Tuesday and the deluges will continue today.

Rainfall totals through Wednesday afternoon included 15.89 inches 6 miles south-southwest of Leesville, La., 12.47 inches, 11.10 inches 5 miles west of Vinton, La., and 9.70 inches 4 miles northwest of Orange, La. Heavy rain and thunderstorms were crawling eastward across Mississippi this afternoon. While the greatest threat continues to be from flash flooding, a few of the storms can bring damaging wind gusts. Of these storms a small number can produce quick spin-up tornadoes. Some of the tornadoes may be shielded by rain and difficult to see as a result.  Confirmed Tornadoes From Wednesday: An EF1 tornado touched down near Lake Arthur, La. early Wednesday morning. The storm damaged between 20 and 30 homes. An EF1 touched down in Gueydan, La., damaging approximately 20 homes on Wednesday morning. An EF0 tornado struck about 1 mile west of Henry, La. The tornado blew the roof off of a barn, destroyed many outbuildings and snapped several trees. The prolonged period of very heavy rain is causing flooding problems as heavy thunderstorms remain over the same area for an extended period of time. This is known as "training effect." A flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is fueling the freight train of drenching storms. Due to the south-to-north orientation of the flow, the storms can only crawl to the east. As a result, the conveyor belt of heavy rain remain nearly stationary. meteorologist Bill Deger points out, "By Thursday, up to 8 inches could have filled some rain gauges, with flooding threatening to advance to some larger creeks and small rivers." As the rain falls in sheets, visibility will be significantly reduced, hampering travel. Roadways will also become flooded in places. Never drive through flood water and slow down if driving in heavy rain to prevent hydroplaning. Motorists driving along Interstates 10, 12, 20, 49 and 55 in Louisiana, in addition to I-30 and I-40 in Arkansas will have to deal with poor traveling conditions. Residents of the Deep South will have to deal with up to an additional 6 inches of rain today and tonight before the storm system begins to weaken and shift north and east. By Thursday and Friday, the heaviest downpours are expected to shift into the Tennessee and Ohio valleys, although rainfall amounts will be much less. In addition to flooding rain, severe weather will also be a threat. Damaging winds and even an isolated tornado is possible today. This amount of rainfall is unusual for the month of March, let alone in such a short time period. For example, the normal March rainfall for Shreveport, La., is 4.14 inches and they have received 4.43 inches from this storm alone!  - AccuWeather.
WATCH: Severe weather and tornado threat forecast.

SEASON OF THE WIND: Severe Sandstorm Brings Chaos to China - Will Likely Continue!

China's top meteorological authority said Tuesday that a sandstorm has hit northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Gansu province amid strong gales.

A man walks in floating dust in Turpan City, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region,
March 20, 2012. The city was hit by floating dust and strong gale on Tuesday.
Visibility has decreased to less than 500 meters in some areas due to the sandstorm, the first to occur in China this year, according to the National Meteorological Center (NMC).

The NMC forecast that the strong winds battering the region will move east over the next two days, bringing sand and dust to eastern Xinjiang, as well some areas in Gansu, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia.

Temperatures in Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi dropped by nearly 11 degrees Celsius on Tuesday due to a cold front and strong winds.

The strong gales also halted 24 trains on two railways on Monday, according to the provincial railway authority. - People's Daily Online.

GLOBAL ALERT: The Southern California Weather Authority Has Issued A Earthquake Watch Across The Pacific Coast, Including California - Effective Now Through The Next 48 Hours!


A magnitude 7.6 earthquake has struck the Mexico coastal areas this afternoon. There are many times when a quake this close, or along our plate boundary, produces a concern for elevated earthquake activity across the Pacific Coast, California included. Many occasions have noted this type of pattern, especially from Central America to California so this watch will be in place for the next 48 hours as this is the crucial time for the faults to be disturbed by the strong quake south of here.

Predicting earthquakes is not possible, but there may be warning signs within a pattern that help produce the type of alert such as a watch so you can make sure you have your earthquake priorities checked and stay alert during the watch period. An earthquake watch does not mean an earthquake is forecast, but does mean there is a concern for an elevated risk on our fault-zones. Stay tuned to the Southern California Weather Authority on the Web or on Facebook for the latest updates in the area. - Southern California Weather Authority.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Hundreds of Houses Damaged After Strong Earthquake Hits Mexico!

Mexican officials were assessing damage Wednesday, a day after a strong earthquake left homes in ruins and rattled residents hundreds of miles away. At least 11 people were injured in the 7.4-magnitude quake, which hit mid-day Tuesday in southern Mexico.

Its epicenter was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Ometepec, Guerrero. At least 500 homes in the southern coastal state were damaged, Gov. Angel Aguirre told reporters. Nine of the 11 injuries occurred in Oaxaca state, which borders Guerrero and also suffered damage from the quake, said Mexican Interior Minister Alejandro Poire. Two people were injured in Mexico City, about 200 miles (320 km) from the quake's epicenter. Guerrero residents felt aftershocks hours after the quake, which the United States Geological Survey said had a depth of about 12.4 miles (20 km). "There are many cracked ceilings, many houses that collapsed," Francisca Villalva Davila, Ometepec's comptroller, told CNN en Español. Reports differed about the earthquake's impact. Officials reported that at least 800 houses had collapsed in the town of Igualapa, the Guerrero state government said in a statement. Later Tuesday, the head of Guerrero's civil protection department said officials had confirmed 200 damaged homes in the town. That number could increase when assessments of the area continue Wednesday, he said.
Residents rushed into the streets after feeling the temblor in Mexico City. Tourists and residents also felt the earthquake in the resort city of Acapulco, located about 100 miles (200 km) from the quake's epicenter. Calderon said that there were no immediate reports of serious damage, and that the nation's health system was operating normally. "There are some broken windows, much fear, much panic," he said. The USGS initially reported the magnitude of the quake at 7.9, but later revised that figure downward to 7.4. Residents in the southwestern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero and the eastern state of Veracruz reported that phone service had been knocked out. Multiple houses collapsed in the Ometepec area, Aguirre told CNN affiliate Televisa. Authorities in Mexico City were surveying buildings, schools and hospitals to evaluate damage, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said. Earthquakes are a frightening experience for the more than 20 million residents who live in the sprawling metropolis, where about 10,000 people perished after a massive quake in 1985. The city, built on volcanic ash and clay, is particularly vulnerable to temblors. A spokeswoman told reporters that U.S. President Barack Obama's eldest daughter, who was on a spring trip with classmates in Mexico about 100 miles away from the quake's epicenter, was not injured. "In light of today's earthquake, we can confirm that Malia Obama is safe and was never in danger," said Kristina Schake, a spokeswoman for first lady Michelle Obama. - CNN.
WATCH: 7.4 Earthquake damage hundreds of houses.

RATTLE & HUM: "The Sounds of the Apocalypse" - Unexplained Explosions and Noises Shake Clintonville Homes?!

Authorities in Clintonville say they're looking into unexplained noises and shaking felt around they city Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Police say around 9:30 Sunday night, people started reporting explosion-like sounds shaking their homes. Police officers say the sounds are like loud bangs with shaking. The reports were concentrated in the northeast part of Clintonville. The most calls came in just before 3:00 a.m., but city administrator Lisa Kuss tells Action 2 News the noises then tapered off, and the last report was at 5:30 a.m.

Officials say they've checked the underground water and gas lines. But nothing unusual has been found. Water pressure is normal and no natural gas has been detected. No damage has been reported, and no one was evacuated.  Clintonville is in the northeast part of Waupaca County. We have a crew in Clintonville and we'll bring you more details as they become available. - WBAY.
WATCH: Unexplained Explosions Shake Clintonville Homes.

WATCH: Mysterious Booms Resume in Clintonville.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Spring Arrives With Equinox Tuesday - Earliest in Over a Century!

Across much of the United States, this has been an unusually mild winter, especially for those living east of the Mississippi. Not a few people have noted that spring seems to have come early this year.

Of course, in a meteorological sense that could be true, but in 2012 it will also be true in an astronomical sense as well, because this year spring will make its earliest arrival since the late 19th century: 1896, to be exact. The vernal equinox — the first day of spring — will arrive tomorrow (March 20) at 05:14 Universal Time, or 1:14 a.m. EDT. Even more intriguing is that for those in the Mountain and Pacific Time zones, the equinox will actually arrive tonight (March 19).  Astronomers define an equinox as that moment when the sun arrives at one of two intersection points of the ecliptic (the sun's path across the sky) and the celestial equator (Earth's equator projected onto the sky). One such intersection point is located in western Virgo; the sun arrives there on Sept. 22 or 23, and appears to cross the equator from north to south, marking the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.
The other intersection point, in eastern Pisces, is where the sun will be tomorrow. The sun is now migrating north of the equator, hence this is the "vernal" or spring equinox. At 5:14 UT next Tuesday, the sun will be shining directly over the equator from the point of view of a spot in the Indian Ocean, 757 miles (1,218 km) southeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. 
Why so early?
Now maybe this rings false. After all, when some of us of a certain age were growing up, the first day of spring was always on March 21, not March 20, right? Now all of a sudden spring is coming on March 20, and as we just noted, even earlier — March 19 — for some. Is this unheard of? Not if you look at the statistics. In fact, did you know that during the 20th century, March 21 was actually the exception rather than the rule? The vernal equinox landed on March 21 only 36 out of 100 years — most of these occasions coming during the early and middle part of the 20th century. Yet from 1981 to 2102, Americans celebrate the beginning of spring no later than March 20. Still, for many March 21 is ingrained in our culture as the traditional first day of spring, even though it's been more than 30 years since that last happened. - SPACE.

THE CASHLESS SOCIETY: The Emerging Global Police State - Sweden Moving Towards Cashless Economy!

Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661. Now it's come farther than most on the path toward getting rid of them. "I can't see why we should be printing bank notes at all anymore," says Bjoern Ulvaeus, former member of 1970's pop group ABBA, and a vocal proponent for a world without cash.

Vicar Johan Tyrberg in the Carl Gustaf Church in Karlshamn, southern Sweden, on Sept 7, 2011,
stands next to a credit card machine enabling worshippers to donate money to the church
collection without carrying money in their pockets.
The contours of such a society are starting to take shape in this high-tech nation, frustrating those who prefer coins and bills over digital money. In most Swedish cities, public buses don't accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether. "There are towns where it isn't at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash," complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden's National Pensioners' Organization. He says that's a problem for elderly people in rural areas who don't have credit cards or don't know how to use them to withdraw cash. The decline of cash is noticeable even in houses of worship, like the Carl Gustaf Church in Karlshamn, southern Sweden, where Vicar Johan Tyrberg recently installed a card reader to make it easier for worshippers to make offerings. "People came up to me several times and said they didn't have cash but would still like to donate money," Tyrberg says. Bills and coins represent only 3 percent of Sweden's economy, compared to an average of 9 percent in the eurozone and 7 percent in the U.S., according to the Bank for International Settlements, an umbrella organization for the world's central banks.

Three percent is still too much if you ask Ulvaeus. A cashless society may seem like an odd cause for someone who made a fortune on "Money, Money, Money" and other ABBA hits, but for Ulvaeus it's a matter of security. After his son was robbed for the third time he started advocating a faster transition to a fully digital economy, if only to make life harder for thieves. "If there were no cash, what would they do?" says Ulvaeus, 66. The Swedish Bankers' Association says the shrinkage of the cash economy is already making an impact in crime statistics. The number of bank robberies in Sweden plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — the lowest level since it started keeping records 30 years ago. It says robberies of security transports are also down. "Less cash in circulation makes things safer, both for the staff that handle cash, but also of course for the public," says Par Karlsson, a security expert at the organization. The prevalence of electronic transactions — and the digital trail they generate — also helps explain why Sweden has less of a problem with graft than countries with a stronger cash culture, such as Italy or Greece, says economics professor Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Austria. "If people use more cards, they are less involved in shadow economy activities," says Schneider, an expert on underground economies.
- CBS News.

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

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

Sofia, Bulgaria
- 19th of March, 2012.

Stevenage, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom - 11th of March, 2012.

Maringá, Parana, Brazil - 17th of March, 2012.

Essex, United Kingdom - 10th of March, 2012.

Kragujevac, Serbia - 18th of March, 2012.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Record-Breaking Warm Temperatures - Over 1,500 Record Highs This Week!

This has been a week of incredibly warm weather across much of the country. Over 1,500 record high temperatures have been broken or tied the past seven days, and we're not done breaking records yet! Here's a quick roundup of the action so far:

Monday - According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), 138 daily high temperature records were tied or broken primarily in the Northeast and Midwest. This includes records set in New York City (71), Boston, Mass. (71) and Albany, N.Y. (69) that were more than 100 years old!

Tuesday - 218 daily high temperature records tied or broken in the Central and Northeast U.S, according to NCDC. Included were Concord, N.H. (71), Omaha, Neb. (81), Minneapolis, Minn. (67) and Sioux Falls, S.D. (79).

Wednesday - 457 daily high temperature records tied or broken, including St. Louis, Mo. (86), Chicago (81), Milwaukee, Wis. (78) and Paducah, Ky. (82), just to name a few. Minneapolis, Minn. (73) set a new record high on Wednesday for the fourth time in five days! Stunningly, Traverse City, Mich. shattered their earliest 80-degree reading on record, by 13 days; the old record was March 27, 1945.

Thursday - A whopping 593 locations equaled or exceeded their record highs across the Rockies, Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Chicago hit 81, the first instance of back-to-back 80s there in March on record. Madison, Wisc. tied its all-time March record of 82, breaking the March 15 record by 13 degrees. Record highs also fell in Atlanta and Norfolk, Va.

Friday - Chicago hit 82, the first instance of three straight days in the 80s there in March on record. Not to mention, it's the earliest 82-degree reading on record, previously set on Mar. 27, 1945! Bismarck, N.D. set a new March all-time record high (82). The previous earliest-in-season occurrence of 82 degrees there was April 2, 1921. Their average high this time of year is around 40 degrees! It was also the warmest day so early in the season in Minneapolis, Minn. (79). You'd have to go back to Mar. 23, 1910 to find a day as warm so early in the season in the Twin Cities! Ft. Wayne, Ind. (78) had its third-straight record high, and the first time it had three straight days with at least a high of 78 degrees since Mar. 27-29, 1910! - The Weather Channel.
WATCH: Over 1,500 Record Highs This Week!

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking Worldwide Volcanic Activities - From The Volcano Discovery Reports!

The following constitutes the new activity and unrest report from the Volcano Discovery.

Hawaii's ever-erupting Kilauea volcano.

Kīlauea Volcano (Hawaii): Pressure reaches lava flow-front.
As expected, activity is increasing at the lava flow-front as renewed pressure propagates along the magmatic system, even as further (apparently smaller) pressure variations occur. Stay tuned for more pictures and detailed updates as our tour schedule and the eruption allows! Another longer DI pressure cycle has arrived and is causing a slow-down of lava flows on the coastal plain, but there are still active breakouts on the flat and on the pali for the most determined hikers to experience! If this DI even lingers, that may change quickly. 

Etna Volcano (Italy): Paroxysm from the New SE crater.
The strombolian activity from the New SE crater which had started yesterday continued during the night. From 03:30 local time, the glow had been continuous and the frequency of explosions rose to 25-30 per hour. Large incandescent bombs were observed landing on the outer flanks of the cone. At the time of writing (8:30 local time), another paroxysm is about to occur. Strong explosions generating a rising ash plume and a steep increase of tremor can be observed. The intervals between paroxysms are becoming shorter, as well as the precursor activity.

Santorini Volcano (Greece): Small seismic swarm near the submarine Kolumbo volcano.
After 6 weeks of calm, another seismic swarm has started yesterday at Santorini, clustered in the NE sector of the island and near the submarine Kolumbo volcano. The quakes are very small and will not have been felt. The largest was a magnitude 2.0 quake on 18 March at 10:37 GMT at 11 km depth beneath Kolumbo.

El Hierro Volcano (Canary Islands): Incandescent lava under water - Eruption continues.
The first results of the latest campaign of scientists from the University of Gran Canaria have now been published. For the first time, direct images of the new underwater volcano were obtained from locations at its southwestern flank and near the crater area (to 172 m). The vent itself seems to be at 120 m depth according to the results. (This contradicts the previous measurement of 88 m, or it refers to a different vent).

- Hot jets are formed from a vent at 120 m depth, forming convecting water cells reaching depths of about 40-60 m. On 13 March, the robot entered one of these cells and got caught in uncontrolled rotations while its thermal sensors showed a strong increase. - Pyroclastic projections were observed to reaching about 40-50 m in height (i.e. the ejected pyroclasts reach depths of 80-70 m). Ejected bombs form (underwater) ballistic parabolic trajectories and fall back under gravity. Some of these pyroclastic seem to be large. - During the dive on Wednesday (14 Mar), the southwest flank of the main cone was filmed. It has a steep slope and is composed mainly by large pyroclasts (see screenshot), some of which are similar to the hollow lava balloons that frequently reached the surface in the months of November and December. - Finally, near the edge of the crater, at a depth of about 170m and under a rain of ash, a school of fish (amberjack possibly) was seen as well as smaller marine animals and closer to the surface, jellyfish. The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has published a brief article with images of glowing lava seen floating at a depth of 70 m, taken on 14 March during the recent campaign of the ROV E-Wally on board of the "Atlantic Explorer" oceanographic research vessel. See article HERE (PDF).

Ijen Volcano (Indonesia): Strong degrassing.
VolcanoDiscovery team member Adi Susanto returned from a visit to Ijen volcano in East Java, where he observed strong degassing on 17 March. At the moment, the alert level of Ijen is still at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the area is strictly closed to workers and visitors as an eruption could occur with little warning.
Measurements of the park showed dangerously high levels of SO2 at the crater. Volcanic tremor and earthquakes are at fluctuating elevated numbers and intensity. One of the main hazards of an eruption would be a draining of the acid crater lake and associated lahars. Although the area is relatively little populated as much of the surrounding land is occupied by coffee plantations, there are several small villages that would be in the risk zone.

Tungurahua Volcano (Ecuador): New eruption and ash fall.
Another series of explosions has occurred early today at Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador, the Instituto Geofísico (IG) reports. The eruption was reported to be very noisy and caused minor ash fall in nearby villages, but no damage. From 23:39 (local time) on March 19, a rapid increase of tremor was detected and observers reported roaring noises from the volcano in up to 14 km distance. About an hour after the onset of tremor reports of ash fall came from El Manzano and Choglontús. At 00h22 today, there was an loud explosion whose cannon-shot like shock wave was heard in Choglontús, El Manzano and Puntzán. Incandescent lava bombs could be seen ejected from the summit crater and landing up to approx. 200 m distance on the upper slope. From the 01h08 (local time) tremor decreased and also the noises from the volcano. Cloud cover prevented detailed observations this morning. According to a first analysis, only the south-west sector received ash fall. In the Choglontús area, ash continued to fall until 07:00 (local time) and was measured to have accumulated 383 grams per square meter, corresponding to less than 1 mm of ash.

THE SEASON OF THE WIND: The Australian Weather Anomalies Continue - Townsville Declared as a Disaster Zone; Horrifying Storm and Mini-Tornado Smashes Homes to Pieces!

Townsville has been declared a disaster zone following a freak storm that left 60 homes and businesses with major structural damage, Premier Anna Bligh said.

Ms Bligh visited the hard-hit suburb of Vincent today, hours after the storm tore roofs from dozens of homes, uprooted trees and downed power lines.  She said the army would be called in to help with the clean-up and many victims would be out of their homes for months.  Residents had been through a terrifying experience and it was very fortunate no lives had been lost, she said.  "These quiet suburban streets of Townsville have suffered a shocking and devastating event,"

Ms Bligh said. "Its force was obviously ferocious."  Ms Bligh said the people of Vincent were now facing a heartbreaking clean-up task on a scale not seen even after Cyclone Yasi last year.  "Yasi did nothing like this in Townsville. There is a lot of heartbreak," she said.  Ms Bligh said a disaster had been declared to give victims access to cash grants and other support and the defence force would also be called in to help.  "A number of these people aren't going to be back in their homes for a matter of months and we will be helping people to relocate for the short-term," Ms Bligh said.  The storm hit about 5am today. The Department of Community Safety earlier said at least 25 properties had lost their entire roof. - Herald Sun.
WATCH: Eye-witnesses recounts the passage of the mini-tornado.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Early Spring Melts Winter Ice Records at White Bear Lake - Animal Behavior and Plants are ALL Unusually Ahead of Schedule?!

White Bear Lake shook off the last of its winter ice Monday - perfect timing, considering that Tuesday is the first official day of spring.

Chad Dobson of Edina kiteboarded on the north end of White Bear Lake
– now officially ice-free – on Monday afternoon.
It was also THE EARLIEST ICE-FREE DATE ON RECORD for the lake, not at all surprising after one of the MILDEST WINTERS ON RECORD and 10 DAYS OF RECORD-SETTING MARCH WARMTH. "You could just watch it disappear," said Jan Holtz Kraemer, who rides the 10 miles around the lake daily on a bicycle each spring before making the official call. "No snow, no insulation, lots of wind, and high temperatures." Ice had left lakes as far north as northern Chisago County by Monday, according to the climatology office with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). For many, it was also the earliest such occurrence, although few have records as long as White Bear, where the accounting goes back to 1928. The March 19 date for White Bear Lake was two days earlier than the previous record, set in 2000, and just hours before spring's arrival at 12:14 a.m. Tuesday. Lake Minnetonka, which breaks completely free of ice about the same time as White Bear, wasn't quite there Monday, said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. The Freshwater Society, which keeps the records on Minnetonka and makes its own ice-out call, pegs the record earliest date on Lake Minnetonka as March 11. That happened in 1878, the Year Without Winter. Holtz Kraemer, 57, has been making the ice-out call on her own for 11 years. For the previous 11, she accompanied Benny Schmaltzbauer, a long-time local barber, on ice-watching rounds he'd started doing in 1944. She also takes $1 bets on when the ice will vanish. This year's date was earlier than anybody's guess, so the $40 pool will go to a food shelf, she said.


• Mosquitoes are out in the metro area -- "pretty unusual for this time of year," said Jim Stark, executive director of the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District. Dry conditions ought to keep the population down; rain could change everything. • Lake Waconia went ice-free on Sunday, 25 days ahead of average, but six days later than the record-earliest date, set in 2000. • Several species of butterflies have been flitting about, even in the Arrowhead, where they emerged last weekend, about 10 days ahead of normal, said Pete Harris,of the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland. Woodchucks also emerged about two weeks early. • Maple sap has continued to run even during recent warm nights, noted naturalist Jim Gilbert. Sap usually either stops or becomes unsuitable for syrup-making during untimely warm spells, but the sap running now -- although only 10 to 15 percent of what might be normal -- should make good syrup. • Shorebirds and other water-loving birds have migrated back to the metro area, slightly ahead of schedule. Many familiar species probably won't be here for a while, because they either need insects to eat or wait for changes in daylight, said Val Cunningham, a St. Paul bird surveyor who writes a Star Tribune column. • Assistant DNR climatologist Pete Boulay noted chorus frogs singing in Maplewood last week, well ahead of normal. - Star Tribune.

SOLAR WATCH: The Electron Storm - Geomagnetic Storms Significantly Elevates Energetic Electrons in Earth's Outer Radiation Belt!

Although, Space Weather is indicating that all of the sunspots on our stellar object are quiet and that no strong flares are in the offing; something quite significant has developed on Earth's outer radiation belt.

ELECTRON STORM: The number of energetic electrons in Earth's outer radiation belt is significantly elevated. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the enhancement is caused by the aftermath of recent geomagnetic storms mixed with a high-speed solar wind stream. "Spacecraft at GEO, MEO and other orbits passing through or in the vicinity of the Earth's outer radiation belt can be impacted," they say. - Space Weather.
This electron flux plot contains the 5-minute averaged integral electron flux (electrons/cm2-s-sr) with energies greater than or equal to 0.8 MeV and greater than or equal to 2 MeV at GOES-13 (W75). These data are invalid during a significant proton event because of sensor contamination at the GOES spacecraft. Enhanced fluxes of electrons for an extended period of time have been associated with deep dielectric charging anomalies. Noon and midnight local time at the satellites are plotted as N and M. This page updates dynamically every 5 minutes. Other SWPC Real-time Monitors.