Monday, March 26, 2012

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.

Amamoor, Queensland, Australia - 25th of March, 2012.

Wainscott, New York - 24th of March, 2012.

Tijuana, Mexico - 20th of March, 2012.

Himalayas - 25th of March, 2012.

Dallas, Texas - 21st of March, 2012.

San Antonio, Texas - 17th of March, 2012.

CELESTIAL CONVERGENCE: The Cosmic Triangle - Venus, Jupiter and the Crescent Moon in Conjunction!

They're at it again. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are in conjunction, forming a bright triangle in the sunset sky.

On Sunday evening, March 25th, Alexandre Croisier photographed the trio from the Pointe of Dinan in Brittany, France: "They are easy to see with the naked eye," says Croisier, "and they look great through a telescope, too." The triangle will appear again on Monday evening, March 26th, although the vertices will be shifted as the Moon glides from Jupiter to Venus. Observing tip: Look before the sky fades completely black. Bright planets are extra-beautiful when they are framed by twilight blue. Sky maps: March 25, March 26.

from Petr Horálek at Lichnice castle, Podhradi, Czech republic; from Sylvain Weiller of Saint Rémy lès Chevreuse, France; from M. Raşid Tuğral of Eymir Gölü, Ankara, Turkiye; from Piotr Potepa of Torun, Poland; from Martin McKenna of White Park Bay Beach, Antrim Coast, N. Ireland; from Stefano De Rosa of Turin (Italy); from P-M Hedén of Waldemars Cape, Stockholm Sweden; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Paloznak, Hungary; from Roger Schneider of Brugg Switzerland; from Szymon Seweryn of Cracow, Poland; from Alan C Tough of Elgin, Moray, Scotland; from Christophe Stolz of Köniz, Switzerland; from Stephan Brügger of Lübeck, Germany.
- Space Weather.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Signs of Solar System Disturbance - Discovery of a New Comet P/2012 F5 (GIBBS) as Two Small Asteroids Give Earth a Close Shave!

CBET 3069 and M.P.E.C. 2012-F87, issued on 2012, March 25, announced the discovery of a periodic comet by A. R. Gibbs on Mar. 22.8, through the Mount Lemmon 1.5-m reflector. On his images, Gibbs, found a stellar coma and a long, narrow tail about 7'.4 long in p.a. 292.5 deg. The new object has been designated P/2012 F5 (GIBBS) by the Minor Planet Center.
Image from the Remanzacco Observatory.
We tried its follow up at first on 2012, March 23.8, when this object was still listed in the NEO-CP webpage as "TF85899". We operated from the Malina River Observatory (Povoletto, Italy) through a 0.3-m, f/4.7 reflector + CCD, under a hazy sky. On our stackings we found a faint and narrow, streak, about 2-arcmin long, oriented toward PA 295 deg. This feature was very close to the expected position of "TF85899" however, due to its faintness (R about 19.2) and curious shape, we suspected it might be a noise, rather than a real object, so we decided to go for a second night of follow-up, just to make sure. On 2012, Mar. 25.8, we repeated the observations of this object with the same set-up, and found again an odd aspect: kind of elongated and narrow tail, at least 30" long, toward PA300 (in these images we suspected that the tail might be longer than this, however our observations were hampered by a bright, nearby field star). The central condensation was very difficult to locate, hampering its precise astrometric measurement. Meanwhile other observers reported about its curious shape in a the [Comets-ml] forum, so we had an independent confirmation that what we observed on Mar. 23.8 was actually a real (albeit odd) cometary object, and not an artifact. According to the preliminary orbital elements issued by the Minor Planet Center, P/2012 F5 has an orbital period of 5.32 years, an inclination on the ecliptic of 13.5 deg, semi-major axis of 3 AU and en eccentricity about 0.4. Its perihelion was reached in September 2010. - Remanzacco Observatory.
Two tiny asteroids zipped close by Earth today (March 26), passing between our planet and the orbit of the moon, but posed no threat of impacting our world, NASA scientists say.
Asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft from Earth.
The two space rocks flew by Earth in rapid fire; one zoomed by early in the day while the second buzzed the planet at 1:09 p.m. EDT (1709 GMT), according to astronomers with NASA's Asteroid Watch program. "Both are very small (under 10 meters) and pose no risk," the scientists wrote in a Twitter update. The first object, called asteroid 2012 FP35, came within 96,000 miles (154,000 km) of the Earth when it passed by earlier today, the scientists wrote. Asteroid 2012 FP35 is just under 30 feet (9 meters) wide, making it about the size of a tour bus. The second asteroid is dubbed 2012 FS35 and crept even closer to Earth, coming within 36,000 miles (58,000 km) when it whipped by the planet. Asteroid 2012 FS35 is even smaller than its predecessor; at nearly 10 feet (3 meters) wide, it's only the size of a small car. The paths of both asteroids brought them well inside the orbit of the moon, which typically circles Earth at a distance of about 238,000 miles (382,900 km). Asteroid 2012 FP35 - the farther of the two space rocks - passed within 0.4 lunar distances to Earth, while asteroid 2012 FS35 came within 0.17 lunar distances, NASA scientists said. The two asteroids were first detected over the weekend and quickly dismissed as potential impact threats to Earth. Their small size means they would likely not survive the fiery trip through Earth's atmosphere to reach the surface. NASA's Asteroid Watch project is part of the agency's Near-Earth Objects program based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. NASA scientists and other teams of astronomers regularly scan the sky for larger, potentially dangerous asteroids in order to determine if they pose a risk of impacting the Earth. - SPACE.

SOLAR SYSTEM DISTURBANCE: "Space Junk" Misses ISS - Forces Station Astronauts to Take Shelter in Lifeboats!

A piece of space debris missed the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday, forcing its crew members to take shelter in rescue craft, NASA said.

The debris "safely passed in front of the ISS," the U.S. space agency wrote on its Twitter account. The six crew members were given the all clear to return to their normal duties. NASA said the junk was a leftover from a February 2009 collision involving Russia's defunct military communications satellite Comsos 2251 and the U.S. commercial Iridium spacecraft. The Soyuz spacecraft are used to ferry crew to and from the ISS, "for either a normal end of mission, or as a "rescue" craft," NASA explained. Before getting into the capsules, the crew - two Americans, three Russians and a Dutch astronaut - closed all the hatches om the ISS. NASA said earlier the debris was predicted to pass 14.8 kilometers below the space station.  This is the third time an ISS crew were told to follow the same procedure following similar incidents in 2009 and 2011. - RIA Novosti.
A leftover piece of an old Russian satellite forced six astronauts on the International Space Station to take shelter in a pair of lifeboat-like space capsules today (March 24), but zipped harmlessly by the outpost to the crew's relief.
The piece of space junk was spotted too late to move the orbiting laboratory out of the way and flew as close as 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) when it zoomed by at about 2:38 a.m. EDT (0638 GMT), NASA officials said. While the chances of collision were remote, the potential danger of a hit was enough for Mission Control to order the station crew - which includes three Russians, two Americans and a Dutch astronaut - to seek shelter in two docked Soyuz space capsules just in case a quick escape to Earth is required.  "I don't see anything, which is good news," one of the station astronauts said in Russian, which was translated in a NASA broadcast.  It was the third time in 12 years that station astronauts took shelter from a close space debris pass. NASA and its partners typically order an avoidance maneuver when a piece of space junk is expected to pass close by the space station and there are several days of advance notice. But this latest space debris threat was initially spotted on Friday morning, too late to plan a major maneuver, NASA officials said. "We're not too concerned about it, but it's too late to do a [debris avoidance maneuver]," station flight director Jerry Jason radioed station commander Daniel Burbank, of NASA, and his crew late Friday.

According to NASA updates, the space debris is a remnant of the Russian Cosmos 2251 communications satellite. In 2009, the defunct spacecraft crashed into the U.S. satellite Iridium 33 in a massive space collision that created a huge cloud of more debris. The crash created 2,000 pieces of orbital debris. While the size of the space debris was difficult to pin down, it was "relatively small," NASA spokesman Rob Navias said during NASA TV commentary of the space trash flyby. NASA astronaut Don Pettit, who is the other American aboard the space station, radioed Mission Control Friday to say he hoped to try and snap a photo of the space debris if it was possible. But the space debris whizzed by the space station unseen. Space junk is a growing threat for astronauts on the space station, as well as other satellites orbiting Earth. According to recent estimates, there is about 6,000 tons of space debris in orbit today. NASA and the U.S. military's Space Surveillance Network regularly track about 20,000 pieces of the debris in order to help other active satellites avoid collisions with the orbital trash. - SPACE.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Giant Sahara Lava Crater Seen From Space!

A huge, copper-toned lava crater dominates a mesmerizing photo taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped the hypnotic image of what was likely an old volcanic basin as the space station flew over the Sahara Desert in Mauritania, on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. The photo shows Kuipers' unique vantage point from the orbiting complex, which flies approximately 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth. The image was taken on March 7 using a Nikon D2Xs camera, officials at the European Space Agency said in a statement. During their months-long stints aboard the International Space Station, astronauts often perform Earth observations for science and public outreach.

Throughout their mission, many spaceflyers maintain active social media presences, such as on Twitter or Google+, to share stunning views from space with members of the public. Space agencies also use photos taken by astronauts to engage students and space enthusiasts in geography, planetary science and human spaceflight. There are currently six people living and working on the space station: Kuipers, Americans Dan Burbank and Don Pettit, and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Oleg Kononenko. Burbank is commander of the station's Expedition 30 mission. Kuipers launched to the space station in December 2011. He is almost midway through his six-month stay at the orbiting outpost. Kuipers, Kononenko and Pettit are slated to return to Earth on July 1. - Our Amazing Planet.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Disturbance Continues - Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Rocks the Northern East Pacific Rise!

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck the Northern East Pacific Rise on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 18:12:54 UTC.

The tremor was located at 10.198°N, 104.030°W with a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles).

The quake had an epicentre with a distance of 863 km (536 miles) southwest (212°) from Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. No tsunami warning has been issued and there are currently no reports of any damage or injuries at this time.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Extreme Weather Anomalies - 6000 Weather Records Broken in March in the United States!

We've seen an amazing, historic run of record warmth in March 2012. It's been the talk of towns from Minnesota and Michigan to Tennessee and Georgia for a couple of weeks now. First, consider the sheer number of daily record highs either tied or broken over the past two weeks. The counts in the table below are courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) since Mar. 9. Counts from Mar. 23 are still being tabulated and will be posted later.

Day # of Records
Fri. Mar. 9 101
Sat. Mar. 10 105
Sun. Mar. 11 189
Mon. Mar. 12 138
Tue. Mar. 13 218
Wed. Mar. 14 460
Thu. Mar. 15 662
Fri. Mar. 16 496
Sat. Mar. 17 565
Sun. Mar. 18 586
Mon. Mar. 19 510
Tue. Mar. 20 710
Wed. Mar. 21 575
Thu. Mar. 22 295
If you pull out your calculator and add the numbers up from March 1 through March 22, the total exceeds 6,000! This speaks to the widespread nature and longevity of this warm spell. By the way, there have been only about 250 daily record lows during that same time, a ratio of roughly 24 record highs for every record low. In a typical March, particularly in the nation's northern tier, you may see, perhaps, one or perhaps two days of record warmth before a sharp cold front brings that spring tease to a screeching halt. Not so in March 2012.  When considering monthly record highs, meaning the warmest temperature on record for the month of March, according to NCDC, there have been 430 such monthly record highs tied or broken! International Falls, Minn., self-promoted as the "Icebox of the Nation", tied or broke daily record highs 12 of 13 days from Mar. 10-22. This includes a 79-degree reading on March 18, which was the warmest day ever recorded during March in International Falls. Chicago, Ill., tied or set new daily record highs nine days in a row from March 14-22! In this streak, eight of the days were in the 80s, including an astounding 87-degree high on March 21. The National Weather Service in Chicago recently called the warm spell "historic" and something that is unlikely to be matched in our lifetime.
This shows temperature departures from average for the first 23 days of March 2012.
The brown shadings show where temperatures have been most above average.
Wednesday, March 21, both Marquette, Mich., (81 degrees) and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., (83 degrees) shattered their previous March record highs. In Marquette, it was their earliest-in-season 80+ degree day on record, breaking the old record by 22 days! Despite a shorter period of record in Marquette (records since 1961), that's still an amazing feat. Thursday, March 22, Detroit, Mich., reached 86 degrees, setting an all-time record high for the month of March. The previous record was set just the day before. Prior to this March 2012 warm spell, the record was 84 degrees set in late March of 1945. If that wasn't enough, their 10-day streak with highs at least in the 70s was their longest such streak so early in the season, topping the previous record by over a month! Plotted on the interactive map here are the many records set for various cities in this mild March. Zoom in on the map and click on the red locator icons to view the record-breaking information for each location. You will find many cities that have set records for the warmest temperatures so early in the season, monthly records or longest streaks of warm weather so early in the season. [Above] is a map of temperature departures from average for the first three weeks of March. Notice the massive swath of much warmer than average air from the Rockies east (brown, red, orange shadings). Many spots are 10 to 15 degrees above average for the month so far! Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis are all currently seeing their warmest March on record with only a handful of days to go in the month. Records date back to the 1870s in all of these cities. - MSNBC.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Monumental Drought Conditions Besiege Countries Across the Globe - Grave Repercussions on the Global Economy!

Here are several stories of widespread drought conditions, that may soon make the emerging global crisis over rising food prices much worse worldwide.

Yunnan Province Has Suffered Drought For More Than Three Months: It’s the third consecutive year of drought in Yunnan since 2009. 790.10 million people were affected in Yunnan Province, the drought spreads in 125 counties, drying up 413 small reservoirs. 320.34 million people and 1.647 million livestock have problems with drinking water supplies, 676.65 thousand hectares of crops were affected, causing direct economic loss of 3.867 billion yuan. - The China Times.

European Crops Damaged by Winter Freeze Now Face Drought: European wheat and rapeseed crops are at risk of DROUGHT THAT MAY FURTHER HURT YIELDS after freezing weather last month destroyed some fields, analysts and forecasters said. France, Spain, England and northern Italy got less rain than normal since the start of January, European Union weather data show. - Business Week.

Portugal Seeks Accelerated EU Drought-Aid Payments, Jornal Says:
Portugal will ask the European Union today to accelerate the payment of more than 100 million euros ($132 million) in aid to help alleviate the impact of DROUGHT IN FARMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, Jornal de Negocios said, citing Secretary of State for Agriculture Jose Albuquerque. The Portuguese government wants to receive the EU funds that were due in the second semester between April and July, the Portuguese newspaper said.- Bloomberg.

Drought-Hit Balkans Struggle To Keep Lights On: THE WORST DROUGHT IN AT LEAST 40 YEARS IN THE BALKANS, which has left countries that rely on hydro power struggling to maintain a steady electricity supply. The dams on the Neretva river near the lake feed a system that normally produces an average of 2,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, but the drought that began in August has shrunk output to just a quarter of that amount. - Reuters.

Drought Risks Killing Off British Wildlife: Following the DRIEST 18 MONTHS ON RECORD for some parts of the country, streams and rivers are drying up leaving insects, fish, mammals and amphibians fighting for survival. Newly hatched tadpoles of frogs, toads and newts are under threat while wading birds such as snipe, curlew and lapwings will suffer from a lack of moist soils in which to find food such as worms for themselves and their young. In drought-affected areas, some streams, ponds and shallow lakes are likely to dry up before aquatic insects such as dragonflies have taken wing, which will cause them to perish. - Telegraph.

First Desalination Opens In Ma
inland Britain As Water Bosses Warn Of Drought: - More than one million people will be supplied with water from Britain's first large-scale desalination plant this summer to help cope with what is expected to be a WIDESPREAD DROUGHT. Drought conditions are producing smaller potatoes and lower yields. - Telegraph.

Tough Water Restrictions Have been Issued For 20 Million UK Residents: in light of WORSENING DROUGHT IN ENGLAND. The restrictions, including a "hosepipe ban" on a range of outdoor water usage, follow two years of unusually low rainfall left reservoirs, aquifers and rivers below normal levels.
- AccuWeather.

Drought To Send Food Prices Soaring: - Soaring fruit and vegetable prices are set to pile more misery on hard-pressed shoppers this summer as London's WORST DROUGHT SINCE 1976 spreads to much of the rest of the country. The warning comes ahead of the publication of a major “call for action”.
- The Evening Standard.

Drought, High Temps Have Fire Crews On Alert: Drought, lack of snow, record high temps, wind and a whole lot of dried out ground cover, which firefighters call fuel, are making CONDITIONS RIPE FOR WILDFIRES. "The fuel is extremely dry bone dry." Combined with drought conditions across most of the state, the record warm weather has land managers scrambling to make early preparations for what could be a severe fire season. - KARE11.

Storm Doesn't Ease Arizona Drought: The moisture was a welcome coda to an otherwise drier-than-average winter, but it WON'T DO MUCH TO EASE DROUGHT CONDITIONS that have deepened over the state in recent months. “We're calling it a drop in the bucket at this point in the season." - Tucson Citizen.

Historic Texas Drought $2.4 Billion Worse Than Expected: The impact of Texas' WORST DROUGHT IN HISTORY just got worse, with new estimates putting the agricultural toll at $7.6 billion for 2011 - $2.4 billion above the original loss estimate, which already was a record. "It's hard to imagine the damage it's caused across the state. IT'S NOTHING ANYBODY ALIVE HAS SEEN BEFORE." - CHRON.

Experts - Drought Effects Will Linger After Rains: Though most of Travis County and the Hill Country remain in moderate to severe drought, recent rainfall has lifted extreme and EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT CONDITIONS across Central Texas. The economic impact of a historic drought that has parched Texas and other parts of the Southwest will be felt for years, with ripple effects spreading nationwide as agriculture damage adds to increases in food prices. - Business Week.

Stubborn Drought Expected To Tax Mexico For Years: A SEVERE DROUGHT IN MEXICO that has cost farmers more than a billion dollars in crop losses alone and set back the national cattle herd for years, is just a foretaste of the drier future ahead. - Reuters.

Aid Agencies Warn Of Impending Catastrophe In Niger: - millions of dollars are needed urgently to stop a hunger crisis in Niger turning into a catastrophe. Some 1.9 million people are at severe risk and that number could rise to 3.5 million next month. More than six million of the population of 17 million need immediate help. "All signs point to an impending catastrophe" and "the world cannot allow this to happen.
Oxfam blamed a LETHAL MIX OF DROUGHT, erratic rains, high food prices, entrenched poverty and regional conflict that has brought tens of thousands of refugees to Niger. - Herald Sun.

Australia Likely To Be A Land Of Increasingly Severe Droughts And Floods: - Australia has long been a LAND OF DROUGHTS and flooding rains, and the past two years have been a good example of that well-known climatic pattern. - The Australian.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mexico's Popocatepetl Volcano Emits 33 Low-Intensity Exhalations in the Just 24 Hours!

The National Center for Disaster Prevention (Cenapred) reported that in the last 24 hours the Popocatepetl volcano registered 33 exhalations of low intensity, accompanied by emissions of water vapor and gas.

The exhalations were accompanied by water vapor, gas and a low amplitude spasmodic tremor.
The body of the Ministry of the Interior (Interior Ministry) explained that on Saturday the most important issues of the colossus of Puebla occurred at 22:29, 23:21 and 23:56 hours on Sunday while they were at 5:14, 5:41 and 8:32 hours. In a statement, adding that Cenapred at 08:42 hours, an earthquake of low magnitude volcanotectónico and 96 minutes of spasmodic tremor segments, while the other parameters remain unchanged monitoring important. He said that on Saturday night showed intense incandescence in the crater of the volcano and at the time of this report the view to that point is partly due to cloud cover over the area.

The light of volcanic alert remains at phase two and yellow prevails likely moderate exhalations, some with ash emissions, sporadic bursts of low to moderate probability of emission of incandescent fragments short and mild glow of the volcano in the crater. The Cenapred recommended maintaining the safety radius of 12 kilometers, so staying in that area is not allowed, and called for maintaining the controlled traffic between Santiago and San Pedro Nexapa Xalitzintla via Paso de Cortes. He also urged the Civil Protection authorities maintain preventive procedures, according to their operational plans, and suggested the public be aware of the official information is disseminated.
- Cronica [Translated].

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: UN's Weather Agency - 2001-2010 Was the Warmest Decade on Record!

Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the U.N. weather agency said Friday, releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record.

The 10-year period was also marked by extreme levels of rain or snowfall, leading to significant flooding on all continents, while droughts affected parts of East Africa and North America. “The decade 2001-2010 was the warmest since records began in 1850, with global land and sea surface temperatures estimated at 0.46 degrees Celsius above the long term average of 14.0 degrees Celsius (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit),” said the World Meteorological Organization. Nine of the 10 years also counted among the 10 warmest on record, it added, noting that “climate change accelerated” during the first decade of the 21st century. The trend continued in 2011, which was the warmest year on record despite La Nina—a weather pattern which has a cooling effect. The average temperature in 2011 was 0.40 degrees Celsius above the long term average, said the WMO.
“This 2011 annual assessment confirms the findings of the previous WMO annual statements that climate change is happening now and is not some distant future threat,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The world is warming because of human activities and this is resulting in far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts on our Earth, atmosphere and oceans,” he added. The U.N. weather agency noted that during the decade, “numerous weather and climate extremes affected almost every part of the globe with flooding, droughts, cyclones, heat waves and cold waves.” Historical floods hit Eastern Europe in 2001 and 2005, Africa in 2008, Asia and Australia in 2010.Global precipitation—including rain or snow—reached the second highest average since 1901. The highest average was recorded for the decade 1951-1960. Meanwhile for the North Atlantic basin, the 10 years marked the highest level of tropical cyclone activity, including Hurricane Katrina which struck the United States in 2005 and Cyclone Nargis which hit Myanmar in 2008. - Japan Today.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.9 Earthquake 'Widely Felt' Rattles Hawaii’s Big Island!

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 rattled a wide area of Hawaii on Saturday but caused no significant damage or injuries, officials said.

The quake was "widely felt" throughout the islands, said Dale Grant, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. The agency's website received more than 600 responses on its "Did You Feel It?" link within an hour after the tremor. Among those responses were more than 40 Maui residents who reported feeling the quake in Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Makawao, Paia, Kula and Hana. The quake hit a little before 11:00 a.m., less than a mile from the tiny community of Honomu, about 10 miles northwest of Hilo, the USGS reported. People as far away as Honolulu, about 200 miles to the northwest, reported feeling the quake.

A dispatcher at the Hawaii Police Department said authorities received a "couple of calls" about the shake but did not get any requests for officers to respond. Earthquakes are common in the area, according to the USGS, which added that none of the recent quakes has had any noticeable impact on the continuing eruption of Kilauea Volcano. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a statement saying no tsunami was expected to be generated from the earthquake. - The Maui News.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Hailstone Declared Largest on Record to Hit Hawaii!

At 4.25 inches long, 2.25 inches tall and 2 inches wide, a hailstone that fell on the windward side of Oahu this month has been declared the largest on record to hit Hawaii, the National Weather Service announced. Records for Hawaii go back to 1950 and the previous record was a relatively puny 1 inch in diameter.

"The record-setting hailstone was dropped by a supercell thunderstorm on the windward side of Oahu and produced large hail in Kaneohe and Kailua," the service said in a statement. "Numerous reports of hail with diameters of 2 to 3 inches and greater were reported. Hail to the size of golf balls and baseballs can only form within intense, thunderstorms called 'supercells'," the service added. "These supercells need warm, moist air to rise into progressively colder, drier air; as well as winds changing direction and increasing speed with increasing height off the ground.

For both sets of conditions to exist at the same time in Hawaii is extremely rare, but did occur on March 9. Conditions were ideal for a supercell to form, which on National Weather Service radar imagery looked exactly like such storms in the central portions of the contiguous United States where severe hail larger than an inch in diameter is most common." The March 9 supercell also spawned a tornado with winds of 60-70 mph in Lanikai and Enchanted Lakes on Oahu.  A hailstone that hit Vivian, S.D., on July 23, 2010, holds the U.S record for largest diameter (8 inches) and for weight (1.938 pounds). A hailstone in Aurora, Neb., on June 22, 2003, has the largest circumference (18.75 inches).

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Thunderstorms Ravage American Southeast - Virginians, Carolinians Asking "What the Hail?"

Despite temperatures in the 60s and 70s, it looked like the middle of winter in parts of the Southeast on Saturday. No, it wasn't snow--but hail that covered the ground up to 6 inches deep in some communities on Saturday from southwestern Virginia into South Carolina.

Responsible for the chaos were severe thunderstorms in association with a large storm system packed with plenty of cold air in the upper levels of the atmosphere. That cold air helped to generate hail, and plenty of it, in most of the thunderstorms that formed during the afternoon and evening hours. The Storm Prediction Center compiled 80 reports of hail from Saturday ranging from an inch (quarter size) to two and three-quarters of an inch in diameter (baseball size). Thunderstorms produced hail across a half dozen states, from West Virginia to Georgia. The most prolific hailmakers struck around dinnertime from Lynchburg, Va., to the Triad region of North Carolina.

A few of the responsible storms were even spinning according to radar, but fortunately there were no reports of tornadoes. However, the hail alone did a lot of damage. Windshields were busted out by golf ball-sized hail near Mount Herman, N.C. Near Salemburg, N.C., quarter-sized hail fell fast and furious for about seven minutes, pelting and denting everything in sight. Since many of the thunderstorms were slow moving, the hailstones piled up fast, several inches deep in some areas. As they melted, runoff quickly flooded drainage areas and roadways. While the accumulated hail is now long gone, the photos and videos posted to social media will continue to impress for a long time to come
.  - AccuWeather.
WATCH: Severe thunderstorm In Evington, Virginia.

SEASON OF THE WIND: One Dead in Illinois as Severe Storm and Tornadoes Roar Across Ohio Valley!

A woman was killed Friday when her mobile home rolled over during a severe storm in southern Illinois, authorities said.

Several homes were badly damaged when a tornado touched down in Fern Creek, Ky., near Louisville.
Jefferson County, Ill., Coroner Eddie Joe Marks said Pat Brown, 61, was killed and a teenage boy suffered minor injuries when Brown's home toppled as heavy rain, hail, winds and possible tornadoes swept through the Opdyke area. It wasn't immediately clear whether a tornado hit the home. The National Weather Service reported at least six confirmed tornadoes and relayed reports of numerous other unconfirmed twisters as storms moved across southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois and western Kentucky. Several homes were damaged in Fern Creek, Ky., near Louisville, including at least two that had their roofs torn off, NBC News reported.

Joe Sullivan, a meteorologist with the weather service, told the Weather Channel that the damage was consistent with a tornado with winds of 110 mph or even higher. No casualties were immediately reported in the Kentucky storms, Jody Johnson, a spokeswoman for Louisville MetroSafe, told NBC News. Even before Friday's tornadoes, 2012 was off to an unusually active beginning of tornado season. Greg Forbes, a severe weather specialist for the Weather Channel, said 117 tornadoes had been confirmed this month through Thursday, well above the 10-year March average of 87. January and February were also above their 10-year averages. "Keep in mind we are only at the beginning of the tornado season," Forbes said. The peak months for tornadoes are usually April, May and June, and "while we do not know exactly how active the rest of the tornado season will be, you should make sure you are prepared," he said. - MSNBC.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking Activities at the Canary Islands - Submarine Eruption of the El Hierro Island!

A small jacuzzi above the underwater vent has been observed today at El Hierro and occasionally during the past days.

Glowing lava photographed at 70 m water depth on 14 March.
Update Mon 19 Mar 23:47
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.

Read the article HERE.

Update Sat 17 Mar 17:28
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.
- Volcano Discovery.