Saturday, April 28, 2012

EXTREME WEATHER USA: Five Tornadoes Rip Through Colorado Causing Widespread Damage - 7 Homes, a Hog Farm and Several Other Buildings Have Been Destroyed; Damage Stretches Across 3 Counties!

People in southeast Colorado are cleaning up damage after up to five tornadoes struck early Friday morning.  All of the tornadoes were southeast of Lamar. The National Weather Service says preliminary findings indicate five tornadoes touched down. Two were in Prowers County, two in Kiowa County and one in Bent County.  Early reports indicated the storm moved northeast in the area, with a tornado touching down near Bristol. Residents near Chivington and Brandon reported a tornado in that area with damage to structures and possibly some minor injuries.

Our partners in southern Colorado, KOAA-TV, are reporting several families are out of their homes because of the damage.  At least seven homes and a hog farm were destroyed by the tornadoes. State officials say no deaths have been reported, only minor injuries.  According to Micki Trost with the Colorado Department of Emergency Management, the damage stretches across three counties: Kiowa, Bent and Prowers. Trost says there are six structures damaged in Kiowa County, three structures in Bent County and five in Prowers County. Trost says there may be more outbuildings damaged from the storms too.  Lamar officials in Prowers County said deputies and state troopers spotted a fast and large tornado south of the city that ripped through homes.  According to Micki Trost with the Colorado Department of Emergency Management, the damage stretches across three counties: Kiowa, Bent and Prowers. Trost says there are six structures damaged in Kiowa County , three structures in Bent County and five in Prowers County. Trost says there may be more outbuildings damaged from the storms too.  Of the six structures in Kiowa County, four are destroyed and one has major damage and one has minor damage. In Prowers County, three structures are destroyed and two with major damage. The extent of the damage is unknown at this time in Bent County.  Reports there indicate a substation on Prowers County Road 11 was damaged, and power was knocked out.  As of 4:30 p.m., the City of Lamar and most of Prowers County still didn't have power. Crews were working to replace downed lines and downed equipment. Many businesses are closed because of the power outages.  In Kiowa County, four homes and a former church building were damaged or destroyed, said Chris Sorensen of the county sheriff's office.

The damage included one home in Chivington in Kiowa County that was totaled after the five people sleeping inside escaped, said owner Therisa Brown, who added that there was no warning before her home was demolished.  "We woke up to the roof getting ripped off," Brown said. "We went to the living room, and we lifted a wall off of a friend who was staying with us. That's when the tornado circled back, and it hit the house again. We barely made it into the bathroom."  She said only a few exterior walls remained of her home. A photo from The Denver Post showed the ceiling and wall gone from about half the house, a stove standing in the wide open kitchen.  Chivington does not have its own weather siren, Sorensen said. Kiowa County has used grant money to offer residents low-cost, weather-alert radios, and an estimated 25 to 30 percent households have those radios, Sorensen said. An automated phone message warning of tornadoes also was sent to landline phones, as well as to mobile phones that were registered to receive the county's alerts, he said.  Sorensen said the areas hit were mostly isolated farmland. A tractor-trailer was blown over on Colorado Highway 96 near Chivington, in Kiowa County.  There was also a report of a tornado touching down near Yoder in El Paso County on Thursday night and damaging a barn, said Patrick Cioffi, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.  Tornado season usually doesn't begin until May in Colorado. Overnight tornadoes are more common in Kansas and Oklahoma than in Colorado, where most severe weather is fueled by daytime heat, Cioffi said. He said the severe weather on the plains followed near record temperatures in the 80s.  Heat creates instability in the atmosphere, which can lead to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.  A Lamar resident who took cover from the storm, Amy Braun, says she later learned the tornado sirens down the street from her house weren't working because the power had gone out. However, she'd signed up for the severe weather alert service: 9NEWS Weather Call. That call woke her up and found a safe place.  Braun's home wasn't damaged in the storm.  If you want to sign up for 9NEWS Weather Call, you can try it for free for 60 days. For more information, visit 

Power has been knocked out in Lamar and most of Prowers County because of the severe weather. Drivers traveling across the plains were warned to fuel up because gasoline wasn't available in the area.  No shelters have been established, said Catherine Barde, a spokeswoman for Pikes Peak Chapter of Red Cross.  "Right now we are just on standby," she said. "We are working with families on an individual basis."  Colorado Emergency Management has issued a statement asking people in the Lamar area to use caution due to downed power lines. They are reporting power is out in Lamar, Eads, Chivington and Sheridan Lake and surrounding areas. The statement calls damage to homes "considerable" and says power may be out for four hours or possibly longer.  The same band of storms also dropped snow in Breckenridge and the Eisenhower Tunnel, said forecaster Todd Dankers in Boulder. High winds swept the Western Slope, but no injuries were reported, he said.  Colorado's tornadoes happen to coincide with a deadly day in American history.  On April 27, 2011, 208 tornadoes touched down in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. It is the most recorded ever on a single day. A total of 316 people were killed, the fifth highest number of tornado victims in a single day.  April 27 fell right in the middle of a multi-day tornado outbreak, with nearly 360 deaths in 21 states, causing about $11 billion in damages.  What made that day even more notorious was the number of highly destructive tornadoes. Fifteen tornadoes were rated EF-4 or EF-5, the highest ratings. Alabama was the hardest hit, with nine violent tornadoes touching down. - 9 News.
WATCH: 7 homes, hog farm destroyed in Colorado tornadoes.

ANCIENT ALIENS: Season 4 - Aliens and the Time Travelers!

The History Channel continues its popular series on extraterrestrials, alien theories and ancient civilizations with season four of Ancient Aliens. The following video playlist constitutes program nine, entitled Aliens and the Time Travelers.

Is it possible that sightings of alien beings or UFOs may actually be evidence of time travelers from the future? And might ancient astronauts actually be time travelers from our future? Scientists explore the theoretical possibility of time travel. How can it be achieved? And what might people from 10,000 years in the future look like? - History Channel.
WATCH: Aliens and the Time Travelers.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Moderate 4.1 Magnitude Quake Shakes Southern California - The Seismic Swarm Continues Along Canada's West Coast as a 4.7 Magnitude Tremor Strikes off Vancouver Island!

 A moderate earthquake has rattled Southern California.  The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 4.1 quake struck 8:07 a.m. Saturday.

It was centered along the San Andreas Fault about two miles northwest of Devore, in San Bernardino County.  Buildings swayed in downtown Los Angeles, about 60 miles to the west.  City News Service reports slight damage was reported by homeowners in Rancho Cucamonga, just west of the epicenter.  The U.S. Geological Survey says a 2.0 aftershock hit about a half mile away about two minutes later. - FOX News.
WATCH: Puzzling quake swarm along the San Andreas Fault.

A magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck about 200 kilometres west of Vancouver Island on Friday morning but there were no reports of it being felt by island residents.

This was the largest quake in a small swarm of earthquakes off the coast of Vancouver. The quake struck around 1:36 a.m. PT, according to the Natural Resources Canada. Earthquakes of that size are common in the area and experts say they do not indicate a large earthquake is more likely. The U.S. Geological Service reported three quakes of similar magnitude in the area over the past five days, and there have been several more reported in recent months. - CBC News.
WATCH: New Brunswick town in Canada plagued by mysterious quake swarm.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - United States Deploys F-22s, the Nation's Most Advanced Fighter Jets, to Allied Base, 200 Miles From Iran!

The U.S. military has deployed several F-22s, the nation's most advanced fighter jets, to an allied base less than 200 miles from Iran.

A F-22 flies in a display during Farnborough International Airshow in England, Monday, July 19, 2010.
The Air Force strongly denies this deployment is meant as a show of force against Iran or that it is in some way related to a potential strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Rather, it says this is all part of a routine deployment and "security cooperation with regional partners."  The Air Force won't say how many jets were sent or exactly where they are stationed, but privately, U.S. officials have told Fox News the jets are in hangars at the United Arab Emirates' Al Dafra Air Base, a fact first reported by Aviation Week.  The F-22 has not yet seen combat.

The jets were not used in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. They are stealth, and they specialize in air-to-air combat, but can also strike air-to-ground if needed. As one Air Force official put it, "this is America's premier fighter jet. It has no rival."  The next round for Iran nuclear negotiations, which many consider to be the country's last diplomatic opportunity, takes place on May 23 in Baghdad.  "The United States Air Force has deployed F-22s to Southwest Asia. Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations, and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures," Lt.Col. John Dorrian, Air Force public affairs, said in a written statement. - FOX News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.7 Strikes Along the Tonga Trench, Tonga - Seismic Disturbance Continues on the "Pacific Ring of Fire"!

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck the Tonga Trench, Tonga on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 10:08:07 UTC. The tremor was located at 18.643°S, 174.725°W with a depth of 129.4 km (80.4 miles).

According to the U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA's National Weather Service, no tsunami watch, warning or advisory was issued. The epicentre was 78 km (48 miles) west of Neiafu, Tonga; 280 km (173 miles) north of Nuku' Alofa, Tonga;  315 km (195 miles) southwest of Hihifo, Tonga; and  2266 km (1408 miles) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand.

The Tonga Trench is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is 10,882 metres (35,702 ft) deep at its deepest point, known as the Horizon Deep. According to the August 2011 version of the GEBCO Gazetteer of Undersea Feature Names, the location and depth of the Horizon Deep Deep are given as 23°15.5′S 174°43.6′W and 10,800 m (35,433 ft) ±10 m (33 ft).  The Tonga Trench is a convergent plate boundary. The trench lies at the northern end of the Kermadec-Tonga Subduction Zone, an active subduction zone where the Pacific Plate is being subducted below the Tonga Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. The Tonga Trench extends north-northeast from the Kermadec Islands north of the North Island of New Zealand. The trench turns west north of the Tonga Plate and becomes a transform fault zone.  The convergence is taking place at a rate estimated at approximately 15 centimetres (6 in) per year (by Lonsdale, 1986); however, recent Global Positioning Satellite measurements indicate in places a convergence of 24 centimetres (9 in) per year across the northern Tonga Trench, which is the fastest plate velocity recorded on the planet; a result is the earth's most active zone of mantle seismicity. Such oceanic trenches are important sites for the formation of what will become continental crust and for recycling of material back into the mantle. Along the Tonga Trench mantle-derived melts are transferred to the island arc systems, and abyssal oceanic sediments and fragments of oceanic crust are collected. - Wikipedia.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Record Drought in the United Kingdom Set to Worsen - Despite One of the Wettest Aprils Ever?!

Sick and tired of the incessant rain? Well, brace yourself, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.  Further downpours – and there are warnings of heavy rain, high winds and potential flash flooding tonight – could mean this month’s rain will beat the record for the wettest April –  currently 120.3mm (4.7in) in 2000. The tempestuous weather will continue over the weekend, sweeping across most of England and South Wales tomorrow. It will then spread north, with Scotland and Northern Ireland getting rain by tomorrow night.  Another band of rain looks set to hit the country on Tuesday.  Not that the drought police appear to be moved.  Astonishingly they said that the situation has worsened in the past week because the driving rain has simply been soaked up by the parched soil.

Polly Chancellor, national drought co-ordinator at the Environment Agency, said: ‘At the moment most of the rain is not reaching down far enough to top up groundwater, which is what we really need to make a difference to the drought.’ That’s unlikely to cut much ice with the residents of York where homes and businesses were swamped yesterday when the Ouse rose to dangerous levels.   The wet weather has caused mayhem on the roads, with one woman in East Yorkshire dying after she crashed in poor conditions.  A mother and her 12-year-old son were rescued in Dorset after the Stour broke its banks. And yesterday in Hatfield Peverel, Essex, a woman was saved after her car was stranded in three feet of water.  On Wednesday, a mother clung to her baby’s buggy when a tornado hit Rugby in Warwickshire.  Amy Gray, 19, was walking home with her eight-month-old son Tyler when strong winds whipped the pushchair into the air. Luckily the tornado passed in seconds leaving mother and baby unharmed. And more misery is set to come as experts warn of yet more rain, hail, thunder and lightning today, with 13 flood warnings in place for the North East, and 42 less serious flood alerts across the Midlands, North East, South East, South West and Wales.  The wet weather shows no sign of relenting and winds of up to 60mph are set to hit coastal areas over the weekend with more downpours continuing well into next week. Brendan Jones, forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: 'The wettest areas on Friday will be East Anglia, Wales and southern England, which can expect sharp, heavy downpours in the afternoon.  'There’s also likely to be some lightning and hail - the sorts of things we’ve got quite used to over the past week.  He said the rain was then expected to move northwards to north Wales and the North Midlands later, with the worst affected areas experiencing up to 10mm of rain.  England and Wales has already had the wettest week since last December as the South East received 42mm (1.7in) of rain this week while the South West had 55mm (2.2in). The South West has now had 166 per cent of the average rainfall for April but another band of rain on Tuesday will give a damp start to May.  York, which has had a drought for the last month, struggled to cope with fresh downfalls overnight leaving the city centre flooded again for the second time in seven days after the River Ouse burst its banks along the city's riverside. 

And despite being flooded twice in the space of a week, York is still officially suffering a drought, as the ground remains to hard to soak up any of the water.   Mr Jones continued: 'Saturday is not looking too bad but parts of England and Wales are going to get a real soaking on Sunday.  'Some of the wettest weather will be in southern England with up to 40mm falling. It will then move further north with Scotland and Northern Ireland getting the rain by Sunday night.'  Mr Jones said gusts of 55 to 60mph were set to hit coastal areas on Sunday but it was currently unclear which parts of the country would be worst affected.    Mr Jones added: 'They are especially strong for what is ultimately getting towards late spring. We would not normally see such strong winds at this time of year.      'There will potentially be another band of rain on Tuesday. The weather isn’t going to get any better in the foreseeable future.'  MeteoGroup forecaster Nick Prebble added that so far this month there has been 175 per cent more rain than normal.  Hardest hit yesterday was the South West, where the Environment Agency issued flood warnings for the Devon rivers Axe, Otter, Coley  and Taw, along with the Char and Wriggle in Dorset.  It comes after householders in Rugby and Essex were left clearing the wreckage left by twisters yesterday.  One farm in Halstead, Essex, saw more than £100,000 of damage from the strong winds, which lifted farmer Alan Barrow off his feet and hurled him to the ground.  ‘It was a really terrifying experience,’ the 55-year-old said. ‘It was like a physical blow. I never saw it coming.’  Ten of his farm buildings were destroyed and 20 of his chickens were killed when their coop was flipped over. Mr Barrow, whose insurance does not cover the farm for storms, fears he will face huge repair bills.  He added: 'I feel very lucky to be here today but the damage caused will cost us about £100,000 to repair. If I had got in the way of any of the flying debris though things would have been much worse.  'Two chicken sheds were overturned and about 20 chickens were crushed under them as they came down.

Afterwards we started to clear the wreckage and we found two trapped under all the debris so we saved them but the majority didn't stand a chance.  'One of our sheds had it's roof completely taken off and there is severe damage to another one and to the grain store. It will take months to repair. We don't have storm insurance you never think you'll get a twister in Essex.  'There are trees, even fully grown oaks ripped out of the ground up on the fields. If this had gone through a town or something there is no doubt people would have got hurt, just think of the damage, it would have been awful.'  The tornado's trail of destruction left behind flattened sheds, damaged walls, and killed 20 chickens when it lifted their run up into the air and then threw it back down to the ground.  In Rugby, Warwickshire, a twister ripped the roof off one house and in Newport, South Wales, a 12ft wide trampoline was tossed ‘like a toy’ by a tornado which tore through a suburban street.  Torrential rain has seen rivers that were dry last month flowing freely. The River Pang did not even reach road level at Bucklebury Ford in Berkshire last month, but yesterday it had risen to be around 7in deep.  But even the recent downpours are unlikely to avert a drought across parts of the country because the ground is too hard to soak up any water.  A swathe of England taking in the South West, the Midlands, the South East, East Anglia and south-east Yorkshire are in drought, and hosepipe bans introduced by seven water companies remain in place. - Daily Mail.

THE DELUGE: Record Rainfall For One Day Seen in Portland, Maine - 3.13 Inches of Rain, Highest Since 1921!

A record rainfall for Portland on Monday helped temper April's stretch of dry, fire-prone weather, greening up places like Deering Oaks, but there's a many-legged downside.  Invasive insects may crop up where they haven't been seen before.  On Monday, Portland set a daily record for rainfall with 3.13 inches of rain, breaking the old record of 1.53 inches set in 1921, according to Margaret Curtis, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Rainfall records go back to 1941.

A weekend storm helped the state rebound from several weeks when fire danger peaked at high on state advisories. For weather watchers, the nor'easter, which dumped 4 to 5 inches of rain from Portland up the mid-coast through Waldo County, evened out a month known for its showers but that had been inordinately dry.  "Three weeks of dry and two really wet days, it all comes out really close to normal," Curtis said.  For Allison Kanoti, forest entomologist with the Maine Forest Service, the dry-to-wet cycle meant a case of good news, bad news in the world of bug hunting. Deering Oaks is the place where state scientists converged two years ago to put out an alert about invasive pests, particularly the Asian longhorned beetle. Today, Maine is still free of the beetle, but state scientists said the recent storm set the stage for the public to check forests for signs of unwanted pests.  "If folks have storm damaged trees, it's a good time to look for signs of Asian longhorned beetle," Kanoti said yesterday in an interview.  The beetle causes structural damage to trees, so maples weakened by the beetle may end up succumbing in a storm like last weekend's nor'easter, she said. 

Good news on the weather front is that the recent rainfall - which the weather service noted has brought Portland up to near average for monthly precipitation - also helped fortify trees against invasive insects.  "Getting a little bit more rain will help support the trees, because drought is expected to cause decline to be more rapid," Kanoti said.  The bad news on the weather front is that the recent storm may have spread another invasive pest - the hemlock woolly adelgid, which can go airborne and find new woods to damage.  "The storm like the one we had this past week can move the adelphids out further," Kanoti said. "This is the time of year that adelphids can be moved on winds."  Hemlock woolly adelgid, a small, aphid-like insect that originated in Japan but arrived in the United States in the 1950s, causes premature needle drop and twig dieback, and eventually, death of host trees. This past winter created ideal conditions for the invasive forest insect, and it was found recently in Alfred, Arundel, Biddeford and Kennebunk, according to the Maine Forest Service.  The adelgids survived quite well over the winter, and people are likely to see them in new places, Kanoti said.  Meanwhile, scientists hope they don't see the Asian longhorned beetle in Maine. The pest attacks so many types of hardwood trees, officials fear billions of dollars worth of damage to the economy and severe effects on the environment if it becomes established here. Since 2009, when state scientists organized volunteers for a search for the Asian longhorned beetle around Deering Oaks, Kanoti said some tough lessons have been learned in Boston and Worcester, Mass., where infestations were detected. The Worcester, Mass., infestation was found two decades after its infestation. Due to the delay in detection, Worcester had to remove 30,000 trees, she said. - The Portland Daily Sun.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Freak Storm Sweeps Across The Bahamas - Several Homes Damaged!

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) assessed the damage to homes yesterday after a freak storm tore the roof from at least one residence in southern New Providence during the early hours of Sunday.

Bahamas Defence Force members help to repair a home whose roof was ripped off by the storm.
No injuries were reported but yesterday afternoon NEMA and the Bahamas Red Cross were conducting an initial assessment of homes near Malcolm Road - the area hardest hit by high wind gusts.  Meanwhile personnel from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force assisted residents who had their roof torn off by what was being described as a tornado by people in the area.  Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA, said plastic sheeting was being distributed to those whose roofs sustained damage.  While residents seemed convinced that it was a twister that wreaked havoc on their neighborhood at about 3am on Sunday, Basil Dean, Chief Meteorologist at the Meteorological Office, said the culprit was straight-line gusts associated with the thunderstorm.  "In the way the vegetation lies in a North/South layout, it was more consistent with strong straight-line gusts and not a twister," he said.

"Laypersons are associating it with a tornado, but it was more consistent with straight-line gusts that developed from these thunderstorm cells."  Mr Dean said the system developed in the Gulf of Mexico. It brought with it a number of thunderstorm cells that struck New Providence as residences slept.  He said the low pressure system could bring more strong winds to the Northern Bahamas this week.  The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) was also busy yesterday reconnecting customers following Sunday's tempest.  The corporation released a statement yesterday afternoon saying it had restored power to much of the areas affected by the storm and reasoned that all of the affected areas would have restored power by the end of the day.  "Lightning, heavy downpour, and high winds were responsible for damage to some power lines on BEC's distribution network," the BEC release said.  "As a result, there were outages in several communities. Emergency crews were dispatched as soon as weather conditions improved and the corporation brought in additional teams early Sunday morning to expedite the restoration process." - Tribune 242.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Nyamuragira Volcano in the DR Congo Update - New Lava Lake Forming in the Summit Crater?!

Nyamuragira volcano in the DR Congo might be forming a new lava lake in its summit caldera.

Lava fountains from the Nyamuragira volcano, seen in January, this year.
The volcano's last eruption from the Kimanura fissure NE of the summit caldera seems to have ended by now. Until early to mid March, a lava lake was observed in the eastern vent and a strong heat source could be detected on satellite imagery, but has now disappeared.

Seismic explosion signals from a source under the summit were noted on 24 February from the summit crater and overflights showed increased degassing from the central pit, which contained a lava lake until 1940. This activity increased in April and a strong SO2 odor from this area suggests the presence of near-surface magma. Scientists and the park rangers are speculating about the possibility that a new lava lake in the summit crater might be about to form. - Volcano Discovery.
WATCH: Nyamuragira volcano erupts (January, 2012).

DELUGE: Flash Floods Wreak Havoc in Kenya - Seven Children Drowned in National Park!

Weeks after the long rains season started, Kenyans are feeling its effect as floods wreak havoc in most parts of the country. A church retreat turned tragic when seven youths drowned because of flooding at Hell's Gate National Park in Naivasha.

Already the floods-prone area of Budalangi has received floods alert after River Nzoia broke its banks. In Kisumu, heavy rains rendered hundreds homeless and destroyed a key road linking the city to Kisii town.  In Nairobi, the most affected area is Syokimau where many houses were submerged after heavy rains on Tuesday which extended the whole night, cutting drainage systems and roads.  A wall surrounding an upcoming building collapsed after a river broke its banks. According to an eyewitness, Origin Shamala, who was working at the building when the wall collapsed, nobody was hurt during the incident. "We managed to run for our lives despite the heavy rains," he said.  While the land level can be blamed for floods in Syokimau, the cause in Pipeline where water flowed into people's houses and businesses is said to be man-made. 

Residents say poor drainage is the cause of the crisis they have been going through. Laban Mororo, a businessman and a resident in the area, says the problem has been there for years and urges the city council and the government to work on it. "I am counting losses for something which can be solved," he said while drawing water from his business premise.  Worried of cholera outbreak, another resident, Paul Chumo, says the rain water mixes with sewer, posing a great danger to families. He also adds that security lights cables in the area pass underground and can be disastrous if they get into contact with water.  Many families in the area say they were woken up by water in their houses and were forced to start clearing it up at night. "We pour the water outside the house and since it has nowhere to go it eventually comes back unless the rain stops," said Francis Ngugi, a shopkeeper.  Twenty nine people have so far died from floods countrywide with scores more displaced, according to the Red Cross. People living in flood-prone areas have been urged to move to safer grounds to avoid more deaths. - The Star.