Sunday, April 29, 2012

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: More Than 1,200 Pelican Found Mysteriously Dead in Northern Peru - Same Region as the Mass Dolphin Die-Off?!

According to Francisco Nique, president of the Association of Fishermen of Puerto Eten, for about 10 or 12 days have found more than 1,200 dead pelicans along 160 kilometers, between Punta Negra, in Piura , and San Jose creek in Lambayeque.

The birds began to appear dead on the northern coast of the country for more than 10 days.
Neither the Peruvian Sea Institute or Service of Protected Areas could explain the phenomenon.
He reported that seven dolphins were found stranded, which add up to more than 3,000 fish dead in northern Peru so far this year.  The Peruvian Sea Institute (IMARPE) has not yet determined the cause of death of the birds and said the dolphins may have been killed by a virus, while Nique said the cause could be the paucity of species that function as food or seismic waves for exploration activities in the area. 

The National Service of Protected Areas by the State (Sernanp) also failed to explain the phenomenon, but has ruled that the reasons respond to sound waves that are carried out seismic exploration at sea. Implemented a contingency plan to investigate. - Peru 21 [Translated].

EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: Pacific Reef Sharks Are Vanishing Near Populated Islands - As Many As 90 Percent Have Disappeared?!

As many as 90 percent of reef sharks have disappeared from reefs near populated islands, a new study finds.  The research is the first to provide a large-scale estimate of reef sharks in the Pacific, a group of species that includes the gray reef shark, the whitetip reef shark and the tawny nurse shark.

Curious gray reef sharks (Carcharhinus amlyrhynchos) at Kure Atoll, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National
Monument, Hawaii were studied as part of a study published April 25 in the journal Conservation Biology.
"We estimate that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90 percent compared to those at the most untouched reefs," said study leader Marc Nadon, a doctoral candidate at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "In short, people and sharks don't mix."  Nadon and his colleagues pulled shark sighting data from more than 1,607 dives at 46 reefs in the central-western Pacific, which included reefs near the Hawaiian islands and American Samoa as well as extremely isolated reefs nearly devoid of human influence.  Though eight species of shark were seen on the dives, the researchers excluded sharks, such as hammerheads, that aren't dependent on reefs. That left them with five shark species to tally: gray reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, Galapagos sharks and tawny nurse sharks.  

Combining that data with information on human population, habitat complexity, availability of food and sea-surface temperatures, the researchers created models comparing the numbers of sharks at pristine versus human-impacted reefs.  "Around each of the heavily populated areas we surveyed — in the main Hawaiian Islands, the Mariana Archipelago, and American Samoa — reef shark numbers were greatly depressed compared to reefs in the same regions that were simply [farther] away from humans." Nadon said in a statement. "We estimate that less than 10 percent of the baseline numbers remain in these areas."  The devastation of sharks in areas near human civilization could be the result of illegal fishing, incidental killing or fishing for sport, the researchers report Friday (April 27) in the journal Conservation Biology. Human impact on the reef fish that sharks call dinner could also play a role. Human influences were shown to outweigh natural influences, such as warmer water temperatures, the researchers found.  "Our findings underscore the importance of long-term monitoring across gradients of human impacts, biogeographic, and oceanic conditions, for understanding how humans are altering our oceans," said Rusty Brainard, head of the coral reef ecosystem division at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, which conducted the shark surveys. - FOX News.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - Iran Threatens American East Coast; Navy Commander Says Iranian Navy Has Ability to Deploy Vessels to Within 3 Miles of New York City!

Iran's Navy has the ability to deploy its vessels three miles off the US east coast, a high-ranking Iranian Navy commander was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

"Our naval forces are so powerful that we have a presence in all the waters of the world and, if needed, we can move to within three miles of New York," Revolutionary Guards Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi was quoted as saying during a speech to students at the University of Yazd earlier this week.  The admiral was speaking on the anniversary the failed 1980 US attempt to rescue American hostages held captive in the US embassy in Tehran. Fadavi said dominance in the Persian Gulf is "the only tool for the Americans to rule the world," charging that this prompts the US to "confront any other power that threatens their status."   

Meanwhile, Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said Iran was capable of crippling or disabling US aircraft carriers, Fars said. "First, sinking an aircraft carrier is not a complicated task," Hajizadeh said. "Second, an aircraft carrier is equipped with so many advanced, delicate, and sensitive devices … that it could be incapacitated by even the smallest explosion."     Earlier, Fox News reported that the US military has deployed several F-22 fighter jets to an allied base less than 200 miles (320 km) from Iran.     According to the report, the US Air Force strongly denied ordering the deployment s a show of force against Iran, or that it is in some way related to a potential strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities. It claimed the measure is part of routine activity and "security cooperation with regional partners." - YNET News.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Flood Warnings Issued as Strong Winds & Heavy Rains Wreck Havoc Across the UK - Monumental Drought Unaffected by One of the Wettest April Ever?!

Strong winds and heavy rain have brought down trees and power lines across England and Wales.  The Environment Agency has issued warnings of localised flooding in the South West, Midlands, North East and East of England.  And thousands of homes in south Wales, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Somerset have been left without electricity.

A tree blocked this road in Dinas Powys in the Vale of Glamorgan before it was moved on Sunday
The heavy rain comes as many areas are currently in a state of drought following two unusually dry winters.  Forecasters say an area of heavy rain and strong winds has been spreading northwards across the southern half of the UK, with more than 38mm (1.5ins) of rain falling in some places overnight.  The Met Office said: "The public should be aware that this may lead to some local flooding given the recent wet conditions, and that north-easterly winds will exceed 50-60 mph in some locations, bringing the risk of falling trees."  It has now lifted an amber "be prepared" warning for the River Severn in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.  The Environment Agency (EA) has 18 flood warnings in place on rivers including the Wid in Essex; the Ouzel at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire; the Derwent in East Yorkshire, and the River Stour in Warwickshire.  Ten of the flood warnings are for the South West, including in Devon for the River Yarty at Axminster and the River Otter at Honiton, and Doniford Stream in Somerset.  Among those areas also subject to warnings were parts of the Ouse at York, where the river flooded footpaths following torrential rain on Thursday. The Ouse is currently 9ft 2in (2.8m) above normal summer levels, the EA said.  A flood warning also relates to riverside properties in Chelmsford, and the area around Essex County Cricket Ground in the city.  There are more than 140 alerts in place, warning of possible flooding in parts of England and Wales, except for the North West and Cumbria.

In other developments:
  • In East Yorkshire, the Weir Caravan Park in Stamford Bridge had to be evacuated after the Derwent broke its banks causing localised flooding in the town
  • In Gloucestershire, more than 20 trees have fallen across roads mainly in the Cheltenham area, Stroud, Dursley and parts of the Cotswolds
  • Trees have been brought down in Devon, blocking some roads, and rail services between Exeter and Plymouth have been disrupted because of debris on the line at Totnes
  • Southern Electric said about 1,000 homes in Devizes, Calne, and Potterne, Wiltshire, had been affected by a power outage after power cables were brought down in high winds. The firm said about 3,000 homes in Watlington and in Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire are also without power
  • In Somerset, Western Power said 230 homes in the Midsomer Norton area and 96 homes in the Taunton area were without power after high winds brought down power lines
  • Firefighters in Hockley, Essex, rescued eight people trapped in flood waters when they became stranded in four cars on a road
  • More than 10 short-haul flights from Heathrow Terminal 5 have been cancelled or delayed because of the adverse weather
  • Western Power says about 5,000 homes have lost power in Swansea, Cardiff and east Wales in stormy weather.
Drought Unaffected:
Also in Wales, drivers are also being warned to take care on the M4 because of fallen trees, and one lane became blocked eastbound near Bridgend. Firefighters in south, mid- and west Wales say they have been busy dealing with minor weather-related calls.  Between 40mm and 60mm of rain has been forecast for east Wales.  BBC weather forecaster Philip Avery said the wet and windy conditions will continue across Cornwall and Wales overnight.  He said the weather will become drier across affected parts of England and Wales on Monday, although more rainfall was forecast for later in the week. The generally dry conditions in Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue into next week. The weekend downpours come at the end of a wet week for England and Wales, in which 42mm (1.7in) of rain fell in the South East and 55mm (2.2in) in the South West, which has now had 166% of the average rainfall for April. An Environment Agency spokesman said: "The Environment Agency is closely monitoring the forecast and rainfall particularly in Worcestershire, as the river levels are already higher than normal in the rivers Severn, Teme and Avon.  "Environment Agency officers are out monitoring river levels, checking defences and clearing any potential blockages, such as fallen branches and debris, to reduce the risk of flooding."  The Environment Agency said all regions had now received above average rainfall for April, boosting river levels and providing relief for farmers, gardeners and wildlife in drought areas.  But it also said that groundwater levels remained low and the rain was not yet making a difference to the drought conditions.  Soil affected by prolonged dry weather increases the risk of flash floods because heavy rain quickly runs off hard, compacted ground. - BBC.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: High Disaster Alert in Nicaragua - "Unusual Behavior" and Increase in Expulsions of Sulfur Gases at the Masaya Volcano!

Nicaraguan Experts reported Sunday more seismic activity at Masaya volcano, about 20 kilometers south of Managua, with an increase in expulsions of sulfur gases, which keeps the disaster warning system in high alert.

According to the report, a crack in the main crater causes higher emissions and a sound similar to a jet engine.  Specialists of the National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters (SINAPRED) and the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER), told the press that they detected this unusual behavior several days ago, but for now there is no reason for alarm. 

The INETER geophysics director, Angelica Munoz, told the site El 19 Digital they monitor Masaya's situation closely because of rising emissions and temperature above the normal range.  Technical teams assess the seismic tremor, but there is no emergency declared and the gates of Masaya Volcano National Park remain open to the public, said the director of INETER, Jorge Castro, and the executive secretary of SINAPRED, Guillermo Gonzalez. - Prensa Latina.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CONTAGION: The Euro Zone Crisis - Spain Faces Crisis "of Huge Proportions" Over Unemployment and Banks!

Spain is in a crisis "of huge proportions", the foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has said after official figures showed unemployment had hit almost 25% amid concerns that the country's banking sector may need a €120bn (£98bn) bailout before the end of the year.  The jobless rate stood at an 18-year high after the latest figures showed it at 24.4%, or 5.6 million people out of work. Unemployment is now the focus of debate in the country as policymakers worry about the effects of a collapse in consumer spending, a drop in tax receipts and spiralling bad debts.

Standard and Poor's, the ratings agency that downgraded Spain's credit status on Thursday, said it was concerned the situation was worsening and rising defaults on loans and mortgages could quickly undermine the banking sector.  Critics of the rightwing administration headed by Mariano Rajoy said government policies were partly to blame for making the situation worse. The rate has soared on the back of labour reforms that make it easier and cheaper to sack people. Some 374,300 jobs were lost in the first three months of this year, representing an estimated loss of €953m in income tax receipts.  An austerity budget passed last month which pushed up education and health charges while cutting benefit payouts is also blamed for undermining household incomes and prolonging the recession.  On Friday the economy minister, Luis de Guindos, said VAT and other indirect taxes would have to rise next year to raise a further €8bn.  In four of the country's autonomous regions the jobless rate is over 30% and across the country 52% of under-25s are out of work, leaving 1.72m households without a single member in work.  Engracia Hidalgo, the employment minister, said there were "no positive indicators," while García-Margallo described the figures as "terrible for everyone and terrible for the government".

Of Spain's 47 million inhabitants, only 17,433,200 are in work.  In a radio interview, García-Margallo urged the EU to do more to promote growth. "What's bad for us is bad for them," he said. "It's like the Titanic – if it sinks, the first-class passengers go down with it." He defended government reforms, saying there was no alternative. "When you take strong measures to treat a sick person, at first they become weaker, but if you don't apply this treatment they won't get better," he said. However, austerity alone was not enough, he added.  Spanish banks have long been suspected of disguising billions of euros of bad debts on their books after a property price collapse wiped more than 60% off the value of homes in some areas. Many families have maintained mortgage payments during the crisis, but a steep rise in unemployment has sent the number of bad loans soaring.  The government is considering whether to create a holding company for the banks' toxic real-estate assets after three rounds of forced clean-ups and consolidations in the financial sector failed to draw a line under the problem.  S and P, which downgraded the country's rating from A to BBB+, said: "It is not going to be an easy job for most Spanish banks to find funding in the market. So the state may be called for at some point. But that, for now at least, is something the Spanish government seems to be unwilling to contemplate." - Guardian.

EARTH CHANGES: Planetary Warming - Scientific Study Indicates a Greater Threat of Extreme Weather?!

New research suggests that global warming is causing the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the oceans to intensify more than scientists had expected, an ominous finding that may indicate a higher potential for extreme weather in coming decades. By measuring changes in salinity on the ocean’s surface, the researchers inferred that the water cycle had accelerated by about 4 percent over the last half century. That does not sound particularly large, but it is twice the figure generated from computerized analyses of the climate.

If the estimate holds up, it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20 percent later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods. “This provides another piece of independent evidence that we need to start taking the problem of global warming seriously,” said Paul J. Durack, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the lead author of a paper being published Friday in the journal Science. The researchers’ analysis found that over the half century that began in 1950, salty areas of the ocean became saltier, while fresh areas became fresher. That change was attributed to stronger patterns of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean. The new paper is not the first to find an intensification of the water cycle, nor even the first to calculate that it might be fairly large. But the paper appears to marshal more scientific evidence than any paper to date in support of a high estimate. “I am excited about this paper,” said Raymond W. Schmitt, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, who offered a critique of the work before publication but was otherwise not involved. “The amplification pattern that he sees is really quite dramatic.” The paper is the latest installment in a long-running effort by scientists to solve one of the most vexing puzzles about global warming.
While basic physics suggests that warming must accelerate the cycle of evaporation and rainfall, it has been difficult to get a handle on how much acceleration has already occurred, and thus to project the changes that are likely to result from continued planetary warming. The fundamental problem is that measurements of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean — which covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface, holds 97 percent of its water and is where most evaporation and precipitation occurs — are spotty at best. To overcome that, scientists are trying to use the changing saltiness of the ocean’s surface as a kind of rain gauge. That works because, as rain falls on a patch of the ocean, it freshens the surface water. Conversely, in a region where evaporation exceeds rainfall, the surface becomes saltier. The variations in salinity are large enough that they can be detected from space, and NASA recently sent up a new satellite, Aquarius, for that purpose. But it will take years to obtain results, and scientists like Dr. Durack are trying to get a jump on the problem by using older observations, including salinity measurements taken by ships as well as recent measurements from an army of robotic floats launched in an international program called Argo. Dr. Schmitt cautioned that the work by Dr. Durack and his co-authors, the Australian researchers Susan E. Wijffels and Richard J. Matear, would need to be scrutinized and reproduced by other scientists. Another expert not involved in the work, Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said that Dr. Durack had produced intriguing evidence that global warming was already creating changes in the water cycle at a regional scale. But Dr. Trenberth added that he doubted that the global intensification could be as large as Dr. Durack’s group had found. “I think he might have gone a bit too far,” he said.
Assuming that the paper withstands scrutiny, it suggests that a global warming of about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past half century has been enough to intensify the water cycle by about 4 percent. That led Dr. Durack to project a possible intensification of about 20 percent as the planet warms by several degrees in the coming century. That would be approximately twice the amplification shown by the computer programs used to project the climate, according to Dr. Durack’s calculations. Those programs are often criticized by climate-change skeptics who contend that they overestimate future changes, but Dr. Durack’s paper is the latest of several indications that the estimates may actually be conservative. The new paper confirms a long-expected pattern for the ocean that also seems to apply over land: areas with a lot of rainfall in today’s climate are expected to become wetter, whereas dry areas are expected to become drier. In the climate of the future, scientists fear, a large acceleration of the water cycle could feed greater weather extremes. Perhaps the greatest risk from global warming, they say, is that important agricultural areas could dry out, hurting the food supply, as other regions get more torrential rains and floods. - NY Times.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Record-Breaking Heat Wave Extends Across Luzon, in the Philippines - Temperatures Reaching as High as 38.4 Degrees Celsius!

Yesterday Metro Manila sizzled at 36.4 degrees Celsius, now the highest temperature in Metro Manila recorded for the year.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA) said Friday’s temperature is a record breaker after hitting 36.2 for the last two days. Not yet the highest Weather forecaster Jun Galang said the 36.4 degrees Celsius temperature was recorded around 3 p.m. yesterday. Yesterday, however, the highest nationwide is actually Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija’s 37.2. It was followed by 36.5 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan. The highest temperature of the year was recorded in Clark at 38.4 degrees Celsius on April 13. Galang said they are expecting the heat wave to continue because of a ridge of high pressure area extending across Luzon.

According to Philippine Daily Inquirer Online, the record to beat in Metro Manila is May14, 1987’s 38.5 degrees Celsius. Philippine Star reported other highest recorded temperatures in the country: 42.2 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City on May 11, 1969; 38.5 degrees Celsius at the Science Garden, Quezon City on May 14, 1987; 38.5 degrees Celsius in Sangley Point, Cavite on May 16, 1987; 38.1 degrees Celsius at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Parañaque City on May 18, 1969; and 38.6 degrees Celsius in Port Area, Manila on May 17, 1915. Amid the heat, today’s weather for the whole archipelago is said to be partly cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening. PAGASA said the country will experience hot weather until the end of May. - POC.

THE SEASON OF THE WIND: "Massive" Wind Storm & Tornadoes Swept Through St. Louis, Missouri - Causing Power Outages, Collapsing a Beer Tent, Killing 1 and Injuring 100s!

High winds swept through a beer tent where 200 people gathered after a Cardinals game Saturday, killing one and seriously injuring five others. But the owner of the St. Louis bar that hosted the crowd said it was lightning -- not wind -- that killed the patron.  Seventeen were hospitalized and up to 100 people were treated at the scene after straight-line winds whipped through a large tent outside Kilroy's Sports Bar, near Busch Stadium.

One person died Saturday and more than a dozen were taken to a hospital with injuries
after high winds blew over a beer tent near Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The crowd was celebrating after the Cardinals had beaten Milwaukee 7-3, a game that ended about 80 minutes earlier.  Eddie Roth, director of the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, said winds of about 50 mph shattered aluminum poles that held up the tent, located south of the stadium. The force of the wind Saturday afternoon blew the tent onto an adjacent railroad bridge.  Both Roth and Deputy Fire Chief John Altmann said they could not confirm a cause of death for the man killed. Roth said the man appeared to be in his 50s. His name was not immediately released.  "It was crazy, scary," said Annie Randall, whose family owns Kilroy's. "We're just so sorry this happened."  Janece Friederich was in the parking lot at Kilroy's when she saw dark clouds approaching. Before she could get out of the car and go into the bar, she saw the tent fly into the air.  "It looked like it just got ripped out because it ended up 100 feet in the air on top of the railroad tracks," Friederich said.  Kilroy's owner Art Randall described a short burst of a storm -- perhaps five seconds, he said -- with a massive wind that lifted the huge tent, threw it high into the air and sent the aluminum poles and most everything in the tent airborne.  When he heard the boom, he initially thought a train had derailed into the tent.  As the wind blew, a bolt of lightning crashed into the bar, Randall said. He said firefighters told him it was a lightning strike -- not flying debris -- that killed the man.  "At some point in that five seconds, we were getting lightning strikes, and apparently one of our customers got hit by lightning right in the middle of the dance floor," Randall said. 

The bar owner said he screamed for help and three customers ran over to administer CPR, but they couldn't save the man.  Randall looked around "and saw 50 bodies scattered everywhere." He described a scene in which barstools, pedestals and a 100-pound bass amplifier were flying through the air. The disc jockey working the party was struck by the amp and knocked unconscious, he said, and people were scurrying to help one another.  "My wife had people in the beer cooler -- we had the beer cooler loaded with injuries," Randall said. "It was a triage deal."  Most of the injuries were minor -- cuts, bruises, twisted ankles, Altmann said. He did not have details about those with serious injuries.  Several bars and restaurants in the area around Busch Stadium set up tents throughout the baseball season to handle overflow crowds -- Cardinals games are typically sellouts, or close to it. In addition to the baseball game, about 20,000 fans were downtown Saturday for a St. Louis Blues hockey playoff game.  Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said Kilroy's was granted a tent permit on April 11 and it passed inspection a couple of days later.  Oswald said the city requires tents to be able to withstand winds up to 90 mph, but he declined to speculate on whether Kilroy's could face discipline.  Both Oswald and Altmann cautioned that patrons need to understand that a tent is not a safe place to be in bad weather. St. Louis had been under thunderstorm watches and warnings for some time prior to the incident at Kilroy's.  "Tents are temporary structures," Oswald said. "They are certainly not designed in any stretch of the imagination to handle weather like this."  About two hours after the incident at Kilroy's, tornado sirens blared throughout the city after a funnel cloud sighting. There were several reports of tree damage, power lines down and damage from hail that in some parts of the region reportedly was as big as tennis balls. By late evening, about 2,600 Ameren UE electrical customers were without power in the city. - ABC News.
WATCH: Man killed after beer tent collapses.

WORLD WAR III: The African Uprising & the Countdown to Armageddon - Sudan Declares Emergency on the Border With South Sudan; There Are Concerns That Clashes Could Envelop the Rest of Africa!

Sudan has reportedly declared a state of emergency along its border with South Sudan after weeks of clashes.  The decree will apply in the border districts of the South Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar states, according to the state-run Suna news agency.  Meanwhile, South Sudan has said it is willing to pull its police forces out of the disputed Abyei border region.

The current clashes began earlier this month when South Sudan occupied the Heglig oilfield area for 10 days.  The state of emergency "gives the right to the president and anyone with his mandate" to establish special courts, in consultation with the chief justice, according to Suna.  There were fresh skirmishes between the two countries' forces on Sunday, reports the BBC's Andrew Harding from the Sudan-South Sudan border.  South Sudanese forces fired at helicopter gunships, prompting Sudanese artillery to respond, our correspondent says.  South Sudanese authorities have meanwhile informed the United Nations that it is prepared to withdraw police forces from the disputed region of Abyei.  "The minister of interior will enhance the withdrawal of South Sudan's police force from Abyei... as long as the UN and African Union will look after its citizens in the area", a South Sudanese spokesman told AFP news agency.

Also on Sunday, a South African de-mining company said two of its employees, who were among four foreigners detained by Sudanese forces on Saturday, were there for "humanitarian work".  "We are doing... landmine clearance on a UN contract and our members have full UN immunity. The abduction took place well within South Sudan territory," Ashley Williams, CEO of state-owned Mechem, told AFP.  The four - from the UK, Norway, South Africa and South Sudan - have been flown to the Sudanese capital Khartoum for "further investigations".  Sudanese officials insist the men were aiding South Sudan, a charge rejected by the South.  Tension between the countries has been rising since the Heglig oilfield was occupied by forces from South Sudan earlier this month.  They left about a week ago, after holding the area for 10 days.  Sudan has been accused of carrying out a number of air raids on South Sudan this week. It denies the charges.  South Sudan became independent from Sudan last year after a civil war that lasted two decades and in which an estimated 1.5 million people were killed. - BBC.

SEASON OF THE WINDS: Extreme Weather - Strong Winds Force Dramatic Plane Landings in Northern Spain!

High winds in northern Spain tested the skills of pilots this week, as they landed in  extreme conditions that swayed planes and frightened passengers. 

Video footage captured planes landing at Bilbao's Loiu Airport in sweeping winds, which forced some pilots to abort the landing process.  The Basque country registered winds of more than 130 kilometres per hour. The State Meteorological Agency said winds reached up to 65 kilometres per hour at Loiu Airport, the daily Diario Vasco reported.  AENA, the airport authority said high winds had affected air travel resulting in four aircraft being re-routed to different airports.  Bilbao's airport, however, remained open throughout the bad weather.There were no cancellations but the conditions forced pilots to use their skills. - ITV.
WATCH: Strong Wind force dramatic plane landings in northern Spain.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Giant Sinkhole Plagues Resident in Harlingen, Texas!

Covered by two wooden boards and a cinder block, a sinkhole hole has existed for several weeks on FM 508 outside of Harlingen.  "I think it's dangerous,” said Harlingen homeowner Oralia Young. “I might fall into it and get killed.”

The crater is just a couple of steps away from the pedestrian curb in front of Oralia’s home.  It's large enough to swallow up a child, which has Oralia concerned.  "I'm afraid that someone is going to have an accident and I’m the one that's going to be sued,” said Oralia.  The homeowner contacted the city but since her property is on the county line, it's the state's responsibility to fix the gaping hole.  "They said that they had the backhoe in the shop and I said you mean you only have one,” said Oralia. “Then they told me they couldn’t come now.”  After little help from the state Oralia called us, desperate to get the hole repaired. 

Action 4 News spoke to a representative from the Texas Department of Transportation in a telephone interview.  He says the state will finally fix the obvious danger to both pedestrians and drivers.  "We have to call spot utilities before we dig,” said TxDOT Assistant Area Engineer Ricardo Gallaga. “We have to determine what is causing the problem, it might a utility line there or an irrigation line.”  Gallaga said Spot Utilities should be assessing the problem in the next 48 hours but just a few hours after Action 4 News called on them, repairs were already underway.  Oralia Young says when TxDOT showed up to cover up the sinkhole they discovered the crater was actually bigger than first suspected.  TxDOT promised us an update once the hole is plugged. - Valley Central.
WATCH: Giant sinkhole plaguing resident.