Saturday, June 2, 2012

EXTREME WEATHER USA: "It Was Like a Freight Train" - Several Freak Tornadoes Sweep Through American East Coast Leaving Wake of Severe Damage and Thousands Without Power!

Several rare tornadoes battered parts of the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic Friday night, setting much of the Eastern Seaboard up for a soggy Saturday full of flood warnings, high winds, and heavy rain.  The intense storm system left trees uprooted and property damage throughout – while tornadoes were reported in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania with up to 17 throughout the country last night.  The perfect storm conditions were made possible by a lower-than-average temperatures mixed with rain and a low pressure system.

That sinking feeling: Homeowner Doug Swinton surveys his property after a tree
fell through his home's roof in Gamber, Maryland last night 
According to, a tornado and waterspout – a funnel over the water – swept through Hampton, Virginia after what witnesses described as a pleasant evening rain.  ‘It was like a freight train,’ Gary McIntire, a resident of Hampton, told the station. ‘It was like the Wizard of Oz…It was really truly awe-inspiring and awful.’  At the Hampton Yacht club, boats up to 30-feet long were lifted from the water and deposited sideways, as debris and tree leaves went flying, witnesses said.  Most of the damage was to the boats that were on land, reported.  The weather system, more often seen in the Midwest and the Great Plains, left many scrambling for cover.  While there have not been any injuries reported, there was significant damage to power lines and trees in the storm’s path.   The Virginia storm’s path swept into major cities like Baltimore and Washington D.C., as the city experienced flood warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings throughout the night.   Harford County, Maryland saw severe damage from last night’s storms. A tree fell into a local house, and up to two dozen buildings were severely damaged in the storm, the Baltimore Sun reported.  There was also a reported tornado in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh. Residents reported many fallen trees and property damage. A shelter was set up at a nearby YMCA for the town’s residents.  According to the Weather Channel, the storm caused a dome at Robert Morris University to collapse. The school, just outside of Pittsburgh, said that all students were able to escape without sustaining injuries. 

Yet another tornado was reported in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The twister touched down near Highway 17, but went airborne after several minutes.  The NWS warns of driving in flood waters, as it often is deeper than it appears. According to MSNBC, some 11,000 people had no power overnight.  The storm also left those in nearby Prince George’s County, Maryland without electricity.   The unusual storm pattern also caused a headache for thousands of commuters.  According to NBC Washington, the Orange Line on DC’s Metro was closed due to a fallen tree on the tracks. Additional, surrounding airports suffered heavy delays beginning Friday afternoon.  As the system pulls moisture in from the Atlantic Ocean, heaviest rainfall is anticipated across the Northeast and Upper Ohio River Valley.   However, warm and humid conditions of the Southeast will allow for severe thunderstorm development.  Behind this system in the Plains, there will be significantly cooler temperatures after the passage of the strong cold front. Temperatures will be 15 to 20 degrees below seasonable from the Central Plains through parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes.  In the West, a cold front over the Pacific Northwest continues pushing moisture onshore.  This will produce more widespread scattered showers across Oregon and Washington, but heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are not likely. Meanwhile, mild moisture and warm temperatures over the Central and Northern Rockies will support afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms.   Severe weather development is not likely in these areas. Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Thursday have ranged from a morning low of 26 degrees at Silver Bay, Minnesota to a high of 102 degrees at El Centro, California. - Daily Mail.
WATCH: Tornado damage in Hampton, Virginia.

GLOBAL FINANCIAL MELTDOWN: "Cataclysmic" Euro Zone Crisis - Panic in Spain as Money Flies Out of Country and Head of European Bank Says Euro Zone is "Unsustainable"!

Senior European officials last night issued a grave warning that the very survival of the euro is at risk as the crisis in Spain threatens to tear the region apart. 

Politicians and central bankers said the situation in the eurozone was unsustainable and drastic action was needed to prevent the ‘disintegration’ of the single currency.  They spoke out as European leaders scrambled to stop the financial crisis in Spain spiralling out of control and infecting other countries such as Italy.  One analyst warned of ‘a perfect storm’ in Spain as the country’s deputy prime minister held crunch talks in Washington with US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.  It is thought the IMF is drawing up contingency plans for Spain to prevent a cataclysmic financial meltdown. 

The euro crashed to a 23-month low against the US dollar at $1.2335 but was up slightly against sterling having recovered from its lowest level since late 2008. Last night,  £1 was worth 1.2460 euros. Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, said the eurozone was unsustainable in its current form. In his sharpest criticism yet of eurozone leaders’ handling of the crisis, he said the ECB could not ‘fill the vacuum’ left by governments in terms of economic growth or structural reforms.  And he called for overwhelming force to be used to shore up Europe’s battered banks to restore confidence in the financial system.  Ignazio Visco, governor of the Bank of Italy and a senior ECB member, said political inertia and bad economic decisions have put ‘the entire European edifice’ at risk. ‘There are growing doubts among international investors about governments’ ability to ensure the survival of the single currency,’ he said. - Daily Mail.
WATCH: Will the Euro Zone Collapse?

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: The Strange Case of the Mutant Bird "Beaker" - Massachusetts Bird Mysteriously Born With Two Heads and Three Beaks?!

With spring well underway, baby animals are cropping up left and right. One of the more common ones to spot are baby birds, but this one seen by a Massachusetts woman was far from normal.

"Beaker" (Photo: April Britt via the Daily Hampshire Gazette).
The chick April Britt saw in her Northhampton backyard, according to CBS Local, had two heads and three beaks. Britt states she had seen adult cardinals in the area before, suggesting the chicks are of that species. While many birds would abandon a deformed chick such as this, Britt says she frequently saw adults coming back to feed it. “I thought it was pretty rare. I’ve definitely never seen anything like it. I’ve seen a two-headed snake and I’ve seen a frog in a pond with three legs, but I’ve never seen a deformed bird like this before,” Britt told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

CBS reports experts saying it is unlikely the bird will make it well into adulthood. Tom Lautzenheiser with the Massachusetts Audubon Society believes it is unusual that the bird has even lived long enough to be able to move around on its own, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The Gazette reports as of Tuesday the bird and its parents were no longer at their previous location. Britt said if they had been around longer, she would have named the chick “Beaker.” - The Blaze.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tourist Captures on Video the Rare Sight of a Massive Iceberg Tipping Over - Near the Upsala Glacier in Argentina!

A tourist has captured some rare and startling video of an iceberg tipping over. The tourist was traveling on a boat near the Upsala Glacier in Argentina and caught the unexpected moment.

Writing on YouTube under the name "osibaruch," the tourist says: "While we were passing by it with a catamaran, the huge berg lost a part of itself (look at the right side sinking) and then flipped over with a huge roar. In the process of melting this happens all the time, but it is seldom that it is captured on video WHEN it happens..."

The Upsala Glacier has been melting for a number of years and is often cited as evidence of global climate change. The BBC reports that the glacier, once the largest in South America, has been retreating at a rate of about 600 feet a year. Some scientists say the melting of Upsala is a result of other natural factors and is not primarily connected to climate change. The tourist originally captured the video in March but first posted it online this week
. - Yahoo.
WATCH: Iceberg flipping over.

DELUGE: Typhoon Mawar Dumps Heavy Rains Across the Philippines - Thirty Fishermen Missing; Flight and Ship Cancellations; Mass Stranding!

Thirty fishermen were missing and hundreds of travellers were stranded on Saturday after tropical storm Mawar dumped heavy rains across the Philippines, forcing flight and ship cancellations.

The storm blanketed large parts of the main southern island of Luzon and central Visayas province with up to 25 millimetres (an inch) of rain an hour overnight, the state weather bureau said. At least two domestic flights were cancelled while more than 500 people were stranded in ports after the coast guard prevented passenger ferries from sailing, disaster relief agencies said. "Thirty fishermen have also gone missing from the eastern-most island of Catanduanes after apparently getting caught at sea by the storm," Benito Ramos, head of Manila's Office of Civil Defense, said over local radio. He said search and rescue operations were underway, though the coast guard could not carry out an air search due to bad visibility. About 20 storms slam into the Philippines from the Pacific every year, causing heavy casualties and damage. Mawar is the first for 2012. - RSOE EDIS.
Initially a tropical depression, Mawar formed over the western Pacific Ocean on May 31, 2012, and strengthened to a tropical storm the following day. On June 1, 2012, the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) reported that Mawar was located approximately 245 nautical miles (455 kilometers) east-northeast of Manila, Philippines. The storm had maximum sustained winds of just 35 knots (65 kilometers per hour), but over the next 48 hours, Mawar’s wind speeds were forecast to increase to 80 knots (150 kilometers per hour) with gusts up to 100 knots (185 kilometers per hour). On June 1, 2012, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of Tropical Storm Mawar over the Philippine Sea. The storm did not yet look well organized, instead appearing as a mass of clouds east of Manila. The projected storm track, however, showed the strengthening storm turning toward the northeast and moving in the general direction of southern Japan. - Earth Observatory.
WATCH: Latest update on Typhoon Mawar.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Great Seismic Stress - Scientist Issues Dire Warning That a Powerful 7.5 Magnitude Quake Could Hit Quetta in Pakistan, and Adjoining Areas!

Renowned Scientist and Assistant Professor at Geology Department of University of Balochistan, Deen Muhammad Kakar has said that Global Positioning System machine reports have suggested that an earthquake of 7.5 Magnitude intensity and powerful like that of 1935 might hit Quetta city and adjoining areas.  He was talking to media persons here on Thursday. He said that GPS machines installed in areas including Quetta, Chaman, Saranan, Surkhab, Pishin, Ziarat, Shahrag, Harnai, Loralai, Qila Saifullah, Muslim Bagh, Lakpass, Kalat and Sorab have indicated that mountainous areas including Koh Sulman, Koh Kirthar, Quetta and northern areas are in eight-millimeter annual movement to South and due to this movement a great stress is being accumulated under soil.

"Due to this great stress, chances of a 7.5 Magnitude earthquake at Richter Scale to hit Quetta have been emerged," the Scientist warned.  He further said that Geology Department of University of Balochistan, Civil Engineering Department of NED University Karachi and Center of Excellence of Peshawar University were busy in compiling research reports with the help of GPS machines and other scientific equipments on emerging of possible and powerful earthquakes in future.  He said that presently population of Quetta has exceeded from 2.5 million while a large number of high-rise buildings and multistory shopping centers have been erected in the city adding these buildings were built while fully violating 1935 Building Code Laws.

He said that present official and non-official buildings would collapsed and caved in if an earthquake of 6.5 Magnitude hit Quetta adding that then how these building would face 7.5 Magnitude earthquake in future. He regretted that sub-standard material was used in construction of buildings in new populations around the old Quetta city which would collapse in a powerful tremor.  He said that another important aspect is that in case of a high Magnitude earthquake, natural gas supply pipelines would burst causing eruption of a huge fire which would engulf the city. He further said that powerful earthquake would cause razing of high-rise buildings and due to which the roads and streets of the city would be closed while people would be buried under their debris. “How, you will remove rubble of these multistory shopping centers while they have been constructed in narrow streets in bazaars of Quetta city where crane machines could not enter, he said.  He observed there were no proper arrangements at government level in Quetta to deal with a disaster caused by a powerful earthquake.” - Pakistan Observer.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: New String of Underwater Volcanoes Found in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty!

Scientists are saying the Tanagaroa seamount off the Bay of Plenty coast should be declared off limits to commercial exploitation by fishing and mining.  A group of Wellington scientists have just confirmed volcanic activity on the deep water seamount.  Niwa principal scientist Malcolm Clark says they have discovered new hydrothermal vents, which create chimney-like structures. 

A sonar image of the Tangaroa Seamount.
"Some of the venting we found was very high temperature, black smoker type situations, where the temperature is several hundred degrees Celsius," says Malcolm.  He has just returned from taking the first biological samples of the animals which have adapted to Tangaroa's unique environmental conditions.  The top of the seamount is nearly a kilometre below the ocean's surface.  "These are species which are adapted to live in quite extreme conditions, high levels of hydrogen sulphide which is toxic to most life forms, quite high temperatures, they're deep, there's no light, they're under quite high pressure," says Malcolm.  The research will help agencies protect these habitats from fishing or mining.  "These seamounts and deep sea areas in general are sites of deep sea trawling for species like orange roughy and they're also of interest for seabed mining," says Malcolm.  While there's no sea bed mining at the moment, Australian-based companies Nautilus and Neptune minerals have licences to explore for what is known as "sea floor massive sulphides".  "These are deposits that are rich in copper and zinc and also some gold and silver associated with them that occur on the seamounts," says Malcolm. 

Niwa's research vessel Tangaroa recently returned from a three-week voyage, with pictures, film footage and samples of new discoveries from the deep-sea floor, including footage of a new hydrothermal vent on an undersea volcano on the Tangaroa seamount.  "We were able to collect both underwater footage and specimens of chemosynthetic barnacles, mussels, and shrimps on Tangaroa Seamount," says Malcolm.  There are 50 submarine volcanoes stretching along the Kermadec Ridge. It's a significant feature of the Western Pacific, extending almost 1500km to the edge of the New Zealand., northeast of the Kermadec Islands.  Hydrothermal vents associated with these volcanoes release hot water and gases with different chemical compositions, so specific communities have adapted to survive in each area.  "The benthic community on Tangaroa seamount, a combination of mussels and barnacles and shrimps, isn't unique, but differs from that found on a number of neighbouring seamounts. "The seamount communities were also very different from those we observed and sampled on the slope and canyons, which typically had muddy seafloor, rather than rocks.  "This trip confirmed our working hypothesis that the environments generated in these different deep-sea habitats vary in their characteristics, and they result in faunal communities that can differ, within close proximity," says Malcolm.  "The implication is that the exploitation of one seamount could have an effect that is not the same as the seamount close by." - SUN Live.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes Salta, Argentina!

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck Salta, Argentina on Saturday, June 02, 2012 at 07:52:53.
The tremor was located at 22.109°S, 63.625°W with a depth of 519.6 km (322.9 miles).

The epicentre was at 8 km (4 miles) southeast of Yacuiba, Bolivia; 54 km (33 miles) northeast of Tartagal, Salta, Argentina; 131 km (81 miles) southeast of Tarija, Bolivia; 1469 km (912 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, D.F., Argentina. There are no reports of any damage or injuries at this time.

Just 20 minutes prior to the 6.0 earthquake,  a 4.4 magnitude earthquake struck the same region. Recorded depth of this one was 513.9 km (319.3 miles).  This is the second strong seismic disturbance to hit this region in 2012, but historical maps since 1900 shows that it is an active region.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the South American arc extends over 7,000 km, from the Chilean margin triple junction offshore of southern Chile to its intersection with the Panama fracture zone, offshore of the southern coast of Panama in Central America. It marks the plate boundary between the subducting Nazca plate and the South America plate, where the oceanic crust and lithosphere of the Nazca plate begin their descent into the mantle beneath South America. The convergence associated with this subduction process is responsible for the uplift of the Andes Mountains, and for the active volcanic chain present along much of this deformation front. Relative to a fixed South America plate, the Nazca plate moves slightly north of eastwards at a rate varying from approximately 80 mm/yr in the south to approximately 70 mm/yr in the north. Subduction zones such as the South America arc are geologically complex and generate numerous earthquakes from a variety of tectonic processes that cause deformation of the western edge of South America. Crustal deformation and subsequent mountain building in the overriding South America plate generate shallow earthquakes. Slip along the dipping interface between the two plates generates frequent and often large interplate earthquakes between depths of approximately 10 to 60 km. Since 1900, numerous magnitude 8 or greater earthquakes have occurred on the interface between the Nazca and South America plates, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile, the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in the world and the 2010 M8.8 earthquake north of the 1960 quake.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.