Wednesday, December 26, 2012

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Absolutely Stunning and Phenomenal Ray of Light Across The Skies Over Brazil?!

December 26, 2012 - BRAZIL - According to the newspaper The Paraná, rays of light appeared in the sky anomalous City Palotina, PR, on Monday evening (December 17th).

James Testa, a resident of the community of Corner Progress recorded the event and photo material would have drawn attention to the SIMEPAR to perform further analysis.

The light was first sighted by the father of James: "He told me that at first thought it was a light gun, but realized that as time passed, the light grew more intense, it was then that I decided to shoot"

The phenomenon remained in the sky for 10 minutes and then disappeared. James Testa says he had never seen anything like it. At first sight it might be a red ball, which would have drawn the attention of observers.

But before anyone talk that was only the sunset, see what was written in the original story: "Many said it was the sunshine, but it is impossible, because the image appeared to 20:15 where the sun rises and not where it goes down." - Minha Mestria [Translated].

WATCH: Stunning light rays over Brazil.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Volcano Discovery Report For December 24-26 - Stromboli, Etna, Tolbachik, San Cristobal, Tungurahua and Many More!

December 26, 2012 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from the Volcano Discovery Group.

Stromboli volcano has greeted us again with a Christmas present - since the evening of 23 Dec, a lava flow has been issueing, at least intermittently, from the eastern crater area and spreading over the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. Activity at the volcano has been elevated since some time, and we will have a look ourselves in the near future.

Etna volcano instead has been rather quiet over the past weeks, bt occasional ash emissions from the New SE craterhave been observed recently. Will there be more paroxysms as during 2011-April 2012? No one knows, but certainly, Etna will surprise us again sooner or later.

Some earthquakes in slightly elevated numbers have reappeared at Santorini volcano. For now, this might mean nothing much unusual, but it is a volcano we closely watch for obvious reasons.

The number of emissions from Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico has risen again to about 3 per hour, and some of them are moderate in size and produced small ash plumes. Glow from the growing dome inside the crater remains bright at night and a constant emission of steam and gas drifting eastwards is visible, and the latest satellite image shows a significant content of SO2 in the plume.

New ash emissions started at Nicaragua's San Cristobal volcano earlier today, following an impressive increase in seismic activity.

No new explosions have been observed from Pacaya volcano in Guatemala. The only activity at the surface is degassing. INSIVUMEH mentions that tremor and volcanic quakes are visible, suggesting new eruptions could occur any time.

Activity at Fuego volcano has remained dominantly effusive. The lava flow on the southern slope has increased its length to 500 m on 24 Dec morning. Mild strombolian activity with infrequent (a few per day) small explosions have continued at the volcano.

Explosive activity has picked up at Santiaguito with a few moderately strong emissions heard and observed during 24-25 Dec. The lava flows from the dome have remained active as well.

Over the past days, Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has calmed down compared to the previous week. However, the eruption is far from over. Glow at the summit indicates fresh magma continues to rise, and there is still a constant steam and ash column rising about 2 km, along with sporadic weak to moderate explosions.

Ash emissions of low intensity continue as well from time to time at Ecuador's other currently active volcano, Reventador.

The alert level of Copahue volcano in Chile was lowered to orange. Seismicity has remained low and only a few weak emissions were recorded recently. A warning of possible lahars remains in effect for the municipality of Alto Biobío.

The eruption at Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka has started to decrease over the past days and it looks as if it might be approaching an end in a near future. However, tremor is still high and some lava flows are still active with reduced output. The thermal anomalies have started to become smaller and also confirm the flash flood of lava to the east reported earlier caused by a spectacular cone collapse on 23 Dec.

After taking a break during 23-25 Dec, Sakurajima volcano in Japan has been quite productive today with at least 3 explosions so far today, including a moderately large one with ash rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

In Indonesia, Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi and Paluweh north off Flores remain the most active volcanoes of the country. Lokon continues produce a large steam plume and near-daily ash explosions, sometimes strong ones with ash falls occurring several km away. Paluweh's new lava dome continues to grow, and has likely produced pyroclastic flows to the S and SE, along with ash plumes rising up to 8-9,000 ft (2.4-2.7 km) altitude.

A SO2 plume is visible from Bagana volcano on Bougainville island in Papua New Guinea today, suggesting that the volcano is erupting as well. - Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: United States Fiscal Cliff - U.S. Will Hit Debt Limit On December 31, $16.4 Trillion Debt Ceiling, "Extraordinary Measures" To Continue Borrowing!

December 26, 2012 - UNITED STATES -   The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday announced the first of a series of measures that should push back the day when the government will exceed its legal borrowing authority as imposed by Congress by around two months.  Without any action, Treasury said the government is set to reach its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling on Dec. 31. 

The government is facing a crunch on the debt ceiling because the issue has become ensnarled in talks to avoid some $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts due to begin in early January. Failing to raise the debt ceiling could cause the government to default on its debt.  To cut government spending and delay bumping up against the debt ceiling, the Treasury will suspend issuance of state and local government series securities -- known as "slugs" -- beginning on Dec. 28.  Investments in a government employee pension fund will also be suspended, along with some other measures, although Treasury did not give dates for when these other measures will begin.  "These extraordinary measures ... can create approximately $200 billion in headroom under the debt limit," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. 

Normally, these measures would buy the Treasury about two months time before hitting the debt ceiling, Geithner said in the letter. But a series of planned tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect in early January could give Treasury further time if they take effect as scheduled, he said.  "Treasury will provide more guidance regarding the expected duration of these measures when the policy outlook becomes clearer," he said.  The instruments known as slugs are special low-interest Treasury securities offered to state and local governments to temporarily invest proceeds from municipal bond sales. They have been suspended several times over the last 20 years to avoid hitting the debt ceiling.  Many analysts believe the measures available to the Treasury can stave that date off into late February.  The U.S. Congress typically authorizes government borrowing in a two-stage process, first drafting plans to spend more than it raises in tax revenues. Every few years, it raises a limit on government borrowing to accommodate annual deficits, a process that this year has become ensnared by the contentious budget talks in Washington. - FOX Business.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursor - Beached Whale At Jamaica Bay Beach, Breezy Point, Queens, New York!

December 26, 2012 - UNITED STATES - There it sat on the sand at Breezy Point Wednesday morning in the misty drizzle, gray and improbably massive, flippers slowly flopping, mouth bobbing open and shut in the lapping tide.  It was a whale, a 60-foot finback, “the banished and unconquerable Cain of his race” as Melville called it, looking almost robotic and entirely surreal on a stretch of Queens shoreline still littered with debris from Hurricane Sandy, with Brooklyn’s blocky shore skyline looming beyond.  As evening fell, the whale, severely underweight even at 60-some tons, was alive, but its breathing was slowing, and it was not long for this world, rescuers said.  “Unfortunately, this animal is so emaciated, there’s nothing we can do,” said Kim Durham, rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation on Long Island, the region’s official rescuer of stranded marine mammals.

A 60-foot fin whale washed up on the Jamaica Bay beach at Breezy Point, Queens, on Wednesday.
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.
The whale was spotted on the shore of Rockaway Inlet, near Beach 216th Street, around 10:40 a.m. What is wrong with it and why it came here were not clear. The finback, also known as a fin whale, an endangered species and the second-biggest whale after the blue whale, is one of several types found in the waters off New York Harbor.  Whales approach the city’s shores on occasion, and it rarely ends well. In 2007, a small minke whale appeared near the mouth of the Gowanus Canal but soon died. Robert DiGiovanni Jr., the Riverhead Foundation’s executive director, said that big whales struck by ships sometimes turn up in the harbor, but “it’s unusual” to see a whale the size of a finback come ashore. In 1964, when a 52-foot finback corpse turned up in the Hudson off 79th Street, The Times wrote that “seafaring folk along the river say they had never heard of whales, dead or alive, in those waters.”
The whale is severely emaciated and is unlikely to survive,
experts said. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.

The prognosis for beached whales, particularly of this size, is always grim, said Mendy Garron, a marine-mammal rescue coordinator with the National Marine Fisheries Service.  “When large whales strand, it’s very difficult,” she said. “The minute they get on the beach they’re being compromised because their internal organs are being crushed by their weight.”  If the whale dies, disposing of its body will also be difficult. Assuming the whale is necropsied, its body will be so carved up that towing it out to sea and dumping it will not be possible, Ms. Garron said.  Finding a place to bury the remains in an urban area can be hard (a finback that washed up in the Hamptons in August was buried in the sand). If the whale has to be euthanized, Ms. Garron said, such large quantities of toxic drugs would be used that the carcass would become an environmental hazard. Finding a landfill for 60 tons of biological waste is expensive.

“It can be a logistical nightmare,” Ms. Garron said. The 1964 whale was towed 35 miles out to sea, fitted with 500 pounds of explosives, and blown up. Ms. Garron said that method was off the table.  The appearance of the doomed whale in a coastal neighborhood devastated by water and fire during the hurricane drew crowds of onlookers, who watched as volunteer firefighters hosed down the animal to keep it hydrated.  “It’s always another adventure,” said Rosemary Keegan, 66. “After everything else we’ve had out here, you don’t know what to expect.”  Some residents first seemed hopeful that the whale might somehow make its way back out to sea, but as fog rolled in and the rain mixed with snow, the mood grew somber. One by one, the whale-watchers peeled away from the beach, leaving the giant, heaving animal, growing ever more still as day faded away. - The New York Times.

SHADOW WARS: Escalating Towards World War III - Russian Warships Gather In Mediterranean For Drills!

December 26, 2012 - RUSSIA - About a dozen Russian warships are converging on the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Aden as part of a large-scale strategic exercise, a high-ranking representative the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces said on Tuesday.  “This part of the world’s oceans is very important from the point of view of Russia’s geopolitical interests, including the fact that the Russian Navy has a logistical base here [in Syria],” he said. 

Yaroslav Mudry. © RIA Novosti. Igor Zarembo.
The warships will conduct air-defense, anti-ship and anti-submarine drills and call at some foreign ports, including Tartus in Syria, he said.  He declined to specify whether the large landing ships were carrying military equipment for Syria.  “The main aim of sending the ships to the Mediterranean is to accomplish the missions set by the navy command, conduct exercises and show the flag,” he said.  On Monday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov dismissed media reports there were commando units and military equipment for Syria on board some of the warships.  A naval task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet left the Severomorsk base last Wednesday and set course for the Horn of Africa on a new anti-piracy mission, the Defense Ministry said.  It includes the large antisubmarine ship Severomorsk, the salvage tug Altai, and the tanker Dubna, as well as a contingent of naval infantry subunits.

The force will travel the length of the Mediterranean, pass through the Suez Canal and relieve the Pacific Fleet task force that has been there on an anti-piracy mission since November.  A Baltic Fleet task force set sail last Tuesday for the eastern Mediterranean where it will relieve a group of Black Sea warships. The force includes the frigate Yaroslav Mudry, the large landing ships Kaliningrad and Alexander Shabalin, the salvage tug SB-921 and the tanker Lena.  The new anti-piracy mission is expected to reach the region by mid-January.  Russia keeps a naval task force in the Gulf of Aden as part of the international effort to fight piracy off the Somali coast.  On Monday, large landing ships Azov and Nikolai Filchenkov from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet left Novorossiysk for the Syrian port of Tartus. The ships are carrying naval infantry units for protection during the voyage. They are expected to join the Black Sea Fleet task force comprising the missile cruiser Moskva and the frigate Smetlivy in the Aegean Sea on December 28 before heading to Tartus.  Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich confirmed on Monday that Russia has a contingency plan for evacuation of Russian citizens from Syria if necessary.  The conflict between Bashar al-Assad regime and opposition forces in Syria has claimed the lives of over 30,000 people since March 2011, according to UN figures. - RIA Novosti.

GREAT DELUGE: No End To Floods In Sight For Britain - Forecasters Warn Six Weeks' Worth Of Rain Is Expected To Fall Before The New Year!

December 26, 2012 - BRITAIN - Flooded Britain can expect seven inches more rain by Saturday as downpours and fierce winds continue to lash the country. The Met Office warned Boxing Day walkers and rail passengers to beware landslides caused by a seemingly unending deluge on saturated ground, particularly on the south-west coastline. Almost 500 homes have been breached in the past week and 394 flood warnings and alerts are in place across Britain. Ice warnings compound the festive freeze for the east coast of Scotland and the Shetland, on what is on track to be the wettest year on record. And in St Ives Cambridgeshire some residents awoke to find small boats in their back gardens after the Great Ouse burst its banks.

Toppled: A woman was rescued from a flooded car in Danbury, pictured, as Essex County Fire & Rescue
Service were called to the aid of more than 100 motorists over Christmas.
Forecasters said around 0.8ins (20mm) of rain is expected across the south-west of England and south Wales today, and the wet weather looks set to continue until the new year, with as much as three inches (80mm) falling in north-west England and north Wales on Saturday alone. Flooding is set to worsen across parts of England and Wales, causing the 'dangerous conditions'. The Met Office said coastal areas in the south-west of England are at particular risk of collapsing cliff edges and rockfall, but stressed that all areas enduring heavy rain are at risk. A spokesman for the Met Office said: 'We have had such heavy and persistent rain fall over the last few days and weeks and that there is a danger of landslides and rockfall along the coast, even on coastal paths. 'We are advising Boxing Day walkers in the south-west of England to take particular care in these dangerous conditions, especially those not familiar with the area. 'Do not get too close to the cliff edge or walk under the cliff face along the beach and remember that coastal paths could be impacted too.' Many coastal paths have been closed over the last few weeks along the South West and train services have been disrupted by small coastal landslides.

A Met Office spokesman said some parts of Britain could expect up to 12 hours of rainfall today. 'There will be more rain pushing across from the West between 6am and 5pm. 'There will be showers in the North, with lots of rain accompanied by strong winds. 'It is falling on already saturated ground, as it's been such a wet summer, so we've raised warnings for landslides to amber for the past few days, 'Boxing Day is a favourite time for walking off the Christmas dinner. Some coastal areas in the South West have been closed off and there have been landslips on railway lines.' Around 470 properties have flooded since Wednesday, and Floodline has received 18,000 calls during the recent wet weather. The worst affected areas have been south-west England and stretches along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent, along with Wales and northern Scotland. In Devon and Cornwall 245 properties flooded over the weekend and many families were evacuated, most have now returned home. Officials said the rivers Severn, Trent, Avon and Thames are at most risk of flooding. Rail and road networks were badly hit in the days leading up to Christmas, with a number of key routes struck by weather related delays. The soggy Christmas comes towards the end of what is expected to be one of the wettest years in Britain since records began. Met Office figures suggest 2012 will be one of the wettest years since records began more than a century ago. Before December, the average rainfall was 47 inches.The wettest on record is 2000, when 53 inches fell. - Daily Mail.

GLOBAL COASTAL EVENT: Monster 25-Foot Waves Hit And Pound Hawaii - Swell Peaks On Oahu's North Shore!

December 26, 2012 - HAWAII - Monster waves with up to 25-foot-faces hit the islands, injuring some surfers and attracting numerous onlookers. A high surf warning is in effect until Wednesday. Even the most experienced surfers say it's just too dangerous to go in the water, but that didn't stop some people. It was no holiday for Mother Nature, as she came crashing down onto numerous beaches.

North Shore Swell. Courtesy: Terry Reis.
"Couple rogue sets coming through, washing machine, but there's a few to be had out there for sure," said surfer Sean Morin. A swell generated by a storm last week peaked Tuesday, providing these conditions on the north shores of the major Hawaiian islands. Some surfers braved the waters, but didn't always make it out unharmed. Paramedics remained busy, as well as lifeguards. Despite their warnings like this one: "For your own safety, all you people stay high on the beach," said a lifeguard. Onlookers didn't always listen and learned the hard way, how unpredictable Mother Nature can be. "Yeah, all of a sudden out of nowhere I didn't even see it coming, took us away and got beat up a little bit, but not too bad," said tourist Kat Young. "It's kind of like, you're looking down and all of a sudden, was fun. But never, ever again," said tourist Debbie Hupe.

But those who know how dangerous these waves can be, decided to watch from afar. Larry Russo and his son have been body surfing and body boarding in these waters for decades, but not today. "We know when it's safe and when it's not safe, and today's not a safe day. Depending on the swell, it's easy. Somedays are easier than others, and today it's very treacherous," said Larry Russo, bodysurfer. "Because it's very unpredictable, there's different direction of swells coming in. It's almost too big to be out there," said Larry Russo Jr., bodyboarder. There were more than a dozen rescues on Tuesday. But even with the dangers, those who know the feeling, will be back. "It's just fun, fun, free, easy," said Larry Russo. "Because it takes your mind off everything, everything in life that's bothering you or stressing you, you go out in the ocean, you catch some really good waves and you forget all about it," said Larry Russo Jr. The high surf warning is posted until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Another storm could bring more waves on Thursday. - KHON2.

WATCH: Swell peaks on Oahu's North Shore.

TERMINATOR NOW: Rise of the Machines - Japanese Robot Mimics the Muscles, Skeleton of a Real Human!

December 26, 2012 - JAPAN - Constructing machine and car prototypes designed for simulations and testing can save money and lives. But if we could create anatomically correct mechanical versions of our own bodies with the same testing and simulations in mind it could revolutionize how we design our entire world.

Now, a group of roboticists have unveiled something that could do just that. Created by researchers at the University of Tokyo, Kenshiro is a "musculoskeletal" humanoid robot that simulates the body of a 12-year-old child, complete with artificial muscles and skeletal structures. The robot features aluminum bones and 160 artificial muscles in its neck, shoulders, trunk, and legs, all with the ability to expand and contract, essentially mimicking the natural movements and positional stresses of a real human body.

Kenshiro doesn't yet have the ability to match the true speed and precision of a human, but the accuracy of the robot's construction could ultimately go a long way towards helping us to learn more about how the human body functions. That Terminator robot is looking more and more like an inevitability. You can see the Kenshiro robot in action in the video below. - DVICE.

WATCH: Robot Copies Your Muscles And Bones.

EXTREME WEATHER: Enormous Winter Storms Lash The United States, Spawning 34 Tornado Reports From Texas To Alabama - Three Dead And Several Injured, Uprooted Trees and Widespread Power Outages! UPDATE: US Storm’s Toll Up To 6 Dead As System Heads East!

December 26, 2012 - UNITED STATES - An enormous storm system that dumped snow and sleet on the nation's midsection and unleashed damaging tornadoes around the Deep South has begun punching its way toward the Northeast, slowing holiday travel.  Post-Christmas travelers braced for a second day of flight delays and cancellations, a day after rare winter twisters damaged numerous homes in Louisiana and Alabama. The vast storm system stretching across numerous states has been blamed for three deaths and several injuries though no one was killed outright in the tornadoes.

A house in Tioga, La., is severely damaged after an apparent tornado tore through the area, Dec. 25, 2012.
Melinda Martinez/The Daily Town Talk/AP Photo.
The storms also left more than 100,000 without power for a time, darkening Christmas celebrations.  Drenching rains and blustery winds moved early Wednesday across Georgia, a slew of tornado watches still in effect. The severe weather system was set to lash the Carolinas later in the day before taking aim next at the heavily populated Northeast corridor.  Farther north on a line from Little Rock, Ark., to Cleveland, blizzard conditions were predicted before the snow -- up to a foot in some places -- made its way into the Northeast.  Rick Cauley's family was hosting relatives for Christmas when the tornado sirens went off in Mobile. Not taking any chances, he and his wife, Ashley, hustled everyone down the block to take shelter at the athletic field house at Mobile's Murphy High School in Mobile.  It turns out, that wasn't the place to head.  "As luck would have it, that's where the tornado hit," Cauley said. "The pressure dropped and the ears started popping and it got crazy for a second." They were all fine, though the school was damaged, as were a church and several homes, but officials say no one was seriously injured. 

Camera footage captured the approach of the large, frightening funnel cloud.  Mobile was the biggest city hit by numerous by the rare winter twisters. Along with brutal, straight-line winds, the storms knocked down countless trees, blew the roofs off homes and left many Christmas celebrations in the dark. Torrential rains drenched the region and several places saw flash flooding.  More than 500 flights nationwide were canceled by the Tuesday evening, according to the flight tracker More than half were canceled into and out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport that got a few inches of snow.  Holiday travelers in the nation's much colder midsection battled treacherous driving conditions from freezing rain and blizzard conditions from the same fast-moving storms. In Arkansas, highway department officials said the state was fortunate the snowstorm hit on Christmas Day when many travelers were already at their destinations.  Texas, meanwhile, dealt with high winds and slickened highways.  On Tuesday, winds toppled a tree onto a pickup truck in the Houston area, killing the driver, and a 53-year-old north Louisiana man was killed when a tree fell on his house. Icy roads already were blamed for a 21-vehicle pileup in Oklahoma, and the Highway Patrol there says a 28-year-old woman was killed in a crash on a snowy U.S. Highway near Fairview.  Trees fell on homes and across roadways in several communities in southern Mississippi and Louisiana. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in the state, saying eight counties reported damages and some injuries.  It included McNeill, where a likely tornado damaged a dozen homes and sent eight people to the hospital, none with life-threatening injuries, said Pearl River County emergency management agency director Danny Manley. 

The snowstorm that caused numerous accidents pushed out of Oklahoma late Tuesday, carrying with it blizzard warnings for parts of northeast Arkansas, where 10 inches of snow was forecast. Freezing rain clung to trees and utility lines in Arkansas and winds gusts up to 30 mph whipped them around, causing about 71,000 customers to lose electricity for a time.  Christmas lights also were knocked out with more than 100,000 customers without power for at least a time in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.  Blizzard conditions were possible for parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky up to Cleveland with predictions of several inches to a foot of snow. By the end of the week, that snow was expected to move into the Northeast with again up to a foot predicted  Jason Gerth said the Mobile tornado passed by in a few moments and from his porch, he saw about a half-dozen green flashes in the distance as transformers blew. His home was spared.  "It missed us by 100 feet and we have no damage," Gerth said.  In Louisiana, quarter-sized hail was reported early Tuesday in the western part of the state and a WDSU viewer sent a photo to the TV station of what appeared to be a waterspout around the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in New Orleans. There were no reports of crashes or damage.  Some mountainous areas of Arkansas' Ozark Mountains could get up to 10 inches of snow, which would make travel "very hazardous or impossible" in the northern tier of the state from near whiteout conditions, the weather service said.  The holiday may conjure visions of snow and ice, but twisters this time of year are not unheard of. Ten storm systems in the last 50 years have spawned at least one Christmastime tornado with winds of 113 mph or more in the South, said Chris Vaccaro, a National Weather Service spokesman in Washington, via email.  The most lethal were the storms of Dec. 24-26, 1982, when 29 tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi killed three people and injured 32.  In Mobile, a large section of the roof on the Trinity Episcopal Church is missing and the front wall of the parish wall is gone, said Scott Rye, a senior warden at the church in the Midtown section of the city.  On Christmas Eve, the church with about 500 members was crowded for services.  "Thank God this didn't happen last night," Rye said. - FOX News.

WATCH: 3 Dead, Several Injured In Wake Of Winter Storms Lashing US.

Severe Christmas day weather tore across the deep South, spinning off 34 possible tornadoes and killing at least three people in its path, while extreme weather is forecast throughout today for parts of the East Coast.  The storm first pounded Texas, then touched down in Louisiana and blasted through homes in Mississippi. In Mobile, Ala., a wide funnel cloud was barreled across the city as lightning flashed inside like giant Christmas ornaments.  Bill Bunting with the National Weather Service's Severe Storms Prediction Center said that the damage may not yet be done.  "Conditions don't look quite as volatile over a large area as we saw on Christmas day but there will be a risk of tornadoes, some of them could be rather strong, across eastern portions of North Carolina and the northeastern part of South Carolina," he said.  Across the Gulf region, from Texas to Florida, over 280,000 customers are still without power, with 100,000 without power in Little Rock, Ark. alone.  The punishing winds mangled Mobile's graceful ante-bellum homes, and today, dazed residents are picking through debris while rescue crews search for people trapped in the rubble.  "We've got a lot of damage, we've got people hurt," one Mobile resident told ABC News. "We've had homes that are 90 percent destroyed."

 In the Houston area a tree fell onto a pickup truck, killing the driver, ABC affiliate WTRK reported. In Louisiana, a 53-year-old man died when a tree fell on his house, and a 28-year-old woman was killed in a crash on a snowy highway near Fairview, Okla., according to the Associated Press.  At least eight states issued blizzard warnings Tuesday, as the storms made highways dangerously slick heading into one of the busiest travel days of the year.  Tuesday's extreme weather caused an 8-foot deep sinkhole in Vicksburg, Miss. Alma Jackson told ABC News that a concrete tank that was in her backyard fell into the sinkhole.  "It's really very disturbing," she said. "Because it's on Christmas day, and then to see this big hole in the ground and not have any explanation, and not be able to cover it. And the rain is pouring down."  Teresa Mason told ABC News that she and her boyfriend panicked when they saw the tornado heading toward them in Stone County, in southern Mississippi, but she says they were actually saved when a tree fell onto the truck.  "[We] got in the truck and made it out there to the road. And that's when the tornado was over us. And it started jerking us and spinning us, "she said."This tree got us in the truck and kept us from being sucked up into the tornado."  The last time a number of tornadoes hit the Gulf Coast area around Christmas Day was in 2009, when 22 tornadoes struck on Christmas Eve morning, National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro told ABC News in an email.  The deadliest Christmastime tornado outbreak on record was Dec. 24 to 26, 1982, when 29 tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi killed three people and injured 32.  The last killer tornado around Christmas, Vaccaro said, was a Christmas Eve EF4 in Tennessee in 1988, which killed one person and injured seven. EF4 tornadoes can produce winds up to 200 mph. - ABC News.

WATCH: Severe Weather Spawns 34 Tornado Reports From Texas to Alabama.

UPDATE: US Storm’s Toll Up To 6 Dead As System Heads East!
A winter storm system that blew through Christmas Day with Gulf Coast tornadoes and snow in the nation’s midsection headed for the Northeast on Wednesday, spreading blizzard conditions that slowed holiday travel.  The death toll rose to six with car accidents on snow and sleet-slickened highways in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Post-Christmas travelers braced for flight delays and a raft of weather warnings for drivers, a day after rare winter twisters damaged buildings in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.  Snow blew across southern Illinois and southern Indiana early Wednesday as the storm tracked up the Ohio River valley toward the Eastern seaboard and New England.  There were whiteout conditions in parts of southwestern Indiana, where 6 inches or more of snow had fallen by midmorning around Evansville. State police reported dozens of vehicles stuck after not being able to get up a hill on a central Indiana highway, while some roads around Evansville were impassable with wind gusts around 30 mph.  A blizzard warning was in effect for much of the state’s southern two-thirds and more than a dozen counties issued travel watches asking residents to make only essential driving trips.  “People need to not travel. They need to just go where they’re going to be and stay there,” said Rachel Trevino, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service bureau in Paducah, Ky., which covers southwestern Indiana. - CBS Atlanta.

STORM ALERT: Tropical Storm Wukong (Quinta) Brings Widespread Rainfall To Disaster-Ravaged Philippines! UPDATE: Wukong Becomes Deadly, Malaysia Floods And Storm Footage!

December 26, 2012 - PHILIPPINES - Wukong is now over the Philippines where it is bringing wide spread rains across the region. At this time there has been no reported deaths or injuries and we hope that number stays same through the coming days.

Manila will still see rain showers on Wednesday and Thursday, yet it shouldn't be to the flooding extent we have seen towards the south. Although low lying and local areas could see a pooling of water in Manila.

Wukong is now expected track west over Palawan before emerging in to the south china sea threatening vietnam with rain showers. Good news is high wind shear to the north will weaken the storm as it continues to track towards the west. - Western Pacific Weather.

Summary: Tropical Cyclone WUKONG-12 can have a low humanitarian impact based on the Maximum sustained wind speed and the affected population and their vulnerability.

    Tropical Cyclone Tropical Storm (maximum wind speed of 74 km/h)
    from 25/12/2012 00:00 UTC to 26/12/2012 06:00 UTC
    Population affected by Category 1 (120 km/h) wind speeds or higher is 0

Extreme Rain: Potential rainfall is calculated based on rainfall observed by several microwave satellite sensors. The image shows the total rainfall accumulation associated with the cyclone.
Storm surge. The tropical cyclone did not reach sufficient strength to cause significant storm surge. - GDACS.

WATCH: Tracking Wukong's path.

UPDATE:  Wukong Becomes Deadly, Malaysia Floods And Storm Footage!
There are several reports now that Tropical Wukong has taken the lives of at least three in Samar today due to the heavy rains from the storm system. Furthermore it has inundated numerous homes across Visayas including in the province of Iloilo where there are reports of consistent rains through a 24hr period causing rivers to over top there banks here. Now the storm is tracking west in to the south china sea but at this time Wukong remains a very disorganized storm system with the center of circulation hard to distinguish, still heavy rains can be seen across Luzon due to moisture inflow. Then we discuss Malaysia and Thailand in today's video update, here heavy rains from the monsoon have caused significant flooding destroying homes and causing at least 18,000 people to evacuate due to rising flood waters. In most first world countries a mass move like this would be headline news. But here in Malaysia it is not, that is why us here at try our best to share this with the world. - Western Pacific Weather.

WATCH: Latest update on Wukong.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcano Report For December 25 - San Cristobal, Stromboli, Copahue and Kilauea!

December 26, 2012 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing report from several volcanoes across the globe.

San Cristobal Volcano.
San Cristobal Volcano (Nicaragua): New Ash Emissions - New eruptive activity has been reported from San Cristobal volcano in Nicaragua. It appears that small ash emissions started late in the evening of 25 Dec (local time). Plumes reach 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude VAAC Washington reports. The reported activity correlates to a marked increase in seismicity and the appearance of a strong continuous tremor signal. - Volcano Discovery.

Copahue Volcano (Chile): Decreased Activity -
Chilean authorities have increased the alert level of Copahue volcano when he began spewing ash on Sunday, probably as a prelude for a coming eruption.  ­As the volcano is located mainly in a wilderness area, inhabitants of the closest cities have not been asked to leave the area. About 2200 people are living in villages, small towns and settlements in the area.  “The intensity of seismic signals suggests the eruption in progress is on the smaller side (but) we are not ruling out the possibility that the activity could turn into a larger-scale eruption,” the Geology and Mining Service said in a statement.  Copahue volcano is a border volcano (Argentina / Chile). If the eruption would increase, air traffic may be hurt seriously the coming days. The area has mostly westward winds in which case Argentine air traffic may be hurt. The summit of Copahue volcano is 2965 m high. 

Update: Onemi Chile reports that the intensity of the eruption has decreased and calls it so far a “minor eruption”. NO evacuation has been lanned. 

Update Dec. 25 – 10:36 UTC:
The Onemi alert has been decreased from RED to ORANGE, confirming the decreased activity of the volcano. - Earthquake-Report.

WATCH: New dramatic footage of Chile volcano Copahue eruption.

The new lava flow on the evening of 25.12.

Stromboli (Aeolian Islands, Italy): New Small Lava Flow From The Summit Crater - The activity at Stromboli has lately increased, as our colleague Marc Szlegat observed over the holidays. Since 23 December small lava overflows occurred from the eastern crater area and produced lava flows with varying length on the upper part of the Sciara del Fuoco. Yesterday afternoon and evening, it looked as if the lava flow had increased and extended on a good portion of the Sciara where lava blocks detaching from the flow rolling down created a dense incandescent stream. It is still unclear whether the flows come from a new vent at the eastern crater terrace or whether they are overflows of lava from an existing vent. The seismicity is increased and in addition to the tremor, explosion and rockfall signals are elevated as well. Such lava (over-)flows from the crater are usually relatively short-lived, but come often in phases.  - Volcano Discovery.

Fireworks in the night: G. Brad Lewis and a small group of brave friends get within 100 feet of the
ferocious eruptions at Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island, Hawaii.
Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii): Continues Its Active Eruption Phase - These extraordinary pictures show a volcano spitting lava at the feet of a small group of daring onlookers.  Photographer G. Brad Lewis, known as Volcano Man, risks frying his camera on a regular basis as he captures friends standing close to the red-hot Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island, Hawaii.  But several have died after getting too close to the bubbling liquid, which spews out at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mr Lewis, 54, said: 'It's such stunningly beautiful, powerful force.  'In some photos, Bern has hot lava literally landing at his feet and the air temperature is over 100F. 'It is as hot as one can stand to be next to, and it burns any exposed skin - but the images are just so cool.'  The photographer has been taking pictures of Kilauea Volcano, the most active on earth, for more than 20 years.  - Daily Mail.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Bangladesh Slaughters 150,000 Birds Over Avian Flu!

December 26, 2012 - BANGLADESH - The deadly H5N1 strain of flu was detected at Bay Agro farm at Gazipur, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Dhaka, on Monday after dozens of chickens died, prompting the company to send samples to a laboratory for tests.

"There are about 150,000 chickens at the farm. We have already killed and destroyed 120,000 chickens and we will kill the rest today," livestock department director Mosaddeq Hossain told AFP, adding it was the worst bird flu outbreak in five years. Bangladesh was hit by bird flu in February 2007, when over one million birds were slaughtered on thousands of farms. Since then the flu has entrenched in the country, seriously ravaging one of the world's largest poultry industries.

The last major outbreak was in March 2010 when at least 117,000 chickens and 200,000 eggs were destroyed at a farm in northern Bangladesh. The latest outbreak is the 23rd to be recorded this year. Even before the new mass slaughter, a total of 107,252 chickens had been destroyed in 22 farms, said Ataur Rahman, a livestock control room official. The country has also reported six confirmed human cases of bird flu since May 2008, but the government's health department said all have recovered. - Medical Xpress.