Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MASS FISH DIE-OFF IN AMERICA: Major Disaster Precursors - Hundreds Of Dead Fish Wash Up On Beaver Lake, Minnesota; Regulators Investigating Second Fish Kill In Two Weeks In Harlan County Creek, Kentucky; Three More Dolphins Found Dead Indian River Lagoon, Florida; Dead Fish Discovered In Delaware Lake, Ohio?!

May 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The spring weather brought with it something pretty unsightly near St. Paul. Hundreds of fish recently died in Beaver Lake, and many of them ended up all along the shoreline.

Fish kills are not unusual this time of year, but this one has Ramsey County officials worried. The fish died even though there is an aeration system in Beaver Lake.

Ruth Klabunde walks her dogs around the lake about three times a week. The first thing she noticed was the smell.

“This is a really fun little lake to walk around,” Klabunde said. “And the stench was kind of bad.”
And then Klabunde says she saw the source.

Hundreds Of Dead Fish Wash Up On Beaver Lake, Minnesota.

It’s estimated that more than 7,000 pounds of dead fish – mostly catfish, sunfish and bass – have been taken out of Beaver Lake. But what caused this unusually large fish kill is still a mystery.
Beaver Lake has an aeration pump that can be turned on when oxygen levels get low. Ramsey County turned the pump on in February, but it only reaches a small part of the lake.

Terry Noonan is a water resources manager for Ramsey County public works. He said the DNR stocks the lake with fish. But instead of reeling in panfish, they had to hire someone to pull them out by the truckload.

“For whatever reason this year the aeration system did not perform as we’d hoped,” Noonan said.

He thinks the cold spring and too many fish seeking oxygen caused Beaver Lake to go belly up.

“It could be that just so many fish accumulated in that relatively small area, that that’s a stresser in and of itself,” said Noonan.

The extent of the fish kill won’t be known until the DNR can get out and do some sampling. There are still fish in the lake, but Noonan said there is little doubt that this could temporarily hurt recreational fishing.

It’s possible the DNR may have to restock the lake if fish numbers get too low. - CBS Minnesota.

Regulators Investigating Second Fish Kill In Two Weeks In Harlan County Creek, Kentucky.
For the second time in two weeks, fish have been found dead in an eastern Kentucky creek, and state regulators aren’t sure what factors are to blame for the fish kill.

This time, hundreds of dead fish were found in Catrons Creek, in Harlan County. The dead fish range from more than a foot long to minnows.

But no one knows what caused the fish kill yet. People living near the creek reported seeing black water, and the culprit could be some kind of discharge of chemicals upstream from a coal mine or other industry.

"It’s looking like there’s something discharging, some kind of contaminant in the water," Division of Fish and Wildlife officer Steve Combs said. "We don’t have any evidence of that, because by the time people call us and we get people there to take samples, a lot of time it’s flushed out."

There was also no sign of a toxic algae bloom, which can be caused by excess nutrients in the water.

Now, regulators are waiting for the results of water tests to try to determine what’s to blame for the fish kill. They’ve tested for volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, dissolved oxygen and pH, and should have the results in about two weeks. - WFPL.

Three More Dolphins Found Dead Indian River Lagoon, Florida.
Biologists removed three more dead bottlenose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon Monday, bringing this year's total lagoon bottlenose body count to at least 30.

Staff from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute performed onsite examinations of the three dolphins: two of them in Merritt Island and one in Rockledge.

At least 30 dolphins have died in the lagoon since Jan. 1, all but a few in Brevard, most near Merritt Island. That's more than twice what would be expected, based on the death rate during the past decade.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration already has declared the 100 or so manatee deaths in the lagoon since mid-2012 an Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event. The declaration triggers NOAA's own formal investigation. The federal agency is examining whether the dolphin and manatee deaths might be connected.

While the manatees die quickly, the dolphins show signs of a drawn-out syndrome. Most are found very thin, with enlarged spleens.

As many as 300 brown pelicans also have died in the lagoon region since February, maybe more. Those tested were negative for botulism and other common causes of bird death. They come in with heavy parasite counts.

About half the dolphins studied in the lagoon in the past decade suffer from some form of chronic infectious disease, suggesting compromised immune systems.

Researchers find levels of mercury - a potent neurotoxin - in the skin and blood of lagoon dolphins that are higher than in any other dolphins that have been studied. They also find high incidence of tumors, heart problems, cancer, stomach ulcers, skin lesions, genital herpes and other emerging ailments previously thought rare in dolphins.

Dolphins captured near Merritt Island, especially, test in poor health.

Researchers have pointed to water tainted by treated sewage and runoff as the possible cause. - Florida Today.

Dead Fish Discovered In Delaware Lake, Ohio Is The Result Of Temperature Change.

There have been several reports concerning dead fish that have been found along Delaware Lake.

Officials have now provided an explanation as to why they are dying.

A photo was taken earlier on Monday, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said there is no need to worry about the water quality being a cause for the fish kill.

It is not unusual for the fish, which are called Gizzard Shad, to die when the water temperature quickly changes from cold to warm.

The ODNR says that not all the fish die, but many of them do during this time of year. - 10tv.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Latest Flyover Of The Bayou Corne Sinkhole Reveals Mysterious And "Unusual Foam-Like Bubbles"!

May 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Today we made our seventh flyover since last August of the sinkhole in Bayou Corne, Louisiana.

The pool of liquid did not seem too much larger than it appeared to us a month ago (April 2), but the dead and dying trees to the west were more evident.

Appreciable amounts of rainbow sheen still cover the north and northeastern parts of the pool.

Today the lighting on some ripples near center of the sinkhole gave an unusual foam-like appearance.

We also noticed that while there was still much equipment placed all around the hole and especially near the birms and roads still under construction, there appeared to be little or no work in progress.

This is consistent with reports of increased microearthquake and other seismic activity in the area during the past few days.

The recent rains have brought much water to the surrounding swampland. The tremendous amount of drilling in the area is more evident now than before, or perhaps we have just learned to recognize it!

WATCH: On Wings Of Care Flyover #7 of Bayou Corne sinkhole in Louisiana - May 06, 2013.

We flew in a counter-clockwise direction today. The community to the northwest of the sinkhole looked quite deserted. More photos and a video are provided at the bottom of this article. - On Wings Of Care.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Major Disaster Precursors - Deadly Giant AFRICAN Land Snails Found In Houston; Could Carry Meningitis And Other Parasitic Diseases; Scientists Warn Residents To Stay Away From Them?!

May 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Residents of a Houston neighborhood are being warned to stay away from giant African land snails after a woman found one in her garden and snapped a photo of it.

Giant African land snails can carry a human parasite called rat lungworm, which is a form of meningitis
and potentially deadly. 

The snails, researchers warn, are potentially dangerous to touch, in part because they can carry meningitis. Scientists have warned anyone who comes in contact with them to wash their hands thoroughly.

"They also carry a parasitic disease that can cause a lot of harm to humans and sometimes even death," Autumn Smith-Herron, director of the Institute for the Study of Invasive Species at Sam Houston State University, told NBC Houston affiliate KPRC.

A woman gardening in the Briar Forest neighborhood of Houston found the snail and notified workers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center who deal with invasive plants. It is the first reported sighting of the mollusk in Texas, and no one seems to know how it got there.

WATCH: Scientists are warning residents of Houston, Texas, not to handle giant African land snails because they can carry meningitis.

The giant snails can lay 100 eggs per month, and though only one has been found, it is believed more are in the area.

Jack Fendrick, who lives near where the slimy giant was discovered, said he will do his part to warn of the potentially deadly snails.

"I think most kids especially would look at a big snail and want to touch it," he said. "That's scary." - NBC News.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Polluted Waters - Video Of Grieving Pink Dolphin Mother Underscores Plight Of Disappearing Species!

May 08, 2013 - HONG KONG - An hour into their journey from Tung Chung pier, the 20 members of the boat party finally got what they had been waiting for - a close encounter with the remaining pink dolphins who still make their home in Hong Kong waters.

But as the boat edged closer to the dolphins in the Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park and the eager tourists reached for their cameras, their excitement quickly turned to shock and distress.

"There were about four or five dolphins in the water and it seemed at first as if they were trying to get hold of something and support it," said Ho Tak-ching, 34, a guide with Hong Kong Dolphinwatch. "It really wasn't normal behaviour."

The dolphins were trying to help a mother support the body of her dead calf and stop it slipping below the water's surface.

"I started to film and it was then that I noticed the dead baby calf. From its size and colour, I guessed it was a newborn. It was so depressing and so very sad. While I was taking the video I couldn't stop myself crying.

"There was a group of four or five dolphins taking turns with the mother to try to keep the baby on the surface of the water. We watched it for about 30 minutes.

WATCH: Distressing scenes as a mother fought to stop her dead calf from sinking into HK's polluted waters have highlighted plight of iconic pink dolphins.

"At first, I didn't want to mention it to the passengers. But then some of them noticed the dead baby. They asked me, 'How has this happened?' They seemed very upset. They asked if there was something we could do to help, but I said there was nothing we could do."

Grieving and unable to accept their calves' deaths, the mother dolphins will spend up to two weeks trying to keep them on the surface of the water, exhausting themselves and going without food as other dolphins rally to help them.

These displays of epimeletic, or care-giving, behaviour demonstrate the intelligence and compassion of dolphins.

Disturbingly, they have also become an increasingly common sight in Hong Kong waters, where dolphin numbers are already in rapid decline.

The sad scene a week ago - captured on video and widely shared on Facebook - was the third separate incident of a dead calf being supported by its mother and other dolphins in Hong Kong waters last month alone.

In a scenario that paints a bleak picture for the future of the Hong Kong population, the calves are believed to have been killed by polluted water ingested by the mothers and then passed on to their offspring in their milk.

Despite being a protected species and a symbol of Hong Kong, figures to be released next month are expected to reveal a further sharp decline in the number of Indo-pacific humpback dolphins - also known as Chinese white dolphins or pink dolphins because of the change in their skin colour as they grow older.

Their abundance - or the number of them in Hong Kong waters at any given time - fell from 158 in 2003 to 78 in 2011.

Figures for last year are being finalised but will show a further "significant" decline, according to the experts compiling the data.

The death of the calves was almost certainly caused by pollutants in the seawater around Hong Kong, said Dolphinwatch spokeswoman Janet Walker.

"The toxins from pollutants accumulate in body fat because the dolphins can't metabolise it and I am told dolphin milk is 40 per cent fat," she said.

"The milk is very rich and fatty so it doesn't disperse in the water when the mother squirts it out.

"That means all the toxins which are collected in the fat cells over 10 or 11 years of the mother living in polluted water goes straight to the first born."

Walker described the death of three newborn dolphins in one month as "horrendous".

She said: "There are not many things that kill babies that little. They are not as likely to get tangled in nets as they used to and I wouldn't think the deaths were cause by a vessel collision because they stick really close to their mothers. So we think it's toxins in the mother's milk.

"Ideally, these dolphins should live 30 to 40 years. But here, if they get into their 20s, they are doing well. Half the dead ones every year are juveniles and babies.

"It is so frustrating. We have known about the problems facing dolphins for a long time, but no one is doing anything.

"The government claims to be doing something but then it is building this bridge to Macau and the third runway at the airport. That is an awful lot of construction in the dolphins' habitat."

Samuel Hung Ka-yiu with the skull of a dolphin.© Nora Tam

Samuel Hung Ka-yiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society, said he hoped the pitiful video would help people wake up to the reality that Hong Kong is on its way to losing for good the dolphin population first recorded in its waters in the 1600s.

"It is heartbreaking to watch," he said. "You can feel for the mother. Why is she not giving up on the dolphin? It's because she cannot accept that it has died. And why did it die? It is not the fault of the mother. It is our fault. We are causing this.

"The dolphin's mother has to hold the baby the entire time otherwise it will sink to the bottom and she will do this for a week or two weeks, not eating at all. She is grieving.

"And what is causing that grief? It is because of us and everything we have done. I really hope people reflect on that."

Hung, whose group has monitored and campaigned for the conservation of Hong Kong's dolphin population since the 1990s, said: "I 've never been so pessimistic about the future of our dolphins as I am now.

"I always tried to think that we could turn things around. We are able to maybe sustain the population with good conservation measures and good monitoring. But I think the pace of development pressure and the unwillingness to deal with threats like vessel traffic and the reluctance to deal with anything that hinders economic development is just too huge."

In previous years, Hung said, his dolphin group had to deal with two or three threats at a time to dolphin habitat.

"Now we are dealing with seven or eight projects at a time," he said. "It is crazy. There are so many battles to fight.

"We are dealing with the [Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai] bridge construction. We have the Airport Authority that wants 650 hectares of reclamation not only resulting in habitat loss but disrupting a travelling corridor between different areas.

"We are dealing with several reclamations within dolphin habitat that may result in 500 hectares of reclamation. ... There are lots of things going on and it seems we are getting greedier and greedier.

"I just don't know how the dolphins will be able to survive if no one listens to us. We are getting too greedy, to the point where we are so self-centred we don't think about the harm we do to other animals."

Asked why he believed Hong Kong's remaining dolphins should be saved, Hung argued: "They are a bio-indicator of a healthy marine eco-system. If they are gone, our eco-food system will collapse in ways we don't even know.

"They are also a symbol of Hong Kong. It was our mascot for the handover. What does it mean politically if we lose this mascot?"

The Hong Kong government had a stated conservation aim of ensuring dolphins continued to use Hong Kong waters,

But, citing the figures to be released next month, Hung said: "We are failing badly.

"In the past, dolphins have been able to tolerate us, but we are pushing them to the edge of the cliff and I don't think they will ever recover.

"People just argue that if the dolphin goes somewhere else, that's okay. They are fine, they have just gone somewhere else and they're living happily, so they can just keep on developing.

"But it is our responsibility to protect these dolphins in our water as part of our natural heritage.

© Adolfo Arranz.

"Of course, that doesn't mean anything to a businessman. But we will regret it if our children are not able to see dolphins again in our waters."

The only way to save the dolphin is to change people's mentality, he argued.

"People think that economic development is more important than anything else," he said.

"When development clashes with conservation, people never choose to give way for conservation.

"People have a really wrong idea about animals. They think they are superior and can manipulate them.

"In Hong Kong, people just think about resources and how they can utilise them. If dolphins are in the way, they make them get out of the way.

"If we stopped the third (airport) runway, it wouldn't mean the dolphins would come back.

"There has to be a whole change of mindset on how we treat our marine environment. It would take something monumental to change that and that isn't going to happen."

Hung said the population figure to be released next month would show a further "significant decline" in dolphin numbers. "The annual abundance decline is the most obvious and understandable indicator," he said.

"It is pretty easy to see when abundance is in such decline that the dolphin is in trouble."

A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) confirmed dolphin numbers saw a "declining trend" in the past decade.

"We are analysing the data collected last year to confirm if the declining trend continues," the statement said.

Asked about the video circulating of the dead infant, the department responded: "[We were] aware of the dead calf [in the Dolphinwatch video], but we held that it was inappropriate to remove the calf when the other dolphins had not given up saving it. The dead calf did not turn up subsequently [so] we were unable to conduct a proper post-mortem examination or determine its cause of death."

The statement went on: "Since 2001, the government has implemented a conservation programme for the Chinese White Dolphins in Hong Kong ... comprising management, public education, research and cross-boundary co-operation to address the various human impacts threatening their survival.

"A stranding programme, run by AFCD, has been in place to investigate all marine mammal stranding cases in Hong Kong.

"When a stranding is reported, a stranding response team will attend the site to collect samples for testing, retrieve the carcass for necropsy, or rescue the live dolphin."

For Dolphinwatch guide Ho Tak-ching, last Sunday's experience was shattering and made her question how much longer she will continue to take parties out to sea.

"In the 10 years I have been a guide, it seems to have become harder and harder to see the dolphins," she said.

"I really don't want to see them disappear, but with all this development and pollution, that day may come and it may come sooner than we expect.

"Once something is lost, it is lost for ever and there will be no way to get them back.

"I think the government should be doing more to protect the dolphins, but it seems they care more about the economy than the environment.

"It is such a shame." - SCMP.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Huge Explosive Eruption At Mexico's Popocatépetl Volcano - Ash Plume Reach Heights Of 10,500 Feet!

May 08, 2013 - MEXICO - I don’t have a lot of details right now, but it seems that an explosive eruption has started at Popocatépetl outside of Mexico City.

Webcam capture of the eruption of Popocatépetl at 20:19 local time on May 7, 2013. Image: By Erik Klemetti, using Tlamacas webcam / CENAPRED

The restless Mexican volcano has been producing steam-and-ash plumes intermittently over the past year, but tonight there is a significant ash plume accompanied by large incandescent blocks being thrown down the slopes of the volcano.

All of this is based on webcam images from the 4 cameras pointed at Popocatépetl — @chemtierra captured a great sequence of three shots (see below) that show the growing ash column and eventual explosion that occurred at ~20:14 PM local time in Mexico.

I grabbed a shot from 5 minutes after the initial explosion that shows the shower of blocks from the crater (see above). The ash plume has been spotted as high as ~7.6 km / 25,000 feet heading to the southeast according to the latest Washington VAAC update.

A trio of webcam captures showing the growing eruption on May 7, 2013 from Popocatépetl, taken (from left to right) at 20:03, 20:06 and 20:14. Image: By @chemtierra using Tlamacas webcam / CENAPRED.

However, the first local reports put the ash plume at ~3.2 km / 10,500 feet. Before this activity, CENAPRED had the volcano on Yellow-Level 2 alert status.

You can follow the action on one of the Popocatépetl webcams — probably the best right now is the Tlamacas webcam.

A nighttime eruption can sometimes make an eruption seem more significant than it is, thanks to the glowing blocks being thrown from the crater.

However, with so little information so far from Mexico, it is hard to tell if this is typical for the recent activity at Popocatépetl or something somewhat larger. I’ll try to update this post as information arrives. - WIRED.

WATCH: Popocatépetl Volcano Blows Its Top.

A significant increase in activity occurred at the volcano. Starting at 19:28 h local time yesterday, volcanic tremor of high amplitude has been recorded for 3.5 hours and accompanied by strong steam and ash emissions creating an eruption column rising 3 km.

Explosions ejected incandescent fragments to distances of 700 m from the crater. The eruption plume drifted ESE and caused ash fall in areas of the villages of San Juan Tianguismanalco, San Pedro Benito Juárez and the City of Puebla.

It is possible that more ash fall will be reported from other villages in the east, south-east (Atlixco) and south (Tochimilco).  - Volcano Discovery.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: America Under Attack - Severe Weather Slams The United States; May Has Unleashed Snow, Floods, And Wildfires?!

May 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The start of May has been a strange one for the USA. It seems that nature can’t decide if it’s winter or summer.

Hundreds of residents have been forced to leave their homes as strong winds fan the flames of the wildfires.

Heavy rain has flooded parts of Key West in southern Florida. Two days of torrential downpours have led to flooding and in the last 24 hours, 109mm more rain fell across the island.

The rain has flooded homes and businesses and forced the closure of a number of roads.

Whilst rain is the problem in Florida, elsewhere winter is still winning. Heavy snow has smothered parts of the Plains and the Midwest.

Some of the worst weather was in the state of Minnesota, where the snow set new records.

20cm blanketed Rochester, Minnesota, four times the previous May snowfall, and in Owatonna, just 65 kilometres away, unofficial reports suggest that 40cm of snow fell from the system.

This snowfall is just the latest in a series of wintry weather systems which have brought late snow to the region.

However, while the Plains and the Midwest are enduring an elongated spell of wintry weather, in the west, winter has given way to an early start to the summer fire season.

Three separate wildfires have threatened hundreds of homes, forcing residents to evacuate as strong winds fanned the flames.

When the winds come from the northeast, they are very dry, having lost all their moisture passing over the enormous Rocky mountains.

These dry, brisk winds, known as the Santa Ana winds, have been gusting up to 80 kph in recent days, fanning and spreading the fires.

Wildfires are more common in the summer months. This year the flames have started early, and the fear is that California could be in for a long and disastrous fire season this year. - Aljazeera.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Heat Wave Across North India - Temperatures Up To 45 Degrees And Summer's Just Setting In?!

May 08, 2013 - INDIA - India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that Rajasthan has been the hottest this season, with Churu recording a maximum of 45 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, Delhi also hit 44 degrees on May 5.

© IBN Live.

It is not going to get much cooler either, the Met department said that this is normal for summer with temperatures in Delhi to hover between 41 and 42 degrees Celsius.

Uttar Pradesh is also facing the heat with the likelihood of a heat wave in the coming five to six days. Allahabad recorded temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius which is the maximum.

The Met department said that this is slightly above normal but not yet a heat wave.

WATCH: Heat wave across North India, IMD says the summer's just settting in.

IMD official M Duraiswamy said, "The temperatures have gone upto three degrees above normal in most regions.

Uttar Pradesh is right now the hottest in North India. Within a week East UP is likely to experience heat wave." - IBN Live.

EXTREME WEATHER: Prolonged Winter - Mid-May Cold Wave Could Bring Frost Conditions For United States Midwest And Northeast!

May 08, 2013 - UNITED STATES - There is a chance that yet another cold wave slated for the middle of May could have just the right conditions for patchy frost in parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

The period for potential frost would span Sunday to Monday (May 12-13) over part of the Midwest and would settle eastward Monday to Tuesday (May 13-14).

The concern would be for blossoming fruit trees, berry bushes and emerging tender growth as well as flowers and vegetable plants that home gardening enthusiasts may have put out.

The risk of a frost in this case is mostly likely to occur only during one night.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "Last May brought an atypical frost during an atypical spring."

There were several nights of below-freezing temperatures that took a heavy toll on fruit trees, berries and other tender plants.

Fortunately, the overall chilly weather this spring has much of this activity developing at a much slower pace compared to the incredible sprout-driven warmth from last spring.

"During this time of the year, it typically takes more than just a push of chilly air to produce favorable conditions for frost and when it occurs it is usually for just a single night," Anderson said.

The short nights limit the time for the air to cool down this time of the year.

Dry air, clear skies and light winds must coincide with a cold air mass for a frost or freeze.

In this case, it appears the most likely swath of ideal conditions for frost formation will not coincide with the core of the chilliest air, except for over a small area perhaps.

This map shows a first look at the area at greatest risk for a frost or freeze. However, the actual area that may have near-freezing temperatures may be much smaller and highly localized. There may also be a few pockets of frost in the normally cold spots from Iowa to the southern Appalachians. Keep checking your local forecast.

The center of high pressure producing the calm, clear conditions is aiming more for the central Plains to the Ohio Valley, while the coldest air will slice across the upper Great Lakes to northern New England.

The pattern will bring chilly daytime highs for the middle of May over the Upper Midwest to the Northeast, and in many cases, that chill will be accompanied by some cloud cover, wind and even shower activity.

However, it is the wind, clouds and moisture that may lower the threat for frost just a bit in the more typical northern areas.

Farther south, the air may chill out under the cover of darkness, but any near-freezing temperatures could be limited to only a couple of hours.

Official temperatures and forecasts are made for a height at approximately six feet off the ground.
Under clear and calm conditions at night, temperatures can be significantly lower at ground level.

Since there is a chance the chilly air could get together with clear and calm conditions in a portion of the Midwest and Northeast, will continue to monitor the potential for a mid-May frost and freeze. - AccuWeather.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Strange Sea Mist" - Mystery Fog Ruins Bank Holiday Break For Thousands Of Beachgoers As It Engulfs England's South Coast!

May 08, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Britain's coast was shrouded in mist for the Bank Holiday weekend due to warm air clashing with an unusually cool sea because of the cold spring.

A sea mist descends rolls on to Brighton beach in East Sussex
© James Boardman

Temperatures up to 22C meant thousands flocked to beaches around the South and South West Coasts.

But they were greeted with a strange sea mist.

The "haar" or "sea fret", as it is known, is caused by warm air condensing over the cold sea and creating a fog. It is typical for this time of year but more pronounced than usual as the air is so warm and the sea is so cold following the coolest April for 24 years and the coldest March for 100 years.

The sea fog was worse over the south coast and south west as the wind was blowing the fog onto land. Today (Tues) the hear is more likely to settle over the north and east, where it is more common, as the wind changes direction.

Calum Maccoll, forecaster at the Met Office, said the sea was unusually cold.

"The sea temperature is 9C, it should be in the double figures but the cold March has brought it right down.

"As it takes a long time to warm up it is colder than it normally would be at this time of year, and as mild air is passing over the surface, mist is being created."

Beach-goers also had to put up with increased traffic this weekend.

The AA reported delays out to the north Norfolk coast, Skegness, Weston-Super-Mare and around Swansea.

But despite the traffic jams and cold weather it was still a good weekend for tourism and barbecues.

The tourism industry celebrated £1bn takings to make up for spring trade dampened by foul weather. Tesco sold 28 million bottles of beer - one for every male adult in the UK and over a million sausages as the barbecues came out for the Bank Holiday.

The Met Office said temperatures peaked at 21.7C yesterday (Mon) and could be even warmer today, possibly breaking the 23.1C high for the year so far.

However a wet weather front will come in from the south west today (Tues) spreading across the country by Wednesday. Short heavy showers of up to 5mm are expected down the centre of the country into the Midlands.

Strong winds of up to 50mph are expected over the hills in the west.

Scotland remains cooler. Eastern Scotland was 19C and sunny but in the west it was 8C and raining. where it is bright but only 8C and raining. It was around 15C in Northern Ireland over the Bank Holiday.

Cool weather is expected from Wednesday across the country as unsettled weather moves over the UK.

Temperatures will tumble as far down as 12C in the South and 10C in the north by Thursday with out breaks of wind and rain.

The Met Office expect the following week to be cool as well and May as a whole could be colder than average.

June could also be wet, as repeated Atlantic weather fronts - Britain's main source of wet weather - sweep in. - Telegraph.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Coronavirus - France Reports First Case Of New SARS-Like Virus As Two More Die In Saudi Arabia!

May 08, 2013 - FRANCE - France has identified its first case of a new strain of coronavirus emerging from the Middle East in a person recently returned from the United Arab Emirates, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry said it had opened an investigation into what it said was the first and only confirmed case of the virus in France and would hold a news conference later in the day.

"The person has been placed in isolation in an intensive care ward," the ministry said in a statement.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) said it had been informed of the French case but had no further details.

Worldwide, there have been 30 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus, including 18 deaths, since it came to scientists' attention in September, according to WHO data.

The coronavirus is from the same viral family as the common cold and triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world from Asia in late 2003, killing 775 people.

There is no evidence yet of sustained human-to-human spread of the new virus, but there are concerns about clusters of cases reported by the WHO in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain. - Reuters.

Two More Die In Saudi Arabia From New Strain Of Coronavirus.
Two more people in Saudi Arabia have died from a new strain of coronavirus that has emerged in the Middle East, bringing the toll in the kingdom's latest outbreak to seven, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Six other people are infected, one of them critically ill, in an outbreak centered on a health care facility in Al Ahsa governorate in Eastern Province, WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas said in Geneva.

Worldwide, there have been 30 laboratory-confirmed infections with the new virus, including 18 deaths, since it came to scientists' attention last September, he said.

Other strains of coronavirus can cause common colds but also the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that emerged in Asia in 2003.

There is no evidence yet of sustained human-to-human spread of the new virus, but there are concerns about clusters of cases reported by the WHO in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain.

A retrospective study in Jordan found that there had been an outbreak of the new virus there as long ago as April 2012, with two confirmed cases and 11 probable ones, including 10 health care workers, Thomas told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has reported 23 confirmed cases in total, Qatar two, Jordan two, Britain two and the United Arab Emirates one, according to the WHO.

"WHO does not advise special screening (of travelers) nor does it recommend that any trade or travel restrictions," Thomas said, adding that all states should look out for "any unusual patterns" of infection. - Reuters.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "Mass Mortality Of Fish" - Massive Fish Kill Along The Karamana River In Thiruvallam, India?!

May 08, 2013 - INDIA - The mass mortality of fish reported from the stretch of the Karamana, near the Thiruvallam and Pallathukadavu ghats last week, could have been caused by the unusual rise in water temperature, reduction in flow and a surge in the concentration of sewage pollution.

A preliminary study conducted by the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, says the mass fish kill was due to an abrupt dip in the dissolved oxygen in water. Head of the Department A. Biju Kumar says the rise in temperature and reduction in water flow coincided with the summer. The heavy sewage pollution from the Parvathy Puthanar canal could have aggravated the conditions, killing fish in large numbers, he says.

Hundreds of dead fish, including pearl spot, barbs, and a few marine species that fond their way inland through the estuary were found dead in the water, triggering public concern. Despite repeated assurances from the State government, the heavy pollution of the downstream stretches of the Karamana river continues unabated, posing a grave environmental and health hazard for the residents at Thiruvallam and on the Edayar island. Four weeks ago, 20 children who were attending a swimming camp at Thiruvallam contracted leptospirosis, prompting health officials to sound the alarm.

Officials say that cleaning up of the heavily polluted Parvathy Puthanar canal is crucial to the restoration of the river. But the construction of a sewage treatment plant at Muttathara has been dragging on for years.

The Karamana runs through the city, joins the Killi at Pallathukadavu (upstream of Thiruvallam) and flows around the Edayar island on its way to the Poonthura estuary. Both the rivers carry large quantities of raw sewage discharged from city drains. The heavily polluted Parvathy Puthanar canal joins the river at Munnattumukku, near the Poonthura coastal village.

The flow of water on the western side of the island is blocked from heavy silting at Munnattumukku and accretion of sea sand at Kunnumanal. During high tide, seawater from the estuary surges up to Thiruvallam through the eastern side of Edayar. When the tide ebbs, the dirty water from the Parvathy Puthanar rushes in, covering the upstream portions up to Thiruvallam and beyond.

Scientists and environmentalists feel that the pollution of the river water has to be tackled at point sources on a watershed approach with the active involvement of local bodies and the public. They highlight the need for a comprehensive master plan to restore the river.

An environmental monitoring programme on water quality carried out by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) had revealed heavy pollution in major stretches of the river, with Thiruvallam being the most contaminated reach. KSCSTE is preparing to take up a project to restore an 18-km stretch of the river. “The concept paper has been approved and an action plan is being prepared. The project will be implemented with the help of the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority and other agencies,” says V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice president, KSCSTE.

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is also embarking on an initiative to create a green belt along the banks of the river. “The project seeks to plant mangroves and bamboo to shore up the banks. It will support the river restoration programme,” KSBB Chairman Oommen V. Oommen says. - The Hindu.