Saturday, December 7, 2013

FIRE IN THE SKY: Latest Incidents Of Fireballs Across Canada - Massive Fireball Rock Engulfed In Flames Over Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Meteor Confirmed As Cause Of Loud Boom In Quebec, Ontario; And Researchers Confirm Meteor As Source Of Flash And Boom West Of Montreal!

December 07, 2013 - CANADA - Here are several reports of recent sightings of fireballs in the skies over Canada:

© Mathieu Brouillard

Massive Fireball Engulfed In Flames Over Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Earlier this week, CBC acquired some photos of what appeared to be a fireball or meteor above Yellowknife.

Mathieu Brouillard took the photos Monday morning at about 10 a.m. He says he and other onlookers watched what appeared to be a fireball make its way along the horizon and fade away.

"Once I took some pictures then it really got their attention because you were able to see them on the camera how it's not a plane, it's definitely a rock of some sort just engulfed in flames," he said. "A really big, big rock engulfed in flames. Definitely hot."

CBC showed the photos to experts on meteors.

Alan Hildebrand is an associate professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Calgary and the co-ordinator of Canada's fireball reporting centre.

He says the phenomenon was likely a jet contrail.

"When you have a low-angle sun, what we call twilight, sometimes the ground is dark but a plane is up in the sunlight so it is much brighter than the general sky," he said.

"When the sun is low you get the red light. So instead of the normal white colour we associate with contrails, they look orange or red or yellow."

Hildebrand says fireballs are usually only visible for five to 10 seconds.

He says Yellowknife could witness several fireballs every year. - CBC.

Meteor Confirmed As Cause Of Loud Boom In Quebec, Ontario.

It's now confirmed: the loud boom and flash of light many people spotted Tuesday evening from Montreal as far west as Ottawa was a meteor entering the earth's atmosphere. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario said the rock from space passed over Montreal at around 8 p.m. from north to south. They were able to confirm the phenomenon by sounds from shock waves picked up by acoustic ground sensors around Montreal and upper New York state. NASA's Meteor Environment Office had been searching for footage of a meteor captured by its cameras, but cameras were obscured by thick clouds.

Geologist Richard Herd, a retired curator of the National Meteorite Collection for the federal government, said all indications suggested it was a meteoroid. That's a rock from space that passes through the Earth's atmosphere.

"It came in very rapidly...and so that's indicative. There was some ballistic shock from this thing, which is typical even of a small object," Herd said.

WATCH:  Quebec meteorite sighting.

Despite the loud noise it generated, researchers say the meteoroid was probably no bigger than a basketball.

So far, no one has reported finding any fragments of it on the ground.

Natasha Raynor, who lives in Pincourt on Montreal's West Island, told CBC's Daybreak that she heard the boom Tuesday night while playing outside with her son.

Raynor said the flash came from high in the sky, followed by a boom that was louder than thunder.

"I had just brought my son out in the snow ... I saw a big flash, a blue flash," Raynor said.

"I thought that it was a transformer that blew and then I heard the boom ... I didn't realize how scary it was until my son jumped into my arms."

Quebec provincial police said they received several calls about the incident, and had no reports of explosions or fires. - Astro Watch.

Researchers Confirm Meteor As Source Of Flash And Boom West Of Montreal.
Tuesday night, just before 8 p.m. Eastern Time, a bright flash of light and a sonic boom to the west of Montreal sent people to Twitter and Facebook to flood the internet with speculation about what it could have been. It took a couple of days, but researchers have now confirmed that it was a meteor that exploded high above the ground.

There's still no video or photos of the meteor, due to the cloud cover from the snowstorm that was passing through the area at the time. However, according to CBC News, researchers from the University of Western Ontario used sonic data collected from sensors on the ground to trace the path of the meteor from north to south, and estimate the size of the rock at around 20 centimetres in diameter. If it belonged to the most common type of meteor (ordinary chondrites), at that size it probably tipped the scales at around 14 kilograms, and would have been a fireball or possibly even a bolide.

When this meteoroid entered the atmosphere, probably travelling at around 60,000 kilometres per hour, it created a bow shock in the air in front of it. The air molecules being crammed together in front of it heated up until they were glowing hot, creating the bright streak across the sky that astronomers call a meteor. This wouldn't heat up the rock much, since air doesn't transfer heat very well, but it would exert tremendous pressure on the leading side of the rock. Eventually this pressure overcame the rock's integrity and it exploded.

The flash of light created by the meteor and explosion was only visible closer to Montreal, but the shock wave created by it was apparently strong enough to rattle windows all the way to Ottawa and Cornwall.

No fragments of the meteoroid were found, and given the combination of snowfall and wilderness in the area, finding anything is unlikely. However, for anyone who lives in the area, if you do manage to locate fragments of this rock, they can be quite valuable, and according to Canadian law, meteorites are the property of whoever owns the land where they were found. - Yahoo.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Kamchatka Volcano Spews Out 6km High Ash Cloud - Red Aviation Warning In Place Around Klyuchevskoi Volcano!

 December 07, 2013 - RUSSIA - The highest active volcano in Russia has thrown out an enormous ash cloud up to six kilometers high, the Emergency Services Ministry said Saturday.

Klyuchevskoi volcano. © RIA Novosti. May Nachinkin.

The Klyuchevskoi volcano in the tectonically active Kamchatka region in Russia’s Far East has been erupting sporadically since August.

“We have observed the latest ash eruption from the Klyuchevskoi volcano,” the local branch of the Emergency Services Ministry said in a statement. “The ash cloud is moving in a north-east direction.”

The highest mountain in the Kamchataka region, Klyuchevskoi has erupted in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012, spewing out lava and ash over the surrounding area.

The Emergency Services Ministry said in the statement that a red aviation warning was in place around Klyuchevskoi and cautioned tour companies not to take tourists near the volcano. - RIA.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Turkey Warned Of Potential Eruption Hazards From 14 ACTIVE Volcanoes!

 December 07, 2013 - TURKEY - Turkey is facing potential eruption hazard from 14 active volcanoes.

Armenpress reports quoting the Turkish Haberler news website, that the population of the country has been warned about the danger by the Turkish volcano experts.

According to them, the data of only one volcano out of 14 active ones has been monitored and collected. - Armen Press.

MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: The New Island Created By Volcanic Eruption In Japan Grows 3.7 TIMES - 300 Metres Long And 260 Metres Wide!

 December 07, 2013 - JAPAN - According to Japan’s Coast Guard, the island, close to the Ogasawara archipelago, emerged as a result of undersea volcanic eruptions far south of Tokyo on November 20th and has since grown 3.7 times. It is now 300 metres long and 260 metres wide, the RIA Novosti news agency reports.

According to expert estimates, the overall surface of the land mass makes up some 56,000 square metres.

The island, originally a circle-turned an oval, now looks like a trapezoid, according to the NHK TV Channel.

When the island emerged during volcanic eruptions of ash and magma from the Pacific Ocean bottom, it was 200 metres in diameter and 20 metres high.

Just two days later, it was 400 metres in diameter and 30 metres high.

The undersea volcano is expected to continue erupting for some more time. The islands that emerge this way will often get submerged again. If this is not the lot of the new island, Japan will enjoy an increase in its territorial waters.

The neighbouring Nishinoshima Island also emerged during a volcanic eruption in the mid-1970s. Nishinoshima Island is currently 800 metres long and 500 metres wide.

Under international law, 12 nautical miles (or 22.2 kilometres) off the country’s coastline are seen as territorial waters, while the next 12 nautical miles, as the contiguous zone. 200 nautical miles (or 370 kilometres) off the shore is where the country’s exclusive economic zone ends and the continental shelf begins. The shelf is followed by the high seas. - VOR.

EXTREME WEATHER: Frozen Nation - At Least 11 Dead As Cold, Ice And Snow Grip The United States!

 December 07, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Arctic air, snow and freezing rain was expected across parts of the U.S. Saturday from California to the Northeast, as the winter storm that has killed 11 people continues to wreak havoc.

The Weather Channel forecast rain, freezing temperatures and snow in areas from the Golden State into the southern Rockies on Saturday and then a lighter dusting in the Midwest by Sunday -- but the dangerous threat of more freezing rain. Temperatures as low as 27 degrees were expected in usually mild Las Vegas and surrounding areas, while New England was set to get the tail end by Monday.

The deaths of at least 11 people — including three in California and the mayor of a small Missouri town — were blamed on the deep freeze, which canceled hundreds of flights and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.

WATCH: Deadly weather has gripped the U.S., cancelling flights and causing deaths. The cold weather is expected to continue, with snow and ice in the forecast. NBC's Mark Potter and TODAY's Dylan Dreyer report.

The Santa Clara County, Calif., Sheriff's Office said hypothermia — an extremely low body temperature — had killed three people since frigid conditions rolled in late Wednesday, NBC Bay Area reported. An earlier report from the medical examiner's office said four people had died, but it included a person who was found dead last week, before the current weather system hit the region.

With icy conditions stretching almost coast to coast, the cold blast was blamed for deaths as far east as Indiana, where a woman died in a four-vehicle crash in Wayne County, and as far south as Arkansas, where an ice-coated tree fell on the camper housing a 62-year-old man in Pope County, authorities told NBC News.

Other weather-related deaths:
  • Ronald Arnall, mayor of Granby, Mo., died when his truck slid off icy State Route 97 and struck a tree Wednesday in Lawrence County, the State Highway Patrol said. 
  • A 16-year-old girl was killed when she lost control of her car on a slush-covered road a quarter-mile from school Wednesday in Lakeville, Minn., police said. The car slid sideways and was struck broadside by a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
  • A 55-year-old man was killed when he was ejected from a car that lost control Wednesday on a highway near Sioux City, Iowa. The car crossed the median of the highway, which was 100 percent ice-covered, and was struck by a freight truck traveling in the other direction, the Iowa State Patrol said.
  • A man was discovered dead under an overpass Wednesday in subfreezing temperatures in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
  • The body of a man was found behind a convenience store Wednesday night in Carson City, Nev., after temperatures fell into the single digits, the coroner's office said.
  • A driver was killed when his car slammed into a truck Friday in Arlington, Texas, near Dallas, police said.
North Texas was especially hard hit: About 165,000 people were still left in the dark Friday night after sleet weighed down power lines and snapped tree branches. Dallas called off its marathon for this weekend, with many of the thousands of expected runners unable to get there.

More than 1,600 flights were canceled at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And sister airlines American and American Eagle, which are based in Fort Worth, canceled about 1,370 flights across the country because of the weather in Texas.

"We are far from over here," said Jim Cantore, a storm tracker for The Weather Channel. With a morning low forecast to be 17 degrees, the Dallas area could have "big problems, especially with these winds continuing to blow everything around."

A man helps pull a motorist from the ditch in Paducah, Ky., as snow falls Friday.
Stephen Lance Dennee / AP

Five states had recorded at least 2½ feet of snow since Wednesday. The highest total was 35 inches, near Two Harbors, Minn.

Winter storm warnings covered parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The manager of a Home Depot store in Dallas concluded: "It's almost like a Black Friday. But I guess we'll call it an Ice Friday."

Only a slice of the East Coast was spared the winter blast. Elsewhere, the story was ice, snow and brutal cold.

Big Sky Country suffered double-take temperatures Friday. It was 23 degrees below zero in Laramie, Wyo., and felt like 41 below. In Helena, Mont., the mercury fell to 10 below, with a wind child of minus-29.

WATCH: The dangerous ice storm that's sweeping the country is causing cars to slide across slick streets, and low temperatures are preventing the ice from melting. TODAY's Dylan Dreyer reports.


The big chill extended to parts of the country much less accustomed to it. Parts of Nevada were at 18 below zero, and parts of Oregon were at 9 degrees. In Flagstaff, Ariz., the temperature just before dawn was 7.

Even "sunny" Southern California wasn't being spared — the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for Riverside and San Bernardino counties beginning Saturday morning.

Farmers pumped water into the soil to keep it from freezing and used wind machines to blow mild air across the citrus crop, most of which is still on the vine. Citrus in California is a $2 billion industry. Lettuce and avocados were also in danger.

"They're like a popsicle inside," a farmer told NBC Los Angeles after his persimmons froze.

Farther east, the danger was more immediate. Half a foot of snow fell on southern Illinois and 3½ inches on the Indianapolis airport, with 5 to 8 inches more expected throughout the Friday.
Driving conditions were dangerous in many parts of the country:

  • As many as 12 vehicles piled up on the icy Red River Bridge in North Dakota between between Fargo and Moorhead on Friday, causing almost a dozen others to spin out, NBC station KVLY of Fargo reported. Two were being treated at hospitals.
  • Ice on a state road sent a woman skidding and tumbling into a yard in Germantown, Ohio, where her car came to rest upside down, NBC station WDTN of Dayton reported. She was wearing her seat belt and wasn't injured.
  • An Arkansas state trooper was injured Friday morning when a pick-up truck slid off Interstate 40 near Stuttgart and rammed into his patrol car. The trooper, whose injuries were't life-threatening, was sitting in the car alongside the freeway finishing up an investigation of an earlier wreck, the state patrol said.

The bad weather forced the cancellation Saturday of the ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the lighting of the state Capitol in Little Rock, neither of which will be rescheduled.
More than 40,000 people were without power across the state Friday, NBC station KARK reported.
By the time the storm marches east, to the population centers of the Northeast, it is mostly expected to dump rain, making for a wet weekend in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

For the West, a second punch was on the way. A storm system was descending on the West Coast from Alaska, expected to dump snow on coastal Oregon and Northern California on Friday, and the Sierra Nevada range on Saturday.

Then it will head for the Midwest, which is in for a "double whammy" of winter weather Sunday, said Michael Palmer, a lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel. - NBC News.

DELUGE: Gale Force Winds Batter Europe As Thousands In The U.K. Face More Flooding - Biggest Tidal Surge In 60 Years, At Least 8 Dead!

December 07, 2013 - EUROPE - Hundreds of people in Britain mopped up flooded homes on Friday after a powerful storm that scoured northern Europe with hurricane-force gusts kicked up the biggest tidal surge in 60 years, swamping stretches of shoreline.

The rising seas prompted evacuations along the eastern English coast, with 1,400 properties flooded and at least a half-dozen communities at great risk of exceptionally high tides and large waves.

Blackpool Main Promenade under flood water following high tide and a tidal surge as severe gale force
winds hit the area, in Blackpool, England, Thursday Dec. 5, 2013. (PA / John Giles)

In London, the Thames Barrier -- a series of huge metal plates that can be raised across the entire river -- closed for a second time in as many days to protect the city from the surge.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said there would be "exceptionally high tides" on Friday and Saturday, though they were not expected to reach Thursday's levels, when water swamped seaside promenades and flooded homes. In the town of Hemsby in eastern England, several houses fell into the sea as waves eroded cliffs.

Britain's Environment Agency said that sea levels late Thursday in some areas exceeded those in a 1953 flood in which hundreds died. But flood defenses and evacuation warnings meant that only two people were killed in storm-related accidents.

Accidents linked to the storm that roared across Europe Thursday have killed at least eight people, from Britain to Sweden, Denmark and Poland.

Traffic ground to a halt on icy highways and train service was canceled in large parts of Sweden. Tens of thousands of people lost electricity. Strong winds knocked down the city of Vaxjo's Christmas tree.

Scores of flights were canceled at airports in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Poland. More than 1,000 people spent the night at Copenhagen airport where 200 flights were canceled Thursday and about 70 on Friday.

People take photos on Blackpool's main promenade as severe gale force winds hit the area, in
Blackpool, England, Thursday Dec. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/PA, John Giles).

Strong winds threatened a collection of Viking ships recovered from the bottom of a Danish fjord in the 1960s and put on exhibition. Museum workers boarded up the expansive windows of the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde 40 kilometers west of Copenhagen amid fears water from the fjord would rise and shatter the glass.

Police in Denmark ordered the evacuation of people in the towns of Frederikssund and Frederiksvaerk, 40 kilometres northeast of Copenhagen, because of imminent flooding. The towns lie on the Roskilde fjord, which has seen water levels rise noticeably.

Hamburg airport, where almost all flights were canceled late Thursday, was open for business on Friday but cautioned that there would be cancelations because of wind and snow. Trains northward from Hamburg to Denmark and some other destinations were canceled.

Tidal floods that hit Hamburg in the early morning were akin to those that drenched the city in 1962, causing the worst flooding in living memory. But higher and better coastal defenses along the North Sea these days meant the impact of this week's storm on the city was negligible, with no reports of major damage or loss of life.

Waves lash against the ferry pier on the North Sea coast in Dagebuell, northern Germany, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
(AP Photo/dpa, Carsten Rehder)

A further tidal surge is expected to hit Hamburg Friday evening.

Soccer club Werder Bremen, whose game Saturday against German champion Bayern Munich had been in doubt, announced on Twitter Friday morning that flood water hadn't topped a levee near its stadium and the match would go ahead.

Meanwhile, wind farms in Germany reaped benefits from the storm.

According to European Energy Exchange AG, an energy trading platform, production of wind energy in Germany surged in recent days.

At 1 p.m. local time, the country's vast network of on- and offshore wind turbines produced 25,205.8 MW of electricity -- the equivalent of 25 nuclear plants and almost 35 per cent of the country's total energy output that hour. - CTV News.