Monday, January 6, 2014

ICE AGE NOW: Monumental Earth Changes As It's Arctic Monday For 140 MILLION Citizens As "POLAR VORTEX" Barrels Across The U.S. - 16 Dead; 4,400 Flights Canceled; Schools Closed As Far South As ATLANTA And The Coldest Temperatures Recorded In 20 Years!

January 06, 2014 - UNITED STATES - More than half of the U.S. is enduring a dangerously cold start to the week as a whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a ‘polar vortex’ descended this morning, pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold and adding to the brutal weather that has grounded more than 4,400 flights. At least 16 deaths have been blamed on US winter storm.

Wrapped up: Chris Tinney, 41, is covered in snow as he shovels outside businesses in Muskegon,
Michigan on Monday morning

Record low temperatures have already been set; at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, temperatures of minus 16 degrees were recorded at 8am, beating the previous record of minus 14 set in 1988.

In Minnesota, officials have taken the rare step of closing all of the state's public schools on Monday - the first time in 17 years. Schools across Chicago, Milwaukee and St Louis are also closed, while officials in Washington D.C. and as far south as Atlanta announced school closures for Tuesday.

With wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama, much of the U.S. will see the coldest temperatures in almost 20 years, according to the National Weather Service. They are expected to be 30 to 50 degrees below average in some cities - and the deep freeze is expected to last into Tuesday.

 Temperatures in Embarrass, Minnesota, already fell to minus 36 degrees on Friday, setting a record for the lowest temperature in the U.S. outside Alaska. Today, Minneapolis is expected to endure a low of minus 27 degrees, although the wind chill it would feel like the minus 40s.

Freezing: With wind chill warnings from Montana to Alabama, much of the U.S. will see the
coldest temperatures in almost 20 years - and there'll be no let up Tuesday.

Stuck: John Douglas shovels the snow off his car in Indianapolis on Monday as temperatures hovered
around 10 below zero. More than 12 inches of snow fell on Sunday.

Wreck: A semi truck sits in the ditch on the eastbound side of I-74 west of St. Joseph, Illinois, on Monday
amid sub zero temperatures and blowing snow.

Meteorologists have warned about the weather 'dangerous, life-threatening winds', that could inflict frostbite on exposed skin in just 10 minutes.

Temperatures are so cold across the Midwest that antifreeze in residents' cars could freeze, the National Journal pointed out. The popular brand freezes at 34 degrees - and the coldest temperature this afternoon was minus 35 in Crane Lake, Minnesota.

Meteorologists are warning of the dangers of the plummeting temperatures.

'Skin freezes in just five minutes with a wind chill of minus 50,' said HLN meteorologist Bob Van Dillen as wind chills are putting temperatures in northern Minnesota at 60 below zero.

For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures were moving in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous.

How does a polar vortex occur? A chart outlines the cause of the weather front.

Big chill: Houses and streets are covered with a blanket of snow in Chicago, Illinois on Monday
after a massive blast of bitterly cold air blasted the area.

Bitter: A dial, left, shows temperatures plummeting to minus 20 in south Minneapolis on Monday.

Thousands of travelers remain stranded or delayed following a chaotic weekend of canceled flights. FlightAware reported that more than 4,400 flights had been canceled by Monday morning - on top of the 4,100 flights canceled on Sunday.

Chicago's Department of Aviation said on Monday that airlines have canceled more than 1,600 flights at O'Hare International Airport. Another 85 were reported at Midway International Airport.

Delays at O'Hare were average about 40 minutes, while reported delays are about 20 minutes at Midway.

JetBlue also announced it would be scaling back operations at Boston's Logan International Airport, Newark, JFK and LaGuardia in the New York-area in a bid to catch up with dozens of weather-related delays and cancellations. It is stopping operations between 1pm and 5pm.

Operations will begin to ramp up again at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the airline expects to be fully operational by 3 p.m. Tuesday. It will allow the company to rest crew and give it time to service aircraft.

The forecast is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, North Dakota; minus 21 in Madison, Wisconsin; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills - what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature - could drop into the minus 50s and 60s.

‘It's just a dangerous cold,’ said National Weather Service meteorologist Butch Dye in Missouri.

It hasn't been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at 15 to 30 below zero.

Lorna West, a 43-year-old student and consultant from Columbus, Ohio, said she doesn't believe people unaccustomed to such weather are ready for what's coming.

A Chicago native, she said thermal underwear, lots of layers and ‘Eskimo coats’ with zipped hoods to block the wind were the norm growing up. ‘And don't go out if you don't have to,’ she said.

It was 5 degrees at kickoff on Sunday inside sold-out Lambeau Field for a playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers, one of the coldest ever played.

In the parking lot, Craig and Renee Heling of Waukesha, Wisconsin, set up a camouflage hunting blind behind his white pickup truck and tailgated next to a propane heater. He wore four layers of clothing up top, two on his legs: ‘Two wool socks on - right now, I feel comfortable,’ he said.

‘Well, my nose is about frozen. It feels like - I jumped in the lake the other day - it feels about like that,’ his wife said with a laugh. She was completely dry, unlike New Year's Day when she took part in a ‘polar plunge’ into Lake Michigan.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard upgraded the city's travel emergency level to ‘red,’ making it illegal for anyone to drive except for emergencies or seeking shelter. The last time the city issued such a travel warning was during the 1978 blizzard.

For several Midwestern states, the bitter cold was adding to problems caused by a weekend snow storm. The National Weather Service said the snowfall at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport totaled more than 11 inches as of 6 p.m. Sunday - the most since the Feb. 2, 2011, storm that shut down the city's famed Lake Shore Drive.

Missouri transportation officials said it was too cold for rock salt to be very effective, and several Illinois roadways were closed because of drifting snow.

A bus taking the Southern Illinois University men's basketball team home from a game at Illinois State got stuck in the snow Sunday night off Interstate 57, forcing the group to wait for a tow truck and make plans for a night at a hotel in nearby Tuscola, Illinois.

Bitter: A dial, left, shows temperatures plummeting to minus 20 in south Minneapolis on Monday.

Storm: The huge weather system can be seen in this satellite handout image provided by
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 More than 1,000 flights were canceled on Sunday at airports throughout the Midwest including Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis.

Many cities came to a virtual standstill. In St. Louis, where more than 10 inches of snow fell, the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo were part of the seemingly endless list of things closed. Shopping malls and movie theaters closed, too. Even Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the region's only ski area, shut down.

School was called off on Monday for the entire state of Minnesota, as well as cities and districts in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana and Iowa, among others.

Chicago Public School officials reversed an earlier decision to keep schools open, announcing late in the day on Sunday that classes would be canceled on Monday.

Government offices and courts in several states closed on Monday. In Indiana, the General Assembly postponed the opening day of its 2014 session, and the state appellate courts, including the Indiana Supreme Court, said they would be closed.

Ray Radlich was among the volunteers at New Life Evangelistic Center, a St. Louis homeless shelter, who was braving the cold as part of search teams that seek out the homeless and get them to shelters.

Among those Radlich and his team brought in Sunday was 55-year-old Garcia Salvaje, who has been without a home since his apartment burned last week. Salvaje, a veteran, had surgery three months ago for a spinal problem. The cold makes the pain from his still-healing back intense.

WATCH: 'Polar Vortex' Pushes Subzero Temps Into Midwest.

'I get all achy and pained all the way up my feet, to my legs, up my spine,' Salvaje said.

Southern states are bracing for possible record temperatures, too, with single-digit highs expected Tuesday in Georgia and Alabama.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s in parts of Florida on Tuesday. Though Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows said it must be at 28 degrees or lower four hours straight for fruit to freeze badly, fruits and vegetables were a concern in other parts of the South.

With two freezing nights ahead, Louisiana citrus farmers could lose any fruit they cannot pick in time.

In Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, Ben Becnel Jr. estimated that Ben & Ben Becnel Inc. had about 5,000 bushels of fruit on the trees, mostly navel oranges and the sweet, thin-skinned mandarin oranges called satsumas.

Skid: The plane is seen after it skidded off the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport
in this picture provided by NBC 4.

Covered: Matt Frame brushes off a Buick at Ray Laethem Buick-GMC in Detroit, where
more than 15 inches of snow have fallen in some places.

'We're scrambling right now,' he said.

In western Kentucky, Smithland farmer David Nickell moved extra hay to the field and his animals out of the wind. He'd also stocked up on batteries and gas and loaded up the pantry and freezer. The 2009 ice storm that paralyzed the state and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people is fresh in his mind.

'We are hoping this isn't going to be more than a few days of cold weather, but we did learn with the ice storm that you can wake up in the 19th century and you need to be able to not only survive, but be comfortable and continue with your basic day-to-day functions,' Nickell said. - Daily Mail.

MAJOR GLOBAL VOLCANISM ALERT: If The Volcano Under Yellowstone Ever Erupts Again, We’re Seriously Screwed - The Risk Of Supervolcano Eruption Big Enough To "Affect The World" Far Greater Than Thought, Say Scientists!

January 06, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The eruption of a “supervolcano” hundreds of times more powerful than conventional volcanoes – with the potential to wipe out civilisation as we know it – is more likely than previously thought, a study has found.An analysis of the molten rock within the dormant supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park in the United States has revealed that an eruption is possible without any external trigger, scientists said.

Scientists have analysed the molten rock within the dormant supervolcano beneath Yellowstone
National Park and found that eruption is possible without any external trigger

Scientists previously believed many supervolcanic eruptions needed earthquakes to break open the Earth’s crust so magma could escape. But new research suggests that this can happen as a result of the build-up of pressure.

Supervolcanoes represent the second most globally cataclysmic event – next to an asteroid strike – and they have been responsible in the past for mass extinctions, long-term changes to the climate and shorter-term “volcanic winters” caused by volcanic ash cutting out the sunlight.

The last known supervolcanic eruption was believed to have occurred about 70,000 years ago at the site today of Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. It caused a volcanic winter that blocked out the sun for between six to eight years, and resulted in a period of global cooling lasting a thousand years.

A supervolcano under Yellowstone Park in Wyoming last erupted about 600,000 years ago, sending more than 1,000 cubic kilometres of ash and lava into the atmosphere – about 100 times more than the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines in 1982, which caused a noticeable period of global cooling.
Following Pinatubo’s eruption, the global average temperature fell by about 0.4C for several months. Scientists predict that a supervolcanic eruption would cause average global temperatures to fall by about 10C for a decade – changing life on earth.

Scientists have analysed magma from the Yellowstone caldera, a 55-mile-wide underground cavern containing between 200 and 600 cubic kilometres of molten rock, to see how it responds to changes in pressure and temperature.

Using a powerful X-ray source at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, the researchers found that the density of the magma decreased significantly at the high temperatures and pressures experienced underground.

Density variations between magma and the rock surrounding it means that the lava within the supervolcano’s caldera can produce big enough forces to break through the earth’s crust, allowing the molten rock and ash to erupt from the surface, the scientists said.

“The difference in density between the molten magma in the caldera and the surrounding rock is big enough to drive the magma from the chamber to the surface,” said Jean-Philippe Perrillat of the National Centre for Scientific Research in Grenoble.

“The effect is like the extra buoyancy of a football when it is filled with air underwater, which forces it to the surface because of the denser water around it,” Dr Perrillat said.

“If the volume of magma is big enough, it should come to the surface and explode like a champagne bottle being uncorked.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, was possible because the X-ray machine at Grenoble was able to take accurate density measurements at temperatures of up to 1,700C and pressures 36,000 times greater than normal atmospheric pressure.

“The results reveal that if the magma chamber is big enough, the overpressure caused by differences in density alone are sufficient to penetrate the crust above and initiate an eruption,” said Professor Carmen Sanchez-Valle of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, who led the study.

Preventing a supervolcanic eruption is not possible, but scientists are currently trying to devise methods of monitoring the pressure of underground magma in order to predict whether one is imminent.

Dr Perrillat said there are no known supervolcanoes that are in danger of erupting in the foreseeable future, and it would take at least a decade or so for the magma pressure within a caldera to build up to a point where an eruption is likely. - Independent.

There’s a supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Scientists just figured out that the magma chamber beneath the park is bigger – much, much bigger – than they ever realized. One day an eruption will come. When it does, the scientists say the magnitude of impact will be “a global event.”

Yellowstone National Park

The magma chamber is about 20 miles wide, 55 miles long, and goes as deep as three to nine miles below the Earth’s surface, according to researchers who presented these findings recently to the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco. That’s roughly two and a half times as big as previously thought. It’s about 162 square miles of red hot molten magma.

“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger… but this finding is astounding,” said University of Utah Prof. Bob Smith.

What Exactly Would Happen if the Yellowstone Supervolcano Blew Today?

Judging by what happened the last time this particular volcano had a major eruption, the news is not good. About 640,000 years ago, the biggest known eruption from this volcano spewed ash over all of North America. Remember Mount St. Helens in 1980? That was baby stuff. Multiply that effect by about 2,000 to get an idea of the possible devastation.

To be sure, we wouldn’t see rivers of lava extending coast to coast. The damage of critical concern, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geologist Jake Lowenstern told, will result from a deep blanket of ash and pumice falling from the skies.

A “super eruption” would throw volcanic material throughout a 500 mile radius of the volcano. Envision a four-inch deep cloak of ash, smothering and polluting our midwestern farms and rivers. No farms, no food, as the saying goes. Cleaning it up would be a monstrous effort.

While the United States would be at the epicenter of such a disaster, the rest of the world would undoubtedly feel the effects as well.

“It would be a global event,” said the study’s lead author, University of Utah’s Jamie Farrell. “There would be a lot of destruction and a lot of impacts around the globe.”

“All this material that is shot up in the atmosphere would eventually circle the earth and would affect the climate throughout the world,” Farrell told the BBC.

Eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 - Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey/Wikimedia Commons

Is an Eruption Imminent? Should You Step Up Completion of Your Bucket List?

Don’t get worked up about this news, say researchers. This volcano, or “caldera” as it is more accurately known, has only experienced a super eruption three times – 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. Give or take, experts think this volcano has a big eruption every 700,000 years or so.

On the other hand, that 700,000 estimate is something of a wild guess, really.

“You can only use the time between eruptions [to work out the frequency], so in a sense you only have two numbers to get to that 700,000 year figure,” Prof. Smith told the BBC. ”How many people would buy something on the stock market on two days of stock data?”

When a super eruption is finally ready to happen, scientists say we’d have lots of warning signs. First we’d see earthquakes, which are necessary to break down the rocks that keep the magma under the ground.

Next we’d likely see blasts of lava and hot gas from fissures ripping open within a few miles of the volcano. These would cause the magma reservoir to drain and trigger the collapse of the caldera into a huge 1,500 square mile sinkhole.

The Volcano is Breathing

Fortunately, as with all volcanos, many smaller eruptions have been releasing internal pressure in the magma chamber over time.

“Calderas are big and hot, so they don’t break very easily and they just move up and down. It’s the way heat and gas get out of these deep systems — the system breathes,” Lowenstern said.

As National Geographic notes, the Yellowstone volcano is shifting and “breathing” all the time:
The park roils with geysers, fumaroles, mud volcanoes, and other hydrothermal activity. Half the geysers on the planet are in Yellowstone. The hydrothermal features change constantly in temperature and behavior, with new ones popping up in the forests, spewing clouds of steam visible from airplanes, exuding vapors that have been known to kill bison on the spot.

Most likely, none of us will need to worry about a super eruption in our lifetimes, or even within our great-great-great grandchildren’s lifetimes. One day, though, someone will need to worry. The Yellowstone supervolcano is sleeping, but the slumbering giant will awaken one day. The Earth won’t be the same when it does. - Care2.

EXTREME WEATHER CHAOS: Britain, Scotland, Wales And Ireland Hit By Heavy Rainfall, Widespread Flooding, Damaging Winds, And Raging Waves - At Least 7 Dead; 1,700 Homes Flooded In England; Over 300 Flood Warnings And Alerts; Over $500 MILLION In Damages To Ireland Alone; Waves Reach As High As 65 FEET; Over 100mph Gales Batter Towns; Forecasters Says Further Flooding Is Inevitable!

January 06, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - Britain is being battered again by storms and gale force winds - bringing flooding and travel chaos to many parts of the UK.

Stormy seas have caused problems in southwest coastal regions, and forecasters say there will be more violent weather over the next few days.

People watch and photograph enormous waves as they break, on Porthcawl harbour, South Wales, Monday
Jan. 6, 2014. Residents along Britain's coasts are braced for more flooding as strong winds, rain and high
tides lash the country.  (AP Photo/PA, Ben Birchall) UNITED KINGDOM OUT (AP)

Wave of stormy weather that has battered Britain since last week
(AP Photo/PA, Ben Birchall) UNITED KINGDOM OUT (AP)

This is the latest storm front to hit Britain.

A Mercedes is pulled from rising waters in the tiny village of Muchelney, Somerset.

Inland, some villages on the Somerset Levels have been cut off, with residents in Muchelney, near Somerton, being supplied by boat.

 In a statement to the Commons, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said seven people had died and 1,700 homes had been flooded in England.

He said one million homes have so far been protected by flood defences, but there was a likelihood of more flooding "for some time to come" in Dorset and Wiltshire.

 As gusts of up to 70mph hit western coasts, people were urged to remain vigilant and stay away from coastal roads, promenades and jetties with 25ft-high waves crashing on to beaches.

WATCH: Heavy Rain, High Winds Wreak Havoc on UK.

There are fears the next high tides will bring further coastal flooding.

Aberystwyth seafront - including 600 rooms of the university's student halls of residence facing the beach - was evacuated and rescue centres set up as high tides battered the coastline.

 Sky's Mike McCarthy, at the scene, said: "The worst predictions are being realised. We have seen waves bringing rocks and stones forward over the fencing."

Student Millie Farmer, 19, said 12ft waves had crashed on to the promenade, ripping up paving slabs and leaving debris scattered on the front.

A large wave hits a train travelling through Dawlish in Devon.

More flooding is expected in Dorset.

A rock fall in Porthcothan Bay, Cornwall.

The severe weather has already taken its toll on the transport network and there was more disruption for commuters with roads closed and trains delayed or cancelled in areas.

Southern Railway services between Horsham and Dorking in Surrey will be out of action until early February after a landslip in Ockley.

 And with hail providing an additional hazard, driving conditions are expected to be difficult too with the RAC expecting Monday to be one of the busiest days of the year for breakdowns, with 11,000 call-outs expected.

Aberystwyth seafront has been evacuated because of the storm.

Red areas show the flood warnings in place in Scotland.

Three severe flood warnings are in place in Dorset.

Muchelney in Somerset has been cut off, and many of the houses are flooded.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning - meaning "be aware" - for heavy rain, along with hail and thunder, in southern and western parts of Scotland, across Northern Ireland, north Wales, northwest and northeast England and the South.

With the ground saturated already following recent storms, the Environment Agency (EA) has issued three severe flood warnings.

 All are in Dorset - one is near Bournemouth, another at Preston Beach in Weymouth, and the third is in the Chiswell area of Chesil Beach.

There are also more than 300 flood warnings and alerts covering every region in England and Wales.

 The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has 11 flood warnings and 11 flood alerts in place.

Sky News weather producer Christopher England said: "There will be widespread heavy showers this evening, but southern and eastern Britain will be mainly dry.

"Strong winds gusting to over 60mph in the South and West will bring a risk of further coastal flooding during high tide." - SKY News.

Another Massive Storm On The Way As Ireland Reels At Raging Waves From Winter Fury.
A barrage of waves batter the coastal town of Lahinch, Co Clare.
Photo by George Karbus.

Ireland’s Atlantic coastline is bracing itself for a massive new storm as towns and villages prepare for more flooding.

The country’s state weather service Met Eireann has issued another Orange Alert warning in advance of further high winds and heavy rain.

The damage already inflicted now stands at over $500million with more on the way.

Forecasters reports massive Atlantic swells moving with the storm and estimating waves in some areas could reach anywhere from 35ft to as high as 65ft.

Forecasters are warning that winds could get as high as 100 miles per hour on the west coast with heavy rain as very high tides and high seas add to the threat of coastal flooding.

Arranmore Bay Photo: John Rafferty

The stormy conditions are expected to worsen on Sunday night with bands of heavy rain moving in from the Atlantic and bad weather set to last until Tuesday.

Parts of Cork, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Mayo have been badly hit with spectacular photographs online of the storm lashing the surf town of Lahinch.

The promenade in the famous Clare town was destroyed by an Atlantic storm surge while the town’s Seaworld tourist attraction suffered over $130,000 worth of damage.

Local councillor Bill Slattery told the Sunday Independent newspaper: “We are looking for emergency funding from the Government, as the local authority has no funding to repair the damage in Lahinch.

“I have never seen the devastation like it. A playground we had just opened two years ago was completely destroyed and the walkway surfaces along the seafront have been ripped up. Huge boulders were being thrown across the car park with the force of the tide.” - Irish Central.

ICE AGE NOW: Polar Vortex - Canada Is So Cold Residents Are Now Experiencing Loud Booms Caused By "Frost Quakes"?!

January 06, 2014 - CANADA - While America collectively freaks out over their impending 'polar vortex', Canada is changing the game when it comes to cold weather phenomenon as reports of 'frost quakes' emerge from around Toronto and across Ontario.

Freezing: A plane is silhouetted against the rising sun over a steaming Lake Ontario
in the frigid cold, January 3, 2014.

Indeed, as temperatures drop overnight to around -4f around the city hundreds of people are being startled by hearing large booms - causing them to think their homes are being broken into or gunshots are being fired.

In fact, they are merely hearing the after-effects of the frost quakes - or cryoseism - which are more commonly found on a glacier in the polar regions.

The phenomenon is caused when rain and ice seep down into the soil and then freeze when the temperature drops.

Unexplained: These tweets reveals how frightening and confusing some residents of Toronto found the
frost quakes. Residents across the Greater Toronto Area even phoned the police because the noises
were causing them distress, frost quakes were so loud that they resembled sonic booms.

'Water expands when it freezes and when it expands in frozen soil it literally puts a lot of stress on that dirt and will release that energy all of a sudden, very much like an earthquake releases that energy and shifts the ground,' said meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai to City News.

 Most frost quakes occur after a heavy rainfall or snow fall when there is a large amount of moisture on the ground.

'We had the ice storm or freezing rain event, then we had warm temperatures, or just about freezing at the surface. Then the temperatures plummeted after that,' said Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist with the Weather Network.

'That's why we've seen a couple of these events between the ice storm and the beginning of 2014.'

Around Toronto just after Christmas there was a thaw after some heavy snow fall that allowed ice to accumulate under the soil.

Frost quake or cryoeism: This graph explains how the frost quakes come about due to
expansion caused by water that has frozen quickly.

The subsequent deep freeze has turned that water to ice and caused the booms as giant chunks of the ground tear apart.

'It's almost like an earthquake because it's very close to the surface. You will feel a little bit of shaking, maybe if you're sitting in a chair and it happened, or you're lying in bed, or some of your dishes might rattle,' said Vettese.

Social media lit up over the weekend as hundreds of people experienced the rattles, bangs and grumbles caused by the frost quakes.

However, while unusual for southern Canada, frost quakes are definitely the norm in the north of the notoriously cold nation. - Daily Mail.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Flu Season Getting WORSE - Deadly H1N1 Spreading Across The U.S. As More Deaths Are Reported In Several States!

January 06, 2014 - UNITED STATES - The calendar says 2014, but health officials and flu victims might feel like it’s 2009 all over again. The H1N1 flu strain — which was responsible for the 2009 swine flu pandemic — has dominated this season’s flu scene, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“[Usually] the most common problem from the flu isn’t the virus itself, but the bacteria and pneumonia that the virus sets you up for,” Bruce Hirsch, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital in New York, told “(But) this season — unlike few others — we’re seeing this H1N1 flu cause viral pneumonia in and of itself and causing an occasionally fatal flu in young adults who would not be otherwise vulnerable."

“H1N1 seems to be a character — a bad actor — and causing more problems [than other flu strains],” said Dr. Hirsch. “So far the outbreak of this flu season seem to me, as an infectious disease practitioner, to be more dramatic and more severe. It seems to be a little bit of an explosive onset, and what I’ve seen in my patients is a few cases trickling in and then boom! It’s much more common.”

WATCH: Deadly Flu Season Getting WORSE?

Late last month, health officials in Texas confirmed that the H1N1 flu killed six people. Officials expressed some concern because this year’s flu vaccine is designed to help prevent H1N1 cases.

Texas isn’t the only state dealing with H1N1 cases. Here are some of the states battling the swine flu:
  • Michigan. Swine flu has killed three adults, and infected about a dozen more child and adults. These patients remain on life support, according to The Detroit Free Press.
  • California. Last week, Santa Clara Health Department officials reported the state’s first flu death of the season. The victim tested positive for the H1N1 strain, and other counties have also reported positive tests for the virus. In addition to seven cases in Santa Clara County, Marin County and Contra Costa County have reported several cases of swine flu, according to NBC Bay Area.
  • Oregon. Health officials confirmed two deaths from H1N1 flu, and another 81 hospitalizations, according to King 5 News.
  • Utah. Utah officials warn that swine flu is on the rise, and could be responsible for the first two flu deaths reported last week, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
  • North Carolina. The flu has killed 13 people in North Carolina, according to USA Today.
The CDC reports that the flu is now widespread in more than half of the country, with many states reporting severe outbreaks. As of the last weekly flu advisory report, widespread activity has been reported in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington state and Wyoming. - TWC.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Has Fukushima’s Radioactive Wave Already Hit California - Over 500 Percent Radiation Increase Detected On California Beach?!

January 06, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Predictions that Fukushima’s radioactive ocean plume would hit the west coast of the U.S. sometime in 2014 may have already come to pass, with a new video showing Geiger counter readings of background radiation at a beach in San Francisco over five times the safe level.

A graphic showing the path of the nuclear plume .

'Out of control': This dramatic pictures shows radioactive steam pouring from the Fukushima reactor
number three  after it was damaged in an explosion

Days after a YouTube video emerged showing background radiation at a Coastside beach reaching over 150 micro-REM per hour, Health officials in San Mateo County confirmed the spike but said they were “befuddled” as to its cause.

However, officials dismissed the possibility that the readings could be linked to Fukushima radiation reaching the west coast despite forecasts by experts last summer that radioactive particles from Fukushima would reach U.S. coastal waters in 2014.

WATCH:Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco.

The video shows a man measuring radiation readings at different spots on a beach south of Pillar Point Harbor. Background radiation in the areas immediately surrounding the beach are normal, but once the man approaches the water itself, the radiation spikes to at least 500 per cent safe levels and the Geiger counter’s alarm goes off.

The man behind the video claims that on his previous visit to the same beach, radiation readings were 13 times the safe level.

“In the following days, other amateurs with Geiger counters began posting similar videos online,” reports the Half Moon Bay Review. “The videos follow other alarming news last month that starfish were mysteriously disintegrating along the West Coast, a trend that has not been linked yet to any cause.”

Debris floats in the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of Japan, in this U.S. Navy handout photo dated
March 14, 2011. (Reuters/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Steve White)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Public Health are now investigating the cause of the radiation and more information is expected to be released this week.

While officials will almost certainly downplay the situation in order to prevent panic, it’s important to remember that genuine public health crises are virtually always preceded by government duplicity.

TEPCO and the Japanese government have repeatedly been caught lying in their efforts to downplay the scale of the Fukushima disaster. In September it was confirmed that radiation readings around the power plant were 18 times higher than previously reported by TEPCO. After a tank leaked 300 tonnes of toxic water in August, groundwater radiation readings at the plant soared to 400,000 becquerels per litre, the highest reading since the nuclear accident occurred in March 2011.

EPA officials in America also lied in the weeks after 9/11 when they told rescue workers and the general public that the air at ground zero was safe to breathe. According to insiders, EPA officials knew that the dust in the air was laden with asbestos but chose to cover up the truth, leading to at least 20,000 ground zero workers suffering debilitating illnesses and numerous deaths.

This NOAA graphics have led to numerous media reporting about an island of rubbish moving towards the US.

In this image released by the US Navy Visual News Service March 14, 2011 shows an aerial view of debris
on March 13, 2011 from an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck northern Japan.
(AFP Photo/Navy Visual News Service/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd)

Mainstream media outlets have also largely toed the line on Fukushima despite overwhelming evidence of a cover-up of the true scale of the crisis by Japanese authorities. Former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur was told not to warn the public about the danger posed by the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant during his time as a host on the cable network.

Concerns that the federal government is preparing for some form of nuclear emergency have heightened after it was revealed that the Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, to be delivered before the beginning of February. - Info Wars.

DISASTER IMPACT: Brazil Earmarks US$1.4 BILLION In Flood Control Relief And Espirito Santo To Invest US$225 MILLION In Reconstruction - 48 Dead; Over 10,000 Homeless; Widespread Damage To Roads And Infrastructure!

January 06, 2014 - BRAZIL - Following the deaths of at least 48 people in southeast Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff has destined 3.2bn reais (US$1.36bn) in federal funding to combat heavy rains and flooding in the states of Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.

In early December, a storm also left 16 people dead and flattened more than 200 houses in the
city of Lajedinho in the northeastern state of Bahia. Reuters

The president made the announcement during her visit to the city of Governador Valadares in Minas Gerais on Friday (Dec 27), according to the federal government's blog.

Rousseff met with governor Antonio Anastasia to assess damage which affected municipalities in the eastern region of the state such as Virgolândia, Aimorés, Conselheiro Pena, Mantena and Governador Valadares.

Besides leaving more than 10,000 homeless, at least 21 people have died from the storms in Minas Gerais, government news service Agência Brasil reported.

WATCH: Dozens killed by landslides in Brazil floods.

Another 24 lives have been taken in the state of Espírito Santo since December 19 and another three were killed in Rio de Janeiro just a few days before.

With the new funding, the government has earmarked a total of 21.6bn reais for works such as flood control, urban drainage and other disaster prevention works throughout the country.

While 13.6bn reais equates to grants coming directly from the federal budget, the remaining 7.7bn reais is being financed through 20-year loans which have a four-year grace period and an interest rate of 6%, the blog said

An aerial picture showing the overflooded Doce River in the Brazilian state of
Espirito Santo on December 26, 2013.

Meanwhile, Brazil's Espírito Santo state plans to invest 540mn reais (US$225mn) in rebuilding bridges, roads, schools and homes after storms caused severe damage in the southeast of the country, governor Renato Casagrande said.

The state will invest 65mn reais in revamping 750km of rural roads, and plans to raise 44.8mn reais to build and repair bridges.

It will spend a further 150mn reais on highways, 120mn reais on paving urban areas and 34mn reais on cleaning canals and dredging operations.

"The plan is comprehensive given the need to assist almost the entire state, as more than 50 of our 78 municipalities have been affected," Casagrande said.

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts as she flies over a region affected by heavy rains in
Espirito Santo state December 24, 2013. Reuters

Espírito Santo will also distribute 15mn reais to low income families, with up to 2,500 reais of credit to buy appliances or building materials.

At least 48 people died and 10,000 were left homeless in southeast Brazil following severe floods late December.

President Dilma Rousseff has assigned 3.2bn reais in federal funding to combat heavy rains and flooding in Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro states. - BNAmericas.

MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Amazing Land Subsidence In The United Kingdom - 160 FOOT WIDE AND 130 FOOT DEEP Sinkhole Opens Up In Foolow, Peak District, Derbyshire; And Dramatic Cliff Collapse Near Rock-A-Nore In East Sussex!

January 06, 2014 - UNITED KINGDOM - A giant sinkhole has opened up in the Peak District after torrential rain and storms battered the UK over the festive period.

The hole is estimated to be 130ft deep and 160ft wide and has appeared in the village of Foolow in Derbyshire.

The growing hole that was part of the old Mill Dam Lead Mine near Buxton in Derbyshire, caved in overnight
after water eroded the earth underneath, causing the whole area to collapse.

Torrential rain has caused the enormous ditch to appear in the Peak District.

Local caver Mark Noble, 58, said the opening has grown bigger since he first spotted it during a walk on Christmas Day.

‘It’s quite a large hole and it’s getting bigger all the time. It’s probably increased by about 10 per cent since it opened up,’ he told the BBC.

‘It is quite interesting but there are two other similar large holes that appeared about half a mile away from this one in the 1970s, so it’s not a new thing.’

It is thought the area, believed to have caved-in on Sunday, was part of the old Mill Dam Lead Mine near Buxton.

WATCH: Monster sinkhole in Derbyshire.

‘There are old mine workings directly below the sinkhole with huge cavities left, where the old mine was extracting lead centuries ago,’ Mr Noble added in an interview with ITV News.

‘The modern Mill Dam Mine is working at a much greater depth in the area of the sinkhole, but its collapse does not appear to have had a great impact on the mine.’ - Metro.

Meanwhile, several days earlier, a camera captured the moment that a cliff partially collapses during rough seas in Rock-A-Nore outside Hastings in East Sussex

In the video, part of the cliff can be seen crumbling to the ground during rough seas on the East Sussex coast.

WATCH: A mobile phone camera captured the moment a cliff partially collapsed into rough seas at Rock-a-Nore in East Sussex, England.

Kevin Ice, who filmed the collapse, can be heard in the video shouting "here it goes" as part of the cliff starts to break away.

Nobody is thought to have been injured in the collapse on Friday at about 1.30pm.

The public has been urged to stay away from the coast and promenades. - Telegraph.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia's Sinabung Volcano Erupts 77 TIMES IN JUST ONE DAY - Government Extends Volcano Danger Zone; Thousands Forced To Flee Their Homes In North Sumatra!

January 06, 2014 - INDONESIA A volcano on Indonesia's Sumatra island erupted at least 77 times over the weekend, sending clouds of potentially deadly superheated gas barreling down the mountain and forcing the evacuation of more villages in the highly populated area.

Mount Sinabung has displaced nearly 20,000 people from their homes since sporadic eruptions began in September. Experts have placed it under the highest alert status among the 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is home to more active volcanoes than any other country and has some of the world's most lethal volcanic activity.

More people were evacuated Friday from villages in the path of hot clouds of ash and gases that on Saturday blew more than five kilometers (three miles) down the mountainside, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster-mitigation agency.

That was the farthest such clouds,—also called pyroclastic flows,—had traveled to date. Experts say the flows, which move at high speeds and scorch everything in their path, are among the most dangerous volcanic events.

When another of Indonesia's volcanoes, Mount Merapi, erupted in 2010,—almost 2,000 kilometers to the southeast on the archipelago country's main island of Java—dozens of people were killed by superheated gases that tore into their villages far below the summit.

The disaster agency said Sunday that Sinabung had erupted 77 times in the previous 24 hours, sending fine particles of ash up to 4,000 meters into the air. That marks a major increase in the frequency of eruptions, although the maximum height of the plumes has fallen to roughly half the peak level last week.

Winds have been pushing the ash to the east and southeast, away from Indonesia's third-largest city, Medan, home to more than two million people.

WATCH: Thousands evacuated in Indonesia as Mount Sinabung volcano continues to erupt.

Sinabung is an imposing massif rising to nearly 2,500 meters above the surrounding countryside, much of which is farmland in a district home to hundreds of thousands of people. It lies about 50 kilometers to the southwest of Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra, and 13 kilometers northwest of the district seat of Kabanjahe. The district numbers some 350,000 people.

Mr. Nugroho, the disaster agency spokesman, said the evacuation zone, which has stood at a five-kilometer radius around the volcano's peak, has been extended to seven kilometers in the southeast, where volcanic activity is greatest. Residents of more than two dozen villages have been living in temporary shelters outside that zone, some for months. Many of their homes are caked with ash and their small farms left unattended.

If the no-go zone were the increase to 10 kilometers, the number of displaced persons would reach nearly 60,000, Mr. Nugroho said. The disaster agency cannot predict the mountain's activity but has extended a period of extra caution to Jan. 18, he said.

Mr. Nugroho said that the volcano is continuing to produce magma, or molten rock pushed up from deep within the earth, which is also the swelling the size of a lava dome near the peak.

Partial collapses of the dome last week coincided with a series of lava flows down the mountain.

Volcano erupts more than 50 times, spewing gas and lava, and forcing thousands
to flee from their homes in North Sumatra.

In 2010, Sinabung came to life after lying largely dormant for hundreds of years, forcing the evacuation of around 12,000 villagers. Government scientists lack a deep understanding of the volcano's characteristics, given its lengthy period of inactivity before then.

Sinabung's activity so far hasn't risen to the level of Merapi, where pyroclastic flows extended for more than 15 kilometers at the height of activity in 2010. The evacuation zone extended to a radius of 20 kilometers around the peak. Those eruptions, over a series of months, killed more than 300 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Villagers wear masks as they walk on a road covered with ash following further eruptions of Mount Sinabung in
North Sumatra, Indonesia. Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Mr. Nugroho cautioned that eruptions on Sinabung could occur even after the release of lava flows, as they did in the case of Merapi.

Indonesia sits on the fault lines of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. The Mount Toba super-eruption around 74,000 years ago in Sumatra created what is today the world's largest volcanic lake.

The eruption in 1883 of Mount Krakatau, which lies west of Java in the Sunda Strait separating the island from Sumatra, triggered a tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people, with the ash from the eruption lowering global temperatures for months. - WSJ.