Monday, December 14, 2015

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: 2015 Has Been The Worst Wildfire In United States History - 9.8 MILLION ACRES Burned; Over 4,600 Structures Destroyed!!

December 14, 2015 - UNITED STATES - The nation is closing in on its worst wildfire season in recorded history, with nearly 9.8 million acres already burned -- the equivalent of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of New Hampshire going up in flames.

Two large fires and more than 160 smaller ones remain active, and more fires are expected to be reported before the month ends.

Together, they're likely to push the 2015 total past the record 9.87 million acres burned in 2006.

The extent of scorched earth reflects a warming trend that has made the United States considerably drier, scientists and fire expects say, with less mountain snowpack particularly in Alaska and the southwest.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in September that $200 million a week was spent to battle wildfires nationwide.

All told, some 30,000 people in at least a dozen states have been deployed for that effort - the largest force since 2000.

And to date, 13 firefighters have lost their lives across the country.

More than 4,600 structures have been destroyed. - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare Winter Tornadoes Touch Down In East Texas - Surprising Residents And Damaging 50 Homes!

There are reports of at least 50 homes damaged in Lindale, Texas, including the one pictured here. Residents in the area said that
there were no storm warnings and alerts were not sent out.
December 14, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - Rare December tornadoes surprised East Texas on Saturday afternoon, damaging 50 homes, destroying a bridge and injuring two people.

At least one tornado, probably two, touched down around 4pm in Lindale, about 90 miles southeast of Dallas, according to KETK.

The mayor has issued a declaration of disaster for the city.

'We saw these clouds and these little tornadoes that were shooting down and then one hit the ground. We saw it hit the ground, witness Melissa Malone told the outlet. 'From there we called 911 and immediately alerted them and the sirens started going off.'

Eyewitness Autum Green spotted the twisters forming on Iron Mountain Road in Lindale and captured them with her cell phone.

'It was kind of cool watching it build up, but I was really scared,' Green said, adding that she normally gets weather alerts, but none came with the tornado.

'On the movie Twister where they had the two tunnels come through, they twirled around each other, that's what it looked like,' she said.

The National Weather Service did not send out warnings and people in Lindale were caught completely unawares, reports the outlet.

WATCH: Massive tornado near Willis, Texas.

Green said she and her husband were able to find shelter, and their home was spared.

The Red Springs fire department offered assistance to anyone affected by the tornado, but despite reports of 50 damaged homes, reportedly no one showed up to seek it.

While only two people were reported injured, officials say electricity is knocked out in the area and it's unclear when it might return, according to NBC DFW.

ONCOR reported that at least 10,000 people in East Texas were without power, according to CBS 19.

In Tyler, flooded streets meant first responders had difficulty getting around town, said the outlet.

Severe weather patterns disrupted the area through Sunday.

Showers that contained strong winds derailed a train near the intersection of Old Mill Road and N. John Redditt Drive in Lufkin Sunday, reported

The derailment occurred around 7:15am, leaving 64 rail cars off the tracks. Luckily, the train was a cargo train, not a passenger train.

Officials are working to right the train.

A tornado also reportedly ripped through Willis and Winnsboro. Flash flooding was reported in Titus, Rusk and Smith counties.

The storm surge reached all the way to Louisiana, causing downed trees and power lines in Shreveport. - Daily Mail.

MAJOR STORM ALERT: Powerful Typhoon Melor Slams Disaster-Ravaged Philippines - Over 700,000 Flee To Safe Areas For Fear Of Giant Waves, Floods And Landslides!

Meteorologists from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration monitor and plot the
direction of Typhoon Melor in suburban Manila on Monday. © JAY DIRECTO / AFP - Getty Images

December 14, 2015 - THE PHILIPPINES - More than 700,000 people in the central Philippines fled to safer areas for fear of giant waves, floods or landslides as Typhoon Melor slammed into the archipelago nation Monday, officials said.

Melor brushed the northern tip of Samar, a farming island of 1.5 million people, early Monday with winds gusting up to 185 kilometres (115 miles) per hour, the state weather bureau said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

Samar was among areas devastated in 2013 by Typhoon Haiyan, when giant waves wiped out entire communities and left 7,350 people dead or missing.

Authorities warned that Melor's powerful winds might whip up four-metre-high (13-feet) waves, blow off tin roofs and uproot trees. They said heavy rain within its 300-kilometre diameter could trigger floods and landslides.

WATCH: Typhoon Melor slams the Eastern Philippines .

In Albay province in the southeast of Luzon island, almost 600,000 people were evacuated due to fears that heavy rain could cause mudslides on the slopes of nearby Mayon Volcano, according to the national disaster monitoring office.

Residents carrying bags of clothes and water jugs clambered onto army trucks in Albay's Legazpi City as authorities sounded an evacuation alarm, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.Huge waves crashed into the city's deserted boulevard as palm trees swayed from the wind.

"The whole province is now a ghost town. We shut all establishments. No school, no work," Albay governor Joey Salceda said on ABS-CBN television.

Albay, a province of 1.2 million people, has become a model for disaster preparedness. It recorded zero casualties from Typhoon Hagupit last December due to prompt evacuations.

An additional 130,000 people were evacuated in Sorsogon province south of Albay.

The typhoon is expected to cut across the central heartlands in the early hours of Tuesday before heading out to the South China Sea in the west.

The storm's outer rain bands could hit the capital Manila, where the second lowest in a four-step storm warning system may be raised Monday night, state weather forecaster Robert Badrina told AFP.

Stormy weather has forced the cancellation of 40 domestic flights and halted 625 passenger and cargo ferry trips, the disaster monitoring agency said.

The government had prepared more than 200,000 food packs and other emergency items before the storm's landfall, social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman told DZMM radio.

The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 typhoons annually. Two of these usually hit in December, Badrina said, and are often among the strongest.

Last year Typhoon Hagupit brought floods and landslides to the central region, killing 53 people.

A low-pressure area, which could either strengthen into a typhoon or dissipate because of cold winds blowing from the north, was spotted east of the main southern island of Mindanao, Badrina said.

The weather bureau is studying the link between the increasing strength of year-end storms and climate change, he said.

Typhoon Koppu, the last deadly storm to hit the country this year, killed 54 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes after it pummelled the north in October. - Yahoo News.

MONUMENTAL PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Activity Increases In Azerbaijan - 7,000 Earthquakes In 2015!

December 14, 2015 - AZERBAIJAN - Seismic activity intensified in Azerbaijan as the country faced about 7,000 earthquakes in 2015.

Magnitude of more than 80 earthquakes ranged from 3.1 to 5.9, and tremors of 17 were felt
the Republican Seismological Service Center reported.

Azerbaijan locates in seismically active zone. Scientists believe that seismic zones with the potential to produce dangerous force cover the entire country, while the Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt passes directly through Azerbaijan.

An increase in seismic activity is observed since the beginning of the year in the northern part of Azerbaijan - in Oghuz, Shamakhi-Ismayilli, Shabran seismic zones, as well as in the southern part - the Talysh seismic zone, according to the center.

The seismic activity in the Caspian Sea increased in 2015 compared to the last year, but the level seismic energy released through tremors was lower.

In the first quarter of this year, the magnitude of the strongest earthquakes in the Caspian Sea was 5.4. This earthquake occurred on March 22, but the tremors were not felt.

The strongest earthquake of the second quarter of the year occurred in the Goranboy region (4.7), the third quarter - in the territory of Oghuz region (5.9), and in the fourth quarter again the strongest earthquake hit Oghuz (4.0).

The last earthquake recorded in the country was observed in the Caspian Sea to the north of Baku on December 11. The strength of the quake was 3.4 on the Richter scale; the epicenter was located at a depth of 61 km.

The Seismological Service Center noted that the seismic tension on the southeastern slope of the Greater Caucasus has decreased this year, while it remains the same in regions of the Lesser Caucasus and Talysh Mountains.

In November, the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry announced that Azerbaijan may face 3-4 magnitude earthquakes in the near future and named zones that have potential risks of earthquakes.

Shaki-Oghuz, Central Caspian seismogenic zone and partly Southeastern sector of Shamakhi seismically active zone were named as areas of potential seismic risk based on the operational analysis of seismic and geodynamic conditions in Azerbaijan in the end of October.

Last year was also marked with an intensification of seismic processes as well as the most powerful earthquakes that Azerbaijan has seen in the past 15 years.

Six earthquakes measuring over 5.0 on the Richter scale occurred in Azerbaijan in 2014, releasing a tremendous volume of energy.

- Azer News.

DELUGE: Communities On High Flood Alert Along River Shannon, Ireland - Mass Evacuation Underway; Damage Could Run Into Millions Of Euro! [VIDEOS]

Swans glide by a sandbag barrier on The Strand in Athlone Town, in the ongoing battle against the rising waters of the Shannon River.

December 14, 2015 - IRELAND - The ESB will not increase the amount of water flowing through the Parteen Weir today.

It says the level of water in Lough Derg increased marginally in the past 24 hours and is warning that flooding is likely in communities along the River Shannon.

Residents in parts of Athlone say Christmas is on hold as they try to keep rising waters from flooding their homes.

It is raining heavily in the town this morning, and it is thought 100 houses are at risk.

Keith Walsh is one of a dedicated team of volunteers manning pumps around the clock.

He says houses in The Park area would be flooded were it not for a team effort. The Shannon is set to peak this week following heavy rain and poor conditions in recent days.

50 homes were evacuated over the weekend - and 220 members of the Defence Forces were deployed to assist affected areas.

The worst hit area was Corbally in Limerick City, where 14 homes were flooded as council workers struggled to open a canal lock.

Flooded Shannon river

Anti Austerity Alliance Councillor Cian Prendiville says serious questions need to be answered, and says it seems to have been a "comedy of error" that has led to people's homes being damaged.

Local authorities are compiling data on the cost of the clean-up after the floods, which is likely to run into millions of euro.

Minister of State Simon Harris spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the response to the flooding. He is set to visit Bandon and Skibbereen in Co Cork, two areas that have been particularly badly affected in recent days and weeks.

WATCH: Flooding in Ireland

"There has been a really strong inter-agency approach, but the reality of the situation is the people in Bandon need a flood relief screen, and they're not going to rest - and I'm not going to rest - until that's in place," he said.

AA Roadwatch is advising that some routes across Leinster and Munster are flooded following rainfall over the weekend, while flooding also remains a problem in parts of Connacht and Ulster following last weekend's Storm Desmond.

The worst affected areas include Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim.

Irish Rail is warning that the line between Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford remains flooded, and there will be less capacity on Longford trains as a result.  - News Talk.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Opens Up On Beach In Queensland, Australia - Measures 16 Feet By 22 Feet!

A large sinkhole has opened up at the northern end of The Spit.

December 14, 2015 - QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - A large sinkhole has opened up at the northern end of The Spit about 5.30pm this afternoon.

The hole, about 5m by 7m in size, is surrounded by orange cones to warn beachgoers of a possible danger.

No one has been injured.

It is possible to get close to it but caution is advised. - Gold Coast Bulletin.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Minke Whale Found Near Dutch Island?!

Dead minke whale found near Den Helder, Dec 13th 2015.  © Hans Eelman/Ecomare

December 14, 2015 - HOLLAND
- A nine-metre long whale has washed up on a sandbank in the Wadden Sea, close to the holiday island of Texel.

The whale, thought to be a female Minke, has been dead for some time, experts at the Ecomare wildlife centre said.

She probably washed up on the sandbank known as the Razende Bol where the water is shallow.

Researchers from Utrecht University will try to establish the cause of death and what the animal had been eating.

Minke whales are one of the smallest species of balleen whale and common in the North Sea. They are a primary target for the whaling industry.

In December 2012 a humpback whale died after becoming stranded on the same sandbank. - Dutch News.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Crude Falls Below $35 A Barrel For The First Time Since 2009!

© Nick Oxford / Reuters

December 14, 2015 - GLOBAL ECONOMY
- Oil prices on Monday plunged to their lowest level since 2009 as OPEC continues high volume production and Iran plans to boost exports. Brent crude was down below $37 a barrel while the US benchmark WTI fell below $35 per barrel.

There’s “absolutely no chance” Iran will delay its plan to increase shipments even as prices decline, Bloomberg cited Amir Hossein Zamaninia, Iran’s deputy oil minister as saying.

Tehran which expects international sanctions over its nuclear program to be lifted early in January, aims to double crude exports. The country currently exports 1.1 million barrels per day.

Oil prices could slump to $30 per barrel in 2016 and could stay low throughout the year, said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, warning of tough times ahead.

Deputy Finance Minister Maxim Oreshkin said the country is drawing up plans based on the price fluctuating between $40 and $60 until at least 2022.

That scenario would have devastating implications for OPEC, according to Oreshkin. It would also spell disaster for North Sea producers, Brazil’s off-shore projects, and heavily indebted Western producers. “We will live in a different reality,” he added.

According to the head of Russia's Central Bank the average crude price for next year would be $35 per barrel. Elvira Nabiullina said that at that price Russian GDP would fall by two to three percent along with investment and real wages.

The International Energy Agency’s report last week added to the concerns as it warned the global oil glut would persist at least until late 2016 with oversupply and slowing demand.

According to the Telegraph's Liam Halligan, the slump in oil prices reflects supply patterns driven almost entirely by geopolitics that could quickly shift.

Just as fast as crude prices have fallen over the past year or so, they “could easily spring back again,” Halligan writes.

"Then there’s Russia, outside OPEC and constantly vying with the desert kingdom to be the world’s biggest oil producer.

An OPEC production cut, the increasingly paranoid Saudis’ fear, would make yet more room for Russian crude,” Halligan added.

Moscow is “less bothered about cheap oil than Riyadh – given that, in ruble terms, prices have not fallen so far," he said.

Halligan’s analysis echoes experts who say the low oil price may have had no impact on Russian output, which is currently hovering at post-Soviet record levels. Russian crude production reached 10.77 million barrels per day (bpd) in October with 5.32 million bpd destined for export. - RT.

RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Boom Rattles Bryan, Ohio - Residents Report Smoke, Sulphur Smell?!

December 14, 2015 - OHIO, UNITED STATES - Several people reported hearing an explosion Thursday afternoon in Bryan, but nobody knows what it was.

The calls started coming in around 12:40 p.m. according to dispatcher Dana Andrews.

Windows rattled on South Beech Street and South Lynn Street smelled like smoke and sulfur.

People reported hearing the boom on East Wilson Street, Walnut Street and Parkview Avenue.

Source: The Bryan Times

- Geo News.

EXTREME WEATHER: Infrastructure Collapse - Wicked Winds Blow Train Off Bridge In Texas!

Winds in excess of 41 mph toppled several empty train cars in Texas. (Lufkin Police Department)

December 14, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - Severe “straight-line winds” in excess of 41 mph blew several train cars in eastern Texas off a railroad bridge and onto a roadway about 20 feet below Sunday morning, according to a Facebook posting from the Lufkin Police Department.

The train cars were believed to be empty and no injuries have been reported, according to KTRE.

The first call of the derailment came into dispatch at 7:18 a.m. local time.

The wicked weather in Angelina County also led to some downed power lines, cops said.

(Lufkin Police Department)

(Lufkin Police Department)

A video posted on the LPD’s Facebook page showed electric lines sparking as rain fell.

The worst is mostly over, however, with just a half-inch to an inch of rainfall likely to come, according to the National Weather Service in Shreveport.

“Be cautious when driving this morning and if at all possible, STAY HOME!!!” an LPD Facebook post said. - FOX News.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Looming Threat Of Volcanic Disasters In Auckland, New Zealand - Research!

An undersea volcano erupting off the coast of Tonga in March 2009.

December 14, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- Rangitoto, Mt Albert, Lake Pupuke, Orakei Basin, Mt Eden and One Tree Hill are some of Auckland's most familiar landmarks. But they are also reminders of the city's fiery history and the looming threat of future disasters.

A clearer understanding of the risk posed by a new volcanic eruption in Auckland has emerged from doctoral research undertaken by a student at Victoria University of Wellington.

Jenni Hopkins, in collaboration with GNS Science and the University of Auckland, has reconstructed the eruptive history of Auckland's volcanic field, which comprises more than 50 craters dating back around 200,000 years. While currently dormant, the field is expected to erupt again from a new site within potentially as little as a few hundred years.

"The 53 volcanoes in Auckland are almost entirely monogenetic, which means they generally only erupt once," says Jenni. "But what was previously unknown was the order in which they erupted—I wanted to find that out so that we could establish the characteristics of the field and get an idea of what a future eruption might be like."

To reconstruct the eruptive history, Jenni examined the ash deposits taken from a number of lake sediment cores to see the thickness of the layers and the order in which they'd been deposited. She also helped develop ground-breaking new geochemical techniques which have allowed, for the first time, the ash deposits to be accurately linked to their source volcanoes.

Jenni Hopkins with a map showing Auckland's volcanic field. © Victoria University of Wellington

Using core samples that were drilled by GNS Science and The Auckland Council's research programme DEVORA (DEtermining VOlcanic Risk in Auckland), Jenni analysed the elemental make-up of ash deposits with an electron microprobe and laser ablation techniques. Each layer was shown to have a unique geochemical 'fingerprint' of trace elements which could then be matched to lava from the source volcanoes.

"Being able to pinpoint the volcano from which each layer of ash was derived means we can see how far ash was dispersed in each eruption. We can use this geological evidence to make estimates about the areas that will be affected by eruptions in the future."

Her research has been funded by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and Auckland Council through DEVORA, and GNS Science. "The whole point of my work is to provide an improved understanding of the threat posed by Auckland's volcanoes to both people and critical infrastructure. It's designed to assist in the development of better management practices for evacuations, and to help local authorities work out how best to mitigate the damage to assets like roads, power lines and buildings."

Jenni is currently working for GNS Science and will conduct further research on Auckland's volcanic field. She then would like to apply the skills developed during her PhD research to the ancient super-eruption of Taupo by examining its far-flung ash deposits to unravel some if its long-held secrets.

"I've been so lucky to study at Victoria," says Jenni. "The geochemistry facilities here are excellent—I had everything I needed to do all my work right on campus, which is amazing." - Victoria University of Wellington.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Explosion Destroys Building Facade In Belgium - Cause Unclear?!

Twitter: Theate Cedric

December 14, 2015 - BELGIUM - There seem to have been a number of bizarre explosions around the world lately. Frequently blamed on gas or electrical transformers malfunctioning, could they be related to other bizarre electrical and seismic phenomena we've been experiencing around the world?

A powerful explosion has rocked a building in the Belgian town of Verviers, almost completely destroying its facade, local media report. It is not yet clear what caused the blast and if there have been any casualties.

© Google maps

Witnesses have posted numerous photos on Twitter, which showed three floors of the building had been damaged. Some users suggested there might have been a gas explosion. At least five people have been injured in the incident, the RTL TV channel reported, adding that firefighters are currently working at the scene. "The neighboring houses were affected. Firefighters must first secure the area and will search the rubble," Muriel Targnion, the town's mayor, said.

Residents of nearby building have been evacuated, RTL added. Verviers, a town of about 55,000 people, has recently appeared in the headlines in connection with the mastermind of the Paris terror attacks in November.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud was one of the leaders of a terrorist cell in the town. During a raid on the cell in January 2015, two of its members were killed.

WATCH: Blast destroys building in Belgium.

Abaaoud himself was killed during anti-terrorist raids in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis in November. - RT.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Large Upper Atmospheric Lightning Caught On Camera In Darwin, Australia!

Blue Jet (Transient Luminous Event) © William Nguyen Phuoc

December 14, 2015 - SPACE
- This photo was taken by William Nguyen Phuoc in Darwin, Australia on Dec. 8 2015.

This looks more like a Gigantic Jet than a Blue Jet but either way it is an amazing event.

A timelapse video of this event shows all the lightning activity before and after the event. You can view it here:

WATCH: Transient Luminous Event.

- Space Weather.