Tuesday, December 15, 2015

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Chile's Copahue Volcano Enters New Eruptive Phase - Over 100 Earthquakes In Just One Day!

Copahue volcano. © AFP PHOTO / Antonio Huglich

December 15, 2015 - CHILE - Is the Copahue volcano entering a new eruptive phase?

The volcano was hit by 103 earthquakes between December 12 at 10:17 local time (13.17 GMT) and December 13 at 1:09 local time (4.09 GMT), so less than 1 day. Insane.

103 seismic events rattled the Copahue volcano during last week-end as reported by the Service National of Geology and Mining of Chile (Sernageomin).

The earthquakes occurred 12 kilometers from the main crater at depths close to six kilometers underground.

Copahue volcano. © AFP PHOTO / Antonio Huglich

The most powerful tremor was a M3.1 and happened at 12:57 local time (15.00 GMT) on Saturday.

The volcano and its surrounding area - municipalities of Alto Biobio, Biobio region - is on Yellow Alert since June 3, 2013.

The last activity recorded at the Copahue volcano was in 2000 and its last major eruption occurred in 1992.

Another Chilean volcano, The Calbuco, had an insane eruption last year. - Strange Sounds.

EXTREME WEATHER: Winter Storm Sends Temperatures Plummeting Across United States West - Arizona Hits Zero!

Salt Lake City on Monday, December 14, 2015. © AP/Rick Bowner

December 15, 2015 - UNITED STATES - A storm that drenched California over the weekend has turned an Arizona town into one of the coldest cities in the lower 48 while making for a rainy commute in Phoenix, where it was colder than New York City.

Here's a look at the winter weather across the West:


An icy storm in northern Arizona left Bellemont, a small community west of Flagstaff, with a temperature of zero at sunrise Sunday - one of the chilliest temperatures in the lower 48 states at the time, said David Vonderheide of the National Weather Service.

The morning commute in the region Monday was slow as an initial band of snow showers neared an end and a second wave arrived. The Arizona Department of Transportation urged people to stay off major highways if possible.

Weather forecasters said wind gusts up to 40 mph would send snow swirling and further complicate travel.

Meanwhile, rain fell in central and southern Arizona, dropping temperatures in Phoenix to the mid-40s - some 10 degrees colder than New York City.

Bellemont's low temperatures were due to its location in a flat area surrounded by low hills where cold air struggles to escape, Vonderheide said. At 7,100 feet, it's slightly higher in elevation than Flagstaff.

"There are mornings every winter where Bellemont is the coldest in the lower 48," he said.


The state's first major winter storm dumped a foot of snow in some parts of the Salt Lake City area, creating harrowing commutes.

Highway troopers reported more than 140 accidents and slide-offs in three northern Utah counties early Monday, but none were serious, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said.

As much as 16 inches of snow was expected by Tuesday in some areas, National Weather Service meteorologist Christine Kruse said. Snow also fell in lighter doses in the Logan and Provo areas and as far south as Zion National Park, where the higher elevations of red rock landscapes were covered in a dusting of snow.

Many city streets were littered with cars stuck in the snow, causing backups and gridlock at some stoplights. The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City closed and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City cancelled evening classes.

While city residents slogged their way around, ski resort officials celebrated the huge snowstorm that dumped up to a foot at many sites. "Who's excited for some Powder?" Brighton Ski Resort tweeted.

Only minor delays were reported at Salt Lake City International Airport.

The massive storm marked the latest twist in a topsy-turvy early winter in Utah that saw record high temperatures in the 60s last week.


A storm that dumped rain and snow across California moved out of the soaked state Monday, leaving behind cold temperatures, powerful winds and pounding surf.

The National Weather Service said temperatures would be about 10 degrees colder than normal in Southern California and would barely top 60 during the day.

A high-surf advisory was in effect for San Diego County through Tuesday, with unpredictable waves up to 8 feet lashing the coast, accompanied by dangerous rip currents.

Drivers were urged to use caution on mountain roads where gusts up to 70 mph were predicted.

Higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada received 1 to 2 feet of snow Sunday, adding to the powder that fell last week to the delight of skiers and snowboarders.

Montana and Wyoming

A wintry storm blowing through Montana and Wyoming was expected to dump at least a foot of snow on some lower-elevation areas and more in the mountains. Blowing snow in central and southern Montana made for treacherous driving conditions. A winter storm warning is in effect for much of the two states. - The Associated Press.

ICE AGE NOW: Heavy Snowfall In Turkey - 827 Villages Inaccessible!

© trtturk.com

December 15, 2015 - TURKEY - In Van and Hakkari, roads to 827 settlements have been closed due to snow.

In Van, 317 districts are inaccessible due to snow.

The Regional Directorate of Highways and Municipality snow-fighting teams continue working to open the roads.

WATCH: Heavy snowfall in Turkey.

The Directorate of Meteorology Regional in a statement reported that more snow is expected at noon, and that the temperature will fall up to 3 degrees below zero.

In Hakkari, the snow has closed the roads to 136 villages of 374 hamlets.  - Ice Age Now.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up Hatteras Island, North Carolina And Dead Killer Whale Washes Up On Beaches In South Africa?!

A dead humpback whale washed ashore on Cape Hatteras. © National Parks Service

December 15, 2015 - EARTH - Here are two of the latest incidents of whales washing up dead on beaches across the globe.

Dead humpback whale washes up Hatteras Island beach, North Carolina

A humpback whale has been found dead on a beach near the end of Hatteras Island.

National Park Service spokeswoman Cyndy Holda tells the Virginian-Pilot that the juvenile male was found Monday and is 33 feet long.

Holda says staffers from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are conducting a necropsy on the carcass to determine cause of death. The whale will be buried in parts on the beach.

The animal showed no outward signs of trauma. Holda says the biologists took samples to test for toxins.

Marine biologist Karen Clark says humpback whales migrate south from New England to the south Atlantic this time of year. Juveniles often linger off the Outer Banks coast to eat. - 13 News Now.

Dead killer whale washes up on beach in South Africa

Dead killer whale
A dead killer whale has washed up on the shore in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape.

"It washed up on the beach dead and then was removed by the [municipal] cleansing department," National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

"Samples of it have been taken away by the department of environmental affairs."

The animals commonly known as killer whales are also called orcas.

Lambinon said the whale was found on Sunday.

It was not yet clear if it was the same juvenile orca whale which had been successfully released back into the ocean after it was discovered beached on the Robberg Beach shores last week.

That orca whale, approximately six metres in length, was found on the beach on Friday evening and members of the public had helped throw water on it to keep it wet, Lambinon said on Saturday.

That whale was believed to be the same whale that had been seen in Plettenberg Bay, swimming close inshore, a few days before.

A veterinarian arrived and efforts to get the whale back into the water began, but they were short-lived when the whale re-beached.

The rescue crew were then able to get the whale into deeper water and swam with it coaxing it into deeper water.

In an effort to discourage re-beaching, a line was formed in the water, by the crew, as the whale continued to try to head back to the beach.

The efforts proved to be successful and the whale returned to the ocean.

The whale was seen again swimming along the beach front and a member of the public reported seeing the whale feeding, said Lambinon at the time. - News24.

DELUGE: More Floods Hit The Democratic Republic Of Congo - Dozens Killed!

Scores of people were feared dead on Tuesday in terrible floods that hit the strife-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

- Torrential rain between 11 and 12 December 2015 has caused deadly floods and landslides in eastern and western parts of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Local news reports claim that 18 people have died in eastern South Kivu and 9 in western Bas Congo provinces.

Floods have already resulted in over 30 deaths in Kinshasa and other areas of the country since late November.

South Kivu Province

On 12 December 2015, AFP reported that at least 18 people during torrential rains and floods on Friday 11 December to Saturday 12 December 2015 in Bukavu in South Kivu province in the east of the country.

WMO reported that, during a 24 hour period between 06 and 07 December 2015, 136.9 mm of rain fell in Bukavu. No records are available for more recent rainfall in the country.

At least 6 houses collapsed after torrential rain triggered floods and landslides. There are fears that some are still trapped under the rubble and that the death toll could rise further. One death has been reported as a result of electrocution. Radio Okapi, the UN backed news outlet in DRC say that around 50 houses have been damaged which could leave hundreds homeless. Ibanda and Panzi districts in Bukavu are thought to be the worst affected.

WATCH: Dozens killed in Congo floods.

Bukavu lies on the south western shores of Lake Kivu, next to the border with Rwanda. The province has seen over 60 people killed in floods since October last year.

At least 30 people died in floods in Kalehe Territory in South Kivu province after 3 days of heavy rain in late October 2014. Around 14 people died in March this year after flooding in Fizi, South Kivu province.

Bas Congo Province

Radio Okapi also report that 9 people were killed in floods on 12 December in Boma (5) and Mbanza-Ngungu (4), both in Bas Congo n province in the west of the country. Radio Okapi say the floods have caused widespread damage, including hundreds of homes and a bridge. - Floodlist.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Star Gazing - Geminid Meteor Shower Awes Spectators In China And Australia!

© Kenneth Brandon

December 15, 2015 - SPACE - Here are two videos of the Geminid meteor shower at its peak, witnessed in Australia and China.

WATCH: Geminid meteor shower awes spectators in China.

WATCH: Peak of the Gemini meteor shower 2015 from Kiama, Australia.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Apocalypse Now - Journalist Says "There's Almost NO MORE FISH, The Ocean Is DYING, It's Terrifying"; Government Warns Public To Expect ALARMING INCREASE IN DEATHS On The West Coast; "Fish Are Just Too Hard To Find"; "CHAOS Below The Surface"; Official Says "WE ARE PREPARING FOR THE WORST"; Government Data Shows The United States Being Bombarded With Fukushima Radiation 1,000 TIMES HIGHER Than Normal!

December 15, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN - Scientists observed another year of low pup weights during their annual survey… off California… “If last year is any indication of what to expect this year, we’re probably going to see a lot of pups strand unless many die at the rookeries,” said Sharon Melin, wildlife biologist, NOAA Fisheries. “Only this time it is not just going to be California sea lion pups. We’re already seeing unusual numbers of northern fur seal pups stranding in California and we may even see some adults for both species.” Melin predicts that the geographic extent of the strandings will also expand“Three-month old female California sea lion pups had… the lowest weights we’ve seen at this rookery in 41 years since monitoring began,” said Melin… For northern fur seal pups, the news is equally grim…  The poor condition of pups means that their mothers are not finding sufficient prey… The lack of prey near the rookery is linked to the anomalous ocean conditions… NOAA Fisheries scientist Nate Mantua sees struggling California sea lions as indicators for lots of changes taking place in the marine environment. - NOAA.

Scientists forecast another year of high death rates for sea lions, seals off California coast… “Based on the condition of the pups we saw in September and October, we would anticipate there will be at least as many strandings this winter,” Melin said… The main problem appears to be a lack of food. - AP.

California’s Sea Lions are Starving… It’s shaping up to be another terrible year for California sea lions… [They] are having trouble keeping themselves fed… and end up malnourished and sick. When they’re too unhealthy to swim anymore they flop onto shore… The number of distressed sea lions… on our beaches has exploded in recent years. - San Francisco Weekly.

A dramatic decrease in California sea lion pups’ average weight… caused [NOAA] scientists… to predict another brutal winterLack of available prey has sent the average weight of sea lion pups plummeting to its lowest level in 41 years of records, Melin said… NOAA scientists say struggling sea lions are a sign of chaos below the surface. - Courthouse News Service.

[F]ederal scientists [are] warning beachgoers and marine mammal lovers to expect another alarming increase in pinniped strandings and deaths along the California coast… “For California sea lions, this is the worst, and by far,” said Melin, who studies West Coast pinnipeds for the NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center. “The poor condition of pups from both species indicates the problems are widespread.” The situation is disturbing for marine biologists who have been documenting unprecedented changes this year in the ocean ecosystem, including… die-offs of Northern California birds, fish and mammals. Low weights last year were responsible for a huge death toll this year, said Melin…. “Based on the condition of the pups we saw in September and October, we would anticipate there will be at least as many strandings this winter,” Melin said… Melin said a lack of food appears to be the chief problem. The core diet of most pinnipeds is sardine, anchovy, Pacific hake, rock fish and squid, all of which have been impacted by changing sea conditions. - San Francisco Chronicle.

After record year, even more sea lions and fur seals expected to end up stranded on Southern California beaches — Even more sea lions could end up stranded on Southern California beaches because of record low weights among yearlings… thousands of sea lions [are expected to] wash ashore this winter and early spring… This summer and fall, Melin observed an all-time low pup weight – the lowest since records of sea lions have been kept in 41 years When sea lions converged on the island in 2012, there was no sign of a problem. A year later, nearly 70 percent of the newborns had died In 2014, sea lions produced just half the number of pups… “We are preparing for the worst,” [NOAA's Justin] Viezbicke said. - Orange County Register.

Starving pups have been and still are showing up in record numbersfish species that sea lions feed on… are just too hard to find currently. - KCBX.

Anne Keala Kelly, journalist/filmmaker: Americans think the Pacific is a toilet. Nobody even talks about Fukushima anymore. You know, when you’re in the Pacific, you actually care about the fact that there’s almost no more fish — that the ocean is dying. It’s terrifying to be on the receiving end of this society, this culture. It is terrifying, every day. - LINK TV.

Watch the LINK TV broadcast here

Compiled by ENE News.

Government data shows U.S. being bombarded with Fukushima radiation 1,000 times higher than normal

Government data shows that the U.S. is being bombarded with Fukushima radiation 1,000 times higher than normal.

In the months following the 2011 meltdowns at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, residents of Los Angeles were being exposed to levels of dangerous alpha radiation nearly 1,000 times above normal levels, a government study found.

The data came from a July 2012 presentation at the National Conference on Radiation Control. The presentation was given by Joji Ortego, Principal Radiation Protection Specialist for Los Angeles County Radiation Management.

Following the Fukushima meltdowns, Los Angeles county heard many concerns from residents about the potential health impacts of radiation crossing the Pacific Ocean from the disaster. So they commissioned a study of radiation levels in the area. The report notes that federal agencies delayed in providing information to the county, and that the state Radiologic Health Branch was unable to provide inspectors due to budget constraints. The state lab was unable to provide a reasonable turnaround time for sample analysis, so the county instead hired a local radiation monitor manufacturer for the analysis.

Radiation levels exceed federal thresholds

Samples were taken between April 29 and May 2, 2011, approximately seven weeks after the radioactive releases from Fukushima. The county found that gross alpha radiation levels at a location in Los Angeles were 300 femtocuries per cubic meter (fCi/m3), and levels at a Hacienda Heights location were 200 fCi/m3.
For context, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reports the average (annual median) level of gross alpha activity for the state of California as just 0.38 fCi/m3 – that is, 790 times lower.

The levels detected in Los Angeles County were a full 100 times higher than the level that requires an investigation at a U.S. nuclear laboratory, according to the Environmental Monitoring Plan at Brookhaven National Laboratory: "If the gross alpha activity in the [air] filters is greater than 3 fCi/m3, then collect more samples in the vicinity, and project manager will review all detections above the limits ... All values greater than the above-stated gross alpha/beta concentration shall trigger an investigation."

Finally, the Los Angeles County levels were almost 15 times higher than the federal regulatory limit for alpha radiation, which is 21 fCi/m3, according to a 2010 document from Idaho National Laboratory.

Even worse than it sounds
What do all these numbers mean for human and environmental health?

Alpha radiation is one of four major types of radiation emitted by radioactive atoms. It is also referred to as "alpha particles," or a "Helium nucleus." Other types of radiation are beta radiation, gamma radiation and neutrons.

Of alpha, beta and gamma radiation, alpha radiation is by far the most dangerous if found inside the human body. That's because unlike beta or gamma radiation, alpha radiation is easily absorbed by cells, where it can cause serious damage, including to DNA. Alpha particles can enter the body if they contaminate food or water, or if they are breathed in – hence the concern among both nuclear laboratories and Los Angeles county about airborne levels of alpha radiation.

The alpha radiation detected from the Fukushima disaster most likely comes from plutonium 239, which is produced as a byproduct in many nuclear reactors. No alpha radiation, however, is emitted by cesium-137, which is probably the most prolific isotope emitted by Fukushima that is still circulating in the environment (iodine-131, also emitted in large quantities, has a very short half life and has probably mostly vanished from the environment by now).

But whereas the beta and gamma radiation emitted by radioactive cesium may not be as dangerous from within the body, it is actually far more dangerous if found outside the body – for example, in the contaminated water and soil around the Fukushima plant, or the contaminated water being dumped into the Pacific Ocean. That's because beta and gamma radiation is far more able to penetrate the body's external defenses, and tear apart cells and DNA as it passes through.

Sources for this article include:













- Natural News.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Latest Report Of Volcanic Eruptions, Activity, Unrest And Awakenings – December 12-14, 2015! [VIDEO]

Colima volcano sends huge plume of ask into the sky (Storyful / YouTube / webcamsdemexico)

December 15, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of Volcano Discovery.

Colima (Mexico): Dramatic footage shows the volcano sending a giant column of ash nearly 1.5 miles up into the atmosphere.

The volcano erupted on Monday.

Nearby residents were warned to beware of falling ash.

Colima is one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico and North America, having erupted more than 40 times since 1519.

WATCH: Colima volcano explodes with massive ash cloud.

Masaya (Nicaragua): Crater glow at Masaya volcano this morning (INETER crater webcam) According to local press articles referring to information from INETER, the volcano's activity is on the rise, with "lava being close to the surface".

Crater glow at Masaya volcano (INETER crater webcam)

The main crater of the volcano appears covered with debris from rockfalls from the crater walls, but visible incandescence, strong degassing sounds and small flames (from combusting gasses) jetting from between cracks on the floor, suggest that lava might be not far underneath and could again lead to the formation of a new lava lake, last observed in 1999.

On the other hand, seismic activity has been at low levels and not shown significant variations recently, not suggesting that significant movements of magma towards the surface have taken place.

Also, the incandescence of the vent at the main crater has been there for a number of years already.

Copahue (Chile): Ash emissions ceased about a week ago and the volcano has been relatively calm at the surface since. However, a seismic swarm occurred yesterday, sign that the unrest at the volcano is not yet over.

Copahue volcano in early December.

According to local press, the swarm contained 103 small quakes during 24 hours, composed by rock-fracturing volcano-tectonic events at 12 km distance from the main crater and at depths of near 6 km.

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The Alaska Volcano Observatory lowered the volcano's alert status back to normal/green:

"Seismic activity, indicative of unrest, at Veniaminof has decreased to near background levels during the past two weeks. Minor steaming from the intracaldera cone has not been observed since November 16. As a result, AVO is lowering the Aviation Color Code to Green and the Volcano Alert Level to Normal." (AVO)

FIRE IN THE SKY: The Latest Fireball Sightings - Comet Catalina Experiences Magnetic Storm And Meteor-Fireball Leaves Huge Plume As It Streaks Across Swedish Skies! [VIDEO]

© kootallica/YouTube (screen capture)

December 15, 2015 - SPACE
- The following constitutes several of the latest reports of fireballs, seen in the skies, across the globe.

Meteor fireball leaves huge plume as it streaks across Swedish skies

Raw video of something in the sky over Stockholm, Sweden! (Ball of fire? Jet stream?) Will update with more information if it becomes available. Video taken on 2015-12-14 in Stockholm, Sweden. *** Excuse the shakiness of the video, I was not expecting to see this 'fireball' at all and was quite taken by surprise! *** ((UPDATE: Object may have been part of the 'Geminids' meteor shower, more info at this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geminids Still no verification of what was in the area at that time, will continue to update if more info becomes available. Very incredible to see LIVE! : )

Time of occurrence: around 14:36 (02:36 PM)

WATCH: Fireball over Stockholm.

- YouTube.

Comet Catalina experiences magnetic storm

Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina.  © Michael Jäger

There is currently a magnetic storm hitting Comet Catalina.

The storm is clearly visible in the sinuous blue ion tail of C/2013 US10 as giant blobs of plasma are forming as shown in this awesome picture captured by Michael Jäger on December 11, 2015.

Plasma blobs in comet´s tails are a sign of stormy space weather which frequently form in response to CMEs and gusts of solar wind.

In extreme cases, a comet's tail can be completely torn off.

As during terrestrial geomagnetic storms, magnetic fields around a comet bump into oppositely-directed magnetic fields in a CME.

The resulting burst of magnetic energy can make waves, blobs, or even ruptures in the comet's tail. In contrast, when CMEs hit Earth amazing, they power amazing aurora borealis or australis. - Strange Sounds.

DISASTER IMPACT: Powerful Typhoon Melor Slams Into Disaster-Ravaged Philippines - Bringing Heavy Rainfall And Strong Winds; At Least Three People Dead; MILLIONS Without Power!

Waves spill over a wall in the city of Legaspi in Albay province, south of Manila, as typhoon Melor approached the city.  © Charism Sayat/AFP/Getty Images

December 15, 2015 - THE PHILIPPINES
- Typhoon Melor carved through the central Philippines on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and strong winds that left millions without power and at least three people dead, officials said.

One person died of hypothermia while two others drowned in floods in the fishing town of Catarman in Northern Samar province in the Visayas region south of Manila, municipal disaster officer Jonathan Baldo told DZMM radio.

The storm toppled trees and cut electricity to at least seven provinces, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Christmas lanterns and lights, tin roofs and branches littered the streets of the city of Legazpi, which was battered by strong winds.

WATCH: Raw - Typhoon Melor slams into the Philippines.

People who fled from their coastal homes spent a sleepless night in evacuation centres, sprawled on classroom tables and chairs as flying debris swirled around outside. Melor whipped the vast Bicol peninsula, with a population of 5.4 million people, overnight before slamming into the Romblon islands on Tuesday morning.

Gusts had weakened somewhat by Tuesday morning but were still recorded at 170km (106 miles) per hour, from 185km per hour on Monday. The storm was expected to weaken further as it heads to Mindoro island and out into the South China Sea later Tuesday, state weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the typhoon-prone Bicol region, where 720,000 people were evacuated as early as the weekend.

"We have zero floods, zero deaths, zero casualties," Albay governor Joey Salceda told ABS-CBN television.

WATCH: Strongest typhoon to hit Mindoro since 2005.

"What we are asking for is the early restoration of electricity," he said, adding the entire province of 1.2 million people was without power.

Authorities were assessing Melor's damage while bracing for another typhoon brewing east of Mindanao, the country's main southern island, said NDRRMC spokeswoman Mina Marasigan.

Bad weather forced the cancellation of 16 domestic flights on Tuesday, adding to the 56 flights cancelled on Monday, the NDRRMC said.

WATCH: Melor moves west.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year, many of them deadly, with the strongest happening towards the end of the year.

The last deadly storm to hit the country this year, Koppu, killed 54 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes after it pummelled rice-growing northern provinces in October.

In November 2013, one of the strongest typhoons on record, Haiyan, flattened entire communities in the central region with tsunami-like waves, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing. - The Guardian.

EXTREME WEATHER: Winter Storm Warnings And Watches Issued For 15 American States!


December 15, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Heavy snow warnings for parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan and Maine.

344 AM CST TUE DEC 15 2015

344 AM CST TUE DEC 15 2015







- Ice Age Now | NOAA.

SMOGEDDON: Shanghai's Worst Smog In Two Years Prompts Introduction Of Emergency Measures - Children and The Elderly Ordered To Remain Indoors!

Tourists walk on the Bund in Shanghai during heavy smog on Dec. 14. © Zhong Yang/Imaginechina via AP Images

December 15, 2015 - SHANGHAI, CHINA
- Shanghai ordered schools to keep children indoors and factories to limit production as a hazy smog enveloped the metropolis and the most dangerous air contaminants reached the highest levels in two years.

The city's air quality index hit 217 at 4 p.m., or "heavily polluted," the second worst in a 6-grade scale, the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center said. It had improved from "severe" earlier, when PM2.5 levels -- particulates considered the must dangerous to health -- rose to as high as 281 micrograms per cubic meter, the most since Dec. 26, 2013, according to U.S. State Department data tracked by Bloomberg. The World Health Organization recommends no more than daily average exposures of 25 micrograms.

Shanghai's pollution hasn't been a major concern since 2013, when the city was shrouded in smog for weeks and prompted the American Chamber of Commerce to say it was hurting the city's image as it sought to attract foreign businesses. Tuesday's warning followed a red pollution alert by Beijing last week for the first time, that triggered limits on industrial production, bans on outdoor construction and primary school and kindergartens suspensions.

"The heavy pollution Shanghai faces highlights that China still needs to make more investment into environmental protection," Dong Liansai, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, said by phone. "Measures such as asking factories to reduce production will certainly have some impact on the economy, but it's very worthwhile to protect public health."

The city started a color-coded air pollution system last year that mandated reduction measures depending on the level of smog, with red the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue. In 2013, the municipal government released an action plan that aimed to cut PM2.5 levels by 20 percent by 2017 from 2012 levels.

Pollution Persists

Children and elderly should remain indoors, while everyone else should avoid physical activity outdoors, the Shanghai monitoring center said on its website. The city's environmental protection bureau issued in the morning a yellow pollution warning, calling on the public to conserve electricity, take buses and avoid driving cars. The alert is signaled if heavy pollution is expected to persist for two days, according to the bureau website.

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said on its official weibo that an order had been issued to primary schools and kindergartens to keep children indoors. The city government ordered industry to limit production to reduce emissions and some construction to halt, according to a separate weibo statement.

A yellow haze alert has also been in effect since Monday evening when pollution levels began to rise, according to a weather information portal run by the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. - Bloomberg.

DELUGE: Heavy Flooding Still Affecting Ireland As Shannon River Levels Rise - Over 400 Homes Cutoff; Mass Evacuation Still Underway; Defense Forces Deployed! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Flooding Carrick on Shannon. © Irish Times/Brenda Fitzsimons

December 15, 2015 - IRELAND - Parts of Ireland experienced more heavy flooding on December 12, 2015 after more heavy rain battered the country. At the same time, water levels of the Shannon river system are still rising and are expected to peak over the next few days, the National Emergency Coordination Group reported.

Abundant amount of precipitation over the weekend of December 12, triggered floods in the counties of Sligo, Leitrim and Dublin area, while parts of western Ireland, in the Shannon river basin suffered the worst hit. Local media reported heavy flooding in the Corbally area of the Limerick city and parts of Athlone on the night of December 12 (local time).

The level of water flow from the Shannon river is expected to increase to 440 cubic meters per second (15 538 cubic feet per second) over the coming days, and lead to increased risk of flooding the roads and grounds of Springfield, Montpelier, Castleconnel, Mountshannon, Lisnagry and the University of Limerick.

14 homes, a secondary school and numerous cars have been overflown in the Corbally area, and the main road passage from Co. Clare into Limerick was left under water. The road has been opened to traffic, following the initial flooding, however, numerous roads in the Castleconnel area have remained closed. Homes in the Richmond Park and the area of Ardscoil Mhuire secondary school reported flooding, as well.

Flooding along the banks of the River Shannon Athlone Town with the N6 motorway.  © Irish Times/Brenda Fitzsimons

Flooding along the banks of the Shannon River near Athlone Town.   © Irish Times/Brenda Fitzsimons

© Irish Times/Brenda Fitzsimons

RT: Ireland – River Shannon Floods Affect at Least 6 Counties
Twitter: globalfloods

Flooding along the banks of the Shannon River near Athlone Town.   © Irish Times/Brenda Fitzsimons

Over 400 homes have been cutoff the power supplies, according to the local media. Residents between Chapelizod and Islandbridge in Dublin area were urged to remove their vehicles from underground parking spots and other low-lying areas last night. The concern about further possible flooding in Athlone still remains high, as well, according to Jim Casey from the Office of Public Works, as the water levels of Lough Ree rose for 2.5 cm (1 inch) over night. The water levels of Lough Derg, in the Limerick area have been expected to reach their maximum by December 14.
The are of Bandon in County Cork remained on high alert on December 13, as well, as the Blackwater river levels approach their peak and flood defenses are in place. 50 homes have been evacuated in the flooding events since the weekend of December 5, according John Barry, the chairman of the Coordination Group. 700 people were deployed across the country during last week and 222 members of the Defence Forces were sent to monitor different locations across Ireland on December 12.

WATCH: Flooding in Ireland.

According to Met Éireann, the rainfall will slowly move northwards from Munster and south Leinster, lashing the Atlantic coastal regions and the weather will gradually stabilize by December 14: "There will be further rainfall throughout the week but nothing of an exceptional level." - The Watchers.

MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: "It Is Crazy And Terrifying To See The Land Dropping By Three Feet" - Massive Sinkholes, Landslides Endanger Northwestern Oregon Neighborhood! [PHOTOS]

© The Oregonian

December 15, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - Seven families in a cluster of hillside homes above the Tillamook River spent the past week watching the two roads they live on slip, buckle and tangle into a slide of rocks, mud and trees.

It began Monday as a few little cracks on Burton Hill Road, just outside Tillamook. By Wednesday the cracks had collapsed into a quarter-mile series of sinkholes and creeping mud that put three homes at risk, pushed a barn off its foundation and left homeowners fearful of what will move next.

As the rains continue, they say only one thing is clear: No one is coming to the rescue. Morgan Kottre, 27, said she and her neighbors - some of them relatives - have been told by county, state and federal officials that they don't qualify for assistance because Burton Hill Road and the lower Hillside Drive are private roads on private land. Same story from at least one insurance company. Kottre said a representative told one family the devastation qualifies as an "act of god," which the insurer doesn't cover.

"In theory, we could try to fight it," she said, "but right now we're just trying to fight the land." Storms over the past week that have brought flooding and landslides across northwestern Oregon. On Saturday afternoon, blizzard conditions closed three highways in Southern Oregon. The extreme weather has caused at least two deaths in Oregon and federal officials set early damage estimates at about $15 million.

Tillamook County was among the 13 counties where Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency. In fact, not far from Kottre's home on Saturday night, the town of Oceanside was cut off as the only road out of town was closed due to a failed culvert. Kottre, her neighbors and 50 friends spent Saturday night stacking more than 200 sandbags on tarps in hopes of keeping water from further soaking the ground. They teamed up to build a gravel road through one backyard so folks on the upper road could get out.

© The Oregonian

© The Oregonian

© The Oregonian

© The Oregonian

© The Oregonian

"It just seemed crazy when the land dropped a few inches," Kottre said of the hillside community. "But it became terrifying when it was three feet." Kottre and her husband, who live on the upper road, are staying at home for now. The same is true for their older next-door neighbors, whose sliding-glass door is a stone's throw from one of the steeper drop-offs.

Down below, on Hillside Drive, Tera Kottre and her family moved out and are living in their horse trailer. If feels safer, she says, than being in the house that's in front of the barn that's slowly being moved by mud. Tera Kottre first heard of the issue Monday as she ate breakfast with her husband, John. "My mother-in-law called and said, 'Do you know your neighbors' driveway is starting to move?'" she said. They went out, looked up and saw the driveway sinking away from the home and visibly pushing chunks of earth in their direction. "We saw it and knew immediately it was going to hit our barn and we just started moving," said Tera Kottre, who evacuated her three horses and moved everything of sentimental value out of the house. She and her husband have been back to the home, she says, but she won't sleep there. The geologists and engineers who've visited said that's wise.

Tera Kottre hasn't had a chance to call her insurance company, she added. She'll fit that in on Monday, she says, during her split shift at work. Neighbors said the settlement began as a dairy farm in the 1940s and later on, was one long driveway to a home. That homeowner began parceling off the land and now seven homes are scattered across the hill surrounded by pastures and forest.

Morgan Kottre said she and her husband hadn't realized it was a private drive - or the implications of that - when they bought their home about two years ago. She's started a GoFundMe.com account to help cover the costs but says the project likely will exceed the $100,000 fundraising goal.

It's hard to know what the cost will be until the extent of the destruction is clear. But, experts have told residents, a thorough survey won't be possible until the earth stops moving.

And that might not happen until the rains clear.Saturday was supposed to bring heavy rains and 50-mile-per-hour winds. The storm skewed south, yet rains are predicted through early next week.

Worst-case, the neighbors say, chunks of earth and road will topple the barn, send mud through two homes and over their driveways, and leave another home too near a sinkhole to be safe.

Still, Morgan Kottre said she's found strength in how her neighborhood has come together. But she's been frustrated by what some people have written online when they hear of weather-related disasters on the Oregon Coast.

She read a comment somewhere to the effect "those Californians shouldn't have built their homes on sand." But her neighborhood is nowhere near sand, she says, and the people who live on what they call "Family Hill" have spent most of their lives in the town.

"They think we're in some big house on the sand with beachfront views," she said. "We're not. We're blue collar workers who live on a hill because that's what there is in Tillamook. Lots of hills." - Oregon Live.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors - Dozens Of Dead Birds Found On Mississippi Beaches?!

Dead seagull found lying on beach in Pass Christian.  © Missy Dubuisson

December 15, 2015 - MISSISSIPPI, UNITED STATES - It's a frightening sight along the coastline. First fish, now dozens of birds found dead on beaches in several coast cities.

"We got reports of several birds in the Gulfport area and after speaking with DEQ they got several more birds in the Biloxi area," said Missy Dubuisson with Wild at Heart Rescue.

Even in Long Beach, many species of birds have been found lifeless or clinging to life. Experts saying it all goes back to the unprecedented December red tide.

"Of course there probably has been this issue before on a smaller scale and we might have just had a bird or two that maybe came in and didn't make it, but we weren't seeing what we're seeing now," said Dubuisson.

Caretakers at Wild at Heart Rescue are currently rehabilitating a pelican who started with a hook injury, but is now battling respiratory distress due to the algal bloom.

Wild at Heart Rescue workers are currently rehabilitating this pelican believed to be affected by the algal bloom. © WLOX News

"We have been informed that we cannot release him until the algae bloom is gone," said Dubuisson. Experts say algal blooms happen throughout the coast annually, but never with this much beach affected at one time. Dubuisson says a neurotoxin causes respiratory distress in animals not only by eating, but even when they swim in the infected water.

"It's pretty much going to be fatal for most of them, but we are going to do our best to take care of those," said Dubuisson.

Dubuisson also added that the illnesses caused by the harmful algal bloom can be transmitted to humans, and can prove fatal to those with compromised immune systems.

Fish were the first organisms to wash ashore. © Missy Dubuisson

"What we need the public to do is if they see those, don't try to touch them. We need a GPS location and we need photos, if they can," said Dubuisson.

According to DMR officials, Sunday night's cool and windy weather could actually clear up the algal bloom and make the overall situation better. - MS News Now.