Friday, December 18, 2015

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Alert - Asteroid 2015 YB To Skim Past Earth On December 19 At 0.2 LUNAR DISTANCE, Two Days After Its Discovery! WATCH LIVE!

The asteroid was discovered just two days ago. Getty

December 18, 2015 - SPACE - Astronomers were oblivious to the existence of the space rock, which is big enough to destroy a town and called 2015 YB, until Wednesday.

The Slooh Telescope internet channel is hosting a special live broadcast to capture the flyby at 2am.

A Slooh spokesman said the pass was so near it would be within range of geosynchronous satellites which orbit at the same rotation period as Earth.

He said: "Discovered just two days ago, Slooh will provide live coverage.

"The size and speed of this asteroid makes it very difficult to track.

"During our live broadcast, host Paul Cox and Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman will discuss why it is so difficult to track these fast moving objects, and of course, the kind of damage a (it) would cause were it to impact Earth, and why."

It may sound far, but the estimated 34,672 miles away pass, its a cat's whisker in cosmic terms, and is less than a fifth of the 238,000 miles between earth and the moon.

Slooh's graphic compares the asteroid sizes to the footballer

The asteroid is only 20 metres in length, but an asteroid of the same size exploded suddenly in Earth's atmosphere above Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013 - injuring 1,500 people.

If an asteroid of 50 metres hit London it could destroy the city.

Astronomers have nicknamed the asteroid The Flea, in honour of the world's greatest soccer player, Lionel Messi.

The spokesman added: "We will be asking, why, like Messi, it got through our best defences until two days ago."

To watch the broadcast click back on this story at 2am, Saturday, December 19.

Viewers can ask questions and interact with the hosts on Twitter via @Slooh.

It is the second recent near Earth asteroid to turn up out of the blue.

A much bigger 650-metre space rock whistled by at just past the distance of the moon on Halloween a week after its discovery.

WATCH: Slooh tracks Asteroid 2015 YB.

- Express.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Former Official Says That "Fukushima Is UNSTOPPABLE" - Huge Amounts Of Radiation Are Pouring Out, "VERY SERIOUS" For The Pacific Ocean; Journalists Witholding SHOCKING INFORMATION; Plant Chief Says "This Is Something That HAS NEVER BEEN EXPERIENCED BEFORE,... We Must Invent NEW SCIENCE For UNPRECEDENTED CATASTROPHE"!

Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama.

December 18, 2015 - JAPAN - Fukushima decommission chief [Naohiro Masuda] warns with surprising candor: Nothing can be promised… not even robots have been able to enter the main fuel-debris areas so far… “This is something that has never been experienced. A textbook doesn’t exist for something like this,” Masuda told The Associated Press… “Before, it was a war zone,” Masuda said quietly… [E]ven the most optimistic projections estimate the work will take about half a century. Masuda said without hesitation that more delays could be in order. No one knows exactly where the melted nuclear debris is sitting in the reactors, let alone how exactly the debris might be taken out… New science will have to be invented for the plant to be cleaned up… The March 2011 catastrophe is unprecedented[T]he containment, where the morass of fuel lies, has been breached And as devastating as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was in what is now Ukraine, that involved one reactor, not three. When asked about what he wanted to tell the people worried about contaminated fish, such as on the West Coast of North and South America, Masuda said the radiation leak into the Pacific Ocean has been reduced to a level one-millionth of what it was in 2011… “They don’t need to worry, and, if there is anything to worry about, we will be out with that information,” he said… Masuda also acknowledged that Japan has not done as good a job as it should have on relaying the harsh realities at the plant. - Associated Press.

Interview with Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nuclear Hotseat with host Libbe HaLevy, Dec 16, 2015:
  • 37:45 – Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland: “It’s common knowledge Fukushima is not at all under control.
  • 42:45 – Murata: “There is an important findings by a Christian who is engaged in helping people in the disaster area. He made 560 interviews and he has found out that the mothers are extremely worried about the health of children. They say waiting 5 years is the maximum, and even being divorced if necessary, they will emigrate from the actual place. He foresees a large scale movement of residents – evacuations and emigration. He thinks on the occasion of the fifth anniversary — next spring, next March 11th — all data foreign and Japanese journalists have amassed so far will be made public. They must wait for this special occasion, otherwise they couldn’t obtain incomes. This fifth anniversary will be an occasion to disclose this data. This will change completely the atmosphere and he foresees even a social change, just like 3/11 has brought about.”
  • 44:30 — Murata:  ”We are most seriously worried about the health of children… In Fukushima the government has allowed the residents to come back at 20 millisieverts [per year, compared to Chernobyl's limit of 5 millisieverts per year]… This is most serious humanitarian matter, if we think about the health of children. So I am asserting the evacuation of children is urgently needed.”
  • 45:30 – Murata: “The most important thing is to let the world know the situation in Fuksuhima is serious. In order to obtain this result, the honorable retreat from Tokyo Olympics is urgently needed — and most effective. I think the whole world needs this because, as you know, it is unstoppable accident. Daily, huge amounts of radiation is coming from the Fukushima site — the Pacific Ocean — there is no prospect for solution. More than 700,000 tons of contaminated water might finally be released into the sea… So the situation of the Pacific Ocean is very serious. That is why I’m asking for an honorable retreat, to cope with the shameful criticism that Japan is now harming the global environment.”
Full interview with Murata here

- ENE News.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Fireball Terrorizes Georgia Residents - NASA Confirms Asteroid Chunk Flying Near Atlanta, Other Sightings!

December 18, 2015 - GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - If you saw a fireball streaking across the skies of Georgia and other parts of the Southeast Thursday night, you're not alone. NASA confirmed meteor sightings near Atlanta and other parts of southern states. No, it's not Doomsday, the end of the world, and it wasn't a UFO or signs of extraterrestrial visitors.

According to an 11 Alive story, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) said six of its ALL Sky Fireball Network cameras detected the meteor about 6:33 p.m. Reports of sightings came in from Georgia residents and motorists near Henry County.

NASA Meteoroid Environments Office spokesperson, Bill Cooke, said the meteor spotted over Georgia traveled about 50 miles above McDonough, a town located south and east of Atlanta.

"From its brightness, it is estimated that this piece of an asteroid weighed at least 150 pounds and was over 16 inches in diameter."

Cameras trained on the meteor tracked it as it descended to about 17 miles above the Earth's surface near Locust Grove. Then, it vanished from view.

Cooke said it likely that it burned up after entering the planet's atmosphere at 29,000 miles per hour. As such, there may be fragments strewn about that survived and impacted the ground. At this time, there are no reports of injury or property damage.

Because the Geminid meteor shower, peaked Sunday and is the last and strongest shower the year, some speculate Thursday's meteor fireball could be related. 

Scientists believe the meteor showers are increasing in intensity with each occurrence. Data studies show that one possible explanation is the shifts in the gravitational pulls of Saturn and Jupiter. It's believed the field has brought denser streams of space rocks closer to Earth's orbit, according to GPB News.

Visibility occurs from December 4-17, and typically, the peak Geminid cosmic event lasts from December 13-17. However, the American Meteor Society reported nearly a dozen sightings on Tuesday.

It's unclear if the meteor sighting in Georgia was a late arrival or rogue space body. However, it's far too small to be the so-called Christmas Eve asteroid, as previously reported by Starpulse.

Fun facts about meteors: Meteors are bits of rocks and ice ejected from comets as they move in their orbits about the sun. On any given day, there are 12,000 meteors hitting Earth about the size of a grain of dust. - Star Pulse.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Dow Drops More Than 350 POINTS, Stocks Lower For Week As Oil Slides!

December 18, 2015 - WALL STREET, UNITED STATES - U.S. stocks closed sharply lower Friday as investors weighed low oil and economic data in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve's rate hike Wednesday. Options expiration also contributed to volatility. 

With Friday's late afternoon decline in stocks, the major U.S. averages wiped out gains for the week. Trade volume Friday was the second-highest of the year.

"In the context of the Fed we've removed some uncertainty. There's still some uncertainty about earnings going forward and you're experiencing that with some volatility in market pricing," said Timothy Hopper, chief economist at TIAA-CREF.

The Dow Jones industrial average had its worst day since Sept. 1, closing nearly 370 points lower as selling accelerated into the close. Nearly all constituents declined, with Boeing and Goldman Sachs contributing the most to losses. Disney turned lower to end the day off nearly 4 percent after BTIG downgraded the stock to "sell" from "neutral."

The S&P 500 fell more than 1.5 percent, with financials plunging 2.5 percent to lead all sectors lower.

The Nasdaq composite declined about 1.6 percent to close below the psychologically key 5,000 level. Apple ended about 2.8 percent lower.

"You can't dismiss the quadruple witching. It begins to affect market volatility and volume. You also have a backdrop for the market that has not been as healthy as you want to see it," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial.

"The market basically has been going back, reverting to where it was before (the Fed)," she said. Low "oil prices has been difficult for the market to accept."

U.S. crude oil futures for January delivery, which expire Monday, settled down 22 cents, or 0.6 percent at $34.73 a barrel for a 2.5 percent decline for the week.

The February contract settled down 21 cents at $36.06 a barrel. Baker Hughes said oil rigs rose by 17, after four straight weeks of decline.

The Dow transports ended more than 2 percent lower after hitting a fresh 52-week low in intraday trade.

Year-to-date performance

Analysts also noted some pressure from a decline in the flash Markit U.S. Services PMI for December. The figure showed 53.7, down from the final November read of 56.1 and the lowest print in 12 months.

"I think the fear is (the Fed) is starting to tighten in an economy that's starting to weaken," said Ben Pace, chief investment officer at HPM Partners.

He also said there was some disappointment around the level of stimulus measures from the Bank of Japan overnight, which included purchases of exchange-traded funds and extension of the maturity of bonds it owns. Analysts said, however, that the move was minor and did not amount to a significant change to the bank's stimulus.

The U.S. dollar declined more than half a percent against major world currencies, with the euro near $1.087 and the yen at 121.29 yen against the greenback in the close.

The Nikkei 225 ended down nearly 2 percent after a volatile reaction to the Bank of Japan decision. The STOXX Europe 600 closed about 1 percent lower as oil weighed.

U.S. Treasury yields edged lower, with the 2-year yield at 0.95 percent and the 10-year yield at 2.20 percent.

"I think there's disappointment the so-called dots were not revised downwards," said Gregory Peters, senior portfolio manager at Prudential Fixed Income. "The rest is just very thin volumes and flows. I think directionally people are worried about the year-end rally and hedging themselves."

Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said Friday the Fed forecasts, or so-called dot-plot, pointing to four interest rate hikes in 2016 show what the U.S. central bank means when it says it anticipates raising rates at a "gradual pace," according to a Reuters report.

He also said the Fed rate hike shows how much the U.S. economy has improved. He added the divergence of central bank policies is not necessarily a matter of concern.

Lacker was a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this year but will not be in 2016.

"I think all of this is just options-related. The decline I don't think is very significant, especially if we continue to see an upward move in oil prices," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

"I don't think it's significant in the sense it's the beginning of a new trend," he said.

The third Friday of every March, June, September, and December is quadruple "witching," the expiration of three related classes of options and futures contracts, along with individual stock futures options.

"Options expiration typically involves more volume but you actually see more of the selling the Wednesday or Thursday ahead of the expiration. Oftentimes you will have a little volatility (the day of) but not always more selling. I think the selling is due to low oil prices (this morning)," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives.

"The December (expiration) is typically the biggest expiration," he said.

U.S. stocks closed near session lows Thursday, breaking a three-day win streak with losses of more than 1 percent each as investors eyed oil prices and economic data, after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday made the widely expected move of raising rates.

"Intraday oversold conditions are likely to give way to improved short-term momentum," BTIG Chief Technical Strategist Katie Stockton said in a morning note. "Sentiment seems too bearish ahead of a possible Santa Claus rally, which is a seasonal phenomenon that calls for a seven-day rally beginning on Christmas Eve this year. Since 2000, the SPX has averaged a gain of 1.2 percent over this period."

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 367.39 points, or 2.1 percent, at 17,128.45, with Boeing leading decliners and Caterpillar the only gainer.

The index closed down 0.79 percent for the week, with DuPont the worst decliner and Exxon Mobil and Chevron the top performers for the week.

The S&P 500 closed down 36.34 points, or 1.78 percent, at 2,005.55, with financials leading all 10 sectors lower.

The S&P ended the week down 0.34 percent, with materials the worst performer and utilities the best.

The Nasdaq composite closed down 79.47 points, or 1.59 percent, at 4,923.08.

The Nasdaq lost 0.21 percent for the week. Apple declined 6.3 percent for the week, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) gained 3.6 percent for the week, its best since mid-September.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, held above 20.
About two stocks declined for every advancer on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 2.5 billion and a composite volume of nearly 6.7 billion in the close.

Trade volume across all exchanges was 12.65 billion, second only to the sharp decline in stocks on Aug. 24, when about 14.2 billion shares traded.

High-frequency trading accounted for 49 percent of December's daily trading volume of about 7.85 billion shares, according to TABB Group. During the peak levels of high-frequency trading in 2009, about 61 percent of 9.8 billion of average daily shares traded were executed by high-frequency traders.

Gold futures for February delivery settled up $15.40 at $1,065.00 an ounce. - CNBC.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Fireball Blazes Through The Labrador Sky Over Canada!

"seen this when I was up in the woods by South Brook NL it's in three pieces in the picture, if you look." © Via twitter@Eddymckay55

December 18, 2015 - CANADA - It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a meteor!


Social media was abuzz Thursday as many Newfoundland and Labrador residents reported seeing what seems to be a meteor.

While the possible meteor was spotted in several areas of the province, Jamie Hickey of Muskrat Falls managed to record some video, which was uploaded to YouTube by meteorologist Eddie Sheerr.

But some people were skeptical about dubbing the burst of light as an official meteor.

One Twitter user called it "space junk," while another mused it might be a UFO.

Whatever it turns out to be, meteor sightings are not all that uncommon in the province.

Meteor showers peak during the August Perseids and December Geminids, the latter of which just occurred between Dec. 13-14 this year.

WATCH: Fireball over Labrador.

- Huffington Post.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Major Land Subsidence In Oregon - Large Sinkhole Opens Up In Parking Lot In Harbor; Landslide And Sinkhole Damages Homes In Newport!

A sink hole appears in a restaurant parking lot adjacent to Highway 101 near Hoffeldt Lane in Harbor Thursday morning.

December 18, 2015 - OREGON, UNITED STATES - A 30-foot wide, 25-foot deep sinkhole appeared today in the parking lot of the Fireside Grill adjacent to Highway 101 in Harbor.

No people were injured nor vehicles damaged when the hole opened up this morning, according to property owner David Allen. The hole doesn't pose a threat to any lanes on the highway, yet.

"At first it just looked like a deep puddle of water and then it collapsed," Allen said. "I'm glad nobody was parked there."

The Oregon Department of Transportation sent a crew to inspect the hole, and they determined it was caused by a failing culvert buried 30 feet below the surface. The 48-inches wide pipe runs east to west under Highway 101, starting in the shopping center on the east side of the highway.

"The pipe was built sometime in the 1970s," said ODOT spokesman Jared Castle. "We know it's going to get larger, but there's nothing we can do until it stops raining."

He added, "We're going through the old records to learn more about the pipe and how best to deal with it."

Meanwhile, ODOT officials are monitoring the situation hourly and will take action to protect the public if the sinkhole spreads into the highway lanes, he said.

Caution cones have been placed around the hole, which destroyed about two parking spaces at the far end of the parking lot. The Fireside Grill is not threatened by the sinkhole and is still open for business, Allen said. - The Curry Coastal Pilot.

This is one of 4 houses in Newport damaged by a sinkhole and landslide, Dec. 18, 2015. © KOIN

Emergency administrators in Lincoln County said Friday that an overnight landslide caused "catastrophic damages" to homes in Newport.

Four homes sustained damage when a 40-foot stretch of hillside gave way in the 300 block of Northeast 70th Drive in Newport.

Firefighters said the first 911 call was made around 6:30 p.m. from a woman who reported a sinkhole had opened up in her mother's garage and that her vehicle had fallen through the sinkhole.

Tami Johnson said she was at her mother's home giving a high school student a piano lesson when they noticed the winds picking up. She told KOIN 6 News they heard what sounded like "a tree crashing on the roof." Moments later, Johnson described feeling the ground shaking and hearing the sound of metal ripping apart.

WATCH: Landslide and sinkhole damages homes in Newport, Oregon

"I decided to check the garage and lo and behold, half of the garage was gone," Johnson said.

The car had fallen down the steep embankment and into a mud-filled stream.

The backside of the garage door was torn off, leaving the garage fully exposed.

Johnson, her mother, the piano student and her mother all raced from the home.

Newport Fire Chief Robert Murphy said when crews arrived they noticed that part of the hillside was giving away. The firefighters went door-to-door evacuating residents.

"This is one of the more significant (landslides) that we've had in Newport that I can remember," Murphy said.

He estimated the hillside stretches 300 to 400 feet and that a 40-foot section ripped apart.

"Those homes were built on fill," Murphy said. "They had taken part of a hill top off and leveled it out so they could build a subdivision."

Murphy added because of the sustained and heavy rains, the hillside likely couldn't support itself anymore. Survey crews remain on scene Friday morning assessing the damage.

Jenny DeMaris, a spokesperson for the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, said the state's Office of Emergency Management had been told about the damages. It remains unknown if any state assistance will be provided.

Meanwhile, storm damage has been reported in Seal Rock, Waldport and Yachats. Along Yachats River Road, a creek re-routed itself, according to DeMaris, and pushed a house off of its foundation. - KOIN.

EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Storm System Pounds Sydney, Australia Terrifying Locals - With Rare Tornado, Hailstones The Size Of Cricket Balls, And Destructive 200km Winds!

Huge hailstones fell from the sky during the storm.

December 18, 2015 - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
- Sydney was hit by a rare tornado on Wednesday.

Destructive winds above 200km an hour hit the area.

The Bureau of Meteorology issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for parts of New South Wales on Wednesday morning.

Huge cricket ball sized hailstones pummelled from the sky, terrifying locals.

WATCH: Hailstorm hits Sydney.

Huge storm in #Sydney #sydneystorm. Tornado winds 200km.Hailstones like eggs, tennis balls. Don't mess with nature.

— Il Mulinaccio (@VillaInChianti) December 16, 2015
@JChurchRadio @fadernauts #f2b #kgraHi guys. We just had hailstones in Sydney.

— Bloke from Oz (@MarkTorana) December 16, 2015
Many took to Twitter to document the freak weather.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued the rare tornado warning around midday as the dangerous storm swept up the coast from Sydney's south.

It forced some international and domestic flights to be diverted to other cities.

There were no reports of major damage and only a handful of people were reported injured as the storm passed over Australia's largest city.
Sydney battered by freak thunderstorm bringing tornadoes, giant hail stones and...

— pakstatus (@pakstatuscom) December 16, 2015
But social media was abuzz with terrifying snaps of the storm as it unfolded.

Many shared images of the huge hailstones that fell.

Whilst others captured the dark, stormy sky.

James Taylor, senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology extreme weather desk, said on Wednesday: ""The tornado risk has now subsided but there is a very good chance of more thunderstorm activity for the rest of today." - Express.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Weather Phenomenon - Halo Surrounds The Sun Over Timaru, New Zealand! [PHOTOS]

December 18, 2015 - NEW ZEALAND
- Plenty of Timaru residents braved the afternoon sun's intense brightness on Friday to take pictures of an unusual halo around it.

It may have looked sinister, but the MetService confirmed it was completely natural.

Meteorologist Lisa Murray said the unusual phenomenon occurred in high, thin cirrus clouds.

"The clouds contain millions of tiny ice crystals and the haloes are caused by the splitting of light (refraction) and the glint of light off the ice crystals (reflection)."

"They are quite something to look at."

Timaru resident Phil Thomas, who said he'd travelled the world without previously encountering the phenomenon, was the first to call it in.

Several Facebook users also sent in pictures.

- Stuff.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Haslet, Near Fort Worth Alliance Airport And Texas Motor Speedway - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

December 18, 2015 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - Yesterday we reported that SMU scientists don’t believe the wave of earthquakes rumbling through North Texas are “natural.”

Today we had one of our biggest in recent memory: a 3.0-magnitude quake near Fort Worth Alliance Airport.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey the quake rattled Haslet at 4:29 p.m., any by all accounts it was like every one we’ve felt in Dallas and Irving: There was a big boom — “like an 18-wheeler hit something,” per Bud Kennedy — followed by the rattle. According to the USGS it could be felt in Fort Worth, Keller and Roanoke.

As our Anna Kuchment reported yesterday, SMU researchers say there’s mounting evidence that all five North Texas earthquake sequences have been caused by people — specifically, those involved in the gas-drilling, waste-water-injecting business.

They’ve yet to make anything official, but as SMU seismologist Heather DeShon told The Dallas Morning News, “We don’t think they’re natural.

But we don’t understand the subsurface physics surrounding the Irving earthquake sequence, so we’re still considering all causes.” - Dallas News.


DELUGE: Heavy Rain Causes Flooding In Johannesburg, South Africa - Numerous Vehicular Collisions Reported!

MV under water by BP garage on O'Reilly Merry Street, Benoni

December 18, 2015 - SOUTH AFRICA - Heavy rain has caused flooding in the Benoni area, on Johannesburg's East Rand on Thursday, paramedics said.

Numerous collisions were reported, most of them minor, because of the rain and flooding, ER24 said.

No injuries were reported.

Bridge over troubled waters. Voortrekker road On N12 to Benoni. © Pauli Van Wyk

The N12 highway was affected as well as the Snake Road off-ramp and O'Reilly Merry Street.
Heavy rains caused flooding on the N12 in Benoni. Fortunately no-one was injured.

— ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd (@ER24EMS) December 17, 2015
- News24.

EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Magnetic Polar Migration - Lightning Strikes Kill Soldier, Fisherman In The Philippines; Lightning Strikes Tree Next To Home Near Churchill Downs Drive, Oregon; Rare Winter Lightning Hits House In Minnesota; Freak Lightning Strike Injures Woman In Wisconsin; Driver Makes Lucky Escape After Lightning Strikes Car; Plane Flying From Darwin To Alice Springs Struck By Lightning; Death Toll Increase To 7 In Zambia Church Lightning Strikes!

December 18, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes several of the latest reports of lightning strikes, as we continue to track the magnetic polar migration of the Earth.

Lightning strikes kill soldier, fisherman in the Philippines

An Army soldier and a fisherman were killed when they were struck by lightning in separate incidents during heavy rain Tuesday afternoon here, police said.

A report received by Sr. Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City Police Director, identified the fatalities as Army Cpl. Eduardo R. Talanayan, 29, of the Army's Alpha Co., 1st Infantry Battalion, and Rey M. Masucang, 43, of barangay Buenavista in Curuan district.

The report said Talanayan was resting near an electric post inside his outpost at Sitio Malasugat, Barangay Sangali Port Area when lightning hit, causing his electrocution. Residents in the area took the troop to the nearby Mindanao Central Sanitarium where he was declared dead on arrival.

Masucang was onboard a banca with companion Dilario Huesca, 45, fishing off the sea of the coastal village amid bad weather. This was when the lightning struck.

Huesca paddled the sea craft to the shore and reported the incident to the district police office guard who helped Huesca take Masucang's body to a nearby funeral parlor.  - The Standard.

Lightning strikes tree next to WL home near Churchill Downs Drive

A lightning strike caused extensive damage at a West Linn home Thursday afternoon.

The lightning struck a tree in between two homes near Churchill Downs Drive and Clubhouse Drive around 1 p.m., according to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. The strike caused a fence to collapse while also blowing out several windows.

The strike occurred just after 1 p.m. Thursday, hitting a tree and blowing out most of the windows on one side of a West Linn home.

The lightning sheered off a portion of the tree next to the property.

A fence next to the tree collapsed when the lighting hit.

A number of homes also experienced power outages, according to TVFR.

As of Thursday afternoon, the full extent of the damage was unknown. Resident Edith Wilson said she was wrapping packages near the windows when the lightning struck, narrowly avoiding flying debris as the windows blew out.

“I was lucky,” she said. - Portland Tribune.

Rare winter lightning hits house in Minnesota, US

An Orono home was struck by lighting during a rare December bout of thundersnow. © KARE-George Marincel

Just about everyone across Minnesota will tell you this has not been a run-of-the-mill start to winter.

Snow is hard to come by for most areas of the state, temps have been unseasonably warm, and it feels a bit more like spring than our cruelest season.

But Wednesday brought a different winter weather twist for Bill Wolfson of Orono. He and his wife were sitting in their second-story breakfast nook around 8:45 a.m. when the home was struck by a lightning bolt, launched by a system of thunder snow. DNR climate statistics suggest it is a phenomena that occurs only once every five years or so.

"It was essentially like the 4th of July, we had an explosion up on the rooftop," Wolfson explained. "Smoke, sparks...."

While they didn't see any flames jumping from the structure there was smoke pouring from the roof vents, convincing Wolfson to call 911. The Excelsior-Long Lake Fire Department responded to make sure nothing was smoldering inside the attic that would lead to a more significant fire.

Wolfson then called his contractor, who had just finished a major remodel on the property, to see what the damage was. Fortunately, the impact of the lightning strike appears to be minimal.

Orono did not have a corner on the thunder and lightning market Wednesday morning: Reports of the unusual December occurrence poured into KARE 11 on social media for most of the morning. A reported lightning strike in rural New Prague knocked out power to almost two dozen customers.

The weather system moved east from the Twin Cities all the way down to Winona before heading into Wisconsin, where thunder was still being reported as of 11 a.m. The winter fireworks were accompanied by a mixture of rain and snow.

As for Bill Wolfson, it was a memorable morning that could have turned out much worse. "It was an odd state of events for December," he chuckled. - KARE.

Freak lightning strike injures woman at Wisconsin government center

A Somerset, Wis., woman says she suffered an electrical shock from lightning at the St. Croix County Government Center in Hudson on Monday morning.

Lisa Stambaugh, 43, was on her way into the government center holding an umbrella for protection against a mix of rain and sleet when the lightning flashed at about 9:45 a.m.

“I’m kind of rushing to get in the door, and just before I stepped up onto the curb, I (saw) it hit the top of the umbrella,” Stambaugh said in a phone call Monday afternoon. She thinks the electricity passed through the metal post of the umbrella and into her thumb and hand.

Stambaugh said she wasn’t knocked off her feet or badly injured, but that her heart rate increased and she got a headache. She also reported having muscle spasms and a swollen right arm.

She wasn’t feeling any better about two hours later and decided to see a doctor at Westfield Hospital & Clinic in New Richmond.

“I didn’t feel very good,” she said. “I kind of was real shaky. I thought I would start feeling better, but I wasn’t, so I went in.”

Stambaugh said she was at the hospital for three hours.

“I was treated for electrical shock. That’s what they labeled it,” she said. “A crazy thing to happen in December, for sure.”

Stambaugh said she was told that she would have some muscle weakness for a couple of days, and that she should drink a lot of fluid to prevent a loss of liver function.

The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department says a surveillance camera at the government center recorded video of a lightning flash as Stambaugh was nearing the building.

Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Howe, who works in the department’s Court Services Unit, and Chief Deputy Scott Knudson reviewed the video after being contacted by the Star-Observer about the incident.

A friend of Stambaugh’s reported the incident to the Star-Observer and provided Stambaugh's phone number so a reporter could talk to her about it.

Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said Stambaugh didn’t report the incident to the sheriff’s department.

Knudson said surveillance video shows a flash of light and Stambaugh pointing outside after entering the building. It doesn’t show a direct strike, he said.

“It is inconclusive that lightning did strike anywhere around there,” said Knudson. “It could have been the electricity in the air, because her umbrella does go over.”

There is a flagpole in front of the government center and antennas on top of its roof.

Stambaugh said she asked the security guards just inside the front entrance to the government center if they saw what happened.

“I think they thought I was joking, but I totally wasn’t joking,” she said.

One this is certain. It was strange weather for Dec. 16 in Hudson.

A light mist turned to rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and then to sleet and snow. Later, the sun appeared for short spells in places around the Twin Cities metro.

There were multiple reports of lightning strikes, and the weather contributed to many traffic accidents and vehicles sliding off the road. - Grand Forks Herald.

Driver makes lucky escape after lightning strikes car

A driver was lucky to escape injury after a huge bolt of lightning struck his car.

Filmed in Rutherford, New South Wales, the video shows a car park being pummeled by hail and high winds. Captured by Tim McDonald, it shows his friend Jason Tait moving a truck indoors to avoid it getting damaged by the hail. Filming from the safety of a house, McDonald was probably not expecting what was to come.

All of a sudden a lightning strike hits the truck. The lightning then strikes an electrical pole, sending sparks flying across the car park as the transformer explodes.

Incredibly, Tait managed to escape the encounter without any injuries. It just goes to show the importance of taking care in dangerous conditions. - AOL.

Plane flying from Darwin to Alice Springs struck by lightning

A plane flying from Darwin to Alice Springs was struck by lightning Wednesday evening, understood to be about the time of the plane’s descent.

Wednesday’s afternoon storm activity contributed to the strike, but it was shortly before landing and Qantas confirmed there was no damage to the aircraft.

There were no injuries and the plane landed safely in Alice Springs as intended.

Lightning strikes on aircraft are known to occur and not cause damage.

Qantas engineers were on the tarmac when the plane landed to assess the aircraft. - NT News.

Death toll increase to 7 in Zambia church lightning strikes

7 people have died after being struck by lightning at a church and a village in Eastern and Southern provinces.  The deaths occurred during heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday. In Eastern Province’s Vubwi district, the four that died were among congregants at Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Parish on Tuesday when lightning struck at about 11:00 hours.

Seven other victims that were seriously burnt have been admitted to Mwami Mission Hospital. Eastern Province police deputy commissioner Patrick Bili confirmed the incident. “Both the injured and the dead are adults but we are yet to determine their ages and gender.

They were putting a floor in the church when lightning struck,” he said. Chipata Diocese Bishop George Lungu said the catechist and another man with two ladies were doing some maintenance works in the church when they met their fate. Bishop Lungu said doctors have described the condition of the injured as stable. He said it is the first time that such a tragedy was experienced in the church. Vubwi district council secretary John Kamanga, who visited Mwami Mission Hospital, said doctors at the hospital confirmed that four people had died while others were injured.

In the Pemba incident in Southern Province, among the three dead persons are a couple that died on the spot after lightning struck their houses following a downpour on Monday. The lightning killed Kennedy Moonga, 27 and his 31-year-old wife, Monile Michelo, who was burnt beyond recognition. The couple’s seven children were also injured, leaving three of them with serious burns.

They are admitted to Pemba clinic. And 81-year-old Victoria Machaka also died during the storm which started on Sunday and continued on Monday. Southern Province police commissioner Goldwin Phiri and Pemba district commissioner Reginald Mugoba confirmed in separate interviews the incidents which happened on Monday in Munamoomba and Hamazongo villages. He said two villages in Pemba received heavy rains on Monday, which destroyed several houses other valuable properties. - Zambia Daily Mail.

DELUGE: Torrential Rainfall Flood Ashkelon, Israel - Setting New Record!

An Ashkelon street collapses under the weight of a massive rainstorm in November.
© Police spokesman's department

December 18, 2015 - ISRAEL - Schools and roads engulfed as downpour drowns coastal city with 92 millimeters in a single hour.

Nearly 10 centimeters of rain fell in only one hour Thursday in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, flooding schools and kindergartens, bringing chaos to roads, and setting a new meteorological record for rainfall in a single hour.

Local police and firemen were out in force in kayaks, rubber rafts and all-terrain vehicles to bail out drivers and pedestrians stranded by the torrential downpour.

Two lanes collapsed on Ben Yehuda Street, and Bialik and Hatayassim streets were deluged and had to be closed.

Reports came in of flooding at the city's Beit Hehezkel and Neve Dekalim schools and at several city kindergartens. Staff at Barzilai hospital mopped up rainwater that had seeped in and continued work as normal.

The Israel Meteorological Service reported from its Ashkelon station that 112 millimeters of rain fell between 7 a.m. and noon Thursday, while the the station of the Local Towns Association — which is automated and measures rainfall constantly — registered 118 millimeters.

Of that rain, a national record of 92 millimeters fell in 60 minutes — breaking the previous record for a downfall in an hour of 88 millimeters, set by Haifa University in October 2008.

Ashkelon now also has the dubious honor of holding first place for the most rain in half an hour — 67 millimeters.

Rain in northern Israel meanwhile raised the level of the Sea of Galilee, adding 1.5 centimeters. With most of this winter's rain having fallen in central and southern Israel, however, the lake is still only 4 centimeters above the lower red line.

In other parts of the county, 29 millimeters fell in the Golan Heights moshav of Ma'aleh Gamla, 19 millimeters at the Tzemah junction just south of the Sea of Galilee, and 8 millimeters in Tel Aviv. Heavy rain also fell in the southern coastal city of Ashdod.

Rain is expected to continue throughout the country Thursday and there is a fear of flooding at the Dead Sea and in the Judean Desert. - Times of Israel.

PLANETARY TREMORS: It's Shaking All Over - 5.2 Magnitude Tremor Strikes Ilocos Sur, Philippines; Strong 5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near, Vostok, Russia; And 5.6 Magnitude Hits North of Ascension Island!

USGS earthquake locations over the last 7 days of tremors with 4.5 magnitude and higher.

December 18, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes several of the most noteworthy earthquakes to the planet over the last 24 hours, as we continue to monitor the global seismic uptick.

5.2 Magnitude Tremor Strikes Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Phivolcs earthquake location.

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck near the town of San Juan in Ilocos Sur on Thursday evening (December 17), according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Aftershocks are expected, it added.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), however, said the quake that struck at 8:44 p.m. had a magnitude of 5.4.

Strong quake felt in one town

Based on Phivolcs' earthquake intensity scale, an Intensity 5 or a strong quake was reported in the town of Sinait, more than 30 minutes drive from the town of San Juan.

Many sleeping people are awakened, while stationary vehicles rock noticeably at this intensity, the agency said.

The Philippine Sea plate is bordered by the larger Pacific and Eurasia plates and the smaller Sunda plate. The Philippine Sea plate is unusual in that its borders are nearly all zones of plate convergence. The Pacific plate is subducted into the mantle, south of Japan, beneath the Izu-Bonin and Mariana island arcs, which extend more than 3,000 km along the eastern margin of the Philippine Sea plate.

This subduction zone is characterized by rapid plate convergence and high-level seismicity extending to depths of over 600 km. In spite of this extensive zone of plate convergence, the plate interface has been associated with few great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) ‘megathrust’ earthquakes. This low seismic energy release is thought to result from weak coupling along the plate interface (Scholz and Campos, 1995). These convergent plate margins are also associated with unusual zones of back-arc extension (along with resulting seismic activity) that decouple the volcanic island arcs from the remainder of the Philippine Sea Plate (Karig et al., 1978; Klaus et al., 1992).

Seismic activity along the boundaries of the Philippine Sea Plate (Allen et al., 2009) has produced 7 great (Magnitude greater than 8.0) earthquakes and 250 large (Magnitude greater than 7) events. Among the most destructive events were the 1923 Kanto, the 1948 Fukui and the 1995 Kobe (Japan) earthquakes (99,000, 5,100, and 6,400 casualties, respectively), the 1935 and the 1999 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquakes (3,300 and 2,500 casualties, respectively), and the 1976 M7.6 Moro Gulf and 1990 M7.6 Luzon (Philippines) earthquakes (7,100 and 2,400 casualties, respectively). There have also been a number of tsunami-generating events in the region, including the Moro Gulf earthquake, whose tsunami resulted in more than 5000 deaths.

- CNN Philippines | USGS.

Strong 5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near, Vostok, Russia

USGS earthquake location.

The USGS has reported a 5.3 magnitude earthquake has struck 182km southwest of Vostok, Russia at 21:31:39 Thursday December 17, 2015 GMT.

The tremor had a depth of 444km or 276.0 miles.

There were no significant injuries or damage reported at this point.

Vostok lies on the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, until terminating at its intersection with the Aleutian arc south of the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk mircoplate, a proposed regional subdivision of the larger North America plate.

This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, volcanoes along the entire arc, and the deep Kuril-Kamchatka Trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate that increases from 79 mm/yr near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/yr adjacent to Hokkaido.

The Kuril-Kamchatka Arc is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Deformation of the overriding North America plate and associated microplates generates shallow crustal earthquakes, while slip at the subduction zone interface between the Pacific and North America plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. - USGS.

5.6 Magnitude Hits North of Ascension Island

USGS shakemap intensity.

A moderate earthquake of magnitude 5.6 struck north of Ascension Island on Friday.

The earthquake was roughly at a depth of 10 km (6 miles).

A tsunami warning has not been issued.

Ascension is an island of volcanic origin, 34 sq. mi. in area, 700 miles northwest of St. Helena, through which it is administered. It is a communications relay center for Britain, and has a U.S. satellite tracking center. Population (1993) was 1,117, half of them communications workers. - USGS.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Indonesia's Mount Bromo Volcano In East Java Continues Eruption - Spewing Column Of Ash Up To 1.5km!

© Economic Times India

December 18, 2015 - INDONESIA - Mount Bromo volcano in East Java, Indonesia erupted Tuesday spewing column of ash by up to 1.5 km. to the sky, a disaster management agency official here said.

Powerful bursts of hot ash and gravel erupted from the rumbling volcano at 06:00 a.m. local time, heading west to northwest as far as 2.5 km from the crater, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency said.

Tourist and visitors are banned from entering the slope by up to 2.5 km from the crater, he said.

"Residences are warned to keep vigilant over continuation of the eruption and possible greater eruption," he told Xinhua via phone.

The agency and local community have prepared for any emergency to counter possible risks of greater eruption, Sutopo said.

The 3,829-meter-high Mount Bromo last erupted in January 2011, forcing airlines to ground their planes.

Mount Bromo is one of Indonesia's 129 active volcanoes.

WATCH: Mount Bromo erupts, spews ash high into the sky.

- Manila Bulletin.

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Larger Than Normal" - Unusually Large Dust Storm Billows Through Boulia, Australia Creating An Otherworldly Spectacle?!

© Jan Norton/Facebook/Brisbane Times

December 18, 2015 - AUSTRALIA - A "larger than normal" dust storm billowed through the Australian outback town of Boulia Tuesday, creating an otherworldly spectacle.

Local photographers jumped at the opportunity to capture the Martian-like moment, where visibility was reportedly limited to just a few metres.

© Jan Norton/Facebook/Brisbane Times

© Jan Norton/Facebook/Brisbane Times

Although dust storms are common in the area, lifestyle photographer Ann Britton told the Brisbane Times that Tuesday's happening was substantially larger than usual.

The outback is known for being Australia's vast, mostly uninhabited desert region, where temperatures can soar to 50 C in the summer, while dipping to - 10 C in the winter. - The Weather Network.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFFS: Disaster Precursors - About 200 Waterbirds Found Dead Near O'Leary's Lake, Wisconsin?!

American coot. © Connormah/Wikimedia Commons

December 18, 2015 - WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES - An estimated 200 dead American coots recently have been sighted near Dubuque's Lock and Dam No. 11 on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.

Fishermen observed the dead birds near O'Leary's Lake, located near Eagle Point Road, off of U.S. 61/151.

Coots are dark-gray to black in color, with a bright-white bill and forehead. Duck-like in many ways, they are members of the rail family in the same avian order as cranes.

"They're not much good for anything. Some people eat them," said Carl Hanson, owner of the Eagle Point fishing barge, who saw the dead birds floating in the water.

The deaths aren't that unusual. This is the seventh time since 2002 that waterfowl die-offs have been documented on the upper Mississippi River, and each time prior, trematodes were responsible, officials said.

 A coot swims in the tailwaters of Lock & Dam No. 11 while anglers try their luck on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River this morning. © Mike Day, Telegraph Herald

Trematodes are a parasitic flatworm that spends part of its life inside snails. Waterfowl die from trematodes each year, but in years when snail populations are high, mortality rates of snail eaters -- American coots and lesser scaup -- increase. The invasive faucet snail is an intermediate host for three types of trematodes.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials are tracking the situation.

"This is very likely the result of trematodiasis, a nearly annual event caused by diving ducks (primarily coot and scaup) feeding on a snail that hosts the trematodes," said Dan Goltz, a DNR wildlife biologist in Boscobel. "My understanding is that the coots are getting sick and dying up in the pool (11). They float through the lock and dam, and the path of the current carries many of them into O'Leary's Lake. Changes in water levels can deposit them in locally heavy concentrations."

The DNR has gotten several phone calls about the birds' deaths.

"Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it," Goltz added. - Telegraph Herald.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Weather Phenomenon - Carlsbad State Beach In California Swallowed By Ocean!

December 18, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - An interesting weather phenomenon occurred on the West Coast of the US.

Whether it was caused by El Nino or not, the Carlsbad State Beach was almost completely swallowed by the ocean.

WATCH: Carlsbad State Beach is gone.

- Sputnik.

FIRE IN THE SKY: The Latest Fireball Sightings - Mystery Fireball Seen Falling From Sky In Brevard County, Florida And Fireball Meteor Seen Over Henry County, Georgia! [VIDEO]

File photo.

December 18, 2015 - SPACE
- The following constitutes several of the latest reports of fireballs, seen in the skies, across the globe.

Mystery fireball seen falling from sky in Brevard County, Florida

A mysterious, fiery object falling from the sky was reported in Brevard County, prompting authorities to launch a search, officials said.

Nothing was found after 911 callers reported seeing a fiery object falling to the ground.

The calls were received about 7 a.m. Thursday, with reports of the mysterious object striking the area near the Interstate 95 onramp on the southbound side of Palm Bay Road.

Palm Bay Fire Rescue crews and police searched the area but found nothing.

A check with Melbourne International Airport also turned up no information about the mysterious object, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

A mysterious flying object falling from the sky was also reported last month in Brevard County, but nothing was ever found.

- Click Orlando.

Fireball meteor seen over Henry County, Georgia

If you find an odd-looking "rock" in the Locust Grove area of Henry County, it might just be part of a meteor that came hurtling toward Earth at nearly 30,000 mph Thursday night.

Officials with NASA have confirmed that a fireball spotted over the south metro skies just after sunset Thursday was a meteor entering the Earth's atmosphere.

"We have received numerous reports concerning a bright fireball that occurred over Georgia at 6:33 p.m.," space agency officials said in a posting on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page. "All 6 NASA all sky meteor cameras in the southeast picked up the meteor at an altitude of 50 miles above McDonough."

Officials estimated the fireball was caused by a piece of an asteroid weighing at least 150 pounds, moving at a speed of 29,000 mph."

WATCH: Fireball over Georgia.

The NASA cameras tracked it to an altitude of 17 miles above the town of Locust Grove, where it had slowed to a speed of 9,000 mph," the Facebook posting said.

The space agency said fragments of the object possibly survived to reach the ground as meteorites, and, "if so, they are located in Henry County south of Locust Grove, or in the counties adjacent to this area."

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.