Wednesday, December 23, 2015

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Wintry Storm Drops 4.3 BILLION GALLONS Into Lake Tahoe In Just 24 Hours - Californians Told To Prepare For El Nino Of "GODZILLA" Proportions!

© Wikipedia

December 23, 2015 - SIERRA NEVADA, UNITED STATES - Wintry storms battering the West Coast poured 4.3 billion gallons of water and snow into Lake Tahoe in just 24 hours. More storms are expected in the drought-stricken region, but seven or eight more storms are needed to get the lake back to its rim.

"This is the kind of storm we've been missing for the last four years of drought," Douglas Carlson, spokesman with the California Department of Water Resources, told The Associated Press. "This is the kind of storm we would need a lot of to start digging our way out of the drought."

Lake Tahoe is situated in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and straddles the borders of Nevada and California. It is the largest alpine lake in North America and is fed by 63 tributaries. It's a major tourist attraction, home to ski resorts and summer outdoor recreation.

The storm hit the Lake Tahoe region Monday, dumping water and snow into the lake and raising it almost two inches, according to Tim Bardsley, a National Weather Service hydrologist in Reno. Almost 80 percent of the rise was due to rain and snow falling on the lake itself rather than on feeder streams.

"We would need seven or eight more (storms) of that magnitude to get back to the rim," Bardsley told USA Today. He said fewer might be needed if there is a lot of snowmelt.

"[We] need six more feet for a full lake - that would take an enormous amount of snow and rain."

Sierra Nevada didn't receive its projected three feet of snow - it got a foot or two instead - but the white stuff was a delight to ski resort property managers, skiers, snowboarders and sledders.

"It is full-on winter out here," Jerry Bindel, general manager of Aston Lakeland Village vacation condominiums in South Lake Tahoe, told AP. "This is great news all the way around."

Californians had been told to prepare for an El Nino of 'Godzilla' proportions, with the weather pattern predicted to bringing harsh storms. With the area being so arid, concerns were that it will be difficult for water to precipitate into the ground, leading to floods and mudslides.

Snow covers the piers in Lake Tahoe.
Twitter: Postcards To Seattle

The El Nino weather pattern is partly linked with the warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator, which drives warm air west to east and keeps colder air from the Arctic at bay. That weather effect has made the Northeast unseasonably warm, brought the risk of tornadoes to the South, and delivered much snow across the West.

The National Weather Service has also issued a high-surf advisory for many coastal areas, with peak waves around 30 feet in locations like Santa Cruz, California.

Another storm is expected over the weekend which could bring another 2 feet of snow to parts of the Sierra Nevada. Snow, not rain, will determine when the drought will end. In a normal year, melting snow from the Sierra replenishes the reservoirs in summer and provides California with water that can't be stored safely behind dams during winter.

A true picture of the snowpack's size won't emerge until early April, when it traditionally is at its peak.

"The fact is, it's going to take the entire winter season to know if we've achieved enough precipitation to make a meaningful dent in the drought," said Doug Carlson, a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources told the Sacramento Bee. "We would really like to see what the snowpack is like April 1st."

Last April was when California Governor Jerry Brown famously stood in a dry Sierra meadow and ordered the first mandatory urban water cutbacks in California's history. - RT.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Dead Baby Whale Found On Santa Monica State Beach, California; Dead Humpback Whale Found On Cape Town Beach, South Africa; More Than 45 Dead Dolphins Found On The Shores Of Oman; And Loggerhead Turtle Normally Found In The Caribbean, Turns Up On British Beach?!

A dead neonate gray whale washed ashore in Santa Monica State Beach on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015
© LACoFD Lifeguards

December 23, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes the latest reports of unusual and symbolic animal behavior, mass die-offs, beaching and stranding of mammals, and the appearance of rare creatures.

Dead baby whale found on Santa Monica State Beach, California

A dead 10-foot baby whale washed ashore near a lifeguard tower in Santa Monica State Beach on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguards said the neonate gray whale was spotted around 2 p.m. near Lifeguard Tower 12, located at 1200 Ocean Walk Front.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles was on its way to pick up the 1,200-pound mammal.

The cause of death was not immediately available. - ABC7.

Dead humpback whale found on Cape Town beach, South Africa

Dead humpback whale

Cape Town officials have started the task of removing a dead humpback whale from Strand Beach. The whale washed ashore overnight and lodged in the reef, the city's environmental corporate governance director Gregg Oelofse said.

Oelofse said it's "nothing unusual" and that "quite a lot of this" happens this time of the year. News24 reports that Oelofse said their whale stranding team was "pretty proficient" and hoped to get the carcass off the beach on Wednesday. The removal depended on the tides and weather conditions.

"We have asked that the public give us space. We will try and put chains and straps around it and lift it onto a flatbed truck. It is big machinery and if those chains snap, it can be very dangerous."

The carcass will be moved to a landfill site for disposal. - The South African.

More than 45 dead dolphins found on the shores of Oman

Dead dolphin

More than 45 dolphins were washed ashore in Khabourah province during the past two weeks, according to residents.

Residents demanded that authorities bury the dead dolphins as a stench was starting to develop from the carcasses.

Pictures of the dead dolphins went viral on the social media, with many users demanding that the authorities intervene and deal with the issue.

Reasons behind the death are not yet clear.

Ahmad Al Beloushi, an environmental expert, told Gulf News that one of the reasons may be that many dolphins swim towards the shores and cannot go back to the sea.

He also attributed the deaths to a shortage of oxygen during red tide, adding that oil spills from ships also lead to suffocation of the fish in general.

Some fishermen throw their fishing nets near the shores and trap dolphins, said Al Beloushi.

An official at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs told Gulf News that a team has been formed to tackle the issue.

The team of experts will head this week to Khabourah shores to investigate the issue and take samples from the dead dolphins.

Dolphins are widespread in Omani waters, particularly off Muscat, Musandam and Wusta governorates.

Indian Ocean dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, risso's dolphins, spinner dolphins, long-beaked dolphins and stripped dolphins are the types of dolphins found in Oman's waters. - The Gulf News.

Loggerhead turtle normally found in the Caribbean turns up on British beach

A huge loggerhead turtle normally found in the Caribbean has stunned wildlife experts after being washed up on a British beach.

The 3ft turtle, whose species are very rare visitors to Britain's cold waters, was discovered thousands of miles from home on the shore at Langton Matravers in Dorset.

This was the biggest of the few hundred of the turtles that have ever been found in the UK, and it was discovered by Steve Trewhella after he learned it had been spotted on an isolated beach.

Mr Trewhella - alongside three other experience rescuers - braved the stormy weather to find the turtle, which they found to be badly injured with holes in its shell and damaged flippers.

He said: 'I received notification from Dorset Wildlife trust that a member of the public had found a stranded and live turtle on a beach near Chapmans Pool in the Purbecks. 'Myself and other experienced rescuers decided to go down at first light to rescue or recover the animal. The beach is very difficult to reach, and would have been too dangerous in the dark.

'Four of us met and made the long walk to the beach. When we found the animal we assumed it had perished, but then movement was observed and it quickly became a rescue.'

He added that the team wrapped the injured turtle in an army field stretcher before they made their way through water and waves and back up a winding cliff path.

Sighting: The turtles are rare visitors to Britain's cold waters and only a few hundred have been found here

What a find: Rescuers Derek Davey (left) and Steve Trewhella (right) pose with the 3ft-long loggerhead turtle

They then phoned the stranding network and a decision was made to take the turtle to Weymouth Sealife Park around 25 miles away.

Mr Trewhella added: 'It likely washed up because of the stormy weather, and that comes hand in hand with the warm weather we're experiencing these days.

'We are getting a lot of windy, predominately Atlantic storms which are washing up lots of unusual things. It probably only managed to survive round here because the water is so warm still.

'Things are washing up from Florida and all sorts - there's a phenomenal amount of transatlantic debris washing up, so there's a good chance of this turtle has come from that part of the world.'

The turtle is found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. It spends most of its life in saltwater and females only briefly come ashore to lay eggs.

The turtles were once intensively hunted for their meat and eggs - and, despite legislation to protect them, they are still consumed in countries where regulations are not strictly enforced. - Daily Mail.

STORM ALERT: Extreme Weather - Winter Storm Goliath To Bring Heavy Snow, Strong Winds To U.S. West, Plains, Upper Midwest And Possible Blizzard Conditions To The High Plains!

December 23, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Winter Storm Goliath has been named and will spread snow from the mountains of the West to parts of the Plains, Upper Midwest and possibly New England through early next week. Some of the heaviest snow amounts may target parts of the southern High Plains where strong winds could also cause blizzard conditions.

In addition to snow, the warm side of Goliath will produce severe thunderstorms and heavy rain this weekend. For more on that story, click the link below.

Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watch Issued: Outbreak of Severe Weather Underway in the South, Ohio Valley

Winter Storm Goliath will occur in two separate phases

Phase 1: Upper-level energy moving into the western states Thursday will spread snow through the mountains of the West and into parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest Thursday through Saturday.

Phase 2: Some of that upper-level energy will develop into an area of low pressure aloft over the Southwest and southern Plains. In response to this, a surface low pressure system will develop in the southern Plains this weekend, which combined with sufficient cold air to its north from high pressure, will result in heavy snow for parts of the southern Plains. That area of low pressure will then track towards the Midwest early next week, bringing snow to parts of that region and eventually New England.

Storm Setup Sunday - Low pressure develops in the southern Plains this weekend and interacts with cold air to the north supplied by high pressure.

Uncertainty remains with the details, including the exact location and timing of the snow for parts of the Plains, Midwest and New England this weekend into early next week. Below is an overview of our forecast right now, but keep in mind that changes are likely in the days leading up to the storm.

Winter Storm Goliath Storm Timing


The upper-level energy associated with Goliath will spread snow from the Cascades of Washington and Oregon to California's Sierra Nevada and parts of the Intermountain West. Total accumulations of 1 to 2 feet are likely above 4,500 feet in the Sierra Nevada.Friday

Snow pushes through the central Rockies, including parts of Utah, northern Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.

A weak wave of low pressure will eventually allow accumulating snow to spread through the northern Plains and Upper Midwest later Friday and Friday night, including parts of northern and western Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Thursday's Forecast


Snow pushes through the central Rockies, including parts of Utah, northern Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.

A weak wave of low pressure will eventually allow accumulating snow to spread through the northern Plains and Upper Midwest later Friday and Friday night, including parts of northern and western Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Friday's Forecast


Snow continues to sweep eastward across parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest during the day as weak low pressure moves through. This includes a swath from the Dakotas to Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Through the day and especially Saturday night, the storm will really begin to crank up in the southern Plains, with snow or rain changing to snow increasing across parts of New Mexico, west Texas and western Oklahoma. Increasing winds combined with the snow may lead to poor visibility and dangerous travel conditions in the southern High Plains. Blizzard conditions are not out of the question. A narrow band of freezing rain or sleet is also possible from the Texas Panhandle to west Oklahoma and central Kansas, particularly Saturday night.

Saturday's Forecast


Snow, possibly heavy, persists in parts of New Mexico, west Texas, southwestern Kansas and southeastern Colorado. Strong winds on the backside of the low pressure system will likely combine with the snow resulting in poor visibility and dangerous travel conditions with possible blizzard conditions at times. A transition area of sleet and freezing may continue from parts of the Texas Panhandle to central Kansas.

Sunday's Forecast

Monday - Tuesday

The timing of the storm is highly uncertain early next week, and will depend on how quickly the area of low pressure moves northeastward into the Midwest and the exact track that low takes. In addition, the amount of cold air available for the storm to tap into could be limited.

For now, snow or a wintry mix may pivot from the southern High Plains into Upper Midwest Monday into Tuesday as shown on our forecast maps below. Wintry weather is also possible in parts of Upstate New York and New England as moisture from the storm runs into cold air supplied by high pressure in eastern Canada. Check back for updates to this forecast through the weekend.

Monday's Forecast

Tuesday's Forecast

How Much Snow?

Thursday into Friday, a foot or more of snow will coat the mountains of the West, from the Sierra Nevada into the Rockies.

Several inches of accumulating snow will also likely fall across the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest Friday night through Saturday.

At the moment, computer model forecast guidance is indicating that some of the heaviest snow with the weekend part of this storm may target parts of southeast Colorado, southwestern Kansas, western Oklahoma, western Texas and eastern New Mexico. This is depicted by the dark purple and pink shadings on our forecast graphic below. It's not out of the question that some locations could see 6+ inches or even a foot or more of total snow.A second round of accumulating snow may blanket parts of the northern and central Plains and Upper Midwest early next week, but that will depend on the amount of cold air available and the exact track of the low pressure system forming in the southern Plains this weekend. Some accumulating snow is also possible in New England and Upstate New York early next week.

Snowfall Forecast Through Next Monday 
Note: This map shows the snowfall potential through next Monday.

Keep in mind that this forecast map shows snow totals through Tuesday, including both phases of the storm in the Midwest and Plains. - Weather.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Disaster Precursors - Aggressive Raccoon Attacks Woman And Her Dogs In Vancouver, The 4th Attack In The Area This Year; And Young Girl Killed By Dog In Miami-Dade, Florida?!


December 23, 2015 - EARTH - The following constitutes two of latest reports of animal attacks on humans.

Aggressive raccoon attacks woman and her dogs in Vancouver; 4th attack in area this year

Helene recounts the violent encounter she and her dogs, Chip and Salsa, had with a vicious raccoon. She was out for a walk in downtown Vancouver's Coal Harbour neighbourhood around 4:30 p.m. last week when out of nowhere a raccoon charged at her, biting her legs and then grabbing her dogs.

"I reached in to get my two dogs out. Then the raccoon looks at me very angry and starts attacking me," she said.

Despite being overcome with fear, Helene was able to fight back.

"He was stuck on biting my legs. He was on my left leg and I was kicking him as hard as I could with my right leg."

She screamed and tried to get into her apartment, but the raccoon followed and kept charging at Helene and her dogs.

"I was afraid for my own life."

She almost made it inside, but couldn't open the door because she was holding Chip and Salsa in her arms while the animal continued to attack.

WATCH: Dog owner issues warning about raccoons following attack.

"When the raccoon saw that he had cornered me, he became even more aggressive and started going up on me and reaching for my dogs."

As she frantically kicked the door, the raccoon grabbed at Salsa's harness. Salsa slipped down and ran away in fear. After a frantic search, Helene found her dog dead in the middle of Georgia Street. It's believed she was hit by oncoming traffic.

Helene is hoping her traumatic experience will help raise awareness and prevent another tragedy. It's not the first time these types of attacks have happened in the area. In 2012, there were two unprovoked raccoon attacks, one in Coal Harbour and another in the West End. In 2014, there was another attack in the West End, this one involving a puppy. Still, animal control experts say attacks like these are rare. - Global News.

Young girl killed by dog in Miami-Dade, Florida

A South Florida family is coping with a terrible tragedy after a young girl was the victim of a dog attack just days before her second birthday.

Nyjah Espinosa, who would have celebrated her birthday on Christmas, was visiting at her father's Miami-Dade home when his dog attacked her on Sunday.

Espinosa's family was too distraught to speak with NBC 6 Tuesday afternoon.

NBC 6 exclusively obtained a photo of the dog authorities indicated was involved in the attack. Animal Services described the dog as a male American Bulldog mix that is 5 years old and weighs 95 pounds.

WATCH: 2-year-old killed in dog attack in Miami.

Neighbors said they're feeling the family's pain.

"Yeah, I seen the little girl outside playing sometimes, you know," Artis Townsend said. "Everybody is outside with her. They just have family a lot outside."

"I think it's sad and you know, have to be careful where your kids are," Jerra Groce said.

County officials said the little girl was in the hallway when the dog attacked her. Police are now investigating the incident.

"On Sunday, December 20th, 2015, my granddaughter, Nyjah 'Nyny' Espinosa, just 5 days shy of her 2nd birthday, was attacked by a pitbull," her grandmother posted on social media. "Doctors at Miami Children's Hospital tried to keep her with us, but were unable to do so. Our little girl was no longer with us."

The dog remains at Animal Services while detectives investigate.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page for burial expenses here. - NBC Miami.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Deadly Landslide Filmed In Peru - At Least Two People Killed!

December 23, 2015 - PERU - A hillside gave way next to a road nearly 300km east of Lima, with heavy rain sending a landslide of mud into the valley below.

Officials say at least two people were killed.

Rescue workers say they found one body and were trying to recover the other one.

A truck caught in the flow of mud was pushed off the road. Parts of a highway were also buried neaby

Such incidents are not uncommon in rural Peru, where landslides and avalanches kill dozens of people and destroy hundreds of homes every year.

WATCH: Video captures deadly landslide in Peru.

- The Straits Times.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Disaster Precursors - Thousands Of Dead Fish Continue To Wash Up On Florida Beaches!

Dead fish. © Chuck Coker

December 23, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - Thousands of dead herring provided an odious distraction Monday from otherwise hospitable beach conditions, dotting the shoreline from south of Patrick Air Force Base through Melbourne Beach.

They appear to be the same species of fish — thread herring — found washed up along other beaches along the Space Coast last week. Countless thread herring washed up dead Thursday along beaches in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.

"There was nothing out here yesterday," said Ron Van Kempen, a seasonal resident from Minnesota, fishing just south of Patrick AFB Monday. He cast his fishing line among floating herring corpses, which also speckled the beach where he stood.

The cause of the fish kill remains unknown.

WATCH: Massive fish kill on Florida beaches.

State wildlife officials took water samples but don't expect results back until next week, said Frank McCloy, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

While state tests last week found moderate levels of red tide in Southwest Florida, there have been no harmful algae blooms reported in eastern Florida.

The fish lack any marks that would indicate they were discarded from a fishing net.

People should avoid contact with the fish, officials said.

"Stay away from it, don't touch it, don't eat it," McCloy warned.

FWC also received report last Wednesday of about 100 dead fish in the Port St. John area of the lagoon. That species has yet to be identified. - USA Today.

DELUGE: "No One's Ever Seen This, It's Unbelievable" - Storm Eva Brings Fresh Flooding Fears For Cumbria, UK!

The River Eden burst its banks in Appleby, Cumbria, UK.  © Aidan Greaves

December 23, 2015 - UNITED KINGDOM - Rain and winds of up to 70mph could continue to batter northern England in the run up to Christmas, it is feared.

Storm Eva could bring further misery to Cumbria, where some areas are dealing with the aftermath of flooding for the third time in a month.

Appleby, Glenridding, Keswick and Kendal were all hit after rivers burst their banks on Tuesday.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We are monitoring the situation closely."

The spokesman added: "There is currently the possibility for further unsettled weather during the festive period which could lead to some disruption in the north of England.

"We will issue further flood alerts and warnings if required."

Roy Ashley, whose garage business and home in Appleby have been damaged once again, said the flooding had destroyed lives.

WATCH: Flooding in Cumbria.

He said: "It has taken people's homes. Some people have lost businesses."

His wife Charlotte said: "No one's ever seen this, it's unbelievable.

"The water two weeks ago was above my head in the garage - you can't deal with that kind of thing."

Hundreds of properties were flooded when Storm Desmond brought a record amount of rainfall during the weekend of 5 December.

Four days later there was a further deluge, in which Glenridding was particularly badly hit.

Speaking about the latest incident, Appleby resident Sarah McKay said: "It's just before Christmas and everybody has already lost everything. It's terrible."

Mark Hook, who runs a guest house near Ullswater, said water was lapping at his door.

He said: "It's quite a scary thought really... once yes, twice worrying, but three times is not good at all.

"When you've just cleaned everything up and are getting ready for decorating or carpet re-laying, you're thinking 'should I do this? should I hold on?'."

A fundraising appeal for victims of the flooding launched in the wake of Storm Desmond has increased its target to £6m.

The Cumbria Community Foundation said it had raised almost £3.5m so far, and the higher amount reflected "a growing sense of the true scale of the need".

Organisers said priority would be given to individuals and families suffering financial hardship, and community relief and rebuilding projects.

Meanwhile, two flood warnings remain in place across Cumbria. - BBC News.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Two Survivors Found Alive In Rubble Nearly 3 Days After Chinese Landslide - Over 70 People Still Missing!

A man is pulled from rubble nearly three days after a deadly in Shenzhen, China. © AAP

December 23, 2015 - CHINA - Two survivors have been found amid the rubble nearly three days after a landslide in southern China swept through an industrial park and buried more than 30 buildings.

One man was taken to hospital and was confirmed to be one of the 76 missing after the disaster in Shenzhen, the Guangdong province fire department said on its official microblog. The other was badly injured and was still being removed from the debris.

The man already extracted has been named as 19-year-old Tian Zeming from the southern city of Chongqing. He was rescued around 70 hours after the landslide.

Rescuers rest on mud as excavators dig through the debris to search for survivors at the site of a landslide which hit an industrial park on Sunday,
in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, December 22, 2015. © Reuters/Stringer

Photos and video footage from the scene showed dozens of armed police, firefighters and men in hard hats gathered around a deep hole dug into the soil where he had been buried.

Mr Tian was taken to the Guangming New District Central Hospital, where he was in stable condition.

The latest in a series of fatal accidents in the world's most populous country, the tragedy in Shenzhen came only months after almost 200 people died in a massive chemical blast in the port city of Tianjin.

WATCH: Massive landslide in China.

The mudslide was caused by the improper storage of waste soil from construction sites, according to the official newspaper of the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Soil was illegally stored in heaps 100m high at an old quarry site and turned to mud during rain Sunday morning, according to the Global Times, affiliated with Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily. - 9 News.