Monday, May 2, 2016

EXTREME WEATHER: Massive Sandstorm Sweeps Through China's Xinjiang, Qinghai - Dropping Visibility To Less Than 900 Meters! [VIDEO]


May 2, 2016 - CHINA - A major sandstorm has swept through China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province, causing severe air pollution.

On Sunday, high winds whipped up the sandstorm in Xinjiang's Aksu Prefecture, dropping visibility to less than 900 meters.

The sandstorm has also disrupted road traffic and caused flight cancellations and delays.

In Korla County, the storm significantly slowed down traffic and caused residents to suffer breathing difficulties.

The local meteorological department said that the sandstorm is expected to last through Monday.

WATCH: Sandstorm, wildfire rage parts of northwest China.

Another sandstorm coupled with winds of up to 70 kilometers per hour also hit Golmud County in Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, disrupting traffic in several streets.

Local forecasters said that sandstorms and high winds are expected in multiple districts of the prefecture within the next 12 hours.

In recent years, China has seen extremely high levels of air pollution particularly in the northeast, the industrial heartland of the country.

Scientific studies attribute 1.4 million premature deaths per year to China's smog, or almost 4,000 per day.

- Press TV.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Attacks On Humans And Disaster Precursors - Hyenas Attack Starving Women In Somali-Land as Drought Hits!

Hyenas attack starving women

May 2, 2016 - SOMALI-LAND - Women collapsing from hunger are being set upon by animals amid Somaliland's worst drought in living memory.

Starving women are being attacked by packs of hyenas in drought-hit Somaliland, an aid agency has warned.

People in the East African state say it is the worst drought in living memory,
caused by successive poor rainy seasons made worse by El Nino conditions in the Horn of Africa.

Adan Shariff Gabow, from charity Islamic Relief, said there are cases of women collapsing from hunger and being set upon by starving hyenas.

"They fell down, malnourished, and we understand they were then set on by the animals," he said.

The severe weather conditions have killed thousands of goats and cows, bringing the risk of wide-spread famine, aid workers said.

Even camels - which are more drought-resistant - are dying.

Malnourished mothers are unable to breastfeed their babies, and farmers are feeding cardboard boxes to their animals because there is no grass left for grazing.

The United Nations - which has launched a £72m appeal - said 1.7 million people need aid in Somaliland and neighbouring Puntland - both self-declared states in northern Somalia.

Islamic Relief spokeswoman Mary Griffin said there was a "terrible sense of deja vu" after a drought killed more than 250,000 people in southern Somalia in 2011.

Aid agencies were criticised then for responding too late.

Hany El-Banna, chairman of the Muslim Charities Forum, called on the world not to repeat the same mistake.

"We cannot wait like we did in 2011 when we acted too late," he said. "We need to deal with this today - if we don't this drought will turn into a famine."

Britain's shadow development secretary Diane Abbott, who recently visited the region, plans to raise the issue in parliament next week.

"I spoke to families who had 500 or more animals three months ago, and now are left with 20 or fewer," she said.

"For people who rely on their animals for meat, milk and trade, it's the equivalent of losing your entire life savings."

She said drought conditions that would normally strike every seven to 10 years are now becoming an annual occurrence.

Nimo Mohamed Abdi, a mother of three, described how she had lost all her livestock - more than 180 animals - in three months.

"We were living by the coast then and the animals died so quickly, one after another, that we could do nothing with their corpses but throw them into the sea," she said. - Sky News.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Western Indonesia - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

May 2, 2016 - INDONESIA - An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Lampung province of Sumatra Island on Monday, the meteorology and geophysics agency said here.

No immediate casualties were reported as of now, an official of the agency said.

USGS shakemap intensity.

The epicentre of the quake was determined at 23 km southwest Tanggamus town, Xinhua news agency quoted the official as saying.

Indonesia is prone to quake as it lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone so called "the Pacific Ring of Fire".

Seismotectonics of the Sumatra Region

The plate boundary southwest of Sumatra is part of a long tectonic collision zone that extends over 8000 km from Papua in the east to the Himalayan front in the west. The Sumatra-Andaman portion of the collision zone forms a subduction zone megathrust plate boundary, the Sunda-Java trench, which accommodates convergence between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates. This convergence is responsible for the intense seismicity and volcanism in Sumatra. The Sumatra Fault, a major transform structure that bisects Sumatra, accommodates the northwest-increasing lateral component of relative plate motion.

Relative plate motion between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates is rapid, decreasing from roughly 63 mm/year near the southern tip of Sumatra (Australia relative to Sunda) to 44 mm/year north of Andaman Islands (India relative to Sunda) and rotating counterclockwise to the northwest, so that relative motion near Jakarta is nearly trench-normal but becomes nearly trench-parallel near Myanmar. As a result of the rotation in relative motion along the strike of the arc and the interaction of multiple tectonic plates, several interrelated tectonic elements compose the Sumatra-Andaman plate boundary. Most strain accumulation and release occurs along the Sunda megathrust of the main subduction zone, where lithosphere of the subducting Indo-Australia plate is in contact with the overlying Sunda plate down to a depth of 60 km. Strain release associated with deformation within the subducting slab is evidenced by deeper earthquakes that extend to depths of less than 300 km on Sumatra and 150 km or less along the Andaman Islands. The increasingly oblique convergence between these two plates moving northwest along the arc is accommodated by crustal seismicity along a series of transform and normal faults. East of the Andaman Islands, back- arc spreading in the Andaman Sea produces a zone of distributed normal and strike-slip faulting. Similar to the Sumatran Fault, the Sagaing Fault near Myanmar also accommodates the strike-slip component of oblique plate motion. Plate-boundary related deformation is also not restricted to the subduction zone and overriding plate: the subducting Indo-Australian plate actually comprises two somewhat independent plates (India and Australia), with small amounts of motion relative to one another, that are joined along a broad, actively-deforming region producing seismicity up to several hundred kilometers west of the trench. This deformation is exemplified by the recent April 2012 earthquake sequence, which includes the April 11 M 8.6 and M 8.2 strike-slip events and their subsequent aftershocks.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Paleoseismic studies using coral reefs as a proxy for relative land level changes associated with earthquake displacement suggest that the Sunda arc has repeatedly ruptured during relatively large events in the past, with records extending as far back as the 10th century. In northern Simeulue Island, the southern terminus of the 2004 megathrust earthquake rupture area, a cluster of megathrust earthquakes occurred over a 56 year period between A.D. 1390 and 1455, resulting in uplift substantially greater than that caused by the 2004 event. Studies that look at large sheeted deposits of sand on land interpreted as the transport of debris from a tsunami wave also indicate that this region has experienced significant tsunamis in the past centuries, albeit infrequently.

Prior to 2004, the most recent megathrust earthquakes along the Sumatran-Andaman plate boundary were in 1797 (M 8.7-8.9), 1833 (M 8.9-9.1) and 1861 (M8.5). Since 2004, much of the Sunda megathrust between the northern Andaman Islands and Enggano Island, a distance of more than 2,000 km, has ruptured in a series of large subduction zone earthquakes - most rupturing the plate boundary south of Banda Aceh. The great M 9.1 earthquake of December 26, 2004, which produced a devastating tsunami, ruptured much of the boundary between Myanmar and Simeulue Island offshore Banda Aceh. Immediately to the south of the great 2004 earthquake, the M 8.6 Nias Island earthquake of March 28, 2005 ruptured a 400-km section between Simeulue and the Batu Islands. Farther south in the Mentawai islands, two earthquakes on September 12, 2007 of M 8.5 and M 7.9 occurred in the southern portion of the estimated 1797 and 1833 ruptures zone, which extends from approximately Enggano Island to the northern portion of Siberut Island. Smaller earthquakes have also been locally important: a M 7.6 rupture within the subducting plate caused considerable damage in Padang in 2009, and a M 7.8 rupture on October 25, 2010 occurred on the shallow portion of the megathrust to the west of the Mentawai Islands, and caused a substantial tsunami on the west coast of those islands.

In addition to the current seismic hazards along this portion of the Sunda arc, this region is also recognized as having one of the highest volcanic hazards in the world. One of the most dramatic eruptions in human history was the Krakatau eruption on August 26-27, 1883, a volcano just to the southeast of the island of Sumatra, which resulted in over 35, 000 casualties.

Subduction and seismicity along the plate boundary adjacent to Java is fundamentally different from that of the Sumatran-Andaman section. Relative motion along the Java arc is trench-normal (approximately 65-70 mm/year) and does not exhibit the same strain partitioning and back-arc strike- slip faulting that are observed along the Sumatra margin. Neither has the Java subduction zone hosted similar large magnitude megathrust events to those of its neighbor, at least in documented history. Although this region is not as seismically active as the Sumatra region, the Java arc has hosted low to intermediate-magnitude extensional earthquakes and deep-focus (300-700 km) events and exhibits a similar if not higher volcanic hazard. This arc has also hosted two large, shallow tsunami earthquakes in the recent past which resulted in high tsunami run-ups along the southern Java coast.

- USGS | Economic Times.


EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetic Polar Migration - Unseasonal Severe Thunder And Lightning Storm Lashes Melbourne, Australia; And Lightning Strikes Kill Eight And Injure Two In Odisha, India!

The Bureau of Meteorology said the weather was unusual for this time of year.
David Mullins

May 2, 2016 - EARTH - Strong winds, thunderstorms, lightning storms and heavy rain lashed parts of Victoria, Australia overnight, with hundreds of residents calling the State Emergency Service (SES) for help. Lightning strike amidst heavy thunderstorms this afternoon claimed at least eight lives and injured two across various parts of Odisha.

Unseasonal severe thunder and lightning storm lashes Melbourne, Australia

The SES received more than 500 calls, mainly for downed trees and building damage in Warragul and Melbourne's east and south-east.

Most areas received between five and 15 millimetres of rain, but up to 40 millimetres fell in the state's north-east ranges.

Winds of about 100 kilometres per hour were recorded on the bay and in the state's south-west.

SES state duty officer Gerry Sheridan said the storm built up momentum as it moved across the bay.

"The hardest hit suburbs that we've had is Narre Warren, in the south-east suburbs, and places like Monash, Clayton, Mount Waverley and Chadstone," he said.

"As the storm cell moved across the bay, it built up a little bit of momentum. It's those populated areas — the usual suspects get hit again.

"Another location is Lilydale. We're seeing over 50 jobs out that way as well." esidents said Ashwood, in Melbourne's south-east, looked like it had been hit by a tornado.

"The whole street was covered in branches," local resident Lisa told the ABC.

"The power pole was down on one of the cars here and the SES arrived pretty much straight after that."

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Rod Dickson said the weather was unusual for this time of year.

"We had a fairly active cold front combined with an upper-level trough," he said.

"That produced quite widespread thunderstorm activity, which developed over the north-west late Saturday afternoon then extended into central parts of the state towards midnight.

"Typically we normally see severe thunderstorm activity during the afternoon during the warmer months."

The front was weakening as it moved east.

Mr Dickson said the thunderstorm activity had mostly passed.

Lightning strikes kill eight and injure two in Odisha, India

As per reports from Bhatakhamara village under Narla block of Kalahandi district, a father-daughter duo were killed because of lightning strike in the village. Besides, while another man died in that village, his wife has been grievously injured.
Further, another two deaths were reported from Ghantipada village of Kandhamal district.

Two more lost their lives and one was seriously injured in Jaleswar block of Balasore district after being struck by lightning.

The eighth news of death was reported from Baguda village under Patnagarh block of Bolangir district.

- ABC | Odisha Sun Times.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Japan's Sakurajima Volcano Erupts Again With Massive Blast - Sending Explosions Of Ash Over 3,500 Meters Above The Crater! [VIDEOS]


May 2, 2016 - JAPAN - A spectacular eruption happened in southern Japan following an unusual 'silent' period for a volcano in the wake of the island's recent earthquakes.

Sakurajima volcano in Kyushu, situated 50 kilometres from the Sendai nuclear plant, resumed activity from April 29, erupting multiple times and spewing ash sky high.

Footage captured by University of Tokyo webcams situated around the volcano show explosions of ash rising more than 3,500 meters above the crater.

The blast also caused fast-moving currents of hot gas and rock to slide down the side of the volcano.

The volcano, which normally experiences daily minor eruptions, ceased activity just before a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Kyushu on April 17.

The earthquake occurred north of Sakurajima, causing three feet (one meter) of lateral movement to the southwest. Japan's meteorological agency is continuing to issue volcanic ash advisories for Sakurajima.

WATCH: Sakurajima erupts.

Sakurajima's most powerful eruption happened in 1914 with lava flows filling the space between the island and mainland, turning it into a peninsula.

It erupted dramatically in February of this year with a fiery blast, shooting lava down its slope, prompting Japan's meteorological agency to issue an orange warning.

- RT.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

PLANETARY TREMORS: Rumbling On The New Madrid Fault Zone - Notable 3.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles La Center, Kentucky!

May 1, 2016 - KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES - The U.S. Geological Survey reports a small earthquake in western Kentucky.

The USGS says a preliminary magnitude 3.5 quake was recorded at 2:12 a.m. Sunday about 9 miles north-northwest of La Center — and about 39 miles west-northwest of Paducah.

No reports of injuries or damage were immediately available.

Geologists say earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 to 3.0 are generally the smallest felt by humans and that damage is not likely from quakes of below magnitude 4.0.

- WGN.


ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Cold Causing Havoc For Winegrowers As Deep Freeze Hits Switzerland! [VIDEO]

Farmers in Grisons, Switzerland protecting their vineyards from frost on April 27 with thousands of fire lights.Meteo Europe

May 1, 2016 - SWITZERLAND - Temperatures dipped below freezing in many parts of Switzerland on Wednesday night, with the intense cold causing havoc for winegrowers.

April weather is notoriously fickle in Switzerland but Wednesday night was one out of the box.

With temperatures ranging from - 3C to 0C in many parts of the country, winegrowers resorted to desperate measures to save their crops.

In eastern Switzerland's Bündner Herrschaft wine region where clear skies meant frosty conditions, vintners and volunteers braved the cold to lay out so-called frost candles.

The situation for grape growers is critical when the temperature falls below freezing, local winemaker Martin Donatsch told the tabloid newspaper Blick.

Donatsch was one of those to lay out frost candles on Wednesday night - a tactic which can raise ground temperatures by up to 3C.

He will have to wait until Thursday afternoon, however, to see if the hard work paid off.

Winegrowers need up to 200 candles for a hectare of grapes, but Donatsch had to make do with just 30, which he used to protect the most vulnerable part of his harvest.

With the candles, which last ten hours, coming in at 18 Swiss francs a piece, it's not a cheap exercise.

But the alternative plan also has a hefty price tag. Regional authorities were looking at using helicopters to come in and fan warmer air above the ground with the machines' rotor blades.

The plan was dismissed when authorities realized the air above ground level wasn't warm enough to make a real difference.

- Local.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across The United States - Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In New Orleans, Louisiana! [VIDEOS]

A sinkhole opened up on Canal Street April 29, 2016, near a tunnel running underneath Harrah's Casino.Robert McClendon/The Times-Picayune

May 1, 2016 - LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES - A sinkhole that opened up at the foot of Canal Street Friday (April 29) will take up to six months and $5 million to repair, city officials said.

The collapse, which caved in a 30-foot-wide section of one of New Orleans busiest streets, happened just a few feet away from the spot where Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his infrastructure team had been standing hours earlier in a 50 year-old tunnel that runs underneath the road.

The team was on site to inspect one of the tunnel's walls, which had begun to buckle earlier this month, allowing water to spill in. A few hours after they left, the wall collapsed, taking the road along with it.

"This is nothing short of incredible," Landrieu said. "Unfortunately, it's not a surprise," given the city's creaking infrastructure and unstable soil, he said. "Still, I've never seen anything like it."

The tunnel was constructed in the 1960s as part of an abandoned plan to build a six-lane, elevated Riverfront Expressway that would have run alongside the French Quarter, connecting Elysian Fields Avenue to the West Bank. The expressway never happened, but the idea wasn't scrapped until after the city had already built the tunnel section, which runs between Canal and Poydras streets.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole on Canal Street.

On the Uptown side of Canal Street, which runs directly over the tunnel, tour buses continued to trundle along as normal. On the downtown side, visitors gawked at the crumbling pit that had opened up at the tunnel's northern end.

Officials said repairs will begin immediately, but it's possible the sinkhole could continue to grow. The tunnel itself, part of which has been converted into valet parking for Harrah's Casino, was not thought to be in immediate danger, they said.

- Times-Picayune.


EXTREME WEATHER: The New Normal - Baseball-Sized Hailstones Pound Coweta, Oklahoma; Damaging Vehicles And Buildings! [VIDEOS]

May 1, 2016 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - No sooner had a severe thunderstorm warning been issued for the Coweta area around 6 p.m. Friday than a hail storms began pelting portions of the city.

While some areas only experienced heavy rains, others fell victim to stones of ice falling from an angry spring sky.

Mindi Fuser said her daughter, Madison, was a passenger in a car driven by her friend when their windshield was crushed by hail.

"They had just pulled out of the school parking lot when it came down," Fuser explained. "There were cheer tryouts at 6 p.m., and a bunch of girls were coming out of the school and some were coming in. It was chaos."

"The girls were heading to our house five minutes away from the school when the windshield broke. It threw glass in Madison's lap," she continued. "It scared the heck out of them! They didn't know what to do, so they pulled off the road and under a tree and we went to get the car." "It was coming down really hard on the high school and cemetery area. The cemetery was covered in really big hail," she added.

Fuser said she lives half a mile from Kum and Go and they received no hail at all at their home.

Ashley McCorcle was a passenger in her dad, Ross's car only a few blocks from their home when they were pelted by large hail.

"We were going down Highway 51-B and the further we went, the bigger it got," the teenager said. "It was tennis ball to baseball size, leaving a crack in my window and cracks windshields of my sister's and mom's cars."

McCorcle said she had never seen hail that big before.

Another hard hit area was 305th E. Ave. off of Highway 51-B at the Wagoner County District 3 Barn and Wagoner County Emergency Management facility.

"It's bad here," WCEM Volunteer Deputy Director Brandon Wren said while county crews worked to assess all the damage. "We have six vehicles with no damage - four we can respond in now - but everything else is damaged."

WATCH: Coweta hailstorm.

Numerous windshields were broken out by hail stones that also left large dents in the vehicles themselves.

"We were watching radar and it went from raining hard to where you couldn't see across the parking lot," Wren noted. "We had baseball size hail. We have dents in hoods that look like bowling balls hit it."

Structurally, the emergency management building had enough damage to cause leaking areas, but it's the vehicles WCEM officials are worried about as it minimizes the fleet available for responses. Right across the parking lot from the building, the Wagoner County District 3 Barn suffered significant damage. It is a metal building.

"All of their skylights are broken out and there is insulation everywhere," he said. "Many of their vehicles have completely been broken out."

He said the smallest hail that fell in that location was the size of golf balls.

- Coweta American.


RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Sounds Heard Across The Planet - Inexplicable Strange Loud Booms And Shaking Rattle Residents In High Desert, California?!

Google Maps

May 1, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES -  High Desert residents were rattled Friday morning by reports of loud booms and shaking, but no evidence of an earthquake or other abnormal activity was reported, according to the U.S. Geological Service.

The Daily Press received several reports of what initially appeared to be an earthquake just before 10 a.m. Friday. Several residents reported hearing "a loud boom," followed by rumbling and shaking. Another boom was reported just a few minutes later.

Although residents all over the Victor Valley reported the strange occurrence, most reports seemed to come from the Apple Valley area. However, no earthquakes have been reported in the area in the last 24 hours by the USGS.

A Southern California Logistics Airport spokesman said there had been nothing unusual at the airport Friday morning. Aircraft activity did take place but it was nothing out of the ordinary, the spokesman said.

Nevertheless, the occurrence led to many residents speculating on social media about what may have happened. A post on the Daily Press Facebook page asking residents if they had seen or heard anything generated more than 150 comments Friday morning, with most of these comments left in the 30 minutes after the reported booms occurred.

"I didn't feel anything but I heard them," Celeste Lesch, a Hesperia resident, said in a Facebook comment. "Just two; (they) shook my walls and my windows but no movement on the ground. It was weird. Reminded me of a thunderstorm, all noise and no shake."

Peggy Brady-Gilmore, a Victorville resident who lives near the Green Tree Golf Course, said her whole house rumbled because of the booms.

"I thought it was a wind gust, then realized it wasn't windy," Brady-Gilmore said.

Tim Larmer, an Apple Valley resident, said he "heard and felt it a lot," while another Apple Valley resident, Mandy Villamero Edmonston, said she heard the occurrence and felt shaking during the second one.

Daily Press messages left with the Apple Valley Sheriff's Station were not immediately returned, while Hesperia Sheriff's Station spokeswoman Karen Hunt said she had not heard of any reports at the station, and personally did not hear or feel anything.

Apple Valley Fire Protection District Chief Sid Hultquist told the Daily Press he was "almost certain" the booms came from the Black Mountain Cement Quarry in northeast Apple Valley.

"It sounded like they were blasting around 10 a.m. this morning," Hultquist said.

The cause of the reported booms and shaking is not yet known.

- Victorville Daily Press.


MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, Widespread Flooding, And Catastrophic Storms - Six Killed In Texas Floods As Yet More Severe Weather Lashes Central United States; Floods Swamp Soy Crop In Argentina, Some Residents Must Commute By Boat! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Household items and debris are scattered along land between houses in Lindale, Texas, after severe weather including flooding and a possible tornado hit the region. Sarah A. Miller/AP

May 1, 2016 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Six killed in Texas floods as yet more severe weather lashes central US

Woman and her four grandchildren, aged between six and nine, are among the dead after being swept away by flood waters

A woman and four of her grandchildren were among six people killed by floods in Texas caused by storms that unleashed tornadoes, damaging hail and torrential rains on several central US states.

The family of flood victims in Palestine, Texas, 100 miles (160km) south - east of Dallas, escaped a house where flood waters had reached the roof line and were then swept away, police captain James Muniz said.

"They were able to get out but they were washed away," he said, adding their bodies were recovered on Saturday.

Those killed were identified as Jamonicka Johnson, six, Von Johnson Junior, seven, Devonte Asberry, eight, Venetia Asberry, nine, and Lenda Asberry, 64, the city said. Palestine police took the bodies to Tyler, Texas, for autopsies, officials said.

A Palestine man, Giovani Olivas, 30, also died when he was swept under flood waters around Anderson County Road 370. His body was found late on Saturday afternoon, according to Anderson County sheriff Greg Taylor.

WATCH: Grandmother and her grandchildren killed in Texas flooding.

Seven homes were evacuated and temporary shelters were established, officials said. The city received 7.5in (19cm) of rain in less than an hour, which caused the floods.

"I don't recall ever seeing this much water rise so fast and in such a short period of time," Palestine mayor Bob Herrington said in a statement where he also offered condolences to the family of the five victims.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch extending from east Texas into much of Mississippi and a severe thunderstorm watch for New Orleans and the southern Louisiana region.

"Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected today into this evening across the lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley, Ozarks and the Ohio Valley," it said.

Strong winds in the Houston area downed trees and cut power lines, the service said. As of 10:30am local time, more than 4,200 customers in the region were without power, CenterPoint Energy reported.

There were seven reported tornadoes from the storm system on Friday in Texas and Oklahoma, it said. A twister caused damage to several structures and ripped through mobile homes in Ninnekah, about 50m (80 km) southwest of Oklahoma City, local news reports said.

Floods swamp soy crop in Argentina; some residents must commute by boat

Water levels in the flooded town of Villa Paranacito have risen so much that the best way for residents to commute is by boat.

The town in eastern Argentina is one of the worst-struck by weeks of heavy rains stemming from the El Nino weather phenomenon. With streets covered by several feet of water from swollen rivers, residents are getting to schools, banks and other town services on boats, the only means of transportation.

Two women row a boat on a flooded street of Villa Paranacito, Entre Rios, Argentina, Thursday, April 28, 2016. The Argentine Red Cross estimates that
around 30,000 people have been affected after rains swelled rivers, swamping fields and towns nationwide.
AP/Natacha Pisarenko

A dog stands outside a house on the flooded town of Villa Paranacito, Entre Rios, Argentina, Thursday, April 28, 2016.  AP /Natacha Pisarenko

A house is seen flooded at the countryside in Entre Rios, Argentina, Thursday, April 28, 2016.   AP /Natacha Pisarenko

Authorities have evacuated thousands of people across Argentina. Flood waters have reached grazing grounds, drowning livestock in the leading meat producing country. They have also swamped about a third of Argentina's soy farms, causing big losses to one of the world's top grains suppliers.

Argentina's Rural Society said Thursday that about 4 million metric tons of soy had been ruined. The losses are estimated at up to $1.3 billion.

Soybean prices at the Chicago Board of Trade fell Friday, after rising for weeks to nearly a one year-high on growing concerns about the damaged crops in Argentina, which is the world's No. 3 soy exporter.

- Guardian | Daily Mail.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Geological Upheavals - Recent Earthquake In Japan Dries Up CENTURIES-OLD Kumamoto Water Source!

Shioisha spring in Minami-Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, has gone dry since the earthquake of April 16. Nasuka Yamamoto

May 1, 2016 - JAPAN - For hundreds of years, the sacred Shioisha spring here has provided water for drinking and irrigation in this village in the shadow of Mount Aso.

But the fountainhead, which gushed about five tons of spring water a minute, has dried up since the magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck the prefecture early on April 16. Its disappearance has local residents baffled.
"I was absolutely flabbergasted to hear that Shioisha spring has dried up. It turns my world upside down," said 95-year-old Natsuko Goto, who was taking shelter at an elementary school after the earthquake. "What will happen now?"

Shioisha spring is located on the premises of Shioijinja shrine.

According to Sachio Hirose, the 63-year-old parish representative, there are many fountainhead springs in Minami-Aso, which has been dubbed "the village where water is born." However, Shioisha spring is the one that has been worshiped by local residents as the sacred spring where the "god of water" dwells.

Its abundant waters have been a blessing for local rice farmers.

Every year, the planting of rice seedlings starts at the beginning of May in Minami-Aso, but at the moment, there is no water to irrigate the rice paddies, casting a dark shadow over the village and its agricultural production.
"The headspring had been gushing water out for the past centuries and sustaining people's livelihoods," Hirose said. "I can't believe this is happening in my lifetime."

- Asahi Shimbun.