Friday, January 8, 2016

DELUGE: Widespread Flooding In The UK - Police Declare "Major Incident" Across Northeast Scotland As Flood Misery Continues! [PHOTOS + VIDEO

A mother and her children were rescued from their car after it got stuck in floods in Killiecrankie © David Muir

January 8, 2016 - UNITED KINGDOM - The River Don reaches record levels and has already burst its bank in places with another three inches of rain expected before 8am on Friday morning.

More communities are expected to wake up to flood misery in the morning as further parts of Scotland reach saturation point .

The River Don in Aberdeenshire has hit its highest level on record and is expected to burst its banks in several places tonight - threatening even more properties after days of heavy rainfall brought devastation for many.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Met Office have warned of another three inches of rain expected before 8am on Friday morning.

Police Scotland said it is dealing with a "major incident" across the north-east as two severe warnings of potential danger to life are issued for Kintore and Inverurie, along with 37 more flood warnings across the country.

Parts of Grandholm in Aberdeen are on evacuation alert tonight as experts monitor river levels and a rest centre has been set up at Bridge of Don Academy.

Rest centres have also been set up at Inverurie Academy, Kintore Community Hall, and Mackie Academy in Stonehaven, where flood barriers have been erected amid fears the River Carron will burst its banks overnight. Other areas at risk include Maryculter, Brechin and Ballater .

Aberdeenshire Council said both the Deveron and Banff Bridges may have to be closed as road conditions throughout the area are changing rapidly.

The River Don has burst its banks in places due to the recent heavy rainfall

Dozens of homes have been evacuated in Scotland as more flooding misery turns roads into waterways© SWNS

More than 20 Aberdeenshire schools will be closed or partially closed on Friday due to the severe weather.

The A90 has been reduced to one lane each way at Stracathro and is severely flooded at Brechin while railway lines are now impassable between Aberdeen and Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverurie and Aberdeen and Inverness.

In Huntly residents at The Meadows Care Home were evacuated as a precaution as river levels rose.

Roads across the north-east were flooded and closed while ScotRail warned of major disruption on the Glasgow to Inverness and Edinburgh to Inverness lines caused by flooding.

Meanwhile, dozens of flights were redirected at Aberdeen Airport tonight after heavy rain caused a hole to open up on the runway.

Arrivals were cancelled from around 5pm and departing flights were significantly affected after the runway had to be shortened.

An airport spokeswoman said the problem was expected to be fixed overnight but urged passengers to check flight details with airlines. In parts of Aberdeenshire children were sent home early from school as transport routes were swamped by heavy rain.

Local councillor Geva Blackett said: "We've been praying for an end to it for a week and our prayers aren't being answered - it's bring on the ark."

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The situation in Kintore and Inverurie and along the River Don in particular is extremely serious, with severe flood warnings now in place. The impact of this latest round of flooding is causing transport difficulties and putting properties at risk of flooding.

"The Scottish Government's resilience committee is monitoring the situation very closely and we have discussed the unfolding events and work to mitigate the impacts and ensure the safety of people in local communities.

"People in affected areas should keep a close eye on the latest information from SEPA and Traffic Scotland and take heed of the warnings that are issued.

"We will continue to work with responders and ensure they have the support they need to manage the developing situation this evening."

A SEPA spokesman said river levels were expected to peak early Friday morning.

He said: "Particular concern is focused on flood prone areas close to the River Don and River Deveron, which could potentially see severe flooding impacts. Other areas at risk of significant flooding impacts today include the River Isla, the lower Tay and Angus rivers."

Police in the north east have warned people top avoid travelling by road tonight.

WATCH: Scotland floods Homes evacuated as River Don burst its banks.

They tweeted: "Please don't travel by car tonight. Folk are getting trapped in their cars in flooded areas. Check weather reports overnight and in the am."

Snow has meanwhile been falling in the Keith and Huntly areas. The latest weather warnings come as the cost of cleaning up after storms Desmond, Eva and Frank north of the border has been estimated at £700million.

Storm Desmond hit the country at the start of December bringing gales of more than 112 mph in places.

It was followed by Eva which brought wind, rain and flood warnings across Christmas.

But it was Frank, which hit before Hogmanay, which brought the most chaos to Scotland causing flooding in many parts.

Audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers calculated our massive £700m storm bill by estimating the effect on the economy.

They say insurance losses were between £175m and £300m and smaller businesses not covered will have to fork out between £35,000 and £100,000 each.

Closing businesses early, power outages, encountering road closures that delay or halt deliveries as well as employees taking time off for childcare issues were all factored in to the economic loss. - Scottish Daily Record.

FIRE IN THE SKY: The Latest Fireball Sightings - Another Space Object Breaks Apart Over Thailand, Third Major Cosmic Event There In 4 Months; Bright Meteor Fireballs Streak Across Arizona And New Mexico Skies; Supermarket Worker Sees Meteor Break Up Over Plymouth, UK; Massive Meteor Fireball Seen Over Spain; And Meteor Fireball Filmed In Blanchester, Ohio!

A fireball seen in the early hours of January 2 in Lampang.

January 8, 2016 - SPACE - The following constitutes several of the latest reports of fireballs, seen in the skies, across the globe.

Another space object breaks apart over Thailand - Third major cosmic event there in 4 months

The sky in northern Thailand this morning saw not only the second light of 2016, but also a 30-second long fireball.

Aside from in Lampang, the mysterious light was also seen in many places up north including Chiang Rai, Loei and as far south as Phitsanulok.

The fireball that appeared at 6am Saturday was not a meteor but space debris, a collection of defunct man-made objects from old satellites or spent rocket stages, falling into the earth's atmosphere, an expert from Bundit Observatory believes.

In an interview with Matichon, Worawit Tanwutthibundit said the slow speed of the fireball indicated that it's not a falling star which normally travels at 80-kilometer per minute. The moving object was only travelling at around 20 or 30-kilometers a minute, the speed of space junk. Though the director of Lampang meteorological station said the final conclusion has not yet been reached, as there is also the possibility that the object could have originated from a plane.

WATCH: Fireballs over Thailand.

- Khaosod English.

Supermarket worker sees meteor break up over Plymouth, UK

David Butland with some of the meteorites he has collected previously.© John Allen

A supermarket worker claims he saw a meteorite enter the earth's atmosphere and break up over Plymouth.

Amateur space watcher David Butland, aged 42, says he was standing outside his parents' house in Beacon Park at about 7pm on New Year's Eve when he noticed a "yellowish light" in the sky, passing from south to north.

"I kept watching it and it started growing and changing colour," David said.

"About 10 seconds before it disappeared it started burning up, then four or five fragments broke off it.

"Originally the colour was mainly white, but as it started to break up it turned into a tint of yellow then deep yellow as more pieces broke off.

"It came from the south, flew over and to the side of the house and broke up low and in a northerly direction."

David, who describes himself as a keen meteorite collector and enthusiast, believes the object may have landed somewhere around Woolwell or Yelverton and is on the lookout for other witnesses.

"Since I was a child I've always been interested in space, I have been collecting meteorites for 20 years," David said.

"Events like this are very rare for the UK, so I was quite excited when I saw it.

"The last one that came through the atmosphere over Plymouth was in 1623 in Ivybridge.

"There's an old folk tale that people were picking apples from an orchard when they claim they saw it, but there was no proof, nothing was ever found."

David says he is "pretty sure" what he witnessed was a stone meteorite - a solid piece of debris from an asteroid or comet which originates in outer space and survives its impact with the earth's surface.

"Most people think 'Oh it was New Year's Eve, it was probably fireworks,' but I'm pretty sure it was a meteorite because of the angle it came in at and its speed," David said. "It's quite difficult to explain."

David, who runs a website for meteorite dealers and auctioneers at, says the object did not make a noise and may have landed on the moors with nobody around.

"I am interested to find out whether there were any other witnesses to this amazing event, purely for the scientific value," David says. - The Herald.

Bright meteor fireballs streak across Arizona and New Mexico skies

Two bright meteors explode over AZ & NM in U.S. in the early hours of January 3, 2016.

The bright meteors recorded by the NASA All Sky Fireball Network exploding up to the atmosphere. The Latest Worldwide Meteor/Meteorite News 04JAN2016

Clips credit: NASA All Sky Fireball Network

WATCH: Fireball over southern United States.

- YouTube.

Massive meteor fireball over Spain ends 2015

On the last day of 2015, a skycam in northeast Spain caught a tremendous fireball — a very bright meteor — burning up in the morning sky: Wow. The camera is operated by the Ebro Observatory. The fireball is pretty stunning; it lasted only a few seconds, but probably got brighter than the full Moon.

It was apparently seen by many observers in central and northern Spain.

© Ebro Observatory (E. Blanch/CSIC-URLl - JMTrigo/CSIC-IEEC)

There are two things I want to point out in the video. It looks like it passes under the clouds, but that's an illusion. A meteor happens when a solid bit of ice, rock, or metal (called the meteoroid) slams into Earth's atmosphere from space, moving many dozens of kilometers per second. The huge pressure generated as it compresses the air in front of it heats the gas up, which then glows. This luminous phenomenon is what we call the actual meteor. That typically happens 90 - 100 km above the ground (though sometimes lower depending on the given event), far higher than the clouds. It's so bright it shines right through the clouds, though, making it look like it's just above the ground.

I also suspect that our eyes and brain follow the path the meteor takes, connecting the light in a line. Even if the cloud blocked the light a bit we'd think we saw it as connected.

Also, you can see at least three or four separate flashes of light, a couple of which leave a glow behind (called a persistent train). These happen as the meteoroid breaks up due to the obscene stresses it's under. As it does so more meteoroids are created, more surface area is exposed, and the energy released increases momentarily. This is common in very bright meteors. The Chelyabinsk asteroid underwent several disruptive events, flashing madly as it fell apart.

In the case of Chelyabinsk the meteoroid was 19 meters across and outshone the Sun; this event was from a rock much smaller. I hesitate to guess, but it was probably around a meter or so, maybe smaller. Again, I'm guessing here, so don't take this as gospel!

It's possible that some small pieces made it to the ground, creating meteorites. If you saw this fireball, I urge you to report it to the Spanish Fireball Network; the more reports they have, the better the trajectory for the fireball they can estimate. That makes finding any meteorites easier.

Meteors this bright occur fairly often; once a month or so. If you see one and live in the US, you can report it to the American Meteor Society. Whenever anyone asks me about some bright meteor they saw, that's the first place I go. And if you get pictures or video, let me know! I love looking at them, and I might run them here on the blog. Thanks. And keep looking up! The sky isn't exactly falling, but it's still pretty dang exciting. - Bad Astronomy.

Meteor fireball filmed in Blanchester, Ohio

WATCH: Meteor seen over Blanchester on January 7, 2016.

- YouTube.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Ticking Time-Bomb - Yellowstone Super-Volcano Could Kill Millions!

Yellowstone caldera.© USGS

January 8, 2016 - YELLOWSTONE, UNITED STATES - The US is in more immediate danger from "super-volcanos" like the one in the Yellowstone National Park, than other natural disasters -- as it may go off within the next 80 years, scientists say.

Experts from the European Science Foundation have determined that the likelihood of an eruption happening at one of the major volcanoes within 80 years is around 5-10%, due to a "volcano season" of increased activity.

A new report, called "Extreme Geo-hazards: Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience," also warns that preparations for such an occurrence are nearly non-existent. [The report in PDF format can be downloaded here]

WATCH: New Study - Yellowstone Volcano Could WIPE OUT TWENTY AMERICAN STATES!

"Although in the last few decades earthquakes have been the main cause of fatalities and damage, the main global risk is large volcanic eruptions that are less frequent but far more impactful than the largest earthquakes," the report states.

"Due to their far-reaching effects on climate, food security, transportation, and supply chains, these events have the potential to trigger global disaster and catastrophe," it continues. "The cost of response and the ability to respond to these events is beyond the financial and political capabilities of any individual country."

Volcanic eruptions at Yellowstone National Park in the US, Mt. Vesuvius in Italy or Popocat├ępetl in Mexico would not only kill millions, but also would affect global weather and harm food production, according to the report.

Yellowstone volcano - potential ash fallout© USGS

A major eruption would do more damage to the environment than 1,000 years of human activity and global warming, the report warns.

"Hence extreme volcanic eruptions pose a higher associated risk than all other natural hazards with similar recurrence periods, including asteroid impacts." - Sputnik News.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Historic Week - Dow Plunges 1,079 Points; The Worst Five-Day Start To A Year On Record!

January 8, 2016 - WALL STREET, UNITED STATES - The Dow lost 1,079 points this week, or over 6%, as fears about China and crashing oil prices dealt Wall Street a painful one-two blow. It was the Dow's worst five-day start to a year on record, according to Dow Jones.

Despite the relative calm in China and a strong U.S. jobs report, the Dow fell 168 points on Friday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq lost about 1% apiece. It capped off the Dow's biggest weekly percentage loss since 2011.

"People are very nervous. We have a lot of fear about what is going on in China," said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of trading at Themis Trading.

Investors were once again spooked by crude oil prices, which plunged to the lowest level since late 2003 on Thursday. Oil initially calmed down on Friday before retreating again. Crude finished the day at $33.16 a barrel, its weakest settle since February 2004.

When oil drops, so do energy stocks. They retreated again on Friday, with names like Valero (VLO) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC) falling more than 3% apiece.

The oil plunge was one of the main drivers behind this week's market selloff, which erased nearly $1.1 trillion from the S&P 500, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Chinese stocks started the year with an epic 12% nosedive. The selling earlier in the week triggered "circuit breakers" that are designed to smooth volatility in the markets. Trading in China was halted twice this week -- on Thursday, the stock markets shut down after just a half hour of trading.

Sentiment was boosted after regulators scrapped the circuit breakers because many believe they were fueling sharp trading losses -- rather than taming them.

Investors cheered as China stopped allowing its currency to lose value. In fact, China's central bank raised its target rate for the yuan for the first time in over a week. The surprise decline in the yuan has raised fears of a currency war of competitive devaluations.

On Friday, China managed to pull back from the brink and the benchmark Shanghai Composite closed 2%.

On Wall Street, investors initially responded favorably to the latest evidence that the U.S. economy continues to chug along despite the global turmoil.

The government said the U.S. added 292,000 jobs in December, easily beating expectations. It capped off the second-strongest year of employment gains since 1999. Importantly, wages went up 2.5% last month, matching the best gain in six years.

But there are lots of signs of the rising fear on Wall Street. CNNMoney's Fear & Greed Index is now flashing "extreme fear," a dramatic reversal from "neutral" just a week ago.

Gold, which tends to rise during times of financial stress, was one of the only things that had a good week. The precious metal soared 4% to $1,103 an ounce. Billionaire George Soros was among the most prominent investors to say the current situation reminds them of the 2008 financial crisis.

Others think it's much more like last summer, when turmoil in China prompted a scare in U.S. stocks that proved fleeting.

"We don't have investment banks failing or a credit crisis going on. This will settle. It reminds me a lot of August right now," said Saluzzi. - CNN Money.

PLANETARY TREMORS: It's Shaking All Over - 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Pakistan; Magnitude 5.2 Tremor Rocks Kuril Islands, Russia; And Magnitude 5.0 Temblor Hits Southern Chile!

USGS earthquake locations of 2.5 magnitude or higher over the last day.

January 8, 2016 - 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.

5.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan

USGS earthquake location.

This was the third quake to hit Pakistan since the beginning of 2016.

A strong earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter Scale hit Pakistan on Friday, the country's Meteorological Department said.

The epicentre of the quake was detected at Afghanistan-Tajikistan border region, Dawn online reported.

However, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.0 and traced its origin to the Jarm region in Afghanistan.

Tremors were felt in Peshawar, Malakand, Mansehra, Haripur and Abbottabad.

No casualties have been reported yet.

This was the third quake to hit Pakistan since the beginning of 2016.

The northern areas of Pakistan were still reeling from a strong 7.5 magnitude quake which struck in October 2015, killing over 300 people both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. - Business Standard.

Magnitude 5.2 earthquake hits Kuril Islands, Russia

Kuril Islands

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake has occurred off the Kuril Islands, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reports.

The quake struck at 20:23 GMT on Thursday, its epicenter was located 93 miles (150 kilometers) southwest of Severo-Kurilsk, a Russian town in the northern part of the Kuril Islands.

There have been no reports of damages or tsunami warnings in the area.

According to the Richter scale, earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0-5.9 are considered to be moderate and can lead to casualties and cause damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The Kuril Islands separate the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. Russia and Japan are engaged in a territorial dispute over the South Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan. - Sputnik.

Magnitude 5.0 earthquake hits Southern Chile

A closeup of a seismograph machine needle drawing a red line on graph paper depicting seismic and eartquake activity

Moderate mag. 5.0 earthquake - Southern Chile on Thursday, 7 January 2016

Hypocenter depth recalculated from 33.0 to 37.0 km.

Date & time: Thu, 7 Jan 15:40:46 UTC

Magnitude: 5.0

Depth: 37.0 km

Epicenter latitude / longitude: 41.59°S / 73.79°W [Map]

Nearest volcano: Calbuco (99 km)

Primary data source: GFZ

- Volcano Discovery.