Thursday, March 17, 2016

EXTREME WEATHER: Giant Hail Pounds Dallas-Fort Worth Area - Damaging Buildings And Killing Zoo Animals! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Massive damage in the parking lot of Medstar in , TX. (PIC: Medstar) @CBSDFW
Twitter: Shane Allen

March 17, 2016 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - A severe thunderstorm hit the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area on Thursday, March 18, 2016. The storm first hit about 04:00 (local time) and then again just before 09:00, dropping surprisingly large hailstones that busted in windshields, damaged houses, killed several animals at the Fort Worth Zoo and caused traffic chaos. The hailstones varied in size from blueberries to tennis balls.

According to media reports, a local ambulance provider was severely hampered by hail damage. They were out servicing the many accidents on the roads when they became victims of the storm. Matt Zavadsky of MedStar, said 50 vehicles suffered extensive damage. 11 ambulances were brought out of service because of busted windshields.
















National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Stalley said they warned that there could be a few severe storms but "they were more widespread than we anticipated." Golf-ball or larger sized hail pummeled the Fort Worth Zoo around 06:40, damaging skylights, exhibit roofs and vehicles and killing several animals in their bird collection. Alexis Wilson, a zoo spokeswoman, said the final death count was five flamingos, a pelican and two smaller birds — an ibis and a baby black-neck swan cygnet.

The Fort Worth Police Department's West Division was damaged by the hail and heavy winds, as were other businesses in the area, including New Horizons Realtors, where large holes were punched in outside walls.


WATCH: Fort Worth Zoo Interview.




Egg-size hail was measured in Benbrook and tennis-ball-size hail later fell in south Arlington, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

Stalley said the chance of storms will stick around for a while. "There's a 40 percent chance tonight and a 50 percent chance Friday and Friday night."

The storm is moving across the Gulf Coast. NWS has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 20:00 CDT Thursday for parts of East Texas, central Louisiana, south Mississippi, southwest Alabama and far western sections of the Florida panhandle. - The Watchers.







SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Weather Phenomenon - Triple Sun Dog Appears Over Kazan, Russia!

Sundogs appear as duplicate suns in the sky over a Russian city.© Newsflare

March 17, 2016 - RUSSIA - A rare optical illusion giving the appearance of three suns in the sky was caught on camera over a Russian city where ice crystals gathered in the atmosphere.

The video shows what appears to be three suns in the sky over the city of Kazan, but the "suns" to the left and right of the middle star are actually optical illusions known as "sundogs."

A sundog is created when the light from the sun is reflected by ice crystals in the atmosphere.

The triple sun, recorded in January, featured illusion suns much larger than those recorded in December over Winnipeg, Manitoba, following a large snow storm. - UPI.




 

GLOBAL WATER CRISIS: World Wide Water Shortages Are Even More Severe Than Previously Realized - New Study!


March 17, 2016 - EARTH - A new study shows that around 4 billion people on Earth are experiencing water shortages. This paints a far more grave picture of the world's water supply than previously thought, with a new analysis estimating that over two-thirds of the world's population is facing severe water shortages for at least one month out of the year. Conservationists are hopeful this news will prompt corporations to make major reductions in water consumption, recognizing that the world water crisis can't be solved by individuals making changes in their homes.

Previous estimates suggested that between 1.7 billion and 3.1 billion people were suffering from occasional water shortages, and that was bad enough. The new analysis of data collected 1996-2005 identified regions where people are using water at twice the rate it is being naturally replenished. Prof Arjen Hoekstra, who led the study at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, calls water scarcity "the top problem" of all environmental concerns currently facing the world's population.




China and India are home to nearly half of the people experiencing devastating water shortages. Other areas heavily impacted include Bangladesh, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan. In the United States, water shortages are impacting residents predominantly in drought-stricken regions like California, as well as in Texas and Florida. Hoekstra and his coauthor are urging people to think beyond conserving a few gallons of water at home and start looking at the larger 'water footprint' created by meat consumption and the manufacturing of industrial products.

. Other areas heavily impacted include Bangladesh, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan. In the United States, water shortages are impacting residents predominantly in drought-stricken regions like California, as well as in Texas and Florida. Hoekstra and his coauthor are urging people to think beyond conserving a few gallons of water at home and start looking at the larger 'water footprint' created by meat consumption and the manufacturing of industrial products. - Inhabitat.






 

SMOGEDDON: Choking Smog Returns To Mexico City - Levels Not Seen In Over A Decade!

Smog blankets scyscrapers along Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, Thursday, March 17, 2016. An air pollution alert in greater Mexico City was extended to its
fourth day, with authorities saying that despite slight improvements smog levels remained at almost 1 1/2 times acceptable limits in some areas.

© AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

March 17, 2016 - MEXICO - Choking smog returned to the skies of Mexico City this week at levels not seen in more than a decade, prompting fears of more eye-watering days to come as efforts to curb pollution run afoul of the courts and the realities of life.

The haze that shrouded the second-largest city in the Western Hemisphere for four days never reached the worst periods in the 1980s and 1990s, but ultimately resulted from the fact that there are still too many cars on the crowded streets.

"You have to recognize that we are doing better, but it's still not ideal," Javier Riojas, a specialist in environmental sustainability at the Universidad Iberoamericana, said Friday. Authorities declared the city's first Phase 1 pollution alert since 2005 on Monday due to high ozone levels blamed on a thermal inversion, which traps airborne contaminants from releasing upward into the atmosphere.

Mexico City typically sees its worst air smog during the winter-spring dry season when warm, still air settles in the high-altitude basin ringed by volcanic mountains.

At one point on Monday, the pollution index edged past 200—double the level considered acceptable but far short of the record of 398 set in March 1992.

Since the 1990s, Mexico City has become a vastly different place. Factories have been cleaned up or moved away, leaded gasoline was banned and tough emissions standards have been imposed on cars.

Despite much grumbling the government imposed a rule that forced cars more than eight years old to stay parked for at least six days each month even if they passed smog checks.

But the Supreme Court last year overturned that rule, putting an estimated additional 1.4 million vehicles back on the streets, many of them older, more-polluting models. As traffic jams increased, overall emissions were boosted even more because cars were forced to idle, experts say.

This week's emergency prompted authorities to say they are studying more stringent restrictions on vehicles—including smoke-belching government trucks that are now exempt from smog tests—though there are likely to be more smog-bound days before those have any effect.


Smog hangs over a northern suburb of Mexico City, Thursday, March 17, 2016. An air pollution alert in greater Mexico City was extended to its fourth day,
with authorities saying that despite slight improvements smog levels remained at almost 1 1/2 times acceptable limits in some areas.
 
© AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Bernardo Baranda, Latin America director for the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, said that officials ought to re-establish limits on car circulation and improve cooperation across the various jurisdictions that make up the Valley of Mexico.

Longer-term, he called for more investment in public transportation as well as tolls on cars and creation of areas open only to foot and bicycle traffic.

"The root problem is the growth of the vehicle fleet," Baranda said.

Air quality in Mexico City today is generally far better than much of China, India and other parts of Asia. For example, while the alert was still in place on Thursday, Mexico City recorded a pollution index of about 150 while levels were topping 400 in Beijing, according to the World Air Quality Index, which tracks air quality around the globe.


Even with the Supreme Court ruling, vehicles still must pass smog checks every six months. But every car owner knows that slipping the equivalent of about $20 to a verification center worker is enough to ensure the inspection will come out "clean."

Authorities in Mexico City say vehicles are responsible for 87 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions, a precursor to ozone, the most problematic contaminant.

Critics also say a series of city administrations have been enthusiastic about building things like double-decker highways for cars and less aggressive about better public transportation, though the area has expanded its subway, bus and urban train systems. A bike-share program has been wildly popular and dedicated bus lanes have attracted huge ridership since their inception in 2005.

Dwight Dyer, energy and environment editor for the online publication El Daily Post, argued that at least four more dedicated bus lanes could have been built for the amount of money that was spent expanding a highway that rings the city.

"You have a policy of promoting the use of the car, and this has not been only the present administration," Dyer said, adding that the tendency is even more pronounced in suburbs that are home to over half the metropolis' 20 million-plus residents.

"There's a huge market for increasing mass public transit," Dyer said. "But there's very little interest I suppose in doing this because the electoral payoffs are not as high."

Announcing the end of the four-day alert Thursday evening, federal Environment Secretary Alejandro Pacchiano promised to beef up the system of smog inspections and study tougher vehicle restrictions.

Some would like to see more drastic measures.

"I have thought that they should take half of the cars off the road on any given day, and the other half the next," said Ricardo Juarez, a 54-year-old salesman who relies on the subway, buses and occasional taxis to get around.

This week's alert may be a good thing, he said, if it "sends up red flags for the government." - PHYS.






 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Strikes Off Caribbean Islands - USGS!

USGS earthquake location.

March 17, 2016 - CARIBBEAN - A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday off the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

The offshore quake was registered at the depth of over 15 miles, 76 miles to the northeast of the inhabited Barbuda island and its city of Codrington.

There were no immediate reports of tsunami threat.

Barbuda is part of the twin-island Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

The earthquake comes just hours after its government conducted tsunami evacuation exercises, aimed at boosting tsunami safety and increasing the level of awareness among the residents.

The perimeter of the Caribbean plate is characterized by its complexity of tectonic regimes, including numerous faults and pull-apart basin tectonics, according to the USGS. - Sputnik.




RATTLE & HUM: Mysterious Sounds Heard Across The Planet - Strange Inexplicable Booms Reported In Rankin County, Mississippi?!


March 17, 2016 - MISSISSIPPI, UNITED STATES - Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said he heard two booms about 8 a.m. as he walked into the office.

"It was loud enough that it made me turn my head," Flynn said. "I thought it was coming from the (Mississippi) Fire Academy, but there was nothing going on there."

A caller in Jackson said he heard the boom, which he thought was coming from Pearl, as far away as downtown Jackson.

Another caller said the lights went out briefly between Pearl and Brandon after he heard the boom.

Entergy spokeswoman Mara Hartmann said there was a 3-4 minute transmission-related outage Thursday morning near Old Fannin Road in Flowood that affected industrial customers, but no residential customers. She said that the cause is under investigation.


"It could be linked to that, but we don't know. Transmission (technicians) will have to walk the lines to find out where it came from," Hartmann said. "It might have been us. We just don't know."

A spokeswoman with the 172 Air Wing said they didn't have any planes flying Thursday morning, but a witness may have gotten to the bottom of the mystery. The sound could be coming from a tree cutter truck that's working at a building site behind Academy Sports in Flowood.

"The machine, every time it hits the tree, it goes, 'boom,'" a spokeswoman said. "It's a truck that's making the sound when it hits the tree, and it makes another boom when the tree falls."

A Belhaven resident posted on Facebook that the sound could have come from a storage container that was dropped at a construction site at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The official source of the sound remains a mystery.

- WAPT.