Sunday, March 20, 2016

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Intense Columnar Vortex - Waterspout Hits Beach In Fort Lauderdale, Florida! [VIDEO]

© Local 10 News

March 20, 2016 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - A waterspout touched down Saturday near Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.

Video shot on the beach showed the wind picked up boats, tossed garbage cans and left several cars damaged. Fort Lauderdale Police spokesperson Tracy Figone said they got severe weather reports.

There was "bad weather in the area of Fort Lauderdale beaches near the Oasis Cafe," 600 Seabreeze Blvd., Figone said. Jesse Francois said he was in the water when the severe weather hit.

A massive waterspout hit the beach in Broward County Saturday.
© Local 10 News

"I was actually scared for my life," Fracois said. Authorities didn't report injuries. An ocean rescue employee who did not want to be named was one of the witnesses. She said it was a very quick event. Olga Meyer was also at the beach.

WATCH: Huge watespout near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"It was raining and it was like a waterspout," Meyer said. "It was huge."

Broward County was under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m., according to Local 10 News meteorologist Jennifer Correa.

There was also a high rip current risk and a special marine warning in effect. he National Weather Service reported "lightning, heavy rain" and 50-miles-per-hour gusts. - Local 10 News.


MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, Widespread Flooding, And Catastrophic Storms - Flooding Displaces 1,000 As 3 Die In Turkana County, Kenya; And Flash Floods Hit Durban, South Africa! [VIDEO]

© Jambo Turkana

March 20, 2016 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Flooding displaces 1,000 as 3 die in Turkana County, Kenya

Several parts of Turkana County in north west Kenya saw intense rainfall during the afternoon of 10 March, 2016 which led to overflowing of the Turkwel and Kawalase Rivers.

At least three people died in the floods and more than 1,000 others are said to have been displaced from their homes, according to local media. Large numbers of livestock were also reported to have been swept away in the flood waters.

© Jambo Turkana

Lodwar town, which sits between the two rivers, was one of the worst affected areas. The villages of Napetet, Soweto, Kalifonia and Nakerekei were also badly hit.

Many roads connecting these villages to the rest of the county were flooded making them impassable.

WATCH: Flooding in Kenya.

Market places, schools and other social amenities were disrupted and rendered inaccessible.

The Director of IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre had earlier warned that some places within the region would continue receiving intense rainfall even as the impacts of El NiƱo subsided. - Floodlist.

Flash floods hit Durban, South Africa

Residents of Durban dealt with a deluge on Wednesday night, with many areas reporting cases of flash flooding.

Roads across the city remain closed by downed trees and other debris that is obstructing thoroughfares.

eThekwini metro police spokesperson Sbonelo Mchunu said officers had had a busy night.

"We went to many accidents that were flood related and also had to deal with the closure of many roads because of the rising water levels. Even now [on Thursday morning] we are assisting personnel from the Durban Solid Waste Department as they clear debris from the roads. This has prompted widespread road closures," he said.

© Ceron Jacobs, RescueCare

Water surges down Che Guevara Road in Glenwood during heavy rains in Durban.© Tebogo Letsie

A bakkie partially submerged in Pinetown. © Jeremy Berry

KZN EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie said that while many cases of flooding had been reported, there had been no recorded fatalities. Crisis Medical spokesperson Kyle van Reenen said that paramedics "had their hands full".

"Excessive rains caused flash floods throughout the greater Durban area. One incident on the N2 near the M25 saw three people sustain minor to moderate injuries in a collision involving two light motor vehicles. They were attended to on scene before being taken to hospital for further care.

WATCH: Storm wreaks havoc in Durban.

"Roads within the Durban North area were severely affected, with storm water manhole covers lifting, causing serious danger to motorists. Crisis Medical's scene safety crew hand their hands full in efforts to prevent potential motor vehicle collisions," he said.

"We advise the public to please heed caution when travelling today as roads are still very wet, with reports of flooding in certain intersections. Traffic lights have also been affected by the rain in certain areas and we remind motorists to please treat these intersections as four way stops," Van Reenen added.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In Naples, Italy - Swallows Up Two Trees And A Car! [VIDEO]

© Screenshot via YouTube/IlMattino

March 21, 2016 - ITALY - A Renault Twingo and two small trees have disappeared into a huge sinkhole in the central square of Afragola, a town near Naples.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, which happened in the early hours of Monday morning.

The opening of the chasm, which was seven metres long, seven metres wide and seven metres deep, damaged underground pipes and cut off the water supply to some local residents.

A video of the sinkhole and its contents can be seen below.

WATCH: Massive sinkhole opens up in Naples.

The gigantic hole is thought to have been caused by either an underground drain or tunnel caving in.

Several tunnels are known to run under the square and once connected the crypt of the nearby church of San Giorgio to the town's castle.

In February last year, a sinkhole caused by a burst water pipe saw 300 people evacuated from their homes in Naples, while in October a female driver watched her car disappear into a sinkhole in Catania. - The Local.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Rorqual Whale Found Dead On Mexico Beach; Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up On Block Island, Rhode Island; And Killer Whale Strands And Drowns Leaving Calf As An Orphan In New Zealand! [PHOTOS]

Marine experts are dwarfed by the Rorqual whale in Mexico.

March 20, 2016 - 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.

Rorqual whale found dead on Mexico beach

A specimen of the tropical rorqual whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was found dead on Puertecito Beach in the municipality of Maria Colotepec, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the Profepa environmental protection agency said.

Profepa said in a bulletin that it has taken over the case and has applied the measures laid down in the protocol for dealing with stranded marine mammals.

The large whale, measuring 10.8 meters (35 feet) long and weighing approximately 8 tons, was observed by personnel of the federal delegation of Profepa in the agency, in coordination with the University of the Sea, or UMAR.

Specialists studying the whale specimen identified it as a tropical rorqual, also known as a Bryde's whale.

"This mysticete cetacean has a wide distribution across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and is only absent from the cold Arctic and Antarctic waters," the statement said.

The note also indicated that whales of this kind feed on small shoals of fish and squid, crustaceans like the Mysidacea and krill, and though the causes of its death are being studied, it is considered possible that the whale was affected by the natural red tide phenomenon, or algal bloom.

The tropical rorqual whale is a species listed as subject to special protection. - Fox News Latino.

Dead humpback whale washes up on Block Island, Rhode Island

Young humpback whale washes up dead on Block Island.© Michael Chapman

A young humpback was found washed up dead on a Block Island beach Wednesday. It is believed the animal died while still at sea.

The whale was found belly-up on Crescent Beach by a resident.

Executive Director of Block Island Conservancy Michael Chapman documented the whale on Facebook. Chapman tells NBC 10 News the age of whale has yet to be determined, but it is quite young.

"[A] new born calf is about 20ft. This Humpback looks to be about 25ft. It may have lost its mother as they migrated North this time of year," he said.

Mystic Aquarium has already been contacted to document the incident.

Chapman said it is not uncommon for deceased whales to wash up on Block Island.

In the past, a deceased whale was exploded with dynamite on Crescent Beach to remove it from the area. - Turnto10.

Killer whale strands and drowns leaving calf as an orphan in New Zealand

Dr Visser examines the dead orca that washed up on Mangawhai Beach.ORCA RESEARCH TRUST

An orca that died on Mangawhai Beach may have drowned and Northland orca expert Ingrid Visser is concerned for the lactating whale's orphaned calf.

Dr Visser is hoping results of a necropsy will determine exactly how the orca died, but, with no obvious signs of damage to the whale, which was in "pristine condition", she believes it may have drowned.

An orca can drown if its blowhole is covered and she said, as orca don't have much flexibility in their neck, she would not have been able to lift the blowhole out of the water, as she was found on her side.

"It's a real tragedy when any orca dies like this, but she was lactating - we could see the milk coming out while she was lying there and it was really sad - and she has a wee baby out there somewhere," Dr Visser said.

The calf could be aged between a few weeks and 18 months. She said there had been reports of an orca pod in Whangarei Harbour and at Waipu Cove this week and it was possible the dead orca was a member of that pod, but she wouldn't know for sure until she examined photographs of the pod.

Dr Visser said the orca washed up on the beach just north of the Mangawhai Heads Surf Life Saving Club, early yesterday morning and she got the call about 8am. She immediately drove to Mangawhai from Whangarei to examine the orca.

She said it was common for NZ orca to hunt in shallow waters, which was "a risky business".

It's the second report of an orca dying on a New Zealand beach this week after another stranded on the beach at Patea on Monday.
Dr Visser said, as in that case, Mangawhai locals, including police, members of DoC and iwi, yesterday rallied round when the orca was discovered. It was given a burial by the iwi, with help from a contractor using a digger.

Channel North news producer Rose Stirling was called to cover the event and had hoped she would be covering a whale rescue.

But, Ms Stirling said the whale was just a few metres from the waves on the beach and it was quickly evident the whale was dead.

"My first thoughts were it was dead. I went up to it and touched it because I've never seen a dead whale before. It felt like rubber, kind of like a tyre," she said.

"It was quiet surreal to see such a majestic animal washed up on the beach. I was hoping we would be filming a rescue ... it was quiet tragic." - New Zealand Herald.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Risk Of Massive Landslide Forces Evacuations Near Wenatchee, Washington State - Residents Fear A "CATASTROPHIC" Shift In The Ground! [VIDEO]

March 20, 2016 - WASHINGTON STATE, UNITED STATES - The Chelan County Sheriff's Office is warning residents in the Wenatchee Heights area about the risk of a massive landslide.

Huge cracks are developing in the ground in a neighborhood near the Mission Ridge Ski Area. Water and power have been shut off to the Whispering Ridge Neighborhood.

The Chelan County Public Utility District notified the county after a geotechnical firm they hired raised concern that the soil is unstable, and a landslide can occur without warning.

The county went door to door to warn residents. The residents most at risk live on Whispering Ridge Road and Squilchuck Road, according to the Chelan County Sheriff's Office.

Two houses have been red-tagged, deemed unsafe to live in. The ground has shifted enough to cause structural damage. Other residents on Whispering Ridge have been advised to evacuateas well as residents insix houses in an area below the potential slide area.

The county says the recent storms and snow melt caused by rising temperatures are adding to the risk; The record rainfall has the ground more saturated than it has been in decades, according to the Chelan County Sheriff's Office. In the last week, the shifting ground has damaged the water line more than once. The county didn't think it was safe to put heavy machinery in the area to fix the line, so the water is shut off.

WATCH: Massive landslide in Washington State.

Neighbors who live in Whispering Ridge are so concerned they fear an "Oso-like catastrophic landslide".

Chelan County has hired another geotechnical firm to do an even larger assessment of the area. That team is not onsite yet. When they arrive, the assessment will be limited, because they will be unable to bring in heavy equipment, according to the Chelan County Sheriff's Office. - KIRO.


MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: "This Is PRETTY MIND-BLOWING,... Never Heard Of This Anywhere In The World,..." - Thousands Of Dead Seabirds Turn Up On Alaskan Freshwater Lake?!

Dead common murres.
© Mark Thiessen

March 20, 2016 - ALASKA - Lake Iliamna in Alaska is North America's eighth-largest lake, but nobody would mistake it for the Pacific Ocean. Not even a seabird.

So when thousands of common murres were found dead at the southwest Alaska lake, as part of a massive die-off of a species whose preferred winter habitat is at sea,” seabird experts were puzzled.

"We've talked about unprecedented things about this die off. That's another one," said John Piatt, research wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Murres occasionally land in fresh water, Piatt said.

"You figure it's a misguided individual. To have 6,000, 8,000 birds in the lake is pretty mind-blowing, really," he said. "I've never heard of any such a thing anywhere in the world."

Abnormal numbers of dead common murres, all apparently starved, began washing ashore on Alaska beaches in March 2015. After late-December storms, 8,000 were found at the Prince William Sound community of Whittier.

The confirmed carcass count is now up to 36,000, but most don't wash ashore. Also, Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States put together and relatively few beaches have been surveyed.

Common murres catch finger-length fish to feed their young in summer and can forage on krill. Less is known about what they eat in winter. Because of a high metabolism rate, they can use up fat reserves and drop to a critical threshold for starvation in three days of not eating.

Researchers trying to find out the cause of the deaths would not have thought to look on a freshwater lake but were alerted to the Iliamna carcasses by Randy Alvarez, a member of the Lake and Peninsula borough assembly.

A commercial fisherman, Alvarez has lived in Igiugig on the west end of 77-mile long Lake Iliamna since 1983.

He had seen a few dead murres on the beach, but on a mid-February flight with the borough mayor and manager, they saw thousands.

"We came up with a guess of 6,000 to 8000 birds in about 12 miles," Alvarez said.

Nobody he knows remembers common murres at the lake. Alvarez speculates the birds could not find food in the Pacific and flew to the lake to eat salmon smolt. Lake Iliamna has not frozen the last two winters, which itself is strange.

His friends and relatives in Naknek, a Bristol Bay port, in normal winters catch smelt, another small, silvery fish.

"This was the worst anybody had ever seen it for smelt," he said, and he wonders if it's connected to the North Pacific's third-straight year of above-normal temperatures. If seabirds can't find enough to eat, he worries that salmon won't either.

"I think something is not right," he said.

Scientists in multiple federal agencies are trying to determine if the murre deaths are connected to lack of food, parasites, disease, weather or something else, but they keep being pitched curves, like birds showing up in surprising places.

"This is the thing about this die-off," Piatt said. "We don't even know what we don't know." - TPM News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strike Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Region - USGS! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location.

March 20, 2016 - KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 has struck off the east coast of Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East, seismologists say. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

The earthquake, which struck at 6:50 a.m. local time on Monday, was centered about 235 kilometers (146 miles) west-southwest of Nikol'skoye, or 318 kilometers (198 miles) northeast of Yelizovo, a town in Kamchatka Krai.

USGS shakemap intensity.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put the preliminary magnitude of Monday's earthquake at 6.6 and said it was centered at a depth of roughly 65 kilometers (40 miles). It said there was no threat of a tsunami.

Shaking was felt throughout large parts of the peninsula, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Other details were not immediately available. - BNO.

Seismotectonics of the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc

The Kuril-Kamchatka Arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, until terminating at its intersection with the Aleutian arc south of the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk mircoplate, a proposed regional subdivision of the larger North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, volcanoes along the entire arc, and the deep Kuril-Kamchatka Trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate that increases from 79 mm/yr near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/yr adjacent to Hokkaido.

In the southern section of the Kuril arc oblique subduction results in the partitioning of stress into both trench-normal thrust earthquakes (e.g., the 12/03/1995 M 7.9 Kuril Island event) and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes (e.g., the 10/16/1994 M 6.7 Kuril Island event). This oblique convergence also drives the southwestern translation of the Kuril Arc, and its collision with the Japan Arc. The collision in turn drives the uplift of the Hidaka Mountains, and causes northwest-southeast oriented compressional earthquakes across Hokkaido.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

North of approximately 44° latitude, adjacent to the island of Urup, convergence becomes dominantly trench normal. In this area, cross-sections of the subduction zone reveal a well-defined Wadati-Benioff zone extending to depths of 650 km, supporting assumptions that the Pacific plate is relatively old and has been subducting for close to 100 Myr. As the arc approaches its northern terminus off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the character of subduction changes again due to the entrainment of the Meiji Seamount and the influence of transform motion along westernmost extent of the Aleutian Arc. The angle of subduction decreases from 55 to 35 degrees from south to north, and the maximum depth of seismicity decreases from ~600 km to ~200 km, causing a northwestern deviation in the volcanic front.

The Kuril-Kamchatka Arc is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Deformation of the overriding North America plate and associated microplates generates shallow crustal earthquakes, while slip at the subduction zone interface between the Pacific and North America plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. The aftershock zones of great historic earthquakes abut one another along the strike of the arc but generally do not overlap; sections of the subduction zone have typically experienced earthquakes of a consistent size at fairly regular recurrence intervals, though the length of seismicity catalogs is typically shorter than the expected repeat times of the largest earthquakes known to have occurred in the region.

Patterns in along-arc seismicity can reveal seismic gaps, zones where no great ruptures have occurred for an anomalously long period of time. In the Kuril region, a gap between Simushir Island and Onekotan Island that had remained unruptured by a large earthquake since 1780 was the site of an M 8.3 event on November 15, 2006. Minutes after the November 15 earthquake, aftershocks began rupturing one or more faults near the outer rise region seaward of the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench, adjacent to the location of the main shock. On January 13, 2007, two months after the 2006 event, a great (M 8.1) normal faulting earthquake occurred in this same region. Because the January 2007 event ruptured within the aftershock zone of the November 2006 quake, it is speculated to be the result of changes in the regional stress field following the earlier event, despite occurring on a different fault. The inferred coupling of the 2006 and 2007 events make them one of the largest earthquake doublets to have ever been recorded.

The Kuril-Kamchatka region frequently experiences large (Magnitude greater than or equal to 7) and great (Magnitude greater than or equal to 8) earthquakes. In the 114 years since 1900, 133 large and 12 great earthquakes have occurred along the arc. Damaging tsunamis followed several of the large interplate megathrust earthquakes, including the September 25, 2003 M 8.3 Hokkaido earthquake, and the November 6, 1958 M 8.4 Etorofu event. The February 3, 1923 M 8.4 Kamchatka earthquake generated an 8 m transoceanic tsunami. On October 13, 1963, a M 8.5 megathrust earthquake off the coast of the island of Urup generated a large tsunami in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk, with run-up wave heights of up to 4-5 m.

The largest megathrust earthquake to occur along the arc in the 20th century was the November 4, 1952 M 9.0 event, to date the 5th largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in history. This earthquake was followed by a devastating tsunami with run-up wave heights as high as 12 m along the coast of Paramushir, causing significant damage to the city of Severo-Kurilsk. Intraplate earthquakes have also been known to cause significant damage in the region. On October 4, 1994, a large (M8.3) intraplate event occurred within the subducted oceanic lithosphere of the Pacific plate off the coast of Shikotan Island, causing intense ground shaking, landslides, and a tsunami with run-up heights of up to 10 m on the island.

While most large earthquakes along the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc occur at shallow or intermediate depths, the region also hosts large events that rupture at depths greater than 300 km. The most significant of these deep-focus earthquakes to date was the May 24, 2013 M 8.3 event beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, currently the largest deep-focus earthquake on record. The earthquake occurred as the result of normal faulting within the subducted Pacific slab approximately 600 km below the Earth's surface, and was felt as far away as Moscow, Russia, nearly 6,500 km to the west.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics