Thursday, April 21, 2016

SOLAR WATCH: Massive Coronal Hole Opens Up On The Sun - Solar Wind Stream Is Coming; Geomagnetic Storm Watch Is Effect For April 23rd!

April 21, 2016 - SPACE - Geomagnetic activity should shift to an active state on April 23rd, when Earth enters a stream of high-speed solar wind. The solar wind is flowing out of this coronal hole on the sun.

Coronal holes are places in the sun's upper atmosphere where magnetic fields peel back, allowing solar wind to escape. In the image, above, from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the flow of solar wind is traced by arrows. The escaping material is now nearing Earth.

Coronal hole on April 18. Credit: SDO/AIA.

The incoming solar wind stream is filled with positive-polarity magnetic fields. This means it might not do a good job sparking auroras. Positive polarity magnetic fields from the sun do not easily link to Earth's planetary magnetic field. As a result, their effect on our magnetosphere is often muted. 

UPDATE: A geomagnetic storm watch was added for April 23rd. The coronal hole will be turning into a geoeffective position and a solar wind stream flowing from this hole is expected to generate minor (G1) storming at higher latitudes.

Coronal hole on April 21. Credit: SDO/AIA.

Sky watchers at higher latitudes should be alert for visible aurora once the stream arrives if local daylight and weather conditions allows.

- Space Weather | Solar Ham.



A turtle swims over bleached coral at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef.AFP-JIJI

April 21, 2016 - AUSTRALIA - Australia's Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of the World Heritage site affected, scientists said Wednesday, as they revealed the phenomenon is also hitting the other side of the country.

After extensive aerial and underwater surveys, researchers at James Cook University said only 7 percent of the huge reef had escaped the whitening triggered by warmer water temperatures. "We've never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before," said Terry Hughes, convenor of the National Coral Bleaching Task Force.

The damage ranges from minor in the southern areas — which are expected to recover soon — to very severe in the northern and most pristine reaches of the 2,300-km-long (1,430-mile-long) site off the east coast.

Hughes said of the 911 individual reefs surveyed, only 68 (or 7 percent) had escaped the massive bleaching event which has also spread south to Sydney Harbor for the first time and across to the west.

Researcher Verena Schoepf, from the University of Western Australia, said coral is already dying at a site she had recently visited off the state's far north coast.

"Some of the sites that I work at had really very severe bleaching, up to 80 to 90 percent of the coral bleached," she said. "So it's pretty bad out there."

Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said it is "absolutely clear that there is a severe coral bleaching event occurring not just in the Great Barrier Reef but throughout many parts of the Pacific."

WATCH: Aerial survey of the Great Barrier Reef bleaching.

Hughes said the bleaching began in Hawaii late last year and has already affected several Pacific islands.

"Right now, New Caledonia, the Coral Sea, the northern half of the Barrier Reef and New South Wales are bleaching severely, and Western Australia is quickly catching up," he said.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their color.

Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonize them, but scientists warned last year that the warming effects of an El Nino weather pattern could result in a mass global bleaching event.

Hughes said while bleaching has been linked to El Ninos, which generally occur every four to six years, "it wasn't until 1998 that one finally caused a bleaching event to happen" on the Great Barrier Reef. "So the issue is global warming," Hughes said, saying the link between water temperature and the severity of the bleaching is clear.

Hughes said the impact on the Great Barrier Reef would have been even worse had not a tropical cyclone which smashed into the Pacific island of Fiji in February brought rain and cooler weather to parts of Queensland.

"If you think about it, being rescued by the vagaries of a cyclone is a fairly precarious place to be," he added.

Andrew Baird, from James Cook University's center for coral reef studies, said he had been surprised by the scale and severity of the event on the major tourist draw card, which is teeming with marine life.

"We've been expecting a really big event for a while I suppose and here it is," he said.

WATCH: The Great Barrier Reef.

Baird said because the bleaching is far less serious in the southern reaches "lots of the reef will still be in good shape."

"But the reef that's been badly affected — which is a third to a half of it — is going to take a while to recover," he said.

"And again the big question is how many of these events can it handle? And I think the answer is not many more." - Japan Times.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - Giant Oarfish Emerges After Being Woken By Earthquake Off Taiwan!

The appearance of an oarfish could suggest an earthquake is imminent. CEN

April 21, 2016 - TAIWAN - A monster sea creature has surfaced from beneath the deep after being disturbed by earthquake tremors.

This giant oarfish measures a massive five metres (16ft) long - almost three times to height of the fisherman who landed the catch.

And the so-called "earthquake fish" is freaking locals out after emerging just two hours after seismic activity struck island nation Taiwan.

According to folklore, it is said to appear just before a quake hits - sending people into a panic.

Also dubbed the "king of herrings", oarfish can reach a mammoth 11 metres (36ft) in length.


The sea beast, was captured in waters off Taiwan's eastern Kangle Village, in Hualien County.

Although oarfish are traditionally a bad omen it was a lucky haul for the fisherman after he chopped up the trophy catch and turned it into soup.

The bizarre creature appeared after the southern city of Tainan experienced two quakes measuring around 4.5 on the Richter scale.

It comes just weeks after a devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Tainan City claiming the lives of 117 people and leaving 550 hurt. - Daily Star.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, Widespread Flooding, And Catastrophic Storms - Floods In Léogâne, Haiti Damage Hundreds Of Homes; 9 Killed In Floods In Luanda, Angola; And Tropical Cyclone Fantala Brings Heavy Rainfall And Flooding In Coastal Kenya With 5 Inches Of Rain In 4 Hours! [VIDEO]

Aftermath of flooding in Haiti. Twitter: Victor Banbile Jr

April 21, 2016 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Floods in Léogâne, Haiti damage hundreds of homes

Torrential rain affected the Ouest Department of Haiti, causing the Rouyonne River to overflow in the city of Léogâne on 13 April, 2016. Léogâne is a city of around 120,000 inhabitants, situated to the west of Port-au-Prince, and known to be the epicentre of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake.
Flood in Léogâne

The heavy rain began to fall on 12 April, 2016, causing the overflow of the Rouyonne River in the morning of 13 April. The inundation affected several houses located on the riverbanks, causing damage to as many as 907 homes.

The violent and sudden flood caused significant losses in livestock and damage to plantations. According to local authorities, the silting of the river bed is thought to be one of the main cause of the flooding.

Several areas of Léogâne were affected, in particular Dampus, Kada, Pompée, Malbourg and Pont Vincent neighbourhoods.

According to local Civil Defence authorities, a bridge on the Rouyonne River needs urgent repair to avoid a possible collapse.

The Prime Minister, Enex Jean-Charles, expressed his government’s solidarity with the victims of the floods of Léogâne.

In a statement last week, he said that he had been informed of the flood situation in the affected areas and that the government has hastened to mobilize the relevant authorities to provide emergency and relief measures.

Social Media

Fuel Tanker Explosion

To cause further misery for communities in Léogâne, a fuel tanker was involved in a collision in the city and exploded into flames, setting more than 20 homes on fire, according to local media.

9 killed in floods in Luanda, Angola

At least 9 people have died in floods in the Municipality of Cacuaco, in the north of Luanda, Angola, according to news agency ANGOP.

Quoting information from Cacuaco’s fire service, ANGOP say that two victims died in the Pescadores neighbourhood, and the several others were swept away by water when in the Pedreira neighbourhood. A search for the bodies is being carried out by fire service teams.

Rain and floods also affected the areas of Ceramica, Mateba, Paraiso and Augusto Ngangula. Homes, and transport infrastructure have all suffered damage.

Around 70 mm of rain was recorded in Luanda between 16 and 19 April 2016.

Elsewhere in Angola, authorities in Bié Province in central Angola, say that during the first four months of 2016, as many as 6,235 people were displaced by floods and heavy rain. ANGOP say that the information was released earlier this week by a spokesman for civil protection and fire department.

Some homes have been completely destroyed and families left homeless. Schools, hospitals and religious buildings have also been damaged. At least 7 people have been killed and 7 injured, either as a result of flooding or lightning strikes.

Tropical Cyclone Fantala brings heavy rainfall and flooding in coastal Kenya; 5 inches of rain in 4 hours

Tropical cyclone Fantala, the strongest on record in the Indian ocean, triggered spiralling winds that caused an insurgence of moist air from the Indian ocean to the adjacent coastlines of Kenya and eastern Tanzania.

Prolonged heavy rainfall occurred as a result, lasting days from Wednesday, 13 April to 18 April 2016. This near week-long rainfall event saturated soil that had been dry since the start of the year. As a result, several areas of coastal Kenya have suffered severe flooding.

At least 131mm of rainfall was recorded in Kwale on Friday, 15 April in 4 hours. Several villages were cut off from the rest of the country due to flooding after the River Umba, which flows from Tanzania, burst its banks.

According to Kenya Red Cross Regional Manager of Kwale County, many families suffered in the floods which caused widespread damage to property. Kenya Red Cross say several houses have been completely destroyed. The worst affected villages include Kiwegu, Bondeni, Mwarongo, Yogon and Matoroni. Many people have been displaced by the floods, although the exact figure is as yet unknown.

Several farms have been reported as flooded, with crops suffering damage or completely destroyed. The Kenya Red Cross estimates that at least 25,000 acres of land have been flooded.

In Mombasa city, roads were rendered impassable after heavy rains, and operations of Mombasa Port have been disrupted, according to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

Warnings and Forecasts

Several weather forecast centres had predicted that the tropical cyclone Fantala would lead to intensified rainfall which would have devastating impacts.

Cumulative rainfall forecast for between 14 to 23 April 2016 . Image: ICPAC

A ten-day weather forecast by ICPAC showed a spiraling wind pattern at the Coast of Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia. These winds would lead to injection of most air to the land mass leading to heavy rainfall. The impact of this was likely to extend to Southern and Central Ethiopia. Presently, cyclone Fantala has receded farther from the coast and has led to occurrence of offshore winds that continue to deplete moisture from the coastal region and hence reduce the rainfall intensity.

Wind flow forecast for 14 to 23 April. Image: ICPAC

Should the cyclone’s trajectory change and it heads back to the coastline as had been forecast, its effects will soon be felt once more. The threat of further rainfall from cyclone Fantala comes just at a time when typical the seasonal rainfall for the coast is intensifies, leading to a number of floods that characterize coastal Kenya during March-April-May rainfall.

WATCH: 5 villages in Vanga marooned as heavy rain continues pounding the region.

- Floodlist.   

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Intense Columnar Vortex - Waterspout Filmed Near Simberi Island, Papua New Guinea! [VIDEO]

April 21, 2016 - PAPUA NEW GUINEA - An amazing waterspout was seen near Simberi Island, Papua New Guinea on April 4, 2016.

WATCH: Simberi Island waterspout.

- YouTube


EXTREME WEATHER: Orange-Sized Hailstones Hit Manipur, India - Over 2,000 HOUSES DAMAGED And NUMEROUS BIRDS KILLED!

April 21, 2016 - INDIA - Over 2,000 houses and other facilities with roofs of tin and corrugated sheets were damaged in the thunderstorms and torrential rains that hit many parts of Manipur, residents said.

There are also reports of minor damages to structures in some states in the northeastern region.

"More than 450 houses were destroyed in my Oinam constituency," said I. Ibohanbi, a Manipur legislator.

Reports of such destruction were coming in from other districts as well.

In the absence of any government assistance in providing relief measures at evacuation centres, the homeless are taking shelter in school buildings.

Some families told newsmen that no government official has visited them as yet. "It is a problem to arrange for even a meal."

Vehicular traffic was held up for several hours along the state and national highways as the roadside trees have fallen. Residents removed the fallen trees and snapped branches, and cleared the roads.

Reports received from Manipur's Jiribam town bordering Assam said a large number of birds were killed and wounded in the hailstorm that battered several places in the district.

Some of the hailstones were as big as an orange.
Some houses were also damaged.

A police station and an inspection bungalow in Tamenglong district were also damaged in the thunderstorm.

A few dozen people sustained cuts and injuries as the rooftops of tin and corrugated sheets were blown away. The injured were treated for their injuries and later discharged from hospitals.

District administration sources said detailed reports on the damage to the houses and standing crops will be sent to the State government.

Manipur's Chief Secretary Oinam Nabakishore has announced all necessary assistance would be provided to the victims once official reports are received from the district administration. - Northeast Today.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Historic Flooding In Houston, Texas Prompts Concerns Over Two Dams That Are At Extremely High Risk - If The Dams Fail, "THE IMPACT WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC"!

Houston, Texas, overwhelmed with historic flooding. Reuters

April 21, 2016 - TEXAS, UNITED STATES - Recent flooding in the Houston area has prompted concern about two dams that are at "extremely high risk," officials said today as the storm-related death toll rose to eight.

The Addicks and Barker dams are located in the central Houston area and are at about 80 percent capacity,
officials said.

"It's a scary situation to begin with," Sandra Arnold, chief of public affairs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Galveston District, told ABC News today. "It's even scarier when you see waters rising in structures deemed extremely high risk."

But Arnold noted that the dams are not in immediate danger of failing or causing more flooding than has already occurred from the record-breaking rainfall and historic floods.

The "extremely high risk" classification is in conjunction with the dams' close proximity to the population, and has been in place since the designation was first implemented in 2009 after a review of Texas dams.

After the dams' ratings were first listed, the Army Corps immediately began to implement safety measures and received $75 million in funding for long-term repairs for the 70-year-old dams that had a 50-year life expectancy.

"If it was in a more rural area, it would not be at as high of a risk," Arnold said.

But if the dams were to fail, she added, "the impact would be catastrophic" from massive flooding.

Children play in flood waters in the Kelliwood Park neighborhood of Katy, Texas, April 18, 2016. Flooding in and around
Houston has killed at least five people and prompted mass rescues, reports said.

There was flooding by the Addicks and Barker dams as of Tuesday morning, and Houston still remains under a flash-flood watch, according to ABC Houston station KTRK-TV.

The areas to the north and northwest sides of Harris County, where the two dams are located, have been the hardest hit by the severe storms, with road closures and evacuations in some areas. More rain and storms were reported to be moving into Houston today.

The good news is the Army Corps appears to be moving toward recovery mode, Arnold said. "We believed the worst is over," she said. But she added: "The bad news is you can't predict weather. We might have to reassess the situation if the weather patterns change. But the earliest we would be able to release the water in the dams is probably Friday."

Harris County Sheriff deputies help residents evacuate from high water in the Wimbledon Champions subdivision of Houston, Texas, April 20, 2016. Harris County Sheriffs Office/Reuters

The collected water releases via the Buffalo Bayou river and Arnold predicts it will take "at least a month to get rid of all this water."

But she stressed that the dams are not in severe danger of causing catastrophic floods, adding, "we will let the public know immediately if anything changes." - ABC News.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Cyclone Fantala - Indian Ocean's Most Powerful Storm On Record! [VIDEO]

Tropical Cyclone Fantala near peak intensity.  © NOAA/NASA, RAMMB/CIRA

April 21, 2016 - INDIAN OCEAN - The third record-breaking storm in under a year might owe its ferocity to human activity

Winds of 170 mph can lift and hurl heavy cars, even peel the bark from trees.

So it's a good thing not many people are in the waters north of Madagascar right now, where Tropical Cyclone Fantala just made history as the strongest-known storm in the Indian Ocean.

The mighty tempest spun itself up to 150 knots (173 mph)
on Monday, surpassing the 145-knot (167 mph) barrage of Super Cyclonic Storm Gonu in 2007. (Reliable records only date to 1990, for what it's worth.)

That would make it a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. It simmered down to about 85 knots on Wednesday, and is expected to wander southeast for a couple days before running out of steam.

Fantala is the latest in a series of abnormally menacing cyclones: Hurricane Patricia became the strongest-known storm in the Northeast Pacific in October, and February's Winston caused devastation in Fiji as the most-potent cyclone on record in the Southwest Pacific.

This progression of monster storms might have something to due with human activity.

"Many parts of the tropics have seen record-warm sea surface temperatures in 2015 and 2016, triggered by a strong El Niño on top of longer-term warming caused by human-produced greenhouse gases," writes meteorologist Bob Henson at Weather Underground. "These unusual readings have added fuel to the fire of tropical cyclone production."

- CityLab.