Friday, April 29, 2016

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Statoil Helicopter Crashes Off Norway Coast - 11 Of 13 On Board Reported Dead!

-- A helicopter has crashed near Fjell . At least 15 passengers feared dead ~NRK
Twitter: Yannis Koutsomitis

April 29, 2016 - NORWAY - Eleven people have been killed in a helicopter crashed off the west coast of Norway near Bergen, AFP reports. A Briton, an Italian and 11 Norwegians were amongst those on board the helicopter, which was totally destroyed on impact.

“We have received many, many reports of a helicopter crash just west of Turoy near Bergen. Many people have reported that they heard an explosion and saw smoke. We can confirm that a helicopter has crashed and that there are people in the sea,” police told the Verdens Gang newspaper.

Norwegian police have told the broadcaster NTB that there were 13 people on board the helicopter when it came down. The area has frequent helicopter traffic servicing offshore oil platforms in the North Sea off the Norwegian coast. The Rescue Coordination Center has yet to receive any information about any survivors.

According to the Bergens Tidende newspaper, police say they have found dead bodies, as the rescue attempts continue. The dead bodies were found on land, though the exact number of those who perished has not been announced.

“We do not know the sequence of events or what the helicopter to come down,” Bjorn Jarle, from the Rescue Coordination Center for South Norway.

Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway.

Reports say there was no problem with the weather as conditions were good for flying, according to local meteorologists.

The helicopter that came down is believed to be a Eurocopter and was owned by the CHC Helicopter Group, which specializes in providing offshore transportation to the oil-and-gas industry.

Norwegian oil company Statoil has confirmed to the Aftonbladet publication that the crashed helicopter came from the Gullfaks B platform - a North Sea oil field operated by Statoil.

Ivar Moen, from the Rescue Coordination Center for South Norway, told Verdens Gang that diving equipment is being brought to help with the rescue operation.

“There are a lot of people who can help in the area, but the Rescue Coordination Center has requested vessels with the capacity to dive. The Norwegian Stealth Frigate, the Otto Sverdrup will help with the rescue attempts and is heading to the area,” he said.

Statoil is setting up an emergency center in Bergen, while it confirmed that 11 of those on board worked for the oil firm.

The oil giant has also said that all helicopters of a similar type to the one that crashed have been temporarily taken out of service.

- RT.


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Migratory Patterns And Disaster Precursors - 2 More Oarfish Appear Off Taiwan During Seismic Activity?! [PHOTOS]

Fishermen were stunned after discovering the fish. CEN

April 29, 2016 - TAIWAN - Two rare earthquake fish were thrown out of the water after a ' mud volcano ' erupted off the coast of Taiwan.

The volcano erupted early Thursday morning in the city of Pingtung following a 5.6-magnitude earthquake.

Fishermen were delighted to find the oarfish, also known as earthquake fish, both measuring 4.4 metres - twice as long as beanpole footballer Peter Crouch - and weighing a whopping seven stone.

Four eruption mouths were spotted in a paddy field in Wandan Town and the hot slurry almost destroyed the whole field.

Local villagers dug ditches immediately to drain the slurry away and doubted that the eruption may have a connection with the early earthquake that hit the east coast.

The huge fish both measure more than 4 metres in length. CEN

The fish weighed a whopping seven stone. CEN

The 5.6-magnitude earthquake occurred in the waters off Hualien County, Taiwan at around 11:17pm and in the following several hours, around 30 aftershocks between 3.5 and 5.6 magnitude were spotted.

The latest earthquake monitored at 4 magnitude occurred around 11am on Thursday. There have been no casualties reported.

Experts say that the aftershocks may last two to three days.

"We predict that the mud volcano eruption may last for two to three days. And it may be accompanied by some magnitude 5 earthquakes," said Kuo Kaiwen, director of Taiwan Earthquake Monitoring and Report Center.

- Mirror.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Seismic Activity Increases At Turrialba And Irazu Volcanoes In Costa Rica - 75 EARTHQUAKES In Less Than 12 HOURS!

April 29, 2016 - COSTA RICA - The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI in Spanish) reported today that the seismic activity at the volcano Turrialba increased in the last hours.

The Observatory recalled that last Saturday, nearly 75 earthquakes took place in less than 12 hours between the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes.

The National Seismological Network said that so far is been observed the normal steam and gases plume rising from the volcano.

The vapor plume started forming above Turrialba’s crater in the early hours of Thursday, April 28.OVSICORI

After more than a century inactive, seismic activity was recorded at the Turrialba volcano on January 5, 2010.

Turrialba is the second highest volcano in the country after the Irazu is located in the district of Santa Cruz, in the canton of Turrialba, in the province of Cartago.

- Prensa Latina.


ICE AGE NOW: Global Cooling Continues Relentlessly - Wettest April In 15 Years As Colder Than Normal Temperatures Hit The Netherlands!

Wikimedia Commons/Bart Everson

April 29, 2016 - NETHERLANDS - This month was the wettest April the Netherlands has seen in 15 years, according to weather service Weeronline.

The Netherlands had a national average of 65 millimeters of rain, compared to the normal of 44 millimeters.

The region between Zuid-Holland and Groningen got between 80 and 100 millimeters of rain this month. Warffum in Groningen even got 110 millimeters, 2.5 times the normal April rain.

This is the most rain the Netherlands had in April since 2001, when the country got 75 millimeters.

The weather was also too cold for the usual April. The first half of the month was two degrees above average.

But due to the recent cold period, the monthly average is 8.7 degrees, compared to the normal of 9.2 degrees.

Despite the too cold weather and too much rain, the Netherlands actually had more than normal sunshine in April.

The country had 193 hours of sunshine this month, compared to the usual 178 hours.

- NL Times.


MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Seismic Uptick - Over 1,000 Earthquakes Recorded In Two Kyushu Prefectures In Japan In Two Weeks Since Initial Jolt!

Self-Defense Forces members collect piled-up waste and debris from streets in the quake-hit city of Kumamoto on Thursday. | KYODO

April 29, 2016 - KYUSHU, JAPAN - More than 1,000 seismic events had been recorded as of Thursday in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures in the two weeks since a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck central Kyushu, according to the Meteorological Agency.

The frequency, ranging from minor jolts to the magnitude-7.3 temblor that occurred two days after the initial April 14 quake, is unusually high, the agency said, noting the nation’s total last year was 1,842. It warned people should stay alert for more earthquakes.

Major transportation lines have rapidly recovered in the region, with bullet train services on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line resuming on all tracks as of Wednesday. The Kyushu Expressway is expected to fully reopen on Friday.

But repairs to smaller roads have lagged, with rocks, trees and debris from buildings severing routes in at least 295 locations.

Debris generated by the earthquakes has piled up on streets in parts of the city of Kumamoto, with public garbage collection services hard-pressed to cope, prompting the Self-Defense Forces to help haul away waste starting on Thursday.

Some 90 SDF members helped move burnable debris onto privately-run garbage trucks in the morning. They then used seven SDF vehicles to carry home electronics and other nonburnable waste to disposal sites.

Some 30,000 people are still sheltering at evacuation centers in Kumamoto Prefecture. The prefectural government has decided to secure some 4,200 temporary housing units, half through construction and the other half by renting, using a supplementary budget of ¥36.6 billion for fiscal 2016.

While the earthquakes alone have killed 49 people, the prolonged evacuation has also taken a toll, with 16 people suspected to have died as of Wednesday due to illness caused by stress and fatigue and other quake-related causes.

Nearly 100 people have been diagnosed with or suspected to have so-called economy class syndrome, caused by prolonged inactivity, according to a Kyodo News survey.

The central government adopted an ordinance Thursday for extending deadlines for some administrative procedures, including updating driving licenses.

Among the more than 200 special measures expected to be launched based on the ordinance is one to freeze bankruptcy procedures for companies that went bust due to the earthquakes for a maximum of two years. The measure is designed to prevent chain-reaction bankruptcies.

Cabinet ministers plan to visit the quake-hit areas in the coming days to view the damage and help speed up recovery efforts.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii said Thursday he will visit affected areas Friday and Saturday to inspect damage to local infrastructure and exchange opinions with Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima.

Culture minister Hiroshi Hase will on Sunday visit the city of Kumamoto, home to Kumamoto Castle, a major tourist attraction that suffered severe damage in the quakes.

Internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi will also visit affected areas in Kumamoto Prefecture on Monday and hold talks with Kabashima and Kumamoto Mayor Kazufumi Onishi.

- Japan Times.


EXTREME WEATHER: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetic Polar Migration - Lightning Strikes Plane Near Heathrow Airport, England As Sky Flashes BLOOD RED! [VIDEO]

Lightning strikes plane near Heathrow as sky flashes blood red. Twitter / @SamVanTilburgh

April 29, 2016 - ENGLAND - A terrifying video has captured the moment a plane near Heathrow was struck by lightning as the sky flashed blood red.

Passengers on the flight into London were left shocked after their plane got caught up in the thunderstorm.

The clip also shows just how loud the thunder was, which rumbles just moments after the flash in the sky.

At least three planes are thought to have been struck.

A British Airways pilot guided a flight into Heathrow safely after it was hit, and holidaymakers returning from Iceland on an Icelandair flight spoke of a "huge crack" as lightning hit the wing of their plane.

Lightning strikes plane near Heathrow as sky flashes blood red. Twitter / @SamVanTilburgh

After landing charity worker Liz Dobson tweeted: "Plane just got hit by lightning on the descent into Heathrow. Didn't die #winning."

She told the Evening Standard: "It came out of the blue. There was a really loud bang and white flash - not really what you want on a plane.

"We could see the flash but it was on the opposite side of the plane to me. The lightning hit the wing."

Her husband, Adam Smith, described hearing a "huge 'crack' sound" before a flash of light and sparks on the right of the plane.

WATCH: Lightning engulfs Heathrow-bound plane.

Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women's Equality Party and who was also returning from Iceland, said: "The plane got hit by lightning. Big flash and bang. So happy we landed safely."British Airways said its flight BA857 from Prague was also hit by lightning as it descended into Heathrow.

The airline said: "The flight landed safely and will undergo inspection before it returns to service. The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority.

"Lightning strikes are fairly common and aircraft are designed to cope with them." - Mirror.


WORLD WAR Z: Plagues & Pestilences - Zika Outbreak In Puerto Rico Grows, Endangers Pregnant Women!

Felipe Dana, AP

April 29, 2016 - PUERTO RICO - Nowhere in the U.S. has been hit harder by the Zika outbreak than Puerto Rico, where 570 people have been diagnosed with the virus, including 48 pregnant women.

The true number of Zika cases in Puerto Rico, where the virus is spreading among local mosquitoes, could be much greater. Only about one in five people with Zika develop symptoms, so most of those with the virus are unaware they've been infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although 426 travelers in the continental U.S. have been diagnosed with Zika after visiting an outbreak zone, the virus is not yet spreading among local mosquitoes on the mainland.

Doctors worry most about the dozens of pregnant women in Puerto Rico who have been infected with Zika, which causes catastrophic birth defects and has been linked to rare cases of paralysis.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who just returned from a two-day visit to Puerto Rico, said her department has awarded $5 million to 20 health centers in Puerto Rico. The money will help expand family planning services, including contraception, outreach and education.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell visited Puerto Rico, which has been hit hard by Zika. Photo: Steve Helber, AP

"This problem demands our attention and our continued action," Burwell said Thursday at a press conference.

Puerto Rico is ill-equipped to fight the Zika outbreak or care for any babies born with microcephaly, a Zika-linked birth defect in which babies are born with small heads and incomplete brain development. The island faces a $72 billion debt. The Obama administration has proposed changing Medicaid rules for Puerto Rico to cover more people there.

"We are obviously very concerned about the economy in Puerto Rico," Burwell said.

Obama asked Congress in February for nearly $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funding. Congress has not approved that request, and some Republican leaders criticized it as a "blank check" or "slush fund." Obama transferred $510 in money formerly earmarked for Ebola for the Zika fight.

But Burwell said additional funds are urgently needed. Some of the money would go toward controlling the mosquitoes that spread the virus, developing a vaccine and caring for pregnant women and their children.Doctors will need to follow the children of women with Zika infections, even if they are not born with microcephaly, because it's possible they may suffer from less obvious types of brain damage or other neurological problems. In addition to microcephaly, some children with Zika have been born with eye problems that could impair their vision or even leave them blind.

- USA Today.


MONUMENTAL DELUGE: The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, Widespread Flooding, And Catastrophic Storms - Flash Floods In Nairobi, Kenya After 3-Hour Storm; Deadly Floods Hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti Leaving 4,000 Homes Damaged; 4 Dead, 4 Missing After Rivers Overflow In Alluriquín, Santo Domingo, Ecuador; And President Obama Declares Major Disaster Following Houston Floods! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Damage from floods in Nairobi, Kenya. Twitter: Oscar Alochi

April 29, 2016 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Flash Floods in Nairobi, Kenya After 3-Hour Storm

Residents of Nairobi, Kenya, were caught up in flash floods late on 28 April, 2016 after a storm brought heavy rainfall that lasted for nearly 3 hours.

It is not yet established how much damage has been caused, although images from social media showed flood water up to 1 metre deep in some streets, uprooted trees and damage to buildings and vehicles. The flooding also caused massive traffic jams on Nairobi’s already busy roads.

Twitter: Oscar Alochi

Twitter: Femme actuelle

Many locals were blaming the Governor of Nairobi City County, Dr. Evans Kidero for not maintaining the city’s drainage system. Other pointed out that the flooding has been worsened by drainage channels blocked by garbage and that residents of Nairobi have a responsibility in keeping the channels clear.

Local media also blame illegal construction of buildings along the river, blocking the flow of water during times of heavy rain. Kenyan tech news site, Kachwanya, says:
“A quick drive around the Southern parts of Nairobi starting from Nairobi West to most parts of Langata Road and Mombasa road reveal that there are hundreds of high rise buildings that have been constructed along the waterways that have played a huge role in blocking the natural course of water flow. To resolve the Nairobi Floods perennial problems, these buildings must be brought down – now”.

Previous Floods in Nairobi

It is not the first time Nairobi has experienced such raging floods in recent times. Wide areas of the city were flooded on 01 April after 96 mm of rain fell in 6 hours. The worst hit areas of the city include South C and Mbagathi.

Last year on 12 May, many people were severely affected by a flood that left at leat 10 people dead in South C after a wall of a building collapsed.

WATCH: Widespread flooding in Nairobi.

Social Media


The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) had earlier on issued a severe weather warning and advisory that targeted at least 10 counties including Kwale, Mombasa, Kisii, Tana River, Lamu, Kericho, Narok and Bomet.

In the warning, KMD informed that public that at more than 40mm of rainfall would be experienced on 27 and 28 April, 2016. KMD’s five day weather forecast (PDF) shows a continued trend of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya.

A 24 hour cumulative rainfall forecast for 28 April, 2016 by NCEP predicted areas of that had potential to receive as high as 125mm.

A 24 hour cumulative precipitation forecast by GFS Model. CPC / NOAA

Deep convective clouds from satellite images from early morning indicated a likelihood of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya and East Africa including Congo basin.

Satellite image of 28 April, 2016 at 13:00UTC. EUMETSAT

Deadly Floods Hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti Leaving 4,000 Homes Damaged

Port-au-Prince. Google Maps

Floods have struck once again in Haiti, this time in areas around the capital, Port-au-Prince. Local civil protection authorities say that several people have died and over 4,000 homes have been damaged.

Flooding has been reported in the communes of Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Delmas, Cité Soleil in Port-au-Prince Arrondissement and Cabaret in the Arcahaie Arrondissement, Ouest department.

At least 6 people have died and 10 injured as a result of landslides and collapsing buildings. Haiti’s Civil Protection said that there were 112 affected families in Port-au-Prince, 2,500 in Cité Soleil and 1,800 in Cabaret.

Haiti’s Civil Protection Directorate via social media said:
“The heavy rain recorded in the Ouest department, during the night from 23 to 24 April, has killed 6 people and wounded 6 others in Port-au-Prince and Delmas.

Four members of the same family were killed and two were injured in the collapse of their homes after a landslide occurred in Carrefour-Feuilles (Port-au-Prince). Two other people, including a girl of 7 years, were killed and four others were injured in Delmas in the fall of a wall that destroyed their house. A baby is among the wounded.”

Four Floods in Two Months
This is the fourth major flood event in Haiti so far this year. On 13 April, over 900 homes were damaged after the Rouyonne River overflowed in the city of Léogâne.

Heavy rain on 28 February caused flooding that has at least 2,000 houses in Limonade, and a further 8,000 in Cap-Haitien, both in Nord Department. One person was killed while attempting to cross a swollen river in the small village of Dame Marie, Anse-d’Hainault, Grand’Anse Department.

The northern coast of Haiti was affected by heavy and prolonged rainfall which occurred between 9 to 11 February 2016. The resulting floods damaged at least 200 homes.

4 Dead, 4 Missing After Rivers Overflow in Alluriquín, Santo Domingo, Ecuador

Two rivers overflowed in Alluriquín, in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Ecuador, during the early hours of 26 April 2016. According to Ecuador’s Risk Management Secretariat (Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos del Ecuador – SGR), at least 4 people were killed in the flood and 4 are missing.

The worst of the flooding occurred in Alluriquín, a small town with around 20,000 inhabitants. The Damas and Toachi rivers overflowed in the early hours, affecting hundreds of people living close to the river banks. Around 65 houses have been damaged and at least 200 people have been evacuated.

President Rafael Correa visits flood-hit Alluriquín, 26 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

President Rafael Correa visits flood-hit Alluriquín, 26 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

President Rafael Correa visits flood-hit Alluriquín, 26 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

There have also been reports of landslides in the area which have blocked important transport routes.

The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, visited the affected area soon after the floods struck.


President Rafael Correa visits the site of the earthquake in Ecuador, 18 April 2016. Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

This latest disaster is putting yet more strain on Ecuador’s already stretched rescue and relief agencies. The north west of the country is still recovering form the enormous earthquake of 16 April 2016. The latest figures say that 654 were killed, 58 are missing and 16,600 injured.

Social Media



President Obama Declares Major Disaster Following Houston Floods

Houston floods 22 April 2016. Sandra Arnold, USACE Galveston District

On Monday, 25 April, the USA federal government granted Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s request for Individual Assistance for Fayette, Grimes, Harris, and Parker counties after the major floods of 18 April.

At least 7 people died in the floods. Around 6,700 homes were damaged in Harris County, making the “Tax Day Flood” more damaging than the “Memorial Day floods” of May last year

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that the US president has declared a major disaster and that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of Texas to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of 17 to 24 April, 2016.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Fayette, Grimes, Harris, and Parker counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

“I would like to thank the President and FEMA for quickly granting Texas’ request for Individual Assistance following last week’s severe weather,” said Governor Abbott.

“The State of Texas will continue to work with our local and federal partners to aid Texans recovering and rebuilding from flood damages and ensure all those affected receive the assistance they need.”

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

- Floodlist.   

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Karangetang Volcano Erupts In North Sulawesi, Indonesia - Spews Lava 2 Kilometers!

On alert – Plumes of ash obscure Mount Karangetang in Siau Tagulandang Biaro Islands regency, North Sulawesi, after the volcano erupted on Wednesday afternoon.
The Jakarta Post/Lita Aruperes)

April 29, 2016 - INDONESIA - North Sulawesi’s Mount Karangetang, which erupted on Wednesday, has continued to emit ash into the sky on Thursday.

The volcano, located in Siau Tagulandang Biaro ( Sitaro ) Islands regency, North Sulawesi, sent hot lava as far as 2 kilometers from its crater when it erupted around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

“Mt. Karangetang has erupted again. There had been no volcanic activity in the last few days before it erupted on Wednesday afternoon,” said Abed Anthoni, a resident of Bebali subdistrict, East Siau district.

He said East Siau residents did not consider yesterday’s eruption to be out of the ordinary, but remained alert in carrying out their daily activities.

“I told my wife and our children that we have to anticipate the potential for greater eruptions,” Abed said.

Sitaro Disaster Mitigation Agency ( BPBD ) head Bob Chalton Wuaten said the lava from Mt. Karangetang started flowing at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday. “It went toward the Kahetang River, around 2,000 meters from the crater. The new dome on its peak collapsed during the eruption, causing the hot lava flow,” he said.

Bob added that Mt. Karangetang’s volcanic alert status remained at Level 2, indicating the need for caution, despite Wednesday’s eruption. “We call on all residents in Boro, Tararone subdistrict, East Siau district, to stay alert because the potential for the volcano to spew pyroclastic clouds is still huge. The peak of Mt. Karangetang cannot be monitored visually because it is still shrouded with thick ash plumes,” said Bob.

- The Jakarta Post.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Continuing Activity At The Kliuchevskoi Volcano In Kamchatka, Russia - Explosive Eruptions Results In Lava Flow On The Southeast Flank With Continuous Steam Plume!

Klyuchevskoi volcano early morning on April 28, 2016. Volcano Discovery

April 29, 2016 - KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA - As had been previously suggested, the volcano's most recent eruptive phase had become both effusive and explosive.

In addition to ash-generating strombolian explosions from the summit vent, a new, but short-lived lava flow appeared during April 23 or 24 and descended approximately 800 m on the south-eastern flank of the volcano (along the Apakhonchich ravine).

It seems that the lava flow remained active at least until Tuesday, the 26th of April, according to KVERT's daily reports and images from the local observatory, but seems to have stopped by now; glow is no longer visible on clear webcam imagery from yesterday and today.

A significant, continuous steam plume suggests that mild explosive activity continues.

- Volcano Discovery.

WEATHER PHENOMENON: Intense Columnar Vortex - Rare Waterspout Touches Down On Lake Berryessa, California! [VIDEO]

YouTube/Storyful News (Credit: Facebook/Charlie Postlethwait)

April 29, 2016 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - A fisherman on Lake Berryessa in Napa County didn't catch any trout Wednesday, but he did capture video of a rare waterspout.

The clip, provided by Matt Allen's Bassin Guide Service, showed the spout briefly touching down on the lake at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

The waterspout was a type referred to as a "tornadic waterspout," or essentially a tornado that formed over water.

They have the same characteristics as a land tornado and often appear amid severe thunderstorms and are sometimes accompanied by high winds, large hail and lightning.

The waterspout was driven by the same storm caused hail and lightning from Angwin south and east to Fairfield.

WATCH: Huge waterspout on Lake Berryessa.

- CBS.