Monday, November 29, 2010

MYSTERY BOOM still confounding officials - GEORGIA - 11/26/10 - A tremendous boom that shattered the quiet of a Friday night in rural west Georgia continues to defy explanation. Residents of Carroll, Douglas and Haralson counties heard it, and officials in all three counties tried to find what caused it. They're still trying. "911 calls lit up" the switchboard after the 9:45 p.m. noise rattled windows across a large area of west Georgia. There was no catastrophe, we know that." Authorities dispatched several police and fire units to the Mirror Lake subdivision when the sound was first reported, but they found no damage or even smoke. "People all over the city heard the boom, but we couldn't find anything."
The National Weather Service in Peachtree City had no natural explanation for it. And there were no obvious signs of damage on the ground. An amateur astronomer who has published several books about sky-watching said one could probably rule out a natural phenomenon such as a meteorite. "A really big meteor can make a sonic boom, but if it did it would make a big flash of light." So far, no one has reported seeing a flash in the sky, and the National Weather Service says that the clouds that were moving over Villa Rica Friday evening were mostly gone by the time of the unexplained sound. No one who called 911 reported fires or explosions. And no utility companies reported trouble either. "We’ve called everyone under the sun trying to figure this one out. We used the process of elimination and the only thing we can think of is that it was a sonic boom of some kind. To be able to be heard and felt 30 miles away in Haralson County it had to be something like that."
But there is a problem with that theory, too. A sonic boom is a large shock wave created by an aircraft that exceeds the speed of sound, about 761 mph. Since the retirement of the supersonic Concord, no civilian aircraft has been capable of reaching that speed. "Only military planes make sonic booms." There were no logs of military flights around the time of the boom Friday night. And there shouldn't have been, anyway.Military planes are only supposed to fly fast in designated zones, and there are none in that part of Georgia.

**Without mysteries, life would be very dull indeed.
What would be left to strive for if everything were known?**
Charles de Lint

This morning -

Yesterday -
11/28/10 -


INDONESIA - Local authorities have called on villagers living around Mount Bromo to keep a watchful eye in anticipation of a larger eruption that could occur at anytime. The amplitude of the shallow volcanic quake has reached 36 millimeters, or approaching the maximum amplitude of 40 millimeters, as occurred in 2004 when the volcano erupted and claimed the lives of two tourists. At least 20 shallow volcanic tremors took place for 12 hours on Saturda. “Despite the rising volcanic activity, we don’t need to evacuate villagers because the rumbling slopes so far spewed [only] ash and sand." They would advise on evacuation should the volcano start expelling hot lava, rock grains and sand. The volcano spewed ash again Saturday morning at 5:09 a.m.
Earlier this week the local administration raised the alert level at Mount Bromo to its highest level, calling on locals and visitors to stay off the volcano.

PHILIPPINES - Bicol's chief volcanologist said on Sunday they have been closely watching Mt. Bulusan after four major river channels were filled with lahar from the ash emitted by the explosions that have occurred since Nov. 6. “These eruptions have already emitted an estimated 470,000 cubic meters of ash and sediments and we need to find out what percentage of these volcanic materials remain up there."
Three of the four major channels lead towards villages in Irosin and in Juban towns. A portion of the 470,000 cubic meters of volcanic debris has been washed down by the rains. “Hope for the best, brace for the unexpected and prepare for worst-case scenario."
The next survey the Phivolcs will conduct will seek to determine the volume of volcanic debris that remained deposited up the volcano and the actual volume of those that had been washed downstream. They also hope to determine if new areas are being threatened by mud flows and lahar flash floods. Two recent and consecutive ash explosion events showed a higher percentage of steam compared to ash. Earlier explosions emitted more ash than steam. "More steam means the explosions are coming from much shallow sources but it must not mislead us to think that the volcano is returning to normal because it could mean otherwise." A worst-case scenario could not be discounted and the villages of Bolos, Tinampo, Cogon, Gulang-Gulang, Gabao, Bulawan, Patag and Bagsangan in Irosin town are under threat. Also threatened are villages in Juban town as river channels from Rangas River that connects to the Cadacan River and passing through Barangays Binanwaan and Tinapo are heavily silted.

No current tropical cyclones.

FIJI - The tropical depression near Fiji is moving away from the group, but gale warnings remain in force for some parts. The tropical depression is about 280 kilometres southwest of Nadi. Forecasters are expecting it to turn southwestwards away from Fiji. “There is certain parts of Fiji which we are issuing gale warnings for, but on the present track, if it maintains it, it’s going to be moving away from us. We are still issuing gale wind warnings for Kadavu, Vatulele and Beqa. These are the islands to the southern part of Fiji, and that included the Southern Lau on the current track that it’s moving on to.”
No reports of flooding or damage since last night. Reports could come in later this morning as heavy rains and strong winds continue to whip the western division and outer islands. Although nothing much has changed, the Nadi weather office is maintaining its cyclone alert. Flooding of low lying areas are imminent as predicted by the weather office, and areas likely to be affected are the west, the Yasawa’s, Mamanuca Islands, Beqa, Vatulele and surrounding islands. “Although the cyclone has been declared, at this point in time its still a depression and we’re monitoring the situation closely. All EOC’s for Kadavu, including the western division, the southwest coats of Vanua Levu, the Yasawa’s and Mamanuca have been warned. Similarly for the central division, especially flood prone areas have also been warned and response agencies are also monitoring the situation closely.”


UNITED KINGDOM - Parts of Britain have experienced RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES, including minus 17 Celsius in Wales, amid warnings of more heavy snow to come. "You are seeing some ridiculously low temperatures - it has been a bit like it is in the middle of Scandinavia." The temperature in Llysdinam near Llandrindod Wells in Wales plunged to minus 17.3C at the weekend - the principality's LOWEST EVER temperature for November and Britain's COLDEST FOR THE MONTH SINCE 1985. Ireland also experienced heavy snow and Dublin airport was disrupted. Parts of Scotland and north-east England have already seen well over 30cm of snow since the start of the cold snap last week, and forecasters say the flurries could reach London in the coming days. The UNUSUAL weather has been caused by high pressure over Greenland and low pressure in the Baltic, forcing cold winds from the north-east across Europe.