Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fireworks likely caused Arkansas bird deaths - US scientists believe fireworks may have caused thousands of birds to fall from the sky over an Arkansas town on New Year's Eve. The red-winged blackbirds probably flew low to avoid explosions and collided with objects. Further tests on the dead birds are planned.
Officials say more than 3,000 birds fell over the city of Beebe. The few that survived their fall stumbled around like drunken revellers, witnesses said. Birds were "littering the streets, the yards, the driveways, everywhere. It was hard to drive down the street in some places without running over them." Initial laboratory reports said the birds had died from trauma. Residents reported hearing loud fireworks just before the birds started raining from the sky. Blackbirds have poor night vision. "They started going crazy, flying into one another." The birds also hit homes, cars, trees and other objects, and some could have flown hard into the ground. "The blackbirds were flying at rooftop level instead of treetop level" to avoid explosions above. Blackbirds have poor eyesight, and they started colliding with things." Beebe police were inundated with calls from residents who saw the birds fall. Severe weather over Arkansas could also be the cause of the mystery deaths. Poisoning has been ruled out after several cats and dogs that ate the dead birds suffered no ill effects. City authorities have hired a specialist waste disposal firm to collect the dead birds from gardens and rooftops, and remove them.
Hundreds of thousands of fish were found dead in the Arkansas River about 200 kilometres away from Beebe a day before the birds were killed. Officials believe they were killed by disease because only one species - drum fish - was affected.

**Men are alike in their promises.
It is only in their deeds that they differ.**

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
1/3/11 -


ICELAND - Eyjafjallajökull Still Rumbles. A farmer living close to the glacier-volcano Eyjafjallajökull in south Iceland said yesterday that he had heard the glacier rumble and that the noise was similar as to when it last erupted in the spring of 2010, just not as loud. “It might very well be true. If the wind is blowing in your direction, you hear it once in a while,” a policeman said. More people living in Rangárthing eystra have reported rumblings in the glacier under such wind conditions. “I don’t know what it means and it is difficult to predict anything. It started without notice last time and we know that the crater is still open and boiling." According to information from the Icelandic Meteorological Office, there is nothing that indicates increased seismic activity in Eyjafjallajökull. (photo)

No current tropical cyclones.


AUSTRALIA - Floodwaters in Queensland are inching towards New South Wales, with authorities warning small communities south of the border to prepare for the deluge. About 400 people in the towns of Goodooga, Weilmoringle and Angledool are facing the possibility of isolation when flood peaks flow into state's north later this month. No homes are under threat but roads are expected to be cut, leaving residents stranded in a handful of communities and surrounding rural properties. The weather bureau is predicting moderate to major flooding on the Culgoa, Bokhara, Birrie and Narran Rivers, swamping the region for four to six weeks. The Bokhara River at Goodooga is expected to reach 4.2 metres on January 21, while the Culgoa River at Weilmoringle is likely to peak at almost 6 metres on January 23. "It's weeks away but these are very slow rising floods ... which means roads can be cut a week or more ahead of the flood peak and a week or more after. It's not out of the ordinary, these are decent sized floods but they are not exceptionally large like those in Queensland which are floods of record." Queensland's flood crisis has inundated or isolated more than 20 towns and cities, with more than 200,000 people affected.
Australia flood death toll rises; rains cause more havoc - Floodwaters in Australia's Queensland state created havoc in at least 22 cities and towns throughout the region grappling with several weeks of devastating rains. At least three people have been killed in the flooding since Saturday, and Queensland officials said as many as 10 have died in weather-related incidents beginning in late November. About 200,000 people have been affected by the flooding, with many leaving their homes and seeking rest and food at relief centers. Spillover from Fairbairn Dam, the second-largest catchment area in Australia, was causing evacuations and other problems in several towns. Floodwaters cut off towns and submerge buildings in Queensland state. "Rockhampton is now completely stranded — a town of 75,000 people, no airport, rail or road." Although waters have begun to recede in some areas, others are looking at a week in which the situation could get considerably worse. Forecasters warned of more rain.


India shivers in deadly cold snap - Indian-administered Kashmir has been hardest hit by the cold weather. An intense spell of cold weather has disrupted life across northern India, reportedly claiming two dozen lives. The capital, Delhi, has been badly hit by the cold snap, along with Indian-administered Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In Leh in Kashmir, temperatures dropped to -23.6C - this winter's lowest - on Sunday. Delhi, which is EXPERIENCING ONE OF ITS COLDEST WINTERS IN YEARS, has been hit by thick fog which disrupted flights.
Sunday was Delhi's coldest day this winter with temperatures dipping to 7.8C - cold by the standards of the Indian capital. Indian homes rarely have central heating. The cold wave is being felt most intensely in Kashmir with the summer capital, Srinagar, recording sub-zero temperatures.The highway linking Kashmir with the rest of India has been shut due to snowfall. Homeless people have taken to gathering around street fires to try to keep warm and the night shelters for the poor in Delhi are overflowing. Five more people - including a 70-year-old man and a two year-old boy - suffered cold-related deaths in Uttar Pradesh. Three more cold-related deaths were reported in Indian-administered Kashmir.


ALASKA - Warm temperatures ring in Fairbanks for the New Year. A blizzard that’s been rolling up the western coast of Alaska brought RECORD-BREAKING HIGH TEMPERATURES to Fairbanks during the holiday weekend. Winds on the eastern edge of the storm pushed over the Alaska Range and north into the Interior. They warmed up as they moved downslope. “You can actually get pretty warm temperatures here, even in the dead of winter, if you get a good strong southerly flow coming over the Alaska Range." After the COLDEST DECEMBER IN 30 YEARS, including a low of minus 40 on Christmas Eve day, the temperature soared to 41 degrees Fahrenheit at Fairbanks International Airport on Sunday morning. Wind gusts were clocked at 25 miles per hour in the hills. The warm weatherwais expected to hang around until today. The thaw created slick roads as moisture in the air deposited onto cold road surfaces and formed instantaneous frost. The warm spell melted a trivial amount of snow and canceled out the one inch of snow that fell on New Year’s Eve.
The cold weather in December was caused by a large blocking pattern that lasted for about three weeks. It prevented air from moving east to west and kept a high-pressure system fixed above the Interior. The average temperature last month was about 18 degrees below zero, 12 degrees colder than normal. That doesn’t mean January will be colder, or milder, than any other year. January is typically the coldest month of the year in Fairbanks. “We’re in a strong La Niña pattern, which generally speaking will cause colder- than-normal temperatures."

2010: Warmest year ever in New England - With 2010 officially over, the numbers are in and it was a record breaking year in parts of New England. 2010 was THE WARMEST YEAR EVER for the region.
The average temperature in 2010 was 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit which is 2.5 degrees warmer than a normal year and beat the previous record warmest year of 1990 by 0.1 degree. Connecticut and Boston Logan International Airport had their warmest year on record in 2010. Providence, Rhode Island experienced the second warmest year ever with Worcester Mass reporting the 4th warmest year on record. This warmth came as we transitioned from an El Nino weather pattern to a La Nina pattern. That transition started late spring and continued through late summer. The pattern lead to a ridge of high pressure which provided plenty of sunshine and one of the warmest summers ever.
The temperatures weren't the only UNUSUAL feature of 2010. There is not much left of the snow they had in 2010, in fact, the year itself brought significantly less snowfall than they normally have in certain parts of New England. Below average snowfall contributed to less than average precipitation for the year. "Where we should have been getting rain other people were getting rain, when it should have been cold here other people were getting slammed so it's just totally different than the way it used to be." So far in the first three days of 2011, high temperatures have been averaging 9 degrees above average.

2010 WRAP-UP -

NEW JERSEY - Blizzard capped a year of extreme weather in New Jersey. The Christmas weekend blizzard that dumped an average 15 inches of snow in Morris County seems a fitting end to what has been a year of weather extremes in New Jersey. Between a particularly snowy winter, a wet spring and a hot, dry summer, 2010 was a RECORD-BREAKER. "This was a year of extremes, unlike anything we've seen in recent years."
The winter was the third wettest on record since the state began keeping records in 1895. Morris County was hit by nine snowstorms in 2010, including a string of three in February. In Morristown, 32.4 inches of snow fell that month, well above the 8.7 inches average snowfall in a typical February. But the winter pummeling alone wasn't enough- just a month later, much of the state was deluged with heavy rains. A nor'easter in March that lasted several days brought 5 to 8 inches of rain in Morris, knocking out power to thousands and forcing hundreds of flood-prone Pequannock and Lincoln residents along the Passaic, Pequannock and Rockaway rivers out of their homes.
The wet season was followed by a summer of dry heat - with the HOTTEST APRIL AND JUNE ON RECORD. The summer was THE DRIEST SINCE 1966. June and July saw 2.47 inches and 2.87 inches of rainfall, respectively. The average monthly rainfall is 4 inches. What probably prevented it from being the driest on record was a wet August that helped saturate the ground and fill up reservoirs. Despite the extremes, annual precipitation averaged 42.27 inches statewide, or slightly more than 1 inch below the long-term mean.