Friday, December 12, 2014

WEATHER ANOMALIES: "Rare Weather Event" - Grand Canyon Covered By Amazing Sea Of Clouds?! [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Total cloud inversion as seen from Mather Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, December 11, 2014 NPS photo by Michael Quinn

December 12, 2014 - GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA
- The Grand Canyon, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, became even more wondrous on Thursday, thanks to a rare weather event. A sea of clouds filled the chasm from the bottom up, ebbing and flowing like a seaside tide.

WATCH: Grand Canyon covered by sea of clouds in amazing weather event.



The stunning sight of the canyon filling with fog like water fills a bathtub occurred due to a total temperature inversion. “This occurs when a cold layer of air is trapped at the base of the canyon and is topped by a warmer layer,” the Washington Post reported. “On clear, calm nights, the rate of cooling near the surface increases and, if there is low level moisture present, condensation processes kick in and fog forms.”


Total cloud inversion near Desert View, Grand Canyon National Park, Thursday, December 11, 2014. NPS photo by Maci MacPherson

NPS photo by Michael Quinn

NPS photo by Maci MacPherson

NPS photo by Maci MacPherson

NPS photo by Maci MacPherson


Recent rains near Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park, combined with a lack of winds in the ravine, produced the necessary moisture for a total cloud inversion to develop. The fog has enveloped much of the northern region of the Grand Canyon state, the Associated Press reported.

The spectacular cloud cover was captured by visitors to the Grand Canyon and National Park Service employees.

Cory Mottice of the National Weather Service told AP that the weather event happens about once every several years, though the landmark was treated to one last year.

The last time fog filled the ravine was December 3, 2013. The canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and is more than a mile deep in some places.

Mottice says the Grand Canyon will gradually clear up in the coming days. - RT.




GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - World Stock Markets Tumble As FTSE And DOW JONES Suffers Worst Weekly Fall Since 2011!

Defence against the economic elements? The street outside a share prices display in Tokyo on Thursday. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

December 12, 2014 - GLOBAL ECONOMY
- Global stock markets continued to tumble on Friday, pushing the FTSE 100 to its worst weekly fall in more than three years. Since Monday, £112bn has been wiped off the value of Britain’s leading companies.

Investors headed for the exits amid growing fears about the Chinese economy, the tumbling price of oil, and the prospect of another eurozone crisis prompted by political uncertainty in Greece.

The FTSE 100
finished at 6300.63 on Friday, its lowest level since 20 October. The index was down 161 points on the day and 442 points, or 6.6%, on the week.

It was the biggest weekly decline in percentage terms since August 2011, when recession fears and worries about America’s debts stalked the markets.

In Europe, Germany’s Dax fell 5% and the Eurofirst 300 lost 5.9% over the week. Wall Street was down more than 200 points, or 1.1% on the day, by the time the London market closed on Friday, despite better than expected US consumer confidence figures for December.

The UK has been affected more than other markets because of its bias towards commodity companies, which have been hit hard by the fall in oil. Brent crude dropped 3% to just over $61 on Friday, a five-and-a-half-year low. As recently as June, the oil price had climbed as high as $155, but fears of a global slowdown hitting demand has seen a slump in the price. In its latest monthly report, published on Friday, the International Energy Authority, the world energy watchdog, cut its forecast for demand growth in 2015 by 230,000 barrels per day to 900,000. This was the fourth time in five months it had lowered its expectations and followed a similar prediction from oil cartel Opec earlier in the week.

This latest market rout followed a decision on Monday by Greece’s prime minister, Antonis Samaras, to call a snap presidential election for next week. If three rounds of voting in the Greek parliament, the last on 29 December, fail to back the ruling coalition’s candidate, Stavros Dimas, this could trigger a general election. Investors fear that the far-left Syriza party, already ahead in the polls, could win that vote and attempt to negotiate a new debt write-off with European lenders. If key players such as Germany fail to agree, the prospect of a breakup of the eurozone is again on the horizon.

On Thursday, Samaras said: “Syriza has once again brought the word Grexit [Greek exit] to the mouths of foreigners. What Syriza says provokes fear and doubt everywhere … the markets are reacting because the possibility of elections occurring, and Syriza winning, is interpreted as assured catastrophe for the country.”
On Friday, Syriza’s parliamentary spokesman, Panaghiotis Lafazanis, said if it assumed office, the party would not only cancel the bailout memorandum signed by Athens and its creditors, but ensure that the troika of lenders leaves Greece.

The Athens stock market, which fell almost 13% on Tuesday after the poll announcement, lost 20% over the course of the week.

A host of poor economic news from around the globe added to the gloomy mood. After weak Chinese import numbers earlier in the week, China reported a worse than expected 7.2% rise in industrial production in November, down from 7.7% the previous month, which fuelled fears of a slowdown in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

In the UK, there was an unexpected 2.2% drop in construction output in October, compared with forecasts of a 0.7% increase and a rise of 1.8% in September.

Russia was also in the spotlight, for the wrong reasons. The rouble hit new lows – down 1.7% at almost 58 to the dollar – as the twin effects of western sanctions over Ukraine and the falling oil price raised fears about the outlook for Russia’s economy, with a 1% hike in interest rates to 10.5% and central bank intervention failing to halt the slide.

Markets have been supported for many months by the extraordinary stimulus measures introduced by central banks aimed at stimulating the flagging global economy. But the US has now finished its bond-buying programme and at next week’s Federal Reserve meeting, analysts will be seeking clues as to when the US central bank plans to raise interest rates.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi
wants to introduce quantitative easing but faces resistance from within the bank’s board, notably from Germany.

But Thursday’s low takeup by European banks of the ECB’s cheap loan programme puts more pressure on Draghi to come up with an acceptable solution. - The Guardian.


Another day of huge losses caps Dow's worst week in three years

 Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on December 12, 2014. Photograph by Brendan McDermid — Reuters

The U.S. market was denied its eighth-straight week of gains.

A seven-week streak of stock market gains abruptly ended this week amid investor concerns about the continued decline of oil prices and sluggish European and Asian economies.

A sell-off Friday cemented the loss with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 316 points, or 1.8%, to close at 17,281. For the week, the blue clip index slid 3.7%, the worst showing since November 2011.

The Dow Jones average has now fallen more than 700 points since it came tantalizingly close to hitting the 18,000-point milestone just last week. The index crossed the 17,000-point mark for the first time ever in July.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 fell 1.6% on Friday and finished the week down by 3.5% while the Nasdaq composite fared slightly better by dropping 1.2% for the day and 2.7% for the week.

Yesterday, a strong November retail report kicked off a temporary rebound that helped offset at least some of the week’s losses. For the most part, though, the major indices were in full treat with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 falling four out of five days while the Nasdaq dropped three times.




Thursday also saw the price of crude oil drop below $60 for the first time since 2009, which added to investors’ concerns about plummeting price oil and a global supply glut. Oil prices dropped again on Friday, with both Brent crude oil and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices falling by more than 2%. WTI finished well below $60, at $57.70, while Brent finished the week at $61.68.

Prices have dropped
more than 40% over the past six months, in part, because increased production in the U.S. and other countries is contributing to an oversupply. Predictions by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that supplies will continue to outpace demand next year has helped to depress prices even further. Also, on Friday, the International Energy Agency cut forecasts for growth in global oil demand for the coming year.

Global stocks also took a hit this week due to sinking oil prices while massive sell-offs in China and Greece also put a drag on foreign markets. London’s FTSE index slogged through its worst week in three years, dropping 6.6%. Germany’s DAX fell nearly 5% for the week while the Nikkei dropped 3% despite recording gains on Friday.

It has been a turbulent second-half of 2014 for the U.S. market, which entered this week on a seven-week winning streak that included a number of record finishes for the Dow Jones and S&P 500 while the Nasdaq hovered near its highest point since 2000. That followed a broad sell-off in early October that briefly erased all of the year’s gains. - Fortune.


Egypt Stock Market Loses $3B Amid Oil Plunge

Egypt's stock market shares plunged by 22 billion Egyptian pounds (just over $3 billion) in Sunday trading as low oil prices dragged down regional economies.

The benchmark EGX30 index closed 5.23 percent down, with 170 stocks declining and just five showing gains.

Stock broker Yasser Rashad said there was an immediate dip at the start of Sunday's session over fears that share prices would continue to drop for the rest of the week.

Wael Ziada, head of research at regional investment giant EFG Hermes, said the drop is a knock-on effect caused by the steep decline in oil prices. The markets in Egypt and Gulf Arab countries "are correlated in terms of their performance because the investor base intersects."

Oil prices have shed nearly half their value since late June, including a 4 percent tumble Friday that left benchmark U.S. oil prices at $57.81 a barrel, their lowest level since May 2009, when the U.S. was still in recession.

Egypt is a net importer of oil products, therefore "we should benefit from the decline in oil prices," Ziada said.

However, Egypt relies heavily on aid from Gulf countries to keep its economy afloat. Any net benefit for Egypt from the decline in oil prices hinges on the willingness of the nation's main Gulf benefactors ? Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait ? to continue to help Egypt despite their declining oil revenues.

The three have pledged to continue to help Egypt's ailing economy.

The three oil-rich nations have pumped billions of dollars into Egypt's emptying coffers since the overthrow last year of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The three view Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, as a threat to their security.

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report published last week said that "although GCC support may be somewhat less forthcoming at current oil prices, enough is likely to be provided to muddle through for now."

Besides Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates, the Gulf Cooperation Council also includes Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

In the Gulf region, markets continued to decline on Sunday.

Dubai's stock index dropped 7.6 percent by closing Sunday, the first day of trading for the week. Qatar lost nearly 5.9 percent at closing. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi's indexes fell more than 3 percent each. Investors are concerned that the drop in the price of oil, which is the backbone of Gulf economies, could lead to less government spending and reduced economic growth.

The Dubai stock exchange has lost 65 billion dirhams, or roughly $17.7 billion, in market value over the past week due to the plummeting crude prices, according to the United Arab Emirates-based The National newspaper.

Last month, an International Monetary Fund official said that Egypt's economy had begun to recover after nearly four years of political turmoil. The EGX30 index has shown overall gains of 28.49 percent so far this year.

The government aims to attract investment by hosting a three-day international economic conference in March. It recently partially lifted fuel subsidies and is pursuing revenue-enhancing measures aimed at deficit reduction. - ABC News.



MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

Aerial view of Sao Paulo flooding.  © Thaddeus Pawlowski

December 12, 2014 - EARTH
- The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.


Extreme flooding in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Violent storms and heavy rainfall hit Sao Paulo in Brazil on December 10, 2014, causing flooding and traffic chaos as authorities announced a state of alert in some parts of the city.

Thunderstorm dumped more than two inches of rain in only a few hours. Streets turned into flowing rivers.

WATCH: Flooding in Sao Paulo.






Cars were swept away by flash floods in parts of the city, where mud and debris clogged the streets.

Sao Paulo, home to around 20 million people, experienced months of the worst drought in decades.


Floods Kill Two More in Northern Greece

Greek news agencies are reporting that a further 2 people have died in floods in the country.

The fatalities occurred in Thessaloniki and Kilkis, Central Macedonia, northern Greece. One of the victims was a man in his 40s who was found in the overflowing Galikos river in the Thessaloniki region. The other victims was reportedly a passenger who died in a taxi that had crashed into a swollen irrigation canal. The driver of the taxi managed to escape the vehicle.




File photo: Evros river in flood in 2010. Photo: Joanna

Flooding Also Affecting Bulgaria and Turkey

Northern areas of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey have all experienced heavy rainfall over the last few days and river levels in the region remain high, especially the river of Maritsa (Evros), which flows through the 3 countries, and its tributary the T├╣ndzha river, which flows through Bulgaria and Turkey. Severe flooding has been reported in the areas arround Edirne in northern Turkey, close to the borders with Bulgaria and Greece.




Weather Warnings in Greece

Severe weather warnings remain in place for many regions of Greece. Although the north is still experiencing storms, the heavy rain now appears to be affecting areas further south.

5 Flood Victims in 5 Days

Five people have now died in floods in northern Greece in the last 5 days.

On Tuesday 09 December, a man died when his car was swept away by flood water near the village of Lagkadikia in the Thessaloniki region.

Four days ago two people died in separate incidents as a result of flash floods, also in northern Greece.


Bulgaria Floods Prompt State of Emergency in Stara Zagora and Plovdiv Provinces

File photo: floods in Bulgaria

After heavy rain and flooding first struck over 1 week ago in northern and southern Bulgaria, the flood threat still remains across wide areas of southern Bulgaria.

The same severe weather has been causing flooding in parts of northern Greece, where 5 people have died, and also in northern Turkey, in particular the city of Edirne.

Bulgaria

The provinces of Stara Zagora, Sliven, Haskovo, Pazardzhik, Plovdiv and Yambol are the worst affected. A state of emergency has been declared in municipalities in Stara Zagora and Plovdiv provinces. To make matters worse, flooding has interrupted the water supply in the municipalities of Svilengrad, Harmanli and Lyubimets in Haskovo province.

Several houses in the village of Galabovo in Stara Zagora have been damaged by the flood water of the overflowing Sazlijka River. Levels of the river are extremely high in the area due to a controlled dam discharge.

In other areas, residents of towns and villages can only hope river embankments and dams hold out. Several dams across the region are overflowing and levels of the Sazlyjka, Potoka and Maritsa rivers are ominously high.

Yambol

In Yambol province, the Kirilovo dam is threatening to overflow and flood the nearby town of Elhovo.

Stara Zagora

In Stara Zagora, dams threaten to inundate the towns or villages of Nikolaevo, Radnevo and Kazanlak. A road between Stara Zagora and Kazanlak has been closed due to flooding near the village of Yagoda situated near the Tundzha river. A state of emergency in the municipalities of Radnevo, Galabovo, Maglizh and Nikolaevo.

Haskovo

In Haskovo Province, the town of Lyubimets which lies near to the Turkish border, is said to be flooded. Also near the Turkish border, the town of Svilengrad is facing severe floods as levels of the Martitsa river approach flood stage.

Pazardzhik

Further upstream, levels of the Maritsa are threatening to overflow in 6 municipalities of Pazardzhik Province.

Plovdiv

Meanwhile in Plovdiv Province, the Potoka river has burst its banks and flooded parts of Saedinenie. Several dams are also said to be close to overflowing in the region.
Focus News Agency said:
“A State of emergency has been declared in Saedinenie Municipality over the complicated situation caused by heavy precipitation,” said Mayor of the municipality Georgi Rumenov.

The measure was needed after 4 dams in the region began to overflow and the Potoka River that passes through the town started to rise. A high number of houses have now been flooded. A crisis staff in the municipality is monitoring the situation.

This report was written with input from Nikolay Valchev, Institute of Oceanology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.


California storm drops 3 inches of rain in an hour

Hwy 37-W near Novato, the connector to Hwy 101 North and South shutdown by flooded roadway. © Randee Deason

The storm dubbed the Pineapple Express by some media outlets hit wide areas of northern and central California yesterday, 11 December 2014.


Rainfall levels for 11 December 2014 in northern California. Image: NWS

US National Weather Service (NWS) say that 2.91 inches (73 mm) of rain was recorded in just one hour on the Big Sur coast yesterday.

During the 24 hours of 11 December, 3.55 inches (90 mm) of rain fell in the San Francisco Bay Area. For San Francisco, it was the second wettest 11 December on record:
@NWSBayArea

#SF calendar day rainfall Dec 11th was 3.40" & now 2nd wettest daily total ever for the 11th. Dec 11th '95 daily record 3.61" holds. #CAwx

Strong winds across northern California and Oregon knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes, disrupted flights and forced schools to close. One man died as a result of a falling tree in Oregon. A young boy was injured after the storm knocked down a tree near a school in city of Santa Cruz, California.

Floods and high winds caused widespread problems for roads and the transport system around San Francisco. The westbound lanes of Interstate 280 in the East Bay suburb of El Cerrito were particularly badly affected.

There have been reports of several cars becoming trapped in the floods, including 3 cars in an underpass in the Berkley area:




Daniel Villareal @KRON4DVillareal

There are 3 cars underwater in this pic on Ashby at I-80 can you spot them? @kron4news #BayAreaStorm

10:45 PM - 11 Dec 2014

J Ortega @JibbyOrtega

@NorthBayNews and @kron4news this is Elsie Allen High School at the moment! #BayAreaStorm #StormWatch

1:26 AM - 12 Dec 2014
River Levels

Over 24 hours of heavy rain has increased river levels in some areas. Levels of the Russian, Sacramento and Eel rivers all approaching or above flood stage.

Flood warnings are in place for Russian River at Johnsons Beach near Guerneville, the Navarro River in Mendocino County, and several areas for the Upper Sacramento River System, including at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam and Hamilton City.

Sacramento River Levels. © NWS

Russian River levels. © NWS
Several NWS flood and flash flood warnings are in place for today, Friday 12 December 2014.

Flash flood warnings remain in place for Ventura County, especially near the Springs Burn Area.

Around Sacramento, flash flood warnings are in place for today for the burn areas of El Dorado and Placer counties.

Flooding has been reported in Monterey County, including the city of Gorda, and along Highway 1 from Big Sur southward to San Luis Obispo County.

Storm Heads South

The storm is now expected to move south and flood warnings have been issued for Santa Barbara County, where rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour has been forecast for the early hours of Friday 12 December.


  - The Watchers | Floodlist.




WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: Massive Oil Spill In Bangladesh - Villagers Struggle To Clean Up, As Oil Threatens Rare Dolphin Preserve; Environmentalists Warn Of An Ecological "Catastrophe"!

The oil tanker was carrying an estimated 357,000 litres (77,000 gallons) of oil when it sank in the Sundarbans’s Shela river, home to
rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins.  © Agence France-Presse

December 12, 2014 - BANGLADESH
- Bangladeshi villagers using sponges, shovels and even spoons worked Friday to clean up a huge oil spill in a protected area that is home to rare dolphins, after environmentalists warned of an ecological "catastrophe".

Thousands of litres of oil have spilt into the protected Sundarbans mangrove area, home to rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins, after a tanker collided with another vessel on Tuesday.

The government has sent a ship carrying oil dispersants to the area, which is inside one of three sanctuaries set up for the dolphins.

But environmentalists say the chemicals could harm the delicate ecology of the Sundarbans, a UNESCO world heritage site.

As authorities debated whether to deploy the dispersants, the company that owns the stricken oil tanker said it would buy up the oil that local villagers have collected.


Bangladeshi villagers try to collect oil that spread in the river after an oil tanker sank in the Shela River in Mongla, in a photo taken on December 11, 2014.
© World Conservation Society

"It has no commercial value as it can't be used, but we are using the offer to encourage people so that the cleaning up process speeds up," said Rafiqul Islam Babul of the Padma Oil Company.

"Villagers including children are going out onto the river in boats to collect the oil floating on the water using sponges, shovels and spoons," he said.

"Then they are putting it in small ditches on the river banks and our employees are buying it."

The head of the local port authority earlier told reporters that fishermen would use "sponges and sacks" to collect the spilt oil, which has already spread over an 80-kilometre (50-mile) area.


A Bangladeshi oil-tanker lies half-submerged on December 9, 2014, after it was hit by a cargo vessel on the Shela River in the Sundarbans in Mongla

Amir Hosain, chief forest official of the Sundarbans, admitted that authorities were unsure about the best course of action.

"This catastrophe is unprecedented in the Sundarbans and we don't know how to tackle this," he told AFP.

"We're worried about its long-term impact, because it happened in a fragile and sensitive mangrove ecosystem."

Damage already done

Rescue vessels have now salvaged the tanker, which was carrying an estimated 357,000 litres (77,000 gallons) of oil when it sank.

But officials say the damage the has already been done as the slick has spread to a second river and a network of canals in the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest, which straddles India and Bangladesh.

Rubayat Mansur, Bangladesh head of the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, said most of the oil appeared to have already leaked out of the tanker before it was salvaged.


A Bangladeshi oil-tanker lies half-submerged on December 9, 2014, after it was hit by a cargo vessel on the Shela River in the Sundarbans in Mongla.
© World Conservation Society

"I visited the sunken trawler this morning. Only few hundred litres of oil remain inside, so almost all the oil has spilled into the Sundarbans," he said.

Mansur said oil dispersants were "not appropriate for the mangrove ecosystem" and urged local villagers to help collect the oil from nets that have been placed in the river to contain its spread.

Spread over 10,000 square kilometres (3,800 square miles), the Sundarbans is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and home to hundreds of Bengal tigers. The delta comprises a network of rivers and canals.

Mansur said Bangladesh's coastal areas including the Sundarbans were the "largest known home" of the Irrawaddy dolphins.

"Irrawaddy Dolphins can be found in South East Asia. But their population size is very small compared to Bangladesh," said Mansur.

Bangladesh set up sanctuaries in the Sundarbans in 2011 after studies showed that there were hundreds of endangered Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins there.

Fishing is banned in the area, but tankers and other boats are allowed to pass through.

The Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins are both on the warning "red list" of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which says numbers are falling. - PHYS.