Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lightning Strike Launches Fracking Storage Tank in the Air, Sets off Chain Reaction Fire

A lightning strike set off an explosive chain-reaction fire at an oil and gas wastewater injection site in Greeley, Colorado, on Friday. 
The Associated Press reports that the fire started afterlightning struck a water storage tank, launching it into the air. Hydrocarbons contained in the tank caught fire and spread to other flammable materials at the site. 
In fear of an explosion, local firefighters waited for the blaze to settle down before entering the site with fire suppression foam. Later that night, firefighters were able to fully extinguish the fire. 
NGL Energy Partners, the company that owns the site, deals in crude oil and liquids used in hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking. 
Greeley Fire Department spokesman Dale Lyman said that homes near the site were evacuated, but that no injuries were reported from the fire.


If you live in the South and feel like there's been a lot of rain lately,  you're not imagining things. In fact, 2015's April showers have been so tenacious that parts of the South have set record rainy streaks for the month, and some have seen a record number of rainy days so far this year.
You can blame a stagnant weather pattern. A low-pressure system in the upper atmosphere was slow to move out of the Rockies, while at the same time, the southern branch of the jet stream allowed for plenty of moisture to be drawn northward into the South. Even the overall pattern for much of this year has opened the door to wet conditions. 

Late April Snow Blankets Appalachians, Great Lakes

A band of late April snow moved into the Great Lakes and Appalachians Wednesday, dropping up to 8.5 inches in some areas. 
"After a warmer stretch in April, blocking high pressure near Greenland has forced another prolonged, deep plunge of chilly air into the Great Lakes," weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman said. "That deep, cold air pivoting into the Appalachians with surface temperatures just cold enough allowed snow to accumulate in parts of southwest Pennsylvania and far western Maryland. In the Great Lakes, up to 8.5 inches of snow was measured in parts of the western U.P. of Michigan and far northern Wisconsin."
Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin all saw snowfall by noon local time Wednesday. 
Here are a handful of snowfall reports from the affected areas:
  • Champion, Pennsylvania - 3 inches 
  • Oakland, Maryland - 2 inches
  • Bessemer, Michigan - 8.5 inches
  • Gile, Wisconsin - 8.5 inches
  • Davis, West Virginia - 2 inches
  • Isabella, Minnesota - 3 inches

Chile's Calbuco Volcano Could Erupt for Months, Experts Warn

Tension and fear is high in towns surrounding Chile's Calbuco volcano, after the sleeping giant awoke this week, sending spectacular plumes of ash into the sky.
This week was the volcano's first eruption in 42 years. The blasts that began Wednesday, creating a remarkable scene of smoke plumes and ash shooting more than 6 miles into the sky. Calbuco had another spectacular outburst early Thursday with lightning crackling through a dark sky turned reddish orange by the explosion. More smoke was seen coming from the volcano Friday, and experts warn it could erupt again. 
NASA's Earth Observatory satellites captured images of the smoking volcano from space Friday.

Severe Weather Brings Tornadoes, Hail to Texas

Severe weather hit parts of Texas Sunday night and Monday morning, producing baseball-sized hail, damaging wind gusts and reported tornadoes. 
One tornado was confirmed Sunday afternoon in the area of rural Comanche and Erath counties in Texas. No injuries were reported in the immediate aftermath of the tornado. 
Tornadoes have also been spotted southeast of Stephenville, and in Glen Rose and Cleburne State Park on Sunday evening, according to WFAA.com. Overnight, a large tornado left damage in the Rio Vista area.
Baseball-sized hail was reported near Stephenville, about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and motorists were reporting damage to vehicles, according to the Associated Press. National Weather Service meteorologists also received reports of shingles being blown from rooftops, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Stephenville police say shelters have opened at the city library and other locations. Many of the storms moved slowly, and the torrential rains led to serious flooding in several areas, including Rio Vista

Afghanistan Landslide Kills More Than 50 in Remote Badakhshan Province

At least 52 people died Tuesday in a large landslide in northeastern Afghanistan, according to a provincial official.
The landslide cut off parts of Badakhshan province from the rest of the country, covering the entire area in snow, according to provincial governor Waliullah Adeeb. Because the area is only accessible from the air, rescue efforts have been severely hampered.
Landslides are frequent in Badakhshan during this time of year, as the snow melts and the ground becomes unstable. It's one of the poorest and least-developed regions of Afghanistan.
Tuesday's landslide struck early in the morning in the province's Khawahan district, near Afghanistan's border with Tajikistan. The isolated area is located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the provincial capital, Faizabad.
There are no roads leading to it and "the only way to reach it is by helicopter," Adeeb said. "We won't be able to get there today. We are preparing to go to the area and are waiting for the choppers to take us there."
The deputy head of Afghanistan's National Disaster Management Authority, Mohammad Islam Sayas, said initial reports suggest the avalanche struck only one village but it was likely to have been completely wiped out.

The Weather Channel App Prompts Texas Family to Take Cover; Mom Finds 'Message' In Debris

Severe storms swept through Texas on Sunday, spawning at least 10 tornadoes that left a path of destruction in their wake. Yet amid the chaos, one Texas mom says nature left a message on her car.
Tiffany Chioles of Shepherd, Texas, posted a picture of pine needles that spelled out "hi" to The Weather Channel Facebook page. She believes she and her family were being protected during Sunday's storm in San Jacinto County.
"We had gotten a tornado warning from The Weather Channel app on my phone just three or four minutes before it was right on top of us," she wrote on our Facebook page. "Myself and my husband were covering our children with a mattress topper – and ourselves – because that's all we had time to do." 
After the storm passed, the family went to look at the damage. Trees were uprooted; an oak tree missed the bedroom she and her family were hiding in by mere feet.
But when she saw the pine needles delicately spelling "hi," she stoppped in her tracks.
"I took as God saying 'Hi! Just wanted you to know I was with you!' I just stood in awe for a few minutes and just took it all in."
A National Weather Service survey determined the damage in Shepherd was caused by powerful straight-line winds. The family's story, and their photos, are more proof that you should never ingore severe weather warnings