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Earthweek - A Diary of the Planet
Click on any icon for more information
By Steve Newman - May 7, 1999 - Click any icon

Temperature Extremes
High temperatureLow temperature
High temperature for the week:
Ralat, Pakistan
119 degrees Fahrenheit
Low temperature for the week:
Vostok (Russia), Antarctica
-110 degrees Fahrenheit


Heat and Smoke
FireA blistering heat wave sweeping much of India has caused forest fires to spread rapidly, turning large areas into smoldering wastelands. At least 31,630 acres of pine forests in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh have been destroyed since the scorching temperatures began. Weeks of extreme heat have already claimed more than 150 lives across the Indian subcontinent.

Forest fires in Indonesia have reached a dangerous level with large clouds of smoke blowing into the densely populated city-state of Singapore. The fires prompted concerns that the thick haze that choked parts of Southeast Asia last year was returning. The smog has become a seasonal problem during the area’s mid-year dry season, when plantations set fires as a cheap but illegal way to clear land.


Tornado Disasters
TornadoAn outbreak of tornadoes, unprecedented in the history of Oklahoma, tore through the heart of the state and parts of neighboring Kansas and Texas.

Disaster officials reported that the twisters claimed at least 44 lives, including 38 in Oklahoma, five in Kansas and one in Texas. Nearly 900 people were also injured. More than 4,000 homes were destroyed by the twisters’ winds of up to 260 mph. Three additional victims were killed by a string of tornadoes in Tennessee later in the week.


EarthquakeSeveral ancient buildings and homes were damaged after a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck the city of Khonj in southern Iran.

Earth movements were also felt in Russia’s Lake Baikal region, northern Japan, south-central Alaska, Peru’s southern coast and around San Diego, California.


Tropical Storm
Tropical StormTropical storm Leo dissipated off the coast of China after buffeting the territory of Hong Kong with gale-force winds and heavy rain.

Public transportation was curtailed during the passage of the storm, and ferry service to outlying islands and the neighboring Portuguese enclave of Macao was temporarily suspended.


Late Winter Chill
ColdWinter returned unexpectedly to Moscow, claiming one life and leaving seven other people hospitalized.

The Russian capital was hit with near-freezing temperatures and hailstorms during two days of freak, late-winter conditions. One homeless person froze to death and officials reported that seven others had to be treated for frost bite. During the last week of April, trees around Moscow had begun to bloom as temperatures reached 68 degrees Fahrenheit.


Killer Bee Attack
Killer BeeA teenager was killed and his brother hospitalized in central Mexico after being stung by Africanized honey bees during a religious ceremony.

Hundreds of people had gathered on a hill in the Morelos town of Tlayacapan for the annual ceremony to celebrate Santa Cruz day when the insect attack occurred. The latest incident marked the second time in a month that the killer bees had attacked humans in Morelos.


VolcanoIndonesia’s Mount Slamet Volcano spewed black smoke from its crater, prompting the Central Java government to warn local residents to remain clear of the 11,250-foot mountain. The volcano last erupted in 1988 when it belched lava and rained ash over a wide area.

Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills Volcano exploded for the second time in less than a week with a plume of ash soaring high into the eastern Caribbean sky. The latest volcanic activity prompted fresh warnings from the Washington, D.C.-based Volcanic Ash Advisory Center about the potential for increased activity.


Frog Capital
FrogSri Lanka has leap-frogged to become the world’s top nation for frogs, pushing previous record-holder Costa Rica into second place.

During a five-year global study by the Wildlife Heritage Trust, researchers discovered 200 new species of frogs previously unknown to science, and confirmed that Sri Lanka had the highest concentration of frog species. That nation has about 3.9 species of frogs per 400 square miles, and approximately 10 percent of the world’s total frog species.


Additional Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency, U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.
Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.

Low Temperature Extremes High Temperature Extreme Heat and Smoke Heat and Smoke Frog Capital of the World Tropical Storm Late Winter Chill Volcanic Eruption Volcano Eruption Killer Bees Tornado Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake Earthquake
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