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Earthweek - A Diary of the Planet
Click on any icon for more information

By Steve Newman - November 20, 1998 - Click on any icon 

High temperature

High Temperature Extreme

Low temperature

Low Temperature Extreme


Hundreds Flee Volcano


Tropical Storms

Oil Spill

Dolphin Threat


Early Russian Winter

Killer Bee

Killer Bee Attack


South African Twister




Thai Monkey Raids

High Temperature Extreme
High temperatureMarble Bar, West Australia: 111 degrees Fahrenheit



Low Temperature Extreme
Low temperatureSouth Pole, Antarctica: -72 degrees Fahrenheit



Hundreds Flee Volcano
VolcanoHundreds of people were evacuated from villages near Mexico’s Volcan de Fuego following warnings that an eruption was likely within days.

Vulcanologists recorded thousands of small tremors at the 13,000-foot mountain, located 280 miles west of Mexico City in the state of Colima. A plume of smoke soared high over the volcano on Wednesday as local police officers evacuated nearly 250 people from surrounding villages. Nearly 300,000 people live within 25 miles of the Volcan de Fuego. It is considered Mexico’s most active and dangerous volcano.



Tropical Storms
Tropical StormsTropical cyclone 06B lashed eastern India’s Andhra Pradesh state with 110 mph winds and torrential rains. At least two people were killed and hundreds of trees and utility poles were toppled by the storm.

Seventeen people were killed when tropical storm Chip roared ashore along the southeast coast of Vietnam. The storm also caused widespread flooding and wind damage. Additional damage was expected late in the week across the same area from tropical storm Dawn, which was taking a similar path across the country.



Dolphin Threat
Oil SpillAn oil spill in the South China Sea threatens the dwindling population of rare pink dolphins that inhabit the mouth of the Pearl River Delta near Hong Kong.

Chinese authorities were trying to contain a six-mile-long oil slick near the delta following a collision on Nov. 13 between two tankers. The survival of the endangered dolphins was already threatened by increased pollution in the waters around the former British colony.



Early Russian Winter
WinterAn icy storm that swept through the Russian capital late last week has claimed 13 lives and left nearly 200 people hospitalized with cold-related illnesses.

Temperatures in Moscow plummeted to as low as minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit as the first winterlike storm of the season arrived earlier than usual. Russian meteorologists say that the extreme temperatures were some of the lowest for mid-November in more than 20 years.



Killer Bee Attack
Killer beeA swarm of African honeybees killed seven people in southern Somalia, according to a report from Agence France Presse.

The bees suddenly and viciously attacked the victims as they were searching for food for their livestock near the village of Tikhsile, located 25 miles west of the capital Mogadishu.



South African Twister
TornadoA rare South African tornado destroyed nearly 200 homes as it swept through the city of Harrismith, about 180 miles southeast of Johannesburg.

The South African Press Association reported that 15 people were hospitalized with injuries received during the twister. Disaster officials estimate damage along the tornado’s path at $200,000 and did not expect to have electricity restored to the affected area for a week.



EarthquakesIran was hit by five strong earthquakes, with two causing extensive damage and the strongest killing five people and leveling an entire village in Fars province on Nov. 13.

A subsequent temblor damaged buildings in six villages of Kerman province.

Earth movements were also felt in Taiwan, western Japan, Iceland and parts of Southern California.



Thai Monkey Raids
MonkeyBudget cuts in Thailand, which have eliminated funding to feed some wild monkeys, are sending the marauding animals into local villages where they are raiding crops and stored food supplies.

Residents in the northeastern Thailand village of Ban Ma have appealed to local authorities to resume feeding 1,000 wild monkeys to get the hungry animals off their backs. The primates have been made even more aggressive in Ban Ma, 350 miles northeast of Bangkok, because of the worsening drought conditions that are plaguing Sisaket province. The animals were previously given four sacks of rice per month to stop them from pestering the village. Recent budget cuts during the country’s deep recession have put an end to these hand-outs.


Additional Sources: Japan Meteorological Agency, U.S. Climate Analysis Center, U.S. Earthquake Information Center and the World Meteorological Organization.

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Earthweek: A Diary of the Planet