Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
6.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.
5.8 Earthquake hits the Owen Fracture Zone region.
5.8 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.
5.6 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.
5.5 Earthquake hits the Izu Islands off Japan.
5.3 Earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.
5.0 Earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands.
In the Western Pacific:
Typhoon Rammasun islocated approximately 250 nm east of Hanoi, Vietnam.
Tropical Storm Matmo is located approximately 225 nm north of Koror, Palau.
In the Central Pacific:
Tropical storm Wali is located about 925 mi (1490 km) ESE of Hilo, Hawaii. With the cyclone already feeling the ill effects of increasing vertical wind shear, the window for Wali to intensify has closed.
UK – 12 hours of lightning strikes in the United Kingdom from 21:00 Thursday to 9:00 Friday. Parts of south-east England have recorded the hottest day of the year after dramatic electrical storms. Temperatures in Gravesend, Kent, nudged 32C (90F), beating the previous high of 29.5C, recorded on Thursday, as much of the country enjoyed the sun. The sweltering heat came after lightning struck the UK more than 3,000 times in the early hours of Friday.
Four more elephants have been poisoned with cyanide by poachers in Zimbabwe, this time in the country’s Zambezi National Park.
More than 100 of the jumbos died in convulsions from the poison last September at Hwange National Park, the country’s largest.
Some of the 14 people arrested for the slaughter were given sentences of up to 16 years along with stiff fines.
According to authorities, a well-coordinated poaching syndicate, targeting the animals’ ivory tusks, laced water and salt licks with the poison at main drinking sites for the animals.
While elephant populations have dropped sharply across many parts of Africa as poaching activity accelerated in recent years, Zimbabwe still has one of the continent’s largest surviving populations.
The surge in poaching is blamed on a still growing demand for ivory in Asia and even the United States at a time when there is a global moratorium on ivory trade.
Wildfires – USA
Washington Wildfires Burn Homes, Force Evacuations
A cluster of four Washington wildfires swelled Friday morning has burned up to 100 homes and swelled to more than 260 square miles.
The Carlton Complex fires were ignited by lightning on Monday, and the four wildfires — fueled by dry timber and grass — ballooned overnight. The worst of the four fires forced closure of highways 20 and 153 and cut power to the Methow Valley, a premier resort area. The entire town of Pateros — along the Columbia River — was evacuated late Thursday, and the 700 residents were ordered not to return to their homes Friday. Evacuation warnings were also issued for parts of Brewster, northeast along the river.
Seventy miles to the south, another stretch of wildfires has chased people from nearly 900 homes near the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth. More than 45 square miles have burned in the Mills Canyon Complex — three separate blazes including the Chiwaukum Creek Fire that prompted the evacuations. More than 800 firefighters backed by large aerial water tankers were battling the flames. Smoke from that fire has been visible from Seattle.