Monthly Archives: October 2019

Coal mining news

A little bit on the international coal mining industry this morning – enjoy the read!

Articles sourced from – follow the links for the full articles



A burning question for coal’s brightest star
Bloomberg News | August 16, 2019

A burning question for coal’s brightest star

“If India is such a bright hope for global coal demand, why can’t investors see it?

The country will experience the largest increase in coal burning through 2023, according to the International Energy Agency, with a 3.9% annual pace of growth that should be enough to offset falling consumption in developed countries. BloombergNEF, whose forecasts tend to be less bullish than the IEA’s on fossil fuel demand, is not far behind: Coal-fired generation will increase about 48% by 2030 to hit 1,512 terawatt-hours, more than all of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

The curious thing is that when you look at the Indian power sector, there are few signs it’s on the brink of a boom. Quite the opposite: As many as 65 gigawatts of the 90GW of private-sector generators connected in India are under financial stress, according to a parliamentary report last year. As my colleague Andy Mukherjee has written, the resulting 1.8 trillion rupees ($26 billion) in bad loans is contributing to a nonperforming asset crisis that risks undermining the Indian financial system.

Furthermore, activity to increase coal-fired generation is overwhelmingly dependent on state support. Out of 48GW of coal generators planned to be built by 2027 under the country’s current electricity plan, just 14% is being developed by the private sector; a matching 48GW of generation is already slated for retirement by the same date.

Even that modest level of private investment appears to be retreating now, according to a report published Friday by the Centre for Financial Accountability, a Delhi-based group pushing for better standards of development finance. Lending to coal-fired power fell 90% in 2018, to 60 billion rupees from 608 billion rupees the previous year, the CFA said. The vast majority of that total was refinancing of existing plants: Just 12 billion rupees was dedicated to new generation, all of it to just one state-backed plant in Uttar Pradesh.

If you still think wind and solar are the energy sectors most dependent on state support, you’ve not been paying attention to how the landscape has changed. In India, 65% of funding to coal-fired projects in 2018 came from government-controlled institutions, whereas three-quarters of loans to renewables came from the private sector, according to the CFA. Even a sixfold increase in renewables subsidies to 150 billion rupees in 2018 left that sector shy of the 160 billion rupees directly supporting the coal mining and generation sector, according to a separate report last year.

There are several reasons that India’s coal sector is struggling. The vast expansion of generation over the past decade has left the country oversupplied with electricity capacity. Making matters worse, the slump in the price of renewables means that even existing coal plants struggle to compete on cost, let alone newly built ones. The average power tariff for state-owned NTPC Ltd. in the June quarter was 3.63 rupees per kilowatt-hour, or around $51 per megawatt-hour. New wind can currently be built for around $43/MWh in India and solar comes in at $37/MWh, according to BloombergNEF.

On top of that, generators are struggling to be paid because of the finances of the electricity distribution companies owned by India’s states, while shortages of water and coal itself mean plants often have to switch off even at times when they can make money. State-owned mining giant Coal India Ltd. may miss full-year production targets if output doesn’t pick up from rates seen in the June quarter, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michelle Leung wrote Friday.

The bullish argument for Indian coal over the next decade is that the government bails out the distribution companies who will in turn bail out the generators; and that the grid simply won’t be able to integrate the 175GW of wind and solar that the government is targeting to be built by 2022, let alone the 500GW envisioned by 2030. As a result, state support will continue to prop up expensive, polluting soot as the only technology capable of keeping up with growing electricity demand.””


China to launch new round of coal mine safety checks
Reuters | August 14, 2019

China to launch new round of coal mine safety checks


“China will launch a new round of safety inspections on coal mines across the country from late August until end-September, the country’s coal mine safety watchdog said on Wednesday.

The checks follow a spate of fatal coal mine accidents that stirred concerns over poor safety conditions, particularly at small mines.

Inspectors would crack down on illegal production and urge miners to improve their ability to deal with major disasters such as gas explosions and floods, the National Coal Mine Safety Administration said in a statement.

Coal miners found to producing beyong their approved capacity will be punished, it added, without giving details.

China produced 2.09 billion tonnes of coal over the first seven months this year, up 4.3% from the same period in 2018, according to official data.

In May, China’s state planner said it would ramp up closures of small coal mines to boost safety and reduce pollution, aiming to cut the number of small coal mines nationally to less than 800 by 2021.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


Water Pollution – Water Audit

Hoping you will all have a great day today!  Enjoy these articles on water pollution that we have sourced for you.



What is a water audit and why does your mine need one?


Article from – Mining Safety –


“Mines use a lot of water for their operations, and this can be detrimental to the environment, especially if water is being wasted or misused without your knowledge. Water loss is not only bad for the environment, but it does contribute to increases in monthly bills as a mining company. This is where a water audit can come in handy because it will help with your water management strategies.

You should invest in an industrial water audit to help with reducing water costs and usage. The water audit company will look at different aspects such as your water meters, any leaks that exist, as well as gather data from your water treatments to provide you with a full picture of how your water is being used. Read on for more important information on water audits and why your mining company needs one.


So, what is a water audit?

Simply put, water audit traces water use from the point it enters your mining facility throughout its journey and eventual discharge. It also looks at surface water drainage and other issues. The audit is used to examine all points of water usage in a site survey and provide data on the volume of water used. This data can show you where there are potential leakages, broken pipes or if pieces of equipment are using too much water.

Since we are all aware that water is our lifeblood, we need to practice water conservation as much as possible. For a mining company this can be difficult since many processes in the industry use water to work. A water audit will allow you to improve your water management services as the audit process will provide a bills analysis to see where water is being used.

Some audits also take into account water quality, which is especially useful for mining companies. This will allow you to see what type of water is being released from your mine, such as acid mine drainage or surface water drainage. You can use this information to improve your water treatment methods as well as become more environmentally friendly.


Why is a water audit so important?

It can help you to save money
Knowing how much water you are wasting due to leaks or misuse will help you to save water. This is because you will be able to fix the leaks and stop the water from being wasted. Or you can improve your processes so that your mechanical systems do not use as much water as they currently using.

You can look into methods of mining that recycle water rather than needing to tap into the water resources of your current location. This will help you to spend less, such as using rainwater to flush toilets and wash equipment and floors. This way, you can avoid using the potable water or only use it for necessary functions of your project. Speak to a water audit professional for ideas on how to become more water conscious as a mining company.

You can improve your maintenance practices
If you have not been conscious of how much water you have been using, a water audit can help you to remedy this. You will be able to improve your maintenance processes by putting preventative maintenance processes in place such as assigning someone to check all taps, pipes, hoses and so forth for leaks or if they have been left on unnecessarily.

You could also assign someone to regularly ensure that all the taps in the bathrooms and kitchens are not leaking and are turned off after use. This might seem like a small and simple task but it is a fact that a dripping tap can lead to exorbitant water bills. By understanding how much water you use on a monthly basis, you can put a system in place for your workers to use in order to save water and improve workflow.


You will lower your environmental impact

It is a known fact that mines use a vast amount of water and that they also influence the environment with runoff and chemicals. But, if you are aware of the quality of water that is being released by your mine, you can take steps towards improving this and lower your environmental impact.

You can use the data from the water audit to fix issues and to limit your use of chemicals which could be causing issues in the surrounding area. In order to further limit your impact, you can opt for ways to stop acid mine drainage such as revegetating the area with water-absorbent plants or by filling in the mine once your project is over and it will not be used again.”


water audit


What To Do About Water Pollution in the Mining Industry


“Water is a limited resource on this planet. Regardless of this fact, it is a desired and necessary resource in every household and industry, but yet there are some industries where water is wasted and polluted with no further thought or action.

The mining industry is one of those specific sectors which we will be looking at today. Water pollution is no secret when it comes to mining, but there are recycling and treatment solutions to turn the environmentally negative effect into a positive one. And all mining institutions are encouraged to adopt these practices. Not only to improve their eco-friendly status but also to be smarter about their water use and reduce production costs.


What is water used for in mining?


Water is used to extract the valuable minerals from the quarry. It is also used on a mining site to process the minerals, recover metals, control dust and quench workers’ thirst.

Depending on the type of mine (metal or nonmetal mines), the amount of water that is required will differ. The mining sector in South Africa reportedly only uses 3% of the country’s water but when it comes to saving a limited resource, the efforts from all industries are required. And in an industry where water is used for processes as opposed to purely consumption purposes, creating a water recycling system should be a requirement for all businesses in the industry.


Different types of mining water


Again, dependent on the mining functions where water is needed, there will be different types of mining water (pollution) that is leftover after it’s been used. There are treatment options for the different types of mining water that can make them reusable. Mining water refers to water that has been used from a designated mine water source, in order to complete mining functions.

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD): There is a naturally occurring process called Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) that produces sulphuric acid from the exposure of water, air and the sulphides in rocks. With AMD, on the other hand, it uses the same process only magnified by the scale of an excavation in mining. As there will always be large quantities of sulphide-mineral-rich rocks, water and air at a mining site, the sulphuric acid will constantly be drained from the rocks through rainwater or surface drainage and let out into nearby rivers. Acid Mine Drainage is by far the most common and problematic mining water pollution issue.

Heavy metal contamination (Leachate): When arsenic, cobalt, copper, cadmium, lead, silver and zinc metals are exposed to water, heavy metal contamination occurs. When the metals leach from the rock, they also run into the nearby water sources and pollute the water.

Processing chemicals pollution: The process of combining cyanide or sulphuric acid with water to extract minerals from their ores results in runoff that contaminates nearby rivers. These chemicals, along with the pollution from the above-mentioned types of mining water pollutants, are incredibly harmful to wildlife, marine life, as well as human life.

Sedimentation: If you consider the heavy-duty equipment and almost constant earth-moving activity that occurs at mining sites, it’s no surprise that erosion of the land leads to increased sedimentation in nearby water sources.


What happens to the polluted water?


Water pollution from mining sites, as we have discussed, run off the site and right into the precious water sources that are used for recreational purposes such as fishing or swimming, used as a municipal water supply or even possibly used in irrigation in the agricultural sector. Regardless of what the affected water source is used for, it will have an effect on the human population in some way.

And it’s also important to note that just because a mining site is no longer “active” doesn’t mean that it’s no longer polluting surrounding water sources. These sites need to be controlled and managed for decades after they’ve been shut down.


What can be done about it?


PROXA Water are experts in the entire water cycle and have successfully worked within the African mineral and mining industry to make a positive change.

When you look at some of the solutions regarding what can be done about water pollution in the mining industry, you’re looking at:

Recycling water processes to ensure “new” water usage is decreased.
Diverting runoff water to prevent contamination of nearby water sources.
Water treatment processes for surface water, process waters and other types of mining water.
Implement a constant water management system both during and long after all mining efforts on the site.
We need to do everything possible to protect our water resource and ensure that no harm comes to society as a result of contaminated water. And the mining industry needs to implement these necessary water treatment and saving processes in order to do so.”




Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


Agricultural Dust – Health Effects

Agricultural dust poses a huge health risk to workers and residents on farms.  What can be done about it?
Exposures and health effects from inorganic agricultural dusts.
M Schenker
Article from – NCIB – EHP – Environmental Health Perspectives –
“Most studies of respiratory disease from dust exposure in the agricultural workplace have focused on allergic diseases caused by inorganic dusts, specifically occupational asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Exposures to inorganic (mineral) dusts among farmers and farm workers may be substantial. Such exposures are most frequent in dry-climate farming regions. In such locations farming activities that perturb the soil (e.g., plowing, tilling) commonly result in exposures to farm operators of 1-5 mg/m(3) respirable dust and >= 20 mg/m(3) total dust. The composition of inorganic dust in agriculture generally reflects the soil composition. Crystalline silica may represent up to 20% of particles, and silicates represent up to 80%. These very high concentrations of inorganic dust are likely to explain some of the increase in chronic bronchitis reported in many studies of farmers. Pulmonary fibrosis (mixed dust pneumoconiosis) has been reported in agricultural workers, and dust samples from the lungs in these cases reflect the composition of agricultural soils, strongly suggesting an etiologic role for inorganic agricultural dusts. However, the prevalence and clinical severity of these cases are unknown, and many exposures are to mixed organic and inorganic dusts. Epidemiologic studies of farmers in diverse geographic settings also have observed an increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease morbidity and mortality. It is plausible that agricultural exposure to inorganic dusts is causally associated with chronic bronchitis, interstitial fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but the independent contribution of mineral dusts beyond the effects of organic dusts remains to be determined.”
Full text – Please follow the link for the full article.
“Agricultural dust exposure was recognized in the 16th century as a cause of respiratory disease (1), and dust exposure has continued to be a major source of respiratory morbidity and mortality among agricultural workers (2).
In general, agricultural dusts may be divided into those of organic and inorganic origin.
Organic dusts originate from plant and animal sources and are commonly the source of allergic diseases such as asthma. Inorganic dusts originate predominantly from the soil, and tend to result in nonallergic reactions in the lung. This article addresses diseases caused by exposure to inorganic dusts in the
agricultural workplace. It covers sources and composition of inorganic agricultural dusts, exposures to agricultural workers, diseases associated with inorganic dust exposure, and directions for future research.
While the respiratory effects of agricultural organic dusts have been recognized for centuries, there has been little recognition of the effects of inorganic dusts exposure in agriculture. Recent research, particularly in areas of dry-climate farming, has identified a range of adverse respiratory outcomes due predominantly to inorganic dust exposures.
It is important to note that dust exposures in the agricultural workplace are commonly to mixtures of organic and inorganic dusts, and it is not always possible (or valid) to attribute observed health effects to one component or the other, particularly on the basis of epidemiologic studies. I have described health effects resulting from exposure to the predominant dust component causing the observed effect.
Conclusions are generally based on the known effects of inorganic dusts in other occupational settings or on clinical or toxicologic studies. Nevertheless, it is recognized that organic dusts may be a contributing factor to some of these health outcomes and in some cases may be the predominant cause.
Inorganic Dust Sources and Composition
Silicates are the predominant inorganic fraction of most soils. They are classified on the basis of how extensively silica is polymerized. The degree of polymerization will in turn determine the resistance to chemical weathering. Respirable quartz also is found in soil dust, although weathering and chemical
reactions may make it less fibrogenic than freshly fractured quartz in other occupations such as quarrying and sandblasting (3). The inorganic fraction of soils from very arid locations may be dominated by calcium carbonate and more soluble salts rather than by silicates. Soils in warm humid climates may have a greater proportion of oxides and hydroxides of iron and aluminum. Clays in agricultural soils have a large surface area and charge and can potentially carry organic materials and pesticides. Little is known about the frequency or nature of such adsorbed exposures (4).”
Agricultural dust
Article from –  NASD
Lungs Need Protection from Farm Dust
Authors – Schwab, Charles V.; Zeimet, Denis; Miller, Laura
“Protective equipment is important when farmers work with pesticides and toxic products. Protective equipment is equally important when farmers work in dusty conditions common to most farms.
Exposure to grain dust, molds, pollen, animal dander, soil dust, welding fumes, and diesel exhaust can lead to serious respiratory problems. Although they are less toxic than some chemicals, dusts are suspended in the air and can easily enter the lungs and cause damage.
Dust in the lungs has both immediate and long-term effects. It can cause additional physical stress for the person, resulting in fatigue or shortness of breath. Long-term exposure to dust can be accompanied by congestion, coughing or wheezing, sensitivity to dust, and frequent respiratory infections such as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Over time, exposure to dust can result in serious respiratory illnesses, such as farmer’s lung, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other irreversible, incurable ailments.
The National Safety Council reported that 300 workers on large farms were incapacitated due to respiratory conditions in 1990, about one-third caused by dust.
To avoid immediate and long-term respiratory problems, farmers are encouraged to wear protective equipment, such as a respirator, whenever they work in dusty conditions. Respirators may be a good choice if workers are:
congested or have breathing problems;
generally bothered by dust, or
concerned about the amount of foreign particles that get into the body.
This publication offers information about respirators used to protect lungs from farm dust. Chemicals such as pesticides, anhydrous ammonia, cleaning solvents, and disinfectants also require the use of protective equipment. Check pesticide applicator training manuals or discuss details with professionals.
Respirators can be one of two types: those that purify existing air, and those that supply air from a tank or other source.
Air-supplied respirators, such as the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) used by firefighters, rarely are used in farming activities. They are relatively expensive and wearers must be trained.
Many dusty conditions on the farm can be improved with the use of an air-purifying respirator. This device fits over the nose and mouth and uses a filter or cartridge to mechanically remove dust particles from the air as the wearer breathes. An air-purifying respirator provides protection from dust and mists.
There are many styles of respirators on today’s market, however, not all are recommended for farming activities. Whether you’re selecting a new respirator or evaluating an existing respirator, always consider several factors.
Testing and approval: All respirators used in farming activities should be approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH-approved respirators have been tested and meet special federal standards.
Proper use: Many problems result from using an inappropriate respirator. For example, dust masks will not reduce chemical vapors. A respirator approved for use with chemicals may not filter dust.
Always use a respirator appropriate for the task. The specific contaminant for which the respirator is approved will be written on the cartridge filter or instructions with the respirator.
Proper rating: As part of the testing process, a respirator is assigned a “protection factor,” or PF rating, which indicates how well the respirator can perform its job. For farming activities, always use a respirator with a PF rating of 10 or above.
Proper size and fit: The respirator must form a good seal with the wearer’s face so that the respirator can function properly. Dust that slips through a poor seal goes directly to the lungs.
Respirators are available in various sizes and designs to fit most faces. Eyeglasses, clothing, and facial hair such as beards or sideburns, can interfere with the seal. All respirators must be “fit tested” by safety professionals, using smoke, saccharin, or banana oil while the device is being worn.
Cost: Respirators can be either disposable or non-disposable. Disposable respirators are inexpensive and can be discarded when dirty or when the job is finished, but they can be relatively expensive if protection is required on a regular basis. A better choice is a durable respirator that can be washed and stored after each use.
The wearer’s physical condition: The wearer of an air-purifying respirator must be in good physical condition. Since air is drawn through a filtering mechanism, breathing becomes more difficult, and can cause stress for people with medical problems, such as heart conditions or respiratory ailments. Always get a physician’s approval to wear a respirator.
No respirator can solve all air quality problems. Wearing a respirator incorrectly is as dangerous as not wearing a respirator at all. People have a false sense of security when wearing a faulty respirator or one that is inappropriate for the task.
Respirators should not be worn when concentrations of dust are in the explosive range. In this situation, you may protect your lungs from dust but you’re exposing yourself to other dangers. A general rule is that if it’s too dusty to see your hand at arm’s length, the environment is dusty enough to be explosive.
Another dangerous situation occurs when air-purifying respirators are used in toxic environments. Since air-purifying respirators do not provide oxygen, the air in the working environment must have at least 19.5 percent oxygen. Death can occur in a limited oxygen environment.
Respirators that filter dust cannot protect wearers in toxic chemical environments, such as manure pits, silos, or sludge tanks. Wearing a respirator equipped with a dust filter in these conditions can be fatal.
The use of respirators in day-to-day farm operations may be a new practice for many operators. However, respirators can reduce exposure to farm dust and may prevent serious respiratory problems.
How Much Do You Know?
How many farm workers in the United States suffer from serious respiratory illnesses each year?
less than 30
at least 300
more than 1,000
People who work in agriculture develop immunities to dusty conditions over time. True or false? Wearing a respirator, even if it does not fit correctly, is better than wearing none at all. True or false?
Most people cannot tell when a respirator fits properly. True or false?
Most respirators used in farming activities supply fresh oxygen. True or false?
A respirator with a chemical cartridge is appropriate to use when
cultivating in the wind.
removing the chemical for which it has been rated.
cleaning a hog confinement building.
See answers at the end of this document.
What Can You Do?
You can reduce your exposure to farm dust with these guidelines:
Make a list of jobs where you might need a respirator.
Determine proper respirator for the job. Check the label or with a professional if you have questions.
Compare the cost of disposable and non-disposable respirators.
Ask a professional to fit-test your respirator.
Routinely clean and inspect all non-disposable respirators. Discard disposable ones when dirty.”
Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Fallout Dust Monitoring course – November 2019

Good day

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is in November 2019 in Rustenburg

11 – 15 November 2019 – Rustenburg

The costs are in the attached files, R4400 per person per day.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.


Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring

082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)

083 308 4764 (Gerry)

021 789 0847 (Cape Town)

011 083 8750 (Johannesburg)

+1 832 422 5031 (USA)

0866 181 421 (Fax – SA Only)


To be removed from this list, simply reply with Remove at the front of the Subject line.

Bizarre sandstorm near Theewaterskloof

A strange event occurred near Theewaterskloof recently.  We’ve also included a few other strange weather events that have happened in 2019 in other parts of the world.  Hope you enjoy the read!


Bizarre sandstorm event near Theewaterskloof leaves drivers strandedThe South African

“Western Cape motorists had to take evasive action on Sunday, when a sandstorm battered the main road through the Theewaterskloof municipality.”

By Tom Head

“A leisurely Sunday morning drive turned into a nightmare for several motorists in the Western Cape this weekend, when they were caught up in a very rare sandstorm event near the Theewaterskloof dam in Villiersdorp.

Those using the R321 at around 10:00 were knocked off-course by the blustering conditions, which made visibility nigh-on impossible and posed a serious safety risk to motorists. The stretch of road between Grabouw and Villiersdorp became so badly affected, a member of the community policing forum headed down to the area.

Strange weather hits motorists in Villiersdorp
The person in the fluorescent jacket is seen trying to warn other motorists of the impending danger, but much of it is to no avail. Cars crawl through the plumes of dust, barely making it through to the other side. It was also reported that some cars had to be towed out of the piles of sand that had formed on the road.

A minibus taxi proved to be one of those vehicles. It appears in the video, almost like a mirage, when the course of the storm eases slightly. The SA Weather Service (Saws) have also commented on the weather event, who suspect that strong gale force winds caused the sandstorm near Theewaterskloof.

Saws are keeping one eye on the unsettled conditions in the Western Cape for this week, too. Weather advisories are in place until Wednesday with regards to “high seas”, from the Atlantic Seaboard down to Knysna. Waves could reach almost eight metres in some parts, so coastal dwellers are advised to keep their distance on the shore.”

The 10 Strangest Weather Events We’ve Seen in 2019 So FarThe Weather Channel

By Jonathan Erdman

“Halfway through 2019 we’ve seen our share of tornadoes, floods, winter storms, cold outbreaks, drought and tropical cyclones, but some weather events this year have downright bizarre.

(See images on the website)

10. House Miraculously Survives Georgia Tornado
One of the year’s longest-track tornadoes produced EF4 damage in Lee County, Alabama, on March 3, and claimed 23 lives.

The tornado then tore through a subdivision in Waverly Hall, Georgia. Aerial video showed one segment of the EF2 damage with at least 100 downed trees surrounding a home.

EF2 tornadoes are capable of tearing roofs off well-constructed homes, but this home appeared relatively unscathed.

We’ve seen countless examples of tornadoes and high winds toppling trees onto homes and vehicles, sometimes resulting in deaths. In this case, not one of the trees fell on the home, an incredible stroke of luck.

9. When It Snows on May Commencement

When you think back to your outdoor graduation, you probably don’t remember the weather. That won’t be the case for University of Colorado’s 2019 spring graduates.

On May 9, their outdoor commencement service was abbreviated because of 1 to 3 inches of snow in Boulder.

Students wore ski goggles and snow boots and had snowball fights at the end of the ceremony attended by about 20,000 people.

8. State’s First February Tornado on Record is a ‘Snowspout’

On Feb. 17, Antonio Chiquito documented a tornado live on Facebook while herding sheep on the Navajo Reservation near Tinian in McKinley County, northwest of Albuquerque.

This wasn’t a tornado spawned from a rotating supercell thunderstorm, but a landspout variety that forms when a growing cumulus cloud develops over a boundary of converging surface winds.

And, yes, that’s snow on the ground. The National Weather Service dubbed it a “snowspout”.

This was the first documented February tornado in New Mexico, according to records kept since 1950. It was also only the second tornado on record in McKinley County.

7. Blowing Dust Over a Flooded Town

A surreal sight was visible in one Oklahoma town during a siege of heavy rain and severe weather in May, the nation’s second wettest month on record.

On May 21, Photographer OKWeatherWatch captured images of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, flooded by two creeks. At the same time, gusts up to 50 mph turned the sky brown with dust from west Texas.

In Kingfisher, May 2019 was the wettest month (17.14 inches) in 122 years of records. But if you looked only at the sky, you would’ve thought it had been in a dry spell.”

For the rest of the strange weather events, follow the link provided above.


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Alexander Bay hit by red sand storm

Alexander Bay was recently hit by a red sand storm.  Take a look at the video!


Alexander Bay hit by red sand storm – News24

By Jenni Evans

“Alexander Bay turned into a swirling red ball of dust on Wednesday as a severe sand storm hit the town on the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape.

“This morning when I woke up it was so red, and it was raining at the same time,” said local pastor Carel Wiggett.

“You cannot believe what it looks like – the sand hung over the town and now the wind is blowing.”

He said people had tried to go to work, but had to turn back.

“People can’t see the white line in the street,” he said.

He added that no aircraft could land at the airport, because it turned into the “scareport” during sand storms, and pilots diverted to other landing spots.

“If you’re expecting someone, you hear the engines in the air, and then you just hear them changing direction, and you just have to wait.”

He added that there were also extreme variations in temperature during the storms, with it being cool inside the house and over the 30°C outside.

The SA Weather Service warned that the storm would continue into Thursday morning.”

Red sand storm - Alexander Bay

World Meteorological Organisation

Sand and Dust Storms

“Sand and dust storms are common meteorological hazards in arid and semi-arid regions. They are usually caused by thunderstorms – or strong pressure gradients associated with cyclones – which increase wind speed over a wide area. These strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere, transporting them hundreds to thousands of kilometres away. Some 40% of aerosols in the troposphere (the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere) are dust particles from wind erosion. The main sources of these mineral dusts are the arid regions of Northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia and China. Comparatively, Australia, America and South Africa make minor, but still important, contributions. Global estimates of dust emissions, mainly derived from simulation models, vary between one and three Gigatons per year.

Once released from the surface, dust particles are raised to higher levels of the troposphere by turbulent mixing and convective updrafts. They can then be transported by winds for lengths of time, depending on their size and meteorological conditions, before being pulled back down to the surface again. As larger particles sediment more quickly than smaller ones, there is a shift toward smaller particle sizes during transport. Dust is also washed out of the atmosphere by precipitation. The average lifetime of dust particles in the atmosphere ranges from a few hours for particles with a diameter larger than 10 μm, to more than 10 days for the sub-micrometric ones.

Interaction with weather and climate
Aerosols, particularly mineral dusts, impact weather as well as global and regional climate. Dust particles, especially if coated by pollution, act as condensation nuclei for warm cloud formation and as efficient ice nuclei agents for cold cloud generation. The ability of dust particles to serve as such depends on their size, shape and composition, which in turn depend on the nature of parent soils, emissions and transport processes. Modification of the microphysical composition of clouds changes their ability to absorb solar radiation, which indirectly affects the energy reaching the Earth’s surface. Dust particles also influence the growth of cloud droplets and ice crystals, thus affecting the amount and location of precipitation.

Airborne dust functions in a manner similar to the greenhouse effect: it absorbs and scatters solar radiation entering Earth’s atmosphere, reducing the amount reaching the surface, and absorbs long-wave radiation bouncing back up from the surface, re-emitting it in all directions. Again, the ability of dust particles to absorb solar radiation depends on their size, shape and mineralogical and chemical composition. The vertical distribution of dust in the air (vertical profile) and the characteristics of the underlying surface are also required to quantify this impact.

Impacts on human health
Airborne dust presents serious risks for human health. Dust particle size is a key determinant of potential hazard to human health. Particles larger than 10 μm are not breathable, thus can only damage external organs – mostly causing skin and eye irritations, conjunctivitis and enhanced susceptibility to ocular infection. Inhalable particles, those smaller than 10 μm, often get trapped in the nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract, thus can be associated with respiratory disorders such as asthma, tracheitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis and silicosis. However, finer particles may penetrate the lower respiratory tract and enter the bloodstream, where they can affect all internal organs and be responsible for cardiovascular disorders. A global model assessment in 2014 estimated that exposure to dust particles caused about 400 000 premature deaths by cardiopulmonary disease in the over 30 population.”

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