A popular road through Yellowstone National Park was shut down on Thursday when the asphalt started to melt.
The park says extreme heat from thermal areas is causing hot oil to bubble to the surface of Firehole Lake Drive, a scenic 3.3-mile loop that runs past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.
“It basically turned the asphalt into soup,” park spokesman Dan Hottle told USA Today. “It turned the gravel road into oatmeal.”
That same thermal heat melting the road is what gives the park its famous geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles. But for the moment, some of these natural wonders will be off-limits as officials ask both motorists and hikers to avoid the area.
“There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park,” Al Nash, another Yellowstone spokesman, told The Associated Press. “I wouldn’t risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure.”
The park says the road will remain closed for several days, but no re-opening date has been announced.
Rounds of thunderstorms, including severe weather, will affect the Midwest this weekend into Monday, ahead of a push of unseasonably cool air.
While the effect of the July sun and warm landscape will cancel some of the cool air, it will become surprisingly cool during what is typically the hottest time of the year.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Carl Erickson, “The pattern is reminiscent of a major polar plunge that occurred this past winter, which was referred to as the Polar Vortex.”
A piece of the Polar Vortex, and a summertime version at that will break off from the Arctic and drop southward this coming week.
The pattern will not bring snow or sub-zero cold but it will bring angry clouds, cool air and the risk of waterspouts over the warmer portions of Great Lakes.
The pattern will deliver multiple days with high temperatures in the lower 70s in Chicago and Detroit and even a day or two with highs in the 60s in Minneapolis and other parts of the Upper Midwest.
For fans heading to the All-Star Game at Minneapolis, the it may seem more like football weather. Jackets and long sleeves may be needed by many fans to stay comfortable.
At night, temperatures could challenge record lows from the Midwest. Temperatures will drop into the 50s at night in many cities and will dip into the 40s in some of the suburbs and rural areas.
The cooler air will move in aloft before reaching ground level. As this happens, an unstable atmosphere will trigger episodes of thunderstorms, some of which will be severe in parts of the region.
The first episode will fire over portions of the northern and central Plains to the Upper Midwest into Friday.
On Friday, the storms in parts of eastern Wyoming and from northeastern Colorado to Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota will bring the potential for damaging wind gusts and large hail.
Once again, the major threats will be damaging wind gusts and hail.
The severe storms spanning Saturday into Sunday could reach the metro areas of Omaha, Nebraska, Des Moines, Iowa, Chicago, and Detroit with the risks of power outages, property damage and travel disruptions.
Storms packing gusty winds, hail and locally heavy rain will also target areas from Montana to Wyoming, Colorado and the Nebraska Panhandle on Saturday.
Sunday and Monday, the threat of severe weather will continue in portions of the Ohio Valley and will ramp up in the Northeast. The greatest threats these days will be damaging wind gusts, flash flooding and frequent lightning strikes.
After the cool air takes root in the Midwest during the early and middle portion of next week,waterspouts will be a threat to boaters, fishing and beach interests over the southern portion of the Great Lakes.
A bright object that dazzled in the sky over Australia left people confused. Social media was abuzz with the pictures of the mystery fireball, with users claiming it was either a plane crashing into the ocean or a ‘meteor.’
A round object with a burning tail was spotted in the sky over Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia at about 9:45pm local time on Thursday night.
Airservices Australia spokesman Paul Sadler told ABC Radio that pilots and air traffic controllers also reported the flaming object.
“A number of pilots reported it to air traffic controllers (and said) it was just a spectacular sight of a meteorite entering the Earth’s atmosphere,” he said.
The “light show” lasted for around 30 seconds, but eyewitnesses were fast to post pictures and start speculating online about what the object could be.
Some of them claimed the fireball was a meteor and others suggested it might have been a plane on fire.
“We received numerous emergency calls from people concerned,” Country Fire Authority spokeswoman Andrea Brown said, according to Herald Sun. “People believed they had witnessed an aircraft crashing into the sea.”
Astronomers quickly dispelled all guesses and said the mystery meteor clearly had signs of a man-made object.
“The images I’ve seen show a lot of different colors,” Astronomical Society of Victoria president Ken Le Marquand told AAP. “When you get lots of colors, it usually means there are different materials in there – man-made materials,” he said.
The Nobel Prize winning Australian National University Astronomer Brian Schmidt concluded that “our fireball may well have been a piece of space junk.”
Schmidt’s assumption was supported by Monash astronomer Dr. Michael Brown, who said that “space junk crossed my mind, too.”
Sydney observatory astronomer Melissa Hulbert made things more clear, saying that what was believed to be a meteor was more likely part of a Russian satellite launched from Kazakhstan.
“It looks like it was the upper-stage of a Soyuz’s rocket that was launched a few days ago,” Hulbert said.
“It’s kind of like the Apollo mission,” she said. “Parts would be dropped off at various points throughout the mission.”
According to the local Merimbula News Weekly, the Satview Tracking Satellites forecasted space junk to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere on the night of July 10 and July 11.
Subject To Change
Depth: 10 km
Distances: 185 km SE of Sendai-shi, Japan / pop: 1,037,562 / local time: 04:22:00.9 2014-07-12
130 km E of Namie, Japan / pop: 21,866 / local time: 04:22:00.9 2014-07-12
Subject To Change
Depth: 5 km
Distances: 270 km NW of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico / pop: 1,512,354 / local time: 11:33:21.0 2014-07-11
47 km S of Clifton, United States / pop: 3,311 / local time: 10:33:21.0 2014-07-11
Subject To Change
Depth: 124 km
Distances: 456 km E of Taipei, Taiwan / pop: 7,871,900 / local time: 21:11:46.9 2014-07-11
182 km W of Naha-shi, Japan / pop: 300,795 / local time: 22:11:46.9 2014-07-11
175 km N of Hirara, Japan / pop: 34,354 / local time: 22:11:46.9 2014-07-11