NEWS
05/01/2018 11:18 GMT | Updated 05/01/2018 13:37 GMT

US Bomb Cyclone Causes Iguanas To Drop From Trees And Sharks To Freeze

Say what?

Winter storms blanketing America’s East Coast are proving so brutal that frigid iguanas are toppling from trees and sharks are dying from cold shock.

The record-breaking cold snap is powered by a rapid plunge in barometric pressure that some weather forecasters are calling bombogenesis or a “bomb cyclone”, bringing high winds and swift, heavy snowfall.

Amid power outages and the tragic deaths of more than a dozen people, here are some of the more unusual effects of the blizzard, which has dumped a foot or more of snow throughout the northeast region. 

‘Sharkcicles’ And Stunned Sea Turtles

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy has reported finding three thresher sharks washed up in Cape Cod within the last week.

Two of the fish were thought to have been stranded due to cold shock, while the third was found to be frozen.

On Facebook the group said: “This shark was too frozen to attempt a necropsy. We hauled the shark off the beach and it is currently thawing at NOAA Fisheries Service to be dissected later. A true sharkcicle!”

Additionally, more than a dozen sea turtles narrowly escaped the same fate and are recovering at NOAA’s Sea Turtle Hospital in Galveston, Texas. Biologists were called after a lethargic green sea turtle cold-stunned by freezing air temperatures was found by fishermen in Christmas Bay, west of Galveston Island.

18 turtles in total were brought in for rehabilitation, where their body temperature was slowly increased prior to being placed in water. “Each turtle is being carefully monitored by NOAA staff and is fed a daily diet of vegetables, squid and shrimp.

“Four of the turtles recovered quite quickly and were released into warmer offshore waters. The rest of the turtles will be released as they recover,” a spokesman explained. 

It’s Raining Iguanas 

A storm dumped snow on Florida’s capital Tallahassee for the first time in three decades, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency. Temperatures dropping to 5C in the state has resulted in a number of iguanas tumbling from their perches in suburban trees.

Native to Central and South American, the cold-blooded creatures start to get sluggish when temperatures fall below 10C, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Kristen Sommers told the Associated Press. If the mercury falls below that, they become too cold to move.

However, she warned: “Don’t assume they are dead,” adding that well-meaning residents should leave them alone as they may feel threatened and bite once they warm up.  

‘Please Don’t Float On Icebergs’  

The National Weather Service in Boston was prompted to issue a somewhat unlikely warning against attempting to mount icebergs after Fox News tweeted a photo of reporter Kathryn Burcham apparently doing just that whilst giving updates on the storm.

NWS Boston responded by tweeting: “We do not recommend going out and floating on icebergs; this is a very dangerous situation along the coastline with major flooding ongoing, people homes and other infrastructure becoming inundated and damaged; please observe should you have to from a safe location.”

Burcham later claimed the “iceberg” was actually on the pavement and she had only appeared to be floating.

Out Of This World

As if a “bomb cyclone” was not terrifying enough, NOAA and NASA Satellites provided equally frightening yet mesmerising footage and images of the storm from space.

NOAA
A NOAA Geocolour image capturing the deepening storm on 4 January