Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Only drink when you're by yourself. Or with somebody else.**
The Unsinkable Molly Brown


LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.0 TONGA
5.2 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.0 NIAS REGION, INDONESIA
5.7 IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
5.3 MOLUCCA SEA
5.6 SULU SEA

Yesterday, 2/24/15 -
5.0 DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
5.4 CENTRAL MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.3 JUJUY, ARGENTINA
5.1 VANUATU
5.8 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

2/23/15 -
5.1 OFF E. COAST OF N. ISLAND, N.Z.

2/22/15 -
5.2 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
6.2 OFF COAST OF JALISCO, MEXICO
5.1 FIJI REGION
5.5 COLOMBIA
5.1 SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
5.1 NORTHERN XINJIANG, CHINA
5.5 NEAR S COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.2 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

2/21/15 -
5.1 COLOMBIA
5.1 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.3 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
5.2 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
6.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

2/20/15 -
5.3 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
5.5 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.2 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
6.3 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

2/19/15 -
5.0 VANUATU
5.4 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.5 VANUATU
5.0 FIJI REGION
5.1 VANUATU
6.5 VANUATU
5.3 MACQUARIE ISLAND REGION

TROPICAL STORMS -

* In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Glenda is located approximately 908 nm east-northeast of St Denis, La Reunion.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

Afghanistan - A series of avalanches have struck north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing around 100 people. The snowfall has been concentrated in Panjshir province, where two schools and a mosque and around 100 homes had been destroyed. (Video)
The sudden snowfall after a mild winter surprised many residents, who were reportedly trying to dig out survivors using their bare hands in some areas. Avalanches are relatively common in northern Afghanistan, with dozens dying in major incidents in 2010 and 2012.
But the governor said Panjshir province HAD NOT SEEN AVALANCHES ON THIS LEVEL FOR THREE DECADES. "We need to clear 40km [25 miles] of snow in order to get [to the affected areas]. We have tried to clear the central road of the province to pave the way for assistance to get through. The assistance, however, has not yet arrived." Civilians were also battling through blocked roads to try to reach remote areas.
Disaster officials suggested there were at least 10 other deaths outside Panjshir province, putting the current death toll above 100. If the deaths are confirmed, it would be the worst avalanche in years. In 2012, a series of avalanches in Badakhshan province killed dozens. In 2010, more than 20 avalanches hit the Salang area, killing at least 165.

U. S. - Snow fell on the Deep South on Wednesday as another storm brought nasty weather to the region, walloping places that were hit hard just last week. Schools, daycares and offices closed ahead of the storm and governors once again declared states of emergency.
The most intense part of the storm stretched from north Texas eastward to North Carolina and Virginia. Snow accumulations could be 6 to 8 inches or higher in some places. Relief — in the form of higher temperatures — is expected Thursday.

'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' / CLIMATE CHANGE -

U.S. sea level rise called 'very unusual' - Sea levels along the northeast coast of the U.S. rose by record levels during 2009-2010, a study has found. Sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm in two years. Coastal areas will need to prepare for short term and extreme sea level events, say U.S. scientists.
Climate models suggest extreme sea level rises will become more common this century. "The extreme sea level rise event during 2009-10 along the northeast coast of North America is UNPRECEDENTED during the past century. Statistical analysis indicates that it is a 1-in-850 year event."
Scientists at the University of Arizona and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in New Jersey studied records of tidal levels along the east coast of the US and Canada. They divided the coastline into three areas: north of New York City, New York City to Cape Hatteras on the coast of North Carolina, and south of Cape Hatteras.
They identified what they call an extreme sea-level rise during 2009-10, when the coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by 128mm. "When coastal storms occur, extreme sea levels can lead to elevated storm surg. In addition to long-term and gradual sea level rise, coastal communities will need to prepare for short and extreme sea level rise events."

Mysterious Northeast Floods Caused by Weird Winds - Mysterious flooding and high tides along the East Coast in 2009 and 2010 now have an explanation: a major change in the Atlantic Ocean’s wind patterns and warm-water currents.
At the time, the UNUSUALLY HIGH TIDES caught people by surprise. Now, researchers know why the ocean was flooding beaches and barrier islands: Sea levels temporarily jumped by up to 2 feet (61 centimeters) above the high tide mark, as measured by tide gauges along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Florida. Over the two-year period, coastal sea levels rose an average of 4 inches (10 cm) from New York to Newfoundland, Canada.
“This extreme sea level rise is UNPRECEDENTED in tide gauge records. This is a one-in-850-year event, based on the past records.” The unexpected surge was caused by a major slowdown in the Gulf Stream, one of the Atlantic Ocean’s great currents. About two months before sea levels spiked along the East Coast, the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) declined by 30 percent. The Gulf Stream, which is part of the AMOC, flows from the tip of Florida up the coast to Newfoundland, Canada.

HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS

World Health Organization 'taken aback' by measles outbreaks - Officials say they have been "taken aback" by more than 22,000 cases in 2014 and the first months of this year. The WHO demands that counties control the outbreaks with "no exception".
It say the surges threaten the goal of eliminating measles in the region by the end of 2015. "When we consider that over the past two decades we have seen a reduction of 96% in the number of measles cases in the European region, and that we are just a step away from eliminating the disease, we are taken aback by these numbers. We must collectively respond, without further delay, to close immunization gaps. It is unacceptable that, after the last 50 years' efforts to make safe and effective vaccines available, measles continues to cost lives, money and time."

Duodeonocope superbug - How long did the FDA know about problem? Duodeonoscopes were the cause of recent infections and deaths at UCLA. But patients in Minnesota were infected in 1987 - and now doctors and members of Congress say they're concerned the Food and Drug Administration might have missed the problem for decades.
"This problem has been known since at least 1987. It certainly is disturbing that a fundamental design issue with these scopes would cause problems for this long."
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Imagination is more important than knowledge.**
Albert Einstein


LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.1 MACQUARIE ISLAND REGION

Yesterday, 2/18/15 -
5.2 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.4 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS REGION
6.2 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS REGION
5.2 HALMAHERA, INDONESIA
5.1 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.4 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.4 ASCENSION ISLAND REGION
5.0 NORTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
5.0 NORTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
5.2 NORTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
5.0 MAULE, CHILE

2/17/15 -
5.4 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.8 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 VALPARAISO, CHILE
5.0 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.2 OFF E. COAST OF N. ISLAND, N.Z.
5.3 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.1 MOLUCCA SEA

TROPICAL STORMS -

* In the Southern Pacific -
- Tropical cyclone Marcia is located approximately 508 nm east of Cairns, Australia.

- Tropical cyclone Lam is located approximately 315 nm east-northeast of Darwin, Australia.
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Australia - Cyclone Marcia: Brisbane residents warned to expect 90kph winds, up to 500mm of rain, as wild weather hits coast. More than 6,500 sandbags have been filled.
Brisbane could experience wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour and receive up to 500 millimetres of rain over the next few days as Cyclone Marcia in the Coral Sea makes its way closer to the Queensland coast from Thursday until Saturday.
"Brisbane will be hit with heavy rain, flash flooding and thunderstorms from Thursday evening. There's also the potential of wind gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour and a warning across the coast for high tides which could exceed their highest tides of the year." The city could expect a downpour.
"We're expecting widespread rainfall totals of 200 to 400 millimetres from Thursday and that could even reach over 500 milimetres by Friday. We're expecting to see those totals in many places across south east Queensland, Brisbane included." The bureau has also issued a flood watch warning.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has advised people to secure loose outdoor items and avoid flood waters. "Every weather event is different but there will be impacts from the heavy rainfalls and damaging winds. The severe winds can bring trees down so people should be on alert."
Tropical Cyclone Marcia due to hit Queensland as category five system - Tropical Cyclone Marcia is continuing to rapidly intensify and is due to make landfall as a category five system on Friday morning. The category four cyclone looms about 150 kilometres off the coast and is due to hit land between Mackay and Gladstone about 8:00am. A very destructive central core, spanning less than 100 kilometres, would generate gusts up to 295 kilometres an hour, the Bureau of Meteorology warned.
There is hope that the cyclone would cross in a remote area. "That is the indication at the moment, but anything can change here." It is on track to hit St. Lawrence, which has a few hundred locals, as a category five and is expected to travel south over land reaching Maoura and Biloela as a category one system on Friday night.
A cyclone watch has been issued for areas between Bowen to Double Island Point, extending inland to Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, Monto, Taroom, Mundubbera and Murgon. Destructive winds are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between Mackay and Burnett Heads tonight. Gales are now beginning to occur about coastal and island communities between Mackay and Double Island Point, and are expected to extend north to Bowen later this evening and inland to areas including Blackwater, Moura, Biloela, and Monto overnight and Friday.
"We are strongly advising coastal residents to self evacuate. It has been 25 years since we have seen anything of this calibre." The Whitsunday Islands are in lockdown and many regional airports are due to close this evening. "This is a serious event. It has changed drastically since this morning."
Cyclone Marcia was originally due to make landfall in the very early hours of Friday, but it has slowed as it built in intensity. The cyclone developed quicker than usual, going from category two at 11:00am to a category four at 6:00pm.
Heavy rain may lead to flash flooding, with some 24 hour totals expected in excess of 300 millimetres on the coast and nearby ranges. A flood watch is current for the Wide Bay and Burnett, south-east coast and the Darling Downs and Granite Belt districts. More than 200 swift water rescue officers have been sent to flood-prone areas.
ABNORMALLY HIGH tides will be experienced today and Friday with water levels expected to rise above the highest tide of the year on the high tide. Residents between Mackay and Double Island have been warned of the potential for a dangerous storm tide. Closures were expected to be in place for several days.

Australia - Tropical Cyclone Lam: Eye passing near Elcho Island with power lost, wind gusts at 205kph. Trees felled by Cyclone Lam at Galiwinku community on Elcho Island.
Several hundred people in the community of Galiwinku on Elcho Island are experiencing the brunt of Cyclone Lam with winds of up to 205 kilometres per hour hitting the area as the system moves towards the Northern Territory mainland. Earlier on Thursday, hundreds of people from the Aboriginal community of Warruwi were evacuated to Darwin on helicopters and planes. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has advised it expects the cyclone, currently a category three system, will strengthen to a category four as it crosses the NT's mainland coast between Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak early on Friday morning.
Elcho Island was currently bearing the brunt of the cyclone. "Residents should be bunkered down in safe housing at the moment. The next concern is, as the cyclone moves closer to land on the south-west trajectory and then mainland, locations and communities between Milingimbi and Elcho Island will be next in line as we move into the overnight period."
A man in a cyclone shelter on Elcho Island said he could feel the sturdy building vibrating in the gale force winds at 6:00pm (CST). He said he had seen the wind tearing trees from the root and throwing them 100 metres. The mood in the shelter was panicked, he said, with the power cut about 5:30pm and concerns there would not be enough food and water to last through the cyclone. He said he had heard a friend's roof was missing and the main store was also damaged.
Up to 5,000 people in remote Arnhem Land Indigenous communities have so far been directly affected by the cyclone. Warruwi, which is the largest community on South Goulburn Island, is in line to be hit hard by Cyclone Lam, which early Thursday changed course and began heading south-west towards land. More than 430 people have been evacuated from Goulburn Island to Darwin showgrounds, where they have been temporarily housed.
There was sufficient shelter and authorities had decided not to evacuate residents from Elcho Island, which the BoM had predicted would be hit by winds of up to 220kph. "There is built-to-code premises and shelters in those communities. They are able to sustain and shelter people from a category three, which is as per the code."
At 5:00pm CST on Thursday BoM reported the cyclone was 30km north of Galawinku and 140 km west north-west of Nhulunbuy, about 600km east of Darwin. It was gusting at 205kph and moving south-west at 10kph. In the early hours of Thursday morning the category three storm had altered its westerly course and began moving south- south-west. The cyclone was expected to make landfall on the coast near Elcho Island overnight on Thursday or early Friday, before weakening once it was over land. Even a category three cyclone would have very destructive wind gusts of up to 220kph.
Maningrida is currently on a cyclone warning including possible wind gusts of up to 170 kph. The stores in Maningrida are well stocked, but the meeting heard that supplies are running low in other communities more directly in the forecasted path of the cyclone.The eye of the storm is forecast to cross the coast well to the east of the community, but cyclones in the Top End are notoriously difficult to predict. Tropical Cyclone Lam was originally predicted to stay in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but left and headed west along the NT coast.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

With temperatures in the teens in Washington D.C., the C&O Canal is frozen solid. So are tens of millions of people from Maine to the Carolinas. "And now to add insult to injury there's been some of the coldest air in the last couple of decades invading the Northeast from the Arctic."
What's behind it all is the polar vortex. "The polar vortex is essentially the coldest air found in the Northern Hemisphere, and it's situated up in the Arctic in the bulk of the winter. But occasionally, a lobe of that will dip south above the jet stream and allow that cold air down into the Middle Atlantic states. Sometimes last winter, it was into the northern Plains."
But while the polar vortex has pushed that mass of cold air south in the eastern part of the country, it's moved in the opposite direction out west - bringing warm, dry weather. "We really have a snow drought out west. We won't have that water available for irrigation and drinking water out West as we go into next summer." The worst could be yet to come, in the form of flooding if the New England ice pack melts too quickly.
Polar vortex to unleash RECORD-BREAKING COLD in eastern US on Thursday, Friday - The coldest air of the season is surging south this week, leading up to what could be historic cold for parts of the eastern United States. Thursday and Friday’s polar outbreak could set all-time February low records from Tennessee to Virginia. With a fresh coat of snow, Washington has the potential to dip below zero for the first time since 1994. All of this is courtesy of a plume of not just Arctic, but Siberian air that has been trudging across the North Pole and into North America over the past week.
But if Thursday is bad, Friday will be much worse, when sub-zero temperatures dig in across the Midwest, the entire states of Ohio and West Virginia and east into the Mid-Atlantic. The GFS model is forecasting Friday morning lows below minus 20 degrees in parts of Michigan, Indiana, southern Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and far western Virginia.
Records for February low temperatures are in jeopardy in Cincinnati; Knoxville, Tenn.; Roanoke, Va., and Charleston, W.Va., says the Weather Channel. While not everyone will see record-breaking lows this week, the entire eastern half of the United States will see below-average temperatures. When combined with winds, the outbreak will create dangerously cold wind chills on Thursday and Friday morning. Most of the eastern half of the country is painted with wind chill advisories and warnings from the Upper Midwest south into Florida. (maps)
15 of the most astonishing snowstorm photos.

SPACE WEATHER -

500-Pound Fireball Over Pittsburgh - With a brilliant flash of light, a fireball pierced the predawn sky over Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Not one, not two, but three NASA cameras caught footage of the fiery streak—which turned out to be a two-foot-wide, 500-pound meteor traveling at some 45,000 miles per hour, according to NASA’s Meteor Watch Facebook account.
The cameras are part of NASA's All Sky Fireball Network, a system of 15 specialized cameras that record black-and-white footage of meteors. Dozens of people fortunate enough to be awake around 4:45 a.m. in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania caught a rare glimpse of the blast when it lit up the sky like a full moon. A few even reported hearing a delayed boom following the sight.
NASA also created a simulated trajectory of the recent meteor that shows it traversing through the asteroid belt somewhere between Mars and Jupiter, and hurtling toward the northeastern United States. The event comes nearly two years to the day that a much larger space rock exploded over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk, injuring more than 1,000 people.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**To be or not to be, that is the question.**
Hamlet


LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.4 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.4 VALPARAISO, CHILE
5.0 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.2 OFF E. COAST OF N. ISLAND, N.Z.
5.8 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.3 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.1 MOLUCCA SEA

Yesterday, 2/16/15 -
6.8 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
6.2 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION

2/15/15 -
5.3 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
5.4 FIJI REGION
5.3 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
5.1 NORTH OF ASCENSION ISLAND
5.1 VANUATU
5.0 SULAWESI, INDONESIA

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 struck off northeastern Japan on Tuesday and small waves were reported along the northern coast but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.
Japan lifted a tsunami advisory it had issued for the northeastern coast hours after small waves of between 10 cm and 20 cm (4-8 inches) reached the coast off Iwate prefecture, some 600 km (370 miles) north of Tokyo. Thousands of residents in the area had been ordered to evacuate. Live video from ports on the Iwate coast showed small waves lapping on the shore. Towns along the northeastern coast of Japan had been leveled in a devastating tsunami in March 2011.
"This quake is an aftershock of the 2011 quake that hit the Tohoku region," Japan Meteorological Agency seismologists said. The agency warned residents against entering the ocean and said waves could continue to fluctuate for some time.
Tuesday's quake was measured at a depth of about 10 km (6 miles). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said there was no danger of a Pacific-wide tsunami but the Japan Meteorological Agency issued its tsunami advisory for Iwate prefecture after the quake. Tohoku Electric Power Co, which operates the Onagawa and Higashidori nuclear plants in nearby Miyagi and Aomori prefectures, said it saw no irregularities at the facilities after the quake.
All 48 of Japan's nuclear reactors remain offline after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan. Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

Record-Breaking Cold Grips Eastern United States - Record-breaking cold gripped the eastern United States on Monday while an icy winter storm crippled the nation's central states and then plowed into the mid-Atlantic, dumping snow ahead of Tuesday's morning commute.
Heavy snowfall and ice moving from the Southern Plains eastward pounded Missouri, Arkansas,southern Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. With the storm headed east and sleet and freezing rain expected to also take a swipe at the South, states of emergency were declared in North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, as well as in Washington, D.C.
Airlines canceled more than 1,800 U.S. flights, with the hardest hit airports in North Carolina and Tennessee. Freezing rain encased Tennessee in ice, closing roads, schools and tourist attractions. Sleet in Arkansas shut schools and the Governor told nearly all government workers to stay home.
Cars skidded off roads near Louisville, Kentucky, where there were six times the usual number of accidents and a fleet of more than 1,000 snow plows tried to clear slick roads. Citing nasty weather, Kentucky's state legislature said it would not reconvene until Wednesday at the earliest.
The storm dumped 10 inches (25 cm) of snow on Cincinnati and then headed east to Washington, D.C., slamming the nation's capital with heavy snow that could pile as high as 12 inches. "Washington and Baltimore - that's where the bulls eye's going to be." Slippery roads in western Pennsylvania on Monday were blamed for a collision between a van and a school bus carrying 13 students about 60 miles (95 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. Several people were hurt, although the extent of the injuries was unknown.
About 50 million Americans were under wind chill advisories as the mercury plunged to new depths, breaking records in New York City, where it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15 Celsius), breaking the previous record for Feb. 16 of 9 F in 2003, and Washington, D.C., where it was 6 F, compared with 11 F recorded in 1987.
The weather front, expected to reach Boston by Wednesday, follows a weekend storm that dumped 16 inches, making it the snowiest February in the city's history. In the scramble to clear snow on Monday before the next round arrives, one person died while shoveling in Brighton and prison inmates from the Massachusetts Department of Corrections were put to work clearing mass transit rail lines. "The heaviest stuff will be close to the coast in eastern Massachusetts." The new storm will be followed by another arctic front, bringing frigid cold to the eastern United States by Thursday or Friday.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**A nation of sheep creates a government of wolves.**
Edward R. Murrow


LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.1 NORTH OF ASCENSION ISLAND
5.1 VANUATU
5.0 SULAWESI, INDONESIA

Yesterday, 2/14/15 -
5.0 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.1 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
5.1 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
5.2 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE

2/13/15 -
6.2 TAIWAN REGION
5.2 REYKJANES RIDGE
6.8 NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.4 NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.1 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
5.0 BISMARCK SEA

USGS says 'there was no quake in western Russia' - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said on Friday there was no earthquake in western Russia after earlier reporting on its website a magnitude 6.8 near the border with Belarus.
The agency's sensors mislocated an earthquake that was taking place elsewhere. The Russia earthquake appeared on the USGS website while a series of strong temblors were taking place in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, some 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Greenland.
It was earlier reported that the regin of Bryansk had been hit by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. It follows an earlier 3.7 magnitude quake close to the Russia –Xinjiang border at 7am Friday morning.

Huge quake overdue in central Himalayas, scientists warn - A massive earthquake is overdue in the Central Himalayan region due to years of accumulating stress. This was discovered by a team of scientists who, while digging in the region, unearthed a previous pulse of great earthquakes followed by a long hush under the layers of rock and soil within those mountains.
“Two great earthquakes occurred 700 years ago. Since then, no great earthquake has occurred. The region has been accumulating stress. This has to break. We looked at fault offsets of certain sedimentary formations. Then we used different techniques to find the age of dislocations.”
The excavation sites near Ramnagar in Central Himalaya suggest there have been successive occurrences of two great earthquakes in the region in the 13th and 14th centuries. Further work in the area is required to refine the results and tectonic models to understand the rupture segmentations along the arc. “All major cities in the region need to get ready for this major hazard, which is going to be economically and otherwise devastating, as the risk has increased multifold over the centuries due to population increase and expansion of built environment. An urgent action plan must be put in place for public awareness, enforcement of building codes and environmental laws.”

VOLCANOES -
Hawaii - Possibility of Mauna Loa erupting? This sleeping giant which makes up half the Big Island might be waking up. "Looks like Mauna Loa is showing some signs of activity," said a volcanologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
He's noticing more earthquakes and changes to the surface called deformation. These are key items scientists monitor for an eruption."We are getting small numbers of earthquakes both on the west flank and the summit. And deformation wise, we are getting extension across the flank and across the summit." But, he says the size and amount of earthquakes is still far from the activity he saw before the 1984 Mauna Loa eruption.
"Now we might be getting somewhere between zero and eight or 10 a day. When we were expecting in '75 and '84, we were having five a day, then 20 a day then 50 to hundreds a day and stay fairly consistent over that time. Those seismicity is fairly sporadic and not persistent or consistent enough for us to forecast the next eruption of Mauna Loa."
Though scientists say no eruption is imminent, if Mauna Loa were to erupt, the hazard could be immediate. "South Kona is very vulnerable to fast moving lava flow some people only have a matter of a few hours to respond." In fact, the three 1950 flows on the southwest flank of Mauna Loa reached the ocean in less than a day. If the flow were on the Hilo side, such as the 1984 eruption, the flow rate would be slower. The amount of lava output from Mauna Loa trumps what we're currently seeing at Kilauea.
"Kilauea is putting out in the neighborhood of 100,000 cubic meters a day in this current lava flow. What Mauna Loa put out in 1984 was 1 million cubic meters per hour." There's also a big difference in speed. Kilauea, during the June 27th flow, covered 600 yards a day at its peak speed. Mauna Loa can cover roughly six miles a day.
A flow that fast could quickly cut off highways and major roadways. It would also mean thousands more would be at risk. The southwest flank of Mauna Loa has seen a boost in development since the last eruption with many building right on the old lava flows.
In Kona Paradise in South Kona, there's new half million to million dollar homes line the steep mountain side. Along with the ocean views, residents here can also see charred land from old lava flows. In fact, one homeowner built right on top of it.
According to the last us census report, the South Kona population grew from 8,500 to roughly 10,000 in 10 years. The Ka'u district has grown by 2,600 people with the boom mostly in Ocean View where the population doubled in just the last 10 years. Driving along Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, you can see new houses pop up along the mountain side with more on the way.
When Mauna Loa does erupt, it will allow volcanologists to test a new theory about the correlation of Mauna Loa and Kilauea. "When one volcano is very high or frequently erupting, the other one is very quiet and vice-versa. When Mauna Loa is erupting, Kileuea is quiet. Going back and looking at the long-term geological record it seems that is true."
Right now, Kilauea is stealing the show, but perhaps not for long. "If you look at the overall robustness of Kileuea's eruption, especially in the last year or so, it's looking like it's starting to dwindle and Mauna Loa showing signs of awakening. Time will tell whether or not my hypothesis is valid or not."

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

Australia - Cyclone expected to form in far north Queensland, 500mm rain predicted. A cyclone is expected to form in far north Queensland this week as a monsoon trough near the Gulf of Carpentaria threatens to further develop in the next few days.
It is uncertain exactly where the cyclone could develop. “A cyclone could develop anywhere on the monsoon trough at the moment, there is a chance it could be in the Gulf of Carpentaria or in the north west Coral Sea." Lockhart River has received the most rainfall in the state, with 241mm falling in the last 24 hours causing rivers in the area to rise.
The Bureau expects the low to bring a further 500mm of rain in the coming days between Cape Tribulation and Cardwell. A flood warning for the Tully River has been issued, but more areas north of Cape Tribulation could possibly flood as well. “There has been very heavy rainfall in the Lockhart River area so the creeks up there will be very full."

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

Another storm blankets winter-weary New England - A Valentine’s Day storm bought snow and dangerously high winds to New England for the fourth time in less than a month, the latest blow to a region that has already seen more than 6 feet of snow in some areas.
A blizzard warning was in effect for coastal areas from Connecticut to Maine through Monday morning, promising 8 to 14 inches in southern New England up to 2 feet in Maine. A bone-chilling blast of cold will follow, with lows of minus 10 degrees forecast in some areas Sunday night.
Gusts could max out at 75 mph — hurricane territory — on Cape Cod. Officials warned of possible power outages, and north-facing or vulnerable coastal areas could suffer flooding and beach erosion, the National Weather Service said.
The bad weather spanned several states — winter storm warnings extended west into Michigan and Ohio, where whiteout conditions led to a pileup on the Ohio Turnpike that killed at least two people. Another crash involving several tractor-trailers was reported on Interstate 70 just west of Columbus, and a storm-related crash on the New York Thruway south of Buffalo killed one person.
In New England, transportation officials took many precautions. Boston’s Logan International Airport said more than 250 Sunday flights were already canceled, and none was scheduled Sunday morning. And the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority canceled all rail, bus and ferry service in the Boston area on Sunday. The governor urged motorists to stay off roads during the storm, but stopped short of an outright travel ban.
Crews have worked urgently to remove the massive amounts of snow that has clogged streets and triggered numerous roof collapses.
The upcoming Boston blizzard may be equivalent to category 2 hurricane - The powerful Valentine's Day storm is set to blast eastern New England this weekend with roaring, frigid winds, heavy snow and pounding surf.

'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' / CLIMATE CHANGE -

Minnesota - Possible 'ice quake' on Brainerd-area lake after loud boom, tremor. Shortly after 7 p.m. Jan. 13, a woman was watching television at her Gull Lake home when she and her husband heard a loud boom and felt the earth move. "It was the deepest rumbling under the house. I've never been in an earthquake but that's how I imagine it would feel."
The sound was so pronounced, they immediately went outside thinking a home may have been destroyed in a gas explosion. Residents who live on a nearby lakeshore lot experienced the same noise and vibration along with several other neighbors, some more than one-half mile down the shore. It was not until this past weekend that they took a closer look along the shore and discovered damage to structures and the landscape. A sidewalk is pushed up and broken in several places and sand on a nearby beach is mounded up where it's normally flat. A boathouse next door appears to have shifted from its foundation and previously straight trees are protruding at odd angles.
"It just looked like a bomb went off underground." A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, checked the seismic records with U.S. Geological Survey for Jan. 13. No earth tremor or earthquake was recorded in the area. Although rare, earthquakes can occur in Minnesota. It's exceedingly unusual for a Minnesota earthquake, which tends to be weak, to damage structures.
Damage reports from the Brainerd area sounded like a frost or ice heave. As water in the ground freezes and expands, the result may include loud banging sounds and upheaval. A frost heave is able to damage sidewalks and can contribute to building damage. If it's big enough, it can shift the ground.
Temperature records were mild on Jan. 11-12 with highs nearing 20 degrees. In the 24 hours leading up to the boom, however, temperatures plummeted to 20 degrees below zero. The dramatic swing in temperature likely caused the lake to rapidly develop ice, which in turn can lead to stress cracks in the ice accompanied by loud sounds. A massive ice ridge, which is created by two sheets of ice colliding with one another, has formed a few hundred feet from the shore.
The damage to the shore probably happened in another event, when wind pushed lake ice up onto the shore. The above average temperatures at the end of January could have been enough to melt the lake ice, leaving no evidence of it having been there.
Another possibility is cryoseism, or an ice quake. In 2008, one of these quakes was reported on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin. University employees in buildings along the shore felt shaking and the event registered on a seismometer in the geology department. "Ice quakes, usually accompanied by loud cracking noises, are caused by large shifts in ice and are most commonly triggered by drastic temperature changes."
These events are rare and have the potential to cause damage, although whether this can explain the damage to the shoreline on Gull Lake is unclear. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) notes a pushing action of an ice sheet is a common cause of shoreline property damage, particularly in a year with little snow cover. As ice cracks develop, water rises in the opening and freezes, causing the ice sheet to expand.
"When rising air temperature warms the ice, the additional expansion exerts a tremendous thrust against the shore," the DNR reports. "Alternate warming and cooling of an ice sheet causes additional pushing action that possesses enough power to nudge masonry bridge piers out of plum and push houses off their foundations."
Ice pushing onto shore appears to be widespread this winter with numerous reports on area lakes. Lake ice has been inching closer to some North Long Lake homes since Christmas break. "We actually watched one day where it came up a good foot-and-a-half between the time we got up in the morning and went to work and came home. People have lost multiple trees. Some of these ice heaves are just feet off the front door and porch (of neighboring homes)."
Rocks that were once in the lake close to shore are now 10 feet into their yard. In the 13 years her family has lived on the lake, she has not seen heaving this drastic or early in the season. "Typically, it heaves out in the middle of the lake and there are ice ridges. This just moved the entire lake," noting her husband estimated some of the ridges to be about 8 feet high.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.**
Dostoevsky


LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA

2/12/15 -
5.5 OFFSHORE JALISCO, MEXICO

2/11/15 -
5.7 PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE
6.6 JUJUY, ARGENTINA
5.4 JUJUY, ARGENTINA
5.1 ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIA REGION

2/10/15 -
5.1 LUZON, PHILIPPINES
5.5 CARLSBERG RIDGE
5.4 PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION

2/9/15 -
5.0 VANUATU REGION
5.3 NORTH OF ASCENSION ISLAND

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck northeastern Chile on Wednesday, very close to the border with Argentina. The quake, initially reported as a major 7.0, was fairly deep at 157 miles (252 km) below the earth, which lessened its impact. Its epicenter was located 111 miles (178 km) northwest of the Argentine town of Jujuy.

TROPICAL STORMS -
No current tropical storms.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

Northeast U.S. suffers more winter woes - More than 2 feet of fresh snow piled up in parts of New England on Monday, BREAKING RECORDS set during the Blizzard of 1978 and testing the patience of officials and commuters as forecasters warned of more winter misery later in the week.

Atmospheric Struggles to Avoid Snowing in Massachusetts - Even the quiet days in between big storms are producing snowflakes during the amazing siege of winter weather that’s brought parts of eastern New England to a near-standstill. Wednesday brought a whiff of ocean-effect snow, the less-common Atlantic counterpart to the lake-effect snow that often hits cities like Buffalo and Syracuse. Both phenomena are driven by cold air passing over relatively warm water.
Lake-effect snow is assisted by bands of converging air that develop when surface winds are aligned with the very linear lakes Erie and Ontario. The New England coast lacks such a geography, so ocean-effect snow is more RARE, developing only when the atmospheric structure is highly favorable. Temperatures early Wednesday were in the low 20s along the Massachusetts coast, but as cold as 10°F less than 3000 feet above the surface. This led to enough instability for very shallow clouds and light snow, especially over Cape Cod. A strong inversion above this layer kept the clouds from growing any deeper, putting a lid on more intense snow.
Boston’s Logan Airport recorded eight hours of light snow but only 0.5” of accumulation. Traces of snow were observed as far northwest as suburban Andover - falling under blue sky. "It was snowing lightly despite the fact that two-thirds of the sky was clear, and the southeastern third had just a thin cirrus overcast. On the very southeast horizon was some stratocumulus.”
New Englanders continue to grapple with the aftermath of three major snowstorms - Juno, Linus, and Marcus - in less than three weeks. Thursday’s ocean-effect snow pushed Boston’s total to 41.3” for the month - just 0.3” short of the February record - and 78.5” for the season. Since the first of the year, the city has set heaviest-snowfall records for intervals of 5, 7, 10, 14, 20, 30, and 40 days.
Upper levels across North America remain locked in a pattern that supports more nor’easters, with the polar jet stream diving southward from Canada across the Midwest, then arcing across New England. The next winter storm will intensify into a powerhouse east of New England on Thursday and Friday, with surface pressure deepening quickly enough (more than 24 mb in 24 hours) to qualify the nor’easter as a “bomb.”
It appears the storm will intensify just far enough out to sea to spare the coastline from anything more than continued ocean-effect snow. In its wake, though, the system will pull down another shot of frigid air across the Northeast, setting the stage for a potentially much more serious snow threat late in the weekend with the next nor’easter. Temperatures will be cold enough to support another event with high snow-to- liquid ratios, perhaps 20-to-1 or greater, and the most likely focal point once again appears to be from eastern Massachusetts to coastal Maine.
If the model trends continue, we could see rapid intensification of the surface low, with blizzard conditions and more than a foot of new snow quite possible over eastern New England (including the Boston area). While this week’s light snows mainly added insult to injury, a storm of the magnitude predicted by some model runs for this weekend could be a daunting blow to already-crippled parts of eastern Massachusetts.
A blizzard watch has been issued for Saturday evening through Sunday evening for coastal counties of northern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, including the cities of Boston and Portland. Widespread accumulations of more than a foot are expected, with wind gusts to 50 - 60 mph, very cold temperatures and wind chills, and extensive blowing snow.
Winter’s coldest week coming up? The upper-level low that’s plagued New England is projected to sharpen and shift westward next week, tapping extremely cold Arctic air. Several strong surface highs will likely move into the central U.S., much as we saw in early January, but this time bearing even more frigid temperatures.
A band of significant snow, sleet, and/or freezing rain could materialize early next week from the mid- South to the mid-Atlantic. The GFS model, which has a cold bias on surface temperature, has pulled back from earlier predictions that would have approached all-time lows in some areas. In our warming winter climate, such records are increasingly hard to come by. Still, we can expect some daily records to be toppled or at least approached across much of the central and eastern U.S. over the next 7 to 10 days, with some brutal wind chills possible.
Already, wind chill advisories for values well below 0°F are in place across the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as much of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and western New England. Comparable warnings for extreme cold (wind chill) are in effect over much of Ontario and Quebec. The best chance for truly historic U.S. cold this weekend or early next week could be over the very deep snowpack of New England, where depths of 10” to 30” or more are now widespread.
On a cold, clear night, snow cover enhances the loss of heat from the ground as radiational cooling predominates (also dubbed nocturnal cooling). A deep snowpack also brings the “surface” closer to the height of weather instrument shelters, where thermometers are located 4 - 6 feet above ground level. Since temperatures are coldest just above the top of the snow on nights of strong radiational cooling, deep snow can act to reduce temperatures at thermometer height.
Such a setup in Oklahoma brought the nation’s most recent all-time state record low. A major winter storm dropped heavy snow across northeast Oklahoma on February 9, 2011, including a state-record 24-hour accumulation of 27” in the town of Spavinaw. The next morning, an Oklahoma Mesonet station in Nowata dipped to –31°F, breaking Oklahoma’s all-time record of –27°F (which had stood for 64 years). Just a week later, Nowata hit 75°F.

EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -

Epic Sandstorm Suffocates Middle East - For the third day in a row, the Middle East awoke Wednesday to the wind whipping and sand flying. And it’s only getting worse. A massive dust belt is moving from the Sahara Desert all the way up to Turkey.

'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' / CLIMATE CHANGE -

Northwest Mystery Dirt May Be From Russian Volcano - People in Washington state, Oregon, and Idaho got a strange surprise a couple of days ago, when their cars and houses were covered with a strange dirty substance that fell from the sky during a rain shower. The event was sufficiently freaky that the National Weather Service’s Spokane office tweeted a picture, and said that it was collecting samples to send to a lab for analysis. Under a microscope, the same looks ever weirder.
Initially, NWS thought the dirt might be from a storm in Nevada, which also dumped what appears in photos to be an odd milky or gray-colored dust. But since then, even stranger hypotheses have emerged. The Walla Walla County, Wash. emergency management agency, for example, suggested on its Facebook page that the ash is likely from Volcano Shiveluch in Kamchatka Krai, Russia, some 4,000 miles away. Volcano Shiveluch spewed an ash plume about 22,000 feet high in late January. In that scenario, winds blew the dust across the northern Pacific, where it was picked up by a storm system in the U.S. Northwest and mixed with rain clouds.
Another possible explanation, offered by a CNN meteorologist, is that the dust is coming from the eruption last week of a volcano in southwestern Colima, Mexico, about 2,000 miles away from Washington state. Even though the Russian and Mexican volcanoes are thousands of miles away, it’s not that unusual for volcanic ash to be distributed far and wide across continents.
NWS also has suggested that the ash may be left over from wildfires in Oregon and Idaho last year.

Tests planned on mysterious 'milky rain' in U.S. Pacific Northwest - Scientists from two U.S. Pacific Northwest laboratories plan to conduct tests of unusual precipitation that fell across the region over the weekend in hopes of pinpointing the origins of so-called "milky rain" that has mystified residents, officials said on Wednesday.
Officials at both the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Benton Clean Air Agency, both in Washington state, said they had collected samples of the rain, which left a powdery residue on cars across a wide swath of the two states. Scientists at the Richland lab said they believe the rain may have carried volcanic ash from an erupting volcano in Japan, while the clean air agency said its staffers believe dust from central Oregon was the culprit.
The National Weather Service has said it believes the powdery rain was most likely a byproduct of dust storms hundreds of miles away in Nevada, although it could not rule out volcanic ash from Japan as a possible culprit. But the National Weather Service has also said it was not equipped to perform a chemical analysis of the rain that would be required to pinpoint its origins.
Wherever the milky precipitation came from, officials say they do not believe it poses any health risk. Air monitoring stations did not detect anything unusual while the rain was falling. "We don't have any reason to think there's anything wrong, but there's no reason not to be cautious if you're concerned. You may want to wash it off your car with water, rather than with your hands, and avoid touching it and breathing it in."
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Be kind to everyone and start with the person standing next to you.**
Mother Teresa


LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.3 NORTH OF ASCENSION ISLAND

Yesterday, 2/8/15 -
5.2 SULAWESI, INDONESIA
5.0 KURIL ISLANDS

2/7/15 -
5.3 MOLUCCA SEA

2/6/15 -
5.3 NEAR COAST OF NICARAGUA
5.2 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES

2/5/15 -
5.3 SOUTH INDIAN OCEAN
5.0 TACHIRA, VENEZUELA
5.7 SOUTH OF PANAMA
5.3 TACHIRA, VENEZUELA

VOLCANOES -
Guatemala's Fuego volcano calmed down Sunday after an eruption blanketed nearby towns in ash. Guatemala City's La Aurora airport remained closed due to ash that had fallen on the runway. Ash had stopped falling on the city, the volcano institute said, warning however that columns of soot could still drift back towards the city.
The Fuego volcano spewed large columns of ash on Saturday, prompting an orange alert and forcing nearby residents to wear protective masks. Officials issued a warning to the country's civil aviation agency, and flights were halted as a result. The nation's natural disaster agency, meanwhile, advised people to remain on alert in case the volcanic activity increases.
Located in southwestern Guatemala, Fuego is one of several active volcanoes in Guatemala. Periodic volcanic eruptions in Guatemala can reach over 5,000 feet (1,500) meters into the sky and cause frequent travel warnings. In 2012, several thousand people were evacuated from Fuego's slopes after a large eruption spewed thick ash into the atmosphere.

Tongan volcano created new island - A Tongan volcano has created a substantial new island since it began erupting in December, spewing out huge volumes of rock and dense ash that has killed nearby vegetation. The volcano, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of the South Pacific nation's capital Nuku'alofa, rumbled to life on December 20 for the first time in five years.
The volcano was erupting from two vents, one on the uninhabited island of Hunga Ha'apai and the other underwater about 100 metres offshore. Experts took a boat trip to view the eruption on Thursday and confirmed it had transformed the local landscape. "The new island is more than one kilometre wide, two kilometres long and about 100 metres high. During our observations the volcano was erupting about every five minutes to a height of about 400 metres, accompanied by some large rocks... as the ash is very wet, most is being deposited close to the vent, building up the new island."
Ash and acidic rain was deluging an area 10 kilometres around the volcano. "Leaves on trees on Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai have died, probably caused by volcanic ash and gases."Debris from the eruption was not being thrown high into the atmosphere. Tonga, which is almost 2,000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, lies on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire", where continental plates collide causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity.

TROPICAL STORMS -

* In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Higos is located approximately 658 nm east of Andersen AFB, Guam.

* In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Fundi is located approximately 840 nm south of Antananarivo, Madagascar.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

3 Mondays, 3 snowstorms in Northeastern U. S. - This is the continuing story of the Winter of 2015. Boston is in the cross hairs again, but winter storm warnings are in place across large portions of the Northeast, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
The National Weather Service forecasts 12 to 16 inches of snow by the time the storm ends Tuesday. For Upstate New York, the numbers are 8 to 14 inches. Schools in parts of the Northeast, including Boston, will be closed Monday and Tuesday. "These storms that we're getting are UNPRECEDENTED. We've never seen this type of snow in the city of Boston at any other time in the history of our city."
The storm was snarling air traffic again, but not as bad as in past weeks. FlightAware.com showed more than 1,500 flights into and out of the United States canceled for Monday, on top of the more than 700 flights scrubbed Sunday.
Two other storms have hit the Northeast in the past two weeks, closing airports, canceling classes and creating mountains of snow along cleared roadways. Boston has set a record for the snowiest seven-day period in history, with over 40 inches, the National Weather Service said last week. The city is way past its average annual snowfall of 47 inches.

EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -

Southwestern Australia - A vigorous bushfire threatened homes in Western Australia.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

Just the quakes today.


LARGEST QUAKES today -
5.0 KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA
5.3 SOUTH INDIAN OCEAN
5.0 TACHIRA, VENEZUELA
5.3 TACHIRA, VENEZUELA
5.7 SOUTH OF PANAMA