Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Far more crucial than what we know or do not know
is what we do not want to know.
Eric Hoffer

UPDATE!! - Magnitude-4.4 earthquake shakes Southern California - An earthquake east of downtown Los Angeles rippled across Southern California before dawn today, jolting millions of people awake and putting first-responders on alert. There are no reports of damage, injuries or power outages linked to the temblor. The magnitude-4.4 quake, centered about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, struck shortly after 4 a.m. Nearly an hour after the quake, the California Highway Patrol got reports of a buckled 10-foot stretch of concrete in a center lane of southbound Interstate 5 south of downtown in the Downey area. The quake probably didn't cause the buckling. Damage was reported a day earlier in the lane, which is heavily used by big-rigs. "The earthquake probably did contribute to it, a little bit, but ... it's normal wear and tear."
Though the quake was considered small in size, it was felt over a large swath of Southern California. People from San Bernardino County to the east and Santa Monica to the west reported feeling the quake. Scientists have not yet determined which fault was responsible for the latest quake. The quake hit not far from the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, a magnitude 5.9 quake that killed eight people and caused more than $350 million in damage. There's a small chance that the temblor is a precursor to a larger event, but the likelihood diminishes over time.

This morning -

Yesterday -
3/15/10 -

Cyclone TOMAS was 1158 nmi NNE of Auckland, New Zealand.
Cyclone ULUI was 779 nmi ENE of Townsville, Australia.

FIJI has declared a state of disaster in the cyclone-hit north and east as damage reports from the storm have risen sharply. The powerful cyclone left a trail of damage through Fiji as winds averaging 175km an hour smashed into the Pacific island group, forcing the evacuation of 10,000 people. The main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu had been spared the worst of Cyclone Tomas's devastation since it slammed into the country yesterday but there were reports of extensive damage from some of the outlying islands. There were no new reports of casualties after a woman drowned in rough seas at the weekend as the cyclone approached. More than 10,000 people have fled to evacuation centres - mostly in the north of the country - as the storm damaged buildings and crops and brought down communications and power, while many low-lying areas were flooded. "We had a report this morning from Lakeba, one of the larger islands in the Lau group, that two villages were flooded and some people had to be moved to higher ground." A sea wall also collapsed on another island in the group. "A lot of sea flooding is occurring and it's causing a significant impact in the northern and eastern parts of the Fiji group this morning."

SOLOMON ISLANDS appear to have had a lucky escape from a cyclone that threatened to break the record books. Cyclone Ului has brushed the Solomon Islands but the damage has not been anywhere near as bad as feared. The category 4 cyclone will not be hitting any land for the next couple of days, so it is likely to increase in intensity. There is a possibility that Ului could affect New Zealand or Australia. (image)

CHINA - a new round of cold waves moved over most parts of the country on Saturday. The temperatures of early March this year were THE LOWEST IN MORE THAN 30 YEARS, six to seven degrees below the sea-sonal average, which will hurt the growth of many agricultural crops. The cold front also triggered floating dust and sandstorms that blasted parts of Northwest China's Gansu Province Sunday. As of 5:00 pm Sunday, the sky became pale yellow as strong winds began to blow floating dust storms. The lowest visibility was within 10 kilometers. Meteorological authorities in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region predicted more "dust days" during spring 2010 than previous years in Araxan, a desert region where most of China's sandstorms originate. More gales and dust storms, including three to four fierce ones that might reduce the visibility to less than 1 kilometer, were expected to strike the Araxan League oasis at the west end of Inner Mongolia.


MISSISSIPPI - 3/14/10 - LOUD BOOMS & A FIREBALL streaking across sky alarmed witnesses. A bizarre daytime occurrence had the phones ringing Sunday. Viewers calling with widespread reports of mysterious fireballs in the sky and loud booms baffled state agencies and eye witnesses alike. "It didn't last but maybe three or four seconds, and it was gone." Around 1:45 p.m, "I looked sort of to the east of 55 and it was just this fire ball that was falling out of the sky and it made you think of a falling star expect during the day, and it was just bright red." A smoke trail lingered in the sky for about 15 minutes. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency received reports from Carroll, Stone and Jackson counties of a fire ball in the sky and a boom, with no indications of impact. Jackson Municipal Airport said tower personnel at Jackson Evers International were told by two different pilots that they saw something shiny in the sky. Airport investigations turned up nothing on the grounds or in the immediate vicinity. Emergency directors across the state and gathered reports of either fireball sightings, hearing a boom or feeling the earth shake in Carroll, Forrest, Hancock and Marion counties. The National Weather Service believes the varying events can be attributed to the Gamma Normids, a meteor show that runs from February 25th through March 22nd. It peaked Saturday March 13th. The Gamma Normids Meteor Shower can produce one meteor per hour in the northern hemisphere.
Similar events were reported across Louisiana on March 8th.

March 16th and 17th a solar coronal mass ejection is due to hit Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of geomagnetic activity and a 5% chance of severe geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and northern-tier US states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin should be alert for auroras.