Friday, June 25, 2010

Tropical Storm "Alex" may form by Saturday - The National Hurricane Center has been watching a tropical disturbance move westward across the Caribbean Sea for several days. It is now centered southwest of Jamaica in the western Caribbean. Now, upper level winds are becoming more conducive to development, say forecasters. Surface pressures have begun falling, which is another telltale sign of increasing organization. It is drifting to the W or WNW about 10mph. Most computer projections bring it across the Yucatan this weekend, and possibly toward the lower Texas coast by early next week. As to what strength it will be, it's simply unknown at this point. The NHC says the chances are 60% of a depression or storm forming within the next 2 days. The system must have a warm core, closed surface circulation, and sustained winds of at least 35knots (39mph) to become a named storm.

**The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come.
When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin.
When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come.
Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.**

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/24/10 -


RUSSIA - The Shiveluch volcano on the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula has erupted, producing an ash plume of 6.5 kilometers. Nearby towns are outside the so-called danger zone. The alert status at Shiveluch was declared “orange”, which means that eruption is in progress and the volcano’s activity may pose a threat to the aircraft. At the same time, seismologists have reported weak ash bursts from the neighboring Klyuchevskaya Sopka Volcano. [This link seemed suspect, I'd recommend not using it; this is the entire article.]

Hurricane CELIA was 678 nmi SSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Hurricane DARBY was 218 nmi S of Acapulco, Mexico.

Hurricane Darby has formed in the Pacific off Mexico's southwest coast, while Hurricane Celia has strengthened into a powerful Category 5 storm farther out at sea. Neither posed an immediate threat to land. Darby, a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph (150 km/h), was located about 410km south of Acapulco on Thursday night. It was expected to strengthen over the next two days as it heads west-northwest, well away from land. The hurricane center projected the storm could take a sudden eastward turn early next week, putting it on a path toward Mexico's southern Pacific coast. That prediction is tentative and depends on a tropical wave of pressure forming in the western Caribbean. Otherwise, Darby could continue on its northwestern path out to sea.
Meanwhile, Celia became a Category 5 hurricane - the strongest designation on the Saffir-Simpson scale, used to measure wind speed - as it headed west across the open Pacific. Its maximum sustained winds increased to 260km/h. It was located about 1260km south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.
Celia is TIED FOR THE STRONGEST EASTERN PACIFIC HURRICANE ON RECORD IN JUNE, with Ava in 1973. There is a large uncertainty on what happens to the hurricane in the extended range, as the ridge over the eastern Pacific is replaced by a trough near the west coast of the U.S.


Weather extremes have been dominating the news all month.The pattern continues - a persistent upper atmospheric wind pattern (20,000 to 40,000 feet above the surface of the Earth) has kept the jet stream locked in place across the northern and central Plains states into the northeast. As typically happens, cool air lies poleward of the jet and sultry heat and humidity Equatorward. In between, one finds all of the "action." And action it has been. Parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and South Dakota have received the brunt of the severe weather this month, but Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana have not been spared. And severe weather has even struck parts of the northeast.
But, it is the central U.S. that has been pummeled. From a series of days with early morning mesoscale convective systems, to afternoon severe thunderstorm outbreaks, tornadoes, high winds, hail and excessive, flooding rainfall has pounded the region. In fact, many rivers across the Midwest remain at or near flood stage. Early Wednesday morning (June 23), the picture hadn’t changed much. Severe weather watches covered much of the upper Mississippi River valley region, with flooding and/or flash flooding in progress or expected from South Dakota southward to Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Parts of Iowa and Wisconsin were under simultaneous tornado watches and flash flood warnings.
To the south of all this, excessive heat and humidity were the rule. Heat advisories were posted from southeast Kansas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois and western Tennessee. Even coastal North and South Carolina were looking for excessive heat and humidity. In the southwest, high heat and humidity, but windier conditions than average, have made fighting the Schultz fire quite difficult. Still only 20 percent contained as of late Tuesday afternoon, the fire has scarred more than 14,000 acres north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Extreme weather is affecting the Hawaiian Islands, as well. Stronger than average easterly trade winds are causing a high fire danger risk to downwind, western locales throughout the island chain. The winds have also led to small craft advisories for all coastal waters. These conditions are expected to continue for the next several days. (maps)

CONNECTICUT - Severe storm shatters largest city in Connecticut. A severe storm packing ferocious winds tore through Bridgeport Thursday, toppling trees and power lines and collapsing several buildings as a powerful line of storms swept across parts of the Northeast. Remarkably, no serious injuries were reported. Hundreds of bricks shook loose from buildings, trees split in half and crushed cars, and a billboard hung precariously several stories up over Main Street. Nine buildings were partially or fully collapsed, including three on East Main Street that were brought to their foundations. Rescuers searched the rubble to ensure no one had been inside. There were unconfirmed sightings of a tornado. The Connecticut storm was part of a system that destroyed a historic town hall and other buildings in Edgerton, Ohio, the night before, and brought torrential rains and high winds to the Philadelphia area on Thursday afternoon. The storm contributed to the collapse of a church and a banquet hall in Philadelphia with no injuries reported.

CHINA - Thousands at risk from dyke breach as China flood toll rises. Weather forecasters warned Wednesday of a fresh onslaught of downpours across southern China, which has already been battered by rain-triggered floods and landslides. The relentless downpours since June 13 and resulting floods and landslides have left 199 people dead and another 123 missing. The rain, which has hit 10 provinces or regions, has caused nearly 42 billion yuan (six billion dollars) in estimated economic losses.
Authorities in Jiangxi province have had to evacuate nearly one million people after a dyke breach on the Fuhe river flooded huge swathes of countryside and surrounding towns. Rain-drenched workers and diggers piled earth onto riverbanks to try to prevent more flooding. The central government has allocated 253 million yuan (37.2 million dollars) for rescue and relief efforts, while thousands of soldiers have been dispatched to hard hit areas to help in rescue and evacuation work. Relief workers were seen throwing ropes to stranded flood victims clinging to submerged trees amid raging torrents and pulling them to safety. The torrential rains and flooding have led to the collapse of 195,000 homes and damages to 568,000 others throughout the 10 provinces and regions, while 1.6 million hectares (3.9 million acres) of crop land have also been damaged. Alternating floods and droughts have plagued China's people for millennia. Large flood-hit areas of southern and southwestern China, particularly Guizhou, Guangxi and Chongqing, had only just recently emerged from a crippling drought that in some regions was the worst in a century.


This Saturday morning, June 26th, there's going to be a lunar eclipse - and for many residents of the USA, it's going to be a big one. The eclipse will occur as the Moon is setting, causing the "Moon Illusion" to magnify the event to truly beautiful proportions.
A solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole could reach Earth as early as June 26th.


India reports mutation linked to different symptoms - Health officials in India are reporting a "slight" mutation in the pandemic H1N1 virus that is leading to more sore throat and backache and fewer high fevers. One health officer said the antiviral oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and vaccination are still "very effective" against the virus. "There is a small change in the virus. But this is not surprising. We expect it to change further."

Chinese surveillance finds swine-avian flu reassortment - Surveillance in Chinese pigs from 2006 to 2009 found novel reassortment between swine and avian flu viruses. Among 3,546 samples taken from pork-producing provinces, researchers found 29 strains of influenza A (19 H1N1, 1 H1N2, 9 H3N2). Genetic analysis showed that all H1N2 and H3N2 strains were double- or triple-reassortant viruses, which contain avian H5N1 fragments. The authors say the findings "raise concern about generation of novel viruses in pigs, which could have pandemic potential."

Rapid test often negative in severe illness - Thai researchers examining 20 confirmed and 3 suspected H1N1 patients found that those with the most severe illness were least likely to have a positive rapid diagnostic test. They could not explain the finding by differences in time to access medical care, performance of RDT, or antiviral therapy. They say their finding confirms CDC guidance, which recommends empiric treatment even when RDT is negative and recommends collecting lower respiratory tract specimens for PCR testing.