Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tropical storm Alex, the first of the Atlantic season, has made landfall in Belize, dumping heavy rain on the affected area. The storm is causing concern for efforts to clean up the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The storm is likely to miss the spill area if it stays on its current track, but it but could generate waves that would impact clean-up efforts. At 3am GMT, the eye of the storm, which packed sustained winds of 95km/h, was located just 30km northwest of Belize City. Alex was forecast to move across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula today and enter the Gulf of Mexico.
The storm is expected to weaken as it moves over Yucatan, but "strengthening is forecast on Sunday night as Alex moves over the Southern Gulf of Mexico." The storm will dump heavy rain over the Yucatan peninsula, with rain accumulations of 10-25cm, though isolated amounts of up to 38cm are possible over mountainous areas. "These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides." A tropical storm warning was in effect for the coast of Belize and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. But a tropical storm watch for the coast of Honduras has been discontinued.
In Nicaragua, authorities alerted air and maritime traffic and localities in the north, central and western regions of the country to possible heavy rains and strong winds associated with the storm. The NHC's five-day forecast has the storm heading over the Gulf of Mexico in the direction of the US-Mexico border, but with a possibility of deviating along a broad area that would graze the site of the huge oil slick unleashed by the April 20 explosion of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig. A forecaster at the NHC however downplayed a direct hit on the oil cleanup area. In Mexico, authorities declared the Yucatan Peninsula in a state of preventive alert "for the potential of intense to torrential rain" as Alex approached.
The tropical storm could threaten BP clean-up for 14 days, says Coast Guard. BP has been warned that the first major hurricane of the season could halt clean-up operations at the Deepwater spill site for at least 2 weeks. The two-week disruption would include time before and after the bad weather to prepare – and they estimated that plans would need to be enacted five days before the arrival of gale-force winds. Ships in the area, including the vessels that are drilling relief wells to permanently halt the flow of oil, would have to completely evacuate the area. This would leave the oil flowing into the Gulf "unattended" after the "top hat" system was disconnected.

**Those who would be constant in happiness or wisdom
must often change.**

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/26/10 -
6/25/10 -

Study paints grim New Madrid quake scenario - The New Madrid seismic zone is capable of producing a massive earthquake that could devastate parts of the central United States, according to a study publicly released this week. A 7.7-magnitude temblor could leave 3,500 people dead and more than 80,000 injured. About 7.2 million people wouldn't be able to live in their homes, at least not within a few days after the initial quake. The study also concluded that nearly 715,000 buildings would be damaged and 2.6 million households would be without electricity. In all, the study said the immediate economic impact would be $300 million. The study also concluded that authorities, utilities and others in eight central and southeastern states that would most likely be affected are, in many cases, ill-prepared for the aftermath. Providing shelter for the homeless, repairing and retrofitting bridges, and more would be difficult with a transportation network that would likely be heavily damaged.
FEMA is working toward holding a national-level disaster drill next year that simulates a big New Madrid quake. The study focuses on Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee, where the New Madrid seismic zone lies deep underground, as well as Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana and Alabama. The study predicts extensive damage in both St. Louis and Memphis, Tennessee, the two largest cities near the fault zone. The fault zone has a long history of big earthquakes, including four in 1811 and 1812 estimated to have been magnitude 7.0 or greater. The region was sparsely populated but the quake caused landslides and waves on the Mississippi that swamped boats; it also opened deep fissures in the ground. The shaking was felt as far away as New England.

CALIFORNIA - the powerful quake that struck Baja California in April moved Calexico, a city on the US-Mexico border, 31 inches to the south. Calexico moved as much as 2 1/2 feet (80 cm) south and down into the ground due to the magnitude-7.2 earthquake on April 4. The temblor was centered 32 miles (52 km) south-southeast of Calexico and was THE STRONGEST QUAKE TO STRIKE THE REGOIN IN NEARLY 120 YEARS. Two people were killed and hundreds more were injured.
It's not the first time a town has moved. The massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile earlier this year moved the city of ConcepciĆ³n at least 10 feet (3 meters) to the west. That quake was the fifth most powerful temblor in recorded history. In the 6.9-magnitude 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred along the San Andreas Fault in southern California, the Pacific plate moved 6.2 feet (about 2 m) to the northwest and 4.3 feet (1.3 m) upward over the North American plate.

CANADA - As the cleanup continues after a magnitude 5.0 earthquake hit the western Quebec town of Gracefield, Quebec on Wednesday, June 23, an area farmer is wondering what to do after the quake caused a landslide and opened a 50-foot wide chasm of rubble that stretches 1,000 feet across his land. The property, which is being flooded by water from a now backed-up creek, is ruined. His barn slid 150 feet and is now crooked. He's waiting for geologists to advise him on what to do next. More than 20 aftershocks have hit in the past two days following the earthquake. A state of emergency on the town was lifted, but some buildings remain off limits, as well as a bridge. In Val-Des-Bois, boulders lay on the side of the road and a major area bridge crumbled under the quake's waves.(photos)

Tropical storm ALEX was 117 nmi NNW of Puerto Cortes, Honduras.
Tropical storm CELIA was 839 nmi WSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Tropical storm DARBY was 267 nmi SW of Acapulco, Mexico.

Recent volcanic eruptions and tropical-storm rains in late May killed more than 200 residents of Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala. It started May 27, when seismic activity suddenly increased around Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, and streams of molten lava gushed out of the cone. Arenal is one of a dozen active volcanoes that dot Central America’s mountainous backbone. Another volcano soon kicked into high gear - this time 400 miles northwest of Costa Rica.
Pacaya, in southern Guatemala, erupted dramatically before dawn May 28, blasting a 1,000-foot fountain of molten lava straight up into the dark sky. The caldera began spewing blizzards of smoking boulders, and streams of lava flowed a mile down the southwest flank of the volcano. Officials began evacuating residents and tourists within 60 miles of Pacaya, affecting an estimated 3,000 people. A television news reporter was killed by ejected lava while working on Pacaya and two children were killed by falling volcanic debris in a nearby village. There were an initial 114 injuries in the first 24 hours of Pacaya’s eruption. Throughout the day, plumes of gray ash jetted 1,000 feet straight up before catching the wind. Within a wide fallout zone, several inches of volcanic sand soon filled stream beds and blanketed roadways, forcing Guatemalan officials to close most airport runways for several days. Hundreds of tourists were stranded by impassable roads and closed air routes.
But Mother Nature wasn’t finished. Tropical Storm Agatha - the first named storm of the 2010 hurricane season - had been developing off the Gulf of Fonseca. On May 29 and 30, it made landfall on the coastal slopes of southern Guatemala, where the Pacaya evacuation was still under way. A RECORD 60 INCHES OF RAIN fell during the first two-day period, as Guatemala declared a state of emergency. Already clogged with volcanic ash, many culverts and dams overflowed, highways were cut and 14 bridges collapsed, including a train bridge. Landslides buried several villages. The nation’s capital, Guatemala City, was temporarily cut off as floodwaters damaged a major highway bridge. At least 179 deaths in Guatemala were directly related to Tropical Storm Agatha. More than 42,000 homes were destroyed, and 155,000 people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been evacuated due to the back-to-back natural disasters. NOAA satellite charts show the low-pressure remnants of Agatha crossed eastward over Guatemala — an UNUSUAL CIRCULATION — and petered out off the Caribbean coast of Honduras.
This month, Pacaya began a new eruption phase, and airlines have not resumed flights in or out of Guatemala. Officials told Pacaya evacuees to remain in shelters for 15 days.


NIGER - Eating leaves and lizards to survive. Aid organisations are warning that millions of people are facing starvation from drought and crop failure in the West African country of Niger, and some people are turning to desperate measures to survive. The rains failed last year and the staple diet of millet is running out. Cattle are finding it hard to survive
There was famine in 1984, and again in 2005. Now it is about to happen once more.


Campbell Soup Co. is recalling 15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs with meatballs after a cooker malfunctioned at one of the company's plants in Texas and left the meat undercooked. The company is recalling certain lots of the product manufactured since December 2008 "out of an abundance of caution" because officials don't know exactly when the cooker at the Paris, Texas, plant malfunctioned. Officials believe it happened recently but aren't sure.

Kellogg Co. is voluntarily recalling about 28 million boxes of Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks cereals because an unusual smell and flavor from the packages' liners could make people ill, the company said Friday. Consumers reported the cereal smelled or tasted waxy or like metal or soap, some described it as tasting stale. Kellogg is trying to identify the substance on the liners that's causing the problem and is offering consumers refunds in the meantime. The products were distributed throughout the U.S. and began arriving in stores in late March. Only products with the letters "KN" following the use-by date are included in the recall. Products in Canada are not affected.