Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wild and windy storms here delayed the update.

An offshore oil rig has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, west of the site of Deepwater Horizon blast that caused a massive oil spill. The blast was reported by a commercial helicopter company early today. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats are en route to the site, about 130km south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast. It hasn't been determined whether the structure is a production platform or a drilling rig or whether workers were aboard. Smoke was reported but it is unclear whether the rig is still burning.
Update - Company and federal records show it appears to be producing natural gas, not oil.

**Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.**
Mother Teresa

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/1/10 -

-Hurricane EARL was 257 nmi NE of Nassau, Bahamas.
-Tropical storm FIONA was 202 nmi N of Beef Island, British Virgin Islands.
-Tropical storm GASTON was 1279 nmi E of Bridgetown, Barbados.

-Tropical depression 10W was 463 nmi NW of Agana, Guam.
-Typhoon KOMPASU was 20 nmi N of Seoul, Korea.
-Tropical storm LIONROCK was 198 nmi ENE of Hong Kong.

US President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for North CarolinaWednesday as evacuation orders were issued for Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands, in the path of "large and dangerous" Hurricane Earl. North Carolina's Dare County ordered the evacuation of about 30,000 people on the Outer Banks islands. Most were tourists as the islands only have about 4800 permanent residents. "People living in vulnerable areas, such as storm-surge zones, flood plains, mobile homes and camper or RV parks, should evacuate now. If Hurricane Earl worsens, additional people may be ordered to evacuate. Residents living in an area that does not seem safe should leave that area now, even if an evacuation has not yet been ordered. Your safety could be in jeopardy. Residents who are told to evacuate must do so immediately. Hurricane Earl is expected to pass east of the Bahamas tonight and continue its path toward the North Carolina coast on Thursday (local time)."
The storm's eye will approach the North Carolina coast late today and will move near or over the Outer Banks tonight. "Earl is a large hurricane. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 150km from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 325km. A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1-1.5 m above ground level within the hurricane warning area and the lower Chesapeake Bay. Large swells from Earl will continue to affect the Bahamas and the east coast of the US through Friday. These swells will likely cause dangerous surf conditions and RIP currents."
Meanwhile a tropical storm watch was in effect for Sandy Hook to Woods Hole, Massachussetts including Block Island and Long Island Sound. There have been fears the conditions may cause trouble over the Labor Day weekend. Suffolk County officials had mentioned the possibility of evacuating Fire Island, one of Long Island's south shore outer barrier islands, but decided not to take that step. Suffolk County acknowledged that the storm was a concern, but said the hurricane’s current path made it look as if it would stay to the west. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to get hit head on. Really, I think we’re all just wondering how close it’s going to get.”
50-50 chance that Hurricane Earl will make landfall at Nova Scotia, Canada on Saturday. Environment Canada officials said the most likely storm track has Earl hitting Yarmouth in a couple of days. They stressed, however, that the storm is still 2½ to three days away, and the forecast could change again. The storm could bring sustained winds of 140 km/h at landfall.
The storm will mean rough weather for all three Maritime provinces. Earl will likely hit Nova Scotia as either a strong tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane, and the province will likely bear the brunt of the strongest winds, on the eastern side of the storm. New Brunswick will likely experience the most rain, on the western side of the storm.
The chances of the storm hitting New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island at hurricane strength are at 10 to 20 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, would get off relatively easily in the current forecast. The storm could be affected by the warm weather currently hitting Atlantic Canada. Earl is "moving into an environment similar to where it formed." Sea surface temperatures, which can fuel a storm as they rise, are running warmer than average, and are about 2 C warmer than when Hurricane Juan hit Nova Scotia in 2003. Juan smashed though Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, leaving seven people dead and causing at least $100 million in damage. Earl was downgraded to a Category 3 storm early Wednesday, but it's still a "large hurricane."

CHINA - One cyclone fizzles, but a second floods streets. The weather authority warn on Tuesday night of strong rain and gales so severe that officials canceled the first day of school - but surprise: Typhoon Kompasu ran well past Shanghai, causing barely a ruffle to the downtown morning weather.Weather officials explained their missed forecast by saying that the recent batch of cyclones - with three coming all at once - was TOO PECULIAR TO PREDICT. Forecasters had predicted Kompasu wouldn't hit Shanghai directly, but would come close enough to bring the city heavy winds and rains. As it turned out, Kompasu came no closer than 300 kilometers from the city.
The bureau had predicted three routes that the typhoon Kompasu might take as it neared Shanghai, and it finally took the east one, the farthest from the city, rather than the middle one as forecast. "The set of three tropical storms, Lion Rock, Namtheum and Kompasu, was UNIQUE and it was hard to predict their further route." The dying-out of Namtheum, the middle of the three recently formed storms, and the sudden fading of a subtropical high caused Kompasu to diverge east. "I had observed three storms before, but not like these in my career over 20 years. The distance among the three storms was very close and the interaction was frequent. And the size of each of the three was not big, which made them easily affected by the other two." As Kompasu veered away from the Shanghai region on its ocean course, it intensified into a severe typhoon, but weakened back to a typhoon at about 7pm as it arrived in the Yellow Sea and headed toward the Korean Peninsula.

Typhoon Kompasu - Three people were killed after Tropical Storm Kompasu came ashore in South Korea, lashing Seoul with rain and strong winds that knocked out power, forced flight cancellations and delayed the opening of schools. Kompasu, which weakened from a typhoon as it approached land, passed near Seoul earlier today before crossing the Korean peninsula and heading out to sea toward Japan
“Four big glass windows are lying inside my living room after the pounding from the wind all night," said a an who lives on the 25th floor of an apartment building near Seoul. “I felt like I was dying this morning as I tried to stop them blowing in with my hands. It was so scary.” Debris littered the streets of the South Korean capital. Kompasu’s winds slowed after the storm reached land and they were blowing at 72 kilometers per hour, down from 176 kph overnight. Kompasu caused heavy rain and windstorms over North Korea. As much as 165 millimeters (6.5 inches) of rain fell in some parts of the country earlier today as winds as high as 65 kph buffeted the country.

Tropical storm Lionrock, the eighth of this year, made landfall on east China's Fujian Province early this morning. Lionrock skirted southwest Taiwan as it approached the China coast. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Chinese authorities had evacuated about 160,000 people in Fujian province. Landslides may be triggered by the storm.


Allegations that rich landowners diverted water into unprotected villages during the floods to save their own crops. - There is evidence that landowners allowed embankments to burst. This led to waters flowing away from their land. "Over the years, one has seen with the lack of floods, those areas normally set aside for floods have come under irrigation of the powerful and rich. It is suggested in some areas, those to be protected were allowed, had allowed, levies to be burst on opposite sides to take the water away. If that is happening the government should be enquiring." More than 1,600 people have died in the floods, which have affected about 17 million people. At the height of the floods, it is estimated that one-fifth of the country - an area the size of Italy - was underwater. The flood waters are beginning to drain away to the Arabian Sea but inundations continue in parts of Sindh province.

SUDAN - South Sudan's Aweil region swamped by floods Some 57,000 people have been forced from their homes because of dramatic floods in south-western Sudan over the past month. Heavy rains have left Aweil, the main town of Northern Bahr al-Ghazal province, largely under water. The floods add to the woes of a grossly under-developed region still struggling to rebuild itself after the brutal two-decade war with the north. "The rains are going to continue up until October, so the situation may get worse. A serious situation has developed in Aweil - more than three quarters of the town is flooded and so many houses collapsed. We saw that all the people were chased out of their houses, and were now living on the road, because the road is the only area in the town that is raised." The United Nations has already provided some kind of food assistance to almost half the population of the south this year.


The Amazon is at ITS LOWEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN 40 YEARS near its source in northeastern Peru, causing havoc in a region where it is used as the only form of travel. The Amazon yesterday in the northeast city of Iquitos fell to 105.97 metres above sea level, 50cm lower than it was in 2005, so far the lowest reference point in four decades. Low levels have brought economic havoc in areas of Peru that depend on the Amazon for shipping, by denying boats a navigable river as well as usable ports and harbours. At least six boats became stranded for lack of river flow over the past three weeks and several shipping companies have been forced to suspend service. River trips between Iquitos and other Amazon towns that normally take around 12 to 15 days now last twice as long.
According to the national meteorological service, the level drop - which is forecast to slide another 20cm until mid-September - has been caused by a lack of rain and high temperatures in the region. The Amazon is the second-longest river in the world, after the Nile, but discharges far more water at its mouth than any other. It also drains more territory than any other, from Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela before running across Brazil and into the Atlantic.

AUSTRALIA - The first bugs of THE WORST LOCUST PLAGUE IN A GENERATION are now crawling on the land. And NSW farmers are being urged to report the hatchings, and treat them on the ground before they wreak havoc by taking to the skies. If 100 hectares of locust bands were not effectively controlled they might develop into "1,000 hectares of adult swarms. Once locusts take to the wing they can migrate up to 600 kilometres or more in a single night."
"The first plague of locust nymphs have hatched from winter dormancy, signalling the start to what is predicted to be the worst plague locust outbreak in NSW in 30 years. Warmer weather over the weekend led to an increase in ground temperature, which is a trigger for locust eggs to hatch. It's now gloves off."