Ken S. Keyes, Jr.
LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.2 BALLENY ISLANDS REGION
5.6 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.6 EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN
6.2 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 MORO GULF, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
6.3 MORO GULF, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
GUATEMALA - A state of calamity declared at the end of May by the government was extended for another 30 days due to the grave damages caused by the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano and tropical storm Agatha that left 166 dead and displaced thousands. The emergency was extended because the nation is still dealing with the grave consequences of the two disasters and the need to "ensure the welfare, security and serenity" of those effected. It is estimated that the eruption of the Pacaya, situated a few dozen kilometres from Guatemala City, and the cyclone, caused DAMAGES TO 36% OF INFRASTRUCTURE on a national level, also razing large extensions of forest and crops, in a country where half of the 14-million inhabitants live in poverty. The government estimated the cost of rebuilding at 7.8-billion quetzales (around 747-million Euro).
COSTA RICA - The Volcán Irazú shook and shook and shook - a total of 31 times - between 5am and 11am on Thursday, though only one of the tremors was perceived by the population, registering 3.1 on the Richter scale. Irazú is a very active zone but currently there is no report of changes in the structure of the volcano. The origin of the earthquakes are due to the activation of a local fault and not the collision or convergence of tectonic plates. The activity at the Irazú Thursday is called a seismic or earthquake swarm, events where a local area experiences sequences of many earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time. The length of time used to define the swarm itself varies, but an event may be on the order of days, weeks, or months. They are differentiated from earthquakes succeeded by a series of aftershocks by the observation that no single earthquake in the sequence is obviously the main shock. Earthquake swarms are one of the events typically preceding eruptions of volcanoes.
HAWAII - Lava has stopped flowing toward homes at Kalapana Gardens Subdivision, but Big Island Civil Defense officials say residents need to remain vigilant and be ready to evacuate. For now anyway, lava from Kilauea Volcano is flowing into the ocean, rather than heading east where 35 homes remain standing. Hawaii County Civil Defense says it's a wait-and-see situation for the 70 people living in those homes. "They do need to be prepared to eventually evacuate if the flow starts moving in the easterly direction again. It's just the nature of the risks of living in that particular area." Lava showed its destructive force last Sunday, burning down a house. Emergency officials say they've been closely monitoring the flow in the last couple of weeks once it started heading toward the subdivision. Officials along with the residents will have to remain vigilant to stay out of danger. (video)
The current eruption of Kilauea began on 3 January 1983, and has inundated the town and general vicinity of Kalapana, destroying numerous homes since then. (22 photos)
INDONESIA - Eruptions of mud and methane gas affecting residents. At least 23 mud flows spewing methane gas have been found in Wiboa subdistrict in Kupang regency, East Nusa Tenggara. Some of the eruptions had created cones of mud with a diameter of between three and four meters wide, raising fears they could pose a threat to people's health and surrounding environment. "We are also worried they may cause explosion of methane gas." The spots were similar to those previously found in Pantai Beringin and Poto subdistricts. In the two subdistricts, the eruptions of mud had spread methane gas in a two-kilometer radius from their original source.
Concern was also raised that the mud could reach clean water sources and polluting them with sediments. Timor Island has a lot of soil layer cracks that shift on tectonic plates and could be the cause of the eruptions. There are some 20 hot mud flows in Pantai Beringin and Poto subdistricts. At least five mud eruptions have been found in the region over the last five years. In Napan, Central Timor regency, the spews have created a mound of mud over seven meters high. In East Amfoang, Kupang regency, a flow has created a lake of mud. While on Semau Island, another hill of mud has been created by a similar eruption. The most sporadic eruptions occurred last year in di Mataloko, Golewa district in Ngada regency. Located near a geothermal exploration, the fumes were blamed for respiratory problems among residents in the surrounding areas. The biggest mud flow disaster is located in Sidoarjo, East Java, which began spewing on May 29, 2006, when oil and gas company PT Lapindo Brantas drilled parts of the area. At least 40,000 people have been displaced by the disaster.
ICELAND - The ash cloud that stranded hundreds of thousands of passengers, threatened to blight a summer of air travel and turn 2010 into one long winter has disappeared. Eyjafjallajokull volcano stopped erupting in late May. In April, when the cloud suddenly brought northern Europe to a skidding halt, it was said that disruption could last "for more than 20 years". Even Iceland's President weighed in warning this eruption was just a "small rehearsal" for what was to come. He suggested Ketla, the volcano's more violent neighbour, was due to go off at any moment. But not only has Eyjafjallajokull calmed down, but Ketla's "imminent" eruption may not take place for another 100 years. A geophysicist with the Iceland Met Office said: "People have been waiting for Ketla to erupt since before I was born, and I am 50 now."
TROPICAL STORMS -
No current tropical cyclones.
HEAVY RAINS, SEVERE STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
MALDIVES - A tropical storm hit the capital city of Male’ Wednesday causing severe damage, while other areas in the country’s middle region were also impacted by wind speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. The weather is unsteady at this time of year. “Strong winds occur during the southwest monsoon every year. Last year wind speeds were recorded up to 50 miles per hour.’’ 10 different incidents were reported to the Maldives National Defence Force following the storm, which issued a warning not to travel by sea and to take safety measures if forced to do so.
The roof of a shop was blown off by the strong wind and metal pipes on a 10th story building were also thrown to the street. A tree fell on top of a house, and many other trees were uprooted. Minor injuries were caused to people and buildings during the incident. 15 incidents at sea were reported. When the storm arrived, a fishing boat with a crew of 11 men sank and the crew was rescued from the sea by the coast guard in the late afternoon. In another incident, a cargo ship drifted onto a reef near Hulhule’.
PAKISTAN - At least 100 people have been killed in floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in north-west Pakistan. Rivers have burst their banks and entire villages of mudbrick houses have been destroyed. Dozens of people are known to have drowned; others have been crushed by collapsing buildings or electrocuted. The floods are THE WORST FOR MORE THAN 80 YEARS and more heavy rain is forecast across much of Pakistan for at least another day. Pakistani TV channels have broadcast footage of vehicles, livestock and people being swept away by powerful torrents. The army says all available troops have been deployed for relief work. Flood alerts have been issued in many parts of the country, and those living in low-lying areas have been advised to move to higher ground. But there are real fears that many more lives will be lost in the coming hours. Airline officials said the weather was likely to have contributed to the plane crash in Islamabad on Wednesday in which more than 150 people died.
EXTREME HEAT / WILDFIRES / DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE -
A report issued Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that THE PAST DECADE WAS THE WARMEST ON RECORD and that the Earth has been growing warmer for the last 50 years. "Extreme weather events are unavoidable. But a warmer climate means that many of these events will be more frequent and more severe." The study (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate) draws on data collected from satellites, weather balloons and stations, ships and buoys, analyzed by more than 300 scientists and 160 research groups in 48 countries. "The temperature increase of one degree Fahrenheit over the past 50 years may seem small, but it has already altered our planet. Glaciers and sea ice are melting, heavy rainfall is intensifying and heat waves are more common. And, as the new report tells us, there is now evidence that over 90 percent of warming over the past 50 years has gone into our ocean." While it's impossible to predict all the effects of a hotter ocean, one is well known. As water becomes warmer it expands, raising sea levels. Higher seas will affect and even displace coastal populations, especially in lower-lying areas. The effects on agriculture of more severe droughts and storms are painful to imagine. The conflicts that could ensue from food shortages and human migrations are also unpleasant to contemplate. "Human society has developed for thousands of years under one climatic state, and now a new set of climatic conditions are taking shape."
RUSSIA - The Russian capital Moscow has suffered its HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD, with temperatures reaching 39C (102F). A MONTH-LONG RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVE has sparked nearly 50 fires in the Moscow region and the capital is sweltering under a thick layer of smog. Health experts say pollution levels in parts of the city are 10 times higher than normal safety limits and advise locals to stay indoors or wear masks. A state of emergency has been declared in more than 20 drought-hit regions. It is estimated A FIFTH OF THE COUNTRY'S WHEAT CROP HAS NOW DIED due to the lack of rain in what is thought to be THE COUNTRY'S WORST DROUGHT FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY. Scores have died in the heatwave.
Meteorologists forecast the temperature will drop by several degrees over the weekend. But dozens of peat and forest fires are still burning on the outskirts of the capital. Health officials have warned the high concentration of carbon monoxide in the air makes breathing as dangerous as smoking several packets of cigarettes every day. The Roshydromet meteorological service had earlier predicted the smog would begin to clear on Thursday evening, saying temperatures were forecast to cool off over the weekend.
HEALTH THREATS -
CDC launches universal flu vaccination recommendation - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed its vaccine advisory group's recommendation for universal influenza immunization, as public health groups prepare to shift gears from pushing the pandemic H1N1 vaccine to drawing the public's attention to the new seasonal flu vaccine advice.