**Certain things catch your eye,
But pursue only those that capture your heart.**
old Indian saying
LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.
5.2 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.1 VANUATU REGION
5.2 SOUTHWEST OF GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
5.1 KURIL ISLANDS
5.1 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS REGION
5.7 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
5.0 ALASKA PENINSULA
5.4 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.5 NEAR ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.3 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.0 BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
5.0 BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
Indiana earthquake strikes in RARE location - Thursday's 3.8 earthquake was felt in four states beyond Indiana. At Indiana University's Seismic Station, the phones were ringing off the hook. It's an earthquake scientists describe as RARE, UNUSUAL and UNPRECEDENTED as far as its location in Indiana. Scientists say vibrations continued for 13 minutes. Although the quake was originally reported as 4.2 magnitude, the US Geological Survey downgraded it to a 3.8. Scientists say that's because more information came in from recording stations around the world. Indiana has had earthquakes in the past, the most recent in April 2008. But most of them over the years have been centered around the Wabash Valley fault in southwestern Indiana. This time the location is rare. It's only the third earthquake of note to hit north of Indianapolis in 175 years. Scientists scoured their maps for fault lines nearby and say it was likely triggered by the Sharpsville fault, a little-known fault Near Kokomo.
"We know so little about it simply because it's deep within the earth and we haven't experienced any seismic in this part of the state in our historic records. This earthquake was in an area with relatively low previous seismic activity. It's kind-of a reminder that earthquakes can happen almost anywhere in the midwest and every once in awhile they surprise us." Although there are no injuries reported and no significant damage, the Geological Survey has been in touch with the US Department of Transportation. They will likely want to check overpasses and bridges to make sure there is no danger there.
Indiana earthquake causes cornfield to crack - An earthquake below the ground left a couple with a cracked cornfield and rattled nerves. The couple live in a rural area 5 miles east of Greentown -- near the 3.8 magnitude quake's epicenter -- and were milling about in their 1920s farmhouse this morning. They heard what sounded like an explosion. "I thought the whole house was going to blow up. It shook. It just shook and shook, and it scared me. I thought the house was going to go in." Experts say the area that was hit was an unprecedented site for seismic activity. But he experienced a quake before in the same town when he was a teenager. He said there's a fault line that runs under the field. The couple's residence is north of U.S. 35 almost halfway between Kokomo and Gas City.
TROPICAL STORMS -
No current tropical cyclones.
Cyclone on the horizon - Floods devastating large areas of Australia's Queensland state will worsen in the coming days, with more damage expected across the continent due the rains from the cyclone. Heavy rains and flooding in central Queensland have cut coal production and exports from the region. The floods have forced many of the biggest miners including BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Ltd. and Anglo American PLC to stop production and cancel deliveries. Oil and iron-ore facilities on the northwest coast scrambled to shut down ahead of the tropical cyclone due over the weekend.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
AUSTRALIA - Dire flood crisis in Emerald with the army evacuating people and building makeshift emergency accommodation outside the town. The Nogoa River is at 16 metres and rising and more than 1200 residents have registered as evacuees, with more than 500 put up in evacuation centres.
More evacuations are expected. "Authorities think there will be a very large group of people who will be homeless in the next 24 hours."
The dirty tide has spared little, with Emerald now an island in an inland sea. Water is lapping at the windows of scores of homes and nearby cane and citrus farms are submerged. The Fairbairn Dam is holding back an immense body of water - it's now at 175% CAPACITY with 5.6 metres of water pouring over the spillway, well beyond the 4.4 metres recorded during the 2008 flood. Authorities were still trying to determine how many homes and businesses had been flooded. The flood should peak some time on Friday afternoon and efforts were underway to resupply the town and outlying communities. It will be some time before Queensland can enter full recovery mode after the state's WORST FLOODS IN RECORDED HISTORY.
Supermarkets in Rockhampton run out of food; more than 4000 Queenslanders evacuated as floodwaters rise. Authorities are racing to truck in food to the Queensland city of Rockhampton before roads are cut by floodwaters after local supermarkets ran out of food. Flood waters are expected to sever road and rail links to the central Queensland city as early as tomorrow, and the airport is also expected to be shut down this weekend. The Fitzroy River is expected to reach the 9m-mark by Sunday, a level that would see 200 homes inundated and 4000 parcels of land affected by flooding. It's tipped to rise to 9.4m, and possibly beyond, on Tuesday and essentials, including bread, milk and fresh meat, have already sold out in many stores in the town. There is a small window of opportunity to get new stock in before the roads closed.
Earlier today Black Hawk helicopters evacuated Condamine residents who had resisted attempts to leave the town. Many residents in the flood-stricken Queensland town of Condamine were refusing to leave their homes, although half of the town was expected to be underwater by midnight. A compulsory evacuation took place in the town yesterday, with all 100 residents expected to be flown out by early evening. However, only 25-30 residents had been flown to evacuation centres at the nearby town of Dalby by 8.30pm. Some residents had evacuated by boat but an unknown number of people were refusing to leave, but there was little choice. "The whole town was without power. Yes, we understand the emotions when you have to leave ..." Three Black Hawk helicopters were tasked with emptying the town yesterday after the Condamine River reached a RECORD PEAK of 14.25m in the afternoon. It was due to reach 14.5m by midnight, inundating half the town.
It was the second Queensland evacuation of a town in as many days after Theodore's 300 residents were evacuated – an event UNPRECEDENTED until this week. In all, there were 1206 emergency callouts across the state yesterday. The number of Queenslanders displaced by floods is nearing 4000. Severe water restrictions are now in place in the town of Chinchilla, after water lines broke. More military assistance was called in last night, amid estimates the damage bill for public infrastructure alone could top $2 billion. "As we look across Queensland and see the communities affected by the scale of the disaster, it's fair to say that Queensland is facing its toughest hour." In Emerald, authorities were preparing for the possibility that up to 13,000 people living in the town might have to be evacuated because emergency centres are filling up. Late last night, it appeared Emerald's Nagoa River would peak early at 16m, slightly less than initially expected, potentially saving the town from the worst-case scenario. But at 16m, the peak still BROKE ALL RECORDS and was 0.6m above the devastating 2008 flood level. About 2500 people were expected to leave Emerald today and yesterday three military Black Hawk helicopters aided evacuation efforts and food drops. Extra police were deployed to guard against looting.
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -
The western United States is bearing the brunt of new winter storms, with heavy snow blanketing an area from New Mexico to Minnesota [Not exactly true in Minnesota - yet. We had a day of rain on Thursday - RARE in December. Snow later today.] Snow and ice have closed a number of major roads, with Arizona particularly badly hit. Forecasters have predicted as much as 18in (46cm) of snow in some parts. Ice and snow forced the temporary closure of Interstates 40 and 17 in northern Arizona, with a traffic hotline in the state taking more than a million calls on Thursday. Phoenix was braced for RARE freezing temperatures. Many drivers were stranded near the Grand Canyon as all the lanes of Interstate 17 were closed overnight. In Colorado, the Silverton Mountain resort reported huge snowfall and closures for avalanche control. Denver was expecting heavy falls - United Airlines cancelled 32 flights from the city on Thursday. Wyoming, Montana and Nevada suffered serious road closures, while a sudden blizzard combined with winds of up to 65mph (105km/h) caused havoc in southern New Mexico. A massive rockfall closed one key road into the Yosemite National Park in California. Blizzards in Fargo, North Dakota, led to a pile-up of 100 vehicles, with at least two people taken to hospital. "We're expecting almost a one-two punch across the middle part of the country over the next two days. Once the large-scale pattern sets up you can be very stormy and have one after another."
The eastern seaboard is just recovering from a winter storm that paralysed transport, bringing an apology from New York's mayor over clean-up efforts. Snow remains on New York's pavements and rubbish has yet to be cleared. Snow was not cleared from large parts of New York for days after the storm. New Yorkers appeared particularly outraged by stories of ambulances unable to come to the aid of sick residents, which led to the death of a newborn baby in one case. At one point, 600 city buses became stuck in the snow, blocking streets, but they had all been cleared by Thursday. New York's three airports were back to operating on regular schedules, but airlines warned that it would be some time before the backlog of stranded passengers has cleared.
Russian authorities on alert amidst chaos caused by extreme weather - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday banned government officials on all levels from leaving for the New Year vacations until his special notice, because of the heavy snowfalls and ice rains that have caused blackouts in Central Russia. Until Wednesday, thousands of desperate passengers were still stuck in two main airports in Moscow, while more residents of the Moscow region suffered blackout. The prime minister stressed that the weather conditions would remain severe in the following days and ordered the Emergency Ministry to monitor the situation closely not to let the country's households freeze. He reiterated the need to continue working to restore grid operation, asking officials to pay attention to populated areas and residential buildings, to put medical services on high alert, as well as to ensure the provision of food and drinks to needed people. Putin also pointed out the grave situation in many Russia's regions where many airports remained closed and highways clogged. He criticized the airports and the Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot management for not paying due attention to the needs of passengers who have been stranded in the terminals in the last few days. "How did you work with people? Not at all. Domodedovo airport was actually left without electricity, but people continued to come to the airport. Where was the alert? "
Some 20,000 passengers have been affected by the flight delay chaos caused by the freezing rain over the last weekend. The passengers' problems have been aggravated by the failure of the airport authorities to provide even basic assistance or information about flight delays. Extra police forces were deployed in the capital's airports Wednesday to prevent the bursts of violence against airlines employees after several Sheremetyevo airport workers were attacked by exasperated passengers on Tuesday. Railway tickets have been difficult to buy, too, because the organized touts have bought them in bulks for reselling in higher price. Some 7,500 electric power substations have been cut off the grid in the Moscow region, where over 160 towns with 44,000 people remain in blackout. In these towns the local authorities opened warming centers for the residents to spend the harsh nights.
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES / CLIMATE CHANGE -
AUSTRALIA - CATASTROPHIC bushfire conditions have been declared in six districts in South Australia tomorrow as high winds and temperatures in the low-to-mid 40s combine to see out 2010. A total fire ban has been declared in all but the Adelaide, North West Pastoral and North East Pastoral districts. A hot, dry and strong northwesterly wind will blast SA on New Year's Eve ahead of a moderate southwesterly change that will move across the state in the afternoon. Extreme bushfire conditions are forecast in the Flinders, mid North and Riverland districts, while the West Coast, Lower Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island regions are expecting severe conditions. People in areas with catastrophic conditions were warned to leave tonight or tomorrow morning.
Scorching temperatures have melted bitumen on roads and sparked grass fires, with fears New Year's Eve fireworks could be delayed by storms. Melbourne hit 40C at 3.30pm, with temperatures in the suburbs climbing to 39C in Scoresby, 41C in Geelong and 41C in Avalon. Across the state, Ouyen in the Mallee and Longerenong in the Wimmera both hit 42C (109F).
2010 WRAP-UPS -
MINNESOTA - Tornadoes, flooding, snow, no snow - 2010 is likely to stick in the minds of Minnesota climatologists for its extreme events. It's been a wild - and deadly - year for weather in Minnesota. 2010 likely will be remembered for records that stand for years.
THE TOP 6 -
Snowless March: Not a flake of snow fell at the airport in March, making it THE LEAST-SNOWIEST MARCH IN MODERN RECORDS.
June 17 tornadoes: Minnesota saw 48 twisters, a state RECORD FOR ONE DAY. Three were rated EF-4 - THE GREATEST SINGLE-DAY NUMBER OF TORNADOES RATED THAT STRONG SINCE APRIL 30, 1967. The outbreak "will remain for some time one of the region's most widespread, numerous and destructive outbreaks."
104 tornadoes for the year: The June 17 outbreak helped make 2010 a RECORD YEAR, exceeding the 74 tornadoes recorded in 2001. Minnesota is poised to have THE HIGHEST TORNADO COUNT IN THE COUNTRY FOR 2010.
Heavy rain and flooding Sept. 22-23 in southern Minnesota: The rain, which measured 10.68 inches at Amboy, fell on saturated soil. Homes and businesses flooded, and roads became impassible as many rivers and streams reached RECORD-HIGH LEVELS.
State RECORD FOR LOW PRESSURE Oct. 26 in Bigfork: Barometric pressure was recorded at 28.21 inches, something more likely over an ocean. The previous record was 28.43 inches Nov. 10, 1998, in Albert Lea. High winds accompanied the low pressure, with 65 mph gusts recorded.
The Dec. 10-11 snowstorm: The fifth-largest snowstorm on record for the Twin Cities dropped 17.1 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, clogging roads, grounding planes and collapsing the Metrodome roof.
"We had the summertime big events, and we had the wintertime big events. It was a very active year all around, and that stands out." There isn't a single explanation for the year's extreme weather — it was just a number of different patterns that occurred over time. And while 2010 had more-active weather than the past few years, there's no telling what next year will bring. "I would hope we don't have quite as extreme weather in 2011. I wouldn't think we'd have as many big events happen in a year, but who knows?"
HEALTH THREATS -
HAITI's cholera death toll has soared in recent days with 3,333 people dead. The figures, released yesterday, included a ONE-DAY RECORD HIGH for the daily number of fatalities since the outbreak erupted in mid-October. The new data up to December 26 of 432 more recorded deaths marked a major jump in fatalities, although it was unclear exactly when they occurred. The number of confirmed cholera deaths on December 19 alone was just over 100, far higher than previous peaks around 80 in mid-November.
More recently, the death tolls have returned to previous averages of around 50 new reported deaths each day. The total number of infections soared towards 150,000 in Haiti and authorities in neighbouring Dominican Republic said yesterday there have been 139 cases there, none of them fatal.
Haiti's FIRST CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN MORE THAN A CENTURY has poured further misery on a poor and politically dysfunctional country trying to recover from a devastating January earthquake that killed some 250,000 people. The epidemic, which began in October, spawned deadly anti-UN riots last month as some turned their anger on peacekeepers from Nepal accused of bringing the disease into the country. Experts say the outbreak was likely sparked by a human source from outside the region and the United Nations has promised a thorough investigation into the origin of the epidemic. Angry mobs in the deeply superstitious nation have stoned or hacked to death at least 45 people - most of them voodoo priests - accusing them of spreading the water-borne bacterial infection. The Pan-American Health Organisation in early December estimated Haiti could see up to 400,000 cholera cases over the next 12 months, half of them within three months alone.
RECALLS & ALERTS:
-Tiny Greens of Urbana, Ill., is recalling all Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts from November 1st thru December 21st because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Product was distributed thru various distributors in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri and could have ended up in restaurants and supermarkets near those areas.