Friday, February 18, 2011

**My life has been filled with terrible misfortune;
most of which never happened.**

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/17/11 -

ARKANSAS - Cities feel unexplained surge in earthquakes. A small-town Arkansas fire chief says he was briefly puzzled by a thumping sound in his office this week. But then he realized it was just another earthquake. Several small earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 1.8 to 3.5 have rattled his north-central Arkansas city of Greenbrier and nearby Guy this week. The U.S. Geological Service has reported 29 in the area since Sunday, and 700 quakes have hit the region in the past six months. The cause remains somewhat of a mystery. However, some experts say it's likely either a naturally occurring swarm or related to ongoing natural gas exploration in the area. That possibility has many residents blaming the gas companies. There's no proof, though, that they have anything to do with it.

New York City is due for a major earthquake any day now. - "It’s been a rough month as far as these types of stories go. First there was that Betelgeuse supernova deal, then a killer asteroid hitting us in 2036 and the discovery of a hidden planet in our solar sytem which could be the infamous ‘Planet X’." The seismographic network for the Northeast at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory says a New York quake "can happen anytime soon. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.” New York has never experienced a magnitude 6 or 7 earthquake, which are the most dangerous. But magnitude 5 quakes could topple brick buildings and chimneys. Oh well, on the bright side, the asteroid could always hit us before the earthquake does.


JAPAN - More than 2,500 people living near a volcano that has been spewing ash in southern Japan were advised to evacuate their homes Thursday after heavy rain threatened mudslides of accumulated ash.
Shinmoedake began erupting in late January, in its biggest activity in some 300 years. The volcanic activity has disrupted airline flights and blanketed nearby vegetable farms with ash, but there have been no reports of serious injury or deaths. Rainfall of more than 4 mm (0.16 inch) per hour is expected to last until Thursday night, an amount that the local government said could cause mudslides. In the city of Miyakonojo, 63 people had moved to evacuation centers by midday. The town of Takaharu, located at the foot of the mountain on the southern island of Kyushu, also advised about 250 residents and a business to prepare for evacuation in case it was necessary.

HAWAII - At 8:42 a.m. on Monday morning, a section of rock from the north wall of Kilauea Volcano’s summit vent broke away, and collapsed into the lava lake below. Moments later, gas and ash were explosively ejected from Halema‘uma‘u, as this dusty-brown plume shot skyward from the crater. About three hours later, another, larger crescent-shaped piece of the vent rim plummeted into the lava. The rock was estimated to be about 395 ft long and up to 16 ft wide. Shortly thereafter, the lava lake level began to drop. It continued to fall throughout the day, but rose again overnight.
The event had been forecast by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists, mainly because that part of the vent rim was overhung by about 180 ft. Rocks falling from this overhang have been a common occurrence, but spattering episodes and the intense heat of the rising lava lake has increased the number of collapses over the past few weeks. On Monday, blocks of rock hitting the surface of the lava lake created sharp popping sounds that could be heard by visitors at the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The churning lava lake within the summit vent also produced a sound likened to crashing waves. Geologists were able to make this recording of these sounds, which were posted to the HVO website.
The continued extension across the summit area, as well as numerous earthquakes, suggests that the volume of magma at the summit has increased. A recent overflight above Halemaumau showed a rising lava surface, at this point as little as 98 yards below the floor of the crater. Meanwhile, further down along the east rift zone, the volcanic display at Pu’u O’o is no less impressive. The USGS filmed footage between February 6-8. Scientists say lava has been erupting sporadically from three vents within Pu`u `Ō `ō crater-a cone on the west side of the crater floor. Unlike the Upper East Rift Zone a few days ago, seismic tremor levels uprift of Pu`u `O`o remained low and steady.

Cyclone BINGIZA was 636 nmi W of Saint Pierre, Reunion.

Cyclone CARLOS was 559 nmi ENE of Broome, Australia.
Cyclone DIANNE was 688 nmi WSW of Broome, Australia.

Heavy rains in Tropical Storm Bingiza, possibly headed for second landfall - Moderate to heavy rainfall, falling at a rate of over 2 inches/50 mm per hour was located in a small area near Bingiza's center of circulation.. NASA satellite data indicates that Bingiza is still maintaining tropical storm intensity and carrying heavy rainfall over the Mozambique Channel as it prepares for its second landfall in Madagascar.
Deadly Tropical Cyclone Bingiza, which crossed over northern Madagascar three days ago, has continued to affect Madagascar while moving along Madagascar's west coast. Bingiza had weakened from a powerful category 3 tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 100 kts (~115 mph/185 kmh) to tropical storm force winds of about 35 kts (~40 mph/65 kmh) when the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite passed almost directly overhead on February 16. On February 17 Bingiza's maximum sustained winds were near 40 knots (46 mph/74 kmh) with higher gusts. It was about 220 nautical miles west-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar. . Bingiza was moving south at 7 knots (8 mph/13 kmh).
Multispectral satellite imagery showed that Bingiza still has strong bands of thunderstorms wrapping around it from the northwest into the southeast quadrant. The low-level center of circulation is partially exposed to outside winds, however. Exposure to outside winds leaves the storm vulnerable for weakening. A low to mid-level ridge (elongated area of high pressure) located to the northeast of Bingiza is what's guiding it southward, and then it is forecast to track along the ridge and move southeastward in the next day taking it near or over land. Some models show that the storm may meander and remain over water while others take it inland. Whether it stays near the coast or moves inland, Bingiza is still forecast to weaken and is expected to dissipate by the weekend.

A cyclone warning has been cancelled for Western Australia's northwest coast after the category 2 system Dianne began moving out to sea, but communities remain on alert for flooding.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Carlos is continuing to drench regional towns south-west of Darwin, causing extensive flooding in low-lying areas across the region. After causing extensive damage to roads and homes across the Top End, Darwin residents breathed a sigh of relief yesterday morning when the category 1 storm weakened to a tropical low and moved south west.
But as the Territory's capital began the recovery and clean-up, rivers and dams outside Darwin reached capacity and began to overflow. Yesterday afternoon, the Adelaide River, about 120km south of Darwin, had risen almost four metres in just a few hours to 11.2 metres. Adelaide River reached a peak of 12.2 metres at 10pm (CST) last night, but had since receded significantly. By this morning Daly River had reached 13.5 metres and had started to encroach on low-lying homes. The Aboriginal community of Daly River, with a population of about 500, often becomes isolated in the wet season when roads are cut off by rising water. No decision had been made yet to evacuate people from Daly River, but careful monitoring and assessment of the situation was ongoing.
A cyclone watch is still current for coastal areas from the Daly River Mouth in the NT to Kalumburu in Western Australia, including Port Keats, Kalumburu and Wyndham. At 3.30am (CST) ex-Tropical Cyclone Carlos was over land and estimated to be 155 kilometres south of Darwin, moving south southwest at 5km/h. The low was expected to continue moving southwest and into the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf on Saturday. In the 24 hours prior to 9am (CST) today the Daly River Police Station received 442mm of rain. Darwin Airport recorded 40mm for the same period.


MYSTERIOUS SUN HALOES - Most sun haloes are circles. They surround the sun when sunbeams hit ice crystals in the air. The haloes this week in Finland, however, were not circular. Finland has had a spate of elliptical halos over the last few days produced by ice crystals precipitating out of low clouds. "Elliptical halos are RARE and we do not understand how they are formed. A popular theory is that hexagonal plate-shaped crystals with very blunt pyramidal ends make them. But ray tracing simulations using these crystals do not reproduce the halo’s fine detail properly. Moreover, these crystals are physically unrealistic because crystal faces follow lines of atoms in the crystal lattice – blunt pyramidal ends do not! The mystery remains." (photo)