Monday, February 7, 2011

AUSTRALIA - Wildfires have destroyed a number of homes in western Australia, as the north-east of the country continues to be affected by flooding brought about by Cyclone Yasi last week. Flooding also affected the southern state of Victoria after Yasi caused a series of thunderstorms over Melbourne and other large towns in the state. The resulting two days of heavy rain caused further flooding. Yasi compounded the state's misery, coming on the heels of devastating floods that have claimed 35 lives and destroyed hundreds of homes since December.
In the western Australian city of Perth, wildfires tore through suburbs, destroying at least a dozen homes. There have been no reports of casualties. In Victoria, the Melbourne suburb of Elwood was one of the hardest hit, with floodwaters cutting off many houses and washing cars off roads. Melbourne received HALF ITS AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL IN JUST A DAY. In Queensland, some 7,000 people remain in evacuation centres and thousands more are living in their battered homes without power or water supplies. Communication links have yet to be restored to many areas.

**When everyone thinks alike, no one thinks very much.**
Walter Lippmann

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
2/6/11 -


INDONESIA - The bill from last year’s eruption of Mount Merapi and the subsequent torrents of volcanic mud in Sleman district could be more than Rp 5.5 trillion ($610 million). Damage to homes and infrastructure, as well as social and economic losses along the southern slope of the volcano, has already topped Rp 5.4 trillion.
This did not include the damage caused by the volcanic mud, or lahar, washed down along the Gendol and Kuning rivers, which already exceeded Rp 30.5 billion and would certainly increase as heavy rains persisted in the area. It will take several years for the district to recover from the losses. “It will take a very long time just for the rehabilitation and reconstruction process, especially given that we’re still in a state of emergency because of the continuing lahar. In 2010, before the eruption of Mount Merapi, the number of Sleman residents living below the poverty line was 22.25 percent. That figure is sure to increase in the wake of the eruption.”
Another major threat facing the largely agrarian region is the damage from the lahar to the intricate network of irrigation canals that feed the district’s rice paddies. The eruption and subsequent lahar torrents destroyed at least 244 irrigation dams in Yogyakarta province and 44 in Central Java. “We’re dealing with a real emergency here because most of the irrigation canals on the slopes of Merapi have been badly damaged, while the rivers feeding them from further upstream are choked with volcanic debris. We now have no choice but to build new irrigation canals and try to fix those that can still be repaired.” Building new irrigation systems could take between three and five years. Almost all sectors in Magelang have been hit by the eruptions and lahar flows.

Cyclone ZAKA was 806 nmi NNE of Auckland, New Zealand.

Topical Cyclone Zaka is expected to bring high winds and stormy seas this evening to Raoul Island, part of the Kermadec Group. Zaka is moving southwest with winds averaging 45 knots or 80 kilometres per hour at its centre. New Zealand’s Metservice warns heavy rain, thunderstorms and northeast winds gusting to 120 kilometres per hour could cause damage to trees and insecure structures on the island. Raoul is the largest of the Kermadecs, about 1000 kilometres north east of New Zealand. Winds are expected to ease as Zaka moves south, passing to the northeast of the North Island on Tuesday. So far the Pacific region has experienced six cyclones this season, and the region’s weather forecasters say the southwest Pacific can expect at least six more before the end of April.


SRI LANKA's monsoon rains have spread to more villages and towns, leaving at least 14 people dead and more than one million with flooded homes.


AUSTRALIA - Up to 40 homes have been destroyed in Roleystone and Kelmscott, and up to 60 could be damaged by out-of-control bushfires threatening lives and properties across Perth. The Black Sunday bushfires are burning out of control in Roleystone and Kelmscott, Brigadoon and surrounding suburbs including Red Hill. Around 400 firefighters are working to bring the fires under control but strong winds are spreading flames fast. As daylight faded air operations to put out the flames were stopped as they cannot fly at night. A fire in the City of Armadale was started accidentally by someone using a grinder.
A fire in the City of Swan is believed to have started after strong winds snapped a tree branch which then fell on to an electrical unit. The blaze, which has threatened lives and was impacting on homes in Brigadoon, Baskerville, Millendon, Red Hill and Herne Hill of the City of Swan last night, has been burning for more than 24 hours and destroyed more than a 1000 hectares. The fires impacting Roleystone and Redhill are still out of control and lives and homes are in danger. The blaze in Roleystone could still destroy more homes. "The fire is uncontrolled, it is at risk of running in a highly populated area. It (the number of homes damaged) could increase anything up to 60."