Thursday, April 21, 2011

RUSSIA - Putin orders weather forecasters not to play game of guessing. Meteorologists are working on their forecasts for the upcoming summer. Many Russians will never forget the summer of 2010, when the vast central territory of the country was suffocating in sweltering heat, smog and smoke from forest fires. It is an open secret that it is very hard and even impossible to predict what mother nature has in store for us. However, it is possible to minimize the consequences of what may happen. The head of Russia's Meteorological Center is certain that unbearable heat will not not hit the country again this year. "I can say for sure that there will be no extremely hot summer in Central Russia this year." However, the current temperatures are two or three degrees above the climate norm, he added.
The precision of weather forecasters in Russia became a subject for countless jokes a long time ago. 90 percent of meteorological equipment in Russia is out of date hopelessly. Russia has only two meteorological satellites, while 13 are needed. "We need an effective system for preventing natural disasters and states of emergency. A precise, correct and timely forecast gives us a possibility to minimize losses," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said addressing the administration of the Meteorological Center.
Last year, the Center developed an activity strategy in the field of hydrometeorology up until 2030. The goal of the strategy is to create state-of-the-art weather service in the country. The prime minister was introduced to the first digital doppler meteorological radar DMRL-S. The radar is capable of sharing weather information with everyone in the radius of 250 kilometers every ten minutes. There will be 140 of such weather stations installed across the nation during the forthcoming five years. The system of radars, will let the weather service predict various natural disasters four or five days in advance. Nowadays, forecasters resort to such vague notions as "abundant precipitation" promising them on beautiful sunny days at times. In the nearest future, the new radars will help them distinguish between snow, rain, hail, etc. One radar station like that costs 90 million rubles ($3 million).
A senior official with the Russian Weather Service is certain that uncertainty will remain always. "A weather forecast is a complicated system of equations. Last year, which was an anomalous year in Russia, there were 17 thousand warnings about dangerous natural phenomena issued. Ninety percent of them was justified. By 2020, we have a goal to increase the index to the level of 95 percent."

**Love your neighbour, yet pull not down thy hedge.**
Old English Proverb

This morning -
a cluster of moderate quakes in Baja California, Mexico

Yesterday -
4/20/11 -


PHILIPPINES - Intensity 3 quake 'with rumbling sounds' felt near Taal Volcano. Intensity 3 and Intensity 1 volcanic earthquakes were felt in two villages near Taal Volcano Tuesday. A total of 13 volcanic earthquakes were detected in Taal Volcano during the past 24 hours. One of the quakes occured at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. The tremor was accompanied by rumbling sounds. Meanwhile, field observation and measurements conducted at the eastern sector inside the main crater lake showed that the temperature increased from 30.5°C to 31.5°C. Alert Level 2 remains hoisted over the volcano, meaning "magma has been intruding towards the surface."

INDONESIA - Agency urges families to leave volcano. Residents living near Mt. Merapi should be evacuated because the VOLCANO WILL REMAIN ACTIVE FOR THE NEXT CENTURY AT LEAST, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency says. The BNPB said an exclusion zone of 1,300 hectares spanning Sleman regency, Yogyakarta and 10 hectares around Balerante village in Kemalang Klaten district, Central Java, should be established. “The position of the lava dome to the south causes hot gas clouds to travel to Gendol river and Opak river."
There are 2,682 families living in the proposed exclusion zone, and 617 families who are risk of being killed by lahar flows. The administration has produced three relocation scenarios. First, build permanent housing complexes in Gondang, Kuwang, Plosokerep, Dongkelsari and Kentingan. Second, pay the villagers for their lands and allow them to organize their own relocation. Third, provide the villagers with 12.5 hectares of farm land in Argomulyo village in exchange for giving up their lands.

RUSSIA - Spewing volcano threatens Kamchatka reindeer. The continuing eruption of the Kizimen Volcano in Kamchatka poses a threatto wild reindeer which are listed as endangered species. As the volcano continues to spew ash for hundreds of kilometers, reindeer are leaving their traditional habitat for lack of fodder. Reindeer moss, the animals’ only food in winter, is buried under a thick crust of ice and ash. Experts from the Krontosky Nature Reserve warn that Kamchatka’s less than 1,000 reindeer may die out as a result of the eruption. Kizimen, one of the 29 acting volcanoes in Kamchatka, has been spewing ash since December 2010.

No current tropical storms.


COLUMBIA - Mudslides cause major damage in Utica. More than 200 families have been left homeless in the central Colombian town of Utica after a mudslide swept away their houses. Heavy rains caused the local river to break its banks, sending torrents of water, mud and stones through the town's streets. Officials said one elderly woman died and two men are missing. Meteorologists say five of Colombia's provinces have seen double the average rainfall for April.
More than 80% of the town has been engulfed by the mudslide. 238 families have been "left with nothing". Residents recounted how they had been alerted to the approaching mudslide by the ringing of the church bells. Most were able to flee their homes in time. The government said it would send a group of experts to Utica to assess whether it was safe for residents to return to the town or if there could be sinkholes or other geological faults.
As meteorologists forecast more rain for the area, firefighters did not rule out the possibility of another mudslide. Government officials in Cundinamarca, where Utica is located, said they would decide over the next few days whether to rebuild the whole town on safer, higher ground. The heavy rains are not restricted to Cundinamarca. In central Tolima province officials have put the town of Honda on high alert as the level of the river Magdalena continues to rise. Nationwide, 12 major highways have been closed due to the continuing rains and flooding. Colombia has been suffering from a particularly wet winter, which officials say has affected almost three million people across the country.


The Alps have THE WORST SNOW COVER EVER RECORDED FOR APRIL thanks to the spring heatwave. This follows RECORD-BREAKING TEMPERATURES across the Alps in both January and February. The UNUSUALLY high temperatures coupled with the latest Easter for 68 years mean a disastrous end of season for many businesses, particularly those in lower resorts. Snow depths are up to 80 per cent less than average. Season staff have been laid off early and many resorts have been forced to close already because of the lack of snow. In France, the ski resort of Chamonix recorded THE HOTTEST APRIL DAY SINCE RECORDS BEGAN in 1951 when the mercury hit 79.5F (26.4C) on April 9. In Bourg St Maurice temperatures have soared to 83.5F (28.6C) and at the snow research centre in the Chartreuse the hottest April temperatures for 40 years have been recorded.

Britain heading for WARMEST EASTER WEEKEND ON RECORD - Temperatures are likely to reach 25C (77F) in the South East during the Easter weekend, the HOTTEST IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS. The last time Easter Saturday and Sunday was this hot was in 1984 when the mercury reached 23.7C (74.7F).
The late Easter means it will be warmer. Also, warm winds from the south east are warming Britain so the country is hotter than many parts of the continent, where there are cooler winds from the north west. Costa Brava is currently only seeing temperatures of 18C (64.4F), while in Crete it is just 16C (60.8F). “It is going to a be very warm and sunny weekend with 23/24C (73.4/75.2F) across the south East, it could even reach 25C (77F), so it could well be record breaking.” The whole of the UK will enjoy warm weather over the Easter Weekend, with temperatures in the low twenties as far north as Glasgow.
The whole month of April might be the warmest on record. So far April has been warmer than the typical mean temperature for the month, which is just 6.9C (44.4F). However farmers and gardeners are increasingly concerned about the lack of rain. March was THE DRIEST MONTH IN 50 YEARS in England and Wales and many reservoirs and rivers are exceptionally low for this time of year, prompting fears of a hosepipe ban.



-Jonathans Sprouts of Rochester, MA is recalling its conventional alfalfa sprout products with sell-by date of 4/23, as a precaution, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
-B&M, Inc. of Mount Vernon, Missouri is voluntarily recalling Archer Farms Ground Turmeric sold at Target stores in glass bottles with a net weight of 2.6 oz. (74g), due to elevated levels of lead.