Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Evacuations as Ecuador volcano spews ash - Ecuador has suspended school in four towns near the Tunguarahua volcano as ash spews four kilometres into the sky, damaging crops and endangering the health of nearby residents. Authorities are urging people to cover their mouths and noses with masks and shut windows amid the furious venting of Tunguarahua that began Monday. Lava is flowing from the summit caldera down the flanks of the 5023 metre peak. The volcano is 135 kilometers southeast of Quito. Tunguarahua has been active since 1999. Its eruptions killed at least four people in 2006.

**There are some situations from which one can only escape
by acting like a devil or a lunatic.**
George Orwell

This morning -

Yesterday -
4/26/11 -

Rebuilding Japan's disaster-hit towns may take a decade.


Dark ash plume at Chile's Planchón-Peteroa volcano - Planchón-Peteroa has been producing intermittent plumes for the past year or so, some as high as 4.6 km / 15000 feet, but nothing in the way of a large eruption, which the volcano is definitely capable of. A fairly impressive ash plume was seen at Chile's Planchón-Peteroa on the webcam. The plume isn't especially tall, at least not from the vantage point of the webcam, but it is rather dark and grey in complexion, suggesting a lot of fractured rock or new magma in the plume itself. The activity has been fairly low as of late, with no update on the volcano since last October. This current plume is likely just more of the same from Planchón-Peteroa.

No current tropical storms.


NEW ZEALAND - Wild weather system 'worse than Cyclone Bola'. The storm wrecking havoc across the country has been described as worse than Cyclone Bola. "Wind bursts" have torn roofs off houses in Picton and Te Awamutu as high winds and heavy rains continue to lash the country.
The strong winds follow heavy rain overnight which brought flooding and slips to much of the top half of the North Island. Te Awamutu is one area taking a battering from the extreme gusts of wind, with a deputy fire station officer describing it as more severe than the destructive 1988 Cyclone Bola. "Anything that's not tied down is blown away." Many people walking around do not realise the damage and dangers of flying timber and iron. The roofs of three houses in the Picton suburb of Waikawa have been blown off by what the fire service described as a "small tornado". Similar "mini tornadoes" were also witnessed tearing up trees in Te Awamutu, but they were actually "wind gusts".
"Strong winds from the southeast are RARE, and gusts of around 120 km/h are strong enough to damage trees and power lines, especially about the central North Island forests. These gusts come to the ground in bursts - that's what they do. They've got the potential to take roofs off houses and cause damage." There are no thunderstorms, which are required for tornadoes, in the current system. MetService has issued severe weather warnings. "These warnings are the result of a strong southeast flow lying sandwiched between a slow moving low close to Auckland and a large intense high over the South Island."
Meanwhile crews are working frantically in hazardous conditions to restore power across the North Island. There are numerous faults on the network, as well as fallen trees bringing power lines down. Emergency crews and power companies have had a busy night with surface flooding, slips and downed power lines blocking roads around the North Island. A slip between Wellington and Masterton has also cancelled train services along the line, which will be replaced by buses. "We are requesting that the public only travel if they need to, and if they do, they should take extreme caution." Further south on State Highway 25, there were reports of rocks "as big as a dinner plate" on the road near Waihi. Slips were also causing havoc in the Tahorakuri Forest area near Taupo. Southeast winds had been predicted to strengthen over much of the North Island this morning.
Gales are expected in many places, with severe gale gusts of 120km/h or 130km/h likely in places. Low after low will be formed in the north Tasman Sea and Coral Sea areas. This combined with high pressure to the east and south of the North Island means long periods of heavy rain are extremely likely. "The set-up over the next 10 days also puts Taranaki and other central western areas of the country in the squash zone between low and high pressure - in other words, where the isobars will bunch up bringing strong winds at times from the easterly quarter." Despite a brief cold snap in the South Island, most of New Zealand will have temperatures above average, particularly at night, in the coming week.

U.S. - Tornado, floods kill 10 in the US. Severe storms that ripped through the US south and midwest have left at least 10 people dead in Arkansas, as authorities warn of "HISTORIC" FLOODING and urged people immediately to move to higher ground. Torrential downpours have drenched a swath of the US midwest in recent weeks, saturating the ground and leaving river levels precariously high, leading the National Weather Service to warn of catastrophic flash flooding. In flash flooding advisories for Missouri, it warned that the rising waters were "historic-type flooding that only RARELY occurs". Authorities were evacuating 1000 people along the swollen Black River near the Missouri city of Poplar Bluff, home to some 17,000 people, as a compromised levee had reportedly already failed at four points. Due to the placement of the failure, the river's flooding was headed for rural Butler County.
Flash flood warnings were issued by the weather service in Arkansas after severe thunderstorms flooded roads, fatally sweeping away at least six people in their vehicles. A deadly tornado, meanwhile, slammed the town of Vilonia late on Monday, killing four people. "There are a lot of responders still responding to yesterday's storm, and then preparation is under way for another round of even more severe (storms) than we saw yesterday, appearing later this afternoon, later this evening. The entire state is at very severe risk for storm."
Emergencies were declared by governors in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky due to the flooding and the expected new round of storms.The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for westernmost Kentucky, saying the accompanying thunderstorm could also produce golf ball-size hail. Earlier the service issued an urgent warning for the small Kentucky town of Sulphur, where a dam was on the brink of bursting: "If you live near this river ... evacuate to higher ground now!"
The destructive weather come after weeks of storms sweeping the US midwest, including a huge tornado that tore through St Louis international airport on Friday. It ripped off the roof of the main terminal and blew out windows and doors, but caused no deaths. Powerful tornadoes also struck several southern and central US states earlier this month, killing 44 people and reducing neighbourhoods to rubble.
Record-breaking flood predicted in MISSISSIPPI - Less than one month after the Mississippi River crested over a foot and a half above flood stage in Natchez at 49.8 feet, the National Weather Service in Jackson is predicting another crest in the river for May that has the area preparing for the worst — a river level of 60 feet. A flood warning will go into effect Sunday for the Mississippi River at Natchez and will remain in place until further notice. The river sat at 45.5 feet Monday afternoon, and flood stage is 48 feet. The river is expected to rise above flood stage by Sunday morning and will continue to rise to near 60 feet by May 20.
The projected level of 60 feet is almost TWO FEET ABOVE THE HIGHEST KNOWN RIVER STAGE for the Natchez-Vidalia area, which happened in 1937 when the river rose to 58.04 feet.
The predicted rise stems from a stagnant storm system in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys in the middle of the country. “There are some very severe and heavy thunderstorms projected for the next three to four days in those valleys. We are projecting between eight to 10 inches of rain to accumulate in those days.” Storm systems moving through Mississippi and Louisiana this week will also leave help raise the river level. With a record-setting river level projected, city officials on both sides of the river are working to get both cities prepared.

Cleveland, Ohio, BREAKS 50-YEAR-OLD RAINFALL RECORD - After .14" of rain fell Tuesday, the total of 6.72 inches broke the old record set back in 1961 of 6.61 inches. The total of 6.72 inches so far this month is almost 4 inches above normal rainfall for the month. It appears likely that they will add to this record-breaking total with rain in the forecast Wednesday, Thursday and possibly late Saturday. Over the weekend, Cincinnati also set a RECORD FOR THE WETTEST APRIL ON RECORD.

One-two punch of storms UNUSUAL - Even in Tornado Alley in springtime, it's unusual to get two storm systems as powerful as the one that spawned a deadly tornado in Arkansas and another that was working its way through Oklahoma and North Texas on Tuesday. At their simplest, storms occur when masses of cold air and warm air collide — and they occur pretty often in the central United States. But what gives Tornado Alley its name is the complicated mix of humid air off the Gulf of Mexico; cooler, dry air from the north; and jet streams that scream across the continent from east to west.
The combination contributed to storms Monday that killed 10 in Arkansas, and was in place again Tuesday — setting up areas from Texas to Tennessee for tornadoes, hail, high winds and flooding rains. Even by Tornado Alley standards the succession of bad weather is unusual.
"What's kind of interesting, it's basically in the same place for two days in a row. That doesn't happen very often. Such rapid succession doesn't give any time for a break." Weather patterns have to line up just so to designate a high risk area. April and May are historically the most active months. "The reason is that we get the combination of very strong winds in the jet stream and the contrast between warm springtime air masses and cooler, drier air masses. It's that transition from winter to spring that provides ingredients for severe storms." The jet stream comes in from the Pacific Northwest, dives southeast to the Four Corners region, arcs around the Southern Plains and Red River Valley before heading north to the Mississippi Valley. Within the jet stream are disturbances that are crucial for the development of severe storms.


Huge fire rages in Switzerland - Almost 300 firefighters and the army are battling strong headwinds and dry conditions to extinguish a huge fire in southern Switzerland.
Firefighters aided by helicopters struggled to contain the blaze after it broke out at an auto repair shop on the outskirts of Visp and quickly advanced on forestland in the Swiss canton of Valais.
The exact cause of the fire remains unknown. Authorities warned residents to remain inside their homes. Lack of snowfall and an UNUSUALLY MILD spring have contributed to low lake levels and dry tinder in the forests of many areas of Switzerland. Strong winds pushed the flames fast up the nearby mountains, blocking the main road to Visp, about 32 kilometres from popular ski area Zermatt and the famed Matterhorn.

PAKISTAN - Extreme hot weather conditions prevailing across country. Most parts of the country are experiencing extreme hot weather conditions and rise in temperatures up to 3-5 degrees Celsius, which are likely to continue during next few days. Southern Punjab and Sindh are under the grip of intense heat wave conditions and temperatures are rising in these areas. Maximum temperature in Larkana has reached to 47 C while the highest maximum temperature (48.7 C) was earlier recorded in April 2000.