Monday, May 9, 2011

Dallas Highest Risk U.S. City For Natural Disasters -Tornadoes, Floods, Hail, Drought, Hurricane Remnants, Contribute To Ranking. Dallas is No. 1, and it's not for a good reason. According to Sperling's Best Places and the New York Times, Dallas is the highest risk city in the nation when it comes to natural disasters. Just look at the last two weeks of weather, and you can see why Dallas is the highest risk natural disaster city in America. Drought like conditions made it the perfect conditions for wildfires. Then the rain came, but so did severe thunderstorms that produced tornadoes. And over the weekend, the temperatures dropped, and the rain never let up.
"There's no doubt that the Metroplex faces virtually every hazard you can imagine. From the inland effects of hurricanes and tropical storms, to winter storms and of course severe thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes." The analysis looked at all of that, plus droughts, wind and earthquakes. "If there is ever a reminder that we need to be prepared, have a plan, and have a way to receive severe weather information, April and May of this year have reminded us of just that."
"When a tornado comes through, like we've experienced recently, a lot of the stuff that you need to communicate with, a lot of the stuff that you need gets totally wiped away, and your left with virtually nothing." A weather radio is the first thing you should have. After that, a good first aid kit and enough food and water for everyone in your family for at least a couple of days. "If you can have these in a safe location in your house or bring them with you to your shelter, you'll have it after the storm to give aid to others, and it keeps you going until medical help or FEMA or other government agencies come to help you out."

**Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.**
("Anything said in Latin, sounds profound.")

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
5/8/11 -

ITALY - Romans flee predicted quake. If tourists find Rome unusually quiet Wednesday, the reason will probably be that thousands of locals have left town in fear of a devastating earthquake allegedly forecast for that day by a long-dead seismologist. For months Italian internet sites, blogs and social networks have been debating the work of Raffaele Bendandi, who claimed to have forecast numerous earthquakes and, according to internet rumors, predicted a "big one" in Rome on May 11. The national television network RAI has run programs aimed at calming rising panic among Romans. The civil protection agency has issued statements reiterating the official scientific view that earthquakes can't be predicted.
Yet many residents of the Eternal City aren't listening. "I'm going to tell the boss I've got a medical appointment and take the day off. If I have to die I want to die with my wife and kids, and masses of people will do the same as me." "I don't know if I really believe it but if you look at the internet you see everything and the opposite of everything, and it end up making you nervous." Memories are still vivid of the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila, which killed more than 300 people and was also felt in Rome. On that occasion controversy also swirled around a scientist, Giampaolo Giuliani, who in the preceding days tried to warn the local population of an imminent quake - though officials say he was wrong about its precise location.
Bendandi, who died in 1979 aged 86, believed earthquakes were the result of the combined movements of the planets, the moon and the sun and were perfectly predictable. In 1923 he forecast a quake would hit the central Adriatic region of the Marches on January 2 the following year. He was wrong by two days. Bendandi's fame grew. During his long career his theories were studied by several prominent foreign astronomers. However the current panic appears to be due more to fear-mongering in the age of internet than to Bendandi himself. The president of an association dedicated to Bendandi and which preserves all his manuscripts, says they make no reference to any earthquake around Rome in 2011.

GREECE - The Athens Geodynamic Institute says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.0 has struck off the coast of the southeastern Greek island of Kos. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The quake struck at 9:50 a.m. (0650GMT) Sunday 16 kilometres (10 miles) south-southwest of the island of Kos, which lies near the Turkish coast in the southeastern Aegean. Greece is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, but the thousands of quakes recorded each year rarely cause severe damage or fatalities. In June 2008, a 6.5-magnitude quake struck near the western city of Patras, about 120 miles west of Athens, killing two people, injuring more than 200 and damaging hundreds of buildings.

NEW ZEALAND - There is barely a house left in Christchurch that is not in need of repair work after February's magnitude 6.3 earthquake, new figures show. As the city was rattled by yet another strong 4 magnitude aftershock Saturday, information just released by information just released by the Earthquake Commission revealed the quake left 180,000 homes needing repairs. 12,000 homes are so badly damaged it will cost more than $100,000 to repair them. 8000 are severely damaged and could cost at least $100,000 to fix. 40,0000 are moderately damaged. 120,000 have minor damage. It is likely to be December before those homes with only minor damage are inspected properly.
Later this month the first of several temporary villages is to open in Christchurch for those left homeless. At the same time people should get an initial indication of whether their land can be remediated or if they will have to relocate. That information is vital for the rebuilding of the city and will dictate whether thousands of homes are repaired or bulldozed. It will also dictate what happens to the roads and underground services. Repairing the infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges. "Anyone who has been out and about would have seen the scale of that challenge just in terms of the roads. There is also a huge amount of infrastructure that needs to be replaced or repaired, such as wastewater and stormwater systems." Fixing the infrastructure is likely to take at least five years or more and cost between $2 billion and $3billion.


ECUADOR - Tungurahua Volcano Exploded Again Wednesday: People Fear For Their Lives. Thundering explosions could be heard miles from Tungurahua, which is on the Andes cordillera 84 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Ecuador’s capital, Quito. A state Geophysics Institute scientist monitoring the volcano from a nearby observation post said that incandescent boulders were landing up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) beneath crater level. “The smallest blocks are that size of an automobile while the biggest reach the size of a truck, which cause impact craters up to 10 meters (33 feet) wide as they hit the flanks." The villages of Cusua, Bilbao and Chacauco were asked to evacuate.
The volcano started experiencing increased activity on Wednesday. The government issued an alert Thursday for the provinces of Tungurahua and then Chimborazo and Pastaza. Tungurahua, one of the eight active volcanoes in the Andean nation, has been active since 1999. Though one of its strongest eruptions took place in 2008, it had already proved itself deadly, when at least four people were killed and thousands forced to evacuate during a series of eruptions, which took place in July and August of 2006.
“According to our observations, damages to crops, pastures and small effects to the health of people are already evident." Officials first detected increased activity in the volcano April 20, with monitors observing regular small eruptions of ash and gas. The glacier-capped volcano has erupted periodically since 1999, when increased activity led to the temporary evacuation of the city of Banos at the foot of the volcano. Tungurahua erupted in December, sending ash and lava spewing nearly a mile into the sky. Major eruptions also occurred in August 2006 and February 2008.


PHILIPPINES - 8 North Luzon areas under Signal No. 2 At least eight areas in Northern Luzon were placed under Storm Signal No. 2 on Monday as tropical storm "Bebeng" (international name: Aere) continued to move toward the area. The death toll remained at nine as of this morning.
According to the 5 a.m. update of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Bebeng has affected 21,274 families (or 111,368 people). Tropical storm Bebeng has caused a province-wide blackout in Camarines Sur as well as power outages in Metro Manila. Camarines Sur experienced a total blackout, while Marinduque experienced a "province-wide power interruption." Albay and Catanduanes have an "on-and-off" or intermittent power supply. While Bebeng did not directly hit Metro Manila, the storm caused power interruptions in several areas there since Sunday night. Power interruptions were reported as early as 6:00 p.m. Sunday until early Monday. Most of the power interruptions happened at around 11:00 p.m. on Sunday. Of the affected people, 2,258 families (or 11,123 individuals) were brought to evacuation centers. A total of 9,327 people, 250 trucks, 107 cars, 92 buses, 26 vessels and 27 motor bancas were stranded.
"Bebeng" was expected to make landfall in Aurora early today before heading to the Ilocos region. As of 4 a.m., PAGASA said Bebeng was 60 kilometers (km) southeast of Casiguran, Aurora packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. Bebeng was moving north-northwest at 15 kph and is expected to be 70 km north of Aparri, Cagayan by Tuesday morning. By Wednesday morning it is expected to be 210 km north-northeast of Basco, Batanes. By Thursday morning it is expected to be 550 km north-northeast of Basco, Batanes. "Tropical Storm Bebeng is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over the rest of Southern Luzon and of Visayas. Residents in low lying areas and near mountain slopes under signal #2 and #1 are advised to take all the necessary precautions against possible flashfloods and landslides."

Taiwan issues sea warning for 1st tropical storm of year - The Central Weather Bureau issued a sea warning for Tropical Storm Aere early Monday as the 2011 Pacific typhoon season's first storm approached the Bashi Channel off southeastern Taiwan. Tropical Storm Aere was centered at sea east of Luzon Island in the Philippines at around 5: 30 a.m. Monday and was moving closer to the Bashi Channel. Ships in that area should be on the alert. The cloud systems on the outer rim of the storm could bring heavy or torrential rains to parts of Hualien and Taitung counties in eastern Taiwan as well as to the Hengchun Peninsula on the southern tip of the island. Aere lashed northeastern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least nine people and forcing more than 100,000 villagers to flee farming areas threatened by landslides. A land warning for Taiwan will depend on Aere's position after it leaves the Philippines. The storm may affect only the eastern parts of Taiwan, bringing heavy rainfall to that region and may have little effect on the drought-stricken western areas of the country.


U.S. - After lull, more tornadoes could hit parts of the United States. May, which typically has the most tornadoes in the USA, will have a hard time equaling April's savagery. However, after a relatively quiet first week of May, the atmosphere appears to be gearing up for another round of violent weather in parts of the country. April's ferocity was one for the record books: There were more tornadoes in April 2011 than in any month in U.S. history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates there were more than 600 tornadoes in April, shattering the record of 543 in May 2003. With an estimated 327 deaths, the tornado outbreak April 25-28 was the third-deadliest on record, behind 1925 with 747 and 1932 with 332. There have been an estimated 887 tornadoes in 2011. The year with the most was 2004, when 1,817 were reported
This week, there will be several days with a severe-weather threat from the southern Plains to parts of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. The reason is a combination of an upper-level low-pressure area from the West and an increasingly warm, humid air mass in the Plains and South.
The threat should intensify Wednesday, primarily over the central and southern Plains. Severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, are possible. May is prime time for tornadoes in the USA as not only is it hotter and more humid in the South as the sun climbs higher in the sky, but the warmth and humidity spreads north more often into the Plains and Midwest. The key for May, however, is that while it's getting warmer and more humid near the surface, the jet stream remains energetic. This allows for cold, dry air aloft to plow over the top of warm, humid air near the surface. These strong jet-stream disturbances tend to enhance the difference in wind speed and direction at various heights above the surface, which helps sustain the supercell thunderstorms that spawn tornadoes.
The staggering death toll from the tornado outbreak in April comes as the National Weather Service reports that the average lead time for tornado warnings was 24 minutes, and that warnings were in effect for more than 90% of the tornadoes. Tornado warning lead time is the difference from when the warning was issued and the time the tornado was on the ground. During the past few years, average tornado warning lead time has been about 14 minutes. This compares with 3 to 5 minutes in the 1980s and early 1990s, before the installation of a national network of Doppler radars and the weather service's modernization. Tornado warning accuracy is the percentage of tornadoes that occur within areas under warnings. The percentage has increased from around 30% to 40% in the 1980s and early 1990s to around 75% by the early 2000s. Were it not for tornado warnings, the average annual death toll in the USA from tornadoes would be about 1,000 people. An average 60 people are killed by tornadoes in the USA each year.