Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Japanese seabed radiation levels soar - Levels of radioactive substances have jumped in the Pacific seabed off Japan near the nuclear power plant crippled by a massive tsunami in March, according to the plant operator. Seabed samples collected some 15km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant contained 1400 becquerels of radioactive caesium-137 per kilogram. The level is more than 600 times higher than a maximum 2.3 becquerels per kilogram detected in the past off the north-eastern prefecture of Fukushima. The samples, taken on Friday, also contained 1300 becquerels of caesium-134 and 190 becquerels of iodine-131, late on Tuesday after the first analysis of seabed soil since the March 11 disaster.
Levels of the two materials were too low to be gauged in the past. The company did not say whether the levels were considered harmful. Samples taken at another spot 20km away from the plant also showed similarly high radiation levels.TEPCO said it would continue to examine radiation levels. "We cannot say anything definite after just one probe. We will conduct more sample examinations and keep a watch." The samples were taken 20-30 metres deep and three kilometres from the coast.
The Fukushima plant has leaked radiation into air, soil and ocean since it was severely damaged by the massive quake and tsunami. Greenpeace said it had begun independent tests of water samples from the ocean near Japan's crippled for radiation contamination. The samples will be collected outside Japan's 19km territorial waters in line with government rules.

**One thing that I have noticed
is that all of these conspiracy theories
depend on the perpetrators being endlessly clever.
I think you'll find the facts also work
if you assume everyone is endlessly stupid.**
Brian E. Moore

This morning -

Yesterday -
5/3/11 -

TEXAS - Smaller Earthquakes Could Mean A Large One Is Coming. In the past week, the El Paso region has had four earthquakes at least 4.2 in scale. A seismologist says the earthquakes could foreshadow a large scale earthquake in El Paso. These earthquakes all happened in a remote area of Chihuahua, Mecico. They were pretty close to the U.S. border. Most El Pasoans said they never worry about earthquakes because they don’t think we’re on a fault line. But the mountains in El Paso are proof that they are on one or more fault lines. “The hazard is not zero here in El Paso. It’s low compared to California and Japan, but at any particular time that means that we could have an earthquake.” Emergency services and Red Cross experts recommend keeping a go-bag, or emergency kit with things like: AM/FM radio, flashlight, fresh batteries, bottled water, a first-aid kit, and even a whistle in case you get trapped somewhere.

No current tropical storms.


US breaches Mississippi River levee to ease flood risk - An official said it could take until late summer or early autumn for the submerged farmland to drain. As many as 200 sq miles of farmland were under water on Tuesday after the US blew a hole in a Mississippi River levee to relieve a flood threat. The Army Corps of Engineers breached the levee in an effort to save the town of Cairo, Illinois, sacrificing farmland across the river in Missouri. A group of farmers whose land was flooded has sued the federal government over the move. The US says farmers who had crop insurance will be reimbursed. By blowing a hole in the levee on Monday night, the Corps of Engineers hoped to reduce the river level at Cairo, lessen the pressure on the flood wall over the town, and relieve the flood risk further down the Mississippi River.
At Cairo, a town of about 3,000 at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, the measure seemed to work, with the river level declining. The move makes use of floodways - vast basins of land surrounded by levees that can be opened to divert flooding elsewhere. As many as 100 homes were damaged or destroyed, and the water washed away crop prospects for the year. "Making this decision is not easy or hard. It's simply grave - because the decision leads to loss of property and livelihood, either in a floodway or in an area that was not designed to flood." It could be late summer or early autumn before the submerged land fully drains. The National Weather Service expects record flooding further down in the Mississippi River valley in the next few weeks.

NEW ZEALAND - Hawke's Bay hit by massive weather bomb. Being stuck in the "squash zone" between two lows and a high resulted in a massive deluge across Hawke's Bay last week. The rain system was pushed downwards by two lows in the north, and pushed from below by a large high across the South Island, leaving it stalled in a narrow band over Hawke's Bay. "It was VERY UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES. That sort of rain really only occurs in a system like Bola, but last week the focused rain was only over a very small area." That resulted in RECORD-BREAKING RAINFALLS around the region, with triple the normal rainfall for April in Napier, most of it in just two days. The rain gauge at Hawke's Bay Airport recorded 247mm of rain, its second-highest April total since records began for the site in 1870. Wairoa recorded 333mm of rainfall in April, its HIGHEST FOR THE MONTH SINCE RECORDS BEGAN in 1964. Rural and coastal areas were even harder hit. Pukeorapa Station, near Wairoa, received 218mm last Tuesday, and a total of 372 over four days. Kotemaori received 214mm in one day. (radar image)


SCOTLAND - Wildfires burn on after dry weather. Heathland fires have still been raging across parts of the Scottish Highlands after the RECORD-BREAKING DRY SPELL. Emergency services continued to tackle the fires as forecasters said there was very little chance of rain in the next 24 hours. In the Scottish Highlands, firefighters tackled two wildfires which have been raging since the holiday weekend. At Shiel Bridge three properties were evacuated on Monday night as the flames advanced.


Retailer Safeway recalls certain foodstuffs - U.S. grocery operator Safeway Inc expanded its recall on edibles containing grape tomatoes in several states, due to possible salmonella contamination. The company recalled kabobs, which include grape tomatoes, from its Safeway, Vons, Pavilions and Pak N Save stores in several states including Arizona and California. On May 2, the company had recalled cafe salads and deli salads made with grape tomatoes. Safeway said no illness had been reported and the recall of kabobs was a precautionary measure. The recalled kabobs were sold between April 26 and May 3.

-Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. of Tracy, CA has been notified by grower Six L's that a specific lot of grape tomatoes supplied to Taylor Farms Pacific may be contaminated with Salmonella.