Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deadly Joplin, Missouri, tornado stirred up RARE fungal infections - In the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, some people who were injured in the storm developed a rare and sometimes fatal fungal infection that's so aggressive, it turned their tissue black and caused mold to grow inside their wounds.
Scientists say the UNUSUALLYy aggressive infection occurs when dirt or vegetation becomes embedded under the skin. In some cases, injuries that were stitched up had to be reopened to clean out the contamination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that it is conducting tests to help investigate the infections, which are SO UNCOMMON that even the nation's largest hospitals might see only one or two cases a year. "To my knowledge, A CLUSTER LIKE THIS HAS NOT BEEN REPORTED BEFORE. This is a VERY RARE fungus. And for people who do get the disease, it can be extremely severe."
Three tornado survivors who were hospitalized with the infection have died, but authorities said it was unclear what role the fungus played in their deaths because they had a host of serious ailments. The infection develops in two ways: when the fungal spores are inhaled or when a tree branch or other object carrying the fungus pierces the flesh. If diagnosed in time, the infection can be treated with intravenous medications and surgical removal of affected tissue. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services received reports of eight suspected deep-skin fungal infections among survivors of the May 22 twister, which was the nation's deadliest single tornado in more than six decades. All of the patients suffered multiple injuries. Also Friday, officials raised the death toll from the twister to 151, including the three people who had the fungus.

**Secret operations are essential in war;
upon them the army relies to make its every move.**
Sun Tzu

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/11/11 -

6/10/11 -


CHILE - Qantas has cancelled 22 flights to and from New Zealand and Tasmania due to a cloud of volcanic ash from South America. All 14 flights in and out of Tasmania today have been cancelled.
Eight flights between Australia and Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown had also been grounded. The cancellations affect about 1500 passengers and Qantas is attempting to contact everyone ahead of their scheduled flight. Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, however, will continue to fly into New Zealand and Tasmania. The airline has altered flights and the height at which they will fly to the island state and New Zealand today.
The Puyehue volcano in Chile began erupting on June 4, with the initial ash plume reaching above 15,240m. Last night, strong winds carried the main part of the cloud towards New Zealand. The staff were monitoring the situation and it was not yet known if the cloud would force further cancellations tomorrow.
Chile’s volcanic eruption is devastating the region's fishing; threatens cattle and tourism. The volcanic eruptions a week ago in Chile’s South have crippled the fresh-water fishing industry there and potentially threaten the cattle industry, too. MORE THAN 4.5 MILLION FISH HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE RIO NILAHUE ALONE as a direct result of the hot volcanic ash and rocks that have rained down into the river since Saturday. Thursday the river looked like a “thick, vaporous torrent of chocolate.”
The water in Lago Ranco, usually 41 degrees Fahrenheit at this time of year, is currently 113 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees to 45C). “You can see vapours emitting from the surface of the water as if it were a hot spring. The texture is like a dark, soupy substance produced from the combustion of all the organic material.” The long-term effects for the marine life of the lakes and rivers of the area will also have devastating consequences for the sport fishing and tourism industries. “I’ve never seen the lake like this; it’s a disaster.... I think that all the salmon and trout species have been wiped out in the Gol Gol. It’s a tragedy for all the native species."
Beyond tourism, basic agriculture is threatened. The Agricultural Minister released a statement Wednesday criticizing speculators who are offering ranchers sub-market prices for their cattle in the belief that the animals may die from volcanic ash if they remain in the area. “It’s regrettable that there are people looking to take advantage of the situation these small-market cattle ranchers are in, trying to convince them to undo all their hard work for measly prices." He syas the animals are all right and won’t be evacuated unless there is an increase in volcanic activity. “There is uncertainty, because we don’t know what’s going to happen with the volcano, but there isn’t a large accumulation of ashes on the ground." The Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero (Cattle and Agriculture Service, or SAG) has been helping ranchers carpet their pastures with fresh hay and leaves daily so the cattle eat as little volcanic ash as possible. SAG is also transporting ranchers who had to evacuate their land from shelters back to their property to take these precautions. SAG has also already begun helping ranchers to brand their cattle so they can easily be identified and quickly evacuated if necessary.
Two of Argentina’s airports remained closed through Thursday because winds had spread volcanic ash into the region, making air travel unsafe. The eruptions have also affected international crossing stations along the Chile-Argentina border. Thursday, over 70 trucks were stuck on the Argentine side at the Pino Hachado crossing in the Araucanía Region and 58 trucks on the Chilean side. The station was shut down after 45-mph gusts of wind created a snowstorm-like cloaking of black ash. The trucks - carrying cargo to and from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay - were immobilized. El Mercurio estimated that the costs in international shipping delays have already exceeded US$100,000. (photo)
Dramatic photos

Northwest Pacific/North Indian Ocean Tropical Systems -

Current Central/Eastern Pacific Tropical Systems -
TROPICAL STORM 01E (ADRIAN) was located out to sea far off the coast of Mexico.

PAKISTAN - The intensity of the cyclone for which warnings have been given to coastal areas has now decreased substantially and there is no more a danger to the country's coastal belts.
Hailstorm destroys crops, electricity suspended - Lakki Marwat - The hailstorm have destroyed standing crops in different areas of the city as dozens of signboards were razed to ground while electricity was suspended due to fall of power poles. The hoarding-boards on roadside have also fallen due to the storm which occurred between Friday and Saturday night, which badly affected the gardens of watermelon, melon and vegetables crops. The outer walls of dozens of houses were also collapsed.
The people demanded of the government to provide compensation to people for their losses. Meanwhile, The Meteorological Department has ruled out any threat of cyclone to the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan province. However, under the influence of this depression, widespread rain associated with gusty wind are also expected along Sindh coast from Sunday to Tuesday and along Balochistan coast from Monday to Wednesday. The sea conditions have already become rough in Northeast Arabian Sea, and the fishermen of Sindh are advised not to venture in open sea from Saturday to Tuesday. However, the fishermen of Balochistan may continue their activities up to Sunday.

CHINA - At least 23 people are dead from flooding and landslides as Sarika, the year's third tropical storm, lashed China. The storm slammed into south China's Guangdong Province early Saturday.
PHILIPPINES - About six people were reportedly killed and at least nine others missing at sea as tropical storm Sarika headed out of Philippine waters on Friday, thereby leaving many communities still flooded.


NORWAY - Torrential rains combined with melting snow have caused devastating floods across central Norway, washing away several houses and roads and causing landslides. One person has been injured in the floods, but it was unclear whether their condition was serious. The northern part of the country has also been affected, but is more due to high temperatures that have sped up the snow-melting in the mountains. Between 100 and 200 people have been evacuated so far.


Arizona fire spreads, health risks rise - Smoke from the massive wildfire in eastern Arizona has officials worried about serious health impacts to residents and firefighters. The fire, which has claimed more than 30 homes and forced nearly 10,000 people to flee, has spewed tiny particles of soot in the air at "ASTRONOMICAL" levels. "It was off the charts." Calmer winds helped firefighters gain some ground, but also concentrated the sooty air, keeping it stagnant and raising pollution to levels officials hadn't seen since the blaze began several weeks ago. "We've got a serious potential health problem on our hands.When you get levels like this, it's off the map."
Officials planned to bring in additional air quality monitoring equipment over the weekend, but warned people to just stay away. Meanwhile, the blaze was poised to move into New Mexico today pushed by stronger winds, threatening more towns and possibly endangering two major power lines that bring electricity from Arizona to West Texas. The fire has burned 1655 square kilometres of forest, an increase of 295.26 square kilometres from a day earlier. "It's getting very, very close to the New Mexico state line. This is really rugged country. There is a lot of potential" for the fire to grow. After a good day with calm winds, today was expected to get dicey. "The atmosphere will be unstable and very conducive to fire growth. We're very concerned about the winds."
Firefighters may eventually have to set ablaze 60,702.84 hectares (672 square miles) to burn off fuel in the forest in order to stamp out the flames. "It's going to be really difficult." The fire is the second-largest in state history and could eclipse the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire in size, although only a fraction of the homes have burned.

Rains Bring Relief for Six-month China Drought, But Chronic Water Problems Loom. - Although now satiated, the dry spell is the latest in a growing trend of severe water shortages threatening China’s food production, energy generation, and accelerating modernization. On the Yangtze River — where cargo shipping has been suspended due to a drought that has gripped the region since January — Shanghai has experienced ITS LONGEST DRY PERIOD IN THE PAST 138 YEARS.
Heavy rainfall began in China last Friday. Though this spring’s dry spell has affected 35 million people across five provinces in the Yangtze River Basin — leaving 3.5 million with limited access to drinking water — analysts predict limited impact on national food production, consumer prices, and power output.
The extreme weather, however, is the latest in a series of water shortages exposing the risks that limited freshwater resources pose for the world’s biggest agricultural producer, top energy consumer, and fastest-growing industrial economy. Droughts and water shortages across China are now occurring with such frequency that they are putting the nation’s farm productivity and energy generation at risk, while modernization demands and global commodity prices are steadily increasing.
This is the second tenacious dry spell in China this year. During the winter, severe water scarcity in the northern wheat-growing regions threatened to cripple harvests and forced farmers to dig deeper into declining underground aquifers. Now, the drought that was gripping the typically lush Yangtze River Basin suspended cargo shipping along a 224-kilometer (140-mile) stretch in the middle and lower reaches of the river and exacerbated power shortages at the beginning of what is typically the peak summer season. This spring, rainfall in Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces—the home of China’s “rice and fish”—has been THE LOWEST IN HALF A CENTURY, down 40 to 60 percent from normal precipitation levels.
And while experts are still assessing the overall impact of the drought on China’s economy, the direct economic losses in the affected provinces are nearing $US 2.3 billion (RMB 15 billion). The dry spell spread across more than 7 million hectares (17.3 million acres) of farmland, or one-eighth of China’s arable land, and affected the early crops of rice and water-intensive vegetables. Moreover, it hit at the heart of the Yangtze River Basin, at the source of the central line of the South-North Water Transfer Project, which is slated to annually supply 13 billion cubic meters (3.4 trillion gallons) of water from southern China to help curb enduring water shortages in more than a dozen northern cities. “It doesn’t have enough water to continue self-sufficiency policy and continue to grow economically the way it wants to grow economically. Ultimately, it will need to allocate water to higher-value uses.”


Eight substances have been added to the list of carcinogens by the HSS (US Department of Health and Human Services). The Report of Carcinogens has added formaldehyde, aristolochic acids (botanical; some herbal products contain aristolochic acids, such as those for the treatment of inflammation, gout and arthritis), o-nitrotoluene, captafol (a fungicide used to protect seeds, fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and grasses), cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), riddelliine (in some teas, honey, herbal medications, or foods from animals that have been fed on certain plants), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, and styrene (synthetic chemical used globally in the manufacturing of plastics, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, food containers, carpet backing and car parts) to the list of carcinogens. There are now 240 carcinogens on the list.