Tuesday, June 7, 2011

U.S. - Ongoing rains worsen RECORD-BREAKING FLOODS along Missouri River. Rising waters threaten Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and are expected to push south soon. The Midwest will be underwater all summer. The surging waters, created by UNPRECEDENTED WEATHER CONDITIONS, have already caused levee failures, and more are expected to come. The Missouri River and its tributaries in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota are swelling with water. A confluence of factors are driving the rising waters, notably the RECORD HEAVY SNOWFALL earlier this year in the Rocky Mountain region. Snow accumulation was 140% above normal. “We do have QUITE UNUSUAL SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES, METEOROLOGICALLY."
The UNUSUALLY HEAVY snows – combined with ongoing heavy rains, expected to continue all summer – will create a total runoff of some 55 million acre-feet of water, according to projections from the US Army Corps of Engineers. (An acre-foot of water is the equivalent of one foot of water covering one acre of land.) That’s THE HIGHEST RUNOFF LEVEL SINCE THEY BEGAN KEEPING RECORDS IN 1898. The immediate danger this week comes from heavy storms, expected to move south along the river valley. Meteorologists predict that 2 inches of rain in Montana and North Dakota and up to 3 inches of rain in Omaha, Nebraska, will fall over the next few days. May was the SECOND-WETTEST MONTH SINCE 1889 for northern Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota.
To relieve pressure on the river, the Corps plans to release 150,000 cubic feet per second of water at the Oahe Dam above Pierre, S.D., on Tuesday. The other dams will be opened in succession, remaining open through mid-August. The amount of water released may increase, depending on the changing climate. “We are going to be testing the system, “because WE'LL BE RELEASING MORE WATER THAN HAS EVER BEEN RELEASED BEFORE.” Local officials in some states are criticizing the Corps for not opening the dams earlier. “Conditions in the basin were not as extreme as they are now. We did not see a great need.”
Water is already surging at all six of the dams along the river, BREAKING RECORDS AT EACH ONE. Runoff waters are highest at Gavins Point, located near Yankton, S.D. The flow there reached 10.5 million acre-feet, breaking a previous record of 7.2 acre-feet, set in 1995.
While the dams are all “very safe,” the levee system is more vulnerable – and will likely be stressed throughout the year. Tributary systems that feed into the Missouri River are also expected to flood. A levee breach near Hamburg, Iowa, on Sunday resulted in a mandatory evacuation of residents. Corps officials have not yet determined what caused the breach. The National Guard dropped 22 thousand-pound sandbags on the levee, as an emergency measure to keep the water from flowing through the breach. Flooding will stretch two miles inland, officials predict.
Rising river levels have resulted in sandbagging efforts and road closures IN VIRTUALLY EVERY STATE BORDERING THE RIVER. In Fort Calhoun, Neb., about 20 miles north of Omaha, a nuclear power plant declared an emergency and shut down. The Omaha Public Power District, which operates the plant, said it does not expect any release of radioactive material. Surging waters can also delay emergency efforts underway to repair the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway in Mississippi County, Mo., which was opened in May to mitigate surging Mississippi waters traveling downstream toward Memphis.
Officials are uncertain how much the flooding along the Missouri River will deepen the waters of the Mississippi River. “Obviously, with more water coming from the Missouri River, there will be more water in the Mississippi River.” Their combined flows could lead to more flooding in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois, where local waters levels are still elevated from similar flooding in May.

[It's looking a lot like Australia.] The damage bill from massive floods which hit northeastern Australia this year will likely be Aus$6.8 billion dollars (US$7.3 billion) - $1 billion more than previously thought - an official said Sunday. The natural disaster affected an area the size of France and Germany combined and was followed within days by the destructive Cyclone Yasi. "As well as the tragic human cost, there has also been enormous damage to infrastructure and significant costs incurred in managing the response and recovery process. Such a big damage bill underlines the enormity of the task ahead."
Australia suffered HISTORIC FLOODS in December and January which swamped coal mines, ruined roads and other infrastructure and destroyed crops and farmland in Queensland. The floods swamped thousands of homes and paralysed the state capital Brisbane. The floods claimed more than 30 lives,and also helped Australia's economy to ITS HEAVIEST CONTRACTION FOR 20 YEARS in the first three months of 2011.

**In the practical art of war, the best thing of all
is to take the enemy's country whole and intact;
to shatter and destroy it is not so good.**
Sun Tzu

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/6/11 -


Chile volcano eruption: 'The streets are like a beach' - Wind carried ash across the Andes, dropping a grey blanket on Argentina. After the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano range eruption over the weekend, the ash cloud hovering above Northern Patagonia since Saturday may reach the city of Buenos Aires on Tuesday. The advice from the authorities is to stay at home so they can clear the streets. They are also saying to be careful with drinking the water. (photos)

No current tropical storms.


CHINA - At least 14 people killed by raging flood waters in southern China's Guizhou province, following months of crop-destroying drought.


MISSISSIPPI RECORD-BREAKING 4TH STRAIGHT DAY OF TRIPLE-DIGIT HEAT. High temperatures for a fourth straight day reached the triple digits in Jackson as a record-breaking heat wave continued across Mississippi. The max high temperature reached a scorching new daily record of 101 degrees Sunday afternoon in the capital.

Wildfire forces evacuation of another Arizona town
- Stiff winds whipped up a gigantic blaze in the mountains of eastern Arizona on Monday, forcing the evacuation of a third resort town and casting a smoky haze over states as far away as Iowa.


Not the sprouts? - E.U to hold E.coli crisis meeting . EU agriculture ministers are to hold emergency talks, as efforts continue to find the source of an E.coli outbreak which has killed 22 people. The first tests on bean sprouts from a German farm suspected of being the source of the outbreak were negative. More than 2,200 people have fallen ill in 12 countries. Cases outside Germany have been linked to travel there. Scientists say it is an aggressive hybrid strain toxic to humans and not previously linked to food poisoning.
Officials were able to link the main outbreaks with bean sprouts from one farm in northern Germany. The prospect remains that no trace of E. coli will ever be found, since any contaminated produce would have been farmed and on the shelves weeks ago. But bean sprouts remain the prime suspect.

China Carbolic Acid Spill Knocks Out Water to 500,000. - Carbolic acid spilled into a river that supplies drinking water to eastern China's scenic city of Hangzhou, knocking out supplies to more than half a million people in the suburbs and creating a run on bottled water in the city of 9 million. A tanker truck carrying 20 tons of the caustic chemical overturned late Saturday night. The chemical, also known as phenol, was washed by rain into the Xin'an River about 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Hangzhou. The city said an emergency worker died, but it did not say how. It said authorities temporarily shut down water plants and released extra water from nearby dams to dilute the spill, which affected the water supplies of at least 552,000 people in Hangzhou's suburbs.
The concentration of carbolic acid near the accident site remained at more than 900 TIMES the safe drinking level as of late Monday. Carbolic acid is an industrial chemical used to create plastic and other materials. Contact with it can cause burns and ingesting it can cause damage to internal organs and the nervous system. No details were available on the exact level of contaminant in the water supply. Despite reassurances that drinking water in Hangzhou itself was safe, residents rushed to buy bottled water, leaving shelves in some supermarkets empty.
The spill follows recent news of lead poisoning of dozens of people caused by emissions from battery manufacturers based northeast of the city. That case came amid a widening crackdown on heavy metals pollution that resulted in shutdowns of hundreds of factories.

-Bravo! Issues Nationwide Recall of Bravo! Pig Ears Dog Chews Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk
-"Quenby Hall Blue Stilton Cheese" is being recalled by Schratter Foods Incorporated, a Fairfield, New Jersey-based food distributor, because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes
-Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc. of Waukegan, Illinois is voluntarily recalling Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes