Monday, July 18, 2011

**Cities have always been the fireplaces of civilization,
whence light and heat radiated out into the dark.**
Theodore Parker

This morning -

Yesterday -
7/17/11 -

CALIFORNIA - Water mains broke in Berkeley and Richmond soon after the 3:51 am earthquake on Saturday morning, which was centered in Berkeley.
'Citizen seismologists' needed for Quake Catcher network - Thousands of Bay Area residents are needed to set up matchbox-sized earthquake monitors in their homes, offices and classrooms to help scientists better understand the nature of quakes. Although single sensors cannot tell whether a tiny shake is an earthquake or simply a truck driving by a home, hundreds of linked sensors could.


HAWAII - Like the witches' cauldron in “MacBeth,” Kilauea Volcano continued to burn and bubble Saturday, maintaining two lava lakes.

Twelve massive underwater volcanoes discovered in Atlantic Ocean - Navigating the ocean water depths of the remote South Sandwich Islands near Antarctica, scientists have discovered a chain of massive underwater volcanoes that stand thousands of feet above the ocean floor.


-TROPICAL STORM BRET was located off the coast of Florida. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND AND THE ABACO ISLANDS IN THE NORTHWEST BAHAMAS. The forecasted path takes the storm out in the Atlantic, posing no threat to the U.S. coast.


U.S. - Extreme heat wave to spread across Chicago, U.S.; drought conditions to worsen. You know it's bad when you see magenta shadings that represent Excessive Heat Warnings in northern North Dakota and Minnesota. The dome of intense heat has expanded and will continue to expand over the Lower 48 over the next several days. Currently, as many as 13 states that stretches nearly 1,400 miles from as far north as International Falls, Minnesota south to Temple, Texas are under some type of heat advisory. High pressure systems with intense heat usually migrate further east than normal across the country during this time of year, but not as expansive especially towards the north like this.
Temperatures in the 90s and 100s will occur on a daily basis across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, regions not used to that type of heat. These are also regions there is plenty of vegetation, specifically corn, also known as the Corn Belt Region. Humidity levels in these areas will be sent through the roof thanks to a process called evapotranspiration. Water within plants/vegetation changes to water vapor that is released into the atmosphere increasing humidity levels. According to the USGS, 10% of moisture in the atmosphere comes from plants through transpiration. Humidity levels could reach in to the 80s across this region. Combine that with the intense heat and heat indices will soar to near 115 degrees.
Record-breaking to near record breaking temperatures occured with heat indices that ranged from 105 to 115 degrees across many locations this weekend. With the month of July at the midway point, there have already been 882 RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES tied or set across the Lower 48 states. Models indicate that this is only the beginning as the heat and humidity will continue until at least the end of July.
Not only will the heat be an issue over the next couple of weeks, but the worsening drought conditions. The latest release from the U.S. Drought Monitor showed 29 percent of the country in a drought, mainly across the southern tier states, with 12 percent of the country in exceptional drought, the LARGEST EXTENT ON RECORD (though records only go back to 2000).
Of all states, drought conditions continued to be most extensive and intense in Texas, with 72 percent of the state in exceptional drought. But drought conditions have rapidly expanded in Oklahoma, where exceptional drought now covers 40 percent of the state, a marked 10 percent increase from last week. Currently, the extreme drought conditions cover 20% of the nation. Rain is possible in the coming days over these drought-stricken areas as the powerful heat ridge complex shifts into the Upper Midwest this weekend into early next week.


An enigmatic disease named "nodding syndrome" is crippling children across the new country of South Sudan, but no one knows why. Rural villages in the newly liberated African nation of South Sudan are struggling to cope with the relatively new and little understood illness. The disease, first identified in 1962, has been popping up with increasing frequency in the past few years, afflicting thousands of children across three African countries (the other two being Uganda and Tanzania) with severe neurological and physical symptoms. But scientists can't conclusively say much about the ailment.