Sunday, July 3, 2011

Friday night in Minnesota - Trees blew down near me again in another violent storm. It came in on the same diagonal line as the two previous storms (from the SW) and again just missed me by a few miles. Much worse damage and tornadoes occurred in smaller towns across the state and into Wisconsin.
I think I'd better strengthen my basement storm shelter even more - (At this rate, eventually it will look like a bank vault).
Taking a couple days off this week - no updates Tuesday - Thursday. Stay safe!

From the Horn of Africa, to Texas, to New Mexico - Extreme weather & climate taking their toll. Three extreme weather stories to which you probably should be paying attention: 1) Fire continues to threaten Los Alamos National Laboratory and its store of radioactive waste stored (shockingly) in drums outside; 2) the drought in Texas is so bad that the entire state has been declared a disaster area; 3) ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa and East Africa is sending masses of what are essentially climate refugees from Somalia into Kenya.
Democracy Now reports that some 10 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda have been affected by the drought, which has been described as the WORST IN 60 YEARS and in some areas near-famine conditions exist. "Unless we are able to take action now, I think that we are likely to see not just more migration, but a level of deaths in Somalia that takes us back almost 20 years and certainly has been UNPARALLELED in the recent decade."
Texas is experiencing the WORST DROUGHT SINCE RECORDS BEGAN 116 YEARS AGO. Over 70% of the state is in "exceptional" drought conditions and the USDA has declared the entire state a natural disaster area. Earlier in the spring, when the area should have started receiving rain, a half million acres of wildfires came instead. [Tropical storm Arlene has brought some rain.]
Wildfires continue in New Mexico, threatening Los Alamos National Laboratory. The big threat is to radioactive waste stored there. The Environmental Protection Agency has deployed air monitors and aircraft that can monitor radiation levels, amid fears the blaze could reach a cache of 30,000 drums, each containing 55 gallons (208 litres) of plutonium-contaminated waste. Fire managers said foam could be sprayed on the barrels containing the radioactive materials to ensure they were not damaged by fire, a procedure which would only be carried out as a last resort. [Firefighters are making progress.] (photo & map)

Goofy weatherman terms I've heard in the last few weeks -
'Air You Can Wear'
'Rain With A Name'
'Severe Clear'
[Try to guess what they mean (or not!)
Scroll to the end of today's update for the definitions.]

This morning -

Yesterday -
7/2/11 - Saturday - [uncommonly quiet yesterday; often a bad sign]

7/1/11 - Friday -


Indonesia's Mount Soputan volcano erupts - The volcano on Indonesia's Sulawesi island has erupted, spewing ash and smoke 5000 metres into the air about 6am on Sunday (8am AEST) but people living in the sparsely populated area have not been evacuated."The volcano erupted this morning. Besides spewing ash and dust particles, it also spewed hot gas but that's limited to around its crater. The recommended evacuation zone is set at a six-kilometre radius around the volcano but there's only forest in that range. At the moment, it is still a safe distance from people but we'll continue to monitor the activity." The nearest village is 8km away on the western side of the volcano. Soputan, one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes, last erupted in 2008 with no fatalities recorded. The archipelago nation is home to 129 active volcanoes, including 21 on Java. [5.1 quake in Sulawesi Friday]

Ash from the Chilean volcano once again played havoc with Argentina's air travel Friday, forcing cancelation of all domestic flights from Buenos Aires, and many at the city's international airport.

Costa Rica's Turrialba Volcano More Active - The Turrialba volcano has been more active in recent days, spewing out greater emission of gases and with sound that appears similar to a jet engine. "The gas column is more abundant, the noise is more noticeable in parts where it is not usual." Specialists visited the colossus on Thursday and found that the lake that formed in the western crater "blocked" the escape of gas which means they now soar over the entire crater. "It is a process WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE. The gases are distributed by sector but now gas is emanating 360-degrees around the crater."


At least 11 dead after storm hits Mexico - At least 11 people were confirmed dead in Mexico after Tropical Storm Arlene drenched much of the country with heavy rains and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The first named storm of the Atlantic season barreled ashore along Mexico's Gulf coast on Thursday, dumping several centimetres of rain in areas still recovering from LAST YEAR'S WETTEST SEASON ON RECORD.
The dead included five people who died overnight Friday and early yesterday in central Hidalgo state, where swollen rivers burst their banks and forced more than 1,000 people to evacuate their homes. In the central state of Puebla, a woman was crushed to death when a tree collapsed on her house, while in the neighboring state of Veracruz one person was killed when a mudslide buried their home. Ten people were wounded in that incident. In central San Luis Potosi state, a 19-year-old boy drowned when he was swept away by a river as he worked in the field. Two people died in northeastern Tamaulipas state, including a bricklayer who was struck by a live electrical cable that snapped in strong winds.
Much of the country was subjected to the foul weather, including the capital Mexico City and its outskirts and the Pacific coastal resort city of Acapulco. Mexico's Weather Service said at least a dozen districts in central and northern Mexico were on alert for "intense and occasionally torrential" rains from the remnants of Arlene, whose winds weakened substantially after heading inland but still carried heavy moisture. Some 278,000 people were left homeless or otherwise impacted by the storm, according to provisional tallies.

East China coast braces for tropical storm Meari - East China coastal regions are bracing for strong gales and heavy rains as tropical storm Meari moves closer for landing. Thousands of people have been evacuated amid storm-triggered floodings, authorities said Sunday. The tropical storm is expected to make a landing near the city of Donggang, northeast Liaoning province, or areas to the north of Democratic People's Republic of Korea at Monday dawn. The storm was projected at the Yellow Sea, about 35 kilometers southeast off the coast of eastern Shandong province, at 5 pm Sunday. The storm is moving north at 20 to 25 kilometers per hour, packing sustained gusts of 23 meters per second near its center.
Strong winds and heavy rain are forecast near the coasts of Shandong, Liaoning and the province of Jilin. The strength of the storm will be reduced after landing. Off the coast of Shandong, the stormy weather sank or stranded three vessels on Sunday. Twenty-six people on board of the mishapped vessels have all been rescued. Gales whipped through the Bohai Strait and over the northern part of the Yellow Sea while torrential rains pounded most parts of Liaoning, eastern Shandong, and part of Jiangsu province on Sunday, raising water level of the Taihu Lake in Jiangsu to critical level at one point. In the eastern province of Zhejiang, more than 7,300 people have been evacuated to temporary shelters since heavy rain pounded areas near the city of Zhoushan on Saturday, submerging houses and farms.
Meanwhile, the typhoon alarm for Shanghai has been lifted as Meari's impact on the city was less severe than expected. The tropical storm also brought strong winds and heavy downpours to the Republic of Korea, which has already entered this year's rainy season since last week, killing at least six people and suspending some domestic flights. A car was swept away by rising waters while passing a bridge in South Gyeongsang province, killing five people aboard. Meari also destroyed some bridges and roads, flooded farmland, damaged some farmhouses in the Republic of Korea. However, local weather agency said the damage brought by the storm was not as serious as previously expected since it did not pound the whole country. (photo)


Fierce storm surprises Wisconsin campers; child killed - A fierce thunderstorm swept through a rural Wisconsin county that was packed with holiday campers Friday. It toppled trees, killing an 11-year-old girl, blew boats ashore and injured more than three dozen people.
Odd "eruption" outside of Forest City, Iowa - The back end of Friday’s severe weather left one Forest City couple with many questions after a strange eruption damaged trees in a nearby grove. Meteorologists say it’s a possible microburst. The event takes place when there is a sudden strong downdraft that lasts only a few seconds. The homeowners were outside when it happened and all they remember is a big bang. “I heard another noise and I yelled at her and told her something else is coming and within a half a second it just exploded back here, it just blew up.... “We have old bottles in the garage lining the wall and it was throwing them off the wall and breaking them.” Their grove used to be completely filled with trees, but now it looks like there’s a big hole missing in the middle. (photo)


Noctilucent clouds invade the USA - On July 1st and 2nd, a bank of rippling electric-blue noctilucent clouds spilled across the Canadian border into the lower United States. In doing so, the clouds made their farthest excursion of the year away from the Arctic, their usual environment. "These were the most brilliant NLCs I have ever witnessed!" reports a viewer from Washington state. NLC reports are also coming in from Oregon, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota, and in Europe as far south as France.
Back in the 19th century, these mysterious clouds were confined to polar regions. In recent years, however, NLCs have spread toward the equator, appearing in places such as Utah, Colorado, and perhaps even Virginia. Is this a sign of climate change? Some researchers think so. [I've read that they are caused by ice crystals from meteors hitting in the upper atmosphere.] Sky watchers at all latitudes are encouraged to be alert for electric blue just after sunset or before sunrise. (photo)

Goofy weather term definitions -
'Air You Can Wear' = high humidity; muggy
'Rain With A Name' = a hurricane or tropical storm
'Severe Clear' = the calm after a strong storm [I have no idea what would make it 'severe' - guess they just want to keep the hoopla going even after the danger is past. 'Don't change that channel, a severe clear is developing!']