A strong 6.8 earthquake struck Friday at the northeastern coast of Japan near the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant which was severely damaged by the March 11 super earthquake and tsunami. A tsunami warning was issued in the Fukushima and Miyagi Perfectures but was lifted 35 minutes later. The quake reportedly occurred at 2:36 pm (0536GMT) with its epicenter off Fukushima prefecture at a depth of 20 kilometers. Tokyo Electric Power Company said there were no damages on its Onagawa Plant which has been shut since March.
However, an earlier report says the "GROUND UNDER FUKUSHIMA PLANT IS CRACKING and radioactive steam is coming up - Melted core may be moving out of building." “It’s a very serious and alarming development because this started to happen specifically after two large earthquakes in the last few weeks, there was a 6.4 on the 31 of July 31 and a 6.0 on August 12″. Meanwhile, radioactive contamination in rice was found by Japanese inspectors on Friday. The discovery is likely to fan out growing fears of radioactive contamination on crops and basic agricultural produce and the general safety of Japan's food supply.
I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty
than the person who has nothing to eat.**
LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.2 OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA
5.0 CERAM SEA, INDONESIA
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.1 STATE OF YAP, MICRONESIA
5.1 FIJI REGION
5.3 TONGA REGION
5.0 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
6.3 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.2 KURIL ISLANDS
5.3 BANDA SEA
5.6 FIJI REGION
Series of quakes rattle Vanuatu - A series of earthquakes struck off the South Pacific island of Vanuatu on Sunday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued. A magnitude-7.1 quake struck at 4.55am (NZ time) at a depth of 40.6 kilometres. Its epicentre was 63 kilometres south-southwest of Vanuatu's capital, Port-Vila. The temblor was followed by several aftershocks, including a magnitude-7.0 quake that struck at 6.19am at a depth of 28.5 kilometres. Its epicentre was 69 kilometres south-southwest of Port-Vila.
Vanuatu, a chain of 83 islands, lies about 2000 kilometres northeast of Sydney. It is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from South America through Alaska and down through the South Pacific. A magnitude-7.3 quake struck near Vanuatu on December 26, causing a tsunami a few inches high but no damage.
CHILE - Puyehue Cordón Caulle Volcano Continues To Spew Ash. For two and a half months Chile's Puyehue Cordón Caulle Volcanic Complex has erupted nearly continuously.
HAWAII - Scientists on the Big Island expect to see more action from Kilauea volcano in the coming days. They've been carefully monitoring a new eruption that began on Aug. 3. That's when a crater at Pu'u O'o collapsed, sending rivers of lava down slope. Since then, lava has been erupting from vents on the western flank of Pu'u O'o , but at a much slower rate. All this may soon change now that Kilauea's summit is no longer deflating.
TROPICAL STORMS -
- Tropical Storm Harvey was located about 40 mi / 65 km NNW of Tikal, Guatemala. Bringing heavy rains to portions of Guatemala and eastern Mexico, it could produce up to 8 inches of rain over the sugar and coffee producing nations of Honduras and Guatemala.
-Tropical Storm Irene was located about 95 mi /150 km E of Dominica. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Puerto Rico...U.S. Virgin Islands...Vieques and Culebra...Saba...St. Eustatius...and St. Maartin...Dominica...Barbuda...St. Kitts...Nevis...Antigua...Anguilla...Montserrat...British Virgin Islands. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the South Coast of the Dominican Republic. Tropical storm conditions could occur elsewhere in the northern Leeward Islands early tonday. Hurricane conditions could occur in the Dominican Republic late on
-Tropical Depression Greg was located about 740 mi / 1190 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California.
Fernanda Downgraded To A Tropical Depression - Tropical Storm Fernanda was downgraded to a tropical depression Friday, and forecasters expect the system to weaken further this weekend with its remnants passing south of Hawaii Monday.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
PENNSYLVANIA - A flash flood killed at least three people in Pittsburgh late on Friday, and the body of a possible fourth victim has been found, authorities said on Saturday. A mother and her two daughters died when water as deep as nine feet engulfed their vehicle on a low-lying section of the city's Washington Boulevard near the Allegheny River. The water pinned their vehicle to a tree and they were unable to escape. Rescue workers also recovered a body from the Allegheny River believed to be that of an older woman reported missing during the flood. During the flood, more than a dozen cars were stranded along the road and paramedics in boats went from car to car to rescue drivers and passengers. Some motorists stood on their vehicles' roofs or clung to trees to avoid the rising water. A severe thunderstorm that triggered the flood caused power outages in parts of the city late Friday afternoon.
KANSAS CITY - Severe storms clobbered the metro area again early Saturday, dumping RECORD AMOUNTS OF RAIN at the airport and downing trees and power lines for the second straight night. No injuries were reported. The storms snarled traffic, flooded streets and sent scores of Kansas City Power & Light crews scrambling to keep up with outage reports. “It’s ONE OF THE BIGGEST STORMS WE'VE EVER HAD, with really high winds and a lot of lightning." The storms of the past two days were the second strongest in the company’s history, behind only the 2002 ice storm. “We’ve never had a summer with this many big storms. We’ve had five this summer that affected 50,000 or more in our service area."
The western half of the metro area appeared to be the hardest hit, with reports of 60 to 70 mph winds. In Leavenworth, there were reports of hail that was 4½ inches in diameter. 2.4 inches of rain fell after midnight Friday at Kansas City International Airport, setting a record for that date. Another 1.5 inches was recorded at the airport from the storm the previous night. The rains brought the totals to 1.37 inches above normal for the year. “The good news is that smoother sailing is ahead for the next three or four days, with low chances of severe weather."
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES / CLIMATE CHANGE -
TEXAS - Record-Breaking Heat Continues. The National Weather Service extended the heat advisory for the majority of North Texas through Monday. DFW Airport's thermometer has hit at least 100 degrees 54 times this summer, putting North Texas in third for the most 100 degree days in a year.
Species flee warming faster than previously thought - Animals and plants are shifting their natural home ranges towards the cooler poles three times faster than scientists previously thought. In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers looked at the effects of temperature on over 2,000 species. They report that species experiencing the greatest warming have moved furthest. The results helped to "cement" the link between climate change and shifts in species' global ranges, said the team.
Scientists have consistently told us that as the climate warms we should expect animals to head polewards in search of cooler temperatures. Animals like the British comma butterfly, for example, has moved 220km northward from central England to southern Scotland in the last two decades. There is also evidence that more species seem to be moving up mountains than down. Analysing the range shifts of more than 2,000 species - ranging from butterflies to birds, algae to mammals - across Europe, North and South America and Malaysia over the last four decades, they show that organisms that experience the greatest change in temperatures move the fastest. The team found that on average organisms are shifting their home ranges at a rate of 17km per decade away from the equator; three times the speed previously thought.
"Seeing that species are able to keep up with the warming is a very positive finding." It seems that species were able to seek out cooler habitats as long as there was not an obstacle in their way, like a highway. But what about the animals that already live at the poles, or at the top of mountains? "They die." Take the polar bear, it does most of its hunting off the ice, and that ice is melting - this JULY WAS THE LOWEST ARCTIC ICE COVER EVER RECORDED - it has nowhere to go. However, the loss of this one bear species, although eminently emblematic, seems insignificant when compared to the number of species that are threatened at the top of tropical mountains. On Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Geometrid moths have moved uphill as temperatures increase. Their natural ranges have shifted by 59m in 42 years. These moths "don't have options; they are being forced up, and at some point they will run out of land...we know that the species which have expanded the most and fastest are the species that are not particularly fussy about where they live."