Sunday, August 28, 2011

Category 1 Hurricane Irene was drenching the mid-Atlantic states with heavy rains as it skirts the Delmarva Peninsula. The center of Irene will move near or over the mid-Atlantic coast this morning and move over southern New England by this afternoon. Irene is forecast to move into eastern Canada tonight. The hurricane is forecast to weaken after landfall in New England and become a Post-tropical cyclone tonight or early Monday.
Irene is a large tropical cyclone. Hurricane-force winds are located over a relatively small area roughly 125 miles / 205 km to the east of the center. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles / 390 km from the center. A storm surge height of about 4 feet has occurred thus far at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The preliminary water level at the Chesapeake Bay bridge Tunnel has recently peaked near the record level that was established during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Rainfall amounts of 10 to 14 inches have already occurred over a large portion of eastern North Carolina and extreme southeastern Virginia with the highest amount thus far of 14 inches reported at Bunyan North Carolina. Irene is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches from eastern North Carolina northward through the mid-Atlantic states into eastern New York and interior New England. These rains combined with heavy rains over the past few weeks could cause widespread flooding, life-threatening flash floods and significant uprooting of trees due to rain-softened grounds.
Higher than normal astronomical tides are occurring this weekend. Large swells generated by Irene are affecting much of the East Coast of the United States. These swells will cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Isolated tornadoes were possible over southern Delaware...eastern New Jersey...southeastern New York...and extreme southern New England Saturday night through this morning. Although Irene will be moving over cooler waters, it is still expected to stay a hurricane until landfall again near Long Island, New York, about midday today.
Irene Blamed for At Least 9 Deaths
Storm Damage Photos
Irene - Latest Developments

**Rain, rain, go away.
Come again some other day.**
Nursery rhyme

This morning -

Yesterday -
8/27/11 -

8/26/11 -

Virginia's Governor has declared a state of emergency for areas affected by Tuesday’s earthquake which shook people from Georgia to Canada. He says damage from the 5.8 magnitude earthquake appears to be greater than initial reports. The damage has been exacerbated by aftershocks. Damaged structures could be weakened further by high winds from Hurricane Irene. The earthquake’s epicenter was in Mineral in central Virginia.


CHILE - The Caulle Volcano in the Puyehue mountain range in the Ranco Province of the Los RĂ­os Region erupted early Friday morning. Media outlets weren’t immediately alarmed and there have been no reports of evacuations or flight delays due to the ash plumes. The alert level remains at red for minor eruptions. Four low intensity eruptions have been recorded, with three-kilometer high plumes of ash. "The seismic activity reveals that the eruptive activity of the Caulle range continues with low intensity, with little particle emissions and apparent obstructions that are generating incrementally and with purpose to the tower of ash. The possibilities of an explosive event still remain, however it is unlikely that it will reach the magnitude of the first eruptive phase.”
Puyehue, a volcano near Caulle, erupted earlier this year in June, causing evacuations of surrounding areas and many domestic and international flight delays in Chile and Argentina. Clouds of ash reaching Australia and New Zealand also caused flight delays. The volcano hadn’t been active before June since 1960, when an earthquake sparked six-mile high clouds of ash. (photos)

ITALY - Stromboli volcano intensified its activity over 24 hours on August 26. There have been explosions, with smoke and lapillus and other lava material billowing out. The monitoring network of the Vesuvius Observatory of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology recorded a total of 11 seismic signals associated with landslides on the Sciara del Fuoco, the stratified magma canyon that slides down towards the sea and along which the lava flows. Tourist trips to the volcano's crater have been suspended for now as a precautionary measure.

CANARY ISLANDS - El Hierro Earthquake Count Exceeds 4200. The number of daily earthquakes recorded on the smallest of the Canary Islands (Spain), El Hierro, has increased considerably in recent days. The Instituto Volcanologico de Canarias has also reported a 1cm inflation over part of the island’s volcano. The total number of tremors recorded during the past five weeks has now exceeded 4200. The majority of the earth tremors range between 1 and 3 magnitude. More than 431 earthquakes, including one measuring 3.5 magnitude on the Richter Scale, were recorded on Monday (22 August) alone.
The vast majority of the tremors have been recorded in the northwest of the 278.5-square-kilometre island at El Golfo, the location of a massive landslide that created a 100-metre high tsunami almost 50,000 years ago.
The earthquake swarm prompted the Canary Islands Government to convene the first ever meeting of the Steering Committee and Volcanic Monitoring on July 22, reflected in the Specific Plan Protection Civil and Emergency for Volcanic Risk, given what it described as “the significant increase in seismic activity”. The Committee met again on July 29 to discuss the low magnitude seismic activity. It reported that it had stepped up its seismic monitoring operations to identify the source of the earthquakes.
It remains unclear if the unprecedented seismic activity on El Hierro is a precursor to a possible future increase in earthquake or volcanic activity. However, the latest surge in recorded earthquakes and the inflation of the volcano could indicate magma rising underneath El Hierro. The massive Hierro shield volcano is truncated by a large NW-facing escarpmen which formed as a result of gravitational collapse of the volcano. The steep-sided 1500-m-high scarp towers above a low lava platform bordering 12-km-wide El Golfo Bay. The latest eruption, during the 18th century, produced a lava flow from a cinder cone on the NW side of El Golfo.
El Hierro is situated in the most southwestern extreme of the Canaries. The island was formed after three successive eruptions. Volcanic activity, principally at the convergence of the three ridges, has resulted in the continual expansion of the island. A mere 50,000 years ago, as a result of seismic tremors which produced massive landslides, a giant piece of the island cracked off, crashed down into the ocean and scattered along the seabed. This landslide caused a tsunami that most likely rose over 100 metres high and probably reached as far as the American coast. (maps, charts and photos)

-Category 1 Hurricane Irene was located about 70 m /115 km SSW of Ocean City Maryland and about 255 mi / 415 km SSW of New York City.

-Typhoon 14w (Nanmadol) was located approximately 500 nm southwest of Kadena AB, Okinawa.

-Tropical storm 15w (Talas) was located approximately 750 nm south of Tokyo, Japan.

Two million homes and businesses were without power early today as Hurricane Irene slammed into the U.S. East Coast and charged north. Winds of up to 115 miles per hour whipped across the Eastern Seaboard, ripping power lines from poles and snapping trees in half. Hospitals, emergency call centers and other crucial facilities were holding up, but officials said it could get much worse as Irene churns north. Gasoline supplies were falling as drivers fill up before leaving town or just top off their tanks as a precaution before the storm hits. New York's biggest utility said it could cut power to the city's most vulnerable areas if the storm causes serious flooding. The New York Stock Exchange has backup generators and can run on its own. The exchange expects to open as usual Monday morning, though it may change plans depending on the severity of the storm.
Irene is expected to be a brutal test for Middle Atlantic States, which haven't seen a hurricane since 1999. The storm is expected to stay just offshore — and thus retain much of its power — as it inches up the coast from North Carolina to New England. When a hurricane hits land, wind speeds diminish. The entire Eastern Seaboard lies in the storm's projected path. Flooding and damage from winds are likely. North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island have declared emergencies. For the first time, New York City ordered people in low-lying areas to evacuate. The storm has already caused gasoline supplies to fall as refueling barges wait out the storm off the coast. Widespread power outages could lead to fuel shortages as gas stations are no longer able to pump gas or have trouble replenishing their own gas supplies. "Power is the lifeblood of oil supply on the East Coast." Refineries, which make fuel from oil, have started to slow operations as Irene approaches. East Coast refineries will cut operating rates 10 to 25 percent in the next few days. Refineries in the Gulf Coast and the West should be able to keep supplies flowing to the rest of the country. Refineries along the Louisiana Coast produce more than three times the gasoline and fuel of their East Coast counterparts, and East Coast demand is going to fall as businesses close and people hunker down at home.

Taiwan and Japan in path of typhoons - Two tropical storms will continue to move northwards through the western Pacific Ocean tomorrow, forecasts say. Typhoon Nanmadol has weakened but could strengthen again to category four strength with winds between 210 and 250km/h. The storm is headed straight for eastern Taiwan, with landfall anticipated tomorrow. To the east, Tropical Cyclone Talas will continue moving northwards towards Japan tomorrow. The system will remain south of Japan but may intensify to a category one typhoon.

A new tropical depression has formed far out over the Atlantic with forecasters saying it will likely become a tropical storm. The depression's maximum sustained winds early Thursday were near 35 mph (55 kph).


Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are disappearing in some parts of Africa, but scientists are unsure as to why. Figures indicate controls such as anti-mosquito bed nets are having a significant impact on the incidence of malaria in some sub-Saharan countries. But researchers say mosquitoes are also disappearing from areas with few controls. They are uncertain if mosquitoes are being eradicated or whether they will return with renewed vigour.
Data from countries such as Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia all indicate that the incidence of malaria is dropping fast. Researchers believe this is due to effective implementation of control programmes, especially the deployment of bed nets treated with insecticide. But a team of scientists say this is not the whole story. For more than 10 years they have been collecting and counting the number of mosquitoes caught in thousands of traps in Tanzania. In 2004 they caught over 5,000 insects. In 2009 that had dropped to just 14. More importantly, these collections took place in villages that weren't using bed nets.
One possibility for the reduction in numbers is climate change. Patterns of rainfall in these years were more chaotic in these regions of Tanzania and often fell outside the rainy season. The scientists say this may have disturbed the natural cycle of mosquito development. But the lead author of the study says that he is not convinced that it is just the changing climate. "It could be partly due to this chaotic rainfall, but personally I don't think it can explain such a dramatic decline in mosquitoes, to the extent we can say that the malaria mosquitoes are almost eradicated in these communities. What we should consider is that there may be a disease among the mosquitoes, a fungi or a virus, or they're may have been some environmental changes in the communities that have resulted in a drop in the number of mosquitoes."
Other scientists are saying they can't test their drugs because there are no children left with malaria. They observed this in communities with no large interventions against malaria or mosquitoes. It may be the same scenario that the specific mosquitoes that carry malaria are declining very fast now." The researchers are unsure if mosquitoes will return to these regions. If they do, one particular cause for concern is the young people who have not been exposed to malaria over the past five or six years since the mosquitoes began to decline. "If the mosquito population starts coming up again and my own assumption is that it will, it is most likely we will have an epidemic of malaria with a higher level of disease and mortality especially amongst these children who have not been exposed."