Friday, September 9, 2011

U.S. - Heavy rain has swamped areas of the US northeast already sodden from Hurricane Irene, with up to five people killed as flash floods forced over 100,000 to leave their homes. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for counties in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia, as towns became inundated, busy highways closed down and commuter lines backed up. Some 100,000 people in Pennsylvania's Luzerne county are under "mandatory evacuation" orders, including 20,000 in the city of Wilkes-Barre. Those who remain in flood-prone areas may not be able to count on being rescued. "If folks choose not to leave, they are taking lives into their own hands." "We expect HISTORIC OR NEAR-HISTORIC FLOODING in many parts of the state," the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said. Three unconfirmed fatalities during the stormy weather have been reported to authorities in Pennsylvania, as the state grapples with SOME OF ITS WORST FLOODING SINCE 1972's benchmark Hurricane Agnes, which ravaged much of the mid-Atlantic region as a deadly tropical storm. "It's bad now and there are some places where it will get worse. There is more rain that continues to come down (and) we don't expect this to end for quite some time."
Two people, one of them a young boy who was swept away in a river, were killed in northern Virginia. The city of Binghamton, New York - where 21cm of rain fell in 24 hours - ordered a mandatory city-wide evacuation, affecting 10,000 people. Flooding was also reported in and around the US capital Washington. New York's Governor also warned of further severe flooding, calling the situation "frightening".
Even as the US northeast sags under extensive flooding which has closed major roadways and blocked commuter lines, more potentially dangerous weather is predicted. Three cyclones are brewing in the Atlantic: Tropical Storm Nate, hovering in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening Mexico and Texas; fast-moving Tropical Storm Maria, which could hit Puerto Rico early on Sunday and the Bahamas next week; and Hurricane Katia, off the US east coast and expected to remain out at sea. The latest foul weather to hammer the US is the remains of Tropical Storm Lee, which slammed into the Gulf Coast on Sunday, dumping torrential rains on a huge swath of the American south, mid-Atlantic region and northeast already drenched by Irene. "It is a double-whammy." Irene dumped more than 30cm of rain in parts of New York and Pennsylvania over the past four days, triggering huge floods across parts of the northeast. And the misery is expected to continue, with up to 15cm more rain Thursday. The flash flood warnings include much of New Jersey, which suffered devastating flooding from Irene.
VIRGINIA - Massive flooding from rain associated with Tropical Storm Lee has trapped cars and their occupants under 3 feet of water in Alexandria.

**Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.**
Lao Tzu

This morning -
A cluster of moderate quakes in Northern Italy continues.

Yesterday -
9/8/11 -
5.0 FIJI
Plus a cluster of moderate quakes in Northern Italy

NEW ZEALAND - Six months after New Zealand quake, Christchurch's ability to rebuild in doubt. More than 4000 aftershocks have rattled it since the quake that killed 181 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes as well as much of the city center. The total cost of recovery is estimated at $12.5 billion.


ALASKA - Mount Cleveland Volcano Continues Building Massive Dome. The presence of the lava dome increases the possibility of an explosive eruption, but does not necessarily indicate that one will occur. Short-lived explosions could produce an ash cloud that exceeds 20000 ft above sea level.

- There are no definite signs of an imminent eruption in the sub-glacial volcano Katla in south Iceland although regular series of minor earthquakes and increased geothermal heat indicate that the volcano is expanding.

-Category 1 Hurricane Katia was located about 360 mi (575 km) NW of Bermuda. (About 635 mi. (1020 km) SSW of Halifax, Nova Scotia). There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

-Tropical storm Maria was located about 360 mi (580 km) E of the Windward Islands. On the forecast track, the center of Maria will reach the Leeward Islands early Saturday and be near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Saturday night.

-Tropical storm Nate was located about 110 mi (180 km) W of Campeche, Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Mexico from Chilitepec to Celestun. Nate is forecast to become a hurricane later today...with further strengthening expected through Saturday. Nate is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 4 to 6 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches over the Mexican states of Campeche ...Tabasco...and southern Veracruz.

-Tropical depression Kulap was located approximately 190 nm east-northeast of Kadena AB, Japan.

Tropical Storm Maria - New Track shows Possible US Hit. Tropical Storm Maria is now on track to swipe the Windward Islands, plow through Puerto Rico, and head on up through the Bahamas toward Florida. Of course, these predictions are highly susceptible to change. Tropical Storm Maria is currently located about 560 miles east of the Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. At present, the storm is moving west at 21 mph. That general motion was expected to continue Thursday, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed today. On its forecasted track, the center of Maria will be near the Leeward Islands late today and moving over the northeastern Caribbean Sea on Saturday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles to the north of the storm center.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Antigua, Anguilla, Barbuda, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St Barthelemy, St Marteen, St Maartin, and St. Eustatius. The National Hurricane Center urged interests elsewhere in the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to monitor the storm. Maria is not expected to become a hurricane anytime soon. In fact, surface observations and satellite imagery suggest that Maria could be in the process of degenerating into a tropical wave. If the storm does not degenerate, there is a chance that it could pose a threat to the U.S. East Coast, though it's still far too early to say what, if any, impact Tropical Storm Maria would have.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Hurricane Katia passed between Bermuda and the East Coast of the United States Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. Forecast models show the slowly weakening storm heading out to sea back across the Atlantic north of the United Kingdom and possibly toward Norway. On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center warned that large swells generated by Katia are due to affect most of the East Coast through the weekend, creating potentially life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
A third named storm has developed in the Gulf of Mexico. The highly erratic Tropical Storm Nate, located just north of the Yucatan Peninsula, is currently meandering over the bay of Campeche. Nate had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours. The storm was not expected to move much overnight, but a slow northward to north-northwestward motion is forecast for today, at which time the storm will likely be a hurricane.
It's turning out to be the UNUSUALLY busy year that forecasters had predicted. The Atlantic hurricane season typically brings 11 or 12 named storms. Tropical Storm Nate is the 14th, and nearly half of the season lies ahead.


The Solar Dynamics Observatory has spotted a NEW PATTERN in solar flares in the last 15 months. The SDO has analyzed 191 flares since May 2010 and found that around 15 percent of the events demonstrated a "late phase flare" after the eruption, sending a lot more energy into space than previously thought. "We're starting to see all sorts of new things. We see a large increase in emissions a half-hour to several hours later, that is sometimes even larger than the original, traditional phases of the flare. In one case on November 3, 2010, measuring only the effects of the main flare would mean underestimating the amount of energy shooting into Earth's atmosphere by 70 percent."
SDO's data showed electromagnetic wavelengths peaking at different times from the X-rays, which are used as the standard to measure flare activity. The scientists used an SDO instrument called EVE (Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment) to record four phases in a typical flare's lifetime. The first three phases are already understood — the hard X-ray impulsive phase, the second gradual phase when heated plasma explodes upwards and follows magnetic loops, and the coronal dimming phase, which is often associated with a CME. But EVE also saw the HITHERTO UNKNOWN FOURTH PHASE or late phase flare when a second peak of warm coronal material without an X-ray burst happens one to five hours after some flares. "The intensity we're recording in those late phase flares is usually dimmer than the X-ray intensity. But the late phase goes on much longer, sometimes for multiple hours, so it's putting out just as much total energy as the main flare that typically only lasts for a few minutes." Researchers are now researching how these late phase flares impact space weather because THE EFFECTS OF THIS EXTRA ENERGY ON EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE ARE SIGNIFICANT.