Sunday, September 4, 2011

INDONESIA - Increased activity at 22 volcanoes, alert raised. The government has requested that local administrations remain on the alert for severe risks of volcanic eruptions, as the number of volcanoes showing abnormal activity continued to raise. As of Friday, activity in 22 volcanoes was categorized as above normal, with six at alert level three and 16 at level two. Volcano status ranges from level one, which is normal, to four, which is the highest alert.
The Volcanology and Geophysical Disaster Mitigation Center raised the status of Papandayan, one of the major tourist destinations in Garut, West Java, to alert level three on Friday. “There were 48 shallow volcanic earthquakes detected, with one deep volcanic earthquake and a white cloud emitted as high as 20 meters on Thursday." The office has prepared contingency plans to anticipate worst-case scenarios if Papandayan erupts. “If Papandayan erupts, it would impact 171,744 people living in the five subdistricts and 20 villages."
On Thursday, the government elevated the status of three volcanoes: Tombora, Lewatobi Perempuan and Anak Rakana in Nusa Tenggara. Tombora, in Bima Regency, experienced 14 shallow volcanic earthquakes. Tambora erupted in 1815, killing about 71,000. The eruption emitted some 100 cubic kilometers of volcanic material across Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku. Activity at Lewotobi Perempuan in Flores increased as well, experiencing 24 earthquakes on Thursday. There were only five the day before. Lewotobi last erupted in 1935.
Indonesia has been dubbed the world’s most disaster-prone country for its frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods and droughts. A 2011 report from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction ranked Indonesia the third-most prone nation out of 153 countries for earthquakes, with 11,056,806 people exposed. Earthquake hazards could potentially cause a loss of US$79.13 billion to the nation’s GDP. Mount Merapi, which erupted last year, caused a financial loss of Rp 3.59 trillion. The eruption of Mt. Merapi damaged at least 23 bridges, including Pabelan bridge connecting Yogyakarta and Magelang. The UN ISDR also ranked Indonesia first out of 265 countries for tsunami hazards, with over five million people exposed.

**The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.**
Sven Goran Eriksson

This morning -

Yesterday -
9/3/11 -

9/2/11 -

CALIFORNIA - A magnitude 4.2 earthquake fluttered through much of Southern California on Thursday afternoon, the LARGEST QUAKE TO BE FELT IN THE LOS ANGELES AREA IN MORE THAN A YEAR. Aftershocks continue. The Earth keeps on quietly rattling after Thursday's moderate earthquake near Newhall. There have been more than a dozen aftershocks in the Newhall-San Fernando area, all of them relatively small. Despite being felt over a large area, Thursday’s quake did no damage - not even near the epicenter in the Newhall area. The last major quake to be felt in Los Angeles was the 7.2 Easter Sunday quake of 2010, which struck the California-Mexico border on April 4, 2010. Several weeks before that, a 4.4 quake hit Pico Rivera, and in May 2009, a 4.7 earthquake in Inglewood shattered windows close to the epicenter.

U.S. - The risk that an earthquake would cause a severe accident at a US nuclear plant is greater than previously thought, 24 times as high in one case, according to an analysis of preliminary government data.

Northern Argentina hit by 6.4 quake; some buildings evacuated in Buenos Aires. The quake's epicenter was 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Santiago del Estero, a provincial capital of 250,000 people and the 12th-largest city in Argentina. It was centered deep underground, nearly 400 miles.

Major quake rocks Alaska; officials cancel tsunami warning. A major earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 rocked portions of Alaska. The US Geological Service issued, then canceled, a tsunami warning for Alaska's Aleutian Islands.


JAPAN - Mount Sakurajima's 600th explosive eruption of the year was observed Saturday in Kagoshima Prefecture and the activity is expected to continue, a local meteorological observatory said, warning of falling rocks and avalanches.

ICELAND - New Earthquake Hits in Vicinity of Katla Volcano. An earthquake measuring 3.2 points on the Richter scale in strength was picked up by the Icelandic Meteorological Office's sensors near Godabunga on Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, which covers the volcano Katla, shortly before 7 pm last night.
Katla Volcano shows strengthening signs of eruption - Iceland's massive Katla volcano is showing increasing signs of a possible eruption following an intense week of earthquakes and tremors.

-Tropical storm Katia was located about 400 mi...640 km ENE of the northern Leeward Islands. Could regain hurricane status today.

-Tropical storm Lee was located about 85 mi...135 km W of Morgan City Louisiana. A little weake, it was very near the coast of southern Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Destin, Florida, westward to Sabine Pass, Texas, including the city of New Orleans. Tropical Storm Lee is expected to produce total rain
accumulations of 10 to 15 inches from the central Gulf Coast northward into the Tennessee Valley with possible isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches through Monday. These rains are expected to cause extensive flooding and flash flooding. A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 1 to 3 feet above ground level along the Louisiana...Mississippi...and Alabama coasts...including Mobile Bay.

-Tropical depression 15w (Talas) was located approximately 200 nm northeast of Iwakuni, Japan - final warning has been issued on this system.

-Tropical Storm 16w was located approximately 595 nm east-northeast of Iwo To, Japan - this system was moving abnormally fast.

JAPAN - Heavy rains and mudslides from powerful Typhoon Talas killed at least 15 people in Japan as the storm moved northward past the country Sunday. At least 43 others are missing. Evacuation orders and advisories have been issued to 460,000 people in western and central Japan. TV footage showed a bridge that had been swept away after intense rainfall, which caused a river to swell with brown torrents. People holding umbrellas waded through knee-deep water in city streets and residential areas. The center of the season's 12th typhoon was moving slowly north across the Sea of Japan. It crossed the southern Japanese island of Shikoku and the central part of the main island of Honshu overnight.
Because of the storm's slow speed, the agency warned that heavy rains and strong winds are likely to continue and could lead to flooding and landslides. Three homes were buried in a landslide in Wakayama prefecture, and one woman who was rescued whose identity was still being confirmed later died, four remained missing and a 14-year old girl was saved from the debris. Overall in the hard-hit prefecture, 10 people were dead and 32 people were missing. Seven people were reported missing in nearby Nara Prefecture, after homes were swept down a river.

U.S. - Louisiana - Plaquemines Parish levees overtop as Tropical Storm Lee hovers. Plaquemines Parish officials spent Saturday working frantically to shore up levees south of Myrtle Grove in preparation for high tide this morning. As of 4 p.m., there were 15 areas at which the levee was being overtopped by four to six inches of water as Tropical Storm Lee dumped rain throughout the day. Sandbags and loads of crushed cement were being dumped on the levees in hopes that a massive break could be prevented. "It's so saturated with water." And the risk of levee failure could not be overstated, with potential flooding of the Conoco Phillips Refinery and nearby residences and businesses. The same area came under significant threat during Hurricane Ike in 2008. They were also working to arrange the relocation of cattle out of a pasture that had filled with water.
But it wasn't just the water they were fighting. Also spilling over was frustration at the slow pace of already approved and funded levee construction. The real tragedy here was that the funds for the levees they were patching in desperation had been approved, but the project had yet to begin. "Here we are years later doing the same things over and over trying to save the parish. The time frame the Corps takes to start projects is criminal." Plaquemines Parish saw very few breaks from the rainfall throughout Saturday, which totalled somewhere around 10 to 12 inches. While there had not yet been any reports of homes flooded, the real test would come with high tide.
Sandbags were passed out to communities most at risk, including Myrtle Grove, Ironton and West Pointe a la Hache with high tide, falling around 1 a.m. on Sunday. The levees will be monitored around the clock, with the crucial time falling from midnight to daybreak. "It's frustrating to be out here year after year during floods, fighting to save the parish, and the money's in the bank." Mississippi's governor has declares a state of emergency for 7 counties as Tropical Storm Lee approaches.

Hurricane Katia drifts toward U.S. - At 11 a.m. Saturday, Katia still was a hurricane, but barely, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph about 485 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. Katia was moving northwest at 10 mph. It is expected to pass to the north of the Leeward Islands today. A general motion between the northwest and west-northwest is expected, with no significant change in forward speed in the next few days. Katia could strengthen by tonight or Monday.
While forecasters say it’s still too early to say whether Katia poses a serious threat to any coastal areas, the projected path steadily has been bending in the general direction of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Despite that trend, computer models continue to insist the system might turn north in time to miss the U.S. coast altogether and potentially threaten Bermuda, Canada or turn out to sea. “Right now, we don’t know what if any impacts from Katia will be felt along the U.S. East Coast. We have plenty of time to watch it.”
Katia is expected to churn northwest over the next five days, guided by high pressure north of its path. Then a low-pressure area over the United States might weaken the high pressure and allow the system to turn north.
The timing of that turn likely will determine whether Katia hits, brushes or misses the U.S. coast. Under the latest forecast track, Katia would to move north of the Leeward Islands on Monday, about 1,000 miles due east of Miami on Tuesday and about 700 miles east of Daytona Beach on Wednesday. At the same time, Katia is expected to steadily bulk up over the next week to category 2 status with sustained winds of 110 mph. However, despite returning to hurricane strength on Friday, the system was under heavy attack from wind shear, the same force that weakened it back into a tropical storm on Thursday. The overall intensity forecast has been reduced, as it earlier had been forecast to reach category 3.

Tropical Storm Irene damaged an estimated 140,000 acres of farmland in New York State alone.