LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.1 LOYALTY ISLANDS
5.1 GUAM REGION
5.5 EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG., P.N.G.
5.3 MARIANA ISLANDS REGION
5.1 PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE
6.2 JAN MAYEN ISLAND REGION [near Norway]
5.0 SIMEULUE, INDONESIA
5.2 MID-INDIAN RIDGE
5.1 BOUGAINVILLE REGION, P.N.G.
5.0 FIJI REGION
5.2 FIJI REGION
5.1 SOUTHEASTERN IRAN
JAPAN - Shinmoedake volcano forms lava dome; danger of superheated gas rises. The Shinmoedake volcano has formed a lava dome within its main crater, researchers have discovered. Shinmoedake has been erupting since Jan. 19, raining volcanic ash and stones on nearby communities and prompting school closings and evacuations. A second explosion was observed at 12:47 p.m. on Jan. 28. Ash from the volcano has reached over 17 cities and towns within Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures. The lava dome, a build-up of high-viscosity magma, was confirmed by aerial observations of the volcano. The dome is some tens of meters in diameter and parts of it are glowing red hot. A lake that had occupied the bottom of the crater before the eruption has vanished. At present it is unlikely the magma will overflow the crater, which measures 700-800 meters in diameter and a few hundred meters deep. However, "if the supply of magma continues to flow, it could leak out of the crater."
Furthermore, in the southwest corner of the crater, traces of a 500-600 meter long pyroclastic flow were also found. A pyroclastic flow is a phenomenon where volcanic ash and clumps of rock released in an eruption combine with hot gas and flow down the mountainside at high speed. There are different types of pyroclastic flow. In one type, rock fragments released in an eruption can be carried up by heat, forming a pillar of volcanic ash and gas called an eruption column that then falls over the surrounding area. In the second type -- often seen on Mt. Merapi in Indonesia -- a lava dome collapses and sends down a pyroclastic flow concentrated in a single direction, as occurred during an eruption of Unzendake volcano in Nagasaki Prefecture on June 3, 1991 leaving 43 people dead or missing.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Cyclone 11P was 1326 nmi S of Kwajalein, Marshall Islands.
Cyclone ANTHONY was 254 nmi ENE of Townsville, Australia.
Cyclone BIANCA was 268 nmi W of Perth, Australia.
Tropical storm Eleven is forecast to strike Australia as an intense tropical cyclone at about 03:00 GMT on 3 February.
Cyclone Anthony has re-formed and could hit Queensland's tropical coast by Monday, and there could be more bad news for the flood-weary state, with the weather bureau keeping an eye on a low off Vanuatu. Anthony intensified into a category one cyclone about 10am Friday. It was sitting about 1000km east of Cairns in the Coral Sea. It's expected to intensify over the weekend and forecasters have predicted it could cross the coast on Monday morning, possibly as a high Category 2. The effects of the cyclone will be felt from late Sunday, with heavy rain and windy conditions developing. Forecasters say it is too early to predict where the cyclone will cross.
Meanwhile, there's also a chance a tropical low hovering about 1500km northeast of Vanuatu could also turn into a cyclone and hit Queensland. "There is a moderate potential for it to turn into a tropical cyclone during the next 24 to 48 hours ... and move westwards over the Coral Sea area."
The Cyclone Bianca warning off the West Australian coast has been cancelled but storms and high tides are still forecast for the region.
Tropical cyclone Wilma has blown out of New Zealand after saturating much of the North Island and leaving a trail of destruction. Civil Defence is continuing to receive calls from people affected by the storm, which saw TWO MONTHS OF RAIN FALLING IN 12 HOURS and rivers bursting their banks in Auckland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Waikato. More than 500 people remain stranded in the Coromandel settlements of Tapu and Temata, about 20km northwest of Thames, as slips have blocked all access to the area. In Northland, farms in the low-lying Hikurangi swamp area remain submerged after flood waters breached stopbanks along the Mangakahia River. The water could remain for several weeks until the river levels recede and the area can be pumped.
In the Waikato, river levels were expected to recede today or tomorrow after the HIGHEST FLOWS THERE SINCE 1998. "This one didn't pack as much of a punch as previous cyclones but there have been some pockets that have been quite severely effected.'' In the Auckland region there are still areas of significant flooding.
Ex-tropical cyclone Wilma is now well clear of the North Island as she quickly heads out into the Pacific Ocean towards the Chatham Islands.Wilma will now start a rapid deepening process that will help push a strong south westerly across the entire country and churn up large seas along the east coast. The storm, formerly Tropical Cyclone Wilma, still has a central air pressure of 978hPa and will start to deepen again as she clears New Zealand. Apart from the Chatham Islands the system no longer poses a threat to the country.
But strong winds in her wake are now pushing across the nation. Gale or near gale winds are affecting exposed parts of the Far North, Auckland, Taupo, East Cape, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Wanganui and Manawatu.
In the South Island, between a high to the west and Wilma to the north east, near gale winds are also pushing into exposed parts of Canterbury, the West Coast and Southland.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
AUSTRALIA - The storms raged through several towns, including Northam, York, Beverley, Wongan Hills, Goomalling, Cunderdin and Toodyay on Saturday, but were not related to weakening Cyclone Bianca hovering off the WA coast. Thousands of homes battered by severe storms in Western Australia's Wheatbelt region could be without power for days. Even as residents began assessing the damage, they were preparing for further storms on Sunday. Damage had mainly been to roofs and sheds with trees and power lines also torn down. "The storm literally arrived like an unexpected and uninvited guest." Due to the number of lines and poles that were brought down by lightning and strong winds, some homes in the Northam area may remain without power for several days.
More bad weather for Sri Lanka, experts warn. Weather experts in Sri Lanka warn of more heavy rains and possible flooding in the country's eastern and northern regions. Strong winds were being predicted for the end of February. "Weather experts warn of the possibility of extreme weather again," predicting that the flood-affected areas might suffer a second onslaught. Heavy rains and floods since November 2010 affected 24 of the island's 25 districts. About 1.2 million people were affected by the floods and more than 300,000 people were still displaced. The eastern and northern districts bore the brunt of the recent floods, with 94 percent of the affected population living in the three eastern districts of Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee. Flooding caused shortages of rice and several crops such as chilies and onions. The new warning may likely increase the possibility of food shortages.