This marks the 35th straight year that global temperatures were warmer than normal. NOAA's records for world average temperatures date back to 1880. "It would be premature to make any conclusion that we would see any hiatus of the longer-term warming trend. Global temperatures are continuing to increase." NASA, which calculates global temperatures in a slightly different way, announced essentially the same temperature for the year. But NASA's record-keeping calls it the ninth warmest ever. They expect that in the next few years the world will set yet a new record high temperature. 2010 tied for the hottest on record.
NOAA also released new figures for extreme weather. The agency recalculated the number of billion-dollar weather disasters in the US, bumping the total from 12 to 14. Officials added Tropical Storm Lee, which dumped rain from Maryland to New England in September, and a July hail and wind storm in Colorado to the list. The 14 extreme events SMASH THE OLD RECORD of nine billion-dollar disasters in 2008. "America has endured an UNUSUALLY large number of extreme events, totaling damages of more than $55 billion." For the year, a record 58% of the US had either extreme rainfall or severe drought, about triple what is normal for the country. Seven states - New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana and Kentucky - had their WETTEST YEARS SINCE THOSE RECORDS WERE KEPT beginning in 1895. Texas had its DRIEST YEAR EVER.
attempts what is above its strength,
pleads no excuse of impossibility;
for it thinks all things lawful for itself,
and all things possible.**
LARGEST QUAKES -
This morning -
5.4 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.7 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
5.0 SIMEULUE, INDONESIA
6.3 OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO
5.1 MARIANA ISLANDS REGION
5.4 KEPULAUAN SANGIHE, INDONESIA
5.7 FLORES REGION, INDONESIA
5.2 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.0 TONGA REGION 2
5.3 NORTHEASTERN IRAN
5.1 OFF W. COAST OF S. ISLAND, N.Z.
6.0 OFF W. COAST OF S. ISLAND, N.Z.
5.1 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REGION
5.8 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
5.1 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
IRAN - More than 200 people were injured on late Thursday afternoon when a moderate earthquake struck near a city in northeastern Iran. A number of buildings in the region collapsed. The 5.5-magnitude earthquake at 4.05 p.m. local time (1235 GMT) was centered about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) northeast of Nishapur, a city in the province of Razavi Khorasan near the border with Turkmenistan. It struck about 8 kilometers (4.9 miles) deep, making it a very shallow earthquake. Some 268,000 people may have experienced strong shaking. An estimated 2.7 million others may have felt light to moderate shaking. "The population in this region resides in structures that are highly vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and unreinforced brick with timber floor construction." Officials said a number of buildings in nearby towns and cities had been damaged or collapsed, causing injuries. About 30 people had to be hospitalized.
On December 20, 2010, at least seven people were killed and hundreds more were injured when a strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) from the town of Hosein abad in Kerman Province, located in southeastern Iran. And on August 27, 2010, two young children were killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a moderate 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck 76 kilometers (47 miles) from Damghan, a city in the country's Semnan Province. Before that, in November 2009, a light 4.9-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, injuring more than 700 people. In December 2003, around 31,000 people were killed and more than 30,000 others were injured when a strong 6-magnitude earthquake struck near Bam. It left the area devastated with 85 percent of buildings damaged or destroyed in the city.
Iran quake injured up to 238 - Eight villages and towns were affected by the quake. At least 85 aftershocks have hit the area since then. Some buildings had been damaged and windows shattered in villages near Neyshabur. The quake lasted seven seconds and was THE STRONGEST FELT IN THE REGION IN 10 YEARS.
A 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, shattering windows and sending frightened residents into the streets. The quake struck in the Pacific Ocean about 35 miles (55km) south-west of the city of Mapastepec, near Mexico's border with Guatemala. The tremor was felt hundreds of miles away in El Salvador's capital, San Salvador. There were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The quake struck at 12:27 local time (18:47 GMT) at a depth of 40 miles. Residents reported feeling the impact of the quake all across the region.
NEW ZEALAND - The Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Taupo regions on New Zealand's North Island were shaken by earthquakes on Saturday and Sunday while scientists continue to record aftershocks in Canterbury. A magnitude 4.3 earthquake was recorded 30km southeast of Hastings at a depth of 30km at 8.49am (6.49 AEDT). A magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck 30km east of Masterton at a depth of 40km at 11.11pm (9.11pm AEDT) Saturday night and Taupo felt a 2.9 earthquake at 3.07am (1.07am AEDT) this morning. On February 3, 1931, an earthquake measuring 7.8 killed 256 people in Hawke's Bay.
Meanwhile there was no relief for people in Canterbury nearly a year after Christchurch was devastated by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. GNS Science reported earthquakes measuring 4.2, 4, 3.8, 3.7, 3.5 and 3.2 in Canterbury so far this weekend.
Small, Migrating Quakes Preceded Japan Megaquake - The devastating earthquake that struck Japan in early 2011 was apparently preceded by small, repeating quakes that migrated slowly to where the disaster eventually took place, scientists now find. The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki temblor in March was the most powerful earthquake known to ever hit Japan and the fifth-most powerful quake ever recorded.
In the month before the Tohoku-Oki "megathrust" quake, researchers found more than a thousand quakes migrated toward its hypocenter, the point where the quake's energy was released, at the rate of 1.2 to 62 miles (2 to 10 kilometers) per day. Their analysis suggests two sequences of faults slowly grinding against each other led to the initial rupture point of the disaster. The second of these sequences may have contributed enough stress to set off the main earthquake.
COSTA RICA - Turrialba Volcano Still Active and Keeping Neighbours On Edge. The fear of an enormous eruption fills the residents near the Turrialba Volcano, located southwest of Cartago and a stone's throw from San José, as the colossus continues to emit ash, sometimes with greater force as it did earlier this week, spewing stones and gases. Experts of the Red Sismológica Nacional and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico assure area residents that the volcano has calmed down since and there is no cause for further alarm. However, on Thursday afternoon a new emission of ash from the new gap formed last week, accompanied by a slight seismic activity. Experts said that this is normal for an "active" volcano and the residents of the areas of Turrialba, Alvarado and Jimenex should not be overly alarmed. The Comisión Nacional de Emergencias - national emergency commission is maintaining a "green" alert for the area. (photo)
TROPICAL STORMS -
In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone 08s (Funso) was located approximately 565 nm north-northeast of Maputo, Mozambique.
- Tropical cyclone 07s (Ethel) was located approximately 475 nm southeast of Port Louis.
Mozambique and Madagascar - The tropical cyclone in the Mozambique Channel menaced the southeastern coast of Africa with potentially damaging winds and flooding rain this weekend and heading into next week. The compact system is displaying a well-defined, low-level circulation, and has sustained winds of over 115 mph. The showers and thunderstorms from Funso have already triggered localized flooding downpours on both sides of the Channel. Funso is expected to turn away from land and continue to strengthen as it gains some distance from land.
The area has already seen significant adverse tropical weather this month. Tropical Cyclone Chandra made landfall in western Madagascar early in the month. Next, Tropical Depression Dando landed in southern Mozambique near Maputo. Almost 500 people were left homeless in Maputo, the nation's capital, in the aftermath of Dando's flooding rain and damaging winds. Torrential rain triggered by Dando also reached into northeastern South Africa.
Tropical Storm Dando - An estimated five lives were lost, while thousands more have been severely affected by the FIRST TROPICAL STORM SINCE 1984 TO HIT southern Mozambique. Tropical storm Dando hit the region last Sunday leaving behind destruction and flooding. It has since dissipated. In South Africa they are continuing disaster relief to the flood stricken communities in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. As many as two hundred people were rescued from the rising waters. The Kruger National Park was also monitoring water levels after torrential rains this week swept bridges and roads away.
Tropical storm Ethel kills one on Indian Ocean island - The tropical storm killed a teenager in the Mauritian island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean, with authorities issuing a category three cyclone alert Friday. The 14-year-old was electrocuted as tropical storm Ethel swept the islands.
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -
CANADA - Extreme and wacky weather continues as RECORD LOWS hit parts of Canada. Coast-to-coast, Canadians continue to deal with 'weird and wacky' weather. Freezing rain, severe wind chills and mild temperatures persist across the country, with temperatures dropping in the West and winter storm warnings hitting much of the East. Bitterly cold weather has helped Alberta has set a new record for electricity demand. On Monday around the supper hour, demand peaked at an all-time high of 10,609 megawatts, which beat the previous record set Sunday.
On Wednesday, record lows hit Alberta as arctic air moved east. Edmonton faced a severe wind chill of about -43 C while Calgary expected a chill of -35 C. Bitterly cold air combined with a westerly wind of 15 to 30 km/h will produce wind chill values in the -40 to -49 C range in southern Saskatchewan throughout Wednesday and into Thursday. Winnipeg also got a blast of winter as temperatures were set to hit -36 C. At these extreme values, frostbite on exposed skin can occur in less than 10 minutes.
HEALTH THREATS -
Salmonella sickened 68 in multistate outbreak tied to Mexican restaurant chain - Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to eating at an unnamed Mexican restaurant chain in 10 states in October and November 2011. Investigators were unable to implicate a specific food but said the epidemiologic curve of cases resembled those of past outbreaks in produce. The report also said ground beef was unlikely to blame because of the handling and cooking processes used. It also said contamination likely occurred before the product reached the restaurants. Twenty-one patients (31%) were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported. The median age was 25, and 54% of patients were women. Texas had 43 cases, Oklahoma 16, and Kansas 2, while seven states had 1 case each: Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee.