Thursday, February 2, 2012

**Men have become the tools of their tools.**
Henry David Thoreau

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/1/12 -


Alaska - Officials are monitoring a remote Alaska volcano that could launch an ash cloud, potentially threatening intercontinental flights. "Eruptive activity" of Cleveland Volcano was detected in satellite data. The volcano, also known as Mount Cleveland, is on the Aleutian Islands, southwest of mainland Alaska. "A new lava dome has been observed in the summit crater," the observatory said Tuesday. "There have been no observations of ash emissions or explosive activity during this current lava eruption." But the volcanic activity could heighten and affect air travel.
90% of air freight from Asia to Europe and North America flies over Alaska air space, and hundreds of flights -- including more than 20,000 passengers -- fly through Anchorage's air space daily. "If there is an explosion and (ash) reaches high altitudes, it will causes flights to be rerouted and ultimately canceled." The volcano's most recent significant eruption took place in 2001. It produced three explosions that led to ash clouds as high as 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) above sea level. "The 2001 eruption also produced a rubbly lava flow and hot avalanche that reached the sea."

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone 09s (Iggy) was located approximately 290 nm west-northwest of Perth, Australia.

Tropical Storm Damages May Quadruple by 2100 - The combined impact of climate change and expanding human population means that tropical cyclones will cause more than four times the damage in 2100 than they do today, increasing from $26 billion to $109 billion, new research published in Nature says.

Fiji braces for new storm as death toll rises - A second tropical depression is approaching Fiji and could form into a tropical cyclone within the next 12 to 24 hours. This comes as the death toll in the nation's floods rises to seven.


Australia - Thousands of people are being evacuated from northern NSW, with helicopters descending on the region to airlift hundreds to safety. About 1600 residents in Moree and 80 people in nearby Biniguy have been ordered to leave their homes immediately as the Mehi and Gwydir rivers continue to rise to LEVELS NOT SEEN SINCE THE 1970s. Meanwhile a major operation is underway at Pallamallawa, with helicopters airlifting 600 trapped residents to safety. The SES has received 820 requests for assistance in recent days, with nine flood rescues carried out overnight. Multiple flood rescues of people trapped in their homes and cars were being carried out on Thursday.
Meanwhile, up to 260 residents at Croki and Manning Point have been warned to prepare to evacuate as the Manning River continues to rise. That evacuation order was likely to be put out later on today. The region has been hammered with 250mm of rain overnight, and the town of Wee Waa is completely isolated. About 2500 residents there will be monitored through regular food and supply drops. Bellingen, which was heavily flooded last week, is once again cut in two after the Bellinger River spilled over its banks. Thirteen flood warnings remain in place for river systems across NSW, with rain expected to spread to the Hunter region, the Illawarra and metropolitan Sydney later today. "This is a campaign of flood events that are likely to stay around for some time."


Heavy snow has caused disruption across Europe, carpeting much of Italy to the south and Turkey to the east. The freeze that has swept south through the continent has caused at least 80 deaths, mainly in Ukraine and Poland. Temperatures were so low that some areas in Romania along the shores of the Black Sea froze. In central Italy, heavy goods lorries were barred from motorways and several top-flight football matches have fallen victim to the wintry conditions.
Ukrainian officials reported that the number of deaths attributed to the freeze had risen to 43, with 13 people falling victim to hypothermia in the past 24 hours. School closures were reported in northern Greece, where temperatures of -16C (3F) were recorded. Villages were cut off in Bosnia where temperatures fell to -10C Several towns and cities in Bulgaria saw record lows, with -29C reported in Kneja in the north for the second day running. For much of the country an "orange" alert was in place, warning of dangerously low temperatures. In Bosnia and Serbia helicopters were used to airlift supplies to villages cut off by drifting snow.
Seven more deaths were reported in Poland, bringing to more than 20 the number who have fallen victim to the cold snap. German media reported that ice and sub-zero temperatures had led to the deaths of two women: a pedestrian froze after falling into a drainage ditch and a driver was killed when she lost control of her car on an icy road. Snowfalls were recorded as far south as southern Italy and Corsica, where at least 20cm of snow covered the centre of the Mediterranean island. Italian rail services were reduced because of the wintry conditions. The cold snap, according to forecasters, is due to an area of high pressure that has extended across Europe from Siberia and is expected to reach its peak at the weekend. They expected the bitter weather to continue for several more days across most of Europe, with cold winds and snow also spreading further south to affect the Balearic Islands and parts of northwest Africa by the weekend.