Thursday, March 15 , 2012

Quakes shake Japan, small tsunami - A series of earthquakes rattled Tokyo and northeast Japan late Wednesday evening but caused no apparent damage or injury in the same region hit by last year's devastating tsunami. The strongest tremor, off Hokkaido island, was 6.8 magnitude. The second quake, with a magnitude of 6.1, hit around 9:05 pm local time, and was centered in the bay east of Chiba prefecture. A swelling of 20 centimeters (8 inches) was observed in the port of Hachinohe in Aomori, northern Japan, about one hour after the quake struck the region. Smaller changes were also reported in several locations on Hokkaido island and Aomori prefecture. High-speed bullet trains serving northern Japan were halted and the two runways at Tokyo's Narita International Airport were closed after the quake but quickly resumed operations.

**Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows,
but only empties today of its strength.**
Charles Spurgeon

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
3/14/12 -

3/13/12 -


Eruption of Japan's Sakurajima volcano - On Monday, Japan's Sakurajima spewed ash and rocks during what scientists call the volcano's most violent eruption in two years. Sakurajima continued its second day of violent eruptions on Tuesday, spewing hot rocks and ash, but there was no major damage in the vicinity. Sakurajima has erupted several times in the past 48 hours, sending 18 inch-wide rocks flying over a mile away.

Greece - The Santorini caldera is awake again and rapidly DEFORMING AT LEVELS NEVER SEEN BEFORE. The volcanic island has been relatively calm since its last eruption in 1950. Until now.

Colombia cities on alert as smoke, ash rise from volcano - A rising smoke plume from Nevado del Ruiz volcano put nearby cities and towns on alert as it continued to emit smoke, vapor and ash Monday.
The volcano, located in central Colombia about 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Bogota, has been on yellow alert since October 2010 and began spewing ash and smoke last week. The mayor of Manizales said his city is on green alert for now adding that could change if activity increases. "Everyone needs to be ready for any situation. However, the city alert, which is at green, is still green and is not going to change though we are of course carefully watching for any changes on Nevado [del Ruiz]." Other cities closer to the crater are on an elevated yellow alert, though they say populated centers are not in imminent danger at the moment. Thus far, the smoke plume has not caused any problems for air traffic. The volcano's yellow alert means an eruption is possible though not definite. If it passes to orange it signifies an eruption is likely in weeks.

Ijen volcano (East Java, Indonesia) - eruption warning due to increased seismic and degassing activity. The official alert level for Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia, has been raised again to 3 ("alert") due to an increase in activity. A new 10 m wide gas vent, which erupted buring was observed on 10 March at 17 m distance from the shore. Thick steaming, larger than usual, forming a thick white column of sulfur steam 200 m high was already noted since 3 March. Measurements of the lake water temperature at 5 m depth had also shown increased values of 42.70 deg C. On 10 March, the lake surface was 2 meters higher than normal, although this could be attributed to heavy recent rain fall.
Another sign of increased activity is that many leaves of trees and other plants around the crater have died recently, suggesting higher than normal SO2 levels. Seismic activity has been rising as well. Since 22 Feb, a near contiuous tremor signal has been being recorded. In the interval 22-31 Feb, there were 52 harmonic tremor periods lasting up to 20 minutes, as well as 17 2 low-frequency earthquakes, 38 mostly shallow volcanic quakes. This number increased to 306 tremor episodes lasting up to 25 minutes, 27 low frequency, and 125 mostly shallow volcanic earthquakes during the latest observation period between 1-10 March.
Ijen volcano in East Java, famous for its turquoise acid lake Kawah Ijen and the sulfur mine inside its crater, had been on higher alert starting 18 December 2011, but was lowered to alert 2 on 4 Feb this year, but is now again at the second highest level of 3, meaning that volcanologist think an eruption could be imminent.
Indonesia - The East Java Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) head has confirmed that Rp2.5 billion has been allocated to anticipate the eruption of Mt Semeru and Mt Lemongan in Lumajang as well as Mt Ijen at the border of Banyuwangi and Bondowoso regencies. “The fund is ready to be cashed anytime." The agency is also preparing personnel at the areas near the three mountains. At each site, 150 volunteers have been deployed since Monday.
For the past year, local residents near Mt Semeru and Mt Ijen have been attending training to anticipate the eruptions. BPBD Lumajang is also conducting similar training for people near Mt Lemongan. The East Java BPBD has disaster documents in the three areas that outline management patterns before, during and after the eruption. The evacuation track, refuge sites and logistic preparations are also included in the document.

In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone 17s (Lua) was located approximately 385 nm north of Learmonth, Australia.

Resources companies in Western Australia's north are bracing for Tropical Cyclone Lua, which is expected to intensify as it approaches the Pilbara coast. Forecasters believe Lua could cause flooding in the resources-rich Kimberley region. The Bureau of Meteorology's latest update at 0900 (WST) said a cyclone watch alert was current for coastal areas from Cape Leveque to Mardie. The cyclone is currently moving slowly in an easterly direction but is expected to intensify into a severe tropical cyclone late today. .It is then expected to accelerate to the southeast on Friday and early on Saturday towards the east Pilbara coast. BoM anticipates Lua will remain severe as it approaches the coast. On Saturday, destructive winds with gusts of more than 150 kilometres per hour are expected to develop in coastal areas near the centre of the cyclone. In the meantime, heavy rainfall is anticipated in coastal areas of the east Pilbara and west Kimberley.


A HIGHLY UNUSUAL week-long heat wave is building over much of the U.S.
, and promises to bring THE WARMEST TEMPERATURES EVER SEEN SO EARLY IN THE YEAR to a large portion of the Midwest. The exceptional heat will also be EXCEPTIONALLY LONG-LASTING: record-breaking temperatures 20 - 30 degrees F above normal are expected through next Wednesday for much of the Midwest and Northeast U.S. The weather system responsible is a large upper-level ridge of high pressure that is "stuck" in place - a phenomenon known as a "blocking pattern." The jet stream is bending far to the south over the Western U.S., then bending far to the north over the Rockies and into Canada, and lies far to the north of the eastern U.S. Since the jet stream acts as the boundary between cold air to the north and warm air to the south, the current looping pattern is bringing colder than normal temperatures and snow to the mountains of the West, and summer-like warmth to the Eastern U.S. It is common for the jet stream to get stuck in a blocking pattern for a period of a week or more, but not to this extreme. If the current model forecasts prove correct, a high pressure ridge over the U.S. bringing HEAT THIS INTENSE AND LONG-LASTING IN MARCH WILL BE UNPRECEDENTED IN THE HISTORICAL RECORD, going back to 1872. High temperatures for Wednesday, March 14 over much of the Midwest were more typical of June than March.
The expected warm temperatures during the coming week will rival those recorded on March 8, 2000, when most of the Upper Midwest set all-time records for the warmest temperature ever measured so early in the year. That warm surge was caused by a ridge of high pressure that was not as strong as the one expected to build in during the coming week, and the March 8, 2000 ridge did not stick around long enough to generate more than two days of record-breaking high temperatures. A powerful low pressure system moved through Northern Wisconsin on March 8, 2000, dragging a cold front through the state that triggered a thunderstorm that spawned the earliest tornado ever recorded in Milwaukee County. New DAILY HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORDS WERE SET AT 208 LOCATIONS TUESDAY.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota yesterday, the high temperature reached 67°F, which is the 7th warmest temperature measured so early in the year, and 27°F above the normal high of 40°F for the date. Since weather records in the city go back to 1872, we can expect that Minneapolis will experience a temperature of 67°F or higher this early in the year once every 20 years, on average. What's really remarkable is that the forecast for Minneapolis calls for a high temperature of 70 - 75° every day for the next seven days. Since 1872, there have only been nine days that the temperature has gotten to 70°F prior to March 20, with 73°F on March 7, 2000 being the hottest day. So, over the course of the next week, we are likely to break the all-time high for so early in the year, and add nearly double the number of 70°F-plus days. The situation is similar for much of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, and surrounding states. With temperatures already averaging at least 5°F over much of the Midwest this month, it's very likely that this month will be the warmest March on record for at least seven states.

UNUSUAL snows on the Oregon coast - As is often the case, record heat in one part of the country means that another part is experiencing unusual cold, due to a kink in the jet stream. On Monday, 6.0" of snow fell at Newport, OR, and 8.5" at Tillamook. The Newport snowfall was THEIR GREATEST MARCH SNOWFALL ON RECORD (previous was 2.0" in March 1906) and the their 3rd greatest snowfall of any month since records began in 1893. For Tillamook it was the biggest snow since 9.0" in January 1971 (but well short of their all-time snowfall of 19.0" in March 1951).