Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NEW!! Strong earthquake strikes Mexico - A major earthquake measuring 7.4 in magnitude struck near Acapulco, in central southern Mexico on the Pacific coast, with some houses reportedly damaged. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4 and put the epicentre at 15 miles (25km) east of Ometepec, in Guerrero state and at 11 miles (18km) underground. Witnesses in the capital, Mexico City, said the tremor sent office workers rushing out onto the streets. Some 500 houses were damaged in Guerrero state. So far there were no casualties in Guerrero state or neaby Oaxaca state. There hav already been some six aftershocks and further ones could be expected in the next 24 hours.
Buildings swayed for at least a minute in the capital. A pedestrian bridge reportedly collapsed and crushed a microbus in Mexico City, but there were still no reports of deaths. Office workers and residents were sent running into the streets in wealthy districts and poor neighbourhoods alike. In the capital, Mexico City, some children were evacuated from their schools Sirens could be heard across the city, and police helicopters are crisscrossing the skies. "I swear I never felt one so strong, I thought the building was going to collapse," said , a businessman from a neighbourhood hit hard in Mexico's devastating 1985 earthquake, which killed thousands. The water system and other "strategic services" were not experiencing problems and no damage was reported in the central or northern areas of the city. Mobile phone networks have been affected though and people have had trouble contacting their loved ones. The US president's 13-year-old daughter was on a school trip in Oaxaca, south-western Mexico. A White House official said she was safe and had never been in danger.

**Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses -
for it is a sign of strength to be weak,
to know it, and out with it -
not in a set way and ostentatiously, though,
but incidentally and without premeditation.**
Herman Melville

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
3/19/12 -

No current tropical storms.


Australia - Townsville has been declared a disaster zone following a FREAK storm that left 60 homes and businesses with major structural damage. In the suburb of Vincent, the storm tore roofs from dozens of homes, uprooted trees and downed power lines. Many victims will be out of their homes for months. "These quiet suburban streets of Townsville have suffered a shocking and devastating event. Its force was obviously ferocious." The people of Vincent were now facing a heartbreaking clean-up task on a scale not seen even after Cyclone Yasi last year.


Minnesota - White Bear Lake shook off the last of its winter ice Monday - it was THE EARLIEST ICE-FREE DATE ON RECORD for the lake, not at all surprising after ONE OF THE MILDEST WINTERS ON RECORD and 10 DAYS OF RECORD-SETTING MARCH WARMTH. "You could just watch it disappear. No snow, no insulation, lots of wind, and high temperatures." The March 19 date for White Bear Lake was two days earlier than the previous record, set in 2000.
Ice had left lakes as far north as northern Chisago County by Monday. For many, it was also the earliest such occurrence, although few have records as long as White Bear, where the accounting goes back to 1928.
Lake Minnetonka, which breaks completely free of ice about the same time as White Bear, wasn't quite there Monday. The record earliest date on Lake Minnetonka as March 11. That happened in 1878, the Year Without Winter.
Also ahead of schedule:
• Mosquitoes are out in the metro area - "pretty UNUSUAL for this time of year." Dry conditions ought to keep the population down; rain could change everything.
• Lake Waconia went ice-free on Sunday, 25 days ahead of average, but six days later than the record-earliest date, set in 2000.
• Several species of butterflies have been flitting about, even in the Arrowhead, where they emerged last weekend, about 10 days ahead of normal. Woodchucks also emerged about two weeks early.
• Maple sap has continued to run even during recent warm nights. Sap usually either stops or becomes unsuitable for syrup-making during untimely warm spells, but the sap running now - although only 10 to 15 percent of what might be normal - should make good syrup.
• Shorebirds and other water-loving birds have migrated back to the metro area, slightly ahead of schedule. Many familiar species probably won't be here for a while, because they either need insects to eat or wait for changes in daylight.
• Chorus frogs singing in Maplewood last week, well ahead of normal.