Russia's weather and emergency officials reassured Moscow residents overnight that the green-tinged clouds over the capital were from tree pollen and not an alien invasion. "Today Muscovites felt like characters in a disaster film about an alien invasion: people living in the southwest of the city saw that the sky had been colored green." The clouds crept up on the Russian capital from the south in the morning, and reached the centre by the afternoon, causing office workers to gawk at the suspiciously coloured sky. "Green clouds are coming toward Moscow. Could it be that the apocalypse is upon us?" Green dust also covered streets and cars. Some people in Moscow and the region apparently called emergency numbers in a panic, leading officials to say the air was thick with tree pollen, not disaster fallout. "Many residents forgot all about natural phenomena and decided that it's the result of an accident at an industrial facility. But this dust is pollen from alder and birch trees, which began flowering recently after a slow spring." The emergency situation ministry said the sudden onset of spring and rapidly rising temperatures "caused blooming of several species of trees, and resulted in a yellow-green pollen coating over pavement, windows, and cars. The pollen poses danger to people suffering from allergies and asthma."
LARGEST QUAKES -
Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)
This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.
5.4 OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA
5.2 HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION
5.1 FIJI REGION
Lots of aftershocks in Western Turkey after a 4.9 quake
Signs of 3 major Japan quakes before 2011 major quake - Three major earthquakes seem to have occurred in northern Japan before it was hit in March 2011 by the massive quake and tsunami. The findings could have a significant impact on future risk assessments. "We were able to get a record of at least three major sedimentary remobilisation events that potentially suggest the occurrence of previous large potentially 2011 Tohoku-type earthquakes. In theory, it might not be an earthquake because you can trigger large scale resedimentation also by other processes, but at this stage, it's the most likely explanation." "Once we get the age of these events, that will be an important contribution to hazard assessments because if you want to calculate the probability of the occurence of earthquakes, you should know your occurence pattern." Historic sources already mention a major tremor in the same region some 1,300 years ago. The research mission also mapped out the seabed around the epicenter of the 9.0-magnitude quake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering a massive tsunami and a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, killing some 19,000 people. Comparisons with measures taken before the quake confirmed with more precision data obtained by other means in March 2011, which showed that parts of the seabed moved up to 50 meters sideways near the fault zone following the tremor, while an area of 15,790 square miles rose by 5 meters.
Emergency status to continue for Mt Lokon in Indonesia - Authorities will not lift the emergency status of a volcano that erupted this week in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, in the next month.
Shiveluch volcano on Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula erupted Thursday, sending an ash cloud to an altitude of almost 7 miles (nearly 11km). The eruption of the volcano presents no immediate threat.
Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano continued to spread ash high above the area just southeast of Mexico City, creating health problems for people who inhaled the ash particles. Mexican authorities raised the alert level as gas was released into the atmosphere. The new warning indicated possible magma expulsion and explosions of increasing intensity. Popocatepetl has been erupting since January 2005, with near constant venting from fumaroles punctuated by minor steam, gas, and ash emissions.
No current tropical storms.
Experts say hurricane season will be near average - AccuWeather's forecast predicts that 12 named tropical storms will form, of which 5 will be hurricanes. There will be 11 tropical storms, of which 6 are hurricanes.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
India - Cyclone ravages 40 Tinsukia villages, 3 killed. A severe cyclone accompanied by heavy hailstorm that reaped through the Tinsukia district in the late afternoon Wednesday claimed three lives, besides causing heavy damage to property. More than 40 villages under Kakopathar, Pengeree and Dhola police stations have faced the fury of the cyclone. At Majbari village of Kakopathar, a big tree fell over a nine-year-old girl killing her instantly. There are reports of injuries to several other people in the areas affected by the cyclone. The cyclone played havoc in the entire areas destroying hundreds of residential houses, animal sheds, granaries, schools and other government buildings. There are reports of heavy losses of livestock and wild animals in the cyclone. The National Highways 37 and 52 have been blocked by uprooted trees for several hours. The power supply and telecommunication system have also been disrupted in the cyclone-affected areas of the district, which are yet to be fully repaired. The exact amount of losses in the cyclone is yet to be assessed. The storm destroyed hundreds of houses, demolished a hospital and a church, besides uprooting trees and disrupting power supply in the two districts. The storm accompanied by rains lasted for about 30 minutes, leaving a trail of destruction in most parts of the two districts with Doomdooma circle in Tinsukia being among the worst hit. A few names of affected villages and tea estates are Talap, Dangri, Tezipathar, Katorbasti, Borali, Maithong, Laina, Khobang, Dhola, Haikhati, Ghutung Gaon, Kherbari, Samguri, Kakopathar, Dirak in Tinsukia district. In Laina tea estate alone, some 91 houses were demolished, its hospital roof blown away and a church pulled down. Road communication was severely disrupted in several areas with uprooted trees and electric poles blocking highways and other roads. Government officials failed to give estimate of the total number of displaced people, affected villages and tea estates since the assessment was being carried out. Around 3,000 people are believed to have been rendered homeless. Most parts of the district plunged into darkness since midnight and the powert supply has not yet been restored.
Most of Colombia's 32 regions are suffering from flooding. The country has seen widespread flooding in recent years, with some 3.6 million people, about 8% of the population, affected. 2012 seems set to continue this pattern. Army engineers have been busy evacuating people and livestock from disaster zones, working on roads, combating landslides, building emergency bridges and delivering aid. They were recently summoned to try to block off a burst river bank in one municipality of the capital Bogota. In the flood plains around the Chicu River, it was easy to spot the engineering problems. There are huge potholes in the streets, infrastructure was placed on delicate and unstable wetland. This is Bogota's main problem. The capital lies at an altitude of 2,600m (8,530ft), and is criss-crossed by countless rivers that are constantly at risk of overflowing. Indeed Colombia as a whole, with its varied topography ranging from huge flood plains and savannahs to volcanic regions and the Andes, is more at risk than most from natural disasters. Repair work is often a race against time before more rains come. People dependent on farming this land are among those who are suffering most. On 24 April, the President enacted a law aimed at improving natural disaster response and prevention at both national and local level. More than 60,000 people were affected so far this year and the rains are forecast to continue until June.
SPACE WEATHER -
Aurora watch - Earth's magnetic field is reverberating from three days of buffeting by a high-speed solar wind stream. Since April 23rd, auroras have been photographed in more than a dozen US states including Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, and of course Alaska. More auroras may be in the offing. A minor CME is en route to Earth, and was due to arrive on Thursday. The impact of the cloud will add to the ongoing effect of the solar wind, boosting the chances of another display. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% to 30% chance of geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours.
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS:
LA Star Seafood Co. Inc., Los Angeles, CA is recalling Vobla Dry and Vobla Smoked because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.