Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dangerous storms moving through Midwest - The Storm Prediction Center gave the sobering warning that the outbreak could be a “high-end, life-threatening event.” It was JUST THE SECOND TIME IN U.S. HISTORY THAT THE CENTER ISSUED A HIGH-RISK WARNING MORE THAN 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE. The first was in April 2006, when nearly 100 tornadoes tore across the southeastern U.S., killing a dozen people and damaging more than 1,000 homes in Tennessee.
Baseball-sized hail was breaking windows and tearing siding off homes in northeast Nebraska, while tornadoes were spotted in Kansas and Oklahoma on Saturday as forecasters warned residents across the nation’s midsection to brace for “life threatening” weather. Tornado sirens sounded across Oklahoma City before dawn, and at least three possible tornadoes were reported west and north of the city. Some homes were damaged, though no injuries were immediately reported in any of the states.
But the most dangerous weather was expected later in the day, and National Weather Service officials issued a stern warning for residents to prepare for overnight storms that could spawn fast-moving tornadoes. Officials said a large area could be at risk for dangerous storms. “The threat isn’t over with tonight, unfortunately. Severe weather is possible again Sunday from east Texas and Arkansas and up to into the Great Lakes. This could go into certainly to overnight situations, which is always of immense concerns to us."
In Nebraska, the large hail damaged vehicles and shattered windows in and around Petersburg, about 140 miles northwest of Omaha. Two possible tornadoes were reported father south in Nebraska near the Kansas borde. One of the suspected tornadoes in Oklahoma hit near the small town of Piedmont, taking a similar path as a tornado last May that killed several people. “Because of last year, we’ve had a lot of new people put storm centers into place." No major damage had been reported.
It’s possible to issue earlier warnings because improvements in storm modeling and technology are letting forecasters predict storms earlier and with greater confidence. In the past, people often have had only minutes of warning when a siren went off. Areas most likely to be hit were central and eastern Kansas, central and eastern Nebraska and central and north central Oklahoma, the warning said. Parts of Texas, Minnesota and Illinois have also been put on storm alert. "The ingredients are coming together." Those ingredients include strong jets of wind moving in from the west mixing with moisture-rich air moving across from the Gulf of Mexico. The difference in wind direction is expected to increase the possibility of tornadoes.
US tornadoes have already killed at least 39 people this year. An outbreak of deadly twisters hit the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama in early March. At the start of April the Dallas-Fort Worth area was badly hit, with hundreds of flights being disrupted but no-one injured or killed. (map)

**Success is going from failure to failure with confidence.**
Winston Churchhill

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Live Seismograms - Worldwide (They update every 30 minutes)


Booms quieting down in Clintonville, Wisconsin - Once fraught with nights full of booming and rumbling - and worrying - Clintonville is experiencing quieter times. The booms and shakes that once rocked this city of 5,000 are now seldom heard or felt in Clintonville. "They're definitely quieter," says the Clintonville City Administrator. "They're not completely non-existent -- some days, in the last eight days we've had as few as zero calls at the high end, up until today [4/12/12], we've had five calls."
Thursday morning there were seven reports of another seismic event. But residents don't seem to mind. "No, I don't get freaked out at all. I mean, I'm used to it now, so it's not scary anymore." "I don't fear anything going on. If it happens, things happen." The city put in four seismometers to collect earthquake data, after a magnitude 1.5 quake was confirmed on March 20th. But because the booms have become so rare, next Monday the devices will be taken out of the ground. "I think that over this amount of time we were able to confirm that they are earthquakes and that it isn't getting more severe." The mystery that put Clintonville in the national spotlight is now a memory they won't forget. "I would not expect anything in Clintonville to happen, especially earthquakes. I mean, that doesn't happen in Clintonville, it's a small town." "I'll remember. It'll be something to talk about, we'll all have a chuckle about it somewhere down the line."


Indonesia - The tsunami early warning system has been compromised by thieves and vandals, officials said Saturday. The $US130 million system of tidal gauges, buoys and seismic monitors sent warnings to Indonesian authorities on Wednesday after an 8.6-magnitude quake struck off Sumatra island. Ten people died in the earthquake, mostly elderly people suffering heart attacks from shock. The quake caused little damage.
Experts said that the system had functioned well in Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra, where 170,000 people were killed and entire towns were flattened by the massive Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Government agencies sent SMS messages and sounded sirens to warn people to search for higher ground.
But in Aceh province, some sirens did not work and that the government did not sound the sirens until 45 minutes after the quake. Most people began running uphill as soon as they could, remembering the 2004 tsunami that hit Aceh within 15 minutes of the earthquake.
"We have had problems with theft and vandalism of our system for a while. We got the tsunami warning from a seismograph but because so many of the buoys are destroyed we can't tell how big a potential tsunami would be." Just three of 25 buoys in Indonesian waters were in operation, mostly because of vandalism. Indonesian authorities are now working with the United States to try to develop deeper-water equipment to prevent theft and vandalism.

No current tropical storms.


India - A thunderstorm followed by heavy rains destroyed the set of the film 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' and injured five people. The force of the storm Wednesday night was so strong that it caused a 20-foot-high light tower to snap and fall to the ground, injuring five unit members. The set, which was put up in the fields outside the city in Punjab. “Due to storm, the several trees fell and blocked the road. The situation was so bad that the other unit members carried the injured on their shoulders to a safe place and from there they were taken in an ambulance to a hospital. Three light boys, who were injured, were operated upon on Wednesday night and two surgeries were done Thursday morning. Their condition is being monitored closely. The shoot has been halted for the moment." "Damage to the equipment, though heavy, is replaceable, but our deep concern is for our injured unit members." Ninety percent of the shooting is complete and only 14 days work is left.


Pakistan yet to find 139 under avalanche - There is no sign of life from the more than 100 people buried when a massive avalanche hit a military complex close to the Indian border more than a week ago. More than 400 soldiers, with help from heavy machinery and foreign experts, are working to find 128 soldiers and 11 civilians that were swept up in the April 4 avalanche. But so far they have not found anyone alive or any bodies of the dead. The troops and civilians were buried under some 25 meters of snow in the Siachen Glacier. It is located on the northern tip of Kashmir, a Himalayan region which is divided between Pakistan and India. More soldiers have died there from the weather than from combat on the glacier.


Biosecurity board reverses course and votes FOR publishing studies on virulent H5N1 virus - Officials stacked the deck for board's reversal on H5N1 publishing decision. In a leaked letter, a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) has charged that federal officials planned the board's meeting in late March in a way designed to lead tuchier disclosed at the meeting that he has already identified another H5N1 mutation, not described in his current manuscript, that results in ferret-to-ferret transmission of the virus "without the need for repeated passaging of the virus in ferrets."
Osterholm further asserted that the meeting included no unbiased review of the current state of reverse genetics technology that might allow those without great expertise or resources to duplicate the experiments. The experts who addressed the issue had a CONFLICT OF INTEREST because they are involved in the same type of research as Fouchier and Kawaoka are and will be affected by the board's recommendations. He also wrote that the board didn't hear from anyone involved in frontline surveillance and control efforts for H5N1. On another point, Osterholm said the security briefing that the board heard was "ONE OF THE MOST INCOMPLETE AND, DARE I SAY, USELESS CLASSIFIED SECURITY BRIEFINGS" HE HAD EVER HEARD. The briefing did not address the risk of efforts by "rogue scientists or irresponsible researchers" to replicate the experiments in labs without proper biosafety precautions, or the risk of an attempt by eco-terrorists to disrupt animal production by releasing a more-transmissible H5N1 virus in swine. He also complained that the meeting included no "data-related presentations" on possible use of the mutation data to develop vaccines and antivirals, a prospect that leading experts have been skeptical about.
A primary lesson of the meeting, Osterholm wrote, is that the NSABB must "involve disinterested subject matter experts to provide technical advice." He added that the life science community should look critically on the "relative lack" of expert input from those without a direct interest in the board's decisions. He concluded that the board's recent experiences represent just the beginning of conflicts over the publication of research findings that could be misused to do harm. "It is unfortunate that the current NSABB action just kicked the can down the road to the next manuscript."