Friday, May 11, 2012

Fruit industry in Ontario, Canada, devastated by extreme weather - An estimated 80 per cent of Ontario's apple crop has been destroyed by extreme weather this year. About 30 per cent of the province's $48-million tender fruit industry — including peaches, pears, plums, apricots and cherries — has also been wiped out. Orchard owners across Ontario, Quebec and northeastern United States have been devastated by a wave of recent cold snaps after an unseasonably warm winter and early blooming period. Now, Ontario’s apple and tender fruit farmer boards are considering an appeal for emergency government funds to help farmers survive the devastating loss. “There’s widespread damage and this is beyond the farmer’s control. It’s damage like we’ve never seen.' About 65 per cent of Ontario’s 215 commercial apple growers have crop insurance, but the breadth of the damage has the board considering government help. Ontario’s apple industry, which employs well over 2,000 people each year, accounts for about 40 per cent of all apples produced in Canada. With 80 per cent of the crop destroyed, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association CEO said he expected the impacts of the loss to be widespread. “This reaches beyond the farm gate and beyond the farmer himself." Retailers reliant on Ontario fruit and temporary foreign workers who come to work on Ontario’s farms are just some of the players to be hit hard by the loss. Consumers can expect hiked fruit prices as retailers grapple with lower supply. Retailers will also be forced to look outside Ontario for fruit to fill their shelves. “But we’ll be back next year. It’s devastating right now, and it’s tough, but we’ll get over it."


**Facts are the air of scientists.
Without them you can never fly.**
Linus Pauling

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
5/10/12 -

Earthquake forecasters look closer at rock friction - More-accurate forecasts of earthquakes may arise from a new computer model focusing on the physics of the rock in one quake-prone segment of the San Andreas fault, researchers say.


Mexico - El Popocatepet volcano erupted, spewing enough ash Thursday to close the Puebla airport.

Kenya - Panic over suspected eruption of dormant volcano. The yawning Mt Longonot is a stopper, nature’s gem to behold. This was the norm up to about a month ago when heavy rains started pounding the country. Now there are flooded sections of road, stalled vehicles and destroyed crops washed away by the gushing waters. And for more than 3,000 internally displaced persons living between Mai Mahiu and Longonot trading centres, these last few weeks have been a nightmare. Displaced by the post election violence, they are worried of a second displacement due to the floods. They are also worried about the real disaster the floods have presented to them. In the last two weeks three people in the area have drowned after being swept by the waters and there are fears that the number could rise. As if this is not enough, a RARE incident has occurred in the area that has left many in fear and confusion. Huge gullies have erupted in the middle of six camps literally ‘swallowing’ a house, dam, trees, graves and farmland. The gullies have been spreading at an alarming rate and as the rains continue to pound the area, the bigger and deeper they get. Residents are even more confused because they don’t know where the one kilometre dam’s water went to, as the dam is no more.
And just as the people are grappling with the new phenomena, experts have announced that a major fault line has emerged in the area and it is collapsing the ground, threatening the lives of tens of families in the region. The next option is for them to be evacuated from the area they have known as home for the last three years. Experts, however, are not completely in agreement about the possibility that the volcano is about to erupt. While some say dormant Mt Longonot is about to erupt, others attribute the problem to the ongoing rains. As they argue, the 5km fault line from Mt Longonot continues to spread to nearby Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road. It all started two weeks ago when heavy rains in the area and the nearby hills left the area flooded and even swept away a bus carrying 40 mourners. After the rains stopped there was a tremble that lasted for about ten seconds. “We thought it was an earthquake. But everything suddenly went back to normal only to wake up the following day to find the dam, trees and sections of the farm gone." After the incident, the Government formed a taskforce whose mandate is to study the case and report back in two weeks’ time. The taskforce has toured the affected areas and announced that a fault line had spread to Jikaze IDPs camp. “We have established that there is a fault line under the Jikaze camp and we should relocate the IDPs residing in this area with immediate effect." But it not clear where they will be taken as all the land around the area is private property.
They are, however, yet to identify the cause of the fault which is spreading at an alarming rate. The government report has created more confusion and unnecessary tension in the area. “I am not ready to go back in a tent during peaceful times and I am ready to be swallowed by the gullies." “Many of us have looked forward to the promised resettlement but government is using the gully issue to kick us out of this place." But if a volcanic eruption was to occur, the whole of Mai Mahiu, Naivasha town and the environs would be affected. Experts have come up with varying explanations about the cause of the fault line which could cave in anytime carrying with it tens of houses and lives. A soil expert notes that the rift could have been caused by heavy rains. He dismisses those arguing that a volcanic eruption is in the offing adding that the current gullies have nothing to do with the nearby Mt Longonot. “This issue has to do with soil formation and compactness in this area and the fear is that we are not sure which area will cave in next." But more worrying is a recent report by UK-based Financial Times which indicates that Mt Longonot was about to erupt. The report admits that predicting a volcanic eruption is hard even in developed countries. It, however, adds that radar data from European Space Agency’s (Envisat) showed a nine-centimetre uplift over two years in the volcano, which was previously thought dormant. The mountain erupted more than 100 years ago. A geologist at the University of Nairobi described the five-kilometre trench as a looming disaster waiting to happen.

No current tropical storms.


Is Extreme Wind on the Rise? - A video posted to YouTube poses the question: Are extreme weather wind events on the rise around the world? A sampling of the many, widespread TV news reports and amateur video, was compiled from just the first week of May 2012.

U.S. 2012 Weather was THE WARMEST, MOST EXTREME ON RECORD - The US has seen its warmest and most extreme weather on record so far this year through April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.