Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sorry for late, short update - connection troubles.
Hurricane Takes Down Big Websites - The biggest casualty? Datagram, the Internet service provider based in New York City that powers news sites like,, and When its servers went down on Monday night due to flooding, the sites it powered went down with it. "Unfortunately, within a couple hours of the storm hitting Manhattan's shores, the building's entire basement, which houses the building's fuel tank pumps and sump pumps, was completely filled with water and a few feet into the lobby."
The latest Sandy images and videos


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
10/30/12 -
5.2 OFF E. COAST OF N. ISLAND, New Zealand

Another earthquake rattles British Columbia coast - The 6.2 tremor came as questions are being raised about the B.C. government's response to the weekend earthquake off the northwest coast, after officials took more than half an hour to issue a tsunami warning.

BC earthquake causing concern in Washington - At the Seismology Lab at the University of Washington, there is concern that the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred on the British Columbia coast over the weekend could affect Washington. “Earthquakes trigger more earthquakes."

In the East Pacific -
- Tropical storm Rosa was located about 795 mi. [1285 km] SW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Son-Tinh was located approximately 35 nm south-southwest of Chennai, India. The final warning has been issued on this system. The system would be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

The mayor says the NYC Marathon will go on as planned on Sunday despite Superstorm Sandy's devastation.
There has been a post-hurricane run on Manhattan banks - by people desperate to withdraw electricity, not cash. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and thousands of tourists trapped in the great Sandy blackout are all desperate to get power to charge up mobile phones and laptops.
Any spare plug in bank lobbies, pharmacies, 24 hour delis and bars has come under assault from the masses who have been starved of power since superstorm Sandy hit the city on Monday night. There was a power grab at bank lobbies across Manhattan where the queues are normally for automatic cash dispensers. People sat on suitcases tapping on their computers. Bank lobbies have been packed through the night every night since the storm. "But we don't mind. People are suffering, a lot of our own staff are suffering. Since the storm a lot of people have been coming here at night because there is light and warmth. It is really cold outside."
More than 230,000 homes are without power in Manhattan. Most of the lower part of the island has been blacked out since Monday night and the crisis for these people is likely to last until the end of the week. "It is a lifeline. I have no candles left and it is pretty grim in the southern part after dark." One deli looked like a camp site. Suitcases, handbags, laptops brought by the storm's refugees were scattered across the 10 tables. Its owner said, "I would not normally allow this kind of mess, but this has been an extraordinary week."
New York commuters walk, bike and fume amid post-Sandy snarls - New York City commuters endured hours-long bus trips and bumper-to-bumper traffic on Wednesday as the city struggled to fix a crippled subway system and get back to business in the wake of mega-storm Sandy.
New Jersey's barrier islands are scenes of devastation - New Jersey's delicate barrier islands, long and slender strips of land cherished by generations of sunbathing vacationers and full-time residents alike, are a hazardous wasteland of badly eroded shore, ruined beachfront homes.

AMAZING ICE HALO DISPLAY - Yesterday, sky watchers around the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, witnessed something amazing: A complex network of luminous arcs and rings surrounded the afternoon sun. "I've never seen anything quite like it," says the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. The apparition is almost certainly connected to hurricane Sandy. The core of the storm swept well north of Alabama, but Sandy's outer bands did pass over the area, leaving behind a thin haze of ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Sunlight shining through the crystals produced an UNUSUALLY rich variety of ice halos.
"By my count, there are two sun dogs, a 22o halo, a parahelic circle, an upper tangent arc, and a parry arc. It was amazing." "Very impressive. This was a ONCE-IN-A-DECADE EVENT for our area." If the display really was a result of Sandy, sky watchers might not have to wait a decade for the next show. Some researchers believe that superstorms will become more common in the years ahead as a result of climate change, creating new things both terrible and beautiful to see overhead. Sky watchers in the storm zone should remain alert for the unusual. [ Photo]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Half of Manhattan now underwater - This is not an exaggeration. Cars are floating down streets, subway stations and tunnels are filling with water. Authorities fear water could damage the underground electrical and communications lines. Pictures released by the company managing the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (Brooklyn Battery Tunnel) show water surging through the abandoned roadway. The Queens-Midtown tunnel has been closed.
Much of New York was plunged into darkness by the superstorm that overflowed the city's historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to nearly a million people. The city had shut its mass transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to leave home to get out of the way of the superstorm Sandy as it zeroed in on the nation's largest city. Officials warned the worst of the storm had not hit.
By evening, a RECORD 4 metre STORM SURGE was threatening Manhattan's southern tip, utilities darkened parts of downtown Manhattan on purpose to avoid storm damage and water started lapping over the seawall in Battery Park City, flooded rail yards and parts of the financial district. "Lower Manhattan is being covered with seawater. I am not exaggerating," said the director of operations for state of NY. "Seawater is rushing into the Battery tunnel."
Authorities also feared the surge of seawater could damage the underground electrical and communications lines in lower Manhattan that are vital to the nation's financial centre. The power has been turned off to the area to prevent shorting and fires. Storm damage was projected at $10 billion to $20 billion, meaning it could prove to be one of the costliest natural disasters in US history. (photos)

N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg - "The surge is slightly higher than what was forecasted by the HIGHEST estimate."

Latest estimates of the number of peopl without power now range between five and six million.

Washington, DC reports: So far, the DC area doesn't seem be hit too hard."

Youtube video of explosion at a power plant on the east side of Manhattan.

BBC storm updates - MTA statement about the damage wrought on the New York subway system: "Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots." Seven subway tunnels under New York's East River have been flooded.


Storm photo gallery

**Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.**
Joe Clark

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/29/12 -

British Columbia quake a warning to risk of oil pipeline, critics say - Critics of the Northern Gateway pipeline say the weekend's massive 7.7 earthquake just off the B.C. coast is a warning that should be heeded.

In the Atlantic -
- Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy was located about 10 mi [15 km] SW of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Still packing hurricane-force winds. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 90 miles. Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to continue north of Chatham through much of New England .and over the lower Chesapeake Bay and south of Chincoteague to extreme northeastern North Carolina.
The center of Sandy is expected to move across Pennsylvania then move into western New York today night. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph [120 km/h] with higher gusts. The strongest winds are occurring over water to the east of the center. Steady weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical Cyclone Two was located approximately 315 nm southeast of Chennai, India. model guidance is in loose agreement but generally supports a northwestward track toward the east central coast of India.

Tropical Cyclone Two [Nilam] Hitting Sri Lanka, South India - A tropical depression over the southwestern Bay of Bengal will gain tropical cyclone status as it makes its way west to the south coast of India. Flooding rain and damaging winds will threaten parts of Sri Lanka and southeastern India.

Typhoon Son-Tinh hits Vietnam - Two people have been killed and thousands of homes damaged as Vietnam's coast was lashed by Typhoon Son-Tinh, after the storm caused deadly landslides and floods in the Philippines.
Strong winds destroyed large tracts of crops, brought down power lines and ripped the roofs off houses after Son-Tinh, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, made landfall in the north of the country late Sunday. Two people were confirmed killed, while two others were missing. It was the biggest typhoon to hit Vietnam since the start of the storm season, with wind speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour. The wind also felled a 180-metre television tower, the tallest in northern Vietnam, in Nam Dinh City.
Vietnam is hit by an average of eight to 10 tropical storms every year, often causing heavy material and human losses. More than 50,000 people were evacuated in preparation for the bad weather, while authorities imposed a sea ban in some areas and dozens of domestic flights were cancelled. Son Tinh left a total of 27 people dead and nine missing in the Philippines, after it tore down trees and caused flash floods and landslides. Tropical Storm Son-Tinh was moving northeast along the northern Vietnamese coast on Monday after tearing the roofs off hundreds of houses and breaching flood defenses overnight.

At least 16 deaths, 6.2 million without power in Superstorm Sandy's wake - Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline with 80 mph winds Monday night and hurled an UNPRECEDENTED 13-FOOT SURGE OF SEAWATER at New York City, flooding its tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street.
Sandy kills 1 in Canada - Officials reported one woman dead in Canada, killed by an airborne sign in a car park .
Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in southern New Jersey [40 miles south of Atlantic City] - A nuclear "alert" was issued because water in the pumps' intake structure passed 4.5ft, but they still operate in up to 7ft. Even if the water rises that high, the plant can turn to a backup method to cool spent fuel rods. Because the plant has been shut down for a week for scheduled maintenance, there's also much less to be cooled. And if things get really bad, they could shut off the reactor all together - although there's no reason to do so yet.
Dispatch from a Weather Channel meterologist: - History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States. REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE OFFICIAL DESIGNATION IS NOW OR AT/AFTER LANDFALL...OR WHAT TYPE OF WARNINGS ARE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER -- PEOPLE IN THE PATH OF THIS STORM NEED TO HEED THE THREAT IT POSES WITH UTMOST URGENCY...
With Sandy having already brought severe impacts to the Caribbean Islands and a portion of the Bahamas, and severe erosion to some beaches on the east coast of Florida, it is now poised to strike the northeast United States with a combination of track, size, structure and strength that is unprecedented in the known historical record there.
Already, there have been ominous signs from its outer fringes: trees down in eastern North Carolina on Saturday, the first of countless that will be blown over or uprooted along the storm's path; and coastal flooding in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia Saturday and Sunday, these impacts occurring despite the center of circulation being so far offshore, an indication of Sandy's exceptional size and potency. Sustained tropical storm force winds were already measured at a buoy just offshore of New York City Sunday evening, 24 hours before the closest approach of the center. Early Monday morning, aircraft reconnaissance found a central pressure of 946 millibars, one of the lowest on record for a hurricane near that location, and maximum sustained winds which have increased to 85 mph.
A meteorologically mind-boggling combination of ingredients is coming together: one of the largest expanses of tropical storm (gale) force winds on record with a tropical or subtropical cyclone in the Atlantic or for that matter anywhere else in the world; a track of the center making a sharp left turn in direction of movement toward New Jersey in a way that is unprecedented in the historical database, as it gets blocked from moving out to sea by a pattern that includes an exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure aloft near Greenland; a "warm-core" tropical cyclone embedded within a larger, nor'easter-like circulation; and eventually tropical moisture and arctic air combining to produce heavy snow in interior high elevations. This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole.
That gigantic size is a crucially important aspect of this storm. The massive breadth of its strong winds will produce a much wider scope of impacts than if it were a tiny system, and some of them will extend very far inland. A cyclone with the same maximum sustained velocities (borderline tropical storm / hurricane) but with a very small diameter of tropical storm / gale force winds would not present nearly the same level of threat or expected effects. Unfortunately, that's not the case. This one's size, threat, and expected impacts are immense.
Those continue to be: very powerful, gusty winds with widespread tree damage and an extreme amount and duration of power outages; major coastal flooding from storm surge along with large battering waves on top of that and severe beach erosion; flooding from heavy rainfall; and heavy snow accumulations in the central Appalachians where a blizzard warning has been issued for some locations due to the combination of snow and wind. With strong winds blowing across the Great Lakes and pushing the water onshore, there are even lakeshore flood warnings in effect as far west as Chicago. Sandy is so large that there is even a tropical storm warning in effect in Bermuda, and the Bermuda Weather Service is forecasting wave heights outside the reef as high as 25'.


Snow and gales hit Europe, four dead, two missing - Snow and gales hit France and Switzerland over the weekend, possibly leading to the death of a homeless man in Paris, while searches continued for a missing windsurfer and a 12-year-old British boy who vanished Saturday in the south of France while cycling in a gale. His bicycle is reported to have been found but there are fears he was swept away by strong winds.
Hurricane-force winds lash France - Hurricane-force winds lashed southern France on Sunday, damaging a ferry off Marseille and leading to the disappearance of two people, including a British boy who was out cycling. Winds packing up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) an hour battered several areas in the south, including the coastal region of Herault, where a 12-year-old British boy and a windsurfer were reported missing since Saturday.

Much of the focus on Sandy has been on flooding along the east coast, but the storm has brought heavy snow - as much as 24in (70cm) in western Maryland, and 3ft in the mountains of West Virginia - with snow in the Appalachian mountains as far south as Tennessee. Roads are closed and at least one death has been reported.


SUPERSTORM SANDY - Anyone who doubts the value of space exploration should watch this video of hurricane Sandy approaching the east coast of the United States on Oct. 26-28. Without weather satellites and space-age sensors, residents in the storm's path wouldn't know what was coming until the storm surge arrived. Data from satellites will help forecasters anticipate future storms even more accurately than Sandy.
NOAA's storm center

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy strengthened and quickly bore down on the New Jersey-Delaware border, packing 90-mile-an-hour winds, unleashing life-threatening storm surges, and knocking out power for one million people.
Ocean City, on Maryland's easternmost Atlantic coast, was already being lashed by a combination of wind, rain and "very heavy surf", with the resort town's pier sustaining heavy damage. The mandatory evacuation of downtown Ocean City has been completed and "there are few if any residents left in the town".
Twenty-three emergency shelters have opened around Maryland for those most in need, but others should "hunker down" and remain indoors with their families until the "monster storm" passes. "There will undoubtedly be some deaths that are caused by the intensity of the storm, by the floods, by the tidal surge and by the waves. The more responsibly citizens act, the fewer people will die."
The governorsays fatalities are inevitable as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the Mid-Atlantic state with all its force. "Hurricane Sandy is going to come over Maryland, she's going to sit on top of Maryland and beat down on Maryland for a good 24 to 36 hours. This is going to be a long haul," he said. "The days ahead are going to be difficult. There will be people who die and are killed in this storm." He warned of "very high winds", lengthy power outages and severe flooding in the countless rivers and streams that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. He urged motorists to stay off the roads until Tuesday night.

HMS Bounty sinks off North Carolina - 14 rescued, two missing. Helicopters have plucked 14 crew members of a replica three-mast tall ship, the HMS Bounty, in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, but two others are missing. Three people fell overboard, but only one made it to a life raft. (photo)
The crew donned cold water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies after getting caught up in stormy seas 144 kilometres southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina. The owner of the vessel, which was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando and was also featured in Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, said he lost contact with the crew late Sunday. Weather at the scene consisted of 65km/h winds and five-metre waves.

Boat missing in Caribbean waters hit by Hurricane Sandy - As many as seven people have disappeared. French officials say at least six of them are French citizens. The Dominica Coast Guard is searching for those aboard a rigid-hulled inflatable boat that left the country on Sunday en route to Martinique on a trip that should take no more than two hours.
Dominican authorities were searching the island's harbours to see if the vessel is anchored to await better conditions. Authorities from French Martinique are conducting an aerial search. Sandy, which killed at least 66 people in the Caribbean, was far to the north, near the US coast, on Sunday, but was still kicking up waves around the island. "We have a lot of groundswells and a little wind but nothing so great it would affect normal sailing."

New York - Two of the three Manhattan road tunnels are to close because of the risk of floods from Hurricane Sandy.
A crane in New York has partially collapsed and is dangling over a city street.
Links for following the storm on the web


'Frankenstorm' - How an UNPRECEDENTED WEATHER EVENT came to be. The storm that is threatening 60 million Americans in the eastern third of the nation with high winds, drenching rains, extreme tides, flooding and probably snow is much more than just an ordinary weather system. It's a freakish and and unprecedented monster. How did it get that way?
Start with Sandy, an ordinary late summer hurricane from the tropics, moving north up the East Coast. Bring in a high pressure ridge of air centered around Greenland that blocks the hurricane's normal out-to-sea path and steers it west toward land. Add a wintry cold front moving in from the west that helps pull Sandy inland and mix in a blast of Arctic air from the north for one big collision. Add a full moon and its usual effect, driving high tides. Factor in immense waves commonly thrashed up by a huge hurricane plus massive gale-force winds. Do all that and you get a stitched-together weather monster expected to unleash its power over 800 miles, with predictions in some areas of 12 inches of rain, 2 feet of snow and sustained 40- to 50 mph winds.
"The total is greater than the sum of the individual parts. That is exactly what's going on here." This storm is so dangerous and so unusual because it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and beginning of winter storm season, "so it's kind of taking something from both — part hurricane, part nor'easter, all trouble." With Sandy expected to lose tropical characteristics, NOAA is putting up high wind watches and warnings that aren't hurricane or tropical for coastal areas north of North Carolina, causing some television meteorologists to complain that it is all too confusing. Nor is it merely a coastal issue anyway. "This is not a coastal threat alone. This is a very large area. This is going to be well inland."
"This storm as it grows and moves back to the coast on Monday and Tuesday, the circulation of this storm will extend all the way from the Midwest, the Ohio Valley, toward the Carolinas up into New England and southern Canada. It's really going to be an expansive storm system." It's a topsy-turvy storm, too. The far northern areas of the East, around Maine, should get much warmer weather as the storm hits, practically shirt-sleeve weather for early November. Around the Mason-Dixon line, look for much cooler temperatures. West Virginia and even as far south as North Carolina could see snow. Maybe 30 inches.
The location among those with the highest odds for gale-force winds insthe country's most populous place: New York City. New York has nearly a 2-in-3 chance of gale force winds by Tuesday afternoon. One of the major components in the ferocity of the storm is that it is swinging inland — anywhere from Delaware to New York, but most likely southern New Jersey — almost a due west turn, which is UNUSUAL. So the worst of the storm surge could be north, not south, of landfall. And that gets right to New York City and its vulnerable subways, which are under increasing risk of flooding. "There is a potential for a huge mess in New York if this storm surge forecast is right."
Add to that the hundreds of miles of waves and the overall intensity of this storm and "we are in the middle of a very serious situation." Forecasters are far more worried about inland flooding from storm surge than they are about winds. Because of the mix with the winter storm, the wind won't be as intense as it is near the center of a hurricane. But it will reach for hundreds of miles, spreading the energy further, albeit weaker.
They expect the central pressure of the storm to drop to a NEAR RECORD LOW for the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast FOR ANY TIME OF YEAR. That is a big indication of energy and helps power the wind. This puts it on par with the 1938 storm that hit Long Island and New England, killing 800 people - the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane.

**Many of life’s failures are experienced
by people who did not realize
how close they were to success when they gave up.**
Thomas Edison

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/28/12 -

Canada - A 6.0-magnitude aftershock struck off the coast of British Columbia's Haida Gwaii islands Sunday morning - less than 24 hours after the 7.7 quake, CANADA'S STRONGEST EARTHQUAKE IN MORE THAN 60 YEARS, hit the same area.

Tsunami reaches Hawaii after 7.7 earthquake strikes western Canada. After barreling across the Pacific Ocean for hours, a tsunami spawned by the earthquake in Canada struck the Hawaiian islands. Waves between 3 and 7 feet were expected to lash the islands. But the largest wave was only about 2.5 feet above ambient sea level.
The tsunami warning for Hawaii proved nothing more than a pre-Halloween scare for thousands of people this weekend. "The tourists are doing their best Chicken Little impressions," one reporter in West Maui, Hawaii, wrote early Sunday. Sirens announced the tsunami warning across Hawaii on Saturday night, as thousands of revelers packed streets in Honolulu for the annual Hallowbaloo festival and many others in costumes headed to Halloween parties. Restaurants, clubs and the festival immediately shut down and the parties turned into bumper-to-bumper traffic jams as residents headed to higher ground.
Visions of the devastating quake and tsunami that killed thousands in Japan in March 2011 fueled the fright, but the waves proved to be smaller and less powerful than feared. While the warning said waves could surge between 3 and 6 feet, the largest wave, measured in Kahului on the island of Maui, was about 2.5 feet. The evacuation orders for coastal residents and the tsunami warning were canceled by 1 a.m. in Hawaii (7 a.m. ET) and a tsunami advisory was put in its place. That advisory was lifted three hours later.
About 80,000 people live in evacuation zones on the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located. Even Hawaiians accustomed to tsunami warnings spared no effort in bracing for the worst. "A (magnitude) 7.7 is a big, hefty earthquake -- not something you can ignore. It definitely would have done some damage if it had been under a city." Instead, the quake struck about 139 kilometers (86 miles) south of Masset on British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands. No major damage was reported. Canadians as far away as Prince Rupert, on mainland British Columbia, felt the quake.

In the Atlantic -
- Hurricane Sandy was located about 470 mi [760 km] SSE of New York City. [Barely moved in prior 24 hours.] Minimum central pressure is 950 mb. Hurricane-force winds are expected along portions of the coast between Virginia and Massachusetts. This includes Delaware, New Jersey, the New York City area, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
On the forecast track, the center of Sandy will move over the coast of the mid-Atlantic states late Monday or Monday night. Sandy is expected to transition into a frontal or wintertime low pressure system prior to landfall. However, this transition will not be accompanied by a weakening of the system and in fact, a little strengthening is possible during this process. Sandy is expected to weaken after moving inland. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 175 miles [280 km] mainly to the southwest of the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 520 miles [835 km].
Given the large wind field associated with Sandy, elevated water levels could span multiple tide cycles resulting in repeated and extended periods of coastal and Bayside flooding. In addition, elevated waters could occur far removed from the center of Sandy. Furthermore, these conditions will occur regardless of whether Sandy is a tropical or Post-tropical cyclone.

In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Son-Tinh was located approximately 60 nm east-northeast of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Tropical Cyclone Sandy transitions into terrifying super-storm heading for New Jersey coastline. Tropical Cyclone Sandy, which has transitioned into a terrifying unpredictable crossbreed; a kind of super-storm. Sandy is being energized not only by warm ocean water that fuels tropical cyclones, it is also intensifying and becoming more massive due to difference in air masses between cooler and drier air to the north and west and the very moist air mass to the south and east.
And if that is not enough to cause panic, atmospheric energy from the jet stream that is steering Sandy is helping to intensify this monster storm. By the way, that’s exactly what jet streams do. You see, jet streams steer cyclonic storm systems at lower levels in the atmosphere, and so knowledge of their course has become an important part of weather forecasting. These conditions mean that Sandy is a well-constructed storm built for maximum damage.
The strongest winds may be far away from the center which is very different from a regular hurricane whose strongest winds are right around the eye-wall. The other incredible thing about this storm is the fact that all computer models have the storm making a left turn bringing it into the New Jersey coastline.
Power outages will be massive along with some structural damage due to the strong winds. Coastal flooding, beach erosion, and flooding rains will be huge problems from the North Carolina coast up through New England. Inland areas are going to experience damaging high winds and flooding. The latest update has the pressure dropping to 951 millibars, which is an incredible barometric pressure.
It should now be clear, that we’re dealing with a very different kind of storm with tendencies that make it somewhat unpredictable. In reality, it’s not merely a tropical storm or hurricane. Don’t get fixated on a particular track. Wherever it hits, the mammoth storm slowly moving up the East Coast will afflict a third of the country with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow, say officials who warned millions in coastal areas to get out of the way.
As Hurricane Sandy trekked north from the Caribbean — where it left nearly five dozen dead — to meet two other powerful winter storms, experts said it didn’t matter how strong the storm was when it hit land: The RARE crossbreed storm that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. “Don’t be rash. Because if this does hit, you’re going to lose all those little things you’ve spent the last 20 years feeling good about.”
The storm is expected to approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states by tonight, before reaching southern New England later in the week. It was so big, however, and the convergence of the three storms so rare, that “we just can’t pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it,” said the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Officials are particularly worried about the possibility of subway flooding in New York City. The city closed the subways before Hurricane Irene last year, and a study predicted that an Irene surge just 1 foot higher would have paralyzed lower Manhattan.
On Saturday evening, Amtrak began canceling train service to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington, D.C., and New York. Airlines started moving planes out of airports to avoid damage and adding Sunday flights out of New York and Washington in preparation for flight cancellations today. Utility officials warned rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple into power lines, and told residents to prepare for several days at home without power.
In New Jersey, hundreds of coastal residents started moving inland. There was a forced shutdown of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalized gambling here. City officials said they would begin evacuating the gambling hub’s 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to mainland shelters and schools.
Hurricane Sandy is now the LARGEST TROPICAL CYCLONE ON RECORD in the Atlantic at 520 nautical miles.
Sandy is expected to be unlike most hurricanes, and some on Twitter and Facebook have been critical of the National Hurricane Center for not issuing hurricane watches and warnings north of the North Carolina-Virginia border. Temperature is the difference, according to the hurricane center.
Sandy is forecast to move to a position approximately 225 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., by 2 a.m. Monday. With the storm about 2,000 miles wide, Connecticut will already be feeling its force at that point. "Sandy is then forecast to intensify and grow in size as the storm interacts with an approaching winter type storm system." Sandy is forecast to move northwest to a position near the southern coast of New Jersey by 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Sandy is expected to be a large and dangerous hybrid when the storm arrives Sunday night and Monday — the Frankenstorm many have been talking about. State officials warn that hybrid storms do not act like hurricanes and do not weaken over cold waters. Sandy is forecast to move slowly and impact the area for up to 36 hours with very strong winds, finally departing the area Wednesday morning.
"Tropical cyclones extract heat from the ocean and grow by releasing that heat in the atmosphere near the storm center. Wintertime cyclones (also called extratropical or frontal lows), on the other hand, get most of their energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere, and this energy usually gets distributed over larger areas. Because of these differences, tropical cyclones tend to have more compact wind fields, tend to be more symmetric, and have a well-defined inner core of strong winds. Wintertime lows have strong temperature contrasts or fronts attached to them, have a broader wind field, and more complex distributions of rain or snow. Once Sandy loses its tropical cyclone status it will be known as 'Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy'... Some aspects of this transition are already occurring, and NWS forecasts of storm impacts are based on this expected evolution. Regardless of when this transition formally occurs, Sandy is expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding hazards over an extremely large area, and snowfall to more limited areas."
Nervous New Yorkers stripped supermarket shelves of water, bread and batteries as they wait for "Frankenstorm" or "Hell-oween." All New York subways, buses and regional trains have come a halt ahead of the arrival of Sandy. The New York Stock Exchange will be closed completely on Monday and possibly even Tuesday due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
Video - Captures the sense of fear as hurricane Sandy approaches the US. "I think this one is going to do us in."
Photo gallery

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A tsunami warning is in effect for the British Columbia coast after a 7.7 earthquake struck the Queen Charlotte Islands region at about 8 p.m. local time Saturday night.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located 198 kilometres south-southwest of Prince Rupert at a depth of 10 km. Earthquake Canada measured the quake at a magnitude of 7.1. The U.S. Geological Survey also meaured two aftershocks at magnitude 5.8 at 8:14 p.m. PDT, and magnitude 4.8 at 8:52 p.m. PDT.
The Alaska Tsunami Warning Center and Environment Canada both issued a warning for the area from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Cape Decision, Alaska. They advised all coastal residents in those areas to move to higher ground, stay away from all harbours, inlets, including those sheltered from the sea, and not return to such areas until directed to do so by local emergency officials. Waves were expected to arrive at Langara by 21:16 PDT and the northern tip of Vancouver Island by 21:17 PDT on October 27.
Emergency Info BC said the first waves seen are usually not the largest, and the waves can go on for several hours. Earthquake Canada said the quake was felt across much of north-central B.C., including Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston and that no injuries have been reported. Officials asked those in the area to try to keep phone lines clear, and listen to the radio for updates and instructions.
Tsunami warning issued for southern Alaska - The National Weather Service issued a warning for coastal areas of southeast Alaska including the small community of Craig. The U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska was trying to warn everyone with a boat on the water to prepare for a potential tsunami.
The first wave was expected to Craig about 9:10 p.m. local time, but it wasn't expected to be large, about 1-foot. "That's the predicted arrival time for the first wave, which typically is not the largest but nevertheless we don't expect the maximum wave height to be large." Any forecast that includes waves of 1-foot to 3 1/2-feet qualifies for an advisory threat level, which does not mean a full-fledged evacuation. "It does mean pulling back from harbors, marinas, getting off the beach."
The earthquake likely would not generate a large tsunami. "This isn't that big of an earthquake on tsunami scales. The really big tsunamis are usually up in the high 8s and 9s." The earthquake occurred along a "fairly long" fault - "a plate 200 kilometers long" in a subduction zone, where one plate slips underneath another. Such quakes lift the sea floor and tend to cause tsunamis.
UPDATE - The first wave from a small tsunami has been reported in a southeast Alaska community. State officials say a wave with a height of about 4 inches was measured in Craig late Saturday evening.
The quake has triggered a tsunami that has officials from Alaska down to Hawaii warning residents to seek higher ground. In a bulletin issued at 10:44 p.m. PT, the U.S. National Weather Service’s West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said that “the earthquake has generated a tsunami which could cause damage” to regions covered in its warning.
A tsunami warning was issued immediately after the quake for a region from the north tip of Vancouver Island to Cape Decision, Alaska. A tsunami warning was also issued for Hawaii. “A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii. Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property.” The agency has also issued a tsunami advisory for the Washington-B.C. border to the north tip of Vancouver Island. An advisory was also issued for the Oregon and California coasts. “Those feeling the earth shake, seeing unusual wave action or the water level rising or receding may have only a few minutes before the tsunami arrival and should move immediately.
A tsunami had been forecast to hit Langara Island, at the northern tip of Haida Gwaii, around 9:16 p.m. PT. However, Emergency Info BC tweeted shortly before 11 p.m. PT that two waves under 50 cm were recorded in the region. The agency said that a warning means a tsunami is “expected and imminent” in low-lying coastal areas, and residents should move inland or to higher ground immediately. An advisory indicates that a low-level tsunami is expected. Residents under a tsunami advisory are being told to stay away from beaches and shorelines “until further notice.” The agency warned that a tsunami is a series of waves that “could last several hours.”
The quake struck just after 8 p.m. local time about 139 km south of Masset in the Haida Gwaii region, at a depth of about 17 kilometres. The quake was followed by eight aftershocks, the first one being the strongest at a magnitude of 5.8. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. A local resident said he was concerned for his home because of the violent shaking, which knocked the power out. “It was pretty intense right from the get-go."
The quake triggered a tsunami warning from Environment Canada, which advised residents to seek higher ground or move inland. “Do not return until directed to do so,” the agency said. “Closely monitor local radio stations for additional information from local authorities.” Some low-lying communities, including Sandspit, Bella Bella and Prince Rupert, were being evacuated as a precaution. A tsunami could do more damage to the region than the quake itself. “A 7.7 is a strong earthquake, capable of producing significant damage or casualties in populated areas. But...Haida Gwaii itself is pretty sparsely populated. And even though the West Coast of northern British Columbia there is fairly sparsely populated, the biggest risk could be if a tsunami has been generated.” (maps)

**The elevator to success is out of order.
You’ll have to use the stairs… one step at a time.**
Joe Girard

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
7.7 QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS REGION - 202 km (126 miles) SSW of Prince Rupert, BC, Canada or 263 km (164 miles) S of Metlakatla, Alaska.

Yesterday -
10/27/12 -

10/26/12 -

Iceland warns of threat of big earthquake - Icelandic authorities warned people in the north of the island on Thursday to prepare for a possible big earthquake after the BIGGEST TREMORS IN THE AREA FOR 20 YEARS.

Frequent Quakes Jolt Northwestern Iran Again - Several tremors jolted parts of Northwestern Iran on Saturday, almost three months after a couple of devastating earthquakes ruined several towns and villages in the region.
The biggest of the tremors measuring 4.4 on the richer scale struck the city of Varzaqan, East Azarbaijan Province, at approximately 02:01 local time (2231 GMT Friday night). The epicenter of the main quake, which was followed by at least 5 aftershocks ranging from 2.6 to 4.1 degrees on the Richter scale, was located in an area 46.67 in longitude and 38.42 in latitude.
Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating. The worst in recent times hit Bam in southeastern Kerman province in December 2003, killing 31,000 people - about a quarter of its population - and destroying the city's ancient mud-built citadel. The deadliest quake in the country was in June 1990 and measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. About 37,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 injured in the northwestern provinces of Gilan and Zanjan. It devastated 27 towns and about 1,870 villages.
Around three months ago, two quakes in Northwestern Iran also claimed the lives of 306 people and injured more than 4500 others. An earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted Ahar in East Azerbaijan province at 16:00 hours local time (1130GMT) on August 11. Almost an hour later another quake with magnitude 6 on the Richter scale jolted Varzaqan at 17:04 hours local time (1234GMT) in the same province.

Japan quake-hit nuclear plant "may still be leaking radiation" into sea - The operator of Japan's quake-struck Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Friday it could not rule out the possibility that it may still be leaking radiation into the sea after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Volcano Webcams

New Zealand scientists investigating an active undersea volcano that erupted three months ago have discovered significant changes to the seafloor. Niwa research ship Tangaroa has mapped the Kermadec volcano that erupted 800km northeast of Tauranga on July 19, producing a pumice raft the size of Canterbury.
The eruption was strong enough to breach the ocean surface from a depth of 1100 metres. There had been volcanic activity every year for the past decade, but this was the largest by far. "It is a substantial eruption. Had it occurred on land in New Zealand, it would have been a bit of a disaster."
The volcanic caldera, which is like Lake Taupo, known to produce large and violent eruptions, spewed up to 10,000 more material than the Mt Tongariro eruption on August 6. It was mapped in 2002, showing a 1km-high undersea mountain with a 5km wide, 800-metre deep central crater.
This week, scientists found a new volcanic cone which has formed on the edge of the volcano, towering 240 metres above the crater rim. They also found one side of the caldera wall is bulging in towards the volcano's centre, indicating where an eruption may occur in the future or it may lead to an undersea avalanche. Several cubic kilometres of new material has also been added to the volcano, with large volumes of freshly erupted pumice accumulating on the caldera floor, raising it by up to 10 metres.
"We couldn't find any biology on the floor and the immediate vicinity has been completely wiped out." Fresh volcanic rocks, up to beach ball size, will be brought back to Niwa for analysis.

California - Salton Sea volcanoes much younger than previously thought. The Salton Buttes, a line of four small volcanoes on the Salton Sea'ssoutheastern shore, are not only still considered active by scientists, new research indicates they last erupted thousands of years more recently than previously thought. The buttes last erupted between 940 and 0 B.C., not 30,000 years ago.
Earthquake swarms in August and a region-wide rotten egg smell in September recently reminded Southern California residents they live next to an active volcano field, tiny though it may be. At the time, scientists said the phenomena did not reflect changes in the magma chamber below the Salton Sea. But now, researchers may need to revise estimates of the potential hazard posed by the Salton Buttes - five volcanoes at the lake’s southern tip. The buttes exist because California is tearing apart, forming new oceanic crust as magma wells up from below. The sinking Salton Trough is the landward extension of the Gulf of California, and marks the boundary between the Pacific and North America tectonic plates.

Montserrat - Scientists warn Soufriere Hills volcano has not gone to sleep. Scientists monitoring the Soufriere Hills volcano say it remains “capable of renewed activity” even though there are no immediate precursory signs of this despite two brief episodes of ash venting and gas release.

In the Atlantic -
- Hurricane Sandy was located about 330 mi [530 km] S of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. High wind watches and warnings remain in effect for the mid-Atlantic states and southern New England. Significant storm surge is also expected. Gale force winds are expected to arrive along portions of the mid-Atlantic coast by late today or tonight and reach Long Island and southern New England by Monday morning. Winds to near hurricane force could reach the mid-Atlantic states by late Monday.
Given the large wind field associated with Sandy, elevated water levels could span multiple tide cycles resulting in repeated and extended periods of coastal and Bayside flooding. In addition, elevated waters could occur far removed from the center of Sandy. Furthermore, these conditions will occur regardless of whether Sandy is a tropical or Post-tropical cyclone.

In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Son-Tinh was located approximately 205 nm south-southeast of Hanoi, Vietnam. The system was forecast to maintain its intensity over the next 12 hours given the ample outflow and perennially warm waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. After this time, the warm moist air from the Equator will be restricted by the Indochinese peninsula and the influx of relatively cooler and drier continental air from China will begin to weaken the system. However, Son-Tinh will still be at a modest tropical storm strength when it approaches Hanoi. The remnants may curve sharply, and re-emerge back over the Gulf of Tonkin. In this scenario, the system would be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

Deadly tropical storm Son-Tinh batters Philippines - At least 24 people have been killed as a result of tropical storm Son-Tinh in the Philippines. The death toll was updated after casualty reports were received from the central and southern Philippines. About half of the victims were killed by landslides and by drowning, while others were hit by debris or electrocuted. Huge waves spawned by the storm battered coastal towns. More than 15,000 people are sheltering in government evacuation centres. At least six people remain missing. The Philippines see between 15 and 20 major storms or typhoons each year, that occur mainly during the rainy season in the summer and autumn. The storm was heading westward towards Vietnam at 22km/h (14mph) per hour.

'Frankenstorm' bears down on US east coast - Storm threat sparks mass evacuations in US. Millions of people in US coastal areas have been warned to get out of the way of the major storm likely to hit land in the next two days.
Hurricane Sandy is heading north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly 60 people dead, to threaten the eastern US with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow. Sandy is expected to affect as many as 60 million people when it meets two other powerful winter storms.
Experts say it does not matter how strong the storm is when it hits land because the RARE hybrid that follows will cause havoc over 700 miles (1300km), from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. "This is not a coastal threat alone. This is a very large area."
States of emergency have been declared in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Connecticut and a coastal county in North Carolina. The US Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia was reportedly sending a whole fleet of ships out to sea to avoid the storm. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by Saturday night. New Jersey declared a state of emergency on Saturday as hundreds of coastal residents started moving inland. New York's governor was considering shutting down the subway to avoid flooding, while six states warned residents to prepare for several days of lost power.
Sandy weakened briefly to a tropical storm early on Saturday but was soon back up to Category 1 hurricane strength, packing 120km/h winds about 540km southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, by 5pm (8am AEDT). Experts said the storm was most likely to hit the southern New Jersey coastline by late on Monday or early on Tuesday.
What makes the storm so dangerous and UNUSUAL is that it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and the beginning of winter storm season. "So it's kind of taking something from both." The storm COULD BE BIGGER THAN THE WORST EAST COAST STORM ON RECORD - the 1938 New England hurricane known as the Long Island Express, which killed nearly 800 people.
Experts said people should expect high winds over a 1300km stretch of land and up to 60cm of snow as far inland as West Virginia. The storm is so big, and the convergence of the three storms SO RARE, that "we just can't pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it," said the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
American meteorologists expect a combination of high winds, heavy rain and extreme tides, as well as snow in some areas. Up to 10in (25cm) of rain, 2ft of snow and extreme storm surges are forecast. "It's going to be a long-lasting event, two to three days of impact for a lot of people." It could make landfall anywhere between Virginia, Maryland or Delaware up through New York or southern New England.
As the storm swirled away towards the US East Coast, officials in the Caribbean reported that the hurricane cost at least 58 lives in addition to destroying or badly damaging thousands of homes. While Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas took direct hits from the storm, the majority of deaths and most extensive damage was in impoverished Haiti. (path map)
Video - Calm before the storm in New Jersey.

How UNUSUAL is Hurricane Sandy's track? There have been only 6 hurricanes with surface pressures at or below 960 millibars (lower pressure = stronger cyclone) within 200 nautical miles of the Eastern Seaboard north of Virginia Beach, Virginia to have also made a U.S. landfall: Irene (2011), Bob (1991), Gloria (1985), Esther (1961), "Long Island Express" (1938), Unnamed (1869)
Interestingly, not one of these particular landfalling systems occurred in late October. The two most recent examples occurred in late August. Gloria, Esther and the "Long Island Express" were in late September. The 1869 hurricane was in early September. Not in this list was Hazel, which made landfall as a category four hurricane on October 15, 1954 near the N.C. and S.C. border, taking a quick northward path into eastern Canada as an extratropical storm. A total of 195 were killed in the U.S. and Canada, with severe rainfall flooding in Toronto.
What about the "Perfect Storm"? Despite the significant damage from coastal flooding, beach erosion, and high winds, the center of the "Perfect Storm" never made U.S. landfall. While it's the pressure gradient that ultimately drives wind speed, the lowest central pressure of that historic storm was "only" around 972 millibars. Sandy could have a significantly lower central pressure. [Very early this morning, Sandy's minimum central pressure was 960 millibars.]

Friday, October 26 , 2012

**I am an optimist.
It does not seem too much use being anything else.**
Winston Churchill

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.
Cluster of small quakes in Turkey
Aftershocks continue in Italy

Yesterday -
10/25/12 -
5.0 SOUTHERN ITALY (many continuing aftershocks)

Italy - A man has died of a heart attack after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit the southern Italian province of Cosenza. A local hospital was evacuated and buildings in the area were damaged.

Louisiana - Sinkhole tremors expand outside of the evacuation area. An earthquake occurred soon after 9 p.m. Wednesday at the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish, and locals not only in Bayou Corne, but also those in nearby Pierre Part felt the jolt. "The tremor was large enough that the body wave phases could easily be identified." Residents learned that the outer edge of the 1-mile by 3-mile Salt Dome under many of them has collapsed. On the evening of Thursday, Oct. 26, there was still no additional information posted on the Assumption Parish sinkhole website.
The salt dome involved is a 1-mile by 3-mile formation with caverns primarily used by oil and gas industry storage. One of the over 50 underground caverns in that salt dome is leased by Texas Brine LLC, blamed by the state for the disaster due to its failed cavern. Texas Brine has contended that it's cavern failed due loss of integrity elsewhere in the dome due to seismic activity.
Bayou Corne residents were forced from their homes on August third, two months after the bayous started bubbling and thousands of earthquakes occurred. They are still under a mandatory evacuation order, although many remained. Pierre Part residents jolted from the quakes, live only a stone's throw from bubbling methane, but are excluded from the mandatory evacuation area and from funds to flee the area.
Odd earthquakes have been felt as far as 45 miles south of the sinkhole, as reported on Oct. 5 after a swarm occurred with the highest quake registering over 4 on the Richter scale. Tuesday night, Assumption Parish residents learned at a meeting that the Napoleonville Salt Dome outer edge has collapsed in a "frack-out" from pressurized brine. Officials are at a loss on how to rectify the rapidly escalating disaster. The sinkhole is now the size of five football fields and growing. The ground is breaking up in areas far from it. Louisiana state officials have called on experts around the world to offer expertise.
At the meeting, officials said they were installing an early warning system that would detect earthquakes and other events. An official explained it would be more effective than the USGS monitors now in place, recording seismic activities that are occurring regularly. The new devices are very similar to what USGS already has in place but "a step above USGS as they will be embedded, underground, more permanent."
Most of the time, the quakes are not as jolting as the one Wednesday night. They are strong enough, however, to have nearby communities on edge, especially those with no way to flee the expanding disaster area. A citizen petition, signed by 268 individuals from across the nation and beyond, urges the governor to expand the evacuation zone. Only a few hundred people within that zone, that was based on community boundaries instead of areas impacted by the disaster, received aid to relocate.
"This thing is disgusting and killing everything around it. The stench is awful, and can be smelled by people well outside of the evacuation zone." "I passed there in my car with my granddaughter and the smell was so bad. You had to hold your nose it was so bad." "Doctors and toxocologists that responded to the BP oil spill said: 'If you've smelled it, you've been poisoned,' and 'There is no safe level of toxins.'"
The key geologist on the sinkhole disaster team told the crowd that he would not allow his grandchildren to stay there if they lived there.
The Bayou Corne sinkhole is truly a historical event, UNPRECEDENTED GLOBALLY, according to the geologist who addressed the group in Pierre Part at the briefing. "In the history of this type of event, this is very unique." Upset citizens fired one after another question after the officials gave the presentation updating the locals with their latest updates about the disaster.
“Nobody ever dealt with something like this,” said a technical advisor with Shaw Environmental Group that has been contracted by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to help attempt to manage the monster sinkhole area leaking gases and crude, and earthquakes plaguing nearby communities for over four months. The Department of Natural Resources Commissioner has ordered Texas Brine to present a plan and timetable to the state by November 13. Extra experts are being hired to try to find and implement a solution.
Probably there would not be more sinkholes forming. Instead, if anything, the existing sinkhole would just get bigger, according to the advisor. Even another official, however, questioned that, and tried to obtain more information. “There is no cookbook. There’s not even any decent case studies telling people how to proceed when you’ve had a cavern collapse 5,00 feet below ground, you’ve had to frack out to the surface in the form of a sinkhole, and you have natural gas and crude oil coming in and bubbling up all over. We’ve talked to people all over the world. This is a unique situation. I know people are frustrated."
Emotions were high by the time locals were finally able to ask questions about the detailed technical material presented to them during the first part of the meeting, when questions were not permitted. “Right now, we’ve got to work our way through the problem and we’ve got to do it safe so nobody gets hurt." Many people have not heeded the evacuation order. Many more are excluded from the mandatory evacuation zone that was based purely on the township boundaries, not areas where the human impact is being experienced, including chemicals in the air and seismic activity. Two days ago, a jolt was felt by some people not in the mandatory evacuation zone. "It felt like I was walking on jello."
"Frack-out" - The outer edge of Napoleonville Salt Dome near the failed storage cavern is gone. “There’s a lot of gas venting off at the sinkhole. Where all this leads, we don’t know. We are reasonably confident the gas is coming from below the deeper formations. It probably happened in a matter of seconds."
“The pressure of the brine got so much, essentially you had a fracking out of the brine going all the way up to the surface. That’s why you have a collapse and fracturing all the way to the surface. It went right on the side of the salt dome because that’s where the rocks in the formation are the weakest. The rocks coming down were increasing the pressure in the brine until the frack-out.”
Asked if this is an educated guess, an advisor with 30 years of experience said, “I would have to agree with that.” Officials expect the sinkhole to continue to expand. "There’s a lot of gas venting off at the sinkhole. Where all this leads, we don’t know.”

Volcano Webcams

Japan has unveiled a robot prototype that can monitor a volcano's crater during an eruption.

In the Atlantic -
- Category 1 Hurricane Sandy was located about about 145 mi [235 km] ESE of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the northwestern Bahamas except Andros Island. Some additional weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Sandy is expected to remain a hurricane for the next couple of days. Sandy is expected to grow in size during the next couple of days.
Sandy is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches across Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible.These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
- Post-Tropical storm Tony was located about 615 mi [990 km] SW of the Azores. No watches or warnings. The final advisory has been issued on this system.

In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm 24w (Son-Tinh) was located approximately 500 nm east of Hue, Vietnam. Son-Tinh is forecasted to make landfall along the northern coast of Vietnam, just south of Hanoi early Sunday. Afterwards, it may loop around overland and back out to sea near where it came in. ( Forecast path)

In the North Arabian Sea -
- Tropical cyclone Murjan was located approximately 140 nm south-southwest of Cape Guardafui, Somalia. Murjan has made landfall and is rapidly dissipating. The last advisory has been issued on this system.

Hurricane Sandy, having blown through Haiti and Cuba on Thursday, continues to barrel north. As it made its way across the Caribbean, Sandy was blamed for at least four deaths in Haiti and Jamaica. The 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season hit the Bahamas after cutting across Cuba, where it killed 11, tore roofs off homes and damaged fragile coffee and tomato crops.
US forecasters are predicting a "frankenstorm", a monster combination of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and maybe snow that could cause havoc along the East Coast just before Halloween. A wintry storm is chugging across from the west. And frigid air is streaming south from Canada. And if they meet on Tuesday morning around New York or New Jersey, as forecasters predict, they could create a big wet mess that settles over the nation's most heavily populated corridor, reaching as far inland as Ohio.
With experts expecting at least $US1 billion ($A970.45 million) in damage, the people who will have to clean it up are not waiting. Utilities are lining up out-of-state work crews and cancelling employees' days off. From county disaster chiefs to the federal government, emergency officials are warning the public to be prepared. "It's looking like a very serious storm that could be historic."
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster said: "We DON'T HAVE MANY MODERN PRECEDENTS FOR WHAT THE MODELS ARE SUGGESTING." Government forecasters said there was a 90% chance - up from 60% two days earlier - that the east would get pounded from Sunday to Wednesday. Things are expected to get messier once Sandy, a late hurricane in what has been a remarkably quiet season, comes ashore, probably in New Jersey.
Coastal areas from Florida to Maine will feel some effects, but the storm is expected to vent the worst of its fury on New Jersey and the New York City area, which could see around 12 centimetres of rain and gale-force winds close to 65km/h. Eastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, western Virginia and the Shenandoah Mountains could get snow. Some have compared the tempest to the so-called perfect storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but that one didn't hit as populated an area. Nor is this one like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowfall. "The perfect storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a BILLION. Yeah, it will be worse."
Video of hurricane cleanup in Cuba


Australia - Queensland authorities are still battling more than 40 fires across the state, as high temperatures and strong winds return.

Drought Affecting Bulgarian Beekeepers - Beekeepers from different parts of Bulgaria have complained that after the heavy winter they were hit by the drought.

Less meat consumed, prices rising amid disease, drought - Meat-eaters worldwide consumed less protein last year, due in part to disease outbreaks and drought that have shrunk livestock herds. The average human ate 93.3 pounds of meat last year, down from 93.7 pounds in 2010 after a decades-long upswing.


RARE, enormous gas storm detected on Saturn - The aftermath of a massive storm on Saturn let out an "UNPRECEDENTED BELCH OF ENERGY." The storm also led to a drastic change in the ringed planet. Not only was the size of the storm UNUSUAL, but what the storm was made of left scientists puzzled. The source of the cosmic burp, which rapidly changed the atmosphere's temperature, was ethylene gas, an odorless, colorless gas that has RARELY been observed on Saturn.
"This temperature spike is SO EXTREME IT'S ALMOST UNBELIEVABLE. To get a temperature change of the same scale on Earth, you'd be going from the depths of winter in Fairbanks, Alaska, to the height of summer in the Mojave Desert." Scientists still haven't figured out where the ethylene gas came from.
By comparison, a storm of similar size on Earth would cover North America from top to bottom and wrap the planet many times. The Cassini spacecraft first detected the disruption on December 5, 2010, and has been following it since, but researchers said the ethylene gas disruption that followed the storm was unexpected. A storm this size happens once every 30 years, or once every Saturn year. (photo)


Fukushima fish still contaminated from nuclear accident - Levels of radioactive contamination in fish caught off the east coast of Japan remain raised, official data shows. It is a sign that the Dai-ichi power plant continues to be a source of pollution more than a year after the nuclear accident. About 40% of fish caught close to Fukushima itself are regarded as unfit for humans under Japanese regulations.
There are probably two sources of lingering contamination. "There is the on-going leakage into the ocean of polluted ground water from under Fukushima, and there is the contamination that's already in the sediments just offshore. It all points to this issue being long-term and one that will need monitoring for decades into the future."
Caesium-134 and 137 isotopes can be traced directly to releases from the crippled power station. The caesium does not normally stay in the tissues of saltwater fish for very long; a few percent per day on average should flow back into the ocean water. So, the fact that these animals continue to display elevated contamination STRONGLY SUGGESTS THE POLLUTION SOURCE HAS NOT YET BEEN COMPLETELY SHUT OFF.
Although caesium levels in any fish type and on any day can be highly variable, it is the bottom-dwelling species off Fukushima that consistently show the highest caesium counts. This points to the seafloor being a major reservoir for the caesium pollution. "It looks to me like the bottom fish, the fish that are eating, you know, crabs and shellfish, the kinds of things that are particle feeders - they seem to be increasing their accumulation of the caesium isotopes because of their habitat on the seafloor."
However, the vast majority of fish caught off the northeast coast of Japan are fit for human consumption. And while the 40% figure for unsafe catch in the Fukushima prefecture may sound alarming, the bald number is slightly misleading. Last April, the Japanese authorities tried to instil greater market confidence by lowering the maximum permitted concentration of radioactivity in fish and fish products from 500 becquerels per kilogram of wet weight to 100 Bq/kg wet. This tightening of the threshold immediately re-classified fish previously deemed fit as unfit, even though their actual contamination count had not changed.
It is also worth comparing the Japanese limit with international standards. In the US, for example, the threshold is set at 1,200 Bq/kg wet - significantly more lenient than even the pre-April Japanese requirement. Some naturally occurring radionuclides, such as potassium-40, appear in fish at similar or even higher levels than the radioactive caesium.
Nonetheless, the contamination question is a pertinent one in the Asian nation simply because its people consume far more fish per head than in most other countries. "At one level, there shouldn't be any surprises here but on another, people need to come to grips with the fact that for some species and for some areas this is going to be a long-term issue; and with these results it's hard to predict for how long some fisheries might have to be closed."


Thursday, October 25 , 2012

Now a Category 2 Hurricane, Sandy's path could threaten US East Coast next week - Odds are increasing that a hybrid “snor’eastercane” [a hurricane and nor'easter merge, spawning a very rare and powerful hybrid storm] could make landfall near Greater New York early next week, with wide-ranging impacts affecting nearly the entire East Coast. Current worst case scenarios going into the weekend had a strengthening Tropical Storm Sandy emerging from the Caribbean and merging — or “phasing”, in weather terminology — with an intensely potent Arctic cold front coming down from the Great Lakes.
The combined storm would then veer back northwestward toward Greater New York, pushed against the atmospheric grain by anomalously strong “blocking” high pressure centered over far eastern Canada. Such a storm could bring several inches of snow to upstate New York and parts of New Jersey, tropical storm force winds from Virginia to Maine, and the potential for significant coastal flooding from New York City to New England. In short, we could have quite a mess on our hands.
The normally stoic Hydrometeorological Prediction Center — the National Weather Service’s head data crunchers when it comes to large-scale storm systems — called the potential storm “A POWERHOUSE CAPABLE OF WHIPPING THE ATLANTIC INTO A FRENZY AND CHURNING UP DANGEROUS TIDES”, emphasizing that a full moon early next week could boost coastal flooding amounts by an additional foot or so. Such words are EXTREMELY RARE from an official government forecaster nearly a full week before a potential landfall. Local National Weather Service forecasters based near New York City echo these severe sentiments, predicting that Sandy has a narrowing “window of opportunity” to escape safely out to sea and saying that “heavy rain and some coastal flooding could eventually become likely.”
Because the first effects from this storm are still about six days out — an eternity in the weather world — much could change with any of the above ingredients and render these words much ado about nothing.
The Euro model has for four days now shown a fully phased Sandy making landfall somewhere on the East Coast, but has recently centered most of its estimates on the New York City area. A similar solution has been consistently shared by most other models except one — the GFS. On Tuesday, for the first time, that model too appears to have tentatively come in line with the others as a majority of its submodels now show an East Coast hit. The mean of these solutions shows an intense storm just off Montauk point early Tuesday morning with other possible landfalls ranging from Washington, D.C. to Cape Cod. There’s growing concern — almost to the point of being likely — that a historic storm may in fact happen.
In late October 1991 a cyclone known as the "Halloween Storm" fomented chaotic waves in the North Atlantic for several days and became more-famously known as "the Perfect Storm."

*Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot;
but make it hot by striking.**
William B. Sprague

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday -
10/24/12 -

Italy Quake Experts Convicted of Manslaughter - An Italian court has convicted seven experts of manslaughter for failing to adequately warn residents about the risk of an earthquake before hit in 2009, killing more than 300 people. Four scientists, two engineers and a government official were sentenced to six years in prison for criminal manslaughter and causing criminal injury, with the prosecution arguing they gave "unclear, inconsistent" advice in the lead-up to the big quake. The verdict has shocked the scientific community.
Four top Italian disaster experts quit their posts Tuesday, saying the manslaughter convictions of their former colleagues for failing to adequately warn of the deadly earthquake means they can't effectively perform their duties. "To predict a large quake on the basis of a relatively commonplace sequence of small earthquakes and to advise the local population to flee" would constitute "both bad science and bad public policy."

A powerful earthquake struck western Costa Rica, shaking buildings in the capital and sending residents running onto the streets, but there were no initial reports of damage or injuries.

Volcano Webcams

Signs of an eruption on Heard Island - Clad in pristine snow and glacial ice, Mawson Peak appears quiet. However, reports by Volcano Live and heat signatures detected by a satellite suggest recent activity at the volcano. Although not definitive, a natural-color satellite image also suggests an ongoing eruption. The dark summit crater is at least partially snow-free. There is also a faint hint of an even darker area — perhaps a lava flow — within. Shortwave infrared data shows hot surfaces within the crater, indicating the presence of lava in or just beneath the crater. Heavy cloud cover camouflaged what may have been a plume that erupted less than an hour after the image was captured.
Because the volcano is located on the inaccessible Heard Island, 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) north of Antarctica and 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) southwest of Africa, satellites are the primary means of monitoring Mawson Peak. (satellite image)

Iceland - Tjörnes Fracture Zone (north of Iceland) experiences strong earthquake swarm. The seismic swarm in the Tjörnes Fracture Zone continues at reduced rate. According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, there is enough stress to produce a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, but it is impossible to predict if and when such a quake might occur. Earthquakes, mostly of tectonic origin, are frequent in the TFZ, but since it is also near the volcanic rift zone, a magmatic component cannot be ruled out. At present, the nature of the quakes (purely seismic or magma intrusion) is not known.

New Zealand - Future volcanic eruptions could pose threat to power supply, says researcher. The 1995 Ruapehu volcanic eruption severely disrupted power.

Hawaii's Kilauea & Mauna Loa Volcanoes Linked - A model suggests Mauna Loa, which produced its most recent blast in 1984, had accumulated enough magma for another eruption, but its pressure was relieved by Kilauea's heightened activity.

In the Atlantic -
- Hurricane Sandy was located about 60 mi [95 km] NNE of Kingston, Jamaica. Hurricane conditions were expected in portions of Jamaica and were expected to reach eastern Cuba last evening. Hurricane conditions are expected to spread across the central and northwestern Bahamas late today and Friday. Tropical storm conditions are expected along the East Coast of Florida tonight and Friday.
Sandy is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches across Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible. These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Sandy is the 19th named storm of the season, which was predicted to see between 12 and 17 named storms.
- Tropical storm Tony was located about 935 mi [1505 km] WSW of the Azores. No watches or warnings. Tony is expected to become post-tropical today.

In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm 24w (Son-Tinh) was located approximately 130 nm south-southeast of Manila, Philippines. Son-Tinh is forecasted to steer generally west-northwestward tracking out the central islands of the Philippines into the South China Sea. It will steadily intensify as it remains in a favorable environment. It will make landfall along the northern coast of Vietnam, just south of Hanoi.

In the North Arabian Sea -
- Tropical cyclone Murjan was located approximately 170 nm east-southeast of Cape Guardafui, Somalia. Murjan is expected to be short-lived, tracking generally westward into the Horn of Africa, making landfall with slight intensification expected before being dissipated by land interaction.

Hurricane Sandy - A man was crushed to death by boulders as Hurricane Sandy swept across Jamaica, moving north to Cuba. The elderly man was crushed to death by stones that fell from a hillside as he tried to get into his house in a rural village. The category one hurricane struck the island on Wednesday, unleashing heavy rains and winds of 125km/h (80mph).
Schools and airports are closed, and a curfew has been imposed in major towns. A police officer was shot and injured by looters in the capital, Kingston. A hurricane warning has also been issued in Cuba, where Sandy is expected to make its next landfall. Moving at 22km/h, the hurricane struck Kingston on Wednesday evening and headed north, emerging off the island's northern coast near the town of Port Antonio. Sandy has prompted a hurricane watch in the Bahamas, while Florida has been placed on tropical storm watch. "It's a big storm and it's going to grow in size after it leaves Cuba."
Sandy could dump up to 50cm (inches) of rain across parts of Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba. "These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain." More than 1,000 Jamaicans have sought refuge in shelters, with residents reporting widespread power outages, flooded streets and damages to buildings. Much of the island's infrastructure is in a poor state of repair, and a lack of effective planning regulation has resulted in homes being built close to embankments and gullies.
The country's sole energy provider, the Jamaica Public Service Company, said 70% of its customers were without electricity. Authorities have imposed a 48-hour curfew in all major towns. But looters in Kingston ignored the order and wounded a senior officer in a shooting. In some southern Jamaican towns, crocodiles were caught in rushing floodwaters, which carried them out of mangrove thickets. One big croc was washed into a family's front yard in the city of Portmore.
While Jamaica was ravaged by winds from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the eye of a hurricane hasn't crossed the island since Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Almost 50 people were killed by that storm, and the then Prime Minister described the hardest hit areas near where Gilbert made landfall as looking "like Hiroshima after the atom bomb". (photos) Video

Philippines - At least 17 areas were placed under storm signals as tropical cyclone Ofel (Son-Tinh) intensified into a tropical storm early Wednesday.


Russia - A powerful cyclone with gale-force winds and heavy precipitation is advancing upon Kamchatka, the Russian Far East. The atmospheric vortex, gathering strength, is heading from the direction of the Russian Maritime region, bearing rainstorms and sleet, accompanied by wind gusts of up to 20 meters per second. Residents of the area have received timely warnings. An improvement in the weather is not expected before October 26.

South Africa - Extreme weather wreaks havoc in KZN. Floodwaters swept five people away in northern KwaZulu-Natal, as extreme weather struck the province over the weekend. Another five people were killed in road accidents, at Umlaas Road and at Tala Game Reserve. Homes in the Nqutu and and kwaNongoma areas suffered massive damage.
On Sunday, police were still searching for three people who were washed down the Chibide River at Silutshane, near Vryheid. Eight houses were totally destroyed and 34 badly damaged by the heavy rainstorm on Saturday afternoon. The Chibide River burst its banks and flooded homes in the nearby Silutshane. Roofs were blown away and mud walls disintegrated under the fierce deluge of water. Cattle and goats huddled under trees.
The storm lasted for about an hour from 14:00 to 15:00 and it was vicious. “It came from nowhere, we were all hiding, praying for our lives." One local family was swept away in a flash flood and only two bodies have been found. Three bodies are still missing and police and community members were combing the river. The local hospital was also flooded and its roof was said to have been damaged by the severe winds that accompanied the storm. The widespread rain and storms have caused chaos and misery everywhere, especially on the roads.

New research suggest U.S. tornadoes on the decline, despite horrific 2011 season - New research counters assertions that climate change is fueling this form of severe weather. The findings are limited to tornadoes, and don't delve into whether climate change could be affecting other weather extremes.


X-FLARE - Sunspot AR1598 erupted on Oct. 23rd at 0322 UT, producing a strong X1-class solar flare. Radiation from the flare created waves of ionization in the upper atmosphere over Asia and Australia (the daylit side of Earth) and possibly HF radio blackouts at high latitudes. The blast did not, however, produce a significant coronal mass ejection (CME). No auroras are expected to result from this event.
This is the 4th significant flare from AR1598 since it emerged over the southeastern limb only three days ago. This means more flares are probably in the offing, and they will become increasingly Earth-directed as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead.
CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class solar flares and a 10% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. The most likely source of any eruption is big sunspot AR1598.