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.