Friday, November 2, 2012

Scientists warned, again and again, that extreme weather could devastate New York City - Warnings that weren't heeded: "For nearly a decade, scientists have told city and state officials that New York faces certain peril: rising sea levels, more frequent flooding and extreme weather patterns. The alarm bells grew louder after Tropical Storm Irene last year, when the city shut down its subway system and water rushed into the Rockaways and Lower Manhattan."

**The man who removes a mountain
begins by carrying away small stones.**
Chinese Proverb

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
11/1/12 -

Louisiana sinkhole collapses after quakes, new size disputed. A flyover video Thursday of the Bayou Corne sinkhole will possibly end a dispute between Assumption Parish and Texas Brine Co. officials who disagreed Wednesday on the new size of the sinkhole after Tuesday when its eastern bank collapsed, six days after sharp earthquakes occurred in the same area, possibly from extra drilling into the salt dome.
Last Tuesday’s quake was estimated between 200 and 600 meters deep and in the vicinity of a failed cavern in the salt dome leased by Texas Brine. The cavern is in the 1-mile by 3-mile Napoleonville Salt Dome that has also begun collapsing. Its outer edges is gone. The dome edge fell in what officials call a "frack-out." Parish officials’ estimates Wednesday were nearly 19 times their initial estimate on Tuesday, while Texas Brine officials suggested Wednesday the amount of land lost into the sinkhole was actually was a little less than the parish’s initial estimate. Tuesday, around 4:45, the parish announced 1,600 square feet of land fell into the sinkhole. Wednesday, the officials raised their estimate of the land loss to almost as much as 30,000 square feet.
The collapsed area extends 300 feet along the sinkhole’s bank and 75 to 100 feet inland on the eastern rim. The company’s estimates are closer to 50 to 75 linear feet of the sinkhole bank and inland about 15 to 20 feet were swallowed Tuesday, an area possibly as small as 750 square feet. The parish overstated the size of the sinkhole latest land loss, according to the company.
Meanwhile, pressure building beneath locals who live above the salt dome, sometimes feeling like they are "walking on jello" and sometimes jolted from continuing quakes have sparked human rights concerns regarding security, especially for those experiencing these intrusions occurring out of the mandatory evacuation zone. Some locals have also expressed frustration, saying they are not being kept informed well enough. The sinkhole is greater than the size of five football fields. On October 11, it was reported that the sinkhole grew 500 square feet following extra seismic activity.
On Oct. 12, an emergency flare was unexpectedly set off at the Crosstex Energy LP’s sinkhole area site minutes after extra seismic activity occurred. An investigation of why the emergency flare occurred was underway with no report to date. USGS reported an average of one tremor a day is occurring, in the direction northwest of the sinkhole and “the other side of the pipeline right-of-way.” A mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for approximately 350 Bayou Corne locals. Citizen reporters have been criticized after saying that recent videos show the ground starting to break in others areas near the sinkhole. A new report adds more evidence to oil and gas drilling being the cause of earthquakes. It also add more contention between pro-oil and gas drilling Americans and those who are working for safer renewable energy sources.

In the East Pacific -
- Tropical storm Rosa was located about 845 mi. [1360 km] SW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Some slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

India - As Cyclone Nilam weakened, its effect was seen in Bangalore which witnessed a heavy rainfall dropping the mercury to 18.3 degrees Celsius. The rain is likely to remain disruptive for some more days, though its intensity may ease now and then. The toll in rain-related incidents has gone up to seven with the death of four persons in the state as heavy rains continued to lash various parts under the influence of cyclone Nilam. Three of the deaths were on account of electrocution. Storm surges toppled homes and grounded an oil tanker. The tropical storm weakened on Thursday after displacing 150,000 people. Deaths have been reported in ISri Lanka.

Cuba hard hit by Sandy - The eastern province of Santiago was "hard hit" by Hurricane Sandy. Eleven people died and more than 188,000 homes were damaged as the storm passed over Cuba last week. Cuba's second largest city, Santiago, looks like it has been bombed. "The reality is much worse than what you can see in the pictures or on TV."
Sandy destroyed almost 100,000 hectares (245,000 acres) of crops in eastern Cuba. "Sugar cane was the single hardest hit followed by plantain and bananas." One of the biggest problems facing the government was guaranteeing food supplies for the people in the affected areas in the the coming months. Cuba does not produce enough food to feed its population and spends large amounts of money on importing food.

The US death toll from Sandy tops 90 as swathes of the East Coast battle to recover, three days after being battered by the massive storm. The death toll from Sandy is continuing to rise, as swathes of the US East Coast battle to recover from the massive storm that hit three days ago. At least 38 people are now known to have died in New York City alone, and others are missing. About 4.5 million people in 12 states are still without power, and chronic fuel shortages persist. The National Guard is to deliver a million meals and bottled water to New Yorkers affected by the storm.
The number of dead in the US has exceeded the toll from the Caribbean, where 69 people were killed by Sandy. The number could continue to rise as rescuers search house-by-house, especially in Staten Island, where elected officials have criticised the emergency response. The storm could cost the US $50 billion, doubling the previous estimate. In New York, limited subway services resumed on Thursday, though four of the seven train tunnels under the East River remained flooded.
It is day four of the superstorm crisis and the city is shuddering back to life - but slowly. Transport is one of the main problems. Part of the subway system that is the lifeline of the city has reopened but no trains are running in the business hub of Lower Manhattan, where the electricity is still out, or under the East River to the outer boroughs, because the tunnels are still flooded. It is taking longer to pump out the water because of the power outage, which is also one of the reasons petrol stations are closing: officials say 50% have shut in New York City, 80% in New Jersey. So on top of everything else, there is a looming fuel crisis. The power failure has virtually shuttered Lower Manhattan and produced a host of survival stories from residents who have not found shelter elsewhere.
Fares on commuter trains, subways and buses have been temporarily waived in a bid to entice commuters off the traffic-choked roads. Many of the petrol stations in the city and the state of New Jersey remained closed, and fights broke out amid long queues on forecourts. The city authorities are only allowing vehicles carrying three passengers or more to cross into Manhattan. Amtrak plans to restart its East Coast service - the busiest train line in the US - today.
In lower Manhattan, where Sandy brought a record 14ft (4.2m) tidal surge, subway services are still closed and hundreds of thousands of homes without power. "People feel safe during the day but as soon as the sun sets, people are extremely scared. The fact that Guardian Angels are on the streets trying to restore law just shows how out of control the situation is in lower Manhattan." Power is expected to be restored to many New Yorkers by Saturday, but a local utility firm said some could be without power for weeks.
New York's Governor on Thursday ordered the National Guard to help deliver some 30 tractor trailers of supplies to one million residents. He has told relief workers to prioritise the elderly and poor, especially those living in high-rise blocks. In the south-western New York City borough of Staten Island, at least 15 bodies have been recovered. The storm, one of the biggest to hit the US in decades, swamped the low-lying district with tidal surges, lifting whole houses off their foundations. Many residents in that community ignored official evacuation warnings and stayed behind to guard their homes.
Elected officials from the area criticised the response towards the island borough. On Wednesday, the Borough President urged Mr Bloomberg to call off Sunday's New York City Marathon, which begins on Staten Island, saying police resources could be better used. Among the storm's victims were some 20,000 people who were still trapped in their homes amid sewage-tainted floodwaters in Hoboken, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. Breezy Point, in New York City, where fire razed 111 homes, was described by one onlooker as resembling a war zone. The state of West Virginia has seen up to 5ft of snow in some areas, after Sandy collided with two winter weather fronts.
Just before Hurricane Sandy struck New York and New Jersey with full force on October 29, there was a bit of mild disagreement among a few communications and media observers as to the appropriateness of the public safety warnings, New Jersey’s in particular. In retrospect, that “mild disagreement” raises issues of thunderous importance (pun intended) as it now seems that hundreds of lives, at least, hung in the balance.
It also leads to an odd but, we’d argue, fairly credible conclusion: that the approach to the looming disaster by public officials, at least in New Jersey, was directly conditioned by extraordinary events in Italy where, just a few days before Sandy, six scientists and one government official were sent to jail for not adequately preparing the population ahead of the L’Aquila earthquake that killed over 300 people. On the Sunday afternoon preceding Sandy, the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J. provided an advisory designed to spook and shock resistant evacuees. Shouting in caps, the warning included language that particularly caught the attention of communications professionals:
“IF YOU ARE RELUCTANT, THINK ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES, THINK ABOUT THE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WHO WILL BE UNABLE TO REACH YOU WHEN YOU MAKE THE PANICKED PHONE CALL TO BE RESCUED, THINK ABOUT THE RESCUE/RECOVERY TEAMS WHO WILL RESCUE YOU IF YOU ARE INJURED OR RECOVER YOUR REMAINS IF YOU DO NOT SURVIVE.” This language went dramatically beyond clear simple communications. It was more than an impassioned plea. Consider the use of the word “remains” to instill a frightening visual impression, conjuring up disturbing physical images of what will happen if you don’t comply.
The advisory continued on with powerfully supportive messages in equally pointed upper-case language. The storm was expected to “slam” into the coast. Sandy is “potentially historic,” injuries are “probably unavoidable,” and so forth. The NWS concluded with advice to “err on the side of caution.” When we first read the warning, it seemed the NWS was doing just that itself: erring on the side of caution. As it turned out, there was no erring about it at all, as the storm turned out to be at least as bad, probably worse, than expected.
Commentators who, just before the storm, were wondering if “the tone of the service’s Sunday evening message was completely appropriate” might reflect on what it really means to err on the side of caution in all professional communications. Sometimes it means being very guarded in tone; sometimes it means being extremely bold. In other words, caution is not necessarily synonymous with restraint.
Hurricane Sandy's damage twice as bad as Tropical Storm Irene's - Utility companies say Sandy is as twice as bad as Irene. "This is the worst." Tropical Storm Irene cut a path of destruction across the Hudson Valley and upstate New York in August 2011.


Soaking Britain may be in for a new bout of flooding in coming months, the Environment Agency has warned. Rivers are full after the wettest April to June on record, followed by more rain in July, September and October. The earth is saturated and in many areas there is no more space left in aquifers to store water that seeps through from the surface. The agency warn that people should be ready for floods even with relatively small amounts of rain.
They warn of increased risk of river flooding in November and December, especially in the south-west and northern and western parts of England and Wales. Devon, Dorset and Hampshire are also vulnerable to flooding from water coming up through the soaking ground because groundwater in aquifers moves much more slowly than surface water, and will take more time to flow away underground. "We are heading into the winter period which is traditionally the wetter period of the year in the UK. Because the ground is so wet, if we do have any prolonged heavy rainfall in any part of the country, there is going to be heightened risk of flooding." More than 1.1 million people are signed up to receive flood warnings - which can be sent by email, text, or a message to a landline or mobile phone.


Nine more cases of deadly fungal meningitis were reported from an outbreak tied to steroid medications shipped by a Massachusetts company, bringing the national total to 377 cases.

Bacteria found in more meds from Framingham pharmacy - New lab tests found bacteria floating in more recalled medications from a Framingham compounding pharmacy linked to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak. Federal health officials said they wouldn't rule out the possibility of even more.

Destruction from Hurricane Sandy creates a myriad of health concerns, including illness from contaminated water and foodborne disease from improperly refrigerated food. Health officials are warning residents of New Jersey, New York, and other affected states of possible health risks, including pathogens from sewage in floodwater, which may cause illness with contact. "That kind of shows up as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms related to gastrointestinal illnesses." Refrigerated food stays cold for only about 4 to 6 hours after a power outage (and millions of East Coast residents are still without power). "In 2003 there was a long blackout in August, and we saw a significant increase in foodborne illness in the days after. If in doubt, throw it out."