Monday, December 17, 2012

Category four cyclone Evan has smashed into the island nation of Fiji, sending thousands fleeing to emergency centres. Tourists have retreated to their hotel rooms and still aren't allowed to leave. Locals are facing the cyclone head on. Cyclone Evan is about 480 kilometres wide, and has winds of up to 230 kilometres per hour. It's THE STRONGEST CYCLONE TO HIT FIJI IN THE PAST DECADE, and there are concerns storm surges will flood low-lying areas.
The day started with dire warnings to prepare for the worst. As the hours ticked by, the winds got stronger and stronger. Tourists have either flown home, or bunkered down to ride out the storm. "It's bending the coconut trees over and ripping their fronds off. It's ripping off the young coconuts too. And there's a lot of debris flying around outside...The water is starting accumulate on the ground and it's started to flood our room a little bit. We've stopped up the doors and windows with towels and pillows but it is starting to seep in under the doors now. There's rain whipping by at a great speed. And it looks like the wind's still starting to get stronger."
Several days ago, as the Cyclone approached Fiji, its military leader warned the nation to brace for damage. It has winds up to 180 kilometres per hour which may intensify. It will affect Fiji in a very damaging way. The eye of the cyclone is currently about 10 to 30 kilometres from the Fijian town and airport of Nadi. Nadi itself is probably under what's called the eye-wall of the cyclone. The winds are very strong, it's raining very heavily. The eye of the cyclone is closer to land than was forecast.
The wind gauge at Nadi airport is reporting wind speeds from 90 to 150 kilometres per hour. Structural damage has been reported, with trees falling onto people's homes and roofs being blown away. Fiji took no chances in the lead up to the storm, moving thousands of locals and tourists to emergency shelters. Flooding has been reported in the country's north, and there are fears for low-lying islands in the west.
"The cyclone's pressure is very low, so you've got the sea level is higher than it would be normally near the cyclone's centre. You've also got the fact that when the winds come around to pointing on shore they're very strong, so they're pushing that sea water onto the coast, and remember that sea level's already higher than normal. And on top of that you've got large waves which then, because you've got a higher sea level, are allowed, are able to run inshore more easily."
In April, Nadi International Airport and the surrounding areas were swamped after another cyclone left scores dead and more than 10,000 people in shelters.

No update on Tuesday.

**We all carry within us places of exile, our crimes, our ravages.
Our task is not to unleash them on the world;
it is to transform them in ourselves and others.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
Small cluster in Spain

Yesterday -
12/16/12 -

Bulgarian Top Cop Obstructed Recovery after Pernik Quake - Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister has obstructed the fast absorption of funds, slated by the Cabinet for people affected by the strong earthquake in the western region and city of Pernik. The accusations against Tsvetanov, who is heading the Inter-institutional Committee for Recovery and Assistance at the Council of Ministers, were voiced Sunday by the Initiative Committee for Restoring the Damage from the Disaster.
The Committee, which visited the Pernik region, informed that the Cabinet had decided to halt the payment of BGN 3 M from a total of BGN 5 M slated by it for the municipalities of Pernik and Radomir. They further reported that four months after the quake, people in the village of Dragichevo were still living in trailers and in distress. They pointed out in outrage that those responsible for creating normal live conditions for locals affected by the disaster will celebrate the holidays lavishly, while the former will do so in trailers and in the cold.
She called on all Bulgarians to show compassion with the people in the Pernik region since the government of the Prime Minister has abdicated from this duty. A 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the Pernik area on May 22, damaging buildings in the city and in several other communities. The quake affected over 10,000 households in the region.

Great Nepalese quake of 1255 points to Himalayan risk - A mega-quake in 1255 that wrecked Kathmandu wiped out a third of the population of Kathmandu Valley and killed the country's monarch, was of a kind that may return to the Himalayas, seismologists reported on Sunday.
Experts mapped deposits of river sediment displaced along part of the fault line where the Indian subcontinent slams into the Asia tectonic plate at up to 50 millimetres (1.97 inches) per year. With the help of carbon dating, they found that the soil movement in one place was caused by a huge quake that coincided with the great event of July 7 1255. More than six centuries later, there was another surface-breaking event, correlating to a magnitude 8.2-event in 1934.
The finding is important because until now there had been no evidence of surface ruptures from the collision of these plates. Surface ruptures are not only extremely violent - they also tend to release most or all of the accumulated strain. "Blind" quakes are ones that do not break the surface, and tend to be more frequent. The study says it takes probably takes centuries for the strain to accumulate before another bust occurs, if the evidence of the surface turnover is a guide.
This long timespan is worrying as the previous event may be undocumented or poorly understood because it is so ancient. The scientists do not rule out the possibility that other potential monsters could be lurking elsewhere on the fault, as no-one has looked for the evidence for them. "Two great earthquakes 679 years apart contributed to the frontal uplift of young river terraces in eastern Nepal. The rare surface expression of these earthquakes implies that surface ruptures of other reputedly blind great Himalayan events might exist."

In the South Indian Ocean -
Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Evan was located approximately 95 nm north-northeast of Nadi, Fiji.

New Zealand searchers are now looking for 10 fishermen off Samoa since Cyclone Evan hit the island nation, after a fourth boat was discovered to be missing. As the destructive cyclone crossed Fiji, a New Zealand Air Force Orion continued its search for the missing Samoan fishermen.
It was initially thought eight were missing from three boats but they now know of a fourth boat. "We have now been advised that a fourth fishing boat has been confirmed missing, with a total of 10 men still to be accounted for. Each boat had three crew aboard, but two men, from different boats, have made it to shore." Cyclone Evan caused widespread destruction in Samoa, killing four people and displacing about 4000.
Meanwhile, the cyclone has now reached Fiji, running one bulk carrier ship aground and causing destruction in Rakiraki. The ship Starford, believed to be carrying equipment for a Chinese firm constructing a highway, dragged its anchor about 11.30am local time (0930 AEDT) and was pushed onto the reef in Suva Harbour. In Rakiraki, the Vaileka River has burst its banks and water is flowing into the town.
Evan was still rated as a category four storm by the Fiji Meteorological Office shortly after midday, with winds were reaching 170km/h with gusts of more than 230km/h. The Fiji government urged people in low-lying areas to take shelter on higher ground. A number flights in and out of Fiji have been cancelled or delayed. (map)