Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Extreme Weather Across America - Video story. Epic cold front freezes Western parts of U.S., DC hotter than Death Valley. West Coast Freezes, East Coast Gets Record Highs. Hot where it's usually cold. Cold where it's supposed to be warm.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, it will be 7 degrees as they approach midnight. In Las Vegas, it'll be just 25. In the east today, it'll be 60 in Washington, DC. And a balmy 48 degrees in Portland, Maine.
For farmers across the country these freezing temperatures could spell disaster. California citrus farmers were bracing for another cold night. Growers have been up since roughly 11:00 at night through 11:00 in the morning monitoring their frost protection equipment. Fans are stirring up warmer air to help growers and consumers dodge an icy bullet. So far prices at the supermarket are not expected to jump. But when you've got $1. 5 billion worth of fruit sitting on a tree, there's a lot of reason to be nervous.
Further east severe thunderstorms are tearing across lLuisiana all the way to the Great Lakes. The national weather service confirmed a church in Hampton, Kentucky, was hit by a tornado loaded with 120-mile-an-hour winds. This is January! You don't typically think about tornadoes and winds, stuff like that.
Near Chicago roads turned icy and slick. Along the east coast, thick fog shrouded Maine to the Marolinas and in New York it may have been a factor in a crash that left one man dead.

**I have no idea what's awaiting me,
or what will happen when this all ends.
For the moment I know this:
there are sick people and they need curing.**
Albert Camus

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
1/14/13 -

Alaska - Monday quake shakes Queen Charlotte Islands awake. Occurring just before 7 am, the quake was initially tagged with magnitude 5.6 by Earthquakes Canada, and magnitude 5.4 by the US Geological Service. It did not trigger a tsunami concern, and no damage was reported.

Moderate earthquake hit Turkey's Aegean coast - A moderate magnitude earthquake shook Turkey's Aegean coast near Canakkale province on Sunday, measured at 5.0.

Haiti's earthquake three years ago generated a $9 billion response – where did the money go?

New Zealand - Quake still affecting rental prices. Demand for rental properties in Christchurch continues to outweigh supply, pushing rents up 26 per cent. The latest figures found demand in the region was up 22 per cent in the final quarter of 2012, and supply down 18 per cent. The Canterbury DHB is calling on landlords to ensure their quake damaged rental properties are up to scratch and are not putting people's health at risk.

Volcano Webcams

Volcano activity of January 13

In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical Cyclone 08s (Narelle) was located approximately 195 nm west-southwest of Perth, Australia. The final warning on this system has been issued. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.

- Tropical cyclone Emang was located approximately 515 nm southeast of Diego Garcia.

Depression nearing Tonga expected to become cyclone - but not strong. The tropical depression over Fiji is expected to develop into a tropical cyclone near Tonga by today. The depression, currently over the northern Lau group, is strengthening and moving south east. A tropical cyclone alert is in place for Ha’apai and Vava’u groups, Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu Group.
It’s likely to be named within the next 36 to 48 hours, but there are indications that it won’t be a full-strength cyclone. “We don’t expect this system to be a very serious system, if it forms. It may remain a category one.” People are being advised to expect gale force winds and heavy rain and flooding, and take all necessary precautions.

Cyclone Narelle downgraded as winds, waves hit Western Australia coast. Communities in the north west have been left unscathed by Cyclone Narelle which weakened to a category 2. Emergency authorities Sunday issued an all clear for towns and communities from Exmouth to Coral Bay. Residents were spared from the brutal conditions Cyclone Narelle was expected to bring.


United Kingdom - Ice and snow expected to cause disruption. The Met Office has issued a cold weather alert, warning of a 90% probability of severe cold weather or icy conditions until Friday in parts of England. The level three alert - ONE LEVEL BELOW A NATIONAL EMERGENCY - warns the weather could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt services, and notifies the authorities to take action. The cold spell is being caused by an abrupt jump in temperatures high in the stratosphere, which can bring snow.
Temperatures could fall to as low as -8C in parts of south-west England and Scotland today. Further snow and ice in many parts of the UK could cause disruption later. A more widespread problem would be ice, with temperatures widely falling below freezing - and possibly going as low as -8C in rural parts of south-west England and south-west Scotland in the early hours. Yellow warnings to "be aware" of frozen conditions are in place as temperatures continue to stay low, particularly in central and western areas.
Rail routes between London and East Anglia, parts of which are expected to see more snow, could be hit by delays because of speed restrictions. Forecasters said the cold spell would continue until Friday. Today is expected to be drier than Monday, but some showers falling as sleet and snow will make icy conditions worse as surfaces freeze behind them, forecasters said. Ice could cause particular disruption to commuters in western Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Motorists should check the latest travel advice before they set out, check their vehicle was prepared for the conditions and take warm clothing and food. "We are using salt to treat the road network and have ploughs and snow blowers on standby if necessary. Our traffic officers are working around the clock to monitor our road network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving."


Louisiana Barges Idled by Drought Upstream on Mississippi River - The effects of the WORST DRY SPELL IN 70 YEARS are making their way to the river’s delta. “Things just look fairly dismal over the next couple of months. In the next couple of weeks, you’re really going to see things start to tighten out.”
Though rain has been plentiful in Louisiana, operators all along the Mississippi have lost work as diminished crops sap export tonnage and low water narrows the channel and jams up barges. About 7,000 jobs in the state -- more than any other -- would be at risk if record-low water forced shipping to halt. About $2.8 billion worth of cargo, including coal, fertilizer and crude oil, moves along the river in a typical January. Barges carried about 388,000 tons of grain on the river in the week ended Jan. 5, a 24 percent drop from a year earlier.
“Many shippers moved product in early December, anticipating navigation difficulties due to low flows. An unusually large amount of grain is traveling to New Orleans by rail or being stored in silos until the river rises. While grain shipments have declined, barge owners have had enough residual work from the harvest and shipments of other commodities to keep business afloat.
“There’s no question that this has the potential to be a crisis." If the current situation lasts beyond May, it will cease to be short-term. The National Weather Service on Jan. 9 forecast that the river at St. Louis will fall to about 9 feet by the end of the month, a level most towboats can’t navigate safely. The 9-foot level would ordinarily prompt an official closure of the river in the stretch from St. Louis to Cairo, Illinois. The river is normally twice as deep this time of year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed the first phase of emergency work to keep the river open, excavating rock obstacles near southern Illinois.
“If the Corps can maintain a 9-foot navigation channel through the spring, the shipping industry is grateful for the news." The expedited rock removal and the possibility of precipitation “may just have averted a closure of the nation’s busiest waterways transportation artery.” “Ultimately it’s clear that the consumer gets hurt. There’s going to be either scarcity or higher prices.” “The problem is the uncertainty. How long are we going to be able to do this?”
Production of corn and soybeans in South Dakota was down last year, during a year in which much of the state was mired in extreme drought. The Agriculture Department says the state's corn crop totaled 535.3 million bushels, down 18 percent from 2011.
Nebraska - Lincoln experiences 6th warmest year, drought conditions getting worse. The past year brought the heat; 2012 was the nation's warmest year ever, as well as Lincoln's sixth warmest year, according to the National Weather Service. In 2012, the average temperature was 54.7 degrees Fahrenheit, up a couple degrees.

Australia -
Big New South Wales bushfire will take days to control - Extra fire crews have been brought in to battle a bushfire that destroyed 33 homes near the Warrumbungle National Park in NSW's north.


Sun Eruption (coronal mass ejection) May Boost Northern Lights This Week - A huge sun eruption on Sunday (Jan. 13) unleashed a wave of solar plasma aimed at Earth that may amplify the planet's northern lights displays later this week, NASA scientists say.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of M-class solar flares, and a 10% chance of X-flares today. The probable source would be big sunspot AR1654, which is squarely facing Earth. Sunspot AR1654 is so large, people are starting to notice it with their naked eyes when the sun is dimmed by clouds or mist.


Notorious bug could cause winter epidemic - A notorious vomiting bug which has struck millions of people in Britain and Europe could infect about half a million Australians this winter.

Lettuce implicated in Canadian E coli outbreak - Shredded lettuce used in KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants is the likely source of an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak that has now sickened 26 people in three Canadian provinces. The contamination source of the shredded lettuce has not been identified. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has traced the lettuce to a California grower and is working with FreshPoint, Inc., the product's distributor, to recall remaining products. The lots of recalled product were distributed to KFC and Taco Bell outlets in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. So far illnesses have been detected in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. The latest illness onset was Jan 3, and more cases may be identified and linked to the outbreak. So far 11 of the 26 people have been hospitalized, and one patient had hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication.