Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Australia - North Queensland is on flood alert as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald dumps torrential rain on the region. The low pressure system that was Cyclone Oswald is moving south and will trigger river and creek rises along a 500km stretch of the coast, from Ingham to Mackay.
Floodwaters have cut the Bruce Highway at Ingham. The train line between Cairns and Townsville has been cut due to floodwaters. In the cane farming town of Tully, about halfway between the two cities, about 600mm of rain has fallen in just 48 hours. Meteorologists predict that could reach a metre by Thursday.
Most roads into the town have been cut but locals have been buying enough beer to see them through. "We've had a heap of people in today getting their rations. It's good to see everyone's got their priorities right - food is number two and grog is number one." While locals are used to massive downpours, it was THE MOST RAIN TULLY HAS SEEN IN SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME.
Coastal towns and cities between Cooktown, on Cape York Peninsula, south to Mackay are on flood alert. The Bureau of Meteorology says coastal rivers and streams between Cooktown and Ingham have been rising quickly. Flooding has forced the closure of the Bruce Highway in several places.

**The ultimate measure of a man
is not where he stands
in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands
at times of challenge and controversy.**
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Volcano activity of January 21

Papua New Guinea volcano rumbles back to life - Mount Tavurvur volcano in Papua New Guinea has rumbled back to life, sending plumes of ash into the sky and forcing flights to be suspended. Locals living near Mount Tavurvur, in East New Britain, knew something was up when they heard the volcano roar last Saturday. The eruptions have forced some flights in and out of New Britain to be cancelled. The ash and vapour blowing from the volcano affected flights to Tokua Airport.

Russia - Three volcanoes erupt in Kamchatka Peninsula. Three volcanoes in Russia's Kamchatka continue to send steam and ash into the air while lava flows down their slopes. Volcanic activity on the peninsula has dramatically intensified. Aviation authorities issued an orange security level in the area.

New Zealand - White Island eruption fears. Hydrothermal activity at White Island has increased and an expert says there is "significant concern" the volcano could erupt with little or no warning. “It could fizzle out and go away, or it could lead into the next eruption. It's a 50:50 call either way at the moment.” The activity is the strongest seen since the late 90s, which led to a large eruption in 2000.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical Cyclone Garry was located approximately 270 nm northwest of Pago Pago, American Samoa.

- Tropical Cyclone Twelve (Peta) was located approximately 235 nm east-northeast of Learmonth, Australia.

New Pacific cyclone threat - The category three cyclone Garry is expected to intensify over the next 24 hours, when it is forecast to reach the Cook Islands. Previously it was reported to have been downgraded.

Category 1 cyclone off Western Australia's Pilbara coast has been named Tropical Cyclone Peta. A blue alert is current for people in or near communities between Port Hedland and Mardie including Port Hedland, South Hedland, Whim Creek, Roebourne, Wickham, Point Samson, Karratha and Dampier. Residents have been warned to prepare for dangerous weather by securing loose material from around homes and ensuring emergency kits are complete.
Meanwhile, a cyclone warning between Mardie and Onslow has been cancelled. The Bureau of Meteorology said at midday, on Wednesday, Tropical Cyclone Peta was estimated to be 80km northeast of Karratha and 115km west of Port Hedland, and was moving southwest at 9km/h. Gales with gusts to 100km/h are expected between Karratha and Port Hedland on Wednesday as the cyclone moves towards the coast.
The bureau says gales may extend towards Mardie in the evening if the system moves further to the west. Squally thunderstorms are also expected with locally heavy rainfall possible and a flood watch has been issued for the Pilbara. The system is expected to weaken overnight after it crosses the coast.
Harbour masters have closed Port Walcott and Dampier ports and all ships have moved outside the system area. "Coastal operations other than ship-loading have largely continued to this stage, but are now being shut down ahead of the expected deteriorating conditions." Most coastal operations asre expected to resume on Thursday morning. "The resumption of ship loading at Cape Lambert and Dampier will depend on prevailing sea conditions."
Although the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Peta could move back off the west Pilbara coast later in the week, it was not expected to redevelop into a tropical cyclone.
UPDATE - West Australia's Pilbara Coast has felt the force of category one Tropical Cyclone Peta, which was expected to weaken late on Wednesday. The major export operations at Port Hedland were to resume on Wednesday after temporarily closing when Peta hit to the east of Point Samson.
Port Hedland Port Authority said conditions had improved, with the swell and wind reducing enough to allow shipping operations to restart from 4pm (WST). The Bureau of Meteorology's alert just before 3pm (WST) said a cyclone warning continued in coastal areas from Port Hedland to Dampier, including Karratha. Gales with gusts to 100km/h were expected close to the cyclone centre over the next few hours. Squally thunderstorms are expected while locally heavy rainfall is possible, prompting a flood watch for the Pilbara.


Jakarta Flood Refugees Return Home as Quake in Aceh Kills One. Jakarta residents began to return home a week after flooding inundated houses across the Indonesian capital, while an eight-year-old girl died as a 6- magnitude earthquake struck Aceh province on Sumatra island on Tuesday.


Australia -
Victorians warned of high fire danger - Victorians have been warned to be on high alert with temperatures set to soar to 37C in bushfire-affected areas.
Victoria braces for high fire-risk day - Night evacuations are being planned in case Victoria's Gippsland fire breaks containment lines on Thursday night.

NASA data confirms widespread heatwave - New data from US space agency NASA has confirmed that temperatures across large parts of Australia were up to 15 DEGREES ABOVE AVERAGE during the first eight days of 2013. The data, collected and beamed to earth from NASA's Aqua satellite, recorded temperatures across the nation from January 1 to January 8 and compared them with the first weeks of each year between 2005 to 2012.
It found that large swathes of Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory were 15 degrees above average in early 2013. Large parts of the rest of the country were also well above average. Only areas in WA's west and northwest, including parts of the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Perth, and relatively small areas of the central NT recorded below average temperatures, according to the NASA data.
"Each of the first eight days of 2013 were among the 20 HOTTEST DAYS ON RECORD. The scorching weather continued a trend of four consecutive months (September to December 2012) where temperatures were THE HIGHEST ON RECORD. The persistent heat mirrors a similar pattern that developed in the continental United States in 2012."



Knott's Fine Foods of Paris, TN, is recalling its 3 ounce Chicken Salad Sandwiches with an expiration date of 1/29/13 and earlier because they have the potential to be contaminated with "Listeria monocytogenes".