Monday, May 20, 2013

Deadly tornadoes ravage Oklahoma - A dangerous, half mile-wide tornado struck near Oklahoma City Sunday afternoon, part of an extreme weather system moving through the central U.S. and stretching from north Texas to Minnesota. At least one person is reported dead and 21 others injured in a series of tornadoes that have torn through the US state of Oklahoma. One of the tornadoes turned homes in a trailer park near Oklahoma City into splinters and rubble and sent frightened residents along a 100-mile corridor scurrying for cover. Twisters also hit Kansas and Iowa. Baseball-sized hail, wind gusts and tornadoes are threatening to pummel parts of the central Plains and Midwest again today.

No update on Tuesday this week

**Life’s disappointments are harder to take
if you don’t know any swear words.**


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
6.8 OFF COAST OF AISEN, CHILE
5.6 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.3 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA

Yesterday -
5/19/13 -
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.2 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.8 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
6.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.2 NEAR EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 NORTHERN ALGERIA
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

Five hurt as 5.1 quake hits Algeria - The injured included two workers who fell from scaffolding when the quake hit, while another panicked and jumped from a window. Previously, on May 3, a quake damaged several buildings around Mostaganem city in western Algeria, causing no casualties. On May 21, 2003, nearly 3,000 people died and 10,000 were injured when an earthquake struck the coastal town of Boumerdes.

In Chenab valley in Jammu and Kashmir, people are scared to enter their houses due to frequent earthquakes. Since the May 1 earthquake that measured 5.9 on the richer scale, 30 aftershocks have hit this hilly region. The earthquake rendered buildings unsafe; 50,000 houses, schools damaged.

Since the powerful , Virginia-centered 2011 quake, more than 450 aftershocks have hit the area. The latest occurred Wednesday when a magnitude-2.3 quake struck about 6 miles south-southwest of Louisa. The survey says the area is within the central Virginia seismic zone, which has been identified for decades as an area of elevated earthquake risk.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

Alaska's remote Pavlof Volcano was shooting lava hundreds of feet into the air, but its ash plume was thinning on Saturday and no longer making it dangerous for airplanes to fly nearby. The eruption that began Monday seemed to be slowing, but that could change at any time. "Things could ramp up quickly. " There are no flight restrictions because of the eruption, but pilots are being told to use caution. On Friday, a pilot flew by Pavlof, shooting video and photos of the eruption, including glimpes of the lava. (several videos)

Popocat├ępetl volcano (Mexico) - New crater formed on top of lava dome.
Villagers locked out of shelter - For the villagers closest to Popocatepetl, the Mexican volcano showing alarming signs of a imminent eruption, contingency plans are somewhat lacking. The village president has no telephone line, there is no doctor and the man with the key to the emergency refuge, a disgraced former mayor, has fled town. El Popo burst into life a fortnight ago, spewing clouds of ash and chunks of rock over nearby towns during eruptions that have grown in intensity.
It is potentially one of the world’s most destructive volcanoes because of its proximity to Mexico City, just 40 miles away, and the Mexican authorities have been preparing evacuation routes and shelters. But the residents of Santiago Xalitzintla, a poor farming village seven miles from the crater, remain locked out of their shelter. “We will use a human key. A child small enough to squeeze through the bars of the window but strong enough to jump down into the room and open the door from the inside.” Even if the brave youngster succeeds, the 2,000 residents face further problems. For one thing, the stone-walled shack has room for only 400 people. For another, its tin roof is unlikely to withstand cascading chunks of molten rock.
An American volcanologist who observed eruptions in 1994 and 2000, said: “When I started, the crater was very deep and the explosions weren’t powerful enough to send heavy material outside. The kind of explosions we’re seeing now are very capable of shooting that stuff out. It could cause rocks to rain down for miles around or, in a worst-case scenario, huge destructive mudflows.” Popocatepetl’s last massive eruption was 1,100 years ago when it wiped out the city of Puebla, 24 miles away.
“It’s a long time since it’s been this intense; a serious eruption is a possibility. There would be definite warning signs like earthquakes if it was going to get extremely bad, but the damage could block highways, close bridges, shut down hospitals, making escape very difficult.” In Santiago Xalitzintla there are few signs of fear. "We’ve got used to the roar of the volcano. There’s nothing you can do.” If ordered to leave, they will stay put rather than be forced out by soldiers, the villagers said. “They want to get their hands on our land and our animals. We’re more afraid of the army than El Popo.”

Feds concerned about risky activity at Kilauea - U.S. Geological Survey officials are concerned over what they say is risky behavior by visitors to Kilauea Volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The problem is that people continue to get too close to Kilauea's current ocean entry, approaching both by land and sea.
Areas of ocean entry are dangerous places. Lava entering the sea builds a platform of new land known as a lava delta, which appears stable but is not. Lava deltas can collapse without warning. Kayakers visiting the volcano on the Big Island recently paddled just feet from lava streaming into the ocean. They then went ashore and walked across new land built by the ocean entry and scooped molten lava with their paddle.

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

El Nino unlikely to disrupt Northern Hemisphere summer - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Thursday the latest data confirmed its forecast that El Nino was unlikely to cause extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere throughout the summer and into winter.

EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES / CLIMATE CHANGE -

Alberta leads Canada in extreme weather loss claims - The insurance bureau said severe weather events that used to happen once every 40 years are now happening once every six years, with more homes and vehicles being damaged. Alberta usually has more such events than other parts of the country.

Beating wild weather in Sri Lanka - Planners in Sri Lanka should do more to mitigate the effects of extreme weather in order to help those most likely to be affected, experts say. According to Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre (DMC), in 2012, 1.2 million people were affected by drought and over half a million by floods, while in early 2011, floods affected over a million and displaced more than 200,000 - a trend expected to increase in the future.

Climate slowdown means extreme rates of warming 'not as likely' - Scientists say the recent downturn in the rate of global warming will lead to lower temperature rises in the short-term. Some of the most extreme predictions of global warming are unlikely to materialise, new scientific research has suggested, but the world is still likely to be in for a temperature rise of double that regarded as safe.
Since 1998, there has been an unexplained "standstill" in the heating of the Earth's atmosphere. Researchers say this will reduce predicted warming in the coming decades. But long-term, the expected temperature rises will not alter significantly. The slowdown in the expected rate of global warming has been studied for several years now. Earlier this year, the UK Met Office lowered their five-year temperature forecast.
"The hottest of the models in the medium-term, they are actually looking less likely or inconsistent with the data from the last decade alone. The most extreme projections are looking less likely than before." The authors calculate that over the coming decades global average temperatures will warm about 20% more slowly than expected. But when it comes to the longer term picture, the authors say their work is consistent with previous estimates. The IPCC said that climate sensitivity was in the range of 2.0-4.5C.
Not everyone agrees with this perspective. The conclusion about the oceans needs to be taken with a grain of salt for now. "There is other research out there pointing out that this storage may be part of a natural cycle that will eventually reverse, either due to El Nino or the so-called Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and therefore may not imply what the authors are suggesting." The authors say there are ongoing uncertainties surrounding the role of aerosols in the atmosphere and around the issue of clouds. "We would expect a single decade to jump around a bit but the overall trend is independent of it, and people should be exactly as concerned as before about what climate change is doing."


SPACE WEATHER -

A massive explosion from a meteor which crashed into the Moon was visible to the naked eye on Earth, THE BIGGEST EXPLOSION SCIENTISTS HAVE SEEN HIT THE MOON SINCE THEY STARTED MONITORING IT. A boulder-sized meteor slammed into the moon in March, causing an explosion so bright anyone looking up at the right moment would have spotted it. About 300 lunar impacts have been logged over the years but this latest impact, from March 17, is considered much, much brighter than anything else observed. It is understood the space rock left a 20m-wide crater after it slammed into the Moon’s surface at 56,000 mph (90,000 kph).
“We have seen a couple of others in the ‘wow’ category but not this bright.” The blast lasted only about a single second and shone like a 4th magnitude star — making it bright enough to see with just the unaided eye. The crash created a new crater 65 feet wide (20 meters). The crash sparked a bright flash of light that would have been visible to anyone looking at the moon at the time with the naked eye. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before."
Scientists deduced the rock had been roughly 1-foot-wide (between 0.3 to 0.4 meters) and weighted about 88 lbs (40 kg).The explosion it created was as powerful as 5 tons of TNT. When researchers looked back at their records from March, they found that the moon meteor might not have been an isolated event. "On the night of March 17, NASA and University of Western Ontario all-sky cameras picked up an UNUSUAL NUMBER of deep-penetrating meteors right here on Earth. These fireballs were traveling along nearly identical orbits between Earth and the asteroid belt."
Though Earth's atmosphere protected our planet's surface from being hit by these meteors, the moon has no such luck. Its lack of an atmosphere exposes it to all incoming space rocks. Part of the motivation for the program is NASA's eventual intent to send astronauts back to the moon. When they arrive, they'll need to know how often meteors impact the surface, and whether certain parts of the year, coinciding with the moon's passage through crowded bits of the solar system, pose special dangers.
"We'll be keeping an eye out for signs of a repeat performance next year when the Earth-Moon system passes through the same region of space. Meanwhile, our analysis of the March 17th event continues." The scientists also hope to use NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to photograph the impact site to learn more about how the crash occurred.