Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oklahoma tornado damage could top 2 billion dollars, the Oklahoma Insurance Department warns, although many renters may have no insurance cover. As many as 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Monday's tornado, and 33,000 people have been affected. The damage could be worse than that caused by the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, in 2011. That event killed 161 people and led to at least $2 billion in insured losses.
In Oklahoma, 2,705 claims have been filed so far but are likely to rise. The tornado in Moore, Oklahoma was 17 miles (27km) long and 1.3 miles wide and has left at least 24 people dead. "The impact of this event from a property damage standpoint would be similar to Joplin", as the two tornadoes were "very comparable in scope".
Although 98% of US homeowners have home insurance, only about 70% of those who rent have insurance. "There is far too large a percentage nationally in the US of people who rent but do not get renters insurance." Many are under the misunderstanding that they are covered by their landlords or apartment complexes. Some small businesses may not have insurance either. "We found after 9/11 that was the case with a lot of small businesses. "With the economy [at the moment] a lot of companies look to reinvest with the business rather than purchase the insurance."
"To totally rebuild a community, probably you're talking two years. You've got to get your claims adjustors in there, you've got to get rid of all the debris, grading the area, think about how you're going to rebuild again, are you going to rebuild with a basement?" The process could be slowed down because of a shortage of supplies and builders in the aftermath of a tornado, but typically what happens is an area will be rebuilt better and stronger.
The US is in the midst of "THE MOST EXPENSIVE PERIOD IN RECORDED HISTORY FOR THUNDERSTORM EVENTS, which include damage from tornadoes". Over the past five years, insurers paid some $75 billion to victims of these events.

**Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.**
Christopher Marlowe


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Seismic fault's temperature implies deadly Japan earthquake involved low friction - Researchers have come a step closer to understanding how and why the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 were so surprisingly big.were so surprisingly big. Temperature sensors installed in the fault last year now show that friction between the rocks during the quake was an order of magnitude smaller than previously assumed.
The magnitude-9 Tohoku earthquake shocked the research community by setting a record for the greatest amount of slip ever seen in a fault: some 40–80 metres. No one could explain how or why this happened. In late 2011, a group of researchers mounted a ‘rapid response’ effort to investigate. In the spring of 2012, they managed to install a suite of 55 temperature sensors more than 850 metres into the fault, which itself lies under 6,900 metres of water.
Creating an observatory at those depths was in itself a record-breaking achievement. The project faced many challenges: bad weather delayed the installation, shifts in the fault could have crushed the instruments and an earthquake in December could have buried the observatory with landslides. But the team managed to retrieve their sensors on 26 April.
“Amazingly, it seems like the experiment might have actually worked." The temperature measures show how heat dissipated from the fault over time, enabling the researchers to extrapolate back to the moment of the earthquake and to see how much frictional heat was generated during the shift. From this they calculated the coefficient of friction for the fault, and found it to be an order of magnitude lower than the conventional value that has been used since the 1970s. That lower number means less friction.
The result supports the theory that the friction during an earthquake can be dramatically different from the friction during quiet times, perhaps because water in clays is heated by a quake’s shaking, then expands and jacks open the fault. There are hints that this finding could be generalized to other faults. The result is consistent with other experiments being conducted to try to recreate the pressure and temperature conditions of this fault in the lab.

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Financial blow for Alaskan volcano monitoring - Volcanologists who monitor eruptions of Alaskan volcanoes are scrambling to cope with US federal budget cuts — even as the Pavlof volcano, 1,000 kilometres southwest of Alaska's biggest city, Anchorage, spouts a towering ash plume that is threatening aviation routes.

Costa Rica - Turrialba Volcano spits massive ash and gas trail. At 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Turrialba Volcano, located east of the province of Cartago, began to spew gas and ash from two crater openings, with four-kilometer high ash cloud developing. Residents from as far away as Vázquez de Coronado, Ipís de Goicoechea and Moravia reported the presence of ash on farmland, vehicles, lawns and property following the eruption. The ash could pose a serious hazard to more than 1,000 nearby dairy cows. (video)


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A meteorologist predicts most of Australia is in for an UNUSUALLY WET WINTER. After a hot, dry start to the year, Australia is in for a drenching over the next three months, a weather forecaster says.
A pattern of warm seas off the west coast of Indonesia and cool seas off the east coast of Africa - known as a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) - will likely make for a wet winter for most of the country. "A negative IOD is the Indian Ocean's version of a La Nina and similarly produces above average rain and an increased chance of flooding. This week's rain is already THE HEAVIEST IN DECADES FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR across parts of central and northern Australia."
Cygnet Bay, in the Kimberley, and Curtin Springs, in the Northern Territory, had experienced their WETTEST MONTHS OF MAY ON RECORD. "We are looking at a healthy soaking across inland regions where drought has re-emerged over the past few months." A negative IOD was already emerging and had fuelled the wet across the country this week.
The Bureau of Meteorology released its seasonal climate outlook earlier this week. It stated the IOD was currently neutral but four out of five outlook models suggested a negative IOD would develop during the southern winter-spring period.