Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Will Temperatures Drop 60 Degrees in Your Area? - If you are a fan of extreme weather patterns, then this is your kind of week in the U.S. A strong cold front plunging south across the nation's midsection will result in temperature drops of 60+ DEGREES in some cities. Snow is also in the forecast for parts of the central states.
Lubbock, Texas set a NEW RECORD HIGH of 94 degrees on Tuesday. Temperatures will plummet around 60 degrees to the middle 30s by Thursday morning and then struggle to reach the low 50s during the afternoon.
Lubbock's neighbors to the north, Amarillo, and south, Midland, will see similar changes from sweltering 90s they saw on Monday and Tuesday to jacket weather Thursday and Friday morning. Before this happens, Midland will have another hot day in the 90s on Wednesday.
It's not just the Texas Panhandle that will see mammoth temperature changes this week. Many more cities from the south-central states to the Upper Midwest will also feel the change. Minneapolis - The 70+ degree temperatures we've seen since this past Friday were nice while they lasted. Highs in the 40s and even upper 30s are expected Wednesday through the weekend. Some snow is possible as well.
Kansas City - After highs in the low 80s Monday and Tuesday, you'll be grabbing a jacket with high temperatures hovering around 40 degrees late in the week.
Chicago - Saw its first 80-degree day of the year on Tuesday. One more day in the 80s on Wednesday, then it's back to highs in the 50s and low 60s through the weekend.
Des Moines, Iowa - Will only see highs in the low 40s or upper 30s at the end of the week after a few days in the low 80s to start the week.
Oklahoma City - Will go from highs in the middle 80s on Monday and Tuesday to not getting out of the 40s or 50s on Thursday and Friday.
Dallas - From the low to middle 80s Monday-Wednesday to highs in the 50s on Thursday and lows near 40 degrees Friday morning.
Wichita, Kansas - After 80s on Monday and Tuesday, temperatures will not get out of the 40s or low 50s Thursday and Friday.

**If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you!**
Henny Youngman


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/30/13 -

New Zealand - After the Quake: A Slow Go in Christchurch. About 50,000 people and 6,000 businesses were forced to relocate after the quake on Feb. 22, 2011. They have been living and working in temporary quarters — taking over office space in warehouses, and using fitted-out shipping containers and converted homes as offices.
The rebuilding of downtown Christchurch is starting to show some progress, more than two years after the earthquake killed 185 people and caused over $34 billion in damage. But as the planning process has dragged on and the rebuilding been delayed, a question looms over New Zealand’s second-largest city: Will people and businesses return when the rebuilding is finally completed?
The longer some businesses and people have been kept away, the deeper their roots have grown in the areas where they have relocated. Insurance proceeds increasingly are being depleted, and companies are signing long-term leases in new locales. Also, inner-city commercial property that is being rebuilt is expected to be more expensive than the temporary quarters companies have taken. And many workers remain traumatized by the horror of the earthquake.
After the quake, more than 10,000 homes were declared uninhabitable, and parts of the downtown area remain barricaded for demolition. The rebuilding has been delayed by continued aftershocks, red tape and battles over insurance payouts. The government’s rebuilding plan for a modern, low-rise city includes generous amounts of green space, a convention center, library and new sports complex. “What we have to appreciate with Christchurch is that we’re not going back to where we came from. We are going to something new."
Government agencies initially expected the rebuilding to be well under way by early 2012. While some planners say businesses and restaurants may be able to start returning by year-end, the New Zealand Treasury now expects residential commercial and infrastructure work to peak in 2016 — and take well over five years to complete. “The government locked the city down and stopped us going in there. It’s pretty hard to rebuild your city when the army is in there with gates and barricades.”

China quake to have limited impact on insurers - Finance analysts have said that a massive earthquake that recently jolted southwest China is unlikely to have a significant impact on Chinese insurers, even though their stock prices tumbled following the quake. A 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on April 20, leaving at least 196 people dead and more than 13,400 others injured.

Volcano Webcams

Helium Gas Heralded Canary Islands Underwater Volcano Eruption - As the volcanic island of El Hierro, the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands, rumbled and groaned over the course of seven months in 2011 and 2012, gases silently percolated up through the island's soil and groundwater. Eventually, a spectacular plume appeared off the southern coast of the island, a sign that El Hierro volcano, an underwater volcano just offshore, had finally erupted.
During that time, researchers had been busy collecting and analyzing the helium gas content of more than 8,000 soil and water samples. Now, those data can be used to monitor El Hierro and forecast its next eruption, researchers say, and likely other volcanic eruptions around the globe as well. "We believe that helium can anticipate the detection of magmatic movement even before those movements can be detected by seismic activity."
Researchers have been using gas emissions to forecast volcanic eruptions for at least 30 years, but they usually focus on carbon dioxide, the second most abundant gas (after water vapor) in volcanic eruptions. Helium, a noble gas, is a better candidate for tracking and forecasting eruptions because it doesn't react with rocks or groundwater and microorganisms don't consume or produce helium.
"Because of these properties, helium has been considered by geochemists as an almost ideal geochemical indicator." Measuring the flow of helium in El Hierro island's soil and water gave them clues as to when magma under the island was moving and how close it was to the surface — both important factors in forecasting a volcanic eruption. Looking at the proportions of helium-3 and helium-4 in a gas sample, the researchers could determine how much helium had come straight from the mantle, and how much came from fresh breaks and fractures in the crust below El Hierro island. Fracturing crust is another clue that a volcanic eruption could be imminent.
The team's analyses show that, as the volcano began to stir, the crust fractured and helium, mostly from the mantle, flowed to the surface. As the actual eruption began, gas flow at the surface increased dramatically, and gas pressure beneath the island dropped. Then as seismic activity at El Hierro picked up again, the crust fractured and deformed extensively, and helium-4 became a larger component of the total helium released on the island.
"This is a starting point for developing continuous monitoring stations of diffuse helium flux to strengthen the volcanic surveillance program at many volcanoes worldwide." One reason this method proved important for forecasting activity at El Hierro volcano was that magma migrated to the surface aseismically — basically silently, without significant earthquakes to herald its arrival. The eruption could have taken residents by surprise if scientists hadn't been tuned into the island's increasing gas emissions. Lagging technology will be the biggest challenge in setting up helium monitoring systems. To date, there's no instrument that can continuously quantify the type of diffuse helium fluxes seen at El Hierro.

White Island (New Zealand) - Geonet has lowered the alert level of the volcano back to green (normal), following a gradual decline in seismic activity over the past weeks. Degassing remains intense.


In the Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Zane was located approximately 218 nm northeast of Cairns, Australia.

Australia - Cyclone to strengthen off far north Queensland. Cyclone Zane is likely to strengthen into a category three storm today but should weaken before it makes landfall in far north Queensland. Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) is strongly urging the far north Queensland communities from Torres Strait, south to Lockhart River, and Cooktown to prepare for the possibility of a tropical cyclone.


Red River Rising: a Top-Ten Fargo Flood in 4 of the Past 5 Years - The Red River at Fargo, North Dakota surpassed major flood level on Sunday and continues to rise, with a peak expected Wednesday at the 9th highest flood level observed since 1897.


Spain's spring snow - Unseasonal weather blocks roads. Spain has been struck by unseasonal weather which has seen snow falling across the country. Eighteen provinces had extreme weather warnings in place with small roads blocked as temperatures hover around freezing. (YouTube Video)


Australia - Cyclone hope as drought is declared. Even if Cyclone Zane delivers torrential downpours and flash flooding as predicted, it will likely be too little, too late for farmers, who spent a heart-breaking summer watching those on the east coast being drenched while they stayed dry.
One-third of Queensland is drought declared - One-third of Queensland is now covered by drought declarations. Drought declarations in 13 shires in the north and west of the state.

New Mexico drought worsens for chile farmers - Drought conditions have gone “from bad to worse to worst,” southern New Mexico's chile farmers were told Monday as they braced for what looks like the WORST IRRIGATION SEASON ON RECORD in southern New Mexico.

Snow, rain improve South Dakota drought, but deep soil dry - Drought conditions in much of South Dakota have improved because of the past month's early spring storms, but it's not enough to recharge the deeper levels of soil, a state climatologist said Monday.


Hurricane watch at Saturn's North Pole - NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured stunning views of a monster hurricane at Saturn's North Pole. The eye of the cyclone is an enormous 1,250 miles across. That's 20 times larger than the typical eye of a hurricane here on earth.