Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hawaii - Experts say trade winds are declining, a drop that’s slowly changing life across the islands. Part of what makes living in Hawaii so pleasant is the gentle breeze. Arriving from the northeast, it’s light enough that it is barely noticeable but strong enough to chase away the humidity.
The effects of the decline in the trade windscan be seen from the relatively minor - such as residents unaccustomed to the humidity complaining about the weather and having to use their fans and air conditioning more often - to the more consequential - including winds being too weak to blow away volcanic smog. The winds also help bring the rains, and their decline means less water. It’s one reason officials are moving to restore the health of the mountainous forests that hold the state’s water supply and encourage water conservation. Scholars are studying ways for farmers to plant crops differently.
It’s not clear what’s behind the shift in the winds. “People always try to ask me: ‘Is this caused by global warming?’ But I have no idea,” said a University of Hawaii meteorologist, who began to wonder a few years ago about the winds becoming less steady and more intermittent. The resulting study showed a decades-long decline, including a 28 per cent drop in northeast trade wind days at Honolulu’s airport since the early 1970s.
These days there are fewer waves to surf because the winds are arriving less often. “You show up and THE WIND IS BLOWING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION....So instead of testing your surfing ability, it’s testing your endurance. It’s a different type of paddling.” Sometimes the winds are too weak to blow away the volcanic smog, or vog, created by sulfur dioxide erupting from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, leaving a white or brownish haze hanging over Honolulu. This aggravates asthma and other respiratory problems.
For now, the most important consequence will be declining rainfall and a drop in the water supply, particularly as Hawaii’s population grows and uses more water. Trade winds deliver rain to Hawaii when clouds carried from the northeast hit mountainous islands built by millions of years of volcanic eruptions. These rains, together with rainfall from winter storms, are the state’s primary sources of water. On Oahu, the rain feeds ground aquifers that supply water to about 950,000 people in Honolulu and surrounding towns. Residents are reporting streams near their homes are flowing lower than before. “What we don’t know is if this is truly a downward trend or just the lower leg of a long-term cycle. Is it going to go back up?”

**Life will never be perfect, no matter how hard you try.
Even if you pour your heart and soul into it,
you will never have that perfection you seek.
There will always be broken hearts,
there will always be days where nothing goes right.
But you must accept and learn
that even the most imperfect things
will always be made better with love and laughter.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/29/13 -

6/28/13 -

Quake could collapse nuke facility in New Mexico - An audit report released by the U.S. Department of Energy renews concerns about vulnerabilities from natural disasters at Los Alamos National Laboratory and calls attention to the possibility that the lab's plutonium facility could collapse in a large quake. The National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the lab, dismissed earthquake concerns. “There is a rare probability of a seismic event occurring in Los Alamos of sufficient magnitude to cause a significant plutonium release."

Water flow tracks earthquake healing - Rock permeability in the fault that unleashed China's 2008 quake shows that fractures mend quicker than was thought. Instruments buried half a kilometre beneath the Chinese countryside show just how quickly a geological fault heals after a major earthquake. The work may be the best glimpse yet at how rock recovers in a fault zone.
In the years after the devastating 2008 Sichuan quake, which killed at least 70,000 people, researchers studied the rate at which groundwater seeped into a borehole at the fault as a measure of its healing process. Fracturing during a violent earthquake increases rocks' permeability to water, but this decreases again as the rock heals. The team found that the rate of water flowing into the hole slowed rapidly during an 18-month observation period starting about two years after the quake. This indicated that tiny fractures in the rock might have been shrinking, constricting the water flow and essentially healing the fault.
The work also suggests that this particular fault healed faster than expected. Every so often, the water flow in the drill hole sped up again as nearby earthquakes sent seismic waves racing through the ground, shaking the rock and interrupting the healing process. “This is a more complex interplay between damage and healing than maybe we had anticipated." Sensors showed that permeability, or water flow in the rock, dropped quickly between January 2010 and June 2011. That was faster than had been predicted in earlier modelling studies, suggesting that the models might have to be adjusted.
The observations are just one glimpse at one particular location. Healing of other fault zones might be affected by other factors - such as the presence of clays or other minerals that help to seal fractures. That could make it hard to extrapolate findings from the Chinese fault to other parts of the world. The latest study is part of a wider push to drill into earthquake zones soon after they rupture. In 2012, ocean drillers penetrated the sea floor off Japan to lower temperature sensors into the fault that unleashed the 2011 killer Tohoku quake. A second team retrieved the instruments in April this year, and they are probing the data for clues to how the frictional heat of the rupture dissipated over time, which could provide information about the behaviour of the sea floor during the quake.

Volcano Webcams

Telica volcano (Nicaragua) - New earthquake swarm started Friday morning.

Popocat├ępetl volcano (Mexico) - Early last week, increasing activity. Seismic activity picked up, suggesting that the volcano could be headed for more vigorous activity soon. SO2 emissions on NOAA recent satellite data have been relatively high as well. A magnitude 3.6 volcanic quake occurred on Tuesday night.

Sheveluch volcano (Kamchatka, Russia) - A phase of intense activity occurred Wednesday night starting at 19:10 UTC, and lasting for about 40 minutes. The activity was probably a major collapse of the dome accompanied by explosions. It produced a large ash plume rising to about 10-12 km altitude into the atmosphere. Due to cloud cover, no direct observations could be made.
A dust veil of reddish ash (likely originating from older, altered lava, suggesting that the event was largely characterized by partial collapse of the existing dome) engulfed the villages of Lazo and Klyuchi SW of the volcano where a layer of 1 and 2 mm of ash was deposited. The aviation color code was raised to red and then again lowered to orange.


In the Western Pacific -
Tropical Storm Rumbia was located approximately 64 nm westward of Manila, Philippines.

In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical depression Four-E was located about 305 mi (485 km) SW of Acapulco Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for a portion of the southwest coast of Mexico. The center is expected to pass close to the southwest coast of Mexico in the Tropical Storm Warning area on Monday and is likely to affect the coastline of Mexico as a hurricane.

Tropical Storm Gorio [Rumbia] makes landfall - Tropical Storm Gorio made landfall at 8 am on Saturday, June 29, in Hernani, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 85 kph, Gorio was moving northwest at 19 kph. PAGASA has placed 36 areas under storm signals. The state weather bureau warned residents in low lying and mountainous areas under signal numbers 2 and 1 to prepare for possible flashfloods and landslides. Those living in coastal areas are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by the topical storm.
Gorio is expected to bring 5-15 mm per hour (moderate - heavy) worth of rainfall within the 300 km diameter of the tropical storm.Tropical storm Gorio made its second landfall in Sorsogon at 3 pm Saturday afternoon. Gorio is expected to be 60 km northwest of Iba, Zambales this afternoon after passing Metro Manila in the morning. It is expected to move out to sea by Monday afternoon. (maps)
Philippines - Storm warnings raised as tropical depression approaches; passengers stranded. Gorio is the seventh tropical storm to enter the country this year. Storm warnings have been raised as tropical depression “Gorio” sped up its approach towards the center of the country, the weather bureau reported on Friday afternoon. As a result, more than 400 ferry passengers in Samar are stranded as authorities closed a major port in anticipation of bad weather. The sea was not very rough in Northern Samar but they had to be proactive to prevent accidents. Fishermen in three Samar provinces were also advised not to venture out to sea. Gorio is carrying moderate to heavy rainfall at 5-15 millimeters per hour. Gorio is seen to enhance the southwest monsoon, which will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Visayas and Mindanao.

Tropical Storm Rumbia could bring rain to Taiwan from Sunday - The tropical storm that formed over the Philippines late Friday could begin affecting Taiwan on Sunday and bring showers to the eastern and southern parts of the country.

Some tropical storms hit both Atlantic, Pacific oceans - About once every five years, an Atlantic tropical storm, or its remnants, becomes a Pacific system, or vice versa. That's after crossing over Central America or southern Mexico, where the land is relatively narrow.


Western US states are baking in an extended heat wave with TEMPERATURES THREATENING TO BREAK THE ALL-TIME HIGH RECORDED ON EARTH. In Phoenix, Arizona, the mercury hit 47C (116F) on Friday, and in the desert of Death Valley, California, the thermometer approached 51C. The heat wave is expected to last through the weekend. Phoenix 'only' reached 116 on Friday - 2 degrees short of the expected high - in part because a light layer of smoke from wildfires in neighboring New Mexico shielded the blazing sun.
Cities in the region are opening cooling centres and officials fear the heat could delay air travel. The temperatures are about 10C higher than average for this time of year. Most large aircraft can operate in temperatures up to 52C, but even readings as low as 47C could affect liftoff conditions. A US Airways spokesman said the airline would be monitoring temperatures in Phoenix "very closely".
Some residents have taken to going to the grocery store in the middle of the night. "I've installed blackout shades on every window in my house. I'm a fourth-generation native of Phoenix so I expect it to be hot. But when it goes above 45C it hurts to breathe. The heat sucks the energy from your core." The National Weather Service has issued a heat warning for several parts of the region, including Las Vegas, until Monday morning. Parts of five states including Colorado and Utah will see temperatures higher than 37C over the weekend. "We'll be at or above record levels in the Phoenix area and throughout a lot of the south-western United States."
Temperatures in Death Valley in the California desert are forecast to reach 53C over the weekend. The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth, 57C, was marked there almost 100 years ago on 10 July 1913. Weather officials say the extreme weather is caused by a high-pressure system stuck over the area. Scientists say the North American jet stream, the path of air that influences weather patterns, has become more erratic in the past few years, making weather systems more likely to become stuck in place. But they disagree on whether global warming is the cause of the jet stream's behaviour.
At least seven migrants were found dead in Arizona's desert last week in lower temperatures. Border officials in Tucson, Arizona, rescued more than 170 people suffering from the heat during a thirty-day period in May and June. Utility officials planned to monitor electricity usage closely over the weekend but were not immediately concerned about overloads. "While it's hot, people tend to leave town and some businesses aren't open, so that has a tendency to mitigate demand and is why we typically don't set records on weekends." And zookeepers at the Phoenix Zoo were expected to keep outdoor animals chilled with water hoses and concrete slabs cooled by internal water-filled pipes.
Dozens of people across western US states have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, as the region is continuing to bake in a heat wave. A man in Las Vegas is believed to have died from a heat-related illness. Air-conditioned "cooling centres" have been set up in California, Nevada and Arizona, as officials warn the heat could be life-threatening.
Temperatures in some areas are expected to be near 54C (130F) - close to the world's all-time record. Several parts of California - including the desert town of Palm Springs - saw RECORD HIGHS on Saturday. There are fears of wildfires, as the heat could last for several days and the heat wave comes after one of the driest winters on record. More than 34 people were taken to hospital after attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. In Los Angeles, California, a number of people were treated for heat stroke and dehydration.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Extreme heat is on the way for Arizona, California and Nevada, as a large, hot dome of high pressure builds over the region. The mercury is predicted to soar well past 110 degrees Fahrenheit and could top 120 F starting today in the deserts of southeast California and southern Arizona. In Death Valley, California, searing temperatures could even reach 130 degrees Saturday and Sunday. Potentially record-breaking highs may also occur in Montana.
The most densely populated area affected, Phoenix, Arizona, won't even see relief at night. With daytime temps expected to hit the mid- to upper 110s this weekend, overnight and early morning lows are only forecast to drop into the low 90s through early next week.
The lack of nighttime cooling pokes a serious hole in most heat-safety advice. Typically, health experts recommend limiting outdoor activity to the early morning and evening when temperatures are lower. But when temperatures don't cool off at night, not only do heat-related health risks remain around the clock, but also a new set of health threats pop up because of urban heat islands.
"Asphalt and concrete store heat longer and slowly release heat at night, leading to higher overnight and early morning temperatures. This can reduce nighttime relief from extreme heat in a large city." In 1995, a severe heat wave killed 465 people in Chicago and an additional 85 people in Milwaukee. In this extreme weather episode, part of the danger came from humid nights that offered no relief from the heat. High dew points, a direct measure of the moisture content in the air, were extraordinarily high three nights in a row. That, coupled with a high relative humidity (well above 90 percent) "added substantially to the already considerable human stress implied by the high average observed temperatures."

**What you believe has more power than
what you dream or wish or hope for.
You become what you believe.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/27/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Alaska - Experts baffled at Pavlof Volcano's power and renewed vigor.Pavlof is now releasing both lava and far-reaching ash. Wednesday, June 26, the volcano in Alaska was releasing both lava and far-reaching ash. What’s more, geologists and experts are baffled as to why the sudden surge is the strongest yet in the volcano’s eruptive cycle. The high levels of ash are sifting onto a town below and interfering with flights to and from the Alaskan town.
Pavlof Volcano is located several hundred miles north of Anchorage. The ash-spewing eruptions began late on Monday and were expected to continue at potent levels into the week. Smaller planes that travel to and from Anchorage have been forced to be rerouted or fly around the sifting ash in the air. The town affected by all of the ash from the volcano is King Cove, home to 900 people and nearly 30 miles southwest of Pavlof Volcano.
Alaska Volcanoes Spewing Ash and Lava With Intense New Seismic Activity - The volcanoes began with minor eruptions weeks ago and are now showing more intense seismic activity. On Tuesday, the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned of more vigorous activity to come, which will likely mean more ash. There is some lava flowing.
Veniaminof Volcano, about 60 miles from Pavlof, has continued showing activity since early June. Pavlof has been erupting since early May. Its activity has waxed and waned over the past few months, but is now showing signs of more activity and has started shaking, and ash has risen at least 28,000 feet high. "It's a pretty good size, but not high enough to affect overflying aircraft between America and Asia. It's more of a problem for local aviation."
Nearby Veniaminof, a broad mountain topped with a large, flat ice field, began erupting on June 13, producing a lava flow and an ash plume, though not as high as Pavlof's at about 8,200 feet, but they are still intense. "For some reason we can't explain, it picked up in intensity and vigor," noted one geologist.
"So far there's been trace amounts of ash, so it's just a fine coating." The main hazard right now is ash fall. "Our best estimate of what is going to happen is similar to what's happened in the past - this level of activity and some level of ash." Scientists say the eruptions of both volcanoes are unrelated. A third, more remote volcano, Cleveland Volcano, 940 miles southwest of Anchorage, has begun and on-and-off eruption phase since 2011, but has not produced an explosive eruption since May 6.

Russia - Erupting Volcano Blankets Kamchatka Villages in Ash. An ash cloud from the erupting Shiveluch volcano is spreading over the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East covering several local villages in ash and disrupting local aviation services on Thursday.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Post-Tropical storm Cosme was located about 825 mi (1330 km) W of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cosme has degenerated to a remnant area of low pressure. The final advisory has been issued on this system.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical Depression Six was located approximately 299 nm northwestward of Sonsorol, Palau, Micronesia.

Philippines - new potential cyclone off Mindanao. State weather forecasters are now tracking a potential cyclone, a low pressure area, which was spotted east of Mindanao as of Wednesday afternoon. Tropical depression Six may spin up as early as Friday, potentially leading to a landfalling tropical storm before the end of the week. Flooding rain would be the most likely adverse weather impact.

Tropical Storm Cosme weakened over cold Pacific waters - Cosme weakened over colder waters in the Pacific Ocean Wednesday as it moved away from the west coast of Mexico. In the Atlantic, all is quiet with no development expected over the next couple of days.

Tropical Storm Bebinca Doused South China and Vietnam - The disorganized circulation of Tropical Storm Bebinca spun into Vietnam on Sunday. Bebinca drenched South China's island province of Hainan with more than 12 inches of rainfall before losing force over far northern Vietnam.


Scenic Fruit Company Recalls Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels, based on an ongoing epidemiological and traceback investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control of an illness outbreak, the kernels have the potential to be contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Torrential rains prompt flood warnings in U.S. Midwest - Torrential rains slammed Illinois and other Midwest states on Wednesday, triggering flash flood warnings and causing flight cancellations, commuter train delays and road closings. Up to 5 inches of rain fell in some places and the National Weather Service warned residents in the region to brace for more downpours and possibly severe thunderstorms Wednesday night.
The weather service issued multiple flash flood and flood warnings for counties in northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana and southeastern Wisconsin. The storms, which threatened eastern Illinois, Indiana, and parts of Kentucky and Ohio, could include large hail, flash flooding and damaging winds of more than 60 mph. At O'Hare International Airport, one of the nation's busiest, 403 inbound and outbound flights had been canceled by Wednesday evening. The heavy rain also caused hour-plus delays for other flights. Metra, the Chicago area's commuter rail service, also reported delays of more than an hour on one of its lines. Part of one line north of the city was shut due to flooding. Parts of some arterial roads were closed on Wednesday morning due to flooding.
In Wisconsin, the Governor declared a state of emergency in seven southwestern counties after touring flood damaged areas on Wednesday. Several communities in northeastern Iowa on the Wapsipinicon River were also dealing with flooding. In Independence, volunteers filled sandbags to avert flooding and local officials closed several roads.

**Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/26/13 -

New Zealand - Red-zone quake residents may be left out in the cold. Christchurch residents who continue to live in "red-zone" areas may have to provide their own generator, water supply, sewerage facilities and roads in the future as local authorities will not be fixing services in those areas.

US program to build houses in Haiti falls short - A U.S. government program to build housing in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake will only construct one-sixth of the homes intended because of poor planning.

Volcano Webcams

Alaska volcano erupts with new intensity - Pavlof Volcano disrupts local flights. The eruption at Pavlof Volcano, on the Alaska Peninsula, has picked up again. The volcano is spewing ash to 28,000-feet (8,500 meters), the highest it's reached since the unrest started in early May. That's not high enough to interfere with international air traffic. The volcano has been spewing ash and lava for the past six weeks. It erupted with new intensity early on Tuesday, belching a plume of cinders 5 miles into sky and onto a nearby town.
Both Pavlof and Veniaminof volcanoes acting up again - The two volcanoes are located on the Alaskan Peninsula in Southwest about 60 miles from each other, and are showing their strongest seismic activity yet, reportedly belching smoke plumes and emitting small eruptions of ash and lava.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Cosme was located about 495 mi (795 km) WSW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Large swells generated by Cosme are affecting portions of the Pacific coast of Mexico from near Acapulco to Los Mochis and the southern Baja California peninsula.

Lessons from Larry show cyclones can be ovals - A study of an intense cyclone that his the north Queensland Coast of Australia in 2006 has revealed it was not a perfect circle and had a double eye wall. Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry crossed the coast near Innisfail early on March 20.


Extreme flooding must be 'turning point' on disaster response - A United Nations senior official stressed that this year will be a “turning point” in how governments view and respond to extreme weather events, and floods in particular, which are currently affecting several countries across the world. “India, Nepal, Canada and many countries in Europe have experienced huge losses over the last two months due to intense precipitation events which have triggered extreme flooding affecting millions of people’s well-being and livelihoods.”
Monsoon rains in India this year are believed to be THE HEAVIEST IN 80 YEARS. 7,000 people are still stranded in the mountains after flash floods and landslides. More than 600 people are confirmed dead so far, while 80,000 have been rescued. “The shocking loss of life in India underlines how vitally important it is that we start planning for FUTURE SCENARIOS FAR REMOVED FROM ANYTHING THAT WE MAY HAVE EXPERIENCED INTHE PAST.”
In the Canadian province of Alberta, more than 100,000 people were forced to flee their homes this month as floods triggered by torrential rains hit the region. The floods have washed away roads and bridges, cut off electricity and submerged hundreds of homes. “When we look at the worldwide escalation in economic losses from disasters over the last five years, it is clear that our exposure to extreme events is growing and this trend needs to be addressed through better land use and more resilient infrastructure as we seek to cope with population growth and rapid urbanization.”
250 million people have been affected annually by floods over the last 10 years, and floods are the single most widespread and increasing disaster risk to urban settlements of all sizes. Major contributing factors include poor urban planning which increases flood hazard due to unsuitable land use change, increases in paving and other impermeable surfaces, poorly maintained drainage, sanitation and solid waste infrastructure. “Flood management systems need to be designed so that even if they are overwhelmed by floodwaters, the failure is not catastrophic."


Texas - RECORD-BREAKING HIGHS this weekend. Dry upper level high pressure is in control of their weather this week making it hot and mostly sunny. Less wind the end of this week and this weekend will help make it even hotter. Lows in the upper 70s and highs in the upper 90s and 100s.

Alaska Heat Wave - RARE RECORD-BREAKING Scorcher with 90-Degree Temperatures. According to recent weather reports, the country's northernmost city, with a population a little over 250,000, peaked over the 80s and will remain in this record high heat (with possible 90-degree temperatures!) for the area throughout the weekend.

Extreme weather helps GM debate - More farmers are embracing the idea of Genetically Modified crops following a year of atrocious weather and poor crop yields. A poll of over 600 British farmers found a major shift in their stance towards GM in the past year. Nearly a third of those surveyed said they would now be more likely to grow GM crops, if it were legal, than a year ago.

Canada heading towards uninsurable housing market as extreme weather increases - Over the past 15 years, studies have indisputably shown that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events across the planet have increased. In Canada, that's meant claims for water damage have vaulted ahead of fire.

Met Office scientists examine cause of UK extreme weather - Leading scientists from the Met Office had a meeting on Tuesday, June 18, to discuss the unusual weather experienced by the UK over the past two years, and to determine possible correlations with the Arctic ice melt. They looked at recent spates of extreme weather, including the freezing winters of 2010 and 2011, the wet summer of 2012 and this year’s cold spring. Experts will try to understand the causes of these incidences, by looking also at the possible contribution of the Arctic ice melt.
According to the Met Office, as temperatures in the polar regions increase, the jet stream – the system of strong winds that allows the weather to change around the globe – can be weakened. If it moves south more frequently, cold air can reach the UK while they keep the country stuck in the wet weather. “Low pressure systems run along there and drop into a trough and it’s very hard to get them back out again, they get stuck like an eddy in a river. They hit us and come back and we get rain for long periods of time.”
The meeting would not discuss climate change in detail, but rather weather patterns. “The aim is to understand some of the causes behind that variability. A lot of those potential causes cannot easily be attributed to climate change. The more we can understand about these potential causes, the better advice we can give on near-term climate from a month out to about a year ahead.” Other Met Office scientists had previously rejected claims that the meeting was an “emergency”, as stated by a number of right wing newspapers and climate sceptic organisations.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

U.S. - Flash flood and wildfire warnings were issued on Tuesday, as severe thunderstorms and torrential rainfall were again expected to hit the Midwest and Northeast. "Once again, thunderstorms are expected to fire in parts of the northern Plains to Lower Great Lakes...A separate area of severe weather is possible in the Northeast. Large hail and damaging winds will be the primary threats. In addition, rainfall could be heavy enough to cause flash flooding and river flooding in the Midwest and Lower Great Lakes."
In Chicago, there were at least 200,000 power outages on Monday as severe weather lashed the area. The storms forced the temporary closure of O’Hare International Airport. Fearing injury or worse at the city's Midway International Airport, officials cleared the ground and ordered people away from the windows. Felled trees also led to traffic chaos across the city.
In Belmont, New Hampshire, 23 scouts were hospitalized after being struck by lightning as they hid out from a storm. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin there was almost a foot of rain over the weekend. An area from the eastern Dakotas to northeast Iowa saw two to five inches of rain in the past week alone. The water-logged soil means additional rainfall is more prone to run off and cause rapid flooding of low-lying areas, officials warned.
Lightning strikes could also spark wildfires on the northern Plains, experts warned. Embattled firefighters across the country have already tackled a number of huge blazes this year in Colorado, California and New Mexico. The massive West Fork Fire in Colorado is expected to burn for months. But after more than a week the raging blaze in Doce, Arizona, was expected to be fully contained tomorrow. More than 500 personnel and three helicopters have battled to bring in it under control.

**A secret may sometimes best be kept
by keeping the secret of its being a secret.**
Henry Taylor


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/25/13 -

Volcano Webcams

India - Undersea volcano near Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has begun a detailed study to analyze the possible threats of an underwater volcano near the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, about 70km south of Chennai.
Confirming the presence of an underwater volcano five weeks ago, the Geological Survey of India has also recommended an advanced study to figure out the status of the volcano, though initial investigations did not detect any significant geological signs. The National Institute of Oceanography , Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and GSI have recommended further analysis in view of an "inferred high density material intrusion of remnant magnetization based on magnetic and gravity anomalies" around the location of the volcano.
A US government agency studying active volcanoes and their eruptions during the last 10,000 years, says the undersea eruption of the volcano happened last on January 20, 1757, off Puducherry, resulting in the formation of a new island. However, GSI's offshore surveys did not find any existence of an island. Also, the seismic data and wells drilled by ONGC in the vicinity did not indicate any volcanic intrusions.
In last September, two activists of the Peoples Movement for Nuclear Radiation Safety, who published a book compiling the documentary evidences of the volcano, demanded that the AERB conducts an advanced study. The AERB study is in progress and the International Atomic Energy Agency insists countries should ensure safety and protection if they had built reactors without considering the effect of volcanoes in their vicinity. Besides two power plants in Kalpakkam, a fast breeder test reactor facility and a fuel reprocessing facility are in the vicinity. A 500MW prototype fast breeder is also being built at Kalpakkam.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Hurricane Cosme was located about 410 mi (660 km) SSW of Cabo San Lucas Mexico.

Cosme Now A Hurricane - Moving away from land. The storm's projected path will now steer the system away from Mexico, while fierce winds and extremely rough surf threaten shipping interests in the region. The storm's maximum sustained winds early Tuesday were near 65 mph (100 kph).(maps & updates)


Australia - Illawarra homes on flood evacuation watch. Residents have been put on evacuation watch as extreme weather and flooding drenches the NSW south coast. The Bureau of Meteorology today issued a severe weather warning for the Illawarra region, advising of heavy rain and damaging surf in the area.
Wet conditions and thunderstorms may lead to flash flooding, with conditions expected to improve later in the day. Ten properties were on evacuation watch near Jerrara Dam at Kiama, while the SES also issued evacuation warnings to 40 homes in "low lying areas" of Goulburn. The warning was current for businesses and homes adjacent to the Wollondilly and Mulwaree rivers in Goulburn.
Five homes were inundated by flood water at Shoalhaven Heads on Tuesday, prompting the rescue of four people and seven animals. "They were all rescued successfully, which is good." The SES received about 150 requests overnight for help from residents in the Illawarra and on the south coast, mostly for leaking roofs and water inundation. The SES had not received requests for help from the Sydney metropolitan area.
The SES has issued a minor flood warning for the Nepean River at Penrith. The river is expected to peak about 4.5m around midnight. At North Richmond and Windsor, the Hawkesbury River is likely rise to about nine metres on Thursday evening, causing minor to moderate flooding. Warragamba Dam is also predicted to overflow between 10am and noon AEST.
"The NSW SES urges motorists to take extreme care as many creeks and streams may break their banks, with fast-flowing water across many causeways and low-lying roads. Motorists are advised not to attempt to cross causeways, as floodwaters may be deeper and faster flowing than you realise and can contain hidden snags and debris."


Tourists await rescue on Canadian ice floe - Twenty people are stranded on an ice floe in the Canadian Arctic, with the 50km long slab of ice breaking away from an island and floating several kilometres out to sea. The group, which includes foreign tourists, were stranded when the chunk of ice separated from Baffin Island sometime between Monday night and early Tuesday.
They aren't likely to be rescued until early Wednesday morning local time. The group includes local guides as well as Canadian and foreign tourists. They have a camp, shelter and supplies. 10 hunters who were also trapped managed to cross over onto land after the ice split and their end floated close to shore Tuesday afternoon. The floe the tourists are on remains afloat.


Woman's death blamed on Indonesian smog - Smog from slash-and-burn agricultural fires in Indonesia has been blamed for killing an asthmatic woman in Malaysia, the first reported death attributed to the crisis.
She was from the southern town of Muar, which experienced intense air pollution at the weekend, died on Sunday. A medical report blamed the death on the polluted air. Singapore initially bore the brunt of southeast Asia's worst smog crisis for years with pollution reaching record levels last week. Favourable winds have since cleared the air over the city state but southern Malaysia remains choked by smoke.
Pollution spiked to hazardous levels in some parts of the country in recent days, with southern Malaysia seeing its worst air quality in 16 years last weekend. The smog has eased but continues to hang over some areas including the capital Kuala Lumpur. The pollution has forced the cancellation of sporting events in Malaysia.
Haze is an annual problem during drier summer months, when westerly monsoon winds blow smoke from forest fires and land-clearing on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which lies across the Malacca Strait. But this summer's recurrence has been the worst in years. Malaysia's environment minister travelled to Indonesia on Wednesday to meet his counterpart in the hopes of resolving the problem, which earlier sparked a testy exchange between Indonesia and Singapore. In 1997-1998, severe haze cost southeast Asia an estimated $US9 billion ($A9.7 billion) from disruptions to air travel and other business activities.

94 degrees in Alaska? Weather extremes tied to jet stream. - Lately, the jet stream isn’t playing by the rules. Scientists say that big river of air high above Earth that dictates much of the weather for the Northern Hemisphere has been unusually erratic the past few years.
They blame it for everything from snowstorms in May to the path of Superstorm Sandy. And last week, it was responsible for downpours that led to historic floods in Alberta, Canada, as well as record-breaking heat in parts of Alaska. The town of McGrath, Alaska, hit 94. Just a few weeks earlier, the same spot was 15 degrees. The current heat wave in the Northeast is also linked. ‘‘While it’s not unusual to have a heat wave in the east in June, it is part of the anomalous jet stream pattern that was responsible for the flooding in Alberta.’’
The jet stream usually rushes rapidly from west to east in a mostly straight direction. But lately it’s been wobbling and weaving like a drunken driver, wreaking havoc as it goes. The more the jet stream undulates north and south, the more changeable and extreme the weather. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that scientists are still trying to understand. Some say it’s related to global warming; others say it’s not.
In May, there was upside-down weather: Early California wildfires fueled by heat contrasted with more than a foot of snow in Minnesota. Seattle was the hottest spot in the nation one day, and Maine and Edmonton, Canada, were warmer than Miami and Phoenix. Consider these unusual occurrences over the past few years:
— The winter of 2011-12 seemed to disappear, with little snow and record warmth in March. That was followed by the winter of 2012-13 when nor'easters seemed to queue up to strike the same coastal areas repeatedly.
— Superstorm Sandy took an odd left turn in October from the Atlantic straight into New Jersey, something that happens once every 700 years or so.
— One 12-month period had a record number of tornadoes. That was followed by 12 months that set a record for lack of tornadoes.
And here is what federal weather officials call a ‘‘spring paradox’’: The U.S. had both an unusually large area of snow cover in March and April and a near-record low area of snow cover in May. The entire Northern Hemisphere had record snow coverage area in December but the third lowest snow extent for May. ‘‘I've been doing meteorology for 30 years and THE JET STREAM THE LAST THREE YEARS HAS DONE STUFF I'VE NEVER SEEN. ‘The fact that the jet stream is unusual could be an indicator of something. I'm not saying we know what it is.’’
‘‘It’s been just a crazy fall and winter and spring all along, following a very abnormal sea ice condition in the Arctic.’’ Last year set a record low for summer sea ice in the Arctic. ‘‘It’s possible what we’re seeing in this unusual weather is all connected.’’ Other scientists don’t make the sea ice and global warming connections. They see random weather or long-term cycles at work. And even more scientists are taking a wait-and-see approach.
The jet stream, or more precisely the polar jet stream, is the one that affects the Northern Hemisphere. It dips down from Alaska, across the United States or Canada, then across the Atlantic and over Europe and ‘‘has everything to do with the weather we experience." It all starts with the difference between cold temperatures in the Arctic and warmer temperatures in the mid-latitudes. The bigger the temperature difference, the stronger the jet stream, the faster it moves and the straighter it flows. But as the northern polar regions warm two to three times faster than the rest of the world, augmented by unprecedented melting of Arctic sea ice and loss in snow cover, the temperature difference shrinks. Then the jet stream slows and undulates more.
The jet stream is about 14 percent slower in the fall now than in the 1990s. And when it slows, it moves north-south instead of east-west, bringing more unusual weather, creating blocking patterns and cutoff lows that are associated with weird weather. Recently the jet stream seems to create weather patterns that get stuck, making dry spells into droughts and hot days into heat waves.
Take the past two winters. They were as different as can be, but both had unusual jet stream activity. Normally, the jet stream plunges southwest from western Washington state, sloping across to Alabama. Then it curves slightly out to sea around the Outer Banks, a swoop that’s generally straight without dramatic bends. During the mostly snowless winter of 2011-12 and the record warm March 2012, the jet stream instead formed a giant upside-down U, curving dramatically in the opposite direction. That trapped warm air over much of the Eastern U.S.
A year later the jet stream was again unusual, this time with a sharp U-turn north. This trapped colder and snowier weather in places like Chicago and caused nor'easters in New England. But for true extremes, nothing beats tornadoes.
In 2011, the United States was hit over and over by killer twisters. From June 2010 to May 2011 the U.S. had a record number of substantial tornadoes, totaling 1,050. Then just a year later came a record tornado drought. From May 2012 to April 2013 there were only 217 tornadoes - 30 fewer than the old record. Both examples were related to unusual jet stream patterns.
Last fall, a dip in the jet stream over the United States and northward bulge of high pressure combined to pull Superstorm Sandy almost due west into New Jersey. That track is SO RARE AND NEARLY UNPRECEDENTED that computer models indicate it would happen only once every 714 years, according to a new study by NASA. ‘‘Everyone would agree that we are in a pattern of extremes. We don’t know how long it will stay in this pattern.’’

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Minnesota - LARGEST ELECTRICAL OUTAGE IN MINNESOTA HISTORY. Homeowners and businesses left powerless by the outage limped into a third day of candlelight and dripping freezers on Sunday, hoping for a break in the series of destructive storms that have lashed the state.
Streets blocked by downed trees were so common in some Minneapolis neighborhoods that emergency vehicles and buses were forced to humt for routes through the wreckage left by the storms that began Friday morning and continued through the weekend. Damage was widespread with more than 505,000 homes without power in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and across the state, more than twice as many as the previous largest power outage in 2007.
By Saturday evening, over 112,000 were still without power as storm clouds continued to brew across the state. It may be Wednesday before all customers have power again.

Sorry there have been no updates the last couple of days - see article above!

**To be bitter is to attribute intent and personality to
the formless, infinite, unchanging and unchangeable void.
We drift on a chartless, resistless sea.
Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest.**
H.P. Lovecraft


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/24/13 -

6/23/13 -

6/22/13 -

6/21/13 -

Nevada - Seismologists keep eye on Carson City after 122 minor quakes strike this month. Nevada seismologists and emergency managers say they're monitoring an earthquake swarm in Carson City that has the potential to result in a major temblor. But officials stress they can't predict how the sequence of over 120 minor quakes that began June 1 will play out or if it will result in larger events.

Indonesia - A 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck North Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, on Saturday, causing injuries to around 50 people and damage to more than 5,000 homes. Hundreds of local people were still homeless on Sunday.

Magnitude 5.2 quake hits Italy, minor damage in rural areas - At least one person was injured and dozens evacuated. The epicentre of the quake, which hit at about 12:33 p.m. (6.33 a.m. EDT) on Friday, was between the towns of Massa and Lucca in Tuscany and La Spezia in the Liguria region. The tremor was felt in Milan. There were "big problems with communication" in the towns and cities near the epicentre of the quake, slowing efforts to check damage caused.

Fear that slum will replace earthquake camps in Haiti - Three-and-a-half years after a devastating earthquake that killed 200,000 people, Haiti is slowly returning to normal. There used to be 1.5 million people living under tents in the immediate aftermath of the quake - that number has now dropped to 320,000.

Volcano Webcams

Eruptions at Pavlof and Veniaminof in Alaska Continue - The eruption inside the caldera at Veniaminof continues onward, at least according to the seismic information. Tremor continues to be recorded on the operating seismic stations. Recent satellite images show elevated surface temperatures at the cinder cone inside the Veniaminof caldera consistent with continued effusion of lava. No plumes have been observed in satellite images.
The eruption at Pavlov volcano is on going. Seismic tremor continues. Possible elevated surface temperatures consistent with lava effusion were detected in satellite images. A possible small ash plume from the summit vent was also seen in satellite data.
At Cleveland volcano - No elevated surface temperatures were observed in satellite images throughout the week. No other reports of activity at the volcano. Sudden explosions of blocks and ash are still possible with little or no warning.

Philippines - 9 earthquakes were felt near Taal Volcano in Batangas and Mayon Volcano in Albay over 24 hours but the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Saturday said there was no need to raise the alert levels at the two volcanoes.


King tide, extreme weather along Australian coast - The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of extreme weather, dangerous surf conditions and a king tide is expected for the NSW coast. Winds of up to 100 km/h and heavy rain is expected to hit Sydney, as well as the mid-north coast, Hunter region, central tablelands, southern tablelands and Snowy Mountains.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Cosme was located about 335 mi (535 km) SW of Manzanillo, Mexico. Cosme is expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday. Heading away from land, swells generated by Cosme are affecting portions of the Pacific coast of Mexico from near Manzanillo through Cabo Corrientes. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical Storm Bebinca made landfall in the coastal regions in south China, bringing heavy rainfall that will likely last through Tuesday, forecasters said. Tropical storm Bebinca will continue to bring gales and downpours and was the first tropical storm to make landfall in China this year. Bebinca made landfall in the city of Qionghai in South China's Hainan province. Bebinca disrupted 147 flights and left more than 8,000 passengers stranded in the airport.

Man-made particles lowered hurricane frequency - Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century.


Canada - The massive floods that devastated Calgary, Canada late last week have raced downstream, and are now bringing the HIGHEST FLOOD WATERS EVER RECORDED to Medicine Hat, Alberta's 5th largest city (population 67,000.) The flood peaked early Monday morning in Medicine Hat, which had evacuated 10,000 residents in anticipation of the flood. The homes of nearly all of the residents evacuated have received flood damage.
The meteorological set-up for the flood began when the jet stream got "blocked" into a high-amplitude pattern that brought record heat to Alaska, but forced heavy rainfall to fall across the Bow River Basin on Wednesday night, with up to 190 mm (7.51”) falling in some areas over just a 24-hour period. Widespread heavy rains of 50.8 mm (2”) blanketed the entire river basin, sending the Bow River to near-record flood levels. At the peak of the flooding, the Bow and Elbow rivers were flowing through Calgary at three times their peak levels from a 2005 flood that caused $275 million in damage.
Calgary, Canada's 5th largest city (population 1.2 million), was forced to evacuate 100,000 people, and the downtown area was submerged by the flood waters. Three people died. Over the weekend, 65,000 people were allowed to return to their homes, but the city remains under a state of emergency. The Calgary flood will be ONE OF THE MOST DAMAGING FLOODS IN CANADIAN HISTORY. While it is too early to come up with a reliable figure for the damages, insurance industry experts said on Friday that the Calgary floods could cost $500 - $800 million -- two to three times the cost of the city's 2005 floods.
The June 2013 Alberta flood has the potential become the most expensive flood in Canadian history, exceeding the $800 million price tag of the April 4, 2011 flood in Southern Manitoba, along the Assiniboine River and Lake Manitoba. In 2011, water levels rose so high in Lake Manitoba that some beach front homes ended up three km into the lake. (photos & video)

North Carolina - RECORD-BREAKING RAIN over the weekend causes minor wrecks. When it rains, it pours, and if you don't believe it, then just ask a host of Sunday drivers and the N.C. State Highway Patrol troopers who responded to weather-related accidents on almost every major road in the region.


RECORD-BREAKING HEAT WAVE hits Alaska - Highs hitting from the mid-70s to high 90s are breaking records left and right. In the town of Talkeetna, temps hit 96 degrees, breaking a record high set in 1969. The National Weather Service was forecasting a likely return of record-breaking temperatures to Alaska, this time to the usually cloudy and rainy Southeast Alaska Panhandle. Sunday, the NWS estimated that as many as 12 Southeast communities could break daily heat records on Monday.
In the past few months, it hasn't been difficult to find people complaining about the weather. The snow was late, but then it lasted too long. It was cold, but then it thawed too early, then froze again. Tuesday, while the record-breaking temperatures persisted, most people didn't have anything negative to say. As Alaska hits more extreme temperatures, Alaskans are reluctant to complain. But most agree that the hot summer is a little strange.
Beachgoers were thrilled to be weeks into sunshine and clear skies. It took just a short time to change the climate. A month ago, Southcentral had a late-season snowstorm in a normally warmer month. Those who have lived in Alaska their whole lives admit it's weird. . "It was never this warm, so it's a little scary."
"It's such a short time we can enjoy the sun here in Alaska, so we enjoy it as much as we can -- no complaints." Everyone is aware that days like this will soon be a distant memory.


Saudi Arabia reported nine new MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases in the past 3 days, including six cases that were asymptomatic.

Taiwan reports first human H6N1 infection - Health authorities in Taiwan announced the first known human infection with H6N1 avian influenza, in a 20-year-old woman who was sick with pneumonia in May and has since recovered.

A lull in the number of H7N9 cases in China has given experts a chance to sift the data to fine-tune the clinical picture of the disease, which now suggests that it is less serious than earlier assessments, with more mild infections than previously thought.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Singapore haze hits critical 400 level - Singapore's smog index has hit the critical 400 level, making it potentially life-threatening to the ill and elderly people. The level was reached at 11am (1300 AEST) on Friday, after a rapid rise in the Pollutant Standards Index, which measures the haze crisis caused by Indonesian forest fires. Pollution levels reached a NEW RECORD HIGH for a third day in a row in Singapore, as smoky haze from fires in Indonesia shroud the city state.
Many stores have run out of face masks amid soaring demand . The haze is also affecting Malaysia, with another 100 schools closed in the south of the country. The haze could remain in place for weeks. "We can't tell how this problem is going to develop because it depends on the burning, it depends on the weather, it depends on the wind. It can easily last for several weeks and quite possibly it could last longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra which may be September or October."
A PSI reading above 300 is defined as "hazardous". The fires are caused by illegal slash-and-burn land clearance in Sumatra, to the west of Singapore. Singapore has provided satellite date to Indonesia to help it identify companies involved and said that if any Singapore companies were involved, that would be addressed. Singapore also offered Indonesia an aircraft for cloud-seeding, after talks between officials from the two countries. (photos & map)
Extreme weather, water shortage impede fire extinguishing efforts in Riau - In Indonesia, a fire-fighting team from the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Center has been overwhelmed in attempts to prevent raging peatland fires across some areas in Riau province, due to extreme weather and lack of water. Riau is located in the centre and eastern coast of Sumatra along the Strait of Malacca.

**Letting go means to come to the realization
that some people are a part of your history,
but not a part of your destiny.**
Steve Maraboli


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/20/13 -

Australia - A loud bang and earthquake have rocked Melbourne's outer east. The 2.2 magnitude earthquake struck the greater Dandenong Ranges area just before 7am (AEST) on Friday. The State Emergency Service did not receive any calls for help or reports of damage.
Many residents in the area may have heard a loud bang and rattling of windows and felt some mild shaking. Initial data released by Geosciences Australia recorded the earthquake as magnitude 1.5. However, updated records showed it was a magnitude 2.2 earthquake. The shallow earthquake was only one kilometre below the surface, which explains why it caused the loud sound effects. "That's probably why so many people are reporting hearing bangs and explosions rather than feeling the ground shaking." The area has experienced three earthquakes over the past 30 years but Friday's quake is the biggest.

Volcano Webcams

Alaska - Veniaminof Volcano Lava Flows 1/3 Mile into Caldera. The lava flow from the Veniaminof volcano now extends nearly a third of a mile down the volcanic cone, while ash puffs are reaching up to 15 thousand feet. The lava flow is about 160 feet wide, stretching about down the cone into its enormous caldera.


In the Atlantic -
Post-Tropical Cyclone Barry was located about 60 mi (95 km) ENE of Mexico City, Mexico. The Post-tropical cyclone is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches, with maximum amounts of 10 inches over portions of southern Mexico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides, especially in mountainous areas. The threat of heavy rains is likely to persist over southern Mexico after the low dissipates. The last advisory has been issued on this system.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Leepi was located approximately 215 nm west-southwestward of Sasebo, Japan. The last advisory has been issued on this system.

Tropical Depression Five was located approximately 262 nm south-southeastward of Hong Kong.


Canada - As many as 100,000 people could be forced from their homes by heavy flooding in western Canada, Calgary city officials said, while mudslides forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway. 18 Calgary neighbourhoods evacuated - more than 100,000 Calgarians expected to be evacuated by morning.
The City of Calgary issued mandatory evacuation orders for 18 communities after massive flooding in the city and across southern Alberta. The communities of Mission, Elbow Park, Stanley Park, Roxboro, Rideau, Discovery Ridge, Victoria Park, Erlton, Cliff Bungalow, Sunnyside, Bowness, Inglewood, Elboya, Bonnybrook, Westmount, Cliff Bungalow, Eau Claire, Downtown East Village, Montgomery and Chinatown have been or are being evacuated.
The city is also asking Calgarians to avoid downtown tonight and tomorrow if they can. Residents are encouraged to find shelter with family or friends for at least the next 72 hours. Calgary Transit and Access Calgary are on standby to help residents who cannot leave on their own. Those requiring assistance are asked to identify themselves to emergency responders going door-to-door. People with pets are encouraged to leave them with family or friends.
The city of Red Deer was also on alert. "A local state of emergency was declared at 8 p.m. tonight following a flood warning that was issued upon receiving notice that Alberta Environment is to release a significant amount of water from the Dickson Dam."
Officials in Calgary have warned residents to brace for flooding worse than that experienced in 2005. "The data we have currently would indicate that we will probably see water come over the top of the Glenmore Dam, at a flow rate that probably exceeds that of 2005." The city has begun to implement its flood response plans and is deploying sandbags and temporary dams at key locations. The decision was made based on the potential severity of incoming high river flows in combination with expected heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile, heavy rain also prompted officials in the mountain town of Canmore, about 100 kilometres west of Calgary, to declare a local state of emergency after the banks of a creek that runs through the community became unstable. About 40 homes were evacuated at 2 a.m. MT on Thursday when the banks of Cougar Creek were deemed unstable. Other residents are being alerted to be ready to move if necessary.
It was the most extreme flooding situation residents have seen in 40 years. 'We've lost 15-20 homes." The mayor of the mountain community urged people not to try to come to the area, since flooding was affecting highways. "It's a very serious disaster here." Through most of the day even air access into the community was difficult because visibility was so poor for helicopter flights. They were "expecting another very stressful night of coping with emergencies" as the flooding continued.
High River, about 70 kilometres south of Calgary, also declared a state of emergency early Thursday morning after the Highwood River started overflowing its banks. In High River, rescuers used helicopters, boats, and even some combines to get to people who needed to be moved. Cellphone service and landline service in the area was spotty, making the situation more difficult in the community of roughly 12,000. "People were really surprised at just how fast the water moved in. We're told that at one point 150 people were stranded, many of them on their roof, trying to wave in the helicopters in the air to get their attention."
All homes and businesses in the hamlet of Bragg Creek, 44 kilometres west of Calgary on the edge of Kananaskis Country, were ordered evacuated as the Elbow River surges over its banks. Power to the area has been shut off. Just downstream, residents of the townsite of Redwood Meadows were told they should leave their homes and use northbound Highway 22 to get out of the area. The water is higher than it was during the last big flood in 1995. In southwest Alberta, parts of the Crowsnest Pass are being evacuated because of high water levels.
In Turner Valley, southwest of Calgary, a sour gas wellhead ruptured at the same time as the town dealt with fast-rising flood waters in the Sheep River. The pipeline was struck by river debris, an evacuation was ordered for residences in the area. The rupture caused a release of sour gas containing hydrogen sulfide - a colourless, flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs - but officials have said the risk is now contained. Air quality monitoring at the point of the rupture isn't detecting dangerous sour gas levels. (photos & map)


Yellowstone, Grand Teton park visitors warned of spike in Norovirus sicknesses. Vacationers at Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks this summer should make extra efforts to wash their hands, the National Park Service urged Wednesday, after noting a spike in sicknesses among visitors so far.

Saudis say 4 people beat MERS, but another 4 died - Saudi Arabia announced that four women have recovered from previously unreported cases of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), while another four people have died of MERS infections that were announced earlier.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

India - Military helicopters and the army are leading rescue operations in India's flood-hit northern states, where 138 people are now known to have died. About 10,000 people have been rescued in worst-hit Uttarakhand state over three days. Tens of thousands of pilgrims are still stranded in Uttarakhand, where more than 100 people have been killed.
Flood-related deaths have also been reported in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh states and neighbouring Nepal. At least 22 people have been killed and 18 are missing in landslides and floods triggered by heavy rainfall in remote parts of Nepa. More than 100 homes - mostly in western Nepal - had been damaged by the floods and the government has agreed to step up relief efforts at an emergency meeting.
The scale of devastation in Uttarakhand is staggering. As rescuers establish contact with more of the affected villages and settlements, they say many have been flattened to the ground. Most of the temple town of Kedarnath - apart from the main Shiva temple - is buried under mud and debris. There are scenes of devastation everywhere. Officials said it would take at least three to four years to get the town back on its feet.
Many of the villages remain cut off with emergency workers unable to reach marooned villages. There are are reported to be groups of people stranded in remote areas without any supplies. Most roads are still closed and many bridges, homes, schools and hotels have been damaged, hampering the relief operation.
The monsoon season generally lasts from June to September, bringing rain which is critical to the farming output of both countries, but this year the rain in the north of India and parts of Nepal has been heavier than usual. The situation in Uttarakhand was "really very bad." The floods have swept away buildings and triggered landslides in some places, blocking roads. More than 20 bridges have collapsed.
Portions of a Hindu temple in Kedarnath were washed away and the shrine was "submerged in mud and slush." Mre than 62,000 pilgrims were stranded at various places. Most of the pilgrims - bound for local Himalayan shrines - are stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts after roads caved in and bridges collapsed. "We were stuck in the car for 14 hours, we spent the entire night there. The mountains were collapsing above us, while a river in spate was raging below us. There was a huge traffic jam, we could neither go forward, nor move back. Anything could have happened. It was raining heavily and we were afraid that there might be a landslide."
"It's been a harrowing trip for us. We hear the roads are all broken, cars and shops have been swept away. It is frightening. We are very lucky to be alive." The number of dead was expected to rise as rescue workers had still not reached many affected areas.
In Himachal Pradesh, where at least 10 people have been killed in landslides, the Chief Minister was himself stranded in Kinnaur district for nearly 60 hours. He was evacuated on Tuesday by a helicopter hired by his Congress party. (photos)

**Grudges are for those
who insist that they are owed something;
forgiveness, however, is for those
who are substantial enough to move on.**
Criss Jami


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/19/13 -

Russia - Earthquake Damages 500 Homes in Kemerovo Region. Over 500 homes have been damaged in the village of Bachatsky as a result of an earthquake that struck the Kemerovo on Wednesday. It was the STRONGEST EARTHQUAKE TO HAVE STRUCK THE REGION IN OVER 100 YEARS and was felt 300 kilometers away in Novosibirsk.
The U.S. Geological Service said it registered a magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale, but Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry estimated it to be magnitude 4.3. It occurred at 3 a.m. Moscow time. A local official confirmed preliminary reports that about 500 homes had sustained damage ranging from cracks in the walls to collapsed walls, ceilings and chimneys.
Power was cut off that morning, but has now been restored, while the water supply and communications links were not affected. However, an official in Bachatsky village said the locals are afraid to enter their homes after the earthquake for fear of collapsing walls and are staying outside.
The director of the Geophysical Service at the Siberian chapter Russian Academy of Sciences said the earthquake was provoked by human industrial activity. The Kemerovo region has one of the largest coal basins in the country where coal is produced in open-pit mines. Explosives are frequently used to delve deeper into the ground, which could have triggered local tectonic processes.
The nearby Bachatsky open-pit coal mine is gigantic: 11 kilometers long, more than two kilometers wide, with a depth of 350 meters. The earthquake took place in the immediate vicinity of the mine, only 800 meters away from the mine's administration building. The Regional Governor has ordered all work at underground mines in the Kemerovo Region, part of Russia's Kuzbass coal-producing heartland, to be suspended.

Volcano Webcams

Mexico - "Popo" Eruption Rattles 25-Mile Radius. On June 18 a local webcam caught THE BIGGEST ERUPTION IN TWO YEARS. It released a massive ash cloud that shot more than a mile skyward and flung “incandescent fragments” for nearly 330 feet. The volcano violently released ash and gas clouds high into the air and created a shockwave. Footage has emerged of the volcano erupting spectacularly and sending the large shock wave over the mountain.


In the Atlantic -
Tropical Storm Barry was located about 40 mi (60 km) NE of Veracruz, Mexico. The center is forecast to reach the coast in the state of Veracruz this morning. Barry is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches across portions of southern Mexico. These rains could cause life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides, especially in mountainous areas.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Leepi was located about 132 nm west-northwestward of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

Tropical Storm Barry formed off Mexico's Gulf Coast on Wednesday, prompting Mexican authorities to ready hundreds of shelters. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Atlantic hurricane season’s second tropical storm was drenching areas in its path with up to 10 inches of rain in some places, raising the threat of flash floods.
Barry was expected strengthen slightly before making landfall but would weaken soon after. In Veracruz state 2,000 shelters had been readiedwith mattresses, blankets, water and canned food. Shelters at schools and recreation centers could house up to 306,000 people. The port of Veracruz was closed to small vessels because of the strong winds.
A tropical storm with six lives - the history of Barry.


Australia - RECORD WINTER COLD welcome in Melbourne. What do the winter solstice, clear skies and light winds make? The perfect recipe for the COLDEST MELBOURNE MORNING IN MORE THAN A DECADE. "We're only one day away from the winter solstice and that, combined with a high pressure right over most of Victoria, clear skies, dry, low-level air and light winds allows maximum heat loss."
Winter signalled its arrival in the city with the temperature dropping to a chilly 2.3C at 6.55am (AEST) on Thursday. It's the coldest June morning since 2002, when the mercury hit 1.6C, and the equal coldest Melbourne morning since July 7 last year. It was even colder in Melbourne's outer suburbs - it was minus 4C in Coldstream and minus 1C at Viewbank and Scoresby. Melburnians should be prepared for more chilly mornings, with temperatures likely to be as low as 4C until next Wednesday.


Relief on way for Alaska after RECORD-BREAKING TEMPERATURES - Cordova and Valdez, both along the southern coast, saw a record-breaking 90 degrees Monday. "An expansive ridge of high pressure over Southern Alaska is continuing the string of UNUSUALLY HOT days."


New respiratory virus worse than SARS - The mysterious new respiratory virus that originated in the Middle East spreads easily between people and appears more deadly than SARS, doctors report.
More than 60 cases of what is now called MERS, including 38 deaths, have been recorded by the World Health Organisation in the past year, mostly in Saudi Arabia. So far, illnesses haven't spread as quickly as SARS did in 2003, ultimately killing about 800 people worldwide. An international team of doctors who investigated nearly two dozen cases in eastern Saudi Arabia found the new coronavirus has some striking similarities to SARS. Unlike SARS, though, scientists remain baffled as to the source of MERS.
In a worrying finding, the team said on Wednesday, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) not only spreads easily between people, but within hospitals. That was also the case with SARS, a distant relative of the new virus. "To me, this felt a lot like SARS did."
They couldn't nail down how it was spread in every case - through droplets from sneezing or coughing, or a more indirect route. Some of the hospital patients weren't close to the infected person, but somehow picked up the virus. "In the right circumstances, the spread could be explosive."
Cases have continued to trickle in, and there appears to be an ongoing outbreak in Saudi Arabia. MERS cases have also been reported in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Tunisia. Most have had a direct connection to the Middle East region. In the Saudi cluster that was investigated, certain patients infected many more people than would be expected.
Symptoms of both diseases are similar, with an initial fever and cough that may last for a few days before pneumonia develops. But MERS appears far more lethal. Compared with SARS' 8 per cent death rate, the fatality rate for MERS in the Saudi outbreak was about 65 per cent, though the experts could be missing mild cases that might skew the figures.
While SARS was traced to bats before jumping to humans via civet cats, the source of the MERS virus remains a mystery. It is most closely related to a bat virus though some experts suspect people may be getting sick from animals such as camels or goats. Another hypothesis is that infected bats may be contaminating foods such as dates, commonly harvested and eaten in Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

48 Mayors Vow to Strengthen Defenses Against Extreme Weather - As unprecedented extreme weather and climate change wreak havoc across the country, 48 local elected officials Monday committed themselves to fortifying their cities, towns, and counties.
The officials pledged to take cost-effective actions to prepare and protect their communities from the increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change – heat waves, floods, droughts, severe storms, and wildfires. They will work to reduce the carbon footprint in their cities, implement energy efficiency programs and transition to renewable energy to achieve greater energy independence, protect communities from price spikes, and ensure more reliable power during heat waves and other disruptions.
The local officials called for more action at the federal level. “Local governments have always been the leaders on climate action, but we need more support from the federal government. We need better local-federal coordination on disaster preparedness, and we need them to address our aging and inadequate infrastructure, which has been underfunded for far too long.”
“A new national movement is emerging, led by mayors who believe that now is the time to take powerful, proactive steps to safeguard our communities, adapt to extreme weather and energy challenges, and transform adversity into economic opportunity.”
“Just last week, NOAA reported that extreme weather events caused a staggering $110 billion in damage in 2012, took countless lives, and impacted virtually every part of the country. As greenhouse gas emissions rise from our fossil fuel use, we know that heat waves, severe storms and rising seas will only worsen. By improving energy efficiency and expanding use of renewable energy, our most resilient cities are reducing emissions, saving money, creating local jobs, and strengthening local energy independence.”
“Communities across the country are on the front lines of three related challenges: record-breaking extreme weather fueled by climate change, unreliable and costly energy, and ongoing economic uncertainty. As the pace of change quickens, city and county governments must work to make communities more “resilient”: able to bounce back from disruptions in a sustainable way and maintain a good quality of life for all.”
“For every $1 spent on disaster preparedness, a community can save $4 in avoided costs. New York’s Mayor has not yet signed the Letter of Agreement, but last week he announced a $20 billion plan to fortify the nation’s largest city from the impacts of extreme weather and climate change by building integrated flood protection systems, sea walls, levees, bulkheads and dune systems.
“Over the next two years, the Resilient Communities for America campaign will connect local governments with one another to share the best solutions and innovations and help them accelerate their efforts - because we don’t have the luxury of time. Today, these local leaders are pledging to take action and not just offer platitudes."

**We are all failures - at least the best of us are.**
J.M. Barrie


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/18/13 -

6/17/13 -

Eerie silence from quake zone close to Istanbul predicts killer quake - German and Turkish scientists on Tuesday said they had pinpointed an extremely dangerous seismic zone less than 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the historic heart of Istanbul. Running under the Sea of Marmara just south of the city of some 15 million people, this segment of the notorious North Anatolian fault has been worryingly quiet in recent years, which may point to a buildup in tension.
"The block we identified reaches 10 kilometres deep along the fault zone and has displayed no seismic activity since measurements began over four years ago. This could be an indication that the expected Marmara earthquake could originate there." The North Anatolian fault, created by the collision of the Anatolia Plate with the Eurasia Plate, runs 1,500 kilometres along northern Turkey.
At the western tip of the fault, an earthquake took place in 1912 at Ganos near the Aegean Sea. On its eastern side, a domino series of earthquakes in 1939, 1942, 1951, 1967 and 1999 displaced the stress progressively westwards, bringing it ever closer to Istanbul. What is left now is a so-called earthquake gap under the Sea of Marmara, lying between the two fault stretches whose stress has been eased by the quakes. The "gap" itself, however, has not been relieved by an earthquake since 1766.
They calculate that the Anatolian fault normally has a westward motion of between 25 and 30 millimetres per year. But this natural slippage is being blocked by a small section, about 30 km long, located under a chain of nine small islands known as the Princes Islands. "The seismic silence along the Princes Islands segment stands in contrast to the background activity in the broader Izmit-Marmara region."
The paper says that, conceivably, stress under the Princes Islands is being relieved "aseismically," in other words, the pressure is being eased so gradually as to be undetectable. But this scenario is unlikely. "Our evidence indicates that this patch is locked and is therefore a potential nucleation point for another Marmara segment earthquake -- a potential that has significant natural hazards implications" for Istanbul.
The study does not make any prediction about the size of any future quake or when it could occur. But it notes an estimate published in 2004 that found a 35-to-70 percent probability that the "gap" will be struck by an earthquake greater than magnitude seven by 2034. Other scientists have also pointed to the possibility of several smaller "en echelon" type quakes, which may generate less ground motion but are likelier to cause tsunamis because they displace the sea floor. The last big quakes on the North Anatolian fault in 1999 -- a 7.1-magnitude quake in Duzce and 7.4-magnitude quake in Izmit -- left some 20,000 people dead. (photo)

Earthquake Creates Weird Lightshow Over Mexico City - The earthquake at night in Mexico City looked like an alien war zone of brilliant light flashes, as tremors trip up the electrical grid piece by sparking piece. The 5.8-magnitude quake occurred right after midnight on Sunday, June 16, with the epicenter quivering in the neighborhood of Jolalpan, about 76 miles south of Mexico City.
While the temblor was far from a giant, the soft soil of Mexico's capital – the cause of much death and destruction during the notorious 1985 quake – assured that the metropolis shook strongly. The intense electrical blasts that briefly lit up streets and buildings were captured on multiple views by Webcams de Mexico. Fortunately, there've been no reports of damage or chaos aside from a few blackouts.

Volcano Webcams

Popocatepetl volcano spews ash on June 17 - Mexico's active Popocatepetl volcano has registered a massive explosion spewing ash and incandescent rock almost 4 kilometers high. Authorities have warned that winds could blow the ash cloud as far away as Mexico City.


In the Atlantic -
Tropical Depression Two was located about 60 mi (100 km) WNW of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. Tropical storm watch issued for a portion of southern Mexico. On the forecast track, the center of the depression will move over the southern Bay of Campeche today and reach the coast in the state of Veracruz tonight. The depression could be near tropical storm strength when it approaches the coast of Mexico.

In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Leepi was located about 329 nm south-southwestward of Kadena Air Base, Japan.

A large area of clouds and thunderstorms over Honduras and the northwestern Caribbean Sea had a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Monday.

U.S. bases on Okinawa entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 at 7 p.m. Monday. Okinawa remained in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 as of Tuesday morning, expecting a wet, windy Wednesday evening/Thursday morning on Okinawa.
Tropical Storm Leepi might be less of a threat to Okinawa than earlier forecast. The Latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track shows Leepi drifting to the west, with closest point of approach about 130 miles west of Okinawa at 10 a.m. Thursday. Peak winds still forecast for 52 mph sustained and 63 mph gusts, but at storm's center. If Leepi remains on its forecast track, it could be less for Okinawa. Leepi should then chug rapidly northeast, dealing the Kanto Plain little more than a glancing blow 155 miles south of Yokosuka Naval Base around 10 p.m. Friday.
Tropical Storm Emong [Leepi] intensifies, starts heading for Japan - Many Manila areas flooded due to heavy downpour. Motorists navigated their vehicles in gutter-deep flood in Quezon City after a heavy downpour caused by Tropical Depression Emong on Monday afternoon.
Tropical Storm Emong (Leepi) slightly intensified as it started heading for the Japan area early Wednesday, state weather forecasters said. But PAGASA forecasters warned residents in Luzon of the threat of possible flash floods and landslides that may be triggered by rain brought by Emong. Models show Emong may exit the Philippine area of responsibility as early as Thursday morning and head for Japan.


MERS cases, deaths climb - Saudi Arabia reported three more MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases and four more deaths yesterday, raising the global tally to 64 cases and 38 deaths.

Doubts about BioWatch program aired in Congress again - Doubts about the federal BioWatch program were aired in Congress once again, with a House committee chairman criticizing plans for costly new biosurveillance equipment and a top federal disease expert expressing his own concerns about the technology.

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