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.