Sunday, June 16, 2013

U.S. tab for 2012's extreme weather events: over $110 billion - Second costliest year on record for severe weather, with 11 separate billion-dollar disasters. The total puts 2012 second in total damages behind 2005, which saw four devastating hurricanes, including Katrina and Rita, and incurred $160 billion in costs.
Hurricane Sandy was responsible for more than half of 2012's total, with approximately $65 billion in claims. The Midwest drought soaked up another $30 billion. Sandy also incurred the worst loss of life, with more than 130 fatalities tied to the storm that engulfed nearly 500 miles along the East Coast.
But heat waves last year caused more than 100 deaths, and the largest drought in the United States since the 1930s had the federal government declaring drought disasters in 2,600 of the nation's 3,143 counties. Drought conditions also led to several devastating wildfires that burned more than 9 million acres in 2012.
In number of big events, the 11 billion-dollar disaster events in 2012 rank second behind the 14 events in 2011. The 11 events in 2012 killed more than 300 people and had "devastating economic effects" on the regions impacted. The disasters include seven severe weather and tornado events, two tropical cyclones, and the yearlong drought and its associated wildfires.



Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
5.8 MORELOS, MEXICO (105 km S of Mexico City)

Yesterday -
6/15/13 -

6/14/13 -

6.5-magnitude earthquake strikes off Nicaragua on Saturday - no damage. The quake had a depth of 35.8 kilometers (22.3miles) and struck about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of the Nicaraguan beach town of Masachapa at 11:34 a.m. It was felt as far away as El Salvador.

Volcano Webcams

Third volcano acting up in Southwest Alaska - Another volcano is rumbling to life on the Alaska Peninsula. Mount Veniaminof, 25 miles southwest of Chignik Lake and 485 miles from Anchorage, has rumbled to life since about June 8, when researchers saw a spike in seismic activity at the peak. On Thursday morning, satellite imagery revealed heightened surface temperature indicating a likely "eruption at the intracaldera cone" of the volcano.
Veniaminof is a wide-diameter peak that features a huge caldera with an active portion located on the western side. AVO researchers report that there has been steam observed coming from the peak, but no ashfall has been sighted yet. Despite that, the observatory elevated the volcano's alert level to "watch," indicating that explosive activity could occur any time. They're warning aviators to exercise caution when flying near the peak.
Veniaminof is a frequently active volcano on the Alaska Peninsula in Southwest Alaska. In February 2008, the last time it was active, Veniaminof spat out "several minor bursts of ash...Ash fallout is typically limited to the flanks of the volcano. Minor emissions of steam and ash may persist for for weeks to months." Veniaminof joins two other volcanoes, Mount Cleveland in the Aleutian Islands and Pavlof Volcano, also located on the Alaska Peninsula, in exhibiting unsettled activity.
Alaska Volcano Observatory


No current tropical storms.

Caribbean Disturbance Little Threat to Develop - A concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms has developed over the Southwest Caribbean near the coast of Nicaragua in association with a tropical wave that is moving slowly west northwest towards Nicaragua and Honduras. Wind shear is a high 20 - 30 knots, which will keep any development slow.
The high shear is due to the presence of the subtropical jet stream, which is expected to push northwards over the next few days. This may allow wind shear to fall to the moderate range on Monday, when the wave will be in the Northwest Caribbean, between Honduras and Belize. NHC is giving the disturbance only a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm by Monday, but these odds may increase on Monday when the wave has crossed into the Northwest Caribbean - if the wind shear drops.
The wave will cross over the Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday and may emerge into the Southern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche as early as Wednesday. At that point, the models continue to predict a slow west-northwest motion, bringing the wave ashore into Mexico between Veracruz and Tampico late in the week.
Wind shear is expected to remain high during the entire period, keeping any development slow. The Bay of Campeche is a region where the topography aids the spin-up of tropical cyclones, so the disturbance's odds of formation are the greatest on Wednesday through Friday, after it crosses the Yucatan. None of the models develop the disturbance, and there is no indication that this system will affect the U.S., as a strong ridge of high pressure over the U.S. during the coming week should keep the tropical wave trapped in the southern Gulf of Mexico. (satellite photo)


More MERS-CoV cases reported in Saudi Arabia - The trickle of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases continued with Saudi Arabia reporting three more, including a fatal one, pushing the unofficial global count over 60.

Lipari Foods of Warren, MI, is recalling Raw Sunflower Seeds, Roasted Sunflower Seeds and Snack Mixes, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.