Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thousands flee flood-hit parts of Germany and Hungary - Some 23,000 people were forced to leave their homes in the east German city of Magdeburg after a dam burst on the flood-swollen River Elbe. Although water levels in Magdeburg were reported to be receding on Monday, the city and areas of the country further north remain on high alert.
In Hungary, 1,200 people had to leave their homes but flood defences in the capital Budapest appeared to have held. At least 19 people have died in the floods in Central Europe. Ten victims from the Czech Republic and five from Austria died after rivers rose to dangerous levels in both countries last week. Analysts say the damage will cost billions of euros to clean up.
Meanwhile, parts of Poland's capital Warsaw were flooded on Sunday after hours of heavy rain. One of the city's busiest motorways was inundated, and firefighters had to help stranded drivers to safety. Flood defences in Budapest appeared to have held on Monday as waters from the Danube River started to recede, having reached an HISTORIC PEAK of 8.91m (29 ft) on Sunday. "We have no reports of any catastrophic situation, the situation is normalising."
The capital "should be out of danger by Wednesday", but residents were warned that the focus of defence efforts was now in the south of the country. Along more than 700km (470 miles) of the River Danube, thousands of people, including many volunteers and even convicts from the prisons, worked to reinforce earth and sandbag barriers. More than 1,200 people have been evacuated from their homes, although no flood-related deaths have yet been reported in Hungary.
In Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony-Anhalt state, flood waters rose to 7.44m (24ft), nearly FOUR TIMES HIGHER THAN NORMAL (2m) - forcing some 10% of the population, 23,000, to leave their homes. Around 700 soldiers worked to build a dam of sandbags around a power sub-station in the badly-hit area of Rothensee in a bid to keep the power on. The flood water levels had fallen slightly in Magdeburg itself on Monday, but the situation remains critical. "We hope that the dykes will withstand the pressure over the coming days, but we can't be 100% sure."
But other parts of Saxony-Anhalt and neighbouring Brandenburg state remain under threat as the flood crest moves north, testing flood defences already weakened by days of heavy rain. A dyke at Fischbeck, west of Berlin, was breached overnight leading to the evacuation of nearby villages. A railway bridge on the line between Berlin and Cologne, Frankfurt and Amsterdam had to be closed, leading to significant delays or cancellations for train travellers. The authorities in Germany are investigating an anonymous letter threatening attacks on several dams. The motive behind the threats is not known, but the threat is being taken seriously. (photos & map)

**I hope that after I die, people will say of me:
‘That guy sure owed me a lot of money.' **
Jack Handy


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
6/10/13 -

New Zealand - Earthquake brain phenenomen observed. A psychiatrist says a phenomenon called earthquake brain is affecting the ability of some people in the Christchurch to think clearly. It comes from a build-up of the stress hormone cortisol.

Australia - A 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck a remote area near the border of the Northern Territory and South Australia. Territorians are reporting cracked footpaths and shaking buildings after the earthquake rocked the southern region overnight. The epicentre of the quake was just 40 kilometres from the Aboriginal community of Ernabella.
Locals were shaken awake by the tremors. "We've only got a couple of cracks actually in our cement paths going over towards the rooms. One of the local blokes who came (out) of his room, he said he saw a couple of the staff quarters shaking, so we'd better bolt them down."
The shaking has caught the interest of seismologists, because the area had a similar quake a year ago, but, before that, it had gone decades without one being recorded. The quake hit just before midnight, about 315 kilometres southwest of Alice Springs. Ernabella suffered an earthquake of a similar size in March last year. "We had aftershocks following the Ernabella (earthquake), and, likewise, we'd expect to have aftershocks from this one normally but they're typically much smaller than the big one and just last for days and weeks after the earthquake."
Before these two similar-sized events, it had been more than 50 years since a quake was recorded in the area. "It's UNUSUAL to get two large earthquakes within 40 kilometres of each other within Australia."

Volcano Webcams

Russia's northernmost volcano spewing ash, threatens planes - In the country's Far East, the Kamchatkan volcano Shiveluch has thrice emitted columns of hot volcanic ash and gas. The tallest plume reached nine kilometers above the sea level local scientists reported on Monday. A local department of the geophysical service with the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement that video monitoring of the volcano was being hindered by poor weather conditions, but monitors registered nearly 150 seismic disturbances.


In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Yagi was located about 295 nm west-northwestward of Iwo To, Japan.

Philippines - Tropical Storm Dante moves away from country. Tropical Storm “Dante,” the fourth cyclone to enter the country this year, slightly accelerated Sunday evening while moving over the Philippine Sea.

Tropical Storm Yagi - While Tropical Storm Yagi should endure for a few more days, it doesn't appear as if it will be much of a threat to Okinawa or even the Kanto Plain; the latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center update indicates.

Ex-tropical storm Andrea set to wash out UK summer - The tropical storm will wash out the short summer tonight as the sun vanishes for the month. Wind and rain from Hurricane Andrea, which has blitzed America, is heading their way. It comes after just one week of sun following THE COLDEST SPRING IN MORE THAN 50 YEARS.
Temperatures slumped to 13C in London and Newcastle yesterday. “We did have a spell of weather which was warmer than average, but the ex-tropical storm, Andrea, will come across the Atlantic overnight on Monday and Tuesday and it’ll be a duller outlook. As we go through the week this will spread across much of the country.”


Indonesia - Government warns of year-long extreme weather. The Agriculture said that Indonesia would likely experience a year-long wet season, a condition that could have an impact on the country’s food production capabilities. “This year, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency [BMKG] predicted that we’ll see repeat conditions of 2010 when we also had a year-long rainy season.”
With the wet conditions, the country would likely fail to meet its staple food production target. The government had targeted that the country would produce 72 million tons of dry unhusked rice this year. Last year, 69.05 million tons of dry unhusked rice was produced, a 5 percent increase from 2011. Rice output growth over the last few years has strengthened projections for 2014, when it is estimated that the surplus could reach 10 million tons.
The extreme weather, coupled with poor infrastructure, would likely make the country fail to reach the 10 million surplus. 52 percent of the country’s irrigation system was badly damaged and it would cost at least Rp 21 trillion (US$2.1 billion) to fix it. The government currently has only Rp 3 trillion in its budget to overhaul the irrigation system. With the overhaul, the country could boost its production of dry unhusked rice. “After the repairs, we could add 9.1 million kilograms to our production.”
The BMKG had earlier predicted that the rainy weather would continue until August. Indonesia’s dry season usually begins in April, but as of the second week of June, parts of the country continues to experience heavy rains, including Jakarta, where heavy precipitation has caused inundation in low-lying areas. The agency has attributed the UNUSUAL WEATHER to climate change and rising ocean temperatures, which affects weather patterns and have led to massive storms across the globe.
The agency said that some of the areas that will see heavy rains in the coming weeks are South Sumatra, Java, Bali, South Sulawesi, West and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Local BMKG agencies also warned of rough seas in the coming days. In Kupang, the local BMKG reported that waves could reach five meters in the waters of East Nusa Tenggara. In Aceh, the agency predicted that waves could reach 4 meters high.

One fourth of NYC could be flood zone by 2050s - By the 2050s, more than 800,000 New York City residents could be living in a flood zone that would cover a quarter of the city's land and New Yorkers could sweat out as many 90-degree days as is now normal for Birmingham, Alabama, as effects of global warming take hold, a scientists' group convened by the city says.
With local waters a foot to 2 1/2 feet higher than they are today, 8 percent of the city's coastline could see flooding just from high tides, the group estimates. And while the average day could be 4 degrees to nearly 7 degrees hotter, a once-in-a-century storm would likely spur a surge 5 or more feet higher than Superstorm Sandy, which sent a record 14-foot storm tide gushing into lower Manhattan.
The updated predictions were released Monday, ahead of recommendations the Mayor is to present Tuesday on what to do about threats that Sandy brought into stark relief. "We have to look ahead and anticipate any and all future threats, not only from hurricanes and other coastal storms but also from droughts, heavy downpours and heat waves - many of which are likely to be longer and more intense in the years to come."
The study examined the pros and cons of building berms, dunes, levees and other coast-protection structures. But the mayor has historically been cool to the idea of massive sea walls - and emphatic about not suggesting that people move out of coastal areas. City Hall, the state government and others have released warnings over the years about climate risks in the nation's most populous city. The city has required some new developments in flood zones to be elevated and has restored wetlands as natural barriers, among other steps.
"Sandy, obviously, increased the urgency of dealing with this and the need to plan and start to take concrete steps." The new projections echo 2009 estimates from the scientists' group, called the New York City Panel on Climate Change, but move up the time frame for some upper-end possibilities from the 2080s to mid-century. "The overall numbers are similar, but we have more compelling evidence now that (a more severe scenario from 2009) is looking like a more realistic possibility now," due to improved computer models and more evidence that some ice sheets are melting.
Scientists have reached a consensus on global warming, but still debate how severe the effects will be. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released revisions Monday to proposed new flood zone maps for the city. About 218,000 people and 35,000 buildings are in the current once-in-100-year flood zone, drawn in the 1980s. The new maps roughly double those numbers, though the revision shifts about 5,800 structures from a subset called the V zone - the area expected to suffer the worst damage - to a less stringent zone. A roughly two-year review is expected before new maps become official. They can affect building regulations and insurance.


WHO proposes new pandemic flu alert levels - The World Health Organization has proposed a new pandemic alert system, one that's designed to focus more on disease risk than geographic spread and to streamline communications to the public.

Alderman Farms Sales Corporation, Boynton Beach, Florida is recalling one pint containers of Certified Organic Cherry Tomatoes because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.