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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