Wednesday, June 5, 2013

THE LARGEST TORNADO IN RECORDED HISTORY was Friday's May 31, 2013 EF-5 tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma. Mobile radar was positioned on top of an overpass, and recorded winds close to the surface of up to 295 mph in SATELLITE SUCTION VORTICIES that orbited the large, main vortex.
The large, main vortex had EF-4 winds of 185 mph, and the satellite suction vortices moved across the fields at that speed, and rotated on their own at speeds of up to 110 mph, giving a combined wind speed of up to 295 mph in some of the satellite vortices. It's no wonder that so many storm chasers got in trouble with this tornado, since these suction vortices moved at speeds of up to 185 mph towards them as the tornado rapidly expanded into the largest on record. The maximum path width was 2.6 miles. The length of the path was 16.2 miles. The tornado killed a tornado scientist and his two chase partners, and also killed an amateur storm chaser.
The tornado began moving directly down I-40 as it headed towards Oklahoma City; had the tornado maintained its EF-5 strength and moved down I-40 into Oklahoma City, where traffic was bumper-to-bumper due to people trying to flee, the greatest tornado disaster in U.S. history would have resulted. The 295 mph winds of the El Reno tornado rank second only to the world-record 302 mph (130 m/s) winds recorded in the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 3, 1999. However, the Moore tornado's winds were measured at an altitude of 105 feet (32 meters), so the winds near the surface may have been higher in the El Reno tornado. (path map & video)

**A celebrity is someone who works hard
all his life to become known and then
wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.**
Fred Allen


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
6/4/13 -

6/3/13 -

Japan - Tokyo-area frequency of quakes still high. The frequency of earthquakes measuring magnitude 3 or stronger in the Tokyo metropolitan area at the end of last year remained higher than before the massive Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.
The study showed that after a rise in the wake of the 2011 9-magnitude quake, the return to a normal frequency has been slower than expected in the Tokyo metropolitan area and also in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures, an area that could be hit by a major quake. That suggests the increasing possibility of a huge earthquake hitting the metropolitan area, and also of such frequency remaining high in the next few years. “There is a possibility that a PHENOMENON THAT CANNOT BE EXPECTED AFTER A REGULAR EARTHQUAKE, may be happening.”
On average, one earthquake a week occurred in the area surveyed before the 2011 mega-quake. But after the quake, the frequency in December 2012 rose to one every two to three days. The frequent occurrence of earthquakes of magnitude of 3 or stronger pushes up the probability of a 7-magnitude-level quake in the future. According to the calculation, there is about a 17 percent possibility that a magnitude of 7 temblor will hit an area centering on Tokyo and Chiba in the next five years, about 2.5 times higher than estimated before 3/2011.

Diplomats say Iran nuclear reactor damaged by quake - Tehran claimed Bushehr facility was untouched by recent tremblers, but large cracks have apparently been seen in its structure.
Diplomats say countries monitoring Iran’s nuclear program have picked up information that the country’s only power-producing nuclear reactor was damaged by one or more recent earthquakes. Two diplomats say long cracks have appeared in at least one section of the structure. They demanded anonymity Tuesday, because they are not authorized to divulge confidential information. Officials in Tehran assured the international community — after the quakes struck in April and early May — that the facility at Bushehr, south of Tehran, was undamaged.
Recent restricted information gathered from the site questions that assertion. One concrete section of the structure developed cracks several meters long as a result of the quakes on April 9 and April 16. Both diplomats are from member countries of the Vienna-based demanded International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran’s nuclear program. One of the two said that the cracks seen were not in the vicinity of the reactor core, which contains highly radioactive fuel. But he said that the information available was limited to one section of the reactor, meaning damage elsewhere could not be ruled out. He declined to go into details saying that could jeopardize the sources.
On April 9, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the town of Kaki, some 80 kilometers southeast of Bushehr. Over 40 people were killed and hundreds more injured during the trembler, which caused serious damage in the region. A 5.1-magnitude quake also hit the same region in early May. Officials said then, as well, that there was no damage to the reactor. The plant is not considered a proliferation threat, but some nations are concerned about how safe it is.
Iran has refused to join an international nuclear safety convention, and technical problems have shut the plant for lengthy periods since it started up in September 2011 after years of construction delays. Kuwait and other Arab countries are only a few hundred kilometers (miles) away from Iran’s Bushehr reactor, on the other side of Persian Gulf coast south of Tehran, and are particularly worried about the safety of the Russian-built reactor. But Iran insists the plant is technically sound and built to withstand all but the largest earthquakes unscathed. Officials in Tehran reassured the international community after the quakes struck in April and early May that the facility was undamaged.
Iranian officials say the Bushehr plant was built to withstand quakes up to magnitude 8. Because it’s not a member of the international safety convention, “there are questions about the day-to-day safety at the installation.” Concerns about Bushehr’s safety have been compounded by its location in the wake of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima reactor and resulted in huge radioactive spills.
Iran is located in a zone of tectonic compression where the Arabian plate is moving into the Eurasian plate, leaving more than 90 percent of the country crisscrossed by seismic fault lines. The country has been rocked by hundreds of killer quakes over past centuries. Nine quakes that hit Iran in the last decades were over magnitude 6 including a 2003 temblor that killed at least 26,000 people in the city of Bam. Scientists say more fault lines are waiting to be discovered and more major quakes are only a matter of time.
Iran’s is not prone to tsunamis. But a severe earthquake alone can crack protective containment vessels that keep radioactivity inside reactors. Earthquakes can also knock out the power, crippling cooling systems that prevent reactors from overheating and possibly exploding.

Philippines – A North Cotabato town has been placed under state of calamity after it was hit by two earthquakes that left damages to many homes and public infrastructures. The series of earthquakes that rocked North Cotabato since Saturday damaged infrastructure worth at least 50 million in Carmen, the town that sits near the epicenter.
Earthquakes that Struck Northern Philippines to Last for Months - The aftershocks from the double 5.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the northern Philippines only a day apart could last for weeks or months.

Volcano Webcams

Pavlof Eruption Picks Up Again - After a week-long respite, Pavlof Volcano on the Alaska Peninsula has sent up another ash plume. Pilots flying past the volcano Tuesday morning were the first to spot the cloud, which they estimated at 19,000 feet.

Small Plume Spotted at Satsuma-Iojima in Japan - A small eruption might be underway at Satsuma-Iojima, part of the Kikae caldera, off the southern coast of Kyushu in Japan. The island volcano was reported to have a thin plume that reached 8 km (27,000 feet), but beyond this, details are scant.


No current tropical storms.

A potential cyclone has formed east of Mindanao, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Wednesday. The LPA (low pressure area) could possibly intensify into a cyclone that can trigger the start of the rainy season.

System in Gulf of Mexico could be season's first tropical storm - Florida Floods A Concern As Tropical Cyclone Chances Increase. With the Atlantic hurricane season only four days old, government and private forecasters are keeping close tabs on a tropical system in the western Gulf of Mexico that could become the year's first tropical storm by late this week. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami gives the storm a 40 percent chance of becoming tropical by Thursday. The system is moving northeast toward Florida and away from the majority of offshore oil platformsand rigs. Some models turn the storm toward Mexico. The system is now called 91L but likely to be named Andrea eventually.
The computer models predict that 91L should stay large and poorly organized, and if it does develop, it will be difficult for it to get any stronger than a 45 mph tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico. Wind shear, which can disrupt the structure of tropical systems, may weaken a bit by June 6, giving the system a brief chance to become Andrea. Localized flooding from the Florida panhandle down through the Florida peninsula to the Florida Keys will be a concern this week as widespread moderate rainfall coupled with locally heavy rainfall continues across the state.


Germany flood threat heads north towards Dresden - Thousands of German troops have been sent to help flood-hit regions as rising rivers threaten more cities. Surging waters that have already caused extensive damage across central Europe are moving north and east along rivers including the Elbe and Danube.
Meanwhile river levels in the Czech capital Prague have begun to fall. Large areas of suburban Prague were flooded but metal barriers protecting the historic city centre held as the floods peaked and the high waters moved north towards Germany. Around 4,000 German troops have been deployed in four states, reinforcing dykes with sandbags and providing help to thousands of people forced to leave their homes.
All the signs were that the waters of the Danube were subsiding, but other rivers further north started to look more threatening. In Saxony, the Elbe was rising to dangerous levels, as waters poured in from the Czech Republic. The latest cities to be hit include Meissen on the Elbe. Nearby Dresden is preparing for water levels 5m higher than normal. Officials in Saxony - home to both Meissen and Dresden - have warned that rivers could rise even higher than in the record floods of 2002, when both cities were devastated.
In the stricken Bavarian city of Passau waters REACHED A LEVEL NOT SEEN IN 500 YEARS. Across Europe at least 12 people have died as a result of the floods. As well as Germany and the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary have been affected. Main roads in many areas have been closed and rail services cut. Thousands of homes are without power.
Hungary has declared a state of emergency as the surging waters move down the River Danube, with the peak expected on Thursday. The Hungarian capital Budapest and the Slovakian capital Bratislava - both on the Danube - are on alert and flood defences are being reinforced.
Some Czech towns are already underwater and there are warnings that defences could be breached within hours In the Czech Republic, a nationwide state of emergency is still in force. Water levels were expected to peak in the north late on Tuesday. As a precaution, Prague's metro system and central sewage treatment plant were closed, metal flood defences were erected and sandbags built up along the banks of the Vltava.
In Austria, the meteorological service said TWO MONTHS OF RAIN HAD FALLEN IN JUST TWO DAYS. Shipping was halted on parts of the Danube and Rhine in Germany, and the entire length of the Danube in Austria. The rivers are used heavily to transport commodities such as grain and coal.
The unanswered question is whether floods are getting worse and more frequent in this region. The two big floods in recent memory were 2002 and today's - both previously predicted to be very rare events. But the big one before that was in 1954, before concerns about global warming. The Danube is a busy commercial waterway which is much subject to man-made alteration, both to improve navigation and for waterside development. This human engineering of the landscape is constantly monitored and debated in this region. The current floods will add to that debate. (map & before-and-after photos)

Extreme Weather Wrecks Havoc in South Africa - Extreme weather, characterized by severe cold spells and heavy rains, have wrought havoc in parts of South Africa, leaving six people dead. Four people died due to extreme weather that has hit the Western Cape since Friday. Meanwhile, two people were believed to have died of exposure to cold in the Eastern Cape Province.
In Western Cape, an estimated 30,000 people have been affected by the extreme weather. In Cape Town which was hit by hail and thunderstorms at the weekend, 2,266 people were affected by floods and hundreds of houses were damaged. The South African Weather Service forecast snow for mountains in the Southern Cape and biting cold for the rest of the week. Western Cape Disaster Management officials said they are gearing up to assist more people who will be affected by stormy weather conditions as another cold front is on its way to the province.


Like a raging volcano, California wildfire expands to 46 square acres. Like a volcano spewing lava over the land, the California wildfire has now expanded to at least 46 square miles along the edges of the Angeles National Forest. While fire crews had doubled containment to 40 percent by Monday, as cooler temperatures prevailed.


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus - Reports from Italy suggested that media stories of asymptomatic MERS-CoV infections there were probably a false alarm.
MERS-CoV - 2 more cases in Italy, 1 in Saudi Arabia. Two people in Italy who had contact with the country's first MERS-CoV case-patient are sick with the virus, while Saudi Arabia has another new case and three deaths in previously reported patients, health authorities reported over the weekend.

- Townsend Farms, Inc. of Fairview, Oregon, announced that it is recalling certain lots of its frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend, out of an abundance of caution, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.
- Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese Company of Trumansburg, NY is recalling 12 wheels of GOUDA cheese manufactured on December 20, 2012. The results of U.S. Food and Drug Administration product sampling revealed the presence of GOUDA Cheese contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes Type 1.