Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Deadly Arizona wildfire 0% contained - The wildfire continues to burn out of control. About 200 additional firefighters have been brought to tackle the blaze, bringing the total force to about 400.
The fire was believed to have been sparked by lightning on Friday near the small mountain town of Yarnell. The uncontained conflagration was said to have scorched some 8,400 acres (3,400 hectares) of land. Scores of homes have been destroyed and two towns evacuated. In recent days, dozens of people across western US states have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, amid a heat wave. Temperatures in some areas were expected to reach 54C (130F), close to the world's all-time high recorded 100 years ago in California's Death Valley.

**You will never fully believe in yourself
if you keep comparing yourself to everyone else.
Instead, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.**

No updates over the Independence Day holiday - Wednesday through Friday.


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
7/1/13 -
The second day with only one moderate quake - something big may be building up.

Volcano Webcams

Tungurahua volcano (Ecuador) - increasing earthquake numbers. The number of earthquakes associated with fluid movement within the volcano has risen from 10 daily earthquakes on June 20 to 54 earthquakes on 29 June. These so-called long period (LP) earthquakes often reflect an increase in pressure inside the volcano. So far, the earthquakes are small and not felt by people.
In the afternoon of 29 June, mild fumarolic activity was observed in the crater area. Gas sensors installed near the volcano showed no increase in the concentration of SO2 gas, which suggests that the conduit is currently blocked by a plug, which supports the idea of increasing pressure inside the volcano. Based on the above, IGPEN warns that the pressure build-up could lead to an explosion that destroys the plug, as has happened on other occasions, such as on 16 December last year, and result in new activity of the volcano such as in March and May this year.


New Orleans' Achilles Heel: a Storm Surge on the Mississippi River? In the wake of the unthinkable devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, Congress approved a $14.5 billion upgrade to the city's flood defenses -- the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, a 139-mile system of levees, walls and gates designed to protect against a 1-in-100-year storm surge, equivalent to what a Category 3 hurricane would bring. The last link of this formidable barrier system was completed on June 17, when the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they had finished a $3 billion flood-control ring around the West Bank of Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes, on the opposite side of the Mississippi River from New Orleans.
The only work remaining on the $14.5 billion Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System is a $615 million project to install three permanent pumps to replace temporary pumps installed on canals leading from New Orleans into Lake Pontchartrain. The new flood defense system already has undergone a stern test, thanks to Hurricane Isaac of 2012.
Isaac was a large, slow-moving Category 1 storm with 80 mph winds that brought a storm surge characteristic of a Category 2 storm to New Orleans. The new flood defenses performed admirably, giving confidence that the city's new flood defenses can indeed withstand the 15' storm surge that a 1-in-100 year Category 3 hurricane might bring.
The Louisiana coastline has experienced 59 hurricane strikes since 1851 (including Isaac), but only one of these hurricanes brought a storm surge to New Orleans capable of overwhelming the 2013 levee system - if it behaves as designed. That storm was the deadliest hurricane in Louisiana history, the 1893 Chenier Caminanda hurricane, which hit the coast south of New Orleans as a Category 4 storm. Over 2,000 people died in the storm, mostly due to storm surge.
This year, a huge pulse of flood waters began heading southwards down the Mississippi River in late May, thanks to runoff from torrential rains associated with the deadly thunderstorms that killed 23 people in Oklahoma. The river crested at major flood stage in St. Louis on June 4, and that crest propagated steadily downstream, reaching New Orleans on June 20. The river crested at 12.9', which is about 7' below the tops of the levees protecting the city from the river.
The river will slowly fall over the next few weeks. However, the Upper Mississippi River will reach major flood stage during the first week of July, due to heavy rains over the past week. This pulse of flood water will arrive in New Orleans in late July, keeping the river level higher than average.
A slow-moving Category 1 hurricane like Hurricane Isaac hitting during July or August this year could potentially have a storm surge capable of overwhelming the river's levees and flooding the city, due to the relatively high water in the Mississippi River this summer.
The risk of storm surge flooding in New Orleans due to an early season hurricane hitting when the Mississippi River is high is only about a 1-in-250 year event, we should expect an increase in this risk in future years, due to climate change. The Atlantic hurricane season is getting longer in association with increased ocean temperatures, and more early-season named storms are occurring in May and June.
Heavy precipitation events - predicted by climate models to increase due to more heat and moisture in the atmosphere from global warming - are also on the increase in the U.S., raising the odds of unusually high water in the Mississippi River. Fortunately, the latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model predicts high wind shear over the Gulf of Mexico well into July, and there are no predictions from our reliable models of a potential tropical storm forming in the Atlantic through at least July 3.


In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Rumbia was located 231 nm eastward of Hanoi, Vietnam. Weakening - the last warning has been issued on this system.

In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Dalila was located about 180 mi (290 km) WSW of Manzanillo, Mexico. Dalila continues to strengthen while moving away from Mexico. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).

Tropical Storm Gorio [Rumbia] spares Manila but strands many - The tropical storm shifted and spared the Philippine capital Sunday but stranded thousands of commuters, toppled trees and knocked out power in outlying provinces. Forecasters had predicted that Tropical Storm Rumbia would hit the densely populated Manila metropolis early Sunday, sparking emergency preparations. Instead it veered away and struck Batangas province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Manila, then blew away toward the South China Sea.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from the storm, which packed sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of 80 kph (50 mph). Strong winds and rain pounded on roofs and swayed trees before dawn in the capital of more than 12 million people, then the sun emerged. The government's disaster-response agency said 1,600 villagers fled their homes in Albay province, southeast of Manila, amid heavy rains, while more than 10,000 commuters were stranded as ferry and cargo boats suspended trips. Several provinces reported power outages and minor landslides. Rumbia is the seventh storm or typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. An average of 21 strike the country in a year.

China - Shipping services on the Qiongzhou Strait, a waterway that connects China's Hainan and Guangdong provinces, were suspended Monday due to the arrival of strong tropical storm Rumbia. Rumbia strengthened from a tropical storm to a strong strong tropical storm at 10 a.m., leading local authorities to ask boats to return to harbor.
Thirteen inbound or outbound flights were canceled at the Haikou Meilan International Airport as of 3 p.m. due to the storm. The Guangdong railway bureau said train services on the Donghuan high-speed railway in coastal Hainan have suspended, adding that 20 trains that have already departed from or are due to arrive in Hainan have been forced to make route changes. Packing winds of 90 km per hour, the storm is moving northwest at a speed of 25 to 30 km per hour and was expected to land near Guangdong's city of Zhanjiang or Hainan's city of Wenchang late Monday.


As India begins to wind down the rescue operations in the flood-hit Uttarakhand, the focus now shifts to families searching for the missing. Rishikesh in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has been ravaged by floods and landslides in the last fortnight. 3,000 people are still missing after the disaster.
More than 800 people are reported to have been killed so far, but the exact number of deaths, say officials, may never be known. Officials admit they have no easy answers to help the distraught relatives of the missing, whose faces are plastered on the walls of railway and bus stations and on billboards and vehicles in Rishikesh. Swollen rivers have swept away entire villages, where there were many travellers in what is the peak tourist and pilgrimage season.
Several bodies, which were found in a highly decomposed state, have been cremated in the affected areas. Many bodies may have been washed away or remain buried under debris. "The families want to know the real picture. But considering the scale of the disaster and with so little information available, we cannot give them a definite answer." A helpline set up for the relatives of the missing has received more than 25,000 calls so far. Officials say the number of calls has reduced, possibly as many relatives have given up on finding their kin.