Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Emergency broadcasts can be hacked, US researchers have warned. The Emergency Alerting System (EAS) was set up to allow the president to talk to the entire country within 10 minutes of a disaster. One TV network's output "was interrupted by news of a zombie apocalypse." The faked broadcast said bodies were 'rising from their graves'.
The lead researcher said the system needed to be re-engineered. In February, weaknesses in the system - which was introduced in 1997, replacing an older set-up - were exposed by hackers. "Earlier this year we were shown an example of an intrusion on the EAS when the Montana Television Network's regular programming was interrupted by news of a zombie apocalypse. Although there was no zombie apocalypse, it did highlight just how vulnerable the system is."
The message, which was also played out on a radio station in Michigan, said: "Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages onscreen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous." Station bosses later apologised for any alarm or distress to listeners brought on by the unexpected alert.
In the UK, no such emergency broadcast system is in place. "We don't have an alerting system similar to that in this country at the moment." However, the government is set to launch trials later in the year of a new "public emergency alert system". Mooted plans include alert systems which span a variety of platforms, including the internet and mobile.
Social media will also be key. "The popularity of social media makes it an ideal platform for communication with people and for disseminating additional information in the aftermath of an emergency." Security must be a high priority to prevent false alarms. If a national emergency were to take place today, broadcasters such as the BBC have contingency plans to ensure broadcasts can continue even if key locations are inactive.

**In life, you usually get what you ask for
but it rarely comes in the package
you think it’s supposed to come in.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

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Volcano Webcams

Less than 40 miles outside of Mexico City, the volcano Popocat├ępetl is erupting, sending ash plumes roughly two miles into the atmosphere. Over the weekend, airlines took the precaution of cancelling flights out of Mexico City. Popocatepetl volcano, which sits halfway between Mexico City and Puebla, has spit a cloud of ash and vapor 2 miles high. Mexico's authorities have raised the volcano alert from Stage 2 Yellow to Stage 3 Yellow, the final step before a Red alert, when possible evacuations could be ordered.
New Lava Dome Spotted at Popocat├ępetl - This means that the eruption at the volcano has moved from sporadic explosions (Phase II) to frequent small to intermediate explosions, usually caused by a dome collapse (that can generate pyroclastic flows). Tremor is almost constant at the volcano.


In the Atlantic Ocean -
Tropical storm Chantal was located about about 215 mi (345 km) S of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Tropical storm conditions were expected across portions of Puerto Rico Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the Dominican Republic this morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected in Haiti by late Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the southeastern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos.and portions of the central Bahamas on Thursday.

In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Soulik was located approximately 546 nm southeastward of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

In the Eastern Pacific -
Post-Tropical storm Erick was located about 65 mi (100 km) WSW of Cabo San Lazaro, Mexico. Erick has degenerated into a remnant low. The last advisory has been issued on this system.

Tropical Storm Chantal is currently forecast to come ashore in Georgia around 8pm on Sunday. (map of path)
Chantal threatened to turn into a hurricane while it roared toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti as authorities there and in Puerto Rico warned of possible landslides and heavy flooding.
Tropical Storm Chantal approaching the Dominican Republic as winds hit 60 mph. Chantal raced toward the small islands of the Lesser Antilles on Tuesday, with officials in Dominica already reporting heavy winds that ripped off the roofs of several homes.
It is RARE for a tropical storm to form east of the Lesser Antilles Islands before mid-July. The hurricane season's traditional busy phase runs from mid-August to October.

Tropical Storm Soulik intensifies further, may stay in Philippines until Friday. The Japan Meteorological Agency's forecast tracked the cyclone just outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on July 8 - at its current rate and direction, it may enter the PAR by Wednesday.
Once the cyclone enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it will be named “Huaning,” the first cyclone to visit the country this month and the eight for the year. The cyclone will likely pass near extreme Northern Luzon before going to Taiwan.


Canada - Toronto flooded by RECORD-BREAKING RAINSTORM. Widespread flooding across Toronto.
About 50,000 people are still without power a day after a heavy rainstorm in Toronto flooded parts of Canada's largest city. More than 90mm (3.5in) of water - OVER A MONTH'S AVERAGE - was dumped on the city late on Monday. The rain flooded some major roads and subway stations, causing traffic chaos. Hundreds of passengers were stranded for several hours on a flooded commuter train and had to be evacuated on police boats. Water levels on the rush-hour Richmond Hill train rose so high that passengers fled to the upper decks of the coaches. The commuters had to be rescued by police and firefighters in small inflatable boats. Five or six people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
While the city saw about 90mm of rain, 126mm fell at nearby Pearson International airport on Monday evening, breaking the daily record of 121mm set by Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Average rainfall for the entire month of July in the area is 71 mm. Transit rail services were suspended in one area where a station and tracks were still underwater. The rain was called "UNPRECEDENTED".
At the height of the outages, about 300,000 people were without power. The power company brought outages down to 20,000 early on Tuesday, but an additional 30,000 lost power over the course of the morning. Utility officials asked residents to limit their use of electricity as the system was under extreme strain. Many basements and swimming pools in the area have been flooded with sewage and some roads remain underwater. Porter Airlines cancelled all flights out of the downtown airport on Monday because of the extreme weather.
"This is crucial that we all reduce our electricity for today to help relieve the strain on our hydro system. We're hanging on by a thread right now." The area was under threat of another thunderstorm Tuesday evening.

Waterspout wows residents in Florida's Tampa Bay area Monday evening. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning from 6:39 7:15 p.m. EDT after receiving numerous reports of a waterspout in northern Pinellas County. (slideshow)


Recent MERS cases have featured less severe symptoms, younger patients, and more females.