Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Server problems - again - have stopped me from getting the page updated this morning and I am moving off of ATT. Please note new email address:

**If you break your neck,
if you have nothing to eat,
if your house is on fire,
then you've got a problem.
Everything else is inconvenience.**
Robert Fulghum

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 8/13/13 -

Quake in Tibet leaves 87 injured - More than 45,000 houses were also damaged when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake jolted parts of Tibet on Wednesday. The quake was followed by several aftershocks. Over 100 km of roads linking villages in Ringo, a mountainous town located at the epicentre of the quake, were damaged, affecting more than 3,400 villagers. Traffic is expected to resume in the affected areas as rescuers have cleared most of the roads. The earthquake damaged multiple highways, bridges and some water conservancy facilities.

California - Broken Bolts Is Latest Woe for Late, Over Budget and Earthquake-Prone Bay Bridge. Decades after an earthquake hit San Francisco's Bay Bridge, damaging a 2.2 mile stretch connecting the city to Oakland, a new replacement section is nearly complete. The project's history is one of delays, cost overruns and challenges, including the latest problem: broken bolts.


Japan - Fukushima nuclear power plant emergency stands, 2 years after quake. After alarming reports last month revealed that hundreds of tons of contaminated water were being released into the ocean every day, MORE PROBLEMS HAVE ARISEN at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Ten workers at the disaster-ridden plant were exposed to radioactive material after being sprayed by contaminated mist. How the mist, which is used to cool some of the building, became contaminated is still a mystery. Tokyo Electric Power Compnay (TEPCO), the company that operates Fukushima, announced that it believed the misting system was contaminated after detecting traces of radioactive material on some of its workers Monday, after an alarm from a radiation monitor in front of the command center went off.
That amount of contamination is five times the maximum level Tepco has set as its limit, but none of the workers appear to have inhaled radioactive particles, or reported any illness. Though the level of radioactive exposure is low enough so as not to cause grave concern, TEPCO still has not been able to identify the source of the water’s contamination.
This is only the latest in a string of debacles that has plagued the Fukushima plant and TEPCO since March 2011, when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused system shutdowns at the plant, resulting in a nuclear meltdown. The radioactive materials released by the meltdown forced the evacuation of the surrounding area in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Since then, the Fukushima site has remained unstable.
Last month, it was made public that ground water, contaminated by the reactors, had breached its barrier and was spilling into the ocean. TEPCO had denied that the contaminated water was flowing into the sea, but after reports of spiraling levels of radioactive materials in the ocean, the company finally came clean. the water leakage has prompted the Prime Minister to have the government take a much more active role in the clean up and maintenance of the Fukushima site, rather than leaving it to TEPCO.
In the mean time, the environmental fallout has already taken its toll on fishing communities, whose livelihoods are at risk of being destroyed by the heavy amounts of contamination at sea. "It's like there's an allergy to the name Fukushima...Even if we could catch fish for sale, no one would buy them. We're talking about the Pacific Ocean, so it's not just Fukushima that's affected by the contamination. If Tepco allows more water to leak into the sea, the criticism will be WORLDWIDE. For us as fishermen, it's not a question of whether we can revive the Fukushima brand – we have no choice. We have to at least try."


In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Utor was located approximately 157 nm westward of Hong Kong. The final warning on this system has been issued.

Caribbean Disturbance 92L Organizing - 50% chance of developing by Friday. Pressures are falling in the Western Caribbean where a tropical wave (92L) is headed northwest at 10 - 15 mph. Cayman Islands radar shows that the thunderstorm activity is disorganized, and satellite loops show only a modest area of heavy thunderstorms, and no signs of a surface circulation. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots over the the wave, which should allow slow development today.
One forecast predicts that 92L will remain in an area of low to moderate wind shear through Friday, but then shear will rise on Saturday. If a tropical depression or tropical storm does form, and its circulation extends high above the surface, a trough of low pressure over the northern Gulf of Mexico would likely steer the storm northwards to a landfall between Eastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.
A model shows a landfall on Saturday of a weak tropical storm between Eastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. Another model shows a more westerly path for 92L, with the storm eventually coming ashore near the Texas/Mexico border. The European model keeps 92L weak and does not develop it. The more northwards path would bring a large amount of moisture into the Southeast U.S., resulting in a large area of 4+" of rain.
In their 8 am EDT Wednesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the system a 50% of developing by Friday, and a 60% chance of developing by Monday. The Hurricane Hunters are on call to investigate the system on Thursday, if necessary.
A tropical wave that pushed off the coast of Africa on Tuesday (93L) is showing a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity and spin on satellite loops as it heads west-northwest at 10 mph. The wave is over warm waters of 28°C and is under a moderate 10 - 15 knots of wind shear, which should allow continued development today and Thursday. A forecast predicts that wind shear will be low to moderate for the next five days, which favors development.
However, the waters beneath 93L will steadily cool to a marginal 26°C by Friday, and the atmosphere will steadily get drier, as 93L encounters the Saharan Air Layer, discouraging development. In their 8 am EDT Wednesday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the system a 60% of developing by Monday, and a 60% chance of developing by Friday. The expected west-northwest track of 93L over the next five days will carry it into a region of ocean where it is uncommon for tropical cyclones located there to eventually impact any land areas except Bermuda.
Typhoon Utor hit China - Typhoon Utor hit Southeast China about 150 miles southwest of Hong Kong near 3 pm local time this Wednesday, as a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds. The typhoon brought sustained wind of 34 mph, gusting to 44 mph to Macao, and wind gusts as high as 54 mph to Hong Kong. Widespread heavy rains are falling across much of Southeast China. Utor will continue to dump torrential rains capable of causing deadly flash floods and mudslides over much of Southeast China and Northern Vietnam over the next three days. Satellite imagery shows that Utor is a large but weakening typhoon, with the eye no longer visible. In the Philippines, where Utor hit as a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds on Monday, 4 deaths are being blamed on the storm, and 11 people are missing.

Typhoon Utor - Tens of thousands of people were evacuated on Wednesday as the powerful typhoon slammed into southern China, with winds of around 90mph. Utor packed a punch, with torrential rain accompanying the damaging winds, forcing the closure of schools, offices, shopping centres and construction sites in cities along its path northwest across Guangdong province.
More than 60,000 people were evacuated in the city of Maoming alone. Another 98,000 were moved to safety on the island province of Hainan, where 26,000 fishing boats were ordered to shelter in harbours.
In Hong Kong, offices, schools and courts were closed and the stock market stopped trading, bringing an eerie calm to the usually busy commercial hub. More than 350 flights were cancelled or delayed, with bus and commuter ferry services curtailed. Six people in Hong Kong were reported injured, where strong winds blew down 21 trees, but otherwise the city emerged largely unscathed.
Typhoon Utor, the 11th typhoon to hit China this year, made landfall at 4.50pm local time in a township in Yangxi County in the western Guangdong city of Yangjiang. Prior to slamming into southern China, Utor crossed the Philippines earlier this week, leaving at least seven people dead and four missing. One woman in north eastern Isabela province was seen on camera being swept away by a raging river. Her body was found later.
Now that the typhoon has made landfall, it will gradually weaken as it is starved of energy from the warm ocean waters. However, before the storm dissipates completely, it will still take heavy rain, gales and a significant flood risk across Guangdong and Guangxi provinces during the next 48 hours. (video)


SPACE FENCE - The US Air Force Space Surveillance System, a.k.a. the "Space Fence," will be shut down on Oct. 1st. The Space Fence is a multi- station radar deployed across the southern USA capable of tracking satellites, space debris, and meteoroids as far as 30,000 km from Earth. The shutdown is a result of automatic cuts imposed by the US Congressional budget sequester.