Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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**I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.**
Jewish Proverb

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 8/20/13 -

8/19/13 -

Japan - Fukushima Nuclear Leak Now 'Serious Incident'. Japan has RAISED ITS ALERT LEVEL TWO STEPS in response to a leak of radioactive water at the troubled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Regulators on Wednesday determined the situation is now a level three "serious incident" on an international scale for radiation leaks. The situation was classified as a level one "anomaly" earlier this week. The scale goes from one to seven, with seven being the most serious.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company said Tuesday 300 tons of radioactive water seeped from a storage tank holding water used to cool melted reactors. TEPCO, the plant's operators, has still not been able to plug the leak. But it insists there has been no major change in radiation levels outside the plant and that no contaminated water from this leak has leaked into the nearby Pacific Ocean.
The company acknowledged earlier this month that leaked water from elsewhere in the plant has been seeping into the sea. Shortly after this, the Japanese government stepped up its role in the plant's cleanup. The plant has been running out of room to store radioactive water used to cool the reactors, which melted down following the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that shut off the plant's power and cooling systems.
It was the world's worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union. No one is reported to have died as a direct result of the Fukushima disaster, though tens of thousands are unable to return to their homes surrounding the facility. Chernobyl and Fukushima were the only two disasters ever classified as a level seven on the nuclear crisis scale.
This is believed to be the fourth major leak from storage tanks at Fukushima since the tsunami in 2011. Tepco says THIS IS THE WORST SO FAR IN TERMS OF VOLUME - and it is ALSO HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE, with levels in the leaked water of 80 million becquerels per litre, some EIGHT MILLION TIMES ABOVE THE LIMIT for drinking water in Japan.
So far just four tons of this water has been recovered. The concern is that the rest will leach into the sea which is just 100m away. However, while this latest development is a concern, the scale of the overall radiation leakage at Fukushima must be kept in some perspective.
Officials had described the leak as a level-one incident - the lowest level - on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale which measures nuclear events. This is the first time that Japan has declared such an event since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, however.
Events have seven categories starting with Level 0 ("without safety significance") and Levels 1-3 denoting "incidents" while Levels 4-7 denote "accidents". A puddle of the contaminated water was emitting 100 millisieverts an hour of radiation. "One hundred millisieverts per hour is equivalent to the limit for accumulated exposure over five years for nuclear workers; so it can be said that we found a radiation level strong enough to give someone a five-year dose of radiation within one hour."
A Tepco official told a press conference on Tuesday that the water probably leaked from a tank after escaping a concrete barrier. Workers were pumping out the puddle and the remaining water in the tank and would be transferring it to other containers. Water is being pumped into the reactors after cooling systems were knocked out by the tsunami. Hundreds of tanks were built to store the contaminated water. Some of them had experienced similar leaks since 2012, but not on this scale.
Tepco had been instructed to retrieve contaminated soil and to strengthen monitoring of the surrounding environment. No major changes in radiation levels outside the plant had been observed so far. The incident comes days after Tepco admitted that as much as 300 tons of contaminated water a day was leaking from the damaged reactor buildings to the sea.

Ohio - SINCE RECORDS BEGAN IN 1776, the people of Youngstown, Ohio had never experienced an earthquake. However, from January 2011, 109 tremors were recorded - due to shale fracking.

New Zealand - Volcanologists are assessing White Island’s volcano’s eruptive potential this morning, after the volcano’s steam eruption yesterday morning. A white plume of steam was seen from the coast climbing several kilometres into the air over the island during the ten minute eruption at 10.23am on Tuesday.
“The activity at White has been very quiet overnight and essentially since the eruption yesterday." The volcano’s activity is back to what it was before the eruption. “There’s no indication at this stage that the eruption yesterday was leading to something bigger. We can’t exclude a more sudden eruption with no warning, but if that does happen it will probably be about the same size.”
Scientists are meeting this morning to assess the situation and whether the aviation alert level and threat level is changed will depend on the outcome of the meeting. The current volcanic alert level is two, meaning minor eruptive activity, while the aviation code remains at orange after being downgraded from red yesterday afternoon.
White Island is New Zealand’s largest active volcano. The volcano has demonstrated continual low level activity and small eruptions since human settlement in New Zealand. From 1975 until 2001 there were frequent small eruptions making it the island’s most active period in hundreds of years. Ash and gas plumes rose as high as 10km, lava bombs and blocks were thrown into the sea and occasionally the glow of red hot rock was visible at night from the Bay of Plenty coast.
The island is uninhabited. The island’s crater floor is less than 30m above sea level. Scientists say the volcano has been active for at least 150,000 years. Gases dissolved in the magma escape and rise towards the surface where they mix with, and heat groundwater beneath the crater floor. This produces fumaroles, and the white steam/gas cloud which is usually present above White Island. The acidic cloud can sting the eyes and skin, affect breathing and damage equipment and clothes.

Japan - Bigger Sakurajima eruption not in cards despite outburst. Experts voiced guarded optimism Monday that a life-threatening eruption of Mount Sakurajima is not imminent, despite the volcano's dramatic outburst on erupted on Sunday night, projecting ash up to 16,000 feet (or about 5,000 meters) into the air, and covering the city of Kagoshima with ash.


Norway's weird waves traced to Japan earthquake - On a calm winter's day in Norway two years ago, the sea suddenly started to boil and rise, sending freak waves rolling onto nearby shores and mystifying residents. Turns out, the massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake that shook Japan in 2011 also triggered these surprise seiche waves, a new study shows.
Seiche waves are standing waves that form in closed or semi-enclosed water basins, such as Norway's narrow, steep-walled fjords. Smaller examples of standing waves include water sloshing in a bathtub from a wriggly child, or in a swimming pool after an earthquake. The roiling seas surprised and shocked Norwegians when the waves rolled in after 7 a.m. local time on March 11. The waves measured nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) from trough to crest (their lowest to highest point). No damage was reported, however. "Luckily, they happened at low tide."
A tsunami expert was called on by local media to explain the source of the surge. He first thought an underwater landslide generated the waves. "They looked like tsunamis". But as the day wore on, more reports of coastal flooding came in from faraway fjords, blowing a hole in his landslide theory. "Later in the evening I realized there must be a connection with the big earthquake in Japan. I was so excited I couldn't sleep that night thinking about it."
Seiches from earthquakes are a common phenomenon - California's swimming pools go berserk after the state's big quakes - but they are RARE IN NORWAY. The last earthquake to set off seiches in Norway's fjords was the magnitude-8.6 Assam earthquake in Tibet. The great 1755 Lisbon earthquake in Portugal also unleashed seiches in the fjords.
And not every fjord in Norway started oscillating after the Japan earthquake. Only fjords pointing northeast, toward Japan, were properly aligned, and even then only some of the fjords had the right conditions to launch a seiche. Five towns reported seiches the morning of the Japan earthquake. The water in the fjords oscillated for almost three hours, starting about 30 minutes after the Japan earthquake. People noticed the waves only where the shores had shallow beaches, such as at river deltas.


In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Pewa is located approximately 260 nm northeastward of Wake Island.

Tropical depression Three is located approximately 747 nm eastward of Wake Island. The final warning has been issued on this system.

Tropical storm Trami is located approximately 158 nm eastward of Taipei, Taiwan.

Japan - Okinawa is rigging for a blustery early Wednesday as Tropical Storm Trami is forecast to rumble 195 miles southeast of Kadena Air Base around midnight. Kadena’s weather outlook calls for winds between 35 mph and 58 mph, with isolated showers thrown into the mix. Winds should die down gradually as Trami makes its way over Taiwan, then makes landfall over China later in the week.
Pewa was downgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday morning, but is forecast to reintensify as it churns northwest, still well out of the Wake Island group’s way, 260 miles northeast at 7 a.m. Thursday.
Meanwhile, a new tropical depression spawned overnight near Johnston Island and is meandering well south of Midway in Wake’s general direction.
China - Tropical storm Trami nearing Chinese coast. Huge waves are likely to hit China's southeast coast as Trami draws near. Trami is forecast to strike China as a typhoon at about 02:00 GMT on August 22, Thursday.
Taiwan shut offices, financial markets and schools in the northern part of the island on Tuesday as Severe Tropical Storm Trami approached from the Philippines, where it killed at least eight people. More than 265 millimeters (10.4 inches) of rain have fallen on Taoyuan county in Taiwan’s northern region in the past 48 hours. Trami, with winds of as much as 180 kilometers an hour, was centered 350 kilometers east of Taipei as at 5 a.m. local time. The storm is moving westwards at 25 kilometers per hour.


+ Philippines - Fatal floods (Video). At least seven people have been killed, and hundreds of thousands effected by severe flooding across the Philippines.

+ Russia - RECORD FLOODS. People in the Russian Far East are battling rising floodwaters as authorities evacuate more than 23,000 people from affected areas and scramble to prevent the outbreak of infection. Heavy rains pounding Khabarovsk, a Far Eastern city located near the Chinese border, SINCE JULY, have swelled the local Amur River to nearly 7 metres - A LEVEL UNSEEN SINCE 1895 when monitoring of the area began.
The floodwaters damaged property, infrastructure and crops, displaced tens of thousands and raised fresh questions about the Russian government's readiness to handle natural disasters. There have been no reports of fatalities, but more than 23,000 people have been evacuated so far. National television footage showed locals making their way through a flooded area by boat and a cow wading through muddy waters, submerged nearly up to its neck.
The floods have affected the Yakutia, Primorsky Krai and Amur regions as well as the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, but the Khabarovsk region was hit hardest. Over the night, the region's Amur river, which serves as a natural border with China where it is known as Heilong Jiang, has risen by 16 centimetres to 673 centimetres. It is expected to rise by another 40 centimetres over the next two days.
The water levels around Khabarovsk REACHED A LEVEL UNSEEN SINCE REGULAR MONITORING BEGAN IN 1895. "The highest water level stood at 642 centimetres in 1897. In many areas the river spread out over tens of kilometres. The unfavourable situation will remain until the end of the month." The military have been deployed to help hurriedly erect flood defence bunds along the river, with authorities saying they have prepared 10,000 sand bags to use in case the waters breached the defences.
"Residents in a number of areas say: 'If you started a bit earlier then you'd have saved residential settlements.' And they are right." Some areas did not have proper infrastructure to help protect them against the floods. "The water will be receding rather slowly."
Authorities said many in the affected areas had been left without access to money after Russia's biggest bank Sberbank shut its branches and ATMs. Of the more than 29,000 people who needed to be vaccinated, only 2,000 received necessary shots even though the local authorities had enough vaccines against hepatitis A, diphtheria and typhoid fever.

China - The death toll from mudslides that have ravaged an earthquake-shattered region of northwestern China rose to 21 on Saturday.


U.S. - For THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, the U.S. government has ordered that flow of Colorado River water from the 50-year-old Glen Canyon Dam be slashed, due to a water crisis brought about by the region's historic 14-year drought. On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation announced that it would cut water released from Lake Powell's Glen Canyon Dam by 750,000 acre-feet in 2014. An acre-foot is the amount of water that will cover an acre of land one foot deep; 750,000 acre-feet is enough water to supply at least 750,000 homes for one year.
The flow reduction will leave the Colorado River 9% below the 8.23 million acre feet that is supposed to be supplied downstream to Lake Mead for use in California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico under the Colorado River Compact of 1922 and later agreements. "This is the WORST 14-YEAR DROUGHT PERIOD IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS.
In the winter of 2005, Lake Powell reached its lowest level since filling, an elevation 150' below full pool. Lake levels recovered some in during 2005 - 2011, but the resurgence of severe to extreme drought conditions have provoked a steep decline in 2012 and 2013, with the lake falling 35' over the past year. As of August 18, 2013, Lake Powell was 109' below full pool (45% of capacity), and was falling at a rate of one foot every six days.
Las Vegas' Water Supply, Lake Mead, Near a Record Low -
Downstream of Lake Powell lies Lake Mead, filled in 1936 when Hoover Dam was completed. Lake Mead supplies Las Vegas with ninety percent of its drinking water, and the water level of Lake Mead is expected to fall by eight feet in 2014 due to the lower water flow levels out of Lake Powell ordered on Friday. Lake Mead has fallen by 100 feet since the current 14-year drought began in 2000, and the higher of the two intake pipes used to supply Las Vegas with water from the lake is in danger of running dry.
As a result, a seven-year, $800 million project is underway by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to build a third intake pipe that will tap the deepest part of the reservoir. This so-called "third straw" is scheduled to be available late in 2014, which may be cutting it close, if the Colorado River watershed experiences another year of drought as severe as in 2012 - 2013.
Southern Nevada has done well to reduce water usage, though -- the region's annual water consumption decreased by nearly 29 billion gallons between 2002 and 2012, despite a population increase of more than 400,000 during that span.
The Western U.S. drought peaked in July 2002, when 79% of the West was in at least severe drought, and 45% of the region was in the two highest categories of drought - -extreme to exceptional. The period from 2000 - 2004 was THE WORST IN OVER 800 YEARS. However, drought conditions have been steadily intensifying this summer.
The August 13, 2013 Drought Monitor report showed that drought conditions in the Western U.S. are NOW THE WORST SINCE 2004, with 78% of the West in at least severe drought, and 20% in the two highest categories of drought, extreme and exceptional. The latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for drought to remain entrenched over the large majority of the Western U.S. through the end of November.


The CDC estimates the U.S. Lyme disease burden at about 300,000 cases per year, far more than are actually reported.

U.S. nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to New Mexico poultry hatchery. The outbreak has so far sickened 316 people in 37 states. Colorado has the most cases right now.

+ Snoring can be reduced simply by singing - For three months, the patients in the clinical trial have been doing singing exercises to improve the tone of their throat muscles. Patients who sang the sounds "ung" and "gar" found that their snoring decreased or stopped.