Monday, September 30, 2013

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**It is foolish to tear one's hair in grief, as though
sorrow would be made less by baldness. **

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/29/13 -

Pakistan - The death toll from the 7.7 earthquake that devastated an impoverished region of Pakistan climbed past 500 on Friday. 515 people have now been confirmed dead following the temblor which struck the remote area on Tuesday.
More than 30 villages, containing some 20,000 homes, were flattened across 15,400 square miles of the remote Balochistan region -- AN AREA ALMOST DOUBLE THE SIZE OF NEW JERSEY. Dozens of bodies are being recovered every day from mud homes whose walls and beams have been reduced to dust and rubble.
In addition to the destruction caused to houses, communications have been badly disrupted and rescue workers are finding it difficult to get to bodies. Balochistan, which accounts for roughly 44 percent of Pakistan's land mass but only 5 percent of its population, is the most impoverished Pakistani province.

[FYI - You may not want to go to this link, it was destabilizing my browser.] Experts had forewarned Balochistan government six years ago about the quake risk - In the second week of January 2006, the Pakistan Meteorological Department wrote a letter to the Balochistan government warning about the seismic threat to the province. Based on scientific understanding of seismology and “regression analysis of past seismic data,” a major earthquake was “over due” in Balochistan.
The letter was written three months after the devastating 2005 earthquake. With the government’s attention deservedly focused on the affected areas in the north, they were worried that the stress building up underground in Balochistan’s “highly active seismic zone,” which includes provincial capital Quetta, would go unnoticed. Over the seven years since then, Pakistan’s southwestern province has been jolted by five earthquakes of varying intensity, the latest of which hit Awaran on Saturday. Four of these quakes had their epicenter located in the province.
The collective death toll from earthquakes in the sparsely-populated province stands at around at least 575 since 2008 and there has been considerable damage to infrastructure. The letter resulted in some action but perhaps no detailed follow-up. Nevertheless, it seems to suggest that a seismic risk alert is possible.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology have suggested the use of a phenomenon called the “thermal infrared anomaly” as a precursor tool for predicting earthquakes. The stress that builds up in a region before an earthquake causes enhanced thermal infrared emission from the Earth’s surface. This emission, which increases the land surface temperature, can be detected through satellites in the form of a thermal infrared anomaly.
The anomaly could exist in the “earthquake preparation zone” a few days to a few hours before the quake hits. They confirmed the presence of the anomaly using satellite data for three earthquakes including the Dalbandin earthquake in Balochistan in 2011. “We could tell that there could be an earthquake in the near future based on such indicators. But it is virtually impossible to predict the exact time of an earthquake.”
The deputy regional director for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network believes the September earthquakes probably released the hazardous energy indicated years ago by the PMD. “The kind of energy released in the Awaran earthquake takes around half a century to build up.” But the PMD has recorded around 16 aftershocks and a major earthquake in Balochistan since the September 24 earthquake. This suggests there might be more energy trapped underground and the PMD is also concerned about the Makran area for future quakes.
The inevitable uncertainty does not mean there is something to be said for preparedness. Adherence to seismic building codes especially in densely populated areas and use of lighter material instead of concrete could help save lives. The rural and remote areas vulnerable to earthquakes, where people might not afford modern solutions, could perhaps benefit from awareness about how to respond to a quake. Awareness-raising in schools and preventing people from building huts on a slope or beneath a hill could serve as starting points for better preparation.

Jebel Zubair (Red Sea, Jemen) - new submarine volcanic eruption. A submarine eruption started Saturday (28 Sep) NW of the island Jebel Zubair and SW of the site of the 2011-12 eruption. The activity manifestated itself in the form of a strong SO2 anomaly and steam plume spotted on satellite imagery.
No signs of activity are visible on images taken on 27 Sep, which confirms that the eruption started Saturday. The presence of the significant steam plume suggests that the eruption vent is a shallow depth (less than 100 m), and possibly in the stage of producing so-called surtseyan activity (violent steam-driven explosions breach the surface with jets of water and steam, and become more and more rich in lava fragments as the vent becomes shallower).


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical depression Eleven is located about about 1070 mi (1725 km) ENE of the northern Leeward Islands. Had been expected to become a tropical storm Sunday. It should move in the general direction of the Gulf of Mexico.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Wulip is located about 157 nm east-northeast of Da Nang, Vietnam. Expected to reach coastal areas of Vietnam today.

- Tropical depression Twenty-One is located about 634 nm southeast of Yokosuka, Japan.

Atlantic activity - A low pressure system (97L) generating heavy rains from Haiti to Panama. On the forecast path, 97L will bring heavy rains of 2 - 4" to Jamaica and Southwest Haiti on Sunday and Monday, to the Cayman Islands and Central and Eastern Cuba on Monday and Tuesday, to Western Cuba on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to South Florida on Wednesday and Thursday. Not likely to develop into a tropical depression in the next 5 days.
Tropical depression Eleven in the Central Atlantic will likely become Tropical storm Jerry today.

Wutip, the 21st tropical storm of this year came into being in the Central part of South China Sea. It will bring more than 7 grade gales to the east-central Guangdong coast of China and threaten the security of sea-related vessels and offshore work. The general director of Guangdong Provincial Flood Control, Drought Prevention and Windproof Headquarters noted that they should pay close attention to the dynamics of “Butterfly” [international name Wutip; in the Philippines Paolo] , strengthen analysis and judgement and notify the fishing boats to go back to the harbour in advance as soon as possible.
It is expected that “Butterfly” will move slowly at a speed of 5-10 km towards the west and the south sea surface of Hainan, its intensity strengthens gradually. Due to the joint influence of the “Butterfly”, the cold air and the southwest monsoon, there will be 6-7 level gales in Guangdong east-central coast. Wind force in the northern and central parts of the South China Sea is 8-9 grade and gusts are up to 10-11 grade.

Thailand - The Weather Bureau warned of heavy rains in the Northeast today when tropical storm Wutip is expected to hit upper Vietnam, as parts of Thailand, notably Isaan, continue to reel under floods. The department also warned that people living in flood-risk areas in Central and Eastern Thailand should brace for heavy rains and possible landslides during this period. According to the forecast, most of Bangkok, estimated at 80 per cent of the capital, will see rainfall.
In the meantime, the Royal Irrigation Department's Water Analysis Centre reported yesterday that the country's major reservoirs now contain 47,262 million cubic metres of water, about 67 per cent of their capacity. So, they could still hold another 22,800 million cubic metres of water. The centre also said reservoirs in the Central and Northeast continued to rise due to rain. It affirmed that the department would focus on managing water in reservoirs, taking into account the volume of rain while also aiming to store enough water over the next two months for the upcoming dry season.
There is only a slim chance of runoff from the North causing a repeat of the 2011 flood crisis in Bangkok. Thailand has had 1,245 millimetres of rainfall so far this year, 32 per cent lower than in 2011. The capital would have no overall problem, except the city's eastern side that may face minor flooding, provided there was no rain storm in the north of Bangkok in the next few days. They believe the flood situation in Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani would improve in the next couple of days. If Wutip heads to Ubon Ratchathani, the situation there could worsen, as the province had taken in floodwater from Si Sa Ket and let it through to Prachin Buri.
Riverside residents in Pa Sak in Ayutthaya were urged to move their belongings higher after Pa Sak Cholsit Dam brimmed at 93 per cent capacity. Uthai Thani's Muang district saw a barrier on the Tak Daed river bust, inundating some 20,000 rai of rice fields in tambon Nong Phai Baen and Noenm Lek. In Prachin Buri, all seven districts were hit. Kabinburi district's tambon Kabin was under three metres of water, while farmland and homes in other areas were under two metres of water.
Sri Mahapho saw 200 flood-hit villagers from tambon Tha Toom and Sri Mahapho continue a road-block protest for the second day, calling for the opening of the Had Yang water-gate to drain water. All five districts in Si Sa Ket have been submerged, including Muang district, with 1,850 residents evacuated to 12 shelters. There were nine deaths. In Phetchabun in the Upper Central region, 12 villages in tambon Ban Khok in Muang district suffered the "WORST FLOOD IN 15 YEARS". The water level has affected 2,000 homes. [photos at link]

Mexico - Handling of storms spawns public fury in Mexico. Critics cite substandard construction, officials' failure to heed warnings.
As the death toll continues to rise from twin storms that flooded much of Mexico, government officials are coming under intense criticism for their handling of the crisis, for failing to act on warnings and for allowing shoddy construction that exacerbated the destruction. The governor of Guerrero, the hardest-hit state, has been singled out for chastisement since it was revealed that he was at an all-night party with other politicians as the storm bore down on his state's tourism gem, Acapulco, and numerous mountain villages that would be cut off for days and where the most people died.
"It rained and it rained, and the governor drank and drank," read one particularly harsh headline, which carried a photograph of him arm in arm with his party partners before a festively decorated table and with a full mariachi band in the background. He has since taken pains to make himself highly visible in rescue efforts and the distribution of aid.
Mexico was hit nearly two weeks ago by two storms that pounded its eastern and western coasts simultaneously: Tropical Storm Manuel, which did major damage to impoverished Guerrero and other Pacific states, and Hurricane Ingrid, which lashed the Gulf Coast, including Veracruz state. According to the most recent figures released Wednesday by the federal government, 139 people were killed nationwide and at least 53 remained missing, most of these in the tiny village of La Pintada, in Guerrero, where a mudslide tore through the modest homes, burying everything and everyone in its path. Bodies are slowly being pulled from the mud, which is pushing the death toll higher days after the worst rains stopped.
September is on course to being the rainiest month in Mexican history. The twin storms spawned damage in 26 of Mexico's 31 states; 312 "municipios," or counties, were declared in a state of emergency and 250 in a state of disaster. The storms destroyed or crippled highways, bridges, tunnels, schools and airports.
But the storms were not entirely to blame. Years of corruption, politically expedient building in geographically dicey locations, illegal logging that deforests much of the countryside and other abuses have rendered parts of Mexico especially vulnerable to the extreme whims of weather. Plus, through generations of Mexican calamity, governments at all levels have routinely ignored or downplayed warnings, opting instead to take advantage of high-profile disaster relief operations that look good on camera. "We develop in unbuildable zones; we build with garbage; we design without planning. Some do business, others die."
The Mexican Senate demanded an investigation of the action officials took in preparing for and responding to the storms. The governor of Guerrero speaking this week at a nationally televised accounting of storm damage, accepted no personal responsibility for failures. [many photos at link]


Floods sweep across Southeast Asia - Thailand and Cambodia struck with floods leaving several dead. Heavy monsoon season has flooded 27 provinces in Thailand, killing nine and forcing evacuations in at least nine districts. Thousands fled their homes on army lorries with food and water in plastic bags. "The water came too fast, the dam was damaged by the floodwater. We used sand bags to mend it, but it collapsed two days later." Prachinburi was declared one of the worst hit in the country. Streets have been turned into waterways and cars replaced by boats. Many of the residents are too scared to leave their homes. So far, about 1.5 million people from 420,000 households have been affected.
Elsewhere in Cambodia, floods have killed at least 20 and left more than 33,000 families affected. Approaching Typhoon Wulip will cause torrential downpours not only in Vietnam, but across the region, so the flooding is likely to get worse. The Chinese province's meteorological department on Saturday morning launched a grade three emergency response alert. The meteorological department have already warned local fishermen operating in the central area of South China Sea to dodge the storm center and avoid outdoor activities until further notice.

Philippines - The death toll from monsoon rains rose to 31 on Saturday. The latest fatality died because of a landslide in Bauan, Batangas. Two others are still missing while eight were reported injured. The monsoon rain has so far affected 123,160 families, or 588,147 people, in 330 villages in 34 towns and 11 cities in seven provinces. Of these, 5,779 families or 25,087 people are staying in 103 evacuation centers.
Although it has left the country and is headed toward Vietnam, Tropical Storm Paolo (international name: Wutip) continued to enhance the southwest monsoon even as a Low Pressure ARea east of Samar island may yet strengthen into a tropical depression. The LPA was still in the Philippine Sea and if it intensifies into a tropical depression within the Philippines it will he named Quedan, the 17th tropical cyclone to enter the country this year.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Global Disaster Watch is is on Facebook

**At times, challenges hit with the force
of a roaring, rushing waterfall.
The true test, however, is whether you can put your arms up
and enjoy the feel of the water.**
Aviva Kaufman

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 9/28/13 -

9/27/13 -

Pakistan hit by another big quake - A 6.8 magnitude temblor struck southwestern Pakistan on Saturday 96 kilometers northeast of the district of Awaran., killing at least 12 people in the same province where several hundred died on Tuesday from the 7.7 quake.
Pakistan 7.7 quake toll reaches 515 - insurgents hamper aid efforts.

New Zealand - Aucklanders warned of volcanic risk. A serious eruption could cause large-scale destruction and force the evacuation of 450,000 people in the region.
Experts say an eruption in the Auckland volcanic field is a "low probability, high consequence" event but city-dwellers would only have days to prepare. Scientists, civil defence experts, academics, and council staff were in the city Friday for the Managing Volcanic Risk in Auckland forum, pooling their knowledge to plan for a possible city-wide disaster.
"If we look at possible effects on Auckland these could include the devastation of buildings and infrastructure, large economic losses, a reduction in air and rail services, disruption to vital lifeline services, and increased health risks from ash and dust." Experts could not prevent an eruption, or predict exactly when one might occur, but the most recent eruption in the Auckland volcanic field was Rangitoto, about 550 years ago.
Research showed Aucklanders felt safe from natural disasters, and would hesitate before acting to protect themselves. "It's a huge challenge in getting Auckland to take it seriously." People saw civil defence staff efficiently managing small-scale storms and did not see a need to prepare for an emergency. "We're doing such a good job we're making people complacent." Aucklanders were the least prepared nationwide for an emergency and only 11 per cent had emergency kits.
There have been between 50 to 55 eruptions in the field over the last 250,000 years, but the results were "variable over that time", and it was not possible to pinpoint when volcanic activity could next occur. In the case of the Mt Tongariro eruption in August last year, scientists monitored seismic activity once signs of unrest occurred, but were unable to predict the exact eruption time. Aucklanders could expect days to weeks of warning at most. Most of the public considered Rangitoto the most prominent volcano because it was "in peoples' face" but it was monitored on an equal footing to all the other volcanos in the field.


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical depression Eleven is located about 960 mi (1540 km) ENE of the northern Leeward Islands. Expected to become a tropical storm today.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Wulip is located about 240 nm east of Da Nang, Vietnam. Expected to reach coastal areas of Vietnam on Monday.


Texas Statewide Drought Could Last 15 Years - Despite the relief brought on by the recent rains across the Brazos Valley, the majority of the state remains in a drought. The Texas State Climatologist predicts the drought could last anywhere from 1 to 15 years.
Could the dry spell actually drag on for more than a decade? "Well, it's not going to end tomorrow; there isn't 15 inches of rain in the forecast, so that's not going to happen." While some areas have periods of recovery more than others, the Brazos Valley has been hit hard by the lack of rainfall. "We're running about 5 to 6 inches below normal in the Easterwood Airport; other places nearby in Brenham are like 15 inches below normal."
"It very well could be as bad as or worse than the 1950 drought and dry conditions aren't uniform across the state. In some places, this drought may already have been worse than the 50's drought....Pumping water costs money and so the drier it is, the more money it costs to grow a crop; so even if you have irrigation, you're going to be impacted by the drought."
College Station presently has its residents under Stage One Water Restrictions, which is voluntary. The City of Bryan does not have any current water restrictions in place. Officials point to the area's water aquifer and the change of season as reasons such water restrictions are not required. It's not all bad news though. While 80 percent of the state remains in a drought, the amount of "extreme drought" in Texas is on the decline. Levels of "extreme drought" have dropped from 28 to 8 percent.

Corn Belt's drought woes won't end in 2013 - There’s bad news for much of the nation’s heartland – the so-called “flash drought” won’t be leaving as quickly as it began. More than 50 percent of the Midwest is in varying levels of drought.
Drought in Iowa, especially the western half of the state, is slowly gaining momentum. Extreme drought returned to the nation’s leading corn and soybean producing state for the first time since April. More than 78 percent of the state is in moderate or worse drought. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri aren’t far behind.
The “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” doesn’t see much improvement for much of the Corn Belt’s drought through the end of year, meaning for areas from Minnesota to Missouri won’t be free from drought in 2013. Along the western edge of the Corn Belt, however, drought conditions are slightly more favorable. Just 11 percent of Nebraska is in extreme drought, down from 21 percent last week.
While few farmers are excited to see drought, the drought did help save Nebraska rom flooding. Historic floods in Colorado moved into Nebraska this week, but before major flooding could sweep over the fields, drought-stricken land soaked up some of the floodwaters. These same floods that eliminated drought in north central Colorado bypassed much of the dry, southeast corner of the state. The worst of the drought currently persists in four counties in southeast Colorado, and it too is expected to persist into 2014.
Drought is keeping a firm grip on states further to the west. Little to no drought improvement was made this week in Idaho, Nevada, California and Oregon. Most of these states will also be seeing drought through the end of year.


New Mexico named 'Most Extreme Weather State' of 2013 citing the combination of drought, historic flooding and hail. The Weather Channel was most impressed by the powerful storm in Albuquerque on July 26. Gusts of nearly 89 mph were recorded at the Sunport - the strongest measured in 74 years. The storm knocked out power to more than 27,000 residents. The storm cost the city more than $1 million in damages.
Other weird weather anomalies of 2013 include the nearly two-feet of hail Santa Rosa saw on July 4, making the city look like a winter wonderland in the middle of summer. In recent weeks, the 100-Year Flood waterlogged New Mexico homes and roads, forcing evacuations across the state and even a helicopter rescue near Artesia.

Ontario apples rebound in a bumper crop - After extreme weather wiped out about 85 per cent of Ontario's 2012 crop, this year's growing season has produced “huge” apples so numerous they're bending branches to the ground.


HIV infection rate down 33 percent worldwide since 2001 - The global rate of new HIV infections among adults and children has fallen by 33 percent since 2001, according to a new report that touts major progress against HIV transmission to kids.


OHIO FIREBALL - 9/27/13 - Friday night, a meteor exploded in the skies above the US midwest at 11:33 pm EDT. Witnesses report shadows cast upon the ground, UNUSUAL SOUNDS, and a swirling contrail marking the aftermath of the blast. "This was a very bright event. Flares saturated our meteor cameras, and made determination of the end point (the terminus of the fireball's flight through the atmosphere) virtually impossible. Judging from the brightness, we are dealing with a meter class object."
Data from multiple cameras shows that the meteoroid hit Earth's atmosphere traveling 51 km/s (114,000 mph) and passed almost directly over Columbus, Ohio. The fireball was visible from at least 14 US states. [video at link]

Friday, September 27, 2013

Global Disaster Watch on Facebook

**If you want to forget all your other troubles,
wear too tight shoes.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 9/26/13 -

Pakistan quake survivors face long wait for aid - Tens of thousands of survivors of Pakistan's earthquake waited for help in soaring temperatures Thursday, as the death toll rose past 350 and anger grew at the at the slow pace of government aid. More than 100,000 people made homeless by Tuesday's 7.7-magnitude quake spent a second night in the open or under makeshift shelters as response teams struggled to reach the remote region in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.
"At least 357 people died and 620 others injured." 311 people died in Awaran district, where the quake struck, and 46 were killed in neighbouring Kech district. The sheer scale of the territory involved is daunting -- the population of Awaran is scattered over more than 21,000 square kilometres (8,000 square miles) of remote and rugged terrain - and infrastructure is extremely limited, with few medical facilities or even roads.
The area is also home to Baluch separatist rebels waging a decade-long insurgency. Highlighting the danger from militants, a helicopter carrying the head of the National Disaster Management Authority came under rocket fire in Awaran, though no damage was done and no one was hurt. Hours later paramilitary troops helping the relief effort were fired at with small arms by suspected rebels, around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Awaran, but there were no casualties.
The quake is Pakistan's deadliest since the devastating Kashmir tremor of 2005 which killed 73,000. The toll is expected to rise further as rescue teams dig through the rubble of countless flattened mud-brick homes. Teams were struggling to reach some areas, even 40 hours after the quake. The government is preparing to send more than 14,000 tents.
In Arawan town, around 200 angry survivors demonstrated outside government offices complaining they had not been given food or shelter. Survivors in Gajjar, some 120 kilometres east of Awaran, where the quake killed at least 108 people, said they were forced to scavenge for food, complaining of a lack of government aid. "The government is completely missing and we have not received a single relief item like tents or food."
Temperatures in the arid region were reaching 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) and many survivors said they were desperate for some relief from the blistering heat. The quake left more than 100,000 people homeless in Arawan, a dirt-poor expanse of land roughly the size of Wales. Besides flattening homes and affecting more than 300,000 people in six districts, the earthquake even created a new island about 650 feet off the coast.


* In the Western Pacific -
Tropical depression Twenty is located approximately 713 nm east-southeast of Hanoi, Vietnam.
Tropical depression Twenty is forecast to strike Vietnam as a typhoon at about 00:00 GMT on October 1. According to the Saffir-Simpson damage scale the potential property damage and flooding from a storm of Twenty's strength (category 1) at landfall includes: Storm surge generally 1.2-1.5 metres (4-5 feet) above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage. There is also the potential for flooding further inland due to heavy rain.


Mexico - Torrential rain has caused fresh floods in the Mexican beach resort Acapulco, less than two weeks after two storms killed 139 people. Authorities evacuated people from high-risk areas and closed schools, after flooding reached more than 1m (3ft).
Acapulco was one of the areas worst affected by the bad weather, which left thousands of tourists stranded. The government issued renewed alerts for the rest of the state of Guerrero, as further heavy rain was expected. September, days before its end, is SET TO BREAK RAIN RECORDS BY A LARGE MARGIN in Mexico.
Acapulco's international airport re-opened for commercial flights on Sunday, a week after it had to close due to power cuts and flooding. But on Thursday, one of the main access roads to the airport had to be closed. Authorities issued fresh rain alerts, as torrential rains led to evacuations in more than 20 districts. The population was called on to remain alert, as more rain was expected in the next "two or three days."
Some 20,000 people are still living in shelters in Guerrero. "We will have to wait for this [the rain] to lessen in some areas so we can regain control over many of these river beds that have flooded." Flooding was reported in more than 20 city districts of Acapulco. More than 50 people are still missing after last week's storms. Twenty-four out of Mexico's 31 states have been affected by the twin storms.
Rescue workers continue to search the rubble and mud for bodies of those buried in a landslide in La Pintada, where some 40 homes were swept away by mud from a hillside. A total of 1.2 million people were affected when Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall on 15 September on Mexico's south-western coastline. More than 25,000 tourists had to be airlifted out of Acapulco after the beach resort was cut off. Just 24 hours after Manuel had made landfall, Tropical Storm Ingrid hit the country's Gulf coast, causing destruction in Verazcruz and Tamaulipas. After temporarily weakening, Manuel regained strength and hit Mexico's north-western coast with hurricane-strength winds and more rain on Thursday.

Winterlike Storm Threatens Major Flooding in Northwest U.S. - The first powerful winterlike storm of the season will take aim on the Pacific Northwest Friday into Monday with potentially disastrous flooding, damaging winds and dangerous seas. The storm will cross Alaska Thursday with gusty winds, rain and mountain snow, but WILL GROW INTO A MONSTER over the Gulf of Alaska Friday, where it will stall over the weekend. Winds of 40 to 60 mph will roar over the ocean raising 15- to 30-foot seas.
As the storm expands southward and eastward, it will spread heavy rain, flooding, travel delays, high winds, pounding surf and rough seas first to British Columbia, then to Washington and Oregon and finally to northernmost California. The worst conditions are likely to stay north of California, and will instead target areas farther north on Saturday with another heavy dose possible later Sunday into Sunday night.
Enough rain will fall to cause urban flooding and small stream flooding, rockslides and rises on the major rivers. Flooding along the short-run rivers off the Olympics and Cascades is possible later this weekend. Rounds of windswept rain, urban flooding and poor visibility will lead to travel delays along the I-5 corridor and potentially at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and others. The heaviest rain, on the order of 4 to 8 inches (up to 200 mm) will fall on the southwest-facing slopes of the Olympics and Cascades in Washington and the Vancouver Island Ranges Coast Mountains in British Columbia.
Elsewhere, from western Oregon through western British Columbia, a general 2 to 4 inches of rain is forecast. Much less rain will fall over central and eastern Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, but some rain will fall on these areas. Enough rain could fall to end the risk of wildfires once and for all this season.
South-to-southwest winds can be strong enough to down some trees, cause minor property damage and lead to power outages. Wind gusts along the northwestern part of Vancouver Island and parts of the Washington and British Columbia coasts can reach between 50 and 60 mph. Gusts can be locally higher on the ridges. Because of the wind direction from the south and southwest, this will not be the worst-case scenario for Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, Washington., and Portland, Oregon.
Unlike many storms in the winter, snow levels with this storm will remain rather high ranging from 7,000 to 8,500 feet. Snow levels will drop during the latter stages of the storm, Sunday night and Monday, when wet snow can mix in over the higher passes. However, hikers should avoid the peaks in the Cascades throughout the storm, where blizzard conditions are likely.
While seas will be very rough offshore, the south-to-southwest wind driving the waves will not bring the worst-case scenario to most coastal areas in terms of pounding surf and coastal erosion. In some cases, the wind-wave action will be parallel to the coast. However, the worst effects are likely to be along the upper half of Vancouver Island that is exposed to south to southwest winds.
RECORD WET SEPTEMBER Possible - Enough rain could fall at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for this September to rank in the top-five wettest on record. The wettest September on record at the airport was in 1978, when 5.95 inches fell. As of Thursday, Sept, 26, 2013, 3.03 inches of rain have fallen at the site. This September could be the new record-holder. Similarly, Olympia Airport, Wash., could achieve a top five or record rainfall for September. In 1978, the month brought a record 7.59 inches. The fifth-wettest September was in 1977, when 4.58 inches fell. As of Thursday, 3.92 inches of rain have fallen at the site.

+ Russia - State of emergency in Sochi after heavy rain. Floods and mudslides caused by heavy rain have prompted Russian authorities to introduce a state of emergency in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Emergency Situations Ministry said Wednesday that about 1,800 of its personnel were involved in cleaning up the streets and pumping out water after the torrential rain caused local rivers to overfill and flood some sections of highways and a few residential areas in the Black Sea resort.

+ India - Rain pounds Gujarat; 20,000 evacuated. Heavy but intermittent rain continued to lash Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Heavy rain was also reported from the new west zone late in the evening. There was waterlogging and heavy traffic jam at several places, although no underpasses in the city were closed.Meanwhile, mercury level dipped 5 degrees below normal with the city recording a maximum temperature of 30.4 degree Celsius. “I don’t think we have ever experienced such heavy rainfall at the end of monsoon. While the drop in temperature is welcome, the waterlogging and traffic jams are not."
The Met department predicted intermittent rain for the city on Wednesday as well with a possibility of heavy rain. Across the state, 207 talukas in 31 districts received rain. Bharuch, Vadodara, Navsari and Surat were among the worst affected. In Vadodara, the city alone received 232 mm of rainfall resulting in heavy waterlogging. Karjan taluka in the district recorded 302 mm of rainfall. With water level rising in Vishwamitri river, there were fears about crocodiles in the river entering the city.
“It was alarming. Schools and colleges have been shut down due to the incessant rains." “As many as 2,250 people have been evacuated in the city, particularly those living near Vishwamitri. Sixteen boats and a team of 165 firemen are being put on standby to deal with any untoward incident." In all, close to 20,000 people from 50 villages in five talukas of the state were moved to safer locations. The Met department has predicted moderate to heavy rainfall for almost all districts of the state.


Northeast India is reeling under a deficit rainfall - (June to September 35%) condition, which has already posed serious danger to cultivation of paddy (especially in the month of July). Reports reveal that the number of monsoon rainfall deficient years in the Northeast has been growing since 2001. Arunachal Pradesh Meteorological Sub-division has recorded five monsoon rainfall deficient years, while the Assam-Meghalaya Meteorological Subdivision recorded six monsoon rainfall deficient years, with the Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura Meteorological Sub-division recording four monsoon rainfall deficient years since 2001.
Further figures show, month of July was the driest this monsoon as Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and other NE states received very little rain. The state faced a deficit of 36%, while Assam and the NMMT(Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura) belt were reeling under a 45% and 61% rainfall deficit respectively, till the month of July. Since only six per cent of the state`s cultivable land has access to irrigation facility, farmers organization in Assam this year, raised an alarm over the deficit rainfall situation and exhorted upon the state government to undertake emergency measures to tackle the imminent ‘drought like situation’.
“Having a look at the major city figures, we see that there has been a deficit of 25%, 32%, 15% in Guwahati, Agartala and Imphal respectively, for the entire monsoon season (June to Sept). Sadly so, one of the wettest states in the world, Cherrapunji, has also suffered a rain deficit of 16% so far, with only 3749 mm of rain recorded, as opposed to the normal of 4455 mm. As compared to last year, the rainfall deficit figures are way more this year.
Last year, the rainfall figures in most parts of northeast India, except Agartala, hovered around the normal average. The reasons are many. This year, only one depression formed in the Bay of Bengal and all the low pressure systems that did form went westwards, towards central India, giving heavy rain at Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. “Also, no major western disturbance affected the Indian subcontinent this year. These western disturbances usually move towards northeast India, after affecting north India. Therefore it was just the monsoon trough giving rain to the northeast sector. And it was due to little scattered rain this year that the mercury rose to absurd levels”.
This monsoon maximums rose to 38 degrees in many parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Assam too, was seen recording 35 degree Celsius, continuously in the month of July and August, due to little rain, Some believe, other than the uncontrollable weather related factors, it is the direct interference of humans with the nature, i.e. building too many dams and diverting major rivers, that has been the major reason for decreased rainfall activity over the years in the northeast.


+ 'Ecological Armageddon' - Mammals vanish entirely from forest fragments after 25 years. As tropical forests worldwide are increasingly cut into smaller and smaller fragments, mammal extinctions may not be far behind, according to a new study. “Our results should be a warning. This is the trend that the world is going in.”
In 1987, the government of Thailand launched a huge, unplanned experiment. They built a dam across the Khlong Saeng river, creating a 60-square-mile reservoir. As the Chiew Larn reservoir rose, it drowned the river valley, transforming 150 forested hilltops into islands, each with its own isolated menagerie of wildlife. Conservation biologists have long known that fragmenting wilderness can put species at risk of extinction. But it’s been hard to gauge how long it takes for those species to disappear. Chiew Larn has given biologists the opportunity to measure the speed of mammal extinctions.
Tropical forests are regularly cleared for logging, farming and cities. In most cases, the only original tree cover is reduced to isolated patches. Many of the original species of plants and animals may still survive in those fragments, but they experience new stresses. The edges of the fragments are no longer dim and humid, for example. The small size of the surviving populations also creates problems. Over the course of a few generations, a small population can accumulate harmful mutations that make them less fertile or more vulnerable to diseases.
Scientists have hypothesized that many species will gradually decline in forest fragments until they become extinct. Reducing a vast carpet of jungle to isolated patches thus creates a so-called “extinction debt” that nature will sooner or later collect.
Just five years after the dam was built, they could see a difference. Several species were more rare on the islands than on the mainland. Researcherson returned to the same 12 islands in 2012 and repeated the survey. The first survey had found seven species of mammals. Traps on the island found only a single species: the Malayan field rat. This was a startling find for two reasons. One was the drastic crash in diversity. The other was that the Malayan field rat wasn’t on the islands when they first formed.
Malayan field rats thrive around villages and farms and other disturbed habitats. The rats trapped must have come from the surrounding rain forests, where they still remain scarce. When they swam to the islands, they found fragmented forests that they could dominate. “I thought, ‘Wow, what if this trend holds?' And it did.” On most of the islands, all the native species were gone, replaced by the rats. Only on a few islands did some species still cling to existence. All the islands were suffering massive extinctions in about 20 years. “No one expected to see such rapid extinctions.”
“This study confirms for mammals what we’ve long known for birds." Records of birds from forest fragments in the Amazon show species going extinct at a comparable rate. The fast pace of extinction in forest fragments gives an urgency to conserving the large swaths of tropical forest that still remain. “Our study shows we may need to do that very quickly.”


The owners of a Colorado cantaloupe farm have been arrested - Their farm was linked to a 2011 food poisoning outbreak which killed 33 people and sickened 147. Eric and Ryan Jensen were charged with selling contaminated food and face up to six years in prison and up to $1.5m in fines.
The brothers did not adequately wash the melons before selling them, US officials say. The outbreak of listeriosis stretched from California to Virginia. The US Food and Drug Administration said the Jensens installed a new cantaloupe cleaning system - designed to clean potatoes - in 2011. The system included a chlorine spray meant to remove bacteria, which was never used."The defendants were aware that their cantaloupes could be contaminated with harmful bacteria if not sufficiently washed. Food processors... bear a special responsibility to ensure that the food they produce and sell is not dangerous to the public." The Jensens' actions resulted in at least six shipments of contaminated cantaloupe being sent to 28 states.

Sunscreens for babies, kids, recalled for contamination - Bacteria and fungi found in some samples of natural sunscreen. About 30,000 tubes of Badger sunscreens for babies and children have been recalled after testing found they could be contaminated with bacteria and fungi. The voluntary recall from a leading maker of natural and organic sunscreens includes all lots of the company's 4-ounce SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen Lotion and one lot of 4-ounce SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion.
The New Hampshire company says the products all passed testing before they were put on sale, starting in February, but routine quality checks later turned up three microbes: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida parapsilosis and Acremonium fungis. The third microbe was found only in one open sample that had been handled and contaminated. The testing suggested all the problems were caused by "preservative instability," the company says.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

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**Happiness is nothing more than good health
and a bad memory.**
Albert Schweitzer

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/25/13 -

+ Peru 7.0 quake - An offshore earthquake with a reported magnitude of 7.0 shook much of Peru on Wednesday but only minor damage and no injuries were reported in the sparsely populated southwestern coastal area near the epicenter. The quake broke windows and opened fissures in the walls of some adobe dwellings in the nearest sizeable town, Acari.
Sand shaken loose by the quake partially blocked a 1-mile (2-kilometer) section of the Panamerican Highway. The quake was felt mildly in Lima, 310 miles (500 kilometers) away and caused swaying in Arequipa, about 170 miles away (300 kilometers). A tsunami warning was not issued. "Most people felt it, not everyone. It lasted a little bit. It wasn't a big shake, just a release, like the movement of a hammock."
Contrary to what was initially expected, the earthquake was more powerful than expected. Local press is reporting a number of collapsed houses in Arequipa, in the Caraveli area and especially in Acari region. More houses have some damage, schools were evacuated. Several landslides occurred, blocking and damaging roads. Also the Pan Americana is affected.
There is no reason to expect major damage because this part of the country has regular very strong subduction earthquakes. A powerful earthquake like this lasts normally more than 20 seconds and is perceived as very strong, even if it is not dangerous for damage. This part of the coastal area is luckily sparsely populated. No people are living within a radius of 10 km from the epicenter. Less than 100 people are living in between 10 and 20 km. Only 6800 people are living within a 50 km radius. Only those houses within a radius of 20 km would be expected to have slight damage like cracks in walls, fallen roof tiles and plaster etc.
Despite the 'NO TSUNAMI ' report from the PWTC, the local coast could have still had strong currents and local tsunamis could have been generated. People certainly needed to keep away from the coastline.

+ The death toll from the devastating earthquake in western Pakistan has risen to 327. The greatest damage occurred in Awaran, Baluchistan’s poorest district, which is near the deep-sea port of Gwadar. The remoteness of the area was impeding relief efforts. “It was a big quake, and the damage is extensive."
Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest but poorest province, troubled by many conflicts. In addition, the province is prone to earthquakes and recently dealt with a crippling drought. Baluchistan was also badly hit by devastating floods that swept Pakistan in 2010, inundating about one-fifth of the country and affecting about 20 million people. About 2,000 people died in that disaster. “We are seriously lacking medical facilities, and there is no space to treat injured people in the local hospitals.”
More than 300,000 people have been affected over a total of six districts - Awaran, Kech, Gwadar, Panjgur, Chaghi and Khuzdar - in Balochistan. The death toll currently stands at 328 - 160 in Awaran town, 125 in other areas of Awaran district and 43 in Kech. It is feared the death toll could rise once other areas are reached. The number of wounded is reportedly more than 440. It was the biggest earthquake in Pakistan since 2005.
In Awaran, about 90% of houses in the district have been destroyed. Entire villages in Awaran are reported to have been flattened. Some 250 houses collapsed in the village of Dalbedi and villagers were clawing through debris for possessions. "We have lost everything, even our food is now buried under mud and water from underground channels is now undrinkable because of excessive mud in it due to the earthquake." [maps & photos]
Pakistan island formed from a mud volcano? - As a result of the 7.7-magnitude earthquake shook western Pakistan early on Tuesday, residents of Gwadar saw a solitary island rise from the sea. Older residents of the coastal town said the land emergence was déjà vu — an earthquake in 1968 produced an island that stayed for one year and then vanished.
Seismologists suspect the island is a temporary formation resulting from a "mud volcano," a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the surface as the temblor churned and pressurized that slurry under the ocean floor. "Sandy layers underground are shaken, and sand grains jiggle and become more compact." The shifting sand layers are compacted and pressurize the water, which gushed upwards, carrying mud and sand along with it.
This "liquefaction" of sand and mud layers take place after any earthquake, but these sudden islands are usually spotted after strong earthquakes, at least 7- or 8-magnitude events. The distance of the island from the epicenter of the quake is "a little bit surprising," granted that "the sediments are quite soft and susceptible to this."
Back in the 1940s, a sizable island rose from the sea in the area, but it didn't last long. After an earthquake near Karachi struck, the British Indian Geological survey recorded a new island "big enough that people could land a boat and walk on it. Within days, weeks" — they weren't sure how long — "it washed away."
Researchers at the United States Geological Survey are investigating the new formation, but have yet to get independent confirmation of it. It is clear that "the islands are not created because the ground was ... pushed up by the earthquake" but more likely it was a secondary effect of shifting sediments. The formation appears to have been caused by a mud volcano, but they don't need an earthquake to set them off. There are "mud volcanoes in Yellowstone that have not been triggered by earthquakes."
While mud volcanoes are typical of watery, loose sediments layers off the coast of Baluchistan, more substantial instant islands — or "land uprisings" — do suddenly appear in other parts of the world. They're typically seen along fault lines where one tectonic plate slides under another, like the hungry subduction zone under New Zealand. Fault lines like the San Andreas, at which the Pacific Plate and the North American plates slide past each other sideways, are less likely to see such upcrops.
It also takes a pretty sizable earthquake to push up an entirely new land feature. "You wouldn't expect to see it in a 3- or 4-magnitude [quake]." It would take a stronger temblor of 7 or 8 magnitude to change the landscape.
+ Pakistan quake island 'emits flammable gas' - Barely half an hour after they were jolted by a major earthquake on Tuesday, people of the Pakistani coastal town of Gwadar had another shock when they saw a new island emerge in the sea, just over a kilometre from the shore. "It's an oval shaped island which is about 250ft to 300ft (76-91m) in length, and about 60 to 70ft above the water."It has a rough surface, much of which is muddy and some parts are mostly made up of fine-to-coarse-grained sand. One part of it is solid rock.
"There were dead fish on the surface. And on one side we could hear the hissing sound of the escaping gas." Though they couldn't smell methane, explorers did put a match to the fissures from where the gas was oozing, and set it on fire. "We put the fire out in the end, but it was quite a hassle. Not even the water could kill it, unless one poured buckets over it."
The story now doing the rounds in Gwadar is that a similar hill had jutted out of the sea 60 or 70 years ago, and that the elders had then named it the Zalzala Koh, or the quake hill. They say Tuesday's earthquake has brought it back. Their story is not entirely incorrect. However the quake hill that appeared in 1945 was not near Gwadar, but over 100km to the east, although it was along the same coastline, which is called the Makran coast. The island that popped up near Gwadar is the fourth in this region since 1945, and the third during the last 15 years.
About 700km from east to west, the Makran coast is characterised by high seismic activity, and is home to several hills called mud volcanoes, having craters at the top from which methane gas seeps. These volcanoes are located inland, and have been there for a long time. But similar formations that emerge offshore are usually washed away by the sea. Geologists say it is part of the continuing process of continental drift, or the drift of land mass across the oceans that brought the Indian sub-continent to collide with Eurasia and created the fault-lines, some of which run through the Makran coast.
The energy released by the seismic movements of these fault-lines activates inflammable gases in the seabed. "The seabed near the Makran coast has vast deposits of gas hydrates, or frozen gas having a large methane content. These deposits lay compressed under a sediment bed that is 300m-800m thick. When the plates along the fault-lines move, they create heat and the expanding gas blasts through the fissures in the earth's crust, propelling the entire sea floor to the surface."
In 1999, and again in 2010, islands appeared within 1km of the coast of Ormara, just below the delta of the Hingol river. One of the best known mud volcanoes of the region, the Chandragup, is located just inland from this location, a little way off the Hingol river. The seismic activity in the coastal seabed has caused the gases to make conduits inland, leading to the formation of Chandragup and other mud volcanoes. But while these inland volcanoes have sat along the Makran coast for centuries, the islands appearing in the sea hardly last more than a few months.
"One reason is that over a period of time, the pressure that propelled the sea floor to the surface eases up, causing the islands to subside. Another reason is that the fine-grained muddy material of the sedimentary seabed soon starts to erode due to sea action. In seven or eight months, the island is gone, and only its signature remains on the seabed." [Photos at link]

Nicaragua on alert after volcano blast - Telica volcano in Nicaragua has erupted with a mighty blast and a column of ash, then quieted down again. No one was hurt but villagers near the volcano in the northwest of the Central American nation were told to remain on alert. The morning blast spewed ash 50m into the air. After the single blast, civil defence staff remained on site to gather information. Villagers were put on alert and told to protect their water and food sources.

Sakurajima volcano (Kyushu, Japan) - Activity remains at high levels with near-constant ash venting and frequent and often large vulcanian explosions (ash plumes rising to 10,000 ft / 3 km altitude).

Klyuchevskoy volcano (Kamchatka) - eruption continues. Strombolian activity, strong degassing, and the effusion of a lava flow on the upper flank continue.


* In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Pabuk is located approximately 275 nm south-southeast of Yokosuka, Japan.
Philippines - State weather forecasters are now tracking a new potential cyclone off Mindoro Oriental province, even as they warned of possible floods and landslides over Mindoro and Palawan. The potential cyclone, a low-pressure area, was estimated at 320 km west of Oriental Mindoro as of 10 a.m. But they could not yet determine when it may intensify into a cyclone at this time, saying they are still observing it. Should the LPA become a cyclone while inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, it will be locally codenamed Paolo.
In the meantime, PAGASA said the LPA and the southwest monsoon may bring "cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and thunderstorms over the western section of southern Luzon and Western Visayas." The rain may be moderate to occasionally heavy over Mindoro provinces and northern Palawan including Coron island, "which may trigger flash floods and landslides. Residents in these areas are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures."

Tropics quiet again with two months remaining in the Atlantic hurricane season - The tropics are quiet again, as a system that threatened to strengthen on Mexico's Gulf coast lost organization Monday.


Australia - Wild weather lashed Victoria. Stormy conditions caused trees to be uprooted, train stations flooded and power cut to homes overnight and on Thursday morning. About 2500 homes in Ballarat and Colac remained without power after 11,000 homes were hit by power outages across the state overnight.
Commuters faced big delays on some rail lines. A metal sheet was blown off a building and found near the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Wind gusts exceeded 100km/h in some parts of the city, reaching 102km/h at Avalon. Essendon recorded speeds up to 92km/h. Severe weather warnings remain in place for the state, however winds were expected to die down on Thursday afternoon.


Australia - Emergency services across New South Wales have had their hands full with hundreds of incidents as high winds spark fires and uproot trees across the state. Fire crews are working to contain a bushfire south of Taree, which has blocked the Pacific Highway in both directions. The blaze has been classified as a Watch and Act but there are no immediate threats to homes in the area.
Fire and Rescue NSW are dealing with more than 100 smaller bush and grass fires, mostly in western Sydney. Earlier, motorists were forced to navigate through smoke as a grassfire burned next to the M7 in Hinchinbrook. The SES dealt with more than 200 wind-related calls, 100 of which were for within the Sydney metro area. Falling trees cut off electricity to about 4000 homes in Sydney shortly after 2pm (AEST).
Residents across NSW and the ACT were told to prepare for wild damaging winds on Thursday with a cold front moving across the region. As of midday winds had hit 96km/h at Sydney's Kurnell, 93/km at Moss Vale and 87km/h at Sydney airport. Goulburn experienced winds of 102km/h and Wollongong reached a top of 95km/h. The highest reading in the state was on the south coast at Montague Island, off Narooma, where gusts reached 119km/h.
Conditions were forecast to ease over the afternoon but crews expected the calls to continue regardless. "As people come home from work they might find that a couple of things have been blown around or damaged on their property." The SES has urged residents to tie down lose outdoor items and move vehicles inside and away from trees. A total fire ban remains in place through NSW.


On Wednesday, experts reaffirmed their earlier finding that MERS is not a global health emergency.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UPDATE - Peru 7.0 quake - An offshore earthquake with a reported magnitude of 7.0 shook much of Peru on Wednesday but only minor damage and no injuries were reported in the sparsely populated southwestern coastal area near the epicenter. The quake broke windows and opened fissures in the walls of some adobe dwellings in the nearest sizeable town, Acari.
Sand shaken loose by the quake partially blocked a 1-mile (2-kilometer) section of the Panamerican Highway. The quake was felt mildly in Lima, 310 miles (500 kilometers) away and caused swaying in Arequipa, about 170 miles away (300 kilometers). A tsunami warning was not issued. "Most people felt it, not everyone. It lasted a little bit. It wasn't a big shake, just a release, like the movement of a hammock."

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for a large intelligence and a deep heart.
The really great men must, I think,
have great sadness on Earth.**
Fyodor Dostoevsky

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/24/13 -

9/23/13 -

7.7 Quake kills 210 in Pakistan - Rescuers struggled Wednesday to help thousands of people injured and left homeless after their houses collapsed in a massive earthquake in southwestern Pakistan, as the death toll rose overnight to 210. The magnitude 7.7 quake struck in the remote district of Awaran in Pakistan's Baluchistan province on Tuesday afternoon. Such a quake is considered major, capable of widespread and heavy damage.
375 people have been injured. In Pakistani cities such as Karachi along the Arabian Sea and Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, people ran into the streets in fear, praying for their lives when the quake hit. The Pakistani military said it was rushing troops and helicopters to Awaran district and the nearby area of Khuzdar. Local officials said they were sending doctors, food and 1,000 tents for people who had nowhere to sleep as strong aftershocks continued to shake the region.
Most of the victims were killed when their houses collapsed. Walls of the mud brick houses had collapsed, and people were gathered outside because they had no homes to sleep in. Baluchistan is Pakistan's largest province but also the least populated and most impoverished. Awaran district has about 300,000 residents. Baluchistan and neighboring Iran are prone to earthquakes. A magnitude 7.8 quake centered just across the border in Iran killed at least 35 people in Pakistan last April.
+ The quake CREATED NEW ISLAND in the sea just off the country's southern coast. The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea. Television channels showed images of a stretch of rocky terrain rising above the sea level, with a crowd of bewildered people gathering on the shore to witness the RARE PHENOMENON.
Tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital of New Delhi, 1,200 kilometers (about 740 miles) to the east, where buildings shook, as well as the sprawling port city of Karachi in Pakistan. The United States Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude quake struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's quake-prone province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.
Officials said scores of mud houses were destroyed by aftershocks in the thinly populated mountainous area near the quake epicenter in Baluchistan, a huge barren province of deserts and rugged mountains. At least 30 percent of houses in the impoverished Awaran district had caved in. 25 people had been injured and the death toll was expected to increase as many people appeared to be trapped inside their collapsed homes. It was hard to assess the impact quickly because the locations were so remote.

Oregonians warned to prepare for ‘big one’ – roads cut off for 5 years, no electricity for 3 months, no gas for 6 months. Sitting on a major fault line, Oregon is “like an eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy, due any time now” for a major earthquake, a geologist with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said Friday.
There’s a 37 percent chance the Big One will happen in the next 50 years. A major earthquake would cripple transportation on Interstate 5 as bridges and overpasses collapse from two to four minutes of ground shaking, possible very severe, with stressful aftershocks for weeks. “It’s going to shake here. Single-family homes will bounce off their foundations. Landslides will cause transportation between I-5 and (Highway) 101 on the coast to be cut off for three to five years.”
A big quake will cause liquefaction, in which the ground, if saturated with water, will “turn to pudding,” causing hardware, such as sewer systems, septic lines and gas tanks, to rise up out of the earth. Lines from Washington state gasoline refineries cross 15 rivers, leaving them vulnerable to quake tremors. Most of these were built in the mid-20th century, with no thought to making them quake-resistant. They would be offline for at least six months. Electrical power would be down from one to three months until transformers and the electrical grid get going again. A region’s markets have food enough for only three days, so families should store at least three weeks of nonperishable food — tuna, beans, freeze-dried items — and other vital commodities, such as toilet paper.
The North American tectonic plate, on which the Rogue Valley rests, is moving southwesterly a couple of inches a year, overriding oceanic plates and building up tension. When the tension is released, she said, it causes far-reaching land quakes and lifts an enormous amount of sea water, which will slam the Oregon Coast with tsunamis. Partial quakes happen on an average of every 240 years. The last one was in 1700, so it’s been 213 years. Quakes of the entire length of the zone come every 500 to 600 years and governments should expect those to be 9.0 or more on the Richter scale — tremendously devastating. They cannot be predicted.
Residents were urged to spread the word to family and friends to take first-aid and Community Emergency Response Team training, store supplies and get to know your neighbors and people who have training and tools. Communities must assess risks to buildings, roads, power, water and sewer lines. People should learn to “drop, cover and hold” and practice getting to safe places in their homes. Wall art should be screwed down, big furniture, water heater and bookcases secured, and heavy items kept close to the floor, not up high where they could fall on people. “You need to practice this over and over because when it’s happening you’re not going to be able to think.”

Death Tolls Are a Bad Way to Judge the Scale of a Natural Disaster - While death may be shocking, it’s the living who need help. In several independent studies, they found that volunteers were likely to suggest more money should be donated to hypothetical disasters with higher casualties, rather than higher numbers of people in need. But the authors found that the subjects were willing to increase the amount given to the disaster when the numbers became more specific, i.e. 4,000 people “left homeless”, as opposed to “affected” or “in need,” suggesting that donors may consider such numbers more reliable.

Indonesia - Mt. Sinabung evacuees begin to return home. Around 6,000 evacuees from the Mount Sinabung area in Karo regency, North Sumatra, have returned home as the volcano's emergency status was removed.


* In the Western Pacific -
Typhoon Pabuk is located approximately 460 nm south of Yokosuka, Japan.

In the Northern Gulf of Mexico, a stalled stationary front is bringing heavy thunderstorms to northern and central Florida, where heavy rains of up to six inches have caused isolated flooding problems. A weak area of low pressure along this front will move over the coastal waters several hundred miles offshore of South Carolina on Thursday, where models predict that development into a tropical or subtropical depression could occur by Friday.
Ocean temperatures off the South Carolina coast are just warm enough for development, 26 - 27°C, so this scenario is plausible. However, the other two reliable models for tropical cyclone genesis are not predicting development. The National Hurricane Center gave no odds that anything would spin up in the next five days.. Sustained winds of 30 - 40 mph may affect much of the mid-Atlantic coast on Sunday and Monday.

Philippines - Parts of Metro flooded. Several areas in Metro Manila were flooded Sunday due to torrential rains whipped up by south west monsoon as super typhoon “Odette” (international name Usagi) left the country. On Sunday morning, the state weather bureau issued a yellow rainfall alert as moderate to occasional heavy rains continued to affect Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales.
Metro Manila and several parts of Luzon may expect more rainy weather this week as a tropical storm approaching from the east continues to enhance the southwest monsoon. But the storm, internationally codenamed Pabuk, has little chance of entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) this week. If Pabuk enters the PAR, it will be locally codenamed Paolo. But, as of now, Pabuk is more likely to head to Japan. S trong to gale-force winds associated with the southwest monsoon may affect the northern and western seaboards of Luzon. "Fishing boats and other small seacrafts are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves."

New Zealand - "Beast" of a sub-tropical storm was bearing down on Waikato Tuesday, bringing with it 130kmh winds. Forecasters are predicting heavy rain, gale-force winds and huge swells will batter the region from the east, making road and ocean conditions treacherous.
The rapidly deepening low started as an area of moist tropical air northeast of the North Island but an upper trough had wound it up into a "pretty mean beast". The "significant" storm was UNUSUAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR and it was "pretty ugly". This kind of low usually arrives in the cyclone season, from January to March. It will be "loaded" with water because tropical air can carry so much moisture. Heavy rain of between 100mm and 120mm is expected on the peninsula. It comes after torrential rain at the weekend which caused slips and closed roads around the region.
A storm warning is in force for the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel, with sea swells predicted to reach 4 metres today. The severe weather watch extends to Waikato, Waitomo, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taumarunui, Taupo and Auckland. Wind gusts of 130kmh were expected. The orientation of the winds and swell could mean flooding both inland and on the coast. Every storm has its own character. "They're all bad in their own way but this one will be for damaging winds, flooding and coastal effects. It's going to be a pretty nasty 24 to 48 hours but Friday is the day we can put a smiley face next to and catch our breath."
The storm may cause surface flooding on the Coromandel Peninsula and place further pressure on river systems that rose after the weekend rainfall. River systems across the region are also under pressure and could swell further. Rivers are particularly high in the western Waikato. Waikato Civil Defence has also been alerted to the potential for ABNORMALLY HIGH SEAS due to the combination of low atmospheric pressure, strong easterly winds and a heavy ocean swell. Low-lying coastal land exposed to the east is expected to be most at risk and residents are advised take precautions.

75 Years Ago: Astonishing Power of Great Hurricane of 1938 - Ground Zero of the Great Hurricane of 1938 was the border of Connecticut and Rhode Island at Watch Hill. A storm-surge wave estimated to be nearly 50 feet in height obliterated 40 homes on Napatree Point. The Great Hurricane of 1938 would prove to be the single-worst natural disaster in Connecticut’s history.
The intense storm reached Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Scale off the northeast coast of Florida and struck New England as a Category 3 on Sept. 21, 1938 — 75 years ago this week. The forward speed of the hurricane approached 70 mph as it roared up the East Coast toward Long Island Sound, enhancing the strength of its winds, especially in the northeast section of the hurricane. As a result, sustained winds reached speeds of 120 mph and wind gusts in some areas approached 200 mph - a level regarded as “catastrophic.”
The hurricane’s forward speed was so fast that the storm was nicknamed “The Long Island Express.” The peak of the storm surge was essentially a wind-induced tsunami that reached a height estimated by some to be 50 feet. The only evidence that 40 homes once existed on Napatree is the presence of their foundations, now covered by vegetation. Nobody has been allowed to build a home there since 1938.
A New London woman was in her house on Fort Road during the storm. As the water rose and the winds intensified, she retreated to the attic of the house. When the storm surge obliterated her house, she and her children rode the crest of that monster wave in her detached attic, as if they were on a giant makeshift surfboard. They came to a stop, finally, two miles inland in a corn field in Stonington, as the wave finally dissipated.

1913 hurricane laid a trail of destruction across the Great Lakes - Though many remember the 2010 "once in a lifetime" storm that caused terrible flooding around the Milwaukee area, few have seen anything like the dramatic 1913 Great Lakes hurricane, which toppled ships, killed hundreds sailors – and folks on shore, too – from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.
The four-day storm that raged through the Great Lakes in November 1913. This storm is universally accepted as the worst in Great Lakes history. It hit Lakes Superior and Michigan first; then, two days later, when it seemed to have let up, it joined forces with a storm from the southeast and hit Lake Huron with incredible force, sinking eight boats in a matter of hours. The average storm blows in and out of the area in a day or two. This one was at its peak for four days – an unbelievable sustained energy.
More than 250 sailors lost their lives. Dozens of boats were destroyed, heavily damaged, grounded or blown ashore. Surviving sailors spoke about waves the height of three-story buildings. The winds were so vicious that they blew away entire superstructures on ships. Shores were resculpted. Cleveland was hit very hard and was incapacitated for the better part of a week.
In Milwaukee, the enormous waves destroyed a couple of pile drivers near a breakwater project, and ripped up 1500 feet of construction. It was even worse in Chicago. Two men were picked up by the wind, tossed into the Chicago River, and drowned. Lake Shore Drive was flooded, and a project at Lincoln Park, already eight years in the making, was washed away. On the lake itself, boats were tossed around. Fortunately, nobody was lost or seriously injured.
The 1913 storm tore through the docks and breakwaters as if they didn't exist. How do you deal with high, sustained winds over a 12- to 16-hour period? Improvements in weather forecasting have greatly diminished the chances of this kind of destruction ever happening again. In 1913, the weather forecasts were sent from Washington D.C., via telegraph, to ports around the lakes. Updates were spotty. Flags and lanterns were used to warn boats of conditions, and many captains chose to ignore them. There were no jetstreams, as far as forecasters of the time knew. Weather systems were tracked and charted, but this was a slow process, and boats would leave ports with little knowledge of just how deadly it was on the lakes. The best preparation for a major storm is to prudently stay off the water until it passes. Weather forecasting makes this possible.


Rain pelts Northern California - A powerful storm dumped RECORD LEVELS OF RAIN in Sacramento and snow in the mountains Saturday on the last day of summer. Northern California got pelted with as much as an inch of rain by midafternoon, overflowing leaf-clogged storm drains, causing street flooding in residential areas and forcing foothill residents indoors under the threat of lightning storms. UNSEASONABLY COLD temperatures turned that rain to snow in the mountains, causing the state Department of Transportation to impose chain controls on westbound Interstate 80 over Donner Summit late in the day. Hail was reported in Davis late Saturday.
Downtown Sacramento got 0.41 of an inch by 4 p.m., far surpassing the previous record, 0.15 of an inch, set in 1916. Stockton and Modesto also recorded record amounts. The storm caused a mudslide on Highway 193 near Placerville, led to several roadway spinouts and slowed traffic on I-80. The summer was “very dry,” and with reservoir systems below normal, “it’s a good thing we are getting rain earlier that is coming in to refill those reservoirs." Summer also brought fewer 100-degree days than normal. The Sacramento region averages 22 per year, but summer 2013 had only 17.

Guam - RECORD-BREAKING RAINFALL caused high turbidity levels that forced the shut down of the Ugum Water Treatment Plant on Thursday, September 19. “In high turbidity extended conditions, we had a plan to serve water from the north to the south." The plan worked until an earthquake on Thursday broke three lines that helped bring water from the northern wells down to southern customers.
While they were able to repair the lines within several hours in poor weather conditions, the recovery time took longer than expected because of water pressure issues. They immediately put water tankers all over the south, but water loss wasn't immediate because of their reservoirs. The shut down of the Ugum plant was also for safety reasons because GWA doesn't want any employees being hurt or washed away in flooding or high wind conditions. "The chances are, you're not going to have earthquakes at the same time as you're having storms. And if you did, the chances are it's not going to break the supply line.”
Hundreds of people that were without water for more than 3 days. Some used rainwater to survive and 5 gallon buckets of water to shower. They were frustrated with GWA using the high turbidity excuse when Guam has gone through so many typhoons in the last 20 years. With all the technology available today, having reliable water service shouldn't be such a problem. “We've been hearing the same old excuses and it's just not right. It's not fair to the people, the tax payers, that pay for these utilities to work for us when we need them. My frustration is the fact that waking up at 6 a.m. in the morning and not having water. It's terrible.”


Australia - Queensland regions face extreme fire danger as temperatures soar. A blast of hot spring weather has sparked fears about fires. Bushfires near Tambo in Queensland's central west have burnt through more than 100,000 hectares of grazing country.
A total fire ban has been declared for much of New South Wales , with the Greater Hunter set to experience extreme danger conditions.

Monday, September 23, 2013

UPDATE TUESDAY - + 7.7 Quake kills 45 in Pakistan, creates new island in sea. The major earthquake hit a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 45 people and prompting a new island to rise from the sea just off the country's southern coast. The earthquake was so powerful that it caused the seabed to rise and create a small, mountain-like island about 600 meters (yards) off Pakistan's Gwadar coastline in the Arabian Sea. Television channels showed images of a stretch of rocky terrain rising above the sea level, with a crowd of bewildered people gathering on the shore to witness the RARE PHENOMENON.
Tremors were felt as far away as the Indian capital of New Delhi, hundreds of miles to the east, where buildings shook, as well as the sprawling port city of Karachi in Pakistan. The United States Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude quake struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin in Pakistan's quake-prone province of Baluchistan, which borders Iran.
Officials said scores of mud houses were destroyed by aftershocks in the thinly populated mountainous area near the quake epicenter in Baluchistan, a huge barren province of deserts and rugged mountains. At least 30 percent of houses in the impoverished Awaran district had caved in. 25 people had been injured and the death toll was expected to increase as many people appeared to be trapped inside their collapsed homes. It was hard to assess the impact quickly because the locations were so remote.

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**If you can find a path with no obstacles,
it probably doesn't lead anywhere.**
Frank A. Clark

No summary on Tuesday this week.

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 9/22/13 -

RARE simultaneous swarms rock Yellowstone region - a VERY RARE TRIPLE SWARM of earthquakes rocked Yellowstone National Park. A geophysics professor says he has never seen even two swarms occur together before in all the 53 years that he has been monitoring seismic activity. Now, he he’s seen three.
The three swarms hit in the following areas: Lewis Lake, the Lower Geyser Basin and the northwest part of Norris Geyser Basin.
An earthquake swarm is an event where a sequence of earthquakes occurs in a limited geographic area over a short period of time. The triple swarm is “remarkable”. “How does one swarm relate to another? Can one swarm trigger another and vice versa?” No sure answers are available to those questions, however, because SIMULTANEOUS SWARMS HAVEN'T BEEN DETECTED BEFORE. He believes that at least two of the swarms are probably related to each other.
Earlier this month, on September 15, the largest earthquake to rock Yellowstone in over a year occurred about six miles north of the Old Faithful Geyser. Its magnitude was about 3.6 at its epicenter. The recent swarms of earthquakes began on September 10 and finished up on September 16.
Altogether, 130 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 0.6 to 3.6 occurred in the area, with most of them being located in the Lower Geyser Basin. The recent swarms produced four earthquakes which were significant enough in size to be felt. The first, which had a magnitude of 3.5, happened on September 13, about 17 miles northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana. The next two tremblors to be felt occurred early on the morning of September 15 with magnitudes of 3.2 and 3.4 respectively. These two occurred in rapid succession, with one being detected at 5:10 AM and the other at 5:11 AM. The quakes happened about 15 miles southeast of West Yellowstone. The largest earthquake recording during the swarm, a 3.6, was measured nearby about 4 1/2 hours later.
A strong enough earthquake (like the 7.3 quake that shook the Hebgen Lake area in 1959) has the potential to change the activity of the geysers in the area. And, in fact, the 1959 quake did. It caused nearly 300 features to erupt, including 160 where there were no previous records of geysers. None of the current earthquakes were powerful enough to create these types of changes, however.
The current swarms of earthquakes may, in fact, be related to the 1959 earthquake. “We think that much of the seismicity is still aftershocks from that event in 1959. It can go on for hundreds of years.” Usually only about half a dozen earthquakes occur each year in Yellowstone, so it is QUITE UNUSUAL for this level of swarm activity to rock the park.

Santiaguito volcano (Guatemala) - strong explosion and series of pyroclastic flows. Another violent eruption occurred at the lava dome Saturday morning (21 Sep) at 8:30 local time. Accompanied by explosions, the Caliente dome suddenly produced a series of major pyroclastic flows triggered by collapse of accumulated viscous lava at the southeastern rim rim and flank of the dome. The flows descended on all sides of the lava dome.
The explosions, accompanied by shock waves that could be heard in 20 km radius, produced an ash plume that rose to about 4.5 km altitude or about 2 km height above the crater. Significant (but smaller compared) ash plume rose from the pyroclastic flows. Ash fall occurred in Quetzaltenango, Santa María de Jesús, Zuníl and other areas downwind. There has been no recognized precursor to the eruption, illustrating that the activity of the lava dome is highly unpredictable and potentially extremely dangerous. A similar eruption occurred almost exactly one month ago.


* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Usagi is located approximately 66 nm east-northeast of Hong Kong. the final advisory has been issued on this system.

- Tropical storm Pabuk is located 60 nm south of Iwo To, Japan.

Quiet in the Atlantic - In the Gulf of Mexico, the tail end of a cold front off the coast of Texas has developed an area of concentrated heavy thunderstorms. This disturbance has some modest spin to it, thanks to absorbing Invest 95L on Saturday. However, wind shear is high, 20 - 30 knots, and this disturbance is not expected to develop. The disturbance is expected to bring 2 - 3" of rain to Florida later this week, and the Army Corps of Engineers has re-opened the flood gates on Lake Okeechobee to dump water out of the lake, in anticipation of the heavy rains. None the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting any Atlantic development during the coming five days.

+ Category 2 Usagi Hits China - Hong Kong Misses the Storm's Worst. Typhoon Usagi made landfall near Shanwei, China, about 90 miles east-northeast of Hong Kong, near 6 pm local time (6 am EDT) on Sunday. At landfall, Usagi was a powerful Category 2 typhoon with top sustained winds of 110 mph. Shanwei recorded a sea level pressure of about 941 mb at landfall. As of noon EDT, the top winds recorded at the Hong Hong Airport were sustained at 40 mph, with gusts to 53 mph.
Hong Kong's Cheung Chau Island recorded sustained winds of 54 mph, gusting to 76 mph. Since the typhoon made landfall well to the east of the city, Hong Kong was on the weaker (left) side of the storm, and missed Usagi's strongest winds and most significant storm surge. Hong Kong had a 0.7 meter (2.3') storm surge at the Kwai Chung measurement site. Shantou, located on the strong (right) side of the storm, experienced sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 67 mph.
Two people were killed by a falling tree in China near Usagi's landfall location, and the typhoon is also being blamed for two deaths in the Philippines and nine injuries in Taiwan. Satellite images show that Usagi is weakening quickly as it moves inland, and the storm should dissipate over China by Tuesday morning. [map, satellite photo and videos at link]
+ Typhoon Usagi veers from Hong Kong at last minute, hits southern China - The year's most powerful typhoon slammed into southern China on Sunday evening, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations, shutting down shipping and putting a nuclear power plant on alert after pummeling parts of the Philippines and Taiwan with heavy rains and fierce winds. Forecasters had warned earlier that it posed a "severe threat" to the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong.
Usagi was classified as a severe typhoon, packing sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour, with gusts of up to 213 kph (132 mph). The storm was downgraded from a super typhoon on Saturday — with its sustained winds falling below 241 kilometers (150 miles) per hour — as it passed through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan, likely sparing residents in both places from the most destructive winds near its eye.
In the Philippines, Usagi left at least two people dead and two others missing, while in Taiwan nine people were hurt by falling trees on Kinmen island off China's coast. The typhoon landed near the city of Shanwei in the Chinese province of Guangdong, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Hong Kong. A storm surge and heavy rains could cause flooding in low-lying areas. More than 1,200 residents were taken to temporary shelters. The typhoon wreaked havoc on airport schedules in Hong Kong, nearby Macau and mainland China, upsetting travel plans for many passengers who were returning home at the end of the three-day mid-autumn festival long weekend.
Hong Kong International Airport said 370 arriving and departing flights were canceled and another 64 delayed. Fujian province suspended shipping between mainland China and Taiwan. Authorities in Guangdong initiated an emergency response plan for the Daya Bay nuclear power station northeast of Hong Kong as Usagi approached, ordering four of six reactors to operate at a reduced load.
In Taiwan, more than 3,300 people were evacuated from flood-prone areas and mountainous regions. The storm also caused a landslide that buried a rail line on Taiwan's southeast coast, but rail services were restored by Sunday morning. Another landslide late Saturday in the southeastern hot springs resort village of Chihpen sent mud and rocks crashing through the ground floor of a resort spa, forcing the evacuation of frightened guests. The Chihpen River breached its levies upriver, turning the village's main street into a rock-strewn stream, flooding homes and damaging vehicles.
In the Philippines, a 50-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman drowned when a passenger boat capsized in rough waters off northeastern Aurora province. Two other people were missing in the incident, while the remaining nine passengers and crew were rescued. The typhoon set off landslides, flooded parts of six Philippine provinces and affected nearly 20,000 people, but disaster-response officials did not immediately report additional casualties.
UPDATE - At least 25 people died as Typhoon Usagi hit southern China, bringing winds of 180km/h (110mph), toppling trees and blowing cars off roads. Victims drowned or were hit by debris.
The storm has affected 3.5 million people on the Chinese mainland. Trains from Guangzhou to Beijing have been suspended and hundreds of flights from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong have been cancelled. The ferocity of the storm has abated as it progressed into southern China, but financial markets in Hong Kong were closed for part of Monday morning.
More than 80,000 people were moved to safety in Fujian province and the authorities have deployed at least 50,000 relief workers. Power supplies in many parts of the province and in Guangdong have been cut off. "It is the strongest typhoon I have ever encountered. [It was] so terrible, lucky we made preparations."

+ Newly formed Tropical Storm Pabuk is a threat to Japan, but likely to have no impact on Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said Saturday. Pabuk strengthened from a tropical depression north of Guam on Saturday afternoon.

+ Mexico - piles of bodies, massive mudslides, orphaned children, and people living without food, water or basic supplies in small villages along Mexico’s Pacific coast. Officials report 97 deaths and more than 1 million people have been affected by the massive flooding caused by a series of storms including Tropical Storm Manuel.
In Hacienda de Cabañas in Guerrero-Mexico, located about 90 minutes north of Acapulco, water from a dam above the village flooded the area, destroying and damaging many homes and some residents stranded on rooftops. Then there was more rain, rising water and power outages. The government needs to release water from another dam up river.
Relatives in San Diego are trying to find a way to get supplies to the small community even if it means finding a helicopter company to airlift the resources. “We’re trying to get them food. They need diapers, they need toothpaste, they need the basic things, they need baby formula. Whatever was on the first floor of the houses, it was that fast, the stuff is gone...If the bridges are all out, there’s no way to do it by land." It has been frustrating trying to find a way to send a garage-full of supplies gathered from friends and neighbors. Part of the uncertainty includes finding a bank that will help them send money safely.