Friday, September 13, 2013

Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook

**Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing
and dancing sooner than of war.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday, 9/12/13 -


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical depression Gabrielle is located approximately 690 mi (1110 km) SSW of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Gabrielle is forecast to become a Post-tropical cyclone when it nears Nova Scotia late toiday. Rainfall warnings have been issued for sections of central and eastern Nova Scotia.

- Hurricane Humberto is located about 630 mi (1015 km) NW of the Cape Verde Islands. It appears that Humberto may have peaked in intensity. There are suggestions by the global models that Humberto may attempt a comeback starting around day 5, but it is quite uncertain how much of a tropical cyclone will be remaining at that time after experiencing substantial vertical shear for nearly four days.

- Tropical depression Ten is located about 135 mi (215 km) ENE of Veracruz, Mexico. A slow and erratic motion over the far southern Gulf of Mexico is expected during the next couple of days. The depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today. The depression is expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over a large part of eastern Mexico, with isolated amounts around 25 inches possible. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect.

* In the Western Pacific -
Tropical depression 16w (Man-Yi) is located approximately 201 nm south-southeast of Iwo To, Japan.

+ Dangerous 93L developing in the Gulf of Mexico - A low pressure system (Invest 93L) over the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche is generating heavy rains over the Yucatan Peninsula and adjacent waters. The computer models predict a landfall location along the Mexican coast between Veracruz and a location a few hundred miles south of the Texas/Mexico border by early next week.
The high levels of moisture and slow motion of 93L make it a very dangerous rainfall threat, and I expect rainfall amounts of 5 - 10 inches will affect portions of the Mexican coast between Veracruz and Brownsville, Texas over the next five days. An added danger is the presence of tropical disturbance 90E in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, on the other side of Mexico. If 93L intensifies sufficiently, it could draw in the moisture from 90E across Southern Mexico, resulting in torrential rains on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of Southern Mexico.


Rescuers can't reach towns stranded by Colorado flooding - Entire communities cut off, firefighters huddled on the side of a mountain after water swept their truck away, and - with rescue helicopters grounded - no way to reach them. A "devastating storm" dumped more than half a foot of rain on the region during a 19-hour period. "This is not your ordinary disaster. All the preparation in the world, all the want-to in the world, can't put people up those canyons while debris and walls of water are coming down."
The widespread flash flooding washed out roads, pushed dams to their limits and beyond, and killed at least three people along Colorado's Rocky Mountain range, from Boulder south to Colorado Springs. The worst of the reported damage has come in Boulder County, where the National Weather Service reported that a 20-foot wall of water roared down a mountain canyon north of the city, temporarily trapping a firefighter in a tree.
Lyons, a small town of 2,000 near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, was cut off by what city officials described as a 500-year flood. They took to Facebook to urge residents to prepare for up to three days on their own. "We ask you to conserve resources during this time. We are currently not able to get water or food into the town."
People were using the city's page to search for loved ones, hunt for medicine and even ask for pet food while waiting for rescuers to arrive. Elsewhere, homes collapsed onto residents and a dam in Larimer County broke, flooding some homes and leaving three people trapped. Emergency crews were worried about a Lyons Fire Department crew stuck on a mountainside near a washed-out road. Hypothermia from the cold, wet conditions was of particular concern.
And with so much uncertainty about what had happened in the middle of the night, the death toll could well rise. "This was a devastating overnight storm in the area, and I anticipate that as the day goes on, we are likely to find other people who are victims of this storm," the sheriff said Thursday. "We are bracing ourselves."
In Lyons, floodwater overtopped several dams protecting the town near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Boulder County has requested Colorado National Guard vehicles capable of fording deep water as well as rescue helicopters, which are currently grounded because of fog, low clouds and rain. Despite the efforts, rescuers had been constantly frustrated overnight by debris, impassable roads, mudslides and darkness in their efforts to reach those affected by the flooding.
UNUSUAL STORM - The rain started falling in earnest about 6 p.m. Wednesday and continued into Thursday, sometimes at the rate of about an inch an hours. That added up to about 6 to 7 inches of total rainfall. "The rain, it almost feels like hail, the drops are so thick. It just keeps coming and coming, and when you think it's going to subside, it starts to rain down harder."
The sudden influx of water turned Boulder Creek -- which runs through the campus and other parts of the city bearing its name -- into a high, fast, muddy and dangerous torrent. "It freaked us out." At its peak, Boulder Creek was flowing at 16 times its normal rate for this time of year.
But that was not the only stream causing trouble. Unlike the last devastating flood in Boulder in 1969, this storm caused virtually every waterway in the area to overflow. And rain is likely to continue to pose problems. "I don't see it stopping anytime soon, at least a few more hours," a meterologist said Thursday morning. And, he said, if it does stop, it's likely to flare up again in the afternoon as moisture-laden air being carried toward the mountains is pushed up the slopes, forcing the vapor to turn into rain and fall onto already waterlogged ground. "It could rain again all night."
Dams threatened, roads washed away - Several roads washed away, including one near Lafayette -- about 12 miles southeast of Boulder -- where rescue crews staged the dramatic rescue of a man from an overturned, partially submerged car. The rescue -- captured live on television -- nearly went awry when the car, which had been pulled up so that it was on its side, turned back onto its roof in the swift water just as the man was preparing to climb through a window broken open by his rescuers. The man and two others whose cars went into the water near a washed-out road were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
About 20 miles north of Boulder, in Lyons, water was flowing over the tops of five dams. The dams had not broken, but emergency officials were monitoring them very closely. The town of Lyons had lost power, water and sewer service, and residents were huddled on high ground awaiting rescue. Four deputies stranded with the residents reported no known injuries.
The extent of the damage was widespread but difficult to pin down. "We've lost roads, we've lost bridges, cars, homes. And we are just now trying to assess the scope of the damage." While at least one shelter was filling up, emergency officials said they had asked few people to evacuate because of the danger of driving through floodwater. The rest of Boulder County's 305,000 residents were asked to stay home. "This is no day to travel."
Many roads in the county were closed or impassable, and city and county offices, schools and even the university were closed Thursday. At the university, school officials had to move more than 400 graduate students and research faculty members from family housing units because of flooding. (photos and videos)
+ Flash Floods have killed 3 in Colorado - The floods were triggered by widespread torrential rains of 4 - 6" that fell in less than twelve hours. Denver recorded THEIR HIGHEST LEVELS OF SEPTEMBER MOISTURE ON RECORD. (This article is at the same link as the above Dangerous 93L developing in Gulf)

+ Landslides - Over the last 14 months there has been a five-fold increase in reported landslides in the UK. In one month alone. In December 2012, there were 75 UK landslides, compared with a typical annual average of 60. "We saw significant increases, particularly in July 2012."
There is a link between heavy rainfall in 2012 and landslides in the same period. Extreme weather seems responsible for a huge increase in slope destabilisation, following changes in water loading in the rocks and soils of saturated land. 2012 was the second wettest year on record.
About two fifths of the landslide events happened in soil and rock near the surface soon after a short burst of heavy rainfall, but the build up of rainfall over the two months preceding a landslide seems responsible for the deeper landslides making up the remaining three fifths.
In the last year, four people lost their lives to landslides in the UK. Last summer, landslides along the north east coast of England closed the East Coast Main Line railway. Road, rail and telecoms are all potentially vulnerable to landslides. In certain cases critical infrastructure such as dams may be at risk. The direct and indirect economic costs of last year's events are as yet un-quantified.
The worst recent landslide event in the UK was the Aberfan disaster of 1966, with over one hundred children killed. Across the globe, thousands of people are killed by landslides each year. Changes in land use as well as the frequency of extreme weather events may affect the likelihood of landslides occurring in the future, but unpicking the exact links should become easier with the acquisition of better data.


California wildfire destroys 68 homes - In the hours before fire crews were able to corral a wildfire in rural far Northern California, wind-driven flames fueled by dry grass and brush tore through communities at an estimated 500 acres an hour.


Measles - Health officials say 2013 already is one of the worst years for measles in more than 15 years.


+ METEOR OUTBURST? - European sky watchers are reporting an outburst of September epsilon Perseid meteors. "The outburst occurred around UT midnight on Sept. 9-10. During a two hour period, meteors appeared at a rate equivalent to ~50 per hour. We did not see the outburst in North America because it was still daylight at the time."
NASA all-sky cameras have been recording epsilon Perseid fireballs for days, albeit at a much lower rate than what the Europeans saw. The shower has been active since early September. The debris stream appears to be rich in fireball-producing meteoroids.
The epsilon Perseid shower peaks every year around this time, but the shower is not well known because it is usually weak, producing no more than 5 meteors per hour. In 2008 the shower surprised observers with an outburst five times as active, and this year the shower may have doubled even that.
No one knows the source of the September epsilon Perseid meteor shower. Whatever the parent is, it is probably a comet. Sky watchers should be alert for more epsilon Perseids in the nights ahead. The shower is waning but still active and more outbursts are possible.