**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.**
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.
Yesterday, 9/28/13 -
5.0 EAST OF SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS
5.0 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.2 LUZON, PHILIPPINES
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.
TROPICAL STORMS -
* 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.
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -
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.
'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' -
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.
HEALTH THREATS -
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.
SPACE WEATHER -
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]