Sunday, September 1, 2013

**“The greatest mistake you can make in life
is to be continually fearing you will make one.**
Elbert Hubbard

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 8/31/13 -

8/30/13 -

+ China - A 5.8 earthquake has hit a remote part of southwest China near the popular tourist area of Shangri-La, killing four people and injuring several others. Saturday's earthquake in Yunnan province on the border with Sichuan province sparked landslides, blocked roads, cut off communications and toppled or damaged tens of thousands of homes in the mountainous area.
One person died as falling rocks smashed into a tourist bus, killing the driver. At least 10 others were injured. The quake toppled 600 homes and damaged more than 55,000 others, forcing over 9000 local residents to relocate. State television showed clouds of dust rising from landslides on green mountains and pieces of broken cement that had fallen from buildings.
The swaying the county felt was relatively severe. The earthquake was the second in the area in four days after a 5.1-magnitude quake on Wednesday. In July, twin quakes killed at least 95 people in China's western Gansu province. A magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Sichuan province killed about 200 people earlier this year, five years after almost 90,000 people were killed by a huge tremor in the same province.


In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Kiko is located about 430 mi (690 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California.

+ Rains From Invest 96L Kill 55 in Mali - Disturbance 96L moved very slowly across the Sahel region of Africa during the week, dumping torrential rains on Wednesday that triggered flash floods that killed at least 55 people in Mali's capital city, Bamako. Serious flooding also affected neighboring Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Niger and Senegal. Buildings have collapsed, roads have been rendered impassable, and valuable farmland is submerged beneath flood water, affecting over 200,000 people. More than 100 homes were swept away as the Niger River burst its banks, bringing down bridges and submerging entire streets.

Taiwan - Heavy rain brought by Tropical Storm Kong-Rey over the past few days has filled up most of the reservoirs across the country. In areas south Miaoli County, the reservoirs are either full or almost full, while some are overflowing.
In the northern areas of the country, Shihmen reservoir is 90 percent full, while Feitsui is at 80 percent storage capacity. The constant rain has helped to avert a water-rationing crisis in Keelung. The Central Weather Bureau has warned against flooding in low-lying districts and landslides in mountainous areas south of Chiayi County, which it said were expected to have heavy to torrential rain Saturday. Over the past 10 days, tropical storms Trami and Kong-Rey have caused estimated agricultural losses of NT$332.85 million (US$11.12 million) in Taiwan.

+ AN EVENT UNPARALLELED IN THE HISTORICAL RECORD - With the end of August approaching, the remarkably quiet Atlantic hurricane season of 2013 is highly likely to be just the 6th season since the Hurricane Hunters began flying in 1944 without a hurricane forming by the end of August (the other years: 2002, 2001, 1988, 1984, and 1967.)
Although there have been two tropical storms in August (Erin and Fernand), these storms were weak and short-lived, and August 2013 had ONE OF THE LOWEST Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) totals ON RECORD for an August in the Atlantic. This year's combination of no El Niño, warm MDR SSTs, and an exceptionally low August ACE is AN EVENT UNPARALLELED IN THE HISTORICAL RECORD going back to 1966.
During the 20-year period 1981 - 2010, the Atlantic averaged 104 ACE units, and the 20-year average ACE by the end of August was 30. So far in 2013, we've managed just 9 ACE units, with only 1.9 of those occurring in August. Since the current active hurricane period we are in began in 1995, only 2002 had a lower ACE by this point in the year (4.9), and only 1997 had a lower August ACE (zero.)
Both were El Niño years, when we expect hurricane activity to be low due to high wind shear. If we go back to the beginning of reliable Atlantic ACE statistics in 1966, when good satellite data first became available, only five other years had August ACE values comparable to 2013's. Three of those years were El Niño years, and the other two had ocean temperatures in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR, from 10 - 20°N, 20 - 70°W) that were more than 0.5°C (0.9°F) cooler than in 2013.
The main reason for the quiet August has been the large amount of dry, stable air over the Atlantic. This dry air has two sources: the Sahara desert of Africa, and sinking air from aloft, which warms and dries as it sinks. "Even so, I find it HIGHLY PERPLEXING that activity has been so low when all of the other factors -lack of an El Niño, low wind shear, an active African Monsoon spitting out plenty of tropical waves, and above average ocean temperatures - have favored development."


Parts of central Trinidad were hit by extreme weather Friday, with some residents reporting seeing a tornado-like phenomenon during an intense rainstorm that lasted less than an hour. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management issued a bulletin, warning of more bad weather to come.
Flash floods and wind-related damage were reported. Electrical power has been knocked out, and areas of central were without electricity. Businesses are reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses as a result of the flood waters. “when I saw the rains, I saw the water rising and I realised it was a disaster waiting to happen”. Within ten minutes an entire mall compound was flooded. Residents could only look on helplessly as the products floated away. Some cars were covered in more than four feet of water.
Around 1p.m, the storm hit. “The wind was spinning like in those big countries, when it have tornadoes and the wind was taking up everything with it. Half of the galvanise (roofing sheets) and the ceiling of the house gone. I told my wife I see how them people in America does suffer”. The extreme weather started with a drizzle. “And then suddenly there was a downpour. The wind became heavy and loud and made a rumbling. We looked out to see what was happening. The place was gray and things were flying in the air. Galvanize (roofing sheets) were flying. It came down on us, and out galvanise and ceiling went over to the neighbours’ house. Other houses us also looked destroyed”.

+ Florida - A suspected small waterspout is to blame for thousands of dollars in damage to boats and infrastructure at South St. Pete's Maximo Marina. The rough weather struck just before noon Friday.
"It was extreme thunder and lightning and the wind, I'm sure must have been something like one of these waterspout things." One resident posted a picture to Facebook showing what appears to be the funnel cloud in the distance. The severe weather knocked out power and sent debris falling onto numerous boats throughout the marina causing thousands of dollars in damage. "It just came right through and took off the roofs and did this kind of damage."
"I went to the window and was looking out and the rain was going sideways. Literally the rain was going sideways! It was wild." (videos)


+ Peru snow state of emergency extended to more regions. The Peruvian government has extended to nine more regions a state of emergency called to cope with UNUSUALLY COLD WEATHER AND HEAVY SNOWFALL. At least two people have died and 33,000 others have been affected by the cold spell. Tens of thousands of animals have frozen to death over the past week.
Apurimac is one of the worst-hit areas. The state of emergency will be in place for 20 days. The HEAVIEST SNOWFALL TO HIT PERU IN A DECADE has killed tens of thousands of llamas, alpacas, cattle and sheep, and left farmers destitute. A man died when the roof of his hut caved in under the weight of the snow in southern Carabaya province but the circumstances of the second death were unclear.
Three people were rescued on Saturday from the same region after their home was cut off by snow. Rescue workers said the three, two girls and an elderly woman, were suffering from frostbite and snow blindness. The cold front has also hit Peru's neighbours, Bolivia and Paraguay, where a combined total of five people have died.


+ California - The Rim Fire became the fourth-largest wildfire in the history of California as it continued its steady burn Saturday, as smoke from the blaze for the first time darkened the sky over the Yosemite Valley, forcing many holiday vacationers indoors. 348 square miles have been scorched. At least 111 structures have been destroyed, but no one has been killed or seriously injured in the blaze, which is the largest wildfire burning in the country.
The fire was 40 percent contained with the help of more than 5,000 firefighters from state, federal and local agencies. "I'm in Yosemite Valley right now, and I cannot see the cliffs around me. The wind has shifted, and smoke is impacting the entire park. We have been lucky until now." All the campgrounds in the valley still were full as of Saturday morning despite the thick blanket of smoke and the burning smell that permeated the area.
Smoke from the blaze has drifted at least 2,500 miles, reaching Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and the Great Lakes. Overnight into Saturday, the Rim Fire surpassed the area burned by the 1932 Matilija Fire in Ventura County, which burned 220,000 acres. At least 94 square miles of wilderness have burned in the northern section of Yosemite. Firefighting aircraft remained grounded because of low visibility caused by the smoke.
Mandatory evacuations remain in effect south of Highway 120 and north Old Yosemite Road, while evacuations of areas surrounding Bull Creek Road to Grizzly Mountain have been lifted. About 4,500 structures are still threatened east and west of the fire, which is expected to continue spreading east into the west side of Yosemite National Park east of Aspen Valley. "Steep terrain and extreme fire behavior" are slowing firefighters' progress, along with hot, dry weather forecasted for the coming week. They have moved back the tentative fire containment date to Oct. 20.
The blaze's cause is under investigation, though the Twain Harte fire chief suggested at an Aug. 23 community meeting that it likely stemmed from an illegal marijuana growing operation, which are common in secluded forest areas.

Federal farm officials have declared nearly the entire state of California a drought disaster area. The executive director of the U.S. Farm Service Agency in California said Friday that it was the first time he'd seen a disaster declaration covering the state, except for San Francisco.
Securing access to water for crops and livestock has been a top concern for producers of all types of crops and commodities throughout the state. "We've been living off the snowpack from a couple of seasons ago. It has become a very serious issue and probably exacerbated some of the other issues we are seeing, such as the (wildland) fires."
"We got very little rain after December of 2012. A lot of the cattlemen in this area depend on the feed produced by rangeland." Without natural grasses thriving on winter rains, ranchers may have to buy additional feed for their herds and many cattle may weigh less, and thus fetch less money, when sent to market.
Another concern, is that two consecutive seasons of below-average rain may limit the ability of pasturelands to recover. "If our rangeland grasses aren't growing and production is lessened, than you lose your seed reservoir for the next year." "If we don't get some healthy rains this fall, we're going to have some problems in this state. Mother Nature better bail us out this winter, because our government isn't taking care of us."

All of Iowa now rates as abnormally dry with most of the southern two-thirds of the state already in moderate drought.

Nebraska - Omaha drought conditions worsen. The Omaha-Council Bluffs area has slipped into severe drought, and Lincoln could be next in line as meaningful rains continue to miss the region.

+ Britain - This summer was one of the driest, sunniest and hottest on record, Met Office figures show. And forecasters say August will go out with a bang thanks to sunshine across England for the final weekend of the school holidays.
This summer was the best since 2006, with an average temperature from June to August of 15.1C (60F), up 0.7C (1.3F) on normal levels. It was the tenth hottest since records began, mainly thanks to the 19-day heatwave enjoyed across Britain in July, with the temperature rarely dipping below 28C (82.4F) for most.
There were also 577 hours of sunshine this summer, up 14 per cent on the usual 505 hours. Meanwhile, average rainfall was just 201mm nationwide, nearly half of the 379mm they endured last year. One of the hottest temperatures this year was at Heathrow airport in west London on August 1, when the mercury reached 34.1C (93F).

+ Australia - Canberra has had its WARMEST WINTER ON RECORD, and could have a record-breaking start to spring, according to current weather forecasts. The balmy finish to August will push the capital over the line to record its highest ever average daytime winter temperature – likely to be either 14.1 or 14.2 degrees, depending on how high the mercury rose on Saturday.
While it’s more than 2 degrees above the historical average, it is only marginally hotter than winter 2011, the previous warmest, which had an average maximum temperature of 14 degrees. The average minimum temperature this winter was also well above average, at 1.8 degrees.
There have only been two days so far this year which haven’t reached double-digit temperatures, which could also set a new warm-weather record for the year if that number remains unchanged. “The biggest driver we’ve had this winter is we’ve had a real lack of southerly and south-westerly cold outbreaks, and those are what usually push the coldest air into south eastern Australia.” The winter weather wasn’t directly linked to the hottest summer on record just passed, but it does fit into a long-term warming trend.
It was also slightly wetter than average, helped by higher June rainfall, and by the overnight thunderstorms on Thursday. It’s the wettest winter since 2005, after a run of relatively dry winters in the capital. With current forecasts predicting the run of warm days will extend into September, it could possibly be a record-breaking start to the new season. “It does look like the warmth is going to ramp up in the early part of next week from Sunday onwards. There’s a realistic possibility of us having the earliest ever day over 25 degrees [in September].”


+ Mysterious underground fire perplexes Alaska town - Possible volcano or shale gas fire has been burning for more than a year.
Residents of Eagle, Alaska, are getting worried about possibly toxic gases wafting into town from a mysterious underground fire on a nearby mountain that's been burning for almost a year. Nobody seems to know exactly what's burning. Experts suspect it's either a volcano forming or natural gas or oil burning in underground shale deposits. Whatever it is, the fire has been burning on a remote mountaintop, about 40 kilometres north of the community since last October at least.
When the wind is right, residents can smell noxious smoke all over town. Measurements have been taken showing there's extreme heat coming out of fissures in the ground. "[It's] 285 degrees Celsius and that one wasn't even smoking. There's a lot of heat involved and it's still very, very active and we don't know [what] it's going to do or how far it extends but we've taken a progression of pictures throughout since October of last year and the changes in the landscape are just dramatic."
Environmental protection agencies have promised air monitors for people in Eagle. They say the sulphur dioxide gases that drift into town are raising health concerns. The fire started with an underground explosion last fall but the effects are visible on the surface. The fire zone used to cover about 5 acres, but it's grown to about 30 after burning all year.
"[There's] huge orange rocks steaming and smoking and some yellow sulphur rock. It actually looks like a bomb has gone off somewhere." Aerial photos suggest a volcano forming but geologists say it's likely an underground shale gas fire.

Japan - Radiation near a tank holding highly contaminated water at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has spiked 18-fold. Radiation of 1,800 millisieverts per hour - enough to kill an exposed person in four hours - was detected near the bottom of one storage tank on Saturday. Readings on Aug 22 measured radiation of 100 millisieverts per hour at the same tank.
Japan's legal limits for nuclear plant workers' exposure during normal hours is just 50 millisieverts. Last month, Tepco revealed that water from the tank was leaking. Japan's chief cabinet secretary has described as the situation as "deplorable". The Japanese nuclear regulator has raised the leak from a level 1 "anomaly" to a level 3 "serious incident" on the international scale for radiation releases.
While there were no new leaks found at the tank, a Tepco spokesman said another leak had been detected from a pipe connecting two other tanks nearby. "We have not confirmed fresh leakage from the tank and water levels inside the tank have not changed. We are investigating the cause."
The Tepco spokesman said the higher level of radiation from the latest reading was partly because investigators had used a measuring instrument capable of registering greater amounts of radiation. Instruments used previously had only been capable of measuring radiation up to 100 millisieverts, but the new instruments were able to measure up to 10,000 millisieverts.
With no one seeming to know how to bring the crisis to an end, Tepco said last week it would invite foreign decommissioning experts to advise it on how to deal with the highly radioactive water leaking from the site.


+ Cancer-Causing Chemical Found in 98 Shampoos and Soaps - The compound, a chemically modified form of coconut oil—cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA)—is used as a foaming agent or thickener in soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and similar products. These products were purchased from online and local California retailers, such as Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Kohl’s, and Babies R Us. Many of the products tested contained more than 10,000 parts per million (ppm) of cocamide DEA. None carried the warning required by state law. "The state has not set a [safety] level specific to cocamide DEA, but the levels we found exceed levels typical for carcinogens." To comply with California’s Proposition 65, companies are still required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning to consumers when products they sell or produce contain chemicals listed by the state as harmful. This includes compounds known to cause cancer or birth defects. Cocamide DEA was added to the California list of harmful chemicals in 2012. "There is sufficient evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of coconut oil diethanolamine condensate." In response to the laboratory results, the CEH filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against four companies. "Our demand is that companies reformulate their products, without cocamide DEA. There are many similar shampoos and soaps on the market made without the chemical, so it is obviously possible to make the products safer." The CEH also sent legal letters advising more than 100 other companies producing or selling products containing the chemical that their products violate Proposition 65.


MAJOR FIREBALL EVENT, UPGRADED - NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office has upgraded its estimates of a major fireball that exploded over the southeastern USA around 2:30 AM on August 28th. The fireball was 20 times brighter than a Full Moon, and cast shadows on the ground.
This indicates that the meteoroid had a mass of more than 110 kg (240 lbs) and was up to a meter in diameter. It hit the top of Earth's atmosphere traveling 25 km/s (56,000 mph)." "This is the brightest event our network has observed in 5 years of operation. There are reports of sonic booms reaching the ground, and data from 4 doppler radars indicate that some meteorites may have fallen along the fireball's ground track." (Tennessee)