Thursday, September 19, 2013

Global Disaster Watch on Facebook

**You cannot get through a single day
without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference, and you
have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.**
Jane Goodall

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday, 9/18/13 -

Mauna Loa volcano (Hawaii) - Earthquake swarm; possible sign of gradual reawakening. A small earthquake swarm occurred last week under the volcano. During 5-7 September, about 350 small earthquakes, up to magnitude 2.4, occurred in a tightly clustered area at about 7 km depth west of the summit caldera. Only about 25 were strong enough to be located.
The swarm was in the same region where earthquakes began to occur a year or more before Mauna Loa's 1975 and 1984 eruptions. A likely interpretation is that the most recent swarm is a sign that some magma has intruded at the base of the volcano. It is certainly no sign of an impending eruption in the very near future, but suggests that Mauna Loa, which still is the world's largest ACTIVE volcano, on the medium term, continues to prepare itself for its next eruption.


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical storm Humberto is located about 1035 mi (1670 km) WSW of the Azores. There is still time for Humberto to strengthen some as it moves into a more favorable upper-level wind environment, but it is no threat to U.S. land areas.

- Invest 95L , an area of disturbed weather over the Yucatan Peninsula, will emerge into the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche by Wednesday night. Will bring more rain to Mexico and tropical moisture from 95L will likely stream northeastwards along the cold front over much of the U.S. Gulf Coast on Saturday and Sunday, bringing heavy rains of 2 - 4".

* In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical storm Manuel has regenerated and is quickly reaching hurricane strength. It is located about 120 mi (190 km) WNW of Mazatlan, Mexico. The center of Manuel will approach the west-central coast of Mexico within the Hurricane Watch area Thursday afternoon.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Usagi is located approximately 465 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines. Its track is towards southern Taiwan.

- Tropical depression Eighteen is located 21 nm north-northwest of Da Nang, Vietnam. The final advisory has already been issued on this system.


+ MORE HEAVY RAIN FOR MEXICO - Tropical Storm MANUEL REGENERATED into a hurricane just west of Mexico's Baja Peninsula on Wednesday morning, and the destructive storm promises to bring even more misery to a Mexican nation already reeling from the combined one-two punch of Manuel on its Pacific coast and Hurricane Ingrid on the Atlantic coast earlier this week. The two storms are now being blamed for the deaths of at least 57 people in Mexico.
Hardest hit was the Acapulco region on Mexico's Pacific coast, where the airport is barely functioning, many roads still flooded and blocked, and tens of thousands of tourists are scrambling to get home. Acapulco received 7.41" of rain from Manuel September 12 - 16, and much higher amounts of rain fell in the surrounding mountains. Newly regenerated Manuel promises to bring 5 - 10" of rain to the Mexican state of Sinaloa, which is likely to cause dangerous flash floods and mudslides.

Waterlogged Mexico has yet another tropical rain-making system to worry about this week. An area of disturbed weather (Invest 95L) over the Yucatan Peninsula will emerge into the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche by Wednesday night. Satellite loops show that 95L already has a pronounced spin and a respectable area of heavy thunderstorms. Wind shear is moderate, and ocean temperatures are warm, 29°C (84°F.)
Invest 95L will likely stay trapped in the Bay of Campeche - Wind shear is expected to be low to moderate over the next five days. Steering currents will be weak in the Bay of Campeche over the next five days, and most of the models predict that 95L will stay trapped there, moving slowly and erratically.
However, some models predict that 95L will turn north next week and hit the U.S. Gulf Coast. Regardless, tropical moisture from 95L will likely stream northeastwards along the cold front over much of the U.S. Gulf Coast on Saturday and Sunday, bringing heavy rains of 2 - 4". A non-tropical low pressure system is expected to form along this front over the Southeast U.S. on Sunday, spreading heavy rains up the East Coast early next week.

Typhoon Usagi headed for Taiwan - In the Western Pacific, Typhoon Usagi has intensified to a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds. Further intensification is likely over the next few days, as Usagi is over very warm waters of 29 - 30°C with high heat content, and is under light wind shear of 5 - 10 knots. The official JTWC forecast brings Usagi to a Category 3 storm before encountering Taiwan, when interaction with land could potentially weaken the storm. The typhoon is expected to pass north of the Philippines Islands on Friday, and will threaten southern Taiwan on Saturday.

Hurricane Manuel upgraded and near coast. The Red Cross says there is "no way to help" some of those stranded. Tropical Storm Manuel, which has battered the south-west of Mexico, has gathered strength and is now a category one hurricane.
Hurricane Manuel is sustaining winds of 120km/h (75mph) and moving towards the coast. Manuel is now approaching north-western Mexico and threatens more destruction. The tropical storms Ingrid and Manuel killed 80 people earlier this week.
Now 58 people are reported missing after a lpowerful andslide buried he village of La Pintada in the south-west of the country. "It doesn't look good, based on the photos we have in our possession. Up to this point, we do not have any [confirmed] dead in the landslide.
Tens of thousands of tourists, cut off by landslides caused by Manuel, are still being transported out of the Mexican resort of Acapulco. More than 2,000 tourists have been airlifted from the Air Base Seven military facility north of the resort. Since the weekend, passengers have been stranded in hotels and at Acapulco's international airport, where water flooded the terminal. Main roads out of Acapulco have been blocked by landslips, leaving tourists and local residents stranded in the city and along Mexico's west coast.
Desperation Grows in Mexico as Death Toll Rises - Desperation mounted Wednesday in the cut-off resort of Acapulco, where residents looted a store. The death toll from days of flooding in southern and central Mexico rose to 80 on Wednesday, and new reports of landslides in a village near the resort of Acapulco threatened to drive the number of casualties even higher. Rubble and large boulders lined up on a street after a landslide caused by heavy rains came down on a low income neighbourhood in the city of Chilpancingo.
Rescue crews have evacuated 344 people from La Pintada village. Many are hurt, at least one seriously and at least 58 are dead. Another 45 will be flown out of the area Thursday. There is still risk of more landslides in the coffee-growing village pounded by rains from Manuel, which strengthened to a hurricane on Wednesday.
With a tropical disturbance over the Yucatan Peninsula headed toward the same Gulf coast hit by Hurricane Ingrid, the country could face another double hit, just it struggles to restore services and evacuate those stranded by last weekend's flooding. 35,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. In the township of Atoyac, 18 bodies had been recovered and possibly many more remained buried in a remote mountain village that authorities have not yet been able to reach. Atoyac is a largely rural township about 42 miles (70 kilometers) west of Acapulco.
In Acapulco itself, gun-toting state police guarded the entrance to a partly flooded Costco store hours after people looted it on one of the city's main boulevards, carting off shopping carts full of food, clothing, and in some cases flat-screen TVs. Hundreds of people waded through waist-high brown water in the store's parking lot on Wednesday, fishing out anything — cans of food or soda — that looters might have dropped. Others shouted for the now-shuttered store to be re-opened. "If we can't work, we have to come and get something to eat. The city government isn't doing anything for us, and neither is the state government."
With the twin roads from Acapulco to Mexico City closed down, at least 40,000 tourists saw a long holiday beach weekend degenerate into a desperate struggle to get weeping children, elderly parents and even a few damp, bedraggled dogs back home. Thousands of people, some sweating, profusely, waited in line Wednesday outside a shopping mall-convention center that was being used as a shelter and waiting area for flights out. Two of Mexico's largest airlines were running about two flights an hour from Acapulco's still-flooded international airport.
"Forty-eight hours without electricity, no running water and now we can't get home. Now all I ask for is some shade and some information." So far, authorities said they had flown about 5,300 people out of Acapulco. The government has promised to reopen the roads between Acapulco and Mexico City, but they were blocked by dozens of mudslides, rocks and collapsed tunnels, and the first provisional way out won't be ready for days, officials predict.
Some cash machines along Acapulco's coastal boulevard were low on bills, but most of the city's tourist zone appeared back to normal Wednesday, with roads clear, restaurants and hotels open and brightly lit and tourists strolling along the bay in an attempt to recover some of the leisure time lost to three days of incessant rains. About 23,000 homes, mostly on Acapulco's outskirts, were without electricity and water. Stores were nearly emptied by residents who rushed to stock up on basic goods. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Manuel was centered about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west-northwest of Mazatlan, with sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It was projected to rake the coast with near-hurricane-force winds on Thursday. (slideshow - 29 photos)

Tropical Storm Jerry likely to form , tread over Ingrid's path. A tropical system over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is likely to develop into a tropical storm in the coming days, and it could tread over the same area Hurricane Ingrid drenched last week.
The National Hurricane Center estimates a 70 percent chance that the system develops into a tropical cyclone over the next two days. Even if it doesn't strengthen, though, it could be dangerous, spreading heavy rains, the hurricane center warned.
Tropical Storm Humberto is meanwhile still churning the middle of the Atlantic but was considered poorly organized and expected to turn northward into cooler waters Wednesday. It is far from any land, about 1,000 miles west of the Azores. Humberto has been in and out of tropical storm and hurricane force since Sept. 9.
The hurricane season remains behind typical climatology in terms of hurricane formation, but normal for the number of named storms. Typically by this time of year, there have been nine tropical storms, four of which reach hurricane status. There have indeed been nine named storms so far, but just two hurricanes, Humberto and Ingrid.


Colorado - Emergency teams are searching for hundreds of people still missing after Colorado's deadly floods. State officials say more than 300 are still unaccounted for, but many are believed to be merely cut off in remote areas inundated by the historic rains. 306 people were missing: 109 in Boulder County and another 197 in Larimer County.
Several towns were encircled by raging waters. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated by air and ground. The floods have been blamed for eight deaths, 1,500 homes destroyed and another 17,000 properties damaged. Days of rain were followed by a flash-flood rainstorm in the early hours of Wednesday last week.
The flood zone covers parts of or all of 17 Colorado counties [the size of Connecticutt] , in the normally semi-arid region around the state's major cities. The downpour dumped about 21in (53cm) of rain in parts of Boulder city, nearly DOUBLE the area's average ANNUAL rainfall.
It is expected to take weeks or possibly months to search through all the flooded areas and confirm a final death toll. It could also be months before the water can be drained away from some areas, and much longer for homes to be repaired and rebuilt. More than 400 lane-miles (643km) of state highway and some 30 bridges are destroyed or impassable.
In Weld County, bordering Wyoming, 654 miles of roads are damaged. In Boulder County, damage includes 150 miles of road, along with hundreds of bridges, culverts and canals. Officials are expecting a long rebuilding period - and an expensive one. "It's going to be astronomical, there's no way around it. Obama has signed a disaster declaration in the wake of the flooding, which allows federal emergency aid to be used in the state. An initial $5 million has been pledged.

Ukraine - Two people were killed after heavy rains hit southern Ukraine’s Odessa region over the weekend. The ensuing floods drowned some 4,000 farm animals and poultry, and destroyed or severely damaged more than 450 houses, causing an estimated loss of 21 million U.S. dollars, an official of the press service of Odessa regional administration told Xinhua. Around 600 residents have been evacuated in central Odessa, the worst-hit region.

Extreme weather expected to continue in Costa Rica - Torrential rains and extreme weather like that which wreaked havoc in the country this week is expected to for at least the next six weeks. The country remains under the influence of a low-pressure system that will continue to bring strong winds, heavy showers and thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon and early evening hours. According to forecasts, the most affected areas will be the Central Valley, Pacific, and Northern Zone, as well as the mountains of the Caribbean. According to experts, extreme weather events like the country saw this week will almost certainly reoccur during the remainder of September and October.

New Zealand - Gale had quake-like impact on network. Damage to North Canterbury's electricity networks caused by last week's destructive windstorm is considered to be similar to that suffered during the September 2010 earthquake. Winds gusting more than 100kmh on September 10 cut power to more than 40,000 homes in the Selwyn, Christchurch, Waimakariri, and Hurunui districts, with about 600 still without power more than a week later.
The impact of the storm, which cut power to 28,000 homes in Selwyn and Christchurch and 14,000 in the Waimakariri and Hurunui regions, was comparable to that of the magnitude-7.1 quake that hit Canterbury on September 4, 2010. "This is the LARGEST STORM THAT HAS HIT SINCE 1975 in Canterbury. In terms of network damage, it is significantly larger than all other storms we have had since 1975 and only the February 2011 earthquake has had a bigger impact on Orion."
"It would likely cost well in excess of $500 million to underground the majority of our rural network and hence increased use of cables would result in large price increases to rural customers." All homes in Christchurch now had power back on, but about 500 homes in rural Selwyn were still without power last night. More contractors from throughout the South Island are arriving. We are throwing everything we have at this. " About 100 homes remained without power north of the Waimakariri River, with MainPower crews continuing to repair tree-damaged lines and poles.


+ Bayou Corne Sinkhole, Louisiana - The sinkhole opened up in August 2012 and was roughly 1/24 of the size it is now. The sinkhole formed when an underground salt cavern collapsed. It has been a year since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes. Texas Brine owns the salt cavern that collapsed, causing the sinkhole.
Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left what is now a 24-acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and the most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week. Parish and Texas Brine officials agree the situation is far from over. 3D seismic surveys show the sinkhole itself is beginning to slow and stabilize, but recovery is focused on another danger; natural gas gathering underneath a nearby aquifer. (slideshow)

+ A species of bee reintroduced to the UK after becoming extinct has nested for the first time in a quarter of a century. The short-haired bumblebee started dying out in Britain in the 1980s and officially became extinct in 2000. A reintroduction project saw queen bees brought over from Sweden.
After two releases of queens at the RSPB's Dungeness reserve in Kent, offspring worker bees have been recorded there for the first time. Short-haired bumblebees were once widespread across the south of England but declined as their wildflower rich grasslands disappeared. "This is a milestone for the project and a real victory for conservation. We now have proof that this bumblebee has nested and hatched young and we hope it is on the way to become a self-supporting wild species in the UK. It's been a long journey to get here, from creating the right habitat for them, collecting queens in the Swedish countryside, scanning them for diseases and then eventually releasing them at Dungeness. Seeing worker bees for the first time is a fantastic reward for all that hard work but we still have a long way to go to ensure this population is safe and viable."
A first generation of queens, which were released last year, struggled in the summer's cold, wet conditions. But a second release of queens from Sweden bolstered the colony. The rintroduction project has involved work with farmers to create flower-rich meadows in Dungeness and Romney Marsh which have also boosted the numbers of other threatened bumblebees. Further releases are planned to help build the population at Dungeness.


+ AWAKENING SUN - After a week of deep quiet, the drowsy sun is waking up. Five new sunspots were numbered on Sept. 17th as the sun hurled a series of CMEs into space, none Earth directed. ( Video)