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."

Global Disaster Watch on Facebook

**Pain and suffering are always inevitable
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.