**“By changing nothing, nothing changes.**
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.2 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN
Yesterday, 10/12/13 -
5.6 MINAHASA, SULAWESI, INDONESIA
5.1 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.2 MID-INDIAN RIDGE
5.1 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
6.4 CRETE, GREECE
6.0 OFFSHORE SUCRE, VENEZUELA
5.3 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.0 OFFSHORE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
6.2 KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF KAMCHATKA
5.1 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.7 SOLOMON ISLANDS
Greece - Large 6.3 earthquake strikes Crete, causing minor damage to homes and shops but no serious injuries. The quake struck at a depth of 21 kilometers (13 miles) off the western tip of Crete on Saturday.
The quake, which struck at 4:11 p.m. local time (1311 GMT) and had an epicenter 39 kilometers (24.2 miles) south of the island of Antikythera, just west of the city of Chania on Crete, caused thousands of residents on both islands to rush from their homes in panic.The underwater earthquake was felt as far away as Egypt and the Greek capital, Athens.
One person, a resident of Chania, was slightly injured when he jumped from a first-floor balcony and landed on a car below. A bus was temporarily trapped after rocks fell in a ravine west of the city. No one was injured and emergency crews removed the debris. Cracks were reported in a number of homes and shops in Chania.
"We are afraid to go back to our homes. Suddenly we could hear huge rocks coming down from the mountains and then the ground began to shake." Several magnitude-4 aftershocks were recorded. Greece suffered a deadly earthquake in 1999, when a magnitude-5.9 temblor struck near Athens, killing 143.
Alaska - Veniaminof Volcano plume drops trace of ash on 2 remote Alaska communities. The volcano on the Alaska Peninsula has again become active during a months-long eruption, with a trace of ash falling on communities up to 35 miles away. Veniaminof Volcano resumed its 2013 eruption on Saturday after being quiet for about a month. It's been marked by lava flows, fountaining and intermittent but small ash, steam and gas plumes. The plumes usually only travel a few miles from the volcano, but the communities of Chignik Lake and Chignik Lagoon, about 35 miles away, reported trace ash on Friday. Ash fall from the volcano, 480 miles southwest of Anchorage, is not considered to be significant. The eruption started in June.
Russia - 'Klyuchevskoy' erupted on Friday throwing plumes of smoke and ash high into the air amid a series of quakes in the region. At 08:30 UTC (17:30 local time), a new vent opened in the saddle between Klyuchevskoy and neighboring Kamen volcano, producing a fountain of lava and ash rising to about 7 km altitude. The KVERT webcam even captured lightning during this eruption.
Seismologists said five light and moderate earthquakes with magnitude ranging between 4.4 and 5.1 took place in the area during the past 24 hours with epicenter located about 110 kilometer (68 miles) east of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at a depth of about 50-80 kilometers (30-50 miles). The tremors went largely unnoticed by local residents, with no casualties or damage reported.
Jebel Zubair (Red Sea) - As of Friday, the submarine eruption continues with the production of a steam plume of variable size. A SO2 plume is visible on satellite data drifting from the eruption site. No ash can be seen on satellite imagery, only steam, and the area of discolored water (indicator of suspended particles) is small if not has disappeared. That suggests that the eruption is currently rather weak and probably has not yet entered the so-called surtseyan phase where solid fragments (ash, lava blocks) are ejected above the surface of the sea.
New Zealand - A moderately explosive eruption on White Island, the second in a week, would have been life-threatening to anyone on the island. The eruption level at the White Island volcano, off the Bay of Plenty coast, would have put anyone on the island at risk.
The moderately explosive eruption, lasting about a minute, occurred at 8.09pm on Friday. It spread an ash cloud column and new mud across the main crater floor. The latest eruption has prompted GNS to raise the volcanic alert level to two, and the aviation colour code to orange. The latest eruption is larger than other recent events.
The event follows a 15-minute eruption on Tuesday afternoon, with an eruption of steam and mud generating a steam plume that may have been visible from the mainland. Following that eruption, GNS raised the aviation colour code warning from green to yellow, but kept the volcanic alert level at one. The activity is a continuation of 15 months of unrest from the volcano, with hazardous eruptions occurring with no warning.
Volcanic tremor levels have been elevated since September 24, but are lower than those during eruptive activity earlier in the year. The island is an uninhabited private scenic reserve with boat tours running daily from Whakatane. Visitors require permission to land on the island, and tours are usually suspended following heightened activity.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Nari is located approximately 361 nm east of Da Nang, Vietnam.
- Typhoon Wipha is located approximately 441 nm south-southwest of Iwo To, Japan.
* In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical depression 15E is located about 470 mi (755 km) S of the southern tip of Baja California. Weakening is expected this evening.
India - Fierce cyclone Phailin tore into India's coast, killing at least five people, and forcing half a million into shelters.
Very dangerous Tropical Cyclone Phailin made landfall on the northeast coast of India near the town of Gopalpur (population 7,000) at 16 UTC (noon EDT) Saturday. Phailin was weakening substantially at landfall, due to interaction with land, and was rated a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), four hours before landfall.
The pressure bottomed out at 938 mb in Gopalpur as the eye passed over, and the city reported sustained winds of 56 mph, gusting to 85 mph, in the eyewall. A 938 mb pressure is what one expects to find in a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds, using the "Dvorak technique" of satellite wind and pressure estimation. Phailin is bringing torrential rains of over an inch per hour, as estimated by microwave satellite instruments.
Phailin is THE STRONGEST TROPICAL CYCLONE TO AFFECT INDIA IN FOURTEEN YEARS, since the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone. That storm hit with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, and brought a storm surge of 5.9 meters (19 feet) to the coast. Phailin should be able to drive a similar-sized storm surge to the coast, since it is larger in areal extent than the 1999 cyclone (although somewhat weaker, with winds perhaps 20 - 30 mph lower.)
Phailin's storm surge and Category 3 to 4 winds will cause near-catastrophic damage to a 50-mile wide swath of the coast where the eyewall comes ashore, and to the right. Hurricane Katrina was weaker at landfall than Phailin, but Katrina had hurricane-force winds that covered a much larger area, making Katrina's storm surge much more devastating than Phailin's will be.
The main danger from Phailin will likely be from its winds. Particularly concerning is the wind damage potential in the city of Brahmapur (population 350,000). Brahmapur lies about ten miles inland, and will likely experience sustained hurricane-force winds for several hours. Phailin's flooding potential is another huge concern, as rainfall amounts of 6 - 12 inches will fall along a swath over 100 miles inland, triggering life-threatening flash flooding.
Questions have been raised about the India Meteorological Department (IMD) assessments of Phailin's strength, which were considerably lower than that of the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Both centers use satellite estimates rather than direct measurements of the winds, so we don't know which center is correct.
Typhoon Nari hits the Philippines, now re-organizing and heading for Vietnam - Thirteen people were killed and 2.1 million people lost power on the main Philippine island of Luzon afterTyphoon Nari hit on Friday night near midnight local time. Nari was a Category 3 typhoon with 115 mph winds a few hours before landfall. The core of the storm passed about 80 miles north of the capital of Manila, sparing the capital major flooding, but the storm dumped torrential rains in excess of ten inches to the northeast of Manilla. Passage over Luzon weakened Nari to a Category 1 storm, but it is already beginning to re-organize over the South China Sea between the Philippines and Vietnam. Nari is under moderate wind shear of 15 - 20 knots, which should keep intensification relatively slow, and increasing interaction with land will act to slow intensification on Sunday and Monday. Nari could be near Category 3 strength with 115 mph winds by Monday, and landfall in Vietnam is expected around 21 UTC on Monday.
Typhoon Wipha a threat to Japan - Category 1 Typhoon Wipha is intensifying as it heads northwest towards Japan, and the storm is expected to reach major Category 3 strength by Monday. By Tuesday, Wipha will recurve to the northeast and begin weakening, passing very close to Tokyo, Japan, sometime between 00 - 12 UTC on Wednesday. High winds and heavy rains from Wipha may be a concern for the Fukushima nuclear site, where workers continue to struggle with high radiation levels in the wake of the 2011 tsunami that damaged the reactors.
HEALTH THREATS -
Suspension of CDC flu tracking raises concern - The lack of national flu data due to the government shutdown is starting to cause worry, especially over novel or resistant strains.