Thursday, October 24, 2013

Global Disaster Watch - reporting the latest earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tropical storms, wildfires and record-breaking weather.

**Sometimes it is not enough that we do our best;
we must do what is required.**
Sir Winston Churchill

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 10/23/13 -

Philippines - Quake victims face hunger and disease. Dozens of families in Bohol province now have to contend with water-borne diseases and hunger as many areas continue to grapple with food and water shortage. Since the quake struck, residents in several towns in Bohol have had no access to clean and potable water because water reservoirs were also destroyed by the 7.2 temblor. “It’s hard to survive. We’re experiencing starvation because food rations are delayed and we are also in dire need of drinking water."
Ways to find food and water is a daily problem for residents of the towns of Carmen and Sagbayan, two of the hardest-hit areas. Officials fear that these towns may soon face diarrhoea outbreak because the people have no choice but to drink water from questionable sources. Children, along with their parents, line the national highway that links Sagbayan and Carmen towns, begging for food and water from passing motorists.
Residents have complained that delivery of government aid has been slow, despite claims by authorities that seven helicopters had been dispatched to the calamity areas to deliver supplies.“Why is it that until now the non-delivery of supplies to certain places remains an issue?” The Bohol provincial government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development have so far jointly distributed 130,475 family food packs to 34 municipalities with a daily dispatch of 20,000 packs. But the main challenge, is the delivery of goods to areas where the roads have been rendered impassable by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Bohol has enough rice supply for the next 30 days.
The quake totally damaged at least 2,000 houses and partially damaged 5,000 others in the town of Carmen. Funds are needed not only in quake-hit Bohol but also conflict-hit areas in Zamboanga City as well as provinces affected by typhoon Santi in Central Luzon and areas devastated by typhoon Sendong.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical storm Lorenzo is located about about 975 mi (1570 km) E of Bermuda. Expected to weaken.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Francisco is located approximately 141 nm southeast of Kadena Air Force Base, Japan.

- Super Typhoon Lekima is located approximately 505 nm southeast of Iwo To, Japan.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm Raymond is located about 280 mi (450 km) S of Manzanillo, Mexico. Raymond weakened to a tropical storm on Wednesday and turned to the west, moving away from Mexico's Pacific Coast.
Tropical storm summary -
Raymond weakens to a tropical storm; threat diminishes for Mexico - Tropical Storm Raymond continues to spin just offshore of Acapulco, Mexico, but its top winds have weakened to 65 mph. As of 8 am EDT Wednesday, Raymond was stationary, and centered about 190 miles west-southwest of Acapulco. Raymond brought 7.05" of rain Saturday through Tuesday to Acapulco. All watches and warnings have been discontinued for the coast of Mexico, but Raymond is expected to bring an additional 1 - 2" of rain to the coast. A ridge of high pressure was forecast to build in later Wednesday and force the storm west-southwestwards, away from the coast.

Tropical Storm Lorenzo in the Atlantic no threat - Tropical Storm Lorenzo continue to head eastwards into the Middle Atlantic, and will not be a threat to any land areas. The wind shear is forecast to remain in the high range through Friday, which will likely destroy the storm by then.

Typhoon Francisco weakening, but will still bring heavy rain to Japan - Typhoon Francisco continues to weaken, due to cool waters and increasing wind shear, and is now a Category 1 storm with 80 mph winds. Francisco is traversing a large cool patch of ocean left behind by the churning action of Typhoon Wipha last week.
Francisco will make its closest approach to Japan on Thursday and Friday, and will likely be a tropical storm undergoing transition to an extratropical storm. Although the latest computer model guidance keeps Francisco well offshore from Japan, the storm will still bring plenty of tropical moisture over Japan, which will be capable of causing mostly minor flooding problems.

Super Typhoon Lekima reaches Category 5 strength - The Western Pacific has made up for a slow start to its typhoon season, and has now cranked out its third Category 5 super typhoon of the year. Super Typhoon Lekima intensified to Category 5 status about 1,500 miles southeast of Japan at 18 UTC on Tuesday. Four Category 5s is a fairly typical number of these top-end storms for Earth to experience in one year. Satellite loops show an impressive typhoon with a prominent eye surrounded by a solid ring of eyewall clouds with very cold cloud tops. Lekima is predicted to recurve to the northeast without affecting any land areas.

India - Cyclone impact: 3 die in Ganjam by inhaling generator gas. At least three persons, including two women, have died of asphyxiation while four others were struggling for survival after they become ill after inhaling the gas.


Australia - Sydney and the Blue Mountains to its west endured extreme fire weather conditions on Wednesday without catastrophe, as "aggressive" and "high-risk" fire fighting strategies kept the 71 fires burning in New South Wales from causing major devastation.
The fire conditions in the region were about as bad as it gets on Wednesday. The high temperature in Sydney hit 92°F, with sustained winds of 34 mph gusting to 47 mph, and a humidity as low as 4%. Temperatures are expected to be cooler today, but westerly winds blowing from the dry interior of Australia will still be blowing strongly, keeping fire danger extreme.
Australia has just had its hottest September on record, and the 12-month period ending in September 2013 set a record for the hottest 12-month period in Australian history. Australia's warmest summer and 3rd warmest winter on record occurred during this 12-month period. It has also been quite dry in the fire region over the past few months, with soil moisture levels in the lowest 10% historically for this time of year. However, the latest drought statement from the Bureau of Meteorology is not showing that long-term drought conditions exist. (this is the same link as the tropical storm summary above)
Australia's military faces criticism after it is blamed for an army explosives exercise that was the cause of one of the major bushfires in New South Wales. The pilot of a waterbombing aircraft has been killed while battling a bushfire in rugged country on the NSW south coast.
UPDATE - Crews remain on edge after a flare-up of a bushfire burning out of control at Springwood in the Blue Mountains. An air crane is being sent to the fire, one of three blazes currently at "watch and act level" in the mountains west of Sydney along with fires at Lithgow and Mt Victoria. "It's starting to flare up around Linksview (Road Fire) again." RFS officials were assessing whether to lift the alert for the fire to "emergency".
While Thursday's conditions in the Blue Mountains are much more favourable than Wednesday, there was still work to be done. "The immediate high risk danger has passed, but by no means has the danger passed completely." A watch and act warning remains in place for a fire at Gateshead, southwest of Newcastle. A fire at Minmi, also in the Newcastle area, has been downgraded, but remains uncontained and is causing spotting along the M1. A fire burning in the Hawkesbury near Colo had also flared up and was headed east towards isolated communities in Upper Macdonald and Perrys Crossing. It was not near many homes.
"It will take literally weeks of work from firefighters and hopefully heavy rain to ensure this situation is brought under control and those fires extinguished. Attention is now turning to the rebuilding task, which is clearly both heartbreaking and daunting."


+ Excellent summary of the events taking place in the oceans - Besides the giant dead oarfish, other species of marine life have been rapidly disappearing, among them million of sardines off the coast of British Columbia. Commercial fisherman were shocked recently when they could not find one sardine on their recent fishing trips. “They've given up looking, pulled the plug."
Starfish have also been dying off by the thousands, turning into mush in the ocean. The Vancouver Aquarium is ‘alarmed’ at the mass die-off of starfish that is happening on the ocean floor. “They’re gone. It’s amazing.” Not only are the starfish dying on the U. S. West Coast but reports have been coming in of the same things happening on the East Coast. In July, researchers reported that sea stars were dying in a similar way from New Jersey to Maine.
The starfish die-off is also happening to other species including Chitons, Abalone, Mussels, Sun Stars and Salmon from the West Coast of California to Vancouver. Add to that recent dolphin and whale strandings, coral reef destruction and other mortality reports of marine life - and the prognosis is grim. (more at link)


Jerky treats made in China have killed 600 dogs in mysterious outbreak. The poisoned jerky treats have killed some 600 pets (10 cats) and sickened around 3,600 more since 2007. Some of the cases have been diagnosed as "kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder." Overall, a little less than two-thirds of the cases have been some kind of gastrointestinal illness. Nearly a third have "involved kidney and urinary systems."
The FDA released a summary of complaints potentially tied to jerky treats, including quite a few from this year. In the FDA's search for answers, the agency has run lots of tests on various jerkies, tenders and strips made with chicken, duck, sweet potato, dried fruit and combinations of those ingredients. "To date, none of the tests have revealed the cause of the illnesses." The investigation has focused on products imported from China. "We still are extensively testing treats for a number of things. We do seem to be getting some leads, but we still have a little bit of a ways to go."
In late 2011, FDA warned pet owners about a potential problem with chicken jerky products for dogs. Many dog owners and vets complained to the agency about illnesses that appeared to be associated with jerky. There were other FDA warnings dating back to 2007. Now, the FDA wants your help. "If you have a dog or cat that became ill after eating jerky pet treats, the Food and Drug Administration would like to hear from you or your veterinarian." (online reporting at link)
What should pet owners be on guard for? Loss of appetite, listlessness, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), drinking a lot more water and also increased urination. See a veterinarian if you suspect a problem.


SOLAR FLARE! - Earth-facing sunspot AR1877 erupted on Oct. 24th at 00:30 UT (Oct. 23rd at 5:30 pm PDT), producing an M9-class solar flare. A flash of extreme UV radiation from the flare ionized Earth's upper atmosphere and created a brief HF radio blackout on the sunlit side of the planet. Stay tuned for updates about this significant event.

SOLAR TSUNAMI AND RADIO BURST: Sunspot AR1875 erupted on Oct. 22nd (21:20 UT), producing an impulsive M4-class solar flare and a loud burst of shortwave radio static. An amateur radio astronomer in New Mexico was listening at the time of the eruption. "I knew this flare was a strong one by the force of the radio shock front. It nearly lifted me out of my chair!"
At the time of the flare, he was also monitoring the sun using an "H-alpha" solar telescope tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen. The telescope recorded a tsunami of plasma emerging from the blast site. The tsunami was the source of the radio emission. Shock waves at the leading edge of the tsunami cause plasma instabilities in the sun's atmosphere. Those instabilities, in turn, generate shortwave radio emissions. The Oct. 22nd outburst was classified as "one of the strongest radio blasts of the solar cycle so far. Hopefully it bodes well for future activity." AR1875 poses a growing threat for X-class solar flares.

ERUPTING FILAMENT AND EARTH-DIRECTED CME: During the early hours of Oct. 22nd, a long filament of magnetism erupted on the sun: movie. The explosion hurled a lopsided CME into space, and a new analysis suggests it could be Earth-directed. The eruption occured squarely on the Earthside of the sun, but the CME is not squarely Earth-directed. The bulk of the ejecta will fly north of the sun-Earth line. Nevertheless, the CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 24-25. It might even merge with a pair of minor CMEs traveling ahead of it. If so, the combined impact would be more likely to spark a geomagnetic storm. (video at link)

On Oct. 23, the All Sky Fireball Network reported 28 fireballs. (15 sporadics, 10 Orionids, 2 epsilon Geminids, 1 southern Taurid) (path map at link)

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