Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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

**It has become appallingly obvious that our technology
has exceeded our humanity.**
Albert Einstein

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 10/28/13 -

Saturday's 7.1 Earthquake in Japan Was 2011 Aftershock - The earthquake off northeastern Japan on the weekend was an aftershock from the devastating earthquake of March 2011 which generated a tsunami.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical storm Raymond is located about 645 mi (1035 km) SW of the southern tip of Baja California. Raymond is quickly weakening.
Philipppines - New tropical depression spotted east of Visayas. The tropical depression could intensify into a tropical storm while it draws nearer as it remains over the Pacific Ocean. The tropical storm may enter the Philippine area of responsibility by Tuesday afternoon


+ A MIGHTY ATLANTIC GALE is battering Western Europe with hurricane-strength wind gusts, waves up to 25 feet high, and driving rains. As of 2 am local time Monday, the peak wind gust from the storm in the UK was 92 mph, at the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. Powerful winds have also swept the north coast of France; winds in Brest, France hit 41 mph, gusting to 67 mph at 2 am local time Monday, and gusted as high as 65 mph at Caen. With the trees still in leaf, winds this strong have the potential to cause heavy tree damage and large scale power outages.
The storm is moving quickly, and sustained winds of 35 - 45 mph will arrive along the coast of the Netherlands by 6 am local time Monday, by noon in Denmark, near 6 pm in Southern Sweden, and near midnight Monday night in Estonia and Southern Finland.
The storm is being called the 2013 St. Jude's Day storm and "Christian". The storm has the potential to be one of the more destructive extratropical storms to hit Western Europe in the past decade. The most recent storm of note to hit the region was Winter Storm Joachim of December 15 - 17, 2011, which had a central pressure of 964 mb and brought a peak wind gust of 131 mph to Auvergne, France. Damage was estimated at $325 million. (photo at link)
+ High winds leave Belgians reeling - video (1:12). Pedestrians blown down the street.
+ The storm battering north-western Europe has killed eight people - four of them in southern England - and transport is severely disrupted. Two people died when their car was crushed by a falling tree in Gelsenkirchen, in western Germany. Two children in the car were injured.In Brittany, western France, a woman was swept out to sea. And in the Dutch city of Amsterdam a tree felled by the wind crushed a woman by a canal.
Many trains were cancelled in and around London and in north Germany. In many cases in the UK fallen trees had to be cleared from railway lines. At least 50 flights have been cancelled at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands, and there are severe delays at Hamburg airport. In the UK as many as 600,000 homes suffered power cuts, though many were later reconnected. Power cuts also hit 42,000 homes in northern France, and at Belle-Ile in Brittany a woman was swept into the sea from a cliff.
Emergency services in Denmark and Sweden have issued storm warnings, as Scandinavia faces winds gusting at about 100mph (162km/h). The storm system deepened as it crossed the North Sea. One site in eastern Denmark, Kegnaes, reported a gust of 115mph mid-afternoon. Along Germany's North Sea coast many ferries were confined to port and shipping on the Elbe was also disrupted.
UPDATE - Thirteen die as storm crosses north-western Europe - six were killed in Germany. The major Atlantic storm packing hurricane-force winds pummeled England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands early Monday, knocking out power to 220,000 homes in England and blocking roads and railways with fallen trees.

India - ‘Rogue’ weather system. Very severe cyclone Phailin was well tracked and anticipated, but the same cannot be said about the rogue weather system (well-marked low-pressure area) flooding the country’s east for the past week now.
The India Meteorological Department on Sunday said that the system has weakened into a conventional low-pressure area. It weakened further by Monday. But unlike Phailin, the rogue system held onto its strength, even if much lower, after crossing land. In comparison, Phailin broke up on impact and gradually weakened over land.
The “slow grind” allowed the well-marked low-pressure area to vent its fury on Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal over the past week. International agencies failed to predict accurately how this system would behave. Most of them expected it to cross Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and enter the Arabian Sea.
What upset these outlooks was the arrival of a western disturbance (seasonal low-pressure wave) over North-West India. Associated winds are westerly and blow counter to approaching systems from Bay of Bengal. They blocked the well-marked ‘low’ over Andhra Pradesh. The latter stalled, and could only afford to move east-northeast.
It would appear as if the track of the rogue system could have been tracked, according to a leading meteorologist who did not want to be quoted. This is because the western disturbance that deflected the rogue system from its path was itself tracked right from Europe/the Mediterranean and well in advance. Had its arrival been plotted in good time, the impact on the rogue system could have been anticipated and, as in the case of Phailin, and the coastal States warned sufficiently early.

Alaska - Storm was expected to bring winds and "copious tropical moisture" to Southcentral Alaska. A high wind warning was posted for the Anchorage Hillside and Turngain Arm starting early Monday morning, with gusts to 75 mph possible. The same storm, with "copious tropical moisture," is expected to bring heavy rain to areas to the south, including parts of the Kenai Peninsula. The National Weather Service said southeast winds of 35-50 mph were possible, with the potential for 75 mph gusts. The same storm system has resulted in a flood watch for areas to the south, including Whittier and Seward, with up to 5 inches of rain possible Sunday and Monday.


+ Deadly Heat Waves Could Be Predicted 20 Days In Advance By Newly-Identified Weather Pattern - Researchers have found a distinct atmospheric pattern that could anticipate U.S. summer heat waves up to two weeks in advance. The finding could allow scientists to warn the public of heat waves 15 to 20 days before the fact, which could help prevent instances of heat stroke and other temperature-related fatalities.
The research team looked at a 12,000-year simulation model that focused on weather in the Northern hemisphere. They noticed when a telltale "wavenumber-5" pattern emerged, a heat wave often occurred soon after. "It may be useful to monitor the atmosphere, looking for this pattern, if we find that it precedes heat waves in a predictable way. This gives us a potential source to predict heat waves beyond the typical range of weather forecasts."
Wavenumber-5 is a "sequence of alternating high- and low-pressure systems (five of each) that form a ring circling the northern midlatitudes, several miles above the surface." The pattern is also associated with "stagnant" or slow weather conditions, which have been linked to heat waves. Heat waves are considered to be the "most deadly weather phenomena on Earth." In 2006 a heat wave was responsible for at least 600 fatalities. In 2003, a European heat wave killed over 50,000 people.


Child poverty 'can shrink brain' - Poverty in early childhood can shrink the brain, a study has shown. The finding may help explain links between deprivation and poor mental ability and performance at school.
Poverty is associated with smaller hippocampus and amygdala brain regions. Both have roles in processing memory, and the amygdala is also linked to emotional reactions. Amounts of grey and white matter were also lower in the brains of poor children. Grey matter contains the cell bodies of neurons while white matter consists of the axons, or wiring, connecting different parts of the brain together.
The brain-shrinking effect of poverty was significantly more pronounced in children with stressful home environments whose parents lacked nurturing skills, the scans showed. "We've known for many years from behavioural studies that exposure to poverty is one of the most powerful predictors of poor developmental outcomes for children. A growing number of neuroscience and brain-imaging studies recently have shown that poverty also has a negative effect on brain development. What's new is that our research shows the effects of poverty on the developing brain, particularly in the hippocampus, are strongly influenced by parenting and life stresses that the children experience."
"We actually stumbled upon this finding. Initially, we thought we would have to control for the effects of poverty, but as we attempted to control for it, we realised that poverty was really driving some of the outcomes of interest, and that caused us to change our focus to poverty, which was not the initial aim of this study."

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