Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook

**Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,
it’s time to pause and reflect.**
Mark Twain

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 10/15/13 -

Death toll from Philippines quake nears 100, more people missing. Rescuers were digging through the rubble of a church and a hospital in search of more victims. At least 10 people were missing under the collapsed public hospital, church and a home in the town of Loon on Bohol island, 630 km (390 miles) south of Manila, which bore the brunt of the 7.2 quake on Tuesday. The quake caused landslides and widespread damage to infrastructure in Bohol and nearby Cebu, with close to three million people affected.
The number of people injured in the quake climbed towards 280. At least 90 of those killed were in Bohol. Officials feared the toll would rise further as communications with damaged villages were re-established. "I think this is a growing number, yesterday we had a partial communications block-out." At least a third of the deaths on Bohol island were in Loon, a town of about 43,000 people.
"We have not reached all barangays (villages), many are cut off, the roads are blocked by big boulders." Another eight people were killed on Cebu and one on Siquijor island. Many of the millions affected by the quake spent the night outdoors, including patients at some hospitals in Cebu, because of aftershocks. More than 800 aftershocks have been recorded.
"There are so many aftershocks, we are afraid. We don't have any more food and water because stores are closed, and the bridge ... is damaged. After the quake, water and mud came out of cracks on the ground in our backyard." Ferry and airline services have resumed despite damage to ports and airport structures in Bohol and Cebu. The last time a quake of similar magnitude hit Bohol province was in 1602.

Yellowstone Eruption Not Due in Next 2 Million Years - It could be upwards of two million years before the next eruption of the Yellowstone hotspot, according to researchers.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical depression 26 is located approximately 55 nm southeast of Navsta, Guam. Favorable sea surface temperatures will allow the system to gradually intensify, with the potential for rapid intensification.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical depression Priscilla is located about 630 mi (1015 km) WSW of the of the southern tip of Baja California. Priscilla is expected to weaken to a remnant low by tonight or Thursday morning.
Typhoon Wipha kills at least 13 in Japan - The powerful typhoon passed close to the Japanese capital, Tokyo. Wipha caused landslides and flooding on Izu Oshima island, south of Tokyo, with several houses destroyed. Many people died when their homes collapsed or were buried in mudslides on the island. Two were found dead near a river.
In Tokyo, flights were cancelled, bullet train services suspended and schools closed. "It is THE STRONGEST TYPHOON IN 10 YEARS to pass the Kanto [Tokyo area] region." The storm brought strong winds and RECORD RAINFALL - 122mm (4.8 inches) in one hour on Wednesday morning - to Izu Oshima island, which lies some 120km (75 miles) south of Tokyo. Officials on the island said that 13 bodies had found and more than 50 people were unaccounted for. "We have no idea how bad the extent of damage could be." Local media described mud and debris strewn around houses. Rescuers were struggling to access some areas.
"I heard a crackling sound and then the trees on the hillside all fell over. Then mud slid as far as the house." In Tokyo, a search was under way for two young boys last seen on a beach. Nearly 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate and thousands of schools shut as a result of the typhoon. It was expected to pass close to the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, where contaminated water used to cool reactor cores is being stored in temporary tanks. The plant operator said it was pumping out rainwater from its storage tanks. "We are making preparations for proper management of contaminated water. We will patrol places that could have inflows of water [from the storm]." (photos & map)

Tropical Storm Octave, with maximum sustained winds of up to 85kph, was expected to approach the west coast of Baja California by Tuesday morning. The storm was forecast to weaken over the next 48 hours and could be a tropical depression by the time it nears land. The Mexican government issued a tropical storm warning on Monday as Octave took aim at an already disaster-weary Mexico, while a second storm, Priscilla, swirled far out to sea.
Heavy rains were already spreading across portions of the southern Baja California Peninsula, an area that could see three to 7.6-15.2cm of rain along with the central peninsula. The storm system arrives just three weeks after the country weathered the dual blast of storms Manuel and Ingrid. At least 157 people were killed in the historic downpours, including 101 in the southern Guerrero state. Dozens were left missing in the mountainous village of La Pintada after a landslide buried a third of the community. September's torrential rains left 1.7 million people homeless.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Priscilla weakened a bit in the eastern Pacific Monday, packing winds of up to 65kph. Priscilla weakened to a tropical depression on Tuesday. The weather system was heading north at 12.8kph on Monday night, and was situated some 970km southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. No coastal warnings or watches were in effect.


UK Met Office blasts weather reports of “worst winter in decades” - The Met Office has played down reports that the country could be set for its “worst winter in decades” with extreme cold and heavy snowfall. Some predictions from weather agencies, not including the city weather centre, warn of record-breaking snowfall to arrive next month with below-average temperatures to last until February.
Vantage Weather Services said that the entire country would have a “horror freeze” which would bring brutal winds and fierce blizzards. But the Met Office spokesman was critical of the reports, saying those producing them were “gazing into their crystal ball”. “It is irresponsible of them to release such forecasts. The science simply doesn’t exist to accurately predict so far in advance. Weather is too unpredictable.”
Vantage Weather Services said the south of the country should brace itself for a “number of major snow events” next month, while large amounts of snowfall are predicted in the north. They blamed a “poorly positioned” jet stream for the prediction. “We are looking at a potentially paralysing winter, the worst for decades, which could at times grind the nation to a halt. Persistent cold snaps with some very heavy snowfall are likely, and I would not be surprised if some records are not broken this year. The main issue will be the extreme cold which is showing signs of really bedding in, thanks to freezing winds from the north.”
The extreme weather prediction comes days after a major energy supplier announced an 8.2% increase in domestic bills amongst fears that pensioners will face another 'eat or heat’ dilemma during the winter. A forecaster for Exacta Weather said it was likely to be the worst winter for more than 100 years. “A horror winter scenario is likely to bring another big freeze with copious snow for many parts. There is also a high risk that we will experience a scenario similar to December 2010 or much worse at times, especially in January. This is likely to produce major disruption to public transport and school closures on a prolific scale.”
Swathes of the Westcountry were put on flood alert less than a fortnight ago when almost two-thirds of a month’s rain fell in less than a week.


South Dakota - RARE weather event: how the blizzard of 2013 formed and moved. The blizzard that blew down upon the Black Hills on Oct. 4 was an EXTREME WEATHER EVENT — both in magnitude and time of year. It is not unusual to get several several inches of snow in early October in Western South Dakota, but accumulations of more than two feet on the foothills and more than four feet at the higher elevations of the Black Hills are VERY UNUSUAL.
In meteorological terms, the storm was created when a powerful upper air disturbance crossed the Pacific Ocean, reaching the West Coast on Tuesday, Oct. 1. As the storm system consolidated over Colorado on Wednesday, warm, moisture-laden air flowed into it from the Gulf of Mexico. Cold air was then drawn into the storm from the north, changing the precipitation into snow across Wyoming, Utah and Montana. The cold air pressed eastward early Friday morning as the storm's center moved from western Kansas to Nebraska, changing the rain to snow across western South Dakota. .
Just how rare of an event was the blizzard? You have to go back nearly a century to Oct. 19, 1919, for the next deepest one-day snowfall at 9.9 inches.
Computer models began to pick up on the possibility of a storm in the waning days of September. The path of the storm and the amount of snow became clearer a few days before the snow began to fall. The computer models do not always agree on how much snow will fall or the track of a storm’s center. This time, however, the models were in close agreement, enough so that the National Weather Service issued a special weather statement Tuesday for northeast Wyoming and northwest South Dakota to highlight the possibility of significant snow on Friday.
“It was obvious that there was going to be a lot of precipitation and the wind was going to be quite strong.” A forecaster who has worked at the Rapid City National Weather Service office for 10 years, says he kept looking at the calendar, finding it difficult to believe that a blizzard could strike in early October. It is difficult to forecast an event so rare. Predicting a huge never-before-seen blizzard seems absurd, yet as a forecaster, the warning has to go out and any thought of hesitation has to be shrugged off.
With this system, rain began to fall Thursday, Oct. 4, becoming heavy at times and accompanied by lightning during the evening. By 3 a.m. Friday, the rain changed to snow over parts of the Black Hills and Spearfish. The rain switched to snow in and around Rapid City by 5 a.m. on Friday. As the center of the storm approached south-central South Dakota Friday afternoon, thundershowers rotated east to west towards the Black Hills, enhancing the rate at which the snow fell. The wind grew stronger, gusting to 70 mph at times, combining the falling snow with blowing snow to drop the visibility to 100 feet.
Moisture continued to feed in from the northeast throughout most of Friday night, while the wind continued to howl at up to 70 mph as the center of the storm moved into eastern North Dakota. The blizzard dumped 55 inches of snow in Lead, 48 inches in Deadwood, 35 inches in Sturgis and 31 inches in Rapid City and Spearfish. The snow tapered off Saturday morning but the strong wind continued throughout the afternoon, causing drifts several feet high. By afternoon, the sun was shining and melting of some snow began.


Salmonella outbreak prompts recall of rotisserie chicken at one store - A Costco store in San Francisco has recalled 39,755 pounds of rotisserie chicken products after outbreak investigators traced them to a Salmonella Heidelberg illness cluster. The products were sold at Costco's El Camino Real store in South San Francisco and include 8,730 "Kirkland Signature Foster Farms" rotisserie chickens and 313 units of soup, chicken leg quarters, and chicken salad made from the rotisserie chicken.
The chicken was apparently sourced from Foster Farms, the company that has been linked to a multistate Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that has so far sickened 317 people in 20 states. The genetic fingerprint of the Salmonella Heidelberg is one rarely seen in the United States.
The California cluster is part of a larger group of Salmonella Heidelberg infections that are known to be resistant to multiple antibiotics. The lab investigation has found seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, eached linked to multidrug-resistant infections, which can increase the risk of hospitalization and possible treatment failure. The number of affected states has increased to 39, plus Puerto Rico. Of 189 patients with available information, 79 (42%) have been hospitalized. Thirteen percent of the sick patients had blood infections as a result of their illness. Typically about 5% of patients with salmonellosis have sepsis. So far no deaths have been reported. Tests on products all point to chicken produced at three of Foster Farms' California facilities as the likely source of the outbreak.