Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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

**The fundamental cause of trouble in the world
is that the stupid are sure while the intelligent are full of doubt.**
Bertrand Russell

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 10/22/13 -

Indonesia earthquake kills 1, injures 2 - A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck western Indonesia, killing one villager, injuring two others and damaging dozens of buildings. The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday's quake was centered about 32 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Reuleuet town in Aceh province.

Earthquake hits northern Israel for fifth time in a week - A mild earthquake hit northern Israel on Tuesday, marking the fifth quake in a week. The earthquake hit the north-western part of the Kinneret at 8:50 A.M. local time.
A major earthquake could be catastrophic - The four minor earthquakes in only four days raised worry about the possible loss of life that may occur in the event of a major earthquake in the region. A major Israeli earthquake could cause thousands of deaths.

Washington - Quake-triggered landslides pose significant hazard for Seattle. A new study suggests the next big quake on the Seattle fault may cause devastating damage from landslides, greater than previously thought. “A major quake along the Seattle fault is among the worst-case scenarios for the area, since the fault runs just south of downtown.”

UPDATE - India mud volcano ruled out - Expert says Ukhrul hill caved in due to tectonic plates movement. All speculations regarding an eruption of hot liquid from a probable mud volcano in Ukhrul has been cleared after experts explained that the sinking of a portion of the hill on October 11 midnight resulted due to movement in the tectonic plates.
Though the phenomenon is quite similar to a mud volcano, as sometimes there are incidents of mud spurts during such cases, people of the area have nothing to worry about. The exact location where the hill side has sunk is three km from an international border village- Tusom Chirsitian village under Chingai sub-division, which is five kilometres from the Indo-Myanmar border pillar number 129 and 115 kms from the district head quarter.
The portion of hill range about one and a half kilometre long has been submerged though no one was injured as it occurred at midnight. Though the villagers themselves could not find out the real cause, there was continuous heavy rainfall in the area for three days and just one day before the hill slope sank, the sun shone brightly and the sky became clear. There was no sound in the night, and the villagers found the slope caved in only when they came out for their daily routine in the morning.
When asked if there was any spurt of gases or hot substances in the area the next morning or thereafter, he said there was nothing of that sort nor was there any unfamiliar smell except for water flowing. The rock particle found in the hill range is Ophiolite Rock and the area where the hill slope disintegrated stands upon the adjoining area between the Tusom Tectonic field and Somra Tectonic field. There could have been a slide earthquake in the area which could have made the tectonic fields active resulting in the sinking of the hill side. During such occurrences, water will be released from inside due to the hydrostatic pressure and sometimes accompanied by mud but it cannot be considered as mudslide.
Manipur is an earthquake prone area and there will be frequent earthquake occurrences of various variations on the Richter scale and as such people should not construct high-rises in the hills and even in the valley regions of the state. Ever since the sinking of the hill side, the Manipur village has remained totally cut off with Myanmar village Somra, with the only connecting road being carried away. The two villages have been trading with each other through this road. Though the hill side sank on October 11, about a fortnight ago, the village remains cut off to date, the government is yet to provide for an alternative which has resulted in several hardships for both Manipur village and Somra village in Myanmar.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical storm Lorenzo is located about 830 mi. (1335 km) Eastt of Bermuda. Expected to weaken soon.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Francisco is located approximately 291 nm southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

- Super Typhoon Lekima is located approximately 580 nm east -northeast of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Hurricane Raymond is located about 140 mi (225 km) WSW of Acapulco, Mexico. Still parked off the coast of southern Mexico.
Tropical storm summary -
Hurricane Raymond weakens, but still drenching Mexico - Hurricane Raymond continues to spin just offshore of Acapulco, Mexico, as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. As of 11 am EDT Tuesday, Raymond was stationary, centered about 135 miles west-southwest of Acapulco. Raymond brought 5.67" of rain Saturday through Monday to Acapulco, where a Hurricane Watch is posted.
Raymond is expected to bring heavy rains of up to 12" to the coast, and this is an area where heavy rains are definitely most unwelcome. Hurricane Manuel hit this region of Mexico with extreme torrential rains when it made landfall on September 15, triggering deadly mudslides and flooding that left 169 people dead or missing and caused $4.2 billion in damage. Raymond is in an area with weak steering currents, and is likely to show some erratic movement until today, when a ridge of high pressure is forecast to build in and force the storm west-southwestwards, away from the coast. Recent satellite loops show a weakening trend, as the southeast eyewall is now missing, and the storm's heavy thunderstorms have diminished in intensity. This weakening may be due to the colder waters from below that Raymond's winds have churned to the surface.

Tropical Storm Lorenzo forms in the Middle Atlantic - The 12th Atlantic named storm of 2013, Tropical Storm Lorenzo, was born on Monday afternoon. Lorenzo's formation brings this year's Atlantic tally to 12 named storms, which is one more than the long term average. However, Lorenzo is going to be one of those weak, short-lived tropical storms that likely would have been missed before satellites came along in the 1960s. The storm will not be a threat to any land areas.
There have been three other weak, short-lived tropical storms in 2013 that stayed far out to sea that may have been missed before satellites came along -- Dorian, Erin, and Jerry. There has been a large increase in the number of "shorties" -- Atlantic tropical storms lasting two days or less -- since the 1950s.

Typhoon Francisco weakening, likely to miss Japan - Typhoon Francisco has steadily weakened since becoming Earth's third Category 5 storm of 2013 on Saturday, and is now a Category 1 storm with 85 mph winds. Francisco is now traversing a large cool patch of ocean up to 2°C colder than the surrounding waters, left behind by the churning action of Typhoon Wipha last week.
By the time Francisco makes its closest approach to Japan on Thursday and Friday, it will be a tropical storm undergoing transition to an extratropical storm. However, the latest computer model guidance keeps Francisco well offshore from Japan, and the storm's heaviest rains will miss the country. This is good news for Japan, which is still cleaning up from the record rains that Typhoon Wipha brought last week.

Impressive Typhoon Lekima hits Category 4 strength - The Western Pacific has made up for a slow start to its typhoon season, and has now cranked out its fifth major Category 3 or stronger typhoon of the month. Typhoon Lekima is an impressive Category 4 typhoon with 145 mph winds, intensifying over the warm waters of the Western Pacific about 1,500 miles southeast of Japan. Satellite loops show that Lekima is another very well-organized typhoon with a prominent eye surrounded by a solid ring of eyewall clouds with very cold cloud tops. Lekima is predicted to reach Category 5 strength on Thursday, but will likely recurve to the northeast without affecting any land areas.

+ Hurricane Raymond - Hundreds of people have been evacuated from coastal communities in western Mexico that could lay in the path of Hurricane Raymond. Raymond is currently stalled some 135km (85 miles) off Mexico's Pacific coast and has weakened to a category 2 hurricane. But the authorities asked locals not to let their guard down as heavy rains continued and could set off landslides. A hurricane warning remains in place from Tecpan to Lazaro Cardenas.
Torrential rains are forecast to continue for the next 24 hours in the western states of Guerrero and Michoacan. The area is still struggling to recover after it was hit by Tropical Storm Manuel last month. Manuel and Ingrid, another storm which hit Mexico almost at the same time, left more than 150 people dead and caused billions of dollars of damage. Raymond's movements are "erratic" and "completely unpredictable" and could still head towards the coast.
More than 1,000 people have been evacuated from villages clinging to perilous hillsides and schools remained closed for some 35,000 pupils. In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Manuel an entire village was buried under a landslide in the mountains of Guerrero, and the memory of that disaster has made locals more wary.


Australia - The ground shook as a storm, described as a mini tornado, lifted roofs off buildings and left a trail of destruction in the south-west Victorian town of Ararat. A local hardware store sustained the most damage in the Tuesday evening storm, with stock being picked up by the winds and dropped throughout the nearby area.
A brick building, used by community groups for storage, was flattened with the equipment inside it destroyed, while parts of house roofs were damaged in the mini tornado. The storm also brought fences down, uprooted trees and brought down powerlines, but damage was confined to a small part of the town. "My father was quite shocked by the severity of the incident, he said it was one of the loudest noises he has ever heard in his life and the whole ground shook. It was really quite a violent incident given that it only lasted for a number of seconds."
The event was described as a "microburst" - an intense burst of damaging wind. "It was quite short and sharp and came and went very quickly, but left some damage." Power remains cut off to a number of properties in the area.


Australia - Blue Mountains fire is an emergency again. The Springwood fire is flaring as winds pick up. The bushfires are beginning to rear up in the NSW Blue Mountains, where strong winds are playing havoc with blazes that ruined communities last week. The fire at Springwood, where almost 200 homes were destroyed, has once again been upgraded to the HIGHEST WARNING LEVEL.
The fire was flaring on Wednesday under high winds and sending off ember showers. "Activity is increasing right across different parts of the fire grounds throughout the Blue Mountains. The strong winds are proving to be very difficult for the firefighters, for aircraft and is increasing fire behaviour." Blue Mountains residents not prepared to defend their homes from fire were advised to leave on Wednesday morning. Crews were also being re-directed to protect homes at Bilpin and Berambing in the Blue Mountains.
The other emergency warning is in play west of Newcastle at Minmi, where a school has been evacuated. The M1 Pacific Motorway, formerly known as the F3, was closed in both directions between Beresfield and Seahampton due to the Minmi fire.
A number of fires were also starting in the Hawkesbury region, near Putty, due to lightning strikes. Winds were expected to worsen this afternoon, adding to the fire threat. "These very strong winds gusting up to 100km/h across the mountain ranges are expected to continue right down along the coastal fringe through the Sydney basin. Conditions are going to be worse across much of the fire weather area throughout the balance of this afternoon."
There are now more than 60 bushfires in NSW including 22 that are uncontained. Thousands of firefighters are on the field and 95 aircraft available. THE WORST FIRE CONDTIONS WERE YET TO COME. "We are now about two hours away from what is expected to be the worst part of the day and the winds regrettably are significantly picking up."
One Blue Mountains landlord has attempted to increase rent for people who had lost their homes and were seeking emergency short-term accommodation. "Regrettably, despite some wonderful stories of great community spirit which has gone on during this fire crisis, there is always going to be the odd alternative."
New bushfire emergency alert has been issued for a fire at Lake Macquarie, near Gateshead.
New fire threatens homes west of Newcastle - An emergency warning has been issued for residents of Minmi, west of Newcastle, where a fire is burning near the M1.
Embers threaten Springwood homes - An emergency warning has been issued for Springwood, where homes are being threatened by an ember shower from the nearby bushfire.
There is "real potential for more loss of homes and life". Temperatures on Wednesday were expected to be in the upper 80s, humidities less than 10%, and sustained winds of strong winds of up to 100km/h (60mph). These conditions will be "about as bad as it gets". Insurance claims from the huge fires that have ravaged areas just west of Sydney over the past week are already set to exceed $97 million (U.S. dollars), even though the worst-hit areas have not been assessed yet. This price tag already makes the disaster Australia's fifth most expensive fire on record.
In total, 59 fires are burning across the state, 19 of which are uncontained. Hundreds more firefighters have been deployed to the Blue Mountains to work alongside the 1,000 already there, making it one of the largest firefighting contingents ever assembled in the state's history. Residents have been urged to leave the area. Authorities have warned that weather conditions on Wednesday could see the fires reach "unprecedented" levels.
Up to 5mm (0.2in) of rain fell across fire grounds on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. "Whilst that is some welcome relief in terms of moderating the current fire behaviour, it has compromised considerably the ability to continue with the back-burning operations that were planned throughout the evening." Back-burning is controlled burning of key areas aimed at depriving a fire of fuel and prevent it travelling in a certain direction.
The fires have been burning in the Blue mountains near Sydney since Thursday, with a state of emergency was declared at the weekend. "There's not been fires quite like this before - so big, so intense and so fast. We're talking about a fire that at some points is five storeys high. [Wednesday] is going to be a horror day in terms of the weather and could be a horror day in terms of the fire."
On Tuesday fire crews deliberately joined two large fires - State Mine and Mount Victoria - in order to prevent them linking up with a third. One man has died - possibly of a heart attack - while trying to protect his home. Hundreds of people have been left homeless by the bushfires.
In January 2013, parts of NSW and Tasmania were hit by fires as temperatures soared to record levels, with average national temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius. One person died in Tasmania and several hundred buildings were destroyed.
+ UNPRECEDENTED Australian wildfires - Video (2:17)


Argentina's agriculture, livestock and fishing ministry has declared four provinces to be in a state of agricultural emergency due to drought, storms, hail and frost. Argentina's drought has become “critical” in almost all of the country's northern oilseed and grain growing regions, with risks to crop forecasts for soybeans and sunflowers.

Climate change boosts wine production in Vermont - Because of climate change, vineyards are adding newer grape varieties, which wouldn't have survived there before climate change.

U.S. farm families follow drought with record harvest - After drought crippled corn yields in 2012, farmers across the Midwest in 2013 are harvesting what COULD BE THE LARGEST CORN CROP EVER.


+ COMET EXPLOSION - Almost 450 million km from Earth, Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) has exploded. Amateur astronomers are reporting a 100-fold increase in the comet's brightness compared to predictions, and the comet's atmosphere or "coma" now resembles that of exploding Comet 17P/Holmes in 2007. It can't be seen with the naked-eye.
The outburst does not necessarily signal a disintegration of the comet. Possibly, a local vein or cavern of deep ice in the comet's nucleus has been exposed to sunlight. Rapid evaporation of fragile ices could account for the comet's bigger- and brighter-than-expected atmosphere. Monitoring in the nights ahead might reveal clues to what happened ... and when.

On Oct. 22, 2013, the All Sky Fireball network reported 38 fireballs. (22 sporadics, 12 Orionids, 4 southern Taurids)

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