Monday, November 11, 2013

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

**A people that values its privileges
above its principles soon loses both.**
Dwight D. Eisenhower

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 11/10/13 -

Oklahoma earthquakes rattle nerves - Nineteen earthquakes have shaken parts of the Oklahoma City area over the last seven days, causing little damage but fraying more than a few nerves.
The largest earthquake had a magnitude of 3.8, strong enough to do minor damage or knock unsecured items off shelves. Six of the 19 recent earthquakes have had a magnitude greater than 3. Transportation officials say crews were dispatched to inspect Oklahoma County highways, roads and bridges but no damage was found. Some of the earthquakes have been centered on or near the Kilpatrick Turnpike.
The quakes are likely connected to a central Oklahoma swarm of earthquakes that has been occurring since 2009. The swarm's cause remains under study. The central Oklahoma earthquakes have occurred at relatively shallow depths and could have the potential for causing more damage than quakes that begin at greater depths. "You can have damage from something smaller than a magnitude 4, especially if an earthquake is shallow and closer to homes, so the energy doesn't get absorbed by the earth and dampened."
On Nov. 5, 2011, a 5.6-magnitude quake struck northwest of Prague, damaging more than a dozen homes and buildings and injuring at least two people. This earthquake broke the state's previous record for strongest recorded earthquake, a 5.5-magnitude quake in 1952 in El Reno.
Could more quakes of this size or bigger occur? "I can't rule it out. Oklahomans should continue to stay prepared for earthquakes, just like they prepare for tornadoes."

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

Tropical Cyclone slams Somalia with Flooding Rain & Wind - Flooding rain and gusty winds impacting Somalia on Sunday and continuing into the beginning of the upcoming week thanks to a tropical cyclone which developed across the western Arabian Sea Friday night, local time.
Tropical Cyclone Three (03A) acquired tropical characteristics thanks to a favorable environment of warm ocean water temperatures and low wind shear. The Cyclone, which is the equivalent of a minimal tropical storm, will bring a widespread 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) of rain with locally higher amounts right at the coast and over the higher terrain through Monday. This amount of rain will cause life-threatening flooding and the potential for mudslides in the mountains.
Winds of 50-100 kph (approximately 30-60 mph) will impact eastern portions of Somalia Sunday into Monday as the cyclone moves ashore. In addition, rough surf and coastal flooding can be expected Saturday into Sunday along the eastern shores of Somalia. Landfall of Tropical Cyclone 03A was expected Sunday night, local time, which is when the strongest winds are expected to occur. After making landfall, Tropical Cyclone 03A will lose its tropical characteristics early in the upcoming week, but heavier areas of rain will still accompany the center of circulation as it swirls inland across northern Somalia or perhaps into eastern Ethiopia through midweek.
The Arabian Sea is typically one of the quieter regions when it comes to tropical development, but it is not uncommon for cyclones to spin up. About 1-2 tropical cyclones form in the Arabian Sea each year, and November tends to be a climatologically favorable time for a system to spin up. The last cyclone to strike Somalia was just last year in late December of 2012.

Philippines - Potential new cyclone spotted. Super Typhoon Yolanda left the country, but the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration is monitoring a “cloud cluster” that could develop into a low-pressure area.
Yolanda left the Philippine area of responsibility at 1:30 p.m. and was moving west-northwest toward Vietnam. The cloud cluster was spotted east of Mindanao. “If it enters the Philippine area of responsibility as a cloud cluster we would observe it for two to three days because it could dissipate or turn into a low-pressure area.” If the cloud cluster develops into a tropical depression, it would be the 25th cyclone to enter the country and would be named Zoraida.

Severe Tropical Storm Haiyan made landfall in northern Vietnam, close to China's border, with wind gusts up to 157km/h (98 mph). It still carried gusts of up to 157km/h (98 mph) as it arrived close to the Ha Long Bay tourist destination. Some 600,000 people have been evacuated from at-risk regions in Vietnam and at least six people have been killed.
China issued a typhoon alert for Hainan island, Guangdong and Guangxi after Haiyan's path changed. The typhoon has decreased markedly in strength from the Category Five storm that swept through the Philippines in a day, causing mass destruction. It is now classified as a severe tropical storm. By 21:00 GMT on Monday, as it heads into China, it will have become a tropical depression.
Rainfall will be the main hazard. A 48-hour accumulation of 100mm to 200mm is expected, with up to 400mm over high ground. Widespread flooding is a possibility, including in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi. "We need to be thankful that this storm system has weakened as it's hit Vietnam. But at the same time we also can't be complacent because having travelled over such a wide expanse of sea it's picked up a huge amount of moisture and so we can expect very heavy rainfall with potential flooding and landslides and other dangers."
Haiyan earlier swept over Vietnam's Con Co island, 30km (18 miles) off the coast of central Quang Tri province. "All 250 people on the island including residents and soldiers were evacuated to underground shelters where there is enough food for several days." Boats have been ordered back to port along many coastal regions. Several hundred domestic and international flights have been cancelled. Schools have been closed for Monday in many parts of the north. "We have evacuated more than 174,000 households, which is equivalent to more than 600,000 people." Some people have complained that the warnings have come too late.
In China, the National Meteorological Center issued a red typhoon warning - the highest alert in its four-colour typhoon warning system. Six people on board a cargo vessel were missing off the island province of Hainan. More than 13,000 people were evacuated from the major tourist resort of Sanya on Hainan. More than 200 flights at Hainan's airports have been cancelled or delayed. The typhoon passed by the south-western tip of Hainan as it headed for landfall on the Vietnam coast close to the China border.
Eight people died after being swept out to sea in northern Taiwan by waves attributed to Typhoon Haiyan. (video & map)

The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines described as "absolute bedlam". Up to 10,000 people are believed to have died in Tacloban city and hundreds elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced. The typhoon flattened homes, schools and an airport. It has since made landfall in northern Vietnam, near the Chinese border, where it has weakened to a tropical storm.
Four million people have been affected in the Philippines, and many are now struggling to survive without food, shelter or clean drinking water. A huge international relief effort is underway, but rescue workers have struggled to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm. "There's an awful lot of casualties, a lot of people dead all over the place, a lot of destruction. It's absolute bedlam right now, but hopefully it will turn out better as more and more supplies get into the area."
Roads had now been cleared to allow relief workers to get to the hardest hit areas, but they expected to find many more casualties. "It's only now that they were able to get in and we're beginning just to bring in the necessary food items... as well as water and other things that they need."
Forecasters predicted a tropical depression would move into the south and central Philippines on Tuesday, potentially bringing heavy rains that would further hamper relief efforts. The humanitarian director for Oxfam said her colleagues witnessed "complete devastation... entire parts of the coastline just disappeared, and sizable trees just bent over and [were] thrown about like matchsticks."
Typhoon Haiyan - one of the most powerful storms on record to make landfall - swept through six central Philippine islands on Friday. It brought sustained winds of 235km/h (147mph), with gusts of 275 km/h (170 mph), with waves as high as 15m (45ft), bringing up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places. "THE WORLD HAS NOT SEEN A STORM LIKE THIS BEFORE."
The typhoon was "probably the most intense and strongest storm of this type to make landfall. We've seen storms like this perhaps on rare occasions that have had that kind of intensity out at sea but for it to come ashore with that kind of strength is ALMOST UNPRECEDENTED."
The relief efforts are being focused on the eastern province of Leyte and its capital Tacloban, where a massive storm surge flattened houses. The typhoon wrecked up to 80% of structures in its path. Officials said looting was widespread and order was proving difficult to enforce. There was a possibility that martial law or a state of emergency would be declared in the city. In some areas, the dead are being buried in mass graves. (video, photos & map)


Space satellite falls to Earth - The European Space Agency's Goce gravity mapping satellite re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, without reports of any dangers from falling debris.

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