Monday, November 25, 2013

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

**People demand freedom of speech to make up for
the freedom of thought which they avoid.**
Soren Aabye Kierkegaard

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 11/24/13 -

+ HIGHEST ALERT STATUS RAISED FOR SINABUNG VOLCANO, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes. It was raised to the highest level on Sunday after it repeatedly sent hot clouds of gas down its slope following a series of eruptions in recent days.
Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed fresh volcanic ash and gravel as high as 5000 metres and searing gas down its slope up to 2km. The 2600-metre-high mountain has sporadically erupted since September after being dormant for three years. "We are in a situation of high alert due to the danger of searing gas."
About 12,300 evacuees from eight villages around the mountain were packed on Sunday in crowded government camps away from the fiery crater, while more than 6000 others fled earlier to temporary shelters in 16 safe locations. Airlines have been notified to avoid routes near the mountain.
The volcano's last eruption, in August 2010, killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee. It caught many scientists off guard because it had been quiet for four centuries.
Mount Sinabung volcano in western Indonesia erupted eight times in just a few hours late Saturday and early Sunday, "raining down rocks" over a large area and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Mount Sinabung has been erupting on and off since September, but went into overdrive late Saturday and early Sunday, repeatedly spewing out red-hot ash and rocks up to eight kilometres into the air.
Several thousand people left their homes overnight, taking the total number of those who have fled since the volcano rumbled to life to around 12,300. “People panicked last night as the eruption was accompanied by a loud thunderous sound and vibrations. Then it started raining down rocks.”

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the North Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Five (Lehar) is located approximately 695 nm east-southeast of Visakhapatnam, India. Forecast to strike India as a severe cyclonic storm on November 28.
+ Australia - Alessia has been downgraded to below cyclone strength, but strong winds and heavy rain are still lashing the Top End. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Alessia was about 110km south of Darwin overnight Saturday, with winds near the centre below gale force, but still packing a punch at about 95km/h. The storm weakened after making landfall 6.30pm (CST) on Sunday.
Heavy rain is still likely to cause localised flooding and may lead to significant stream rises in the Darwin-Daly, Arnhem and western Roper-McArthur Districts. The storm is tracking towards the east at about 30km/h. Authorities had been warning residents to prepare for the Category one tropical cyclone's arrival on Sunday.

India - Met dept issues cyclone warning in coastal Odisha. The Indian Meteorological Department has issued cyclone warning number 4 for coastal Odisha regarding upcoming tropical storm Lehar today. The warning is two notches below Phailin, which devastated the state on October 12. However, the distance warning signal, meant for ports, has been kept at two.
The cyclonic storm 'Lehar' , created over the Andaman Sea, moved north-west-wards with a speed of 20 Kmph during past six hours and lay centred about 200 km east-south-east of Port Blair and 1380 Km South-east of Gopalpur. The system will intensify further, and cross Andaman & Nicobar Islands, close to Port Blair. "It would then emerge into South-east Bay of Bengal, and intensify further gradually into a very severe cyclonic storm. It would cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machillipatnam and Kalingapatnam near Kakinada around 28 November." The upcoming cyclone is no threat to the state, still as a precautionary measure, all coastal district collectors have been asked to stay alert.

Storm surge caused by Yolanda was 'unexpected' in Philippines - Before Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) entered the country, the weather bureau already predicted it would cause a storm surge, but the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) did not expect the damage it brought could be that massive and destructive.
“We predicted a storm surge will hit the coastal areas (of Yolanda’s path), but we had no idea it would affect the inland areas as well." A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean’s surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea level.
Had they known in advance that the storm surge would sweep its way farther inland they would have advised the people to evacuate to safer areas. "We could have saved many lives, including our colleague who we lost during Yolanda’s landfall.”
There have been super typhoons in the past but not as intense as Yolanda. “Today’s TYPHOOONS ARE NO LONGER NORMAL.” Typhoons are part of the earth’s dynamics, but changes are experienced due to a lot of factors. “The fingerprint is very small, if at all. If the winds are 200 miles per hour (mph), global warming might have contributed 5 mph to that 200 mph.”
“Haiyan was just as subject to this year’s climate as the numerous others that weren’t so impressive. Extreme intense tropical cyclones are rare, but have always been a part of nature - we don’t need to find an excuse for them...“it seems likely Haiyan would have been nearly as destructive whether or not the planet had warmed over the past century.”
“Seas have been rising significantly faster in the Philippine Seas, where Haiyan struck, than the world on average.” Meanwhile, the areas of the world that experience this type of weather disturbance must brace for typhoons with more force that could claim numerous lives and damage millions of pesos in properties and infrastructure. “New, stronger typhoons will come in.”


Thanksgiving Eve nor'easter now looks certain to make holiday travel difficult. It looks increasingly certain that a major storm will hit the eastern half of the United States on the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year.
But here’s the twist: Don’t expect a white Thanksgiving in New York, Boston, or other big cities. Along the coast, the tempest will manifest itself more like a tropical storm than a snowy nor’easter. That means a deluge of heavy rain and sustained high winds - terrible travel conditions, by any definition. In fact, a three- to four-inch blast of chilly rain is now expected across a broad swath of the southern and eastern US, including the major travel hubs of Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.
Virtually the entire US will be affected by this storm: whether directly by rain, wind, snow, or ice, or indirectly via cascading travel delays. The storm’s incredibly poor timing will enhance the impacts of an otherwise only slightly worse than average early winter atmospheric medley. The AAA predicts 43.4 million Americans will venture farther than 50 miles over the coming holiday weekend, the vast majority of them by car.
Low clouds and high winds will force many hub airports to reduce takeoff and landing frequency during the storm’s peak on the day before Thanksgiving, so expect delayed and cancelled flights. And heavy rains will mean slow going on already congested highways along the east coast.
The silver lining? This storm will be a relatively quick mover, spending less than a day over any particular location. That means timing could be everything when making plans and anticipating the storm’s next move. And come Thanksgiving morning, the storm will effectively be gone, leaving bone-chilling air in its wake but relatively great travel conditions for those stuck in the rebooking line. Lingering strong winds will force New York’s Thanksgiving Day parade to firmly tether their humongous balloons. (maps and timeline at link)
+ A deadly wave of Arctic cold continued its assault across much of the U.S. on Sunday after blasting the Southwest with heavy rains, flooding, snow and sleet blamed for eight deaths. The front could also bring havoc to Thanksgiving travel later in the week.
On Sunday, winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories remained in effect for much of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, where "significant" sleet and ice accumulations were expected. The weather system roared east, bringing bitter cold temperatures and stiff winds that dropped wind chills overnight into the teens and lower in much of the Northeast.
In Boston, the wind chill temperature dipped to 0 degrees early Sunday. Hours earlier, I-189 in Burlington, Vt., was forced to close after snow squalls, wind and cold were blamed for a series of accidents. "We are forecasting a high of 31 degrees in New York City today, where the normal high for this time is 51 degrees. Even the normal high for January is 38 degrees. It feels like we're in the middle of winter and it's not even Thanksgiving."
The storm already has affected much of the Western U.S., causing hundreds of rollover accidents and prompting officials to cancel events and close roads. New Mexico was bracing for another round of storms after parts of the state were blanketed in snow and freezing rain blamed for a crash that killed a 4-year-old girl. Three other storm-related deaths were reported Saturday in a crash in the Texas Panhandle involving nearly a dozen vehicles.
"There is a lot of precipitation still rolling into parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas. It's 26 degrees in Oklahoma City, so they will be looking at frozen precipitation. We could even see sleet in Dallas. That's pretty impressive." The system is set to slog through the Southeast, bringing flooding rains and thunderstorms to Georgia and states along the Gulf Coast just as Americans are making their final dashes home for Thanksgiving.
The weather front has been blamed for three deaths in California and one in Arizona. In California, where the storm system hit first, prompting flooding and water rescues in recent days, three deaths have been linked to the storms since Thursday, as authorities found one body near downed power lines, one man crashed his vehicle into a tree and a woman was killed when a tree fell on a parked car.
In Arizona, firefighters recovered the body of a man who was swept away by high waters Friday in the Santa Cruz River in the southern part of the state. In Nevada, snow in high elevations in the rural, eastern part of the state stranded dozens of cars. No fatalities were reported and authorities got the road open again by Saturday.

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