Sunday, November 10, 2013

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

**I do not feel obliged to believe that
the same God who has endowed us with sense,
reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 11/9/13 -

11/8/13 -

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Typhoon Haiyan is located approximately 182 nm east of Da Nang, Vietnam.

* In the North Arabian Sea -
- Tropical Cyclone Three is forecast to strike Somalia today. -
TYPHOON Haiyan has killed at least 1,200 in the Philippines - One of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall devastated the central Philippines, killing more than 1,000 people in one city alone and 200 in another province.
A day after Typhoon Haiyan churned through the Philippine archipelago in a straight line from east to west, rescue teams struggled to reach far-flung regions, hampered by washed out roads, many choked with debris and fallen trees. The death toll is expected to rise sharply from the fast-moving storm, whose CIRCUMFERENCE ECLIPSED THE WHOLE COUNTRY and which late on Saturday was heading for Vietnam.
Among the hardest hit was coastal Tacloban in central Leyte province. "An estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban as reported by our Red Cross teams." Witnesses said bodies covered in plastic were lying on the streets. Television footage shows cars piled atop each other.
"The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris." The category 5 "super typhoon" weakened to a category 4 on Saturday, though forecasters said it could strengthen again over the South China Sea en route to Vietnam.
The Philippines has yet to restore communications with officials in Tacloban, a city of about 220,000. A government official estimated at least 100 were killed and more than 100 wounded, but conceded the toll would likely rise sharply. Among the hardest hit was coastal Tacloban in central Leyte province. Authorities in 15 provinces in Vietnam have started to call back boats and prepare for possible landslides.
Broken power poles, trees, bent tin roofs and splintered houses littered the streets of the city about 580 km (360 miles) southeast of Manila. The airport was nearly destroyed as raging seawaters swept through the city, shattering the glass of the airport tower, leveling the terminal and overturning nearby vehicles. "Almost all houses were destroyed, many are totally damaged. Only a few are left standing."
Water levels rose up to four meters (13 ft) in the airport. "It was like a tsunami. We escaped through the windows and I held on to a pole for about an hour as rain, seawater and wind swept through the airport. Some of my staff survived by clinging to trees." I prayed hard all throughout until the water subsided."
Officials started evacuating residents from low-lying areas, coastlines and hilly villages as early as three days before the typhoon struck on Friday, officials said. But not all headed the call to evacuate. "I saw those big waves and immediately told my neighbors to flee," said a villager in southeastern Davao Oriental province.
Meteorologists said the impact may not be as strong as feared because the storm was moving so quickly, reducing the risk of flooding and landslides from torrential rain, the biggest causes of typhoon casualties in the Philippines. By Saturday afternoon, the typhoon was hovering 765 km west of San Jose in southwestern Occidental Mindoro province, packing winds of a maximum 185 kph, with gusts of up to 220 kph. The storm lashed the islands of Leyte and Samar with 275-kph wind gusts and 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves on Friday before scouring the northern tip of Cebu province. It weakened slightly as it moved west-northwest near the tourist island of Boracay, later hitting Mindoro island.
Haiyan was the second category 5 typhoon to hit the Philippines this year after Typhoon Usagi in September. An average of 20 typhoons strike every year, and Haiyan was the 24th so far this year. Last year, Typhoon Bopha flattened three towns in southern Mindanao, killing 1,100 people and causing damage of more than $1 billion.
Authorities in 15 provinces in Vietnam have started to call back boats and prepare for possible landslides. Nearly 300,000 people were moved to safer areas in two provinces alone - Da Nang and Quang Nam. (VIDEO AT LINK)
Typhoon Haiyan is headed across the South China Sea towards Vietnam as a much-weakened Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds after devastating the Philippines on Thursday and Friday as an extreme Category 5 storm with winds of 195 mph.
Haiyan no longer has a well-defined eye, but the typhoon still has a huge area of intense thunderstorms which are already bringing heavy rains to Vietnam. Haiyan will continue to weaken until landfall, due to colder waters and higher wind shear, and will likely be a large and very wet tropical storm when it makes landfall in Vietnam today.
Haiyan is expected to begin recurving to the northwest as it makes landfall, which means that a long 100+ mile stretch of the Vietnam coast will be receiving the punishing winds and peak storm surge of the strong northern portion of the storm. With part of its circulation still over water, Haiyan will be able to pull in a huge amount of moisture that will create prodigious rains (8+ inches) over Vietnam.
With the latest forecast track now expected take Haiyan farther north before landfall than previously expected, the extreme rainfall danger for Laos has diminished. In the first two weeks of October, Central Vietnam was hit by two Category 1 storms, Typhoons Wutip and Nari, leaving behind significant damages in nine provinces. The total economic loss due to Nari was $71 million. Typhoon Wutip's damages were estimated at $663 million.
With a preliminary death toll of 1,200, Haiyan already ranks as the 8th deadliest typhoon in Philippines history. Insured damages are being estimated at $2 billion and total economic damages at $14 billion, making Haiyan the most expensive natural disaster in Philippines history.
This is the third time in the past 12 months the Philippines have set a new record for their most expensive natural disaster in history. The record was initially set by Typhoon Bopha of December 2012, with $1.7 billion in damage; that record was beaten by the $2.2 billion in damage done by the August 2013 floods on Luzon caused by moisture associated with Typhoon Trami.
Massive damage in the Philippines - It is still early in the rescue and recovery effort, and the death toll will undoubtedly rise significantly. Rescuers have not yet reached the south shore of Samar Island and the city of Guiuan (population 47,000), where Haiyan initially made landfall with winds estimated at 195 mph. MORE HEAVY RAIN IS COMING to the Philippines with tropical disturbance 90W likely to bring heavy rains of 2 - 4" on Tuesday and Wednesday to the area devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan. (maps, video & photo at link)
Typhoon Haiyan stronger than Katrina and Sandy combined - Storm clouds covered the entire Philippines, over 1,120 miles - the distance from Florida to Canada. Winds gusts as strong as 235 miles per hour. The surge of sea water was followed by a sea of flames.
One of the strongest ever recorded, the storm put the Philippine port city of Tacloban underwater, and a storm chaser was there filming the natural disaster at what's been regarded as its ground zero. Then, when evening fell, the town caught fire. There was water everywhere - yet nary enough to put out a fire. (video at link)
8 Typhoon damage photos
UPDATE - Officials say up to 10,000 people may have died on Leyte island, which bore the brunt of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.


Drought Hits Botswana's Agriculture hard - The performance of agriculture sector in Botswana has been setback by inadequate rainfall for the second year in a row.


+ SATELLITE FALLING TODAY - It’s called GOCE, for Gravity Field and Steady State Ocean Circulation Observer and it’s currently only 105 mi. (169 km) up and descending fast. So how worried should you be? Not much more than a tiny bit (which is admittedly shy of a more-reassuring not at all).
For starters, 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, meaning there’s only a 30% chance of the satellite debris hitting a landmass. What’s more, the overwhelming percentage of the human population lives on only a small share of that land - in some countries, as little as 3% of the square mileage is occupied.
While GOCE weighs about a ton, most of that mass will break up and vaporize on the way through the atmosphere. A maximum of 45 pieces are predicted to survive, none more than 200 lbs. (90 kg), with a ground footprint no greater than 190 sq. ft. (18 sq m) for the whole mess.
"None of that is to rule out all risk. A 200 lb. slab of molten metal crashing through your living room ceiling would be a very bad way to start a Sunday morning. The same piece of ordnance landing in, say, Times Square or a packed Soldier Field would be a bigger problem still. But that won’t happen. Really. (Probably.)"

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