Sunday, November 24, 2013

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

**If you want to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first create the universe.**
Carl Sagan

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday, 11/23/13 -

11/22/13 -

Mount Etna erupts, showers volcanic ash on towns. Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, has erupted again, showering volcanic ash on towns dotting the mountain's slopes and nearby Taormina. The latest paroxysm at the New SE crater of Mt Etna occurred just less than one week after the previous one last weekend.

Pakistani island born from an earthquake is already disappearing - The island that emerged off the coast of Pakistan after an earthquake is shrinking, raising concerns among researchers and local residents.
The island appeared a half mile off the port city of Gwadar several hours after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit interior Pakistan Sept. 24. The epicenter of the quake was in Baluchistan, about 250 miles from the coast. Initial reports from scientists said the island was about 60 feet above sea level, about 500 feet long and 600 feet wide.
The island's surface is "mostly muddy" and covered with large rocks and stones. The island has begun to disappear and is now about 10 feet underwater "and the process is ongoing." The island is projected to vanish completely in several months, a forecast that has upset local residents for whom it has become a source of income. Tourists pay "handsome amounts of money" to hire local boats to take them to the island.
A survey found a diverse biology on the island, with an unusually large number of small fish swimming in its waters. Those fish had attracted other fish, which have given local fishermen the opportunity to catch bigger fish than they had been accustomed to.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Alessia will hit Australia today.

* In the North Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Five is located approximately 840 nm east-southeast of Visakhapatnam, India. It is forecast to strike India as a severe cyclonic storm on November 28.
Cyclone Helen made landfall on Friday in Andhra Pradesh, India, leaving seven people dead and causing a lot of damage to the agricultural lands. Hundreds of thousands were evacuated as the severe cyclone slammed into southeastern India, packing strong winds and torrential rains. The heavy rains, accompanied by wind speeds at almost 110 kmph disrupted communication lines.
The National Disaster Response Force teams have already begun damage control. Over 17,000 people have been evacuated. The cyclone was expected to weaken by Saturday morning. The damage was mainly in Machilipatnam division in Krishna district, Amalapuram division in East Godavari district and Naraspuram division in West Godavari. Crops in about one lakh hectares, ready for harvest, were damaged in West Godavari district. Standing paddy and horticulture crops like banana and coconut were damaged in East Godavari district. Trees and electric poles fell in several areas.
Cyclone Helen changed course, threat of successor looms - On Thursday, severe cyclone Helen prowled the waters and it kept changing its bearing over the west-central Bay of Bengal. It gave nothing away with regard to location and track on Thursday, shifting both at will, and spooked weathermen on the watch.
The storm delayed landfall by at least 24 hours and changed location to Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The crossover was expected into Friday evening only. They did not rule out the possibility of rapid weakening in which case the storm would track more southwest than west.
Close on the heels of Helen, the Andhra Pradesh coast is threatened with the prospect of another likely cyclone early next week. India Met Department had already said that a causative ‘low’ will form over the boiling cauldron of south-east Bay of Bengal around the time when Helen hits the coast. It will rapidly deepen into a depression (Five). The destructive cyclone in the making will barrel towards Andhra Pradesh coast by Tuesday. The area of landfall is projected to be the same one as Helen hurtled into on Friday.

Rare November Tropical Cyclone to Impact Australia - An UNUSUALLY EARLY-SEASON tropical cyclone developed late Friday, local time, and will impact northern Australia this weekend. Tropical Cyclone 02S (Alessia) spinning in the Indian Ocean between Indonesia and Western Australia will continue its slow journey eastward this weekend, reaching the northwestern part of the Australia Sunday.
While the cyclone is not expected to gain much intensity, it can still spread drenching rain and gusty winds across the region. The storm should have the intensity of a minimal tropical storm in the Atlantic or Pacific basins. That does not mean the cyclone will not pose hazards. Places along its path could still be subject to wind gusts of 60 to 80 kph (40 to 50 mph) and rain amounts of 75 to 150 mm (3 to 6 inches). Sporadic tree damage and power outages, as well as flash flooding incidents, may unfold.
The path of Tropical Cyclone Alessia takes it to the waters of the Timor Sea, then near the far northern tip of Western Australia's Kimberley region Saturday night local time and into the Northern Territory later Sunday. While weakening would occur as it crosses the Northern Territory, the window for it to strengthen could open again next week if it tracks over the warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria. However, it is looking more likely that the storm may turn southward and remain over land, preventing additional strengthening.
It is VERY RARE to get a November cyclone near Australia. The Australian cyclone season officially starts in November, but tropical activity typically holds off until December. "The earliest cyclone to impact the northwest coast [of Australia] in a season was on Nov. 19, 1910, when the eye passed over Broome." The last tropical cyclone to form in the Timor Sea and strike western Australia in November was Quenton from 1983. Quenton formed on Nov. 26, then made landfall along Eighty Mile Beach on Nov. 29. (map at link)


A powerful storm system has caused hundreds of accidents across the Western U.S. and it has marched eastward with predictions of widespread snow, freezing temperatures and gusty winds. The fierce weather has caused at least eight deaths, including one in New Mexico, and prompted advisories Saturday afternoon in New Mexico and Texas.
As thick, gray clouds covered the Southwest, forecasters said the storm would sweep across the South and toward the Atlantic Coast next week, causing problems for holiday travelers. The “Nordic outbreak” will “produce a mixed bag of wily weather that will end up impacting much of the nation.” In New Mexico, authorities and residents braced for the second hit of a one-two punch - what forecasters in Albuquerque called the “big kahuna.” The storm already had blanketed parts of the state with snow and freezing rain and caused a rollover accident that killed a 4-year-old girl in the eastern part of the state.
The system is expected to bring widespread snow through the rest of the weekend, with as much as 3 feet on some mountain peaks and several inches in the lower elevations. High temperatures in some parts will reach only the single digits, and the wind is expected to continue to howl through the valleys and canyons. A winter storm warning will remain in effect for much of the state through Monday. The first wave of wintery weather resulted in some difficult driving conditions along Interstate 25 and other highways in New Mexico on Friday.
Seven other storm-related deaths were reported around the region. Three were reported Saturday in a crash in the Texas Panhandle involving nearly a dozen vehicles. Several traffic accidents were reported in Texas Saturday, including one that injured three members of singer Willie Nelson’s band when their bus struck a pillar on Interstate 30 near Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas.
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.

California - Extreme winds caused chaos in Bay Area Thursday and Friday. Extreme winds resulted in power outages, downed trees and blocked roads. Two people were killed Thursday night in wind-related accidents in Oakland, a city that was bearing the brunt of extreme winds in the Bay Area that have left thousands without power, brought down trees and fueled fires throughout the region.
A collision between a vehicle and a fallen tree killed an occupant of the car. Another person was killed when a power line came down on a street. Police are still investigating how that person was killed. A wind advisory was issued in the afternoon by the National Weather Service for areas including the hills, valleys and coastal areas in the North Bay and the hills and valleys of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and coastal San Mateo County.
The advisory was expected to be in effect until at least Friday morning with winds of between 20 and 35 mph are expected in some areas, and gusts of up to 45 mph possible in the valleys. In elevations higher than 900 feet gusts could be between 45 and 69 mph.
A downed tree and power line caused a grass fire at Napa Road and state Highway 12 in Sonoma County, and the high winds has made other fires reported in Oakland and Martinez difficult to contain Thursday. A total of about 25,000 PG&E customers were without power in the North Bay, the majority in Sonoma County, while about 42,500 customers lost power in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
The California Highway Patrol has issued wind advisories for the San Mateo, Benicia, Carquinez and Bay bridges and is advising motorists to use caution. One tree blocked all northbound lanes of northbound Interstate Highway 238 on the edge of San Leandro after falling on a car at 6:24 p.m. Several cars struck the downed tree before the highway was closed by the CHP. It was entirely closed for about an hour before one lane was opened to traffic.


Winter Storm Boreas likely to become season's first Nor'easter on Thanksgiving Eve. A potent winter storm (Boreas) is bringing snow and difficult travel conditions to Arizona, and will spread a variety of dangerous winter weather across Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah over the weekend.
On Monday and Tuesday, the storm will dump heavy rains over the Southeast U.S., before emerging over the coastal waters of the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday morning. The models are in fair agreement that Boreas will then intensify into the season's first significant Nor'easter on Wednesday afternoon, bringing heavy rain to coastal New England and the Mid-Atlantic, snow farther inland at higher elevations, and minor coastal flooding due to strong winds.
The potential for 6+ inches of snow in Upstate New York and the northern portions of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine looks good, and there is the possibility that Washington D.C. and Philadelphia could get 2 - 4" of snow Wednesday afternoon and evening, after a period of heavy rain. With the storm still five days away, confidence in the timing of the storm and the potential location and amount of snow is low, and we will have to see how the models evolve in their handling of this potential Thanksgiving Eve Nor'easter.


Australia - Drought returns to haunt farmers in north-west New South Wales. The rain stopped coming 18 months ago and families face a grim daily battle.

Winter to offer little drought relief in California - Even a normal season wouldn't be enough to end the state's drought and pull the state out of its persistent drought, a top U.S. climate official asserts.

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