Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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

**It is much more comfortable to be mad and know it,
than to be sane and have one's doubts.**
G. B. Burgin

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 11/1/913 -

Double eruptions in Indonesia - Sinabung, Merapi volcanoes erupted Monday, spewing ash and causing another wave of mass evacuation in the country. Two volcanoes are erupting in Indonesia, prompting warnings for flights and evacuation preparations.
Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed volcanic ash as high as 8,000 metres, the highest of its eruptions in recent days. The mountain has sporadically erupted since September after being dormant for three years.
Officials raised the alert status of Sinabung to the second-highest level after an eruption early this month, prompting evacuation of more than 6,000 villagers living near its slopes. Its activities have continued since then, sometimes unleashing lava down the slopes. "It was the strongest eruption in the recent days." The Transportation Ministry issued a notice for all airlines to avoid routes near the mountain. Residents in Medan, the provincial capital about 50 kilometres northeastward, could see black smokes billowing from Sinabung.
Hours earlier, Mount Merapi, Indonesia most volatile volcano in Central Java, spewed volcanic ash about 2,000 metres into the sky, causing ash to fall in several towns. Indonesia which is located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, has 129 active volcanoes, making it prone to seismic upheaval. (video)
Massive rumbling from Mount Merapi on Monday morning caused panic among hundreds of residents living on the slopes of the volcano who promptly headed to evacuation assembly points.
The volcano, located on the border between Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces, erupted at around 4:53 a.m., spewing volcanic materials 2 kilometers into the air and covering areas east of the volcano with dust and ash. “Mount Merapi experienced a phreatic eruption. Its status remains normal due to a lack of activity.”
Phreatic eruptions are steam explosions caused by the vaporization of water usually due to heat generated by proximity to a body of magma, thus forming an accumulation of high-pressured gas which triggered an eruption. Heavy rain fell over the Yogyakarta region from Sunday noon until the evening. “On Monday at 4:52 a.m. before the eruption, BPPTKG detected an earthquake in Ciamis, West Java, at a magnitude of 4.7 on the Richter scale. The tectonic quake is believed to have shaken the magma chamber of Mount Merapi causing it to release gas from below.”
The phreatic eruption caused volcanic ash to scatter over a radius of 60 kilometers east of the 2,900-meter high mountain, covering areas around Boyolali regency. “Residents living around Mount Merapi were at one point alarmed due to the heavy rumbling.” The phreatic eruption on Monday morning was similar to one on July 22. “But today’s was more powerful than the July 22 eruption.”
After the eruption, 600 families living in Kalitengah Lor, Kalitengah Kidul and Srune hamlets, in Glagaharjo village, Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, immediately gathered at their respective assembly points to be evacuated. Villagers in Turgo village, Turi district, Sleman, located on the western flank of Mount Merapi, also fled their homes, but they returned home a few hours later as the situation returned to normal. The volcanic ash also affected residents in nearby towns. In Surakarta, Central Java, residents were shocked by the sight of volcanic ash covering streets, gardens and roofs. The ash rain continued until around 10 a.m. on Monday.
Surowedanan village in Boyolali, located around 17 km from the peak of Mount Merapi, was also covered by volcanic ash. “This morning, when I went out of the house at around 5 a.m., I saw ash everywhere." Residents were wearing masks when they ventured out of their homes as the ash was still falling along with the drizzle. The volcanic ash from Mount Merapi did not disrupt flights at the airport, as the weather was clear and wind velocity was normal. However, the airport authorities remained on alert and cleaned the runway twice in the morning. The wind blowing from the north was quite helpful as it blew the volcanic ash away from the airport.
Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. In 2010 its eruptions left more than 300 people dead and forced almost 400,000 people to take refuge at 639 shelters in Klaten, Magelang, Sleman and Boyolali. The 2010 eruption also killed the volcano’s spiritual keeper. In 1994, as many as 60 people were killed when the volcano erupted, while 1,300 died in a 1930 eruption.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the North Atlantic Ocean -
Subtropical storm Melissa is located about 725 mi. (1165 km) E of Bermuda. Melissa is no threat to land. Melissa, the 13th Atlantic named storm of 2013, is slowly transitioning to a tropical storm as it heads north over the Central North Atlantic, far from land. Ocean temperatures are near 25°C, which is barely warm enough to support a tropical storm, but wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots, which may allow Melissa to become fully tropical by Wednesday morning. Conditions should cause Melissa to rapidly deteriorate on Wednesday. Satellite loops show that Melissa has a large circulation, but only limited heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. Melissa will not be a threat to any land areas.

* In the North India Ocean -
Tropical cyclone 04b is located approximately 240 nm east-northeast Chennai, India. The fourth tropical cyclone of the Northern Indian Ocean season has formed and is headed for landfall in India. Tropical storm Four is forecast to strike India at about 06:00 GMT on Thursday, November 21.


+ Damage surveys continue in the Midwest U.S. after a stunning and violent late-season severe weather outbreak swept through on Sunday, killing at least eight people and leaving widespread significant damage. Two violent EF-4 tornadoes and one strong EF-3 tornado hit Illinois, killing six, making Sunday Illinois' deadliest November day for tornadoes in its history.
The most widespread damage from Sunday's outbreak occurred in the town of Washington (population 16,000), about 140 miles southwest of Chicago, where a violent EF-4 tornado destroyed or heavily damaged 250 - 500 homes and an apartment complex. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged 85 preliminary tornado reports from Sunday, along with 455 reports of high wind gusts and 32 reports of hail. Seventeen of the wind gusts were in excess of 74 mph (hurricane strength.)
The grand total of 572 severe weather reports for the day were the most of any day of 2013, surpassing the 538 total reports from June 13. The 85 preliminary tornado reports is also the highest for any day of 2013, surpassing the 62 reports from January 29.

+ Sardinia, Italy hit by deadly Cyclone Cleopatra and floods. At least 18 people, including four children, have been killed in flooding on the Italian island after a cyclone and heavy rain. A number of people are reported missing after rivers burst their banks. Cars were swept away and bridges collapsed.
The area around the north-eastern city of Olbia was worst-hit - in some places the water was up to 3m (10ft) deep. More than 440mm (17.3in) of rain fell in 90 minutes overnight into Tuesday morning. Hundreds of people across the Mediterranean island have been moved from their homes because of the flash flooding. "We're at maximum alert. We haven't seen a situation as extreme as this, perhaps for decades - especially because it's been across the whole island."
The situation on the island was "dramatic". A mayor said that the city had been hit by an "apocalyptic"' storm. Some city residents used social media to offer shelter to those forced out of their homes. Further bad weather is expected in the coming days.
The flooding was caused by a deep area of low pressure that has been sitting over the Mediterranean, bringing sustained heavy rain. The unstable conditions are expected to move across Italy and further east, bringing further downpours and the threat of flooding, particularly in Venice. The storm caused extensive damage to farms in Sardinia and disrupted a number of flights to and from mainland Italy. (photos, video and map at link)

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