Wednesday, November 26, 2013

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

**The nice thing about being a celebrity is that
if you bore people they think it's their fault.**
Henry Kissinger

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 11/25/13 -

Indonesian Volcano Prompts More Evacuations - but it's still safe says an expert. The volatile Sinabung volcano in the northern part of Indonesia's Sumatra island continued spewing thick plumes of volcanic ash and rubble Tuesday. Nearly 18,000 people have had to flee the eruption.

The Volcano In Indonesia Is One Of 35 Volcanoes Currently Erupting Worldwide - The Sinabung is just one of 35 active, erupting volcanoes in the world. Of the 35, seven are in Indonesia. Most of Indonesia is situated along the “Ring of Fire” - a horseshoe shaped ring around the Pacific where most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions take place. (map)

Seven Volcanoes in Six Countries Erupt within Hours - But no Sign of Doomsday. The recent eruptions of seven volcanoes in six countries within the space of just a few hours sparked doomsday prophecies and claims that Armageddon was coming. But the End of Days is not nigh, experts have said. The high incidence of eruptions over a short period of time was a natural occurrence.
The erupting volcanoes were Indonesia's Mount Sinabung and Mount Merapi, Italy's Mount Etna, the Colima volcano in Mexico, Guatemala's Fire Mountain and Vanuatu's Yasur volcano, and an undersea volcano off the Japanese coast formed a new island. "This is perfectly normal. At any one time there can be on average 10-20 volcanoes erupting every day. So there's nothing particularly unusual, just coincidence that those all happened within an hour or so. Etna is one that's making the news a lot at the moment but Etna has been almost continuously erupting for 100 years so there's no real link between it erupting and anything else occurring."
Mount Etna has a constant supply of magma so there were no huge explosions. Kilauea in Hawaii is similar. "On the other end of the scale are volcanoes like Sinabung in Indonesia. A volcano like this is over a magma chamber which has to reach a critical point to erupt. To create these big explosive eruptions the magma chamber has to become over-pressured - like a champagne cork. You need the force. The magma chamber tends to sit there for a very long time, it crystallises and starts releasing gas, and that pressure builds up and causes the eruption. Those don't tend to erupt as often as ones like Etna and Hawaii. They don't build up pressure in the same way."
There were slightly more eruptions during autumn and winter but the seven recent contemporaneous eruptions were nothing out of the ordinary. "We looked at eruptions over the last 300 years, which was about 3,000 eruptions, and we noticed there was a tendency for slightly more eruptions to take place in autumn and winter. Our hypothesis was to do with changes in the Earth's crust. We suggested that one thing that could change global stresses in that sort of way is the movement of water because the mass of the ocean reaches its maximum around September and in the Northern Hemisphere winter that water is taken out of the ocean and deposited in the Northern Hemisphere, which is actually quite a large load."
The reason for increased concerns over small volcanic clusters is the increased ability to report eruptions. "We're much more aware of volcanic activity around the world, just because of the proliferation of smartphones and webcams. It's just so much easier for this information to be distributed globally. When something dramatic happens, it is usual for people to be more aware of similar occurrences. It's a natural bias towards reporting things that might not have been out of the ordinary. It's not an alignment of the sun. There's nothing that's causing huge volcanic activity, this is all perfectly normal. It's mostly that we're just getting must better reports now, so people are able to report on it and take photos so we are able to see eruptions much more than we ever have."

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the North Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Lehar is located approximately 390 nm southeast of Visakhapatnam, India.

Category 1 Cyclone Lehar headed towards India - Dangerous Category 1 Cyclone Lehar is slowly intensifying as it heads west-northwest at 10 mph towards India's Bay of Bengal coast. Lehar has not been able to form a prominent eye, and is likely having problems getting organized in the face of moderate wind shear.
Ocean temperatures are a very warm 28 - 29°C, and Lehar should be able to attain Category 2 strength before landfall Thursday. Cooler waters near shore and an increase in wind shear as the storm nears landfall will likely mean that Lehar will be weakening as it comes ashore.
Landfall is expected to occur near 06 UTC Thursday, November 28, in the Andhra Pradesh state of India. This is the same portion of the coast that Cyclone Helen hit on Friday as a tropical storm with 40 mph winds. Helen's heavy rains killed eleven people, caused widespread severe agricultural damage, and left the soils saturated, which will make the rains from Lehar doubly dangerous. Also of concern is the storm surge, which will impact a portion of the coast that is heavily populated and low-lying. The India Meteorological Agency (IMD) is predicting a storm surge of to 2 - 3 meters (7 - 10 feet) to the right of where the eye makes landfall.

Tropical Cyclone Lehar has already passed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Port Blair, the capital of the Andamans, recorded 237mm [9.33 inches] of rain in less than 48 hours.
Lehar has since moved to the east of the islands and is making slow progress towards the northwest. It is expected to gain strength as it moves over the warm waters of the Bay of Bengal in the coming days. A lack of wind shear, a change of direction with height, will aid its development.
As Lehar approaches India’s Eastern Ghats, it is expected to be the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale (5 being the highest). Landfall will occur close to Machilipatnam, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, at 13GMT on Thursday. At this time sustained winds are predicted to be 175 kph with gusts of 215 kph. Winds of this strength are sufficient to cause a substantial risk of injury or death due to flying or falling debris.
The deadliest element of many of these storms is the surge – the elevated water level produced by the wind. In this case, the latest forecasts suggest a surge of just 0.6 metres. But with around 700,000 people living within 5 metres of sea level within the affected area, the authorities are leaving nothing to chance. The commissioner for Andhra Pradesh disaster management department said that an evacuation would begin on Tuesday.
Warnings and advisories have already been issued to fishermen operating off the coasts of Andhra Pradesh and south Odisha. Lehar will strike the region just one week after a much weaker tropical cyclone, Helen, hit the same area, and barely six weeks after Severe Tropical Cyclone Phailin caused widespread damage and destruction, killing 45 people.

Australia - Damaging winds, with gusts in excess of 100km/h and flood rains are expected in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Mornington Island today as ex-Tropical Cyclone Alessia hovers near the coast. The low is in the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria, about 240km west-northwest of Mornington Island and moving southeast.
It is expected to move south to southwest towards the coast today. The Weather Bureau expects possible flash flooding along coastal and adjacent inland areas west of Burketown. Rainfall totals over 24 hours are expected to be in excess of 150mm. Places which may be affected include Burketown, Mornington Island and Westmoreland Station. A storm warning also has been issued for the northern tropical coast and tablelands and parts of the Peninsula, Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders and Herbert and Lower Burdekin. Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds and heavy rainfall this afternoon.
Cyclone Alessia may be reborn as it heads over the Gulf of Carpentaria as a low-pressure system and turns around for a second shot at the Territory. Alessia crossed the coast 8km southeast of Daly River mouth at 6:30pm on Sunday and was downgraded to a low shortly afterwards as it tracked east.
The low pressure system was forecast to move into the western gulf Tuesday morning. "It'll stall there for a couple of days and then it'll head back into the Top End early Thursday. Some models are getting excited but the forecast doesn't show much credibility. Friday, Saturday, or early Monday it'll move into the Timor Sea."
The cyclone risk is low for three days. "It's going to move over water and the Gulf water is quite warm for this time of year. Friday, Saturday, Sunday we'll see increased showers over the western Top End." A fallen power line was the worst of the reported damage in Darwin. No damage was reported from Daly River or Wadeye which were closest to the cyclone's path.
But surfers were smiling as a 1m swell hit northern suburbs beaches after Alessia became a low-pressure system and cruised over Katherine. That's as close as the Territory gets to perfect surfing conditions. The Weather Bureau has issued a flood warning for possible "significant" creek rises in the the Arnhem and Roper-McArthur districts for Tuesday. Rainfall of up to 80mm fell in those areas in the 24 hours to 9am Monday. Showers with rain up to 100mm, gusty storms, and creek water level rises were expected until Thursday.

Weak 2013 Atlantic hurricane season draws to close November 30th - Tropical Storm Andrea was the only tropical system to make U.S. landfall during the Atlantic 2013 hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season averages about 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. This year, we experienced 13 tropical storms, but only two - Ingrid and Humberto - became hurricanes. Neither was considered "major," a storm that reaches Category 3 strength. It was the fewest number of hurricanes since the 1982 season.


A very wet and windy storm for the U. S. east coast - Winter storm Boreas has tapped into an "Atmospheric River" of very moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, and the amount of water vapor available to make rain (the "Precipitable Water") will be NEAR RECORD HIGHS (for November) along the East Coast.
For example, in New York City, the Precipitable Water is expected to be near 1.7" on Wednesday morning; there has been only one higher value of Precipitable Water recorded there in November since 1948 (2.02" on November 11, 2003.)
All this moisture will generate heavy rains for coastal New England and the Mid-Atlantic, with rain amounts of 3 - 4" commonplace. The low clouds and strong winds accompanying these rains will slow air travel throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Fortunately, river levels are low due to moderate drought in much of the Northeast, and only minor flooding is expected from the heavy rains.
Accompanying the heavy rains along the coast will be high winds; a Wind Advisory for sustained winds of 20 - 30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, is in place along much of the coast from Delaware to Maine. While the rains will be gone on Thursday in time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, winds will still be strong, making conditions potentially too dangerous for the balloons used in the parade. These balloons are not allowed to fly if the city experiences sustained winds of 23 mph with gusts of 34 mph. The forecast calls for sustained winds of 15 - 20 mph gusting to 40 mph on Thursday. (map & photo)


Flu pandemic in 2009 killed 10 times more than thought - Deaths from H1N1 influenza in 2009 may have been 10 times higher than previously estimated, killing 123,000 to 203,000 people from respiratory illness worldwide, according to a new analysis.

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