Sunday, December 8, 2013

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

**Never trust an atom.
They make up everything.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 12/7/13 -

12/6/13 -

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the North Indian Ocean -
Tropical cyclone Madi is located approximately 270 nm southeast of Chennai, India.
Tropical Cyclone 06B Forms East of India - Cyclone Madi has developed over the Bay of Bengal, just northeast of Sri Lanka and east of India. After producing locally heavy rainfall across Sri Lanka, Cyclone Madi will intensify into a severe storm, bringing rain or thundershowers over some parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in India. It is the sixth tropical cyclone of the Northern Indian Ocean season.


Extratropical Cyclone Xaver Moves Slowly Across Europe - Xaver has moved across Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Poland. Wind speeds were recorded at 158 km/h when the storm reached Germany and heavy winds affected the Netherlands, Poland, and parts of Scandinavia. Massive storm surges have occurred along the coasts of southeastern England, the Netherlands, and northern Germany.
“Xaver developed off the coast of Greenland on December 4, and its development was enhanced by another low-pressure system, Wilhelm, which was located over the Norwegian Sea on December 4-5. Xaver passed north of Scotland on December 5, where its central pressure had dropped to 975 mb from a reading of 1010 mb less than 24 hours earlier. A pressure drop of this type, which deepens by 24 mb or more over 24 hours, often produces a phenomenon known as rapid cyclogenesis (or a weather “bomb”).
Heavy winds were transported closer to ground level, bringing with them heavy precipitation and thunderstorms. By the morning of December 5, pressure levels had dropped 17 mb in three hours near Lerwick, Scotland, while it increased 18 mb over Sule Skerry. Later that day, over Thyboroen, Denmark, a pressure drop of over 14 mb in three hours was observed.”
Overnight, Xaver continued moving across the North Sea and reached northern Europe, packing strong winds, massive storm surges, rain, and snow. In Germany, wind gusts of up to 174 km/h were recorded at the North Sea island of Sylt, while sustained winds were 148 km/h. Wind speeds as high as 158 km/h struck Gluecksburg-Meierwik and reached as far inland as Brocken. Other recorded wind speeds include 148 km/h at the island of Spiekeroog, 144 km/h at Fichtelberg and Leuchtturm Kiel, 140 km/h at Strucklahnugshoern (Nordsee), and 137 km/h at Rostock, Warnemuende, and Buesum. Northern Poland received wind speeds as high as 160 km/h, while similar gusts were reported in parts of the Czech Republic.
“The greatest threat from Xaver has been the high spring tides, which along with Xaver’s slow track have enhanced storm surges on Thursday and Friday. The storm surge in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands is the highest seen since the deadly North Sea floods of 1953; however, disaster has been averted thanks to strengthened flood defenses in both countries.” In England, the Thames Barrier will be closed for the second time in two days in accordance with the tide, preventing the surge from reaching London as it did in 1953. Xaver’s surge caused a difference of two meters in water height between the front and back of the barrier.
Flood defenses in the Netherlands successfully held back the rising water by closing off the Eastern Scheldt barrier for the first time since 2007. In southwestern Zeeland, the sea reached 3.99 m above mean sea level. Germany is comparing Xaver to the 1962 floods, which submerged nearly a fifth of Hamburg’s municipal area with water 5.7m above mean sea level. Xaver’s storm surge reached 4-6m above mean sea level. However, the area has fared far better thanks to Germany’s 8m dikes.
The storm is slow moving and the relentless battering from winds can weaken structures, increasing their vulnerability. A sea cliff in Hemsby, England, collapsed on Friday, causing several homes to tumble into the sea. Extreme flooding was seen along several communities in southeastern England including Whitby, where about 100 homes received over a meter of water. Lowestoft, Whitby, Great Yarmouth, and Saltburn also experienced flooding. Storm surges along western Great Britain affected several cities including Blackpool. Flood defenses failed at the English cities of Lincolnshire and Boston.
Roof damage is widespread and fallen trees have damaged homes and autos. Railways, roads, and bridges have been closed due to strong winds, high water and debris.
+ 'EXCEPTIONAL FLOODS' - A major clean-up operation is under way on the east coast of England after 1,400 homes were flooded in the worst storm surge for 60 years. Some places saw the sort of weather conditions which only occur every 500 years, but flood defenses have meant that 800,000 properties were protected. Hundreds of grey seals have also been lost on the north Norfolk coast because of the deadly storm surge.
About a third of the sea defenses in part of Scarborough's North Bay were damaged by the tidal surge that hit the region. Seven cliff-top homes collapsed in Hemsby, Norfolk, where a lifeboat station was washed into the sea, and there was flooding in Whitby in North Yorkshire. Homes along the Humber Estuary in northern Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire were also affected.
"It's a complete mess. We've had several buildings and bits of concrete blocks... being broken up and pushed down the coast. And they're now scattered all over the beach. There's roofs off buildings and sides of buildings - all the equipment out of buildings has literally been scattered all the way down the coast."
Elsewhere, hurricane-force winds and tidal surges killed at least five people in northern Europe and caused flooding and travel disruption. (photos at link)
England - Seven cliff-top homes were badly damaged as the biggest tidal surge in 60 years hit the Norfolk coast. Three properties fell into the sea at Hemsby and four more were "seriously undermined" in the east coast storms. "I heard a crash and the whole back part of the floor caved in. Everything went down. I had just done the house up to sell but now I have nothing. I'm homeless."
A couple managed to rescue their three-month-old kittens Tom and Jerry before their home nearby was also destroyed. "We were in the pub when we heard the cliff was going so rushed to get what we could out." He said residents formed a chain to help them rescue furniture and some belongings. "People we've never even met were helping out, it was amazing. Suddenly we heard a shout 'it's going, it's going' and we watched our kitchen get ripped apart. The whole house collapsed before our eyes. We're devastated at what we've lost."
The land on which the homes stood, 30ft (9m) above the shore, has been washed into the sea. The seven families have been given emergency accommodation. In Cromer, part of the sea wall collapsed and the pier was closed for safety reasons. Much of this had crashed on to Cromer Pier, breaking slates on walkways into pieces.
The Coastwatch station at East Runton had to be abandoned after the cliff on which it stood collapsed. "All of a sudden the cliff gave way and all that was left was the fence hanging over the waves." Thousands of people spent the night in emergency centres after leaving their homes because of the weather. Waves pounded the coast, bringing down many sections of cliff from Hunstanton in the north west of Norfolk to Hemsby in the south. Two more peak tides were expected in the next 36 hours.
The power went off on South Quay in King's Lynn and parts of the town were left underwater. Firefighters rescued several people from floods in King's Lynn, Bacton and Walcott. Many homes have lost electricity because of flooding or high winds bringing down supply cables and engineers have been working to reconnect them where possible.
Cromer Pier Cromer Pier, which was closed for safety reasons, has been partly flooded In other developments in Norfolk. A burger van floated away from Cromer seafront overnight and was lost at sea. At least 30 beach huts have been destroyed along the town's seafront. The car park attendant's hut at Blakeney has been taken by the surge towards Cley. The shingle bank at Hunstanton has been swept away
Thousands of fish at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary have had to be taken to facilities in Weymouth in Dorset, after power to life support systems was lost. The Army was brought in to help protect the telecommunications infrastructure in Great Yarmouth. (photos & videos at link)


Worst U. S. ice storm in years - The arctic air “will bring temperatures 10 to 40 degrees below average to more than 80 percent of the contiguous U.S. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.” Tens of thousands of people remained without power late Friday in Dallas after a massive winter storm blanketed North Texas in a thick coat of freezing rain and sleet. Police pleaded with motorists to stay off frozen freeways. Ice on power lines forced public transportation officials to suspend the region’s light rail service. Dallas’ woes are part of a SEVERE COLD SNAP STRETCHING MORE THAN A 1,000 MILES from the southern Plains to New England.
“This will be the worst ice storm for the United States since January 2009 and will affect many of the same areas as that storm." The National Weather Service issued ice and winter storm advisories for more than a dozen states. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee — where thousands are also without power — have already declared states of emergency. Treacherous driving conditions were blamed for several deaths across the country. Government forecasters warned of possible prolonged power outages in some areas from Central Texas to the Lower Ohio Valley.
While the precipitation had moved out of North Texas by Friday afternoon, the weather service painted a frigid picture as the storm rumbles east:. As the upper-level forcing associated with the arctic front pushes eastward, the threat of wintry precipitation will shift eastward from the Mid-south into the Appalachians, northern Mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Additional ice accumulations of less than a quarter of an inch were expected from extreme northern Mississippi northeastward to southern New England through early Saturday.
Behind the band of freezing rain, snow is expected to accumulate 1 to 5 inches from across the central Appalachians through central New England. The winter weather crippled airports as well. Thousands of flights were canceled across the country. American Airlines, headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth, called off nearly 1,000 flights. In North Texas where temperatures are not expected to get above freezing until possibly Sunday afternoon, the storm dumped 1 to 3 inches of sleet late Thursday and early Friday. Freezing rain snapped tree branches and crusted power lines in ice.
The hardest-hit areas could see more of the same by Saturday when a second storm system, which is already bringing snow to parts of California, Oregon and Nevada, pushes east across the Plains and into the Midwest. (video)
Deep-freeze hits large swath of US - The late fall cold snap that has gripped much of the country is being blamed for a handful of deaths and has forced people to deal with frigid temperatures, power outages by the thousands and treacherous roads.
Extreme cold threatens cherry buds in Yakima Valley, Washington. Weather experts have issued a warning that this confounded cold spell could harm cherry buds.
California - RECORD-BREAKING COLD, 4 Deaths, More Freezing to Come. The Bay Area saw record low temperatures Friday morning and is expected to stay cold through the weekend. Four homeless people died in Santa Clara County due to exposure to cold weather conditions.
Low temperatures throughout the Bay Area hit new records or tied old ones Friday morning and ranged from 22 degrees in Gilroy to 40 degrees in downtown San Francisco. Freezing temperatures were expected to return by late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, and a freeze warning has been issued for the entire Bay Area aside from San Francisco. Freezing temperatures are expected again on Sunday night and into Monday.
Growers across California have toiled this week to protect the state’s prized $2 billion a year citrus industry and other key crops such as lettuce and avocados from the cold snap that engulfed the state, dropping temperatures to levels that can damage fruit and delay the harvest of greens.
Some damage is expected to the mandarin and navel orange crops in the Central Valley but the extent is still unknown. Any losses likely won’t be known for several weeks, though the industry does not expect a dramatic impact on supply or price. Citrus farmers are no strangers to cold and use irrigation and wind machines to propel warm air through the fields and raise the temperature by several degrees after nightfall.
Temperatures fell to near record lows early Thursday and Friday in Fresno at 28 degrees. A storm system was expected to increase those temperatures to around freezing early Saturday and could bring snowflakes to the valley floor. Another surge of cold air will then drive temperatures lower again.
Avocado growers in California are also bracing for icy temperatures that threaten to freeze the quarter-of-an-inch stems that dangle fruit from the tree, which could drop avocados to the ground. Farmers are planning to increase irrigation and use wind machines if necessary on the state’s 55,000 acres planted with avocados, but it’s early in the growing season so any dropped fruit would be a total loss at this point and time.
Citrus farmers have spent $12.4 million since the cold snap began to try to warm up the fields. Of key concern is the mandarin crop, because the tiny fruit is thinner-skinned than other oranges, making it more susceptible to cold. California is the country’s biggest supplier of fresh-market oranges, and its 285,000 acre-citrus industry is second only to Florida.
A freeze usually occurs every seven years, forcing farmers to manage risk and save money during the good times. The state’s farmers are about eight weeks into the season but 85 percent of the navel orange harvest lies ahead. And while these cold spells threaten the crop, the mild days and chilly nights are also what make California’s oranges so vibrant and tasty. “We need the cold air to color up the fruit and bring up the flavor. It’s our greatest blessing, but if it gets too cold, it can be a curse.”
South Dakota - Downtown Rapid City tied a 57-year-old record when the temperature reached 10 below zero early Friday.


Drought in Tonga putting pressure on drinking water. A four-month drought in the Ha'apai island group in Tonga is putting stress on supplies of drinking water.

Drought contributes to cholera outbreak in southern Angola - A protracted drought followed by the onset of the rainy season in southern Angola has triggered a sharp increase in the disease.

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