Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just when the warm-up begins, a new arctic air mass looms - Temperatures across the central United States (including the high plains of Colorado) soared into the 70’s and 80’s this last Sunday of April. St. Cloud, Minnesota reached 76 degrees; Denver, Colorado topped out at 77 degrees; and Lincoln, Nebraska rose to 81 degrees. These readings were about 13 degrees above seasonal average.
While Denver has been periodically very cold this month, St. Cloud has been consistently chilly. In fact, only in the past few days have temperatures across Minnesota risen to above seasonal readings. This warm-up is about to end during the next few days, thanks to an intense low-pressure system in the central Pacific. That low is allowing warm air to surge northward to its east, helping to build an upper level ridge or high-pressure system across the Gulf of Alaska. This, in turn, will allow an arctic high-pressure system to build across the northeast Pacific and western Canada and the western U.S.
As a result, by Wednesday, the mercury at St. Cloud should struggle to reach 45 during the day (18 degrees below seasonal average) as temperatures drop to near freezing Wednesday night (6 degrees below average). The story will be similar at Denver (35 Wednesday {30 below average} and 25 Wednesday night {12 below average}) and Lincoln (46 Wednesday {14 below average} and 36 Wednesday night {7 below average}).
At St. Cloud, precipitation is expected to involve a mix of rain and snow from Wednesday night into Thursday night. Denver should see some snow Wednesday into Wednesday night. Lincoln will see mostly rain. The best news about this cool down is that it will slow the snowmelt across North Dakota and northern Minnesota. Still, the Souris and Red Rivers will remain above flood stage.

**Always borrow money from a pessimist.
He won’t expect it back.**
Oscar Wilde


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
5.9 AZORES ISLANDS, PORTUGAL
5.0 ATACAMA, CHILE
5.3 SOUTHWESTERN SIBERIA, RUSSIA

Yesterday -
4/29/13 -
5.2 OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA
5.5 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

Mount Etna put on another spectacular display on Saturday, for the 13th time this year, shooting bursts of lava and columns of ash high into the air. Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the eruption posed no risk for the population.

Popocat├ępetl volcano (Mexico) - Increased activity. Activity at the volcano picked up in the past 48 hours. Following an earthquake swarm on Saturday with volcanic-tectonic quakes of magnitudes up to 2.3, which was probably the result of a new magma batch rising, an increase in small emissions occurred.

TROPICAL STORMS -

Tropical Cyclone Zane was located approximately 315 nm northeast of Cairns, Australia. There is a high level of uncertainty with the forecast as the system moves back into the Gulf of Carpentaria, due to the mix of dry air entrainment and favorable surface conditions competing for the dominant influence on intensity.

Cyclone Zane forms off Australia's north Queensland coast - Tropical cyclone Zane, packing 100km/h winds, has formed off far north Queensland on the last day of the official cyclone season. The category-one system is predicted to hit the Queensland coast near Lockhart River on Cape York sometime tomorrow.

EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES / CLIMATE CHANGE -

California - Bay Area residents can put away the long sleeves for the rest of the week as a wave of warmth is headed their way, with possible record-breaking high temperatures by Friday. They can thank -- or blame -- high pressure building over the area in conjunction with warming offshore winds.
Daytime highs are expected to hover in the 80s and 90s inland, which for many cities will amount to a 20-degree jump from normal temperatures for this time of year. But the heat should not be taken as a harbinger of the coming season. Forecasters expect two weeks of higher-than-average temperatures before the numbers settle down in the 60s and 70s. "These temperatures are well above normal, but we see this year to year. We'll get a week or two of really warm temperatures, then it will normalize out."
No heat records were broken Monday, according to the weather service. In San Jose, the temperature reached 87, short of the 1981 record of 93. Friday could see some records broken, but only because that day has modest record highs. In San Francisco, the May 3 all-time high is 79 degrees. "Some of the records are quite low. And we're going to get warmer into the week."
Fire officials are keeping a close eye on the heat's effects on grassy hillsides with the fire season fast approaching in June. Wildland fires are up 61 percent through the first four months of the year, propelled primarily by a dry winter. "We didn't receive enough rainfall to soak into the grass and brush. With significant wind events, it's bringing drier conditions than normal." Residential burns have been banned in a number of Northern California counties to limit the risk.

BEES -

EU to ban bee-harming pesticides - The European Commission will restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths by researchers, despite a split among EU states on the issue.

HEALTH THREATS -

H7N9 found in China's Hunan province as outbreak grows to 126 - The reach and number of H7N9 infections in China continued to expand over the past 3 days, with Hunan province reporting its first case and four others reporting six more, lifting the outbreak's total to 126.

RECALLS & ALERTS


Monday, April 29, 2013

**Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side,
a dark side, and it holds the universe together.**
- Oprah Winfrey


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/28/13 -
5.0 EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA

Southern Iran hit by magnitude 4.7 quake - The earthquake struck the southern port city of Bandar Charak in Iran’s Hormozgan Province on Sunday. There has been no immediate report on possible casualties.
Iran sits astride several major fault lines and is prone to frequent quakes. A major earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale hit a sparsely-populated rural area between the Iranian cities of Saravan and Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan Province at a depth of 95 kilometers on April 16. The quake, unprecedented in the past 50 years, was felt across large parts of the Middle East as far as New Delhi in India, where it jolted tall buildings. The quake was also felt in the Persian Gulf littoral states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Another strong earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit the town of Kaki, some 90 kilometers southeast of Bushehr, on April 9, at a depth of 12 kilometers. At least 37 people were killed and more than 1,050 others were injured. The quake also destroyed 3,100 houses.

China Accused Of Covering Up Earthquake Damage - Claims from Chinese officials that the majority of buildings built after the devastating 2008 earthquake didn't collapse in Saturday's magnitude-7 temblor in Sichuan faced criticism from rights groups and quake survivors.

Earthquake may have destroyed ancient Greece - An earthquake may have led to the collapse of the first Greeks - the Mycenaens - who inspired the legends of the Trojan Wars, 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey,' a new study has found. The abrupt decline of the Mycenaens occurred around 1200 BC, marking the start of a Dark Ages in Greece.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

Low pressure system may form into Cyclone Zane off far north Queensland, Australia by the end of the day as it begins its track towards the coastline. There is a greater than 50 per cent chance a tropical low pressure system located about 940km east-northeast of Cairns will develop into a cyclone. It would be declared a cyclone after winds reached 76km/hr (41 knots) and were circulating through at least half the system. It will head west, southwest but it was too early to determine exactly what track it would take.

BEES -

Bee deaths - EU may ban pesticides. New European Union states are to vote shortly on a proposed ban on pesticides linked to bee deaths in scientific studies.

HEALTH THREATS -

Parasite 'resistant to malaria drug' - New strains of the parasite that causes malaria are developing a resistance to the drug most widely used against the disease.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Japan tsunami boat confirmed in California - A Japanese fishing boat washed across the Pacific following the 2011 tsunami has been confirmed as the first piece of debris to reach the coast of California. The six-meter skiff, found this month near the northern Californian coastal town of Crescent City, belonged to the Takata High School in the Japanese city of Rikuzentakata, in Iwate Prefecture.
Japan's consulate in San Francisco helped the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirm where the boat came from, after it was spotted washed up on a local beach. The boat was covered in pelagic gooseneck barnacles. The vessel is the 27th item of debris so far confirmed on the US West Coast, and the first in California. Other items have been found washed up in the states of Alaska, Washington and Oregon further up the coast.
One of the biggest items so far, a 20-metre floating dock, washed up in June in Oregon, after a 15-month trip across the Pacific from the port of Misawa, in Japan's Aomori prefecture. A year ago, the US Coast Guard fired on and sank a deserted Japanese "ghost ship" off the coast of Alaska, after it was deemed to be a potential danger to shipping.
Japan last month marked the second anniversary of the March 11, 2011 9.0 magnitude earthquake that sent a huge wall of water into its northeastern coast, killing some 19,000 people and triggering a nuclear calamity. The tsunami created the biggest single dumping of rubbish, sweeping some five million tonnes of shattered buildings, cars, household goods and other rubble into the sea. An estimated three and a half million tonnes sank immediately, leaving some 1.5 million tonnes of plastic, timber, fishing nets, shipping containers, industrial scrap and innumerable other objects to float deeper into the ocean.

**It’s true hard work never killed anybody,
but I figure, why take the chance?**
Ronald Reagan


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/27/13 -
5.1 TARAPACA, CHILE

4/26/13 -
6.2 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.0 ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS.

China - Quake warning system in the works. After experiencing heavy casualties and extensive damage in powerful earthquakes since 2008, China is developing a way to give at least a few extra seconds' warning for those near quake epicenters.
The earthquake in Ya'an in western Sichuan province on April 20 with a magnitude of 7 was the second major seismic event to occur in China since the Wenchuan earthquake of May 12, 2008 - the other being the Yushu quake in Qinghai province in 2010.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

Columbia - On Friday, scientists took advantage of a break in the weather to conduct an observation flight over Nevado Del Ruiz volcano. Ruiz appears to be degassing vigorously in concert with recent strong seismicity affecting the volcano.

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

Cyclone tipped to form near Papua New Guinea and cross Cape York next week - Queensland, Austrailia's fourth cyclone of the season is expected to form on Monday in the Coral Sea. It is expected to develop near Papua New Guinea and move slowly west-southwest, likely crossing Cape York about Wednesday.

Six months after Superstorm Sandy, tens of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey remain homeless and communities are still struggling to recover.

Fiji - Food security concern for Yasawas and Mamanucas. Four months after Cyclone Evan, farms still aren't producing enough.

EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / CLIMATE CHANGE -

From North Carolina to Maine, the waters have been UNUSUALLY WARM lately. - Sea surface temperatures on the Northeast US Continental Shelf reached THE HIGHEST RECORDED IN 150 YEARS.
Sea surface temperatures in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem, which extends from Cape Hatteras to the Gulf of Maine and outward to the boundary of the continental shelf, increased dramatically to reach a record 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit, beating a previous record high in 1951. The average temperature over the past three decades has been typically lower than 54.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperatures were recorded via satellite and ship-board measurements. Historical measurements, based on ship-board thermometers, date back to 1854. According to NOAA, the warming was THE GREATEST INCREASE ON RECORD, and one of only five instances when the temperature has changed by more than 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. These drastic changes have not been noted elsewhere in the ocean basin, although in recent years global sea surface temperatures have been the highest on record.
The warmer ocean temperatures might be good news for beachgoers in the Northeast, but they could also disrupt ecosystems, along with the livelihoods that depend on them. Black sea bass, summer flounder, longfin squid, and butterfish have been migrating northeastward. Lobsters are migrating too, but at a slower rate.
“What these latest findings mean for the Northeast Shelf ecosystem and its marine life is unknown. What is known is that the ecosystem is changing, and we need to continue monitoring and adapting to these changes.”

U.K. fishermen set for disappointing year after extreme weather - Fishermen could be casting in vain this season after ONE OF THE WORST YEARS ON RECORD almost halved the salmon population.

HEALTH THREATS -

Fujian province cites first H7N9 case as total reaches 119 - Fujian province reported its first H7N9 influenza case; the ninth area of eastern China to be affected by the virus; as other provinces reported six more infections, raising the outbreak total to 119.

Past exposures may help explain H7N9 age profile - Taking a cue from curious findings noted during the 2009 influenza pandemic, Canadian researchers are suggesting that past exposure to distantly related viruses may help explain why the age curve in H7N9 cases is so skewed to the older side.

CDC Labs take lead role in H7N9 preparedness - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update on routine preparedness steps it is taking to protect the country if the novel H7N9 virus in China starts spreading among humans.

RECALLS & ALERTS


Friday, April 26, 2013

Very quiet yesterday - little to report.


**To err is human,
to blame it on somebody else shows management potential.**


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
5.0 ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS

Yesterday -
4/25/13 -
5.0 KURIL ISLANDS
5.0 KURIL ISLANDS
5.0 MARIANA ISLANDS REGION

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

SEVERE STORMS AND DROUGHT -

Storms and drought conditions continue in North and Northeast Thailand - A tropical storm damaged over 50 houses in Phitsanulok province while drought continues to grip provinces across the country. The storm blew off roofs and destroyed rice fields and fruit orchards in many districts of of Phitsanulok.
Despite the heavy rains, water level at the province’s major dam continues to plummet as water is diverted to assist farmers in other drought-hit areas. The Kwae Noi dam currently holds 490 million cubic meters of water or only 52 percent of total capacity. In Chiang Rai, residents in Chiang Saen district have been experiencing severe water shortages for 4 months. Provincial authorities have been pumping water from a nearby waterfall into the district’s reservoir. Over 150 households have been affected by the drought conditions.
The northeastern province of Buriram, meanwhile, is experiencing severe drought which destroyed livestock feed for elephants. More than 100 elephants have been starved due to lack of food supplies. Local residents urged authorities to speedily remedy the worsening crisis.

HEALTH THREATS -

China reports three more H7N9 cases; total to 112 - Two of China's provinces Thursday reported three more H7N9 influenza infections, while another province awaits test results for what may be its first case.
Health officials said in a detailed account of H7N9 flu cases that about three fourths of patients had underlying medical conditions, and the same percentage had been exposed to animals, including chickens.
Taiwan reports first H7N9 case outside of China - Taiwan health officials announced that a 53-year-old man who had recently traveled to China is hospitalized in critical condition with a novel H7N9 infection, the first such case to be detected outside of China.

MRSA dropping in hospitals; elsewhere, not so much - The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that hospitals have cut their incidence of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in half since 2005, but the decline in community-associated MRSA infections has been far more modest.

Getting flu shot 2 years in a row may lower protection - Experts are puzzled by a new study in which influenza vaccination seemed to provide little or no protection against flu in the 2010-11 season; and in which the only participants who seemed to benefit from the vaccine were those who hadn't been vaccinated the season before.

RECALLS & ALERTS

Multistate 73-case Salmonella outbreak linked to cucumbers - Seventy-three people in 18 states have been infected with Salmonella Saintpaul linked to cucumbers, and 14 of them have been hospitalized. "Preliminary information indicates that consumption of imported cucumbers is the likely source of infection for the ill persons." The Food and Drug Administration placed Daniel Cardenas Izabal and Miracle Greenhouse of Culiacan, Mexico, on Import Alert, which means they may not ship cucumbers into the United States unless they can show they are not contaminated with Salmonella.
There is no evidence that contaminated cucumbers from these two suppliers are still on the market. Illness-onset dates for patients range from Jan 12 to Apr 6, and ages range from 1 to 80 years, with 60% female. Thirty of 45 ill patients (67%) reported eating cucumbers before they became sick. No deaths have been reported. California has confirmed the most outbreak cases, 28, followed by Arizona, with 9, and Minnesota, with 8.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Can earthquakes actually calm the Earth? - The magnitude-8.6 earthquake that struck the Indian Ocean in 2012 may have had a calming effect on the other quakes in the world. The powerful quake near Sumatra, Indonesia, seemed to have actually quietened the global earthquakes, according to two reports.
The April 11, 2012 quake was THE LARGEST STRIKE-SLIP SHAKE-UP (which moves horizontally) EVER RECORDED. Although the quake triggered earthquakes worldwide for up to six days, however, once the triggered quakes stopped, there was a sharp drop in moderate earthquakes for more than three months. Seismic monitors detected no earthquakes bigger than magnitude 6.5 for 95 days. Normally, quakes of this size hit every 10 days. "That is quite a RARE occurrence. The chance of that happening is about 1 in 10,000."
The Indian Ocean earthquake's unusually energetic seismic waves, which traversed shallowly through Earth's crust for long distances, could have shifted stresses on faraway faults, delaying earthquakes. "Usually, these dynamic seismic waves only increase the chance of an earthquake at any distance. We've documented, for the first time, that they can also decrease the chance of an earthquake. We need to go back and look at these other earthquakes and see if this is a general pattern of a temporary increase and a longer-term decrease."
The quake may have had a rare calming effect after some time had passed, it did, however, spark a global furry of quakes immediately, as many massive quakes often do. "Every time we have a magnitude 7 or something larger, should the whole rest of the planet be concerned about the increase in hazard?" Researchers analysed hundreds of earthquakes of at least magnitude 7.0 in the past 30 years. Only 24 of the 260 big earthquakes triggered large earthquakes globally. The study found that risk of earthquakes bigger than magnitude 5.0 is one or two percent in the hours following a large earthquake.

**If evolution is fact, why do mothers only have two hands?**
Milton Berle


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/24/13 -
5.3 EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.2 VANUATU
5.3 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.5 HINDU KUSH REGION, AFGHANISTAN

4/23/13 -
6.5 NEW IRELAND REGION, P.N.G.

Afghan quake - Seven people were killed, dozens injured (69) and many homes destroyed when a powerful earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday. The quake, measured at a magnitude of 5.5 by the US Geological. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 65 kilometers deep and struck 25 kilometers northwest of Jalalabad, the main town in eastern Afghanistan which is close to the Pakistani border. Pakistan’s meteorological office put the magnitude at 6.2.
The quake was also reported to be 40 miles deep with an epicenter 11 km (seven miles) from Mehtar Lam, the capital of Afghanistan's eastern province of Laghman. Its tremors were felt in Kabul, Islamabad and as far away as New Delhi. Buildings swayed in New Delhi and panicky people ran into the street in the disputed northern region of Kashmir. A quake killed about 75,000 people in Kashmir in 2005, most on the Pakistan side. Wednesday's quake was also felt in the Pakistani capital. A large number of structures in Nangahar province have been damaged.
Last week a powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed 41 people in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan, and just a few days later a 6.6-magnitude earthquake killed about 600 people in southeastern China.

Hong Kong opposes Sichuan quake aid over corruption fears - Hong Kong lawmakers fiercely opposed a plan Wednesday to donate money to a Chinese provincial government for earthquake victims, underlining widespread public concerns about mainland corruption. Hong Kongers were especially miffed after learning early last year that a Sichuan secondary school built in 2010 with $2 million in quake relief funds donated by Hong Kong was later torn down to make way for a luxury housing development.

Report urges Haiti to protect quake victims from forced evictions - The human rights group Amnesty International accused the Haitian government on Tuesday of failing to stop the forcible eviction of thousands of displaced people living in tent camps set up after the huge earthquake that rocked the capital in 2010. Some 65,000 people were forcibly evicted from 175 camps between July 2010 and the end of March 2013, Amnesty said in a report, warning that more than a quarter of the 320,000 people still living in camps face possible eviction.
People who most suffered from the earthquake were those living in extreme poverty. They have been living in camps with appalling living conditions. And, as if this were not enough, they are threatened with forced evictions and, eventually, made homeless again." The report said such evictions were mostly carried out by landowners and municipal authorities, sometimes with police in support. While the number of homeless camp dwellers has fallen steadily since the earthquake, it has not been fast enough for some landowners who are anxious to get their property back.
The 2010 earthquake left more than 200,000 dead and another 2 million homeless. The Haitian government and international relief agencies have not been able to come up with solution for those still homeless, largely due to a lack of jobs, extreme poverty and lack of housing.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

Flash floods in northern Afghanistan killed at least 13 people. The flooding deaths occurred in Balkh province.

16 tornadoes tallied so far this year in Mississippi - The National Weather Service reported Monday (April 22) that three tornadoes were confirmed from severe storms last Thursday in the Mississippi Delta region. Those tornadoes were described as brief and weak with only minor damage.

EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES / CLIMATE CHANGE -

India - For drought-hit states, monsoon this year may be too little, too late. India may be heading for another bumper grain harvest, if the first forecast for this year's monsoon proves correct, but the rain may be too little – and too late – for southern and western states already parched by THE WORST DROUGHT IN FOUR DECADES.
Drought forces wild animals to come out of forest - The UNPRECEDENTED drought situation in the region has pushed wild animals to come out of their habitat in search of water.

Continuing Texas drought puts pressure on state's water supply - Don't let the recent spring showers fool you. It's dry out there, historically dry, parched enough around Dallas that even normal levels of rainfall this year might not make a big difference in the drought.

DuPont profit doubles as drought boosts farm sales - Chemicals maker DuPont's quarterly profit more than doubled as THE WORST DRY SPELL IN DECADES encouraged U.S. farmers to buy its drought-hardy seeds and crop-protection products to boost yields.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

There will be no update on Wednesday this week.

**I dream of a better tomorrow,
where chickens can cross the road
and not be questioned about their motives.**


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/22/13 -
5.5 KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION
5.1 EAST OF KURIL ISLANDS
5.0 EAST OF KURIL ISLANDS
5.1 EASTERN NEI MONGOL, CHINA
5.0 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.6 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
5.2 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
6.1 MICHOACAN, MEXICO

China quake rescuers battle landslides - Rescuers have been hampered by clogged roads, debris and landslides as they search for survivors of the powerful earthquake in mountainous southwest China that has left at least 192 dead.
Huge boulders blocked rescue vehicles along roads leading to some of the worst-hit areas, and some areas were only accessible by foot along broken passes through the rough terrain. Survivors including the elderly were carried out on the backs of neighbours as well as by helicopter, as rescuers were also bolstered by thousands of civilian volunteers who rushed to the area to help. State broadcaster CCTV showed orange-suited emergency workers making desperate dashes past cliff-edges, trying to avoid sudden landslides in a region weakened by more than 2000 aftershocks.
Industrial diggers clawed through debris including the mangled remains of cars and motorbikes crushed by tumbling rocks, to clear roads also clogged by huge queues of traffic. The 6.6-magnitude quake which hit Sichuan province on Saturday has left another 23 missing and more than 11,000 injured, while some 17,000 families have lost their homes.
Forecasts of rain in the disaster area raised fears of deadly landslides. "I dare not go anywhere near a mountainside. Many people are worried that the rain will bring more devastation."

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

Rumbling Chilean Volcanoes - Laguna del Maule, Lascar, Copahue, Antuco.

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

India - Unseasonal rains due to the presence of a trough that hovered from Madhya Pradesh to south Tamil Nadu across Rayalaseema and Telangana. The heavy unseasonal rains that lashed various parts of the state have left behind a trail of destruction. Almost all seasonal crops were damaged in the four North Coastal districts of the state.
Nearly 12 varieties of crops including paddy, maize and lemon were badly affected by the rains. Even salt beds at Kakinada and some others part of the state were also hit by the pre-monsoon rains. "We are presently touring the affected areas to assess the losses. We will submit a memorandum to the government on the crop loss. About 25% of the crops were affected by the rains."
On Sunday too, many areas in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts received rains associated with strong winds. Electric poles and coconut trees were uprooted at Sankaraguptam village of Malikipuram mandal in East Godavari district. Paddy crops of Rabi season was submerged in the rainwater at Pithapuram.
Though the rains brought relief to people from the scorching summer heat, farmers in many places expressed displeasure over the sudden change in the weather. In Srikakulam, mangoes and cashew nuts fell down due to winds causing heavy loss to farmers. "Already mango crop was severely hit by pests and Cyclone Nilam in November. The unseasonal rains have only compounded the problems."
The rains also affected the aquaculture mostly in East Godavari district. A farmer from Amalapuram shortage of oxygen resulting from continuous rains had cause damaged to aquaculture ponds. There are chances of more moderate to heavy rain with thunderstorms and lightning in parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The Mississippi River is topping out at some problematic spots and there is growing concern that spring floods are far from over. The good news is that most businesses and homes are high and dry, though hundreds of acres of farmland are under water, bridges are closed and countless roads are impassable.
The river was at or near crest at several places Sunday between the Quad Cities and near St. Louis. Some towns in the approximate 100-mile stretch of river from Quincy, Ill., to Grafton, Ill., reached 10-12 feet above flood stage. An inch or more of rain is in the forecast as well as continuing accumulation of snow to the north, especially in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Flood watchers along both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers know that once that snow - record levels, in some cases - melts, a lot of it ends up in the big rivers.
The current flooding is bad enough. Rain last week started the whole mess, causing the Mississippi and many other rivers to surge in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Flooding has now been blamed in three deaths - two at the same spot in Indiana and one in Missouri. In all three cases, vehicles were swept off the road in flash floods.
Spots south of St. Louis aren't expected to crest until late this week, and significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill. Adding to concern is the forecast. An inch of rain was likely in many places Monday night into Tuesday, some places could receive more than that. "That's not what we want to see when we have this kind of flooding, that's for sure."
Forecasters said up to 6 inches of new snow were possible in the Black Hills area of South Dakota through Monday morning. But it may stay cold long enough to the north to make for a gradual melt. Of greater concern, is the Red River in North Dakota, which could see significant flooding in the coming weeks. Sandbagging was beginning this week in Fargo and Cass County to prepare for FORECAST RECORD AMOUNTS OF HIGH WATER along the Red River and its tributaries.
In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Grand River peaked at 21.85 feet Sunday night, topping the previous record of 19.64 feet set in 1985. Flood stage is 18 feet. Hundreds of volunteers filled sandbags to stack around downtown buildings. The city will spend at least $500,000 on flood defenses. The Illinois Governor declared at least 41 counties disaster areas from flooding. Flooding along the Fox and Des Plaines rivers has left many roads impassable in communities such as Lisle, Gurnee and Des Plaines, and in some cases residents are getting around in canoes.

SPACE WEATHER -

Space debris collisions expected to rise - Fortunately, there have been very few collisions in orbit so far. Unless space debris is actively tackled, some satellite orbits will become extremely hazardous over the next 200 years, a new study suggests.
The research found that catastrophic collisions would likely occur every five to nine years at the altitudes used principally to observe the Earth. And the scientists who did the work say their results are optimistic - the real outcome would probably be far worse. To date, there have been just a handful of major collisions in the space age.
The scientists were most concerned with low-Earth orbit (that is, below 2,000km in altitude). This is where the majority of missions returning critical Earth-observation data tend to operate. All six modelling groups came out with broadly the same finding - a steady increase in the numbers of objects 10cm and bigger over the 200-year period. This growth was driven mostly by collisions between objects at altitudes between 700km and 1,000km.
The low-end projection was for a 19% increase; the high-end forecast was for a 36% rise. Taken together, the growth was 30%. These are averages of hundreds of simulations. For the cumulative number of catastrophic collisions over the period, the range went from just over 20 to just under 40. Somewhat worryingly, the forecasting work made some optimistic assumptions.
One was a 90% compliance with the "25-year rule". This is a best-practice time-limit adopted by the world's space agencies for the removal of their equipment from orbit once it has completed its mission. The other was the idea that there would be no more explosions from half-empty fuel and pressure tanks, and from old batteries - a significant cause of debris fragments to date. "We're certainly not at 90% compliance with the 25-year rule yet, and we see explosion events on average about three times a year. It is fair to say this is an optimistic look forward, and the situation will be worse than what we presented in the study."
"So one message from our study is that we need to do better with these debris-mitigation measures, but even with that we need to consider other approaches as well. One of the options obviously is active debris removal." Research groups around the world are devising strategies to catch old rocket bodies and satellites, to pull them out of orbit. Previous modelling work has indicated that removing just a few key items each year could have a significant limiting effect on the growth of debris.
There are some 20,000 man-made objects in orbit that are currently being monitored regularly. About two-thirds of this population is in Low-Earth orbit. These are just the big, easy-to-see items, however. Moving around unseen are an estimated 500,000 particles ranging in size between 1-10cm across, and perhaps tens of millions of other particles smaller than 1cm. All of this material is travelling at several kilometres per second - sufficient velocity for even the smallest fragment to become a damaging projectile if it strikes an operational space mission.
Two key events have added significantly to the debris problem in recent years. The first was the destructive anti-satellite test conducted by the Chinese in 2007 on one of their own retired weather spacecraft. The other, in 2009, was the collision between the Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 satellites. Taken together, these two events essentially negated all the mitigation gains that had been made over the previous 20 years to reduce junk production from spent rocket explosions.

HEALTH THREATS -

WHO ponders preponderance of older men with H7N9 - In a new perspective, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the puzzling preponderance of older men among H7N9 influenza patients in China and suggested that studying the habits of elderly Chinese men may help provide some answers.

RECALLS & ALERTS
Natura Pet Products is voluntarily expanding its March 29, 2013 recall of dry pet foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Monday, April 22, 2013

From Extreme Drought to Extreme Flood - Weather 'Whiplash' Hits the U. S. Midwest. Just a few months ago barges were scraping bottom on the Mississippi River, and the Army Corps of Engineers was blowing up rocks on the bottom of the river to allow shipping to continue. Water levels on the Mississippi River at St. Louis bottomed out at -4.57' on January 1 of 2013, the 9th lowest water level since record keeping began in 1861, and just 1.6' above the all-time low-water record set in 1940 (after the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s.)
But the exceptional April rains and snows over the Upper Mississippi River watershed will drive the river by Tuesday to a height 45 feet higher than it was on January 1. The latest forecast calls for the river to hit 39.4' on Tuesday, which would be the 8th greatest flood in history at St. Louis, where flood records date back to 1861.
Damaging major flooding is expected along a 250-mile stretch of the Mississippi from Quincy, Illinois to Thebes, Illinois next week. At the Alton, Illinois gauge, upstream from St. Louis, a flood height of 34' is expected on Tuesday. This would be the 6th highest flood in Alton since 1844, and damages to commercial property in the town of Alton occur at this water level.
In addition, record flooding is expected on at least five rivers in Illinois and Michigan over the next few days. A crest 1.5' above the all-time record has already occurred on the Des Plaines River in Chicago. A crest on the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan nearly 4' above the previous record (period of record: at least 113 years) was expected this weekend. At this flood level, major flooding of residential areas is expected, though the flood wall protecting downtown Grand Rapids will keep the commercial center of the city from flooding.
Residents along the Mississippi River have experienced a severe case of flood-drought-flood weather whiplash over the past two years. The Mississippi reached its HIGHEST LEVEL ON RECORD at New Madrid, Missouri on May 6, 2011, when the river crested at 48.35'. Flooding on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers that year cost an estimated $5 billion. The next year, after the great drought of 2012, the river had fallen by over 53' to an ALL TIME RECORD LOW of -5.32' on August 30, 2012. Damage from the great drought is conservatively estimated at $35 billion.
Next Tuesday, the river is expected to be at flood stage again in New Madrid, 40' higher than the August 2012 record low. Now, that is some serious weather whiplash. Seemingly contradictory predictions from climate models state that the world will see both worse floods and worse droughts due to global warming. Well, we have seen a classic example in the Midwest U.S. over the past two years of just how this kind of weather whiplash is possible.
A warmer atmosphere is capable of bringing heavier downpours, since warmer air can hold more water vapor. We saw an example of this on Thursday morning, when an upper air balloon sounding over Lincoln, Illinois revealed NEAR-RECORD AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. The precipitable water - how much rain could fall if one condensed all the water vapor in a column above the ground into rain - was 1.62", just barely short of the Illinois April record for precipitable water of 1.64" set on April 20, 2000 (upper air records go back to 1948.)
Thursday's powerful low pressure system was able to lift that copious moisture, cool it, and condense it into RECORD RAINS. How can you have worse droughts with more moisture in the air? Well, you still need a low pressure system to come along and wring that moisture out of the air to get rain. When natural fluctuations in jet stream patterns take storms away from a region, creating a drought, the extra water vapor in the air won't do you any good. There will be no mechanism to lift the moisture, condense it, and generate drought-busting rains. The drought that ensues will be more intense, since temperatures will be hotter and the soil will dry out more.

**By working faithfully eight hours a day
you may eventually get to be boss
and work twelve hours a day.**
Robert Frost


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
5.6 RAT ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN ISLANDS
6.0 GUERRERO, MEXICO

Yesterday -
4/21/13 -
5.6 ANDREANOF ISLANDS, ALEUTIAN IS.
5.0 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
5.1 EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.0 WESTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
6.2 IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION

China quake: Rescuers reach remote damaged villages - 207 people are dead or missing after the quake, and 11,500 are injured, 960 of them seriously. More than 1,300 aftershocks have been felt in the area since the 6.6 magnitude quake struck at 08:02 local time (00:02 GMT) on Saturday. The earthquake rocked a mountainous area of China's western Sichuan province less than 100 miles from the provincial capital of Chengdu. Nearly two dozen people are missing, mostly in the rural communities around Ya'an city, along the same fault line where a devastating quake to the north struck along the same fault line almost five years ago.

Magnitude 5.9 earthquake jolts Mexico - A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Mexican state of Michoacan on Sunday night, causing buildings to sway 200 miles away in Mexico City.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

Columbia - A magnitude M3.6 earthquake struck Nevado Del Ruiz volcano late Friday, part of the ongoing volcano-tectonic earthquake swarm occurring there. A magnitude M4.0 event occurred at the volcano the day before.

Moderate earthquake near Dieng volcano, Java, Indonesia – 311 houses damaged. Contrary to earlier reports, no building collapsed due to the quake, but at least 311 houses were damaged. 34 of them with severe and 27 with moderate damage. 2 people were injured by the quake. A woman and her child suffered fractures and were taken to a nearby hospital.
Evacuated people are gradually returning to their villages due to a decrease in volcanic activity of the Dieng volcano complex. It is expected that this quake was tectonic nature, but with probable influence to the volcano. 86 weaker quakes followed the main shock within 25 minutes. 1000 people were evacuated to shelters provided by the Indonesian authorities.
The earthquakes are part of the ongoing activity of the Dieng volcano. The alert level was raised on March 27. (photo & map)

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

New Zealand Set for More Rainfall as Residents Assess Weekend Damage - New Zealand's North Island may receive further rainfall today, helping ease THE MOST WIDESPREAD DROUGHT IN AT LEAST 30 YEARS that curbed milk output, as residents assess damage from a weekend of heavy showers.

HEALTH THREATS -

H7N9 cases in China top 100 as deaths reach 20 - The number of novel H7N9 flu cases in China rose steadily over the weekend, with reports of 11 more infections pushing the total so far to 102.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A powerful earthquake struck the steep hills of China's southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday, leaving at least 156 people dead and more than 5,500 injured, nearly five years after a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region. Saturday's quake, while not as destructive as the one in 2008, toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county. It was the country's worst quake in 3 years. Numerous aftershocks jolted the area.
The village of Longmen was hit particularly hard, with authorities saying nearly all the buildings there had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake. "It was such a big quake that everyone was scared. We all fled for our lives." Rescuers turned the square outside the Lushan County Hospital into a triage centre, where medical personnel bandaged bleeding victims. Rescuers dynamited boulders that had fallen across roads to reach Longmen and other damaged areas lying farther up the mountain valleys.
The quake - measured by the China Earthquake Administration at magnitude 7.0 and by the US Geological Survey at 6.6 - struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly after 8am (1000 AEST), when many people were at home, sleeping or having breakfast. People in their underwear and wrapped in blankets ran into the streets of Ya'an and even the provincial capital of Chengdu, 115km east of Lushan. The quake's shallow depth, less than 13km, likely magnified the impact.
Chengdu's airport shut down for about an hour before reopening, though many flights were cancelled or delayed, and its railway station halted dozens of scheduled train rides Saturday. Lushan reported the most deaths, 76, but there was concern that casualties in neighbouring Baoxing county might have been under-reported because of inaccessibility after roads were blocked and power and phone services cut off.
As the region went into the first night after the quake, rain started to fall, slowing rescue work. Forecasts called for more rain in the next several days, and the China Meteorological Administration warned of possible landslides and other geological disasters. Tens of thousands of people moved into tents or cars, unable to return home or too afraid to go back as aftershocks continued to jolt the region.
Lushan, where the quake struck, sits atop the Longmenshan fault. It was along that fault line that a devastating magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12, 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead in one of the worst natural disasters to strike China in recent decades. As in most natural disasters, the government mobilised thousands of soldiers and others - 7,000 people by Saturday afternoon - sending excavators and other heavy machinery as well as tents, blankets and other emergency supplies. Two soldiers died after the vehicle that they and more than a dozen others were in slipped off the road and rolled down a cliff.
With roads blocked for several hours after the quake, the military surveyed the disaster area by air. Aerial photos released by the military and shown on state television showed individual houses in ruins in Lushan and outlying villages flattened into rubble. The roofs of some taller buildings appeared to have slipped off, exposing the floors beneath them.

**People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.**
Zig Ziglar


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
5.0 EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
6.2 IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION

Yesterday -
4/20/13 -
5.6 KURIL ISLANDS
6.0 KURIL ISLANDS
5.3 BOUVET ISLAND REGION
5.8 BANDA SEA
5.4 NEW BRITAIN REGION, P.N.G.
5.2 EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.2 WESTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.0 WESTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.0 WESTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.0 EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
6.6 WESTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
5.0 LAKE ALBERT REGION, CONGO

4/19/13 -
5.0 SOUTHERN IRAN
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
6.1 KURIL ISLANDS
5.8 SOUTH OF TIMOR
5.1 VANUATU
5.5 FIJI REGION
7.2 KURIL ISLANDS [The third 7.0+ quake this month - 7.0 Papua Indonesia on 4/6 and 7.8 Iran/Pakistan on 4/16]

The site of China's latest quake sits on the border of two tectonic plates which are constantly grinding against each other.

11,000 relocated after SW China quake - By Friday, more than 11,000 people had been evacuated to safe areas after a 5.0-magnitude quake hit Southwest China's Yunnan province on Wednesday.

Pakistan - Virtually inexistent road infrastructure and insurgents fears are holding back relief activities in the quake-ravaged Mashkail area of Balochistan, as the plight of the affected people in the border villages is feared to grow if supplies of essential items are not able to reach them. Pakistani earthquake victims burned tires at angry protests Friday, accusing the government of failing to provide adequate relief three days after their homes were destroyed or damaged. The 7.8-magnitude quake, which was centered in southeastern Iran on Tuesday, sent shockwaves that spread as far as Lahore and Karachi, though most of the damage took place in Balochistan's remote Mashkhel district.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

TSUNAMI -

[Site note - I HIGHLY recommend the movie "The Impossible" - the amazing true story of a family of 5 who were caught in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Heartwarming without being cheesy, and a fantastic depiction of what it would be like to try to survive the waves. It blew me away. Bring kleenex!]

Earthquakes Are East Coast's Biggest Tsunami Threat - The U.S. East Coast's biggest tsunami threat lurks just offshore, according to research presented at the Seismological Society of America's annual meeting. Recent earthquake swarms off the Massachusetts coast highlight the threat of tsunamis from nearby earthquakes, rather than faraway islands.
The geologic setting of the quakes off the Northeast appears similar to that of a magnitude-7.3 earthquake that struck in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland in 1929. The resulting 32-foot (10 meters) tsunami swamped southern Newfoundland and triggered underwater landslides that severed transatlantic telephone cables. The 1929 Newfoundland quake was felt from Canada to New York, across hundreds of miles. If a similar temblor were to hit under the seafloor today, residents would have 10 to 15 minutes of warning before a tsunami would clobber the coast.
They have found small earthquakes, in the magnitude-2 and magntiude-3 range, offshore as far south as southern New Jersey. The offshore rumbles indicate the areas most likely to have large, damaging earthquakes in the future. That the offshore earthquakes mostly stop south of New Jersey is a surprise. Onshore, a powerful magnitude-7.3 earthquake hit Charleston, S.C., in 1886. Although it's only a guess, a scientist thinks the increased seismicity from New Jersey to Nova Scotia could be related to changes that have occurred since the last Ice Age.
For instance, the crust is flexing, now that its heavy load of ice and glacial lakes have disappeared. "As soon as you get away from the glaciers, you don't have seismicity, but it could be a coincidence." Researchers are also searching for signs of past tsunamis on the East Coast. A possible 2,400-year-old tsunami deposit has been found in New Hampshire.
Many emergency planners think the East Coast's biggest risk is from eruptions or underwater landslides at volcanic islands on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, such as the Canary Islands. "We have to consider the possibility that there could be a Grand Banks-style earthquake in these areas and a tsunami that could affect the Northeast coast."

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

Earthquake sensors detected energy of Superstorm Sandy - Earthquake sensors located as far away as the Pacific Northwest detected the storm's energy as it surged toward the New York metropolitan region last year.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

Tropical storm wreaks havoc over Dominica - A violent storm moving across Caribbean island Dominica on Friday has resulted in casualties as mudslides have destroyed roads and rivers have run amok. Reports have emerged that the island's football team has also been caught in the torrential rainfall.
Three footballers have been injured as they were travelling to Melville Hall Airport. They were reportedly involved in an incident which saw the road open up leaving a 40 foot drop. The severe rainfall has caused landslides in the localities of Bagatelle, Petite Savanne, Delices, Portsmouth and Capuchin. The storm and heavy rainfall are a result of a low pressure trough system moving across the region.

U.S. Midwestern river cities brace for floodwaters - The fast-rising Mississippi River was making travel difficult Saturday, both on the river and for those simply trying to get across it.
The Mississippi, Missouri and other Midwestern rivers in at least six states have surged since torrential rains drenched the region over the last few days. At least two deaths are blamed on flash flooding and a third was suspected, while crews in Indiana were searching for a man whose car was swept away. The National Weather Service predicted what it characterizes as "major" flooding on the Mississippi from the Quad Cities through just north of St. Louis this weekend, with similar projections further south into early next week. Some smaller rivers are expected to see RECORD FLOODING.
If crossing the Mississippi River was difficult, traveling it was essentially impossible. The water was moving too swiftly, prompting the Army Corps of Engineers to close most of the locks between the Quad Cities and near St. Louis. Barge traffic was at a standstill, slowing the movement of items such as coal, grain and other goods.
Volunteers pitched in to help hold back the bulging Mississippi River from Clarksville, Missouri. The murky river water was creeping dangerously close to the quaint downtown of antique stores and artist shops. Clarksville's flood stage is 25 feet. By Saturday afternoon, the river was at 34.2 feet and expected to rise another 2 feet by Sunday. "It came up fast - faster than normal."
Mississippi River levels vary greatly but are typically highest in the spring, so minor flooding is not uncommon. But when river levels exceed flood stage by several feet, serious problems can occur. Smaller rivers were swelling, too. In Illinois, heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar will shut down its East Peoria factory Sunday as the Illinois River approaches an expected 30-foot crest early next week. More than 200 people were evacuated along rivers in Indiana. The Wabash River in Tippecanoe County topped 14 feet above flood stage Saturday, the HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 1958.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, high water forced the evacuation of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel and an apartment building on Saturday. Two people have died due to flash flooding. A 64-year-old man's car was swept away and submerged Friday night after he tried to cross a flooded road north of Indianapolis. Authorities were searching for a second motorist in the same area, as officers heard someone yell and found a truck, but not the driver. On Thursday, a De Soto, Missouri., woman died while trying to cross a flooded road.

HEALTH THREATS -

H7N9 mystery: Why does age profile tilt older? - One of the odd mysteries posed by the H7N9 influenza virus emerging in China is why most of the patients are on the older side; a fact that stands in sharp contrast to the pattern seen with that other deadly crossover avian virus, H5N1.
New cases move China's H7N9 total to 87 - Three provinces of China and the city of Shanghai reported five more H7N9 influenza infections, as researchers in Europe shared more clues about the behavior of the novel virus and the best way to detect it.

RECALLS & ALERTS
Merit Bird Company of Chatsworth, California is recalling some of their birdseed products because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Indonesian rainforest to be open for business - The Indonesian government has said it aims to approve within a month a plan that would free up vast swathes of protected virgin rainforest on Sumatra island for commercial exploitation.
Rights groups reacted with outrage at the news that the plan, which also needs to be passed by the Aceh provincial parliament, was making progress, saying it would only benefit huge foreign companies and not the area's people. But Canadian mining company East Asia Minerals, which conducts gold exploration in Aceh, hailed the progress as "positive news for mineral extraction in the area". The government aimed to approve the plan "in up to a month". Rights groups say it will free up around 1.2 million hectares (three million acres) to be cleared.
The head of the Aceh parliamentary committee overseeing the project said it had a lot of support in the legislature. "We hope it will go through as soon as possible." Approval of the plan would open up the forest, on the northern tip of Sumatra province and home to critically endangered orangutans, rhinos, and elephants, for mining, paper and palm oil plantations. The Aceh government banned the granting of new logging permits six years ago to protect the forest, but a new administration that came in last year is in favour of allowing logging again.
East Asia Minerals' said the company was "very pleased" at the progress because if the plan was approved, it would help the group's gold exploration activities. "These new developments are good progress and positive news for mineral extraction in the area." The company said it was working with government officials, and company representatives on the ground in Aceh province were pushing for the forest to be reclassified from "protected forest" to "production forest".
But Friends of the Earth Indonesia campaigners said the plan must be "immediately rejected". The plan "is being developed via a highly unhealthy process, in which foreign corporations are intervening and driving local policy". The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme said the East Asia Minerals' statement was "amazing" and that it was "shooting itself in the foot. The Aceh government has repeatedly claimed this plan is to benefit the people of Aceh, but this shows that's clearly not the case."

**To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.
To steal from many is research.**
Wilson Mizner


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
7.2 KURIL ISLANDS
[This is the third 7.0+ quake this month - 7.0 Papua Indonesia on 4/6 and 7.8 Iran/Pakistan on 4/16.]

Yesterday -
4/18/13 -
5.3 SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
5.3 SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISL., JAPAN

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck in seas off far northern Japan and far eastern Russia on Friday, but no damage was expected.
Japan Miyake Island has now been rocked by 30 quakes - Around 30 earthquakes, one of them magnitude 6.2, rocked a volcanic island south of Tokyo Wednesday and another significant quake hit the northeast of the country.

Pakistan - More than 20,000 people are still waiting for relief activities in Tehsil Mashkail, a remote area just about 20 kilometres from Iran, which was badly hit by Tuesday's powerful quake of magnitude 7.8. Besides claiming 41 lives and wounding more than 100 , the quake flattened 80% of Mashkhel; 5000 people affected. The 7.8 magnitude quake struck at 3.15pm local time (10.44 GMT) close to the Iranian border with Pakistan. Hundreds there have been rendered homeless. The force of the tremor could be felt from Kabul to Delhi and Dubai.
On Wednesday, aftershocks of Tuesday's massive earthquake in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan kept people in the bordering Balochistan on tenterhooks. A 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit northwestern Iran on Thursday, only days after the deadly temblor struck near the border with Pakistan.
Bad condition of roads and dust storms are causing hindrance in transportation of relief goods to people affected by Tuesday's earthquake in the border town of Mashkel.

Double faults raise risk of big Salt Lake City earthquake - Utah's biggest earthquake fault runs east of Salt Lake City, at the base of the steep Wasatch Mountains. About 75 percent of the state's population lives near the 240-mile-long (385 kilometers) Wasatch Fault.

Oklahoma earthquake surge reveals previously unknown fault line.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

Philippines - Potential cyclone hovers near Mindanao. For the second straight day, Metro Manila residents suffered through 36° Celsius heat Wednesday, even as state weather forecasters said temperatures may again reach 36° on Thursday. Temperatures may continue going up until the first week of May.
The trough of a low-pressure area is affecting Mindanao, while the ridge of a high-pressure area is extending across Luzon. The low-pressure area hovering near Mindanao has a chance of becoming a cyclone. Should the LPA become a cyclone while inside the Philippine area of responsibility, it will be locally codenamed Dante.

Maryland's Chesapeake Bay grass acreage drops again; 2011 storms blamed - Underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay continued to decline last year, and Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee the year before are to blame as they dumped mud and debris into the bay.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

Ireland - Severe weather leads to flight disruption. Extreme weather conditions at Irish airports last night have caused major disruption to Aer Lingus operations with high winds at Dublin and Cork airports.

HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -

Snowstorm's icy grip snaps cold records across Wyoming - This week's snowstorm rode into Wyoming on an icy chill that CRACKED LOW TEMPERATURE RECORDS around the state.

HEALTH THREATS -

New cases move China's H7N9 total to 87 - Three provinces of China and the city of Shanghai reported five more H7N9 influenza infections Thursday, as researchers in Europe shared more clues about the behavior of the novel virus and the best way to detect it.
WHO data on bird flu raises new questions about human transmission - More than 50 percent of patients infected with a new type of bird flu in China had no contact with poultry.

CDC cites increases in Campylobacter, Vibrio infections - The overall US incidence of major foodborne diseases was about the same in 2012 as it was about 5 years earlier, but Campylobacter infections were significantly more common, for unclear reasons.

RECALLS & ALERTS
Prime Food USA, New York is recalling Latis Brand Herring Fillet “Matiej”, Salmon Fillet Slices and Herring Fillet “Forelka” in Oil due to contamination with listeria monocytogenes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Japanese island hit by series of quakes - A strong 6.2 earthquake and about 20 smaller temblors struck the small volcanic Miyake Island south of Tokyo on Wednesday, slightly injuring three people but causing no danger of a tsunami.
The strongest quake left three people with minor injuries. A man in his 40s suffered cuts from broken pieces of glass, and two elderly people at a nursing home sustained bruises from falling. The quake also knocked down a concrete wall at a house and triggered several small landslides around the island. "We've had moderate shakings repeatedly since this morning, and the one in the evening was surprisingly strong. Some things fell to the floor."
The Meteorological Agency said it detected no significant elevation in the island's volcanic activity. The volcano, located 180 kilometers south of Tokyo, most recently erupted in 2000, forcing all 3,000 of the island's residents to evacuate for five years. A magnitude-5.8 quake struck Wednesday night off the coast of Miyagi in northern Japan, shaking large parts of the area devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the quake in the north. No abnormalities were reported at nuclear power plants in the region, including the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

**People who think they know everything
are a great annoyance to those of us who do.**
Isaac Asimov


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/17/13 -
5.6 PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.9 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.7 NEAR S. COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.0 SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISL., JAPAN
5.0 SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISL., JAPAN
5.0 SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISL., JAPAN
5.0 SOUTHWESTERN RYUKYU ISL., JAPAN
5.0 LUZON, PHILIPPINES
5.2 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
5.0 IRAN-PAKISTAN BORDER REGION
5.6 IRAN-PAKISTAN BORDER REGION
5.1 YUNNAN, CHINA

Earthquake of magnitude 5.1 hits China, 9 injured - A 5.1-magnitude earthquake jolted southwest China's Yunnan Province on Wednesday, leaving nine persons injured. The quake struck the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in the province at 9:45 am.

Seventh earthquake reported Tuesday in Oklahoma - Aftershocks continued Tuesday afternoon, with a 3.0 magnitude earthquake reported by the U.S. Geological Survey about 11:45 a.m., bringing the Tuesday total to at least seven. The quake was centered near Luther.

India infrastructure for earthquake response is scanty - With the abnormal growth of the cities, with rampant unplanned construction, are India's metro cities sitting ducks in case a large earthquake struck one of them?

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

TROPICAL STORMS -

No current tropical storms.

LOCUSTS -

Locusts invasions in central and southern regions of Madagascar - Swarms of locusts have invaded Madagascar. The central and southern regions are the most affected, hampering the already fragile recovery efforts from the effects of cyclone “Haruna” of February 2013.
This invasion by the locusts has brought about a new humanitarian crisis in the country. Over 60% of the country is currently infested and “locust infestations, if untreated, could wipe out food crops and livestock grazing lands – and with it a family’s ability to provide for itself…, [it is therefore crucial to act fast] . Timely and adequate support not only saves livelihoods, but also millions of dollars in humanitarian assistance that would be needed to restore crop and livestock production later on.”
The communities most affected are those in Tuliara I and Toliara II. These are the communities that experienced cyclone “Haruna”, with significant damage to their agriculture crops and infrastructure. The peripheral regions that survived the floods are severely affected by locusts which are eating up every green plant negatively impacting on food supply. In Toliara, the crops that survived the floods are under attack making the food security situation even precarious. Early recovery efforts are threatened as locusts eat any new plants and also destroy a potential harvest before the dry season.
To minimize the impact, immediate needs consist of direct food supply, and recovery efforts through supplying locust resistant seeds for tuber crops like cassava and potatoes. Many people already affected by cyclone “Haruna” also still need psychosocial support. At national level the government is coordinating logistics to contain and eradicate the locusts by spraying pesticides and mobilizing resources together with support from some international organizations. The food security cluster led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation is working in the affected area and has intensified the livelihood activities to help the cyclone victims endure the recovery period compounded by the plague of locusts.
The main planned activities in response to the locusts are: addressing food security by providing food, and seeds for tuber crops including agriculture tools. There are no funds available, and the requested amount for intervention will be about USD 300,000.00. The main constraint faced by government currently is lack of adequate equipment and chemicals to effectively combat the locusts as the affected areas have to be hand-sprayed on foot. The government also lacks aerial means to spray the pesticides.

BEES -

The UK government should suspend the use of a number of pesticides linked to the deaths of bees, a committee of MPs has said. Members of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee are calling for a moratorium on the use of sprays containing neonicotinoids. Britain has refused to back an EU ban on these chemicals saying their impact on bees is unclear. But MPs say this is an "extraordinarily complacent" approach.
Wild species such as honey bees are said by researchers to be responsible for pollinating around one-third of the world's crop production. Two-thirds of these species have suffered population declines in the UK. A "growing body of peer-reviewed research" points the finger at a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are new nicotine-like chemicals and act on the nervous systems of insects with a lower threat to mammals and the environment than many older sprays. Pesticides made in this way are water soluble which means they can be applied to the soil and taken up by the whole plant - they are called "systemic", meaning they turn the plant itself into a poison factory with toxins coming from roots, leaves, stems and pollen. Neonicotinoids are often applied as seed treatments which means coating the seeds before planting.
"We believe the weight of scientific evidence now warrants precautionary action. So we are calling for a moratorium on pesticides linked to bee decline to be introduced by 1 January next year." Following on from research published in January by the European Food Safety Authority that suggested these chemicals posed an "unacceptable" threat to bees, the European Commission proposed that neonicotinoid sprays be restricted to crops not attractive to pollinators. There are already some restrictions in place in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia. But the idea of a two-year ban did not attract enough support after the UK and Germany both abstained.
"If farmers had to pollinate fruit and vegetables without the help of insects it would costs hundreds of millions of pounds and we would all be stung by rising food prices." But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says that a ban is not justified at present. "Neonicotinoids will kill bees, let me be absolutely clear about that. It is what numbers do they kill and whether it affects populations - the question is whether banning them in any way would be proportional and at the moment the balance of evidence suggests it wouldn't be."
There have been a number of studies showing that the chemicals, made by Bayer and Syngenta, do have negative impacts on both honey and bumblebees. One study suggested that neonicotinoids affected the abilities of hives to produce queen bees. More recent research indicated that the pesticides damaged their brains. But Defra argues that these studies were mainly conducted in the laboratory and do not accurately reflect field conditions. It has published its own work showing that in the field, these chemicals had little effect on bee health, although Defra acknowledges the study lacks statistical power.
They are also calling on the European Commission to agree to a major new field study that would settle the debate. "That will allow informed decision-making, rather than rushing into a knee-jerk ban based on inconclusive studies," said a Defra spokesman. Despite being used for 20 years, there has been no satisfactory answer to the key question: what effect are these chemicals having on pollinators in the field? Given the finely balanced state of the science he says that other factors such as the costs to farmers have to be considered in the decision to keep using these pesticides.
"It is a very difficult analysis to do, we really don't have full data - but it does suggest that the cost-benefit trade-off at the moment is weighted to retaining neonicotinoids because if you just cost this in financial terms then you move in the direction of having a significant financial cost to take them out of the system." But the Commons Environmental Audit Commission rejects this approach, saying that "economic considerations should not form part of environmental risk management decision-making". The committee also asks for more openness from the chemical manufacturers who should publish their own research on the safety of these products.
In the UK, bees are one of a number of pollinators in decline The committee of MPs says the government's lack of action is in marked contrast to the efforts of the UK's largest garden chains. B&Q, Wickes and Homebase have withdrawn non-professional plant protection products that contain neonicotinoid chemicals. The report has been welcomed by many campaigners. The issue is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. The European Commission said that it would continue to press forward with plans for a moratorium. A spokesman said they were planning to appeal against the recently rejected ban.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency is being sued by beekeepers and environmental groups over its "failure" to protect pollinators from neonicotinoids.

HEALTH THREATS -

H7N9 sickens 5 more in China; family cluster suspected - The number of people infected with H7N9 influenza in China grew by fiveWednesday, with Shanghai and Zhejiang province reporting fresh cases, and news reports described an H7N9 family cluster apparently linked to one of the outbreak's first confirmed cases.

Ricin suspected in letter sent to Obama - Federal authorities said yesterday that a letter addressed to President Obama contained a substance that initially tested positive for the deadly toxin ricin, amid investigations of suspicious mail sent to at least three senators.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A powerful 7.8 earthquake struck southeastern Iran and was felt in several countries in Asia on Tuesday, rocking buildings in the Indian capital of New Delhi and sending panicked residents of Karachi, Pakistan, fleeing into the streets. At least 27 people were hurt in Iran, but there was no immediate confirmation of any deaths there. Over 30 deaths were reported in Pakistan. The quake was also strongly felt in Kuwait, particularly in coastal areas, and witnesses felt the quake across the Gulf in Dubai and Bahrain.
It was THE STRONGEST QUAKE TO HIT IRAN IN MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY. It was also THE SECOND DEADLY QUAKE TO HIT IRAN IN LESS THAN A WEEK - a magnitude 6.1 temblor struck near Bushehr, on Iran's Persian Gulf coast on the 9th, killing at least 37 people and raising calls for greater international safety inspectors at Iran's lone nuclear power station.
Tuesday's earthquake toppled homes and shops on both sides of the Iran-Pakistan border, killing dozens of people and causing skyscrapers to sway in Dubai. It also forced Iranian officials — for the second time in less than a week — to issue assurances that its main nuclear reactor wasn't damaged. "The quake period was long" and occurred "when many people were at home to take a midday nap".
At least 34 people were killed in a single village in Pakistan. But the overall death toll became clouded after conflicting reports from Iran. At first, Iran's Press TV said at least 40 people died - which would push the two-nation tally to 74. But it later retreated from its account, and other Iranian outlets stepped in with a far less dire picture.

**The early bird might get the worm,
but the second mouse gets the cheese.**


LARGEST QUAKES -

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
5.6 PAPUA, INDONESIA
5.8 IRAN-PAKISTAN BORDER REGION
5.1 YUNNAN, CHINA

Yesterday -
4/16/13 -
5.0 KEP. MENTAWAI REGION, INDONESIA
5.2 SUNDA STRAIT, INDONESIA
6.8 NEAR N COAST OF NEW GUINEA, PNG.
5.5 BOUGAINVILLE REGION, P.N.G.
7.8 IRAN-PAKISTAN BORDER REGION
5.0 SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS
5.3 ARUNACHAL PRADESH, INDIA
5.0 MOLUCCA SEA

Pakistan - The powerful earthquake in Iran on Tuesday hit hundreds of homes in Pakistan, killing more than 30 people in a remote community close to the desert border. The quake damaged hundreds of mud-built buildings in remote southwestern Pakistan. The military has mobilised to help the relief effort after the quake brought down homes in the Mashkail area in Baluchistan province.
Two military helicopters carrying medical teams have been sent to the area, which lies just a few kilometres from the Iranian border, while paramilitary troops were being moved to supplement the relief efforts. "At least 34 people have been killed and 80 others wounded in Mashkail."
Tremors were felt across Pakistan, shaking buildings in Islamabad and prompting many to flee into the streets of the biggest city Karachi in terror. More than 20 villages were probably "severely damaged", based on initial reports. Communications to the stricken areas have been cut.
The quake struck at 3:14 pm Iranian time (1044 GMT) with its epicentre around 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the Iranian city of Khash, in the province of Sistan Baluchistan, at a depth of 82 kilometres. There have been conflicting reports of the precise magnitude. Iran's Seismological Centre measured it as 7.5 and gave the depth as 95 kilometres. The depth of Tuesday's quake would have lessened its impact. But the area "is mountainous, and damage can be expected from landslides as well as because of poorly constructed buildings".
Across the Gulf the quake shook buildings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and was also felt in the Saudi capital Riyadh and in Oman. IIn Dubai, residential and office buildings were evacuated and thousands of people gathered outside skyscrapers. "Everybody's on the streets. There's a state of panic." The grandiose Dubai Mall was completely evacuated, according to employees who said people were also cleared from towers in Downtown Dubai, home to the world's tallest building.
The quake was also strongly felt in Kuwait, particularly in coastal areas, and in the Bahraini capital Manama, where buildings in the central financial district were evacuated. In the Indian capital New Delhi tremors rattled buildings and led many office workers to run into the street as a precaution. There were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties in India, but concern remains high just 10 days after the collapse of a building in Mumbai killed 72 people.
Pakistan was hit by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake on October 8, 2005, that killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless, mainly in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and parts of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

India - A child was killed in a mudslide during a mild 4.6 earthquake in Assam on Tuesday which was also felt in other northeastern states and Odisha. Three children, who had gone for fishing in river Beki at Kalgasia village in Assam's Barpeta district, were swept into the waters by the mudslide during the tremor. While one drowned, the other two were rescued and sent to the hospital. The tremor struck at 6:53 am in Assam with its epicentre at a depth of 16 km in Darrang district. The tremor was also felt in neighbouring states.

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake has hit Papua New Guinea's north but reports suggest the region has escaped serious damage. A quake of this strength has the potential to generate localized tsunamis within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the epicenter.

Five earthquakes hit Oklahoma early Tuesday - the two largest were 4.3 in magnitude.

VOLCANOES -
Volcano Webcams

Columbia - A strong volcano-tectonic (but hybrid and low-frequency events are also apparent) earthquake swarm (including events approaching magnitude M3.0) continued at Nevado Del Ruiz on Monday.

TROPICAL STORMS -

In the South Indian Ocean -
Tropical Cyclone Imelda was located approximately 410 nm east of La Reunion. The final warning has been issued on this system.

Thailand - 150 houses destroyed as Surin was hit by storms. More than 150 houses, rice barns and mills, and animal farms in Surin were destroyed after a tropical storm hit this northeastern province Tuesday evening. Authorities said the trail of damages could be seen in Jom Phra and Muang Districts, adding the storm has blown away roofs of many houses a few kilometers away. The provincial rice depot belonging to the government’s rice pledging scheme was also completely torn down by the storm. Initially the local administration is working around the clock to aid storm victims. About 20 families in Jom Phra District and 50 others in Muang District have become homeless.
Tropical waves wreaked havoc on Thai coastal villages. The fierce tropical storm in the Gulf of Thailand stranded more than 70 fishing boats in this seaboard province ashore due to huge waves, about four metres high.

SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -

Indonesia - Weather Scrutinized as Possible Cause of Lion Air Crash. Extreme weather conditions are being looked at as one of the possible causes of last weekend's crash of a Lion Air jet off the resort island of Bali.

At least 21 tornadoes tore across the U.S. South last Wednesday and Thursday - More severe weather is likely this week in some of the same regions that had been affected across the South last week as cold air from Canada, clashing with warm and moist air from the Gulf, combines with dry air from the Desert Southwest.

HEALTH THREATS -

China reports 14 more H7N9 infections, 2 fatal - The eastern China epicenter of the H7N9 avian flu outbreak reported 14 new cases Tuesday, along with two more deaths, moving the total to 78 cases, 16 of them fatal.

RECALLS & ALERTS
Winn-Dixie announced an immediate voluntary recall of 64 FL OZ Winn-Dixie Organic 100% Apple Juice. The product is being recalled as a precaution because it could have levels of “patulin” that exceeds FDA limits.