Friday, January 31, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Dear Algebra,
Stop asking me to find your X.
She's not coming back.**

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 1/30/14 -

Nevada - Earthquake Swarm in Virginia City. A swarm of earthquakes has hit the Virginia City area. The Seismology lab at the University of Nevada has recorded at least 100 tremors in the area since Tuesday. Most have been in the magnitude 1.0 range. There have been several in the 3.0 range, the largest being a 3.1 at 2:30 Thursday morning. The quakes measured all the way to the Reno Tahoe International Airport.

Volcano that blew in '99 heating up - One of the most active volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands is heating up again, prompting the Alaska Volcano Observatory to issue an advisory to pilots who might be flying near Shishaldin Volcano, some 100 miles northeast of Dutch Harbor. Satellite observations show increased surface temperatures in the summit crater as well as increased steam emissions.
The observatory said it has raised the aviation color code to yellow and the alert level to advisory. An eruption at Shishaldin in April and May 1999 sent an ash column 45,000 feet above sea level, but most eruptions have consisted of small ash and steam plumes. The increased activity recently does not indicate an eruption will occur, the observatory said.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical depression Kajiki is located approximately 535 nm southeast of Manila, Philippines.
Philippines - Tropical Depression Basyang [Kajiki] entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility Thursday night as it nears Mindanao and the Visayas. Public storm warning signal number 1 was raised in 10 areas amid the threat of the tropical cyclone that could hit areas affected by tropical depression Agaton. At 10 p.m. Thursday, the center of "Basyang" was estimated to be 969 km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
The storm is packing maximum winds of 55 kph near the center and is expected to move west at 30 kph. "Basyang" is expected to make landfall over Surigao provinces between 11 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday. It is expected to move towards the West Philippine Sea by Sunday evening. "Basyang" is expected to be 303 km northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur by Friday evening, and 325 km east-northeast of Puerto Princesa City by Saturday night.
PAGASA warned residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under the storm signal to be on alert against possible flashfloods and landslides.Estimated rainfall amount is from 5-15 mm per hour (moderate to heavy) within the tropical depression's 300 km diameter. The weather agency added that "Basyang" might become a tropical storm." Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out into the eastern seaboards of central and southern Luzon, and the Visayas.

Australia - Great Keppel thrashed by storm surge. A Great Keppel Island tourism operator says a storm surge, in the wake of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Dylan, has been 'devastating.' He reinforced the foundations at his resort in the lead up to the tide but was unable to save all the buildings. He says the beach is being eroded at a rapid rate.
"A bank disappearing at about three metres every half an hour, three quarters of an hour. Nothing short of devastating, I've got about three houses about to wash into the water. We've already lost the deck off one of them, we've completely lost the big deck off the bar and restaurant. Trees are going in every five or ten minutes."
The work they did to protect the beach in the days prior has done little to save it. "We held it up for four days but the swell that has come up today, you'd be more than happy if you were a surfer, put it that way. I've never seen a swell like this, I've been coming over for 25 years and I've never seen the swell like it this morning."
There's little reprieve in sight. "Tomorrow morning's tide is only 100 millimetres short of this one so if this swell continues to pick up then they'll definitely go. We'll get another day on the loader but we can slow it, we can't stop it." The rough conditions have meant the ferry service between Yeppoon and the island have been cancelled. "It affects the whole place, the people in the town that sell all the food, staff over there, you know it really affects the whole area...This time of the year you sort of expect these kinds of things. We just have to fight back."


United Kingdom - More rain, high winds and high tides are set to hit the south and west of the UK, causing further flooding. The Met Office is warning of heavy rain in southern England - including the already flooded Somerset Levels - south Wales and parts of Northern Ireland. The Environment Agency, which has issued numerous flood warnings, said many coastal areas would be affected by high tides in the coming days.
This January is already the WETTEST ON RECORD for many southern areas. A Met Office amber rain warning - meaning "be prepared" - has been issued for the Somerset Levels and is valid until 03:00 GMT on Saturday. The warning said the public should be prepared for "significant disruption from flooding across the Somerset Levels", where large areas are already flooded. Most of southern England and south Wales, as well as County Antrim, County Armagh and County Down in Northern Ireland, are subject to a lower-level yellow warning throughout Friday until 03:00 on Saturday.
"20-30 mm (1in) of rain will fall quite widely, with around 40 mm on some high ground in the southwest of England and south Wales. The heavy rain will be accompanied by strong to gale force winds." Meanwhile, a small number of flood warnings have been issued in Scotland. The Environment Agency said places "at risk" from high tides and winds over the weekend included coastal and tidal areas of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol and south Gloucestershire. Many other coastal areas of England could also be affected by the wind, rain and high tides from Friday through to Sunday.
Parts of the Somerset Levels have been flooded throughout January. In Wales, Aberystwyth University's seafront halls of residence are to be evacuated until Monday. Buildings there have been evacuated several times in recent weeks. Flood defences on part of the Welsh coast, washed away by recent storms, have been reinforced with bags of slate set down by a helicopter.In the Somerset Levels, 25 sq miles (65 sq km) has been flooded and the Environment Agency said it was running pumps 24 hours a day to drain the water. 62 pumps were removing about 1.5 million tonnes of water - equivalent to 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools - each day.
The Environment Agency said dredging of rivers in Somerset would not begin until flood water had drained and river banks were safe. Up to and including 28 January, the South East and central southern England had a record 175.2mm (6.9in) of rainfall in January - beating the previous record of 158.2mm for the same parts of England set in 1988. Across south-west England and south Wales, the 222.6 mm (8.8in) of rainfall up to midnight on Tuesday meant January was already the fifth-wettest. For the UK as a whole, 164.6 mm (6.5in) of rain has fallen so far this month - 35% above the long-term average. (rainfall map & photos at link)

Alaska - This January is Juneau's WETTEST MONTH ON RECORD. The capital city received 10.15 inches of rain.


The UNUSUALLY SHARP KINK IN THE JET STREAM that has brought extreme weather to nearly the entire U.S. in January is finally beginning to straighten out, and a return to more normal winter conditions began Thursday and will extend into next week. Atlanta's Thursday temperature was expected to rebound into the upper 30s under sunny skies, helping to melt out the hundreds of miles of ice-covered roads left by Winter Storm Leon on Tuesday. A state of emergency remained in effect for all of Georgia until at least noon Thursday due to icy roads.
Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, and many other cities in the Southeast U.S. suffered their worst traffic days in history on Tuesday, after sleet and snows of 1 - 3" compacted into ice on area roads, resulting in travel chaos. Temperatures will fall into the teens again on Thursday night, allowing those roads that do thaw out to re-freeze. The Southeast will not fully thaw out until Friday afternoon, under sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s. At least a dozen deaths have been blamed on the storm, including five traffic fatalities in Alabama.
Top snowfall amounts from Leon, by state
VIRGINIA: 10.0” at 5 locations
NEW JERSEY: 7.7” Estell Manor (7.3" in Atlantic City)
MARYLAND: 6.7” Ridge
MASSACHUSETTS: 5.5" East Sandwich, West Tisbury
DELAWARE: 5.4” Dover, Harrington, Ellendale
NEW YORK: 4.9" Theresa
MISSISSIPPI: 3.0” at 5 sites
SOUTH CAROLINA: 4.0” Bennetstsville
GEORGIA: 4.0” White
LOUISIANA: 4.0” Jena
ALABAMA: 3.0” numerous locations
TENNESSEE: 2.0" Maryville
PENNSYLVANIA: 1.0” 5 NE Philadelphia
FLORIDA: no official snow reports, but 0.5" of sleet at Freeport

Rain in California! The first significant rain storm of 2014 moved through the northern half of the state on Wednesday, bringing some welcome relief from the record dry conditions that have parched the state this winter. In the Sierra Mountains, snows of up to 12 inches fell, and up to 2 feet of snow may accumulate above 8,000 feet, adding a modest boost to a snowpack that was the LOWEST ON RECORD In many locations.
As of 7 am PST on January 30, the Sierra Snow Survey found a snow pack that was only 7% of normal for this time of year. Sacramento recorded 0.03" of rain on Wednesday, ending a string of 52 consecutive days without rain. It was their longest streak of dry days during the rainy season EVER RECORDED, smashing the previous record of 46 days set in 1884. Wednesday's rains in downtown San Francisco and Oakland ended their longest winter rain-free periods ON RECORD, since at least 1850 (though San Francisco did get 0.03" of drizzle earlier this month.)
The last actual rainfall in the city was on December 6th. That’s 53 days during what normally should be the wettest period of the year, when at least 8” would normally fall. The rains also brought an exceptional dry streak to an end in Reno, Nevada -- the 0.10" of rain that fell was its first precipitation since December 19.
Drought situation in California still dire despite rains - While rain and snow in California are a welcome respite, they will put only a minor dent in what is one of the worst droughts in California history. The U.S. Drought Monitor update put 9% of the state into "Exceptional Drought" -- the worst category. This is the first time since the Drought Monitor product began in 2000 that a portion of California was put into "Exceptional Drought". California's area experiencing extreme to exceptional drought remained at 63%, making it one of the three worst winter droughts in state history.
To break the drought, much of the state needs more than 12" of precipitation. Sacramento has received about 2" of rain since July 1, 2013, which is 8" below normal, and most of the southern half of the state needs more than a year of rainfall to fall in one month to break the drought. The stubborn ridge of high pressure responsible for the drought is forecast to build back over California during the first ten days of February, and the state will receive little or no rain during that period. However, the ridge will not be as intense, increasing the odds that a low pressure system will be able to break the ridge by mid-February and bring more rain to the state.

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