Sorry my schedule for updating is still a bit erratic.
**Always keep your words soft and sweet,
just in case you have to eat them.**
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.0 SOLOMON ISLANDS
5.0 OFFSHORE EL SALVADOR
5.7 MARIANA ISLANDS REGION
5.9 MARIANA ISLANDS REGION
5.1 KEPULAUAN BABAR, INDONESIA
5.5 FLORES SEA
Yesterday, 1/22/14 -
5.0 KURIL ISLANDS
5.5 VANUATU REGION
Indonesia - Sinabung volcano (Sumatra) - eruption continues with no clear trend. The eruption of the volcano located in Karo District, North Sumatra Province, has displaced at least 26,088 people. Until 2010, Indonesia's Sinabung volcano was dormant, with no confirmed eruptions in the historical record.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
No current tropical storms.
Australia - 'Cyclone like' weather system brings torrential rainfall and storms to the Goldfields and Esperance regions. The Bureau of Meteorology is warning residents to expect further storms and torrential rainfall, as a 'cyclone like' system continues to move south.
Yesterday, a deep tropical low dropped a large amount of rain throughout the northern Goldfields, causing flash flood warnings and road closures. The Kalgoorlie-Boulder airport and many homes in the region lost power. "This system to me is QUITE BIZARRE because it does look, from the satellite pictures, it looks very similar to a cyclone. This [system] one here started up around Kununurra and again has been dragged down and is going to head or keep heading in a southerly direction and down through the south east, dropping lots and lots of rain in its wake."
However, the weather system lashing the region is good news for some pastoralists. The Gindalbee station in the Goldfields has received 176 millimetres in the rain gauge and it is one of the best starts to the year she has ever seen. In Leonora, 155 millimetres was recorded, and more than 100 millimetres has dumped in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The Bureau of Meteorology says the deep tropical low is expected to move slowly south today. Emergency services say despite the rain, there have been few calls for help. (photos)
HEALTH THREATS -
A surge in cases of the deadly new strain of bird flu has been reported in China at the beginning of 2014. Only a handful of people had been infected with H7N9 since June, but health officials have reported 73 cases so far this month. Influenza researchers argue the winter season and preparations for Chinese New Year may be driving the increase. The World Health Organization called for vigilance, saying the virus was likely to remain present for some time.
H7N9 made the jump from infecting domestic chickens and ducks to infecting people at the end of March 2013. Within a month, 126 cases and 24 deaths had been recorded. H7N9 does kill a high proportion of infected people and is capable of evolving resistance to anti-viral drugs with relative ease. Up to five million people get severe cases of seasonal flu each year, causing up to half a million deaths. By comparison 209 cases of H7N9, causing 55 deaths, seems small. The global concern is not what this bird flu is doing now, but how it might develop.
So far there have been no cases of sustained human-to-human transmission; however, the virus could mutate, allowing it to spread more easily in people. If that happened, the virus would pose a much greater global threat; for now, there is no sign of this. The virus was stopped in its tracks as control measures, such as closing live poultry markets, were introduced.
"We need to remain vigilant, but so far the virus does not seem to have mutated in any way. Some people will be looking very closely at the Chinese New Year, when there will be lots of people travelling. It will be crowded on trains and they'll also be travelling with chickens."