Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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

**The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.**
Emile Zola

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 1/13/14 -

Russia - Shiveluch volcano ash falls on village in Kamchatka. An eruption of Shiveluch took place at the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's northeast on Sunday.

El Salvador on Alert for Chaparrastique Volcano Activity - Environment officials are urging people not to approach the volcano crater and abide by the instructions issued by the General Department of Civil Protection. According to the latest special report, as vibrations persist and gases column is visible, the possibility of another eruption is not ruled out in the coming days or weeks through the central crater or the flanks. the vibration levels and emission have shown changes but remain.
Images captured by Web cameras installed northwest, southwest and south of the volcano indicate that the emission of gases from the crater have remained without significant changes and have reached a height of 150 meters. The Chaparrastique had an eruption on 29 December that forced the country's authorities to evacuate nearby populations. The performance of Civil Protection, in coordination with the various state agencies prevented loss of life and serious injuries.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Colin is located approximately 1171 nm south of Diego Garcia.

- Tropical cyclone Ian is located approximately 978 nm south of Pago Pago.
Australia - A cyclone warning has been declared for coastal areas from the Daly River Mouth to Kalumburu in Western Australia. Earlier, the weather bureau had predicted that the low pressure system off the northern Australian coast was expected to form into a tropical cyclone in the Timor Sea by tomorrow morning. The risk of a cyclone developing off the Northern Territory coast has lessened since yesterday because the monsoon trough took a different track than expected. The monsoon trough spent less time over water than expected, lessening the chance of it becoming a cyclone off the Territory coast. The weather bureau says there is still a chance of a cyclone forming off the coast of Western Australia when the trough passes over the Timor Sea tomorrow.

Tough times ahead after cyclone ravages Tonga - Crops had pushed through the drought season, only to be battered by the severe tropical storm. This year's harvest has suffered significant damage.
Tonga won't ask for help - An historic Tongan town of 2000 people has been left in ruins by one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the South Pacific and the fate of another 5000 people nearby is still uncertain. Pangai, the administrative centre of the Ha'apai group and built around a Catholic Church, has lost most of its homes to Category 5 Cyclone Ian and most public buildings have damage.
Ian, which last week had wandered around the Koro Sea between Fiji and Tonga, suddenly intensified and then lingered over Ha'apai with winds in excess of 200 kilometres per hour. The notion of what has happened to the 7000 people on the 17 occupied islands of the 62 Ha'apai islands is still only sketchy. Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion photos show several small villages completely destroyed but there are few signs of people. Some areas show signs of severe storm surge and again there are few people in the pictures.
Most help to date has only reached Pangai, nothing is known outside. "I have not seen such devastating damages from a cyclone." Ad agencies believe there has been "near total destruction" on Ha'apai, although they believe schools and churches might have survived. Cyclone Ian, the first cyclone of the summer South Pacific cyclone season, largely by-passed Vava'u in the north and Tongatapu and its capital, Nuku'alofa, in the south.
Tonga was being vague about help. This was becoming common in Pacific Islands where governments wanted to be seen responding with their own resources. The Tongan Government continued Monday evening to refuse to formally ask for international help. And even as foreign media focussed on the disaster, the only public statement issued by the government was to name a new finance minister.
For the expatriate Tongan community in Auckland the political crisis has left them unable to offer formal help. "We've tried through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Auckland Mayor's Fund, and they tell us that Tonga has not asked for help. The Tongan Government should be looking at the people who have suffered in Cyclone Ian, they need to get on with it. The Tongan Government was giving a different picture about what had happened and was diverted by the deep political infighting. We don't want to engage in Tongan politics - we want to engage with the people who need help." The political situation is alarming and bad timing."Tonga needs to get its act together and respond to the needs of its people."
Tonga has verged on default for the last year with around 60 per cent of its debt owed to China. Non-government groups could offer family and village level help, but it is the government's responsibility to provide electricity, water and schools. "It's pretty simple; they are going to have to finance that response, and if there is ambiguity in the finance ministry, it needs to be sorted out quickly. It is time now to respond."

An early start to hurricane season? “ - Subtropical” storm may be forming. Tropical storms have occurred during every month in the Atlantic, but January storms are rare. Today, Subtropical Storm Arthur could be forming about 2,000 miles east of the Bahamas. The official Atlantic hurricane season spans June 1 through November 30, but nature does not always obey our arbitrary boundaries.
On average, about 97% of tropical cyclone activity falls within the official hurricane season, while the remaining 3% is spread out among the six off-season months. Looking back to 1851, only two known storms have formed during January: Hurricane #1 in 1938 (formed January 3), and Subtropical Storm #1 in 1978 (formed on January 18).
Every model develops this in the short term, and although it may not meet the structural requirements for a tropical cyclone, it could easily meet the requirements for a subtropical cyclone. Conditions should remain marginally favorable for this system to maintain itself for about the next 4-5 days before it gets absorbed into a mid-latitude front. If this system does acquire enough organization and surface winds increase to 40 mph, it would earn the first name on the 2014 list: Arthur. It is not, and will not be, a threat to land.

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