**Romance is thinking about your significant other,
when you are supposed to be thinking about something else.**
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.0 OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
5.1 BONIN ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
5.1 OFF COAST OF COLIMA, MEXICO
Yesterday, 2/9/14 -
5.9 BOUGAINVILLE REGION, P.N.G.
California - 3rd quake in 10 days hits Los Angeles basin; centered near Hollywood. The latest quake, a shallow magnitude 3.0, occurred at 10:13 a.m. on Saturday morning at a depth of five miles and was felt from the west side to East L.A.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Fobane is located approximately 715 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
UK floods - Severe flood warnings issued for Thames. Fourteen severe flood warnings have been issued along the River Thames in Berkshire and Surrey amid concern that people and property are at risk. The Environment Agency is also warning of rising water in the Somerset Levels, and there are flood fears in Worcester.
Earlier, the communities secretary said ministers may have relied too much on the agency's advice and it had been a "mistake" not to dredge the Levels. "I apologise unreservedly and I'm really sorry that we took the advice; we thought we were dealing with experts." But the agency said its "immediate priority" was to protect people.Two severe flood warnings remain in place in Somerset and more rain is expected later in the week.
"As we continue to face these extraordinary weather events, I have made clear again... that every resource is available to the local communities affected. We will keep providing whatever immediate practical support and assistance is needed, whether that is extra pumps and sandbags; military support on the ground; emergency funds from the new £7m severe weather assistance fund for local councils."
The 14 severe "risk to life" warnings along the Thames in Berkshire and Surrey between Datchet and Shepperton Green were issued because river levels are expected to continue to rise for at least 24 hours as recent rain moves downstream. "The Thames is a big river and it responds to rainfall over many weeks - and the catchment is saturated. We are seeing the Thames continue to rise and it will continue to do so, certainly over the next few days and we have further rain forecast over Tuesday and Wednesday."
The agency also has more than 150 lesser flood warnings, the majority in the South East, the East, the Midlands and South West. Levels on the Thames were already higher than in 2003 when the area last experienced serious flooding. Armed forces personnel are in the area building a 2ft-high (60cm) defence to try to divert the river away from homes.
Surrey Police says up to 2,500 properties in the county may be at risk and is urging residents to co-operate with the emergency services and take precautions to protect themselves and their properties. Flooding at Hinksey, south of Oxford, has led Network Rail to warn of possible disruption for commuters travelling to London Paddington on Monday. Recent rainfall in the Somerset Levels has meant water levels have been increasing by about a quarter of an inch (0.6cm) an hour in the village of Burrowbridge.
The main rail route into Devon and Cornwall via Bridgwater remains cut off by problems caused by flooding and storm damage. The line from Paddington to Exeter via Newbury is expected to reopen on Monday following a drop in flood water levels at Athelney. The Met Office says the wind and rain will ease into Monday, though falling temperatures will mean some wintry showers.
But forecasters say another area of low pressure is expected to reach the UK on Monday night and into Tuesday, bringing more heavy rain. Tuesday could see as much as 30mm (1in) fall in the south-west of England and Wales, with more heavy rain expected on Wednesday and Thursday. There was an indication from the long range satellite maps that there could be longer spells of dry weather in the south of England towards the end of the month. (photos at link)
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -
Bushfires spark emergency alerts in south-east Australia - Dozens of bushfires are sweeping across southern Australia, fanned by hot weather and strong winds. Officials say an unknown number of homes have been destroyed and a firefighter has been injured in the state of Victoria. Some residents have been ordered to leave and flames have spread to the outer suburbs of Australia's second biggest city, Melbourne. Conditions in Victoria are at their worst since 2009. Then, wildfires killed 173 people and destroyed about 2,000 homes in a disaster dubbed Black Saturday.
Emergency crews are also fighting blazes in South Australia and New South Wales. Cooler weather should help the massive firefighting effort, although strong, gusty winds continue to fan the flames. More than 70 fires are burning across Victoria and 15 emergency warnings are in effect.
Hundreds of firefighters and dozens of fire engines are battling the blazes. Fire authorities are worried about the threat posed to the coal-fired 1,600-megawatt Hazlewood Power Station in Latrobe Valley. Homes have been lost in the Melbourne suburbs of Warrandyte and Mickleham, and in Gisborne some 50km (30 miles) north-west of the city.
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