Sunday, February 9, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Love will find a way through paths
where wolves fear to prey.**
Lord Byron

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 2/8/14 -

2/7/14 -

2/6/14 -

2/5/14 -

Indonesia - As Mt. Sinabung rumbles on as Mt. Kelud fears rise. While the eruptions from Mount Sinabung in Karo, North Sumatra show no signs of ending, people began to fear that Mount Kelud in Kediri, East Java could soon follow suit. On Tuesday, warnings were circulating through cell phone messaging applications stating that Mt. Kelud’s status had reached high alert. The messages were accompanied by a photo depicting a violent eruption.
The East Java Police Inspector called on people to stay calm. “They should ask security officers." He said the status of the volcano was at level two alert - the third-highest level — and not high alert — the second-highest — as stated by the message. The photo being circulated was taken in 2007 when the volcano last erupted.
Meanwhile, the Malang administration has prepared officers, volunteers and the appropriate equipment from its chapter of Indonesian Red Cross in anticipation of a possible eruption. “There are two villages, Pandansari and Pondok Agung, in Ngantang district, Malang, located 10 kilometers away from Kelud’s crater.” Meanwhile, evacuees from Mt. Sinabung in Karo regency, North Sumatra, have asked the government to implement a cash for work program of Rp 50,000 (US$4.10) per day as well as its relocation program. “I want to join the cash for work program. My house, fields all have gone.”
A 15-hectare plot has been prepared for the relocation of evacuees whose homes were within 3 kilometers of the Sinabung crater. As of Tuesday, 70,476 evacuees had joined the program and Rp 3.5 billion had been distributed. As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of Sinabung evacuees had reached 31,739 or 9,915 families. They were accommodated in 42 evacuation centers. Saturday’s eruption claimed 16 lives and critically injured two.
In Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada University plans to send 240 students to the affected areas through the compulsory Community Service Program. The students will be deployed from Feb. 11 to March 8 to help Mt. Sinabung evacuees. They will serve evacuation centers as well as other locations to help people affected by both floods and landslides.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Fobane is located approximately 514 nm south of Diego Garcia.
Australia - Kununurra flooded - Broome on cyclone watch. A tropical low brought record rainfall and the weather bureau says there's more bad weather to come through the Kimberley region with the possibility that a tropical cyclone will hit parts of the Kimberley and Pilbara early next week.


UK storms - Coastal areas in west hit by renewed gales. Gales have continued to batter southern parts of the UK, with coastal areas hit by wind and rain. Gusts reached 80mph on the coasts of Cornwall, the Bristol Channel and west Wales and the Environment Agency says there is a risk of further floods. In Surrey, the River Thames has burst its banks at Chertsey, with homeowners warned to expect flooding.
Landslips and floods mean all rail routes into south-west England are now blocked. Routes into the West Country from London via Bridgwater and Castle Cary were already blocked because of flooding. In Dawlish, where a key line between Devon and Cornwall was destroyed by waves on Tuesday, concrete has been sprayed onto the cliff behind the track to make the area safer in the face of continuing high winds and large waves. Network Rail said work at the site was "progressing well" in six-hour shifts in between high tides.
The forecast is for strong winds and high tides but conditions on the Cornish Coast have not been as severe as earlier this week. North Cornwall has seen choppy swell, bouts of hail and some fierce gusts, but also sporadic outbursts of sunshine. Devon and Cornwall police are dealing with weather-related incidents, but have received far fewer calls than during Tuesday's storm.
The Highways Agency has been responding to reports of downed trees blocking roads. Meanwhile, the village of Moorland in Somerset, where about 80 homes were evacuated after the local water level rose by about one metre overnight on Thursday, breaching temporary flood defences in the early hours of Friday, is among three areas subject to severe flood warnings.
Coastguards in Devon said they were expecting "phenomenal" waves about 12 miles offshore, possibly reaching 45ft (14m) in height. On the M25, two of four lanes were closed clockwise between Junction 16 and 17 because of flooding In the same area, link roads from the M40 onto the M25 clockwise were closed as flooding spread from surrounding fields onto the carriageway. The Highways Agency said normal traffic conditions should be restored on Sunday.
Fire crews are dealing with rising floodwater which is threatening an important electricity substation near Reading. They are bringing in a high-volume pump from Hertfordshire because Berkshire's pump is being used in Somerset. The substation is thought to serve about 40,000 homes and businesses. Preparations were being made to protect water and electrical plants, and transport infrastructure in the Thames Valley area where water levels are expected to rise again next week.
The Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset said river levels in his constituency remained "enormously high" and people there were "having to batten down again to prepare for the next storm". The BBC Weather Centre said high seas and large waves would continue throughout Saturday in many southern and western coastal areas. But it said the tides were not as high as their spring tide peak last weekend.
A Met Office amber warning advising people to be prepared for strong winds is in effect for south-west England and Wales and the South coast. An amber rain warning for southern England has expired, but a less severe yellow warning is valid until 06:00 GMT on Sunday. The yellow warning covers the entire south of England plus parts of the Midlands and much of Wales. Wales, north-west England and south-west Scotland could get 20-30mm (1in) of rain through the course of Saturday. The strong winds are expected to last into Sunday morning but forecasters said most areas would have some respite from the stormy conditions on Sunday. Monday would be a quiet day but wet and windy weather would return on Tuesday.
The Environment Agency has three severe flood warnings - which mean "danger to life" - in place, two in Somerset and one for Chiswell in the Isle of Portland. The agency has also issued more than 180 flood warnings and almost 300 flood alerts. Downing Street confirmed on Saturday that the prime minister received a letter from local farmers last September in which they asked for government funds to help with flood protection and dredging.

A very moist “Pineapple Express” flow of air from the Hawaiian Islands will impact California through Sunday, likely bringing enough precipitation to make a noticeable dent in the state’s dire drought conditions (though the exceptionally dry and hard soils caused by California’s driest year in its history are forcing the heavy rains to run off faster than usual, reducing the amount of moisture that can soak into the soil.)
Some locations may see more rain in a four-day period than they have had during the previous eight months. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center is calling for most of Northern California to receive more than 2” of precipitation through Sunday, with many higher elevation areas expected to get 4 - 6”. Up to three feet of snow is predicted to fall in the Sierra Mountains, though it appears much of the precipitation will fall as rain, reducing the benefit of the moisture during the coming summer months (when Sierra snow melt provides an important source of water.) As of Thursday at 1 pm PST, Big Sur had received 2.14” of rain, which triggered a rock slide onto Highway 1.
Drought far from busted - This weekend’s Pineapple Express is a marvelous break from the extraordinary dry conditions that have gripped California for the past thirteen months. If one could put a monetary value on the moisture from this storm, I speculate that it would easily be worth a billion dollars. But the state is in such a deep precipitation hole that it needs at least six more events like this over the next two months to pull them out of drought.
Between January 1, 2013 and February 5, 2014, the San Francisco Airport received just 4.24” of rain, which is 21.19” below normal for the period — by far the driest such period in their history. The last time San Francisco had more than 1” of rain was Christmas Day, 2012.
Thursday’s new Drought Monitor product showed that drought conditions in the state had remained almost the same as the previous week, with 94% of the state in drought, and a slight expansion of the area in the worst category of drought - exceptional - from 9% to 10%.
The most recent 1-month and 3-month forecasts from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center call for higher than average possibilities of dry conditions into the spring of 2014. California’s best hope of busting the drought lies in the formation of an El Niño event next winter. The warm waters that El Niño events bring to the Eastern Pacific typically shift the jet stream to a position over California, bringing numerous low pressure systems and the occasional atmospheric river during the winter rainy season. The latest February 6, 2014 El Niño outlook from NOAA gives some hope that this will happen:
”An increasing number of models suggest the possible onset of El Niño. Strong surface westerly winds in the western Pacific and the slight eastward shift of above-average temperatures in the subsurface western Pacific potentially portend warming in the coming months.”


Freaky 'frost quakes' boom and shake frozen Midwest towns - Bizarre cold-weather phenomena called frost quakes — which generate shaking and ear-splitting sounds likened to exploding bombs — have blasted towns across the Northeast and upper Midwest during this extraordinarily frigid winter. Thanks to social media reports, researchers have been able to study frost quake reports submitted from Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Maine, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. and Canada and talk to those who felt and heard the unsettling booms and shakes.
“Experiencing them is not only incredibly unnerving, but due to snow cover it’s unknown if these loud, house-shaking booms have done any unseen damage. People here are used to hearing regular cracks and pops in the winter as the cold weather causes pipes and structures to expand and contract. These frost quakes sound much louder and deeper.”
“Since frost quakes are rare, localized, cannot be monitored and tend to cause only minimal damage, the scientific community has very limited amount of information.” They might crack roadways and building foundations, but that kind of result is rare.
Frost quakes can strike after a pounding of rain or when the rapid melting of snow saturates underground streams. When temperatures suddenly reach near 0 degrees, the water table expands and starts cracking the soil and smashing nearby rock formations. Witnesses have described the sounds as being similar to gunshots, exploding bombs and falling trees.
Since the beginning of the year, they have tracked numerous frost quakes in freeze-gripped parts of the Midwest. As recently as Sunday, 911 operators in Illinois and Missouri took reports from callers who said they heard booms. In addition to social media reports, frost quakes have garnered extra attention becuase they have occurred in a major city, Toronto. It's more typical to hear of booms once every few years in rural areas of states such as Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

Frost quakes rare in Missouri - A Mizzou Atmospheric Scientist said he's never experienced a frost quake in Missouri during his past 17 years at the University.


Australia - Bushfire threatens Adelaide Hills as extreme fire conditions grip South Australia and Victoria.


Rock strike kills two on Alps train - Two people were killed and at least nine are injured when a falling boulder derailed a tourist train in the southern French Alps. The train was travelling from Nice to the town of Digne-les-Bains on a line which crosses gorges and viaducts at up to 1,000m (3,200ft) above sea level.
Images from the scene show the two-carriage train dangling from the tracks, the side of one carriage caved in by the rock. One of the dead was a Russian woman, while the other victim came from the Alps region. One of the injured is said to be in a critical condition, while the others, including the driver, are reported to have sustained lighter injuries.
"A rock the size of a car came off the mountainside and slammed into the first car of the train." There were a total of 34 people on board at the time of the accident. A total of 110 firefighters and 32 vehicles were deployed from around the region, as well as two helicopters. They are said to have encountered difficulties in reaching the accident because of heavy snow and the isolated location.
The train travels on track that regularly receives snow and rockfalls, but regional transport officials said that even in winter it is considered safe. (photos & map at link)

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