Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

Sorry for missing the last two days of updates - I've had a complete computer meltdown and am still trying to get it working. Next the snowstorm stopped me from getting to the library to use their computers. It's so frustrating!

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 2/18/14 -

2/17/14 -

2/16/14 -

Indonesia - Mount Kelud's eruption last Thursday has damaged 70 percent of protected forests within a radius of three kilometers around the volcano, a forestry company spokesman stated. Total forests that have been severely damaged have reached more than 2,580 hectares. The forests that have been damaged reached 70 percent of the total forests on the mountains slopes covering 3,885.4 hectares of them.
"This is still our temporary estimate made based on the 1990 eruption that destroyed up to a radius of five kilometers." Besides that, Perhutani has also directly checked the affected area. The worst damage was found in Plot 3, RPH Penataran in Wingli reaching 1,375 hectares out of a total of 1,738.4 hectares. The area is located right in the middle of the crater or the eruption center.
An equal amount of damage was found at Plot 6A in Wlingi reaching 1,205 hectares out of a total of 2,146.9 hectares. "Total loss suffered by the state is estimated to be at Rp 19 billion." Damages were also found in a number of production forests in buffer zones beyond a radius of three kilometer from the peak. However, it is believed it was not as bad as those within a radius of three kilometer from the crater.
"As in the 1990 eruption, molten lava and hot volcanic materials have caused massive destruction. It would take three to four years to rehabilitate the forests based on this estimate." Perhutani in Blitar is still collecting forest destruction data before reporting the final results to the ministry of forestry for future rehabilitation planning.
The price of shallots and red chili in Batam have been affected by Mount Kelud’s eruption in Kediri, East Java. The supply of shallots and red chili from Brebes, Central Java, has been disrupted and subsequently had caused prices to rise. “A number of flights connecting Java with other regions — including Batam — were grounded, which disrupted supply."
Surveys conducted by the agency in several markets recorded that red chili cost between Rp 60,000 (US$5.10) and Rp 80,000 per kilogram (kg). The usual price is Rp 50,000. Shallots supplied from Java were being sold for around Rp 100,000 per kg from the usual Rp 70,000 per kg. Batam gets a lot of its edible commodities, such as rice and vegetables from Java and Sumatra. Areas in North Sumatra, such as Brastagi, were still recovering after Mount Sinabung, Karo, erupted, only adding to the pressure on prices in Batam.
The Bank Indonesia Riau Islands chapter head said the limited supply of commodities had caused average monthly inflation of 0.16 percent since October last year and 7.62 percent year-on-year, which were both quite high.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Guito is located approximately 400 nm west of Antananarivo, Madagascar.


U. S. - A speedy winter storm that blew through parts of the Great Lakes and East on Tuesday is expected to leave a trail of warmer weather and rain that should provide a respite for residents weary of weeks of bitter cold but create the potential for flooding and collapsing roofs in some areas.
Clogged storm drains could cause ponding and puddles on roads, and in Ohio the National Weather Service said the combination of melting snow and more rain could cause significant flooding. In Michigan, where several roof collapses have been reported since January, there was concern that rain on top of snow could lead to more.
Temperatures above freezing in places where the storm passed through Tuesday should move up to the 40s to mid-50s for the rest of the week in New York. Despite the warming and some expected rain on Wednesday and Friday, flooding will not be a concern in New England. "The snow can handle a lot of rain. It's not like we're looking at temperatures into the upper 50s and mid-60s. The snow's not going to all melt away all at once. By next week, we'll be back down to normal and below normal temperatures."
The storm took thundersnow to Pittsburgh and areas northeast of the city. Pennsylvania Turnpike officials reduced speed limits along the entire 360-mile highway system but later lifted most of them. The latest storm came days after the Southeast and Northeast were paralyzed with heavy snow, ice and massive power outages. It dumped about a foot of snow in parts of northern New England. Heavy snow fell Tuesday afternoon and picked up in intensity as the evening commute began.
In New Hampshire, 12 inches of snow were reported in New Boston, and there were 10 in Nashua and other places. In Maine, nearly 10 inches of snow fell in Kennebunk, which is on the coast, and close to 9 fell in Portland. In Vermont, 5.5 inches fell in Rochester. Parts of Massachusetts saw 10 or 11 inches. There were no immediate reports of any major Northeast traffic messes caused by the bad weather, which was expected to move out late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
New Hampshire reduced the speed limit on all of its highways to 45 mph. Many schools in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine canceled classes for the day or sent children home early. "I'm ready for it to end. It's a pain to come home from work and have to dig out my driveway."
On Monday, several inches of snow fell across the Great Lakes, causing Chicago's two airports to cancel more than 1,000 flights. The National Weather Service said moderating temperatures would result in snow melt and possible flooding in northern Illinois. In Michigan, crashes closed portions of Interstate 96 in Grand Rapids and the Muskegon area saw whiteout conditions.
Last week, about 1.2 million utility customers lost power as the storm marched from the South through the Northeast. Schools, businesses and government offices closed. The storm was blamed for at least 25 deaths stretching from Texas to Maine.


Climate change will hurt temperate zone countries after all ? - The standard climate change predictions said that people in the tropics and the subtropics would be badly hurt by global warming long before the people living in the temperate zones — farther away from the equator — were feeling much pain at all. But the people of the temperate zones are going to get hurt early after all, but not by gradual warming. Their weather is just going to get more and more extreme: Heat waves, blizzards and flooding on an unprecedented scale.
“In 2012 we had the second-wettest winter on record and this winter is a one-in-250-years event,” the British opposition leader says. "If you keep throwing the dice and you keep getting sixes then the dice are loaded. Something is going on.” The “something” is abrupt climate change.
In Britain, it’s an unprecedented series of great storms blowing in off the North Atlantic, dropping enormous amounts of rain and causing disastrous floods. In the United States and Canada, it’s huge blizzards, ice storms and record low temperatures that last much longer and reach much further south than normal. Welcome to the “temperate” zone of the northern hemisphere.
The extreme weather trend in North America and Europe is less than five years old, so the science that might explain exactly what is happening is still quite tentative. The first hypothesis that sounded plausible, published in 2012, blamed a slowing of the northern hemisphere’s polar jet stream. They start with the fact that the Arctic has been warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, so the difference in temperature between the Arctic air mass and the air over the temperate zone has been shrinking. Since that difference in temperature is what drives the jet stream that flows along the boundary between the two air masses, a lower difference means a slower jet stream.
Now, a fast jet stream travels in a pretty straight line around the planet from west to east, just like a mountain stream goes pretty straight downhill. A slower jet stream, however, meanders like a river crossing a flood plain — and the big loops it makes extend much further south and north than when it was moving fast. In a big southerly loop, you will have Arctic air much further south than usual, while there will be relatively warm air from the temperate air mass in a northerly loop that extends up into the Arctic. Moreover, the slower-moving jet stream tends to get “stuck,” so that a given kind of weather — snow or rain or heat — will stay longer over the same area.
Hence the “polar-vortex” winter in North America this year, the record snowfalls in Japan in 2012 and again this winter, the lethal heat waves in the eastern U.S. in 2012, and the floods in Britain this winter. “They’ve been pummelled by storm after storm this winter (in Britain). It’s been amazing what’s going on, and it’s because the pattern this winter has been stuck in one place ever since early December.” There’s no particular reason to think that it will move on soon, either.


Argentina - 2/18/14 - Scientists said Tuesday that a meteor crashing to earth could explain reports of an explosion in the Argentine countryside some 350 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires. The loud boom was reported at 10 am (1300 GMT) in Argentina's central-eastern province of Santa Fe. "It's possible it was a meteor," said a spokesman from the Buenos Aires Planetarium. Authorities have not yet found any meteor fragments, but "it is possible that the orb disintegrated in the air." Residents in the area who reported hearing a loud explosion Tuesday said that the ground and also buildings shook.

Sri Lanka - 2/16/14 - The stone that fell on a house in Ragala Sunday was a meteor. A group of scientists led by the Head of the Geological Survey Unit of Peradeniya University visited the area and began inspecting the stone fragments. According to the findings of the University research group, the stone was a meteor. The center was ready to send the Ragala stone to India for further The owner of the house on which the strange stone fell in Ragala Estate described the incident. The Crime Division of the Ragala police have also conducted an investigation with regard to the unknown stone fall. Prticles of the stone have scattered within an area of 26 square feet. Various reports about alien objects and stones were published in the past several weeks. (video at link)

Britain - 2/15/14 - A stargazer has described spotting "huge green fireball” in the sky over Epping as a meteor flew close to the earth. He was travelling in a car in High Street, Epping, at 6:30pm on Saturday when the object caught his eye. "It was like a bright green slash, like a fireball. My immediate thought was that it was a firework only it was coming down instead of going up before burning out completely – that’s when we realised it was a wife thought it was the end of the world. I’m interested in astronomy so I checked online and noticed that others had seen the same.”
It transpired that there had also been various sightings across the country, including Norfolk, Plymouth, Cheshire, Bristol and Cardiff. The fireball was classified as “sporadic” as it didn’t belong to any known meteor shower. The meteor traveled at a speed of 16.3 km per second and started to burn up in the atmosphere at an altitude of 86.3km. The full event lasted 4.4 seconds and the meteor covered distance of 47.7km within the earth's atmosphere.

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