**All you need is love. But a little
chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.**
Charles M. Schulz
### No update on Thursday this week. NO UPDATE ON FRIDAY EITHER. But I'll try to get a Saturday update posted instead. ###
LARGEST QUAKES today -
5.4 VANUATU 5.8 BALLENY ISLANDS REGION (near Antarctica) 5.3 NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN 5.2 TONGA 5.0 GUAM REGION Yesterday, 2/12/14 -
5.0 NEW IRELAND REGION, P.N.G. 5.4 GUAM REGION
5.0 NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
5.1 KEPULAUAN BARAT DAYA, INDONESIA
Greece - The strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck near the Greek island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea early on Monday left 16 people slightly hurt, roads & a port damaged. Yachts were seen knocked off their stands at a damaged dock after the earthquake in Lixouri on the island of Kefalonia, western Greece on Monday.
Peru - Ubinas Volcano active again. After several months of little or no activity, the Ubinas Volcano in Moquegua is once again spewing smoke and ash.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Edilson is located approximately 219 nm northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius.
- Tropical cyclone Edna is located approximately 89 nm west of Noumea, New Caledonia.
Cyclone Fletcher a fizzer but could reform off Queensland, Australia. The second cyclone in four days has crossed the Queensland coast - and again it's been a fizzer. Cyclone Fletcher made landfall as a category one storm between Karumba and the Gilbert River Mouth in the Gulf of Carpentaria about 7.30pm on Monday.
Since downgraded to a tropical low, it is bringing rain to the gulf country, including some localised flooding in communities such as Kowanyama, north of Karumba. A cyclone warning remained current for coastal and island communities from the Northern Territory-Queensland border to the Gilbert River Mouth, and for Mornington Island. Fletcher is expected to head out over water again, where it could reform into a cyclone.
"The system is forecast to remain below cyclone intensity over land in the short term, but then recurve towards the west later Tuesday, and re-enter southern Gulf of Carpentaria waters. If this occurs, the system may redevelop into a tropical cyclone. As a result gales may develop between Gilbert River Mouth and the NT/Qld border early on Wednesday."
Fletcher crossed the coast hot on the heels of Cyclone Dylan, which made landfall in north Queensland on Friday as a category two storm. It also brought heavy rain but did little damage. Cyclone Edna formed on Saturday but didn't cross the coast and petered out in the Coral Sea.
Queensland could see two Fujiwhara effects as ex-Cyclone Fletcher and ex-Cyclone Edna threaten to merge with lows. Ex-Cyclone Fletcher and a low heading towards Queensland from the Northern Territory may merge into a large tropical storm, possibly Thursday. At the same time, ex-Cyclone Edna, 1230km northeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea, also may merge with another low, creating a RARELY SEEN PHENOMENA that has excited meteorologists and storm chasers across the nation.
It is known as the Fujiwhara effect and occurs when two cyclonic vortices orbit each other and eventually merge. The event occurred only once in years and a Weather Bureau forecaster said he had never seen a situation where it might occur twice at the same time. Ex-Cyclone Fletcher is expected to cross back into the Gulf and reform into a cyclone later today and ex-Cyclone Edna may similarly intensify tonight.
The gulf merger would most likely occur over land, rather than water, which would prevent it from developing into a major cyclone. Similarly, Edna was expected to push east then south and likely be too far offshore to affect southeast Queensland. "Sometimes lows or cyclones can swing around each other. It's like a gravitational effect but horizontal rather than vertical. Sometimes they spin around each other but usually end up in a merger. If one system is stronger, it tends to swallow the other. We think they might start rotating around each other Wednesday or Thursday.''
It was difficult to forecast exactly what would happen but the two small systems would likely create a larger single system. Unfortunately for Queensland graziers looking for rain, the combined system would most likely deliver its best rain in the NT. "We expect more widespread and heavier falls from Weipa to Burketown and the NT border but only about 50km to 100km in from the coast.'' A relatively small amount of rain had fallen along the coastal strip near Karumba and Normanton but heavy rain towards Kowanyama had closed roads.
"The road to Kowanyama will cost millions to fix but the other roads to Cairns and Mt Isa are open. I'm just hoping this reforms and swings south to Cloncurry and Richmond where they need it. It's disappointing for the graziers have missed out.'' Forecasters also were closely watching the prospects of a third low building along the monsoon trough in the Coral Sea. "It could spin up in the next 24 hours or so.'' Steady rain continues on the northeast coast, with 269mm recorded near the Daintree overnight. Rainfall in the 24 hours to 9am included Southwell Station on the western gulf with 211mm, Kowanyama 172mm while Armraynald Station near Burketown had 92mm.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
Severe weather warning as 80mph winds head to Northern Ireland - Gale force winds of up to 80mph are expected to sweep Northern Ireland as the latest deep area of low pressure moves in from the Atlantic. Severe weather warnings of high winds and heavy rain have been issued for today and tomorrow and forecasters warn that a combination of large waves and high tides could cause flooding in coastal areas.
The Met Office warned of the potential for disruption due to the combination of high winds and rainfall of 10mm to 20mm in some places. "A very deep area of low pressure developing in the Atlantic on Monday will approach the UK later on Tuesday, spreading very strong winds and heavy rain into southwestern areas, then northwards into parts of Northern Ireland during the evening. Another very deep area of low pressure will swing bands of rain and strong winds across the entire country on Wednesday, with impacts focused in southern and western areas."
"We have more Atlantic depressions heading our way this week." "With more stormy weather forecast, we're asking people to take extra care if they're going down to the coast. Rough seas and extreme weather might look exciting, but getting too close can be risky."
UK storms - Thousands of homes are without power after strong winds and heavy rain hit south-west England and Wales. The Environment Agency has seven severe flood warnings in place, meaning "danger to life", covering much of the south coast from Cornwall to Dorset. Western Power Distribution said about 44,000 customers had been affected by power cuts since Tuesday afternoon and 5,000 homes remained without power.
Rail services in south-west England have also been badly disrupted. First Great Western said all lines between Exeter St Davids and Penzance were closed because of adverse weather conditions and it advised against travel for the rest of the day. In Dawlish, which is between Exeter and Cornwall, police declared a major incident after a section of seawall under the railway line collapsed, leaving the line suspended in mid-air.
The Met Office said gusts of up to 70mph and 20mm of rain had spread from the South West to south-west Wales and eastern Northern Ireland overnight. There had been high voltage faults due to debris being blown around in Devon and Cornwall. Teams of engineers worked through the night to try to fix the faults. Some customers in west, south and mid-Wales were also without power.
Twenty people were evacuated from Kingsand in Cornwall because their homes were being damaged by stones washed ashore and coming through their windows. Network Rail engineers said 98ft (30m) of sea wall in Dawlish was washed away by waves. Devon and Cornwall police received 300 emergency calls overnight. About 100 trees were reported blown over. Winds of up to 92mph (148km/h) were reported in the Isles of Scilly. In Wales, a number of main roads were closed by fallen trees or flooding.
The Met Office has an amber severe weather warning - meaning "be prepared" - for wind for southern England between 08:00 and 15:00 GMT on Wednesday, as well as warnings for wind and rain for other parts of the UK. "As long as the jetstream continues to be in a locked position, we will continue to see storm after storm. There will be another bout of potentially damaging winds into the morning ."
On Tuesday, in the flood-hit Somerset Levels, thousands of hectares of land remain under water and whole villages have been cut off for weeks. Somerset residents have expressed anger at the pace at which the Environment Agency and the government have responded. Many said there has been a slow response from the authorities to the flooding, which has affected many parts of the Levels since December.
In Cornwall, the local authority estimated storms had caused more than £4m of damage across the county in the past month. The Met Office said another band of rain was expected to arrive from the south on Thursday. (map & photos at link)
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -
U. S. - The nation has been pummelled through several rounds of icy, snowy blasts this season - and the hits just keep coming. Tuesday was round two - of the week, but four or five of the year - while 115 million people in 32 states braced themselves for another gut punch of wintry precipitation that cut power, grounded flights and snarl traffic — again. Governors in states from Arkansas to New Jersey declared emergencies.
"It's another one of these significant snowstorms, covering a large swath of the country." A long arm of the Northeast — from central New York into New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts — could be pounded by more than 12 inches of snow. Wednesday isn't looking to be any better.
Major cities like New York, Philadelphia and Washington will likely avoid the worst, but officials cautioned residents to brace for bone-chilling rain and ice. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for New York City beginning overnight and running until 6 p.m. Wednesday. Utility company Con Edison warned residents that a combination of snow and freezing rain could trigger power failures across the city. Meanwhile, another storm warning was out for the northern counties of New Jersey.
The storm smashed through the Plains on Tuesday, hitting Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma with snow that forecasters said could stack up to as much as a foot before moving north to drop 5 to 8 inches on Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Detroit. By midnight ET, more than 1,600 flights into or out of U.S. airports had been canceled, about a fifth of them at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings across 15 states early Tuesday from the Rockies to southern Maine. "It's going to be like a hammer coming down I-70." Road conditions throughout northeast Missouri were "awful," with whiteout conditions in many areas. "We currently have a no-travel advisory out, and it needs to be taken seriously."
And even as they braced for another round of wicked weather, many people on the East Coast were still reeling from Monday's dump of snow and ice. At least two deaths and one serious injury could be blamed on Monday's storm and its cleanup: In western Kentucky, where the snow began to fall Sunday, a 24-year-old man died after his car skidded into a snowplow. Meanwhile, in New York, a 73-year-old man was struck and killed by a snowplow that was backing up on a Brooklyn street. A 10-year-old girl also was recovering at home Tuesday after she was impaled in the back Monday by a metal rod while sledding in Jarrettsville, Md., north of Baltimore.
A third storm is also likely to form over the weekend, although it's too early to tell the storm's orientation or path. Millions in the U.S. have already suffered from an unforgiving winter, especially through the month of January. And last week, Southern states like Georgia and Alabama were caught flatfooted by just a few inches of snow — leaving motorists and schoolchildren unable to get home.
'GLOBAL WEIRDNESS' / CLIMATE CHANGE -
US sets up 'climate hubs' to help rural communities affected by extreme weather. The Obama administration plans to announce today the creation of seven "climate hubs" to provide information to rural communities facing extreme weather conditions.
Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook - with breaking news during the day.