Sunday, March 2, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.**
Richard Bach

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday, 3/1/14 -

2/28/14 -

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Faxai is located approximately 353 nm southeast of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

* In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Kofi is located approximately 435 nm southeast of Suva, Fiji.
Two Pacific tropical storms form, boosting the odds of an El Niño. The atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the Equatorial Pacific are ripe for an El Niño event to develop this spring or summer. All that is needed to trigger an El Niño this spring or summer are strong and persistent bursts of westerly winds in the Equatorial Pacific to help push warm water from the Western Pacific Warm Pool eastwards towards South America.
Two tropical storms capable of doing just that formed in the Pacific on Friday, boosting the odds that we will see an El Niño event this spring or summer. In the Western Pacific, Tropical Storm Faxai formed Friday morning about 400 miles southeast of Guam. The minimal 40 mph tropical storm is located close to the Equator, which means the the counterclockwise wind circulation around the storm will drive west-to-east winds along the Equator, giving a substantial push to warm waters attempting to slosh eastwards towards South America and start an El Niño event. Faxai is expected to intensify to a Category 1 typhoon by Monday, but is not a threat to any islands.
In the South Pacific, Tropical Cyclone Sixteen formed Friday morning near the island of Fiji. This minimal 40 mph tropical storm is moving south-southeast at 10 mph, and is expected to slowly intensify to a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds by Monday. [This storm has already beome cyclone Kofi.] The clockwise circulation of winds around the storm will also help drive westerly winds near the Equator that will boost the odds of an El Niño event. However, since this storm is farther from the Equator it will not have a strong an impact on boosting El Niño odds as Tropical Storm Faxai will.

Quiet hurricane season expected for 2014 - Increased wind during stronger El Niño events tends to suppress tropical cyclone development.


After sitting out much of the winter weather season, California is at the center of the action this weekend with a series of powerful storms. The powerful storm that has swept Southern California over the weekend is expected to taper off today with rains slowing to a light drizzle by mid-afternoon, and residents and emergency crews will begin to clean up the mess caused by downed trees, gusty winds and mudslides across the region.
In Los Angeles County, the Department of Public Works said it responded to more than 300 calls for storm-related assistance since the rains began Friday, and additional crews had been called in to assist in clearing roadways and easing localized flooding. Heavy equipment has been called out to help clear debris in areas affected by the 2,000-acre Colby Fire, which was hardest hit by mudslides, as well as mountain roads in the Angeles National Forest and other smaller incidents from the Antelope Valley to the South Bay.
12,600 acre-feet of water was captured throughout Los Angeles County by Saturday evening. “It’s enough to supply 100,800 people with water for a full year.” That number is good, but still far from enough to stem the drought, but still welcome in an area parched by rainfall shortages in the last two years. “We’re still quite a bit away from what we would typically see in a normal season.”
In the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, mud flowed down streets in the Glendora evacuation zone Saturday, dragging along tree stumps, rocks and branches with it. About 1,200 homes were evacuated, and will not be allowed back in until after the hillsides can be inspected and the area declared safe. Some local roads are expected to remain closed through today, until debris can clear and water recedes. Highway 39 in Azusa was shut down during the downpour Saturday afternoon due to mud flowing onto the roadway, as well as fears the K-rails placed to block slides would not hold.
Residents have also been evacuated in Lake Hughes, near Castaic, where the hillsides remain vulnerable from last summer’s Powerhouse Fire. Mudslides have forced the closure of several local access roads in the area. Several more inches of rain fell Saturday night in some areas, and thunderstorms accompanied downpours in much of the region. Up in the mountains, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Hesperia and Big Bear Lake until 3 a.m. this morning because of heavy snow and fog. People are discouraged from traveling and are advised to bring extra food and water in their vehicles, as well as chains and an extra flashlight.
In the San Fernando Valley, drivers on La Tuna Canyon Road, Malibu Canyon Road and other canyon routes saw small mudslides, and the continued drizzle could trigger more. Roads through the Sepulveda Basin area have been closed, and are expected to remain blocked until Monday, as officials warily eye rising water levels. Burbank Boulevard from west of the 405 Freeway to Balboa Boulevard is expected to remain shut down through Monday. Rains caused flooding on several area freeways, and California Highway Patrol reported temporary closures on the 110 and 134 Freeways, and plans on keeping a close eye on the region today.
The CHP reported responding to 54 crashes within the county between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday, compared with 18 crashes during the same time period one week prior on Feb. 22, when the weather was dry. Intermittent power outages may also continue into today, as the region’s utility companies battle downed power lines and flooded gear boxes. In Pasadena, downed power lines snarled an intersection and knocked out power to nearly 1,000 Pasadena Department of Water and Power customers Saturday morning. The wires fell to the street about 10 a.m.
Dramatic maps show impact of heavy rains.

United Kingdom - WETTEST EVER WINTER. This has officially been the wettest winter since records began almost 250 years ago. What seemed at the time to be never-ending rainfall has left chaos in its wake, with thousands of properties affected by flooding. Disruption to travel services has also had detrimental consequences on business and tourism.
The Met Office said south-east and central southern England, some parts of which were badly affected by the flooding, received almost two-and-a-half times their average rainfall. (Chart with rainfall figures by region and predicted costs at link)


Friday, February 28 marked a fitting final day of meteorological winter over Michigan, which has seen one of its most severe winters in memory during 2013 - 2014. An Arctic blast of cold air poured out of Canada over the Great Lakes, bringing the COLDEST TEMPERATURES EVER MEASURED SO LATE IN THE YEAR to Flint (-16°F), Gaylord (-29°F), and Houghton Lake (-29°F).
The coldest spot in the country was in Michigan's Upper Peninsula city of Newberry, where the mercury plunged to a remarkable -41°F. In the Lower Peninsula, the cold spot was Pellston with -33°F - the city's 7th COLDEST MORNING ON RECORD. In Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the -29°F reading in Marquette was that city's coldest temperature since March 3, 2003, and only the 8th time since record keeping began in 1872 that a temperature of -29° or colder had been observed.
Farther to the north, Peawanuck, Ontario hit -47°F. What's remarkable about these records is that they were set without fresh snow on the ground - though there is plenty of horrible-looking old snow around. It's been another month of remarkably persistent cold over the Upper Midwest in February, and as of February 27, these cities were on track to have a top-ten coldest February on record:
Madison, WI (10th coldest)
Chicago (9th coldest)
Minneapolis, MN (9th)
Kansas City, MO (9th)
Peoria, IL (6th)
Moline, IL (5th)
Green Bay, WI (4th)
Rochester, MN (4th)
Dubuque, IA (3rd coldest)

Colorado - 104-car pileup kills one, injures dozens. Denver police say the 104-car pileup that happened on icy I-25 on Saturday was ONE OF THE WORST THEY'VE EVER SEEN. One woman was killed and 30 other people were hospitalized.

Canada - RECORD-BREAKING NUMBER of frozen pipes reported in Winnipeg. Extreme cold weather in Winnipeg this winter has led to a record-breaking 500 frozen pipes in the city in 2014.


Global Disaster Watch is on Facebook - with breaking news during the day.