**Knowledge is the antidote to fear.**
Ralph Waldo Emerson
No update on Wednesday this week.
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.3 OFFSHORE TARAPACA, CHILE
Yesterday, 3/24/14 -
5.0 OFFSHORE ATACAMA, CHILE
5.0 OFFSHORE TARAPACA, CHILE
5.7 OFFSHORE TARAPACA, CHILE
5.4 OFFSHORE TARAPACA, CHILE
5.1 OFFSHORE TARAPACA, CHILE
5.7 OFFSHORE TARAPACA, CHILE
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Gillian is located approximately 618 nm west-northwest of Learmonth, Australia.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
Washington - Officials now say as many as 176 people may remain unaccounted for after the 177ft (54m) wall of mud hit near the town of Oso, north of Seattle. Search crews have worked day and night, using helicopters and laser imaging. But officials admit they have little hope of finding survivors in the muck.
The slide "basically cut a mountain in two" and deposited it on the town below. Nothing in the path of the slide was still standing. "It's that absolute devastation that causes us all real pain." The official list of the missing stood at 176, but they did not think the final death toll would be so high, because some of those listed as unaccounted for would be found to be alive, and other names would prove to be duplicates.
The landslide left behind a cliff known as a head scarp 183m high. "This is one of the biggest landslides I've seen." Authorities have continued their search-and-rescue operations amid a tangled, water-logged field of muck and debris, using rescue dogs, aerial photography and laser imaging to aide the search.
Officials said the conditions were treacherous, and the threat of further landslides on Monday forced the authorities to pull search-and-rescue workers back from the scene briefly until scientists determined there was no further risk. "Right now it's stable, it's in good shape, and the good news is the rescue can continue."
More than 30 homes were destroyed and more than half the town of Oso is missing - a recent census put its population at 180. The landslide cut off the city of Darrington and clogged the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. The river had begun to flow over the debris, relieving the water pressure in the part of the river blocked behind the landslide and lessening the chances of a catastrophic flood if the water should break through all at once.
The authorities say the landslide was caused by recent heavy rain, although the area's terrain is made up of unstable glacial sediment and has been subject to landslides since the last ice age. Landslides occurred in the area in 2006 and 1969. (photos & map at link)
Meteorological Bomb Brewing for Canada on Wednesday - The most powerful Nor'easter of the year will gather strength over the waters offshore of Virginia on Tuesday, then head northeast and bring damaging winds, heavy rain and snow, and a substantial storm surge to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Canada on Wednesday.
The storm will brush Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, bringing at least six inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 60 mph. A Blizzard Watch and Coastal Flood Watch are posted for Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, where a NOAA storm surge model run using the winds from the 00Z run of the GFS model predicted almost a 2 foot surge could occur on Wednesday morning. A surge of this magnitude is capable of causing minor to moderate flooding.
As the storm pulls away from the Mid-Atlantic coast on Tuesday evening, it will undergo EXPLOSIVE DEEPENING, meeting the criteria of a "meteorological bomb" - a storm that deepens by at least 24 mb in 24 hours. In fact, the Monday morning 00Z run of the European model shows the pressure falling by more than double that pace - deepening by an extraordinary 40 mb in just eighteen hours, ending at 2 pm EDT Wednesday.
When the Nor'easter hits Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Wednesday evening, the central pressure of the storm is expected to be between 956 - 960 mb, similar to the central pressure of a strong Category 2 hurricane. However, Nor'easters do not form eyewalls with intense winds concentrated over a small area, and this Nor'easter's strong winds will be spread out over a large area.
I doubt we'll see sustained hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or greater at any land stations, but sustained winds of 60 - 70 mph are likely in some locations, which will be capable of causing widespread power outages and considerable tree damage. A storm surge of 2 - 4 feet may also cause coastal damage and moderate flooding, if the surge arrives at high tide. (map at link)
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS
Tests on the suspected cases of deadly Ebola virus in Guinea's capital Conakry are negative, health officials say. On Sunday, United Nations officials said that the virus had spread to the capital, a port city of up to two million, from remote forests in the south, where some 61 people have died.
The government has sent out text messages, urging people to stay calm and wash their hands with soap. eighbouring countries such as Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone are said to be on high alert in case the disease spreads. Five people are already reported to have died in Liberia after crossing from southern Guinea for treatment. However, it is not clear whether they had Ebola.
Guinea is also currently grappling with epidemics of measles, cholera and meningitis. After two people died from a haemorrhagic fever in Conakry, samples were sent to the Pasteur Institute in neighbouring Senegal for testing. These had shown that the victims had not been infected with Ebola. It is not known what killed them.
Recent outbreaks of Ebola have occurred thousands of miles away, in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
Canadian man in hospital with Ebola-like virus - The Ebola virus is just one of the possible diagnoses. The man is in hospital in Canada with symptoms of a haemorrhagic fever resembling the Ebola virus.
The man had recently returned from Liberia in the west African region, currently suffering a deadly outbreak of an unidentified haemorrhagic fever. He is in isolation in critical condition in Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan province. A provincial medical official said there was no risk to the public.
The province's deputy chief medical officer declined to say how long the man had been in Africa but said he only fell ill after returning to Canada. She said that was in line with the profile of common deadly haemorrhagic fever viruses Lassa fever and Ebola, which have an incubation period of up to 21 days. She said the people most at risk were healthcare workers who do not protect themselves from contact with the patient's bodily secretions.
"There is no risk to the general public. We recognise that there is going to be a fair amount of concern and that is why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible." A virus resembling Ebola has struck in Guinea, with cases also reported in Liberia. As many as 61 people have died of the disease in the remote forests of southern Guinea. But health officials in the Guinean capital, Conakry, have said the virus is not Ebola.
In Saskatchewan, the man's diagnosis had not yet been confirmed.
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