Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Having once decided to achieve a certain task,
achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste.
The gain in self-confidence of having
accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.**
Arnold Bennett

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
6.8 BOUVET ISLAND REGION [near Antarctica in the southern Atlantic Ocean]

Yesterday, 4/14/14 -

Nicaragua fears the next 'big one' - A series of earthquakes have reactivated old fault lines under Managua and possibly reawakened the chain of volcanos lining Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, experts warn.
The mostly impoverished population living on the northern edge of Managua hustled anxiously back into the darkened streets of the capital Sunday night as another series of earthquakes rippled violently through their disaster-prone city. A 4.4-magnitude quake with an epicenter just 6 Km deep at the Apoyeque Volcano leveled 21 homes and knocked out power lines at 10:12 pm Sunday night. The quake was followed less than an hour later by a stronger 5.6-magnitude tremor, followed by a 4.6-magnitude aftershock just before midnight. Dozens of aftershocks have been reported since then, including 15 quakes registering magnitudes between 3.0 - 4.0.
Sunday night’s string of earthquakes came on a heels of a government warning that the recent seismic activity has possibly reawakened Momotombo Volcano and reactivated the old “Estadio Nacional” fault line, which caused the disastrous 1972 the earthquake that shook Managua to the ground. The last time Momotombo erupted was in 1905.
More frightening yet, a volcanologist expert warns that the recent seismic activity in Managua COULD REACTIVATE THE WHOLE CHAIN OF VOLCANOS ALONG NICARAGUA'S PACIFIC RANGE. The government is asking Nicaraguans to remain as calm as they can, but on high alert for continued earthquakes. “This is not a call to panic; we don’t want anyone to lose their calm. But we need to be aware that WE ARE IN A SPECIAL SITUATION and we are called to take care."
Sitting on the crossroads of five major fault lines that intersect beneath downtown Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city is among the most tectonically precarious in the world. Managua, history suggests, is a city waiting to be destroyed by a major earthquake — a repeat disaster that’s already happened THREE TIMES in the past 130 years.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that destroyed Nicaragua’s capital in 1972 leveled all but five of the city’s major buildings, claiming some 10,000 lives, leveling 50,000 homes and displacing half the city’s population. In a matter of hours, Managua went from being the hippest and liveliest city in Central America to a smoldering ruin. In total, 541 city blocks in Managua were destroyed or irreparably damaged and had to be bulldozed afterwards.
Not only was the earthquake disastrous, but so too was the relief effort, which served to line the dictator's pockets with millions in swindled aid and set the stage for an impoverished and backwards Nicaragua that was born from the ashes. The city was previously leveled by previous earthquakes in 1885 and then again in 1931 - meaning a monstrous earthquake occurs every 40 to 45 years or so (don’t do the math, it’s too scary).
After the ’72 quake there was brief talk about relocating Nicaragua’s capital to Masaya or Carazo. Unfortunately stasis trumped long-term planning, and the city was rebuilt in the same disaster-prone location, sealing its fate as a shaky place to live.

Magnitude 6.9 earthquake in remote Bouvet Island region, 1,400 south-southwest of South Africa.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

No current tropical storms.

Australia - Cyclone Ita's damage to north Queensland sugar cane to cost millions. Sugar cane growers in far north Queensland say about 90 per cent of crops have been wiped out by now ex-Tropical Cyclone Ita.
Cyclone Ita will not affect Easter seafood supplies - The seafood industry is reporting good catches of fish, prawns and crabs coming in from commercial fishers despite the cyclone's path.


Michigan's 'overachiever' storm - Severe storms raked parts of Michigan with a storm system. This severe weather outbreak was what we call an "overachiever." This means that the ingredients were there for severe weather, but it didn't really look this severe.
But in the end, the storms were able to gain their maximum strength. This occasionally happens in April in Michigan. The surface temperatures were cool, making them believe that massive severe weather wasn't likely. The cold lake temperatures also often act to diminish thunderstorms.
But rarely these factors help the storms go the other way. The stubborn cold air near the ground enhances the lifting of air on a warm front. The lifting of air is one of the main severe weather processes. So in the severe weather area, you never felt the warmth at the ground, but it was much warmer just above at 1,000 to 5,000 feet above the ground.
In Lower Michigan they have had two and a half inches to six inches of rain just in the last three days. Around the Muskegon, Big Rapids, and Newaygo areas is where the heaviest rain fell. Most of this rain fell on the Muskegon River drainage basin. As a result, this is where evacuations and major flooding are occurring right now. Southern Michigan was spared from the heaviest rainfall, and has avoided flooding with this storm.
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids assessed the damage and says it was straight-line winds that caused the extreme damage in the Sparta area and other spots in West Michigan. The strongest winds were estimated at 75 MPH to 85 MPH, which is the strength of an EF0 (weakest) tornado. No funnels were verified and no major twisting of the debris was observed. For those reasons, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids called this severe weather outbreak a straight-line wind event.
Southeast Michigan was hit by a few isolated but very intense segments of storms. These storms also produced straight-line wind damage, with winds measured and estimated between 55 mph and 65 mph. The colder atmosphere of April is what helped produce large hail. Some hail was reported as quarter sized. The storms developed as warm air from the south was pushed up over cold air at the surface. The rising air carries water droplets higher in the atmosphere. Those water droplets eventually hit layers of air aloft that are well below freezing. This is how the hail is formed. This same outbreak in the middle of summer probably wouldn't have had enough cold air aloft to produce numerous reports of large hail.
They've had a stormy winter. Does this early severe weather mean the rest of the season will be active? It is hard to say right now. Having an abnormally active storm track continuing into spring and summer would increase the chances of severe weather. Just because they've had that active storm track this winter doesn't mean it will continue into summer. They look to have a few strong systems in the next two week period.


Asia pollution drives Pacific storms - Air pollution in China and other Asian countries is having far-reaching impacts on weather patterns across the Northern Hemisphere, a study suggests.

Spring? Climate extremes batter U.S. Rockies and Midwestern states. During a time when most of the nation is experiencing sunny days, daffodils and spring weather, a swath of states from the Rockies to the Midwest are experiencing a stubborn system of storms, hail, snow and tornadoes.
The area is being hit with winter again after being teased with a brief glimpse of spring, and the system will bring bitter cold and snow as it moves east. Warm April ground temperatures will melt some of the snow as it falls. Denver has never experienced more than 3.6 inches of snow in one day at this time of year, but stands a chance of getting cloaked in 5-8 inches by Tuesday.
People in Texas, Missouri and Illinois are still cleaning up from storms last week that produced 11 tornadoes as the extreme weather system moved toward the East Coast on Friday. Tens of thousands lost power and dealt with heavy rain and flooding. "While there were over 200 reports of severe weather Thursday, the overall number of tornadoes was relatively low. This was due to thunderstorms tending to form in thin lines or clusters, rather than discrete, rotating supercells. Another factor was the prevalence of clusters of storms during the late morning and early afternoon in parts of Missouri and Arkansas, holding down instability for later in the day." Texas got a taste of what happened almost two years ago to the day: A major hail storm on April 13, 2012, accumulated 2 - 4 feet very quickly, whereas this year the hail size was much bigger with less buildup.
A blocking ridge near eastern US and Canada disrupted the usual Jet stream flow causing an Arctic blast that hit major population centers like Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia and other coastal states repeatedly during the winter months, with a snow fall that was way above average.


Possible New Moon Forming Around Saturn - NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn. Informally named "Peggy," the object may be a new moon. "WE HAVE NOT SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. We may be looking at the act of birth, where this object is just leaving the rings and heading off to be a moon in its own right."
Images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013 show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Scientists also found unusual protuberances in the usually smooth profile at the ring's edge. Scientists believe the arc and protuberances are caused by the gravitational effects of a nearby object.
The object is not expected to grow any larger, and may even be falling apart. But the process of its formation and outward movement aids in our understanding of how Saturn's icy moons, including the cloud-wrapped Titan and ocean-holding Enceladus, may have formed in more massive rings long ago. It also provides insight into how Earth and other planets in our solar system may have formed and migrated away from our star, the sun.
"Witnessing the possible birth of a tiny moon is an exciting, unexpected event." Cassini's orbit will move closer to the outer edge of the A ring in late 2016 and provide an opportunity to study Peggy in more detail and perhaps even image it. Peggy is too small to see in images so far. Scientists estimate it is probably no more than about a half mile in diameter.
Saturn's icy moons range in size depending on their proximity to the planet -- the farther from the planet, the larger. And many of Saturn's moons are comprised primarily of ice, as are the particles that form Saturn's rings. Based on these facts, and other indicators, researchers recently proposed that the icy moons formed from ring particles and then moved outward, away from the planet, merging with other moons on the way.
"The theory holds that Saturn long ago had a much more massive ring system capable of giving birth to larger moons. As the moons formed near the edge, they depleted the rings." It is possible the process of moon formation in Saturn's rings has ended with Peggy, as Saturn's rings now are, in all likelihood, too depleted to make more moons. Because they may not observe this process again, scientists are wringing from the observations all they can learn.

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