Monday, June 16, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**The universe is change;
our life is what our thoughts make it.**
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

No update on Tuesday this week.

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
None 5.0 or larger.

Yesterday, 6/15/14 -

Etna volcano update: Paroxysm from new S.E. crater? - A violent phase of explosive / effusive activity began overnight. Strombolian activity at the New SE crater and volcanic tremor started to increase Saturday evening. This increase continued throughout the night and Sunday morning.
At the moment, tremor is stagnating, and it is not clear whether the current eruptive phase will culminate in a true paroxysm (lava fountaining). Near-continuous explosions from the several vents at the summit of the NSEC occur in rapid succession and eject glowing spatter to heights of 100-200 m during in what could be described as pulsating lava fountains.
A vent at the eastern part of the summit occasionally ejects dark jets of ash. Brown ash plumes rise from time to time from the northeastern rim of the crater, presumably from collapse events. Unfortunately, heavy cloud cover, and thunderstorms around noon/early afternoon that deposited approx. 10 cm of fresh hail prevented detailed observations during most of the afternoon. Starting from early Sunday morning, several lava flows were effused that descended from the summit through the valley on the SE side of the crater and headed slowly towards the Valle del Bove rim.

Chaparrastique (San Miguel) volcano, El Salvador, Central America - The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources reports seismic vibration under Chaparrastique volcano has been very intense in the last days.
Local observers reported hearing a booming noise at 2:00 am. There have been very little vapor or gas emissions so far. This indicates that the duct system of the volcano is partially obstructed, withstanding the pressure of magmatic fluids, so there is a high probability of eruptive activity, either through the central crater or on its flanks.
In the last few days the vibration of the volcano reached a level similar to the pre-eruption of December 29, 2013 measured values. Since February 2014 several hundred microearthquakes have been recorded under the northern flank of the volcano. (photos)

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Western Pacific Ocean -
- Tropical storm Hagibis is located approximately 146 nm east-northeast of Hong Kong. It has made landfall and weakened significantly. The remnants are forecast to re-emerge over the East China Sea but are not expected to regenerate. The final warning on this system has been issued.
Thousands flee as cyclone strikes villages in Pakistan - Thousands of residents have fled hundreds of villages in south and southwestern Pakistan after tropical cyclone Naunak struck the region. About 2,000 residents fled the worst-affected district of Thatta where seawater driven by tall waves swept through 130 coastal villages on Sunday.
"About 300 fishermen are missing. “These fishermen went fishing last week, but we lost contact with them over the last couple of days.” Crops were destroyed in the towns of Kharochan and Ghora Bari as the intensifying storm pushed seawater over swathes of agricultural land. An emergency was declared in the coastal district of Badin after 60 villages were inundated.
"We have already stopped fishermen from fishing in this weather. All the disaster management related agencies have also been put on high alert. Things are being monitored round the clock.” Saturday evening, reports of evacuations and widespread flooding came in. Recalling the catastrophe when floods struck the two districts in 1999, killing 168 people and wiping out 73 settlements, thousands of families living on the coastal belt feared meeting the same fate.

Hurricane Cristina headed downhill after peaking as powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds and a central pressure estimated at 935 mb at 11 am EDT Thursday, June 12. The double feature of Category 4 hurricanes Cristina and Amanda gives 2014 TWO OF THE FIVE STRONGEST HURRICANES EVER RECORDED SO EARLY IN THE YEAR in the Eastern Pacific.

There are no tropical cyclone threat areas in the Atlantic, and none of the reliable models for forecasting tropical cyclone genesis is predicting development over the coming five days. However, the Friday run of the GFS model predicts that a low pressure area will develop over the Western Caribbean by Wednesday, and push northwards into the Gulf of Mexico and become a tropical storm late in the week.
The GFS has been fixated on variations of this idea in all of its runs for the past five days -- though the timing of when the predicted storm will form has bounced around from 5 - 11 days into the future. Should we be concerned? A 2013 study by a group of scientists found that we have three models that can make decent forecasts of the genesis of new tropical cyclones in the Atlantic: the GFS, European (ECMWF), and UKMET models.
The study only evaluated the model skill for forecasts out to four days in the future, and the forecast skill declined markedly for three- and four-day forecasts. In the current scenario, we are talking about forecasts made much further into the future, which are bound to be low-skill. In addition, the study found that the GFS model had a high incidence of false alarms for tropical cyclone genesis forecasts in the Caribbean (50%).
The other two reliable models for predicting tropical cyclone genesis (European and UKMET) had no hint of a low pressure area developing in the Western Caribbean on Wednesday in their Friday runs. One additional model to consider: the Friday run of the NAVGEM model is supporting the GFS's idea of a low pressure area forming in the Western Caribbean by Wednesday.
The predecessor to this model, the NOGAPS model, was evaluated in the Florida State study, but performed poorly in making tropical cyclone genesis forecasts. However, when two or more models make the same genesis forecast, the odds of the event actually occurring are increased considerably, the study found.
We know that the GFS model gets in trouble when making predictions of heavy thunderstorm activity via a problem called "convective feedback." Basically, the model sometimes simulates that an unrealistically large area of thunderstorms will develop, destabilize the atmosphere, and cause an area of low pressure to form that will draw in more moisture and create more heavy thunderstorms. This vicious cycle can snowball out of control and generate a bogus low pressure area that can then modify the upper level winds, reduce the wind shear, and allow a tropical depression to form.
This problem may be less of an issue in a new version of the GFS model scheduled to be released late this summer. The upgraded GFS model was not creating nearly as strong of a low pressure system as the old GFS model. Arguing against any development in the Atlantic the remainder of June is the anticipated strengthening in the West-Central Pacific Ocean of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a pattern of increased thunderstorm activity near the Equator that moves around the globe in 30 - 60 days.
An active MJO in that part of the tropics tends to bring large-scale sinking motion to the tropical Atlantic and increased wind shear, which puts a damper on the chances of tropical storm formation in the Atlantic. The MJO is predicted to drift slowly eastwards into the Eastern Pacific by late June, which will tend to keep odds of tropical storm formation lower than average in the Atlantic into late June. All factors considered, the wunderground blog is inclined to give a 10% chance that the GFS model is correct in spinning up a tropical depression late in the week in the Western Caribbean.


Drought Hurts California's Pistachio Crop - The impact of California's drought just keeps growing. One large Northern California pistachio producer says its crops are in trouble and you could pay the price.

Late Spring Rains Welcome, But Drought Persists Across Much of Kansas - One long drought settled over Kansas for years. They've now had several inches of rain over a few short weeks.

Drought Conditions Ease up in Oklahoma - A new report says drought conditions are improving in Oklahoma, though more than half of the state remains in extreme or exceptional drought. New data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 17 percent of Oklahoma is in exceptional drought - the most severe classification of drought. That's down from 21 percent a week ago.
53 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, primarily in the northern, central and western parts of the state. That's down from 61 percent last week. About 8 percent of Oklahoma, all in the southeast, is experiencing no drought conditions.

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