Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.**
Alex Karras

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 6/10/14 -

Philippines - Albay prepares counter-measures as Mayon Volcano exhibits abnormal activity. Albay's Governor on Tuesday assured the public that preparations in the province are in place in case Mayon Volcano erupts.
They have hired a new sanitary engineer to focus on evacuation centers. He said he believes that water and sanitation in evacuation centers will be the problem in any eventuality. Earlier, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded a rockfall event in Mayon Volcano. They are warning the public to avoid activities within the six-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone due to deflationary changes.
The seismic network first recorded two volcanic earthquakes on Saturday, aside from the moderate emission of white steam plumes from the crater. Mayon's alert status remains at Alert Level 1, which means that it is in abnormal condition.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Hurricane Cristina is located a few hundred miles south of the southwestern coast of Mexico.

* In the North Arabian Sea -
- Tropical cyclone Nanauk is, located approximately 452 nm east-southeast of Masirah Island.
Oman is nervously watching Tropical Cyclone Nanauk (also called Tropical Cyclone Two), a tropical storm with 65 mph winds that is moving west-northwest at 6 mph across the Arabian Sea. Nanauk is over some of the warmest ocean waters on the planet, 31 - 32°C (88 - 90°F). Very warm waters extend to great depth beneath the storm, giving it a Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential of 80 - 120 kJ/cm^2, the type of heat energy that is often associated with rapid intensification.
However, Nanauk lies at the southern edge of a large area of dry air coming off the deserts of the Middle East, which is interfering with development. In addition, Nanauk is on the northern edge of the advancing Southwest Monsoon, and strong upper-level winds out of the east associated with the monsoon are bringing high wind shear of 20 - 25 knots, disrupting the circulation.
Nanauk is expected to continue moving west-northwest towards Oman the remainder of the week, which will bring the storm into an area with dryer air but lower wind shear. It is difficult to predict how these two competing influences might affect the storm. As a result, the track and intensity forecasts are very divergent.
The European model dissipates Nanauk by Wednesday, while the GFS model keeps the storm strong, until weakening occurs shortly before landfall in Oman on Saturday. Given the storm's ability to fight off high wind shear thus far, the inclination is to go with the GFS forecast of a weakening tropical storm at landfall. Tropical cyclones typically weaken rapidly as they approach the coast of Oman, due to very dry air over the Middle East getting sucked into their circulation.

Cristina becomes a hurricane in the Eastern Pacific - The Eastern Pacific's second hurricane of 2014 is here, as Hurricane Cristina intensified overnight into a Category 1 storm with 75 mph winds. Satellite loops show that Cristina has ingested some dry air and has now leveled off in intensity. Cristina is headed away from Mexico, and it is unlikely that any watches or warnings will be required for this storm.
The usual formation date for the second hurricane of the Eastern Pacific season is July 14, so we are over A MONTH AHEAD OF USUAL for hurricanes in 2014. The 1981 - 2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 22, is calling for an active season, with around 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4.5 major hurricanes. This year is shaping up to be an El Niño year, and El Niño conditions typically increase the sea surface temperatures and decrease the vertical wind shear over the tropical Eastern Pacific, favoring the development of more and stronger tropical cyclones.

Quiet in the Atlantic - 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. The GFS model continues to predict that about 6 - 9 days from now the upper level winds over the Western Caribbean will relax and low-level moisture will build, potentially allowing a tropical disturbance with heavy rains to develop there. However, the European model keeps the wind shear high over the Western Caribbean early next week, so any development in the region remains in doubt.


New Zealand - As extreme weather conditions close several roads, damage houses and leave marine vessels in distress, Waikato Police are advising against all but essential travel, particularly in the east of the District. Emergency services and roading contractors have had a busy night with slips, flooding and other incidents across the Coromandel.
"In the latest incident a truck and trailer unit rolled by the railway crossing on SH27 at Tatuanui about 5.30am while emergency services are currently working on a solution to rescue a foundering commercial fishing vessel in difficulty 200m off shore from Amodeo Bay in the Coromandel. There are three persons on board the vessel which has ropes wrapped around its prop which is preventing it from making its own way and at this point the vessel's anchor is holding it in place in about 3m of water."
In other incidents emergency services went to the aid of a person trapped under a house which was demolished on Wharekaho Rd at Wharekaho near Whitianga while Police closed Blacksmith Lane in Whitianga due to the dangers posed by flying roof iron as fire-fighters worked to secure the roofs. "There are various roads and intersections closed on SH25 in the Coromandel at this time while we have trees and power lines down in this area, Morrinsville, Hamilton and Waingaro all impacting on the ability to keep roads open."
Advice from Police was to avoid travelling unless you absolutely have to. "In Hamilton there is surface water in a number of low lying places around the City and we are advising extreme caution at this time as people contemplate heading into work."
Photos, video
The winds in Auckland reached tropical cyclone levels, gusting up to 170kmh, bringing down trees, cutting power and damaging homes.


RECORD HEAT scorching India and Nepal - India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh typically experience their hottest weather in May and June, just before the arrival of the cooling rains of the monsoon. India has seen extreme heat for the past week, which has led to electricty shortages and riots.
At New Delhi’s Palam Airport, the temperature reached 47.8°C (118.0°F) on June 8th, their 2ND HOTTEST TEMPERATURE EVER MEASURED. Agra hit a blistering 47.3° (117.1°F) on June 10th, and 48.6°C (119.5°F) was reported from Ganganagar on June 8th, the warmest reading so far in the country in 2014.
In Nepal, the temperature peaked at 45.2°C (113.4°F) at Dipayal, just short of the all-time national record for any month of 46.4°C (115.5°F) set at Dhanghadi on June 16, 1995.
Europe has also seen RECORD-BREAKING JUNE TEMPERATURES this week, with Germany hitting its 2ND HIGHEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN JUNE, 37.9°C (100.2°F) on June 9th in Ihringen. (at same link as hurricanes above)


Do Umbrellas Cause Rain? - One might conclude that unfurling umbrellas causes rain. Or does rain cause umbrellas to be unfurled? How could data analysis tell which is true? At best data analysis could suggest a higher probability of rain causing umbrellas to be unfurled.
It all depends on the analytical model, on the data, and on what data was used and how it was prepared for analysis. A more detailed data analysis revealed that rain typically precedes umbrellas being unfurled leading to the obvious conclusion that it is not umbrellas that cause rain; it is a previously unknown unfurling force emitted by the umbrella unfurling crowd that causes rain.
As Richard Feynman said in 1974: Confirmation bias is one of the easiest ways for a scientist to fool himself. The best outcome of Big Data analysis, or of any (computational data-driven) model, is a number of correlations each with a level of confidence that the correlation holds true in the real world – at least the world represented by the data.
Correlation does not imply causation. To determine if a correlation is true in the real world, it must be verified by observation or experiment. Not only might one question the data science and data curation used, more fundamentally one might question the extent to which they are true.

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