Sunday, August 10, 2014

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster reports.

**Whatever the situation and however disheartening it may be, it is a great hour when a man ceases adopting difficulties as an excuse for despondency and tackles himself as the real problem.**
― Harry Emerson Fosdick

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
This morning -

Yesterday, 8/9/14 -

8/8/14 -

8/7/14 -

8/6/14 -

Magnitude-6.1 quake strikes Aomori in northern Japan , no major damage reported. The earthquake jolted Tohoku on Sunday, but no major damage was reported. The tremor struck at around 12:43 p.m.

Hawaii Rattled by Quake as Hurricanes Near - The U.S. Geological Survey initially announced the quake was magnitude 4.3 and quickly upgraded it. There haven't been any reports of damage.

Lakes formed by southwestern China quake could flood villagers, power stations downstream. Rescuers raced Tuesday to evacuate villages near rising lakes formed by landslides, complicating relief efforts following a strong earthquake in southern China that killed at least 398 people and has left thousands homeless.
Rescue teams have freed scores of trapped survivors as they dig through the thousands of homes that collapsed when the tremor struck impoverished Ludian county in Yunnan province on Sunday. A 5-year-old boy freed by hand-digging Monday was among the dozens rescued in the first two days. Landslides have created barrier lakes where water levels were rising Tuesday to pose a new threat to about 800 residents and seven power stations downstream, where sudden flooding could prompt widespread power outages.
Many of the homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 429,000, were old and made of brick; electricity and telecommunications were cut off in the county. The mountainous region where the quake occurred is largely agricultural, with farming and mining the top industries, and is prone to earthquakes.
In 1970, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake in Yunnan killed at least 15,000 people, and a magnitude-7.1 quake killed more than 1,400 in 1974. In September 2012, 81 people died and 821 were injured in a series of quakes in the region. In May 2008, a powerful quake in Sichuan province left nearly 90,000 people dead.

Current tropical storms - maps and details.

*In the East Pacific -
- Hurricane Julio tracking rapidly northwestward over the open ocean northeast of the main Hawaiian islands about 385 mi...620 km ENE of Honolulu, Hawaii. Along the forecasted track, Julio will remain over the open ocean north of the main Hawaiian islands from later today through Monday night.

- Typhoon Genevieve is located approximately 483 nm west-northwest of Midway Island.

Typhoon Halong triggers evacuation orders in Japan - More than one million people have been told to evacuate their homes as the powerful typhoon hit south-west Japan. Typhoon Halong made landfall near Aki, Kochi prefecture, at around 06:00 (21:00 GMT Saturday).
Torrential rain in Mie prefecture, west of Tokyo, was already "UNPRECEDENTED" and could trigger landslides or major floods. One person has been killed and more than 30 injured. Winds of up to 180km/h (110mph) are moving slowly north-east.
Authorities in Tokushima on Shikoku island issued an evacuation advisory for 44,000 residents TV footage showed high waves hitting breakwaters and muddy torrents roaring down a swollen river. One man was washed away in a raging river in Gifu prefecture and died later in hospital, NHK reported, while a surfer was missing off the coast of Wakayama prefecture. Local authorities, mainly in western Japan, issued evacuation advisories to nearly 1.5 million people in total. Airlines grounded about 470 flights on Saturday and at least 143 more flights are due to be cancelled on Sunday.
About 40cm (16 inches) of rain and heavy winds are forecast for eastern Japan, including the Tokyo metropolitan area. Halong comes a month after Typhoon Neoguri killed several people and left a trail of destruction in southern Japan. Last weekend, a man drowned in a swollen river as heavy rain from Typhoon Nakri lashed the country. (photos & map at link)

Tropical storm batters Hawaii, knocking out power and canceling flights the tropical storm known as Iselle made landfall in Hawaii early Friday morning, bringing buckets of rain to the Big Island as another storm loomed in the days ahead.
Iselle first came ashore on the Big Island at about 2:30 a.m. local time. The entire state remains under a tropical storm warning, as storm conditions are expected to endure into the weekend.All state offices were closed on Friday, while all major roadwork was canceled through the weekend. Schools in the state were also closed, with many of these facilities doubling as emergency shelters.
As the storm hit, the heavy rain and wind began to have an impact, taking down trees and causing power outages. More than 21,000 people were without power across the islands on Friday morning, as crews in helicopters flew overhead to try and survey the damage, Hawaii Electric Light Company reported shortly after 7 a.m. local time (after 1 p.m. on the East Coast). Residents were urged not to surf, despite the sight of increasing swells.
Once Iselle has moved on, attention turns to the looming Hurricane Julio. The last time a hurricane made landfall on a Hawaiian island was 1992, when Iniki arrived as a Category 4 storm. As of right now, though, Hurricane Julio looks like it will pass by north of the Hawaiian islands, according to the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. But it is still possible the forecast could change in the coming days, particularly with Julio’s current track bringing it relatively close to the islands. The last cyclone to hit Hawaii, Hurricane Iniki in 1992, killed six and caused $2.4bn (£1.4bn) in damage.

Pacific Storm Julio Unleashes Powerful 'Dark Lightning' Flash - Before the Hawaii-bound storm Julio strengthened into a hurricane, a NASA satellite spotted a high-energy flash of "dark lightning" coming from the swirling clouds.
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is designed to detect the brightest explosions in the universe — gamma-rays emitted from sources like supermassive black holes or stars that go supernova. But gamma-rays, which are invisible to the naked eye and last only a few thousandths of a second, can also come from sources on Earth. On Monday (Aug. 4) at 4:19 a.m. EDT (0819 GMT), when Julio was still a fledgling tropical storm hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico, Fermi witnessed what's known as a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) above the clouds.
"As far as I know, a TGF from a tropical storm has never been reported before." TGFs rank among the highest-energy forms of light that naturally occur on Earth, and they can be produced by the powerful electric fields in thunderstorms, which is why they are sometimes called "dark lightning." According to the space agency, there are an estimated 1,100 TGFs every day. Previous research using Fermi data has even shown these bursts can fling antimatter into space.
Scientists have only recently been able to link the phenomenon of dark lightning with specific storms. Fermi, which launched in June 2008, can see TGFs that occur within about 500 miles (800 kilometers) of the telescope, which was not precise enough to determine the exact source of a superquick flash of energy. But in 2012, scientists showed that big bursts of radio emissions — initially thought to be signals from actual lightning — occur almost simultaneously with TGFs. Now that the two phenomena are associated, researchers can pinpoint the source of gamma-ray flashes with much greater precision.
The World Wide Lightning Location Network, based in Seattle, spotted a lightning-like radio burst near Fermi just 1.89 milliseconds after the TGF was detected. NASA scientists think the two signals must be related. Julio has strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane as it nears Hawaii. As of 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) (Aug. 8), the storm was 970 miles (1,560 km) east of Hilo, a city on the Big Island, with wind speeds of up to 120 mph (193 km/h). Julio is following Hurricane Iselle, which, last night (Aug. 7), became the first hurricane to make landfall on Hawaii in 22 years, though it has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Remnants of Hurricane Bertha to batter UK with rain and high winds - High winds and heavy rain are expected to lash much of the UK as remnants of what was Hurricane Bertha reach the country early on Sunday. The stormy weather is expected to hit southern England first, before heading north and battering Scotland on Sunday evening and into Monday. The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning for some regions.
Hurricane Bertha hit Caribbean islands on Monday before dissipating over the central Atlantic. The storm heading towards the UK is a low-pressure system which has picked up moisture and energy left over from Bertha. Parts of the country are expected to see between half an inch and an inch of rain on Sunday. Wind gusts of 30-40 mph are expected inland and could reach 40-50 mph in coastal areas.
"On Sunday and Monday a combination of high spring tides and strong westerly winds brings a risk of large waves and spray and possible flooding to the south-west coast of England and along the Severn estuary. On Friday night, flash floods hit parts of eastern England, causing power cuts; a number of homes had to be evacuated. In some parts of Britain, MORE THAN A MONTH'S WORTH OF RAIN fell. A spokeswoman for BBC Weather said the conditions were not atypical for the time of year, but could prove a shock coming after a lengthy spell of warm weather. (photos at link)
Torrential rain in Cambridgeshire caused a riverbank to collapse, left 856 homes without power, trapped drivers and closed two supermarkets. The weather also hit Norfolk and Lincolnshire, where homes were evacuated and an air display cancelled. (photos & map at link)
Weather Update

8 firefighters burned battling California wildfire - Three firefighters from Santa Clara County and five inmate firefighters were burned fighting a blaze in Mendocino County late Friday night. No details are immediately available on how they were injured. Officials say an evacuation order has been issued for the fire, which is threatening nearly 60 structures across six communities. The blaze, started by lightning July 30, has charred more than 11 square miles.


Ebola outbreak: Nigeria declares national emergency - The Nigerian President has declared the outbreak of Ebola "a national emergency" and approved more than $11m (£6.5m) to help contain it.

As the CDC continues to investigate how two Americans caught Ebola at the hospital where they worked in Liberia, another expert on the front lines of the infection says the answer is probably far more mundane than most people realize: They were exhausted.
Doctors and nurses caring for patients in Ebola wards are trained in the painstaking process of infection control. They’re also issued head-to-toe white, Tyvek suits known as personal protective equipment, or PPE. “Tyvek doesn’t breathe. You’re in some of the hottest, most humid conditions you can imagine,” Fair says. “In addition, you’re wearing goggles, rubber boots, and surgical gloves. You can imagine, after a 10-hour shift, you haven’t eaten. You get an itch on your nose, and without thinking you reach up and scratch your nose. And damn, you’ve had an exposure.”
“It’s those types of small little things that happen. It’s not because people aren’t trained or aren’t being careful." To make matters worse, many of the local doctors and nurses at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone have stopped showing up to work. “They’re scared to death. This is just like battle, right? You either have people who run into the danger or people who run away from it.”
The doctors and nurses who remain at the hospitals are stretched almost to their breaking points. “They are given training before they ever go in, before they ever put the suits on. It’s called ‘just in time’ training, because that’s what it is. It’s given to people who’ve never seen a hemorrhagic fever before."

Liberia 'buckles under Ebola strain' - The charity Medecins sans Frontieres says that Liberia's health services have been completely overwhelmed by the Ebola outbreak.


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