Monday, March 23, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.**
Paramahansa Yogananda

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 3/22/15 -

3/21/15 -

3/20/15 -

5.3 Quake Shakes Central Mexico Friday - Some Evacuations in Capital. A moderate 5.3-magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico on Friday, causing buildings to sway in the capital and sending hundreds of people into the streets. The quake hit at 4:30 p.m. local time in the state of Puebla near Tulcingo del Valle, a town in a sparsely populated area about 100 miles (163 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City. It had a depth of 31 miles (52 kilometers).
Many evacuations were reported in the capital but officials received no reports of damage or injuries. The city is vulnerable to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds. They jiggle like jelly when quake waves hit. A magnitude 8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles (400 kilometers) away on the Pacific Coast.

Cliff collapse on California hiking trail leaves 1 dead. One person is dead and another being treated for life-threatening injuries after a bluff collapsed at a popular Northern California hiking trail.
The two visitors were standing on the Arch Rock lookout point at Point Reyes National Seashore just before 6 p.m. on Saturday when the bluff gave way. The pair fell about 70 feet and were covered with rocks and debris. The National Park Service had posted signs at the site two days earlier warning hikers that a fissure along the top of Arch Rock may have weakened the cliff and that walking along the edge was dangerous.One of the hikers was pronounced dead at the scene. The other was airlifted to a hospital. They have not been identified.

Australia - Aerial drone footage of Christchurch's Avonside suburb was released yesterday, showing the current state of the area after September 2010 quake. Avonside was one of the worst-affected areas of the quake.
Empty properties and eerily quiet streets can be seen as Coldplay's 'Fix You' track accompanies the video. It serves as a reminder of the liquefaction and destruction that ripped through Canterbury. According to Christchurch City Council resources, there are 1314 households in Avonside. Of these, about 50 percent are in the red zone.

Russia - The Shiveluch volcano erupted for the fourth time on Sunday morning, creating a seven kilometer-tall plume of ash, leading scientists to issue warnings for local residents and airlines. The Shiveluch volcano is in Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka territory.
"Satellite data shows ash plumes drifted about 225 km to the north-east of the volcano." A plume of ash over seven kilometers tall rose as a result of the eruption, leading scientists to issue a warning for aircraft. The scientists also issued an ash alert for Kamchatka's residents, advising them to stay indoors and and stock up on food and water.
The volcano is one of five currently erupting or restless in Kamchatka, with the others being Zhupanovsky, Klyuchevsoy, Karmysky and Bezymianny. Kamchatka, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, is known for its active volcanoes, and Shiveluch, one of the region's biggest, has been erupting since 2009. (video at link)


Britain battered by extreme high tides as at least seven flood warnings are issued across the country following solar eclipse. 'Supertide of the century' triggered by the solar eclipse has threatened many parts of the UK with flooding. More than 40 surfers turned out to catch a rare 6ft high wave on the River Severn known as a bore. Seven flood warnings were issued along with 34 alerts across the country.
The Thames Barrier was closed for the 175th time in its 30-year history to protect London from the high tides linked to yesterday's solar eclipse and 'supermoon' which has caused rising water levels. Flooding of homes and businesses is expected in North Tyneside and Sunderland as well as the Somerset coast and the Wye Estuary at Brockweir.
High tides have been forecast for the next two days. Tides will be 2.5m higher than other times in Milford Haven, south Wales, 1.5m higher in Plymouth, Devon, and the Isle of Mull, western Scotland, and 0.5m higher in London on the tidal Thames. Flood alerts were issued for parts of Teddington and Twickenham as well as the River Avon sand Devon coast. (photos at link)


- Tropical cyclone Nathan is located approximately 242 nm east-northeast of Darwin, Australia.
Tropical Cyclone Nathan to Strengthen Before Third Landfall - Tropical Cyclone Nathan has been plaguing Australia for nearly two weeks and the threat is not over yet as a third landfall is expected.
Cyclone Nathan intensifies off NT coast - Tropical cyclone Nathan is set to intensify off the coast of the Northern Territory before weakening on its way back inland. The cyclone has been lashing the NT with wind gusts reaching up to 140km/h in some areas.
It was moving northwest over Arnhem Bay, west of Nhulunbuy, at 13km/h on Sunday with the destructive core approaching Elcho Island, which was severely damaged by Cyclone Law in late February. Destructive winds were set to develop on Sunday evening for Elcho Island, while a storm tide, with damaging waves and dangerous flooding, is also expected between Elcho Island and Cape Shield.
The cyclone will strengthen into a category 3 offshore on Monday morning. "That's because it's expected to stay a bit further offshore, so it should be able to reach that strength. (It will) stay that way into the latter part of Monday and then hopefully it will be progressively attacked by winds around it so it should weaken off."
It's expected to weaken to a category 1 or 2 system before making landfall again around Tuesday. "So we have a weakening trend as it approaches the coast again, but in the near future it's expected to intensify." The cyclone intensified to a "high end" category 2 on Sunday, crossing the coast between Nhulunbuy and Cape Shield in the morning.
Residents from Cape Shield to Alyangula are being told it is now safe to leave shelter areas, but to wear strong clothing and footwear, and be aware of fallen power lines and debris.
Elcho Island battered as cyclone Nathan intensifies. Beleaguered island hit by destructive winds as Nathan strengthens off the Northern Territory coast. Elcho Island has undergone a battering as tropical cyclone Nathan intensified off the Northern Territory coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology said Nathan was estimated to be about 50km north/north-west of Galiwinku with wind gusts up to 140km/h late on Sunday, and its destructive core of sustained winds of about 120km/h continued to affect Elcho Island for several hours into Monday.
Nathan was moving north-west at 12km/h and was set to increase in intensity to a category three level over open water, as it moved along the coast on Monday, before turning south- west towards land later in the night. Elcho Island was severely damaged by cyclone Lam in late February, and a storm tide, with damaging waves and dangerous flooding, was also expected between Elcho Island and Cape Shield.
Earlier, the bureau said Nathan would remain a category three cyclone into the latter part of Monday, then weaken to a category one or two system before making landfall again around Tuesday. “Gales may extend further west to Milingimbi and Maningrida early on Monday and may extend west to Croker Island overnight Monday or Tuesday morning if the system takes a more westerly track. Gales may extend further west to Cape Don and Point Stuart during Tuesday.” A flood watch was current for northern coastal rivers.


Great Lakes buoy to new heights after 15 years of low water levels (video). After 15 years of below-average water levels, Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron are now well above normal, suggesting that climate change's impact on the fourth seacoast may be more complicated than previously thought.
While people in the drought-stricken western United States watch lake and reservoir levels relentlessly plunge, the three largest of the Great Lakes have recorded one of the most rapid increases in water levels on record, according to a new analysis. The quick turnaround – about two feet for Lake Superior and three feet for Lakes Michigan and Huron between January 2013 and December 2014 – ended what researchers have called an unprecedented 15-year period when lake levels fell below their long-term average.
The turnaround suggests that global warming's impact on the nation's fourth seacoast may be more complicated than implied in past projections, which pointed to a long-term decline in water levels. Recent research points to a more complex picture, he says, one less clear on whether lake levels will increase, decrease, or remain relatively stable. Instead, the focus is expanding to include the potential for extreme swings in lake levels.
The rate at which water levels in the three lakes have risen is nothing short of remarkable, notes the team that performed the analysis. Although the analysis includes three lakes found on standard maps, Lakes Michigan and Huron are considered one lake from a long-term hydrological perspective. For Superior, the increase marked the largest two-year, January-to-December increase ON RECORD, with near or above-average increases recorded for almost every month during the period.
For Michigan-Huron, the increase fell just short of a three-foot increase recorded between January 1950 and December 1951. The Michigan-Huron system not only recorded above-average increases in the late spring and summer both years, but the system saw UNUSUALLY LARGE increases in September and October 2014, an UNUSUAL TIME OF YEAR for increases.
Lake levels have gone through dramatic changes in the past, but the 15-year decline and its two-year turnaround appear to be different. In the past, changes in lake levels were closely tied to precipitation patterns, with little overall change to evaporation rates. The recent recovery would seem to be no different. Precipitation in the region has run about 10 percent above average during each of the last two years.
In the fall and early winter, water levels decline as colder, drier air comes in contact with the warmer lake water, leading to evaporation. But the region also experienced two bitterly cold winters, thanks to a persistent pattern in the jet stream that allowed frigid Arctic air to plummet south into the eastern half of the continental US, a pattern that was centered over the Great Lakes. Ice built up, covering ever-larger expanses of the lakes to near-record extents, preventing evaporation.
Ironically, where pockets of open water existed, "evaporation rates were through the roof" because of the UNUSUALLY SHARP TEMPERATURE CONTRAST that remained between the extremely dry, chilled air and the water. Unlike past swings in lake levels, the changes over the past 17 years have occurred as a result of a more complex interplay between ice cover, air temperature, water temperature, and evaporation.
The 17-year period of extremes began with a record El NiƱo event in the tropical Pacific and ended with back-to-back years when the polar jet stream weakened sufficiently to allow bitter Arctic air to linger over large swaths of the eastern US – a pattern that several climate scientists say they have tied to the impact of global warming on the Arctic's summer sea ice. As a result, these changes appear to be more closely tied to "drivers of regional change that are connected to the larger climate picture that are possibly causing things to happen in the Great Lakes that haven't happened in the past."


“The last three big meteor events in history have been over the Russian’s just that in comparison to Earth’s oceans, Russia is the next biggest thing to hit.” Researchers now have a plethora of new atmospheric fireball and meteor detection methods at their disposal. NASA and other U.S. Government agencies have better sensors that now help look at such high altitude events. There are also more dash cams and security cameras and cell phone cameras; including cell phone apps, capable of easily filing reports of these bolides to a central office.
Have we underestimated the threat from near-Earth asteroids? We have a pretty good understanding of where 95 percent of the near-Earth asteroids (one km in diameter and up) actually are. But, surveys of near-Earth objects of 100 meters or less are not even one percent complete. “We used to think that a 20 meter-sized meteor wasn’t that big a threat. But the Chelyabinsk meteor was only 20 meters and we saw what it could do.”
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