Sunday, March 15, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Lost time is never found again.**
Benjamin Franklin

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 3/14/15 -

3/13/15 -

3/12/15 -

Quake in Eastern China Kills 2, Damages Thousands of Homes - An earthquake in the eastern Chinese city of Fuyang has killed two people and damaged thousands of homes. The quake struck in the Anhui province city Saturday afternoon, and 13 people also were injured.
The quake struck in the Anhui province city Saturday afternoon. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured magnitude 4.7. More than 10,000 homes were damaged, more than 4,000 of them seriously, and 155 collapsed. Fuyang is a city of about 10 million people in a region that relies on coal mining and agriculture.

Costa Rica volcano spews ash in MOST POWERFUL ERUPTION IN 20 YEARS - Costa Rica's Turrialba volcano belched a column of gas and ash up to 3,280 feet (1 km) into the air on Thursday in its most powerful eruption in two decades, and local authorities started to evacuate residents from the surrounding area.
Four explosions emanated from the volcano in central Costa Rica on Thursday, and ash reached parts of the capital San Jose some 30 miles (50 km) away, where the airport was closed. It was the volcano's strongest eruption since 1996. "We have recommended the evacuation of people and small animals as a precaution. The last explosion was very strong."
Costa Rica's emergency services ordered the closure of access roads near the volcano, which is major tourist draw, and were evacuating a radius of just over a mile around the volcano. Turrialba erupted in October, when it also sprinkled the capital with ash after it spewed magma for the first time since around 1863.


* In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm 03w (Bavi), located approximately 216 nm east of Andersen AFB.

* In the Southern Pacific -
- Tropical cyclone Pam is located approximately 646 nm southeast of Noumea, New Caledonia.

- Tropical cyclone Nathan is located approximately 242 nm north-northeast of Cairns, Australia.
Vanuatu suffers huge cyclone damage - Cyclone Pam tore though Vanuatu and badly damaged or destroyed up to 90% of houses in the Pacific island state's capital.
The death toll from Pam , a category five tropical storm that has hit islands in the South Pacific could run into the dozens, the UN's relief agency says. Cyclone Pam battered Vanuatu with winds of up to 270kph (170mph).
Pictures on social media showed buildings badly damaged and trees and power lines down. Authorities on the islands had earlier issued a red alert to residents after the cyclone changed direction and began moving towards populated areas. Communications have been knocked out over a wide area and aid agencies said on Saturday it could be several hours before a clear picture emerges.
Although thousands of people spent the night in emergency shelters, many more were forced to ride out the storm in their own homes. Pam had already caused major damage on other Pacific islands, including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. Tuvalu, a group of nine tiny islands north-east of Vanuatu, has also declared a state of emergency after the cyclone caused flash floods there.
There were unconfirmed reports that 44 people had died in Penama province in the north-east of Vanuata. The Vanuatu Meteorological Services said it expected torrential rainfall, flash flooding, landslides and storm surges. The government had lost contact with some parts of the northern provinces.
The cyclone was expected to be worse than Cyclone Uma, which killed 50 people in 1987. Located about a quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii, Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands. About 47,000 people live in the capital, Port Vila. "Thousands of families are living in makeshift, flimsy houses which will not withstand the immense winds and rain we're expecting. Families need to urgently evacuate to safe buildings or the results could be catastrophic."
Meanwhile, category three Cyclone Olwyn has hit the coast of Western Australia with wind gusts of up to 195kph (120mph). People in the state's coastal region were warned to move to higher ground to escape dangerous flooding.
Category 5 Cyclone Pam is ONE OF THE STRONGEST TROPICAL CYCLONES EVER RECORDED in the waters east of Australia. Pam rapidly intensified and reached top sustained winds of 160 mph Thursday, making it one of only ten Category 5 storms ever recorded in the basin since satellite records began in 1970.
Pam is likely to be one of the most destructive natural disasters in Vanuatu's history. The storm passed over or very close to the three small, southernmost islands of Vanuatu on Friday. Regardless of Pam's track, its waves caused major coastal damage; the significant wave height of the storm was 44 feet at 2pm EDT Thursday. Storm surge was also a concern, as well as extreme flash flooding from Pam's torrential rains.
After passing Vanuatu, Pam is likely to weaken significantly, but the storm may still be capable of bringing tropical storm-force winds to New Zealand on Sunday. High surf causing erosion and coastal damage will be the main threat from Pam to New Zealand, though.
Pam caused significant flooding on the low-lying island of Tuvalu, located over 700 miles northeas Since Tuvalu is located in an area with very deep water offshore, this flooding was likely due to large waves crashing onshore and running up inland, rather than an actual storm surge from winds piling up water over a shallow coastal shelf.


Angola - Floods caused by torrential rains have killed 62 people - 35 of them children - in the Angolan city of Lobito. The flood water has reached 3m (9.8ft) in some areas of the city since Wednesday. Scores of homes have been destroyed and rescue teams are still searching for missing people. Large parts of Angola have been hit by heavy rains since January.
In the capital Luanda, at least one person died this week and hundreds of people were left homeless after 137 houses were destroyed by the rains.


A forest fire in Chile is threatening the port cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, and a state of emergency has been declared. More than 4,500 people have been evacuated and a further 10,000 may need to be moved. They estimate that about 300 hectares (740 acres) of land have been affected. Valparaiso is still recovering from a forest fire last April that killed 15 people, injured more than 500 and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes.

March rain misses drought-stricken part of Oklahoma - The drought is the worst across southwestern Oklahoma, where lakes and reservoirs are almost empty.

Last week in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, home to 20 million people, and once known as the City of Drizzle, drought got so bad that residents began drilling through basement floors and car parks to try to reach groundwater. City officials warned last week that rationing of supplies was likely soon. Citizens might have access to water for only two days a week.
In California, officials have revealed that the state has entered its fourth year of drought with January this year becoming the driest since meteorological records began. At the same time, per capita water use has continued to rise.
As reservoirs dry up across the world, a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. Rationing and a battle to control supplies will follow.


More giant craters spotted in Russia's far north - Russian scientists have now discovered seven giant craters in remote Siberia. Scientists say that rather than aliens or meteorites, the holes are caused by the melting of underground ice in the permafrost, which has possibly been sped up by rising temperatures due to global warming. "The phenomenon is similar to the eruption of a volcano."
As the ice melts, methane gas is released which builds up pressure until an explosion takes place, leading to the formation of a crater. When they appear the craters are empty, and little by little they fill up with water. In the space of two or three years they become lakes and it is difficult to study them." Some may have formed dozens or hundreds of years ago, but went unnoticed in such remote regions of the planet.

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