Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.**
Immanuel Kant

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 4/13/15 -

4/12/15 -

4/11/15 -

4/10/15 -

Mass beaching fuels fears of impending quake - The mass beaching of over 150 melon-headed whales on Japan’s shores has fueled fears of a repeat of a seemingly unrelated event in the country — the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 18,000 people.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence linking the two events, a flurry of online commentators have pointed to the appearance of around 50 melon-headed whales — a species that is a member of the dolphin family — on Japan’s beaches six days before the monster quake, which unleashed towering tsunami and triggered a nuclear disaster.
Scientists were on Saturday dissecting the bodies of the whales, 156 of which were found on two beaches on Japan’s Pacific coast a day earlier, but could not say what caused the beachings. “We don’t see any immediate signs of diseases on their bodies, such as cancer. We want to figure out what killed these animals." Despite the lack of any clear link between the beachings and earthquakes — and comments from local officials downplaying such a connection — many took to social media to point to the link.
The 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake is not the only instance of beached whales closely preceding a massive tremor. More than 100 pilot whales died in a mass stranding on a remote New Zealand beach on Feb. 20, 2011, two days before a large quake struck its second-largest city, Christchurch. Japanese officials have nevertheless tried to quell the fears and insist there is no scientific data to prove the link.
Scientists are meanwhile unclear as to why marine animals strand themselves in large groups, with some speculating healthy whales beach themselves while trying to help sick or disorientated family members that are stranded. Others believe the topography of certain places somehow scrambles the whales’ sonar navigation, causing them to beach. Once stranded, the whales are vulnerable to dehydration and sunburn until rescuers can use the high tide to move their massive bodies back into deeper water.
Late Saturday night, April 11, Twitter suddenly lit up with countless Tweets coming out of Mie Prefecture of people claiming they felt tremors and even heard the earth itself briefly rumbling. On Sunday, April 12, many in Japan reported seeing a so-called “earthquake cloud” looming in the sky. While this is probably the most tenuous evidence for an impending earthquake, such clouds have been reported prior to major earthquake events since antiquity but largely, not endorsed by the scientific community.

Mt. Baekdu, the symbolically charged volcano straddling North Korea and China, could erupt again soon, a study warns. There are indications that the volcano, though quiet for decades, could erupt any time and a scientist urged closer monitoring of the situation. He says the concentration of helium in the volcano has been rising over the last decade or so, and magma levels are creeping up. He has been warning of another eruption since 2010, the first Korean to add his voice to a growing chorus of regional seismologists.

Growing volcano threat in Kamchatka jeopardizes air traffic - A Kamchatka volcano has posed a threat to air traffic because its volcanic activity has been gaining force, and the ashes discharged have spread to a distance of 319 kilometers east of the volcano, rising high into the air above a large area of the Pacific Ocean.
The information was received by virtue of photographs taken from space. The Shiveluch volcano has been assessed as posing an "orange" level of threat to aircraft. Any time the volcano might discharge ashes which might reach an altitude of 10,000 meters above the sea, experts said. It was not immediately known how far the volcanic tail might spread yet.
Two episodes of volcanic activity, which followed in succession within approximately 30 minutes, were registered early on April 13 when the volcano discharged ashes to the altitude of five and seven kilometers, respectively, The ashes went up into the air above the Pacific Ocean and remain there since.

The Places Most at Risk of a Volcanic Explosion - New research will help countries prepare. Toxic gas clouds. Lethal mudflows. Tsunamis. Those are just a few of the hazards of life in the shadow of a volcano — and now a new report shows which populations are most at risk of a volcanic explosion.
A soon-to-be-released United Nations report on global volcanic hazards shows that Indonesia is at the top of the list of countries most threatened by volcanic activity. The report, which was prepared by the Global Volcano Model Network, ranks countries’ vulnerability based on the hazards of volcanoes, how often they’ve erupted over the past 10,000 years and how many people live within its blast zone. After Indonesia, the most at-risk countries include the Philippines, Japan, Mexico, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Italy, El Salvador and Kenya.
Lava and ash deserve the awe they inspire; they can be incredibly destructive. About 278,000 people have perished due to volcanoes since 1600. Of these casualties, 24 percent were due to indirect causes like disease and famines, brought on by the climate change and physical destruction from incidents like Indonesia’s Tambora Explosion. That eruption was so massive it directly killed 70,000 people. But it also led to a “year without a summer” across the entire Northern Hemisphereand is thought to have caused thousands more deaths due to famine and disease.
In addition to pyroclastic flows (solids and gases rushing down the sides of volcanoes) and lahars (fatal mudslides), experts warn that there could be even more risks in the future — air traffic disruptions, evacuation challenges and unknown dangers due to unmonitored volcanoes. In fact, volcanoes present such a threat to island nations, that the report has a special ranking just for islands. Among the most-threatened are Montserrat, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the West Indies, Dominica, the Azores, St. Lucia, the Atlantic-United Kingdom Islands, El Salvador and Costa Rica [not islands], whose active Turrialba volcano is being compared to a pressure cooker as lava levels rise.

No current tropical storms.


Alabama - Mobile's official overnight rainfall total was 7.28 inches of rain on Sunday night into Monday morning. "It just so happened that we had a heavier complex of storms that developed over Mobile County that just didn't move last night." The rainfall total shattered the previous record of 3.61 inches set back in 1980.
Some areas received even more rain; the NWS-Mobile office received 8.79 inches and the airport received in excess of 8 inches of rain. Mobile received more rain than any city or town in the region, living up to its title as the rainiest city in the country. The rain isn't letting up, either. Many roadways flooded overnight, causing the Mobile County Sheriff's Office to request barricades to block impassable areas.
The heavy rain brought back memories of a year ago, when much of the coast flooded at the end of April. A water main ruptured at Airport Blvd. and Snow Road, resulting in several businesses losing their water supply Monday morning. Lightning likely hit the water line, causing the damage. There was a flash flood watch in effect until 3 p.m. Monday from Mobile to Destin, Florida.
Even though the watch was tentatively set to expire, NWS met says it will likely continue. There is rain in the forecast every day this week. "The ground is saturated, so even if we don't see another 8-10 inches, it won't take as much to create flooding areas." The risk is especially heightened for low-lying areas and places that neighbor creeks and streams.

India - Unseasonal rain over the past couple of days has left fields full of flattened crops in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and caused large-scale damage to farms in UP and MP, too. Andhra Pradesh appeared to have borne the brunt of the damage, with officials reporting crop losses in nearly one lakh hectares. In Telangana, various crops planed in 11,628 hectares were destroyed in strong thunderstorms and incessant rain.
In many places in both the states, farmers who transported their early harvest to market yards also suffered in the absence of any protection from the rain. Left with soaked produce, farmers protested at various market yards. According to initial estimates, the mango crop in Andhra Pradesh was badly hit with strong gales causing severe fruit dropping.
In Telangana, paddy was the worst-hit crop. Other crops to suffer significant damage were bajra, jowar and green gram. Mango orchards also suffered damages. Poultry farmers, too, were also affected. In Jagityal area of Karimnagar, 50,000 chickens were reported dead following heavy rain. Met department officials said from March 1 to April 13, excess rainfall was recorded in all districts except Khammam, Rayalaseema and Nellore in the two Telugu-speaking states.
The AP government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of those killed on account of rain-related episodes, while the Telangana government announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for such families. In UP, rain and thundershowers lashed various districts for the second consecutive day on Monday, pushing many farmers to the brink of penury. While the rain in March had already damaged about 50% of pulses and wheat, the return of wet weather has exposed farmers to a food crisis. They are now losing whatever standing crops were left in the fields. "We've already lost what we had earmarked for sale. Now, we're losing the crop we had saved for our consumption."
Bundelkhand, central and eastern parts of UP recorded more rain than the western part on Monday. Rae Bareli was the wettest district (21.8 mm rain), followed by Lucknow (18.6 mm), Varanasi (17 mm) and Sultanpur (12.7 mm). In Madhya Pradesh, unseasonal rain on Sunday damaged thousands of quintals of wheat kept in open for government purchase across the state. The administration stopped purchase till April 15 in the wheat-producing Hoshnagabad and Harda districts.
In Narsinghpur, officials said 9,000 quintals of wheat was damaged. "Actual loss will be less since wheat is being dried. We've started a probe and action would be taken against those who haven't acted in responsible manner." In Harda, around 2.5 metric tonne of wheat got damaged because of rain. In Hoshangabad, officials were busy assessing the damage. "Here, wheat was kept in covers, but the water exit was blocked. So, when it rained, the water seeped in. Wheat sacks kept on the lower rakes became wet."


Siberian deadly wildfires destroy towns and villages - Video. Thousands of Russians have been displaced and several killed as severe wildfires rage in Siberia. Fires have killed at least 16 people and injured about 400 in the Khakassia region of southern Siberia. Hundreds of people have sought medical help. Fires have spread further east, causing widespread damage. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

The Drought Has Almost Completely Dried Up The Rio Grande - California may be snagging all the headlines, with Governor Jerry Brown's strict statewide water restrictions, but other states are suffering from a major drought, too. The entire West — including Texas, Arizona, and Colorado — is facing the consequences of raised temperatures, little to no rainfall this month, shrunken snowpacks (by half!), hastened evaporation, and reduced reservoirs.
The Rio Grande technically runs for 1,900 miles, stretching from southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. But as of late, farms and cities have been using up almost all of it before it even reaches El Paso — hundreds of miles from the gulf. So, federal officials are being forced to managing the waterway for drought for a fifth consecutive year.
For a second year, cities that rely on San Juan-Chama water, like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, will see their allocations cut. Like the Colorado River in the Rockies and the Sacramento River in California, the Rio Grande gets much of its water supply from melting mountain snow — and those snowpacks just keep getting smaller, faster. Rising temperatures are the reason. The federal Bureau of Reclamation, which manages much water in the West, reported in 2013 that average temperatures in the upper Rio Grande, in Colorado and New Mexico, rose almost 2.8 degrees during the 40 years ending in 2011.
Despite Historically Bad Drought, Nestle Won't Stop Bottling Water In California.


'Warm Blob' of Water Causing Extreme Weather, Climate Scientists Say - Scientists say a mass of warm water off the U.S. West Coast is to blame for the bizarre weather affecting the country. From the unusually dry weather gripping the West to the miserably cold and wet systems pinging the East, the one common trait has been extremity, and climate scientists are linking the extreme weather to above average sea surface temperatures off the West Coast.
The study links a warm water mass that's around 2-7 degrees Fahrenheit above average with the coast-to-coast anomalous weather. "In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn't cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen for that time of year." The patch of water spans 1,000 miles in each direction and runs 300 feet deep. Since 2013, the blob has continued to push against the coast, and is expected to persist throughout 2015.
"Right now it's super warm all the way across the Pacific to Japan. For a scientist it's a very interesting time because when you see something like this that's totally new you have opportunities to learn things you were never expecting."
The blob developed after a high-pressure ridge caused a calmer ocean over the past two winters. With less winter cooling, warmer temperatures have thrived. The warm water patch has led to drier conditions and diminished snowfall in California because air that passes over the blob carries more heat into the West Coast. The warm water blob is not only affecting the country's weather, it also has the potential to impact the marine food web off the West Coast.
Simply put, marine animals that rely on colder temperatures to thrive will diminish and vice-versa for marine animals that rely on warmer temperatures. The Pacific Coast salmon and steelhead, for instance, will decline in numbers if this trend continues, as both species harness cold-water nutrients to survive. NOAA surveys, however, found that sea nettle jellyfish, ocean sunfish and handful of different shark species have popped up off the West Coast, drawn by the increasing sea surface temps.
Over the past three months, hundreds of emaciated sea lion pups have washed up on the southern California Coast, and the new study could explain why the marine mammals are starving.
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