Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.**
Bernard Meltzer

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 8/11/15 -

8/10/15 -

More than 5,000 earthquakes have hit northwest Nevada since swarm started in July 2014 - Seismologists studying a year-long swarm of thousands of mostly minor earthquakes in northwest Nevada say they could be the precursor for a big one.

Seattle's Old Brick Buildings Could See Huge Damage in Big Quake - The city first tried to require retrofits in the 1970s, but the regulations were repealed after fierce opposition.

Philippines - Phivolcs warns of quake risk in Davao. The next 7.0-magnitude quake will possibly be devastating to such areas as Davao City and would trigger the collapse of buildings.

Indonesia - Sinabung volcano (Sumatra): volcanologists believe that magma supply to the growing lava dome has recently increased. This will likely result in more and larger pyroclastic flows that can threaten a number of villages that so far have been unharmed. These include Pasarpinter Gurkinayan, Simpang Sibintun, Perjumaan Batukejan, Jembatan Lau Benuken Tigapancur, Pejuman Tigabogor, Pentumbes, Jeraya, and Kutatengah on the SE slope.
The volcano is kepts at the highest alert status ("awas" or 4 out of 4) and an exclusion zone of 7 km is kept in place. At the same time, only smaller collapse events and a small pyroclastic flow on 7 Aug have occurred during the past week. Most of the previous lava dome and its dangerous lobes clinging onto the steep upper slopes had been destroyed by the collapses in late July and the first days of August.
This apparent calm, however, could make things only worse, as it gives a false sense of safety. Indonesian volcanologist warn that there should be no activities inside the 7 km radius zone (something which is not being observed at all, however).
The evaluation of the situation comes from a drastic increase of certain kinds of earthquakes detected under the volcano, so called low-frequency events that are indicators of internal fluid movements. Their numbers rose from a few events per day to several hundred on Saturday - a clear sign that something had changed inside the volcano, likely a batch of new magma had started to move towards the vent. (photos and webcams at link)


* In the Eastern Pacific -
Tropical Storm Hilda weakening and slowing. Tropical storm watch remains in effect for Hawaii County. Hilda is located about 490 mi (790 km) se of Honolulu, Hawaii. Hilda may produce 6 to 12 inches of rainfall, with maximum values of up to 18 inches possible along and north of its path. These rains could result in life threatening flash floods and mud slides across portions of the Hawaiian islands late Wednesday and into the weekend.

* In the Western Pacific -
Tropical storm Molave is located approximately 370 nm east-southeast of Yokosuka, Japan.
South Asia's Deadly Rains of 2015; Tropical Storm Watch in Hawaii - A multi-week series of disastrous rains, floods, and mudslides has taken more than 400 lives and affected millions in a broad swath from Pakistan to Vietnam over the last several weeks. This is the height of the South Asia and Southeast Asia monsoon season, when life-giving rains sweep from the Indian Ocean across India and neighboring countries after the parched, scorching conditions that typify spring. Monsoon-related floods often produce hundreds of deaths across India each year.
This year’s Indian monsoon has brought an distinct patchwork of impacts. Although several regions have been affected by torrential downpours, others are wrestling with UNUSUALLY DRY CONDITIONS, in a monsoon that’s actually been skimpy for the nation as a whole.
The most widespread flood impacts have been in the Bay of Bengal region, from far eastern India across parts of Pakistan and Myanmar. Three weeks of flooding across five provinces of Pakistan have killed at least 151 people, and the government of Myanmar is seeking international assistance, as more than a million acres of farmland have been inundated and at least 46 people have died.
In the South Bengal state of eastern India, floods have taken at least 83 lives, and more than 300,000 homes have been destroyed or seriously damaged. Further west, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, flash flooding was the apparent cause of two train derailments that led to at least 29 deaths.
The worst of the rains were associated with Tropical Cyclone Komen. A weak but wet system, with top 3-minute sustained winds of only 45 mph, Komen moved inland over Bangladesh on July 29 but left behind a remnant low that drifted west near the India-Bangladesh border last weekend. Moist southwesterly flow on Komen’s east flank led to huge rainfall totals, especially along the hilly southeast coast of Bangladesh, where several locations reported between 40” and 50” for the 10-day period from July 24 to August 2.
A separate area of monsoon-related flooding has affected more than a million people in Pakistan and far western India. At least 166 deaths have been reported in Pakistan, where catastrophic flooding in 2010 - the nation’s worst natural disaster on record - caused more than 1,700 deaths and left some 11 million people homeless.
India’s monsoon falling short of average - Despite the flooding disasters scattered across parts of India, the nation is actually seeing a mix of drought and deluge this summer, leaning toward the dry side. The total amount of rainfall in the 2015 monsoon season to date across India (June 1 - August 11) has been only 91% of the long-term average.
The nationally weighted rainfall total for the Jun 1 - Aug 11 period was 501.8 mm (19.76”), compared to a typical value to date of 553.1 mm (21.78”). The 91% value is only a slight improvement over the start-of-monsoon outlook from the India Meteorological Department, which called for 88% of average over the entire monsoon season (June-September).
The driest areas have been concentrated along the nation’s northern tier, from Punjab to Assam states (20% to 40% below average) and in the southwest peninsula (20% to more than 50% below average). The central state of Telangana is making contingency plans for drought response should the second half of monsoon season turn out as disappointing as the first half did. In a mid-monsoon update on August 3, the IMD held to its 88% outlook. Such a deficit can cause severe stress on agriculture and the power grid, which relies heavily on hydroelectric power. However, a 12% reduction in rains would not rank in the top five for worst monsoons on record.
Cumulative rainfall from June 1 to August 11 across India has produced a patchwork of above- and below-average accumulations compared to a typical year. A total of 16 states have deficient rainfall, while 5 have an excess and 15 are near normal. The nationwide total rainfall for the period was 91% of average.
El Niño and the Indian monsoon - In recent decades, El Niño has been closely associated with deficient monsoon rainfall over India, so this year’s underwhelming rainfall is not a total surprise. But the relationship isn’t iron-clad. Monsoon rainfall was 2% above average in 1997 even as a strong El Niño very similar to the current one was building, and rainfall deficits are possible even without El Niño.
El Niño Modoki, the type where warming is focused in the central tropical Pacific rather than toward the east, tends to be more effective at suppressing the monsoon than a classic east-Pacific El Niño. The monsoon is also influenced by the Indian Ocean Dipole, measured by the east-west difference in sea-surface temperatures across the Indian Ocean. A positive IOD event tends to enhance moisture in the southwesterly flow over India that brings monsoon rain.
If the 2015 monsoon does end up falling short of the norm, it will be for the second consecutive year, as the monsoon of 2014 produced only 88% of average rainfall. Since most significant El Niño events last just a year, it’s UNUSUAL to have two low-rainfall years in a row. The last time two consecutive Indian monsoons saw below-average rain was during the two-year El Niño event of 1986 and 1987.
There’s also marked multi-decadal variability in monsoon rains. From 1921 to 1964, only three monsoon seasons produced less than 90% of average rainfall. Over the following period, 1965 - 1989, 10 of 24 years fell short of the 90% mark.
Averaged across the globe, the planet’s major monsoons appear to be collectively producing more rain in recent decades. A 2014 study found evidence for increased global monsoon precipitation between 1979 and 2011, but with substantial year-to-year variability in the mix. Theory, modeling, and observations all support the general trend toward intensified precipitation events in many areas, together with exacerbated impacts when drought does strike (the “wet get wetter, dry get drier” concept).

Tropical Storm Watch posted for Hawaii's Big Island for Hurricane Hilda - In the Eastern Pacific, a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Big Island of Hawaii as Hurricane Hilda heads northwest at 6 mph towards Hawaii. Hilda is under high wind shear of 25 - 35 knots, and the shear will increase to 30 - 40 knots by Wednesday. Although Hilda has remained remarkably intact in the face of this high shear, the storm's increasingly degraded appearance on Tuesday morning gives confidence that the increasing shear will cause the storm to unravel rather quickly.
Hilda is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Wednesday evening; the Tuesday morning runs of our two most reliable models for predicting hurricane tracks, the European and GFS models, both showed Hilda weakening to a tropical depression before reaching Hawaii on Thursday. However, even if Hilda dissipates before reaching Hawaii, it will still be capable of bringing dangerous flooding rains to the islands, particularly to the Big Island.

In the Western Pacific, the European and GFS models predict that twin tropical storms will form in the waters midway between Hawaii and the Philippines' Luzon Island this weekend. Both of the these storms will have the potential to cause trouble for Asia late next week. (photos and maps at link)

Video - Watch a Typhoon Lift A China Airlines Boeing 747 Into the Air. ​Typhoon Soudelor made landfall in Taiwan with a fury this month, bringing with it sustained winds estimated at 120 mph with maximum gusts topping 145 mph by the time it reached Japan.


Dozens missing after landslide in Shaanxi, China - At least 26 people remain missing after a landslide in China's northwest Shaanxi province. About 1 million cubic metres of mud buried dormitories and homes owned by the Shaanxi Wuzhou Mining Company in Shanyang county early on Wednesday.
Officials said 14 people had been rescued, the operations had been greatly hampered by heavy rain. China has seen severe weather during the current monsoon season. The powerful Typhoon Soudelor hit southern China over the weekend bringing strong winds and rain.
Shanyang authorities were alerted to the landslide at 01:47 local time (17:47 GMT on Tuesday). Fifteen dormitories and three residential buildings were buried, trapping at least 40 people initially. The local government said on its website that people in the area surrounding the landslide had been evacuated, and that large machinery and rescue personnel had been brought in. Dozens of soldiers, some with sniffer dogs, were at the scene looking for signs of life.


Video - Scotland's poor summer: What is to blame? Parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland have been having an UNUSUALLY COOL AND WET summer so far. Some crops are failing and animals are being brought in from the fields early. There has even been snow on the mountains.


Video - Europe and Egypt swelter in heatwave. Much of central and eastern Europe is in the grip of a heatwave, with several countries breaking record temperatures. Egypt has also been affected.


California blaze grows, prompting more evacuations - Wildfires are charging through several states in the parched West, scorching homes and forcing people to flee. Flames are plaguing some California residents, who had to evacuate for the second time.
Video - California fires: 1,000 homes evacuated near the California and Arizona border. A northern California wildfire has more than doubled in size since Monday despite cooler temperatures and higher humidity. The Jerusalem Valley fire erupted on Sunday near the community of Lower Lake. It has burned nearly 19 square miles.


Meteors - Every night, a network of NASA all- sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented on On Aug. 11, the network reported 86 fireballs. (46 sporadics, 38 Perseids, 1 Northern delta Aquariid)


Legionnaires' Disease: Drugkmaker GlaxoSmithKline's North Carolina Plant Closed - A GlaxoSmithKline manufacturing plant in Zebulon town, North Carolina, was temporarily shut down on Tuesday after the bacterium causing the Legionnaires' disease was found in a cooling tower.
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