Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Never fight an inanimate object.**
P. J. O'Rourke

LARGEST QUAKES so far today -

Yesterday, 8/25/15 -

8/24/15 -

8/23/15 -

8/22/15 -

8/21/15 -

8/20/15 -

Japanese climber first to attempt Everest ascent since Nepal quake - A Japanese climber will be the first to attempt to scale Mount Everest from the Nepal side this autumn following the devastating quake that killed 9000 people in the country in April this year. The earthquake claimed 19 lives at the base camp of the tallest mountain in the world where hundreds of climbers, guides and porters were getting ready for the spring climbing season.
"We decided to make an attempt on Everest in autumn to show the world that Everest and other peaks in Nepal are safe for climbing even after the quake." Spring (April-May) is the most popular season to climb Everest and other major peaks in the Nepalese Himalayas and most climbers avoid autumn (September-October) because of extreme cold and shorter days.
This is his fifth attempt to climb Everest. He had tried twice from the Tibet side and twice from the Nepalese side. In 2012, he lost nine fingers to frostbite while attempting to climb Everest. Climbing on Everest has remained affected for two consecutive spring seasons - last year it was due to an avalanche which claimed 16 lives and this year because of the quake.

New Zealand - Minor eruptions possible on Mt Ruapehu as crater lake cool. Adventurous tourists enjoy visiting the Mt Ruapehu crater lake, but are warned to be wary in the vicinity, as DOC and GNS have recorded a disruption to the normal temperature trends.
Minor eruptions on Mt Ruapehu could be on the horizon as the crater lake's temperature stalls at 15 degrees. The Department of Conservation and GNS Science are keeping a closer eye on the volcano following the temperature drop. There is a chance a minor eruption could occur. If one occurs it could affect the summit craters area.
However, the likelihood of any eruption is not high and the Volcanic Alert level set by GNS Science is still 1, its normal level. The lake usually fluctuates between 10 and 40 degrees, and does not stay one temperature for too long. However, it is currently 15 degrees and has been so for two weeks.
There are two reasons for it to remain relatively cold. "Firstly, it could just be normal fluctuation - sometimes the magma is putting out a lot of heat, and sometimes it's not, and that's the most common reason. [Secondly,] about 10 per cent of the time, the lake is cool because a blockage has developed in the vent between the magma and the lake."
A blockage could potentially cause an eruption, after pressure builds. Gas outlets at the crater lake were measured on Friday, and they appear to behaving normally. However, current scientific equipment could not determine whether a blockage had occurred for certain. "Because we can't be sure, we're taking the precautionary approach."
The lake last cooled below 10 degrees in 1998, and an eruption followed. Similar drops in temperature were recorded in 1995 and 1996. "At 17.5 degrees we'll start talking about it, at 15 degrees we'll start [advising the public to be cautious], and so on." Advisory signs were being erected.

Cotopaxi Volcano is spewing ash in Ecuador - The Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador has come to life after being dormant for over 70 years. After making it’s first big eruption, the capital of Quito saw its effects as ash rained down on the city. The capital is over 31 miles away, which gives perspective to how massive this volcano eruption can be.
Locals are afraid that gas and rock flows will effect the glacier capped peak. The melting ice could cause the surrounding areas to be flooded with volcanic mud. This is not the first time the locals have been worried about this. In 1877, a similar tragedy took place, claiming lives in the destruction.
Cotopaxi is one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Officials are keeping a close watch as the volcano is continuously having small eruptions. “Cotopaxi is considered one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes due to its proximity to population centers and very explosive activity, coupled with a tremendous potential for devastating volcanic mudflows, called lahars, which are formed by rapid melting of the icecap.”
In the 1877 lahar, the mudflow traveled over 202 miles to the coast of the Pacific. The Valle de Los Chillos is along the dangerous path of this volcano, and presently houses over 200,000 people along the lahar channels. “The last big eruption lasted three years, but if it is like Tungurahua volcano (south of Cotopaxi), it could last 16 years.” The government declared a state of emergency this week, and said that 325,000 people are at risk. Officials have restricted the press from reporting about the volcano to keep people back and out of harm’s way.
Some locals are feeling hopeless at the lack of news they are receiving. “We watch the news for information and there isn’t a single story about the volcano, yet I watched as it erupted again today.” The community feels “abandoned by the government.” Close to Cotopaxi and up river from Latacunga, the area has been destroyed by Cotopaxi on 3 separate occasions.
After the eruption on Saturday, “People were evacuating, but there was no information so the people panicked.” According to the locals there isn’t help from the government, police, or any civil service. There are no plans for evacuation, so the community has pulled together to work on exercises in case there would be a situation. However, the locals are not aware of where they are supposed to evacuate to.
Other residents are suffering the wrath of Cotopaxi from a distance. Romerillo, another town, is having ash rain down. The locals are concerned that the ash will contaminate the food for the animals, and some have reported that their cattle have started to get ill and die. The government stepped in and is trying to provide fresh food, not tainted in volcanic ash, for the livestock and animals to feed on.
Cotopaxi National Park is suffering due to the sudden events of the volcano. Over 200,000 tourists come each year,including mountain climbers seeking the challenge of one of the highest volcano peaks in the world. However, it has been shut down due to the eruptions, causing some locals to fear for their jobs and livelihood.


* In the Atlantic Ocean -
- Tropical storm Erika, located about 605 mi (975 km) E of Antigua, is expected to be near the northern Leeward Islands tomorrow night. Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches over many of the Leeward Islands through Thursday.

- As a weakening Tropical Depression, Danny has crossed into the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Danny brought rain and strong winds Monday to the islands of the eastern edge of the Caribbean and then quickly dissipated as it headed west. Just a few days ago, Danny was a powerful, though compact, category 3 hurricane.
The storm and its remnants were expected to produce 2 inches to 4 inches of rain in the Leeward Islands and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, as well as in drought-stricken Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Dominica received just over 2 inches of rain and fallen rocks blocked roads but there were no reports of injuries or flooding.

* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical Storm Ignacio is located about 1530 mi (2460 km) ESE of Hilo, Hawaii.

* In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical Storm 17w (Atsani) is located approximately 1065 nm south of petropavlovsk, Russia. The final advisory has been issued on this system.

- Tropical Storm 16w (Goni) is located approximately 128 nm north of Iwakuni, Japan. The final advisory has been issued on this system.

* In the Central Pacific -
- Tropical depression Kilo nearly stationary northeast of Johnston Island, about 540 mi (870 km) WSW of Barking Sands, Hawaii. Slow intensification is expected to begin tonight or Wednesday. Additional rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are possible.

- Tropical storm Loke beginning to weaken as it accelerates northward, about 305 mi (490 km) NE of Midway Island. Large swells produced by Loke will cause rough surf across reefs and shorelines over the western portions of the Papahanaumokuakea marine National Monument, Hawaii, through this evening. As the surf from Loke diminishes, swells from former typhoon Atsani will start to affect the area.
' Typhoon Goni has lashed the Japanese mainland, leaving at least one person missing, more than 70 others injured as authorities urged more than 600,000 people to leave homes. Packing gusts up to 122 mph (180 km/h) Goni passed over Kyushu, one of Japan's four main islands, and continued its path over the Sea of Japan.
Typhoon Goni Cuts Path Through Japan’s Kyushu - Typhoon Goni made landfall on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, causing injuries and prompting evacuation orders. Cancellations of airline and train service affected thousands of people.
Goni, which had been the strength of a category 3 hurricane, came ashore in Kumamoto prefecture about 6 a.m. The storm cut a path through Kyushu and re-entered the sea near Shimonoseki, where 280,000 people in surrounding Yamaguchi prefecture were advised to evacuate due to concern over landslides. At least 33 injuries in Kyushu and Yamaguchi were attributed to the typhoon.
Japan Meteorological Agency issued warnings for high waves, landslides and flooding for prefectures in most of southern and western Japan. The storm was about 100 kilometers northeast of Fukuoka, Kyushu’s largest city, as of 11:45 a.m., and still packed wind gusts up to 180 kilometers per hour. The typhoon, which caused flights to be canceled in southern Japan over the weekend, continues to disrupt travel. Train lines, including Shinkansen bullet trains, were suspended in Kyushu.
Goni brought destruction after it turned northward in the Pacific last week, killing at least 14 people in the Philippines and prompting weather warnings in Taiwan. The storm is predicted to skirt the Korean Peninsula later in the week. Goni is Japan’s 15th typhoon of this season.
Atsani, the 16th typhoon, has since weakened to a strong tropical storm and is heading east out to sea. Japan is most likely to see typhoons make landfall on its main islands between July and October, with two or three coming ashore in a typical year. Typhoon Nangka made landfall in western Japan in July, leaving at least two dead and disrupting travel throughout the region. The number of typhoons formed in a season in Japan is usually in the 20's.

Flooding Rains Continue Across Philippines - Despite pulling away from the Philippines, Typhoon Goni will continue to impact the weather bringing additional flooding rainfall across Luzon. Flooding will remain a threat across western Luzon through at least Tuesday as a moist southwesterly flow coming from the South China Sea will continue to bring rounds of heavy rainfall.
Last week and over the weekend, Goni battered the northern Philippines and left 15 people dead, mainly due to landslides.In Baguio City, more than 760 mm (30 inches) of rain has fallen since Thursday. Many other parts of northwestern Luzon have received 250-500 mm (10-20 inches) of rain during the same time.
Manila dodged the heaviest rainfall thus far; however, residents should not let their guard down as heavy rainfall has flooded areas just to the north of the city and the threat for heavy rainfall in the city continued into Tuesday.
Downpours could bring a quick 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain to areas around Manila on Tuesday. Similar to the past several days, the heaviest and most widespread rain is expected to fall to the north of Manila. The continuation of heavy will rain could cause additional life-threatening flooding and potentially more mudslides.

Hawaii is getting ready for a rare hurricane to hit - Tropical storm Kilo is expected to strengthen throughout the coming week and could make landfall as a category two hurricane by Thursday. "The water temperature? Record warm. Not just warm. Record warm." Kilo could be the first significant hurricane to hit the island directly in more than 20 years.

Danny Vaulted to Category 3 Status - Going against the grain of a hurricane-snuffing El NiƱo event, the tiny tropical cyclone became THE STRONGEST HURRICANE IN YEARS OVER THE DEEP ATLANTIC TROPICS. Hurricane Danny intensified dramatically on Thursday night and Friday morning, strengthening to Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Danny was one of the smaller hurricanes on record in the Atlantic.
Due to Danny’s unusually compact size, hurricane-force winds extended only 15 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended out up to 70 miles. It can be difficult for satellite- based instruments to estimate the intensity of very small hurricanes like Danny due to limited sensor resolution, but it’s clear that Danny was a surprisingly well-organized hurricane.

Hurricane Katrina - Through deadly winds, rain and floods, a New Orleans radio station fought to keep listeners alive during Hurricane Katrina.


Final Body Found After Deadly Landslide in Sitka, Alaska - Searchers in Alaska on Tuesday recovered the third and last body of three people who went missing after a landslide last week on Aug. 18.
The landslide that carried mud and trees sweeping down a road occurred after 24 hours of heavy rain in the mountainous community in Alaska's southeastern tip. The bodies of 2 brothers were found on Aug. 19 and Aug. 20, near the debris of a home that was destroyed. The National Weather Service recorded 2.57 inches of rain falling on Sitka over 6 hours by around 10 a.m., when the landslides occurred. There were six landslides in all, and a sinkhole also opened up.

Australia - A public school on the NSW south coast has been closed as a nearby dam wall threatens to break, in the midst of severe weather pummelling the region. The SES issued an urgent evacuation notice to residents living downstream from Jerrara Dam, west of Kiama, just before 10am on Tuesday. The dam's wall has shown signs of failing due to heavy rainfall in the area.
As the nearby village of Minnamurra would be the hardest hit if the dam wall collapsed, the SES is advising parents with children at Minnamurra Public School to collect them. If the dam busts, it will cause extremely dangerous flooding to areas. "We do not know what is going to happen. The dam is currently being decommissioned and we are noticing the water is spilling over the top and is too risky, we are asking residents to evacuate immediately." The evacuation order is expected to remain in place for 24 hours.
Kiama Council downgraded the evacuation warning for homes not in the dam's immediate downstream area at 12.15pm Tuesday but a red alert remained in place. "Roads may be congested or closed. You could become trapped and need to be rescued. Remaining in flooded areas is dangerous and may place your life at risk. Wherever possible, people should go and stay with family or friends, or make other accommodation arrangements." Several people are trapped in the area.
Other parts of New South Wales have been battered by wild weather, with giant hail stones, flash flooding and even a tornado. A tornado has swept through Dubbo on Monday and damaged several homes, while hailstones the size of 20 cent coins have pummelled parts of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Rain in the city jumped from 17 millimetres to almost 55 in just 41 minutes.
The extreme weather caused flash flooding, road closures, traffic delays and some serious damage. At least four people were rescued from floods, including a woman pulled from a vehicle. Sydney and the Illawarra region have been worst hit, but more than 100 calls to the SES have been scattered across the state. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a flood watch warning for the region, along with the South Coast, Lachlan and Nepean River Valleys.
Rainfall totals in the range of 100-200mm were expected on Monday night and Tuesday, with higher localised falls of over 300mm possible. "Heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding (are) the main threats."

United Kingdom - A so-called "Spanish Plume" has brought heat, flash floods and heavy thunderstorms to parts of the UK. The plume carried hot, unstable air from France, pushing the mercury up. Temperatures across the South East were widely in the upper 20s - the mercury hit 30.7C in London, 30.3 at Heathrow Airport and 30.4 at Gravesend in Kent.
But with the heat also came torrential rain in parts of the country - 21.6mm of rain fell in an hour in the village of Bramham, West Yorkshire. The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning for downpours in the Midlands, parts of eastern England and into northern England and southern Scotland. "We've seen some very potent thunderstorms and they will continue to rumble on through the coming hours. We'll see further pulses of very heavy rain in southwest England and into Wales, northern parts of England, south and southeast parts of Scotland."
A Spanish Plume is colloquial term for a weather situation in which a large southwards dip in the high altitude jet stream develops to the west of Europe encouraging a deep southerly wind flow. This drives hot and humid air from Iberia north and northeast into northern Europe, including the British Isles. Forecasters also say the Spanish Plume can create a risk of tornadoes - but there is a low chance of that this weekend. The unsettled weather will continue for the rest of the weekend, then the cooler weather is set to return next week.


US west coast wildfires in 60 seconds - Wildfires are still burning across the west coast of the United States, and authorities are struggling to deal with them.

Resources Falling Short as Washington Wildfire Grows Into Historic Monster - Commanders blamed a "lack of resources" for the continued spread of the 260,000-acre Okanogan Complex of fires in Washington state. Scores more firefighters raced Tuesday to the Okanogan Complex of fires, the biggest wildfire in the history of Washington state and the nation's No. 1 summer wildfire priority. But it still might not be enough.
The complex of five fires near the north-central town of Omak grew by almost 14,000 more acres by Tuesday afternoon, to 258,339 acres, or more than 403 square miles. If it were a city, it would be the 10th-largest in the continental U.S. by area.
Nearly 100 new firefighters arrived at the fire, which has been only 15 percent contained since it started Aug. 15. In just 10 days, it has already cost nearly $10 million to battle. But the fire's northeastward is continuing unabated because, the incident team reported bluntly, of a "lack of resources to implement suppression actions." Crews were even being diverted from California, even though they're needed there for numerous fires burning hundreds of thousands of acres.

Man's Concrete Home Survives Raging Wildfire in Washington - A Washington man’s cement home is still standing after surviving a raging wildfire that passed his home and scorched acres of surrounding land. He was prepared for the inevitability of a wildfire when he built his thin-shelled, concrete dome in 1999 surrounded by dry fields in Okanogan County.
Earlier this week, he just happened to be working 30 miles out of town when he received a voicemail from a friend warning him about a fire approaching his home. After shuttling three vehicles off his property, he realized he had to hurry as the fire was only a couple hundred yards away. “The fire was getting close, in fact, there was a firefighter there at the time who got trapped inside when I shut the gate inadvertently.”
“I grabbed the hose, soaked my clothing down and doused the north side of the building as much as I could. [The fire] got close enough that it was super heated and getting uncomfortable out there in the smoke. I went inside, shut the door behind me and watched it move by.” He waited out the flames for about a minute as the fire passed by his home.
“The fire just roared across my property. I could see the flames dancing up over the windows." The only damage sustained was a service pole, which resulted in a loss of power. “The building survived as it’s supposed to. I was surprised the outside of the building didn’t have any damage at all. The whole 20 acres is just scorched.” His three-layered cement home is made up of polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane and cement.

As Polish river levels fall to RECORD LOWS amid a prolonged drought, the material remains of Poland's tortured 20th-century history are coming to light on newly exposed riverbeds, with Jewish tombstones and the human remains of Soviet fighter pilots and their plane being found in recent days.

Canada - Alberta declares that agricultural losses from extreme weather is a 'disaster'. The disaster declaration on Friday allows the province’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation to access more funds for insurance compensation.
The dry weather and hail in 2015 has resulted in a “significant increase” in the number of claims across the province. Many Alberta counties and municipal districts have already declared local states of agricultural emergency due to heat and drought and are seeking government assistance. A spring and summer with insufficient rain has withered crops in many regions of Western Canada, including hay used by livestock producers to feed their animals.
Producers worry they may have to reduce their herds due to the price and lack of availability of hay, and the federal government has agreed to grant tax deferrals to western livestock producers in regions hit by drought. The Alberta government has responded by cutting rental fees for a program that helps farmers pump water to fill their dams and dugouts, and is also helping municipalities identify additional public lands for grazing.
Saskatchewan announced a similar measure last month to help its producers.

Japan to see average to warmer weather during September-November - Japan will see mostly average to warmer weather from September to November, the official forecaster said on Tuesday. Eastern Japan, including the most densely populated Tokyo area, will have a 50 percent chance of higher-than-average temperatures for the period, the Japan Meteorological Agency said in its monthly three-month forecast.


A Chunk of Greenland Ice the Size of an Asteroid Fell Into the Ocean - Imagine Manhattan buried under a thousand feet of ice. That’s how much of Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier fell into the Arctic Ocean last week, becoming a 7.8-square-mile iceberg.
“As a single event, this is a fairly rare size." But the phenomenon isn’t unusual, because glaciers on Greenland “pulse” seasonally. That means they break off at their edges and retreat inland in summer, and move back toward the ocean in winter.
Still, the ongoing retreat of the Jakobshavn Glacier is another sign that climate change is further destabilizing the ice sheet covering Greenland, one of the world’s biggest repositories of freshwater. Even with temperatures in the Arctic rising at nearly twice the global average, scientists have been surprised in recent years by the fast melt rate of Greenland’s land-bound ice, which contributes to sea-level rise.
Since the 1990s, the Jakobshavn has failed to regain the ground it loses in summer, and the glacier’s leading edge is now further inland than it has been in 135 years of record-keeping. NASA and European Space Agency satellites photographed the ice mass calving off the glacier between Aug. 14 and Aug. 16. The ESA estimated that the iceberg was 4,590 feet thick.
The United Nations climate agency has forecast that unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the next 35 to 50 years, the ice sheets on both Greenland and West Antarctica will begin to completely collapse, speeding up rates of sea-level rise. Scientists estimate that together, they are losing 300 billion tons of ice annually owing to rising temperatures.
“I do think it’s important for people to understand that this not a surprise event. This is a signal that is consistent with what we expect from climate change. It’s a reminder that we should act, not that we should give up.”

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