Friday, February 26, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**If people stand in a circle long enough they'll eventually begin to dance. **
George Carlin

LARGEST QUAKES so far today, 6.0 or larger -

California - Two quakes roil Fresno in one week - Coincidence, experts say. The state’s midsection was roiled by two temblors in the span of a week The quakes were totally unrelated, geologists say. They don't portend the Big One on the mighty San Andreas Fault. California isn't about to slide into the Pacific Ocean.

After a significant earthquake in Baja California, scientists use satellite imagery to locate the fault responsible. The new fault line they discover doesn't seem capabable of creating seismic energy released during the quake. What is the satellite imagery missing? (video)

Earthquake wake-up call - preparing for the worst-case scenario in California.

Montreal Ranked #2 City Most Likely To Get Hit By A Major Earthquake In Canada - Torrential downpours of freezing rain; massive snow storms; golf ball-sized hail; all are examples of natural phenomenon that Montrealers are used to seeing put the city in a state of mild-to- complete chaos.
Granted, major earthquakes are seldom seen in the city (the last notable one was in 1732), but the city is in a precarious place when it comes to seismic activity and it seems as if we’re due for one. Granted, major earthquakes are seldom seen in the city (the last notable one was in 1732), but the city is in a precarious place when it comes to seismic activity and it seems as if we’re due for one.
A recent study performed by a catastrophe risk modeling consultant firm stated “it is only a matter of time” before a major earthquake hits the Montreal area, stating that there’s a 5-15% chance an earthquake will strike the region in the next 50 years. Vancouver is number 1.

The Volcanoes of Nicaragua Sure Have Been Cranky This Year - Every year there seems to be a country that is having more than its fair share of volcanic eruptions. This is the sort of thing that happens when you have a random distribution of volcanic eruptions over time (and space to some degree, along the areas that have volcanoes). This year, it is Nicaragua that seems to be the focus of eruptions—at least more so than usual. The biggest newsmaker is Momotombo, where the volcano has produced numerous explosive eruptions over the last few weeks.

Indonesia - Volcanic smoking and ashes rise from Mount Sinabung during an eruption in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Feb. 24, 2016. More than 10,000 villagers living near the volcano were forced to evacuate to safer places. Authorities have repeatedly called on local residents to remain patient in dealing with the impact of Sinabung's eruptions, which some experts have predicted will continue for five more years.

Japan - Mt. Kirishima ready to erupt. Scientists in Japan say another volcano is showing signs of being ready to erupt. Mt. Kirishima on Japan’s western Kyushu Island last erupted in 2011. Authorities say 158 tremors registered Tuesday at the Shinmoe Peak. Experts from Japan’s meteorological agency surveyed the peak’s surface temperature and other data Wednesday, but detected no abnormalities. Still, they said a small eruption is possible and kept the warning level at 2. That means hikers must act with caution when approaching within half-a-mile of the caldera.


Man killed when wave sweeps 4 into ocean in California - A large wave swept four people off a Los Angeles County jetty as high surf pounded much of the California coast, leaving one man dead and his three companions seriously injured. Redondo Beach firefighters responded late Wednesday after witnesses reported people in the water calling for help at King Harbor.
Rescuers pulled two men and two women from the waves at the base of the rock jetty. One man was dead at the scene. The three others were hospitalized in serious condition. It wasn't clear why the group was on the rocks late at night, but people routinely fish there. The surf this week was especially high and people were warned to stay away.
"You get one wave every three or four minutes. They feel they can get out and that's just not the case." A wave knocked a Harbor Patrol officer into the water during the rescue. He was not hurt. In San Diego, a large section of a cliff collapsed onto Ocean Beach below Wednesday afternoon. The parking lot by Sunset Cliffs had been fenced off as chunks of sandstone had been sloughing off the cliff face last week, part of a natural erosion process intensified by the winter storms.
The high surf subsided by Thursday night, but a similar pattern will return to the California coast Friday. Beachgoers were warned of dangerous waves, rip currents and possibly minor flooding. Waves just to the north and south of San Francisco could hit 11 feet, while sets topping 18 feet are expected along the Central Coast. Waves from 5 feet to 12 feet are predicted from Los Angeles to San Diego.
The cause is a large swell generated by a storm off Northern California. Authorities say swimmers should watch the waves before entering the water or ask lifeguards for advice. Meanwhile, Southern California's winter heat wave continues due to a high pressure ridge. Downtown Los Angeles hit 83 degrees on Thursday.

Monster Waves Slam Hawaii, Damaging Oceanfront Homes. And a second swell was barreling toward the islands. In Hawaii, a pair of gigantic, back-to-back swells generated waves large enough to overtake beach parks, wash across roadways and damage oceanfront properties.
"We're seeing very, very huge wave heights. We're seeing very dangerous situations." The initial swell brought wave faces of up to 70 feet in certain areas Monday. A stronger-than-usual El Niño was fueling one of the strongest surf events in Hawaii in 50 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In an unprecedented move, state officials shut down a 12-mile stretch of Kamehameha Highway, on the north shore of Oahu, in response to ocean surges that washed over the roadway. In addition to flooding, several areas experienced severe coastal erosion. A 30-foot stretch of beach on the north shore of Oahu reportedly disappeared overnight. Despite numerous beaches being closed, lifeguards were kept busy, rescuing dozens of people and issuing hundreds of warnings.
The historic event also wreaked havoc on oceanfront properties, including a home on Oahu that all but toppled into the ocean. If Monday's pounding swell wasn't enough, the National Weather Service warned Wednesday that another followed close behind. On north-facing shores, surf was forecast to rise rapidly from Wednesday and reach heights of 40 to 50 feet through Thursday. But the potentially perilous one-two punch had the Hawaii surf community abuzz. (videos at link)


* In the Southern Pacific -
Tropical cyclone Yalo is located approximately 327 nm southwest of Papeete, Tahiti.

5 percent of Fiji's population is currently staying in evacuation centres after Tropical Cyclone Winston. 45,245 people are currently sheltering at 275 evacuation centres around the country. The death toll after Cyclone Winston stands at 42 however this number is expected to increase further.
There are reports of 122 people getting injured during the cyclone while 45 people have been hospitalized.The estimated cost of damage sustained around the country by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston is about $1 billion.

Fewer Tropical Cyclones Form After Volcanic Eruptions - Volcanic eruptions aren't all bad—in some cases, they can lower the frequency of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic by emitting sulfate aerosols.


At Least 5 Killed as Tornadoes, Howling Thunderstorm Winds Rake Eastern US - Whipping northward at interstate speeds, multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms raced from the Carolinas to New England on Wednesday and early Thursday. The springlike round of severe weather - which extended unusually far north for February - took one life in South Carolina and at least four in Virginia, making Wednesday the latter state’s deadliest tornado day since the notorious Super Outbreak of April 27, 2011. Three people, including a two-year-old boy, were killed in hard-hit Waverly, VA, and another man died in Appomattox County.
By 7 am EST Thursday morning, NOAA/SPC had racked up at least 17 tornado reports and more than 300 reports of high wind, extending from Florida to Maine. Hail up to baseball size was reported near Tungsten, NC, and Castle Heights, VA.
The surprise element Wednesday night was how far north the action extended. A wedge of cold air eroded more quickly than expected, allowing warm, moist air to surge north ahead of a slow-moving cold front. This warm front set the stage for late-night thunderstorms that would be impressive for the region in May, much less February. By late Wednesday night, severe thunderstorm watches had been placed as far poleward as southern Vermont and eastern Massachusetts “If not unprecedented, I'd characterize yesterday as ‘highly unusual’,” said a warning and coordination meteorologist for NOAA/SPC. The last time western Massachusetts experienced a severe thunderstorm warning in February was nearly 20 years ago - on Feb. 22, 1997.
Next week: rinse and repeat? After a more tranquil weekend and an uneventful start to next week, the eastern U.S. could see another powerhouse storm system. Long-range models are suggesting the potential for an inland nor’easter not unlike the one just departing, with severe weather again possible from the South to the mid-Atlantic and perhaps northward from there. El NIño commonly intensifies severe weather across the Gulf states during winter, but multiple rounds of severe storms north of the Carolinas would be a more unorthodox happening.

Powerful storm moves across Massachusetts - A second round of stormy weather brought hurricane-force wind gusts and heavy rains, leaving thousands of Massachusetts residents without power early Thursday.


Toronto under extreme cold weather alert early Thursday morning. Environment Canada says temperatures are expected to drop to -12 C by the evening.


Record-breaking warmth hits this Canadian city - Forget Florida for a winter getaway, Nova Scotia is the place to be. The village of Greenwood located in the western part of King's County was the country's hot spot Thursday morning with a staggering 17 degrees C. By comparison, it's only 13 degrees C in Orlando Florida.

Punishing Drought Leaves Haitians Desperate for Food - For the last three years, a punishing drought has driven Haitians who were barely getting by on marginal farmland even deeper into misery.

This El Nino won't end the drought after all - California's drought still remains, and the worst of it is still unchanged from last week. This follows a continuing trend of dry conditions returning to the West Coast. At the beginning of winter, there were high hopes this El Niño, one of the strongest in recorded history, would give California a much needed shot of rain water, something that's been in short supply for years.


Canada - Extreme weather will cost Ottawa almost $1- billion yearly. The federal government can expect to pay nearly a billion dollars a year in disaster relief for extreme weather events – far more than the $100-million it has been budgeting – as the increasing frequency and intensity of hurricanes, winter storms and especially floods take a greater toll, the Parliamentary Budget Officer says in a report.

Federal payments to the Canadian provinces for disaster relief have skyrocketed over the past five years because of the increasing number of extreme weather events. The liabilities have “increased substantially because of a number of weather events that have caused heavy damage."
Between 2016 and 2021-22, payments can be expected annually to reach $229 million because of hurricanes, and winter storms. It is expected flooding will cost the DFFA program another $673 million over the five year period.
Besides the increasing number of large storms with greater intensity, the PBO cited four events over the last four years that ratcheted up the cost of the payments. They were the heavy rains in June 2014 in Saskatchewan, which is expected to cost the program $160- million; the Toronto ice storm of December 2013, which is anticipated to cost $120 million; and the Southern Alberta and southeastern B.C. flood of June 2013, which an expected cost of $1.3 billion. The fourth event was the flooding of the Assiniboine River in Manitoba in 2011. The program is expected to pay out $524 million to Manitoba and another $245 million to Saskatchewan. The report only mentions climate change in passing, and the reference is buried down near the bottom of the document.


Some experts contend Brazil is exaggerating Zika crisis - Often drowned out by the dire warnings and fear surrounding Zika, some medical professionals are saying that Brazil and international health officials have prematurely declared a link between the virus and what appears to be a surge in birth defects.
A few even argue that the Brazilian government is being irresponsible, given that a connection hasn’t been scientifically proven between the mosquito-borne virus and the birth defect known as microcephaly, which causes infants to be born with abnormally small heads.
“It’s a global scandal. Brazil has created a worldwide panic. I’m not saying that Zika is not causing microcephaly, but I am saying that the ministry has yet to present any scientifically credible evidence to support that conclusion.”
Others argue there are still too many unanswered questions to blame Zika. Why are the vast majority of the cases of microcephaly being reported in Brazil? Why haven’t they also shown up in proportional numbers in other countries hit hard by Zika, such as Colombia? (The answer, some say, is that Brazil was hit by Zika first, and microcephaly cases might be expected to crest elsewhere in the months ahead.)
And how can conclusions be drawn from government statistics that are flawed and possibly vastly underreported in the past, before Brazilian officials required doctors to report microcephaly cases?

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