Monday, February 29, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**If you want to be more creative, the best thing you can do is to talk to people who disagree with you.**
Dr. Muthukrishna

LARGEST QUAKES so far today, 6.0 or larger -

2/27/16 -

Fukushima disaster: Ex-Tepco executives charged with negligence - Three former executives at a Japanese power giant have been formally charged with negligence over the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The trio, formerly of Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), will be the first to go to court over the incident.
A citizen's panel ruled last year they should face trial, forcing prosecutors to pursue the case. The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered a series of meltdowns following a massive earthquake and tsunami. Prosecutors in Tokyo had twice decided against pressing charges, citing insufficient evidence.
But in a rare legal move, the panel's ruling forced a compulsory indictment of the three. The panel said the three men did not take sufficient measures despite being warned of a risk of a tsunami near the Fukushima plant. They plan to plead not guilty on the grounds they could not have anticipated the size of the tsunami.
One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded struck off the coast of Japan in March 2011, triggering a huge tsunami. Almost 16,000 people died and more than 2,500 are still listed as missing. None of the deaths, however, have been linked to the nuclear disaster, although there were a number of deaths in the subsequent evacuation.

Nepal - Extensive groundwater extraction in the Indo-Gangetic Plain over the last five decades has "significantly" contributed to the killer April 25, 2015, Nepal temblor and "probably all earthquakes" in the region beneath the Himalayan arc, Indian scientists claim.

South Dakota - 2/27/16 - Police are investigating multiple reports of loud booms in Sioux Falls and the surrounding areas. The National Weather Service said they had not seen any indications of an explosion or other events that would show up on radar, and that there are no storms in the area. "There's nothing unusual on the radar that would suggest a meteor or a comet." However, NWS did offer a possible theory on what could be causing the booms: "After thinking a thing could be happening is this. There is a very sharp temperature change not too far off the surface (about 500 ft) tonight due to the warmer air aloft and fast cooling here at the ground. It's possible that as some aircraft are landing that this sound is bouncing off this temperature 'inversion.' It's a theory." Scanner traffic indicated that multiple people had called in to report the booms. Police were investigating reports in Hartford and at 85th Street and Marion Road. Police were unable to find the source of the noises. People have reported the booms in several areas around Sioux Falls and beyond.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an eruption warning of Mount Io in southern Japan on Sunday. Experts observed an increase in volcanic earthquakes in the Kirishima mountain range on Kyushu island, urging tourists and hikers to avoid the 0.6-mile area around Mt. Io’s crater. The agency said at least 37 volcanic tremors have been recorded at the site by mid-Sunday. Intensified activity around the volcano dates back to July 2015.

Nicaragua: Strong Explosions in Momotombo Volcano - The Government of Nicaragua remains attentive to two strong explosions occurred today in the volcano Momotombo, located in the western Department of León. The explosions were perceived by residents of that territory and Managua. Since the beginning of the activity of the volcano on December 1st - after 110 years of relative calm - 68 explosions have been registered.


The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami killed many people who fled to evacuation places designated by local governments. About 30 per cent of the people in Kessenuma's Suginoshita district perished or went missing in the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. Now residents of the district are planning to publish a book at their own expense about the tragedy that took so many lives.
"I want the next generation of people to understand that many lives were lost at a place the city had designated for evacuation in emergencies." The residents held evacuation drills, which included escaping to the hill, twice a year. "Designated evacuation places are not always safe. "Every possible safety measure should be taken, such as preparing life jackets and boats to escape in emergencies.

No current tropical storms.

French Polynesia remains on cyclone alert - A orange alert remains in force in the western parts of French Polynesia as strong winds and rain continue. Tropical Cyclone Yalo in the south has broken up but a broad front is sweeping the most populated islands. On Rangiora in the Tuamotu archipelago, the heaviest downpour in living memory caused flooding of dozens of homes, with the mayor quoted as saying more than half a meter of rain fell during the night.

Tropical cyclones in the Philippines are becoming more extreme causing greater amounts of devastation and loss of life, a new study finds. It found that in the last two decades, there has been a slight decrease in the number of smaller cyclones (above 118 kilometers per hour) that hit the country. That means more Filipinos are at risk since more hazardous tropical cyclones (above 150 kilometers per hour) were shown to be on the rise, with the northern island of Luzon frequently affected.


Brits braced for -18C spring blast sparked by 'polar plunge'. - Snow is set to hit Britain this Easter as temperatures plummet to -18C. Forecasters say a “polar plunge” – the same phenomenon that caused 2010’s big freeze – could trigger the extreme weather.
The Met Office predicts colder than average conditions, with snow from Iceland until mid-March and sub-zero chills most nights. Late March and early April will see the threat of a longer freeze, bringing the “greatest risk” of snow and ice.
With Good Friday falling on March 25, families planning Easter getaways could be hit by severe travel disruption. A polar plunge is also known as “sudden stratospheric warming” where air heats up high over the North Pole, shunting cold, low-level Arctic air south to Britain for up to 14 days.
The weather event has caused severe temperature drops in the past including -18C conditions in 2009 and 2010, and lows of -13.6C in 2013. The Met Office spring forecast said: “The greatest risk of cold weather impacts is in late March and early April, due to the likelihood of a sudden stratospheric warming event in early March."


India - Farmer suicides rising due to successive drought, crop failure in Marathwada region Maharashtra cabinet will camp in Marathwada region from 4 to 6 March to get first-hard experience of the calamity’s intensity.

South Africa - The deadly drought has left many KwaZulu-Natal farmers in dire straits. The province is operating under a formal declaration of disaster. It has become a daily struggle for many. Subsistence farmers are also feeling the heat. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has pledged to maximise its disaster relief and water provision. (video at link)

Minnesota - On Saturday, the temperature in Minneapolis rose to 58 degrees, breaking a 120-year-old record. Typically they mercury reaches 50 degrees around March 9, but Saturday felt more like April. "I've seen some people out here in shorts and tank tops. Pretty extreme."

Wisconsin - record-breaking warmth. People headed outside this weekend to enjoy the record-breaking temperatures. Milwaukee's temperature hit 59 degree on Sunday, breaking by 5 degrees a record high for the day that had been in place for more than 100 years.

Canada - From record-breaking warmth to 'significant snowfall' in Toronto. Torontonians may have been dreaming of spring after record-breaking temperatures Sunday, but Tuesday may bring plenty of snow. The mercury climbed to a balmy 13.8C on Sunday, making it the warmest Feb. 28 Environment Canada has on record. Monday is expected to be a pleasant 5C, but then things will get real (cold) with an expected daytime high on Tuesday of -5C.


Arctic warming - Why record-breaking melting is just the beginning. It has been an ‘absurdly warm’ winter in the Arctic this year, as temperatures within 200 miles of the North Pole peaked above freezing. Rapidly disappearing Arctic sea ice is about to set a new record after an “absurdly warm” winter at the top of the world. For the second year running, it will have grown to cover less of the Arctic Ocean than ever before.
The revelation comes as scientists are increasingly worried that the heating of the region could escalate out of control, as growing numbers of “feedback mechanisms” – which reinforce and accelerate the process – are being discovered.
Most attention on the melting sea ice so far has been focused on the increasingly low minimum levels it reaches each September. Its nine smallest-ever extents have all occurred in the last nine years, with the record being reached in 2012, when it covered only 3.41 million square kilometres - 44 per cent less than the average of the previous three decades, and a full 16 per cent lower than the previous record, in 2007.
But the amount by which the ice recovers each winter, peaking at the end of February and the beginning of March, though little publicised, is at least as important. Last year it reached only 14.54 million sq km on 25 February, its peak day – the lowest ever. Exactly a year later, at the end of last week, it was just 14.27 million sq km, a fall of 270,000 sq km.

New Zealand - "It has been a weird summer. All the talk of El Nino hasn't happened. It's almost like La Nina, the complete opposite." North Islanders worn out by sleepless, hot, humid nights can expect some cooler relief - briefly - from Monday night.
Showers, including occasional heavy bursts, today fell in the central North Island up to Auckland. The rainfall was welcomed by farmers whose pastures have dried out in some of the searing temperatures of our golden summer. And hefty rainfall is forecast overnight Saturday, with a severe weather watch in place. Two fronts are coming through in the first and second weeks of March.

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