Thursday, February 25, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Our bravest and best lessons are not learned through success, but through misadventure.**
Amos Bronson Alcott

LARGEST QUAKES so far today, 6.0 or larger -

California - While Kern County had little to no damage as a result of Tuesday's 4.8 magnitude earthquake, a Caltech seismologist says that the earthquake stood out. "This event was particulary deep. It was down around 22 kilometers which, statistically for our area, is quite deep."
22 kilometers is a little over 13 and a half miles. Many of the California earthquakes peak at around 9 miles deep, depending on where the occur. Earlier this month, a study showed a correlation between oil fraching and a string of earthquakes that occurred in Kern County in 2005. Tuesday's quake probably had nothing to do with fracking.
"These earthquakes were way deeper than any operations that would be occurring." Instead, plate tectonics are most likely the reason for the earthquake. A strike slip fault occurred between the Pacific and North American plates. "One side of the fault moves sideways relative to the other. This was a right lateral motion, which means if you stood on one side of the fault and you looked at the other side, you would see it moving to the right."
This right lateral motion is similar to what happens along the San Andreas Fault. So is this Tuesday's earthquake a sign that bigger quakes are on the horizon? No. "At this point, there's no reason to believe that it is anything other than the normal earthquakes that we have here in Southern California because of our plate boundaries."

Shaking along the Washington coast Tuesday wasn't an earthquake, seismologists say - Social media started percolating Tuesday afternoon with a number of reports along the central Washington coast of mild shaking, and wondering if they just had experienced an earthquake. However, none of the sensors at the Pacific Northwest Seismology Network triggered an earthquake alert - usually those alerts happen within moments of a quake.
So, was it a quake? A letter from PNSN seismologists to the Grays Harbor Emergency Management said that two seismographs on either side of Ocean Shores about 10 miles apart did pick up some mild shaking, but it was not a classic quake signature. Instead, there was a 20-second delay between when the two seismographs started squiggling. The speed of sound is about 10 times slower than the speed of quake energy spreading through the ground, and the 20-second delay suggests it was a sound event.
An earthquake would have shown up nearly simultaneously on the graphs. Bottom line: The seismologists' hypothesis was that it was caused by airplanes - possibly sonic booms, maybe from offshore military exercises.

About 6 p.m. on Tuesday, a massive boom rattled residents of the north Oregon coast in a fairly wide stretch of nearly 20 miles – from Garibaldi all the way up to Manzanita. It shook homes and windows, sending some out into the street to look for explosions, and it lit up social media.
It turned out to be just what many thought: a sonic boom from military aircraft doing exercises in the region. The incident echoed another similar situation earlier in the day at Ocean Shores, Washington, where residents there got spooked by a sonic boom around 3:30 p.m.
Sonic booms occur when a jet breaks the sound barrier, creating shockwaves in the air. The answer to all of it lay in social media the whole time: Oregon Air National Guard’s (OANA) Facebook page had a post about operations going from February 16 to 25. The OANA's 142nd Fighter Wing have been conducting routine F-15 night training missions in the region, to help keep Citizen- Airmen pilots based in Portland and Vancouver to stay current with mandatory Air Force requirements.
Nothing about this was known by residents at the time, however, so the community Facebook page for Rockaway Beach went into high gear with a barrage of tales and worries. A few hours later, one member discovered the post from OANA and the big questions were resolved.
Some residents caught on quickly to the sonic boom idea, with one writing: “We did go outside right after the boom that rattled the house and windows, and we could hear jets in the sky. We guessed military drills. I really want to know what it was!” A few darted outside their front doors half expecting to see smoke from an explosion.
The boom was heard and felt near Garibaldi, throughout the seven miles of Rockaway Beach, in Nehalem and in Manzanita – almost 20 miles of Oregon coastline. It's interesting to note Nehalem is a few miles inland from the beach. There don't appear to be reports of it at Cannon Beach, so it's possible Neahkahnie Mountain shielded the areas northward from the sound.

A book written by a revered Italian geologist Mario Tozzi explains what could happen if Yellowstone super volcano erupted this year. It 'could erupt in 2016' and wipe out the Earth. Experts have long warned the Yellowstone super volcano will one day erupt and wipe out the planet – but it could be sooner than we feared.
His book 'Pianeta Terra Ultimo Atto' – which translates to 'Planet Earth, The Last Act' – suggests the volcanic caldera may awaken in 2016 and have disastrous consequences for the rest of the globe. The author's book – set in 2019 – covers a scenario after the super volcano erupts between now and the end of the year. He envisages the volcano exploding and covering the United States – and potentially leading to catastrophic disaster around the world.


* In the Southern Pacific -
- Tropical cyclone Fourteen is located approximately 273 nm northeast of Rarotonga.

- Final advisory has been issued on Tropical cyclone Winston which is located approximately 367 nm northeast of Kingston Island. Winston is already exhibiting signs of being subtropical, with the mid-level warm core weakening and the wind field expanding. The system is forecast to complete subtropical transition, but is expected to maintain gale-force winds. The system will be closely monitored for signs of regeneration.
Cyclone Winston - Fiji death toll reaches 42 with reports entire villages wiped out on remote islands.


Tornadoes Kill Three in Southern U.S. - Significant Tornado Outbreak in VA, NC. The deadliest severe weather outbreak thus far in 2016 hit the Deep South on Tuesday, when at least eighteen tornadoes tore across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Hardest hit was Louisiana, where the town of Convent saw a tornado rip through an RV park, killing two and injuring 31, with seven of those people in critical condition.
An additional fatality was reported in a mobile home near Purvis, Mississippi. Major damage occurred late Tuesday morning in Prairieville, southeast of Baton Rouge, where a Gold's Gym and several other buildings nearby were heavily damaged around the time a tornado was reported in the area. Just 18 miles northeast, in Livingston, several homes had their roofs completely torn off.
For the second time this month, a tornado caused major damage in Escambia County, located in the far western portion of the Florida Panhandle near Pensacola. A rotating supercell thunderstorm that formed over the Gulf of Mexico moved ashore and spawned a tornado that crossed Interstate 10, flipping several cars and a tractor trailer on the Escambia Bay Bridge, leaving the highway closed from mile marker 17 to mile marker 43. Twenty-four units of The Moorings apartment complex in Pensacola were completely destroyed, and an additional six suffered minor damage.
Death toll rises to 7 - A powerful storm system swept across the East Coast on Wednesday, killing four people in Virginia and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the region. A day earlier, the system spawned about two dozen tornadoes along the Gulf Coast, damaging hundreds of homes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Three people were killed and dozens were injured.
Forecasters had warned that more than 88 million people were at risk of seeing some sort of severe weather Wednesday. In the Midwest, heavy snow and biting winds led to mass flight cancellations at Chicago airports and school closings in several states.

Asia spring forecast - Flooding to threaten southeast China to Japan; Drought to persist in Southeast Asia. While much of Asia can expect dry and mild conditions, there will be areas of ongoing drought as well as the risk of flooding during the spring of 2016.
"The main players in Asia this spring will be the typical ones, including the monsoon and fluctuations in Indian Ocean water temperatures." In addition, El NiƱo may still have enough influence to factor into the western Pacific Typhoon season during the approach of summer.


An Australian icebreaker delivering supplies to Antarctica has broken free of its mooring in a blizzard and run aground. (video)


Drought - South Africa is expected to harvest 1.63 million metric tons of sugar in the 2015/2016 season, the lowest since 1995 and down 22 percent on the previous period as a severe drought hits production. The worst drought in a century has hurt sugar and maize producing regions, piling pressure on sugar producers who are also grappling with cheap imports, forcing some mills to remain closed and reducing jobs in the sector.

South Africa - Widespread rain forecast despite extreme fire dangers. Cape Town - The South African Weather Service has warned of extremely high fire danger conditions expected in places over the northern interior of the Northern Cape, the Cape Winelands, central and Little Karoo on Wednesday, 24 February.

Drought threatens return in New Mexico after dry stretch. Marking an end to a record-setting stretch of warm, dry weather, snow fell around New Mexico on Tuesday, but forecasters warned that meaningful moisture has been in short supply and drought is threatening to creep back into the state.


Is a rogue comet on a collision course with Earth? - Meteor shower was spotted in New Zealand during New Year celebrations. Never previously detected, the shower has been named the Volantids. Astronomers say they yet to trace the comet that produced the shower. They say the shower has provided an early warning of a potential hazard.


If you find yourself hitting the snooze button every morning, don’t blame yourself. Your work schedule could be to blame. A researcher believes that the ideal work day should start at 10am. It’s not rational to start the work day at 8am.
A growing field of research now shows that, for many of us, more than 70%, our work schedules are wildly out of sync with our natural body clocks — and experts are urging employers to take notice.When work schedules are aligned with people’s natural sleep patterns, they produce higher quality and more innovative work because they are more focused, less stressed and generally healthier. The opposite is also true – when employees are sleep deprived they are more likely to make major mistakes and suffer from workplace injuries. Research has even shown that night owls behave more unethically in the morning than at night and that early birds were more unethical at night.
By the time they reach high school or secondary school, teenagers are getting up, on average, three hours earlier than they should because of early school start times in some cases as early as 7:30am. The result: chronic sleep deprivation, that hurts their ability to focus and could lead to longer term health problems like obesity and diabetes.
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