Wildfires

Wildfires in New Zealand.

Firefighters battling a pine plantation blaze in Wairarapa say it is now under control.

Seven helicopters are fighting the fire about 30 kilometres south east of Masterton which started about 9.30pm last night.

No houses are at risk.

A grass and scrub fire was also burning on Whanganui River near Jerusalem; two helicopters with monsoon buckets were seen dousing it this morning.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Nepal.

Drought

Drought Grips New Zealand

The New Zealand government has declared a drought in key farming areas of the North Island.

The affected areas include the major dairy producing region Waikato, and the horticultural regions of Hawkes Bay and the Bay of Plenty.

The dry weather stretched through the summer months. Crops that were planted in the spring, which are needed to feed cattle late in the summer, have withered away. This has forced farmers to buy expensive supplementary food. To avoid this cost, farmers have been forced to reduce their milk production, and some have even had to cull animals.

The last significant drought in New Zealand occurred in 2007- 2008, and was one of the reasons that the economy dipped into a year-long recession. Agriculture accounts for around a half of the country’s USD 38 billion annual export earnings, and the current drought is threatening to cost the economy USD 830 million.

An area of high pressure has dominated the weather for much of the summer, which has brought fine settled weather to the region. Some locations have received only around a third of their average rainfall this year.

The official declaration of drought gives farmers access to financial and social support, but the impact could be long lasting. Often agricultural production does not recover to pre-drought levels for at least 24 months.

Disease

Novel Coronavirus – Update

The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has informed WHO of a new confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV).

Storms and Floods

Cyclone Sandra forms off Townsville, Australia and could either go out to sea, but it could also head for the Queensland coast as it gathers strength Thursday.

Coastal flooding in New Jersey, USA

Several people close to Toms River, Brick and Bay Head have been moved to higher ground.

New Jersey is expected to face its worst coastal flooding since Hurricane Sandy.

Coastal flood warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. A state of emergency has been declared in Virginia.

Tornado Hits Glascock – Georgia, USA

No injuries were reported, but several homes and a church were damaged.

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Landslide in Kulyari village, Pakistan

Landslide in Kulyari village of Pakistan has killed two people and injured one.

Landslide along Nabouwalu to Dreketi highway, Fiji

A landslide along the Nabouwalu to Dreketi highway in Fiji closed road for several hours. Heavy rainfall caused flash floods and landslide in the area.

Wildlife

Uk Deer Numbers Spiralling Out Of Control

Current efforts to control Britain’s increasing deer numbers are not enough to stop populations spreading out of control, according to research by the University of East Anglia.

There are now more deer in Britain than at any time since the Ice Age.

Without natural predators, populations are continuing to rise, causing a serious threat to biodiversity. High numbers of deer can threaten woodland birds, carry infections such as Lyme disease, damage crops and cause road traffic accidents.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): Another paroxysm occurred from the New SE crater during the night. Following a period of increasing strombolian activity, large lava fountains were rising from vent in the saddle between the old and new SE crater as well its summit vent. Activity at the Voragine crater continues with an impressive glow at night.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Several (3 or 4) relatively larg collapses of the lava dome occurred today between between 05:00 and 06:30 (GMT). The events triggered pyroclastic flows which traveled through the valley between the active dome and a relict flank of an older dome to the east. The largest flow reached about 4 km distance. Ash plumes from the flows rose to an altitude of 14,000 ft (4.3 km) and drifted east.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano remains quite productive, with no less than 5 vulcanian explosions recorded yesterday by Tokyo VAAC. The largest produced a plume rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

Tangkubanparahu (West Java): Eruptive activity has started in the form of intermittent ash explosions from the crater since 4 March. So far, the explosions were small and phreatic in origin (no fresh magma involved, caused by overheated groundwater), according to Surono, head of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) in Bandung. Explosions continued yesterday and today with an increasing trend. One today lasted 8 minutes and produced an ash plume several hundred meters high, which caused some panic among people near the crater.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity remains stable. The volcano produces on average about 1 emission per hour, sometimes with small ash plumes. Glow remains visible at night.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): The activity has remained more or less similar over the past weeks. Weak to moderate ash explosions from the dome occur 1-2 times an hour on average, with plumes reaching up to about 800 m above the dome. The viscous block lava flows on the flanks of the dome remain weakly active, mainly those to the south and southeast.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has calmed down to normal mild strombolian activity with incandescent bursts reaching 100 m above the crater and generating small glowing avalanches. No lava flows were reported active.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): The volcano experienced a phase of increase tremor and small quakes yesterday, probably related to some magma intrusion at depth, which resulted in increased SO2 emissions.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity is on the increase, both internally (seismic) and at the surface. Constant ash emissions generate a plume rising on average 500 m, interrupted by stronger explosions that produced plumes up to 1.5 km high, drifting mostly to the west. A hot spot at the summit is visible on satellite data, indicating the fresh magma that is arriving there.

Nyiragongo (DRCongo): A large SO2 plume drifting SW was visible on today’s satellite data, suggesting that the lava lake is well active.