Storms and Floods

Tropical Storm Gorio [Rumbia]

Tropical Storm Gorio made landfall at 8 am on Saturday, June 29, in Hernani, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph and gusts of up to 85 kph, Gorio was moving northwest at 19 kph.

On Sunday, Tropical Storm Gorio was located approximately 64 nm westward of Manila, Philippines.

Floods in Northern China/Mongolia

Heavy rainfall and floods have collapsed more than 272 houses in Huanan since Monday.

A landslide caused by a heavy rainstorm has claimed the lives of at least two people.

Similarly, hail and flooding have affected more than 290,000 people in Mongolia. A total of 97,500 hectares of cropland have been flooded, more than 247 houses have been totally destroyed causing damage of 430 million yuan, the regional civil affairs department said.

Environment

Trade Winds Declining in Hawaii

Experts say trade winds are declining, a drop that’s slowly changing life across the islands. Part of what makes living in Hawaii so pleasant is the gentle breeze. Arriving from the northeast, it’s light enough that it is barely noticeable but strong enough to chase away the humidity.

The effects of the decline in the trade winds can be seen from the relatively minor – such as residents unaccustomed to the humidity complaining about the weather and having to use their fans and air conditioning more often – to the more consequential – including winds being too weak to blow away volcanic smog. The winds also help bring the rains, and their decline means less water. It’s one reason officials are moving to restore the health of the mountainous forests that hold the state’s water supply and encourage water conservation. Scholars are studying ways for farmers to plant crops differently.

It’s not clear what’s behind the shift in the winds. A study has shown a decades-long decline, including a 28 per cent drop in northeast trade wind days at Honolulu’s airport since the early 1970s.

These days there are fewer waves to surf because the winds are arriving less often. Sometimes the winds are too weak to blow away the volcanic smog, or vog, created by sulfur dioxide erupting from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island, leaving a white or brownish haze hanging over Honolulu. This aggravates asthma and other respiratory problems.

For now, the most important consequence will be declining rainfall and a drop in the water supply, particularly as Hawaii’s population grows and uses more water. Trade winds deliver rain to Hawaii when clouds carried from the northeast hit mountainous islands built by millions of years of volcanic eruptions. These rains, together with rainfall from winter storms, are the state’s primary sources of water. On Oahu, the rain feeds ground aquifers that supply water to about 950,000 people in Honolulu and surrounding towns. Residents are reporting streams near their homes are flowing lower than before. Scientists don’t know if this is a downward trend or just the lower leg of a long-term cycle.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Fuego (Guatemala): Explosions have become more violent, the latest special bulletin of INSIVUMEH indicates. Mild strombolian eruptions have turned into more powerful vulcanian-type explosions, which eject dense ash plumes rising to 800 m and produce numerous avalanches of blocks around the crater, especially on the southern flank. Shock waves from the explosions could be felt in areas up to 15 km distance, and rattled windows and doors in houses of Panimaché, Panimaché II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, Sangre de Cristo and were sometimes heard as far as Yepocapa and Alotenango. Fine ash fall occurred in Panimaché, Morelia and Sangre de Cristo.

Disease

Swine Flu at County Fairs Is Back

A relatively new strain of the swine flu virus that sickened more than 300 people last year is back again this summer, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The strain, called H3N2 variant virus, infected four people who visited a county agricultural fair in Indiana this month. None of the infected individuals were hospitalized, and none died.

Because this virus is typically transmitted from pigs to people, the CDC officials are urging people at high risk for flu complications — such as young children, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — to avoid pigs at county fairs.

Meningitis in Russia

An outbreak of meningitis in Russia, which occurred nearly a month ago, has failed to subside yet, contrary to doctors’ forecast. The first cases of the disease were registered in Rostov-on-Don. It has spread to other cities – Astrakhan, Lipetsk and its region, Nizhni Novgorod and Moscow.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms.

The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light (photophobia) or loud noises (phonophobia). Treatment must be started without delay, Otherwise grave complications or even a lethal outcome are likely.

Chikungunya Disease in the Philippines

The Department of Health (DoH) in the Philippines confirmed yesterday an outbreak of chikungunya disease in Patnongon, Antique, with 313 cases as of April, this year.

The symptoms of chikunguya include fever, rashes, and severe joint pains.

There is no known cure for chikungunya but it is rarely fatal.