Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Guerrero, Mexico.

5.2 Earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the north coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits Atacama, Chile.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

5.1 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bali Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

A second 5.0 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Rat islands in the Aleutian Islands.

A second 5.0 Earthquake hits the Rat islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Atlantic Ocean:

Tropical Storm Erin weakened into a tropical depression Friday as it moved west across the Atlantic from Africa. The storm is the fifth to receive a name in the Atlantic hurricane season.

As of 1500 GMT Friday, it was 870 kilometres (540 miles) west of the Cape Verde islands.

In the Pacific Ocean:

The Central Pacific Hurricane Centre is tracking three systems located in the Central Pacific.

The strongest is Tropical Storm Pewa, which was located 1275 miles SW of Kauaʻi at around 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, according to the CPHC. TS Pewa was last tracked moving WNW at 13 mph, and had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to a CPHC forecast.

Forecasters say Pewa is the first tropical cyclone to develop within the Central North Pacific Basin in the 2013 season.

Floods close Trans-Siberian railway

Russian Railways on Thursday closed a section of the legendary Trans-Siberian railway because if serious flooding, potentially delaying a train en route from Moscow to the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

Flood water washed away some of the stone ballast supporting the track in the far eastern Amur region after a nearby river reached a “critical level”, Russian Railways said in a statement on its website.

Repair workers were propping up the affected area with concrete slabs and adding more crushed stones after the track was closed at a distance of around 7,500 kilometres (4,700 miles) from the capital. The repairs were expected to cause delays to the Moscow-Vladivostok passenger train, the railway monopoly said. The train left Moscow on Wednesday evening and was due to arrive in Vladivostok almost a week later.

Extreme flooding in the region has seen the emergency ministry evacuate more than 13,000 people from their homes. The Trans-Siberian railway, known as the Transsib in Russian, is the most reliable means of transport across the country, which is still not fully connected by modern motorways. The route betweeen Moscow and Vladivostok covers 9,300 kilometres (5,800 miles).


A sandstorm mixed with heavy rain hit the Wilayat of Mahout in the Governorate of Al Wusta, Oman. Local flooding also hit Wilayat in Al Mudhaibi.

Torrential rain ad thunderstorms in Bermuda have caused flooding and wide spread power outages. More than 1,300 homes in Southampton and Warwick are without power due to lightning strikes. According to the Bermuda Weather Service, a temperature of 21.6 C has been recorded which is the lowest since records began.

More flooding is expected in Sudan, the country’s chief weather forecaster warned on Thursday, after severe rains have killed 53 people and affected about 200,000.


Unprecedented Summertime Heat Scorches Japan and China

Japan experienced its hottest temperature on record with a reading of 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Shimanto, a coastal city on the western island of Shikoku, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

That broke the previous record of 105.6 degrees set in August 2007.

A week of sweltering conditions sent almost 10,000 people to hospitals by ambulance across Japan, suffering from heat-related problems. Officials said at least 19 people died of heatstroke.

Air conditioning use strained the country’s power grids since Japan shut down its nuclear reactors in the wake of the tsunami-related Fukushima nuclear disaster two years ago.

Meanwhile, nearby China has experienced its hottest summer since 1961, according to the country’s National Meteorological Centre.

The official Xinhua news agency reports extreme heat since July 1 has resulted in at least 40 deaths in southern China, while more than 10 people died from heatstroke to the north in the financial hub of Shanghai alone during the period.

Authorities have for the first time declared the heat to be a second-level weather emergency, a designation normally reserved for typhoons and floods.

The World Meteorological Organization says that heat is the greatest killer of all weather phenomena, but it can take weeks after cooler weather returns to collect a full tally of heat-related fatalities.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Karymsky (Kamchatka): An explosion probably occurred last night (inferred from seismic data), and might have produced an ash plume of up to 20,000 ft (7.5 km) elevation, Tokyo VAAC reported.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Strombolian activity, sometimes strong, continues. A plume rose to 5,000 ft (1.5 km) altitude and drifted 70 nautical miles to the west earlier today (VAAC Darwin).

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption continues with lava effusion from the intracaldera cone, accompanied by strong tremor, AVO reports.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Another paroxysm with strong strombolian explosions and a lava flow occurred last night from the Mackenney crater. Starting at about 19:15 (local time), eruptive activity increased accompanied by volcanic tremor. Strombolian explosions ejected bombs and blocks to a height of 500 m above the crater and showered the outer flanks. VAAC Washington issued a bulletin but was unable to identify the height of the ash plume from satellite data. Ash fall was reported from nearby villages such as El Rodeo and El Patrocinio. At the height of the eruption, a lava flow issued from the west flank and reached a distance of 500 m.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): Incandescence was observed last night from the crater. SERNAGEOMIN has not commented on possible renewed activity or changes at the volcano, but maintains alert level yellow. Since early July, seismic and degassing activity had decreased and the last eruptive activity noted was weak ash emission on 6 July.


Wildfires USA

The Idaho wildfires have forced the evacuation of 1,600 homes. Evacuation orders have been issued for the 100-square-mile Beaver Creek Fire including west of the towns of Hailey and Ketchum in central Idaho.

More than 600 state and federal firefighters are struggling to control the Idaho wildfires.

Firefighters and aircraft responded to several new fire starts in the Superior and Ninemile Ranger districts near Missoula, Montana.

Lightning sparked two wildfires in Arizona this week which are being fueled by dry brush and grass as temperatures remain between 105 and 110 degrees.


Somalia Polio Outbreak Spreads

Somalia is suffering an ‘‘explosive’’ outbreak of polio and now has more cases than the rest of the world combined, an official said Friday.

Vaccine-wielding health workers face a daunting challenge: accessing areas of Somalia controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants, where 7 of 10 children aren’t fully immunized.

Polio is mostly considered eliminated globally except mainly in three countries where it is considered endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. India marked a major success in February 2012 by being removed from the World Health Organization’s list of countries plagued by the disease.

Somalia now has 105 cases, figures released Friday show, and another 10 cases have been confirmed across the border in a Kenyan refugee camp filled with Somalis. Globally there have been 181 cases of polio this year, including those in Somalia and Kenya.