Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.4 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Negros-Cebu region in the Philippines.

140 people are now reported to have died in the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the central Philippines on Tuesday. Relief efforts are continuing on the island of Bohol, which bore the brunt of the quake, and in neighbouring Cebu.

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5.2 Earthquake hits the Negros-Cebu region in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the west coast of South Island, New Zealand.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

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In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Francisco is located approximately 167 nms Southwest of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

Tropical Storm Francisco is headed towards Japan – It’s been an active October for typhoons in the Western Pacific, and there is at least one more typhoon on the way. Tropical Storm Francisco has formed in the waters east of the Philippines, and is forecast to become a major Category 4 typhoon by Sunday as it heads north-northwest towards Japan. Models predict that Francisco will come very close to Japan on Wednesday, October 23.

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical depression Priscilla is located about 695 mi (1115 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Priscilla is anticipated to become a remnant low by Friday.

NewsBytes

Avalanche on Mount Everest has claimed the lives of at least four people. The avalanche hit four Australian tourists, accompanied by six Tibetans. Fatalities include three local porters and a 60-year-old Australian man.

A landslide in Dai County in northern China’s Shanxi Province has claimed the lives of at least three people at the Mingli Mine.

Wildfires

Australia

Australia – Three major bushfires burning in New South Wales. A home is ablaze, a regional airport is closed and authorities are warning of a serious threat to life as bushfires burn across NSW. A total fire ban remains in place for several areas of the state on Thursday, with temperatures of 34C forecast. It was nudging 34C in Sydney at 1pm (AEDT) on Thursday, with gusty winds.

Of most concern to firefighters at 1pm were three fires. In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, near Lithgow, more than 100 firefighters were battling a massive blaze that was skirting the village of Oaky Park and spotting into Clarence. A new fire had also broken out at Springwood. “The sky is very dark with the sun burning orange through the dark smoke.” Residents who hadn’t already evacuated before noon were advised to take shelter in their homes.

In the Southern Highlands, south-west of Sydney, a fire at the village of Balmoral, in Wingecarribee, was moving very quickly. “They’re saying that one house is already alight, that could be because the house was alight and it’s spread, or not, we don’t know. It’s all happened very quickly.”

And at Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, Newcastle airport was closed around 12pm and all flights in and out were suspended because of a bushfire burning nearby. Passengers are advised to not come to the airport and to contact their airline for flight details. Similar conditions on Sunday saw six homes lost to fires at Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, and near Kempsey on the north coast.

Attempts to waterbomb in Lithgow were being hindered by 90km winds, which were also capable of carrying embers up to six kilometres. “The problem is when you’ve got aircraft over fires like that with (those) winds, a lot of the time they’re just getting knocked around in the sky.”

Homes at Clarence, Dargan, Doctors Gap and Hartley are expected to come under threat from the fire, which has already burnt more than 1000 hectares of bushland. Two evacuation centres have been set up. Meanwhile, more than 130 firefighters are fighting the blaze near Port Stephens. “Some of the pictures we’re getting from up there, it’s just incredible. It’s just a mass smoke cloud over the whole town.” The fire at Balmoral Village was approaching the township of Yanderra and residents were being urged to move towards Bargo.

Disease

Bird Flu – China – Update

The National Health and Family Planning Commission, China notified WHO of a new laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. This is the first new confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus since 11 August 2013.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): VAAC Anchorage sent out a message shortly before midnight (UTC) that the “eruption has ended” based on the absence of ash emissions from satellite imagery and pilot observations. This followed a particularly strong explosive phase that apparently occurred last night, when seismic data suggested strong emissions and an ash plume rose to possibly 33,000 ft (10 km) altitude. Webcam images from last night showed strong glow from lava flows and summit activity, but today the volcano has been hidden in clouds and no direct views have been possible so far. It is certainly too early to be sure whether the eruption has significantly decreased, has indeed ended surprisingly suddenly, or is simply pausing and could resume any time, as the VAAC report also remarks.

Reventador (Ecuador): IGPEN reports no significant change in the currently mild, intermittent explosive activity. During the latest 24 hour observation interval, 12 ash explosions were recorded and observed ash plumes rose to about 1 km above the crater.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): Activity has been constant and slowly increasing. Strombolian explosions produce a column of gas and ash rising about 1 km, mostly drifting west and north. Light ash fall has been reported from Penipe and Choglontus, and to the north, in Runtún. Near the volcano, constant rumbling is heard.

Jebel Zubair (Red Sea): The submarine eruption continues to produce a steam plume visible on the latest satellite images. No evidence of ash is apparent, suggesting that the vent is still relatively deep.

Barren Island (Indian Ocean): Eruptive activity continues. An ash plume was spotted on satellite imagery this morning rising to 12,000 ft (3.6 km) and drifting 15 nautical miles to the NW (VAAC Darwin)