Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

Weak 2013 Atlantic hurricane season draws to close November 30th.

In the North Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Lehar is located approximately 390 nm southeast of Visakhapatnam, India.

Dangerous Category 1 Cyclone Lehar is slowly intensifying as it heads west-northwest at 10 mph towards India’s Bay of Bengal coast. Lehar has not been able to form a prominent eye, and is likely having problems getting organized in the face of moderate wind shear. Ocean temperatures are a very warm 28 – 29°C, and Lehar should be able to attain Category 2 strength before landfall Thursday. Cooler waters near shore and an increase in wind shear as the storm nears landfall will likely mean that Lehar will be weakening as it comes ashore.


South Australia bushfires contained

About 20 scrub fires and grassfires have been contained throughout South Australia as extreme weather conditions caused problems for fire crews.

The worst incidents were at Auldana, in the Adelaide Hills and at Roseworthy, north of the city, where the Country Fire Service on Wednesday urged residents to activate their bushfire survival plans.

Two fires threatened homes in the area before being controlled.

Weather conditions across SA were expected to become moderate by Thursday, with temperatures falling back from the high 30s into the low 20s.


2009 Swine-Flu Death Toll 10 Times Higher Than Thought

The swine-flu pandemic of 2009 may have killed up to 203,000 people worldwide—10 times higher than the first estimates based on the number of cases confirmed by lab tests, according to a new analysis by an international group of scientists.

The researchers also found almost 20-fold higher rates of respiratory deaths in some countries in the Americas than in Europe. Looking only at deaths from pneumonia that may have been caused by the flu, they found that Mexico, Argentina and Brazil had the highest death rates from the pandemic in the world. The toll was far lower in New Zealand, Australia and most parts of Europe, according to the study, published today (Nov. 26) in the journal PLOS Medicine.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): No changes in activity have occurred since yesterday. Very occasionally, glow from the summit vent at the NSEC and from a vent at its southern base is visible, suggesting ongoing sporadic deep-seated explosions inside the cone. Tremor is low at the moment.

Ulawun (New Britain, Papua New Guinea): Activity continues. Darwin VAAC reported a small gas and perhaps ash plume at 12,000 ft (3.6 km) altitude this morning.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): Ash emissions and explosions continue. So far, about 18,000 people have been evacuated from the most endangered zones in a radius of 5 km around the volcano.

Merapi (Central Java): Particular vigilance should be maintained to monitor the volcano. A large crack, about 230 m long and 50 m wide, has appeared in the lava dome that had been emplaced in the summit crater at the end of the 2010 eruption. It increases the current risk of sudden collapse of the dome, resulting in rock avalanches and dangerous pyroclastic flows. Even a smaller phreatic explosion than the one from 18 Nov could trigger this.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): No significant changes in activity have occurred. Only 8 weak emissions / explosions were recorded by CENAPRED during the latest 24 hr observation interval. The attached picture shows the largest of these events.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): The INSIVUMEH observatory reports weak to moderate explosions with ash plumes up to 700 m height and constant block avalanches from the rims of the Caliente lava dome, sign that effusive activity has increased somewhat.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Strombolian activity continues, but has been weak over the past days.

Fuego (Guatemala): The lava flow on the upper southern slope was no longer active this morning (while it was still 100 m long yesterday). The volcano is back to its typical mild explosive activity from the summit crater with strombolian bursts generating ash plumes up to about 600 m high, sometimes accompanied by loud shock waves.

Jebel Zubair (Red Sea): Satellite images show signs of ongoing activity (steam plume, discolored water) at the new island at least until 20 November. A satellite image from 24 November shows no such signs any more, suggesting that the activity has stopped or paused.

Seven Volcanoes in Six Countries Erupt within Hours – But no Sign of Doomsday

The recent eruptions of seven volcanoes in six countries within the space of just a few hours sparked doomsday prophecies and claims that Armageddon was coming.

But the End of Days is not nigh, experts have said. The high incidence of eruptions over a short period of time was a natural occurrence, they said.

The volcanoes were Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung and Mount Merapi, Italy’s Mount Etna, the Colima volcano in Mexico, Guatemala’s Fire Mountain and Vanuatu’s Yasur volcano, while an undersea volcano off the Japanese coast formed a new island.