Wildfires

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.

Disease

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.

Volcanos

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.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits near the coast of central Peru.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the North Indian Ocean:

Category 1 Tropical cyclone Lehar is located approximately 565 nm southeast of Visakhapatnam, India.

Cyclone Lehar is intensifying as it heads west-northwest at 8 mph towards India’s Bay of Bengal coast. Lehar is expected to continue to intensify to a major Category 3 storm until just before landfall, which is expected to occur near 03 UTC Thursday, November 28 in the Andhra Pradesh state of India. This is the same portion of the coast that Cyclone Helen hit on Friday as a tropical storm with 40 mph winds.

Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – update

WHO has been informed of an additional three laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia.

Cholera in Mexico – update

The Ministry of Health in Mexico has reported an additional four cases of infection with Vibrio cholerae O1 Ogawa. Of these, three are from the state of Veracruz and one from the state of Hidalgo.

Polio in the Syrian Arab Republic – update

A total of 17 cases due to wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have been confirmed in the Syrian Arab Republic. In addition to 15 cases confirmed in Deir Al Zour province, two additional cases have been confirmed, one each in rural Damascus and Aleppo, confirming widespread circulation of the virus. The case with most recent onset developed paralysis on 8 October 2013.

Wildfires

Wildfires – New Jersey, USA

Several wildfires broke out across New Jersey Sunday as exceptionally dry air, parched brush and fast-moving winds combined to make for dangerous conditions.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): The New SE crater is restless. Occasional glow from the summit vent suggest that deep-seated strombolian activity continues. At the same time when this activity was visible, a glowing spot at the southern base was present as well. This could be a small effusive vent that is activated briefly during phases the magma column rises high enough inside the conduit. Also today, the volcano produces nice steam rings. Tremor is currently low.

Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): Activity continues at moderate levels. KVERT reports an explosion this morning and continuous ash emissions reaching 20,000 ft (6 km) altitude and drifting east.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Explosive and effusive activity continue. Occasional clear weather webcam images show strong steaming (with some ash?) and warm or hot pyroclastic deposits from recent block avalanches from the growing lava dome. A possible explosion this morning produced an ash plume reported to flight level 170 (17,000 ft / 5 km) altitude and extending SE. (VAAC Tokyo)

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): More explosions of moderate size have occurred today. The volcano has also been venting ash in a near constant way between single explosions. Ash plumes have reached altitudes of 15-25,000 ft (4.5-7.5 km) and drifted eastwards.

Llaima (Central Chile and Argentina): VAAC Buenos Aires received a pilot report of a light ash plume between 10,000 and 25,000 ft altitude from the volcano this afternoon. However, this seems to be a false eruption report. There are no other indications of an eruption and no ash could be seen on webcam and satellite imagery. Local press (who would pick up quickly on activity at one of Chile’s most prominent volcanoes) nor SERNAGEOMIN have reported any unusual new activity. It is possible that wind has picked up dust (ash) from the volcano or that a weather cloud was mistaken for an ash plume.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.0 Earthquake hits the South Atlantic Ocean.

6.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.6 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Falkland Islands.

5.4 Earthquake hits the South Atlantic Ocean.

5.3 Earthquake hits Sakhalin, Russia.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Falkland Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Indian Ocean triple Junction.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Kamchatka, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Java, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits offshore Guatemala.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the South Indian Ocean:

Alessia has been downgraded to below cyclone strength, but strong winds and heavy rain are still lashing the Top End. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Alessia was about 110km south of Darwin overnight Saturday, with winds near the centre below gale force, but still packing a punch at about 95km/h. The storm weakened after making landfall 6.30pm (CST) on Sunday.

In the North Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Five (Lehar) is located approximately 695 nm east-southeast of Visakhapatnam, India. Forecast to strike India as a severe cyclonic storm on November 28.

NewsBytes:

An avalanche on Mt Masago in Japan has claimed the lives of at least seven people. An estimated 30 metres wide and 600 metres long avalanche hit the western slope of Mt Masago.

Winter storm kills 13 in Oklahoma, Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico, USA.

Global Warming

Twice as Much Methane Escaping Arctic Seafloor

The Arctic methane time bomb is bigger than scientists once thought, according to a new study. About 17 teragrams of methane escapes each year from a broad, shallow underwater platform called the East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): The volcano erupted and spewed rocks and red-hot ash five miles into the air. Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung erupted eight times in just a matter of hours yesterday resulting in thousands of people fleeing their homes.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Iran-Iraq border region.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Scotia Sea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Xinjiang-Xizang border Region.

5.0 Earthquake hits Sakhalin, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the South Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Alessia will hit Australia today.

The path of Tropical Cyclone Alessia takes it to the waters of the Timor Sea, then near the far northern tip of Western Australia’s Kimberley region Saturday night local time and into the Northern Territory later Sunday. While weakening would occur as it crosses the Northern Territory, the window for it to strengthen could open again next week if it tracks over the warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria. However, it is looking more likely that the storm may turn southward and remain over land, preventing additional strengthening.

In the North Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Five is located approximately 840 nm east-southeast of Visakhapatnam, India. It is forecast to strike India as a severe cyclonic storm on November 28.

USA:

Winter Storm Boreas is likely to become the season’s first Nor’easter on Thanksgiving Eve. A potent winter storm (Boreas) is bringing snow and difficult travel conditions to Arizona, and will spread a variety of dangerous winter weather across Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah over the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday, the storm will dump heavy rains over the Southeast U.S., before emerging over the coastal waters of the Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday morning. The models are in fair agreement that Boreas will then intensify into the season’s first significant Nor’easter on Wednesday afternoon, bringing heavy rain to coastal New England and the Mid-Atlantic, snow farther inland at higher elevations, and minor coastal flooding due to strong winds.

NewsBytes:

A powerful storm system has caused hundreds of accidents across the Western U.S. and it has marched eastward with predictions of widespread snow, freezing temperatures and gusty winds. The fierce weather has caused at least eight deaths, including one in New Mexico, and prompted advisories Saturday afternoon in New Mexico and Texas.

Heavy storm in Rhodes in southeastern Greece has claimed the lives of at least two people and left another missing.

Eight provinces in southern Thailand are still suffering from floods, with Narathiwat the hardest hit, while strong waves are buffeting the tourist island of Koh.

Global Warming

Deals at Climate Meeting Advance Global Effort – Warsaw

Two weeks of United Nations climate talks ended Saturday with a pair of last-minute deals keeping alive the hope that a global effort can ward off a ruinous rise in temperatures.

Delegates agreed to the broad outlines of a proposed system for pledging emissions cuts and gave their support for a new treaty mechanism to tackle the human cost of rising seas, floods, stronger storms and other expected effects of global warming.

The measures added momentum to the talks as United Nations members look toward a 2015 conference in Paris to replace the moribund Kyoto Protocol.