Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits northern Colombia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the South Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Edilson is located approximately 616 nm south of St Denis, La Reunion, and is tracking south-southwestward at 18 knots. This is the final warning on this system.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 14s (Fobane), located approximately 500 nm south-southwest of Diego Garcia, and is tracking east-southeastward at 07 knots. Fobane is not expected to significantly intensify due to the subsident impact of a deep mid-latitude trough to the south. Fobane will peak at 45 knots before it gets eroded by cooling sea surface temperatures.

NewsBytes:

South Africa – Seven people drowned in the Vryburg area in the North West province following heavy rains over the last two days in the area. The public broadcaster also reported that 97 people were injured when their mud houses collapses following the rain. Four bridges were also washed away, cutting off 26 villages from any immediate help.

Wildlife

Beavers Pitched to Ease Britain’s Flooding

The seemingly never-ending rounds of flooding that have plagued Britain for the past two years could be averted in the future by reintroducing beavers to the wild, a leading scientific organization advises.

The U.K. Mammal Society has recommended to the environment secretary that the “master river engineers” could permanently alleviate the nation’s frequent floods.

The animals were hunted to extinction in the U.K. during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century by those who wanted their fur and by landowners keen to protect their trees and fish.

Manmade diversion of waterways since then have set up conditions that reduced the land’s natural ability to hold water, allowing frequent devastating floods.

One wild beaver was recently sighted in Dorset, and a trial introduction of the animals is nearing completion in Scotland.

The government has considered paying farmers to hold back water in the uplands, at the cost of millions of pounds per year.

“The beaver could achieve the same effects for free and forever if we are bold enough to re-establish and tolerate it as a natural component of our river systems,” said Marina Pacheco, the society’s chief executive.

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Disease

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update

On 5 February 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of ten additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

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

On 3 February 2014, United Arab Emirates (UAE) notified WHO of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews are battling two blazes in the Adelaide Hills today as South Australia and Victoria enter a weekend of extreme weather conditions.

An evacuation warning for residents living close to a fire burning out of control in Victoria’s east has been expanded to the Bonang and Cabanandra.

A serious bushfire is burning out of control at Bangor in the Southern Flinders Ranges near Beetaloo Valley near Nobles Track.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Shiveluch (Kamchatka) A phase of intense activity has been taking place at the volcano over the past few days. On 6 Feb afternoon (or early morning 7 Feb in Kamchatka), a large eruption occurred. VAAC Tokyo spotted an ash plume drifting at approx. 27,000 ft (9 km) altitude more than 300 km northwest. The ash plume reached the Sea of Okhotsk and ash fall occurred in the village Sedanka at more than 200 km distance from the volcano. Unfortunately, webcam images do not allow to determine whether this eruption had been caused by an explosion liberating accumulated pressure, or whether a major collapse of the actively growing viscous lava dome had taken place, producing pyroclastic flows and related co-ignimbrite ash plumes. It is possible if not likely that it was the result of a combination of both.