Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.3 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

5.2 Earthquake hits the west Chile rise.

5.2 Earthquake hits off the coast of Aisen, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits off the coast of Aisen, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm Faxai is located approximately 353 nm southeast of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

In the Indian Ocean:

Tropical cyclone Kofi is located approximately 435 nm southeast of Suva, Fiji.

El Niño

Two Pacific tropical storms form, boosting the odds of an El Niño. The atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the Equatorial Pacific are ripe for an El Niño event to develop this spring or summer. All that is needed to trigger an El Niño this spring or summer are strong and persistent bursts of westerly winds in the Equatorial Pacific to help push warm water from the Western Pacific Warm Pool eastwards towards South America.

Two tropical storms capable of doing just that formed in the Pacific on Friday, boosting the odds that we will see an El Niño event this spring or summer. In the Western Pacific, Tropical Storm Faxai formed Friday morning about 400 miles southeast of Guam. The minimal 40 mph tropical storm is located close to the Equator, which means the the counterclockwise wind circulation around the storm will drive west-to-east winds along the Equator, giving a substantial push to warm waters attempting to slosh eastwards towards South America and start an El Niño event. Faxai is expected to intensify to a Category 1 typhoon by Monday, but is not a threat to any islands.

In the South Pacific, Tropical Cyclone Sixteen formed Friday morning near the island of Fiji. This minimal 40 mph tropical storm is moving south-southeast at 10 mph, and is expected to slowly intensify to a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds by Monday. [This storm has already become cyclone Kofi.] The clockwise circulation of winds around the storm will also help drive westerly winds near the Equator that will boost the odds of an El Niño event. However, since this storm is farther from the Equator it will not have a strong an impact on boosting El Niño odds as Tropical Storm Faxai will.

NewsBytes:

UK – This has officially been the wettest winter since records began almost 250 years ago. What seemed at the time to be never-ending rainfall has left chaos in its wake, with thousands of properties affected by flooding. Disruption to travel services has also had detrimental consequences on business and tourism.

California, USA – The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for parts of Los Angeles. Heavy rainfall is predicted continue in Southern California. Flash floods, mudslides hit Southern California as rain continues.

Wildfires

Bush Fires in Ivory Coast

The practice of starting bush fires that has been widespread in Cote d’Ivoire’s central region of Beoumi has left at least eight people dead.

According to a senior forest guard in the area Siriki Ouattara, some residents were trapped by the bush fires in their farms or homes.

The dry season is always perceived as a nightmare in some regions where bush fires destroy farmlands and also cause loss of human life.

The tradition of bush fires which is practiced in the central and northern regions of the country to drive away wild animals and sometimes to prepare farming fields, pose a danger to the people themselves, their farms and their environment.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): No significant changes have occurred at the volcano. Lava continues to flow from the vents at the eastern flank of the New SE crater and produces overlapping flows, typically a few 100 m long, near the rim of and on the upper slope into the Valle del Bove. A small surge in lava effusion occurred during the past hours.

Karymsky (Kamchatka): The volcano continues to have strombolian to vulcanian explosions. Some of them are large enough to produce ash plumes visible on satellite imagery, such as one on 28 Feb (ash plume to 7,000 ft reported by VAAC Tokyo).

Dukono (Halmahera): Eruptions at the volcano continue, probably strombolian explosions of increased size. An ash plume was seen on satellite data reaching 12,000 ft (3.6 km) altitude and drifting 55 nautical miles (90 km) to the S (VAAC Darwin).

Kilauea (Hawai’i): (26 Feb) Last night a swarm of very deep earthquakes occurred in the area of Punalu`u on the SW flank of Kilauea in the Ka`u district of the Big Island!

Cleveland (Aleutian Islands, Alaska): No further eruptions occurred since the 2 small explosions on 25 Feb, but similar events are possible at any time. The remote volcano is not monitored on the ground, which makes it impossible to describe the status of the volcano in detail or make any forecasts.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): (27 Feb) The volcano’s activity increased yesterday. CENAPRED counted no less than 544 small to moderate emissions during the 24 hours between 25-26 Feb. Current activity at the volcano is low with only occasional small puffs of ash. CENAPRED published an aerial picture showing the new (so far very small) lava dome in the crater. The agency also reports 50 exhalations during 24 hours, which seems high compared to reported averages of 5-10 per day during recent weeks. However, it appears that the type of events included in these counts has changed and now includes ALL visible emissions of steam, gas or ash, however small.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): The activity has remained unchanged, dominated by slow extrusion and avalanches of blocky lava mainly from the SE and NE flanks of the Caliente dome. The volcano observatory mentions occasional weak to moderate explosions with ash plumes rising up to 500 m from the dome and warns of the possibility of pyroclastic flows (generated by collapse of lava flows).

Pacaya (Guatemala): Mild strombolian eruptions occur at intervals of 5-10 minutes from the Mackenney crater.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity at the volcano has remained similar to the previous weeks, but decreased somewhat. Explosions of small to moderate size occur at irregular intervals (approx 1-2 per hour), eject incandescent material to up to 200 m above the crater and cause impressive glowing avalanches on the upper slopes. Shock waves can be felt in several kilometres distance. Ash plumes rise several 100 m and drift 5-10 km before dissipating.

San Miguel (El Salvador): Seismic and degassing activity at the volcano decreased during the past days at bit, but remain elevated. The gas plume reached 100 m above the crater and drifted S-SW yesterday. MARN continues to record frequent micro-earthquakes concentrated below the northern flank, indicating rock fracturing by internal (possibly magma-related) pressure.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): The volcano had a short burst of activity on 26 Feb, producing a series of moderate explosions and small pyroclastic flows reaching up to 400 m on the northern and northwestern flanks. Ash plumes rose up to 2.5 km above the crater. Since then, the volcano has been mostly quiet and only had minor emissions. IGPEN reported continuing inflation at the top of the volcano since 15 Feb as well as long-period type earthquakes, which could indicate influx of gasses and magma in this area of the volcanic edifice.