Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Bangladesh – Storm hits 2 Sherpur upazilas. A norwester, accompanied by hailstorm, lashed 10 bordering villages in Nalitabari and Jhinaigati upazilas Tuesday night, damaging over 200 katcha houses and Boro seedlings and vegetables on a vast tract of land during its half an hour fury. The storm-hit villages are Sondhakura, Garokona, Gumra, Fhakhrabad, Haldi in Jhinaigati upazila, Samshchura, Hatipagar, Meshkura, Burunga and Kalapani in Nalitabari upazila.

Canada – Possible frost quake buckled shoreline at Kinbrook. A loud bang and subsequent mini-quake that rocked cabins at the north end of Kinbrook Island about five weeks ago is thought to be the result of a frost quake – the release of pressure built up by freezing water underground. The bang, or boom as some described it, was heard as far away as Lake Newell Resort, some six miles away.

Canada – The strongest Nor’easter of 2014 blasted Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada on Wednesday with wind gusts over 100 mph and up to a half meter (19.5″) of snow, bringing travel to a standstill and causing power outages that affected about 17,000 customers in Nova Scotia.

USA -US mudslide death toll are expected to leap. Fatalities from last week’s Washington state mudslide will rise “substantially” in the next two days, authorities say, with 90 people still missing.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.0 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) at N’guigmi, Niger.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 91.5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 68.6 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok Antarctic research station.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Guinea – Update

The Ministry of Health of Guinea has today reported 4 laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (EHF) in the capital, Conakry. In addition, a fifth suspected case died without laboratory confirmation. Intensive case investigations are underway to identify the source and route of these patients’ infection, record their travel histories before arrival in Conakry and determine their period of infectivity for the purposes of contact tracing. Rapid Response Teams are carrying out these investigations and sensitizing health care workers and the affected communities about EHF to reduce the risk of further transmission.

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus said to have already claimed 63 lives in rural Guinea has now spread to the West African nation’s capital, Conakry, with the Health Ministry ringing the alarm and officials calling it a “threat to regional security.”

A total of four capital dwellers have fallen victim to the hemorrhagic fever – one of the deadliest viruses known to man. They are currently in quarantine, Reuters reports, citing local Health Minister Remy Lamah.

The origin of the outbreak in Conakry appears to be an old man who visited a place about 150km away from the previously-identified outbreaks. After his funeral, four of his brothers started showing similar symptoms, and were immediately quarantined.

Rtr3ijaz

Sanitary controls in neighboring countries are being activated, and border crossings have been closed to the north, with Mauritania, who only left two border posts open with Senegal.

The search for any vaccine or drug has thus far been hampered by the disease’s rarity. But health experts warn against obvious dangers, such as eating fruit bats. The animal is a local delicacy, but is a widely-known potential carrier of the disease. Bush meat is another cause for concern. Both types of meat have now been banned – as are public funerals, where proximity to the body is often the cause for the infection of groups of people.

The virus is incredibly contagious. It can spread through contact with contaminated corpses – as in the case of the last outbreak involving the four men – as well as direct contact with blood, feces and sweat. It’s not hard to picture a nightmare scenario in a country prone to hot weather.

But the spread itself can come much more unexpectedly as well. All it takes is one infected plane passenger, and the prospects are truly harrowing: the local Health Ministry in Canada’s Saskatchewan province put a man and his entire family in quarantine after he exhibited disturbing symptoms upon arrival from Africa by plane.

The virus first appeared in 1976 in the DRC (formerly Zaire), and has since killed 1,500 people. Its name takes from a river in northern Congo.

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

On 20 and 21 March 2014, the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia announced an additional six laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

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

Between 20 and 25 March 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of six additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): During the night, the lava effusion and persistent mild explosive activity from the New SE crater ceased, after being nearly continuously active for over two months. If this is a true end or only a short pause to the latest eruptive phase which on 22 January remains to be seen. The tremor fell back to low levels in correspondence.

Karkar (Northeast of New Guinea): Several ash plumes at estimated altitude of 8,000 ft (2.4 km) were spotted during the past 2 days. This suggests a new eruptive phase could have started at the remote volcano.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): After a relatively long time with no spotted ash clouds, an ash plume was seen yesterday again on satellite imagery (VAAC Darwin). The remote volcano in the Fores Sea has been site of continuing strombolian activity since at least 2006. Some of the eruptions are strong enough to leave ash plumes that can be seen on satellite images.

Merapi (Central Java, Indonesia): A possibly strong eruption was reported from the volcano this afternoon (13:55 GMT). Satellite data showed an ash and SO2 plume drifting SW at estimated 32,000 ft (9 km) (VAAC Darwin). The plume is quickly dissipating, suggesting that the eruption was an isolated (possibly phreatic) explosion. No other details are at the moment available.

Marapi (Western Sumatra, Indonesia): The volcano erupted again yesterday afternoon at 16:15 local time, the volcano observatory post reported. It appears it was one of the largest explosions during the volcano’s current phase of activity. Although the eruption was itself not visible due to cloud cover, the seismic signal showed a strong explosion that lasted 38 seconds and relatively “thick” ash fall occurred shortly afterwards in Batipuh and Tanahdatar districts until 17:45.

Dukono (Halmahera): Activity at the volcano continues to be intense. An ash plume was reported extending 80 nautical miles to the west at 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude this morning (VAAC Darwin).

Ubinas (Peru): The volcano’s new lava dome continues to grow slowly within the crater. New field observations published yesterday in a detailed report showed that the lava dome is now approx. 120 m in diameter and has completely filled the inner pit left by the explosive activity in 2006 (as of 19 March). Visible glow (even in daylight) indicates very high temperatures. No explosions have occurred since the vent-clearing explosion on 14 Feb, but the volcano emits a significant plume of steam, SO2 gas and sometimes dilute ash. On 21 and 23 March, the steam-gas-ash plume rose 1800 m above the crater.