Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
6.0 Earthquake hits southeastern Alaska.
5.4 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.
5.3 Earthquake hits Leyte in the Philippines.
5.1 Earthquake hits south of Tonga.
5.1 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.
In the Eastern Pacific:
Tropical Storm Genevieve forms near latitude 12.2 north…longitude 134.4 west. Genevieve is moving toward the west near 10 mph…17 km/h. A westward motion at a slower forward speed is expected through tonight. Genevieve is then forecast to accelerate and turn west-northwestward by Saturday night.
There is no threat to land.
USA – A tornado in Cherrystone near Cape Charles, Virginia on Thursday morning has claimed the lives of two persons and injured 20 others.
India – Over 25,000 people have been affected in 42 villages across Assam in the second round of floods this year. Over 60 villages in the world’s largest river island Majuli were submerged on Thursday following heavy rain, and nearly 20,000 people were shifted to higher lands, the release said.
Colorado River Groundwater Disappearing at ‘Shocking’ Rate
As the Southwest’s drought has worsened in the last decade, making surface water scarce, millions of people are drawing more heavily on underground water supplies. The water is coming out faster than it’s being replenished, a new study finds.
Between December 2004 and November 2013, more than 75 percent of the water lost in the Colorado River Basin was from groundwater, according to the study. The region has been in a drought since 2000, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The results show that groundwater is already being used to fill the gap between the demands of the region’s millions of residents and farmers, and the available surface water supply, the researchers said.
The Colorado River Basin stretches across seven states: from Wyoming across Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California. Its groundwater is stored in underground aquifers and is sucked from the ground by wells. If water is removed from an aquifer faster than it can be replaced, eventually the wells will go dry.
Global Temperature Extremes
The week’s hottest temperature was 121.0 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius) at Death Valley, California.
The week’s coldest temperature was minus 92.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 68.9 degrees Celsius) at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole 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.
Chikungunya Disease Reaches USA
An extremely painful but rarely fatal viral disease native to Africa has infected two people through local mosquito bites in South Florida.
Chikungunya was probably brought to the United States by travelers who became infected abroad and were subsequently bitten by Florida mosquitoes, which transmitted it to the other victims.
The virus has spread rapidly across the Caribbean and Central America since it was first detected in the Western Hemisphere last December.
The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique have been especially hard-hit.
But the disease is also spreading across central America and northern parts of South America.
Since two species of mosquito that can carry the virus are common across a wide area of the United States, some doctors warn chikungunya could spread along the Gulf Coast later this summer or next year.
The virus causes rash, fever and severe joint pain that can linger for years in some cases.
There is no cure, but the pain can be treated. Health officials caution that the only way to combat the virus is to control the mosquito population.
More than 440,000 cases of chikungunya have been reported in the Caribbean, Latin America and now South Florida so far this year.