Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Eastern Pacific:

Tropical Depression Genevieve is located near latitude 13.1 north…longitude 150.1

west. The depression is moving toward the west near 7 mph…11 km/h. This general motion is forecast to continue through Thursday…with a slight increase in forward speed expected on Friday.

In the Western Pacific:

Tropical storm 11w (Halong) is located approximately 266 nm west northwest of Navsta, Guam, and is tracking westward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

New Mexico, USA – Flood waters have struck parts of Albuquerque and other New Mexico cities as the state prepares for more severe weather.Heavy rain and thunderstorms sparked damaging floods Tuesday in Albuquerque’s South Valley and pockets of eastern New Mexico.

Romania – Romania’s Hydrology Institute issued a Code Red for flooding warnings for Gorj and Valcea counties in the Southern Romania while the Interior Ministry mobilized 1,600 troops from various institutions to help people who were affected by flooding in ten counties in the center and southern regions of the country.

Floods were caused by heavy rains at the beginning of this week. In Valcea, helicopters were sent to help evacuate 40 people from areas that were isolated due to flooding. Hundreds of people were evicted after their homes were flooded or even completely destroyed, and two people died.

Several road sections in Gorj county were blocked due to heavy rains, which caused landslides. A passenger train operated by private company Regiotrans derailed in Arges county, because of a bridge that was destroyed by the flooding. The derail caused four injuries.

The heavy rain also reduced Romania’s grain crops by 20 to 30 percent and destroyed 40 to 60 percent of the vegetable crops in the southern part of Romania, farmers’ associations said. Some regions were also affected by hail and specialists estimate that this will cause a decline in Romania’s agriculture production.

Tasmania – Wild weather continues to cause blackouts in Tasmania, as communities in the state’s north face possible flash flooding. As 900 homes in Scottsdale had their power reconnected on Wednesday night, another 1000 homes lost electricity in Verona Sands in the state’s south. Flood warnings have been issued for all northern river basins and a sandbagging effort is being co-ordinated out of Young Town on Launceston’s outskirts.

Wildlife

Great apes face extinction: conservationist

The world’s great apes face extinction within decades, renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall warned Tuesday in a call to arms to ensure man’s closest relatives are not wiped out.

“If we don’t take action the great apes will disappear, because of both habitat destruction as well as trafficking,” Goodall said in an interview in Nairobi.

In the past half century, chimpanzee numbers have slumped from some two million to just 300,000, spread over 21 countries, said Goodall, a British scientist who spent more than five decades studying chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park.

“If we don’t change something, they certainly will disappear, or be left in tiny pockets where they will struggle from inbreeding,” said 80-year-old Goodall, the first scientist to observe that apes as well as humans use tools.

Experts predict that at the current rate, human development will have impacted 90 percent of the apes’ habitat in Africa and 99 percent in Asia by 2030, according to a UN-backed report last month.

Infrastructure development and extraction of natural resources — including timber, minerals, oil and gas — have devastated the prime habitat of apes and pushed chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, orangutans and gibbons closer to extinction.

Screen Shot 2014 07 31 at 4 24 07 PM

Wildfires

Wildfires – California

The fast-moving wildfire in Yosemite National Park has grown to about 3,000 acres, prompting officials to keep evacuations orders in place for the entire town of Foresta, Calif.

As of Tuesday, officials said the El Portal fire was only 19% contained and had destroyed a duplex. Two firefighters have sustained minor injuries battling the flames.

The fire began about 3:15 p.m. Saturday near Old El Portal, prompting evacuation orders there that have since been lifted.

La me el portal fire yosemite photos 008

Arizona

Several wildfires are burning around the state, but according to one expert, the bulk of this year’s fire season is over.

Mary Zabinski is a public information officer for the Southwest Coordination Centre in Albuquerque. She said there are 12 fires burning right now in Arizona, with the largest one burning up north.

“The Bar M Fire is burning in the Coconino National Forest about five miles west of Mormon Lake,” said Zabinski. “At last count, it was a little over 4,500 acres.”

All of the fires are lightning-caused but are not threatening any lives or property. Zabinski said that in most cases, the lightning was accompanied by heavy monsoon rain that has kept the fires manageable and beneficial to Arizona’s forests.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

Between 24 and 27 July 2014, a total of 122 new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD; laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases) as well as 57 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The Ebola epidemic trend in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone remains precarious with ongoing community and health-facility transmissions of infection. The surge in the number of new EVD cases calls for concentrated efforts by all to address the identified problems, such as health facility transmission and effective contact tracing.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kilauea (Hawai’i): The June 27 flow front has advanced more rapidly over the past four days, and is now 4.2km (2.6mi) from the vent (Seen in first photo below). This recent increased advance rate is due to the confinement of the flow against the slopes of an older perched lava channel, from 2007. The advance rate will likely drop in the coming days as the flow passes the confines of the perched channel and spreads out on flatter topography.