Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Tanimbar, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the south coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the D’Entrecasteaux Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit south of the Kermedec Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Philippines – Floods spawned by torrential rains since Tuesday night swelled rivers criss-crossing the adjoining Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces, inundating more than a hundred barangays and vast swaths of rice farms. Dozens of villages in Koronadal City, some 40 kilometres southeast of Maguindanao, were hit by rampaging floods Wednesday after more than 12 hours of heavy downpours. More than 4,000 peasant families in five towns in Sultan Kudarat and in Tacurong City were dislocated by floods that swept through farmlands near rivers.

River flood

Russia – Flash floods brought the Black Sea resort of Sochi to a standstill on Thursday and apparently killed at least one person as it halted trains and left cars half-submerged in the city where Russia staged the Winter Olympics. Roads were impassable and people were trying to retrieve parked cars that had been left almost completely under water. Others were clearing flooded cellars and courtyards where the water was knee-high. Rain also affected other areas of southern Russia, including the wheat producing and exporting region of Krasnodar, which started harvesting a few days ago.

India – Heavy rains have been battering the worst-affected Saurashtra region, where more than 50 people have died in flood-related incidents. Nearly 10,000 people have been moved to higher ground, including 1,000 who were airlifted to safety. House collapses have been responsible for most of the deaths and the toll is likely to increase. India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season.

Kashmir, India – Several parts of south Kashmir were inundated on Thursday with streams and rivulets running in spate and the Jhelum flowing above the danger mark as heavy rainfall lashed the region. A flood alert was sounded late last night for Anantnag and Pulwama districts with the MeT department predicting more rain over the next 48 hours.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 123.0 degrees Fahrenheit (50.5 degrees Celsius) at Death Valley, California, USA.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 73.1 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.

Wildlife

Texas Bans Shark Finning

Across the globe, sharks are being murdered for a culinary gimmick — shark fin soup, even though shark fins offer virtually no flavour or nutritional value. Shark finners slice off sharks’ pectoral and dorsal fins, often while the animals are still alive, and throw them back overboard to drown or bleed to death. According to the most recent statistics from the journal Ecology Letters, shark finning accounts for 73 million shark deaths every year.

This weekend, the state of Texas took an important step forward for global shark conservation by becoming the 10th U.S. state to ban the trade of shark fins. Although shark finning is banned in U.S. waters, it continues in other countries where fishing is more poorly regulated. And even though finning itself is illegal, many U.S. states have no rules against the trade of shark fins, allowing them to be imported and exported within the country.

Wildfires

Wildfires – USA

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Evacuations have been canceled for around a thousand people north of Los Angeles as a brush fire that consumed some 350 acres has been reduced to smouldering hotspots.

At the height of the blaze some 500 homes, including an entire mobile home park, were evacuated in the Newhall area of Santa Clarita. The fire began shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday on the shoulder of Interstate 5, briefly closing freeway lanes. Firefighters started to get it surrounded several hours later.

Meanwhile, crews relied on retardant-dropping aircraft to battle a huge forest fire that has been burning for a week in an inaccessible area of the San Bernardino Mountains. A change in wind direction forced the evacuation of several hundred campers on Wednesday, after several hundred more had done the same over the weekend. The blaze about 90 miles east of Los Angeles was partially contained after burning nearly 30 square miles of old-growth timber.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

A wildfire has grown to 26 square miles in hazardous and inaccessible terrain south of Lake Tahoe and is moving closer to structures, officials said.

No buildings have been damaged, but the mountain town of Markleeville remained on standby Wednesday for possible evacuations, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Several campgrounds have been evacuated, and two highways have been closed.

The fire, ignited by lightning Friday, was 10 percent contained by Wednesday evening. Air tankers and helicopters helped 900 firefighters battle the blaze about 20 miles west of the Nevada border. One firefighter received a heat-related injury Tuesday.

Strong, erratic winds and severe drought conditions have stoked the fire, and smoke can be seen as far away as Carson City, Nevada.

ALASKA

Growing wildfires have led to more evacuations in Alaska’s parched interior, with an international mushing champion evacuating his dogs from one of two communities where residents voluntarily fled their homes.

More than 270 fires are burning in Alaska, including one near Eureka that led Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race champion Brent Sass to evacuate his dogs to Fairbanks, news station KTUU reported.

In Tanana, a tribal nonprofit flew 62 people 130 miles to Fairbanks, focusing on elders, children and people with health conditions. The Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 villages in the interior, also flew six people from the village of Hughes on Tuesday as a precaution in case it gets worse in that village, which is about 10 miles from a fire.

An area just north of Fairbanks also faced an evacuation advisory. Fairbanks, the interior’s largest city, also has been smoky because of fires in the region even though it hasn’t been directly touched by flames.

There were 40 new fires reported Tuesday, bringing the total of active fires to 278. Altogether, fires have burned nearly 636 square miles.

OREGON

A wildfire scorching a remote part of southwestern Oregon has grown to nearly 8 square miles, but hundreds of firefighters have worked to get it nearly halfway contained.

The lightning-sparked blaze started June 11 and is burning in the Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest.

WASHINGTON

Cooler temperatures have helped temper the growth of a wildfire burning in Olympic National Park.

Disease

Typhoid Fever ‘Superbug’ Spreading Around the World

An antibiotic-resistant strain of typhoid has spread around the world in recent years, causing health officials to lately sound the alarm.

While the disease can be prevented by a vaccine and treated with antibiotics, it can also prove fatal in up to 20 percent of patients who go untreated.

A single family of waterborne bacteria responsible for the disease, called H58, has not only developed resistance to multiple antibiotics, but it has become the dominant strain in many of the poorer countries in which about 30 million people become infected each year.

The Salmonella Typhi bacteria is contracted by drinking or eating contaminated material, and causes symptoms that include fever, nausea, abdominal pain and pink spots on the chest.

Outbreaks have been reported this year in western India, Zambia and Uganda.