Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

Numerous buildings were damaged with rubble strewn in the streets in southern Spain.

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5.7 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.6 Earthquake hits north of Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

5.1 Earthquake hits Palau.

5.1 Earthquake hits southern Alaska.

5.1 Earthquake hits north of the Solomon Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 08s (Corentin), located approximately 1247 nm east-southeast of La Reunion, is tracking eastward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

USA – The massive snowstorm that affected most of the East Coast finally ended Sunday morning, leaving in its wake 1-3 feet of snow over major cities, at least 18 storm-associated casualties and severe coastal flooding.

While the snow has stopped, the weather warnings continue. High winds will create blowing and drifting snow in some areas, the National Weather Service warns. And while New York City lifted a police-enforced travel ban on Sunday morning, many authorities are asking citizens to refrain from driving for another day as efforts to clear off the roads continue.

The snowfall totals were striking, setting records in some jurisdictions. At the D.C. National Zoo, 22 inches of snow fell; at JFK airport in New York City, 30 inches; in the western suburbs of D.C., 36 inches were recorded; in Shepherdstown, W.V., more than 40 inches. The 26.8 inches recorded in New York’s Central Park is the second-highest total ever recorded — falling short of the record by just 0.1 inches, CBS reports.

Farther south, the storm’s greatest impact wasn’t in inches of snowfall but quarter-inches of ice. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power as ice and high winds combined to rip down power lines, and many roads were made perilous by the icy conditions.

At least 29 deaths have been attributed to the storm by the Associated Press, including a Kentucky transportation worker who died while plowing highways, a teenager who was hit by a truck while sledding behind an all-terrain vehicle and two people who died of hypothermia in Virginia. Most of the deaths were from car crashes on snowy or icy roads. Four were caused by overexertion while shovelling snow.

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Taiwan – Severe weather and snowstorms in Taiwan have claimed the lives of at least 85 people, mostly from hypothermia and the onset of cardiovascular diseases. Taipei recorded the lowest temperature in 44 years at -4°C. At least 41 people died in Taipei and 10 in New Taipei. Others 35 died in Taoyuan in northern Taiwan.

Japan – winter weather and heavy snowfalls have claims at least 5 lives in Japan and injured more than 100 others. Flights were cancelled and the speed of the bullet trains was reduced for safety. Amami Island, located some 380 kilometers southwest of Kagoshima City, received snowfall for the first time in 115 years.

China – China renewed its orange alert, its second most serious weather warning on Sunday, with at least four deaths reported. In the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the lowest temperatures could reach minus 12 degrees Celsius (10.4 degrees Fahrenheit) from Sunday to Monday. Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong provinces are forecasted to approach or even drop below the lowest levels on record while parts of central and eastern China were 6 to 8 degrees Celsius (11 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit) lower than the average historical level.

South Korea – An estimated 90,300 people were stranded on the southern island of Jeju, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and around 1,400 people are staying in the airport. Since Saturday about 1,200 flights were canceled although the airport resumed operations as of Monday noon local time. Its capital Seoul was hit Sunday by the coldest winter in 15 years, with the lowest temperature recorded at minus 18 degrees Celsius (minus 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hong Kong – The typically subtropical Hong Kong experienced its coldest weather in nearly three decades, leading to the shut down of all kindergartens and primary schools on Monday. On Sunday, the average minimum temperature dropped to 3.3 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Fahrenheit) over the city, where there is no central heating in most buildings. Firefighters had to help over a hundred trapped people at the peaks, 64 of which were sent to the hospital with many exhibiting signs of hypothermia.

Environment

Bolivia’s Second Largest Lake Dries Up

In December 2015, Lake Poopó was officially declared as “dried up”. Unfortunately, scientists say that recovery may no longer be possible.

Scientists believe drought due to repetitive El Nino is the main cause of the natural disaster. They also think deviations from the lake’s tributaries are contributing factors. Aside from some agricultural purposes, Poopó’s tributaries or freshwater streams that feed from the lake are mostly used for mining.

El Nino has plagued the nation for a millenia. Bolivia’s delicate ecosystem is also said to have undergone extraordinary stress over the past 30 years. The country has experienced a rise in temperatures by about one degree Celsius.

One great effect of the lake’s fate is the significant letdown in the livelihood of the local residents who have tucked away their fishing nets and other gear. Over 100 families have sold their llamas, alpaca and sheep. In the past three years, residents have evacuated from the previous lakeside village, leaving only half of its population, mostly the elderly.

Lake poopo