Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 14p (Yalo), located approximately 327 nm southwest of Papeete, Tahiti, and is tracked southeastward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Freak Waves – In Hawaii, a pair of gigantic, back-to-back swells generated waves large enough to overtake beach parks, wash across roadways and damage oceanfront properties. In an unprecedented move, state officials shut down a 12-mile stretch of Kamehameha Highway, on the north shore of Oahu, in response to ocean surges that washed over the roadway. In addition to flooding, several areas experienced severe coastal erosion. A 30-foot stretch of beach on the north shore of Oahu reportedly disappeared overnight. Despite numerous beaches being closed, lifeguards were kept busy, rescuing dozens of people and issuing hundreds of warnings. In Los Angeles a large wave swept four people off a Los Angeles County jetty as high surf pounded much of the California coast, leaving one man dead and his three companions seriously injured.

Tornadoes, USA – Whipping northward at interstate speeds, multiple rounds of severe thunderstorms raced from the Carolinas to New England on Wednesday and early Thursday. The springlike round of severe weather – which extended unusually far north for February – took one life in South Carolina and at least four in Virginia, making Wednesday the latter state’s deadliest tornado day since the notorious Super Outbreak of April 27, 2011. Three people, including a two-year-old boy, were killed in hard-hit Waverly, VA, and another man died in Appomattox County.

Bangladesh – Severe weather in Bangladesh has claimed the lives of 10 people and injured at least 25 students. Six people died when a trawler capsized in Dhaleshwari River in Naraynganj. In Narsinghdi, two sisters died when a wall collapsed on them during the storm. Two other people died in Moulvibazar.

South Africa – In Diepsloot near Fourways, Johannesburg, a primary schoolgirl was swept away by flash floods while trying to cross a low level bridge between Extension 1 and 7. Severe thunderstorms lashed northern Johannesburg yesterday afternoon.

Wildlife

65-Year-Old Bird Hatches Her 30th Baby

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The world’s oldest known wild bird has become a mother yet again at the age of 65, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Laysan albatross, known as Wisdom, was first tagged in 1956 and has been monitored as she has reared more than 30 chicks and flown over 3 million miles during her lifetime.

Wisdom is currently raising her chick Kukini, which means “messenger” in Hawaiian, on Midway atoll in the central Pacific.

Her mate, Akeakamai, or “lover of wisdom,” was sitting on the nest when the chick hatched on February 1.

New Zealand – Botulism Among Wetland Birds

Hundreds of birds in a South Auckland wetland have been killed in a botulism outbreak.

The Department of Conservation and Fish and Game are working with the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre to contain the outbreak.

The wetland is home to tens of thousands of rare native and non-native waterfowl and shore birds and it’s estimated around 200 have died so far. The disease is mostly affecting waterfowl including ducks and gulls.

Disease

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

On 23 February 2016, the Department of Health (DH), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) notified WHO of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus.

Dengue Fever – Uruguay

On 13 February 2016, the National IHR Focal Point (IHR NFP) of Uruguay notified PAHO/WHO a case of dengue.

Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus – Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Between 6 and 16 February 2016, the National IHR Focal Point (NFP) of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) notified WHO of 3 additional cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1).

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 113.9 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) at Makatini, South Africa.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 70.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.9 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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Based on satellite data, Tokyo VAAC reported an eruption plume from the volcano that rose to estimated 21,000 ft (6.4 km) altitude yesterday evening and drifted NW. The volcano overall has been a bit calmer recently. This and a similar report a few days ago indicate that activity continues, and produces occasional moderate-sized explosions and/or pyroclastic flows event from the active lava dome. In many cases, cloud cover prevents visual observation of the volcano from the webcam.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 Earthquake hits the Volcano Islands off Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Barat Daya, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone 14p (Yalo), located approximately 334 nm west-southwest of Papeete, Tahiti, and is tracked southeastward at 08 knots.

Tropical cyclone 11p (Winston), Final advisory has been issued on Tropical cyclone Winston which is located approximately 367 nm northeast of Kingston Island. Winston is already exhibiting signs of being subtropical, with the mid-level warm core weakening and the wind field expanding. The system is forecast to complete subtropical transition, but is expected to maintain gale-force winds.

NewsBytes:

Fiji – The death toll in Fiji has jumped to 42 amid fears for remote areas and islands yet to be reached by relief teams, days after a devastating cyclone. Cyclone Winston, thought to be one of the strongest storms to hit the Southern Hemisphere, left 8,500 sheltering in evacuation centres. Teams are still being deployed. Officials said they met “grim images of devastation” on reaching Koro island. The Red Cross has warned that the toll could still rise further. The powerful cyclone, which struck last weekend, brought winds of over 320km/h (200mph), torrential rain and waves of up to 12m (40ft), flattening many buildings in parts of the main Viti Levu island and Koro islands. It has been described by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation as the worst to ever hit the country. The damage in remote outlying areas – so far seen only from the air – is reported to be especially bad. Pictures taken from Koro on Tuesday showed battered and demolished homes on the island. Communication with many smaller and remote islands in the Pacific nation of 900,000 people have been down since the cyclone hit.

Southern USA – Three dead as tornadoes hit southern US – At least 7 tornadoes lashed Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida Tuesday, destroying homes and businesses. The deaths occurred when mobile homes were destroyed in Louisiana and Mississippi, officials said. A powerful storm system swept across the East Coast on Wednesday, killing four people in Virginia and knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in the region. A day earlier, the system spawned about two dozen tornadoes along the Gulf Coast, damaging hundreds of homes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Three people were killed and dozens were injured.

Space Events

Large space rock burns up over Atlantic

The biggest fireball since the Chelyabinsk explosion has plunged through the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean. The event, which has only just come to light, occurred off the coast of Brazil at 13:55 GMT on 6 February. As it burned up, the space rock released the equivalent of 13,000 tonnes of TNT.

This makes it the most powerful event of its kind since an object exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013. That blast was much bigger, releasing the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes of TNT.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Two homes were destroyed and one was damaged in a bushfire that burned out of control at Mount Bolton, north-west of Ballarat, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) says.

The fire broke out mid-afternoon on Tuesday and burned through about 1,300 hectares in the area, much of it rural farmland.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Etna (Sicily, Italy): An unusual eruptive episode occurred yesterday morning from the volcano’s NE crater (the least active of the summit vents over the past few decades). Incandescent bombs were ejected above the rim of the crater and an ash plume rose several hundred meters. Whether this is the beginning of a more significant eruptive phase, after a period of relative calm since the violent paroxysms of Voragine summit crater in early Dec 2015 remains to be seen. INGV published the following report: “During the month of January 2016, Etna’s eruptive activity has maintained rather low levels. Early that month, a few weak ash emissions occurred from the 25 November 2015 vent located high on the eastern flank of the New Southeast Crater (NSEC) cone; similar phenomena were repeated during the last week of January and once more on the morning of 6 February. During the same time interval, degassing from the Northeast Crater (NEC) were sometimes accompanied by the emission of minor traces of ash.

Colima (Western Mexico): The new lava dome in the summit crater continues to be active (and probably is growing) as bright glow visible at night suggests. Explosive activity on the other hand has decreased recently.

Momotombo (Nicaragua): Activity has been calmer during the past two days. No new significant explosions occurred in the interval, but incandescence remains visible at the summit crater, indicating small extrusive activity continues.

Reventador (Ecuador): The eruptive activity of the volcano continues with no significant changes, at moderate to high levels, as IGEPN reports on a daily basis. Lava arrives at the summit crater where small explosive activity (probably strombolian-type) takes place. During yesterday, based on seismic data (the volcano is mostly hidden in clouds), 56 small explosions were registered. This morning, an ash emission was also detected by Washington VAAC.

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): Surface activity of the volcano has been mostly low during the past weeks, characterized by degassing / steaming and occasional very weak ash emissions. According to IGEPN, the level of most monitored geophysical parameters (SO2, volcanic earthquakes, volcanic tremor, deformation) have returned to their pre-eruption background levels. However, the overall seismic activity of the volcano is still elevated and some few deep-seated explosive events are being recorded (on average 1-3 / day). This type of activity possibly indicates that a magma source remains active inside the edifice. The most likely scenario of the coming days to weeks is that surface activity remains at a low level and or continues to decrease, with intermittent small ash emissions possible that would not affect but immediate areas surrounding the volcano. However, even though much less likely now, an increase in internal and external activity of the volcano cannot be excluded either.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits south of Australia.

5.3 Earthquake hits Halmahera, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits central California.

Disease

Meningitis in Ghana

Seven more Ghanaians have died from the deadly Meningitis disease, raising the death toll to 100 in nine out of 10 regions. Authorities earlier declared the outbreak in Brong Ahafo an epidemic and put the country’s health facilities on high alert.

More Zika through Sex Cases

U.S. health officials are investigating more than a dozen possible Zika infections that may have been spread through sex.

The 14 cases all involve men who visited areas with Zika outbreaks, and who may have infected their female sex partners, who had not traveled to those areas.

Zika virus is mainly spread by mosquito bites, and sexual transmission has been considered rare. There have been two reported cases, including a recent one in Texas, and at least two other reports of the Zika virus found in semen.

Nigeria – Mystery Diseaase

The mystery disease that was reported to have killed 20 children in Eti-Osa in Lagos State has now been identified as measles. Authorities blame poor sanitation in the slum areas where the disease manifested. No new cases have been reported.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 11p (Winston), located approximately 303 nm south-west of Suva, Fiji, is tracking south-southeastward at 09 knots.

NewsBytes:

Israel – Following a week of unusually mild weather, winter returned to Israel this weekend as a large rainstorm struck from the north to the south, causing floods in the desert and dropping snow on the mountains in yet another round of apocalyptic weather in the Middle East. The Sea of Galilee, which is at a near-constant risk of depletion, fortuitously rose by 1.5 centimetres. In the southern Negev region, heavy rain has caused dangerous flash floods, washing out roads and stranding those unlucky enough to be caught in the storm.