Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 earthquake hits Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia.

5.7 earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

5.5 earthquake hits the west Chile rise.

5.4 earthquake hits serum, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

5.1 earthquake hits Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the Near Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits Ecuador.

5.0 earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

California, USA – The second in a string of powerful storms battered California on Saturday, shutting key highways after water and mud rushed into lanes from bare hillsides in wildfire burn areas where thousands of residents were under evacuation orders. Flash flood warnings were issued for huge swaths of Southern California and forecasters said the system brought more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain at lower elevations and several feet of snow in the mountains, where whiteout conditions closed roads. A wind gust in Santa Barbara County topped 80 mph (128 kph) as the storm moved south and at one point dropped more than a half-inch (1.27 centimeters) of rain in five minutes. Trees and power lines were down across the region.

Queensland, Australia – Once in a century floods have turned streets into rivers and forced thousands to abandon their homes in northeast Australia, with authorities warning of further downpours over the next few days. Australia’s tropical north experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent deluge has surged far above normal levels. Thousands of residents in the city of Townsville in northeast Queensland were without power and up to 20,000 homes are at risk of being inundated if the rains continue.

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Disease

Pertussis – Panama

Health officials in Panama are reporting an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough in the Ngäbe Buglé region since mid-December, according to an El Siglo report. To date, 81 confirmed cases have been reported, including nine fatalities in children under two years of age.

Swine Flu – Morocco

An outbreak of swine flu in Morocco has left nine people dead in the past week, the kingdom’s health minister said Saturday. H1N1 is a respiratory disease contracted through contact between humans and pigs and transmitted between people through inhalation. A major H1N1 outbreak sparked a World Health Organization pandemic alert in June 2009. It killed around 18,500 people in 214 countries before the alert was lifted in August 2010