Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 12s (Funani), located approximately 722 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 16 knots.

Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 329 nm north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 09 knots.


Tennessee, USA – Massive flash flooding ravaged central Tennessee on Wednesday night. The flooding killed one person and sparked numerous water rescues. According to the National Weather Service (NWS) the flood-related death occurred in Pegram, Tennessee, when a woman was swept away by floodwaters while trying to walk across a bridge. An estimated three to six inches of rain fell in central Tennessee on Wednesday night when a band of heavy rain stalled over the region. Thursday morning saw more settled water, however, some roads are still closed.

Queensland, Australia – The Queensland government has announced an inquiry into the historic flooding in Townsville, as evidence mounts that local authorities failed to anticipate the extreme nature of the recent record rainfall. In the west of the state, graziers have been confronted with scenes described by one mayor as “hell”, as it became clear up to 300,000 cattle had died in the floods.

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Central USA – A potent storm slammed the central United States on Thursday, bringing a ferocious mix of wild weather from blizzard conditions to flash floods. Schools, universities and businesses were closed Thursday in several states as travel proved difficult if not impossible. More than 130,000 customers were without power in Michigan due to the storm. At least five people have been killed. Four died in traffic accidents on snowy or icy roads in the central United States over the past few days and a student died in Seattle after slipping on the ice. Earlier in the week, the storm brought heavy snow and ice to portions of the West Coast, including the Seattle and San Francisco areas. As of midday Thursday, the National Weather Service reported that more than 20 million people were threatened by winter weather, while another 25 million were bracing for flooding.


‘Grieving’ Dolphin

New Zealand officials advised boaters to steer clear of a grief-stricken bottlenose dolphin that had been spotted carrying around her deceased calf for days. It’s believed the calf was stillborn in the Bay of Islands.

“The mother is grieving and needs space and time to do this,” senior ranger of biodiversity Catherine Peters said in the statement. The sighting was reminiscent of a mother orca whale off the coast of British Columbia last July who carried her dead newborn calf for more than two weeks.



Plastic Meals

Researchers say microplastics were in the guts of every marine animal they examined that had washed up on the coast of Britain, including dolphins, seals and whales.

A team from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory says most of the particles found in 50 animals from 10 different species were synthetic fibers, which can come from fishing nets, toothbrushes and clothing. They believe the rest came from sources such as food packaging and plastic bottles.

While it’s thought the plastic would eventually pass through the digestive systems or be regurgitated, the scientists say they “don’t yet know what effects the microplastics, or the chemicals on and in them, might have on marine mammals.”


Wildfires – New Zealand

A huge bushfire that has been raging in the parched New Zealand countryside for four days has forced hundreds of residents to be evacuated from their homes and prompted fears that climate change has caused the nation to become “more flammable”. Firefighters have been working for most of the week to put out fires covering more than 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) around Nelson on the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (45.0 degrees Celsius) in Telfer, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 65.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.0 degrees Celsius) at Toko, Siberia.

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.


Ebola – DR Congo

As of 5 February, 789 EVD cases (735 confirmed and 54 probable) have been reported, including 488 deaths (overall case fatality ratio: 62%). Thus far, 267 people have been discharged from Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) and enrolled in a dedicated monitoring and support programme. Five new health worker infections were reported in Katwa (4) and Kalunguta (1); overall 67 health workers have been affected to date.

Equine flu – Britain

An outbreak of equine flu has led to the cancellation of all horse races in Britain until February 13 at the earliest.

Three vaccinated horses had tested positive for the disease in an active racing yard, forcing the sport’s ruling body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), to call off four scheduled meetings Thursday.

But the ban has been extended over fears the outbreak could have spread, with horses from the affected stables taking part in race meetings Wednesday.


Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 30 January-5 February 2019

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible during 28 January-1 February. An explosion at 1400 on 1 February produced an ash plume that rose 600 m above the crater rim. During a field survey that same day the sulfur dioxide emission rate was high at 3,000 tons/day, an increase from the previous measurement of 1,800 tons/day recorded on 22 January. An explosion at 0228 on 3 February produced an ash plume that rose 1 km and ejected tephra 800-1,100 m from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that analysis of recent satellite data suggested that the lava dome in Cleveland’s summit crater first observed on 12 January may have stopped growing on 16 January, and since then the center of the dome slowly subsided. Weakly elevated surface temperatures were evident in satellite data during 28 January-4 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Watch.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 28 January an ash plume from Dukono rose to an altitude of 1.5 km (5,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE. During 3-5 February ash plumes rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S, SW, W, and NW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 25 January-1 February that sent ash plumes to 2.3 km (7,500 ft) a.s.l. Ash fell in Severo-Kurilsk on 27 January. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Fuego | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that 10-18 explosions per hour were detected at Fuego during 29-31 January. Ash plumes from the explosions rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and drifted E and NE. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Alotenango, Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE), and Guatemala City (70 km E). Incandescent material was ejected 300 m high and caused avalanches of material that traveled down Seca (W), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) ravines. During 31January-1 February there were 14-16 explosions recorded per hour, with ash plumes rising as high as 1.1 km and drifting 20-25 km S and SE. Ash fell in the communities of El Rodeo (10 km SSE), El Zapote, Ceilan, and La Rochela. Incandescent material rose 200-400 m high causing avalanches of material to descend the Seca, Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda (E) ravines. Shock wave causing vibration in the communities near the volcano.

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 1713-1915 on 29 January an eruption at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater produced an ash plume that rose 4 km above the crater rim and drifted E, and a pyroclastic flow. Ash fell in parts of Yakushima. During 30 January-1 February and 3-5 February white plumes rose as high as 600 m. An event that lasted during 1141-1300 on 2 February generated a plume that rose 600 m. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-5).

Popocatepetl | Mexico : CENAPRED reported that during an overflight of Popocatépetl on 27 January observers noted that the inner crater was 150 m deep and had an unchanged diameter of 300 m. There was no visible lava dome at the bottom of the crater. Each day during 28 January-5 February there were 81-207 steam-and-gas emissions with low ash content. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two (middle level on a three-colour scale).

Reventador | Ecuador : During 28 January-5 February IG reported a high level of seismic activity at Reventador, including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions. Steam, gas, and ash plumes sometimes rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim and drifted W and NW. Incandescent blocks were observed rolling 600-800 m down the flanks on most days.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 25 January-1 February Sheveluch’s lava dome continued grow, extruding blocks on the N side, and producing hot avalanches and fumarolic plumes. Video and satellite data recorded gas-and-steam plumes with some ash content rising to 4-4.5 km (13,100-14,800 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 415 km E and W. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that minor, sporadic ash emissions that rose to low heights above Turrialba’s active crater were recorded on most days during 28 January-4 February. An event at 0640 on 1 February produced a taller plume which rose 1.5 km above the crater rim and drifted NW. OVSICORI-UNA noted that activity had been slowly decreasing in 2019. No volcano-tectonic earthquakes had been recorded, and tremors were decreasing in both energy and duration. The number of low-frequency, volcanic earthquakes (LPs) remained stable, although they had decreasing amplitudes. No explosions had been recorded, and emissions were weak, had short durations, and very dilute ash contents.