Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global
6.1 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.
5.3 earthquake hits off the coast of Ecuador.
5.1 earthquake hits Tonga,
5.1 earthquake hits southeast of Easter Island.
5.0 earthquake hits south of the Kermedec Islands.
Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:
There are no current tropical storms.
USA – The violent storm system blasting through parts of the central U.S. was linked to four deaths while fueling almost 60 tornado reports Monday and Tuesday – with more damage expected Wednesday. Severe storms, possibly with large hail, were forecast for Wednesday from Texas to the Great Lakes. Flooding was a concern to the south: Residents of some small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas were being urged to leave their homes as rivers and streams rose. The Arkansas River is approaching historic highs, while the already high Missouri and Mississippi rivers were again rising Wednesday.
Botswana Lifts Ban on Hunting Elephants
Botswana, which has the world’s biggest population of elephants, lifted its suspension on hunting, a move that is likely to spark further debate on a politically charged issue in the southern African nation.
The government would ensure that “reinstatement of hunting is done in an orderly and ethical manner” and in accordance with the law and regulations, the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in emailed statement Wednesday.
The number of elephants in Botswana has almost tripled to 160,000 since 1991, increasing conflict between farmers and the animals, which at times destroy crops and kill villagers.
Critics, including former President Ian Khama, say the drive is politically motivated, being geared to win rural votes in an October election and could damage tourism, which accounts for a fifth of the economy.
Wildfires – Alberta, Canada
Nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in northern Alberta, Canada, to escape a monstrous blaze that has reached nearly 230,000 acres, officials in the province said. The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire, burning in Mackenzie County just two miles south of the town of High Level, has been torching ground for more than two days. It is just one of a “number of out-of-control wildfires” burning in the province.
The town of Slave Lake, where four new wildfires began Tuesday, also is on high alert. Three of the fires had been extinguished and one was “being held,” officials said. The city’s hotels are packed with evacuees fleeing the fire in High Level.
Wildfires – Trinidad and Tobago
Three natural oil seepage pits in Guapo, used for disposal of bio-hazardous water material, ignited on Tuesday. And fire officers battled for almost ten hours to prevent the blaze from spreading to nearby communities. The blaze was triggered by a bush fire.
Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 15 May – 21 May 2019
Azumayama | Honshu (Japan) : The number of volcanic earthquakes at Azumayama increased on 5 May and data from a tiltmeter about 1 km SE of Ohana Crater showed inflation on 9 May, prompting JMA to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a 5-level scale). Field observations on 7 and 10 May indicated no changes in the fumarolic and thermal areas around Ohana. Seismicity began to decrease on 10 May, though continued to fluctuate through 20 May. Deformation continued but at a slower rate.
Hakoneyama | Honshu (Japan) : JMA reported that the number of earthquakes at Hakoneyama increased during 18-19 May, with epicenters centered around the W bank of Lake Ashinoko and around Komagatake. Fumaroles in the Owakudani hot springs area continued to be active. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data showed changes in deformation beginning in mid-March. On 19 May JMA raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a 5-level scale). Elevated seismicity continued to be recorded through 21 May.
Pavlof | United States : AVO reported that low-frequency tremor was detected at Pavlof during 14-15 May and a vigorous steam plume rising from the summit was visible in webcam images on 15 May. The Aviation colour Code was raised to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was raised to Advisory primarily because of increased seismicity. Steam plumes recorded by the webcam, low levels of seismic tremor, and warm surface temperatures identified in satellite data continued during 16-19 May; AVO noted that steam emissions and warm surface temperatures are common at Pavlof.
Sangay | Ecuador : IG reported that a new eruption at Sangay began on 7 May and was continuing as of 21 May. Activity was concentrated at two eruptive centers; the Central Crater and the Ñuñurcu dome (located 190 m SSE of Central Crater). Explosive activity at Central Crater produced ash plumes that rose an average of 1 km above the crater rim and drifted W and NW. Ejected blocks rolled as far as 2.5 km down the SE flank. The Ñuñurcu dome produced a lava flow that had a maximum width of 175 m and traveled about 470 m down the SE flank. Collapses of the lava-flow front generated small pyroclastic flows and numerous block flows; one of the pyroclastic flows traveled 340 m.
Sarychev Peak | Matua Island (Russia) : SVERT reported that a weak thermal anomaly over Sarychev Peak was visible in satellite images on 10, 12, and 17 May. At 0830 on 16 May satellite images showed an ash plume drifting 50 km SE at an altitude as high as 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation colour Code was raised to Yellow on 16 May.
Sinabung | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that white plumes rose as high as 700 m above Sinabung’s crater rim during 13-21 May. On 20 May the Alert Level was lowered to 3 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions to 5 km on the SE sector and 4 km in the NE sector. PVMBG noted that the seismic activity surrounding the recent ash emissions during 7 and 11-12 May were not indicative of renewed activity.
Malaria-free – Argentina and Algeria
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that two additional countries have been certified as malaria-free–Algeria and Argentina.
Algeria is the second country in the WHO African Region to be officially recognized as malaria-free, after Mauritius, which was certified in 1973. Argentina is the second country in the WHO Region of the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018. They reported their last local transmission of malaria in 2013 and 2010, respectively.
Acute Gastro-enteritis – Philippines
Officials with the Pangasinan Provincial Health Office in the western area of the island of Luzon are reporting an increase in acute gastroenteritis cases during the first five months of 2019. 4,282 cases have been reported through May 20.