Storms and Floods

Russia’s Coldest Winter Since 1938

Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia. The cold spell, along with snowfalls, has disrupted flights all over the country, and led to huge traffic jams. In the southern city of Rostov-on-Don some highways were closed due to snowfalls over the past two days, triggering a traffic collapse. Over the weekend, meteorologists predict temperatures will plunge even lower in the Moscow region, hitting -25.

Flooding in UK

At least six regions across the UK are still under a flood alert as more heavy rain swells already flooded rivers.


6.8 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.5 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.2 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Izu Islands, off Japan.


Global Volcanic Activity:

No major changes have been occurring at volcanoes around the world. A few updates include:

The eruption of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka continues at full force. Lava flows continue to be erupted from the southern fissure at Tolbachinsky Dol and very fluid lava is moving to the western side of Tolbachinsky Dol. A 5th cinder cone is growing on the southern fissure above of Krasny cone. Gas and steam plumes are rising to 3-4 km altitude.

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been a bit “calmer” today, but the volcano continues to produce a constant ash column and intermittent explosions of small to moderate size, some of which are accompanied by loud cannon-shot bangs and roars.

Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico remained with about 3 emissions per hour. A stronger one this morning produced a small ash plume rising 2 km.

Mild strombolian activity remains visible at Fuego volcano with with ash plumes rising up to 400 m and incandescent bombs thrown to about 100 m above the crater. The lava flow towards the Taniluya drainage can remains active and was about 300 m long this morning.

Paluweh volcano, Indonesia: The activity at the lava dome continues. An ash plume at approx. 6,000 ft (1.8 km) altitude could be seen on satellite images today. It was produced either by strong ash venting, explosions, new pyroclastic flows, or a combination of all.

MODIS satellite data revealed a hot spot at Australia’s Heard Island volcano. This suggests that some sort of activity continues at one of the world’s most remote volcanoes.

Lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean from Kilauea volcano, Hawaii




5.6 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Strait of Gibraltar.

5.2 Earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit Tonga.


Global Volcanic Activity:

The eruption of Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador is becoming increasingly dangerous. This morning, a phase of strong activity occurred with explosions every 5 minutes and another pyroclastic flow was observed going through the Cusua ravine. During the past days, ash emissions and frequent explosions produced ash columns rising 2-2.5 km. THe explosions ejected incandescent lava up to about 400 m above the crater and produce loud cannon-fire noises and roars that can be heard in all towns near the volcano and sometimes cause buildings vibrate.

The eruption of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka continues with strong tremor and vigorous lava emission.

Lava has been recently also seen at Klyuchevskoi volcano, that still has strombolian activity in its summit crater, and sporadic weak explosions continue to occur from Karymski volcano in Kamchatka. Activity at Kizimen volcano instead has recently decreased a lot; its lava dome seems to have stopped growing (for now).

Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico: After increasing to 5 weak steam and sometimes ash emissions per hour during 17-18 Dec, the rate has dropped to about 3 per hour during 18-19 Dec. Glow remains visible at night.

On the morning of 18 December, Pacaya volcano in Guatemala had 3 small explosions of gas-and-ash that left a new small crater. Since then, the volcano has remained calm, but this is the volcano’s first surface activity since late 2010, and could indicate its re-awakening.

In Indonesia, reports that the new lava dome of Paluweh volcano now produces pyroclastic flows that reach the sea on the south side. Vegetation in the surroundings of the lava dome has all been killed.

Ash emissions from Ulawun volcano in Papua New Guinea ceased on 11 December, the Rabaul Volcano Observatory reported to USGS. During the past days, only steaming was observed.

Manam volcano has been having mild strombolian activity and producing a small lava from two vents located on the upper slopes of the SE valley during 8-14 Dec.


Bushfires are ravaging Ruvubu National Park located in Muyinga and Karuzi provinces in south-eastern Burundi. The park is near the border with Tanzania.

Storms and Floods

Major blizzards in United States

-Heavy winter snowstorm has blanketed the US Midwest today. The region’s first big storm of the season dumped more than 30 centimetres of snow in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has issued a state of emergency.

-Storm has cut power to more than 40,000 households and businesses in Iowa.

-Blizzard warnings were also issued in Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois.

-Airlines cancelled more than 150 flights at Chicago’s bustling O’Hare airport. Flights through smaller airports in Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota were also cancelled Thursday morning.

A tornado peeled the roofs from buildings, toppled trucks, and blew down oak trees and limbs in the Mobile area, Alabama, USA early Thursday, leading to road closures but there were no reports of major injuries.


5.7 Earthquake hits the northern Pacific Ocean.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit Tonga.

4.9 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.


Wildfire in Wahring region of Victoria, Australia. Smoke was even visible in Wahring, Murchison East and Murchison.


Four new outbreaks of Newcastle disease were reported in Israel in the first week of December and resulted in the deaths of 5,700 birds, 4,400 were destroyed and 197,000 were slaughtered.

An outbreak of Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD) on a Queensland [Australia] stud farm has the farmer facing the prospect of slaughtering all of his 2 700 stud cattle. Some fear the outbreak could collectively cost Queensland cattle breeders tens of millions of dollars.

Storms and Floods

Snowstorms in Russia

-Snowstorms in Russia have killed 21 people. Other 147 others were hospitalized with frostbite.

-Daytime temperatures vary from -17 to -20 in Moscow and minus 50 in Siberia.

– Ice from the local river has plugged water pipes. People in town of Balashov, Saratov region were left without water.

Ukraine and Russia Snow 2012


Flooding in Cork and Waterford, Ireland

-Heavy rainfall caused flooding in Cork and Waterford region of Ireland.

-Rain water also caused flooding on the Killarney Road at the Racecourse in Mallow.

-Ballea Road from Carrigaline to Ballygarvan is impassable. Flood affected Waterford in Dungarvan at Garrenbane School.

Flooding in Scotland, United Kingdom

-The Met Office has issued 24-hour severe weather alert for flooding in the east from midnight. Rainfall up to 50mm is forecast.

Snowstorms in Colorado, USA

-Heavy snowstorm caused delay of flights at Denver International Airport.

-The National Weather Service has forecast 3-8 inches of snow in southern Utah and northern Arizona from Tuesday to Wednesday, and 6-8 inches of snow in some parts of Colorado.

-The Utah Avalanche Center has also issued a warning for dangerous backcountry snowslides in northern Utah’s mountains.

Death toll from Sri Lanka flood has risen to 16. Other 14 are still reported to be missing. Following Disaster Management Centre, some 175,558 individuals are reported to be affected by the floods.

The remains of tropical cyclone Evan are forecast to bring heavy rain over Manawatu on New Zealand’s North Island on Christmas Day. Tropical Cyclone Evan is increasingly likely to pass close to northern New Zealand. Evan wreaked havoc in Samoa and Fiji, and forecasts are predicting heavy rain for the north of the North Island on Sunday.


5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the south-west Indian ridge.

4.9 Earthquake hits the Fiji Islands.

4.9 Earthquake hits near the south coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Environment – Wildlife

Finland study tracks global warming impacts on bird populations.

Researchers in Finland say they’ve documented bird populations trends that are at least partly linked with global warming. Comparing data from extensive bird counts conducted between 1981 to 1999, and 2000 to 2009, the biologists said that, in general, northern species have decreased and southern species increased.

Mean temperatures in Finland rose between the two periods, with April to June mean temperatures climbing by 0.7 degrees Celsius. According to the study, population densities of common forest habitat generalists remained the same between the two periods, while species preferring old-growth or mature forests increased, but those living on mires and wetlands, and species of Arctic mountains decreased.

The trends suggest that climate change impacts on species in natural boreal and Arctic habitats most probably are habitat-specific with large differences in response times and susceptibility. Open mires and mountain heaths change more rapidly in consequence of climate warming than old-growth forests, for which reason populations on mires and mountain heaths may also be more affected by climate change.


Global Volcanic Activity:

The eruption of Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Kamchatka continues with vigorous lava emission and strong tremor as during the beginning of the eruption. Lava flows have now reached a reported length of 20 km. The seismic activity from the volcano is so strong that the seismic recordings from nearby Klyuchevskoy and Bezymianny are obscured.

Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador remains very active, although the strength of explosions, compared to Saturday-Sunday, has calmed down since yesterday. Constant ash emissions, strong strombolian explosions and pulses of lava fountain up to 1 KM (!) height above the crater were reported seen during the night. In the morning, a small small pyroclastic flow descended through the gorge of La Hacienda. Occasionally, roars of varying intensity were heard. A dark ash column rises about 1.5 km and drifts westward. Tremor remains at high near saturation levels.

Seismicity has recently decreased and become more discontinuous at Reventador volcano, the second currently active volcano in Ecuador.

A stronger phase of activity occurred at the lava dome of Paluweh volcano this morning. VAAC Darwin reported an ash plume rising to 11,000 ft (3.4 km), i.a. 2.5 km above the crater.

The number of emissions of Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico has further increased; there were 121 events, i.e. about 4 per hour counted since yesterday. Most produced only puffs of steam and gas, and in some cases very small amounts of ash. Other monitoring parameters remain unchanged. During the night glow was observed in the crater. In the morning, a steam and gas plume was seen rising about 800 meters above the crater and drifting to the southeast.

A relatively strong SO2 cloud was detected over Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica today, suggesting increased degassing.

Mild strombolian activity was observed at Fuego volcano with with ash plumes rising up to 400 m and incandescent bombs reaching 150 m above the crater. The lava flow remains active and was about 300 m long this morning.

Weak incandescence was seen from the Santiaguito lava dome at night and the lava flows descending its flanks remained active.

Pacaya volcano remains calm at the surface, but small volcanic earthquakes are occurring frequently.

Occasional weak ash explosions continue to occur from time to time at Galeras volcano in Colombia, such as observed during exceptionally clear weather yesterday. Nevado del Ruiz volcano in Colombia continues to have pulses of small quakes and produces a significant steam and gas plume, occasionally accompanied by ash venting. Seismic unrest continues at Cerro Machin volcano. On December 14 and 16, 2 felt earthquakes occurred under the volcano.

Storms and Floods

Tropical cyclone Evan

-A State of natural disaster has been declared in the Northern and Western divisions of Fiji.

-Heavy storm and floods hit western parts of Viti Levu.

Flooding and landslide in Sri Lanka

-Flash floods and landslides have killed at least nine people and left thousands homeless in Sri Lanka.

-Three people died when a tree collapsed on a van and other six were buried in landslides. Eight people had died in Matale and one is Kandy in central Sri Lanka.

-Around 4,000 displaced people are living in 17 relief camps.

-Landslides also blocked roads from Laggala to Wilgamuwa, Raththota to Illukumbura and Matale to Galewela.

-Sluice gates of Kalawewa and Rajangana tanks (reservoirs) have been opened.

-A landslide danger zone has been declared in several districts of the central hill province.

Srilanka flood 2010 natural disaster


Flooding in Merto Vancouver Coastal region, Canada

-High winds and high tide flooded the seawalls in West Vancouver and Stanley Park.

Tornado in Laurel Bay, South Carolina, USA

-Tornado destroyed homes in the Laurel Bay military housing community in northern Beaufort.

Two weeks after Typhoon Bopha hit the southern Philippines, killing more than 1,000 people, almost a million survivors are living outside evacuation centres and need urgent assistance, especially shelter, according to aid agencies. The most intense storm to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year struck Mindanao island, flooding farming and mining towns and burying many people in mudslides. On the eastern coast of Mindanao, where the typhoon hit first and the hardest, even many evacuation centres were not spared and collapsed during the storm. According to the United Nations’ latest report on the disaster, about 26,000 people are in 63 evacuation centres while 960,000 others are living in the ruins of their homes, open areas or with host communities.