Storms and Floods

Storms in Thailand

More than 150 houses, rice barns and mills, and animal farms in Surin were destroyed after a tropical storm hit this northeastern province Tuesday evening.

Tropical waves wreaked havoc on Thai coastal villages. The fierce tropical storm in the Gulf of Thailand stranded more than 70 fishing boats in this seaboard province ashore due to huge waves, about four metres high.

Other News:

An avalanche in Dalvík, a village in Iceland has injured one skier.

Floods damage 6000 hectares of crops in Extremadura, Spain.

Floods continue across Kenya. 8 people reported to have died in recent floods in the North Rift.

The US National Weather Service has confirmed that at least 21 tornadoes tore across 6 states over the southern U.S. last Wednesday and Thursday. Of the 21 tornadoes 9 were in Alabama, 4 in Missouri, 4 in Arkansas, 2 in Georgia, 1 in Mississippi, and 1 in Louisiana.

Disease

China Bird Flu – Update

The eastern China epicenter of the H7N9 avian flu outbreak reported 14 new cases Tuesday, along with two more deaths, moving the total to 78 cases, 16 of them fatal.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): A large SO2 plume was detected from the volcano today, suggesting that elevated activity is occurring.

Manam (Papua New Guinea): Eruptions continue. An ash plume rose to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude this morning and the Rabaul Volcano Observatory raised the alert level to 3, following a strong increase in seismic activity. The aviation colour code is at orange.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An explosion this morning produced an ash plume rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Activity from the lava dome continues, in the form of explosions and rockfalls/pyroclastic flows due to mass loss from the dome. An ash plume was observed this morning rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude and drifting 20 nautical miles to the east (VAAC Darwin).

Dukono (Halmahera): Increased SO2 emissions appear on today’s NOAA satellite data, suggesting the volcano is in a phase of increased activity.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano remains in a state of elevated activity. Phases of medium to strong tremor occurred this morning at the volcano, although these were not associated by significant changes in the current observed activity: CENAPRED reported near-continuous degassing / steaming, and 35 emissions over the past 24 hours, the strongest of which ejected incandescent fragments out of the crater and produced small ash plumes rising up to 1.5 km height above the crater. Moderate glow from the growing lava dome remains visible at night.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): An eruption is underway at the volcano. The seismic swarm has continued and is increasing, with quakes as large as magnitude 3.2 this morning. The hypocenters of the seismic swarm, caused by intruding magma, is at 5-9 km depth 6 km NW below the Arenas craters. INGEOMINAS reports ongoing strong degassing and ash venting. A modest SO2 anomaly is visible on the latest (yesterday’s) NOAA satellite data, which confirms fresh magma rising below the volcano.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.8 Earthquake hits the Iran-Pakistan border region.

Initial reports: At least 15 people were killed and several others injured in the Panjgur and Mashkeel areas of Balochistan. Around 50 people sustained injuries in Karachi in incidents of roof collapse. Over 1,000 houses were partially damaged in Balochistan.

An Iranian government official said he expected hundreds of deaths from the earthquake. “It was the biggest earthquake in Iran in 40 years and we are expecting hundreds of dead,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

5.5 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits Arunachal Pradesh, India.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Sunda Strait, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

Storms and Floods

Dust storm in Chhattisgarh, India

Dust storm in Chhattisgarh, India has claimed the lives of at least six people. Storm injured around 25 people and damaged more than 150 houses. Train services were also affected.

Tropical Cyclone Imelda

Imelda continues to approach Mauritius and remains a threat to the islands.

Winds of 120Km/h have been recorded at Rodrigues Island. Cyclone Warning for Rodrigues is level four.

Other News:

At least four skiers have died in weekend avalanches in the French Alps. Three died in an avalanche in Dent Parrachee mountains in the Savoie region and one other died in an avalanche in Champsaur.

An avalanche in Kashmir, India has claimed the lives of at least three people.

A landslide has damaged more than 80 meters of the highway in Longchang Town, Kaili City in Guizhou Province of China.

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Disease

China Bird Flu – Update

As of 15 April 2013 (18:00 CET), the National Health and Family Planning Commission notified WHO of an additional nine laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with influenza A(H7N9) virus. Of the latest laboratory confirmed cases, four are from Zhejiang, three are from Shanghai and two from Jiangsu.

A team of international experts have arrived in China to assist with the spreading outbreak.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): Activity at the volcano continues. A volcanic ash plume was observed at 6,000 ft (1.8 km) altitude and extending 15 nautical miles to the S and W.

White Island (New Zealand): Tremor remains unstable. After a period of low intensity, strong tremor has reappeared today, reflecting internal fluid movements and degassing.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Another, but weaker episode of strong volcanic tremor and near-continuous emissions occurred yesterday at 15:50 (local time), creating a plume of steam, gas and ash rising 900 m and drifting NE. After a few hours, activity decreased again to individual small explosions at a rate of about 1 per hour, such as one captured on the webcam a few minutes ago.

Telica (Nicaragua): The earthquake swarm continues with little changes.

Masaya (Nicaragua): Seismic activity is unstable, with a phase of weak tremor (and a regional earthquake) visible on this morning’s seismogram.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): The earthquake swarm with weak volcanic tremor continues, associated with internal fluid movements and steam and ash venting, creating a plume observed rising 630 m above the volcano this morning. The volcano-tectonic earthquakes , i.e. the likely location of new intruding magma, are located in northwest of Arenas crater, at an average depth of 7 km. The largest recorded quake was a magnitude 2.6 event at 22:43 (local time) last night, felt by officials of the Colombia National Parks in the area of Brisas.

Drought

Drought in New Zealand

For sheep and beef farms, the average profit will be more than halved and the impact of the drought will linger for another year or two as farmers cull breeding stock this year at cheap prices, but will probably face higher costs to replace stock next year.

China drought hits millions

More than 20 million people in China are affected by a drought in the country’s south-west.

Fears that the Dust Bowl may be coming back – USA

The 2013 drought season is off to a worse start than in 2012 or 2011. It’s a good indicator, based on historical records, that the entire year will be drier than last year, even if spring and summer rainfall and temperatures remain the same.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

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

Storms and Floods

Killer Mississippi Tornado – Update

A large and violent tornado tore a destructive path across two counties in east-central Mississippi, USA on Thursday, leaving one person dead and several others injured.

The National Weather Service reported the killer EF-3 tornado with 145 mph winds, tracked 68.4 miles from Kemper County across Noxubee County, before lifting as it moved over the Alabama state line into western Pickens County. The tornado was on the ground for over a hour and a half from 11:31 a.m. to 1:06 p.m. Thursday with a track of 56 miles in Mississippi and 12.37 miles in Alabama.

Numerous homes suffered significant damage. Along the entire track, thousands of trees were snapped and uprooted with dozens of power poles bent or downed.

Environment

Scientists Find Antarctic Ice is Melting Faster

The summer ice melt in parts of Antarctica is at its highest level in 1,000 years, Australian and British researchers reported on Monday, adding new evidence of the impact of global warming on sensitive Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves.

Researchers from the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survey found data taken from an ice core also shows the summer ice melt has been 10 times more intense over the past 50 years compared with 600 years ago.

“It’s definitely evidence that the climate and the environment is changing in this part of Antarctica,” lead researcher Nerilie Abram said.

Abram and her team drilled a 364-metre (400-yard) deep ice core on James Ross Island, near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, to measure historical temperatures and compare them with summer ice melt levels in the area.

They found that, while the temperatures have gradually increased by 1.6 degrees Celsius (2.9 degrees Fahrenheit) over 600 years, the rate of ice melting has been most intense over the past 50 years.

That shows the ice melt can increase dramatically in climate terms once temperatures hit a tipping point.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity has remained more or less unchanged. Explosions, sometimes strong continue from several vents,and small amounts of viscous lava overspills the rims of the NE crater.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): KVERT reports no significant change in the activity (seismic and surface). Lava flows continue to effuse from the southern fissure. Tremor remains high, although it has continued to slowly decrease. The other active Kamchatkan volcanoes have not shown variations reported: Sheveluch, Bezymianny, Kizimen continue to build their lava domes, Karymsky has occasional small explosions. Seismicity at Gorely volcano remains moderate, caused by internal fluid movements and strong degassing.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): After 8 days with no reports about explosions, a small eruption last night made it back into the list of Tokyo VAAC reports of ash plumes. The explosion produced an ash plume rising to 6,000 ft (1.8 km) altitude.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Relatively large strombolian explosions at the volcano regularly produce ash plumes rising 5-7,000 ft (1.5-2.1 km) altitude and are visible on satellite data.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): Another relatively large eruption occurred this morning around 9am local time. The explosion produced an ash plume reported 4 km high (or: altitude?), and strong vibrations felt in up to 5 km distance.h a height of 1580 meters was still in alert status to level III. Authorities advise not to approach the volcano’s summit within 2.5 km radius, which was declared a prohibited zone (villagers often go there to collect wood, grass etc.).

Colima (Western Mexico): After a week of relatively high activity, the volcano has been a bit calmer yesterday and today, although there are still frequent rockfalls and small explosions from the growing lava dome.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Yesterday and during the night, the volcano experienced a phase of continuous emissions and explosions that ejected incandescent tephra onto the upper outer slopes of the volcano and created a plume of steam and some ash rising 500 m above the volcano. This was accompanied by strong tremor as well. At the moment, activity has again calmed down significantly. Glow at the summit shows that the lava dome continues to grow.

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity has been low recently. Few weak to moderate explosions continue to occur from time to time at the lava dome, with ash plumes reported 5-700 m high and drifting for about 10 km to the west.

Pacaya (Guatemala): INSIVUMEH’s latest bulletin confirms that a small lava lake is present in the Mackenney crater at a depth of 40 meters and generating mostly small strombolian explosions that eject material to the NW flank. These explosions generated weak rumbling sounds. According to INSIVUMEH, activity is likely to pick up in the coming days as the crater is gradually filling up.

Fuego (Guatemala): Activity has remained relatively low. Only few explosions were observed during yesterday, generating fine ash plumes rising up to about 800 m.

Telica (Nicaragua): Seismic activity continues to be strong, but has eased a bit during the past days.

Concepción (Nicaragua): A small swarm of earthquakes and small tremor pulses occurred yesterday.

San Cristobal (Nicaragua): Seismic activity has generally remained low over the past weeks. A phase of more frequent small volcanic earthquakes and some tremor occurred yesterday and has eased again.

Masaya (Nicaragua): The volcano experienced what appears to be a seismic swarm and a phase of increased tremor during the night, but has calmed down again by now.

Machin (Colombia): On April 13 at 15:54 (local time), a volcano-tectonic earthquake of magnitude 2.8 associated with rock fracturing within the volcanic edifice occurred southwest of the main dome a depth of 7.4 km, and was felt by residents near the volcano, in the municipality of Cajamarca, in the village of Toche and the area known as Moral (Tolima).

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): A swarm of volcanic earthquakes is continuing under the volcano, and emissions of gas, steam and some ash remain elevated.

Reventador (Ecuador): A MODIS hot spot at the summit and fluctuating moderate levels of seismicity suggest that slow lava extrusion and occasional explosions continue. Tungurahua volcano in turn has remained calm.

Lascar (Northern Chile): The incandescence observed at the crater due to hot gas emissions has decreased during 12-13 April and was no longer visible during last night.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

6.0 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the northern Mid-atlantic ridge.

Storms and Floods

Flash floods in Faryab, Afghanistan

Flash floods in the Faryab region of Afghanistan have claimed the lives of seven people. The road between Balcheragh district to the provincial capital has been washed away.

Avalanches in Cascade mountains east of Seattle, Washington State, USA

At least two people are reported to be missing in two separate avalanches in the Cascade mountains in Washington State. The avalanches occurred near the Snoqualmie Pass east of Seattle.

Disease

Bird Flu – Update

A new analysis of H7N9 genetic sequences from the first Chinese patients infected with the virus and from poultry markets found more signals that the virus can attach and replicate efficiently in the airways of humans and other mammals, raising concerns about the virus’s pandemic potential.

China’s H7N9 tally reaches 49 with the death toll rising to 13.