Storms and Floods

Mine mudslides in Pueblo Nuevo, Ecuador

-At least 12 killed and 20 others injured in Ecuador mudslides. Heavy rain in a gold-mining community in southern Ecuador caused mudslide.

-Mudslide happened after six hours of torrential downpours.

-Mudslides have destroyed houses and blocked roads in Pueblo Nuevo. Natural disaster area can only be reached by helicopter.

-Around 200 soldiers and policemen are working in rescue operations.

Ecuador

A heavy hailstorm has hit parts of southern Asir province, Saudi Arabia.

Tornadoes in central Queensland, Australia

-At least five tornadoes hit Queensland coastal towns, injuring 17 people.

-Burnett Heads and nearby Bargara have been declared as natural disaster areas.

-Tornadoes in Bundaberg district destroyed around 150 homes.

-About 2 000 people have been ordered to evacuate in Gladstone.

-Flood warnings have also been issued for the Calliope, Boyne, Baffle and Kolan Rivers.

-Australian weather bureau has predicted heavy rain and destructive winds for Brisbane of up to 125km/h until Monday

Flooding across Mozambique

-At least 36 people have been reported to be killed in recent Mozambique floods.

-A total of 26 persons have died in Gaza alone.

-Floods caused by torrential rains in South Africa and Zimbabwe that swelled the Limpopo river has displaced nearly 67,995 Mozambicans.

-Floods have damaged several bridges, roads and schools in capital Maputo.

-Some days ago, Mozambique officials had evacuated 55,000 people from flood disaster zone.

-Mozambican and South African military helicopters and boats have rescued 12,000 families.

Mozambique                   Mozambique1

Tropical Cyclone Garry

-As of 09:00 UTC, TC Garry was located 470 nm west-southwest of bora bora.

-A storm warning has been cancelled and a gale warning has been issued Cook Islands.

Landslide in Jayapura, Indonesia

-Heavy rains killed two in Lampung, Indonesia. One person died in a landslide disaster in Jayapura, Papua, 4 other injured.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits northern and central Iran.

4.9 Earthquake hits Sakhalin, Russia.

Wildlife

Mass Escape of Crocodiles into Limpopo River – South Africa

About 15,000 crocodiles have reportedly escaped from a farm in South Africa’s far north amid heavy rains and flooding along the Limpopo river. The owner was forced to open the crocodile farm’s gates on Sunday to prevent a storm surge. Many of the crocodiles have been recaptured, but more than half are still on the loose.

Environment

Intense Radiation in Fish Caught Near Japan Nuclear Facility

A fish contaminated in waters off Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was found to have levels of radiation over 2,500 times the legal safe limit for seafood. Scientists from plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) say the murasoi fish had 10 times higher radiation than that measured last August in a scorpion fish caught near the crippled reactor complex.

TEPCO says massive nets are being installed about 15 miles offshore to try to prevent contaminated fish from migrating.

The plant was pummeled by a titanic tsunami in 2011 that was generated by a massive undersea earthquake. It resulted in reactor meltdowns that caused radioactive contamination that will linger for decades to come.

Fishing around Fukushima has since been halted and the government has also banned farming, dairy and livestock production indefinitely.

Marine Radiation Japan

Top: Murasoi fish captured by TEPCO appeared to have no mutations despite carrying 2,500 times the safe level of radiation. Bottom: Cleanup crews removing contaminated material from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Disease

Antibiotic ‘Apocalypse’ Warning

The rise in drug resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England. Bacteria are becoming resistant to current drugs and there are few antibiotics to replace them. Experts say it is a global problem and needs much more attention. Antibiotics have been one of the greatest success stories in medicine. However, bacteria are a rapidly adapting foe which find new ways to evade drugs. MRSA rapidly became one of the most feared words in hospitals wards and there are growing reports of resistance in strains of E. coli, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea. While the full effects of global warming lie some time in the future, the apocalyptic scenario is that when someone needs a new hip in 20 years he might well die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.

The World Health Organization has warned the world is heading for a “post-antibiotic era” unless action is taken. It paints a future in which “many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated. Research is not happening quickly enough. “We need resources for surveillance, resources to cope with the problem and to get public information across.” The drugs companies have run out of options as all the easy drugs have been made. “We have to be aware that we aren’t going to have new wonder drugs coming along because there just aren’t any.”

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Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Melbourne, Australia

Victoria’s health department has ordered the testing of cooling towers in the busy Melbourne suburb of Footscray, after a fatal outbreak of legionnaires’ disease. A man aged in his 50’s died in hospital this morning and four others have been admitted.

Temperatures

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 115.7 degrees Fahrenheit (46.5 degrees Celsius) at Penrith, NWS, Australia, (western suburb of Sydney,) which broke its all-time record high with 114.4 F (45.8 C) the same day.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 66.1 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 54.5 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Siberian outpost of Oimyakon.

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.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Reventador (Ecuador): The volcano has now entered a full-scale eruption. Lava flows descending on the flanks and glow at the summit were observed. A tall steam and ash plume rises 1.5 km above the volcano and drifts west. Additionally explosions have been reported which were heard in the sector of Reventador. Seismic activity is strong and characterized by strong tremor and explosion signals. Interestingly, but probably nothing than coincidence, Reventador and Tungurahua which is now calm, two of Ecuador’s currently most active volcanoes, seem to alternate each other with phase of strong activity.

Ruapehu (North Island, New Zealand): Current level of earthquakes remains low.

White Island (New Zealand): GeoNet has raised the alert to orange. Over the last 20-30 hours the style of seismic activity has changed. Although the level of volcanic tremor has started to decrease, hybrid volcanic earthquakes have appeared. Hybrid earthquakes are typically associated with the movement of molten material (magma) within an active volcano.

Lokon-Empung (North Sulawesi, Indonesia): A new, relatively large explosion occurred this morning at 5am local time. The online newspaper KabarCepat mentioned that the explosion was heard up to 6 km away. Following the initial eruption, the volcano continued to produce a strong steam plume, interrupted by smaller explosions for almost all day. More than 3 mm of ash were deposited 4 km to the NE in Kinilow.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): Thermal hot spots and SO2 plumes are often visible on satellite data. This indicates that some (weak) activity is present at the volcano.

Taal (Luzon, Philippines): Philvolc’s seismic network recorded seven (7) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Increased numbers of earthquakes have now been occurring for several days and this is certainly something to monitor. Although other parameters show no significant changes, it could be an early harbinger of something in the making.

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): Activity, judged from tremor and explosion signals remain lower than during past week. The latest evaluation by INGV from 22 Jan described medium-low tremor levels.

Storms and Floods

Flooding in North Queensland, Australia

-Heavy rainfall caused flooding in north Queensland, mainly in Ingham, Halifax and Tully and parts of Townsville.

-Ex-cyclone Oswald also caused heavy rainfall on the Central Queensland coast and Capricornia region. In Rockhampton many streets in the city are now under water, and “very destructive winds” are also being felt.

-Water levels in southeast Queensland dams will be reduced to protect urban areas from any flooding associated with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

-The Bruce Highway, a major highway in Queensland has been cut in several places.

-A rail link between Cairns and Townsville has been closed by Queensland Rail due to flash flood.

-Gale warning is issued for Bowen to Burnett Heads.

-Rainfall between 100 mm to 300 mm is predicted in the southeast over the next four days.

Floods Queensland

Landslide in Skardu, Pakistan

-Landslide blocked Baltoro river flow in Skardu, the main town of the region Baltistan of Pakistan.

-A 300 x 800 mountain landslide has changed the course of water. River water has also flooded adjacent areas in Skardu.

Landslide has destroyed about 80m of road in Matang, Malaysia.

Nearly 50 flood warnings have been issued across Britain. A combination of heavy downpour and a rapid thaw of snow and ice cold may cause problem.

Venice, Italy Floods Again

Tourists arriving for Venice Carnival are wading through water in St Mark’s square on Thursday after unusually high levels cause flooding. Water is spilling over canal walls in the city in the run up to festivities, for which hundreds of thousands of people are expected to come.

Woman child play venice flooding 61189 600x450

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Russia – Xinjiang border region.

5.3 Earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

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

5.0 Earthquake hits Papua, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Environment

Massive Melting Of Andes Glaciers

The tropical glaciers in South America are melting at their fastest rate in 300 years. Glaciers in the tropical Andes have shrunk by 30-50% since the 1970s, according to a recent study.

The glaciers provide fresh water for tens of millions in South America.

Andes Glaciers

 

The study included data on about half of all Andean glaciers and blamed the melting on an average temperature rise of 0.7C from 1950-1994.

Glaciers are retreating everywhere in the tropical Andes, but the melting is more pronounced for small glaciers at low altitudes.

Glaciers at altitudes below 5,400m have lost about 1.35m in ice thickness per year since the late 1970s, twice the rate of the larger, high-altitude glaciers.

Because the maximum thickness of these small, low-altitude glaciers rarely exceeds 40 metres, with such an annual loss they will probably completely disappear within the coming decades.

Water shortages: The researchers also say there was little change in the amount of rainfall in the region over the last few decades. Without changes in rainfall, the region would face water shortages in the future, the scientists say.

The Santa River valley in Peru would be most affected; its hundreds of thousands of inhabitants rely heavily on glacier water for agriculture, domestic consumption, and hydropower.

Large cities, such as La Paz in Bolivia, could also face problems. Glaciers provide about 15% of the La Paz water supply throughout the year, increasing to about 27% during the dry season.

Wildfires

Australian Wildfires

Large, fast-moving bushfires continue to sweep across New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, this week. Over 122 fires are still burning in New South Wales, and 17 of them are uncontained.

Residents in the Victorian town of Heyfield are facing a renewed threat from the massive Gippsland blaze.

A large bushfire in Victoria’s high country is expected to hit Harrietville and Hotham Heights within the next 24 hours.

The Gippsland fire crisis has worsened, with strong northerly winds whipping up flames earlier than predicted. The CFA said there was “strong pressure” on its Gippsland containment lines with some busting this afternoon. In the high country fire authorities have warned residents who do not plan to stay and defend their homes that they should evacuate the area by 6pm. The out-of-control bushfire, which is travelling in a south-easterly direction, has burnt out 1700ha of Victoria’s alpine region since a lightning strike sparked the blaze on Monday. Meanwhile, emergency authorities have warned a wind change could mean the southern edge of the Aberfeldy-Donnellys fire will breach control lines tomorrow.

Global Warming

Bangladesh: After the floods Comes the Hunger

With the effects of global warming becoming more evident, once welcome floods in Bangladesh now bring hardship and hunger.

Life on the floodplains in Bangladesh can be a perilous existence. On islands along the Brahmaputra river, in Gaibandha province, unseasonable flooding has destroyed crops, spreading hunger and poor nutrition. Changing rainfall patterns are making the floods more violent, more frequent and less predictable.

After unseasonal floods p 014

 

After the floods, all that is left is mud. Attempts to re-sow crops are unlikely to be successful as the growing season has passed.

After unseasonal floods p 013

Drought

Wheat Prices Rise as US Drought Persists

Wheat futures rose for the second time in three sessions on renewed concern that the worst U.S. drought since the 1930s is eroding prospects for crops in the southern Great Plains. Little or no rain has fallen in parts of south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma in the past three months, according to the National Weather Service. As much as 25 percent of the wheat crop may go unharvested this year, when farmers begin collecting grain in June.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The strength of explosion signals and tremor seem to have increased this morning. A small lava out-spill of lava from the northern breached rim of the NE crater as well as dust trails from numerous blocks rolling down the Sciara can be seen on the webcams.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): After a brief period of activity at the Bocca Nuova crater, strombolian activity shifted to the New SE crater on the night of 22 January. This much stronger activity has continued into 24 January.

Bárdarbunga (Iceland): An earthquake swarm at depths between 2-10 km about 8 km NE of Bardabunga volcano under the Vatnajökull icecap has started. The swarm appears to contain relatively large quakes, including a magnitude 3.8 quake, which, if magmatic origin, could mean a shallow intrusion, that potentially could lead to an eruption.

Gorely (Southern Kamchatka): Strong and moderate gas-steam activity were observed. Seismic activity is moderate.

Kizimen (Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)): A new lava flow extrudes from the summit on the north-eastern flank of the volcano. Incandescence of the volcano summit, hot avalanches and strong gas-steam activity accompany this process. Seismic activity is at moderate levels.

Tolbachik (Kamchatka, Russia): The explosive-effusive eruption continues with little changes. According to an eyewitness communication on actif-volcans, activity goes on from one of the new cones on the southern fissure, which produces near-continuous strombolian activity, at times merging into more or less sustained lava fountains. The vent continues to aliment fluid lava flows. KVERT reports that tremor increased again a bit compared to yesterday. A low steam and ash plume rises from the eruption.

Sakurajima (Kyushu): The volcano remains quite active, with an elevated number of explosions. Yesterday (22 Jan), there were at least 5 with ash plumes reaching 6-9000 ft (1.8-2.7 km). This is a lot considering the long-term average of 1-2 per day.

White Island (New Zealand): Tremor and hydrothermal activity at the surface remain high. In addition to strong tremor, volcanic earthquakes (red lines on seismogram) can be identified within the strong seismic signal as well. They could indicate magma moving upwards and be a warning sign for an impending eruption.

Colima (Western Mexico): Rockfalls and small volcanic quakes possibly accompany small emissions from the volcano. A 4.7 regional quake off the western coast of Mexico (large signal) also appears on last evening’s seismogram.

Concepción (Nicaragua): A phase of increased internal activity occurred over night.

San Cristobal (Nicaragua): After a decrease yesterday, seismic activity reflecting internal unrest has increased today again.

Masaya (Nicaragua): Volcanic tremor has generally been near background, but a slight increase is visible today.

San Salvador (El Salvador): Small volcanic quakes and weak tremor are visible at the seismogram, but within normal levels for this active volcano.

San Miguel (El Salvador): Numerous volcanic quakes and bursts of weak tremor continue to be seen frequently on the seismic recording.

Nevado del Huila (Colombia): Activity has remained stable. The volcano is emitting a white plume of steam and gas. Internal activity remains at weak levels, with a total of 88 events registered by Popayan Observatory during the past week.

Galeras (Colombia): A slight increase in seismic activity was reported by Pasto Observatory. Most seismicity was related to fluid movements within the volcano, some by degassing and light ash venting, which was observed on 16 and 21 January. Steam plumes rose to a maximum of 1000 m above the crater, and measured SO2 levels were at moderate levels.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Numerous small earthquakes continue and a strong SO2 plume is visible on the latest NOAA satellite image, suggesting a phase of elevated (degassing) activity.

Cumbal (Colombia): A slight increase in seismicity related to internal fluid movements during the past week. Degassing as the only surface activity was observed on clear days.

Sotará (Colombia): Seismic activity remains barely above background. During the past week, INGEOMINAS reported a total of 13 mostly weak-energy events.

Reventador (Ecuador): From 09:00 (local time) 21 Jan, a strong increase in seismic activity occurred, dominated by low frequency tremor, possibly associated with fluid pressurization and movements of magma inside the conduit of the volcano. At night, the volcano was clear and incandescent material could be seen in the crater.

Cotopaxi (Ecuador): Another pulse of volcanic earthquakes is in progress under Cotopaxi volcano. Such swarms have been occurring several times recently, but for now, can be considered as part of the normal behavior of an active, but currently dormant volcano.

Tungurahua (Ecuador): The volcano remains calm with only few tiny earthquakes visible. Lahars generated by rain remobilizing loose deposits remain a major hazard inside drainages around the volcano.

Copahue (Chile/Argentina border): Seismic activity increased significantly during 22 Jan. No eruptive activity at the surface has occurred so far, and the official alert level of the volcano remains at “Yellow”, but with “Special Attention” (corresponding to “orange” in our classification). Until 09:56 local time (12:56 GMT) on 22 Jan, seismic activity had remained at low levels, both in occurrence of earthquakes, the energy released and the signal intensity of tremor associated with fluid movements inside the volcano. Then, at that time, there was a significant long-period (LP) earthquake and 3 hours later, shallow lower amplitude events started to occur. At 13:20 local time, another LP earthquake of relatively strong intensity occurred and was followed by a seismic swarm with mostly long period events that continued for 20 minutes.

Michael (United Kingdom, South Sandwich Is): No further hot spots have been noted recently on MODIS data. Status is set back to “green”.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Cyclone Peta

-A cyclone warning is issued in coastal areas from Port Hedland to Dampier, including Karratha.

-Peta brings heavy rain to the Pilbara – Astonishing rainfall in the Pilbara region of Western Australia has doubled the water in one of the state’s dams in just 24 hours.

Tropical Cyclone Garry

-The Cook Islands is currently on cyclone alert.

Flooding in Egyam, Ghana

-Recent floods killed a woman and her two grand-children in Egyam in the Ahanta West District of Ghana.

-An eighth months baby was also washed away in Accra.

-Heavy rainstorms destroyed 25 houses and also affected Sekondi-Takoradi.