Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.9 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits near the coast of central Peru.

5.1 Earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Typhoon 04w (Maysak), located approximately 725 nm east of Manila, Philippines, is tracking northwestward at 07 knots.

Typhoon Maysak is closing in on the northern Philippines just in time for a major holiday weekend, putting millions on alert as the deadly storm nears.

NewsBytes:

Chile Update – The death toll from devastating flash floods in Chile’s normally arid north rose to 23 today after five bodies were found, and the number of missing surged to 57, authorities said. Torrential rains have soaked the Atacama region, home to the world’s driest desert, triggering flash floods that swept away entire villages in the Atacama and Antofagasta areas.

Environment

California – Record for Lowest Snowpack Ever

California’s mountain snowpack will do little to slake the thirsty state this summer — only the tallest peaks are dusted with snow, and the most recent survey showed the driest snowpack in more than 100 years.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack typically supplies 30 percent of California’s water. But this year, the snowpack’s water content was just 5 percent of the average amount in the northern Sierra Nevada and 6 percent of the average in the central and southern Sierra Nevada during a snow survey by the water resources department on March 30. Today, at four key survey sites, they found no snow at all.

The snowpack’s previous record low, 25 percent of the average, was set during an earlier severe drought in 1977 and was repeated in 2014. The statewide snow records officially start in 1950, but in some areas, the records reach back to 1909, Rizzardo said.

Horsetail Falls, near California’s Lake Tahoe, seen here in March 2015, is usually covered in snow at this time of year.

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Disease

Disease threatens bee colonies in South Africa

South Africa’s food security is under threat as its bee colonies are being depleted by an outbreak of American foul brood (AFB) disease.

The chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Bee Farmers Association, Craig Campbell, said the disease had wiped out thousands of colonies in the Western Cape and there were fears it could spread to other provinces. The first outbreak was in 2009 and it is believed that the disease arrived here through imported honey.

“There is no cure for AFB and there’s no guarantee that control measures in the Western Cape will prevent it from spreading,” he said.

The disease is transferred through contact with infected honey and equipment. Infected hives pose a risk to any other bee colonies within a 3km radius.

“What makes its particularly dangerous is that deadly spores can stay alive in the hive for 40 years or more, so it’s important for infected hives to be burnt to protect others,” said Campbell.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): Ash emissions have been stronger over the past days, suggesting that activity has picked up. Darwin VAAC reported an ash plume extending 40 nautical miles to the NE this morning.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): The volcano continues to extrude viscous lava, feeding the lava dome occupying the summit crater and a new lava lobe on the upper eastern flank. Collapses from this lobe and the dome have been producing frequent smaller to medium-sized pyroclastic flows on the eastern and sometimes northeastern flank. A moderately large pyroclastic flow yesterday at 11:45 local time reached approx. 3.5 km and produced an ash plume that rose to approx. 4 km altitude. Since 26 March, lava has also been overflowing from the dome onto the northeastern flank, which is why pyroclastic flows have now also been affecting this sector.

Dukono (Halmahera): Activity at the volcano remains elevated. VAAC Darwin frequently reports ash plumes drifting NE at 2-3 km altitude visible on satellite images.