Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 Earthquake hits central Peru.

5.4 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.4 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits Bio-Bio, Chile.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Nepal.

5.0 Earthquake hits near the coast of Papua, Indonesia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Brazil – A tornado in Xanxere city in Santa Catarina state in Brazil has claimed the lives of two people and injured 120 others. The tornado damaged about 500 homes and knocked down lampposts, leaving many residents without electricity.

Australia – Wild weather in New South Wales in Australia has claimed lives of at least three people. A cyclonic storm hit Australia’s east coast cutting power to more than 200,000 homes and stranding a cruise ship off the coast in mountainous seas. The Bureau of Meteorology said 172 millimetres (6.8 inches) of rain had fallen in Sydney in 24 hours — the city’s wettest period since 2002. Cyclone-strength winds of up to 135 kph (85 mph) uprooted trees in the area.

Wildfires

Wildfires

Florida, USA – Parts of Miami-Dade County’s skyline was hidden from view Monday as smoke from a growing 1,850-acre wildfire loomed over portions of the Florida county.

What started as a non-threatening and seemingly shrinking grass fire on Sunday, consuming fewer than 100 acres according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Al Cruz, grew to be more than 10 times that within the next 24 hours. By Monday night, the fire had burned nearly 2,000 acres and was 50% contained, the fire department said. High temperatures and gusty winds helped the fire spread.

Scotland – Fire crews have brought a 133-acre wildfire under control in the Western Isles. The two-and-a-half mile wide blaze broke out near Ranish on Lewis at 6pm on Monday. High winds fanned the flames, causing the fire to spread across crofts near the village.

Siberia, Update – Russia’s chief emergency official says wildfires that have swept through parts of Siberia and engulfed towns in the Khakasia region last week have now killed 34 people and injured 7,500.

Speaking during a visit to Khakasia by President Vladimir Putin, Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said the fires destroyed about 1,400 homes and left 5,000 people homeless.

On the morning of April 21, the Siberian Federal District forestry department said that 53 fires were still burning across 101,073 hectares.

Disease

Bird Flu Spreads Iowa, USA

Iowa, the top U.S. egg-producing state, found a lethal strain of bird flu in millions of hens at an egg-laying facility on Monday, the worst case so far in a national outbreak that prompted Wisconsin to declare a state of emergency.

The infected Iowa birds were being raised near the city of Harris by Sunrise Farms, an affiliate of Sonstegard Foods Company, the company said.

The facility houses 3.8 million hens, according to the company, which sells eggs to food manufacturers, government agencies and retailers.

The flock has been quarantined, and birds on the property will be culled to prevent the spread of the disease, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The virus can kill nearly an entire infected flock within 48 hours.

A loss of 3.8 million birds represents more than 6% of the egg-laying hens in Iowa and more than 1 percent of the U.S. flock, meaning “there definitely will be some customers that will be impacted by this,” Northey said.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Aso (Kyushu): Mild strombolian activity with low-level ash emissions continue from the Nakadake crater.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The volcano has been very active recently. Vulcanian-type explosions have been frequent (2-8 per day) and often relatively large.

On 15 April, at least 8 explosions occurred, the largest of which produced ash plumes that rose to 15,000 ft (4.5 km altitude), i.e. 3.5 km above the volcano’s summit.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Activity at the volcano has increased during the past week. Accompanied by elevated seismic activity, ash emissions have been occurring since 14 April. The strongest phase of activity was on 19 April, when ash plumes rose to estimated 900 meters above the summit.

The Ingeominas volcano observatory in Manizales reported a change in seismicity detected since 12 April, when an increase in volcanic-tectonic (rock-fracturing) signals was detected, signs of pressurization and possible magma intrusion at depth.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the Andaman Islands off India.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Jujuy, Argentina.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Balleny Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

India – A thunderstorm that hit three villages in the Imphal East District of Manipur, India has damaged more than 100 houses. The thunderstorm caused heavy damage at Keibi and Chanung with numerous trees and bamboos uprooted in the areas.

Australia – Raging flash floods claimed the lives of three people whose homes were washed away in floods as cyclonic weather hit Sydney.Two men and a woman were trapped in their houses as the floodwater surged through the small town of Dungog north of Sydney in the early hours of Tuesday.It is believed their houses started to move off their foundations and float away shortly before dawn.Winds of up to 135 km/h hit Sydney overnight and more than 150 mm rain fell.

China – At least seven coal miners were killed and 13 left trapped after a shaft flooded at a mine in northern China, state media reported Tuesday. More than 600 rescue workers were pumping water and drilling holes from the surface in hopes of reaching those still inside the Jiangjiawan mine near the city of Datong, the reports said.

Environment

March 2015: Another Warmest Month on Record for the Planet

March 2015 was Earth’s warmest March since global record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre (NCDC) on Friday. NASA rated March 2015 as the 3rd warmest March on record (small differences in analysis techniques can lead to slightly different rankings from agency to agency, and the two estimates were quite close to each other.) March 2015’s warmth makes the year to date period (January – March) the warmest such period on record, and the past twelve months the warmest twelve-month period in recorded history. By NOAA’s reckoning, seven of the past eleven months (May, June, August, September, October, and December 2014, along with March 2015) have tied or set new record high monthly temperatures. According to NASA, March 2015 had the 5th largest departure from average for warmth of any month in recorded history.

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Wildlife

Oarfish Washes Ashore in New Zealand

Oarfish 2

A rare oarfish has washed ashore on a salt marsh beach on the southeastern coast of the south island of New Zealand. The oarfish was nearly 10 feet long, but they can grow up to 36 feet; an 18-footer was discovered off California in 2013. Oarfish are typically found in deep water in tropical oceans.

The oarfish was in great shape. Its stomach was full of krill, so it did not starve to death. It seems the strandings occur after earthquakes or storms, and the area just had a severe storm so it is probable that the oarfish got washed in and stranded on the salt marsh.

There have only been five reports of oarfish washing up in the area over the past 150 years, the last being in nearby Dunedin in 1998.

Earthworm Rain in Norway

Scientists in Norway think it may be raining worms in parts of the country. Biologist Karsten Erstad says he came across thousands of earthworms scattered across the mountains while out skiing.

They were unlikely to have tunnelled through the snow because it was too deep, so it appears they rained down from the sky and were still alive despite the cold.

Worms start to emerge from the ground towards the end of winter, and it’s possible that some were swept up by strong wind. It’s not unusual for the mountainous areas of Norway to experience high winds, so the worms could have been carried quite a distance, before falling back to Earth as earthworm rain.

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