Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.5 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 Earthquake hits northeastern Sakha. Russia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the North Atlantic Ocean: Hurricane Maria is located about 100 mi…160 km E of Martinique and about 130 mi…215 km ESE of Dominica with maximum sustained winds…90 mph…150 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 13 mph…20 km/h.

Hurricane Jose is located about 280 mi…450 km ESE of Cape Hatteras North Carolina and about 385 mi…620 km W of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds…85 mph…140 km/h, Present movement…N or 360 degrees at 9 mph…15 km/h.

Tropical Depression Lee is located about 1060 mi…1710 km W of the Cabo Verde islands with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 13 mph…20 km/h.

In the Eastern Pacific: Hurricane Otis is located about 1165 mi…1870 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…100 mph…155 km/h. Present movement…N or 355 degrees at 6 mph…9 km/h.

Tropical Storm Norma is located about 160 mi…255 km SW of Cabo San Lucas Mexico with maximum sustained winds…50 mph…85 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 285 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

In the Western Pacific: Tropical Storm 20w (Talim), located approximately 79 nm north of Misawa, Japan, is tracking north-northeastward at 46 knots.

Newsbytes:

New Zealand – Heavy rain has left some parts of Mosgiel, near Dunedin, flooded on Monday, causing disruptions for locals. Heavy rain has drenched parts of the South Island and even forced the closure of East Taieri School due to the risk of a nearby creek bursting its banks. More rain is expected along the east coast of the South Island after a number of severe weather watches and warnings were put in place by MetService.

Florida, USA – Officials are urging thousands of Florida residents to evacuate due to a rising river threatening record flooding after a nearly two-week onslaught of destruction, death and terror from Hurricane Irma. Sunday officials said the Withlacoochee River has reached major flood stage at the Trilby gauge. It is currently at 16.79 feet and is expected to crest at 17.5 feet Wednesday. The crest is expected to last two days before receding. Officials warned that they may not be able to rescue residents once the river reaches a certain level. Water is already covering the streets and as high as mailboxes in some places.

Wildlife

Great Barrier Reef Rescue Plan

A giant starfish-eating snail could be unleashed to help save the Great Barrier Reef, officials said on Monday, with a trial underway to breed thousands of the rare species.

Predatory crown-of-thorns starfish, which munch coral, are naturally-occurring, but have proliferated due to pollution and agricultural run-off at the struggling World Heritage-listed ecosystem. Their impact has been profound with a major study of the 2 300km long reef’s health in 2012 showing coral cover halved over the past 27 years, with 42% of the damage attributed to the pest.

Now Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) research has shown they avoid areas where the Pacific triton sea snail – also known as the giant triton – is present. The snails – which can grow to half a metre – have a well developed sense of smell and can hunt their prey by scent alone. Research showed they were particularly fond of crown-of-thorns, but only eat a few each week, and with the snail almost hunted to extinction for their shells, there are not many left.

This led the Australian government to on Monday announce funding to research breeding them, the ultimate aim to deploy them to control the crown-of-thorns pest.

Disease

Malaria Health Alert in Costa Rica

The Costa Rican Health Ministry issued a health alert last week due to malaria outbreaks reported in neighboring Nicaragua and the first autochthonous transmission of malaria in the country since 2012. The health ministry said due to the high endemicity of malaria in Nicaragua and the high rate of constant migration between the two countries prompted the health alert.