Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Midwest, USA – Hundreds have been forced from their homes across the Midwest and South as floodwaters continue to rise following days of rainfall and snowmelt accelerated by milder conditions, killing at least three people. In numerous towns from Texas to Michigan, homes have been turned into islands and school days have been canceled because there’s no way to get to the building. At least six Lansing neighborhoods were issued voluntary evacuations in areas where the Grand River was expected to overtake homes.


Sleep Singing Finches

Argentine researchers have found that zebra finches seem to be practicing their songs while they sleep without actually making a sound.

It’s long been known that the birds’ brains spontaneously reproduce the same patterns in their sleep that they use when singing during the day. But scientists from the University of Buenos Aires have found that the finches’ vocal muscles are also moving during their avian slumber.

The only thing keeping the tiny birds from actually singing while sleeping is the absence of an air flow through their throats. Scientists think the sleep “singing” may be how the birds learn new songs or keep their existing tunes stable.

Primates in Peril

Roughly half of the orangutans living on Borneo have disappeared over the past 16 years due to hunting and vast destruction of their habit.

Researchers say much of the loss of 100,000 of the island’s orangutans is due to logging operations that clear the land to make way for palm plantations and mining.

Field researcher Serge Wich says targeted killings and other direct conflicts between the orangutans and humans are pushing the primates beyond their well-known ability to adapt to a changing landscape.


Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius) in Jervois, South Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 69.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.1 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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.


Wildfires – Cuba

A wildfire ignited mines laid by the Cuban military decades ago and jumped the fence line at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay on Thursday, threatening buildings and forcing evacuations of six neighborhoods for much of the day. No one was injured.


Yellow fever: Brazil

The Brazil Ministry of Health has confirmed 545 yellow fever cases and 164 deaths in the period from July 1, 2017 to February 20 this year, according to a news release Wednesday (computer translated). This is up from 409 cases and 118 deaths one week ago – 136 new cases in the past week.

Nigeria: meningococcal meningitis

According to Nigerian health authorities yesterday, 31 meningitis C cases were reported in Niger State, including four fatalities.

Listeriosis – South Africa

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said 915 cases of the disease have been confirmed since January last year, up from the previous figures given last month of 61 deaths and 720 confirmed cases.

The government said the source of the outbreak was still unknown.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 14 February – 20 February 2018

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that an event at Agung recorded at 1149 on 13 February generated an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.5 km (14,900 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone continued at a 6-km radius.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that very small events occurred at Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) during 13-16 and 19 February. An explosive event at 0820 on 19 February generated a plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater rim up into meteorological clouds. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Ambae | Vanuatu : Based on satellite and webcam observations, the Wellington VAAC reported that during 17-19 February ash plumes from Ambae rose to altitudes of 3-5.5 km (10,000-18,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that low-level unrest continued at Cleveland. Thermal anomalies were identified in satellite data during 15-16 February, and possibly on 17 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 15-20 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, S, SW, and W.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Based on observations by volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, explosions during 9-10 and 14 February generated ash plumes that rose as high as 2.2 km (7,200 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Karymsky | Eastern Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Karymsky was identified in satellite images on 9 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : Based on information from the Yelizovo Airport (UHPP) and satellite images, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 18 February an ash plume from Klyuchevskoy rose to an altitude of 5.2 km (17,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that explosive activity at Sabancaya was similar to the previous week; there was an average of 19 explosions recorded per day during 12-18 February. Seismicity was dominated by long-period events, with signals indicating emissions. Gas-and-ash plumes rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted 30 km NW, SW, and S. The MIROVA system detected three thermal anomalies. The sulfur dioxide flux was the highest value yet registered during the eruption, at 9,270 tons per day on 15 February. The report noted that the public should not to approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

San Miguel | El Salvador : SNET reported that during 0800-1100 on 19 February gas-and-ash emissions from San Miguel rose 350 m above the crater rim and drifted SW. Ash fell on the upper flanks of the volcano, and a sulfur odor was reported in La Piedra farm.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 9-11 and 15 February. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.

5.3 earthquake hits Seram, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hit south-west of Africa.

5.0 earthquake hit the northern mid-Atlantic Ridge.

5.0 earthquake hit the Ionian Sea.

5.0 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.0 earthquake hits off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits the West Chile rise.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


Michigan, USA – In the wake of heavy rainfall, metro Detroiters are coping with major flooding affecting roads, causing sewage overflows and the evacuation of entire neighborhoods in some parts of the state.

Midwest, USA – Crews used boats to help residents evacuate their homes in northern Indiana after rainstorms sweeping across the Midwest on Wednesday combined with melting snow to flood rivers, roads and other low-lying areas in several states. The storm system starting pushed heavy rain, snow and ice into the region this week, and the weather has already been blamed for hundreds of car crashes and several fatalities, including the deaths of four people in a crash along a slippery interstate in Nebraska. About 19 people had been evacuated from homes in Elkhart, a town just east of South Bend, by early Wednesday. The National Weather Service has issued flood warnings for parts of several states in the central and southern U.S., spanning from Texas to Illinois and Ohio to Arkansas, where strong winds topped power lines and damages buildings. Winter weather advisories also were issued, including in for Oklahoma and Kansas.

Illinois, USA – Officials in the city of Marseilles, in LaSalle County, have ordered mandatory evacuations for dozens of homes, as the Illinois River continues to flood in the wake of heavy storms over the past couple days.

Ontario, Canada – A three-year-old boy is missing in the Orangeville, Ont., area after a van left a roadway and wound up in the Grand River as southern Ontario communities deal with flooding. Heavy rains and a deep thaw are behind the flooding and high water along rivers and streams across southern Ontario, with the Grand River watershed seeing the worst of the effects so far.

Zimbabwe – Several people, including 85 school pupils, have been left stranded in Mashonaland Central province following floods that hit some areas recently after successive days of rains.


Lassa Fever – Nigeria

Nigerian health officials reported 68 new confirmed Lassa fever cases during the past week from seven States Edo (35), Ondo (19), Bauchi (1), Ebonyi (7), Anambra (4), Imo(1) and FCT (1) with four new deaths in confirmed cases from two states Ondo (2), and Bauchi (2).


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 14 February – 20 February 2018

Mayon | Luzon (Philippines) : PHIVOLCS reported that during 14-20 February daily activity at Mayon continued to be characterized by lava effusion from the summit crater, rockfalls, lava fountains, steam emissions, advancing lava flows on the flanks, and pyroclastic flows. Weak and sporadic lava fountaining events each lasted between 5 and 239 minutes, and were sometimes accompanied by rumbling sounds audible with a 10-km radius. Heavy rainfall on 14 February caused lahars in the Anoling drainage, and sediment-laden streams in most channels where pyroclastic flow deposits were emplaced. During 16-17 February lava fountains were 200-500 m tall and generated steam plumes that drifted SW, WSW, and NW. A lava-fountaining event that began at 0103 on 17 February lasted for 12 hours and 18 minutes. Lava flows 3.3 km, 4.5 km, and 900 m long in the Mi-isi (S), Bonga (SE), and Basud (E) drainages, respectively, continued to be active. Pyroclastic flows traveled 4.2-4.6 km in the Mi-isi, Bonga, and Basud drainages. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a 0-5 scale) and the public was warned to remain outside of the Danger Zone, defined as an area within an 8-km radius.

Sinabung | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that at 0853 on 19 February a large explosive event at Sinabung generated a dark gray plume with a high volume of ash that rose at least to 16.8 km (55,000 ft) a.s.l. According to the Darwin VAAC, ash plumes that were identified in satellite images, recorded by webcams, and reported by PVMBG continued to rise throughout the day to 13.7 km (45,000 ft) a.s.l. and drift 320 km NNW. Parts of the ash plumes drifted in multiple directions at lower altitudes. As many as 10 pyroclastic flows were observed, traveling as far as 4.9 km SSE and 3.5 km E. Ash and tephra as large as pebbles fell in areas downwind including Simpang Empat (7 km SE), the Namanteran district, Pqyung (5 km SSW), Tiganderket (7 km W), Munthe, Kutambaru (20 km NW), Perbaji (4 km SW), and Kutarayat. Conditions in five districts were so dark that visibility was only about 5 m. Some residents outside of the evacuation zone self-evacuated. The event was possibly the largest since the beginning of the current eruption, which began in September 2013. The Alert Level remained at 4 (on a scale of 1-4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km and extensions of 7 km on the SSE sector, 6 km in the ESE sector, and 4 km in the NNE sector.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

Yellowstone Swarm

A swarm of more than 200 earthquakes struck Yellowstone National Park over the past two weeks. The 200 temblors began on Feb. 8 and ramped up on Feb. 15 in an area about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In reality, many more tiny quakes hit the region but were simply too small for seismometers to pick them up, according to the USGS.

These swarms occur when stress levels shift along smaller faults in an earthquake region, according to the USGS. Swarms typically have two ultimate causes: shifting at major tectonic plates; or movements of water, gas or magma under the surface.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.


New Zealand – New Zealand has begun cleaning up after being hit by the remnants of Cyclone Gita, which damaged buildings and left thousands without power. Four regions across the country remain in a state of emergency, though the status has been lifted for the city of Christchurch. Up to 1,000 people are still stranded in Golden Bay on the South Island due to flooding. Authorities say they may send ferries to pick them up. Numerous roads still remain closed across the country as repair efforts begin.

Mozambique – Humanitarian organisations are making frantic efforts to assist thousands of Mozambicans recently displaced by floods that killed at least 14 people. The northern provinces were hit by a tropical depression which brought heavy rains. A total of 80 000 people were affected in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa. In Nampula, following a government request, the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food support to 37 000 people.

Wisconsin, USA – Several busy roads are closed Tuesday due to flooding across Rock County, Wisconsin. People in areas with flooding are encouraged to drive carefully and slowly on Wednesday, and until the icy roads are cleared up. The cold weather may freeze the flooded areas creating dangerous conditions.


Saudi Arabia – MERS

The World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO-EMRO) issued their Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) situation update for January 2018, which reveals 25 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS, including 8 associated deaths in the Kingdom.


Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 earthquake hits Minahasa, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits near the south coast of Papua, Indonesia.

5.2 earthquake hits the central mid-Atlantic Ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits offshore Antofagasta, Chile.

5.0 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.