Sunday, October 31, 2010


This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
10/30/10 -

10/29/10 -

TAIWAN - A series of 15 earthquakes, including two with magnitudes above 4.0, hit northeastern and eastern Taiwan over an eight-hour period starting late Friday but did not cause any casualties. The epicenters of all of the quakes were close to each other, but the series of small-scale earthquakes did not imply that a stronger earthquake was imminent. But the director of the bureau's Seismology Center said residents in hilly areas of Yilan County needed to exercise extra caution because the earthquakes may have left the region even more vulnerable to mudslides after the onslaught of heavy rainfall last week.


Second Indonesian volcano erupts - Indonesia's Anak Krakatau volcano in Sunda Strait, straddling East Java and Sumatra, has spewed ash and flaming rocks. Officials raised alert levels to 'high' on Friday as the volcano showed signs of increased activity, producing 117 small eruptions. Staff at the observation post in Pasauran, Banten Province are on a 24-hour watch. Residents in Pasauran have been told to stay at least two kilometres away from the volcano.
Anak Krakatau means 'Child of Krakatau', named so because it rose in the place of Krakatoa volcano after it blew itself apart in one of the most destructive eruptions in history in 1883. Many villagers farm on the slopes of nearby Ibu Krakatau (Mother of Krakatau) on the same island. "Until now we are still on alert level but when we examined our equipment on October 27 and 28 we experienced tremors."
Several volcanos in Indonesia increased their activities recently following Mount Merapi's eruption on Tuesday. The eruptions came only a day after the tsunami struck the remote islands in western Indonesia.

Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted again Saturday, spewing hot ash clouds for more than 20 minutes followed by lava. Indonesia's military forced villagers off the slopes.
Eerie calm follows big blast at Indonesian volcano - Thousands of villagers returned to their homes along the slopes of Mount Merapi Sunday, taking advantage of an eerie lull following its most powerful eruption in a deadly week to check on crops and livestock. Scientists warned, however, that the notoriously unpredictable mountain could burst back to life at any minute. Mount Merapi unleashed a terrifying 21-minute eruption early Saturday, forcing the temporary closure of a nearby airport and claiming the life of a woman who crashed on her motorcycle during a chaotic last-minute evacuation. Two other people hospitalized with burn injuries died overnight bringing the death toll from the volcano's activity to 38. A fiery red glow emanated from its peak Sunday and black clouds of ash tumbled from its cauldron, but the violent bursts and rumbling of the last 48 hours had all but stopped. "Often a major eruption, like the one we saw Saturday, is followed first by a period of silence, and then by another big blast."
On the other side of the archipelago, aid deliveries to survivors of a tsunami that barreled into the Mentawai islands one week ago, killing at least 449 people, were expected to resume Sunday, thanks to a break in stormy weather that had grounded planes and ships. The simultaneous catastrophes have severely tested the emergency response network in Indonesia. Survivors were growing increasingly desperate.


Surfers survived Indonesian tsunami by rushing to third floor of beach resort. From that vantage point overlooking the lagoon, the surfers had a terrifying front-row seat Monday night as three towering waves of a tsunami struck, shaking the building so violently they thought it would collapse. "It was noise and chaos. You can hear the water coming, coming, coming. And then before the second wave hit the building, everyone was screaming and when the wave hit the building you could only hear people praying." They estimated that two of the waves were at least 16 feet (five meters) high. Early reports said there was only one wave that was 10 feet (three meters) high, but some witnesses have since described one or more waves that were taller.
The surfing forecast for Tuesday morning had been for UNUSUALLY big waves. On Monday, the earthquake struck at 9:42 p.m. "Two minutes later, we heard this huge noise, like a train out of control."
More than 130 people listed as missing have been found alive on high ground on a remote Indonesian island that was devastated by the tsunami five days ago.

-Cyclone 02S was 865 nmi SSW of George Town, Malaysia.

-Tropical storm CHABA was 119 nmi E of Tokyo, Japan

-Tropical storm SHARY was 479 nmi ENE of Hamilton, Bermuda
-Hurricane TOMAS was 85 nmi SW of Fort de France, Martinique

HURRICANE TOMAS swept through a cluster of eastern Caribbean islands on Saturday, tearing off roofs, damaging houses and downing power lines.

Tropical Storm Chaba weakened as it headed toward islands south of Tokyo, lashing the Japanese capital with rain and winds.


THAILAND - The death toll from severe floods in Thailand has risen to 100, including at least three foreigners, although the waters have receded in some areas.

Friday, October 29, 2010

INDONESIA - The combined death toll from twin Indonesian disasters topped 400 today, with the tsunami toll rising to 394 and volcanic activity resuming. Hopes dimmed for another 312 still listed as missing. 33 people were killed by the volcano that erupted Tuesday more than 1300km to the east in central Java. Jolted awake by the powerful earthquake survivors ran with their screaming neighbors to high ground. They watched as the sea first receded and then came roaring back "like a big wall" that swept away their entire village. "Suddenly trees, houses and all things in the village were sucked into the sea and nothing was left." Rescue teams "believe many, many of the bodies were swept to sea."
Mount Merapi began rumbling again Thursday after a lull that allowed mourners to hold a mass burial for its victims. There were no reports of new injuries or damage. It was unclear whether the new activity was a sign of another major blast to come.
The catastrophes struck within 24 hours in different parts of the seismically active country, severely testing Indonesia's emergency response network. Aid workers trickling into the remote region found giant chunks of coral and rocks in places where homes once stood. Huge swaths of land were submerged. Swollen corpses dotted roads and beaches. In a rare bright spot, an 18-month-old baby was found alive Wednesday in a clump of trees on Pagai Selatan. One of the hardest hit areas with 65 dead was the village of Pro Rogat, on Pagai Seatandug island. Officials say a multimillion-dollar tsunami warning system that uses buoys to detect sudden changes in water levels broke down a month ago because it was not being properly maintained. The system was installed after a monster 2004 quake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. A German official at the project disputed there was a breakdown, saying Monday's 7.7-magnitude quake's epicenter was too close to the Mentawai islands for residents to get the warning before the killer wave hit.

**For me, the secret to happiness,
which I may not be able to follow myself,
is that you should be happy with what you have
and not always be hankering.**
Ravi Shankar

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/28/10 -

PAKISTAN - A moderate earthquake Thursday rattled northern Pakistan', injuring five children. Jolts with a magnitude of 5.7 on the Richter Scale were felt across the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well as in the capital Islamabad. The quake occurred at a depth of about 172 kilometers and its epicentre was located at the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border about 280 kilometers north-west of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. At least five schoolchildren were injured when the roof of their class room collapsed in Shabqadar district. At least 73,000 people were killed and several hundred thousand became homeless in October 2005, when a strong earthquake shook northern Pakistan and the Himalayan region of Kashmir.


Two volcanoes have erupted on Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, tossing massive ash clouds kilometres into the air, forcing flights to divert and blanketing one town with thick, heavy ash.
The Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Eurasia's highest active volcano, exploded Thursday along with the Shiveluch volcano, 70km to the northeast. Ash clouds from the remote volcanoes billowed up to 10km and were spreading east across the Pacific Ocean. Streams of lava flowed down the slopes of Shiveluch. Emissions have "intermittently complicated air travel" in the area of the Kamchatkan Peninsula. Several pilots have reported seeing ash clouds in the Alaskan region.
Volcanic ash blanketed the nearby town of Ust-Kamchatsk, reducing visibility to only a few metres and turning buildings ghostly white. Ust-Kamchatsk is 70km east of Shiveluch and 120km northeast of Klyuchevskaya Sopka, and winds blew ash from both on the town.Emergency officials said the town's 5000 residents weren't in any immediate danger but urged them to stay indoors and tightly close doors and windows to avoid inhaling ash particles that could lead to respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions. Schools and businesses in Ust-Kamchatsk quickly closed and all streets were shut down to traffic. Scientists warned that ashes will likely continue falling on the area for at least 10 days.
Shiveluch quietened down later on Thursday but Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which stands 4750 metres high, kept erupting. The Emergency Situations Ministry warned that another volcano across the peninsula to the south, Gorely, has begun spewing gases and could erupt any moment. Gorely is located about 70km south of Kamchatka's regional capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

-Cyclone 01S was 664 nmi SE of Diego Garcia

-Typhoon CHABA was 267 nmi SSE of Kagoshima, Japan

-Tropical storm SHARY was 282 nmi S of Hamilton, Bermuda [likely to be short-lived]


U.S. - Midwest battered by 56 tornadoes in two days. Residents of US states from North Dakota to North Carolina are cleaning up after a fierce storm unleashed driving rain, blustery winds, heavy snow and 56 tornadoes in just two days. The National Weather Service said the storm had caused the second-largest October tornado outbreak on record. Injuries from the storm have been reported in states across the US.
Conditions in many states returned to normal on Thursday as the storm made its way north-east toward Ontario.
But windy weather is still being felt in some regions in the Midwest, the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley. Snow and gusty winds struck North and South Dakota for a second day on Wednesday, leaving roads throughout the state covered with ice and slush. Tornadoes formed as far east as Virginia, with eight touching down in Indiana, three in Kentucky and six in Ohio. Some residents across the Midwest and the East Coast also lost power as a result of the storm. Forecasters at the Weather Channel said there had been 42 tornadoes on Tuesday and 14 on Wednesday.

BENIN - An airlift of 1,500 tents arrived Thursday in Benin, the country seen as hardest hit by West African floods that have killed hundreds and left scores homeless this rainy reason.

Despair of Pakistan's forgotten flood victims - Three months after the flooding which affected 20 million people and one fifth of the country, survivors have no home, no hope and no answers. Children are crying for food. "I tell them God will send someone very kind, and I send them to sleep. In the morning they ask again for food, and I say again that God will send someone." Queues of desperate flood victims are waiting for help in vain. Like many other areas in Sindh, Daur is cut off by water - an island of desperation. Troops are deployed to control the hungry, who began gathering at six in the morning. With a single helicopter the United Nations World Food Programme could only bring in 250-300 rations. But three or four times that number had joined the queue. "It is heartbreaking. The need is so big, and you want to help everyone." Soon there could be even less to go around. The WFP says it will have to cut rations - by half - in November because of a lack of donations. The UN's $2bn (£1.26) appeal for Pakistan is less than 40% funded. There is already the spectre of malnutrition. It is always a problem in Sindh province and now it is rising dangerously. "We are dying from hunger."
Aid agencies say many promises of help have receded with the flood waters. They warn that funds are drying up, as new threats are emerging. Some families and their livestock are living out in the open, marooned on embankments Diseases are spreading, and winter is closing in on the 20 million flood victims - seven million of whom still do not have shelter. Farmland is still buried beneath the water. Thousands are marooned on a network of embankments, hostage to the flood waters, and exposed to heat, cold and mosquitoes. "We are worried about the winter. We have no blankets and no warm clothes, and there is nothing to eat." After two months on the embankments they do not even have tents - failed by their leaders, and by the international community.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CALIFORNIA - Experts puzzled over RARE quake in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It was a small earthquake, measuring just 3.1 on the Richter scale, but its location in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has experts buzzing. The Oct. 15 quake at 4:04 a.m was centered 7 miles northwest of Lathrop, on Union Island. No faults are known to exist in that area, where earthquakes are rare. The temblor could offer new insights on safety issues in the Delta, where concerns about flood protection and water quality during a major quake have been growing. It is also a reminder that many mysteries lurk below ground – even in California, a nucleus of earthquake research. "It was a surprise to us," said a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey who is studying the quake. "There's something down there that we don't know about."
Recent studies estimate that one-third of the Delta's 70-some islands could flood in a magnitude 6.5 or greater earthquake due to levee failures. There is at least a 62 percent chance of such a quake striking the Bay-Delta region in the next 20 years. This vulnerability is a statewide concern. Delta water diversions irrigate about 3 million acres of California farmland, and 25 million people depend on the estuary for at least some of their drinking water. Widespread levee failures could contaminate that freshwater supply, perhaps for a year or longer.
It is not uncommon for quakes to occur where a fault has not been identified. In September 2000, for instance, a 5.0-magnitude quake struck in Napa on an unmapped fault, damaging a number of buildings. A key difference in this case is that earthquakes of any sort are rare within the Delta. Like Sacramento, the Delta is considered seismically tame compared to the Bay Area. About four years ago, USGS installed a network of seismic sensors in the Delta to better assess the risks. They found that ground motion in the Delta during a quake is as much as 10 times greater than areas outside the Delta. Basically, this means the Delta shakes more, likely because of the loose nature of the Delta's peat and sand soils. This could make its levees more vulnerable to collapse. Most research on quake risk in the Delta has focused on the threat from faults outside the estuary, notably the Hayward fault. But the Oct. 15 quake is a reminder that the Delta has its own faults, about which relatively little is known. All the mapped faults in the Delta are known as "blind" faults because they don't appear on the surface – likely because its peat and sand soils are deep and relatively fluid. A geologist believes there is a major north-south fault beneath the Delta that has yet to be mapped. "I think the seismic risk in the Delta has been underestimated, and we don't understand it. There may well be older pockets of peat buried in the Delta, and those might increase the seismic shaking." (map)

**Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything.**
Gregg Easterbrook

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/27/10 -


INDONESIA - About 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to the east of the tsunami hit area, in central Java the Mount Merapi volcano was mostly quiet but still a threat after Tuesday's eruption that sent searing ash clouds into the air, killing at least 33 people and injuring 17. A mass burial was planned for later Thursday. Among the dead was a revered elder who had refused to leave his ceremonial post as caretaker of the mountain's spirits. The discovery Wednesday of his ash-covered body, reportedly found in a position of Islamic prayer, kneeling face-down on the floor, rattled residents who for years joined his ceremonies to appease the rumbling giant by throwing rice, clothes and chickens into the crater. "I'm more afraid than ever," said a farmer from the mountain village of Pangukrejo. "Who's going to tell us what's going on with Merapi?"
On the ash-covered slopes of Mount Merapi, authorities continued a search for more victims. The eruption sent thousands streaming into makeshift emergency shelters, although the ash did not disrupt flights over Indonesia. About 36,000 people have been evacuated. Some defied authorities and returned home to check on crops and possessions left behind. More than 11,000 people live on Merapi's fertile slopes. Tuesday's blast eased pressure that had been building behind a lava dome on the crater. Experts warned that the dome could still collapse, causing an avalanche of the blistering gas and debris trapped beneath it.


INDONESIA - Fears are growing for the 379 people who are still missing in the aftermath of a tsunami which hit Indonesia on Monday. The death toll from a tsunami which struck a remote chain of islands has topped 311. Officials said the number could rise significantly because so many people were still unaccounted for. Bodies were being found on beaches and coastal areas of the Mentawai islands off the western coast of Sumatra, which took the full force of the tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Monday night.
Survivors said they had almost no warning that the 10-foot wall of water was bearing down on them, despite the laying of a sophisticated network of alarm buoys off the Sumatran coast. As the magnitude of the disaster sank in, many were asking whether the expensive warning system - established after the 2004 Asian tsunami which killed at least 168,000 people in Indonesia alone - had failed. An official tsunami warning was issued after the 7.7-magnitude quake but it either came too late or did not reach the communities in most danger. One survivor said that the wave slammed into his community on North Pagai island only 10 minutes after residents had felt the quake. "About 10 minutes after the quake we heard a loud, thunderous sound. We went outside and saw the wave coming. We tried to run away to higher ground but the wave was much quicker than us." Several continental plates meet in a deep ocean trench off the western coast of Sumatra, providing a constant source of seismic friction and potential disaster.
Aerial images from the tsunami-hit Mentawai Islands in Indonesia have revealed the extent of destruction. Flattened villages are plainly visible on the images, taken from helicopters circling the islands. Rescuers have finally reached the area where 13 villages were washed away by the 3m (10ft) wave, but 11 more settlements have not yet been reached. Rescue teams have still not arrived at the worst-affected communities, where the scale of the damage is still unclear.
The first cargo plane loaded with tents, medicine, food and clothes landed on the islands on Wednesday.
But officials have had less luck transporting goods by boat, some 175km (110 miles) across choppy seas from Padang. Rescue teams dispatched to the island were unable to send back adequate reports because lines of communication with the remote islands were so bad. Local disaster officials said more than 400 people were still missing, and 16,000 refugees had been moved to higher ground from the coastal areas. The first images emerging from the islands, taken on mobile phones, showed bodies being collected from empty clearings where homes and buildings once stood. Corpses were strewn along beaches and roads.
Locals were given no indication of the coming wave because an early-warning system put in place after the devastating 2004 tsunami had stopped working. Two buoys off the Mentawai islands were vandalised and out of service. "We don't say they are broken down but they were vandalised and the equipment is very expensive. It cost us five billion rupiah each (£353,000; $560,000). However, even a functioning warning system may have been too late for people in the Mentawai Islands.

-Cyclone 01S was 753 nmi ESE of Diego Garcia.

- Typhoon CHABA was 137 nmi SSE of Kadena AB, Okinawa

Tropical cyclone Giri caused more damage than predicted when it hit western Burma as a category 5 storm last Friday. Giri hit an isolated part of the country 250 miles northwest of the capital. With wind speeds up to 155 miles per hour, the storm was more powerful than Cyclone Nargis, which swept the country with 130 mph winds, claiming around 140,000 lives in 2008. The cyclone has affected about ten times more people than initially estimated.
“Over the weekend it looked like tens of thousands of people may be affected. We now estimate that 400,000 people have been affected." High winds and tidal surges have destroyed many homes in coastal areas and lack of clean water in affected regions is increasing the risk of disease transmission. About 70,000 people were left homeless and 170,000 had been affected by Giri. The storm killed 27 and 15 are still missing.
Tidal surges as high as 12 feet brought by Cyclone Giri have killed nine people and washed away seven villages in Pauk Taw Township in Arakan State. The seven villages that were washed away by the surge are Byin Thit, Kyauk Mong, Pyin Gri, Nga Ree Chai, Ree Pike Chai, Thea Dwe, and Nga Mea Byint, which are located on small Inn Gra Chai Island in the East Phon Ron Ga Archipelago, south of Arakan State's capital Sittwe. "As far as I know, all homes, monasteries and schools in the seven villages were washed away by a surge during the cyclone that hit the Arakan coast last Friday. The villages are now barren plains without any houses." Over 20,000 people in Pauk Taw Township were affected by the surge but there has been no government relief since the storm struck six days ago.
In Pauk Taw Township, several other villages located on islands were also destroyed by the storm and tidal surges. Those villages are Byin Daung, Saw Mae Kyi, Kalar Thein, Zi Shwe Maw, Kan Byin, Nga Pyi Tat, Ponna Gyi, and Sun Bike Village on Myay Ngu Island. Burmese officials announced that 27 people were killed by Cyclone Giri when it hit the Arakan coast, but many people believe the confirmed death toll will be higher than that. A youth leader from Kyauk Pru, an area hit hard by the cyclone, said that the death has risen to 93. Among the casualties are nine residents from Pauk Taw, twelve from Min Bya, one from Kyauk Pru , and 71 from Mray Bon Township, where 80 fishing boats were reportedly sunk by the storm.

ATLANTIC - A nearly-stationary low pressure system in the eastern Atlantic Ocean could develop into Tropical Storm Shary.The system is located about 1,200 miles northwest of the northernmost Cape Verde Islands. The National Hurricane Center says it has become better organized. There is a 50 percent chance of this system becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours and a 60% chance for a nearby one.


INDONESIA - Extreme Weather Causes Flood in Jakarta. Floods causing a terrible traffic jam in Jakarta Monday were presumably because of extreme weather change. Extreme weather condition has resulted in the rainfall reaching 111 millimeters in just 2 hours. In fact, normally, rainfall in one month only reaches 300 millimeters. In this situation the existing drainage can not accommodate the rainfall and drain the river water properly. Consequently, the water overflows to the streets. "The fact is that the yesterday`s rainfall was not normal."

The rapid development of the storm that dominated most of the central US on October 26th, is now in the record books. Low pressure was recorded at 28.25" in Minnesota, THE LOWEST PRESSURE EVER FOR A NON-TROPICAL SYSTEM IN THE U.S. That was equal to the pressure in a Category 3 Hurricane. The winds are slowed down over land, as opposed to the open ocean. Winds did reach over 70 mph, resulting in 268 wind damage reports. There were also 24 reports of tornadoes. Power was out for more than 200,000 people, planes were grounded, and many buildings were damaged. The rapid development of this storm can be seen from the satellite movie from NOAA's GOES project. This is stronger than the storm that capsized the Edmund Fitzgerald ship on Lake Superior back on November 10, 1975. It also BREAKS THE RECORD LOW PRESSURE set in Baltimore from the Superstorm of March 1993. There is still one more day of active weather possible. A slight risk of severe storms will be from Maryland southward. (video & maps)


A pair of UNUSUAL fireballs over Canada and the southeastern USA have experts wondering if Comet Hartley 2 might produce a meteor shower in early November. This month, Comet Hartley 2 has put on a good show for backyard astronomers. The comet has a vivid green atmosphere and auburn tail of dust. Could this comet produce a meteor shower? "Probably not, but the other night we saw something that makes me wonder."
On Oct 16th, a pair of NASA all-sky cameras caught an unusual fireball streaking across the night sky over Alabama and Georgia. It was bright, slow, and - here's what made it unusual - strangely similar to a fireball that passed over eastern Canada less than five hours earlier. Because the fireballs were recorded by multiple cameras, it was possible to triangulate their positions and backtrack their orbits before they hit Earth. This led to a remarkable conclusion: "The orbits of the two fireballs were very similar. It's as if they came from a common parent."
There's a candidate only 11 million miles away: Small but active Comet Hartley 2 is making one of the closest approaches to Earth of any comet in centuries. It turns out that the orbits of the two fireballs were not only similar to one another, but also roughly similar to the orbit of the comet. Moreover, meteoroids from Comet Hartley would be expected to hit Earth's atmosphere at a relatively slow speed -just like the two fireballs did. This could be a coincidence. "Thousands of meteoroids hit Earth's atmosphere every night. Some of them are bound to look like 'Hartley-ids' just by pure chance." Even so, keep an eye out for more in the nights ahead, especially on Nov. 2nd and 3rd. That's when a potential Hartley-id meteor shower would be most intense. The comet was closest to Earth on Oct. 20th, but that's not necessarily the shower's peak-time. "The comet has been sputtering space dust for thousands of years, making a cloud that is much bigger than the comet itself. Solar radiation pressure and planetary encounters cause the comet and the dust cloud to diverge — not a lot, but enough to make the date of the shower different from the date of the comet's closest approach." If there is a Hartley-id shower, it would emanate from the constellation Cygnus the Swan, visible to observers in the northern hemisphere almost directly overhead after sunset in early November. "It's probably going to be a non-event. On the other hand, we might discover a whole new meteor shower." (photos)

Behemoth sunspot 1117 is not merely growing, it is transmogrifying [transforming, especially in a surprising or magical manner.] Since yesterday, the shape-shifting sunspot has developed a "beta-gamma" magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Any such eruptions will likely be geoeffective because the sunspot is almost-squarely facing Earth. (photo at link above)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A RECORD-BREAKING MID-LATITUDE CYCLONE pushed its way through the Midwest Tuesday, quickly becoming the STRONGEST NON-TROPICAL STORM SYSTEM IN RECORDED U.S. HISTORY. This “landicane” has rapidly deepened to a central pressure of 955mb, causing blizzard conditions in North Dakota, hurricane force winds across the Great Lakes, and tornado watches from western New York all the way to Mississippi. So far, 18 tornadoes have been reported, along with more than 200 reports of high winds.
Now heading for Greater New York, the primary threat for them from this storm will be a chance of thunderstorms Wednesday morning, accompanied by straight-line winds up to 50 mph. This is the same storm system that has been keeping their temperatures well above normal for the first part of the week. While they may get a stray wind gust briefly Wednesday morning, the center of this storm will remain hundreds of miles away in Canada. So even though the storm remains at RECORD LEVELS OF INTENSITY, the “pressure gradient” force will remain weak over Greater New York.
The storm has already beat out other infamous extratropical cyclones in intensity, including the “Edumund Fitzgerald” storm of 1975, the “Storm of the Century” of 1993,” and the “Perfect Storm” of 1991. The satellite images coming in from this current storm system so far look like something straight out of “The Day After Tomorrow”. Quite literally, THE ENTIRE CONTINENT'S ATMOSPHERE EAST OF THE ROCKIES IS ENVELOPED IN THIS STORM'S CIRCULATION right now.

**Today is the day for decisive action!
Or is it?**

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/26/10 -


INDONESIA -The death toll from the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Merapi rose to 25, including an elder known as the volcano's spiritual gatekeeper. The traditional gatekeeper was found dead in his burnt house about 4km (2.5 miles) from the peak. Yesterday's eruption of Mount Merapi forced thousands to flee down its slopes and spewed burning ash and smoke high into the air on the island of Java.
There are fears of fresh eruptions. Experts said that the ash levels had subsided a little, but that their readings suggested there would be more volcanic activity soon. Pressure building up under a "lava dome" inside the volcano threatens further devastation. "This the largest hazard at Merapi. It builds up as a sticky lava, where it builds up into a dome. At some point either there's an explosion from below that causes it to collapse, or a simple addition of lava causes it to collapse. And this sends large, hot blocks of solidified lava down the slopes." This "pyroclastic flow" is highly dangerous both in its heat and the poison of the gases.
Thousands fled their homes on Tuesday as ash spewed out of the volcano, turning the landscape white. But many people refused to leave, and rescuers fear the death toll may rise. One rescuer feared up to 50 could have been killed. Although 10,000 people had been evacuated, many had stayed behind. "Several houses and cattle have been burned by the hot cloud from the mountain. All the houses are blanketed in ash, completely white. The leaves have been burned off the trees." Experts hope the volcano, some 500km (310 miles) south-east of Jakarta on Indonesia's most heavily populated island, Java, will release steam slowly rather than erupt in a big blast. Authorities are continuing to move away thousands of local villagers living near the volcano, but it is proving to be difficult. Many villagers ignored warnings because they were reluctant to leave homes and farms nattended. Many victims at a local hospital had severe burns.
On Monday, officials monitoring the volcano had raised the alert for Mt Merapi to the highest possible level. It erupted just before dusk on Tuesday. Since then, more than 600 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded around the mountain. "We heard three explosions around 1800 (1100 GMT) spewing volcanic material as high as 1.5km (one mile) and sending heat clouds down the slopes." This eruption was more powerful than the volcano's last blast, in 2006, which killed two people. In 1930 another powerful eruption wiped out 13 villages, killing more than 1,000 people. (photos & map)


INDONESIA - Rescue teams are battling to reach hundreds of people believed to be missing a day after a tsunami struck small islands off the coast of Sumatra. The tsunami was caused by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake late on Monday. Waves reached 3m (10ft) high and the water swept inland as far as 600m on South Pagai. A 3m-high wave crashed into the Mentawai islands, leaving more than 100 people dead and 500 missing. Rescuers continue to be hampered by bad weather and aftershocks from the quake that caused the tsunami. Rough seas were making it difficult to ship aid to the Mentawai islands from Padang, the nearest major port on Sumatra. Forecasters say the bad weather is likely to continue in the coming days. About 4,000 households had been displaced by the tsunami, and many people fled to higher ground. Most buildings in the South Pagai coastal village of Betu Monga have been destroyed. "Of the 200 people living in that village, only 40 have been found - 160 are still missing, mostly women and children. We have people reporting to the security post here that they could not hold on to their children, that they were swept away. A lot of people are crying."
More than 1,000 people were killed by an earthquake off Sumatra in September 2009. In December 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off the coast of Aceh triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed a quarter of a million people in 13 countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. (map & photos)

-Cyclone 01S was 836 nmi ESE of Diego Garcia

-Typhoon CHABA was 453 nmi SE of Taipei, Taiwan

-Tropical depression RICHARD was 147 nmi WNW of Campeche, Mexico

Typhoon Chaba is forecast to strike Japan as a tropical storm at about 18:00 GMT on 30 October.


U.S. - A powerful low pressure was stirring up the entire midwest Tuesday BREAKING RECORDS as it stormed in. The ALL-TIME LOWEST PRESSURE RECORD WAS BROKEN IN BOTH MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN Tuesday morning. The low pressure system was still strengthening and the record could potentially have been even lower by later in the day. The record keeps dropping as the low strengthens. The record was first brokenTuesday morning in Aitkin at 28.42" and then in the afternoon the record was broken again in Grand Rapids as the pressure dropped to 28.28", and then the record was in Big Fork at 28.21". The low is still strengthening and pushing northeast.
In Wisconsin Tuesday morning at 11:35 a.m. the measurement was 28.38" or 961.06 mb. The previous record was 28.45" or 963.43 mb at Green Bay on April 3, 1982.
This low pressure area will produce a variety of weather from a possible severe weather outbreak with a tornado potential in Indiana, Ohio and southern Michigan in the warm sector of the storm to blizzard conditions across North Dakota in the cold sector of the storm. The rest of the Midwest, including Minnesota, is under High Wind Warnings and will see very strong winds that at times could gust higher than 50 mph. Winds intensified late Tuesday afternoon. Today the storm will lift northeast of Lake Superior into Canada and weather conditions will slowly improve in most areas by Wednesday evening although travel may be difficult in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota because of wet snow with some accumulations greater than 5 inches possible especially around the Bismarck area. The storm could also cause dangerous waves on the Great Lakes with damaging waves on the shorelines of western Michigan. Winds will be from the west-southwest on Lake Superior so damaging waves are not expected on Minnesota's North Shore. The combination of wind, rain and thunderstorms may cause significant delays at some of the larger airports such as Minneapolis/St.Paul, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

New Acoustic Early Warning System For Landslide Prediction - A new type of sound sensor system has been developed to predict the likelihood of a landslide. Thought to be the first system of its kind in the world, it works by measuring and analysing the acoustic behaviour of soil to establish when a landslide is imminent so preventative action can be taken. Noise created by movement under the surface builds to a crescendo as the slope becomes unstable.


Solar Shield -- Protecting the North American Power Grid. Every hundred years or so, a solar storm comes along so potent it fills the skies of Earth with blood-red auroras, makes compass needles point in the wrong direction, and sends electric currents coursing through the planet's topsoil. The most famous such storm, the Carrington Event of 1859, actually shocked telegraph operators and set some of their offices on fire. If such a storm occurred today, we could experience widespread power blackouts with permanent damage to many key transformers.
A new NASA project called "Solar Shield" could help keep the lights on. "Solar Shield is a new and experimental forecasting system for the North American power grid. We believe we can zero in on specific transformers and predict which of them are going to be hit hardest by a space weather event." When a coronal mass ejection (a billion-ton solar storm cloud) hits Earth's magnetic field, the impact causes the field to shake and quiver. These magnetic vibrations induce currents almost everywhere, from Earth's upper atmosphere to the ground beneath our feet. Powerful GICs can overload circuits, trip breakers, and in extreme cases melt the windings of heavy-duty transformers. This actually happened in Quebec on March 13, 1989, when a geomagnetic storm much less severe than the Carrington Event knocked out power across the entire province for more than nine hours. The storm damaged transformers in Quebec, New Jersey, and Great Britain, and caused more than 200 power anomalies across the USA from the eastern seaboard to the Pacific Northwest. A similar series of "Halloween storms" in October 2003 triggered a regional blackout in southern Sweden and may have damaged transformers in South Africa.
Since the beginning of the Space Age the total length of high-voltage power lines crisscrossing North America has increased nearly 10 fold. This has turned power grids into giant antennas for geomagnetically induced currents. With demand for power growing even faster than the grids themselves, modern networks are sprawling, interconnected, and stressed to the limit — a recipe for trouble. A large-scale blackout could last a long time, mainly due to transformer damage. "These multi-ton apparatus cannot be repaired in the field, and if damaged in this manner they need to be replaced with new units which have lead times of 12 months or more."
During extreme storms, engineers could safeguard the most endangered transformers by disconnecting them from the grid. That itself could cause a blackout, but only temporarily. Transformers protected in this way would be available again for normal operations when the storm is over. The innovation of Solar Shield is its ability to deliver transformer-level predictions. "Solar Shield springs into action when we see a coronal mass ejection (CME) billowing away from the sun. Images from SOHO and NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft show us the cloud from as many as three points of view, allowing us to make a 3D model of the CME, and predict when it will arrive." While the CME is crossing the sun-Earth divide, a trip that typically takes 24 to 48 hours, the Solar Shield team prepares to calculate ground currents. The crucial moment comes about 30 minutes before impact when the cloud sweeps past ACE, a spacecraft stationed 1.5 million km upstream from Earth. "We quickly feed the data into CCMC computers. Our models predict fields and currents in Earth's upper atmosphere and propagate these currents down to the ground." With less than 30 minutes to go, Solar Shield can issue an alert to utilities with detailed information about GICs. Solar Shield is experimental and has never been field-tested during a severe geomagnetic storm. A small number of utility companies have installed current monitors at key locations in the power grid to help the team check their predictions. So far, though, the sun has been mostly quiet with only a few relatively mild storms during the past year. The team needs more data. The next solar maximum is expected around 2013, so it's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Australian officials in Indonesia are working to determine if any Australians were affected by an undersea quake at a popular surfing spot off Sumatra's west coast. The 7.7-magnitude quake hit Kepulauan Mentawai at 9:42pm local time yesterday. A group of surfers, including nine Australians, were reportedly forced to jump from their boat when a three-metre-high wave forced another boat into their craft, causing an explosion. Some of them were swept inland by the wave and sheltered in high trees until they were rescued by another boat some time later.
The quake was followed by several powerful aftershocks but there have been no reports of serious damage or casualties. A tsunami warning was issued but later cancelled. The quake also shook the West Sumatran capital of Padang, sending panicked residents into the streets. More than 1100 people were killed when a powerful quake hit near Padang last year.

**After you've done a thing the same way for two years,
look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion.
And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.**
Alfred Perlman

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/25/10 -

INDONESIA - No injuries or damage have been reported from a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck the Kepulauan Mentawai region of Indonesia, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) away from Padang, Sumatra and 395 miles from Singapore. Telephone communication isn’t operating, but the reason is unkown. The quake was centered at a depth of 20.5 miles. A local tsunami watch is in effect, but a “destructive widespread tsunami threat” does not exist.

Moderate earthquake rattles central China - A 4.7 earthquake leveled 24 homes and injured 12 students in central China. The quake struck Zhoukou City about 5 p.m. Sunday. About 40 homes were reported to have cracks or other damage in Kugou County.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake hit northwest Wyoming Sunday, apparently triggering a landslide on a hiking trail, but no injuries were reported. The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at about 11:45 a.m. Several hours later, an aftershock with a magnitude of 4.0 was recorded. Both tremors were shallow and centered about 20 miles northeast of Jackson in Teton County. Rangers were investigating reports that a landslide covered about a quarter-mile of a trail in the national forest near the epicenter. The landslide reportedly stopped short of a highway in the area. Several earthquakes have rattled the region in the past few months. A series of quakes were reported in the Jackson area in August. The Jackson area is part of a seismically active region in which earthquakes are common. It includes rock formations that are slowly being deformed, producing active faults.

-Typhoon CHABA was 551 nmi SE of Taipei, Taiwan

-Tropical depression RICHARD was 105 nmi SW of Campeche, Mexico

Tropical storm "Katring" (Chaba) intensified further as it headed north-northwest and is now more likely to make landfall over Southern Japan. It is moving away from the Philippines and heading toward the southern islands of Japan. With this, Katring has virtually no more chance of making landfall on Philippine territory.
Some Philippine provinces may still be rainy. Meanwhile, gates remained open in three dams in northern Luzon, including the Ambuklao in Benguet; Binga in Benguet; and Magat in Isabela. Ambuklao kept two gates open as water levels as of 6 a.m. Tuesday remained at 751.53 meters, less than one meter below the 752-meter spilling level. Binga kept two gates open as water levels as of 6 a.m. Tuesday were at 574.40 meters, barely below the 575-meter spilling level.


Chicago faces possible WORST STORM IN 70 YEARS - A tremendous storm bearing down on Chicago has all the makings of a memorable event, weather forecasters predicted Monday. The storm, expected to hit in the pre-dawn Tuesday, could be the worst in decades. "Showers and thunderstorms are expected to arrive with the front early Tuesday morning which may reach severe levels with damaging wind gusts. Once the front passes, southwest winds will increase dramatically with speeds between 30 and 40 mph with gusts in excess of 55 mph possible Tuesday afternoon."
The storm is being billed as the Great Lakes Cyclone. Though by definition not a tropical cyclone, forecasters say this cyclone has very low pressure and could go as low as 960 millibars — that's the kind of low reading found in some of the most powerful hurricanes. "Storm force winds (48 knots or greater) are expected on Lake Michigan with significant waves up to around 20 feet on the north half and between 15 and 20 feet on the south half, with occasional higher waves." For the record, it was a similar late-season storm that on Nov. 10, 1975 sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, scientists now say. Hurricane-force gusts and waves coming from an unexpected angle likely contributed to the disaster.
Strong, sustained winds also threaten to bring down power lines so Monday night Com Ed was staffing up. The utility is anticipating THE MOST SEVERE THREAT TO ITS ELECTRIC GRID IN DECADES. Com Ed has opened its emergency operations center, added crews and is telling them to expect to work 16-hour days to restore power outages caused by the wind storm.
While Chicago won't have as much rain, forecasters expect dangerous wind gusts may be around for 36 hours or so. It's expected to be a consistent pounding, lasting longer than most tropical storms or hurricanes. Some people were tying down anything that could fly Monday night. The danger is real. In 2002, 60 mile per hour wind gusts tore window washing equipment loose from the side of the John Hancock Building. It fell 43 stories, killing three people in cars below.

STRONGEST STORM IN MINNESOTA HISTORY? - Computer models are predicting today's storm undergoing "bombo-genesis" near Duluth today, with a central pressure as low as 28.3" by evening. If the computers verify, we may very well set a record for Minnesota's strongest storm (measured via barometric pressure) on record. Some of the computer models intensify the storm over northeastern Minnesota to 960 millibars by Wednesday morning, that's roughly 28.34 inches of mercury! The all-time record for low pressure is 28.42" set on November 10, 1998. We may come very, very close. The reason? A strong north-south contrast in temperature, what meteorologists refer to as "baroclinicity" is setting the stage for an especially strong area of low pressure to develop near Duluth. The greater the contrast in temperature, the stronger the winds have to blow to keep the atmosphere in a state of equilibrium. That why winds in the tropics are usually light - very little in the way of temperature extremes within 2,000 miles of the equator (save for the occasional hurricane, of course).
A large number of states from South Dakota to Michigan & Ohio are under a high wind watch. (map)


Moon quake link tenuous - The Moon, the Sun and atmospheric pressure are highly unlikely to be causing aftershocks or influencing them, a study shows. The Auckland Predict Weather director says that since the September 4 earthquake he has been able to accurately predict clusters of aftershocks based on the increased gravitation pull from the Moon and the Sun at certain times of the month. He said most of the aftershocks had "occurred on the new or the full Moon...They are getting less because the Moon is moving further away."
But another scientist says he can find no evidence of a link. "There's no obvious or significant correlation between the force of gravity by the Sun and the Moon, and the atmospheric pressure, and the number of quakes we are getting or the size of them." The time of the month should not influence when large aftershocks occur. "I'm aware that there has been at least one person in the news claiming that the position of the Moon may have affected the quakes in Canterbury, but that seems to be a fairly tenuous assumption, unsupported by much of the scientific evidence at present. While it's true that the Moon and Sun exert small forces on the surface of the Earth depending on their relative orientation, these forces do not seem to be strong enough to significantly influence the exact hour or day that any particular quake will occur on." Some scientific papers suggested there might be about a 0.5 per cent increase in quake numbers because of tidal forces, but not for shakes of magnitude 4.0 or above.


Haiti cholera outbreak causes not clear, experts say. Until the current outbreak, cholera had not been documented in Haiti since 1960. The outbreak in central Haiti that so far has killed more than 250 people and infected more than 3,000 is the worst health challenge the country faces since the earthquake in January. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said after the earthquake that while cholera testing should be carried out, the disease was "extremely unlikely to occur". It is not clear if the cause of the outbreak will ever be identified, but health experts agree that for cholera to occur, bad sanitation and hygiene have to coincide with people carrying the Vibrio Cholerae bacterium.
"Central Haiti - where most people have been infected - was not the region most affected by the earthquake...In many African countries there are sporadic cases during the year, then the weather changes or other conditions change, and all of a sudden there is an outbreak." The disease is difficult to predict. It is possible low-level cholera was present in Haiti all along. That cholera has now been picked up so quickly after the outbreak in the Artibonite region is a great success for Haiti's health authorities and international organisations working the country. It is difficult to get a complete picture of the global spread of the disease, because some countries are reluctant to report cholera for fear of travel sanctions. Those infected need to receive treatment immediately. If not treated, the death-rate of cholera can rise up to 50%.

-The Texas Department of State Health Services ordered Sangar Fresh Cut Produce in San Antonio to stop processing food and recall all products shipped from the plant since January. The order was issued after laboratory tests of chopped celery from the plant indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.
-Foremost Foods, International, Inc. of Pomona, CA, is issuing a voluntary recall on certain Tomi brand dried seafood products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.
-Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc is recalling certain cantaloupes grown in and shipped from Arizona. The affected product was distributed to limited customers in and around Detroit, Michigan and is being recalled because these cantaloupes have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
-Pats Exotic Beverages Inc., New York, is recalling all packages of "Carrot Juice" beverage, "Carrot Beet" beverage, "Carrot Lime" beverage and "Cucumber" beverage, because the products have been determined to be inadequately processed and may contain food borne pathogens.
-Standard Homeopathic Compan is recalling its Hyland's Teething Tablets. The company is initiating this recall in an abundance of caution due to an FDA investigation of its manufacturing facility. Hyland's Teething Tablets are manufactured in the United States and distributed throughout North America.
-A limited number of Mega Pops[TM] brand lollipops may contain traces of foreign particles, and as a precautionary measure, manufacturer Colombina S.A. is asking customers to return these lollipops to their retailer and instructing retailers to recall the product voluntarily.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Earthquake counts go up as moon comes closer to earth - Seismologists in India have found that the earthquake counts go up steadily when the moon comes closer to the Earth (perigee) and also when there is a Full Moon. The scientists have also found that major earthquakes occur more often when perigee coincides with Full Moon and New Moon, going up to a magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale. Earthquake counts also go down during the day and are at a minimum in the afternoon (between 3 pm and 4 pm) and then steadily go up till midnight. "This typical signature of the diurnal seismicity plots (DSP) seem to be consistent for the global earthquake data for different periods, seasons, longitudes and depths. The drop in earthquake counts during the day reduces for latitudes away from the equators."

**Education is when you read the fine print.
Experience is what you get if you don't.**
Pete Seeger

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/24/10 -

Experts fear the next big earthquake to strike California could 40-50 times as destructive as the 1989 Northridge quake. The "Big One,” a potential major earthquake on the San Andreas fault that runs through the Coachella Valley, could be stronger, up to 8.1 magnitude and could rupture a much longer area than previously predicted.

HAITI - The January 12 earthquake in Haiti failed to release all the tension in a notorious seismic fault, leaving its capital exposed to the risk of another seismic disaster, US scientists reported Sunday. The magnitude 7.0 event, which killed a quarter of a million Haitians, occurred to the west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The culprit was initially thought to be a well-known but poorly understood fault called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Zone, where 7.0 quakes occurred in 1751 and 1770. The complex 270-kilometre (168-mile) -long fault runs along one of the narrow western prongs of the island of Hispaniola, which Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic.
A team of geologists say assumptions that the EPGZ was to blame may be wrong. They found plenty of evidence of ground rupture, uplifted land and diverted streams that must have occurred in the 18th-century shakes -- but nothing similar that could be pinned to the 2010 event. While not unprecedented in seismology, this is HIGHLY UNUSUAL, for the January quake was very big and ocurred close to the surface. One suggestion is that the EPGZ did indeed slip, but at depth, while another is that the quake occurred on a "blind" sub-parallel structure.
Either way, the visual observations and the computer models all indicate that the January quake did not ease the nearly two and a half centuries of accumulated strain at the EPGZ's surface.
"The EPGZ remains a serious seismic hazard for Haiti, particularly for the Port-au-Prince area." It raised special concern over a 110-km (65-mile) stretch that runs from Lake Miragoane in the west to Dumay in the east, tracking just south of the Haitan capital. "These sections of the fault remain capable of generating an earthquake of up to 7.0 magnitude and, in the case of the Momance and Dumay sections, which are closer to Port-au-Prince, potentially causing stronger ground shaking in the urban area than the January 12 event."
On October 10, a separate team of geologists found that the January gave only "limited" release to the EPGZ.
Neither study gave any indication of when this feared earthquake could occur. Seismologists say they are gaining more and knowledge about how earthquakes happen and are better at predicting the magnitude of some kinds of quakes. But pinpointing, even roughly, when these events will happen remains elusive.


INDONESIA - Mount Merapi’s Swelling Signals Huge Eruption, Scientists Warn. Lava from Mount Merapi in Central Java began flowing down the Gendol River over the weekend, signaling an eruption could be imminent, a geologist said on Sunday. The volcano, one of the world’s most active, last erupted in June 2006 shortly after the Yogyakarta earthquake, when a pyroclastic flow, or a fast-moving cloud of superheated gas, ran down its slopes and killed two people. But the distension of the mountain’s slopes was much more rapid this time around, indicating a higher-pressure build-up of gas and hence a much more explosive eruption. “We believe Merapi will erupt explosively, as it did in 1930, and not just spew gas like in 2006. However, that scenario is only a guess. No one really knows when Merapi will erupt and how much volcanic material it will spew out.”
The eruption in 1930 wiped out 13 villages on the slopes of the mountain, killing around 1,400 people. The alert status for Merapi is currently “standby,” just one level below the alert for an eruption. Thick clouds and mist over the weekend had prevented a team from measuring the mountain’s distension. On Thursday, the volcanic cone was observed to be expanding by 8.5 centimeters a day, while on Friday the rate had picked up to 16.4 centimeters a day. “We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in the number of multiphase volcanic earthquakes, from 321 on Friday to 525 on Saturday. Lava spurts have also increased, from 93 on Friday to 183 on Saturday. We’re now on standby mode around the clock.”
About 53,600 people in the districts of Magelang, Boyolali, Klaten and Sleman were at risk and would have to be evacuated. 22 temporary shelters had been set up. “The mountain never really fully erupts, it just kind of melts. I hope Mount Merapi doesn’t erupt this time. But we’ll still prepare evacuation plans for residents.”

-Tropical storm CHABA was 564 nmi NE of Cebu City, Philippines

-Hurricane RICHARD was 98 nmi NNW of Puerto Cortes, Honduras

Hurricane Richard slammed into Belize's Caribbean coast just south of its largest city late today, as authorities evacuated tourists from outlying islands and an estimated 10,000 people took refuge at shelters in the tiny Central American nation. Richard's top winds were 150km/h - making it a Category 1 hurricane - when it made landfall about 35km south-southwest of Belize City, whose neighbourhoods are full of wooden, tin-roof homes that are very vulnerable to winds. "The winds are very strong ... it's getting stronger."
Palm trees were bending over in the wind and it had become very noisy. Richard was moving west-northwest at about 17km/h and hurricane-force winds extended up to 30km from its centre. Belize City was devastated by Hurricane Hattie in 1961, prompting officials to move the capital inland to Belmopan. But Belize City is still the nation's largest population centre, with about 100,000 inhabitants - a third of the country's population.
Earlier, Richard dumped heavy rains on Honduras' Caribbean coast and the Bay Islands. Observers reported winds of up to 93km/h on Roatan, and more than 90 people took refuge in shelters in the Bay Islands, which lie between Honduras and Belize. No deaths or injuries had been reported in Honduras so far.

Tropical Storm Katring (international codename: Chaba) intensified further on Monday morning even as it continued its north northwest path. Katring is still too far to affect any part of the Philippines. Katring was estimated at 810 km east of Northern Luzon, with maximum winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph. It was moving in a north northwest direction at 7 kph and is expected to be 720 km east of Northern Luzon Tuesday morning. By Wednesday morning, it is forecast to be 660 km east-northeast of Northern Luzon, and 700 km northeast of Northern Luzon by Thursday morning. No storm signals have been raised.


AUSTRALIA - Rain and cool weather in southeast Australia have slowed the development of billions of locusts, but a plague will arise as the days grow warmer.


SEVERE STORM WARNING CANCELLED - NOAA forecasters have downgraded the chance of a severe geomagnetic storm on Oct. 25th to only 1%. Sunspot group 1117 continues to increase in spot count and magnetic complexity. No big flares yet, however. A solar wind stream continues to buffet Earth's magnetic field.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

EUROPE, RUSSIA - COLDEST WINTER IN 1,000 YEARS ON ITS WAY. After the record heat wave this summer, Russia's weather seems to have acquired a taste for the extreme. Propeller Forecasters say this winter could be the coldest Europe has seen in the last 1,000 years. The change is reportedly connected with the speed of the Gulf Stream, which has shrunk in half in just the last couple of years. Polish scientists say that it means the stream will not be able to compensate for the cold from the Arctic winds. According to them, when the stream is completely stopped, a new Ice Age will begin in Europe.
So far, the results have been lower temperatures: for example, in Central Russia, they are a couple of degrees below the norm. “Although the forecast for the next month is only 70 percent accurate, I find the cold winter scenario quite likely. We will be able to judge with more certainty come November. As for last summer's heat, the statistical models that meteorologists use to draw up long-term forecasts aren't able to predict an anomaly like that.” In order to meet the harsh winter head on, Moscow authorities are drawing up measures to help Muscovites survive the extreme cold. Most of all, the government is concerned with homeless people who risk freezing to death if the forecast of the meteorologists come true. Social services and police are being ordered to take the situation under control even if they have to force the homeless to take help.

**Whatever you are, be a good one.**
Abraham Lincoln

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
10/23/10 -

10/22/10 -


COLUMBIA, INDONESIA - Galeras in Colombia appeared to be increasing its activity this week. Seismicity, gas emissions and a renewed thermal anomaly at the volcano all point towards a potential eruption at Galeras*. The Alert Status at the volcanoremains at Yellow (below Orange and Red). Galeras has has two periods this year (August and February) of increased eruptive activity.
Meanwhile, over in Indonesia, it appears that Sinabung and Merapi are both steaming away. There isn't much in the way of details of their current activity, but there is still news about the refugees from the initial evacuation of the area near Sinabung. The volcano might have seemed to settled down and left the news, but many refugees have not been allowed to return home as the volcano continues to be restless - leading to corruption in the camps. The threat of Merapi producing a significant eruption seems to be up as well. Volunteers are already getting prepared for an eruption of the volcano and evacuation centers are being set up for potential refugees, which would be its first since 2007. Merapi has shown increased seismicity, continued inflation and repeated plumes from the summit crater. This week, the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia placed Merapi on a level III alert (of V) and activity near the volcano has been banned - meaning over 39,000 people will need to be evacuated. Merapi produced an eruption in 1930 that killed over 1,300 people.
Mt. Merapi may erupt in a more explosive way than its previous eruptions, head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center warns. “Merapi tends to form a lava dome before it erupts, but our data shows there was an explosive eruption without prior formation of a dome." Deviation of the eruption pattern took place in 1930 and 1931, which affected areas in a radius of over 15 kilometers from the peak. “It caused an ash rain that reached as far as Malang and Madura Island in East Java." The center increased on Friday the volcano’s alert status to the second highest level following its increasing volcanic activities. " Merapi has never broken its promise. Eruption, whether explosive or not, will cap its volcanic activities.”

COLUMBIA - Gas Explosion from Colombia Mud Volcano Sparks Panic. A burst of flammable gas from a mud volcano late Monday in northwestern Colombia destroyed a small area of nearby crops and killed a few farm animals while sending nearby residents rushing for safety. Several people sustained minor injuries near the town of Arboletes during the brief panic. "Just after 8:30 in the evening, we saw a high flame that lit the sky. When we went to check, we realized that there was an eruption of mud." The blast came from an “old volcano” that has produced several eruptions, including one four years ago that was very strong. Monday’s explosion was THE WORST IN MEMORY. That fiery blast prompted officials to move 14 nearby homes to a safer distance from the natural geologic feature. Officials credit that move with the lack of any fatalities from Monday’s explosive venting. An eruption three years ago spewed only mud. Mud volcanos are different from their igneous counterparts in that they are created by the expulsion of liquids and gasses, rather than lava. A slurry of mud and gas is a common product of a mud volcano eruption, sometimes including fiery bursts of methane and other gases. (photo)

HAWAII - Kilauea volcano eruption health impact continues after two years. Scientists are still working to alleviate effects of noxious gases released from the eruption in Hawaii.

-Tropical depression 16W was 609 nmi ENE of Cebu City, Philippines
-Tropical depression 17W was 802 nmi NE of Agana, Guam
-Tropical storm MEGI was 213 nmi ENE of Hong Kong

-Tropical storm RICHARD was 80 nmi NW of Puerto Lempira, Honduras

Tropical storm Richard was strengthening Saturday as it approached Honduras. Richard was forecast to become a hurricane on Sunday. The centre of the storm was expected to pass near the northeastern coast of Honduras late Saturday and could approach the coasts of Belize and southeastern Mexico early Sunday. A hurricane warning was in effect for Honduras and Belize. The NHC said tropical storm conditions were possible for the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Richard formed last weekend over the Caribbean and became a tropical storm late Wednesday. In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch stayed over the Gulf of Honduras for five days, causing heavy rain that claimed thousands of lives and caused great damage in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

Deadly typhoon Megi hits China - ONE OF THE STRONGEST STORMS TO HIT THE REGION IN YEARS. Torrential rain and gale-force winds lashed southern China on Saturday as Typhoon Megi made landfall after killing at least 48 people as it roared through the Philippines and battered Taiwan. State television broadcast images of strong winds bending trees double in the southeastern province of Fujian, where billboards had toppled down and large waves whipped the coast. Roads in the city of Zhangzhou, which lies in the path of the storm, were flooded by torrential rain.
China's national meteorological centre confirmed that Megi had reached the coast and warned people not to venture out. As it edged into China, Megi was downgraded to a strong tropical storm and weather authorities said it would continue to weaken as it made its way north. But they warned people in Fujian and neighbouring Zhejiang province to be aware of the danger of floods and mudslides. Provincial flood control authorities said more people would have to be evacuated as the storm made its way into China.
Typhoon Megi triggers deadly Taiwan landslides - Multiple landslides hit a coastal highway in Taiwan, stranding cars and buses. A tourist bus was feared buried and three people were killed in multiple landslides as Typhoon Megi brought torrential rain to Taiwan. A torrent of mud struck a Buddhist temple in Suao, killing three people and leaving six more missing. The landslides stranded 400 drivers; half have now been taken to safety. In Taiwan, Megi brought 45 inches (114 cm) of rain to Ilan county in the northeast over a 48-hour period.
Typhoon Megi caused havoc in the Philippines, killing at least 26 people and causing extensive damage to houses in some regions. Vehicles were swept off roads and people were stranded as the storm hit. (photos)

Tropical Depression “Katring" entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday and may hit northern Luzon by Tuesday. 'Katring' could gain strength as it moves closer to land. Although forecasters say it is not expected to make landfall, it can bring rains to parts of Luzon and Visayas. It is bearing winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center and moving west southwest at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour.
There is a chance for Katrina to weaken when it meets the northwest monsoon. If it makes landfall, it is likely to hit the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Aurora, the same areas ravaged by typhoon Juan (international codename: Megi). Meanwhile, rains will prevail over most parts of the country as 'Juan' continues to interact with the southwest monsoon. More rains are expected on Tuesday as 'Katring' moves closer to Luzon.

Category 4 Cyclone GIGI - At least one person has been killed and thousands affected after a powerful cyclone made landfall on the western coast of Myanmar Friday morning.


ARGENTINA - At least six people have been killed and more than 116 injured after a massive tornado struck down in north of Argentina, destroying many residential areas. The tornado ripped through the town of Pozo del Tigre in the northern Argentine province of Formosa.
At least ten people are reported to have been in critical condition as rescue workers search the area for more victims. There are conflicting reports of the number of people feared missing. Officials are scrambling to spring the ravaged city back to life as they assess the immensity of the damage caused by the tornado.


RUSSIA - Cyclone with snowstorms, severe frosts approaches Magadan Region. Cold with snowstorms will come to the Magadan Region in the next few days. The Russian Emergencies Ministry's Magadan regional department issued a warning on Saturday about the extremely active cyclone approaching the region from the south of the Far East.
Very heavy precipitations, 40-mm and more, and snowstorms with wet snow sticking to wire and trees and winds of up to 30 metres a second will hit the region on October 26 and 27. There will be a storm with four-six-metre waves and poor visibility in the Okhotsk and Bering seas and the Pacific. Rescuers warn about possible breakdowns and damage of ships. Heads of municipalities, executives, ship owners and port workers are informed about possible emergencies in connection with the cyclone and the cold weather. The temperature in Magadan was about one degree below zero on Saturday. It will fall to 16 degrees Centigrade below zero on the night on October 27, and it will be a little higher in the daytime -- nine to ten degrees below zero.


BRAZIL - Severe drought afflicts Brazilian Amazon. Some rivers are at their LOWEST LEVEL IN DECADES. The Brazilian government has announced $13.5m (£8.6m) in emergency aid for Amazon regions hit by the WORST DROUGHT IN DECADES.
The money will fund water pumping and purification, as well as food deliveries to towns cut off by the drop in river levels. The River Amazon at Manaus has fallen to its lowest level since 1963. Scientists say the region is facing its worst drought since that year. In Amazonas state 27 municipalities have declared a state of emergency because of the dry spell. Several tributaries of the Amazon have almost completely dried up, paralysing river transport and the fishing industry. The rainy season in the region usually begins in November. The Peruvian Amazon, 2,000km (1,240 miles) upstream has also been affected.
Environmental groups say severe droughts are likely to become more frequent in the Amazon as a result of global warming, putting further strain on the rainforest. The Amazon is the world's second-longest river, after the Nile, but discharges far more water from its mouth and drains more territory.


NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of severe geomagnetic storms around the poles on Oct. 25th. The forecast is prompted by a possible double whammy: both a solar wind stream and a CME could hit Earth's magnetic field on that date.


New high-dose flu shot - There's a new flu shot in town - one that's four times as strong and targeted at senior citizens. The reason? Scientists believe that a high-dose flu vaccine will jump-start senior citizens' immune response and provide them better protection from the virus. Scientists long have known that, as the body ages, the immune system doesn't respond as vigorously to the typical vaccination. By quadrupling the number of antigens, doctors hope that the new shot's immune boost will result in fewer deaths and serious cases of flu among the elderly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

**Be kind to your shadow.**
Rebecca Lawless

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/21/10 -

A powerful magnitude 6.9 quake struck off Mexico's Baja California on Thursday. The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.6, was centered in the Gulf of California, 65 miles (105 km) south of Los Mochis in the state of Sinaloa on the mainland. It was very shallow, just 6.2 miles (10 km) below the seabed. The quake had not triggered a tsunami but could cause local waves.

-Tropical depression 16W was 399 nmi WNW of Saipan, N. Mariana Islands.
-Tropical depression 17W was 664 nmi NE of Saipan, N. Mariana Islands
-Tropical cyclone GIRI was 228 nmi WNW of Rangoon, Burma
-Typhoon MEGI was 233 nmi ESE of Hong Kong

-Tropical storm RICHARD was 194 nmi ENE of Puerto Lempira, Honduras

Tropical Storm Richard - Because of weak steering currents, the National Hurricane Center said there’s not a lot of confidence in the latest Richard forecast. For now, the system is predicted to intensify into a hurricane by Saturday, cross over Mexico’s Yucatan and emerge in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday as a tropical storm. If that holds, any of the Gulf states could be threatened. Some models point the system toward the west coast of Florida. Thursday at 11 p.m., Richard was 240 miles south of Grand Cayman. It was drifting southeast at 2 mph with sustained winds of 40 mph. It threatens to produce up to 8 inches of rain in Jamaica

Tropical Cyclone Giri strengthened into a Category 1 Storm over the northeast Indian Ocean as it approached the west coast of Myanmar. Giri’s winds strengthened to 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour from 65 kph. A Category 1 Storm is the lowest on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale and capable of “very dangerous winds." Giri was expected to increase in strength and hit the coast near Sittwe late Thursday. It may make landfall with winds of 148 kph. It’s the fourth storm of the season in the Bay of Bengal.

Typhoon Megi weakens on path to China, sideswipes Taiwan. The strong typhoon initially feared to be among the worst in 50 years showed signs of weakening on a course to the southern coast of China after forcing the closure of Taiwan's biggest seaport and stranding hundreds of people on the island. Typhoon Megi was set to hit China's Fujian province as a category 1 typhoon, down from a 3 on a 1-5 severity scale, by Saturday and then fade to a tropical storm. It would miss world financial center Hong Kong and the industry-rich Pearl River Delta. The same typhoon killed 26 people in the Philippines and caused 314,577 metric tonnes in losses to the rice crop.
On its path to China with wind gusts of up to 198 kph (123 mph), Megi whipped up heavy waves that closed Taiwan's major seaport in Kaohsiung on Friday. More than 1,200 mm of rainfall from the storm caused a highway to collapse in eastern Taiwan, stranding 400 travelers with 23 missing. A string of ports and oil terminals in southern China had closed operations on Thursday as marine authorities said the typhoon could generate a huge and destructive "50-year storm surge" along the China coastline. Typhoons regularly hit China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan in the second half of the year, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea before weakening over land.

A potential cyclone that may become as powerful as super typhoon "Juan" may enter Philippine territory this weekend. The potential cyclone is presently still a low-pressure area (LPA) just outside the Philippine area of responsibility. "For now our models show the LPA may become as powerful as 'Juan' and may even take a similar path." It is possible the LPA may become a cyclone before it enters Philippine territory Saturday. Once the cyclone is inside the Philippine territory, it will be codenamed "Katring."
Meanwhile, at least six areas in Northern Luzon remained under Storm Signal No. 1 as typhoon "Juan" remained virtually stationary Wednesday afternoon. "Juan" packed maximum winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph. By Thursday afternoon, it was expected to be 320 km west-northwest of Laoag City or 430 km west-southwest of Batanes.On Friday afternoon, it is forecast to be 370 km west of Batanes. Still under Signal No. 1 are Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, and Zambales. PAGASA reminded residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under Signal 1 against possible flashfloods and landslides.


AUSTRALIA - More evidence has emerged of a long-term trend towards a drier climate in the Murray-Darling Basin and much of southeastern Australia.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Super-Typhoon Megi was packing winds that may have reached 200 miles per hour before it struck the Philippines Monday morning, not only the strongest hurricane of the busy 2010 season, but ONE OF THE STRONGEST TROPICAL CYCLONES ON RECORD. It is a big, intense monster of a storm, packing sustained winds as it hit Luzon of at least 165 mph and pressure in its eye as low as 914 millibars. "Megi is the strongest Category 5 tropical cyclone to make landfall in the world since Aug. 21 2007, when Hurricane Dean hit Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with sustained winds of 175 mph and central pressure of 905 mb." A U.S. Hurricane Hunter team, in the western Pacific as part of an ongoing field research into tropical cyclones, flew into the eye of Megi and registered pressure of just 890 mb, which would rank the storm as the 16th strongest in recorded history. (photo)

**Don’t let it be all in your head, nor all in your body.**
V.L. Allineare

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/20/10 -

ARKANSAS - Six earthquakes recorded in five hours. Six earthquakes were recorded in Faulkner County late Monday and early Tuesday. The first, which followed four other quakes on Monday, was a 2.5 magnitude and occurred at 10:59 p.m. two miles east-southeast of Guy. A second, with a 2.1 magnitude, registered at 11:05 p.m. one mile southeast of Guy.
A 2.3 magnitude quake hit at 12:40 a.m. Tuesday two miles south of Guy, followed by a 2.4 magnitude rocker at 1:52 a.m. in the same location. At 1:58 a.m., a 2.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded one mile southeast of Guy. A 2.6 magnitude shaker occurred at 3:55 a.m. two miles east-southeast of Guy. The recent rise in the number of earthquakes in Faulkner County has caught the attention of many.

-Tropical depression 19 was 108 nmi S of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. [THE SYSTEM IS BEING DESIGNATED AS A TROPICAL CYCLONE AT THIS TIME.]

-Typhoon MEGI was 254 nmi SE of Hong Kong

Tropical Depression 19 emerged in the Caribbean on Wednesday night and appears to be of little concern to Florida. Under the initial forecast, the system would aim west toward Mexico's Yucatan, growing into Tropical Storm Richard along the way. If it survives crossing the Yucatan, the long-range forecast, subject to large error, calls for it to aim northwest toward the Gulf of Mexico. At 11 p.m., TD-19 was 125 miles south of Grand Cayman, crawling east at 2 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph.
Possible paths of the cyclone - the majority of models, for now, suggest it won’t be a threat to Florida.

Tropical storm Four is forecast to strike Myanmar at about 06:00 GMT on 22 October. [apparently it has formed this morning] (map)


HAITI - At least 10 people were killed in flooding and mudslides triggered by three days of torrential rains in Haiti.


MINNESOTA - In the wake of a RECORD-SETTING WET SEPTEMBER, October has been EXCEPTIONALLY DRY across Minnesota. The Twin Cities International Airport still hasn't recorded measurable precipitation this month. The last measureable precipitation was on September 25th, which were the lingering showers left behind after the deluge of flooding rains that ravaged southern Minnesota on September 23rd, and 24th. The 25 day stretch without measurable precipitation is notable in the Twin Cities. The longest stretch is 51 days: November 3,1943-January 4, 1944. No surprise we are ON TRACK TO HAVE ONE OF THE DRIEST OCTOBERS ON RECORD depending on how next week wraps up. Right now we rank first, but the models are pulling a storm in midweek next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

**In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything,
the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is,
in the long run, the easiest.**
Henry Miller

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/19/10 -


COLUMBIA - A mud volcano erupted in the town of San Jose de las Platas, in the municipio of Arboletes, in the north-western Colombian region of Uraba on Monday. "Just after 8:30 in the evening, we saw a high flame that lit the sky. When we went to check, we realized that there was an eruption of mud." Two injured people have been treated at the health centre, while 15 others suffered from scratches and minor injuries while fleeing the explosion. The region saw another mud eruption three years ago, "but what worries us is that this eruption took place in the vicinity of 30 houses and we do not know what could have happened to those people."

Typhoon MEGI was 195 nmi WNW of Baguio City, Philippines

Typhoon Juan (international name: “Megi”) has maintained its strength and is currently almost stationary over the South China Sea. Juan was seen 350 kilometers West Southwest of Laoag City, still packing maximum sustained winds of up to 175 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 210 kph.
“Forecast to remain almost stationary for the next 12 hours then move North Northeast at 7 kph." A high pressure area over mainland China was slowing down the movement of Juan but there was no possibility of the typhoon returning to the country. Another scientist said, “There’s always this kind of possibility and this is the reason why every hour on the hour we are watching the typhoon.” Juan was expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility anytime between noon or afternoon of Wednesday.
No existing low pressure area or potential tropical cyclones have been monitored within or outside the immediate vicinity of the Philippines’ area of responsibility. However, at least six more tropical cyclones are expected to hit the country for the rest of the year. Still under storm Signal No. 1 are the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan and Zambales where rains gusty winds will still be experienced. Public storm warnings elsewhere have been lowered. An existing intertropical convergence zone is likewise, still affecting parts of the country. “Residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under Public Storm Warning Signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides. Residents along the coastal areas of Western Luzon are alerted of possible storm surges." By Thursday morning, Juan is forecast to be 320 kilometers west of Laoag City and by Friday morning, the typhoon is expected to be 400 kilometers west northwest of Laoag City.

In the Atlantic a new tropical depression is possible soon. The large cluster of showers and thunderstorms off the coast of Honduras has strengthened over the past few hours, to just shy of tropical depression strength. The National Hurricane Center put out a special outlook at 4:40 saying that any further strengthening of the system would likely put it in tropical depression category, meaning it has a defined, closed circulation. The chances for such development are high now, at 70 percent, according to the outlook, which is based on a recent surveillance flight over the budding system. If the system develops a closed circulation and starts to produce sustained winds of 39 mph or more, it will become Tropical Storm Richard, the 17th named storm of the year.
While it is unclear where the storm will go, it poses its most immediate threat to countries bordering the northwest Caribbean Sea. The storm system is moving northward at about 5 to 10 mph.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA warned to batten down for severe cyclone season. Higher than normal risk of a coastal impact before Christmas, about 6 or 7 cyclones in waters off the northwest coast (average number is 5) and significant risk of at least one severe tropical cyclone. Authorities are warning West Australians to BRACE FOR THE WORST CYCLONE SEASON IN YEARS, with a higher number predicted to cross the coast earlier than usual.
The stark warning follows last year’s "quiet season”, which produced three cyclones, including Laurence - a category five storm that devastated parts of the Pilbara. The forecast from the WA Bureau of Meteorology is for up to seven cyclones this season, four more than last year and two above average. At least one of these is predicted to hit the coast before Christmas and two are forecast to be severe. La Nina conditions, where lower sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean create a see-saw of pressure that triggers dramatic thunderstorm and cyclone activity, are why forecasters are so worried. "Sea surface temperatures off the northwest coast are warmer than usual and climate modelling suggests that the current La NiƱa event will persist into the cyclone season. “This increases the chance of an early season cyclone and also boosts the number of cyclones we are likely to see over the whole season." Coastal communities between Broome and Exmouth face the highest cyclone risk of anywhere in Australia. The season starts on November 1.


UNITED KINGDOM - First big freeze is on the way: Polar winds are blowing south with heavy snow forecast by Friday. Icy polar winds are to sweep across the country, with temperatures plummeting to below freezing and up to 2ins of snow forecast for parts of the north by the end of the week. Millions will wake up to frost this week, but the worst of the weather will hit Scotland and North-east England. Wednesday will be the coldest day of the week, with temperatures as low as -3C on Tuesday night in rural parts of the north. The mercury will also struggle to rise above freezing overnight in the south.
The arrival of Jack Frost can be blamed on polar winds. 'We have had a nice area of high pressure just to the west of the UK, giving light winds, settled conditions and quite dry weather. The change is down to an area of low pressure to the north of that high. It is going sit over Scandinavia and displace that high pressure and bring in colder weather from the Pole." The good news is the Arctic blast will not last. 'After Thursday the high pressure will tend to win out again and cut off that northerly flow, making it less cold.' Netweather, which correctly predicted last winter's big freeze, as well as the mixed summer, is forecasting a cold December and a white Christmas. Last winter was THE COLDEST FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. Temperatures in December, January and February struggled to stay above zero, with the UK average 1.5C (35F), making it THE DEEPEST FREEZE SINCE 1978-79.
But winter’s biggest problem will be another drought and the biggest worry will not be snow but dramatically below-average rainfall. Water companies are still recovering from the summer drought, which developed through THE DRIEST FIRST SIX MONTHS OF A YEAR SINCE 1929. Average rainfall was down 30 per cent at just 356.8mm. "With winter being a key period in topping up reservoir water levels, the below-average rainfall has the potential to cause real issues with water shortages in 2011." The winter drought will be caused by westerly winds - which usually bring rain - being blocked by FREAK AIR PRESSURE CHANGES over the Atlantic Ocean. Winds normally rush to Britain between a high pressure area around the Azores and low pressure area over Iceland - but both zones now have pressure closer to medium, meaning winds are being rebuffed. This pressure problem is proven by a RECORD LOW IN THE PRESSURE MEASUREMENT called the North Atlantic Oscillation.
‘La Nina' is creating Pacific Ocean water temperatures up to 6C below normal, with a knock-on effect on Atlantic Ocean temperatures and a colder winter in Europe. "It is very likely an EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG La Nina event will take place with a probable peak in December or early January. UNUSUALLY COLD La Nina ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific are well established. And given the large volume of water with temperatures up to 6C below normal, this could POTENTIALLY BE THE STRONGEST LA NINA OF THE LAST 60 YEARS."