**The human mind prefers to be
spoon-fed with the thoughts of others,
but deprived of such nourishment it will, reluctantly,
begin to think for itself - and such thinking,
is original thinking and may have valuable results.**
LARGEST QUAKES so far today -
5.0 SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
5.0 NORTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND
Yesterday, 3/30/14 -
5.4 WESTERN XIZANG
Yellowstone Earthquake - Volcanic Eruption Not Expected After STRONGEST TREMOR IN 29 YEARS. Yellowstone National Park was shaken a 4.8 earthquake Sunday, but scientists say there is no concern that the quake will lead to an eruption.
Grímsvötn volcano (Iceland) - small glacial flood and earthquake swarm. A small jökulhlaup (glacier outburst flood) started yesterday from the subglacial lake Grímsvötn and has been discharging into the river Gígjukvísl.
Pumice from the underwater volcanic eruption 800km northeast of New Zealand washes up on Tasmanian beaches. Pumice stones created by what is believed to be the largest recorded underwater volcanic eruption have begun washing up on Tasmania's Eastern shore.
TROPICAL STORMS -
Current tropical storms - maps and details.
* In the South Indian Ocean -
- Tropical cyclone Hellen is located approximately 240 nm north-northwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Extremely dangerous Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Hellen is bearing down on Madagascar after an EXTRAORDINARY BURST OF RAPID INTENSIFICATION brought the cyclone from a 60 mph tropical storm to a high-end Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds in just 24 hours. Hellen is forecast to strike Madagascar as a very intense tropical cyclone at about 12:00 GMT on 31 March.
That 90 mph increase in winds in 24 hours is not far below the record intensification rate of Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which was 110 mph in 24 hours. Official bulletins from La Réunion indicate the central pressure dropped 61 mb in 24 hrs, from 986mb at 1800 UTC Saturday to 925mb at 1800 UTC Sunday. They warn in their 18 UTC Sunday advisory:
HELLEN IS LIKELY TO BE ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TROPICAL CYCLONES EVER SEEN OVER THE NORTHERN CHANNEL SINCE THE SATELLITE ERA (1967). THE LIKELIHOOD IS INCREASING FOR AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TROPICAL CYCLONE LANDFALL OVER THE NORTHWESTERN COASTLINE OF MADAGASCAR BETWEEN CAPE SAINT-ANDRE AND MAHAJONGA. THE RSMC TROPICAL CYCLONE STORM SURGE NWP HAS BEEN RUN AND SHOWS PHENOMENAL SEA ELEVATIONS IN THE AREA EXPOSED TO THE NORTHERLY WINDS (EAST OF THE FORECAST TRACK).
THE STORM SURGE COULD REACH 2 - 4 METERS (7 - 13 FEET) IN THE ESTUARY OF THE BETSIBOKA RIVER (MAHAJONGA), AND MORE THAN 7 METERS (23 FEET) IN THE BAY OF BALY (SOALALA), AND 1 - 4 METERS ON THE COASTLINE EAST OF CAPE SAINT-ANDRE. ALL PREPARATIONS FOR A "WORST CASE" SCENARIO SHOULD BE UNDERWAY.
SEVERE RAIN STORMS, FLOODING, LANDSLIDES -
Washington mudslide missing person numbers revised down 'substantially' - The number of people missing from last week's Washington state mudslide has been revised down substantially from 90 to 30. The official death toll has risen to 18, with several bodies yet to be formally identified. The authorities say the number of those killed is believed to be at least 27 but that the official tally does not include those who have yet to be formally identified.
It has been over a week since the town of Oso, north of Seattle, was struck by a 177ft (54m) wall of mud and debris. The crews were not always recovering complete remains, making it difficult to identify those killed. More than 200 rescue workers are involved in the rescue operation, which has been hampered by days of heavy rain. The conditions at the one sq-mile site have continued to deteriorate, with the rain turning the already dangerous debris field into "quicksand".
No survivors have been found since the day of the mudslide. The mudslide destroyed about 30 houses, temporarily damming a river and leaving nearly a square mile field of muck and debris in its wake. The debris field is pocked with deep pits of water and strewn with sharp and dangerous wreckage, including fallen trees, propane and septic tanks, destroyed vehicles and smashed timber. (photos at link)
Washington state allowed logging on plateau above the slope - In recent decades the state allowed logging — with restrictions — on the plateau above the Snohomish County hillside that collapsed in last weekend’s deadly mudslide. The plateau above the soggy hillside that gave way Saturday has been logged for almost a century, with hundreds of acres of softwoods cut and hauled away, according to state records.
But in recent decades, as the slope has become more unstable, scientists have increasingly challenged the timber harvests, with some even warning of possible calamity. The state has continued to allow logging on the plateau, although it has imposed restrictions at least twice since the 1980s. The remnant of one clear-cut operation is visible in aerial photographs of Saturday’s monstrous mudslide. A triangle - 7½ acres, the shape of a pie slice - can be seen atop the destruction, its tip just cutting into where the hill collapsed.
Multiple factors can contribute to a slide. With the hill that caved in over the weekend, geologists have pointed to the Stillaguamish River’s erosion of the hill’s base, or toe. But logging can also play a role in instigating or intensifying a slide, by increasing the amount of water seeping into an unstable zone, according to an analysis of the watershed submitted to the state Department of Natural Resources.
In May 1988, when a private landowner, received approval to begin logging above the slope, scientists raised alarms about the removal of trees that intercept or absorb so much water. A geologist for the Tulalip Tribes warned regulators that harvesting holds “the potential for a massive and catastrophic failure of the entire hillslope.” Others echoed his concerns.
“Timber harvesting could possibly cause what is likely an inevitable event to occur sooner.” And an environmental biologist for the Stillaguamish Tribe cited “the potential for massive failure,” similar to a slide that occurred in 1967. The agency that issued the permit — the DNR — responded to the concerns by assembling a team of geologists and hydrologists to study the harvest’s potential impact on landslides.
Harvesting can increase soil water “on the order of 20 to 35 percent”, with that impact lasting 16 to 27 years, until new trees matured. Past slides on the hill occurred within five to 10 years of harvests. In August 1988, the DNR issued a stop-work order, putting Summit Timber’s logging operation on temporary hold. “1988 was maybe the first time that we were getting serious as to what you should or should not do in terms of logging and road construction around those things.”
A week after the stop-work order, a Summit representative wrote DNR, saying $750,000 to $1 million worth of timber was at stake. He listed alternative steps that could be taken to lessen the risks of a slide — for example, having the state relocate the channel of the Stillaguamish River that was cutting into the hill’s base. “I can only conclude that the real issue here is not slides and water quality, but timber cutting.”
Although records indicate that at least 300 acres were harvested on the plateau in the late 1980s, the state moved to prevent Summit Timber from clear-cutting 48 acres considered most likely to discharge water down the slope. Mapping out the areas most likely to feed water into unstable terrain is “fraught with uncertainty,” wrote one geologist who studied this landslide zone in the 1990s. The company eventually backed away from its request to log the 48 acres, given the hill’s history. “It was a little bit risky. We decided not to do it.”
The 1988 application was contentious because the state rarely objected to proposed harvests. Getting the DNR to limit the cut’s scope was no small task. “That was considered kind of a big victory.” Concerns about landslides surfaced again in 2004, when a property owner applied for a permit to clear a 15-acre tract near the plateau’s edge.
The state rejected the application, saying some of the proposed logging fell within a sensitive area that could feed water into the slope. Working in that zone would require years of intensive monitoring of precipitation and groundwater. They revised its application, halving the proposed harvest to avoid the sensitive zone. The final plan — a clear-cut shaped like a right triangle — had an eastern border that abutted the area. The state approved the application while attaching conditions, including: “All yarding and log-hauling activities will cease at the onset of heavy or steady rain and will not resume until the rain has subsided for at least 24 hours.” Harvesting in that area was finished by August 2005.
In January 2006, a large slide hit, with so much mud crashing into the Stillaguamish that the river was diverted. Where the hill fell away was maybe 600 feet southwest of the clear-cut area. Saturday’s slide took more of the hill, reaching right up to that triangle. the company has done selective logging on the plateau in more recent years. Following the approval of a 2009 permit that also included an area abutting the sensitive zone, the company reported to the state that it removed 20 percent of the area’s trees. It returned in 2011 and got approval to take 15 percent more.
HEAVY SNOW / EXTREME COLD -
One of the Coldest Winters in 20 Years Shatters Snow Records - Toledo, Ohio, experienced their SNOWIEST WINTER EVER, with a record breaking snowfall of 84.8 inches.
EXTREME HEAT & DROUGHT / WILDFIRES -
Australia - Extreme weather brings potato shortage and sends prices soaring. A summer heatwave and extreme wind disrupted harvests and planting in the production of potatoes.
Idaho - Drought no longer a big concern this year, but flooding might be.
HEALTH THREATS -
RECALLS & ALERTS
Liberia confirms Ebola cases as deadly virus spreads - The World Health Organisation said Liberia has confirmed two cases of the deadly Ebola virus that is suspected to have killed at least 70 people in Guinea.
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