Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Grief undermines the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life force. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It is truly an emotion that rises from the soul.**
– Francis Weller

LARGEST QUAKES so far today, 6.0 or larger -

Recent 6.0 and larger quakes -
6/26/16 - 6.4 KYRGYZSTAN
6/21/16 - 6.3 NEW IRELAND REGION, P.N.G.

A strong 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand's Kermadec Islands in the South Pacific late Wednesday. The quake's epicenter was 201 kilometers (124 miles) north east of Raoul Island - the largest and northernmost of the main Kermadec Islands, striking 12 kilometers below the surface. There were no reports of casualties or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

Indonesia - One dies in 5.4-magnitude quake. A farmer in Kamang Mudiak village, Kamang Magek district, Agam regency, West Sumatra, was killed when a 5.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the northern part of the province on Sunday afternoon. “The victim was mowing grass for his cattle on a hill of a former limestone quarry when a boulder fell on him during the quake. He was then rushed to the hospital and eventually died there.” The quake, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, occurred on Sunday at 4:31 p.m. The quake’s epicenter was on the Semangka fault at a depth of 10-kilometers and 14-km from Bonjol, and 48-km north of Bukittinggi. The quake was strong enough to be felt in Bukittinggi, but there were no reports of casualties or damage to buildings.


* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Tropical Storm Celia is located about 1555 mi (2500 km) W of the southern tip of Baja California. Weakening, there are no watches or warnings in effect.

- Hurricane Darby becomes the third hurricane of the east Pacific season, located about 570 mi (920 km) SSW of the southern tip of Baja California. No watches or warnings in effect, but there is still a chance that a weakened Celia or its remnants could pass just north of the Hawaiian Islands early next week, bringing some high surf and a chance of squalls, but it is too soon to assign any confidence to this possibility.


The U.S. Summer is Off to a Record-Hot Start - Last month was the warmest June in 122 years of U.S. recordkeeping, beating out June 1933. Each of the 48 contiguous states came in above its average temperature for June, with Arizona and Utah setting all-time June records for heat. Thirteen other states had a top-ten-warmest June, stretching across the nation from California to Florida.
Could this end up as the hottest summer in U.S. history? The contiguous United States has seen six of its ten warmest summers on record in just the last 15 years. On that basis alone, 2016 has a reasonable shot at becoming our hottest summer yet, especially with the head start provided by a record-warm June. On the other hand, there is plenty of inherent variability from week to week and month to month, even in weather that’s averaged across the country.
Models suggest that temperatures may challenge the 100°F mark as far north as the Dakotas by later next week, with 90s enveloping most of the nation east of the Rockies for what could be an extended period. The 8-14 day outlook from the NWS Weather Prediction Center shows high odds for above-average temperatures over the entire contiguous U.S. except for the Pacific Northwest, with odds favoring below-average precipitation for most of the Plains and mid-South.
If the heat manifests as expected, it may be enough to counterbalance the northern mildness so far in July and keep 2016 in the running for warmest U.S. summer on record, particularly if August stays on the hot side.


A gene related to Alzheimer's disease may start to show effects on brain structure and mental sharpness as early as preschool , a new study suggests. Researchers have long known that a gene called APOE is related to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. People who carry a variant of the gene known as e4 have a higher-than-average risk. The new study confirms what smaller studies have hinted: The gene's effects may be apparent even in early childhood. Brain scans revealed that young children with the e4 variant typically showed slower development in certain brain areas. These are the same brain regions that often atrophy in people with Alzheimer's disease.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Global Disaster Watch - daily natural disaster updates.

**Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.**
Shigenori Kameoka

LARGEST QUAKES so far today, 6.0 or larger -

California - Yes, the Next Big Quake Is “Locked, Loaded, And Ready To Roll”. How to get ready for it? This seismologist says your best move is to believe that it's going to happen — the rest is simple. “The earthquake is inevitable, but the disaster isn’t.”
Even the biggest California earthquakes of the past 40 years have done little to relieve pressure between tectonic plates. Though the magnitude 6.9 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake led to over $6 billion in damage, collapsing a portion of the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and the 6.7 1994 Northridge earthquake generated $20 billion in damage to the San Fernando Valley, both were “little” quakes, geologically speaking.
“I’m a seismologist and it terrifies me that it’s been [so] long since we’ve had a major earthquake. Lots of little earthquakes do not relieve the stress [on the plates]. It’s likely to require a temblor on the scale of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (7.8) for the earth to get a gasp of serious relief. Seismologists now believe that magnitude 7s and even 8s are more probable.”
And though the San Andreas has been on the brink of a major quake for quite some time, a recent report that appeared last month distilled the threat in a terrifyingly concrete way: Several southern California basins, from Bakersfield to the Los Angeles area, are sinking 2 to 3 millimeters every year (while San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are rising at similar rates). Basically, the fault line is actively on the move.
Greater awareness of the risks of a threat can be correlated with a higher rate of disaster preparedness. A few tips for those trying to get prepared at home: You have less to fear from buildings or bridges collapsing on or beneath you, and a lot more to worry about when it comes to items flying off shelves, or furniture falling over. Your best bet isn’t to stand in a doorway; rather, it’s to, “drop, cover, and hold on”. Get underneath a sturdy table, or butt right up against the edge of a bed on the floor.
Putting together an earthquake kit is also not as big a feat as it may seem. “If you have camping equipment, you already are ahead of the game.” Food, water, and emergency supplies can generally be compiled from items already in your home such as canned goods and a first aid kit. Prepare for as many as five days without support. “We have seen from other events around the world that after three days, there is not going to be some magical fairy that comes in and drops food and water and shelter. So be prepared to be self-sufficient.”
Your level of loss in and after an earthquake will be directly linked to your level of preparedness. Fortunately, in the near future, Californians should soon have access to an early warning earthquake detection system that could buy them precious seconds (and up to a minute and a half) to protect themselves.


* In the Eastern Pacific -
- Hurricane Blas holding its strength as a category 3 hurricane, about 1125 mi (1810 km) WSW of the southern tip of Baja California. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

- Tropical depression Four-E forecast to intensify as it moves away from Mexico. Located about 725 mi (1165 km) S of the southern tip of Baja California. The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm on Thursday. No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

* In the Western Pacific -
Category 5 Super typhoon Nepartak is located approximately 275 nm southeast of Taipei, Taiwan.
Category 5 Super Typhoon Nepartak is steaming towards a Thursday landfall in Taiwan after putting on a phenomenal display of rapid intensification on Monday and Tuesday. Nepartak went from a tropical storm with 70 mph winds on Monday afternoon to a Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds on Tuesday afternoon, in just 24 hours. Over the past two days, unusually warm waters have extended to great depth below the storm, creating some of the highest oceanic heat content readings one sees for a tropical cyclone. Satellite loops show a fearsome storm with huge area of heavy thunderstorms with cold cloud tops reaching high into the atmosphere, surrounding a prominent eye. The storm has taken on an annular appearance, with very little in the way of spiral banding. These type of storms are more resistant to weakening than typical tropical cyclones.
Models predict widespread rains of 8 - 16 inches over much of Taiwan and Eastern China, on regions where more than 8 inches of rain fell last week. The torrential rains of Super Typhoon Nepartak will likely cause tens of millions of dollars in damage to agriculture in Taiwan. The bigger concern for heavy rainfall from Nepartak is in mainland China, though. Exceptionally heavy monsoon rains affected large portions of central and eastern China over the past ten days, bringing rampaging floods that killed at least 170 people and caused over $5 billion in damage. The soils are still saturated from these rains, and Nepartak's rains will trigger additional damaging flooding.
Nepartak is the third Category 5 storm on Earth so far in 2016, and tied for the second strongest tropical cyclone of the year (by wind speed). The other two Category 5 storms earlier this year were in the Southern Hemisphere: the Southwest Indian Ocean's Tropical Cyclone Fantala, which topped out with 175 mph winds and a 910 mb central pressure on April 17, and the Southeast Pacific's Tropical Cyclone Winston, which devastated Fiji on February 20 with sustained winds of 180 mph. Winston's lowest central pressure was 915 mb.
Both storms were tied for the strongest tropical cyclones ever observed (by sustained winds) in their respective ocean basins. On average, Earth sees 4 - 5 Category 5 storms per year, with over 50% of these being typhoons in the Northwest Pacific.


Flood relief and rescue efforts have been stepped up in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has been hit by severe flooding. Transport links and water and power supplies in the city of 10 million are severely affected. Flooding across central and southern China has killed 186 people and 45 are missing. The Chinese premier has called upon local authorities across the country to be prepared for further downpours. 32 million people in 26 provinces across China have been affected by severe flooding. 1.4 million people have been relocated. 56,000 houses have collapsed.

Drone footage of the China flooding.
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