February 04, 2008

Natural disasters watch ..

Sunday, February 3, 2008 -

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.
Harrison Ford

World map of the quakes in the past 7 days.

This morning quakes in Africa -

Largest quakes yesterday -
2/2/08 -
2/1/08 -

BULGARIA - An earthquake measuring 2 on the Richter scale shook the territory of Strazhitsa municipality in North-eastern Bulgaria early on Saturday. The epicentre of the quake was registered 200 kilometres northeast of the capital Sofia near the village of Asenovo. The mild tremor did not cause damages or casualties but shook people out of bed, scared of a coming earthquake. More than 60 microquakes were registered in the region during the last week.

Earthquakes occurring at the edges of tectonic plates can trigger other events at a distance and much later in time. These doublet earthquakes may hold an underestimated hazard, and may also shed light on earthquake dynamics. 'The last great outer rise earthquakes that occurred were in the 1930s and 1970s. We did not then have the equipment to record the details of those events.' The outer rise is the region seaward of the deep-sea trench that marks the top of the plate boundary. Like pie crust, when the Earth's crust bends, small cracks begin to appear but when the bending becomes severe, a larger region of the crust breaks.

AUSTRALIA - Mega-tsunami theory disputed - Supposed evidence Australia has been subject to prehistoric tsunamis up to 20m in height over the past 10,000 years could just be the result of Aboriginal occupation, a major conference is set to hear tomorrow. Archaeologists from the Australian National University say the theory about the mega-tsunamis, which has influenced the development of emergency service plans in Western Australia, is not supported by evidence. “Our field work would suggest that the shell and coral deposits found high on headlands in WA or further inland are evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the area, and not deposits of mega-tsunamis or other major inundations.” Archaeological deposits in the area have not been disturbed by major inundation for 1000 years, undermining the theory that giant waves had flooded the area once every 400 to 500 years.

CALIFORNIA - For more than 100 years after the Gold Rush, San Francisco Bay shrank by a third as new Californians diked and filled its shallow waters for farms, salt, dumps, ports, airports, homes and businesses. Now the Bay is growing again. Rising temperatures are melting miles-thick glaciers off the land masses of Antarctica and Greenland. Rising seas are nibbling at low-lying land and what's been built on it. In San Mateo County, San Francisco Airport could be under water. In some areas of Palo Alto, water could lap beyond Bayshore Freeway; in Redwood City, it would come close to the freeway. 'We're going to have to build lots of levees. It's a double challenge. Levees have to be big and strong enough to withstand rising water — and to resist an earthquake.' Sea level has already started rising in San Francisco Bay; the Bay rose six inches in the 20th century. 'We know that sea level is rising. We just don't know how fast and how high the water will get.'

ANTARCTICA - any thaw could raise sea levels faster than UN projections. Even if a fraction melted, Antarctica could damage nations from Bangladesh to Tuvalu in the Pacific and cities from Shanghai to New York. It has enough ice to raise sea levels by 57 metres (187 ft) if it melted over thousands of years. Some island nations, such as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are building defences costing millions of dollars and want to know how high to build. East Antarctica is the world's deep freeze with no sign of a thaw. Temperatures were about minus 15 Celsius (5.00F) at the height of the Antarctic summer. Most experts said it is still impossible to model how the ice will react. 'The crux of this problem is that we are moving into an era where WE ARE OBSERVING CHANGES IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM THAT HAVE NEVER BEFORE BEEN SEEN IN HUMAN HISTORY.' Most of the projected sea-level rise by 2100 will be because water in the oceans expands as it warms, with little being added by the ice sheets. Beyond 2100, sea-level rises are likely to go on for centuries. 'IN THE LONG RUN WE ARE IN TROUBLE'...Greenland is close to a 'tipping point',' or an irreversible meltdown that would last hundreds of years. Greenland has enough ice to raise world sea levels by 7 metres if it all vanished.

Projected storm paths .
Cyclone GENE was 886 nmi NNW of Auckland, New Zealand.

MADAGASCAR - Twelve people died in Madagascar after cyclone Fame tore through the western portion of the island, according to a death toll released by the island authorities. The cyclone left another 1,450 people homeless, with 5,024 inhabitants of the island tallied as having been affected somehow by the disaster. Most of the victims came from rural areas - killed by falling trees, collapsing houses, or by drowning. In total, Fame hit six regions to the west of the country. Fame is the first cyclone to wreak havoc in Madagascar since the beginning of the season two months ago.

NAMIBIA - At least one life is believed to have been lost because of heavy rains pummeling some areas in the North, while at least one village is said to be in danger of being swamped by flood waters. Water was racing over the Ompundja bridge at high speed and if this continued, the village of Ompundja could be destroyed. The total number of people at Oshakati affected by flooding was put at around 3,000 people, with about 500 severely affected.

ECUADOR, BOLIVIA, ARGENTINA - Torrential rains have caused widespread flooding in southern Ecuador, eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina, with nearly 50 people killed and thousands made homeless, triggering international humantarian aid to the region. In Bolivia some 45 people have been killed by incessant flooding since November. It is estimated that more than 30,000 families have been affected by the floods, with thousands evacuated from their homes in Bolivia's lowlands. In Ecuador, civil defense officials have reported two children killed when they were swept away by turbulent rivers in the southern region, where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. In northern Argentina, the Pilcomayo and other rivers flowing from waterlogged Bolivia have overflowed their banks leaving some 4,000 people stranded and forcing more than 100 to flee their homes.

AUSTRALIA - Brisbane southern suburbs were hit today by dramatic flash flooding - and there could be more on the way with major downpours predicted for the week. Capalaba, Gumdale, Ransome, Annerley, and Wakerly have already seen a number of roads blocked by the deluge. Low lying areas of other suburbs suffered from flooding due to the massive downpour with 22mm reported over Brisbane city ranging up to a peak of 52mm in Ransome. With rain predicted for all next week there is the possibility total storage levels for dams in the south east could rise above 30 percent for the first time since mid-2006.

MIDDLE EAST - A third undersea fibre optic cable running through the Suez to Sri Lanka was cut Friday. Two other fiber optic cables located near Alexandria, Egypt, were damaged Wednesday leading to a slowdown in Internet and telephone services in the Middle East and South Asia. There are conflicting reports of how the two Alexandria cables were cut. Oman's largest telecom said a tropical storm in the Mediterranean, which forced Egypt to close the northern mouth of the Suez Canal on Tuesday, caused the damage, while the United Arab Emirates' second largest telecom said the cables were cut due to ships dragging their anchors.

INDONESIA - Parts of Jakarta were still inundated on Saturday after wide-spread flooding due to incessant heavy rains paralysed the capital on Friday. Severe flooding also occurred in East Java, Gorontalo and West Sumatra provinces.

PENNSYLVANIA - Friday’s winter storm in Bradford County BROKE A RAINFALL RECORD, closed schools and businesses, and set the stage for crashes.

HONG KONG - A cold weather warning issued by the Hong Kong Observatory was in force for a RECORD-BREAKING tenth day on Saturday. This is their second week of below fifty-degree weather. Hong Kong likes to think it is tropical and technically it is, falling just inside the Tropic of Cancer. Perhaps because of this - or because winter in Hong Kong generally only lasts 8 weeks or so - nothing is heated. That's right. No heat. So indoors it is just about as cold as outdoors - 48 degrees.

CHINA - Worst is not over in weather crisis, China warns - Facing its worst winter in five decades, China on Saturday warned the ordeal is not over yet as troops and authorities worked overtime to restore a semblance of normalcy after severe snowstorms claimed at least 60 lives. 'The most difficult period is still not over yet. The situation remains grim.' More snow and sleet were forecast across the south, where three weeks of storms have destroyed crops, damaged electricity lines and disrupted the transport system. Severe weather conditions have been forecast to continue nationwide until February 8th or 9th. Much needed warmer temperatures are unlikely even after the snowfall ends. UNUSUAL blizzards, rain and harsh weather have thrown the rail and road traffic into a tailspin, with millions of passengers stranded. The cold spell has caused a loss of 7.5 billion dollars. Disruption in rail and road traffic has affected the supplies of coal to power plants whose stocks are depleting fast, adding to the worries of authorities. In central province of Zhejiang, a snowstorm lasted 30 hours, causing snow accumulations of RECORD DEPTHS. 19 provincial regions were hit, affecting nearly 78 million people as of January 28. For the FIRST TIME IN 135 YEARS the economic hub of Shanghai posted a yellow snowstorm alert on Saturday and by this morning, it had received 15 cm of snow. The Shanghai port at the mouth of the Yangtze river was closed as of 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, which stranded more than 1,000 ships and cancelled the departures of 200.
The FREAK weather has even carpeted the arid Taklamakan desert in far-western China with snow. 'NEVER BEFORE had the whole desert been covered.' The transport chaos has strangled distribution of coal leading to what has been called the WORST ENERGY CRISIS IN MEMORY.

WYOMING - “Rawlins has just been pounded with snow. This is a RECORD-BREAKING winter for them...This is a VERY UNUSUAL and difficult storm.” High winds and blowing snow forced the Wyoming Department of Transportation to close Interstate 80 near Rawlins for the fourth straight day on Friday. WYDOT crews were in their 80th consecutive hour of work Friday morning battling whiteout conditions and high winds to scrape and plow a stretch of I-80 in south-central Wyoming. The most difficult spot was west of Rawlins, where overnight winds had completely drifted the snow over westbound I-80.

UTAH - Snowpack ranges from 170 percent of a normal winter in southern Utah to 100 percent at the Idaho border. Alta Ski Area tied a January record with 178.5 inches, and that snowfall's water content of 15.43 inches BROKE THE RECORD from 1996. 'It's the first year in a long time we've had snow cover from one end of the state to the other, north to south.' Northern Utah's winter so far is typical of a La Nina year such as this, when cold surface water temperatures in the South Pacific tend to cause the jet stream to funnel wet weather in from the Pacific Northwest. What's UNUSUAL about this year is that southern Utah is sharing in the wealth, whereas a La Nina usually dries out the American Southwest.

Meteorologists were abuzz about this week's UNUSUAL weather in the U.S. Midwest. 'In Illinois Wednesday, you had a tornado watch and a blizzard warning separated by 50 miles.' You'll generally have a strong pressure gradient with a winter storm; therefore, you will get warm moist air on one side of the storm and snow on the other.

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