Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone (tc) 04a (Nilofar), located approximately 294 nm east of Masirah Island, and is tracking northeastward at 05 knots.

Tropical Cyclone Nilofar will be far from the dangerous cyclone it strengthened into earlier this week when it impacts India and Pakistan, but localized downpours are still a threat, however.

Nilofar reached its peak intensity on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of nearly 215 kph (135 mph), making Nilofar a very severe cyclonic storm and the equivalent of a minimal Category 4 hurricane in the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins.

Nilofar is now losing its battle with disruptive wind shear (strong winds above the surface) which as caused the cyclone to weaken to the equivalent of a tropical storm. Nilofar will continue to weaken through Friday.

NewsBytes:

Norway – Heavy rainfall in western Norway has caused severe damage to infrastructure and constructions. Many are left homeless. Houses, sheds washed away by Opoelva in Odda, Hordaland County. Hundreds evacuated from their homes in the region. Floods and landslides close over 20 roads. Worst flooding since 1892.

Disease

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 19 October 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China notified WHO of 2 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including 1 death.

WHO continues to closely monitor the H7N9 situation and conduct risk assessment. So far, the overall risk associated with the H7N9 virus has not changed.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): The effusive eruption that had started on 7 August seems to be ending: the lava flow emitted from the 650 m vent at the eastern base of the summit crater complex has decreased a lot two days ago and seems to have almost (or completely) stopped by today. INGV Catania reports strong degassing from the summit vents.

Bardarbunga (Iceland): Huge lava effusion rates continue to characterize the ongoing eruption at the Holuhraun fissure. There are no signs of the eruption ending soon. Earthquakes continue to be frequent under the central volcano’s caldera.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): An ash plume was reported last evening rising to approx. 30,000 ft (9 km) altitude and extending east (Tokyo VAAC). Most likely, a collapse of a part of the growing lava dome (or an explosion) occurred. In the first case, the ash plume is likely associated with a pyroclastic flow.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): This afternoon, the lava flow continued to move through private property and gets ever closer to the Pahoa village road. The leading edge of the flow was advancing about 10 m (11 yd) per hour this afternoon. It flow moved downslope about 125 m (136 yd) over the past 24 hours. The flow width was less than about 50 meters (55 yards) at the leading edge. As of 4:15 pm (29 Oct local time), the flow was about 185 m (202 yd) in a straight line distance from Pāhoa Village Road and about 775 meters (850 yd) in a straight-line distance from Highway 130. The lava lobe south of the main flow and upslope of Apa`a Street was not active today, but there were a couple of small breakouts on the north side of the flow that have advanced 70 to 110 m (75 to 120 yd) in the past day. (HVO’s latest update)

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Overall, the volcano’s activity has remained unchanged. Occasional explosions produce ash plumes that rise 1-2 km above the volcano. Yesterday, the volcano was a bit more active and had 5 such eruptions. Overnight incandescence is observed comming from the central and east sector of the crater.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): The viscous lava flow on the eastern side continues to advance slowly. No significant explosive activity from the lava dome has been reported recently.

Fuego (Guatemala): The volcano’s activity has been stable over the past weeks. Mild to moderate strombolian explosions continue. Yesterday, the observatory reported 11 weak explosions (ash plumes rising up to 500 m) and 13 moderate ones (ash plumes up to 800 m). The plumes drifted SE and W for approx. 10 km before dissipating. Light ash fall occurred in downwind areas. The explosions at the summit produce incandescent avalanches on the upper slopes of the volcano.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone (tc) 04a (Nilofar), located approximately 203 nm south-southeast of Masirah island, and is tracking northward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

China – Rain-triggered landslide in Yunnan Province of China has claimed the lives of at least nine people.

Sri Lanka – At least six people were killed and about 300 were missing in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday after an early morning landslide set off by heavy monsoon rains. About 150 homes at the Meeriyabedda tea plantation in the district of Badulla, most of them small rooms constructed in a line and attached to one another, were crushed under mud around 7:30 a.m. It had been raining for days in the area, disaster management officials said. Beyond the recovered bodies, many more are believed to be beneath 10 to 15 feet of mud.

Disease

Ebola: Who is patient zero?

Before the virus ravaged West Africa, before the deaths soared into the thousands, before the outbreak triggered global fears, Ebola struck a toddler named Emile Ouamouno.

Virtually no one knew the 2-year-old by name. Now the world knows him as patient zero.

Researchers from The New England Journal of Medicine believe Emile was the first person to contract the disease in the current outbreak almost a year ago.

It’s not clear exactly how the boy, who lived in a rainforest village in southern Guinea, got infected.

Ebola can be spread from animals to humans through infected fluids or tissue.

“In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines,” according to the World Health Organization.

In December, Emile had a fever, black stool and started vomiting. Four days later, on December 6, he was dead.

Within a month, so were his 4-year-old sister, his mother and his grandmother.

The mother suffered bleeding symptoms and died on December 13. Then, the toddler’s 3-year-old sister died December 29, with symptoms including fever, vomiting and black diarrhea. The grandmother passed away January 1.

Taiwan – Dengue Fever Outbreak

Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday raised the alarm level over an epidemic of dengue fever, which has caused seven deaths this year.

As of Tuesday, Taiwan has reported 7,439 cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease. Among them, there were 59 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially fatal complication, including seven deaths in the southern city of Kaohsiung.

CDC Director-General Steve Kuo said the number of cases of this year’s outbreak had broken Taiwan’s 2002 record, when over 6,000 cases, including 19 deaths, were reported.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kilauea (Hawai’i): Today’s preliminary reports from Pahoa indicate the lava flow is only advancing around 10m/hr after having consumed a small shack on private property, and is still threatening other structures nearby. The slowing comes as lava fills a small depression in the topography, with steeper ground and faster movement rates expected ahead. Based on current projections, the lava will most likely cross Pahoa Village Road sometime tomorrow, though with lots of uncertainty as there has been no increase yet in the flow’s speed.

Residents and visitors have been cycling through the main village road, which has been partially closed as the utility company installs new, taller power poles to move wires farther from the heat of the lava, while continuing to insulate the base of the poles against burning. A similar approach has been effective so far on Apa`a Rd, though the lava is likely to expand and test these defences further in coming weeks.

Dukono (Halmahera): Explosive activity at the volcano continues. An ash plume at estimated 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude was seen drifting 45 nautical miles to the east on satellite data today (VAAC Darwin).

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 04a (Nilofar), located approximately 317 nm south-southeast of Masirah island, and is tracking northward at 02 knots.

Tropical Storm Hanna forms from Tropical Depression 9 and then dissipates in the eastern Caribbean. The remnants located about 95 mi…150 km WSW of Cabo Gracias a Dios on nic/Hon border with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…W or 270 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

Heavy rains still expected to continue over Honduras and northern Nicaragua.

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Wildlife

Great Barrier Reef’s Biggest Threat is Coal

A recent report found that the Great Barrier Reef had lost 50% of its living coral. This was mainly from cyclones and the damages of Crown of Thorns starfish. Then there are the new threats of coral bleaching and acidification.

This issue of coal lies at the heart of current threats to the Great Barrier Reef, and symbolizes an economic mindset that reef lovers everywhere are up against. Our government has decided that Australia’s economic future lies in selling cheap coal to China and India. To do this the Federal and Queensland state governments need to expand existing coal ports on the Reef because these provide the cheapest and quickest shipping routes to Asia.

Quite apart from discouraging investment in renewable energy by backing fossil fuels, this decision has fraught implications for the health of the Reef and its waters.

Because the reef is too shallow for massive container ships, the new coal ports all entail extensive dredging of the seafloor. Thankfully public agitation has temporarily deflected the government’s original plan to dump three million cubic meters of dredged silt from Abbot Point into the reef channel, where it would choke corals and swamp sea grasses. Even so, dredging will stir up immense amounts of sediment as well as coral-threatening bacteria.

The vastly increased tonnage of container ships churning up and down the tricky reef channel represents a further threat from reef accidents and oil spillages, both of which have occurred a number of times in the recent past. There are plans, too, for several new mega-sized coal mines to be opened nearby, requiring similar access to the Great Barrier coastline and lagoon.

To call this policy short-sighted is an understatement. It sacrifices one of the wonders of the world and a substantial economic asset for Australian tourism; and this at a time when even China is trying to wean itself from using polluting coal.

Coal may prove to be an even bigger threat than the crown of thorns starfish which wasted coral reefs all along Australia – because it is something the reef has never seen and it is on an industrial scale that could threaten even this biggest biological structure on Earth. And all to help China pollute their own air! What happens after you build all these ports, you export the coal and China turns to their vast supplies of natural gas? Dead reef and a dead exporting business!

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Kilauea (Hawai’i): Lava flow only hours away from Pahoa houses The flow continues to remain active and has advanced approximately 275 yards since yesterday morning. The flow front is currently moving in a northeast direction and is approximately 100 yards from the nearest residential property. The flow advancement has been inconsistent however averaging approximately 10-15 yards per hour.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits south of Java, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 04a (Nilofar), located approximately 384 nm south-southeast of Masirah Island, and is tracking west-northwestward at 04 knots. The system is expected to continue to intensify through the next 36 hours as the favourable upper-level environment continues to support.

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Stromboli (Eolian Islands, Italy): No major changes have occurred at the volcano: Lava effusion continues from the 650 m vent and feeds active lava flows on the upper Sciara del Fuoco. From the lava flow fronts, incandescent blocks detach and roll down the slope. Tremor has decreased to the lowest values measured during the past months and strombolian activity at the summit craters has almost disappeared.

Bardarbunga (Iceland): The eruption continues with no significant changes. Earthquakes continue to be intense under the Bárðarbunga caldera. The largest today was a magnitude 5.3 event at 01:05 local time under the southwestern rim. Two quakes over 4 occurred at the caldera, an M4.6 at 17:34 yesterday and an M4.3 at 05:48 this morning, as well as a few over 3 in size. A dozen earthquakes were detected in the dike, all small.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): After crossing Apaʻa Street and the cemetery, lava flows continue to advance towards the inhabited main part of Pahoa.