Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

California, USA – A powerhouse storm slammed into southern California on Friday, bringing flash floods and mudslides and leading to traffic chaos across much of the region. A flood on the southern Santa Barbara County coast swept several cabins and vehicles down El Capitan Canyon, the Associated Press said. Photos on social media showed cars and buildings buried in mud. The storm is forecast to bring heavy snow across portions of the Sierra later on Friday and into Saturday. It will also dump snow and rain across much of Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico over the weekend. The torrential downpours overwhelmed a levee in a farming area near Hollister Friday, sending flood waters rushing through a breach and swamping farms and homes in the region.

Thailand – Persistent rain throughout Friday caused flooding to several districts of the southern provinces of Songkhla, Narathiwat Pattani, Trang and Yala early Saturday. The ground floors of several buildings, including the parking lot of a Tesco Lotus store in the municipality, were inundated. It was the third outbreak of flooding in Songkhla municipality since the start of the year. In Saba Yoi district, Ban Lae Baeng village was flooded for the fourth time this year.

Philippines – At least four areas in Mindanao, including the cities of Valencia and Cagayan de Oro, have been placed under a state of calamity as widespread flooding brought about by heavy rains this week displaced thousands of residents. No storm passed through the island but a low pressure area and the tail end of a cold front dumped heavy rains that submerged communities, business centres and farmlands on the island.

Disease

Human infection with avian influenza virus – Uganda

According to a news report by TV Uganda, 20 people from the various islands across the country are feared to have caught bird flu according to ministry of health spokesperson Vivian Nakalika. Surveillance has been stepped up and blood samples have been taken from the suspected victims to further the investigations.

Yellow Fever – Brazil – Update

In a follow-up on the yellow fever outbreak in Brazil, through the first 18 days of 2017, 206 suspected and probable cases of yellow fever were reported, including 53 deaths in Minas Gerais state, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This is up from 110 cases and 30 deaths reported one week ago.

Seoul Virus – USA

A virus rarely seen in the United States recently infected eight people in Wisconsin and Illinois who were working in facilities where pet rats are bred, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Authorities first became aware of the infections when two people in Wisconsin who operated a rat-breeding facility fell ill in December 2016, with one going to the hospital. Both breeders tested positive for Seoul virus, which is part of the Hantavirus family, a group of viruses that typically infect rodents, the CDC said.

Health officials then discovered that the Wisconsin breeders had purchased rats from two rat-breeding facilities in Illinois, and tests showed that six people who worked at the Illinois facilities were infected with the same virus.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Chile

Chile declared a state of emergency Friday as more than a dozen wildfires that have scorched nearly 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) threatened to encroach on towns, factories and vineyards.

Firefighters, forestry service personnel and members of the military were battling 18 separate blazes in the centre and south of the country that have been fuelled by strong winds and a heat wave.

The largest has consumed 24,000 hectares in and around Pumanque, a rural area 140 kilometres (87 miles) south of the capital, Santiago, that is near some of Chile’s vineyards.

 

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Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 11 January-17 January 2017 – Cont.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile : The Buenos Aires VAAC reported that on 13 January an ash puff recorded by a webcam rose from Nevados de Chillán and quickly dissipated. On 15 January a narrow ash plume observed in satellite images, by a pilot, and recorded by a webcam drifted W and dissipated.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 6-13 January lava-dome extrusion onto Sheveluch’s N flank was accompanied by strong fumarolic activity, dome incandescence, ash explosions, and hot avalanches. Satellite images showed a daily thermal anomaly over the dome. The Aviation Color Code remained at Orange.

Sinabung | Indonesia : Based on PVMBG observations, webcam views, and satellite images, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 11-17 January ash plumes from Sinabung rose to altitudes of 4-7.3 km (13,000-24,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NNE, E, SE, and S.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : Based on JMA notices and satellite-image analyses, the Tokyo VAAC reported that on 17 January an ash plume from Suwanosejima rose to an altitude of 1.2 km (4,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Washington, USA – Extreme weather conditions triggered chaos across the state Wednesday, closing Interstate 90 over the Cascade Mountains until at least Thursday morning, flooding some roadways and homes in the Puget Sound lowlands and closing down schools across Eastern Washington. Meanwhile, in the Western Washington lowlands, heavy rain and flooding are wreaking havoc, with standing water covering many roadways. Over two inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period at Sea-Tac Airport. Near Forks.

Singapore – Flash floods hit Upper Thomson Road after heavy rain on Thursday afternoon.

Wildlife

Vampire Bats get Human Appetite

Vampire bats in northeastern Brazil have been feasting on the blood of humans at night in a significant shift of diet away from the flying mammal’s typical menu of blood from birds.

DNA analysis of vampire bat excrement collected around Catimbau National Park revealed traces of blood from both humans and domestic chickens.

Encroachment by humans into vampire bat habitats, and the destruction of bird habitats through deforestation, could be causing a rapid evolutionary change that is driving the bats to feed on humans to survive.

Dolphin Deaths

At least 82 dolphins known as false killer whales died after mysteriously becoming stranded along the coast of South Florida, USA. Thirteen others are missing after being spotted off Everglades National Park.

It was the largest number of fatalities for the species ever observed between Key West and Tampa Bay.

Global Warming

The disappearing fishing villages of Bangladesh

A row of mangrove trees sticking out of the sand, exposed by low tide off Kutubdia island in the Bay of Bengal, is all that remains of a coastal village that for generations was home to 250 families. The villagers were forced to flee as their land, which had been slowly eroding for decades, was finally engulfed by the ever-rising tide five years ago.

For the embattled people of Ali Akbar Dial, a collection of disappearing villages on the southern tip of the island in Bangladesh, the distant trees serve as a bittersweet reminder of what they have lost and a warning of what is come. The low-lying island of Kutubdia has one of the fastest-ever sea level rises recorded in the world, placing it bang on the front line of climate change, and the islanders are fighting a battle they fear is already lost.

Tides that once stopped short of the three-metre-high concrete embankment, built by the government to protect the island, now flood over it and the embankment is damaged in many places. While no scientific monitoring is done here, sea level rise of 8mm a year over 20 years has been recorded at Cox’s Bazar, 50 miles away on the mainland. This is nearly three times the level for Bangladesh as a whole and up to five times the world average.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 110.0 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 degrees Celsius) in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia..

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 59.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 50.6 degrees Celsius) at Oimyakon, Siberia.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

A large, fast-moving bushfire has steered away from about 60 homes which were under threat on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, but firefighters are yet to bring the blaze under control. Currently, 37 fire crews and four water-bombing aircraft are trying to control the fire. Coolum Surf Club has been opened as an evacuation centre. The fire started in a national park and broke containment lines on Thursday afternoon. The fire burned an area of more than 540ha on Thursday night. Residents have been warned to evacuate or defend their homes.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 11 January-17 January 2017

Colima | Mexico : Based on webcam and satellite images, and the Mexico City MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that during 11-17 January ash plumes from Colima rose to altitudes of 4.1-6.4 km (15,000-24,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery, model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 11-17 January ash plumes from Dukono rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted almost 300 km N, NE, E, and SE.

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : During 11-17 January HVO reported that the lava lake continued to rise and fall, circulate, and spatter in Kilauea’s Overlook vent. Webcams recorded incandescence from long-active sources within Pu’u ‘O’o Crater and from a vent high on the NE flank of the cone. The 61G lava flow, originating from a vent on Pu’u ‘O’o Crater’s E flank, continued to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Active surface flows near Pu’u ‘O’o advanced ESE; one branch was 2.4 km from the vent on 12 January.

Langila | New Britain (Papua New Guinea) : Based on analyses of satellite imagery and wind data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 12-13 and 15 January ash plumes from Langila rose to an altitude of 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ESE and SE.

Nevado del Ruiz | Colombia : Based on information from Servicio Geológico Colombiano (SGC), the Washington VAAC reported that on 13 January an ash emission rose from Nevado del Ruiz to an altitude of 7 km (23,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N. Weather clouds prevented satellite views of the emission, and the webcam recorded gas-and-steam emissions with possible ash content.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits central Italy.

5.2 Earthquake hits central Italy.

5.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 Earthquake hits eastern Sichuan, China.

5.0 Earthquake hits the western Indian-Antarctic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

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Italy – An avalanche has buried a mountainside hotel in central Italy, and civil protection officials said on Thursday that up to 30 people were missing, citing local officials. The avalanche came after four earthquakes struck the region on Wednesday, prompting officials to close schools and the subway system in Rome, about 100 miles to the southwest, as a precaution.

Philippines – Forest loss blamed for Mindanao floods. Continued tree-cutting in the hinterlands of Northern Mindanao region has led to the massive flooding that submerged Cagayan de Oro City and nearby areas on Monday. When flash floods hit a certain area, there’s only one reason for that. It means there are no trees in the mountains to hold the rainwater. Deforestation and the unabated cutting of trees in the mountains of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental [provinces] are seen as the possible cause of these flash floods.

Global Warming

2016 Was Earth’s Hottest Year on Record

2016 was the hottest year on Earth since record keeping began more than 130 years ago, and humans are mostly to blame, scientists reported today

Last year’s average temperatures over land and sea surfaces were the highest ever seen since 1880, and were 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit (0.94 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average, according to scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Across the planet, there was not a single land area that experienced lower-than-average temperatures for the year, they said.

In fact, 2016 marks the third consecutive record-warm year for the globe. Every month from January through August became the warmest such month on record, according to NOAA. Moreover, the 16 successive months from May 2015 to August 2016 either broke or tied the previous record for that month, the researchers said.

The poles are also feeling the heat. An estimate of the average annual sea-ice extent in 2016 in the Arctic was the lowest annual average on record: 3.92 million square miles (10.1 million square kilometres). The Arctic was almost 7.2 degrees F (4 degrees C) warmer in 2016 than it was in preindustrial times.

The El Niño (a climate cycle characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean) that spanned 2015 and 2016 contributed to the warmer temperatures, but the vast majority of the warming — 90 percent — was due to human activity, mainly through the emission of greenhouse gases.

Dec2016 sea land temps