Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

In the Western Pacific:

Typhoon Rammasun is located approximately 114 nm west-northwestof Manila, Philippines, and is tracking northwestward at 15 knots.

The typhoon killed at least 10 people as it churned across the Philippines and shut down the capital, cutting power and prompting the evacuation of almost more than 370,000 people.

The eye of Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, passed south of Manila on Wednesday after cutting a path across the main island of Luzon, toppling trees and power lines and causing electrocutions and widespread blackouts.

Government offices, financial markets and schools closed for the day.

Major roads across Luzon were blocked by debris, fallen trees, electricity poles and tin roofs ripped off village houses. The storm uprooted trees in the capital where palm trees lining major arteries were bent over by the wind as broken hoardings bounced down the streets.




Philippines – Tornado in Maguindanao, in the Philippines has destroyed dozens of houses and three school buildings.



Oregon and Washington, USA

A handful of new wildfires, some started by lightning, grew dramatically Tuesday in central Washington, and several threatened homes even as firefighters made progress against a destructive Oregon blaze.

A brush fire that jumped containment lines Tuesday night temporarily closed a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 90 in the central part of the state, said Washington State Transportation Department officials. The highway reopened late Tuesday night.

State firefighting assistance has been ordered for the Stokes Road fire, burning in north-central Washington’s Methow Valley. That lightning-caused fire has grown to 600 acres. Residents of seven homes were told to leave, fire spokesman Jacob McCann said.

Another fire 10 miles north of Leavenworth quickly raced across 200 to 500 acres in heavy timber, sending up a 20,000-foot column of smoke and spitting embers as far as a mile ahead of the main blaze, fire spokesman Daniel O’Connor said. Homes were threatened there too.

That fire, too, was caused by lightning, O’Connor said.

Washington’s largest wildfire, the Mills Canyon blaze near the central Washington town of Entiat, was 40 percent contained Tuesday and holding steady about 35 square miles.

Kittitas Valley firefighters worked to protect farm homes in the Badger Pocket area near Ellensburg from a wildfire burning on the northern edges of the Army’s rugged Yakima Training Center.

Winds forecast as high as 30 mph Wednesday could test the Washington firefighters on all fronts.

In southern Oregon, crews trying to save rural dwellings got help from a natural force they usually dread when winds turned around a spreading wildfire.

That kept the fire from breaking out of a 4-square-mile area near the ranching town of Sprague River where crews were trying to dig containment lines, fire spokeswoman Erica Hupp said Tuesday.

The fire claimed six houses when it broke out Sunday in the Moccasin Hill subdivision, and destroyed 14 other structures, such as barns and garages.

Hupp said it began expanding Monday afternoon, making a run that covered about half the length of a football field. It was in an area where bulldozers hadn’t dug lines.

The flames were moving away from Moccasin Hill, Hupp said, but if the winds hadn’t forced the fire back on itself, other homes in the area would have been threatened.

The fire, which has burned across nearly 4 square miles, or 2,500 acres, was 15 percent contained Tuesday. Hupp said many residents who had been evacuated were back at home.

Hupp said the cause hasn’t been determined, but lightning has been ruled out. Elsewhere in Oregon, weekend lightning has been blamed for dozens of fires.

A stubborn wildfire in Northern California that authorities say was sparked by exhaust from a truck threatened dozens of additional homes on Tuesday.

The Bully Fire around the rural community of Igo in Shasta County was threatening more than 68 structures, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Teresa Rea. Some of those homes were under mandatory evacuation orders, though she didn’t know exactly how many.

Canada – British Columbia

Nearly 70 people have been evacuated as an uncontained wildfire rages in the Cariboo region west of Quesnel, but forestry officials say the Euchiniko Lakes blaze is not threatening any homes.

They say the lightning-caused fire grew significantly Sunday night and has scorched 20-square-kilometres of woodland 120 kilometres west of Quesnel since it was discovered last Tuesday.

Although homes are not in immediate danger, an evacuation order was issued Sunday for two people at the Euchiniko Lake Ranch Lodge, while 66 members of the Kluskus Indian Reserve agreed to evacuate to Quesnel because of fears the flames could cut off roads to the remote region.

Meanwhile, the eight-day-old Red Deer Creek fire, 61 kilometres southeast of Tumbler Ridge is now estimated to cover 38-square-kilometres and is uncontained, keeping three evacuated oil-and-gas camps shutdown.

Forestry officials are battling 63 wildfires across B.C., with 23 considered notable for their size, location or potential danger, and four, including the 62-square-kilometre Chelaslie River blaze in central BC, listed as interface fires threatening homes or properties.

Hot, dry, windy weather is complicating firefighting efforts and with lightning expected in many areas of the province, crews in all six B.C. fire centres remain on high alert.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Katla (Southern Iceland): An increased number of small earthquakes, up to magnitude 2.7, has been occurring near the surface or at very shallow depths under Katla’s ice cap since yesterday. These quakes are most likely related to weight adjustments of the thick ice cap during the ongoing seasonal melting and unlikely to represent a true seismic swarm caused by (internal) volcanic activity. In the meanwhile, the alert (uncertainty level) for the areas around rivers from the Mýrdalsjökull glacier has been cancelled by Iceland authorities.

Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): A new phase of ash emissions occurred this morning and was observed on satellite imagery. An ash plume rose to 23,000 ft (7 km) and drifted north.

Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands): The currently fastest growing island of the world remains active, with both effusive (lava flows enlarging the island) and explosive activity (strombolian and phreatomagmatic = water-magma explosions). Recent satellite images collected by Culture Volcan prove that over the past month, lava flows have been mostly active towards the eastern part and shore of the island, where a new platform has been built.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): During the past 10 days, activity at the volcano has been relatively low, with 1-2 small to moderate vulcanian-type explosions registered on average per day.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity seems to have been a bit higher today, as the report of INSIVUMEH’s volcano observatory suggests. A moderate explosion was observed this morning, causing light ash fall towards the SW in the area of Finca El Rosario Palajunoj. The active lava flow from the eastern rim of the Caliente dome continues to advance slowly within the 9 May collapse scar. A hot lahar descended yesterday through the Nima I river valley. For a great visualization of the topography and recent evolution of the viscous lava flow of Santiaguito, have a look at an excellent recent article on Culture Volcan.

Fuego (Guatemala): Strombolian activity continues at the volcano. Incandescent material is being ejected to up to 200 m height and ash plumes rise to up to 800 m. The recent, short-lived lava flow has disappeared.