Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

Injection Well Shuttered Because of Quakes

State regulators shut down an injection well in north-central Oklahoma following a series of quakes suspected to be related to its operation.

Injection wells are used to dispose of wastewater, laden with salt and toxic chemicals, that is produced by oil and gas wells.

The use of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has allowed a huge expansion of gas wells across Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas in recent years.

All three regions have experienced a sudden emergence of tremors that coincided with the new wells and their accompanying disposal operations.

Dozens of studies have shown a link between the injection wells and earthquakes.

Under a system established by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, wells within a six-mile radius of a magnitude-4.0 earthquake are placed under operating restrictions.

If additional earthquakes occur within six miles of an active well in that area, the commission can order the operator to halt injection while tests are conducted.

The well, operated by SandRidge Energy in Alfalfa County near the Kansas border, is the second active wastewater injection well directed to halt operations by the commission since it began a new monitoring system was established in 2013.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Si201511

Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Fundi), forms near the southern tip of Madagascar, is located approximately 330 nm southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and is tracking southeastward at 05 knots.

NewsBytes:

Balkans, Europe – Snowfall and heavy rain are hammering Europe and bringing deadly floods to the Balkans. Hundreds of families have been evacuated from their homes in Albania and one woman drowned after being swept away by floodwaters. Snow continues to blanket parts of Italy and Spain, where hundreds of motorists were trapped on roadways.

Malawi Update – Unicef says that more than 300,000 people have been displaced by the flooding in Malawi, almost twice as many as previously estimated.

Wildlife

Python Capture Patrols Set Up in Infested South Florida, USA

Florida wildlife officials are asking for volunteers to help control the population of invasive Burmese pythons, which have now spread across the state to the point that it’s impossible to eradicate them.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold monthly sessions to train the general public on how to identify and even capture the troublesome snakes.

But not everyone thinks the civilian python patrols are a good idea.

“This is ridiculous,” University of Florida senior herpetologist Kenneth Krysko told Reuters. “You can’t have Joe Schmo grabbing these snakes.”

He told the news agency that civilian patrols are likely to be ineffective in reducing the python population.

The snakes became the leading predator in Florida’s ecologically sensitive Everglades after some were released as unwanted pets or managed to escape into the wild on their own.

It’s believed that there are now about 150,000 Burmese pythons living in the southern half of the state.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Hundreds of firefighters battling two bushfires in the state are working to strengthen existing containment lines ahead of expected hot and dry windy conditions over the next two days.

Both the Northcliffe and Boddington fires have now been downgraded to watch-and-act alerts after conditions eased on Friday. Firefighters around Northcliffe, in the state’s south-west, worked through the night to build new control lines on the eastern side of the blaze, which still presents a possible threat to lives and homes. The Boddington fire, about 120 kilometres south-east of Perth, was downgraded early this morning, although it was still not contained or controlled.

An earlier emergency warning for another fire burning in parts of Wattleup, Hammond Park and Success Creek in the City of Cockburn, about 30 kilometres south of Perth, was downgraded to a watch and act about 6:00pm.