Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits the Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Peru-Brazil border.

5,0 Earthquake hits the Bismarck Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 09s (Stan), located approximately 52 nm east-northeast of Port Hedland, Australia, is tracking south-southeastward at 08 knots.

Tropical Cyclone Stan, the first cyclone of the season for Australia, is expected to bring potentially damaging wind gusts and heavy rain in Western Australia. A Red Alert has been issued for people between Port Hedland and Wallal, including Pardoo, Eighty Mile and Wallal. People in these regions should immediately move to shelters.

NewsBytes:

Australia – A severe storm caused havoc in Sydney and other parts of New South Wales and the ACT. Driving rainfall and hail has smashed Sydney’s west and northwest, with 36mm of rain falling at Strathfield in just 15 minutes and 42mm received at Goulburn, causing flash flooding and power outages across the region..

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.0 Earthquake hits Kamchatka, Russia.

5.3 Earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.1 Earthquake hits Coquimbo, Chile.

5.1 Earthquake hits Kamchatka, Russia.

5.0 Earthquake hits the State of Yap, Micronesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the coast of northern California.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 09s (Stan), located approximately 97 nm north of Port Hedland, Australia, is tracking south-southeastward at 04 knots.

Stan is expected to become a category three cyclone when it makes landfall near Port Hedland late on Saturday morning.

NewsBytes:

British Columbia, Canada – An avalanche near McBride, British Columbia in Canada has claimed the lives of five people on Friday. Two others were injured.

Scotland = Heavy rain, extremely high winds, blizzards and floods are forecast to batter the north-east today and over the rest of the weekend as Storm Gertrude moves over northern Britain.

Disease

Zika virus infection – United States of America – United States Virgin Islands

On 25 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point for the United States of America notified PAHO/WHO of the first laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in St. Croix, one of the three main islands in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus – Lao People’s Democratic Republic

On 17 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point (NFP) of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) notified WHO of 2 additional cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1). Both cases are from Longsane district, Xaisomboun Province.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Thailand

On 24 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Thailand notified WHO of 1 laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. This is the country’s second case of MERS-CoV infection (see DON published on 10 July 2015).

Bird Flu in Nigeria

Avian Influenza, popularly referred to as bird flu, is now in 18 states in Nigeria and has affected over 2.5 million chickens and is spreading fast.

By the last count, as of yesterday (Thursday), not less than 2.5 million chickens have been infected and over 700 farms have been affected nationwide. From one incidence in one state and moving to two states, it has increased and by now it is in not less than 18 states – according to local health authorities.

Newcastle Disease in the Philippines

The confirmation of an outbreak of the contagious and fatal Newcastle disease (ND) virus in Tarlac has spurred the Department of Agriculture (DA) to urge poultry stakeholders and fighting cock aficionados not to transport their animals to other regions.

Meningitis Outbreak in Ghana

Health authorities in central Ghana have denied that there is a meningitis outbreak in the country’s Ashanti region.

The Ashanti regional health directorate claimed that they were only nine people who had tested positive after critical tests were done, according to Citi News.

Reports, however, indicate that at least 32 people have died in the west African country since the outbreak of the disease four weeks ago.

According to Ghana web, more than 100 cases of Pneumococcal Meningitis have been reported in the country’s southern region of Brong-Ahafo region.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Activity at the volcano seems to be increasing again. Constant glow and incandescent rockfalls at the active lava dome are visible on webcam imagery. Based on satellite data, an eruption (explosion or pyroclastic flow) was reported this morning to have produced an ash plume that rose to 24,000 ft (7.3 km) altitude and drifted west.

Colima (Western Mexico): Intermittent explosions of varying size continue, producing ash plumes that rise 1-3 km above the volcano.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): The volcano’s lava dome has filled the inner crater, CENAPRED observed during an overflight on 27 January. The high level of the dome explains the relatively strong glow visible at night. According to CENAPRED, it is likely that small to moderate explosions in the coming days will destroy the dome again (as happened numerous times in the past during the current eruptive cycle of Popo). During the past few days, activity has been at average to low levels with 2-5 small explosions that generated ash plumes dispersing into easterly directions.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Babuyan Islands in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone 09s (Stan), located approximately 157 nm north-northwest of Port Hedland, Australia, is tracking south-southeastward at 05 knots.

Invest 90C is an area of disturbed weather in the Central Pacific that has the potential for tropical development.

NewsBytes:

Florida, USA – At least two people were injured after a tornado touched down in Coconut Creek, Florida. The tornado picked up cars and uprooted several trees at Broward College.

Environment

Locusts Swarming Across Northern Argentina

Argentina’s worst locust swarms since 1954 are threatening to devour crops in three northern provinces.

The insects first appeared last June, when a mild and wet southern winter allowed the swarms to spread to Catamarca, Santiago del Estero and Córdoba provinces.

Farmers complain they had to fight the infestations on their own until the swarms grew so large that the government finally stepped in.

The agricultural inspection agency Senasa says that if they fail to eradicate the pests before the insects develop into flying swarms in early February, the locusts could devour crops like sunflowers and cotton, as well as grasslands for grazing cattle.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit (42.6 degrees Celsius) at Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 63.8 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53.2 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Siberian outpost of Verkhoyansk.

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 Are Burning Some of the World’s Oldest Trees

Northwest Tasmania is home to part of the Gondwana forest. It’s a stretch of primeval-looking temperate rainforest, much like the one found in the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic National Park. Trees more than 1,000 years old tower above ancient ferns, forming a connection to the distant past. It’s why the region has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But that connection is being broken by climate change. Fuelled by extremely dry conditions that stretch back two years, major bushfires have raged across the region, sending a millennia of history up in smoke. As the world gets hotter and drier, it’s likely that the connection to the past could be even more tenuous.

More than 89,000 acres have burned since lightning ignited around 100 bushfires early last week. They were sparked in the wake of the driest spring on record for the region. El Niño likely played a role in that record as the climate phenomenon usually dries out Tasmania and the eastern part of Australia.

Because fire is so rare in these temperate rainforests, the trees that live there are ill-adapted to deal with large blazes. So when the current fires lit up, they attacked a forest with few natural defences.

When the fires die down to embers, they’ll leave behind a landscape vastly different than the one before it. Trees like the King Billy Pine and fagus — a beech tree and the only winter-deciduous tree in Australia — could be burned out of their range on Tasmania. These trees have spent millions of years adapting to slow climate changes. But the current rate of change is unlikely anything the world has seen in millions of years.

Satellite image tasmania bushfires

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Karymsky (Kamchatka): The typically intermittent explosive activity at the volcano has been elevated during the past days. Several ash plumes up to altitudes of up to 22,000 ft (7 km) have been reported by Tokyo VAAC during the past days.

Dukono (Halmahera): The volcano continues to produce near-continuous ash emissions from its crater, that generate plumes drifting up to 100-150 km in various directions.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): No significant changes have occurred during the past weeks at the volcano. Magma is slowly rising and growing a flat dome in the inner summit crater. Trapped, pressurized gasses cause small to moderate explosions with more or less intense ash emissions from time to time, typically a few per day.

Unfavourable wind conditions drifted ash plumes over Puebla’s airport yesterday, prompting its temporary closure between yesterday afternoon and this morning.

During the past 24 hours, CENAPRED recorded 8 explosions, the strongest of which at 01:50 local time ejected many incandescent bombs to up to 900 m on the NE flank.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Scotland – According to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), heavy rainfall during early Wednesday has led to significant flooding in parts of the area, particularly from the rivers Teviot and Jed in the south west parts of the area. Around 600 people have been evacuated from low-lying parts of Hawick after severe flood warnings were issued in the area.

Gaza – Scores of Palestinian families in Rafah were evacuated yesterday after their homes were flooded by rainwater.

Australia – A freak thunderstorm has wreaked havoc on Geelong, leaving cars submerged in floodwaters and houses inundated. More than double the month’s average rainfall of 31mm pelted Avalon in just one hour, with the day’s total reaching 72mm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The bureau said the afternoon’s rainfall was “equivalent to a one-in-100-year event”.

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Disease

Lassa Fever – Nigeria – Update

The National IHR Focal Point of Nigeria has notified WHO of different outbreaks of Lassa fever occurring in the country.

Between August 2015 and 23 January 2016, 159 suspected cases of Lassa fever, including 82 deaths, were reported across 19 states. Investigations are ongoing and a retrospective review of cases is currently being performed; therefore, these figures are subject to change.

Zika virus infection – Dominican Republic

On 23 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point for the Dominican Republic notified PAHO/WHO of 10 laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus infection.

Typhoid in South Africa – Update

The small outbreak of typhoid fever that was reported in Gauging has now spread to the Western Cape. Three cases of typhoid fever have been reported in the Western Cape, the provincial health department said on Thursday.