Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the South Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 09s (Nine), located approximately 445 nm north of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking west-southwestward at 10 knots.

Newsbytes:

Botswana _ Floods wrecked havoc in the area from Makalamabedi to Mokubilo, with Mokobaxane being the hardest hit on Sunday. During the weekend, floods appeared to overrun the village pouring in from a neighbouring pan, immersing structures and collapsing many buildings. Many of the residents ended up spending the night in the open as the rains drenched them.

UK – Nine flood warnings and 45 flood alerts were in place for areas mainly in the west of England and throughout Wales following heavy overnight rain.

Wildlife

Whale ‘Scratchathon’

A leading British marine biologist says that he has found that sperm whales gather in groups as large as 70 to engage in a mass “scratchathon,” during which they exfoliate their outer skin.

Luke Rendell of the University of St. Andrews was studying the social life of the whales when he made the discovery.

“The shedding of skin is part of a natural antifouling mechanism to stop them being encrusted with other marine animals and parasites.” said Rendell. New Scientist reports he found that the whales “love touching against each other,” and can engage in the group grooming and frolicking for hours or days at a time.

On the Brink

No more than 30 miniature porpoises with cartoon like features are left in the northern Gulf of California, where experts are now considering keeping some in sea pens to prevent the marine mammals from going extinct.

Since 2011, 90 percent of the snub-nosed vaquita population has fallen victim to Asian appetites for an endangered fish called the totoaba, which swim in the same Mexican waters.

The porpoises get trapped and drowned in the curtains of illegal gill nets set to catch the totoaba, which can earn Chinese restaurants thousands of dollars each.

Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 109.0 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius) in Kedougou, Senegal.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 70.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 56.7 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

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 – Texas, USA

Firefighters have more fully contained two large wildfires in West Texas, including one that destroyed four homes and prompted the evacuation of nearly 1,200 others.

Texas A&M Forest Service spokesman Phillip Truitt said Wednesday that a fire in Swisher County is now 85 percent contained after burning about 2,200 acres and threatening the town of Tulia, about 50 miles south of Amarillo.

He says a fire in Hockley County, west of Lubbock, also is 85 percent contained after burning about 8,500 acres and spreading near the town of Sundown.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 22 February-28 February 2017

Etna | Sicily (Italy) : INGV reported that Strombolian activity at Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC) cone that began on 23 January gradually began to intensify at 1700 on 27 February. A lava flow quickly reached the base of the cone and traveled SW towards Monte Frumento Supino. Ash plumes drifted E and caused ashfall in Zafferana and Linguaglossa.

Pacaya | Guatemala : INSIVUMEH reported that during 21-28 February weak Strombolian explosions at Pacaya’s Mackenney cone ejected material as high as 20 m above the crater rim. Lava flows traveled 150 m NW towards Cerro Chino cone, and 75 m W.

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that during 25-26 February observers noted ejections of material from the active vent at Piton de la Fournaise. Lava was mainly transported through a lava tube, and a few branches coming from the end of the tube remained active. Late at night on 26 February tremor began to decline, and ceased at 1010 the next morning. Mid-day on 27 February observers confirmed that no material was being ejected from the vent, and that only white plumes were rising; gas emissions ceased at 1930.