Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the northern mid-Atlantic ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits the Lombok region, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits Monagas, Venezuela.

5.0 earthquake hits the Dodecanese Islands, Greece.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 25s (Lorna), located approximately 695 nm southwest of Cocos Island, is tracking south-southwestward at 09 knots.

In the Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone (tc) 01b (One), located approximately 450 nm east-southeast of Chennai, India, is tracking northwestward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Mozambique – Tens of thousands of people in the far north of Mozambique are bracing for violent flooding as torrential rain pushes up water levels, after the death and devastation wrought by Cyclone Kenneth. The first floods have already been seen in some parts of Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, as well as in surrounding areas, lashed by heavy rain since daybreak. Fields on the outskirts of the city that had been lush green just a day earlier were now brown with floodwater. According to a preliminary toll published Sunday by the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), five people have died, more than 23,000 people are without shelter and nearly 35,000 homes have been either partly or completely destroyed.

Canada – Over 6,500 people were told to quickly leave their homes near Montreal over the weekend after floodwaters breached a dike in rain-soaked eastern Canada. According to the latest government data, nearly 8,000 people have been forced from their homes in Quebec – more than in 2017, during what was then the area’s worst flooding in half a century. The barrier protecting Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, just west of Montreal, gave way last Saturday night, causing a surge of water of up to 1.5m to crash through the area. Hundreds of policemen, firefighters and soldiers helped evacuate nearly 2,600 homes in the area, a provincial police spokesman said.

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Indonesia – At least 17 people are dead and nine missing after days of heavy rain-triggered floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, authorities said Sunday. Some 12,000 people have been evacuated while hundreds of buildings, bridges and roads have been damaged by the severe weather which affected nine districts or towns across Bengkulu province. The waters have receded in some places but officials warned the full extent of the damage was not yet known and some areas were still cut off.

Wildlife

All the Babies in This Massive Penguin Colony Keep Drowning

The second-largest colony of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the world appears to be collapsing, after rough seas drowned all of its babies three winters in a row.

The Halley Bay colony once accounted for 5 to 9% of the global emperor penguin population, according to the British Antarctic Survey (BAC), which reported the catastrophe. That amounted to about 15,000 to 24,000 adult breeding pairs. But in 2016, the sea-ice platform on which the colony was raising its babies collapsed during rough weather, throwing infant penguins unable to swim into the frigid water. In 2017 and 2018, the rough weather pattern repeated itself.

“For the last 60 years, the sea-ice conditions in the Halley Bay site have been stable and reliable,” the BAC said in a statement. “But in 2016, after a period of abnormally stormy weather, the sea ice broke up in October, well before any emperor chicks would have fledged. This pattern was repeated in 2017 and again in 2018 and led to the death of almost all the chicks at the site each season.”

The birds arrive at the site from their summer sea jaunts each April to breed; for the resulting chicks to survive, the site has to remain stable throughout the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, which lasts until December. These findings, based on satellite images and published April 25 in the journal Antarctic Science, were verified when researchers visited the region.

By 2018, a handful of adults — a “few hundred,” or about 2 percent of the original population — turned up at the Halley Bay site, the researchers reported. The remaining colony appeared in disarray, with adults moving closer to the ice edge than is typical, and was difficult to count scattered among the roughened chunks of ice.

“Whether the adult birds here were failed breeders or non-breeders is difficult to assess from imagery alone,” the researchers wrote.

The good news is that at least some of the colony appears to have moved, rather than died out. The Dawson-Lambton Glacier colony 34 miles (55 kilometers) to the south has significantly swelled in numbers since the devastation of Halley Bay, the BAC reported. That colony, which had hit a low of just 1,280 pairs in the 2015 season, swelled in each succeeding year. In 2016, it reached 5,315 pairs. In 2017, there were 11,117 pairs. And by 2018, a full 14,612 pairs set up camp at the site.

Those numbers are still lower than the original Halley Bay total, but suggest that a significant number of penguins have figured out that it’s better to move than return to the especially dangerous site.

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