MAGNITUDE 4.8 – NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Subject To Change
Depth: 20 km
Distances: 68 km SE of Kawasaki, Japan / pop: 1,306,785 / local time: 22:11:04.0 2014-01-02
2 km NE of Ōhara, Japan / pop: 20,226 / local time: 22:11:04.0 2014-01-02
MAGNITUDE 4.8 – SOUTHERN IRAN
Subject To Change
Depth: 10 km
Distances: 221 km NW of Dubai, United Arab Emirates / pop: 1,137,347 / local time: 14:50:18.0 2014-01-02
185 km W of Bandar ‘Abbās, Iran / pop: 352,173 / local time: 14:20:18.0 2014-01-02
70 km SE of Gerāsh, Iran / pop: 25,316 / local time: 14:20:18.0 2014-01-02
MAGNITUDE 5.1 – PHILIPPINE ISLANDS REGION
Subject To Change
Depth: 60 km
Distances: 382 km N of Davao, Philippines / pop: 1,212,504 / local time: 17:56:18.0 2014-01-02
279 km E of Cebu City, Philippines / pop: 798,634 / local time: 17:56:18.0 2014-01-02
78 km NE of Libas, Philippines / pop: 3,373 / local time: 17:56:18.0 2014-01-02
***UK STORM ALERT***
Major Incident Declared Over South West Storm Threat
A major incident has been declared as waves of more than 30ft (10m) are predicted to hit the coasts of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly on Friday morning.
Strong winds and high tides have also led to several severe flood warnings being issued by the Environment Agency, indicating a possible danger to life.
Devon and Cornwall Police said additional officers were on duty.
Firefighters, who were due to strike, may call off their action.
The Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) said discussions were taking place and it was monitoring the Environment Agency’s information about the threat of flooding.
FBU members were due to take industrial action between 06:30 and 08:30 GMT as part of their ongoing dispute with managers over pension changes.
There is an agreement that striking firefighters can be recalled to duty, on a voluntary basis, in the event of a major incident that includes a serious risk to public safety.
An emergency management centre will open in Truro, Cornwall, at midnight.
Two people died earlier this week – a woman in north Devon and a man in Cornwall – after they were swept out to sea in stormy conditions.
The Environment Agency said people should protect themselves and their belongings, but should not put themselves in danger.
“The one piece of advice, given the fatalities we’ve had recently, I’d give is don’t get close to the coast,” area manager Alan Burrows told BBC News.
“Keep away and look from a distance. We’ve had wave watchers getting too close and it’s really dangerous.”
In Cornwall, Falmouth Coastguard said a man, who is believed to have been watching the surf, managed to escape from his car shortly before it was washed into the sea at East Portholland, near Portscatho. He was not injured.
Rest centres will also be set up across the region to accommodate people who are flooded or have to leave their homes.
Major incidents have been declared by Devon and Cornwall Police and the Isles of Scilly Council.
Supt Chris Singer said it was potentially a situation where resources could become overwhelmed.
“We all need to work together to make sure we keep the residents of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly safe,” he said.
In the Isles of Scilly, the council said its staff would be on call to respond to any emergencies and a rest centre would be set up for people needing shelter.
It said in order to minimise the effects of the weather, all drains had been cleared and extra sandbags were ready to be deployed if required.
The latest forecast from the Met Office is predicting up to 10mm (0.5in) of rainfall could hit the region in the early hours.
High spring tides and winds of up to 65mph are also forecast, resulting in high waves.
Cornwall Council said waves could “over-top” exposed coastal locations and promenades and there could be possible flooding to properties and low-lying land.
The Environment Agency said recent heavy rain, saturated ground and high river levels meant there was also an increased risk of rivers flooding.
Pete Fox, head of strategy at the agency, said: “We are expecting flooding along the west and south coasts of England and Wales, due to a combination of strong winds, large waves and high tides, from the early hours of Friday and into the weekend.”
The Met Office said a combination of lowering pressure and high tides, together with already high levels of ground saturation, would bring the risk of flooding.
Hundreds Flee After Lightning Starts Bushfire, Australia
About 900 holidaymakers evacuate North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, as a bushfire continues to burn out of control
Around 900 people have been evacuated from North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane, Australia, after a large bushfire sparked by a lightning strike burned out of control.
The fire burnt-out three campsites on the island as firefighters assisted by water-bombing helicopters worked to keep the blaze away from the town of Dunwich on Wednesday night.
The blaze is expected to burn for several more days according to local media, ahead of a forecast of scorching heat and high winds at the weekend.
The smoke is reported to be so thick that drivers on the island are being asked to turn their headlights on during the day.
Holiday campers have been asked to head to the Dunwich Community Hall and register before leaving the island and extra car ferries have been used to transport them back to the mainland.
Fire authorities say the blaze has been contained but is not yet under control.
The Government warns of “dangerous” flooding and high tides as severe rain and gales of up to 70mph are forecast to lash Britain
Fresh warnings of severe weather and widespread flooding have been issued for the UK, as the Government called an emergency meeting over the conditions.
Floods and strong winds have hit households across the country, with roads closed, train services disrupted and hundreds of homes without electricity.
Authorities are urging people to be extra vigilant as the country prepares for more vicious weather, severe gales and torrential rain.
More than 270 weather warnings and alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency, affecting every region of England and Wales.
Its floods manager Wendy Brooks told Sky News that it would be issusing some “severe flood warnings” later, which means there “couid be risk to people’s lives and property”.
The flood risk will extend along the UK coastline from north-west England, through Wales and south-west and southern England. Areas particularly at risk include the Isles of Scilly, the north and south coasts of Devon and Cornwall, Dorset and the coastline of Wales.
The Thames Barrier in London had been closed to protect people and property along the river, the agency said.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has also issued several flood warnings, with some 14 throughout Tayside.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson chaired an urgent meeting in response to flooding that has wreaked havoc.
“We had a range of ministers from right across government attending, who will be working very closely with local councils, power companies, utilities and transport companies, making sure that all those organisations are absolutely prepared for the bad weather that is coming,” he said.
“I would appeal to everyone to keep in very close touch with the warnings that are being put out on a regular basis by the Environment Agency, to pay heed to them, as these floods and the coast will be dangerous.”
Dozens of flood warnings have been put in place, mostly in the South East and South West, with strong winds of up to 60 to 70mph, heavy downpours and more flooding forecast over the coming days.
Sky News weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said: “There is further heavy rain coming in this evening from the west and spreading eastwards. It is going to be quite heavy at times.
“It is not anything too unusual for the time of year. It is just that we are having so much rain coming in, in a short space of time, falling on the already saturated ground.
“Therefore, we are going to see the risk of further flooding in many areas, and the winds are going to be strong tomorrow with gusts up to 60 to 70mph along exposed western coasts. This could cause some damage as well, some travel disruption is likely too.
“It is going to remain stormy for the rest of the week, even into the start of next week as well.”
A search for a 27-year-old man who was swept out to sea while celebrating the new year on the beach with friends at Loe Bar, near Porthleven, in Cornwall, was called off on Thursday after a body was found
That came after a woman, thought to be on holiday wither her family, died in the surf in north Devon.
The coastguard is also searching for a man who is believed to have fallen into the River Stour, near Iford Bridge in Christchurch, Dorset.
And emergency services across the country are searching for several people who have not been seen since New Year’s Eve.
Pete Fox, head of strategy at the Environment Agency, said: “We are expecting flooding along the west and south coasts of England and Wales, due to a combination of strong winds, large waves and high tides, from the early hours of Friday and into the weekend.
“Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.
“The Environment Agency is monitoring the situation closely, working alongside partners including the Met Office and local authorities. Environment Agency teams are out on the ground making sure that flood defences are in good working order, monitoring sea levels and preparing to issue flood alerts and warnings.
A Cornwall police spokesman said: “There are people who enjoy swimming in all weathers as well as those who may under-estimate the danger a rough sea can pose.
“During the current bad weather, we would appeal to everyone to use common sense and not put themselves in unnecessary danger.”
Meanwhile, in Liphook, Hampshire, 300 homes lost power after lines were brought down in the stormy weather.