Archive | April 26, 2014

Chinese among trapped after landslide blocks Nepal tunnel

Landslide Alert

At least a dozen workers including Chinese technicians have been trapped by a landslide inside the tunnel of a hydroelectric power project in Nepal, a project official said on Friday.

A few Chinese technicians were working with about 12 Nepali workers inside the tunnel of the Upper Madi Hydroelectric Project in Kaski district, 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu, when falling earth and rocks blocked its entrance.

“Excavators are removing the debris and we are trying to rescue those trapped inside,” said Ram Raj Koirala, a Nepali official at the power station being built by a Chinese firm.

“We have been able to send drinking water and air inside the tunnel and we are hopeful of rescuing them in three to four hours,” Koirala told Reuters from the site. He said the workers were safe but declined to elaborate.

The project would generate 25 megawatts of power in the energy-starved country. The China International Water and Electric Corporation owns 80 percent in the $650 million plant while the project’s Nepali backers own the rest.

Nepal has the potential to generate up to 83,000 megawatts of hydro-power from rivers cascading down from the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range.

But due to a lack of funds and technical know-how, just one percent of that potential has been tapped. Nepal’s 27 million people typically endure 12 hours of power cuts a day.

China is a major donor, business partner and investor in Nepal, a strategically located buffer state between China and India. Many Chinese companies are involved in infrastructure projects that include hydroelectric power.

SARS-Like Virus Discovered in Egypt

SARS-Like Virus Discovered in Egypt
The first case of the SARS-like novel coronavirus was discovered in Egypt according to state television.

The patient, who is now in a hospital in the capital city, Cairo, had arrived recently in the country from Saudi Arabia, RT reported.

92 people have died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia, the country’s Health Ministry said on its website Friday.

The virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia has a higher than 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases.

5 more people died as Saudi Arabia says that Mers virus already has 300 cases

MERS Virus

As per Saudi Arabia on Friday, 14 more cases were discovered with the deadly virus Mers. It already increases to a total number of 313.

The new cases had been reported in the capital Riyadh, Jeddah and Mecca as stated by the health ministry. This was in the past 24 hours. The authorities said that there were also five more registered deaths that were also due to the virus.

Considering that Saudi Arabia will host the pilgrims from around the globe in July during the Ramadan, the rapid increase of the case is a critical concern. There will also be millions of worshipper in early October that will make the annual Haj.

According to the ministry’s website, a total of 92 people already died because of MERS in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom witnessed the increased in rate of the infection in the recent weeks. There were many new cases found in Jeddah. The greater portion of the infected people is health care professionals.


***BE ALERT***
Magnetogram 26.04.14  19.48 hrs UTC

Chikungunya virus recorded in Antigua

Chikungunya Virus Alert

Less than 24 hours after St Vincent and the Grenadines confirmed an outbreak of the chikungunya virus, another Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country is reporting its first case of the mosquito-borne disease.

Antigua and Barbuda health officials Friday held a news conference to confirm that an individual in his mid 60s had become the island’s first case.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Orita Zachariah told reporters that the case had been detected on April 22 and the victim between the ages 60 and 65 works in the capital, St John’s.

The health authorities say they are also awaiting results of four other suspected cases from the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Chikungunya is a viral disease, carried mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and causes a dengue-like sickness.

Symptoms include a sudden high fever, severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles, muscle pain, headache, nausea, and rash. Joint pain and stiffness are more common with chikungunya than with dengue.

The symptoms appear between four to seven days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of clinical signs and symptoms last three to 10 days, but joint pain may persist longer. Severe cases requiring hospitalisation are rare.

Dr Zachariah said that persons should remain home if they suspect they have the disease while Chief health Inspector Lionel Michael said the Department of Health would increase vector control in a bid to prevent a spread of the disease.

In January, CARPHA said it had received notification of 10 confirmed cases of locally acquired chikungunya virus infection on the French side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. But since then Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have reported cases of the disease.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Health in St Vincent and the Grenadines declared an outbreak of the virus after three cases were confirmed on the northern Grenadine island of Bequia.

Severe snow storm hits Sierra, USA

Snow Alert

A late season snowstorm walloped the Sierra and caught some people off guard.
“We really didn’t expect this storm to come in, a late spring storm, but it did,” truck driver Joe Obert said.
It dumped thick heavy snow, making driving conditions treacherous and forcing chain controls on eastbound Interstate 80 at Kingvale, which is at a little over 6,000 feet.
Truck drivers Obert and Rose Carter had to put chains on their big rigs for the second time Friday. They drive back and forth from Sparks, Nevada, to Oakland, five days a week.
“Slippery. The road was closed this morning for three hours because of accidents,” Carter explained. “I had to turn around at Truckee and had to sit for three hours.”
Most of the snow quickly turned into slush on the roads. Traffic was slow-going, even at a standstill in some areas right before the chain control.
One after another, drivers pulled off to the shoulder to chain up or hire someone else to do it.
“Thank God they’re here,” Maria Contreras said.
Contreras was heading to Reno from Visalia. It was her first time driving in the snow. She was surprised to see steady snow falling at 5,000 feet.
“It was cute, pretty while it lasted,” Contreras added. “But I guess it’s a hazard of the road. We have to do it.”
“It’s good for the rain. I’m good with that,” Carter said. “But I’m hoping this is the last time I chain up this year.”

Severe Blizzards Strikes Russia

Snow Alert

The last time the region was struck by a snowfall of such severity in springtime was 123 years ago
Pedestrians cross the street during a heavy blizzard in Chelyabinsk, Russia (RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Kondratuk)

Russia’s Urals region has been hit with freak winter weather, with severe snowstorms causing massive traffic jams, flight delays, power blackouts and school closures.

Just when everybody in the cities of Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk thought they had waved winter good-bye and was anticipating greener spring weather, blizzards dragging the region back to winter. 
Having heard the forecast for snow, internet users were taking photos of the frail Urals spring that was proclaimed doomed by meteorologists.

Those would later be used in “before and after” collages with “goodbye summer” hashtags.

We have snow falling the whole day without stopping,” an Instagram user wrote. “It’s sweeping severely, everything’s white. My daughter even wanted to go for a snow-tubing ride.” 
Winter struck the region hard, with precipitation twice the monthly average coming as a shock to already burgeoning grass and trees. 
Chelyabinsk made headlines across the world last year when a huge meteorite rocked the region.These late April blizzards have led to numerous online jokes over the region’s “misfortune.” 
Chelyabinsk’s somewhat harsh,” one Twitter user wrote. “They either have meteorite or snow at the end of spring.” 
The sudden return of winter has led to chaos on the region’s highways.
My parents have been stuck in a traffic jam for 17 hours already… Severe Chelyabinsk spring…” a Vkontakte (Russian social network) user, Maria, wrote. 
Many of the drivers have already changed their winter tires for summer ones, making vehicles clumsy on icy roads. 
Local police have recorded 700 road accidents in the Central Urals region.
Municipal workers push a trolleybus during a heavy blizzard in Chelyabinsk, Russia (RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Kondratuk)
Twenty-three children who were returning to Tyumen from Ekaterinburg, where they had participated in competitions, had to be evacuated by rescuers from a 40 kilometer-long traffic jam. 
Tens of thousands of people in towns across the snowstorm-struck region were left without electricity, following snow-induced power line disruptions. 
Chelyabinsk authorities had to shutter schools on Saturday. 
Rough weather has led to numerous flight delays at airports in Chelyabinsk and Ekaterinburg. Some of the passengers had to spend up to 16 hours waiting for their flights which only resumed Saturday morning. 
Urals meteorologists have said the last time the region was struck by a snowfall of such severity in springtime was 123 years ago. They’ve found an April 26, 1891 issue of “Ekaterinburg Week” magazine that reported how the region witnessed “even more snow fallen than throughout the whole winter”.
A bride walks towards her limo during a harsh blizzard in Chelyabinsk, Russia (RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Kondratuk)
Shoveling snow on a Chelyabinsk street. (RIA Novosti/Aleksandr Kondratuk)
Yekaterinburg after a snowstorm. (RIA Novosti/Pavel Lisitsyn)
Young women cross a snow-covered bridge after a snowstorm in Yekaterinburg. (RIA Novosti/Pavel Lisitsyn)

Ahyi Volcano Alert Level Raised To Yellow, USA

Aviation Yellow Alert

Photo of this volcano
Starting at 06:35 24 April ChST (20:35 23 April UTC), seismic stations on Pagan, Sarigan, Anatahan and Saipan began recording signals believed to be from an undersea volcanic source. Hydroacoustic sensors on Wake Island suggest that the source of this seismic activity is at or near Ahyi seamount. We cannot locate precisely the source of the activity and it is possible that the vent is one of the other volcanic seamounts in the area. Seismic activity is ongoing at this time.

Sun Unleashes Major Solar Flare

An X1.3-class solar flare (far right) erupts from the surface of the sun on April 24, 2014 EDT  (April 25 GMT).

The sun erupted with a massive solar flare late Thursday (April 24), triggering a temporary communications blackout on some parts of Earth.

The powerful flare peaked at 8:27 p.m. EDT Thursday (0027 April 25 GMT), and ranked as an X1.3-class solar storm, one of the strongest types of flares the sun can experience, according to a report from the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center. NASA’s sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory captured video of the intense solar flare in several difference wavelengths.

The solar flare erupted from an active sunspot region known as Region 2035 located on the far western side (or limb) of the sun as seen from Earth. Because of its position, the flare sparked a high-frequency radio blackout for about an hour on the daytime side of Earth, most likely over the Pacific Ocean and Eastern Pacific Rim, according to the SWPC update.


Subject To Change

Depth: 130 km

Distances: 322km (200mi) SW of Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia
615km (382mi) SW of Vilyuchinsk, Russia

635km (395mi) SW of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
637km (396mi) SW of Yelizovo, Russia

1803km (1120mi) NE of Tokyo, Japan

Global view