Archive | May 23, 2014

Major dust storm causes mayhem in New Mexico

New Mexico Dust Storm

Six people have been killed after several vehicles collided on a New Mexico highway during a dust storm.

The crash occurred about 5.30pm local time on Thursday on Interstate 10, in the southwestern part of the state several miles from the Arizona border.

New Mexico Dust Storm

Police said their “initial investigation has revealed that due to a severe dust storm, several vehicles, both passenger vehicles and Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV), were involved.”

It was not clear how many vehicles were involved or whether people had been injured.

All lanes of the roadway were shut down following the crash, but police say westbound lanes have since been reopened.



Subject To Change

Depth: 563 km

Distances: 427 km N of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands / pop: 48,220 / local time: 07:20:07.6 2014-05-24
1922 km S of Tokyo, Japan / pop: 8,336,599 / local time: 06:20:07.6 2014-05-24
2518 km E of Taipei, Taiwan / pop: 7,871,900 / local time: 05:20:07.6 2014-05-24

Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 305 km SW of Dayan, China / pop: 1,137,600 / local time: 04:49:23.6 2014-05-24
68 km SE of Myitkyinā, Myanmar / pop: 90,894 / local time: 03:19:23.6 2014-05-24

Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 35km (22mi) E of Severomuysk, Russia
59km (37mi) WSW of Taksimo, Russia

190km (118mi) S of Bodaybo, Russia
297km (185mi) ENE of Severobaykal’sk, Russia

1036km (644mi) NNE of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Global view

Plane crashes on Montgomery lawn, USA

Plane Crash Alert

A Piscataway man escaped serious injury Wednesday evening when his ultralight aircraft crashed near Princeton Airport.
Ricardo Agente, 53, of Piscataway extricated himself from the aircraft after the 5:43 p.m. crash. He complained of pain but refused medical attention, police said.
Argente was performing takeoffs and landings at the airport and was alone in the plane, a Quicksilver MX 2. He was on approach for a landing at an altitude of about 100 feet when he lost control of the aircraft, banked to the left, crossed Airport Road, struck trees about 40 feet high, then crash-landed on the lawn at 29-31 Airport Road, police said.
An investigation is being conducted by the Montgomery Township Police Department and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Montgomery police, Montgomery EMS, Montgomery Fire Company 1 and 2, and Rocky Hill Fire Company responded to the scene.

Plane makes emergency diversion to Inverness, Scotland

Plane Emergency Landing

A PLANE had to make an emergency diversion to Inverness airport following an ice alert.

The Loganiar SAAB 340 aircraft had been travelling from Aberdeen to Sumburgh when the incident happened at 3.30pm today.

There were 34 passengers and three crew onboard.

A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Airports, who run Inverness Airport, said: “The plan landed safely. There was an issue with ice.“  

He added that the aircraft landed at the airport as a precaution in line with the airport’s normal safety procedure.

Police, fire and ambulance were also on scene.

Landslide kills 6 and injures 1 in China

Landslide Alert

Local officials reported on Friday that six people were killed and one was injured in a rain-triggered landslide in Guangdong province. The incident took place at around 5:00 p.m. (local time) on Thursday in Heping county of Heyuan city. Preliminary reports said two people died, two suffered injuries and three others went missing. More than 200 soldiers, village officials and militia members took part in the search and rescue operation. By early Friday morning, the bodies of the three missing individuals were recovered, while one of the injured passed away when medical treatment failed. Guangdong has been pounded by heavy downpours over the past three days.

MERS virus is exposed to hospital workers in the USA

MERS Virus Alert

A strange new illness that the media claims originated in the Middle East has struck dozens of hospital workers and potentially many others across Florida and throughout the Southeast. reports that the MERS virus, also known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, can kill up to one-third of people who contract it, and it has no known cure.
The disease is said to have originated in one man, a 44-year-old hospital worker from Saudi Arabia who was recently quarantined at Dr. Phillips Hospital in Orlando. The man tested positive for the disease after traveling to Orlando via London and a few other stops along the way. He reportedly began feeling ill in London, describing muscle aches and other symptoms, and was later evaluated.
Dr. Antonio Crespo, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital who is now treating the Saudi man, told the media that the patient took flu medicine along with an antibiotic that he brought with him from Saudi Arabia. When symptoms persisted, the man was tested for various diseases and came up positive for MERS, which has a very high mortality rate.
The man was immediately quarantined, but after word got out about the infection, many who may have come into contact with him during his travels were notified that they, too, could have been infected. Other travelers on the planes with him during his layovers, for instance, could have become infected with MERS as well, including one woman who was notified by her local health department.
“They informed me that there was a confirmed case of the MERS virus from my flight from Atlanta to Orlando,” stated the woman to ClickOrlando, requesting that her identity be withheld. “I was really scared.”
According to reports, the woman received a letter from her State Health Department explaining the situation and asking her to watch for high fever, cough, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or pain when coughing or breathing deeply. She and others on the plane, including her husband, who was traveling with her, were told to monitor their temperatures daily for 14 days.
“I was in shock that I could actually contract it,” she added. “We’re considered exposed but there was no level associated with that. They just said to me, ‘You and your husband are considered to be exposed to the MERS virus.'”
Dozens of hospital workers instructed to stay home until viral transmission period expires
Since the Saudi man reportedly was not coughing during his travels, the risk of transmission is considered low. But travelers who may have been exposed, as well as 15 other workers and two physicians at Dr. Phillips Hospital, have been advised to keep watch. Hospital workers who may have been exposed were also told to stay home for two weeks until being officially cleared of the virus.
“(Orlando is) the travel destination and we are going to see more cases come into our community, so I think Dr. Crespo and I would agree that all the hospitals in Central Florida need to become very proficient when handling the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus,” stated Dr. Kevin Sherin from the Florida Department of Health at Orange County.
According to Scientific American, MERS had first entered the U.S. on a prior occasion, when another doctor from the Middle East traveled to the country. Like with the most recent case, this man was exposed to untold hundreds of other people during his travels and eventually recovered from the condition. The Saudi man involved in the latest incident is also said to be recovering.

Record heat for Sydney, Australia

Heatwave Warning

If Sydney’s balmy late autumn feels unusual, there’s a good reason.


If the mercury reaches at least 23 degrees on Saturday – 25 is forecast – Sydney will post its longest warm spell in records going back to 1910, says Sarah Perkins, a leading heatwave expert at the University of NSW.


Sydney’s 25.1 degrees on Friday matched the previous longest heatwave – defined as at least three consecutive days in the warmest 10 per cent for each date – of seven days set in August 1995. Including Saturday, that burst could stretch to at least 14 days.


”It’s actually quite scary, especially if it lasts for two weeks – that’s incredible,” Dr Perkins said.

”That’s blitzing records.”

A number of other heat records are likely to be set. Friday’s top made it 14 days in a row above 22 degrees, smashing the previous record of six such days this late in May.


Average maximums will also beat the existing record for May – 22.7 degrees set in 1958 – said Ben Domensino, a senior meteorologist at Weatherzone.


While Sydneysiders may find a beach visit inviting this weekend, the knock-on effects from the abnormal warmth may be less pleasant.


”It’s not scorching, it’s not 45 degrees, birds aren’t falling out of the trees,” Dr Perkins said. But fuel loads and soils were drying out, raising the prospects for fires and droughts later in the year if dry conditions persist, she said.


There may be political implications too, with signs that public worries about climate change are on the rise.

Fun in the sun at Bondi beach.

One of the stand-out results from this year’s Lowy Institute Poll is a further rise in demands for action on global warming ”even if this involves significant costs”.


”After five years of successive decline in concern … last year’s poll showed the first upward trend in the number of Australians who see climate change as a ‘serious and pressing problem,”’ said Alex Oliver, the report’s author. ”This trend continues,” said Ms Oliver, who declined to elaborate before the 2014 report’s release on June 4. ”Australians have strong views on the leadership role government should take.”


Former prime minister Julia Gillard viewed the breaking of Australia’s drought in 2009 as sapping support for action on climate change.


”That made a big difference to public perception,” Ms Gillard is quoted as saying in Philip Chubb’s recently published book Power Failure. ”For a lot of people in the Australian community, the drought was climate change, climate change was the drought.”


That view may be tested as the likelihood of an El Nino increases the risk drought will return to south-eastern Australia. In El Nino years, inland regions get below-average rainfall.


”The moment you start to warm up the Pacific Ocean as we are seeing now, you’re increasingly stacking the odds over Australia towards dry conditions and warmer daytime temperatures,” said David Jones, head of climate monitoring at the Bureau of Meteorology.


The strength of El Nino may determine how much climate angst rises, said Andy Pitman, director of UNSW’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. ”It wouldn’t surprise me if people were getting concerned,” he said. ”If we have a dry winter … the fire season next spring will make [last year’s] seem trivial.”


Severe Heatwave Kills One More Person, Toll at 22 in Odisha, India

Heatwave Warning

Odisha reeled under severe heatwave with seven districts recording temperatures above 44 degrees Celsius today, while one person died of sunstroke taking the toll this season to 22.
The highest temperature of 45.5 degrees C was recorded at Titlagarh, while six other places in the western region of the state – Sambalpur and Bhawanipatna (44.8), Jharsuguda (44.1), Hirakud (44.3), Balangir and Sundergarh (44) witnessed unbearable heatwave conditions, MeT officials said.
At least 13 other places across the state also recorded temperatures above 40 degrees C, they said, adding that the maximum temperature in the city was 40.4 degrees C.
A report from the Special Relief Commissioner’s office confirmed the death of one person due to sunstroke in Kendrapara district taking the toll to 22 in the state this summer.
Sunstroke so far has claimed four lives each in Mayurbhanj and Kendrapara districts followed by three in Balangir district, two each in Cuttack, Jajpur and Keonjhar, officials said, adding that one death each was recorded in Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal and Khurda districts.
The MeT office predicted thundersquall accompanied with hail and gusty wind in one or two places in the state though the heatwave conditions would prevail in the interior areas.