Archive | July 15, 2014

Severe Hail Storm Completely Devastates A Family’s Orchard In Door County, Wisconsin, USA

Severe Weather Alert

Early Tuesday morning up to four inches of grape sized hail came crashing down just north of Sturgeon Bay wiping out most of the fruit in Bob Fellner’s orchard.

“I was coming up the road and I could see the hail on the ground here and just driving up the road I could see the leaves on the trees were gone,” said Bob Fellner of Fellner Orchards. “The initial reaction was that it’s just brutal. That total loss and it’s just jaw dropping and wonder what you’re going to do.”

While other farms in the area dodged the damage, insurance will help Fellner recover as he continues to operate this orchard that’s been in his family for generations.

“It is pretty much all damaged. The cherries we have will be bird food. And the apples we’ll be lucky to have deer feed,” said Fellner. “It is all just kind of part of the game. A game you’re often times behind in the score, but one day you hope to win.”

The fruit his family worked hard for in the orchard now hangs on battered limbs, shredded, but Fellner says he’s already focused on the task ahead.

“You just kind of move forward. That’s all you can really do. What’s done is done, you can’t change it. Hope for better results next year,” said Fellner.


Dust Storm Strikes Knocking Down Trees Hits Salt Lake Valley, USA

Dust Storm Alert

We had the hottest day of the year along the Wasatch Front Monday, with a high of 103 at the Salt Lake Airport.  
Thunderstorms developed in the afternoon across northwest Utah, but they began to fall apart around 5pm.  As those storms collapsed, they created what is called an “outflow boundary”.  
These boundaries developed from several storms, so we had several gusty wind events along the Wasatch Front as those outflow boundaries moved south and east across the Great Salt Lake.  
No rain was noted from any of these boundaries, but winds from 50 to 70mph developed, knocking down trees in Weber County and Salt Lake County.  
The winds also kicked up the dust from the West Desert, and visibility was greatly reduced for a time in many areas between 5pm and 8pm Monday.
Expect to experiencing gusty winds well into the night, and temperatures remain quite warm.  Things will begin to calm down after midnight, but a few areas may still experience gusty winds until early Tuesday.

200 evacuated due to train derailment in New Jersey, USA

Breaking News

Authorities say 200 passengers have been evacuated from a passenger train that derailed in New Jersey.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokeswoman Erica Dumas says a PATH train struck a box truck that was crossing the tracks in Harrison, just outside of Newark, Sunday night.

Dumas says the front two wheels of the train went off the tracks.

She says four people are being treated at a hospital with minor injuries.

The train was heading from Harrison to Newark at the time of the incident, which remains under investigation.

Copter crash kills 2 Cambodian military generals

Helicopter Crash

Two generals who led the helicopter unit of Cambodia’s air force were killed in a crash Monday, along with two pilots, police said. Defense Minister Tea Banh, who rushed to the crash site in a muddy pond south of the capital, said a fifth person on the chopper was seriously injured.

Gen. Um Phy, deputy chief of staff of Cambodia’s air force, confirmed the casualty count and said the aircraft was a Chinese-made Z-9 helicopter. Authorities had previously said five people were killed.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, which police said was a training mission for new pilots.

Two of the dead men were a major general and a brigadier general, Phnom Penh Deputy Police Chief Chuon Narin said. An incident report filed by police at the scene said the generals were the head and deputy head of the helicopter unit, and the other two men were pilots. Military officials confirmed the men’s ranks, but not their positions. The survivor was not identified.

The chopper went down about 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of Phnom Penh, sinking in a rain-filled excavated rice field surrounded by rural land and other fields. Defense Ministry Secretary of State Moeung Samphan said 300 military personnel were sent to take part in the recovery operation. By evening, all four bodies had been recovered, said Um Phy.

The main part of the helicopter’s fuselage, whose cabin could be seen badly mangled in photographs from the local DAP news agency as it was lifted by a winch, was also retrieved and taken to air force headquarters for inspection, he said.

Cambodia last year took delivery of 12 of the Z-9 helicopters, a licensed version of France’s Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin that can carry nine passengers in addition to a pilot. The aircraft were purchased with a $195 million loan made to Cambodia in 2011 by China, the closest ally of the small Southeast Asian nation.

The helicopters were meant to replace a small fleet of aging Soviet-made transport helicopters. The deal with China was made as Cambodia was engaged in intermittent border warfare with neighboring Thailand, but it was unclear if any were fitted as attack helicopters, which would be the first ever in Cambodia’s arsenal. Cambodia has a strong disadvantage in air power compared to larger neighbors Thailand and Vietnam.

Chhay Bunna, chief of police at Phnom Penh’s nearby international airport, said the flight was a training mission for new pilots. Tea Banh said the area where the crash took place has been used for training for several years without any previous accidents.

A witness said she saw helicopters flying the same route almost every day, but the doomed flight seemed to be flying lower than usual, almost hitting her house.

Ath Neang, 48, who lives about 15 meters (yards) from the pond, said that as one of the craft’s rotor blades hit the bank of the pond, one man jumped out into the water. At about the same time, she heard what sounded like an explosion from the aircraft, which then sank.

Russia train crash death toll reaches 21; Many injured & in critical condition

Breaking News

Russia has declared a “day of mourning” as death toll from an underground train derailment in Moscow rises to 21

“Wednesday will be a day of mourning in Moscow, given the scope of the tragedy,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Tuesday

According to the Russian Emergencies Ministry, the accident occurred as a train going from the city center halted abruptly between the Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations early on Tuesday morning. The incident derailed three train cars.

The ministry also believes that the accident was a result of a sudden sharp decline in the voltage, but Moscow’s electricity company denies any fall in the rails voltage. 

The Russian Health Ministry announced that around 129 people were injured, 49 of whom are in critical condition.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation by Russian authorities.

The incident remains one of the most serious accidents to hit Moscow’s metro system in recent years.
Back in March, one person died after Moscow’s subway was flooded due to leakage from broken water pipes.

At least 18 people were killed and 40 others injured in a deadly accident involving a passenger bus near Moscow in July last year.

In Russia, some 25,000 people lose their lives in traffic accidents every year.

Severe heatwave wreaks havoc in Canada’s western coast

Heatwave Warning

The western Canadian region on the Pacific coast has been gripped by heatwave, with reports of increased wildfires, media reported on Tuesday.
Weather officials said that temperatures in northern British Columbia were 8 to 10 degrees above normal, and record-high temperatures were also monitored in four communities, Xinhua reported. The average high temperature has been hovering around 40.5 degrees centigrade, the officials said. There were 63 wildfires reported in the province, and the biggest fires were in the province’s northern areas. In downtown Vancouver, the temperature exceeded 32 degrees centigrade and heatwave is expected to continue through this week.


Emergency Evacuation Alert

A typhoon slammed into the northeastern Philippines late Tuesday night, flooding low-lying villages, ripping off roofs and knocking down trees and electric posts in a disaster-prone region where tens of thousands of people fled to safety ahead of the deluge.

Damage from Typhoon Rammasun could not be assessed until daybreak, especially in areas that lost power while being pummeled by the wind and rain. No casualties were immediately reported, though three fishermen were missing in Catanduanes province.

The fast-moving typhoon made landfall in nearby Albay province while packing sustained winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 160 kph (99 mph). Heading northwest, the storm is forecast to hit Manila, the flood-prone capital of 12 million people, on Wednesday morning.

Polangui Mayor Cherilie Mella Sampal estimated more than half of the 15,000 to 20,000 houses in her rice-growing town may have been damaged or blown away by the fierce wind and rain that came around nightfall.

As the typhoon raged for about three hours, Sampal said she saw the wind topple electric posts and lift roofs off houses. Many fallen trees also blocked roads in her town of 80,000 people, about 10,000 of whom were moved to safety, she said.

While Albay is used to calamities inflicted by storms and Mayon, the country’s most active volcano, Sampal said her townfolk were apprehensive after witnessing the massive devastation and deaths wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines last November.

“We’re used to and prepared for calamities,” Sampal told The Associated Press by cellphone. “But when people heard that the eye of the typhoon will hit the province, they feared we may end up like the victims of Yolanda,” she said, referring to the local name of Haiyan.

About 300,000 people moved to safer ground from their homes in Albay and five nearby provinces threatened by flooding, landslides and storm surges, many of them haunted by memories of last year’s disaster, officials said. Haiyan’s strong winds and tsunami-like storm surges flattened towns, leaving at least 6,300 people dead and more than 1,000 missing.

Albay, about 340 kilometers (212 miles) southeast of Manila, the capital, has had its share of major disasters. Mudslides from Mayon volcano buried villages during a 2006 typhoon and left about 1,600 people dead and missing.

“I got scared because our house was being pounded by strong wind and rain. We went and got drenched in the rain,” Lucille Navarro, a 35-year-old mother of two, said by cellphone from a crowded evacuation shelter in Albay’s Daraga town, where she brought her son and daughter.

Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, said many villagers, mindful of past disasters, cooperated and moved rapidly when told to evacuate. But he added that he was concerned the typhoon would roar through some densely populated regions in the dark, many without power and communications.

With its 500-kilometer (310-mile) wide rain band, the typhoon was expected to scythe northwestward through a half a dozen provinces overnight before hitting metropolitan Manila in the morning. Government work and classes have been suspended.

Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, was forecast to blow across rice-growing northern provinces before entering the sea and heading toward Vietnam or southern China on Thursday.

Japan earthquake has raised pressure below Mount Fuji, says new study

mount fuji epicentre
Proximity of Mount Fuji to the epicentre of the March 2011 earthquake

Mount Fuji, or Fujisan as it is known in Japanese, is the highest point on the archipelago (rising to 3,776 metres) and the national emblem, immortalised in countless etchings. In June last year Unesco added it to the World Heritage list as a “sacred place and source of artistic inspiration”. But it is still an active volcano, standing at the junction between the Pacific, Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates. Though it has rarely stirred in recorded history, it is still potentially explosive.

The Tohoku – or Great East Japan – earthquake on 11 March 2011 triggered a devastating tsunami, which in turn caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. According to a Franco-Japanese study published by Science, the magnitude-9 tremor also increased the pressure on Mount Fuji. “Our work does not say that the volcano will start erupting, but it does show that it’s in a critical state,” says Florent Brenguier, a researcher at the Institute of Earth Sciences (IST) in Grenoble, France, and lead author of the publication, to which the Institute of Global Physics (IPG) in Paris also contributed.

Adopting a novel approach, the scientists carried out a sort of giant echo-scan of the bowels of the Earth, based on the huge mass of data recorded after the mega-quake by Japan’s Hi-net system, the densest network in the world, with 800 seismic sensors. They focused on signals commonly known as seismic noise, the result of constant interaction between ocean swell and “solid” earth. In the past such data has generally been dismissed as background interference.

By recording fluctuations in this barely perceptible subterranean noise they were able to map geological disturbances in the bedrock of Japan caused by the seismic waves following the violent quake in March 2011. “Seismic waves travel a very long way, going round the world several times,” Brenguier explains. “Their movement makes the Earth’s crust vibrate, and rather like a shock wave this produces breaks or cracks in the rock.”

Mount Fuji summit
A snow-capped Mount Fuji. A Franco-Japanese study of seismic data suggests pressure is building for a new eruption

One might well imagine that such disturbance is greatest close to the epicentre of a quake, but this is not the case. The Franco-Japanese study shows that the area where the Earth’s crust suffered the greatest damage was not around Tohoku, in the north-east of Honshu island, but in the volcanic regions, in particular under Mount Fuji, some 400km away. “The volcanic regions are the ones where the fluids trapped in the rock – boiling water, gas, liquid magma, which cause an eruption when they rise to the surface – exert the greatest pressure. The seismic waves add to this pressure, causing even more disturbance,” Brenguier says.

The magnitude 6.4 quake that occurred four days after the tsunami, followed by many smaller aftershocks, was a further indication that Mount Fuji is under high pressure.

So should Japan be on red alert? “We cannot establish a direct relation of cause and effect between quakes and volcanic eruptions, even if statistically the former lead to an increase in the latter,” Brenguier says. “All we can say is that Mount Fuji is now in a state of pressure, which means it displays a high potential for eruption. The risk is clearly higher.”

Science, however, has no way of predicting when this might happen. But there is a precedent. The last eruption of Mount Fuji occurred in 1707. It projected almost a billion cubic metres of ash and debris into the atmosphere, some of which reached Tokyo (then called Edo) 100km away. It was preceded, 49 days earlier, by a magnitude 8.7 quake to the south of Japan that, in conjunction with the tidal wave it raised, claimed more than 5,000 lives. This time, more than three years have already passed since the Tohoku quake. But that does not mean that Mount Fuji, under the constant supervision of Japanese geologists, is slumbering.

Come what may, the method developed by the Franco-Japanese team for investigating volcanic areas should improve the accuracy of efforts all over the world to assess the risk of major volcanic eruptions.

Evacuation orders issued as Wildfires rage at various areas in BC, Canada

Wild Fire Alert

Evacuation orders have been issued for Entiako Provincial Park, Tetachuck Lake and Chelaslie River as a wildfire in Chelaslie Arm grows to 8,000 hectares in B.C.’s northwest region.

The Regional District of Bulkey-Nechako issued an evacuation order Monday, covering the northeast half of Tetachuck Lake to the south side of Chelaslie River, and the whole area within the Regional District ofBulkley-Nechako Electoral Area “E” (Ootsa/François Lake Rural).

BC Parks has also closed nearby Entiako Provincial Park and issued an evacuation order for all cabin owners and any recreational users within the park.

The Chelaslie Arm wildfire, which is burning some 200 kilometres southwest of Prince George, was discovered on Tuesday and is believed to have been caused by lightning.

Euchiniko Lakes Fire on July 9, 2014

On B.C.’s south coast, the fire risk is high to extreme and a campfire ban has been issued throughout the entire Kamloops Fire Centre, beginning on Wednesday.

The ban applies to open fires of any size, fires with a burn registration number, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels.

However, it does not apply to stoves or portable campfire apparatus that use gas, propane or briquettes, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

Tetachuck Lake fire evacuation order map

This is a location map of the Regional District of Bulkey-Nechako evacuation area – click here for more information and a larger map. (Regional District of Bulkey-Nechako)

In the Cariboo Regional District, the Euchiniko Lakes wildfire, also believed to have been sparked by lightning, has grown to cover 2,000 hectares since it was discovered on Tuesday.
As of Monday, 120 firefighters were trying to control the blaze, with six helicopters continuing to bucket the fire to support ground crews.
A local state of emergency was declared in the district and an evacuation order issued for the Euchiniko Lakes Ranch on Sunday.
Kamloops Campfire Ban Map

This is a map of the area affected by the Kamloops campfire ban – click here for more information and a link to a larger map. (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations)

Last week, three oil and gas worker camps were evacuated due to concerns over the spreading Red Deer Creek wildfire, which was estimated to cover 3,852 hectares on Monday and has 120 firefighters working around the clock to contain it.
According to B.C.’s Wildfire Management Branch, crews have made great progress on the fire and are continuing to build a fireline. If conditions permit, crews were hoping to carry out some controlled burning on Monday.
Five other wildfires were listed on the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch’s “wildfires of note” list Monday afternoon.
In Prince George Fire Centre:
22km Tenakihi. 
Mount McAllister Fire. 
Mugaha Fire. 
Valley south of Morfee Lake.
In Cariboo Fire Centre:
Soda Creek.
Dozens of other wildfires are also burning across the province. On Sunday, 21 firefighters from Ontario arrived in Kamloops to help support B.C.’s wildfire fighting efforts.


***BE ALERT***
Magnetogram 15.07.14  20.18 hrs UTC