Archive | August 12, 2014

Mystery virus affects nearly 100 in Samoa

Virus Alert

Samoa’s Ministry of Health says nearly 100 people have now been affected by a mystery virus
Two people have also died from but authorities still aren’t exactly sure what the virus is.
Samoan Ministry of Health’s Dr Saaine Vaai told Pacific Beat patients are showing signs of two separate illnesses.
“Well initially we thought we were seeing acute fever and rash, which is one of the things we do look for,” she said.
“But as of Saturday we did get the confirmation of some of the specimens that we sent out for chikungunya.
“We’re still waiting for other specimen confirmation.”
In neighbouring American Samoa there have been more than 300 confirmed cases of chikungunya and authorities say a traveller between the two countries brought some strain of the virus to Samoa.
Dr Vaai says a public campaign to raise awareness about the outbreak and educate people about precautions to take has begun.
“This is the first time that we’ve have had this virus in the country and we are working with experts from WHO (World Health Organisation) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to control it,” she said.
Officials say five people have been admitted to hospital with symptoms of the virus.

Deadly Ebola Virus; Pregnant Nigerian Woman With Suspected Virus Lands in Istanbul, Turkey

Ebola Virus

A Nigerian woman suspected of being infected by the Ebola virus has been admitted to hospital after landing in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

The woman, 32, was travelling from Lagos to Istanbul with her three-year-old son, and was reported to have developed high fever on the plane.

According to, the woman, who is believed to be pregnant, was received by paramedics of the General Directorate of Health for Borders and Coasts.

Emergency personnel took the woman and her child under quarantine conditions to the hospital, where she is undergoing examinations to confirm whether or not she has contracted the virus.

At least 10 Ebola cases have been reported in Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria.

“The plane has been disinfected as a precautionary measure,” a spokesperson for the Turkish Airlines, Ali Genç, said.

The West Africa Ebola outbreak, the largest in history, has so far claimed more than 1,013 lives and is threatening to spread to other continents. Several countries across the world have put precautionary measures in place.



Subject To Change

Depth: 5 km

Distances: 641 km S of Al Jīzah, Egypt / pop: 2,443,203 / local time: 22:56:00.9 2014-08-12
276 km W of Aswān, Egypt / pop: 241,261 / local time: 22:56:00.9 2014-08-12
260 km NW of Abū Sunbul, Egypt / pop: 5,000 / local time: 22:56:00.9 2014-08-12

  Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 303 km NW of Thimphu, Bhutan / pop: 98,676 / local time: 02:36:27.5 2014-08-13
277 km N of Gangtok, India / pop: 30,700 / local time: 02:06:27.5 2014-08-13
106 km NW of Rikaze, China / pop: 80,000 / local time: 04:36:27.5 2014-08-13

  Global viewRegional view


Subject To Change

Depth: 16 km

Distances: 303 km W of Tirana, Albania / pop: 374,801 / local time: 22:15:34.1 2014-08-12
56 km E of Potenza, Italy / pop: 69,060 / local time: 22:15:34.1 2014-08-12
29 km SW of Matera, Italy / pop: 57,785 / local time: 22:15:34.1 2014-08-12

  Global viewRegional view

Massive sinkhole swallows car with driver on McKnight Road, Pennsylvania, USA

A sudden sinkhole swallowed a car that was in the parking lot of a McKnight Road tanning salon Tuesday afternoon.

According to emergency dispatchers, the incident was reported at Hollywood Tans in the 7500 block of McKnight Road just after 4 p.m.

The owner of the salon helped rescue the driver, identified as Natalie Huddleston, but the entire car vanished underwater within minutes.

“I left the tanning bed, got in my car and I started to back out. I felt a thump and I was kind of sticking up in the air. The back end of my car was disappearing into the parking lot and I couldn’t see it,” said Huddleston. “I hit the gas and there was nothing touching the back wheels. I felt it teetering and rocking so I called the lady in the tanning bed and said, ‘Get out here and help!’”

Emergency crews have shut down southbound portions of McKnight Road, a busy area full of malls and other businesses.

The Hollywood Tans and other businesses nearby have been evacuated. No injuries have been reported. 

There were heavy rains in the area before the sinkhole appeared, but it’s not yet known if they contributed to the problem.

Nationwide blackout, power restored and lost again – explosion at Marsa distribution centre in Malta

Photo: Jason Borg

A fault in one of the generating units of Delimara power station caused a nationwide power cut this evening. An explosion took place at the same time at a distribution centre near Marsa Industrial Estate.

No one was injured but the explosion produced a fire and thick black smoke. Extensive damage was caused. Enemalta reported the fire extinguished at 11.15pm

Cars provide some lighting for an open air restaurant in Bugibba. Photo - Mark Zammit Cordina
Cars provide some lighting for an open air restaurant in Bugibba

Power was lost across Malta and Gozo at 7.50pm, setting off burglar alarms as lights and air conditioners went off – as did the street decorations in the towns and villages preparing to celebrate the feast of Sta Marija. Some traffic junctions became dangerous as traffic lights went off.

Supply started being restored to some areas at 8.50pm. But power was lost again at 10.40pm.

A number of readers reported problems with their telephone and internet service.

Many people went out as soon as power was lost, crowding the promenades.  Restaurants with generators had brisk business and one restaurant in Bugibba was seen cooking meals over a large barbeque.

Other people cooled off on their roofs and, with power still not back again till late,  some opted to sleep there – under a full moon and the annual meteor shower.

At Grand Harbour, a ceremony marking the arrival of the Sta Marija convoy of 1942 continued — the power failure recalled the wartime blackout, someone said sarcastically. Power for the sound system was provided by a patrol boat.

Many localities had their power restored for the second time by midnight.

Picture - Karl Cilia - <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

A spokesman for Enemalta said that the reason for the power station generator fault was being investigated as engineers worked to restore power as soon as possible.

Malta last suffered a nation-wide power cut on January 9 because of a Delimara power station fault.

Daniel Cilia took this picture of the star-lit light as the moon rose over Birkirkara with electricity lights off at about 9.30pm.The Basilica was still lit from the inside at the start of celebrations of the feast of St Helen.
Daniel Cilia took this picture of the star-lit light as the moon rose over Birkirkara with electricity lights off at about 9.30 pm. The Basilica was still lit from the inside at the start of celebrations of the feast of St Helen
A slow shutter shot of a street in Iklin during the blackout, using car lights and the full moon. Picture - Simon Scicluna - <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
A slow shutter shot of a street in Iklin during the blackout, using car lights and the full moon

Super Typhoon Halong Leaves Path of Destruction In Sakhalin, Russia

Typhoon Alert

Since making landfall in Russia’s Far East Monday night, Typhoon Halong claimed one life and caused eight serious injuries, as well as dozens of minor ones.

The death and injuries were recorded in Sakhalin, Russia’s largest island. The victim died from electrical shock caused by wires damaged in the storm, ITAR-Tass reported Tuesday.

According to the news agency, 44 people were treated in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for injuries — mostly minor ones — in connection with Typhoon Halong. The injuries were mostly linked to flying debris and tree branches.

More than 24,000 Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk residents lost power after wind gusts reached 42 meters per second, forcing the preventive closure of three power lines, a statement on this city administration’s website said. Power has yet to be restored in up to 40 percent of the city.

Torrential rains and high winds are expected to persevere Tuesday night in the Khabarovsk, Primorye and the Sakhalin regions, as well as in the Jewish Autonomous Republic.

Typhoon Halong made landfall on Saturday in southwestern Japan, near the city of Aki, killing two people and injuring 92 others, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Severe hailstorm hammers City in Canada

This is a hailstorm not a snowstorm!!!!

The hailstones, described as “golf ball size,” created a path of destruction, leaving residents to pick up the mess the day after.

Resident Karen Till said she was at home during the frightening storm.

“It was deafening loud,” she said of the storm that hit around 4:30 p.m. “Those hailstones were so hard, they were like ice cubes.”

Till’s home in the Canals area received some damage.

“Our roof is really bad,” said Till, adding that she found pieces of her roof on her lawn the day after.

Till’s husband and older son were near the neighbourhood of Waterstone in two separate vehicles when the storm hit.

Till says her husband told her that at one point there were a few “egg sized” hail stones.

The side mirrors on the Till’s van were shattered during the storm and their backyard garden was completely destroyed.

The north side of Sagewood resident Rob Jamieson’s home was “demolished” during the storm.

Storm clouds on the horizon

During the storm he was at work, and his car received a few dents and cracks.

“Honestly my very first thought was to make sure my wife was OK ‘cause she runs a day home,” he said. “I never really thought about what damage was being done at home.”

All three vehicles Jamieson and his wife own were damaged but are still drivable.

The storm developed on the foothills around 3:30 p.m. and pelted Airdrie for about 15 minutes.

During that time, 24 calls were made to the Airdrie RCMP ranging from alarms to motor vehicle collisions, including a five-car pileup on Yankee Valley Boulevard.

Two less severe storms rolled through later in the evening, carrying hail and rain.

Dan Kulak, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada, says Airdrie might not be out of the woods just yet.

“It’s still summer, it’s still storm season and we have to be vigilant,” he said, adding residents should seek shelter during a storm.

Kulak explains that residents shouldn’t just worry about severe storms, but also look out for smaller ones.

Egg size hailstones

“In a given year, your greatest threats are lightening,” says Kulak, explaining that lightening and windstorms cause a few deaths every year on average.

In 2013, thunderstorm warnings were issued in Airdrie, Crossfield and area on June 7, 29 and 30. They were later issued on July 4, 6, 22, 23, 25 and on Aug. 11, 12 and 29.

This year, thunderstorm warnings have only been issued on July 6, 17 and 23, as well as on Aug. 6 and 7.

Tanya Page, with Western Financial Group, said the company received 25 after-hour claims following the storm.

Page explains that most insurance companies cover hail damage.

“It all depends on what your claims history is and the insurer you’re with,” she said.

She adds that homeowners should take steps, such as covering up holes in siding to prevent water getting in, as insurance companies are very busy right now.

As far as vehicle damage, Page says, “get the glass replaced and hold onto that receipt,” so the vehicle can be used.

Record breaking heatwave followed by severe storms in Seattle, USA

Severe Weather Alert

The temperature in Seattle on Monday was much hotter than normal for this time of year. Twenty degrees hotter, to be exact.

Monday afternoon, meteorologists recorded a record-breaking 96 degrees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where Seattle’s official weather data is recorded, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record for Aug. 11 was 95 degrees, set in 1977.

The average temperature of this time of year is 76 degrees, meteorologist Jay Albrecht said.

“Today was 20 degrees above normal,” Albrecht said. “That’s significant. Fortunately, the really, really hot conditions are kind of a short-term thing.”

By Tuesday, marine air from the coast and thunderstorms from the southeast will cause the temperature to drop to the mid-80s, Albrecht said. Rain is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, with temperatures in the mid-70s through the week. The weekend’s forecast is for sunny skies, with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s.

“It’s going to get quite nice once we get through the heat and the thunderstorm activity,” Albrecht said.


A thunderstorm near Enumclaw produced pea-sized hail and heavy precipitation around 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The storm was moving northwest toward the Eastside.

Puget Sound Energy said about 5,200 people are without power in the Redmond and Woodinville areas after an outage likely caused by lightning.