Archive | January 11, 2015

Coldest temperature is record breaking at -14.2C (6*F) in Israel

Record Cold Alert

In Kibbutz Marom Golan on the Golan Heights, the temperature hit a low of minus 14.2 Centigrade (six degrees Fahrenheit) – the coldest temperature recorded in Israel in three and a half decades
Now that the “great storm” is over, Israel is counting the numbers – and among the records set are the 35-year low temperatures that hit the country over the weekend.
While Jerusalem didn’t get as much snow as some had hoped – although there were healthy amounts north and south of the city, in the Binyamin and Gush Etzion regions – it was northern Israel that bore the brunt of the snow. In the Hula Valley, for example, the snow cover was heavier than it had been since 1992, officials said. The Hermon Mountain has between 1.7 and 4 meters of snow cover, and officials expect the Hermon Ski Center to open Monday.
According to Dr. Amos Porat of the Meteorological Service, the rains that fell over the seven days ending Saturday were about the same or slightly more than the amount that usually falls in January. The coastal plain received between 100 and 150 millimeters of rain, while the north received 80-170 mm of rain.
The season has been a rainy one so far as well; compared to an average year, northern Israel received 120%-150% of its rainfall. In the center of the country and in the Negev, this year’s rainfall has so far been between 150% and 200% of the average rainfall through January 10. In much of the country, some 65% of the annual average rainfall has already fallen; in some areas in the center of the country, that figure approaches or exceeds 100%.
Courtesy of Israel National News


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 209km (130mi) WSW of Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
931km (578mi) NNW of Tromso, Norway
955km (593mi) NNW of Alta, Norway
998km (620mi) NNW of Harstad, Norway
209km (130mi) WSW of Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen  

Global view



***BE ALERT***

Magnetogram 11.01.15  22.49 hrs UTC

Tropical Storm is on course for the Philippines

Tropical Storm Alert

The Philippines was watching nervously yesterday as a tropical storm threatened a typhoon-prone central island that Pope Francis will visit this week on his tour of the fervently Catholic nation. 
The country’s weather bureau said a low-pressure area currently over the Pacific Ocean was on course for Leyte Island, touted as one of the highlights of the pontiff’s four-day visit, and could develop into a storm by the time it enters Philippine waters on Thursday. Leyte was the province worst-hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, and suffered landslides and floods late last year wrought by tropical storm Jangmi. 
“Part of contingency planning are possible inclement scenarios…. options are being developed,” presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma from the papal visit organising committee said.
Asked if cancelling the events on Leyte island on January 17 was an option, Coloma said: “It’s best to wait until the (weather disturbance) enters the Philippines before making specific contingency plans.” 
In a best-case scenario, the low pressure area would turn northwards and spare the country, but there is also an equal chance it will intensify into a storm, state weather forecaster Alvin Pura said. 
“This may hit the Eastern Visayas and bring rains to the Pope’s events,” he said, referring to the island chain in which Leyte sits. 
Pura could not immediately say how much rain was possible on Leyte if the storm developed and hit the island. During the last week of 2014, the Eastern Visayas were caught off guard when a storm bearing relatively weak winds brought heavy rains, triggering flashfloods and landslides that killed 54 people. 
The pontiff, who arrives in the country on Thursday, will be in Leyte on Saturday to give a mass at the airport in Tacloban, ground zero for Haiyan, and have lunch with storm survivors in nearby Palo town. 
The weather disturbance was unlikely to affect another mass in Manila the day after, where millions are expected to attend, Pura said. Partly cloudy skies and cool weather are expected in the capital on that day, he said. 
The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons per year, many of them deadly. 
Haiyan, the strongest typhoon to hit land with 230-kilometre  per hour winds, brought tsunami like waves to the central Philippines, wiping out entire towns and leaving more than 7,350 people dead or missing.
Courtesy of Gulf Times

Kamchatka Volcano’s Ash Eruption Prompts Air Traffic Safety Warning

Volcano Alert

A volcano in Russia’s far-eastern Kamchatka region has begun spewing ash, posing a possible risk to air traffic in the area, a news report said Sunday.
The Shiveluch Volcano has begun shooting ash some six kilometers into the air, prompting its threat level to be boosted to orange, meaning it could pose a threat to air traffic, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported, citing the press service of the Emergency Situations Ministry.
“The cloud of ash has spread to the southwest of the volcano, and the plume [of ash] has spread deep into the peninsula, but there is no ash in the villages,” the ministry said in a statement.
Tour agencies have been advised against organizing any excursions in the area.
Shiveluch is one of the largest active volcanoes in the Kamchatka region, with an area of 1,300 square kilometers and a height of 3,283 meters.
There are more than 150 volcanoes in Kamchatka, 29 of which are active.
Courtesy of The Moscow Times

Winter Storm Hektor threatens Indianapolis with ice storm, freezing rain to Midwest, Northeast, USA

Winter Weather Alert

Winter Storm Hektor threatens to bring an ice storm to Indiana and freezing rain to parts of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast on Sunday into Monday
Hektor brought light icing in Texas starting on Friday, but the storm is expected to bring freezing rain, sleet and snow to parts of the Midwest and Northeast as it moves through the regions.
The National Weather Service declared an ice storm warning is in effect from 4 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday for Indianapolis and Central Indiana.
Temperatures in Indianapolis will range from a high of 32 degrees to a low of 7 degrees.
Freezing rain is possible across the middle to lower Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and northern Mid-Atlantic states.
Light freezing rain is already reported in southeastern Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Winter Weather advisory is in effect for much of the Midwest and Northeast.
Among the cities that should be alert for icy travel are, Little Rock and Ft. Smith, Arkansas, St. Louis, Mo., and Indianapolis, Ind., for Sunday.
Courtesy of UPI


Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 2590 km S of Monrovia, Liberia / pop: 939,524 / local time: 18:47:20.9 2015-01-11
2803 km S of Freetown, Sierra Leone / pop: 802,639 / local time: 18:47:20.9 2015-01-11
2806 km S of Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire / pop: 194,530 / local time: 18:47:20.9 2015-01-11

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Taiwan hit by new type of H5N2, H5N8 for first time

Bird Flu

Taiwan’s agriculture authorities confirmed on Sunday that outbreaks of avian influenza at goose farms in southern Taiwan have been caused by two highly pathogenic viruses — H5N8 and a new type of H5N2 — seen for the first time in the country.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the Council of Agriculture said the bird flu outbreaks reported at four goose farms in Yunlin County have been confirmed as being caused by a new strain of the H5N2 virus.
The H5N8 infection found in tissue samples from geese raised on a farm in Dalin Township in Chiayi County was identified as an H5N8 subtype similar to the avian flu virus that attacked South Korea in 2014, the bureau noted.
“Both of the viruses are new and have never been detected in Taiwan before,” the bureau said in a statement.
The conclusions were based on laboratory tests of tissue samples collected from 23 goose farms and one duck egg farm in Taiwan, according to the bureau.
Measures have been taken to cull infected fowl, which include 6,000 geese at the four affected farms in Yunlin and more than 1,500 geese raised for breeding at the virus-hit farm in Chiayi, according to local governments.
The Chiayi County Agriculture Department said all geese at the goose farm in the county will be culled, and other farms raising fowl with a one-kilometer radius of the infected farm will be required to deliver samples for checks once a month for three straight months.
On Sunday, more than 7,000 ducks at a duck egg farm in Wandan Township in Pingtung County were also targeted for culling after suspicions that the farm had been hit by the H5N2 virus were confirmed.
Meanwhile, a goose farm in Tainan reported suspicious deaths Saturday, when 100 of over 800 geese from the farm died as they were being transported to a slaughterhouse in Pingtung County.
Lee Chao-chuan, head of the Tainan City Animal Health Inspection and Protection Office, confirmed the deaths Sunday, saying samples of dead geese have been sent for laboratory checks.
“The situation is not yet clear at the moment,” Lee said.
Centers of Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said the agency has subjected 83 poultry farm operators and quarantine personnel to simple health checks as a precaution, though experts at the agency judged that the H5N2 virus would not be transmitted from fowl to humans.
There has not been a single case of H5N8 infection among humans anywhere in the world, Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji said Sunday.
H5N8 is a virus existing in wild birds and mainly transmitted to ducks and geese, according to health experts.
Local authorities suspect that both the H5N8 and new H5N2 viruses were brought to Taiwan by migratory birds.
Because avian flu viruses can be eliminated during the cooking process at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius and over, people are advised to cook chicken eggs or poultry well before eating them.
Courtesy of Focus Taiwan News Channel

Subject to change

Depth: 2 km

Distances: 237 km E of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 05:27:35.8 2015-01-11
104 km SE of Akureyri / pop: 16,563 / local time: 05:27:00.0 2015-01-11

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Subject to change

Depth: 7.2 km

Distances: Latitude, Longitude  64.665 -17.461
(4.2 km NE of Bárðarbunga)

Earthquake location   11 Jan 18:25 GMT

Map of earthquake epicentres

Time and magnitude of earthquake   11 Jan 18:25 GMT

Graph showing earthquake timing and magnitude