Archive | February 6, 2015

MAGNITUDE 5.2 NICARAGUA

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usc000tmvl#general_summary

Subject To Change

Depth: 75 km

Distances: 36km (22mi) SW of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua
59km (37mi) W of Corinto, Nicaragua
60km (37mi) WSW of El Viejo, Nicaragua
63km (39mi) W of Chinandega, Nicaragua
165km (103mi) WNW of Managua, Nicaragua

Global view

Thousands Without Power in Northern Nevada, Susanville, USA

Power Outages Alert

Energy’s outage map indicates a constantly changing number of power outages Thursday.
 
High wind is believed to be connected to the various outages. There’s no word when all power might be back.
 
Wind is expected to continue into Saturday morning.
 
PG&E in Susanville is experiencing a system wide outage that has cut power to everyone in the city, likely into Friday night; that’s about 10,000 customers.
Courtesy of Kolo News

Extreme Winter Storm Continues To Batter Atlantic Canada

Winter Storm Warning_2

A harsh winter storm continued to batter Atlantic Canada on Friday, wreaking havoc on the roads and shuttering schools.
 
Western Newfoundland was under a winter storm warning and most schools in the region were closed.
 
Weather conditions caused a bus to roll over in Grand Falls-Windsor just after midnight Friday, sending all 55 people aboard to hospital.
 
The central part of the island experienced flash freezes and freezing rain, while western Labrador was under an extreme cold alert.
 
Halifax started cleaning up Thursday’s winter storm, which continued to blast the eastern part of Nova Scotia.
 
Strong winds hit P.E.I., causing whiteout conditions on the roads.
 
Extreme cold warnings were also in effect for northern Quebec.
 
Saint John, N.B., declared a state of emergency Tuesday after the city was hit with nearly 140 cm of snow in less than a week. The blizzard earlier this week caused the closure of the Trans-Canada Hwy. between Moncton and Nova Scotia, cancellation of schools, flight delays and the suspension of mail delivery in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I.
Cold Weather Alert
Courtesy of Toronto Sun

Severe heatwave strikes Australia

Heatwave Warning

A heatwave is due to sweep Australia, experts warn, as emergency crews battle raging bushfires in the west.
 
Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of New South Wales and Victoria will see temperatures near or above 40C (104F).
 
It comes as Western Australia is already experiencing one of its worst seasons for bushfires.
 
Fire crews say the largest blaze near the town of Northcliffe is still raging but rain has helped contain the flames.
 
Smoke from the fires was reported to be blanketing the city of Perth on Friday.
 
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said a very large and slow-moving mass of hot air currently over Western Australia was causing a build-up of heat.
 
“Severe heatwave conditions are forecast to spread to the east, with the Northern Territory seeing temperatures well above average over the weekend,” it said.
 
Southern New South Wales and north-western Victoria are also likely to be affected.
 
Forecasters said that Marble Bar, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, will not see temperatures fall below 43C over the next week, and warned of a high of 48C on Wednesday.
Soaring temperatures in Marble Bar. 23 January 2015
Residents in Marble Bar, Western Australia, suffered a smaller heatwave last month
Meanwhile, emergency warnings are still in place for Northcliffe, Western Australia, and for another huge bushfire further north, near the town of Boddington.
 
Hundreds of firefighters have been brought in and the army is erecting tents for them in the nearby town of Manjimup.
 
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised government help to help tackle the fires.
Bushfire at Northcliffe, Western Australia. Feb 2015
Western Australia is battling one of its worst ever bushfire seasons
The fire near Northcliffe has already consumed about 80,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of bush and has a perimeter of more than 220km (140 miles).
 
The fire had at one point threatened the coastal town of Windy Harbour, sending some residents fleeing to the beach.
 
Local media said overnight rain and favourable winds had helped to contain the fire just before it reached Northcliffe.
 
However, a wind change is expected to push it back towards the town.
 
Two homes and some outbuildings have been destroyed, reports said, but most residents have been evacuated to Pemberton.
 
Patients at Pemberton Hospital have been moved to other facilities in Manjimup, although its emergency department is staying open, the West Australian reported.
 
Northcliffe, Pemberton and Windy Harbour are part of the shire of Manjimup, which is a heavily forested region of Western Australia and prone to bushfires.
 
Further north, the bushfire near Boddington is sending smoke and ash over the nearby town of Collie and threatening the small town of Quindanning, reports said.
 
In another development on Friday, the electricity firm AusNet has reached a A$300m (£153m) settlement with survivors of a huge bushfire that destroyed the town of Marysville in Victoria in 2009.
 
Forty people were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed in the fire.
 
The claim alleged that the fire had been started by a break in an electrical conductor near the Murrindindi Saw Mill but the power company denied this. The no-fault settlement will need court approval.
Map locator
Courtesy of The BBC

Series of ash explosions at Colima volcano in Mexico

Volcano Alert

Lava flows continue to be active with slow advance rates, generating incandescent rockfalls on the SW and WNW flanks. 
Residents are warned not go within 5 km of the volcano.
Courtesy of Volcano Discovery

State Of Emergency After Historic Extreme Flooding Strikes Albania

State Of Emergency

At least four rivers have overflowed and the largest bridge in the Balkans has been destroyed due to extreme flooding in southern Albania and Greece, flooding that the Albanian prime minister has called some of the worst the country has ever seen.
 
The floods are Albania’s second worst on record, the Guardian reported Thursday, after speaking with prime minister Edi Rama. Hundreds of Albanian families have so far been evacuated from their homes, and no human casualties have been reported. Rama has declared a state of emergency.
 
“What we are experiencing, not only in Albania but across Europe, gives us very considerable food for thought about climate change,” Rama reportedly told the Guardian. “There have been so many talks about it and so few real measures against it.”
Sheep stay on a road not reached by Vjosa river water that flooded their village of Darzeze, Fier district, 115 kilometers (70 miles) south of capital Tirana, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.
Sheep stay on a road not reached by Vjosa river water that flooded their village of Darzeze, Fier district, 115 kilometers (70 miles) south of capital Tirana, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015
The floods were caused by heavy rain and snow that has fallen steadily over the region in the last few days. But Rama also said man-made factors contributed to the severity of the problem — “soil erosion, deforestation and bad management of rivers,” he said. “The dam reservoirs are old and have not been maintained.” He noted that poorer Albanians in need of wood have been chopping down trees close to the country’s powerful rivers. Without them, he said, flood damage has been accelerated by soil erosion.  
 
Still, in terms of climate change, Albania has been deemed one of the most vulnerable places in the Balkans, the region of Southeast Europe that includes Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria. This is in part because of changing weather patterns — already in the last 15 years, Albania has seen increasing temperatures, decreasing precipitation, and more extreme events like floods and droughts. But it’s also because of the country’s reliance on agriculture to fuel its economy. In Albania, the effects of climate change are exacerbated because a majority of its rural population is economically dependent on agriculture, either directly or indirectly.
 
View of the flooded power transformer unit in the southern Albanian  city of  Gjirokastra 180 kilomters (110 miles) south of captial Tirana, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015.
View of the flooded power transformer unit in the southern Albanian city of Gjirokastra 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of capital Tirana, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015
 
Though Albania is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, its people emit very low levels of carbon pollution compared to those in other countries. According to World Bank data from 2010, Albania emits 1.5 metric tons of carbon per capita, while the United Kingdom emits 7.86 metric tons per capita. The United States — the world’s second-larger carbon polluter — emits 17.6 metric tons of carbon per capita.
Albanian police and other personnel assist a bus that slid in the water-covered road near Tepelene, 140 kilometers (80 miles) south of capital Tirana, following floods Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015.
Albanian police and other personnel assist a bus that slid in the water-covered road near Tepelene, 140 kilometers (80 miles) south of capital Tirana, following floods Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015
Albania is not the only vulnerable country to see historically extreme flooding in the last few months. At least 39 people died in Kashmir this past September due to extreme monsoon rains, causing flooding that multiple news outlets deemed the worst to hit the region in 22 years. And this past December, Malaysia was hit with its worst flooding in more than 30 years, an event that killed at least five people and left more than 100,000 temporarily displaced.
 
Many scientists say climate change, a phenomenon caused by greenhouse gas emissions, makes precipitation events more extreme and increases the likelihood that those events will occur in some areas of the world. That’s because when carbon dioxide is emitted from burning fossil fuels and destroying tropical forests, it traps heat in the atmosphere, raising the planet’s average temperature. A warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture, meaning more water vapor is available to fall as rain, snow, or hail when storms occur. The finding has been backed by the U.N.
 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, the National Climate Assessment, and multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers.
Farmers transport sheep after heavy rain swelled the Vjosa River that flooded their village of Darzeze, Fier district, 115 kilometers (70 miles) south of capital Tirana, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.
Farmers transport sheep after heavy rain swelled the Vjosa River that flooded their village of Darzeze, Fier district, 115 kilometers (70 miles) south of capital Tirana, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015
Courtesy of thinkprogress.org

Winter storm causing havoc in Southern Europe

Winter Storm Warning_2

A winter storm centred over Mallorca has brought snow, wind and rain, causing widespread disruption across southern Europe.
 
Thirty three of Spain’s 50 provinces were hit by the fresh wave of bitterly cold weather on Thursday.
 
Police and military services rescued some 400 people from vehicles stuck on roads cut off by heavy snowfall across northern Spain. The country’s rail company, Renfe, suspended services between Leon and the northern coastal region of Asturias.
 
In the province of Leon, civil guards rescued 19 “disorientated” Catholic pilgrims, including three Koreans, a South African and 13 children, on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
 
It snowed on the Balearic Island of Mallorca, while snow drifts covered cars in western Switzerland and the French town of Lausanne.
 
In the north of Italy, the regions of Liguria, Piemonte, Lombardia and Tuscany were also covered in drifting snow. The highway between Naples and Milan was closed, awaiting clearing crews.
Many roads and railways have had to be closed in southern Europe [Reuters]
Snow and gale force winds gusting to 120kph disrupted border traffic in Slovenia. The weather, the worst of the winter so far, caused Slovenian authorities to close border crossings for all truck traffic, creating long queues. Many trucks were stopped at border crossings in neighbouring Croatia, as well as Italy, Hungary and Austria.
 
Venice saw some snow but authorities are more concerned with the rising water levels. Tides and the storm surge have brought the water level to within 25cm of a red alert. Coastal flooding and large waves are a continuing risk into the weekend.
 
This storm is not over yet and severe gales are possible for a time on the Italian coast and the Balearics.
 
Rain is likely to melt some of the snow already on the ground, or cause flooding in its own right, in the Balkans, Italy and possibly Switzerland.
Courtesy of Aljazeera News