Archive | August 19, 2015

Chemical Tank Explosion At Fertilizer Plant Kills 1 In Georgia, USA

Chemical Explosion Alert

Authorities say a man has died following a chemical tank explosion at a fertilizer plant in southwest Georgia.
 
Bainbridge Public Safety officer Jerry Carter says the explosion occurred around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Liquid Transfer Terminals in Bainbridge. Carter says the 1 million-gallon chemical tank contained sodium chlorite liquid solution.
 
Carter says emergency crews ordered about 50 to 100 people to evacuate from within a half-mile radius of the chemical explosion. He says no harmful gases were reported in the air, but a carbon layer was burning.
 
Bainbridge community affairs spokeswoman Julie Harris says all Decatur County elementary schools were placed on lockdown as a precaution.
 
No other injuries have been reported.
Courtesy of abcnews.go.com

Heatwave continues with forest fire warnings in Sweden

Extreme Heatwave Alert

Swedish authorities issued a warning of forest fires on Wednesday across large parts of the country as meteorologists predicted the current summer heatwave should stick around until at least the weekend
The Swedish fire and rescue service issued a total ban on lighting fires – including privately held barbecues – in several areas on Wednesday, including the island of Gotland and Kalmar county in southern Sweden.
 
“There has been no precipitation and warm weather for a while now. (…) The more it dries up the greater the risk [of fire],” said Leif Sandahl, fire engineer at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB).
 
“You should possibly even consider whether or not you should completely refrain from lighting a fire or barbecue,” he added in a statement.
 
People living in the Stockholm area were also advised to avoid lighting fires, although an outright ban had not yet been announced by Wednesday afternoon.
 
“Even if the ground feels damp in the morning it is in fact extremely dry right now. One should be wary of lighting any fires in the forest and if you organize a barbecue, do it at home or at official barbecue spots,” fire and rescue services control room officer Per Johansson told the TT newswire.
 
According to Swedish weather institute SMHI, the Blekinge, Västergötland and Värmland regions, as well as eastern parts of southern and central Sweden and along the northern coastline were also at risk of forest fires.
 
“There is a dominating high pressure front in all of Scandinavia and it looks as though it is going to stick around over the weekend. Next week the weather may shift, but it is difficult to say at the moment,” said meteorologist Marcus Sjöstedt.
 
The Swedish fire and rescue service issued a total ban on lighting fires – including privately held barbecues – in several areas on Wednesday, including the island of Gotland and Kalmar county in southern Sweden.
 
“There has been no precipitation and warm weather for a while now. (…) The more it dries up the greater the risk [of fire],” said Leif Sandahl, fire engineer at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB).
 
“You should possibly even consider whether or not you should completely refrain from lighting a fire or barbecue,” he added in a statement.
 
People living in the Stockholm area were also advised to avoid lighting fires, although an outright ban had not yet been announced by Wednesday afternoon.
 
“Even if the ground feels damp in the morning it is in fact extremely dry right now. One should be wary of lighting any fires in the forest and if you organize a barbecue, do it at home or at official barbecue spots,” fire and rescue services control room officer Per Johansson told the TT newswire.
 
According to Swedish weather institute SMHI, the Blekinge, Västergötland and Värmland regions, as well as eastern parts of southern and central Sweden and along the northern coastline were also at risk of forest fires.
 
“There is a dominating high pressure front in all of Scandinavia and it looks as though it is going to stick around over the weekend. Next week the weather may shift, but it is difficult to say at the moment,” said meteorologist Marcus Sjöstedt.
Courtesy of thelocal.se

Severe heatwave kills at least 109 which is set to rise in Egypt, Africa

Extreme Heatwave Alert

Around 109 people died and hundreds more wounded due to the heat wave that is sweeping across Egypt nationwide, official news agency MENA reported.
 
The Egyptian health ministry released on Tuesday a statement to follow up health situation in all governorates, saying that about 191 people suffered heatstroke, 109 of whom were discharged from hospital, while three cases died.
 
In August, Egypt has been hit by heat wave with maximum temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
 
The spokesperson of health ministry said last week when the death toll reached 61 that the capital has seen the biggest death toll, followed by Giza province and some of Upper Egypt cities.
Courtesy of shanghaidaily.com

Emergency hospital ward closes after 46 people contract MERS virus at Riyadh hospital, Saudi Arabia

MERS Virus Alert

A Saudi medical official says authorities have temporarily closed an emergency ward in one of the kingdom’s largest hospitals after at least 46 people, including hospital staff, contracted the potentially fatal Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS.
 
Dr. Hanan Balkhi says that of that of the 46 infected at King Abdulaziz Medical City in the capital, Riyadh, 15 were medical staff.
 
Thursday’s statement says the ward will remain closed for two weeks and that the patients are being transferred to other hospitals.
 
Before the latest report, Saudi Health Ministry said that 480 people have died of the coronavirus since it was first identified in 2012.
 
A ministry statement Wednesday said about 1,115 cases have been registered nationwide. Of those, 590 have recovered and the rest are being treated.
Courtesy of startribune.com

2nd case of plague — another Yosemite visitor — investigated in California, USA

Plague Warning

California authorities on Tuesday reported they’re looking at a second person with the plague in the state — and, like the other case, this one visited Yosemite National Park.
 
The California Department of Public Health announced “a presumptive positive case of plague” involving someone from Georgia who had spent time in early August in the state.
 
Before feeling sick, this person visited Yosemite, the Sierra National Forest and nearby areas. No other details were given, including who the person is, their current medical condition, and where exactly he or she stayed overnight. Nor is it certain this person contracted the plague while in California.
 
Still, the report suggests that two people recently in California have a disease best known for killing millions centuries ago that — despite all the advances of modern science — remains a real present-day problem.
 
In addition to the California cases, two people contracted the plague this year in Colorado. Both of them, a teenager in Larimer County and the other an adult in Pueblo County, died of the disease.
Pair of Yosemite campgrounds treated
News of the latest probable plague case in California comes just after Yosemite National Park shut down its Tuolumne Meadows Campground after authorities determined two dead squirrels had the plague.
 
The campground will be closed from Monday through Friday. It is one of 13 around Yosemite, which with about 4 million visitors is the third most visited U.S. national park.
 
Staff will treat the Tuolumne Meadows site with deltamethrin, a chemical that kills fleas that spread the plague, according to the park.
 
The first Yosemite campground to get the once over was Crane Flat, which is where a child — after visiting nearby Stanislaus National Forest — had stayed in mid-July. In that case, an insecticide that contained deltamethrin was used on rodent burrows on August 10 and 11.
 
That child is recovering from the plague, and no other members of the camping party have reported any related symptoms, according to authorities.
Teen, adult with plague die in Colorado
Medicine has come a long way since the the Black Death during the Middle Ages, with antibiotics and antimicrobial medicines among the tools to aid those with the plague. But it hasn’t eliminated the disease entirely, including in developed countries like the United States.
 
How do we still have the plague?
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the United States has about seven annual cases, over 80% of which have been in the bubonic form.
 
Thus, the four human cases reported so far in 2015 appears to be in line with those numbers.
 
Until now, California hadn’t had an instance of human plague since 2006, when there were three cases in Mono, Los Angeles and Kern counties, according to state health officer Dr. Karen Smith. There have been 42 cases in the state since 1970, of which nine proved fatal.
 
“Although this is a rare disease, people should protect themselves from infection by avoiding any contact with wild rodents,” Smith said.
Courtesy of edition.cnn.com

First rainfall since Tianjin explosion leaves city covered in mysterious white foam

whitefoamrain.jpg
The first rainfall to wash over Tianjin since a series of blasts struck a warehouse in the Binhai district last week has sparked a new wave of concern as an unidentified white foam has appeared on the streets.
 
Some who made contact with it are reporting a burning sensation on their face and lips, while others are reporting a stinging sensation on their arms.
 
Some have said they experienced an itchy sensation, according to a NetEase News report.
whitefoamrain2.jpg
Meteorological experts said Monday that rainfall would no longer pose direct danger to people’s health, according to a CCTV News report.
whitefoamrain4.jpg
However, authorities had expressed concern that the downpour, aside from hampering rescue efforts, would spread harmful substances across the city, after around 700 tons of sodium cyanide—a toxic chemical that creates a combustible substance when it meets with water—was found at the blast site.
 
Officials today said that at least 40 types of dangerous chemicals were detected at the blast zone, including 800 tons of ammonium nitrate and 500 tons of potassium nitrate, the Guardian reports.
whitefoamrain9.jpg
Bao Jingling, chief engineer for the Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau, previously said in an NBC News report that “if there is rain, it will produce hydrogen cyanide, so we are monitoring it closely,” adding that the military’s anti-chemical warfare division had been sent to the site on Sunday and the situation “currently…isn’t very serious”.
 
Hydrogen cyanide gas is described by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being a “rapidly fatal” toxic chemical that can reduce the body’s ability to use oxygen.
whitefoamrain11.jpg
In preparation for the rain, authorities reportedly built cofferdams around a 100,000-square-meter core area of the explosions which will be continually reinforced to prevent contaminated water from flowing out, Xinhua said.
 
Local monitoring centers reported a normal air quality reading in the city, and the Tianjin deputy mayor in charge of work safety said at a press conference yesterday that sodium cyanide within a three-kilometer radius of the core blast site would be neutralized by yesterday evening.
whitefoamrain10.jpg
A total of 114 people have been confirmed dead with 70 more missing after two huge explosions and one smaller blast ripped through a warehouse storing hazardous materials last Wednesday.
Courtesy of shanghaiist.com

MAGNITUDE 3.2 MOUNT RAINIER AREA, WASHINGTON, USA

http://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/earthquake.php?id=455420

Subject To Change

Depth: 1 km

Distances: 287 km S of Vancouver, Canada / pop: 1,837,969 / local time: 11:49:53.5 2015-08-19
88 km E of Olympia, United States / pop: 46,478 / local time: 11:49:53.5 2015-08-19
69 km SE of Tacoma, United States / pop: 198,397 / local time: 11:49:53.5 2015-08-19
37 km E of Eatonville, United States / pop: 2,758 / local time: 11:49:53.5 2015-08-19


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