Archive | February 1, 2016

Eruptive activity observed at Heard Island in Australia

Lava flow at Heard Island volcano (Image: CSIRO / YouTube)
An eruption was observed by crew on board the CSIRO research vessel Investigator in late January. A lava flow was seen descending the NW flank of Mawson Peak.
Weak thermal anomalies were also detected on satellite data at the end of January. Whether the activity is still going on or not is impossible to determine – most of the days, the volcano is hidden beneath thick clouds preventing satellite observations.
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Phreatic ash explosions at Nevados de Chillán volcano in Chile

Ash explosion at Chillán on 31 Jan 2016 (SERNAGEOMIN)
A series of new explosions with small to moderate ash emissions occurred at the volcano during the end of last week. This activity formed a second new crater, approx. 25×30 m wide and located 50 m beneath the northeast flank of Arrau crater, as SERNAGEOMIN staff observed on an overflight on 30 January. 
According to Chilean scientists, the activity is caused by phreatic (steam-driven) explosions in the shallow hydrotermal disturbances, not by fresh magma. Temperatures in the crater areas were found to be relatively low (approx 120 deg C), which supports this interpretation as well. It is likely that more explosions occur in the near future and an exclusion zone of 2 km around the crater was put in place.
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Two small lava lakes active inside Santiago crater at Masaya volcano in Nicaragua

Volcano Alert

INETER reported ongoing strong seismic and surface activity. There here are currently two small lava lakes active contained in two pits inside the Santiago crater. Access to Masaya’s crater rim, a very popular tourist destination, was closed to the public on Saturday. 
An earthquake of magnitude 3 on Friday, felt by many residents, probably accompanied the opening of the second vent in the NE section of the crater. A third vent is in the process of forming in the SE section of the crater, the latest INETER report stated.
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Freak Hail Storm, Gusty Winds Causes Mayhem In San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Hail Alert

Hail and rain slammed the Bay Area Sunday, bringing with it gusty winds, high surfs and light rain that may continue through Monday.
A wind advisory was issued until Monday, with warnings of gusts approaching 45 mph. Damage to trees and scattered power outages might last through the morning commute, though the day should open up to some cool temps in the upper 50s with slightly less windy conditions.
In Redwood City, the Ceballes family had a close scare when a tree came crashing down near their garage just minutes after the family had gone inside.
“Me and my husband and my stepson were underneath the tarps in our driveway. I mean, it could have come down a little bit before and it would have hit all three of us,” said Sandra Ceballes.
“It’s a bummer, because my brother is handicapped so he literally has to go under the tree to get into the house,” Ceballes added.
On Sunday, the windy weather hit San Francisco especially hard, bringing at least two trees crashing down.
One of the downed trees briefly blocked traffic today in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood.
At about 3 p.m., firefighters responded to a report that a tree had fallen was blocking two lanes in the 1500 block of Portola Drive, according to fire officials.
With the help from the city’s Department of Public Works, firefighters were able to quickly clear the tree by about 3:15 p.m.
Meanwhile, over in Livermore, snow mixed with rain fell on the hilly areas. The white-capped hills are likely to linger into Monday morning as wind speeds accelerate over Sunday night.
In Pleasant Hill and other parts of the East Bay, heavy hail storms shocked unsuspecting residents.
Hail the size of pees slammed down on cars and homes, leading many to take pictures of the rare wintry occurrence.
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Severe hail storm damages hundreds of cars in Canberra, Australia

Hail Alert

Saturday’s hail storm damaged hundreds of vehicles at Canberra car dealerships with one repairer predicting there could be an average of 500 dents per car.  
As of Monday repairers were still fixing vehicles from the previous hail storm on January 25 which put up to 1000 dents in some vehicles.
Much of the damage at car yards caused by Saturday’s hail happened at Fyshwick.
It is believed Saturday’s storm damaged more than 200 cars at Canberra Toyota as well as 60 new and used vehicles at Mercedes-Benz Canberra and 30 at Capital Subaru. 
Other dealers in the industrial estate were also affected but the total number of cars for sale which were dented was not known.
Experienced operators in the industry have warned the harm is much greater than the eye can see.
Often a handful of dents would be counted with the naked eye but a closer inspection by repairers would reveal hundreds. 
An average sedan exposed during the storm would cost between $3000 to $7000 to fix, according to one repairer who expected the average car damaged on Saturday to be left with 500 dents.  
Mercedes-Benz Canberra dealer principal Jason Naumann said all the dents in his damaged cars would be fixed.
He expected the repair work to take a fortnight or less based on his previous experience with widespread hail damage.
The extent of the damage to each car at his dealership would be confirmed when he received a professional assessment on Tuesday morning.
He already knew that looking at hail damage was “like an iceberg” with  many of the slight hollows difficult to see without the help of fluorescent lights. 
“Everything exposed [on Saturday] was damaged,” he said.
Legislation required dealers to tell buyers about cars which had been damaged by hail. 
Capital Subaru dealer principal Adam Clearihan said his business would give buyers the opportunity to buy a car damaged by hail at a reduced price or have the damage fixed.
Mr Clearihan had counted up to 30 dents in some of the cars at his yard but, like others, awaited professional advice.
He said Saturday’s storm appeared to damage a small window of Canberra car yards located in Fyshwick.
“Apparently it’s only us [in Fyshwick] affected,” he said.  
Insurance policies cover the cost of hail storms for car dealers.  
The Insurance Council of Australia did not have data on the number or value of claims from the weekend’s storms in the ACT or the total bill for storms in the territory so far this year.
As of last week NRMA Insurance had received 435 claims for cars damaged in the January 25 storm in Canberra. 
Insurance companies ask policy holders to make contact as soon as possible after damage is found to help with the assessment of claims. 
The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts rain in Canberra to clear in the coming days and temperatures to increase during the week.
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Severe storm floods highways, topples trees and power lines in Ventura County, California, USA

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Alert

A storm moved through Ventura County Sunday, flooding highways, damaging homes and leaving hundreds without power.
Water and mud flooded several lanes on Highway 101 and Pacific Coast Highway near Solimar Beach north of Ventura.
And, as the rain tapered off, strong, gusty winds brought down trees and power lines throughout the county.
“The front is moving through, and we’re getting really, really strong north to northwest winds,” meteorologist Curt Kaplan said late Sunday afternoon.
Those gusty winds were expected to continue overnight, said Kaplan, with the National Weather Service.
Gusts had reached 68 mph at the Ventura Harbor, 55 mph at the Oxnard Airport and 52 mph at the Camarillo Airport by midafternoon, the agency reported.
County and city firefighters responded to dozens of calls of downed trees and power lines.
Sunday afternoon, crews put out a fire burning on a train trestle south of Main Street in Ventura. Trains had to be stopped, and engineers were assessing its condition Sunday evening.
Authorities said it apparently started when homeless people living inside a catwalk under the tracks started a warming fire.
“We’ve been at full tilt today,” said Battalion Chief Doug Miser, of the Ventura City Fire Department.
Crews went from call to call, handling storm-related issues, as well as their regular emergencies.
Angela Embree was inside her Oxnard mobile home when she said what looked like a small tornado hit shortly before noon.
“The wind was blowing, and I heard this sound,” said Embree, who lives with her husband in the Meadowlake mobile home park near Vineyard Avenue and Oxnard Boulevard. “It was different from the wind.”
In about a half-minute, porch railings were ripped out of the ground and much of the roof blown away. She and her husband were uninjured.
Part of the roof ended up about 200 yards away, Embree said.
The National Weather Service had not heard of tornadoes in the area Sunday, but Kaplan said the storm was throwing out strong wind activity.
“We had a very strong squall line that came through,” he said.
“We’ve had roofs blown off mobile homes throughout the city,” said Oxnard Fire Battalion Chief Sergio Martinez.
Oxnard Police Department reported a half-dozen roads had been impacted by fallen trees and lines.
Earlier in Meiners Oaks, wind brought down a 60-foot oak into a duplex, displacing three people.
Tony and Mary Chignola had lived in the Carrizo Street home for 30 years and were both inside at the time.
Branches, some stretching 12-feet long, came down throughout the home. Tony Chignola had some scrapes, but no major injuries were reported.
“It’s a miracle,” he said.
The Red Cross was called to assist the Chignolas, who rent, and their neighbor living in the duplex.
Storm-related power outages were reported throughout the county Sunday, and some were expected to last into Monday.
“It’s widespread throughout our region,” said Edison spokesman Daniel Yi said of the outages.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services was activated until 3 p.m., as staff monitored conditions in a Ventura command center and in the field.
Camarillo, Moorpark and Oxnard got about a third of an inch of rain Sunday. Ventura and Simi Valley got a half inch, and about 1 ½ inches was reported in Ojai, according to preliminary storm totals from the Ventura County Watershed Protection District.
La Conchita, Fillmore and Santa Paula got close to an inch of rain, and more than 2 inches fell in mountain areas.
“For the most part, everything fared pretty well,” said Patrick Maynard, a county emergency manager, of rain-related issues.
There were reports of rocks falling on rural roads as heavy rain fell. Lanes flooded on the 101 near Solimar, leaving only one lane open in each direction for a short time Sunday.
Northbound PCH near Emma Wood State Beach also was closed because of mud and flooding.
Unlike the January storm, the Solimar area didn’t get hit with as much rain Sunday.
There was some isolated mud and debris coming down the burned hillsides, but most of the flooding came from clogged drains in the area, Maynard said.
Those hillsides were burned in a fire that started Dec. 25.
Rain coming down at a half-inch or more an hour can trigger debris flows on hillsides left bare by recent fires.
Caltrans has hired a contractor and crews have worked to help the burned hill. The contractor also responded Sunday morning.
A flash-flood watch also was in effect for other burn areas, including Camarillo Springs.
But Camarillo was spared the heaviest rainfall Sunday.
With strong winds expected to continue into Monday, authorities urged residents to stay alert and watch out for downed power lines.
Capt. Mike Lindbery, of the Ventura County Fire Department, urged everyone to stay away from any downed lines. Don’t try to drive over them, he said.
“We always approach these as if they’re energized,” Lindbery said. “We would recommend anyone near them to turn around and find an alternate route.”
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Severe Flooding And Landslide Hit Two Districts in West Sumatra, Indonesia

Flood and Landslide Hit Two Districts in West Sumatra
Dozens of homes in Solok, West Sumatra, have been hit by flood with water level reaching up to 100 centimeters. “This was caused by heavy rain occurring in the region since yesterday afternoon,” said Head of Emergency and Logistics of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) West Sumatra R. Pagar Negera said Monday, February 1, 2016.
As many as 30 homes have affected by the flood since 6pm yesterday, but have yet receded until Monday morning, February 1, Pagar said the BPBD is still collecting data on the incident and about 167 residents are trapped by the flood. “Until today, there has not been any report of casualties and damages due to the flood,” he said.
Earlier, heavy rain has also caused landslide in several area in Agam District, West Sumatra, including Nagari Panta-Landia River road, with three landslide points of 15m in length and 80-100cm in height.
Many cars have been trapped in the landslide area.  “Only motorcycles can pass by,” said Pagar.
Alternative road in Panta-Ngarai Sianok is also hit by landslide as well as in kelok 24 and 25 of Lake Maninjau.
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Plane Crash Kills Three In Albany, Georgia, USA

Plane Crash Alert

Authorities say three people are dead after a small plane crashed on takeoff from the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in the city of Albany.
Albany Police spokeswoman Phyllis Banks told the Albany Herald that the crash occurred near the main runway Saturday afternoon and emergency crews went immediately to the site. She didn’t identify the dead.
A phone message left by The Associated Press wasn’t immediately returned by Banks late Saturday.
Arlene Salac, with the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an FAA statement emailed to AP that the Lancair 4 aircraft crashed at 2:35 p.m. The statement didn’t give the plane’s intended destination or other crash details. It said the FAA would investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board would determine the probable cause.
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Plane overturns while landing at Merritt Island Airport, Florida, USA

Plane Crash Alert

A small plane ended up on its roof while approaching Merritt Island Airport for a landing Sunday.
According to Brevard County Fire Rescue, the plane, a Cessna 172, skidded off the runway and rolled over.
The pilot was unharmed. He was the only one on board.
The crash did not cause a fuel leak, said firefighters.
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