Monday, September 5, 2011

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.6 Quake Hits Northern Sumatra, Indonesia!

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A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has struck Northern Sumatra, Indonesia at a depth of 52.3 km (32.5 miles). The quake hit at 17:55:09 UTC, Monday 5th September 2011 and was located at 2.973°N, 97.997°E. The epicentre was 130 km (81 miles) southwest from Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia; 118 km (73 miles) west of Pematangsiantar, Sumatra, Indonesia; 160 km (99 miles) northwest of Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia; and 1409 km (875 miles) northwest of Jakarta, Java, Indonesia.

No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

EARTH CHANGES: Hurricane Katia Strengthens in Atlantic, Prompting Rip Current Threats - Could Be A "Life-Threatening" Disaster Soon!

Hurricane Katia continued to intensify overnight Sunday as it churned in the Atlantic Ocean, spurring warnings about rip currents and fears it could soon develop into a "major hurricane," the National Hurricane Center said.

At of 11 p.m. ET, Katia was considered a Category 2 hurricane -- packing maximum sustained winds of 105 mph -- just 5 mph weaker than those that would make it a Category 3. No warnings or watches were in effect for the United States, but the hurricane center did warn that the "threat of rip currents (are) expected to increase along the East Coast ... during the next few days." East-facing beaches along the Bahamas and the Greater Antilles also may experience "large swells," while similar conditions on the Northern Leeward Islands should improve into Monday. "These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the hurricane center reported. The storm was centered 385 miles north-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and 655 miles south-southeast of Bermuda and was moving northwest at 13 mph.

It is expected to slow down slightly through Tuesday, even as it is expected to keep getting stronger over the next 48 hours, the center reported late Sunday. Currently, Katia's hurricane-force winds extend 45 miles out from its center. Sustained tropical storms winds -- blowing consistently at between 39 and 73 mph -- can be felt up to 175 miles out. Katia's likely path puts it on a trajectory northwest through the Atlantic, getting closer to the U.S. East Coast toward the end of the week. CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras noted that most computer models show Katia largely skirting the eastern United States as it eventually moves northward. But North Carolina's Outer Banks are part of its "cone of uncertainty," a weather measure that indicates where forecasters think a hurricane's center could go.
- CNN.
WATCH: Hurricane Katia Advisory.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.9 Magnitude Quake Jolts Panama!

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A magnitude 5.9 earthquake has struck South of Panama at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). The quake hit at 11:21:34 UTC, Monday 5th September 2011 and was located at 6.532°N, 82.388°W. The epicentre was 211 km (131 miles) south of David, Panama; 232 km (144 miles) southwest of Santiago, Panama; 249 km (154 miles) southeast of Golfito, Costa Rica; and 414 km (257 miles) southwest of Panama City, Panama.

No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

EXTREME WEATHER: Massive Wildfire Wrecks Havoc Across Texas!

A woman and her 18-month-old daughter were killed Sunday after they were trapped in their East Texas trailer home engulfed by flames, as unforgiving wildfires fanned by the winds of Tropical Storm Lee wreak havoc across the state.

The 20-year-old woman and her child had no chance to escape as a wall of flames ravaged their neighborhood and ultimately their home, Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said. A male occupant of the home was burned but able to escape. He frantically searched for the woman and child but couldn't find them, and their bodies were later found near the bathroom inside the double-wide trailer. Local and state firefighting crews scrambled to contain the fast-moving blazes, which have levelled 300 homes and forced evacuations at hundreds more in Bastrop County. Winds were from the north to northeast at 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph and relative humidity at 20 to 30 per cent. The National Weather Service said South, Central and East Texas were all under 'red flag' warnings for critical fire conditions until late Sunday night. No injuries were reported. The wildfire threat became so dire in the Austin area of Central Texas that the Austin Fire Department issued a public appeal for any and all available firefighters in the area to report for duty. - Daily Mail.
The CBS affiliate in Austin is reporting a 14,000 acre fire has destroyed hundreds of homes in Bastrop County Sunday night. According to the county judge, 300 homes have burned. The Texas Forest Service says one fire is at least 16 miles long and four miles wide. KEYE reports none of the fire has been contained and Highway 71 through Bastrop has been closed. Officials here in the Coastal Bend tell us the smoke and haze from that massive blaze has made its way down to our local counties. - KRIS TV.
WATCH: Eye-witness report of the massive blaze in Bastrop, Texas.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.4 Magnitude Quake Strikes Tonga!

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A magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 35.4 km (22 miles). The quake hit at 09:52:01 UTC, Monday 5th September 2011 and was located at 15.291°S, 173.618°W. The epicentre was 256 km (159 miles) southwest of Apia, Samoa; 73 km (45 miles) northeast of Hihifo, Tonga; 326 km (202 miles) southwest of Pago Pago, American Samoa; and 2653 km (1648 miles) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand.

No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.3 Magnitude Quake Hits South Africa!

(Click on the image for a larger view.)
A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck South of Africa at a depth of 10.1 km (6.3 miles). The quake hit at 06:01:20 UTC, Monday 5th September 2011 and was located at 47.946°S, 31.763°E. The epicentre was 465 km (289 miles) southwest of Marion Islands, Prince Edward Islands; 1415 km (879 miles) southwest of Ile aux Cochons, Crozet Islands; 2010 km (1248 miles) south of Durban, South Africa; and 2100 km (1304 miles) south of Maseru, Lesotho.

No tsunami warning was issued and there are no reports of any damage at this time.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Millions of Dead Fish in Southern China!

A major crisis is currently developing in southeastern China, where authorities are trying to figure out the reasons for the deaths of millions of fish.

Millions of dead fish have been found in several townships in the county since Aug 31, with reported loss of up to hundreds of millions yuan. The cause of the mass death remains unknown. Fishermen said it could be due to the pollutant discharged from the enterprises in the upper reaches in rainy days. - ChinaDaily.

A large amount of cultivated fishes were found dead with unkown reasons in recent days in the Minjiang River’s Shuikou Township section, which is the largest aquaculture base in Fujian. The floating dead fishes, decaying in hot weather, have been polluting the river, the main drinking water resource of the province. The cause is still under investigation. - Xinhua.

THE DELUGE: Tropical Storm Lee Batters America's Gulf Coast!

Tropical Storm Lee dumped more than a foot of rain in New Orleans and spun off tornadoes elsewhere yesterday as its center came ashore in a slow crawl north that raised fears of inland flash flooding in the Deep South and beyond.

Areas of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi near the coast reported scattered wind damage and flooding, but evacuations appeared to be in the hundreds rather than the thousands, and New Orleans’s levees were doing their job six years after Hurricane Katrina swamped the city. Almost 14 inches of rain fell in New Orleans by midafternoon yesterday. Downpours caused some street flooding Saturday and yesterday, but pumps were sucking up the water and sending it into Lake Pontchartrain. National Hurricane Center specialist Robbie Berg said Lee’s flash-flood threat could be more severe as the rain moves from the flatter Gulf region into the rugged Appalachians. Closer to the Gulf, the water is “just going to sit there a couple of days,’’ he said. “Up in the Appalachians you get more threat of flash floods - so that’s very similar to some of the stuff we saw in Vermont.’’ Vermont is still cleaning up and digging out dozens of communities after Tropical Storm Irene flooded mountain rivers last week. No deaths had been directly attributed to Tropical Storm Lee, though a body boarder in Galveston, Texas, drowned after being pulled out to sea in heavy surf churned up by the storm. A man in Mississippi suffered injuries that were not life-threatening when authorities said he was struck by lightning that traveled through a phone line. Yesterday in Paterson, N.J., President Obama stood on a bridge overlooking the rain-swollen and fast-rushing Passaic River and said the federal government would work to rebuild towns recovering from Irene. The Passaic swept through the once-booming factory town of 150,000, flooding the downtown and forcing hundreds to flee. More than 100 people had to be rescued from the rising waters after the storm. In nearby Wayne, the president made his way down Fayette Avenue, walking past flooded homes. Piles of water-damaged debris littered the curb. “The entire country is behind you,’’ Obama said after viewing the destruction. “We are going to make sure that we provide all the resources that’s necessary in order to help these communities rebuild.’’ He pledged to people all along the Atlantic Coast who were affected by Irene that he will not allow “Washington politics’’ to get in the way of bringing federal help. The White House told Congress late last week that there is a need for more than $5 billion in additional disaster relief money for a string of hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes across the county, not even counting the billions expected to be needed for Irene losses.
- Boston.
WATCH: Lee lashes Gulf Coast, as flood threat expands.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: B.C. Glacial River Disappears?!

One of the glacial rivers feeding a large lake straddling the Yukon-British Columbia border has dried up, hikers say, turning a normally fast-running watercourse into a muddy field strewn with icebergs.

"We were able to walk right into the river bed and stand among the 60-foot icebergs that are grounded now," said Diana Thayer of Atlin, B.C., who came across the phenomenon while hiking near the Llewellyn Glacier along the Sloko Inlet trail in late August. "It just seemed the plug had been pulled on a bathtub." Frigid meltwater from the glacier, part of the Juneau Icefield, normally flows into Atlin Lake at Sloko Inlet and Llewellyn Inlet. Now the Sloko source has run dry. Thayer said Atlin Lake, which is British Columbia's largest natural lake and extends its northern tip into Yukon, has already "dropped about 50 feet and perhaps is still draining."

A neighbour of Thayer's, John Lyons, visited the site the day after she returned and described what had happened. "The photographs were spectacular," he said. "You see where the bergs had been dragged along the bottom and you could see the drag marks in the mud from all the various icebergs." Lyons believes an ice bridge has dammed Sloko Inlet, forcing all the meltwater into Llewellyn Inlet. "The maps will have to be redrawn a bit because there's no more river there," he said. Atlin residents weren't the only ones caught off guard by the shift. Icefield researchers working in the area this summer found normally dry walking trails to the Llewellyn Inlet flooded with chest-deep water
. - MSN.

THE SUN: Solar Flares - M3-Class Unleashed From Sunspot 1280!

A departing sunspot group 1280 unleashed an M3-class solar flare on September 4th.
SOLAR FLARE: On Sunday morning at 1145 UT, an active region on the sun's western limb unleashed a strong M3-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation:
WATCH: Solar Flare.

Although the blast site was not directly facing Earth, radiation from the explosion nevertheless ionized Earth's upper atmosphere. This altered the propagation of radio signals around Europe, where it was high-noon at the time of the flare. "I detected a sharp change in signal levels from two radio stations on the VLF band," reports Rob Stammes of Lofoten, Norway. More radio anmolaies were detected by Dave Gradwell in Ireland (data) and a team led by Valter Giuliani in Italy (data). In addition to the UV flash, the explosion also hurled a CME into space: SOHO movie. The cloud is not heading for Earth, so no auroras will result from this particular event. - Spaceweather.

EARTH CHANGES: Typhoon Talas Kills At Least 25 In Japan!

At least 25 people have been killed and many more are missing after the powerful Typhoon Talas ripped through western Japan. The storm brought heavy rain and winds of up to 108km/h (68mph) after making landfall on Shikoku island on Saturday.

Rescuers in Japan dug through mud-caked debris and searched the banks of swollen rivers Monday for those missing in a powerful typhoon that left at least 25 people dead, the latest disaster for a country still recovering from a calamitous tsunami six months ago. Typhoon Talas, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm, lashed coastal areas with destructive winds and record-setting rains over the weekend. In addition to the dead and missing, thousands more were stranded as the typhoon washed out bridges, railways and roads. "We will do everything we can to rescue people and search for the missing," said new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who took office just one day before the typhoon hit and whose government is still struggling to deal with the tsunami recovery and the ensuing nuclear crisis. The typhoon was believed to be the worst to hit Japan since 2004, when 98 people were killed or reported missing. It caused most of its damage on the Kii Peninsula, in central Japan southwest of Tokyo and hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the country's tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast. Public broadcaster NHK said that as of Monday, 25 people had been confirmed dead in the typhoon, while the Kyodo news agency put the toll at 27. Most of the dead were in Wakayama prefecture. Wakayama official Seiji Yamamoto said 17 were killed there and another 28 missing. "There are so many roads out that it is hard to count them all," he said. Rains and wind were recorded across wide swaths of Japan's main island, but no significant damage was reported in the northeast, which is still recovering from the tsunami and earthquake that left nearly 21,000 dead or unaccounted for. As the typhoon approached, evacuation orders or advisories were issued to 460,000 people. At least 3,600 people were stranded by flooded rivers, landslides and collapsed bridges that were hampering rescue efforts, Kyodo reported. The center of the season's 12th typhoon crossed the southern island of Shikoku and the central part of the main island of Honshu overnight Saturday. It then moved slowly north across the Sea of Japan off the country's west coast, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It was still offshore in the Sea of Japan on Monday. - Huffington Post.
WATCH: Visual images of the destruction created by Talas.