Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ICE AGE NOW: Ukrainian Cold Snap Leaves 37 Dead - Heavy Snow Causes 20km Long Traffic Jam!

December 18, 2012 - UKRAINE - Cold has killed 37 people in Ukraine so far this month as temperatures reached minus - 23 degrees in parts of the country, the government said.  The health ministry said 190 people had sought medical help and 162 had been hospitalised. 

A man walks around his home trapped in snow, after blizzards near the western
Ukrainian city of Brody. © Marian Striltsiv/Reuters.
Night temperatures are expected to drop to -28 degrees in northern, central and eastern Ukraine this week, weather forecasters say.  The cold snap followed heavy snowfall which left some areas covered with as much as 53cm of snow.  The emergencies ministry said this week it was setting up hundreds of heated tents across the country where people could get hot drinks and receive first aid.  Last February, as Ukraine went through its coldest winter in six years, more than 130 people died of cold in the country of 45 million. - Irish Times.

Heavy snow caused a traffic jam that extended to about 20 kilometers on a highway linking the Ukrainian capital and the Hungarian border as of late Sunday, authorities said.  The jam took place after a highway section between Buh and Brody districts was blanketed by snow as deep as three meters, said the Emergencies Ministry.  As of Monday morning, traffic were resumed for small vehicles as emergencies workers were struggling to clear the snow.  A woman stuck in the traffic jam had to give birth to her baby in her car before the emergency crews arrived. The mother and the baby were later sent to a local hospital.  Witnesses told Xinhua that they saw hundreds of cars were trapped, with snow piled up to the car roofs. The trapped were seeking help from nearby village for food and heating. - NZ Week.

WATCH: Cold spell hits Ukraine.

STORM ALERT: Weather Bureau Warns That Tropical Cyclone Is Likely To Hit Disaster-Ravaged Area In The Philippines On Christmas Day - Typhoon Bopha Death Toll Over 1,000; Thousands Homeless!

December 18, 2012 - PHILIPPINES - The weather bureau warned yesterday that a tropical cyclone is likely to hit the same areas affected by super typhoon “Pablo” in the Visayas and Mindanao on Christmas Day.  Robert Sawi, weather division chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said they expect the formation of a tropical cyclone off the Pacific Ocean in the next five days.

He said there is a possibility that the weather disturbance will hit the Visayas and Mindanao, the areas devastated by Pablo early this month.  Pablo – the strongest cyclone to hit the country so far this year – left over 1,000 dead and thousands of families homeless.  “It is expected to approach or cross the Visayas and Mindanao area on Christmas Day,” Sawi said.  PAGASA, meanwhile, said partly cloudy skies with brief rainshowers or thunderstorms will continue to prevail over most parts of the country until Sunday. It said the Visayas and the regions of Caraga and Davao will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rainshowers or thunderstorms.  Cagayan Valley and Bicol and the provinces of Aurora and Quezon would experience cloudy skies with light rains, while Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy with brief rainshowers or thunderstorms.

The weather bureau also advised fishermen in Luzon and Eastern Visayas not to go out into the sea due to big waves generated by the northeast monsoon.  It said strong to gale force wind was expected to affect the seaboards of Northern Luzon and the eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas.  The northern and eastern seaboards of Luzon (Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Aurora, Quezon and Bicol Region) and the eastern seaboard of the Visayas (Northern Samar, Eastern Samar and Southern Leyte), the western seaboard of Northern Luzon (Ilocos Sur and La Union) will experience rough to very rough seas.  “Fishing boats and other small seacraft are advised not to venture out into the sea while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves,” PAGASA said.  Ann Fortich, senior weather specialist of PAGASA, also advised people to stay indoors if the storm hits the country on Christmas Day.  “It is most likely to be just a tropical storm,” Fortich said.  Fortich said the weather bureau is still monitoring the progress of the storm.  She said the potential storm is also likely to pass Cagayan de Oro City.  Fortich has advised residents living in areas most likely to be affected by the coming storm to reinforce their houses. - PHIL Star.

WATCH: Typhoon Bopha Aftermath and Storm Footage.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Thousands of Dead Turtles Wash Ashore on Paradip Sea Beach in India?!

December 18, 2012 - INDIA - Shocking news from Paradip at the Coastal belt of Odisha (Bay of Bengal). Since last week thousands of turtles were found dead on the shoreline.

Nature Drive NDTI is planning to bury the dead tortoises on Wednesday in the sand at the beaches. We will send two of these tortoises to the laboratory for further investigation to find the cause of their death. On first sight it seems to be caused by unhealthy water condition like increased acid levels rather than fishing activities. Whatever the reason for this massive death might be, it is very sad news for animal lovers. - NSEP.

DELUGE: Over 6,000 Evacuated After Flooding in Sri Lanka - Nearly 600 Homes Damaged or Destroyed; Some 20,000 Persons Affected Across 9 Provinces!

December 18, 2012 - SRI LANKA - More than 6,000 people have been evacuated following heavy rain and flooding across parts of Sri Lanka, say officials.  "The number will likely increase," Pradeep Kodipilli, assistant director of the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Center (DMC), told IRIN on 18 December in Colombo, noting flood warnings remain in effect across 10 of the country's 25 districts - Galle, Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Baticaloa, Hambantota, Moneragala and Kurunegala. 

"In Kurunegala the water level continues to increase and the Sri Lankan Navy has been deployed to conduct rescue operations."  According to DMC, 6,312 persons (1,791 families) are now in 29 evacuation centres, mostly schools and community centres, after being forced from their homes, mainly in the last 24 hours.  To date, some 20,000 people have been affected across six of the country's nine provinces, DMC reported, with close to 600 homes damaged or destroyed. 

Of the nine deaths reported, eight occurred in Matale, central Sri Lanka, the worst affected district.  Access to affected communities, however, has resumed after a number of roads were made impassable due to landslides. "We have reached all the affected areas, but rescue operations by the Sri Lankan armed forces are continuing," said Kodipilli.  Rain across the island is expected to continue over the next 24 hours which could result in further landslides over the next couple of days, Sri Lanka's Meteorological Department reported.  "People should be careful about possible floods, landslides, earth slips and rock falls," said Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Amaraweera.  According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Colombo, the situation at the moment appears largely under control. - IRIN.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Orange Alert - Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano Threatens Local Villages!

December 18, 2012 - ECUADOR - People living on the slopes of the Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador are being evacuated as a plume of gas and ash rises from its crater. 

Tungurahua volcano began to erupt again last week, prompting the government to issue an orange alert, the second highest.  Lessons were suspended in schools in the nearby town of Banos as ash started to rain down. - BBC.

The Tungurahua volcano in central Ecuador keeps spewing gas, ash and red-hot rock, forcing hundreds to evacuate from their homes. The country’s Geophysical Institute says incandescent rock shot from the crater of the 16,479-foot (5,023-meter) high mountain fell about half a mile (a kilometer) down its flanks. Explosions early Wednesday rattled windows 9 miles (14 kilometers) away, while rain-borne ash has been falling to the southwest of the crater.

Regional emergency director Lourdes Mayorga says that about 100 families are staying in shelters away from the danger zone, though they return during the day to work their fields. She says there will be forced evacuations if the volcanic activity intensifies. Tungurahua has been active for the past 13 years. An outburst in 2006 left four dead and two missing. - AP.

WATCH: Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano threatens local villages.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: "Unexplained" - Tens of Thousands of Dead Sardines Cover 100 Meters of Beach in Chiba Prefecture, Japan?!

December 18, 2012 - JAPAN - Found a large amount of sardines for that is was launched in the town near the mouth Nabakigawa Shirako, Chiba Prefecture, from 14 in the morning, the town conducted a removal action.

Pilchard, which was launched in large numbers (provided by Shirako-machi, Chiba Prefecture).
13, received a report from residents, the city had contacted the office Katsuura fisheries department.

According to the town, such as, to a total of about 100 m on both sides of the sandy beach at the mouth of the same river, and about 20 centimeters in length adult fish of sardines that was dead many layers overlap. I'm in the office said, "cause I do not know". - Yomiuri [Translated].

THE NEW NORMAL: University of Tennessee Study Predicts Severe And Extreme Climate Changes For The Eastern United States!

December 18, 2012 - UNITED STATES - From extreme drought to super storms, many wonder what the future holds for the climate of the eastern United States. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does away with the guessing. Results show the region will be hotter and wetter.  Joshua Fu, a civil and environmental engineering professor, and Yang Gao, a graduate research assistant, developed precise scales of cities which act as a climate crystal ball seeing high resolution climate changes almost 50 years into the future. 

File image.
The study found that heat waves will become more severe in most regions of the eastern United States and, that both the Northeast and Southeast will see a drastic increase in precipitation.  The findings are published in Environmental Research Letters.  Harnessing the supercomputing power of UT's Kraken and Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Jaguar (now Titan, the fastest in the world), the researchers combined high-resolution topography, land use information and climate modeling. Then they used dynamical downscaling to develop their climate model results.  Dynamical downscaling allowed the researchers to develop climate scales as small as four square kilometers.  "Instead of studying regions, which is not useful when examining extreme weather, dynamical downscaling allows us to study small areas such as cities with a fine resolution," said Fu, who is also a professor within the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education (CIRE).  The researchers evaluated extreme events along with daily maximum and minimum temperatures and daily precipitation.

For the 23 states east of the Mississippi River, they analyzed the present-day climate from 2001 to 2004 and predicted the future climate from 2057 to 2059.  This is the first study to predict heat waves for the top 20 cities in the eastern U.S. For example, Nashville will see a temperature rise of 3.21 degrees Celsius and Memphis will see a rise of 2.18 degrees Celsius.  In comparing present climate to future, the researchers found that heat waves will become more severe throughout the eastern part of the nation.  The Northeast and eastern Midwest will experience a greater increase in heat waves than the Southeast, which will almost equalize the temperatures between the future North and current South.  "Currently, the mean heat wave duration is about four days in the Northeast and eastern Midwest and five days in the Southeast," said Fu. "By the end of the 2050s, the Northeast and eastern Midwest will be gaining on the Southeast by increasing two days."  In addition, the Northeast and eastern Midwest are likely to suffer from steeper increases in the severity of heat waves.  "While the Southeast has the highest intensity in heat waves, the northeast is likely to experience the highest increase," said Fu. "We are looking at temperature increases of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, with New York experiencing the highest hike."  Both the Northeast and Southeast will experience an increase of precipitation of 35 percent or more. Most coastal states will see the greatest increase, of about 150 millimeters a year. Taking into consideration heat waves and extreme precipitation, the Northeast shows the largest increases in precipitation. This suggests a greater risk of flooding.  "It is important that the nation take actions to mitigate the impact of climate change in the next several decades," said Fu. "These changes not only cost money-about a billion a year in the U.S.-but they also cost lives." - Space Daily.