Monday, June 24, 2013

EXTREME "APOCALYPTIC" WEATHER: Mother Nature Strikes Italy Hard - Massive Rainfall Causing Flooding On Italian East Coast And Tornado In Italian Coastal Town Of Termoli Brings 150kmph Winds!

June 24, 2013 - ITALY - The following constitutes two reports of  two recent extreme weather events in Italy.

Massive Rainfall Causing Flooding On Italian East Coast.
Exactly as expected in recent days, the Riviera of Romagna and Marche in Italy are the areas most affected by the weather this afternoon: a real "water bomb" is affecting the area on the border between Marche and Emilia Romagna. In Riccione 81mm of rain has already fallen, with 73mm in Rimini and 33mm in Ancona. There are reports of flooding and blackouts, with traffic mayhem. Check out the images below that depict this rather apocalyptic scene. Up to 12cms of rain fell in one hour in some areas.

Heavy rainfall has caused flooding in the Emilia-Romagna and Marche areas of Eastern Italy.

Streets have been turned into rivers and highways have been closed.

Floods in Rimini and Ancona on the Italian East coast have inundated towns and cities

Tornado In Italian Coastal Town Of Termoli Brings 150kmph Winds.
A violent tornado, as we can see in the photo, made ​​landfall in the early afternoon (just after 3pm) near Termoli on Italy's Adriatic coast, where a storm that had formed inland in the Molise region moved towards the city. The Air Force's own weather station in Termoli measured winds up to 148km/h (92mph).

Four waterspots form off Italy's Adriatic coast today, June 24th 2013.

Add caption

For about 15 minutes violent rain fell along with heavy hail storms. Homes, shops and the train station of Termoli were flooded. The tornado, which lasted about ten minutes, uprooted trees, ripped roofs off houses and downed billboards. Many sea-side resort buildings experienced serious damage as the tornado swept through the area. Firefighters, police patrols, municipal police and traffic police were all called to the area.

Not only Italy but also the Croatian and Slovenian coastal areas were affected by severe weather today, Monday 24th June 2013. Violent hailstorms and tornadoes battered a large area of both sides of the Adriatic coast.

WATCH: Tornado in Termoli - Video 1.

WATCH: Tornado in Termoli - Video 2.

- Meteo Web.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes The Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge!

June 24, 2013 - NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE -  A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck along the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge on Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS earthquake location.

The earthquake was recorded at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) and was located just over 1242 kilometres (772 miles) from Remire-Montjoly, French Guiana and 1359 kilometres (844 miles) northeast of Salinopolis, Brazil

The quake occurred at 22:04:13 UTC.

No tsunamic watch, warning or advisory was issued by either the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center or the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
The agencies issued the notification saying the determination was based on historical earthquake and tsunami data.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is a mid-ocean ridge, a divergent tectonic plate boundary located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, and part of the longest mountain range in the world.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

It separates the Eurasian Plate and North American Plate in the North Atlantic, and the African Plate from the South American Plate in the South Atlantic.

The Ridge extends from a junction with the Gakkel Ridge (Mid-Arctic Ridge) northeast of Greenland southward to the Bouvet Triple Junction in the South Atlantic.

Although the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is mostly an underwater feature, portions of it have enough elevation to extend above sea level.

The section of the ridge which includes the island of Iceland is also known as the Reykjanes Ridge. The average spreading rate for the ridge is about 2.5 cm per year.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Summer - Mount Hutt Ski Area In New Zealand Closed Due To Too Much Snow And Heavy Snowfall In Northern Kyrgyzstan In Summer!

June 24, 2013 - EARTH -  "Looks like manmade global warming is terrifying in New Zealand," says reader Joshua Cooley.  "Wasn't it supposed to be, later winters, earlier springs, less snow, no snow, higher snow levels, kids won't know snow, etc., etc.?"

Mount Hutt Ski Area In New Zealand Closed Due To Too Much Snow.
Mt Hutt, New Zealand - June 21, 2013.
New Zealand just got hammered with snow (See It's Dumping Down Under!)

At Mt Hutt the storm dropped 40 inches of snow in 20 hours! This led to 15 foot snow drifts and extremely high avalanche danger.

And the snow keeps falling! Another 40 cm is forecast over the next 24 hours.

Mt Hutt, New Zealand - June 21, 2013.

Mt Hutt, New Zealand - June 21, 2013 - 100cm at the snow stake!.

Mt Hutt, New Zealand - June 21, 2013.

According to the Mt Hutt website, the ski area "is closed again today as further heavy snow falls and low visibility have hampered the progress of snow clearing on the access road. We estimate at least 1.6m of snow has fallen since the storm began and drifts exceeding 3m deep are commonplace in many areas.... All lifts are currently heavily caked in ice." - Ice Age Now.

Heavy Snowfall In Northern Kyrgyzstan In Summer.
Image: Kabar

The snowfall in Naryn oblast on Monday reached in some places 40-50 centimeters. In some areas 3,5 and 15-50 centimeters. The press service of the authorized representative of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in Naryn oblast reports.

According to preliminary information, because of the snow 438 sheep and one mare with foal perished.

Besides, water level of rivers and canals rose because of snow.

Image: Kabar

Image: Kabar

Update - As a result of heavy snowfall on June 17-18 in northern Kyrgyzstan 1 thousand 866 sheep, 55 cows and 31 horses died in Naryn and Issyk-Kul oblasts. The press service of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Kyrgyzstan reports.

The snowfall in Naryn oblast on Monday reached in some places 40-50 centimeters. In some areas 3,5 and 15-50 centimeters.

The commission of Civil Protection of regions continues to ascertain the damage of livestock farming and farmland. - Kabar.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Of India Studying Possible Threats Of An Undersea Volcano Near Kalpakkam In Tamil Nadu!

June 24, 2013 - INDIA - The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has begun a detailed study to analyze the possible threats of an underwater volcano near the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) in Kalpakkam, about 70km south of Chennai.

Confirming the presence of an underwater volcano, AERB said the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has also recommended an advanced study to figure out the status of the volcano.

Confirming the presence of an underwater volcano five weeks ago, an AERB reply to an RTI query said the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has also recommended an advanced study to figure out the status of the volcano, though initial investigations did not detect any significant geological signs.

AERB said the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and GSI have recommended further analysis in view of an "inferred high density material intrusion of remnant magnetization based on magnetic and gravity anomalies" around the location of the volcano. AERB had appointed these national agencies to study the possible threats and geological status of the underwater volcano after Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program (GVP) released a document on the reported volcano in 1757, located about 100km-110km from the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam.

According to GVP, a US government agency based in Washington DC studying active volcanoes and their eruptions during the last 10,000 years, says the undersea eruption of the volcano happened last on January 20, 1757, off Puducherry, resulting in the formation of a new island. However, AERB said GSI's offshore surveys did not find any existence of an island. Also, it added that the seismic data and wells drilled by ONGC in the vicinity did not indicate any volcanic intrusions.

In last September, V Pughazhendi and R Ramesh, two activists of the Peoples Movement for Nuclear Radiation Safety, who published a book compiling the documentary evidences of the volcano, demanded that the AERB conducts an advanced study. The AERB study is in progress and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) insists countries should ensure safety and protection if they had built reactors without considering the effect of volcanoes in their vicinity.

Besides two power plants in Kalpakkam, a senior AERB official said, a fast breeder test reactor facility and a fuel reprocessing facility are in the vicinity. A 500MW prototype fast breeder is also being built at Kalpakkam. - Times of India.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Dramatic Meteor Streaks Across San Francisco Skies In California!

June 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A dramatic meteor reportedly lit up the skies over the East Bay Saturday night, streaking over Alamo and crossing over the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness toward Moraga, according to one witness.

This screen shot captures the last big Bay Area meteor siting to create a stir, the Orionids shower in October.Image: Danville Patch

"It looked like a missile," said a Walnut Creek Patch reader, who said it covered miles in a second in a fast, straight line, with a contrail. "We all jumped up."

Meteors of course are a common occurrence, but sometimes they can create quite the buzz, as did the Orionid earlier this year. Read about how that impacted the Bay Area here.

To report meteor sitings or find out news about sitings, here's a cool blog tracking such things: Lunar Meteorite Hunters. - Danville Patch.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: 100,000 POUNDS of Dead Fish Found In Reservoir In Liaoning Province, China?!

June 24, 2013 - CHINA - Morning News (reporters Xu Zheng) the previous summer, in Liaoning province southwest of tuanjie reservoir can be seen many anglers dunshou shore reservoir fish jumping out of the water from time to time.

Today, green is still in, the surface was annoyingly calm.
For three days, fishing for fish has been out more than 100,000 pounds of dead fish from here.
Fished out of a reservoir of more than 100,000 pounds of dead fish

Along the southwest of tuanjie reservoir in liaozhong County, this time in the past, many people will come to this fishing enjoy the scenery.
But in recent days, reservoirs filled with pungent stench, missing anglers on the shore and enjoy the scenery, instead of five or six ships to salvage dead fish in a mesh network.

Yesterday, reporters saw along the Southwest, about four or five miles of drift on the shore of the reservoir with a layer of dead fish, which has installed on board a fishing boat three hundred or four hundred pounds.
The fishing boat salvager King presented, salvage of dead fish have been 3 days, initially looked dead fish along the shore to the side, "less drag for more than 100,000 pounds, mostly carp, 10 cm or so, many still fish, I didn't have some live fish in the reservoir!

Wang said that large amount of tuanjie reservoir fish often can see fish jumping out of the water, "about four or five days ago, when I was fishing for fish in the reservoir, saw large carp swim to shore after the turn around gradually drifted up and died.

Ms WONG in the field, more than 10 years ago, makes a living by fishing for fish sold in liaozhong County.
Wang said that 3 years ago, the reservoir had appeared dead fish in the winter, but nowhere near this, "last time because of pollution, don't know why.
Reservoir: parasite-induced sudden fish death

Tuanjie reservoir management service official said, already have Fisheries Department experts tested the water quality on the ground, "water no problem is caused by parasites of the sudden fish death.

The owner said, because recent temperatures suddenly rise, plants such as water lilies, algae in the reservoir after the interaction makes the PH value of the reservoir rises, alkaline water quality, the water quality is suitable for parasite anchorage Sao, "crucian mucous membranes thin, easy to be parasitic, coupled with our reservoir is shallow, not diluted water in time, causing the death of a large number of fish.

The official said that to avoid secondary pollution, has hired special salvage of dead fish is expected to salvage will be completed in two days.
Dead fish were to be shipped to a unified place bury, disinfection of quicklime. Live fish in a reservoir can eat normally.

They have applied for from PH values of hunhe River diluted water reservoir, then put on the drug expert pest control that is configured, "we told residents not to salvage and eat dead fish, water quality on a regular basis in the future.

Experts: more comprehensive result

White, Director of the Institute of fisheries Sciences introduced in panjin city, after the anchor head Sao parasitic fish, will not cause extensive fish kills quickly.
"A large quantity of fish caused by sudden death is likely to be integrated. "Such as reservoir for many years not Tong, the water is shallow, is located in the plain (water resources do not always flow), the encounter is very easy to change after high temperature reservoirs in the ecological balance, if victims have parasites, bacterial infections, it will form a combination of factors makes the fishes gills, Gut infection, followed by rapid massive death.

Prevention of this condition, first of all, do regular clear pond, pond fish and not excessive, and often detect changes in water quality.
Pay attention to the weather conditions, such as the significant warming or cooling, do preventive preparation in advance. - LIAO. [Translated]

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: MERS Contagion - New Death In Saudi Arabia From SARS-Like Coronavirus MERS!

June 24, 2013 - SAUDI ARABIA - Saudi Arabia said another person had died of the SARS-like coronavirus MERS and six new cases were registered, as international experts said on Saturday countries should standardize their approach to treating the disease.

The latest cases bring the total number infected worldwide to 70, with 39 having died since MERS was identified last year.

Men wearing surgical masks as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus, speak at a hospital in
Khobar city in Dammam May 23, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

The experts meeting at the World Health Organisation's Cairo office said countries should enhance surveillance for acute respiratory illness, quickly investigate clusters of pneumonia and report confirmed or probable MERS cases within 24 hours.

"Fast and complete reporting of cases, with contact histories, clinical care and treatment outcomes in as much detail as possible, and collected in a uniform manner across countries, is necessary," they said in an emailed statement.

Most of the cases so far have been in Saudi Arabia, where 55 people have been confirmed as having the disease, of whom 33 have died. The kingdom, birthplace of Islam, hosts millions of pilgrims each year for the annual haj pilgrimage.

The experts said in a statement after the meeting on Saturday that countries hosting mass gatherings where MERS was a risk should develop specific plans, without giving details.

While the haj does not take place this year until October, many Muslim pilgrims from around the world are expected to head for Mecca next month during the fast of Ramadan.

As well as announcing the latest death, the Saudi Health Ministry said late on Friday a 41-year-old woman in Riyadh was in a stable condition with the disease, and that a 32-year-old with cancer was also being treated.

On Thursday, it confirmed four new cases, including three health workers, who have all recovered.

Researchers said Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, is even more deadly than SARS and is easily transmitted in healthcare environments.

The disease can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia and has spread from the Gulf to France, Germany, Italy and Britain. - Reuters.

8 MERS PCR Confirmations In Asymptomatic HCWs & Children
The Ministry of Health that through investigation epidemic disease virus Corona new (MERS-CoV) has been monitoring the virus in four of the contacts of confirmed cases in the areas of Riyadh and the eastern region between the ages of 7 and 15 years old, did not show them any symptoms of the disease, all in good health.

The ministry also announced monitor virus in عاملتين of صحيتين in the eastern region and Hasa and they show no symptoms also,

The above translation from the June 23 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (KSA-MoH) update describes six more asymptomatic confirmed MERS-CoV cases.  Two of the cases are health care workers (HCWs) from nosocomial outbreaks in Al Hasa, as well as a second location in the eastern province.  These are in addition to the two asymptomatic HCW cases in Taif, which is in the western region of KSA and adjacent to Mecca (see map).  The asymptomatic cases in Taif are in addition to a mild MCW case and two fatal cases in sisters (65F and 68F) in Taif, signaling a nosocomial outbreak in the west.

In addition, the four confirmed MERS-CoV cases in asymptomatic children who are contacts of cases in Riyadh and the eastern region are the first such cases reported.  The reasons for the dramatic increase in confirmed asymptomatic cases is unclear.

WHO reported the asymptomatic and mild HCW cases in Taif as “weak positives”, which was the terminology used to describe PCR positives in asymptomatic contacts in Italy, which included at least five HCWs  A second lab failed to confirm the weak positives, but different primers were used, raising the possibility that the first set of primers was more sensitive, leading KSA to switch primers.

A NEJM publication of the large nosocomial outbreak in the eastern region described a super spreader and multiple long transmission chains similar to those reported for SARS coronavirus in 2003.  However, the NEJM report also cited 11 probable cases who developed pneumonia and were contacts of confirmed cases but were not confirmed (either because they were not tested or tested negative one time).  The failure to detect MERS included fatal cases that included the index case and the super spreader, signaling serious sensitivities issues.  This may have prompted a change to more sensitive PCR primers and the detection of the asymptomatic cases.

Alternatively, the NEJM paper included full sequences of four of the nosocomial cases generated through a collaboration between the Welcome Trust and the KSA-MoH.  This relationship may have led to sequencing of inserts from PCR tests which proved that the weak positives were true positives, leading to an explosion of confirmed asymptomatic cases which increased the total from 0 to 8 in the past two days.

As expected these new cases led to a plummet in the case fatality rate for cases with outcomes, which has fallen from 82% (32/39) to 63% (34/54).

More detail on KSA-MoH PCR testing would be useful. - Recombinomics.

MERS PCR Confirmed In Asymptomatic HCWs In Taif KSA
The other three cases are female health care workers aged 29, 39 and 45 from Taif governorate who cared for two previously confirmed MERS-CoV cases and were detected as part of the outbreak investigation and contact tracing. Two of these three cases were asymptomatic and all three tested weakly positive by PCR.

The above comments from the June 22 WHO update represents the first reported PCR confirmed MERS-CoV infections in asymptomatic contacts.  The reporting of “weak positives” as confirmed MERS-CoV represents a sea change in MERS-CoV surveillance.

This report is likely due to a series of recent reports which highlighted serious MERS-CoV detection failures using prior approaches, and the finding of weak positives in mild or asymptomatic cases.  These developments should help end media myths which overweight negatives generated by highly suspect assays and discount positives on asymptomatic contacts, such as one report that assumed the positives in Italy were false and the negatives were true, as well as another report that called the antibody positive data in asymptomatic or mild contacts in Jordan “anomalies”.

The sea change began with testing of asymptomatic contacts of the MERS-CoV index case in Italy.  8-10 contacts, including at least five health care workers gave weak PCR positives.  Re-testing by a second lab, using different primers, failed to confirm the positive results, so the cases remained suspect (while at least one media report called the weak positives false).

The weak positives in Italy were followed by antibody testing of contacts linked to an ICU outbreak in Jordan in the spring of 2012.  Retrospective testing confirmed MERS-CoV in the two fatal cases (one by antibody and the other by PCR and sequencing).  Testing in 2012 (for SARS coronavirus and other known human respiratory viruses) had exhausted swab samples, but serum sample were collected in 124 contacts and tested with two antibody targets.  This testing re-confirmed the two fatal cases as well as 8 contacts.  6 were from the testing of 9 contacts which had been classified as probable cases based on clinical presentation and contact with the two fatal cases.  However two cases were confirmed who had not been previously classified as suspect because one had mild symptoms and was not hospitalized, while the other was asymptomatic.  The confirmation of the asymptomatic case was the first confirmation of MERS-CoV in an asymptomatic case.  Moreover, 7 additional cases tested positive with one of the two antibody test.  Further refinements will likely confirm the 7 additional cases.  CIDRAP called the positive antibody tests anomalies, since the cases were mild or asymptomatic.

In addition to the above positive data on mild and asymptomatic contacts, the recent New England Journal of Medicine report on the significant nosocomial outbreak in four hospitals in th eastern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia highlighted detection failures in serious and fatal cases, which were classified as probable based on clinical presentation and linkage to one or more confirmed cases.

The reporting of mild PCR cases as confirmed cases may reflect a lowering of the cut-off level, or confirmation of weak positives through sequencing of inserts (both of which are long overdue).  However, the PCR detection of MERS-CoV in asymptomatic contacts suggests confirmed cases will increase significantly, which will be accompanied by a drop in the case fatality rate.

These weak positives will also impact the monitoring of pilgrims coming to KSA to perform Umrah during Ramadan and demonstrate the sustain transmission of MERS-CoV in humans.  - Recombinomics.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Black Death - Bubonic Plague Hits New Mexico Dogs!

June 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Two cases of plague in dogs have been confirmed in the East Mountains area of Bernalillo County.

The cases occurred between late May and mid-June and were confirmed by Albuquerque’s Urban Biology Division. Both dogs have recovered from the illness.

An environmental investigation will be held at the site where the infection is believed to have occurred, according to an Albuquerque Environmental Health Department news release.

“These recent cases of plague in dogs serves as a reminder to the community, especially those living in the East Mountains, that plague is still present and still a significant health concern,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna, Deputy Director of the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department. “We encourage everyone to use flea control on pets and follow other preventative measures in order to ensure their safety.”

WATCH: Bubonic Plague Hits New Mexico Dogs.

Plague is a bacterial disease found in rodents in the wild. It can occasionally be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected flea.

Symptoms usually appear 2 to 7 days after exposure and can include fever; chills; painful, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin; and occasionally headache, vomiting or diarrhea, according to the release.

The following precautions are advised to minimize the risk of plague:

- Avoid sick or dead rodents
- Admire wildlife from a distance; do not approach wild rodents or their burrows and do not feed them
- Prevent rodents from living near the house or other buildings; remove trash and weeds and elevate woodpiles
- Prevent pets from roaming or hunting
- Use regular, year-round flea and tick control on pets
- Take sick pets to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment

Click HERE for more information.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismologists Monitor Carson City Quake Swarm - Potential To Result In A Major Temblor!

June 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Nevada seismologists and emergency managers say they're monitoring an earthquake swarm in Carson City that has the potential to result in a major temblor.

But officials from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, stress they can't predict how the sequence of over 120 minor quakes that began June 1 will play out or if it will result in larger events.

The largest quakes of the swarm have been one of magnitude-2.9 on June 5 and two of magnitude-2.8 on Thursday and June 16. While each has been followed by many smaller quakes, no injuries or major damage have been reported.

UNR seismologists say based on past seismic activity in the region, the probability of larger quakes increases as sequences progress.

They say the swarm is of concern because it may be associated with the Genoa Fault Zone, which is capable of producing major quakes of magnitude-7 or more.

Nevada is the third most seismically active state in the nation behind California and Alaska. - Las Vegas Sun.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Global Food Crisis - 4.2 MILLION Birds Killed This Year Due To Avian Flu In Mexico?!

June 24, 2013 - MEXICO - U.S. wholesale egg prices increased a record 41.6 percent in May, driven by an avian flu outbreak in Mexico that boosted U.S. egg exports to that country.

The jump in egg prices, which followed a 13.1 percent decline in April, accounted more than 60 percent of a 0.6 percent increase in U.S. wholesale food prices last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. The food price gain helped push up overall producer prices by 0.5 percent.

Sheldon Garvida, a poultry and dairy industry analyst with the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, said Mexico has struggled to combat an outbreak of the highly contagious avian virus that has infected millions of chickens.

"That's aggravated by the fact that Mexicans are the world's number one egg consumers per capita," said Garvida.

Mexico has culled 4.2 million chickens this year in an attempt to contain the outbreak. The World Organization for Animal Health reported several newly infected farms in central Mexico beginning in April and May.

U.S. egg exports to Mexico for the first four months of the year reached 12.9 million dozen, almost 27 times greater than the amount exported during the same period last year.

"Mexico is an important trade partner, and the avian flu crisis represents an additional squeeze," said Nathan Kauffman, an agricultural economist at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. Expectations that the avian flu crisis will continue may put additional pressure on prices, he said.

The BLS, however, cautioned against reading too much into the outsized price jump, noting that the combination of low domestic supply and high export demand for eggs occurred in a month when prices typically fell.

This threw off the model that the BLS uses to smooth out seasonal fluctuations in data.

"There is a large seasonal component to that number," Joseph Kowal, an economist with the BLS.

Unadjusted for seasonal variations, wholesale prices rose a more-moderate 15.9 percent. Kowal said this was the increase that producers pass along to shoppers at the grocery store.

Prices were also pushed up by the forced molting of hens, which temporarily depressed supply, according to Garvida, the poultry and dairy analyst.

During the molting "rejuvenation process" hens are fed less, causing them to loose their feathers. They do not lay eggs during this time, but afterward the hens lay larger eggs faster. - Reuters.