Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Blood Moon - The Shortest Total Lunar Eclipse Of The Century On April 4!

March 31, 2015 - SPACE
- Only the speediest of skywatchers will have a chance to see the total lunar eclipse rising Saturday: NASA predicts that the total phase of the lunar eclipse will only last about 5 minutes, making it the shortest lunar eclipse of the century.

Early-rising observers all over the United States should be able to see at least the partial phases of the April 4 lunar eclipse just before the sun rises, if weather permits. People on the West Coast will have the chance to see the moon turn an eerie shade of red during totality, which should begin at about 7:58 a.m. EDT (1158 GMT, 4:58 a.m. PDT).  NASA this week unveiled a video detailing the total lunar eclipse, and dubbed the event the shortest lunar eclipse of the century in an announcement on Monday (March 30) in detail.

This sky map shows around the world will see the total lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015.
Credit: Sky & Telescope illustration

Observers in other parts of the world will have an even better chance to see the lunar eclipse. Stargazers in Australia, Japan, China, and Southeast Asia will get the chance to see the eclipse on the night of April 4, according to Sky & Telescope. (Sky & Telescope predicts that the total phase of the eclipse will actually last about 9 to 12 minutes starting at 7:54 a.m. EDT.)

WATCH: Total Eclipse of the Moon.

"Total lunar eclipses, like the one we're looking forward to on 4 April, are a slow, ethereal affair and, as usual, we'll have cameras around the world bringing us live views," Will Gater, an astronomer at the online Slooh Community Observatory said in a statement. "What better way to start the day than tuning in to watch this wonderful event."

Slooh will host a live webcast of the total lunar eclipse on the Slooh.com website on Saturday starting at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) on April 4. The webcast will be available on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.

This lunar eclipse will be the third of four eclipses in a lunar eclipse tetrad. The first occurred in April 2014, with the second rising in September 2014. The final lunar eclipse in the tetrad will happen on Sept. 28, according to NASA.

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon dips into Earth's shadow, casting an occasionally spooky glow on the natural satellite. A partial phase of an eclipse happens when the moon passes through the outer part of Earth's shadow, but total lunar eclipses happen only when the darkest part of the planet's shadow falls across the lunar surface.

"During the eclipse, the moon often looks reddish because sunlight has passed through Earth's atmosphere, which filters out most of its blue light," NASA officials said in a statement. "This eerie, harmless effect has earned the tongue-in-cheek nickname 'blood moon.'"

Eclipse times in Central Daylight Time from Larry Koehn at shadowandsubstance.com. Used with permission.

Unlike total solar eclipses, lunar eclipses can be seen by anyone on Earth that can see the moon at the time of the eclipse, Sky & Telescope added. Total Solar eclipses — like the one that happened only a couple weeks ago, on March 20 — can usually only be seen by a small swath of the planet because of the way the moon, sun and Earth align.

If you have any questions about the eclipse, you can ask a NASA astronomer via Twitter on Saturday using the hashtag #eclipse2015 starting at 6 a.m. EDT and lasting through the end of the eclipse at about 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT). - SPACE.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash In Pleasanton, Kansas - Two People Killed!

Scene of a fatal plane crash in Pleasanton, Kansas where two people died. (Photo: Jon Haiduk/WDAF-TV)

March 31, 2015 - KANSAS, UNITED STATES
- Two people have been killed in a small plane crash near Pleasanton, KS, Tuesday afternoon.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is on scene and says it happened on South Ross Lane near East 1175th Road in the Linn County city.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the crash involved a Zodiac CH601XL.

The publisher and editor of the Linn County News said the aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from a private airstrip. Jackie Taylor arrived at the scene about 4:30 p.m. to find the Kansas Highway Patrol and other agencies battling flames.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said it happened in a rural wooded area just north of the city of Pleasanton Tuesday afternoon.

The plane that crashed in Pleasanton, Kansas, was identified as a Zodiac Red and White, like the one pictured here.

She said it's a small community and everyone knows everyone, especially in the flying community.

“Everyone's freaking out that it's someone they know,” Taylor said.

The type of aircraft that crashed is a Zenith model, an experimental plane. It's a small aircraft that someone would build themselves. The FAA has to approve it and comes out to inspect it at various points during the building process, especially before the first flight.

A local pilot says it takes about a year or longer to build an experimental plane such as this type. She said they are very safe and not much different than an aircraft coming off the assembly line.

Pleasanton is located just over 60 miles south of the Kansas City metro. - KCTV5.

GATTACA NOW: Will Your Child's Brain Modification And DNA Genetic Alteration Become A Legal Requirement - The Journal Of Applied Philosophy Presents Argument In Favor Of MANDATORY STATE-RUN HUMAN ENHANCEMENTS (EUGENICS) INITIATIVE?!

"We are going to be a hybrid."
- Ray Kurzweil.

March 31, 2015 - EUGENICS
- The notion of a state-organised eugenics programs is enough to unsettle the most indifferent in our society.

The idea, however, may be gaining traction in academic circles. In a recent article in the Journal of Applied Philosophy, sociologist Tim Fowler defends hypothetical state-run eugenics initiatives.

Fowler speculates about a world in which human enhancements are cheap and readily available.

The temptation in this situation is to put enhancement decisions in the hands of parents. Fowler, however, believes that entrusting parents with the ability to modify their kids as they wish could be ethically problematic. Such a move could allow “parents to reduce the real freedom of their children”, and “allow them to act in such a way that they directly contribute to the creation of social problems.”

Rather than repudiating the idea all together, Fowler considers a state-run alternative. He argues that the same justification given for state run education could be used for state-run eugenics initiatives.
“If one accepts the basic premise that enhancement and education are morally similar, then under certain circumstances the decision not to enhance looks precisely like the decision not to educate. Those same arguments which justify a state mandate to educate would apply in this case, and a state mandate goes beyond the requirements of the ‘Parental Choice’ view of enhancement control.”
Fowler rejects claims that his argument could be used to justify the infamous eugenics programs of WWII:
“My view promotes an account of human flourishing tied to tolerance and personal autonomy, whereas, for example, the Nazi program of propaganda tried to promote a view of human flourishing based on militaristic ideals and the intrinsic superiority of a master race.”
He goes as far as arguing that his eugenics program promotes the liberal ideal:
“Designing policies to promote tolerance, autonomy and opportunity above parental objections is not illiberal, but is in fact the outcome of a deep commitment to liberal values.” 
A thought-provoking essay, perhaps. The twitterati were not particularly impressed. Author Matthew Anderson had this to say: “I'm adding this article to the "You can find an academic to defend just about anything" file.” - Bio Edge.

MAJOR STORM ALERT: Extreme Weather Anomalies - UNUSUALLY Strong Spring Super Typhoon Maysak Sets Its Eyes On The Northern Philippines; The HISTORIC Storm System Packs Maximum Sustained Winds Of 160mph, The Equivalent Of A Category 5 Hurricane!

Super Typhoon Maysak via satellite at 12:30 a.m. EDT March 31, 2015 (NOAA)

March 31, 2015 - PHILIPPINES
- An unusually strong spring super typhoon is sweeping across the western Pacific, its eyes set on the northern Philippines for the second half of the coming weekend.

The super typhoon, named Maysak, packs maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Maysak achieved super typhoon intensity with winds of at least 150 mph on Monday, while undergoing rapid strengthening. It is currently the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane.

Wide view of Super Typhoon Maysak. noah.dost.gov.ph/

By becoming so strong so early in the typhoon season, Maysak has set several historical milestones. In records dating back to 1945 (via Jeff Masters at Wunderground, and Weather.com):
  • It is only the third known super typhoon with winds this strong prior to April 1
  • It is the first time there have been two major typhoons (category 3 or higher) during the first three months of the year
  • It is only the fifth super typhoon to develop prior to April 1 (the last super typhoon prior to April was Mitag in March 2002)
  • Maysak is the third typhoon this year, the most so early in the year
  • Maysak is fourth named storm in the western Pacific in 2015; only one other year has had more, 1965 when there were 5.
Sea surface temperatures were 1.8 – 3.6°F above normal in the part of the western Pacific where Maysak formed and developed, helping to fuel the storm, Masters said.

Track forecast for Super Typhoon Maysak (Joint Typhoon Warning Center)

After slamming the state of Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia over the weekend as a category 1-equivalent storm, Maysak is battering Yap Island today, where a typhoon warning is in effect.

Maysak is forecast to proceed over the open western Pacific waters through Friday and likely approach the Philippines Saturday evening, making landfall during the day Sunday – most likely northeast of Manila.

WATCH: Typhoon Maysak Breaks Records - Impact in Philippines Easter Sunday.

Due to increasingly hostile upper level winds, Maysak is forecast to gradually weaken over the next several days.  When it makes landfall, its peaks winds may have diminished to around 100 mph though the exact intensity is uncertain.  Even if Maysak’s peak winds drop below 100 mph, they will still be capable of damage while extremely heavy rain and flash flooding will be a major concern. - Washington Post.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown Exposes Hundreds Of Suspected Cases - 191 PERCENT Increase Of Sick People In The Western Region!

March 31, 2015 - SIERRA LEONE
- A three-day lockdown in Sierra Leone has exposed hundreds of potential new cases of Ebola, aiding efforts to bring to an end an epidemic that has already killed 3,000 people in the country.

Officials ordered the country's 6 million residents to stay indoors or face arrest during the period that ended late on Sunday as hundreds of health officials went door-to-door looking for hidden patients and educating residents about the virus.

Reports to authorities of sick people increased by 191 percent in Western Area, which includes the capital, during the lockdown compared with the previous weekend, said Obi Sesay of the National Ebola Response Center.

Pedestrians walk past a sign reading "Ebola disease outbreak" outside the Ministry of Finance in Monrovia January 12, 2015. REUTERS/James Giahyue/Files

"Tests are being carried out on their blood samples, and the results will be in by Wednesday," Sesay said, adding that 173 of the patients in Freetown met an initial case definition for Ebola.

In the rest of the country, there was a 50 percent increase in sick people reported in the lockdown's first two days, Sesay said.

Sierra Leone has reported nearly 12,000 cases since the worst Ebola epidemic in history was detected in neighboring Guinea a year ago. In all, more than 10,000 people have died in the two countries plus Liberia.

New cases have fallen since a peak of more than 500 a week in December, but the government said the lockdown, its second, would help identify the last cases and reduce complacency.

A source who declined to be identified said there were 961 death alerts nationwide during the lockdown's first two days and 495 reports of illness of which 235 were suspected Ebola. - Yahoo.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

FUK-U-SHIMA: "China Syndrome" - Melted Fuel May Have "Dropped Even Beyond" The Bottom Of Fukushima Plant; IAEA Expert Says Pools Of Corium Beneath Reactors Are UP TO TWO STORIES HIGH; Dam Gates "Shifted" In Unit 3 Fuel Pool, Damaged By Massive Piece Of Falling Debris, Concern It Could Trigger Drainage From Pool!

March 31, 2015 - JAPAN
- [It] was billed as a way to decipher where, exactly, the morass of nuclear fuel might sit at the bottom of reactors… But what went wrong, even in a simple demonstration for reporters… was a sobering reminder of the enormous challenges that lie ahead… a programming glitch could not be fixed in time for Friday’s demonstration… No one knows where the molten fuel debris lies, and in what shape or state. [TEPCO] has said it likely sank to the bottom of the plant. But the fuel could have dropped even beyond. Tadashi Yotsuyanagi, an official in charge of the muon project at Toshiba… acknowledged the technology will not be able to get the complete image toward the bottom of the reactor David Ireland, a professor who heads the Nuclear Physics Group at the University of Glasgow, said muons may be the only way to probe inside atomic reactors. There are not really any other noninvasive options that will allow inspection,” he said in an email. - (emphasis added) - Mar 27, 2015 - AP.

The Japan Times published the AP report above
, however one sentence was altered. Tepco has said it likely sank to the bottom of the plant. But the fuel could have dropped even beyond vs. “But the fuel could possibly have escaped even beyond the containment facility to the outside environment.”

IAEA technical meeting Managing the Unexpected, Harri Tuomisto, Sr. Nuclear Safety Officer at Finland’s Fortum Power, 2012:
  • Part 4: “If the cooling is not successful, it means the corium melts through the vessel… When this massive amount of corium enters into the containment zone, there are very, very many different energetic consequences… Interaction of molten core and concrete starts… concrete is eroding, and this eroding of concrete, for a long time it was known as China Syndrome.”
  • Part 5: “The corium will be in 3 parts, there is a solid crust formation in the bottom of the pool, then there’s a pool of oxidic materials… The metals and oxides are not soluble with each other and the metals will be separated… which is bad news in the sense that the heat transfer to the vessel is much higher, and it’s much more difficult to guarantee the integrity of the [containment] vessel in that case.”
  • Part 6: “Molten corium on the containment floor, it’s eroding the concrete and going partially downward. Actually it will never go to China, because it also erodes sideways… The final size of the pooling maximum case is 10 to 15 meters in diameter, and 6-7 meters [20-23 ft or 2 stories] deep — or even deeper.”
  • Part 9: “There are quite many challenges… There are different energetic phenomenon… which can lead to different combustions… accelerating flames, or even detonations — which can cause a very high pressure in the containment and even break the containment… Then there’s this China Syndromeattack of containment liner by corium — which can also bypass containment.” (See US gov’t analysis: Fukushima containment breached due to “failure of the drywell liner by melt-attack“)
  • Slides 3-4: If corium melts through the vessel, there are various energetic consequences caused by ejected high-temperature molten corium… Molten corium on the containment basemat initiates core-concrete interaction that releases aerosols and non-condensible gases to containment atmosphere and erodes the concrete (‘China syndrome‘)
Watch the IAEA presentation HERE

[Tepco] disclosed that a 35-ton piece of machinery debris might be resting on the inner gate of the spent fuel pool for reactor 3… and that the gate is slightly out of position. Tepco said Thursday that a fuel-handling machine… is touching one of two gates that stand between the pool and the reactor containment vessel [and] both… gates are slightly out of position but said the pool… does not appear to be leaking… If the gates are damaged, it might trigger a water leak from the pool… - (emphasis added) - Mar 27, 2015 - Kyodo.

The Japan Times changed the headline on Kyodo’s report from ‘Debris poses risk to spent-fuel pool gate in Fukushima No. 1′s reactor 3‘ to ‘Setback at Fukushima No. 1 plant threatens reactor 3 rod removal’.

Fuel pool gates found shifted at Fukushima plant
… [TEPCO] says 2 iron gates that keep cooling water inside a spent fuel pool were found to be out of position…
officials say this could affect the removal of debris…

TEPCO officials said on Thursday that both of the iron gates in the pool had shifted from their original positions. They say the inner gate was likely damaged by a large machine that fell into the pool. The operator says it will examine if removal of the machine from the pool may trigger water leaks. - Mar 27, 2015 - NHK.

Nuclear engineer Chris Harris identified the “weakest link” which may initiate a spent fuel pool draindown… The gate is a long rectangular “dam” in the side of the fuel pool

The gate has seals so that the fuel pool doesn’t drain into the cavity and dangerously expose fuel assemblies… If the seal were to fail, then the fuel pool would drain to dangerously low levels right through the damaged gate. - June 2012 - Enformable.

“One of the Tepco releases that really intrigued me was that there is something called ‘curing material’… to me it means they know about a tear or a rip in the spent fuel pool liner [of Unit 3 and] they tried to repair with some sort of epoxy and something that needs to cure or cure time on it before they can proceed.” - Nov 2012 - Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer.

Prior to removing the steel beam which fell into the spent fuel pool… liner curing of the pool will be implemented in mid November once the preparation is complete. - Sept 2012 - Tepco.

- Compiled by ENE News.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Blackout - Turkey Struck By The BIGGEST POWER CUT IN 15 YEARS; Crippling Transportation Networks!

March 31, 2015 - TURKEY
- The worst power outage in 15 years struck most of Turkey on Tuesday, grounding flights and crippling rail networks. Localized blackouts continued as night fell.

Dogan News Agency reported that all provinces, apart from Van in the east, which receives energy from Iran were affected by the accident that took place at 10:36 a.m. local time. The energy ministry later said that the problem originated on the main Aegean lines, which distribute imported energy throughout the country.

Subway systems and traffic lights went down in several major urban centers, creating havoc on the streets, as an impromptu market opened on the streets for generator fuel. Thousands of people were also trapped for hours in elevators, and on funicular lines. Major industrial objects had to be shut down for the majority of the day.

A widespread power outage in Turkey is affect flights.

By late afternoon, the energy ministry said that electricity had been restored to 90 percent of Istanbul, and would "shortly" be back in the remainder of the country.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says all potential causes are still being investigated, “including the possibility of a terror attack,".

A general view of Ambarli power station in Istanbul (Reuters / Osman Orsal)

"Whether or not terrorism is a high possibility or a low one I can’t say at this stage. I can’t say either whether it is a cyber attack,"
energy minister Taner Yildiz told reports.

This is the first outage event of such magnitude in 15 years, according to the daily Hurriyet paper.

WATCH: Infrastructure collapse from blackouts in Turkey.

A video posted by Samet Kanberoğlu (@sametkanberogluu) on

- RT.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crash Near Pine River Airport, Minnesota - Two People Killed!

A small passenger plane crashed Friday night near the Pine River airport in Cass County. (Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch)

- Two people died when a small plane crashed in a field south of the Pine River Regional Airport on Friday night.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch reported the victims as John Witt, age 43, and Stacy Sundquist, age 32, both of Pine River Minn.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the crash of the Piper J4A aircraft was reported at 6:35 p.m. Friday.

Several witnesses reported the plane took off from the airport on a course headed south and appeared to be “low and slow” before crashing one-quarter mile away.

(L) Stacy Sundquist and (R) John Witt

Burch reported fuel was leaking from the aircraft after impact, but did not ignite. The plane reportedly was engaging in a local flight, with departure and landing planned in Pine River.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registry, the plane involved is registered to John M. Witt of Pine River. It is a fixed wing single-engine airplane manufactured in 1940.

Investigators from the FAA and NTSB were on scene Saturday documenting the wreckage. Once the on-scene investigation is complete, the NTSB will remove the wreckage to a facility in Minneapolis for further investigation.

An FAA official reported its investigation will roll into the NTSB investigation, and it will be close to a year before it is complete. - Duluth News Tribune.

EXTREME WEATHER: Freak Snow Storm Swallows Bridge In Siberia!

A snow cloud swallows a bridge in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Photo: Screen grab from video

March 31, 2015 - SIBERIA, RUSSIA
- Everybody knows it snows in Siberia, but even construction workers seemed taken aback by a snow cloud that quickly and completely swallowed a bridge in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

The snow cloud not only made the bridge disappear, but it also made for some difficult conditions on their work site.

WATCH: A huge, dark cloud of snow could be seen coming over the Yenisei river, engulfing the city centre Krasnoyarsk in Siberia in less than a minute.

Snow began pelting the construction workers as the snow cloud completely shrouded the Krasnoyarsk bridge, which stretches over the Yenisei River in Siberia. Soon it covered the construction site too.

The weather event is reminiscent of the massive thunder and dust storm that passed over Onslow, Australia, in January 2013, and the numerous dust storms the Phoenix region is hit with every now and then.

No word whether the construction workers continued working. - Easy Branches.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In Orange County, Virginia - Pilot Killed!

A 16-year-old pilot was killed Sunday morning after crashing a plane in Orange County, Va. (Photo: Virginia State Police)

- The investigation continues after a 16-year-old pilot from Spotsylvania was killed in a plane crash in Orange County Sunday morning, Virginia State Police said.

The pilot has been identified as Ryan Lee McCall, 16, of Spotsylvania, Va. McCall died at the scene of the crash, according to authorities.

Police responded to the crash at 9:44 a.m just east of the Orange County Airport. A 1974 Piper, model PA28140 single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft small plane was involved in the crash. The plane is owned by William Rushing III of Springfield, Va.

Virginia State Police, the FAA and NTSB are still trying to determine the cause of the crash, police said. Investigators will remain on the scene throughout Monday to move the wreckage from the scene, authorities said.

Spotsylvania County Schools released the following statement on McCall'a death Monday morning:

We were very saddened to hear the news about the death of Riverbend High Sophomore Ryan McCall. Ryan will be deeply missed. The Riverbend leadership team is working closely with the counseling staff to address the concerns of our entire educational community as we cope with this loss. We will have additional counseling staff in place on Monday, March 30th and the coming days as necessary to support our students and staff. Our thoughts are with the McCall family during this very difficult time. - Rene Daniels, Director of Communications & Community Engagement

WATCH: Teen killed in Va. plane crash, investigation ongoing.


- WUSA9.

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

March 31, 2015 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Mexico Floods – At least 7 Dead in Veracruz

Torrential rains and floods have left at least seven dead and one young girl missing, authorities said Friday.

Rain and hail the size of baseballs have fallen since Thursday afternoon, inundating hundreds of houses in the central highlands of Veracruz, a state on the Atlantic coast of Mexico.

According to the state’s civil protection ministry, three women and three man have died, mostly in vehicles carried by raging waters. One victim has not yet been formally identified.

Hail and floods Ixtaczoquitlan, Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Government of Veracruz

Hailstorm, Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Government of Veracruz

Distributing suppies to those affected by floods and hail in Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Government of Veracruz

Enrique Alarcon Bonilla, the deputy mayor of Atzalan, was rescued after water carried the cab car he was driving. His wife and daughter who were also in the car, were not saved, he said.

The rivers in eight municipalities in the state continue to breach their banks. The most affected municipalities are Ixtacozquitlan, Huatusco, Orizaba, Córdoba, Omealca, Yanga and Cuitlahuac.

The civil protection ministry also said downed trees caused electricity outages Friday.

Three temporary shelters have been opened and have so far received 80 victims whose homes were flooded or damage by hailstones.

Chile Floods – Death Toll Rises as Thousands Remain in Shelters

Heavy rainfall on 24 and 25 March 2015 left the normally dry regions of Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo in Chile suffering some of the worst floods in their history.

Initial assessments reported that 2 people had died and around 24 were missing. Since then the death toll has increased to 17 people. According to the latest government report, a further 20 are still missing. The flooding has forced 10,966 people from their homes. Currently as many as 4,562 people are staying in temporary shelters set up by local authorities.

Affected Areas

The government has declared a state of catastrophe for the Atacama Region as a whole and also town of Taltal in the Antofagasta Region.

The worst affected areas are Chañaral, Salado and Diego de Almagro, Alto del Carmen and Tierra Amarilla, according to ONEMI, the Chilean civil protection agency.

Floods in Chile, March 2015. Photo: Bomberos Chile

Map of flood affected areas in Chile as of 27 March 2015. Map from ECHO. See the full version here (PDF).

Floods in Chile, March 2015. Photo: Bomberos Chile

Floods in Chile, March 2015. Photo: Bomberos Chile

Swollen Copiapo River. Photo: Karl Grawe

Flood damage, possibly in TalTal, Antofagasta Region. Photo: Bomberos de Chile

Over 10,000 remain without electricity in Atacama region. A total of 7,500 people remain without drinking water in the towns of Tierra Amarilla and Chañaral.

The Ministry of Health issued health warnings in the communes of Copiapó, Tierra Amarilla, Diego de Almagro and Alto del Carmen in the Atacama Region.

Classes and education remains suspended in Antofagasta and Atacama and also parts of Coquimbo, although there is a possibility classes may resume in some areas from Monday 30 March 2015.


Red alerts still remain in place across the region of Atacama, and also the communes of Antofagasta, Tocopilla and Taltal in Antofagasta. However, no further rain has been forecast.

An earthquake was recorded in Antofagasta Region on 28 March 2015. According to the Chile’s National Seismological Centre, the earthquake magnitude was 5.8 Richter and was located 39 km northeast of Calama.

Saudi Arabia Floods – 11 Killed, 3 Missing

Floods in Al Bahah, Saudi Arabia March 2015 – Photo: Ministry of Interior

Flash floods in several parts of Saudi Arabia over the last 4 days have killed at least 11 people. According to Saudi’s Civil Defence General Directorate figures quoted in local media, four people have died in Makkah (Mecca) region, three in Asir region, three in Najran region and one in Riyadh region since heavy rainfall triggered flash floods on 23 March 2015.

Civil Defence figures also note that over 400 vehicles have been trapped in flood water, and around 300 people had to be rescued from the floods.

Flood Warnings


Heavy rain was continuing to fall yesterday, 26 March 2015, including in Riyadh city. The Civil Defence General Directorate in Riyadh region has called on everyone to take caution and follow safety guidelines.

Spokesman for Civil Defense in Riyadh, Major Mohammed Al Hammadi, reiterated the need that everyone should take caution and follow safety guidelines to avoid risks that might occur as a result of such weather fluctuations.

He called on all people to follow the media to get information on weather fluctuations, and report emergencies to the civil defence.

Al Bahah

Earlier, Bahah civil defence had alerted people to stay away from valleys in advance of potential flash floods on 23 March 2015.

According to media spokesman of the directorate of civil defence in the region, Col. Jama’an Al-Ghamdi, the directorate had moved the safety patrols and stationed them at the entrances of the valleys, to alert citizens and residents of the danger of crossing or sitting near the dangerous sites.

Floods in a Desert Climate – Algeria, Chile, Saudi Arabia

After Tamanrasset in Algeria and Atacama in Chile and Peru, Saudi Arabia is the third desert climate area to see heavy rainfall and floods in the space of the last few days.

Previous Floods in Saudi Arabia

Some areas of Saudi Arabia are regularly threatened by seasonal flash floods, despite low amounts of annual precipitation.

Three people died in floods in Hail (Ha’yel) Province in north west Saudi Arabia in March 2014.

At least 4 people died in floods in Riyadh during November 2013, after which the city announced a series of flood mitigation measures.

The city of Jeddah in Mekkah province suffered major flooding in November 2009, which left 122 people dead.

Wettest March in 100 years in North and Central India, weather dept says

Kashmir flood: Heavy rains have resulted in damage to at least 44 structures, including 18 houses, due to landslides in Chrar-e-Sharief area of valley.  © PTI

This month has been the "wettest" March in northern and central parts of the country in the past 100 years, the Indian meteorological department (IMD) on Sunday said and predicted more rains in the coming two weeks.

IMD DG L S Rathore said due to the rains, there has been extensive damage to field and horticulture crops as well as vegetables in various parts of the country.

"The ordeal is not yet over. Though March as we all know was very wet, it was to the extent that after 1915, this was the wettest March particularly in north India right up to central India," he said.

"But in the next two weeks also there seems to be a possibility or higher possibility of wetness," he said.

Rains on Sunday lashed many parts of north India, including Kashmir Valley where several houses were damaged and Srinagar-Jammu national highway shut due to landslides.

In the national capital, overcast conditions prevailed throughout the day while some parts of the city recorded light rainfall which. The Met department predicted rainfall for Monday here.

Meanwhile, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Centre will work with state governments to raise the compensation limit for farmers affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

Unseasonal rains and hailstorms during this month have damaged Rabi (winter-sown) crops in 106.73 lakh hectares of area across 14 states as against the earlier estimates of 181 lakh hectares.

Support for Flood Victims in Jendouba, Tunisia

Islamic Relief has been supporting victims of floods in Tunisia, supplying food, water, hygiene kits, and blankets to 160 families.

Heavy rainfall on 27 and 28 February 2015 caused the Oued Medjerda river and its tributaries to overflow.

The city of Jendouba, in north-west Tunisia, and surrounding areas were badly affected. Local observers reported flood water up to 2 metres in some areas.

JENDOUBA, TUNISIA – FEBRUARY 28: A bus is seen in the flood water caused by heavy rainfall in the Bu Salim district of
Jendouba City of Tunisia on February 28, 2015. Photo: AA

JENDOUBA, TUNISIA – FEBRUARY 28: Search and Rescue team members try to pull a bus in the flood water caused by
heavy rainfall in the Bu Salim district of Jendouba City of Tunisia on February 28, 2015. Photo: AA

Schools were closed and families across the city had to climb on to the roofs of their homes for safety as the water level rose. The Tunisian government evacuated families as more homes are expected to flood, and some 160 families sought refuge in a local school.

The Tunisian government provided blankets and food to the displaced families. Islamic Relief has also responded with the provision of food, water, hygiene kits, and blankets to 160 families.

2012 Floods

The city has experienced severe flooding before. In February 2012, streets flooded, farms were destroyed and roads were blocked. According to Islamic Relief, many people are still in debt after borrowing money to rebuild and refurnish their homes.

There was also extensive flooding in 1990, when more than 50 people died, and in 1969, when more than 500 people lost their lives.

Islamic Relief has been working in Tunisia since 2012, and continues to monitor the situation closely.
For more information on the work of Islamic Relief, see their website here.

3 Killed in Central Vietnam Floods

Floods in 3 provinces of central Vietnam have left 3 people dead.

Two victims died in floods in Quang Ngai and one in neighbouring Quang Nam province. Thua Thien-Hue province has also been affected, although no deaths have been reported. Damage to crops, in particular rice, has been reported in all three provinces.

The floods were caused by heavy rainfall. March is considered part of the dry season for the region, when droughts are more common than floods, which usually occur during the rainy season from July to December.

Quoted in Thanh Nien news, Hoang Duc Cuong, director of the Central Meteorological Forecast Center described the heavy rain as “unusual”.

Thanh Nien say that between 24 to 28 March 2015, some areas received more than 500 mm of rainfall, the highest in March since 1965.

Floods in Macedonia after 3 Rivers Overflow

STIP, MACEDONIA – FEBRUARY 02: Flooded area is seen following heavy rains in Stip, Macedonia on February 02, 2015.
Due to flooding, eastern Macedonia declared as a state of emergency. Photo: AA

News agency MINA are reporting that at least 3 rivers overflowed in Macedonia after heavy rainfall over the last few days, causing flooding in the municipalities of Kavadarci, Prilep and Kumanovo. So far the floods have been minor, and have only affected farm land.

According to MINA, the Luda Mara river overflowed in the Glisic area, flooding parts of the nearby village of Marena.

In Prilep, Crna river, which was responsible for much of the earlier flooding, overflowed near the villages of Trojkrsti, Lozani and Topolcani.

In Kumanovo, the Slupcanka river has overflowed near the villages of Opae, Orizari and Lipkovo.

The country was badly hit by flooding during February 2015 where over 100,000 people were affected. The worst affected areas were the southern, southeastern, southwestern, and central parts of the country. Agricultural land, electrical infrastructure, roads, and a large number of homes were severely affected.

-   Floodlist | Times of India.