Thursday, November 19, 2015

EXTREME WEATHER: Deadly Storms Kill Three In Northwest United States - Statewide Emergency Declared!


November 19, 2015 - NORTHWEST UNITED STATES
- About 185 000 homes and businesses remained without power in Washington state late on Wednesday, after a storm blew down trees and triggered mudslides, killing at least three people, authorities said.

Governor Jay Inslee declared a statewide emergency because of the storm, which left a wide swath of the Puget Sound region under flood watches and warnings.

In the Spokane area of eastern Washington, utility Avista warned it could take three to five days to restore services to nearly 115 000 customers without power. The city closed schools after winds up to 70 mph (113kph) tore through the area.

In Oregon, fallen trees, mudslides and floods shut down roads across the western part of the state on Tuesday night, including a 80km stretch of Interstate 84 that authorities declared impassible into midday Wednesday.

Several other highways remained closed, Washington state police said.


WATCH: Fierce Storms, Hurricane-Level Winds Batter US Northwest.




At least three people were confirmed to have died in storm-related accidents, authorities in Washington state said.A motorist was killed on Tuesday near the city of Monroe, northeast of Seattle, when a tree fell from a cliff onto his car, said Snohomish County Fire Chief Merlin Halverson.

"Many roads are closed from downed trees, active power lines, flood waters," Halverson said. "It's a hell of a mess here."

In Spokane, police said a woman was killed by a falling tree, while another woman died on State Route 904 southwest of the city when a tree struck her car, state police said on Twitter.

Puget Sound Energy, which supplies customers in parts of Seattle and its suburbs, said fewer than 30 000 customers remain without power, down from a peak of 220 000 customers.

To the north, in Snohomish County, the public utility district said about 40 000 customers were without power late on Wednesday, down from 150 000 the night before.

Mudslides and other debris blocked roads.

King County, home to Seattle, reported severe flooding on the Snoqualmie River, moderate flooding on the Green River and minor flooding on the Cedar River.

An airport in Olympia received record daily rainfall of 2.08 inches on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

The previous record was 1.61 inches, set in 1959. - Independent Online.




 

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Antibiotic Apocalypse - Scientists Issue Dire Warning After Finding Bacteria Resistant To Drugs, Says The World Is On The Cusp Of A "POST-ANTIBIOTIC ERA"!

Thinkstock

November 19, 2015 - HEALTH
- The world is on the cusp of a "post-antibiotic era", scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed.

They identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort - colistin - in patients and livestock in China.

They said that resistance would spread around the world and raised the spectre of untreatable infections.

It is likely resistance emerged after colistin was overused in farm animals.

Bacteria becoming completely resistant to treatment - also known as the antibiotic apocalypse - could plunge medicine back into the dark ages.

Common infections would kill once again, while surgery and cancer therapies, which are reliant on antibiotics, would be under threat.

Key players

Chinese scientists identified a new mutation, dubbed the MCR-1 gene, that prevented colistin from killing bacteria.

The report in the Lancet Infectious Diseases showed resistance in a fifth of animals tested, 15% of raw meat samples and in 16 patients.


 The resistance was discovered in pigs, which are routinely given the drugs in China. Getty Images


And the resistance had spread between a range of bacterial strains and species, including E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

There is also evidence that it has spread to Laos and Malaysia.

Prof Timothy Walsh, who collaborated on the study, from the University of Cardiff, told the BBC News website: "All the key players are now in place to make the post-antibiotic world a reality.

"If MRC-1 becomes global, which is a case of when not if, and the gene aligns itself with other antibiotic resistance genes, which is inevitable, then we will have very likely reached the start of the post-antibiotic era.

"At that point if a patient is seriously ill, say with E. coli, then there is virtually nothing you can do."


Thinkstock

Resistance to colistin has emerged before.

However, the crucial difference this time is the mutation has arisen in a way that is very easily shared between bacteria.

"The transfer rate of this resistance gene is ridiculously high, that doesn't look good," said Prof Mark Wilcox, from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

His hospital is now dealing with multiple cases "where we're struggling to find an antibiotic" every month - an event he describes as being as "rare as hens' teeth" five years ago.

He said there was no single event that would mark the start of the antibiotic apocalypse, but it was clear "we're losing the battle".

'Untreatable'

The concern is that the new resistance gene will hook up with others plaguing hospitals, leading to bacteria resistant to all treatment - what is known as pan-resistance.

Prof Wilcox told the BBC News website: "Do I fear we'll get to an untreatable organism situation? Ultimately yes.

"Whether that happens this year, or next year, or the year after, it's very hard to say."

Early indications suggest the Chinese government is moving swiftly to address the problem.

Prof Walsh is meeting both the agricultural and health ministries this weekend to discuss whether colistin should be banned for agricultural use.




Prof Laura Piddock, from the campaign group Antibiotic Action, said the same antibiotics "should not be used in veterinary and human medicine".

She told the BBC News website: "Hopefully the post-antibiotic era is not upon us yet. However, this is a wake-up call to the world."

She argued the dawning of the post-antibiotic era "really depends on the infection, the patient and whether there are alternative treatment options available" as combinations of antibiotics may still be effective.

A commentary in the Lancet concluded the "implications [of this study] are enormous" and unless something significant changes, doctors would "face increasing numbers of patients for whom we will need to say, 'Sorry, there is nothing I can do to cure your infection.'" - BBC.




PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.7 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Oklahoma - USGS!

USGS earthquake location.

November 19, 2015 - OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES
- A 4.7-magnitude earthquake has struck Oklahoma, the US Geological Survey reported, adding that the quake hit at a depth of 6.2 km, just 13 km from the town of Cherokee.

There have been no reports of damage or casualties following the quake.

Local media reports said that the earthquake was also felt in neighboring Kansas. Kansas-based KSN reported that the quake had affected Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, with almost 400,000 residents.

"It was a quick jolt with windows rattling with [the first waves], then 5-10 seconds later [the second waves] rattled windows and shook appliances and computer monitors," said AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions meteorologist William Clark, who felt the earthquake in Wichita.




Oklahoma has repeatedly seen seismic activity, which reportedly has links with fracking operations being undertaken in the area.

In July 2015, an astounding 40 earthquakes were reported within the space of a week in the state. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin acknowledged the link between such earthquake clusters and wastewater disposal procedures used in fracking.In 2013, Oklahoma experienced 109 earthquakes and tremors of magnitude 3.0 or higher.

In 2014, the number skyrocketed to 585 such seismic events, according to state website Earthquakes in Oklahoma. This puts the current frequency at some 600 times the historical average. And geologists in Kansas believe a string of mysterious earthquakes may have been caused by pumping chemicals into the ground as part of the controversial gas and oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing. - RT.



Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Stable Continental Region



Natural Occurring Earthquake Activity
Most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes. Here and there earthquakes are more numerous, for example in the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, in the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone of eastern Quebec, in New England, in the New York - Philadelphia - Wilmington urban corridor, and elsewhere. However, most of the enormous region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt, and several U.S. states have never reported a damaging earthquake.

Earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains, although less frequent than in the West, are typically felt over a much broader region than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the west. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area more than ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. It would not be unusual for a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in eastern or central North America to be felt by a significant percentage of the population in many communities more than 100 km (60 mi) from its source. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake in eastern or central North America might be felt by much of the population out to more than 500 km (300 mi) from its source. Earthquakes east of the Rockies that are centered in populated areas and large enough to cause damage are, similarly, likely to cause damage out to greater distances than earthquakes of the same magnitude centered in western North America.

Most earthquakes in North America east of the Rockies occur as faulting within bedrock, usually miles deep. Few earthquakes east of the Rockies, however, have been definitely linked to mapped geologic faults, in contrast to the situation at plate boundaries such as California's San Andreas fault system, where scientists can commonly use geologic evidence to identify a fault that has produced a large earthquake and that is likely to produce large future earthquakes. Scientists who study eastern and central North America earthquakes often work from the hypothesis that modern earthquakes occur as the result of slip on preexisting faults that were formed in earlier geologic eras and that have been reactivated under the current stress conditions. The bedrock of Eastern North America is, however, laced with faults that were active in earlier geologic eras, and few of these faults are known to have been active in the current geologic era. In most areas east of the Rockies, the likelihood of future damaging earthquakes is currently estimated from the frequencies and sizes of instrumentally recorded earthquakes or earthquakes documented in historical records.

Induced Seismicity
As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced.

Even within areas with many human-induced earthquakes, however, the activity that seems to induce seismicity at one location may be taking place at many other locations without inducing felt earthquakes. In addition, regions with frequent induced earthquakes may also be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity. Making a strong scientific case for a causative link between a particular human activity and a particular sequence of earthquakes typically involves special studies devoted specifically to the question. Such investigations usually address the process by which the suspected triggering activity might have significantly altered stresses in the bedrock at the earthquake source, and they commonly address the ways in which the characteristics of the suspected human-triggered earthquakes differ from the characteristics of natural earthquakes in the region.

- USGS.



 

FUK-U-SHIMA: Trace Levels Of Radioactive Cesium-137 From Fukushima Now Being Detected In Florida Citrus Fruits - U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission!


November 19, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- Radioactive cesium from the 2011 Fukushima disaster is still being detected in citrus and other plants as far away as Florida, according to a report sent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

In March 2011, multiple nuclear meltdowns took place at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. The explosions ejected massive amounts of radioactive material into the environment, most notably radioactive cesium isotopes. In the weeks after the disaster, winds carried airborne radionuclides to every corner of the globe. Most of the radioactivity, however, settled into the Pacific Ocean.

Levels consistent since 2011

The report is Duke Energy Florida's Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report to U.S. NRC, dated May 5. It notes that immediately following the Fukushima disaster, radioactive iodine and cesium from the plant were detected in Florida vegetation.

"The Japanese event also affected broad leaf vegetation sample media throughout the year as long-lived radionuclides (Cs-137) were released at Fukushima multiple times," the report reads.

"The vegetation measurements in 2014 are still affected by the Fukushima event due to the long-lived radionuclides deposited. The vegetation control sample station located in Orlando, Fl. is also experiencing similar Cs-137 deposition on the broad leaf sample media."

According to the report, levels of Cs-137 have remained relatively constant in the samples tested over the past four years. This is to be expected, because that radionuclide has an incredibly long half-life.

In 2012, 13 of 24 samples taken tested positive for Cs-137, up to 172 pCi/kg (a picocurie is a unit of radiation; approximately 27 pCi is equivalent to one Bequerel [Bq], a common unit of radioactivity). Samples taken in Orlando tested at levels up to 201 pCi/kg.

In 2013, 15 of 24 samples tested positive for Cs-137, up to 147 pCi/kg, and the Orlando samples tested up to 258 pCi/kg. The most recent tests, in 2014, found Cs-137 in 16 of 24 samples, at levels up to 159 pCi/kg.

The report specifically notes that the 2014 tests also found Cs-137 in grapefruits at concentrations of 4 pCi/kg.

"It is not unusual to periodically see Cs-137 in citrus samples due to widespread deposition of Cs-137 from fallout due to past weapons testing and more recent from the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami event," the report reads.

How big of a problem is it?

The levels of radiation detected are not necessarily a health concern in and of themselves. Many foods are naturally radioactive in small quantities; the most common radionuclides in food are potassium 40 (K-40) and radium 226 (Ra-226). The levels found in the Florida vegetation are lower, for example, than the 390 pCi/kg of K-40 typically found in beer, and far lower than the 3,500 or so pCi/kg found in bananas, carrots and white potatoes. Brazil nuts are particularly radioactive, at 5,600 pCi/kg of K-40 and up to 7,000 pCi/kg of Ra-226.

After the Chernobyl disaster, the FDA seized and destroyed any foods that tested at higher than 10,000 pCi/kg.

What is troubling about the Florida report is the evidence of how far radionuclides from Fukushima have spread. In addition, no level of radiation is truly safe, and any increase in exposure contributes to cumulative lifetime risk.

Similarly, a study conducted in February 2015 showed the first evidence that radioactivity from the Fukushima disaster has reached the North American coast. The levels of Cs-137 detected in the waters off Vancouver Island were six times higher than the base level – itself an artifact of decades of nuclear testing.

Radioactive cesium does not naturally occur on earth, and is solely the result of human activity.

A 2013 study by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Norway found that the radioactive ocean plume produced by the Fukushima disaster is likely to hit the west coast of North America by 2017, and the bulk of that plume will remain there through at least 2026. - Natural News.