"Environmental Hazards Newsletter " 12th Mar 2018

Hurricanes and Cyclones
Bomb cyclone: Storm hammers northeast US bringing flooding and tidal surges - as it happened
A powerful "bomb cyclone" storm is lashing the US northeast, bringing snow, flooding and tidal surges all along the coast. Many areas were buffeted by wind gusts exceeding 50 mph, with possible hurricane-strength winds of 80 to 90 mph on Cape Cod.
New cyclone may be on horizon for NZ
According to forecaster Weather Watch, a tropical depression forming near Fiji could become a tropical cyclone later in the week. The system could then track near, or into, the New Zealand area
Tropical Cyclone Dumazile
Tropical Cyclone Dumazile is moving southward between Madagascar and La Réunion Island with winds up to 120 km/h (Category 1 hurricane) strengthening (up to Category 3 hurricane) in the upcoming days.
Mountains of trash left behind by hurricanes inflame debate in US Virgin Islands
Over the past 4½ months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local contractors have collected more than 736,000 cubic yards of debris left behind by the hurricanes that have ravaged the US Virgin Islands in recent months.
State of emergency declared over cyclone in Russia's Far East
The cyclone has paralyzed transportation throughout Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Due to zero visibility, bus and train services have been halted. Several flights at the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport have been delayed or canceled.
Extreme Temperatures
Tens of thousands of starfish wash up on British beach following extreme change in temperature
Thousands of dead starfish washed up on a British beach following the 'beast from the east' weather snap. She estimated "hundreds of thousands" of starfish and other sea life were washed ashore this weekend following the spell of subzero temperatures.
Death toll rises as snow causes chaos across Europe
Conditions are expected to improve by the end of the weekend, but average temperatures across the UK could remain lower than normal over the next month as the polar air gradually returns to the Arctic.
Extreme fire danger threatens south-central US on Sunday
Rising temperatures and strong winds have forces meteorologists to issues warnings against extreme fire danger which may pose a threat to South-Central areas of the US in the incoming days.
ASU researchers to help cities cope with extreme temperatures
ASU researchers are working with academics and officials in Tempe and Buffalo, New York to create smarter and more resilient strategies to cope with extreme temperatures.
Counting the cost of PNG's devastating earthquake – many uncertainties -
At this stage, the outcome is still uncertain after the devastation and loss of life – now more than 100 – of Papua New Guinea’s Highlands earthquake. Obviously the biggest concern remains the human impact of the earthquake – reaching the victims and providing emergency relief. Many households and communities have no drinking water and food gardens have been destroyed. Repairs will costs tens of millions of kina, with the government unfortunately only budgeting each year a fraction of what’s needed for infrastructure maintenance, let alone for emergency repairs and restoration.
Magnitude 4.5 earthquake strikes 8 miles off coast of Petrolia Thursday night
A magnitude 4.5 earthquake shook 18 miles west of the coast near Petrolia Thursday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake hit at 10:01 p.m. on March 8, at a depth of 8.2 miles
Over 100 Mount Kinabalu climbers rush to safety after earthquake strikes Sabah
More than 100 climbers rushed down to the safety point at Laban Rata in Mount Kinabalu after a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit Sabah's Ranau area on Thursday (March 8) night. There were no reports of any casualties or damage in the 9.06pm incident, said former Mount Kinabalu Mountain Guides Association president Richard Soibi. Kundasang residents said that it was quite a strong quake that lasted two to three seconds.
Magnitude 5.4 earthquake hits southeast Iran: state media
A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit southeast Iran on Wednesday evening, state media said. The epicenter of the earthquake was about 14 km (9 miles) away from the town of Kahnooj in Kerman province, state media reported. There were no immediate reports of any dead or injured, or any property damage. Two teams from the local chapter of the Red Crescent were sent to the location, state media said. A magnitude 4.9 earthquake shook the same area a few minutes after the first earthquake. Last November, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit western Iran along the mountainous border with Iraq, killing at least 620 people and injuring thousands of others.
Earthquake jolts Sibi, surroundings
An earthquake of mild intensity jolted Balochistan including the Sibi district on Saturday, but no causality or property loss was reported. According to the geological wing of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), tremors measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale were felt in different parts of the province. Earlier this year, an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude rocked Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Charsadda, Murree, Sargodha, Shangla, Haripur and Gujranwala, as well as parts of India, Kashmir and Afghanistan on January 31. The quake had left two including a girl child dead with 15 others injured.
No reports of Singaporeans injured in Sabah earthquake: MFA
There have been no reports of Singaporeans injured in the 5.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Ranau, Sabah on Thursday night (Mar 8), the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday. In a statement, MFA said it has reached out to e-registered Singaporeans in Ranau and the surrounding areas, and has ascertained that they are safe. "Singaporeans in the affected areas should take the necessary precautions for their personal safety, heed the instructions of the local authorities, and closely monitor the local news, as there may be aftershocks. You should also stay in touch with family and friends so that they know you are safe," it added.
Mount Etna eruption: Rapid earthquakes spark fears of fiery volcano about to blow
Residents of the ancient city of Catania on the eastern shores of Sicily were struck with panic after several shocks reverberated through Etna in just five minutes of each other. The terrifying Etna which only sits 18miles from the coastal town, was rocked by three shallow tremors on its southern slopes. The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) of Catania recorded the shocks in the early morning hours. The strongest of the quakes, of magnitude 3.3, struck at 9.50am local time just over 4 miles north of Ragalna, a small commune southeast of Palermo.
3 Potential Earthquake Sources that Can Destroy Jakarta
According to the Indonesian geological agency, there are two earthquake sources other than the megathrust earthquake in the Sunda Strait that can severely affect Jakarta. “The two other spots are the active fault in the vicinity of Jakarta and the intraslab underneath Jakarta,” said Sri Hidayati, Head of earthquake mitigation at the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) on Thursday, March 8. Sri explained that the closest megathrust earthquake can originate from South Java and the Sunda Strait, which is less than 200 kilometers. “If a massive magnitude 8 to 9.5 earthquake from those locations occurred, it can devastate Jakarta,” said Sri. The effects of the quake can potentially amplify because of Jakarta’s sedimentary soil basin.
Mozambique, Malawi - 5.6 M earthquake
An earthquake of magnitude 5.6 M at a depth of 25 km hit central Mozambique (Zambesia Province) in an area close to the border with Malawi on 8 March at 9.49 UTC. Approximately 3 million people live within a 100 km radius of the epicenter which was located 26 km northeast of Nsanje (Southern Region, Malawi). USGS PAGER estimated a shaking up to "very strong" for 22 000 people and "strong" for 63 000 people. An aftershock of 5.2 M at a depth of 10 km occurred a few minutes later, approximately 10 km south of the first earthquake. According to the national authorities of Malawi, several people have been slightly injured and several houses have been damaged in the area of Nyasa.
Deep moderate earthquake in Southern Alaska - March 9, 2018
The epicenter area has had multiple smaller earthquakes the last couple of days and even weeks. The origin van this earthquake is the Pacific plate diving below the gradually thicker getting North American plate at several cm a year. This is generating lot of stress resulting in regular earthquakes, even massive ones as every person in Alaska knows very well. Due to the depth of the hypocenter, people even at several hundred km will have felt the earthquake as very weak to weak shaking. Based on the present earthquake parameters (Magnitude, Depth, Population, etc) and our experience with earthquake damage impact, earthquake-Report.com does not expect any serious damage from this earthquake.
Strong very deep earthquake in between Fiji and Tonga - March 9, 2018
As it is middle of the night in this area at the moment of the earthquake, we believe that most of the people will not have felt it. This earthquake looks spectacular, but isn't as the breaking point (hypocenter) is located in the deep solid hot mantle of the earth. Based on the present earthquake parameters (Magnitude, Depth, Population, etc) and our experience with earthquake damage impact, earthquake-Report.com does not expect any damage from this earthquake
Papua New Guinea earthquake: anger grows among "forgotten victims"
Aid workers and government officials have been threatened by people in Papua New Guinea who are angry at the slow delivery of emergency help 10 days after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the highlands. Care Australia estimate half a million people have been affected by the quake, with 150,000 in desperate need of emergency supplies and more than 100 believed to be dead. Anna Bryan, Care’s program director in the country, said frustration has grown in the worst hit areas as aftershocks continued to strike. On Wednesday, a 6.8 magnitude aftershock killed a family of six when their house collapsed and burst into flames.
The ground has been shaking in Kansas. What"s causing these earthquakes?
Some of Oklahoma’s most-powerful earthquakes in the past year gave Kansans a shake in the past week, and a research geophysicist says it is safe to assume these quakes were due to wastewater injections in Kansas and Oklahoma. “This is not particularly surprising — we’re not surprised by this,” said Justin Rubinstein, who is also the deputy chief of the United States Geological Survey's Induced Seismicity Project. While the cause of these quakes has not been confirmed, Kansas Geological Survey senior scientist Rick Miller agreed that they were likely “human-induced earthquakes.”
Papua New Guinea aftershocks prompt fears earthquake toll could exceed 100
At least 55 people have been confirmed dead and authorities fear the toll could exceed 100 from last week’s powerful earthquake in Papua New Guinea, as survivors faced more shaking from the strongest aftershock so far. Southern Highlands governor William Powi said people were feeling traumatised from the disaster and ongoing aftershocks. The latest was a magnitude 6.7 quake that struck just after midnight local time, the strongest shake since last Monday’s deadly magnitude 7.5 quake that destroyed homes, triggered landslides and halted work at four oil and gas fields.
Papua New Guinea earthquake death toll reaches 67
Aid workers in Papua New Guinea say the death toll from last week’s 7.5 earthquake has reached at least 67, as the country’s remote highlands were again rocked by strong aftershocks. Three aftershocks, each stronger than magnitude 5, shook the rugged Southern Highlands early on Monday, spreading fear in a region already badly damaged when the largest quake to hit the region struck a week ago. 'People are slowly dying': PNG earthquake sparks state of emergency. Aid is beginning to trickle into the worst affected regions but the extent of the devastation has taken days to emerge because of the area’s remoteness – about 500km from the capital Port Moresby.
Volcanic Activity
Volcano fires ash 3000m into air
The eruption of a volcano in southern Japan spewed ash 3,000 metres into the air. The authorities warned people not to approach Mount Shinmoedake, which has erupted 29 times, its most active since 2011. No injuries have been reported.
Lava flow confirmed at Mt. Shinmoe following eruptions
At around 10:10 a.m. on March 9, a worker from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology involved in an on-site inspection informed the JMA that lava could be seen flowing from the northwest section of the mountain's crater. The agency later confirmed a lava flow, and is investigating its range. The JMA had announced on the same day that eruptions of the volcano, which straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, had stopped at 1:45 a.m., but it seems that lava built up inside the crater subsequently spilled over.
Mayon volcano eruption: Rumbling heard for miles as lava explodes 7 times in 24 hours
But the Philippines most active volcano shows no signs of letting up as officials revealed lava continued to flow from 7.19am on Thursday to 6am (local time) today erupting on seven separate periods during the timeframe.
Study: Gunma volcano erupted more frequently than thought
A volcano in Gunma Prefecture that erupted Jan. 23, killing one and injuring 11, likely had many more such events than previously thought, volcanologists said. Researchers with the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) identified traces of similar eruptions that occurred repeatedly at Mount Moto-Shiranesan, one of the peaks that constitute the Mount Kusatsu-Shiranesan volcano complex. The January eruption formed more than one string of volcanic vents, which stretched a maximum of 500 meters.
Shinmoedake volcano in southern Japan erupts, spewing smoke and ash into air
A volcano in southern Japan that appeared in a James Bond film had its biggest eruption in years on Tuesday, shooting smoke and ash thousands of metres into the sky and grounding dozens of flights at a nearby airport, officials said. The Meteorological Agency said the Shinmoedake volcano on Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu erupted violently several times, and some lava was rising inside a crater.
Long-Period Earthquake Swarm Detected Under Volcano
An ongoing long-period earthquake swarm at 5-10 km depth began last night beneath the Kīlauea Volcano caldera, scientists report, noting that “otherwise, seismicity is within normal, background rates, with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering.” On Tuesday, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory measured the level of the lava lake at 74 ft. below the floor, which meant excited visitors could catch a glimpse of lava spatter from the Jaggar Overlook inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Kyushu volcano continues to belch ash over wide region
Kyushu’s Mount Shinmoedake remained active March 7 as smoke and fumes rose as high as 3,000 meters from the volcano. The Japan Meteorological Agency is maintaining the alert level at 3, warning people to stay away from the 1,421-meter mountain and cautioning that large rocks may be spat out up to a distance of 3 kilometers. It also said that glasses may break due to vibrations and that wind-borne volcanic debris may be carried over long distances.
Japanese volcano erupts, spewing ash
A volcano on Japan's Kyushu island is erupting, sending a plume of ash more than two kms above the crater. It was the first time in about seven years that such a powerful eruption was observed at Mount Shinmoe on the border between the prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki on the southern island, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
Japan's "James Bond" Volcano Erupts In A Spectacular Display Of Fire And Smoke
The volcano sent ash and smoke thousands of meters into the sky, canceling flights and creating unease for local residents. Shinmoedake volcano appeared in the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice, with Sean Connery as the film's agent 007.
Taupo in the running for the Volcano Cup
Which volcano is the best? Fans of the lava-spewing killers are trying to find out once and for all. Over the past few weeks a knockout competition has been taking place on social media site Twitter, under the hashtag #VolcanoCup. Thousands of geologists, science fans and people who just like things that burn have been voting for their favourite fiery mountains and calderas. New Zealand is represented in the informal competition by Taupo, which last blew around 1800 years ago. The goal is not just to entertain, but educate.
Hawaii Dumped 1.5 Billion Gallons Of Lava Into Pacific As Volcano Wall Collapses
A rare volcano wall collapse was captured recently on Kīlauea volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The collapse occurred on February 10th, at 8:21 a.m. local time when a massive chunk of the volcano collapsed. The sudden collapse was on Kīlauea volcano's active East Rift Zone, specifically on the northeast rim of the west pit in Pu’u O’o. This collapse was coincident with subsidence as the adjacent ground fell. Kīlauea volcano is actively monitored by the USGS on the island, looking for evidence of new eruptions and danger to local communities.
Violent blasts from Indonesia's Sinabung volcano
On February 19, 2018, Mount Sinabung volcano, on the Indonesian island of On February 19, 2018, Mount Sinabung volcano, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, erupted violently, spewing ash at least 16,000 to 23,000 feet (5 to 7 km) into the air. The stratovolcano has been sporadically active since 2010, following four centuries of quiet. According to a report from the Associated Press, the lava dome obliterated a chunk of the peak as it erupted. Plumes of hot gas and ash flowed down the volcano’s summit and spread out in an area about 3 miles (5 km) in diameter. Ash falls were recorded as far away as the town of Lhokseumawe, some 160 miles (260 km) to the north.
Indonesia issues volcanic ash flight warnings after Mount Sinabung erupts
Indonesia has raised flight warnings around the Mount Sinabung volcano to their highest level after it sent a plume of ash more than 7km (4.4 miles) into the air, turning day into night for people nearby. Areas around the crater of the volcano, located about 1,900km north-west of the capital, Jakarta, on the island of Sumatra have been off-limits for several years because of frequent volcanic activity.
The Costs Of Waiting For A Volcano To Erupt
Earthquakes began rumbling under Agung volcano on the “Paradise Island” of Bali in Indonesia on August 10, 2017. These small earthquakes drew immediate attention because Mt. Agung, which dominates the island’s landscape, had erupted in 1963, killing more than 1100 people. Was Agung reawakening? Could a major eruption be imminent?
Terrawatch: Montserrat's volcano remains a risk
It is now more than 20 years since Montserrat’s long-dormant volcano had a dramatic return to life. The action began in 1995 and reached a crescendo in 1997, when 19 people lost their lives. Plymouth, the island’s capital, ended up buried in more than 12m (40ft) of mud. Since then an exclusion zone has been imposed over the southern two-thirds of the Caribbean island and the population has dwindled from 12,500 to just 4,500. Sporadic smaller eruptions have occurred in the intervening years, but for the past eight years the volcano has been completely silent, and locals are impatient to return to their homes. So is it safe?
Wildfires will likely get worse in western North America
States in the interior western United States, in particular, may be faced with large increases in total wildfire area burned, potentially beyond anything that has been experienced in the past, according to the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE on December 15, 2017, as the 2017 fire season was ending.
Wildfires: Smoke and cloud interactions unexpectedly result in cooling
For years, scientists determined that smoke, overall, diminishes clouds' cooling effect by absorbing light that the clouds beneath the aerosols would otherwise reflect. A new study found that smoke and cloud layers are closer to each other than previously thought. This makes the clouds more reflective of light and, thus, accelerates the clouds' cooling effect.
California Spent $1.8B Fighting 2017 Wildfires
California state agencies spent nearly $1.8 billion fighting fierce wildfires that killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last year, legislative budget experts reported Thursday. The federal government will reimburse most of the costs, but the state will still need to come up with about $371 million on top of the state’s existing wildfire budget, the Legislative Analyst’s Office told the Senate Budget committee. That shouldn’t be a problem because state revenue has far exceeded expectations so far this fiscal year and the general fund is flush with cash.
Crews tackle wildfires through the night on two Scottish islands
Crews have been tackling a number of wildfires through the night across two Hebridean islands. Emergency services have been working to extinguish a three kilometre-long blaze at Portree, Skye, since around 7.40pm on Saturday. A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “It looks like they are going to be there for a while.” Crews were also called to the Creachan Hill area on the remote isle of Barra after reports of a 500 x 600 metre fire at 7.38pm on Saturday.
Several homes lost in wildland fire south of Kiowa
Firefighters have fully contained a 377-acre brush fire that broke out Sunday morning south of Kiowa, burning four homes. The Elbert County Sheriff's Office announced the fire was full contained just after 8 p.m. after breaking out earlier Sunday morning around 10:15 a.m. It began near County Road 118 and County Road 45 and spread quickly due to high winds and dry conditions in the area.
Agricultural policy can reduce wildfires
The introduction of new agricultural policies can reduce the damage caused by wildfires in Southern Europe. Last year, once again, forest fires took their toll in southern Europe. In Portugal alone, at least 500,000 acres were burned, 100 people were killed, and 500 houses were lost.
NASA's new weather satellite will show us wildfires and storms in ...
The launch of NASA's GOES-S satellite will provide the capability to monitor the weather of the United States in incredible detail. The satellite will focus on concerning storms and wildfires, giving people in those areas updated information every 30 seconds.
California spent nearly $1.8 billion last year fighting major wildfires
California state agencies spent nearly $1.8 billion fighting fierce wildfires that killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last year.
US and Cuban forces unite to fight a common foe: wildfire at Guantanamo
For a few days last week, soldiers from the U.S. and Cuba fought on the same side, battling a massive wildfire that threatened Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The blaze set off nearly 1,000 land mines and burned 1,700 acres, forcing the evacuation of six neighborhoods on the naval base.
Death Toll Climbs as Aftershocks Rattle Earthquake-Hit Papua New Guinea
One week after Papua New Guinea was rattled by a powerful earthquake, aftershocks have reportedly caused the death toll to rise to at least 67, while landslides have made the worst-hit highlands nearly unreachable.
Bulgaria's long weekend ends: Avalanche warnings, landslides and swollen rivers
Several warnings have been issued in Bulgaria for possible avalanches in some mountain areas alongside the closure of roads. Heavy traffic is affecting the country across the national road network as people deal with unusual levels of precipitation during a national holiday period.
Huge underwater landslides and tsunamis may be caused by ooze
The largest landslides on Earth happen in the oceans, and an ooze of dead plankton may be responsible. If so, it could help us predict the risk of devastating tsunamis triggered by these events. Far beneath the waves, huge “megaslides” can transport 3000 cubic kilometres of sediment at speeds of up to 80 metres per second. The largest such event on record was the Storegga Slide 8150 years ago off the coast of Norway. Dwarfing every slide known on land,
Monsoon floods and landslides threaten 100000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since last August to escape a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar. Most now live in flimsy, bamboo-and-plastic structures perched on what were once forested hills. Bangladesh is lashed by typhoons, and the Rohingya camps are clustered in a part of the country that records the highest rainfall. Computer modeling by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) shows that more than 100,000 refugees will be threatened by landslides and floods in the coming monsoon.
Queensland schoolchildren trapped by floods for almost a week wait to be evacuated
Torrential rain for much of the past week has caused flooding across the region, with the area between Cairns and Townsville declared a disaster by the state government and labelled an official catastrophe by the Insurance Council of Australia
UK braces for floods and water shortages as temperatures rise
The repercussions of the extreme weather are being felt across the UK, with flood warnings and water shortages threatening thousands of households. After last week’s snow, ice and freezing temperatures combined with the impact of Storm Emma, residents in London and south-east England have been told to use as little water as possible because of burst pipes. Thames Water said about 12,000 homes had no running water following the deep freeze and thaw, while several other water companies said they were also tackling multiple burst pipes on their networks.
How Architecture Is Tackling Increasing Floods From Climate Change
Sea level rise and increased rain have posed serious flood risks for several Asian cities. An Harvard graduate is trying to address the problem by implementing architectural techniques to mitigate the impact of floods on private and public buildings.
Icy roads and floods still a risk as big thaw begins
Thousand of people in southwest England as well as in the North East and North West are at risk of flooding as temperatures rise and the snow that fell in recent weeks starts to melt.
Brace yourselves for round two: North East to be hit by a second storm in less than a week after deadly ...
More bad weather expected in the East Coast after nine people lost their lives and several homes were destroyed by the deadly nor'easter 'bombogensis' which tore through the region on Friday leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. But officials warn that severe weather is still to come in areas along the East Coast this week.