|Today||Earthquake||Solomon Islands||Capital City, [About 39 kilometres of Honiara ]|
|A strong earthquake struck the main island of the Solomon Islands on late Wednesday evening, destroying an unknown number of houses and causing injuries, seismologists and local officials said on Thursday. No tsunami warning was issued. The 6.5-magnitude earthquake at 10:20 p.m. local time (1120 GMT) was centered about 39 kilometers (24 miles) southwest of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. It struck about 22.9 kilometers (14.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Emergency management officials in Honiara said they have received reports that a number of houses in settlements near the epicenter were destroyed and damaged, injuring at least one person. But the extent of the damage in the remote area was not immediately clear, and officials were still working to determine if there were other victims. The USGS estimated that some 137,000 people on Guadalcanal island may have felt moderate to strong shaking, while 348,000 others may have felt light shaking. The tremors caused scores of people to run out of their homes and flee inland or to higher ground in fear of a tsunami, which was not generated. Both the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) and the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Center (JATWC) said there was no threat of a tsunami and did not issue a warning. “A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data,” PTWC said in a bulletin.|
SYDNEY : A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean late Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said.
The tremor, which was just 22 kilometres (14 miles) deep, had its epicentre on the south coast of the island of Guadalcanal, 39 kilometres southwest of the capital Honiara.
The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a statement saying: “Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected.”
The Solomons National Disaster Management Office could not be reached but Australia said that the quake was unlikely to pose a risk of a tsunami.
“It’s just the usual Pacific kind of event, they get earthquakes of this size regularly,” duty seismologist Mark Leonard told AFP.
“It’s unlikely that it’s going to cause any grief at all.”
The Solomon Islands form part of the Ring of Fire, a zone of tectonic activity around the Pacific Ocean that is subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
In 2007, a tsunami following an 8.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomons and left thousands homeless.
Leonard said an earthquake of the magnitude experienced Wednesday would need to be much more shallow to cause that kind of impact.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seismologists say a mild earthquake widely felt throughout Southern California was centered along the coast west of downtown Los Angeles.
No injuries were reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-3.7 quake struck at 3:18 a.m. Wednesday. The quake initially was reported as a magnitude-3.8, but seismologist Kate Hutton says it was later found to be a 3.74 so it was downgraded.
The epicenter was 2 miles east-southeast of Marina del Rey near Culver City and Inglewood. A Sheriff’s Department dispatcher says it “wasn’t much of a quake” and no one called about it.
Dozens of people from as far away as Riverside and the San Fernando Valley logged onto the USGS website to report feeling the jolt.
|Pacific Ocean Region|
|25.07.2012 11:28 AM||Tsunami Information Bulletin||Solomon Islands||6.6||114 km|
000 WEPA42 PHEB 251128 TIBPAC TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001 PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS ISSUED AT 1128Z 25 JUL 2012 THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS...EXCEPT ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA... WASHINGTON...OREGON AND CALIFORNIA. ... TSUNAMI INFORMATION BULLETIN ... THIS BULLETIN IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE. AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS ORIGIN TIME - 1121Z 25 JUL 2012 COORDINATES - 9.8 SOUTH 160.2 EAST DEPTH - 114 KM LOCATION - SOLOMON ISLANDS MAGNITUDE - 6.6 EVALUATION A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI WAS NOT GENERATED BASED ON EARTHQUAKE AND HISTORICAL TSUNAMI DATA. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE. THE JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY MAY ALSO ISSUE TSUNAMI MESSAGES FOR THIS EVENT TO COUNTRIES IN THE NORTHWEST PACIFIC AND SOUTH CHINA SEA REGION. IN CASE OF CONFLICTING INFORMATION... THE MORE CONSERVATIVE INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED FOR SAFETY. THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE PRODUCTS FOR ALASKA...BRITISH COLUMBIA...WASHINGTON...OREGON...CALIFORNIA.
|Indian Ocean Region|
|25.07.2012 00:34 AM||Tsunami Information Bulletin||Off W Coast Of Northern Sumatra||6.6||0 km|
000 WEIO23 PHEB 250034 TIBIOX TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 001 PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS ISSUED AT 0034Z 25 JUL 2012 THIS BULLETIN IS FOR ALL AREAS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN. ... TSUNAMI INFORMATION BULLETIN ... THIS MESSAGE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE. AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS ORIGIN TIME - 0028Z 25 JUL 2012 COORDINATES - 2.5 NORTH 95.8 EAST LOCATION - OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA MAGNITUDE - 6.6 EVALUATION A DESTRUCTIVE WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI THREAT DOES NOT EXIST BASED ON HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA. HOWEVER - THERE IS A VERY SMALL POSSIBILITY OF A LOCAL TSUNAMI THAT COULD AFFECT COASTS LOCATED USUALLY NO MORE THAN A HUNDRED KILOMETERS FROM THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES IN THE REGION NEAR THE EPICENTER SHOULD BE MADE AWARE OF THIS POSSIBILITY. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED BY THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE. THE JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY MAY ISSUE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR THIS EVENT. IN THE CASE OF CONFLICTING INFORMATION...THE MORE CONSERVATIVE INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED FOR SAFETY.
- News Limited Network
Video still of Sakurajima in southern Japan erupting on July 25, 2012. Source: Supplied
THE Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan has erupted, spewing volcanic ash onto Kagoshima City.
The eruption at one of Japan’s most active volcanoes showered ash on the streets of Kagoshima, which lies just 2km across a bay from the volcano.
Residents of Kagoshima donned face masks to protect themselves while sweeping away the ash.
The volcano has erupted more than 600 times this year and is expected to continue its intermittent eruptions.
Currently, the volcano warning there is at level three out of a possible five levels.
A level five would mean that the residents living near the crater would have to be evacuated, while level three warns people not to approach the volcano.
|Today||Volcano Eruption||Japan||Prefecture of Kagoshima, [Volcano Sakura-jima]|
|A volcano in Sakurajima in southern Japan has erupted, spewing volcanic ash onto Kagoshima City. The eruption at one of Japan’s most active volcanoes caused ash to cover roads. Residents of Kagoshima donned face masks to protect themselves while sweeping away the ash. The volcano has erupted over 600 times this year and is expected to continue its intermittent eruptions. Currently, the volcano warning there is at level three out of a possible five levels. A level five would mean that the residents living near the crater would have to be evacuated, while level three warns people not to approach the volcano.|
Extreme Temperatures/ Weather / Drought
ST LOUIS MO MOUNT HOLLY NJ WILMINGTON OH PADUCAH KY
MEMPHIS TN ST LOUIS MO LINCOLN IL PEACHTREE CITY GA SPRINGFIELD MO TULSA OK WAKEFIELD VA MOUNT HOLLY NJ LITTLE ROCK AR WILMINGTON OH LOUISVILLE KY NASHVILLE TN CHARLESTON WV GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC CLEVELAND OH NEWPORT/MOREHEAD CITY NC CHARLESTON SC JACKSONVILLE FL INDIANAPOLIS IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC STATE COLLEGE PA PITTSBURGH PA WILMINGTON NC RALEIGH NC
FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
HANFORD CA HANFORD CA
|25.07.2012||Forest / Wild Fire||Canada||Province of Manitoba, [Red Sucker Lake First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation and Garden Hill First Nation]|
|More than 800 people from four northern Manitoba First Nations have been flown to Winnipeg and Brandon due to forest fires near their home communities. Officials said people deemed the most vulnerable, such as those with asthma and other breathing conditions, were flown out first, while others may follow if the fire situation gets worse. “We didn’t have anybody who was acutely distressed from smoke inhalation but we did have folks with runny eyes, coughing, sore throats, which is a normal effect from being involved with the forest fires,” said Janice Lowe from the Brandon Regional Health Authority. The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters is looking after the evacuations and asked both Brandon and Winnipeg to host the evacuees, due to the large number. “This is the largest evacuation that we’ve handled in recent times,” said Brian Kayes from the City of Brandon. On Monday, the province said 77 forest fires are burning in Manitoba. As of July 20, more than 360 firefighters were battling the blazes, with 12 water bombers and 31 helicopters being used. Fires are currently burning in northeastern and western, central and eastern parts of Manitoba, said officials. The largest numbers of fires are currently burning in the northeastern part of Manitoba. Officials from the Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters said people had to leave Red Sucker Lake First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation, St. Theresa Point First Nation and Garden Hill First Nation. They said it’s tough to determine how long people could be out of their homes, due to the unpredictable nature of forest fires. They said, however, people should be prepared to be out of their homes for approximately three to seven days. Community members said homes are not currently at risk of burning. Some evacuees, however, said leaving was still difficult. “Some people don’t want to go because they don’t want to leave their homes,” said Eric Wood from Garden Hill Public Health.|
|Today||Forest / Wild Fire||USA||State of Nebraska, [Fairfield Creek]|
|More federal firefighters were being deployed to bone-dry Nebraska, where a huge wildfire is threatening more structures and two smaller fires are still out of control. The handful of people living in Sparks, a gateway to canoeing and tubing on the Niobrara River, were on alert for possible evacuation. A 14-mile stretch of the valley already has been evacuated. While a cold front is expected to provide some relief, highs Wednesday will still be in the mid-90s. The front may also bring some rain, but major storms aren’t likely to develop near the fire. Plus, storms could also bring lightning and spark new fires. Hot, windy weather on Monday helped the main Fairfield Creek Fire expand to 58,000 acres, or nearly 92 square miles. Two other smaller fires about 20 miles east of the main fire had burned more than six square miles. And Tuesday’s high temperature again topped Officials estimate the fires, which have already destroyed at least 10 homes, are about 25 percent contained. Some 200 federal firefighters were being sent to join the more than 300 crews already on the front lines. Four helicopters are also fighting the fires, and three firefighters have been injured. Much of the fire-swept land near the river is rugged, forested and populated with cabins, so only 17 residences had been evacuated as of Tuesday morning.|
|25.07.2012||Forest / Wild Fire||Macedonia||Municipality of Strumica, [Near to Strumica]|
|Reports from Macedonia say two foresters died and one was critically injured on July 24 while trying to put out a forest fire. Four other people — including a teenage boy — were hospitalized after strong winds fanned the flames of the forest fire near Strumica, about 100 kilometers southeast of Skopje. About 50 acres of pine forest was burned before the fire eventually was extinguished by rain. Agriculture Minister Ivo Kotevski said, arson is suspected. The fire appeared to have been started as a result of “carelessness.”|
BARCELONA, Spain, (ENS) – Four people have died in two giant wildfires now devastating northeastern Spain’s Catalonia region. Since they blazed up on the weekend, the fires have injured at least 100 people and scorched about 10,000 hectares (38 square miles). Authorities have ordered 150,000 residents to shelter in their homes.
One fire has charred the forests of Costa Brava, one of Spain’s most popular beach and resort destinations.
Inland, the town of La Junquera, in the border area between France and Spain, is at the center of a second huge fire, that police believe was started by a discarded cigarette.
Smoke billows over the Catalonian town of Terrades, July 23, 2012 (Photo by Celia Santacreu)
All four of those who died were French. One man died of a heart attack while trying to protect his home in the Catalonian town of Llers, and another died from burns.
A father and his 15-year-old daughter lost their lives while trying to escape the flames by jumping down a cliff in the Costa Brava town of Port Bou.
Flames forced the father and daughter, as well as three of their family members and some 150 other visitors, out of their cars as they were returning to France from the Spanish coast.
As ash from the Costa Brava fire reaches Barcelona this morning, Spanish firefighters say they are starting to gain control because strong winds that initially fanned the flames have now abated.
Temperatures have soared to over 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees F.) in the stricken area, and water levels in reservoirs are low there and across the country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment.
Planes are dropping water in an effort to douse the raging fire in the border area between France and northern Catalonia, but until the fires are under control several cross-border roads connecting Barcelona with France have been closed.
Other fires are taking their toll across southern Europe.
In Croatia, hundreds of firefighters have been called up to battle fires all along the Adriatic coast.
Fire threatens the Croatian town of Crikvenica (Photo by Nika G.)
A firefighter died Monday while putting out a fire near Moscenicka Draga on the Istria peninsula, while other fires blaze near Pula at the southern tip of the peninsula.
At least 350 firefighters battled a large fire near the coastal town of Crikvenica, a favorite vacation spot for residents of the nearby Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Homes in Crikvenica were in danger Monday but the firefighters defended them. Residents fled and gathered to watch the situation from a safe distance.
One of the most serious fires has caused locals and tourists to flee the Croatian coastal towns of Selce and Novi Vinodolski.
In the popular resort town of Selce on a long, sandy beach, more than 1,500 visitors were forced to evacuate the Selce autocamp and nearby Club Adriatica.
“The situation is very serious, everyone is trying their best. Houses are in danger, and some have already been victim to the fires,” Slavko Gaus from the county fire department, told the “Croatian Times.”
Thick smoke has forced authorities to close the D8 road, and also the Adriactic highway, reported daily newspaper “24sata.”
More fires are burning on the islands of Rab and Mljet and near the town of Sibenik, located in central Dalmatia where the river Krka flows into the Adriatic Sea.
by Staff Writers
A firefighter died and 1,500 tourists were evacuated after forest fires fanned by strong winds broke out on Croatia’s Adriatic coast Monday, with the interior minister warning of a “very difficult” scenario.
“The situation is very difficult … we are doing everything possible to protect people’s lives and property,” Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic told commercial Nova television, as the fires continued to blaze out of control in the increasingly popular tourist area.
“Everything is ready for (further) evacuations,” said the minister, who visited the coastal resort of Selce, close to the northern port of Rijeka, where some 150 firefighters were battling the blaze.
A 45-year firefighter died while battling another blaze that broke out near Moscenicka Draga on the Istria peninsula, fire service official Slavko Gaus told national HRT television.
That fire was brought under control later in the day.
The inferno broke out in the morning in the hinterland of Rijeka, some 180 kilometres (110 miles) southwest of Zagreb, and spread towards Selce.
Strong winds of more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour made tackling the fires very difficult as water-bombing planes could not be used, the authorities said.
In Selce some 1,500 tourists from two campsites, mostly Slovenians and Austrians, were evacuated while a number of other tourists left a nearby hotel, officials said.
Part of the Adriatic coastal highway was closed, police said.
The resort was cut off from electricity and phone lines were down, Nova television reported, showing footage of people in Selce covering their faces with scarves to protect themselves from the thick smoke and ashes.
The roofs of several houses also caught fire.
In fellow former Yugoslav republic Macedonia, 14 people were injured, five of them seriously, in a forest fire at Strumica, 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Skopje, the country’s farm minister said.
The minister, Lupco Dimovski, said there was information suggesting that this fire may heave been started deliberately
The Macedonia fire was still raging late Monday.
Forest and Wild Fires – News, Science and Technology
by Staff Writers
Australia’s feral camel population has dropped by an estimated 250,000 in recent years, but the arid outback is still home to the world’s largest wild herd, officials said Tuesday.
The Australian Feral Camel Management Project said about 750,000 camels were thought to roam the country’s desert heartland.
“Between 2001 and 2008, it was estimated that there could have been as many as a million feral camels in the outback,” said Jan Ferguson, the managing director of Ninti One, which manages the project.
“Since then, however, there has been a major drought, the feral camel management programme has come into effect and population survey techniques have been improved.”
Camels, first introduced as pack animals to help early settlers in the 19th century, roam wild in the states of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland in the east, as well as the Northern Territory.
About 85,000 were culled under a plan to reduce their impact on sensitive areas and native animals but Ferguson said some populations were still too dense.
Wildlife scientist Glenn Edwards said the latest monitoring, under which about 50 camels fitted with special collars were tracked using satellites, provided a clearer picture of the extensive damage they caused.
“Feral camels can travel 70 kilometres (43 miles) in one day, and hundreds of kilometres within a week, over incredibly harsh terrain,” he said.
“We know that when they herd, they can converge on a natural waterhole used by native animals, and drink it dry within days.
“This has a devastating effect on the local flora and fauna and shows exactly why we need to control the population density of these animals.”
With few natural predators and vast sparsely-populated areas in which to roam, feral camels have put pressure on native Australian species by reducing food sources, destroying habitat and spreading disease.
During some of the worst months of drought, thousands of thirsty camels even besieged a remote town in search of water, leaving residents scared to leave their homes.
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology
Storms / Flooding
GRAND RAPIDS MI
|26.07.2012||Tropical Storm||North Korea||MultiProvinces, [Provinces of Kangwon, North Gyeongsang and South Hwanghae]|
|Tropical storm Khanun destroyed scores of houses, buildings and transportation infrastructure in southern parts of North Korea this week, killing at least seven people in the reclusive state, state-run media reported on Friday. It weakened quickly over North Korea before Khanun’s remnants dissipated over China. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday that flooding triggered by Khanun caused significant damage and casualties in the southern regions of North Korea. It said at least seven people were killed in Kangwon Province, but few other details about casualties were released. “Many hectares of farmland were inundated in Kangwon province and some dwelling houses, public buildings, railways, roads, bridges, breakwaters, electric supply and communication networks were destroyed,” KCNA said in its report, adding that some areas saw up to 200 millimeters (7.8 inches) of rain. “The water supply system was paralyzed in Wonsan and Munchon cities, suspending the provision of drinking water to citizens.” In South Hwanghae province, several houses were destroyed in Haeju City and Jaeryong County while large areas of cropland were submerged in Unchon County. The report did not say whether there were casualties in South Hwanghae province, or in any other regions of North Korea. In South Korea, Khanun also caused flooding, power outages, and affected major transportation systems. One fatality was reported in North Gyeongsang province when the wall of a home collapsed, officials said.|
A derecho, the kind of storm that knocked out power to millions in Washington last month, may accompany bad weather forecast for New York City and the rest of the Northeast tomorrow, the U.S. Storm Prediction Center said.
There’s a moderate chance the rare windstorm will develop in an area from Indiana to Massachusetts, the center said on its website. The region is also at risk for severe thunderstorms, hail and possible tornadoes after noon, according to John Hart, a meteorologist at the agency’s Norman, Oklahoma, offices.
“The environment is going to be favorable for considerably severe weather right across the area even if we don’t get a derecho,” Hart said by telephone.
Last month, a derecho knocked out power to at least 4.3 million people from New Jersey to North Carolina as it unleashed winds of as much as 91 miles (146 kilometers) per hour, as powerful as a Category 1 hurricane. Twenty-four deaths were linked to the storm and its aftermath, according to the Associated Press.
A derecho is defined as an event that has wind gusts of at least 58 mph and leaves a swath of damage for 240 miles, according to the storm center’s website.
A storm that swept from Chicago to Kentucky yesterday also seems to have met the definition of a derecho, Hart said. Yesterday’s storm wasn’t as intense as the one that struck the mid-Atlantic, including Washington, on June 29, he said.
Hart said derechos are hard to predict because they require that a number of atmospheric elements come together.
“There is no way to have high confidence in such a forecast,” Hart said. “We decided the risk of that scenario happening was high enough that we would highlight it.”
The area from western Ohio to southern New England will probably be in the path of severe storms tomorrow afternoon, Hart said. New York, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati all have a 45 percent chance of severe thunderstorms, high winds and hail.
Severe storms between the large airline hub cities of Chicago, New York and Atlanta often disrupt air travel throughout the U.S. Such fast-moving storms, which may include tornadoes, accounted for about $8.8 billion in insured losses in the U.S. in the first six months of 2012, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York.
GRAND RAPIDS MI
TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
FAIRBANKS AK LUBBOCK TX
|Today||Complex Emergency||China||Capital City, Beijing|
|A much expected downpour bypassed Beijing Wednesday but battered the neighboring city of Tianjin, flooding many downtown streets and vehicles. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the maximum precipitation had exceeded 300 millimeters, Tianjin’s meteorological center said in a press release. It said the city proper received an average rainfall of 147 mm, while the outer Xiqing district, one of the worst-battered areas, received 309.8 mm. The local fire prevention bureau sent 190 fire engines and 1,140 rescuers to help rescue flood stranded vehicles and pedestrians. The rain had largely stopped by midday, but the center issued another orange alarm at 11:10 a.m., warning residents of a further rainstorm. The downpour has paralyzed traffic in downtown Tianjin, drowning many roads. Dozens of vehicles were stranded on Baidi road in Nankai district after their engines died in the flood. Many pedestrians complained they had to trek in knee-deep water. In some sections of Xianyang Street, flood water was waist deep. On the badly flooded Friendship Road in Hexi district, five workers kept watch next to sewage wells whose manholes had been removed for faster drainage.
The rain disrupted air traffic at Tianjin’s airport, where 20 flights were canceled and 34 delayed.8 The first flight, an incoming flight from Shanghai, landed in Tianjin after the rain subsided at 11:32 a.m., and the first departing flight took off at 12:08 p.m., according to the airport’s official website. Railway transportation, however, was largely unaffected, including the express rail link to Beijing, the city’s railway authorities confirmed. Vegetable prices were up at the city’s major wholesale markets Thursday. “Each kilo is at least 0.4 yuan — about 30 percent — more expensive than yesterday,” said Cui Hongqing, a wholesaler at Hongqi Market. Cui predicted further price hikes Friday as the rain devastated crops and increased transportation costs. China’s capital Beijing was on guard against heavy rain Wednesday, fearing a repeat of Saturday’s mayhem. Saturday’s downpour, which the local weather bureau described as the “heaviest in 61 years,” killed at least 37 people — some were drowned in private cars. Many office workers were allowed to go home early Wednesday for safety considerations, and city authorities bombarded mobile phone subscribers with text message warnings of an imminent downpour. The much expected rain, however, did not fall in Beijing. The capital was still overcast Thursday, as the central weather bureau has forecast rain in seven northern China provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, over the coming three days.
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP)
Scores of people were injured and trees were ripped from the ground as a typhoon lashed Hong Kong packing winds in excess of 140 kilometres (87 miles) an hour, officials said Tuesday.
Authorities issued a hurricane warning for the first time since 1999 as Typhoon Vicente roared to within 100 kilometres of Hong Kong shortly after midnight, disrupting dozens of flights to the regional hub.
The alarm was downgraded to a strong wind warning by mid-morning as the cyclone passed to the west and weakened over the southern Chinese coast.
The storm brought down hundreds of trees and sent debris crashing into downtown streets as commuters made their way home from work on Monday evening, when people were told to seek shelter.
Ferry, bus and train services were suspended or ran at reduced capacity, the port and schools were closed, and 44 passenger flights were cancelled. More than 270 flights were delayed.
The stock exchange was also closed for the morning but reopened in the afternoon after authorities gave the all clear to go back to work.
“We haven’t experienced this for 10 years. I could hardly walk, the wind kept pushing me,” marketing research manager Alpha Yung, 28, told AFP as she went to work in the almost deserted streets.
Mignon Chan, a 21-year-old marketing assistant, said the storm was “crazy”.
“Last time I suffered this kind of weather I was small. It’s chaotic here, trees fell down, people fell down, but I still have to work. That’s the worst part,” she said.
Almost 140 people sought medical treatment and 268 people took refuge in storm shelters, officials said. Seventy-one people remained in hospital including one who was in a serious condition.
Local media reported that more than 100 commuters stayed in the Tai Wai train station overnight, unable to get home after services were suspended.
A landslide occurred in the upscale Peak neighbourhood but there were no casualties as a result, officials said.
“The wind and rain were pounding on my windows at home last night — bam, bam, bam — they were so strong that I couldn’t sleep,” security guard Tony Chan said as he cleared shattered glass on the street outside an office tower.
Ocean Park tourist attraction said it would remain closed for the day to carry out a “thorough inspection” of the property for possible storm damage.
In the nearby territory of Macau, three major bridges over the city’s harbour were closed overnight as the typhoon approached, the government said.
Mainland offcials said the typhoon hit Taishan city in Guangdong province at 4:00 am (2000 GMT Monday). There were no immediate reports of casualties but officials said damage was still being assessed.
|Today||Flash Flood||Indonesia||Province of West Sumatra, [Padang area]|
|Flash floods in West Sumatra of Indonesia on Tuesday evening have killed eight people and caused massive infrastructure damage, local officials said on Thursday. Heavy rains caused the river in Padang city overflowed its banks at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when people were breaking their fasting, Ade Edward senior official at the local disaster management and mitigation agency said. “Eight people are dead in the floods and scores of buildings and bridges have collapsed,” he reported from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province. Edward said that the floods had seriously damaged over 90 houses, 11 mosques, five bridges and one health clinic. Some rescuers are still trapped in the flooded areas, he added. The rescuers had difficulty in reaching some areas where water level was chest-deep, said Edward. The local authorities had delcared a state of emergency and warned residents who live near the rivers to be on alert. More than 250 people are taking shelter in their relative houses or mosques, said Edward.|
by Staff Writers
Beijing authorities have reportedly ordered Chinese media to stick to positive news about record weekend floods, after the death of at least 37 people sparked fierce criticism of the government.
Censors also deleted microblog posts criticising the official response to the disaster in China’s rapidly modernising capital, which came at a time of heightened political sensitivity ahead of a 10-yearly handover of power.
City propaganda chief Lu Wei told media outlets to stick to stories of “achievements worthy of praise and tears”, the Beijing Times daily reported, as authorities tried to stem a tide of accusations that they failed to do enough.
Many Beijing residents took to the country’s popular microblogs, or weibos, to complain that some of the deaths could have been prevented if better warnings had been issued and the city’s ancient drainage systems modernised.
A call by the Beijing government for donations to an emergency flood relief fund was also criticised by microbloggers, with many ridiculing the authorities for asking ordinary people to pay for the damage.
On Tuesday, over 72,000 postings on a microblog thread focused on the call for donations were deleted.
David Bandurski, who monitors China’s Internet censorship at the Hong Kong-based China Media Project, said most of the microblog postings censored in China over the last two days related to the Beijing floods.
“There could be a number of reasons for this, but the overarching reason could be the upcoming change of leadership at the (Communist Party’s) 18th Party Congress,” Bandurski told AFP.
“This is an important political meeting, so when people are pointing responsibility at local government incompetence, everyone goes into sensitive mode… no one wants to take responsibility for anything.”
This year’s Congress will see President Hu Jintao step down from his position as head of China’s ruling Communist party in a leadership change that will usher in a new generation of leaders expected to be led by Vice President Xi Jinping.
Authorities were still clearing up the damage from Saturday’s disaster as the country’s top leaders gathered in Beijing on Monday for a meeting addressed by Hu that was given front-page coverage in state newspapers.
The China Daily, a state-run English-language newspaper with a predominantly foreign readership, ran an editorial on Tuesday urging Beijing authorities to improve the drainage system, which it said “leaves much to be desired”.
But much of China’s state-run media steered away from critical stories, focusing on human interest angles of residents helping each other out.
Senior Beijing leaders at an emergency meeting late Monday urged greater efforts to find those still missing, identify the bodies and repair flood-damaged roads.
But residents in the worst hit district of Fangshan on the mountainous southwestern outskirts of China’s sprawling capital told AFP the government was doing little to help find their missing loved-ones.
“The government doesn’t help at all, every family is responsible for searching for their own family members,” said Wang Baoxiang, whose 30-year-old nephew had been missing since going out in Saturday’s rains.
According to official assessments released Monday, seven people remained missing, but in the badly hit Fangshan district, locals told AFP reporters that at least 10 people were missing in one small village.
Tuesday’s Beijing Daily quoted mayor Guo Jinlong as saying any increases in the death toll should be reported immediately, amid suspicion that the authorities may be underplaying the impact of the floods.
Guo also urged journalists to “correctly guide public opinion”, code words in China that which mean to only portray the government in a positive light.
“The news media has played a very good role in timely reporting the developments in emergency response operations, correctly leading the public opinion… and playing a role in boosting morale,” Guo said.
“The focus of our rescue work and news propaganda must now be moved toward the suburban areas, especially those areas severely hit by the disaster like Fangshan.”
Epidemic Hazards / Diseases
By Gabe Kahn
IDF chief medical officer Gen. Itzik Kreis on Tuesday ordered the Yoav base in the Golan Heights quarantined after several soldiers fell ill with a bacterial infection.
Arutz Sheva has learned many soldiers at the base, including soldiers working in the kitchens, complained of itching all over their bodies.
As a result, the base has been sealed and a full sanitization effort is underway. All equipment, personal belongings, textile goods, and even personnel files are being removed in order to be cleansed.
Arutz Sheva further learned that all mattresses on the base were removed and will be replaced. Hazmat teams are spraying and disenfecting structures, vehicles, and grounds, as well.
Meanwhile, IDF medical personnel are screening soldiers and isolating those affected to ensure the infection does not spread.
The IDF spokesperson’s office has thus far declined to comment on the exact nature and full extent of the infection.
Radiation / Nuclear
|25.07.2012||Nuclear Event||India||State of Rajasthan, Rawatbhata [Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, District of Chittorgarh]|
|More than 40 workers at a nuclear power station in northern India have been exposed to tritium radiation in two separate leaks in the past five weeks. The first accident occurred on June 23 when 38 people were exposed during maintenance work on a coolant channel at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station in Rawatbhata, senior plant manager Vinod Kumar said. Two of them received radiation doses equivalent to the annual permissible limit, he said, but all those involved have returned to work. In a second incident last Thursday, another four maintenance workers at the plant were exposed to tritium radiation while they were repairing a faulty seal on a pipe. India is on a nuclear power drive, with a host of plants based on Russian, Japanese, American and French technology under consideration or construction.
The country’s growing economy is currently heavily dependent on coal, getting less than 3% of its energy from its existing atomic plants, and the government hopes to raise the figure to 25% by 2050. But environmental watchdogs have expressed concerns about safety in India, where small-scale industrial accidents due to negligence or poor maintenance are commonplace and regulatory bodies are often under-staffed and under-funded. The director of the Rajasthan power station, C.P. Jamb, confirmed the second accident to AFP but said the radiation was within permissible limits and posed no health threat. “The workers were exposed to radiation from 10 to 25 per cent of the annual limit,” Jamb said. “Such minor leakages keep on happening but they cause no harm.” C.D. Rajput, director of the unit where the leak happened, also said the radiation exposure “was well under the limits and all the workers are working normally”. No explanation was immediately available as to why the first incident at the plant took a month to emerge.
|For several days this month, Greenland’s surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists. On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland’s ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July. Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise. “The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story,” said Tom Wagner, NASA’s cryosphere program manager in Washington. “Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system.”
Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was analyzing radar data from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Oceansat-2 satellite last week when he noticed that most of Greenland appeared to have undergone surface melting on July 12. Nghiem said, “This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?” Nghiem consulted with Dorothy Hall at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Hall studies the surface temperature of Greenland using the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. She confirmed that MODIS showed unusually high temperatures and that melt was extensive over the ice sheet surface. Thomas Mote, a climatologist at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga; and Marco Tedesco of City University of New York also confirmed the melt seen by Oceansat-2 and MODIS with passive-microwave satellite data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder on a U.S. Air Force meteorological satellite. The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet’s surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted.
This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland’s weather since the end of May. “Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one,” said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate. Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12. “Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.” Nghiem’s finding while analyzing Oceansat-2 data was the kind of benefit that NASA and ISRO had hoped to stimulate when they signed an agreement in March 2012 to cooperate on Oceansat-2 by sharing data.
2MIN News July 25, 2012
Published on Jul 25, 2012 by Suspicious0bservers
EARTHQUAKE WATCH: http://youtu.be/SMiHsOYwdCs
Greenland Ice Melt: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/jpl/news/earth20120724.html
Ecuador Landslide: http://poleshift.ning.com/profiles/blogs/ecuador-earth-movement-is-rampant-in…
Spaceweather: http://spaceweather.com/ [Look on the left at the X-ray Flux and Solar Wind Speed/Density]
HAARP: http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/data.html [Click online data, and have a little fun]
SDO: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/ [Place to find Solar Images and Videos - as seen from earth]
SOHO: http://sohodata.nascom.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/soho_movie_theater [SOHO; Lasco and EIT - as seen from earth]
Stereo: http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/images [Stereo; Cor, EUVI, HI - as seen from the side]
SunAEON:http://www.sunaeon.com/#/solarsystem/ [Just click it... trust me]
SOLARIMG: http://solarimg.org/artis/ [All purpose data viewing site]
iSWA: http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/iswa/iSWA.html [Free Application; for advanced sun watchers]
NOAA ENLIL SPIRAL: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/wsa-enlil/cme-based/ [CME Evolution]
NOAA Bouys: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/
RSOE: http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/index2.php [That cool alert map I use]
JAPAN Radiation Map: http://jciv.iidj.net/map/
Gamma Ray Bursts: http://grb.sonoma.edu/ [Really? You can't figure out what this one is for?]
BARTOL Cosmic Rays: http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu//spaceweather/welcome.html [Top left box, look for BIG blue circles]
TORCON: http://www.weather.com/news/tornado-torcon-index [Tornado Forecast for the day]
GOES Weather: http://rsd.gsfc.nasa.gov/goes/ [Clouds over America]
INTELLICAST: http://www.intellicast.com/ [Weather site used by many youtubers]
PHYSORG: http://phys.org/ [GREAT News Site!]
|25.07.2012||Event into space||Saudi Arabia||Province of Al Jawf, [Al-Shifa Mountain]|
|The deputy chairman of the Astronomy Society in Jeddah and member of the Arab Federation for Space Science and Astrophysics, astrophysicist. Sharaf al-Sufiyani revealed that meteorite debris fell on Al-Shifa mountain last Sunday near the village of Al-Ajbel. He pointed out in his statement to the daily Medina newspaper today that the meteorite debris comprises large rocky pieces which before landing disintegrated into smaller pieces and landed on various locations. One of the dwellers told him that there are two other locations similar debris has fallen. Regarding the timing of the meteorite’s falling, Al-Sufiyani said that it would be too difficult to determine the exact timing which requires specialized laboratories, but it looks not too old because parts of the debris are still scattered on the surface and if it is old then it would have been buried under the ground and would have been too difficult to find. He also said that should this meteorite have fallen on a house or heavily populated region it would have inflicted gross damage. However, thanks to divine providence , our planet earth is surrounded by an atmospheric layer which prevents the landing of lots of meteorite debris onto mother earth otherwise it would have caused a great disaster that is many folds of its weight. Meteorites are universal rocky formations orbiting outer space and whenever these pass through the stratosphere the earth attracts them and so they fall onto earth. Such meteorites burnout as a result of friction against air and if burned before arrival onto earth, scientists call them meteorites however should they land on earth they are called universal debris.|
|Object Name||Apporach Date||Left||AU Distance||LD Distance||Estimated Diameter*||Relative Velocity|
|(2009 PC)||28th July 2012||2 day(s)||0.1772||68.9||61 m – 140 m||7.34 km/s||26424 km/h|
|217013 (2001 AA50)||31st July 2012||5 day(s)||0.1355||52.7||580 m – 1.3 km||22.15 km/s||79740 km/h|
|(2012 DS30)||02nd August 2012||7 day(s)||0.1224||47.6||18 m – 39 m||5.39 km/s||19404 km/h|
|(2000 RN77)||03rd August 2012||8 day(s)||0.1955||76.1||410 m – 920 m||9.87 km/s||35532 km/h|
|(2004 SB56)||04th August 2012||9 day(s)||0.1393||54.2||380 m – 840 m||13.72 km/s||49392 km/h|
|(2000 SD8)||04th August 2012||9 day(s)||0.1675||65.2||180 m – 400 m||5.82 km/s||20952 km/h|
|(2006 EC)||06th August 2012||11 day(s)||0.0932||36.3||13 m – 28 m||6.13 km/s||22068 km/h|
|(2006 MV1)||07th August 2012||12 day(s)||0.0612||23.8||12 m – 28 m||4.79 km/s||17244 km/h|
|(2005 RK3)||08th August 2012||13 day(s)||0.1843||71.7||52 m – 120 m||8.27 km/s||29772 km/h|
|(2009 BW2)||09th August 2012||14 day(s)||0.0337||13.1||25 m – 56 m||5.27 km/s||18972 km/h|
|277475 (2005 WK4)||09th August 2012||14 day(s)||0.1283||49.9||260 m – 580 m||6.18 km/s||22248 km/h|
|(2004 SC56)||09th August 2012||14 day(s)||0.0811||31.6||74 m – 170 m||10.57 km/s||38052 km/h|
|(2008 AF4)||10th August 2012||15 day(s)||0.1936||75.3||310 m – 690 m||16.05 km/s||57780 km/h|
|37655 Illapa||12th August 2012||17 day(s)||0.0951||37.0||770 m – 1.7 km||28.73 km/s||103428 km/h|
|(2012 HS15)||14th August 2012||19 day(s)||0.1803||70.2||220 m – 490 m||11.54 km/s||41544 km/h|
|4581 Asclepius||16th August 2012||21 day(s)||0.1079||42.0||220 m – 490 m||13.48 km/s||48528 km/h|
|(2008 TC4)||18th August 2012||23 day(s)||0.1937||75.4||140 m – 300 m||17.34 km/s||62424 km/h|
|(2006 CV)||20th August 2012||25 day(s)||0.1744||67.9||290 m – 640 m||13.24 km/s||47664 km/h|
|(2012 EC)||20th August 2012||25 day(s)||0.0815||31.7||56 m – 130 m||5.57 km/s||20052 km/h|
|162421 (2000 ET70)||21st August 2012||26 day(s)||0.1503||58.5||640 m – 1.4 km||12.92 km/s||46512 km/h|
|(2007 WU3)||21st August 2012||26 day(s)||0.1954||76.0||56 m – 120 m||5.25 km/s||18900 km/h|
|(2012 BB14)||24th August 2012||29 day(s)||0.1234||48.0||27 m – 60 m||2.58 km/s||9288 km/h|
Biological Hazards / Wildlife / Hazmat
|Today||Biological Hazard||United Kingdom||Scotland, [Lanarkshire]|
|A case of anthrax has been confirmed in an injecting drug user in Lanarkshire. The area’s health authority said the patient was being treated at one of its hospitals and was in a critical but stable condition. NHS Lanarkshire believes the patient could have contracted the anthrax bacteria from a contaminated batch of heroin circulating in the area. Anthrax is an acute bacterial infection most commonly found in hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep and goats. It normally infects humans when they inhale or ingest anthrax spores, but cannot be passed from person to person. Symptoms can include a raised, itchy, inflamed pimple which turns into a blister with extensive swelling. The lesion is usually painless, and will later turn into a black eschar. f left untreated the infection can spread to cause blood poisoning. It can take up to a week for symptoms to develop after a person comes into contact with anthrax. Dr David Cromie, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “It is possible that heroin contaminated with anthrax may be circulating in Lanarkshire and potentially other parts of Scotland.
“There have been recent reports of anthrax from contaminated heroin in other western European countries, the most recent reported outbreak being in Germany. “It is important that drug users are aware of the particular dangers involved when they are injecting heroin.” Dr Cromie said injecting drug users known to Lanarkshire addiction services were being contacted to alert them to the problem. “The advice to drug users is to avoid all heroin use, which we recognise may be very difficult for drug users to follow,” he said. “Muscle-popping, skin-popping, and injecting when a vein has been missed are particularly dangerous. “Smoking heroin carries much less risk than injecting it. If there is any pain or swelling around an injection site drug users should seek urgent medical attention.” The worst outbreak of anthrax in the UK for 50 years occurred among drug users in Scotland between 2009 and 2010. A total of 119 cases were recorded with a total of 14 deaths during the outbreak.
|Biohazard name:||Heroin containing anthrax|
|Biohazard level:||4/4 Hazardous|
|Biohazard desc.:||Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.|
|Today||Biological Hazard||Canada||Province of Prince Edward Island, [Watershed region]|
|Watershed groups on P.E.I .are wading through rivers and streams Wednesday, checking to see if there are any dead fish. Parts of the Island got heavy rain Tuesday night and there’s concern about sediment that could have run into streams. Fred Cheverie, head of the Souris Watershed group, said about 75 millimetres of rain fell in that area. “So we’re just out checking the streams … the water’s pretty high in most of all the streams,” Cheverie said. “Everything looks good so far, we haven’t encountered anything. We hit some crucial zones so things are looking pretty good. We definitely have some red water. Some siltation in the water all right but everything’s no problem so far.” Other watershed groups and environment officials are also checking streams.|
|Biohazard name:||Mass. Die-off (fishes)|
|Biohazard level:||0/4 —|
|Biohazard desc.:||This does not included biological hazard category.|
|25.07.2012||HAZMAT||United Kingdom||England, Gravesend [Cascades Leisure Centre, Thong Lane]|
|A swimming pool had to close after a chlorine leak – just as the school holidays got under way. Fire crews were called to Cascades Leisure Centre, Thong Lane, Gravesend, at 10.30pm yesterday. The pool remained closed today on what was expected to be one of the hottest days of the year so far, but was expected to re-open as soon as it had been given the all-clear by plant engineers. Ambulance crews were put on standby today, but did not attend. A Kent Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “We were called out to a chemical drum that had a spillage in the swimming pool plant room. The building was evacuated as a precaution. “Crews in chemical suits removed the chemical and handed back to building management at about 1am.” A Gravesham council spokesman said: “There was a chemical incident at Cascades Leisure Centre about 10pm last night. “The incident was in the pool plant room and involved a chemical reaction in the system. The fire and rescue service was called. The pool was empty at the time. “The pool remains closed this morning as a precautionary measure. The water has been replaced and the chemicals changed. Suppliers are coming to site to investigate the incident.”|
|25.07.2012||HAZMAT||USA||State of Minnesota, Willmar [Rice Park (wading pool)]|
|A Willmar city worker was treated at Rice Memorial Hospital for a chemical reaction experienced while performing maintenance work Tuesday on the Rice Park wading pool. The man’s identity and condition were not released. The pool had been closed for the maintenance work, and no children were endangered, reported Willmar Police Capt. James Felt. Emergency responders were waiting to meet with the worker to learn what chemical or chemicals he was using and apparently spilled in the small maintenance building at the pool site. A Willmar EMS team transported the worker by ambulance to the hospital while Willmar police, fire and the Kandiyohi County Rescue and the Hazardous Materials Emergency Assistance Team, or HEAT responded shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday. Police cordoned off the area around Rice Park, located between Second and Third Streets and Rice and Kandiyohi Avenues. Police evacuated residents in several homes on Third Street located downwind of the pool for about 1½ hours. Officers also diverted traffic.
About 10 or 11 people were in their homes at the time and very cooperative with the need to evacuate, according to Willmar Police Sgt. Michael Markkanen. “If it had to happen, it was not a bad time to do it,’’ he said. Few people were at home, and most homes were sealed with their air conditioning units running. Also, a steady, southeast breeze of about 8.5 miles per hour kept any possible fumes from the heavy-traffic area of First Street South, only a block from the park. The decision to evacuate the area was based on the initial concern that chlorine or another hazardous material could be leaking. Two Willmar firefighters, also members of the Kandiyohi County Hazardous Material Emergency Assist Team, donned hazardous material suits to enter the pool building. They isolated the chemicals used by the worker, and placed them in a sealed container for safe transportation and handling. As they worked, two other members of the hazardous materials team waited in standby, and two Willmar firefighters using self-contained breathing apparatus also were in standby. City Administrator Charlene Stevens said the name of the employee will not be released due to privacy concerns. Steve Brisendine, director of Willmar Community Education and Recreation, said information to him was not complete as of Tuesday afternoon. His department oversees the operations of the wading pool.
Articles of Interest
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX)
Researchers lower plankton nets over the side during a scientific expedition in northern waters. Credit: Beth Stauffer/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
For the first time, scientists have identified tropical and subtropical species of marine protozoa living in the Arctic Ocean. Apparently, they traveled thousands of miles on Atlantic currents and ended up above Norway with an unusual-but naturally cyclic-pulse of warm water, not as a direct result of overall warming climate, say the researchers.
On the other hand: arctic waters are warming rapidly, and such pulses are predicted to grow as global climate change causes shifts in long-distance currents.
Thus, colleagues wonder if the exotic creatures offers a preview of climate-induced changes already overtaking the oceans and land, causing redistributions of species and shifts in ecology. The study, by a team from the United States, Norway and Russia, was just published in the British Journal of Micropalaeontology.
The creatures in question are radiolaria-microscopic one-celled plankton that envelop themselves in ornate glassy shells and graze on marine algae, bacteria and other tiny prey.
Different species inhabit characteristic temperature ranges, and their shells coat much of the world’s ocean bottoms in a deep ooze going back millions of years; thus climate scientists routinely analyze layers of them to plot swings in ocean temperatures in the past. The new study looks at where radiolarians are living now.
In 2010, a ship operated by the Norwegian Polar Institute netted plankton samples northwest of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, about midway between the European mainland and the North Pole. When the coauthors analyzed the samples, they were startled to find that of the 145 taxa they spotted, 98 had come from much farther south-some as far as the tropics.
Furthermore, the southern radiolaria were in different sizes and apparently different stages of growth for each species, indicating they were reproducing, despite the harsh conditions.
It was the first time since modern arctic oceanographic research began in the early 20th century that researchers had spotted a living population of such creatures in the northern ocean.
Coauthor O. Roger Anderson, a specialist in one-celled organisms at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said, “When we suddenly find tropical plankton in the arctic, the issue of global warming comes right up, and possible inferences about it can become very charged. So, it’s important to examine critically the evidence to account for the observations.”
He said the invaders were apparently swept up in the warm Gulf Stream, which travels from the Caribbean into the north Atlantic, but usually peters out somewhere between Greenland and Europe. Oceanographers have previously shown that sometimes pulses of warm water penetrate along the Norwegian coast and into the arctic basin; such pulses have occurred in the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s.
Further, the authors say that well-dated fossils of foraminifera-protozoans closely related to radiolaria-found on the arctic seafloor suggest that warm-water plankton may have temporarily established themselves at least several times before-around 4200 and 4100 BC, and again around 220, 370 and 1100 AD.
“All the evidence is that this isn’t necessarily immediate evidence of global warming of the ocean,” said Anderson. Lead author Kjell Bjorklund, of the University of Oslo Natural History Museum said of the invaders, “This doesn’t happen continuously-but it happens.”
That said, oceanographers have noted that such pulses seem to be coming more often and penetrating further-”exactly what one would expect from global warming,” said Rainer Froese, an oceanographer at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research who tracks fish global populations. Could this be the start of a switch in currents predicted by climate models?
The most recent pulse began in the early 1980s, and has lasted more or less to the present. Even without that, the arctic ocean itself is warming rapidly; with progressive loss of summer sea ice over past decades, average surface temperature has gone up as much as 5 degrees centigrade (9 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1950 in some patches.
Physical oceanographers have different ideas on the mechanics of how more southerly water–and the things living in it–may arrive in the arctic. However, most agree that it will happen if climate keeps warming, said Arnold Gordon, head of Lamont’s division of ocean and climate physics, who was not involved in the research.
For one, a countercurrent running near Greenland, the North Atlantic Polar Gyre, normally wards off the Gulf Stream; but that gyre is predicted to slow with warming. Atlantic currents might also respond to changing wind patterns, or to the increasing fresh water now pouring into the northern ocean from melting sea ice and glaciers. Either way, this could draw more southerly water into the north, said Gordon.
Louis Fortier, an arctic oceanographer at Laval University in Quebec, said of the recent injections of southerly waters, “Whether or not [such] intrusions are signs of this predicted increased advection in response to climate change, nobody can tell yet, I believe. But for me, the observations so far certainly support the models.”
Paul Snelgrove, a specialist in cold-ocean studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, agreed. “The question is, are these kinds of incursions becoming more frequent and stronger? If it continues, the case would become more persuasive. Right now, this study is not a definitive test, but it seems like an intriguing teaser as to what might happen.”
Whatever the answer, this is the first time a living population of southern radiolaria has been found so far north. Radiolaria live only about a month, so it must have taken 80-some generations for some species to make the five- to seven-year trip, say the authors. On the way, successive generations could have adapted to colder waters.
In 2009, the surface water in the sample area measured an extraordinary 7.5 degrees C (about 45.5F). A year later, when the samples were taken, it was down to a more normal level of 3.5C (38F), and yet the radiolarians were still there.
However, the fast-changing nature of the ocean makes their presence in the arctic hard to interpret, said Paul Wassman, an arctic biologist at the University of Tromso in Norway. Marine creatures routinely travel vast distances on currents.
Water temperatures may vary widely in the same latitude. Populations of some creatures may live for a while in a narrow tongue of temperate water, then wink out once that gets too diluted, he said.
Bjorklund, Anderson and their coauthor Svetlana Kruglikova of the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanography in Moscow note that it is uncertain whether the southern invaders are still there; they have not gotten any new samples since 2010.
In any case, changes in global ocean ecology are already being detected in many places. Warmer-water species are marching poleward, much as creatures are on land, where butterflies have been shifting ranges northward about 6 kilometers per decade, and amphibians and migratory birds are breeding an average of two days earlier.
A 2011 global study on the impact of climate change on fisheries says that many marine species are moving poleward or into deeper, cooler waters in response to warming–among other places, along the U.S. east coast, the Bering Sea, and off Australia.
The North Sea, off Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, has warmed about 2 degrees F in the last 50 to 100 years; there, 15 of 36 fish species studied have moved northward; fish more common nearer the Mediterranean-anchovy, red mullet, sea bass-are being caught by commercial fishermen, while cod, which prefer colder waters, are moving out.
There is also evidence that zooplankton similar to the radiolaria are shifting northward in the North Atlantic. In the Pacific, poisonous algal blooms harmful to the shellfish industry are being detected farther north, into Alaskan waters.
In the arctic itself, earlier and faster melting of sea ice in the summer appears to be shifting plankton species assemblages toward smaller types. This could ultimately damage the food web that feeds much larger creatures, including seals, walruses and whales, said Jody Deming, a biologist at the University of Washington who studies arctic microbes.
In an email, Deming said the new paper “presents an intriguing observation (warmer species making it into Arctic waters and surviving at least on the short term), but without more knowledge of how living radiolarians fit into the larger ecosystem, as both prey and predator, potential impacts on the whole ecosystem cannot be predicted reliably or at all really.”
The big question, said Bjorklund, is what happens next. In the future, radiolaria may serve as useful indicators of how currents, and ecology, are changing. There are at least 60-some radiolaria species peculiar to the arctic; they may be quite different from the new arrivals, but too little is known about the life cycles of either group to say how either will react if they meet on a long-term basis, and how this might affect arctic ecosystems.
Of the southerly radiolaria, Bjorklund said, “Will they adapt? Will they perish? Will they mix with the native fauna?” He said that he and his colleagues are anxious to receive new samples to find out.
Copies of the paper, “Modern incursions of tropical Radiolaria in the Arctic Ocean” are available from the authors or the Earth Institute press office.
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