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Archive for December 6th, 2013

“Apocalyptic” Smog Paralyzes Much of China

Posted by feww on December 6, 2013

Closed or Cancelled: Dozens of Highways, hundreds of flights and long-distance buses, thousands of schools…

Severe smog, which began engulfing northern, central and eastern regions of China on Wednesday, is forecast to persist through the weekend.

Shanghai’s PM2.5 pollution soared to 590 micrograms per cubic meter, about than 30 times the limit recommended by the World Health Organization. Xuhui District recorded pollution levels of about 602.4 micrograms per cubic meter, said Xinhua.

Shanghai (population: 25 million) is the most populated city in China and the largest city proper by population in the world.

shanghai 5dec2013
Shanghai’s skyline Thursday morning.  Severe smog has reduced visibility to dangerously low levels disrupting rail, air, water and road transportation. (source: People’s Daily Online/Wang Chu). More images…

Nanjing (population: 8.2 million), the capital of Jiangsu Province, issued a “red alert” on Wednesday after color of the sky turned mustard yellow. The PM10 pollution level was 413 (from a peak of 467) with PM2.5 at 397 (peak of 462), as of posting.

Social media users in China described the environment in deserted cities with the sky turning pale yellow as “apocalyptic,” reported Reuters.

Meantime, visibility reduced to less than 50 meters in many places, forcing highways to shut in east China’s Jiangxi Province on Thursday morning. Xinhua said its reporter had seen thousands of drivers stranded on the Changdong Highway in Nanchang (population: 5.3 million), the capital of Jiangxi Province.

“Twenty-five provincial-level regions have been suffering smoggy weather, including the cities of Hangzhou and Nanjing, according to the National Meteorological Center,” reported Xinhua.

[China has 34 provincial level divisions, classified as 22 provinces, 4 municipalities, 5 autonomous regions, 2 Special Administrative Regions, and the claimed Taiwan Province.]

In October, smog forced the shutdown of Harbin, one of northeastern China’s largest cities, as Visibility dropped to under 10 meters.

PM2.5 concentration of about 15 – 25 micrograms per cubic meter pose little or no risk, according to the World Health Organization.

Smog News Headlines

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Two Significant Quakes Strike New Zealand

Posted by feww on December 6, 2013

“Strong” quakes strike along the Alpine Fault

The first quake registered magnitude 4.7 and struck about 5km south-west of Seddon, upper South Island, rattling buildings in downtown Wellington, according to local reports.

Magnitude: 4.7
Depth: 21 km
Epicenter: 41.70ºS, 174.03ºE
Location 5 km south-west of Seddon
Date/Time:  December 6 2013 at 0:45:00UTC
Intensity:  Strong (MM scale)
Source: Geonet

The second quake, also measuring magnitude 4.7, struck 10 km north-west of Milford Sound near the lower South Island shaking Milford Sound, about two hours later.

Magnitude: 4.7
Depth: 16 km
Epicenter:  44.58ºS, 167.88ºE
Location: 10 km north-west of Milford Sound
Date/Time: December 6 2013 at 02:56:30UTC
Intensity: Strong  (MM scale)
Source: Geonet

The quakes followed another significant quake, measuring magnitude 4.2, which struck at a depth of 5km, about 20 km west of Reefton (42.03ºS, 171.65ºE) on Sunday, according to Geonet records.

Be sure to search blog content for important information concerning NZ earthquakes.

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Major Winter Storm Battering Southern Plains through Ohio Valley

Posted by feww on December 6, 2013


TEXAS Declares State of Disaster

Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee Declare States of Emergency ahead of Ice Storm

Minnesota Declares Snow Emergency in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Other cities that have also proclaimed emergencies, include Crystal, West St. Paul, Plymouth, St. Paul, Robbinsdale, Mendota Heights, Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park.

Arctic airmass engulfing the West and Central U.S. with temperatures as much as 30ºC below normal

A major ice storm is expected through Friday Central Texas to the Ohio Valley. The storm system will also bring heavy  snowfall expected from Oklahoma to Lower Great Lakes, and possibly heavy rain from the central Appalachians to the lower Mississippi Valley. Prolonged power outages could occur across the region. —NWS

Hundreds of schools and thousands of businesses have closed as heavy snow and ice blanketed roads and power lines across a wide swath of the United States.

Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas are forecast to be the hardest hit by the major storm system, said the National Weather Service (NWS).

The snowstorm has contributed to hundreds of traffic accidents around the state, including at least five fatal crashes between Monday and Wednesday, AP reported.

us composite 03-30-12-6-2013
Near Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Image. Recorded at 03:30UTC on December 6, 2013. (Source: SSEC/Wisc-Uni)

Highlights of Latest NWS Forecast

  • Major ice storm expected from the Central Texas to the Ohio Valley.
  • Heavy snowfall expected from Oklahoma to Lower Great Lakes.
  • A classic ice storm pattern is taking shape from the Southern Plains tothe Ohio Valley.
  • prolonged period of freezing rain and sleet from central Texas to the Ohio valley.
  • Arctic airmass overspreading the West and Central U.S. with temperatures as much as 30 degrees Celsius [54ºF] below normal.
  • Snowfall will be possible even within coastal Washington and Oregon
  • The latest Arctic invasion follows a massive storm that dumped up to 22 inches (56cm) of snow in portions of Minnesota earlier this week.
  • Up to 8 inches of snow is forecast for Missouri Thursday night through Friday.
  •  Albany, New York, St. Louis and Pittsburgh could also receive  up to 6 inches of snow, forecasters  said.
  • Arctic blast that threatens up to 50 million people in the South and the Midwest with snow, ice and super-chilled temperatures, plummeting by as much as 30 degrees Celsius [54ºF.]

In wake of the cold front pushing through the eastern U.S., a very cold airmass will overspread the central and western U.S. Temperatures will be 10 to 30 degrees below normal for the next few days. High temperatures will remain below zero for some parts of the northern Plains. A reinforcing shot of cold air will arrive in the Pacific Northwest toward the end of the period. Snowfall will be possible even within coastal Washington and Oregon. —NWS

us weather hazmap 6dec2013
U.S. Weather Hazards Map (Hazmap)  for Friday, December 6, 2013. Source and Update: NWS/CRH. Hazmap enhanced by FIRE-EARTH Blog.

Text of Disaster Declaration in Texas

I, RICK PERRY, Governor of the State of Texas, do hereby certify that a significant winter storm poses a threat of imminent disaster in the following counties: Andrews, Archer, Armstrong, Bailey, Baylor, Bell, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Castro, Childress, Clay, Cochran, Coke, Coleman, Collin, Collingsworth, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crockett, Crosby, Dallam, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Franklin, Gaines, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Grayson, Gray, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hemphill, Henderson, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Hopkins, Howard, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Kaufman, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Knox, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Limestone, Lipscomb, Llano, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Navarro, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Parmer, Potter, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Red River, Roberts, Rockwall, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Sherman, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terry, Throckmorton, Titus, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Van Zandt, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Winkler, Wise, Wood, Yoakum, and Young.

THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby declare a state of disaster in the counties listed above based on the existence of such threat, and direct that all necessary measures, both public and private as authorized under Section 418.017 of the code, be implemented to meet that threat.

As provided in Section 418.016, all rules and regulations that may inhibit or prevent prompt response to this threat are suspended for the duration of the incident.

In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 5th day of December, 2013.

Governor of Texas

Recent Extreme Weather Events

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Mega Storm Threatens Biggest Tidal Surge in History

Posted by feww on December 6, 2013


Hurricane-force Storm Xaver Blasts Northern Europe

British govt warns of “the most serious coastal tidal surge for over 60 years in England.”

British authorities shut down the Thames Barrier Thursday night, designed to protect London from exceptional tides, and evacuated scores of homes in Great Yarmouth, eastern England , and other coastal areas in the path of the ferocious storm.

The mega storm has already claimed several lives and cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes throughout northern Europe, including more than 100,000 homes across northern Britain.

The UK Met Office recorded winds of up to 225 km/h (140MPH) as the storm battered Scotland and northern England.

A woman walks through flood water in a street in Rhyl, north Wales
A woman walks through flooded street in Rhyl, north Wales December 5, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

The authorities were forced to shut down the entire rail network in Scotland on Thursday, due to debries and damaged equipment. Various regional networks across the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and northern Germany were also closed, as hundreds of domestic and international flights were cancelled across the entire region.

“Germany’s northern port of Hamburg was preparing for a direct hit, which some forecasters said could be as powerful as a storm and flood in the city in 1962 that killed 315.” Reuters reported.

“The truly dangerous thing about this storm is that the winds will continue for hours and won’t let up,” said a German meteorologist. “The danger of coastal flooding is high.”

  • Flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports in Scotland have been cancelled.
  • “Railway lines in Sweden and Denmark were closed, while Germany’s national railway, Deutsche Bahn, warned of likely disruption across a swathe of northern Germany.” BBC reported.
  • Ferries to Germany from Denmark and Sweden were also cancelled.
  • North Sea oil and gas producers have shut down operations and evacuated staff from many platforms.

What you should know by now

Related LinksDecember 4, 2013

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