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Archive for February 26th, 2015

Drought Disaster Declared in AZ, CA, NV, TX, UT

Posted by feww on February 26, 2015

UPDATED: February 27, 2015

Crop Disasters Declared for 48 Counties across Five States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of 48 additional counties in five states—Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah—as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought.

The disaster designations are for the following areas:

  • Arizona: Coconino, Mohave, Gila, La Paz, Navajo and Yavapai counties.
  • California: Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt,   Kern, Lake, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Trinity, Ventura, Yolo and Yuba counties.
  • Nevada: Clark, Lincoln, Carson City, Douglas and Washoe counties.
  • Texas: Sutton, Crockett, Edwards, Kimble, Menard, Schleicher and Val Verde counties.
  • Utah: Kane, San Juan and Washington counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 794 counties across 16 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

All of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on February 25, 2015.

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Global Response to Violence ‘Shameful’ —Amnesty

Posted by feww on February 26, 2015

2014 a “catastrophic” year for millions of people around the world

World governments failed to protect civilians against violence perpetrated by states and armed groups, said Amnesty International, calling the global response “shameful and ineffective.”

The “human rights watchdog” called 2014 a “catastrophic” year for millions of people around the world in its 424-page annual report.

“As people suffered an escalation in barbarous attacks and repression, the international community has been found wanting,” said Amnesty secretary general.

Millions of civilians suffered horrific violence and human rights violations from Syria to Ukraine, Gaza to Nigeria, while the number of displaced people globally  exceeded 50 million last year, for the first time since the end of World War II, said the report.

It criticized the European Union’s response to the world’s worst refugee crisis in Syria. Of the more than 4 million Syrian refugees displaced by conflict only 150,000 were living in EU states as of December 2014.

“It is abhorrent to see how wealthy countries’ efforts to keep people out take precedence over their efforts to keep people alive,” said the secretary general, adding that the United Nations Security Council had “miserably failed” to protect civilians.

Armed groups committed abuses in at least 35 countries—out of 160 surveyed—in 2014, aid the report, raising particular concern about the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIL) terrorist group.

The Islamic State terrorists committed wide-scale war crimes, said the report, including mass summary killings and abductions that targeted minorities, and sexual abuse of women and girls.

Massive volumes of arms were delivered to Iraq, Israel, Russia, South Sudan and Syria in 2014, despite the likelihood of these weapons being used against civilians, it said.

“Violent attacks on grounds of religious and ethnic identity continued on a significant scale. The failure of governments to address rising religious and ethnic intolerance was evident. The Myanmar and Sri Lankan governments failed to address ongoing incitement to violence based on national, racial and religious hatred by Buddhist nationalist groups despite violent incidents.
The government of Myanmar also failed to allow equal access to full citizenship to Rohingyas. In Pakistan, Shi’a Muslims were killed in attacks by armed groups; Ahmadis and Christians were also targeted. Sri Lanka also saw violence against Muslims and Christians carried out by armed groups, and police failed to protect them or to investigate incidents.”

Director of Amnesty International UK said Britain “is going in the wrong direction on rights, protections and fairness.”

She asserted the importance of public safety, but said it should not be achieved at the cost of fundamental civil liberties.

“The UK talks the talk on the global stage on human rights but this year’s summary shows they need to tend to their own garden,” she said.

“Twice this year GCHQ spies have been rumbled breaking the law. We should be concerned about waking up in a surveillance state, without having a proper public debate about it first.”

Amnesty also urged the permanent members of the UN Security Council Britain, China, France, Russia and the US, also known as the Permanent Five, to discard their veto power in cases where atrocities are being committed.

The outlook for 2015 was “bleak,” the group said.

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States of Emergency Declared in SC, NC

Posted by feww on February 26, 2015

North and South Carolina proclaim states of emergency as severe winter storm approaches

Governors in North and South Carolina have declared states of emergency as a severe winter storm approaches.

Gov. Haley proclaimed a State of Emergency for 31 counties in the Upstate, Pee Dee and Midlands of South Carolina.

Gov. McCrory also proclaimed a State Of Emergency for the entire state late Wednesday.
McCrory activated the State Emergency Response Team for the second time in two weeks.
“We are preparing for as much as eight inches of snow across the majority of the state,” he said. “We are anticipating the worst.”

Meantime, the local media reported more than 2,000 crashes on icy roads, throughout the state.

“Between midnight and noon, State Highway Patrol troopers responded to approximately 700 calls for service; of those, 400 were collisions. Yesterday, troopers responded to nearly 3,000 calls for service including 2,300 vehicle crashes. The Highway Patrol typically responds to approximately 1,000 calls in a 24-hour period,” said a report.

States of Emergency Declared in Alabama and Georgia
State of Emergency were proclaimed in Alabama and Georgia as the exceptionally severe weather approached Tuesday.

10th Day of State of Emergency in Tennessee

Salt Shortage in Ohio

Meantime, Ohio reported major salt shortages in many parts of the Buckeye State.

Record Snow in Boston

Boston has shattered several snowfall records, so far, including snowiest February and snowiest month ever. The total amount of snow measured  at Logan International Airport is now 101.8 inches for the season, said The National Weather Service (NWS), which makes the winter the second snowiest on record, so far, less than 6 inches behind the all-time record of 107.6 inches set  during the 1995-96 winter.
[The city has also smashed the record for most sub-freezing days ever recorded in February.]

Historic Cold Causes at lest 74 Fatalities

At least 74 deaths have been attributed to the historic cold and record snowfalls, which have also caused major travel disruptions, and forced schools, businesses and government offices to close repeatedly across most of the U.S.

Lowest Minimum Temp (Daily Records)

Between 1 and 24 February, at least 1,883 new record low temperatures have been set across the United States, and 314 other records tied, said National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

NWS has issued the following forecast

… a fresh batch of Arctic air surges through the central U.S

A fresh batch of Arctic air will continue to plunge through the central U.S. as another strong surface high slides down from Canada. A cold front at the leading edge of the frigid airmass will trigger light snow showers while it presses from the Middle Mississippi Valley to the central Appalachians. Flow into the terrain should force some upslope snow along the Rockies…and weak impulses aloft should help enhance amounts over the central to southern Rockies and adjacent High Plains.

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