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Archive for the ‘NUKUALOFA’ Category

Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Update 5 (15 Feb)

Posted by feww on February 15, 2010

Cyclone RENE Continues to Pummel Tonga Islands

Having killed at least one person, leaving behind a trail of destruction in the American Samoa (despite false media reports to the contrary), Cyclone RENE  continues to lash the island groups of Tonga with wind gusts of 200 km/hr and heavy rain.

According to two different reports, the roofs are being torn off building, trees ripped out of the ground, with power and communication lines cut off on the Vava’u and Ha’apai island groups.

RENE is now headed toward the Tongan capital of  Nuku’Alofa on the main island of Tongatapu.


Tropical Cyclone RENE – IR-WV Difference Satellite Image – Source: UW-CIMSS. Click image to enlarge.


Map of Tonga Island Groups. Source: USGovt. Click image to enlarge.

Background:

Tropical Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Details

  • Date/Time: 15 February 2010 –  00:01 UTC
  • Position:  Near 19.6ºS, 174.4ºW
  • Sustained Movement: 245  degrees
  • Forward speed: 19 km/hr (~ 10 kt)
  • Tropical Cyclone RENE has been tracking  SOUTHWEST over the past 6 hours.

Current Wind Distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: ~ 165km (~ 90 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  ~ 205 km/hr (~ 110 kt)
  • RENE is now a Cat 2B Hurricane on FEWW New Hurricane Scale.
  • The cyclone is expected to begin losing its intensity sharply within the next 24 hours due to cooler sea surface temperatures and high vertical wind shear.

Wave Height and Location:

  • Maximum significant wave height: ~ 9m (27 ft)
  • Location: TC RENE was located about 880 km (~ 475 NM) Southeast of  NADI, FIJI.
  • Sources: CIMSS, JTWC and Others

Additional Satellite Imagery

NOAA East Pacific Floater 1 GOES Satellite ImageryCyclone FIFTEEN (TC 15P)

See also: UW- CIMSS Cyclone Portal

Related Links:

Cyclone RENE (TC 15P) Update 4 (14 Feb)

Posted in cyclone, hurricane, NUKUALOFA, storm, Tongatapu | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Magnitude 8.3 Quake Strikes Samoa Islands Region

Posted by feww on September 29, 2009

Up to 3 More Large EQs Could Strike the Pacific Ring of Fire in 2009

The Next Megaquake May Strike New Zealand

Massive Earthquake Measuring up to 8.4 Mw Strikes Samoa Islands Region

The mainshock occurred on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 17:48 UTC [Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 06:48 AM at epicenter,] which struck at striking at a depth of about 10km.  The mainshock has since been  followed by at least two dozen aftershocks both locally and in the neighboring Tonga region, the largest of which measures 6.2 Mw so far.

Tsunami

The large earthquake generated  1.6-meter  waves in American Samoa, Apia and Pago Pago. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (NOAA/NWS/PTWC) issued a tsunami warning which has since been canceled.

According to local news, at least 4 villages were wiped off, leaving more than 40 dead and up to a 100 injured. Most of the casualties are believe to be children. More casualties are expected as local reports are received.

How large was this earthquake?

The GFZ Potsdam – Earthquake Bulletin reported the mainshock as M 8.2, while the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center recorded it as 8.1Mw. However, FEWW believes the quake measured up to 8.4Mw.

On June 26, 1917, a magnitude 8.4 earthquake struck the neighboring Tonga region at a depth of about 25km, some 115 km northwest of today’s event.

Tsunami Location Map


Click on image to enlarge
. Source NOAA

This advisory is in effect for California, and Oregon

  • A tsunami advisory indicates a tsunami which may produce strong currents and is dangerous to those in or very near the water is expected.
  • Large inundations are not expected in areas under advisory status.
  • Advisories will be cancelled, extended, or upgraded to a warning depending on the event severity.
  • Advisories are issued when the expected tsunami amplitude is in the range of 0.3 to 1 meter.

Tsunami Propagation Map


Click on image to enlarge.
Source: NOAA/WCATWC

US Tsunami waves initial arrival times

tsunami trvel time table
Tsunami waves initial arrival times including wave amplitude above sea level (ASL) at the US coastal areas.


Click  on image to enlarge. Source NOAA

Tsunami Travel Time Map

tsunami trvel time
Tsunami Travel Time Map. Source NOAA/NGDC. Click on image to enlarge.

Map of Tsunami Advisory – Japan

JMA sunami advisory
Map of Tsunami Advisory  for  Japan. Yellow highlights indicate tsunami heights of about 0.5m (50cm). Original Map: Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Image may be subject to copyright. Click on image to enlarge.

Earthquake Details

GFZ Potsdam – Earthquake Bulletin
Region: Samoa Islands Region
Time: 2009-09-29 17:48:10.3 UTC
Magnitude: 8.2
Epicenter: 172.04°W 15.49°S
Depth: 10 km
Status: manually revised

Samoa Island Region gfz2009tceh
© Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum – GFZ

USGS downgraded the mainshock to 8.0Mw.

10-degree Map Centered at 15°S,170°W

Samoan Islands USGS
Earthquake Location Map. Original Map: USGS. Enhanced by FEWW.

Historic Seismicity (Mag 7 or greater EQs since 1900)

hiseis samoan Islands quake 29-09-09
Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green

Original Image: USGS. Enhanced by FEWW.

Related Links:

Posted in APIA quake, APIA tsunami, Earthquakes, Hihifo quake, NUKUALOFA, tsunami hazard | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Hunga Ha’apai Volcano Update

Posted by feww on March 22, 2009

Another reminder that volcanic eruptions can destroy everything around them

Hunga Ha’apai eruption “has destroyed rich birdlife and vegetation, leaving a wasteland of black ash and tree stumps,” eyewitness reports say.

Groups of  people who have traveled to the volcanic site described frequent explosions that ejected rocks and ash and spewed smoke hundreds of meters into the air, AFP reported.

hunga-haapai-afp
Ash rises several hundred meters into the air from Hunga Ha’apai, 62km north-northwest of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. [Undated photo, possibly taken on Mar 20 or 21, 2009.] Photograph: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

The volcano, which is located on the small islet of  Hunga Ha’apai, about 62km km north- northwest of the Tongan capital Island of Nuku’alofa, began erupting on March 16, 2009, and  continued to ash, volcanic gasses and rocks into the air.

A journalist visiting the Island said: “The island itself is totally destroyed …  there is no living thing left there, it’s all covered in black ash.”

“There are only black stumps where the coconut trees were,” he added. “We saw dead birds and fish in the water.”

According to Tonga’s chief geologist, Kelepi Mafi, who reportedly inspected the area on Thursday, the volcanic debris ejected from the volcano filled the 100 m gap between the offshore vent and  the main vent on Hunga Ha’apai, adding hundreds of square meters to the islet’s land mass.

Mafi reiterated that the government has warned sightseers to stay away from the area, which is very dangerous.

“It’s very interesting, but it’s very risky also,” he said, adding that he expected the eruption to continue for another couple of days.

However, given the renewed seismic activity in the area, and other factors not discussed here, FEWW believes one or more of the following scenarios may likely occur:

1. Eruption could continue for many days (up to several weeks).
2. Hunga Ha’apai’s activity could become sporadic, with extended ‘off’ and ‘on’ periods, lasting for several months (up to a year or so).
3. One or more of volcanoes in the region’s volcanic cluster could erupt.

Related Links:

An earthquake forecast for California will be published here by Tuesday March 24, 2009.

Posted in Metis Shoal, NUKUALOFA, Rumble III, seismic activity, volcanism | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Magnitude 7.9 Quake Strikes Tonga Region

Posted by feww on March 20, 2009

A Powerful 7.9 Mw Quake Strikes Tonga Region

A magnitude 5.3 Mw foreshock followed the mainshock about two hours later. Further seismic and volcanic activity in the region can be expected.

This Earthquake

[Data provided by USGS Earthquake Hazard Program]

Magnitude: 7.9

Date and time:

  • Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 18:17:40 UTC
  • Friday, March 20, 2009 at 06:17:40 AM at epicenter

Location: 23.021°S, 174.700°W
Depth:  34 km (21.1 miles) set by location program
Region:  TONGA REGION
Distances:

  • 215 km (135 miles) SSE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga
  • 490 km (305 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga
  • 490 km (305 miles) ESE of Ndoi Island, Fiji
  • 1845 km (1140 miles) NE of Auckland, New Zealand

Location Uncertainty:  horizontal +/- 6 km (3.7 miles); depth fixed by location program
Source:  USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event ID: us2009ejbr

10-degree Map Centered at 25°S,175°W

tonga-quake-20-mar-09
USGS Map of the quake area. Color code for the aftershock changed for contrast.

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (NOAA)

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 002
PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS
ISSUED AT 1932Z 19 MAR 2009

THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC
OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS…EXCEPT ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…
WASHINGTON…OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.

… A TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT …

A TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR

TONGA / NIUE / KERMADEC IS / AMERICAN SAMOA / SAMOA /
WALLIS-FUTUNA / FIJI


EVALUATION

SEA LEVEL READINGS CONFIRM THAT A TSUNAMI WAS GENERATED. THIS
TSUNAMI MAY HAVE BEEN DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTLINES OF THE REGION
NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES IN THE REGION SHOULD
TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS POSSIBILITY. THIS
CENTER WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR SEA LEVEL GAUGES NEAREST THE
REGION AND REPORT IF ANY ADDITIONAL TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY. THE
WARNING WILL NOT EXPAND TO OTHER AREAS OF THE PACIFIC UNLESS
ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED TO WARRANT SUCH AN EXPANSION.

FOR AFFECTED AREAS – WHEN NO MAJOR WAVES ARE OBSERVED FOR TWO
HOURS AFTER THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OR DAMAGING WAVES HAVE
NOT OCCURRED FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS THEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES CAN
ASSUME THE THREAT IS PASSED. DANGER TO BOATS AND COASTAL
STRUCTURES CAN CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS DUE TO RAPID CURRENTS.
AS LOCAL CONDITIONS CAN CAUSE A WIDE VARIATION IN TSUNAMI WAVE
ACTION THE ALL CLEAR DETERMINATION MUST BE MADE BY LOCAL
AUTHORITIES.

ESTIMATED INITIAL TSUNAMI WAVE ARRIVAL TIMES AT FORECAST POINTS
WITHIN THE WARNING AND WATCH AREAS ARE GIVEN BELOW. ACTUAL
ARRIVAL TIMES MAY DIFFER AND THE INITIAL WAVE MAY NOT BE THE
LARGEST. A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF WAVES AND THE TIME BETWEEN
SUCCESSIVE WAVES CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO ONE HOUR.

LOCATION FORECAST POINT COORDINATES ARRIVAL TIME
——————————– ———— ————
TONGA NUKUALOFA: 21.0S 175.2W;  18:45UTC 19 MAR
NIUE NIUE IS.:  19.0S 170.0W;  19:04UTC 19 MAR
KERMADEC IS RAOUL IS.: 29.2S 177.9W; 19:12UTC 19 MAR
AMERICAN SAMOA PAGO PAGO:  14.3S 170.7W; 19:25UTC 19 MAR
SAMOA APIA: 13.8S 171.8W; 19:34UTC 19 MAR
WALLIS-FUTUNA WALLIS IS.: 13.2S 176.2W; 19:47UTC 19 MAR
FIJI SUVA:  18.1S 178.4E; 20:03UTC 19 MAR

Tsunami Warning Update:
TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER 3
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI
1009 AM HST THU MAR 19 2009
[Message truncated]

EVALUATION

THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER HAS CANCELLED THE REGIONAL
TSUNAMI WARNING IT ISSUED FOR ANOTHER PART OF THE PACIFIC. BASED
ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA THERE IS NO DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI THREAT TO
HAWAII AND THE ADVISORY FOR HAWAII IS ALSO CANCELLED.

HOWEVER… SOME COASTAL AREAS IN HAWAII COULD EXPERIENCE SMALL
NON-DESTRUCTIVE SEA LEVEL CHANGES AND STRONG OR UNUSUAL CURRENTS
LASTING UP TO SEVERAL HOURS. THE ESTIMATED TIME SUCH EFFECTS
MIGHT BEGIN IS

0236 PM HST THU 19 MAR 2009

THIS WILL BE THE FINAL MESSAGE ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS
ADDITIONAL DATA ARE RECEIVED.

Posted in NUKUALOFA, Pacific Ring of Fire, STRONG CURRENTS, TONGA REGION | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »