Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from anthropogenic assault on Earth, and planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin by 2016

Towns Devastated as MARCIA Tracks along Queensland

Posted by feww on February 20, 2015

TC Marcia leaving a trail of destruction along Queensland: Report

Cat. 5 Tropical Cyclone MARCIA made landfall north of Yeppoon about 8:00am local time carving a path of destruction  towards  Rockhampton as a category three storm, lashing the town of 80,000 with wind gusts up to 205km/h, said a report.

The system was downgraded to a category one storm by about 8:00pm and was bearing down on Biloela, the report said.

“There were reports of extensive damage – houses destroyed or unroofed – but authorities said it was still too early and too dangerous to assess the full damage.”

Tropical Cyclone LAM

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Strong Earthquake Strikes East of Iwate, Japan

Posted by feww on February 20, 2015

M 6.3 strikes 140km E of Miyako, Japan

Centered at 39.85°N, 143.57°E the quake occurred at a depth of 13.5km, said USGS/EHP.

The event, precede by a foreshock measuring 4.3Mw, was the third significant earthquake to strike the region since February 17.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.3Mw
Location: 39.847°N, 143.569°E
Depth: 13.5 km
Time: 2015-02-20 04:25:24 UTC

Tsunami Evaluation: NO tsunami threat.

FIRE-EARTH Earthquake Forecasts for California and Japan

FIRE-EARTH Science Team has suspended its research on California seismicity to protest Internet censorship, Google’s manipulation of information, theft of FIRE-EARTH intellectual property and other reasons, as stated earlier on the blog.

The Team has suspended its research also on Japan seismicity due to the resurgence of militarism in that country and other reasons that have also been stated previously.

Related Links

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‘Very Destructive’ Storm Hits Queensland, Australia

Posted by feww on February 20, 2015

Category 5 TC MARCIA brings heavy rain, “abnormally high tides”

Cyclone MARCIA, described as a  “very destructive” storm has hit the coast of Queensland, Australia forcing evacuations of more than 1,000 homes, officials said.

MARCIA was upgraded to a Cat. 5 Tropical Cyclone with winds gusting up to 285km/h, before it struck Elcho Island and continued moving southwest, bringing heavy rain and generating “abnormally high tides,” said Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

“Severe tropical cyclone Marcia, Category Five, is currently crossing the coast near Shoalwater Bay north of Yeppoon,” warning that its “destructive winds” threatened communities between St Lawrence and Gladstone, and Capricornia and Burnett later today.

Tens of thousands of residents in the cyclone path have been warned to take shelter where they can!

Storm surges forced authorities to evacuate neraly 900 residences in Yeppoon, while more than 100 people were evacuated from Lady Elliot Island. Hundreds of schools and child care centers along the northern Queensland have so far been ordered shut.

“Over the next 24 hours, Queenslanders are about to go through a harrowing and terrifying experience,” said Queensland Premier Palaszczuk.

“This is going to be a calamity, no doubt about that,” Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said, warning that it was a “desperate situation”.

“Our primary focus from this point on is the safety of all human life in that area.” he said. “You must find shelter.”

Details of Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia at 1:00 pm AEST:

Intensity: Category 3, sustained winds near the centre of 150 kilometres per hour with wind gusts to 205 kilometres per hour.

Location: within 9 kilometres of 23.2 degrees South 150.5 degrees East, estimated to be 25 kilometres west southwest of Yeppoon and 105 kilometres northwest of Gladstone.

Movement: south at 19 kilometres per hour.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia, category 3, continues to move south over the northern Capricornia district and is expected to impact Rockhampton during the next couple of hours. It is expected to continue a southerly movement through today while slowly weakening. [Issued by BOM]

Meantime, Category 4 Tropical Cyclone LAM struck Australia’s Northern Territory, causing power outages to thousands of customers.

Related Links

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U.S. Drought Intensifies

Posted by feww on February 19, 2015

U.S. Drought Monitor Weekly Comparison Tables

Contiguous United States

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-02-17 45.26 54.74 32.13 16.44 8.6 3.37
2015-02-10 47.51 52.49 29 16.18 8.49 3.27

West

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-02-17 31.2 68.8 58.53 30.61 17.23 7.21
2015-02-10 30.41 69.59 52.65 30.63 17.1 6.96

California

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-02-17 0.16 99.84 98.1 93.44 67.46 41.2
2015-02-10 0.16 99.84 98.1 93.44 67.46 39.99

South

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-02-17 29.74 70.26 36.69 22.13 10.07 3.02
2015-02-10 42.31 57.69 33.75 20.56 9.71 3.02

High Plains

Week None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4
2015-02-17 46.61 53.39 20.18 5.51 0.3 0
2015-02-10 46.61 53.39 12.64 5.51 0.3 0

Intensity:
D0 – Abnormally Dry
D1 – Moderate Drought
D2 – Severe Drought
D3 – Extreme Drought
D4 – Exceptional Drought

Source: The National Drought Mitigation Center, Lincoln, NE

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Strong Earthquake Rattles Vanuatu

Posted by feww on February 19, 2015

M6.4 strikes 83km ESE of Lakatoro, Vanuatu

Centered at 16.44°S, 168.12°E the quake occurred at a depth of 10.0km, reported USGS/EHP.

The event was followed by at least one significant aftershock, measuring 5.1Mw, as of posting.

More aftershocks could follow.

Earthquake Details
Magnitude: 6.4Mw
Location: 16.440°S, 168.119°E depth=10.0 km
Event Time: 2015-02-19 13:18:32 (UTC)
Nearby Cities:

  • 83km (52mi) ESE of Lakatoro, Vanuatu
  • 143km (89mi) SE of Luganville, Vanuatu
  • 144km (89mi) N of Port-Vila, Vanuatu
  • 503km (313mi) N of We, New Caledonia

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Historic Cold Continues across Eastern U.S.

Posted by feww on February 19, 2015

Dangerously low temperatures affecting much of the eastern U.S.

Historic cold with dangerously low temperatures impacting much of the eastern half of the U.S., with many locations experiencing temperatures as low as 45 degrees below average, and some records threatened, said the National Weather Service (NWS).

A massive surge of arctic air later this week will impact most of the U.S., as another cold front slides south from Canada, said NWS.

“There are indications that this could be some of the coldest weather since the mid-1990s for some parts of the Southeast U.S., Mid-Atlantic, and central Appalachians. An eddy of the polar vortex will add to the potency of the surface cold front, thus creating a deep layer of bitterly cold air. Highs on Thursday and Friday will struggle to get out of the teens for many of these areas, and overnight lows could reach zero degrees or even lower in some places! Wind chill advisories and warnings are currently in effect. The overnight lows on Thursday night will be the coldest in those areas where the wind goes calm, allowing for additional
radiational cooling.”

  • Historic cold impacting eastern U.S. through Friday.
  • Another storm system developing over the southern U.S.
  • Dangerous wind chills are forecast from the northern Plains to the Gulf Coast.
  • Temperatures will be as low as 45 degrees below average for much of region.
  • Heavy snow is forecast for parts of Northern New England.
  • Rain/freezing rain and sleet could affect parts of the Lower/Middle
    Mississippi Valley/Tennessee Valley.

min temp us 48
Low temperature ending February 19, 2015 (NWS).

National High and Low Temperature (for the contiguous United States)
Issued 7 am EST Thursday, February 19, 2015

High Temperature for Wednesday, February 18, 2015
29.4ºC (85 degrees F) at Thermal, CA

Low Temperature for Thursday, February 19, 2015
-40.5ºC (-41 degrees F) at Embarrass, MN
NWS Weather Prediction Center, College Park, MD

[Temperature spread: 70ºC (126 degrees F), as calculated by FIRE-EARTH]

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M4.4 Quake Strikes NE of Mt Rainier

Posted by feww on February 18, 2015

Earthquake occurs in the Cascade Range

Centered at47.247°N, 120.723°W, about 85km NE of Mount Rainier, the quake occurred at a depth of 5.3km, said USGS/EHP.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 4.4Mw
Location: 47.247°N, 120.723°W
Depth: 5.3km
Event Time: 2015-02-18 09:04:11 (UTC)
Nearby Cities

  • 17km (11mi) ENE of Cle Elum, Washington
  • 30km (19mi) NNW of Ellensburg, Washington
  • 36km (22mi) WSW of Wenatchee, Washington
  • 120km ESE of Seattle, Washington [FEWW]
  • 125km East of Tacoma, Washington [FEWW]
  • 166km (103mi) E of Olympia, Washington

NOTICE of Suspension of Research on Seismicity in US-WA

As of January 23, 2015, FIRE-EARTH Science Team has suspended its research on geophysical activity in the state of Washington until further notice.

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Two Tropical Cyclones Targeting Australia

Posted by feww on February 18, 2015

Cyclones LAM and MARCIA zeroing in on Oz

TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING

Issued by ABOM at 11:00 pm ACST (UTC + 9:30) on Wednesday 18 February 2015

Severe Tropical Cyclone LAM is currently moving slowly west near the Wessel Islands, but it’s expected to turn towards the NE Top End coast on Thursday.

Warning Zone: Goulburn Island to Cape Shield, including Nhulunbuy and adjacent inland areas

Watch Zone: Croker Island to Goulburn Island and Cape Shield to Port Roper, including Groote Eylandt and inland areas towards Bulman.

Details of Severe Tropical Cyclone LAM at 10:30 pm ACST:

Intensity: Category 3, sustained winds near the center of 120 km/hr with wind gusts to 165 km/hr.

Location: within 20km of 10.8ºS,  136.4ºE, about 165km NNW of Nhulunbuy and 165km NNE of Elcho Island.

Movement: NW at 6 km/hr. The cyclone is forecast to start moving southwest towards the coast during Thursday and intensify.

Hazards: VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts greater than 170 km/hr  should continue over the Wessel islands tonight and are expected to extend onto the mainland coast between Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak late Thursday. VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds may extend further east towards Nhulunbuy overnight Thursday and into early Friday if the cyclone takes a more southward track.

DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts to 130 km/hrr should develop about the mainland coast between Maningrida and Nhulunbuy during Thursday before possibly extending over adjacent inland areas on Friday.

GALES with gusts to 110 km/hr may develop in coastal areas between Elcho Island and Nhulunbuy overnight or during early Thursday before possibly extending to Goulburn Island and Cape Shield and over adjacent inland areas during Thursday. GALES may extend further west to Croker Island or south to Port Roper and over inland areas towards Bulman and Gunbalanya on Friday depending on the track the cyclone takes.

Synoptic Situation:HERE

Tropical Cyclone MARCIA at 10:59 pm AEST (UTC+ 10:00):

Intensity: Category 1, sustained winds near the center of 65 km/hr with wind gusts to 95 km/hr.

Tropical Cyclone MARCIA still on track and may intensify to category 2 before landfall.

Location: within 55 km of 18.1ºS, 154.6ºE, about 690km  NEof Yeppoon and 790km NNE of Bundaberg.

Movement: SSW at 22 km/hr.

Tropical Cyclone MARCIA has developed over the central Coral Sea, and is slowly strengthening. During today, the system curved onto a southwesterly track, and it is expected to maintain this general motion through to landfall on the eastern Queensland coast between St Lawrence and Hervey Bay early on Friday. Marcia is expected to slowly intensify, with a high chance of reaching category 2 intensity by landfall.

A separate Severe Weather Warning is current for areas south of St Lawrence and west to the Great Dividing Range.

Hazards:

GALES are expected to develop about coastal and island communities between Sarina and Double Island Point on Thursday during the late afternoon or evening. Destructive wind gusts to 150 km/hr may develop about the coast and islands near the center on Friday morning.

Heavy rainfall will develop about coastal and island communities between Sarina and Double Island Point during Thursday, particularly over areas to the south of the system. A Flood Watch is current for the area.

Abnormally high tides will be experienced on Thursday with water levels expected to rise above the highest tide of the year on the high tide.

Synoptic Situation: HERE

Source: Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology (ABOM)

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Two W Virginia Towns Evacuated after Derailed Train Explodes

Posted by feww on February 17, 2015

State of emergency declared in West Virginia after derailed train explodes

A freight train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded forcing the residents in two West Virginia towns to evacuate, 

At least 1,000 people were evacuated, said a state official.

The incident occurred in Fayette County in southern W Virginia at about 18:30UTC on Monday, as the two-locomotive, 109-car CSX-owned train carrying Bakken crude was traveling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Virginia.

As many as 15 tanker cars were involved in the derailment and fiery explosion, and some of the oil leaking into the Kanawha River had also caught fire after the incident, said officials.

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Strong Earthquake Strikes near Kuji, Japan

Posted by feww on February 17, 2015

M5.7 quake strikes 8km east of Kuji,Iwate Pref., Japan

Centered at 40.1N, 142.1E the quake struck at a depth of about 50km, said Japan’s weather agency.

The quake measured up to ‘Upper 5′ on Japan’s seismicity scale of 1 to 7, and was followed by at least two aftershocks, as of posting.

EQ Details [USGS/EHP]
Magnitude: 5.8Mw
Time: 2015-02-17 04:46:38 UTC
Location: 40.178°N 141.891°E
Depth: 40.4 km

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Powerful Earthquake Strikes East Coast of Japan

Posted by feww on February 17, 2015

Magnitude 6.9 quake strikes ENE of Miyako, Japan

Centered at 39.9N, 144.5E the quake occurred at a depth of 10km, said Japan’s weather agency.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 6.9Mw
Occurred at 08:06JST 17 February 2015
Location: 39.9N, 144.5E
Depth: 10km
Region: Sanriku Oki
Approximate Distances:

  • 80km ENE of Miyako, Japan
  • 530km NNE of Tokyo

Tsunami Evaluation: Tsunami warnings and advisories were issued, but they have been cancelled, as of posting.

Aftershocks: At least 4 significant aftershocks have occurred, as of posting.

FIRE-EARTH Earthquake Forecasts for California and Japan

FIRE-EARTH Science Team has suspended its research on California seismicity to protest Internet censorship, Google’s manipulation of information, theft of FIRE-EARTH intellectual property and other reasons, as stated earlier on the blog.

The Team has suspended its research also on Japan seismicity due to the resurgence of militarism in that country and other reasons that have also been stated previously.

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States of Emergency Declared in Georgia, Mississippi

Posted by feww on February 16, 2015

State of emergency declared for 15 N. Georgia counties

Gov. Deal has declared a state of emergency for 15 counties in North Georgia under a winter storm warning. He has told non-emergency state employees to to telecommute.

The emergencies have been declared in Catoosa, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, Walker, White and Whitfield counties.

“I am issuing this order out of an abundance of caution, so the state can make all preparations necessary to quickly and efficiently address any potential winter weather problems,” he said. “We will monitor the weather throughout the night and allocate state resources as needed should ice formation creep further south into the metro area.”

State of emergency declared for north Mississippi

Gov. Bryant has declared a state of emergency for north Mississippi, after the National Weather Service (NWS) warned northern counties near the Tennessee state line could see up to an inch of ice from freezing rain.

NWS also warned of possibility of severe thunderstorms in southern Mississippi as the strong cold front sweeps through the state.

Deadly storm brings heavy snow and high winds to New England (Again)

Another deadly storm brought blizzard conditions to New England on Sunday, causing deaths and damage as it swept through the Midwest and the Northeast.

The storm dumped more than two feet of snow on parts of Maine, causing thousands of flight cancellations throughout the region.

At least six people were killed across the northeast in storm-related incidents, said a report.

Blizzard Bombards Boston

Meantime, the sixth winter storm (second blizzard) in three weeks made February snowiest month on record for Boston, with 58.5 inches (148.6cm), shattering the previous record set in January 2005 by more than 15 inches.

NWS forecasters said temperatures would plunge below zero overnight Sunday, with wind chills as low minus 30 degrees (Fahrenheit), and warned that yet another powerful storm could hit the region beginning late Tuesday.

Boston received 16.2 inches (41.1cm) of snow over the weekend, making an accumulated total of 95.7 inches (243.1cm), third snowiest on record, so far this winter, with less than a foot away from the record-setting 1995-1996 total of 107.6 inches (273.3cm).

Snow emergencies declared in Tri-State

Snow Emergencies are being declared as a massive storm from barrels into the Tri-State. Level 1 and Level 2 Snow emergencies have been issued for multiple counties in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.

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Flu Deaths Rising Globally

Posted by feww on February 15, 2015

U.S. flu deaths remain at epidemic levels amid widespread flu activity

Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) Mortality Surveillance: During week 5, week ending February 7, 2015, some 8.1% of all deaths reported through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to P&I. This percentage was above the epidemic threshold of 7.2% for week 5, said CDC.

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality:

Eleven influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 5. Four deaths were associated with an influenza A (H3) virus and occurred during weeks 52, 3 and 4 (weeks ending December 27, 2014, January 24 and January 31, 2015). Five deaths were associated with an influenza A virus for which no subtyping was performed and occurred during weeks 53, 1, 2, and 3 (weeks ending January 3, January 10, January 17, and January 24, 2015). One death was associated with an influenza B virus and occurred during week 4. One death was associated with an influenza A and influenza B virus co-infection and occurred during week 5 (week ending February 7, 2015).

A total of 80 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported during the 2014-2015 season from New York City [1] and 28 states (Arizona [2], Colorado [3], Florida [2], Georgia [1], Indiana [1], Iowa [3], Kansas [2], Kentucky [3], Louisiana [2], Maryland [1], Massachusetts [1], Michigan [1], Minnesota [5], Missouri [1], Nebraska [1], New Jersey [1], North Carolina [2], Nevada [6], New York [2], Ohio [5], Oklahoma [6], Pennsylvania [1], South Carolina [2], South Dakota [1], Tennessee [5], Texas [9], Virginia [4], and Wisconsin [6]).

 During week 5, the following influenza activity was reported:

  • Widespread influenza activity was reported by Puerto Rico and 32 states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).
  • Regional influenza activity was reported by Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 16 states (Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia).
  • Local activity was reported by the District of Columbia and two states (Alaska and Minnesota).

Between October 1, 2014 and February 7, 2015, 12,065 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported. The overall hospitalization rate was 44.1 per 100,000 population. The highest rate of hospitalization was among adults aged ≥65 years (217.3 per 100,000 population), followed by children aged 0-4 years (40.4 per 100,000 population). Among all hospitalizations, 96.1% were associated with influenza A, 3.1% with influenza B, 0.3% with influenza A and B co-infection, and 0.4% had no virus type information. Among those with influenza A subtype information, 99.7% were A(H3N2) virus and 0.3% were A(H1N1)pdm09.

Outpatient Illness Surveillance:

Nationwide during week 5, some 3.8% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI). This percentage is above the national baseline of 2.0%.

[CDC has characterized 809 influenza viruses [21 A(H1N1)pdm09, 634 A(H3N2), and 154 influenza B viruses] collected by U.S. laboratories since October 1, 2014.]

At least 259 Floridians died from flu in first week of 2015 alone: Report

“It’s a safe bet that, by now, the January death count from flu or flu-related pneumonia in Florida has exceeded 1,000.” —Report

North Carolina flu deaths climb to 114, deadliest in five years: Report

“There were 15 flu-related deaths in the week ending Jan. 17, bringing the total to 114, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.” —Report

Oklahoma breaks last year’s record for flu deaths

At least 82 Oklahomans have died from flu since September 2014, including 14 in the past week, with 1,789 others hospitalized with the virus, with three more months of flu season to go. The state reported a total of 71 deaths from flu last year.

Arkansas Flu Deaths Climb to 37: Health Officials

Since September 28, when the flu calendar starts, more than 21,600 tests have proved positive for flu viruses in Arkansas including 1,700, which were reported last week alone, according to an official report.

196 flu deaths reported in Hong Kong

An H3N2 outbreak in Hong Kong, which started on January 2, 2015, has left at least 280 hospitalized, killing 196 patients. The rate compares with 266 cases including 133 moralities during the same period last year, said Hong Kong health officials.

Health authorities said of the 16 new cases reported between Friday and Saturday 15 patients have died.

India: 78 swine flu deaths in 24 hours

Swine flu death toll in India has climbed to at least 485. “This is more than twice the total number of deaths due to swine flu in 2014. The total number of cases reported this year is 6,298,” said a report.

Quebec Fears Spike in Flu Deaths

Quebec’s health ministry says there could be 27 per cent more flu deaths in the province this year than in 2012-2013, said a report.

The ministry forecasts a total of up to 450 deaths from flu this season, about 50 per cent higher than normal. This is mainly due to this year’s ineffective flu vaccine. The H3N2 strain that’s been making the rounds in the province is more likely to cause respiratory complications, said the report.

The exact number of people who die from seasonal flu in the U.S. each year

CDC does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year. There are several reasons for this. First, states are not required to report individual seasonal flu cases or deaths of people older than 18 years of age to CDC. Second, seasonal influenza is infrequently listed on death certificates of people who die from flu-related complications. Third, many seasonal flu-related deaths occur one or two weeks after a person’s initial infection, either because the person may develop a secondary bacterial co-infection (such as bacterial pneumonia) or because seasonal influenza can aggravate an existing chronic illness (such as congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Also, most people who die from seasonal flu-related complications are not tested for flu, or they seek medical care later in their illness when seasonal influenza can no longer be detected from respiratory samples.

CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Death certificate data and weekly influenza virus surveillance information was used to estimate how many flu-related deaths occurred among people whose underlying cause of death was listed as respiratory or circulatory disease on their death certificate.

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What is it with NOLA Federal Judges and Big Oil?

Posted by feww on February 14, 2015

NOLA federal judge dismisses wetlands damage lawsuit against 88 oil and gas companies

A New Orleans federal judge, U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, has dismissed a wetlands damage lawsuit by SLFPAE, a levee authority, that sought to force 88 oil, gas and pipeline companies to repair or pay for damages to wetlands.

[SLFPAE is the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority (East), which covers three consolidated districts in NOLA: East Jefferson Levee District, Orleans Levee District, and Lake Borgne Basin Levee District.]

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2013 by SLFPAE, contended that the energy companies had dug more than 10,000 miles of oil and gas canals and pipelines through Louisiana’s fragile wetlands, destroying the ecosystem and reducing the effectiveness of the recently-rebuilt levee system that protects most of metro New Orleans from catastrophic flooding.

“The product of this network is an ecosystem so seriously diseased that its complete demise is inevitable if no action is taken,” said the suit.

The suit attempted to get the defendants to either repair the damage to the compromised environmental buffer zone, or pay damages to the authority to improve the levee system.

However, the Judge said in her 49-page ruling that SLFPA didn’t have enough legal standing to justify a financial claim against the companies.

“We are gratified by this ruling to dismiss this ill-conceived, unwise and divisive litigation, which we have contended all along was nothing more than an attempt to subvert the existing legal and regulatory processes,” said Greg Beuerman, a spokesperson for Shell, Chevron and BP, all defendants in the suit.

“We appreciate the judge’s ruling and are pleased that this frivolous lawsuit has come to an end,” said the deputy communications director for Gov. Bobby [NO-GO Zones] Jindal.

Plaintiff initially named 149 defendants.However, only 88 defendants remain in this litigation, according to the court documents.

Factual Background [from the 49-page court-ruling – Case 2:13-cv-05410-NJB-DEK Document 529 Filed 02/13/15 ]

Defendants are eighty-eight oil and gas companies operating in what Plaintiff refers to as the “Buffer Zone.”

The Buffer Zone “extends from East of the Mississippi River through the Breton Sound Basin, the Biloxi Marsh, and the coastal wetlands of eastern New Orleans and up to Lake St. Catherine.”

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants’ oil and gas operations have led to coastal erosion in the Buffer Zone, making south Louisiana more vulnerable to severe weather and flooding. According to Plaintiff, “[c]oastal lands have for centuries provided a crucial buffer zone between south Louisiana’s communities and the violent wave action and storm surge that tropical storms and hurricanes transmit from the Gulf of Mexico.” However, “[h]undreds of thousands of acres of coastal lands that once protected south Louisiana are now gone as a result of oil and gas activities.” Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have “dredged a network of canals to access oil and gas wells and to transport the many products and by-products of oil and gas production.” This canal network, in conjunction with “the altered hydrology associated with oil and gas activities,” has caused vegetation die-off, sedimentation inhibition, erosion, and submergence—all leading to coastal land loss.

In addition to the initial dredging, Plaintiff maintains that Defendants “exacerbate direct land loss by failing to maintain the canal network and banks of the canals that Defendants have dredged, used, or otherwise overseen.”

This failure has “caused both the erosion of the canal banks and expansion beyond their originally permitted widths and depths of the canals comprising that network.”

Looking beyond the alleged effects of the canal network, Plaintiff identifies ten other oil and gas activities that, it claims, “drastically inhibit the natural hydrological patterns and processes of the coastal lands”—road dumps, ring levees, drilling activities, fluid withdrawal, seismic surveys, marsh buggies, spoil disposal/ dispersal, watercraft navigation, impoundments, and propwashing/ maintenance dredging.

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Earthquakes Strike Nevada, Taiwan, Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Posted by feww on February 14, 2015

M4.7 Quake, aftershocks rattle Nevada

Centered at 37.145°N, 117.259°W the quake occurred at a depth of 18.1km, said USGS/EHP.

Other U.S. earthquakes:

  • M4.6, 38km NE of Noatak, Alaska 2015-02-14 12:18:25UTC depth = 31.0km
  • M2.8, 52km WNW of Beatty, Nevada 2015-02-14 04:53:29UTC, depth = 13.3 km
  • M2.5, 52km WNW of Beatty, Nevada 2015-02-14 04:48:33UTC,  depth = 14.9km
  • M2.7, 8km NE of Desert Hot Springs, California 2015-02-14 04:25:15UTC, depth = 0.6 km
  • M3.0, 52km WNW of Beatty, Nevada 2015-02-14 03:34:0UTC, depth = 17.7 km
  • M3.2, 52km WNW of Beatty, Nevada 2015-02-14 02:16:36UTC, depth = 14.7 km
  • M2.6, 5km WNW of Freeland, Washington 2015-02-13 19:02:42UTC, depth = 59.5 km
  • M3.8, 9km S of Caldwell, Kansas 2015-02-13 17:42:40UTC, depth = 7.0 km
  • M2.8, 22km SE of Challis, Idaho 2015-02-13 13:37:19UTC, depth = 13.2 km

M7.1  Strikes  Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Event Time: 2015-02-13 18:59:12 (UTC)
Location: 52.669°N, 31.924°W; depth = 13.8 km

Aftershocks:

  •  M4.7, Reykjanes Ridge 2015-02-13 21:25:18 UTC 10.0 km
  • M5.2, Reykjanes Ridge 2015-02-13 19:33:10 UTC 14.2 km

Foreshocks:

  •  M4.9, Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge 2015-02-13 18:58:06 UTC
  • M5.3, Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge 2015-02-13 18:48:16 UTC 10.0 km

M 6.2 – 30km ESE of Taitung City, Taiwan

  • Time: 2015-02-13 @ 20:06:31UTC
  • Location:22.647°N, 121.413°E; depth = 24.6 km

 

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Ghost Town: Diffa in Niger ‘Virtually Empty’

Posted by feww on February 13, 2015

Violence spreading from NE Nigeria into Chad, Cameroon and Niger

Violence is spreading from north-east Nigeria into neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, exacerbating the refugee exodus across the region, said said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday.

“In Niger, fighting broke out last week between the Niger armed forces and Nigerian insurgents in the town of Bosso, which is located near Lake Chad in the southern region of Diffa. This has been followed by a series of attacks in Diffa town against civilians, including by suicide bombers. With fear and panic spreading fast, large parts of the population of Diffa are moving further west, towards the city of Zinder,” said UNHCR.

Boko Haram attacks against Diffa and Bosso, both located about 1,300km south of the capital, Niamey, prompted the Niger government to declare a state of emergency in the southeast.

Diffa is a city and Urban Commune in SE Niger, near that border with Nigeria, with a population of about 50,000 in 2011.

“W fear that the scale of displacement is high: Prior to the attacks Diffa had a population of 50,000 – today the town is virtually empty,” a spokesperson for UNHCR told reporters.

He warned that there are serious shortages of food and clean water, across the region.

“This situation is being further exacerbated, as shops remain closed and humanitarian actors have had to significantly reduce their activities in the Diffa region because of the general insecurity. At present there are no humanitarian actors left in Bosso,” he said.

In May 2013, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, and more than 157,000 people fled the country including at least 100,000 people who crossed the border into Niger.

[An additional 1 million people are internally displaced inside Nigeria, according to the country’s National Emergency Management Agency.]

“We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation, as several thousand people are at present without any assistance. We are working with authorities to securely deploy aid workers as soon as possible and at the same time we are preparing for rapid evaluation and response assessments,” the UNHCR spokesman said.

“In Cameroon, the situation is as worrying,” he added, citing reports of killings, abductions and violence in the country’s Far North region near the border with Nigeria. There are more than 40,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.

In Chad, some 3,000 Nigerian refugees were registered as of the end of last year. A further 15,000 have fled into Chad since to escape attacks in and around the north-east Nigerian town of Bagakawa.

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Boston Breaks More Snow Records

Posted by feww on February 13, 2015

Record 72 inches of snow on Boston over 30 days, record 42.2 inches for February

A record 72 inches of snow on Boston over 30 days has paralyzed “The Walking City,” causing massive commuting delays and forcing the head of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to resign.

Boston has also set a new record of 42.2 inches for total snowfall in February, with more than two weeks left to end of the month.

Meantime, a new storm system is forecast to dump as much as two additional feet of snow on parts of New England.

Earlier today, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued the following forecast, warning of  “highly amplified weather pattern across the United States.” And an intense nor’easter bringing heavy snow and blizzard to eastern New England by early Sunday is forecast to produce “brutal subzero wind chills,” with the effective temperature falling to as low as minus 35 degrees in places.

Dangerous wind chills will continue Friday across much of the Northeast, into central Appalachians

[…] low pressure systems dropping southward out of Canada towards the East Coast… will then undergo what meteorologists call Miller-B type cyclogenesis near the New England coast, and this occurs when a low pressure system approaching from the west transfers its energy to a coastal low that rapidly intensifies and deepens.

The storm system will be followed by a “truly arctic airmass,” producing the coldest weather of the season, for parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. this weekend, said NWS. 

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Drought Destroys or Damages Crops in Virginias

Posted by feww on February 12, 2015

Drought disaster declared for five counties in the Virginias

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated five counties in the two Virginias  as crop disaster areas due to losses and damages caused by drought that occurred from June 1, 2014 through Oct. 31, 2014.

Drought disaster designations

  • Virginia: Highland, Augusta and Bath counties.
  • West Virginia: Pendleton and Pocahontas counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 736 countiesiii across 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

All of the 2015 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.]

Notes:
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 11, 2015.

Related Links

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Drought and Deluge Plague Southern Africa

Posted by feww on February 12, 2015

Tropical Storm FUNDI brings torrential rains to Madagascar, as below average rains deepen rainfall deficits in Angola and Namibia, said NOAA.

Storms, floods kill at least 158 in Mozambique

At least 158 people have been killed as floods plagues central and northern Mozambique, said the state news agency AIM.

More than 177,000 people were affected, many of them displaced as severe weather destroys 654 schools, 7 health centers and more than 100 places of worship, reported AIM.

Meantime, a cholera outbreak in Nampula, Niassa and Tete provinces have has killed at least 19 people, from a total of 1,671 cases, said the Deputy Health Minister

“Since mid-December, consistent and significantly heavy rainfall has been received over southeastern Africa. In parts of southern Malawi, as well as, central and northern Mozambique, these rains have resulted in widespread flooding, extensive damage to crops, livestock and infrastructure, thousands of displaced people, and fatalities. The excess moisture also has elevated the risk for downstream river inundation along the Shire, Licungo, Zambezi, Mazoe, Pungue, and Save Rivers in the region. Above-average rain forecast for the next week will keep flooding risks elevated,” said NOAA

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Hundreds of Migrants Drown in Mediterranean Sea

Posted by feww on February 11, 2015

300 Migrants and Refugees Missing in Mediterranean

The missing, presumed drowned, were among migrants and refugees, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, who had left the coast of Libya in four dinghies.

Some 29 refugees and migrants died on Sunday from one dinghy, but 110 survivors landed in Lampedusa, after being rescued by Italian coastguard and a merchant vessel, said reports.

The survivors confirmed to UNHCR that they had left on Saturday, February 7, from Libya on four rubber dinghies without food and water. Only nine out of 216 passengers survived on two other dinghies, with the fourth one still missing.

“This is a tragedy on an enormous scale and a stark reminder that more lives could be lost if those seeking safety are left at the mercy of the sea. Saving lives should be our top priority. Europe cannot afford to do too little too late,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Europe Bureau Director.

At least 218,000 people, including both migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean in 2014 and the trend is expected to continue in 2015, said UNHCR.

Related Links

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Record Snowfall Buries New England

Posted by feww on February 10, 2015

Boston breaks snow record

Boston sets a record for the most snow in 30 days with 61.6 inches, breaking the previous record of 58.8 inches, which fell during and after the 1978 Blizzard.

As of Monday p.m., a total of 76.5 inches of snow had fallen at Logan Airport, where snow is officially measured, so far this winter.

The latest snowstorm, which has killed at least one person in Massachusetts, forced the closure of schools, businesses and  cancellations of hundreds of flights , so far this week.

Massachusetts Governor Baker issued a statewide snow emergency Sunday evening, urging employers to close businesses and non-essential employees to stay home.

Gov. Baker Declares State of Emergency for Mass.

Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency Monday evening “for the Commonwealth to pursue mutual aid initiatives with other states.”  He also announced state office closures for non-emergency personnel who live or work in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk or Suffolk counties, according to the State’s website.

“Three storms in two weeks have dropped historic amounts of snow on the Commonwealth, complicating cleanup and snow removal efforts, despite round the clock shifts,” said Baker.

“The state of emergency shall remain in effect until notice is given in the Governor’s judgment that it is no longer necessary,” said a statement issued by the state officials.

MBTA Closure – Tuesday, February 10th, 2015: The MBTA has announced all subway, trolley and commuter rail services will be suspended to allow maintenance crews to clear snow and ice from tracks, the third rail and switches. Bus services will be available on an extremely limited basis and customers will not be able to make transfers at customary intermodal points due to suspended rail services.

 

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Massachusetts Declares Statewide Snow Emergency

Posted by feww on February 9, 2015

Powerful Snowstorm Hits New England Again

Massachusetts Governor Baker has issued a statewide snow emergency, urging employers to close businesses and non-essential employees to stay home.

Many parts of the state could receive up to 24 inches of snow.  Several towns already have up to 60 inches of snow accumulated on roadsides.

This is the third week the region is being hit by massive snowstorms. Two weeks ago the blizzard raged for two days forcing many schools to close for up to a week.

The Groundhog Day Nor’easter dumped more snow in the region last week, again forcing many schools and businesses to close down for several days.

Up to 15 inches of snow is forecast for southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

 

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Shallow Quake Strikes Baja California, Mexico

Posted by feww on February 9, 2015

SEISMIC HAZARDS
HEIGHTENED GLOBAL SEISMICITY
SCENARIOS 700, [500,] 08, 07, 02
.

M4.9 shallow quake occurs near Gulf of California, Mexico

Centered at 31.526°N, 115.665°W the quake occurred at a depth of 1.9km, said USGS/EHP.

EQ Details
Magnitude: 4.9Mw
Location: 31.526°N 115.665°W
Depth: 1.9km
Event Time: 2015-02-09 01:45:02 (UTC)
Nearby Cities

  • 84km (52mi) NNE of Camalu, Mexico
  • 88km (55mi) ESE of Maneadero, Mexico
  • 399km (248mi) WSW of Phoenix, Arizona

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Angry Volcanoes Spewing Fire

Posted by feww on February 8, 2015

GLOBAL VOLCANIC HAZARDS
SCENARIOS 989, 787, 786, 707, 703, 700, [500,] 08, 07, 02
.

New/ongoing volcanic activity/unrest at 24 volcanoes across the globe

Guatemala’s Fuego volcano spews ash forcing closure of international airport

Fuego volcano [Volcán de Fuego, or “Volcano of Fire,”] located about 40 km southwest of Guatemalan capital, spewed ash into the air on Saturday, prompting the authorities to evacuate a nearby community and forcing the closure of the capital’s international airport.

At least a dozen flights were cancelled after the main airport in the capital Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, aka Guatemala City, was shut down.

On September 13, 2012 the 3,763-meter-high volcano erupted forcing the authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of people from 20 or so villages near the mountain.

Latest Volcanic Activity/Unrest

  • Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii
    Kīlauea continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. The June 27th lava flow remains about 500 m (~550 yd) from Highway 130 in the area west of the Pāhoa Fire and Police Stations. The flow has not advanced downslope in more than a week, but many breakouts are active upslope, said HVO. Code: ORANGE.
  • Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska
    Elevated surface temperatures at the summit were observed in satellite data on Friday through Saturday. “Web camera images showed intermittent, minor steam emissions. Low-level eruptive activity confined to the summit crater of the volcano likely continues. Seismicity remains above background levels and tremor persists,” said AVO.  Code: ORANGE
  • Piton de la Fournaise, island of La Reunion in Indian Ocean (France)
    “Peak of the Furnace” in the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion erupted on February 4, 2015. The previous significant eruption, which lasted for two days, began on December 9, 2010.

Piton de la Fournaise volcano -gua
Piton de la Fournaise volcano, aka,“Peak of the Furnace,” a shield volcano on the eastern side of (France-administered) Réunion island in the Indian Ocean erupts, February 5, 2015. (Photo Source: chinanews.com). More images…

  • Colima Volcano, Mexico
    Eruptions and lava flow reported since January 29, 2015.
  • Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy
    Latest eruptive episode began on 31 December, 2014.
  • Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka, Russia
    Explosive eruptions at Karymsky continued into late January/early February, with ash plumes rising  to heights of about 4 km above the crater.
  • Klyuchevskoy, Central Kamchatka, Russia
    Strombolian and Vulcanian eruptions at Klyuchevskoy continued into late January/ early February with ash plumes rising to a height of about 8km a.s.l.
  • Pacaya, Guatemala
    Ash emissions reported by INSIVUMEH starting late January.
  • Ruapehu, North Island, NZ
    Water temperatures at Ruapehu’s summit Crater Lake have been increasing from about 15C to 40C since late December, said Geonet. The company also reported increased levels of volcanic gas emissions through the lake, which is changing color from blue-green to gray due to convection.
  • Soputan, Sulawesi,  Indonesia
    The volcano spewed an ash plume to an altitude of more than 6 km (20,000 ft) on February 2, 2015.

For a list of the ongoing eruption/unrest at 13 other volcanoes see weekly reports HERE.

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FIRE-EARTH Alert: Three Witches BIG CLASH

Posted by feww on February 7, 2015

CORRECTION
CJ Members:

Fire-Earth Alert: Three Witches BIG CLASH

Details of the ‘Three Witches BIG CLASH’ Alert will be broadcast on FIRE-EARTH Channels on February 08, 2015 at the following times:

  • 02:32, 03:32, 04:32 then 10:32, 12:32, 14:32 and 20:32UTC

FIRE-EARTH Model diagnostic discussion will be broadcast also on Sunday, February 08, 2015 at 08:32, 16:32 and 22:32UTC.

 

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