Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘Victoria’

Extreme Weather Hammers Victoria, Australia

Posted by feww on December 29, 2016

Heavy storms trigger major deluge in Melbourne, move across the region

Multiple warnings have been issued across the state. Details are available from:

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Posted by feww on December 31, 2015

Major to record flooding continues over parts of Mississippi River Valley: NWS

Major flooding is occurring or forecast on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers & tributaries in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, with record flooding at several locations. Major flooding is also occurring on the Arkansas River & tributaries in Arkansas. Floodwaters will move downstream over the next couple of weeks, with significant river flooding expected for the lower Mississippi into mid-January. Read More…

More flooding is forecast for Missouri and Illinois were on Thursday as rain-swollen rivers overflowed their banks, inundating vast areas, washing out hundreds of homes and leaving thousands of people displaced.

Flood Warnings were in effect in at least 16 states, as of posting. The Mississippi River, North America’s third longest, is forecast to crest early next week in Thebes, Illinois, at 14.48 meter, more than 0.46 cm above the 1995 record, said NWS.

Tornadoes, flooding and extreme rain have killed dozens of peephole in the southern and central U.S. since last week.

Yemen: Humanitarian catastrophe worsens

Conflict continues to devastate the lives of men, women, and children in Yemen. Eighty-two per cent of Yemen’s population requires some form of humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs or protect their fundamental rights. After nine months of intensified conflict the severity of needs, among the most vulnerable populations, has deepened and the lack of a political solution will further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, UN said.

Ongoing air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition and conflict on the ground makes humanitarian activities, including the transportation of goods, difficult and, at times, dangerous.

Over one million migrant/ refugee sea arrivals reach Europe in 2015

Some 1,000,573 people have reached Europe across the Mediterranean, mainly to Greece and Italy, in 2015 including 3,735 who were missing, believed drowned, according to the latest figures released by UNHCR.

Mass evacuations in three Australian towns as bushfires reignite

Thousands of residents and tourists were evacuated on Thursday from three regions along the scenic Great Ocean Road in southern Australia as hot, windy weather reignited  bushfires that destroyed 116 homes on Christmas Day.

The fires, which started by lightning 12 days ago, have consumed more than 2,500 hectares, and threatened to re-intensify amid record warm temperatures and high winds.

“The local community has listened to the best of advice and will leave their homes because on such a challenging day, with that fire still active, so close to them, it’s not safe for them nor is it safe for those who have been called on to protect them,” Victoria state Premier said

Colombia issues ‘Red Alert’ over record low river levels

Colombia has issued a red alert after water levels dropped significantly in the Magdalena River, the country’s main waterway, and Cauca River, another key river, said a report.

Hundreds of towns and cities across the country rely on the two rivers for water.

“The Magdalena River presents the lowest levels since 1973. The level is 45 centimeters, when it should be 134 centimeters,” said President Santos.

Drought Plunges Lesotho into Emergency

More than 650,000 people face hunger in Lesotho’s worst drought in decades. Struggling from two successive crop failures, the mountain kingdom has been pushed into a state of crisis by low rainfall across much of southern Africa.

Impact of flooding in northern Argentina

The number of families impacted by the flooding in the north and central parts of the Argentina is growing.

  • More than 25,000 people have been affected by the overflow of the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers, according to the latest estimates.
  • At least 1,900 inhabitants of Concordia have been evacuated due to historic river flooding in the city.
  • Over 15,000 people have been affected in Concordia, a number that includes 2,000 evacuees and over 9,000 people that have abandoned their homes and are living with family or friends.

Hundreds evacuated from BP oil platforms in North Sea

Some 235 workers were evacuated from BP’s oil platforms in the Vallhall oilfield in the Norwegian North Sea after a 110-meter monster barge drifted near the major oilfield uncontrollably, local media reported.

Fatality on board COSL rig in North Sea

Statoil and COSL say one worker was killed an at least two others injured as a result of the “breaking wave” that hit the drilling rig COSL Innovator.

“COSL Innovator is under contract to Statoil at the Troll field in the North Sea, west of Bergen. The rig had been taken off the well as a result of the bad weather before the incident occurred. The breaking wave also caused some damage to the rig’s accommodation module.”

The rig is being evacuated, and the evacuees are being flown ashore, according to a statement posted on Statoil website.

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4 Towns Evacuated as Bushfire Consumes Homes in Victoria, Aus

Posted by feww on December 25, 2015

Blaze destroys homes, threatens towns in SE Australia

A major bushfire burning uncontrollably along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road has destroyed at least 50 homes, forcing evacuations and burning thousands of hectares, said a report.

More than 300 firefighters are battling the blaze overnight but are being hindered by the heavily forested terrain.

“The towns of Wye River, Grey River, Kennett River and Separation Creek have been evacuated, with only four people choosing to stay behind to protect their homes.

“Residents and holidaymakers were also urged leave Lorne and Allenvale, with Torquay and Geelong the safest options.”


UK Army deployed in Cumbria amid new flooding fears

Forecasters have warned heavy rain may cause flooding in the region later on Friday for the fourth time this month, with rivers already high and ground saturated, said a report.

“Rain will spread across Wales and northern England through the course of Christmas Day, reaching southern parts of Scotland during the early hours of Boxing Day, with prolonged spells forecast for south Cumbria.”

The county has already shattered the record for wettest December since records began in 1910.

Thousands of properties were affected when Storm Desmond brought a record amount of rainfall to Cumbria during the weekend of 5-6 December.

Four days later, further rain led to more flooding, and some parts of the county were inundated for a third time in a month on Tuesday after another deluge.

In addition to Cumbria, flood alerts have also been issued across other parts of the UK, with about three dozen flood warnings in place from Wales to Scotland as the effects of Storm Eva take hold, said the report.

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Bushfires Plague Australia

Posted by feww on December 21, 2015

Wildfires consume thousand of acres, 15 homes in Victoria, Australia

About 900 firefighters responded to dozens of grass and bushfires across the state of Victoria on Sunday amid hot, dry and windy conditions from South Australia that pushed into New South Wales.

Extreme heat caused some of Victoria state’s worst fires burning out of control over the the weekend.

On Sunday, “more than 6,000 people in the Indigo Valley were texted emergency alerts when they were told it was too late to leave, and to instead take shelter.”

“[The fire] closed the Hume Freeway for hours, saw hundreds of cars backed up on the Hume Freeway, in 40 degree temperatures, not a nice place to be,” said Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner.

“[We had] multiple fires across the state but our fire crews did a fantastic job to pull up, we had the potential to have this morning many, many fires.”

A fire in Scotsburn killed more than a thousand sheep, five horses, 12 homes, 30 sheds and much of the fencing in the area, he said.

On Monday, dozens of warnings and alerts were in effect across the country including multiple fire warnings in New South Wales & ACT, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

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‘Catastrophic’ Fire Warnings Issued in SE Australia amid Worsening Heatwave

Posted by feww on October 6, 2015

Bushfires breaking out in SE Australia as spring heatwave creates extreme conditions

Fire weather warnings have been issued for parts of the Australian states of Tasmania and Victoria as unusually high temperatures and strong winds threaten the country’s southeast, according to the Australian weather bureau.

Catastrophic fire conditions threaten Mallee, North Central, South West and Central districts, including the towns of Anglesea, Braeside and Tyabb in Victoria, said the weather bureau warning that winds of about 60 km/h with damaging gusts of 9up to 115 km/h would likely worsen the conditions.

In Tasmania, similar conditions threaten the Furneaux Islands, North East, East Coast, Midlands, Upper Derwent Valley and South East districts, said the bureau.

People have been warned to prepare for the extremes and review bushfire survival plans.

The bureau has also issued a separate “Severe Weather Warning” for damaging winds for people in the Furneaux Islands, North East, Western, East Coast and South East forecast districts.

“There are 24 bush, grass and scrub fires across the state (NSW), of which 10 remain uncontained,” a local fire official told reporters.

Unseasonably hot conditions are elevating the danger also in NSW, the ACT and Queensland.

Temperatures  are forecast to soar up to 15ºC above normal for this time of the year in multiple areas.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology has forecast the following highs for eastern state capitals:

  • Sydney 33ºC
  • Melbourne 35ºC
  • Hobart 30ºC
  • Canberra 31ºC
  • Brisbane 31ºC


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Wildfire Emergency Warnings Issued for Shires in Victoria, Australia

Posted by feww on December 16, 2014

Fast moving, out of control wildfires plague Victoria, Australia

Multiple Emergency Warnings, Watches and Advisories have been issued by the  state officials as fast-moving wildfires plague Victoria.

The following are two of the latest warnings issued by officials in Victoria:

Emergency Warning

Issued For: Boweya, Boweya North
Fire Origin: LAKE ROWAN
Issued: 17/12/14 01:49 AM

This is an Emergency Warning issued by Country Fire Authority for Boweya, and Boweya North.

There is a fast moving, out of control grassfire travelling in an easterly direction from Lake Rowan towards Boweya and Boweya North.  You are in danger, act now to protect yourself.

Emergency Warning

Issued For: Strathbogie South, Strathbogie, Kithbrook, Kelvin View, Gooram, Creightons Creek
Issued: 16/12/14 10:59 PM

This is an updated Emergency Warning issued by Country Fire Authority for Strathbogie South, Strathbogie, Kithbrook, Kelvin View, Gooram, Creightons Creek.

The CREIGHTONS CREEK bushfire is currently out of control.
You are now in immediate danger, act now to protect yourself. Emergency Services may not be able to help you.

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Bushfires Destroy Homes across SE Australia

Posted by feww on February 9, 2014


Bushfires spark emergency warnings across Victoria and South Australia

Scores of bushfires have consumed large swathes of Victoria and South Australia, destroying homes and farms amid the worst fire conditions since Black Saturday.

On and around February 7, 2009 (Black Saturday) bushfires killed at least 173 people, left more than 400 others injured, and destroyed about 2,000 homes.

“There has been no official confirmation of the number of properties lost but ABC reporters saw homes razed in the Gisborne, Craigieburn and Warrandyte areas,” reported ABC Australia.

bushfires near Craigieburn- north of Melbourne-s
Bushfires near Craigieburn, north of Melbourne, Victoria, February 9, 2014. Credit: Darren Arthur/ Audience submitted via ABC Aus.

Many residents have been ordered to leave their homes as flames spread to the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city.

  • At least 70 bushfire are burning across the state of Victoria.
  • More than 140 Emergency Warnings have been issued.

Authorities have closed roads across the devastated areas and told residents who evacuated their homes not to return, said the report.

bangor fire SAust-9feb2014
Smoke rises from the Bangor bushfire in South Australia, February 9, 2014. Image Credit: Kendall Jackson/
Audience submitted via ABC Aus.

South Australia

Meanwhile, the Bangor fire, which has consumed more than 30,000 hectares in South Australia, is slowly creeping  towards the towns of Beetaloo, Beetaloo Valey, Laura, Stone-Hutt, Wirrabara and Wirrabarra Forest, having breached its containment lines on Saturday, the report said.

Emergency Warnings:

Developing story …

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See also:

Posted in 2014 disaster calendar, 2014 disaster diary, 2014 Disaster Forecast, 2014 global disasters, Climate Change, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southern Australia Burning in Another Day of Extreme Temperatures

Posted by feww on January 17, 2014


Hundreds ordered to evacuate as  bushfires continue to rage out of control

A massive 45,000-hectare bushfire in Victoria is creating its own weather system, as authorities  declare multiple emergency warnings in the worst hit areas.

A 12-km convection column, known as a pyrocumulonimbus cloud [pyro-cb,] has been creating its own weather above the Grampians fire, including thunderstorms and lightning, said a report.

The American Meteorological Society describes pyro-cb as “a cumulus cloud formed by a rising thermal from a fire, or enhanced by buoyant plume emissions from an industrial combustion process.”

grampians fire with pyro-cb
Image shows a pyro-cb column forming above the Grampians fire. Screen dump from ABC Australia Video clip.

Hundreds of bushfire are burning across Australia including more than 70 in the state of Victoria, which are raging out of control. Dozens more blazes are burring in South Australia, West Australia and at least 45 in New South Wales.

Officials have confirmed that a woman was killed in the Grampians fire at Roses Gap, whilst a number of homes were destroyed in South Australia’s Eden Valley northeast of Adelaide, said a report.

The flames are spreading so fast, they were described as being like “running water” by a helicopter crew monitoring the disaster areas.

Authorities also fear that up to 25 fires currently burning uncontrollably east of Victoria could join to form a mega fire measuring at least 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres).

More than 1,000 fires across Southern Australia have been sparked by lightning since last week.

Developing story …

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Posted in Climate Change, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, News Alert, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Australia’s Bushfire Losses Top 1,000

Posted by feww on October 25, 2013

Insurers Receive 1,011 claims for bushfire losses totaling $138 million

As of October 25, insurers in Australia have received 1,011 claims, with the losses caused by October bushfires estimated at $138 million, said the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

“While claims lodgements have stabilised over the past couple of days, we expect these to begin climbing again as returning residents assess any property damage,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan.

NSW bushfires destroy hundreds of homes
An aerial photo of some of the hundreds of NSW homes destroyed in the October bushfires.

Meantime, Australia’s new Prime Minister Abbott, talking through his hat, has dismissed any link between climate change and the NSW bushfires as “complete hogwash.”

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that FIRE-EARTH climate-related models forecast the extent of damage caused by Victoria’s February 2009 bushfires with great accuracy.

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Posted in Climate Change, disaster watch, disaster watch 2013, disaster zone, disasters, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

No Cash, No Feed: Crisis Hits SW Victoria Herd

Posted by feww on July 7, 2013

Hundreds of dairy cows and beef cattle in SW Victoria, Australia are starving to death

“It really comes down to a very fine balancing act between the bank (not giving us any more loans to buy feed) and keeping the cows alive; it’s the toughest, most heartbreaking time we’ve ever faced,” said dairy farmer Scott Gapes.
dying cattle
This photo of dying cattle was sent to The Weekend Australian by Dr Mike Hamblin. Source: The Australian

“I see animals suffering from malnutrition and farmers distressed by their financial situation (that) makes it impossible to feed them,” wrote Dr Hamblin, local veterinarian and dairy consultant.

“Snaps from two farms I visited last week (are attached). These animals are too weak to stand. Owners (one male and one female) were crying openly at their stock starving (but) are financially powerless to correct.

The Weekend Australian was later asked by Dr Hamblin not to publish the distressing photos for fear they would spark an urban backlash.

“And there is worse to come; June is a record dry (month) and feed (to buy) is now so scarce and expensive; what actions do we take; where will it all end?” Hamblin said.

Cows are dying and farmers face ruin as fodder runs out

by: Sue Neales, Rural reporter
From: The Australian
July 06, 2013

Hundreds of dairy cows and beef cattle in southwest Victoria are starving, weak and at risk of death this weekend.

Desperate dairy farmers in the Colac, Camperdown, Warrnambool and Koroit region have no grass in their paddocks and no hay in their sheds to feed their cattle after the driest nine months and hottest summer on record, The Australian reports.

Dairy farmers already struggling with unsustainable debts, low milk prices and falling land values and farm equity are having to choose between putting food on their family’s kitchen table or feeding the milking herd.

Prices for hay and stock grain have quadrupled since the start of the year, as more farmers try to buy in hay, silage, wheat, straw and even almond husks to feed their hungry cows. Top-quality lucerne hay is impossible to source.

As winter arrives, dozens of cows have died in their paddocks from complications linked to starvation and malnutrition. Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has branded it an animal welfare crisis that will only get worse.

Mr Barber accused the Victorian government, headed by former vet, western Victorian local MP and Liberal Premier Denis Napthine, of keeping quiet about the scale of the impending starving cattle disaster because of concerns about a public outcry.

The Midfield meatworks at Warrnambool is overflowing with old and weak dairy cows that can no longer be fed, with a two-week waiting list to book in cows for slaughter. The pet food processor at Camperdown, who is licensed to pick up carcasses from the paddock, has also been inundated with calls.

Last week, one dairy farmer in Simpson, south of Colac, shot 120 of his dairy cows in the paddock because they were too weak to milk or survive the trip to the knackery to be turned into hamburger mince.

The Victorian Department of Primary Industries is believed to be considering laying charges of animal cruelty against some farmers whose stock have died of starvation.

Winslow dairy farmer Scott Gapes has lost 10 pregnant cows that were so weak they could not stand and developed pregnancy toxaemia. Several others came back into the milking shed after calving “so skinny” that Mr Gapes put them out of their misery.

“It really comes down to a very fine balancing act between the bank (not giving us any more loans to buy feed) and keeping the cows alive; it’s the toughest, most heartbreaking time we’ve ever faced,” Mr Gapes said.

Local veterinarian and dairy consultant Mike Hamblin wrote two weeks ago to state and federal politicians appealing for help to prevent a desperate situation getting even worse.

His letter, followed up by meetings in Canberra with former treasurer Wayne Swan and former agriculture minister Joe Ludwig, was accompanied by stark photos he had taken of dying and starving dairy cows looking like bags of bones.

“I see animals suffering from malnutrition and farmers distressed by their financial situation (that) makes it impossible to feed them,” Dr Hamblin wrote.

“Snaps from two farms I visited last week (are attached). These animals are too weak to stand. Owners (one male and one female) were crying openly at their stock starving (but) are financially powerless to correct.

“And there is worse to come; June is a record dry (month) and feed (to buy) is now so scarce and expensive; what actions do we take; where will it all end?”

In western Victoria, it is too cold until about the third week in September at the earliest for paddocks to start growing grass again. “There is worse to come; June is a record dry (month) and feed (to buy) is now so scarce and expensive. What actions do we take? Where will it all end?” Hamblin says.

Hamblin tells The Weekend Australian it is the worst and driest season he has seen in western Victoria in his nearly 40 years there, with less than half the usual rainfall since last August, a devastatingly hot summer and little spring or autumn grass growth.

After The Weekend Australian was sent his despairing email with a request from the chairman of the Rural Debt working group, Rowell Walton, to “help get the message out”, Dr Hamblin asked the paper not to publish the distressing photographs for fear they would spark an urban backlash.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the state government was well aware that some livestock were starving in the region because financially stressed farmers could not afford to feed them enough.

“We all knew there was this risk of this happening when there wasn’t an early autumn (rain) break,” Mr Walsh said.

He said the Department of Primary Industries was monitoring the situation and working with farmers. “If we think there is a risk (their cattle are so weak they might die), the preferred outcome is to transport them to an abattoir or knackery rather than (let them die on the farm).”

Read more at The Australian.

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Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Global Food Crisis, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Powerful Tornadoes Destroy Dozens of Homes in Australia

Posted by feww on March 22, 2013

Two tornadoes leave a trail of destruction across Victoria, NSW injuring at least 20 people

Destructive twisters described as “terrifying,”  ripped through Murray River towns of Bundalong, Yarrawonga, Mulwala, Rutherglen, Koonoomoo and Cobram, leaving at least 20 people injured, five seriously, more than 60 homes uninhabitable, and many more houses, mobile homes and businesses damaged, reports said.

  • The tornadoes have been assessed as between F1 and F2 on the F-Scale rating, with wind speeds between 118 and 254km/h [F3?] and a destruction path 150m – 250m wide, said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
  • A local official in Mulwala described his town as “looking like a war zone” after the tornadoes swept through.
  • “It’s just like a bomb went off. Trees have got no leaves. It’s just defoliated them. It looks like Agent Orange has sort of gone through there and stripped them.”
  • Another official said:  “It is colossal damage, this will cost millions to fix.”
  • “Big trees that weigh tonnes have been plucked from the ground and dragged and smashed everywhere.”

Related Links

Other Global Disasters/Significant Events

USA: Connecticut Disaster Declaration

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Connecticut in the areas affected by a severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of February 8-11, 2013.

  • Public infrastructure and facilities were destroyed or damaged by the severe winter storm and snowstorm in Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham Counties and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribal Nations located within New London County.

Thailand: Drought Disaster Declared in 39 Provinces

Drought disaster has been declared across 39 of Thailand’s 76 provinces, with a 4oth province,  Suphan Buri, on the verge of becoming another disaster area, said officials at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM).

  • At least 20 of the disaster areas are experiencing extreme [exceptional] drought.

USA: New Hampshire Disaster Declaration

The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of New Hampshire in the areas affected by a severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of February 8-10, 2013.

  • Public infrastructure and facilities were destroyed or damaged by the severe winter storm and snowstorm in the counties of Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, and Sullivan.

United Kingdom: Britain could run out of gas in 36 hours

Britain’s natural gas stocks are running low due to the unseasonably cold weather, which has pushed the demand up by at least 20 percent. In the worst case scenario the country could run out of gas supplies in 36 hours, reports said.



Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,086 Days Left to ‘Worst Day’ in the brief Human  History
  • The countdown began on May 15, 2011 …


Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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SE Australia Toasted Brown

Posted by feww on December 12, 2009

3rd year of drought in Australia

No Relief in Sight for Farmers in Victoria and New South Wales!

Drought in SE Australia

September 7-22, 2005

September 7 – 22, 2009

Centered on the agricultural areas near the Murray River, Australia’s largest river, between Hume Reservoir and Lake Tyrrell, the satellite images show vegetation conditions for a 16-day period in the middle of September in 2005 and 2009 compared to the average mid-September conditions over the decade. Places with vegetation above the decadal average are green, average areas are off-white, areas where vegetation growth was below average are brown.

Here at the border between the state of Victoria (south of the Murray) and New South Wales (north of the river), mid-September is the height of the growing season for cereal grains, including wheat, barley, and oats.

While the overall pattern in each year is unmistakable—2005 was the last year of good growing conditions—there are localized differences in how crops responded to the climate. These differences could have numerous causes, from localized rainfall to variability in the drought-tolerance of an area’s predominant crop type. At the individual field level, a brown or green patch in a single year could indicate a crop that was struggling or flourishing, but it could also reflect a management decision to plant or harvest at a different time or to leave a field fallow.

The images collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. NASA images by Robert Simmon. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey, with assistance from Dath Mita and Curt Reynolds, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. [Edited by FEWW.]

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Posted in australia grains, australia satellite images, australia vegetation, MODIS, poor crops | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

Image of the Day: Human Excesses

Posted by feww on February 10, 2009

Mother Nature or Arson?

Nature Robs What Human Excesses Wall Street Fails to Steal

Australian couple stand stunned among the ruins of their home in Victoria. Photo: John Woudstra. Image may be subject to copyright.

Bushfire devastation. (User submitted via ABC Contribute: shaz67).  Image may be subject to copyright.

Bushfire crisis: Grisly body search continues as death toll rises.The search for bodies in burnt-out houses continues. (AFP: William West). Image may be subject to copyright.

[“The Terracotta Horse.”] A horse that was trapped by the raging fires lies dead at the side of the road near the community of Kinglake, north east of Melbourne, Australia February 9, 2009. Weary firefighters and rescuers pulled the remains of dozens of people from charred buildings on Monday as the death toll rose to 130 [173] from southern Australia’s deadliest bushfires. REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool.

Earth Observatory: Bushfires in Southeast Australia

Natural color

False color

NASA Earth Observatory images acquired February 9, 2009

Bushfires in southeastern Australia turned deadly over the first weekend of February 2009. Out-of-control fires raced into small communities and towns in Victoria, and more than 100 people had died as of February 9, according to news reports. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News) reported that many of those who died had remained to protect their homes. Among the most devastated communities were those in the Kinglake area and Marysville. As of February 9, firefighters were expressing concern about the increased activity of the fire around the town of Dederang, southwest of Lake Hume.

This pair of images shows the Barry Mountains of central Victoria on February 9, 2009. The image at top is a natural-color (photo-like) view captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where the sensor detected active fire are outlined in red. The lower image is the same scene shown in false color, using visible, near-infrared, and shortwave infrared light. Burned areas are brick red, and places of intense heat—often a sign of open flame in this kind of image—are glowing pink. Smoke turns a transparent blue, which makes it easier to see the ground.

Fire is a regular occurrence in the forests and grasslands of southeastern Australia, even in the absence of people. In the hot, dry summer months, vegetation dries out; lightning triggers many natural wildfires. However, in the past decade, the area has experienced several severe droughts, and in late January and early February, parts of South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales were also paralyzed by an exceptional heatwave. Conditions were primed for devastating fires, some of which appear to have been started by lighting and others, according to news reports, by arson. The event was the worst fire disaster in Australia’s history.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

Posted in arson, Bushfire crisis, Living Hell, Mother Nature, New South Wales | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Australian fires toll may exceed 200

Posted by feww on February 9, 2009

The Australian govt. blames ‘arsonists’ for the worst bushfires in the country’s History

As the known death toll reaches about 120, and the bushfires incinerate up to 1,000 homes, the government blames ‘arsonists’ for starting the fires.

“We will throw the book at you if you are caught,” New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees reportedly said.

Below is a list of Australia’s  recorded death toll and property damage from bushfires (Source: BBC UK)

  • February 16,  1983.  75 dead, 2,300 homes destroyed in “Ash Wednesday” bushfires in Victoria and South Australia
  • January 8, 1969.  At least 22 dead, 230 homes lost in rural Victoria
  • February 7,  1967.  62 dead, 1,300 homes destroyed in fires in Hobart, Tasmania
  • January 13, 1939.   71 dead, 700 homes destroyed in “Black Friday” fires in Victoria
  • February – March 1922.  60 died in Gippsland, eastern Victoria

Number of alleged arsonists arrested in the above incidents: NONE reported.

A bushfire burns in the Bunyip Sate Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, Victoria, Australia 07 February 2009. Authorities have issued urgent fire warnings to towns near a bushfire burning out of control east of Melbourne. EPA/ANDREW BROWNBILL. Image may be subject to copyright.

A total of 12 bushfires are burning out of control across Victoria, comprising about 26 blazes,  covering up to 225,000 hectare of land.

Bushfires in Southeast Australia

This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows multiple large fires (outlined in red) burning in Victoria on February 7. Huge plumes of smoke spread southeast, driven by fierce winds. The large version of the image shows a large dust storm blowing over interior deserts to the northwest. These fires sprang up and exploded in size in just a few short hours. The image captured by the Terra MODIS sensor just a few hours prior to this image showed no sign of these fires. Twice-daily images of southeastern Australia are available from the MODIS Rapid Response Team. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

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Posted in arson, bushfires, Living Hell, Mother Nature, wildfires | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

A Living Hell Heated by Australian Coal

Posted by feww on January 30, 2009

Climate Change Wreaks Havoc in Australia, AND That’s Just Another Round of Starters

Scorching heatwave in southern Australia causes transport chaos by buckling rail lines and leaving thousands without power

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has forecast  six days of scorching temperatures [40-plus Celsius (104 Fahrenheit),] starting on Wednesday, for southern Australia, the hottest heatwave in 100 years.

Australian heatwave is the sort of weather scientists been warning about, said the Climate Change Minister Penny Wong.


Australia Weather
Cloud: Latest Color Satellite Image (Infrared)
– Satellite images taken in infrared show the temperatures of the underlying surface or cloud. The whiter areas indicate the cold cloud tops usually associated with deeper rain bearing clouds.

“Eleven of the hottest years in history have been in the last 12, and we also note, particularly in the southern part of Australia, we’re seeing less rainfall,” Wong said.

“All of this is consistent with climate change, and all of this is consistent with what scientists told us would happen.”

“Health officials in South Australia and Victoria have advised people to stay indoors, use air conditioners, and keep their fluids up.” But that’s easier said than done because  the electricity grid was overloaded leaving more than 10,000 homes were without power in southern Australia.

Rail lines in Melbourne buckled under intense heat and train services were canceled, stranding thousands of hot and angry commuters, the report said.

“Australia is in the grip of drought and total fire bans have been declared in southern Australia in the hope of preventing major bushfires. Small bushfires are burning in South Australia and Victoria and all national parks have been closed.”

Heatwave: Buckled train tracks on the Noarlunga line in Adelaide. (ABC TV). Image may be subject to copyright.

The extreme temperatures were threatening Melbourne’s parks and gardens, said Mayor Robert Doyle, reporting a 40 percent drop in soil moisture.

“The signs are there that our precious trees are struggling in this brutal weather,” said Doyle.

“Our parks staff have indicated a number of trees are defoliating and canopies are thinning. Once defoliation takes place it is very hard to save the tree,” said Doyle.

This is a sign of climate change, the climate change minister said.

Meanwhile fire crews continued to battle two fires south of the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland, which have burnt through 700 hectares of forest, grassland and private pine plantation around Darilmurla, Mirboo North and Boolarra, Victoria [state of Victoria is in southeastern corner of Australia,] which are still burning out of control. ABC News reported.

Dengue Fever

Australia’s warmer temperatures increase the risk of dengue virus spread by the dengue mosquito and the Asian Tiger mosquito. Fatal conditions caused by the dengue virus infection include dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue  shock syndrome (DF). See CDC site for more information.

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Mother Nature 3 – NZ 0

Posted by feww on May 27, 2008

Electricity Shortages in New Zealand

New Zealand is facing electricity shortages unless sufficient rain recharges its hydro catchments, the government [sic] said.

“Unless we have some increased inflows in the South Island hydro catchments in the next three weeks, further conservation measures will have to be looked at,” the Energy Minister [sic] said.

South Island hydro power facilities provide about two thirds of New Zealand’s electricity. According to a wholesale electricity market operator, storage in hydro-electric lakes is about 40 percent below average. As a result the price of electricity jumped by 30.6 percent to $215.26 per megawatt hour.

Location map of Taupo, New Zealand

In the 2003 power crisis, the government had planned to cut residential hot water supplies, followed by rolling power cuts for residential users, and blackouts.

Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, located in New Zealand’s South Island, consumes about 15 percent of the country’s electricity.

Farm Produce

Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that the prolonged drought in New Zealand, the worst in 20 years, had cut farm production and more than doubled the power prices this year. New Zealand’s energy demand peaks June through August during the hemisphere winter months due to heating use. Hydro-power lakes have been below average since November 2007.

In April 2008, lake Taupo was 18 percent below average. Lake Pukaki was 40 percent below average. Lake Manapouri, which is used to supply Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, was 45 percent below its usual levels.

Continuing drought in New Zealand and Australia, as well as a falling production in the UK and a weak dollar, are raising the prices of milk and dairy products globally. In the past 12 months the price of milk has increased by 32 percent, eggs by 40 percent and wholewheat bread by 26 percent.

Earthquake hit south of Macquarie Island

Meanwhile, in a triple whammy, a 5.9-magnitude quake hit 2100 km (1300 miles) S of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, earlier today close to a major fault line. Recent increased seismic activities N, NW and SE of New Zealand do not bode well for the country. The earthquakes may result in a period intense volcanic activity in New Zealand in the coming weeks.

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