Environment

The Watchers News Brief: August 13, 2018


Flash flood emergency declared in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey 

A flash flood emergency was declared for western Bradford County in Pennsylvania on August 13. Numerous residents were rescued from the town of Troy after widespread flooding, TWC reports.

The National Weather Service in State College said there were numerous reports of 152.4 mm (6 inches) of rain or more in Schuylkill and Columbia counties.

Brick, New Jersey authorities declared a state of emergency and evacuated residents of a retirement community after 177.8 to 293.2 mm (7 – 8 inches) inches of rain fell in a matter of hours.

In addition to Brick, Howell, Wall, Neptune, and Lakewood townships were among the hardest hit towns.

In Hancock, New York, Town Supervisor Jerry Vernold issued a state of emergency after the heavy rain created the potential for the Bear Brook Road dam to fail.


Danish crop harvest to fall 40% due to drought

Denmark’s harvest of wheat, barley and rye could fall by about 40% from previous years as farmers suffer one of the hottest and driest summers on record.

A prolonged heatwave and lack of rain have also severely damaged crops in countries such as France, Germany, and Sweden, as well as the Baltic states.

The lower harvest will result in losses for Danish farmers of 6.4 billion Danish crowns ($995 million), the Danish Agriculture & Food Council said, according to Reuters.


Heavy snow over Lesotho, South Africa

Heavy snow over the Maluti mountains in Lesotho as the mercury dipped to sub-zero temperatures.


Triple waterspout touchdown off Blekinge, Sweden


At least 5 people injured after M5.0 hits China’s Yunnan Province

At least 5 people were injured after a shallow M5.0 earthquake hit China’s Yunnan Province at 17:44 UTC on August 12, 2018.

The injured had been hospitalized and are in stable condition, CGTN said.

The authorities are reportedly conducting a rescue operation in the area.


Eruption continues unabated at Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau

Explosions like this were happening every 25 minutes or so for the entirety of our stay, James Reynolds of EarthUncutTV writes. 

Some of those lava bombs were the size of trucks!


Hundreds stranded after heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh, 5 buried under a landslide, India

Most of the roads in the interiors of Himachal Pradesh are closed on August 13 after heavy overnight rains caused numerous landslides. As a precautionary measure, all schools and educational institutes in Shimla and Mandi district have been closed for the day.

At least 5 people were buried under a landslide in Kandaghat area in Solan district, according to Firstpost.

Nehri town in Mandi district recorded the highest rainfall in the state at 235 mm (9.2 inches) in 24 hours, Dharamsala recorded 110 mm (4.3 inches), capital Shimla registered 100 mm (3.9 inches), Kasauli 98 mm (3.8 inches), Solan town 94 mm (3.7 inches) in Solan town and Dalhousie 57 mm (2.2 inches).


Record Rainfall Drenches San Angelo, Texas

San Angelo, TX received record daily rainfall on August 12, 2018, with 58.4 mm (2.3 inches). That broke the previous record of 52.07 mm (2.05 inches) set in 1951.


Very large hail reported in southwestern France


Indonesia earthquake update: Death toll crosses 430

The death toll from the earthquake that rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok on August 5 has reached 436 and the government is estimating economic losses of at least at least 5 trillion rupiahs (USD 342 million).


Dozens work to save car dangling over a sinkhole in China

Dozens of people in Yan’an city in northwest China’s Shaanxi province hauled out a car which nearly fell into a massive sinkhole on a road on August 11. The sinkhole was caused a by a heavy downpour that had hit the city over the weekend.


Devastating floods leave 22 people dead, destroy 3 131 homes, Niger

Heavy rains and subsequent floods have had devastating consequences in several parts of Niger.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Action reports nearly 50 000 homeless people as a consequence of the damage or complete destruction of 3 131 houses.

22 people lost their lives, 26 344 livestock were killed and 3 900 ha (9 637 acres) of land are devastated.


1 107 cholera cases and 19 deaths reported in Niger

The number of people affected by cholera has increased since the first cholera case was identified beginning of July in the Madarounfa district of the Maradi region.

As of August 11, 1 107 cases have been reported by the Ministry of Public Health and 19 people have died. The number of cases in the densely populated Maradi town is now at 66.

Humanitarian actors including those supported by ECHO are scaling up their cholera response and community outreach activities to prevent further spreading of the disease. 


Tropical Cyclones Yagi, Leepi and Bebinca affecting Japan and China

Tropical Cyclone  “Leepi,” formed over the North West Pacific Ocean on August 11 and starting moving north-west toward Kyushu island (Japan) as a tropical depression and strengthening. On August 13, its center was located over the sea approximately 1 000 km (620 miles) SE of Tanega island (Osumi islands, Kagoshima Prefecture) with maximum sustained winds of 111 km/h (69 mph). Over the next 24 hours, it is expected to move north-west toward the northern islands of Osumi islands and southern Kyushu island. Heavy rainstorm surge and strong winds may affect southern Kyushu and Amami islands on August 13 to 15. 

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone “Yagi” continued moving NW over the East China Sea, as a tropical storm. At 12:00 UTC on August 12, its center made landfall over the coast of Wenling (Zhejiang province, China) with maximum sustained winds of 100 km/h (62 mph). It then continued moving overland crossing the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and weakening. Heavy rain may continue to affect several areas of Zhejiang, Shanghai, Anhui and Henan over August 13 to 14. 

Tropical Cyclone “Bebinca” formed over the South China Sea on August 12 close to the coastal areas of Macau and started moving east as a tropical depression. At 00:00 UTC on August 13, its center was located 165 km (102 mph) SW of Macau and it had maximum sustained winds of 56 km/h (35 mph). Over the next 24 hours, it is forecast to turn toward the northwest heading toward the coastal areas of Guangdong province. It may reach land between the cities of Yangjiang and Maoming during early morning UTC hours of August 15 as a tropical depression. Heavy rain and strong winds may affect Guangdong and Hainan provinces over August 13 and 16.


Intense dust storm hits parts of Iran

Intense Dust Storm Hit Iran’s Sistan and Balouchestan on August 13, disrupting life.

An official with Iran Meteorological Department in Sistan and Balouchestan said dust concentration in the southeastern province’s air is around 54 times higher than the standard level, disrupting people’s lives.

He added that the concentration of fine dust in the province currently stands at 8.073 micrograms per cubic meter, while the normal volume of fine particles concentration is 150 micrograms per cubic meter.


Mudflow, landslides block roads in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan

Significant monsoon rains have caused mudflows and landslides in Gilgit Baltistan rendering major thoroughfares blocked during the last 24 hours, the Pakistan Today reports.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in its daily monsoon situation report said that momentous rainfall was reported during the last 24 hours in Islamabad 74 mm (2.9 inches), 55 mm (2.1 inches) in Lahore and 53 mm (2.08) in Barnala.


Waterspouts spotted off the coasts of France and Spain

Onlookers captured a tornado forming off the coast of Cassis in the south of France last week, before thunderstorms hit the region.

Another small waterspout was seen rocking docked boats off the coast of the Balearic island of Espalmador.

The unusually wet weather in France and Spain followed several weeks of a prolonged heatwave throughout Europe, euronews reports.


July floods in Sudan left 23 people dead, 61 injured and over 45 000 affected

Flooding has affected over 45 000 people, led to 23 human deaths and 61 injuries. In addition, more than 8 900 families have been rendered homeless and are currently putting up in temporary sites in their neighbors and relative’s houses.

These rains have caused significant damage to key infrastructure such as bridges and roads as well as amenities like schools, latrines and local dispensaries. In addition, livelihoods have been significantly affected as farms were submerged in water and livestock washed away. Power outages occur severally due to collapsing of power lines.

The Sudanese Meteorological Authority and the Ministry of Water Resources and Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC)’s early warming bulletin issued August 13th indicates that heavy rainfall is forecasted to continue over the eastern parts of the country as well as over Butana plains, including River Nile, the Red Sea state as well as Central and Western Darfur states.


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Closest asteroid flyby of the year: 2018 PD20 flew past Earth at 0.09 LD

A newly discovered asteroid designated 2018 PD20 flew past Earth at a very close distance of 0.09 LD / 0.00022 AU (33 210 km / 20 636 miles) at 14:31 UTC on August 10, 2018.

This is the 39th known asteroid to flyby Earth within 1 lunar distance since the start of the year and the 40th discovered (within 1 LD), including 2018 LA which was discovered some 8 hours before it hit Botswana on June 2.

This was also the closest flyby of any known asteroid since the start of the year, right after 2018 BD of January 18 at 0.00026 AU.

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Massive floods kill 6 people, displace 59 100 and affect 1.1 million, Philippines

Heavy monsoon rains enhanced by Tropical Storm “Yagi,” known in the Philippines and Karding, caused deadly floods in the Philippine capital Manila and nearby areas over the past two days. 

At least 6 people lost their lives, 4 in the capital region and 2 in Zambales and Benguet, 59 100 were forced to evacuate and about 1.1 million were affected since Saturday, August 11, 2018, the disaster monitoring agency said.

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Earthquakes continue after strongest-ever quake hits North Slope, Alaska

The USGS recorded more than 270 earthquakes in Alaska’s North Slope on Sunday, August 12 and Monday, August 13, 2018, including M6.4, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit the region. The previous most powerful quake in the North Slope was M5.2 registered in 1995.

“It was the biggest recorded quake in the North Slope by a substantial amount. This is a very significant event that will take us some time to understand,” West told the Anchorage Daily News.

“The jump from M5.2 to M6.4 is significant because earthquakes rapidly grow in strength as magnitude rises. That’s why at 6.4 this changes how we think about the region,” he said. “It’s a little early to say how, but it’s safe to say this earthquake will cause a re-evaluation of the seismic potential of that area.”

Image credit: Google. Data provider USGS. Edit: The Watchers

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Featured image credit: Svea Rike. Edit: The Watchers





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