The Watchers News Brief: August 15, 2018

Tropical Storm “Leepi” makes landfall over Kyushu, Japan 

Tropical Storm “Leepi” made landfall on the Japanese island of Kyushu on August 14, bringing heavy rain and strong winds.

Although the small size of Leepi limited the radius of its impacts, rainfall of up to 50 mm (1.96 inches) has been reported in some areas, forcing authorities to advise people to be alert for flooding, landslides and strong winds, and prepare to evacuate as a precautionary measure.

The storm has also affected the Korean Peninsula.

San Diego hits 17 consecutive days above 26.6 °C (80 °F), the longest streak in 34 years, California

San Diego, CA temperatures have been 26.6 °C (80 °F) degrees or higher for 17 consecutive days as of August 14, the longest streak in 34 years, according to NOAA.

The 17-day stretch is the city’s longest since a streak of 19 days in 1984, and the third-longest since such record-keeping began more than 100 years ago.

The record for the city is 30 days that ended of September 21, 1983.

Puerto Rico authorities: The entire island has power again

Electricity is finally restored to entire Puerto Rico as of August 14, nearly 12 months after Hurricane “Maria” killed more than 1 000 people and left the entire island in darkness.

“The towers that run the lines were crumpled like folding cards. It was after a couple days that we truly understood the magnitude of this disaster… I think it’s fair to say the worst case scenario happened,” Marty Bahamonde, the director of FEMA’s Disaster Operations Division, said.

Drone video shows devastation on Lombok island after M7.0 earthquake, Indonesia

Videographers Rory Brown and Matt Yower revealed the devastation left on the island of Lombok, Indonesia after M7.0 earthquake on August 5. More than 430 people were killed.

Unseasonal rain damages large parts of rice fields in Iran’s Gilan province

Several days of unseasonal rain damaged large parts of the rice fields in Astara county in Iran’s northern Province of Gilan, according to Mehr News Agency

Heavy rain, hail and wind hit Oklahoma

Severe storms swept over Oklahoma on August 15, producing straight-line winds, heavy rain and hail.

Oklahoma City Fire Department said they responded to more than 30 calls for assistance.

Deadly flash floods hit Jammu and Kashmir, India

Heavy rain continues in northern India, causing flash floods and landslides in Jammu and Kashmir.

According to Press Trust of India, at least 4 people have died and three others were injured in the state since August 13.

Subtropical Storm “Ernesto” forms over Central Pacific

A new subtropical storm formed in the Atlantic ocean on August 15 and was named Ernesto. This is the 5th named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. 

At 21:00 UTC on August 15, it’s center was located about 1 045 km (650 miles) of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Its maximum sustained winds were 65 km/h (40 mph) and the system was moving N at 15 km/h (9 mph).

A turn toward the north-northeast is forecast over the next 12 to 24 hours, and a faster northeastward motion is expected by late August 16 and should continue through early August 18.

The system is expected to become a post-tropical cyclone late August 16 or early August 17 and merge with a frontal zone near Ireland and the United Kingdom on August 18.

Tropical Storm “Lane” forms in the East Pacific, forecast to become a hurricane on August 16

Tropical Storm “Lane” formed in East Pacific on August 15 as the 12th named storm of the 2018 Pacific hurricane season.

At 21:00 UTC, its center was located 2 065 km (1 285 miles) SW of the southern tip of Baja California. The system had maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h (45 mph) and was moving W at 20 km/h (13 mph).

Further strengthening is expected and Lane is forecast to become a hurricane on August 16 and major hurricane by August 18.

The amount of water used per well for hydraulic fracturing surged by up to 770 % between 2011 and 2016 in all major U.S. shale gas and oil production regions, a new Duke University study finds.

The volume of brine-laden wastewater that fracked oil and gas wells generated during their first year of production also increased by up to 1 440 % during the same period, the study shows.

If this rapid intensification continues, fracking’s water footprint could grow by up to 50-fold in some regions by the year 2030, raising concerns about its sustainability, particularly in arid or semi-arid regions in western states, or other areas where groundwater supplies are stressed or limited.

The volume of water used for fracking energy resources (gray areas) has risen sharply in recent years, raising concerns about its sustainability in regions where water resources are stressed. Credit: Duke University

Very shallow M4.4 earthquake hits Aguanga, California

A very shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M4.4 hit Aguanga, California at 01:24 UTC on August 15. The agency is reporting a depth of 1.9 km (1.1 miles).

The epicenter was located 7 km (4.3 miles) NJE of Aguanga, 15 km (9.3 miles) NNE of Palomar Observatory, 46 km (28.6 miles) SSW of Palm Springs and 84 km (52.2 miles) NNE of San Diego, California.

The USGS received 4 259 ‘I felt it’ reports.

“Unprecedented flood havoc’ in Kerala leaves 67 people dead, India

Kerala’s chief minister says the state is enduring “unprecedented flood havoc” as the worst floods in nearly a century continue taking lives.

The number of people killed over the past 7 days has risen to 67, including 25 who died on August 15.

The disaster management authority said that the number is likely to increase.

Unseasonal and unexpected wildfires reported in NSW, Australia

A total fire ban has been declared across the Australian state of New South Wales, the earliest declared in the state for nearly a decade, as crews battle 90 bushfires.

Threat of powerful eruption at Kuchinoerabu volcano prompts evacuations, Japan

The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the alert level for the Kuchinoerabu volcano in Kagoshima Prefecture from 2 to second highest level of 4 at 01:30 UTC (10:30 JST) on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. This volcano is located on the Kuchinoerabu Island in southwestern Japan, some 1 000 km (620 miles) SW of Tokyo. Its last eruption took place in 2015.

JMA warned that eruption could be powerful enough to cause serious damage to the island’s residential area.

Kuchinoerabu Island, Japan. Credit: Google

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Tropical Storm “Bebinca” over China’s Leizhou Peninsula, landfall in Vietnam expected on August 17

Tropical Storm “Bebinca” continues dropping heavy rain on the Chinese island of Hainan and neighboring region. Its first landfall took place over the Leizhou Peninsula in the South China Sea, Guangdong Province on August 15 and the second is expected in northern Vietnam on August 17.

China’s national observatory issued a yellow alert (2 of 4) and suggested local governments to prepare for possible disasters. Ships in affected areas were suggested to return to port and residents along the typhoon’s path to stay indoors.

After passing over the Leizhou Peninsula over the next 12 hours, Bebinca will enter lower vertical wind shear opening a favorable period for intensification (24 – 36 hours) before making landfall in northern Vietnam around 12:00 UTC on August 17.

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Tropical Storm “Rumbia” forms, about to make landfall near Shanghai, China

Tropical Storm “Rumbia” formed August 15, 2018, in the East China Sea as the 18th named storm of the 2018 Pacific typhoon season. The system is expected to continue intensifying, reaching maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h (53 mph) before making landfall near Shanghai, China around 12:00 UTC on August 16.

The current forecast track takes Rumbia very close to Shanghai on August 16. The cyclone is expected to peak at 85 km/h (53 mph) just before landfall.

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B.C. declares state of emergency as nearly 600 wildfires burn across the province, Canada

British Columbia has declared a province-wide state of emergency on August 15, 2018, due to raging wildfires.

As of early August 15, there were 566 wildfires burning in the province. There are 29 active evacuation orders impacting around 2 050 people and 48 evacuation centers affecting 18 720 people.

So far this year, more than 380 000 ha (939 000 acres) have been burned by wildfires, making it the fourth worst season on record.

The worst B.C. season so far was 2017 with 1 216 083 ha (3 005 006 acres), followed by 1958 with 855 968 ha (2 115 142 acres), 1961 with 483 097 ha (1 193 758 acres), 2018 with 381 443 ha (942 566 acres) so far and 2014 with 369 168 ha (912 233 acres).

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Strong and shallow M6.6 earthquake hits Andreanof Islands, Alaska

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.6 hit the Andreanof Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska at 21:57 UTC on August 15, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 31.6 km (19.6 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.6 at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles).

There are no people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake, PTWC said.

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Several violent tornadoes reported in China, injuries reported

Several violent and damaging tornadoes were reported across China on August 13 and 14, 2018. Numerous homes were damaged and many residents injured, local media report.

A violent tornado touched down in Jinghai district of northern China’s Tianjin Municipality on August 13, snapping utility poles and damaging houses.

The tornado was on the ground for about 10 minutes.

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Featured image: Anak Krakatau erupting on August 14, 2018. Credit: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

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