The Watchers News Brief: August 17, 2018

Post-Tropical Cyclone “Ernesto” threatens Ireland and UK with strong winds and heavy rain 

Subtropical Depression “Ernesto” formed over the Central Atlantic Ocean on August 15 and strengthened into a tropical storm by 21:00 UTC on August 16.

Ernesto’s current NHC track takes it toward Ireland and the United Kingdom on August 18.

The main threat will be strong winds.

This is the first tropical system of the year heading toward Ireland and UK.

Tropical Storm “Bebinca” hits Vietnam, flooding homes and cutting off villages

Tropical Storm “Bebinca” made landfall in northern Vietnam late August 16 with wind gusts up to 130 km/h (81 mph).

The province of Nghe An recorded 280 mm (11 inches), nearly 90% of entire average August rainfall.

Numerous homes were flooded and some villages cut off due to floods.

Authorities warned northern provinces to be vigilant to possible landslides and flash floods.

Tropical Cyclone “Soulik” forms, heading toward Osumi islands and Kyushu, Japan

A new Tropical Cyclone named “Soulik” formed over the North West Pacific Ocean on August 15, close to Guam.

Over the next 48 hours, it is forecast to continue moving north-northwest towards Osumi islands and southern Kyushu island, Japan, while strengthening.

M2.2 under Vesuvius volcano near Napoli, Italy

Some tabloids and YouTube channels are spreading fake news these days about M5.2 earthquake rocking the Italian city of Napoli and saying this is the reason why Vesuvius is about to erupt. The quake in question is August 16 M5.3, located some 124 km (77 miles) NNE of the city and the volcano. If anything, reports about this quake should be focused on nearby cities and much closer Amatrice.

Meanwhile, a small earthquake registered by the EMSC as M2.2 hit the volcano at a depth of 1 km (0.62 miles).

Since October 2004, EMSC registered 5 earthquakes under the volcano, all of them over the past 16 months. They were M2.0 in April 2017, two M2.5 in October 2017, M2.1 in April 2018 and today’s M2.2.

Mount Vesuvius is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world as millions of people live close to its crater. 

This volcano last erupted in 1944, but its eruption cycle is about 20 years.

You can read more about it here.

Powerful earthquake swarms in Bárðarbunga, Torfajökull volcanoes

Earthquake swarms were detected in Icelandic subglacial volcanoes Bárðarbunga and Torfajökull on August 16. Seismic activity is very common in Bárðarbunga, and while Torfajökull does not tremble as frequently as Bárðarbunga it is known for regular tremors, Iceland Magazine reported

The two earthquake swarms included three significant magnitude 3+ quakes. According to the Seismic Monitoring System of the Icelandic Meteorological office the first quake, a 3.5 magnitude tremor in the caldera of Bárðarbunga volcano at a depth of 2.9 km (1.8 mi) hit at 15:05 in the afternoon. This one tremor was not followed by any aftershocks, but an hour later a powerful earthquake swarm hit Torfajökull volcano, north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the southern Central Highlands.

Parts of eastern Spain underwater, heatwave ends abruptly

A severe storm hit parts of eastern Spain on August 17, leaving streets, cars and homes flooded and tourists surprised.

The rain is expected to continue in parts of the country on August 18. Meteoalarm issued a yellow alert for Alicante, Cadiz, Ibiza y Formentera, Menorca, Valencia, Barcelona, Girona, Mallorca, and Tarragona.

Snowing in Hokkaido, 4 days earlier than the previous record 

It was snowing on the mountains of Hokkaido today, at an altitude of 1.9 m (6.2 feet) in the Daisetsuzan mountain range.

According to the Japan Times, this is the earliest snowfall since records began being kept in 1974, coming four days earlier than the previous mark of August 21 in 2002. 

Anak Krakatau, Indonesia

Activity at the volcano remains intense.

Volcano Discovery Indonesia reported around 70 explosions per day during their recent expedition.

“Activity of explosions remains continuous with now around 70 times a day and going down with long interval of explosions. Activity is more explosive with more viscous lava erupted.”

Children particularly affected by the Ebola outbreak in the DRC

Children represent an unusually high proportion of people affected by the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF said today.

Two children have already died from the disease. The Ebola treatment centers in Beni and Mangina are currently treating six children that are infected by the disease or suspected to be. UNICEF has identified 53 orphaned children who have lost their parents to Ebola.

Very deep M6.7 earthquake under Flores Sea, Indonesia

A very deep earthquake registered by the BMKG as M6.7 hit under the Flores Sea, Indonesia at 15:35 UTC on August 17, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 559 km (347 miles). 

The quake had no tsunami potential, BMKG said.

There are about 3 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles). Some 26 659 000 people are estimated to have felt weak shaking.

Read more

Hurricane “Lane” rapidly strengthening, expected to pass south of Hawaii next week

Hurricane “Lane,” the 12th named storm of the 2018 Pacific typhoon season is rapidly strengthening and this phase is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. Lane is expected to become a major hurricane today and pass south of Hawaii on August 21/22. 

Read more

Sonic boom, very bright fireball reported over Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina

A very bright fireball, at least 40 times as bright as the Full Moon, streaked across the night sky over the U.S. Southeast at 05:19 UTC (12:19 CDT) on August 17, 2018. The event lasted several seconds and was followed by a sonic boom.

Read more

Featured image: Anak Krakatau erupting on August 17, 2018. Credit: Sutopo Purwo Nugroho

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