Wednesday, May 29, 2013

EXTREME WEATHER: America Under Attack - More Severe Weather To Hit Many Parts Of United States After Tornadoes, Thunderstorms; Severe Storms From Boston To New York City; At Least 4 Tornadoes Strike Northeast Kansas; High Winds Level Homes After Reported Tornado Sightings In Michigan; Rare Tornado South Of Erie, Pennsylvania!

May 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A warm front lifting northward across the Northeast on Wednesday will act as a gateway to warm and humid weather, but not before a few rounds of powerful thunderstorms roll through the region. The worst of the weather will be found in places such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Scranton, New York City, Hartford, Providence, Worcester and Boston, to name a few.

Severe Storms From New York City To Boston.

Hail as large as quarters or even golf balls and damaging thunderstorm wind gusts to 60 or 70 mph are the biggest threats, but an isolated tornado is not out of the question.  Hail the size of quarters can cause minor damage to vehicles and it could cause injury to exposed people or animals. Golf ball-sized hail is capable of more significant damage. It can crack windshields, dent vehicles, damage crops or gardens and cause severe injury to people or animals caught outside.  Wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph can snap off large tree branches, uproot trees and blow down power poles. Spotty power outages are also possible.  As warm southerly winds push into stubborn northeasterly winds lingering across parts of New York state and New England, a twisting motion of the lower atmosphere will exist, leading to the potential for isolated tornadoes.

Though tornadoes are fairly rare in the Northeast, this is not expected to be a major tornado outbreak by any stretch of the imagination, especially compared to the tornado risk in the central Plains.  If you will be out and about this afternoon and evening, keep an eye to the sky, keep an eye on radar on your smart phone and pay attention to weather bulletins.  Once thunderstorms develop, they will strengthen quickly, and severe weather could follow soon after.  Be sure to understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that an area is being monitored for dangerous weather. A warning means that dangerous weather is imminent.  Keep in mind that lightning is one of Mother Nature's most dangerous killers. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning, even if the sun is still shining. - AccuWeather.

More Severe Weather To Hit Many Parts Of US After Tornadoes, Thunderstorms.
Severe weather is set to batter many parts of the United States on Wednesday, forecasters warned, including parts of the Plains torn by twisters last week.  Violent storms brought heavy rain to the Chicago area Tuesday, and large tornadoes touched Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. One person fell victim to the bizarre weather after a fatal lightning strike in Florida.  New York City and western Long Island could be hit by heavy rain and high winds on Wednesday, the Weather Channel reported.  In the Plains, a severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak is expected stretching across a wide swath from South Dakota to central Texas. The threat of twisters was highest from south-central and southeast Nebraska to western Oklahoma.

WATCH: United States Storm Watch.

“The ingredients are coming together for a severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak in the Plains Wednesday,” said Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth.  Many parts of the Chicago metropolitan area were lashed by torrential rain, frequent lightning and high winds late Tuesday, reported.  On the west coast of Florida, a woman was killed by lightning strike while visiting Belleair Beach, police said. Phyllis Kalinowski, 50, from Brandon, Fla., was sightseeing with her friend Dawn Ryskoskis, 45, at 6 p.m. when she was caught in the storm and died of injuries consistent with a lightning strike, according to a statement from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.  In Chicago, a White Sox vs. Cubs game was canceled because of the rain and tornado warnings were issued for Grundy County and Will County in Illinois. There were also fears of flash flooding.  At least one home was destroyed and other buildings were damaged by a tornado in Nemaha County, north Kansas, late Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, while in Ottawa County a large tornado was reported around 5:30 p.m. local time in the area of Culver and Bennington, about 15 miles north of Salina, according to the Weather Channel.

The dark funnel of one of Kansas’ Tuesday evening tornadoes was captured in a video by the Salina Journal newspaper.  A tornado warning was issued for Erie County, Ohio, shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday after a funnel cloud was sighted, said. The Erie County emergency management agency said one and possibly two tornadoes were reported, and one went through the Union City area.  In northwestern Pennsylvania, a tornado touched down and damaged some buildings and at least one mobile home, but no injuries were immediately reported, said. Damaging winds and hail were among the severe weather threats to Upstate New York and New England on Wednesday, Roth said, while some storms were also possible in the upper Mississippi Valley ahead of the outbreak.  The storms could be seen in clusters “from Detroit early in the day then over to Western New York, Pennsylvania, Albany NY, maybe New York City and parts of western Long Island along the warm front by the end of the day,” Weather Channel meteorologist Mark Thibodeau reported.  Wednesday’s storms in the Plains were expected to move slowly, Thibodeau said, hitting the Southern Plains and northern half of the Mississippi Valley on Thursday.  Roth said Thursday’s severe weather threat extends from Minnesota and Wisconsin southwest to central and eastern Oklahoma and west Arkansas with the tornado threat highest in eastern Kansas and central and eastern Oklahoma.

There was also a risk of flooding in areas close to the Mississippi River following Tuesday's heavy rains, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Bill Karins. - NBC News.

At Least 4 Tornadoes Strike Northeast Kansas "We Had No Warning".
A thunderstorm moved over a farm near White Cloud, Kansas on Tuesday. Orlin Wagner.
The Storm Prediction Center says a severe weather outbreak is possible on Wednesday in Kansas and Oklahoma as more storms take aim at the area. The new threat comes a day after powerful storms dropped tornadoes and hail on parts of northern Kansas.  Forecasters say west-central Oklahoma and west-central Kansas are at a moderate risk of severe weather Wednesday afternoon and evening. The National Weather Service says the storms could bring baseball-sized hail, wind gusts of up to 70 mph and tornadoes.  The moderate risk area includes Moore, Okla., where 24 people were killed May 20 in a massive EF5 tornado.  No injuries were reported from Tuesday's outbreak that began in late afternoon with at least two tornadoes in northeastern Kansas' Nemaha County and another that developed later farther west in Ottawa County.  Nemaha County authorities reported at least one home destroyed and another with lesser damage in the small town of Corning. Several sheds and outbuildings also were hit.  In Ottawa County, a large tornado was reported around 5:30 p.m. in the area of Culver and Bennington, about 15 miles north of Salina. Trained spotters for the National Weather Service said the tornado was nearly stationary, and a tornado warning remained in effect for more than an hour. 

WATCH: Kansas Tornado.

Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, said two homes and several other buildings in rural areas near Bennington were destroyed. There were no reports of injuries.  Tuesday's storms came as meteorologists put most of north-central and northeastern Kansas under a tornado watch that also covered all of northern Missouri, meaning conditions were favorable for tornado development.  On Monday night, at least four tornadoes hit different counties in northeast Kansas, with no fatalities or serious injuries but considerable damage in the Marshall County town of Marysville.  Bill Schwindamann, Marshall County's emergency management director, said a tornado that touched down about 9:50 p.m. just west of Marysville destroyed a John Deere dealership and a lumber yard and truss company and flattened or damaged 20 to 25 homes.

Some livestock were missing and power lines were down Tuesday morning around Marysville, which is about 150 miles northwest of Kansas City near the Nebraska border.  The National Weather Service warned the county about the upcoming storm and emergency management workers were scrambling to warn residents when it hit, Schwindamann said.  "They gave us a heads up, and we started setting sirens off and getting spotters out and stuff, but it was pretty much on us by then," he said.  Tornadoes also touched down in Smith and Clay counties Monday night, Watson said.  Professional storm chasers in a specially rigged "tornado intercept vehicle" dubbed TIV2 captured video from inside a strong wedge tornado around 7:15 p.m. Monday northeast of the town of Smith Center.  Brandon Ivey and Sean Casey, who appear in the Discovery Channel series "Storm Chasers," captured the footage in eastern Smith County before the tornado ripped instruments from the top of the vehicle. The two said one of TIV2's doors and the top hatch were blown open by the storm but the vehicle stayed on the ground.  Preliminary reports indicated two homes were destroyed northwest of Smith Center but no injuries were reported. The Clay County tornado touched down briefly just west of Edgar but did no substantial damage.  Another tornado in Jewell County caused significant damage to one home near Esbon but no injuries, said meteorologist Ryan Pfannkuch in the National Weather Service office in Hastings, Neb. - Kansas City Star.

High Winds Level Homes After Reported Tornado Sightings In Michigan.
Tornado in Lapeer County, Michigan.

Severe thunderstorms pushed across Michigan's Lower Peninsula on Tuesday night, leading to several funnel cloud sightings, including a tornado that landed near Goodrich High School southeast of Flint, the National Weather Service said. No injuries were immediately reported.  The weather service didn't directly link damage to Tuesday night's tornado sightings in southern Genesee County but said high winds in the same severe thunderstorm system heavily damaged several homes. It said winds toppled numerous trees and power lines.  A funnel cloud was sighted about 10 p.m. near Goodrich, touching down near the high school, the weather service said. A half-hour earlier, it said, winds knocked down a home about 5 miles south of Swartz Creek, roughly 15 miles to the west of Goodrich. 

Genesee County's emergency center referred a request for information to Sheriff Robert Pickell, who was out surveying damage Tuesday night. A message was left for him.  The storm also caused damage in the northern part of the county, reported.  "It was crazy," said James Roberts of Mount Morris Township, which is about 15 miles northwest of where the tornado touched down in Goodrich. He said he and his family were watching the storm on the porch when winds started gusting. He quickly shuffled everyone to the home's basement. "We had no warning," Roberts said, adding that they never heard a siren go off.  Roberts said his home sustained minimal damage, but others further east were hit more heavily. - FOX News.

Rare Tornado South Of Erie, Pennsylvania.
A supercell thunderstorm produced a tornado southeast of Erie, Pa., on May 28, 2013, around 8 p.m. EDT.  Jessica Metzler captured the tornado, which touched down west of Waterford, Pa., on video. The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 7:55 p.m. EDT.  Before the tornado formed, severe storms moving east at 25 mph damaged structures and downed power lines 8 miles northwest of Edinboro, Pa., at 7:53 p.m. EDT.  The storm system that produced numerous tornadoes across Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma on Tuesday evening was the same one that triggered the severe storms across northwestern Pennsylvania.  Severe weather will continue to impact areas of the Plains and Northeast on Wednesday.

Tornado in Erie.

- AccuWeather.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Washington Mega-Quake Presents The Unthinkable - Fears That A "Megathrust" Earthquake Will Trigger Tsunami, Massive Damage, Loss Of Life And Decimate Unprepared Cities On America's Northwest Coast!

May 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - If there were any lingering doubts that Washington state is earthquake country, a new set of scenarios developed by state and federal geologists makes it clear that no part of the state is immune to seismic mayhem.

Disaster zone? A huge 'megathrust' earthquake could spark a tsunami and devastate the U.S. northwest if the Juan de Fuca plate is forced further under the North America plate on the Cascadia fault line.

From Tacoma to the Tri-Cities, the scenarios lay out potential impacts from a major earthquake on each region's most dangerous fault. "Some level of earthquake damage is very plausible virtually anywhere in Washington," said Tim Walsh, geologic hazards chief for the state Department of Natural Resources.
Though hypothetical and incomplete, the scenarios are sobering:
  • A quake similar to one that hit about 1,100 years ago on the Seattle Fault could kill more than a 1,000 people, injure more than 17,000, and cause $31 billion in damage to buildings, bridges, roads and utilities.
  • Hundreds would perish in a magnitude-7.4 quake on a fault that runs through Everett, and nearly 300,000 buildings would be damaged.
  • If the fault that passes near Tacoma unleashes a magnitude-7.1 quake the next time it ruptures, nearly 12,000 households could be displaced and more than 6,000 people injured.
  • In the Walla Walla area, a magnitude-6.8 quake on what's called the Hite fault could leave more than 19,000 households without water and destroy more than 1,300 buildings.

The modeling, which also maps out ground-shaking, was aimed mainly at helping emergency managers get a handle on what to plan for, Walsh said.

"You can get a better idea of whether electrical substations might go down, where you might see (soil) liquefaction, where the roadways might be damaged," he said.

Most Northwesterners are familiar with the threat from quakes such as 2001's Nisqually quake, which originated more than 30 miles under the Puget Sound region.

The Northwest coast also is vulnerable to megaquakes and tsunamis such as the one that devastated Japan in 2011.

But the same tectonic forces that spawn deep quakes and coastal megaquakes also have created shallow faults, mostly running east and west, from the Canadian border to the Columbia River.

"There's a whole host of these faults," said Craig Weaver of the U.S. Geological Survey. "They just don't get the public attention that the big guys do."

But for many urban areas — such as Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Olympia — shallow fault quakes have the potential to be the most damaging type because the force is not blunted by depth or distance.

Shallow quakes also pose the greatest hazard east of the Cascades.

The consequences of a major quake on the Seattle Fault, which slices from Bremerton to the Cascade foothills, were modeled in great detail in a 2005 analysis. Field studies found that the fault last ruptured in about 900 A.D. — an upheaval that thrust shorelines 30 feet in the air and triggered a tsunami in Puget Sound.

Unprepared: Tall buildings built in Seattle before 1994 could collapse if a powerful earthquake struck.

But for many of the state's lesser-known faults, the 20 new scenarios represent the first systematic attempt to quantify casualties and damage.

The geologists picked realistic, worst-case quakes for most of the faults, based on everything they've learned from trenching, aerial surveys, and magnetic and gravity measurements that "see" below the surface.

It's harder to estimate how frequently big quakes may strike, because geologists don't have a long historic record for many of the faults, Weaver said. But in general, it appears that some part of Washington gets rattled by a major quake on a shallow fault every 500 to 1,000 years, he said.

The damage estimates were generated from a program called HAZUS, created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The version used tends to underestimate damage, because it relies on a simplified estimate of the number and types of buildings in an area and doesn't factor in damage to local roads and bridges.

"It's by no means perfect," said John Schelling of the Washington Emergency Management Division. "But it at least provides some estimates."

Snohomish County, which would bear the brunt of a major quake on the state's largest shallow fault - the Southern Whidbey Island Fault - is using the scenario to fine-tune its preparations.

"When that fault breaks, it will impact the entire region," said John Pennington, the county's emergency management chief.

Indeed, the new scenario shows that 18 counties would feel the effects of a magnitude-7.4 quake. Dozens of bridges would fall - something Pennington and his crew are already preparing to deal with by staging resources and designating emergency centers in areas likely to be cut off.

Is the U.S. next? Waves overwhelm a levee, swallowing a seaside village near the mouth of Hei River after a tsunami and an earthquake hit Japan.

Everett and Snohomish would be particularly hard-hit, because of the prevalence of old, brick buildings, Pennington said. The scenario estimates nearly 1,500 brick structures would be extensively damaged or destroyed.

The damage would displace up to 14,000 households. One of the things Pennington is focused on now is identifying good sites for temporary housing and ways to fast-track building permits.

Collectively and individually, the scenarios offer snapshots of the turmoil that would follow a major quake anywhere in the state:

- A magnitude-7.3 quake on the Saddle Mountain Fault, which angles between Yakima and Richland, would cause an estimated 1,300 breaks in water, sewer and gas lines.

- Anacortes and Mount Vernon would experience some of the strongest shaking from a magnitude-7 quake on the Devil's Mountain fault, leading to 652 casualties and three dozen deaths.

- A moderate, magnitude-5.5 quake on a fault near Spokane would leave nearly 1,500 buildings at least moderately damaged, at a cost of more than $360 million.

- The Tacoma Fault scenario forecasts 176 fires triggered by the quake, accounting for $1.7 billion in property damage and displacing more than 21,000 people.

- A month after the hypothetical Seattle Fault quake, more than 137,000 households would still be without water.

-Bellingham and Whatcom County would absorb $95 million of the $105 million in property-related losses expected from a magnitude-6.8 quake on the Boulder Creek Fault, near the Canadian border. - Mail Tribune.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Copahue Volcano Ready To Blow - Chile, Argentina On RED ALERT; 3,000 People Evacuated!

May 29, 2013 - CHILE - Chilean and Argentine officials issued a red alert Monday for the increasingly active Copahue volcano bordering the two countries and ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people.

Chilean Interior and Security Minister Andres Chadwick said the increased activity could lead to an eruption and officials would soon begin evacuating 2,240 people, or 460 families, within a 25-kilometer (15.5-mile) radius.

View of the Copahue volcano spewing ashes from Caviahue, Neuquen province, Argentina, some 1500 km southwest of Buenos Aires on December 22, 2012. (Antonio Huglich/AFP/Getty Images)

"This evacuation is obligatory; it's not voluntary," Chadwick told reporters.

Chile's Emergency Office said the evacuation could last about 48 hours, but could be delayed because of heavy rains.

The nearly 10,000-foot (2,965-meter) sits in the Andes cordillera, overlapping Chile's Bio Bio region and Argentina's Neuquen province.

Argentine officials raised their alert level to red Monday afternoon due to higher seismic activity and ordered the evacuation of about 600 people from the town of Caviahue to the neighboring city of Loncopue.

"The volcano is not erupting yet, but as a preventive measure we've decided to evacuate the population," the Neuquen Crisis Committee said.

"There are no ashes in Caviahue. The vapor plume has descended, but in the last days, seismic activity has increased. That's the reason behind the change of alert in Argentina and Chile."

Copahue registered high seismic activity in December when its ash cloud billowed almost a mile (1.5 kilometers) high.

The volcano had a major eruption in 1992, according to the Chilean Mining Ministry's Sernageomin geology unit. It became highly active with blasts and gases in 2002, in its strongest activity in more than 20 years.

Chile has more than 3,000 volcanoes the Andes and about 500 of them remain active. - TWC.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 4.6 Earthquake Hits Off Santa Barbara Coast, California!

May 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A magnitude-4.6 earthquake struck off the Santa Barbara coast Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS earthquake location.
 The temblor struck at 7:38 a.m. about three miles west of Isla Vista, the USGS reported. Initial reports indicated that the quake had a magnitude of 4.9, but that was later adjusted to 4.6.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Dozens of people stretching from Bakersfield to Manhattan Beach reported feeling the quake on the USGS

"Did you feel it?"
site. Others weighed in on social media.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

"That was a shaker!" @Larsonomics tweeted.

"It has definitely been a while since I was woken up by an earthquake. Thanks Santa Barbara," @SnsetStripLocal wrote.

A magnitude-2.6 aftershock struck at 7:50 a.m. in the same spot, the USGS said. - LA Times.

WATCH: A magnitude 4.6 quake hit the Santa Barbara area on Wednesday morning.

STORM ALERT: Hurricane Warning Issued As Pacific Tropical Storm Barbara Threatens Mexican Coast - Potential To Unload A Deluge Of Heavy Rains And Gusty Winds!

May 29, 2013 - MEXICO - Pacific Tropical Storm Barbara strengthened on Wednesday as it bore down on southern Mexico, prompting the government to issue a hurricane warning for coastal areas near Salina Cruz.

A hurricane warning was issued as Tropical Storm Barbara approached southeastern Mexico on Wednesday.
The Weather Channel

Just before 6:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the storm was producing sustained 65 mph winds as it churned slowly northeastward through the Gulf of Tehuantepec, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm, about 85 miles south of the shore, was gathering strength as it lumbered northeastward at 6 mph, according to the hurricane center.

GOES East IR satellite image of TS Barbara at 04:45 UTC on May 29, 2013 (Credit: NOAA/GOES).

Tropical storm force wind speed probabilities map (Credit: NOAA/NHC).

A hurricane watch was also in effect from Puerto Angel in the north to Barra de Tonala in the south.

The center of the storm was expected to strike just east of Salina Cruz, the third-largest city in Oaxaca state, on Wednesday afternoon.

Sustained winds of potentially reaching hurricane force -- 74 mph and above -- with gusts of up to 85 mph were forecast.

Hurricane's Path Projection. NOAA National Hurricane Center.

The storm’s current track would carry it across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, where it was expected to diminish significantly before reaching the Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane center said.

Its path was well southeast of the region’s largest cities, including Mexico City, though it had potential to bring heavy rains and gusty winds to the large port city of Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz state as it neared the Gulf of Mexico, according to forecast maps. - NBC News.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - Germany Records Coldest Spring In 40 Years; "Climate Experts Running Out Of Arguments"!

May 29, 2013 - GERMANY - The recent weather in Germany indicates everything but global warming and widespread drought, which climate experts have been telling us would be the case unless we stopped burning fossil fuels fast.

Germany’s mean temperature trend continues falling sharply (1998 – 2012). 2013 so far is well below normal. © Josef Kowatsch, data from German Weather Service

Today the online Augsburger Allgemeine reports that the statistics for the 2013 German meteorological spring (March-April-May) have been 95% tabulated and show that this year's German spring is the "coldest in in decades". The Chiemgau24 news site reports that it is the coldest spring in 40 years.

This past weekend, snow even fell in parts of Germany at elevations down to 600 meters.

No reasons are cited as to why the spring 2013 is so cold. The Arctic is covered with ice and so it can't be an exposed Arctic sea disrupting atmospheric patterns.

Chiemgau24 writes (my emphasis):
March was too cold, April was a little warmer than normal, and May will likely wind up a little colder than normal. [...]

Five colder than normal winters in a row, the coldest March in decades (in the northeast in 130 years) and now the coldest spring in over 40 years...if that doesn't lead some climate experts to run out of arguments..."
The Chiemgau24 quotes meteorologist Dominik Jung concerning models:
'Here the long-term weather models from some international weather services had indicated a "warmer than average and sunny April and May". But we got just the opposite. On Sunday morning it even snowed again down to 600 meters elevation,' explained Meteorologist Dominik Jung of the weather portal

'Currently the mean temperature for spring 2013 (calculated from March 1 to May 25) is at 6.1°C. That's the coldest spring in decades. It's been more than 40 years since it's been that cold. In 1970 the average temperature for spring was only 6.0°C,' explains weather expert Jung."
This might be a good time for the German Weather Service to think about dropping it's long outdated temperature chart logo at the header of its website. - NTZ.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up Across America - Massive Sinkhole To Keep Washington D.C. Streets Closed For Another Week!

May 29, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The sinkhole in downtown Washington will continue to block lanes and impede traffic until the end of the work week, officials said Tuesday.

Spectators take a moment to observe and photograph a large sinkhole on 14th Street last week.
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post.

Authorities shut down parts of 14th and F streets in Northwest Washington last week after a pit opened at the intersection, which is blocks from the White House and in an area full of restaurants and hotels.

The work is taking so long because workers digging down to the sewer line have to navigate a complex thicket of utility lines and old trolley tracks, according to George S. Hawkins, general manager of the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority.

"It's been the most complicated street repair I've seen since I've been on the job," Hawkins said at a news conference in front of the sinkhole.

Work at the pit could cost nearly $2 million, Hawkins said.

All of the work should be completed and the roads reopened by Friday, said Paul A. Quander Jr., the deputy mayor for public safety.

"A lot of progress has been made," Quander said. "We've been working around the clock to fix this."

Northbound 14th Street remains blocked between Pennsylvania and New York avenues, while F Street is closed between 13th and 15th streets. Only southbound traffic can pass through the intersection.

If the roads do reopen Friday, the intersection will have been at least partially blocked for 10 days spanning two work weeks and a holiday weekend. Traffic was severely affected in the blocks around the closure, with cars and buses being diverted from a key artery in and out of the city.

While the cause of the sinkhole is still being investigated, Hawkins said it appears that the hole developed because a nearby manhole was blocking a storm drain.

The storm drain at the northwest corner of the intersection, in front of the Hamilton restaurant, is meant to funnel storm water into the sewer system. But a manhole was constructed that blocked the drain. As a result, water had nowhere to go and seeped into the dirt under the street.

"That's our best hypothesis," Hawkins said.

The blockage in the storm drain was discovered Friday when workers threaded a camera into the drain. Authorities don't know when the manhole was installed, but the dirt appears to have been washed out over a period of several years, Hawkins said. - Washington Post.

WAR DRUMS: Tensions Mount Between Syria, Israel, Russia And America - Russian Warplanes Go On 24-Hour Duty In A Snap Alert Drill; Israel Warns Russia Over Syria Arms Delivery; Israel Civil Defense Drill Prepares For Ballistic Missile Attack!

May 29, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors are going on round-the-clock duty in northern Russia as part of a snap combat readiness check of the nation's aerospace defense capabilities, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Russian Warplanes Go On 24-Hour Duty In Snap Alert Drill.
MiG-31 Foxhound. © RIA Novosti. Vitaliy Ankov.
The fighters, “in conjunction with A-50 airborne warning and control system aircraft, are performing continuous missions to protect the airspace, including from cruise missile strikes,” the ministry said in a statement. The aircraft are to be refueled while still in the air.

The three-day exercise, in which the fighters will fend off aerospace attacks, is part of a series of random checks of the Russian armed forces that began in February. It involves Air Force units from the Western Military District, General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said during a teleconference, adding that the upcoming maneuver had been ordered by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

A total of 8,700 personnel, 185 warplanes and 240 armored vehicles are participating in the checks, overseen by Col. Gen. Vladimir Zarudnitsky. The checks include missile launches at the Ashuluk test range in Astrakhan, Zarudnitsky said.

In late February, a raft of random tests of military preparedness revealed a number of systemic shortcomings, in particular in the Central and Southern Military Districts, the Airborne Assault Forces and military air-transportation units.

The Mikoyan MiG-31Foxhound is the first Russian fourth-generation combat aircraft.

Alert-duty officers in some units were slow to respond to orders via automated combat command and control systems, especially in the airborne forces and at the 201st Military Base in Tajikistan. Other problems included poor accuracy in firing, especially by tanks and infantry fighting vehicle crews.

The checks, which the Defense Ministry said are being carried out for the first time in the past 20 years, will now be conducted on a regular basis. - RIA NOVOSTI.

Israel Warns Russia Over Syria Arms Delivery.
Besides supplying Syria with arms, Russia has been sending humanitarian aid to the violence-ravaged country [Reuters]

Israel has said it will act if Russia delivers promised anti-aircraft missiles to its ally Syria, in an apparent allusion to another air raid on the neighbouring country.

Moshe Yaalon, Israeli defence minister, issued his warning on Tuesday shortly after a senior official in Moscow said the Russian government reserved the right to provide Syria with state-of-the-art S-300 air defence missiles.

"As far as we are concerned, that is a threat," Yaalon said.

"At this stage I can't say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent.

"But if, by misfortune, they arrive in Syria, we will know what to do."

Yaalon's comments were made before Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, ordered his cabinet to stay silent on the issue, according to public radio.

Earlier this month, Israel launched air raids inside Syria targeting what sources said were arms destined for the Lebanese Shia armed group Hezbollah, whose fighters have entered the conflict alongside the Syrian army.

Tensions were further stirred after the EU decided in a meeting in Brussels on Monday to lift an embargo on supplying weapons to Syria's rebels.

Syria's government joined its ally Russia in condemning the EU decision as an "obstruction" to peace efforts, while accusing the bloc of supporting and encouraging "terrorists".

The US, however, said it supported the EU move as a show of "full support" for the rebels, despite its own refusal to provide arms it fears will end up in what it believes to be extremist hands in Syria.

WATCH: Russia to ship anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

The lifting of the embargo "sends a message to the Assad regime that support for the opposition is only going to increase", Patrick Ventrell, US state department spokesman, said.

Russia said the S-300 missiles it planned to deliver to Syria were part of existing contracts.

"We consider these supplies a stabilising factor," Sergei Ryabkov, deputy foreign minister, said, adding they could act as a deterrent against foreign intervention.

Syria already possesses Russian-made air defences. The S-300s would expand Syria's capabilities, allowing it to counter air raids launched from foreign airspace as well.

Russia has been the key ally of Bashar al-Assad's government, protecting it from any UN Security Council action despite the civil war there that has claimed over 94,000 lives.

Both Russia and Iran remain Syria’s main weapon suppliers.

Call to include Iran

In a related diplomatic development, Russia said on Tuesday it was imperative for Iran to join the so-called Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria.

The planned conference in the Swiss city, backed by both US and Russia, aims to bring both the Syrian government and the opposition to the table to negotiate an end to the country's 26-month conflict.

France has already rejected the idea of Iran taking part, while the US has responded to Russia's proposal with scepticism.

An exact date for the conference has not been set yet because of what Russia described as a lack of unity among Syria's opposition.

A week into talks among Syria’s opposition in the Turkish city of Istanbul - aimed at presenting a united front on the conference - has further exhibited their divisions.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has yet to come up with an official position on whether it is joining the peace conference or not.

Coalition members and other dissidents say progress at the meeting has been ground to a halt by conflicting bids for influence by Saudi Arabia, which reportedly wants to water down the Muslim Brotherhood's strong role in the opposition coalition, and Qatar, which apparently wants to protect the influential group's clout.

Opposition leaders have said they will only participate in talks if Assad's departure from power tops the agenda, a demand Assad and his Russian backers have rejected. - Aljazeera.

Israel Civil Defense Drill Prepares For Ballistic Missile Attack.
Schoolchildren participate in a May 27 civil defense drill aimed at getting the nation ready for possible missile attacks.

Israel has launched a major civil defense exercise.  Officials said the exercise, dubbed “Steadfast Home Front-1, was meant to simulate a ballistic missile attack on Israel.

The officials said the exercise, part of a multi-year defense plan, also tested interoperability by the military, Defense Ministry, other ministries and local authorities.  “Israel is the most threatened state in the world; it is under missile and rocket threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The exercise, which began on May 26, was the seventh edition of the annual civil defense drill. Officials said the latest exercise, scheduled to end on May 29, was meant to prepare military and civil authorities for a chemical or nuclear attack.  “This year, the national exercise will focus on preparing the home front for required government, civilian and military response to an unconventional weapons scenario within the home front,” the military said. 

During the exercise, sirens sounded in cities throughout Israel. Officials said a key scenario was of a Hizbullah and Syrian ballistic missile strike, including those with CW warheads.  “This is a scenario that is more probable than in the past, but the use of chemical weapons is still defined as a low probability,” Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan said. - World Tribune.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: The Japanese Financial System Is Beginning To Spin Wildly Out Of Control - Are We Witnessing The Start Of A Colossal Meltdown By The Third Largest Economy On The Planet?!

May 29, 2013 - JAPAN - The financial system of the third largest economy on the planet is starting to come apart at the seams, and the ripple effects are going to be felt all over the globe.  Nobody knew exactly when the Japanese financial system was going to begin to implode, but pretty much everyone knew that a day of reckoning for Japan was coming eventually.  After all, the Japanese economy has been in a slump for over a decade, Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of well over 200 percent and they are spending about 50 percent of all tax revenue on debt service. 

In a desperate attempt to revitalize the economy and reduce the debt burden, the Bank of Japan decided a few months ago to start pumping massive amounts of money into the economy.  At first, it seemed to be working.  Economic activity perked up and the Japanese stock market went on a tremendous run.  Unfortunately, there is also a very significant downside to pumping your economy full of money.  Investors start demanding higher returns on their money and interest rates go up.  But the Japanese government cannot afford higher interest rates.  Without super low interest rates, Japanese government finances would totally collapse.  In addition, higher interest rates in the private sector would make it much more difficult for the Japanese economy to expand.  In essence, pretty much the last thing that Japan needs right now is significantly higher interest rates, but that is exactly what the policies of the Bank of Japan are going to produce.

There is a lot of fear in Japan right now.  On Thursday, the Nikkei plunged 7.3 percent.  That was the largest single day decline in more than two years.  Then on Monday the index fell by another 3.2 percent.
And according to Business Insider, things are not looking good for Tuesday at this point...
In post-close futures trading, the Nikkei has dropped by another couple hundred points, and has dropped below 14,000.
Are we witnessing the beginning of a colossal financial meltdown by the third largest economy on the planet?  The Bank of Japan is starting to lose control, and if Japan goes down hard the crisis could spread to Europe and North America very rapidly.  The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers...

As Japan has indicated, when bonds start to plunge, it’s not good for stocks. Today the Japanese Bond market fell and the Nikkei plunged 7%. The entire market down 7%… despite the Bank of Japan funneling $19 billion into it to hold things together.

This is what it looks like when a Central Bank begins to lose control. And what’s happening in Japan today will be coming to the US in the not so distant future.

If you think the Fed is not terrified of this, think again. The Fed has pumped over $1 trillion into foreign banks, hoping to stop the mess from getting to the US. As Japan is showing us, the Fed will fail.

Investors, take note… the financial system is sending us major warnings…

If you are not already preparing for a potential market collapse, now is the time to be doing so.

And all of this money printing is absolutely crushing the Japanese yen.  Since the start of 2013, the yen has declined 16 percent against the U.S. dollar, even though the U.S. dollar is also being rapidly debased.   Just check out this chart of the yen vs. the U.S. dollar.  It is absolutely stunning...

The term "currency war" is something that you are going to hear a lot more over the next few years, and what you can see in the chart above is only the beginning.

What the Bank of Japan is doing right now is absolutely unprecedented.  It has announced that it plans to inject the equivalent of approximately $1.4 trillion into the Japanese economy in less than two years.
As Kyle Bass recently discussed, that dwarfs the quantitative easing that the Federal Reserve has been doing...
"What they're doing represents 70% of what the Fed is doing here with an economy 1/3 the size of ours"
The big problem for Japan will come when government bond yields really start to rise.  The yield on 10 year government bonds has been creeping up over the past few months, and if they hit the 1.0% mark that will set off some major red flags.

Because Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of more than 200 percent, the only way that it can avoid a total meltdown of government finances is to have super low interest rates.  The video posted below does a great job of elaborating on this point...

WATCH: OtterWood observations on Japan - May, 2013.

It really is very simple.  If interest rates rise substantially, Japan will be done.

Investor Kyle Bass is one of those that have been warning about this for a long time...
There's a fatalism, he says, in everyone he talks to in Japan. Their thinking is changing, and the way they talk to him about debt is changing. They already spend 50% of tax revenue on debt service.

"If rates go up, it's game over."
The financial problems in Cyprus and Greece are just tiny blips compared to what a major financial crisis in Japan would potentially be like.  The Japanese economy is larger than the economies of Germany and Italy combined.  If the house of cards in Japan comes tumbling down, trillions of dollars of investments all over the globe are going to be affected.

And what is happening right now in Japan should serve as a sober warning to the United States.  Like Japan, the money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing has caused economic activity to perk up a bit and it has sent the stock market on an unprecedented run.

Unfortunately, no bubble that the Federal Reserve has ever created has been able to last forever.  At some point, we will pay a very great price for all of the debt that the U.S. government has been accumulating and all of the reckless money printing that the Fed has been engaged in.

So enjoy the calm before the storm while you still can.

It won't last for long. - TEC.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Coronavirus Spreads - Death Toll From Sars-Like Virus Rises To 27; Sparking Fears That The Disease Could Spark A Global Health Crisis! UPDATE: World Health Organization - The New SARS-Like Virus Is A "Threat To The Entire World"!

May 29, 2013 - SAUDI ARABIA - The global death toll from a SARS-like virus has risen to 27, the World Health Organization says, after three patients died in hard-hit Saudi Arabia and another in France.

The new virus was last week renamed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS, reflecting the fact that the bulk of cases are in that region.

There have been 38 confirmed infections in Saudi Arabia, with 22 fatalities, according to WHO figures.
The UN health agency logs cases and deaths according to the country where the individual is thought to have caught the disease. The Saudi toll includes one individual who subsequently died in Britain.

Previously known as nCoV-EMC novel coronavirus, the disease is a cousin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which sparked a world health scare in 2003 when it leapt from animals to humans in Asia and went on to kill some 800 people.

Like SARS, the new virus appears to cause an infection deep in the lungs, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty. But it differs from SARS in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

Health officials have expressed concern about the high rate of fatalities compared to the number of cases, warning that the disease could spark a new global crisis if it acquires an ability to spread more easily. - The Australian.

UPDATE: WHO - New SARS-Like Virus Is A "Threat To The Entire World".
A new SARS-like virus recently found in humans is "a threat to the entire world," according to the director-general of the United Nations' World Health Organization.  The so-called novel coronavirus "is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself," Margaret Chan said Monday in her closing remarks at the 66th World Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.  The world needs to pull together its resources to properly tackle the virus which, Chan said, is her "greatest concern" at present.  "We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat," she said, and more information is needed "quickly" and "urgently."  "We do not know where the virus hides in nature. We do not know how people are getting infected. Until we answer these questions, we are empty-handed when it comes to prevention. These are alarm bells. And we must respond," she said.

Novel coronavirus is part of a family called coronaviruses, which cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, as well as a variety of animal diseases. However, the new virus is not SARS.  The virus had infected 44 people worldwide as of last week, most of them in the Middle East, according to the World Health Organization's most recent update Thursday. Half of them have died.  Also in its Thursday update, the WHO appeared to have given the novel coronavirus a name: Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.  A 23rd death was reported Tuesday, when a French hospital and the French government reported a man diagnosed with the coronavirus had died of organ failure.  The patient, the first of two people to be diagnosed with novel coronavirus, died at University Hospital of Lille, where he had been treated since May 9.  The man contracted the virus while visiting the Arabian Peninsula, said Marisol Touraine, France's minister of social affairs and health, in a statement. The second patient, also male, was in stable but very serious condition, the hospital said. One of the patients shared a room with the other and contracted the virus.  Joint WHO missions with Saudi Arabia and Tunisia will take place as soon as possible, with the goal of gathering the facts needed to conduct a risk assessment, Chan said Monday.

Earlier this month, the WHO said two health care workers in Saudi Arabia became ill while treating patients.  Novel coronavirus acts like a cold virus and attacks the respiratory system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. But symptoms, which include fever and a cough, are severe and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea have also been seen, according to the WHO.  It's not yet known how humans contract the virus, experts have said. Most of the cases so far have been seen in older men with other medical conditions; precise numbers are hard to come by, as officials don't know how many people might contract a mild form.  Cases have been identified in eight countries including France and Saudi Arabia, according to the WHO. Other European countries include Germany and the United Kingdom.  No cases have been reported in the United States, but infectious disease experts have said it would not be surprising. - CNN.

EXTREME WEATHER: America Under Attack - Severe Storm, Tornado And Flood Risk For High Plains, Midwest And Central United States!

May 29, 2013 - UNITED STATESThe next significant round of severe thunderstorms is forecast to erupt over the High Plains Wednesday and will shift eastward over the Central states later in the week. The pattern could bring a number of tornadoes. Indications are the movement of this storm and strong upper-level winds will interact with a zone of building heat and humidity over the Plains in such a way to produce an outbreak of powerful and dangerous thunderstorms.

Areas from Chicago to Des Moines, Omaha, Kansas City, Wichita, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Little Rock could be impacted by violent storms through late this week.

In addition to the risk of large hail, damaging wind gusts and frequent lightning, there is the risk for several tornadoes. Some of these tornadoes could be particularly long-lived and intense, especially across Kansas, Oklahoma and south-central Nebraska.

The first storms Wednesday associated with the outbreak will begin in the swath from West Texas and western Oklahoma, western Kansas, western and central Nebraska and western and central South Dakota.

Look for the potential for these storms, including a few tornadoes, to shift northeastward central and northeastern Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, eastern Nebraska and eastern South Dakota to northwestern Arkansas, much of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and southern Minnesota during the latter part of the week.

Another pocket of severe thunderstorms will be over part of the Northeast Wednesday afternoon and evening. Essentially areas from New York state and northeastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey to western and southern New England are at risk for damaging wind gusts, large hail and frequent lightning strikes. There is also the risk of a tornado from the strongest couple of storms.

Flooding Concerns Continue
In addition to the risk for violent thunderstorms, there is the likelihood of flooding problems, especially over parts of the central Plains to the Midwest that have already received heavy rain over the Memorial Day weekend and/or will do so into the end of this week.

Portions of states that could be hit hard with flooding problems not only at the beginning of this week, but the end of the week include Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. - AccuWeather.

Midwest Braces For More Possible Tornadoes.
Americans in the Midwest begin another week bracing for severe weather, with forecasters warning of possible tornadoes for a large swath of the country -- including the suburbs of Oklahoma City that were pummeled last week. The first three days of the week bring the possibility of tornadoes, forecasters said, but the biggest threat is on Wednesday.

WATCH: Many Americans are bracing themselves for the possibility of more flooding and tornadoes.  Weather Channel meteorologist Kelly Cass reports.

The National Weather Service on Monday issued tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm watches for parts of Kansas and Nebraska that remain in effect until 1 a.m. ET. Several tornadoes were reported to the National Weather Service throughout the day in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming, but none are believed to have caused any damage.

Heavy rain pummeled south Texas on Sunday, while in Vermont emergency crews restored power to homes after a late-season snow storm, NBC's Michelle Franzen reports. Forbes said that the most severe threat of tornadoes will occur Wednesday, with a huge portion of the country from Texas up to North Dakota at risk. That includes Moore, Okla., where an EF5 tornado blew through last Monday and killed 24 people.

“A tornado outbreak is possible over the central part of the U.S. in the traditional Tornado Ally area,” said Forbes. The predictions for potentially devastating storms follow a Memorial Day weekend full of wild weather. Three people died in powerful floods in the San Antonio, Texas, area over the weekend. Some 130 people had to be rescued during a storm that dumped more than a foot of rain on the city in just 24 hours. Cars and a city bus were swept off the streets.

WATCH: Heavy rain pummeled south Texas on Sunday, while in Vermont emergency crews restored power to homes after a late-season snow storm, NBC's Michelle Franzen reports.

And though the start of June is less than a week away, parts of upstate New York and Vermont were buried under as much as 34 inches of snow, according to The heavy snow brought down trees and power lines. Temperatures in the snow-laced areas are expected to return to levels more typical of late May in coming days.

Though many throughout the country were disappointed that the weekend known as the unofficial start to summer was colder than usual, those in the Northeast will not have to wait long for things to heat up. According to the National Weather Service, "A big warm front is forecast to lift northeast through the Ohio Valley by Wednesday afternoon."  Those from Boston to Washington, D.C., will experience summer-like temperatures that may reach up to 90 degrees come Friday. - NBC News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 3.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Residents In North Wales - "Intense Shaking" And "Low Rumbling" Reported!

May 29, 2013 - WALESThe British Geological Survey has reported that a 3.8 magnitude earthquake has rattled the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales. The epicentre is being reported to be near Tudweiliog, about six miles west of Pwllheli, in Gwynedd. It occurred at 4.16am, just off the coast, at a depth of 8km.

Shaking of buildings was reported as far away as Counties Carlow, Kildare and Wicklow in Ireland.

In Britain, the tremor was felt in many communities in North Wales and even in Douglas, Isle of Man and Southport, Merseyside. The British Geological Survey, which maps earthquakes from the UK, said around 180 people had reported feeling the earthquake, but the majority were within a 30 to 45mile (50 to 75km) radius.

USGS earthquake location.

Peter Wilkinson, owner of the Penrallt Coastal Campsite, about a mile from the epicentre, said he was woken by what felt like a thud and thought that the corner of his house had fallen off.

He said about 30 families were staying on the campsite and described feeling the earth 'moving around'.

"The earth certainly moved for us," he said. "I woke with a start and thought that the corner of the house had fallen off.  "I got up to see if something had fallen over in the room and went to check all of the rooms, but there wasn't any sign.

"I would describe it as like hearing a large thud - like a wardrobe falling over.

"But the others in the campsite have been talking about it a lot more. They said it felt like the earth was moving around and was really quite scary.  "It's really been the talk of the campsite this morning."

The Llyn Peninsula was hit by a quake in 1984 measuring 5.4 - the largest on-shore earthquake in the UK since seismological records began.

Initial reports of the quake varied, with organisations like the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre rating the quake at 4.3.

That organisation, based near Paris, put the epicentre much further out to sea - about a third of the way between Wales and Ireland. They later downgraded it to a 4.0.

Dr Roger Musson, of the British Geological Survey, said: "It's not something that's likely to cause structural damage or have a severe impact.

"This is the most seismic place in the UK and over history there have been a long series of earthquakes in this part of North Wales. "So it's not very surprising that we should have this earthquake this morning.

"The one thing that is interesting from a seismological point of view is that this earthquake is further to the south west, along the coast of the Lynn Peninsula, than other earthquakes than we've had in this area.

"You would expect it to be felt in the east coast of Ireland. It's possible that we will get small aftershocks but I wouldn't expect them to be that large."

The Irish National Seismic Network (INSN) said tremors were felt in counties in south-east Ireland and its seismic stations in Valentia off the south-west coast, Donegal and Galway all recorded the earthquake.

Tom Blake, INSN director, said there has been a significant increase in seismic activity in the area in recent months.

The last significant earthquake in the UK occurred at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire in February 2008, which was a magnitude 5.2. - SKY News.

A British Geological Survey seismogram of the 3.8 magnitude earthquake.

A small earthquake measuring 3.8 in magnitude hit north Wales in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The tremor centred on the Llyn peninsula in Gwynedd.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said the centre point was between the seaside towns of Aberdaron and Nefyn. People living as far away as Southport, Merseyside, the Isle of Man and Dublin, the Irish capital, reported "intense shaking" at 04:16 BST, but there were no reports of damage or injury.

More than 100 reports from people who felt the earthquake have been made to the BGS, who said the majority were within a 100km radius. Dr Brian Baptie, head of seismology at the BGS, said the size of the tremor was not unusual for the UK.

"We get an earthquake of this size in the UK maybe once or twice every couple of years," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"We also know that north Wales is one of the more seismically active parts of the UK. It's got a long history of earthquakes over the past few hundred years." Dr Baptie said the rumblings that residents felt were consistent with an earthquake of this size.

He added: "It might be felt up to a few hundred kilometres away, people could feel the house shake, they could hear audible phenomena like rumbling, and maybe objects would rattle."

Graham Williams, of Pentir, near Bangor, told BBC Radio Wales: "I woke up to a cracking sound and realised the house was shaking. "I could hear a low rumble for about 15 seconds and then it stopped."

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

Kevin Clark, of Llynfais, Anglesey, said the tremor came as a bit of a shock.

"I was fast asleep this morning and it sounded like a train running around the outside of the house," he said.

"And considering in Anglesey where we are there's no train, it was a bit of a shock, and the whole place was shaking and rumbling, like a deep rumbling sound." He added that his 14-year-old daughter woke up to find her chandelier-style light shaking violently.

North Wales was also hit by a smaller earthquake in Caernarfon in February, of 2.3 magnitude.

The latest tremor is just a few miles from the point on the Llyn peninsula where an earthquake struck in July 1984 with a magnitude of 5.4.  It was the most powerful recorded in mainland Britain in the past 200 years.

Dr Baptie said there was no evidence to suggest the number of earthquakes was increasing.

"All of the data we've collected over the last 30 or 40 years, and historical data going back hundreds of years, doesn't bear that out at all," he added. - BBC.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For May 29, 2013 - Updates On Yasur, Pavlof, Copahue, Tolbachik, Gorely, Shiveluch, Kizimen, Karymski, Bezymianny, Popocatépetl, Nevado del Ruiz And Nyiragongo!

May 29, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Yasur (Vanuatu): Explosive (strombolian) activity level has been increasing recently, the latest bulletin of Geohazard today indicates. The alert level remains at 2, but an increase to 3 is possible in the near future.

Elevated risk of impacts remains near the volcano's crater, as bombs have started to fall near and in the parking area. A thick steam and ash plume is being emitted from the active vents, and there is ash fall in communities downwind.

Hazard map of Yasur volcano and explanation of status levels (Geohazards).

It is recommended that all communities, visitors and travel agents take the current situation seriously (= not approach the crater rim).

Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA)
: The eruption might have ended already, or is at least pausing for the moment. Over the past few days, the eruptive and seismic activity have greatly declined, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reports.

There are no longer volcanic tremor or small explosions detected and satellite observations show no evidence of elevated surface temperatures, volcanic gas or ash emissions. There have been no visual observations from pilots or web cameras of any eruptive activity. "Consequently, the Aviation Color Code is being reduced to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level to Advisory... [read more]

Copahue (Chile/Argentina)
: The earthquake swarm has increased and continues today, but the volcano has not yet erupted. The earthquakes are occurring at very high frequency (130 per hour) and are mostly "hybrid", i.e. related to both rock-fracturing and fluid-movements within the volcanic edifice.

Evacuations in the area have progressed, but faced serious difficulties due to heavy snowfall and also because many residents in nearby villages are reluctant to leave their homes and live stock, especially in the municipalities of Butalelbùn (north side) and El Barco (south-west)... [read more]

Tolbachik (Kamchatka)
: Eruptive activity continues, with fluid lava flows from the southern fissure being still emitted. However, also a very slow trend of decreasing tremor is visible.

KVERT reports no significant changes in activity at any of the other volcanoes in Kamchatka: lava extrusion and dome building continue at Shiveluch and Kizimen. No seismic data are available at the moment from Karymski and Bezymianny, which also continues to slowly build a lava dome. Gorely produces medium levels of seismicity caused by fluid movements and strong degassing.

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico)
: Since yesterday morning's explosion, the volcano has been relatively quiet and only produced about 1 weak emission of mostly steam per hour.

Current webcam view of Popocatépetl.

No significant new earthquakes or tremor pulses have occurred.

Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia): Small earthquake swarms at shallow depth continue to plague the volcano. They suggest ongoing (small) magmatic intrusions.

Seismic recording this morning at Nevado del Ruiz (OLL station, INGEOMINAS).

The other 5 volcanoes in Colombia currently on alert have not shown significant variations in activity (Galeras: degassing, occasional small ash venting, Cumbal, Machin, Sotará: seismic unrest but no surface activity, Nevado del Huila: degassing/steaming).

Nyiragongo (DRCongo): A significant SO2 plume is visible today on NOAA satellite data, suggesting continuing lava lake activity at the volcano.

SO2 plume from Nyiragongo (NOAA).

Unfortunately, security issues in the Goma-Virunga area continue to prevent us from organizing expeditions for the time being.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for May 29, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.