Friday, May 24, 2013

EXTREME WEATHER: 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Could Be Extremely Active, NOAA Predicts - Three To Six "Major Storms Could Emerge This Year!

May 24, 2013 - ATLANTIC OCEAN - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the 2013 hurricane season, which begins on June 1, is likely to be somewhere between active and extremely active, with between 13 and 20 named storms – those with sustained winds above 39 m.p.h. By comparison, in 2012 — the year of Isaac and Sandy — there were 19 named storms.

Hurricane Sandy churns off the East Coast on October 28, 2012. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Of that 13 to 20 named storms, NOAA projects that between seven and 11 will achieve hurricane status (winds 74 m.p.h.) and above; and that three or four will become major hurricanes of category 3, 4 or 5 (winds 111 m.p.h.) or above. In 2012, 10 named storms became hurricanes.

What NOAA could not say was how many of these storms would make landfall, which is what people really care about. If the season is below active in activity but more storms come ashore, the level of damage and injury will almost certainly be greater than in an active season in which most of the storms stay at sea.

But that level of prediction is beyond the level of current science. “It cannot be done,” said acting NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan at a press conference. “Anyone could be hit.”

Sandy: In this image taken by NOAA's GOES East at 2:45 GMT on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, Hurricane Sandy is seen in the center bottom.

As for the most powerful storms, the last hurricane of Category 3 or higher to reach landfall was Wilma in 2005. Why hasn’t there been another since? “Nature may know the answer to that, but we don’t,” Sullivan said.

In 2012, only one hurricane, Isaac, made landfall in the U.S. Sandy, on the other hand, had transitioned into a hybrid storm known as a post-tropical cyclone. Sandy’s destruction was so great, due mostly to its powerful storm surge, that the agency is rethinking its approach to surge forecasts.

Uncertainty about what percentage of tropical storms will make landfall is one caveat that goes with any hurricane forecast. Another is that conditions could change as hurricane season continues for the next six months.

In 2012, the preseason forecast called for between nine and 15 named storms, well below the 19 that eventually formed. By August, with the season half over, the number had increased to 12-17. Overall, August through October sees the largest number of storms.

Sandy: In this image taken by NOAA's GOES East at 2:45 GMT on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, Hurricane Sandy is seen in the center bottom

The higher-than normal activity forecast by NOAA is based on three factors, all of which favor more, rather than fewer, tropical storms. The first is higher-than-normal sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic, which supplies energy for tropical storms. The second is that hurricane activity has historically waxed and waned in cycles that last between 25 and 40 years.

An active cycle began in 1995, which suggests we should expect more storms than average until 2020, at least. Finally, there’s no evidence of an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean this summer; El Nino's can strengthen upper-level winds across the tropical North Atlantic, which can tear hurricanes apart before they can gather strength.

WATCH: 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Expected to be Active.

All of these tend to increase hurricane activity, and, said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead outlook forecaster, “we see no meaningful climate factors that would suppress activity.”

The main theme from NOAA, however, was not how many tropical storms we might expect.

“The news is about preparedness,” Sullivan said. Given that any community along the Atlantic or Gulf Coast is vulnerable to a tropical storm or hurricane in any season — and that the consequences can penetrate far inland, with heavy rains, winds and flood — “we encourage families and businesses to make or refresh their disaster plans today,” he said. - Huffington Post.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - Massive Fireball With Fragmentation Seen Over Ireland!

May 24, 2013 - IRELANDA massive fireball was spotted blazing across the Irish sky on Wednesday night by thousands of people across the country.

We have received reports from people from all over Ireland who saw the spectacle on Wednesday, at approximately 10:45pm.

This exceptionally big and bright meteor is known as a fireball, and can in some cases contain as much energy as an atomic bomb.

Fireballs are often big enough to survive the fall through Earth's atmosphere, and can sometimes drop fragments of space rock down to Earth's surface.

The fireball is likely to be a piece of a comet or asteroid that passed near Earth's orbit sometime in the past, or the result of debris floating in space left over from when the Solar System and the planets formed billions of years ago.

If you saw the meteor, please send in your report HERE. We will gather reports and perform an analysis over the coming week. With enough results, it will be possible to determine where any meteorites may have landed! - Astronomy.

Initial Meteor Sighting Reports:

MAY 22, 2013: Justin Laffan, Cork City, Ireland - 22:42 GMT.  It lasted 6 seconds. I was facing north, The fireball traveled east. It was bright white, slight green hue. There was no sound. It was brighter than the Moon. Small fragmentation, like sparks facing directly north, appeared offset to my right at about 30 degree inclination. It traveled east, falling about 10 degrees. I lost sight after about 6 seconds.

MAY 22, 2013: Gary Hanratty, Lurgan Co.Armagh North Ireland - 22:38 GMT. It lasted for 4 seconds. Direction was north-south. Overhead. Object was white. As large as the Moon. 5-6 pieces breaking off. Awesome.

MAY 22, 2013: Jessica Derbyshire, England - 23 GMT. Lasted for 8 seconds. Northwest fireball with purple and green tail. Yes, it was as large as the  Moon.

MAY 22, 2013: Rebecca Shirzad Emley, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England - 22:50 GMT. Lasted for 3 seconds. It was moving in a westward direction. I was facing southwest. It was blue and green. Larger than the Moon. Didn't manage to get a picture.

MAY 22, 2013: Jon Nugent, Liverpool, United Kingdom - 22:40 GMT. Lasted approximately 7 seconds. However, it was partially obscured by a building, before coming into view. It was moving in a northern direction. I was facing west. It was bright green with visible tail. No sound. Comparable to low flying helicopter lights. Could not tell (short sighted). Widely reported on Facebook immediately after event.

MAY 22, 2013: Martin Case Stoke,Stafford, United Kingdom - 22:30 GMT. Lasted 5 seconds. Moved in a easterly direction. It was green in colour. 

MAY 22, 2013: Peter Ruether Altrincham, Cheshire, United Kingdom - 22:43 GMT. It lasted for 3 - 5 seconds. It was heading in northerly direction. It was very bright. Was much brighter than the Moon. Broke up into 5 or 6 visible fragments. No photo.

MAY 22, 2013: Mark Feller, Cumbria, United Kingdom - 22:56 GMT. Lasted for 10 seconds. Moving from north to south. It was bright yellow. As large as the Sun. Yes, looked like a fireball.

MAY 22, 2013: Paul Elkington, Great Barr, United Kingdom - 22.46 GMT. Lasted for 2 seconds. The houses on the hill opposite blocked the view. It was moving in a east to west direction. I was facing west. It was green. As large as the Sun, but no long trail.
MAY 22, 2013: John Burdett, Nuneaton, United Kingdom - 22:50. It lasted for 2 seconds, while moving in a northerly direction. It was bright white and as large as the Moon. 

- Lunar Meteorite Hunters.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: MILLIONS Of Dead Fish "Poisoned" In Zhengzhou, China?!

May 24, 2013 - CHINA - (Wu Yang Tian Yong) Wang is a feed mill in Zhengzhou city zhongmu County boss. Not long ago he was to their old customers, songxian County, Henan sold fish farms to treat fish veterinary medicine, resulting in fish disease's awesome well, kill millions of fish on the farm. Sad fish farmers is that after it happened, feed factory owner hid.

Zhang Tong is one of the Luhun reservoir in song County of Luoyang City, Henan normal fish, keep 8 fish cages in the area.

Zhang and his wife after three years of rain, this time of 8 boxes of fish to harvest. Zhang Tong did not think that on March 12, he used the Fuyuan herding industry limited company Zhengzhou boss Wang Junqian sold to him when a veterinary drug to treat fish, own 8 cages million fish all died out within three days, more than 800,000 yuan of direct economic losses.

Fish have been poisoned, in the last two months the Commission forces almost daily in the fish stuck in trance.
Photo by Tian Anmin

Zhang tongjun told reporters that not long ago he found himself floating cages in fish disease, and Zhengzhou Fuyuan herding industry limited company General Manager Wang Junqian said on this matter. At that time, the son of a proactive stance, they have a few boxes of medicine to keep him, and money to get back to. Because Wang Junqian has been his fish feed suppliers, relations have always been good, without thinking, Zhang Tong took Wang Junqian for fish disease-fighting drugs.

Provided arms to sub in the cage but Zhang Tong Wang Junqian drugs soon, the fish in the cage began to turn white belly. Three days, Zhang Tong couple hard 8 cages of fish all dead for three years. "This is my wife and all the worldly possessions of several cases of fish, fish is dead how do we live! "Unified and crying, told reporters.

It is understood that their dead fish, also attracts public attention, Zhang Tong in the reservoir full of dead fish for two months, but my objections. Two days ago, Zhang Tong, Zhengzhou city, arrived at the front of the Chengguan Zhengzhou Fuyuan zhongmu County herding industry limited company, company boss Wang Junqian attention wanted to commit suicide, King didn't show up. Zhongmu County officials advised Zhang Tong from the couple.

On May 22, zhongmu County of zhongmu County animal husbandry Bureau subordinate Li Guoshun, Director of animal products quality inspection Center said when interviewed by reporters, zhongmu County animal husbandry Bureau was informed that the matter very seriously, and immediately started an investigation. At present, the preliminary determination is twofold: first, legal representative Wang Junqian feed mills, does not have the management qualifications of veterinary drugs, King fish sell veterinary drugs is a serious offence to breach, second, Wang Junqian veterinary drugs sold without marking, can be characterized as fake and shoddy goods. Zhongmu County animal husbandry Bureau had ordered the company currently closed for remodeling, accept punishment.

Li Guoshun told reporters, according to Wang Junqian, which sells veterinary drugs is that he loves snow in Zhengzhou biotechnology limited company when the salesman left two boxes of medicine. But love promise company denied that Wang Junqian drugs are sold by his company.

Yesterday morning, the reporters came to Fuyuan herding industry limited company Zhengzhou Wang Junqian indebtedness to understand the situation, the people in the compound of the company said, the King's company is not here, and now the House is rented out to someone else. Repeated call Wang Junqian phone tone for the shutdown.

"Our idea is to help farmers a little more compensation, but Wang Junqian repeatedly called, I can't get through. "Zhongmu County animal products quality inspection center director Li Guoshun told reporters.

Today at 8 o'clock in the morning, reporters in Los Loan fast road, Luoyang, songxian County, Henan province on the bridge accident in the territory met Zhang tongjun couple fish farmers are blocking cars in the past. Asked about the reasons, Zhang said, he hopes to get a sky high official to help him solve the problem. - China News. [Translated]

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Over 150 Horses Killed By Monster Tornado In Oklahoma!

May 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - In a sobering count, more than 150 horses died as a result of the violent tornado that swept through Moore, Okla., on Monday. The number represents the entire community of farms that sit on the southern border of Oklahoma City, including Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses who were based at Celestial Acres Training Center.

Several organizations coordinating horse-rescue efforts, as well as local veterinarians and horse owners themselves, determined the number, said Joe Lucas, executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma.

File Photo.

“We’ve counted, unfortunately, 150 head or more that have been found [dead], were killed, or had to be put down,” Lucas said. “And that’s not just Celestial Acres. That’s the Moore area. That’s what we’ve gotten up to.”

Lucas said a hotline is being set up through the state Department of Agriculture for owners to inquire about lost horses. In addition, there are plans to post photos taken of both surviving and deceased horses for the purpose of identification. The Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association are helping with the process, Lucas said.

The team Lucas is working with has located 18 live horses in the Moore area, including five racehorses who were identified by their lip tattoos and sent to Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

“I think we’ve found everything that can be found that’s out there alive,” Lucas said.

Lucas said another 10 rescued horses were sent to facilities in Moore, and an additional three were shipped to Heritage Place, the auction house in Oklahoma City that has opened its doors to displaced horses.

“Horses that have fairly minor injuries that are treatable, they can spend the night for a few days until things get settled,” said Spence Kidney, general manager of Heritage Place. “Plus, if some are not sure where their horses are, it’s a central place to identify those horses. We’re just trying to chip in a little. It’s a terrible situation.”

Kidney said Wednesday the facilities received a miniature stallion, a paint horse, and a small gray mare who appears to be a Welsh pony.

The Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program is providing support to horses displaced by the storm, including helping owners with some of the medical costs for the treatment of injured animals. The organization, which is accepting donations through its website,, also is seeking feed and equipment donations.

“We’re raising money to take care of the horses themselves,” said Chris Kirk, a director of the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program.

Kirk said one of the most heartwarming stories during this difficult time was the rescue of an unraced 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly named Sasha’s Image. She was found at Celestial Acres on Tuesday evening, more than 24 hours after the storm hit. Sasha’s Image was heard whinnying from beneath some barn doors.

“From what I was told, she was laying flat on her side,” Kirk said. “Her ears were laying flat over the top of her head. They got her up, and her ears were still flat. They said the next morning her ears were pricked up again. She was in a lot of distress, but she’s doing better.”

Tornado hits Durant’s farm in Texas

Tom Durant, the all-time leading owner at Lone Star Park near Dallas, experienced significant damage to his farm in Granbury, Texas, last Wednesday due to a tornado. Durant lost nine horses in the storm, five of them yearlings from the first crop of his multiple stakes winner Sing Baby Sing.

“We took a direct hit,” said Jack Bruner, private trainer for Durant.

Bruner said there was no loss of human life at the farm, but the barns were destroyed, as were four tractors, stores of hay, and “countless miles of fence.” Bruner said he has yet to locate the farm’s six-horse trailer. He said 15 of Durant’s horses remain in the care of Equine Sports Medicine Surgery, an equine clinic in Weatherford, Texas.

“I cannot express how much they’ve done,” he said. “We could not have done it without them.”

Bruner said the majority of Durant’s mares and foals are based at Lane’s End Texas, while his racing operation is at Lone Star. The farm on Thursday was being cleared. “We’re going to rebuild,” Bruner said. - DRF.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Global Seismic Uptick - Powerful 6.8 Magnitude Aftershock Strikes Sea Of Okhotsk; Just Hours Following The 8.3 Mega-Quake, Which Was Felt As Far Away As Moscow And Could Be The Deepest Ever Earthquake!

May 24, 2013 - RUSSIA - A powerful earthquake on Friday hit Russia's Far East with tremors felt as far away as Moscow, about 7,000 kilometers (4,400 miles) west of the epicenter, but no casualties or damage were reported.

USGS location for the 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

Marina Kolomiyets, spokeswoman for Obninsk's seismic station of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told The Associated Press the epicenter was in the Sea of Okhotsk, east of the Russian coast and north of Japan, and was 130 kilometers away from the nearest village. She said the quake registered 8.0 on the Richter scale.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude of 8.3. The epicenter was in the Kuril-Kamchatka arc, one of the most seismically active regions in the world.

Emergency agencies in the Far East issued a tsunami warning for Sakhalin and the Kuril islands, but lifted it soon afterwards. Kolomiyets said the earthquake originated 600 kilometers (375 miles) under the sea bed and with the tremors so far down they have the potential to spread quite far.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said they have not recorded any casualties or damage from the quake.

A big aftershock came about nine hours after the first quake. The Russian Academy of Sciences measured it at 7.0, while the U.S. Geological Survey put it at magnitude 6.8.

Russian news agencies reported that residents of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Okhotsk Sea felt the first quake for about five minutes. Residents ran out of the buildings. School children were evacuated.

Tremors from the first quake were felt in Moscow, prompting some people to evacuate from buildings across the city.

Tremors are extremely rare in Moscow, the last recorded instance was in the 1977. The Russian Meteorological Service confirmed these reports but said they did not have immediate information about the magnitude of the tremors of Moscow.

Russian news agencies also cited eyewitnesses reporting strong tremors across Siberia. - Huffington Post.

Tremors Felt In Moscow As Mega-Quake Rattles Russia's Sakhalin Region.
Tremors have been felt all across Russia and in Europe, following a major 8.3 earthquake in the Sakhalin region. Panicking Muscovites began calling security services, and some decided to leave their homes.  The residents informed security services of vibration and tremors that caused furniture and kitchen utensils to move.

The magnitude of the tremors felt in Moscow was no higher than 1 on the Richter scale, the Agency of Hydrometeorological and Environmental monitoring indicated.

Moscow residents wrote on Twitter about the tremors: "wasn't really strong, but things hanging on the walls were shaking," "the fourteenth floor of the Smolensky Passage [a large market in the city center] was noticeably shaking!" and "a house was shaking in the center of Moscow on Tverskaya street."

"The aftershocks occurred in Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, in Europe - for instance, in Romania. Almost the entire continent was shaken," Anatoly Tsygankov, the head of the Situation Center for Agency of Hydrometeorological and Environmental monitoring told Interfax news agency.

Muscovites fled their offices after feeling the tremors that followed an earthquake in the Okhotsk Sea, thousands of kilometers away.  Image by @nakedarizona

#землетрясение #earthquake in Moscow. Nielsen office evacuated.
2:51 утра - 24 мая 2013.  Image:
© Oleg Shishkov

An employee at news website recounted the Moscow tremor: "I have a flat on the 7th floor. At 9:43am I was sitting at my desk in front of the computer when the desk started shaking. We have a metro station underground, so I thought that something happened there. But the vibrations continued, and it became clear that everything was shaking like during an earthquake." The witness says there were at least three tremors; two strong ones, and another, weaker one. Then he started calling Emergency. When the operator answered, the reporter heard someone telling another operator their address, and he understood that the vibrations were happening all over Moscow.

The scientists, however, are sure that there is nothing outstanding in the quake, but it's "deep - around 600 kilometers, in this situation tremors can be felt at long distances from the epicenter," academic and scientist Alexander Soloviev explained.

The Kuril Islands environment.© RIA Novosti / Sergey Krivosheye

Eastern Russia's Kamchatka peninsula is prone to eathquakes.

Experts also pointed out that such a quake is unusual, although not impossible for the Russian capital: On March 4, 1977, Moscow was shaken by a 4.0-magnitude quake centered in the Carpathian Mountains.

Russia's Emergency Ministry said that all of its departments are on high alert following the quake in the Okhotsk Sea.

"Our special attention is on the coastal area. The Ministry is going to watch out for the possible aftershocks. At the moment there's absolutely no threat of tsunami, no buildings are destroyed, there are no injured and people are in no danger" Ministry representative Irina Rossius said.

Some Sakhalin region residents reported that they were unable to turn on electronic devices after the earthquake.

In the meantime, the seismic forecasters say that another quake with the magnitude of over 7 is expected to hit the Sakhalin region in the coming week. - RT.

Russian Earthquake Could Be Deepest Ever.
The massive, magnitude-8.3 temblor that struck today (May 24) near Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula could turn out be the deepest earthquake ever recorded.

At 378 miles (609 kilometers) below the seafloor, the quake could best the previous record set in Bolivia, in 1994. The initial depth may be revised as scientists collect more data. The Bolivian quake was a magnitude-8.3, and 392 miles deep (631 km), Nature News reported.

Recent earthquakes near the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia, including one of the deepest ever recorded. © USGS.

Why so deep? The Sea of Okhotsk sits above a subduction zone, where the Pacific Plate dives beneath the North America Plate. (Though some scientists think there is also a microplate, a small tectonic plate, beneath the sea.) The northwest Pacific crust is some of oldest, coldest oceanic crust subducting on Earth. It's also quickly rolling into the subduction zone, like a speedy conveyor belt, so the cold crust reaches deep into Earth's mantle before warming up.

This setting makes for deep earthquakes in the subducted Pacific plate crust. The extraordinary depth of today's earthquake also means the shaking traveled far across Russia, reaching Moscow and rattling the Kremlin 4,000 miles (6,400 km) away. The waves also crossed the United States, as seen in this video from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. - Live Science.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: CONTAGION - H7N9 Is Airborne; Human Transmission Of Deadly Bird Flu Virus Now Confirmed!

May 24, 2013 - CHINAIn April of this year researches studying the H7N9 bird flu virus in China advised global governments to get prepared for the worst case scenario. According to the World Health Organization, H7N9 is one the most lethal influenza strains ever identified because it mutates eight times faster than a normal flu virus, and according to official records, has a death-to-infection ratio of about 25%.

It was initially believed that the virus could only be transmitted to humans who have had direct contact with poultry. After 36 H7N9 deaths and 131 of infections officially reported since the virus was first identified, the worst case scenario that many feared may now be on the horizon.

The Sun China Morning Post is reporting that researches have confirmed that, not only can the virus be transmitted from one human to another, but it has gone airborne.
The H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted not only through close contact but by airborne exposure, a team at the University of Hong Kong found after extensive laboratory experiments.

Though the virus appears to have been brought under control recently, the researchers urged the Hong Kong authorities to maintain strict surveillance, which should include not only poultry but humans and pigs...

In the study, to be published today in the journal Science, ferrets were used to evaluate the infectivity of H7N9. It was found the virus could spread through the air, from one cage to another, albeit less efficiently.

Inoculated ferrets were infected before the appearance of most clinical symptoms. This means there may be more cases than have been detected or reported.
“People may be transmitting the virus before they even know that they’ve got it,” Zhu said.
SCMP via Zero Hedge
It’s important to note that the Chinese government has never been very straight forward about statistics, especially if they involve negative perceptions of their country, so in all likelihood the H7N9 virus has infected countless others.

Though it’s been called one of the most lethal flu viruses in history by WHO, Chinese scientists have downplayed the threat by claiming the effects are “mild,” and the U.S. government has up until now made no decision on whether to move forward with a vaccine for this particular strain. Earlier reports indicate that the virus is resistant to Tamiflu, a drug commonly used to treat most flu symptoms.

H7N9 is reportedly now under control in China, but we know for a fact that the virus jumped to Taiwan in April, and it may have spread elsewhere. Given that research shows the virus can spread through the air before symptoms appear, it’s certainly possibly that an outbreak is in its preliminary phase right now.
Curiously, the United Nations reports that the virus has already cost the global economy some $6.5 billion in losses. Those are massive numbers given that only 131 official cases have been reported.

We’ll know soon enough if the Chinese government has controlled the outbreak among its one billion population, and if it’s taken hold in other countries. If it’s airborne, the contagion will spread like any common cold or flu.

For more information on individual patients infected: blue, patients infected with the H7N9 virus under treatment; red, those infected with H7N9 who have died; yellow, those who have fully recovered; and pink, those infected other types of the Influenza A virus, including H1N1.

Pandemics have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people throughout history, and once they start they are very hard to control. With H7N9 having a mutation rate that is eight times faster than other flu viruses, it could very well become even deadlier than it is now. Moreover, it could become even more contagious over time.

The only thing we can do at this point is to wait for news as it becomes available and take preemptive steps to prepare for the possibility of a widespread outbreak. - SHTF Plan.

H7N9 Bird Flu Can Pass Between Mammals, Researchers Find.
Scientists are gaining a better understanding of the H7N9 bird flu that has sickened more than 130 people -- and killed more than 30 -- in China and Taiwan since February.

The latest research into the virus, which before this year had never been detected in humans, was published Thursday (subscription required for full text) in the online edition of the journal Science.

Working with ferrets, an animal that is often studied to gain insight into flu transmissibility in people, scientists in China, Canada and the U.S. found that H7N9 could spread from one ferret to another -- suggesting that it could also pass between humans. "Under appropriate conditions human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus may be possible," the co-authors wrote.

A worker in a chicken slaughterhouse in Taiwan. Researchers are learning more about the bird flu that has sickened and killed people in Taiwan and China. (David Chang / European Pressphoto Agency)

But H7N9 only spread efficiently when the ferrets were placed in the same cage and came into direct contact. The virus did not transmit easily between animals in adjacent cages, who couldn't touch but could breathe in the droplets from each others' sneezes and coughs.

"We think for a virus to take off in humans, it has to be efficient at both" forms of transmission, said Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. and a coauthor of the paper. But, he added, the H7N9 virus is likely to mutate over time, and could become more transmissible in humans as time goes by.

Webby said that the team's data reflected the epidemiology on the ground: So far, public health officials believe most cases have occurred in people who have had close contact with poultry, and do not think H7N9 spreads easily between humans. But even though the findings "may seem a little 'duh,' " Webby said, they help scientists answer some of the more subtle questions surrounding H7N9 transmissibility in people.

When people get sick with H7N9, health workers don't know how much of their susceptibility is influenced by underlying heath conditions, cross-reactive immunity, or other external factors. By performing an experiment in ferrets, Webby said, researchers can control for such variables and get a more clear picture of the virus' transmissibility.

The team also performed their experiment in pigs, in an effort to see what role the animals might play in harboring the virus in the wild. H7N9 did not transmit efficiently in the pigs, suggesting that they "probably are not big players in the epidemiology of the disease at the moment," Webby said.

According to the World Health Organization's latest update on human infections with H7N9, there were no new lab-confirmed cases of H7N9 in humans between May 8 and May 17. Webby said that cases of the illness did seem to be "tailing off," perhaps because live poultry markets have been shut down in the region, or perhaps because it's almost summer.

In the future, the coauthors of the Science paper wrote, as markets reopen, authorities in areas where the virus has taken hold may want to adjust the way they manage poultry markets to prevent further spread of the virus.

A letter published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine also focused on on the importance of poultry markets in the spread of H7N9 among humans. That journal also published new H7N9 research this week, which updated reports of the clinical characteristics of 111 cases of the illness. - LA Times.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: The Global Volcano Report For May 24, 2013 - Updates On Etna, Paluweh, Lassen, Sangay, Pavlof, Chirinkotan, Popocatépetl And Copahue!

May 24, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Chirinkotan (Northern Kuriles): The remote volcano in the northern Kuriles is probably in eruption, the latest SVERT report and satellite images suggest. A plume of gas and steam, and possibly some minor amounts ash was seen with the MODIS sensor onboard the NASA Terra satellite this morning.

The plume of Chirinkotan volcano this morning (NASA/MODIS via Blog Culture Volcan).

Satellite data also indicate that activity had likely already started in early May, because a small thermal anomaly can be traced back on archive pictures to 7 May. One should take into account that frequent dense cloud cover often prevents such observations, so activity could have started earlier than that... [read more]

Pavlof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): Weak activity (probably minor lava effusion) continues at the volcano, visible on satellite imagery as a thermal anomaly. AVO only observed degassing and almost no ash emissions, but maintains orange alert level in case eruptive activity restarts.

MODIS hot spot data (yesterday) for Pavlof volcano (ModVolc, Univ. Hawaii).

Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity, both internal and external, remains elevated. A constant steam plume can be seen rising on webcams and a steam-gas-ash plume rises up to about 1.5 km above the volcano. The seismic signal shows frequent earthquakes and emission events.

Powerful explosion yesterday at 02:54 local time (CENAPRED webcam).

Yesterday, the volcano has been very active and produced frequent explosions and near-continuous steam-gas-ash emissions accompanied by phases of volcanic tremor. At 02:54 h local time, an explosion occurred, which sent huge fragments at distances of up to 1.5 km from the crater (image). After this event, activity continued unabated... [read more]

Copahue (Chile/Argentina): SERNAGEOMIN has raised the alert level to orange. Since May 15, a progressive increase in seismic activity as well emissions of gas and now some ash have been observed.

Ash plume from Copahue seen from space (MODIS, via Blog Culture Volcan).

Both earthquakes related to rock fracturing and fluid movements have picked up in numbers and possibly indicate a new magmatic intrusion on its way. This scenario is confirmed by the start of small ash emissions and glow at the crater which is visible at night. The plume of gas and ash could be seen from space by the MODIS sensor, streching about 100 km to the southeast... [read more]

Etna (Sicily, Italy): A swarm of shallow (3-6 km depth) earthquakes including several felt ones (magnitudes 2.9-3.5) occurred yesterday and today under the SE flank near Zafferana town. So far, no other unusual signs of activity have been reported, but the swarm could indicate something in the making, and the monitoring agency INGV is certainly following these events closely.

Map of recent earthquakes under Etna.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): Ash plumes rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude have been observed yesterday and today. The lava dome obviously continues to be active and regularly produces explosions and/or rock avalanches that cause ash plumes.

MODIS hot spot data (past 7 days) for Paluweh volcano (ModVolc, Univ. Hawaii).

Lassen (California): A shallow magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred Fri, 24 May at 04:58 UTC km WNW of Greenville, California, about 50 km SE of Lassen volcano. Hundreds of aftershocks, some of them felt, have occurred. It is unlikely that the earthquake has any relation with the volcano. The status of Lassen volcano remains therefore at green.

Location of recent earthquakesSE of Lassen volcano (USGS data).

Sangay (Ecuador): A possible ash emission occurred yesterday at 17:15 GMT, VAAC Washington reported. A pilot observed an ash plume at 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude drifting west from the volcano, but no ash could be detected on satellite data.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for May 24, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

ICE AGE NOW: A Year Without Spring - "Winter," Maybe Even Snow To Return For Memorial Day Weekend?!

May 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Memorial Day weekend is expected to feel more like “winter” for areas of the eastern U.S., according to forecasters at, with snow possible for parts of the Northeast.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for parts of Massachusetts and Texas early Friday as much of the country continued to be hit by miserable weather. The warnings are only issued when there is the potentially for “rapid” and “life threatening” flooding.

The Tri-State area was also hit by heavy rainfall and thunderstorms through the night, reported.

A house in Glen Rock, New Jersey, was hit by lightning, sending a couple running outside.

“It sounded like an explosion,” one resident of the house told The strike went through the house’s alarm system. “Pieces of plastic hit me in the back of the head and I turned around … the alarm panel blew out of the wall.”

Forecast for Memorial Day Weekend.

Some areas of the Tri-State saw as much as 3 to 4 inches of rain by Thursday night.

In Connecticut, storms brought down trees in Waterbury and there were floods in Danbury, reported. said that while the Memorial Day weekend was supposed to mark the start of the summer season “unfortunately for parts of the East, it won't feel anything like summer. In fact, a few locales may refer to it as winter.”

“Low pressure is expected to wrap-up and crawl northward along the coast of New England late Friday into Sunday,” reported.

WATCH: Storm swamp roads in the Tri-State area.

“As a result, most residents from New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and eastern New York to Maine will see a wet start to the weekend on Saturday,” it added. “The rain will continue over much of New England southward to near or just north of New York City right into Sunday.”

And said it could even get cold enough to see snow at higher altitudes in northern New York, northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northern Maine.

It said high temperatures were expected to be in the 50s and 60s from Pennsylvania and New York to New England both Saturday and Sunday.

In the Southeast, said it would be unseasonably cold with “near-record low temperatures” in Asheville, N.C., Nashville, Tenn., and Greenville, S.C., on Saturday morning in the 40s and low 50s.

WATCH: Flooding in Nyack shuts down roadways, businesses

Thunderstorms could hit Tennessee on Sunday, and parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia on Memorial Day, warned.

There would also be a threat of thunderstorm over the holiday weekend from the Plains into the middle and upper Mississippi Valleys.

The Northwest could see showers through the weekend, while dry weather was expected to prevail in the Southwest. - NBC News.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: Hundreds Of White Bass Found Dead In Lake Springfield, Illinois?!

May 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries division reports a recent fish kill on Lake Springfield involved hundreds of white bass.

Dan Stephenson, assistant chief of the DNR fisheries division, said the kill is relatively minor and natural.

A handful of other species also were affected including largemouth bass, channel catfish, drum and common carp.

File Photo.

“It is hard to say what killed these fish, but I suspect it was a combination of several factors,” Stephenson said.

Rapid temperature changes over the past couple of weeks combined with weakened body condition due to spawning and the possibility of disease may have come together to cause the fish kill.

Many diseases and parasites are not species specific.

“But in this case since most were white bass, I suspect disease has much to do with it,” Stephenson said. “Regardless of what killed them, it was a natural kill and very minor, even though fishermen are seeing what they think is a lot of fish,”

Lake Springfield holds 2 million to 4 million pounds of fish, Stephenson said.

About 200,000 to 400,000 pounds of fish die each year.

“This will have no effect on the sport fishery in the lake which overall is exceptional.”

Lake Decatur also experienced a similar fish kill in recent weeks.

Stephenson said he appreciates those who called to alert the DNR to the fish kill.

“It’s good to know we have a caring and educated public,” he said. - SJ-R.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Major Global Seismic Uptick - Very Powerful 8.3 Magnitude Mega-Quake Rocks The Sea Of Okhotsk - No Tsunami Threat!

May 24, 2013 - HAWAII - A statement from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no tsunami threat to Hawaiʻi after an 8.3 preliminary magnitude earthquake in the Sea of Okhotsk reported at 7:45 p.m. HST 5/23/13.

USGS earthquake location.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was quick to report that no tsunami was expected, posting this message on their website:


According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was 222 miles WSW of Esso, Russia; and 1472 mi NNE of Tokyo, Japan. The agency reports that the depth of the quake was 601 km.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

This follows two large earthquakes reported earlier today near Tonga–one at 7:19 a.m. HST that measured 7.4 in magnitude and located 174 miles SW of Vaini, Tonga; and another at 11:08 a.m. HST that measured 6.6 in magnitude and located 30 miles NNW of Nuku`alofa, Tonga.

Global seismic uptick - Major earthquakes over the last 24 hours.

None of the incidents resulted in a tsunami threat to Hawaiʻi.

The County of Maui recently updated its tsunami evacuation maps that include expanded evacuation areas in Kahului, Kīhei, and Lahaina. The agency also produced maps for Kahakuloa Village and the East Maui community of Keʻanae which had not previously been mapped, according to county officials.

USGS earthquake damage estimates.

USGS earthquake population exposure.

The quake was located along the Kuril-Kamchatka arc, which is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the world. It extends approximately 1,304 miles from Hokkaido, Japan, along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula to its intersection with the Aleutian arc near the Commander Islands, Russia. - Maui Now.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc.
The Kuril-Kamchatka arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan, along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula to its intersection with the Aleutian arc near the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk microplate, part of the larger North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, active volcanoes located along the entire arc, and the deep offshore Kuril-Kamchatka trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving towards the northwest at a rate that increases from 75 mm/year near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/year in the south.

Plate motion is predominantly convergent along the Kuril-Kamchatka arc with obliquity increasing towards the southern section of the arc. The subducting Pacific plate is relatively old, particularly adjacent to Kamchatka where its age is greater than 100 Ma. Consequently, the Wadati-Benioff zone is well defined to depths of approximately 650 km. The central section of the arc is comprised of an oceanic island arc system, which differs from the continental arc systems of the northern and southern sections. Oblique convergence in the southern Kuril arc results in the partitioning of stresses into both trench-normal thrust earthquakes and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes, and the westward translation of the Kuril forearc. This westward migration of the Kuril forearc currently results in collision between the Kuril arc in the north and the Japan arc in the south, resulting in the deformation and uplift of the Hidaka Mountains in central Hokkaido.

The Kuril-Kamchatka arc is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the world. Deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the subduction zone interface between the Pacific and North America plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Kuril-Kamchatka arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific plate and can reach depths of approximately 650 km.

This region has frequently experienced large (Magnitude greater than 7) earthquakes over the past century. Since 1900, seven great earthquakes (M8.3 or larger) have also occurred along the arc, with mechanisms that include interplate thrust faulting, and intraplate faulting. Damaging tsunamis followed several of the large interplate megathrust earthquakes. These events include the February 3, 1923 M8.4 Kamchatka, the November 6,1958 M8.4 Etorofu, and the September 25, 2003 M8.3 Hokkaido earthquakes. A large M8.5 megathrust earthquake occurred on October 13, 1963 off the coast of Urup, an island along the southern Kuril arc, which generated a large tsunami in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk, and caused run-up wave heights of up to 4-5 m along the Kuril arc. The largest megathrust earthquake to occur along the entire Kurile-Kamchatka arc in the 20th century was the November 4, 1952 M9.0 event. This earthquake was followed by a devastating tsunami with run-up wave heights as high as 12 m along the coast of Paramushir, a small island immediately south of Kamchatka, causing significant damage to the city of Severo-Kurilsk.

On October 4,1994, a large (M8.3) intraplate event occurred within the subducted oceanic lithosphere off the coast of Shikotan Island causing intense ground shaking, landslides, and a tsunami with run-up heights of up to 10 m on the island.

The most recent megathrust earthquake in the region was the November 15, 2006 M8.3 Kuril Island event, located in the central section of the arc. Prior to this rupture, this part of the subduction zone had been recognized as a seismic gap spanning from the northeastern end of the 1963 rupture zone to the southwestern end of the 1952 rupture. Two months after the 2006 event, a great (M8.1) normal faulting earthquake occurred on January 13, 2007 in the adjacent outer rise region of the Pacific plate. It has been suggested that the 2007 event may have been caused by the stresses generated from the 2006 earthquake. - USGS.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 5.7 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Northern California - Over A Dozen Aftershocks Reported Northeast Of Sacramento!

May 24, 2013 - UNITED STATES -  A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit Northern California Thursday night that was widely felt across the region, but there were no reports of serious damage.

USGS earthquake location.

The temblor struck at 8:47 p.m. and was centered near Greenville, about 25 miles southwest of Susanville in far northeastern California, said Rafael Abreu, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Center in Golden, Colo.

Abreu said there were no reports of serious damage in the early field reports.

But Allen Shephard, who runs the Quail Lodge at Lake Almanor near Greenville just a few miles from the epicenter, said the lodge suffered damage.

"Dishes plum out of the counter, computers thrown everywhere," Shepherd told the Redding Record-Searchlight.

The Susanville Fire Department said it had received no reports of damage, and a Plumas County Sheriff's Office dispatcher said calls were flooding into its office but no reports of damage.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

USGS earthquake shakemap intensity.

KCRA-TV in Sacramento reported that the Plumas County temblor was felt in downtown Sacramento, about 145 miles south of the epicenter.

People in Yuba and Sutter Counties, south of Plumas, said they felt a rolling quake, according to the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.

Others reported feeling the quake as far away as the San Francisco Bay area, according to the USGS's website.

There have been eight aftershocks ranging from 2.6-to-3.5-magnitude.

"People in the area felt a strong jolt, but it was not enough to generate serious damage, based on early field reports," Abreu said. - FOX News.

USGS earthquake population exposure.

More than a dozen aftershocks were reported Thursday night following a 5.7 earthquake about 150 miles northeast of Sacramento, officials said.

The initial quake hit about 8:47 p.m.; its epicenter was about 27 miles southwest of Susanville and seven miles west northwest of Greenville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

People on Twitter told The Times they felt that quake in Sacramento and Lodi, as well as South Reno and on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe.

Police officials in Susanville and Sacramento said that the quake set off a number of home and car alarms and rattled windows but that there were no immediate reports of damage.

Map shows the location of a 5.7-magnitude earthquake north of Sacramento.
(U.S. Geological Survey / May 23, 2013)

"We got a bunch of alarm calls and a bunch of barking dogs," dispatcher Taylor Richards of the Sacramento Police Department told The Times. "It was a good solid feel here."

Within minutes of the quake, more than 7,000 people reported feeling it on the USGS website.

A man in Chico told The Times he felt a slow roll that lasted about 30 seconds.

The aftershocks' magnitude ranged up to 3.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"House shook pretty hard," one man near Truckee told The Times. - LA Times.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Bridge Collapses In Washington State, Dumping Several Vehicles Into The Skagit River - Three Victims Escape Alive Amid Fears More Drivers Are Trapped Below Surface!

May 24, 2013 - UNITED STATESA bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State collapsed on Thursday evening leaving cars and passengers in the water.  At least two cars with passengers inside were in the Skagit River, and there is no confirmation about the number of passengers involved but police have now confirmed that all passengers have been accounted for, and that there were no fatalities in the crash.  As the rescue operation remains underway, it was revealed that the bridge was previously recognized by state authorities as being 'functionally obsolete' as a result of certain structural changes that required attention.

Damage: The first pictures of the scene show that both the north and southbound lanes of the Interstate highway collapsed on Thursday evening just before 7pm.

Rescue: Three people were initially pulled from the water alive, though there remained concerns about other possible passengers who were trapped by debris.

On the water: Concerns about the water pressure, drowning, and fallen concrete or metal all proved harrowing for the responding officers.

Revelations: The bridge was reportedly listed as one of the state's structurally deficient bridges.

Desperate search: Eyewitnesses said that they could hear a man screaming from one of the trucks that fell in the water.

The I-5 runs through the state, crossing the Skagit River at a number of different points, but the bridge where the collapse happened was between Burlington and Mount Vernon.Both the north and southbound lanes of the bridge fell into the water, and as such both directions of the highway have been closed in the area.There were early eyewitness reports that people watching were screaming that a man was stuck inside his truck that fell in the water during the collapse.

Troubled water: Both the north and south bound lanes of the interstate were effected so much of the nearby highway was closed in order to prevent any other accidents.

Hopeful: Crowds gathered on the river bank as the rescue crews bring survivors out of the water.

Viewing the scene: Crowds gathered on the top of the bridge as they tried to assess the damage.

Location: The bridge itself is in a rather remote area between the towns of Burlington and Mount Vernon but the interstate itself is a major thoroughfare that connects Seattle to Canada.

Miraculous rescue: Police have confirmed that all people have been accounted for in the Thursday collapse.

Officials were quick to note that it would not be a massive accident, as highway trooper Mark Francis told local station King 5 News that because the bridge is in a relatively rural area, he does not expect mass casualties.According to a blog that monitors transportation reports, the 2010 inspection called for an estimated $1,035,000 in repairs to bring the bridge and its connection to the surrounding riverbank up to satisfactory levels.A spokesman for the WSDOT told local station KOMO News that this bridge- which was built in 1955- is not the only dated overpass in the area.'All of our bridges in the area are pretty old,' Bart Treece told the station. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: Bridge Collapses In Washington State.