Saturday, May 9, 2015

MONUMENTAL SOLAR SYSTEM CHANGES: The Sun Is Now Virtually Blank - During The Weakest Solar Cycle In More Than A Century!

Current image of the sun with virtually blank conditions; courtesy NASA/SDO

May 12, 2015 - SPACE
- The sun is almost completely blank. The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. The sun's X-ray output has flatlined in recent days and NOAA forecasters estimate a scant 1% chance of strong flares in the next 24 hours. Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and the current nearly blank sun may signal the end of the solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.

Solar maximum
The smoothed sunspot number (plot below) for solar cycle 24 reached a peak of 81.9 in April 2014 and it is looking increasingly likely that this spike will be considered to be the solar maximum for this cycle. This second peak in the cycle surpassed the level of an earlier peak that reached 66.9 in February 2012. Many solar cycles are double peaked; however, this is the first one in which the second peak in sunspot number was larger than the first peak. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase.


sunspot numbers
Sunspot numbers for the prior solar cycle (#23) and the current solar cycle (#24) with its two peaks highlighted;
courtesy Hathaway, NASA/ARC



Consequences of a weak solar cycle

First, the weak solar cycle has resulted in rather benign “space weather” in recent times with generally weaker-than-normal geomagnetic storms. By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geoeffective solar activity, this cycle has been extremely quiet. However, while a weak solar cycle does suggest strong solar storms will occur less often than during stronger and more active cycles, it does not rule them out entirely. In fact, the famous "superstorm" Carrington Event of 1859 occurred during a weak solar cycle (#10) [http://vencoreweather.com/2014/09/02/300-pm-the-carrington-event-of-1859-a-solar-superstorm-that-took-places-155-years-ago/]. In addition, there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle. In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead.

Second, it is pretty well understood that solar activity has a direct impact on temperatures at very high altitudes in a part of the Earth’s atmosphere called the thermosphere. This is the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which lies directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation and are highly dependent on solar activity.

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a cooling impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere - and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830 (below). Both of these historical periods coincided with colder-than-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many scientists as the “Little Ice Age”. In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.


400 years of sunspots
400 years of sunspots with "minimum" periods highlighted; map courtesy wikipedia


Outlook
The increasingly likely outcome for another historically weak solar cycle continues the recent downward trend in sunspot cycle strength that began over twenty years ago during solar cycle 22. If this trend continues for the next couple of cycles, then there would likely be increasing talk of another “grand minimum” for the sun which is an extended period of low solar activity. Some solar scientists are already predicting that the next solar cycle, #25, will be even weaker than this current one. However, it is just too early for high confidence in those predictions since many solar scientists believe that the best predictor of future solar cycle strength involves activity at the sun’s poles during a solar minimum and the next solar minimum is still likely several years away. - Vencore Weather.



ICE AGE NOW: Mother's Day Blizzard Underway In South Dakota!

Snow covers the ground off Interstate 90 east of Sturgis, South Dakota, in this view from a highway camera taken Sunday. © South Dakota DOT/Handout/Reuters

May 9, 2015 - SOUTH DAKOTA, UNITED STATES
- Blizzard Warnings are in place for parts of South Dakota through 6:00 p.m. Sunday evening. Elsewhere Winter Storms Warnings are in effect that include the panhandle of Nebraska.

Area's in the panhandle, such as Chadron, could see more than a foot of the white stuff by the time all is said and done.

Meanwhile, the Black Hills and Rapid City, SD could see up to two feet of snow! Winds are going to be whipping it around as well, they could see gusts near 60 mph.


© wowt.com


This is a very late season storm, likely to break records. You'll remember back to the blizzard of October 2013 when western South Dakota and Nebraska panhandle picked up unprecedented snowfall.

Some areas saw over four feet. The early season storm was to blame for weeks-long power outages and the deaths of millions of cattle and livestock.

Our own Brad Sugden was working in the area at the time covering that blizzard. - WOWT.



 

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes On Atlanta Highway - 4 People Dead!


May 9, 2015 - GEORGIA, UNITED STATES
- A small airplane crashed just north of Atlanta, Georgia, killing all four people on board. The plane reported a problem shortly after takeoff. The wreck closed Interstate I-285 and was blocking traffic in the area.

The single-engine aircraft, a Piper PA-32, “reported an issue on takeoff” from the nearby DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, according to Atlanta’s WSB-TV. It hit a trailer truck on its way down, and exploded on the interstate, leaving burning wreckage along the barrier separating the lanes.

DeKalb county officials confirmed that three men and one woman died in the crash.




The Asheville Citizen-Times identified the victims as a local family headed to the University of Mississippi (also known as “Ole Miss”) for Saturday’s graduation ceremony. Robert Byrd confirmed that his father Greg, his brothers Phillip and Christopher, and Christopher’s fiancĂ©e Jackie Kulzer, were on board the aircraft.

Greg Byrd, 53, was reportedly piloting the plane. He received his commercial pilot’s license in January this year.


This map shows the short flight path from PDK to I-285.


"Whoever was in that plane, my heart goes out to their family," said Gerald Smith, driver of the trailer truck that was hit. "Just a normal workday for me [is now] a day I'll never forget, because somebody's life was taken."

Smith told Atlanta’s WSB-TV he saw the plane coming down. "It wasn't any higher than the top of my truck," he said. "By the time I hit the brakes, I heard the impact."


WATCH: Small plane crashes on Atlanta area interstate, killing 4.




Local media report that the interstate might be closed for "at least eight hours." Traffic delays are affecting the Atlanta area on I-285, I-85, and state highway 400.

WSB-TV reports that trailer trucks will be allowed through downtown Atlanta while the I-285 is closed, using I-75, I-85 and I-20 highways instead. - RT.




 

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: 51 Tornadoes Rip Through U.S. Tornado Alley Hitting Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, And North Texas - Widespread Destruction; Experts Issue Ominous Forecasts For Coming Days!

Damon Braley carries his mother’s dog Sammy, which he rescued from under the wreckage of his parents’ RV.© Reuters
May 10, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Victims from a 51-twister outbreak across Tornado Alley sifted through rubble Thursday while experts issued ominous forecasts for the coming days.

Tornadoes hit Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and north Texas on Wednesday. Most were small and chewed up only farmland, but a pair crossed into Oklahoma City and damaged homes and businesses. A few injuries were reported — including about a dozen at an Oklahoma City trailer park — and one woman drowned in an underground storm shelter that flooded.

"There is a hotel on Interstate 35 that sustained major damage — it just looks destroyed," said Oklahoma police Sgt. Gary Knight. "We've been going room to room."

The Storm Prediction Center had warned that severe weather would come to Tornado Alley and said more storms were possible later in the week. Meteorologist John Hart said the greatest threat for severe weather Thursday was in southern Oklahoma and north Texas. Even two days out, the center was warning of a "moderate risk" of severe storms Saturday from the high plains of Kansas to the Red River area north of Dallas, including much of western Oklahoma.

"The conditions are right; it's the right time of year," forecaster John Hart said. "There are just a lot of things that make you think over the next three days there will probably be big tornadoes across the southern Plains."

Grady County authorities said Wednesday that a tornado destroyed 25 homes in Bridge Creek, a community southwest of Oklahoma City.


A large tornado passes just to the west of Halstead, Kansas, on Wednesday. © Zuma wire

Sharon Odom looks over what is left of her RV at the Roadrunner RV Park in Oklahoma City. © Reuters

Sharon Odom looks over what is left of her RV at the Roadrunner RV Park in Oklahoma City.

Throughout the region, flooding was a concern after 5 to 8 inches fell, said Forrest Mitchell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman. The 7.1 inches that fell at the Oklahoma City airport easily eclipsed the previous daily high of 2.61 inches, he said.

Oklahoma City spokeswoman Kristy Yager said the heavy rains prompted the city to issue its first flash flood emergency.


WATCH: Tornadoes hit United States.






Lara O'Leary, a spokeswoman for Emergency Medical Services Authority, said ambulances responded to water rescues "all over" the Oklahoma City metro area. Two ambulance crews also required assistance after getting stuck in high water, she said.

Knight said the body of a 42-year-old Oklahoma City woman was found Thursday morning in a flooded underground storm shelter. She apparently drowned after taking cover there, he said.

Lt. John Vincent of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said early Thursday that troopers responded to many emergency calls for stranded vehicles overnight and that all stuck vehicles have been checked for trapped motorists. He said all flooded roads have reopened except for the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, which is partially closed. - New York Post.

 

ICE AGE NOW: May Snowstorm Dumps Over A Foot Of Snow On South Dakota's Black Hills!

The white stuff.

May 9, 2015 - SOUTH DAKOTA, UNITED STATES
- A May snowstorm has dumped more than a foot of snow in South Dakota's Black Hills.

Meteorologist Kyle Carstens of the National Weather Service in Rapid City says between 10 to 18 inches of snow already has fallen in the Black Hills as of Sunday morning. Snowfall could total 20 to 24 inches by the time the system passes.

Rapid City reports 8 to 11 inches of snow and could see a foot.

Carstens says the snow is not unusual for this time of year. He says this is the wettest time of the year for the Rapid City area, and temperatures have been hovering just below freezing.

Carstens says many roads have deep slush, but the snow won't stay. Temperatures are expected to reach the 60s by mid-week. - KTTC.



WEATHER ANOMALIES: Ice Age Now - Unseasonal Sudden Snowfall Hits Chelyabinsk In Russia; Thousands Left Without Power?!


May 9, 2015 - CHELYABINSK, RUSSIA
- Chelyabinsk, the Russian city that made headlines with its meteorite, triple sun and blue snow, has been hit by a new natural phenomenon. The city in the Southern Urals marked May 9 with a sudden snowfall so thick it left 39,000 people without power.

The wintry weather, which started on May 9, hasn't discouraged social media users who were preparing to mark 70 years since victory over Nazi Germany in WWII. They marked the words "May 9" in the snow, and drew pictures of St. George's ribbons on their snowy cars.

"I love winter in the beginning of May," gzbender user wrote on Instagram. The city residents even revived their favorite New Year tradition - building a "stern Chelyabinsk snowman."






More photos here


The snow also damaged power lines in the city and left about 39,000 people without electricity, regional energy officials said.


WATCH: Unseasonal snowfall in  Chelyabinsk.




Chelyabinsk is no stranger to strange natural occurrences.

On February 15, 2013, Chelyabinsk made global headlines after a blazing meteor flashed across the sky. Its impact in the atmosphere had the power of over 20 Hiroshima explosions.

Luckily, the explosion occurred about 30 to 40km over the city and the meteor didn't make an unwelcome crash landing in the middle of the city. There were no serious casualties, but about 1,600 people received minor injuries, mostly from fragments of shattered glass.

The biggest fragment of the meteorite weighed in at around 570 kilograms and was found in Lake Chebarkul, 90 km from Chelyabinsk.


WATCH: The Chelyabinsk meteor.




This February city residents were awed by a new phenomenon, a triple sun, a rare optical illusion produced by ice crystals in the winter air.

Also in February, another strange event was the appearance of smurf-colored snowflakes covering the city's streets. It turned out to be that a local factory making dye for Easter eggs had a spill.


- RT.





 

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: More Than 60 Small Eruptions At Nicaragua's Concepcion Volcano!

View of the 1,610 meter high Concepcion active volcano located in the picturesque island of Ometepe, Nicaragua.

May 9, 2015 - NICARAGUA
- Nicaragua's Concepcion volcano has experienced more than 60 small eruptions since early Wednesday.

"The volcano has spewed gases but no ash," said the coordinator of the Council on Communication and Citizenry, Rosario Murillo.

"Experts from the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies, Ineter, are now analyzing this phenomenon," she explained.

Ineter reported two earthquakes of magnitudes 2.4 and 1.3 near the volcano shortly after the eruptions began.

Ineter investigator Armando Saballos said the volcano had shown signs of activity over the past few weeks linked to seismic activity, with small explosions of gas that tended to subside after a few days.

He added that although this was normal, seismic activity could increase in the coming days.

On April 27, Ineter announced that a group of volcanologists would analyze gases from the volcano after the increase in seismic activity was reported.

The 1,610 meter high active volcano is located on the picturesque island of Ometepe, with 36,000 inhabitants. - Latin American Herald Tribune.




WEATHER PHENOMENON: Waterspout Seen Off Grand Bahama After Thunderstorm Warning!

Waterspouts off Grand Bahama.

May 9, 2015 - GRAND BAHAMA, BAHAMAS
- Waterspouts were spotted on Friday off the southern coast of Grand Bahama following a severe thunderstorm warning this morning.

According to weather officials, three waterspouts were seen in the water - one about three miles from land and a second about one mile from shore from William Town Beach, Freeport.

Public schools closed early due to a bogus report circulating on social media warning the public that an estimated seven tornados were expected to make landfall in Grand Bahama.

Trinard Tynes, of the Department of Meteorology in Freeport, said it was a hoax and that the department did not issue any tornado warnings.

"We had a thunderstorm warning issued in the morning and during that time the waterspouts formed on the southern side of the island," he said. "The problem is that someone sent out a hoax letter estimating seven tornados to touch down in Grand Bahama. The information was bogus and there was no tornado warning issued by our department or the Police."



WATCH: Waterspout in Freeport, Bahamas.




The letter claimed that the RBPF was advising parents not to retrieve their children from schools and for persons to remain indoors.

Police Inspector Terecita Pinder, press officer, said the RBPF does not give weather advisories, and did not send out any advisory in regards to the weather.

The Ministry of Education issued a public service advisory on the radio announcing that all government schools were closing and that parents were to pick up their children.

Some private schools also closed early. Parents were contacted and told to pick up their children due to the reported tornado warning.

Mr Tynes said that they had received a lot of calls from concerned persons. He said any information issued pertaining to the weather would have the Department of Meteorology logo on it.

"We have been calling around to let people know that if they receive information that they are not sure about to call us and verify it," he said.

Mr Tynes said that this is thunderstorm season. He noted that waterspouts, funnel clouds, lightning, and heavy winds and rain are usually associated with thunderstorms.

The thunderstorm warning for Grand Bahama ended at 1pm. - The Tribune.



 

RATTLE & HUM: Sonic Boom Panics Citizens Of Kohima, India?!

Kohima, India. © Oasistourindia.com

May 9, 2015 - KOHIMA, INDIA
- With the current law and order in the state in shambles, what with frequent bomb blasts and firing in public places leading to murder and damage of properties, a sudden loud 'boom' at noon on Tuesday created panic among denizens of the state's capital town.

The boom was loud and clear, for a few seconds past mid-day following which people were alarmed and calls to one another began.

The commotion led to creation of more confusion with some people saying it was a bomb blast outside the Secretariat, while others said it happened at the High School junction.

There still were some more who said another blast had occurred at Lerie colony. The colony was the scene of a string of explosions earlier.

However, police officials confirmed that the sound was merely a sonic boom and not a bomb explosion, which was even heard in Wokha and Dimapur district.

It may be mentioned here that a sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound - in this case planes particularly jet fighters.

Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion.

The crack of a supersonic bullet passing overhead is a miniature example of a sonic boom. - Eastern mirrornagaland.




 

PLANETARY TREMORS: Minor Quake Shakes Portions Of Northern Utah! [MAPS]

USGS earthquake location.

May 9, 2015 - UTAH, UNITED STATES
- A minor earthquake shook portions of northern Utah late Saturday morning, but there were no reports of damage.

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations says the epicenter of the magnitude-3.0 temblor was beneath East Canyon in the Wasatch Range, about seven miles north of Summit Park and 17 miles northeast of Salt Lake City.

The 11:41 a.m. earthquake was reported felt in Park City, Salt Lake City and other nearby towns. A magnitude-1.9 aftershock occurred two minutes later.


USGS shakemap intensity.

Dispatchers for the Summit County Sheriff's Office and Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake report receiving no calls from the public about the activity.

Seismologists say the area where the temblors occurred has a history of seismic activity. A widely felt magnitude-3.3 quake occurred on June 12, 2014, in the area. - KSL.




Tectonic Summary - Earthquakes in the Intermountain Seismic Belt (Northern Utah and Vicinity)

The Intermountain seismic belt (ISB) is a prominent north-south-trending zone of recorded seismicity in the Intermountain West, including the Wasatch Front urban corridor. A modern catalog of instrumentally located earthquakes in Utah begins in mid-1962, and historical earthquake records date back to the 1850s. In general, M5 or larger earthquakes occur at an average rate of about one every 10 years and M6 or larger earthquakes about one every 50 years in this area. The largest historical earthquake was the 1934 M6.6 surface-faulting earthquake in Hansel Valley, north of the Great Salt Lake. The ISB in northern Utah includes the Wasatch fault, which has had relatively little historical seismicity despite being Utah's most active fault based on geological evidence.

Because moderate and large earthquakes are likely, expected levels of strong ground shaking are high. Ground shaking from a M5 earthquake can cause significant damage at distances up to 10 km (6 miles), and a M7 at distances up to 50 km (30 miles) and more. Geologic site conditions such as deep sediment-filled basins may locally amplify and prolong ground shaking.

Faults

The ISB in northern Utah coincides with a transition between east-west-directed stretching in the Basin and Range to the west and an area of more stable crust of the Middle Rocky Mountains to the east. The area is characterized by movement along north-trending, east- and west-dipping range-bounding normal faults, resulting in horizontal extension. The ISB in northern Utah contains the Wasatch fault and many of the state's other most active faults, which commonly show evidence of multiple displacements in the past 10,000 years. Average recurrence intervals for large surface-faulting earthquakes on the most active central segments of the Wasatch fault are 1,300-2,500 years; recurrence intervals are typically longer (thousands to 10,000 years or more) on other faults in the area. ISB faults are inferred to be moderate- to high-angle structures extending to depths of 10-15 km (6-10 miles) and capable of causing large earthquakes and strong ground shaking. However, evidence suggests that some normal faults are gently dipping with down-dip movement on underlying shallow, low-angle, west-dipping thrust faults formed during an earlier Cretaceous/early Tertiary period of east-directed compression. The potential for movement on these faults to cause strong ground shaking is less well understood but likely low.

Surface rupture on the Hansel Valley fault occurred during the 1934 Hansel Valley earthquake. However, most small- to moderate-sized earthquakes in the ISB cannot be associated with recognized geologically young faults. Part of the problem of associating seismicity with faults arises from the superposition of late Cenozoic stretching upon older thrust-belt structure, including buried faults having no surface expression.

Impact Text


Felt (III) at Park City and Salt Lake City. Also felt at Bountiful, Coalville and Kamas.

- USGS.




PLANETARY TREMORS: Pair Of Earthquakes Shake Hawaii's Big Island! [MAPS]

A 4.5 magnitude quake struck west of Pahla at 2:18 a.m. Saturday, May 9, 2015.
USGS earthquake location

May 9, 2015 - HAWAII
-  A pair of temblors rocked the Big Island early Saturday morning.

At 2:17 a.m. a 3.1 magnitude quake struck the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park area while a second quake of 4.5 magnitude shook a minute later at 2:18 a.m. west of Pahala.


A 3.1 magnitude quake struck in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park area at 2:17 a.m. Saturday, May 9, 2015.
USGS earthquake location

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the 4.5 magnitude quake struck was centered about 5 miles north of the small town of Naalehu at a depth of 6 miles.


USGS shakemap intensity

There were no reports of damage or injury. People around the island reported light shaking.

The observatory says light shaking isn't expected to damage buildings.

Small aftershocks under magnitude-2 were recorded in the hours after. - Hawaii 24/7 | AP.



GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: New Pacific Volcanic Island Off Tonga Is Already "Disappearing" - Due To Rain Erosion!

A photograph of the new Island off the coast of Nuku'alofa Photo: Mosese Fakatou

May 9, 2015 - TONGA
- A new island that formed in the Pacific after an underwater volcano eruption off Tonga has begun to erode and is "getting smaller".

The cone-shaped island - about half a mile wide and just under a mile long - formed in January about 40 miles north-west of Nuku'alofa, the capital, after an eruption at the Hunga Tonga volcano.


The newly formed island is on the left of the picture (Mosese Fakatou)

Scientists predicted that the land mass would be fragile and was likely to gradually disappear - a prediction that has now been borne out by an expedition by locals to examine the island.

A Tongan shipping firm, Friendly Island Shipping Agency, sent a boat to the island last week and carried local geologists who briefly went ashore.

Mosese Fakatou, a manager from the firm who travelled to the island, said the island was stable but its surface had begun to erode.

"The geologists think it is getting smaller," he told The Telegraph.

"It looks like streaks of erosion probably from rain in the past few weeks. We could see the marks on the island."

Mr Fakatou said the island "looks all right" and the volcano was no longer active.


View of eastern side of new island (Mosese Fakatou)

"We sent some people ashore - some geologists - and they took some measurements of the island," he said.

New islands have been known to form due to volcanic activity but tend to disappear, often within weeks.

The latest island, which has yet to be officially named, is believed to have formed after a volcano exploded underwater and then expanded.


The new island was first photographed earlier this year


"This is not the first time - it has happened before," Pesi Fonua, editor of the Matangi Tonga news website, told The Telegraph.

"It is still very much there but it is not what it was after the eruption was formed. It is slowly eroding into the sea. It is very slow."

Photographs of the island first emerged in March after a group of locals went ashore. They reported that the surface remained still hot and a green lake in the crater smelt strongly of sulphur.


The newly formed island is pictured on the right of the picture (Mosese Fakatou)

The island formed following a volcano explosion that began in December and lasted weeks.


Gianpiero Orbassano took this picture of crater on the island (file photo)

Its birth was recorded by Tonga's lands and natural resources ministry, which stated: "During our observations the volcano was erupting about every five minutes to a height of about [1,300 feet], accompanied by some large rocks." - Telegraph.





EXTREME WEATHER: Massive Bushfire Rages In Mavis Bank, St. Andrew, Jamaica - Several Homes Destroyed; Many Coffee Farms Devastated; Could Result In Losses Totalling BILLIONS Of Dollars!


May 9, 2015 - ST. ANDREW, JAMAICA
- Another massive bush fire is now raging in Mavis Bank, St. Andrew. Several acres of land are burning and according to reports.

A house which belonged to former Prime Minister Michael Manley is one of several destroyed in the massive bush fire, which has also hit the island’s coffee industry hard.

The bushfire has trapped several coffee farmers, including politician and coffee farmer Joan Gordon-Webley.

The Government says it’s moving this afternoon to respond to the extensive damage.

Several farmers have also complained about smoke inhalation.


Motorcyclist ride past a section of land in Mavis Bank, St Andrew that was burnt in the most recent fire to affect the coffee-growing area.  Norman Grindley

In an update, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is reporting this afternoon that the bush fires in the Flamstead area of Mavis Bank St Andrew are now under control.

ODPEM says reports from the Jamaica Fire Brigade are that should wind conditions remain favourable the fires should not spread to other areas.

The fires have been burning since last Saturday.

Residents say it started in the community of Mount Charles and quickly spread to sections of Tower Hill and other areas in Mavis Bank.

Coffee farmers in the affected areas say the fires could result in losses totalling billions of dollars.

In a statement, ODPEM says fire fighters are still working to extinguish the fires and that efforts are being made to ensure that homes are not affected.

ODPEM is also appealing to residents in the affected areas to exercise caution and is urging members of the public to avoid the affected areas where possible. - Jamaica Gleaner | OG | BNN | JNN.





GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Experts Warns Japan Has Entered "ERA OF GREAT QUAKES AND ERUPTIONS" As The Black Celestial Event Nears - Volcanoes Stirring Across The Country!

Mount Sakurajima.

May 9, 2015 - JAPAN
- Mt. Fuji is located only about 25 kilometers from Mt. Hakone. While Mt. Fuji is also an active volcano, will the increased volcanic activity of Mt. Hakone have any effects on Mt. Fuji?

“The magma chambers located beneath Mt. Hakone and Mt. Fuji are not connected, so there is no effect on Mt. Fuji,” said Toshitsugu Fujii, who chairs the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Coordinating Committee for Prediction of Volcanic Eruptions. The agency has not observed any signs of impending eruption in Mt. Fuji and therefore has not raised the eruption alert level for the mountain.

However, since the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in March 2011, volcanoes in the country have shown signs of increased activity. Currently, a Level 2 eruption alert, which restricts access around the volcanic vent, is in effect for 10 volcanoes, while a Level 3 alert, which restricts approach to the volcano, has been issued for three volcanoes.



Image: The Yomiuri Shimbun

Meanwhile, on Sakurajima island in Kagoshima Prefecture, there have been 505 explosive eruptions this year, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, a number already exceeding last year’s.

In light of the situation, Fujii said, “Japan might have entered an era of great earthquakes and volcanic eruptions” because, in the past, there have been large-scale volcanic eruptions before or after major earthquakes around the world.

For example, a massive magnitude-9.1 earthquake occurred off Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2004, and nearby Mt. Merapi erupted about one year later. In Japan, in 1707 during the Edo period, the Hoei Earthquake with a magnitude of 8.6 occurred in the Nankai Trough, and Mt. Fuji erupted 49 days after that. “Since the beginning of the 20th century, Japan’s active volcanoes have been too quiet,” Fujii said. “As there have been signs of increased volcanic activity, it is necessary to keep alert not just on Mt. Hakone, but on other volcanoes as well.” - The Japan News.