Stories tagged natural disaster

A powerful earthquake (magnitude 7.9) hit near the Pacific island of Samoa this afternoon. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has issued a warning for the Samoa Islands, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, and other Pacific islands as far away as Hawaii.

Sep
01
2009
...any Bad Religion fans out there? Oh nevermind. The daily feed from NASA's MODIS Aqua satellite has some cool images of the Los Angeles wildfire. It's shocking to see how close it is to the city. You can follow the images as the fire progresses on the MODIS website for the LA area. Double click to zoom in below:
Aug
20
2009

Coastal watches/warnings and 5-Day track forecast cone for Hurricane Bill
Coastal watches/warnings and 5-Day track forecast cone for Hurricane BillCourtesy NOAA
The names for the 2009 hurricanes were announced a few days ago by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The NHC has a list of names they draw from, that reuses names every six years or so, but if a storm is particularly bad a name will be retired. There are no "Q" or "U" names and they go alphabetically so when they get to Danny you'll know that's the fourth of the season. The names for 2009 are:

Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Erika, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Joaquin, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Pete, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.

(Interesting the names "Pete" and "Rose" are in succession.)

So far this year we're up to Claudette. Ana is old news already with the National Hurricane Center announcing yesterday that the storm had weakened so much they were no longer tracking it. Claudette is also weakening, but it had the distinction of being the first tropical system to reach land yet this season. Third in line is Bill, who has already become a category 3 hurricane. Follow Bill’s progress here.

Retired hurricane names.

Aug
19
2009

A felled tree in Central Park
A felled tree in Central ParkCourtesy zoolien
I don’t live in New York, and have only been there a couple of times. But the last time I was there I was able to spend a few minutes in wonderful Central Park, so this article caught my eye.

According to officials at the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Central Park Conservancy (who manage the park), over 100 trees were toppled in what they called the most severe destruction the park has seen in at least 30 years.

Check out these flickr images of the damage. Do you live in New York and/or have you seen the damage? Tell us about it by commenting below!

I have a friend in Taiwan who told me he was deeply concerned about an approaching typhoon. The big storm has caused some huge problems as some sections of the island nation received 80 inches of rain over the weekend. Here is some CNN video of the impact the storm has had. More than 600 people in a village were buried in a mud slide. Here's a full report.

Jul
19
2009

USS SMM prepares to launch
USS SMM prepares to launchCourtesy Mark Ryan
I watched the Aquatennial's Milk Carton Boat Races today at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. One of the early heats included an entry from the Science Museum. Houston we have a problem!: Most of the ship's hull and all of the bilge had to be removed to correct flotation problems.
Houston we have a problem!: Most of the ship's hull and all of the bilge had to be removed to correct flotation problems.Courtesy Mark Ryan
I don't know who was sailing the ship but dang if science didn't prevail!

The boat looked sea-worthy enough on land but once it was placed into the water, it just didn't want to remain upright. But the hardy crew never despaired, and instead re-engineered the ship (ala Apollo 13) on the spot by removing the entire pesky bottom half and using only the deck to complete the race. Science prevails!: The crew of the reconfigured USS SMM limps bravely and safely toward the finish line with honor and dignity intact.
Science prevails!: The crew of the reconfigured USS SMM limps bravely and safely toward the finish line with honor and dignity intact.Courtesy Mark Ryan

They didn't win by any means, and at times it looked like they weren't using a boat at all, but they worked together to solve problems and got to shore safely.

Impressive snapshot from space

by Anonymous on Jun. 24th, 2009

Sarychev Volcano: a stunning view from the International Space Station.
Sarychev Volcano: a stunning view from the International Space Station.Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) snapped this amazing photograph of Sarychev Volcano as it erupted and punched a hole through the clouds. The volcano is located in the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan. The ISS just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Talk about lucky! Go here to learn more about the geological event, and how the image was captured.

Just when we've hit that part of the calendar when we start thinking about making trips to the amusement park, here's some bad news for thrill seekers in the New Orleans area. Insurance disputes and legal hassles have kept Six Flags over New Orleans closed since the 2005 blast of Hurricane Katrina. And it doesn't look like the park will ever open again.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its Atlantic hurricane season forecast. The prediction -- "near-normal" -- fits pretty well with the forecasts from AccuWeather, Colorado State University, WSI Corporation, and the Weather Research Center. What does "near-normal" mean? NOAA is predicting 9 to 14 named storms, with 4 to 7 hurricanes, and 1 to 3 major storms (category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale of storm intensity).

But storm prediction is a tricky business. More rainfall over West Africa, warmer sea surface temperatures, and reduced wind shear could encourage more storms. An El Nino pattern in the Pacific or cooler ocean temperatures could discourage them. NOAA will issue another prediction in August, just before the usual peak in the hurricane season.

Here's an amazing video from National Geographic of an underwater volcano eruption. Pretty incredible.