The Watchers News Brief: August 16, 2018


Earthquake swarm in southern Italy 

A seismic swarm is taking place in southern Italy on August 16.

EMSC registered 15 earthquakes between 05:11 and 20:22 UTC, with 5.0 at 18:19 UTC the strongest one. A noticeable uptick is being registered since 18:19 UTC.

Colorado Springs hailstorm caused second highest damage total on record, Colorado

The August 6th storm that hit southwest Colorado Springs and Fountain with up to softball-size hail caused $172.8 million in damage to vehicles, roofs, siding, windows, skylights and other parts of homes, an insurance trade group said August 15.

The total is the second highest on record for the Colorado Springs area, slightly exceeding the $169 million in damage from a June 13 hailstorm that also hit Fountain.

Both events, however, trailed the July 2016 storm that caused $352.8 million in damage to vehicles, homes and other property.

Last week’s storm ranks as state's 14th most expensive hailstorm, The Gazette reports.

'Worst hail storm in memory' hits La Veta, Colorado

Many long-time locals are calling August 14th hailstorm the worst in memory. The storm lasted 10 minutes, dropping golf-ball sized hails and leaving significant damage throughout the town.

Vehicles across town sustained significant damage, including dents, broken mirrors and brake lights, and cracked windshields.  Some homes and buildings sustained damage to roofs, siding, and windows.

"It’s about the fiercest storm I’ve seen here," said Adrienne Berkon, a La Veta resident since the 1970s. 

"We had such a terrible drought, the terrible fire, and now this," another resident. "It’s like everything is happening in La Veta at once."

Hundreds of cars flooded, numerous water rescues in Oklahoma City

Hundreds of flooded cars and numerous high-water rescues were reported late August 15 in Oklahoma City after up to 127 mm (5 inches) of rain fell on parts of the city.

Landslide hits Ethiopia's Amhara, leaving 8 people dead

A landslide in Ethiopia's northern Amhara regional state has left eight people dead, six of them from one family, an Ethiopian official said August 16.

Getnet Demis, chief disaster prevention officer of the Goncha district communications office, said the landslide happened on the morning of August 16 in Enegenet village.

The Ethiopia Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission warned today that heavy rainfall during the current rainy season will extend until September and is likely to trigger landslides and flash floods.

USGS HVO Scientist-In-Charge gives Kilauea eruption lull analysis

Floods in Colombia's Mocoa force 30 000 people to evacuate

In March 2017, the same city was hit by one of Colombia's deadliest disasters in history

Heavy rains have affected several areas of Colombia over the past few weeks, in particular the area of Mocoa (department of Putumayo), where so far approximately 30 000 people have been evacuated after main rivers reached alert levels.

As of August 13, the sewage system has been damaged in several neighborhoods, 169 houses have been damaged and another 14 destroyed, affecting about 600 people.

The Colombian National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD) issued a Declaration of Public Calamity and initiated humanitarian assistance in coordination with the Colombian Red Cross and local authorities.

In March 2017, a landslide in Mocoa caused by heavy rains triggered one the deadliest disasters in Colombian history with 316 people dead, 332 injured, 103 disappeared and over 17 000 affected people. The reconstruction process is still underway and many people are still living in temporary shelters.

New video of 'EF-3 firenado' in Redding, CA

A new video of the fire whirl that occurred on July 26th has surfaced. It was determined the tornado had winds in excess of 230 km/h (143 mph) or equivalent of an EF-3 tornado.

August 5, 2018 M7.0 Lombok earthquake update

The death toll has surged to 460, officials said August 16.

A total of 7 773 people sustained injuries, 71 962 houses were damaged as well as 671 educational facilities and 52 health infrastructures.

Read more

More than 100 tons of dead sea creatures washed up in Florida this month

More than 100 tons of dead sea creatures have been shoveled up from smelly, deserted beaches in tourist areas along Florida's southwest coast as a result of the harmful algal bloom this month alone.

In just the past week, 12 dolphins washed ashore dead in Sarasota County, typically the toll seen in an entire year.

"It is physically and mentally exhausting," said Gretchen Lovewell, who is in charge of a skeleton crew at Mote Marine Laboratory that collects dead or distressed sea turtles and marine mammals.

Part of Doubs River in Franche-Comté, France dries up after large cracks appear in the riverbed

The Doubs River is totally dry after Pontarlier, despite the abundant precipitations this winter and spring. Geologists say the river dried up after large cracks appeared in the riverbed about a week ago.


A post shared by Fabrice Coffrini (@coffrinews) on

Very warm Mediterranean Sea – severe weather in autumn

The Mediterranean sea is 'super-hot' right now, Severe Weather Europe reports. "As warmer sea means more evaporation and more moisture in the air, we take a look at autumn weather patterns that feed off warm sea & lots of moisture."

Shallow M6.6 earthquake hits Ogasawara region, Japan

A very shallow earthquake registered by the JMA as M6.6 hit Japanese Ogasawara Archipelago at 18:22 UTC (03:22 JST) on August 16, 2018. The USGS is reporting M6.4 at a depth of 11.5 km (7.1 miles) at 18:21 and M6.0 at 18:22 UTC. EMSC is reporting M6.4 and M5.9 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).

There are no people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Although there may be slight sea-level changes in coastal regions, this earthquake has caused no damage to Japan, JMA said.

Read more

Unexpected surge of water vapor in the mesosphere, prolonged noctilucent clouds season

During the first half of August 2018, reports of noctilucent clouds to Spaceweather.com have tripled compared to the same period in 2017 and researchers at the University of Colorado may have figured out why.

"There has been an unexpected surge of water vapor in the mesosphere," Lynn Harvey of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) said.

"One possibility involves planetary wave activity in the southern hemisphere which can, ironically, boost the upwelling of water vapor tens of thousands of miles away in the north, but the phenomenon could also be linked to solar minimum, now underway," Dr. Tony Phillips of the SpaceWeather.com reports

"It is notable that the coldest and wettest years in the mesosphere prior to 2018 were 2008 – 2009, the previous minimum of the 11-year solar cycle," Phillips concludes.

Kerala death toll jumps to 106, 150 000 people homeless in worst floods in nearly 100 years, India

The death toll from Kerala's worst floods in nearly 100 years has jumped to 106 on August 16, 2018. There are now 1 331 camps opened across the state, providing temporary shelter for 147 000 people. Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said August 15 the state is enduring "unprecedented flood havoc" as the worst floods in nearly a century continue taking lives. A red alert is in effect in the entire state.

Read more

Featured image: Supercell near Kaunas, Lithuania on August 14. Credit: Jørgen Steponavičius / Orai ir klimatas Lietuvoje

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