All posts for the month March, 2013

Thunderstorms are in the forecast across much of the South Central states for the start of the holiday weekend.

Some erupting storms late on Saturday and into Saturday night will have the potential to be severe.

With the strongest thunderstorms, the main threats are expected to be large hail and damaging wind gusts. Larger storms could also produce blinding downpours and dangerous lightning.

First Round of Severe Storms for Texas, Oklahoma
Diverse Easter Sunday Forecast
Wet End to March in East

Just some of the cities within the zone of greatest severe threat include Oklahoma City and Norman in Oklahoma and Wichita Falls and Dallas in northern Texas.

The combination of dry air from the Southwest, and warm, moist air coming from the Gulf of Mexico will be the perfect recipe for a severe threat late on Saturday.

A weak storm will continue to slowly push out of the southern Plains helping these storms to start up.

During the day on Saturday, the strong thunderstorms from late on Friday will continue moving eastward to bring thunder from eastern Kansas and Missouri to northern Louisiana, and northern Mississippi by the afternoon.

On Easter Sunday, thunderstorms are forecast to stretch from central Texas through the Deep South and to the Carolina coast.

More at AccuWeatherLocally Severe Storms Continue for Texas, Oklahoma.


from El Nevado


Etna (Sicily, Italy): A visit to the summit area and current tremor levels showed the volcano is currently calm. No explosive activity was heard or seen from any of the summit craters.
The area of bomb impacts from the last New SE crater paroxysm on 16 March was impressive – the whole area between Torre del Filosofo, the 2002-03 craters and the area of Cisternazza NE of the Cono del Lago was littered with bombs of various sizes (20-50 cm mostly). The Belvedere was found totally covered with scoria and bombs.

El Hierro (Canary Islands, Spain): The situation to the west of the island had not changed much and the islanders are in for an uneasy Easter weekend: the seismic swarm continues with frequent and increasingly strong earthquakes and tremor pulses. 15 quakes with magnitudes between 4-4.7 were recorded yesterday alone, the total number of quakes is in the hundreds.
A further migration of the hypocenters to the south can be seen, and most quakes remain in the 18-20 km depth layer, with a few in the upper layer at about 10-12 km depth. Infation has slowed down a bit, but reaches now 12 cm in the western part of the island itself.
If the seismic swarm, inflation and increased CO2 emissions are indeed caused by fresh magma intruding (the most commonly accepted interpretation, but nobody can be 100% sure about that), it is currently pooling at the base of the island’s crust and slowly making its way in horizontal rather than vertical directions. Apparently, magma has not started (yet) to penetrate the island’s volcanic edifice with vertical dikes, but this could change quickly, in which case another submarine eruption would be expected.

Grozny (Iturup Island): Tokyo VAAC reported a possible eruption occurred yesterday around 11:00 GMT. A volcanic ash plume was observed at 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude and drifting eastwards.

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): The frequency of explosions has been comparably low, with 0-2 events recorded per day. Yesterday and today, two stronger ones occurred that produced ash plumes rising up to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude.

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): An ash plume rose to an altitude of 10,000 ft (3 km) earlier today, sign that sometimes strong explosions continue from the volcano, in permanent eruption for more than 6 years now.

Paluweh (off Flores Island, Indonesia): The lava dome remains very active and produces ash plumes (by a mix of effusive-explosive activity comprising ash venting, explosions, rockfalls and pyroclastic flows from the dome) on a daily basis. The height of the plumes varies mostly between 8-12,000 ft (2.4-3.6 km) altitude.

Colima (Western Mexico): The “Volcano of Fire” has become a tourist attraction with now up to 200 weak to moderate explosions per day, and frequent incandescent rockfalls / small pyroclastic flows that descend the flank of the volcano to a length of up to 1.5 km and are a spectacular view at night.
Melchor Ursua Quiroz, director of the State’s Civil Protection unit, said that the Fuego de Colima volcano is currently the most active of the country, and has recently increased its explosive activity. In an article in the El Universal newspaper, he “rules out” any risk for the population. A 8 km exclusion zone is in place around the volcano and the governments of Colima and Jalisco are on permanent alert.


As of March 26, 2013, the snow depth in Moscow, Russia, was 30 inches, their highest March snow depth in more than 20 years.

“A previous record snow depth of 29 inches was recorded March 19, 1994,” said Senior Expert Meteorologist Jim Andrews.

In early February, following a big outburst of snow, reports from Interfax (the Russian news service) stated the snowfall had reached 85 inches. Normal snowfall for Moscow is 60 inches.

The Moscow Times reported that Moscow is having their coldest March since the 1950s. Colder temperatures there this spring have prevented the birds from migrating north from their wintering grounds.

More at AccuWeatherMoscow Records Highest March Snow Depth in 20 Years.


North Korea has entered a “state of war” against its Southern neighbor, stating that from now on any issues between the two countries will be resolved in a “wartime manner.”

“From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” a special statement by the country’s top military command reads, according to the KCNA state news agency.

“The situation in the Korean Peninsula, which is neither peace nor war, has come to an end,” the statement says.

However, technically, the two Koreas are still in state of war since a peace treaty after the 1950-53 conflict had never been signed.

Washington “should be clear that in era of Marshal Kim Jong-un, the greatest-ever commander, all things are different from the past,” went a statement on North Korean radio early Saturday.

Meanwhile the White House is taking the fresh North Korean threats seriously, but not without a bit of skepticism.

“We’ve seen reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies.”

But, we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats and today’s announcement follows that familiar pattern,” Hayden added.

Russia warns US, North Korea muscle-flexing slipping into ‘vicious cycle’

With North Korea placing its ballistic arsenal on high alert targeting American bases and the US tenaciously increasing military presence in the region, the whole situation risks “spiraling out of control” soon, warned Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Both North Korea and the US bear responsibility for the recent substantial escalation of tensions, Lavrov said on Friday, calling on “all sides not to flex their military muscle.”

“We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the UN Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity,” Lavrov added, apparently referring to US plans to boost missile defense against the North, the joint US-South Korean contingency plan in the event of an attack as well as their recent military drills.

In a noteworthy contrast to all the previous war games, this time American B-2 bombers flew over 10,000 kilometers to stage a mock bombing of Korean soil, in a move that US officials confirmed to be unprecedented.

Following this “reckless provocation” North Korean military command held an urgent overnight meeting during which the state’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un signed a decree placing the Strategic Rocket Force on standby.

“The situation could simply get out of control,” Sergey Lavrov told journalists on Friday, calling for a resumption of a six-party discussion of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal within the framework of country’s international obligations.

Continue Reading….

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Biological Hazard in Madagascar on Thursday, 28 March, 2013 at 03:58 (03:58 AM) UTC.

Base data
EDIS Number: BH-20130328-38662-MDG
Event type: Biological Hazard
Date/Time: Thursday, 28 March, 2013 at 03:58 (03:58 AM) UTC
Last update:
Cause of event:
Damage level: Severe Damage level
Geographic information
Continent: Indian Ocean
Country: Madagascar
County / State:
Area: Statewide
Coordinate: S 18° 46.017, E 46° 52.146
Number of affected people / Humanities loss
Foreign people: Affected is unknown.
Dead person(s):
Injured person(s):
Missing person(s):
Evacuated person(s):
Affected person(s):
A severe plague of locusts has infested about half of Madagascar, threatening crops and raising concerns about food shortages, a UN agency says. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said billions of the plant-devouring insects could cause hunger for 60% of the population.About $22m (£14.5m) was urgently needed to fight the plague in a country where many people are poor, the FAO added. It was the worst plague to hit the island since the 1950s, the FAO said. FAO locust control expert Annie Monard told BBC Focus on Africa the plague posed a major threat to the Indian Ocean island. “The last one was in the 1950s and it had a duration of 17 years so if nothing is done it can last for five to 10 years, depending on the conditions,” she said. Nearly 60% of the island’s more than 22 million people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger” “Currently, about half the country is infested by hoppers and flying swarms – each swarm made up of billions of plant-devouring insects,” the FAO said in a statement. “FAO estimates that about two-thirds of the island country will be affected by the locust plague by September 2013 if no action is taken.” It said it needed donors to give more than $22m in emergency funding by June so that a full-scale spraying campaign could be launched to fight the plague.

The plague threatened pasture for livestock and rice crops – the main staple in Madagascar, the FAO said. “Nearly 60% of the island’s more than 22m people could be threatened by a significant worsening of hunger in a country that already had extremely high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition,” it added. An estimated 85% of people in Madagascar, which has a population of more than 22 million, live on less than a dollar a day. The Locust Control Centre in Madagascar had treated 30,000 hectares of farmland since last October, but a cyclone in February made the situation worse, the FAO said.

RSOE EDIS – Biological Hazard in Madagascar on Thursday, 28 March, 2013 at 03:58 (03:58 AM) UTC. EDIS CODE: BH-20130328-38662-MDG.

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Easter Sunday will deliver a diverse mix of weather across the nation, including rain, thunderstorms, snow and sunshine.

Rain will extend from the Northeast down through the South and will push eastward throughout the day. Thunderstorms will span parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

The north-central U.S. will feel cold air moving in from Canada with the potential for snow in Montana, North and South Dakota and Nebraska. Brisk winds will add a chill to the day.

Neighboring states to the west will remain relatively mild.

Rain for much of the day in California, Nevada, Utah and part of Colorado may hamper outdoor Easter festivities but will supply beneficial moisture.