Sputnik News – September 19, 2017
Authorities in Indonesia have expanded the “no go zone” at Bali’s Mount Agung and sounded off an alert after officials detected an increase in seismic activity.
Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency announced Monday that an exclusion zone of nearly five miles would be established around the volcano’s crater and would stay in place for at least 14 days.
“Harmonic tremors have continued to increase and people are advised to remain alert,” Sutopo Nugroho, spokesman for the agency, told The Australian.
Aside from the increased rumblings, the emergency agency reported a 165-foot high blast was observed from the crater.
Though this is the second time authorities have issued an alert since August, local residents were informed by officials to prepare for the worst — if officials sound the alarm again, they may be ordered to evacuate.
DW – September 20, 2017
Hurricane Maria blasted through Puerto Rico on Wednesday as the strongest hurricane to hit the US territory in nearly 90 years, wreaking havoc across the island as it advanced.
Packing winds of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour), the Category 4 storm downed communication towers, damaged hundreds of homes and burst river banks as it released over 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain, according to local media.
“When we are able to go outside, we are going to find our island destroyed,” Abner Gomez, the director of the island’s emergency management agency, was quoted as saying by El Nuevo Dia, a local newspaper. “It’s a system that has destroyed everything in its path.”
The paper also reported that electricity was out across the island of 3.4 million people. More than 4,400 people were in shelters by late Tuesday, the territory’s Governor Ricardo Rossello said.
Strange Sounds – September 20, 2017
A M6.1 earthquake hit off the east coast of Honshu, Japan at 4:37 UTC on September 20, 2017.
The powerful earthquake has struck off the coast of Japan near Fukushima, 281km ESE of Kamaishi, Japan at a very shallow depth of 10 km (6.2 miles).
Details about the consequences of the M6.1 quake is not known yet. There are however no tsunami warnings or advisories in effect.
This is the third large earthquake within 24 hours to hit different places around the world (Mexico and New Zealand) along the ‘Ring of Fire’. Where are we heading now? Cascadia? More volcanic eruptions?
James Wilkinson and Scott Campbell – September 19, 2017
At least 139 people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico, causing gas line explosions, toppling buildings and forcing thousands to be evacuated into the street, the country’s Civil Defense Authority said.
The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.
Today’s quake hit near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles southeast of Mexico City, at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.
Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.
As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’
It comes just days after another powerful quake – measuring 8.1 – hit Mexico, killing at least 98 people.
Jon Schuppe – September 19, 2017
Puerto Rico, already trying to dig itself out of a historic financial crisis, is now facing a direct hit by a major hurricane that could destroy any progress the U.S. territory has made under a year-old economic rehab plan ─ and set it back further.
Hurricane Maria is forecast to hit Puerto Rico early Wednesday, testing the local government’s ability to respond to a humanitarian disaster. While the Caribbean island of 3.4 million people is accustomed to tropical storms, it hasn’t been hit by a Category 4 or 5 hurricane since 1928.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced Monday that he had declared a state of emergency and urged people living in flood-prone areas to evacuate.
The territory’s infrastructure has gone neglected for years, and in July its power company defaulted on a debt-restructuring deal. When Hurricane Irma skirted Puerto Rico this month, more than 1 million people were left without power, and many of them could remain in the dark for months, officials have said.
Maria could wreak a lot more damage.
Renee Duff and Kristina Pydynowski – September 18, 2017
Major Hurricane Maria poses a significant threat to Irma-devastated areas in the northern Caribbean into midweek.
On Monday evening, Maria strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane on its way toward the northeastern Caribbean Sea, making it the second Category 5 storm of the season.
Power outages and structural damage are likely. Small craft should remain in port and cruise and cargo ships should avoid the area.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello tweeted that the government is working to finalize plans for Maria.
On Monday morning, Rosello declared a state of emergency after a hurricane warning was issued for the island. He also said that operations at ports would be shut down beginning on Tuesday.
TW – September 15, 2017
Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the Agung volcano in Karangasem district of the province of Bali from 1 to 2 (of 4) on Thursday, September 14, 2017, following an increase in volcanic earthquakes detected on Wednesday, September 13. The last eruption of this volcano occurred in 1963/64.
PVMBG warned residents and tourists to keep away at least 3 km (1.8 miles) from the crater and cautioned against panic, saying there would be further increases in volcanic activity and changes to the alert level before an eruption.
This volcano has a history of eruptive activity characterized by explosive and effusive eruptions, pyroclastic and lava flows.
Jack Phillips – September 12, 2017
Florida’s Pensacola Bay was turned into a “giant sandbox” by Hurricane Irma over the weekend.
Irma sucked the water out of the bay, turning it into a morass of mud and puddles. One news outlet, the Pensacola News Journal, remarked that it looked like a “giant sandbox.”
A woman captured a video of the phenomenon.
“The water is gone,” the woman says in the clip. “There are people out … people have metal detectors. People are walking in the mud,” she said.
It was nowhere near where Irma came into Florida. The storm hit the Florida Keys on Sunday morning, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Pensacola Bay is located on the far western end of the Florida Panhandle in the north—near the Alabama border.
RT – September 11, 2017
Vehicles sit amid leaked fuel mixed in with flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in the parking lot of Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur, Texas, US August 31, 2017 © Adrees Latif / ReutersThe US Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency are assisting Texas state regulators in cleaning dozens of toxic spills from the vast network of petrochemical plants and refineries in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
EPA spokeswoman Terri White said it was not possible to provide an estimate for the amount of chemicals spilled.
“Initial reports were based on observation,” White said, according to Reuters. “Some spills were already being cleaned up by the time EPA or other officials arrived to assess them and other had already migrated offsite.”
However, the Coast Guard’s National Response Center tracks reports of oil spills and other chemical releases, which can be filed by corporations or the public.
Between August 23 and September 3, the duration of the hurricane, callers made 96 reports of oil, chemical or sewage spills across southeast Texas, according to the New York Times.
JENNIFER KAY and FREIDA FRISARO – September 10, 2017
MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 mph Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The 400-mile-wide (640-kilometer-wide) storm blew ashore in the morning in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys, then began a slow march up the state’s west coast, its winds extending clear across to Miami on the Atlantic side.
Forecasters said it could hit the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area early Monday.
“Pray, pray for everybody in Florida,” Gov. Rick Scott said on “Fox News Sunday” as more than 160,000 people statewide waited it out in shelters.
Irma arrived as a Category 4 storm but by late afternoon had weakened to a Category 2 with 110 mph (177 kph) winds. A storm surge of over 10 feet (3 meters) was recorded in the Keys, and forecasters warned some places on the mainland could get up to 15 feet of water.