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Italians evacuate Rome over 'big one' fears
The News - Current Events
May 10, 2011
rome earthquake big one disaster prediction prophecy

Italians will on Wednesday flee Rome over fears a giant earthquake is coming following a seismologist's 1915 prediction that "the big one" will strike on May 11, 2011.

Businesses have reported requests from one in five people to have time off work and many are also keeping children away from school and heading to the beach or country for the day.

Romans are taking it so seriously that local newspapers have even been publishing survival guides with tips of what to do – if – the ground starts to tremble.

The panic has been fanned by Facebook, Twitter and text messages around a prediction by Raffaele Bendani, a seismologist who forecast in 1915 that a "big one" would hit Rome on Wednesday. [ telegraph ]

 
Understanding Earthquakes and Their Impacts: Part I
The News - Natural Disasters
May 10, 2011
This is the first of a two-part blog focusing on the science and aftermath of earthquakes. Part I focuses on the science of a high-magnitude earthquake and whether one could happen in the United States. Tomorrow, Part II will focus on What We Can Do About It. [ whitehouse.gov ] - [ See Also : Top 5 Natural Disaster Threats to U.S. ]
 
Amazing underwater photos show the growing gap between tectonic plates
The News - Science-Astronomy
May 10, 2011
tectonic plates gap

Swimming through an area of extreme natural beauty, this diver surveys the underwater canyons on his either side. But this British scuba diver is actually between two tectonic plates.

Alex Mustard, 36, dived 80ft into the crevice between the North American and Eurasian plates near Iceland to capture these spectacular photos. The area is riddled with faults, valleys, volcanoes and hot springs, caused by the plates pulling apart at about one inch per year.

Mr Mustard snapped away as he and his dive partners swam through fresh water canyons Silfra, Nes and Nikulasargja, which are up to 200ft deep.

He also took photos of the Arnarnes Strytur chimney, which forms a cloudy plume as 80C water is ejected from Earth's crust and hits the cool 4C seawater.  [ dailymail ]

 
Rome earthquake prophecy claims trigger cataclysmic mood
The News - Current Events
May 10, 2011
rome earthquake prophecy disaster may 11

Well, so much for the Eternal city. On Wednesday, Rome will be razed to the ground by an earthquake that will shatter more than 2,000 years' worth of monumental architecture including the Colosseum, the Pantheon and St Peter's.

That, at least, is the fear of hundreds of thousands of Romans, spooked by the reputed forecast of a self-taught seismologist who died more than 30 years ago. The daily La Repubblica reported that applications from the capital's public employees for a day off – and, presumably, out – were 18% higher than for the same day in 2011. Education officials were said to be expecting school attendances to be down by a fifth as parents decide it is better to be on the safe side.

The panic was set off by claims that Raffaele Bendandi, the "earthquake prophet", forecast a devastating tremor that would rip through the capital on 11 May. Bendandi, who was knighted by Mussolini, is said to have predicted several disasters, including the Friuli quake of 1976, which claimed almost 1,000 lives.

 
Comet Elenin Headed for Inner Solar System
The News - Science-Astronomy
May 09, 2011
comet elenin

A comet first discovered just six months ago will be making a visit to the inner solar system soon, but don't expect to be completely dazzled. This comet is a bit of a wimp, NASA says.

Comet Elenin (also known by its astronomical name C/2010 X1), was first detected on Dec. 10, 2010 by Leonid Elenin, an observer in Lyubertsy, Russia, who found the comet while using the remote-controlled ISON-NM observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico.

At the time of its discovery, the comet was about 401 million miles (647 million kilometers) from Earth. Over the past 4 1/2 months, the comet has closed the distance to Earth's vicinity as it makes its way closer to perihelion (its closest point to the sun). [ See Comet Elenin's Path Through Solar System ]

 
Weather, climate extremes punctuate warm, very wet April in U.S.
The News - Climate-Environment
May 09, 2011
climate extremes april records

Historic flooding , a record-breaking tornado outbreak and devastating wildfire activity made April 2011 a month of historic climate extremes across much of the United States, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C.

The average U.S. temperature in April was 52.9 degrees F, which is 0.9 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average. April precipitation was 0.7 inches above the long-term average, the 10th wettest April on record. This monthly analysis, based on records dating back to 1895, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. [ noaa ]

 
Worried about 2012 =)
The News - Humor
May 10, 2011
2012 comic humor joke
 
132 Miles of Devastation: EF-5 tornado deadliest in United States in last 56 years
The News - Natural Disasters
May 09, 2011
ef5 tornado damage

The deadliest tornado to sweep across this country in the last 56 years began in Marion County, a few miles from the Mississippi line, where the highway signs now bend toward the ground along U.S. 78 west of Hamilton.

Trees blew over. Hamilton lost power. Yet for 10 miles, the massive storm largely churned above the wilderness, growing in ferocity, sucking moist afternoon air high into rotating clouds. Soon the system would spawn a tornado measuring more than a mile across.

The National Weather Service also reports evidence of satellite vortices, essentially twisters within twisters. Mesocyclone winds swirled along the outside edges, gusting toward the center. [ blog.al.com ]

 
U.S. to see first severe storms since April outbreak
The News - Current Events
May 09, 2011
severe storm outbreak bad weather

The continental United States was experiencing a clash of climates on Monday, with the West posting below average temperatures and a surge of heat and humidity creeping up from the South.

For the first time since a rash of tornadoes pummeled the South in late April, the colliding of the two fronts could bring more severe storms to parts of the country, especially the High Plains and Midwest.

"Another round of powerful thunderstorms is expected later today and tonight across the northern Plains as a strong storm system pushes slowly east," meteorologist Bill Deger from Accuweather.com said.

"Given strong winds in the upper part of the atmosphere, a few thunderstorms could begin to rotate and become capable of producing a tornado or two," Deger said.

 
Soils of UK and Europe drying out
The News - Climate-Environment
May 09, 2011
SMOS satellite

The scale of just how dry the start of 2011 has been is evident in some fascinating data from one of Europe's latest Earth observation satellites.

Smos senses the moisture in the top layers of soil, and it is very clear in these maps that the ground across the UK and much of Europe is now gasping for water.

Last month was the warmest April on record in Britain.

It was also the 11th driest month, with on average just half the usual rainfall. And in parts of south-east England, there was less than 10% of normal precipitation.

Smos is an experimental mission of the European Space Agency (Esa), and is providing some novel information to meteorologists, hydrologists and other scientists interested in how water moves around the globe.  [ bbc ]

 
Army Corps battles rising Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans
The News - Natural Disasters
May 09, 2011
memphis flooding mississippi

Waging war against flooding of historic proportions that has already affected thousands of people in eight Midwestern and Southern states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway Monday north of New Orleans in an effort to calm the rising Mississippi River.

A crowd gathered near the entrance to the Bonnet Carre spillway to watch workers using cranes slide open the gates to the flood control system, which was built beginning in 1929 after a devastating flood two years before. The spillway, like another that could be opened next week, is designed to divert floodwater away from New Orleans and slow the raging river to protect the low-lying city.

While the river's highest levels may still be days away, a decision to open the second flood control structure -- the Morganza Spillway -- may not be, Gov. Bobby Jindal said. People with property that would flood if the spillway is opened should not dally, Jindal warned.

"My advice to our people is not to wait, to get prepared now," Jindal said. - [ time mag flood pics ]

 
The Fearful and Paranoid States of America...
The News - Current Events
May 09, 2011
poop bomb

Sen. Schumer Calls For Amtrak 'Do Not Ride' List...
Two tunnel 'breaches' cause scare in NYC...
SUV 'bomb' scare ...
Threats Divert Planes in Three Separate Incidents...
Passengers, flight crew subdue man banging on cockpit door...
Yemeni passenger had Calif. ID...
Scary Flight To Chicago...
Threatening Note In Bathroom Departing Detroit...
'Are we gonna blow up?'
Dallas Train Station Evacuated: Man Asked For Help Carrying Packages...
4 Arrested For Videotaping TSA Line At Denver...
Suspicious package found in mailbox: Cellphone sent back to company...

USA FREAK OUT: TERROR FEARS; FALSE ALARMS

 
La Nina brings flood risks and drought to the West
The News - Climate-Environment
May 08, 2011
la nina flood drought risk

The winter and early spring have been extreme across the West, with record snowpacks bringing joy to skiers and urban water managers but severe flood risks to northern Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

And despite all the wet weather in the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, parts of eastern Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are in severe drought and gearing up for what is forecast as a bad fire season. In New Mexico, some 400 fires, driven by relentless winds, have already raced across 315,000 acres.

Credit - or blame - for the extreme weather goes mostly to a strong La Nina, which is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean and an atmospheric flow that's causing drier than normal conditions in the Southwest and wetter than normal in the Northwest..

"This winter has been fairly unusual," said Laura Edwards, a research climatologist at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., in what can only be considered an understatement.

 
YU55 - Big Asteroid's Approach in November Excites Astronomers
The News - Science-Astronomy
May 08, 2011
yu55 asteroid november

An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will come closer to Earth this autumn than our own moon does, causing scientists to hold their breath as it zooms by. But they'll be nervous with excitement, not with worry about a possible disaster.

There's no danger of an impact when the asteroid 2005 YU55 makes its close flyby Nov. 8, coming within 201,700 miles (325,000 kilometers) of Earth, scientists say. So they're looking forward to the encounter, which could help them learn more about big space rocks.

"While near-Earth objects of this size have flown within a lunar distance in the past, we did not have the foreknowledge and technology to take advantage of the opportunity," Barbara Wilson, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. "When it flies past, it should be a great opportunity for science instruments on the ground to get a good look."  [ yahoo ]
 
Three dead as tropical storm Aere slams into Philippines
The News - Natural Disasters
May 08, 2011
troipcal storm aere Philippines

Tropical storm Aere slammed into the eastern Philippine seaboard on Sunday, bringing heavy rains and landslides that have so far killed three people and left over a thousand stranded, officials said.

The Philippines' state weather bureau said Aere made landfall over the island of Catanduanes before noon, and was expected to take a north-easterly path for the rest of the day. Three people were killed when heavy rains triggered a landslide in the province of Camarines Sur in the eastern Bicol region, where local officials scrambled to launch rescue and relief missions.

"The provincial road going to the (area) is not passable due to flooding," said Inspector Ayn Natuel, a spokesman at the Bicol regional police headquarters.

Aere, the first major weather disturbance of the year, hit Catanduanes, an island of about 250,000 people, with maximum winds of 85 kilometres (52.8 miles) per hour at its centre and gusts of up to 100 kilometres (62.13 miles) per hour.

 
River flooding begins to "wrap arms" around Memphis
The News - Natural Disasters
May 08, 2011
memphis flooding mississippi disaster

Memphis area residents were warned on Saturday that the Mississippi River was gradually starting to "wrap its arms" around the city and rise to record levels as flooding moves south.

"It's a pretty day here, and people get a false sense of security," said Steve Shular, public affairs officer for the Shelby County Office of Preparedness. "The mighty Mississippi is starting to wrap its arms around us here in Memphis."

Nearly 3,000 properties are expected to be threatened. Rising water flooded 25 mobile homes in north Memphis Saturday morning. There were 367 people in shelters in Shelby County Saturday.

"Our community is facing what could be a large-scale disaster," said Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., in a statement. [ reuters ]

 
'World's most dangerous' nuclear power plant is closed down
The News - Current Events
May 07, 2011
dangerous nuclear power plant

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has stunned Japan's power industry by asking for the closure of the country's most controversial atomic plant, eight weeks after a huge earthquake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Mr Kan said the authorities in Japan have long accepted the high probability of a major jolt underneath the Hamaoka complex, about 200km south-west of Tokyo. "This is a decision made for the safety of the Japanese people when I consider the special conditions of the Hamaoka plant," he told reporters.

Some seismologists have called Hamaoka the world's most dangerous nuclear power facility. Government forecasts have predicted an 87 per cent chance of a powerful quake in the area, which sits on two major subterranean faults. A major accident would be likely to force the evacuation of Greater Tokyo, home to 28 million people. [ independent ]

 
Floods swamp tornado-ravaged central US
The News - Natural Disasters
May 06, 2011
tornado flooding disaster

Weary residents in the storm ravaged central United States packed their belongings into moving trucks and prayed for levees to hold Friday as swollen rivers swallowed roads, farms and homes.

"When you see the Mississippi River and it's two miles (three kilometers) wide it's sobering," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam told CNN.

"We have everything from state prisons to nursing homes that could be in danger from the flooding." [ yahoo ]

 
Mississippi Delta sees flooding from mighty river
The News - Natural Disasters
May 06, 2011
mississippi river flooding

Parts of the Mississippi Delta are beginning to flood, sending white-tail deer and wild pigs swimming to dry land, submerging yacht clubs and closing casino boats, and compelling residents to flee from their homes.

The sliver of land in northwest Mississippi, home to hardship and bluesman Muddy Waters, is in the crosshairs of the slowly surging river, just like many other areas along the banks of the big river.

To points much farther north, thousands face the decision of whether to stay or go as high water kept on rolling down the Mississippi and its tributaries, threatening to soak communities over the next week or two. The flooding is already breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1930s. [ myway ]

 
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