National refuge fire could burn 6 months

On April 6th a bolt of lightning struck and started a blaze  inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, near the Florida-Georgia state line. That, in addition to the strong winds over this past weekend have spread the fires further into the park, to the swamps that have been dried out by droughts . This spread has increased the fire’s footprint by 76% from Friday through today, making the total size of the fire now at 70 square feet. In total, the fire has not burned a significant portion of the Okefenokee Refuge, as its square milage comes to 635 miles, but the flames have been going for 3 weeks straight.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the refuge and has decided to let the fire burn its course within the boundries of the refuge. In the meantime, firefighters are using bulldozers to enforce fire perimeters along the refuges’ borders to prevent any spread onto private land. Despite these preperations, there is no immenent threat to humans or private property at this time.

The firefighters who are currently managing the blaze are prepared for a long haul, and expect this to go for several months. Commanders have estimated that the fire will fail to extinguish completley, or be totally contained until around November. So far, there has been no real threat to the population, and officials don;t expect there to be ay real harm. The only people at risk reside in Fargo, a tiny town boasting 230 residents on the refuge’s western edge. They, along with the residents of a rural stretch of Charlton County along the eastern edge of the refuge, have been warned to prepare in the case that evacuations become necessary.

Extreme Heat Expected Later This Week for India

April 20th marked the hottest April day for New Delhi since 2010 with temperatures reaching 109.8 F at Safdarjung Airport and 112.8 F at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.  The heat is expected to fade a bit early this week but will return later in the week.  Temperatures of 100-105 F are expected in New Delhi through Thursday.  Heat waves happen every year in India but the early onset and persistence of this heat wave is very worrisome.  Millions of residents and animals are at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  Real relief from the heat isn’t expected until early June when the Monsoon season arrives.

India 4/23

Earthquake and aftershocks hit off coast of Chile

On April 24, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 struck off the coast of Chile, which mainly affected the capital of Santiago. Two major aftershocks were felt from the earthquake,however it was determined that the quake would not cause a tsunami. Before this was determined, the coastal town of Valparaiso was meant to be evacuated, since it was the village closest from the center of the quake. Once the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center determined there would not be a tsunami, the evacuation order was lifted. Even though a 7.1 quake is considered a major earthquake, the effects were minimal and its thought to have been because the quake was centered far offshore. The aftershocks were recorded at magnitudes of 5.0 and 5.4. These were also felt in the capital city of Santiago. Even though the original quake and the aftershocks were fairly strong, only minimal structural damage was reported.


My natural disaster was the F4 tornado that hit Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on July 31, 1987, which I selected because a tornado that far north is not very common. July 31, 1987 is better known as Black Friday in Edmonton, as this was the largest tornado to ever hit Edmonton, and the second deadliest in Canadian history. It produced softball sized hail, flooding, and fires. According to the CBC, “The July 31, 1987, Edmonton tornado was the second-deadliest in Canadian history. The statistics were horrific: 27 people killed, 600 injured, 1,700 left homeless, and damage estimated at $300 million.” Edmonton is one of the two largest cities in Alberta, an oil producing province, in which Edmonton handles a lot of the “blue-collar” work involving the oil industry. This means that the population was more vulnerable than other places within the province because of their lower incomes. Within the city, the tornado struck an especially vulnerable population living in a mobile home park, which means that their homes did not hold up as well against the tornado. The CBC reported that 15 of those 27 deaths occurred within this one mobile home park.

Image result for edmonton 1987 tornado

Image Courtesy of the Edmonton Sun:

Emergency efforts were made difficult by the path that the tornado took by hitting highways and destroying bridges. The emergency crews struggled to reach people because of this, and even once people had been reached, the hospital was inaccessible. The Red Cross in Edmonton was not ready for a disaster on this scale, so it was a lot of help from neighbors, friends, and even strangers, that helped to save lives in Edmonton. Restoration was achieved quickly, with call centers and emergency centers being set up promptly. The Red Cross officially ended their operations on August 2, only 2 days after the tornado, implying that the worst was over.

Rebuilding began quickly, as many residents had to build new homes entirely, even if their homes were not completely destroyed, since the structures may not have been stable. Alberta also set up the “Emergency Alert System” soon after Black Friday. Ordinary people would help to alert Environment Canada, the national weather service, about tornadoes that they spotted. Of course, when Doppler Radar came about, this became less important. Edmonton also had a large scale media campaign in 1997 to raise awareness of tornadoes and tornado safety, in case one were to ever strike again. However, the biggest mitigation being done in Edmonton is education. In the local school handbooks it describes proper tornado procedures, which students practice; and many people who were in Edmonton for the tornado are still here sharing their stories, as we approach the 30th anniversary.


This link has an archived news broadcast from that day with footage of the devastation and interviews with local people.

Here is another news archive from CTV that has excellent footage showing the damage as well:


Tremor Sequence Of Chilean Coast

A 7.1 magnitude tremor has just been reported some 30km off the coast of Valparaiso, Chile.  The quake was broadly felt in the capital of Santiago, which is 100km inland from the coastal city.  Severe damage has yet to be reported.  Chilean authorities initially ordered a preventative evacuation of the coastal area near Valparaiso, around 60 miles west of Santiago, in case of a tsunami, but cancelled it shortly afterward.  This tremor closely follows an abnormal sequence that registered eight magnitude 5 earthquakes followed by 6 “aftershock” tremors measuring between 5.0 and 6.0 in magnitude.  In terms of magnitude and frequency, this sequence is unique since aftershock tremors are generally much weaker than the initial quake.  Seismic activity is expected to gradually increase of the Nazca plate continues to subduct under the deformed and faulted South American plate.  

read more at the following links:    (Maps in this post were pulled from this site)



Seattle Breaks Record

Seattle has recorded its wettest October through April since records have been kept. While this isn’t a large hazard, it is important to think about the implications of all this precipitation in regards to Global warming. Also if this trend continues there could be higher flooding and other consequences.

Storms Strike Cambodia

Two people were injured and one person died as massive thunderstorms struck Cambodia on Saturday afternoon. The citizen that unfortunately was killed, was taking his cows to graze in a field and all the sudden, out of nowhere, he was struck by lightning. There happened to be a huge rainstorm that day which likely contributed to said lightning strike.

The two individuals who were injured had a house collapse on them during the lightning strike, and we immediately sent to the hospital. Reports showed that several local homes were destroyed in this disaster as well.

In a report put out by the National Committee for Disaster Management, there were a total of six people killed and nineteen people injured from January to March at the beginning of this year, with 500 houses being damaged.

More homes are being destroyed In 2017 so far then have been in 2016, which is proving to be very difficult for Cambodia.–two-hurt-in-storms/

Columbian Landslide

More than 250 people are dead and hundreds are still  missing after heavy rainfall triggered lethal mudslides and flooding in Colombia’s Putumayo province.

The survivors include 330 people who have been injured, 19 of whom remain in hospital.

A month’s worth of rain fell down in only a single night and created deadly flash floods in Mocoa. Houses and homes were completely destroyed and cars were  lost and swam down the floods, away from their owners.

Three of the six rivers surrounding the small town burst their banks, leaving muddy water and tree limbs racing through the streets.

People are wondering why such a disaster occurred and why had Columbia’s Putumayo province not been better prepared. People are starting to question the government on this matter. Blaming them for having allowed them to build homes on areas that were at high risk.

In some parts of Columbia people are more aware of the risks for living in the area, but Marcela Quintero, a researcher with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture said: ‘Unfortunately, in Columbia said “We don’t have a good assessment of risk, or good land-use policies to prohibit people from settling in areas like these.”

These said risks were multiplied as trees were cut down for cattle ranching and other agricultural purposes, removing critical protection against flooding and landslides.

The flooding is one of the worst natural disasters in Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos has said that he will rebuild Mocoa and make it better than it was before.

Mysterious New Crack in Greenland Glacier Revealed in NASA Photos


In Greenland a new crack has been found in one of Greenland’s biggest glaciers. This was first captured recently by NASA photography. While completing a mission in the Northwest of Greenland they were able to spot this mysterious rift. This crack is seen to be spreading closer and closer towards the middle of the ice shelf. This ice shelf could potentially end up breaking off into two shelves, but because of the “medial flowline,” it could prevent that from happening.

Small Earthquakes Hit California Coast

A small earthquake hit central California earlier today.  About 3 miles east of Santa Barbra, California, a little after 11 am local time the quake rattled the area. The magnitude was clocked at 3.6 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and there has not been any reports about damages or injuries so far. There has been an influx of reports from hundreds of people on the geological survey’s website saying that they have felt the shaking nearly 60 miles north of the of Santa Barbra in Lompoc and as far south as Los Angeles County.

In addition, there was another earthquake of the same magnitude 3 km outside of Montecito, California at around 11:30 am local time. This may be why the geological survey website had reports of shaking so far south, but at this point it’s hard to tell.