I wrote about the Gujarat Earthquake which occurred on January 26, 2001. Fun fact: that day was also India’s 52nd Independence Day anniversary. I had never heard about this event, I stumbled across it when searching for topics to write about.
The Gujarat quake was a 7.7 magnitude quake which occurred in the morning of January 26, and it lasted for over two minutes. The epicenter of the quake was only 24 km deep, so the seismic waves did not have much time to dissipate before the broke the surface. This quake was the second most devastating quake in all of India’s recorded history, with 20,000 left dead, over 150,000 left injured, and over 400,000 displaced or homeless. The quake was followed by over 400 aftershocks felt all over the Gujarat state, as well as the rest of the country of India. These aftershocks continued for up to two months after the quake. This specific quake was caused by the Indo-Australian plate subjecting beneath the Eurasian plate, also known as a thrust fault.
There was little to no preparation or mitigation for an earthquake of this size in the Gujarat state, which escalated the amount of damage. After the quake, buildings were found to have been lacking basic structural support, or didn’t meet the local building codes. Some engineers and building managers were found criminally negligent because of this, because of claims that more life could have been saved if the buildings were properly constructed.
Once the Indian government saw the magnitude of the destruction of the Gujarat state, relief aid was administered and help poured in. Once the general emergency phase was complete, the Government of Gujarat instated a new disaster management and preparation program. From this, The Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority was created, and still remains to this day. The authority switched from a pro-disaster oriented intervention to a pro-active prevention, mitigation, and pre disaster preparedness. Citizens are now better aware of hazards that come with a potential earthquake, and even though a quake so large happening again in the Gujarat state is slim, it is important to be prepared for the worst.
Since October 1, 2016, Astoria, Oregon has had 167 days of rain– 80% of the days in the past six months. The Pacific Northwest has had a particularly wet and gloomy winter, even for their standards. The 167 days of rain in the past six months broke the record number of days with measurable rain for Astoria.
While Astoria takes the prize for most rainfall in the six month period, Seattle and Portland have both been missing the sun, with Portland having 147 rainy days in six months, and Seattle has only had eight clear sky days in that time. However, Seattle has broken their record for the wettest October-April in existence, with total rainfall reaching 44.67 inches. This is only a few inches from the yearly record of 49.17 inches, and there are still eight months for rainfall totals to surpass that number.
The Pacific Northwest should be getting a break from wet and dreary weather, as rainfall is expected to be fairly average throughout the month of May, hopefully meaning more sunny days.
Severe thunderstorms and accompanying hail, winds, and tornadoes are expected to move through the South, Plains, and Midwest, tonight and through the weekend. Heavy rain could also produce dangerous flash flooding.
A large low-pressure system is beginning to move through the southern Plains, and is expected to move through the rest of the midwest along with areas along a very active jet stream. April is usually a very active month for thunderstorms and tornadoes, and 2017 was no excuse.
As of 7:45 pm on April 27, a tornado watch has been issued for parts of middle Georgia. Other parts of Georgia and Alabama have reported tornadoes throughout the day Thursday. More tornadoes are expected throughout the weekend, as as the storm system moves east, severe and regular thunderstorms will follow and are expected to effect states as far east as Virginia by Sunday.
I know this isn’t exactly a natural hazard, but it is about the effects a large natural hazard like Cyclone Debbie can have on the ecosystems they hit.
The Great Barrier Reef has had a rough few decades, and it just can not seem to catch a break. Runoff pollution from the heavy rains of Cyclone Debbie flooded into parts of the reef, smashing corals and eroding away an already dying ecosystem.
The flood water created a “brown veil of sludge” which drifted 18.5km out to sea, as well as over parts of the Reef. The sediment in this sludge is known to “harm coral and sea grass by restricting light.” The sediments also carry “large loads of harmful nitrogen”. This kills off the plant life, which in turn will kill off any animal life who relies on the ecosystem to survive. Scientists say that state and federal governments need to take action to rebuild the river banks and mouths to prevent further flooding, and do whatever they can to build up the Reef.
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.
On Saturday, April 8th, a very powerful spring storm started to shy away from the West Coast, after ravaging up the coast and bringing heavy rains, wind, and downed trees and debris. 5 people were killed, 1 man was killed in Portland on Friday, April 7th when winds blew over a tree which fell on him. The other four died in a small plane crash outside the Oregon town of Harrisburg. While officials aren’t 100% sure what was the cause of the trash, it is assumed that the high winds contributed substantially.
In California, a BART barge sank in the San Francisco Bay around midnight on Friday, and dozens of homes in the Oakland Hills were forced to evacuate because of a mudslide, but nobody was killed or injured.
Around 168,000 people were without power in Washington County, and the winds also caused power outages in a dozen or so schools in Portland.
In Vancouver, Washington, a tree fell onto a fire truck but none of the firefighters were injured.
Cyclone Debbie has finished its main rampage on New Zealand but now parts of the continent are still dealing with the tail-end of the storm and resulting winds, rain, and flooding. A state of emergency has been declared for multiple areas of the North Island, stemming from the “500 year flood” that is flowing through the island. Rivers overflowed and burst because of the heavy rains and gale force winds that pounded the country for two full days.
Evacuations have been carried out in the area surrounding the Bay of Plenty, including the town of Edgecumbe, which was impacted the worst by the flood. The North Island is riddled with power outages, flooding, destroyed roads, and cutting off connections from town to town. The South Island town of Kaikoura has been cut off, and the entire Island has been warned of landslides, falling rock, and flooding.
On Sunday, April 2nd, a toddler and his mother were killed when the tornado hit the mobile home, almost completely destroying the structure and killing the two inside. The storm was rated an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, and wind speeds reached around 100 mph. During the storm, almost the entire state of Louisiana was under either a severe or moderate storm warning. The state experienced multiple tornadoes yesterday, as well as thunderstorms ranging from moderate to severe intensity. This storm system has been ravaging across the south, with Alabama as its newest destination.
Alaska’s Bogoslof Volcano, which is located about 850 miles south of Anchorage, has been very active in the past few months. In the past three months, the volcano has erupted 36 times, with the explosion on March 4 being the largest. This particular explosion sent ash over 35,000 feet in the air and a nearby town of Dutch Harbor was warned to be on the look out for “trace amounts” of ash settling on the ground. While nobody was injured or killed in these eruptions, volcanic ash that is rocketed into the atmosphere can interfere with flight paths or even the mechanics of an airplane itself. The ash can also pose a problem to health in nearby cities, as ash and dirt in the air can be detrimental to both human and animal bodies.
Alaska’s Bogoslof Volcano is a currently active volcano, and you can read the full article here: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/08/alaskas-bogoslof-volcano-explodes-warnings-sent-on-north-asia-us-flights.html