Update info

Updated every Friday.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

What happened this week?

Brazil. Heavy rains and mudslides have driven at least 70 000 people from their homes and killed 12 people in two northeastern Brazilian states...Read more

Mexico. Tropical Storm Beatriz soaked parts of southern Mexico with heavy rains after it moved ashore in an area of touristy beach communities Thursday night and began weakening, and killed at least six...Read more

United States.

  1. A shallow magnitude 3.2 earthquake was reported Thursday morning south of the Salton Sea in Imperial County, 17 miles from Westmorland, according to the U.S. Geological Survey...Read more
  2. A magnitude 6.8 earthquake rumbled north of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Friday afternoon, but did not cause a tsunami or damage structuresRead more
  3. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirms five tornadoes touched down in Missouri Saturday, three in Laclede County, and one in Morgan CountyRead more
  4. A wildfire near the Orange-Brevard County border has grown from 500 acres to more than 2,000 acres and is expected to continue to increase in size overnight, officials saidRead more
  5. Five tornadoes were confirmed in North Georgia and two in Middle Georgia after storms hit areas throughout the state WednesdayRead more
Interesting Facts

Disaster Law. Good legislation is critical to reducing disaster risks.  Law can set the stage for early warning, financing, community empowerment and accountability – or it can obscure and obstruct the necessary steps....Read more

Newly Discovered Layer In Earth's Mantle May Solve Earthquake Mystery. Japanese and American researchers believe they’ve found a previously unknown set of tectonic plates in the Earth’s mantle, which may finally unravel the secret behind a series of mysterious deep earthquakes – far deeper than they should be found...Read more

Tornado Strength Has Larger Effect Than Population on Casualties, Study Says. The study, recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, examined all tornado casualties – death or injury as a direct result of a tornado – in the Lower 48 states from 2007 to 2015...Read more

Why fighting wildfires often fails -- and what to do about it. More than 100M Americans live in or near forests and grasslands that can erupt in flames. Steve Inskeep reports on fighting wildfires, which cost federal agencies almost $2B last year...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

200 cities to use new tool to improve disaster-related resilience this year. In a bid to boost resilience in the face of disaster, some 200 cities this year say they will start using a new tool to develop strategies for curbing disaster losses from climate change and other risks...Read more

Disaster Volunteer Training to be offered by American Red Cross. The American Red Cross Central and Southern Illinois Region will offer a special Zero to Hero disaster volunteer training in Quincy on June 2-4...Read more

East Africa backs Sendai Framework implementation. Members of parliament from the six-nation East African Community have vowed to step up a drive to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in their region...Read more

Fiji Reaffirms Commitment To Disaster Risk Reduction Framework. Fiji’s commitment to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015 – 2030) was reaffirmed by the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development Permanent Secretary, Meleti Bainimarama, while recently attending the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico...Read more

India's Projection of Power Through Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. The Indian Navy (IN) is currently assisting the Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan governments in dealing with a devastating cyclone and flood, respectively...Read more

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 27, 2017

What happened this week?

Mexico. A 5.8 earthquake occurred off the Pacific coast of Mexico, the US Geological Survey said on Saturday...Read more

United States.
  1. A total of more than 4.5 inches of rain in Ashland since Tuesday and a swollen Wahoo Creek that spilled into Salt Creek meant flooding made its regular spring appearance in Ashland...Read more
  2. Lake Ontario flooding: Week of rain could boost flooding. The region braced for a long stretch of rain and showers -- weather that could contribute to more floodingRead more
  3. In the late evening hours on Tuesday, severe weather and what police are calling a tornado touched down in the Sealy area along the I-10 corridorRead more
  4. A slide buried about a quarter of a mile of the highway in dirt up to 40 feet deep. The road, also known as State Route 1,  was shut for about 12 miles from Ragged Point to Gorda, CaliforniaRead more
  5. A shallow magnitude 3.3 earthquake was reported Thursday morning 12 miles from Malibu, according to the U.S. Geological Survey…Read more
  6. Meteorologists confirmed at least three tornadoes that occurred in northeast Oklahoma during Thursday night’s storm, and four other tornadoes have received preliminary damage ratings as of Monday morning…Read more
  7. Severe weather resumed Thursday in parts of the Plains, and in southwestern Missouri, residents cleaned up damage after dangerous storms struck during the late-afternoon hours…Read more
Interesting Facts

How Does Climate Change Cause Forest Fires? National Wildlife Federation (NWF) notes that increases in average annual temperatures create conditions that dramatically elevate the risk and severity of forest fires, particularly in the American West...Read more

NASA discovers a new mode of ice loss in Greenland. A new NASA study finds that during Greenland's hottest summers on record, 2010 and 2012, the ice in Rink Glacier on the island's west coast didn't just melt faster than usual, it slid through the glacier's interior in a gigantic wave, like a warmed freezer pop sliding out of its plastic casing...Read more

Disaster risk management: Science helps save lives. The report 'Science for Disaster Risk Management 2017: knowing more and losing less' is the flagship product of the European Commission's Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC), presenting the state-of-the-art in disaster risk management...Read more

Researchers Say Future Appears Grim for Earthquake Early Warning System Under Proposed Budget. Plans for a West Coast earthquake early warning system, designed to one day give notice of an imminent temblor...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Global forum on disaster risk reduction takes place in Mexico. The top global forum on preventing and mitigating disaster impacts opened its biennial session on 23 May in the Mexican resort of Cancun with calls for more unified and concerted action against interlocking natural hazards that disrupt the lives of millions of people every year...Readmore

Risks to Small Island Developing States spotlighted. Dozens of the world’s most climate-vulnerable island nations today spotlighted efforts to curb threats posed by hazards and to make development sustainable, ahead of the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction...Read more

A new milestone for risk mapping. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction today launched a landmark interactive atlas that exposes the hidden threats posed by natural hazards in national economies and countries’ urban centres...Readmore

UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent join forces to reduce disaster deaths for women and girls. A major initiative to prevent large numbers of women and girls dying in disasters and to ensure they are included in disaster risk management was launched today at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico...Read more

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017

What happened this week?

Jamaica. The country has been hit by widespread flooding and a flash-flood warning has been issued for ten parishes, according to media reports...Read more

United States.

1.     A shallow magnitude 4.0 earthquake was reported Wednesday evening 76 miles from Petrolia, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey...Read more
2.     An outbreak of severe thunderstorms with tornadoes, large hail and wind damage was expected across parts of the southern and central Plains into the overnight hours…Read more
3.     A flooding, brought on by torrential downpours, was mostly reported in the city's East Ward of Newark, N.J. Emergency responders, some using a boat and amphibious vehicle, rescued 29 people stranded by flood waters…Read more
4.     A series of storms throughout the eastern part of the Texas Panhandle produced four tornadoes that were spotted Tuesday afternoon and caused heavy damage in some parts of Wheeler County…Read more
5.     The USGS recorded a magnitude 4.2 quake at 4:32 a.m. Saturday near Waynoka, about 150 miles (241.39 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City…Read more
6.     The North Port brush fire grows to more than 3,000 acres, forcing portions of I-75 to remain closed overnight…Read more
Interesting Facts

Flooding in Canada is a big problem, but few Canadians know they're at risk: study. Nearly all of the 2,300 people surveyed for a new University of Waterloo study did not know or weren't sure that they lived in a designated flood risk area. Almost 90 per cent were unaware that their home was in an area vulnerable to flooding...Read more

 “Time to Build” Flood Resilient Infrastructure. The lower Midwest is still recovering after severe flooding swept through the region in early May. While the chances of multiple major floods happening in a relative short time span is a possibility, climate change is loading the dice in favor of making such occurrences all too common. Bad news for infrastructure...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Caribbean region aims to integrate gender equality in disaster risk management in the agriculture sector. In an effort to strengthen the resiliency of communities to disasters in the Caribbean, 25 representatives from 12 countries across the region are participating in a regional training workshop for integrating gender equality in disaster risk management programming for the agriculture sector...Read more

China reaffirms disaster risk cooperation commitment. China’s Minister of Civil Affairs has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to increasing international cooperation to address the common challenge of disasters...Readmore

How cities are helping lead the world’s disaster risk reduction efforts. With over half of the world’s population living in urban environments, the actions of city leaders and local stakeholders could prove to be powerful agents of change in achieving the goals of the Sendai Framework to build meaningful resilience and disaster risk reduction across the globe...Read more

UNDP & the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. UNDP’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by both delivering and protecting development gains from the impacts of disasters and climate change. By working with governments and partners towards ‘risk-informing’ national, local and sectoral development planning processes...Read more

Friday, May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017

What happened this week?

  1. The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-6.3 aftershock has shaken the corner of British Columbia, near the boundary with Alaska, nearly two hours after a magnitude-6.2 earthquake hit the same area...Read more
  2. An Argentine mountain climber is stranded alone about halfway up Canada's highest peak, braving high winds and awaiting a rescue that may still be days away...Read more

Cuba. Almost 1 Million Cubans Impacted by Intense Drought; the reservoirs on the island are registering 36.5 percent of their filling capacity. In the central provinces of Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila and Camaguey, where the drought is especially acute, reservoirs are below 25 percent...Read more

Dominican Republic. Torrential rains put thousands more at risk of flooding and disease, more heavy rains are expected in the Dominican Republic over the next couple of weeks, more than 9,000 people have already been forced to leave their homes into shelters as heavy rains and flooding have swept over southern Dominican Republic since late April...Read more

United States.

1.      At least 10 people have been killed by tornadoes or flooding in the South and Midwest by a storm that also dumped a rare late-season blizzard in western Kansas on Sunday...Read more

2.     Dozens of firefighters were battling a brush fire that broke out in the Highgrove community of Riverside County Sunday afternoon and was spreading rapidly, threatening several homes; in Highgrove, California...Read more

3.     Thunder storms ripped across Texas, the South and Midwest this weekend killing at least 15 and spawning tornadoes and floods that left parts of the countryside devastated...Read more

4.     Southwest Missouri received considerable amounts of rain late Friday night and into Saturday. Areas are flooded, roadways are closed, sink holes in some parts and the town of Seneca is completely closed down due to the flooding...Read more

Interesting Facts

Earthquake probability maps show nearly all of Japan at risk. Compared with the 2016 data released in June, the sharpest rise in probability for an intensity-6 quake was around the city of Sanyo-Onoda in Yamaguchi Prefecture. It increased by 3.6 percentage points to 17.1 percent...Read more

How drone swarms could help protect us from tornadoes. In the future, envisions meteorologists flying drone swarms into severe weather to measure the parameters at specific points throughout the storm. Fed into a computer model, this information could indicate whether a thunderstorm is likely to turn into a tornado from a safe distance...Read more

Monitoring groundwater drought without measuring it. Seventy-five percent of EU inhabitants depend on groundwater for their water supply, which makes groundwater management extremely important. To manage groundwater effectively during drought periods like 2015, data about groundwater levels are needed in (near-) real time. However, observations of groundwater levels are rarely available in real time, even in Europe, one of the most densely monitored areas of the world...Read more

Researchers develop radar simulator to characterize scattering of debris in tornadoes. The first numerical polarimetric radar simulator studies and characterizes the scattering of debris particles in tornadoes and transmits radio wave pulses horizontally and vertically...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Arab region sets stance for Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Doha Declaration focuses on the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2030, with a strong emphasis on aligning the region’s efforts with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year plan adopted by the international community in 2015...Read more

Caribbean Rolls Out Plans to Reduce Climate Change Hazards. The regional plan of action you will adopt . . . will help and guide national and local governments in their efforts to strengthen the links between the 2030 agenda for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction...Read more

Ottawa gets it right on funding for disaster mitigation. The investment is designed to reduce the almost $9-billion spent by the federal government in unbudgeted disaster relief expenditures from 2005 projected through 2020...Read more

Overcoming Barriers to Meeting the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Canada’s adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction represents an important opportunity to manage flood risk, which is the most common and costly hazard facing Canadians...Read more

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017

What happened this week?


1.      6.0 earthquake punctuates a sustained seismic swarm off Valparaíso, 30 km (18 mi) offshore of the major port city of Valparaiso, Chile. Santiago, Chile’s capital, lies another 100 km (60 mi) inland, where the largest quake was widely felt...Read more

2.      6.9 earthquake in Chile follows intense seismic swarm. This earthquake’s epicenter was offshore of the port city of Valparaiso, and occurred at a depth of 25 km according to both the USGS and EMS...Read more

Dominican Republic. 580 people are displaced and 47 sectors incommunicado due to the rains that affected this week the Dominican Republic, where 15 of the 32 provinces are on alert...Read more

Jamaica. Heavy, persistent rain caused by a trough in the vicinity of Jamaica over the weekend brought disaster to sections of south-east Clarendon Saturday...Read more

United States.

1.      A 3.5-magnitude earthquake shook extreme northwest Colorado on Saturday morning, alarming residents in the town of Rangely...Read more

2.      A Flash Flood Watch was issued for portions of southeastern Kentucky from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon...Read more

3.      Dozens of firefighters have spent Monday on the lookout for hot spots, after a fast moving wildfire burned through the Golden Gate Estates area over the weekend (Florida)...Read more

4.      The Sawmill Fire burning north of Sonoita is now estimated to be 18,000 acres in size and is expected to grow as strong winds grounded air tankers on Tuesday afternoon (Arizona)...Read more

Interesting Facts

Forest fires affect 3.9 thousand hectares in 2017 (Mexico). So far this year, 3,941 forest fires have been registered in 31 states of the country, which affected an area of ​​122 thousand hectares, according to the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR)...Read more

Oroville Dam: Disaster expert says spillway emergency ‘developed and propagated by DWR’. A disaster expert’s review of the Oroville Dam spillway emergency says the Department of Water Resources could have prevented everything with better design, better construction and better maintenance...Read more

Supercells: What to Know About These Dangerous Thunderstorms. The term supercell is used by meteorologists to describe a breed of long-lasting thunderstorms which rotate and are accompanied by dangerous weather conditions, including large hail, damaging winds and sometimes tornadoes...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

$350 Million in National Disaster Fund (Jamaica). The establishment of the Fund forms part of the requirements under the Disaster Risk Management Act which seeks to strengthen the country’s overall national disaster preparedness, emergency management and response processes and mechanisms, and reflects modern, strategic, administrative and legal approaches consistent with current best practices...Read more
How to Reduce Risk from Extreme Weather Events. Events such as the Colombia mudslide, the recent Peru floods which claimed 100 lives, and last October’s Hurricane Matthew in Haiti which caused over 600 deaths and US$2.7 billion of economic losses, highlight the need to address the underlying social and economic forces that place human settlements at risk...Read more

Mobile networks and natural disasters: How to prevent a second catastrophe? This global initiative seeks to strengthen access to communication and information for those affected by emergencies, helping to reduce loss of life and contribute positively to humanitarian response...Read more

Friday, April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017

What happened this week?

Antigua and Barbuda. On April 17 at 1:23 a.m. local time, a M=5.6 earthquake shook the eastern rim of the Caribbean near Antigua and Barbuda. Several aftershocks were also recorded, including a M=4.8 approximately one hour after the mainshock. Fortunately, this region is sparsely populated, and according to the USGS, no greater than light shaking was felt. Having said that, over 100,000 people were exposed to shaking and 42 people reported feeling the quake on the USGS website...Read more

Canada. State of local emergency issued in B.C. community of Kaslo after landslide. The Regional District of Central Kootenay ordered the evacuation late Monday of 47 homes in Kaslo, a community of about 1,000 people about 450 kilometres east of Vancouver...Read more

Colombia. A deadly landslide has rocked Colombia for the second time this month, claiming at least 11 lives just weeks after more than 300 were killed in a similar disaster. Twenty remain missing after the landslide hit several neighbourhoods in Manizales, near the Nevado del Ruiz volcano...Read more

Peru. A 6.0 magnitude earthquake has struck an Amazonian region of northern Peru. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, though the quake could be felt strongly as far away as Colombia and Ecuador...Read more

United States.

1.      Significant Mile-Wide Tornado, Rated EF3, Damages Several Homes Near Dimmitt, Texas. A long-lived supercell thunderstorm in the Texas panhandle Friday evening spawned multiple tornadoes, including one that was a mile wide and caused EF3 damage just outside the town of Dimmitt...Read more

2.      A brush fire that has been burning just north of Interstate 75 in Big Cypress National Preserve for two weeks has grown to almost 17,000 acres and was 38 percent contained Thursday evening, officials said...Read more

3.      Wildfires continued to break out in Florida on Thursday as the U.S. Drought Monitor showed the drought has intensified and spread across much of the central and southern parts of the state. More than 100 wildfires burning up to 20,000 acres continue to blaze across Florida...Read more

Interesting Facts

New Discoveries About San Andreas Fault Afterslip Shed Light on Earthquake Risk. Scientists have discovered that the San Andreas Fault in California continued to slip for up to 12 years after the magnitude 6 Parkfield earthquake that hit the state in 2004. Experts say the discovery indicates other parts of the fault that are predicted to rupture in the near future could be at greater risk of afterslip than previously thought...Read more

Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear. Last spring, its retreat triggered a geologic event at relatively breakneck speed. The toe of ice that was sending meltwater toward the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea retreated so far that the water changed course, joining the Kaskawulsh River and flowing south toward the Gulf of Alaska...Read more

USGS Assessment of Brackish Water Could Help Nation Stretch Limited Freshwater Supplies. This study, the first of its kind in more than 50 years, found that the amount of brackish groundwater underlying the country is more than 800 times the amount currently used each year. With issues like drought, groundwater depletion, dwindling freshwater supplies, and demand for groundwater expected to continue to rise...Read more

When a natural disaster isn’t a disaster. Humans often do more harm than good when we try to rebuild damaged landscapes. We tried to return the forests and beaches to what they looked like before disaster struck. But in doing so, we disrupt the natural recovery of those ecosystems...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

How can Peru prepare to withstand more devastating floods and landslides? After record rains caused $3bn worth of damage, Peru must build infrastructure to prepare for any more extreme climate events in the future...Read more
New Jersey American Water Breaks Ground on $65 Million Flood Protection Project. New Jersey American Water is breaking ground today on a significant, long-term flood protection project at its Raritan-Millstone Water Treatment Plant. This $65 million investment will help ensure protection from the increased risk of flooding during extreme weather events, and maintain a sustainable water supply for more than 1 million people in Central New Jersey...Read more
Texas introduces new earthquake-monitoring system. As part of the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, scientists and engineers at UT’s Bureau of Economic Geology are installing seismometers, devices that measure the ground’s motion, throughout Texas in order to better understand the rise in earthquakes in recent years. The sensors will help researchers locate where earthquakes occur, measure their intensity and determine potential causes...Read more

Tuscaloosa finishes drought plan. While officials expect Lake Tuscaloosa to never run dry, the city of Tuscaloosa -- at the insistence of the state -- has completed a plan of action in case that day ever comes...Read more