Popular New Zealand Volcano Erupts

The New Zealand island volcano that erupted on December 9th has claimed at least 8 lives and injured dozens more.  “Whakaari,” the volcano’s name in the Maori language, continues to vent steam and mud, and experts warn that another eruption is possible. These hazardous conditions are hampering efforts to recover victims. As many as 47 tourists were on the island at the time of the eruption, some of whom are still unaccounted for. 

“Whakaari,” is New Zealand’s largest and most active cone volcano, making it a popular tourist destination. Numerous tour companies, guide trips to the island which offer a chance to get close to an active volcano. New Zealand is on the southwest part of the Pacific Rim and is an active area of tectonic activity

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bushfire smoke

Bushfire Activity Erupts in New South Wales

Over 365,000 acres have burned along the eastern coast of Australia in the New South Wale (NSW), the country’s most populous state. As a result, officials declared a state of emergency for the entire state, as conditions have reached “catastrophic”, the nation’s highest bushfire danger rating. Tragically, three people have died while over 150 structures have been destroyed. Even worse, included in those destroyed was a wildlife sanctuary near Port Macquarie, which was home to as many as 350 koalas.

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Palisades Fire Prompts Evacuations near Santa Monica

Just sixteen miles south of last week’s Saddleridge Fire, the Palisades Fire burned 40 acres between Palisades Dr and Charmel Ln in steep terrain yesterday afternoon, quickly spreading and prompting evacuations of a neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. Fortunately, hard work from air and ground crews saved the 200 homes that were threatened from damage or destruction and all have since been repopulated. This morning’s incident briefing portrayed a mop-up and perimeter-control day ahead of the crews. A direct ground attack is the main plan for the two divisions, with dozer(s) cleared to improve a nearby fire road, and an Structure Protection Group working the previously evacuated neighborhoods.

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helo wildfire

Saddleridge Fire Burns 5000+ Acres in Los Angeles

A fast-growing, wind-driven fire sparked near Yarnell Road off Interstate 210 just north of Sylmar in northern Los Angeles around 2100 PST Thursday night. By late Thursday it was less than 100 acres burning parallel to the 210 Freeway. Overnight, the fire grew to more than 4,000 acres jumping both the I-5 and I-210, burning into neighborhoods. The western branch of the fire got established near the I-5 and began burning westerly through medium to heavy brush threatening thousands of homes in the Porter Ranch and Granada Hills areas. The original fire or eastern branch has backed upslope with topography and is growing to the north and east above Sylmar. At least 25 homes were damaged reported in the morning press conference. 1,000 firefighters are working the fire, along with numerous helicopters and air resources. Additional resources will be implemented with the daylight, including 2 super scoopers. Angeles National Forest officials are in a unified command with Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County fire departments.

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Smoke Column

Wildfire Outlook: October 2019 – January 2020

Below are summaries from the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, for the period of October 2019 through January 2020. The full outlook can be located here which will give more in depth picture of US fire weather projection.
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Autumn and Santa Ana Winds

Fall Means Santa Ana Winds

Annually, the onset of the fall and winter seasons brings the highest chance for Southern California’s famed Santa Ana winds. Historically, the worst fires in Southern California in terms of speed of growth and destruction are linked to these hot, dry wind events. The last two years, a strong and persistent Santa Ana event was a major player in the spread of both 2017’s Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara and last year’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. 

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Imelda becomes ninth named storm of the Atlantic season

Tropical Storm Imelda quickly organized, formed, and made landfall all today. Imelda was the ninth named storm of the 2019 Atlantic Season. As it’s set to creep slowly north, the storm could drop a dozen or more inches of rain in Houston and Galveston this week. As a result multiple areas are under TS and Flood Warnings and a Flood Watch.

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Dorian Soaking Caribbean, Eyeing Weekend Impact in Florida

Tropical Storm Dorian is moving WNW over islands of the Caribbean, bringing winds and rain for Puerto Rico Dominican next. The storm is forecast to stay a Tropical Storm force over the next several days with the long term path over the Bahamas and towards Florida by the weekend.

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New This Week: Amazon Fires

In what has become a big story this week, details are finally emerging about wildfires burning in South America’s Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon fires became bigger news Monday afternoon when Sao Paulo was buried under a cloud of smoke from the fires. Since multiple news outlets and even celebrities (through social media) have pointed out the fact that the South American rainforest’s burning could be detrimental for the earth considering they produce 20% of the world’s oxygen.

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The Mississippi River Levees Could Struggle this Hurricane Season

Mississippi River Flooding

The Mississippi River entered flood stage on February 17, 2019 and remained in flood stage in New Orleans for a record 292 days. In an average year, the river runs around three to five feet deep through New Orleans heading into Hurricane Season. This week, the river just dropped under eleven feet deep. A large hurricane, like Katrina, can add twelve feet to the river depth, which would push well beyond the levee height and cause widespread flooding. Read more