Archive for March, 2012

Magnitude 7.6 Earthquake Strikes Mexico

March 20th, 2012 -- Posted in Earthquakes | No Comments »

The U.S. Geological Service confirmed the magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit at 12:02 (Pacific time).  At about 6.2 miles deep, the quake epicenter occurred in the southern Guerrero state, near the border with Oaxaca state, about 115 miles from the tourist resort of Acapulco and 100 miles from Oaxaca City. In Mexico City, the quake shook buildings and a prolonged rocking motion swayed buildings and sent terrified people flooding into the streets.  Cell phone lines went down and traffic jammed in the moments after the quake. But there did not appear to be any major damage in the city.

According to the LA Times Blog, the governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cue, reported cracks and broken windows in several schools and minor damage to a number of Oaxaca City’s iconic monuments. He said signposts had fallen in the city as well. Workers at two hotels in Oaxaca said they noticed a few seconds of shaking but no real damage or injuries.  “Yes, we felt the shaking for 15 to 20 seconds, but no damage,” a woman at the front desk of the Hotel Marina in Huatulco told ABC News.

No reports of injuries at this time. Also, the USGS has not issued a tsunami warning or advisory in the area.

USGS Mexico Quake Map

USGS Mexico Quake Map

Japan Tsunami Disaster Anniversary

March 11th, 2012 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | No Comments »

A year ago today, a massive 9.0 earthquake battered Japan, followed by a lethal tsunami, ravaging fires, and nuclear power plant meltdown. Entire villages were wiped out, thousands of people were reported missing, thousands more were injured and left homeless, and more than 15,000 people were killed. In one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of Japan, the world watched in horror. Images from the devastated country made us all heartsick, and perhaps made us feel vulnerable to the power of nature—or at least aware of it.

The aftermath left a wasteland of once pristine and vibrant coastal communities. Though some restoration has occurred, there is obviously so much more to do. But for today, thousands of Japanese will pause from their daily activities to pay respects to the victims lost in the disaster.

Remains of a Home After the Tsunami

And how are the survivors doing a year later? According to The Telegraph, “In the worst-affected areas, the clear-up, let alone the recovery is far from complete. Ships stay stranded inland, cars sit where they came to rest on top of buildings.”

An article in the San Jose Mercury News reported, “Of course the scenes on TV were horrific,” said Dianne Fukami, president of the board of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, a former TV journalist who is producing a documentary about relief efforts by the Japanese-American community. “But when you stand in the middle of what used to be a neighborhood and turn 360 degrees and can’t see anything that resembles a house, it’s a different experience.”

It appears that Japan has a long road ahead to revitalization—to rebuilding structures and lives—and we are sending the survivors our respects today.

Midwest Devastated by Tornado Swarms

March 4th, 2012 -- Posted in Tornado | No Comments »

As deadly twisters ripped through 12 states in the Midwest and the South on Friday, they obliterated homes, leveled towns, and killed at least 38 people. Hardest hit were Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

The National Weather Service reported that the four twisters to hit Kentucky were the worst in the region in 24 years.  “In Indiana, a tornado packing 175 mph winds hit the town of Henryville, and stayed on the ground for more than 50 miles. Three tornadoes in Kentucky had wind speeds up to 160 mph.”

The Associated Press In West Liberty, Ky., reported the aftermath for Doris Shuck. The storms took her home, leaving only the basement and front porch. “I could hear the glass and hear the wood breaking. I just thought the house is going to fall on top of me,” she said. She had scrapes and bruises.

The town of Marysville, Ind., population about 1,900, was “completely gone,” Clark County sheriff’s Maj. Chuck Adams told NBC News.
Paige Colburn, an emergency management officer at the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency, told that the damage in Alabama covered a 4- to 5-mile swath in northern Madison County. “The reason that it is so wide is because we’re not talking about one tornado. We’re talking about a very large super-cell that spawned several smaller tornadoes,” she said.

As survivors try to recover and search and rescue teams continue their efforts to find missing and injured residents, the American Red Cross has launched a multi state relief operation. To learn more about helping, visit