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Samoa tsunami: 100 feared dead on Pacific islands

Image
© Reuters
Wreckage left behind in the village of Leone in American Samoa
Scores of people are feared dead and many more injured after a powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that swept the Pacific islands.

Cars and people were swept out to sea by the fast-churning water as survivors on the worst-hit islands of Samoa and American Samoa fled to high ground, where they remained huddled for hours.

The floodwater engulfed cars and homes, flattened villages and washed ashore a large boat that came to rest on the edge of a highway.

The 8.3-magnitude quake struck about 125 miles from Samoa at 6.48pm BST, sending a large wave into Apia, the capital of Samoa, and a 1.5-metre wave into Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa.

Bizarro Earth

Tsunami hits American Samoa after South Pacific earthquake

Image
© Unknown
Pago Pago -- A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of up to 8.3 struck in the South Pacific between Samoa and American Samoa around dawn Tuesday, sending terrified residents fleeing for higher ground as a tsunami swept ashore, flattening at least one village.

Officials said they were checking reports of fatalities, including people being swept away from coastal communities, but communications and power outages were hampering rescue efforts.

The quake hit at 6:48 a.m. Tuesday (1748 GMT) midway between the two island groups. In Apia, the Samoan capital, families reported shaking that lasted for up to three minutes. The U.S. Geological Service, which estimated the magnitude at 8.0, said the quake struck 20 miles (35 kilometers) below the ocean floor, 120 miles (190 kilometers) from American Samoa and 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Samoa, with a 5.6-magnitude aftershock 20 minutes later.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center put the quake's magnitude at 8.3 and issued a general alert for the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand. It said there were indications a tsunami wave could be "destructive" along some coastlines. Several hours away from the epicenter, Hawaii was put under a tsunami watch, with five emergency centers opened as a precaution.

Cloud Lightning

Typhoon Ketsana slams into Vietnam

Image
© Unknown
A man walks by a lake alongside the national north-south highway near Danang, Vietnam on September 29, 2009
After lashing the Philippines for several days, killer Typhoon Ketsana strengthened over the ocean before slamming into the central Vietnam coastline Tuesday afternoon.

Aid agencies reported that amid flood warnings, some 200,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas to community centers and schools on higher ground.

"Today was pretty bad, they say that this is the worst of it," iReporter Jeff Puchalski, 43, told CNN, speaking from Danang. "It was very strong winds," he said.

Puchalski, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, was staying at a resort in Danang. His video from outside the resort showed tiles falling from the roof and littering the ground. Although he had intended to stay only for a weekend, he said he was stuck there until the storm passed.

"We're also getting very heavy rains," he said.

Ketsana's maximum winds were reported at 167 km/h (104 mph) with gusts as strong as 204 km/h (127 mph) as it crossed over the South China Sea and approached land.

The city of Hue, Vietnam, picked up an estimated 13 inches of rainfall in a day, according to CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Delgado.

Bizarro Earth

Samoan Islands earthquake generates 10-foot tsunami

Image
© Google Imagery
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck in the Samoan Islands region Tuesday.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck in the Samoan Islands region Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The temblor generated a nearly 10-foot (3-meter) tsunami -- measured from crest to trough -- according to preliminary data, said Chip McCreery, the director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

A tsunami warning was in effect for American Samoa, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji, among others in the South Pacific archipelago, according to a bulletin from the center.

A tsunami watch was issued for islands farther from the epicenter, including Hawaii and Papua New Guinea.

Officials were determining whether the tsunami could reach Hawaii, the center said.

The quake is not expected to generate a tsunami along the west coast of the United States or Canada, according to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

Further details were not immediately available.

Bizarro Earth

Samoa Islands - Earthquake Magnitude 8.0

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 17:48:15 UTC

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 06:48:15 AM at epicenter

Location:
15.300°S, 171.000°W

Depth:
33 km (20.5 miles) set by location program

Distances:
119 km (74 miles) SSW (196°) from PAGO PAGO, American Samoa

185 km (115 miles) SSE (154°) from APIA, Samoa

431 km (268 miles) NNW (344°) from Niue Island

2298 km (1428 miles) W (273°) from PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Bizarro Earth

Philippines braces for new storm as toll hits 246

Typhoon Ondoy Philippines
© Reuters/Erik de Castro
Rescuers assist residents from floodwaters caused by Typhoon Ondoy as they board a rubber boat in Cainta Rizal east of Manila September 27, 2009
Philippine authorities braced on Tuesday for another storm as the toll from rain and floods from a weekend typhoon, now bearing down on Vietnam, rose to 246 dead while damages climbed to nearly $100 million.

Weather forecasters said a new storm forming in the Pacific Ocean was likely to enter Philippine waters on Thursday and make landfall later in the week on the northern island of Luzon, just like Saturday's Typhoon Ketsana.

Ketsana dumped more than a month's worth of average rainfall on Manila and surrounding areas in one 24-hour period. About 80 percent of the city of 15 million was flooded.

Binoculars

South Asia: Rare Vultures Seen in Indian Wild

About 200 rare Bearded Vultures have been seen in a remote part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, a forestry official has told the BBC.

Lammergeiers
© BBC News
Lammergeiers are long-winged vultures known for their unusual habit of dropping bones on to rocks to smash them open and get at the marrow.
The state's chief conservator of forests, Vinay Tandon, said that the sighting of the bearded vultures was "hugely significant".

Mr Tandon said that four out of the five major vulture species in India are critically endangered.

Experts estimate that there are only a few hundred vultures left in India.

"We had reports on Monday that what appears to be a very large colony of Bearded Vultures - or Lammergeiers - were spotted close to the border with China in what is known as the trans-Himalayan region," Mr Tandon told the BBC.

"As yet we are not able to confirm that the birds belong to this species. A team from the state's wildlife department will be making its way to the area as soon as possible.

"We are especially pleased to hear of such a large colony when in recent years the vulture population of India has been disappearing so rapidly."

Ladybug

Monster insect mimic lures prey with siren song

Everything was going to plan for the male cicada looking for love. High in his tree in the dry bush country of eastern Australia, he started his serenade. First he gave a bright chirruping prelude, then urr-chip, urr-chip, urr-chip. Right on cue came an answering click. Each time the cicada repeated his urr-chip, there was that click again. His luck was in: a female was signalling her interest. The cicada began to move slowly towards the source of the clicks, singing as he went. The closer he got, the louder the clicks, and soon he could make out a telltale trembling among the leaves. Sure of his target now, he made his final move.


Cloud Lightning

US: Last week's Atlanta flooding set records

The U.S. Geological Survey says Atlanta area flooding last week involved magnitudes so great the odds of it happening were less than 1 in 500 in many areas.

"The USGS can reliably say just how bad these floods were. They were epic!" said Brian McCallum, assistant director of the USGS Water Science Center in Georgia.

On Tuesday, USGS crews said they measured the greatest flow ever recorded (28,000 cubic feet per second) on Sweetwater Creek near Austell, Ga.

In Georgia, the USGS maintains a network of more than 300 stream gages that provide data in real time. Data from those gages are used by local, state and federal officials for numerous purposes, including public safety and flood forecasting by the National Weather Service.

Bizarro Earth

Japan: Earthquake Magnitude 5.9 - Ryukyu Islands

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Monday, September 28, 2009 at 19:22:57 UTC

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 04:22:57 AM at epicenter

Location:
27.943°N, 127.867°E

Depth:
10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Distances:
200 km (125 miles) N of Naha, Okinawa, Japan

480 km (300 miles) SSW of Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan

535 km (335 miles) NE of Ishigaki-jima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

1410 km (880 miles) SW of TOKYO, Japan