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Bizarro Earth

Vesuvius volcano still 'very dangerous'

The last explosive eruption was in 1631, claiming 4,000 lives, while the event in 1944 was more benign, producing lava flows but without spewing hot ash and gases. Nevertheless, 26 people died and 12,000 lost their homes

Mount Vesuvius remains a threat to hundreds of thousands of people even though the volcano overlooking the southern Italian city of Naples has not erupted since 1944, a geologist warned Wednesday.

"Vesuvius is a very dangerous volcano," Francesco Russo told a news conference in Rome. "According to some statistics, there is a 27 percent chance of an explosive eruption in the next 100 years."

Russo, head of a Naples-area geologists association, said civil protection measures against a possible eruption were "inadequate."

"Some 600,000 people live in the 'red zone,' meaning they would be directly threatened by this type of explosion," he said. "But we're not sure we would be able to evacuate them."

Even with a week's warning, "it would be difficult," he said.


California expects worst drought ever after mild January

California teeters on the edge of the worst drought in the state's history, officials said Thursday after reporting that the Sierra Nevada snowpack - the backbone of the state's water supply - is only 61 percent of normal.

January usually douses California with about 20 percent of the state's annual precipitation, but instead it delivered a string of dry, sunny days this year, almost certainly pushing the state into a third year of drought.

Bizarro Earth

US: Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake - Washington State


Time Friday January 30, 2009 at 13:25:3.99 Z (UTC)

Friday January 30, 2009 at 05:25:3.99 AM (PST)

Distance from 7.8 km ENE of Poulsbo, WA

23.5 km NNE of Bremerton, WA

25.3 km NW of Seattle, WA (1st & Yesler)


UK cold snap brings winter back

Another cold snap is heading for the UK, as forecasters warn of the chilliest winter for 13 years.

Britain Cold
© Getty Images
After a freezing start to 2009, more icy blasts are heading for Britain
Icy winds from the continent will be felt in the south and east of the UK in the next few days, followed by a "blast of bitterly cold air" from Russia.

Temperatures in some areas are forecast to plunge from up to 7C (45F) on Saturday daytime, to between -1C (30F) and -3C (27F) on Sunday night.

BBC weather experts said snow was likely in some parts early next week.

Weather Centre forecaster Tomasz Schafernaker said daytime temperatures next week would be just above freezing, especially across eastern and central parts of the country.

He added there was a "risk of some snow flurries moving in from the North Sea", meaning eastern coastal areas are most likely to see snowfall.

Cloud Lightning

US: Groundhog Day Monster Storm

A large, dangerous storm will take shape in the eastern third of the nation early next week, spreading a swath of snow, rain, damaging thunderstorms, flooding and high winds northward from the Gulf of Mexico.

AccuWeather.com Meteorologists are confident a major storm will affect the eastern part of the nation Monday (Groundhog Day) into Tuesday of the coming week.

The storm will be large in size, encompassing over 2 million square miles. The system will grab copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico with potential to unleash 1 to 2 inches of rain or 1 to 2 feet of snow on some areas. The storm will also intensify as it moves on a nearly south-to-north heading. Warm air south and east of the storm will lead to damaging thunderstorms.

The exact track of the storm will determine the nature of the beast that will pummel an area from the entire, immediate Atlantic coast to nearly as far west as the Mississippi River.

There is a multitude of tracks the storm could take, ranging from just off of the Atlantic coast to a track just to the west of the Appalachians. Over the coming days, computer models will get more in line to one track, and our meteorologists will hone in on the details. For now, we want you to be aware of the consequences of the different tracks the storm could take.


US: Long lines, long wait for power after ice storm

Two-week delay possible for hundreds of thousands; new deaths feared

Ice Storm South US jan 2009
© Tim Rand / Associated Press
A yard is covered with branches in Paragould, Arkansas, January 28, 2009. The ice storm that came through the area downed trees, poles and powerlines. Most of the city was without power.
Cadiz, Kentucky - Hundreds of thousands of ice storm victims hunkered down in frigid homes and shelters Thursday, expecting to spend at least a week without power and waiting in long lines to buy generators, firewood, groceries and bottled water.

Utility companies in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas and West Virginia warned that many of the estimated 1.3 million homes and businesses left without electricity wouldn't have power back before Saturday at the earliest, and at worst, as late as mid-February.

Utilities typically count 3 or 4 people per home so the outage in terms of people is significantly greater than 1.3 million homes and businesses.
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Already, the situation was becoming dire for some communities in Kentucky, where the power outages crippled pumping stations and cut off access to water.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake - Leyte, Philippines



* Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 22:43:51 UTC

* Friday, January 30, 2009 at 06:43:51 AM at epicenter

Location 10.896°N, 124.806°E

Depth 60 km (37.3 miles)

Distances 45 km (30 miles) SSW of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines

100 km (65 miles) W of Guiuan, Samar, Philippines

115 km (75 miles) NE of Cebu, Cebu, Philippines

585 km (365 miles) SE of MANILA, Philippines

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.6 Earthquake - Acre, Brazil



* Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 22:28:06 UTC

* Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 05:28:06 PM at epicenter

Location 8.111°S, 71.284°W

Depth 612.7 km (380.7 miles)

Distances 155 km (95 miles) ESE of Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil

360 km (225 miles) E of Pucallpa, Peru

435 km (270 miles) WNW of Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil

2685 km (1660 miles) WNW of BRASILIA, Distrito Federal, Brazil

Bizarro Earth

US: Quake registered in Wright's Corner, New York

Wrights Corners was the epicenter of a feeble earthquake on Monday at 1:55 a.m. The quake registered 2.1 on the Modified Mercalli Scale according to U.S. Geological Survey service.

The location was 43.255 north latitude and 78.723 west longitude. That's 2 miles from Newfane, 6 miles from Olcott, 6 miles from Lockport and 25 miles from Buffalo.

A feeble quake is felt only by a few people at best, especially on the upper floors of buildings. Delicately suspended objects may swing.

Bizarro Earth

US: Quake hits near Williamsburg, Kentucky

A minor earthquake occurred at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday near Williamsburg, according to the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Geological Survey Web site.

The magnitude 3.1 earthquake centered 16 miles underground. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, earthquakes classified as minor occur between the magnitude of 3 and 3.9 on the Richter scale.

A 911 dispatcher in Williamsburg said no damage or injuries had been reported by Wednesday.