Mayon Volcano Suddenly Erupts Ash, Killing Several


The Mayon Volcano in Albay erupted ash Tuesday morning, killing 4 and injuring 7 others. The ash eruption, called a phreatic eruption, shot 500 feet into the air above the volcano.

The volcano had been quiet for several months previously.

This volcano has a history of explosions. It was currently at alert level 0, which is normal. Down from 1, last November.

This volcano’s last ash eruption happened in 2010.

Large smoke plumes coming out of Mayon Volcano. Photo by @misterohnard

Large smoke plumes coming out of Mayon Volcano. Photo by @misterohnard

Mayon is one of 23 volcanoes in the Philippines that are considered active.


Typhoon Bopha death toll climbs above 350

Expedition 34, International Space Station image of Typhoon Bopha

Image: Expedition 34, International Space Station image of Typhoon Bopha

Typhoon Bopha (known as Pablo in the Philippines) has left the Philippines reeling with 350 dead and 400 missing. The hardest hit regions were Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and six other provinces where deaths have been reported in all. Compostela was the hardest hit with over 200 deaths. 80% of plantations there were estimated to have been destroyed.

The damage is staggering. “Entire families may have been washed away,” according to Philippines Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. Bodies were laid out side by side in rows so they could be identified by villagers who were searching for missing family. Over 200,000 people have been affected by Bopha. The storm disrupted ports and over 5,000 travelers were stranded in the country.

Image: Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite

Image: Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite

In the town of Davao Oriental, almost no buildings were still with their roofs including the evacuation centers.

Donations are being collected by Red Cross International to help provide aid for the country. The Red Cross Philippines reported setting up and monitoring 218 evacuation centers overseeing 31,000 families. You can access the Philippines Red Cross site and also donate to them by {clicking here}.

3D Image: data from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite

3D Image: data from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite

Bopha was an extremely powerful super typhoon as it crossed the Philippines. It had sustained winds of 160 mph gusting to 200 mph. It was the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane during landfall. The 3-dimensional image above shows that the tallest and most powerful thunderstorm cells contains within the typhoon were within the inner and outer eyewall. They were also in the hot towers which you can see elevated above the image in yellow. Hot tower thunderstorms were one of the precursors meteorologists used to accurately predict rapid intensification of Bopha. Cloud top temperatures inside the eye were as cold as -130° Fahrenheit. Bopha was the second most southerly category 5 super typhoon and the most powerful typhoon to ever strike Mindanao.

Typhoon Bopha SatRad Loop

Bopha is expected to isolate itself in the South China Sea during the next several days where it will steadily lose strength.

In 2011, tropical storm Washi brought major flooding to the Philippines and killed over 1,200 people. Bopha is measuring up to Washi in the destruction left behind in its wake. The Philippines are usually struck by up to 20 powerful tropical storms yearly. The US has offered help to both the Philippines and Palau, where the US has embassies in Manila and Koror.

Typhoon Bopha Track

Typhoon Bopha Track

Typhoon Bopha takes aim at Palau

Typhoon Bopha

Typhoon Bopha, A category 4 (131 – 155 MPH) late-season cyclone that formed unusually close to the equator in the Western Pacific Ocean, is bearing down on the nation of Palau this weekend.

Palau is a small nation of approximately 21,000 inhabitants located to the east of the southern edge of the Philippines. Bopha may also make landfall over Mindanao, an island which was devastated by Washi in December, 2011.


Bopha’s maximum sustained winds are currently at 130 mph and may increase slightly before the core of the system impacts the islands. Typhoons do not typically impact Palau due to its low latitude outside of more common West Pacific storm tracks.

Hot Towers

NASA’s TRMM Satellite noticed several “hot towers” in Bopha. When a cumulonimbus cloud reaches the top of the troposphere, it is called a hot tower. The troposphere is the lowest layer of the atmosphere. In the part of the tropics where Bopha is located, the troposphere extends nine miles high into the sky. Bopha’s hot towers were over 9.3 miles high. Latent heating allows these cumulonimbus towers to reach so high into the atmosphere. As water vapor condenses into liquid, it releases latent heat. NASA has done research showing that when a tropical cyclone has hot towers in its eyewall, it is twice as likely to intensify within the followers six or more hours, than a comparative cyclone without these hot towers. After NASA’s TRMM satellite spotted the hot towers of Bopha, the storm soon intensified into a typhoon.


The last Typhoon to impact the island of Koror was way back in 1976, and was a much weaker storm, bringing winds of about 85 mph to the island.

The National Weather Service official forecast track takes Bopha south of Ngulu and very close to the islands of Koror and Kayangel in the Republic of Palau.


National Weather Service updates on Bopha can be found here:

Sandy’s wrath severe

8.9 million currently without power including 2.7 million in new Jersey. Over 50 homes destroyed by fire in Queens. President Obama declares New York and Long Island major disaster areas and emergency areas in Virginia and West Virginia. Sandy expected to top 20 billion in damage. 83 lives lost in total from Sandy. A dam in New Jersey has broke putting possibly up to thousands of lives at danger according to Bergen County Police Chief. NYSE closed for second consecutive day for the first time since a blizzard in 1888.

A tanker came ashore in Staten Island.

Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy is moving across southern Pennsylvania this morning, center located about 90 miles west of Philadelphia.

Maximum sustained winds are 65 mph. While steady weakening during the next 48 hours is forecast, gale-force winds will continue this morning over portions of the mid-Atlantic states from Virginia north through New England.

Total rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches, with isolated 8 inch amounts, are possible over far eastern North Carolina. Amounts of 4 to 8 inches, with isolated 12 inch amounts, are possible over portions of the mid-Atlantic States, including the Delmarva Peninsula. Amounts of 1 to 3 inches, with isolated 5 inch amounts, are possible across southern New York through New England.Snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet are expected in the mountains of West Virgina, with locally higher amounts, tonight through Tuesday Night. The southwestern Virginia mountains are forecast to see 1 to 2 feet of snow, with 12 to 18 inches near the North Carolina/Tennessee state line and in the mountains of western Maryland.Thousands without power and heat after major snowfall in Snowshoe, WV.

Statement from MTA Chairman Joseph J.Lhota on Service Recovery”The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots. As of last night, seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded. Metro-North Railroad lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson Line and to New Haven on the New Haven Line. The Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and suffered flooding in one East River tunnel. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is flooded from end to end and the Queens Midtown Tunnel also took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water. We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Our employees have shown remarkable dedication over the past few days, and I thank them on behalf of every New Yorker. In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now. All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal.”

Evacuations and emergency declarations

Hurricane Sandy has the potential to leave millions in the northeast without power due to wind damage, flooding and storm surge. The storm is expected to do billions of dollars of damage to the northeast. It is currently responsible for the death of at least 58 people from its travels over the Caribbean including Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

Sandy is expected to be more destructive than Hurricane Irene in 2011 that caused $15 billion dollars of damage. Northeast utility companies are stocking up on extra crews and tree-trimmers in preparation for storm damage and power outages. Utility providers are calling on companies outside the area to send as much help as possible.

Hurricane Sandy could be near equivalent or worse than The Long Island Express, a 1938 hurricane that killed 800 people and is considered the worst east coast hurricane on record.

The White House is saying President Obama has told emergency management personnel that the federal government will do everything in its power to provide resources for state and local officials to keep people safe along the East Coast.

Sandy had weakened to a tropical storm on Saturday but regained strength to a category 1 hurricane Saturday afternoon.

Sandy is currently tracking toward New York City with land impact expected between Delmarva Peninsula and Rhode Island. The storm is expected to then move into central Pennsylvania and then north. New York City officials said Storm surge could deliver 4 to 8 feet of water to the subways. A full moon will be making the flooding worse. The loss of power for days or weeks will be a possibility in the storm.

The backside of hurricane Sandy could deliver possibly several feet of snow to mountainous regions of West Virginia, eastern Ohio and southern Pennsylvania.

In Maryland and Virginia, flood watches were issued in the District, as well as in Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Arlington and Falls Church counties. A coastal flood watch was issued for all of Maryland’s beaches, as well as Virginia Beach.

Airlines are reporting the pending cancellation of flights. Some airlines are allowing passengers to change flights without a fee.

The U.S. Navy is moving ships from the Norfolk Navy Station in Virginia out to sea to escape the storm’s path. The Navy is moving 24 of the larger ships from southeastern Virginia bases including the USS Harry Truman including ships at Norfolk, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

States that have declared a state of emergency:
1. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Maine and Massachusetts

Through regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, FEMA will continuously monitor Sandy and will remain in close coordination with state and tribal emergency management partners in Florida and the potentially affected Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and New England states.

New York

The MTA will decide on Sunday if it is going to shut down the bus and subway system.

New York City officials are considering the evacuation of 375,000 from flood prone areas.

Suffolk County officials have declared a mandatory evacuation of Fire Island including up to 300 residents.

Long Island should expect to feel the start of the storm late Sunday night with wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour.

In New York City, officials activated the city’s coastal emergency plan, with subway closings and the evacuation of residents in areas hit during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that some residents should prepare to evacuate.[44] New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for every county in the state. Cuomo was also asking for a pre-disaster declaration to get better access to federal assistance.

New Jersey

In Cape May County, New Jersey, officials advised residents on barrier islands to evacuate on October 26, which will become a mandatory evacuation on October 28. There was also a voluntary evacuation for Mantoloking in Ocean County.


“Be forewarned,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “Assume that you will be in the midst of flooding conditions, the likes of which you may not have seen at any of the major storms that have occurred over the last 30 years.”

Connecticut utilities, which also ran into problems after Irene, are reportedly among those calling up the 5,000 power company personnel requested for the Boston-Connecticut area.


Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter asked residents in low lying areas and neighborhoods prone to flooding to leave their home by 2 p.m. October 28 and move to safer ground.


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney cancelled a campaign appearance scheduled for Sunday in Virginia Beach. Vice President Joe Biden also cancelled an appearance there scheduled for Saturday.


The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County have signed a Resolution to Declare a Local State of Emergency due to the potentially adverse effects from Hurricane Sandy. The declaration makes effective the St. Mary’s County Emergency Operations Plan.

Yesterday, Governor Martin O’Malley signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency for all Maryland counties as the State continues to monitor Hurricane Sandy and its potential impact. The declaration gives the state flexibility to activate the Maryland National Guard and provide assistance to local emergency managers.

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for our area beginning late Sunday night through Tuesday.

North Carolina

Resident of Hattares Island fear a temporary bridge set up after Hurricane Irene could give out, preventing access.

Tropical Storm Warnings are currently issued for South Santee River in North Carolina to Duck, North Carolina.

On October 26, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency for 38 counties in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, taking effect October 27.


On October 26, Maine’s Governor Paul LePage signed a limited emergency declaration, that allows power crews from other states and/or Canada to help Maine prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The declaration will help Maine power providers pre-place their crews by extending the hours their crews can drive.


in Massachusetts, the state’s emergency management agency has started issuing situational awareness news releases

Washington D.C.

On October 26, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray declared a state of emergency for the nation’s capital. He said agencies will work throughout the weekend to prepare the city for Sandy.

The three major commuter systems in the D.C. area — Metro, the Maryland Transit Administration and Virginia Railway Express — plan to continue normal operations until conditions require otherwise.

The transit agency began placing sandbags around vent shafts and station entrances of the subway system. Crews had also begun checking pumping stations that will funnel water out of the stations, ensuring that drains were clear and that enough chain saws were available if there were downed trees. Also, additional rail and bus supervisors are being called in to work at control centers.

The MTA began mobilizing emergency operations and maintenance workers, said spokesman Joe Sviatko.

Spokespeople for public school districts in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area asked people to check their Web sites periodically over the weekend, but agreed if Sandy stays on its forecast track schools are not likely to be open on Monday.

Brace for Hurricane Sandy

The latest track on Hurricane Sandy. The storm has a 900 mile diameter with tropical storm strength winds extending hundreds of miles out from the center. So don’t focus on the exact track. To the west of the track will be a heavy snow event and to the east will be a heavy rain event. Hundreds of miles surrounding the storm will be damaging tropical storm strength winds. Those kinds of winds historically knock limbs, branches and trees down which can create prolonged periods of power outages.

I want to be clear, my two biggest concerns for this storm are:1. If you live along the immediate east coast in the path of the storm, the biggest concern is storm surge. Predictions are Sandy will be more intense than Irene was. The Mayor of Philadelphia has begun asking flood prone residents to begin evacuating low lying regions by Sunday. New Jersey Cape May County Emergency Management Office has begun issuing voluntary evacuations for the county’s barrier islands. If your government officials. If you are ordered to evacuate, leave.

2. If you live west of the US East Coast, in the path of the storm extending out to Ohio… the biggest concern is prolonged power outages. This is going to be a very demanding test for local and national energy grid that powers around 50 million people living in the northeast.

So far Sandy has been responsible for 40 deaths.

West Virginia’s mountainous regions could expect up to nearly 2 feet of snowfall.

If you are in the path of this storm, I recommend having supplies for 3 days including 3 gallons of water per person. 7 days of supplies would be safer and ideal.

Now is a good time to fill up those gas tanks in your car as well and make sure the tanks are filled up if you use liquid fuel to heat your home.

Governor of North Carolina declares states of emergency in 33 counties in the eastern part of the state beginning Saturday.

“I urge all North Carolinians to keep a watchful eye on Hurricane Sandy and monitor the storm’s track. This is an

unusual storm and the path it may take is uncertain. The North Carolina Division of Emergency Management is closely monitoring Hurricane Sandy and is standing by to assist citizens as needed. I remind residents to be prepared in the event of power failures and to follow their local news stations for the latest official recommendations and road conditions.”

Northeast should prepare for Hurricane Sandy

Synopsis: If you are a northeast interest in the path of Hurricane Sandy, I’m going to recommend that you begin to prepare a disaster preparation kit. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Here’s a look at Sandy’s projected path as of 5AM Friday morning. Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane with max sustained winds of 80 MPH and pressure of 968mb.

Hurricane Impact: Upon impact, Sandy could range anywhere from a Category 1 to 4 Hurricane. Most likely being a category 1 or possibly 2. The storm has a diameter of 900 miles. As it loses strength upon impact, it will increase in size. Especially when it impacts the cold front.

Storm Impacts
Heavy rain, wintry weather in higher elevations
Damaging and disruptive winds
Prolonged power outages
Historic coastal erosion
Storm Surge
Extreme wave heights 10-50 feet above normal
Extreme rip tides
flash flooding
River, pond, lake, tributary flooding
Road ponding
Mud and land slides
Road collapses
Isolated tornadoes

Hurricane Sandy rapidly intensifying

Hurricane Sandy Sat/Rad over Cuba
Looks like GTMO in Cuba just saw a wind gust from rapidly intensifying 957mb CAT-2 Hurricane Sandy of 112mph.

Sandy’s disaster impact on the US East coast could be significant ($1-billion dollars +).

Projected path forecasts (Spaghetti plots) for Hurricane Sandy

If you live anywhere east of a line stretching from the coastal Carolinas to Toronto, pay attention to this storm. (Damaging winds, coastal erosion, coastal flooding, storm surge, flash flooding, mountainous winter weather).

Projected rainfall in inches from Hurricane Sandy. (1″ of rain can = 10″ of snow)

Halloween Snowicane in the northeast?


So lets talk about the possibility of a pumpkin day Snowicane for the northeast United States…

Currently, Tropical Storm Sandy is passing over Jamaica as it makes its way north through the Caribbean islands. Sandy is delivering pelting rain and flash floods to those regions.

Sandy will continue her track off-shore along the US east coast until about Saturday night where models are forecasting for one of two forecast track possibilities.

1. Depart northeast away from the United States. No problem

2. Make a return swing to the northwest back toward the US Northeast coast. Possibly passing through New York landward and on toward Pittsburgh and west.

Impacts: If forecast track #2 confirms, Sandy could impact the northeast as a very strong storm, a few are speculating the “perfect storm”. Heavy rains (including moderate snow), and strong damaging winds.

Timeframe: We will start to know better by Friday which scenario is more likely going to play out. The turn would begin around Saturday and be in gear by sunday. If the turn is toward the west back at the US northeast coast, impact could be expected by Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Opinion: I’m currently leaning toward the snowicane possibility. More details to follow!

Disclaimer: Snowicane is not a technical meteorological term.

Indonesian volcano Mt. Gamalama erupts

A volcano named Mount Gamalama in eastern Indonesia has erupted. The resultant ash and lava emitted from the storm ejected toward the sky. Ash was shot over half a mile high into the atmosphere and covered the nearby villages.

There are no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption. State volcanologist Kristianto confirms the mountain began showing early eruption signs last week. He said lava was seen to be moving slowly at the peak of eruption on Monday.

Mount Gamalama’s last eruption was last year, with mudslides killing four villagers. Watch video of the eruption here: