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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Homeland Security Threat Level: YELLOW (ELEVATED)
Significant National Weather:
A weakening storm moving eastward from the Great Lakes will bring light snow through tonight for much of southwestern New York & Pennsylvania. The far northeastern portions of the region will be mainly clear and dry, with temperatures hovering around the teens & 20s from Massachusetts up through Maine. Farther south, the Mid-Atlantic States will see a slight chance of rain & snow showers early in the day turning to rain later, with highs near 50.
Significant rain throughout much of the region today, with the heaviest amounts targeting portions of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and the Florida Panhandle and a rain/snow mix in the southern Appalachians. Elsewhere, the Southern Plains should be mostly dry except for east Texas, with high temperatures ranging from the 40s in the Tennessee Valley & western Carolinas to the 70s in central & south Texas and around the Gulf Coast.
An active system in the central U.S. will gradually weaken today as it pushes toward the Ohio & Tennessee Valleys, however portions of Southern Michigan & the Ohio Valley should still see 1 to 3 inches of snowfall. The rain/snow boundary will gradually shift to southern Indiana, Ohio & Kentucky later today, as milder air from the Gulf of Mexico becomes more dominant and the system works its way eastward. Elsewhere, dry weather should dominate the mid-Mississippi Valley, and Central & Northern Plains, with temperatures generally 5 to 15 degrees above average.
An upper low moving southward along interior California is forecast to spread a moderate amount of mountain snow from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to southwestern Colorado today, with the heaviest concentration in the Four Corners states. Elsewhere, look for coastal rain and upper-elevation snow to continue in the Pacific Northwest, with highs in the 30‚s and mid-40‚s in Washington & Oregon.
Say Hello to CalVO: USGS California Volcano Observatory Opens:
With more than 500 volcanic vents identified in the State of California, sooner or later one of these volcanoes is bound to erupt. With that in mind, the U.S. Geological Survey recently announced the establishment of the USGS California Volcano Observatory, or CalVO, headquartered within existing USGS facilities in Menlo Park, California. Establishing CalVO will increase awareness of and resiliency to the volcano threats in California, many of which pose significant threats to the economy and well being of the state and its inhabitants.
CalVO takes on responsibility for research, monitoring, and assessing hazards for all of the potentially active volcanoes in California and coordinating with local and State emergency managers to prepare for responding to renewed volcanic activity. Previously, the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington was responsible for responding to volcanic unrest at some northern California volcanoes.
CalVO replaces the former Long Valley Observatory, established in 1982 to monitor the restless Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters region of California. The creation of CalVO will improve coordination with federal, state, and local emergency managers during volcanic crises, and create new opportunities for volcanic hazard awareness and preparedness. The realignment of USGS Volcano Observatories will further facilitate collaboration with federal and state partner agencies including the California Emergency Management Agency and the California Geological Survey.
The list of potentially threatening volcanoes on CalVO‚s watch list includes Mount Shasta, Medicine Lake Volcano, Clear Lake Volcanic Field, and Lassen Volcanic Center in northern California; Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters in east-central California; Salton Buttes, Coso Volcanic Field, and Ubehebe Craters in southern California; and Soda Lakes in central Nevada. CalVO‚s watch list is subject to change as new data on past eruptive activity becomes known, as volcanic unrest develops, as monitoring networks are upgraded, and/or as exposure factors change.
Under the Stafford Act, the USGS has the federal responsibility to issue timely and effective warnings of potential volcanic disasters.¬* In addition to CalVO, the USGS operates four other volcano observatories. The Cascade Volcano Observatory oversees efforts at all potentially active volcanoes in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory is responsible for volcanoes in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. The Alaska Volcano Observatory oversees Alaskan volcanoes and those within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The oldest USGS volcano observatory, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, is responsible for the state of Hawaii and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. All USGS volcano observatories share scientific expertise, administrative staff, and equipment.
No space weather storms have occurred in the past 24 hours and none are predicted for the next 24 hours.
Tropical Weather Outlook
Tropical Cyclone Jasmine (10P) (as of Feb 14 at 04:00 a.m. EST)
The center of Tropical Cyclone Jasmine is located approximately 25 nautical miles south-southwest of Tonga and 600 nautical miles south-southwest of Pago Pago, American Samoa, moving southeastward at approximately 6 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph, with momentary gusts of 52 mph. Intensity is expected to weaken rapidly and dissipate over water after the next 48 hours. No impact is expected for American Samoa or other U.S. interests in the region.
South Indian Ocean
Tropical Cyclone Giovanna (12S) (as of Feb 13 at 10:00 p.m. EST)
The center of TC Giovanna is positioned over Madagascar, approximately 95 nautical miles east of the capitol Antananarivo (pop: 1.3 million), tracking westward at 17 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 109 mph with gusts to 132 mph, making it a Category 2 storm. Intensity is expected to rapidly weaken while Giovanna is over Madagascar, but after reemerging into the Mozambique Channel, it will reconsolidate and start strengthening. TC Giovanna is expected to continue to track westward, making landfall in Mozambique within the next 96 to 120 hours before dissipating. No impact is expected to U.S. interests in the region.
On February 13, 2012 at 4:07 p.m. EST, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake occurred approximately 5 miles southwest of Weitchpec, CA, and 217 miles northwest of Sacramento, CA at a depth of 17.5 miles. Weitchpec is located in a seismically active area in a rural portion of Humboldt County, CA on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation several miles east of Redwood National Park. A dispatcher at the Humboldt County Sheriff‚s Department said the trembler was widely felt and the shaking lasted for 30-45 seconds. Hundreds of people reported feeling the quake on the USGS website, some as far away as southern Oregon. Local authorities sent deputies and officers out to check on residents, but did not report any injuries or damage. NOAA issued a statement that the trembler was not large enough to generate a tsunami, and there were no requests for FEMA assistance.
On February 14, 2012 at 3:20 a.m. EST, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred 44 miles west of Kira Kira, San Cristobal, Solomon Islands at a depth of 34 miles. The National Weather Service West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued Tsunami Information Statements stating that NO destructive widespread tsunami threat exists. No tsunami warnings, watches or advisories have been issued; however, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter. The USGS issued a GREEN Pager Alert stating there is a low likelihood of casualties and damage. The FEMA National Watch Center has been in contact with the FEMA Region IX Watch Center and there have been no preliminary reports of damage or injury.
Disaster Declaration Activity
No new activity (FEMA HQ)