Hundreds dead in 8.9 earthquake and tsunami in Japan

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan today, triggering tsunamis that sent a wave filled with boats and houses toward land. Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast are under a tsunami warning. via This Just In – CNN.com Blogs.

Texas Winter Drought 2010-11 from La Niña

Back in July of 2009 I wrote about how one of the worst droughts in Texas was worsening.

Now it’s December, 2010, and we are staring down the barrel of another (winter) drought – one of the worst.

The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday indicated 85 percent of Texas is between abnormally dry and in extreme drought, compared to about 29 percent a year ago. Source: KBTX.com | Experts Fear Texas Heading Into Another Severe Drought

I appears to be the effects of La Niña.

La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña causes above average precipitation across the North Midwest, the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in the Pacific Northwest’s southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile there is below average precipitation in the southwestern and southeastern states. Source: Wikipedia | El Niño-Southern Oscillation and NOAA.gov | ENSO Diagnostic Discussion

This certainly appears to be true. For the past week – 2 weeks before winter – the North Midwest (Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo) has been buried by snow.

Thanksgiving Cold Front

Is this global warming? This is wacked “this mornings low 67°, which is 20° warmer than the norm and only 2° cooler than the normal daytime high.”

Our local news station weather blog Tracking a Thanksgiving Cold Front:

National Weather Forecast Map November 23, 2010

National Weather Forecast Map November 23, 2010

Its lunchtime across the Brazos Valley this 22nd day of November…and the temperature outside is 78°.  No need to rub your eyes, that’s right…it’s 78°.  Needless to say, both overnight lows and daytime highs are running about 10 – 20 degrees above where they should be for this time of the year.  In fact, this mornings low only made it down to 67°, which is 20° warmer than the norm and only 2° cooler than the normal daytime high.

We’ll have to deal with this warm, muggy, breezy and cloudy weather for the next couple of days as we gear up for the beginning of the holiday season and head towards Thanksgiving Day.  But changes are on the horizon…

You are looking at the temperatures from 7am Monday morning.  Sharp, cold Canadian air is locked up beind the jetstream and is trying to work its way toward Texas and the Brazos Valley.  And it does look like it will get here…it will just take a few more days.  Its arrival? Welp…it looks like Thanksgiving day.

Earthquakes shorten our days

Wow. I never realized that this happened.

The Feb. 27 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of each Earth day … by about 1.26 microseconds. Source: NASA – Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days.

What does this mean? Is the earth spinning faster? Some answers are around on the web, but not many.

A shortened day could mean sunlight shines on a spot for less time, and darkness would cover an area for less time too. I think what it would affect more than the clock though. I think gravity, surface temperature, climate, the moon’s orbit, satellites’ orbits, would be affected to name a few. Only (a shortened) time will tell.

A 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti

January 12, 2010

A major earthquake struck southern Haiti on Tuesday, knocking down buildings and power lines and inflicting what its ambassador to the United States called a catastrophe for the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

Several eyewitnesses reported heavy damage and bodies in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where concrete-block homes line steep hillsides. There was no estimate of the dead and wounded Tuesday evening, but the U.S. State Department has been told to expect “serious loss of life,” department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington. (CNN)

Texas’ Drought Worsens

How bad is it? With triple-digit temperatures for the past 45+ days and only a trace of rain in the same time period, it feels like we are baking in the Texas heat. But, when we step back and look at historical drought percentages, it doesn’t appear all that bad. It’s not as bad as 2006-2007.

“LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Ovenlike heat continues to bake Texas, and the map that charts drought in the United States shows the worst-stricken areas of Texas have wilted further. The U.S. Drought Monitor map released last week shows areas of Central and South Texas in extreme and exceptional drought expanded since last week. The two worst stages of drought now cover 14.1 percent of the state, up from 11.1 last week. Texas is the only spot in the nation with extreme and exceptional drought.” Source: KBTX.com.

I guess time will tell. I don’t think it will be the driest summer ever, but it sure is hot.

Galveston residents make smooth return from Ike exile

This picture and the comment, “Welcome hone! (if there is one) … I meant ‘home'”, summarize life for Galveston as residents were allowed back Tuesday, September 23.

Silent Victims of Hurricane Ike

Two days after Ike’s landfall, water gurgled and bubbled ominously from submerged graves, and an invisible cloud of formaldehyde stung the eyes and throat. The only water left was filling now empty graves and vaults.

We Survived Ike

This is Houston radar at 10PM last night. The storm hit us around 4 AM and lasted most of the day – ’til about 6 PM. We survived. More importantly, the trees pulled through 50+ mph winds. I saw very little tree damage in the streets this morning when I took the dog for a walk.

Tropical Weather and Storms – Hurricane Updates from weather.com

Tropical Weather and Storms – Hurricane Updates from weather.com: “On its current track, Ike should make landfall along the central Texas coast early (late) Friday night as a major hurricane. Models are honing in on a landfall location very close to Freeport, Texas. However it is very important to emphasize that tropical storm and hurricane conditions will be felt well before Ike’s center of circulation makes landfall. Conditions will deteriorate along the Texas coast well before that point.”

UPDATE:
Texas A&M University will be closed Friday (Sept. 12) as a precautionary measure as Hurricane Ike nears the Texas coast and tropical storm winds and heavy rain are projected to reach the Bryan-College Station area.

UPDATE:
HOUSTON — George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will stop commercial flights beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Friday. No airline service is expected to operate at IAH on Saturday. Southwest Airlines at Hobby Airport will stop flights at 9:00 a.m. –khou.com