We read in Matt 24 about things that must happen in the Last Days:

Mat 24:6-10 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must occur; but the end is not yet. (7) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places. (8) All these are the beginning of sorrows. (9) Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name's sake. (10) And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.

This Blog deals with verse 7; famines, pestilences and earthquakes to link current world events with end time prophecy to see where we sit in regarding to the return of Jesus Christ / Messiah Yeshua.

Friday, 29 April 2011

29/04/11 - Flooding Unfolding Along Mississippi, Ohio Rivers

Historic Flooding Unfolding Along Mississippi, Ohio Rivers

By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
Apr 29, 2011; 12:42 PM ET
Flood waters from the Ohio River crash against a step of a home along the river in Utica, Ind., Monday, April 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
As if tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms were not enough, historic flooding is also threatening the Mississippi River, below St. Louis, as well as the lower part of the Ohio River.
The rising waters are expected to top levels set during February 1937. This mark is the middle Mississippi Valley's equivalent to the 1993 event farther north along Old Man River.
Even if rain were to fall at a normal rate for the remainder of the spring, the consequences of what has already happened in the Midwest will affect the way of life, property, agriculture and travel/shipping/navigation for weeks in the region.

While the amount of evacuees currently numbers in the hundreds, it could soon number in the tens of thousands as levees are topped or breached and rivers expand their girth into more farming communities, towns and cities.

The flooding problem is not only affecting the major rivers, but also smaller rivers and lakes in the region.
In order to mitigate flooding on the Ohio, water releases were being cut back at Kentucky and Barkley dams on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and will result in record lake levels.

The current stretch of rain-free weather is forecast by AccuWeather.com meteorologists to come to an end over the weekend. The area experiencing the worst flooding could be hit with up to a half foot of rain over a several-day stretch late in the weekend into early next week.

River levels along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in southern Illinois, southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee are forecast by National Weather Service hydrologists to set new record highs this weekend.

The level Friday at Cairo, Ill. was within 0.5 of a foot of equaling the record mark of 59.5 feet.
Cairo, with a population of nearly 3,000 people, lies on the peninsula of where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet.

The small colored squares on this map indicate river and stream levels at gauge locations. Purple indicates major flooding, red indicates moderate flooding, orange is indicative of minor flooding and yellow suggests levels near flood stage.

A general 6 to 12 inches of rain fell on portions of southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio and western Tennessee this month. However, there have been much higher amounts locally.

Cape Girardeau, Mo., has received over 19 inches of rain so far this month, which is over five times that of normal for the entire month of April. A total of 14.50 inches of rain has fallen in five days in the city along the Mississippi River.

Cincinnati, Ohio has received over a foot of rain, which is around four times its normal rainfall for the entire month.

The additional rain forecast could prolong flooding problems by slowing the recession of waters days later or leading to a second crest in some cases.

Record- or near-record water levels are taxing levees in the region.
Levee breaches have resulted in flooding in Poplar Bluff, Mo. and Pocahontas, Ark. along the Black River.
The stress on the levees in some locations will not only last days, but weeks, as huge rivers such as the Mississippi and Ohio take much longer to fall below flood stage than smaller rivers, even as heavy rain comes to an end. However, the high water levels on these big rivers are affecting the drainage of other smaller rivers that feed in.

Flooding Farmland to Save a Town?
The Army Corps of Engineers got the go-ahead to breach the levee at Birds Point, Mo., in order to possibly prevent a levee breach at Cairo, Ill. It is believed this may take some of the pressure off the levee protecting the town.

Birds Point is a farming community. The planned breach prompted a court battle between the Corps and the Missouri attorney general late this week.

Although not forecast to reach record levels, there are other stretches of the Mississippi River farther north and south, and part of the Ohio River farther to the east, that have been and will continue to remain well above flood stage.

Agricultural Impacts
The high water and saturated ground will continue to delay the planting of some crops.
Fortunately, the growing season in this region is long, and evaporation rates will continue to increase into the first part of the summer.

The region and the souls that work the land are notorious for bouncing back after spring flooding, provided conditions turn favorable in the month or two ahead.

More Problems in May

As a pocket of chilly air develops in the Northeast during the first part of May, the battle zone may still lie over the Midwest, where the warm, moist air continues to charge in from the South and rise violently, forming the relentless downpours and big storms.

While the rainfall forecast during May will probably not sustain the flood levels at present or soon to be experienced, it could continue to produce well-above-average stream flows and river levels above flood stage through much of the balance of spring.

In addition, the weather pattern will favor, at the very least, episodes of flash and small stream flooding on a local basis in the region through much of May.

With the shift in the cool pocket and further confrontations with warmth and chill, there may be an increase in the risk of storms with severe weather and flooding farther north over the Midwest than what we have seen so far this spring.

The surge of high water will also continue to work downstream in the weeks ahead, reaching areas from Memphis to New Orleans.

The flooding Ohio River at Louisville, Ky. has impacted some Kentucky Derby Festival events, forcing them to move to higher ground. Ohio River flooding is not expected to impact Churchill Downs for this week's race activities and the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 7.

29/04/11 - US in shock as worst storms for 40 years kill almost 300

US in shock as worst storms for 40 years kill almost 300

Shocked Americans are struggling to grasp the magnitude of the worst US tornadoes in almost 40 years, which carved a trail of destruction across the south, claiming at least 295 lives. 

The storms were the deadliest since 310 people were killed in 1974 when 148 tornadoes hit several states and authorities have warned that the death toll could rise further.
Entire US towns were destroyed, as six states were struck by huge twisters. One that was captured on extraordinary video footage measured a mile wide – 20 times larger than the typical tornado.
States of emergency were declared by the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and governors called out the National Guard - including 2,000 troops in Alabama - to help with the rescue and clean-up operations.
Alabama, one of America's poorest states, was worst hit. More than 131 people there died, 36 in the city of Tuscaloosa alone. Walter Maddox, its mayor, said the city had been "obliterated".
"I don't know how anyone survived," said Mr Maddox. "It's an amazing scene.
"There are parts of the city I don't recognise and I've lived here my entire life."
James Sykes, a survivor, described watching a "silent monster" suck up the city's streets. "It was full of lightning, devastating everything," Mr Sykes said. Dozens of businesses and emergency service buildings across the city were wiped out.

"We had a major catastrophic event here in Alabama," said Robert Bentley, the state's governor. "We have major destruction in the state." A million people were left without power.

Storms caused the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant near Huntsville, Alabama, to lose power. Officials described the incident as a low-level emergency and said it was under control.
The National Weather Service said it had received 137 tornado reports on Wednesday, bringing to 300 the total number counted in the region since Friday.

In Mississippi, at least 32 people were killed. Another 30 were reported dead in Tennessee, 11 in Arkansas, 13 in Georgia, seven in Virginia, and three in Missouri.

President Barack Obama, who promised swift assistance, said: "Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastation". He will travel to Alabama to view the damage on Friday.
Mr Obama also paid tribute to the "heroic efforts" of those who were responding to the disaster by clearing up disaster-struck areas and searching for victims.

People throughout the south were left trapped in their homes, colleges and vehicles after fallen trees and flooding left large areas impossible to pass.

Tim Holt, a hotel worker in Ringgold, the hardest hit town in Georgia, said: "Our town is in pieces", adding: "It's an 80 per cent loss." Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, was also struck. Samantha Nail, a resident of one of its suburbs, described watching nearby brick houses being swept away.

"We were in the bathroom holding on to each other and holding on to dear life," she said. "If it wasn't for our concrete walls, our home would be gone like the rest of them." The storms appeared to have been the deadliest natural disaster in the US since Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people in Louisiana in 2005.

Further heavy rain and high winds are expected on Saturday, with 21 states throughout the country warned that they could face severe weather.

29/04/11 - Mississippi river starting to flow backwards

Mississippi river starting to flow backwards
The Mississippi River continues to rise, so much so that its tributaries are starting to flow backwards. At Tom Lee Park, preps for Memphis in May continue knowing that the worst is still yet to come. It’s a site not often seen; the Wolf River and Nonconnah Creek are flowing backwards. The swelling river cannot take on much more water.  The tributaries flowing backwards are a big problem for the adjacent communities. “Right now the Mississippi...

The Mississippi River continues to rise, so much so that its tributaries are starting to flow backwards. At Tom Lee Park, preps for Memphis in May continue knowing that the worst is still yet to come.
It’s a site not often seen; the Wolf River and Nonconnah Creek are flowing backwards. The swelling river cannot take on much more water.  The tributaries flowing backwards are a big problem for the adjacent communities.
Right now the Mississippi river is in the process of going through what we call an epic flood, meaning it’s more than historic, it’s more than a 100 year flood, it’s more like a 500 year flood,” Gene Rench with the National Weather Service said. “We could flood many homes, businesses, close down factories, people could drown.
The river is more than two feet past flood stage; it rose two feet in the 24 hours following the storms. It’s expected to crest at 45 feet around May 10th, right when Barbecue Festival teams are setting up their tents.
The Army Corps of Engineers is trying to out smart it by shutting down the Tennessee River and closing all other tributaries and dams that feed into the Mississippi.
As the Mississippi River rises to near-record levels, Tunica’s nine casinos will shut down indefinitely, displacing about 10,000 workers and costing millions in lost dollars. The closure orders were issued Wednesday to ensure the safety of visitors and workers. All visitors must be off the property by 2 p.m. on the designated day. This anticipated closing schedule is based on current forecasts and is subject to change based on weather conditions. (MyFoxMemphis)
Corps to move barges in position for possible Birds Point levee breach

There were temporary river waterfalls where the Mississippi ran backwards during 1811-12 earthquakes. It happened early on Feb. 7, 1812, when a thrust fault created a sudden dam several feet high in the bottom of the river loop near New Madrid. The main section involved was from island 10 northward about 10 miles to island 8. It lasted for a few hours, though the new dams/waterfallslasted for a few DAYS, and ruined several flatboats. (ShowMe)
The ground and waterways from Arkansas to the Ohio Valley simply cannot handle any more rain. Flooding problems are sure to either be renewed or worsen into Tuesday.
Residents in low-lying, poor drainage and urban areas can expect the return of flood waters. Small streams that may have receded during the recent brief dry spell should once again overflow their banks. Flooding along already swollen large rivers will worsen, heightening the potential for more levees to fail.
The stress on the levees in some locations will not only last days, but weeks, as huge rivers such as the Mississippi and Ohio take much longer to fall below flood stage than smaller rivers, even as heavy rain comes to an end,” stated AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Many of the larger rivers are already at moderate to major flood stage from Indiana to northeastern Arkansas. This includes the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The level of the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill., continues to rise and is less than 0.4 of a foot of equaling the record mark of 59.5 feet. The Black River at Corning, Ark., shattered its previous record crest of 16.92 feet from June 1945 when the river rose to 18.12 feet on Thursday. The level of the river dropped to under 17 feet on Saturday, but should rise once again with the impending rain.
There is one positive aspect to the upcoming rain event. A bit of the rain will extend back to the Texas panhandle, gracing some wildfire-ravaged areas. (AccuWeather)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

28/04/11 - Tornadoes devastate South, killing at least 280

Tornadoes devastate South, killing at least 280

AP/Butch Dill

PLEASANT GROVE, Ala. – Firefighters searched one splintered pile after another for survivors Thursday, combing the remains of houses and neighborhoods pulverized by the nation's deadliest tornado outbreak in almost four decades. At least 280 people were killed across six states — more than two-thirds of them in Alabama, where large cities bore the half-mile-wide scars the twisters left behind.

The death toll from Wednesday's storms seems out of a bygone era, before Doppler radar and pinpoint satellite forecasts were around to warn communities of severe weather. Residents were told the tornadoes were coming up to 24 minutes ahead of time, but they were just too wide, too powerful and too locked onto populated areas to avoid a horrifying body count.
"These were the most intense super-cell thunderstorms that I think anybody who was out there forecasting has ever seen," said meteorologist Greg Carbin at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

"If you experienced a direct hit from one of these, you'd have to be in a reinforced room, storm shelter or underground" to survive, Carbin said.

The storms seemed to hug the interstate highways as they barreled along like runaway trucks, obliterating neighborhoods or even entire towns from Tuscaloosa to Bristol, Va. One family rode out the disaster in the basement of a funeral home, another by huddling in a tanning bed.

In Concord, a small town outside Birmingham that was ravaged by a tornado, Randy Guyton's family got a phone call from a friend warning them to take cover. They rushed to the basement garage, piled into a Honda Ridgeline and listened to the roar as the twister devoured the house in seconds. Afterward, they saw daylight through the shards of their home and scrambled out.
Click image to see photos of storms in the South

AP/The Decatur Daily, Gary Cosby Jr.

"The whole house caved in on top of that car," he said. "Other than my boy screaming to the Lord to save us, being in that car is what saved us."

Son Justin remembers the dingy white cloud moving quickly toward the house.
"To me it sounded like destruction," the 22-year-old said. "It was a mean, mean roar. It was awful."
At least three people died in a Pleasant Grove subdivision southwest of Birmingham, where residents trickled back Thursday to survey the damage. Greg Harrison's neighborhood was somehow unscathed, but he remains haunted by the wind, thunder and lightning as they built to a crescendo, then suddenly stopped.
"Sick is what I feel," he said. "This is what you see in Oklahoma and Kansas. Not here. Not in the South."
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said his state had confirmed 194 deaths. There were 33 deaths in Mississippi, 33 in Tennessee, 14 in Georgia, five in Virginia and one in Kentucky. Hundreds if not thousands of people were injured — 600 in Tuscaloosa alone.

Some of the worst damage was about 50 miles southwest of Pleasant Grove in Tuscaloosa, a city of more than 83,000 that is home to the University of Alabama. A tower-mounted news camera there captured images of an astonishingly thick, powerful tornado flinging debris as it leveled neighborhoods.
That twister and others Wednesday were several times more severe than a typical tornado, which is hundreds of yards wide, has winds around 100 mph and stays on the ground for a few miles, said research meteorologist Harold Brooks at the Storm Prediction Center.

"There's a pretty good chance some of these were a mile wide, on the ground for tens of miles and had wind speeds over 200 mph," he said.

The loss of life is the greatest from an outbreak of U.S. tornadoes since April 1974, when 329 people were killed by a storm that swept across 13 Southern and Midwestern states.

Brooks said the tornado that struck Tuscaloosa could be an EF5 — the strongest category of tornado, with winds of more than 200 mph — and was at least the second-highest category, an EF4.
Search and rescue teams fanned out to dig through the rubble of devastated communities that bore eerie similarities to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when town after town lay flattened for nearly 90 miles.

President Barack Obama said he would travel to Alabama on Friday to view storm damage and meet Gov. Robert Bentley and affected families. As many as a million homes and businesses there were without power, and Bentley said 2,000 National Guard troops had been activated to help. The governors of Mississippi and Georgia also issued emergency declarations for parts of their states.

"We can't control when or where a terrible storm may strike, but we can control how we respond to it," Obama said. "And I want every American who has been affected by this disaster to know that the federal government will do everything we can to help you recover and we will stand with you as you rebuild."
The storm prediction center said it received 164 tornado reports around the region, but some tornadoes were probably reported multiple times and it could take days to get a final count.

In fact, Brooks said 50 to 60 reports — from the Mississippi-Alabama line, through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and into Georgia and southwestern Tennessee — might end up being a single tornado. If that's true its path would be one of the longest on record for a twister, rivaling a 1925 tornado that raged for 219 miles.

Brooks said the weather service was able to provide about 24 minutes' notice before the twisters hit.
"It was a well-forecasted event," Brooks said. "People were talking about this week being a big week a week ago."

Gov. Bentley said forecasters did a good job alerting people, but there's only so much they can do to help people prepare.

Carbin, the meteorologist, noted that the warning gave residents enough time to hunker down, but not enough for them to safely leave the area.

"You've got half an hour to evacuate the north side of Tuscaloosa. How do you do that and when do you do that? Knowing there's a tornado on the ground right now and the conditions in advance of it, you may inadvertently put people in harm's way," he said.

Officials said at least 13 died in Smithville, Miss., where devastating winds ripped open the police station, post office, city hall and an industrial park with several furniture factories. Pieces of tin were twined high around the legs of a blue water tower, and the Piggly Wiggly grocery store was gutted.
"It's like the town is just gone," said 24-year-old Jessica Monaghan, wiping away tears as she toted 9-month-old son Slade Scott. The baby's father, Tupelo firefighter Tyler Scott, was at work when the warning came on the TV.

"It said be ready in 10 minutes, but about that time, it was there," Monaghan said. She, Slade and the family's cat survived by hiding in a closet.

At Smithville Cemetery, even the dead were not spared: Tombstones dating to the 1800s, including some of Civil War soldiers, lay broken on the ground. Brothers Kenny and Paul Long dragged their youngest brother's headstone back to its proper place.

Unlike many neighboring towns, Kenny Long said, Smithville had no storm shelter.
"You have warnings," Long said, "but where do you go?"

Some fled to the sturdy center section of Smithville Baptist Church. Pastor Wes White said they clung to each other and anything they could reach, a single "mass of humanity" as the building disintegrated around them.
The second story is gone, the walls collapsed, but no one there was seriously hurt. The choir robes remained in place, perfectly white.

Seven people were killed in Georgia's Catoosa County, including Ringgold, where a suspected tornado flattened about a dozen buildings and trapped an unknown number of people.
"It happened so fast I couldn't think at all," said Tom Rose, an Illinois truck driver whose vehicle was blown off the road at I-75 North in Ringgold, near the Tennessee line.
Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers said several residential areas had "nothing but foundations left," and that some people reported missing had yet to be found.

In Trenton, Ga., nearly two dozen people took shelter in an Ace Hardware store, including a couple walking by when an employee emerged and told them to take cover immediately.
Lisa Rice, owner of S&L Tans in Trenton, survived by climbing into a tanning bed with her two daughters. Stormy, 19, and Sky, 21.

"We got in it and closed it on top of us," Rice said. "Sky said, `We're going to die.' But, I said, `No, just pray. Just pray, just pray, just pray.'"

For 30 seconds, wind rushed around the bed and debris flew as wind tore off the roof.
"Then it just stopped. It got real quiet. We waited a few minutes and then opened up the bed and we saw daylight," she said.

The badly damaged Moore Funeral Home, meanwhile, sheltered the woman who cleans Larry Moore's family business. When the first of three storms hit and uprooted trees in her yard, she figured the funeral home would be a safer place for her two children. As shingles began sailing past the window, she headed for the basement.

"That's what saved her, I guess," Moore said. "It was over in just a matter of seconds. She called 911 and emergency crews had to help her get out."
The storm system spread destruction from Texas to New York, where dozens of roads were flooded or washed out.

It was unclear how high the death toll could rise. In Mississippi, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson and a crew of deputies and inmates searched the rubble, recovering five bodies and marking homes that still had bodies inside with two large orange Xs.

"I've never seen anything like this," Johnson said. "This is something that no one can prepare for."
Mohr reported from Smithville, Miss. Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Tuscaloosa; Phillip Rawls in Montgomery; Vicki Smith in Morgantown, W.Va.; Kristi Easton in Oklahoma City; Ray Henry in Ringgold, Ga.; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C.; Michelle Williams in Atlanta; and Bill Poovey in Chattanooga, Tenn., contributed to this report.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

27/04/11 - Fast growing sunspot 1199

Fast growing sunspot 1199
New sunspot 1199 is growing rapidly in the sun’s northern hemisphere, ballooning in area by more than a factor of five during the last 24 hours. If the expansion continues...

New sunspot 1199 is growing rapidly in the sun’s northern hemisphere, ballooning in area by more than a factor of five during the last 24 hours. If the expansion continues apace, this active region could soon pose a threat for flares. Stay tuned. (SpaceWeather)
Click on image to start an animation

New Sunspot 1199 which is located in the northern hemisphere is growing fairly quickly and may be capable of producing isolated C-Class flares. Continue to monitor this region for further development.
New sunspot 1200 and existing sunspot 1196 which are both located in the southern hemisphere are fading . Sunspot 1195 which continues to transit the southern hemisphere remains quiet. (SolarHam)

Two new regions were numbered today, Region 1199 (N21W23) and Region 1200 (S17E42). Region 1199 emerged quickly on the disk and is already classified as a C-type group. (Prepared jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center and the U.S. Air Force.)

27/04/2011 - Forecasters predict multiple US hurricane landfalls

Forecasters predict multiple US hurricane landfalls

Forecasters predict multiple US hurricane landfalls  
AFP/NOAA/HO/File – File picture from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Hurricane Earl as …
MIAMI (AFP) – Several powerful storms will likely strike the US mainland this hurricane season, especially in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico region, a prominent weather forecaster said.
Weather Services International predicts 15 storms strong enough to be named, eight hurricanes and at least four hurricanes of category 3 strength or greater on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.
"We do expect another active season in 2011, although not to the level of 2005 or 2010," said WSI chief meteorologist Todd Crawford.

WSI forecasters "expect a much more impactful season along the US coastline," he said in a statement.
No hurricane has struck the US mainland since 2008, an unusual three-year drought unseen since the 1860s. "Our recent good fortune in avoiding landfalling hurricanes is not likely to last," said Crawford.
The US Gulf Coast is especially threatened this hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.

The Gulf and Caribbean sea surface temperatures "are particularly warm this year, and we expect more development in these regions and less in the eastern tropical Atlantic.

"Storms developing in the Gulf and Caribbean are a much greater threat to make landfall along the US coast than those that develop off the coast of Africa," said Crawford.

The 2011 forecasts by WSI, a member of The Weather Channel Companies, are similar to those ahead of the 2008 season, when Hurricanes Dolly, Gustav, and Ike struck Louisiana and Texas in the US Gulf Coast.
The current forecast revises a December forecast predicting 17 named storms, nine hurricanes, and five intense hurricanes.

The forecast was changed because tropical Atlantic sea surface has since cooled, and the La Nina event weakened faster than expected, reducing the chances of big Atlantic storms during the upcoming tropical season, said Crawford.

La Nina is associated with cooler than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The 2010 Atlantic storm season was the third busiest on record, with 19 named tropical storms over the Americas and the Caribbean, 12 of which became hurricanes.
Last year's hurricanes contributed to epic flooding and mudslides throughout Central and South America, causing massive damage and extensive loss of life.

In early April forecasters at Colorado State University predicted 16 named storms this year, nine of which will form in the Atlantic and will develop into hurricanes.

27/04/11 - The Middle East Dries Up—Another Case Study in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

The Middle East Dries Up—Another Case Study in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

by Lakis Polycarpou | 4.26.2011 at 1:05pm | 
As seductive as it is, depleting non-renewable aquifers to grow food is fundamentally unsustainable for the long term, as Saudi Arabia and other nations are finding out. According to a recent article by Lester Brown, in the 1970s the world’s largest oil producer realized it could use oil-drilling technology to tap deep underwater aquifers and—amazingly, given the hyper-arid regional climate—become self-sufficient in wheat production in a few years.

By 2008, however, after two decades of this self-sufficiency, Saudi Arabia announced that its aquifer was all but depleted and that it would soon stop producing wheat. Between then and now, Saudi wheat production dropped by nearly two thirds. As Brown points out, depletion at this rate means that the Saudi’s nearly 30 million people will be entirely dependent on foreign grain by 2012.

Wheat harvest in Saudi Arabia. Source: Treehugger.

Yemen, Syria and Iraq face serious water troubles as well, while in Jordan grain production has dropped by some 80 percent in the last four decades, and the country must now import 90 percent of its grain. Last winter, Water Matters’ Katie Horner wrote a series on the Mideast Water crisis, discussing the water troubles in the UAE, Qatar and Syria; and as Benjamin Preston reported, Libya is also dependent on fossil aquifers to irrigate its crops—and though the nation claims that it has hundreds of years of water left to drain, some scientists are highly skeptical of that claim. Egypt, meanwhile, is completely dependent (as it has been for millennia) on water from the Nile, which is now a source of dispute among several African nations as Julia Hitz notes.

What are the implications of this massive, rapidly unfolding desiccation? Countries with large energy resources, such as Saudi Arabia, will no doubt use them, selling oil to buy grain or lease land in other countries to produce it for themselves. Even this is only a temporary solution however. A number of petroleum industry experts believe that Saudi oil production has now peaked and will soon begin to decline, even as Saudi domestic population and consumption grows, meaning that available net exports may decline much sooner than many expect.

On the other hand, with little or no oil to export, countries such as Yemen face an even more dire situation as the government’s inability to pay skyrocketing food prices drives political instability.

Food protests in Jordan. Source: World Bulletin.

Water-fueled unrest in the Middle East has potentially far-reaching implications. Global oil prices are already rising rapidly on a combination of nervous speculation and short supply as Egypt struggles to reinvent itself and Libya gets bogged down in civil war. This is the vicious circle of the water-energy-food nexus: declining water supplies lead to food shortages which in turn cause political instability, which lead to higher energy prices—which in turn lead to higher food prices, and more potential unrest. Where does it all stop?
Creative responses do exist to conserve agricultural water in parched areas—from seawater greenhouses that grow tomatoes in the desert to permaculture projects on the Dead Sea that use 80 percent less water than conventional counterparts. Whether these types of projects will be able to provide a basis for sustainable futures is unclear, but without an appropriate sense of urgency we will never find out.

For the rest of the world, so dependent on oil from dry places, it’s past time to realize just how tightly water and energy are connected. If the water in the Middle East dries up faster than expected, oil supply available for import may decrease even faster than we anticipate. All the more reason to build a more resilient, post-oil, water-conserving economy without delay.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

25/04/2011 - Tornado Outbreak: Severe Weather in Arkansas Leaves 5 Dead, Flooding in Missouri

Tornado Outbreak: Severe Weather in Arkansas Leaves 5 Dead, Flooding in Missouri

PHOTO: Home and businesses south of Poplar Bluff, Mo., are flooded out by rising waters from the Black River Monday, April 25, 2011

At least five deaths have been reported in connection with a series of tornadoes and severe weather that ripped through several states from Kentucky to Tennessee Monday, authorities said.
Forecasters expect more rain and storms today to slam across the Midwest, as the system moves east.

In Arkansas, three people were killed in rising floodwaters and two died in a town where a possible tornado barreled through Monday, according to the Associated Press.

In Vilonia, Ark., north of Little Rock, where a possible tornado killed two people, Caroline Thompson recalled taking cover as the storm approached.

"We all ended up in the closet. And then you could just hear crashing and stuff being knocked around and blown around. And it tore us up," Thompson said.

In Pocahontas, Ark., the Black River is a few feet from topping the levee.
Several roads are closed, including highway 90, because of flooding, officials said.
Daily American Republic, Paul Davis/AP Photo
Home and businesses south of Poplar Bluff, Mo., are flooded out by rising waters from the Black... View Full Size
Record Shattering Weather Hammers U.S. Watch Video
St. Louis Cleans Up as New Twisters Form in Texas Watch Video
Easter Helps St. Louis Recover After Tornados 
Marty Cagle of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management said the river might crest at the end of the work week.

"The level of the Black River, here at Pocahontas right now is possibly 18 feet. They are predicting by sometime, Friday, that it will be approximately 25 point two foot," Cagle told ABC News Radio.

Missouri Flooding 
But Arkansas wasn't alone in flooding.
About 1,000 residents in Poplar Bluff, Mo., were evacuated because of rising waters Monday.
Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs said several county roads were closed because of rising water along the Black River.

"At this point, it's getting to where the roads are impassable. There's so much water spilling over the levees," Dobbs said.

Poplar Bluff resident Kenneth Kimbro worries about what he will find when he returns to his home.
Kimbro was among hundreds evacuated from their homes.
"I'm overwhelmed. Very overwhelmed and I'm scared inside. And I just got to be, I think I'm just going to have to be praying," Kimbro told ABC News Radio.
In Texas, hail shattered windshields and winds up to 100 miles per hour prompted officials to warn people to take cover just before a twister touched down near the town of Cleburne.
To date, there have been more than 5,400 severe weather reports recorded this month and 44 people killed nationwide in tornadoes.

25/04/2011 - 23 brasilian cities flooded, thousands of home destroyed in Colombia

23 brasilian cities flooded, thousands of home destroyed in Colombia
Landslides and floods in southern Brazil over the weekend are now known to have left a dozen people dead. Some 40,000 people have been affected by the torrential rain and...

Landslides and floods in southern Brazil over the weekend are now known to have left a dozen people dead. Some 40,000 people have been affected by the torrential rain and several hundred left homeless.
The authorities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul have declared a state of emergency in seven cities. Among the dead were seven family members whose homes in the town of Igrejinha were buried by a landslide. Other victims included three children who died when their house in Novo Hamburgo was engulfed by mud.

Rescue workers have been evacuating areas thought to be at risk from landslips. There was also flooding in and near Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul, which suffered power cuts.
Drier weather is forecast for the next few days but more rain is likely towards the end of the week. (BBC)
Rescue workers dug for survivors on Thursday and struggled to reach areas cut off by floods and landslides that have killed at least 482 people in one of Brazil’s deadliest natural disasters in decades.

Monday, 25 April 2011

25/04/11 - Netherlands – Easter Sunday 2011 warmest on record

Netherlands – Easter Sunday 2011 warmest on record

The KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) has recorded the warmest Easter Sunday ever. Early in the afternoon the temperature in the KNMI’s home base of De Bilt had risen to 25 degrees Celsius, compared to 24.5 degrees during the previous warmest Easter holidays on 16, 17 and 18 April 1949.

Even higher temperatures were recorded in the east of the country. However, temperatures in the northern island of Vlieland did not rise above 16 degrees and temperatures along the coast of South Holland are not much higher as the result of a cool wind blowing in from the sea.

The unseasonable warm weather farther inland is caused by a high pressure zone to the northeast of the Netherlands, which produces a warm southeasterly wind. (RNW)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

24/04/2011 - 70 meters long fissure cause of Pantukan mudslide in Philippines

70 meters long fissure cause of Pantukan mudslide in Philippines

Survivors of the avalanche of mud in the Philippines said today over 60 people were buried alive in Friday’s landslide, and the number could be higher than what authorities had...

Survivors of the avalanche of mud in the Philippines said today over 60 people were buried alive in Friday’s landslide, and the number could be higher than what authorities had thought of. More than 60 people sleeping in tents were on site when the tragedy occurred.

The landslide occurred at around 2:30 a.m. Friday in Pantukan town of the southern Philippine province of Compostela Valley. Most of the victims were asleep when the incident occurred amid intermittent rains. By Sunday afternoon, five people were confirmed killed in the landslide and some 17 were missing, according to authorities.

Pantukan mayor Celso Sarenas admitted on Saturday that he erred in reporting earlier that 27 bodies were recovered on Friday, claiming that he got wrong figures form local health workers.
Arthur Uy, governor of Compostella Valley, did not discount survivors’ account over the number of possible fatalities. (Philstar)

Oficials say they have discovered a dangerous crack in a mountain hit by a deadly landslide last week and want troops to forcibly evacuate dozens of illegal gold miners before another disaster strikes their village. Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje says he and other officials discovered the 230-foot-long fissure on a mountain slope above Kingking village today during an aerial survey.
Paje says a portion of the slope along the fissure collapsed after a downpour Friday and buried several shanties below, leaving at least five gold miners dead and 17 others missing.
Paje says the unstable land along two-thirds of the deep fissure could collapse with the next heavy rain and bury about 30 shanties of miners. (Philstars)

As of 7:30 pm Saturday, April 23, three persons have been confirmed dead, 13 rescued and 21 still missing. (MindaNews)
The landslide in Side B, Sitio Panganason, Barangay Kingking cut a wide swath of destruction across 500 meters down from the ridgeline. The MDRRMC reported about a hectare was affected. This is not the first time a landslide occurred in the area but this is the worst, thus far. Most of the residents in the area are “transients.”

The affected sitio has a population of 60 households or about 330 persons but the area of incident reportedly had about 14 shanties. Like previous landslides in small-scale mining sites in gold-rich Compostela Valley province since the gold rush in 1983-1984,  the number of  those buried in landslides is difficult to determine.(MindaNews)

Shanty towns have mushroomed around Kingking after a gold rush in the area nearly 20 years ago. Many of the mining operations are illegal and unregulated, and there are frequent accidents.
U.S-based, Canadian-listed mining firm St Augustine Gold & Copper Ltd and the Philippines’ Nationwide Development Corp said the landslide happened in a remote area some distance away from where they were conducting environmental and engineering studies.

On its website, St Augustine said the Kingking prospect is one of the largest underdeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world. Provincial governor Arturo Uy said the administration was considering suspension of all forms of mining around Kingking following the latest disaster.

Two years ago, a landslide in another part of the village killed more than 20 people, including some children. Residents had been ordered to relocate due to the instability of the land and risk of landslides.
The Philippines sits on an estimated $1 trillion untapped mineral deposits, but has only targeted to attract $1 billion in mining investment this year. (Reuters)

The stretch of the collapsed portion of the mountain could be well more than half a kilometer. At least 20 houses were buried under mud and boulders and the weather is bad so it is harder for rescuers to find survivirs.

Meteorologists have earlier warned of more rains in central and eastern part of Mindanao because of the cold front affecting the weather system in the southern Philippines. (ManilaTimes)

Friday, 22 April 2011

22/04/2011 - Europe prays for Easter rain in worst drought for a century

Europe prays for Easter rain in worst drought for a century

The Dutch have banned barbecues, camp fires and outdoor smoking this Easter, while the Swiss are forecasting potentially the worst drought in Europe for more than a century.
Either way, prayers in Europe this Easter holiday weekend are as likely to call for rain as anything else -- with serious fears over the wheat harvest, its impact on already sky-high global food prices and, of course, devastating brush fires.

A year ago, it was Russia that bore the brunt of global warming, and with the price of benchmark wheat futures jumping by more than a fifth since the spring in the global market hub of Chicago, farmers everywhere are busy scanning the skies for soothing signs.

Traditional Easter fairs in the east and the north of the Netherlands have been cancelled because of the risk of fires posed by the extraordinarily dry weather affecting northern Europe, Dutch news agency ANP said.
In the eastern half of the country, one of Europe's biggest traders, outdoor family barbecues, smoking and camp fires are a strict no-no.

In the Swiss canton of Zurich, officials began moving trout this week from the river Toess before their habitat dried up.

This year threatens to bring "one of the most significant droughts since 1864," the year when records began in Switzerland, said Olivier Duding, a climatologist from Swiss weather service Meteosuisse.
The drought in western Switzerland over the last 12 months is as severe as those recorded in 1884 and 1921, Meteosuisse said.

Several cantons have also imposed bans on lighting fire in and close to forests.
Urs Vogt, who manages an association which champions keeping calves with their mothers after birth, warned that once the cows have fed on this spring's first greens, there may be little left for coming months.
A grass shortage could also lead to a fodder shortfall for next winter.

While the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states of northeastern Europe are not reporting drought, the British Met Office warns it has been "incredibly dry in many parts in March and April."
Rainfall is at 40 percent of normal levels, and England and Wales had the driest March in more than a century. Beware the ides, as they say.

Soon, if the hot, dry spell continues, water use restrictions will be forced on residents and companies there.
Six out of 10 French reservoirs are holding water levels far below what is normal, meaning similar irrigation controls are likely there.

March was already extremely volatile for grains, largely due to growing economic uncertainties and the turmoil in North Africa and parts of the Near East -- as well as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Food and Agriculture Organization said after logging a first, slight drop in raw food prices for eight months.
Prices hit record highs at the beginning of the year, and while the main focus for specialist traders is in the United States, a deteriorating drought in Europe could yet spark deep concern.

While European Commission agriculture spokesman Roger Waite acknowledges a "slight" rise in the prices of maize and wheat, he maintained that winter crops remain "generally in good condition."

A spokeswoman for European farmers federation Copa-Cogeca said it was too soon to draw conclusions, but Belgian farmer Guy Franck, who heads a dairy collective in French-speaking Wallonia, says gut instinct tells him worse is yet to come.

"I've been in this game for 30 years, I've never seen a month of April like this one," he said.
"Everything with short roots is seriously dehydrated," he warned.