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Tag Archive: Caribbean


Could Dangerous Underwater Volcano in Caribbean Cause a US Tsunami?

PHOTO: View from "Hercules," a 5,000-pound submersible used by Robert Ballard and his team.
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A team of scientists is exploring the darkest corners of a huge underwater volcano in the Caribbean in hopes of better understanding the mysteries of earthquakes and tsunamis, ultimately saving lives.

Kick’em Jenny is a dangerous and active volcano sitting roughly 6,000 feet below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, and located off the coast of the island of Grenada, south of St. Lucia.

Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the Titanic 12,000 feet below the surface of the icy North Atlantic in 1985, set his sights on exploring the Kick’em Jenny to study its eruption history and learn more about how underwater volcanoes can pose a threat.

Ballard, the president of The Ocean Exploration Trust and the director of the Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, said the Kick’em Jenny volcano has a history of explosive eruptions, which could have the potential to trigger tsunamis, the effects from which could be felt as far away as the northeastern United States.

 

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Newly arrived virus gains foothold in Caribbean

Associated Press

FILE- In this undated file photo provided byt he USDA, an aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on human skin. Health officials in the Dominican Republic said this Tuesday April 29, 1014, that the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has spread widely since making its first appearance in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control the chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime. (AP Photo/USDA, File)
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FILE- In this undated file photo provided byt he USDA, an aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on human skin. Health officials in the Dominican Republic said this Tuesday April 29, 1014, that the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has spread widely since making its first appearance in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control the chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. They bite mostly during the daytime. (AP Photo/USDA, File)

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A recently arrived mosquito-borne virus that causes an abrupt onset of high fever and intense joint pain is rapidly gaining a foothold in many spots of the Caribbean, health experts said Thursday.

There are currently more than 4,000 confirmed cases of the fast-spreading chikungunya virus in the Caribbean, most of them in the French Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin. Another 31,000 suspected cases have been reported across the region of scattered islands.

The often painful illness most commonly found in Asia and Africa was first detected in December in tiny St. Martin. It was the first time that local transmission of chikungunya had been reported in the Americas. Since then, it has spread to nearly a dozen other islands and French Guiana, an overseas department of France on the north shoulder of South America.

 

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Cruise virus outbreak one of worst in 20 years, CDC says

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Bayonne, NJ (John Makely / NBC News)</p><br />
<p>The Explorer of the Seas cruise ship returns to port after hundreds of passengers b...
John Makely / NBC News
The Explorer of the Seas outbreak was caused by norovirus, one of the worst outbreaks in 20 years, the CDC said.The Explorer of the Seas cruise ship returns to port after hundreds of passengers became ill.

Federal health officials confirmed on Friday that norovirus was the culprit that sickened nearly 700 people on a cruise ship this week, and said it was one of the biggest norovirus outbreaks in 20 years.

But the source of the outbreak on the Royal Caribbean ship Explorer of the Seas, which returned early to New Jersey on Wednesday, may never be known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“CDC has been investigating the outbreak since last Sunday but no particular source has been identified and it’s quite possible a source won’t be identified,” the CDC said in a statement.

The report comes after passengers streamed off the Caribbean Princess Friday morning, the second cruise cut short this week amid reports of illness on board.

The ship, operated by Princess Cruises, returned to Houston a day early with a confirmed outbreak of norovirus. “The ship was forced to return to Houston one day early because we were informed that dense fog was expected to close the port for much of the weekend,” the company said in a statement.

“The ship did not return early because of the increased incidence of norovirus on board, despite some media reports.”

At least 178 people on board became ill during the cruise, according to the cruise line and the CDC. Sick patients were quarantined to their rooms, and other passengers said they no longer had access to buffet tongs as crew members handed out hand sanitizer.

A man passes the Caribbean Princess cruise ship being used as official accommodation for attendees of the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet...

Toby Melville / Reuters / REUTERS
A man passes the Caribbean Princess cruise ship, which reported an outbreak of norovirus on board.

CDC health officials met the Caribbean Princess at the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena, Texas. The vessel launched on a seven-day cruise to the western Caribbean on Jan. 25 and had been scheduled to return on Saturday.

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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

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chikungunya
Chikungunya 101

 

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RSOE EDIS

RSOE EDIS

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service

Budapest, Hungary

RSOE EDIS
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2014-01-15 04:27:41 – Biological Hazard – British Virgin Islands

EDIS Code: BH-20140115-42291-VGB
Date&Time: 2014-01-15 04:27:41 [UTC]
Continent: Caribean Sea
Country: British Virgin Islands
State/Prov.: ,
Location: ,
City: Jost Van Dyke
Number of infected people: 3

Not confirmed information!

Description:
Three cases of the mosquitoborne virus, chikungunya, have been confirmed in the British Virgin Islands, according to a Ministry of Health and Social Development news release Monday. “We have confirmed three cases on Jost Van Dyke”, said Medical Officer of Health in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Dr. Ronald Georges. Dr. Georges notes that the three cases were locally acquired. “It is important to note that these confirmed cases were not exposed to travel, which alerts us that the virus is already in our mosquito population,” he stated. According to Dr. Georges, the ministry has been coordinating a response with the Environmental Health Division to minimize the impact of Chickungunya. He is reminding the public to take appropriate measures to minimise exposure to mosquitoes. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported late last week, a total of 287 confirmed and probable chikungunya cases in the islands of the French
Caribbean. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet, Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain.Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.
The name of Hazard: Chikungunya

Species: Human

Status: Confirmed

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Mosquito-borne virus spreading in Caribbean

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, James Gathany, File/Associated Press – FILE – This 2006 file photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquiring a blood meal from a human host at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. A mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading quickly in the Caribbean just weeks after epidemiologists first found local transmission occurring in St.

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica — A mosquito-borne virus appears to be spreading quickly in the Caribbean during the winter tourism season just weeks after epidemiologists first found local transmission occurring in the French dependency of St. Martin.

Scientists said Tuesday that St. Martin now has as many as 200 cases of chikungunya, a virus found mainly in Africa and Asia that can cause a debilitating but rarely fatal sickness with fever, rash, fatigue and intense muscle and joint pain.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said new cases have been confirmed on the French Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Barthelemy. The virus also infected a couple of residents of Dutch St. Maarten, which shares an island with St. Martin that was already battling dengue fever, a more serious mosquito-borne illness.

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Vendors await customers at their private imported clothing outlet, Havana, Oct. 5, 2013.

Vendors await customers at their private imported clothing outlet, Havana, Oct. 5, 2013.

 

 

Reuters

A government statement issued through official media said home-based theaters and video games will “stop immediately in any type of self-employment,” a local euphemism for small business.

The statement said “the showing of movies, including in 3D salons, and likewise the organization of computer games, has never been authorized.”

The government banned the private sale of imported goods last month, a measure that potentially affects some 20,000 small businesses and their employees who sell clothing, hardware and other goods brought in informally by travelers, some of whom visit the Caribbean island regularly carrying merchandise from the United States, Spain and Latin American countries.

President Raul Castro, who replaced his brother Fidel in 2008, has instituted a series of market-oriented reforms to Cuba’s Soviet style economy where the state still employs 79 percent of the five million-strong labor force.

“These measures are corrections to continue bringing order to this form of management, fight impunity and insist people live up to the law,” the government said on Saturday.

“In no way does this mean a step backward. Quite the contrary, we will continue to decidedly advance in the updating of our economic model,” it said, adding that would only be possible “in an atmosphere of order, discipline and obedience.”

The import ban has created a fury among entrepreneurs and the public who have tired of buying high priced and low quality clothing from state-run establishments.

Saturday’s closing of private theaters will add fuel to the fire as they have been overwhelmingly welcomed by the public.

Marlene, a Havana housewife, said her neighbor was planning to open a 3D salon.

“The state has no 3D theaters, so what is their problem. Sometimes the government seems to want to make our lives worse for the fun of it,” she said, asking her last name not be used.

 

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NBC News

Cuba shutters private theaters, threatens other businesses

 

Franklin Reyes / AP file

People watch a 3D movie at a private movie theater in Havana, Cuba, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.

Cuba closed dozens of home-based movie theaters on Saturday and reaffirmed its plans to end the private sale of imported goods as communist authorities pressed for “order, discipline and obedience” in the growing small business sector.

A government statement issued through official media said home-based theaters and video games will “stop immediately in any type of self employment,” a local euphemism for small business.

The statement said “the showing of movies, including in 3D salons, and likewise the organization of computer games, has never been authorized.”

The government banned the private sale of imported goods last month, a measure that potentially affects some 20,000 small businesses and their employees who sell clothing, hardware and other goods brought in informally by travelers, some of whom visit the Caribbean island regularly carrying merchandise from the United States, Spain and Latin American countries.

President Raul Castro, who replaced his brother Fidel in 2008, has instituted a series of market-oriented reforms to Cuba’s Soviet style economy where the state still employs 79 percent of the 5 million-strong labor force.

“These measures are corrections to continue bringing order to this form of management, fight impunity and insist people live up to the law,” the government said on Saturday.

 

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Epoch 10 news you need to know

Curbing Gang Violence in Central America

Gang violence, fueled by the drug traffic in Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean, is having a serious effect on people’s lives and threatens to alter the social fabric of the countries in the region. Central American gangs, also called maras, named after the voracious ants known as marabuntas, are involved in a wide range of criminal activities, such as arms and drug trafficking, kidnapping, human trafficking, human smuggling, and illegal immigration.

One of the best-known Central American gangs, Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, has an estimated 70,000 members who are active in urban and suburban areas. It originated in Los Angeles in the 1960s, and then spread to other parts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. The gang’s activities have caught the attention of the FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which have conducted raids and arrested hundreds of gang members. The FBI called MS-13 “America’s most violent gang.”

MS-13 has been particularly active in Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., Long Island, New York City, and the Boston area. Their code of conduct includes fierce revenge and cruel retribution. Members of this gang were originally recruited by the Sinaloa in their battle against the Los Zetas Mexican cartels in their ongoing drug war south of the U.S. border.

Many gang members living in the U.S. have been deported back to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, adding to the already serious social problems in those countries. They brought with them crack cocaine and predictably, drug-related crimes were soon on a steep increase. Those gang members deported from the United States enlarged the local groups and found easy recruits among the local disenfranchised youth. Today, most of the members are in their 20s, while their leaders are in the late 30s and 40s.

The gangs’ battles with the police for control of working-class neighborhoods were met in each case with strong-arm tactics by the police. They also proved unproductive, since they unleashed more random violence and terror. As a result of each government’s efforts to eliminate them, many gang members returned to the United States, where they continued their involvement in criminal activities. Today, the gangs have expanded into southern Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, which has generated calls for a more organized effort to combat them.

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Earth Watch Report  –  Earthquakes

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 photo PuertoRico-6EQsMay11thto15th2013_zps610de0ae.jpg

M2.5 – 6km E of Espino, Puerto Rico 2013-05-14 19:59:27 UTC

Earthquake location 18.270°N, 67.062°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-14 19:59:27 UTC
  2. 2013-05-14 15:59:27 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-14 14:59:27 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

18.270°N 67.062°W depth=24.0km (14.9mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 6km (4mi) E of Espino, Puerto Rico
  2. 10km (6mi) SW of San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
  3. 11km (7mi) NE of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
  4. 15km (9mi) NNE of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico
  5. 103km (64mi) WSW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

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M2.5 – 12km S of La Parguera, Puerto Rico 2013-05-15 04:09:46 UTC

Earthquake location 17.864°N, 67.064°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-15 04:09:46 UTC
  2. 2013-05-15 00:09:46 UTC-04:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-14 23:09:46 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

17.864°N 67.064°W depth=10.0km (6.2mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 12km (7mi) S of La Parguera, Puerto Rico
  2. 24km (15mi) S of San German, Puerto Rico
  3. 26km (16mi) SSE of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
  4. 29km (18mi) SW of Yauco, Puerto Rico
  5. 121km (75mi) WSW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

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M2.8 – 32km W of Rincon, Puerto Rico 2013-05-15 06:29:13 UTC

 

Earthquake location 18.294°N, 67.554°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-15 06:29:13 UTC
  2. 2013-05-15 01:29:13 UTC-05:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-15 01:29:13 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

18.294°N 67.554°W depth=9.0km (5.6mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 32km (20mi) W of Rincon, Puerto Rico
  2. 44km (27mi) WSW of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
  3. 45km (28mi) WNW of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
  4. 48km (30mi) WNW of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico
  5. 154km (96mi) W of San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

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M2.5 – 8km SSE of Lamboglia, Puerto Rico

Time
2013-05-11 03:44:58-05:00
Location
17.913°N 65.953°W
Depth
12.0km

 

 

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M2.8 – 48km NW of San Antonio, Puerto Rico

Time
2013-05-12 00:29:47-05:00
Location
18.773°N 67.449°W
Depth
8.0km

 

 

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M3.0 – 3km SW of Anasco, Puerto Rico

Time
2013-05-12 06:36:37-05:00
Location
18.262°N 67.170°W
Depth
109.0km

 

 

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M2.7 – 15km WSW of Pole Ojea, Puerto Rico

Time
2013-05-13 22:33:35-05:00
Location
17.901°N 67.309°W
Depth
8.0km

 

 

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Tectonic Summary

Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity

 

Extensive diversity and complexity of tectonic regimes characterizes the perimeter of the Caribbean plate, involving no fewer than four major plates (North America, South America, Nazca, and Cocos). Inclined zones of deep earthquakes (Wadati-Benioff zones), ocean trenches, and arcs of volcanoes clearly indicate subduction of oceanic lithosphere along the Central American and Atlantic Ocean margins of the Caribbean plate, while crustal seismicity in Guatemala, northern Venezuela, and the Cayman Ridge and Cayman Trench indicate transform fault and pull-apart basin tectonics.

 

Along the northern margin of the Caribbean plate, the North America plate moves westwards with respect to the Caribbean plate at a velocity of approximately 20 mm/yr. Motion is accommodated along several major transform faults that extend eastward from Isla de Roatan to Haiti, including the Swan Island Fault and the Oriente Fault. These faults represent the southern and northern boundaries of the Cayman Trench. Further east, from the Dominican Republic to the Island of Barbuda, relative motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate becomes increasingly complex and is partially accommodated by nearly arc-parallel subduction of the North America plate beneath the Caribbean plate. This results in the formation of the deep Puerto Rico Trench and a zone of intermediate focus earthquakes (70-300 km depth) within the subducted slab. Although the Puerto Rico subduction zone is thought to be capable of generating a megathrust earthquake, there have been no such events in the past century. The last probable interplate (thrust fault) event here occurred on May 2, 1787 and was widely felt throughout the island with documented destruction across the entire northern coast, including Arecibo and San Juan. Since 1900, the two largest earthquakes to occur in this region were the August 4, 1946 M8.0 Samana earthquake in northeastern Hispaniola and the July 29, 1943 M7.6 Mona Passage earthquake, both of which were shallow thrust fault earthquakes. A significant portion of the motion between the North America plate and the Caribbean plate in this region is accommodated by a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults that bisect the island of Hispaniola, notably the Septentrional Fault in the north and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault in the south. Activity adjacent to the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault system is best documented by the devastating January 12, 2010 M7.0 Haiti strike-slip earthquake, its associated aftershocks and a comparable earthquake in 1770.

 

Moving east and south, the plate boundary curves around Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles where the plate motion vector of the Caribbean plate relative to the North and South America plates is less oblique, resulting in active island-arc tectonics. Here, the North and South America plates subduct towards the west beneath the Caribbean plate along the Lesser Antilles Trench at rates of approximately 20 mm/yr. As a result of this subduction, there exists both intermediate focus earthquakes within the subducted plates and a chain of active volcanoes along the island arc. Although the Lesser Antilles is considered one of the most seismically active regions in the Caribbean, few of these events have been greater than M7.0 over the past century. The island of Guadeloupe was the site of one of the largest megathrust earthquakes to occur in this region on February 8, 1843, with a suggested magnitude greater than 8.0. The largest recent intermediate-depth earthquake to occur along the Lesser Antilles arc was the November 29, 2007 M7.4 Martinique earthquake northwest of Fort-De-France.

 

 

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Puerto Rico  –  4 Earthquakes  Ranging From  3.3 to  2.7 Magnitude May  9th to  10th ,  2013.  Total of  14 in the  last 10  days.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Earthquakes

Dominican Republic  3.2 mag EQ  May 10th  2013 photo DominicanRepublic32magEQMay10th2013_zps6171c337.jpg
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M3.2 – 117km NNE of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic 2013-05-11 04:00:56 UTC

Earthquake location 19.483°N, 67.807°W

Event Time

  1. 2013-05-11 04:00:56 UTC
  2. 2013-05-10 23:00:56 UTC-05:00 at epicenter
  3. 2013-05-10 23:00:56 UTC-05:00 system time

Location

19.483°N 67.807°W depth=50.0km (31.1mi)

Nearby Cities

  1. 117km (73mi) NNE of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  2. 134km (83mi) NE of Salvaleon de Higuey, Dominican Republic
  3. 135km (84mi) NNW of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
  4. 136km (85mi) NW of Isabela, Puerto Rico
  5. 211km (131mi) WNW of San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Seismic expert urges Jamaica to prepare, reduce risks before a big quake in future

By David McFadden, The Associated Press

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A U.S. seismic expert on Wednesday urged authorities in Jamaica to start long-term efforts to prepare for another major earthquake on the island, where the seaside capital was mostly destroyed by a big temblor just over a century ago.

It’s impossible for scientists to determine if the next big quake will hit in days or decades, but geophysics professor Eric Calais of Purdue University is urging the island’s government and various stakeholders to understand that the threat is very real based on the area’s history and active seismic activity.

Calais, visiting the island over four days as part of a mission with the United Nations Development Program, said most scientists agree that Jamaica will most likely be exposed to a quake with a magnitude of 7 or 7.5. An earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Richter scale is considered “major,” and capable of widespread, heavy damage.

Jamaica’s southern capital of Kingston was destroyed and roughly 1,000 people killed in a 6.5-magnitude quake in 1907. Researchers with the University of the West Indies have said that if Jamaica were to be hit by a quake like that one now the island could suffer a $6.5 billion loss, nearly half of the island’s gross domestic product.

“A 6.5 in the harbour by the capital could be a tremendous threat,” said Calais during a Wednesday visit to Port Royal, a town just outside of Kingston which was the island’s main city in the 17th century until an earthquake and tsunami submerged two-thirds of the settlement in 1692.

Calais’ call is especially sobering because in March 2008 he was among a group of scientists who warned officials in Haiti that their country was ripe for a major earthquake after detecting worrisome signs of growing stresses in a fault. Two years later, that fault unleashed a 7.0 quake that devastated the Caribbean nation, with the government putting the death toll at 316,000 people.

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Storms

Incredible North Atlantic storm spans Atlantic Ocean, coast to coast

Posted by Jason Samenow on March 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a storm this big before.

(NASA)

(NASA)

The storm shown here stretches west to east from Newfoundland to Portugal. Its southern tail (cold front) extends into the Caribbean and the north side of its comma head touches southern Greenland.

Not only is it big, but it’s also super intense – comparable to many category 3 hurricanes.  The storm’s central pressure, as analyzed by the Ocean Prediction Center, is 953 mb. Estimated peak wave heights are around 25-30 feet.

(Ocean Prediction Center)

(Ocean Prediction Center)

The storm is forecast to remain more or less stationary over the next few days before substantially weakening and then eventually drifting into western Europe in about a week as a rather ordinary weather system.

Note to Washingtonians: this is the same storm that blanketed the region with 1-4 inches of snow Monday. It’s grown into a monster from humble beginnings.  The storm’s giant circulation has drawn down the cold and windy conditions we’ve had since it passed.

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Jason Samenow is the Capital Weather Gang’s chief meteorologist and serves as the Washington Post’s Weather Editor. He earned BA and MS degrees in atmospheric science from the University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Atlantic Ocean Storm 2013: How One Weather System Affected Nearly Half The Earth

Huffington Post

Posted: 03/29/2013 5:12 pm EDT

Atlantic Ocean Storm 2013

An image of the storm taken by the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite on March 27, 2013.

From Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer:

There is currently a massive storm churning over the Atlantic that spans the entire ocean basin, stretching all the way from Canada to Europe, and from Greenland to the Caribbean.

It’s the same weather system that brought a massive spring blizzard to much of the United States and Canada earlier this week (on Tuesday (March 26), 44 of 50 states had some snow on the ground), and which has now ballooned in size, according to Jason Samenow, chief meteorologist with the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang.

Robert Oszajca, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service’s Ocean Prediction Center, explained that the storm got this big by merging with several low-pressure systems that were hanging out over the Atlantic Ocean. The merging weather systems gave it more power, which was accentuated by a gradient between warm moisture from the southeast, delivered by the Gulf Stream, and frigid air from the north. This intensified the storm, causing it to spin, elongate and grow in size, Oszajca told OurAmazingPlanet.

Normally, the system would have drifted into Europe several days ago. However, a high-pressure system over Greenland blocked the low-pressure system’s advance, which allowed it to strengthen further, fed by cold air from the north. This created winds (which move from high pressure to low pressure) up to 75 mph (120 km/h), equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane, Oszajca said.

 

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