Great earthquake rocks Chile; NYC gets 4th greatest snow ever; Xynthia batters Europe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:26 PM GMT on February 27, 2010

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A great earthquake with magnitude 8.8 rocked the coast of Chile at 6:34 GMT this morning, generating a potentially dangerous tsunami that is racing across the Pacific Ocean. The great quake is the 7th most powerful tremor in world history (Figure 1). Preliminary tsunami wave heights for the California coast near Santa Barbara are 2 - 2.5 feet. The wave is expected to arrive between 12:15 - 12:35 pm PST. The tsunami is expected to arrive in Hawaii between 11:05 - 11:42am HST, with a wave 8.2 feet high expected in Hilo, on the Big Island. A tsunami from the 9.5 Magnitude 1960 earthquake in Chile killed 61 people in Hilo. Today's quake was so strong, that it triggered a seiche in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, over 4,500 miles (7,000 km) away. The lake sloshed back and forth, creating a wave 0.4 - 0.51 feet on either side of the lake.


Figure 1. Wikipedia's list of strongest earthquakes of all-time.

Preliminary tsunami amplitude forecasts:

La Jolla, CA 2.3 ft
Los Angeles, CA 2.0 ft
Malibu, CA 2.6 ft
Pt. San Luis, CA 2.3 ft
Half Moon Bay, CA 2.6 ft
Crescent City, CA 1.7 ft
Morro Bay, CA 2.2 ft
Santa Monica, CA 3.3 ft
San Francisco, CA 0.7 ft
Pismo Beach, CA 4.6 ft

Hilo, HI 8.2 feet 11:5am HST
Honolulu, HI 1.6 ft 11:37am HST
Kahului, HI 7.2 ft 11:26am HST
Nawiliwili, HI 3.0 ft 11:42am HST
Haleiwa 1.6 ft
Kawaihae 2.0 ft

Port Orford, OR 0.7 ft

Moclip, WA 1.3 ft

Seward, AK 1.3 ft
Stika, AK 1.3 ft
Kodiak, AK 2.3 ft

Tofino, British Columbia 1.7 ft

Today's great quake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates about 325 km southwest of the capital Santiago (population 5.3 million). The depth was estimated at 35 km. At least four aftershocks of magnitude 6 or higher have occurred, the largest being a 6.9 aftershock. Fortunately, the area close to the epicenter is relatively sparsely populated, but there may be heavy damage in Concepción (est. pop. 300,000) and Chillan (est. pop. 170,000), which lie 115 km and 100 km to the south of the epicenter, respectively.


Figure 2. NOAA's preliminary forecast of tsunami wave energy for today's earthquake. Image credit: NOAA Tsunami Warning Center.

New York City slammed with its 4th largest snowstorm on record
The snow from the fourth extreme snowstorm to wallop the Northeast U.S. this winter dumped a remarkable 20.9" of snow on New York City's Central Park yesterday and Thursday. This is the 4th largest snowstorm for the city in recorded history. According to the National Weather Service, the top ten snowstorms on record for New York City's Central Park are:

26.9" Feb 11-12, 2006
26.4" Dec 26-27, 1947
21.0" Mar 12-14, 1888
20.9" Feb 25-26, 2010
20.2" Jan 7-8, 1996
19.8" Feb 16-17, 2003
18.1" Mar 7-8, 1941
17.7" Feb 5-7, 1978
17.6" Feb 11-12, 1983
17.5" Feb 4-7, 1920

The storm also helped New York City set a new all-time snowfall record for the most snow ever recorded in a month--36.9". The old record was 30.5", set in March 1896. However, the old Lower Manhattan WB Station recorded 37.9" in February 1894. Yesterday's snowstorm puts New York City's snow for the 2009 - 2010 season at 51.4", making it the 11th snowiest winter since 1869. Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, lists the city's all-time seasonal snowfall record at 81.5", set in the winter of 1867 - 1868. This measurement came before official records began in Central Park, and were done be the NY Park Commissioners (see "Annual Report NY Park Commissioners", 1868, by John B. Marie). The second snowiest winter in NYC occurred during the winter of 1995 - 1996, when 75.6" fell.

Destructive Winter Storm Xynthia battering Portugal and Spain
A powerful 969 mb low pressure system named "Xynthia" is rapidly intensifying of the coast of Spain, and stands poised to deliver a devastating blow to Portugal, Spain, and France today and tomorrow as it powers through Europe. Sustained winds of 60 mph (96 km/hr) were reported today at a Personal Weather Station in Costa del Morte, Spain. The pressure fell to 969 mb as Xynthia passed overhead. For comparison, Winter Storm Klaus had a minimum pressure of 967 mb. Klaus, which hit northern Spain and southwest France January 23 - 25, was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Models predict that Xynthia will continue to intensify today, reaching 962 mb as it moves into the west coast of France Sunday morning. Sustained winds of 50 - 65 mph (80 - 105 km/hr) with hurricane-force gusts up to 100 mph (160 km/hr) are possible along the north coast of Spain tonight and the west coast of France on Sunday as Xynthia barrels through. The storm is also bringing an exceptionally moist plume of tropical moisture ashore, as seen in precipitable water imagery from NOAA (Figure 4). This moisture is likely to cause moderate to severe flooding in portions of Europe over the weekend.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image at 12 GMT of Xynthia.


Figure 4. Satellite measurements show a region of extremely high atmospheric moisture is associated with Winter Storm Xynthia. This moisture will surge over Portugal and Spain today, potentially creating serious flooding. Image credit: Sheldon Kusselson, NOAA/NESDIS.

Links to follow:
Wundermap for Northwest Spain
Spanish radar
Meteo-France
Portugese radar

Jeff Masters

Central Park 26Feb10 (MickyDee)
the BIG one Taken in Manhattan
Central Park 26Feb10
Tree 1, House 0 (Backbaybob)
This cottage was no match for 65 mph wind and an old pine tree.
Tree 1, House 0

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later all have a good night lets see what happens overnight to talk about in the am
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
WOW, Japan is ready for this!

All of TOKYO BAY is full of ships, Everyone got the heck out of dodge and moved in to the water.

Plus the city is screeming with sirens right now.
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612. Ahh, there's the info.

Keeper, you married? Has your lady mentioned you might actually be a keeper, lol??
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from ozarksfirst.com

Parts of Oklahoma even felt an earthquake of it's own today.

A 4.4 hit three miles from Sparks, Oklahoma this afternoon.

A number of people say they felt their homes shake and saw pictures rattling on walls.

No serious damage was reported

This is the second earthquake to strike in the last two days.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

Yes, blogger juslivn wu-ed me and said she was on the phone with her daughter in OK City. I wasn't even aware they had one; think someone in the blog posted it was a 4.4? Will see what I can find...


ok quake info from this afternoon

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 4.4
Date-Time Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 22:22:27 UTC
Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 04:22:27 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 35.623°N, 96.762°W
Depth 3.8 km (2.4 miles) (poorly constrained)
Region OKLAHOMA
Distances 5 km (3 miles) ENE (74°) from Sparks, OK
9 km (6 miles) S (179°) from Davenport, OK
15 km (9 miles) SE (130°) from Chandler, OK
35 km (22 miles) NNE (26°) from Shawnee, OK
72 km (44 miles) ENE (77°) from Oklahoma City, OK
314 km (195 miles) N (0°) from Dallas, TX

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 14.1 km (8.8 miles); depth +/- 3.8 km (2.4 miles)
Parameters NST= 61, Nph= 68, Dmin=72.1 km, Rmss=1.48 sec, Gp= 65°,
M-type="Nuttli" surface wave magnitude (mbLg), Version=7
Source USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)


Event ID us2010tfe4
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
The Oklahoma 4.4 occurred along the New Madrid Fault Line.


Map Centered at 36°N, 97°W


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127601
Quoting atmoaggie:

All C-Pac storms, with advisory archive, at bottom of this page: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tcpages/archive.php


Ya, I saw that too, but then I compared earlier seasons to their best tracks and they are not analogous.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2305
Quoting AussieStorm:

Sorry people, I have to turn off my pc. Lightening is getting really close


Take care, Aussie, thanks for all the info and posts.
Be safe.
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Quoting taco2me61:


Did I see that right??? there was a Earthquake in OK????

Holy Smokes what is going on today?

Taco :0)

Yes, blogger juslivn wu-ed me and said she was on the phone with her daughter in OK City. I wasn't even aware they had one; think someone in the blog posted it was a 4.4? Will see what I can find...
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I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.

Mother Teresa
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127601
Quoting AussieStorm:

Windy and very dark. the light area you can see on my cam is the rain band. The cam is right beside me.

Sorry people, I have to turn off my pc. Lightening is getting really close
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Quoting Motttt:
Earthquakes Worldwide
in the Last 30 Days Link


Did I see that right??? there was a Earthquake in OK????

Holy Smokes what is going on today?

Taco :0)
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Quoting Seastep:


Anyone thinking of being complacent, just show them this. And now is probably a good time to drill it home (hint, hint AIM).

(Opens in WMV)


Nobody complacent here!! I'm very proud of my son today; he used his head AND he listened to his mother (shocking), and found higher ground. I have a pic that I will post when I figure out how (another WU frontier, I can post from the web but have failed at posting my own pics).

The DIL is a good woman, but the situation was more problematic since she was not at home and sort of in an uncomfortable situation, with manager and others. Well, I (we) learned today about vertical evacuation and that she was really never in any danger... but we will have a "virtual" practice drill or two.

Hawaii did a great job, and I am grateful.
Also very grateful to all of you... the prayers, meditations and virtual hand-holding worked... bless you every one!
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Nothing yet to note here in Tokyo Bay, I believe Japan is going to dodge the bullet as well.
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Quoting WunderFul:
AussieStorm -- very cool! Can't wait until we get back into T-storm season here again in a few weeks. Looks like it is getting windy there!

Windy and very dark. the light area you can see on my cam is the rain band. The cam is right beside me.
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Mass evacuations as tsunami nears Japan
# AFP
# February 28, 2010 2:56PM
JAPAN has evacuated more than 50,000 people from vulnerable seaside areas as a tsunami triggered by the huge earthquake in Chile approaches its Pacific coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that waves of up to three metres could hit the northern areas of Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi.

"We instructed some 11,300 people living near the coast to evacuate as quickly as possible from the designated danger zone," said Shigeru Suzuki, a local official in Sendai City in Miyagi.

Masanori Kitamura, an official of Hachinohe in Aomori, where 30,000 people were ordered to leave their homes, said: "Our firefighters are patrolling out there to check whether any residents remain near the coast."

At least another 15,000 residents in northern Japan were ordered to evacuate to school buildings and other public facilities to shield them from cold rain or snow falling in much if the region, officials said.
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This tsunami brings back memories of the 2004 tsunami, I don't think that I will ever live to see another disaster so intense, world wide, and eye-opening ever again. Good Night Everyone
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Those small quakes are aftershocks from the 7.3 in the RYUKU ISLANDS yesterday.

First waves here are small. The worry should lessen here.
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AussieStorm -- very cool! Can't wait until we get back into T-storm season here again in a few weeks. Looks like it is getting windy there!
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Millions affected by Chile earthquake - President



* From correspondents in Chile
* From: AFP
* February 28, 2010 12:45PM


TWO million people have been affected by the huge earthquake that struck Chile yesterday, President Michelle Bachelet says.

In her first address since the 8.8-magnitude quake struck, Ms Bachelet said six of Chile's 15 regions were "catastrophe zone".

"It was an earthquake of great strength," she said,

"The full extent of the damage cannot be fully quantified."

More than 300 people have died, the national emergency office said.

Ms Bachelet, who has toured the worst-hit areas around Chile's second largest city of Concepcion by plane, also postponed the start of the school year that had been set to begin March 3.
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Earthquakes Worldwide
in the Last 30 Days Link
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92 days until Hurricane season.
62 days until the Pacific Hurricane season.
37 days until CSU releases its next '10 season predictions.
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3 small quakes last hr
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Tropical wave may spawn rare 'Cape Verde' stormBy ELIOT KLEINBERG
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A strong tropical wave just off the west coast of Africa has the potential to become a rare July "Cape Verde" storm, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

Should it become Tropical Storm Bertha in the next few days, it would mark the earliest on record that a tropical storm has formed this far east, hurricane center specialist Eric Blake said Wednesay.

He noted many could have formed in this area in the centuries before they could be spotted with satellites.

The system is becoming better organized and could become a tropical depression during the next few days, the hurricane center said.

While it's early in the season, and the storm wouldn't threaten the U.S. East Coast for at least a week, its circumstances are "extremely rare," Blake said.

"It's not normally a good sign when they start this early," he said.

"The models are taking the system to the west," Blake said. But, he said, "this is a long ways away. We have a lot of time to watch this one."

Tropical Storm Arthur, which formed May 31, lasted only a few days but brought heavy rains to Belize, killing five and causing about $78 million in damage, according to the hurricane center.

Cape Verde storms are so named because they form in the island chain off Africa's west coast.

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10994
Hawaii got lucky today (Chile obviously didn't.) Unfortunately, what happened in Hawaii today will probably cause quite a number of lost lives in the future, the next time a Tsunami Warning is called, and it hits with larger force. People will say, "Well, last time ..." We seem to have too short of a memory sometimes.
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Removed
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Quoting hurristat:


I actually, haven't checked them yet, I just know there was 17 named storms and 3 TDs in the Eastern Pacific last year, and there are twenty options for me to choose from there. :P

All C-Pac storms, with advisory archive, at bottom of this page: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tcpages/archive.php
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461

Earthquake in Chile shakes Lake Ponchartrain


Don Ames Reporting

Lake Pontchartrain was shaken and stirred early this morning by a massive earthquake in Chile.

"There was some sloshing of Lake Ponchartrain between about 4am and 4:30 this morning, our time. We had some, about half-a-foot slosh spikes near Shell Beach and that basically went on for about a half hour,' says Scott Lawrimore, with The Weather Channel.

Besides the Shell Beach area, the sloshing was also noticeable at Pass Manchac and West End in Metairie.

Lawrimore said the effect is like water being shaken in a bottle.

"The earthquake that occurred in the Pacific basically vibrated the earth enough here in Louisiana so that Lake Ponchartrain felt that...just like you would if you picked up a bucket of water and shook it back and forth," says Lawrimore.

"While that earthquake was occurring in the Pacific Ocean, even though it was not really detected by us, there was enough back and forth motion in the earth to produce sloshing back and forth in Lake Ponchartrain. And that sloshing resulted in about a half-a-foot slosh spike," Lawrimore said.

Tsunami warnings have been issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

People in Hawaii are being warned to take "urgent action to protect lives and property.'' The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says the magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile has generated a tsunami that could cause damage along the coastlines of all the Hawaiian islands. There's even a possibility California and parts of Alaska could be affected.

At least 78 people have been killed in Chile.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127601
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chile_earthquake
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
A few sirens have gone here outside of tokyo. Warning is in affect for another 3 hours.

I don't think to much should happen. But I'll be watching!
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Tsunamis are surely no joke. I hope we did not reduce our respect for them today with what happened. Gnight all >>>>

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Quoting atmoaggie:

Oh, sorry.

AND, I told ya wrong, anyway! The Best Track files start with "b"! (Oops)


I actually, haven't checked them yet, I just know there was 17 named storms and 3 TDs in the Eastern Pacific last year, and there are twenty options for me to choose from there. :P
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2305
My mistake. I thought the Cape Verde season started around August....and early season storms stastically formed in the GOM and Carib. Not saying that it can't happen, but on the norm., very unusual.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10994
Quoting hurristat:


Ya, that's just EPac, and not CPac. Although thanks for the link!

Oh, sorry.

AND, I told ya wrong, anyway! The Best Track files start with "b"! (Oops)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Forecast amplitudes, measurements, and time series plots (all coastal): http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/chile/chileamp.php
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
The African wave train?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10994
577. Skyepony (Mod)
Weird too that 2 of the 3 buoys had the 30+m yesterday near the quake in the West Pac, & then one today with the Chile quake.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37394
Quoting altesticstorm10:

Wind shear >65 knots, it's the norm for winter months. It begins relaxing in late March/April and relaxes still more in May, in time for hurricane season...


Like it did last year? Or is this year different?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10994
Quoting atmoaggie:

Not graphical, but what you want is in text form at: ftp://ftp.tpc.ncep.noaa.gov/atcf/archive/2009/

The "aep*.gz" files are EastPac.

On Wiinodze, you might need a program to uncompress gz files, I recommend 7-Zip for that (free!)


Ya, that's just EPac, and not CPac. Although thanks for the link!
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2305
Just thinking how electronics work with lower than required voltage... From the spec sheet.

Theoretical Battery Life, buoy = Greater than 2 years

Theoretical Battery Life, tsunameter - Greater than 4 years

And Try and say this 3 times fast - LoL tsunameter :)

Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8185
Instructions for use of the DART data access pages: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/dart_data_access.shtml

(Still no good explanation)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
#569 Two possible reasons: No disturbances to start from and too much shear.
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Quoting altesticstorm10:
The entire Caribbean and about 81% of the MDR is warm enough to support a strong TS or minimal hurricane.


So...why don't we have one?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10994
Quoting Ossqss:
Hummm, ?

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/ops.shtml

I like the way you think...but I see none of the ones giving these whacky obs on there.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.