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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Smoke from a burning building fills the sky in the outskirts of Santiago after a huge 8.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Chile on February 27, 2010. (MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/02/earthquake_in_chile.html
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QUAKE 5 OR GREATER NW INDIA
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Hawaii did a fantastic job..Kudos to the State and locals .

They drill for Tsunami's many times a year and today that paid off in a Big way.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
461. IKE
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Tsunami warning cancelled for Hawaii.


90,000 people evacuated. I doubt they'll be as eager to evacuate next time.
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Yes thank you 457 I hit the post before I was finished. I believe the man was a PHd. so it was very interesting but makes since. E= 1/2mv sq.
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Tsunami warning cancelled for Hawaii.
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I got back from our local beach about an hour ago. They closed our pier and beach just as a pre-cautionary measure. We hung around for over an hour, and eventually saw a very weird swell come in. It was small, it was not normal and it was strange. We are a south facing beach and swells normally come face in. This weird swell came in at an angle (probably due to the curve in our coastline). If you weren't a local you might not of even noticed this weird swell, but most of the folks that were standing down at the pier did notice it. All I can say is that is was strange. Not normal, but nothing big....which is just fine by me.

This is on the north side of our pier. You can just see the unsettledness of the water. That is not normal. I've lived here over 30 years and seen the ocean in many different stages of storms...even one so big it knocked our pier down. There were occasional whitecaps on this band of unsettledness.



Pictures really don't do it justice. I took a video too, which I'll post in my blog.

This is a severely cropped photo to show the slight swell that is coming in at an angle. Again, nothing big, nothing serious, just odd.

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457. IKE
Quoting gordydunnot:
I found out something interesting the measurement of an earthquake involves the total amount of land moved. The area around Haiti was much smaller in movement so the 7.0 reading doesnt necessarily corespond to the amount of violent shaking. The larger the land area that moves is just as important as the shaking in determining ricker score.


I heard that earlier today too. That can skew the numbers, in a way.
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On another topic, jeez Xynthia is a large storm :O

Link
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Quoting hurristat:


mmmm Chili is tasty.


yes, with another cold front coming thru I probably should cook up a pot of homemade chili tomorrow! LOL
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I found out something interesting the measurement of an earthquake involves the total amount of land moved. The area of land around Haiti was much smaller, in movement so the 7.0 reading doesn't necessarily correspond to the amount of violent shaking. The larger the land area that moves is just as important as the shaking in determining Richter score.Haiti's earthquake was center under the capital affecting 5 million people directly it was small in area but in the worst possible spot, This event was off shore and the section of Chile is sparsely populated thank god. Sorrry I hit post button earlier before I was ready.
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Probably a good thing that Hawai'i dodged a bullet there.)
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
So, does anyone know where I can find the best track for the CPHC? Thanks!
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
451. Skyepony (Mod)
Levi~ Does seem like a waste of time.. the long island chain of Alaska may catch a little more energy than like CA, but less than Hawaii.

I remember from 2004 the waves traveled around the world. I suppose that is why we are seeing the buoys going off in the Atlantic. I think there was 1 inch tsunami on Miami Beach in '04. Wonder if this will have any effect on Chandler's Wobble..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 179 Comments: 38321
Any reports of damage in oklahoma? shake maps show possibility of damage
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Waves are now spilling over the coastal border wall in Hilo: Link
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Oops, my computer is having issues.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Ocean currents throughout the Pacific Basin will be affected for the next 24-48 hours as well,as the whole water column is being disturbed basin wide.

Even Lake Pontchartrain N of NOLA rocked soon after the Earthquake as told in this entries first paragraph.

Actually,the whole Planet and its rotation was disturbed as in Dec 2004
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
445. IKE
Quoting aquak9:
holy cow- did ya'll see the CNN footage of Talcahuano? THEY got plenty of tsunami damage.

Chile does not want outside help. GEEEZ.


No donations?
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Ya, let's assume because a country is not in the US or Europe that it can't function to protect its citizens. Good job, guys. (/sarcasm)
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


why are buoys in the ATL in alert mode??


I'm no expert, but perhaps this is an explanation....Atlantic Gale Warnings
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
KHON claims that the tsunami will have effects on ocean currents.


they obviously do not know the physics behind a tsunami then
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KHON claims that the tsunami will have effects on ocean currents.
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Quoting aquak9:
holy cow- did ya'll see the CNN footage of Talcahuano? THEY got plenty of tsunami damage.

Chile does not want outside help. GEEEZ.


they are a self sustaining country that is used to earthquakes, if you saw from the videos they actually have equipment such as fire and ladder trucks to rescue people. This is nothing new to the chilean people.
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holy cow- did ya'll see the CNN footage of Talcahuano? THEY got plenty of tsunami damage.

Chile does not want outside help. GEEEZ.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
How does a bouy measure the water column anyway?
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Map Centered at 36N, 97W


Magnitude 4.4 - OKLAHOMA
2010 February 27 22:22:27 UTC

Version en Espanol

* Details
* Summary
* Maps
* Scientific & Technical

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 35.623N, 96.762W
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 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting seflagamma:
so happy Hawaii has been spared any damage and it appears so far the tsuniam has not really done damage anywhere.


so look at it this way, Answered Prayer today.

Now back to Chili.




mmmm Chili is tasty.
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312
Does someone know why the CPHC hasn't posted their best tracks for the seven storms they had last season yet? And if they have, can someone give me the link? Thanks!
Member Since: October 15, 2008 Posts: 11 Comments: 2312


small quake Magnitude 4.4 - OKLAHOMA
2010 February 27 22:22:27 UTC
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
In the 1960 event,..the Wave Rhythm that naturally occurs in Hawaii,matched up with the Tsunami's Wave rhythm and caused the massive impacts then.

Today's Tsunami didnt match up with the Natural Wave rhythm and that is one reason why the impact was relatively low, the Tsunami center Lead scientist just explained.

Cool stuff for sure.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
so happy Hawaii has been spared any damage and it appears so far the tsuniam has not really done damage anywhere.


so look at it this way, Answered Prayer today.

Now back to Chili.


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429. IKE
From CNN...

"The first waves of a tsunami began hitting the Big Island of Hawaii today, triggered by a huge earthquake off Chile, officials said. The waves were relatively small."

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii...."We dodged a bullet."
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


why are buoys in the ATL in alert mode??


Dunno,..but here's the Atlantic in four modes..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting TampaSpin:
This energy release map showed many hours ago that a chuck of the energy might go south of Hawaii

So watch out SE Asia?
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426. IKE
Quoting TampaSpin:
This energy release map showed many hours ago that a chuck of the energy might go south of Hawaii



I would say that map was correct.
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All those boats coming in at one time will cause some wave action!!LOL
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GOOGLE Person Finder: Chile Earthquake

Currently tracking about 8300 records.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
This energy release map showed many hours ago that a chuck of the energy might go south of Hawaii

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Boats are starting to come back in the harbor! Tsunami warning not over yet!
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it has passed hopefully thats the extend of it
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54630
Quoting Patrap:
Note the Flashing Alert Modes on the NDBC page,...WOWZA...


why are buoys in the ATL in alert mode??
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Hawaii USTREAM Live
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
It may not be over yet? I don't know tho?

Station 51407 (LLNR 28006.5) - 140 NM Southeast of Honolulu, HI


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The rocks are going back under the water in Hawaii. I guess they dodged a bullet.
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Note the Flashing Alert Modes on the NDBC page,...WOWZA...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871

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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.

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