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 ConcepciĆ³n (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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If anyone hasn't noticed in the mix of the tsunami rumor and chile earthquake, its 5 degrees colder here in west palm beach than Tallahassee lol ... i know i know i know... its because of the rain and its cloudy in west palm beach.
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365. IKE
FOX news interviewing John Cummings, Oahu Dept of something, talking about evacuating on the side of caution. AKA...better safe, then sorry.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
CNN is reporting that the tsunami has begun.
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This bouy is not lying.......something happened at that bouy to cause such a thing.

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

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Geographically organized webcams along Hawaii coastline using
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting cchsweatherman:
Please bare in mind that at this time, low tide is occurring, so maybe the reports of water receding are actually the results of the low tide.


If it were just low tide I would agree with you, but on the site I posted you can actually see the change in direction, multiple time. Not wave action, streaming water to the right of the bridge and on bridge pilings.
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Quoting IKE:


Downcaster! j/k:)

FOX News interviewing an expert saying it may be canceled within an hour. Interviewing Gerald Fryer...Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.


Yes, lucky this was all just a warning and no big wave like they thought.
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The water at Hilo receded, came back in and now is receding again. Low tide was some time ago. This is not tidal action.
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358. IKE
Quoting MrJoeBlow:
It sound like #2


Downcaster! j/k:)

FOX News interviewing an expert saying it may be canceled within an hour. Interviewing Gerald Fryer...Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Water is going back out to the sea on that video.
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I just seen the water rise on that video. Maybe that was the tsunami.
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Please bare in mind that at this time, low tide is occurring, so maybe the reports of water receding are actually the results of the low tide.
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Quoting IKE:
One of 2 things....

(1)Either the timing of this to Hawaii was off....

or...

(2)Hawaii will be spared.

Hopefully #2, but I think it's going to be #1.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Been watching this site, can really see water receding.


Just about the time I posted this you could see the water going out, kind of like a stream when it went over rocks. Now you can see it coming in. Go full screen on it.

edit; And now going out again??? Maybe I'm seeing things. Was definitely lower a few minutes ago though.
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It sound like #2
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351. IKE
One of 2 things....

(1)Either the timing of this to Hawaii was off....

or...

(2)Hawaii will be spared.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
So maybe the wave hit and it was so small it not notice except for water discolored.
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now its rushing back in
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Quoting Levi32:
Water receding significantly in Long Beach California...

That's not a good sign.
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Oh, fabulous, now I can worry about grandkids in SoCal, too. Just shoot me. This is a tough job.
(I'm sure they're fine; they don't live on water... I'm just marking time.)
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Been watching this site, can really see water receding.
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Looks like the first small wave is contacting the point of land in Hilo Bay.
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
The news stations are not showing any current footage of the ocean. They just keep on showing the same footage of people watching and some people surfing.
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Link

look at the water rushing out
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Terrific, multiple cams on Hawaii News Now - link at Boonedocksgirl's blog or here.
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I seen on tv Hawai might not get any wave. I hope they are right.
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Any reports from California?
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
I've been watching inn breakroom for over 35 mins and nothing yet....

so come back to computer to see if there are still waves out there.

this is so hard to just wait.. hopefully it will not be bad..

bbl
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Fox News saying that water has receded in Long Beach, CA, to the point that boats can't dock. They were only under an advisory for this tsunami.
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Water receding significantly in Long Beach California...
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Water receding in Long Beach CA. Boats can't dock in harbor.
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First reports from Lottin Point, New Zealand show a wave of 0.5 ft (15 cm).
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
We have choppers in the air for every run of the mill car chase, but none for this? Anyone catch any ship reports? I don't have that link where I am...
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Did you get in touch with all your family members AIM? Prayers for all.


Yes, Geoff -- well, the Hawaii branch, anyway. Believe we're all good -- with much help from the blog today.
Appreciate the thoughts, prayers, and hand-holding.

Arrgghh, this da*n thing is teasing us...

Anybody been able to compare video and/or quality of moderators? I've been on CNN and afraid of missing something while channel surfing...
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Quoting F4PHANTOM:


What is location of bouy?


140 nautical miles southeast of Honolulu.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Hilo looks like it has dropped now...wow
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Looks like 6 waves so for coming....with the 3rd the largest.




What is location of bouy?
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Water receding in Hilo Bay, surge seen by CG helicopter at Wailoa...

Off tip of breakwater in Hilo there is discoloration and swirling, and the beaches are increasingly exposed.
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Is everyone seeing the water drop?
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prayers are being sent...
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Resources for Chile earthquake response

http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/02/resources-for-chile-earthquake-response.html
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting TampaSpin:
Looks like 6 waves so for coming....with the 3rd the largest.



Looks bad....
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046
H-3 Freeway traffic cameras, roads are deserted: http://www.eng.hawaii.edu/hawaiidot/index.html

More cameras across the Honolulu area show a whole lot of deserted roads: http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/cameras/trafficzones.htm
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Looks like 6 waves so for coming....with the 3rd the largest.


Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting Levi32:
A suddenly very calm ocean. That is a chilling sign.

It sure is.

I'm nowhere near Hawaii, but I'm still kinda nervous.
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It'll happen in about... -26 minutes.
Member Since: December 21, 2007 Posts: 13 Comments: 3046
I remember being crowded around the t.v. watching men walk on the moon... this is just as amazing, live views, tweets, facebook, CNN, etc...
My nerves are on end!
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A suddenly very calm ocean. That is a chilling sign.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Remember..this is a long Propagated wave Tsunami,..not like the Banda Acha one in 2004 which was much closer to the epicenter.

The Tsunami is going to slowly build and Waikiki is reporting receding water now.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Is that the first wave I see on CNN live?
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
This is the calm before the storm! Its just later than forecasted. Officials did it for a reason or people wont move thier ass! They did a great job getting people to safety. 27ft drops dont look good!
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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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