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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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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People in Hilo are reporting water color change.
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"Visable signs things are changing in Hilo Harbor".
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Did you get in touch with all your family members AIM? Prayers for all.
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Some of the recent reports as a FYI...

GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER
------------------- ----- ------ ----- --------------- -----
LOTTIN PT NZ 37.6S 178.2E 1934Z 0.15M / 0.5FT 10MIN
RAROTONGA CK 21.2S 159.8W 1918Z 0.32M / 1.0FT 06MIN
CABO SAN LUCAS MX 22.9N 109.9W 1833Z 0.36M / 1.2FT 12MIN
DART TONGA 51426 23.0S 168.1W 1844Z 0.04M / 0.1FT 30MIN
HIVA OA MARQUESAS 9.8S 139.0W 1741Z 1.79M / 5.9FT 12MIN
PAPEETE TAHITI 17.5S 149.6W 1810Z 0.16M / 0.5FT 10MIN
NUKU HIVA MARQUESAS 8.9S 140.1W 1745Z 0.95M / 3.1FT 04MIN
MANZANILLO MX 19.1N 104.3W 1705Z 0.32M / 1.0FT 24MIN
DART MANZANILLO 434 16.0N 107.0W 1611Z 0.07M / 0.2FT 24MIN
ACAPULCO MX 16.8N 99.9W 1549Z 0.16M / 0.5FT 24MIN
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281. AwakeInMaryland,
YW. Learned that from a few years spent in Hawaii.
Hugs.
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Quoting Levi32:


Are you really going to bring that up right now?? Keep it zipped until we're through this.

Please stop beeing so ignorant. I just made a note to this statement. It was a metaphor. If you don't liek that fine. Peace.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Should have happened 20 mins ago.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Helps the gene pool. No sympathy from me. Even if they haven't actually heard about it, no way they haven't heard the sirens. I hear that I'm finding out what it is about.
I believe that is at the Hilo breakwall.
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Quoting P451:
An island outside of New Zealand just got a tsunami, and they were said to be at the 12 hour mark from the quake. Hawaii is said to be at the 15 hour mark. So, this may not happen for some time.


Do you know if it was bad at all???
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New Zealand just had its surge and its at the 12 hour mark and Hawaii is at the 15 hour mark! It is behind schedule!
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Sounds like the water is starting to progess off shore.....it is coming.....prayers are with anyone in its wake stupid or not.
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Quoting P451:
An island outside of New Zealand just got a tsunami, and they were said to be at the 12 hour mark from the quake. Hawaii is said to be at the 15 hour mark. So, this may not happen for some time.

I think they put in some time buffer ...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Those who have witnessed these in other locations, say when the horizon moves, your time is short to get to safety.
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Right west of Hilo:
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

Think of this in the prospect of climate change.


Are you really going to bring that up right now?? Keep it zipped until we're through this.
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

Think of this in the prospect of climate change.


HUH??? IS everything climate change to you??? geez
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
It's 11:20 in Hawaii and they still haven't seen receding or a wave offshore. What was the biggest drop or wave height recorded near Hawaii in the ocean?
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I didn't hear where in Hawaii it was reported, but some bystanders are reporting that the water is receding and changing color.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Even if they haven't actually heard about it, no way they haven't heard the sirens. I hear that I'm finding out what it is about.

Think of this in the prospect of climate change.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
I'm watching CNN live updates on the quake. There are people walking on the beach!


Helps the gene pool. No sympathy from me. Even if they haven't actually heard about it, no way they haven't heard the sirens. I hear that I'm finding out what it is about.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting IKE:
Good news...I don't see anything yet....but those buoys don't lie.
one reported a 27 foot drop!!!
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Quoting Levi32:


I am afraid so. This could be worse than they thought. These buoys are state of the art. It's not likely that it's a fluke.


I agree this is unreal.....

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I read on twitter,
Interestingly, the biggest waves are supposed to arrive 6-12 hours after the inital one
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
291. IKE
Good news...I don't see anything yet....but those buoys don't lie.
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no we this wait and hop
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I'm watching CNN live updates on the quake. There are people walking on the beach!
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interesting
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Maybe they were right on the 11:19 to begin with
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Quoting Ameister12:

Yes. Those people are very idiotic.
they dont understand but thier fixing to!!!!
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Coconut Island reporting rapidly receding water level..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
waves starting to push in to Hawaii per Fox news live coverage
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People from Hawaii are not seeing anything developing, but the water is receding.
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cnn reported a 27 foot drop 150 miles out from shore!!!!!
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:


This is part of the protocol. Called "vertical evacuation." That's how they evac the tourists in the beachfront hotels. There are so few roads. This is not like a hurricane evac. CD managers over there are well-organized and have been through this before. Is your DIL in Hilo or on Maui? Any case, take heart. They've had plenty of warning. She will be okay.


Son on Maui.
DIL in Hilo (on business).
Thank you for explanation -- I didn't get that in classes, maybe they're in advanced classes -- will strongly suggest that gets added sooner into curriculum.
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Quoting Levi32:
Wow are these people dumb a whole group of people standing ON THE WATER at the beach being videoed on Fox News. How stupid can they be. The water is receding at their feet right now.

Yes. Those people are very idiotic.
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209. aerojad "Anyone else think it's kind of crazy that...our connected world actually allows us to watch what could be a disaster in real time?"

Live WebCast
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


We don't know that for sure. It was on the other side of the Andes but at nearly the same depth.



We've been seeing measurements like these since yesterday, after the Ryukyu earthquake. Where was this specific bouy?


140 nautical miles SE of Honolulu
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Wow are these people dumb a whole group of people standing ON THE WATER at the beach being videoed on Fox News. How stupid can they be. The water is receding at their feet right now.

It looks like they might be up on something but they're right on the water.
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 17 minutes ago

SALTA, Argentina - A strong earthquake struck northwestern Argentina on Saturday on the same day that a massive temblor struck neighboring Chile. Authorities reported at least one person was killed.

The 6.3 magnitude quake struck around midday about 15 miles north of the city of Salta, some 800 miles north-northwest of the capital Buenos Aires, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

An 8-year-old boy died and two other children were injured, a hospital director in Salta told local media.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

The quake was a separate event, not an aftershock of the devastating magnitude 8.8 quake that struck Chile, officials said.

More from msnbc.com


We don't know that for sure. It was on the other side of the Andes but at nearly the same depth.

Quoting Levi32:


I am afraid so. This could be worse than they thought. These buoys are state of the art. It's not likely that it's a fluke.


We've been seeing measurements like these since yesterday, after the Ryukyu earthquake. Where was this specific bouy?
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Fox News reporting 3 foot drop in the water level at Hilo Bay.
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The water seems calm in Hawaii right now. Probably going to change any minute now.
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Hilo bay doesnt seem to be dropping
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CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
... IMPACT ...
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53787
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Son is good in Maui -- got way up! Said he'll send a pic.

Daughter-in-law stuck in high-rise near beach, Hilo, I think, due to blasted manager; they waited too long, barricades up. Good thing I can't get my hands around his throat...

My son is texting her now to practice a little civil disobedience and move the barricades so they can drive up-land (if barricades aren't guarded)...okay, CNN is showing Hilo, looks like a lot of it is pretty high up...fingers crossed, prayers said...

and I'll shut up while we all watch unless I hear something important.

I can't thank you all enough... and 'nuff said.


This is part of the protocol. Called "vertical evacuation." That's how they evac the tourists in the beachfront hotels. There are so few roads. This is not like a hurricane evac. CD managers over there are well-organized and have been through this before. Is your DIL in Hilo or on Maui? Any case, take heart. They've had plenty of warning. She will be okay.
:)
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Wave arrival estimates:
11:05 a.m. Hilo, 11:20 a.m. Maui, 11:35 a.m. Oahu, 11:50 a.m. Kauai, 9-12 ft. surge estimates.

All state parks closed. Hilo airport closed at 6 a.m. All vessels are asked to evacuate state harbors. City bus service is running with additional busses available. USPS delivery WILL commence for areas outside of emergency zones. All ILH events postponed. OIA events will not proceed. Kamehameha Ho'olaule'a will proceed. Unconferenz 2010 postponed. HMSA closed, emergency only.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240

Wave arrival estimates:
11:05 a.m. Hilo, 11:20 a.m. Maui, 11:35 a.m. Oahu, 11:50 a.m. Kauai, 9-12 ft. surge estimates.

All state parks closed. Hilo airport closed at 6 a.m. All vessels are asked to evacuate state harbors. City bus service is running with additional busses available. USPS delivery WILL commence for areas outside of emergency zones. All ILH events postponed. OIA events will not proceed. Kamehameha Ho'olaule'a will proceed. Unconferenz 2010 postponed. HMSA closed, emergency only.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
As it approaches, the water will leave the beaches quickly. Prayers to those in the path.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


A simultaneous 17-metre drop and 21-metre spike. Are these real?!


I am afraid so. This could be worse than they thought. These buoys are state of the art. It's not likely that it's a fluke.
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this is nuts
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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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