TEPCO says new leak has spilt 20,000 litres of radioactive coolant at the stricken Fukushima Nuclear Plant: It is now almost 7 years since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared everything is “under control,”

Friday, 17 January 2020

Radiation-contaminated debris and soil are stockpiled for disposal near the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s embattled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Tokyo Electric Power Company says coolant has seeped out from an underground frozen soil wall built around its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The frozen soil wall came into operation four years ago. It was built to keep groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings. They were damaged by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdowns.

The utility firm, TEPCO, says it found coolant leaking at three locations from components that connect pipes in the wall. The company had noticed a reduction in coolant in its tank earlier this month and was searching for the cause. TEPCO says it believes 20,000 of 1.1 million litres of the coolant has leaked, but that this will not affect the operation of the wall. The company says it will replace the components in the wall and repair another leak that was found in December. nhk.org

Almost six years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe famously declared the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant “under control,” today it remains anything but.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) continues to face difficulties in dealing with water contaminated with radioactive substances at its crippled plant. About 18,000 tons of highly contaminated water remains accumulated in reactor buildings and other places. Abe made the  “under control,” declaration in September 2013 while Tokyo was bidding to win the 2020 Summer Games.
In reality, however, the situation is not under control even now.

In a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in June, one of its members, Nobuhiko Ban, told TEPCO officials, “I want you to show whether you have a prospect (for the reduction of contaminated water) or you have given up.” The water level did not fall as planned in an area of a basement floor at the No. 3 reactor building for two months. Asked why the level did not drop, TEPCO officials offered only vague explanations in the meeting. Ban made the remark out of irritation. Highly contaminated water that has accumulated in reactor buildings and turbine buildings is a major concern at the Fukushima plant. In addition to water that was used to cool melted nuclear fuel at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, groundwater also has flowed into those buildings through cracks. The concentration of radioactive substances in highly contaminated water is about 100 million times that of the contaminated water that has been processed and stored in tanks.

Immediately after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant in March 2011, highly contaminated water leaked into the sea through underground tunnels. As a result, radioactive substances whose concentrations were higher than allowable standards were detected in fish and other seafood. After the nuclear accident, about 100,000 tons of water initially accumulated in the basement portions of buildings that housed the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 reactors and buildings that accommodated turbines. TEPCO has removed groundwater through wells.

It also created “frozen walls” in the ground by freezing soil around the buildings.
Using those methods, the company has decreased the flow of groundwater into the buildings and, as a result, the level of highly contaminated water has dropped there. Nine years since the nuclear accident occurred, the volume of highly contaminated water in the buildings has fallen to 18,000 tons. TEPCO aims to reduce the volume further to 6,000 tons by the end of fiscal 2020. Fairwinds.org

(Click to Source)


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Thousands Of Tons Of Radioactive Fukushima Water To Be Dumped In Pacific As Independent Testing Banned

The Japanese government is refusing to allow independent testing of contaminated water found in the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, which has been leaking ever since a tsunami and earthquake devastatingly hit the facility in March 2011.

The decision not to allow independent testing was allegedly arrived to over “safety concerns” in relation to the storing and transportation of the radioactive water.

Other organizations are not permitted to carry out tests of the water…If we are going to allow external organizations to test the treated water then we would need to go through very strict procedures and due process because that water is contaminated. If it is taken outside this facility, then there need to be strict regulations. – Hideki Yagi, a spokesman for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)

However, independent environmental groups including Greenpeace and Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre (CNIC) assert that this is indeed a cover-up against the true level of contamination in the water used to cool three damaged reactors.

There would need to be lots of checks because there is a lot of water, but right now it looks very much to the outside world that they are trying to cover something up – as they have a long history of doing. – Hideyuki Ban, co-director of CNIC

Although the contaminated water is deemed too dangerous to test for potency, the government of Japan and TEPCO both regard it as not too dangerous to dump into the Pacific Ocean as they likely plan to do as soon as their storage tanks reach maximum capacity in the summer of 2020.

The amount of contaminated water at Fukushima is astounding. On top of an undisclosed amount, which we still don’t know the potency of, ground water continues to seep into the basement levels of the facility with an additional 120 tons accumulating every day, according to the London Telegraph.

The decision not to allow third-party testing of the contaminated water at Fukushima is not only causing the public to lose faith in the government’s ability to safely manage emergencies, but whether Japanese citizens can trust them to tell the truth about the dangers they face as a country.

Tepco has lost trust across society in Japan as well as in the international community, including in South Korea, and providing samples for analysis would be in their best interests – unless they are covering something up…so providing samples that could verify their reports on content would go some way to demonstrating their commitment to transparency. – Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist for Greenpeace

In 2016, the Japan government estimated the cost of the Fukushima disaster to be about 21.5 trillion yen ($188 billion), nearly doubled compared to their previous projection of 11 trillion yen in 2013.

In 2012, exactly one year after the disaster, 79.6% of polled Japanese citizens favored phasing out nuclear power altogether. This led to the then-prime minister Yoshihiko Noda announcing a plan to phase out Japanese nuclear power completely by 2040. However, current prime minister Shinzo Abe walked back that statement in 2016, announcing that Japan “cannot do without” nuclear power as anywhere from 3.1-4.7% of Japan’s electricity is supplied by nuclear. By 2030, the government that number to be between 20-22%.

Since Abe’s government took power in late 2012, they have given the green light to several nuclear power plants, including the Onagawa reactor which was also damaged by the earthquake on March 11, 2011.

They claim that the disposal of Fukushima’s radioactive water will have only a “small” impact on humans, but how do we know that’s true without independent testing? How do we know what impact the radiation will have on marine life, fish, and in turn, humans who eat fish caught near the dumping site?

The Japanese government and nuclear companies want you to believe that what they’re doing is completely safe, “but that has to be full of caveats because the way that information has been presented is confusing and not transparent so ordinary people do not understand and cannot make informed decisions,” says Azby Brown, lead researcher for Safecast Japan, a Tokyo-based group which monitors radiation. (Click to Source)


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Human workers forced to work in highly radioactive area to topple dangerous Fukushima exhaust stack

Sunday, December 29, 2019 by: Tracey Watson

(Natural News) Back in March of 2011, the province of Fukushima, Japan, was struck by a series of devastating events that culminated in one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. The area was hit first by a massive earthquake, and then by a 15-metre (50-foot) tsunami. That massive tsunami, in turn, disabled the power supply and cooling functions at the Daiichi nuclear power plant, which finally triggered a nuclear accident on the 11th of March that was rated a 7 on the INES scale. Four nuclear reactors were destroyed, and clean-up work has been ongoing ever since.

Experts estimate that the task of decommissioning the plant and cleaning up the site will take upwards of four decades and cost billions of yen to complete.

In August of this year, news agencies reported that work had commenced at the plant to dismantle a highly contaminated, unstable exhaust stack. Before the disaster, the 110m (360 foot) high exhaust stack was used for the No. 1 and 2 reactors, and dismantling it is seen as a crucial part of the decommissioning work.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), responsible for getting the cleanup work done, decided that the dismantling work would have to be done via crane and remote control because of the incredibly high levels of radiation surrounding the stack. Even at the base of the stack radiation levels have been deemed to be too high for humans to work in.

Then, on December 3, Japanese newspapers began reporting that people had nonetheless been sent up to the top of the exhaust stack to cut the cylinder body with power tools, after the cutting device used to cut the cylinder via remote control had become unstable and emergency action had to be taken. (Related: Fukushima — Storage tanks are full, radioactive waste to be dumped straight into the ocean.)

Workers exposed to extremely high levels of radiation

As reported by Strange Sounds, after the robotic remote-controlled equipment failed, humans had to be sent in to assist with cutting the cylinder body:

Some weird stuff is happening at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant right now. While Japan has decided to drop radioactive water in the ocean, Tepco sent humans to repair where robots failed. …

The workers at the top of 110-m high Fukushima Dai-ichi vent stack were exposed to an estimated 810 ?Sv, making this action an emergency response.

This, despite the fact that officials had assured workers and the public that radiation levels would not exceed 300 ?Sv. (Related: Is Fukushima radiation affecting the West Coast? Consider these signs.)

According to Japanese sources, work initially commenced late in the afternoon of the 3rd, when three workers were lifted by crane to the cutting device located at the top of the cylinder. The workers were busy for around three hours, all the while wearing protective masks to cover their faces. Work had to be suspended in the evening over concerns about strong winds that had come up.

The following morning, another three workers climbed up to the cutting device where they refueled the generator. Within 4.5 hours, exposure levels had increased to 0.47 mSv.

TEPCO plans to cut the cylinder body of the exhaust pipe into sections of between 2 and 4 meters at a time, and estimates that its size will have halved by March 2020.

Since TEPCO officials were initially adamant that humans should not be involved in this work at all because of the dangerously high radiation levels involved, it can only be hoped that the robotic equipment will not fail again before the project is completed. Stay abreast of the latest developments at Fukushima.news.  (Click to Source)

Sources for this article include:

StrangeSounds.org

Genpatsu.Tokyo-NP.co.jp

Asahi.com

NSEnergyBusiness.com


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Japan gov’t proposes Fukushima water release to sea or air

 

Japan’s economy and industry ministry has proposed gradually releasing or allowing to evaporate massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

The proposal made Monday to a body of experts is the first time the ministry has narrowed down the options available to just releasing the water. It is meant to tackle a huge headache for the plant’s operator as storage space runs out, despite fears of a backlash from the public.

Nearly nine years after the 2011 triple meltdowns at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the radioactive water is still accumulating as the water is needed to keep the cores cooled and minimize leaks from the damaged reactors.

For years, a government panel has been discussing ways to handle the crisis and to reassure fishermen and residents who fear potential health impacts from releasing the radioactive water as well as harm to the region’s image.

In Monday’s draft proposal, the ministry suggests a controlled release of the water into the Pacific, allowing the water to evaporate, or a combination of the two methods.

The ministry said a controlled release into the sea was the best option because it would “stably dilute and disperse” the water from the plant using a method endorsed by the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. It also would facilitate monitoring of radiation levels in the environment.

Releasing the entire amount of water over one year would only increase radiation levels to thousands of times less than the impact humans usually get from the natural environment.

In the proposal, the ministry noted that evaporation has been a tested and proven method following the 1979 core meltdown at Three Mile Island, where it took two years to get rid of 87,000 tons of tritium water.

The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., have been unable to get rid of the more than 1 million tons of radioactive water that has been treated and stored due to opposition from local fishermen and residents fearing further damage to Fukushima’s reputation and recovery. The utility has managed to cut down the volume of water by pumping up groundwater from upstream and installing a costly underground “ice wall” around the reactor buildings to keep the water from running into the area.

TEPCO says it has space to store only up to 1.37 million tons and only until the summer of 2022, raising speculation that the water may be released after the Tokyo Olympics next summer. TEPCO and experts say the tanks get in the way of decommissioning work and that they need to free up the space to build storage for debris removed and other radioactive materials. The tanks also could spill out their contents in a major earthquake, tsunami or flood.

Experts, including those at the International Atomic Energy Agency who have inspected the Fukushima plant, say the controlled release of the water into the ocean is the only realistic option, though it will take decades.

A government panel earlier compiled a report that listed five options, including releasing the water into the sea and evaporation. The three others included underground burial and an injection into offshore deep geological layers.

The panel has also discussed possibly storing the radioactive water in large industrial tanks outside the plant, but the ministry proposal ruled that out, citing risks of leakage in case of corrosion, tsunamis or other disasters and accidents, as well as the technical challenge of transporting the water elsewhere. (Click to Source)

Last Update: Monday, 23 December 2019 KSA 08:17 – GMT 05:17
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The Moment of Truth for the Oroville Dam-New Data Indicates the Coming Failure

Submitted by Dave Hodges on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 – 12:10.

I spoke with Paul Preston late last night and he indicated that some people, downstream from the Oroville Dam have packed up and left because of the anticipated dam failure. I asked Paul Preston, “How close is the dam to failing?” Preston replied “It could go by this weekend”.. His comments, in part, are based upon the dire weather forecast in which intense rainfall is forecasted between Wednesday May 15 and Sunday, May 19th. This is significant because this could greatly add to the inflow and the outflow data which shows an extreme imbalance. And when we consider that the dam is 12 feet from overtopping, the danger multiplies exponentially. When any structure takes on more water, whether it be a ship or a dam, it is going to fail/sink.

Paul Preston and myself had an intense conversation about the timing of my next article on the Oroville Dam. We both decided that putting out this progress report on the conditions related to the dam was prudent because it could save lives, before it is too late.

This article is a progress report. However, it is also a warning to the residents in the Central Valley which lie below the Oroville Dam and are in the direct path of the torrent of water that will be released when the dam fails. Some are leaving and some more will undoubtedly leave before it is too late. However, we many unsuspecting potential victims that are oblivious to the present set of conditions. This article is aimed at getting the present state of the Dam in front of as many people in the Central Valley as possible.

NO SECURITY AT DAM: Grouting to Stop the Leaks at Dam

Paul Preston has previously related to me that the California State Government has a financial motivation to see the dam fail based on the following:

  • The State of California is broke and the state is quickly reaching a state of insolvency.
  • If the Oroville Dam fails, the state will instantly quality for over a billion dollars in federal disaster aid.
  • The state has motive to see the dam fail.

Based on these facts, one can understand why when security of the Oroville Dam disappeared for 32 hours, foul play would be suspected. We have already seen the state dynamite the earthen sides of the dam and the constant flow of trucks and their subsequent vibrations are of concern to the locals in that they believe that the activity could contribute to the failure of the dam. Subsequently, tension and emotions are running high.

The Data Speaks for Itself

The following chart, as one can clearly see, is from the State of California. In the preliminary comments, one can see that data reporting is problematic when it comes to the Oroville Dam. However, obtained records, listed below the comments indicates a serious problem what will eventually result in overtopping the dam. This in turn will lead to the ultimate failure of the spillway and the emergency spillway and the dam will fail.

I am told that the California data which speaks to “inflow” and “outflow” are being purposely understated. However, even if we use California’s state government figures, one can only conclude that disaster is coming and with the water level only 12 feet from the top, disaster is coming sooner rather than later.

Please note the highlighted columns. One can clearly see, that within the last 24 hours, the dam is clearly taking on more water than it can release. And with a compromised spillway, the failure of the dam will be hastened. Remember, the latest weather forecast is calling for heavy rain between Wednesday and Sunday.

(ORO)

Elevation: 900.0′ · FEATHER R basin · Operator: CA Dept of Water Resources/O&M Oroville Field Division

Station comments:

04/16/2019 Transmission equipment repaired. Hourly data is back online as of 4/15/2019 10:00.
02/23/2017 Outflow from Oroville includes all releases from the Oroville Dam (i.e.: Hyatt, spillway, low flow outlet), while River Release (RIV REL) pertains to the Oroville Complex as a whole which includes any releases from the Diversion Dam gates and Thermalito Afterbay River Outlet.
04/15/2019 Beginning 4/12/2019 16:00, reservoir elevation and storage are not transmitting correctly. Data is being flagged automatically.

Query executed Tuesday at 05:06:54

Provisional data, subject to change.

Select a sensor type for a plot of data.


Hourly Data

RAIN

INCHES

PDT RES ELE

FEET

STORAGE

AF

OUTFLOW

CFS

INFLOW

CFS

RIV REL

CFS

BAT VOL

VOLTS

05/13/2019 18:00 889.04 3,367,363 9,479 11,286 7,496 42.38 13.4
05/13/2019 19:00 889.05 3,367,516 9,393 11,673 7,497 42.38 13.4
05/13/2019 20:00 889.05 3,367,516 9,557 11,270 7,496 42.38 13.4
05/13/2019 21:00 889.05 3,367,516 9,464 10,714 7,496 42.38 13.4
05/13/2019 22:00 889.05 3,367,516 9,511 9,597 7,496 42.38 13.4
05/13/2019 23:00 889.05 3,367,516 9,541 9,594 7,518 42.38 13.4
05/14/2019 00:00 889.05 3,367,516 9,598 9,598 7,497 42.38 13.4
05/14/2019 01:00 889.06 3,367,669 9,596 9,625 7,518 42.38 13.4
05/14/2019 02:00 889.07 3,367,822 9,392 10,548 7,517 42.38 13.4
05/14/2019 03:00 889.09 3,368,127 9,693 11,467 7,517 42.38 13.4
05/14/2019 04:00 889.09 3,368,127 9,686 11,284 7,496 42.38 13.4
05/14/2019 05:00

Latest Photos From Paul Preston’s Agenda 21’s Radio Website

The latest photos provided by the California State Department of Water Resources shows increased leakage on the main Oroville Dam spillway. Two photos taken on the morning of May 12, 2019 show overnight leaks have NOT gone away but increased over the last week. Attempts by the DWR to use various injection solutions have failed to deter the water behind the spillway plates..

oroville
Photo provided by DWR May 12, 2019 from the upper spillway gates of the Oroville dam.
oroville
Photo provided by DWR May 12, 2019 of the Oroville dam main spillway.
oroville
Photo provided by DWR May 11, 2019 of the Oroville dam main spillway.

The photo above provided by the DWR was taken on the afternoon of May 11, 2019 shows less leakage. This is due to the afternoon sun drying out the leaks.   

The Risk of Inaction

A policy decision has been with regard to the threat. Every time an article is published on the CSS site, about the condition of the Oroville Dam, until failure, the dangers will be published along with any new information. The following represents the risk associated with a catastrophic dam failure.

  1. A breach of the dam would release a 30 foot wall of water traveling at 75 MPH.
  2. The escaping water would reach Sacramento within 45 minutes (long estimate).
  3. Over one million people lie in the path of the water.
  4. After the dam fails, there is not time to evacuate the population.
  5. Thirty percent of all American retail crosses this area from ports on the Pacific Ocean. The effect on the economy would be catastrophic.
  6. The Central Valley is one of the most bountiful agricultural areas in the world. No crops would grow for years. Combined with the Midwest flooding, famines will result and extreme food inflation.
  7. America would teeter upon collapse.

Above all else, lives are most important and the entire region should be evacuated. If the crisis is being overblown, why are there hundreds of trucks at the dam? Why are they working on the dam night and day. This is not normal maintenance and the data strongly indicates a disaster is at hand. Evacuation should be immediate. (Click to Source)

 

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Very unusual March-like storm to blast California with drenching rain, mountain snow and severe weather

 

After sunshine and pleasant weather grace California early this week, a powerful storm system will barrel into the state during the middle to latter part of the week. The return of a March-like weather pattern, driven by a large dip in the jet stream, will be the culprit for driving this rare storm into the West Coast. Another unseasonal Atmospheric River will cause chaos in California.

California storm refresh
A storm looms off the West Coast early Tuesday morning, May 14, 2019. (Satellite/NOAA)

Heavy rain

Rain will first move into Northern California on Wednesday before overspreading the rest of the state by Wednesday night and Thursday.

By the time the storm moves into the Four Corners region later on Friday, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and parts of Northern and coastal California will receive between 1 to 3 inches of rain. The hardest-hit locations may receive as much as 4 or 5 inches of rain.

Cali Storm 3 pm
Between 1 and 2 inches of rain is expected in San Francisco, with 0.50 to 1 inch of rain possible in Los Angeles.
San Diego may even receive up to 0.50 of an inch of rain from this system.

Even parts of the San Joaquin Valley will have to deal with showers and thunderstorms from Wednesday night into Thursday that could produce localized heavy downpours and some incidents of small hail.

It is extremely unusual for a storm system to bring this amount of rainfall across the state this late in the spring season.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Ryan Maue

@RyanMaue

Strong late-season storm to impact California by Thursday.
Unusually powerful jet-stream + atmospheric river to provide heavy rain to most of the state + heavy Sierra snow.

The dry season — not so much.

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Average rainfall during the month of May ranges from just under 0.75 of an inch in Sacramento to just under 0.50 of an inch in San Francisco and Fresno. San Diego typically receives around 0.10 of an inch for the month.

These cities, as well as many other locations across the state, will receive two to three times their normal monthly rainfall in the span of only two or three days later this week.

Travel and flash flooding

Travel will turn slippery with numerous delays on the roadways after the recent stretch of generally dry weather. Motorists traveling on Interstates 5 and 80, as well as secondary roadways, should allow extra time to reach their destination and reduce speed to lessen the risk of hydroplaning.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Ryan Maue

@RyanMaue

Replying to @RyanMaue

Not sure about the May climatology / records for rainfall, but this seems like quite a lot heading thru middle-May.

Rainfall 3-5″ especially along coast … and up to 5-feet of snow in the Sierra.

ECMWF map update (12z — accumulations thru 10-days)

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Lengthy flight delays and cancellations both into and out of the major hubs along the West coast will also be likely, and some flights may have to be rerouted as gusty winds accompany the rain.

In addition, flash flooding of streets and poor drainage areas, as well as smaller streams and creeks, will be a danger to anybody living in flood-prone areas.

Cold temperature

Abnormally chilly air will accompany the clouds and rain later this week, with high temperatures struggling to reach the lower to middle 60s F across the Central Valley on Thursday. Normal highs during the middle of May are in the 80s.

View image on Twitter

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San Diego County Water Authority@sdcwa

‘Rare May storm’
A powerful storm system will barrel into California during the middle to latter part of the week. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada and parts of Northern and coastal California will receive between 1 to 3 inches of rain. https://bit.ly/2JD7lUQ #cawx #cawater

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Showers may even reach Death Valley on Thursday and keep high temperatures only in the upper 70s after they soar above the century mark early this week.

Snow

Snow levels are forecast to drop as low as 6,000-7,000 feet in the Sierra Nevadaby Thursday and Thursday night, and up to a foot of snow is possible at the highest elevations.

View image on Twitter

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NWS Sacramento

@NWSSacramento

It is going to feel more like winter by the middle to end of the week. Snow is expected in the Sierra late Wednesday through Thursday night. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued above 6000 feet. #CAwx

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Motorists traveling across I-80’s Donner Pass may even have to deal with snow on the roadway for a brief time if snowfall rates become high enough.

Severe Storms

In addition to drenching rain and mountain snow, there is the potential for a few heavy, gusty and perhaps locally severe thunderstorms to be spawned, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

The greatest impact from the storms will be for hail and strong wind gusts. However, on occasion, severe thunderstorms can produce brief tornadoes and waterspouts.

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NWS Sacramento

@NWSSacramento

Wet weather returns mid to late this week. Here is an early projection on how much rain could fall through early Saturday. Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to the event. #cawx

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The potential for severe thunderstorms will extend well inland beyond California as the storm moves along to portions of Nevada, Arizona and Utah at the end of the week,” Sosnowski said.

With the copious amounts of rain and blast of chilly air ahead, water temperatures in streams and lakes will continue to run low well into June. Anybody attempting to cool off in the state’s waterways when heat returns will need to be aware of the dangers of cold water shock.

Good News

The heavy rain and mountain snow will have some benefits in the long run heading into the summer and fall.

This late-season storm will help prevent a shortage of the water supply during the summer and fall across the state,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

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Andy Oz@AndyOz2

California Drought Update May 2019

There is no drought & every dam in California is FULL. #ClimateCatastrophe #scam
Fake #climate scientists who predicted never ending drought look worse than crank astrologists.

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Any early fire threat will also be minimized since the rain and cool air will help to keep the ground and vegetation across the state saturated and prevent it from drying out quickly.

Strong late-season storm to impact California by Thursday.   Unusually powerful jet-stream + atmospheric river to provide heavy rain to most of the state + heavy Sierra snow.
Strong late-season storm to impact California by Thursday. Unusually powerful jet-stream + atmospheric river to provide heavy rain to most of the state + heavy Sierra snow. via Twitter

The March-like weather pattern shows no signs of ending in the near future, with at least two more storms slated to barrel into the state from this weekend into the middle of next week. (Click to Source)

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There may be a volcano forming under New England, scientists warn

screen-shot-2017-12-19-at-8-25-36-am

If you’re looking for a volcano there’s a number of places you’d probably check first, like Hawaii or even Yellowstone National Park, but new data suggests you might want to turn your attention to the northeastern United States. Researchers from Rutgers University just revealed that a large swelling of hot rock is bubbling up under New England, and it may be the first hints that a new volcano is forming under our feet.

The findings are incredibly interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which because the east coast of the United States isn’t exactly a hotbed of potentially dangerous geological activity. Despite that, the data is undeniable, and it seems as though there is definitely something rising up from deep within the Earth in the region.

“The upwelling we detected is like a hot air balloon, and we infer that something is rising up through the deeper part of our planet under New England,” lead author Vadim Levin of Rutgers’ Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences says. “It is not Yellowstone (National Park)-like, but it’s a distant relative in the sense that something relatively small – no more than a couple hundred miles across – is happening.”

The research, which was published in the journal Geology, utilized data from the EarthScope program. EarthScope gathers a wealth of information from thousands of different monitoring devices positioned all over the United States. It’s the largest-scale seismic measurement system around, and it is proving its ability to provide scientists with incredible insights.

EarthScope’s measurements show that the upwelling is occurring deep beneath parts of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. If a volcano were to eventually form, there’s really no telling where it would would actually emerge, but the process would take a long, long time.

The would-be volcano growing under New England would take potentially millions of years to actually form, and because of that Levin says that there’s no reason for current generations to worry about waking up to a neighborhood covered in lava. “It will likely take millions of years for the upwelling to get where it’s going,” Levin explains. “The next step is to try to understand how exactly it’s happening.” (Click to Source)

A Mysterious Blob of Hot Rock Is Building Up Under America’s Northeast

578-vermont-blob-1

Something is rising from the depths.

PETER DOCKRILL
18 DEC 2017

A vast mass of hot rock is welling up underneath Vermont and extending into other subterranean regions below New England, new research shows.

Scientists used a network of thousands of seismic measurement devices in the largest geological study of its kind, detecting the enormous blob upwelling under Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and possibly elsewhere.

“The upwelling we detected is like a hot air balloon, and we infer that something is rising up through the deeper part of our planet under New England,” says geophysicist Vadim Levin from Rutgers University – New Brunswick.

Since New England doesn’t have any active volcanoes, the huge build-up is thought to be a geologically recent phenomenon, although in this case that means it could have slowly but steadily been growing for tens of millions of years.

As for whether the mass could one day erupt, that’s the way these things go, the team says – although there’s no point in panicking, since such an eventuality is still a long, long way off from happening.

“It will likely take millions of years for the upwelling to get where it’s going,” Levin explains.

“The next step is to try to understand how exactly it’s happening.”

The team analysed the blob using Earthscope – a multi-institutional network of instruments monitoring seismic movements rippling throughout the North American continent.

Buried in two years of data, the team zeroed in on New England, having previously identified a thermal anomaly that was hundreds of degrees Celsius hotter than its surroundings in the upper mantle about 200 kilometres (124.2 miles) below the surface, and measuring approximately 400 kilometres (248.5 miles) in diameter.

“It is a very large and relatively stable region,” says Levin, “but we found an irregular pattern with rather abrupt changes in it.”

Using new readings of seismic waves travelling through Earth’s underground, the team suggests the blob is welling directly under central Vermont, but it extends into western New Hampshire and also western Massachusetts.

The researchers acknowledge the mass may travel beyond these states, although they’re unable to tell from the data they used in this study. That said, as enormous as this blob is, compared to other volcanic masses churning under the continental US, it’s no giant.

“It is not Yellowstone (National Park)-like, but it’s a distant relative in the sense that something relatively small – no more than a couple hundred miles across – is happening,” explains Levin.

There’s still a lot to learn about this mass and its behaviour, but the researchers say their findings challenge what we think we know about geological conditions under this Atlantic margin of North America – and how passive we wrongly assumed it to be.

“[W]e did not expect to find abrupt changes in physical properties beneath this region,” says Levin, “and the likely explanation points to a much more dynamic regime underneath this old, geologically quiet area.”

As dynamic as it looks to be, this rising blob of hot rock still has a long journey ahead if it wants to one day reach the surface and graduate to being a proper volcano.

Whether that’s an actual possibility, nobody really can say for sure just yet.

“Maybe it didn’t have time yet, or maybe it is too small and will never make it,” Levin told National Geographic.

“Come back in 50 million years, and we’ll see what happens.”

The findings are reported in Geology.   (Click to Source)

Massive, 3-mile-wide ‘potentially hazardous asteroid’ will zoom past Earth tomorrow

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An enormous, 3-mile-wide “potentially hazardous asteroid” is hurtling toward Earth and is slated to zoom past the planet tomorrow, but scientists say there is no need to worry.

Known as 3200 Phaethon, the space rock orbits the Sun and is expected to come the closest it has come to Earth since 1974, 6.4-million miles away, according to a statement from NASA.

There is no chance the asteroid will hit Earth and won’t come this close again until 2093. Despite that, it has been classified as a “Potentially Hazardous Asteroid” by the Minor Planet Center, NASA added in the statement.

NASA said that the asteroid is “potentially detectable at Goldstone [a NASA communications complex] for about three weeks and tracks are scheduled on ten days between Dec. 11-21.” The government agency said that it will also remain visible at the Arecibo observatory, located in Puerto Rico, between Dec. 15 and Dec. 19.

3200 Phaethon is thought to cause the annual Geminid meteor shower, which this year reached its peak this past Thursday.

Astronomers almost unanimously agree that no asteroid, particularly those of the near-Earth variety, will hit our planet in our lifetime. However, if one of this size were to hit us, it could cause some serious damage.

Boston University astronomy professor Michael Mendillo told Time that 3200 Phaethon “would be this kind of object that would cause a catastrophic collision, should there be one,” before adding that it is highly unlikely.

Scientists have said they “can’t rule out” a potential collision with the asteroid 99942 Apophis, but that is not slated to come very close to Earth until 2029.

This is not the first time in recent memory an asteroid of this size whizzes past Earth.

In August, a 2.7-mile wide asteroid dubbed Florence passed by Earth at a safe distance of 4.4 million miles, roughly 18 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

In October, 2012 TC4, a space rock estimated to measure between 50 and 100 feet, passed safely past Earth by 26,000 miles and was used to test Earth’s international warning network.

Plans to save humanity

If an asteroid were to ever threaten the Earth, NASA has a plan to fight off “possible life-threatening” asteroids.

In June, the agency unveiled a video using 3-D modeling techniques and one of its supercomputers in an effort to produce simulations on a variety of asteroid impact scenarios. This allows first responders and other agencies to identify threats and make better decisions should an event occur in the future.

The work is being done by experts on the Asteroid Threat Assessment Project at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The efforts are in conjunction with NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

The research has been shared with a number of different parties, including university scientists, national research labs and different government agencies.

The work follows an asteroid collision in 2013 in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. The blast from the asteroid injured more than 1,200 people and damaged building 58 miles away.

Separately, in 2016, NASA opened a new office to track asteroids and comets that come too close to Earth, known as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

The PDCO formalizes the agency’s existing program for detecting and tracking Near-Earth Objects, known as NEOs.

NASA has been studying NEOs since the 1970s. According to the PDCO, NASA-funded survey projects have found more than 95 percent of the known catalog of over 15,000 NEOs. (Click to Source)