5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Salt Lake City, area, unnerving residents by Doyle Rice, USA TODAY•Scroll back up to restore default view. A 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Utah on Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, knocking out power and rattling residents already shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic.About 73,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in the Salt Lake City Area, utility Rocky Mountain Power said, but power was being quickly restored in some areas.Some people ran from their homes and into the streets as dishes fell from shelves and pictures from walls. Operations at Salt Lake City International Airport stopped, and the control tower and concourses were evacuated, the airport tweeted. The airport was expected to reopen later Wednesday.The quake also shut down the light rail service for Salt Lake City and its suburbs.People in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada reported feeling the quake.In downtown Salt Lake City, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ iconic Salt Lake Temple sustained minor damage. Gov. Gary Herbert warned people to stay away from downtown Salt Lake City while crews checked for further damage.There were no immediate reports of injuries, Utah Emergency Management spokesman Joe Dougherty said.The quake’s epicenter was located near Magna, Utah, which is just southwest of Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.The earthquake hit a little after 7 a.m. local time. An estimated 2.76 million people likely felt the quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Most residents felt their homes shaking for 10 to 15 seconds.Construction workers look at the rubble from a building after an earthquake March 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City.New father Ryan Jensen, whose baby was born Wednesday morning at Altaview Hospital in West Jordan, Utah, told USA TODAY via text that the „hospital was rocking. Man oh man as if being born in a pandemic wasn’t enough, man that was nerve rattling.” Janis Ferre of Salt Lake City wrote on Facebook: “It sounded as though our house was stretching,” the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
Added Holladay resident John E. Henderson: “It felt like somebody picked up my house and dropped it,” the Tribune said.
It was the largest earthquake in Utah since a 5.9 magnitude quake hit the state in 1992, Utah Emergency Management said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that in general, magnitude 5 or larger earthquakes occur at an average rate of about one every 10 years in this area.
Magnitude 6 or larger earthquakes occur about every 50 years in this area.
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Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Utah earthquake: 5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Utah
Magnitude-5.7 earthquake shakes Salt Lake City, closes airport by Don Jacobson, UPI•March 18 (UPI) — A strong magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck the Salt Lake City area on Wednesday, shaking buildings, closing the airport and cutting power to thousands.The quake was the strongest to hit the city, which sits on a major tectonic fault, since 1992.
|The earthquake caused some structural damage and was followed by multiple aftershocks Wednesday. File Photo by Robin Saville/Pixabay/UPI|
The earthquake struck at 7:14 a.m. and was centered in Magna, about 15 miles west of downtown Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by a series of aftershocks, including one that registered a magnitude of 4.4. Officials warned that more are likely to follow throughout Wednesday.The Utah Division of Emergency Management said homes and businesses shook for 150 miles along the Wasatch Front from Logan to Provo. Utility Rocky Mountain Power said the quake cut power to about 55,000 customers.Salt Lake City International Airport and its control tower were evacuated and closed following the quake.
|Construction workers looks at the rubble from a building after an earthquake Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)|
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert urged residents and workers to stay away from downtown Salt Lake City as crews assessed damage. He also said Utah’s coronavirus hotline was down, as was the Utah Department of Health lab.”I know the last thing we need right now is an earthquake, but here we are, and it sounds like aftershocks are likely,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said. „The city is assessing the situation now and I’ll circle back with an update when I have it. Be safe.”Residents reported scattered minor structural damage to homes and commercial buildings, but no injuries were initially reported.
Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads
With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport would be reduced.
Scientists say that by May, when CO2 emissions are at their peak thanks to the decomposition of leaves, the levels recorded might be the lowest since the financial crisis over a decade ago.
While it is early days, data collected in New York this week suggests that instructions to curb unnecessary travel are having a significant impact.
Traffic levels in the city were estimated to be down 35% compared with a year ago. Emissions of carbon monoxide, mainly due to cars, have fallen by around 50% for a couple of days this week according to researchers at Columbia University.
They have also found that there was a 5-10% drop in CO2 over New York and a solid drop in methane as well.
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Although there are a number of caveats to these findings, they echo the environmental impacts connected to the virus outbreaks in China and in Italy.An analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief suggested there had been a 25% drop in energy use and emissions in China over a two week period. This is likely to lead to an overall fall of about 1% in China’s carbon emissions this year, experts believe.Both China and Northern Italy have also recorded significant falls in nitrogen dioxide, which is related to reduced car journeys and industrial activity. The gas is both a serious air pollutant and a powerful warming chemical.With aviation grinding to a halt and millions of people working from home, a range of emissions across many countries are likely following the same downward path.While people working from home will likely increase the use of home heating and electricity, the curbing of commuting and the general slowdown in economies will likely have an impact on overall emissions.”I expect we will have the smallest increase in May to May peak CO2 that we’ve had in the northern hemisphere since 2009, or even before,” said Prof Róisín Commane, from Columbia University, who carried out the New York air monitoring work.This view is echoed by others in the field, who believe that the shutdown will impact CO2 levels for the whole of this year.”It will depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and how widespread the slowdown is in the economy particularly in the US. But most likely I think we will see something in the global emissions this year,” said Prof Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia.”If it lasts another three of four months, certainly we could see some reduction.”What’s likely to make a major difference to the scale of carbon emissions and air pollution is how governments decide to re-stimulate their economies once the pandemic eases.Back in the 2008-09, after the global financial crash, carbon emissions shot up by 5% as a result of stimulus spending that boosted fossil fuel use.
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In the coming months, governments will have a chance to alter that outcome. They could insist, for instance, that any bailout of airlines would be tied to far more stringent reductions in aviation emissions.”Governments now have to be really cautious on how they re-stimulate their economies, mindful of not locking in fossil fuels again,” said Prof Le Quéré.”They should focus those things that are ready to go that would lower emissions, like renovating buildings, putting in heat pumps and electric chargers. These are not complicated and can be done straight away, they are just waiting for financial incentives.However, some argue that if the pandemic goes on a long time, any stimulus would more likely focus on promoting any economic growth regardless of the impact on the environment.”I certainly think climate could go on the back burner, and in this case, I don’t think there is much hope that stimulus goes to clean energy,” said Prof Glen Peters from the Centre for International Climate Research.”Any stimulus will help those with job losses such as tourism and services. I think this is very different to the global financial crisis. The only silver linings could be to learning new practices to work remotely, and buying a few years of lower growth allowing solar and wind to catch up a bit, though, these may be rather small silver linings.”Follow Matt on Twitter.
Robots deployed at Texas hotel to zap pathogens amid coronavirus outbreak •
The Westin Medical Center Hotel in Houston has become the first hotel in the country to use new ultraviolet light robots to combat germs and pathogens amid the coronavirus outbreak.LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots have been deployed to carry out part of the cleaning process for the hotel in what is now a more effective and quicker way to sanitize rooms after guests check out.The technology used by the robot has previously only been seen in the medical healthcare field, but with the growing demand for disinfections due to coronavirus, the robots are being sent into hotels for the first time.The robot uses an intense UV light to kill bacteria and SARS and MERS, other strains of the coronavirus family, down to the microscopic level. UV light can damage or destroy various types of pathogens and the destructive power of UV light depends on factors such as wavelength and the type of organism the rays are impacting, Melinda Hart, a spokesperson for Xenex Disinfection Services, the technology company that manufactures the robot, told AccuWeather.Research has yet to be published showing that UV light has the same effect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 outbreak. But some experts believe UV light, which primarily comes from the sun, could also kill the strain.”LightStrike pulsed xenon lamps produce a flash of intense germicidal light across the entire disinfecting spectrum delivered in millisecond pulses,” Hart said in an email. „The intense germicidal light created by our robot does four kinds of damage to pathogens (like coronavirus). The primary types of cellular damage caused by pulsed xenon UV are photohydration (pulling water molecules into the DNA that prevents transcription), photo-splitting (breaking the backbone of the DNA), and photodimerization (improper fusing of DNA bases), all of which prevent cell replication.”Hart the technology also induces cell lysis, „an irreversible form of cell death.”There may not be many people traveling these days, with all of the social distancing that’s in effect, but travelers who stay in rooms cleaned with the technology may be able to rest a little more easily.”We disinfected the surfaces of all the bath amenities and we placed it in this bag,” Archit Sanghvi, VP of Westin Houston Medical Center, told KPRC-TV. „So when a guest arrives, they can open it and feel a sense of comfort that this was thoroughly disinfected.”The robot takes only two minutes to clean an area and can even kill certain strains of coronavirus, Dr. Sarah Simmons of Xenex told KTRK-TV.”This technology has been tested against MERS-CoV, which is another coronavirus and we are effective,” said Simmons.Xenex is a San Antonio based company that was founded in 2009 that has since raised more than $90 million for research and development of the robot, according to Xconomoy.”UV light has been used for disinfection for decades,” Hart said. She said the robot was initially designed to clean hospital rooms and deliver a strong enough dose of UV light to kill superbugs.
An outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes expected across central, southern US By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY•An outbreak of severe thunderstorms, which includes the possibility of tornadoes, is forecast to erupt over portions of the central and southern U.S. on Thursday, forecasters warn.This includes strong winds, large hail and a few tornadoes, the Storm Prediction Center said.While much of Wednesday was forecast to be storm-free, a round of severe storms was likely in Texas and Oklahoma after sunset, AccuWeather said. Storms were forecast to „threaten areas from Amarillo to Midland with the full spectrum of severe weather Wednesday evening,” according to AccuWeather meteorologist Kyle Elliott.Later Wednesday night, the storms were forecast to reach Oklahoma City and the western suburbs of Dallas before weakening Thursday morning, AccuWeather said.
More weather news: Blizzard forecast for north-central US
Localized flash flooding was also forecast to occur Wednesday night from parts of northern Texas and Oklahoma northeastward to the Ohio Valley, the Weather Channel predicted.On Thursday, yet another round of severe weather is expected from eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas to Missouri, Illinois, southern Iowa and eastern Nebraska. „Thursday poses the greatest risk of tornadoes of the entire multiple-day severe weather risk this week,” according to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. Cities in the line of fire Thursday include Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky. The severe weather is part of the same storm system that’s forecast to bring blizzard conditions to portions of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska an South Dakota on Thursday.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weather: Severe storms, tornadoes target Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago
Major storm system to spread snow, trigger severe weather across Middle East by Courtney Spamer•It’s been a stormy March for the Middle East, and that trend will continue as another storm threatens the region with disruptive weather later this week.The next storm will emerge from the Mediterranean Sea and move into the Middle East on Friday with another dose of wet weather.”Cold, unstable air moving in with the storm will allow snow to fall across parts of Turkey, as well as showers and thunderstorms from southern Turkey to northern Saudi Arabia,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk.Snowfall accumulations will be highest in the hilly terrain of Turkey, where several centimeters (inches) are possible. Roads, especially those through higher elevations, may become covered in snow.The rain and thunderstorms on the southern side of the storm may be equally as disruptive, especially from northeastern Syria to the coast of the Mediterranean.When thunderstorms do occur, heavy downpours may create ponding on roadways. Lower elevations as well as mountainous and arid locations will be most susceptible.These threats could reach major cities such as Jerusalem, Beirut and Damascus.”While the greatest severe weather threat with any thunderstorms will be lightning, isolated cases of gusty winds and hail are also possible,” added Houk.Should gusty winds arrive ahead of precipitation, the winds could stir up any sand and create a sand or dust storm.As the storm continues to move east through the weekend into Iraq and Iran, it will produce more severe weather for locations around the Persian Gulf.”Bursts of strong winds will accompany thunderstorms sweeping through southern Iran and eastern Saudi Arabai to UAE and northern Oman,” said Houk.In addition to the strong winds, which will be capable of causing damage as well as conjuring up a sandstorm, thunderstorms will be capable of producing flooding downpours and hail across this area into Sunday.Residents in the region should remain alert of the changing weather conditions and have a safe place to seek shelter.The storm will shift to the east early next week, allowing dry conditions to return to the region as a whole. More storminess could return to Turkey by the middle of next week.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.