Tropical Storm Gabrielle Forms – Puerto Rico, Hispaniola Flood Threat Published: Sep 4, 2013, 11:33 PM EDT weather.com Watching Tropical Depression Watching Tropical Depression 7Tropical Storms Hit ‘Brick Wall’Watching Tropical Depression 7Tropical Storm Gabrielle formed Wednesday night in the eastern Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. What began as an invest quickly generated into a tropical depression before strengthening to tropical storm status.Tropical Storm Gabrielle will move northwest over the next few days, with the center tracking near western Puerto Rico and eastern Dominican Republic on Thursday.By Friday, Gabrielle will cross over the northern coast of the Dominican Republic and move back out to sea. However, Gabrielle will create gusty winds, rough surf, and heavy rain as it moves northwest. Interests in the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands should monitor the progress of this storm.Heavy rain, flash flooding and mudslides in parts of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic, in particular) will likely be the largest concern with this system. Widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches with locally higher amounts are possible over the next few days across an area that’s already 2 feet above average for year-to-date rainfall.We have the latest current and forecast maps below.Projected Path
This system’s most significant impact on land areas appears to be the threat of flooding rain in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and parts of Hispanola. See where the heaviest rain is falling now.(MORE: Flood Alerts)
Report details potential tsunami disruptions to California’s economy and coastal communitiesBy Alicia Chang, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – 8 hours agoView PhotoFILE – In this March 11, 2011 file photo, boats collide with one another after a …LOS ANGELES, Calif. – If a monster earthquake struck off Alaska’s coast, tsunami waves would rush toward California, crippling the nation’s busiest port complex and flooding coastal communities, a report released Wednesday suggests.The potential impacts, based on a hypothetical magnitude-9.1 jolt off the Alaskan peninsula, were detailed by a team led by the U.S. Geological Survey to help emergency responders prepare.Tsunamis are a rare but real threat in California. After the 2011 Japan disaster, tsunami waves raced across the Pacific and damaged boats and docks in the commercial fishing village of Crescent City.Scientists said a closer offshore quake would create more havoc. The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could be shuttered for at least two days because of strong currents, potentially losing $1.2 billion in business. The Oakland Airport would be flooded. Coastal communities would face mass evacuations, the report said.Coastal planners held meetings this week around the state to digest the information and review their evacuation plans.Under the scenario, it would take about four hours for tsunami waves to crash into communities near the Oregon state line and about six hours to reach San Diego — theoretically, allowing time for people to flee to higher ground. The force of the waves would sink boats docked in marinas and damage harbours.This „helps them understand what a bad tsunami can be,” said USGS seismologist Lucy Jones.The team began work on the scenario before the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck Japan in March 2011 and triggered a tsunami. It went back to the drawing board after seeing the toll on Crescent City and other coastal cities. The group focused only on California, even though a powerful offshore Alaska quake would affect the West Coast.Patrick Corcoran, an Oregon State University expert on earthquake and tsunami hazards, praised the scenario for being realistic. But he said it’s a challenge to prepare people for a rare disaster.”People just go into freak-out mode” when past tsunamis have hit the U.S., said Corcoran, who had no role in the report.The latest scenario is similar to a quake exercise released several years ago designed to prepare California residents for the „Big One” on the San Andreas Fault. Unlike the quake report that estimated 1,800 casualties, scientists did not include a death toll this time since they could not predict how evacuations would be handled during a tsunami.Since 1812, the California coast has seen only a handful of tsunamis with waves higher than 3 feet. The deadliest occurred in 1964 when a magnitude-9.2 quake in Alaska triggered tsunami waves that killed 12 people in Northern California._Follow Alicia Chang at: http://twitter.com/SciWriAlicia
Scorpion Is Gondwana’s Oldest Land AnimalBy By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer | LiveScience.com – 6 hours agoView PhotoA 360-million-year-old fossilized scorpion stinger is evidence of the oldest land …View PhotoThe fossilized pincers from the oldest scorpion found in the former Gondwana sup …A fierce predator with a huge stinger and long pincers is the oldest land-animal fossil ever found on the former Gondwana supercontinent, a new study reports.The 360-million-year-old scorpion was discovered in a spectacular fossil deposit in South Africa at Waterloo Farm, near Grahamstown. Until now, the only evidence of ancient creepy crawlies on land came from Laurasia, the giant land mass north of Gondwana.The fossil confirms that invertebrate animals, such as scorpions, colonized both Gondwana and Laurasia during the Devonian period. At the time, the two supercontinents were separated by the Tethys Ocean. Researchers had spotted the same trees and plants, as well as similar fish, on both supercontinents, but scorpions and other land-living animals were confined to Laurasia.The discovery also extends the range of ancient land animals. Parts of Gondwana crossed the South Pole in the Late Devonian (Earth’s climate was warmer than it is now), while most of Laurasia rested in the warmer tropics. The shallow sea where the scorpion bits were buried and preserved in black mud sat at 80 degrees South latitude. [Have There Always Been Continents?]”What we’re seeing is the Late Devonian ecosystem was not just along the tropical belt, but also extending to the high latitudes. [This] is quite important, because this is actually the environment in which early tetrapods are thought to have emerged around the latest Devonian,” said Robert Gess, a paleontologist at Wits University in South Africa, who discovered the scorpion fossil.Tetrapods were the first vertebrates to walk on land. Scorpions, millipedes and other insects were their likely food source, Gess said. „The conditions for when these creatures first emerged were global,” he told LiveScience. „That’s quite a big piece of evidence.”Only two parts of the newly discovered scorpion — a pincer and a tail — were recovered from the black shale at Waterloo Farm. The entire insect was probably 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long, Gess said. The black shale formed from layers of shallow sea mud, but the fossil diversity and preservation are similar to those found in Canada’s famous Burgess Shale, a deep-sea environment that offers a window into Early Cambrian life, Gess said. The Cambrian period, which lasted from 543 million to 490 million years ago, marks the dramatic evolutionary expansion of life.”We haven’t even finished the excavations, but once we’re done, this will be one of the milestone sites of the Late Devonian,” Gess said.Waterloo Farm was discovered during highway construction in 1985. The site has also yielded fossilized fish, plants and the world’s oldest lamprey, a jawless fish with a circular, toothy mouth. Gess believes more Gondwana land animals are waiting to be discovered, both at Waterloo Farm and in the scattered supercontinent remnants — Africa, South America, India, Madagascar and South America.”There’s a long history of paleontology in Europe and North America, whereas in places like Africa and South America, it hasn’t been as big as a field,” Gess said. „I think we will be finding a lot of the missing stuff [in the future],” he said.The findings were published Aug. 28 in the journal African Invertebrates.Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.
German prosecutors recommend pursuing charges against 30 of alleged Auschwitz guardsBy David McHugh And David Rising, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – Tue, 3 Sep, 2013View PhotoFILE –In a Jan. 26, 2005 file photo, visitors walk under the notorious „Arbeit …LUDWIGSBURG, Germany – The German special prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi war crimes said Tuesday it is recommending charges against dozens of alleged former Auschwitz guards, opening the possibility of a new wave of trials almost 70 years after the end of World War II.Federal prosecutor Kurt Schrimm, the head of the office in Ludwigsburg, said an investigation of 49 suspects turned up enough evidence to recommend that state prosecutors pursue charges of accessory to murder against 30 people in Germany who were stationed at the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.Another seven suspects who live outside the country are still being investigated, two could not be found, and one further case has already gone to prosecutors, he said. Those living abroad are in Austria, Brazil, Croatia, the U.S., Poland and even one in Israel, Schrimm said without giving further details.The names and hometowns of the suspects were not released. Schrimm said the oldest suspect was born in 1916 and the youngest in 1926, meaning they could range in age from 86 to 97.The cases are being sent to the responsible state prosecutors’ offices in 11 of Germany’s 16 states. It will be up to them to determine whether the elderly suspects — primarily men but also some women — are fit to stand trial and whether to bring official charges.”The biggest enemy is time,” Schrimm told reporters.Accessory to murder charges can be filed under the same legal theory that Munich prosecutors used to try former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died in a Bavarian nursing home last year while appealing his 2011 conviction on charges he served as a Sobibor death camp guard, Schrimm said.Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was the first person convicted in Germany solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in a specific killing. Under the new legal argument, anyone who was involved in the operation of a death camp was an accessory to murder. Demjanjuk steadfastly maintained that he had been mistaken for someone else and never served as a camp guard.Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said the decision could mean even more cases will be opened against guards at the other five main death camps established by the Nazis.”We commend the (prosecutors) for seeking to apply the precedent as widely as possible and hope that they will be able to find as many perpetrators as possible,” he said in a telephone interview.”It’s only a shame that this kind of legal reasoning was not applied previously, because it would have led to many, many more cases of people who definitely deserved to be brought to justice.”Schrimm said that even guards who worked in a death camp’s kitchens played a role in the facility’s function as a site that existed for the purpose of mass murder.Schrimm cautioned that the health of the suspects — and of possible witnesses — would make bringing them to trial difficult.”I don’t want to raise excessive expectations,” he said.The Nazis built six main death camps, all in occupied Poland: Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.The Auschwitz and Majdanek complexes also had labour camps associated with them, but Schrimm said the suspects in the current investigation all worked in the main death camp, known as Auschwitz-Birkenau.As part of the investigation prosecutors surveyed anew the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and concluded no one could have been there for more than a day or two without learning that people were being gassed to death and their bodies incinerated at the site, he said.About 1.5 million people, primarily Jews, were killed at the Auschwitz camp complex alone between 1940 and 1945. Overall, about 6 million Jews died in the Nazi Holocaust.Schrimm’s office is now focusing on the other death camps, starting with investigating all former personnel at Majdanek. He said expects to announce results of the Majdanek probe within six months.Investigators are also looking into former members of the so-called „einsatzgruppen” — death squads that were responsible for mass killings, particularly early in the war before the death camps were established, Schrimm said.He said he did not see extending the Demjanjuk precedent, however, to the Nazis’ network of hundreds of concentration camps — places like Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald — where many tens of thousands died but whose purpose was not solely extermination.In cases of guards from those camps, prosecutors still need evidence of a specific crime in order to bring charges, he said.__Rising reported from Berlin
Monster tsunami could devastate California: studyView galleryA surfer enjoys the waves on June 23, 2005 at Cardiff State Beach in Cardiff-By-The-Sea, California. A tsunami generated by a massive earthquake off Alaska could cause major damage to California’s economy and force 750,000 people to evacuate, a report published Wednesday warned. (AFP Photo/Donald Miralle)7 hours ago NatureCaliforniaA tsunami generated by a massive earthquake off Alaska could cause major damage to California’s economy and force 750,000 people to evacuate, a report published Wednesday warned.One third of all boats in California’s marinas could be damaged or sunk, costing some $700 million in losses, while major ports would struggle to get huge cargo vessels out to sea in time to avoid being buffeted by tsunamis.Experts from the US Geological Survey (USGS) based their damage assessment on the scenario of a 9.1 magnitude quake off Alaska’s Pacific Coast, which it said was „hypothetical but plausible.””In this scenario approximately 750,000 people would need to be evacuated, with 90,000 of those being tourists and visitors,” said the report, co-published by the USGS and the California Geological Survey.The number of tourists — who would be more at risk because they may be less prepared for what to do — would increase to millions in the event of a tsunami in summer months, when visitors flock to California’s beaches.”The good news is that three-quarters of California’s coastline is cliffs, and thus immune to the harsher and more devastating impacts tsunamis could pose,” said Lucy Jones, who led the study.She also welcomed findings that neither of California’s two nuclear power plants, both near the coast, would be risk under the scenario studied.”The bad news is that the one-quarter at risk is some of the most economically valuable property in California,” she added.The report highlighted the potential impact on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the largest trade gateways on the US West Coast. „Larger vessels that remain in ports might also be vulnerable,” it said.”For example, given the short time between the tsunami warning … and the first wave arrival” — 3.5 hours in LA and Long Beach — it may be difficult or impossible” to get ships out to sea, where they would be at less risk.”Damage to vessels in the ports is possible. Other ports in San Francisco Bay and San Diego Bay are also likely to be damaged in such a scenario,” it added.California has long braced for the Big One, a monster 8.5 plus magnitude earthquake expected to occur on one of the seismological weak spots under the US state itself, notably the San Andreas fault east of Los Angeles.But a tsunami generated from a quake further away has been taken more seriously, notably since the March 11, 2011 9.0-magnitude temblor off Japan that killed some 19,000 people and triggering a nuclear calamity.
Japan’s Radioactive Water Leaks: How Dangerous?TOKYO September 5, 2013 (AP) By MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press