Another big week in the weather world – as things were shaken up in the Northern Hemisphere, and then all eyes turned to the Solomon Islands, as the tiny nation was devastated by flooding.
First it was Los Angeles in the headlines, when a magnitude-5.1 earthquake struck the area last Friday night, jolting nearby communities and breaking water mains in some neighborhoods.
Its epicenter was in Orange County, one mile east of La Habra and four miles north of Fullerton, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Shortly after the earthquake, nearly two dozen aftershocks followed.
Friday’s quake came less than two weeks after Angelenos were awoken by a 4.4-magnitude earthquake, early on the morning of 17 March. That temblor originated in the Santa Monica Mountains, northwest of central LA.
Though no major injuries were reported in either event, they have had a chastening effect on the city, which has not suffered a fatal quake since the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake of 1994, which killed 57 people.
It was then Chile’s turn to get the shakes – with a deadly 8.2 magnitude quake killing 6 people, after landslides and a tsunami were triggered by the event.
The quake struck around 8:46 p.m. local time, about 60 miles northwest of Iquique. It had a depth of 12.5 miles (20 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said.
At the time, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued several tsunami warnings but had canceled all of them by early Wednesday.
Tsunami watches, which initially extended as far north as Mexico’s Pacific Coast, were called off as well.
Then, just a few hours later, another damaging quake struck, centred in inland Chile.
Back home, and fog disrupted dozens of flights in and out of Auckland on Tuesday morning, with the reduced visibility also slowing traffic around the city in various places.
Most of the fog had burnt off by lunchtme, but not before several domestic and international flights were cancelled.
Staying with Auckland, and an encouraging new study has determined that the supercity is ‘a long way off’ a major earthquake, if statistics are to be believed.
New research by GNS Science was presented to Auckland councillors on Wednesday, as part of talks on a submission to the Buildings (Earthquake Prone Building) Amendment Bill.
A little further south, and farmers in the Waikato and parts of Northland say they are battling one of the driest summers in memory – but the Government isn’t declaring a drought because the conditions are not widespread enough.
The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, told a group of farmers during a visit to Morrinsville on Thursday he would not be declaring a medium scale adverse event, because it was much more localised than last year when the whole of the North Island and two districts in the South Island were affected by the extremely dry conditions.
And finally this week, Friday rounded off on a serious note, with some heavy flooding in both parts of Australia and the Solomon Island, with devastating effects.
At least 16 people were killed and thousands left homeless in Honiara, the nation’s capital, with a further 30 missing, and the death toll expected to rise, according to aid workers.
Entire communities were swept away as the city’s main river, the Matanikau, burst its banks late Thursday, bringing down bridges and inundating the downtown area in a disaster observers said was one of the worst ever faced by the Pacific nation.
Here at Weatherwatch, we will do our best to keep readers up to date with the latest information from the Solomons as it comes to hand.
– Drew Chappell, Weatherwatch.co.nz
– Picture: NZ Herald