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

Share this Blog
2
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 266 - 216

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22Blog Index

this is nuts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 2 MINUTES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Buoy near Hawaii 140 miles SE of Honolulu just got triggered. It's very close:



A simultaneous 17-metre drop and 21-metre spike. Are these real?!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
squeezing hands tightly-praying hard
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
262. IKE
Webcam I'm looking at...waves appear to be increasing.
Quoting Ameister12:
I just saw two idiots swimming in the water on msnbc!


I see them...are they crazy?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
I think I hear horns going off on KHON's coverage again?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
msnbc has live video from Hilo Bay
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
Hoping the best for the people in Hawaii.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Prayers go out to everyone. We're moments away now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 4 MINUTES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I just saw two idiots swimming in the water on msnbc!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:


it is still something... that is 3 stronger earthquakes in one day... 8.8, 6.3 and 5.4

(This does not include aftershocks)


5.4 is not strong... 5.4s occur daily.

And the 6.3 is an aftershock.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


The Heart's Prayer

As down in the sunless retreats of the ocean
Sweet flowers are springing no mortal can see,
So deep in my soul the still prayer of devotion,
Unheard by the world, rises silent to Thee.
As still to the star of its worship, though clouded,
The needle points faithfully o'er the dim sea,
So dark when I roam in this wintry world shrouded,
The hope of my spirit turns trembling to Thee.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
This is amazing - I'm riveted to both the computer & the television...

You know this is a serious Tsunami Warning when they have moved Warships out of harbor into open sea...

My thoughts with everyone impacted by this and by the earthquake...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 6 MINUTES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Have there been any ship reports out there?
Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
Quoting AllyBama:
AIM - thoughts and prayers for your family as well..holding your hand..

Blessings.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
I don't think this ends well.


2010 02 27 20 33 15 3 4682.400
2010 02 27 20 33 00 3 4704.704
2010 02 27 20 32 45 3 4673.223
2010 02 27 20 32 30 3 4682.399

9M drop, 30M rise.

Uh....not good.


Yea.. she's a coming.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24511
today most be earthquake day
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
245. IKE
My blood pressure is up. Metoprolol please.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Earth to.... Earth. STOP SHAKING!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
I Googled it. It was interesting. I dont get depressed unless something bad happens. It is good to know there are other things besides hard drugs to help depression. We just lost one of our dogs. He was part of our family so it was a bummer.


It's depressing to hear that the only thing that many Americans rely on to cure depression is hard drugs. Some of these are fatal if you get an overdose. It's better to experience adversity and live through with it then take the last resort as the first thing.

Quoting TampaSpin:
Bouy to watch now....

Station 51407 (LLNR 28006.5) - 140 NM Southeast of Honolulu, HI



You've got to be kidding. A twenty-metre spike?!

Quoting seflagamma:


thanks!

Keeper, appreciate your time updates.


By the way, here's a list of tsunami observations: Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurristat:


That's not anything.


it is still something... that is 3 stronger earthquakes in one day... 8.8, 6.3 and 5.4

(This does not include aftershocks)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 9 MINUTES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
11 minutes...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CNN just came on with the 9m drop from that buoy, looks to be accurate... Doesn't necessarily determine a high wave height, they said it's more dependent on the geography of the island.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A 9meter or 27 ft water column drop was noted...offshore.

Its beginning.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
A mag 5.4 earthquake in central Atlantic


south central atlantic ridge area
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Notice the uptake
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
235. IKE
CNN talking about buoy readings now.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Saw a ever so slight surge in San Diego bay
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
A mag 5. something earthquake in central Atlantic


That's not anything.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
AIM - thoughts and prayers for your family as well..holding your hand..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just wanted to send my best wishes to all those who either reside or have interests in Chile and all other locations expected to be impacted by the tsunami. This is certainly a major event and appears to be a horrible catastrophe for Chile. Lets hope this tsunami losses steam and doesn't do much damage or deaths.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hawaii Live Video,Chat and more USTREAM
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting IKE:
MSNBC showing a surfer in the water. WTH?

I saw that too! What the heck is he thinking!?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A mag 5.4 earthquake in central Atlantic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

TSUNAMI WARNING
TIME TILL IMPACT 13 MINUTES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
geez....maybe by 2012 there won't be anything left...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
225. IKE
MSNBC showing a surfer in the water. WTH?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Just about ten minutes 'til the tsunami hits Hawaii.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrJoeBlow:
What does a 30 meter drop in water mean?


When the wave comes the water level rises and then drops in a trough behind the wave, and also sometimes in front preceding the wave.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrJoeBlow:
What does a 30 meter drop in water mean?
roll out then roll in
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
220. IKE
Quoting aerojad:
Anyone else think it's kind of crazy that having such an advanced warning network deployed in the Pacific and our connected world actually allows us to watch what could be a disaster in real time? I really hope it's not, but I think it's amazing (if not chilling) we can watch, say, buoy reports as this comes in.

Here's hoping it's a "bust" and everything winds up being okay.


Amen.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
What does a 30 meter drop in water mean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aerojad:
Anyone else think it's kind of crazy that having such an advanced warning network deployed in the Pacific and our connected world actually allows us to watch what could be a disaster in real time? I really hope it's not, but I think it's amazing (if not chilling) we can watch, say, buoy reports as this comes in.

Here's hoping it's a "bust" and everything winds up being okay.


Well.. when Challenger happened in 86 people were first exposed to a horrible disaster on live television.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24511
Quoting aspectre:
6 Levi32 "This [8.8] earthquake is hundreds of times weaker than the magnitude 9.5 in 1960..."

About eleven times weaker. The Richter scale is logarithmic, with every increase of 2 being a thousand (ten to the third power) times stronger.
InvLog [(9.5 minus 8.8) times (3 divided by 2)]
InvLog [0.7 times 1.5]
InvLog 1.05 equals 11.22


Well I got that from a guy at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center so whatever.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 266 - 216

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
42 °F
Overcast