Thursday, May 30, 2019

Midwest Bracing For More Flooding, 'Historic Magnitude', Death And Decay In The Pacific

Oklahoma residents are warned to prepare for 'worst-case scenario' as Midwest braces for flooding

  • The flooded Arkansas River is expected to crest at a record high of 42.5 feet in Van Burden on Wednesday
  • Arkansas River topped two levees Tuesday and has flooded hundreds of homes in Arkansas and Oklahoma 
  • Mississippi River is projected to crest at 44 feet in St Louis this week – the second-highest level in history 
  • Heavy downpours are forecast through Wednesday night in both states, with 1 to 3 inches expected
  • By June, rivers are expected to crest to highest levels on record all the way down to Little Rock, Arkansas 
  • Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum warned residents to be ready to evacuate in an event of a 'worst-case scenario'   
  • President Donald Trump tweeted his support to Arkansas' governor in light of the record floods on Tuesday
  • Five to seven inches of rain is forecast to fall in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri on Wednesday  

Communities along the swollen Arkansas River in Oklahoma and Arkansas are preparing for further flooding, with the mayor of Tulsa urging thousands of residents behind the city's aging levees to be ready to evacuate in the event of a 'worst-case scenario'.
'This is a flood of historic magnitude,' said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, joined by state emergency officials and officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday.
Hutchinson said that he directed $250,000 in state funds toward the flood response. The Republican says he has also requested federal assistance from the Trump administration.
Flooding has already closed 12 state highways, the governor said, and 400 households have agreed to voluntary evacuations.
In Oklahoma, Muskogee County Emergency Management spokeswoman Trish German says flooding from intense thunderstorms and the nearby river has forced the evacuations of more than 2,400 people. German says almost 1,100 homes have been flooded.
She said about 2 inches of rain has fallen on the area since Tuesday night. Forecasters say the same amount is possible Wednesday.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city, Mayor G.T. Bynum warned that the city's 70-year-old levees were being tested 'in a way that they have never been before'.
'Please prepare for the worst-case scenario that we've had in the history of the city,' he said on Tuesday. So far, he added, the 20-mile levee system, which protects some 10,000 people, was working as designed.

More than a week of stormy weather, including violent downpours and deadly tornadoes, has devastated the central United States. 
It has caused record-breaking floods in parts of the two states, which have turned highways into lakes and submerged all but the roofs of some homes. 
And according to the National Weather Service (NWS), more rain is forecast and the flooding is expected to spread.
'The rain has been coming fast and furiously and it all has to drain through the rivers,' Patrick Burke, a meteorologist at the NWS Weather Prediction Center, said in an interview on Wednesday. 
More heavy downpours were forecast through Wednesday night over much of the two states, with between 1 and 3 inches expected, he said.
The Arkansas River is projected to crest on Wednesday at 42.5 feet in Van Buren, breaking the 1945 record of 38.42 feet.
'Based on impact statements from previous floods and the newest forecast crests, this will be the worst flooding in recorded history along the Arkansas River from Toad Suck and points northwest,' the NWS tweeted Sunday.
They predicted levees would be flooded and there would be 'significant impacts to life and property across a very large area'.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has raised the release of water from the Keystone Dam, in northeastern Oklahoma on the Arkansas and Cimarron rivers about 23 miles from Tulsa, into the river system to 275,000 cubic feet per second to stop the dam from overflowing.
Corps hydrologist David Williams said Wednesday that the level of Keystone Lake peaked on Tuesday 'and is now dropping'.
The reservoir is about 23 miles northeast of Tulsa. Williams said flows from a hydroelectric dam at the reservoir will be reduced by Saturday from 275,000 cubic feet per second to 150,000 cubic feet per second.
US Sen Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma says the additional flow in the Arkansas River has strained a levee system built in the 1940s that protects residential areas.
Inhofe is also the former mayor of Tulsa. He says 'there have been problems' but that the levees are 'still performing'.
Col Bob Dixon of the US Army Corps of Engineers said the levee system is 'performing admirably' as the river approaches its expected crest near Fort Smith, the state's second-largest city. The crest is expected to occur sometime on Wednesday.
Still, the river is nearly twice the level it was 10 days ago, and widespread flooding persists.
'Just because the river has crested doesn't mean we're out of danger,' Dixon said.

A shark die-off in San Francisco Bay is being blamed on a parasite in the water.
Bay currents are pushing the carcasses ashore at Crown Beach.
So far this year, about 100 leopard sharks have washed up onto beaches around the area, not just in Alameda.
Many more will have died out at sea.
The deaths are blamed on a protozoan parasite that gets into the shark's brain, James C. Frank, Supervising Naturalist for the East Bay Regional Park District told KTVU.
This die-off has been happening annually.
In 2017, thousands of sharks were killed by the parasite. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to get to the bottom of the problem. More West-Coast misery as more than 2,000 leopard sharks have mysteriously died in the San Francisco Bay area along with other species recently

Full story here

93 dead dolphins have washed up this year along the Gulf of Mexico coast with many more thought to have died out at sea Full story

A fifth grey whale has been found dead on British Columbia's coast in what one research biologist says could be a trend towards of record-setting deaths. John Calambokidis of the Cascadia Research Collective based in Olympia, Wash., said Tuesday that 23 grey whales have been found dead this year in his state, and the dead greys are all found along the same migratory route.
Those deaths bring the total number of carcasses found along the migration route from California to Alaska up to 70, according to figures from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. Full Story

Hundreds of Common Murres, an ocean-going bird native to the Pacific Coast from the Channel Islands to the tip of the Aleutians in Alaska, have been reported washed up dead or dying on beaches along a 10-mile stretch of coastline in Mendocino County between Noyo Bay and Seaside Beach.  Sarah Grimes – Contributed Hundreds of dead and dying Common Murres, including those pictured here at MacKerricher State Park May 23, are washing up on Mendocino County beaches with many more dying out at sea.
The Common Murre looks a little like a penguin but is more closely related to terns or gulls.
It spends most of its time in the water. Murres can and do fly, but like penguins, they manoeuvre best in the water. Little seabirds washing up dead along the shores of Alaska by the hundreds of thousands now dying as far south as San Francisco

Full story

GALVESTON—The number of sea turtle strandings along the Texas coastline reached the highest number ever recorded in one month during April and May, the height of sea turtle nesting season.
A total of 159 stranded sea turtles were recorded in April—the highest number of strandings in one month since monitoring began in 1980.
Strandings are continuing at a rapid pace, and the latest data shows 186 turtles stranded in Texas through May 21.
Most of the turtles were dead when found.
Among those found were 68 dead Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the Texas state sea turtle and the world’s most endangered sea turtle with a nesting population of between 7,000 and 9,000 female turtles.
The death of even one of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is of grave concern. Full Story

Scientists baffled as dead whales continue to wash ashore in parts of Alaska.
Dead whales are washing ashore along the Alaska coast.
A second gray whale was found dead Sunday, making it the third whale found in just a few weeks. Dozens of gray whales washing up dead in recent weeks is another indication the US west coast is dying after millions of species died since 2011

Full Story

SAN FRANCISCO — At least 53 dead or dying gray whales have washed up on West Coast beaches this spring, a death rate that’s only been seen once before.
The great mammals are starving to death and scientists have theories as to why but so far no full explanation.
The number of deaths is likely much higher because it’s estimated that only 10% of dead whales actually end up on shore, said John Calambokidis, a research biologist with the non-profit Cascadia Research in Olympia, Washington, who studies whale populations on the West Coast.
That could mean as many as 530 whales have died, a large number for a population that is estimated to be just over 20,000 and that only began to rebound in recent decades after being hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800s. Full Story

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife towed a gray whale away from an Everett beach Tuesday evening, so scientists can do a necropsy to find out how it died. It's the 13th dead whale in to wash up on Washington state shores this year.
Related Headlines Dead gray whale washes ashore at a beach in Everett Concerning the number of gray whales wash ashore on Washington beaches
Scientists say the spike in gray whale deaths appears to be tied with malnourishment, but the drastic increase in the number of dead whales has marine biologists stumped.
Along the West Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say there are now 48 dead whales as of Tuesday that have washed up on shore.
A normal year is just a few whales per state, per year. Full Story

Thousands of dead jellyfish wash up on a Hilton Head beach. Hilton Head Islanders are used to seeing a few dead jellyfish cluttering the shoreline, but the scene on South Beach Tuesday appeared to be a jellyfish catastrophe when thousands of small cannonball jellyfish washed up on the shore stretching more than a mile.
Looking in both directions from Tower Beach in Sea Pines, dead jellyfish littered the tide line. Full Story

Mass Animal Die Offs

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