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Earthquakes on the upswing, storms continue, El Nino 2014 on track

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Active monsoon season continues; hurricane Marie spins in eastern Pacific with 145 mph winds

After a period of relative calm, worldwide seismic activity has again increased dramatically with a series of strong quakes including Sunday's 6.0 event in northern California.

The area's strongest quake in two decades, Sunday's quake caused damage in the millions and latest estimates suggest the amount of damage could reach $1 billion. At a depth of only 5.5 miles, the northern California quake killed one person and injured more than 200.

This earthquake was not on California's notorious San Andreas fault, but on the nearby west Napa fault. Scientists have voiced concern that this event could trigger further activity within this seismically unstable area. There have been numerous aftershocks mostly in the 2 to 4 magnitude range.

Also on Sunday, a 6.9 quake shook a sparsely populated area of central Peru, 290 miles from the Capital, Lima. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualty. On Sunday alone, there were at least seven earthquakes greater than magnitude 4.5 in widely separated regions, including Turkey, Alaska, Iceland, Thailand, the Kuril Islands, and South America.

An unusually active monsoon season continues across the southwestern U.S. Summer rainfall totals have exceeded 100% of average in many locations, most notably in parts of Arizona where damaging floods have occurred on several recent occasions. Heavy rains, hail, and even some snow was reported Sunday in parts of northern Utah. A pocket of unusually warm sea water surrounding the Baja California peninsula has likely been associated with ongoing summer storms. Early Monday, Hurricane Marie, another in a series of unusually powerful eastern Pacific storms, was spinning some 400 miles south-southwest of the tip of Baja. Marie had sustained winds of 145 mph with gusts to near 160. Marie was a category 4 hurricane and was expected to drift west-northwest, not threatening any land areas. However, a high surf advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for southern California:

SURF WILL PEAK LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH THURSDAY AND THERE
IS THE POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGING AND LIFE THREATENING SURF ACROSS
SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST FACING SHORES OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA
COUNTIES. THESE AREAS WILL POTENTIALLY SEE THE LARGEST SURF SEEN
IN RECENT YEARS WITH BREAKERS OF 10 TO 15 FEET POSSIBLE. SURF
THIS LARGE WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE STRUCTURE DAMAGE AND
SIGNIFICANT BEACH EROSION. LOW LYING AREAS MAY ALSO EXPERIENCE
SOME MINOR COASTAL FLOODING NEAR TIMES OF HIGH TIDE. IN
ADDITION... VERY STRONG RIP CURRENTS AND LONGSHORE CURRENTS WILL
LIKELY CREATE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING CONDITIONS
FOR ANYONE.

Last Thursday, NOAA released the latest update to its long-range winter precipitation outlook. Once again, the outlook supports the ongoing trend for above average precipitation across the southwestern and southern U.S. through the fall and winter months, continuing into next spring.

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