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Pacific Northwest grinds to halt as twin snowstorms batter region

January 19, 2012 1 comment

www.dailymail.co.uk

Howling winter weather hit the northwest of the country as four central states on reported tornadoes, the National Weather Service said.

A cold front combined with a warm and humid air mass contributed to the unseasonable twisters which were also spotted in Tennessee, Indiana and Mississippi, Dan Pydynowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com said.

Damages reported from the twisters have been mostly to buildings, vehicles, power lines and trees while one injury was reported in Mississippi where a person suffered a possible broken arm after the tornado struck their home.

Whiteout: A pedestrian walks on a snow-covered street in SeattleWhiteout: A pedestrian walks on a snow-covered street in Seattle Read more…

Case Study: Tsunami in Seaside, Oregon

June 25, 2011 1 comment

carleton

Oregon Coast’s Vulnerability

tsunami map Recent research suggests that a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake could create tsunami waves that impact over 1,000-km of coastline in the U.S. and Canada. Source: USGS

The northwestern coast of Oregon is susceptible to both local and far-field tsunamis. The Cascadia Subduction Zone, where the eastward moving Juan de Fuca plate meets the westward moving North American Plate, is just off the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States and Canada. It is a 750-kilometer long fault zone. This area is very active tectonically, and therefore has the potential to produce large earthquakes and possibly, subsequent tsunamis. This subduction zone is thought to have last ruptured in 1700.

Additionally, far-field earthquakes throughout the Pacific are also capable of spawning tsunamis that could eventually reach the Oregon coast. Historical records show that since 1812, about 28 tsunamis with wave heights greater than one meter have reached the U.S. west coast. The March 1964 “Good Friday” earthquake created the most devastating of these tsunamis. The epicenter of this earthquake was near Anchorage, Alaska. The tsunami that followed this earthquake reached coasts all along the western U.S. within six hours. Cannon Beach, a small coastal community in northwestern Oregon was inundated during Read more…

Washington State on Alert For Radioactive Material Smuggling

June 23, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

Law enforcement officials from port communities in Washington state on Tuesday received training in detecting smuggled radiation sources in accordance with federal efforts to prevent a potential nuclear or radiological “dirty bomb” attack, the Kitsap Sun reported (see GSN, June 21).

More than 20 first response entities in the Puget Sound region are using federal funds to acquire sensors to help them scan for radioactive materials that could be carried on boats moving through the waterway.

Bainbridge Island and Port Orchard police officers received training in the use of the detection equipment at the Port Orchard marina. Police vessels from the two jurisdictions have also been equipped with expensive high-tech neutron and gamma ray sensors.

The drill involved the placement of innocuous radioactive isotopes on board two ships. The police officers had to use their newly provided technology to locate the materials.

“The most critical part is detecting it,” said Tim Quinton, a project manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which provided one of the vessels used in Tuesday’s training.

Portable Radioactive Isotope Identification Devices, at a cost of $28,000 each, would then be used to identify the specific kind of source and how much radiation it was emitting.

Officers from the two agencies have also been provided with Personal Radiation Detectors that resemble pagers and come with a $2,400 price tag. Officers often use the devices while patrolling by land.

“Anything you can find on water, you could find on land, too,” said Port Orchard police Sgt. Trey Holden (Josh Farley, Kitsap Sun/Seattle Times, June 23).