16th March - Today's News: Snow Hinders Japan Rescue Operations

In Japan, the weather's not helping things as snow muffles rescue work in Japan's devasated north-east.

But I'm amused to see that in the US potassium iodide and gieger counter sales spike after Japan disaster - this despite potassium iodide having known, potentially dangerous, side effects, Japan being 5,000 miles away and even the very worst case scenario unlikely to produce anything like the amount of radiation that came from the Chernobyl disaster and later fell over Britain ...... where exactly zero people suffered ill effects. Americans are at far more risk from car exhaust fumes and smoking tobacco. Or even from eating bananas. Only in America!

It's actually ironic that the nuclear plants withstood an earthquake much stronger than they were designed for, but fell foul of the damage to back up generators and then general carnage caused by the tsunami as seawalls offered little protection against tsunami's crushing waves
- something which hopefully we'll not see happen again. Indeed, it's suggested the Japan tsunami 'could be a 1000 year event'. Although as we know with the weather, such rare events have a habit of occuring more frequently than you might think! But certainly it's not an event likely to bother the vast majority of other nuclear installations around the world, least of all Europe. Although we did have a 30ft tsunami hit Britain after the Storegga Slide 7,000 years ago - which would have hit a number of places where nuclear power stations now stand. So maybe we shouldn't be too complacent? Although in that respect, what happens if a meteorite hits a power station? It's maybe as likely .....

On a more serious note though, there remains a radiation risk in Japan, with levels increasing for a time at Fukushima Dai-ichi earlier today, leading to an evacuation of those trying to cool the reactors. Levels have since dropped again though as staff return to Japan nuclear site.

In Australia, airlift empties ruined Warmun whilst Queensland's Gulf region plays flood 'waiting game'.

Meanwhile in NZ, there are fears high tides will flood Christchurch's lower Avon due to the land haven fallen in the earthquake last month.

And the next big flood event could be in the US, down the Mississippi, as St Paul braces for record flood

Here in Britain it was our warmest day of the year so far yesterday, well down south it was. They weren't so happy further north though as Scotland shivers in the snow again... while England is hotter than Spain.

NASA's Aqua satellite spots rare South Atlantic tropical storm
- and it's the first to be given an offical name, Arani.

Winter's far from over in the Baltic, as ice ensnares dozens of vessels in Gulf of Finland, off St Petersburg.

Scientists fly through clouds to piece together climate puzzle

And it's wheels up for NASA mission's most extensive Arctic ice survey

Finally, it appears the Japan quake shifts Antarctic glacier - by about half a meter.


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