Very Strong Earthquake off Solomon Islands Impacts Thousands
More than 9,000 people have been affected by the 7.8M earthquake that struck near Kirakira, Solomon Islands, on December 9 (local time) (ReliefWeb/Govt. of Solomon Islands, USGS). The very strong undersea quake triggered Pacific-wide tsunami warnings and has been followed by significant aftershocks, including a second major 6.9M earthquake the following day (seen in the image above) (Reuters, USGS).
The provinces most affected by the earthquake are Makira, Malaita, and Guadalcanal. As of December 14, the number of houses reported damaged or destroyed has reached 439, most in Makira province (ReliefWeb/Govt. of Solomon Islands). Government-led response operations are ongoing.
This Week in Hazards
- Wintry weather is moving across the northwestern United States, with winter storm warnings in effect (as of December 14) for parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Heavy snow and freezing rain are expected to affect road travel, especially through mountainous areas (NWS). As of December 15, moderate to extreme avalanche conditions are present in the previously mentioned states, as well as Utah and Colorado (American Avalanche Association).
- While the Greater Horn of Africa is experiencing abnormal dryness and drought conditions, areas to the south remain at high risk for localized flooding and river flows as abundant rainfall is forecast for the upcoming week. Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected over parts of southeastern Africa, including Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, and Madagascar (CPC).
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Fiji, Vietnam
Winter Storm: United States (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Upper Midwest region), Canada (Nunavut)
Avalanche: United States (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana)
Earthquake: Solomon Islands
Drought: Peru, United States (Northeastern, Southern, Western)
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