As if you thought it couldn’t get any worse…something else seems to happen!  The news out of Japan is incredible sadness punctuated by an occasional amazing story of human endurance and survival.   There are new challenges that crop up every moment.  Here are some of the headlines that captured my attention on Sunday.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) Upgrades Earthquake to 9.0

Sunday, the Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced it has upgraded the magnitude of Friday’s catastrophic earthquake to 9.0. The agency earlier measured it at 8.8. The quake was already the biggest to hit Japan since recordkeeping began in the late 1800s and one of the biggest ever recorded in the world. The U.S. Geological Survey has measured the quake at magnitude 8.9, and that number remained unchanged Sunday.

JMA reports a number of strong aftershocks in the area off the coast of Iwate, Miyagi, and Ibaraki Prefectures, which is considered as the source region of the main shock. The area is so large that, when compared to past cases, the activity of aftershocks is very high.

Estimating from the occurrence of the aftershocks so far, JMA has forecast that there is a 70% possibility of aftershocks with magnitude of 7 or higher until March 16 at 10 a.m., followed by a 50% chance until March 19 10 a.m. All tsunami warnings and advisories have been cancelled.

Volcano in Southern Japan Erupts

As if there wasn’t enough going on already, the Shinmoedake volcano on Japan's southern Kyushu Island resumed activity on Sunday with a large blast heard miles away. It was unclear if the eruption was linked to Friday's massive earthquake in the north.

The Japan’s Meteorological Agency has reported that the volcano began spewing ash and rock on Sunday and warned that the Shinmoedake volcano had resumed activity after lying dormant for the past two weeks. The volcano is on Kyushu Island, about 950 miles from the epicenter of Friday’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake, which devastated much of the country’s northeastern coast.

Rolling blackouts set for nine prefectures

Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced Sunday that he has approved temporary power outages to prevent a massive blackout in the wake of Friday’s deadly earthquake.   Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) said the rolling blackouts, the first ever in Japan, will happen between 6:20 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday. The prefectures affected are Tokyo, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Yamanashi and the eastern half of Shizuoka.

The Prime Minister noted that  “If we continue (using electricity at the current level), there is the possibility of an all-out blackout in the area. “The impact of a sudden, large-scale blackout would be immense and we must prevent it at all costs.”

According to Tepco, the nine prefectures affected will each be divided into five areas. Each district will have the power cut off for about three hours at a time. Companies as well as households will be subject to the blackouts. The power demand is currently 41 million kw per day, but Tepco only has the ability to supply 31 million kw.