Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Storm 08w (Kujira), located approximately 220 nm northeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, is tracking northward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

New Zealand – The clean-up operation from the record flooding in the central North Island over the weekend could take up to a month. More than 400 people were evacuated from flood-hit homes in lower North Island towns across Taranaki, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Rangitikei and Whanganui over the weekend. Flooding caused road and bridge closures, cut power to homes, and forced people across the regions to spend the night in emergency accommodation or with friends and family. Several land slips were also reported. The flooding, described as a one in 85-year event, is the worst ever recorded in Whanganui – worse even than the lower North Island flooding of 2004.

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Texas, USA – More rains that swept through North Texas over the weekend caused flooding that closed some roads, seeped into homes, and caused the collapse of the Hunt County bridge.

Lagos, Nigeria – Persistent rains in Lagos, especially in the last two days, have brought floods submerging cars and houses while buildings with weak foundations brought down. Affected areas in the state included Iju, Oshodi, Agege, Onipanu, Ketu, Yaba, Mushin and Abule Egba, Okota, Isolo, Ijora, some parts of Ikeja, Marine Beach, Ikorodu and FESTAC Town.

Environment

Deadly Heatwave in Pakistan

Nearly 150 people have died from heatstroke in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi in the last two days, officials said Monday. Hospital reports confirm at least 148 deaths.

Hundreds more are being treated for heat-related ailments, including fever and dehydration, most of the deaths have been among elderly people.

Karachi has been in the grip of a rare heat wave, with temperatures soaring to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). A collapse of the local power grid over the weekend made matters worse. The heat wave is the worst in at least a decade, but the arrival of monsoon rains in the coming days should bring relief.

Disease

Common Banana in Danger of Being Wiped Out

Although there are about 1,000 different varieties of banana, almost all that are cultivated for export is of the type called the Cavendish, sometimes called the table banana. It’s long, slender, and thick-skinned, and sold in most supermarkets in Western countries.

But a fungal disease currently spreading across banana plantations is threatening to wipe out the Cavendish crop.

Known by scientists as the Tropical Race 4 (TR4) strain of Fusarium wilt, and commonly called the Panama disease, the disease first appeared in Taiwan, and has since spread to much of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and even Australia.

The United States, which produces very little of its own banana consumption, imported 4.35 million metric tons of the fruit in 2012 (about 31 pounds per person), mainly from Latin America.

A disease outbreak there would mean no more bananas for Americans and others who import the ubiquitous Cavendish.

Currently, there are no known treatments for the disease.

Researchers think that the disease is spread through workers who carry the pathogen after working in contaminated fields.