Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Afghanistan – Severe weather in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 13 people and injured forty others. According to the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), around 655 houses have been partially damaged, 30 houses are completely destroyed and 322 families have been displaced. Heavy snowfall, flooding and a large number of avalanches were reported in different parts of Afghanistan between 12 -15 January 2020.

Australia – Thunderstorms and giant hail battered parts of Australia’s east coast on Monday after “apocalyptic” dust storms swept across drought-stricken areas, as extreme weather patterns collided in the bushfire-fatigued country. Violent hail storms pelted the capital Canberra on Monday, with footage showing the storm ripping branches off trees. Dramatic images captured over the weekend from western New South Wales show a massive wall of dust rolling through outback towns. Locals reported being cast into darkness in the middle of the day.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Australia – After months of intense heat and devastating bushfires, Australia’s east coast was battered by heavy rainstorms Saturday, causing flash flooding in parts and road closures. Major highways were closed in Queensland as the state was hit with some of the heaviest rain the country has seen for months. There were also power was cut in parts of New South Wales.

Zimbabwe – Residents in Hwange were left counting their loses after a lot of their property was destroyed by a rain storm which also swept away their chickens and other domestic animals. A number of houses were also destroyed.

Brazil – At least six people have died and at least one more was missing Sunday following torrential rains in southern Brazil, authorities said. Meteorologists said nearly 250 millimeters (10 inches) of rain devastated parts of Espiritu Santo state starting Friday, though the rains had tapered off by Sunday. State firefighters reported three dead in the town of Alfredo Chaves and three others in Iconha, where at least one woman was missing. The flooding destroyed three bridges, left cars piled up, trees toppled and houses covered in mud.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 08p (Tino), located approximately 294 nm west-southwest of Niue, is tracking southeastward at 16 knots.

NewsBytes:

Australia – Parts of Australia’s east coast were hit by severe storms on Saturday, dousing some of the bushfires that have devastated the region for months but causing road closures and flash flooding. Despite the heavy rain, authorities were still battling nearly 100 blazes – part of the bushfires that have killed 29 people since September, destroyed more than 2,500 homes and scorched an area nearly one-third the size of Germany. Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, three of the states most hit by drought and bushfires, are now dealing with rain bucketing down in several areas.

Zambia – Heavy rainfall in recent days has led to riverine and flash floods in Zambia, mainly in the Southern Province, with Gwembe and Siavonga Districts hardest-hit. The flooding has destroyed crops, including maize, especially in Munyumbwe area in Gwembe District, according to the Government’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU). Some bridges have been submerged in the same area, hampering access.

Wildfires

Circumnavigating Smoke

NASA satellite images show the thick pall of smoke from Australia’s firestorms, which reached South America last week, has blown entirely around the Southern Hemisphere, approaching Australia from the west.

Besides choking most of southeastern Australia, the smoke has also created an air pollution crisis downwind in New Zealand and darkened that country’s glaciers after falling on them as soot.

Meanwhile, days of rain are bringing some much-needed relief to Australia’s firefighters, but it won’t be enough to fully alleviate the threat of more than 140 fires that were still burning.

At least 80% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area and more than 50% of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests have burned in Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

The scale of the disaster is such that it could affect the diversity of eucalypts for which the Blue Mountains world heritage area is recognised.

Wildfires

Australia’s prehistoric Wollemi pine trees saved from bushfires

An ancient grove of pine trees whose ancestors are thought to have stood tall among dinosaurs some 200 million years ago has been saved from Australian bushfires in a covert firefighting mission.

Firefighters in New South Wales (NSW) were enlisted by the local government to save the prehistoric Wollemi Pine grove, which exists in a secret location within the 5,000-square-kilometre (1,930-square-mile) Wollemi National Park northwest of Sydney.

The oldest fossil of the rare pine species dates back 90 million years and the pines are thought to have existed during the Jurassic period.

Large air tankers of fire retardant were dropped inside the remote grove as part of the mission, while specialist firefighters attached to helicopters were winched down to set up an irrigation system to protect the trees from catching alight. There are fewer than 200 Wollemi Pines left in the wild.

200115095411 06 australia firefighters wollemi pines exlarge 169

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 07s (Claudia), located approximately about 449 nm north-northwest of Learmonth, Australia. Claudia is moving southwestward at 12 knots.

Screen Shot 2020 01 15 at 14 23 50

NewsBytes:

Pakistan, Afghanistan – Avalanches, flooding and harsh winter weather killed more than 130 people across Pakistan and Afghanistan in recent days, leaving others stranded by heavy snowfall, officials said on Tuesday. At least 93 people died and 76 were injured across Pakistan – with several still missing – while a further 39 were killed in Afghanistan, according to officials in both countries. Forecasts suggest more harsh weather is on the way.

Australia – Heavy rain, flash floods and severe thunderstorms have swept over Melbourne and rain is forecast to hit bushfire-affected parts of New South Wales and Victoria later this week. In just 30 minutes, 44mm of rain fell at Avalon on Wednesday afternoon, and wind gusts reached 110km/h as wild weather hit the state’s south and moved north.

Mississippi, USA – Flooding left roads in Mississippi underwater on Jan. 14. Authorities in Mississippi urged residents to evacuate in the northern part of the state Tuesday after heavy rains spawned a flash-flood emergency and put a dam at “imminent” risk of failing. A flash flood emergency was issued in Oktibbeha County, located in the east-central portion of the state. Oktibbeha County Lake Dam is in imminent danger of failing.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Gale-force winds in Australia merged two enormous fires into a megablaze across land almost four times the area of New York City on Friday, while thousands rallied to again demand action on climate change. Temperatures soared above 40°C in parts of New South Wales and neighbouring Victoria. Australian authorities urged nearly a quarter of a million people to evacuate their homes and prepared military backup as soaring temperatures and erratic winds were expected to fan deadly wildfires across the east coast. Emergency alert text messages had been sent to 240,000 people in Victoria state alone, telling them to leave.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Australian authorities issued new warnings and evacuation notices across the country’s heavily populated southeast on Thursday as a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities.

A disaster notice in Victoria state, already in place for the past week, was extended by two days and people in danger zones were told to leave. In neighbouring New South Wales state, authorities told residents to prepare for worsening weather conditions on Friday.

The ongoing Australian firestorms that have caused such misery and death to the human population may have also killed billions of animals in recent weeks.

Beyond the scorched koalas and kangaroos, scientists also fear the long-footed potoroo marsupial may now be extinct in the wild due to the southeastern bushfires.

EWCOLOR

Experts fear the ecosystems there will never recover, with several other animal and plant species left critically endangered or extinct.

Snipers were dispatched in helicopters to cull up to 10,000 feral camels that were nearing remote aboriginal towns in search of water.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

The scope of the fires is hard to comprehend. In New South Wales alone, blazes have created a fire front in the state that — if put into a straight line — would stretch from Sydney, across the Indian Ocean, and into Afghanistan.

The smoke plume alone is currently about 1.3 billion acres, or half the size of Europe, and is drifting more than 1,000 miles over New Zealand, where it is choking and yellowing the skies.

So far the bushfires have chewed through more than twice the area that burned in Amazon’s rainforests during 2019.

Screen Shot 2020 01 06 at 13 25 02

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Bushfires burned dangerously out of control on Australia’s east coast on Saturday, fanned by high temperatures and strong winds that had firefighters battling to save lives and property, as a change in wind conditions merged several large fire fronts. By late evening, Victoria had 14 fires rated at emergency or evacuate warning levels, and New South Wales had 11 rated emergency, with more than 150 others burning across the states. New fires had started, and others had broken containment lines.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Australian bushfires sparked in September have spread for months, leading to a state of emergency in many regions.

As of the new year, the blazes have scorched more than 14 million acres of land, killed about half a billion animals, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Researchers from the University of Sydney believe 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been impacted in the state of New South Wales alone since the blazes first broke out in September.

The blazes are so large and widespread that satellites in space can easily photograph them from orbit.

Screen Shot 2020 01 03 at 11 34 32

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Thousands of tourists have been given less than 48 hours to evacuate fire-ravaged coastal communities as Australia braces for a weekend heatwave expected to fan deadly bushfires.

Catastrophic blazes ripped through the country’s south-east on New Year’s Eve, killing at least eight people and stranding holidaymakers. The New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service on Thursday morning declared a “tourist leave zone” stretching about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the popular holiday spot of Bateman’s Bay along the picturesque coast to neighbouring Victoria state, where people are also being urged to flee.

A major operation to reach thousands of people stranded in fire-ravaged seaside towns was under way in Australia on Wednesday after deadly bushfires ripped through popular tourist spots and rural areas leaving at least eight people dead. Navy ships and military aircraft were deployed alongside emergency crews to provide humanitarian relief and assess the damage from the deadliest spate of blazes yet in a months-long bushfire crisis.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Australia’s bushfire crisis has claimed at least three more lives, authorities confirmed on Tuesday, as dozens of fires tore through several towns on the east coast and forced thousands of people to take shelter on beaches. In Victoria, where more than 200,000ha has burned in the state’s east, at least four people were unaccounted for. The armed forces stand ready to evacuate those sheltering on the state’s beaches if needed. Eleven people have been confirmed dead across all states in this year’s bushfire season so far.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Thousands of holidaymakers and locals were forced to flee to beaches in fire-ravaged southeast Australia Tuesday, as blazes ripped through popular tourist areas leaving no escape by land.

Four thousand people were trapped on the foreshore of the town of Mallacoota and many others sought refuge on beaches in fire-encircled seaside towns up and down a 200-kilometre (135-mile) strip of coast.

Some residents with boats even took to the sea, hoping for refuge from one the worst days yet in Australia’s months-long bushfire crisis.

Dozens of properties were feared to have been destroyed since late Monday and at least seven people were unaccounted for in New South Wales and Victoria states as flames reached well-populated towns like Batemans Bay.

In some places the blazes were so intense, the smoke so thick and the fire-provoked dry lightning storms so severe that aerial reconnaissance and waterbombing had to be halted, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said.

In Mallacoota, smoke turned day to night and the authorities said nearby fires were causing extreme thunderstorms and “ember attacks”. The bushfires in Australia are now so big that they are generating their own weather, in the form of giant thunderstorms that start more fires, according to the Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria. “Pyro-cumulonimbus clouds have developed to altitudes over 16km in East #Gippsland this afternoon. These fire-induced storms can spread fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of severe wind outflows.”

6fa2861f9eed47df9a5b96bf29a6bf64