Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews have taken advantage of favourable conditions overnight to gain the upper hand on three blazes burning in northern NSW. The mostly mild weather conditions over the weekend have provided much needed relief for the NSW Rural Fire Service, after 22 homes were destroyed and 15 houses damaged when fires raged through the towns late last week. A further 74 outbuildings have been razed and 24 outbuildings damaged.

The Bruxner Highway fire at Tabulam has burnt more than 5800 hectares of land and is still considered to be out of control.

Nearby, just over the NSW and Queensland border in Wallangarra, north of Tenterfield, a bushfire has burnt through more than 32,700 hectares of land and is being controlled by firefighters.

A blaze at Tingha, near Inverell, which has been burning since last Tuesday remains at Advice warning level as crews work to control the blaze. It has burnt more than 21,300 hectares of land with firefighters extinguishing hotspots along the edge of the fire overnight.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Five homes have reportedly been lost in northern NSW as a result of out-of-control bushfires in the area, with more than 40 fires still burning across the state. Firefighters are still working to contain two large bushfires that destroyed the properties, amid concerns they could flare up due to hot, dry and windy conditions.

The out-of-control blaze at Tabulam, west of Casino, has already burnt through nearly 4000 hectares, while almost 6000 hectares of bush has been lost in Tingha, south of Inverell, and around the community of Old Mill.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 961 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking east-southeastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 15p (Fifteen), located approximately 310 nm northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, is tracking northeastward at 05 knots.

NewsBytes:

Malawi – Although Tropical Cyclone Desmond did not reach Malawi its effects resulted in continuous rainfall in the southern part of the country since 22nd January through to 26th January 2019. A total of 15,974 people were affected, 3,154 houses damaged or destroyed, and 5,078 people were reported to be displaced across at least seven camps set up by communities and government.

Australia – An estimated 500,000 are feared dead after historic floods inundated Queensland, Australia, according to the state’s cattle industry. Days of “unprecedented” rainfall earlier this month led to widespread flooding across the state, causing power outages, damaging roads and buildings and prompting evacuations. Some areas received three years’ worth of rain in about a week. Tragically, farmers in northwest Queensland initially welcomed the rains, as the region had suffered years of back-to-back drought. The loss of hundreds of thousands of cattle after five, six, seven years of drought, is a debilitating blow not just to individual farmers, many of whom have lost literally everything, but to rural communities as well.

Malaysia – Bintulu district was hit by floods early Tuesday (Feb 12) – with waters rising as high as one metre and inundating several locations in northern Sarawak.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

The fire danger in New South Wales will peak today as firefighters battle 33 blazes across the state with some rural properties under threat. Watch-and-act alerts were issued for bushfires at Warrabah near Tamworth and Tingha Plateau in the state’s north-east with Fire and Rescue NSW warning fire activity was increasing in the area.

Wildfires – Chile – Update

Wildfires have now destroyed 41,200 hectares of forest land in southern and central Chile, the country’s National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) said on Monday. The figure represents an increase of 45 percent from last year in the area of forest land razed in the fire season.

California Loses 18 million trees in 2018

It’s a measure of how severe the tree die-off in California has been in recent years that when the state announced Monday it lost another 18 million trees in 2018, a top forestry official pronounced the result “encouraging.”

That’s because California lost far more trees in the three prior years, including a jaw-dropping 62 million dead trees in 2016, due to a combination of drought and bark beetle infestation.

With rain and snow in the state increasing over the last two winters, experts proclaimed an end to the seven-year drought. But the state still faces a heightened fire danger after more than 147 million trees were lost over the last nine years.

Officials at the California Department of Forestry said that it typically takes at least three years of substantial rain and snow for trees stressed by drought to return to good health. That would mean the state’s forests could benefit from at least one more year of wet weather to recover from the brutally dry period of 2010 to 2016.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Perth residents have been warned to act immediately to survive as a fast-moving, out-of-control bushfire threatens lives and homes. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued an emergency warning for the blaze in Forrestdale which has burnt out several cars and damaged properties in the city’s southeast. The fire has burned 144 hectares, is moving northwest and is expected to be propelled overnight by winds of up to 80 kilometres per hour.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Cuba – A tornado on 27 January 2019 was registered as an EF4 with a speed of winds that reached 300 km/h, higher than a category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Four people are reported dead and a total of 195 injured.1,238 homes affected, of which 123 are total landslides and 224 completely lost the roof. Eleven health institutions, 46 schools with different levels of damage and 21 day care centers have been affected. 220,000 people remain affected in the electric service.

Midwest USA – A life-threatening deep freeze gripped the American Midwest on Wednesday as weather colder than Antarctica grounded flights, disrupted travel and brought life to a standstill for tens of millions. Mail deliveries were suspended, schools and business closed, and residents encouraged to stay home in nearly a dozen states where temperatures overnight sank into the negative double digits, the worst cold to grip the region in a generation with all-time records still under threat. America’s third city Chicago, where the morning temperature was -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 Celsius), which felt like -50 degrees (-46 Celsius) with wind chill, was colder than Alaska’s state capital and even colder than parts of Antarctica.

Saudi Arabia – At least 12 people have been killed as heavy rain wreaked havoc in Saudi Arabia this week, according to the kingdom’s civil defense authority. The heavy downpours hit mainly the western and northwestern parts of the country close to the border with Jordan. Ten people died in the northwestern city of Tabuk and one each in the holy city of Medina and the northern border areas.

Indonesia – A series of floods struck four areas in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, on Tuesday evening. “The floods were caused by an overflow of the Bukit Gading Raya Boulevard River Some areas were inundated with floodwater as high as 40 centimeters.

Australia – A Queensland driver has caught the wild moment a 3.5m crocodile walked in front of his car after unprecedented flooding in the north of the state near Cairns.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Riley), located approximately 345 nm northwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 11 knots.

NewsBytes:

Brazil – Update – Aerial view of destroyed facilities after the collapse of a dam, near the town of Brumadinho in southeastern Brazil, on January 25 2019. A dam collapse unleashed a torrent of mud on a riverside town and surrounding farmland, killing 37 people, destroying houses and leaving 250 people missing. Firefighters on Sunday called for the evacuation of about 24,000 people from the Brazilian town as continuing rains added to concerns a second dam could collapse.

Unnamed

Philippines – Nearly 20,000 individuals fled their homes in the Davao Region as the trough or extension of a low pressure area triggered floods and landslides. At least one person reportedly died in the floods. A total of 58 barangays across the Davao Region implemented forced evacuation for around 4,116 families.

Australia – Update – Communities were cut off, farmers stranded and cows washed offshore as heavy rain pelted north-east Australia on Sunday (Jan 27), with one major river breaking 118-year-old floodwater records. The Bureau of Meteorology said Queensland’s Daintree River rose to 12.6m – a level not seen in over a century – and local authorities warned that some residents in remote areas could be cut off for days. The heritage listed Daintree Rainforest received more than 300mm of rain in just 24 hours and Northern Queensland is bracing for monsoonal conditions for the rest of the week.

Environment

Doomsday Clock Hovers at 2 Minutes to ‘Midnight’

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Humanity might be running out of time to turn away from a path toward our utter annihilation — at least, according to the hypothetical Doomsday Clock.

Experts with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) updated the imaginary timepiece, which measures the proximity of humanity’s destruction based on the position of the clock’s hands relative to midnight — the hour of the impending apocalypse.

Last year the Doomsday Clock’s hands were set at 2 minutes to midnight, the closest it had ever been to “doomsday.” And, citing similar risks of humanity’s destruction, BAS representatives announced today that the clock will remain at 2 minutes to midnight.

But even though the clock’s hands haven’t moved, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the relentless progress of climate change — aided by widespread misinformation and fake news — are still a cause for grave concern, BAS representatives declared at a press event.

South Australia heatwave

Temperatures in southern Australian neared 48 degrees on Thursday, shattering previous records as sizzling citizens received free beer to help weather heatwave of historic proportions.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported temperatures of 47.9 Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) north of Adelaide, while inside the city temperatures reached 46.2 Celsius, a fraction above a record that had stood since 1939.

More than 13 towns across South Australia have smashed their own heat records, with some of the state forecast to see temperatures of 50 degrees by the end of the day.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Homes and lives are under threat from an out-of-control bushfire in Victoria’s East Gippsland region, with residents in some areas told it is too late to leave.

The blaze, 10km north of Timbarra, is burning southeast in the direction of Timbarra Settlement and Gillinga, and an east to W Tree and Butchers Ridge.

It grew from 400 hectares this morning to more than 5500 hectares by about 5.30pm, and is just 3-4km from W Tree and Butchers Ridge.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

The Gell river fire, west of the Tasmanian capital, has now burned through almost 15,000 hectares of bush but no longer posed an immediate risk to properties, the Tasmania Fire Service said. But residents were warned of a risk of embers from the blaze, burning about 20km northwest of the communities.

The bushfire at Rosedale, in Gippsland suspected to be deliberately lit, ripped through more than 10,000 hectares of scrub and forest before it was brought under control about 2.30am Saturday.

Wildfires – Chile

Dozens of wildfires tore through central Chile destroying scores of homes. Local media reported there were 44 wildfires active on Thursday with at least eight more still burning in the Valparaiso region alone. Valparaiso is a coastal area about 100km northwest of Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Perhaps the hardest hit municipality was Limache, where the mayor said some 60 homes were destroyed.

The O’Higgins region south of Valparaiso was also hard hit. In total, local media reported more than 2,600 hectares have burned.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Three firefighters have been injured while battling an inferno on the NSW Central Coast this afternoon. The fire, which started in a car, before quickly spreading in multiple directions through the dry scrub, has burned through more than 150 hectares of bushland near Tooheys Road in Bushells Ridge, 22km north of Wyong.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Western Australia

A lightning strike on Boxing Day started a bushfire near the intersection of Pannawonica Road and North West Coastal Highway in Fortescue. It burned through 50,000 hectares of bush and closed down roads near the Pilbara town of Pannawonica. Temperatures on Friday reached 48 degrees after a scorching top of 49 degrees on Thursday. A total fire ban is in place for Western Australia.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 06s (Kenanga), located approximately 701 nm southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking west-northwestward at 04 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 07s (Cilida), located approximately 332 nm north of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking south-southwestward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

Australia – Australia’s largest city was picking up the pieces on Friday after a series of lightning and hailstorms pummelled cars with ice blocks the size of tennis balls. The authorities issued a severe storm warning, but that was not enough to prevent damage that is already running into the tens of millions of dollars. When the storms hit, Sydneysiders looked on in desperation as cauliflower-shaped hail smashed through car windshields and turned the Harbour into a bubbling and splashing cauldron. Many drivers sought refuge under roofed petrol stations and a few brave surfers in the water at the city’s famed Bondi Beach hid under their boards.

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Turkey – The building site of Istanbul’s massive new airport has been inundated after heavy rains. Images from the site show buses almost fully submerged in water in a lake of rainwater left by the floods.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits western Australia.

5,2 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits Antofagasta, Chile.