Wildfires

Wildfires – Germany

Sweeping wildfires forced the evacuation of four villages in eastern Germany, the latest fallout from a Europe-wide heatwave that has raised concerns about climate change.

Discarded bullets and other munitions exploded at an abandoned military firing range as fires covering 600 hectares (1,500 acres) neared the villages of Trebs, Alt Jabel, Volzrade and Jessenitz-Werk about 55 miles southeast of Hamburg. Four military helicopters scooped water out of the nearby Elbe River to douse the flames.

Environment

Drought in Germany

In Germany, record temperatures and no rainfall since early April have led to a drought and thousands of farms are facing bankruptcy because of crop failure.

This week, the government pledged $390 million in federal and state aid, but for many farmers, it’s not enough. Many of the country’s farmers are starting to question whether they can cope with climate change. More than 10,000 farms are facing financial ruin, dairy farmers are slaughtering cows because there’s not enough feed for them and while the national average grain shortfall this year is 26 percent, in some areas arable farmers have lost up to 70 percent of their grain crops.

Breweries are worried about a poor barley yield and have warned that the shortfall will be reflected in the price of that other German staple, beer.

Wildfires

Record heat is stoking wildfires in Europe — and it’s setting off World War II bombs

At the end of July, firefighters grappling with a forest fire southwest of Berlin were further challenged by unexploded World War II ammunition still buried there.

Firefighters had trouble getting inside a pine forest near Fichtenwalde, which is about 35km from the German capital, because of safety concerns. There were signs that some explosives had already gone off because of the fire.

The fire came within about a half-mile (almost 1km) of the village of Fichtenwald before firefighters were able to halt the flames. Because of the leftover ammunition, they employed an extinguishing tank — a tracked vehicle used by emergency responders in dangerous situations. Such tanks are sometimes built on the frame of a battle tank.

The heatwave in Germany has driven water levels so low along the Elbe River that weapons and ammunition from World War II have started to emerge. At the city of Magdeburg, the water level is just a few centimeters above the historic low measured in 1934.

In Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany, police have warned people not to touch the grenades, mines, or other weapons that have started to appear. Munitions were found in five places last week, and over the past few weeks there have been 24 such finds.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 03s (Ava), located approximately 429 nm east-northeast of Europa Island, is tracking southwestward at 12 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 04s (Irving), located approximately 1108 nm east-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking westward at 12 knots.

Newsbytes:

Germany – Rivers swollen by days of rainfall and melting snow are rising in western Germany, with floodwaters spilling into some cities and towns. Shipping was suspended Friday on the upper reaches of the Rhine River, and a similar measure might be taken in the Cologne area over the weekend. Shipping on the Moselle River and the Neckar River, two of the Rhine’s tributaries, had already been halted. A road in downtown Heidelberg was closed on Friday after the Neckar spilled over its banks. In St. Blasien in Germany’s Black Forest, houses were evacuated on Thursday night because of flooding and a landslide.

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Switzerland – The road to the Adelboden ski resort in Switzerland was swept away by a rain-induced mudslide while one skier in the French Alps died after being hit by a falling tree.

China – Central and eastern China have been dealing with heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions since Tuesday. Downed power lines scrapped power in Suizhou, a city of 2.5 million people. The snowfall killed at least 10 people. The hardest-hit provinces were Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Anhui and Jiangsu. More than 16 inches of snow fell in parts of Henan, Hubei and Anhui. About 200 homes were destroyed by the blizzards.

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Congo – Floods and mudslides killed 44 people in shantytowns in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, the third largest metropolis in Africa. Heavy rains hit Kinshasa on Thursday, starting in the early morning and continuing for hours. The floods had caused a large amount of damage and had destroyed several houses.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Atlantic Ocean: Invest 94L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic Ocean that has the potential for further tropical development.

Newsbytes:

Europe – Strong winds battered northern and central Europe on Sunday, killing at least six people in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, with authorities watching for oil leaks from a huge freighter that ran aground in the North Sea. Four victims in Poland and the Czech Republic were killed by falling trees. The storm also knocked out power to thousands of Czechs and Poles, and rail traffic in large parts of northern Germany remained suspended after heavy damage from fallen trees. Winds reached more than 100km/h (60 miles per hour) in several parts of the Czech Republic and topped out at 180km/h on Snezka, at 1,602 metres, the country’s highest mountain. The two victims in Germany included a 63-year-old German man who drowned at a campsite in Lower Saxony as a result of a storm surge, and a woman whose motorboat overturned in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, German media reported.

Malaysia – A Monday afternoon downpour resulted in flash floods in several parts of Kuala Lumpur. Numerous streets and highways were flooded creating huge traffic jams that lasted for hours.

Canada – Record-breaking rainfall in Ottawa on Monday flooded homes and forced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take an ATV for part of his commute. At least 175 homes were flooded, according to the city. More than 50 mm of rain fell in just six hours Monday morning, setting a new one-day record, Environment Canada reports.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Eastern Pacific: Tropical Storm Irwin is located about 1070 mi…1720 km WSW of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…60 mph…95 km/h. Present movement…WSW or 255 degrees at 6 mph…9 km/h.

Hurricane Hilary is located about 515 mi…825 km SW of the southern tip of Baja California with maximum sustained winds…85 mph…140 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 290 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

In the Western Pacific: Typhoon 07w (Noru), located approximately 443 nm north-northwest of Minami Tori Shima, is tracking nwest-orthwestward at 13 knots.

Tropical storm 11w (Nesat), located approximately 422 nm east-northeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking north-northwestward at 06 knots.

Dangerous Dance

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Several storms currently swirl in the Pacific Ocean, with two hurricanes on course for meteorological dance that may end in one dance partner cannibalizing the other.

The bigger storm, Hurricane Hilary, is located several hundred miles south of the Baja California peninsula and has wind speeds of up to 105 mph (165 km/h). Hurricane Irwin is farther west of Hilary and has been weakening, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 km/h).

Currently, the hurricanes aren’t threatening any coastal areas, but they might get locked in a strange dance step known to meteorologists as the Fujiwhara effect. A binary interaction —another name for the Fujiwhara effect —happens when two hurricanes get very close to each other, within about 800 miles (1,290 km), so that their vortices, the spinning centers of the storms, interact.

Two vortices spinning in the same direction will start to orbit around a single center of mass if they get close enough to each other. With two hurricanes that are similar in strength, this center of mass will be the midpoint between the two storms. But if one vortex is stronger, that storm will be closer to the center of the action and could swallow the smaller storm. In this case, Irwin is the smaller storm, and it is expected to pinwheel around the eastern edge of Hilary in the coming days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

NewsBytes:

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Germany – Heavy rains led to flooding Wednesday in some parts of northern Germany, forcing some evacuations and prompting residents to pile sandbags in front of their homes to protect themselves from a swollen river. The center of the town of Goslar, in the mountainous Harz region of northern Germany, west of Berlin, was closed off and a hotel and a home for the elderly were evacuated as its central market square was flooded. Elsewhere, streets were flooded and basements had to be pumped dry of water in the Harz region, and two stretches of railway lines were closed.

Salt Late City, Utah, USA – Flooding from an early morning storm led to some road closures, TRAX delays, flooded basements and power outages Wednesday morning. An inch of rain fell in 40 minutes, according to KSL TV meteorologist Dan Guthrie, causing standing water and flooded areas, particularly in the Salt Lake Valley. Several streets turned into rivers. “The sudden occurrence and intensity of this storm is a 200-year event in Salt Lake City,” said Laura Briefer, Department of Public Utilities director, in a released statement.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Germany – Germany has been inundated by heavy rain and thunderstorms. Some parts of the capital, Berlin, have been left under water. Traffic slowed to a halt in some parts of the city due to the torrential downpour. The storms are expected to continue over the weekend, particularly in the east of the country. Germany has endured more than its fair share of bad weather recently. A storm in the north of the country claimed the lives of two people last week.

Mexico – The rainy season has hit Mexico City where a deluge caused havoc yesterday. Heavy rains lashed the city beginning in the late afternoon, causing flash flooding that stranded motorists in their submerged vehicles, forced the closure of key transportation infrastructure and flooded people’s homes. Up to 70 millimeters of rain fell on some parts of the city.

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Wildfires

Wildfire – Chile

At least 100 houses have been destroyed by the wildfires in the city of Valparaiso, Chile on Tuesday with 19 people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, local media reported. A total of 49 firefighting vehicles and 10 planes are participating in the firefighting operation. High temperature and strong winds have fanned the fire. No casualties have been reported so far.

Wildfire – Germany

Two men are believed to have started a fire on a German mountain after their New Year’s hike went awry, police have said. Firefighters are still working to extinguish the blaze in an operation that could take days. The men accidentally started a forest fire in the southern German state of Bavaria while trying to signal for help, local police said on Monday. The two men were hiking on the Jochberg mountain to celebrate New Year’s Eve when the younger man fell almost 100 meters (328 feet) and broke his leg shortly after midnight on Sunday. The hikers then lit a fire to possibly attract attention, and the flames got out of control. The fire quickly spread. Over 100 firefighters worked through the night to battle the blaze, while seven helicopters picked up water from two nearby lakes.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Invest 92 is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

Invest 91E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Newsbytes:

Europe – France is braced for more torrential rain after a week of storms killed nine people across northern Europe, submerged streets, closed schools and left people stranded on rooftops. Eight people have died in Germany and six days of heavy rain in France caused the Seine and other rivers to burst their banks, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in riverside towns south of Paris and in the Loire valley. In southern Germany, dangerously swollen rivers have killed several people and severely damaged Bavarian towns. Waters have receded in Austria, where schools and roads were flooded in recent days.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Invest 92 is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that has the potential for further tropical development.

Invest 91E is an area of disturbed weather in the East Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Newsbytes:

Germany – Four people died and several more were injured in the southern Germany state of Baden-Württemberg after violent storms with torrential rains caused severe flooding. The floods also caused substantial property damage.

Environment

Hong Kong Swelters

Hong Kong on Saturday recorded its hottest day since authorities began taking temperature readings 130 years ago, due to the influence of a nearby typhoon.

The daily maximum temperature hit 36.3 degrees Celsius, the Hong Kong Observatory said, with higher temperatures recorded in some parts of the city earlier in the day.

A layer of haze hung over the metropolis of seven million, as people wielding electric fans and umbrellas tried in vain to beat the boiling heat.

Europe in Heat Wave

Just one month after setting its all-time national heat record, Germany tied that mark on Friday at the same location, as yet another multiway heat wave swept across much of Europe. The German meteorological agency (Deutscher Wetterdienst) confirms that the town of Kitzingen reached 40.3°C (104.5°F) on Friday, the same national record it reached on July 5. More than 100 towns and cities in Germany either tied or broke their all-time record highs on Friday. Berlin’s Kaniswall station hit 38.9°C (102.0°F)–the hottest temperature ever observed in the Berlin area, beating the old record of 38.6°C (101.5°F).

Record heat extended far across other parts of Europe on Friday. Friday’s high of 38.3C (100.9°F] at Genoa, Italy, topped the all-time airport record by a full 4°F. Records at the airport extend back to 1962; the previous reporting site for Genoa was located further inland, with a warmer microclimate. Even at that location, the previous Genoa record was 37.8°C (100.0°F) in July 1952.

Disease

Bird Flu Outbreak in Germany

There has been a new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu in Niedersachsen in the west of Germany. The outbreak was of the H7N7 subtype of the disease, the same type as the recent outbreak in the UK.

The outbreak affected a farm holding 10,104 laying hens. 50 birds became infected with the disease and died. The remaining 10,054 birds were destroyed as a precautionary measure.

Disease

Squirrel Virus in Germany

Three people in Germany who worked as squirrel breeders and who all died from brain inflammation may have contracted a new strain of virus from their squirrels, according to a new report of the cases.

The new virus strain belongs to a group of viruses called bornaviruses, which typically infect animals such as horses, sheep and birds. Researchers have debated whether this group of viruses can cause disease in people.

The new findings suggest such viruses do cause disease, and moreover, raise the question of whether this virus “represents an emerging threat” to people in the area, according to a recent statement from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Hurricane Blanca is located about 220 mi…355 km SSW of Cabo San Lucas Mexico and about 360 mi…575 km SSE of Cabo San Lazaro Mexico with maximum sustained winds…110 mph…175 km/h. Present movement…NNW or 335 degrees at 12 mph…19 km/h.

wind: tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the southern portion of the warning area by late this morning or early this afternoon, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Tropical storm conditions will then spread northward elsewhere

within the warning area tonight and Monday. Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area later today and tonight. Rainfall: Blanca is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6 to 10 inches over much of Baja California Sur and the southern half of the state of Baja California, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches over Baja California sur. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Surf: swells generated by Blanca are affecting the coast of

southwestern Mexico, the Pacific coast of the Baja California peninsula, and the southern Gulf of California. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Tropical cyclone 01a One), located approximately 564 nm south of Karachi, Pakistan, is tracking northward at 05 knots.

NewsBytes:

Germany – At least two lightning strikes injured 33 people at the Rock am Ring festival in the town of Mendig, Germany. Eight people from production teams were injured when the first strike hit the backstage area at around 1 am. Organisers halted the concert and offered visitors shelter in large, lightning-proof tents.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical depression 06w (Noul), located approximately 71 nm west of Yap, is tracking westward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

Germany – A tornado has caused extensive damage in the German town of Buetzow near Rostock. At least 30 people have been injured by flying debris. A hospital and a nursing home are among the damaged buildings. The railway line between Hamburg and Luebeck has been blocked in both directions by fallen trees.

Buetzow Germany tornado damage

Indonesia – A landslide in Indonesia’s West Java province on Tuesday has claimed the life of one person and left 14 missing.

Tasmania – A severe weather warning has been issued for Tasmania as parts of the northern and central areas are forecast to have winds of up to 130km/h, heavy rain and snow. Tides are expected to peak 40-50 cm above normal levels.