Archive | June 2021

Giant eruption at Rincón de la Vieja volcano in Costa Rica

Volcano Alert

Photo Illustration

A volcano in northwest Costa Rica erupted on Monday, spewing an enormous column of smoke into the air in what could be its biggest outburst in years, authorities said.

The Rincon de la Vieja volcano’s nearly three-minute eruption in the early hours of the day belched a column of smoke almost two kilometers (1.2 miles) high, depositing ash on surrounding areas but causing no damage or injuries.

The volcano, whose eruption did not trigger any immediate evacuations, is situated in a national park in Guanacaste province some 200 kilometers from the capital, San Jose.

“It was a pretty energetic eruption,” said Maarten de Moor, a specialist at the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori).

Although the volcano has frequent outbursts — some 1,400 last year alone — this “could be the largest since the 1990s,” he added.

The National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Management said it had deployed a team to evaluate the situation, and urged people not to approach the site.

Costa Rica has five active volcanos.

Courtesy of france24.com

https://tinyurl.com/bc4mzdb4

‘Historic’ Heat Wave Sets Record Highs Across West Coast and Canada—And It’s Still Getting Hotter

Record High Temperatures

Record-breaking temperatures are scorching America’s West Coast and parts of Canada amid what the National Weather Service is calling a “historic and unprecedented heat wave”—and the summer sizzle hasn’t even reached its peak yet, AccuWeather reports.

More than 20 million people across six states are under heat alerts from the NWS. Dozens of daily record-high temperatures were broken on Saturday in states ranging from Washington to California. Further north, the heat wave set a national record in Canada on Sunday: Lytton, a village in British Columbia, hit roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius), beating the country’s previous all-time high of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) set in 1937, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Temperatures are expected to rise even higher on Sunday and into Monday in certain places, with “no relief in sight” this week for areas to the east of the Cascades, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington State, much of Idaho, and into western Montana, according to the NWS.

“After record-breaking heat was felt over the Pacific Northwest and Northern Great Basin on Saturday, even hotter temperatures are forecast today and Monday throughout the region,” it said in a Sunday bulletin. “High temperatures are forecast to soar 20-30+ degrees above average in Washington and Oregon, including highly populated areas west of the Cascade Mountains. Highs well into the triple digits will significantly increase the threat of heat related illnesses.”

In short, the Pacific Northwest is frying under a heat dome, which forms when high-pressure circulation in the atmosphere creates a sort of lid that stops hot air from escaping. A heat dome this intense is so rare, it’s the kind of event you would expect to experience once in 1,000 years, according to CBS meteorologist Jeff Berardelli. Another meteorologist, Scott Duncan, predicts that some of the hottest places on the planet will be in the Pacific Northwest this year.

Portland, Oregon, had its hottest day on record Saturday, with temperatures reaching 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius), according to the NWS. That record didn’t last long, though: On Sunday, temperatures soared to a new high of 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius). The city set its previous all-time high of 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.7 degrees Celsius) in 1965 and 1981.

On Saturday, the NWS said temperatures hit 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius), in Salem, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, each city’s monthly maximum temperature record for the month of June. Seattle, Washington, hit 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) that same day, a record for June. On Sunday, the Salem airport climbed to 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44.4 degrees Celsius), shattering an all-time record high for the site of 109 degrees Fahrenheit (42.8 degrees Celsius), according to the NWS.

Temperatures in Canada are expected to peak on Monday, reaching as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) in British Columbia, the CBC reports. On Saturday, Fraser Valley broke 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) for the first time to date. Residents in the Pemberton Valley north of Vancouver have been ordered to evacuate as rising river levels caused by snowmelt amid all this unprecedented heat flood the area.

In much of the Pacific Northwest, even the morning lows will surpass the area’s average high temperatures, which just goes to show the “anomalous nature of this historic heatwave,” the NWS reported Saturday. The last time the region even came close to feeling this kind of heat was in July 2009, when temperatures lingered between 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) and 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41.1 degrees Celsius) for two to four days, according to the agency. Its hottest part of the year typically falls in late July, so the fact that we’re seeing all-time records fall when the summer’s barely started is not a good sign, to say the least.

The NWS advises those in areas experiencing unprecedented high temperatures to stay hydrated, stay inside as much as possible, and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Soaring temperatures have battered the West Coast in recent weeks, drying up reservoirs, curtaining hydropower, and exacerbating the impacts of widespread droughts across the region.

As disastrous as this heat wave has been, it’s only the beginning. Thousands of temperature records have already been shattered this year, and experts predict the climate crisis will continue to increase the odds of heat and megadroughts this century, so this weekend’s records likely won’t stand for long.

Courtesy of gizmodo.com

https://tinyurl.com/2k2mw355

Heavy snow blasts south New Zealand

Snow Alert

Much of the South experienced snowfall overnight causing several state highways to close as severe gales look set to follow.

Wind would continue today with the potential for severe gales, but the weather should begin to clear tomorrow, forecasters said.

It was expected snow would fall to as low as 100m and the wind would be “bitterly cold”.

Snow settled is suburbs throughout Dunedin last night, including in the Town Belt before it was washed away by rain. Several centimetres of snow is still on the ground in the hill suburbs which contractors are in the process of clearing.

The weather caused disruptions in the South yesterday, with flights affected, and roads and schools closed as the polar blast swept through.

Snow began to fall in parts of Dunedin at 3pm yesterday.

MetService has several severe weather watches and warning still in place for today.

A heavy snow watch is in place for Fiordland south of Charles Sound.

A strong wind watch is in place for most of the South, including North Otago, Dunedin, Clutha, Southland about and south of Mossburn and Stewart Island.

The forecast for Dunedin today is showers, snow to 100m and possible squally thunderstorms before dawn, becoming isolated by afternoon with fine spells. Strong southwest, gale gusting 100 km/h in exposed places at first.

Meanwhile Queenstowners have been advised that if they do not need to drive that they shouldn’t.

The Queenstown District Council advised there was snow throughout the Wakatipu Basin and driving conditions were “extreme”.

The Crown Range Rd remains closed and the Orbus service in the town has been suspended.

Grit trucks are out and snow ploughs are being sent about the region to clear state highways and alpine roads.

If you must drive today, here’s the deal: snow chains, go slow, keep a safe following distance,” the QLDC said.

The Central Otago District Council said only essential travel should be undertaken in the Maniototo & Manuherikia area.

“Snow has fallen here, and freezing temperatures making conditions unfavourable. Crews will be focusing on the townships and sealed roads first.

Areas surrounding Roxburgh, Alexandra and Cromwell townships, especially the higher altitude roads, are heavily affected by snow and travel is not recommended.

Courtesy of odt.co.nz

https://tinyurl.com/ytkbr539

Polar blast: Freak hail storm hammers Wellington, New Zealand

Wellingtonians were woken last night by an “intense” hail storm that hammered areas of the capital in the early hours.

The icy blast came as the vanguard of a polar blast sweeping up the country from the south.

With snow blanketing much of the south, leaving numerous highways closed and even falling to sea level in Christchurch overnight, attention is turning to the north, which is starting to feel the brunt of the polar air.

20 flights have been cancelled at Wellington Airport this morning, with an airport spokesman saying that they are regularly inspecting their runway and seawalls as heavy swell batters the coast.

The polar blast brought snow to sea level in parts of the south yesterday, as well as huge seas and gales laced with a bitterly cold -20C windchill.

An active cold front and south-to-southwesterly winds will track north across the remainder of the country, with numerous weather warnings in force.

Heavy snow was possible in Taihape, around the Tararua Range and Banks Peninsula today.

A road snowfall warning is in place for the Napier-Taupō Rd (until midday Tuesday), Desert Rd (until 5pm Tuesday) and Remutaka Hill Rd (until 4pm Tuesday) in the North Island.

Residents in Wellington shared photos of the hail, saying they had been “pummelled” by the sudden downpour.

“The #hail was the size of small marbles. I’ve never seen anything like it in the time I’ve been here,” wrote Khandallah resident Brad Markham.

Courtesy of nzherald.co.nz

https://tinyurl.com/8knf5798