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Hurricane Grace Unleashes Severe Flooding in Mexico, Killing Eight

Hurricane Grace pummeled Mexico with torrential rain on Saturday, causing severe flooding and mudslides that killed at least eight people after becoming one of the most powerful storms in years to hit the country’s Gulf coast.

Grace was blowing maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour), a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, when it slammed into the coast near the resort of Tecolutla in Veracruz state in the early morning.

The state government said eight people were killed, including six from a single family. All but one of the victims died in Xalapa, the state capital, including a young girl killed by a mudslide that hit her home, the government said.

An adult was killed by a collapsed roof in the city of Poza Rica further north in the state, Veracruz Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia told a news conference.

“The state of emergency has not ended,” he added.

Local television showed severe flooding in Xalapa, with coffins from a local business floating down a waterlogged street. The nearby River Actopan burst its banks, shutting down a local highway, state authorities said.

Ericka Herrera, a homemaker in Tecolutla, was in tears as she described the destruction.

“Not of this magnitude that just wrecks everything,” she said. “It’s really sad. Things are really bad.”

Grace smashed windows, downed trees, power cables and telegraph poles, leaving debris strewn around Tecolutla, though there were no human casualties, local authorities said.

Images from Veracruz posted on social media showed damage to buildings and submerged cars.

Garcia said several rivers in Veracruz would flood, and urged the local population to take cover.

Television footage also showed flooding in Ciudad Madero in the southern reaches of the state of Tamaulipas near the border of Veracruz. Mexican state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) Francisco Madero refinery is in Ciudad Madero.

Mexico City’s international airport said some flights were canceled due to the hurricane. The Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) national power utility reported 565,000 electricity users were affected by outages.

Grace weakened quickly as it moved into the mountainous interior, and by 4 p.m. CDT (2100 GMT) it was dissipating in central Mexico, with top winds of 25 mph (35 kph). The center was about 65 miles (105 km) west-northwest of Mexico City, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT2+shtml/211149.shtml

Before Grace hit land, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged people in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to get to higher ground or shelters.

Many appear to have heeded the call.

The NHC forecast Grace would dump 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) of rain over eastern and central Mexico through Sunday and up to 18 inches (45 cm) in some areas. The heavy rainfall will likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it said.

Veracruz and its waters are home to several oil installations, including Pemex’s port in Coatzacoalcos and its Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Minatitlan in the south. Grace hit land well to the north of these cities.

Earlier in the week, Grace pounded Mexico’s Caribbean coast, downing trees and resulting in power outages for nearly 700,000 people, but without causing loss of life, authorities said.

It also doused Jamaica and Haiti, still reeling from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, with torrential rain.

Courtesy of usnews.com

https://tinyurl.com/v5e4cuc

Natural Disaster Alert: Volcanic Ash in Barbados – U.S. Embassy Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

The Barbados Meteorological Services issued a severe volcanic ash warning for the island on April 10, 2021. A thick plume of volcanic ash from the La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent, which erupted on April 9, is currently affecting the island. Satellite imagery of the volcano continues to show a thick plume of ash traveling easterly towards Barbados. There have been reports of ash fall across the island, and Saharan dust haze also remains present, which will continue to reduce visibility and may cause respiratory problems, especially for those persons with pre-existing respiratory issues or allergies.

The Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados is closed until at least 6 a.m. on April 11, 2021, due to the volcanic ash.

Actions to Take:

Remain vigilant and maintain active awareness of local conditions.
Limit outdoor activity and wear masks (N95 ideally) when outdoors
Close windows and use air filters if available indoors.
Persons with respiratory issues or allergies should ensure they have, close at hand, all prescribed relevant medications and inhalers in case of an emergency.
Use car headlights to assist with the reduced visibility and do not use the car’s ventilation system.
Monitor the Barbados Meteorological Services website for updates.

Courtesy of bb.usembassy.gov

https://tinyurl.com/cukh8r9p

Iceland volcano Fagradalsfjall between capital & main airport ERUPTS, triggering halt to air traffic

Photo Illustration

A volcano has erupted in southwest Iceland following heavy seismic activity and a series of small earthquakes in the area. All inbound and outgoing flights have been halted amid the eruption.

The Fagradalsfjall volcano, located around 20 miles (32km) south of the country’s capital of Reykjavik, erupted late on Friday night, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office (ICO), which noted that all flights to and from the neighboring Keflavik International Airport had been paused.

A video captured from the Coast Guard helicopter and shared by the ICO showed a stream of glowing lava snaking down the mountain, with the office adding that the lava flow is only some 1.6 miles (2.6km) away from the town of Suðurstrandarvegur.

Photos of the eruption have circulated on social media, turning the night sky red.

Authorities from Keflavik were sent to assess the situation, the ICO said, while local media reported that a Coast Guard helicopter had also been dispatched to the area, bringing along two scientists to help determine next steps.

A local government spokesperson also announced that all main roads around the volcano had been closed “so that people do not get too close.”

Located on a peninsula in southwest Iceland, the volcano sits in a seismic hotspot which has seen some 40,000 small quakes since late February, putting the region on high alert for a volcanic episode. However, as noted by a local seismologist, activity in the area “died down almost completely” in the lead-up to Friday’s eruption.

Courtesy of rt.com

https://tinyurl.com/yc3rtfmh

Major Snow Storm Slams the Northeast, USA, Crippling Air Travel and Closing the Subway

A powerful winter storm pummeled much of the Northeastern United States on Monday, canceling flights, causing outdoor subway closures and disrupting travel for millions of people along the I-95 corridor.

In New York City, a forecast of up to two feet of snow by Tuesday could make the snowstorm one of the biggest in the city’s history. More than 13 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park by 1 p.m., including eight inches in the previous six hours, the National Weather Service said on Twitter.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that heavy snow would give way to icy, dangerous conditions on Tuesday and that in-person learning at city schools would be canceled until Wednesday. The storm was also hampering the city’s ability to deal with pandemic and the city postponed coronavirus vaccination appointments scheduled for Monday and Tuesday to later in the week.

“At the most intense points, you’re going to see two to four inches of snow per hour,” Mr. de Blasio said. “That’s extremely intense snow. That’s blinding snow. You do not want to be out if there’s any way to avoid it.”

On Sunday, Mr. de Blasio issued a local emergency declaration, barring most travel in the city starting at 6 a.m. on Monday except in cases of emergencies. Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey declared a state of emergency beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday and said most of New Jersey Transit’s bus and rail operations would be temporarily suspended on Monday because of the storm.

As of 10:45 a.m. on Monday, a band of heavy snow was developing over parts of Pennsylvania and into the early afternoon with a mix of sleet and freezing rain that was expected to change back to snow soon, according to the National Weather Service, with accumulations of 12 to 24 inches forecast for the northeastern part of the state, as well as northern portions of New Jersey. Wind gusts could reach up to 35 m.p.h. Areas in central New Jersey could see snow totals around 15 inches, the service said, making travel extremely difficult.

In Philadelphia, about two inches of snow had fallen in the early hours of Monday, with about five inches in the suburbs. Conditions across the area were expected to dramatically worsen as the day progressed, local meteorologists said, an by day’s end Philadelphia may have eight to 12 inches of snow. Areas around the city were expected to get over a foot and more than 18 inches of snow was possible in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos. A combination of heavy snow and strong winds up to 60 m.p.h. in some areas could create power outages.

In New England, blizzard-like conditions were forecast on Monday, meteorologists said. At noon, a wall of snow moved over the coastal areas of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut with snow falling at a rate of one two inches an hour. A foot was expected by the evening. Wind gusts up to 70 m.p.h. and moderate coastal flooding could occur.

By Monday evening, the snow will shift into Northern New England, according to the National Weather Service. Areas of rain and freezing rain could occur along the I-95 corridor from Washington to Philadelphia.

On Sunday, as much as three inches of snow fell across the Washington area, and forecasters predicted another inch or so on Monday.

Outdoor subway service in New York City was suspended starting at 2 p.m. on Monday because of the snowstorm, officials said.

There were no immediate plans to pause underground service, but that could change, said Sarah E. Feinberg, the interim president of New York City Transit, which runs the city’s subway and buses.

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening situation,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a news conference on Monday. “And expect major closures, so you’re not surprised. And we don’t want anyone to be stranded in a location where they can’t get home again.”

The shut down affected lines across the city and closed 204 of the system’s 472 stations, mostly n Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, according to a map shared by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Passengers were required to disembark at the last underground station before the train goes above ground.

Southbound service on the F line ended in Brooklyn at the Jay Street-MetroTech station, for example. In Queens, the 7 line ended northbound service at Hunters Point Avenue. In the Bronx, northbound service on the 6 line ended at Hunts Point Avenue.

Patrick J. Foye, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the subway, buses and two commuter lines, said the Long Island Railroad would stop running between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., while the last Metro-North Railroad trains would leave Grand Central Terminal around 3 p.m.

PATH trains, which link Manhattan with New Jersey, would also stop running at 3 p.m., according to Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Courtesy of nytimes.com

https://tinyurl.com/1cvh5ptr

Indonesia plane missing: Boeing lost contact after dropping ‘more than 10,000ft in less than a minute’

Missing Plane Alert

A search and rescue operation is under way in Indonesia after contact was lost with a Boeing 737-500 plane on a local flight.

An Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesman said the Sriwijaya Air flight SJ 182 was flying from the capital Jakarta to Pontianak City in West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo. The last contact was at 2.40pm local time (7.40am in the UK), it said.

Tracking service Flightradar24 said on Twitter that the flight “lost more than 10,000ft (3,000m) of altitude in less than one minute” about four minutes after departure.

The Indonesian Navy has determined the plane’s co-ordinates and ships have been deployed to the location, Navy official Abdul Rasyid said.

Suspected debris has been located in waters north of Jakarta, an official from the Basarnas rescue agency told the Reuters news agency, although it has not been confirmed that it is from the missing plane. Fishermen spotted metal objects believed to be parts of an aircraft in the Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta, on Saturday afternoon.

Friends and relatives of people on the flight have been seen in television footage praying and hugging each other as they wait for news at the airports in Jakarta and Pontianak airport.

Some 62 people were on board, including crew. Ten of the passengers were children, the rescue agency said.

In its latest statement, the airline said it was still gathering information on the incident.

“Sriwijaya Air is still in contact with various related parties to get more detailed information regarding the SJ-182 flight from Jakarta to Pontianak,” the company said.

“Management is still communicating and investigating this matter and will immediately issue an official statement after obtaining the actual information.”

Indonesian Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said: “The missing plane is currently under investigation and under co-ordination with the National Search and Rescue Agency and the National Transportation Safety Committee.”

A spokeswoman for Boeing said: “We are aware of media reports from Jakarta, and are closely monitoring the situation. We are working to gather more information.”

A plane flying from Jakarta to Pontianak would spend most of the 90-minute flight over the Java Sea. Sriwijaya Air is one of Indonesia’s discount carriers, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations.

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people.

The missing plane is not a Boeing 737 Max, the model involved in two major accidents in recent years – the first of which involved a crash in Indonesia.

The Lion Air 737 MAX, carrying 189 passengers and crew, crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta in October 2018, killing everyone on board.

It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people were killed on a Garuda flight near Medan on Sumatra island.

And in December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore crashed into the sea, killing 162 people.

Courtesy of Sky News

https://tinyurl.com/y3subrkd

Madrid Paralysed’ by Heavy Snow Storms as Roads shut and Madrid Airport forced to Suspend Operations

Snow Emergency

Madrid Paralysed’ by Heavy Snow Storms as Roads shut and Madrid Airport forced to Suspend Operations.

The very heavy snow fall that was forecast by AEMET, the Spanish meteorological service, has tonight struck Spain’s capital Madrid.

Storm Filomena has kept all of Spain, except Melilla, on alert for intense cold, wind, rain and snow. The storm is affecting some 406 roads throughout Spain, 42 of them on the main network, according to an update by the General Directorate of Traffic. In addition, the secondary road network, 41, is on the black level, that means it is impassable and more than 200 roads are on the red level, with heavy vehicles now obligated to wear snow chains.

So far, up to 7:00 pm, there have been three flight diversions, one in Malaga, another in Córdoba and another in Tenerife North, and nine cancellations at Ceuta heliport.

In the capital, the M-30 ring road between the north junction and the Manoteras junction and the M-40 is cut into a small section. In this second route, snow chains are mandatory in the 60 kilometres of its journey.

The Community emergency service recommends not using private vehicles and reminds everyone of the obligation to use chains on their cars after ten at night. Also on the main network, the passage of traffic is completely interrupted in three kilometres in both directions of the CM-40 and another of the CM-42 as it passes through Toledo.

Courtesy of euroweeklynews.com

https://tinyurl.com/yxcuszln

Plane makes emergency landing on Minnesota interstate by award-winning pilot

Plane Emergency Landing

The pilot of a small plane that made an emergency landing on a Minnesota interstate Wednesday was identified as an award-winning member of the U.S. aerobatics flying team. The single-engine Bellanca Viking plane landed and hit a vehicle, temporarily closing part of the highway Wednesday night in the St. Paul suburb of Arden Hills, officials said. The pilot has been identified as 52-year-old Craig Gifford, a Minneapolis resident and competitive aerobatic pilot. Gifford represented the United States in international competition in 2017 and 2019 on the Unlimited Aerobatic Team. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board are investigating.

Courtesy of wqow.com

https://tinyurl.com/y4y8642v