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Train derailment sparks chemical fire, residents evacuated in Lilburn, Georgia, USA

Chemical Explosion Alert

Authorities responded to the scene of a “major” train derailment in Lilburn along the CSX line early Sunday morning.

Drone video revealed the crisscrossed mess authorities will spend the next few days untangling after a washed-out track derailed at least a dozen CSX cars and locomotives.

A conductor and engineer were inside but able to free themselves from the wreckage and walk to a nearby command post, where they were taken to a nearby hospital, according to a CSX spokesperson.

Authorities told FOX 5’s Emilie Ikeda most of the derailed cars were in the front sections, falling down the embankment between Camp Creek and Harmony Grove Road.

The crash spilled material around 1:45 a.m., fueling what Gwinnett County Fire officials are calling a chemical fire with potentially hazardous material.

The resulting pinkish-orange plume of smoke was the main cause for concern. Lilburn police went door-to-door, evacuating about a square-mile swath of residents, largely in the cul-de-sacs of Bailey Drive and Jon Jeff Drive.

CSX blamed the severe rain and flash flooding conditions in the area for the derailment.

The crash happened along a river, swollen by the remnants of Delta.

Authorities would not specify the cause of the distinct smell in the air, but local officials said atmospheric testing was showing safe levels, allowing residents to re-enter their homes around 5:45 a.m.

The incident impacted the line from Main Street in Lilburn to Harmony Grove Road.

Drivers traveling between the Main Street and Rockbridge Road areas should expect delays throughout Sunday, police are asking the area to be avoided if possible.

In a Facebook post, the Lilburn police department said Greenway Trail between Main Street and Harmony Grove is expected to be closed for the next few days.

State and federal water management personnel will be examining the impact of any runoff.

Courtesy of fox5atlanta.com

https://tinyurl.com/y6xsk5dw

Storm Ianos: Two dead after ‘medicane’ lashes Greece and sparks islands emergency #StormIanos #Medicane #Greece

Storm Alert

At least two people have been killed after a “medicane” – a rare Mediterranean hurricane – toppled trees, cut power and flooded streets in Greece.

Storm Ianos hit the Ionian islands and the western Peloponnese on Friday before lashing the centre of the country on Saturday.

Greece’s weather agency warned of damage and threat to life as it issued alerts for many areas.

An elderly woman was found dead in a flooded house in Farsala and the body of 63-year-old man was discovered near a hospital in Karditsa.

“We’re dealing with a total catastrophe,” one Farsala resident told state television.

Areas of Karditsa, one of Greece’s biggest plains – around 125 miles (200km) north of Athens, were swamped with water and a bridge collapsed.

The fire service said it had received more than 2,450 calls since the storm began – to rescue people, cut down trees and pump water from houses and businesses.

Five boats also sank off the holiday islands of Zakynthos (also known as Zante) and Lefkada on Friday, said the coastguard.

Greece’s civil protection agency declared a state of emergency on Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos as power was cut in many areas.

Kefalonia’s mayor, Theofilos Michalatos, said no one was hurt but that homes, roads and water facilities had been damaged.

The storm reached the Athens area on Saturday but there have so far been no reports of damage. Trains between the capital and the second city of Thessaloniki were suspended.

A medicane is a hybrid phenomenon with “some characteristics of a tropical cyclone and others of a mid-latitude storm”, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization.

They have strong winds spinning around a central core and torrential rain, but are smaller in diameter than hurricanes and don’t last as long – typically 24 to 48 hours.

Such storms first appeared in Greece in 1995 and, while far less common than hurricanes, have become more frequent in recent years.

Courtesy of Sky News

https://tinyurl.com/yyej3shm

Tornado touches down near Annapolis amid evening of strong storms #Tornado #Storms #Annapolis #Maryland #USA

Tornado Alert

A severe weather system brought heavy rain, high winds, hail and at least one confirmed tornado Thursday evening.

The weather service said the main threat from the storms will be “damaging wind gusts, but tornadoes cannot be ruled out.”

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for parts of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, including Annapolis, Parole and Edgewater, until 6:30 p.m.

Just after 6 p.m., the weather service confirmed that a tornado touched down just south of Annapolis in Anne Arundel County. They said the tornado was moving east toward the Bay Bridge and advised everyone in the area to take cover.

WTOP’s Dave Dildine reported scenes of damage consistent with a tornado along Route 2, just south of the South River Bridge. Numerous trees and power lines down along with damage to the siding and shingles of some houses.

The weather service also issued a flash flood warning for D.C. and eastern Montgomery County that will remain until 8:30 p.m.

Much of the D.C. region is under a tornado watch until 10 p.m.

The weather service asked that residents stay alert to current weather conditions in their areas and to be ready to respond if hazardous conditions form.

Several tornado warnings were issued in Carroll, Howard, Montgomery, Baltimore and Prince George’s counties Thursday afternoon. The weather service reported seeing storm systems that were generating the rotating air currents needed to form a tornado in those areas.

Storm Team 4 meteorologist Mike Stinneford said the threat for serious storms would not diminish until after sunset.

“The main trigger for these storms is a strong cold front that is not likely to arrive until sometime around noon on Friday,” said Storm Team 4 meteorologist Chuck Bell.

He said that makes timing out the storm chances a little tricky and could help to keep the storms going well after sunset.

Courtesy of wtop.com

https://tinyurl.com/yxblo43h

Majorca suffers severe damage after ‘golf ball’ hail and tornado sweep island #Hailstorm #Tornado #Majorca #Spain

Tornado Alert

A violent storm and tornado have swept across Majorca, leaving a trail of destruction across the tourist hotspot in its wake.

Giant hailstones measuring up to two centimetres pelted down on the island mid-morning, bringing down hundreds of trees and causing power outages, after the storm arrived in the town of Banyalbufar on Saturday, August 29.

The damage was of such high magnitude it left Banyalbufar’s council considering whether to declare a “disaster area”.

The mayor, Mateu Ferra, expressed his concerns, saying the landscape “will take years to recover”.

He added that while there were no serious injuries, many residents “are going to need help”.

Several witnesses captured and shared footage of the storm on social media.

Some mentioned that hail the size of golf balls fell from the sky.

Motorists said strong gusts of wind had caused pine trees to fall and block the roads, preventing them from advancing.

A couple of elderly people and their daughter had to be rescued after after a fallen pine tree left them trapped inside their home, according to the Civil Guard.

Majorca firefighters, Civil Guard teams with Special Mountain Intervention Rescue Groups went to the disaster area and are still working to quantify the extent of the damage, a process which Ferra claims will be “endless”.

Hundreds of people have been left with no fresh water, according to the Majorca Daily Bulletin.

Community manager of electric company Endesa, Magdalena Frau, says staff have been working non-stop since noon on Saturday to restore electricity supplies through alternative routes.

The company has been forced to install temporary generators in the area. but locals still remain without Internet service and telephone coverage.

Frau explained it could take some time for normal services to resume due to the damage caused to the lines.

Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk

https://tinyurl.com/y2emz9fw

Nearly 80 Killed as Flash Floods Ravage City in Afghanistan #Floods #Afghanistan

Severe Flood Warning

When the heavy rains came overnight, setting off flash floods in northern Afghanistan, the deluge quickly turned deadly and caught many residents off guard because they were sleeping.

On Wednesday, a hospital official said the floods had killed nearly 80 people and injured scores of others in Charikar, home to nearly 200,000 people and the capital of Parwan Province, just north of Kabul.

Mahmood Samadi, a Charikar resident, said he woke to the sound of water rushing through his neighborhood and quickly decided to get his family out of the city. When he returned, nearly half his house was flooded and six homes on his street had been destroyed.

“I don’t know about the exact casualties in our street, but I know many people were killed and wounded,” Mr. Samadi said.

The flash floods left a trail of mud, toppled houses and bodies in their wake. Photos in the Afghan news media showed flattened buildings, scattered debris and mangled cars. Rescue workers sifted through the wreckage, as many residents were believed to be trapped under collapsed homes. One hospital reported receiving 78 bodies and 105 wounded people. The death toll in the city was expected to rise.

The flooding is just the latest blow for Afghanistan, which has been ravaged by the coronavirus and bloodied by Taliban attacks across the country since a Feb. 29 peace agreement between the United States and the insurgent group.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry, said on Tuesday that 88 civilians had been killed in the preceding two weeks, and he blamed the Taliban for most of the deaths.

That same day, a Taliban car bomb in the northern province of Balkh killed at least eight civilians, as well as two Afghan commandos whose unit was based nearby. More than 60 people were wounded, and the blast destroyed or damaged several buildings, including an agricultural center and an animal clinic.

Nearly 1,300 civilians were killed in fighting during the first six months of the year, according to the United Nations. A similar number of Afghans were reported to have died from the coronavirus, but the true number is likely to be significantly higher because of limited testing and the government’s diminished presence in more rural areas.

Since the start of the year, more than 17,000 people have been affected by heavy floods and rains across Afghanistan, with nearly 2,000 homes destroyed, according to a United Nations report released in April.

Scientists have pointed to climate change as more frequent flooding has struck Asian countries, including China, where riverbanks have been breached and waters have strained the Three Gorges Dam; North Korea, where the government declined to accept international aid for fear of letting the coronavirus in; Bangladesh, where torrential rains recently submerged at least a quarter of the country; and Indonesia, where flash floods left hundreds of thousands homeless earlier this year.

In Afghanistan, weak governance puts residents in additional peril: With little official oversight, urban planning is often neglected. Many of the houses destroyed in Charikar were built in an area prone to flooding, said Mohammad Khalil Fazli, a member of the Parwan provincial council.

Nearly the entire city was devastated, Mr. Fazli said. “There are houses destroyed by flash floods in every corner of the city,” he said.

Esmatullah Mohammadi, another member of the provincial council, said, “The government should haven’t let these people build their houses there, because everyone knows that it is a route of flash floods.”

Heavy rains in northern and eastern Afghanistan are common this time of year. On Tuesday night, three people were killed and three others wounded in a series of flash floods in eastern Wardak Province, said Mohammad Sardar Bakhtyari, a local official. Dozens of houses and acres of agricultural land were destroyed.

But the dense population and the fact that the downpour happened overnight combined to deadly effect in Charikar.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said that the Afghan government had pledged emergency support for Charikar.

Flash flooding in Charikar earlier this month affected 495 families, 152 of which needed humanitarian assistance, according to a report from the International Organization for Migration.

Courtesy of nytimes.com

https://tinyurl.com/y5af9a9m