A powerful cyclonic storm lashed India’s southeastern coast early on Thursday, uprooting trees and packing strong winds and rains as tens of thousands of people took refuge in shelters.
The centre of Nivar made landfall at 3:05am local time (21:35 GMT on Wednesday) near Puducherry with winds of up to 130 kilometres (81 miles) per hour.
Tamil Nadu minister RB Udhayakumar said late on Wednesday that about 175,000 people were moved to shelters across the state as local authorities declared a public holiday on Wednesday and Thursday, shutting everything except emergency services.
Thousands of state and national emergency personnel were deployed in the southern regions of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry as authorities suspended power supply across several cities to prevent damage to the electricity grid.
Heavy rains triggered by the storm caused flooding in some streets of the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s largest city which is home to many large automobile manufacturers, according to a Reuters witness.
Flight operations at Chennai airport were suspended until Thursday morning and metro train services halted.
People were seen walking in knee-deep water in some streets in south Chennai, which has many low-lying areas susceptible to flooding. Local administration workers have been working to remove fallen trees and power lines, city corporation officials said on Twitter.
Authorities in Chennai said they were also closely observing the level of reservoirs and lakes to avoid a repeat of 2015 flooding which killed several hundred people. Lake Chembarambakkam outside Chennai discharged extra water because of the heavy rains.
Local media reported at least five deaths in and around Chennai, due to causes including trees falling, drowning and electrocution.
Initially classified as a “very severe cyclonic storm” as it swirled in the Bay of Bengal, Nivar weakened after landfall into a “severe cyclonic storm”, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
It is forecast to move north and further weaken over the next few hours, the weather bureau added.
The Meteorological Department said Nivar’s intensity had dropped to 85 to 95 kph (53 to 59 mph) and is expected to weaken further.
The fierce winds uprooted trees and toppled electricity pylons while downpours lashed parts of the region, causing flash floods.
Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu recorded nearly 244 millimetres (9.6 inches) of rain since Wednesday morning, with a severe weather warning for further thunderstorms in place for the state.
In Puducherry, home to 1.6 million people, the rain-soaked streets and markets were deserted and Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi appealed to locals to stay indoors and abide by authorities’ instructions.
“Move to high places wherever you have to. There are relief centres. Please move there,” Bedi said in a video message on Twitter.
The navy said its ships, aircraft and crew were on standby to assist with disaster relief.
But people in some pockets along the coast were reluctant to abandon their homes and fishing boats and move to government shelters.
No evacuation orders were issued in Sri Lanka but heavy rains were forecast, particularly in the north of the island nation.
Fishermen there were advised not to go out to sea.
More than 110 people died after “super Cyclone” Amphan ravaged eastern India and Bangladesh in May, flattening villages, destroying farms and leaving millions without electricity.
But the death toll was far lower than the many thousands killed in previous cyclones of that size, a result of improved weather forecasting and better response plans.
Courtesy of aljazeera.com
Freak weather triggers state of emergency in Russia’s Far East, with freezing ice rain & plummeting temperatures
Strong winds and ice cold downpours have struck the city of Vladivostok in the Far East of Russia, leaving thousands without power, electricity and running water. The local government has officially declared a natural disaster.
As many as 120,000 homes were initially affected and, as of Friday, more than 1,500 households in the area were reportedly still cut off from the grid, with many having also lost their central heating. Although temperatures remained comparatively mild, at -1 degree Celsius, the combination of heavy snowfall and high-speed gales disrupted infrastructure and even caused damage to buildings.
In viral footage shared widely on Thursday, Alexander Zhuk, a Vladivostok native, narrowly escaped being crushed by a giant slab of concrete that fell onto his car, which he had been de-icing. He was later pictured next to the written-off vehicle, drinking a beer and celebrating his lucky escape.
The incident underlines concerns from the city’s residents that the fresh snow and freezing temperatures are taking their toll on the older high-rise residential blocks that are a staple in many Far Eastern cities. Some locals also woke up to find their cars virtually entirely frozen by sweeping ice rain that fell across the region overnight.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper published disturbing images on Friday that purport to show the “first fatality” from the weather, with a body laying in the snow in one of Vladivostok’s parks. Local authorities have since confirmed that the man was a 60-year-old of no fixed address. Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.
A state of emergency has been in place across the region since Thursday, and temporary shelters offering food, warmth and psychological support have been set up for those unable to stay at home. Authorities warn that conditions could continue to worsen. In the longer-term, scientists warn that extreme weather could become more and more frequent as a side effect of climate change.
Courtesy of rt.com
Up to 150 people are feared to have been killed in a landslide in Guatemala after Storm Eta lashed central America with torrential downpours.
Many of those who lost their lives in the remote mountain village of Queja in the country’s central region of Alta Verapaz were buried in their homes under mud, according to the authorities.
The devastating weather front has wreaked havoc from Panama to Honduras and Mexico, which between them have recorded more than 50 flood-related deaths.
Soldiers trying to reach the site of the Queja landslide had their search for survivors hampered by atrocious conditions, including thick mud.
An army spokesman said it was not the first time disaster had struck the area, which was the scene of a huge landslide a decade ago, that killed dozens.
Footage of severe flooding in another part of Guatemala showed boats ferrying villagers to safety and rescue workers wading through waist-deep water carrying children on their backs.
Eta is one of the fiercest storms to hit Central America in years, with the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) warning that “catastrophic flooding” in the region would continue.
Rescue operations across Honduras and Guatemala have been hampered by destroyed roads and bridges, forcing authorities to bring in the military and use helicopters and speedboats to rescue people stranded on top of their homes.
“We have a lot of people trapped we have not been able to reach,” said Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.
He tweeted a picture of an elderly man being rescued with the caption: “We will do whatever it takes, where it takes, whatever it takes to reach every Guatemalan. We will not leave you alone.”
In Honduras, flooding has killed 23 people and two are missing, the government said.
“This is the worst storm Honduras has seen in decades. The damage will undoubtedly be significant,” said Mark Connolly, UNICEF representative in Honduras, who estimated about 1.5 million children there will be affected.
“We have been without food for two days… waiting to be evacuated,” said William Santos, sheltering on top of a banana packing plant with about 300 people in northern Honduras.
Across the border from Guatemala in the Mexican state of Chiapas, flooding has killed 19 people.
The devastation recalls memories of Hurricane Mitch, which killed some 10,000 people in Central America back in 1998.
Latest reports put Eta off Belize’s coast in the Caribbean, heading towards Cuba and Florida.
But remnants of the weather system will continue to hammer parts of Central America with flooding, said the NHC.
Courtesy of Sky News
More than a dozen Nebraska counties have been designated as disaster areas because of drought.
Over the past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued disaster declarations for 17 counties, mostly in northeast and western Nebraska, the two areas where drought conditions have been the worst.
The counties designated as primary natural disaster areas were: Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Deuel, Dundy, Garden, Hitchcock, Keith, Kimball, Madison, Morrill, Pierce, Perkins, Platte, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan and Wayne.
Lincoln saw one of its coldest Octobers ever
They join Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dodge, Stanton and Thurston counties, which were declared as disaster areas last month.
Counties with a disaster declaration are eligible for emergency loans for losses caused by drought, which can be used for purposes such as paying to replace equipment or livestock or refinancing debts.
That eligibility also extends to more than two dozen counties that are contiguous to the counties with disaster declarations.
6 Nebraska counties named disaster areas because of drought
Nebraska is seeing its worst drought conditions since 2013. As of Thursday, nearly 86% of the state was in some level of drought, with 12% — all in the Panhandle — in extreme drought.
Both severe and extreme drought can lead to lowered crop yields, scarce hay supplies and serious declines in groundwater levels.
The one thing the dry weather has helped with is harvest. As of Monday, the soybean harvest was essentially done in the state, while about 86% of corn had been harvested. That’s well ahead of the five-year average.
Drought tightens grip on Nebraska as hot, dry spell looms.
Courtesy of norfolkdailynews.com
Depth: 10 km
Distances: 58 km SSW of Karabağlar, Turkey / pop: 458,000 / local time: 14:51:25.7 2020-10-30
18 km NNE of Néon Karlovásion, Greece / pop: 6,700 / local time: 13:51:25.7 2020-10-30
At least 3.6 million people were affected by floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains across East Africa since June, the UN humanitarian agency said in a report Saturday.
“Water levels of several lakes in Kenya and Uganda are rising, impacting thousands of people,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Some 856,000 people were affected by floods in South Sudan since June, including roughly 400,000 who have been displaced, it said.
The floods compounded an already difficult situation for people across the region, many of whom were already faced with conflict, violence, the desert locusts and COVID-19.
In South Sudan’s Jonglei area, which witnessed devastating violence earlier this year, was among the areas which were badly hit by floods.
According to the report, about 1.1 million people in Ethiopia have been affected by floods, with more than 313,000 of them were displaced.
Meanwhile, in Kenya, the water levels of several Rift Valley lakes, especially Baringo and Naivasha “are historically high,” following the highest seasonal rains which pounded the area from October to December 2019, the UN agency said.
The area also received above-average rains in 2020, displacing thousands of people and impacting livelihoods, schools and health facilities, according to the UN.
Courtesy of aa.com.tr
Elderly residents and small children clung to inflatable tyres as soldiers and police used rope lines to bring them to safety beyond rising floodwater in Cambodia’s western province of Battambang, which is expected to worsen on Sunday.
Hundreds of families in three Cambodian provinces – Pursat, Battambang and Pailin – have been forced to evacuate amid extreme rainfall heralding the arrival of a tropical depression across the Mekong region.
“A two-year-old child and 57-year-old man have drowned in the flood,” Seak Vichet, a spokesman for the Cambodian national committee for disaster management told the AFP news agency late on Saturday.
Authorities do not yet have a clear picture of the extent of the damage or people affected but expect the situation to get worse.
Five people have died with eight still missing as floodwaters inundated more than 33,000 homes and forced more than 26,000 people to evacuate, the official disaster management authority said.
The national highway linking northern Vietnam to the south has been flooded, while airlines cancelled some domestic flights, local media report.
Roads also turned to rivers and water inundated properties in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima province, as residents scrambled to place sandbags and move their belongings to higher ground.
Provincial Governor Vichien Chantaranothai said the Pak Chong district was the hardest hit, with 8,000 households and 12,000 people affected. About 200 homes were inundated.
Authorities were distributing food packages and urged people to evacuate to community shelters.
“The water is three metres deep in some parts,” he told reporters on Saturday.
The Khao Yai National Park was closed this weekend because of heavy rain and landslides.
In Laos, rising floodwaters have damaged villages and rice fields along the Xepon and Xebanghieng rivers in Savannakhet province with more rain on the way.
Courtesy of aljazeera.com
Nearly 500,000 power outages reported across Texas & Louisiana as Hurricane Delta pummels gulf coast with 80mph gusts
Nearly a half-million residents in Texas and Louisiana have been left without power after Hurricane Delta made landfall along the US gulf coast, battering cities with winds up to 80 miles per hour.
Delta hit land in southwest Louisiana on Friday night, inflicting widespread damage and knocking out electricity for some 379,636 people in the state and another 108,402 in neighboring Texas, according to PowerOutage.us, a project that aggregates data from utility companies around the country.
Footage circulating on social media showed powerful gusts sweeping through the streets of multiple Louisiana cities, including Jennings and Lake Charles, where power lines were also seen downed by the wind.
As the storm surge began to swell ocean tides along the Louisiana coast on Friday evening, flooding could be seen in some areas of the state, including in the town of Delcambre. According to the New Orleans National Weather Service, however, no flash flood warnings are currently in effect.
Though the storm was initially classified a Category 2 hurricane, producing winds up to 100 miles per hour, it was downgraded to a Category 1 soon after making landfall. Delta is expected to continue to lose steam as it moves northeast across Louisiana and will eventually become a tropical storm, according to forecasts from local meteorologists.
The storm comes on the heels of a number of destructive weather systems in recent months, with the Category 4 Hurricane Laura pounding Louisiana and neighboring states in August with winds up to 150 miles per hour, resulting in some 77 deaths in total and more than $14.1 billion in damage. Tropical Storm Beta also hit Texas last month, wreaking destruction across parts of the state’s coast.
Courtesy of rt.com
A storm in France and Italy has caused severe flooding and at least two people are dead and nine are missing with hundreds of rescues taking place.
The UK has been hit by the fringes of the storm, with heavy rain and winds set to persist throughout the weekend.
In France, Nice and its surrounding areas were the hardest hit overnight as 500mm (20ins) of rain was recorded over 12 hours in some areas, according to Meteo France.
That amounts to nearly a year’s worth of average rainfall, more than on 3 October 2015 when 20 people died in floods in Cannes and the surrounding area on the French Riviera.
In the village of Sambughetto, in the northwest Italian region of Piedmont, a record 630mm (24.8ins) of rain fell in 24 hours.
Roads have been swept away and homes have been badly damaged in the mountainous region on the border of France and Italy.
French authorities said firefighters were looking for at least eight people who are missing.
They include two firefighters whose vehicle was carried away by a swollen river.
Christian Estrosi, Nice’s mayor, expressed his “sympathy” for the families of those missing and said the flooding was the worst in the area for more than a century, adding that he was shocked by what he saw when he flew over the scene in a helicopter.
He said more than 100 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged.
Firefighters said several dozen people were evacuated from their homes overnight.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he is thinking of the victims and their loved ones as he expressed his gratitude for rescue workers.
“Together, we will get through this,” he tweeted.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin are expected to arrive in the area later on Saturday.
The storm caused heavy winds of more than 112mph (180kph) in Brittany between Thursday and Friday.
In Italy, a firefighter was killed after he was hit by a falling tree and another man died after his car was swept into a river when the road subsided. Another Italian was missing as night fell.
There were fears the storm would bring flooding, with the water level in the Po river, one of northern Italy’s biggest rivers, rising by 3 metres.
In Venice, the Italian city’s long-delayed flood barriers were deployed for the first time on Saturday.
Forecasters warned the storm could combine with high tides to inundate the sinking city.
The network of 78 bright yellow barriers that guard the entrance to the Venetian lagoon started to lift from the seabed more than three hours before high tide was scheduled.
Driven by strong winds and heavy rain, the tide was expected to reach 130cm (51ins), well below the 187cm (74ins) tide that plunged much of Venice under water last November, but enough to leave low-lying areas deep under water.
The barrier system, called Mose, was designed in 1984 and was due to come into service in 2011 but the project was plagued by corruption, overrunning costs and prolonged delays.
It successfully protected the city from major flooding, bringing relief after years of inundation
Courtesy of Sky News