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Severe thunderstorms leave thousands without power in parts of America

A severe storm passed through the region Saturday night, leaving thousands without power in the metro-east, according to Ameren Illinois.
 
In St. Clair County, 1,809 households didn’t have power as of 7:30 a.m., according to Ameren’s outage map. In Belleville, 623 households were without power as of 7:30 a.m.
 
Madison County had 18,076 homes without power as of 9:40 a.m. In Edwardsville, power lines were downed and several trees fell, according to the Edwardsville Fire Department. Firefighters warned residents against going near downed wires.
 
The storm also struck St. Louis County, leaving 23,704 households without power Sunday morning, according to Ameren Missouri. In St. Charles County, Mo., 16,271 households were without power.
 
Ameren crews, police and firefighters responded to reports of wires down and tree limbs in roadways early Sunday, according to police scanner traffic. Ameren activated its Emergency Operations Center at 7 a.m. Sunday. At the peak of outages, 40,021 Ameren Illinois customers lost power because of the storms.
 
Ron Pate, senior vice president of Operations and Technical Services for Ameren Illinois, said the company will address downed power lines and outages at hospitals and other critical facilities first.
 
“Our crews are focused on repairing large transmission lines followed by the distribution lines and feeder circuits that bring power to neighborhoods and customer premises,” Pate said in a statement. “All of our customers can be assured that we are working to bring everyone back on as quickly and safely as possible.”
 
In Troy, the storm affected traffic lights, though power was restored by 10 a.m. Police reminded residents to treat powerless traffic lights as four-way stops.
Courtesy of bnd.com
 

Thousands ordered to evacuate as heavy rains hit northeast Japan

Tens of thousands of people in northeast Japan were told to evacuate their homes on Sunday as heavy rain caused major flooding and cut some rail links, authorities said.
 
The storm follows freak rains in southwestern Japan earlier this month that left at least 25 people dead.
 
Almost 25,000 people in Akita prefecture were ordered to evacuate and around 65,000 more people were advised to leave or told to prepare to leave the area, an official at Akita prefecture told Reuters.
 
Several rivers were flooding and more than 100 houses had been inundated by floodwaters, the official said. No injuries or deaths have been reported, but the authorities were still investigating, he added.
 
Some bullet trains running to and from Akita have been suspended because of the heavy rains, East Japan Railway said on its website.
 
“There is a significant amount of water accumulating in the land. Even if the heavy rains stop, we will continue to warn people to stay vigilant,” the Akita prefecture official said.
Courtesy of reuters.com
 

Major Flooding In Christchurch, New Zealand

The river broke its banks in the torrential rain, with water covering the neighbouring streets in the suburbs of Beckenham, St Martins and Opawa.
 
The council had earlier advised people in the lowest areas next to the Heathcote to evacuate their homes, but as high tide drew near, just after 3pm, they were advised to stay put if the flood water was above knee high.
 
Attention was now turning to the next high tide, at about 3am.
 
People still in their homes have been advised to stay there, as it would be too dangerous to try and get out in the dark.
 
Those who did evacuate have been told they should not try to return overnight.
 
Christchurch civil defence controller Mary Richardson said the water supply was safe to drink, but people should try to keep their waste water to a minimum as the system was already overloaded.
 
The council said the Coastguard response teams could help people out of their homes if needed.
 
The Coastguard said the vessel was equipped with emergency lighting, wetsuits and first aid supplies, and the crew could continue evacuations into the evening if required.
 
The army was also now providing assistance in Christchurch.
 
A welfare centre has been set up at Linwood College for evacuees.
 
Emergency work has also been undertaken on the banks of the estuary in Southshore.
 
The council said three of four low areas had been filled, but that contractors were unlikely to completed the final area before high tide earlier this afternoon and water was likely to come through.
 
The council says pumps have also been put in place in Southshore to help manage the water.
 
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said Heathcote would be a top priority once the flood recovery swings into action.
 
Ms Dalziel said stormwater retention in Heathcote had been done, but it overflowed in the heavy rain.
 
The Minister for Civil Defence said the focus across affected parts of the South Island was now on the response effort – clearing roads, rail and getting people back on their feet.
 
Nathan Guy flew over the flooded plains of Taieri and spoke with local farmers, who said there was likely to be debris from forestry slash.
 
He said it would take some time to get tractors to the affected areas to clear stockpiles of feed.
 
Mr Guy said it came at an unfortunate time for farmers, with the beginning of calving and lambing just around the corner.
Courtesy of radionz.co.nz