Tropical storm Chalane lands in Mozambique
A powerful tropical storm made landfall near the central Mozambique city of Beira early on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and wind to an area devastated by Cyclone Idai nearly two years ago.
Beira, a low-lying coastal city of 500,000 people, is home to Mozambique’s second-largest port, which serves as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.
The government had asked people living in the path of tropical storm Chalane and near rivers to move to safer areas.
Chalane had maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h with gusts exceeding 120 km/h, according to an update issued by the French weather service’s regional cyclone centre in La Reunion.
“The storm is now tracking inland through central Mozambique and is moving towards Zimbabwe. Government and humanitarian partners hope to begin evaluating the first impacts of the storm as soon as this afternoon,” Helvisney Cardoso, United Nations Mozambique Communications Specialist, said in a statement.
International aid agencies say that tens of thousands of people are still displaced from Idai and living in camps.
The Mozambican government was meeting to assess the impact of the storm and how it would respond.
In Zimbabwe, the government had started evacuating people from eastern parts of the country, where thousands were displaced by Cyclone Idai.
Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department said there was high risk of flooding in the region.
Courtesy of in.reuters.com
15 feared dead after landslide buries PNG village
Fifteen people are missing after a landslide in a remote part of Papua New Guinea’s Central Province.
The area in Goilala District is the site of an informal alluvial mining camp, where people were panning for gold.
Disaster officials have been flown to the site in a region only accessible by foot or helicopter.
The local MP, William Samb, said two bodies had been recovered. But 15 people, including three children, were still missing.
Locals were working with whatever tools they had to try to recover people, but he said there were unlikely to be any survivors.
Tools including spades, bush knives and chainsaws along with food rations were being flown to the valley, EMTV reported.
The landslide happened in the early hours of Monday morning, sweeping away makeshift shelters on the ridge.
Samb said he believed days of continuous rain, along with the clearing of the forest by miners, had contributed to the disaster.
Heavy rain has hampered recovery efforts, and there are fears the slip could have created a dam which now imperils downstream villages.
Courtesy of rnz.co.nz
Norway landslide: At least 10 people injured and 26 missing, police say in Gjerdrum
Ten people have been wounded and 26 are missing after a landslide in southern Norway, police said.
One of the victims was critically injured and more than a dozen buildings were swept away early on Wednesday in the municipality of Gjerdrum, about 19 miles north of Oslo.
The missing people were from homes in Ask village, the centre of the landslide, but police said it was not clear if they had been trapped in their houses, were away at the time or managed to escape.
Photos taken by a rescue helicopter showed a large crater above destroyed buildings.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told broadcaster TV2 it should have been a New Year’s weekend with “peace and quiet”.
“And maybe we should have worried most about COVID-19… not whether we have missing persons from a landslide,” he said.
Around 500 people have been evacuated, Gjerdrum mayor Anders Oestensen told local media.
Police said the area remains unstable for now and can only be accessed by helicopter.
Courtesy of Sky News
MAGNITUDE 6.4 CROATIA
Depth: 10 km
Distances: 47 km SE of Zagreb, Croatia / pop: 698,000 / local time: 12:19:54.6 2020-12-29
Brits wake up to flooding chaos as Storm Bella lashes UK with 106mph winds
Many Brits have awoken to dramatic scenes of flooding after Storm Bella swept into the UK, tearing down trees and cutting power to homes.
Two ‘danger to life’ flood warnings are in force this morning in Cogenhoe, South Northamptonshire, and along a section of the River Nene in the east of England.
A further 98 flood warnings have been issued for the rest of the country, meaning immediate action in these areas is required.
It comes as Storm Bella lashed the country with strong winds, with 106mph gusts recorded in the Isle of Wight in the early hours of this morning.
Dramatic pictures show flooding in Worcestershire, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire this morning.
South Western Railway warned that downpours had flooded the line between Bournemouth and Southampton, causing delays and cancellations this morning.
Strong winds blew a range of obstacles onto rail lines, including a trampoline on the tracks between East London and Kent this morning.
Gusts also downed trees over the Hastings railway line and contributed to a ‘risk of delays’ for Channel crossings from Dover and Calais.
Homes across the UK lost power last night, with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks confirming it had managed to restore electricity to around 48,500 properties since 9pm yesterday.
SSEN is now focusing on returning power to the 4,500 properties still in darkness this morning.
Homes were flooded in Cirencester, Glos, yesterday, where some elderly residents were left without electricity or heating for more than 12 hours.
Cotswold District Council provided sandbags to locals and was in contact with families who had been affected and face suffering more upheaval.
The West Country and south Wales were first in the firing line as the huge Atlantic storm barrelled into Britain.
More than 100 homes were without power last night in Plymouth and Truro, in Cornwall, and 50 were blacked out in Bristol and Bath.
Another 110 were hit in Cardiff, more than 50 in the Swansea area, nearly 150 homes around Telford and a further 116 near Nottingham.
Power board engineers were working in ‘rapidly deteriorating’ conditions to find and fix the faults in the face of heavy rain and strong winds.
A Met Office amber weather warning for wind is still in force across the southern coast of England and much of Wales this morning as Storm Bella ravages the UK.
A warning for downpours is also active in the south-east this morning, with forecasters predicting more than one-and-a-half inches of rain in some areas.
Residents in parts of Bedfordshire were urged to leave their homes amid a risk to life as heavy rain has brought widespread flooding around around the country, with people rescued from vehicles and others evacuated from their homes.
Courtesy of mirror.co.uk
Flooding In Italy Prompts Evacuations
Some 60 families were evacuated on Sunday in the Emilia-Romagna region of central Italy which was hit by severe floods, as heavy rain and snowfall caused havoc primarily in the country’s north.
The heavy rain caused landslides in several parts of the country, while avalanche alerts were issued as a result of heavy snowfalls.
In the area of Modena, in the Emilia-Romagna region, firefighters helped families to safety after the Panaro River burst its banks following heavy rain, forcing the closure of roads and railways.
For the past 48 hours firefighters have been working in the Centre-North in rescue operations in Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy and Tuscany regions. Over 2,200 interventions have been carried out.
In the area of Belluno, in Veneto, the road system was under severe pressure due to rain, snowfall and consequent landslides, with the president of the region, Luca Zaia, calling on all citizens to avoid heading towards the area because of the risk of landslides and avalanches caused by bad weather.
A small bridge over a stream in Gosaldo collapsed, causing a fire brigade vehicle to crash onto the riverbed. The vehicle was empty as the three occupants had already sought safety elsewhere.
For safety reasons, the Brenner railway line was closed between Bolzano and the Italy-Austria border and since Saturday evening the Brenner motorway has also been closed, with Austria currently not accessible from the Italian side.
In various areas of the Dolomites the avalanche risk is very high (grade 5 of 5) and in the most affected regions 80 to 140 cm (31 to 55 inches) of snow have fallen, with strong winds making the situation even more difficult.
Courtesy of republicworld.com
91 reports of landslides, fallen trees in Tobago since November
In October and November, Tobago had 91 reports of landslides and fallen trees associated with bad weather, according to the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) director Allan Stewart.
He said this has been the most landslides recorded in Tobago over the last ten years.
Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday Stewart said, “Every single weekend we have been having heavy rainfall and this brought us to this episode of landslides. Even without rain we are still having landslides because of the amount of water in the soil, and the slopes are unstable right now.”
On Tuesday TEMA received another report of a landslide in Castara threatening the home of one family.
He said many of the homes were constructed on hills without a retaining wall.
“It now costs more to build the retaining walls than the value of the homes. In some cases, the house is less than $40,000, and to protect that same property is close to $1 million. Retaining walls are expensive. But it’s our best chance to protect these homes and families.”
He said in November there were over 36 reports of landslides. Twenty-eight of them were classified as “severe,” affecting several villages in Tobago East.
“TEMA’s response to the landslides went quite well. There was some delay as a result of the mobilisation and the time of the occurrence.
“Some of these reports were domestic and required more attention.”
He said two families, in the Parlatuvier area, were advised to leave their homes after a landslide covered the buildings.
“If there is additional rain it now puts the homes at greater risk, so they were asked to evacuate. These homes are small – one-bedroom, toilet and bath – that’s being pushed away by the landslides. From preliminary investigation, they would have to rebuild their homes.”
He said TEMA has been receiving assistance from the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment and the fire and police service.
In a recent release, the Met Office said December is likely to be wetter than usual. December 2020-February 2021 is likely to have above-average rainfall with an 80 per cent chance of at least one seven-day wet spell.
Courtesy of newsday.co.tt
Cyclone Nivar makes landfall bringing rains, flood in southern India
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