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Cyclone Nivar makes landfall bringing rains, flood in southern India

Cyclone Warning Alert

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

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Tornadoes hit northern parts of Turkish Cyprus, damage power grid

Tornado Alert

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Tornadoes hit the Girne (Kyrenia) district of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) late Friday, inflicting significant damage on businesses, homes and the power grid.

Coastal settlements of Ozanköy, Çatalköy, Karşıyaka and Lapta Hotels Region were particularly damaged with strong winds ripping off rooftops, trees and power lines. Three people were slightly wounded due to falling objects.

The Teknecik Power Plant, the main electricity plant of the TRNC, was also affected as a transformer blew up, causing blackouts in the town of Girne and adjacent settlements.

President Ersin Tatar visited the affected areas on Friday and pledged to help those who suffered losses.

Authorities resumed efforts early Saturday to assess the damage and clean up the debris.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday in a Twitter message that Turkey will continue to stand by the TRNC to overcome the damage, offering his condolences.

Tornadoes are a rare phenomenon in the Mediterranean basin, however, they have increased both in number and strength in recent years with experts pointing to adverse effects of climate change and global warming.

Courtesy of dailysabah.com

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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

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Powerful storm leaves path of power outages and flooding across the Midwest and northeastern United States

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Alert

Extreme high winds up to 76 mph across the Midwest and northeastern United States led to power outages, property damage, flooding and the delay of the Texans-Browns NFL game in Cleveland on Sunday.

After a new storm formed over the Great Plains on Saturday, AccuWeather meteorologists accurately predicted strong winds would target the Great Lakes and Northeast to end the weekend.

In Dayton, Ohio, the winds were blamed for at least one fatality. According to The Associated Press, a 63-year-old woman was struck and killed by a falling tree. The death remains under investigation by the Montgomery County sheriff’s office, the AP said.

More than 25 million were under a winter weather alert in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine on Sunday afternoon.

“A deepening area of low pressure over the Great Lakes has resulted in damaging winds across much of the Midwest and Great Lakes region,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.

By Sunday afternoon, a broad area of wind gusts ranging between 40 to 76 mph were recorded in Missouri, Indiana and Ohio.

By 1 p.m. EST on Sunday those high winds and winter weather conditions led to more than 126,000 power outages in Ohio, while another 200,000 customers were without electricity in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, according to poweroutage.us.

Those outages quickly escalated within a few short hours. By 4:00 p.m. EST outages topped 350,000 in Ohio and nearly 215,000 in Michigan. By 6 p.m. EST, over 800,000 customers in the region were out of power.

The inclement weather with heavy rain, hail and lightning at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, sparked a 37-minute delay for the Texans-Browns kickoff. The stadium asked the fans present to shelter in place while the players retreated to their locker rooms, USA Today reported. The Cleveland Browns posted images of their players getting ready for the game in the inclement weather and noted “The pre-game weather was wild.”

Across the Great Lakes, winds were strong enough to not only knock down trees but also break large tree limbs, cause property damage and lakeshore flooding.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Detroit issued a high wind warning on Sunday for the Detroit area as well as across much of Michigan.

The Mackinac Bridge in Michigan closed for high-profile vehicles due to the very strong winds affecting the region on Sunday. Drivers were asked to reduce speed to 20 mph while approaching the bridge and prepare to stop.

In Buffalo, New York, tides were pushed up to seven feet above normal on Sunday, causing flooding from Lake Erie. Across the lake, Toledo, Ohio, experienced tides that were six feet lower than usual. This phenomenon is called a seiche, and is similar to a storm surge.

The flooding in Buffalo could continue throughout the night, and places like Michigan City, Indiana, and Benton Harbor, Michigan could expect lake-shore flooding as well through Sunday night. By 7 p.m. EST, lakeshore flooding from Lake Erie had also begun in Presque Isle State Park in Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Airline delays and turbulence could be issues that airline passengers face as the strong winds take aim. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, thunderstorms were already responsible for delays up to an hour on Sunday evening.

Cold air will be pulled down behind the earlier Sunday rain, allowing for snow showers in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin through Sunday night. Some lake-effect snow squalls are also possible.

In addition to the gusty winds, rain will also be sweeping eastward with this storm through Sunday night.

Gusty winds that arrived Sunday afternoon will persist into Monday. Coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic and New England could experience wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph with local gusts to 60 mph prior to the arrival of rain.

Travel over high bridges in Philadelphia and New York City could be hazardous, especially for high-profile vehicles such as trucks and trailers.

When the rain arrives, it could come in the form of a squall line, containing wind-whipped rain and a burst of even stronger winds.

As the severe weather subsides along the I-95 corridor, precipitation will be changing from rain to snow across the eastern Great Lakes.

Gusty winds will persist, triggering lake-effect snow across the Great Lakes to the central Appalachians spanning Monday night and Tuesday.

The infamous storm that sunk the Edmond Fitzgerald in November 45 years ago was similar in nature to the current wind storm, and is an example of how powerful and dangerous this type of storm can become.

Courtesy of northcentralpa.com

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Storm Vamco hits Vietnam

Storm Alert

STORM Vamco barrelled into Vietnam, damaging buildings and injuring at least 19 people, as the death toll in the Philippines climbed to at least 67.

The storm made landfall on Sunday morning with reported winds of up to 90 kph, uprooting trees and blowing the roofs off houses and schools.

According to the latest report from Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, at least 19 people suffered injuries.

Vamco is the latest in a series of storms that have pummelled Vietnam over the past six weeks, causing flooding and landslides that have killed at least 159 people and left 70 others missing.

Vamco has weakened since hitting the Philippines as a typhoon with winds of up to 155 kph, but state media said it had still caused significant damage.

Pictures showed restaurants in the tourist hotspot of Hoi An – a Unesco world heritage site – ripped apart by the storm, and huge trees uprooted in the old imperial city of Hue.

Authorities evacuated nearly 650,000 people from seven coastal provinces to higher and safer ground before the storm hit, but on Sunday warned of the danger of landslides triggered by the heavy rains.

The storm also damaged embankments and caused landslides along them at many rivers and beaches, including 13.3km in Quang Tri province.

Ministries, sectors and localities were asked to continue keeping a close watch and to stand ready to respond to natural disasters, especially flooding and landslides.

The storm had also destroyed electrical wires and poles, causing power outages in 177,000 households in Quang Binh.

More than 110ha of perennial trees in Bo Trach district were also destroyed.

Households who were relocated to avoid the storm had also returned home and those in the area at risk of landslides had been relocated to temporary houses.

The National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting warned that the northern and central region would continue seeing heavy rain.

Courtesy of thestar.com.my

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Typhoon Vamco heads for Vietnam after 67 are killed in the Philippines

typhoon-alert

Typhoon Vamco has made landfall in Vietnam after leaving 67 dead in the Philippines, making it that country’s deadliest storm this year.

Packing winds of up to 150 kph (93 mph), Vamco hit Vietnam’s coast roughly 100km (62 miles) northwest of Da Nang Sunday local time, according to CNN Weather. Although the storm is weakening and will continue to do so as it moves inland, there is still a threat of flooding and landslides.

“This is a very strong typhoon,” said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, before the storm hit as he warned provinces in Vamco’s projected path to prepare for its impact.

The provinces planned to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, according to state media citing the government’s disaster management authority.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco is the 13th storm to hit the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

“There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam,” said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, president of the Vietnam Red Cross Society. “Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm.”

In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

On Sunday, 21 people were injured and 12 were missing.

More than 25,000 houses have been damaged and $9.7 million (469.7 million Philippine peso) worth of infrastructure has been destroyed, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Mark Timbal said Sunday. Another $24.7 million worth of agriculture has been damaged by the flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall and strong winds brought by Typhoon Vamco.

Courtesy of erienewsnow.com

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Strong typhoon leaves 42 dead, 20 missing in Philippines

typhoon-alert

Thick mud and debris coated many villages around the Philippine capital on Friday after a typhoon killed at least 42 people and caused extensive flooding that sent people fleeing to their roofs, officials said.

Troops, police, coast guard and disaster-response teams rescued tens of thousands of people, including many who flooded radio and TV networks and social media with desperate pleas for help.

Floodwaters receded and the weather cleared in many areas after Typhoon Vamco blew out into the South China Sea on Friday, but the military said it was still rescuing people trapped in some flooded communities.

Amphibious assault vehicles usually used in counter-insurgency operations were deployed for the rescue work, military chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a meeting with disaster-response officials.

“We’ll continue to look for the missing, help in damage assessment,” Gapay said.

The national police reported that the death toll had risen to at least 42 with 20 missing. The government’s main disaster-response agency, which waits for provincial reports and follows a laborious process of verifying casualties, reported a much lower death count, causing confusion.

Among the dead were at least 12 villagers who were dug out from mud and rockslides in the northern provinces of Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya, police said.

After slamming into northeastern Quezon province, Vamco gained strength with sustained winds of 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph). It blew north of metropolitan Manila overnight Wednesday, toppling trees and power poles, swelling rivers, flooding residential communities and setting off landslides and storm surges.

In hard-hit Marikina city in the capital region and the towns of Rodriguez and Cainta in nearby Rizal province, several villages were inundated by water that reached the second and third floors of many houses, prompting hundreds of residents to flee to their roofs and call TV and radio networks or post desperate messages on social media. The panic was exacerbated by widespread power outages and loss of internet access.

Videos of Marikina showed a thick coat of muddy water covering roads and staining houses and cars. Residents carried appliances and furniture from their homes and used pails and shovels to remove the mud after the water receded.

In a televised meeting of Cabinet and disaster-response officials Friday, a reporter asked where President Rodrigo Duterte was, prompting an annoyed response from his spokesman.

“The president’s whereabouts should not be asked. That’s foolishness coming from the opposition. The president is not missing, he is always with us,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, without offering any further details.

More than 400,000 people were evacuated to higher ground before the typhoon hit, mainly residents of vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas.

At least 3.8 million households lost power in the capital and outlying provinces, but crews later restored electricity in many areas. Government offices were closed and most classes were suspended Friday.

Vamco hit the Philippines on the heels of Typhoon Goni, one of the strongest typhoons in the world this year, which left more than 30 people dead or missing and damaged or destroyed 270,000 houses. Tens of thousands of people were still displaced when Vamco hit.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also has active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Courtesy of startribune.com

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Typhoon Goni devastates the Philippines

typhoon-alert

Typhoon Goni (“Rolly”), the most powerful storm in the world this year, tore through the heavilypopulated centre of the Philippines over the weekend. Government reports show that at least 20 have been killed, though this number is likely to rise as communications are slowly restored between its island provinces.

The storm made landfall as a super typhoon on the eastern island province of Catanduanes at 4:50 am on Sunday with sustained maximum wind speeds of 310kph (195mph) recorded in the turbulent eyewall of the storm, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. As measured by one-minute average winds, it is the strongest typhoon to make landfall ever recorded in the world.

At least six people died in Catanduanes, and the island is without electricity, water or a cellular network. Provincial governor Joseph Cua told a news conference: “While there’s no more typhoon, we have no air and sea transportation.” The hashtag #NasaanAngCatanduanes or “Where is Catanduanes” has been trending on twitter to encourage recommunication with the area.

An emergency telecommunications team was deployed Monday, along with initial deliveries of food packs.

Cua reported that more than 13,000 homes on the island were damaged with some withstanding a five-metre storm surge. According to a “visual” assessment of the damage from ground level, the Red Cross has suggested that “80 to 90 per cent” of the easternmost town of Virac—home to 70,000 people—had been damaged by the storm.

The storm weakened as it travelled west over the Bicol region—the southern part of the main island of Luzon and the most populous area of the Philippines. Bringing floodwaters, toppling trees and triggering mudslides, it barrelled through the provinces of Albay through to Batangas, just south of the capital Manila, before heading towards the South China Sea.

The storm displaced 382,381 people and left 53,863 homes without electricity, according to government figures. The municipalities of Camarines Sur and Cavite were declared in a state of calamity following the storm. As of yesterday, 165 cities in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas are still experiencing power outages.

Over 50 sections of road are affected by flooding, landslides and uprooted trees throughout the island of Luzon, with 37 still impassable.

Summing up the cost estimates of rebuilding the worst affected areas of Camarines Sur, Metropolitan Manila, Quezon, Cavite and Camarines Norte, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported $136 billion in damages, making it among the costliest storms in history.

The storm is a product of unusually warm waters as a result of the La Nina weather event, a phase of the vast oceanic and atmospheric cycle in the Pacific that drives warm surface waters to East Asia, with a resultant upwelling of colder water along the western coast of South America. Sea temperatures in the region where Goni formed are 30 to 31 degrees Celsius, which can lead to very powerful and unpredictable weather events.

Additionally, there is a trend of increasing major natural disasters due to climate change. A 2018 paper by Bhatia et al., “Projected Response of Tropical Cyclone Intensity and Intensification in a Global Climate Model” predicts a multiplication of destructive category 5 tropical cyclones towards the end of the century. From one Super Typhoon similar to Goni every eight years on a global scale, the occurrence is predicted to increase to one every year between 2081 to 2100.

The tropical archipelago of the Philippines is particularly vulnerable to this process, which routinely experiences around 20 storms and typhoons each year. The last storm, Typhoon Molave, passed through the same region last week killing 22 people.

The country is now on alert for Storm Siony (“Atsani”) likely to become a typhoon and make landfall on Thursday, though this time in the far north of Luzon island. The state weather agency forecasts two to three more typhoons to enter the Philippines in November and another one to two in December.

The UN reported around 68.6 million, or roughly 65 percent of the population are affected by Typhoon Goni, with 24.3 million living in the worst affected areas. Of that number, 2.3 million, including 724,000 children, are classed as “vulnerable”. Those most affected are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and other diseases in crowded evacuation centres, or face delayed and inadequate rescue efforts due to the lack of resources.

As of November 2, 385,400 COVID-19 infections have been recorded in the Philippines, with 7,269 deaths, the second-highest in south-east Asia. In order to establish Covid-secure emergency shelters, schools, gyms and government-run evacuation centres were requisitioned, with individual tents provided inside for families.

The mayor of Infanta town in Quezon province, Filipino Grace America, told DZBB radio that “because of the Covid-19 pandemic, our funds for calamity concerns and expenses are insufficient.”

President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Guinobatan municipality in Albay Province on Monday, where more than 300 houses are buried under volcanic debris. Residents blamed the mudslide on quarrying operations on the slopes of Mt. Mayon, which had contributed to similar avalanches in previous weather events.

According to the Philippine Inquirer, Duterte initially dismissed the residents’ concerns saying Bicol would always be in harm’s way, “as long as it is facing the Pacific Ocean and a volcano is here.”

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, accompanying Duterte asked, “Who owns the quarry sites?”

To which a resident shot back, “Politicians!”

Later, bowing to public pressure, 12 groups operating in the area had their permits suspended. It was discovered that operators had left stockpiles on rivers which contributed to debris damage in flooding.

Courtesy of wsws.org

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Storm Eta lashes Nicaragua with rain, sparking deadly mudslides

Tropical Storm Alert_1

Tropical Storm Eta is spinning through northern Nicaragua after lashing the country’s Caribbean coast for much of the past day, with floodwater isolating already remote communities and setting off deadly landslides that killed at least three people.

The storm has weakened from the Category 4 hurricane that battered the coast, but it is moving so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America is on high alert.

On Wednesday morning, Eta had sustained winds of 45mph and was 125 miles north-north-east of Managua, moving westward at 7mph.

The long-term forecast shows the storm taking a turn over Central America and then reforming in the Caribbean, possibly reaching Cuba on Sunday and Florida on Monday.

Eta came ashore on Tuesday afternoon south of Puerto Cabezas, also know as Bilwi, after stalling just off the coast for hours.

The city of about 60,000 had been without power since Monday evening. Corrugated metal roofing and uprooted trees were scattered through its streets, and 20,000 of residents were in shelters.

About 100 miles west of where Eta made landfall, two gold miners were killed when a mountainside unleashed tons of mud. A third miner escaped the slide and sought help.

One body was recovered before rescuers had to suspend recovery efforts due to nightfall and there were fears that more slides could occur as the rain continued, said Cesar Malespin of Bonanza Fire Department.

The storm also drenched neighbouring Honduras, and the country reported its first storm-related death on Tuesday. A 12-year-old girl died in a mudslide in San Pedro Sula, the main population centre in northern Honduras, said Marvin Aparicio of the emergency management agency.

In Honduras, at least 559 people had to move to shelters or go to relatives’ homes to escape flooding, he said, and at least 25 people had been rescued. His agency reported at least six rivers causing significant flooding.

Forecasters said central and northern Nicaragua and much of Honduras could get 15in to 25in of rain, with 35in in isolated areas. Heavy rain is also likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Belize and Jamaica.

Courtesy of centralfifetimes.com

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