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Hurricane Elsa batters the Caribbean and heads towards Haiti

Back-to-back Tornadoes Kill 12 in China; More Than 300 Injured

Tornado Alert

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Back-to-back tornadoes killed 12 people in central and eastern China and left more than 300 others injured, authorities said Saturday.

Eight people died in the inland city of Wuhan on Friday night and four others in the town of Shengze, about 400 kilometers east in Jiangsu province, local governments said.

The first tornado struck Shengze about 7 p.m., damaging homes and factories and knocking out power, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The Suzhou city government, which oversees the town, said in a social media post that four people had died and 149 others had minor injuries. Shengze is near Shanghai on China’s east coast.

Another tornado hit Wuhan at about 8:40 p.m. with winds of 86 kilometers per hour, destroying more than two dozen homes and triggering a power outage affecting 26,600 households, Xinhua said. Officials in Wuhan said at a news conference Saturday that eight had died and 230 were injured.

They said that 28 homes collapsed in Wuhan, another 130 were damaged and put economic losses at 37 million yuan ($5.7 million), the Hubei Daily newspaper said. Construction site sheds and two cranes were also damaged, while downed power lines knocked out electricity, Xinhua said.

Photos showed a swarm of rescuers searching through building debris in Wuhan after midnight Friday and workers clearing metallic debris at a factory in Shengze in the morning.

Wuhan is the city where COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019.

Tornados are rare in China. In July 2019, a tornado killed six people in the northeastern Liaoning province, and another tornado the following month killed eight on the southern resort island of Hainan.

In 2016, a tornado and accompanying hailstorm killed 98 people in the eastern Jiangsu province.

Courtesy of voacambodia.com

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India lashed by strongest cyclone to ever hit west coast as it reels from Covid disaster

Cyclone Warning Alert

India was slammed on Monday by the strongest storm on record to reach its west coast, hampering authorities’ response to the Covid-19 crisis in some of the country’s hardest hit regions.

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae, a storm with wind speeds equivalent to a high-end Category 3 hurricane that formed in the Arabian Sea, made landfall Monday night local time in Gujarat. It strengthened slightly as it hit the western state with maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (125 mph), according to the United States’ Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

By Tuesday morning, it had weakened from an “extremely severe cyclonic storm” to a “severe cyclonic storm,” according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Photos and videos show highways turned into rivers by the heavy rain, and trees and power lines toppled by ferocious winds. The cyclone has killed at least 26 people across the coastal states of Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, according to state authorities.

The deaths were due to drowning at sea, house collapses, lightning strikes and other accidents linked to the severe weather, according to states’ disaster management authorities.

This comes as India reels from its second wave of coronavirus, which has infected millions and killed tens of thousands since it began in mid-March. Though daily case figures began declining over the past week, Covid-related deaths continue to break record highs and the crisis is far from over — especially in rural areas with fewer resources and medical supplies.

Covid patients were among the hundreds of thousands evacuated from low-lying areas this week as the region braced for the cyclone’s arrival. In Mumbai, 580 patients from makeshift care centers were moved to various hospitals on Friday and Saturday, according to the city’s municipal corporation.

It’s not the first time India has dealt with natural disasters during the pandemic — last year, the country faced cyclones in late May and early June that also prompted mass evacuations.

Back then, however, India’s cases were still relatively low, at fewer than 10,000 a day, and the country was emerging from a stringent lockdown.

This time, India is the global epicenter of the pandemic. Its health care system has collapsed and patients are still dying from shortages of oxygen and other supplies. The government is more fragile and under greater scrutiny than before, as it struggles to contain the outbreak while facing heavy criticism both at home and overseas.

And the cyclone could be just the harbinger of more disaster to come, as India’s months-long monsoon season approaches.

Courtesy of cnn.com

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More forced power outages in Taiwan as demand spikes amid heatwave, drought

Taiwan imposed power cuts on Monday evening following a spike in demand amid a heatwave and drought and failure at a power plant, in the second such outage in a week, although far fewer homes were affected.

Power was restored by 1340 GMT, electricity provider Taipower said.

Taiwan, which major chip makers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) (2330.TW) call home, already imposed phased blackouts on Thursday following an outage at a plant in the southern city of Kaohsiung. read more

TSMC, which has factories across the island, said it had seen “no impact so far” from Monday’s power cuts.

Taipower said 660,000 homes were affected by the power cuts, fewer than the roughly 4 million affected last week.

Taipower blamed a rise in demand coincided with the suspension of some generators due to a technical failure at the southern Hsinta Power Plant, the same facility that caused the problem last week.

The state-own company said that the worst drought to hit the island in more than half a century meant electricity generated by hydropower plants was insufficient to meet the unexpected demand on Monday evening, a record high for May.

By 8:40 p.m., only 40% of the supply had been restored in the coal- and gas-fired power plant, Taipower said.

Taiwan’s cabinet offered an apology and urged citizens to stay safe.

Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, said the outages showed the government’s power policy was inadequate and called for Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua to step down.

Taiwan is currently experiencing an unusually hot May with temperatures in parts of the island peaking at around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Courtesy of reuters.com

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Cyclone Seroja destroys homes, cuts power to 31,500 on Australia’s west coast

Cyclone Warning Alert

A tropical cyclone on Australia’s west coast destroyed several homes and cut electricity to tens of thousands of people overnight before weakening on Monday morning.

Officials said around 70% of the structures in the coastal town of Kalbarri, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) north of state capital Perth, had sustained damage when the category three storm made landfall late on Sunday.

“The devastation caused by Cyclone Seroja is widespread and severe,” Western Australia state premier Mark McGowan told reporters.

Around 40% of the damage was “major”, WA Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm said.

No deaths or major injuries have been reported.

A recovery effort is now underway as the biggest threat has passed, McGowan said. There are 31,500 customers still without power supply, which he said could take days to restore.

Tropical cyclone Seroja was downgraded after making landfall to a category two system and was later downgraded further to a tropical low, but bringing heavy rain and strong winds.

Photos on social media and local broadcasts showed downed powerlines, debris and houses stripped of roofs and walls. Western Australia state authorities opened three evacuation centres for displaced residents.

The region was on high alert for the storm, given that houses and other buildings were not built to withstand tropical cyclones, which usually do not push so far south.

“This is a rare weather event for people in southern and eastern parts of WA,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Courtesy of whbl.com

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“Unprecedented” situation; no storm like it in decades in Greece

Snow Emergency

The snow storm “Medea,” which left Athens covered in snow Tuesday, passed through the city on Wednesday and is making its way toward Crete.

The winter storm has left over 40,000 homes in Attica, especially in Athens’ suburbs, without electricity for a second day.

After heavy snowfall and strong winds downed trees across the region, Attica’s power grids faced widespread damage.

Unable to fight the frigid temperatures by turning on their heaters, many people across the region, mainly in the northern suburbs of Athens, have faced a chilly blackout lasting for days.

Greece’s power grid operator, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO), announced that the regions of Dionysos, Anoixi, Ekali, and Agios Stefanos have been particularly affected.

Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection, stated that the blackouts across Attica are expected to last until Wednesday evening as crews work tirelessly to restore power during the day.

Hardalias noted that HEDNO has led a massive effort to fix damaged power grids and restore electricity as quickly as possible, but faces extraordinary difficulties, since the storm impacted all of Greece:

“I want to make it clear that there has been an enormous effort made by HEDNO’s crews,” he stated.

“This is the first time that we have had a weather phenomenon impact all of Greece, as the snow storm did not just affect Attica.”

Anastasios Manos, CEO of HEDNO, highlighted that such a severe snow storm has not been seen in Attica for many years: “HEDNO found itself facing an unprecedented situation, one that has not recurred for decades.”

HEDNO has sent out over 600 teams of 1,500 workers to restore power to Greeks who have been left in the darkness.

In the northern suburbs of Athens alone, there are 400 crew members working on a 24-hour-basis to fix the area’s power grids.

Due to the severity of the situation, Greece’s military has also provided aid in removing downed trees that are blocking major roads and fixing damaged power grids.

Courtesy of greekreporter.com

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Nearly 75% of country snow-covered after massive winter storm in the USA

Nearly 75% of country snow-covered after massive winter storm

Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. is snow-covered, and there’s still more than a month to go before spring. Data from the National Weather Service shows only three states are without snow: Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Several states that don’t usually see much snow are nearly covered. Southern states, like Texas and Oklahoma, have been especially hit hard this winter, with record-breaking cold, snow, ice and widespread power outages.

Photo Couresty Of wpxi.com

Courtesy of wpxi.com

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