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Super typhoon Nanmadol batters southern Japan, ‘forcing more than 8 million to flee their homes’

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As an intense typhoon batters southern Japan with torrential rain and gales, authorities have ordered millions people to evacuate their homes, according to local reports.

Public broadcaster NHK said local governments have now ordered more than eight million people in southern and western Japan to flee due to Typhoon Nanmadol, which has already triggered power blackouts and flight cancellations.

Officials issued the highest grade on Japan’s disaster warning scale – a level 5 alert – to more than 330,000 people in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Oita prefectures, NHK said.

The level 4 alert that prompts the evacuation order for eight million people affects 3.7 million households in parts of the Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku regions.

Weather forecasters have warned of strong winds and high waves “like never experienced before”, with the threat of rivers overflowing, high waves, violent winds and landslides.

Typhoon Nanmadol, classified as a super typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, has been slowly heading north to the country’s main southern island of Kyushu.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the area faces being deluged by 500mm (20in) of rain and wind gusts of up to 155mph (250kph) on Sunday.

It also warned residents of “unprecedented” levels of powerful winds and waves in some areas, urging them to evacuate early.

Nanmadol is expected to turn east and reach Tokyo on Tuesday before moving out to sea.

In affected areas, thousands of residents have taken shelter at evacuation centres.

Kyushu Electric Power Company said more than 93,000 homes across the island were without electricity on Sunday because of damage to power lines.

Hundreds of domestic flights in and out of the region have been cancelled and more are planned to be grounded in western Japan until Tuesday.

Public transport, including rail services and buses, have also been suspended along with the famous bullet train.

Hundreds of shops have closed in the face of the extreme weather.

Courtesy of Sky News

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‘Rain bomb’ hits Australia’s northeast, killing seven in floods

A severe storm system pummelled Australia’s northeastern city of Brisbane on Sunday, causing evacuations, power outages and school closures as the death toll climbed to seven from accompanying flash floods.

More than 1,400 homes in the capital of Queensland state were at risk of flooding while more than 28,000 homes were without power statewide, as pristine beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, which are key tourist attractions, all closed.

“We never expected this rain,” state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told a briefing. “This rain bomb is just really, you know, it’s unrelenting … It’s just coming down in buckets.”

More than 100 schools across the southeast of a state famed for abundant sunshine will be closed on Monday. State rescue services said they received 100 requests an hour for help in recent days.

Among the six killed in the flooding were a 34-year-old man who tried to swim to safety after the waters submerged his car and another whose vehicle was swept away in the most populous state of New South Wales (NSW).

About 700 people were asked to evacuate from the city of Gympie on Saturday after the Mary River system surged beyond 22.06 m (72.4 ft) for the town’s worst flood since the 1880s.

Meteorologists said the deluge and thunderstorms would continue through Monday, before starting to ease off in Queensland, but moving south to New South Wales, where some communities at risk in its northeast have been told to evacuate.

The risk of riverine and flash flooding was “very real over coming days,” said Steph Cooke, the state’s emergency services minister.

Courtesy of reuters.com

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Thames Barrier to close for 200th time amid flood warnings in southern England

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The Thames Barrier is being closed for the 200th time after a number of flood warnings were put in place in southern England as Storm Aurore moves in.

The flooding defence system will close to protect around 640,000 properties in London as a result of winds mixing with the tides and heavy rainfall.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “While the barrier will help to protect London from tidal flooding, there are also risks from flooding along the east coast on Thursday and Friday.

“Heavy rain also means that there is a separate but concurrent risk of river flooding across the south of England.”

It will reopen later on Thursday.

Southern England was hit by flooding overnight due to heavy rain and strong winds moving in from France, with the Met Office issuing yellow rain warnings – threatening delays to transport and issues with power supply.

In Essex, the fire service said it had received more than 120 calls up to 2.30am on Thursday to help with flood-related incidents as rain battered the county.

As well as rain warnings, the Environment Agency has also issued flooding warnings across the South West, East Anglia and Surrey, meaning that flooding is expected in those areas.

Storm Aurore, a low pressure system, has moved in off the continent and brought up to 50mm of rainfall and 45mph winds with it.

The Met Office says the wet weather will continue on Thursday throughout the south of England, as well as it being much cooler.

Gales are also expected in North Sea coastal areas.

Thursday night will see “showers for northern and western areas, whilst eastern and southern areas will have fewer showers and more in the way of clear spells, remaining breezy”, the Met Office added.

Courtesy of Sky News

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Death toll rises as heavy rains batter northern India

Severe Flood Warning

At least 41 people have died and more than a dozen were missing after landslides and flash floods triggered by several days of heavy rain hit northern India, officials say.

Officials in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand said 35 people were killed in fresh landslides on Tuesday after six died in similar incidents a day earlier.

At least 30 of them were killed in seven separate incidents in the worst-affected Nainital region early Tuesday, after cloudbursts – an ultra-intense deluge of rain – triggered a series of landslides and destroyed several structures.

“So far 30 people have been confirmed dead, while many people are still missing,” Nainital senior civil officer Ashok Kumar Joshi told the AFP news agency.

Joshi said several remote areas in the hilly region witnessed widespread damage in the intense rainfall.

Five of the dead were from a single family whose house was buried by a massive landslide, another local civil officer Pradeep Jain said.

Prashant Jha, a journalist with the Times of India, said that the army, National Disaster Response Force and state’s disaster response force were all contributing to the current rescue efforts in Uttarakhand.

“The villages that have been struck are very far to reach and the roads are cut off,” he said.

Officials said that the rescue efforts will take at least two to three days and dozens are people are still missing,” he added.

Another landslide in the northern Almora district killed five people after huge rocks and a wall of mud demolished and engulfed their home.

At least six others were killed on Monday in two remote districts of the state.

The Indian Meteorological Department extended and widened its weather alert on Tuesday, predicting “heavy” to “very heavy” rainfall in the region during the next two days.

The weather office said several areas were drenched by more than 400mm (16 inches) of rainfall on Monday, causing landslides and flooding.

Authorities ordered the closure of schools and banned all religious and tourist activities in the state.

Television footage and social media videos showed residents wading through knee-deep water near Nainital lake, a tourist hotspot, and the Ganges bursting its banks in Rishikesh.

More than 100 tourists were stuck inside a resort in Ramgarh after the overflowing Kosi river deluged several areas.

Landslides are a regular danger in India’s Himalayan north, but experts said they are becoming more common as rains become increasingly erratic and glaciers melt.

Experts also blamed construction work on hydroelectric dams and deforestation.

In February, a ferocious flash flood hurtled down a remote valley in Uttarakhand, killing about 200 people. At least 5,700 people perished there in 2013.

Forecasters have also warned of more downpours in the coming days in the southern state of Kerala where floods have already killed at least 27 people since Friday.

Many dams in the state were nearing the danger mark and authorities were evacuating thousands to safer locations as major rivers overflowed.

India’s weather office said heavy rains will again lash the state in the next two days after a brief reprieve on Tuesday.

Courtesy of aljazeera.com

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