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Six killed including two children as Iowa is hit with 206mph tornado

Six people, including two children, have been killed by a tornado that struck a state in the US.

The tornado ripped through Madison County, which is southwest of the state capital Des Moines, in Iowa, on Saturday, the Des Moines Register reported, citing local officials.

The heavy storms caused more than 10,500 people in Des Moines to lose power.

The National Weather Service added the tornado was an EF3, meaning that it swirled with winds of up to 206 miles per hour (332 kph).

The agency said on Twitter that the situation was “extremely dangerous”.

US reports initially indicated that two people had been killed when the tornado struck Winterset and nearby communities.

But Madison County emergency management director Diogenes Ayala later confirmed that four children and two adults had been killed when the twister hit around 4.30pm local time (10.30pm GMT).

She added the two children who died were under the age of five.

He said: “This is, I think, the worst anyone has seen in quite a long time.”

Mr Ayala added the tornado also left one adult with life-threatening injuries and three others in a serious condition in hospital.

He said that “this is a widespread storm”, before estimating there was serious damage to more than two dozen homes.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a a statement saying she and her husband are praying for those who had died and also those injured in the tornado.

She said: “Our hearts go out to all those affected by the deadly storms that tore through our state today.

“Our hearts ache during this time, but I know Iowans will step up and come together to help in this time of need – they already are.”

Courtesy of Sky News

https://tinyurl.com/533za9zp

‘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

https://tinyurl.com/3bx6k8uw

Red Alert has been issued by the Met Office for south-east and eastern coastal districts of Scotland and north-east England

Red Alert has been issued by the Met Office for south-east and eastern coastal districts of Scotland and north-east England

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Courtesy of Met Office

Hurricane Ida: New Orleans braces for possible direct hit; Currently over Western Cuba

The mayor of New Orleans has called for residents to evacuate unprotected city neighbourhoods as Hurricane Ida bears down on the Louisiana coastline.

“Now is the time,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a Friday news conference, calling for those living outside the city levee system to flee.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Ida is likely to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane by Sunday.

It has already brought heavy rain and high winds to western Cuba.

The impact of climate change on the frequency of storms is still unclear, but we know that increased sea surface temperatures warm the air above and make more energy available to drive hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons. As a result, they are likely to be more intense with more extreme rainfall.

Forecasters say the hurricane will be at category 3 strength by the time it reaches the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

The NHC says a category 3 storm will cause devastating damage to well-built houses, with trees uprooted. Electricity and water will be unavailable for at least several days after the storm passes.

Ida passed over western Cuba on Friday, hitting the Isle of Youth with maximum sustained winds of 75mph (120km/h).

Coincidentally, Sunday marks the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 hurricane which devastated New Orleans in 2005. Katrina flooded 80% of the city and killed more than 1,800 people.

Dangerous storm surges are also forecast both in Cuba and the US. Experts say that if they hit at a time that coincides with high tides, sea water could flood over the New Orleans levee system and into the city.

The levees are a system of flood walls, built to protect low-lying New Orleans, and strengthened after the devastation of 2005.

Warm waters across the Gulf of Mexico are fuelling the storm’s rapid intensification, the agency said, adding that flooding could also affect the neighbouring states of Mississippi and Alabama.

“Steady to rapid strengthening is expected when Ida moves over the south-eastern and central Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, and Ida is expected to be a major hurricane when it approaches the northern Gulf coast,” said the NHC bulletin issued on Friday afternoon.

Governor Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and called for anyone along the state’s coastline to shelter in place starting on Saturday evening. The White House has said that the federal government is also making emergency aid plans.

Courtesy of BBC News

https://tinyurl.com/4z7nvsbw

China shuts down ports, cancels flights as Typhoon In-Fa nears

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China has shut down railways and ports, with cargo ships ordered out of the sea and flights cancelled, before Typhoon In-Fa’s expected landfall.

The storm is projected to hit the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang near Shanghai late on Sunday, just as other parts of the country struggle to recover from devastating floods earlier this week.

In-Fa had sustained winds of 155km per hour (95 miles per hour) with gusts up to 191kmph (120mph) as it moved northwest away from Taiwan, where it caused high waves and heavy rain but there were no reports of deaths or injuries.

Schools, markets and businesses in Zhejiang were ordered to close, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that road traffic would be suspended when necessary.

Authorities have issued a level III alert – the third-highest – for In-Fa, while more than 100 trains travelling through the region have been cancelled, according to China Railway.

Shanghai authorities closed some public parks and museums and warned residents on Saturday to “stop large-scale outdoor gatherings” and to stay indoors.

The airport in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, cancelled 90 percent of flights on Sunday and was expected to cancel more on Monday, the newspaper Zhejiang Daily reported on its website.

Meanwhile, all container ship docks were shut down from Yangshan Port south of Shanghai and 150 vessels including passenger ships and cargo vessels were evacuated from the area.

Courtesy of aljazeera.com

https://tinyurl.com/w6e4m4zm