Hurricane Grace pummeled Mexico with torrential rain on Saturday, causing severe flooding and mudslides that killed at least eight people after becoming one of the most powerful storms in years to hit the country’s Gulf coast.
Grace was blowing maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour), a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, when it slammed into the coast near the resort of Tecolutla in Veracruz state in the early morning.
The state government said eight people were killed, including six from a single family. All but one of the victims died in Xalapa, the state capital, including a young girl killed by a mudslide that hit her home, the government said.
An adult was killed by a collapsed roof in the city of Poza Rica further north in the state, Veracruz Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia told a news conference.
“The state of emergency has not ended,” he added.
Local television showed severe flooding in Xalapa, with coffins from a local business floating down a waterlogged street. The nearby River Actopan burst its banks, shutting down a local highway, state authorities said.
Ericka Herrera, a homemaker in Tecolutla, was in tears as she described the destruction.
“Not of this magnitude that just wrecks everything,” she said. “It’s really sad. Things are really bad.”
Grace smashed windows, downed trees, power cables and telegraph poles, leaving debris strewn around Tecolutla, though there were no human casualties, local authorities said.
Images from Veracruz posted on social media showed damage to buildings and submerged cars.
Garcia said several rivers in Veracruz would flood, and urged the local population to take cover.
Television footage also showed flooding in Ciudad Madero in the southern reaches of the state of Tamaulipas near the border of Veracruz. Mexican state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) Francisco Madero refinery is in Ciudad Madero.
Mexico City’s international airport said some flights were canceled due to the hurricane. The Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) national power utility reported 565,000 electricity users were affected by outages.
Grace weakened quickly as it moved into the mountainous interior, and by 4 p.m. CDT (2100 GMT) it was dissipating in central Mexico, with top winds of 25 mph (35 kph). The center was about 65 miles (105 km) west-northwest of Mexico City, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT2+shtml/211149.shtml
Before Grace hit land, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged people in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to get to higher ground or shelters.
Many appear to have heeded the call.
The NHC forecast Grace would dump 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) of rain over eastern and central Mexico through Sunday and up to 18 inches (45 cm) in some areas. The heavy rainfall will likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it said.
Veracruz and its waters are home to several oil installations, including Pemex’s port in Coatzacoalcos and its Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Minatitlan in the south. Grace hit land well to the north of these cities.
Earlier in the week, Grace pounded Mexico’s Caribbean coast, downing trees and resulting in power outages for nearly 700,000 people, but without causing loss of life, authorities said.
It also doused Jamaica and Haiti, still reeling from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, with torrential rain.
Courtesy of usnews.com
Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a State of Emergency Declaration due to the ongoing severe weather impacting Southwest Louisiana. Numerous Flash Flood Warnings and Tornado Warnings have already been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). Additional rains are expected across the state for the next several days.
“Water rescues and other emergency actions have been necessary this afternoon as heavy rainfall fell across Southwest Louisiana,” said Edwards. “The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) stands ready to support our local partners with any emergency resources needed beyond their capabilities. We are only a few weeks away from the start of hurricane season, but this threat is the latest in a string of recent weather threats that remind us of the importance of preparedness and staying informed. And as the weather threat continues this week, I implore Louisianans to monitor their local weather forecasts and follow all instructions from local leaders. Go to GetAGamePlan.org to help finalize your emergency plans. Those plans should start with getting a COVID-19 vaccination for you and your family in case evacuations and shelter operations become necessary. Monitor your local media, the National Weather Service office for your region and download the free ALERT FM App to stay weather aware.”
Courtesy of wdsu.com
There is major to near historic river flooding in parts of the Mid-South, especially in Kentucky on Tuesday.
Locally, 7 inches of rain fell over the weekend in the Mid-South helping local rivers to rise quickly and flooding entire towns. A state of emergency has now been declared for these areas.
Damaging thunderstorms moved through Georgia on Monday, killing one person when a tree feel on a home.
These storms also produced an EF-1 tornado with winds of 90 mph, not related to the victim’s death.
There are flood warnings from Texas to Ohio on Tuesday and 26 states from Texas to Maine are under flood, high winds and wind chill alerts.
The heavy rain has ended in Mid-South but some rivers are still rising or will remain in major to moderate flooding through over the next few days.
The heaviest rain shifted closer to the Gulf Coast from Mississippi to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina where over the next few days 2 to 3 inches of rain is expected with locally higher amounts possible.
Meanwhile, in the Northeast, arctic cold air is moving through with very gusty winds that are producing power outages.
Wind will continue to gust in the Northeast from New Jersey to Maine at 40 to 60 mph through this morning and will subside in the afternoon.
Wind Chills this morning are below zero from upstate New York to Boston and into New England.
This bitter blast will not last and already by Wednesday most of the Northeast will see temperatures quickly rebound into the 40s and even 50s.
But it is still early March so the cold will be back end of the week as wind chills are expected to fall into the teens and single digits for the I-95 corridor and below zero in upstate New York and into New England.
Courtesy of abcnews.go.com
Russia’s Crimean Bridge closed for first-ever time due to heavy snow and state of emergency declared
For the first time since its completion in 2018, Europe’s longest bridge has been closed due to a heavy snowfall. The Black Sea region is currently going through an uncharacteristic cold spell.
On Thursday night, Crimea saw a snowstorm cover the peninsula, prompting warnings from local authorities to refrain from travel. The bridge itself was shut due to “lack of visibility, heavy snowfall, and strong side winds.”
Construction of the Crimean Bridge started in 2016 and was completed two years later. The multibillion-dollar infrastructure project connects Taman in Krasnodar Region, on the Russian mainland, to Kerch in Crimea. As well as cars, the structure allows for trains to cross. At 19km, it is the longest bridge in Europe.
As of Friday afternoon, around 280 vehicles were stuck on the crossing, with many more in a traffic jam on either side of the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from the neighbouring Krasnodar Region. Although it was initially shut in both directions, the traffic police have opened travel towards mainland Russia but won’t allow cars to pass over to the Black Sea peninsula.
According to Taman, the local highway management agency, traffic will be restored after the evacuation of vehicles damaged by the snowfall.
Southern Russia has seen uncharacteristically chilly temperatures in recent weeks. While Moscow is known for its cold winters, Crimea and other parts of the region are normally above zero in February. On Thursday, Kerch saw 27mm of snowfall overnight, almost reaching the month’s norm of 31mm in just one day. However, temperatures are expected to be positive next week.
On Friday afternoon, the peninsula’s authorities decided to declare a state of emergency in four areas.
Courtesy of rt.com
Tokyo declares state of emergency over coronavirus case surge but promises ‘safe and secure’ Olympics
Japan’s PM has cited a “strong sense of crisis” while placing the Tokyo metropolitan area in a state of emergency over a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, even as the Japanese capital gears up to host the Olympics this summer.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to improve the coronavirus situation in one month, authorizing more robust measures on Thursday to fight a surge in infections. The announcement comes days after the prime minister’s coronavirus expert panel recommended that a state of emergency should be declared and governors from the affected prefectures urged the central government to act, due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The state of emergency will come into force on Friday, lasting until February 7, and will require residents to stay home. Restaurants and bars will close at 8pm, with department stores, gyms, and entertainment facilities working shorter hours.
Employees will be encouraged to work from home to reduce the number of people in the office by 70 percent.
It’s the second declaration of emergency since April, and the measures are more relaxed, as schools and many businesses were temporarily closed and events cancelled nationwide in the spring.
Those that fail to comply will not face penalties or fines, as Japanese law does not allow for strict lockdowns enforced with punishment. The government will increase financial support for those bars and restaurants that cooperate with the requirement to close by 8pm, and “name and shame” those that do not.
Despite the health crisis, the prime minister pledged earlier this month that Tokyo would host the Olympics this summer, promising that “steady preparations” would make the games “safe and secure.”
Japan and the International Olympic Committee decided in March last year to postpone the Games amid the developing coronavirus pandemic.
Deaths from Covid-19 in Japan have doubled in less than two months and now stand at more than 3,700, with the total number of infections at more than 252,000. The Tokyo governor said last month that the strain on the city’s medical system from the Covid-19 pandemic was “severe.”
In late December, Japan confirmed that the new highly contagious strain of coronavirus originating in the UK is circulating in the country, and it has tightened travel restrictions.
The Japanese government reportedly expects to start mass vaccination against coronavirus in March. US-based vaccine manufacturer Pfizer applied in December for its vaccine to be approved in Japan, with the country ordering 120 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Courtesy of rt.com