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
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
Coronavirus: France declares state of emergency as night-time lockdown imposed on Paris and eight other cities
A state of emergency has been declared in France, and President Emmanuel Macron has announced a curfew between 9pm and 6am for the areas worst-affected by coronavirus.
Ile-de-France and eight metropolitan areas – including Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint Etienne and Toulouse – will face the curfews for four weeks, starting on Saturday.
During the curfew hours, people will not be allowed to go to restaurants or visit friends – but there will be no restrictions on public transport or on people travelling within regions.
Anyone who is out during the curfew will need to have a good reason, the president said.
Further details will be announced on Thursday, including exemptions for those working during curfew hours.
Speaking on French television, Mr Macron said the situation was “worrying” but the country had not yet “lost control” of the pandemic. He did, however, say the country was experiencing a second wave.
Mr Macron went on to say that anyone breaking the curfew rules would be fined €135 (£122).
He also said there should be no more than six people around the table for family gatherings, although exceptions could be made for those with more than six in their immediate family.
“The message I want to send this evening is that I need each of you, we need each other, to find solutions,” he said.
“We will come out of this stronger, because we will be more united. We will get through this, together.”
The French government earlier said the public health state of emergency will begin at midnight on Friday.
In a statement, the government said COVID-19 was a disaster which endangered the health of the population and justified the adoption of strict measures.
Areas under the maximum alert level have already had to close bars and restaurants are operating under restricted hours.
The move comes as the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in France has risen to more than 9,100 for the first time since the end of June.
The country reported 22,591 new daily cases on Wednesday, the third time in six days the daily total has surpassed 20,000.
Courtesy of Sky News
Storm Ianos: Two dead after ‘medicane’ lashes Greece and sparks islands emergency #StormIanos #Medicane #Greece
At least two people have been killed after a “medicane” – a rare Mediterranean hurricane – toppled trees, cut power and flooded streets in Greece.
Storm Ianos hit the Ionian islands and the western Peloponnese on Friday before lashing the centre of the country on Saturday.
Greece’s weather agency warned of damage and threat to life as it issued alerts for many areas.
An elderly woman was found dead in a flooded house in Farsala and the body of 63-year-old man was discovered near a hospital in Karditsa.
“We’re dealing with a total catastrophe,” one Farsala resident told state television.
Areas of Karditsa, one of Greece’s biggest plains – around 125 miles (200km) north of Athens, were swamped with water and a bridge collapsed.
The fire service said it had received more than 2,450 calls since the storm began – to rescue people, cut down trees and pump water from houses and businesses.
Five boats also sank off the holiday islands of Zakynthos (also known as Zante) and Lefkada on Friday, said the coastguard.
Greece’s civil protection agency declared a state of emergency on Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos as power was cut in many areas.
Kefalonia’s mayor, Theofilos Michalatos, said no one was hurt but that homes, roads and water facilities had been damaged.
The storm reached the Athens area on Saturday but there have so far been no reports of damage. Trains between the capital and the second city of Thessaloniki were suspended.
A medicane is a hybrid phenomenon with “some characteristics of a tropical cyclone and others of a mid-latitude storm”, according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization.
They have strong winds spinning around a central core and torrential rain, but are smaller in diameter than hurricanes and don’t last as long – typically 24 to 48 hours.
Such storms first appeared in Greece in 1995 and, while far less common than hurricanes, have become more frequent in recent years.
Courtesy of Sky News
Authorities have activated a state of emergency in Senegal, West Africa, in the face of ongoing floods in several parts of the country.
President Macky Sall activated the Plan Orsec – Organisation de la Réponse de Sécurité Civile – after heavy rainfall from 05 September 2020 caused widespread flooding, including in the capital, Dakar.
Senegal’s National Agency for Civil Aviation and Meteorology (Anacim) said that the areas of Joal, Khombole, Sokone, Passy, Thiare and Toubacouta all recorded more than 200mm of rain in 24 hours on 05 September. Parts of the capital recorded more than 100mm of rain on 05 September.
Local media reported that at least 6 people have died as result of flooding in several parts of the country on 05 and 06 September. Fatalities were reported in the regions of Dakar (1), Kaolack (2) and Sédhiou (3).
Courtesy of floodlist.com
Arctic Circle oil spill prompts Putin to declare state of emergency #OilSpill #ArcticCircle #StateOfEmergency
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle.
The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed last Friday.
The power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged.
The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer.
The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) has launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as there was reportedly a two-day delay in informing the Moscow authorities about the spill.
Ground subsidence beneath the fuel storage tanks is believed to have caused the spill. Arctic permafrost has been melting in exceptionally warm weather for this time of year.
President Putin expressed anger after discovering officials only learnt about the incident on Sunday.
Russian Minister for Emergencies Yevgeny Zinichev told Mr Putin that the Norilsk plant had spent two days trying to contain the spill, before alerting his ministry.
The leaked oil drifted some 12km (7.5 miles) from the accident site, turning long stretches of the Ambarnaya river crimson red.
In a televised video conference on Wednesday, Mr Putin criticised the head of the company over its response.
“Why did government agencies only find out about this two days after the fact?” he asked the subsidiary’s chief, Sergei Lipin. “Are we going to learn about emergency situations from social media?”
The region’s governor, Alexander Uss, had earlier told President Putin that he became aware of the oil spill on Sunday after “alarming information appeared in social media”.
The spill has contaminated a 350 sq km (135 sq mile) area, state media report.
In a statement, Norilsk Nickel said the incident had been reported in a “timely and proper” way.
The state of emergency means extra forces are going to the area to assist with the clean-up operation.
The accident is believed to be the second largest in modern Russian history in terms of volume, an expert from the World Wildlife Fund, Alexei Knizhnikov, told the AFP news agency.
What can be done?
The incident has prompted stark warnings from environmental groups, who say the scale of the spill and geography of the river mean it will be difficult to clean up.
Greenpeace has compared it to the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
Oleg Mitvol, former deputy head of Russia’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, said there had “never been such an accident in the Arctic zone”.
He said the clean-up could cost 100bn roubles (£1.2bn; $1.5bn) and take between five and 10 years.
Courtesy of BBC News