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Hurricane Ida brings historic flooding to New York City and New Jersey

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

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Somalia’s Strongest Tropical Cyclone Ever Recorded Could Drop 2 Years’ Rain In 2 Days

Severe Weather Alert

The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean has made landfall in eastern Africa, where it is poised to drop two years’ worth of rain in the next two days.

Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday with sustained winds of around 105 mph. It’s the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength system hitting the country. At one point before landfall, Gati’s winds were measured at 115 mph.

“Gati is the strongest tropical cyclone that has been recorded in this region of the globe; further south than any category 3-equivalent cyclone in the North Indian Ocean,” said Sam Lillo, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Physical Sciences Laboratory.

Its intensification from about 40 mph to 115 mph was “the largest 12-hour increase on record for a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean,” Lillo added.

One reason Gati intensified so quickly is because the size of the cyclone itself is quite small, Lillo said. The warm water in the area coupled with low wind shear also contributed to the rapid strengthening, Accuweather reported.

“With climate change we’re seeing warmer ocean temperatures and a more moist atmosphere that’s leading to a greater chance of rapid intensification for tropical cyclones like Gati,” meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthaus told NPR. “Gati’s strength is part of that broader global pattern of stronger storms.”

And those storms are leading to a lot more rain. Northern Somalia usually gets about 4 inches of rain per year; data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show Gati could bring 8 inches over the next two days — “two years worth of rainfall in just two days,” Holthaus said. Some isolated areas could see even more than that.

“The system may impact Socotra, Somalia, Yemen and western Oman from [Sunday] night into Monday and potentially Tuesday, with the main threat being heavy rain and flash flooding,” said AccuWeather’s lead international meteorologist, Jason Nicholls, told the site.

A United Nations alert warned the storm posed an immediate threat to the marine shipping lane that links Somalia and the Gulf states.

Gati is much more intense than the previous strongest storm to hit Somalia — a 2018 cyclone that brought winds of 60 mph.

Courtesy of npr.or

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Red alert issued for Northern Sri Lanka as Cyclone Nivar approaches

Red Alert Issued

A red alert has been issued for Northern Sri Lanka as Cyclone Nivar approaches.

The Department of Meteorology said that 100-150mm of rain can be expected at several places in the North on Tuesday and Wednesday while over 150mm of rain can be expected at isolated areas.

Navel and fishing communities have been warned not to venture into sea areas extending from Puttalam to Pottuvill via Mannar, Kankasanthurai, Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

Those who are out at the aforementioned sea areas have been advised to return to coast or move to safer areas immediately.

Naval and fishing communities have been request to be vigilant during in the sea areas extending from Puttalam to Matara via Colombo.

Meanwhile, the Indian media reported that a low-pressure belt forming over the Bay of Bengal is expected to turn into a cyclonic storm over the next couple of days bringing heavy to extremely heavy rainfall to parts of Tamil Nadu.

The cyclone has been named Nivar and is steering itself towards the northern Tamil Nadu coast.

Courtesy of colombogazette.com

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Typhoon Vamco heads for Vietnam after 67 are killed in the Philippines

typhoon-alert

Typhoon Vamco has made landfall in Vietnam after leaving 67 dead in the Philippines, making it that country’s deadliest storm this year.

Packing winds of up to 150 kph (93 mph), Vamco hit Vietnam’s coast roughly 100km (62 miles) northwest of Da Nang Sunday local time, according to CNN Weather. Although the storm is weakening and will continue to do so as it moves inland, there is still a threat of flooding and landslides.

“This is a very strong typhoon,” said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, before the storm hit as he warned provinces in Vamco’s projected path to prepare for its impact.

The provinces planned to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, according to state media citing the government’s disaster management authority.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco is the 13th storm to hit the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

“There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam,” said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, president of the Vietnam Red Cross Society. “Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm.”

In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

On Sunday, 21 people were injured and 12 were missing.

More than 25,000 houses have been damaged and $9.7 million (469.7 million Philippine peso) worth of infrastructure has been destroyed, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Mark Timbal said Sunday. Another $24.7 million worth of agriculture has been damaged by the flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall and strong winds brought by Typhoon Vamco.

Courtesy of erienewsnow.com

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Strong typhoon leaves 42 dead, 20 missing in Philippines

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Thick mud and debris coated many villages around the Philippine capital on Friday after a typhoon killed at least 42 people and caused extensive flooding that sent people fleeing to their roofs, officials said.

Troops, police, coast guard and disaster-response teams rescued tens of thousands of people, including many who flooded radio and TV networks and social media with desperate pleas for help.

Floodwaters receded and the weather cleared in many areas after Typhoon Vamco blew out into the South China Sea on Friday, but the military said it was still rescuing people trapped in some flooded communities.

Amphibious assault vehicles usually used in counter-insurgency operations were deployed for the rescue work, military chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay said in a meeting with disaster-response officials.

“We’ll continue to look for the missing, help in damage assessment,” Gapay said.

The national police reported that the death toll had risen to at least 42 with 20 missing. The government’s main disaster-response agency, which waits for provincial reports and follows a laborious process of verifying casualties, reported a much lower death count, causing confusion.

Among the dead were at least 12 villagers who were dug out from mud and rockslides in the northern provinces of Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya, police said.

After slamming into northeastern Quezon province, Vamco gained strength with sustained winds of 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph). It blew north of metropolitan Manila overnight Wednesday, toppling trees and power poles, swelling rivers, flooding residential communities and setting off landslides and storm surges.

In hard-hit Marikina city in the capital region and the towns of Rodriguez and Cainta in nearby Rizal province, several villages were inundated by water that reached the second and third floors of many houses, prompting hundreds of residents to flee to their roofs and call TV and radio networks or post desperate messages on social media. The panic was exacerbated by widespread power outages and loss of internet access.

Videos of Marikina showed a thick coat of muddy water covering roads and staining houses and cars. Residents carried appliances and furniture from their homes and used pails and shovels to remove the mud after the water receded.

In a televised meeting of Cabinet and disaster-response officials Friday, a reporter asked where President Rodrigo Duterte was, prompting an annoyed response from his spokesman.

“The president’s whereabouts should not be asked. That’s foolishness coming from the opposition. The president is not missing, he is always with us,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said, without offering any further details.

More than 400,000 people were evacuated to higher ground before the typhoon hit, mainly residents of vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas.

At least 3.8 million households lost power in the capital and outlying provinces, but crews later restored electricity in many areas. Government offices were closed and most classes were suspended Friday.

Vamco hit the Philippines on the heels of Typhoon Goni, one of the strongest typhoons in the world this year, which left more than 30 people dead or missing and damaged or destroyed 270,000 houses. Tens of thousands of people were still displaced when Vamco hit.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also has active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Courtesy of startribune.com

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