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Streetcar derails in SE Portland crash; 1 injured

Storm Doris to batter much of UK with 80mph gusts

Severe Weather Alert
Strong winds and heavy rain are on the way as Storm Doris sweeps across the UK.
 
Gusts of up to 80mph are predicted in parts of the country as the weather system moves in from the Atlantic on Thursday.
 
An amber wind warning has been issued for northern parts of Wales and the Midlands between 6am and 6pm.
 
Yellow warnings are in place for strong winds in parts of southern England and for snow in northern England and southern and much of Scotland.
 
In Northern Ireland, the yellow alert is for rain, with up to 30mm expected.
 
Sky News weather presenter Kirsty McCabe said: “Storm Doris will bring strong winds, heavy rain and some snow throughout Thursday.
 
“It will be a windy day across the UK and Ireland with northern England and Wales most at risk of damaging wind gusts of up to 80mph.
 
“Doris’ strong winds could cause damage to structures, interrupt power supplies and cause widespread disruption to travel networks, with a danger of injury from flying debris. Heavy rainfall could lead to localised flooding.
 
“The heavy rain is likely to fall in central parts of Britain and Northern Ireland, with snow over the hills of northern England and Scotland.
 
“Some snow may fall to lower levels. Combined with the strong winds there is a risk of drifting snow and blizzard conditions over the hills.”
 
Storms that are expected to cause disruption are named by the Met Office and Ireland’s weather service Met Eireann.
 
The arrival of Doris follows a few days of unseasonably warm weather with west London’s Kew Gardens seeing temperatures reaching 18.3C (64.9F) on Monday.
Courtesy of Sky News

Severe Snow Storms Wreaks Havoc Across Moscow And Parts Of Europe

From Istanbul to Moscow, cold snap wreaks havoc across Europe (PHOTOS)
People walk on the Istiklal avenue during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. © Yasin Akgul / AFP
Bone-freezing cold, heavy snowstorms, and floods have been plaguing the European continent this week, causing power outages, traffic jams, cancelled flights, and even a stream of plastic eggs with toys washing up on a German island.
On Saturday, heavy precipitation paralyzed Istanbul, Turkey. Around 6,000 passengers found themselves stranded as hundreds of flights to and from the city’s main Ataturk Airport were cancelled due to the snowstorm.
 
The Bosphorus Strait was closed to ships due to poor visibility, cutting off the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea from the Mediterranean.
 
Many drivers abandoned their cars and walked rather than waiting for streets to be cleaned. Istanbul’s metro system operated throughout the night to deal with a sudden passenger spike.
People walk during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. © Ozan Kose / AFP
On Friday, blizzards and snowstorms wreaked havoc across Bulgaria, forcing the closure of major roadways and the airport in the coastal city of Varna, as well as delays at Bucharest International Airport.
 
Bulgaria also experienced power outages after a nuclear power plant reactor in neighboring Romania was shut down by operator Nuclearelectrica. The company said the snowstorm caused interference in the power grid.
A man walks in a suburb of Sofia after heavy snowfall on January 7, 2017. © Nikolay Doychinov / AFP
In Poland, local authorities said Friday was the deadliest day of the winter, with seven victims of the elements found throughout the day.
 
In Serbia, the weather caused a massive car collision involving 27 vehicles on a highway connecting the capital Belgrade and the city of Niš. Reports said 22 people were injured in the incident, including six children.
 
The entire southwestern part of the country, where 10,000 people live, was blocked off from the rest of Serbia by the storm.
 
In Ukraine, over 70 towns and villages throughout the country experienced power outages, the national emergency service reported. Ukraine boosted consumption of natural gas in response to the cold snap, with forecasts that in January it may burn twice more fuel from underground storage tanks than planned.
A man is seen here walking on Kozhukhovsky lake in Moscow as lows drop to minus 24 degrees Celsius. January 6, 2017. © Maksim Blinov / Sputnik
Moscow, where Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Friday, experienced its coldest Christmas night in 120 years. Temperatures dropped to almost -30C in the city and as low as -32.7C in Moscow Region, the Russian national meteorological service said. It was the coldest Christmas night in Moscow since 1891, when the temperature dropped to -32.7C.
A car covered with snow stands amidst the flood on January 4, 2017 in Wismar, northeastern Germany, as the German Baltic Sea coast was hit by storm “Axel”. © Jens Büttner / AFP
On Wednesday night, the storm Axel hit northern Germany, causing a flood with water levels rising by almost two meters in some areas. In Flensburg and Lübeck, the rising water lifted parked cars and sent them drifting down the street. In Bavaria, there was a spike in traffic accidents, with 160, or triple the usual level, reported in one day.
 
On a lighter note, residents of the German island Langeoog found an unexpected surprise on Thursday morning. Tens of thousands of plastic eggs with toys inside had been washed ashore. The eggs apparently came from a freighter ship which was transporting them for a Danish firm and lost them in the sea due to the storm
 
Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Kirillov, Vologda Region. January 4, 2017.© Alexey Kudenko / Sputnik
Courtesy of rt.com

Seven dead and 51 hurt as ‘speeding’ tram crashes in Croydon, UK

Croydon tram crash
The number of people killed after a tram came off rails in south London has risen to seven.
 
Investigators from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said the tram had been negotiating a “sharp, left-hand curve with a speed limit of 12mph” when it tipped over.
 
It added: “The derailment occurred on the curve and initial indications suggest that the tram was travelling at a significantly higher speed than is permitted.”
 
The two-car vehicle crashed near the Sandilands tram stop, in east Croydon, shortly after 6am.
 
The driver was arrested after emergency services had to free several people who were trapped and took more than 50 to hospital.
 
Several of those had serious or life-threatening injuries.
 
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the number of dead “may well increase” as he visited the site of the crash on Wednesday afternoon.
 
Later police confirmed the number of fatalities had risen from five to seven. 
 
The tram on its side in Croydon
 
Mr Khan earlier said “foul play” had been ruled out, but the investigation into what caused it was ongoing.
 
Martin Bamford, 30, had been on the tram and remembered it “speeding up” before “everyone just literally went flying”.
 
Speaking from outside Croydon University Hospital, where he was treated for fractured or broken ribs, Mr Bamford said: “There was a woman that was on top of me…I don’t think she made it at all. She wasn’t responsive.
 
“There was blood everywhere.”
 
He said he had asked the driver what had happened, saying: “He said he thinks he blacked out.”
 
Croydon resident Hannah Collier, 23, said: “I heard a massive crash… then heard shouting, then the emergency services arrived.
 
“They started bringing up the casualties, some very seriously injured. People were carried away on stretchers.”
 
The derailment is understood to have occurred close to where the east-bound tram takes a sharp left turn as it starts to head north towards the Addiscombe stop.
 
Rail union ASLEF said it was essential that a full investigation takes place and there should be no “rush to place blame”.
 
The tram service was suspended between Reeves Corner and Addington Village/Harrington Road and police advised motorists to avoid the area around Addiscombe Road, where long tailbacks are being reported.
 
Prime Minister Theresa May said her “thoughts and prayers” were with those caught up in the “terrible incident”.
Courtesy of Sky News

Powerful Lightning Storms Knock Out Power To Entire Australian State

lightning-alert
The government had planned to cut funding to its renewable energy agency by a A$1.3 billion, in an effort to plug a major budget shortfall, but was forced to reduce the cut to A$500 million in September to gain parliamentary support.
 
The Age reports that the “mass blackout” started around 3:30PM local time. “What it did is it ripped out about 22 – probably even more – high voltage pylons”, says State Premier Jay Weatherill.
 
Synoptic maps show the incredible ring-like low pressure system that has smashed the southern and eastern parts of Australia since Wednesday, pushing unprecedented winds up into South Australia and across to NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
 
It pointed to the fact that while the renewable energy target had encouraged the development of wind and solar generation, it had the potential to undermine supply security at a reasonable price, because it forced the closure of inefficient power stations without encouraging the construction of the necessary new generation supply sources.
 
However heavy industries, such as minerals giant BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine and Arrium’s Whyalla steelworks which Weatherill said drew “very substantial amounts of power”, faced a longer wait.
 
Ports were closed, while train and tram services were also suspended.
 
Much of the network around Adelaide is on line and operating normally, with power companies re-starting power generators from mid-evening Wednesday, after being forced to shut down earlier in the day.
 
Scenes from the storm were predictably nutballs.
 
“There’s an increased level of risk that we really haven’t seen before anywhere in the world, so it doesn’t mean we’ll have more blackouts, hopefully if we’re smart we can sort out solutions so power supply can be the same as usual, but it’s an increased risk”.
 
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has turned on state Labor governments over their renewable energy targets as federal politicians blame South Australia’s wind farms as well as extraordinary “cyclonic” weather for the state’s catastrophic power blackout.
 
The storm prompted gusts of wind up to 87 km per hour (54 mph) and hailstones which rained down in parts of the state.
 
There were no implications for other states from the extensive blackout in South Australia, the energy market operator said.
 
The state was also hammered by an estimated 80,000 lightning strikes, hail and rain.
Courtesy of essentialretailer.com